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You make me smile.

Chapter Text

You make me smile.

You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed, sing like a bird
Dizzy in my head, spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile



Mr. Holmes knows several things about his son.

At five years old he has an intelligence that surpasses that of his own companions. Even that of many of the adults Siger works with.

He's clever, spoiled, and tends to get away with it.

He's naughty, passionate about activities that get his attention, a ball of walking energy, and an emotional child, too emotional at times.

But what Siger’s sure he isn't, is a bully, abuser or aggressor. As they call it these days.

So when Director’s office, of the Institute that his son attends calls to arrange a meeting, Siger is slightly puzzled.

Especially because they mention that William Sherlock Scott Holmes, is a bully.

He hurt another child during a class.

The school has its policy, which is why it's unacceptable.

"Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, thank you for coming with so little notice," a voice greeted at the door.

Siger and Violet turn their heads to observe a thirty-five-year-old woman, with brown hair in a tailored uniform. It’s Mrs. Evans, the director of the Institution.

Who kindly comes to shake hands with both parents, then crosses the room to sit in the chair on the other side of the mahogany desk.

It's Violet Holmes who starts. "We would like to know why you’ve called us here."

The Director nods her head. Her hands align perfectly with the papers on her desk. "Well, actually, we’ve had problems with Sherlock."

"What kind of problems?" Again it's Mrs. Holmes who speaks.

The Director's lips form a thin line. "Of aggression."

"Of aggression." Siger Holmes repeats with skepticism, throwing a confused look at his wife. They’ve never raised their child to be violent. They don’t even talk about the subject at home.

"Yes," Mrs. Evans confirms. "Sherlock has hurt one of his companions."

At this, Violet and Siger raise their eyebrows.

Sherlock, with his young age, has learned to deduce his companions naturally; can hurt their feelings with his harsh words. But it's a fact that this only happens when he's threatened, mocked by others. It's a defense mechanism.

A mechanism in defense of his early intelligence.

Violet immediately jumps to her son's defense, saying. "Clearly, this is a mistake!; I'm sure this child must have provoked my son in some way."

"Oh no. Miss Mills, Sherlock's teacher, witnessed the whole incident," the principal assures her.

"What did William say?" Siger asks.

"He refused to say a word about the incident."

Siger says something unintelligible, moving his head vigorously. Violet intervenes before her husband speaks again. "Since this is the first time this type of incident has happened, we ask that you not be so rigorous with your punishment," She continues after a pause. "I assure you that we will take care of imposing just punishment for our son...”

"Actually, it's the third time it’s happened," Mrs. Evans interrupts while watching Violet closely. "Ms. Mills spoke with Sherlock on the first two occasions, when the incidents occured."

 Violet opens her mouth in amazement.

 "However, given that the situation persists, I decided to call you in. Our Institution is recognized by its anti-abuse policy, so we do not tolerate this type of behavior."

"And what, specifically, did William do?" it's Siger who asks. "Did he hit the boy?"

Violet anxiously awaits her response. Mrs. Evans doesn't make them wait long.

"He pulled her hair, destroying her hairstyle. It's the second time he’s pushed his companion...”

 But she doesn't manage to finish.

"His companion’, are we talking about a girl?" Siger huffs even more incredulously.

Mrs. Evans nods. "Margaret Hooper, known as Molly by all her classmates."

Violet frowns. "I hadn't heard of her; Is she a new girl?"

"She is. It's her third week.”

After considering her answer for a few seconds, Violet says "How do we know that it isn't she who incites this behavior in my son?"

Mrs. Evans sighs. She runs her hands through her perfectly combed hair.

"I have had the pleasure of talking with her several times. She's a very intelligent girl; I would call her brilliant," she pauses. "She moved from Chicago with her father two months ago, after her mother lost the battle she faced against cancer for three years." Her lips form a grimace. "This has made her shy and introverted, especially frail, so no, Mrs. Holmes, it wasn't she who incited your son's behavior, especially since at no time did they speak."

Siger's face falls momentarily. Violet finds herself speechless, and allows herself to agree.

"Sherlock will be suspended for three days. I suggest that you talk to him in detail."


 

The legs of the child with beautiful blue eyes bounce uncontrollably. One of his hands repeatedly touches his knee, while the other runs nervously through his messy hair. He knows he’ll be in trouble.

In a lot of trouble, when his parents come home.

Nervously, he remembers.

Sherlock Holmes stood up with a confident movement of his chair. There's a confident smile on his face as he moved to the blackboard.

Ms. Mills took a step away, letting him sees the problem on the board.

<An addition. Too easy!> he said to himself. Mathematics is his forte, he's used to solving complex equations with his mother, so a small problem of a single figure is a piece of cake for him.

Sherlock smiled broadly as he took the chalk between his fingers.

And that was when Molly Hooper decided to appear. "Sorry I'm late, Miss Mills." Her voice was a soft whisper from the door.

Her gaze rested on the ground while she moved her hands nervously. Her dress is white with little bees on it. Her brown hair is collected into two pigtails with matching bees, as well.

Sherlock's eyes get got bigger when the little girl looked up, being hypnotized; He’d never seen someone as cute as Molly before. Her chocolate eyes shione, she had a nervous smile and rosy cheeks. Her fists gripped the straps of her backpack.

Sherlock swallowed, trying to keep the chalk in his hands. When his eyes landed on her freckled cheeks, his own face became hot.

Miss Mills said something, but Sherlock can't remember what. His mind is blank. He doesn't know why, either.

Then Molly tilted her head and smiled. Sherlock's cheeks reddened even more.

The sound of the scoreboard against the ground and the laughter around him brought him back to reality.

He looked at his companions, at Molly, at the teacher and finally at the blackboard.

Suddenly Sherlock started to panic. The problem, he’s done it wrong.

"Ooohhh! The child genius was wrong!" One of his companions made fun.

"For looking at Molly."

 Sherlock almost ignored the comment, but then Molly's eyes turned sad, approaching him.

The laughter, and teasing continued. Sherlock looked at everyone equally. When the little hand of the brunette girl touched his shoulder, his ears resonated, his heart beat fast and his face felt even hotter.

He hated her, hated her smile, her bee dress and her sad look.

She was about to touch him again, when the chestnut boy pushed her to the ground. "Don't touch me!" he yelled at her.

"Ohhh!" resounds in the room.

Sherlock's eyes opened wider when he saw the girl fall with her eyes full of tears.

Her smile faded when Sherlock stopped looking at her.

That was how he ended up in the director's office.


 

Violet and Siger find him sitting in the living room, playing casually with his hands.

"Are you well, William?" asks his mother with concern as Siger drags a chair over and sits on it.

He responds quickly. "I'm fine, Mum."

Violet hums without deciding whether to believe him or not. "You want to tell me what happened?"

Sherlock raises his hands, rejecting the question.

But she isn't having any of that. If Sherlock doesn't want to talk, she doesn't care. She wants explanations, and she wants them now.

"What did you do?;  Why did you behave that way?" Her voice is hard. Siger grimaces.

Sherlock doesn’t say a word. His fingers drum on his pants.

It's Siger who tries again. He almost smiles, reminding Sherlock of the routine of the good cop, bad cop, on that TV show he likes. "You’ll be punished for three days. That doesn't only apply to school, but here, as well. Zero games, TV, and visits. You will remain locked in your room...”

Sherlock frowns. "Even if it's her fault?"

He doesn't say it, but Violet knows he means Molly.

"What?"

He raises his eyebrows in a childish pout when he says. "Her fault."

"Why is that, William?" Siger inquires.

Sherlock looks at him carefully, then whispers. "I can't think. "

His mother sits next to him on the couch, gently taking his hands. "Why is that, darling?"

"In the playground when she stops and looks at me.," Sherlock begins. "I can't think." He pouts again. "I can't think of anything else."

His mother smiles knowingly. Siger's face has endless emotions written all over it.

"So you pushed her," his father concludes.

Sherlock looks embarrassed, but nods anyway.

That explains the situation. Her son, her little boy, has a crush.

Oh! Not just any crush. His first crush.

He’s so enchanted with the girl that his brain is unable to stop to speak, so Sherlock doesn't react to it.

So he does what is the easiest to do, reject the unknown.

Violet smiles while Siger's voice continues with the interrogation. "You pulled her hair, damaging her hairstyle, son. Why?"

Sherlock snorts. "James Robert and his friends make fun of her because of her pigtails," he complains, visibly upset. "I'm doing her a favor!" he assures, without losing his excuse.

"Of course!" his father makes fun.

"What about the ties?"

Sherlock sighs, frowns and glances at his father, who keeps an interrogative frown at his wife's words, clearly missing something.

"She carries them all the time." His voice is low. "Those ugly ties of colors. When the sun passes through them, the reflection falls on my notebook, making a rainbow.”

