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Trying Times

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Mycroft didn’t fight as he was brought into the institution. It was raining outside. He missed his umbrella, didn’t like the cold water going down the back of his collar. His parents didn’t know what to do with him, so here he was, seventeen years old and too numb from the drugs they’d given him to even be afraid.

The suicide attempt should have been successful. It would have been if Sherlock hadn’t found him. That was his only regret about it, the terrified look on his ten year old brother’s face. Of course that would have been the one day he’d come home early. Sherlock had raged at him even as he wrapped his wrist in a towel and called for help. Called him selfish, called him a few other things too. Mycroft couldn’t argue with any of them. As soon as he was cleared from the hospital he’d been sent straight here.

Part of him wondered if he’d ever see Sherlock or his family again. But it was probably better for all of them if he didn’t.

The orderly accompanying him checked him in, keeping one hand on his elbow as if his charge would try to run. The man flirted a bit with the nurse and she smiled back. Mycroft could see she had a boyfriend already, but he kept his mouth shut and waited.

Finally they passed down through another hallway and two locked doors. Mycroft was delivered to a harsh looking man with a military haircut and a file in his hands that bore Mycroft’s name on it. He bowed his head and waited.

"Mycroft Holmes. Suicide attempt. Age seventeen," he rumbled off. "Very well. You're lucky. There is another boy here, near to your age. He'll be your roommate." He grasped Mycroft's arm and pulled him forward, pushing open a door and dropping him inside. "Watson. Get up!"

John startled awake at the arrivals, sitting up and freezing at the blue eyes watching him. The boy was tall, eyes glazed over from drugs and body loose, but there was still something there. Intelligence. Desperation. Attraction. John pressed those thoughts down, the wrong thoughts and sat still, waiting for them to leave.

"You two are roommates now."

John snapped his head up in shock. "But sir!"

"Was that a question, Watson?"

John shook his head, shifting back on the bed. "N...no sir. Sorry sir."

"Didn't think so. Lights out in thirty." He left, slamming the door and locking it behind him.

John pulled his knees to his chest, swallowing hard as he watched the other boy.

Mycroft could see the other boys fear. He made his way to the other bed and sat down. So they were cruel here. It wasn't anything more than he deserved.

He studied the other boy a long moment. From an abusive home. Possibly queer too. That could be trouble. He looked down and rubbed at his still healing wrist.

John let his gaze fall to the boy’s arm, eyes widening as he saw the bandage wrapped around. He looked back up, feeling the other one watching him watching.

"Mycroft Holmes," he said slowly.

“John. Watson,” John said quietly, ducking his gaze. Hopefully, Mycroft would leave him alone. Wouldn’t be cruel. He’d had enough of that for a lifetime.

“I won’t hurt you,” said Mycroft, sighing and stretching out in the bed. John was attractive, but he didn’t want to hurt anyone else. Sherlock’s terrified eyes still haunted his dreams.

John furrowed his brow and relaxed just slightly, climbing under the blankets and pushing the lightswitch. Mycroft didn’t stir as the lights went out and John curled into a ball, closing his eyes as he listened to the steady breaths on the other side of the room.

Eventually, Mycroft drifted off to troubled sleep. He woke with a start some time later. He took a few breaths and slipped out of bed, going to the barred window and looking out.

John woke with a start at the sound of footsteps, eyes opening to a shadow at the window. He relaxed as he realized it was Mycroft, and he sat up quietly. “We...can go outside. If we’re accompanied.”

“What’s it like here?”

“The man who brought you in is cruel. He’s an angry man and in charge. The others are nice. Once you prove you can be trusted, they let you do some things,” John said, watching him.

“Okay.” Mycroft made his way back to bed. “How long have you been here?”

John hesitated. “Since I was sixteen. Almost two years.”

“I don’t expect to ever leave,” said Mycroft quietly.

“Some people don’t. I tried once,” John said. “They said I was better. But…” He shook his head.

“But?”

“I couldn’t do it,” John admitted. “One person yelled, one person brushed past me the wrong way, and I was back.”

“Panic attacks?”

John nodded. “How did you guess? No one ever guesses. They normally think I’m violent.”

“I’m good at observing people.”

“Why don’t you think you’ll leave?” John asked.

“I can’t leave. I’m queer.”

John started, cursing the small gasp that escaped him as he looked at Mycroft.

