Sherlock let his legs dangle from the bridge crossing the river near their parent's estate. Mycroft looked at his younger brother from his bedroom. Sherlock had been inconsolable since Mycroft had been accepted to his dream university. Mycroft had to leave, he had had a number of backup universities, all far closer to their house, for almost all of them he would have been able to stay at home, or at least come home regularly.
Mycroft took a deep breath and stepped out of the house towards his younger brother.
“Sherlock,” Mycroft leant down and sat next to Sherlock, letting his own legs dangle off of the bridge.
“Mycroft,” There was a bitterness in Sherlock’s voice that made Mycroft heart twinge terribly in his chest.
“Sherlock, I am so sorry, I really am,” Mycroft stared at the water moving beneath them.
“Then why did you do it, I don’t want to be alone here, and school is bad enough without you here,” Sherlock had never had friends at school, and he had never really confided in anyone except for Mycroft. The two went to a combined school, the public school that their parents had sent them to ran from year one to thirteen. It had been useful in the long run as Sherlock was so much younger than Mycroft, however, he had never managed to make friends, neither had Mycroft and so the two of them had remained close.
“Sherlock, we can have phone calls, and I can come back, what if I come back each break, I can even make some weekends probably,” Mycroft tried to comfort Sherlock.
“It won’t be the same Myc,” Sherlock looked as if he was about to cry, he had always been so much more emotional than Mycroft. The tears began to well in his eyes and one finally spilled over to drip down his face, he scrunched up his forehead and buried his face into Mycroft’s shoulder.
“Oh Sherlock, I promise it’s going to be okay, I know you have a hard time at school, but really you are very strong, you will be fine,” Mycroft didn’t know exactly what to say.
“Myc, I don’t want you to leave,” Sherlock didn’t seem to be able to stop crying, he was shaking and trying desperately to pull in a breath.
“I know, but I have to,” Mycroft wrapped his arms around Sherlock. Letting his little brother cry. “Sherlock, I’m going to tell you something, and I want you to use it to deal without me okay?”
“Okay,” Sherlock looked at Mycroft with tears still adorning his eyes.
“These emotions they’re just chemicals, just like your chemistry books. You can control them, you are going to be okay,” Mycroft wiped the tears from Sherlock’s face. “Sentiment is a chemical defect found on the losing side,”
Sherlock sniffed and wiped his tears, nodding he stood walking away from the bridge to where the gravestones sat and leant against his favourite. Mycroft saw a look in Sherlock’s eyes, one that he had only seen once or twice before. Mycroft regretted what he had said, he knew that that would Sherlock, he could tell, he should have known.
Mycroft stared into the water, he had fucked up royally.
Mycroft sat in his parent's car on his way to his new university. Sherlock had decided that he would stay home and read one of Mycroft’s old textbooks. Mycroft stared out of the window, all he could think about was that day on the bridge, he was a complete idiot. His mother's father had once told him the same thing, he had thought that it might help Sherlock, it had helped him remove himself. He should have known, he should have realised that Sherlock was different. Sherlock had always been more sensitive, he had always been gentler, he had always been prone to sentiment.
“Sherlock dear at least pretend to look excited, this is the next chapter of your life, it’s your dream university,” Mycroft's mother smiled at him from the passenger seat.
“I know, I am excited mother, I am just tired,” Mycroft smiled at Mrs Holmes, she wouldn’t understand, she had always been more emotional than either of her sons. She would probably understand the emotions, but there was no way that she would understand the complexities.
“Alright then, sweetheart,” Mycroft's mother turned back to looking at the road.
“I might turn on the radio,” Mycroft’s father had rather a love for modern music and turned the dial on the car radio until it found the station he was looking for. A soft lilting song came on, I just called to say I love you, Stevie Wonder. Mycroft let his head rest against the window.
The music changed through a variety of songs while Mycroft watched the countryside pass by the car.
The university came into view. The building was old and large, with a massive ground surrounding it and residence halls on campus.
“Here it is darling,” The car pulled into the parking spaces and Mycroft got out of the car to pull his bags from the boot. He returned to the front of the car and leant down.
“Goodbye, darling,” Mycroft’s mother smiled and wrapped an arm around her son through the window.
“Mycroft, we are so proud of you,” Mycroft’s father was crying a little as he leaned up to kiss his son awkwardly on the cheek.
