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In Arduis Fidelis 7

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Sherlock knew needing to cry every day was best kept secret unless you wanted to be treated as a problem to be solved ....and in truth how he was feeling was unsolvable so why disturb anyone else.

Crying soundlessly was something most people found creepy or upsetting but he'd mastered it at Apple Dore at great personal cost, during the darkest early nights of his life, when he'd had to make sure Charles didn't hear and that painfully personal back history gave him the right to feel however he chose to feel about it in his opinion.
He was relying on his ability to cry without being heard now his mornings began with a bout of crying beneath the bedding.
Mummy would have called it morbid self indulgence.
Sherlock called it sanity saving. An hour every day to give in and let loss overwhelm him felt eminently reasonable given the horrific state of his heart.... it had never felt so full and so devastatingly, agonisingly empty at the same time before.

Over the last few weeks he'd written letter after letter to Alan and hadn't got a single reply back.
Sherlock had tried varying the mood...stoic.... optimistc .... realistic..... pessimistic. Nothing got him the reply he craved.
Finally Sherlock had given up and openly begged in the last letter..... PLEASE write back Alan ... PLEASE it's been weeks...
Nothing.....he'd mailed it Monday and it was Friday now, another week gone.
No reply
The only other person who knew exactly how he was feeling wasn't picking up a pen for whatever reason. That was reason enough for crying.

If he regarded himself dispassionately, as he would any experiment in the enforced breaking of a pseudo bond, then the results were interesting.
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS..... depression, chest and neck pain, aching muscles, headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia, hot sweats then chills so bad he shivered.....
If he didn't know better he'd have diagnosed the flu. Instead he was love sick.... he'd never known it was a literal term, based on how Alpha and Omega reacted to the enforced severance of a committed bond.
CAUSES OF EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN.....these could and did vary...... one morning it could be the fading scent of Alan on the sweatshirt that triggered it or the sight of the empty chair next to Sherlock's bed or the sight of the small pile of personal belongings that Alan had left behind him.
Mostly it was the gut wrenching knowledge that Alan wasn't there and he wasn't going to be there any time soon. A long time was going to pass by without that changing.....
END RESULT..... always the same.... crying.
Since he had no interest in stopping the crying happening, Sherlock felt the least he could do it was ensure he kept quiet so listening to him didn't worry John or upset Lars.

As a small child he'd once picked a scab off his knee at various stages in the healing process to see what was beneath until mummy had found out and slapped his hand away before leaving a scarlet red and white welted hand and finger imprint on Sherlock's thigh with slap number two.
Sherlock hadn't quite reached the level of stoicism he prided himself on at Apple Dore back then..... he'd screamed loudly and maintained pitch for so long Mummy had called for Nanny to save the day.
Nanny had made him jam sandwiches and fussed over him but it had taken Mycroft to care enough to explain why doing removing a scab repeatedly was such a bad idea.
It won't heal properly Sherlock..... if you keep picking at it, then it'll leave a scar.
Ironic given the huge ugly scarring that covered the nape of Sherlock's neck now.... or the jagged white and red scars over the blue veins of his wrists...... or what felt like the dead , grey areas of dying tissue covering his heart that made every beat hurt since Alan was gone.
Scars were apparently undesirable on an Omega unless an Alpha put them there. The scars Charles had meted out to him covered him inside and out but never seemed to put anyone off. There was no logic to that.

The second alarm meant he had a hour before Billy needed him.... Sherlock got up, keeping his face averted from whoever else was in the room and went into the bathroom to press his eyes with a flannel soaked in cold water before standing motionless under the shower until he felt warm enough for it too pass as having some positive energy in his body again.
The baby weight was dropping off him very fast..... he had a nasty suspicion John was going to say too fast but it was hard to find much pleasure in food. His stomach muscles ached from holding in crying every day and food lay in his stomach like an indigestible brick.

Heaven knows how Mycroft could eat anything when he was upset...... and just like that Sherlock saw him again..... 14 and sat on his bed surrounded by the purple wrappers , eating cake after small chocolate cake, methodically and without pleasure, like it was a task to be done...... even back then Sherlock knew he'd hear Mycroft retching miserably almost as soon as the last cake was gone.
It wasn't a memory he wanted ever to hear again. One hard blink and Purple Wrapped Cake memory would pop like a bubble but not before Mycroft spoke his mind apparently... My flaws are irrelevant Sherlock. You aren't considering forgiving me because you pitied me years ago? I expected a firmer sense of resolve from you , brother mine.
Dream Mycroft never shut up recently. Once Sherlock had stayed to hear the whole pompous speech only for that version of Mycroft to have the dark, lustrously sad eyes of a seal when he finally turned around....
With images as insane as that Sherlock suspected he'd lost complete control days ago..... right around the time cupboard doors in his memory house started opening of their own accord and disgorging whatever was inside. Like Mycroft's overly full stomach , Sherlock felt his own mind was purging itself. Good and bad.... a little bit of everything was coming back up all mixed together. He couldn't bring up a happy memory without failing to keep another more sickening one down.......

Deliberately opening the Apple Dore wing up to search it was a risky way to relive precious time with Alan.... Sherlock could never be entirely certain before he opened a closed door or pulled out a drawer which memories he had stumbled upon or how fast he could close down the ones he didn't ever need to relive again.
The subconscious was still so complex it could take hours of blundering around through good memories and bad before Sherlock found himself back in the room ..... sometimes the exploration worked out and an all too brief memory version of Alan would be there asking how he'd slept or leaving him a few cigarettes on the side table with a nod..... but not always.
The memories could be random and unpredictable, once he opened a bag and found the bloodstained clothing and his copy of the hollowed out book that Mycroft had used to smuggle in the pills Sherlock had used to end his pregnancy.
The sad guilt Sherlock felt over some of his past decisions would always be profound. Had his situation been different so could his actions have been but Charles violence had left him with no choice to make, other than the desperate one he had.

There was a bigger problem than past regrets..... some of the darker parts of the memory house still allowed Charles dominance..... walking into those rooms could be terrifying.
Stumbling across one of the worst rooms still provoked a severe fear response in Sherlock that couldn't be hidden. It had happened a lot in the nights immediately after Alan's arrest and always ended in his audible breakdown which meant the sort of injected sedation that thickened time yet still let it move slowly like mudslides through each and every new room he was trying to set up inside his memory.

John and Lars were only trying to help him make it out through the darkness .... he knew that but it took him hours of inner thought to set everything important back as it should be afterwards and a catatonic mental absence of that length was hard too explain.
Still....... Sherlock wouldn't allow himself to stay away from even those doors he knew led him into danger, opening them and suffering the consequences knowingly if Alan wasn't inside but Charles was..... because there was always a chance that afterwards, when Charles was done with him and Sherlock had lived through what happened all over again, that the person who'd come in to help him would be the one person he needed to have back....... Alan.
Sherlock refused to back away from what had to happen in order too find Riddick, even if the past sometimes left him pressing a hand over his own mouth to make certain his fear stayed mute.

It wasn't all bleak or traumatic even inside the Apple Dore memory rooms. There was always the possibility he'd find a hidden gem..... a ruffle of his curls and word of praise that he'd half forgotten Alan gave him back in the very earliest Apple Dore days, odd snatches of Riddick's Yorkshire dialect and once an old, bittersweet folk song Alan had sung him in a low tone late one night after Sherlock's daughter had been stillborn ....... secret treasures that made even the worst he could remember worth suffering through. Having that version of Alan back was incredibly comforting , which made keeping to a time limit all the more essential. A part of Sherlock knew if he didn't limit the time he spent searching for good moments he could find himself irrevocably lost and Billy needed him.....

As soon as the wristwatch beeped with the second alarm , warning him it was time for Billy's feed in fifteen minutes, Sherlock fumbled for the temperature dial, span it to blue and stood under the cold water shivering.
The icy shock worked even if his teeth clattered together. It shattered past memories like cold glass.
He was towelling himself dry when he found himself wondering if Mycroft shared the Purple Cake Memory too.
Probably best not to ask ..... even if they had been speaking. Which they still weren't.


"Morning Sherlock," John smiled and tried not to say again how concerned he was about the obvious signs of exhaustion and crying he could see on Sherlock's pale face.
"Morning John and ..... er..... Hi," Sherlock tried and failed to remember this particular NICU nurses name , he thought she was Kirsten but wasn't 100% sure she wasn't Kate.... he gave up trying, unwilling to wait any longer to look in at Billy. .
"Good morning Sherlock," Kate smiled as Sherlock edged past her to stare longingly into the incubator.
This morning Billy was wearing an oversized vibrant magenta knitted hat with a markedly crooked striped pattern in a lurid shade of turquoise and a massive pompom on top. Sherlock smiled.... "Hello you. Nice hat," That was new surely? "I see knitting is still a challenge Mrs Hudson remains determined to conquer....." He couldn't remember her visiting to bring a new hat for Billy and that disturbed him. What was happening to his mind?

John nodded in the direction of a large plastic bag full of knitted things.... "She's become a lean, mean knitting machine."
Alan would have laughed at that. Sherlock managed a weak smile in return and watched John's brow crease with worry. What was his faked smile lacking if John was worried by it more than he was reassured? He had no idea......

John couldn't give up on trying to help. As a doctor he saw every physical effect caused by the breaking of a pseudo bond from the aches to the pains but Sherlock's mental state worried him even more. There was the crying and Sherlock had lost so much weight it troubled him..... "Martha bought some cake in for you, Shall I bring you some over with a cup of tea?"
Sherlock was surprised enough to stop in his tracks.... "As my Doctor shouldn't you be promoting healthy food?"
Any regular food would be an improvement but John kept that to himself. "I'll bring you a big slice." John hoped Sherlock would eat at least half.
Great now I'll have too force myself to eat at least half of it! Sherlock put more forced upward lift into the edges of his smile this time but John's worried pucker just got even more pronounced.


Mycroft had been waiting outside in the heated comfort of his car for several hours now, tapping his well shod foot and listening to opera music, while Mary's rented home was discretely swept by plain clothes police to ensure it was clear of bugs or booby traps.
Finally it appeared they were finished.
"The flat is clear.... shall we commence a general search., Sir?"
Mycroft knew it wouldn't do to reveal he doubted the man's competence to see every possible clue...... however he was in no doubt that if he sent Sherlock inside , his brother would gleam some precious information. "I'd like to send my own...." Mycroft paused for a second, he could hardly say Omega brother....."my own interpretive expert ....." Oh how Sherlock would smirk to hear himself described as such..... "inside to see if he can infer anything at all from her personal effects, it is an area he specialises in ..... " even to his own ears it sounded preposterously absurd.....
"Of course, Sir.... " The detective said, it didn't do to argue with the Elite.
That only left the problem of persuading Sherlock to cooperate when his brother had chosen to talk only with Greg, John and Lars for weeks. If Gregory requested Sherlock's assistance he'd respond......

Mycroft kept a number of handwritten notes in his wallet..... surely one had to prove suitable.
The first said simply.... You snore. Greg x
The second was more useful..... Could do with some help here. Greg x
Initially the note had involved opening a corked bottle of wine but Sherlock wouldn't know that.
Despite the pangs of guilt , Mycroft folded then tore the single kiss from the end of the folded piece of yellow paper. He placed the tiny scrap with its kiss into his waistcoat pocket...
"Please ensure Sherlock gets this straight away.... Let him infer Greg Lestrade sent you. Tell him to come at once and alone..... Use a police car to bring him here.'


Sherlock was sat by Billy's head staring into his tiny sons eyes..... The goggles had only been off for two weeks after a few setbacks and he was still getting used to seeing Billy's bright birdlike eyes gazing back at him.... admittedly they lacked a little focus which resulted in Billy looking slightly myopic but that just added to his 'Ahhhh' factor which was in Sherlock's honest opinion already insanely high.
"See..... you feel so much better with a full tummy...." Sherlock told his son. "You were hungry weren't you.... and you don't like feeling hungry so that's why you were a little grumpy pants...... "
Billy stared back unblinkingly as his little round stomach sucked in and out.....
Sherlock watched his every move with rapt fascination. It almost looked like Billy was hiccupping but he couldn't be or could he?
"He's been awake a lot longer than usual this morning, I think he likes the sound of your voice, Sherlock...." Kate said encouragingly.
Sherlock hoped that was true....."You are totally rocking this new look, " he told his son. "Not every baby can look good in a giant pom pom hat you know.... but you can because you are unique and so is that hat ....." he stopped talking and smiled as Billy stuck one leg up in the air.....
Billy seemed to be the one thing still capable of winning a genuine smile from Sherlock.
It was a positive and John was exchanging a hopeful smile with Kate behind Sherlock's back when one of Mycroft's Aides opened the door and asked for Sherlock.....

Greg Lestrade had sent Sherlock a note asking for his immediate help on a crime scene.....and there was a police car outside waiting to take him there.
Sherlock had scrambled into a mismatched pair of socks and was privately hoping his suddenly too big maternity trousers would stay up and not end up down round his ankles at the most inopportune time. He'd pulled the elastic waist band as far out as it would go then tied a knot in the elastic but they felt dangerously loose now the weight had dropped off him....when worn with Alan's overly large hoodie he looked regrettably baggy....

"I won't be long John....." he'd planned on saying but as he exited the bathroom he found Lars had taken over Billy's care while John was dressed in jeans and a practical waxed jacket and was stood ready to accompany him......
"Its a crime scene, Alan would never forgive me if I let you go on your own," John said. " I thought I'd come along if that's alright? I won't get in the way.... I'm armed just in case....."
"Course it is," Sherlock was surprised to find himself relieved. Now Mycroft couldn't say he'd risked himself stupidly.... "I'll be back before Billy needs his feed," Sherlock promised. He had under two hours...

Sherlock was buzzing with so much anxious excitement he could barely sit still.....
He knew enough to expect Greg's team wouldn't roll out a red carpet for him, some of them had a prejudice against Elite Omega but that didn't have to be a problem. Not if he did things right!
Greg been matter of fact about the prejudice he' d faced...... " Don't let them get a reaction out of you..... You pull a big result out the bag Sherlock and they'll realise what having you onboard can do for us! Even something insignificant can lead to a breakthrough. You'll see things that anyone else wouldn't connect."
Ok..... all he had to do now was perform and see something on the body or at the scene ..... anything .... that nobody else had noticed first.
No pressure Sherlock!


"The Elite Omega murders," John watched the bright nervous anxiety in Sherlock's face and pushed to distract him "That's what you've been working on with Greg isn't it?"
Sherlock nodded once. "They're being killed by an Elite Alpha ..... the bite marks alone prove it.... If I see a body in situ then I may pick up something that's gone by the time it's moved to a morgue or I'm missing in photos ..... a clue..... anything" ..... he knew the odds weren't in his favour..
"Bit of a long shot," John said carefully. Could Sherlock cope with the let down if it was?
"I know.... but even something insignificant can be a breakthrough," Sherlock quoted Greg shamelessly.
"Fill me in on what you know for sure...."John hoped talking about what he knew to be true would help Sherlock focus and settle..
"Nowhere near enough.... the last body hadn't many clues left by the time i got to examine it. Really badly decomposed. Parts of the soft tissue were missing..." Sherlock told him without a trace of nausea....


Sherlock fell silent as the car turned into the familiar street with its huge London plane trees...... it took him a minute to realise John had gone quiet too. "John?"
"I know this street," John said slowly.
" I don't see where Greg parked..... there's no sign of his car...... " Sherlock said then stopped talking as he made an unwelcome discovery. "That's one of Mycroft's more discreet cars..... why's he at a crime scene? Nothing is taped off!..... Unless he lied to get me here! Now why would brother dearest do that?"
John stared incredulously out the car window at Mary's front door..... "That's Mary's flat," he told Sherlock, dread altering his voice as he threw the car door open. "Something must have happened to her! Stay in the car Sherlock!"
John got as far as the gate before plains clothes policeman came from nowhere and bustled both John and Sherlock inside........

Mycroft couldn't quite hide the initial irritation he experienced at seeing John Watson here..... It was going to complicate matters.....
Sherlock looked equally taken aback to come face to face with the brother he was avoiding.
Three voices spoke at the same time......
"Where's Mary," John demanded answers.....
"Which part of 'alone' did you deliberately choose to misunderstand Sherlock?" Mycroft used his most parental tone.....
"Never mind that! Why the fuck are you here Mycroft?" Sherlock said in an eerie echo of Alan's direct Northern bluntness...... "You sent me a note Greg gave you?" He knew that had to be the explanation. "It has to be important for you to have done that?"
Mycroft nodded. " I believe Mary is not the person she claims to be....."
Sherlock nodded. It wasn't a surprise, something had felt wrong about her all along....
"What do you mean she isn't who she is?" John's voice asked.


John took the news that Mary was a suspected assassin badly.... but then Mycroft supposed hearing you've dated and had sexual contact with a hired killer was the type of news it is impossible to receive well.
John was firmly in the denial stage..... "Are you sure? What proof do you have?" he asked repeatedly.
"None as yet..... " Mycroft was forced to admit.
"Bloody Hell!" John exploded without warning.....
"As yet.... " Mycroft explained with heavy precision. "Her history is suspiciously devoid of provable facts John..... no neighbours that knew her family or remember her as a child....."
"So she's not in the School Year Book! So what? That's not a crime is it?"
Mycroft lost his patience. "Her national insurance number is identical to that of somebody deceased !"
"Well..... that's fairly damning!" Sherlock said brightly then felt his face fall as John scowled at him..... "Well it IS! I never trusted her, John if you weren't so busy shagging you'd have seen right through her....."
John hit the roof. "Oh great..... now you tell me you don't like her! You've only met her the once under bad circumstances Sherlock! I put up with Alan for months and not once did I get him investigated by M15!"
"Don't drag Alan into this!" Sherlock said fiercely..... "He isn't a hired killer!"
"Neither is Mary! She's a nurse!" John said defensively..
"Oh really!" Sherlock snapped back. "Open your eyes John the woman has fluffy white pillows! It's Blofeld's cat all over but without the miaow!"

John felt his jaw fall open with slow incredulity. "Since when did you watch Bond movies, Sherlock?"
"Since Greg lent Alan his box set! I do watch movies sometimes you know!" Sherlock felt flustered, this was so far from the crime scene experience he had been looking forward to!
Mycroft strove to restore some order. "John ..... can allowing Sherlock to deduce what he can do any harm?"
"Since you already broke into her flat and didn't find anything you mean?" John was indignant..... "The insurance number could be a clerical error,Mycroft I knew a woman had two insurance numbers once.... it was a mix up when the birth was registered.... it's hardly the gunpowder plot!"

Mycroft's straightened mouth revealed a certain degree of annoyance. "I had the whole house swept for devices or booby traps to ensure Sherlock's safety. Nothing more . I have taken a brief inspection of the kitchen which revealed nothing out of place , Sherlock....the rest of the flat is yours to deduce what you can."
"The pair of you think this is some spy movie! Mary's a bit of an acquired taste I know but this is extreme!" John heaved a heartfelt sigh.
Sherlock said sullenly...... " This was meant to be a proper crime scene. I was looking forward to seeing a body..... I'm not leaving until I've deduced something..... even if it's only what supermarket she shops at...."
"Tesco Metro...." Mycroft said smoothly, having already done that research. "She buys a lot of sour cream crisps."
Sherlock pulled a 'I knew it' face.

Did Sherlock realise he'd just admitted he was disappointed there was nobody dead here? That was more than a bit not good but if they were right about Mary shit just got serious.....they couldn't be, could they? "You know what?" An annoyed John said. "Watching you both realise you misjudged her is going to be fun..... Go on then, lets see what you can deduce from her DVD collection, Sherlock!"
Sherlock ignored the sarcasm. John was understandably a bit put out at the moment.... Mary's 80s movie collection had already caught his eye but wasn't the clue John believed it to be.... "I'll start in the bedroom.... people are their most authentic selves in bedrooms," he announced confidently. It sounded knowledgeable and that was the main thing.
"Very well," Mycroft stood up.
" I don't need you distracting me or irritating John when I'm trying to focus! You can stay here..... I'm still not talking to you. I'm here to help do this then we go straight back to not talking" Sherlock pointed out.
The complacent look vanished from Mycroft's face.......


Sherlock began with the small chest of drawers on what was clearly Mary's chosen side of the bed if the blond hairs were the clue he thought they were......
He hadn't expected to have to sift through various bright satin and lace thongs to find whatever this oddly cylindrical item in a pink silken bag hidden beneath was.... "This feels heavy.... could be something interesting, John...." he announced and tipped it out onto his lap only to find 'it' was a bright pink vibrator with what looked like rabbit ears..... "Ugh!" he threw it onto the bed he was sitting on and shot further away, wiping both hands frantically against the duvet.... ..... "Gross!"
John wrinkled his forehead , bemused by the extreme reaction .... "It's a sex toy Sherlock not a ticking bomb....."
"I know it's a sex toy! I had that in my hands!" Sherlock wrinkled his nose. "I'm just going to have to wash up .... before we continue!"
"Seriously.....? " John shook his head incredulously.. he had the strangest urge to giggle at Sherlock's openly disgusted expression.
"Of course I'm serious. I touch Billy with these hands!" Sherlock replied.

"It's only a sex toy.... lots of couples have them," John said as Sherlock came back from washing his hands twice. "You know....."
"Alan and me don't.... didn't...." Sherlock said awkwardly. "Its not so much what it is... its knowing exactly where its been.." He was about to search drawer number two when a thought occurred to him...... maybe he didn't know exactly where this toy had been! He remembered the sex shop he'd been too with Alan and the Omega he'd seen on all fours ..... Oh God was John into that? ..... "John..... I'm not going to find some kinky strap on harness thing in here am I?"
"Just a tiger onesie and a pair of biker boots in my size....." John couldn't resist poking a little fun at Sherlock and the bizarre situation.
Sherlock blinked at him like a startled deer..... "Really?"
"I'm joking you prat!" John managed indignantly..... before a fit of laughter finally got him.

Mycroft had no idea what could possibly be so funny but he could clearly hear the sound of laughter.... It drew him to the door where the inexplicable sight of a pink vibrator lying on the duvet between John Watson and Sherlock met his eyes. "I hope you are taking this matter seriously.....? " He knew Sherlock hadn't laughed in weeks.....
"We are," Sherlock defended progress to date. "I just searched Mary's drawers....."
John spluttered helplessly, it was inappropriate given Mary was his date but God it was funny!
Sherlock snorted with inelegant laughter...
"Oh do behave and stop sniggering like a pair of teenagers in chapel!" Mycroft admonished them both and hid his approval..... God knows how John Watson had done it but for the first time since Alan had been arrested Sherlock had actually laughed.

Mary had heaped more fluffy pillows on the bed..... huge ornate silver mirror..... sliding door wardrobes with glass doors, very impractical..... scented candles and a strong smell of vanilla...... and just like that Sherlock made the connection nobody else had noticed..... "The room smells of vanilla....."
"So? She burns a lot of candles," John said. "I gave her that one on the table a few weeks back.... Sweet floral smells , that's what she likes."
Sherlock picked up a huge pink Yankee candle jar and sniffed it ...... ugh, way too artificial a floral smell for his liking.... "English Rose....." he pointed out.
"She likes roses," John couldn't believe this was happening.
Sherlock repeated himself..... "English Rose, John......"
"Yeah? So what? Lots of women like roses...." John was baffled.
Sherlock tilted the candle so John could see how much of it had been burnt down.... He needed to be more obvious about things......"The room smells strongly of vanilla..... yet the candle she's been burning for weeks is rose scented? John..... Will you just breathe in , please.....? "
John closed his eyes and inhaled slowly....... "All I can smell is rose candle, your scent and a bit of Alan's," he admitted.
Sherlock stared at him struck by the simple truth of what John had just said.... "Say that again John ," he urged.....
"All I can smell is roses and your scent... and a bit of Alan's scent....must be the hoodie you're wearing." John repeated himself with more detail, feeling like a fool.
"That's it! " Sherlock went straight for the wardrobe and stuck his head inside it sniffing at the rail of hanging clothing at insane speed while John gawped at him.... What was that thrown in a ball up on the top shelf? He knew that fabric....He span around and yelled..... "Mycroft , get back in here I think she's stolen my clothes!"

It took time to work out exactly how many items of clothing made from items Sherlock had once owned Mary had but finally they found a bag hidden behind the back panel of her wardrobe, full of clothing sealed in individually sealed plastic bags.
As Sherlock recognised fabric after fabric. "This I left behind in Apple Dore.....and this...."
"Fuck..." John's voice came from behind him. "She wore that on our fourth hook up."
Sherlock had to admit as plans go it was clever. There was no way John could have known he was being manipulated.
Mycroft held a blouse to his nose and inhaled delicately, Sherlock's scent was unmistakable..... "Clever.... she relied upon Sherlock's scent mixing with her own to attract and arouse you John ....."
John groaned. "Humiliation complete," he admitted.
Sherlock felt sorry for John .... "You weren't to know John. It's a chemical reaction..... that's all.... I'm sorry, i know you liked her."
"Not any more...." John said. "She's been using me to get to you..... You've been at risk! That stops today..... "
"I'll have her intercepted on her way here...." Mycroft said.
John shook his head slowly as the anger built inside him.... "I say we turn the tables on her..... let her think she has me fooled..... We need to find out who put her up to this."
"It has to be Charles. We can't prove it but who else can it be?" Sherlock said.
" A few items of clothing isn't the type of evidence of collusion a court will accept," Mycroft said. "We'd need more...."
"Maybe we can get that and prove it well enough for the Legate..... " John's voice was cold steel. She was a threat to Sherlock and nobody was allowed to be that.... "She doesn't know we've been here today....."
Mycroft's machiavellian smile spread slowly..... "She has no idea. I arranged for her to be elsewhere..... refreshing her nursing skill enabled us to scan the whole property undetected."
"She isn't the only one who can play dangerous games," John said. "She thinks she has me fooled and she's no reason to think otherwise... that's half the battle won....let's fuck with her head a bit."

Chapter Text

Mycroft had always rather enjoyed the luxury afforded him by fine bedding and his comfortable Tempur mattress.
The Elite interior designer he had employed to make sure his bedroom decor and furnishings struck the perfect balance between tradition, masculinity, comfort and function; had been personally recommended by Prince Charles.
The end result had felt reassuringly reflective of his own personality. He was therefore, somewhat taken aback to discover that spending the night in his own bedroom had considerably lost its allure in comparison to the admittedly rare nights he'd spent sharing Gregory Lestrade's bed.
Sleep in his own bed had become elusive and unsatisfactory. The fine, high thread count sheets felt too cool, the quiet room was too silent, the air lacked the familiar scent of his preferred Omega.
Mycroft was no fool, he had realised , of course, that this new preference was inspired more by Gregory himself than by Gregory's £400 medium firm, department store divan..... especially since he had purchased the exact same bed as Gregory's own several days ago and had yet to experience the exact same restfully deep slumber.
Without Gregory himself it appeared there was nothing special to the bed itself.... it was simply a basic medium firm mattress.

Medium firm ..... it occurred to him that the mattress summed Gregory's personality up perfectly.
Never exhausting.
Never demanding.
Never difficult.
Quite unlike Sherlock. ......
If only Sherlock was less full of sharp ended springs and more supportive.
The mattress analogy proved wryly amusing. Mycroft found himself dwelling on it throughout his morning shower with a smile..

"Good morning, John....." Mycroft detected a level of manufactured positivity in his own voice that made him wither a little internally......
"Morning Mycroft....." John replied.
And there it was..... a certain worried intonation that told Mycroft all he needed to know about Sherlock's state of mind and mood..... "How are my brother and nephew this morning?" Mycroft had been asking this same question for several weeks now and even he felt it was in danger of seeming formulaic....
John lowered his voice before replying, which could only mean that Sherlock was somewhere nearby...... "He agreed to take a sleeping tablet last night."
Mycroft's mouth straightened of its own accord. Again? "I see...."
"Don't be so anti medication," John said. "He has to get some sleep....."
Mycroft suspected his sigh was audible..... "Is there no other way John?"
"You know Sherlock said the exact same thing," John replied. " So I'll tell you the same thing I told him..... Sleep is vital not optional, you can't function mentally or physically without it. The pills aren't addictive when used properly."
Mycroft was frustrated by the answer but was far too polite to reveal that.... "Will you tell him I called to enquire how he is this morning?....."
"Yeah of course I will," John said.

Another day another rejection.

"Any post?" Sherlock wasn't hopeful.
"I don't think so," Lars said. It felt kinder than an outright no.
"Nothing ?" Sherlock took a sharp breath in and exhaled shakily. God Alan come on....write back!
"Mycroft rang...." John said.
"I don't care about bloody Mycroft!" Sherlock snapped.
John stopped what he was doing and frowned ..... "Yes you do," he said. "Pretend all you like Sherlock but he's still your brother..... and he's worried about you...."
"Do you have any more of those sleeping tablets?" Sherlock interrupted the speech....
The unexpectedness of the question threw John.. "You only just woke up," he pointed out reasonably.
"Yes and I've already had enough of today!" Sherlock muttered. I can't face this....shit!
"It doesn't work that way, Sherlock." John pointed out.
"Shame...." Sherlock said sourly. "I'm going back to bed! I'll just lie there awake and stare at the ceiling shall I? Call me when Billy needs me."

Lars watched John closely. The Alpha seemed tense..... "He's upset John. Try not to take it personally."
John heaved his own sigh. "It's hard not too. I told Alan I'd take care of him but Sherlock doesn't want my help does he?"
Lars frowned. "Doesn't he? He came all the way over here to talk to you.....he could have avoided talking at all and stayed in bed until Billy woke up." He stopped short of saying more in the hope John would work it out......
John's head jerked up. When Lars put it like that John could see exactly why Sherlock had snapped when he'd made no comment on Alan's refusal to write back and had moved the conversation on to Mycroft instead..... "You should go talk to him, Lars."
"Don't you think it should be you doing that John?" Lars suggested.


No letter..... no letter..... no letter..... no letter...... no letter..... no letter...... No matter how many times Sherlock repeated the facts inside his own mind he still refused to accept them.....
"Hey....." John's voice said.
Sherlock blinked abruptly out of the inner repetitions. "Hey....."
"Made you tea....." John placed the mug down by the bed. He'd bought cereal too.
More food and drink? Sherlock felt like giving up at the sight of it. When did he become so sick of the relentless nature of his own body's demands?...."Thank you," he said although he really didn't want any of it.

It took too long for Sherlock to pick up the bowl of cereal, instead he was sat with hunched shoulders staring at the steam rising from the mug of tea. John sat down on the end of the bed in the hope that it'd make Sherlock do something.... "I'm sorry, Sherlock. You needed to talk. I should have listened to what you had to say..."
Sherlock peered into the cereal bowl and poked cornflakes listlessly with the spoon....... "Did you work all that yourself, John?" Doubtful.....
"No. Turns out Lars is a natural..... whereas I'm a bit crap at this relationship advice stuff...."
Sherlock snorted..... "Really? You've had so many relationships I thought you'd be better at it....." He ate a spoonful of cereal.
"Ouch," John grinned. "I'll have you know I've had no complaints from Saul..."
"Not exactly true." Sherlock ate another spoonful..... the frequency of text alerts suggested Saul was less than thrilled with how long John had been staying in MI5. "Rapid texting intervals like last night usually mean an argument. Saul isn't happy."

John still found seeing Sherlock put clues like that together incredible. He just wished it was his place to say so..... he found himself staring right at the small pile of belongings Riddick had left behind him, they served as a visual reminder of the existence of the man himself. "We'll make it up in bed, Saul knows the score, Sherlock.... Its sex not true love.... What you're dealing with is harder.... How many letters have you written now? Seven?."
"Eleven" ... Sherlock put the bowl down. Any appetite suddenly gone. "You're Alpha , John..... Why isn't Alan writing back?"
John choose his words carefully. "I don't know why Sherlock. Maybe he needs time to accept being there..... "
"I know that...." Sherlock sounded miserable.

Sherlock looked lost as John cast around for the right thing to say... " I don't know why he isn't writing back Sherlock.... Alan'll be feeling the effects of being physically separated too, don't forget.... I do know he loves you.".
Sherlock pulled a face. "How hard is it to write? Words John. I'm not expecting odes and sonnets."
John couldn't help but grin. The idea of Riddick writing a love poem was so insane it was unintentionally comic.
Sherlock scowled. "Its not funny, John..."
John timed it perfectly...he was no good at the Yorkshire accent but that only made it sound more ludicrous ..."Shall I compare thee to a summers day ..."
"Idiot," Sherlock lost the battle to hide the way his mouth twisted in up in a brief smile.... "I know he isn't Shakespeare.... Writing and telling me he's alright would do for a start."
"I know... " John said.

"That was kind," Lars said when John joined him.
"He needed to hear it." John was surprised by now easily the truth had come to his lips. A few short months ago he'd have struggled to admit Alan loved Sherlock at he knew there'd have to be a good reason for Alan's silence.
"It was still kind," Lars said thoughtfully. "You made him happier, I think."

Mycroft strongly suspected he had been born observant and on the whole he took a certain prideful pleasure in his ability to discern what others could not but there were times when seeing everything led to its own complications.
Now was one such time. As he took his seat Mycroft assessed the telltale signs of sleeplessness, stress and ill health he could detect in Alan's face  while Riddick locked eyes with him as though daring him to pass  comment....

Mycroft briefly pondered the efficacy of a well meaning lie, acknowledging some imaginary improvement in the other man's miserable demeanor as though it were real but dismissed such a ridiculous notion. Alan must realise how unwell he looked. To claim otherwise was pointless...the man would hardly be in the prison hospital wing unless he needed to be.
Mycroft found himself briefly debating the wisdom of his next question internally before he made it.... "How are you Alan? You don't look well?"
"Been better..... Could you have got me any further away from the lad if you tried? Scotland....ruddy Scotland...pure up the other end of the country...."
Mycroft watched the constant tremor affecting Riddick's hand , listened to the distraught vibration in the man's voice and wisely chose to defend his choices mildly..... 252 kms was a considerable distance after all. "Some wider distance between yourself  and Charles influence seemed prudent Alan...."

Alan interrupted again, too agitated for manners it seemed...."How's my family going to visit when I'm all the way up here.... The Aunt only gets her disability and Joe's got himself and Meera living on the one wage now... work won't let him take the van, Mycroft.... "
Mycroft hastened to reassure before Alan became stressed. The man's recent heart surgery made that a unsettling prospect..... "I saw to arrangements personally, Alan.... It's a short flight via helicopter."
"A helicopter! You'll not get the Aunt up in that! She's never been up higher than cleaning the upstairs windows in her life... "
"They already agreed to visit you, Alan as soon as a visiting order arrives...."
Alan seemed taken aback at the mere idea....

"Did Sherlock write me?"
Mycroft nodded. "Of course." 
"You haven't told him I'm sick?" Alan asked sharply.
Mycroft gave a simple shake of his head.
"Good," Alan seemed relieved. "Give us it here then  ...."
Mycroft placed an envelope down within easy reach and noted how clumsy Alan's hand was as he reached for it.

Alan lifted the unfolded letter up to his nose and inhaled.... turning it around and around he did it again and again....
Mycroft brushed a non existent piece of lint from the knee of his suit trousers.... the intimacy of Alan's hunger for any trace of Sherlock's scent felt as though it should remain intensely private.


Mycroft knew, of course, what Sherlock's letter said.
The truth was that had Mycroft not acted to retain Sherlock's letters and deliver them personally,  none of them would have reached Alan.
Every letter Alan received through official channels was opened before it reached him and any names, places or reference to his trial carefully obliterated by the Prison Service.
Correspondence between a perceived Omega victim of sexual abuse and the Alpha perpetrator was not permissible.
Finding the right way or time to tell Sherlock of that restriction was proving impossible ....

The interception and opening of Alan's mail hardly challenged MI5 to any significant degree.
Mycroft had been intercepting and dealing with any mail addressed to 221B for quite some time.
An astonishing amount of hate mail and a letter bomb had already been prevented from reaching its intended targets.
Magnussen's scurrilous headlines naming Riddick as Sherlock's rapist had done their job . Letter after letter full of the most savage bile needed to be stopped and the seriousness of each threat fully assessed.
It was time consuming work but Mycroft saw no need to allow such erroneous and nasty views to add to the stress of Alan's current predicament.

An enforced pseudo bond severance was no light matter.
The effects had quite literally broken Alan's heart... a long unhealed surgical scar to prove it now ran right down the middle of Riddick chest......

Chapter Text

The stale smell of the prison clung nauseatingly to Mycroft's clothing all the way back to London.
His phone rang constantly as others demanded his time or a solution to the many issues they lacked the decisiveness or foresight to solve.
His head had been pounding since the helicopter took off.
The letter Alan had entrusted him with required personal delivery and that too was a cause of some stress. Alan had no knowledge of the complex series of events this one letter could cause....

There was a risk that Sherlock would detect the telltale signs of illness and upset in Alan's handwriting..... which was why Mycroft believed it best to avoid the risk of correspondance altogether until Alan was recovered.
It appeared that now he had read Sherlock's last poignantly pleading letter Alan now disagreed vehemently with all he had previously accepted as wise...emotion had conquered reason..
It was quite honestly enough to give anybody rational a migraine.
Mycroft had opened, read and resealed the letter for Sherlock of course. He was concerned about both the angle of the letter T's and the downward pressure of Alan's penmanship knowing what Sherlock would inevitably be able to deduce from it...
Since Alan always claimed not to be a man of words Mycroft had also entertained a certain doubt that this long awaited letter could meet Sherlock's varied emotional needs. In that he had been pleasantly surprised. Alan was far from erudite of course but the sentiments expressed were genuine....
The letter would have to do.....he could hardly fail to deliver it now. The very thought of Sherlock's anger if he did that made Mycroft feel quite unwell....

Back at M15 he had a measure of privacy at last..
He ought not to waste it. Time was so elusive.
All it took was a call to ask that he remain undisturbed for anything less than a code red.

In the bathroom he slid the lock into place and allowed himself a moment to simply observe his own reflection in the polished mirror.
One exhalation...... slow and self aware..... no self deceit.... admit why you are here...... before removing his Saville Row jacket and placing it with exact care upon the wooden hanger.
Undid his gold tie pin and set it down into the dish with the faintest of metallic clicks.
Worked his tie free with deft hands then and laid it aside , making sure it lay smoothly.
Cufflinks next. It wouldn't do to misplace one.
After removing each pair he set them aside into the same fine porcelain dish that already held his tie pin.
The need betrayed itself in the brisk speed with which he folded back both shirt sleeves even if he refused to acknowledge it.
Turning on the cold water tap..... he lathered his hands twice..... without rinsing off the rich lather, he bent , bracing himself against the sinks edge with one palm and holding two soap covered fingers together forced them rapidly to the back of his throat, triggering the urge to vomit again and again , until finally , reluctantly and with a certain pain his body obeyed him and vomited obediently into the sink.
As always he persisted past the point at which his stomach was empty..... the self inflicted pain being an intrinsic part of why he did this.....
Finally even he wearied of the raw , empty heaving of his own body.
The face looking back at him in the mirror was blanched with a trace of spittle in the corner of his lip.
The taste of soap in his mouth sickened him.... reality was always so perfumed and inescapable.
He washed his hands again three times..... like Pontious Pilate, seeking absolution of his Sins, Mycroft knew himself to be a fastidious man, one to whom ritual was of significant importance.
He had never enjoyed this yet it met a need in him.....
He was barely back in his chair when there was a knock and the door opened......
"Sir .... we have a code red...."

Greg was stuck in traffic watching the fumes belch from the exhaust of the old Fiat in front of his car.
There was a traffic accident up ahead and a coach full of tourists behind him had him trapped with no way to reverse and nothing to do but watch the blue lights flashing.
Might as well accept he'd be here a while..... he flipped Capital radio on and reached for his smokes.....
Normally he'd have opened the window and lit up a smoke.. Now Sherlock had a newborn baby , Greg was trying to give up. It'd make working together easier, if he wasn't pining for a smoke.
He reached for the nicotine gum instead.....
There was an old woman with swollen ankles and a mobility scooter zooming up the path..... it distracted him for a few vital seconds and he fumbled the packet, dropping it down into the foot well of the car.....
He'd reached it and was straightening back up when he saw somebody running..... black clothes, balaclava ...... gun.
He didn't stand a chance.
The guy was next to the drivers window in seconds as Greg fumbled for the seat belt in panic.....
The killers bulging eyes stared into his.... sparse ginger lashes and pale green eyes the colour of a peeled olive .
Contrary to everything Greg had been told, his whole life didn't flash before his eyes and he did hear the sound of the gun aimed right at him.
The short bang, bang , bang of the three shots , aimed right at his head was the sound of death.


Mycroft reached the hospital within fifteen minutes of the shooting despite the heavy traffic.
Even a fatal shooting never bought the city to a standstill.
The trolley filled corridors were full of police and press all demanding information.
Since he couldn't hear the words being spoken to him Mycroft was forced to rely on his lip reading skills.
A Doctor in dark red surgical scrubs asked Mycroft to follow him.
Once past the armed police guard and through the heavy double doors he found himself in the morgue.
A young lady wearing a knitted sweater covered in rainbows was wiping flecks of dried blood from Gregory's temple.....
There was a distressing smell of formaldehyde.
Molly Hooper, of course , Sherlock had mentioned her..... For once Mycroft made not a single deduction about an individual he had never met before bar her name.
He hadn't expected to find someone else there and had not the words to ask her to step aside..... she did so of her own accord.
Gregory's open eyes looked distressingly dark. There was more flecked blood upon his shirt collar.....

"You went behind my back and had bullet proof glass put in my car windows.... without even asking me," Greg said.
Mycroft exhaled, inhaled and exhaled again. This sheer relief required his full concentration...... "It seemed an obvious precaution," he acknowledged. "My apologies...."
"You saved my life.. What are you apologising for?." Greg reached for Mycroft's hand.
The fingers grasping Mycroft's own were warm and alive!
"That was the general idea.... should the need arise...." Mycroft managed to say, his inhalation this time was a sharp gasp of charged emotion.....
Greg stood up, his warm touch became a steady , strong pull that slid up onto Mycroft's forearm, bringing Mycroft in so close he could see every shade of grey and blue in the Alpha's eyes.
"I think you deserve a snog, don't you?" Greg said.
"I would most certainly hope so, Gregory," Mycroft made a grab for the nape of Greg's neck and the small of his back, strong fingers pressing skin into bone in the traditional claiming grip of an Elite Alpha and crashed their mouths together........

Molly had never seen anything like it in her morgue before.
She knew she'd gone beetroot red......
It felt like a good time to step outside for some coffee from the vending machine..

Alan had every letter Sherlock had sent him spread out over the table that slid up over his prison hospital bed... He needed to see them all.....
Billy keeps forgetting he has to breathe for himself so his alarm keeps going off.
That beeping is the sound I hate most in the world ... I think it'll haunt me for the rest of my life.... it's terrifying. I can't breathe properly until he does......

Alan's fingers fanned the next letter out from beneath so he could read it again...
I still haven't fed him all by myself or dressed him or held him. Its a bit like having a pet fish inside a tank...very nice to look at and you love it but you'd swap it for a more hands on pet in a second. I'm probably making no sense here? I just want my baby to cuddle. Its hard to feel like I'm really a mum when I can't even hold him when he cries, sometimes he sounds desperately lonely, Alan and that's something I know way too much about....

Alan tugged the another letter from its envelope so clumsily the edge of the paper tore...
I shouldn't have told you all that, Alan.  Blame the baby blues please. They totally are a real thing and they hit me hard last week but that's not an excuse.
I shouldn't have written if I couldn't be more positive.
I know.
I'm sorry if I worried you.... as you can tell I'm  back on a more optimistic track now.
Billy had a few setbacks as John calls them but this last week he's been so much better that the goggles are coming off in the morning. John says we'll have to see how Billy copes. If it upsets him they'll go back on so I'm trying not too get my hopes up here but seeing his whole face would be something good....
Write back? I've sent a stamp and everything you need in this letter. I should have asked before if you needed anything? Anyway now you have one so no more excuses... I even included a pen, OK?

Letter after letter.... the  longing in his heart he saw the lad's familiar writing felt like it was pulling the edges of the surgical wound on Alan's chest apart .
I took this photo yesterday, Alan. It's a bit dark but I'm sending it anyway.
The googles came off. You can clearly see that in the photo so don't ask me why I pointed out the obvious, my brain isn't fully  functional lately.  
I can't use flash but he has amazing eyes...  they are incredibly bright and innocent, it's like he knows everything and nothing about me at the same time.
I wish you were here to see him look back at you.....

Alan had trouble steadying his hand to get at the next letter.....
FINALLY! I just changed my first nappy as Billy's mum, Alan!
Hard to believe I could be so excited about getting hands on with one of those bizarrely explosive nappies but I was! I  panicked a bit....OK a lot.... over lifting Billy up by his ankles and getting the tapes perfectly symmetrical. He's so small it always feels like he could pull apart in the middle and I'm scared of hurting him but in the end getting the tapes right didn't matter as he did a second poop within seconds of me finishing. Pretty sure that was deliberate sabotage, he looked altogether too pleased with himself

The last letter Sherlock had written him hurt the most to read... Sherlock never begged him for a reply like that before....
Why haven't you written back? Please Alan, please.... I'm trying not to stress but it's impossible until i know how you are?
I spend my mornings crying. I probably shouldn't tell you that should I? Or maybe I should because being honest feels like it matters now more than ever when words are all we have?
Missing you hurts. It's a pain in my chest..... I'd choose a beating over this. There's nothing I can do that makes this hurt less than it does......
I feel like like a tornado hit and tore everything I knew apart but I won't leave.... I still want to stay in the ruins of the house where the good memories are, there's no where else I want to be.
I know this sounds miserable and I promised I wouldn't be.... I'm trying I really am. I just need to hear back from you? I can do better then... 

Court begins again in a week and the idea of being there without you makes me feel sick but then I think about what you must be going through and I never ever want to let you down, Alan.
I don't know if you are OK or not? I don't even know if you would tell me if you aren't? Would you, Alan?
I can't stop worrying.
I can't stop thinking back.
I never promised you anything the day you went and it eats away at me.
I'm sorry, Alan.
If I could go back and tell you I love you, I would. I'd promise you everything.. That day I lost my words.
We need you back. I will never stop wanting that.
I won't give up. I promise.
Don't you give up either. Write back please?
You know how I feel about you.
You know the place you hold in my heart.
Love is too small a word.
I'm yours,

It had been a long and emotionally draining day. While  Mycroft wished he could claim to have eradicated all weakness  by dint of sheer determination he was aware his bout of bulimia and the raw emotional protectiveness he felt when those he cared for most were threatened proved that to be manifestly untrue.
He cared about the select few people he cared about deeply..... Sherlock would always be among those few people.
It was therefore important that he handled this well.

Despite the lateness of the hour Sherlock was awake. Laying still and silent beneath smooth tidy sheet and blankets.
John may be fooled into believing Sherlock was resting but Mycroft knew better..... his younger brother  had never slept on his back in his life and his bed linen was always rucked around him..
"I know you're awake Sherlock. If you must pretend at least attempt a measure of believability with regards to your posture...."..... Mycroft wanted to avoid sitting in the chair Alan had frequented in case Sherlock objected but there was no other option available and it had been a very long day....of course Sherlock objected vociferously.....

"Don't sit there! That's Alan's chair! Get up!" Sherlock's manic voice said.
" i will not. Strictly speaking brother mine this chair belongs to Her Majesty's Security Services ....a chair does not become sacrosanct merely because Alan reposed in it!" Mycroft refused to stand back up. It was quite frankly a lunatic demand, he had very little energy left and he refused to stand like some vassal. It may be a petty disagreement but at least Sherlock had spoken to him.....
Sherlock didn't bother to open his eyes. "I'm going to pretend you aren't here until its true and you've left," he threatened.
Mycroft gave a long suffering sigh....

"I'm trying to sleep, go away. I don't want to see you, Mycroft."
Of course Sherlock would up the ante. Mycroft expected nothing less of him..... "Don't be juvenile Sherlock,' he said mildly.... It worked.... finally he'd annoyed Sherlock into opening his they could achieve a level of open communication....
"Fuck off blud," Sherlock said unpleasantly.

Mycroft sat back and crossed his legs at the ankle instead.... "If you insist," he said..... "I had supposed you'd choose to read Alan's letter immediately but if you'd rather play games ......" He'd never seen Sherlock move so fast.....his brother was a literal blur of movement. Out of the bed and stood before him in seconds.....
"Where is it?" Sherlock demanded to be told....
Mycroft gave the complete absence of manners a censorious frown as he held out the small blue envelope. "A thank you is generally considered polite...." he reminded Sherlock.
"Thank you...." Sherlock grabbed the envelope and wheeled away from him, heading for the privacy of the bathroom.

Sherlock Thank you for all the letters and the photos lad. .
You write a beautiful letter. I read them over and over again. I'll try my best back but you know how I am. Better with showing you I love you than words, me.
Let's hope I get better with the writing else your in for a lot of shite letters back which don't hardly seem fair. Sorry love!

Reight I'd best get to the things as need saying first...
Sorry you've not been feeling well. I'm the same. Its hit us hard. Wouldn't wish this on anyone. .
Billy's grown! Lovely little face same as you Sherlock. For a tiny baby he's tough isn't he? I can see it in him same as I always did in you. He'll be a beauty inside and out, just like his mum is.
I miss the pair of you

The Aunts coming up to visit. You know they put her windows in when the news come out in all the papers? Council had to board up her house. I don't know what to say to her. Second time I've bought trouble to her door.  Any way you look at it's my fault,  i cost Joe his job and all..

I need you to listen before the Court starts up. You were always tougher than you knew. Steel wrapped in bone china that's you... the outside may shatter but there's always that inner part of you stays strong, lad. You'd best believe it. I know its there.