Mycroft looked at him. So John was queer too, at least a little bit. He closed his eyes. “I hope that you will not hate me,” he said softly.

“You shouldn’t go around telling people that,” John said, looking away. “You might get...hurt.”

“I always have kept it quiet. I just thought as my roommate you should know.” Mycroft rolled onto his side with his back to John and stared at the wall.

John stayed awake for the rest of the night, watching Mycroft sleep.

Mycroft started awake at the sound of the door being unlocked. He sat up, clothes rumpled and looked to see what would happen.

“Get up,” John whispered, standing at the end of his bed. “They have to count us before breakfast.”

Mycroft nodded and made some effort to smooth his clothes as he stood at the foot of the bed.

“Watson, Holmes,” said a bored looking woman. “Both here. Come out for breakfast.” John glanced at Mycroft and led him out and through the hall to a larger room, sitting down at an empty table.

Mycroft sat across from him and waited patiently, observing the other men, mostly young, as they came in to eat.

“Don’t look at them,” John murmured, stirring his porridge. “Some of them are really bad people. Some of them aren’t but they aren’t right in the head.”

“And we are?” asked Mycroft with a hint of amusement as he picked up his spoon.

“I don’t attack people for looking at me. I don’t think you would either.” John looked up as another man sat down beside them. “That’s Andy,” he told Mycroft. “He doesn’t speak at all, but he won’t bother you.”

Mycroft gave him a nod and kept his head down.

“Here Andy,” John murmured, holding out his half of an orange. “You can give the seeds to Edgar.” Andy nodded, and took it with a small hum. Taking another bite of porridge, John glanced at Mycroft. “A crow. With a bent wing, tends to stay around the gardens.”

“Ah.” He felt a shadow as a big man came to his side, looking down at him.

"Hello, Matthew," John said, biting back a grin as the man began to pet Mycroft's hair. "He likes the color red. Matthew. You're not supposed to do that, remember?"

"Sorry, John," Matthew said, frowning. "Red."

"Yes. That's Mycroft. Say hello."

"Hello."

“Pleased to meet you, Matthew.”

"Heh. He talks funny, John."

"Yes, he does," John said, smiling as Matthew sat down. Andy handed off the orange, now seedless to him. Matthew grinned, and held it up for Mycroft to see.

"Orange."

"Matthew is very good most of the time. You just have to be able to listen to him when he can't quite figure out what words he needs to use." John looked up as a nurse stepped in with another patient, and instinctively shrank back. Andy patted him gently on the hand, looking at Mycroft with raised eyebrows.

“Bad one?” asked Mycroft quietly.

Andy nodded, looking at John whose hands shaking slightly. He took one and turned it so Mycroft could see the scar across John's palm.

Mycroft reached over and traced the scar before pulling his hand back.

"Frank is bad," Matthew said softly. "He hurt John and Lane. John doesn't like him."

“Who is Lane?”

Andy shook his head. "Lane went away after," Matthew said. "He didn't come back."

“I’m sorry.”

"It's fine," John said. "I just...I didn't think they'd bring him back here again."

“I’ll try to avoid him,” promised Mycroft, giving his hand a squeeze.

"You should. Lane...was just like you," John said with knowing eyes.

Mycroft swallowed hard. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

John nodded and stood up, leaving the room. Andy shrugged and pushed his porridge over to Matthew with a low hum.

**

John looked up as Andy stepped into the sitting area, and walked over to him. "Hi Andy."

Andy blinked and tapped at his own shoulder, looking at John.

"It's fine. There's a storm coming though, you're right."

Andy shrugged and held out a strawberry.

John smiled. "Thank you." Andy snatched it back before he could take it, and tugged at his hair, holding the strawberry up. "Mycroft?" John guessed. Andy nodded, handing the strawberry over before frowning and tapping at his cheeks. "I don't understand...oh wait. Is he upset?" John asked.

Andy nodded again and pointed toward John's room.

"You want me to talk to him?"

Andy nodded again, raising his eyebrows. John sighed. "Ok."

Mycroft was perched at the edge of his bed, half looking out the barred window. A letter sat next to him and he rubbed at his eyes, willing himself not to cry and failing. It wouldn't do any good anyway.

John looked in the door, seeing Mycroft staring out the window. He stepped in, biting his lip. "Mycroft?"

