This is the first of a bit of fanfic about Mycroft and Sherlock as children because we’re all curious and we all have our own ideas. This is one of them.
by J.H. Watson
“I’ll be mother.” — Mycroft Holmes
“There is an entire childhood in a nutshell.” — Sherlock Holmes
For Christmas Mycroft Holmes had asked for a puppy. He did not get one. Mummy said that a puppy would require too much extra work and expense, be noisy and disruptive. When Mycroft said that he would take care of it and that the cost of food could be taken out of his allowance, Mummy said that since they no longer hunted there was no need for a dog and surely Mycroft wasn’t thinking of forming an attachment to a pet, was he? He knew that the animal would live only a few years, and after probably great expense, die. Attachments were a weakness. So Mycrcoft did not get a puppy for Christmas.
Instead, he got a baby brother.
Well, the baby brother didn’t show up until 6 January, Epiphany. The day according to the vicar that the Wise Men arrived to give their gifts to baby Jesus. Mycroft felt his baby brother was just showing off. Epiphany was the classical Greek word meaning “to appear” or “to manifest.” Mycroft had looked up the word after the vicar had used it. Mycroft liked the word. He wasn’t so certain he liked the baby brother.
Mycroft saw little difference between the puppy and the baby brother. The baby brother required an enormous amount of work, cost a fortune, was extraordinarily loud, and completely disruptive.
The disruption began before even the baby brother.
Mycroft had been sitting in his mother’s closet trying on her shoes which were much prettier than the neat, black, boring leather ones that he had. His father’s were not much better. Boring. Definitely boring. But Mummy’s were magnificent! Different colors and shapes with buttons, bows, and shiny ornaments. But Mummy didn’t like him playing with her shoes because he scuffed a pair of Gucci pumps when he lost his balance and fell over. So when he heard his parents come into Mummy’s bedroom, he curled up in the far corner of the walk-in closet and grew very quiet.
“Why are you trying to get me drunk?”asked Mummy.
“I’m not trying to get you drunk. I am merely in the mood to celebrate. Things are going very well. I thought you liked champagne,” replied his father.
There was a pause and the sound of a beverage being poured into a glass, the clinking of crystal on crystal, the sound of drinking, and then once more the sound of a glass being filled. His mother said with a slight slur, “You want another child. That’s why you’re trying to get me drunk.”
“Well, I wouldn’t object to another.”
“We have a son and heir. I don’t want to have to go through that again. Myrcroft is almost civilized.”
Mycroft was very pleased to hear this. He smiled slightly. He knew Mummy liked things to be civilized.
“Yes, but given Mycroft’s…proclivities I’d rather not put all of the family’s eggs in one basket. I’d feel more comfortable with an heir and a spare, so to speak.”
“We’re hardly royals.” There was the sound of glasses being filled once more.
“No. We’ve been part of the British government since Elizabeth the First. Longer than the present royals. I’d like to continue the tradition.”
“There’s no guarantee we’d have a son. I could have a daughter.”
“I suspect we already have one.”
Mummy laughed. It was a hard, brittle laugh which contrasted with the increasing slur of her words. “I do wish he’d stop messing with my things. Look. He’s been in here again today. He must know I can always tell. I suppose I shall have to have a firm discussion with him about his duty. What a bore. But at least he’s obedient.”
Mycroft reached into his pocket. He took out the neatly pressed and folded handkerchief he always carried and removed the lipstick from his mouth. He very quietly took off his mother’s Gucci pumps. He brushed away a tear. He had no idea why it was on his cheek, but it wouldn’t do for Mummy to see it. She hated tears. Or any strong show of emotion, but especially tears. She called them a sign of weakness. Mummy didn’t like weakness in him.
“So I’m certain once we explain his duty to him when he’s older, he will do it.”
“Perhaps. But it wouldn’t it be more logical to have a reserve option? Even if it’s a daughter. Rumour has it we may see a woman as prime minister soon.”
There was a kissing sound and then the sound of a zipper. Mycroft’s mother said, “What’s in it for me?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“A new Jag. Black. With all the options.” There was the further sound of kissing before his mother added, “And if it’s a boy, another house in London.”
“Deal. Maybe this time we’ll have a sportsman.”
“I don’t want a stupid child.”
“Not likely. Look at Mycroft.”
“Yes. Thank god he’s at least intelligent.”
There were further sounds that Mycroft found very disturbing for reasons he couldn’t explain, but he remained sitting silently in the closet until his parents finished and left the bedroom. Then he slipped out feeling unaccountably hurt and sad.