"It's not pretty?" Siger inquires with curiosity.

"I suppose," he says under his breath with a shrug. "But it distracts me and doesn't let me think, so I took them off her."

"Sherlock!"

"She’s in front of me in all classes." He excuses himself quickly.

Violet doesn't buy it. There is something else her son isn't saying. She lets go of her hands and crosses her arms. Giving him what both father and son describe as <The look>.

Sherlock sighs in defeat. "Her hair is pretty… when it’s loose." His face warms at the admission. "It smells like flowers. I like it." Again he is ashamed.

Violet smiles broadly.

Siger rolls his eyes, but after a few seconds he also smiles.


 

Two incidents down, one incident remains to be told. "What happened this time?"

"I hate her," he declares quickly, changing the environment. Violet turns to him with her eyes open wide. Wow!

"She distracted me again, she made me make a mistake," he complains, crossing his arms.

His father gives him another curious look. Although his son has an intelligence that exceeds the average, it is known that he doesn't tend to get easily distracted, at least with respect to the numbers and activities in which he focuses deeply.

He encourages Sherlock to continue.

 "I was at the blackboard doing a maths exercise, an addition, in Miss Mills's class...” his lip trembles." “But Molly spoke, and... and... she was wearing that horrible bee dress." His lips move from one side to another. "I got distracted," he manages to say. "I did the exercise badly. Everyone made fun of me. "

Siger gives him a serious look.

"I pushed her again," he confesses, lowering his head. His heart tightens when he remembers the tearful eyes of the little brunette girl.

His mother tenderly raises his face with his hands. Kisses both cheeks and smiles. "What do you think, if instead of pushing her when she smiles at you, you smile at her in return?"

The little chestnut boy thinks for a moment.

 His eyebrows are knitted together. He isn't convinced by what Siger adds. "She wouldn't be able to think either. You would balance things out in some way."

His eyes open with surprise.

"And instead of pulling her hair, you could kindly ask her to leave it loose, at least when she sits in front of you," adds Violet.

"That would do!"  Sherlock declares triumphantly.

Violet hugs him, telling him how much he loves him, and scolds him too sweetly, if you ask Siger, about his treatment of Molly. She assures him that he must apologize to her, at which Sherlock reluctantly agrees to kiss her mother's cheek and embrace her again.

When he walks away, leaving them alone in the room, Siger sighs. "You realize that our son is a little caveman."

Violet laughs. "Then it's better not to mention how you pulled my hair when we studied together." Her husband lets out a laugh.

He's ashamed of the memory of their school days. He, approaches and kisses her with affection.

"It must be a thing. A family thing."


 

Sherlock runs to his room. Colored papers flicker in the wind as the little boy’s eyes fall heavily on one. A red paper, like the color of the dress she wears.

I 'm sorry.

I didn 't want to push you.

I didn 't want to pull your hair.

William Sherlock Holmes.

PS: I like your hair.

Like you dressed as bees and your pigtails.

Andrew writes it down, the old butler with a smile at the child’s words.

Attached to the letter is a drawing of a smiling brunette girl with a dress of bees and another brown child taking her hand. Made by Sherlock.

Andrew doesn't say anything, just smiles at the gesture.


 

Weeks later.

It happens almost immediately, Violet can realize it.

Sherlock smiles a lot more. He speaks effusively of the brunette constantly.

He's in essence much happier, so when the little boy breaks into her kitchen crying, Violet worries automatically.

"It hurts," says the little boy.

Violet turns around quickly, dropping the kitchen towel on the table.

"It hurts a lot, Mum." His voice seems broken, as if he’s lost something very dear to him. Violet's heart shrinks when she hears his voice all choked up.

Violet goes to him carefully. "Will." Her eyes fill with concern as she sees her son's face, completely red.

He doesn't respond, and instead, pushes himself backward. His face flushes as it transforms into the most painful expression of hurt that Violet has ever seen in a child.

"What hurts, my boy?" she asks in anguish, looking over his body for possible injuries that could cause him pain.

His lip trembles slightly twice before he is able to respond. More tears cascade from his eyes. "My heart, Mummy.  It hurts a lot."

Violet goes from panic to terror in a second with that statement.

However, she tells herself that she must calm down so she can help him.

She was on the phone to call Emergency when her son speaks again.

"James said it." She doesn't understand,.

Sherlock fights against the tears that run down his face.

"What, who told you that, my boy?" Violet asks softly as she caresses his back slowly with small soothing circles. His eyes are as red as his face, full of tears shed, his lips forming a straight line.

He's completely upset. She can see that now.

It's a reaction that she hasn't had the opportunity to witness for some time. Not since he was two years old.

His son is spoiled, and he likes to get away with it many times, if not all, but she has never witnessed this level of anguish before.

It's disconcerting.

"Victor and Molly are getting married."

Understanding takes over Violet's face.

His son adores Victor; he’s been his only friend from the moment they moved to the city. His accomplice, and his companion of adventures, it's natural that the little boy feels jealousy, even feels displaced or hurt before the hypothetical loss of his friend.

"You won’t lose Victor." She hugs him against her chest, feeling him tense at her touch. "He will always be your friend, even if he marries Molly," she says in a reassuring voice.

"But I don't want them to get married!" he lets out between sobs. Tears continue to run freely, soaking his shirt in the process.

"I don't think that will happen for many years, my boy."

"But I don't want it, Mum, it hurts." Her little son sobs uncontrollably.

She rushes calm him down, whispers reassuring words, while kissing his hair again and again.

That seems to do the trick. "William, it's okay, breathe baby!" she says with sweetness. "Look at me." She kisses his forehead and he gives her a watery smile. "You will be friends for a long time. I am completely sure that you will continue to be, even if they do get married," she affirms him in a calm voice, slowly. "You don't have to feel sad."

Sherlock gives her a cold look. His lip forms an angry pout. His arms cross over his chest. He won’t cry again; she's safe.

"But I want Molly to marry me!"

"Oh!".

The understanding slams into her like a bucket of cold water.

Good.

That's another thing.

"My baby boy, it's a long time before that can happen. It's a decision that two adults make, and it's something that Molly must think pretty hard about, too," she pauses. "Years for that," she insists.

He grimaces. His mother chuckles.

"Mum?" His quieter voice calls her.

"Yes, darling?"

"So Molly isn't going to marry Victor today?" he asks with his eyes lit.

Violet shakes her head.

 His bright blue eyes widen, his whole body stiffens and his mouth forms an 'o'. After thinking about it, he speaks hopefully. "I still have my chance."

Violet laughs, nodding.

"You still have it, my little caveman of love."


 

This time, the note written by Andrew is on a yellow paper, like the color of the bees on her clothes.

Molly, don't marry Victor.

It’s a long time before that can happen, and it's a decision that only adults take.

It's something that you must think about pretty hard.

William Sherlock Holmes

PS: I still like your hair a lot.

Like you dressed as bees and your pigtails.

If Violet goes through his room, she will find a love letter for a five-year-old girl with the words she recited to her son.

Violet says nothing, only allows herself to smile at the gesture.


 

Chapter Text

Two: The boy with the strange name and the lonely girl

It's a Sunday afternoon when his daughter's life changes.

Of course, if you ask Michael Hooper, if he ever thought it would be like that, he'd deny it and laugh later at the irony.

He opens the door after the fourth noisy knock and meets the deep blue eyes of a child, no older than six years old.

Michael's eyes rove over him for a couple of seconds, and he has the weird feeling that this child can read him like a book.

Strange.

Michael shakes his head to clear it, waiting for the little boy in front of him, to speak. He looks nervous, his lips forming a thin line, while his hands tightly squeeze an envelope of colors.

The child takes a step back, closes his eyes and breathes deeply. Michael watches, intrigued.

It takes more than three seconds for the child to open his eyes, and take another step back.  One of his hands ruffles his hair, full of dark curls.

"Sherlock."

The deep voice booming from behind, belongs to an older boy. Unlike the child in front of him, he is a tall blond, plump and with a look of discomfort that could fill a room. "My reading club starts in ten minutes."

The boy turns around, frowning. "I told you I could do it alone, Mycroft," he claims with disdain. Too much for such a small child.

"I'd say not, given the current situation," the boy replies with mockery.

"I can do it!" the boy emphasizes again, clinging harder to the envelope that occupies his right hand. "I can do it. "

The boy... Mycroft.  (Michael remembers rolling his eyes at these new children's names). Sighs, adopts a straight posture, and puts his hands behind his back. His eyes are fixed on the little boy, prompting him to do what he has to do.

Sherlock scuffs the ground a couple of times, turns around and takes another breath.

Michael would have laughed if he wasn't a child.