I miss you. Every day. Worse at night for me too.
There's a reek of stale piss, bleach and cabbage in the air here. Whole place needs a good breeze through it.
I miss the sweet pure smell of you.
If I lost a limb it'd feel much the same,
I'm not whole without you lad. Feels lopsided.
I love you Sherlock. You always made me soft in the middle every time we kissed.
Without you I feel half empty.

I shouldn't have left it go so long with the writing. It's took me some thinking to get my head round us being apart. Won't happen again.
I love the bones of you. Always have.

Yours alone
Alan x

Alone in the bathroom Sherlock lifted Alan's letter to press it against his nose and breathed in.....

Chapter Text

"Run Matvei!"
"Let me up!"
"Safe.... Safe!"
"I nearly got you! "

Sasha took a sip of iced water as the volume of his Omega sons game increased along with the excitement and wished he'd thought to add a splash or two of vodka to the glass along with a slice of lemon.
"You look as though you have a headache," Antonio said as he helped himself to a plate full of canopes. "Sasha try the aubergine, it melts in the mouth."
"You eat enough for both of us." There was no malice in Sasha's words. "How does Pierre never say you are getting fat?"
Antonio made a performance out of placing another small aubergine pastry into his mouth with relish.... "He likes me round. He says I look fecund."
Sasha took another sip of water.
"You like me round....." Antonio said. "Food keeps me happy..... that and sex."
Sasha shuddered..... "Sex with Pierre? Does he keep his dressing gown on or take it off?"
Antonio stuck out his tongue. "Bitch at least he has sex with me still.... or has Alexei graced you with his presence in the bedroom this year?"
Trust me there is little grace in his performance between the sheets..... "I should be so fortunate," Sasha rolled his eyes and took another sip of water as Antonio laughed. "Shall I send for dessert? I think there are mini cheesecake ...."
Antonio's face lit up.


The dessert plate had been decimated. Only crumbs and a smear of cream remained....
Antonio sighed blissfully..... "A moment on the lips...."
Sasha smiled. "A lifetime on the hips. I feel like your feeder...."
Antonio smiled. "I knew there had to be a reason I liked you.... Wait until Ibiza.... I went to this amazing restaurant with Pierre. You will love it..... You know there will be two super yachts this year? One for the Omega and one for the Alpha.... we will be moored alongside....."
Sasha groaned. "Fabulous , we will be stuck onboard with all the children while on the other yacht they gamble and party....."
"Maybe not. If Charles has Sherlock back with him I think he'll party....." Antonio stole another pastry.
Sasha waited so he didn't seem too interested...... "Why do you think Charles and Sherlock would be there?"
"I just thought perhaps...." Antonio said diplomatically.
Sasha fixed him with a long stare..... "No.... You know something....."
"Many things. Pierre talks after he comes..... "
"Don't they all...." Sasha replied, much as he loved Antonio he knew better than to totally trust his discretion under pressure, he was after all bonded to one of Charles closest friends....... "Did I tell you Ilya needs another operation?"
"No! Is it his back again?" Antonio's face was full of concern.
"His knee cap. It won't stay in place, it slides about on his leg" Sasha replied.
"Poor baby!"
Sasha waited while the maids cleared the table speaking only when they were gone from the table...... "I hope he'll have recovered and can come with us. I don't like to leave him at home...... when did you say we were going to be there?"
"Pierre didn't say," Antonio answered. "I can't wait, can you?.... You want to come don't you?"
"Of course not," Sasha smiled and left it unclear which question he'd just answered. "You know how I worship the sun."

"Do you think it's true..... about Charles?" Antonio asked as a maid took the children inside to eat lunch.
Sasha watched as the wheelchair was pushed out of sight. "I'm having a drink, do you want one?"
Antonio nodded." Only juice. I must be healthy."
"You saw what's said online?" Sasha asked as he took his seat again.
"It's very different from how the paper tells it," Antonio was troubled by the discrepancy.
Sasha watched his friend. "Of course Charles owns the press here....."
"You think it's true? You think he raped and beat him, Sasha?" Antonio asked.
Sasha rotated his glass slowly and watched the ice cubes spin. "You think he wouldn't?"
"I don't know..... I thought it was a love story.....the way Charles hid him away." Antonio began.....
"A love story! A teenager and a grown man?" Sasha reacted to the lunacy.
Antonio watched his friend. "You do think it's true."
"You were at the party,." Sasha said quietly. "Did you ask Pierre what happened Antonio?"
Antonio looked at his friend. "I asked. He never shouts at me like that....never."

Sasha knew what had happened in the room. A little knowledge was a dangerous thing.... "I don't think you should ask him, Antonio.... not if it makes trouble between you."
"Pierre would never hurt an Omega," Antonio was defensive even though Sasha had made no accusations.
"Then don't worry about it," Sasha said and shut his mouth on the truth he knew about his friend's bonded mate. "You are happy."
Antonio still looked troubled. "I liked Sherlock," he admitted. "You did too didn't you?"
Sasha said nothing.
"Running away with a bodyguard..... leaving a child..... having a baby outside of his bond. It makes no sense.  I thought Sherlock was so quiet, shy, he seemed afraid even to speak....." Antonio watched as Sasha's eyes flicked warily towards the empty doorway.  "There's nobody listening.." Antonio said. "You've been to Sherlock's home haven't you, Sasha? What's it like..... what was his lover like?"
Sasha shrugged. "I didn't meet him..... I met his friend, John. Two of his friends....."
"So not the bodyguard? I don't remember him, do you?" Antonio was curious.
"Tall.... dark haired," Sasha stood up, waiting for Antonio to follow him. He remembered more but saying so would bring more questions.
"And the house?" Antonio craved information.
"Not a house, part of a house.... a small flat. Lots of books, whole shelves of them," Sasha said.
"Urgh books, " Antonio said. "Is that all? Nothing shocking?"
"So ridiculous," Sasha shook his head at his friend.... "Such as?"
"I don't know..... Fetish.... anything.....? They can't just read. It can't be that boring!"
Sasha recalled the double bed he'd seen with its tangled sheet and the half empty bottle of lube and simply shrugged. "They have a bat in a picture frame," he said.
"No! Perhaps he beats Sherlock with it!" Antonio was shocked.
Sasha blinked...."Not that kind of bat, the kind with wings!"
Antonio looked more confused than ever.... "But what could they do with that in bed, Sasha?"


Sasha hadn't laughed so much in a long time....."Let's go and see the boys, Georgi and Matvei should be home from school.....and Aleksander....."
"Charles's son? Is he in Matvei's class?"
"Georgi's.... he is very clever for his age. He comes here two days a week now. With the trial Charles has less time for him...... " Sasha shook his head at the maid as she walked towards him and she stood still instantly and let them pass by. "We can all watch a movie in the movie theater room if you like?"
"I remember him..... a golden cherub" Antonio said. "What is he like?"
"Sad," Sasha said.

"Aleksander won't eat his soup!" Georgi announced loudly the second he saw his mother.
"He spat it back into the bowl!" Matvei said.
"So.....? Perhaps it was hot...." Sasha took a seat far enough away to avoid any splattered soup contamination of his white shirt.
"I didn't spit .... I put it back in the spoon from my mouth..... and it was tomato not just red like you said and I don't eat tomato!" Aleksander defended his actions.
"That's the same as spitting!" Matvei stated the facts as he knew Georgi saw them.
"You have to eat it all!" Georgi said.
"That's not true, don't worry Aleksander," Nikolai said.
"Or you can't come here again!" Georgi threatened. Aleksander was staring at him.
"Aleksander isn't Omega..... you can't tell him what to do!" Maxim said.
Georgi glared down the table at his elder brother.
"Enough!" Sasha said. "We have guests, where are your manners?"

Antonio watched his youngest son spooning soup into his mouth at break neck speed as his nanny fought to keep him from spilling it down the front of his white striped shirt. "Lorenzo, you like the soup, don't you?" It smelt amazing but after all he had just eaten Antonio knew he should have felt full. "It smells divine," he said wistfully. "Maybe try a little on some bread Aleksander? You can dip it in," as he ruffled Aleksander's heavy golden hair the child stayed very still...... "Sasha do you think I could try just a little soup?"
"You're pregnant?" Sasha was looking at his friend knowingly. "Vera, set a place for Antonio please.... he's eating for two."
Antonio corrected him..... "Three..... I'm eating for three."
"Twins again? " Sasha was astounded.
Antonio gave a proud smile. "Triplets."
Sasha tried not too sound worried....."Congratulations," he said.

Aleksander was making bread crust submarines and pushing them underneath the soup.
"What's your new baby called?" Georgi asked.
Aleksander was surprised but saw a chance to show off how much more he knew. "Babies don't get a name until they are born," he said. Antonio's baby was still inside.....
"Not that baby, stupid! Sherlock's new baby....." Georgi said.
Aleksander felt very hot and red.... like his whole head was a tomato. "Sherlock's my mummy!"
"Georgi....." Sasha warned his son even when he knew it was too late. "Stop. Blessica take Georgi's plate away please. He can get down from the table....." 
"Didn't your mummy tell you he got a new baby?" Georgi said.

Aleksander had been crying for a long time.
Whenever anyone tried to help he screamed louder or lashed out until they went away.
He'd banged his head into the maids lip.
He'd slid off the couch onto the rug.
He felt hot.
He had lost a shoe.
His face was covered in snot and tears.
He felt sick.
His tummy and head hurt.

"Are you finished weeping like a little girl?" Alexei asked him from his seat on the second couch.
Aleksander gulped violently.
"Help the child!"..... Alexei gestured to the silent maid to come forward. "Clean his face."
The maid wiped a cold wet face flannel over Aleksander's face. Her fingers held his face tightly right under the jaw.
"Leave us," Alexei said as soon as she was done.
Aleksander watched her leave.

"All this because of a baby? You shame yourself!" Alexei watched Aleksander closely as Aleksander  sniffed wetly.
"Georgi has been punished." Alexei said. "If it was important for you to be told then your Fader would have shared the news with you. He chose to protect you from this because it is of no importance." He frowned, Aleksander had started crying again. He sharpened his tone with the child. "Enough! Do you want me to call your Fader and tell him you can't stop crying.?"
Aleksander shook his head fast.
"No? I thought not," Alexei said. "Get up off the floor and come here."
"I'm sorry," Aleksander knew to say it before anything else.
Alexei shook his head at the child's lucid wet eyes. "Listen to what I say Aleksander. This baby has no Elite bloodline yet you cry as though you have lost everything?"
Aleksander desperately wanted to say something but clamped his mouth tight shut instead.
"You should talk to your Fader about this later. He will make sure you understand..... There is no need to worry......" Alexei found himself facing a quandry..... with Georgi and Matvei, his two Alpha sons both sent to their rooms he was left with no option..... "Come. I have some business to attend to; I'll have a maid take you upstairs. Sasha is there.... and the other children."

Sasha looked at Aleksander's blotchy tearful face and sighed. "Come wash your face properly." He stood and watched Aleksander scrub over his rounded face methodically. Sherlock would be broken hearted to see his son in such a state..... "I think they are playing chase, " he told Aleksander as the childish voices of his Omega sons reached them through the open window. "Do you like to play?"
Aleksander shook his head. "No thank you."
Sasha was surprised. "Georgi and Matvei aren't playing."
"I don't want to!" Aleksander wobbled on the edge of more tears.
Sasha crouched down. "They won't tease you." The child stared back at him though dense wet lashes. "Do you like Lego?"
"Yes.... ."
Sasha stood up. "Come then, you can play with Maxim in his room."

Maxim had a lot of Lego . A whole city of Lego. Aleksander was impressed.
"Lets build a snake that eats people from underneath the sand," Maxim said.
Aleksander made yellow snake eyes with red pupils. He wasn't sure where they could go..... maybe they looked stupid?
Maxim had made two huge teeth that could stick up in the air. "See this is all people see when they walk past and then ARRGHHHH it bites them in half!" He spotted what Aleksander had made.... "You made evil eyes? They look good. Put them in the rug so they stick out like it's long grass.... they can see all around them even in the dark...."
They took turns sending Lego men into the rug to be eaten.

The maid had bought them apple slices dusted in cinnamon and blue glasses of cold water.
Aleksander didn't like the brown powder.
Maxim waited for the maid to leave then showed Aleksander how to wash the cinnamon off in the glass. He waited until Aleksander was full of apple to ask.... "Why don't you want a baby brother?"
Aleksander had to chew and swallow before he could say..... "Because I don't."
Maxim thought so hard he frowned without realising he was doing it. "That's silly," he said.
Aleksander told the truth. "Nobody told me."
Maxim's mouth opened. "Don't you see the paper or tv?"
"TV?" Aleksander was lost. Why would a new baby be on TV?
"Come on," Maxim said..... "I know where there's a newspaper."

Aleksander stared. His Mummy was in a big photo and lots of other photos.
"See?" Maxim said.
Aleksander had a bad feeling in his tummy... like something sour and bubbling was coming up towards his mouth..... he kept swallowing it back down even when it tasted yucky.....
Maxim placed a finger on the page..... "Billy. That's the baby. There isn't a photo." He moved his finger..... "Sherlock..... that's your Mummy's name and..." he turned the pages... "That's your new Daddy's name and that's his photo..... Alan...."
Aleksander opened his mouth to say he didn't want a new Daddy and promptly threw up......


Charles Magnussen waited until Alexei's elderly family Doctor had finished examining his son.
" A slight temperature but that's to be expected. The throat is a little red.... I'll prescribe something to soothe..... Nothing to concern yourself with Mr Magnussen. A virus most probably. Let him drink as much water as he wishes but no more food until tomorrow."
Faintly audible from further down the corridor Aleksander could hear the angry staccato sound of Alexei raging at Sasha.
"Thank you Doctor," Charles said calmly as though he could hear no shouting. "I'll sit with my son."

Aleksander lay very still.
"Open your eyes. I know you are not asleep. " Charles said. "I hoped to spare you this upset..... but I see I cannot."
Aleksander was trying so hard not to cry it was all he could do. He hoped Maxim wasn't in trouble.
"Do you remember how I told you I protected Sherlock .... kept him safe within our home.... while he lived with us he was treasured as any thing of beauty should be..... Then he was stolen..... taken from us.... kept away from home...." Charles sat still as the child took his hand. "This baby..... is not mine. it does not share our bloodline. The Fader is the man who stole Sherlock. He did a very bad thing to Sherlock but that is what some men do...... he has forced himself upon a bonded Omega and for that he has been locked up..... You know how it is to be bullied by somebody bigger? Sherlock was always delicate, should we reject him because he lacked the strength to protect himself against a man many times stronger?" Charles stroked his son's hair..... "Now there is a bastard child.... wanted by nobody..... unloved by it's own Fader. Half Elite, half Common criminal. What should be done with such a thing?"
Aleksander didn't know the answer. It was only a baby.
Charles said. "It will never be a full brother for you Aleksander.... yet even a stray dog deserves food and a place to sleep does it not?"
Aleksander loved dogs..... he nodded. "They have a dog's home at Battersea," he said.
Charles nodded. "Perhaps we can donate some money to them.....even unwanted misbreedings deserve to be cared for in their own way."
Aleksander hoped so.
"You understand what it is I am saying Aleksander? Sherlock will come home and we will make sure he is kept safe and never taken again.... but his child is not one of us..... It is of low rank. Illegitimate. A mongrel breeding. Out of kindness it cannot grow up alongside you... it will lead a very different, less privileged life. Sherlock will have other babies and I will be a proud  Fader but you are my sole heir, my first born son.... this bastard baby cannot be a part of that future. It will never be a brother for you. It will be kinder for Sherlock if he does not become pointlessly attached...."

Chapter Text

Sherlock couldn't see Mycroft as soon as he opened the door.... the chair by his bed was empty and for a moment he was shocked to think that his brother had left him with none of his questions answered.
Think Sherlock.....
The only possible place Mycroft could be was the small kitchen. Sherlock looked through the huge glass viewing window and there he was, sat at the head of the small table. Immaculate in suit and tie.
Sherlock glanced down at his own bare feet and pj bottoms and decided he wasn't about to go in there without back up.....

"My nephew has gained weight...." Mycroft said. He'd made tea for them both, two cups stood on the table and looked credibly taken aback to see John alongside his brother.
Sherlock counted backwards from twenty in Danish internally before he allowed himself to open his mouth. He knew Mycroft would have estimated just how much weight Billy had gained so confirmation seemed pointless. "I changed him for the first time," he said instead.
Mycroft knew that of course, since he read every letter Sherlock had sent Alan, but could hardly say so. In the split second it took him to decide to maintain the pretence, Sherlock deduced everything and took a sharp breath in....."You already knew. You read my letters? " Sherlock knew the pain of yet another betrayal showed in his voice or face because Mycroft's mouth tightened. "Tell me is there a point at which you plan on stopping lying to me for my own good or is this our new normal Mycroft? It'd be nice to know one way or another what any future relationship as brothers can be, if it's just one of surveillance I think I'll pass ....."

"I visited Alan." Inside his head those words had sounded eminently reasonable if not placatory but now they were spoken aloud Mycroft wasn't quite so sure they'd prove efficacious.
Sherlock's immediate reaction..... a sharp intake of breath that was audible..... certainly didn't appear promising. "Visted or visit?" he said and the edge to his voice was sharper than a honed sword.
"Both... I have visited. I plan to visit again." Mycroft kept to the bare bones of an explanation of actions and intent.
"You visit Alan?" John's voice asked. His surprise at that was obvious.
Mycroft hadn't expected to have to field questions from John as well..... nor did he expect Sherlock to answer before he could reply.
"Feeling guilty are we?" Sherlock laid the accusation out in the open.
Mycroft refused to dignify such utter nonsense with a reply.
"Uneven pressure on the downward strokes, " Sherlock said it as though it made everything crystal clear.
"I did wonder if you'd notice," Mycroft said.

John looked from one Holmes brother to another, he had no idea what they were on about. "You visit Alan?" he asked Mycroft again.
"I visit Alan," Mycroft confirmed it mildly, normalised it. The basic acknowledgement was , he knew , the least of his problems.
"And you've opened and read the letters Sherlock's written" John's expressive voice was layered with disapproval. Sherlock had been waiting for a letter back for weeks, yet he looked as far from relieved as it was possible to be and Mycroft seemed set on giving nothing away.....
"I had good reason to do so," Mycroft said.
"Reasons?" John dismissed that excuse. "I'd love to hear you justify invading Sherlock's privacy like that?"
Mycroft gave him a look that suggested he found John's contribution to the discussion less than helpful. John gave him a direct look in exchange.
"So would I," Sherlock said. "There's a loop in Alan's D stem, John ....."
John's brow furrowed...... "And for those of us that aren't Holmes what does that mean?"
Mycroft remained guiltily silent.
"It means he's ill.... he's more than just ill." Sherlock said.
"He is recuperative, post surgery......" Mycroft said. Confirmation of his worst fears seemed to leave Sherlock silent. Regretably the same didn't apply to John......
"What surgery?" John demanded a full answer.
"Open heart" There was no avoiding the issue now.
Sherlock made a clumsy grab for the back of the nearest chair.
"For God's sake Mycroft!" John moved swiftly to help Sherlock sit down. "You didn't think Sherlock had a right to know? Alan is the father of his child." John watched Mycroft's face stiffen as the impact of the words made itself felt.

Mycroft was seeking a diversionary path..... concern for Alan would work, surely? "Sherlock has been under considerable physical and emotional strain..... as has Alan." It worked just as he'd hoped, Sherlock interrupted him instantly......
"When aren't I? .... I'm done being manoeuvred for my own good. If you want any kind of brotherly relationship with me then I want the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you lie to me now then I swear I'll never talk with you again." Sherlock said. "Where is Alan?"
Mycroft hesitated and saw Sherlock register that infinitesimal hesitation.... "Scotland."
"Why there and not Yorkshire near his family?"
"For his own safety Sherlock."

"Alan's fit.... he works out all the time. He runs. He never eats junk food." Sherlock fought down the fear. "How can he have a problem with his heart?"
Mycroft looked at John expectantly.
"The physical effects of a broken," John narrowly stopped himself from saying pseudo bond.... "bond. For an Omega they differ....flu like symptoms, muscular pain, headaches, nausea. For the Alpha its much the same, more serious side effects are rare but can include heart arrthymia, chest pain, high blood pressure..... a stroke or a heart attack."

Sherlock pushed his bare feet into the floor to stop his leg violently shaking. "I want to see him."
"You can't." Mycroft answered. "There is absolutely nothing I can do that can make that possible Sherlock."
"I'll go anyway. There's trains, buses.... You can't stop me going to the prison and asking to see him." Sherlock was already half way there in his mind.
"No but Alan will refuse to see you." Mycroft said and reluctantly pulled all hope out from beneath Sherlock's feet.

Sherlock stared bleakly at his brother. He'd opened his mouth to say Alan would never refuse to see him then remembered who he was dealing with and just how stubborn Alan could be. 'Why?' felt like a futile question but he asked it anyway. "Why won't he see me? If it's being away from me that did this then I could help! I could stay nearby until court. You just have to get me inside. I don't care what the law says , I know you can do it! Mycroft, I need to see him!"
" And what of Billy's needs?" Mycroft said delicately.
"He feeds two hourly," John pointed out the obvious.
Sherlock shrugged helplessly, torn between the needs of lover and child. "This is Alan," he said simply. "I wouldn't be here without him."
Mycroft set his mobile phone down on the table top with a faint click. "Since you won't heed myself or John perhaps Alan himself can talk some sense into you."

"I can call him?" Sherlock reached for the phone.
Mycroft refused to weaken, laying his hand over one half of the mobile phone so Sherlock couldn't take it ....this was necessary to ensure his brother's safety. "I'm afraid that won't be possible Sherlock...."
"But you said..." Across the table from him Sherlock was staring at him with dark, troubled eyes.  
"You cannot visit Alan. You are the perceived victim and bonded to someone else." Mycroft was unsure how much extra leverage this would require, he added more weight to his end of the scales carefully. "You could of course abscond, run the risk of kidnap and travel to Scotland.  Should you arrive at the prison I daresay it's possible Alan may risk his own health to comfort you. He has after all made sacrifice after sacrifice...."
"That's not fair!" John defended Sherlock.
Mycroft addressed his brother as though it was Sherlock who had objected. "Isn't it? Job, home,  friends, reputation, liberty ..." only life remained unlisted but he saw from Sherlock's flinch that the unsaid word had been filled in inside Sherlock's frantic mind.... "Since you refuse to heed either John or myself I took the liberty of making a discreet recording of Alan's true opinion on the matter."
Sherlock's white fingers were attempting to pry the phone from beneath Mycroft's palm. "You manipulated him!"
"And you never have?" Mycroft gave a tight smile and lifted his hand away.

Sherlock used Alan's headphones. Aware as he took them from the side pocket on Alan's coat that Alan's had been the last fingers to touch them.
The audio file was easily found. Sherlock  closed his eyes as  Mycroft and Alan's voices filled his ears....

"Sherlock is entirely capable of arriving here and simply refusing to leave," Mycroft said.
Alan sounded exhausted. "You've to stop him then... You'll have to put your foot down..."
"This is Sherlock," Mycroft pointed out. "My brother has always been..." he hesitated, did it truly need saying...
"A handful? Aye I know that.... He ran rings round me to begin with...." Alan broke off and started to cough.
Sherlock listened to the sounds of water being poured.
"Shall I call for assistance?" Mycroft asked repeatedly. What reply if any he received must have been understood even though all Sherlock could hear was more  painful coughing.
"Hurts my ruddy chest," Alan spoke again as soon as he could. "Look, you've to step up here , I'm mafted there's no other way. He'll listen to you. He can't come here!"
"Mafted?" Mycroft found it impossible to be certain he'd ascertained the correct meaning.
"Sick..." Alan sounded annoyed, though with himself or the question wasn't clear. "Ruddy Hell all this bullshit is the last thing I need. I want him safe not fucking about the country trying to get up here to me! You've to tell him!.... Lad needs to frame himself!"
"He rarely considers my opinion worthwhile," Mycroft admitted.
Alan's sigh was followed by a short groan of discomfort. "He heeds you. You're his brother, course he won't admit he pays you any mind."


There was another pause. "Given your circumstances Alan, if leverage can be found and a discreet visit could be arranged in any safe manner...."
Alan was annoyed now. Sherlock heard it in the flattened gruffness of his voice. " You don't bring him. You tell him from me it sempt reight good but its far from it! You stop him if he tries owt. Jesus Christ how hard is it?"

Mycroft sounded equally frustrated. "Since separation from Sherlock is the problem. A short anonymous visit on compassionate grounds may ..."
"No!" Alan's no nonsense tone brooked no argument. "No. No. Sodding no. How many times have I to say it?"
"Might I ask why?"
"1967 locked up Alpha is why. You let an Elite Omega in the middle of that lot and fuck knows what'd happen! There's all sorts in here. That's a recipe for disaster right there! .... All it'd take is one accident that isn't! If he finds himself the wrong side of a door without me, what then? ....You tell him if he comes here I'll not see him. I won't have him put himself in harms way! For fucks sake.... be the boss of him for once! "

Mycroft waited for the irate bluster to die down. "If my brother is to see sense the real reason you cant afford to see him is the only one he'll abide by...."
"Then tell him some other reason, use that mind of yours. Tell him whatever you have to.... Letting him go the first time almost killed me. I can't do it a second time... One ruddy visit is never going to be enough for me." Alan's gruff voice said. "For Christ's sake do I have to to spell it out! Watching him go again would kill me."

When Sherlock came back into the kitchen Mycroft was alone, he'd removed the jacket and loosened his tie and looked more like the older brother Sherlock remembered than the formally suited man he had grown to be.
There was a plate covered in crumbs pushed to one side; unhidden. It stirred some distant memory in Sherlock of finding Mycroft sat alone in front of an empty plate  covered in wedding cake crumbs the morning before he was bonded to Charles.
Mycroft had moved the plate out of sight back them but now he hadn't
It was a concession to honesty and Sherlock knew it.


As Sherlock took a seat Mycroft said nothing.
"Does Alan know you recorded him?" The question sounded more confrontational than Sherlock had intended.
"He had no idea," Mycroft said wearily. "I'm tired Sherlock. It has been an extremely long and difficult day."
Sherlock noted each sign of exhaustion in Mycroft's face. "Did you eat all the biscuits or are there some left?"
Mycroft's lips pressed together for an instant before he answered. "None I'm afraid. Consider it a narrow escape. Rich tea biscuits are always so very bland.'
Sherlock wished Mycroft hadn't eaten them all...."They remind me of Nanny. Whenever I had a stomach ache that's the only thing she'd let me eat for a whole day."
Mycroft had similar memories. "Some of her ideas were antiquarian."
Sherlock snorted. "Most of them were. She washed my hair in beer once. I smelt vaguely of hops for a whole day."
"Why ever did she do that...?" Mycroft had no idea...
Sherlock shrugged by way of reply. "Shine apparently. Charles complained that it interfered with my natural scent so of course I stole bottle after bottle from the pantry and poured it over my head before every visit. Mummy had a big argument with Nanny about it but Nanny never told her it was me even when she knew."

Mycroft could imagine the scene only too well.... "Nanny could be surprisingly effective when she felt her authority was threatened."
Sherlock smiled. " Sometimes I wished she was my mother instead."
Mycroft nodded.


Sherlock stood up and filled the kettle. "I'm making tea, do you want one?"
"That would be most pleasant, Sherlock." Mycroft lied as he watched Sherlock pour milk into unheated mugs....
Sherlock smiled. "You definitely don't mean that.."
Mycroft didn't deny his valid reservations. "Perhaps not but conversations tend to flow more smoothly with tea than without it."
Sherlock dropped a teaspoon into both mugs. "Are we having a conversation?"
Mycroft very much hoped so. It had been several long weeks.... "If that is what you decide...."
Sherlock spilt boiling water onto the counter while pouring it into the mugs but chose to leave it unwiped.... "You've changed your opinion of Alan," he said.
"Yes. I admit my preconceptions proved unfounded," Mycroft conceded, then because he really couldn't help himself from passing comment he added. "The worktop is wet..."
Sherlock dropped the teabags into the sink with a wet careless plop. "Its not important," he said.

Mycroft waited for Sherlock to speak first. Unsure of the direction this conversation would take if he made no effort to control it.
"I want you to ask Alan if John can see his medical notes," Sherlock said.
Mycroft nodded.
"I want him to see a specialist. The best doctor..."
"I already arranged it. Dr Duvuis came highly recommended."
Sherlock was relieved. "Thank you.... Is he in a lot of pain?"
"Less than he was. He complains of weakness in one hand.... A general one sided body weakness," Mycroft tried to be precise. "He is experiencing some issues writing as you've seen. Holding a pen poses some problems."
" I wont try to see him.... Tell him that. Tell him I said I promise he doesn't need to worry about me." Sherlock's inhalation was full of raw emotion. "Don't let anything happen to him.... Please."
"There are no guarantees in life Sherlock but I will do my utmost...." Mycroft wished he could promise more.
"Just keep him alive." Sherlock said. "Please Mycroft, I trust you."

Chapter Text

Mycroft watched Sherlock reject a beautiful silk tie with no discernible hesitation. The two Holmes brothers had been shut away in the large dressing room attached to Mycroft's own office for well over an hour and had yet to agree on anything. One whole rail of wonderful suits had already been viewed and rejected.... worse, Sherlock appeared to be growing resistant to the very idea of wearing one.
"I'm not wearing a waistcoat ....or a tie." Sherlock announced.
Mycroft frequently spent several satisfying hours selecting a suit, normally it was something he enjoyed, a luxury to be savoured...... he'd foolishly been looking forward to this.....
"I don't like this...." Sherlock rejected yet another jacket with a flick of its lapel almost as soon as he saw it and without trying it on. "Too wide here...." he gestured outwards with both hands.
Mycroft took another calming sip of tea.
"I don't like it," Sherlock frowned at a pale blue shirt as though it had done something to offend him..... Charles had always liked him in that shade of pale blue..... "Anything that pale makes me feel like a corpse."
Mycroft had thought it flattered the unique colour of Sherlock's eyes.
"Turn ups on suit trousers. Are you serious? I'm not 50....." Sherlock said witheringly , going through the rack at speed.
Mycroft had an almost identical suit himself and was most decidedly not 50!
"You should buy it, it's very you....." Sherlock said.
"As you are fully aware brother mine, I do indeed own that suit." Mycroft said with a painful dignity.
Shit! Unfortunate!.... "You carry it off though blud, you have the gravitas .... I'd look ridiculous," Sherlock gave up on the suit rail and sat down, long legs sprawling out . "I don't want to wear a suit...."

Mycroft eyed the familiar unwashed hoodie belonging to Alan that Sherlock had worn daily since Alan's arrest  and followed the sage advice Gregory had given him earlier that morning with regards to maintaining a state of calm and inhaled slowly concentrating on exhaling any rising stress along with the lungful...... "Sherlock..... I understand the need to....... retain some sense of .... " He paused unsure how to define Sherlock's raw need for some trace of Alan. "I understand....." He'd fully expected Sherlock to have interrupted him by now, full of plausible denials and ridiculous assertions that he was, in fact, 'fine'..... now he found himself unexpectedly uninterrupted. There was a lost look of need on Sherlock's face and  Mycroft felt a momentary surge of inadequacy in the face of it..... "To be well dressed can only help, Sherlock....."
"Help how?" Sherlock spoke abruptly. "Will it give me Alan back?"
Mycroft wished he had been able to persuade Gregory to accompany him today. "Sherlock, I can assure you I will do my utmost....."

Sherlock moved his empty cup around and around on its saucer. "I wish it was over. I don't want to do this anymore..... Billy needs me here....."
"You can't stop. Not at this stage." Mycroft pointed out the truth. " Charles won't agree to halt proceedings. "
"I know that," Sherlock's mouth twisted. "I wish I'd never started is all I meant."
Mycroft reached out, took hold of the long elegant fingers nervously moving the cup in an endless circle and rubbed comfortingly over the knuckles with his thumb.
Sherlock was sure he looked as surprised to be the recipient of such a tactile, consoling gesture as Mycroft looked to find himself making it. He knew it demanded some kind of reciprocation but there were limits.... "I'm not wearing a suit. I'll wear some dark jeans and a smart shirt but these are too Government..... they just aren't me. I have my own style...."
Mycroft eyed the hoodie and pj bottoms expressively.
"I do!" Sherlock insisted. "I don't know what it is yet but it's not this!"

It took a mere half hour to have a courier bring a more suitable assortment of clothing from  an exclusive Bond Street store to MI5.
This time Mycroft elected to use the services of the stores personal shopper and simply provided Sherlock's measurements and a brief description of Sherlock's skin, hair and eye colour. He was dismayed to see a rich purple among the many different colours of shirts but before he had time to comment on its inclusion he was called away and had to step outside into the corridor to field a call and placate a flustered minister who had real concerns about the personal debts of a leading member of the Government and therefore his stability. Mycroft dealt with the matter as best he could but it all took significantly longer than he wished.

When the door opened he ended his call abruptly and turned around fully expecting to see Sherlock still in his baggy attire topped off with the lamentably large sweatshirt that swamped his slender frame. Instead Sherlock stood facing him in a pair of expensive looking dark jeans and the rich purple shirt Mycroft had glimpsed and  foolishly rejected as inappropriate. The slim fit accentuated the slenderness of Sherlock's torso and the colour, Mycroft was forced to admit, contrasted perfectly with Sherlock's alabaster skin tone.
"Don't tell me if you don't like it. I'm wearing it anyway," Sherlock said defensively. Alan's beloved sweatshirt still dangled from one hand as though if pushed he would put it back on at any moment.
Mycroft used his breathing technique again..... in slowly..... breathe away all feelings of stress. "Most acceptable brother.... although perhaps a sweater might be prudent given how draughty court can be......"
Sherlock turned the hand holding Alan's left behind sweatshirt around to reveal it also held a dark fine knitted sweater as well. "Way ahead of you blud," he said.

"Wow..... You look..... Wow!" John said appreciatively as soon as he saw Sherlock come walking into the room . He only realised his mistake when Sherlock stopped dead.
"Maybe I should change...." Sherlock said.
"What! Why?" John knew he'd said the wrong thing and fought to backtrack.
Sherlock eyed him and didn't even need to say it.
"Ok..... no more appearance based compliments, I promise," John said. "I've got it. There's more to you than good looks, message received...... " He'd forgotten how gorgeous Sherlock was when he wasn't covered up in pj bottoms and oversized clothing that still held Riddick's scent.
Sherlock gave a rueful smile. "Underneath the shirt I'm wearing a binder to stop milk leakage. If Court runs late I'll probably start to smell like sour yoghurt."
John grinned. "That was an additional turn off of an image , I didn't need."
Sherlock viewed him knowingly. Ohthink you did.

It felt wrong to be driving away from Billy. Wrong not to be in the same room or even the same building as his tiny son. Sherlock felt his belly cramp as soon as they drove out onto the busy London streets. "I might need to be sick ," he said."I'm not saying I will but it's a definite possibility....."
"Try this," Mycroft removed a small oval silver snuff box from his jacket pocket and opened it before holding it out towards his pale faced brother.
"Might need a bigger vomit pot!" Sherlock managed before swallowing grimly.
"It's a herbal remedy for nausea and anxiety. I did check its suitability with John," Mycroft watched as Sherlock took several and popped them all into his mouth at once.
"Don't chew! Let them dissolve on the tongue...." Mycroft wisely shut up as Sherlock shot him an agitated stare.
A sudden thought struck Sherlock. He remembered a past conversation about herbal heat pills and the disapproval that had radiated down the phone line from England to Finland...... "Homeopathic treatments..... since when have you thought they worked?" Oh you blinked twice, rapid succession... Interesting!.... "You doubt they work! So why are you giving them to me? John certainly didn't recommend them, he's an NHS doctor he views homeopathy as ineffective..... Alan?" Unlikely...... Greg! "It's Greg's idea isn't it?"

Mycroft felt over exposed, his reliance on Gregory Lestrade's wonderfully practical advice close to being revealed to, of all people, his sarcastic little brother...... "A flawed deduction little brother..... you've omitted to consider Mrs Hudson as a possible source."
"As if you'd give me one of her herbal soothers," Sherlock eyed him sideways. "I'm seeing the headlines.....HOLMES OMEGA STONED IN COURT."
"Heaven forbid," Mycroft admitted and saw Sherlock smile.

The car idled in traffic not far from the Court..... desperate for a distraction from the overwhelming nervous nausea Sherlock stared out the window at a nearby newspaper stand.
The headline and photo took up the whole front page of the newspaper. Sherlock stared at it.
Mycroft's voice came from behind him. "Sensationalism with scant regard for the facts..... I've already checked in with the warden. Alan woke at 5.50 and declined breakfast but that of course is quite understandable given your situation. He accepted tea and toast at 9.00 and asked for a visit from the prison chaplain..... I believe they've been talking for half an hour..."
Sherlock tore his eyes away from the lies on the headline. He couldn't imagine what Alan would have to talk about with a chaplain. "Alan isn't religious," he said.
" Reverend Greene has a keen interest in fishing," Mycroft said.
Sherlock pulled a face. "That's a paradox, fishing is the most boring thing ever invented.... its impossible to have any kind of interest in fishing keen or otherwise." He'd tried pike fishing on the ice with turned out there were some things even the sight of Alan looking rugged in an old Army snow jacket couldn't make fascinating.
"Any sport that involves waders is not one I choose to participate in....." Mycroft agreed.
"Greg loves fishing," John said. "His dad taught him. He spends hours fishing at the local park on his day off."
Sherlock and Mycroft exchanged silent glances of pure horror.


In the narrow old streets around the Bond Court the first signs of media interest began to appear. Sherlock counted TV van after TV van, some from European news channels.
John shifted in his seat, it felt much the same as war. In the car they were safe but within a few minutes all Hell was going to break loose..... Once he was outside the car Sherlock was vulnerable and the responsibility for keeping him safe was now John's.
There were crowd barricades facing the entry way into the court quad and behind them a throng of people. Mycroft refused to acknowledge the crowd existed, busying himself with his mobile phone.
Sherlock stared at the hate filled placards and the lone flag fluttering behind them with the symbol for Elite Omega on it.....
"Just ignore them Sherlock. You'll be inside soon." John said.
The sign immediately opposite Sherlock was written in blood red capitals....
Sherlock stared at the elderly Alpha man holding it. He looked like the archetypal grandfather but them so presumably would Hitler if he lived long enough to become old and grey.
A big blob of spit hit the car window and Sherlock stared at it sliding slowly down the tinted glass then looked up just in time to see the same man spit again. The deduction happened instinctively, like blinking against dust.... son definitely, same nose , same weak jawline, about 35, liked West Ham..... A second blob of spit hit the car window and suddenly Sherlock realised he'd had enough. He hit the down button on the window, ignored John's alarmed shout of 'Close it! Close it !' and saw the startled expressions as the Alpha massed outside the car recognised him...."Learn to spell. There's no R in Omega...."Sherlock said flippantly .The two Alpha with the badly spelt sign stared gormlessly at him as Mycroft struggled to pull Sherlock's adamant finger from the electric window control button...... "And stop spitting on my brothers car!"
"Fucking Omega whore...." The son regained control of his mouth first.
"Oh say something original why don't you!" Sherlock snapped back....

"Bitch... Dirty bitch....."The Alpha found his voice.
The window shot up mid insult as Mycroft regained control...... " Charming."
"What the Hell are you thinking Sherlock! Have you any idea of the risk you just took!" John shouted.
"Oh I don't know John! Maybe I just wanted to correct his frankly appalling spelling!" Sherlock raged back.
"Great idea!" John said with frank sarcasm. "I'll just explain how someone broke your nose with a punch through an open car window to Alan shall I?"
"Nobody broke my nose! Nothing happened!" Sherlock said furiously. "Don't you dare worry Alan about nothing!"
"Enough!" Mycroft's sharpest, most Elite voice cut through and commanded attention. "The Legate has instructed us to enter court through the rear entrance. There has been an assault upon a court usher, its deemed to high risk to use the steps...... Now is not the time to expose yourself to additional risk Sherlock!"
Sherlock glowed mutinously and slumped lower in his seat.
"Do sit up. Nanny would be most disappointed in your posture, slouching is very bad for the spine." Mycroft said sternly.
Sherlock opened his mouth to say 'fuck that' in pure frustration....
"Sherlock Holmes....Don't you dare! "Mycroft said testily.

The rear entrance was quiet. Sherlock viewed the huge metal wheelie bins he'd hidden behind before. There was no sign of Tam the rough sleeper who'd helped him that day. Probably he'd drank the money and had no intention of ever coming back with any useful information..... Sherlock didn't really blame him if so. If disappearing were possible and Billy didn't rely on him he'd be considering it himself right now.
The hectic court kitchen was full of steam, shouting chefs and cooking smells. The kitchen staff all stared but some were more judgemental than others..... Sherlock stole an open sandwich from a plate just to annoy the chef who was looking at him with hard unfriendly eyes. Once they got out into the staircase found he really didn't want to eat it but there was nowhere to get rid of it.
Mycroft held out his hankerchief,  a resigned expression of mild irritation on his face...... "For Heavens sake Sherlock, why ever did you take one?"
"Too eat of course." Sherlock forced himself to chew and swallow with feigned relish. The tiny open sandwich tried to come back up twice but he clenched his teeth stubbornly and refused to let it and in the end he won.

Aric Weber was sporting a unusual blue tie covered in tiny blue, silver and white sharks. "I thought it appropriate comment on my learned colleague Herr Milne's personality," he said with a roughish smile. "Sherlock, ready for today?"
"Thrilled to be back. There's so many lovely examples of Alpha males outside... " Sherlock said with a bleak sarcasm.
Aric understood the opposing forces at work here and sought a positive distraction.... "Aprielle bought a gift for Billy. It's from us both of course.... " He waited until Sherlock was engaged in unwrapping it speak quietly to Mycroft. "How is he? He looks frail."
"As well as can be expected, " Mycroft replied as he was interrupted by the slightly discordant notes of Brahms Lullaby as Sherlock tried the musical crib toy out repeatedly.... "A little more unpredictable than usual...." He heard the concern in his own voice.
Aric nodded wisely. "Once we begin the nerves will be more manageable."

There was a sharp knock at the open door and an Usher poked his head around. "Mr 'Omes?"
"Yes?" Mycroft replied. "I'm Mycroft Holmes, how may I be of assistance?"
"Thank you Sir but I'm after the younger Mr 'Omes....." the Usher said apologetically.
Sherlock fought to control the urge to laugh at the aggrieved expression on Mycroft's face caused by this mutated truncation of the family name.
"Message from the Legate.... he's keen to 'elp you should you need any privacy for baby related needs and the like..... We've had a mini fridge put in the back room for the expressed milk like Dr Watson said..... all we need now is a signal for in Court ....."
"A what?" Sherlock was baffled.
"We were thinking a folded 'anckerchief Sir..... if you just pop it on the table in front of you the Legate will call an adjornment as soon as he can....."
Oh! Sherlock hadn't expected to be given any special consideration. The kindness was overwhelming ...... "Thank him from me please. Tell him that's more than I expected."
The Usher nodded..... "And we took the liberty of putting a cushion on your chair...... very bum numbing those chairs..... and being as you've only recently had a baby.... we thought it'd make sitting down easier."
Sherlock hoped his face wasn't as scalded pink as he felt it may well be......
John came to his rescue. "That's great."
"Right you are Doctor Watson.... Anything more you need just ask for 'Enry.... Legate's given me special responsibilty." Henry sounded genuinely proud.
Sherlock nodded, glad now that he hid his urge to giggle at all the missing Hs. "Thank you Henry. I'll remember."


It'd only been a few weeks since Sherlock had been inside the court room but it felt like much longer. So much had changed.
He hadn't forgotten the smell of centuries of beeswax polish and old dust and the way the wide uneven Tudor floor boards felt beneath his feet.
He'd tried to forget how the stone quad outside condensed the sounds of angry protest until it was audible even with the old leaded windows closed..... but he remembered now when the roar of all that hatred lifted the skin on his forearms as though he was cold.
He stood at the deep mullioned window and gazed down at the packed quad below..... there was a small stubborn crowd on the Omega side of the steps below. Flags with the gender symbol for Elite Omega fluttered bravely above the hate filled banners. Sherlock watched them move in the stiff breeze.
"How are you feeling?" John checked.
"Like I'd rather face a pen full of lions," Sherlock made a joke out of his reluctance.
John could only guess how much Sherlock missed Alan right now..... "Waiting is always the worst part."
"Seeing Charles is the worst part," Sherlock was honest.
"We'll stick close to you..... " John felt useless saying it.
"I know..... It helps," Sherlock answered. "I wouldn't do it on my own."
" Yes you would....You'd be here for everyone who loves you..... even if you wouldn't do it for yourself you'd do it for Aleksander and Billy." John was certain of that.

The court room was packed...... it took Sherlock a second to force his feet to move but he thought he'd covered his hesitation fairly fast.
The Alpha side was standing room only with men lining up along the far wall as far down as the front row.
For a second Sherlock was confused to see the Omega side was full also.... it took him a minute to realise the entire back third of the seats were full of Alpha who'd found no space on their traditional side of the court room...... there was a empty seat section in the middle , separating the Omega who were all sat together at the front. Sherlock was surprised to see how many seats at the front were filled.....
"Support seems to have grown, " Mycroft spoke quietly.
"I don't think they're all on my side..... except literally." Sherlock said nervously. A low hiss of Alpha disapproval and gossip was following him. He was super aware that every step he took bought him closer to the front of the court, this would be the first time he'd been in the same room as Charles without Alan by his side since running from Apple Dore and he felt exposed and vulnerable....

"Sherlock!" Rob Hardcock's familiar voice was instantly recognisable. " I thought you could use another supporter on your side of the court."
Sherlock was too nervous to smile but he stopped to talk. "I could use something....." he admitted. Heavy drugs felt like they'd be the thing. "I feel sick."
"Nerves?" Rob's nod was one of understanding as the Usher's came hurrying up the aisle to pressure Sherlock to move on. "Stay in the here and now..... Try not to look at the whole trial .....break it down as we spoke about..... keep it manageable"
Sherlock nodded grimly. "I'll try."

John had eyes on Magnussen as they reached the front row of the Court.... the man still made his skin crawl.
Milne was already sat there with a huge box of files to the right of him.
Alexei was talking to the senior usher......
Everything seemed under control.
Sherlock avoided looking Charles way and slid into his seat. The cushion was actually a nice addition.
Mycroft waited ready to take the seat immediately next to his brother...... It was then that an egg hit him squarely between the shoulder blades with a cracking splat, the second narrowly missed the Legate's chair..
The throw came from behind Sherlock..... somewhere to the back of the Omega side of the court, where all the Alpha sat but when he span around he couldn't tell who'd hurled it.
"Front row.... the individual in the gray coat," Mycroft drew the Usher's attention to the culprit immediately honing in on the telltale signs he could discern in the man's face.

"You will empty the court room! We will not proceed until it is done! Close the doors!" The Legate was furiously barking instructions.
The offending Alpha was hauled away down to the cells while Ushers attempted to clean up the smashed egg and restore order.
Mycroft removed his ruined jacket fastidiously avoiding touching the slimey wet yolk of the smashed egg.
"So sorry Sir.... Can I help you with that?" The Senior Usher fussed helplessly.
Sherlock could tell from the Ushers faces that they felt responsible for this lapse in security but honestly he didn't see how they could have prevented it. "A metal detector doesn't pick up eggs," he said.
"Quite," Mycroft said unemotionally as he handed the soiled jacket to the Usher. "No need to fuss it's merely a suit."

It felt strange to sit in an empty court room, Sherlock was acutely aware of Charles presence now that all other distractions were removed.
The Legate had taken his seat and the other two Judges were settling in..... Mungo found a stray piece of shell on his seat and beckoned an Usher over. "Hurry up man! Do your damn job!"
"I'm sorry Judge ....." The Usher couldn't apologise enough.
The Legate's slow exhale was not one of infinite patience. "Herr Weber ...... Mr Milne can you approach please..... There will be no public access today however we will continue...... There have been delays enough..... I suggest you prepare to call your first witness Mr Milne....."
"Of course Legate."
John had a clear line of sight to the sly look of satisfaction on Milne's face as he turned away, although what had just caused it he couldn't tell. "Something isn't right here," he learnt forward to warn Sherlock.......
"We know..." Sherlock said anxiously.
" The Legate hasn't seen it...." Mycroft beckoned an Usher over to him. He was asking the Usher if he could speak to Aric but Milne spoke before he could act....

"Our first witness has been delayed due to traffic outside the Court Legate..... " Milne said smoothly...... "If I may rely upon another who is already present in Court?"
" Legate....I must object...." Aric saw right through Milne's innocuous request to the end game. If Milne planned on having Charles take the witness stand in an almost empty court he was going to object strongly. "Legate we'd prefer a postponement..."
The Legate waved the objection away...."It's unorthodox, Mr Milne...." he frowned but had little choice but to accept the offer given the circumstances.... "It seems to be this witness or none..... " Irate he barely paused for a second..... "Very well. Proceed to call the first witness...." It was only after he'd given permission that the Legate noticed the folded hankerchief.... the signal to stop proceedings...... had been placed neatly on the table directly in front of Sherlock but by then it was too late......
Milne stood up smoothly before the Legate could change his mind as Aric tried unsuccessfully to object again ..... "I'd like to call Charles Magnussen to the stand please!"