Starting, Mycroft curled around himself. He reached over and pushed the letter at John.

John looked at him, but picked up the letter and read. When he finished, he set it down and set a gentle hand on Mycroft's shoulder. "You have a brother?"

“I suppose it’s had now. He’s the one that found me.”

"Oh..." John sat down next to him. "They're wrong, you know."

“No they aren’t. I...I’m damaged. I shouldn't be around him.”

"You're only damaged because other people hurt you," John said. "You're not damaged because of what you are."

“Something is wrong with me. I shouldn’t like boys. I should like girls.”

"Are you hurting anyone?" John asked quietly. "Did you hurt your brother? Or any other children?"

“No. Never.”

"Then there isn't anything wrong with you," John said, staring straight ahead. "Nothing wrong with Lane. Nothing wrong...."

Mycroft raised his head. “With you?”

John met his eyes, but said nothing.

Mycroft looked away. “I’m sorry,” he said softly.

"It's fine. Lane....helped me. Get over a lot of stuff," John said. "I...I'm not broken."

“I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to go to prison and I don’t want anyone to go to prison because of me.”

"I know," John said. He looked at Mycroft carefully, and handed the letter back. "You shouldn't leave that where anyone can see. "

“I should burn it,” he said softly, holding it in trembling hands. But he didn’t want to. It was probably the last thing he’d ever have from his family.

"Don't," John said. "Here." He took it back and stood on the bed, slipping the letter into the air vent. "There, it'll be...safe."

“Thank you.” Mycroft rubbed his face again and schooled his features. “I don’t expect to ever leave.”

"You can't stay here forever," John said gently. "You don't deserve to."

“If I go out again I’ll just kill myself. For real this time. I can’t live with myself. Not with how I am.”

"Mycroft, you can't," John said sharply. "What good will that do? What would your brother think if he found out after he stopped you the first time, you gave up again?" He sighed. "You...can't. Not because you're queer."

“I don’t want to live my life hidden. What am I supposed to do, get married, have a dozen kids, just to prove to the world that I’m not?”

"I don't know," John said, swallowing hard. "I just...I know you can't die. I don't want to lose another friend."

Mycroft looked at him. “I’m sorry,” he said honestly. “I...I used to want to get into politics. I have no idea now. I’ve ruined any chance at changing things.”

"Why? Because they," John said, gesturing to the vent. "Think you're wrong?"

“Someone will dig up that I’ve been here. Nobody would vote for me.”

"That's not true. The working class people would support you. And...I would. People who are hurt, like me." John set a hand over Mycrofts. "You can if you try."

Mycroft looked into his kind eyes. For a moment he had a strong urge to kiss him. Instead he forced himself to look away.

"I'm going outside," John said, standing up. "Andy plays chess, and you'd be welcome to join us. He's tired of having just me to play with."

“Thank you, I will.”

**

John woke to a low moan and sat up. Mycroft was twisted in his blanket, head shaking from side to side. "Mycroft. Wake up." Mycroft gave another moan, and John got up, coming over and shaking him gently. "'Mycroft!"

Mycroft started awake. “I’m sorry,” he said automatically.

"It's fine. Are you okay?"

“Just...a bad dream.”

"Do you want to talk about it?" John asked, sitting on the edge of his bed. "You don't have to."

“It was my brother that found me,” Mycroft said softly. “I can’t forget the look in his eyes.”

"And you saw him?" John asked. "Tonight?"

“I see him most nights,” he admitted. “I wish I could tell him I was sorry.”

"If you write him a letter...would he be able to get it. If someone else sent it?"

“Possibly. He’s very clever.”

"Then I can see if Matthew's mother will send it for us. She visits him on Sundays," John said. "Will you be able to sleep?"

“Thank you. I’ll write a letter and then I will.”

"Goodnight, Mycroft," John said, standing and going back over to his bed.

**

"John! My mum came here!" Matthew said excitedly a few days later.

"Is it Sunday already?" John asked, smiling. "Why don't I bring Mycroft to introduce him?"

"Yes!"

John sighed and got up, leaving the sitting room to find Mycroft.

Mycroft was in his room reading a book. He looked up as John came in. “You look excited.”

"I'm very excited for Matthew. His mother is here. Bring your letter for your brother and come meet her, won't you?"

“Of course.” Mycroft got up, a bit nervous, letter tucked into his pocket.