"Mr. Hooper," the boy begins with a trembling voice. "My name is William Sherlock Scott Holmes." He bites his lip.

Recognition comes to Michael. "Holmes." The Holmes who's the abuser of his little girl, the braggart who brought tears and sadness to his precious Molly's face.

Michael's face contorts, and he's completely sure the child sees it.

"I'm going to say this just once, little boy," Michael begins. "I don't want you near my girl, no...

"NOO!"

It’s the surprising cry of the little one that leaves him speechless.

"Please, no!" A tear escapes down his cheek. "I'm sorry!"

 His lip trembles, and more tears fall. Michael feels his heart plummet. His resolution dies at the boys' words. "Please, no!"

He's about to approach the child when he hears Mycroft's voice.

"I deeply apologize for my little brother's behavior," he begins. His eyes are hard to read but his face is in anguish at seeing his brother cry. "Sherlock laments his actions, recognizes that he's failed terribly, and promises that it will not happen again."

Mycroft's hand takes Sherock's small hand in his. A comforting gesture that does not escape the notice of the man before them.

Michael nods, not knowing what to say. His harsh words have caused so much anguish to Sherlock that now it's he who feels bad.

"I ask you to reconsider your words, Mr Hooper.  My brother is temperamental, and the thought of being away from your daughter causes him pain."

Michael sighs. The twelve-year-old, maybe thirteen year old, is right. Sherlock is just a child, after all, and he looks repentant enough.

"Do you really regret it, Sherlock?"

Sherlock's blue eyes meet his. His face is a mixture of redness and tears. He nods, his lip still trembling.

"I..." he sniffs. "I promise not to hurt her; again."

Michael's look is serious. In his hands lies the decision to let his child remain with her bully or make sure he stays away from her.

Decisions

Michael bends down to the boy's height. "Repenting and admiting our own mistakes is brave, so Sherlock, I'll give you a chance," he says quietly. "Molly is the most special thing I have in the world, my everything; I will not allow you to hurt her again. "

Sherlock nods solemnly, placing the palm of his hand on his chest. "I promise to always take care of her, Mr. Hooper."

Michael smiles. There are promises that are forgotten or not fulfilled. But this one, will be marked in the mind and heart of a man, a child with deep blue eyes like the sea and a plump blonde brother, seriously overprotective.

"Then you are welcome in this house, Sherlock. You are welcome in my daughter's life."

Sherlock smiles triumphantly, dancing a little jig of joy, while his brother just stares, muttering something that Michael can't understand.

But his smile doesn't last long, when he sees the figure on the other side of the door.

Molly's wearing a set of small pink butterflies in her hair, two matching butterfly loops in a darker shade of pink. Her eyes are wide when they look at the boy. Then her gaze travels to the blond young man, and finally, to her father.

There is a mixture of confusion in her features, a mixture she has clearly inherited from her mother.

"Molly," Sherlock says softly. She shakes her head, refusing to meet his gaze.

She is upset, her father knows that.

"Honey," Michael begins. "Sherlock has come to apologize to you."

She denies it with her head, her eyes on the ground.

"Look at him, honey, he's making an effort."

A pout crosses her pretty face. "But he's always mean to me."

Sherlock grimaces at the words, then frowns, and a tear rolls down his cheek again.

Michael's voice is soft. "Do you remember what Mummy used to say?"

The beautiful eyes of his daughter look at him with such fragility that he feels his own heart skip a beat. It's like looking into his wife's eyes again.

Molly nods. "We all have a good side, we just have to open our eyes and heart and look for it."

Michael smiles and kisses her cheek. "That's right, honey." Another kiss is deposited on her forehead. "Why don't you listen to what Sherlock has to say, yes?"

Molly nods calmly, walking towards the boy.

In two steps she's in front of him, Michael can see by the way Sherlock looks at her, that he's looking at an angel. It's at that moment he knows he's made the right decision.

He's only able to witness their interaction with surprise. His daughter never ceases to amaze him.

Such as when she graciously places her small hand on Sherlock's cheek to wipe the treacherous tears that keep running down it. She smiles sweetly, and the boy's cheeks redden and his lips tremble.

"Are you okay?" asks his sweet little Molly.

Mycroft appears as interested in the scene as much as Michael is, it seems that he's seeing a completely new side to his brother.

"I'm sorry," Sherlock says sadly.

His hand extends out to Molly to deliver her the envelope of colors. She takes it with curiosity. Her hands find a drawing of a smiling brunette girl wearing a dress of bees, and a Brown- haired child taking her hand. There was also a red paper with some words written on it.

She approaches her father, looks at him and hands him the paper.

Michael knows that his daughter is incredibly intelligent, but she tends to stutter, when she is very nervous, and often when she reads out loud. He knows she doesn't want more teasing, and he fears that it may come from Sherlock.

Michael takes the paper and reads each line.

I'm sorry.

I didn't want to push you.

I didn't want to pull your hair.

William Sherlock Holmes.

PS: I like your hair.

Like you dressed as bees and your pigtails.

Molly smiles instantly. It's one of those unique, bright smiles.

She looks at Sherlock and kisses him on his cheek. He feels his cheeks flush pink.

Michael laughs at the gesture, just like Mycroft.

"Thank you," she smiles. Her eyes light up with recognition, when he understands the meaning of everything. Her mouth falls open. "You want to be my friend. "

Sherlock smiles in return, nodding.

 Molly quickly takes his hand. "Come on, Daddy and I are making chocolate biscuits."

Sherlock turns around to look at his brother, a question on his face.

Mycroft shrugs. "I could never say no to chocolate biscuits."

Michael smiles. He never thought he would see his daughter so happy again, especially when he remembers how it all began.


 

A month and half ago.

Like the other parents at the playground who reach down to push hair out of their childrens’ eyes and kiss them sweetly on the forehead, he does the same thing.

His heart hammers in his chest, and he looks up at the sky like he’s praying for strength.

Michael Hooper wraps his bare hands around Molly’s gloved ones, and holds them for a moment. His expression is wretched, like it pains him to do this, and Molly tries to pull the gloves off, but he stops her, his grip gentle but firm.

"It’ll get better, I promise," he says to her. His voice is thick with emotion. "I know it’s not easy to be younger than everyone else all the time, and it must be— God, I know you feel alone, all the time. And Mommy isn't here… but." Michael squeezes Molly’s hands like he’s the one imploring now: "believe me.  You’ll be okay. I promise. I promise."

Molly breathes into the space between them, and her eyes start to water again, but for a completely different reason.

"Daddy"

But he shakes his head. He lets go of Molly’s hands and hovers his own on at either side of her face, like he wants to cradle her but even the idea of it is too painful.

"I love you, honey. "

She gives him a smile so tender that his soul sings. "I love you too"

She is his gift, the apple of his eyes. So he has to be strong for her, keep going and be better for her. Fight for her.

He remembers the words of the child psychologist.

<Children are very resilient. Let her interact with others kids her age, make her feel at ease. >

“Remember that the teacher is going to call you Margaret unless you tell her you want to be called Molly."

She nods quickly, as if there is nothing else to worry her. As if everything is fine. As if she hasn't just lost her mother. As if they hadn't just moved to a new city. She is strong. His beautiful girl is strong, stronger than he ever was.

They make their way across the parking lot to the sidewalk in front of the school. They visited the school just two days before so Molly could meet her teacher and see her classroom, but he wanted to walk his daughter in for her first day.

Suddenly Molly lets go of her father’s hand and turns to look at him, smiling brightly and gripping the straps of her bee book bag, "Mummy said I have to be brave, I can do this Daddy."

Michael doesn’t have a chance to say anything before she turns and runs into the school as if she’s been going there her entire life.

He prays that he can be as brave as her. Then, when a smile grows on his face, he goes.

---


 

Ms. Mills has been a teacher for almost five years when Margaret Anne Hooper arrives at her class.

She's a shy, kind and incredibly sweet girl.

This is her first impression after meeting her in the principal's office.

She has chocolate eyes that can melt anyone's heart, and a sad smile that squeezes those same hearts out everyone who knows her.

Ms Mills has read the reports, knows what happened to the girl's mother. She succumbed to such a cruel illness, leaving her husband and daughter alone. This little girl of five years of age, has lived through one of the most heartbreaking experiences of any person's life, and she still suffers, lonely in a resentful life.

Ms Mills decides she will do everything in her power to help ward off the pain from this sweet girl's life.

She swears this as she watches her closely.

It's Molly first day of school. Her first day in a new environment, full of new people.

She clutches her backpack, takes a deep breath and looks around. Her hands tremble visibly, Ms Mills can't deduce whether it's because of the cold or nervousness, but she believes it's a combination of both.

Her eyes open wide as they light on Ms Mills, who smiles kindly and takes her hand.

"Come on, Margaret, it's time you met your new classmates."