“Love you both,” Mycroft farewelled his parents as they pulled out of the space. Other students were milling around farewelling their own parents and trying to find their accommodation.
“What are you, a fag?” a group of rather large muscled men made their way over to Mycroft, evidently having seen the display of affection towards his parents, they likely also clocked his rather nice suit and his perfectly quaffed hair cut. The men’s muscles clothed by knitted jerseys and their pressed trousers could do nothing to disguise the fact that the two cronies of the main man had had their daddy’s buy their way in and the one in the middle seemed to be some combination of that and a sporting scholarship.
“Inventive,” Mycroft replied, his voice clipped and his polite smile conservative. He began to walk away from them to the main administrative building. Mycroft had never been one for unnecessary confrontation.
“Oi, James here asked you a question,” The largest of the three men growled. Mycroft turned, his cheek muscles going taught at the question.
“I assume you are asking if I am a homosexual, I am not,” Mycroft turned once again and walked away from them, he found it easier to lie about these things rather than make a scene.
“Watch yourself,” The smaller of James’ friends called after him as he strode briskly towards the admin building.
Mycroft rolled his eyes slightly and walked up the steps into the building.
“Goodmorning, my name is Mycroft Holmes,” Mycroft leant against the front desk and directed his speech towards the least bored-looking of the women working there.
“Okay, here’s a map, I assume you have all of the appropriate papers, you can have all of that processed at your college,” The woman sounded as if he was the hundredth student to ask her that day.
“Thank you,” Mycroft left the building and headed for his college, avoiding eye contact with any more aggressive thugs.
Mycroft found the college easily enough and made his way inside. Once his papers had been looked over by the woman at the front desk he was directed on where to go and he found his room easily enough.
He unpacked quickly placing the things he had deemed valuable enough to be brought with him into the various cupboards and draws. His room had a window facing the grounds, looking over a small river running through that part of the campus.
Mycroft sat on his bed, he wondered what to do from now, he had no friends, and he was in a single room, truthfully there was nothing to do. His parents had told him not to call until later that week, he felt he should talk to Sherlock, and yet his parents would insist that he spent time getting acclimatised to the place before sullying the experience with calling his family. He had bought himself a cheap landline before moving into the university, he had already taken the time to set it up, but he knew that he would have to go through his parents to get to Sherlock.
Mycroft leant against the stone wall behind his head. The radio that his father had bought him was playing some count down. He was sure that his music taste had been completely corrupted by his fathers pop styled tastes, but he was still inclined enough to classical music that he didn’t feel that it would completely destroy him to indulge himself. Well so long as no one found out about his guilty pleasure that was.
“Hello,” A voice followed a gentle knock on his door, the sun was beginning to dip in the sky and Mycroft had been certain that he would not be disturbed.
Mycroft rose and opened the door to find a young woman standing in front of him, she had hair that stuck out from her head in perfectly formed waves that fell to her shoulders.
“Hello,” Mycroft greeted the woman curtly.
“Sorry I couldn’t help but hear the music that you’re playing, I was wondering if I could come and listen?” The woman tilted her head slightly.
“Yes of course,” Mycroft stepped aside to let her in, well that was his guilty secret out the window.
“I’m Anthea,” The woman entered the room sitting on his desk chair without asking and leaning back slightly.
“I’m Mycroft,” Mycroft reached out and shook her hand.
“So Mycroft what are you studying?”
“History,” Anthea smiled curtly, she evidently felt a little inferior to Mycroft.
The two began to small talk for a while, the music seemed to be the only thing that they truly had in common, and yet Anthea seemed intent on making friends with Mycroft. The two eventually moved to the topic of political impacts in history and Mycroft was in his element. They spoke for a long time on the topic. Mycroft felt no need to ask Anthea anything about her background, he could tell enough from the way she held herself, and she didn’t seem to mind that he only gave short concise answers to any of her personal questions.
“I should probably be going, otherwise people will think there’s something untoward going on, but some of my friends and I are going out tomorrow night, you should come,” it didn’t sound like a question but Mycroft didn’t particularly want to go out with a bunch of women to a club.
“I don’t particular-”
“You’re coming, I’ll come to get you at eight tomorrow evening okay,” She turned and shut the door behind her not allowing for any kind of argument.
Mycroft had nothing that he would think appropriate for such an activity as dancing, but he really couldn’t argue with her.