Chapter Text

"Could you give your full name to the court Charles?" Milne began with the basics , although in a closed court it wasn't strictly necessary.
Ordinarily the next question would have asked Charles his age; thus inadvertently making clear the disparity in years that lay between the older Alpha and his bonded Omega but Aric observed how Milne avoided that issue smoothly by addressing the Legate directly next. It was dexterously done he had to admit.
"Since Mr Magnussen has a substantial property portfolio I'd like to submit a list of all family residences and other assets for your inspection Legate?"
The Legate nodded; waited until his two fellow judges and Aric Weber had received their copies then leafed through the paperwork before speaking directly to Charles..... "This is a complete list of all residential properties you own Mr Magnussen, not merely those you term family homes?"
"It is." Charles acknowledged the question without elaboration; he was watching Sherlock; pale eyes lingering on the Omega's face..... .
"You understand making a partial disclosure of any such assets and means constitutes a criminal offence under Bond Law for which this Court has the power to fine you?" The Legate showed no sign of his surprise at Charles Magnussen's true worth. Whilst he'd known the man was successful he hadn't expected such vast sums. Even the maximum fine for non disclosure would barely make a dent in such a sum.... Small wonder the man had an inate, untouchable arrogance about him.
"I do."
Aric remained impassive as he placed his copy of the list on the table , wrote a quick note on it and slid it between himself and Sherlock...... Are these properties as you remember? Is the list complete?"
"I think....." Sherlock leant in and kept his voice lower to a whisper, aware of Charles pale eyes upon him as he and Aric talked. "The London penthouse is new... and Sydney Harbour....he must have bought that after me....we never stayed there. The assets? I don't know, Charles never talked to me about money or business."
"Of course....." Aric held nothing but contempt for Magnussen's all controlling view of himself as dominus. He himself had ensured Aprielle's financial security in drawn up contracts, should anything happen to him, Aprielle would never find himself homeless or at the mercy of an Alpha's generosity as so many Elite Omega did.

There was a delay of several moments before Milne could begin..... the three judges engaged in a quiet conversation as they discussed the asset list amongst themselves.
Sherlock watched as Charles beckoned an usher over and had the man bring him a jug and glass of cold water..... was he anxious? If so it was the sole sign. If he was lying about his assets and he probably was there was no way Sherlock would know, Charles had never allowed him to see anything relating to business, he hadn't even been permitted to walk behind Charles when the Alpha was working , so he'd never seen as much as a glimpse of Charles laptop screen. Charles could own a vault full of gold bars , there was simply no way anyone could know.
"Herr Weber ..... I'm assuming you wish to submit the initial stages of a claim on behalf of Sherlock for division of assets and/or child maintenance in the event of bond severance at this point in proceedings?" The Legate hoped to receive all paperwork today so they could move on.
"We do not Your Honour," Aric remained as impassively relaxed as though he had just declined something immaterial on behalf of his client, instead of a potential share worth millions.
The Legate looked up ...... "Sherlock is rejecting this opportunity, Herr Weber? "
"Yes Legate." Aric remained standing as he replied. "My client has no desire for any financial settlement or endowment past the return of a Stadivarious violin which was a wedding gift from Mycroft Holmes to his brother. "
"It's irregular..... "This seemed to trouble the Legate who spoke directly to Sherlock..... "Sherlock, you understand that I have the power to assign you property and an order ensuring financial security in the event that I rule in your favour and permit bond severance and primary child custody? There are large sums of money involved here..... I understand bringing up any child to involve considerable expense ...... I'm willing to allow you more time to consider the implications."
Sherlock stood up.... " Thank you but I won't need more time.... Aric explained all my options.... "
"No money?" Mungo barked the words at Sherlock without letting him finish. "Pull that stubborn neck in boy..... what do ye plan to live on? Fresh air?"
"I plan.... " Sherlock said with a deathly calm, Mungo's dismissal working its barbed way under his skin.... "to work....."
"Work..?" Bunty spoke up rarely but this latest development was unexpected. " Work..... you say? What on earth could you do?"
"This is preposterous! Completely preposterous!" Milne found his voice.
Mycroft couldn't resist replying.... "Keeping someone of Sherlock's intelligence shut away like a hot house bloom is the very definition of preposterous."
Milne glared and said testily..... "Legate we must protest! Mr Magnussen refuses to allow his bond mate to take up any form of employment or education..... He has no permission from his bonded Alpha to do so!"

The Legate hammered the gavel down...... and spoke into the deferential silence that resulted from his abrupt warning. Despite the impatient gesture his tone was curious as he addressed Sherlock again. "You intend to pursue an education of your own, Sherlock?"
Sherlock looked anxious, Charles was staring at him with the cold, condensed anger that had always proceeded violence ..... "Not exactly....."
The Legate adjusted his tone firmly, he wanted answers not vagaries..... "Do you have serious intentions of finding employment of some sort Sherlock?"
"I want to work for myself....." Sherlock couldn't avoid answering any longer.
Mungo gave a patronising laugh..... "Some little florist business it it? Lilies and the like?"
Mycroft saw Sherlock's face change and knew the patronising comment had hit home.
"Forensic science....." Sherlock said. "I'm going to...." He corrected himself nervously, "I mean I do ..... I do use a mixture of deductions and forensic science to help solve criminal cases..... I want to be a  detective."
Charles derogative comment made even Mungo turn to look . "A detective?........ This is a fantasy fit only for a child!"
Stay calm. He can't reach you.... Sherlock told himself but he still felt sick at the sound of Charles voice. He could tuck his thumb inside his palm and dug his fingernail into the skin until the pain bought him focus but he had to force himself to speak.... the fear of Charles anger ingrained in him even now. "I'm good at it." he said. "Greg wouldn't work with me if I wasn't."
"You've lost your mind!" Charles dismissive laughter filled the room.
"Too ridicule anyone openly like this should be unacceptable in this or any court! I support my brother in this ambition, he is more than capable of succeeding!" Mycroft was passionate in defence of his brother and the unique abilities he knew Sherlock held.
"Do not presume to lecture me, Mycroft! Sherlock is my bonded Omega! The days of your say being of importance are over! How dare you condone this!" Charles was livid at the presumption that Sherlock dare do anything on his own accord.
"He was my brother long before you set eyes on him. Unlike you I took the care to get to know his strengths not merely exploit his youth.... Sherlock has an extraordinary level of observancy perfect for police work." Mycroft said with a furious dignity.


Once again the Legate commanded the attention of all present with a sharp bang on his gavel..... "It is not the business of this court to decide if Sherlock is suited to this or if he may seek gainful employment , we are here to reach a legally binding decision on bond severance and custody...... However, since the welfare of a child is concerned this court will demand the same reassurances concerning it as we would from any parent .... Sherlock, I understand this aspiration to be in the very early stages or am I incorrect in that assumption?"
Sherlock hesitated, overwhelmed and over exposed. He hadn't meant to say any of this aloud yet and now it was out there he wished he had said nothing.
"Have you earn't any money boy? Have you an actual job or is it all in your pretty head?" Mungo had no patience.
"All in his head clearly..... " Milne said. He sounded amused.
"That will do gentlemen!"..... The Legate exerted his ultimate authority then had to push the Omega for an reply , "Sherlock can you explain in more detail?"
Sherlock took a deep breath, he'd had enough of being patronised...... "Currently I'm consulting with Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade of New Scotland Yard. CCF work mainly....."
"Cold case files.....?" the Legate was astonished.
"Unsolved murders..... using crime scene photographs and what forensics we have ..." Sherlock saw Charles expression change darkly and stopped talking. The Alpha made a sudden movement and slammed a hand down upon the brass rail of the witness box and Sherlock edged backwards.
"How dare you do this!" Charles was openly furious. "How dare you shame me in this! You are not of common stock!"
Sherlock could hear himself breathing, he hoped his fear wasn't audible to everyone else..... "This is a career I can do, " he said. "I can help solve serious crimes and make sure murderers don't get away with it."
Milne interjected, cutting across Sherlock..... "Legate, this is lunacy, who knows what manner of risk Sherlock is subjecting himself too? Any Alpha mate would have concerns...... There may well be long term effects on his mental wellbeing and reproductive health should Charles choose to have more children....."
"Sherlock's suffered multiple post partum haemorhages. You'd put his health.... his life..... at risk for another child when you have a son and heir already? Of course you would do that again! Why am I even surprised, breeding him is all you ever cared about!" John was openly contemptuous.
Magnussen had a hard edge to his tone.... "I bonded Sherlock. I have the right to expect he bears me children....."
John's voice was full of righteous anger... "You'll end up killing him you idiot!"
The Legate intervened, the bang of the gavel sharply dominant..... "Enough Dr Watson! Anymore and you will be held in contempt! This court will adjorn for half an hour.... I'll speak with all legal council in my chambers.... without delay."

The second they reached Aric's rooms Sherlock gave in to his nervous agitation. "I said too much. I should have let them think I wanted to be a florist, anything safer. Stupid .....stupid..... stupid!"
Mycroft eyed his brother incredulously. "Sheer lunacy. You'd kill every bloom within days."
John had to smile despite the stress of the day. "He has a point Sherlock..... you'd experiment..... mutate them or water them with chemicals or something......"
"Oh Christ! I hate fucking flowers," Sherlock groaned dramatically, threw himself into one of the armchairs and wrapped both arms round himself in ...... "Shit!" he stood up abruptly and vanished behind the screen.....
Mycroft was left concerned until he heard a familiar whirring sound. Ah.... of course it'd been almost two hours.....
"Expressing milk...." John mouthed silently with a vague chest level gesture.
Mycroft almost rolled his eyes at the unnecessary pantomime given the telltale sound ..... "Yes, thank you John I am quite aware....The sound of the pump is unmistakable."
Shit is it? "Can't we get a quieter hand pump John? The whole corridor probably knows what I'm doing?" Sherlock raised his voice over the noise.
"The electric pump maintains supply better....." John used his 'I'm a doctor, trust me' voice.
Behind the screen Sherlock was frantically trying to stem a random thin spray of milk from the side he wasn't expressing from..... " Little help in here , John!" ...... Leaking like a sieve!"
"Knock .....knock," John's voice said from just outside the door. He somehow avoided looking directly at Sherlock's bare chest as he handed him a clean white towel. "Just push that over the nipple with a flat palm....."
Sherlock carried on talking to cover any awkwardness as he dealt with the towel/milk situation......"They all think I'm crazy now because I don't want Charles's money!"
"You told them you don't want a share that's worth millions , they were never going to not struggle to understand that. That sort of money can do a lot of things....." John was impressed by Sherlock's strength in the court despite Charles attempt to bully him.
" I can live without things, " Sherlock said vaguely. "It's people I need.'
John answered without thinking, the intimacy of the situation was throwing him off kilter..... "For someone who doesn't need things you have amassed a lot of baby things already......" He stopped speaking fast....... Sherlock didn't know he had a whole baby nursery ready and waiting for Billy back at Baker Street.
Sherlock was struggling to pull the binder down and out of the way. Clearly he should have taken it off altogether..... God why was the thing so elastic, any second now it'd ping and break his nose.....What was John talking about? "What baby things? I haven't even bought anything yet? I'm completely unprepared.... " 
" Billy has everything he needs right now," John said reasonably.

"Perhaps I can provide some brochures or the assistance of a personal shopper? Mycroft tried to help John avoid spoiling the grand reveal that a completed nursery awaited the baby at 221b..
"Alan and I chose everything. We just didn't have the time to go buy it" How had he wasted so much time arguing with Alan before the birth? Whole hours..... the best part of a day being angry! ..... "I don't need a brochure...... I need exactly what I chose with Alan and nothing different," Sherlock said obstinately.
"I'm sure that can be arranged," Mycroft said sagely.
Sherlock sighed. Doubtful.

Inside his own chambers the Legate made his position blatantly clear..... "Herr Weber you will take an additional week to fully discuss all implications of a refusal to accept maintenance..... with particular emphasis on Aleksander's welfare..... Should Sherlock still be determined on this course of action, I will expect full disclosure of any work he has undertaken or expects to undertake....."
"Could all be lies ," Mungo made his low opinion of Sherlock clear. "Magnussen claims the boy is a fantasist doesn't he?"
"Why would he weaken his case by allowing himself to be caught in some fabrication?" Bunty said from the wing backed chair by the fire. "The facts are easily verifiable."
The Legate gave a hmmm of agreement. "I'll require proof Herr Weber."
"Your Honour such work is by nature subject to confidentiality clauses ......" Aric began....
The Legate cut Aric off mid sentence with a brisk movement of his hand..... "Hours worked, days of the week worked..... expected financial recompense for said work..... a written contract of employment terms with NSY..... Do I make myself clear?"
"You do Legate," Aric longed for a pipe full of richly perfumed tobacco.....
"Mr Milne..... I've had to waste time due in part to the failure of your witness to attend....Traffic is not an excuse I will accept again. I will not allow another such late stage change..... Have your witnesses in a line ready to speak Mr Milne lest I am compelled to dismiss them unheard!"
"Of course Legate, " Milne tried to placate with a sycophantic haste.
The Legate gave him no leeway. "I've never been a fool for the obsequious Mr Milne. I'll advise you not to try my patience further.... I expect to make some progress today."


From the moment Charles took his seat in the witness box Sherlock was acutely aware of the Alpha's confronting stare ..... he missed the sense of shielding being next to Alan's imposing frame always gave him. The initial opening statements of Charles testimony were lost to him in a blur of nervous stress, by the time he refocused he'd missed whatever it was Charles had said and Milne was in full flow....
"I'd like to take you back again, if I may Charles...... to the days when you were a single man." Milne made sure his tone was that of equals and in doing so he instilled a level of understanding...... We are all within this closed room Alpha; with the obvious exception of Sherlock.
"Objection..... how is this of any relevance Legate?" Aric questioned the inclusion.
"If you'll bear with me Legate the relevance lies in understanding Mr Magnussen's state of mind at the time of his bond match....." Milne was determined.
"I'll allow it," the Legate decided.
Charles had waited impassively now he seemed amused. "It has been some considerable time since I regarded myself to be a single man."
"Of course..... nevertheless bear with me if you will Charles..... The year you met Sherlock..... had you been looking for a bond mate?"
"I had not. The year had been a busy one, I'd acquired several new businesses and my foothold in the news market within Europe had become more secure....."
Sherlock watched Aric make a note on the folder in front of him.
Charles continued..... "I had always been a workaholic.... when I had needs that needed meeting I relied upon high class escorts.... I had no time for courtship or the ritual that accompanied it."
Milne nodded as though he understood exactly what Charles meant. "You paid charming professional escorts to meet those bodily needs.....? "
Mycroft said in a low voice.... "I see he's avoiding the word, prostitute."
Milne continued..... "Many Alpha do the same at various stages in their life when they find themselves unbonded. "
Mycroft gave a shudder of muted revulsion that almost made Sherlock smile despite himself.

"Physical needs met ...... that still left your emotional needs as an Alpha, Charles..... You can't have relied upon hired professionals when it came to those needs?" Milne sounded sympathetic.
Charles took a small sip of water..... "That would hardly have been appropriate. Those needs went unmet..... sublimated if you will by a dedication to achieve my personal goals. I have always been an ambitious man..... I had much to do."
"Little time for love?" Milne made a joke of it, keeping the mood light whilst reminding the judges how career success came at personal cost. "Your closest friends were bonded were they not?"
"They were," Charles admitted.
"And had these bond matches resulted in children?" Milne waited for his answer."
"Indeed," Charles raised the glass to his lips and pretended to take another sip of water. "All had been blessed with children."
"Did you see yourself becoming a family man at any point in the immediate future....?" Milne asked without judgement.
"Objection..... Legate, my learned colleague appears intent on meandering down some dim and distant lane to the past here." Aric knew the objection would fail yet tried to keep some pressure on.
"The relevance lies in Charles state of mind at the time he met Sherlock Holmes, its pivotal to our case Legate!" Milne fought for the inclusion.
"Pivotal? That had best be so Mr Milne.... " the Legate said dryly. "I'll allow it with an eye to its relevance....keep the meandering to a minimum if you will Mr Milne."
Milne took a sip of water...... " Did you see yourself becoming a family man at any point in that year Charles?"
Charles appeared to dislike the question, there was a hardness to his voice as he replied. "I saw no reason to suspect any change..... but I had begun to consider the option."
"A wealthy and successful Alpha such as yourself..... must surely have received offers from Alpha fathers eager to introduce their Omega sons to you with an eye to forming business and family links via a bond match?" Milne made it sound completely ordinary for this to have been the case.
"I'm a man who enjoys the best in life..... I have exacting standards. I'd received a number of such offers of course yet none interested me," Charles remained coolly collected.
"Take my Omega son off my hands and we can do business together..... like that's the more important thing!" John muttered in disgust.
Sherlock didn't think John knew he'd spoken aloud but the Legate's eyes settled on them briefly before moving away, he'd clearly heard. "Be careful," he warned John from behind his hand.

"None had interested you sufficiently to consider a bond match....." Milne repeated the words and let them sink in...... "And then you met Sherlock...... Could you tell the court in your own words of that first meeting with Sherlock?"
Magnussen exhaled slowly. Milne had instructed him to show emotion after all..... "A good friend of mine had mentioned a need for improved facilities at his school...... I offered to fund an all weather sports pitch and a number of other improvements...."
The revelation was a new one to Mycroft, he leant forward to speak with Aric ..... "I had no idea Charles knew the headmaster. None."

"Such funding was a generous act ...." Milne was making much of the magnimity of the gesture.
Charles barely acknowledged the statement with a nod as though it were nothing. "As a thank you I was invited to attend a series of social events at the school. The evening of ballet and a play was one such event."
"You appreciate ballet Charles? "
"I do. The combination of strength and fragility appeal to me. " Charles stared at Sherlock as he spoke.
"It was at this evening of ballet held in your honour that you first saw Sherlock Holmes ?"
"It was..... . " Charles answered uncharacteristically slowly.
"Had you noticed him during the performance?" Milne took care with his phrasing.
"I did. He had grace and ability far beyond amateur level," Charles replied.
"Did you remark upon his talent?" Milne kept the question light.
"I believe I would have done since he danced the solo so well."
"You don't recall?"
"I don't," Charles had perfect recall but a feigned vagueness protected him against accusations of too much interest.
Milne moved on......"As a result of your knowledge of ballet you were introduced to Sherlock following the evenings entertainment, is that correct?"
"Among a number of other pupils," Charles replied. "Yes."
"My learned colleague will doubtless make much out of this short initial meeting." Milne moved down the court picked up some paperwork before speaking...... "What were your initial impressions of Sherlock Holmes?"
"Intriguing," Charles said.

"Can you elaborate ? This first time you met how did conversation begin and flow?" Milne approached this topic tactfully.
"I complimented him on his dancing...... he was told during the introduction that I owned a private box at the London ballet..... He said he'd always wanted to go..... I expressed some surprised that he had not attended already since he was obviously interested in the ballet. He replied his father was very strict."
"Were you aware of his age at this point?" Milne waited for the answer.
"I was not. I assumed he was the same age as his peers,"Charles answered.
"You had no idea he had been placed in classes above his age because of academic ability? You simply assumed he was the same age as the other older Omega boys you'd seen perform?"
"I was unaware." Charles paused deliberately. It was of course a lie but he lied well ...... "In fact I had reason to assume he was older...."
Milne timed the question perfectly..... "What was that reason?"
" I saw signs of a potential interest..... from Sherlock, " Charles said.
Sherlock moved suddenly as though stung. Mycroft dropped a warning hand to his brother's arm to remind him not to speak.
"You observed Sherlock was attracted to you? Was he flirtatious?" Milne made certain no doubt showed in his tone.
"Objection! "Aric's voice sounded louder than normal, cutting in over the top of Charles reply as their voices clashed. " This is speculation, it's impossible to interpret any thoughts Sherlock may or may not have had!"
"Upheld...... You may rephrase Mr Milne if you wish?" The Legate upheld the objection.
"Thank you Legate. I'll return to it....." Milne leant a hand on the front of the witness box, an inclusive bridging gesture..... " I must apologise for this next question. However objectionable the inference an answer is necessary..... Were you sexually attracted to Sherlock Holmes at that initial meeting mistakenly believing him to be older?"
"Sexually? In retrospect it was inappropriate but yes.... " Charles answered the question..... "He is beautiful now then he was immature but wearing stage make up he appeared older..... His features were perfect..... it was possible to see what quality of beauty would come as he matured ..... "
"Predator...." Mycroft barely spoke audibly but Sherlock heard it. He wasn't sure if the strong grip on his arm was intended to remind himself or Mycroft of the impossibility of speaking any such view aloud in court.
"I'd like to submit some photographs from that evening Legate, if I may?" Milne hoped so. He'd had some discrete photo shop applied that made Sherlock look closer to 16 than 14...."
The Legate waited and there was silence whilst he and the two other judges examined the evidence.
"Boy looks old enough to bond to me," Mungo said. "Succulent little mouth."

"Could you share with this Court your initial impression of that first meeting between you.... How well did you believe it went?" Milne intended to return to the issue Aric had objected too so forcefully...... Charles insinuation that Sherlock was attracted to him.
Charles looked at Sherlock as he replied and smiled when the Omega ducked his head to escape the stare.... " I considered it to be the most promising meeting with an Omega of the Elite I had enjoyed in years."
Milne nodded and let his agreement be noted..... "From your perspective the conversation went that well?"
"I believed so. We shared a number of interests.... he expressed himself fluently if with a degree of shyness , the conversation was engaging..... so much so that I remained talking with him for some time after I normally would have moved along..... I had yet to release his hand...." Charles managed to make his firm grip into a romantic gesture.

Movement to the right of him caught John's eye ..... beneath the table Sherlock was wiping his palm repeatedly against the fabric of his trouser as though he was trying to clean it.
"So.... the conversation interested you on several levels and was mutually enjoyable..... in your opinion was that the only positive dynamic you observed between you?" Milne phrased it so Weber was unable to object.
"Objection! Legate once again this is pure speculation!" Aric's voice carried loudly.
"Withheld.... You can't deny relevance here Herr Weber," the Legate was brusque.
"It was not." Charles stated confidently.
"Can you be more precise?"
" Eye contact that lingered... the linking of or hands beyond the initial greeting," Charles said. "Nothing aware or inappropriate...... A virginal yet almost instinctual attraction."
Sherlock's sickly gulp drew Aric's attention and he spoke to the Omega in a low voice...."Say nothing. Our time will come....." reminding Sherlock that all this could be rebutted during cross examination.

To his left Mycroft heard his brother give a series of hard, determined gulps and looked at him with alarm. Was Sherlock about to vomit?..... Mycroft beckoned the usher over urgently..... "Water please!"
"I'll withdraw the question..... since the mere suggestion of sexual attraction predating the bond between Charles Magnussen and Sherlock seems to be causing no small degree of drama on my honourable colleagues side of the court.....perhaps Mycroft Holmes would prefer a adjournment. " Milne said knowingly.
Mycroft registered the insult lurking beneath the words and the intent to ridicule him for a perceived failure. It was nothing new.... he'd grown to adulthood amongst such people after all and Sherlock's awareness of the goad was of course familiar..... "Petty malice, nothing more," Mycroft remarked.
Sherlock realised he definitely was going to be sick despite every effort and placed the folded hancherchief sign that he needed a adjournment on the table without a fuss.....
"Court will adjourn for half an hour," the Legate said.


"Don't fuss," Sherlock waved John away and stared at the table top as he spoke......"They've done something to those photos, altered it somehow..... My face  looks different My stage make up looks heavier.....  I don't think I ever looked like that?"
Mycroft stared from the photo to the reality several times, his equibilruim more disturbed by Milne's sly ridicule of his celibacy than he cared to admit. . There was a indefinable change to the photograph that made Sherlock appear more sexually mature . "It's been exceptionally well done if so.. "
" You wouldn't know unless you'd seen me then," Sherlock said. Mycroft's dischoalate demeanor upset him, Siger had always used Mycroft's celibacy against him as though it were something to be ashamed of...... "You should add Milne's name to your hit list blud."
Mycroft was startled. How did Sherlock know such a thing ever existed?..... Years ago his Firing Squad List had been a somewhat twisted teenage satisfaction, one he'd kept well hidden between pages of a fascinating tome on the political history of the Conservative party that he'd judged least likely to appeal to his inquisitive younger brother . Clearly he'd been wrong,
"I'm sorry.... snooping probably wasn't good is it?" Sherlock said. "You had more books than I did. Eventually I was always going to get around to the political books....when I was desperate enough..... " There was a knock at the door and 'their' usher, Henry, poked his head around. "Courts reconvening in five minutes time, Sirs,"
"Thanks, " John said with a military efficiency as he got to his feet . He could see a look of anxious dread on Sherlock's face as the door closed and searched his mind for something else to distract the Omega. "Right. "Let's get in there... get this done and get you back to Billy, Sherlock. He must be wondering where his mum is."
Sherlock got to his feet. John was right , this day was almost over and he'd soon be back with Billy.... " Right, " he said.

The court toilets nearest the room were packed, both ushers and Alpha crowded inside to take advantage of their last chance for a pee for several hours.
Since no stall was empty Aric had found standing space by the wall to roll up his shirt sleeve and was in the middle of applying a fresh nicotine patch when the hubbub surrounding him died away. He knew without seeing who must have entered the room.

Charles Magnussen moved to the urinal immediately next to him and unzipped. There was an uneasy movement of bodies as people recognised a confrontation was imminent  and made sure to step away from the conflict zone.
Charles didn't bother speaking until he was mid-flow. "You have slid far from the echelons of Elite society have you not Mr Weber? .... Tell me lawyer, is it true  your own father disowned you on his death bed since you'd failed to make a decent life for yourself by the age of 30?" He shook his cock in such a way that spots of urine splattered Aric's trouser leg.
There was an expectant pause throughout the room as an impassive Aric carried on fastening his cufflink dismissively...." It frustrates you that Sherlock is represented here legally at all, Mr Magnussen?" Aric knew how Charles thought, viewing  the legal process as a challenge to  his own view of himself as dominus and Sherlock as property. " It would suit you to have me walk away from this case? I'm afraid I must disappoint you....  I regard it as a privilege to represent Sherlock."

Cheated of the angry reaction he longed for Charles goaded Aric again... " The story of your own bond is most interesting if unorthodox.  Aprielle has a sister in Manilla who was very willing to talk for such a small price it amused me to pay it... No respected member of the Elite would knowingly bond another's barren Omega so Aprielle was forced to consider an overweight unpredictable maverick no decent legal firm would employ.... Tell me do you think he believes you now that you pretend being childless does not matter?"
In one surprisingly fast move Aric Weber slammed a meaty palm against the ceramic tiles just to the side of Charles head and leant in, letting his solid bearlike bulk make its own point. The two men locked eyes .... "Do your worst, we keep no secrets from each other.... I am content with my life and my bond mate as he is with me." Aric removed his heavy hand.... "Now if you will excuse me, I'd be a poor lawyer indeed if I let you distract me from the needs of my client."
"Then tomorrow's headlines should prove of interest to you...." Charles laid out his threat in plain sight.
The man's arrogance was unbelievable! Aric Weber ignored every eye upon him except for Charles Magnussen's....  "I see now why you have amassed such a number of tabloid newspapers.... The gutter press..... You are in your element there doubtless..... you'll excuse me if I don't care to join you."
Charles forgot himself so far as to take that first angry step forward.
Aric stood still and waited for the other man to recall there were lines even he dare not cross and assaulting a lawyer was one such line.... he didn't expect Magnussen's next reaction....
Charles simply smiled..... a mere rictus of the jaw, cold eyed and chilling.

Chapter Text

Greg was very pleased with the latest electric razor he'd bought on four easy pays from QVC ...... so pleased he'd been suckered into suggesting Mycroft should try one again.
Looking back, the bristle shaving brush, cut throat razor blade and the old fashioned stick of shaving creme he'd seen in Mycroft's bathroom, added to the fact that they'd had this same discussion before and it hadn't resulted in Mycroft buying one, probably should have told him that idea was never going to fly.
"Good technique with a sharp razor blade is the key to efficient stubble removal.... " Mycroft said as he hung up his waistcoat.
Had Mycroft just called him bristly? Greg had had a long day and more than enough patronisation in the workplace and from the public to get under his skin. The  freshly laundered, but never ironed sheets and duvet cover of his  bed were calling him.
He knew Mycroft didn't mean to act like he knew best just because he'd been born Alpha and Elite; like Greg's new patronising boss was ....
Greg prided himself on staying calm; he wasn't about to get into some pointlessly lengthy debate about a shave.... nope he'd just let it go and then they'd both be enjoying a nice warm hug in bed... Contradicting Mycroft wasn't worth his time.....  "It got 50 5 star reviews and sold out the first day," Greg heard  himself say instead of letting it go.....
Mycroft made an  amused, dismissive sound as he climbed into bed.
"And what does that mean?"  Greg had wanted to know.
"It means that reviews from 50 couch surfing individuals hardly constitutes a scientifically conducted endorsement , Gregory," Mycroft  had retorted pithily....
Big mistake..... "You're a shaving snob. " Greg said.
"Merely a purist," Mycroft had replied.

If you'd have told him they'd still be bickering about it in bed, like some old married couple some twenty minutes later, Greg would have called you crazy.... or possibly just a Holmes.  Most couples would have been snogging by now...
As he was fast learning Mycroft Holmes and his brother were unlike anyone else in a wide number of ways. Both could be incredibly frustrating....but Sherlock had an obvious raw fragility beneath the odd flash of annoying  arrogance that softened it;  whereas Mycroft was more like Greg imagined the Queen would be if he'd gone along to one of her posh garden parties, shook her hand then said he hated corgi's....
Mycroft could be snootily superior and incredulous.
It was oddly sexy.....

Frustration in all its forms  seemed to be becoming the theme of the week but sexual frustration was ahead by a nose.
Greg had a sense of humour and there were some funny memes out there about Omega and Alpha sexual frustration ( John had helpfully sent him several during their friendship)  but so close to his last heat his sense of humour wasn't as good as usual.
Sexual frustration will do that to you.
Spending one heat without an Alpha was do-able, two was manageable, three was depressing, four would be harder work...more than 10 in a row bleak..... as many as Greg had spent alone was no joke.
Sherlock had had a pretty active sex life with Alan..... judging from the number of times Greg had been forced to hang about downstairs while they scrambled into some trousers. Alan had never said he felt frustrated. He'd definitely had the confident attitude of an Alpha who'd recently had a mind blowing shared orgasm......

Greg stopped that line of thought dead in its tracks. Thinking about someone else's Alpha shagging away was not too good. He wasn't even attracted to Alan. Not at all.
It was Mycroft with that untouchable, regal air that floated Greg's boat so to speak..... his banana boat maybe..... and just like that the phallic images were back.....
Greg sat up and swung both feet out the bed. He left the light off.... "I need a glass of water. Do you want one?"
"No thank you, Gregory" Mycroft replied from his side of the bed. He'd been longing to have both arms round Gregory but now he knew Gregory would drink a glass of water then stay for a 'secret' cigarette...

In the quiet kitchen Greg let the tap run for long enough to clear the taste of London from the water as much as was possible.
God he was frustrated. This thing he had with Mycroft was meeting all his needs bar one. Much as Greg liked his career he was still Omega and every month, regular as the number 23 bus his heat came along.
Sharing it with an Alpha of his choice had always been one of the benefits of having any sort of Alpha in his life.
However.... this was Mycroft..... and if Greg knew anything about Mycroft Holmes, it was that Mycroft Holmes did not do heat sharing.

Greg being who he was he'd considered bringing the heat topic up but tonight definitely didn't feel like the right time and he understood how much of Mycroft's focus was set on Sherlock and the trial right now. There was no point in adding any more stress into the mix by explaining how his last solo heat had been a nightmare.
Greg suspected sleeping platonically with Mycroft was behind such a savage change in his bodies desire levels ..... as it was he now had serious respect for Sherlock and Alan, who'd managed to battle temptation and stay opposing sides of a metal door because the urge to open it must have been unreal.
Greg felt like he would have hoiked Mycroft by his tie over the threshold into the heat suite if the Alpha had so much as showed any interest last week.
Instead Mycroft studiously avoided asking Greg where he'd been and when Greg had mentioned it himself he'd been met with one of Mycroft's typically aloof  'I  see' faces.
It was enough to drive any Omega to buy a giant sized dildo out of sheer bloody frustration but with one of the most observant men he knew popping over to stay the night regularly there was no chance Greg could risk that.
His frustrations would have to wait. All he needed was some fresh air and a smoke...


London was never quiet but on a dark damp night the feeling that he was a small part of a greater historic whole was centering....  despite the urban foxes a few doors down who were having some kind of dispute with a cat  and some poor bastard who was in trouble along the high street, Greg could hear the sirens of the emergency services as they rushed to the call.
It was good to just stand and smoke and feel the damp grass under his bare feet , but even as he stared up at the starless sky Greg had to admit he was feeling the lack of Alpha cock in his life lately.
He'd even pulled over in a deserted carpark a few days before his heat was due and watched some porn on his phone while wanking. Thank God Mycroft had no way of knowing about that!

Mycroft was certain Gregory was unaware that he was being discretely followed by agents at all times. After all had he known he would hardly have done what he did a few days  before his heat was due.
There was a disused taxi garage close to the Westway, underneath the motorway where traffic roared overhead.  It had its own parking bays and porto- cabin, vandals had broken every window in it over time. The shattered glass fragments glittered weakly in the late evening sunlight and must have crunched beneath Gregory's car tyres as he drove over them. It was a desolate spot amid a bustling 24hr city.
Since there was no apparent reason for Gregory Lestrade to have driven off the main road and around the rear of a derelict building that wasn't a crime scene,  the agents had believed it wise to make sure Mycroft was made aware that the Omega had taken this unusual course of action.
Naturally Mycroft had asked for a live visual link in so he could see exactly what was happening.... Luckily he was viewing alone when the footage commenced.

The sight of Greg leant forward in his car seat had at first been inexplicable. Mycroft had suspected some type of heart attack at the wheel and had been one  second away from summoning urgent medical assistance when he'd noticed Greg had removed his coat.
Mycroft noted the furtively persistent, fervent movement of Gregory's shoulder and arm and realised he was masturbating while viewing some type of moving image on his mobile phone screen.
A prickly heat spread underneath Mycroft's skin as he watched Gregory speed up. He only realised he was holding his own breath when his own vision began to darken around the edges.
It ought to have been was instead the most perculiarly erotic act Mycroft had ever spied upon...

It wasn't until after Gregory had reached his own personal petite mort that a  strangely insidious compulsion to know exactly what he had been viewing over came all Mycroft's scruples....

In retrospect porn ought to have suggested itself as the likely viewing material, bearing in mind the proximity to Gregory's oncoming heat. While his need to view it hardly came as a total surprise, given that Omega sexuality felt more intense the week before their heat..... using porn to help deal with that frustration wasn't an area of his sexuality Greg had ever spoken about.
Mycroft blamed his own inexperience of both masturbation, Omega heats and  pornography, for the fact that he didn't consider it obvious from the start.
Surely something involving handcuffs would be the most likely subject matter , given the pair that Sherlock claimed to have stolen from Gregory's bedroom and John Watson's disconcertingly immediate recognition of said pair of handcuffs as Gregory's own.....
Mycroft was taken aback to discover that becoming aware that the Omega he preferred was relying, albeit indirectly, upon any other suited Alpha to aid him through a heat was profoundly unsettling..... In order therefore, to begin to understand the appeal of such a specific interest Mycroft had reluctantly felt compelled to  view the same movie.
It didn't feature handcuffs..... It was suit porn.

The porn itself was disappointing on several levels.
Firstly the Alpha individual concerned was most decidedly not a member of the British Elite.... his accent revealed that he came in fact from an industrial city in Minsk.  The loose, slackly tied knot in the man's tie was scarcely passable in polite society and the sickly lime green shade of the fabric in no way complemented his choice of pale grey suit. As a further insult to credulity he'd failed to pay sufficient attention to rudimental details when it came to his personal grooming, having omitted a close wet shave and had incorrectly deemed a strong deodorant unnecessary to judge from the growing sweat stain under his armpit.
The Omega featured also wore a suit though it was appalling loosely tailored.... He had made somewhat more effort to coordinate tie with shirt. Mycroft supposed he would be considered reasonably attractive in an altogether too smooth way.  However the man's eye brows were dyed and the eyes lacked any genuine arousal... the pupils were unexpanded and Mycroft suspected his panting owed more to the physical exertion of his role as receiver than any genuine arousal.

Nevertheless despite these obvious failings.... Mycroft did try to imagine himself in the Alpha role. The fake moaning and slapping of flesh had proven somewhat disconcerting and the steady stream of coarse language made it impossible to imagine either himself or Gregory taking part in any such suit crumpling encounter.

. Personally Mycroft considered Gregory to be far more attractive than any porn actor. He couldn't imagine either of these two excessively verbally repetitive and unhygienic individuals were particularly sexually appealing to Gregory either....
Suit porn suggested the formal clothing itself held an erotic allure....
Mycroft was the first to admit a well tailored suit gave an individual an almost sensual feeling of satisfaction when worn..... There was a reassuring manly solidity to Gregory Lestrade in even an off the peg work suit,  despite its cheaper material and tailoring, that Mycroft found deeply attractive but the suit was not in itself the reason for his attraction.... that centered around  the man himself.
Something in the detectives weary stance and heavy walk at the end of a long day made Mycroft think of stoic endurance and the clean lines of classical Grecian sculpture..... arched well shapen feet, workman like practical calves and thighs..... even the slight slackness of Gregory's belly was more arousing that the tanned and toned porn star abdominals he was currently viewing onscreen......

Listing the many attractive physical qualifies of  Gregory Lestrade  had the usual inevitable physical response of Alpha arousal. Something that the porn movie had entirely failed to elicit. Mycroft moved the duvet away from his groin and eyed his tented groin with no small degree of irritation.
Really? This is hardly appropriate timing. ....

Appropriate or not he could hardly await Gregory's return to bed in such an obvious state of arousal. While he didn't believe in flattering himself unduly in relation to penis size; something would have to be done to diminish the problems sheer noticeability....
Mycroft took the box of tissues from Gregory's side of the bed and placed them by his knee with a furtive glance at the ajar door. He left the light off .... estimating it would take at least 15 minutes for Gregory to return to bed according to the timescale of previous nights. That was surely sufficient time to complete things.....

Mycroft folded up the sleeve of his pyjama top evenly. Clearly some element of this nondescript movie had bought Gregory to satisfaction.... perhaps that knowledge meant it would suffice for Mycroft also.

It didn't take long to dismiss that notion. The movie was progressing formulaically through a briskly efficient fellatio,  culminating in an even more rushed hand contact masturbation from the Alpha that continued without pause until his Omega co-star had ejaculated over his jacket .....
Clearly both were the type of rash individuals who bore few concerns for the difficulty of removing semen from a Italian viscose and linen blend fabric. It was not behavior Mycroft was prepared to overlook.

Laying his phone screen down on the duvet Mycroft summoned up the few unclear mental images he could recall of Gregory's own furtive vehicular masturbation; the furtive haste of which mirrored his own and set too work. The jerking upward movement of Gregory's arm had suggested a right handed pull towards the head so Mycroft simply closed his eyes and followed suit...

Mycroft so rarely did this. His own cock felt unwieldy and unfamiliar to him. With his eyes shut it was easier for his brain to fool his body that the palm sliding dryly over his shaft , twisting direction and pushing slowly back down was Gregory's own....the pace perfect, the intimacy real....
The change of such an illusion was instant.
Full hardness.
A hitch in his breathing.
A strong sensation of heat and friction beneath and across his skin.....
Mycroft's hand sped up....he was already close....he did this so seldom.

It was at that precise moment that the sound of breaking glass echoed up through the silent house.....

Events had transpired as follows.....
It was getting too windy and cold to stay outside longer.... Greg was burying his cigarette end in the flower bed where all the dandelions were, when there was a sudden strong gust of wind and one of the plastic herb pots he was growing on the kitchen window will toppled down to the gravel below.
Greg made a sprint for the open kitchen door as he saw it start to move....his feet slid on the damp grass and he fell forward onto hands and knees on the gravel path with a jolt....
Before he could get back up a second stronger gust slammed the only way back into the house shut, locking him outside in the garden in his PJs.


Just great!
The bedroom light was still off.
Mycroft was probably asleep by now and . Greg had stupidly left his mobile phone upstairs along with his house keys.

You'd have to be Riddick's height to hop the gate or fences so Greg armed himself with a garden gnome and smashed the glass of his downstairs toilet window in with one hard whack.
He'd done it once before but this time either the gap he had to climb in through had shrunk or Greg himself had put on a few pounds.... it was harder to squeeze through than he'd thought and for a few brief seconds getting wedged midway seemed possible.
Once inside he had to twist sideways athletically to avoid landing barefoot in glass fragments....and his hand caught on a shard of glass.
" bastard!"
He was rinsing it under the tap and getting his breath back when Mycroft's voice came from the other side of the closed door.
"I must warn you I am armed and have recently  completed the MI5 refresher course in physical combat... Agents will already been dispatched. If any harm has come to Gregory Lestrade you will live long enough to deeply regret it ..."
Greg felt a jolt in his jaw as his mouth dropped open...."It's me. I'm coming out," he said.

Clad only in his traditional pyjamas, Mycroft lowered his trusty umbrella... His gaze travelled down Gregory's body noting the lighter in Gregory's pocket and slightly muddy feet.... He avoided commenting on to the luridly painted gnome still clutched in Gregory's right hand.....and allowed his gaze to settle with polite inquiry on Gregory's mud stained pyjama knees...


"Your umbrella is one of those hidden sword ones?"  Greg had seen one in an epic spy movie.
"Unfortunately it is merely an umbrella.... although I am trained in a number of protective counter measures using it....." Mycroft took out his phone and hurriedly sent a code to cancel the imminent arrival of the team sent to rescue him before returning his attention to Gregory... "You realise you had left the tap running,  the kitchen was empty , a herb pot was disturbed and your water glass still full?" The whole tableaux had an alarming Marie Celeste air...
"I was in the garden. Smoking. The wind caught the door," Greg said. "I slipped trying to get back before it shut..... "
"And the gnome?" Mycroft enquired politely as to its purpose.
Greg stared down at its endless beaming smile. "This is Norman," he said.....

"You're bleeding," Mycroft sounded concerned.
Greg took a glance down and saw blood on his hands. "I'll clean up," he said.
"Allow me.... Where do you keep the first aid kit?" Mycroft asked.
"Um...." Greg wasn't sure where he'd last left it....
" I'll find it," Mycroft said and did with impressive speed.

Greg could tell his open packet of Asda plasters , Dettol, ingrown toenail kit, scissors and cotton wool wasn't exactly the comprehensive first aid kit Mycroft had envisioned.
"No kidney bowl..." Mycroft muttered under his breath as he improved with a clean Tupperware bowl.
"I meant to replace everything after John moved out," Greg had honestly never got around to it. Life had run over all his plans like a speeding truck...
Mycroft eyed him impassively .
"You probably don't want to talk about John," Greg said.
"Not at all...." Mycroft denied the truth politely although in fact Gregory was quite right and imagining John Watson here in Gregory's home discomfited him on various enviously insecure levels. "You should probably remove your pyjama bottoms though. "

Greg found sitting on the couch in his boxers watching Mycroft Holmes wipe his bloody knee a bit weird.....Not least because it reminded him vaguely of his mum back when he was a football mad kid...
"I always administered first aid to Sherlock... as you can imagine he was an accident prone child," Mycroft said conversationally.
Greg could imagine that .... "I'm used to patching myself up.. You get the odd incident at work." he said for want of something to say.
Mycroft's steadying hand on his calf felt more intimate than it'd ever felt when John had patched him up.
Now Greg thought about it the sight of an Elite Alpha crouched down between his own man-spread legs had its own distinctly sexual connotation....
Mycroft slid his hand a little higher, cupping just behind Gregory's knee where the skin was warm and satin soft,  with tendons Mycroft could feel just beneath the skin. "You've some gravel impactions here...." he wiped the small spot of bloody ooze away...."and here"..... necessity compelled him to lean his head in closer.....Gregory's bare thigh right next to his head....
There was a hitch too Gregory's breathing suggesting arousal.... or was there?  Testing his theory Mycroft moved his head to one side and quite deliberately exhaled a hot moist breath into the skin of Gregory's thigh....
The faint but shuddering inhalation Gregory gave proved Mycroft right....

Greg stared determinedly up at the ceiling, aware he was breathing a little faster than he should be.... It really wasn't a good idea to be getting hard right now but something was definitely happening right at the worst time... What he needed was a boring distraction..... Sheep!  He'd count three... a slightly desperate four....
"When was your last tetanus jab?' Mycroft asked.... since he was crouching he rested a hand just above Gregory's knee on his thigh ....for 'balance'.....
"My what....?" Greg had missed everything Mycroft said, his mind blipping out as soon as Mycroft laid a palm on his bare leg.....
"Please don't tell me the idea of a prick makes you anxious?" Mycroft said....
Greg inhaled sharply. Are you kidding me!

Mycroft leant in both hands resting on top of Gregory's wide apart thighs to keep them in place....and trailed the tip of his tongue between the fine hairs that dusted Gregory's thigh...
Gregory snatched air in, in one hard gasp as his cock reacted....
Mycroft pressed his lips to the skin of Gregory's inner thigh moving higher kiss by sucking kiss.....
"Oh yeah...." Greg had a lunatic moment where he hoped he hadn't just sounded like that awful porno he'd whacked off to recently..... If Mycroft stopped now he only had himself too blame.....
Mycroft's next sucking kiss landed on the fabric  covered bulge barely hidden by Gregory's blue patterned, soft cotton boxers.....
Greg had a short charged pattern of breathing now,  as the human warmth of Mycroft's open mouth steamed over Greg's cock skin  through the material and left his balls warm and damp .... Centimetres away from Mycroft's open mouth Gregory's cock hardened and swelled....
Mycroft pushed his parted lips against the jutting slightly curved solidity of Gregory's cock....and followed it with his tongue....
There was no reply Greg could possibly make to that..... other than sliding strong fingers into Mycroft's hair ......


It had been a long day even by the demanding standards of a lawyer. Aric Weber was sure to open the front door quietly so Aprielle didn't hear him coming in. He was unsurprised to find the house in darkness.
He couldn't see a thing but the sound of screaming coming from the lounge to the left of the front door told him exactly where his Omega was .....
"You are late Aric, I've eaten the popcorn."  Aprielle was lounging on the couch with his fluffy slippered feet up on the coffee table and a huge bowl of popcorn impossibly wedged onto his lap alongside Zidney the cat. The raucous screaming was coming from one of the Hitchcock movies Aprielle loved so much.

Aric dropped keys and case onto the empty armchair and took the seat next to his Omega, being careful to move slowly so he didn't startle Zidney he reached out to caress the cats dense black fur. "We need to talk," he said.
Aprielle reached for the remote control and paused his movie. "What about?" he asked.
"Charles Magnussen and the media power he has to ruin lives. Some business about the past and headlines" Aric hated having to tell Aprielle this....   "You know I don't think the man likes me very much? "
"I am sure he doesn't," Aprielle said calmly...... "So he is writing about us?"
Aric didn't care what was written about him but Aprielle deserved none of it..... "I think....someone in your family has spoken to him. Money talks , you know that Aprielle....."
"Have you stopped loving me?" Aprielle rubbed the fur behind Zidney's neck lovingly.
Aric chuckled. "You know not."
"Then he has no power. Let him dare write something slanderous....  You can sue. He can afford a big payout can he not?" Aprielle was nonchalant.
"And if he writes the truth?" They rarely spoke nowadays about Aprielle's first bond or the way they had met but that Charles Magnussen could distort the truth into something ugly, Aric didn't doubt... "He claims to have spoken to someone we know.... That is what he claims."
Disturbed by some change or tension in Aprielle, Zidney the cat rolled over and jumped down to the floor. 
Aric watched him go, then spoke again.... "He had more than his usual arrogance. We may wake up to find we are front page news...."
Aprielle reached a hand into the small mound of  popcorn took out the largest piece and fed it to Aric..... "Then we won't need to read the paper that day, since we already know how it really was that we met and fell in love."
Aric took his Omega's maimed hand carefully and pressed the traditional kiss upon its heavy bandages.... " Put the movie back on, I'll watch with you, " he said placidly.
Aprielle turned the TV off instead...." My ears are tired of screaming.... ," he said. "Don't be so worried Aric.... Come here. Put your head in my lap... Let me love you."
"Always," Aric said. "You are my world."

Chapter Text

The alarm clock switched on the radio morning show automatically at 6.30 just like it always did....
That was Tears From Fears with Mad World ..... and speaking of mad worlds.... lets go over to Eamon in the chopper and the traffic update.... How's London moving today Eamon?

Greg pulled the plug out the wall socket and turned over in his empty bed.


Aprielle Weber got up early. Aric's snoring and muttering was impossible to sleep through. No anti- snoring gadget they'd tried ever worked......but it wasn't Aric's familiar snoring that had kept him awake..... Aprielle knew how worried Aric was about what Magnussen would print today and about how Sherlock would react to hearing Magnussen defend the way he had abused his Omega.....


The black cat weaved around his feet and walked along the kitchen worktop as Aprielle opened the fridge ...... he stopped to run a hand along the cats back and tail and smiled as Zidney purred into his touch. "i see you are hungry Mr Zidney," he said. "Let us get you breakfast."
The Omega laid places for himself and Aric and added a small cat bowl to the table..... Zidney ate most of his meals up on the table next to Aprielle now as Aric was always working late.

Aprielle loved cats , they were so calm and loving..... to truly win their hearts took time and patience....and he had plenty of both.
He was watching Zidney eat when the cat froze stilly..... the next instant Aprielle heard the sound of the letter box... It was early for the mail.....
As Aprielle went into the hall way to retrieve the mail he noticed two things..... firstly, a newspaper not mail had been posted through the letter box and secondly, Aric's open briefcase was still on the couch and there was a strong distinctive smell.....

