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a rose by any other name

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William - resolute protector

He despises the name 'William'.
It does nothing to differentiate him from the other students in his class. In his year, there are seven Williams, and three of them are in the same class, his class. And it's grade school, so of course they all have nicknames like 'Billy' and 'Will'.

The first time his teacher made the mistake of calling him 'Billy', he replied by calling her by her first name.

The second time, he told his class, in great detail, the extent of the affair the teacher's husband was having with the principal.

She didn't make the mistake a third time.

He despises the name 'William'.

Father shouts it at the dinner table when his glass of milk gets knocked over. Father says it with disgust when Mummy tells him about the phone calls from his teachers, because the teachers tell Mummy about his behavior at school, and about the complaints the other students have about him. Father screams it when he chases him up the stairs.

He despises the name 'William', and the rest of his name as well, when it comes from the mouths of policemen, lawyers, and judges. He hates how it ties him to the rest of his family. To Siger. Holmes and Holmes the youngest.

He hates how Mummy says it when she takes the witness stand, her voice full of an emotion he doesn't care to name. At least Mycroft says it the way he wants to feel - without emotion.

He despises the name 'William',

but when the judge says it one final time, "William Sherlock Scott Holmes - not guilty," it sounds like an amen.

He despises the name 'William',

but he loves the way 'Sherlock' sounds floating past Victor's lips.

He despises the name 'William' and the way Mycroft uses it to convey disappointment. He hates how Mycroft says it calmly, albeit angrily, when trying to get his younger brother to listen to him. He hates how much power the name has over him.

He despises the name 'William', but with John, that doesn't matter. He can start over new. "The name is Sherlock Holmes," and John will never question it.

Sometimes, John shouts his name, in fear or in anger, or says it with stinging annoyance in his voice. But that doesn't matter, either, because sometimes John says his name after sharing a laugh with him. And John says it when he praises him - "That's amazing, Sherlock," "Sherlock, you solved it." And John says it gently when he carefully bandages the detective's injuries. And, sometimes, John says it delicately, and in those moments, everything John says sounds like a prayer.

He despised the name 'William'.

He finally tells John his full name, and though he shares nothing about his past, it feels as though he just lifted the burden of his past off his own shoulders and placed it, not on John's shoulders, but in John's hands. In his small, gentle, steady hands that have the power to heal things that no-one knew were broken.

The name 'William' no longer has the power to inflict harm, to damage, to destroy, because he has trusted John with it, has trusted John to protect him from the name and everything it brings with it, everything it means.

He no longer despises that name,

but he despises the name 'Sherlock'. God, how he despises it.

Because he knows that when he gets on the plane,

he will never hear John say it again.