Sherlock Holmes knows his name is Sherlock when he is five. He finds the name in a book and tries it out, enjoying drawing out the first syllable, the satisfying click of the second. He tells it to the doll his mother gave him, who sits on his windowsill with glassy eyes that stare until he tells them his secrets. Not that he has any, yet. He's cultivating an idea about looking and looking until he can unpick secrets like the lock on his father's study. He mastered that one at three; look at anything for long enough and how it works becomes apparent. People are more difficult. He hears his mother's friends talking when she takes him with her when she's visiting; the intricacies of others' marriages, how to engineer more to gossip over. Sherlock is determined to find out what they find so compelling in these conversations. He abhors feeling baffled.
"Elizabeth," his mother calls. "Where are you, child?"
"How many times, Mother," he rolls his eyes as she enters his bedroom, "I'm a boy. Today, I found my name." He draws himself up to his full height, skirts swishing against his legs. "I am Sherlock."
"Oh Elizabeth," his mother sighs. "When will you outgrow this silly notion?"
"Mother," he says, trying not to scowl, "I assure you, it is not a silly notion. It pains me to hear myself addressed as female when I am, in fact, male."
"Your father has been encouraging you, hasn't he?" She sighs again, looks at Sherlock's face for a long moment, and finally relents. "Very well. Sherlock."
He rushes to her, flinging his arms around her legs. "Oh thank you, Mother!" he cries, heart soaring.
"This game is not to be played in company," she warns him, but it doesn't matter. Nothing matters but that she play along, if that is all she will do.
"I shall be the very best son you ever dreamed of having," he tells her knees.
There is a smile in her voice as she says, "I am sure you shall."