Six-year-old Sherlock Holmes wandered into the study and found his big brother reading in the chair by the fire. Poking Mycroft in the shoulder, he asked, "Mycey, what's a boyfriend?"
The thirteen-year-old looked down from his book, slightly annoyed at his little brother coming to bother him once again. "Why do you wish to know, dear brother?"
"A boy at school said I was his. What is it?"
Mycroft let out a small sigh and shut his book. "A boyfriend is a significant other who is a boy. Sort of like how Mum has Dad. Only they're married."
"Oh." Sherlock thought about this. "So, it's good?"
"Suppose so. Though significant others only cause trouble."
"Emotions get in the way. Sometimes it's not worth it to get involved in such a game." Mycroft looked down at his nails, not wanting to meet his little brother's gaze.
"But he's nice. He's not like the others. They're mean."
"What's his name, Sherlock?"
Sherlock looked at his shoes. "New kid."
Mycroft's lips curled into a small smile. His brother was still young, and though sometimes he got easily irritated at his presence, he was still sort of comical to observe. "I suggest if you'd like to make him your boyfriend, you'll learn his actual name. 'New Kid' is only a title."
"John, okay? He's John. Just moved here. Been at school a few weeks."
"That's better. And you said he's nice? Then I'm alright with it." Mycroft glanced around the room, then back to Sherlock. He patted the seat next to him. "Come up here with me."
Sherlock climbed up next to Mycroft. "Whatwhatwhat?"
Mycroft smiled bigger than intended at his brother's eagerness. "If you really like this boy, don't you let anyone tell you otherwise, understand?"
Sherlock nodded. "Why, Mycey?"
"People are cruel, Sherlock. You'll see that as you get older." Mycroft whispered, worried their parents would be within earshot. "Emotions are a dangerous game, especially once they involve someone else. But if he makes you happy, then don't let others opinions get in the way."
Sherlock's brow furrowed. "So... people are mean and if you like someone, they can be mean too? Unless they like you back?"
"Erm, sort of." Mycroft shifted a bit. "Just be careful, alright dear brother?"
"He plays with me. And shares his lunch. I don't eat it though. And he fought off Jimmy yesterday!"
"Jimmy is a right prat. His brother isn't the kindest of gentlemen, either." Mycroft recalled a time when this boy's brother had given him a black eye. "I'm glad you've found a friend... you dodn't have many, did you?"
"Just one. Can he come over?!"
"Of course. Mother and father shouldn't mind. I assume they'll be ecstatic."
"YAY!" Sherlock threw his arms around Mycroft's neck. "Can you call? Tomorrow's Sat-ur-day, so there's no school!"
Mycroft was a bit surprised at this sudden hug, but he smiled all the same and returned it. "Of course I can," he whispered, kissing his brother's temple. "I'm sure you two will have a great time together."
"Do it now." Sherlock sat there. "Please."
Mycroft nodded. He leaned over to pick up the telephone. "Do you have the phone number?"
Sherlock jumped off the chair and ran to his room, grabbing the class roster and bringing it to Mycroft. "Here," he panted.
Again, Mycroft laughed at his little brother's eagerness. He dialed the number as he was told and spoke to John's parents who agreed to have their son come over to play. As he spoke, he glanced at Sherlock and gave him a small nod.
Sherlock jumped off the chair, running in circles. "John's coming over! John's coming over!"
Mycroft covered his mouth to stifle his laughter. "Yes, Mrs. Watson. Tomorrow at around noon sounds fantastic. Sherlock is certainly pleased. Have a great evening." He hung up the phone and stood up, running around in circles with his little brother. "Yes, he most certainly is! Now, are you going to clean up the playroom?"
"Yes! Come help me!" Sherlock grabbed Mycroft's hand, tugging him toward the door. "Come on!" Mycroft threw his book onto the chair and followed his brother, grinning. "I'm coming as fast as I can!"
Sherlock dragged Mycroft to the playroom which was a right disaster. "Help," Sherlock said, trying to make it sound like an order. Mycroft put his hands on his hips. "My little brother, ordering me around." He shook his head, picking up a couple of toys and throwing them into the toy box. "Hopefully one day that behavior will cease."
"Nope. Never." Sherlock grabbed his costumes and dumped them in the dress up chest. "I'll always tell you what t'do, big brother." Mycroft wrinkled his nose as he picked up a pirate hat from the ground, tossing it on Sherlock's head. "Well, when I'm working for the British Government, you'll simply HAVE to take orders from me. It'll be the law."