Mycroft looked down now at “the spare.” It was the first time he’d had a chance to be alone with his baby brother. Someone had been with the baby since he’d come home with Mummy from the hospital, the nanny, the maid, even his father’s assistant. And they’d all shooed Mycroft away and told him to go to the kitchen and get a treat. Mycroft had eaten more treats since his baby brother had arrived than he’d been able to eat in…well, in his entire life! It was the only good thing that had happened since Mummy had gotten pregnant.
All of Mycroft’s clothes were getting uncomfortably tight, but Mycroft didn’t know when the treats might stop so he continued to get as many as he could. Mummy always told him to take advantage of every opportunity,
Mycroft was prepared to dislike his baby brother. He wouldn’t hate his baby brother. Mummy held very firm opinions on strong emotions. So Mycroft decided he would simply dislike the baby brother he got instead of the puppy he wanted. He could play with a puppy, but the baby brother did nothing but make everyone forget about Mycroft. Even Mummy told him to go away whenever he tried to get near her, especially when she was holding the baby.
Mycroft’s cup of yoghurt was tipping precariously as Mycroft peered at the screaming face of his baby brother. His baby brother had been screaming almost constantly since arriving home. Apparently now, from what Mycroft had overheard, the baby had stopped eating. The nanny had been called away to speak with the pediatrician on the phone about the situation.
Mycroft studied his baby brother closely. As far as he could tell, his baby brother was going to look more like his father’s side of the family. The baby was named Sherlock, which Mycroft thought was dumb because the name meant “with fair hair” or “with cropped hair” and the baby had neither. His hair was dark and no one had cropped it, although it was curling. Mycroft assumed it was a family name like his own.
Mycroft leaned in closer to try and get a better look. The cup he held tipped further and the yoghurt oozed out over his fingers and dribbled onto the baby’s face and hair. Mycroft had a moment of panic. He grabbed a baby wipe from the nearby box and began dabbing at the mess trying very hard not to actually touch the baby, but to hide the evidence of his mistake. Mycroft used his other hand to try and hold the baby’s face still. His yoghurt covered finger ended up in the baby’s mouth.
And his baby brother stopped crying.
The baby began sucking the yoghurt from Mycroft’s finger. Now thoroughly panicked, Mycroft pulled his finger out of his baby brother’s mouth. The baby began screaming again. Mycroft looked at the door in terror. He stuck another yoghurt sticky finger into the baby’s mouth and once again, the baby stopped crying and began sucking the finger.
Mycroft stared at the baby for several moments. He cleaned the rest of the yoghurt off the baby’s face. The baby was sucking hard, but the yoghurt was gone from the finger in his mouth. He began to fuss. Maybe if Mycroft could make the baby stop crying for awhile, Mummy would notice him again.
Mycroft looked around and spotted the bottle of breast milk the nanny had set down before going to the phone. Next to it was the remains of the yoghurt cup. Mycroft dipped the nibble of the bottle into the yoghurt and then pulled his finger out of his baby brother’s mouth. As the baby sucked in a lungful of air in anticipation of a mighty wail, Mycroft put the nibble into the baby’s mouth. The baby’s brow creased in displeasure for a moment, then he began to suck on the nibble. After a moment, the baby’s brow smoothed and he continued to suck.
After a few moments, Mycroft became uncomfortable in the rather awkward position he held standing on the crib edge and leaning over. He looked over his shoulder at the door, but no one was coming. The voice of the nanny could be heard still talking to someone on the phone.
Mycroft removed the bottle from the baby’s mouth. The baby flailed his little arms and kicked his feet. He fussed.
“Just a minute. Be patient.”
The baby fussed more and made something like a raspberry sound in reply. Mycroft pulled the nanny’s rocker closer to the crib. He released the side rail of the crib as he’d seen the nanny do. Then very carefully he placed his one hand under the baby’s head and the other arm around the baby’s body, just as he’d seen Nanny and his mother and his father do and lifted his baby brother into his arms.
The baby weighed no more than the labrador puppy his friend Tommy had gotten for his birthday in November. In fact, his baby brother seemed to weigh less. Mycroft sat in the rocker. The baby was screwing his face up to start another scream.
“Give me a moment,” he told the baby as he adjusted his hold so that he could use one arm to cradle the baby. The baby closed his mouth and stared up at Mycroft with a grumpy expression.