Mycroft had eventually decided on a pair of trousers and a plain shirt, he forwent the jacket that would have made him comfortable and waited nervously for Anthea.
“Mycroft, come on,” It was just before eight o’clock when Anthea knocked on his door and he answered to a tug on his wrist as he closed his door behind him.
“I am,” Mycroft followed dutifully and wondered who Anthea’s friends would be. It turned out there were a few women around Anthea’s age who all seemed to very excited. There were only three women other than Anthea but it felt like far too many.
“All right, this is Irene, Kate and Candice. This is Mycroft, he is in the room next to mine,” Anthea tugged Mycroft by the wrist and led the party down away from the campus.
“Where are we going?” Mycroft asked, the women laughed and looked at each other.
“There is a bar in town, we are going to it,” Irene looked Mycroft up and down, her eyes raking every inch of him, it was somehow sexual and simultaneously clinical.
“We are meeting Candice’s boyfriend there, he is training to become a police officer,” Kate filled in.
“Ah, I see,” Mycroft replied, a heterosexual bar, this would be only somewhat bearable because he was fairly certain that Kate and Irene were never going to be attached to any of the men they came across.
“It will be fun, we could even find you a girl,” Anthea smiled tugging the group forward, she had finally let go of Mycroft's wrist.
“I am really focusing on my studies at the moment,” Mycroft replied, it was a practised lie, but it had worked so far.
“Sure you are lover boy,” Candice almost cackled.
Mycroft decided that he didn’t like her all that much. She was a bit over the top for him, and almost definitely prone to cheating.
They passed the rest of the walk, in awkward conversation. He found out that Irene was studying Psychology, Kate was getting a degree in creative writing, and Candice was studying Journalism, although she seemed to have no real intention of actually getting a job, likely she was planning on marrying her boyfriend and living off of his money.
The arrived at the bar, neon signs identified the place and music floated from the entrance.
A young man was standing outside of the bar, he was smoking and smiled when the group approached.
“Hello,” The man greeted wrapping an arm around Candice.
“Baby,” Candice pressed a kiss to the man's cheek.
“Who is this?” The man asked nodding towards Mycroft.
“I’m Mycroft,” He greeted nodding curtly at the man.
“Greg, you at the uni then?” Greg asked as they made their way inside the bar.
“Yes I am,” Mycroft nodded, he moved to sit in one of the booths lining the walls and the rest of the party sat with him.
“We are going to dance,” Irene declared and pulled Kate up, the two made their way to the dance floor where Irene proceeded to dance in time to the upbeat music pulling Kate along with her.
“What are you studying Mycroft?” Greg asked shifting slightly closer to him in the booth. Greg’s cologne was slight, it managed to mask the undercurrent of sweat, presumably from his training.
“Politics,” Mycroft smiled at the man, “Candice tells me you’re studying to become a police officer,”
“Yes, I wanna work in law enforcement, you gonna be a politician then?” Greg’s voice had slipped from eloquent to abbreviated as he visibly relaxed into the scene of the bar, that seemed to Mycroft to be bordering the line between bar and club.
“No, I would like to work in the government,” It wasn’t a lie, not truly, but Mycroft really had minimal plans. He had ambition sure, he wanted power, he wanted to put his mind to work, but he felt no true desire to do that in any specific area. The music was somehow loud, but the booths seemed to insulate enough to allow for conversation.
“How did you and Candice meet?” Mycroft asked smiling at the couple.
“I was on the rugby team with her brother,” Greg replied shrugging a little, he seemed truly enamoured with Candice, but there was something below the surface, if Mycroft was right, which he was, Greg seemed a little like he may have settled, perhaps from one of those Rugby boys, but Mycroft refrained from being presumptuous.
“How did you meet Anthea? Boys aren’t usually a part of this group,” Greg smiled a little almost jokingly.
“We are staying next to each other in our rooms, she heard me listening to some music and decided that she liked the music enough to come and sit with me,” Mycroft spoke carefully, he would have to speak to Anthea later if she decided that Mycroft was the kind of man that she wanted to pursue.
“Oh what music?” Greg suddenly seemed very interested.
“Just some popular hits playlist, stuff my dad listens to,” Mycroft supplemented.
“We are going to dance while you two are being boring,” Candice tugged a reluctant Anthea onto the dance floor with her.