The bedroom blind was drawn......
"Reinhardt...... cowbells ..... " Aric mumbled in his sleep.
Aprielle opened his mouth in a dramatic O shape..... "Always the cowbells and Reinhardt in the lederhosen......" he said aloud as he gave Aric's foot a shake...... " Wake up Aric!"
Aric grunted and gave a short snorting snore.....
Aprielle lifted up the duvet and shook cold air under it it as he cooed....... "Aric...... love of my life..... wakey up...."
"I'm working....." Aric mumbled.
" No you are snoring..... Aric, wake up....." Aprielle waited until he saw Aric's eyelids crease then added.... " Zidney has pissed in your briefcase again......"
Aric's eyes flicked open. "No?..... Despite the five litter trays?"
Aprielle gave the foot he'd shaken a loving squeeze.... "You should have closed it. He is marking his territory," he said. "We are his family ...... Charles Magnussen was kind enough to send us copies of his newspapers. We are headline news....."
"And...?" Aric sat up.
"Not so good," Aprielle replied simply.


Lawyer Aric Weber had a six month affair with the Omega he was representing in bond maintenance case.
Omega tried to kill himself after their affair ended.
Maverick lawyer Aric Weber , who specialises in Elite Bond Severance claims , has been revealed to have been suspended from his position at a prestigious law firm after he admitted to having an affair with a client ____ and billing him for the times they met to have sex.
Lawyer Weber had a six month torrid affair with the Omega who he was representing in a bond severance case.
Lawyer Weber began a sexual affair with his client after complimenting him on his appearance and talking to him about his Alpha.
The pair embarked on an affair and met up on numerous occasions to have sex.
Documents obtained from Aric Weber's old legal firm reveal that on the dates he was having sex he billed the Omega for his time and coded their liasons as meetings or draft meetings.
After several months Weber broke off the affair in a bid to keep his behaviour secret.
He also withdrew as the Omega's lawyer which caused the Omega, who had sterility issues , to try and kill himself. While recovering in hospital news of their affair reached Weber's boss who instantly suspended the maverick lawyer.
Weber initially denied the affair but later admitted to it and faced a disciplinary panel , he was suspended from practising law for a year.
Documents obtained by this paper reveal that Weber first met his young client to discuss the possibility of obtaining permission for the Omega to use the eggs frozen during infertility treatment to conceive his own child. Permission to do so was denied by his Alpha.
After agreeing to meet the Omega, who had been rejected by his own Alpha, Weber called him several days later and suggested a private meet. Weber asked about the Omega's sex life , commented on his appearance and asked if they could meet privately.
The affair began then and continued until May of that year when Weber ended the relationship after he faced questions in the workplace.

Aprielle checked the online news..... comments online were worse. People thought now they knew a truth when they had been fed lies.
It was all as Aric had said it would be. A thin thread of facts spun and twisted into threads to make a coat of lies. The trust and love that had slowly grown between himself and Aric cheapened into untruths and dirty headlines when it had never been like that. He was angry to see his Aric forced to wear this!
Apreille watched from the window as Aric paced down the garden to the very bottom....... he knew from his mates furiously fast stride how much anger he needed to vent. Aric never hurried, always he was laid back and deceptively slow moving for such a fast thinking man..... like a big bear; his big sexy bear, round and cuddly with strength you could see and more that was hidden.
Everyone who read the paper today would think they knew his Aric.... they didn't know how Aprielle thanked God for the day he had met his mate
At the bottom of the garden Aric had reached the wall....
Aprielle watched him rage at the sky.....


Sherlock hadn't slept..... today he knew he'd have to listen to Charles talk about him and the bond. Maybe he was going to have to sit there and hear Charles talk about raping him as though it were normal...... "I miss your dad. I really , really miss your dad ...." he told his son.
Billy looked back at him with innocently myopic eyes.
"You look just like him sometimes...." Sherlock said sadly and his voice cracked.
Lars laid a comforting hand on Sherlock's shoulder. "Maybe a letter will come today," he said. It was a crumb of comfort..... he knew Sherlock needed so much more.
"He needs to come home....." Sherlock said hopelessly. Alan's scent was fading from the single sweatshirt  he had left behind him. Now Sherlock constantly wore it Alan's scent being replaced by Sherlock's own ..... one day he'd wake up and it'd be entirely gone.....

At the Diogenes Club all was serenely unchangeable, timelessly so, its traditions unaltered by modernity. There were no online copies here, instead club porters made sure each open page of the morning papers was placed each open page beneath a clean Irish linen tea towel and ironed on a cool heat to prevent any risk that a club member would end up with blackened, inky fingers.
Nevertheless, Mycroft Holmes handled his ironed copy of todays newspaper as though its lies and distortions could infect him.
He turned each page by its corner , fastidiously and afterwards washed his hands.
Charles Magnussen had always left him feeling tarnished by association. It must be a hundred times worse for Sherlock and now for Aric and Aprielle too.....


John watched Killer, as he privately called her now, closely as she scrambled his eggs.....
"I can snip some chives and cheese in if you'd like John?"
Mary already had the cookery ap open on her phone.... obviously expected him to say yes then. John took pleasure in annoying her a bit.... "No thanks, I like my eggs plain if that's ok?"
"Of course it is..... " Mary beamed at him over one shoulder.
John wasn't fooled by her anymore..... he noticed the slight irritation in her sideways finger swipe as she cleared the screen......

Having he'd seen her shopping list and kitchen cupboards Sherlock and Mycroft seemed sure she liked salty food with plenty of herbs so John waited till she lifted the sea salt to add.... "Can we give the salt a miss too? I'm trying to cut back....."
Mary gave the egg a push with the spoon. Great.... bland and boring food..... "You're right John, we should all be cutting back," she lied. She'd sneak some salt onto her meal as soon as John's back was turned.....
"Great...." John gave her a kiss then picked up the sea salt she'd only just bought. "I'll chuck this in the bin then," he said and did so with a loud clang of the bin lid......for good measure he dropped the pepper in as well......

Mary hadn't enjoyed her bland breakfast but she had a surge of pure devilment and pleasure when she saw the headlines..... so Aric Weber had his own dirty past.
Everyone did. It was just a matter of digging deep enough as Jim always said.
Don't hold back colleen.... use that lovely body of yours......shag whoever needs shagging..... do your thang baby girl... John Watson needs some rumpy pumpy..... and you will blow his tiny mind..... Just remember you're on Daddy's side....if you see a chance to get me some leverage on Charles Magnussen don't fail me, Mary..... Daddy doesn't like being let down..... Jim had teased in that soft Southern Irish brogue of his.
Mary was no fool, she wasn't about to risk getting caught in the game by a man as psycotic and lethal as Jim. She made sure she had her insurance..... some damning protection against Jim or Charles Magnussen deciding to have her silenced permanently when the job had run its course...... after all she knew exactly what both men were capable of.
"John?" Mary sounded concerned as she carried the newspaper to John. "Have you seen this? Aric Weber is Sherlock's lawyer isn't he?"
John's brow furrowed as she showed him the headline.... "Shit!" he said consisely. "I have to go."


Aric was sorting out his spare briefcase when Aprielle came in and poured himself and Aric a cup of coffee from the jug beneath the coffee maker .....
The morning papers had been stuffed hapzardly into the pedal bin. Aprielle glanced at the over full bin's uncloseable lid and said nothing.
"Are you sure you want this?" Aric asked his Omega again to be certain.
"Don't ask and ask when I already said, Aric. I am not a ground hog day!" Aprielle said snappily.
Aric said nothing..... remembering how Aprielle had slammed about in the kitchen on the day he admitted had invited Mycroft Holmes to their home and intended to take Sherlock's case. Yet Aprielle had given up everything to follow him here and provide the home comforts, love and company that meant so much to Aric...... He waited until the Omega had turned around to compliment him, "You look good Aprielle. The shirt suits you." The Omega's cobalt blue shirt was an exact match to the one Aric himself wore.
Aprielle paused..... "Why do you sound so surprised? Don't I always look sexy?" he asked.
Aric laughed. Nobody ever made him laugh as much as Aprielle could.."Of course."
Aprielle's eyes lit up..... "Sexier than Reindhart in his lederhosen?" he asked teasingly.
"Sexier than Reinhart out of his lederhosen....." Aric replied.
"I knew it...." Aprielle said smugly.

"I want to buy a cat tree," Aprielle said as they idled in traffic on way into the court. There'd been a shouting press pack right outside their rental home and all around the car the bright camera flashbulbs of the press were going off ...... "They have big ones like a real tree.... with leaves and...." the word escaped him in English , so he spread his arms wide like branches.....
"Geäst? Branches..... " Aric said.
"So? Branches." Aprielle repeated the word to ensure he remembered it.... " Zidney wants one with branches so he can get up high in a safe place where he won't be seen unless he wants to be."
Aric understood, he'd always understood that the cats were much more than mere pets, they were the children he and Aprielle had been unable to have.... Apreille needed to know Zidney was safe.... "Then we will get him a tree. Anything he needs.....whatever he needs.... any change...... he has only to ask....."
Aprielle nodded. "Only the cat tree," he said. "He has everything else he needs.... "


" Sit next to me mama!" Danhil spoke around the spoonful of porridge in his mouth.
Maxim rolled his eyes. "You say the same thing every day and he never does...."
Sasha took his usual seat at the far end of the long table; he was not in the mood for spilt kasha. He saw Danhil stick out his porridge covered tongue at his big brother but ignored it and spoke instead to the maid who came to pour his coffee. "Vera, please ask cook to make some butterbots for Ilya....."
"Not fair..... we get boring kasha and he gets butter bots!" Danhil loved butter bots.
"He is ill..... would you be as ill if it meant you got butter bots?" Sasha said matter of factly.
Danhil shook his head with the spoon still in his mouth.
Maxim waited to ask...... "Is the doctor coming?"
"It's just a cold," Sasha said.
Maxim frowned. "You were in his room all night. I heard you talking through the wall," he didn't believe it was just anything......
Sasha refused to react. "It's a head cold..... nothing more."
Maxim scowled down at his plate. He was big enough to be told the truth and help.
"What's wrong?" Nikolai whispered his question for Maxim. He knew something was going on.
Sasha looked up. "Don't whisper at the table please Nikolai. Remember your manners."
"Yes mama." Nikolai said promptly. He was good at staying out of trouble by being polite.
Sasha looked down the table at his Omega son's. "Ilya is feeling much better this morning. If he wasn't he would'nt be hungry for breakfast would he? You can see him after school, Maxim..... You can read to him?"
Maxim nodded. He had a new Pokemon book and Ilya loved Pokemon.
"Can we have ham butter bots for breakfast tomorrow ?" Danhil said..... focused only on his stomach.
"No," Sasha said honestly. " Butterbots are once a week only, eat your kasha."

Matvei and Georgi had already left for school. Alexei was adjusting his tie in the huge mirror when Maxim saw him.
"Are you going to Court again Papa?" he asked.
Alexei barely glanced at the child. "I am."
"Does that mean Aleksander will come to play today?" Maxim hoped so. Aleksander was fun. He liked all the same things that Maxim did....
Alexei finally turned his full attention to his Omega son..... "Must you play the kiss me whore for the first Alpha boy who shows interest?" he said..... "You won't  be bonded to Aleksander.... it's all agreed so don't get different ideas.... You are going to Dimitri's eldest son....."

"What's wrong?" Nikolai had asked twice now. Ever since they'd got in the car for school there'd been something wrong. "Maxim whats the matter? Did Papa tell you off?"
"Maybe he has stomach ache from too much kasha," Danhil offered his opinion without being asked. "If we had butter bots he'd be fine...."
"Will you ever shut up about dumb butter bots!" Nikolai said. There was something wrong with Maxim and he didn't know what but the way Maxim wouldn't talk back was worrying him.
Danhil thought about it.... would he ever shut up about butter bots?....."No never," he said.


Sasha rarely sought out Alexei..... but this time he hurried downstairs to catch him before he left the house.
"You look like your mother...." Alexei stared dismissively at his Omega. "We should get something done about the skin beneath your eyes. It ages you...."
More plastic surgery he didn't need? He'd been awake all night was he meant to look well rested? "May I call a doctor for the children please?" Sasha avoided giving any more details....
Alexei held out his arms as the manservant helped him into his coat..... "Which of our many children is unwell?" he asked....
"Ilya...." Sasha said reluctantly. "He has a head cold.... croup...."
Alexei shook his head as though amused...... "Sasha..... Sasha..... so much lavished attention on the runt of our litter......"
Sasha drew a sharp breath in..... "May I send for the doctor?" he said stiffly.
"Is that how you beg me for a favour?" Alexei was amused. "Such a stiff neck...."
"Please may I send for a doctor to help our sick son breathe?" Sasha would demean himself as demanded if it got Ilya the help he needed but he would not grovel.....
Alexei nodded to the butler who opened the front door..... outside by the kerb Charles car was waiting for him..... "Will it cure him?" he asked.
Sasha was confused..... "He is unwell.... a doctor can help ease his chest....."
Alexei interrupted..... "Not what I asked Sasha.... Will it cure him? Will he become a normal child who can run, talk, is continent....?"
Sasha took several deep breaths.... "You know he can't be cured....."
Alexei stepped past his Omega..... "Then why waste a doctors time or my money?" he said.

Sasha heard the raucous thick sound of Ilya's pained breathing as soon as he stepped back into his son's bedroom. There were bright framed posters of Pokemon on the wall but it still looked like a child's hospital room and not a child's bedroom.
The nanny looked relieved to see him back. She had raised the bed head and had a humidifier next to Ilya's head but the child still had a bluish tinge under his eyes.....
"No doctor...." Sasha said. He didn't miss the look of panic on the nanny's face..... "Fetch the wheeled hoist please . Lets move Ilya into Alexei's sauna ..... Bring the lavender and tea tree oils too....... the steam helped him last time....." He pulled back the duvet to reveal his son's withered legs and helped the nanny slide the wide sling for the hoist beneath them..... " It's not time to give up, Ilya.... I don't stay up all night and get bags under my eyes for nothing.....not even for you!"

Apreille's first real experience of the wall of Alpha hatred outside the Bond Court on its ancient stone steps was one of deafening noise.
He'd seen the small but immovable group of Omega protesters on the news but in real life they looked more huddled and anxious. He didn't blame them in the face of so much pent up anger.
"That's the brother of Sherlock?" he asked Aric as there was a sudden baying increase in the hatred.
"Mycroft, yes.....that's John Watson ....... and Sherlock....there..... " Aric pointed him out as John Watson opened the car door and stood back as Riddick had once done to scan the crowd for threats.
Sherlock was thinner than Aprielle had thought he'd be.
"Why does he have the umbrella up like that?" Aprielle asked as he saw Mycroft open it and move it to one side as he and Sherlock made their way up the steps.....
"The spit," Aric said.
Just as said it Aprielle saw spitting begin.... "That's disgusting," he said.... "Do we have an umbrella, Aric?"
"I bought our own umbrella specially for today," Aric said. "A message for them....."

"Whose that with Aric?" John asked as he saw two people exit the car. It was hard to see who was behind the huge black and pink patterned umbrella that Aric held tilted toward the Alpha side of the court steps where Charles and his legal team stood.... It took John a moment to make out what the pattern actually was....."Sherlock, have you seen this? Quick you have to see....."
"What? Why? .....Are those giant pink cocks all over it?" Sherlock asked incredulously, having scrambled up in a hurry from his seat on the cold stone steps.
Mycroft's voice was full of genuine amusement..... "I do believe so," he said with a smile. "How delightfully apt."

Under increasing pressure the ushers opened the heavy wooden doors to the court building early.
"This is my mate Aprielle....." Aric spoke with an obvious, touching pride.
"It's a pleasure too finally meet you," Mycroft said.
"Welcome to The Team..... " John grinned. "Nice touch with the umbrella...."
"Hi.....Hello....." Sherlock said then felt like an idiot for saying the same thing twice over. Meeting new people still felt intimidating and he was beginning to think it always would.....

Aprielle had never seen eyes like Sherlock's..... they were beautiful but something in them reminded him of all the brutalised cats he had ever helped heal...... "Hi.... Hello," he said with a smile as he shook Sherlock's hand..... "I told Aric it was about time we met.... Do you have a photo of the baby? How is he?"
Sherlock had never been asked that before, he pulled out his phone...... "Billy's great," he said. "Thank you again for the present. Aric said you chose it?"
" I did. Aric never shops unless its for ties..... and cock patterned umbrella's apparently...." Aprielle exchanged smiles with Sherlock and moved to see the phone screen better. This close Sherlock's Elite scent reminded him of vanilla pods..... "Oh he is tiny.... so cute..... I didn't think he would have his eyes open already....."

"Who is that with Sherlock?" Alexei asked as they neared the front row.
"Weber's mate.... " Charles sounded angry. Seeing Sherlock talking freely always irritated him.
Alexei eyed his friend..... "You don't like seeing him with Sherlock?"
"The Flippino? I do not...." Charles replied. "I'm surprised Mycroft allows it....."
Alexei stared across the seated rows at Aprielle and Sherlock. "The conversation seems harmless enough," he said.
"Then let him mix freely with Sasha!" Charles retorted sharply.
The loud sound of Alexei's familiar laugh made Sherlock tense and he put the phone away..... afraid to have an image of Billy open when Charles was nearby. Whenever he heard Alexei laugh it put him back in the room, in that circle......
Aprielle could see something was wrong, Sherlock looked haunted..... he pulled out his phone...... "This is Zidney," he said. "Aric took me to the rescue center and Zidney chose us....."
Sherlock had never been so pleased to look at photos of cats in his life which was good because Aprielle had as many cat photos as Sherlock had photos of Billy..... The distraction was just what he needed.

Chapter Text

It was an late on a unseasonably bitter evening but still the Legate refused to call a halt to court proceedings..... a cold Northerly wind and icy blewn rain battered the dark leaded windows and as it grew later the unheated court room was so cold that the Ushers had sought out a number of old fashioned electric heaters and plugged them in, in a futile effort to reduce the finger numbing chill.
Nevertheless Charles Magnussen had followed the instructions of his lawyer and requested the Legate's permission to remove his jacket.
"We need you to look younger ..... less severe..... A softer coloured shirt... perhaps a short beard. It would be useful if you could distance yourself visually from the Charles of the more extreme images Herr Weber will undoubtedly produce at some point. PR tells us that beards are fashionable and generally considered attractive, it may be a good idea to grow a short one but on no account let it veer into Biblical territory .... Moving onto your body language..... Don't allow yourself to stare too fixedly at Sherlock.... surveys of those exiting the court show they perceive your fixed stare as a threat... You might try a reassuring smile in his direction Charles.... when appropriate. It can only help us if you are seen too react with concern..... " Milne instructed his witness well.

Clad in a softer blue shirt and sporting a new fair beard Charles Magnussen stared out across the divide that separated him from Sherlock...... then gave a tight lipped smile and looked away......
"Did that piece of work just smile at Sherlock?" John couldn't believe Magussens nerve.
Mycroft gave a faint hmm..... "Disconcerting wasn't it?"
"I'd sooner trust in the smile of a shark," John replied forcefully.
Aric leant across to calm the situation down.... "It would appear Mr Milne is attempting to soften his clients image.... Whatever is said or done today it is vital that you remain in your seat Sherlock.... tradition dictates you hear Charles speak without interuption....."
Sherlock gave a short laugh that was probably the bleakest sound John had ever heard.


"Before meeting Sherlock Holmes you were acqainted with his father Siger?"
Charles eyes stayed with his lawyer as the man moved..... "I'd known him for some time. We played blackjack and poker at the same club..... high roller weekends away.... Gentlemens pursuits..... Siger Holmes was often present on such occasions. "
"Brothels.....gaming ..... drinking....... and watching bare knuckle boxing matches......" Mycroft made certain only Aric heard him.
" Of course....." Milne had paused. "These high stake games..... how much of an initial buy can be required?"
"A million sterling would not be uncommon..... " Charles replied calmly.
"High stakes indeed." Milne said thoughtfully. He enjoyed gaming but that was too rich for his blood.
Charles gave a small shrug of his shoulders. Such stakes were nothing to a man as wealthy as he was.
"Was Siger a lucky player? Did he win often" Milne asked
Charles laughed. "Not at all. The man could never walk away from a table even when he had nothing left to play with...... I once saw him lose £500,000 , his watch and car in a single night."
Milne raised his eyebrows as if surprised. "Did such heavy losses appear to upset him.....?"
"Speculation......" Aric interjected calmly.
"Agreed..... rephrase, Mr Milne," the Legate responded.
"Did you ever see Siger Holmes take such a large loss badly?" Milne waited by Charles for his answer.
"I did.... several times..... he raised his voice to staff at the club..... and he was involved in several altercations...... "
"Would it be true to say you regarded him as having a gambling problem?"
"Speculation, Legate!" Aric rose to object but the Legate gestured for him to sit back down.
"I'll allow it," the Legate decided.
Charles looked towards Mycroft as he answered the question..... "Siger Holmes problem was that he could neither stop nor pay his debts..... I knew he had gambled away cars, racing horses, paintings..... On one notable occasion he attempted to use his Omega son as collateral but was refused by the club..... "
Mycroft gave a sharp inhalation.... beside him Sherlock sat still and motionless.
"He would have gambled away his own Omega son?" Milne sounded shocked as though he couldn't understood how that could be..... " Were you aware by this stage that he was the father of Sherlock Holmes.... the Omega you had met and enjoyed had such a promising initial interaction with?"
"I was.... it concerned me that Siger could not sustain such large losses and that Sherlock's position was therefore a perilous one..... " Charles sounded entirely convincing. "I offered to buy up a number of his debts ..... instead of owing several individuals he would owe one..... me. In that way I could offer Sherlock a measure of protection...."
John rolled his eyes.
"And did Siger take advantage of that offer?"
"He did.... " Charles said.
"That must have considerably reduced the pressure Siger was under....." Milne managed to make Charles accumulation of such huge financial leverage sound like a charitable act instead of the blackmail it was......
"I made the offer out of respect and care for Sherlock..... " Charles said.
"Bull shit you did..... " Mycroft muttered in an aristocratic whisper inaudible by anyone except his brother.
Sherlock coughed desperately to disguise his inappropriate laughter. He wondered if Mycroft realised how much he had just sounded like Alan.......

"The romantic connection between yourself and Sherlock had progressed into something more had it not?" Milne made it sound like a love match.
"I'd written to him..... he replied with his own letter..... then I was fortunate to meet him again ..... A courtship of sorts had begun..... "
" Siger was fully aware of your interest in his son?"
"He was....." Charles said.
Sherlock took a gulp of water and Charles saw how much his hands were shaking as the water jumped in the glass.
"Elite courtship involves a declaration of intent made to the Dominus of a family..... then a number of gifts to be sent for the Omega beloved..... Had this all been done?" Milne waited for his answer.
"It had. The next stage was to approach Siger and ask for his son's hand......"
"And had that final stage of courtship been reached?"
Charles took a sip of water..... " Yes but there.... I encountered a problem..... " he admitted.
"A problem?" Milne repeated the words.
" Indeed.... Siger Holmes initially agreed...... provided I nullify his debts.... then attempted to extort more money from me. There was talk of selling Sherlock to a higher bidder....."
"After all you had done? Knowing of your interest in bonding his son!.... The ingratitude of the man must have shocked you?"
"Indeed. Siger had shown how little he cared for Sherlock's future..... If anything it made me more committed to bonding Sherlock and removing him from what was clearly a dysfunctional home..... I had already consulted the best team of architects in Denmark regarding the installation of heat suites in my homes in Denmark and London, in full expectation of bonding Sherlock when he came of age..... "
"You say  when he came of age'? You were prepared then to wait?" Milne made sure he reiterated Charles statement.
"Of course. He was still so very young..... but events transpired that made that quite impossible....." Charles replied.

Mycroft had to give Charles his due. The man was a practised liar.

"Could you tell this court of the events that made waiting longer impossible?" Mr Milne phrased his question carefully .
"Siger Holmes was found dead, leaving Mycroft Holmes as Dominus," Charles said. "I was immediately concerned for Sherlock.....The mother's mental state was in sharp decline...... I soon realised there were considerably more debts secured on the family home and land than even I had been aware of..... The whole Holmes estate was in danger of being seized to pay off Siger's debts.... "
"You feared that Sherlock Holmes was in immediate risk of being bonded to the highest bidder?"
Mycroft took a sharp breath in.
"I was. Mycroft was to inherit nothing...... the sale of Sherlock could keep the wolves from the family door......" Charles eyes stayed on Mycroft, noting with pleasure the disgust in his face...... "The mother was unbalanced...... mentally unfit to protect a young Omega on the cusp of his first heat.  Mycroft Holmes was young and inexperienced ...... When Violet attempted suicide I was forced to step in and offer to bond Sherlock much earlier than I initially planned. I was determined that Sherlock would have more stability and security living under my roof..... I offered to absolve all Siger's debts leaving Mycroft to inherit as if the estate had never been lost......"
"An astoundingly generous offer...... How was it received by the Holmes family?"
Charles sarcastic laughter made Mycroft's back stiffen...... " By Violet with relief..... then Mycroft refused to allow the bond to take place."
Milne's tone was saturated with disbelief...... "He refused to allow the bond to take place .....? In fact he tried to obstruct the bond through this court?"
Charles mouth pulled straighter contemptuously. "Tried and failed."
"I would like to submit the following evidence Legate......" Milne waited whilst copies of Mycroft Holmes original petition to nullify the bond contract were distributed between the Judges and Aric Weber.
The Legate conferred quietly with his fellow Judges....."You took part in this hearing Mungo?"
Mungo recalled it well.... "I did.... Time was short... the Holmes Omega was about to go into his first heat ..... Mother was a withdrawn lunatic who barely left his room..... Mycroft was advised privately to drop the case; concentrate on himself but wouldn't..... Damn stubborn family..... Siger would have wanted to see both sons bonded..... this whole situation would have been closed down had he still been alive...."
The Legate signalled that Milne could continue.

"The court found in your favour?" Milne took the opportunity to repeat that fact again.
"Indeed they did," Charles acknowledged his triumph.... "But the damage had already been done......."
"What damage?" Mycroft asked sharply. "What nonsense is this?"
Charles looked at him without reply.... an expression of open contempt on his face.
"Mr Holmes.... please remain silent and allow the witness to speak...." The Legate said.

"Could you expand on that statement for the understanding of this court Charles?" Milne spoke.
" As soon as he became head of the Holmes family Mycroft Holmes obstructed normal development of the bond, refusing to allow me to visit Sherlock or to ascertain if he was well and rejecting courtship gifts while he attempted to turn his younger brother against me!" Charles spoke with conviction and passion. "By the time I won the right to remove Sherlock from that house of insanity and frigidity Mycroft Holmes had brainwashed him into hating me and left Sherlock terrified of any sexual act....."
Sherlock was bone white...... "That's a fucked up lie!" he said. "It's all lies!"
The Legate bought down the gavel. "Silence in court!" he said sharply. " Sherlock, you cannot use such language in my court! ..... Herr Weber advise your client please!"

"You must remain silent..... "Aric leant over the table directly in front of Sherlock to shield the Omega while he spoke. "You cannot be seen to contradict and insult your Alpha so openly. "
Sherlock shook his head in sheer disgust. "He's a lying bastard. You know he is!"

Aric felt for Sherlock but now was not the time..... "Then I will pull his lies apart in cross examination..... You must let me do my job..... Sherlock do you understand? We know the truth but you must let me speak it ..... When the time is right you will be heard.... You must trust me!"
Sherlock shook his head in rejection of the plea. This happened too me not you Aric.... "Yes," he said sullenly.

"Those are accusations of some import," Milne gave them the weight they merited.
"Yet they are true....." Charles lied. "Mycroft Holmes fought against my removal of Sherlock to a more stable environment. He moved Sherlock to a less prestigious mixed Alpha/Omega school in order that I may not visit him...... He spoke constantly against the whole tradition of bonding..... He refused to allow me to communicate in any way with Sherlock....."
"Objection...... Legate!" Aric was on his feet roaring out his objection. The Legate gestured for him to sit back down with a brusque sweep of one hand. "These accusations are unproven!"
"I'll allow it.... with that caveat written into court notes," the Legate said.
" He undermined a suitable bond? Why would any Elite Alpha do such a thing in your opinion?" Milne asked.
"Because Mycroft Holmes is a frigid intellectual to whom even consensual sex between Alpha and Omega is an animalistic act of abuse...." Charles replied. "It is my belief he desires his brother sexually even if he is probably incapable of acting upon such base urges..... Siger certainly thought so!"
"You sick minded...." John began.....
"Objection! " Aric was deafeningly loud, drowning out whatever John had been about to say..... "That allegation is slanderous!"
"Incest? Now that I'd believe," Mungo said audibly. "It's written all over the fellow...... There's something in the eyes!"
"How dare you!" Mycroft was furious. "Such filthy allegations disgrace you!"
"Silence!"A stern faced Legate hammered down the gavel in a flurry of blows. "Silence in my court. Be seated!"
Mycroft swallowed back a mouthful of bitter stomach acid..... picked up the glass Sherlock had already drunk from and took his own desperate gulp of water.
John noticed Sherlock wasn't the only Holmes to have shaking hands.

"Let's speak of the bonding itself.... Did the Holmes family provide for Sherlock's suit and the usual trappings of a wedding themselves?" Milne stood still before the witness box to await his answer.
"They lacked the funds to do so adequately to a fit standard....." Charles replied.
Milne feigned surprise..... "You are the wealthiest individual in Denmark are you not? Surely providing the best of everything was no issue? I understand most young Omega have dreams of the ideal bond ceremony...."
Charles sighed. "I attempted to provide everything Sherlock could possibly want , all would have been at my own expense.... I was obstructed and my financial assistance rejected by Mycroft Holmes..... as a result the bonding was a beggarly affair....."
Mycroft's mouth tightened.
Milne raised his brows..... "Yet you were married and finally able to claim and bond your mate....."
John heard Sherlock give a sickly gulp..... it was loud enough for Mycroft to turn and look concerned.
"Where did that initial mating take place?"Milne asked.
"At the Holmes estate as is traditional....." Charles was staring across the courtroom at Sherlock.
Milne pulled his attention back....."I'm sorry too have to question you on such an intimate matter..... Mating was achieved?"
Sherlock took a massive swallow.....
"It was...."
"You claimed him with a bite to the nape of the neck?"
"I did...."
"And despite Mycroft's claim that his brother was physically too immature for mating a full double knotting took place?"
"It did..... Fully..... Several times.... " Charles relished this answer it was clear.
"And did Sherlock Holmes reach orgasm?"
"Several times."
Sherlock had hunched forward as though his belly hurt.....
"Don't listen to him," John whispered...... and immediately the Legate glanced their way.
"And there was the traditional heavy bleed to signify Sherlock's loss of virginity?"
"There was..... "
Sherlock made a sudden abortive movement and John thought he was about to get up and try to leave..... it took him a second to see that Mycroft had extended one forearm sideways and was holding onto the edge of the seat with one hand; pressing across Sherlock's belly like a seat belt to keep him in his seat......
"All then went well and mating was completed normally?" Milne stared right at Sherlock for an instant.
"Far from it....." Charles said.

"Far from it..... " Milne repeated the words. "Can you explain more fully?"
"Of course, " Charles eyes were locked on Sherlock.. "I'd asked for Sherlock to be prepared..... so he had some understanding of the physical process bearing in mind his youth..... I thought perhaps a talk with his mother...... It was immediately clear upon attempting to fully knot him that no such sexual education had been given to him.... "
Sherlock was swallowing repeatedly, his face a waxy grayish white. Beneath the heavy table he was clawing Mycroft's arm in a silent desperate effort to get him to release the iron grasp holding him in place......
John reached out and taking hold of Sherlock's hand pulled it away.... He held onto it, making sure he kept their locked hands hidden between them, low down on the bench where nobody would see.
"Sherlock was terrified...... despite being in full heat, begging and open for my knot..... I was forced to restrain him physically in order to safely pass my knot through the cervix...... I was afraid he would injure himself internally..... Words were not enough.... I had to use my body weight and the bite in an attempt hold him still.... His neck was badly torn. Only upon orgasm was I able to comfort and reassure him....."
"If you don't let go of me right now..... I will puke all over both of you!" Sherlock hissed maniacally.
The Legate's eyes swivelled their way briefly..... but since Sherlock could'nt reach his pocket there was no sign upon the table to signify he needed him to halt proceedings. He returned his attention to Charles.
"It was not as I had planned..... It was traumatic for both of us " Charles said...... " I blame Mycroft Holmes for forcing me to practically rape my own Omega!"


"Liar!" Mycroft shot up onto his feet. "Liar! You vile paedophile!"
"Objection! Legate....!" Aric pounded the palms of both hands down upon the table top as he stood.
The Legate looked from Mycroft Holmes condensed fury too Aric's bellowing protest..... "Counsel may approach the bench."
"I demand a public apology in this court on behalf of my client!" Milne was livid.
Aric Weber was flushed .... "That assertion is defamatory and unproven as my Learned Colleague knows well! Charles Magnussen beat and abused Sherlock Holmes over years..... undispuitably so.... beginning with an act of violent rape upon an underaged boy!"
Milne fought for the inclusion..... "Legate , part of the evidence in this case is centered around claims that Charles Magnussen used undue force toward a young Omega.... I have to be allowed to defend my client against such accusations!"
Aric interjected again, openly angry..... " Mycroft Holmes is a devoted brother.... this paints him as a man who undermined his Omega brother's bond from the start for the sickest of reasons ..... "
"As indeed he did! Motivated by incestuous desire he is sexually incapable of acting on!" Milne replied. "Legate my defence of a wronged Alpha depends upon this inclusion! The restoration of an Elite family depends upon it!"


Out of direct view of the Legate , over on the benches, there was a shaking vibration running through Sherlock that John could feel.
"I... can't.... breathe," Sherlock gasped it.
"You're having a panic attack." John stayed as calm as only a doctor can sound......inside was a whole other matter but he couldn't afford to let Sherlock see that......."Breathe.....slowly in through the nose..... hold it..... and sigh out....."
"J... John," Sherlock managed a stutter....
"Just breathe.... come on..... in with me..... and out..... In .... and out....."
There was a movement from the row of seats behind John..... Aprielle Weber pushed a white paper bag into John's line of vision. "Try ....."
Sherlock snatched the bag and dropped his head down..... John couldn't see his face but on the bag a cartoon image of a cat kept inflating and deflating from fat to sunken......
Mycroft came around the front of the bench, desperate to see Sherlock more clearly.
"Breathe slowly..... that's it Sherlock. " John's voice was soothing and capable.... "It'll be alright.... We're here...."
Charles Magnussen stood up so he could be seen to react too what was happening..... "Legate!" he announced loudly. "Someone! Help my Omega!..... For God's sake quickly! We need an ambulance!"


Back in the privacy of his own rooms Milne greeted Charles with a congratulatory smile and poured a stiff drink for them all...... "Despite all Dr Watson's reassurances the Legate has insisted Sherlock leave Court for the hospital.... Sherlock protested vehemently and appeared quite unhinged of course he's been away from his baby all day, you could hear the distress in his voice.... Charles,you should ring and enquire as to his health hourly until he is discharged..... "
"Of course," Charles gave a satisfied smile.

Milne was interested....."Have you the mornings headlines prepared?"
" Distressed Holmes Omega Collapses In Court As His Alpha Takes The Stand " The satisfaction in Charles voice was apparent. "A second article inside written by Dr Watson's own lover entitled All Too Much For makes a good case for this all proving too much for such a vulnerable Omega "
" Very good.....The more times we can break Sherlock down and make him appear mentally fragile the better....." Milne clapped Charles on the shoulder.... " You appeared concerned as any Alpha should be upon seeing his Omega unwell..... This should cast some substantial doubts in the Legate's mind.....Just what we needed..... You were right, too much explicit detail and Sherlock crumbles..... I can use that to our advantage.... if we are too depict him as unstable like his mother we need more of these sort of reactions."
"Easily achieved," Charles took a sip of fine brandy and smiled. "He is afraid of me still."
From over by the fireplace a slow, sarcastic applause began..... "Well done Charles..... even I almost thought you cared..... " Alexei said.


It was late ..... but never quiet....
Long strips of electric lighting each in it's own safety cage flickered overhead..... at the end of the long anonymous corridor what little moving air there was stunk of stale sweat , fresh urine and the multiple exhalations of a great many individuals.

News of an Elite visiting here of all places spread from cell to cell like wild fire and a angry noise began..... resentful hatred for those born with more.

Mycroft couldn't help but turn his head to check the cell door was still locked and the armed guard still stood outside.
Alan's tired eyes watched him from the bed. "They can't get in tha' knows..... You look bog eyed....."
Mycroft's look of blank incomprehension didn't go unnoticed....
"Means tired....Get back to telling me how today went.... How's Sherlock holding together?"
For a moment Mycroft considered lying but it was never really an option.  "Only just.... He misses you Alan, everyday a little more I think....We do our best...." He halted ... Alan had looked away but the disordered sound of his heaving breathing betrayed the man's sudden loss of emotional control.... Mycroft stared, with Alan's back turned to him he could see ribs and spine where he never had before. "You've lost more weight..." It sounded regrettably like an accusation instead of concern....
Alan stared at him.... "It goffs in here....I'm sick and I'm sodding tired and I want my lad back.... My bloody trousers have been sliding down for a week now.... Reckon I'll have to be flashing most of my arse before I get given a ruddy new pair that fits me better...."
"I'll intervene if you tell me what size you need, " Mycroft offered.
"No point... I don't reckon I'm done losing weight.... Bloody trousers were too short for me in the first place.. " Alan's mouth straightened... "I miss Sherlock.... I miss the way his scent fills a room, summat sweet and pure..... not a prison full of reeking Alpha with not a bar of soap between them!" .
Mycroft could think of only one reply he could make to that... "I'm sorry," he said.

Chapter Text

Sherlock had never set foot in an NHS hospital emergency room was very different to the private hospitals he was used to.
Instead of a spacious private room they were given a tiny cubicle in a much larger room full of Beta , Alpha and Omega strangers.
The only privacy came from the slightly grubby blue curtains. The person hidden behind the curtain to the left was groaning like he was on the verge of death. There was a whole family in the next cubicle who collectively seemed too much for the limited space ..... every time one of them moved a large arse or wide back bumped into Mycroft through the thin blue privacy curtain and made him edge his chair forward again as he spoke into the phone..... "Yes.... yes Aric.... I understand..... "
Sherlock didn't need to be told he was the only Elite Omega the staff and patients at this hospital had ever seen..... It was patently obvious from the staring and semi hushed conversations. Either people mistakenly thought were inaudible or maybe they just didn't care if he overheard them discussing his scent and looks like he was a canine contestant at Crufts... He'd been recognised six times already in bizarrely discomforting 'It's him.... You're him aren't you.... him from the trial news?' scenarios. He couldn't wait to get the Hell out of there....

"We cannot leave," Mycroft announced with impeccable timing.
Oh what the fuck! "Why?" Sherlock managed not to include the swear words in his actual question. "I'm not ill...."
"I'll go see how much longer it'll be...." John said and vanished.
"There is a risk it will be seen as disrespectful to to the Legate...." Mycroft inched the chair legs forward again as whoever was behind him pressed into his comfort zone. His phone rang almost as soon as he ended his call to Aric.... "I don't care what objections hospital management has .... I authorised armed security inside the ER.... For Heavens sake of course I want snipers on the adjacent roof tops..... must I oversee everything myself....."
A worried voice sounded from behind the curtain as one of the anonymous other patients asked...."Ere did he just say something about police with guns coming in 'ere? Are we in danger?"
Abruptly aware of the complete lack of any privacy Mycroft realised he'd have to take this call just outside the cubicle or cause a widespread panic.... "I'll be right back Sherlock," he pretended not to see the instant flash of fear cross Sherlock's face..."You are quite safe there are police immediately outside..."

Left on his own Sherlock fought down the nervous feelings of exposure and kept telling himself he was safe. Through the gap at the bottom of the cubicle curtain he could glimpse the black boots of armed police and it reminded him a bit of Alan's army boots.... and though he couldn't see John he could hear male voices coming nearer that might be John coming back in.......... Oh fuck someone was coming in alright and it wasn't John at all !

"Good evening, I'm Dr Kamut ..... I understand you've been feeling unwell Sherlock..... Is your Alpha here with you today? "
At the sight of an Elite Alpha Doctor and a Beta male nurse he didn't know Sherlock froze fearfully......

Mycroft heard the disruption but it took a minute to push through what was already a crowded ER and be back inside the tiny cubicle with Sherlock..... It was already too late to calm the situation down...
"Don't touch me!" Sherlock looked scared.
"Calm..... Calm...... I'm here too help you ... Shh....ssshh...." Dr Kamut ignored the protest..... "Just feeling your neck glands..... This may all be your heat....."
Sherlock slapped the unwanted hands away from his neck. "Fuck off! I didn't say you could touch me !"
Wonderful..... "Sherlock!" Mycroft was horrified to hear such a horrendous public fuss.
"This is probably all heat related hormonal surges Mr Holmes .... a mood imbalance.... loss of reason would be typical!" he was talking to Mycroft as though Sherlock was past reason already.
For a fatal moment Mycroft hesitated.... if indeed this was a heat he wanted to stay back......
Since Mycroft wasn't intervening Sherlock pulled both knees up to his chest, wrapped his arms round them and glared at them all..... "I am not having a fucking heat!" he yelled. "Don't you know anything about Elite Omega you ruddy tosser? I am not in heat!"
The whole ER fell silent..... then someone dropped a metal kidney bowl full of vomit in the cubicle next door.
Mycroft looked down to see flecks of it had sprayed up over his shoes and trousers legs. It was the straw that broke the camel's back....."For Heavens sake Sherlock ....Calm down and stop being hysterical!" he snapped..... As soon as the words left his lips Mycroft regretted them deeply.

 Sherlock stared at him with eyes full of shocked betrayal as Mycroft scrambled to salvage things for them both... " I apologise for raising my voice, Sherlock.. I am aware the situation is less than ideal.... however.... if you let Dr Kamut examine you briefly we can then leave and put this dreadful day behind us," Mycroft hated the smell of vomit but couldn't bring himself to attempt more than a futile clean up attempt..
Sherlock looked like he wanted to swear or cry again....
Dr Kamut reached for the sides of Sherlock's neck.... "There is some swelling when I palpate the throat glands..."
Mycroft held his breath and watched the fingers move in a small circle and saw the Doctor slide his hands round towards the nape of Sherlock's neck reaching for the gland and bite there....
Sherlock lasted a mere second before kicking Dr Kamut in the balls.


There was a whole lot of extremely loud shouting and raised voices.
Incredibly stressed already Sherlock had nowhere to run too except inside his head.....
Alan was always waiting.

Within weeks of his bond Sherlock had realised that Charles was deliberately trying to get him pregnant.
The idea of it made his stomach churn queasily.
Sherlock thought he was too young for it too actually happen right away but what if he was wrong and it did?
So he'd tried to run away. It'd required a plan but he was good at plans and Charles didn't expect him to know how to pick locks.
Desperation had made Sherlock reckless and fast and he had no fear bigger than his fear of Charles.
Running he'd made it as far as the end of the grounds before he'd come up against a problem big enough to give him pause for thought. The tall wall was topped with razor wire.... he'd hesitated before trying to climb and by that time he could already hear shouting and the running footsteps closing him down.
Charles had been furious, raging at those he considered responsible including Sherlock with an incandescent rage and dismissing everyone he deemed responsible.
For the first time the men employed to guard Sherlock realised that failure to do so could see them dismissed from their well paid jobs..... their attitudes hardened overnight.
Sherlock's palms were sore from the razor wire but if pain was the price he had to pay for getting away then it was worth it. Yes, he felt bad that he had cost ten people their jobs but he was going to try again as soon as he could and nothing anyone said could stop him.....

He hadn't counted on Alan Riddick.....
"Have you any notion what could have happened to you out there? You've no money.... no food.... no friends.... no ruddy passport. You don't even speak the language yet!..... Look at you; blue with the cold , no coat and its heavy snow forecast later! ..... Even if you got yourself up over the wall without catching a vein and bleeding too death; whose to say whoever came along would be someone good? If they got you in a car you could be anywhere in a few hours... sex trafficked even and God help you then!..... You could be murdered and dumped in the middle of some wood and nobody would find you!......What the Hell were you thinking risking yourself like that?"
"I hate being here! I want to go home! I want to go home!" Sherlock had yelled back tearfully.
" You can't." Alan had said reasonably. "Even if you made it home...... and at your age the odds on that aren't're bonded and you live here now not there. You'd be risking yourself for now't and you'd make trouble for your brother an' all.... he'd be in trouble with the law if they didn't hand you straight back.... "
Sherlock had opened his mouth to answer back but the truth had been undeniable .
The sight of Sherlock crying made Riddick frown. "C'mon now .... Crying never solved owt.... "

Charles had been so impressed with the calm way Alan had handled the situation he'd promoted him to take charge of Sherlock's day to day care that same day.
Sherlock had been moody and resentful, just knowing that trying to reach Mycroft wasn't an option anymore had made him depressed ...... so he'd taken longer to truly see this change at the top for what it could mean for him.
It wasn't until a few weeks had gone past that it dawned on him..... Alan had sounded stern but his whole rhetoric had differed fundamentally from Charles angry tirade.
Sherlock couldn't believe he hadn't seen it before..... every single point Alan had made had focused on keeping him safe. It wasn't a lecture it was a stream of caring!

Caring was a weakness.... Mycroft had always said so .
The problem was Sherlock still couldn't see how to exploit it however hard he tried. He relied upon a lot of small incremental movements he called 'tells' back them but Alan's practical and ready 'work' stance minimised most of them to a degree that was seriously unhelpful.
Alan was kind when he could be but never indulgent.
Fair but never careless.
Helpful but not stupid.
If there was a weakness there then it wasn't obvious..... so Sherlock tried keeping Alan talking longer..... Asking him for small favours, nothing huge but just enough to involve Alan in his everyday life a little more.
It had all worked to a point.... Alan seemed to stay and talk with him a bit longer.... but it still never made him relax for long enough for Sherlock to take advantage and escape.
The breakthrough came not from Alan but from Tosh, one of the other guards who, when Sherlock had asked him if he could have a packet of Sharpie pens had told him bluntly..... " Alan can go easy on you because you're Elite Omega if he wants but I'm wise to you..... You aren't getting me sacked just because I did you a favour! "

'Because you're Elite Omega'......
Sherlock hated being Elite Omega and the idea of any Alpha wanting to knot him made him want to throw up but maybe ..... just maybe.... his secondary gender could be of use for the first time ever. Alan was Alpha after all......
So Sherlock had pick pocketed the keys to his room then kissed Riddick on the cheek, chaste but close enough to Alan's mouth to feel intimate, by way of a distraction, hoping to steal the keys back again.
As a plan it'd been the worse mistake ever....
Alan had asked for the keys back so fast he must have felt Sherlock steal them and stealing them a second time wasn't even an option.....
Riddick had given Sherlock a disapproving look that showed he knew it'd all been an act.....
The kiss had been caught on camera which had earnt Sherlock one of the worse beatings and rapes he'd ever had from Charles.
He'd almost got Alan, the only guard who was ever independently nice to him, sacked from the job.....
Worse.... for a split second after Sherlock had kissed him ..... Alan had looked devastatingly sad.

There had to be a reason for that.

Finding out why Alan had looked sad hadn't been easy with him in Denmark and Sherlock in London..... Without the internet to do any research Sherlock could only ask questions and if he asked too many or asked the wrong person and Charles found out then he knew the fallout could be really bad.
Plus he really didn't want Riddick finding out he was the subject of Sherlock's first investigation in years!
He had to be careful.
Despite his raging interest Sherlock limited himself to asking one Alan related question daily and never asking the same guard anything twice in a week.
Trouble was that most of the guards knew better than to trust Sherlock's motives however innocent he made them seem . Worried about getting into trouble with their boss most of the guards wouldn't speak at all and those that would talk wouldn't talk about Alan.
Arvo was the exception.....

"Where's Alan? Why isn't he taking me downstairs?"
"Alan has some free days he hasn't taken....." Arvo said as he held the door open for Sherlock to walk through.
Sherlock frowned. "So he's on holiday?"
Arvo was caught out by the question. " He'll be back to work at the end of the week."
"So he is on holiday?"
"No...... He's building a house.... Out in the woods somewhere....."
That was worrying! If Alan was building a house maybe it meant he was planning on living in a house.... Sherlock ignored the side question of why Alan might want to live out in the woods like some hermit anyway?..... "Why does he need a house when he lives here?"
Arvo pushed the lift button and ignored the question.
"Is he getting bonded?" It seemed likely.... Sherlock wasn't sure why he instantly hated the idea but he had...."Is he leaving here to get bonded?"
"No." Arvo escorted Sherlock down the corridor towards Hoi's suite of rooms.
Sherlock stopped walking. He was taking a risk here but he had no other option. "He's my guard if he's leaving and someone else is coming I want to know...."
"Sherlock, Dr Hoi's waiting." Arvo warned him. "Don't play me up. Come on .... walk please...."
Sherlock crossed his arms obstinately. "If he's getting bonded I want to know...."
Arvo had frowned like he saw a potential problem...." He isn't getting bonded..... Alan's a widower. His Omega died a few years ago. "
Sherlock hadn't known any of that! Now he did he felt guilty about that manipulative kiss.

"Where were you?" Sherlock had started the direct questioning as soon as Alan was back on duty.
"I had a few free days is all," Alan had kept his explanation to the bare bones. "I'm back now."
"Nobody would give me any pens." Sherlock was still annoyed about it.
"Aye well..... if you didn't write insults about half of the guards all over the wall in Sharpie pen then mebbe they would have...."
True but Sherlock had been insanely bored and he'd written nothing bad about Alan.

"Where do you live?" New day new approach..... Sherlock wasn't giving up.
"What do you mean where do I live? I've rooms in the staff wing....."
Deliberately obtuse! "I'm not stupid! Where in Yorkshire?"
"No place you'll ever go to......" Alan avoided answering.
"Why are you being so secretive?"
"I'm not. Don't talk nonsense..... Come on..... thats enough of the twenty questions..... time you got up out that bed...."
Sherlock scowled in sheer frustration.
"Wind changes your face will stay all screwed up like that...." Riddick had warned him.