Mycroft dipped the nibble of the bottle once again into the yoghurt and then brushed it against the baby’s lips. The baby immediately took the nibble into his mouth and began to feed. Then he clamped his tiny hand over Mycroft’s hand holding the bottle and held it there. Mycroft froze.
Mycroft stared down at his baby brother. Something was happening inside him. He felt all soft and warm and protective. Just like he did when he’d held Tommy’s puppy, only more so. Much more so. Because. Because. Well, Mycroft couldn’t quite explain it but he felt an ineffable (which was a word he knew because he’d looked it up after the vicar had used it in the Christmas eve sermon and he thought it was a very good word), an ineffable connection to the baby. His baby brother. His baby brother. His baby brother. Sherlock.
“Mycroft! What have you done?”
Mycroft jumped at the sound of the nanny’s voice. His hand jerked pulling the bottle from Sherlock’s mouth, whereupon Sherlock let out a shriek of dissatisfaction.
Mummy appeared at that moment and asked, “What’s all the shouting?”
The nanny was the one who jumped now. “My—Mycroft took Sherlock out of his crib without permission.”
“Is that true, Mycroft?”
“Yes, Mummy.” Even if Mycroft wasn’t sitting there with Sherlock on his lap, there was never any point in lying to Mummy. She always knew. “But he was hungry and I was just feeding him.”
“Don’t lie!” the nanny said sharply. “I’ve already tried to feed him. He won’t eat it.”
Mycroft looked pleadingly at his mother. “But I’m not lying.”
Sherlock continued to wail throughout the exchange. He’d now resorted to flailing with tiny fists and legs. Mummy looked at the baby with more disdain than Mycroft had ever seen her display before. Even more than when she’d had to have to the wife of the new parliament representative to tea. The new parliament representative was Labour. Mycroft didn’t know exactly what that meant, but judging from the conversation he’d overheard between Mummy and Daddy it was something truly awful. Mummy only had the woman over because she thought it would be of… Here he paused in thought to get the phrase correct in his mind. …expedient political strategy. Yes, that’s what Mummy had called it when she was talking with his father.
“Show me,” his mother said.
Mycroft once more dipped the nibble into the yoghurt. The nanny started to object but a quelling look from Mummy stopped her. Mycroft then placed the nibble into Sherlock’s gaping mouth. Sherlock went rigid for a moment and then began sucking the nibble contentedly and relaxed.
“Oh, that’s wonderful! Give him to me,” said the nanny. She moved quickly to where Mycroft sat and before he could protest, she scooped Sherlock and the bottle from him and cradled Shrlock in her own arms. The nanny hesitantly dipped the bottle into the yoghurt and put into Sherlock’s mouth. Sherlock took one suck, stopped, frowned and then promptly started howling. The nanny looked nonplussed. She gazed questioningly at Mummy. Mummy said, “Give him back to Mycroft.”
An awkward transfer was made, but the moment Mycroft offered Sherlock the bottle, he took it and settled down. The nanny looked nervously at Mummy.
Mummy studied the two boys. “Well, that problem seems to be solved. I assume I’ll get some sleep tonight. Well done, Mycroft. From now on you’ll take care of your brother when your needed.”
And then Mummy smiled at him.
Mummy hadn’t smiled at him in a long, long time. Not since she’d gotten so swollen she couldn’t fit into any of her prettiest clothes. She hadn’t even noticed that he’d stopped trying on her shoes and always wore the boring, black, lace-ups that looked like his father’s.
After Mummy left, nanny told him that he had to sit there until Sherlock had finished the bottle. But she didn’t have to tell him that. He wasn’t planning to move.
When Sherlock finished the bottle, he yawned and made small smacking movements with his lips. His eyes closed and he sighed. Mycroft decided Sherlock was not so ugly when he slept.
“Did you burp him?” the nanny ask.
“You have to put him up on your shoulder so that his tummy is pressed against your shoulder and rub or pat his back.”
Mycroft did as instructed. At first Sherlock squirmed, but as Mycroft stopped patting and started rubbing Sherlock relaxed against him. Sherlock felt warm and soft and even more fragile than Tommy’s puppy. After a few minutes, Mycroft’s arm was getting tired and he was just about to ask nanny how much longer when Sherlock let out an unmistakable burp.
Mycroft smiled and held Sherlock out slightly so he could look at his baby brother. Sherlock held a surprised look on his face as if startled by the burp. Mycroft chuckled.
“I think you might be almost as good as a puppy and someday you will be big enough to play with. I’m going to take care of you,” Mycroft told Sherlock.
Sherlock blinked once.
And then promptly spit up all over Mycroft’s lap