"But why can't we go like other children? I want the treats!" the younger boy was complaining loudly, sitting on the sofa in their room. He was kicking a pillow, an obvious sign of annoyance.
"Oh Sherlock, you know it would upset Mummy. She thinks it's too cold for us to go outside," he explained for what felt like a thousandth time. His brother was nothing if not persistent and Mycroft had to come up with something to distract him. His eyes fell on his desk and suddenly, he had an idea.
"Here, let me read you a book."
The boy still pouted but there was a flicker of excitement in his grey eyes.
"Is it scary?"
"Oh yes," Mycroft smiled inwardly as he opened the book, "It's the scariest book ever."
Sherlock scooted closer as Mycroft began to read...
Mycroft closed the book and looked at his sleepy younger brother. Sherlock got very tired as it was well past his bedtime but he never stopped listening. The story fascinated him immensely. He was one of the boys, sometimes Tom, sometimes Pip, always on the move, whether in Egypt, France or Mexico. His eyes still shone with excitement, even when he yawned.
"Let's get you to bed," he sighed.
"'Am not sleepy," the younger boy mumbled defiantly but let himself be carried and changed into his pajamas by his older brother.
As Mycroft was tucking him in, he heard a quiet question.
"Would give up years of your life for me, Mycroft?"
"Of course," he replied in a heartbeat, "That's what older brothers are for."
In the end, John only had to make them both a cup of tea to get Sherlock do what he wanted, which was astonishing. He was curious, of course, but didn't want to break the charm by asking unnecessary questions. In no time he lay down on the couch, put his head on Sherlock's lap and sighed contentedly at the warmth provided by another human body. Days had been getting chilly since October swept in.
Sherlock smiled down at him knowingly, as he opened the battered book. Children's or fantasy, judging by the cover, which piqued John's curiosity even further. He thought he recognised the name of the author.
"Are you ready?" Sherlock asked him gently. He nodded. "Alright then, let me begin..."