"She's very nice," John said quietly. "Her name is Emma Hudson." He led Mycroft out, and into the sitting room.

"See? Red," Matthew said, pointing. "Nice red. Mycroft. He reads me books."

“Oh, you’re a tall one,” she smiled warmly at Mycroft.

“I’m very pleased to meet you ma’am.” Mycroft stood awkwardly, uncertain what to say.

"Sit down Mycroft," John said, sitting on a low couch. "Mrs. Hudson, this is Mycroft Holmes. He's my new roommate."

“Matthew’s been telling me about you.”

“He’s a good young man, ma’am.”

"Mycroft tells stories. And draws," Matthew said, pleased that his mother was talking to him. "He's sad though."

John looked at Matthew curiously. "Matthew, where did you hear that?"

"Dog eyes."

"Dog eyes?" John echoed. "Oh...you mean puppy dog eyes. His eyes are sad?" Matthew nodded.

Mycroft bit his lip and looked down. “John suggested that you might be able to help me, Mrs. Hudson.”

She reached out and patted his knee. “What is it, dear?”

“My family wants nothing to do with me. Can you...see that this letter gets delivered to my brother?”

"Oh I see..." Mrs Hudson said as John looked at her carefully. "Yes, of course. Here, I'll take it." She tucked the letter away in her handbag as Matthew looked on in interest.

"Sweets?"

"Of course. Toffee for you, and some chocolate for John And Andy. And now Mycroft as well it seems. Do you have a favourite sweet?" She smiled at him, handing Matthew his candy.

“I’m not picky.”

"Oh, come now, surely you'd like something in particular. Clove rocks?"

John nudged Mycroft with a smile. "Mrs. Hudson is kinda like everyone's mother in here. She doesn't mind."

“I like cakes,” he said quietly.

"Raspberry and chocolate suit?" Mrs. Hudson asked, reaching out and setting a hand on his knee.

“Yes, please.”

"Very well. And Mycroft? The next time I see you dear, I hope you won't have such...dog eyes."

“I’ll try.”

**

As part of treatment, Mycroft was assigned a psychiatrist. He was anxious as he stepped into the man’s office.

"Come in, Mycroft. You don't have to hide in the doorway."

"Good afternoon sir."

"Sit, Mycroft. We have a lot to cover during this first session."

"Of course, sir." Mycroft smoothed his sleeve over the scar.

"Now correct me if any of this is wrong. It says here you're seventeen. Full name Mycroft Edwin Holmes, admitted two weeks ago. Is that all true?"

"Yes sir. Born April 4, 1936."

"Very nice to meet you, Mycroft. My name is Richard Landry. Now, why don't you tell me why you're here?" Richard smiled, setting aside his files and watching Mycroft.

"I attempted to kill myself, sir."

"I know that. I didn't ask what brought you here, I asked why. Why are you here? What do you wish to gain, what drove you to do such a thing?"

Mycroft folded his hands and looked at his lap. "Is what is said here secret, sir?"

"Unless you've committed a crime, or plan to, then yes. I exercise discretion with my patients, and I find betraying confidences will not win me any friends."

Mycroft nodded. "I'm queer."

Richard raised his eyebrows. "Excuse me?"

"I only like other boys, sir." Mycroft wanted to hide under his chair.

"I see," Richard said quickly, perhaps too quickly. "And have you ever indulged in these...urges?"

"No sir."

"Then you must be wrong, Mycroft. Do you understand? You shouldn't say such things. You may speak to me, but no one else must know," Richard said. "It is illegal."

"I'm well aware of that, sir."

"Then you know you cannot tell anyone. Should not."

"You asked why I tried to kill myself sir. That's why I asked if what we spoke about was confidential."

Richard put his head in his hand. "I am simply trying to protect you, young man. If you must be angry, do not be angry at me."

"My family has already disowned me and dumped me here, what else am I supposed to do? I can't pursue university now. It will be difficult for me to get a job. I may as well simply stay where I can't harm anyone."

"Do you think you will harm someone?" Richard asked, jumping on the chance. "Do you want to harm people?"

"No, sir." He knew he was being stubborn.

"Then why did you attempt suicide?"

Mycroft rolled his eyes. "I saw no point in living," he said moodily.

“Because being queer means you cannot have a life?” Richard asked.

"I've only ever wanted to go into government."