"Not for me. I'm your brother. You'd make an ex-cep-shun for me!" Sherlock yanked the pirate hat down on his unruly black curls, grabbing his swords and adding them to the chest.
"Maybe. Depends on if you're nice to me." Mycroft stuck his tongue out at him as he wheeled a red wagon against the wall. "You are a spoiled child. So many toys for one little brother."
"I like them. Mummy always says if I play with it, I can keep it. 'Sides, John'll be here tomorrow!!" Sherlock spun around again, bumping into Mycroft and knocking his hat off. Mycroft picked the hat up once more and placed it on his head. "I'm glad you have a friend. I'm glad to see you so excited." He told his brother, genuinely.
"Me too. You'll be nice, right? You can be scary to kids my age." Sherlock was worried; he didn't want his friend frightened off.
"Of course, dear brother. Why would I be anything but nice?" Mycroft knelt down so he was eye level with Sherlock. "I'm not that big and scary, am I?" Sherlock glanced at Mycroft. "Sometimes, when you frown."
Mycroft took a deep breath through his nose, trying not to do the very frown that Sherlock was speaking of. "Yes, well. You're still young." He gave his little brother a pat on the shoulder before standing up again. He felt wary all of a sudden, tired. "Let's finish up?"
"Sure." Sherlock threw his hat in the chest and grabbed his last few toys. "D'you think- d'you think you could help make tea and stuff for t'morrow? For me and John?"
"I'd love to." Mycroft started picking up Sherlock's army men that was strewn all over the floor. "We can even make biscuits tonight, if you'd like."
"Yes! Chocolate please. And mint tea for t'morrow, maybe?"
"Are you certain John likes those kinds of things?"
"He shared his brownie with me his first day of school. And I shared my tea the next day." Sherlock helped a bit, tripping on the way to the chest and scattering what he was holding. "Sorry, Mycey."
After Mycroft had finished with the army men, he crawled over to where Sherlock had dropped his toys and helped him pick them up. "It's okay, dear brother," he whispered. "We can make that, then. I think he'll enjoy himself."
Sherlock nodded, excited and nervous. "No one's ever come over before. What if he doesn't have fun?"
"Impossible. Look how many toys you have. I'm sure you two will find something to get into." Mycroft told him, sitting back on his heels. "Anyway, I can't imagine he won't be intrigued by the tree house in the backyard."
Sherlock's eyes widened. "John loves trees! And adventures! Let's go cook!" He grabbed Mycroft's hand again. Mycroft laughed as he struggled a bit to get back on his feet. "Woah, hold on," he told his little brother, stabling himself in standing position before taking his hand again. "Off to the kitchen, then."
Sherlock ran, tugging at Mycroft until his older brother scooped him up. Sherlock squirmed and laughed until Mycroft set him down on the kitchen counter. "What first?"
"Well. Eggs, of course." Mycroft hardly knew how to cook himself a meal. Usually they had the governesses do that for them, but he understood how special Sherlock wanted to make this play date. Cooking biscuits was something he wanted, and Mycroft would do anything to keep his brother happy. "Milk... flour? Maybe flour. Butter... and chocolate." He scoured the shelves until he found a cookbook, opening it to the recipe for chocolate biscuits.
"Sugar! And Vanilla! Nanny always says vanilla and chocolate."
"Right." Mycroft raced around the kitchen for the ingredients and came back with them all in a bowl. "D'you know how to crack and egg?"
Sherlock nodded, holding his hands out. Mycroft gave him one of the eggs from the bowl, clearing the ingredients out and placing them on the counter. "Aye, captain. Go ahead. Crack it."
Grinning, Sherlock rapped the egg against the side of the bowl, the yolk and clear liquid falling into the bowl
"Good job. Wanna do the second?"
"Yep." Sherlock took the second egg and cracked it as well, its contents also landing in the bowl.
"Good. Now... I think flour next? And then vanilla..." He measures out the appropriate amount of flour and puts it in the bowl, followed by two small drops of vanilla. "Can you manage the chocolate, captain Sherlock?"
Sherlock beamed at his brother, taking the chocolate and pouring it in, stopping when Mycroft said. Mycroft began to stir the contents together until they were ready to be taken out with a spoon and placed on one of the cooking sheets. He handed Sherlock a spoon, then grabbed one for himself. "Ready? Don't make them too big or they'll all spread together."
