"What exactly is it you are doing? Playing some sort of game?"
"The floor is lava," Sherlock said, whipping his head up to stare at his brother. "Come here."
Mycroft sighed, stepping closer to Sherlock, who was standing on the sofa, leaning against the bookshelf, eyes a bit wild. Not with a drug, though, or Mycroft didn't think. With a lack of sleep, Mycroft guessed.
"Lift me," Sherlock commanded.
"So it's alright for me to burn up then?" Mycroft asked with a hint of irritation, curling one arm under Sherlock's knees as Sherlock turned a bit to help him. A silk-clad arm came around the back of his neck. "I imagine John Watson would not be forced to walk through the lava."
"You think that mere lava could hurt you?" Sherlock asked, squirming in Mycroft's arms as Mycroft turned and sat down heavily, holding him dutifully.
Mycroft narrowed his eyes in suspicion. "Why should you think me of all people immune?"
"Well, you of all people would be, wouldn't you? Plus, you've got shoes on."
Mycroft quirked his lip, eyes glancing at Sherlock's bare feet. "You must really miss him."
Sherlock sighed, resting his head against Mycroft's shoulder. "I do. Terribly. No case, no nothing. Just my stupid brother," he nudged him.
"And the lava."
"Quite." Sherlock sighed heavily.
"Let's go out to dinner, then. I'm done for the day now, so let's go." He more or less dumped Sherlock onto the floor, pushing at the back of his leg with his foot. "Up, Sherlock."
Sherlock flailed and cried out, writhing around on the floor. Mycroft watched in amusement as Sherlock pretended to be burning to death. He was actually doing quite a fine job of it.
"I know you haven't eaten. Don't make me mother you."
"I never make you," Sherlock said, eyes narrowed, suddenly still. "You do that quite on your own, Mycroft."
"Go get dressed. Fratricide has only increased my appetite, I'm afraid."
"It would, wouldn't it? Don't touch anything." Sherlock hopped up and ran to his bedroom to get dressed.
Mycroft took that as permission to straighten up a bit. Neither were to mention that he'd done it, but the gesture would be quietly appreciated by both parties. As he went about it, he made a reminder for himself that he should have someone pick Sherlock up a new set of violin strings. The sad-looking instrument abandoned in the corner was just one indication of many that his brother's boredom had been hellish.
"There's practically nothing in the fridge," Mycroft called to Sherlock, glancing at Sherlock's open doorway. Practically nothing because what was there included a few condiments and some assorted body parts, sealed in bags but still rather disturbing.
"You know, it wouldn't surprise me, Mycroft," Sherlock said, poking out of the door, shirtless, "if you grew hungry enough to eat a human ear. I bet it tastes terrible, and so chewy."
Mycroft flinched at the thought. Sherlock went back inside the room with a chuckle. Mycroft sighed and checked his watch. When Sherlock didn't think about what he was going to wear, he took no time at all, but when he started to obssess over it, he took a while. Finally, he decided, entering rather dramatically.
"Ah, the purple shirt. My, don't you look smart," Mycroft said.
"Do I?" Sherlock quirked his lip. "Smart enough to be seen with The British Government?"
"Smart enough not to be kneeling on the floor with the dogs anyway," Mycroft said with amusement.
Sherlock made a face. He went to the bathroom to fix his hair a bit and brush his teeth.
"I'll watch a spot of telly, I think," Mycroft said more to himself than Sherlock as he turned the telly on and flipped through channels idly. Finally, he settled on a documentary about the migratory patterns of birds. All in all, it could have been worse.
He did look around a bit more, noting that Sherlock had been napping here and there on the sofa but not using his bed; likely to stay up more easily. There were clear signs that Sherlock had pulled down some of the old books he'd gotten from their father and thumbed through them, something he did when he needed comfort. Perhaps Mycroft should have visited earlier.
Finally, Sherlock was ready. "Were you not the type to drag your feet, we could have been done by now, brother," Mycroft said.
Sherlock just smirked, which made Mycroft frown. Sherlock offered his arm. "Shall we?"
Mycroft looked suspicious, but he took the arm. "I suppose so."
"You're properly eating," Mycroft said in surprise.
"That's what you do when you go out to dinner with someone. It's polite or something," Sherlock said dismissively, not meeting Mycroft's gaze. "You of all people should understand that."
"Glad to see I've rubbed off on you."
"No, but John has," Sherlock said.