She doesn't say anything, just follows her. After a while Molly speaks.

"Molly" she says very low. "Daddy calls me that."

Alice Mills smiles. "Molly it is, then."

They walk comfortably to the classroom. Molly answering each of Ms Mill's questions simply.

"Good morning everyone! A new school year begins and I'm sure this year will be full of much learning and fun." She smiles.  "I also have the honor of welcoming a new student."

Alice beckons to the little girl standing shyly behind her.

"Class, give Molly Hooper a big round of applause! She just moved to town with her father, so I want each one of you to make her feel at home."

Victor Trevor, the little redhead, is the first to applaud. A big smile is drawn on his face as he leads Molly to a seat next to him and shows her his reading book.

Ms Mills smiles. A great year, in fact.

----


 

It's a week later that the great year that she'd foreseen, fails, and the problems begin.

Problems that have a first and last name. Sherlock Holmes.

Problems that start on a cold morning in the playground with Molly sitting next to the swings, watching everything carefully.

Her eyes move naturally to each person, each object, until they stop at the child with dark curls who leans on the grass with a heavy book of exotic animals. A gift from his uncle.

Molly smiles while looking at him. She likes him, Alice can tell. Sherlock stands out easily from the crowd, is an incredibly intelligent child, outstanding in many ways if compared to his peers, demanding, and incredibly lonely.

Maybe that's the reason why Molly always watches him.

She can see herself reflected in Sherlock. Like him, she is alone. Only with the knowledge of a loyal friend in common.

Victor Trevor, who runs with another of his colleagues in what seems to be a competition find out who is the fastest in the class.

Victor who has grown fond enough of the girl to help her with her classes, to teach her the school song and even to walk with her in the playground.

But now the lonely girl takes the steps to approach Sherlock.

Alice watches her intently while eating her cheese sandwich.

Sherlock's eyes open in terror, when he sees her standing close to him. He frowns and tightens his lips tightly.

For one, two minutes he stares at her without knowing what to do.

He looks terrified.

Molly smiles, trying to cheer him up. And that's when it happens.

A blow sends her to the ground. A push from the genius boy.

She falls to the ground and Sherlock runs without daring to look back.

Ms Mills rushes to help Molly up, but Victor is already at her side, holding her hand and smiling fondly at her.

"Come on, Molly, I have gummy bears. They'll make you feel better."

Worry evaporates from Ms Mills face when she sees Molly smile.

Thank God for Victor Trevor.

----


 

Hours later, she manages to talk with Sherlock.

Well, actuallly, she talks and the child stands without saying a word, just looks at her paralyzed.

This is the first time it happened.

Strange.

She hopes it won't happen again, but that is not the case.

---


 

This time, it's James Robert who starts the problems.

It's the second week of school, and the spoiled child and his close friends start mocking the little brunette's pigtails.

She doesn't say anything, but judging by her expression Alice knows that the comments cause her pain.

James and his friends end up being punished at the end of class.

But something else that catches her attention the next time Alice sees Molly.

Molly's ties are gone. Her hair is disheveled by the wind.

Alice asks her what happened, but she doesn't say a word. Just looks in Sherlock's direction and he looks away.

This is becoming more and more strange every day, is her thought at the end of class.


 

Molly is incredibly intelligent. That's the second thing Alice noticed that week.

She likes science, mathematics. She's able to answer every question easily.

She excels in class despite the constant mockery of her stuttering while reading out loud.

Maybe that's why, Sherlock feels jealous and watches her closely from his seat.

His face is a constant grimace. He looks confused. Why? Alice still doesn' t understand it, but she will make sure that she will.

Ironically, she understands at the end of the second week.

Each of her students is copying the lines off the board, each one, with the exception of Sherlock Holmes, who looks at the person sitting in front of him. He looks at the pink ribbons in her hair in great detail. His eyes open with wonder at the rays of the sun that are projected in haloes around Molly 's brown hair.

His hand reaches out to touch Molly's hair, and the colour of his cheeks grows red.

Sherlock shakes his head to himself, mutters and removes his hand.

But that is only the end of the first period.


 

Ms Mills  is writing on the blackboard when a sharp scream interrupts her class during third period.

She turns quickly, to finding an altered Molly and a furious Sherlock.

Molly opens her mouth angrily, her disheveled hair falling over her shoulders.

Ms Mills meets Sherlock's face, who goes from being upset to looking completely sorry. Especially when he looks at Molly's face.

The pink ribbons tighten in his right hand, and he drops the offending objects to the ground.

Victor Trevor, at his side, laughs, picks up the pink ribbons and gives them to Molly with a smile.

She smiles in return, which earns another murmur from Sherlock and another new cry from Molly.

Ms Mills stands in front of his seat in three short steps, unimpressed with the child's behavior. Two pulls of her hair in a single period.

" Come on, Mr. Holmes, we have to talk. "

 


His fingers drum as he walks next to her to the break room; he sits down straight and automatically lowers his gaze.

Ms Mills sighs and sits next to him on the big brown sofa.

" William, you are one of my most outstanding students. It isn't necessary that I tell you that because you know it."  

His mouth opens. He mutters under his breath.

" Do you want to tell me what happened? Why did you behave that way?"

His hands now make patterns on his legs.

" You're in trouble William, Do you understand that you can't behave like that with your classmates?"

Sherlock nods, his gaze unable to meet Ms Mills's.

" Do you want to say something?"

Sherlock shakes his head.

" Honey, " she starts. She tries to come up with a question that he may be able to answer. " Do you like Molly?"

 At this question, his eyes light up and his hands stop the pattern he created on his legs.

Ms Mills smiles knowingly. Is that was this is about?  A crush? That explains the pushes, pulling of hair, and the constant looks. And the jealousy.

She gave him a small smile.

"I’ll just make a reprimand this time, Sherlock. But this can 't continue to happen. Molly is a very nice girl. To treat her badly, is wrong. Do you understand? "

Sherlock nods, and runs out of the room in a hurry.

Ms mills lets out a sigh that she didn 't know she 'd supressed.

She can only dream that all of this stops.

---


 

Molly 's POV

It is the start of the third week when the third incident occurs.

She opens the classroom door with trembling hands, slightly embarrassed at being late. Her father had fallen asleep, completely altering his routine.

"Sorry I'm late, Ms Mills." Her voice was a soft whisper from the door.

The eyes of her companions rest on her, and her gaze falls to the ground while she wrings her hands nervously. Her chocolate eyes shine. She wears a nervous smile and rosy cheeks. Her fists grip the straps of her backpack.

She looks up slightly. Sherlock's blue eyes are on her and his face has become hot. He´s pretty. Very pretty when he looks her and doesn't frown.

His hand holds the chalk with force while he looks at her. Ms Mills speaks to him with sweetness, trying to make him realize the mistake he´s made with his problem. But Sherlock doesn´t move, he just looks at her with his red face.

Molly’s heart beats very hard in her chest as she feels her face warm. She tilts her head and smiles. Sherlock's cheeks reddened even more.

The sound of the scoreboard against the ground and the laughter make Sherlock nervous.

His big eyes open. He looks at his companions, at Molly, at the teacher and finally at the blackboard. He starts to panic. He’s realized that he completed the problem incorrectly.

His lower lip trembles. Molly's heart skinks, when her companions make fun of Sherlock.

"Ooohhh! The child genius was wrong!"

"From looking at Molly!"

She wants to hug him, tell him that everything will be fine, as her father usually does when she´s sad. So she approaches him.

Her hand touches his shoulder gently. He takes a step back, angry; his face makes her feel sad.

Sad for the cute-eyed child who everyone annoys. Sad to see his pretty face annoyed.

She is about to touch him again, when the chestnut-haired boy pushes her to the ground. "Don't touch me!" he yells at her.

"Ooohhh!" resounds around the room.

The ground is hard against her legs. Her eyes fill with tears.

He looks at her with tears in his eyes and trembling lips as he goes to the principal’s office.

She cries for a while on the ground until she feels the reassuring arms of Ms Mills hugging her back. Her movements are slow. She looks at Molly and smiles.

Her voice is soft, like that of a mom, and gentle when she helps her straighten her dress.

"Will Sherlock be okay?"

Ms Mills frowns and lets out a sigh. "You're such a good girl, Molly. He'll probably be punished for a while. He did something bad. He shouldn’t pushed you like that. He needs to understand that in this school, respect is very important. "

Molly’s eyes fill with tears again. Her heart is saddened by the chestnut-haired boy. Sherlock is bad at times with her, but she knows that he is a lonely child. Maybe he doesn’t know how to make friends. Maybe he doesn’t like Molly, or thinks she's ugly.

But still, she wants to help him. It hurts her to not to be able to.

"I’m sorry." She says.