Sherlock nodded, spooning out the batter onto the sheet in blobs. "It's like chocolate treasure!"
"Right you are." He smiled, as they finished up. Mycroft scurried over to the oven, setting it for the appropriate time and heat. He picked up the baking sheet and slid it into the oven. "Let's give it twenty minutes, alright? Then we'll check back."
"'Kay." Sherlock looked around. "Um, can you get me down?"
"Nope." Mycroft crossed his arms over his chest. "Not unless you say the magic word."
Sherlock groaned. "'Kay, fine. Can you please get me down, Mycey?"
Mycroft nodded, walking over to where Sherlock was on the counter. He turned around and knelt forward so Sherlock could get onto his back.
"Piggyback ride?" Sherlock clambered onto Mycroft's shoulders. "Off we go!"
Mycroft raced through their house, turning this way and that until they were both outside. "Where too, Captain?"
"Uhhhh, to tomorrow!"
"How do we get to tomorrow?" Mycroft paused, catching his breath. He really needed to go to the gym...
Sherlock hugged Mycroft's head. "We sleep and wake up and then John gets here and we have tea and chocolate and have adventures!"
"I can't take you there myself, silly. You have to wait."
"I don't wanna wait!" Sherlock pouted, but then Mycroft spun them around and he had to hold on tight. "Can you read me something? I wanna hear a story."
"Waiting is a part of life. You don't want it to speed up, do you?" Mycroft asked, before nodding. "I can, yes. Let's go back inside." He walked the two of them back into the study. He sat Sherlock down on one of the cushy sofas and walked over to the bookshelf. "What do you want to hear?"
"I dunno, Shake-spere maybe? What do you wanna read?"
Mycroft smirked, grabbing a hold of Hamlet. He sat down next to his little brother and opened the book. "How about Hamlet?"
"I love Hamlet!" He snuggled into Mycroft, listening to his brother read the play, doing all the voices of course, until he fell asleep, dreaming of the playdate and an oatmeal jumper.
Sherlock paced the foyer, impatient. "Is he here yet?"
"Patience, little brother." Mycroft said from the sofa in their parlor.
Sherlock groaned. "But Mycey-" His whining cut short as he heard a car pull up. Dashing to the window, he looked out. "He's here! He's here!"
John stepped out of his Mum's car, his thumb in his mouth. He walked up to the door and knocked quietly, a little bit nervous to see his new friend.
"Well, answer the door, Sherlock."
Sherlock ran to the door, struggling a bit but managing to get it open. "John!" he shouted.
John gave him a small smile, popping his thumb out of his mouth. "Hi."
"Come in." Sherlock grabbed John's hand and led him inside. "This is Mycey, my big brother. This is John."
"Hello, John," Mycroft smiled, holding his hand out to John for him to shake. John only stared at it, then up at Mycroft, trembling a little bit. Mycroft put his hand back at his side. "Well, why don't the two of you get to playing, eh? I'll get tea together."
Sherlock nodded. "We'll go to the playroom." Taking John's hand, he led the blonde boy through the house to the room with the toys. John was perplexed at all the toys. "Wow. This is all yours, Sherlock?" He asked, unsure of where to start first.
"Yep." Sherlock took him around, showing him everything. "Whadya wanna be when you grow up?"
"I wanna be a doc-er!" John exclaimed. "I wanna take care of peoples and make sure they're not sick! Like my daddy." He grinned. "What 'bout you, Sherlock?"
"I wanna be a pirate!" Sherlock ran to the costume chest and grabbed his pirate hat. "See?"
"But pirates aren't a job!" John told him, looking through his chest to find a stethoscope. "Doc-ers are jobs!"
"Pirates are too! They find treasure and go on adventures, they fight. Fighting's a job." Sherlock grabbed his pirate coat and sword before realizing what John was looking for. He helped him find it and his father's old lab coat. "Here."
John put the coat on and smiled, placing the stethoscope around his neck. "But they don't get paid... pirates just do what they want."
"Exactly! I wanna do what I want. No rules. No orders. I can-I can defeat all the bullies." He stopped and looked at John, several questions buzzing around his young mind. "Why are you nice to me?"
"Why wouldn't I wanna be nice to you?"
"No one else is." Sherlock said, sitting down and looking at the floor. "The other kids are mean. They tease. You fought for me. You hit Jimmy. Why?"