Attempt three......
"Are any of the guards bonded.....?" Sherlock saw Alan's shoulders stiffen as soon as he asked that.... Interesting.
"Nope..... "
"Why?" Sherlock made his eyes wide and innocent of all guile. "Are you bonded? "
"No..... " Alan's forehead creased. The boss had made it clear that taking the job meant no partners but he weren't about to tell Sherlock that..... "Shifts here mean we don't have time for meeting Omega and all that....."
Sherlock rolled his eyes..... "Oh please how much hard work can I be.... There's one of me and loads of you!" he studied Alan "You aren't exactly ugly...... you could probably get a swipe on Grindr from someone..... "
Alan laughed out loud. " Probably huh? Thanks a lot .."
"What's so funny?" None of this question and answer session was going as Sherlock planned.
"You playing matchmaker," Alan had said. " And i'm fine as I am..... without Grindr."

Next day Sherlock spotted something else..... "What happened to your finger anyway?"
"Whacked the end of it with a hammer...."
"Doing what?" Building this mysterious house clearly......
"Nailing down summat...." Alan answered.
Sherlock feigned surprise..... "You're building a rabbit hutch for little Flopsy?"
"Nope...." Alan grinned and gave the lunch tray a small push closer to Sherlock to remind him it was there.
"What then? A boat?" Sherlock kept the conversation going.
"What'd I do with a boat?" Alan sounded amused.
Sherlock picked through his meal with his fork..... He was actually hungry for once but if he ate Alan might stop talking. "I always get something wrong when I try and guess...."
"A cabin.... Off grid ...... I like to fish....." Alan had said.
Sherlock pulled a face. "Sounds dull." He watched for the reaction.....
Alan straightened his shoulders almost imperceptively...... "Aye.... Well its not boring and I happen to like it.... Eat your supper and quit poking your neb in if'n you're only asking to annoy...."
Sherlock interrupted him mid sentence just too see how extra pressure of an Omega interrupting him would make Riddick react.. "Whats a neb?"
Alan exhaled slowly.... then tapped himself on the side of his nose. "It's this...."
"Just a neb or do you have other words for noses?" Sherlock had asked.

Sherlock knew that he'd started out talking to Riddick because there was no better option if he wanted to escape.... but however he'd manoervered things to begin with it'd ended up differently ..... with Sherlock liking those short simple conversations better than anything.
It didn't even matter that Alan gave so little information away and that Sherlock had to work for the nuggets of information he gleamed.
That just meant there was something to try and find out the next time.....
Sherlock paused. Retrospection lit things up like a torch sometimes...... Alan had deliberately strung their conversations out too!


Sherlock didn't want to let the past go but unfamiliar sound of John and Mycroft bickering filtered through everything in the end ....
"He kicked Dr Kamut in the testicles's inexcusable...The man was in no small degree of pain!"
"You know his past.... unfamiliar doctors are a trigger... He never should have been left alone or put in that position...." John pointed out the obvious then went straight for blame.... "I thought you were staying with him."
Mycroft was feeling annoyed , an emotion that was unpleasantly mixed in with guilt about his reaction to Sherlock ... "I beg your pardon John? I was attempting to implement a multi layered security protocol at extremely short notice..." He gestured at the polystyrene cup in John's hand. "Where were you John ... the vending machine ?"
John had a dangerous glint in his eye..."Getting Sherlock a hot drink," he replied.


"Can you both please shut up..." Sherlock blinked suddenly back into the room to find a worried John staring at him from beside his hospital trolley. "Are we done? Can we go?"
John wondered if Sherlock knew he'd been laying there in some absent fugue state of total avoidance for over half an hour. "Almost..... we're waiting on bloods..... You do realise you've not said a single word in the last forty minutes?"
That probably looked weird, definitely don't admit you were inside your mind talking to a past version of Alan..... "I was thinking about case files," Sherlock lied..

"We've been here hours...." Sherlock urgently wanted to leave and get back to Billy.
"I rather think that was part of the plan...." Mycroft sipped a mouthful of vending machine tea John had bought and pulled a face.
" Billy needs me," Sherlock added more hate for Charles onto the already towering pile.
"Lars will have defrosted some milk.... Billy won't be hungry." John tried to reassure but as soon as Sherlock looked at him he knew there was some other issue. "What's wrong?"
Sherlock pulled his crossed arms away from his chest to reveal the wet milk patches on his shirt. "I'm leaking milk," he admitted. "And my chest is really starting to hurt...."
John stood upright.... "Right," he said and suddenly he sounded every inch the soldier.... "I've had enough of this....."


There was a huddle of deferential medical students gathered round a red faced ER consultant with an ice pack held to his groin.....
A furious Dr Kamut was listing all the intrusive tests he still planned on running while Sherlock was in his emergency room..... This particular Elite Omega deserved all he got.....
John marched up behind him as fast as he could. "Dr Kamut? .....Sherlock's responding to us now and asking when he can leave?"
"And you are?" The Elite consultant was unimpressed with John's common Alpha status.
"John Watson....." John began.....
"Well Mr Watson..... you may want to make yourself comfortable in the waiting area......I've just ordered a lumbar puncture....." Dr Kamut informed him.
John tilted his head back, it was a habit he'd unconsciously developed over years of talking to the kind of arrogant pricks who always seemed taller than him.... "Dr John Watson , RAMC Fifth Northumberland Fusilliers.... and that gentleman in there with Sherlock is Mycroft Holmes, a senior Government official.... I'm Sherlock's personal Doctor," he said as he plucked Sherlock's medical file out of the consultants hands.... "Now... why exactly have you ordered an LP?.. You'd better have a damn good reason for something as painful as that... because if this is payback for a traumatised Omega losing control... I swear to God you'll regret it.... "


"Apologies for the delay Mr Holmes.... it's always best to rule out the worst case scenario but I don't believe we need to delay you further...." Dr Kamut had shaken Mycroft hand several times already.

John took his jacket off and offered it to Sherlock to cover the tell tale wetness of his shirt. "A serious medical case of tongue firmly wedged in brotherly butt..." he whispered.
Sherlock snorted with laughter and the consultant gave him a suspicious stare before smiling at Mycroft and saying.... "Elite Omega are never the most robust of creatures in either mind or body.... Some instability is always to be expected close to a heat..."
Mycroft's politely forebearing smile froze in place.... as always the open prejudice and the tacit assumption he agreed with it upset him.
"Might have to operate if that bigoted berk doesn't shut up soon.... Surgically repair a broken jaw..." John added, this time he didn't trouble to lower his tone ....
Dr Kamut's face stiffened.
Sherlock made a gargled sound..... and Mycroft's frozen perturbed expression turned into a wide, delighted smile.....

In the car on the way back to M15 Sherlock was beyond agitated..... he'd never been away from Neep for so long.....
As the car drove into the dark underground car park he was already undoing his seat belt.... as soon as the driver stopped Sherlock threw open the car door, shot out and began running .....

Lars had waited as long as he could then defrosted some milk ..... Billy wasn't hungry but he was still restlessly mewling .
Lars altered Billy's position and tried to settle him again. The baby was unusually irritable....
Sherlock crashed in through the door and made for the crib.
"Hands.... " Lars reminded him of the need to protect Billy.
Sherlock skidded to a halt in front of the hand sanitiser and pumped a liberal handful for himself.... scrubbing his palms together frantically.
"Gown...." Lars added.
Sherlock yanked John's jacket and his own wet shirt off and threw it on the floor.... since the binder was wet he struggled to pull that off too, emerging breathless.... "How's he been?"
"He missed you." Lars answered truthfully. Sherlock had the gown on even if it was wide open at the back.....
Sherlock reached into the incubator ..... Billy's soft, naive eyes gazed back at him myopically...... "I'm here.... I'm here." Sherlock said. "It's ok.... It's been the worst day .... But you're fed and safe and that's what really matters.... "

Chapter Text

Sherlock dreaded mornings now.
No steady sounds of slowed breathing from the other pillow.
No heated body to sneak closer too.....
No accepting arms to hold him close.

No Alan.

Sherlock had two ways of coping. Pretending Alan was still here was one..... and wearing Alan's sweatshirt was the other.
Hidden away underneath the blankets Sherlock hugged the pillow close , adjusted the sweatshirt sleeves.... pulled the neck of Alan's hugely over big sweatshirt up and shrank himself down inside it.....
It took him a few minutes of nose pressing, frantically inhaled panic to realise what was gone.....
As though turning the light on would help Sherlock reached for the bedside light , sat bolt upright and checked the whole of the fabric out. Pressing inch after inch of fabric into his face so hard the bridge of his nose ached....
No trace of Alan left.... Not even a faded hint of the man he loved.
It was all gone!
Sherlock lay back down and yanked the blanket up over his head.

Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Why weren't you  more careful? You had to have more and more didn't you.... now all the scents gone ! It's all your fault for being greedy!
Oh shut up! Sherlock told himself. What else was I meant to do without him?
When Alan was arrested the physical loss had hit Sherlock like a speeding train, knocking him backwards off his feet and leaving him sprawling...... sometimes he sill felt he'd never truly got back up.
It was difficult to hold back all the emotions of loss.... he didn't know but he imagined being water boarded was like this.... however much he fought to breathe and stay alive they overflowed and flooded and threatened to drown him in grief all the time.
He'd waited weeks for a letter.... if he hadn't given in to the aching empty emptiness and worn the sweatshirt whenever he craved a lung full of Alan's scent.... it would have been a hundred times worse.
He'd began noticing the scent was fading within weeks......
So...... you knew this day was coming but clearly you didn't do enough to stop it. Stupid Sherlock..... Really really stupid.
Weeks ago , he'd considered keeping the sweatshirt in a sealed forensic bag to preserve it for as long as possible and opening it only to steal a breath but that plan had been ruled out fast.... though Greg would have let him have one he knew everyone else would find it odd.
And anyway keeping this last trace of Alan near him was too addictive.
Now if he didn't wear it he felt as though layers of his skin had been peeled away.
So he'd wore much as he could..... in bed and out of it...... craving normal, needing that contact.....
In retrospect sleeping in it nightly for weeks on end had been too much.
He should have treated it like the treasure it was!
Sherlock couldn't tell anyone that if he wore the sweatshirt crossed the empty arms and tied them round his own body tightly enough; in some weird way he could almost imagine Alan was there holding him tightly.
He'd been recklessly needy with it and look at the state of it now..... a few stains of leaked milk and a toothpaste splatter!
Martha had offered to run it through the washing machine twice already. Things had almost got heated and John had been forced to intervene!
Nobody would understood what a catastrophe this was!
Just in case Alan's scent had somehow come back to him he subjected the sweatshirt fabric another round of frantic sniffing......
He'd always felt over exposed and vulnerable without Alan ..... but it was only now he felt truly abandoned.
One thing stood out. If he didn't get some trace of Alan back he was going to go mad.
Think Sherlock...... THINK. You need a fix.... THINK!


John always woke early, it was a hangover of his school days.... but he also had a residual fear of anything happening to Billy that he couldn't set to rest until he'd seen him. He was checking Billy's charts when Sherlock came and lingered barefooted in the doorway.
"You look like you didn't get much quality sleep ," John hated seeing the signs of yet another bad nights sleep under Sherlock's eyes. "Billy's still sleeping if you want to grab some breakfast?"
Instead of walking up to see his son Sherlock hung back, barely inside the room at all.
"Everything ok?" John checked.
"I don't feel well...." Sherlock lied. "I need you to tell Mycroft I can't go into Court today...."


Mycroft detested Wednesday mornings.
Wednesday mornings involved clearing his schedule to visit a strong armed Eastern Bloc female masseuse with a somewhat hirstute top lip, She specialised in rolfing..... a technique in which underlying muscular tension was somewhat uncomfortably relieved with a vigorous, untender thoroughness that left his toes curling inside his fine merino and cotton mix socks.
At times, especially when deep muscle pressure was administered with the point of an elbow, rolfing was an acutely painful experience that left him feeling shaken on an uncomfortably personal level.
He persisted with his inconvenient scheduled visits for several reasons..... Firstly, he recognised he was an individual with a number of relentlessly demanding responsibilities and it would be remiss of him not too acknowledge that .... Secondly , chief among those unpredictably demanding responsibilities was Sherlock . ..... and thirdly, he suspected if he even mentioned his secret desire to cancel his weekly session and buy a running machine so he could remain in Gregory's bed for a few precious moments more, long enough perhaps to hold Greg while he woke.... he suspected his energetic and dauntingly single masseuse would dismiss him as weak ....


Alan Riddick was sick as a dog every single morning now.
Day and night prison were raucous on a level that got inside his head.
Men shouted to and at each other from cell to cell and the night guard had a habit of running their wooden baton along the metal bars just to be a prick.
He hadn't been outside his cell for more than half an hour out of the full 24 hour day in weeks. The lack of outdoors was driving him crazy.
Weren't enough oxygen in the air to get a lungful or peace to get a quiet thought in.
Cell after cell.... every morning the whole landing reeked of stale piss filled pots that had yet to be slopped out.
The sour stench of it made his eyes sting.
He'd give anything to be waking up in his own bedroom with Sherlock pushing his way in closer to be held, cold feet and all.


"Open and say Ahhh for me....." John asked Sherlock neutrally.
"Ahhhhhhh, " Sherlock didn't bother to put any energy into it.
"There was no sign of a sore throat.....Is it ok if I check the glands in your neck and your bite?" As a good doctor John never assumed consent.
Sherlock pulled a face. "Go ahead... its National Grope Sherlock's Bite week apparently...."
John grinned.... but the grin didn't last long. "Your glands don't feel too enlarged....." The glands were a bit swollen but nothing that would indicate a viral problem..... He checked twice to be sure. "Ok.... I'll check the nape of your neck now..... tell me if anything feels tender here....."John's practical fingers traced the edges of Sherlock's bite. The tattered skin felt warm not hot or inflamed but Sherlock still fidgeted under the touch.. John moved his hand away at once... "Was that painful?"
"Nope." Sherlock said. I just don't like being touched there.
"You say you feel achey and hot?" John checked Sherlock's temperature via his ear.
Sherlock nodded mutely. It was his preferred choice not to have to heap lie onto lie but clearly for the initial lie to work he needed some symptoms.
John furrowed his forehead. Sherlock didn't even have a slight temperature...... Something wasn't making sense here. "Let's see if you feel any better after you've had some breakfast," he said.
Sherlock glanced away. "I won't , " he said.

Sherlock was pretty sure John suspected he wasn't really physically sick.... he didn't like having to lie but he doubted John would give him a sick note getting him out of appearing at Court just because of a sweatshirt losing Alan's scent .... lying was a case of 'needs must when the Devil drives' as Alan would say.

Greg spent his Wednesday morning worrying.
Every Tuesday night, Mycroft's anonymous black car would idle to a silent halt at the kerb and a dressing gown clad Greg would open his front door to find Mycroft stood on his front step.
Usually Mycroft bought a small but mouth watering gift as though he still needed to explain why he was here at close too midnight.
Last night it'd been the most incredible ginger flavoured cheddar cheese and flaky little biscuits that Greg had ever tasted.
He'd eaten far too many......
That wasn't the problem in itself..... He was beginning to suspect the food was a way to veer them both away from the possibility of anything more happening.
Greg wasn't sure what the problem still was after the blowjob Mycroft had given him a few nights ago but he knew there still was one. There had to be because all the touch had been one way.


Lars had an persistent dragging pain this morning . His own heat was due in five days and the usual pre ovulatory pains were making themselves felt. "Good morning John. Billy ok?"
"Morning. Billy's doing great.... "John smiled as he greeted Lars but behind the wide smile he looked concerned. "Sherlock's in the kitchen.... He's saying he feels too sick to attend court."
"You don't believe him?" Lars wondered why.
"You see what you think," John replied as he cleaned round Billy's eyes. "But I think he's faking it."

Sherlock looked exhausted but even so he got up out of the chair he was hunched up in to make Lars a coffee and slice of sadly blackened toast. "I hate heats," he said sympathetically.
Lars wasn't surprised Sherlock had noticed. The Elite Omega was the most observant person he'd ever met..... "Your heats would be worse," Lars knew for an Elite Omega the whole pre-heat process was short sharp and a lot more painful. He watched as Sherlock dunked a choc chip cookie in his coffee and ate it whole. He looked to have binge eaten most of the packet.....
"Mine haven't come back yet.... "
"That's normal..." Lars pressed a palm to the pain he could feel in his side beneath the table where Sherlock couldn't see him do it.
"No it's not..... they always came back by six weeks before," Sherlock said.
Lars couldn't identify what the emotion in Sherlock's voice was but he thought it was dread..... "If you're feeding Billy every few hours then you won't have heats until the feeds are more spaced out or stop entirely."
Sherlock frowned." So if I stop feeding every few hours I'll go into heat?"
Lars nodded. "Maybe not straight away..... but within six weeks your hormone levels would change." Because Sherlock was looking at him he ate a mouthful of his charred toast.
Sherlock watched him knowingly..."You don't have to eat it.... Only Alan ever really eats my cooking.... " 
Lars took another bite.

John lifted the kettle, found it was almost empty and refilled it. "Anyone want a second cup of tea?"
Sherlock shook his head.
"No thanks John, " Lars said. "This is still hot."
Mugs were on the shelf above the kettle and John was reaching for one when Sherlock spoke.... "I don't want my heats to come back." He sounded very sure.
"What bought all this up?" John was positive it was Dr Kamut.
"I just don't," Sherlock said.
"You'll have a few months respite.... till Billy gets bigger .... or until you decide its time to move onto a bottle.... if that's what you want?" Lars wasn't certain what Sherlock wanted.
"No.... I mean, yes , I want to keep feeding Billy..... " Sherlock pushed a lost chocolate chip around the table top with one long finger. "I don't want my heats to come back at all. "
John intervened to ask. "As in never?"
Sherlock shook his head, one fast sure movement. "As in never until Alan comes back....."
Lars felt for Sherlock he really did. "It's doubtful that the milk supply will last that long...."
"Once Billy drops feeds.... starts including solids and sleeping through the night.... Your heat cycle will come back," John was very clear with the information Sherlock needed to know.
Sherlock flicked the choc chip crumb away from him violently. "There has to be some way to stop it?"
"There's really not," John said.
"Suppressants have to be safer now?" Sherlock was desperate enough to consider anything.
John put his tea cup down..... "They aren't.... I'll blood test you weekly if i have to Sherlock. There's no way you are risking your longterm health taking anything like that."
Sherlock scowled. " I only asked. I never said I was going too...."
"Well now you know," John said and his voice was very firm. "They aren't an option and if I so much as suspect you're taking them ever...."
"You'll what...?" Sherlock challenged him back.
John picked up his coffee and took a sip..... "I'll go to Scotland and tell Alan myself."


Time to talk.... Greg rolled over.
Mycroft was staring open eyed at the ceiling. He looked a little taken by surprise to realise Gregory was awake but rallied fast. "Good morning Gregory. I trust you slept well?"
"Good morning." Greg hit the point fast...... "Are you feeding me deliberately?"
Mycroft had a small line between his eyebrows. ..... "You think I am implementing some Machiavellian scheme to increase your weight to an unwieldy degree using ginger spice Snowdonia cheddar?"
Greg sat up. Sherlock had taught him a few things about scanning a liars face already..... " I think..... " he said, "That you know sex is a lot less likely to be on the agenda when we've eaten a whole round of cheese between us......"
Mycroft raised both eyebrows.
"Well....? " Greg said and for such an insignificant word those four letters sure could hang in the air.
"The accusation is absurd." As if I could wish to change you in any way.
"It's a question not an accusation..... You're avoiding answering," Greg said.
"Of course not! I bought a fine Snowdonian cheddar because I thought you'd appreciate it's creamy contrasts. There were no ulterior motives." Mycroft sat up. "I have an important appointment....."
"Right......" Greg let the way the word dragged out speak for itself.
" I can't simply..... It's impossible for me to cancel....." That was true in part ..... Mycroft checked his watch discretely.
Greg noted the way Mycroft's eyes had fallen to his watch face without comment.
Mycroft noted it'd been noted..... "My driver will be here in precisely 25 minutes. I have to shave, shower and dress."
It was long enough to  make a start on discussing things  but clearly Mycroft didn't want too..... Greg swung his feet down to the carpet..... " You should shower."

Mcroft glanced at the cup Greg had thoughtfully set out for him and the homely teapot and greeted him with a kiss. "I do have to go," he said mildly.
"Work ...... court..... and Sherlock .... I know....." Greg replied equally mildly.
Mycroft was under pressure time wise. If indeed the morning papers contained another personal attack then he needed to deal with it before court commenced but it appeared Gregory felt somewhat underappreciated ..... "I would much rather stay longer here.... with you." His phone screen lit up several times during that short speech alone.....
Greg nodded slowly.... "You should answer that. It's probably important."
Mycroft reluctantly looked at his phone screen to see a message from John that began.... SHERLOCK SAYS HE IS TOO ILL FOR COURT...... Could nobody else micro manage Sherlock's unpredictable emotional responses just this once?... "It can wait....." Unsure if he wished to expand further given the little time he had left with Gregory, Mycroft hesitated that fatal second too long for the denial to be plausible......
Greg had turned away and opened the bread bin. "I'm making toast.... I bought some homemade honey when I was in Essex ......"
Mycroft reminded him regretfully. "I can't stay Gregory .... I have to go."

Once inside his car Mycroft scanned the headlines on his way into central London and towards Sherlock.
Saul Jefferson's article attacked Mycroft, Alan and John.... there were insinuations of mental instability  and shadowy sexual abuse.... Mug shots,  taken from the time John and Alan had both been arrested for trading punches on Mrs Hudson's rug, made both appear violent and unpredictable.
"Has Dr Watson seen this?" Mycroft hoped not.
"Not yet Sir. We thought it wise to delay the morning papers....."
Mycroft nodded. Very wise.


Sherlock was so angry he wanted to punch the wall.
Whose body was it? His!
Yes there was a risk but there were risks to crossing the road and people still went ahead!
He wasn't stupid he knew chemicals. He'd test everything to be sure he knew every single chemical in there.
He was not having a heat without Alan!
He wasn't having another day without Alan!
Court could go fuck itself.....
He had it all worked out.... if he was sick them Mycroft would have time to go to Scotland and get him another sweatshirt .... somehow!
They had to wear something in prison! Whatever Alan wore would do!
Until he got whatever that was Sherlock was on strike and going nowhere!

John took the news of Saul's betrayal surprisingly stoically.... Mycroft did however detect a flare of something buried deep behind the surface.... Since John was patently better off knowing the truth he didn't offer John an apology for being the bearer of bad news , although he was aware that the distorted betrayal of an article John had just read had to be unsettling...
John shook the article off like a wet dog.... " I knew he was jealous of my friendship with Sherlock..... I just didn't know how jealous..." He wasn't sure if he meant Charles or Saul...both probably.... " We weren't lovers in any more than a basic way...."
Lars felt awkward listening to the destruction of whatever trust in his lover John must have had.... Mycroft surprised him,he'd never seen anyone impart bad news in such a detached way.... "I'll go check on Billy," he said and as he stood he laid a hand briefly on John's stiff shoulder. " If you need to vent later...." The offer to listen was clear though the words remained unsaid....
John stared at all he could see of Sherlock miserably hunched beneath the blankets.... "Thanks.... But I think we've more important things to deal with," he said. "Sherlock always comes first."


" I am not travelling to Scotland!" Mycroft was more unamused than Queen Victoria. "Sherlock Holmes.... you will stop this ridiculous pretence that you are unwell .... You will get up , shower and dress and compose yourself before we leave for Court....."
A single hand emerged from underneath the heaped blankets and flipped V shaped fingers in Mycroft's general direction.
"How very mature...." Mycroft said. "You have ten minutes to be up out of that bed brother...." He wasn't able to see but he was fairly certain , as the blanketed lump changed direction in an annoyed rolling movement, that Sherlock had just turned his back on him.

"You're quite certain he isn't unwell John?" Mycroft filled the kettle with fresh cold water.
"He ate half a packet of choc chip cookies.... if he was ill then that's some appetite." John was sure Sherlock was faking it but less sure why..... "I think its what Dr Kamut said.... about heats...."
Mycroft really wasn't comfortable with that topic so he changed it. "I cannot fly too Scotland every single time Sherlock demands it...." Gregory had seemed unsettled today and Lars looked to have slept badly.... Whatever was wrong with all the Omega in his life this morning? He had a letter from Alan in his coat pocket but was under a promise to give it too Sherlock after court today..... Frustrated he glanced at the clock..... "This is absurd!" He picked up the kettle.....
"You can't....!" John began to follow him.....
"Just watch me!" Mycroft said and kept walking.

"I'm ill .... I need you to visit Alan for me....."
"No you aren't and no I will not.... What I will do is count too ten..... I require either an explanation for your conduct or for both of your feet to be on the ground by the time I finish the count...." Mycroft was disconcerted to realise he sounded exactly like Nanny....
"I'm ill .... ask John.... I can't go to court and I need you to go to Scotland and see Alan for me....."
"Last chance Sherlock...." Mycroft addressed his barely visible, bed ridden brother.
"Fuck off!"
"How absolutely charming...." Mycroft responded. " 1. 2. 3. 4. 5... 6.... 7..... 8...... 9........ 10!" Aware he was stalling he lifted the kettle full of cold water and poured it steadily over the top of where he estimated Sherlock's head to be.....
"What the fuck!..... You ruddy tosser! ... You .... prick Mycroft!! " Sherlock exploded from beneath the covers like a drowned cat and proceeded to yell at him in some bizarrely Yorkshire tinged rant....
"Do stop uttering profanities in a venacular not your own Sherlock! ..... I'm delighted to see you recover sufficient energy to get out of bed! Such a relief...."Mycroft wisely decided to keep a firm hold on the empty kettle in case Sherlock hurled it at his head.


Mycroft placed a towel on the soaked bed next to Sherlock. "You cannot afford to risk alienating the Court by non attendance...."
Sherlock gave a sarcastic laugh. "Because they love me so much already...."
Mycroft knew Sherlock had to have noticed the same insignificant responses just as he had.... "The Legate favours you....."
" He hasn't heard Charles speak yet.... " Sherlock said bitterly.
"And Charles hasn't faced Aric yet...." John reminded him.
Sherlock's short sigh was one of despair. "Mycroft poured a kettle of water all over me John!" he said plaintively.
"Look I know Mycroft's a berk and went about this all wrong.... but you know he cares....Talk to us...." John said as Mycroft gave him a frosty stare. "I'm a doctor.... I know you aren't sick....."
"You don't know everything," Sat hunched over in soaking wet PJs with his face against his knees, Sherlock's voice was muffled.
"We know we don't.... " John replied. "If you won't tell us how can we help?"
Sherlock gave up...... "There's no scent ..... There's no scent left.... On the sweatshirt.... Not just faded there's nothing...." You won't understand.... You won't see how important this is.... You're Alpha ....
John looked to Mycroft....

"I cannot travel to Scotland for a replacement before tonight...." Mycroft said carefully. "However profound your need Sherlock .... I cannot allow you to undermine the Legate's support. You are already running late...."
John gawped at him. For a genuis Mycroft had just mishandled the whole situation entirely. John knew what a pseudo bond meant.... Sherlock needed this now not later... ... "That bag.... next to the wall.... Didn't Alan change his clothes when he got here?.... In fact you've loads more clothes he wore back at 221b don't you?"
Sherlock's head jerked up.... "Mycroft you're an idiot... But you, John.... You're a genius!"

Mycroft wasn't taken aback often but the sight of a soaking wet Sherlock, frantically upending the overnight bag, which held Alan's dirty washing from weeks ago, out over the top of his bed and seizing a balled up item to snort like it was a line of cocaine, had left him speechless......
"Everything okay Sherlock?" John asked.
"Much better , thank you , John," ....... Sherlock sat down cross legged on the bed amid the strewn chaos and inhaled again blissfully.....
John had to admit it looked insane....
"Is that a pair of unwashed socks?" Mycroft asked tentatively.
Sherlock glared at him over the top of the balled up pair.
John supposed it could be worse..... he grinned at Mycroft's disgusted face. "Just thank God it isn't the boxer shorts!" he said.


It took them seconds to realise the gasping sound they could hear was Sherlock laughing.....

Chapter Text

"Stand still boys .....Pay attention..... Nobody is to move from the path!" The headmaster watched as the coach reversed slowly....
Aleksander was so excited he felt like jumping up and down...... today they were all going to London Zoo and he was going to see a real crocodile and real lions and tigers and elephants and rhino and giraffes and monkeys. He had a new black Pokemon backpack with Pikachu doing thunderbolt attack on it. Inside there was a packed lunch because today they'd be eating outdoors if it didn't rain and even though teacher said you couldn't feed the animals he'd bought a banana just in case because maybe he could throw it and a monkey could catch it because monkeys were very fast......
Suddenly someone thumped their hands onto his backpack and Aleksander staggered forward and fell.....

Mr Dillah wiped the oozing blood from the tiny scrapes on Aleksander's rounded little palms with sterile wipes ..... "There we are .... All mended .." he smiled at the child.
Aleksander stared back at him. "Georgi pushed me over," he said.
Mr Dillah had a final check of Aleksander's hands before letting them go.... Georgi was already on the bus and there'd been a lot of pushy excitement in the line. It was probably an accidental bump. "I'm sure he didn't mean it..... Lets find your buddy shall we?".... All the boys had a buddy, dividing them into pairs was safe and effective on school trips when a missing solo child was the last thing they needed.
Aleksander stared at the bus full of boys sat in pairs..... "Nobody wanted to be my buddy," he said.


Georgi was talking loudly..... "Aleksander cries like a girl."
"Or like he's Omega....."
Aleksander could hear the laughter but not all the words. He didn't need to turn round to know that Georgi was in the seat right behind him with his best friend Cassar.
The bus seat next to him dipped down....
"I like your backpack.... Mine looks weird, " Nikolai said. He was carrying an Eavee backpack.
Aleksander thought the long brown ears looked weird too....
Nikolai was opening his backpack up..... "Want to swap packed lunch?" he said.
Aleksander wasn't sure if he did but opened his packed lunch box anyway.....
"I'll swap you..... my popcorn for brioche.... " Nikolai said. "If you want...?"
Aleksander liked popcorn so he did the swap.

"Boys..... put your packed lunches away please! What did I say about not eating on the bus Nikolai? Do I need to take you off the bus and call your Father to tell him that you can't come with us on the trip?" Nikolai's teacher stopped to scold and singled only the Omega child out.
"No Sir!"
Aleksander watched how fast Nikolai stuffed everything back so he didn't get in any more trouble.....
The bus started to move.... "London Zoo here we come! " Nikolai said. "I'm going to see the elephants first..... what about you?" He rummaged through his backpack..... "This is my elephant..... it's going to meet the real elephants......" He waved the model elephants trunk at Aleksander....
Aleksander wanted to know so he asked..... "Didn't you get a buddy?"
Nikolai was balancing his model elephant on his knee.... "Maxim but he's in big trouble so Fader said no..... Where's yours?"
"He got sick too," Aleksander lied.
Nikolai beamed at him. "Cool. We can buddy up."

There was a lot of traffic.... cars and red buses and black taxi cabs..... and a lot of people.....
Aleksander stared out the huge bus window at the strange old stone animals on the pale stone building.... there was a unicorn with a green tail .... and a red lion with wings.... and a bird with two heads....
Nikolai leant across him to see better..... there was a knight on a white horse and that one he knew..... "That's Yury killing the basillisk..... that's our crest!" he said excitedly.
"Its a dragon. St George killing the dragon...." Aleksander said. He didn't know what a basillisk was.
"But it's the same...." Nikolai said. "When you come to play I'll show you mine....."
Georgi burst out laughing..... "Nikolai wants to show Aleksander his willy...." he said.
"No I don't!" Nikolai said. "Shut up stupid Georgi."
"Omega only have willies this big..." The gap Cassar left between two fingers was absurdly tiny.
Nikolai stuck his tongue out. "Liar," he said. "I bet mine's bigger than yours!"
Cassar stuck his arm through the gap between the seats and punched Nikolai on the shoulder.


Sherlock stared mournfully out the car window at the court building looming up ahead. No part of him wanted to be here.....
Mycroft and John exchanged concerned glances. Sherlock had said nothing since getting into the car.
John turned round in the front seat.... " I rang Martha.... she said she can bag up some of Alan's clothes for you ?"
Sherlock's gaze left the window. "John, you can take me to collect them?" .... I don't want anyone else touching Alan's things.....
Mycroft couldn't help himself..... " Are you sure it's wise Sherlock?"
Sherlock was adamant. "John... you'll come with me?"
"Yeah, course I will. "John agreed.."Anything to avoid you graduating onto sniffing Alan's boxers, eh Mycroft?"
Mycroft gave a polite shudder of horror. "Perish the thought."
Sherlock owed his brother some payback for pouring water over him earlier... "Greg would find you wearing his pants on your head sexy in a lighthearted , fun way....." Total lie of course but he kept any sign of it from his voice....
"Gregory would never participate in anything so unsanitary!" Mycroft protested.
Sherlock hid his smirk..... "Oh well ..... if you haven't managed to deduce everything about Greg that I have...... " he said and left it there......
Surely not.... ? It sounded such a juvenile prank, not arousing at all...... Mycroft doubted himself so rarely but this was Sherlock after all.......

Stuck in traffic the bus was barely moving. There were people everywhere.... even walking on the road.
Aleksander watched Nikolai rubbing his shoulder where the punch had been.....
"Whats a w... h.... oar Sir?" One of the older boys asked.
Alarmed by the question the headmaster turned to see a massive banner with the word adorning it directly outside the bus windows , jostling for space with sign after sign all equally unsuitable for the boys to see..... of course, they were outside the bond court.....
"Sir .... there's more ..... Look Sir!"
Voices began chiming up from all around the bus.
"Sir look!"
In desperation the headmaster looked up ... but there were no window blinds to order pulled down. "Close your eyes boys..... All of you close your eyes!" he instructed them.

Nikolai's mouth had fallen open so he shut it.... then opened it again. The thing he was looking at was still there!
Aleksander stared wide eyed at the effigy hanging from a lamp post.... it had dark curly hair and it was spinning in the stiff breeze..... when the face came around he knew it! It was a picture of his Mummy! He banged on the glass with his sore hands ...... "That's my mummy!"
The headmaster pushed Nikolai aside and made a grab for the back of Aleksander's head.... forcing it down and around...... "Eyes shut and heads down boys! Eyes shut and heads down till i say you can open them again! Sit down Nikolai!" he roared. "Aleksander Magnussen....close your eyes this instant!"


Sherlock didn't know who was behind the stuffed version of him that was hanging from a lamp post like a dead Mussolini.....
"What the Hell!" John's voice was intimidatingly angry. "There's a bus full of little school kids right there ..... what kind of idiot goes and does that!" John watched the effigy spin slowly round by its neck.
"At least it's a more original expression of hatred.... " Sherlock said. "Who knew whore was such an over used word among banner makers?"
Mycroft picked up on Sherlock's need to divert and supplied a hopefully amusing diversion...."Imagine the homework ... Dear little Tarquin using his Word Of The Day several times...."
John was laughing despite himself.
Sherlock went back to looking out the window with a sphinx like smile on his face. As the car passed the school bus he gave a longing look up...... they all looked about the same age as Aleksander..... It made him ache to watch them....  

Aleksander's head hurt.... the headmaster had hard fingers..... and everyone was talking about him and his mummy......
Nikolai wasn't sure what to do. "It wasn't your real Mama," he said. "Your real Mama is safe.... he's ....." He stopped for information.... "Where does your mama live now?"
Aleksander's face was all streaky..... "I don't know how to get there.." he said."I don't know where the house is....." That alone made him want to cry again.....
Nikolai looked at the teary streaks on Aleksander's face..... "But..... you've been there..... so you know where he lives just not the street...... When are you going back there again?"
Aleksander knew that.... he was counting the days.... "Friday.... two more sleeps....."
Nikolai was practical.... "You can ask your Mama where he lives then.... You talk on the phone can't you? We do that when we're in Petrograd and Mama isn't..... "
Aleksander stopped wanting to cry. Why hadn't he thought of that ? He could talk on the phone to his Mummy every day! All he had to do was ask Fader!


There were more protestors packed into the small quad..... but at least a small but steadily growing number of them were on Sherlock's side here.....
John scanned the crowd from inside the car..... personal protection wasn't his area of expertise but the army taught him the basics of spotting a risk among the crowd..... "Keep to the left of me as you get out ..... I'll knock on the window when its safe to open the car doors....." he said, recalling Alan saying much the same thing.... Now it was his job he understood the pressure.
Sherlock undid his seat belt with nervous hands. Just outside the tinted car windows a forcefully determined John was making sure the police cleared a bit more space around the car. "I'm not letting them out the car until you give us some more room."
Mycroft waited till Sherlock was free of the restraint of his seat belt.... "Alan asked me to give you this...." he said
Sherlock looked to his brother..... "What?"
Mycroft picked up Sherlock's hand and raised it to his lips in the traditional Alpha gesture of respect and love. " I am merely the proxy..... I am to say he loves you more than life itself....." The longing inherent in Alan's words was awkward to express.....
Sherlock closed his eyes for a second. "You hate sentiment...." he said.
"It was a personal request. " Mycroft said.
John knocked on the car window..... the signal for them to get out.
"Tell him.... from me..... the love..... it's mutual, " Sherlock said and pulled the car door open to face the baying crowd..... he paused then pulled it shut again.... "Alan said to kiss my hand ?"
Mycroft pulled on his gloves..... "Not exactly...." he admitted. "The exact location of the kiss was unspecified....."
"I knew it! " Sherlock said smugly.
"There is a limit to brotherly love Sherlock..... even mine......" Mycroft said.
"God yes!" Sherlock agreed and flung open the car door.


Their usual usher escorted then along the corridor...."The problem outside .... Legate's spoken to the police.... it'll be removed while courts in session to avoid disturbing the peace. Sorry you had to see something like that."
"Thanks, " John said since nobody else seemed to be taking the death threat dangling from a lamp post seriously.
"Sherlock ..... can I get you a drink of water....?" Aric was concerned for Sherlock, knowing he couldn't have avoided seeing the hanging effigy of himself .
Although he was paler than a ghost the Omega was focused on a whole other matter..." I need to talk to you," he said.

"You have to get the Legate to agree that Aleksander can come and see Billy?..... Their brothers.... It's important he's included." Sherlock said as though an effigy of him hung by the neck wasn't worth his consideration. " I've visitation this week..... It can't be at Baker Street.... it'll have to be at MI5...."
Aric glanced at Mycroft...... The lack of any clear expression on the man's face was revealing. For some reason this idea wasn't one he favoured. "In the presence of Magnussen's chosen chaperone....?" He checked that Sherlock had considered all the facts......
"If it has to be... " Sherlock saw the way Aric looked to Mycroft and said immediately. "Billy's my baby and Aleksander's my son.... They have to meet. Alexei isn't important... Aleksander is...."
Aric looked to John..... "The baby is stable enough for such an introduction to take place?"
John said..... "From behind a glass viewing window Billy can meet anyone they just can't come in or touch him.... even the Queen can look through the glass. If Mycroft decides to give a clearance pass."
Mycroft raised his eyebrows.... "Must I reiterate John..... I occupy a minor role in the British Government.... The notion of me refusing permission to a member of the Royal family is absurd....."
"You're the British Government...." Sherlock said. "When you aren't too busy being the British Secret Service ...."
"Sherlock Holmes..... stop exaggerating!" Mycroft said firmly.
"I never exaggerate!" An outraged Sherlock replied.
Mycroft gave his brother a stern glance.... "Need I remind you of the time you told Nanny I was attempting to poison you during dinner.....?"
Even for Holmes brothers that sounded a whole new level of weird..... "You what?.... How?" John had to ask.....
"He made me eat two brussel sprouts John ..... Two!...... and I was only five!" Sherlock said.
"One actually....." Mycroft corrected his brother.
"Two... You said one wasn't enough to know if I liked the taste or not.... I still can't eat them....." Sherlock defended his non negotiable position on sprouts.
"Two halves equal one..... you were always so very melodramatic for five....." Mycroft said.


Alexei watched Charles reaction as Sherlock entered the court..... "Sherlock looks deliciously fragile..... "
Charles jaw made a small grinding movement..... "Six weeks ..... if it wasn't for his little bastard ...... "
Alexei gave a knowing smile. "He'd be close to heat.... fertile...... You want him.... "
Charles swallowed back the saliva flooding his mouth..... Fertile.... the word repeated in his head...... "Of course...."
Aware of Charles eyes upon him from the second he'd stepped into the court room. Sherlock ducked his head and stuck close to John, by the time he reached his seat his legs felt shaky and he was relieved to sit down.
"All rise for Justice!" The Usher cried at the top of his voice.
"Then forget this farce and take him.. I can arrange a plane ...." Alexei smiled and rose to his feet.


The headmaster frowned to see the Omega Nikolai paired up with Aleksander Magnussen but since every other Alpha boy had a buddy in place he let it go unchallenged.
"Every boy is too stay close to your buddy at all times..... No boy is too wander off by himself!" The class teacher laid down some rules.
Aleksander checked he still had the money to buy a toy in the gift shop in his pocket..... the folded £50 notes felt warm but they were still there.
Nikolai was craning his neck trying to see everything when the line started to move he grinned and towed Aleksander along with him with a arm slung round his shoulders ..... "Come on Aleksander..... its elephant time!"


Milne frowned..... sat in such close proximity Sherlock was proving to be a distraction that Charles Magnussen's focus kept locking onto instinctively.....
The boy knew it too.... lowering his head all the time to duck his Alpha's intense stare..... little flirt.....
Six weeks on from a pregnancy the Omega was a tasty enough little morsel all but ready for another heat..... and Magnussen's interest was blatant.
"How well did Sherlock settle into his new home at Apple Dore?" Milne pulled Charles focus back.
Charles considered it.... "He was homesick.... initially..... I had expected it to be an issue but it was more extreme."
"To the degree that the homesickness affected his heat cycle?"
"No.... if anything it became more regular..... now his sexual needs were being met." Charles said.
Sherlock tried pretending he hadn't heard that.....
"In fact he soon fell pregnant?"
"He did.... " Charles watched Sherlock cross both arms across his middle and hunch forwards.
"You must both have been happy.... excited....?"
Charles nodded. " All of that."
"But sadly this first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage?"
"Yes," Charles answered without emotion. "I was led to understand that is not uncommon...."
Milne nodded sympathetically..... "Still the loss of this much wanted child must have upset you both?"
Charles nodded. "Of course...... "
"How did Sherlock react to losing this pregnancy?"
"The first time? After a brief depression he seemed to accept it ...... of course I provided the physical comfort he needed.... "
Milne nodded as though he understood how that was..... "He conceived again fairly rapidly?"
Charles remembered Sherlock crying out in pain as the knot locked them together...... "He did."
"But again it was not to be and he miscarried the child?" Milne said.
Charles allowed a twist of disappointment to cross his face..... "Another early miscarriage. Yes."
"This was his second miscarriage ..... Did you seek medical advice at this stage to ascertain the cause?"
"I did.... He was anaemic. It was rectified."
"Sherlock conceived again?" Milne waited for his reply.
"He did ..... the pregnancy this time lasted a few short weeks....."
"Another tragic loss.... Where you given any explanation of why such a sad loss had occurred again?"
" i was..... Dr Hoi was of the opinion that Sherlock's own behaviour was impacting upon his ability to carry to term..... "
"Objection ..... speculation!" Aric's voice said.
"Rephrase if you will Mr Milne...." The Legate waited....
"What were Dr Hoi's concerns?"
" Sherlock lacked appetite ...... It proved difficult for him to reach a healthy weight and therefore Dr Hoi felt that fetal health was compromised in the earliest stages....."
"Objection.... unproven!" Aric called out calmly.
"Upheld...." The Legate decided..
Milne paused in front of Charles.... "In Dr Hoi's opinion did Sherlock Holmes weigh a healthy weight in relation to his height?"
"No." Charles replied. "He did not."
"I submit the following medical records...." Milne waited while the papers were handed out.
There was a pause while the Judges examined them closely....
Mungo leant across to speak to the Legate, he didn't bother lowering his voice .. "i've eaten turkeys at Christmas heavier than the Holmes Omega was then..... Small wonder he couldn't carry to term. Anorexic."
Milne appeared to agree with Mungo..... "Did you have any reason to suspect Sherlock might suffer from an eating disorder?"
"Objection.... speculation...." Aric called.
"I'll allow it.... "The Legate decided.
Mycroft stared unflinchingly at the witness box, he could detect the subtle traces of a cruel arrogance around Charles mouth.
"Dr Hoi believed an eating disorder was possible..... " Charles replied.
" I see.... and were there any other factors in Dr Hoi's opinion that he believed lay behind Sherlock's failure to carry these first pregnancies to term?"
Charles took a sip of water.... "It was Dr Hoi's opinion that he was suffering from an incompetent.... a lazy...... weak cervix..... that made miscarriage more likely.."
Sherlock lifted his head and looked right at Charles...... You bastard... sat there lying about everything when you know what you did..... Blaming me when it was your fault... You've taken Alan....You keep my son away..... I hate you......

"Tragically Sherlock miscarried again several further times..... That he could produce an heir must have seemed increasingly unlikely.... Did you consider breaking the bond to try again with a healthy Omega?"
Sherlock pressed his forearm against the hard wooden edge of the table till it hurt bone..... the pain helped him not to think......
"Objection! Unproven!" Aric was on his feet.
The Legate considered it.... " Rephrase or move on Mr Milne......"
Milne took a second....."Did you consider ending the bond match since it had already resulted in so many miscarriages?"
Charles looked towards Sherlock .... "At no point. We are bonded. He is mine."
Mycroft glanced sideways to check how Sherlock was taking that last statement and saw John was doing the same...... Sherlock sat still and silent. It took a moment for Mycroft to detect the painful pressure Sherlock was applying to himself by forcing his forearm into the unforgiving wood of the table.
Milne paused as though moved by his clients statement..... "Many in your place might have done so.... faced with an unhealthy Omega who might well be incapable of bearing you  a son...."
"Objection! Unproven....." Aric sounded almost bored by the need to have to interject again.
"Upheld...." The Legate said.
Charles took a sip of water..... "Sherlock is my mate.... my commitment to him is absolute..... We perservered with our efforts to add to our family..... despite the difficulties of doing so...."
Milne rested a supportive hand on the front of the witness box, aware it was an effective gesture to indicate Charles was in need of a moments support ... "Difficulties....?" he asked.
"After so many painful losses..... Sherlock no longer believed he could carry a pregnancy to term.... he admitted he was afraid...."
"Afraid? Of another miscarriage.....?"
"Of pregnancy ...." Charles said.
Sherlock drew in a sharp breath....
"Doubting fertility would understandably distress any young Omega...... Yet you believed otherwise? You still had faith in the bond and the possibility of a mating bearing fruit?"
"He was young.... On medical recommendation I had implemented a number of lifestyle and diet changes..... I saw no reason to give up trying to conceive so soon...."
Somehow Charles made his repeated rapes sound like a positive choice .... Sherlock swallowed queasily.
John's low voice asked...."Sherlock feeling ok?"
"Sick....." Sherlock whispered.
John poured a glass of water and slid it over in front of Sherlock. "Need a break?"
Sherlock shook his head. I just want this over..... "I'm fine John."

"I'd like to submit the following image Legate......" Milne waited for the photograph to appear on the huge screen....
John looked up to see an image of Sherlock that was all too familiar ..... exhausted , thin , too pale for health and with a small pregnant belly....
Charles looked at the photo and smiled. "That is a photograph of Sherlock whilst pregnant with Aleksander."
"Sherlock's pregnancy this time was an easy one?"
"No. Since it was a high risk pregnancy both Sherlock and the unborn child were under the care of a consultant throughout..... " Charles looked over at the photograph again ..... " And of course Dr Hoi examined him several times weekly...... I credit him for successfully nursing Sherlock so close to term....."
Sherlock's bitter laugh broke the silence and brought every head round...... "Nursed? Is that what you call what he did to me?"
The Legate hammered the court into silence. "You will strike Sherlock's comment from the record ..... " he said. "Herr Weber.... I will not tolerate further interruptions...."
Aric leant forward in his chair, his face a warning...." Sherlock.... No."
Sherlock suspected what had been done to him wasn't any real examination or Lars would have done it as well and he never had..... "If my cervix was so weak..... then why did Dr Hoi keep pushing his fingers through it?" he asked Aric.
Aric stood up ..... " My client is overwhelmed , Legate. I request a short break...."
The Legate was tolerating no more delays ..... "Take a few moments and speak freely with your client Herr Weber.... I will call recess on the hour but not before."
Aric moved from his seat to the other side of the table, facing Sherlock he let the width of his back shield the Omega from the Legate's view as he talked.... "You cannot do this!"
Sherlock gave a snort....
"Sherlock..... if you speak now you will undermine my cross examination. " Aric's tone was urgent.
From the Alpha side of the court a slow stamping of feet began..... anger at the Omega who had dared to speak over his Alpha and who now was delaying proceedings....
"Listen to him.... Sherlock please...." John's voice was calm and steady and Sherlock's eyes flickered his way for a second.
Aric rested both hands on Sherlock's .... "Do you think I will let what was done to you pass unchallenged?"
Sherlock stared at his lawyer and nobody else.....
"You have my word." Aric laid a warm hand on top of Sherlock's clenched one. "He cannot evade me once I begin."
"He'd better not," Sherlock said grimly.


The zoo was very big.
The elephant poo smelt more than Aleksander had thought it would.
The rhino had done a lot of poo too .
The gorilla looked fat.
The lions were asleep.
The camel had fat legs
The gibbons were very high up and hard to see.
Aleksander wasn't sure if he was bored or not.
"Throw your banana ...." Nikolai was having the best day ever.
"Camels don't eat banana...." Aleksander said.
"This one will..... It's hungry...... Go on Aleksander!"
Aleksander knew camels didn't eat banana but he threw it anyway..... the camel didn't eat it ..... both boys watched as it stood on the banana with a wide foot and squashed it flat before peeing for a very long time.....
Nikolai stared at the camel..... "Wow ..... did you see that?" he said. "That was the longest pee I ever saw!"
Aleksander was impressed too.