"It's not your fault, Molly. You shouldn’t feel bad about it. Come on, let's find something to read."

She wipes her eyes and nods.

 

 


 

Michael remembers the tears that constantly escaped from his daughter's eyes when she returned from school.

He knows that adaptation hasn't been easy for her. He knows the problems she's had due to the conversations he's had with her teacher Ms Mills.

But seeing the smile back on her face, he gives thanks and joins that beautiful smile.

"Daddy"

The voice of his daughter brings him back to reality. He shakes his head to clear it and turns his attention to his little girl. "Can we have vanilla biscuits too?"

"Everything my princess wants." he says, smiling. Molly's smile is even bigger.

That day generates a 180 degree change in the life of his daughter and even in her own life.

Sherlock Holmes becomes a constant presence in his house. He goes to visit every day after school, accompanied by Mycroft, despite his obvious annoyance.

Sherlock is a good friend. Helps Molly with her homework and even teaches her new subjects.

Michael sees first hand how the child talks to him about exotic animals, pirates, theories, discoveries and scientific feats.

He thanks God for having him in his daughter's life.


 

Later on, another child appears. He is kind, somewhat shy and red-haired.

His name is Victor Trevor. He's just as attentive as Sherlock is with his little girl, but a little more cautious when it comes to playing with things that can explode or mess up his kitchen, if you compare him with the genius child.

Her daughter now has two friends, and Michael is happy with it.

Very happy indeed.

It isn't until the second letter Sherlock wrote arrives, that Michael begins to wonder if his daughter is too young to have two friends who are boys.

This time, the letter comes in a golden envelope, the yellow paper written with tiny letters and a drawing on the bottom.

Two children are holding hands and what appears to be a pirate ship is by the boy's side.

Michael smiles when the words leave his lips, while Molly looks at him carefully.

Molly, don't marry Victor.

It’s a long time before that can happen, and it's a decision that only adults take.

It's something that you must think about pretty hard.

William Sherlock Holmes

PS: I still like your hair a lot.

Like you dressed as bees and your pigtails.

Molly frowns. "I'm not going to marry Victor," she laughs. "I'll marry Sherlock," she says casually, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Alarms sound in Michael's head.

Yes. Definitely.

Molly is too young to have two friends who are boys.

Chapter Text

Three: My girl.

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it's cold outside I've got the month of May
Well I guess you'd say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin' 'bout my girl (my girl)

I've got so much honey the bees envy me
I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees
Well I guess you'd say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin' 'bout my girl (my girl ooh)


 

A year later

Time for the brothers' union.

Mycroft's sitting on his bed, eyeing with curiosity the new encyclopedia that his father gave him. His eyes open with wonder at each new word, each image, as his lips curve into a smile.

Peace and tranquility for a day, as he says to himself, as he turns each leaf.

"Honey…"

His mother greets him from the door after having knocked once. Mycroft nods, and his mother comes in and sits next to him.

Her hands caress his hair, and she kisses his forehead.

Mycroft loses himself in his mother's touch. He's longed for her hugs for months. Months in which he found himself far away from home.

Far from his family, to attend a private school, which had been attended by the male members of the Holmes family for many years.

"I've missed you, deeply;" Violet's voice trembles. Mycroft notices it, turning to find her eyes clouded by sudden tears. He clings even more to her arms.

"I've missed you too, Mum, Daddy, everyone, even..." He stops, feeling his heart contract.

"That's why this day will be so special! My two dear children playing together again."

His eyes open wide at the request behind in his mother's words.

You'll be taking care of Sherlock today.

Mycroft runs his hands over his face, moaning as he remembers the games and problems his little brother caused in the absence of their parents. 

"Myc, hurry up!" the little boy screams as he runs into Mycroft's room. "I burned Mum's favorite tablecloth!"

"Myc." His eyes are full of unshed tears when he finds Mycroft coming out of the shower. "I painted Dad's studio unintentionally."

"Myc, smoke is coming out of the stove and it doesn't want to stop." Sherlock says with a shrug.

"Myc, the house is full of soap and foam!" Sherlock's lip trembles and his eyes open in terror at the understanding of what will happen. "Mummy is going to get mad."

His mother smiles. "Think of it as a time for the brothers' union."

Mycroft gets out of bed, taking dramatic steps towards his father's study.

His mother's voice echoes behind him. "Your father is finishing his book; the publisher is seeing him today, while I must give this class; I can't postpone it again."

The boy turns to confront his mother. At her side is the mischievous six-year-old boy.

"The solution is obvious. Tell Molly, she can't come today because of your multiple commitments."

"No," Sherlock denies firmly. "You said Molly would sleep over TODAY!; You promised!" he says with emphasis on his words. His arms are crossed over his chest. A slight tremor settles on his lower lip.

Emotional little Sherlock wants to go out and play, and won't stop until he gets what he wants.

Mycroft whines in response, just like a five-year-old.

"Sherlock," his mother begins with tenderness in his voice. "Sweetie." She continues as if the pet name calm the beast that Mycroft knows Sherlock wants to wake up.

The child tightens his lips; His deep blue eyes fix on her. His voice comes out in a whisper. "Please, Mummy?" Sherlock asks, and by his mother's expression, Mycroft knows all is lost.

Manipulative child, with his charming manipulator's eyes.

Mycroft sighs at Sherlock's side, trying to contain himself. In bad time he decided he would teach his little brother how to achieve things with just a facial expression.

His father slaps him on the shoulder. "It's an act of responsibility, my dear boy," Siger says in his calm, gentle voice. "Every day we learn new things. Maybe this day will give you the opportunity to learn something important at the hands of two naughty children."

Mycroft's mouth opens, but says nothing. His mother smiles, placing a kiss on both his cheeks as she leaves. His father ruffles his hair while telling his brother that he expects his behavior to be honorable.

 Mycroft lets himself dream that this will be the case.

Peace and tranquility for a day, Myc once hoped... of course not.


 

"Enough, Sherlock!" Mycroft scolds when he sees the boy pass by for the twelfth time.

"Enough with what?" Sherlock asks innocently, frowning subconsciously.

"Enough with all this!, Please stop pacing around!" Mycroft points out, emphasizing the corridor.

"But Molly hasn't arrived yet!" Sherlock complains, visibly following his path from one spot to another.

Mycroft rolls his eyes, and continues reading his book until his brother's excited shout brings him back to reality.

He opens the door to meet the little girl in a red dress with white dots, impeccable white bows and a smile that competes with the smile on his brother's face.

She throws herself into his arms. "Hi Myc, I missed you!" Molly greets with affection and another sweet smile.

Mycroft smiles back, it's hard not to do, in response to the tenderness that emanates from the girl with beautiful brown eyes.

His brother doesn't seem very happy with the exchange, being quite jealous when it comes to Molly, so Mycroft parts from the girl, giving her room to embrace his brother.

And if Mycroft believed that his brother's smile was warm, the one he gives to Molly when he hugs her, is the sun illuminating everything in its path.

Michael clears his throat, and Mycroft offers his hand in greeting.

The man smiles. "I hope it's not a problem for you; to take care of them today."

"It isn't." He lies. Although not with as much certainty after watching the exchange between the children.

Michael swallows. His eyes fill with an emotion that the young man isn't able to read. "Sometimes it's hard for Molly to sleep, she tends to be scared.

Mycroft nods. He will make sure to scare away any monsters disturbing little Molly's dreams. "She'll be fine, I promise, Mr. Hooper."

"Thanks; You're a good boy, Myc." Michael smiles, clasping his shoulder with pride.

He says goodbye to Molly with a kiss on her forehead, a prolonged hug and " love you" whispered.


 

Two hours later, Mycroft agrees to take them to the beach, with the promise that both will always be within eyeshot, will not run off and will not enter the water for any reason.

While they play, he sits under a colored umbrella and enjoys his book.

"The Count of Monte Cristo," says a melodious voice nearby.

He turns his head to find the source.

"Isn't that a rather dark book to be read on a sunny day at the beach?" The girl’s eyes are sparkling, amused at her own words.

Her complexion is pale, although her features are slightly exotic. She has a pixie haircut with pink tips and accessories that highlight the floral dress she wears.

Mycroft Holmes, for the first time in years, remains immobile. His heart feels like it's going to explode.

Her green eyes focus on him. She smiles and is about to leave when his mouth manages to find sound.

"Stay!" He automatically hates how rushed that sounded. "The beach is big enough for both of us; Besides, you won’t want to miss a sunny day at the beach," he adds, repeating her words.

The girl smiles at his voice and takes a couple of steps forward.

They look at the view for a couple of minutes in complete tranquility, until she speaks again. "You’re not in a sect, I hope; If you're here against your will, blink three times."

Mycroft's lips contract with his raised eyebrows.