"What you said of John," Mycroft as they got out of the car at 221B, "that he's been rubbing off on you. You've been trying to impress him, I know. Are you finally interested in someone, properly interested?"
"Oh god, Mycroft. Don't look so bloody excited," Sherlock said with disgust. "I'm beginning to think you really are my mother."
Mycroft rolled his eyes.
"Which would make it doubly strange if I actually did talk about my sex life."
"So then don't. I was merely curious." Mycroft shrugged, honestly willing to just let it go. It wasn't really his business, if he was honest with himself.
"There is someone I'm interested in, though," Sherlock admitted.
There came a knock at the door. "Right on schedule," Mycroft said. "Let me get that." He thanked Jacobs, nodding at him and tipping him for his trouble. He held the violin strings behind his back as he walked back up the stairs.
"For me?" Sherlock asked, sitting up straight.
"Close your eyes."
Sherlock tilted his head questioningly, then closed his eyes.
Sherlock could feel the packaging. "New strings!" he said, opening his eyes. "I could have gotten these myself," he added quickly.
Mycroft shrugged. "The sooner the better, I feel. Your violin is very important."
Sherlock put the strings to the side. "I was talking to you, you know."
"I thought we weren't to talk of your sex life. I'm not Mummy."
"I know you're not," Sherlock said earnestly. "Mycroft, what if I was to tell you something surprising, even a little horrifying?"
"Then I'd know you were back to normal," Mycroft quipped. Then, he sobered. "Whatever it is, you'd best just tell me."
Sherlock swallowed and looked his brother straight in the eye. "It's you I'm interested in."
Mycroft's eyes were so wide it was almost comical. He froze entirely.
"The thing about me, Mycroft, is I'm not good for most people. You know how badly things went with Sargent Donovan." Sherlock glanced away, but looked back soon enough. "Things would be different with you. You're someone I'm actually good for. Not just alright, not just I-won't-drive-you-mad, but good. We fit, Mycroft."
"Sherlock," Mycroft said in an urgent whisper. "We can't."
"I certainly can," Sherlock declared. "I could kiss you right now if you don't believe me. Don't expect poetry, though."
Mycroft suddenly laughed, just a bit. "No, I wouldn't dare," he said. "Sherlock, there are others out there. Things aren't hopeless for you. You have many wonderful attributes."
"We've felt something. I've felt it. I know you have too. I've seen it, every once in a while. You can't tell me you don't want to take care of me, to do boyfriend things with me. You want dates and anniversaries; I can see it."
Mycroft got up swiftly. "I have to go," he said. "I'll drop by tomorrow."
"You're avoiding the issue."
"Of course I am; think of what the issue is!" Mycroft hissed. "Good day. Please, try to get some rest. For me."
Sherlock stayed up just to spite Mycroft.
Mycroft did show up the next evening.
"So, how about it?" Sherlock asked.
"You look tired," Mycroft said with disappointment. "You're dressed, though, and the tea is a nice touch."
"That's what people do, don't they? Try to impress?" Sherlock felt himself redden a bit, which just made him feel angry with himself and his stupid reactions.
Mycroft seated himself. "You've never tried to impress me before."
"Not never," Sherlock said defensively.
"Alright, not never. That was unfair of me." Mycroft reached for a biscuit.
"I had Mrs. Hudson help me make those."
Mycroft stared at him as he tasted the biscuit. "It's wonderful," he said, looking at Sherlock with that expression that meant he was indeed impressed, that he was proud of his little brother.
"Now," Sherlock said as he stood and poured, "I'd like to discuss what we were talking about yesterday."
Mycroft looked up at Sherlock curiously. Was it an act? No...no, he really didn't know.
"Oh, brilliant," Sherlock said, setting his jaw. "You deleted it."
Mycroft blinked. "I can't even recall the last time I had to delete something you'd said."
Sherlock slumped into his chair, his head low. "I hate you."
"As is customary, yes," Mycroft said with amusement, adding some milk to his cup. "Are you sure it isn't best deleted?"
Sherlock just sat in his chair, pouting at his empty cup.
Mycroft sat and thought to himself. Sherlock had made tea and had dressed nicely. The day before they'd gone out at his request and he'd been wondering about Sherlock and John on the way home.
"Was it about you and John?"
"There is no me and John!"
Mycroft looked puzzled. "Alright, then. What is it?"