"Maxim is going to be so mad he missed this!" Nikolai said as a hawk flew across and landed on the keepers gauntlet.
"Sssh.... be quiet Nikolai!" A teacher said.
Aleksander watched the owl tear into the dead baby chick with its sharp beak..... Nikolai was nice but Maxim was still Aleksander's secret best friend..... "Look a snowy owl!"
The teacher turned to tell Nikolai off again only to see Aleksander had spoken.... she smiled at the Alpha child.
"Maxim loves owls......" Nikolai whispered..... "Oh wow..... look.... a white bat!"
Aleksander knew it was a sugar glider.... "it's a sugar glider.... they eat sweet things."
Nikolai looked at it..... "Why does it have such big eyes?" he asked.
Aleksander knew that too. "It's nocturnal," he said. "It's in my animal book on Page 230."
"Cool," Nikolai smiled.....

In the zoo gift shop there were lots of toys ....
Aleksander had a pile of things he was buying..... he kept dropping the smaller things....
Nikolai kept picking up the pencils and the animal rubbers and putting them back on Aleksander's pile.
Aleksander kept waiting for Nikolai to buy something but he wasn't choosing anything. He just kept looking , saying how great it all was then putting it back down.
"Cool....." Nikolai tried a baseball cap on then put it back. "I like it."
"Don't you want it?" Aleksander asked.
"No money," Nikolai said.
Aleksander had lots of money to spend and didn't mind sharing. "I'll buy it," he offered.
Nikolai looked at the hat again..... he really wanted it.....
"Look baseball caps!" Georgi put two caps on his head at once and started laughing......"I'm buying them all...."
"Hurry up! Before stupid Georgi buys it!"" Aleksander said. He didn't want Georgi to have it.
Nikolai made a grab for the baseball cap. " I want it!" he said.

There were owl sticker and fact books by the till so Aleksander got one for Maxim......
The woman put everything he bought into a special bag that said London Zoo in big red letters.
Aleksander swung his bag by the handles all the way back to the bus.... nobody told him off .
Nikolai put his new London Zoo baseball cap on.....
"Take that hat off at once Nikolai!" The headmaster said.
Aleksander frowned. Georgi was right behind them and had a baseball cap on too but nobody told him off.


It'd been a long morning..... Milne had moved on to discuss Sherlock's emotional state at the time of Aleksander's birth. "Sherlock refused to hold the baby following the birth?"
"Legate!" Aric raised his voice. "Sherlock's Holmes mothering instinct is not under debate here!
"Rephrase the question Mr Milne. You know the rules."
Milne rephrased subtly..... "Did Sherlock show interest in holding the baby following the birth?"
"He did not... " Charles took another sip of water..... "Sherlock seemed panicked by the mere idea ."
"Objection..... only Sherlock can attest to his emotions on that day." Aric said.
The Legate agreed. "Rephrase Mr Milne."
Sherlock pushed his forearm a little harder into the table edge and felt the bone ache.
"You observed there to be a disconnect between your Omega and the newborn infant shortly following birth?"
"I felt so..... I was told not to concern myself.....such lack of reaction was not uncommon among first time Omega mothers after the physical nature of birth. "
"I see.... Did Sherlock feed the baby himself?"
Charles nodded. " I had to insist.... the nurses encouraged him to do so..... Sherlock seemed overly anxious and had to be closely supervised."
" I understand it many new parents find handling a newborn intimidating initially." Aric said.
Sherlock remembered the tiny grumpy expression on the face of his newborn son as a total stranger held Aleksander to his sore nipple.... He'd wanted to talk to the baby but the ever present, fussing closeness of the nurses and Charles had felt intimidating..... He'd thought maybe when he was back at Apple Dore feeding would go better but instead his chance to get feeding right had ended when he'd seen Aleksander's nanny  holding his baby to her as the milk in the bottle went visibly down.....
" Lets jump forward in time if I may? A month has now passed since the birth.... Did Sherlock show a greater degree of interest in his son?" Milne's question presented the lie that Sherlock had been a disconnected mother as a certainty.....
"Objection..... Legate my client's love for his child is not being questioned here surely? Sherlock sought access ..... surely that is proof enough of his love for his son!" Aric defended Sherlock strongly.
"It's highly relevant Legate...." Milne fought for the inclusion.
The Legate glanced at the clock..... " In that case I'll advise you to reach your conclusion more rapidly Mr Milne. I am losing patience."
Milne was forced to abandon his carefully prepared line of questioning..... instead he went for the jugular.... "Did you trust Sherlock  unsupervised in the company of baby Aleksander?"
"I did not." Charles said. "Not that I believed he would deliberately harm the child but Sherlock finds it difficult to remain in a calm emotional state..... Should Aleksander cry or become unsettled Sherlock reacted oddly.... I believe it to be an inherited maternal deficit ..... Siger Holmes once told me that Violet Holmes suffered in exactly the same way. " Charles looked right at Sherlock and spoke to him..... "You know you lack true maternal instincts. We've talked about this before Sherlock.... It is not your fault and I am willing to overlook it when you are returned to me."
Sherlock's voice said bitterly. "That's big of you . Considering you never let me have even a half hour just to hold Aleksander by myself.... You never wanted him to love me!!"
The Legate bought down the gavel with a sharp bang. "You will neither of you address each other directly in my court! You are here to give evidence and you do so when asked to speak only!"


"Nikolai .... don't talk while you are eating."
Everyone else around them was talking.... even laughing.... but he was always the one to get told off....."Yes Sir." Nikolai didn't care how many teachers had told him off today. This had been the best day. "I want a sugar glider as a pet," he said to Aleksander.
"You can't.... I'm getting one first," Aleksander wanted one so much.
"We'll share it...." Nikolai said. "It can be half Russian and half Danish. It can live in my wardrobe at my house..... Where's it living when it's  at your house?"
"Fader's office!" Aleksander said laughing.


Aleksander had had a great day and he'd bought a present for Maxim..... Maxim was his best friend.
Nikolai had to bend the corners a bit to get it into his back pack but Aleksander didn't think it was too bent and Nikolai said Maxim would still really like it even if it was bent.
They didn't go past the court on the way back to school.... they went a longer way.... .Even better...... Georgi ate too many sweets on the bus and got travel sick on the way back to school.

As the coach pulled in Aleksander could see his Fader talking to Nikolai's daddy.
Aleksander waved from the window. "Look there's your Papa..... Next to my Fader!" he told Nikolai.
Nikolai didn't wave at his Papa...... instead he was quiet for the first time all day He didn't want to get off the bus now. "I wish Mama had come," he said.
Aleksander didn't know why he felt worried but all of a sudden he just did..... "Why didn't Maxim get to come to the zoo ?" he asked.
"Because he cut all his hair off with scissors..... it's got bald bits and sticky up bits..... Papa is really mad!" Nikolai said. "Maxim has to have cold showers until Papa says he can have hot water again."


"Hello Papa...." Nikolai said.
Alexei looked at his son. "Nikolai."
"Papa!" Georgi was loud, happy and confident.
"Georgi.... любимый сын how was your day?" Alexei asked his Alpha son.
"It was the best day ever!" Georgi said as the driver opened the car door. " Stupid Aleksander fell over!"
"Georgi pushed him!" Nikolai had seen it happen.
Georgi saw a chance for revenge....."Nikolai has a new baseball cap.... Aleksander bought it for him....."
Alexei eyed Nikolai. "Is this true?"
Nikolai wanted to lie..... "It's a present...."
"A present you hid from me?" Alexei made it clear he disapproved. "Give it to me...."
"Please Papa ..... its a present.... I'm sorry I didn't say."
Nikolai really didn't want too ..... "Here Papa....."
Alexei hit the button that slid the electric window down and tossed the baseball cap into the road..... " You have nothing without my permission. Do I make myself clear Nikolai?"
"Yes Papa," Nikolai turned round to see if he could see the hat in the road , maybe someone would pick it up and somehow he'd get it back.... but it was gone.


Aleksander showed his Fader everything...."I bought this..... and this ..... and this ..... and this Fader. Look when it shines it makes a lion on the wall ...... and then you turn this and look its a crocodile ....."
Charles watched his son's small fingers fumble with the switch. "Do you need my help?"
"No Fader I can do it!" Aleksander pushed really hard until his thumb hurt and the button pushed across. He remembered what Nikolai had told him....."Fader I want to phone Sherlock and tell him about my day... Can I? "
Charles smile faded slowly. "I doubt Sherlock will be interested in a toy," he said.
Aleksander wasn't sure how being happy could just go away..... maybe feelings could pop like a bubble.


Sasha was using massage oils to ease the passage of his hands as he rubbed Ilya's twisted feet and clawed toes. "This toe .... that toe..... and under we go...." He tickled the arch of Ilya's foot.
Ilya was making the breathless wheezing sound that Sasha knew was laughter.
From the bathroom next door Sasha could hear Maxim crying. The noise made his gut twist..... "Again?" he asked Ilya.

Alexei watched his naked son shake and sob.
"P...p...please Papa.... I'm cold....." Maxim's teeth were chattering and he was dripping with cold water.
"Then tell me why you cut off your hair...." Alexei repeated the same question he had asked all week.
Maxim gave a huge sob.
"Look at you....bald in places like a mangy dog..... " Alexei said witheringly. " You will tell me why you cut your own hair or we will do this every day until you do....." He gestured to the maid to turn the cold water back on and the crying began again.
"I want Mama!" Maxim wailed as the freezing water hit him.
Alexei gestured to the maid to turn the water pressure up and watched his son splutter under the icy deluge....

When he heard the door open Sasha knew better than to show how much he cared by asking if it was over now. Any concern he showed would make things worse.
"Don't show me your back Sasha ....." Alexei warned him.
Sasha turned.
"He will tell me," Alexei said.
Sasha said nothing.
"I see your thoughts..." Alexei said.
"I have nothing to say," Sasha lied.
Alexei smiled. "You know better than to say it..... " In search of a goad he looked from the massage oil bottle to the small white towel on the bed next to Sasha and to the bare feet of Ilya..... "You touched his feet? Disgusting," he said.
"Ilya has your eyes.... " Sasha said.
"He has nothing of mine," Alexei replied.
"Only your DNA ....." Sasha said.
Alexei stood in the doorway , shirt sleeves soaking from pushing Maxim under the water and laughed.... "I thought that Sherlock was the only Omega to have a freakish interest in science. Do you even know what DNA is?" he said.
"Perhaps Sherlock inspired me to learn," Sasha said as he tucked the blanket around Ilya.
"Both of you would benefit from a hard fuck.... " Alexei said. "I'd prefer my cock in him though."


Aleksander was hungry. Dinner was veal which he liked and asparagus which he didn't.
Zaman knew that Aleksander didn't like asparagus .... the child never took any for his plate. He was therefore surprised when Mr Magnussen spoke as he turned away with the platter.
"Serve my son some asparagus.... "
"I don't like asparagus Fader," Aleksander thought it was funny that the butler remembered and his Fader had forgotten.
"You are no longer an infant. It is time you educated your palate.... ." Charles gestured for Zaman to remain .
Zaman watched Aleksander take a single stem of asparagus.
"Do you think me a fool?" Charles tone was harsh.
"No Fader...." Aleksander panicked inwardly unsure what he had done wrong.
"Then why have you refused to do as you are told?" Charles snapped.
Aleksander didn't know what he'd done wrong but he'd done something because Fader wasn't pleased with him anymore. He picked up his knife and fork and sliced a tiny piece of yucky asparagus and put in in his mouth .... The taste made him gag.
"Put down your knife and fork! How dare you behave in this way!" Charles roared.
Aleksander jumped and almost dropped his fork .....
"Put some in your mouth properly , chew and swallow Aleksander!"
Aleksander tried not to taste anything as he chewed. He retched again.
"Give my son an adequate portion!" Charles snapped at his butler.....
Zaman placed a small portion more onto the reluctant child's plate.
"Give him more...." Charles said coldly.
"Fader.... I don't like asparagus.!" Aleksander tried explaining.
Zaman placed another small serving next to the first.
"Continue ..... More," Charles said.
Zaman watched the asparagus pile up on Aleksander's plate.
"Eat...." Charles said.
Aleksander stared at his plate.... most of it was covered in asparagus. "It's cold and it's yucky," he said. He wanted to cry.
"You will sit here until you have eaten every single one.... If you fail to finish it will be served to you again at breakfast.... again at lunch and so on until you eat it all." Charles said. "As punishment you will not be allowed to speak to Sherlock. That will teach you the importance of good manners and respect."

Chapter Text


There was a lot of mail.
Most of it was addressed to Alan..... One was a gym membership fee bill...... OVERDUE it said in threateningly heavy black.
"Mycroft's paid the utility bills.....that must have come today." John told him. "You don't have to think about any of those, Sherlock."

Sherlock hadn't ever thought about bills. Alan had dealt with anything like that.... bills, rent..... Shit! "Mrs Hudson's rent....!" he was appalled to think he'd just forgotten for so long.
"Don't worry....." John said. "It's all been paid up to date."
"Mycroft can't pay for everything." Technically he could, but Sherlock didn't want him too.... "I don't have a bank account or a paying job .... I don't even know how to pay a bill, John!" It was overwhelming.
"You've got help. It's just bills..." John turned the pale blue envelopes in his hands around and took a gamble that Sherlock could still be distracted before he stressed out ..... "There's a couple of baby cards to open here....."
"Who from?" Sherlock said.
"Molly Hooper...." John said, he read the card aloud. "She says..... It's a baby boy! Congratulations. I bet he is gorgeous. Can't wait to babysit... hint hint!...."
Sherlock felt a stab of guilt. "I'll take Billy to St Barts to see her ..... when he comes home."
John said slowly...... "Doesn't she work in the morgue...?"

" ....No....." Sherlock answered quickly...... Although Billy was so young would he even know he was there....? If you trained a baby young they'd adapt to anything as their normal surely?..... Why was John staring at him again.....? "No..... She works in the morgue but there's a coffee shop...." Please let there be a coffee shop somewhere at Barts so he could convincingly pretend to have seen it.... Coffee in a coffee shop with a friend not in a morgue with a friend...... No morgues..... Nice normal mothering here..... No need for anyone to take my baby away from me or limit contact...... I can do this......
John was reassured. "Yeah there is on the ground floor by reception...." For a mad moment there he'd thought Sherlock wanted to bring the baby into a morgue....
"Whose the other card from....?" Sherlock asked by way of a distraction.
John was unimpressed by the dirty finger marks on the envelope. He scanned the words fast ..... To Sherlock and ? Many blessings on the birth of a son. Best wishes. Jed..... . "Whose Jed?" he asked.
Sherlock aimed for wide eyed innocence with heavy reliance on maintaining eye contact. He couldn't tell the truth ; that Jed had to be Tam, a rough sleeper from 'up North' whose strong smell had made Sherlock try to breathe as shallowly as possible .... "A friend of Alan's...."

"Wouldn't he know Alan's name?" John gave Sherlock a look and read aloud .... "PS. Moved from behind court bins to Embankment. Round back of Burger King....." John turned the card Sherlock's way...."He even drew you a map and a stick man showing which wheelie bin.... How the Hell do you know anyone who lives behind a wheelie bin Sherlock?"
" He was kind ...." Sherlock hesitated.
"And....?" John said sternly, because you didn't need to be a Holmes to know there was more Sherlock wasn't saying.. "Whoever this guy Jed is you barely know him..."
"And nothing...  I know he was kind," Sherlock edged past John and headed up the stairs before he could be stopped.... " It was nice of him to send a card wasn't it?"

"Even if he is nice ...You don't know him... Sherlock are you listening to me..?" John saw the expression on Sherlock's face and stopped talking...
Sherlock hadn't been back here in weeks...... the last time he'd stood in this room he'd still been pregnant and furiously hurt by the lies he'd just discovered Alan had told him.
"My crime files are gone...." It was a casual observation. Sherlock was far more occupied in trying to work out why there was an inexplicable but faint smell of fresh paint.
"Greg dropped by to pick them up." John said.
Sherlock blinked. What....? "Sorry? What John?"
"The crime files..... The ones you said are missing......? Greg has them.... "John reminded Sherlock what they'd been talking about as neutrally as possible. These mental absences worried him...
Sherlock felt a pang of guilt. He hadn't given The Work a second thought.... although the idea of Greg working on his cases with someone else was oddly hurtful....
"Knowing Greg he's being considerate and giving you space..... but he's probably chomping at the bit to fill you in anytime you're ready..... You can always give him a call, tell him you want to catch up you know....?"
"I know... " Sherlock said. The idea of work was tempting and John seemed to think it was a good idea..... but Billy needed him ....

Ever since they'd stepped inside the actual flat John's concern was almost palpable. Sherlock could practically feel the worry radiating off him..... "I'm fine John...." Alan's battered old jacket from Finland was still hanging up as though Alan would be putting it on anytime soon.....
"I'm not an idiot you know," John said.
"It's just..... " Sherlock gave up trying to put neat words around thoughts he knew were probably insane. "Alan isn't here ..... " Logically Sherlock knew....of course he couldn't be.... not when Alan was miles away locked up in a jail cell..... yet somehow Sherlock hadn't entirely been able to lose all hope that he was secretly still here.... "I'm not crying..." Sherlock heard himself say. Please John, I need a minute by myself then I'll be fine......
John looked at him wisely....."I'll wait in the kitchen."
Sherlock thanked God for John's common sense doctorly approach to the inevitability of some kinds of pain.

"This is well past its best by......" John had a black bin bag ready and open.
"Stop!" Sherlock froze John's moving hand in place...... If John threw this out it'd be information gone and literally everything mattered..... "Show me!"
John was staring at him as though he'd suddenly seen Sherlock sprout a second nose alongside the first..... "It's just bacon......and some yoghurty milk......" John swirled the sour milk around inside the bottle so Sherlock could see just how 'off ' it was.
Sherlock's head turned to check...... No foil on the grill pan..... Alan hadn't cooked bacon for breakfast that morning then....... There was no porridge pan soaking in the sink either......
John's eyes followed Sherlock's......
"I'll write and ask Alan today..... " Sherlock said decisively. "The evidence is inconclusive......"
"Say what?" John's mystified voice asked.

"Breakfast. Alan could have had either or nothing..... Two options ... ." Sherlock explained.
"Right......" John said in his ' we're dealing with a psychological imbalance here ' voice..... "And knowing what Alan ate for breakfast weeks ago matters why?"
"So I know what he did..... What he ate... If he ate....." Sherlock said. John's forehead was doing that whole puckered line thing it did when he was confused which meant he still didn't understand...... "I need to fill in the blanks..... " Sherlock explained it again...... "Before he knew I'd gone.... before he came to Greg's..... I don't know everything he did..... It's important, John."
"You should probably look upstairs then ......" John said.

There was a long scuff mark on the wall..... looked to be from a dusty cardboard box scraping the wall. Definitely hadn't been there before or Mrs Hudson would have wiped it away with a cloth and complained to Alan about it.
At the top of the stairs several folded, large cardboard boxes stood against the wall. Flattened neatly for recycling..... imprint of a trainer on several..... Sherlock knew Alan well enough to suspect he'd have enjoyed the sheer physicality of squashing them down.
Up here the faint smell of fresh paint was a bit stronger.
. "Paint?" Sherlock asked John the question since John seemed to know about whatever this was.
"I'll ask Mrs Hudson to open the window. Air it out." John said.
Sherlock pushed the nursery door open...... sun streamed in across the floor and flooded the newly painted room with so much light the white painted cot and matching furniture were dazzlingly pure.

Sherlock heard himself breathing in and out..... in and out...... "You knew Alan had done this .... You were here?"
"I helped carry a few boxes, " John belittled his own contribution. "All this ..... he did this for Billy and you, Sherlock."
Sherlock reached out and touched the crib. The wood was satin smooth under his finger tips ...... Not wishful thinking. Not a longing delusion. Real. A tangible sign of the way Alan loved them. He blinked hopelessly against the tears..... "This is good crying ...."
"I know Sherlock..... I'm not an idiot...." John said and patted him on the shoulder.

"What's in this small box?" John asked.
Sherlock weighed the box in both hands without opening it...... even though it was plain white he remembered choosing what was inside..... "You can open it John."
"You sure?" John checked then slid a strong finger underneath the flap.
Inside the box , carefully wrapped were five pale blue china letters that together spelt a name...... B I L L Y.
"Where do you want these to go?" John asked.
"On the shelf....." Sherlock said.
"And the burping cloths... Where do you want those?" John slipped seamlessly into helping Sherlock.
"Top drawer ..." Sherlock picked up a brown box.... He slid a long finger underneath the brown shiny parcel tape and pried it up just enough to attack it with his teeth......when he'd ripped it open he shook the box hard and a bubble wrapped object wrapped up in a letter fell into his lap.......


Sherlock tipped the toy out onto his lap..... moving automatically. A brown and grey monkey toy with folded velcro arms and a  vest on smiled up at him. and just like that the past was alive again....
"Exactly how much tea do we need to drink to get this monkey? That was the fifth mug you've made me this morning.... I keep needing to pee...."
Alan looked oddly guilty..... "Summat like fifty tokens.... and £6.99 to cover postage....."
Sherlock tilted the box to read the small print..... "It says here..... 100 tokens ...."
Alan took the box to look. That was more than he'd thought alreight..... He showed the box back towards Sherlock......"Aye but look how cute he is..... "
"2, 265 teabags worth of cute....?" Sherlock let the absurdly high teabag count speak for itself.
"It's for Billy...." Alan had played his highest value card.
There was nothing Sherlock could say to top that.... not if it was for Neep. "I'll drink six cups a day. You have to drink the rest. Biscuits with every mug I drink are non negotiable." Sherlock struck a hard deal...
" Reight you are... I'll get you some biscuits and make a fresh brew now shall I?" Alan had had the cheek to suggest.

Sherlock stared down at the end product of so much tea and hope...... the monkey smiled toothlessly back at him.

John was trying to unscrew the world tiniest screw ..... once he'd got the batteries in he had to screw it back up again.
"Where do you want me to put this ....?" he asked.
No answer.
Sherlock had gone.

The bedroom was a mess.
Sometimes reading clues was a curse..... but he'd said he wanted to know how Alan had felt that day so Sherlock deduced everything anyway.
From Alan's paint splattered clothing left carelessly on the floor to the open drawers, dropped change and the unevenly pulled curtains Sherlock could deduce the pressured speed at which Alan had dressed and come to hammer at Greg's door that day.
The sense of loss was overwhelming....

"Sherlock?" John knocked but stayed outside the room.
"I'm choosing clothes to take back.... " Sherlock lied. In reality he was sat on the unmade bed locking eyes with a knitted toy monkey that suddenly symbolised everything he loved about Alan.....
John wanted to open the door but since Sherlock hadn't said he could come in he stayed where he was..... "I'll ask Martha for some milk and put the kettle on," he said. "I'll leave the door open. Shout if you need me."

Left alone Sherlock set the monkey toy down on the bed and took off his trainers and hoodie...... Alan's unzipped wash bag was on the bed and as he moved it aside he saw there was a razor just lying there.
He picked it up ......

Martha wasn't home but John knew where she kept the key. Her flat had the same homely smell it always did..... tea and home baking and furniture polish......
There was milk in the fridge and John took down a tray and two cups having forgotten to bring any mugs down with him.
This was always going to have been a tough day for Sherlock..... coming back here to face the proof that Alan was gone..... from the coat hanging up to the protein shake in the kitchen , the whole flat had that feel of a shared life abandoned abruptly.
Maybe he'd been wrong to suggest Sherlock come back here.

There was a photograph of Alan and Sherlock on the fridge door now alongside two more photos. John thought back to the first photo he'd ever seen of them together.... Alan's muscular frame still made Sherlock look breakable by comparison but John knew now that first impression wasn't right..... Sherlock stood inside Alan's embrace and leant back into the body behind his own looking relaxed and loved..... Only the scars John could see on his bare arms told of the violent past Sherlock hoped to leave behind him..... John carefully pulled the photo off the door to read the multi coloured words written on the black t-shirt Sherlock had been wearing that day..... STAND BACK I'M GOING TO TRY SCIENCE.... it said. John smiled at the truth of that warning.....
Alongside that photo was one of himself and above them all one of Billy in a purple and red magnetic heart shaped frame that said Best Granny Ever. John didn't deduce much but that Granny frame had to be a gift from Sherlock .... didn't it? Martha wouldn't make an assumption like that about herself.... so Sherlock must have bought it because for him, Alan and for Billy, Martha was family ....
John realised he didn't know where that left him now. On the outside looking in in all probability.....

John had been stood still staring at the photos for too long when something occurred to him. Sherlock had said he was choosing some of Alan's clothes but there were no footsteps , no moving around ...... Everything was far too quiet.

"Sherlock!" John's thigh muscle ached as he sped up the stairs.... "Sherlock?"
This time he didn't hesitate at the bedroom door.... he hit the door handle down and kept on going......
There was a razor blade and a wash bag next to the bed..... A curled shape hidden under the duvet..... Lying still...... "God no!" John heard the throaty dread in his voice. God no not again! Not after he'd stitched together Sherlock's sliced flesh right here in this bed before.....

There was a knitted monkey toy in his scarred hand..... the wrist John could see was whole and intact. Thank God!.
Sherlock was laid on his side, face buried in Alan's pillow, mouth deliberately open so every breath he took pulled the scent of Alan's hair deep down inside his lungs with every breath he took....
The classical beauty of his profile hadn't changed at all.... .
Now John was closer he could see earphones in Sherlock's ears.... . the music player screen showed Status Quo was playing which meant that was Alan's music....
Aware Sherlock couldn't hear so didn't know anyone was there John touched his hip lightly to tell him tea was ready.....
Sherlock's eyes flickered open second and all Hell broke loose as he came up swinging....

John sat in the chair with the Union Jack cushion and rubbed his jaw......
"I punched you....." Sherlock couldn't believe what he'd just done.
"It's fine....." John said gingerly.

"You can't wake me up like that...." Sherlock was shaken. He thought John knew that..
"Those boxing lessons Alan gave you....." John said ruefully. "You can tell him they paid off .That was some punch."
"Krav maga....." Sherlock said. "He taught me krav maga..... punching was part of it...."
John flexed his jaw and winced.
"I'm sorry...." Sherlock said again. " I didn't expect anyone to come in and touch me."

You can't touch him when he's sleeping..... Getting woke out of his sleep never meant anything good for him.
"No I'm sorry." John said. "Alan told me not to surprise you like that.... I was worried....."
Sherlock's face changed.... "Worried about what?"
John knew it was inevitable but watching Sherlock deduce him had never felt so awkward. "I was wrong," he admitted.
"You thought.....? You really thought.....? " Sherlock repeated himself then got the words out.... " Self harm? No...... you actually thought I'd kill myself.... here ?...... That I'd do that to Alan.... Aleksander and Billy .... too everyone.....? That I'd ask you to bring me here so I could do that ?"
" I can be an idiot... " John said.

They'd been sat in the two chairs facing each other for a while.
"I was wrong," John apologised again. "You wouldn't do that . I should have known you wouldn't ... Not now."
"I think about it sometimes..... " Sherlock said. He wasn't sure why full disclosure felt like a good idea.
John felt time slow right down till it barely moved.
"Not doing it now..... I meant what I said ..... I wouldn't do that...... now.... " Sherlock tried to explain.
"Then what....?" John's lip felt stiff.
Sherlock fidgeted in his chair. "'s...."
"Sherlock I swear to God if you say 'its fine!" John warned him.
"Complicated....." Sherlock said.

"I made Alan promise.... " Sherlock' said quietly. "He didn't want too..... I used his guilt to get him to agree.... I used to do that a lot...."
"Agree to what?" John had a sudden urge to punch Alan in the face.
"I won't go back to Charles...." Sherlock said. "Even if the Legate says I have too.... I'm not..... Only Alan's not here now to help..." Sherlock said delicately.
John exhaled. How did things get to this...... this nightmare of a God awful conversation with Sherlock saying he needed help to kill himself if he had to go back to Charles?
It was too much for John, his thigh ached as he lurched to his feet..... "Stop it! Stop it Sherlock!"

John stood and stared out the kitchen window at a grubby looking dandelion growing on top of the wall. "You don't need a suicide plan...." If it came down to Magnussen dying so Sherlock can live a life without threat..... he dies every time.....You have nothing to fear Sherlock. "You won't lose.... " If Magnussen wins in that court room he dies out of it.....One way or another.... Sherlock, swear to God..... He'll never hurt you again.
"Forget I said anything?" Sherlock was close to pleading. If Mycroft found out he had any sort of suicide plan .......
"You know for a genius you can be remarkably thick sometimes....." John wasn't joking.
"That's a no then?" Sherlock covered his hurt with a hard flippancy.
"No shit Sherlock!" John knew his anger was misplaced. It was Charles who he was really angry at......
"I've nobody else to ask...." Sherlock said.
"So you thought you'd ask me? " John was getting angrier by the second. "Good old John.... he's had a one sided crush on me since school .... It was one-sided wasn't it? You fancied Alan even back then?"
Sherlock's face twisted. "It wasn't like that...."

"Alan.....he'd do anything for you if you play on his guilt..... even agree to end your life?" John didn't even know why he'd said that.
"I shouldn't have asked you...." Sherlock didn't like standing too close to anyone who was angry but this was John. "It was an error of judgement."
"No ...... you really shouldn't....." John said. "Because I'm not lucky enough to be your lover , Sherlock so you don't get to guilt me into something like this!"
Sherlock looked sick. "I'm sorry....."
"You're my best friend..... My best friend, Sherlock!" John said it again. "You had no right asking me..."
Sherlock had never been more reluctant to be totally honest in his life..... "Don't be in love with me, John.... I can't.... I love Alan....."

"Just go get the clothes....That's why we came here isn't it?" John said dully.
"No," Sherlock said.

" I never lied I to you, John. I loved you.... I don't know what we could have been because we never had the chance.... My life changed....I changed... You changed.... Charles did that... and I know you don't like Alan and you think it's a pseudo Bond and I never should have fallen in love in the first place but I did and I can unfall now, not for the Legate, not for anyone.... not even for you !"
John ached for the past back... "Do I matter Sherlock?"
"Yes." Sherlock took a breath.... "I'm sorry, John ....I'm sorry you got hurt.... I'm sorry I gave up on us and moved on.... You are my best friend, John... before anyone else there was you." If John needed proof that he mattered then fine....."Jed's real name is Tam and he isn't a friend of Alan's.... I met him outside the bond court the day I climbed out the window. He helped me get back into the court to find Alan....We hid behind wheelie bins. I gave him Alan's money..... but it was a bargain.... Who sees the underbelly of a city, day and night..... all the bleakest, darkest corners ?"
"Oh I don't know Sherlock!" John said bitterly. What did this matter? Rejection hurt.  "Police like Greg .... Taxi drivers... Street cleaners... Anyone except a homeless bloke you barely even know!"
"People notice all those passers by.... they change their behaviour , they go elsewhere to dispose of a body or commit a crime... but nobody really looks long enough to see the people they don't want to look at.... A homeless network John ... anyone who sleeps rough....if they'll talk to me I can use them.... I see them.."

"Say something, John.... " Sherlock hated waiting for an Alpha to speak first.
"It's brilliant!.... Absolutely brilliant... " John saw instantly how well it could work.
"It could be ....but I can't do it myself... Mycroft won't let me.... I need protection.... Someone so Mycroft will see it's safe..... I need you...." He waited for John to say it....the infuriated no. The refusal to let him take this big a risk....
"You need me because you can't have Alan," John said.
Sherlock winced at how bad that sounded. "When you say it like that it sounds worse... No... Alan wouldn't want the job and he wouldn't be good at it. He hates bodies. You don't. You saw how he was in the morgue.... " Sherlock tried one last time.... "John.... You were my first choice."

They'd been silent for what felt like too long.... "What did you think I was going to say?" John had to know....
There were five possible scenarios," Sherlock lied. In fact there was only two, yes or no,  but that hardly sounded impressive..." But in the end you were always going to say yes whichever way I looked at it..."
"Am I so easy to read?" John asked and for a second he sounded stung.
So Sherlock shook his head and told the simplest of many truths. "No.... But you're my best friend, John. You fought for me so hard Alan had to knock you out to stop you..... so no, I've never forgotten ..... and yes, you matter...."

Chapter Text

"Wow....." Sherlock was in awe of the sheer scale of Tam's home making ambitions..... "I did not expect this...."
Tam gave a proud smile. "It's a big sheet of cardboard and some ikea bags..... then pallets.... then a layer of old boxes.....roof and sides are pallets..... more newspapers to keep me warm.....old tent for water proofing..... Duvets.... I've two folded up doubles in here.... an a sleeping bag on top....." He held the heavy plastic covering the entrance aside. ..."Give your feet a wipe if'n your coming in....."
"Course I'm coming in....." Sherlock wiped his feet on the cardboard that doubled as a door mat, took a deep breath of London air and ducked inside.

John was hit by an instant surge of concern the moment Sherlock was out of sight.
Tam gave John a long stare. "You'll have to stand guard out here..... I've nae room for three...."
John pointed out the obvious.... "I'll be standing right here.... "
Tam grinned. "Haddaway man, there's nee way I'd harm a hinny."

"I'm not a girl...." Sherlock knew what a hinny was. He spent the whole drive here Googling Geordie English.....
"I ken that.... " Tam watched Sherlock settle himself as far back as he could sit..... even so their feet were almost bumping...... "Ye'reet bonny lad? How's the babby?"

"Billy.... he's premature but he's getting stronger...." Sherlock fumbled for his phone and unlocked the screen so Tam could see.
"Jaysus.... . He's a head no bigger than an orange..... Omega or Alpha?" Tam touched the screen wrongly and the phone returned to its home screen photo..... he took a quick look before handing the phone back.
Sherlock touched his thumb lovingly to the one photo he had of Alan holding Billy inside the incubator..... it was his screen saver, he saw it every time his phone rang and every time he checked the time or answered a call. "Omega," he said.
"And he's your fella in't photo? Not him stood out front?"
Sherlock smiled. "That's John.... Dr John Watson..... we're friends..... Alan's my.... " Lover sounded weird.... Bond mate wasn't strictly true yet..... Fiance was just one of those words that belonged in romance novels..... "Alan's mine."
Tam nodded.

"I bought you some things..... " Sherlock said.
Tam saw the M&S plastic bag. "Sandwiches?" Every fucking passer by gave food. If he ate it all he'd be the size of a horse.....
Sherlock hesitated.... "No.... clean pants..... a 4 pack of toilet rolls.... and a Swiss Army Knife .... its got a blade, tweezers , scissors and everything on....."
"Giz us a deek...." Tam took a look into the bag. He'd not had a haul as good as this in a while.... "Belta."
"Good," Sherlock wasn't sure how this exchange of information should go...... " You found something?"
"Aye.... " Tam watched Sherlock's face change when he said that word , he said it again to be sure.... "Aye.... I found summat."
"Thank you.... " Sherlock took the small item Tam had given him and hid it away in a pocket..... "I'm going to need to see exactly where you found this...." he said.
Tam chuckled.... " Aye. I'll take you. It'll cost you mind....."


John had never been so relieved to see Sherlock scramble back into view. "Everything go ok?"
"Fine," Sherlock took a deep breath of London air flicked up the collar on his jacket and started walking.
"Slow down...." John grumbled as he stepped over something brown that smelt a lot like human shit .
"Sorry.... Sorry...." Sherlock stopped instantly, then noticed the smell and moved a few paces further on.....
John caught up to him..... "What's the rush?"
"I need you to buy something..... For Tam. " Sherlock announced. "There's a chemist on the corner but I can't get it myself....."
"He's ill....? I can examine him if he needs?"
Sherlock peered in through the shop window..... "Not necessary....." The pharmacist was ideal.... not an Alpha man, a beta woman early 20's.....
"I can do that....." John said. "What is it he needs?"
"Some kind of ointment .... Just say its for you...." Sherlock said vaguely as they entered the shop.

Wow..... John treated the pharmacist to a confident smile. He knew the effect that had on the fairer sex..... "Hi there..... "He dropped his gaze to the name badge on what was a very fine pair of boobs...... "Karina..... "
Wow..... Karina smiled back. Those sexy eyes of his had definitely lingered on her double D's..... "Can I help you ?"
"I'm sure you can....." John said with just the right amount of interest.
Her pupils had definitely expanded. Sherlock had been here before......he still hadn't forgotten Mr Teeth&Tan's obvious attempt to seduce Alan.... now it was happening again? Was he invisible? Hello.... standing right here next to my friend as you make prolonged eye contact and flirt inappropriately! Think again lady..... I need John focused on dead bodies not live ones.

John looked meaningfully towards Sherlock..... now was the perfect time for Sherlock to tell him what Tam needed ointment for .....then John could try to get Karina's number. "I'm looking for some ointment to help with a ....."
Sherlock switched to a perfect impression of Tam's Geordie accent..... " He's an itchy ball ken? "

"You cock blocked me!" John couldn't believe it.
"Well you didn't have to flirt!" Sherlock snapped back. "This is a murder investigation and I need you .... which means you need to concentrate. Clues not boobs, John....."
"I was about to ask for her number!" John raised his voice.
"I know!" Sherlock raised his back. "She's engaged to someone already or didn't you notice her taking the ring off the second she saw you through the shop window? Pretty sure her fiance wouldn't approve of you asking her to play tongue hockey....."
John drew in a calming breath..... "Tonsil hockey ....."
Sherlock rolled his eyes . "Semantics....."

Tam held out a hand for the small tube of ointment..... "Ta very much."
John tossed it grumpily into the black finger nailed hand.
"Me change...." Tam said.
John stared then dropped 20p into the outstretched palm. "Don't spend it all at once...."
Tam made a performance out of secreting the 20p coin away as though it were priceless.
"Right..... " Sherlock seemed pleased as punch to see them both getting along so well. "Let's go see where you think this body was, shall we?"
"Giv us a minute to rub that cream under my nuts....." Tam said with a wink.


John wound down the two front windows but even so the oniony smell of stale sweat made his eyes water.
Sherlock was working hard to seem unaffected but secretly he was taking as few breaths in as possible.
"Fruit drop?" Tam produced a grimy packet from one of his many pockets.
Sherlock shook his head.
John was relieved to see Sherlock refuse...... barely ten minutes ago Tam had been rubbing ointment into his testicles with no way to wash his hands afterwards.....
"John will have one..... he likes fruit sweets...." Sherlock said.
Tam's dirty fingers pushed an unwrapped sweet through the gap in the headrest...


John watched a large brown rat scurry away between an old mattress and a shopping trolley.
"Hoy man, get yasel awah here an giv us a hand....." Tam said.
Sherlock looked expectantly at John.
John gave a sigh.... stepped forward and lifted one end of the urine stained sodden mattress..... as he and Tam moved it aside another rat ran out over his foot.
Rats or no rats Sherlock crouched down in the filth and examined the rubble closely.....

"You covered the scene straightaway? Before this rain?" Sherlock needed to be sure.
"Aye. Slung that o'er it...." Tam jerked his head in the direction of the stained mattress.
"You did the right thing....." Sherlock said. He lowered his face to within centimeters of the soil.....
John was almost sure he heard Sherlock sniffing.
"See here?" Sherlock gestured to the dirty uneven ground....."Blood."
Tam went to step nearer.
"Stop! Not you!.... This is a crime scene it can't be trodden over..... " Sherlock spoke fast..... "John, what do you think? "
John swapped competitive stares with Tam, see I'm a whole lot more use than you..... He stepped forward and crouched down. "That looks like body fluids soaked into the soil.... the body must sat here a while for that to have happened. "
"I thought so..." Sherlock said. "What else?"
Knowing Sherlock must have seen something John took a closer look at the rubble..... "Whoever left the body here dropped it down hard..... That's scalp and human hair on that brick...." He straightened up.... this was a lonely and derelict place to throw away a body like it was unwanted trash.
Sherlock's face lit up..... "Oh brilliant!" he said.


"We have to call the police, Sherlock. They'll have to cordon the area off....." John pulled his phone out.
"Cops?.....I have to get gan....." Tam turned to leave.
" Wait....." Sherlock froze Tam in his tracks, then waited till John was busy dialling 999 to ask.... "Show me exactly where you found the object you gave me?"
Tam shook his head.
"The faster you show me the quicker you can leave....." Sherlock pointed out.
Tam took a step back.....
Sherlock sighed.... "John plays rugby ..... if he has to tackle you and sit on you till the cops come he will...."
Tam spat on the ground. "Howay lad..... Had ya watta."

Sherlock scrambled over the truckload of old bricks ...... ahead of him Tam swore as he slid sideways and almost fell.
"There...." Tam wasn't going any further down.... "That's where I found what I give you...."
Sherlock stared at the roll of old carpet that was thrown over the makeshift shelter.."Give me your penknife...."
"You only giv it me today!" Tam grumbled."The fuck are you taking it back!"
"It's a loan. I'll give it back..... Please I have to be quick....." Sherlock begged.
Tam shook his head at himself as he handed it over.

"Well that's interesting....." Sherlock said.
"It is?" Tam couldn't see why for the life of him. The carpet was sodden...... rain soaked and filthy.
A wide patch right in the middle was darkly stained with some type of body fluids.
None of those perfectly valid reasons not to touch it had prevented it from being used to cover a makeshift shelter.
"There's nobody in there...." Tam said.
"I'll need to speak with him in case he saw anything."
"He's a she...." Tam said.
"Her then.... I'll need to talk to her." Sherlock said. "The evidence you gave me was lying where?"
The police siren was getting louder now..
Sherlock took a quick photo and cut some fibres from the edge of the rug using the swiss army knife...... "You should go Tam ....." he turned round to give Tam his knife back to find him already gone and a police car pulling up next to John.

"John Watson..... Dr John Watson....." John watched Sherlock scramble back into view over the huge pile of building site waste.
The policeman followed the direction of John's gaze to see a young Omega..... and put two and two together to make five..... "Came in here together did we?" It was a dirty place to have sex but he'd caught men with their pants down in a lot worse places ...... "And what's your name pretty boy?"
Sherlock really objected to the patronisation. I'll show you whose just a pretty face...... "Sherlock Holmes and you shouldn't be wasting time asking John questions...... there's been a murder here and you should be talking too me!" he said....

"Oh brilliant!" John said. The handcuffs were cutting off his circulation....."You couldn't have explained this murder took place a while ago and had nothing to do with either of us without calling him a sexist idiot?"
"I tried!" Sherlock was equally frustrated. "It's not my fault you lost your temper when he assumed I was a rent boy!" He was concentrating on the screen of his mobile phone ......
John did his best to impersonate Sherlock..... "There's been a murder and it's me you should be talking too....."
"Well obviously I didn't mean I was responsible!" Sherlock said snappily. "If he wasn't so stupid he'd have realised that... Ok maybe I shouldn't have pointed that out but then how was I to know how he'd react to an honest assessment of his abilities!"
John looked for any type of golden lining in this whole handcuffed in the back of a police car scenario..... Nope couldn't see one...... Things could be worse at least they weren't technically under arrest.... yet.
"No way we can hide this from Mycroft." Sherlock said morosely.
John corrected his inner monologue. Things had just got much worse.

"You have a thing for Northern men ...." John just didn't get it. "One day and you lumbered us with a replacement Alan....."
"I don't!" Sherlock denied having any such thing. "He's not even from Yorkshire!"
"Is it the accent?" John strongly suspected it was.
Sherlock glared at him.
"Well it can't be his aftershave...unless sweat floats your boat?" John said with a smirk.
"Oh shut up John!" Sherlock said with a smile..


Sherlock didn't know why he'd expected Greg to arrive alone. As it turned out he had a whole team of other people with him.

"What are you doing here Sherlock?" Greg had managed to get them uncuffed and outside the police car at least..... "You called this in?" Behind him a white evidence shielding tent had been erected and Phillip Anderson was securing the forensic scene..... Anderson was the very last forensic officer Greg wanted Sherlock around.
No sooner was Sherlock outside the car than he was craning his neck trying to see past Greg's shoulder at what was happening.
The fascination in Sherlock's face was hard to resist. It was far from ideal but since was Greg's team Sherlock was going to have to meet them all sometime if he planned on working alongside them....... Greg made an on the spot decision. "Come on over, I'll introduce you ......"

"Sherlock ...... Detective Inspector Sally Donovan. She's been responsible for cordoning off the scene..... Sally this is Sherlock Holmes....."
Sally knew who that perfect face belonged too. He was even prettier in real life. Cheekbones like that belonged on a girl.... "Hi."
"Hello...." Sherlock said. "Is there any reason why you didn't include the homeless camp when you taped off  the whole crime scene?"
Sally's hackles shot straight up.......

Greg and Sally stood next to Sherlock on top of the pile of rubble and stared at the homeless shelter topped with a stinky old roll of carpet. "It was easy to miss....." Greg was disappointed in Sally's failiure but he wasn't about to say so in front of Sherlock.....
Sally was kicking herself mentally for making such a basic mistake. "I'll tape the whole scene off now ," she promised.


"Phillp Anderson..... Forensic's .... " Greg began the introductions.....
Anderson stood up..... "I know who you are! I've seen the headlines" he said. "What the Hell is he doing on my crime scene?"
Sherlock's eyes darted past Anderson to the ground ..... "You've taken molds of the ground impressions?" he asked.
Anderson cocked his head back. He didn't need to stand here and talk to some posh brat Elite Omega. "The sole impression is clearest .... I'm focusing on that ...."
Sherlock shook his head..... " Pointless. The footprint isn't linked..... its newer..... the level of soil compaction is different." Tam must have left it when he moved the old mattress.

Anderson laughed. "This isn't some tv show..... You don't just get to walk in here and tell me whats what because you've seen some actor do my job! "
Sherlock hesitated.... " I know that.... "
Greg stepped in, seeing Anderson wasn't about to roll out the welcome mat for an Elite Omega..... "What do you have for me so far Phillip?"
"Cranial contact with the bricks..... blood pooled here ..... autolyisis staining present.... so the body was here at least two days..." Phillip was looking forward to expanding on what he could read from the scene.

Obvious!...... "They bought the body here wrapped in the rug.....slipped in the mud there and there. You can see from the shape of the heel print that the person carrying the feet of the body was female. 163 cm tall to judge from her stride...... The person carrying the head end of the body wore rubber soled trainers.... I've successfully narrowed it down to a possible brand from the sole print but I'll need some extra time to pinpoint which trainer exactly..... I do know it was Lacoste. So a budget brand. Feet Size 13 indicate he was a big man , significantly taller than his female carrying companion...... As you can see from the two times she slipped as and there..... he was in a hurry to be gone and didn't bother to slow down..... The height difference caused their second problem..... the body slumped down inside the rug then when he dropped his end the head fell back, slid out and hit the bricks..... The body facts are basic..... laid here for 3/5 days the autolysis enzymes will more likely indicate it was more probably five days....  I'm judging from the soil of course.... it's acidic  here as the plants tell us ...None of that really matters....."
Greg caught sight of the shocked fury on Anderson's face..... Sherlock had just completely outperformed him.....
"As I say none of that is significant....." Sherlock repeated. "The most interesting thing about this whole crime scene is this.. " he produced the small Inter Milan keyring Tam had found among the rubble.

"That's evidence! If you interfered with evidence...!" Greg was appalled.
" I didn't move it..... someone else bought it to me..... This gives us our first clue to where the victim came from or lived..... combine that with the d'star Italia body.... "
"The Greenwich body? You think it was originally here?" Greg knew Sherlock wouldn't be so confident without good reason.
"No I know it was here," Sherlock said. "The blood isn't important either..... You should be over there..... looking at the rug! They came back here and moved the body because of the rug!"
Sally had had enough of standing back and watching Phillip being undermined by someone who wasn't even qualified to be here. She stared dismissively at Sherlock Holmes.....what a freak he was! "That dirty piece of carpet! Someone probably fly tipped it here!"
"Wrong...... its a Ilam Sherkat Farsh Silk rug worth £32,575.... Hardly commonplace." Sherlock said and bought up the distinctive photo on his mobile phone to prove it. "More proof the murder happened in a high ranking Elite household."

Chapter Text

Magnussen watched a maid fill his coffee cup, waiting with barely controlled impatience for her to be gone. "The court has decided you must visit this .... this goblin child.... as if it were a brother..... No doubt Sherlock hopes you to talk you into loving it . No son of mine would be so stupid! "
Aleksander had tried to eat his cereal but his stomach felt bad . He wished he could close his ears up and not listen.
"When Sherlock left you I stayed... I remember how you cried? Long nights alone in the dark because Sherlock was not there to behave as any mother should and sit with you until you slept ..... Did he care? No, he was squirming like a whore on the cock of his lovers! Now he dares remember you! Now he would steal you from me if he could and fill your head with lies until you hate me ....."
Aleksander's head jerked up. "Never! I love you Fader."
" I have no appetite..... " Charles pushed his plate away and gestured for the maid to clear the table..... "You are a child Aleksander....." he allowed disappointment to seep into his voice. "I know you think as a child and still love your mother...... even though he does not deserve your love nor has he earnt it.... He has been in London all this time but how many times has he seen you? ..... Has he called here once? Begged too come home? Sent gifts for birthdays or Christmas? No..... He is with his new baby.....cuddling it.... kissing it...... together every single day, all day ..... That is the son he loves, Aleksander.... He would fool you with empty words and kisses while he loves another he did me....."


Aleksander put his toothbrush away and stared at his face in the mirror..... he couldn't see why he was bad but he knew he was ..... If he was good his mummy would'nt want a new baby .....
Yesterday Georgi said he was slow at running and had sticky up baby hair.
Aleksander let the cold water run and wet both hands then tried to flatten his hair down...... it made it a bit too wet but he thought it looked better......