“I think we are done here. Officially, that is.” He stood, and moved to shut the door, locking it.

Mycroft's heart skipped. "Sir?"

“Sorry, Mycroft. I don’t mean to alarm you, but I don’t wish to be interrupted,” Richard said, sitting back down.

Mycroft swallowed and nodded.

“I have two brothers. One who shares my last name, one who does not. You will not be able to find records, nor will you be able to determine who he is on your own. So, I see no problem in telling you that my brother is a government worker. He works in the shadows, and many do not even know he exists. But he, like you is queer. Has a relationship with another man. So government, if you were to know the right people, is not so far out of your reach. What you do need to do, however, is work through the idea that there is no life for you. And you must not tell anyone else. Do you understand?” Richard asked sharply.

"Yes, sir." Mycroft wanted to grasp for hope.

"If you show me growth, I will speak to him," Richard said. "But you must show me you wish to live."

"I can do that."

"Good. Now, we are done here. I will be marking your file. If anyone asks, you will have had difficulty accepting God and decided to take matters into your own hands. In time, we'll record it as resolved."

"I can do that sir."

"Good," Richard stood, shaking Mycroft's hand. "Until next week."

**

John wandered over as Mycroft came out to the gardens. "Was it okay in there?"

“Yes. I have to hide myself, but I may have a second chance.”

"A second chance?" John asked, noticing the faint glimmer of hope in his eyes.

“A way that I can maybe still do what I want to do with my life.”

"That's wonderful. I won't ask anymore, I feel like you shouldn't talk about it where anyone can hear," John said. "But I'm happy for you." He hesitated, then took Mycroft's hand, squeezing it and lingering perhaps a bit too long before releasing him. "Truly."

Mycroft met his eyes. “Perhaps we can talk tonight.”

"I don't know if that is a good idea," John said. "Talking...can be overheard. But yes. Later tonight, when the ward is asleep."

Mycroft nodded. “Let’s play chess.”

**

Latter that night, Mycroft lay awake as the lights went out.

John was lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling as they waited for the shuffling and murmurs outside to stop. He rolled onto his side after about an hour, and met Mycroft’s gaze. “So.”

“May I join you?” asked Mycroft quietly.

“I..what?” John said. “You mean in the bed?”

“Yes.”

John hesitated. “Okay.”

Mycroft slipped across the room and underneath his covers, taking his hand.

John relaxed into the touch, keeping Mycroft’s eyes in sight. He knew that Mycroft wouldn’t hurt him and he allowed that thought to sooth the tension from his mind as their legs brushed against each other.

“I’d like very much to kiss you.”

“Why?” John asked quietly, ignoring the pang of longing in his chest.

“You’re a good man, John.” Mycroft whispered.

“You are too,” John said. “But...if we’re caught..”

“Would you like me to return to my bed?”

John looked at him, and licked his lips. “No,” he murmured, and surged forward, pressing their lips together in an awkward, hard kiss.

Mycroft bit back a moan, wrapping his arms around John.

John pressed closer to him, bringing his hands up to pull at Mycroft’s shoulders.

Mycroft slipped his tongue in John’s mouth, pulling him on top.

John let out a low, guttural groan. “Mycroft. We can’t,” he gasped.

“I want you.” Mycroft nibbled his shoulder, feeling John’s erection

John let out a small sob, dropping his head to Mycroft’s shoulder. “I can’t. You...you’ll get hurt too.”

Mycroft ran his fingers through John’s hair. “What happened?”

“I…” John shook his head. “Lane. He was older, knew things. Answered my questions. I..I kissed him, only once and Frank saw somehow. I thought we were hidden away, but we weren’t. And he attacked us.”

“I’m sorry.” Mycroft kissed him very gently. He gently slid out from underneath John to return to his bed.

John curled on his side, facing away. All thoughts of conversation were forgotten as tears slipped down his cheek, the steady flame of disappointment and guilt burning in his chest and belly.

Mycroft looked at him. With a sigh he went to sit on the edge of John’s bed and rubbed his back. “It wasn’t your fault.”

John choked out another sob at the gentle touch. “I shouldn’t have done it. I knew better.”

“You’re not evil. Neither of us is.”

“I only wanted to thank him,” John said shakily. “It...it wasn’t supposed to be…”

“What happened to him?”