The girl shrugs, amused with the boy's reaction. "You're not very talkative, are you?"

Mycroft still doesn't say a Word. It's the first time he’s spoken to a girl alone, who isn't his cousin.

"In case you don't know, which would be weird at this point, given the rumors and the whispering everywhere, I'm the new girl," she whispers exageratedly. "Yes, I know what you're thinking." Another silly girl becoming invisible in...”

He laughs, and she is paralyzed by the beautiful sound. "Actually, I thought you couldn’t be silly if you know something about Count Montecristo." He replies timidly.

The girl's jaw opens comically. Then she lets out a funny laugh.

"Uh... what?" asks Mycroft, confused.

"Anthea... that's my name..." She smiles playfully at the boy’s nervous, flushed face. "Although everyone calls me Ann."

One, two, three seconds is the time that elapses before he settles.

She looks at him with amusement, biting her lip. "This is the moment where you tell me your name. "

He shrugs.

"I can always guess, but I assure you. I'm not very good at it. "

Mycroft's lips tremble. "Mycroft Holmes."

She gives him a side smile.

He’s about to speak when he's interrupted by a voice at his side.

"We finished making sandcastles and looking for animals to document. Now I need a villain to play with."

Mycroft looks at his brother with disdain, telegraphing. ‘What part of leave me alone’ do you not understand?’, However, Sherlock continues talking.

"I need a villain, Mycroft." He pronounces his name seriously. Too seriously.

Ann shades her eyes and looks at the little boy. "This is yours?" she asks, smiling.

Mycroft sighs. "I wish I could say no."

Sherlock frowns, his attention straying from his brother to the girl next to him. He smiles, being the precocious genius that he is, and asks with puppy eyes. "You want to play with us?"

Ann nods, confidently. Sherlock is pleased as he runs to the shore.

"It can't be so bad," she assures him with a warm smile. "Treasure the moments with your brother...” Her voice stops. "OTherwise one day you'll want to do it and you won’t be able to. "

Something in that statement causes Mycroft’s heart of Mycroft plunge. He nods, without saying a word, watching how the short-haired girl runs towards the little ones and asks, with a big smile:

"Is there room for someone else."

Mycroft doesn't hear the answer. He just takes off his shoes, rolls up the long sleeves of his black sweater and heads towards them.

Molly takes Ann's hand in hers and smiles.

Mycroft notices how Ann's eyes shine more than normal and swallows heavily. Ann gives her a watery smile.

She’s suffered an important loss, his mind tells him, but he refuses to analyze it in -depth.

Sherlock runs after them with a wooden sword swinging against the wind.

"Attention!" Mycroft’s voice is strong, thick. "I'm here to take Princess Molly and you can't do anything about it." He laughs evilly.

Sherlock looks at him, with wide open eyes. His expression screams amazement, while his lips promise pranks to be fulfilled.

"Never, villain!" Sherlock shouts, positioning himself in front of Molly. "The princess is mine!, No-one can steal her."

"I'm the most feared villain in the seven seas, Black beard,!" Mycroft arches an eyebrow, taking another wooden sword. "Kneel or suffer the consequences."

"Never!" Sherlock’s war cry before he throws himself in front of the young blond man.

The sound of clashing swords resonates as both boys quickly move from one side to the other.

Sherlock breathes with difficulty, trying to imitate the movements of his older brother. Mycroft can only be impressed by his determination not to surrender and keep going, to what will clearly be a defeat.

Mycroft, in an agile movement, manages to disarm the child, causing him to fall into the sand. "Surrender, pirate!"

"No!" Sherlock screams higher than usual.

Mycroft laughs, placing his sword on the boy's chest. "Say goodbye pirate!, The princess will be mine." He raises his hand with the sword, to wield it theatrically on the child, but is stopped by two pairs of hands clinging to his sides, tickling him.

The sword falls from his hands, and his body twists. He falls, laughing, into the sand.

Sherlock quickly climbs on top of him, the sword pointed at his chest. "Surrender, villain!"

Mycroft raises his hands in surrender. "You've won, pirate."

"Ah, ah, ah," Sherlock says, cocking his head and wagging his finger. "Attack!" the boy cries, and Ann and Molly fling themselves at Mycroft, tickling him.

Mycroft's laughter mixes with the sound of the voices at his side.

Sherlock's red face greets him, and in that instant Mycroft realizes that he’s closed his eyes. He gets up quickly, grabbing Molly and spinning her through the air for a few seconds until he lays her gently on the sand.

Sherlock looks at him impatiently, so Mycroft runs to him, chasing him. He takes his little brother in his arms and despite the screams and laughter manages to dunk him in the surf.

Sherlock’s curls almost completed cover his face, his blue eyes shine with mischief, and Mycroft is unable to stop smiling at the joy evident in the face of this little boy.

Mycroft laughs before cold water hits his face. And that's when the war in the water begins.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 

"That was very funny." Molly laughs as Ann dries her hair with a pink towel.

"Very funny." Ann assures her smiling tenderly, making sure the girl is as dry as possible.

"It's time to leave," Mycroft says. "It's getting late."

Sherlock looks like a fish out of water. His lips tremble slightly and his hands cling to the large towel on his shoulders.

Ann nods, her hands caressing Molly's hair. She kisses her cheek, and hugs her tightly. "See you, little princess."

Molly smiles goodbye, sinking into her embrace. "Goodbye, Ann."

Sherlock is the next to embrace her. "It was fun!, We have to play again."

Ann laughs, ruffling his curly hair. "We will!"

Sherlock opens his arms and Molly huddles next to him, both wrapped in the oversized towel.

Mycroft looks at the ground, bites his lip and stands in front of Ann.

"Thank you." is the first thing that comes out of his lips, diverting his gaze towards the children.

She understands. It's a thank you for making me appreciate what was in front of my eyes. Thank you for making this day special.

Ann quickly hugs him. Mycroft's heart leaps from his chest like a madman.

"See you soon, Montecristo."

"See you soon, Anthea." He says goodbye without stopping to look back while she walks away.

 


 

"I can bathe myself." Sherlock moans while sitting in the tub. Next to him, his brother massages his hair, adding more shampoo.

"Mummy would hate your curls to be full of sand and salt water," he says by way of explanation.

The child moans again before speaking again. "Ann is very funny."

Sherlock gives him a look of complicity. "It was a good plan to invite her to play."

Mycroft is impressed with the child's abilities.

Sherlock shrugs. "I’m only six, but I realize many things."

Mycroft's lips close and open quickly, then he lets out an amused laugh. "We're going to dry you, planner."


 

 

His mother kisses him on the cheek, as he passes by her. There is a story in her hands and two little ones lying on a bed, both waiting for her impatiently.

Mycroft stops her. Violet looks at him with a question on her face.

"Time of union between brothers." He says with a shrug.

Mycroft takes the story from his mother's hands, without looking at her face. But he's sure that she's smiling broadly.

Violet watches in wonder as the fourteen-year-old boy sits between the two children and reads loudly, imitating a voice as a novelist. "Long ago in a distant kingdom...”

She smiles, closing the door. Today, her eldest son definitely learned something important at the hand of two naughty children.


 

Months later:

A knock sounds at his door; His eyes open slowly, adjusting to the light.

"Myc."

Another knock.

"Myc!"

Third knock.

"Myc!"

"Go away!" he says, closing his eyes and resuming his sleeping position again.

"Mycroft..." Sherlock’s voice is querulous. He is upset.

Well, let him be, he will go, thinks Mycroft to himself.

 "Myc!" The child whines. "Mummy can't get us sweets, Dad is at the publisher’s again, and Molly's dad has to work."

Mycroft writhes on the silk sheets.

"Myc." A knock on his door. "Please?".

Mycroft moans. He hears the incessant hiss and the drag of his brother's feet from one side to the other in front of his door.

Mycroft gets up to find Sherlock dressed as a pirate, with a patch on his eye and a smile on his lips. His fingers drum on his thigh, and Mycroft rolls his eyes at his nervous gesture.

"Will you come or not?"

"I'm considering it." Mycroft replies, a little hesitantly.

The frown on Sherlock’s face indicates that this isn't an answer that he considers to be valid as an explanation, not as far as he's concerned.

The drumming continues. And Mycroft sighs.

"If you're not ready in fifteen minutes, you'll stay." Mycroft says, closing the door behind him.

He listens to the cry of euphoria that his brother throws, smiling.


 

Mycroft goes down stairs dressed in a white shirt, black jacket, dark jeans and a pair of dark slippers.

Sherlock looks at him, frowning. "What’s are your disguise?"

"A person who doesn't believe in the mundane traditions that after many years continue to take over the city."

His mother laughs. "That, or as a teenager who hates Halloween."