John sat next to Sherlock. "Jimmy said mean things about you... he said he wanted to burn you!" John scowled at the ground.
"But the others laughed. You fought. You-you were nice to me. No one's nice to me. They say I'm a-a freak." Sherlock bit his lip. "You don't think that, right?"
"You're n-not a freak!" John wrapped his arms around Sherlock and gave him a squeeze. "You're brilliant and fun and I like you a lot. You're my bestest friend."
Sherlock froze as John hugged him; he almost never got hugs. "You're my bestest friend too," he said, bringing his arms up awkwardly to hug John back.
"I don't know why they think you're a freak because you're actually really cool." John grinned. "Look at your toys and everything."
"But I say stuff. I see things. They don't like it." Sherlock looked at all his toys. "I've never had others over before, John."
"Does... that make me special?"
"Yes!" Sherlock pulled John into a hug. "It makes you the most specialest. A doctor and a pirate!"
"We're the greatest team in the whole entire world, Sherlock!" John smiled, rocking them back and forth slightly. "Everyone will be 'fraid of us! They won't call you a freak or hurt you ever again because I'm going to protect you for always."
Sherlock sniffed, relaxing in his friend's arms. Pulling away and wiping his nose, he asked, "Always?"
John gave him a big nod. "ALWAYS, sillyhead."
Mycroft peeked at the two of them, knocking on the doorframe. "Tea is ready."
"TEA!" Sherlock jumped up, grabbing John's hand and pulling him after Mycroft. "Teateateatea."
John's feet nearly gave out under him as he tried to keep up with Sherlock. Mycroft had set up the good tea set on the round kitchen table for the two of them, already filling their cups, a biscuit on teach of their little saucers.
Sherlock pulled out John's chair. "Sit," he ordered before plopping into his own seat. "Thank you, Mycey."
Mycroft smiled at the two of them before vanishing into the other room. John sat where he was told and grabbed the spoon in the sugar bowl. His arms were a bit short, so he was having trouble getting the sugar into his cup without spilling it all over the table.
"Lemme help." Sherlock was back on his feet, helping John with the sugar. "Better check it isn't poison. Pirates have enemies, y'know."
John's eyes widened. "POISON?" He curled his knees up to his chest. "Sherlock I'm scared! Mycey might have poisoned it! What if he doesn't like me or something?"
Sherlock dropped the sugar. "No! It's play, pretend." He felt terrified seeing John so scared. "He likes you, he said so. Don't be scared. Please? Pleasepleaseplease?"
Sherlock's overreaction made John even more frightened. His eyes began to get glassy with tears, his little fists rubbing at them.
"What did I do wrong?" Sherlock sank to the floor, tear in his own eyes. "I ruined ev'rything."
John glanced down at Sherlock. "No.. no, you didn't." He slid off his chair and sat next to his friend. "Poison is scary, Sherlock. It's not funny."
Sherlock sniffed. "It isn't?"
John shook his head. "No! Not at all." He linked his arm through Sherlock's.
Sherlock looked at their arms, distracted from his tears. "Why d'you do that?" he asked, curious.
"'Cause it makes people feel better. When their best friend does stuffs like this."
Sherlock tightened his grip slightly in surprise, then blinking in amazement as he started to relax. "Yeah, it does work. You really are a doctor!"
John grinned. "Really? I didn't even need my masters!!" He wasn't sure what that meant, but he smiled all the same. "I'm glad I can make you better."
"You're the only one who does." Sherlock bit his lip. "D'you think... d'you think you could do that hug thing again?"
John nodded, wrapping his arms around Sherlock's neck this time and giving him a big squeeze. He turned his head slightly and kissed Sherlock on the cheek, innocently.
Sherlock wrapped his arms around John, returning the hug, squeezing tighter as he felt the kiss. "Can I try that?" he whispered.
John giggled. "If you wanna! But not on my mouth because mummy says that's only for when you're older."
Sherlock turned his head and kissed John's cheek, smiling. Then he hugged him again. "Thanks"
"You don't have to thank me, silly."
"'Course I do. And I'm not silly, you're silly!"
"You're the silliest, Sherlock Holmes!"
"You're the silliest, John Wat-son!" Giggling, Sherlock said, "You wanna see something?"
"Of course I do!!" John clapped his hands together, happily.
"Come on." Taking John's hand, Sherlock led the boy to his room to show him his secret toy. When they got there, Sherlock flicked on the lamp. "Sit."