“I don’t know,” John whispered, turning over to look at Mycroft. “He was injured, I was injured. They sent us to different wings, because I was underage. I came back here. He didn’t. I..I don’t even know if he made it out alive. Frank attacked me, and I hit my head. When I came to...Matthew was pulling Frank off Lane. And then the nurses were separating them and I just...I passed out again. There was too much going on.”

“It wasn’t your fault.” said Mycroft again, running fingers through his hair.

“But...I kissed him. I did that to him.”

“If you kissed him, it was because he wanted you to.”

“I shouldn't have. It got him hurt,” John murmured.

“If we do something, it’s because I want to, because I’m willing to take that risk. And I understand you’re not. But if you ever change your mind, I’m right here.” Mycroft leaned down to kiss his cheek, then returned to his own bed.

John rolled back on his side, facing the shadow of Mycroft’s body in the bed across the room. He raised a hand to his cheek, closing his eyes as he let go of a deep breath. “Good night,” he murmured.

“Good night, John.”

Mycroft dozed lightly, not really sleeping, so he was awake in an instant when he heard John cry out. He was on his feet as he saw John try to shield himself from some invisible attacker. “John. John, wake up.”

“No, no, father please,” John cried out, hands in front of his face. “I haven’t!”

"John." Mycroft rubbed his leg. "John you're safe."

John snapped awake, eyes wide as his breath left him in a harsh gasp. “My?” He met the redhead’s gaze and looked away, bowing his head to his knees. “Sorry,” he muttered, rocking slightly. “Sorry. Go..back to sleep, if I woke you.”

“No, I was already awake.” Mycroft sat next to him again and rubbed his back.

“Why were you still awake?” John asked quietly.

“Just having trouble sleeping.”

John sighed, and moved over. “Lie down with me?” he requested. “I know what it’s like. Not being able to sleep.”

Mycroft lay down and curled around him. “Did you want to talk about it?”

“My father,” John said. “He...hurt me.”

“He beat you for who you are?”

“No. He beat me just to beat me. If he had known...I wouldn’t have made it out alive. Even so...I barely did,” John said, sitting up. “Here,” he said shakily, moving his hands to the hem of his shirt and pulling it up. “Let me...show you.”

“Oh, John.” Mycroft ran his fingers over the scar.

“He shot me,” John said, eyes turned up to the ceiling. “No reason why. Just...did.”

Mycroft kissed the torn skin. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” John said, closing his eyes and swallowing against the gentle brush of lips. “I used to want to be a doctor. Go into the army and help people there. Now, I can’t even look at a gun without having an attack.”

“Maybe we can help each other.”

John looked at him, meeting Mycroft’s eyes. “My…” he said carefully. “We’re gonna get out of here. Right? You...you’d come with me?”

“Yes. And if I get out of here first, I’m bringing you with me.”

John surprised himself with the laugh that slid past his lips. He leaned in, slowly pressing their lips together again. “Yes.”

**

Things seemed to get a little easier after that. Mycroft did his best to be a model resident. He and John remained close, but limited themselves to only kissing in the dark hours of the night. One afternoon they were awaiting Mrs. Hudson’s weekly visit, when Mycroft sat straight up at the sound of a familiar voice.

“Mycroft?” John asked, seeing him pale. “Are you alright?”

“That sounds like my brother.” He stared at the entrance, waiting.

“Sherlock?” John asked. “How could he be here-” He was interrupted by a gasp from the doorway, a lanky, curly headed ten year old standing there, staring at them. Mrs. Hudson pushed him into the room with a murmured encouragement, and Sherlock stumbled forward, coming over to them with wide eyes.

Mycroft walked over and took Sherlock’s hand, leading him to a seat. “It’s good to see you.”

"Mother and father told me...that you'd died. But then I got your letter."

“They disowned me. I’m sorry. You saved my life, Sherlock.”

"Why would you do that? You scared me!" Sherlock snapped, crossing his arms.

"Sherlock dear, sometimes people can't help hurting themselves, because they hurt too much inside," Mrs. Hudson said soothingly. "It doesn't mean your brother doesn't love you. And I'm sure that he didn't mean to scare you."

"I never meant to hurt you," said Mycroft. "And I'm so sorry for what I did to you.".

Sherlock huffed and turned away, holding himself tight. “I’m glad you aren’t dead,” he whispered.

"Me too." Mycroft reached out to touch him.

