Mycroft only had three photographs in his wallet.
The first is the oldest. It is a photograph of mummy, taken two months after her marriage to (here, Mycroft wrinkles his nose in disgust at having to address him so intimately, if for biological reasons) his father. In the photograph, she is happy; her mouth is curved into a shy, but wide smile. She beams just as bright as the sun splashing in through the window behind her. In the photograph, she has Mycroft's hair, lightened like a fragile halo around her. She has Sherlock's nose and eyes, except her grey-blue orbs are full of warmth and invitation.
In the photograph, she is innocent; still smitten with the charm his father had become notoriously known for. At that time, she hadn't known that she had just condemned herself to five years of silent grief, as her husband spent their marriage flitting from one affair to another. At that time, her eyes had none of that misery Mycroft had first come to associate with mummy. Her eyes lit up only with adoration for the man behind the camera, as well as for the bump growing on her stomach.
Those eyes, that expression, had only made brief appearances during Mycroft's younger years. It had only started surfacing again after his parents had divorced, and had happened more often when she had met and married Sherlock's father.
He traces the hands placed on her ballooned belly. Him at six months. When he is feeling particularly emotional, Mycroft will allow himself a moment of guilt. Sometimes, he even wonders if they would have married if he hadn't been conceived.
The second photograph is the most recent and could have been (but really isn't) candid, mostly because Jane used to dislike having her picture taken. Mycroft had needed to resort to stealth and CCTV's. He was sure she had known though, because in the photograph, she is looking at the camera with an exasperated but indulging smile splashed on her face. The smile had said, Fine, but just this once, mind you. She even had her hands free, giving him a small wave instead of a text. She had winked after that and whipped out her mobile to send him the details concerning his upcoming meeting with the ASEAN delegates.
Mycroft remembers showing mummy the photograph when he and Sherlock had gone home for her 52nd birthday. The family had retired to the den after supper. Sherlock and their father had exchanged a feral grin and immediately brought out the chessboard. Mummy had settled on the overstuffed chair, which was closer to the fire, while Mycroft had seated himself on the arm of the chair. When she had asked how work was, he had shown her the picture of his assistant. She had been pleased, and had asked him when he was going to bring her over. From across the room, Sherlock had looked up from his chess match to snort at him.
"Mycroft is never going to ask her on a date because he is an overly insecure idiot," he had commented. Mummy had clucked her tongue at her younger son; even father had reproached Sherlock.
Mycroft had said nothing. However, he had asked Jane out for lunch a month after that because he so delighted in proving Sherlock wrong.
A year after that, he had started gaining weight, which provoked the jabs about his waistline.
The last photograph is Mycroft's favorite. It had been taken two weeks before Sherlock's 17th birthday. He remembers this one particularly well because it had been two weeks before Sherlock' braces were taken off. Sherlock had still been in that awkward phase in puberty where he was nothing but a clumsy arrangement of long limbs with a height he had yet to become accustomed to. Sherlock had loathed that stage in his life, constantly tripping over his feet and unable to fit in small spaces that had used to make hiding from people easy. The braces had done nothing but made him grumpier, although he had reluctantly admitted that his teeth did look better afterwards.
This is Mycroft's favorite photograph for three reasons; first, because it was rare proof of their brotherly… camaraderie, for lack of a better word. They were both grinning like mad. Sherlock in particular had been tipsy, having drunk his first couple of bottles of beer. He had an arm slung around Mycroft's shoulder, and Mycroft had had a hard time maintaining his balance. (In fact, they had fallen into a messy pile of limbs right after the camera had clicked.) Second, it had Sherlock in his, ah, metal toothed glory. When he had braces, Sherlock had refused to bare his teeth if possible. His lips had spent two years set either in a deep scowl or a thin, grim line. In fact, his small ounce of vanity had made everyone swear that they would never bring up his braces, which was why the photograph was more precious.
Because, third and most importantly, Sherlock doesn’t know that he has the picture.
Mycroft sighed with disappointment, both at himself and at the idiot who had thought he could get away with stealing his wallet. The young man (Henry Griffin, aged 20, doing this as an initiation to some gang, rather than because he needed to) pressed his back into the alley wall, as Mycroft stepped closer and raised his umbrella at chest level, directly over the heart. He flicked a switch and the blade concealed on the tip of his umbrella slid out, flashing with anger as a car passed by, its headlight reflecting on the weapon. Griffin pressed himself against the wall and, seeing as he could go back no further, whimpered.
He shouldn't have gone into Starbucks, Mycroft thought with slight disdain. Their coffee was rubbish, but he did have quite a sweet tooth, and a weak spot for their caramel frappuccino.
"You will return my wallet," he stated. It wasn't a command, a request or a threat. It was an observation because Henry Griffin would rather be laughed at or be called a string of degrading names, than die.
Mycroft waited patiently, still holding out his umbrella with one hand and sipping his coffee with the other, as Griffin fumbled into his back pocket for Mycroft's wallet. The young man finally got it and held it out with shaking hands. He had looked like he was going to throw it, but Mycroft had given him a warning glare.
Mycroft smiled. He flicked the switch twice and the blade slid back. He hooked his umbrella on his arm and took his wallet, slipping it in his inner coat pocket.
He turned and started to walk away.
"I don't even know why you bothered," Griffin muttered. "There wasn't even any money in it."
Mycroft turned, lifting his umbrella again and pressing the tip against Griffin's throat. There was no need to bring out the blade again. He leaned in close, his mouth twisting into that sneer he had once used for Halloween (and when handling his more petulant men). Again, he heard Griffin whimper.
"What balls you must have Mr. Griffin," Mycroft crooned. Griffin opened his mouth to ask how the fuck did he know his name, but Mycroft cut him off. "If you value your life, you will realize that you need to keep quiet until I leave the alley. And even then, only after you've counted to thirty."
Griffin smacked his lips and, finding that words had failed him, nodded.
"Very good. Have a pleasant evening Mr. Griffin. Make sure you don't repeat the same mistake with anyone. The drugs aren't worth it after all."
Griffin fell to his knees as he watched Mycroft leave and disappear around the corner. Even then, he only left after counting to three hundred.