Victor, whom Mycroft notices for the first time, chuckles. He’s dressed in a denim suit, obviously made by his mother, if the stitches on his shirt are an indication.

Mycroft moans. This will be a long night.

That's when everything happens in slow motion. The moment when Mycroft thinks that everything in his brother’s life radically changes.

 The little girl with beautiful eyes descends the stairs, a crown settled in her slightly curly hair, while the pearl dress shimmers in the light as she moves. She looks like a storybook angel.

Violet smiles with unadulterated pride. His mother adores Molly.

Víctor's mouth opens. His cheeks are stained pink. He quickly congratulates her. "You look very pretty, Molly, like a princess."

However, it's Sherlock’s response that takes Mycroft’s breath away.

Sherlock's gaze is fixed on Molly. His eyes flicker with astonishment, changing from a deep blue to a much lighter shade. His mouth opens and closes, and his hands cling to the basket of sweets. His pink cheeks contrast with his shirt.

"Pretty." the boy says as lowers his gaze to the floor, although Mycroft knows that nobody besides him heard the word leave his lips.

Molly smiles excitedly at the attention focused on her.

Mycroft takes her hand. "Come on, princess; trick or trick time!"

Molly nods, following in his footsteps, leaving Sherlock open-mouthed and blushing in their wake.


After the initial surprise, both children run from one house to another. Both holding Mycroft’s hands.

He watches them closely, his body resting on a column with his feet crossed. His pose screams “seriousness.”

"Lost in the dark, James Dean?"

 Her melodious voice greets him, and Mycroft hates how his heart jumps at the sound.

It isn't necessary to turn around; she stops in front of him.

Ann’s dress, this time, is black with horizontal white stripes, short enough to be considered appropriate.

Mycroft's lips contract. "Who?"

"You know! ‘Rebel Without a Cause’!"

Mycroft gestures to her to continue. She shrugs her shoulders. "Iconic actor."

He frowns, reminding her of his adorable younger brother. "I don't get it." He looks indignant.

Ann just laughs, and looks at him from head to toe. If he doesn't know who James Dean is, then his disguise is someone else. She vocalizes her thoughts. "I never imagined that I would find you here. What’s your in disguise?"

The question of the night, apparently.

"According to my Mother, a teenager who hates Halloween."

She laughs, biting her lip. "Wise woman." 

Mycroft agrees; there is no option to challenge that sentence.

"I'm the abnormal line in a society full of normal points," she says before he can comment.

She is different, very different from the classists who attend their meetings and clubs. Very different from the girls who reject him with cynical looks, dressed in Prada. She's a breath of fresh air in a chaotic environment.

He shakes his head. "I’d never view you as a normal point."

That statement gets a blush from the girl.

They talk about trivial things: favorite colors, artists, books, movies, their passions, for what seems like hours until Sherlock’s terrified voice brings them back to reality.

"Myc... Myc... I'm sick." Sherlock says in anguish, moving his hands from one side to the other.

Ann puts her palm to the child's forehead, feeling his temperature.

"I'm very sick," he says again.

"Sherlock, I need more data if I want to create a diagnosis." Mycroft says, as matter of fact.

"My stomach is upset, my heart beats very hard and my face feels very hot."

Mycroft eyebrows are woven together, categorizing the data in order to find a possible trigger for that class of symptoms.

For her part, Ann smiles knowingly.

"Do you want to tell us, what happened? Before these symptoms started?"

"We went to ask for sweets at Mrs. Hudson's house. The lights were off. The door opened, so we went in, and she came out! She was wearing a horrible clown mask!"

"You got scared. "

"I don't scare, Mycroft." Sherlock declares firmly, although his lower lip trembles at the memory.

"I'm sorry, what a fool I am, to think that my six-year-old brother could easily get scared on Halloween!" Mycroft rolls his eyes.

"So..." Ann asks him to continue.

"Molly took my hand, so I wouldn’t be afraid"... His cheeks heated to a much redder tone. "And she kissed me."

"She kissed you?" Mycroft asks in horror.

Sherlock nods, still blushing, pointing at his right cheek.

Ann laughs. "Calm down, overprotective brother, I'm sure she doesn't use her tongue."

Mycroft just looks at her.

Sherlock jumps from one side to the other. He watches Ann, waiting for her response.

Ann sighs. "I totally know what you have, honey."

Sherlock's eyes open wide. "What is it?"

Her mouth opens and with all the seriousness that she possesses at age fourteen, she declares. "You have the ‘L’ disease… the disease of love!"

His face is full of terror, and his lip trembles. He asks resignedly. "Am I going to heal?"

Ann bites her lip, looking at him seriously. "If you're very lucky..." She pauses dramatically. "No."

The boy's face falls, but he asks again.

"Is it contagious?"

"I'll tell you the truth, honey. You probably infected Molly."

He holds his hands to his face, the agony clear in his voice. "What am I going to do, Ann?"

She smiles at the little boy’s anguish. She removes his little hands from his face, so that Sherlock can look at her while she says:

 "You'll have to be a very brave boy, be the best friend Molly can ask for, protect her, help her, be there for her, because she's your girl, Sherlock."

"My girl," His voice is hopeful. "Will that help?"

"Definitely." A kiss is deposited on his forehead. "I promise. Don't worry."

Sherlock's face lights up and he runs towards his friends, totally feeling better.

Mycroft watches as Sherlock's hand clings to Molly’s little hand as if his life depends on it. He smiles at her and she smiles in return.

It's a gesture so simple and so complex at the same time, that it makes Mycroft's own smile spread and his eyes blink with pride.

Ann looks in both directions, biting her lip. "What do you think?"

Turning his attention back to her, he looks at her as if he's trying to figure something out, without speaking. "That was evil. I wish I’d thought of that."

She looks at him with surprise. Then he laughs.

"Someday, he’ll thank me."

Myc shrugs, a smile on his face. "We'll have to wait and see. "


 

It's some time later, during Christmas shopping when Ann’s face appears again before him.

Her hair is covered with a blue cap that matches her scarf. Her black coat clings to her perfectly.

Her nose is red, like her cheeks.

Both of her hands hold colored gift bags.

However, this time, he is the first to say hello. "Good morning, Anthea."

Her smile is heard in her voice. "Hello, stranger, it's been a while."

"Thirty-five days and twenty-two hours." Sherlock says casually.

Horror is written on Mycroft's face as he shakes his head at Sherlock. But his nefarious younger brother continues to plunge him into the sea of humiliation.

Sherlock smiles. "He’s been counting."

Ann hurries to hug the child, feeling the obvious discomfort and desire to kill him radiating from the young man. "Hello, Sherlock! Early Christmas shopping?"

Sherlock nods. "For my parents and my girl." he responds with total naturalness, a shade of red on his cheeks.

Ann laughs, ruffling his curly hair. "You learn fast! I'm proud." she says with a wink.

"Anthea, come on!" A brunette girl shouts from the next street.

Ann waves her hand.

"Merry Christmas, Sherlock." She says, smiling.

She takes a step, bites her lips, and her gaze meets Mycroft’s. "In case I don't see you, Merry Christmas, Mycroft Holmes." she whispers before placing a kiss on his right cheek.

The heat remains, even after she has left. His heart beats very hard against his chest, his stomach flutters, and he knows that his cheeks compete with the nose of that famous reindeer.

Sherlock, at his side, observes every detail.

"She kissed me." Mycroft said, bringing his hand to her cheek.

Sherlock shakes his head. "Calm down, big brother. I'm sure, she didn’t use her tongue."

Mycroft is about to reply, but Sherlock’s mouth opens, just before making one of his first deductions. "Oh Myc, you're sick like me...," Sherlock says in all seriousness. "You have the disease of love."

Mycroft laughs loudly, takes his hand and walks home.

Chapter Text

 

I thought love was only true in fairy tales
Meant for someone else but not for me
Love was out to get me
That's the way it seemed
Disappointment haunted all of my dreams

Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer
Not a trace, of doubt in my mind
I'm in love, and I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her if I tried

Only seven years old.

It's a year later when the seven-year-old boy learns three very different things. Three things that will mark his life.

His name is Sherlock Holmes, he's seven years old, and his best friend's name is Molly Hooper.

He's the most intelligent child of his class at his young age, he knows how to calculate simple formulas and the occasional complex one from the math book written by his mother. He recites verses from eight of Shakespeare's plays and four of Cervantes’.

He names each of the chemical elements without omission, and is able to solve any puzzle (even those with 5000 pieces) in a blink.

He's a lover of reptiles, insects and arthropods; so he’s memorized their names, habitats, and forms of reproduction.

He knows the solar system, its function and other facts as boring, although he has been forgetting them, his older brother has taught him how.

Mycroft calls it erasing, discarding facts that aren't very useful, allowing much more important information to be stored, such as that produced by the bite of African bees. Sherlock has tried to erase, but it still costs him a bit.