Sherlock stiffened at the touch, then relaxed, turning into his brother’s arms, burying his face in his chest. “I want you to come home,” he muttered. “Mother and father will let you back, I know they will.”

"I don't know if I can. But I'm working very hard at getting better." He hugged him.

John pulled Mrs.Hudson aside as the brothers spoke to each other, fixing her with a questioning gaze. She shrugged. “I just brought my nephew in to see his cousin Matthew. Nothing wrong with that, is there?”

John smiled at her. “Thank you. You have no idea what this means to him.”

She smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “It’s nothing dear. Here, I have sweets for you all and I’m sure Matthew is getting impatient.”

John let out a quiet laugh. “Of course.”

Mycroft retreated to his room after Sherlock left. Despite his brother's words he was certain his parents wouldn't forgive him.

John followed him after giving him a few moments alone, concerned for how he’d be reacting to his brother’s presence.

"On the one hand I’m sorry I hurt him. On the other hand I'm glad I met you."

John nodded, and sat down beside him. “It’ll take time. But he knows you’re okay now. And as long as he knows that, he won’t mourn you.”

"Thank you."

“You’re welcome.” John rested his hand over Mycroft’s for a quick moment. “And it’ll pass. You’ll get through this.”

Mycroft gave him a smile and squeezed his hand.

**

A few days later Mycroft was reading a book in his room when suddenly Matthew appeared in his room, looking slightly panicked. He tugged on Mycroft’s arm and he quickly got up to follow him.

“John’s sad,” Matthew said, pulling Mycroft into the gardens. “Andy told Matthew to get Mycroft.”

Mycroft nodded. John was curled up in one corner, pressed against the bushes. Mycroft crouched down. “John.”

Andy moved away as Mycroft crouched down, John letting out a harsh gasp and curling farther into the bushes at Mycroft’s shadow falling over him.

“It’s Mycroft, John. Mycroft.”

“No, no,” John stuttered, chest heaving as tears ran down his face. “Can’t.”

“You’re safe, John.” Mycroft pet his leg, watching him.

“Can’t breathe,” John choked out, eyes wide with fear.

“Yes you can.”

John was shaking hard, and Andy took his arm forcing him to sit up, pressing his head between his knees.

“‘M dying,” John moaned, nails digging into the soft cotton of his trousers. “Hurts”

Mycroft rubbed his back. “One of you get a nurse.”

Andy shook his head.

"The nurses put him in the bad white thing. It helps, but John doesn't like it," Matthew said. "And they put the needle in his arm."

“Okay.” Mycroft shifted to sit next to John and pulled him against his chest. “I’m right here. I’m not going to let you go.”

John clutched at his arms, pressing back against him as he fought for breath, body shuddering.

“That’s right,” murmured Mycroft, breathing for him, keeping a hold of him.

"My," John choked out, body tensed as if a steel rod ran the length of his spine.

“It’s okay, John. I’m not going to leave you.”

John let go of another wracking sob, chest heaving as Mycroft tightened his grip. Mycroft began to rock him gently, murmuring in his ear as the other two watched. John's breathing began to slow, his eyes closing as he drew in deep, controlled breaths. "Okay," John whispered, body relaxing though his hands kept shaking. "I'm okay."

“Good, good. I’m not going anywhere.”

John let a soft noise slip past his lips. "Let go. We can't let anyone see," he whispered, voice pained.

“Okay.” Mycroft carefully let go and moved away from him.

"Thank you," John said, keeping his gaze down. "I...they would have sedated me and put me in solitary."

“I told you I’d take care of you.”

"You shouldn't have too," John muttered. "I shouldn't still be this way."

“You’re afraid, John. That isn’t going to change overnight.”

"I know. I just feel so useless," John admitted. Andy let out a low hum and sat next to him, pulling John's hand to his throat. John sighed and looked at him. "You're not useless, Andy." Another reproachful hum and John lowered his gaze again.

“John if we didn’t all have problems we wouldn't be here.”

"Thank you," John said softly.

"I like you, John," Matthew said, patting his head. "You're not mean, even though you're sad. And you like me and Andy. And you love Mycroft, even though he's taller."

John froze, eyes wide. "Matthew."

Mycroft swallowed. “Matthew you can’t say that. Not out loud.”

"Why not? Mom knows. I told her."

Andy took Matthew's hand, holding a single finger to his lips.