"You can't just take me out and give me a present and let me spill my guts and then delete it. What kind of a poor date are you? No wonder you never married. Though that's not the real reason, is it?"
"Date?" Mycroft's eyes were wide again, though not as wide as before. "So you are seriously interested in a relationship—an incestuous one—with me?"
"Yes. It's unconventional, it's amoral, it's fantastically stupid, but we fit, and I want to try it."
Mycroft sat back, assessing his brother. "Why?" he finally asked.
"You admire me, I admire you, we enjoy the fighting. I've been thinking about this, in the back of my mind, and even after some time, it still sounds both spectacularly stupid and worth trying."
"There is someone out there for you," Mycroft said softly.
"And his name is Mycroft." Sherlock knelt on the ground next to Mycroft. "Mycroft, look at me and tell me you don't want to try it. You are the only person who can best me, and I need to be bested."
Mycroft swallowed hard, eyes tracing the line of Sherlock's cheekbone. "I won't deny affection and even, yes, attraction. I won't deny having considered it. I never dreamed you'd offer, though. This is very new. I'll need some time to think."
"Don't strain yourself," Sherlock said with a roll of his eyes. He stood, reaching into his pocket for a folded piece of paper that he handed Mycroft. It was an old piece of paper, rough, had been folded and unfolded many times.
Mycroft looked up at him to try and read him, then decided to open the piece of paper. It was a drawing of him, shirtless, when he was younger and had more weight on. He raised an eyebrow.
Sherlock shoved a box into his hands that he'd had sitting on the sofa. Mycroft sighed, opening the box.
A good portion of the birthday and Christmas cards Mycroft had given him through the years sat haphazardly on top. Beneath the crust of cards lay small, sentimental things like a hand-me-down scarf that Mycroft faintly recognized, a few blackened chess pieces from the set Sherlock had burned in a fit once, and Mycroft's old planner that he'd binned but Sherlock had apparently rescued.
Mycroft reached up to card his fingers through Sherlock's hair. Sherlock closed his eyes in pleasure.
"Alright, one kiss," Mycroft said quickly, always one to praise a good effort, and Sherlock leaned in, cupping his cheek, their eyes closing, the air in the room suddenly seeming thick and alive as they made contact, lips brushing then falling open. Sherlock was eager, so ready to prove himself, and Mycroft was willing to let him, so long as things didn't take a very bad turn.
Sherlock finally pulled back, eyes sparkling. He still looked tired, but he looked oddly calm, and happy. "I want to see all the things you've tucked away about me. And I've got more than that of yours, of course. I'll write poetry if you do want it."
"This is so sudden, Sherlock," Mycroft breathed.
"I'll need time."
"We've got time."
"I might decide I can't."
"Then we won't anymore."
Mycroft raised a brow in consideration. "Okay," he said. "But if it doesn't work out, I get to delete whatever I need to delete."
"We'll see," Sherlock said. "I do intend to do my best to make you crave every...single....," he nosed at Mycroft's jaw, "detail."
Mycroft sighed lightly. "You certainly act more interested in me than I've seen you act toward anyone else."
"I trust you. You've always protected me, even from—no, especially from—myself."
"I always will," Mycroft said quickly. "Even if I have to break things off, understand?"
"I understand." Sherlock snuggled him a bit.
When John came home early and saw the brothers jumping around on the furniture, he blinked at them tiredly.
"You're getting burned by the lava, John!" Sherlock said.
John looked down at the floor. "Oh. Playing, are we?"
Mycroft grinned, hopping off the chair he'd been standing on. "Don't mind me," he said. "I'll head out. Welcome back, John." He bowed slightly. "You'd best get up on that chair," he advised. "Make sure Sherlock gets plenty of rest tonight."
"Can do!" John said with a pleased smile. "Good to see you, Mycroft. And, I must say, good to see you both getting on."
"Mind the lava, John," Mycroft said with a mysterious smile. He blew a kiss to Sherlock, and Sherlock blushed with an almighty scowl. John laughed at the two.
"Okay," John said, standing on the chair. "What's the point of this?"
Mycroft slipped out the front door.
"The point is not to die," Sherlock said simply. "We're not immune to the lava; only Mycroft is."
"Why's that? Why's he special?"
"Oh John," Sherlock said with a wave of his hand. "I couldn't tell you if I wanted to."
John just laughed and tried to see if he could make it to the pillow Sherlock had put on the floor.