“I’m sorry about Anthea, she’s much nicer than she seems I promise,” Greg had real sorrow in his eyes.
“That is perfectly fine, each to their own,” Mycroft played it safe in order to test the waters, see where he would stand with Greg.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Greg looked at Mycroft as if he was analysing him.
“Are you living here? Or are you actually in the city?”
“I’m in the city, that’s where the academy is, but I come here to see Candice,”
“How long have you and Candice been seeing each other then?”
“Nine months, she’s really brilliant,” Greg looked to where she was swaying while eyeing up another man presumably from the university itself.
“Yes I can tell, you must be enamoured,”
“She really is brilliant,” Greg nodded.
“I need to smoke,” Mycroft stood to go outside.
“Do you mind if I come with?” Greg asked, also standing.
“Not at all,”
“I don’t much like smoking in crowded places,” Greg pulled a cigarette out of his pocket.
“No neither do I,” Mycroft agreed, lighting his own cigarette and to offer his lighter to Greg.
“Thanks,” Greg took his lighter and lit the cigarette hanging from his lips.
The two smoked in silence, drawing the nicotine filled smoke into their lungs. Mycroft began to wonder about Greg. He seemed perfectly nice, his clothes were nice, but they didn’t seem to be anything too fancy. The man smelled incredible, sure there was the smell of tobacco which haunted every smoker, but there was also the tangy smell of regular exercise and a deeper musky smell of cologne. Mycroft thought that if that smell were to engulf him he might just collapse. The man was evidently young, he had a mop of dark straight hair on his head. The kind of mop that probably had never been styled but gave him a very dignified and cool look.
“Why politics, really?” Greg asked turning to Mycroft as he breathed out gently.
“I like the subject, I have a knack for it, and there weren’t many other options that would let me work with the government,” Mycroft breathed in the remanents of second-hand smoke with a distinctly Greg scent to it.
“Hmm I don’t think I believe you fully, but sure thing Myc, is it alright if I call you that?” Greg leaned in a little to ask and Mycroft felt his knees go weak for a moment as the walls of the alley next to the bar seemed to loom more than before.
“Yes, that’s perfectly fine,” Mycroft tried to keep the wobble from his voice, whilst taking time to breathe in that wonderful scent.
“Why policing,” Mycroft asked leaning against the wall to steady himself and looking at Greg.
“I suppose it was always what I wanted to do, I’ve always wanted to help people and I’m too stupid to be a doctor,” Greg smiled and his eyes creased. This drew attention to his beautiful chocolate brown eyes. Mycroft was sure that if he wasn’t too careful he would get lost in those eyes. “You’re living on campus did you have to leave your family?”
“Yes they live a couple of hours away,” Mycroft felt hesitant to tell Greg anything too much, he could already feel himself getting attached, already feel himself developing some sentiment for this man. It felt like it was something beyond just liking the way he smelt or finding his eyes beautiful. There was something else between them that felt like nothing Mycroft had ever felt before like Mycroft would happily tell this man anything about himself that he asked.
“Oh, so will you see them on breaks then?” Greg seemed to be building to something.
“Yes, that is the plan,” Mycroft nodded.
“Are you close to your family?” Greg flicked his cigarette towards to ground, knocking off a sizeable chunk of ashy build up from the end.
“I suppose so, are you?” Mycroft asked, he really shouldn’t tell this lovely stranger anything more than he already had.
“We are okay, they aren’t the biggest fans of some of my life choices but what’s there to do,” Greg shrugged. Mycroft thought he might be catching on, but in all honesty, while he was fairly certain that he was correct, it could all be wishful thinking. “Is there anything between you and Anthea I think she really likes you,” Greg seemed genuinely interested in Mycroft dating Anthea.
“I don’t think so,” Mycroft wasn’t sure how to respond, he couldn’t tell this overall very nice, but potentially conservative police officer in training about his sexuality in a darkened alley in the middle of the night.
“Are you interested, because if you are I do think that she likes you,”
“I am trying to focus on my studies at the moment really, she does seem awfully nice though,” Mycroft really wasn’t going to date her, most likely he would never have a relationship, his dating pool was small and dangerous and his prospects of finding someone who would actually like Mycroft were slim to none.
“Okay then, I mean I don’t really believe you but I’ll go along with it if you like,” Greg leant against the wall himself, sinking even lower than Mycroft.