Charles had his back turned to Aleksander as the child emerged from the bathroom.
Alexei saw Aleksander first and his face lit up with a malicious delight..... "Did someone plunge the bowl with your head, Aleksander?"
Charles turned to see his son's hair was sopping wet. "What have you done to yourself! Your hair is soaked..... " He beckoned an anxious maid forward impatiently..... "Take my son away and fix this you idiotic bitch!"

Aleksander felt stupid.
He did everything wrong .
The hair drier was too hot and burnt the tops of his ears.
"Stand still Master Aleksander!" The angry maid Magnussen had sworn at scolded him when he flinched away from the heat.


"You need to indulge..... before you reduce son and staff to tears...." Alexei knew the tell tale signs of pent up sexual frustration when he saw them.
Charles knew it . The urge to dominate and hurt Sherlock ..... to maul him through a heat..... was all consuming. At night his dreams were sadistic and brutal.....
"I saw a boy..... " Alexei said.
"A whore.... as stretched as he is slack?" Charles was contemptuous. "It's Sherlock's hole I want!"
"Not a whore..... On Instagram.... Someone's teenage son...." Alexei said unexpectedly.


Aleksander was staring hard out of the car window to try and see his Mummy....
The dark corners and wide pillars of the huge underground car park beneath MI5 cast long onimous shadows. He didn't like shadows .....
"Take your time parking. Keep him waiting," Alexei spoke to the driver in Russian knowing the child would be unable to understand. He switched to English before speaking to Aleksander. "You are in trouble because you cannot play on both sides in any game....Your Fader has given you a life many would envy yet are you grateful ? No..... You cry and long for your Mother even though he ran away and left you behind him..... Your Fader wants to see you are on his side..... Alpha not Omega..... If you want Sherlock home then you must help your Fader."


John smiled, he'd seen the little face peering out the car window looking for Sherlock..... "Hello Aleksander. Remember me? John..... I'm a friend of your mummy." With Alexei's bullet proof car here the decsision had been made not risk Sherlock coming down to the carpark but it was a big intimidating space and Aleksander looked anxious.
Alexei moved behind the child and laid a firm hand on the small shoulder.
John looked from the controlling hand to Alexei's smile ..... Oh i see how it is you alienating prick...... He crouched down despite the pull in his thigh muscle so he could see into Aleksander's small face. The child looked stressed......" Your mummy's waiting upstairs for you Aleksander.... he's really pleased you're here. "

"Step this way please Sir..... " Security moved to subtly intercept Alexei as the Alpha began to walk.
"Have you been through a magic body scanner before ? " John asked. The child shook its head.
"Why's it magic?" Aleksander asked.
"It beeps if you forgot to brush your teeth properly ....." John smiled.
"No it doesn't!" Aleksander knew that could'nt be true..... Could it?
The metal scanner beeped as the man holding it moved it over Alexei's coat...... checking for a anything metal or a concealed weapon.
"Somebody forgot to brush .... " John joked.
Aleksander gave a small anxious smile.
"My cigarette case.... " Alexei took the inlaid case out of his pocket and the rich gold gleamed even in the shadows..... The alarm beeped again..... "A money clip....." he sounded bored but in truth he was intrigued. How did Sherlock have this level of protection?
"And your mobile phone, sir?"
"Remains in the car..... " Alexei replied.
"Raise your arms please Sir so I can pat you down....?"
Alexei removed his phone from his inner suit pocket and placed it in the tray.


"Your turn Aleksander," John made it sound like it'd be fun.
Aleksander had never been scanned before...... he watched as the scanner went down to his toes and back up again slowly..... It beeped loudly when it got to his pocket.
"Any swords.... or daggers hidden on your person.....?" John asked him with a smile.
Aleksander dug into his pocket and closed his hand around what he had hidden in there.... "It's mine," he said.
Alexei reached out to take Aleksander by the hand ...... "When you are done playing Mary Poppins with Charles Magnussen's son, Dr Watson..... the child came here to see its Mother."


Aleksander didn't like some lifts..... he didn't like how dark the light was in this one.... like a box. "I want to go up the stairs!"
Alexei wordlessly switched his grasp to include the child's small wrist bones and kept walking as Aleksander tried to pull back.... as soon as the child began fussing he dropped his hard grip and strode ahead , leaving a panicking Aleksander running to catch up before he was left behind in the looming shadows of the car park...... 


Sherlock was waiting in the middle of a long empty corridor..... there was a wall mounted surveillance camera facing him which he was trying not to look directly at. It bought back the sort of memories he needed to forget.
All the books said you should prepare an older child for a new baby sibling but that wasn't possible when you barely saw your child and it's father exhausted every possible legal argument to prevent them meeting.
Please let this visit go well.....
Please let Aleksander want an Omega baby brother.

The lift doors opened and Alexei walked out. Sherlock's gut did its usual sick squirm at the sight of his face.....
John looked meaningfully at him through the glass security door pane to warn him there was a potential problem before he opened the door ..... by holding his arm in place he created a barrier that ensured Alexei couldn't pass by first....
Aleksander pushed his way through and came wailing down the corridor towards his Mummy .
Sherlock dropped to his knees, absorbed the impact of Aleksander running full speed into him; closed his arms round the small upset body and held on. "It's ok..... its ok..... "


Aleksander was scared. He wasn't allowed to hug Sherlock. Now he was bad ..... "I want to go home!"
Sherlock didn't understand..... Why? "What's wrong?" .....
"I want to go home! I want Fader..... I don't want you!" Aleksander's face crumpled at the lie.
Sherlock picked Aleksander up and let the distraught child wrap arms and legs round him like a monkey.......


"You'll have full one way audio....Technically we've to keep Aleksander in your line of vision at all times and ensure you hear the conversation .....nobody said Sherlock has to have you in the same room....." John showed Alexei into the kitchen with its glass viewing window. "Help yourself to a coffee or tea.... " Anger was apparent in every clipped word.
Alexei stood at the viewing window , watching Sherlock struggle to stop Aleksander's meltdown.... "You think I'd know how to make either?" he sounded amused. "I don't employ servants to do a menial task myself.... The child wants to leave......"
John was unimpressed by the flaunting of wealth. "So don't have coffee..... I don't care either way. You're pathetic.... using Aleksander to get at Sherlock." He opened the cupboard and took something out..... "You won't win. I'm a doctor it pays to know how to win a child's trust fast....."
Alexei's smile became more rigid.


Blotchy and tear smeared Aleksander hiccupped and gulped.... "I want Fader..... not you!"
Long fingers stroked Aleksander's hair back behind his ears.... " It doesn't feel like a home here does it?..... Next time it'll be Baker Street again I promise. You liked it better there with the bat and the microscope ......"
Aleksander gave a big sob. "I want to go home!"
Sherlock desparately wanted to put his arms round his son again...... " Aleskander I just want you to be happy and have fun .... If you want to go home...... then its alright..... I won't make you stay here.... " He stood up defeated as emotions got the better of him ..... "John can you take over for a minute?"
"Course I can," John said confidently.


Mycroft wasn't at all surprised when his phone rang. He'd been watching events.
"He hates me.... I don't think I can talk to him about Billy, " Sherlock was on the verge of giving up. This all felt too much....
"There will be other visits ..... other opportunities." Mycroft gave his measured opinion of events.
Sherlock despaired. "If he ever wants to come see me again!"
"Try not to assume the worst," Mycroft advised.
Sherlock gave a bitter laugh..... "He hugged me and had a meltdown..... that has to be Charles getting inside his head....."
Privately Mycroft agreed. "Children are chaotic and unpredictable creatures by nature...."
"I want to speak to Alan!" Sherlock said. "Please."
"Impossible...." Mycroft was resolved. Alan was unwell, hearing Sherlock needed him wouldn't help.
"No its not. I know you can make it happen..... Please.... " Sherlock begged.
"This is a very bad idea Sherlock," Mycroft said. Clearly children were not the only chaotic and unpredictable creatures.
"I don't care. I need to talk to him!" Sherlock insisted. "Please Mycroft.... Please. I need him."


"On your feet ..... hands through the gap rapist...."
Alan gave the guard a long look and got to his feet sliding his feet into the flimsy white sliders which were all the shoes he had.
The guard took no chances and cuffed him tightly leaving just a fingers width instead of the usual two between the metal and Alan's skin.
"Prisoner cuffed...... Door open..... " The guard called down the corridor and the cell door unlocked with a clang.


Alan had only set foot in the wardens room the once. The guards had looked at him like he was a streak of shite then too.
He shuffled forward in his ankle and wrist cuffs one small step at a time.

Being told he had a call waiting on speaker phone took him by surprise. It took him a minute remember how to talk ...... "Who's this....?"
Sherlock closed his eyes at the familiar sound of Alan's voice the pain of separation hit......
Alan could hear himself breathing like a knackered horse..... somehow he just knew it was Sherlock..... "Say summat......"he begged.
"Alan...." Sherlock said.
Alan exhaled as the agony of loss crushed his chest...... "You reight lovely lad?"
Sherlock shook his head before remembering Alan couldn't see him. "Alan....."
Alan breathed into the phone, aware of all the unfriendly eyes and listening ears on him he daren't say Sherlock's name out loud. "BIlly good?"
Sherlock took an upset breath in. Billy wasn't the problem here. "Billy's good." Aleksander isn't .
Alan's knuckles were white pressed......
"He's changing Aleksander..... against me," Sherlock's voice was bleak. "I can't win...."
" No...." Alan said gruffly. "I'm not having that..... That's your son too not just his.... Every time he smacked you down you'd get back up. Stubborn..... That's you..."
"You were there...." Sherlock felt hopeless." I can't without you!....... If Aleksander doesn't want me .... whats the point?"
"No. Don't you say it.... " Alan shook his head to clear the swarming guilt ..... "That bastard's done enough damage to the pair of you..... You hear me? ...... Come on lad... You know you're better for him to be round than that Fader of his will ever be...." All he could hear was thickened breathing......
" I miss you so much... I love you Alan......" Sherlock gulped each word out.
Alan swallowed hard ..... " ... I love you.... always will.....I'll not stop.... Go on now. He'll be sat wondering where his mum went.....Don't be wasting what little time you have wi' him on me... "
Sherlock stayed on the line..... physically unable of ending the call and letting go.
In the warden's office Alan closed his grip on the sole tangible link he had to the Omega he loved ..... "Don't cry love.... Don't cry when I can't hold you...."

Mycroft put them both out of their immovable misery by severing the line.


John was glad to see Sherlock come back in. "Left or right .....?" He asked Aleksander. "There's a red lollipop in one of my hands...."
"Left...." Aleksander chose .
John deftly swapped the lollipop over.... "Wow. Right first time.... Did you see that Sherlock, Aleksander's as good at deductions as you are!"
"Whats a de duck shone?" Alexander asked.
"Deductions..... Only the cleverest game ever!" John said. "You know your mummy can do some incredible things .... When Sherlock does a deduction he can tell you something about your day just by looking and seeing clues and not asking questions."
Sherlock was smiling but his heart was breaking to see Aleksander so anxious. "Like..... I can tell you've been playing outside because some of your hair looks blonder?" Aleksander had scattered fairer highlights round his face in a pattern that you only got from sunlight....." Did you go to the park?" He sat down on the bed and stole an opportunity to stroke the bright gold of his son's hair.
Aleksander shook his head. He never went to the park but he wanted to, he could see it from the windows and there were trees and grass and soldiers on horses and dogs.... " We went to London zoo.... they had elephants and tigers ..... I gave my banana to a camel! "
"Did it eat it all in one bite ?" John laughed.
Aleksander gave a huge shake of his head. "It squashed it. Splat...."
"What's the best nursery rhyme to tell a camel, Sherlock?" John tried his best to give Sherlock a way into the conversation.
"We don't know.... do we Aleksander? What is the best nursery rhyme to tell a camel?"
"Humpty Dumpty....." John said.
Sherlock groaned melodramatically.
Aleksander laughed .


Aleksander stared all round the room. "Do you live here ?" He couldn't see a baby , maybe there wasn't one and his Fader was wrong.....
Sherlock shook his head. "No. I'm staying here..... but it's not home..... You've seen my home...."
"It looks like Dr Hoi's room, " Aleksander said.
Sherlock opened his mouth to say something, thought better of it and shut it again a total of three time before finally he said it..... "Does Dr Hoi look after you if you get sick?" The idea of that sadist near his son made him sick.
Aleksander was climbing up on the bed..... "He gives me stickers if I'm brave about needles .... What does this red button do?"
Sherlock's body clenched round nothing as though he were still strapped down and in agony..... "That's good...." he heard himself say sickly.
"The red button moves the bed." John helped Sherlock out ...... "How does a camel hide itself in the middle of the dessert?"
"I don't know John ..... " Sherlock smiled at Aleksander .... "How does a camel hide in the middle of a dessert?"
"Camelflauge....." John said.
Sherlock collapsed down onto the mattress next to Aleksander as though the joke had killed him......
"Your mummy has the hump with me now.... " John said with a wink.
Aleksander was laughing when Sherlock stole a kiss.... pressing it into the child's soft hair.

John sat and watched Sherlock with the child.
The game was Favourite Things..... and Sherlock had suggested playing it.
John could see Sherlock learning fact after fact about his son and storing it away..... and in the process let Aleksander learn his own set of facts about the mother he barely knew.
"Favourite..... weather?" Sherlock asked.
"Snow!" Aleksander loved snow.
Sherlock nodded. "I love snow. It's my favourite too.... once someone I know made snow birds.... but they didn't come to life like the snowman can in The Snowman book but they looked like real birds...."
"That's magic when things come to life...... I like magic.... " Aleksander said.
Sherlock nodded.
"I saw magic make a rabbit disappear...." Aleksander said.
"You went to a magic show? Did you have fun?" Sherlock never knew if Charles did anything fun with Aleksander but maybe he did.....
Aleksander shook his head. "On television," he said. "It's safer to stay home. So you can't steal me away from Fader....."
Sherlock wasn't sure what just happened. The mood had shifted just like that and Aleksander stopped talking.


"I can make it snow indoors....." Sherlock said. "If you help me?"
Aleksander stared. "No you can't. It only snows outside!"
"That's because most people don't know how to make it happen indoors....." Sherlock said.
"You can't !" Aleksander got angry fast.
Sherlock exhaled slowly, it was ludicrous to have a fear reaction when Aleksander was just a child...... "I promise..... I can...." he said. "But only if you help me?"


"Are you certain this is a wise decsision Sherlock....?" Mycroft's voice said into Sherlock's ear .
"Why does everyone keep asking me that? .... Yes, I'm sure...." Sherlock said defensively into the mobile phone.
"There can be no mishaps....." Mycroft's voice said. "Any risk to the child's safety and visitation can be stopped permanently...."
"There won't be. Please I've got this..." Sherlock said.
"Very well...." Mycroft said.

it took Mycroft less than 20 minutes to get everything Sherlock needed.


Sherlock had safety googles and protective gloves at the ready.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" John asked in a low voice.
"I can do it," Sherlock said.
"I know you can do it ..... I meant are you sure he'll like it??"
"I think so," Sherlock finished setting up and stood back from the white box that held liquid nitrogen.


John had never in all his life taken part in anything as crazy as this..... Sherlock had a bowl of water and a small tank of propane with a rubber tube attached to it.
"My assistant John will now hold the tube under the water....." Sherlock
When the bowl was full of mounded bubbles Sherlock pulled up one of the sleeves on his lab coat..... and scooped up a handful of the foam...... "And now..... with a little help from John I'm going to hold fire in the palm of my hand!...... Don't try this at home....."
John picked up a long match and touched it to the bubbles and there it was...... as the gas filled bubbles caught fire Sherlock raised his fire filled hand.....
Aleksander's spellbound eyes were huge.

Sherlock took a deep breath....


There was a big box on the floor containing liquid nitrogen at minus 196 C..... Wearing safety googles and big bue gloves Sherlock stood next to the box and surveyed his audience of three...... "I'll need a helper from the audience..... for this extra special experiment...."
Aleksander's arm shot straight up into the air.
John raised an arm as he and Sherlock had agreed beforehand ..... "Pick me!"
Aleksander's face fell just enough to show he no longer thought he stood any chance......
"Aleksander .... I choose you!" Sherlock said.


"I saved the best part for you and me !" Sherlock helped Aleksander into a child sized white lab coat.
Aleksander stood very still as Sherlock settled the safety glasses into place and gently checked none of his son's hair was caught under the strap..... "Is that ok? It's not feeling uncomfortable any place?"
Aleksander shook his head.
Sherlock smiled at the cuteness of the mini outfit ..... "Ok..... Ready?"  Aleksander gave a huge nod.

Aleksander was holding tight to Sherlock's gloved hand as the two of them stepped forward like a magician and his assistant......
"Ladies...." Sherlock glanced briefly at Alexei....." and gentlemen. There are no tricks here .... I have nothing up my sleeves ...... everything you see is the true magic of science!"

"This is a rose....." Aleksander remembered what to say as he held the long stemmed red rose up so the audience could see it. "And its going to be made into ice!"

Sherlock crouched down to make certain that nothing went wrong.
Aleksander held the long stemmed rose tightly in his safety gloved hand.
"Ok now hold onto it and put the flower part inside the box......" Sherlock watched every move his son made, keeping his voice low so only Aleksander heard him and keeping the child safe...... "Watch for the bubbles stopping......" he whispered..... " That's it..... Good work..... Now take it out.... Like I showed you..!"
Aleksander lifted the rose out of the box .... and smashed the frozen flower into icy pieces against the floor!
John clapped loudly....

"Aleksander the umbrella....." Sherlock handed his son Mycroft's treasured black umbrella and smiled as the child put it over his head. "Stand right here. It's won't get wet"
Sherlock lifted the freshly boiled kettle high above the liquid nitrogen and poured..... As soon as the boiling water hit the liquid nitrogen the 300 degree temperature difference formed a cloud of snow and ice that exploded up into the air and hid Sherlock behind it......
Shards of ice and snow covered the floor and came showering down on top of the umbrella......
"It's snowing! It's snowing!" Aleksander shouted and jumped up and down.

There was an awed second of silence then from the open doorway Alexei began to applaud.
Sherlock took the umbrella from his son and set it aside..... holding his son's hand up and stepping forward with him to take a bow as John clapped and cheered loudly.....

Aleksander couldn't believe his mummy could do that! His mummy could use science to do magic!


Sherlock kept one eye on the clock as they played snap with a deck of cards next..... hyper aware of the time ticking away and the pressure to be honest about Billy..... "You know I went to school with John..... he's been my best friend for a long time.... Do you have a best friend?"
Sherlock was fairly sure that was the name of one of Sasha's son's. " He has a lot of brothers doesn't he? ....." Maybe he could lead up to telling Aleksander about his new baby brother this way......
Aleksander had stopped smiling. "I don't like this game anymore," he said. "I want to go home now."
"My brother bought me my first science set..... " Sherlock said. "I would never have known how much I love science and experiments if he hadn't given me that present for my birthday..... Mycroft is my big brother and your uncle...... we're all family....."
Aleksander wasn't sure. His Fader said bad things about that person.
"You remember last time you came to see me at Baker Street when we looked at the bat?" Sherlock asked gently.
Aleksander nodded.
Sherlock forced himself to say it even though he already sensed Aleksander didn't want to hear it .... "I had a secret that day. I couldn't tell you but I wanted too and I wish I had.... I had a baby growing inside me....."
Aleksander shook his head. No. I don't want  a brother. No.
"You can come and meet him if you like..... ?"
"No!" Aleksander shouted. . "I don't want to see your ugly baby!"

Sherlock forced himself not to think about how much Aleksander sounded like Charles when he shouted..... "i think someone already told you I had a baby?..... I think maybe that person told you it means I don't love you and that's making you feel angry and sad..... but that person is wrong. Nothing can ever make me stop loving you Aleksander.... I love you very much.... "
"I don't want a brother!" Aleksander said
Sherlock knew this was down to Charles, he just knew.... "He's just a little baby.... Next time you come I'll be back at Baker Street I promise ..... Aleskander, I'm sorry I couldn't tell you that you were going to have a baby brother before.... I wasn't allowed ..... but you can meet him now if you'd like too. His name is Billy."
"You're my mummy!" Aleksander wanted to cry but he didn't know why.
"I'll always be your mummy..... Nothing can change that," Sherlock promised....
"Yes it can! Liar! " Aleksander shouted." A stupid baby can! Send it back!"

Sherlock despaired silently at how badly telling Aleksander had gone ..... " I won't make you say hello if you don't want too..... It's ok.... I promise I'm not cross with you.... We can play another game instead and you can say hi another time when you want too....? .... We can do some drawing if you like or we can have some cake?......" Aleksander had nodded at the idea of cake...""I'll get some cake ..."  He needed to get out of there so Aleksander didn't see him upset...... "John I'll be right back....."

"You sure? I can go do it?" John offered to make the tea instead, knowing the cake was in the same room as Alexei.
Sherlock shook his head. "Mycroft has camera's ....." Ironic

Alexei watched Sherlock....... "Cigarette?" .
"You can't smoke in here....." Sherlock stayed as far away as possible as he filled the kettle.
"No.....? " Alexei replaced the cigarette into his case and watched Sherlock keep the table between them as the Omega began setting out plates and glasses..... "Tell me..... do you think about what Charles will do to you when he has you back....?"
"Hoping to be in the room for another rape? " Sherlock asked bitterly.
" I don't deny I enjoyed it..... but It would be a pity to see you ruined..... " Alexei leant in and inhaled to get a trace of Sherlock's scent ..... "In Petrograd I am untouchable...... Sasha sees his children....."
Sherlock stepped back..... "You castrated Sasha..... You watched Charles rape and beat me and you masturbated on me......"
"I never claimed to be kind merely less brutal ....." Alexei said. "You know the rules by which we live....... Do you think the Legate will make legal history for one Omega and change all our Elite traditions?"
Sherlock took another step back. "You have Omega son's.... "
Alexei smiled. "I don't want to fuck my sons ..... You on the other hand are beautiful......"
Sherlock took a third step back until he stood on the far side of the table. "Sasha is your bond mate," he said.
"Sasha is a slack hole." Alexei said.
"He's a person," Sherlock said. "It's disgusting to talk about him like that."
Alexei said. "Would you fuck one person for a whole life as they grow old?"
"Yes," Sherlock said. "If that person is Alan..... Happily."
Alexei laughed. "You need a double knot not one....."
Sherlock shook his head. "No. I need love and respect."
"And in a heat....?" Alexei said knowingly.
Sherlock took another small step back. "In a heat I need love and respect... I hate heats ...but i love Alan...I trust Alan."


"Sir? Shall I intervene?" The aide asked Mycroft again
Mycroft looked from Sherlock's troubling situation to John's low conversation with the child.....
A little longer and Aleksander might begin to see how he'd been kept apart from his own mother.......
Intervene between Alexei and Sherlock now and all conversation would cease........
"Not yet...." Mycroft said reluctantly.


Aleksander finished colouring his drawing ..... "Where's Sherlock ?" he asked John.
John helped put the lids back on the pens and glanced up to check Sherlock was ok. He was reassurred to see them stood on different sides of the room..... "I think Sherlock's feeling a bit sad.... he doesn't get to see you as much as he needs too and he wanted today to be a happy visit for you. I think maybe he feels like you didn't have such a fun time...."
Aleksander started doing the writing part..... "It's for Sherlock...."
John gave a pleased smile..... "He'll love that..... I bet next time you come it'll be up on the wall at Baker Street so everyone who comes can see it and Sherlock can tell them all about you."
Aleksander didn't have a single drawing up on the wall at home. Fader let the maids put them all in the bin as soon as they were finished. "I don't want a brother," he said.

"You know I'm a big brother? I've a sister called Harriet," John said. "Big brothers are a big deal!"
Aleksander had never heard anyone say that before..... "Why....? "
"Well.... a big brother is bigger and older.... and good at doing lots of things that babies can't do .... " John concentrated on the basic advantages.....
"I know all the Pokemon names !" Aleksander said.
"You do? Wow...." John said. "You could tell Billy all about Pokemon..... when you feel like you want to say hi to him.... He was born prematurely..... that means too soon ...... so Sherlock hasn't been able to hold him or have a cuddle...... "
Oh...."I like cuddles," Aleksander said.
"Course you do. Sherlock's your Mummy and a Mummy's cuddles are extra special......"
Aleksander blinked..... "Mine aren't...."
"That's not true..... " John said. "I know Sherlock loves cuddling you. If he could he'd give you a cuddle every day ..... he just isn't allowed to decide how much he gets to see you.... The court decides that ....."
"He can't because he ran away, " Aleksander said.
"He stays because he loves you and he really wants to see you....." John pointed out.
Alexander shook his head. No. "Fader made a room for him.... so he can't be gone again....."
John stayed calm...... "I wouldn't want to be locked in a room all day every day by myself...... Would you?"
Aleksander shook his head.

"Fader said if Sherlock comes home I can see him all the time...." Aleksander glanced at John to see if he thought that was a lie too.
John knew Sherlock would rather die than go back..... "Right now Sherlock can only see you when the Court and your Fader says he can...."
Aleksander looked down at his drawing of Sherlock...... "Nikolai said I should ask Fader to let me talk to Mummy on the phone....."
"Some mummy's and daddies do that....." John said.
"Fader said no." Aleksander moved all the pens so the same colours were together from dark to light....... " i saw Fader smack Sherlock's mouth....... Sherlock fell down and curled up ..... and Fader pulled his hair ...... At school if you hit someone then you have to stand in the corridor because hitting is bad..... but Fader says hitting is ok when its Sherlock ......"
John placed a green pen down with the other green pen and fought to stay calm... "You shouldn't have seen must have scared you?.... You know Omega feel things the same as you do and hitting anyone hurts them and makes them feel sad just the same..... " Aleksander's lucid, long lashed eyes reminded him so much of Sherlock......
Aleksander said. "i want my cuddle now."
"It's not your fault Aleksander," John said as the child moved unexpectedly to sit on his lap. "You didn't do anything wrong."


Aleksander was sat on Sherlock's lap with both arms round his mummy...... they were playing Sloth In The Jungle..... It was a Sherlock game.....
"Hullo there pet .... hows things?" Sherlock said in a perfect impersonation of a broad Yorkshire accent. "Seen any jaguars lately?"
"No!" Aleksander laughed as John gave a fierce growl.
"Well thats good because I thought I heard growling but it must have been my tummy rumbling..... I'm right hungry tha' knows...... " Sherlock said in the craziest voice he could do. "Lets go get some bananas from that tree over there ....."
John gave another loud Alpha growl.....
"Did you hear that young Aleksander? That's a jaguar coming to eat us that is...... best we get a wriggle on up the branch....." Sherlock bounced Aleksander slowly up and down on his knee as the child screeched with laughter and clung on
John gave another pantomime growl and gnashed his teeth with a smile.
"You have to go fast!" Aleksander was laughing and shouting. " Go fast Mummy! It's coming!"
"This is fast..... I'm a sloth remember. Slow by name slow by nature..... More haste less speed ..... You know I'm an athlete me. I won gold in the Sloth Olympics ......" Sherlock said as he swayed from side to side in the chair and bounced Aleksander higher ......
"Hungry....." John gave a low dramatic growl and waved his arms in their general direction......
Sherlock wrapped both arms tight round Aleksander .... "Oh dearie me this'uns no good I can hear teeth snapping .... Time to get bouncy Aleksander......"
Alexei stood by the window and watched Aleksander shriek with laughter and hang onto Sherlock as they stood up and bounced back down the whole length of the bed.


"I want to see the baby now," Alexander said.

Lars was filling in Billy's chart when the door slid open.
"Is it ok?" Sherlock checked. "We used hand sanitiser."
Lars smiled at the golden haired serious child holding onto Sherlock's hand. "It's ok..... Hello , You must be Aleksander? I'm Lars....." He was surprised when the child shook hands formally.
" Lars is a friend and a doctor like John ...... He helps look after Billy..... " Sherlock explained.
Aleksander could already see a tiny arm waving in the air.

Aleksander was almost level with Billy's face..... the baby stared back at him with soft eyes and startled every time it hiccupped...... "It's got hiccups ..... and a sucky in tummy."
Sherlock rubbed the back of Aleksander's small hand with his thumb.
Aleksander put his face closer to the plastic...... "Billy is a very small name," he said.
Sherlock almost laughed.... an opinionated Aleksander sounded exactly like a mini Mycroft. "Well he's a very small baby....."
Aleksander giggled..... "He's got big eyes like a lemur...."
Sherlock considered the similarity. "He does."
Aleksander liked lemurs.... the baby had tiny pink fingers like a lemur too. "Why's he wearing a hat?"
Sherlock crouched down so he was next to Aleksander and seeing what he saw. "He gets very cold and a hat keeps him warm."
Aleksander stared into Billy's eyes ..... "He needs a Pokemon hat," he said. "I like Pikachu best of all.. He's bright yellow.."
Sherlock put an arm round his oldest son. "Billy likes you..... Look at him learning your face so he won't forget you."
Aleksander smiled. "He's cute like a baby monkey.."
"I'm glad you like him, "Sherlock pressed a kiss into Aleksander's hair.
"I love you Mummy....."
Sherlock blinked back tears and tightened his arm round his son. He'd needed to hear those words for so long they were overwhelming.... " I love you Aleksander....."

Blocked in the doorway behind them without a clear view of the baby except its tiny size Alexei opened his mouth to break the moment.....
"One lousy word and I'll break a major bone in your arm...." John said in a low threatening tone making sure his hidden grip was hard enough.... "Leave them alone."


Chapter Text

It was raining heavily again and as the day disappeared into evening the room had grown dark enough for Rob to switch on the rock crystal lamps.
Sherlock took a seat on the sofa and glanced at the empty seat next to him where Alan usually would have sat. "Thank you for staying late to see me..... and agreeing to change rooms."
"You're welcome Sherlock..... " In Rob's personal experience there was no other choice than to agree... suggest it wasn't a good time to co-operate and an anonymously menacing black car would glide to a halt alongside you at some incredibly inopportune moment...... He wondered if Sherlock knew his brother's other side......
"Oh..... He sent the car?..... Course he did." Sherlock sounded embarrassed as he got to his feet.... "I told him to ask you..... I can go...... if there's somewhere you needed to be?"
Rob hastened to talk Sherlock into staying. "Please sit Sherlock.... I'm glad you chose to come today. You've been on my mind this last week....." He gave Sherlock a supportive smile as the Omega hesitated then sat back down.....
Sherlock tried to explain..... "Mycroft can be a bit..... much..... He means well.....mostly..... He takes being a big brother very....seriously."
"He loves you...." Rob understood how Mycroft was prone to become over involved. As Sherlock's therapist , Rob was trained not too allow himself to cross or blur any emotional lines with a client, but for any Omega hearing Charles Magnussen justifying the coercive control Sherlock had experienced within his bond, had been profoundly disturbing on several levels ..... When the Omega being controlled was someone you were an Alpha brother too for then it had to have been ten times worse.
"You're doing the eyes....." Sherlock was matter of fact about the deduction. " People start running through what they know happened to me and there's a moment when their eyes all do the same thing....." He copied the gesture with his own eyes...." Down and look away then decide to look back up."
"I'm sorry." Rob appologised.
"It's ok," Sherlock said. "The ones who find violence a turn on are actually worse."
"You've met individuals like that?" Rob was appalled.
Sherlock shrugged. "I was bonded to a man like that," he said, then stopped talking abruptly.

"I don't like talking about it," Sherlock was as honest as he could be, saying he hated talking about it seemed very final.
"That's understandable.... although talking might help you to begin to define some of the emotions you're feeling...." Rob suggested.

Sherlock's foot was bouncing...... "Charles said.... In court this week, he said I liked being choked ..... I liked having my hair yanked ..... Being choked..... I enjoyed rough, dominant sex..... So none of it was rape according to Charles ...... You see? It was rough sex..... "
Rob had seen the headlines. HOLMES OMEGA ENJOYED MASOCHISTIC SEX..... "Some individuals do..... but the principles of safe , sane and consensual should apply to any sexual act."
"You don't know much about Elite bonds, do you? There's nothing sane, consensual or safe about them," Sherlock laughed but there was no amusement in the empty sound. " It's ok..... I didn't know anything much either," he pulled at the stitched seam of the couch with agile, destructive fingers..... "I knew he'd raped me the first time..... but I didn't know sex was meant to feel any different than what he did.... I thought ....."
"You thought.....?" Rob prompted Sherlock gently.
"That it was my fault he got violent. That I just didn't like it....." Sherlock admitted.
"Close your eyes and think of England ....." Rob said and Sherlock was surprised into looking up by the oddness of the quote..... "The classic Victorian advice for young brides who found sexual intercourse to be difficult....."
"Oh.... " Sherlock said it as though that made sense to him.
"If you could travel back in time to give advice Sherlock..... to an earlier version of you pre your bond .... what advice would you give yourself?"
Sherlock gave it consideration then answered..... "You're going to feel like you're dying every heat month... when he gets the knots in you'll wish you were.... unfortunately you won't be." He started picking at the stitching again in miserable silence.

"I lied earlier..... I hate talking about it."
Rob been waiting for Sherlock to start talking again for several long moments.
"I'm sorry.... " Sherlock said. "I know it's a talking/ listening therapy..... I'm useless at it....."
"It can be hard to put difficult emotions and memories into words..... " Rob said quietly.....
"I do it in court," Sherlock was all out of patience with himself.
"Therapy is different..... I'm not here to judge between you , I'm here to listen and believe you so you can make sense of what happened." Rob replied.
"I think that's impossible...... to make sense of it I'd need to be sane..... and I'm going mad." Sherlock hesitated deciding if that statement summed up that what he needed to say.... "At least it feels like that.... " He knew he sounded tearful. "I have the same nightmare..... all the time.... about Charles..... I don't think that's normal.... Is it? Dreaming about someone I hate?"
"It can be.... The brain uses sleep to process thoughts and feelings....." Rob tried to reassure. "It might help to share whats happening in the dream. If you feel comfortable with that?"

"I'm in prison..... I know Alan's there too but I don't know which way he is so I'm shoutig out his name ...... I'm in a long corridor with cells either side and hands keep reaching out , grabbing at me, at my thighs , at my arms, at my crotch ..... Then the lights behind me start going out one by one...... I start running..... Its like a maze..... I'm shouting Alan's name louder and louder and then I hear him and he's there ....... I can't see him but I know it's him..... So I get my lock pick kit and Im trying to open the door but I can't and there's only a few lights left for me to work by and then there is just one and its flickering ....... So I tell him I can't get in and he grabs hold and starts pulling me through..... literally through solid bars..... They're going through my body and my head, going through my face, big bars of metal ...... I'm yelling at him to stop...... but he keeps pulling and I'm going through the bars so I don't care that getting in hurt..... I'm on the bed and I know we're both naked because I can feel Alan's skin against my skin and we're kissing ...... his hips are moving..... we're both hard and then I can feel it..... my body is being absorbed into his. My hips are part of his hips and my leg bones are inside his legs and even our bellies are sinking into each other so I touch him to tell him and my hands go inside his skin on his biceps and won't come out..... his skin is pulling every time he moves like it's going to tear apart..... and then it happens...... "
"Then what happens......?" Rob prompted gently.
"It isn't Alan I'm having sex with any more..... it's Charles ......" Sherlock said.

There was so much Rob wanted to say...... "Sherlock, try not to close down.... Stay with me mentally...... Talk to me....."
"It's sick." Sherlock said. "After I wake up.... I get up and I get sick physically.... Told you I'm going mad."


"I know the prison is just that..... the dream is happening there because they've taken Alan and he's there...... The hands.... I know those are symbolic ...... there are people outside the court who hate me..... They spit at me ..... I always think if they got hold of me , what would they do to me if they hate me so much..... "
"In the dream..... how do the grabbing hands make you feel?"
Sherlock thought..... "Immovable...... I don't want to go forward or back...... Oh.... Its about me not wanting to carry on....?"
Rob avoided giving a definite answer...... "And the lights.... How does seeing them going out make you feel?"
"Like there's a threat..... getting nearer....." Sherlock was very sure about that. "I understand all that ..... it makes sense even if I hate it....."
Rob watched Sherlock twist the couch seam violently between his fingers.
"But I don't understand....." Sherlock said.....
Rob heard the self disgust in Sherlock's voice and knew what the Elite Omega was about to say.
"I don't understand....." Sherlock tried again to complete the sentence..... "Why the dream changed..... Why am I having sex I want to have with Alan ...... and then it changes to having sex with Charles?"
"Sex or a forced encounter?" Rob asked as gently as he could.
"Does it matter if it was rape?" Sherlock looked down. "It nearly always was with Charles. It's still sex with him."

"Consensual sex and rape are very different.... Lets try and talk a little about that...." Rob took a very gentle, roundabout approach to get to what he wanted to say..... "You've said that you had no experience sexually before your bond....."
Sherlock gave a small nod. "None. Unless we're going to count Siger dry humping me..... but he never put it in......"
"It was still a sexual assault , Sherlock.....and yes it counts." Rob said.
Sherlock shrugged. "It's not as important as you think.... It was a long time ago. I'm over it....."
"I don't think that's really how you feel..... " Rob hoped his own face wasn't reflecting his internal turmoil as openly as Sherlock's was..... "Siger subjected you to a form of sexual abuse..... He was your father, someone you ought to have been able to trust.... Penetration not taking place doesn't reduce the seriousness of what happened....."
Sherlock's mouth twitched as though he wanted to laugh. "I almost fell over once when he was doing it and he banged his knee on the desk..... I actually laughed out loud.... I didn't try and get away. Does that sound traumatised to you? If I laughed?"
"Laughter can be a defense mechanism and so can stillness....." Rob said. "You were a child .... Its understandable that you didn't try to get away.... You did what you instinctively felt was needed to protect yourself in a overwhelming situation."
"No...." Sherlock said it fast to stop Rob saying anymore. " I knew it was wrong......"
"Sherlock, I'm hearing that you feel guilty and ashamed . What happened is not your fault. Siger was an adult and he made the choice to do that to you. You were a minor. You aren't responsible for any of what happened with Siger or with Charles."
"Siger's dead..... Dead and gone. What he did is nothing next too what ....." Sherlock stopped mid speech again and gulped for air. He really didn't want to cry..... "Can we talk about something else please?"
"I'd like to try and stay with this if you can.....?" Rob said. "I'd very much like for you to try and finish that sentence..... It's nothing next too....?"
"It's nothing next too what Charles did to me," .... Sherlock's hand was a clenched fist..... "He'd grab hold of my hair like this....." Sherlock slid a hand into his own hair violently ..... "He'd pull me up by it and drag me ..... along the floor.... towards the bed ..... He turned me upside down. My head was hanging off the bed..... I couldn't breathe..... My throat was full of it..... I kept retching..... It kept coming back up into my mouth and he kept saying swallow..... I got sick ...... Out my nose. It came out my nose..... Sperm and sick!" He wiped helplessly at his overflowing tears with both hands.... "Oh fuck I hate crying..... I hate this!""

I'm so sorry that happened to you," Rob said.... it was overwhelmingly hard to hear the thoughts that Sherlock had inside his mind and not react with more than words..... "Is it ok for me to hug you, Sherlock?"

"Yes," Sherlock said.


Rob had made tea and bought biscuits.
"I'm not hungry," Sherlock said.
"I'll just leave them here. If you change your mind help yourself....." Rob took a seat. "Many victims of sexual assault ..... of violence..... of rape..... that I've spoken too all say they feel similar to the way you are feeling now...."
"Dirty? I feel dirty...." Sherlock said it aloud. "I didn't shout for help when Siger was doing it..... If Charles told me to undress even if I knew he was going to rape me I still did it.... " He reached for another tissue.... " Do you think maybe Charles saw that in me..... If he saw that he could do that too and i'd not fight him?..... If I made him worse than he was by not fighting back?"
Rob shook his head in a slow definite no...... "I hear you blaming yourself..... I'd like you to think about the reality that both Siger and Charles assaulted you because you were young and vulnerable and they were in positions of power over you ..... "
Sherlock wiped at his eyes. "I'm not being a victim. People act differently round me..... A whole courtroom of people sees what happened to me first and who I am second. I feel like a sideshow freak ...... I miss Alan because he just knew and I never had to say or explain....."
Rob nodded. "Explaining feels endless sometimes doesn't it? "
Sherlock twisted the wet tissue round his fingers. "I'm tired.... I don't want to get up. I just want to stay asleep but Alan's not there and Billy needs me.... and there's court , so I can't."
"I hear you, you have so many demands upon you right now.... The way you are feeling is understandable. You must be exhausted Sherlock..... You've been through so much..... you still are. Your brain is processing it all...... shifting through and trying to make sense of what happened. It's a slow process for everyone and nightmares are often a part of that subconscious sorting through memories and feelings..... You will get there.... I'm here to support you and help you think it through until you are able to feel safe again....."
"I felt safe with Alan..... I want him back," Sherlock said.
"Would talking about Alan help?" Rob said.
"No," Sherlock said. "It hurts too much."

Mycroft observed Sherlock closely as his brother emerged and walked towards the car.
There was a speed to Sherlock's stride that indicated he was still agitated.....but what had caused such agitation Mycroft had no idea. Sherlock's spur of the moment decision to ask if they could use a new room had totally caught everyone by surprise. The whole building would now have to be bugged at considerable expense.....
Sherlock yanked the car door open moodily.
"Do try not to slam the door this time....." Mycroft began.....
Sherlock slammed the car door shut violently. "What?" he said.
"Remember your seatbelt...." Mycroft replied.


"Was the session helpful?" Mycroft asked as soon as the car pulled away.
Sherlock was pretty certain Mycroft would have bugged the room and was merely covering up that fact by asking as though he didn't know already. It was why he'd insisted on using one of the other rooms....."Very revealing," he lied. "We talked about that New Year party when you found Uncle Rudi in a corset and stockings on your bed...."
Mycroft's eyes widened in a brief flare of alarm. "I'm not sure I see the relevance...." he said mildly.
"Oh it's all relevant....." Sherlock said with an all encompassing vagueness, still staring out of the car window so Mycroft could only discern the back of his head. "Like the time you refused to let me be the back end of the donkey in the school nativity play...."
"I beg your pardon?." Mycroft said. Why was Sherlock so determined to divert him from his enquiries about how successful this session had been? "Would you have preferred I didn't mention the other boy's medical issue and resultant flatulence? I really fail to see how promotion into an angel instead of the nether regions of a donkey suit was a causal factor in any of the difficulties you are currently experiencing! "
Sherlock smirked knowingly at the affront in Mycroft's voice.... "That's why Rob's the therapist and you're only the spymaster.... " He remembered something suddenly. "You really have to stop menacing him with your minions and let me make an appointment like anyone else."
"I do not menace," Mycroft said. "I merely intercept. Is it my fault people assume the worst?" He disliked the way Sherlock had deliberately looked away from him since entering the car. "You needed to see him. You've had what appears to be an identical nightmare for several days and the letter you sent Alan was bleak to say the least .... " Too say nothing of the bleakness of your suicidal intentions as you made them clear too John....."Must I talk to the back of your head Sherlock? I can't see you."

Sherlock sat very still. "That was the whole idea...." he said then turned round.
"You've been crying....." Mycroft said. It was an educated guess based on the shine of Sherlock's eyes, he could barely see Sherlock's face clearly in the darkened car.
Sherlock didn't try denying it.
"Is it post natal depression?.... The letter you wrote Alan ..... It unsettled him..... You said you saw no point to you?"
Sherlock interrupted. "It wasn't a good letter to send him and I shouldn't have sent it..... You shouldn't have read it! I'm allowed to have a bad day."
"Of course.... but was it only that?" Mycroft paused.... "Alan was concerned it might be more."
It is more..... "I want to move back to Baker Street," Sherlock said. I want to sleep in a bed Alan slept in , in a room full of his clothes, I want to see his toothbrush next to mine and make tea in his mug ......
Mycroft did not approve. "And what about your son?"
" I can express the feeds. I'll come every day...... It's not as though I have even held him yet...." Sherlock said then finally admitted. "I can't be cooped up like some battery hen! I need head space."


Mycroft recalled the contents of the last letter he'd delivered from Alan to Sherlock verbatim.... He'd read it of course and been concerned to find that Alan hadn't bothered with any of the usual letter format like address or date but had launched straight in.

What use are you? What the heck, lad?! You're you! Half of my heart. Half of the whole of me it feels more like. Don't be saying daft shite like that! You need to speak too someone! I'm not leaving you on your own knowing you're thinking like that! Be mad about me meddling if you want. It's for your own good lad.

I think a lot in here. Not saying its thinking on a genius level but there's now't else to do. Most of it about us. So I can straight out tell you why you're wrong.
I'd lost the joy in living in between losing Billy an finding you. Oh I walked and I talked and i did my job as i saw it but I wasn't right in the head. I was broken hearted with him from dying and angry with him for leaving me and even angrier with myself for feeling his loss that way.
You knew it. From the get go you saw summat good in me when I didn't and you've kept on seeing it. Left too myself I'd still not be reight., the only plan I had for getting away from the pain was acting like I didn't feel owt.
I thought I was saving you when truth be told you were saving me and giving me a life back.

You asked me how chess is going? Aye well....I'll not lie...I'm shite at it ... I can just about reckon out my pawns and bishop and the rook is easy enough but that bloody knight gets me flummoxed every time. Is it two up and one over or one over and two up or two up and three ruddy idea!
Your brother gets this particular look on his face when he sees me about to pick up my knight ... Other week I was deciding did I move this way or that a bit too long and you could see him grinding his jaw like a cow chewing cud. To be fair to him he said nowt out loud but trust me it weren't for lack of him thinking it!
So that's my chess playing....not a hope of me winning a game anytime soon.
Anyways chess got me thinking we should get a few board games at the cabin for when Aleksander's there? We had a couple of games at home we only ever played at Christmas but never all the pieces....the old man was a fan of slinging the board cross the room. Least your brother hasn't gone that far. Yet.
Now see that reminds me to tell you as I've sketched the cabin out on the back of this letter to show you the few ideas I got and get your feedback where to put second bedroom? You draw how on the drawing and I'll be able to get an idea of you'd like it changed see? It'll help keep me busy.
Talking about staying busy. Book trolley came round .... now either its flaming shite or maybe the ones left by the time it gets around to me are. I don't mind reading a biography or an auto biography, whichever it is? if its a sportsmen or even a bit of history...but politics isn't for me. Not that they'd vote for likes of me anyways.... What the heck am I even talking about. Sorry.
This week I'm stuck reading a book about Margaret Thatcher. Last week it was a book about some woman who runs a donkey sanctuary down in Devon. Did you know donkeys can remember a place they've been too or another donkey for 25 years?

I miss you. Hugging. Holding you tight. Laughing. Even you nagging me to move my weights. Miss your cooking too! I bet you won't believe that but I swear its true.

Thanks for the new photos lovely lad...He's cute in the hat ..... Little eyes look as bright as a button. How's he doing with the sucking reflex? Any sign of it developing yet? You said he needs that to happen before he can try a feed?
I have to tell you I'm allowed 3 photo up at a time and if you send more than 3 I can't have them. To put 3 new uns up I've to take the 3 I have down. It seems sodding stupid to me but there you go. Anyhow I've set it up so your lovely face is the first thing I see every morning and last thing I see every night. I've got you, you and me and Billy all in a line. If I was allowed I'd cover wall and ceiling with photos of you, even if it did make me look some some ruddy perv which most here think I am anyways.
I never could get enough of looking at you love.... I was thinking about you yesterday , about how light falls in your eyes and makes them so I've never seen a softer, midnight blue. I'd my hand on my cock before I knew it but that's not working either. Turns out now't is right without you. Why I'm telling you I almost had a wank I don't know. I'm losing my mind here. Sorry. Its all more ways I miss you.
Sheets that's another way. You make the bed smell like sleeping inside a fresh baked cake. Me on my own is not the same. And breathing at night.... I miss how the scent of you fills my lungs. I miss how you fill my arms up sleeping close to my heart.
I've not the words. Should have paid better heed at school but I never thought I'd be wanting to write any love letters. Now I'm trying to get my heart out for you to see and I'd say I'm not much help to me or you if that makes sense?
Having read it through this letter is reight shite. I thought I'd got off to a good start but then I go all over the place with it. Board games and bloody donkeys. I mean what the Heck was I even thinking there.

I love you. That's what I'm needing to say. 
All the love I got is yours.
Alan xxxxxxxx


Mycroft sighed. Donkeys for Heaven's sake, Alan! "The lack of time the importance of correct grammar is allotted in our state school system never ceases to appall me. A well written letter can be such a joy....." <
"I don't care if he talks about donkeys.... as long as he writes he can talk about how lumpy the mashed potato there is again for all I care." Sherlock stared back into a past only he could see and a kiss only he and Alan knew had ever taken place and remembered how his heart beats had scattered into his chest like falling sparks..... "I need to go home where there's more of him. I can't cope in the hospital anymore , I feel like I'm stuck living the same day over and over .... i need to work.... I need to do something to stop me thinking about the distance!"
"You've never lived alone," Mycroft pointed out that truth. "What if you simply find it too much?"
"There's Mrs Hudson....." Sherlock refused to look at the truth of what Mycroft was saying. "And Alan bought a tv....."
Mycroft looked scandalised.
"Billy won't be in hospital forever.... " Sherlock said. "221b is going to be our home." I need to figure out a way to live there without Alan.....
"You could move in with me...." Mycroft said.
Sherlock tried to imagine it..... and started laughing.

