Sherlock stood up at the dinner table, and nearly knocked the wine glass into the butter dish. Luckily the wine glass wasn’t that full.
“I have an announcement,” he said.
His parents looked up from the coq au vin. Mycroft rolled his eyes and took another bite of chicken.
“I am gay.”
“Very nice, dear,” said Mummy Holmes. “Do be a darling and pass the salt.”
Sherlock handed her the salt. “Homosexual. I like men.”
“Oh, darling, you’re thirteen, you don’t know what you like.”
“Sherlock, does this have anything to do with the boy who drowned in the pool last month?” asked Father Holmes, and Mummy held her hand to her mouth.
“Oh dear – was he your boyfriend, darling? Are you very upset?”
“I didn’t know him! And I don’t have a boyfriend!”
“Then how do you know you’re gay, darling?” asked Mummy, and Sherlock sat back down, completely disgruntled.
Mycroft poured him some more wine, and Sherlock slunk in his chair to sulk.
They opened their presents and ate the fruit cake and pulled the special-order crackers with the pocket-watch, diamond bracelet and chemistry set. Sherlock stood up.
“I have an announcement,” he said, and Mycroft opened his First Folio to ignore him properly.
“Have you decided on Oxford or Cambridge, then?” asked Father.
“Cambridge, and I’m gay.”
“Oh, dear, not this again,” sighed Father.
“Darling, we’ve been over this,” said Mummy patiently.
“I like cocks.”
“There’s no need to be vulgar, Sherlock,” said Mummy.
“Mycroft, I’m having trouble winding this watch, would you please?” asked Father.
Sherlock nearly drop-kicked the chemistry set, but in the end used it to make the garage explode. It was much more satisfying. Mycroft helped him apply the burn cream to his hands afterwards.
The phone rang on Friday afternoon.
“Mummy, I’m coming home this weekend, and I’m bringing my boyfriend. His name is Victor and he has a massive knob.”
“Lovely dear, shall we expect you on the evening train?”
Mycroft met them at the station.
“What would you like for dinner, Sherlock?”
“Todgers, tadgers, willies, beef bayonets, pork wands and jolly wackers.”
“I was rather fancying a curry myself.”
Mycroft ordered him a kebab.
The funeral was a solemn affair, and it was a relief when it was over. Mummy dropped down on the settee with a sigh, draping her silk scarf over the armrest in an artful swoop.
“Well, that’s over with,” she said as she pulled off her gloves. “Mycroft, do be a dear and go through your father’s wardrobe. I’m sure nothing will fit your waistline or your sense of style, but I’d rather not deal with it myself.”
Mycroft set the scone he’d nearly started to eat back down on his plate, and glowered.
“Sherlock, darling, you haven’t said a word all day.”
“Oh, darling, you’ve only just finished your barbiturates phase, let’s not replace it with pretending you’re a rap artist from Philadelphia, or wherever they grow them these days.”
“I have nothing to say of importance.”
“I very much doubt that.”
“All right then, I’ll rephrase. I have something important to say, but nothing that you are willing or able to comprehend.”
“Is this about your perceived homosexuality again, Sherlock?”
“Whatever you like, darling. I’m going to have a little nap, and I will expect you both for dinner at 8pm, sharp. And I don’t care if your father was buried this morning, you’ll dress in the new shirts in your wardrobes.”
With that, Mummy left the room. Sherlock picked up the nearest teacup and hurled it at the door.
Mycroft was already eating the scone. Sherlock fell on the sofa next to him.
“Really, Mycroft. How many of those have you had?”
Mycroft swallowed. “Have you met my new assistant?”
“No, and I don’t want to be set up with her.”
“His name is Bruce.”
There was a pause.
Sherlock handed his brother another scone.