John did as he was told, his fingers playing with the stethoscope.
Sherlock dove under his bed, kocking off his pirate hat in the process as he found what he was looking for. "Now, you hafta promise never to tell, ok?"
John bit his lip. He didn't like that rule. He didn't like it one bit. "Oookay. I guess. But if it's scary I might have to, Sherlock!"
"It shouldn't be scary. It's cool. It's the first thing I ever called a friend." Sherlock placed his skull in front of John, but as he saw John's face, he was suddenly scared of another poison reaction.
John squeaked, covering his eyes with his pudgy little fingers.
Sherlock swallowed hard. He felt he couldn't do anything right. "Daddy brought it home for me. I call him Yo-rick. He doesn't talk back like the other kids. I'm sorry if he's scary, John-"
"Sherlock, was that a person!" John kept his eyes covered, scared out of his mind.
"Not in ages! John-I-" Sherlock hid the skull again, throwing himself on his bed.
John peeked through his fingers, seeing that the skull was gone. He got off the chair and walked to the bed. "Sherlock..."
Sherlock ignored him, curled up like a cat that was upset, on the verge of tears from being angry with himself.
"Hey... Sherlock please don't cry, okay? My big sister says I'm a cry baby. I think she's stupid, but she's kind of right... I am a scaredycat!"
Sherlock opened his eyes and looked at John. "You have a big sister?"
John nodded. "She's only seven, but she's mean sometimes."
"Mycey can be mean too. He has a scary frown."
"Why can he be mean?" John climbed up onto the bed and curled his knees up by his chest, resting his head against them to look at Sherlock.
"He can get angry and yell, 'spec'lly at Mummy and Daddy, sometimes at me. And he frowns a lot, like his brain hurts."
"Hm." John looked at Sherlock a bit more closely. "Harry is just a bully. She likes to pull my hair and sit on my back while I cry. Mummy has to put her in time out a lot because she's so mean to me. I hate her."
"I hate Mycey too, but then he does nice things like read or play with me. Your sister sounds like the mean kids at school."
"She is!" John laid back on the bed and let out a yawn. "She can be so mean. But sometimes I can be mean back. I tug on her hair. Sometimes. But not as rough because she's still my sister... and mum would hate me if I hurt her, y'know."
"Yeah. I can't hurt Mycey. He doesn't hurt." Sherlock yawned, rubbing his eyes. "John," he whispered, "You tired?"
John nodded, rolling on his tummy. "A bit, yeah."
"We can sleep ifya wanna."
John laid his head down against his arms. "Noooo." He was obviously fighting sleep. "I told mummy I was gonna be a big boy and skip nap times!"
"I'm a big boy and Mummy makes me take naptimes." Sherlock uncurled a bit, stretching out. "I fell asleep in the playroom once."
"That's a silly thing to do... your bed is so comfy!"
"I was fighting bad pirates and they wounded me. I had to rest to get better." Sherlock was yawning again. "I'd like another hug. I like your hugs. They're nice."
John wiggled his way over to Sherlock and wrapped his arms around him, squeezing him as tight as he could. "Like this?"
"Yeah." Sherlock snuggled into John, holding him tight. "Don't let go, 'kay? I don't want you to leave."
John shook his head. "Sherlock, I promise on my life and my sisters life and mummy's and daddy's that I will not leave you ever! Best friends don't do that!"
"Never had a best friend before."
"Well my job is to protect you all the time. So I'm not going anywhere."
"Good. And I'll save you if anything happens. Promise."
John kissed Sherlock's cheek once more. "You're brilliant."
"Really?" Sherlock kissed John's cheek again before resting his head on John's chest. "You're brave."
John yawned. "I cry... all the time... that's not brave."
"You fought for me... that is."
"Well... best friends are worth fighting for, right?"
"I like you. I wanna be friends forever."
John smiled, burying his face in Sherlock's curly hair. "Oh my gosh. I want that too."
"Good." Sherlock fell asleep listening to John's heartbeat and feeling the future doctor's steady breath on his own wild curls.
Mycroft had gone in to make sure the boys were all right. As soon as he spied the two of them napping he smiled and shook his head. He really hoped that they'd wake before their mum came home, as cute as the two of them were. She would not be pleased to find Sherlock napping with another little boy... heaven forbid. He shut the door behind him and decided to clean up the half drunk tea from the kitchen table.