"You might at least consider it....." Mycroft couldn't help the slightly waspish edge to his tone.
Sherlock stopped laughing..... "You've forgotten what living with me is like?"
"We are both adults now....." Mycroft had forgotten nothing of the endless trival persistence of Sherlock's juvenile years.... he was prepared to overlook it.
"You are.... I'm not sure what I am...." Sherlock wasn't joking. "Alan's the only one who can put up with me." In the dark it was impossible to deduce the still emotion of Mycroft's face..... "Billy won't be newborn for long..... he'll be crawling, drooling on your shirt and waistcoat..... spitting up over your shoulder....You'd hate it."
"I have several shirts and a selection of suits....." Mycroft said. Sherlock wasn't the only Holmes who could be obstinate.
Sherlock stared ......."I'll have heats....." he said.

Mycroft concentrated on keeping each breath calmly regular.
"You didn't remember?" Sherlock said. "Why would you? I never had them when you knew me....."
"No...." Mycroft agreed. The one time had been awkward enough.
"We can't go back.... " Sherlock said.
" I worry .... endlessly....." We should have had longer. Our time as brothers living under the same roof was cut short....
Sherlock opened his mouth to say I know..... and out of the corner of his eye spotted neon in the dark..... "Lets get Chinese food, " he said instead. "Not takeaway.... Let's go eat there."

Mycroft wasn't entirely sure how Sherlock managed to persuade him that this was a good idea. He could only imagine the frantic scramble as his agents did their best to ensure security coverage. The lurid neon dragon Sherlock had glimpsed from the moving car looked a little less enticing up close.
"The door handle has a polished sheen from multiple hands....." Sherlock said. "That's a sign a restaurant is popular...."
"What absolute nonsense.... it could simply be a question of a repetitive brass polishing pattern." Mycroft said and pulled open the door.

Mycroft was aware he stood out. Bespoke suits were not the norm here.
Sherlock's courage evaporated instantly as soon as people closest to the door turned to stare. He stepped closer to Mycroft....
"Table for two?"
"That will be most acceptable," Mycroft said firmly. "Come Sherlock."

"Can I get coke?" Sherlock asked from behind the giant red menu book.
"If you wish...." Mycroft studied the fork prongs as closely as possible underneath the red table lights. Was that a smear?
"And prawn balls?" Sherlock asked.
Mycroft reached for Sherlock's fork and examined it as best he could..... Was that a detergent stain?
Sherlock clicked chopsticks together at him like a child from across the table.

The food was hot, oily and crispy. Compared to his usual Knightsbridge restaurant with its bamboo baskets it was inauthentic and inelegantly presented.
It was delicious.
To do it justice Mycroft removed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt.

Sherlock insisted on lychee ice cream then decided he hated it. "I need to pee. I'll be right back..... You can eat mine if you want....."
Obligingly Mycroft  consumed both portions......
There was a group of four men by the door waiting to pick up takeaway .... they'd been drinking.
Mycroft watched them warily, Sherlock's safety uppermost in his mind and found himself staring at the back of a familiar beige raincoat and a side view of equally familiar silver grey hair.....
One of the Alpha men moved closer and laid  an interested hand upon the lower back of the individual stood in front of him .... "Greg did you order me the chilli chicken....? I don't want to get back to yours and find you didn't."
"Don't I always?" Greg said....

Chapter Text

Greg's sitting room wasn't small but his three brothers took up a lot of room....

" I ran into Simon at the rugby club.... He always asks how you are.... You know he took over the car dealership now?"
"Simon who?" Greg raised his voice over the unfamiliarly loud volume of the pre-match commentary.
"Simon. He was in your class at school....." Denis ignored the way Phil shook his head at him.
"So were thirty other boys....." Greg said.
"Ginger curly hair.... freckles. Used to get off the bus at the wool shop..... " Denis said.
"Nope.... Not ringing any bells....." Greg lied, they'd snogged at a school disco.
"His mum had pink VW with the spotted seats.... He remembers you...." Denis got straight back on topic.
Good for him Greg muttered under his breath, then said more loudly. "I'll get some more food before the second half ....." Food should be a decent diversion from Simon.
"His mum was hot...." Denis said nostalgically.

"Will you give it a rest! I came here to watch sport not talk about Greg's flaming love life! If I wanted to sit through sodding Love Island and relationship shit, I'd have stayed home with the missus." Cole knew how this would end....
Jerry turned the TV up again....
"What's the problem? Si's a nice bloke..... he's single.....Greg's single...... He could do a lot worse....." Denis belched and took a swig of beer.
"Maybe he isn't single.... You ever think of that?" Cole heaved himself up out of the chair to follow Greg into the kitchen.
"Greg? Course he is.... he'd have said otherwise!"

"You're seeing someone aren't you?" Cole said.
Greg passed his brother a lager.... "Its early days."
"You didn't ask him over for the game?"
"He works ...." Greg had tried to imagine Mycroft watching rugby in amongst his brothers but couldn't.....
Cole watched Greg busy himself plating up Chinese food... He'd have offered to help but Greg looked like he had it all under control...."Not the bloke we've seen you with on the news ? The one who got sent down?"
Greg was startled. Alan?..... "God no!"

Cole hadn't forgotten the time Greg had lied to them all about dating the landlord of the Red Stag for three months.... he didn't even realise he was openly frowning at the memory of how that ended......
"It's not Alan," Greg didn't need Sherlock to tell him Cole doubted him, the frown said it all.
"If you're giving John another go you need your head read.... I like the bloke just not dating my brother....."
"You know it wasn't all his fault." Greg tried not to be too defensive..... " What are you laughing at?"
"You defending the fact John was in love with someone else all along?"
Greg upended the whole bag of prawn crisps into a huge bowl in one flustered move. "It's not John. It's someone new....."
"He knows you don't need anyone telling you how to live?"
"Not a problem...."Greg heard himself say.
"And it's definitely not John ?"
"I think I'd have noticed," Greg said tolerantly...."with me being a NSY detective and all....."
"He's got a point...." Denis said from the doorway. "How much longer before you dish up Greg I'm famished?"
Greg shoved the plates Denis's way...."You do know I'm not mum?" he said....

"Long as whoever it is isn't another one who only wants to be with you the down low on account of your age?" Cole said as he watched Greg plonk his socked feet up on the coffee table.
Greg almost sighed. Can we not just move on?...."Mycroft's nothing like that."
"Mycroft..... what kind of a poncy name is that?" Denis asked."Sounds like a law firm.... or a flaming undertaker. "
Greg hadn't wanted it coming out this way. "It's Elite.....he's Elite...."
There was a sudden silence..... as two out of three brothers stared at him...... then...... " Elite! Have you lost your fucking mind!" Denis said.....
Jerry ignored the drama doggedly.... "How's about we all chill the fuck out and watch the sodding game?"

"Mum wouldn't like it...." Denis said minutes after play restarted..... "That's all I'm saying....."
Greg knew better than to rise to the bait and concentrated on the England players....
"Pass the ball...." Jerry yelled as he saw a opening on the field.
"Come on run !" Cole roared at the screen.
Denis had finished thumbing through his phone..... he turned the screen round...... "Mycroft Holmes.... This him? Standing next to Prince Charles .....?"
Bloody Google! Greg cursed the day it was invented.
Cole reached for the phone for a look..... "He's ginger...." he said.
"He's auburn...." Greg said.
"Looks ginger to me!" Denis agreed.
"It's auburn!And so what if he was ginger? Few minutes ago you were trying to set me up with ginger Simon!" Greg got snappy..... this was his sodding love life after all!
"That was a England try if anyone still gives a toss about the game!" Jerry said....


Sherlock rarely got voicemails but this morning he had one from Tam asking him to call a phone box and another from Mycroft.
Since Mycroft wouldn't have any interesting information on a murder he called Tam first.....
The phone box rang out for a long time before Tam answered. "Howay hinny.... I've found her out in Whitechapel. You coming?"
"Try and stop me," Sherlock said. "I just have to call my brother first!"

Sherlock only partially listened to Mycroft's voicemail and called back before it had even finished. "What's wrong?"
"I'm afraid I am unwell Sherlock....."
"If you are belatedly claiming food poisoning we both ate the same food and I'm fine. Its not the chefs fault and if I have to appear on the side of the restaurant in a court case then I'm prepared to go there, my admiration of their wonton is that high....." Sherlock said promptly as soon as Mycroft answered.
"That won't be necessary. " How was it that Sherlock so disarmed him with the naïveté of his directness? ..... "I'm afraid I am unable to attend court today. My inattendance means Herr Weber's cross examination will be postponed..."

Sherlock drew breath sharply. He'd been looking forward to seeing Aric ask Charles some uncomfortable questions and he knew Mycroft had too.... "The country is on the brink of world war 3 or you're dying?"
Mycroft blinked. There were times when Sherlock's delightful directness was a little too direct......."Must you be absurd? Neither.... I enjoyed the meal. However I am feeling somewhat unwell ..." Mycroft was circumspect when it came to details.
"I'm not being absurd ..... It has too be something earth shattering for you to tell the Legate you can't come in. The end of the world or the end of you are the only equal disasters I could think of at short notice...."
"Obliquely flattering as that analogy is I'm afraid I simply have one of my migraines, " Mycroft replied smoothly.
"Fuck that," Sherlock said succinctly.
"Sherlock! Really is there any need for such extreme profanity? Why is it so impossible to believe I have a severe headache...." Mycroft pressed two figures to the bridge of his nose and pinched hard to ensure a realistic note of discomfort altered his voice.
"Well that all depends ....." Sherlock said.
"Depends upon what precisely?" Mycroft asked acerbicly.
"On why you're lying," Sherlock said. "Why do you suddenly sound nasal? Are you squeezing your nose?"
"I have absolutely no idea.... I can assure you I am not practicing any level of deceit. Mundanely human as it is, even I find myself to be unwell occasionally," Mycroft lied.
"Oh please!" Sherlock said cynically. "One, if you had a migraine you'd have nausea and I'd be able to hear you swallowing a lot more frequently.....Two, something happened at the restaurant while I was in the toilet and you were eating my lychee revolting dessert thing that you won't tell me about and you've been very secretive about...... Three, I think it has something to do with the men who were with Greg, who you pretended you didn't see when we drove past them in the car despite them carrying what was definitely a take away bag from our restaurant ......"
"k...k...k..k..k...." Mycroft made a static crackling noise using the roof of his mouth and one cupped hand to force an echo...... "What was that Sherlock? ..... I can barely hear you ....."
"What the actual fuck?" Sherlock said with deadly clarity..... "Are you seriously faking a bad line?"
"Sherlock..... I can't ..... hear..... " Mycroft rapped the phone receiver down against the table twice....... He made the faked cracking sound again, then disconnected the call abruptly just as he heard an incredulous Sherlock say 'balls'.

"Balls....." Sherlock redialled Mycroft's house phone at once, only to discover his call was being fielded by one of Mycroft's house staff, they'd probably been warned not to reveal anything but it was worth a try...... "Hello. I need to speak to my brother. It won't take long..... "
"I'm very sorry Sherlock but Mr Holmes Senior is unavailable at present..... I can take a message...... I'm sure there's a pen here somewhere....."
Sherlock paused long enough to run through an extensive list of expletives in his mind then gave a bright smile.... was he speaking to yet another temporary housekeeper? Whoever this was didn't know that Mycroft always kept his pens in the silver box and clearly didn't know Mycroft well enough to know she ought never call him Mr Holmes Senior if she hoped for glowing references..... "If you are using the phone in the study they'll be a pen inside the silver box on the desk.... If you are in the drawing room phone then there's one in the sliver box on the Georgian card table......" He tried hard to make sure he sounded helpful not manipulative.....
"There is! Thank you ...."
" I'm pleased I could help ......" Blah blah blah... surely he'd done enough polite chatting now to actually move on? He gave a huge yawn.... "Sorry.... I was awake early with the baby ..... Can you take a message?"
"Of course Sir....."
Sherlock smiled, he had plans with a capital P to get outside into London's streets and if Mycroft wasn't home he wasn't there to say no... " Can you tell him that since there's no court I'm going to go out and interview rough sleepers for my homeless network.... I'm meeting Tam and taking John so there's no need to worry ....." Fat chance of that he knew.
"Rough sleepers? Interviewing rough sleepers?" The housekeeper was openly shocked.
Sherlock beamed. "Yes for my London wide network of homeless people.... I don't have a name for it yet....but it'll probably end in LHN when I do....London  Homeless Network... I think it'll be nice if those involved have an official identity.... "

Mycroft longed to reveal that even when he wasn't at home he was listening in to every absurd word and really did not approve of the whole ridiculous plan .... but that would revealing the extent too which he monitored Sherlock . London wide homeless network indeed! Goodness knows how many unsanitary, rough sleeping individuals Sherlock planned to converse with or why John Watson had agreed to be part of such insanity.....

In fact John hadn't agreed.... yet.
But Sherlock was sure he would.

John was taking off his jacket when Sherlock stuck his head round the door and smiled at him. "Good morning John.... cold day isn't it?"
John knew enough by this stage to be automatically suspicious the second Sherlock mentioned the weather..... "Morning Sherlock..... You look cheerful considering you have court later...."
Sherlock's smile grew impossibly brighter. "Change of plan . Courts cancelled.... Mycroft's got a headache..... I'm going out and I need you to come with...."
"I only just got in. I haven't even had breakfast yet ...." John pointed out.
"Johnnnn....." Sherlock stretched the name out plaintively...... "I don't have long before Billy wakes up.... In 10 minutes we could be somewhere useful doing something interesting, even fascinating...... I need you John. I have to interview a woman and flirting skills might come in useful....." More leverage was needed , John looked altogether too undecided...." Please..... You know I can't flirt. I have Alan, it'd be semi cheating..... and you're really good at flirting..... women love you....."
John put his jacket back on.... "Right. Lead the way then," he said with a confident smile. "What's she like , this woman you want me to flirt with?"
"She's from London..... owns her own home near the park...." Sherlock said vaguely......


"When you said I could flirt with a woman who owned her own home near the park this wasn't how I thought it'd be....." John said as he avoided stepping in what looked like a large pool of stale urine and dirty black rain water pooling outside a closed public toilet doorway.
Tam sat down on the low wall facing the dirty red tent in the doorway and took off his trainer to begin pulling some thickened skin from his sole.....
"That's disgusting.... and very unhygienic...." Sherlock said honestly.
Tam grinned at him shamelessly...... "Take a deek in't tent while I howk this foot ...."
"You know you're better off seeing a chiropodist than picking at it.... There's a risk of infection...." John pointed out.
"I cannae be mithered...." Tam said as he pulled a long strip of skin loose.
"Ugh...." Sherlock muttered.

Sherlock decided it was best to ignore the fact that he had never mentioned the individual John might need to charm was a homeless woman completely...... "How do you knock on a tent to let someone inside know you're here when it doesn't actually have a door?" he asked instead.
"Hello in the tent!" John raised his no nonsense army voice.
"Naff off! This isn't a fucking parade ground you tosser!" a grumpy female voice said.
"Charming....." John said.
Sherlock gave a smirk."You must be Nessa?.... My names Sherlock..." he said. "Tam said you'd speak with me.... "
"Ssh.... not so loud I'm fucking hungover!" A tousled head covered in matted dirty blonde dreadlocks appeared.... "You gave Tam fifty quid? You got more where that came from?"
"More money?.... Yes......" Sherlock had to deduce Nessa's living situation fast and was seeing a few things that made him uneasy such as some used syringes.... nevertheless he held out a hand directly in front of John. "Wallet John....."
"I don't have your wallet," John said.
"I know that. I didn't bring it..... I meant your wallet, I need £50," Sherlock said.
John laughed at the sheer audacity of it.... "Yeah? I don't think so.... I work too hard for my pay cheque too give it away."
Sherlock looked embarrassed..... he lowered his voice to an anxious hiss. "This is not the time to be scrooge, John..... Flirting clearly isn't going to work.... You aren't her type.... We need to pay her something so she'll talk...."
"How the Hell do you know I'm not her type?" John said.
Nessa scrambled from the tent behind them and stood up. She looked very round due to the multiple grubby knitted layers she was wearing..... " Aww did he hurt your feelings blondie? Don't take it personal.... he isn't wrong, I like my fellas big, black and bearded!"

" Beards are sexy.... They rub skin in interesting ways..... " Sherlock was distracted by a flash of erotic memory for a second...... "Johnnnn I know you have one £50 , four £20 and three £5 pound notes in your wallet. I checked it yesterday night just before you went home and you didn't even buy as much as a cup of tea on your way in this morning...."
John's eyebrows shot up. " What the Hell Sherlock? You've looked in my wallet?"
"Please don't get bogged down in trivia! All that matters is I know how much money you have on you..." Sherlock said. "You're an NHS doctor, you aren't poor..... We can call it a loan until Mycroft pays you back...."
Tam spluttered . "Aye that's the way to pay back a loan lad.... get someone else else to pay bugger back for you."

John wasn't joking about working hard for his money plus If Sherlock paid £50 to every one who said they had information his NHS wages wouldn't last long. He decided to strike a better deal..... "£25...." he said.
"£40...." Nessa haggled.
"£30..... Last offer" John said.
"£35.... take it or leave it...." Nessa said.
John handed over the money..... "You'd better not be messing Sherlock around..."

"Tell me exactly what happened.... Details , I need details...." Sherlock said. It seemed like a good way to start.
"I was dossing down behind the brick pile..... Nice and sheltered..... About 4 this van pulls in...."
"What kind of a van?" Sherlock asked.
"White. Big. Sliding door in side..... glass in the back....." Nessa answered. "Two people get out...."
" Descriptions? Number plates? Height? Hair colour? Build? Race? Accents? Wearing?"
"Dark clothes both of them and baseball caps..... Are you gonna keep stopping me to ask fucking questions?"
"Quite possibly," Sherlock was honest. "Did you see them clearly at any stage? Notice anything about them?"
"One was a woman....." Nessa said. "You could see her blond hair....."
"Not a man with longer hair?" Sherlock checked.
"A woman.....I heard her talking....."
Sherlock gave a low whistle, this was a potential breakthrough, crime solving moment...... "Oh finally! Please tell me you saw the body when they moved it because that would be really great?"
"You're fucking weird... What body? There was no fucking body....I'm talking about the rug! What the fuck is wrong with you?" Nessa said.
"This happened after they'd moved the body.....?" Sherlock suddenly sounded nervous and unsure.

"Will you shut up about dead bodies..." Nessa was losing her temper. "What's fucking wrong with you?"
" Let him alone Ness. He's a canny lad!" Tam's angry voice clashed with John's in immediate defence of Sherlock but John's voice was louder and a whole lot angrier.....
"Sherlock's trying to find out who raped and murdered a teenage Omega and threw him away like he was trash, wrapped up in the rug you used for a roof!"John was furious. He kicked at the used syringe on th ground outside the tent with the side of his shoe and sent it skidding away....."He's trying to do something good while you ruin your life with drugs....."
"Fuck you!" Nessa snapped. "I'm telling you nothing ... Fuck off and you ain't getting this back neither!" she stuffed the money down the front of her pants in one fast move case John tried to snatch it back.....
John stared at her. "Keep it..... " he said. "Come on Sherlock she's wasting your time....."

This was all going so wrong Sherlock felt panicked. He knew Nessa had information..... "Ok I'm different... Omega and Elite.... but I'm not that different," he said.... "We both have been married before.... and it wasn't a happy marriage for you either."
Nessa stared at him belligerently. "How do you know that?"
"Deductions.... You wear a plaster round your ring finger to cover a ring tattoo you want to remove but you can't afford it.... If it was a happy marriage you'd keep the ink.... it'd be sentimental , people are like that.... but you don't like being reminded of the marriage at all.... which means it was probably abusive...." Like mine...
"Fucking hell.... What kind of weirdo are you....." Nessa asked loudly.
"I pawned my bond ring..... next time always get a real ring, then at least you can take it off and sell it for something..... Always think ahead to the resale value....." Sherlock talked fast, his nerves were kicking in and he was starting to shake......
Nessa stared at him. What the fuck was he shaking like a smack head for?.... "The money you got for the ring, what'd you need it for?"
"I got nothing close to what it was worth. I gave some of it away..... to a Omega health clinic..... " Sherlock admitted. "Something good came out of selling it....."
"You're Elite.... why would you need fucking money poshie? You fucking liar?" Nessa confronted Sherlock angrily, stepping forward....
John stepped across her path far enough to stop her..... "That's enough.... " He opened his wallet and took out another £20 but kept hold of it..... "Tell him what he wants to know and you can have this....."
Nessa eyed the money greedily.... "Ok...." she said.

"Tell me about the rug.... " Sherlock said.
"They came back for it....I'd taken it for the top of the tent.....keep the cold out. I was freezing and the wind was up.... When she saw it was gone the woman said if Jim found out they fucked up they'd both be dead... I thought saying I had it was a bad move so I kept schutm...."
"Jim? You sure it wasn't a different name maybe one that sounded foreign? Something Italian maybe?" Sherlock asked. "You're sure it was Jim she said? You said it was windy could you hear properly?"
"Yeah I could hear bits and pieces of what they said. I already told you..... She said Jim.... and someone called Nissan would be pissed...." Nessa said. "Now give me the fucking money and fuck off."
"Nissan.... like the car?" John held onto the cash while he checked facts. "Maybe it was a Nissan van they were talking about, Sherlock?"
"Possibly.... " Sherlock had his phone out..... "Did the van look like this?" He turned the screen round.
Nessa looked.... "Sorta...."
"Or more like any of these....?" Sherlock showed her image after image of Nissan vans ......
"No....Different to all them.... " Nessa admitted.
Sherlock frowned. "If it's not a Nissan van than I can't make sense of it..... "

"You ok?" John checked on Sherlock on the way back to the car.
"It just doesn't make sense...." Sherlock kept muttering. "Why talk about a Nissan van?"

"You still want to move back into Baker Street tomorrow?" John was concerned it might all be too much for the Omega.
Sherlock's head jerked round. "Yes nothing has changed..... I have too , you know that."
"I'll let Mrs Hudson know to expect you then...." John said. "You know she'll bake a cake to celebrate?"
"I just wish Billy was coming home too," Sherlock said.

Mycroft had been fully prepared to let his presence in the surveillance van discretely parked on Greg's street remain unnoticed..... however after he watched Greg emerge from his front door, pace to his garden gate, walk back up towards the house, sit down, stand up then light a cigarette, sit down again and inhale several times in rapid succession, it occurred to him that he would be of slightly more use outside of the van.....


Inside Greg's sitting room the debate about dating a member of the Elite was still raging..... and had opened up to include Greg's failed marriage......
Greg was sat on the faded wooden bench in his front garden and had just lit up a second cigarette when Mycroft came walking down the garden path towards him despite the distinctive black car being nowhere to be seen .
"I thought you had decided to give up?" Mycroft said as he eyed the drifting smoke coming from Greg's lips longingly.

"Mhmmm...." Greg was non-committal as he held out the open packet.
"Look Jerry you can't tell me Greg's always made the best choices".... a male voice said clearly. "Elite Alpha don't marry outside their class...


Greg's mouth twitched..."Just so it's clear i never mentioned marriage," he said.

Mycroft accepted a cigarette, lit it and inhaled deeply..... He briefly considered not taking a seat on the regrettably rusty bench but in the end the need for physical closeness overcame his scruples and he sat so close to Greg their thighs were pressed against each other..... "They do seem rather invested....." he said obliquely, referring to Greg's brothers..

"They care...." Greg found himself defending them now then wished he hadn't as the words "Greg's no spring chicken" ....drifted through the open window....." It's great being the only Omega in a family..."
"It is what brothers do, however clumsily such care is expressed... I must confess to a minor misuse of MI5's investigatory powers only last night... " Mycroft admitted his fault.
"You ran security checks on us all?" Greg wasn't sure how he felt about that....
"Nothing so extreme..." All strictly necessary security checks had been completed long ago..." I merely returned to the restaurant and asked to examine the takeaway order sheet..... I recognised your phone number of course alongside the name of an individual called Cole Lestrade..... of course a brother suggested himself..." Mycroft recalled how relieved he'd been by the discovery that he didn't have a sudden rival.

This whole morning was taking on a surreal feeling..... "Well that's more normal.... spying on our takeaway order.... " Greg said. "I have a life you know..... outside of us.... Friends.... Work.... Family...."
"Of course....." Mycroft acknowledged that simple truth.

"I can't give it all up .... I've worked too hard to get here..." Greg wasn't sure why he felt the need to say that now. "I can add someone into my life and make room for them but I can't change my life entirely just to have someone....."
"It did occur to me that your family may have some preconceptions regarding my Elite status ... And of course since I have been somewhat remiss in fulfilling my role as an Alpha  as a result you might feel some lack of a clear definition when asked about my intentions ?" Mycroft hoped he had been clear enough as he trod firmly upon the cigarette.....
"Do we need too put a label on it?" Greg had been any number of labels over the years.... husband, cuckold, boyfriend, hook up..... ex.....
"I rather think so...." Mycroft said. "However I confess I find myself somewhat at a loss for words.... This ought to make it more clearly defined.... " He leant closer, arm sliding down the back of the bench in a move that regrettably caused a great deal of rusty friction to the fabric of his bespoke jacket and stared into Gregory's rich hazel eyes with their myriad of amber tints..... "Gregory Lestrade you are ... an exceptional man....a gorgeous man...."  Greg's gaze locked with his own and Mycroft was emboldened to press forward with his tongue and lips in pursuit of that elusive smokey sweetness he craved. ..... It took him all of a passionate moment to recall he was in full view of any random passer by and scandalously a van filled with his own agents..... Good grief whatever was sexual attraction capable of doing to him...? "My driver...." he successfully paused the kiss and attempted to impart the reason but mangled the vowels horribly...

Greg inhaled fiercely as the kiss broke apart far too soon.... "Forget whoever's watching...... " he said huskily then slid the fingers of one hand into Mycroft's auburn hair and leant in to chase tongue with tongue....

"Well fuck me.... " Denis said.... "Greg's snogging some suited blokes face off in the front garden!"
Cole got up to take a look..... "That must be this Mycroft bloke ..... "


Chapter Text

In the darkened morning bedroom Aprielle lay spawled , one bare leg bent at the knee trapping the rucked up duvet beneath it..... "Aric? You are leaving for Court?"
"I'm not dressed yet.... I have a little time to admire you....." Aric gave a smile sat down on the bed next to him, reflected in the mirrored slide robe doors Aprielle's nude buttocks lay half exposed ....." You are beautiful." He leant across the bed to let his hand land on plump muscle and gave a full handful of flesh an appreciative squeeze.
Aprielle smiled knowingly into the crook of his arm , turning his head to meet Aric's eyes from beneath his falling lime green tipped fringe . "Show me how beautiful ?"
Aric leant further over and moved the tangled duvet aside to expose more of the tantalising body beneath. "Have I the time I need to do your body justice?"

Aprielle didn't even bother to glance at the clock. "Make the time..... " he said scissoring his bare legs wider to let Aric glimpse the flared end of the flexible silicone plug embedded deeply in his prepared body....
"You're full of lube?" Aric gave a low rumble of arousal..... sliding down the cleft in Aprielle's body his thumb pressed home to shift the plug inside his mate .....
"Again.... Aric..... " Aprielle gasped at the spike of prostrate pleasure and ground his body back against the sensation.
Aric tugged the duvet fully aside and threw it off the end of the bed, leaning over to plant a kiss on the middle of Aprielle's back. "As many times as you need Aprielle...." he said huskily as his thumb found the flared base of the flexible silicone plug inside his mate and rolled against it ......
"Ahhhhh ...... Again.... " Aprielle gasped.
"The same..... or like this?" Aric bent over cupped Aprielle's buttocks and eased them apart to see the plug between then buried his thumb in between them rocking it on the flared base .....
"Less talk ...... More ...." Aprielle panted as Aric used his tongue warmly on the skin of his buttocks..... "More...."
"This...? " Aric slid the flexible muscle of his tongue down to vibrate the plug buried inside his mate.
"Ahh .... That!...... Make me come.... Love me Aric..... " Aprielle begged.
Aric pulled open the belt of his damp towelling robe, shrugged it off and threw it aside..... "All my life Aprielle," he promised.


The Legate stood patiently as the heavy chain of office was adjusted around his neck.....
"Is that sitting better Sir ?" the Usher asked as he relaid the heavy links with care,
"Much better thank you Arthur..... I feel the weight in my neck this morning....." The Legate had spent years with these same few Ushers as he rose higher and higher in rank. They had long since moved past a mere working relationship to a respectful friendship.
"Mr Weber's cross examination begins this morning doesn't it Sir?" The Usher began making the final adjustments to the folds and ermine of the Legate's ceremonial robes ..... Straightening the ermine fur .
u The Legate remained mindfully still ..... "I'm looking forward to it.... Herr Weber's reputation even before he went rogue was that of a talented maverick.... He disorientates a witness during cross examination quite deliberately..... moves from event to event in no clear chronological order. It enables him to return too an issue when the witness mistakenly lets down their guard..... It requires immense concentration and fluidity on his part of course.... As a technique it relies upon his ability too recall the entire testimony flawlessly and adapt to it as it unfolds ..."
"I thought I might stand along the edges of the room and watch him in action myself..... One moment Sir.... " Arthur knelt down to buff the buckle on the Legate's black ceremonial shoes with a cloth .....
"Which party do you sympathise most with , Magnussen or his Omega?" The Legate was interested to know.
Arthur paused mid polish, an ex army man he loved an old fashioned shoe shine you could see your face in. "Permission too speak freely, Sir?"
"Go ahead."
"He's a nervous, young man Mr Sherlock but he always remembers to say please and thank you .... He notices the little things we do for his comfort , Sir , appreciates them if you know what I mean? All of us who've have reason to meet him have a good opinion of him." Arthur refolded the shoe cleaning cloth. His arthritic knees cracked as he got back up onto to his feet to take a final appraising look at the Legate.... it was his job to ensure there was nothing out of place, everything had to be perfect. It wouldn't do to let his gentleman down
"Well Arthur? Will I pass inspection?" The Legate asked.
"You will Sir..... if I do say so myself...." Arthur said with satisfaction.


An hour later as the Bond Court began to fill with the noise of people taking their seats John Watson leant towards both both Holmes brothers ..... "Aric's confident. Sex must focus his mind...."
"And what observations provided you with this remarkable level of insight , John?" Mycroft couldn't help the automatic note of superiority in his voice. Clearly mere guesswork......
"His cufflinks of all things..... He's worn a different pair daily all through the trial but he's wearing the same pair he wore yesterday again this morning.... Why? Because he was busy at home just before Court ...." John reeled the words off smoothly.
Mycroft stared..... How on earth did John of all people notice that? Accurately observed of course but.... it took him a moment too observe the slight upward curve of the outer edges of Sherlock's mouth..... "Oh for Heaven's sake Sherlock, I might have known you provided the deduction!"
Sherlock grinned shamelessly. "Your face when you thought it was John was priceless!"
"I questioned it at once...." Mycroft protested.....
John winked.... "Oh we believe you..... Don't we Sherlock? "
"Oh totally....." Sherlock smirked.

At the front of the court the Senior Usher paced forward the traditional number of paces and hammered down his staff against the wide, medieval floor board..... "All rise for Justice!" he bellowed.


Aric Weber remained silent for a long moment after the Legate told him that Charles Magnussen was now his witness to cross examine.
Magnussen's face had time to stiffen as the delay became obvious for the subtle contempt it was..... then Weber was on his feet.

Aric stood directly in front of the witness box..... Magnussen's cold blue gaze dropped to the lawyers striking black tie with its white Bible reference.....
"Are you familiar with the Bible, Mr Magnussen?" Weber paused to ask.
"No...." Charles spoke shortly.
"Proverbs 21.15..... "Aric quoted from the Bible clearly so all could hear him...... "When justice is done it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evil doers......"
"Do I need to question which you believe I am?" Charles said confrontationally.
"You do not......" Aric said placidly and turned away.

"I beg leave to submit initial photographic evidence. ..." Aric waited until a series of photographs of Sherlock appeared on the large screen to Charles right. In the first Sherlock was sat on the floor among a group of other Omega boys all wearing black dance shoes ..... the second had been taken at Halloween and this time Sherlock had a Griffindor scarf and plastic Harry Potter glasses on ..... but it was the last that made John's throat ache..... Sherlock with a huge proud smile on his face next to the experiment that had won him the science competition....
Aric let the Legate and court have sufficient time to look......"These are all photographs of Sherlock Holmes that can be proven to date from a two month period immediately before that fateful day when Charles Magnussen attended a school ballet, saw a beautiful but sexually immature Omega boy and decided lust alone was sufficient reason to disrupt a boyhood!"
"Objection!" Milne roared.
"On what grounds Mr Milne?" The Legate asked calmly.
"The inference of pedophilia is prejudicial to Mr Magnussen....."
"My Learned Colleague of course objects.," Weber's deceptively agreeable voice pulled the Legate's attention back, one of the few times in which he deliberately talked over Milne..... "Legate, Charles Magnussen would have this court entertain an image of Sherlock that has deliberately been presented to make him appear more sexually mature.... now the immature reality stares us in the face Mr Milne objects. These images show us Sherlock Holmes at the time that Charles Magnussen first met him! That is a fact and cannot be denied..... My learned friend objects since in these images we can all see Sherlock Holmes as an innocent Omega boy barely into puberty ...... I intend to make everyone in this court aware that Charles Magnussen saw the same immature boy and still moved to possess him sexually!"

The Legate took a moment to look again at the images on the screen of his court room. The images of Sherlock's slight boyish frame made for uncomfortable viewing...... "I'll allow it Herr Weber...." he said and the court burst into noisy uproar.

"Could you expand upon the qualities that motivated you to desire a bond with Sherlock Holmes?" Aric waited for the answer.
"His beauty of course. His lineage, " Charles expanded on nothing.
"You found him sexually desirable ?"
"More so than any other Omega I have met.... I was drawn to his personality immediately," Charles aimed to depict his lust as something more acceptable.
"Despite his young age?
"In spite of it...." Charles took his first sip of water.
"You weren't troubled by the years of life experience that divide an adult man from a teenage boy?" Aric tapped one finger idly on the top of the witness box.
"I did not regard it as a barrier to our bond..... Sherlock is intelligent," Charles voice was hard edged, his resentment of Weber's questions all too clear.....
"You mentioned his lineage? It is of course an old and aristocratic one. The Holmes association with England dates back to 1066...... How important was that bloodline to you?"
"I value it," Charles watched Weber's every move as though the lawyer were a snake who could uncoil at anytime and strike....
"Yet you have been openly critical of his parents Siger Holmes and of Violet Holmes ..... and indeed of Mycroft Holmes?"
"The father was a gambler.... the mother mentally unwell and the Alpha brother..... " Charles turned his head to stare directly at Mycroft..... " Is unnaturally obsessed with his brother Sherlock ....."
"That is a disgusting insinuation and I refute it entirely!" Mycroft stood too protest. "My feelings for Sherlock are decent and fraternal. We are brothers.... only a diseased mind would infer I have ever been inappropriate!"
The Legate hammered down the gavel sharply..... "Mr Milne unless you have proof sufficient too be admitted as evidence before this court concerning these allegations you will withdraw them on behalf of your client here and now. Do you have such proof?"
Milne rose hurriedly.... "If I may Legate?..... Mr Magnussen was referring to a number of instances upon which Mycroft Holmes attempted to interfere with the bonding of his brother and Charles Magnussen....."
The Legate held up a hand and Milne fell silent. "Do you withdraw the allegations on behalf of Mr Magnussen?"
"I do...." Milne said.

Aric got back on track fast..... "Bearing in mind your stated reservations about the family Sherlock grew up among you still wished to proceed with the bond match?"
"I considered it in Sherlock's best interests to do so as early as possible.... I offered him a bond and stability.... The protection of my name....." Charles reply was measured.
"So determined were you that Sherlock Holmes should be your mate that you sent a number of courtship gifts to him at school commencing one week after you met him?"
"I'm a traditional Alpha..... It pleased me to spoil him...."
"Did it?" Aric said disbelievingly, he glanced at his notes..... "A watch, a fountain pen, theatre tickets, ballet tickets..... Sherlock returned every gift unused did he not?"
"He did...." Charles admitted.
"Is that also traditional? An Omega rejecting the Alpha's gifts?" Aric ridiculed Magnussen openly.
Charles jaw clenched.... "Sherlock was shy and virginal.... it did not displease me. Far from it."

"I'd like to submit the following passage from Sherlock Holmes boyhood diary in evidence Legate?" Weber waited for permission.....
The Legate held the original diary in his hands , he took a moment to glance at the handwritten page before replying. "Proceed Herr Weber....."

"Thank you Legate." Aric read Sherlock's own words aloud..... At evening study Mr Lund came in and said there was another gift for me from Charles Magnussen..... When I wouldn't open it or even touch the box Mr Lund made me stand outside study in the corridor and shouted at me. He said I lacked gratitude. Everyone saw but I don't care. I don't want any presents. I'm going to write and ask him to please stop because I'm not the right Omega for him. He has to understand , I don't want to be bonded ever I just want to solve crimes, study science , dance and and play my violin.....

"Did you receive a letter from Sherlock Holmes begging you to stop your courtship of him?" Aric asked directly.
Charles took a moment to reply.
"Mr Magnussen...?" The Legate reminded the witness of the obligation to answer.
"I did....."
"And upon receipt of that plea did you stop sending these unwanted bond gifts ?"
"No you did not..... in fact events suggest you escalated an interest you knew to be unwelcome. Sherlock's whole class was invited on a trip to the offices of a national newspaper owned by you? Did you arrange this personally?"
Magnussen frowned and  stared at Aric in silence, "I do not recall making a personal invitation... More likely my PA arranged it."
" I see.... " Aric took out the pipe he no longer smoked and began burnishing its ebony and silver with his thumb. Don't play semantics with me because you will lose..... "Have any more such school trips to any of your newspapers in London been arranged since your bond?"
Charles saw the gap begin to open beneath his feet..... "I do not believe so.... Family demands have meant I am more often at home in Denmark....."

Weber nodded as though he understood..... "But on this occasion you were present when Sherlock Holmes and his classmates visited your headquarters in London?"
"I was...."
"And in your busy working day did you find time to intercept and talk with Sherlock Holmes as his class toured the building?"
"Objection Legate.... whether or not a chance encounter took place is surely immaterial!" Milne protested.
"It's highly relevant Legate and ties in to a future line of questioning...." Aric said at once....
"Be sure that it does.... I'll allow it Herr Weber....."
"Sherlock and I had a brief but pleasurable conversation....." Charles twisted events to suit his narrative.
"Alone?" Aric asked.
"I do not recall...."
"As an Omega Sherlock ought to have been chaperoned at all times..... Was your meeting with him held in the presence of a chaperone?"
"I do not recall...." Charles said stiffly.
"You do not recall if a chaperone was present ?.... I understood you to be a man who valued the old traditions? ..... Legate if I may I'd like to submit further evidence from Sherlock's own boyhood diary dated from that same day this school trip took place....." Aric waited for the Legate's agreement, then read aloud.....
I thought he was going to try and kiss me so I had my hand in front of my mouth and was talking from behind it. I thought he couldn't kiss me that way .. ....

" This sounds as though you arranged a private meeting with a young Omega who had already rejected your persistent attempts at courtship. Once you had him alone you cornered him..... trapped him and forced your romantic attentions upon him? Attentions you knew full well to be unwelcome!."
"Objection!" Milne roared.
"Denied....." The Legate said shortly. He was unimpressed with Charles Magnussen's behaviour.

Aric continued reading , picking up with the last sentence he had read and finishing it ...... He said..... little virgin you'll learn then he moved like he was going to kiss me . I jerked back so fast I banged my head on the wall .I had my face turned away. He said to look at him but I wouldn't.... so he licked my face. I threw up a bit in my mouth which was the best thing I did because at least he stepped back! Maybe now he knows he literally makes me sick.. If he still won't go away then I get to go home on Spring break I'm telling Mycroft.... if he isn't there I'll tell Mummy.... or even Siger...

"You described this as a pleasurable conversation Mr Magnussen?" Aric spoke with open scorn....
"Some reluctance is expected. " Charles said. "Sherlock was a virgin after all....."
"A mouthful of vomit is surely more than reluctance...." Aric began.... "Disgust perhaps.?"
"Objection..... The Holmes Omega may have been unwell .... even travel sick from the journey....." Milne spoke into the silence......
"That would be convenient would it not?" Aric's tone was layered with sarcasm.

"Mr Hedon Lund , was Dance Master at the boarding school for Omega boy's Sherlock attended...... Had you met him prior to visiting the school?"
Charles was exposed and he knew it..... "I had known Hedon for several years..... "
"In fact you knew each other as boys ?"
"We did....."
"Would you describe him as a friend?"
"An acquaintance..... I have few close friends....." Charles deflected.
"Nevertheless Hedon Lund was sufficiently acquainted with you for him to ask you too fund improvements at the school....?"
"I have been extremely fortunate throughout my life.... I enjoy giving back ..... The school was an excellent one but lacked the modern facilities the boys deserved..... I have the money to make significant changes for the good of a school....." Charles aimed to sound philanthropic.
"Such as the new dance floor you so generously enabled?" Aric acknowledged the largesse.
"Had you been shown the unmodernised dance facilities before donating?" Aric leafed through his papers abstractedly but it was a ploy, he was entirely focused on Magnussen.....
"I don't recall.... "
Aric glanced up.... " Surely you were sent detailed information showing the school's current facilities before making such a considerable donation? You don't just hand out money blindly?"
"I don't recall....."
"You don't recall?"
"I believe I saw some photographs. A school brochure perhaps...."
"Did these photographs or brochure include any images of Sherlock Holmes?" Aric took a sip of water.
"I don't recall...."
"I'm sure you'd recall seeing Sherlock?" Aric questioned Charles doggedly.
"I do not....."
"Since you don't recall let me endeavour to fill in those blanks for you ..... I'd like to submit the school brochure from that Year ..... As you will see Legate Sherlock Holmes features on the cover being awarded a science prize .... again on pages 5 , 10 and 21..... Did you ever see a copy of this school brochure that so heavily features Sherlock Holmes, Mr Magnussen?"
"I do not recall."
"Another memory lapse? You do recall however seeing Sherlock dance vividly ? You spoke with Sherlock backstage!"
"I've said so, " Charles irritation showed.
"Had Mr Lund ever mentioned Sherlock Holmes to you Mr Magnussen?"
"Objection.... My client is being harassed! " Milne stood too protest.
The Legate gestured for Milne to sit back down and intervened himself to remind the witness. "Answer the question please Mr Magnussen...."
Charles inhaled. " I do not recall Hedon ever spoke of Sherlock."
"Come now , surely he mentioned his most talented dancer? The beautiful Omega who was to dance his solo for your pleasure as guest of honour?" Aric challenged Magnussen again.
"No,"Charles spoke through gritted teeth.

"What was your motivation for making such a large gift to the school?" Aric asked.
"It pleases me to donate to the education of the younger generation...."
"The younger generation in this particular instance appear to be something that you have a somewhat dubiously motivated interest in....." Aric barely paused as Milne objected loudly choosing to press on quickly instead..... "Have you continued this benevolence towards teenage Omega by donating to any other schools since bonding?"
Charles felt the imminent drop as he found himself precariously balanced over the trap Aric had constructed.... "Of late ? No...."

"I'd like to submit copies of Charles Magnussen's financial papers since his bond match to Sherlock Holmes...... As you will see Legate only three donations of this type have ever been made. One to the school attended by Aleksander Magnussen . The other two donations both made to schools attended by Sherlock Holmes..... I suggest to you, Mr Magnussen that this generous donation was in fact a bribe to make possible the easy access you desired too Sherlock Holmes. Access that took place without the knowledge of his family but with the full co-operation of Mr Lund!"
"I deny it."
"You deny it? Are you claiming it is mere coincidence that two out of the three times you've donated significant sums of money involved schools attended by Sherlock Holmes , the Omega whom you yourself admitted in this Court you desired more than any other?"
"Objection. Speculation! Mr Magnussen is being maligned by such accusations!" Milne roared.
The Legate took his time reaching a decision ..... "I'll allow it Herr Weber," he said finally and the court burst into excited uproar.

"Isn't it true Mr Magnussen that your obvious dislike of Mycroft Holmes stems from his legal attempt to prevent you from bonding Sherlock?"
"No? I'd like to submit the following letter in evidence..... " Aric waited while the paperwork was handed around and a huge copy of it appeared onscreen..... "This is your handwriting Mr Magnussen is it not?"
Magnussen took his time reading the letter then answered slowly. "It is."
"This correspondence dates from a week before Sherlock Holmes was bonded..... " Aric read aloud from his own copy of the letter.....
I will have your brother with or without your agreement. The paperwork is signed and he is mine. The more you argue and disrespect me the worse it will be for him...... Should I choose to tear him open what could you do? Nothing..... You will never again be the protector you see yourself as......

"Objection!" Milne roared.
"Refused...." the Legate replied.
Aric looked up..... "You appear to be threatening to rape Sherlock Holmes in order to distress his brother Mycroft Holmes.... taunting him with the sexual violence you could choose to inflict upon Sherlock..... What other explanation of this letter do you have?"
"None. It was a highly charged time and placed me under severe stress.... I reacted unwisely at times." Charles said. "And you are right I of course bear grudges. Too this day I consider him a poor influence upon Sherlock.... The man plotted to remove his brother from my home . What more proof need I provide that my objections are valid.."
Aric paused mid stride..... "You had won the legal challenge.... yet you were not prepared to be magnanimous and attempt to reconcile with the Holmes family? You yourself stated Sherlock's family line was of significant importance too you when considering a bond?"
Charles didn't trouble to hide his contempt. "The bloodline was of importance.. Individual family members less so!"
"Did you ever intend to allow Sherlock to maintain contact with his home and the family he grew up among?" Aric asked.
Charles was white faced with anger. "How dare you question me! As Alpha Dominus I make all decisions within my bond..... "
"Yes or no?" Aric repeated. "Yes , Sherlock was permitted to contact the family he loved and grew up among once you had bonded him or no, such contact was not permitted by you?"
" A direct answer if you please Mr Magnussen....." The Legate had had enough.
Charles said. "I do not recall."

"Sherlock was a young Omega bonded against his will , removed to a foreign country, to a new house , facing the challenge of learning a new language, separated from family and friends..... Did Sherlock ever tell you he was homesick?"
"I do not recall...."
"Did he ask to phone home?"
"I do not recall....." Charles showed his teeth in a bitter rictus of a smile.
"Not even on a special occasion .... Christmas perhaps.... or New Year?"
"I do not recall....."
"Isn't it true that Sherlock Holmes was so homesick and distressed he refused to eat in these initial weeks after arriving at Apple Dore and Dr Hoi was forced to intervene intravenously?"
"It is not uncommon for the heat cycle to disrupt appetite..... " Charles said.....
Sherlock inhaled sharply then swore in Danish.."Lort!"
"Such filthy language Sherlock!" Alexei crowed gleefully from Milne's side of the court.

The Legate's arm ached. Seldom had he been forced to use the gavel for so long to bring a room to order. "Sherlock.... I must ask you too repeat whatever you just said in English for Court records....."
"Lort.... means shit...." Sherlock was very pale and his hands were shaking as every eye in the crowded court turned his way. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to say it out loud."
"This is neither the time or place for such language.... " The Legate said sternly. "Remind your client of his obligation to remain silent Herr Weber. Court will recess for half an hour.... "

By the time Aric fought his way through the crowd and caught up with Sherlock in the narrow corridor behind the packed courtroom it was almost time to head back in..... "Sherlock what was that?"
"I needed to talk to you. Privately." Sherlock was insistent.
"Now?" Aric checked his watch.
"Yes now.... before he says it again...." Sherlock hissed. " And I need to borrow your mobile phone. ....."

Aric remained standing as soon as court commenced ...... " Legate I'd like to submit a piece of new evidence that has only now come to light thanks to Sherlock Holmes ....." he said.

Milne protested against its inclusion but knew it was hopeless......
The Legate's hard tone allowed for no more debate. "Denied Mr Milne. You may continue Herr Weber."

Aric watched closely as Charles Magnussen retook his seat..... "Mr Magnussen you've told this court that you do not recall Sherlock Holmes asking to speak with the family he had so recently been separated from..... You've said that you do not recall stopping Sherlock Holmes from making such calls yet Sherlock and others will testify that in fact you did just that....... Furthermore you've freely admitted that even on special occasions no calls home were made by Sherlock Holmes...... "
Charles sneered openly..... "If I do not recall how can I testify as though I do?"
Weber smiled.... "I acknowledge that this translation for the court was given by Sherlock Holmes who recalled reading the article in its original Danish. My honourable colleague is welcome to challenge the translation but it is word perfect .... On the 17th March last year Mr Magnussen you granted an interview to Hugge magazine in which you said the following......
I am fortunate to possess an eidetic memory that forgets nothing. The most trivial of details, the most tedious of facts are all retained by me verbatim in vaults within my mind. It makes excelling in business or in life simple.... I have that advantage over others who must stop to rethink or who must rely on less intelligent lawyers to do their thinking for them.... I remember every detail I have ever been told and I am never afraid to use them to my own advantage

How then have you failed to recall an answer to so many of my questions Mr Magnussen? Selective amnesia or a cynical ploy?"
Milne stood.... "Objection!"
"Over ruled..... You will answer Mr Magnussen." The Legate demanded an answer

Ignoring the Legate Charles locked eyes with Sherlock across the space between them.... "Do you think yourself safe from me? Now you dare to look up like an equal?.... Now you dare to answer back, to plot against me?"
"Mr Magnussen!" The Legate hammered down the gavel. "You will refrain from intimidating Sherlock Holmes within my Court!"
Magnussen ignored him and smiled as Sherlock edged back in his seat..... " Must I cross this court and strike you before you will show me the respect due me as your Dominus! "
"Mr Magnussen you will remain where you are!" The Legate raised his voice, as close too bellowing as he had ever needed to come in all his years as Legate..... "It is my opinion that you have been deliberately dishonest in your testimony..... Therefore....." The noise was so loud he could barely hear himself speak as he repeated the old traditional words! "Therefore, I find you in contempt of this court and my authority..... Ushers remove him to the cells beneath!"