John hesitated. "It's a secret, Matthew. If people know, they'd hurt us. You don't want us to get hurt like Lane and go away, do you?"

Matthew looked at him, with wide eyes. "Why would they do that? It's not nice."

“I know it’s not nice,” said Mycroft. “But it’s the law.”

"What's a law?"

"Remember why you're here, Matthew? Because when people tried to hurt your mom, you hurt them back?" John asked, and Matthew nodded. "But you hurt them too much, and when you hurt them too much, you broke a law. People are afraid that if Mycroft and I love each other, we'd hurt someone."

“It may not make sense, Matthew, but we have to be very very careful,” said Mycroft.

"So. John and Mycroft say be quiet. It's a secret. Be as quiet as Andy."

"Yes, Matthew. As quiet as Andy," John said, letting go of a breath.

"I don't like it," Matthew said, crossing his arms.

"I know," John replied quietly, looking at Mycroft. "I don't either."

“Me either. But if i can get into the job I want, maybe I can work on changing it.”

"Will you be magic?" Matthew asked, looking excited. "Mom read me a magic book once."
Andy snorted, and the rest of them relaxed.

"Mycroft won't be magic, not quite. But if you want, I can tell you a story with magic," John said, a soft smile on his face.

"Yes!"

**

John came into their bedroom later that night, just before lights out was called. Mycroft was already lying down, turned to the window.

"Mycroft," he murmured, sitting on the edge of his bed. "I...what Matthew said earlier...."

Mycroft rolled over and took his hand. “I love you, John. But I know we can’t speak of such things aloud.”

John nodded and leaned down, pressing a kiss to his lips.

Mycroft kissed him back, holding his shoulder gently.

John lay down on the bed, pressing his body along Mycroft's, cupping his face. "How can I want you so much," he mumbled, stroking a thumb over Mycroft's cheekbone.

Mycroft moaned softly. “I want you too. I want to give you all of me. I want to wake up every morning to you in my bed. Come home to you every night.”

John's breath hitched and he pressed closer, feeling Mycroft's hardness pressing against his own. "It sounds amazing," he muttered. "Our home. Our bed."

“Safe. Nobody watching us.” He tangled his fingers in John’s hair.

"Like a dream," John murmured, kissing him again. "An amazing dream."

Mycroft moaned softly against his lips. “I want you so badly.”

"I want you," John said, pressing a kiss to his throat. "Want to see and taste and feel."

“Please,” murmured Mycroft, pushing down his own sleep pants, then John’s. He wrapped a hand around both their cocks, groaning into his mouth.

"Shhh," John cautioned, biting back
his own moan.

“I know.” Mycroft kissed him again, moving his hand, revelling in the pleasure of it

“‘S good. Haven’t before,” John muttered, rocking his hips.

“Neither have I.” Mycroft fumbled and grabbed a shirt. “I’m going to come, John.”

“Do it. I wanna see you,” John gasped, knowing that this would be over quickly for both of them.

Mycroft’s hand flew faster, eyes squeezing shut as he toppled over the edge with a quiet gasp.

John gasped at the warmth spreading between them, his own cock jerking and spurting as he rolled his hips.

Mycroft caught their seed with his shirt, panting and kissing John desperately.

“I love you,” John murmured, kissing him back just as desperately. “Don’t leave me.”

“I won’t, John. Even if I get out I’m taking you with me.”

John curled into him, peppering his chest with kisses. "You won't hurt me. I know you won't."

“Never, John. Never.”

**

It was only a week or so later that Mycroft was declared fit enough to leave. “As soon as I get my own place, get set up, John, I’m coming back here to get you.” Richard was setting him up with his brother as promised.

“I know,” John said, smiling at him. “I’ll miss you.” The plan was to have Mycroft hire John as a house servant and all over handyman, at least on paper. In reality, they’d been granted a house and Mycroft a job due to a letter Mycroft had written to Richard’s brother, detailing his abilities.

“It won’t be long. And I’ll come back to visit Matthew and Andy too.”

“I know,” John repeated. “Go. Get outta here before I decide to keep you with me.”

Mycroft shook his hand and headed out, looking forward to life for the first time in a long time. It was still dangerous, but he knew that he and John would be okay. And hopefully Sherlock could come visit as well. Maybe even one day his parents would accept him back. If not, well, his life was his own.