“Are you not going to interrogate me? I thought you were supposed to be a police officer,” Mycroft joked slightly, his voice lilting.
“In training,” Greg raised an eyebrow.
“Right in training,”
Greg flicked his cigarette butt onto the ground, “We should head back inside, make sure the girls aren’t too lonely. Well, you can focus on your studies, I’ll make sure the girls aren’t too lonely,” Greg walked back into the bar. Mycroft followed rather reluctantly.
The booth was still free when they got back and while Greg went to the dancefloor to entertain Candice, which seemed to work, Mycroft sat.
“Hey Mycroft,” Anthea sat next to him, she smiled
“Anthea, how have you been?” Mycroft asked, motioning to the filling bar.
“I liked it, I was missing you though, you should come dance with me,” Anthea smiled making a move to stand.
“I’m not much of a dancer Anthea, I’m sorry, why don’t you dance with Kate and Irene?” Mycroft looked to where the two girls were swaying while in conversation.
“They don’t want me there, they are very close,” Anthea blushed slightly and Mycroft realised that she had probably caught on that there was more to Kate and Irene’s relationship.
“Oh,” Anthea looked sad and Mycroft was beginning to feel guilty for not dancing with her.
“Come on,” Anthea perked up pulling Mycroft with her onto the dance floor.
She began to sway and gyrate in time with the music. Mycroft followed suit feeling awkward and too tall compared to her, really compared to all of her friends as well.
The night continued that way, with Anthea forcing Mycroft to dance with her and Greg raising an eyebrow at Mycroft every now and again. Eventually, they decided that it was probably time that they start heading back.
Greg offered to walk them back and Candice agreed so the party set off with the women walking ahead and Greg and Mycroft trailing behind.
“So you and Anthea seemed pretty close on the dancefloor,” Greg smiled up at Mycroft.
“She really isn’t my type, she is very lovely though, and I do hope to be her friend,” Mycroft replied.
“What is your type then?” Greg asked tilting his head to the side.
“I’m don’t think that I have a type, but I do not want to date Anthea,” Mycroft corrected himself, there was no way to describe his type without giving away his identity or making it wound exactly like Anthea.
“Oh okay then, do you like Kate? Or Irene?” Greg asked.
“No I don’t like any of the women here,” Mycroft spoke, trying to keep his voice calm and measured.
“Okay, that’s probably good, Candice keeps saying that Kate and Irene are taken,” Greg thought for a second and seemed to decide against continuing his sentence.
“Yes, I rather gathered that,” Mycroft nodded at the two women who had their arms slung over each other, an act that could be taken as completely platonic if you didn’t know.
“Yeah, I guess,” Greg’s face fell as he spoke.
“What’s wrong?” Mycroft turned to Greg slowing slightly.
“Candice is just uncomfortable I think,” Greg shrugged.
“I see,” Mycroft thought he might.
They spent the rest of the walk-in silence, not that Mycroft felt at all awkward during to walk, he just knew it was unlikely that he would see Greg again. They reached the campus sooner than Mycroft would have liked and Greg stopped just before they caught up with the girls.
“Hey you’re really cool, um look, here is my phone number, if you wanna hang out, talk about girls, have a pint, whatever, if you wanna chat, just give me a call,” Greg wrote his phone number on a slip of paper and handed it to Mycroft. Mycroft searched his pockets for a pen and pencil and wrote his own number down handing it to Greg.
“Just in case,”
“Just in case,” Greg ran a gentle hand over Mycroft's shoulder and Mycroft came close to swooning.
The two men approached the group of girls. The goodbyes were brief and Greg left to go and make his way home.
“I had a nice night,” Mycroft thanked Anthea when they reached his room.
“Thank you, may I come in?” Anthea didn’t wait for a reply she just walked into his room.
“Okay,” Mycroft was silenced by Anthea’s lips on his own. Mycroft pushed lightly against her.
“I’m sorry I just thought,” Anthea looked hurt at Mycroft's rejection.
“No it’s not, no I just, I want to settle in before I think about relationships or anything, I do really like you,” Mycroft could feel the wall of the hole he was digging deepening.
“Oh, okay then, I guess, I'll just invite you out with my friends again maybe next week,” She looked a little sceptical.
“Sure thing,” Mycroft agreed.
She left and Mycroft felt his body heat up. Mycroft flopped onto his bed and fell asleep within moments.