However, that doesn't matter much at the moment. What really matters is what he learns that year. Three fundamental things.


 

People in love do silly things.  It's just the first of the things that Sherlock learns that year. All thanks to his brother.

I loved you without my knowing it, and I searched for your memory.

In the empty houses I entered with a lantern to steal your portrait.

But I already knew how you were. Suddenly while you were with me I touched you and my life stopped:

In front of my eyes you were, reigning me, and queens.

Like fire in the woods, fire is your kingdom.

The audience applauds animatedly while the man with beautiful blue eyes descends from the stage.

His smile is soft, gentle, full of something that the little boy can't identify.

This smile deepens when he walks towards the woman at the back of the store with flowers in his hands. Her eyes are a nice shade of coffee; her hair is chocolate with lighter strands. Her face is friendly and comfortable. She's pretty. As pretty as Molly, but much older.

The man smiles at her, and she smiles in return. Her look is bright, as bright as the sky full of stars when she takes the bouquet of red roses, blue tulips and white lilies.

He hugs her and she kisses him, but it's not one of the fairytale kisses that Molly likes. Her lips move faster, and the kiss lasts longer.

Sherlock shakes his head in disgust at the scene. He walks, losing himself in the big store full of books, antiques and decorations of babies with bows and pink and red hearts.

He keeps walking. His eyes stop at the large amount of flowers located on the right side of the store - roses, lilies, tulips, daisies, forget-me-nots and others that he is sure to have seen in his mother's garden, but his mind does not seem to evoke their names.

Sherlock frowns. He has never seen so many different kinds of flowers and colors before.

Instinctively, his hand touches a pink petal of the nearest rose. His mouth opens at the petal’s soft texture and delicious aroma.

"And here I thought boys liked blue, not pink."

Sherlock drops his hand quickly, afraid of the repercussions he might have to face. He turns around to meet the woman with beautiful eyes. The woman who likes long kisses.

The same woman smiles at him and Sherlock feels his cheeks burn. He smiles shyly, just looking at her, and then back at the flower.

“You know, girls like it when you give them flowers. You usually get a kiss as a reward." She smiles humourously at his even redder cheeks. "That's what Valentine’s is about,” she says, shaking his black curls and walking back to the blue-eyed man.


 

Sherlock finds Mycroft standing in front of two large shelves replete with volumes of history and economics.

"What's Valentines?" Sherlock asks.

His brother gives him a look of clear annoyance, but still he responds.

"A day where boys buy a bunch of chocolate and give it to girls who never eat it. They also buy girls flowers so they feel special, but they die in a few days."

"Then why are there so many red hearts out there?" he asks, pointing out the decorations.

The shoulders of the elder Holmes shrink. He passes the pages of contemporary history that he has in his hands, sighs and speaks again. "Because it's supposed to be about love. "

Sherlock frowns, shaking his head. "I don't know what that means."

"It’s a feeling." Mycroft’s eyes move animatedly through the paragraphs of the book, only looking up when he hears Maggie's voice. She’s Anthea's friend, walking through the store distributing pamphlets. His heart jumps, looking for the brunette, but disappointment presents itself when he realizes that Ann isn't anywhere near.

Sherlock makes an annoying sound, indicating his presence. "Is a feeling."

At Sherlock's look of doubt, Mycroft continues. "Similar to affection, but stronger towards another person, animal or thing."

Sherlock wants to continue exploring the world of feelings discovered when Maggie speaks.

"Hi!" She gives Mycroft a knowing smile. "You're Anthea's friend. I saw you at Christmas," She declares casually.

Mycroft nods.

"We're organizing a party at Danny's house, not far from here." She waves her hands, handing him one of the pamphlets she was giving out earlier. The eldest of the brothers takes it, insecure, his eyes lost in the pink letters and the hearts that adorn the page. He frowns.

However, Maggie continues talking. "You know, to celebrate Valentine's Day! You're invited, if you want to go."

Mycroft doesn't look very convinced. The meetings he’s attended are no more than family meetings, debates and round tables to discuss English, French, literature and the central economic points of each country. He doubts they can be called parties.

"Think about it! It’ll be fun," the girl says, smiling again. "No one should be alone on Valentine's Day, and Anthea will be there."

The heart of the fifteen-year-old boy is shaken by the mention of the girl who goes through his dreams daily. "I..." Mycroft begins, only to be interrupted by the seven-year terror that stands at his side.

"St. Valentine’s is a day where boys buy a bunch of chocolate and give it to...”

Mycroft opens his eyes, remembering his own words. He hurries to silence his brother, placing his hand over the boy’s mouth.

"I'll be there."

Sherlock looks at him, perplexed - as perplexed as a child of his age can be.

She smiles, nods and leaves, laughing.

"But you said..." Sherlock confronts him, not understanding.

 Mycroft sighs and runs one of his hands through his perfectly-combed hair. "I know what I said. But...” There is a pause, his hand clinging to the pamphlet of hearts. "I changed my mind. "

Sherlock's eyebrows are woven together. "Because of Anthea?"

Mycroft's face screams terror. Quickly he shakes his head in denial. "What? No, of course not!"

The look his brother is giving him tells Mycroft that Sherlock knows he's lying. Mycroft snorts. He’s completely transparent; transparent enough to be read by his little brother.

"Myc!" Sherlock's scowl is replaced by a big smile.  "You should get her a flower that doesn't die," he suggests.

The laughter escaping from Mycroft's mouth is loud enough to make Sherlock laugh.


 

Mycroft’s hands tremble slightly as he arranges his dark blue long-sleeved shirt. His hair is still intact. He appreciates that.

"Someone is impatient," Sherlock jokes by his side, putting his seat belt on in the back seat.

Mycroft rolls his eyes. "I'll take you home, and then I'll leave. Be a good boy and go to sleep quickly."

"NO!" Sherlock crosses his arms and pouts. "Let me go with you, I’ll behave Myc, please!" he says, intensifying his doggie look ten times over.

"I can't take you Sherlock, it's a party for adults."

"Adults," the boy whispers softly. "Sure!"

Mycroft doesn't respond. He puts the keys in his father's Mercedes ignition and starts driving responsibly.

"I can help you... with the girls... with Ann..."

Mycroft laughs. "Of course, as if I didn't think of my little brother, the seven-year-old conquistador, could help me."

Sherlock rolls his eyes at the comment. "I'm much cuter than you."

Myc looks at him, confused. "What did you say?"

"I haven't said anything! I'm sitting here, quietly," Sherlock adds, feigning innocence.

Silence fills the rest of the way, for the older brother’s peace of mind.


 

There’s a giggle that’s followed by a "You’re nervous!"

"Thanks for that, Captain Obvious."

"Let me go with you, Myc. You can still go to the party if you follow that path." Sherlock says, pointing to the sign on his right side.

Mycroft frowns. His gaze rests on the mirror while he reads his brother’s expression. As usual, his fingers are drumming on the seams of his pants, his teeth bite his lower lip and his eyes shine with curiosity.

"Why are you so interested in going to the party with me?" Mycroft asks. "The truth. "

Sherlock gives him one of those looks that sneaks into the depths of his chest.

"I never see you when you're at home." His voice changes, gets lower. "You're always in the library or in your reading club."

Mycroft's heart breaks. He would certainly have preferred the lie, which he knew his brother could say. He opens his mouth to speak, but finds himself speechless.

"Seven years," Mycroft says. "It's a good age to go to your first party."

Sherlock's laugh is all the answer he needs.


 

“You know what you have to do, right?"

"Get drunk and don't hook up with ugly girls," Sherlock replies as an expert on the matter.

The grimace on Mycroft's face speaks for itself. "What? Where did you learn that? Do you even know what that means?"

Sherlock shrugs indifferently. "A guy told someone at the store. He seemed to know about it."

Mycroft shakes his head, not believing his luck. He takes a deep breath, trying not to laugh at his little brother’s innocence.

"You'll stay close to me at all times. We'll look for Ann, we'll greet her and that will be it," Mycroft explains slowly. "You have an hour to sleep."

Sherlock nods, following in the footsteps of his older brother.


 

It takes them ten minutes to find her.

She is dancing on the dance floor. She has the grace of an angel combined with a professional dancer. Her movements are precise, natural.

Mycroft finds that he can't look away. He doesn't want to. Unfortunately, that decision dies with his brother's comment.

"Your face is all red," Sherlock chuckles.

Mycroft breathes deeply, as if that could erase the effect Ann has on his heart, particularly on his pink-tinted cheeks.

Automatically his hands move to his hair. He steps back and turns around.

Until he hears his brother's voice over the music.

"Hello Ann!" he hears Sherlock shout. "Happy Valentines Day!"

Mycroft could literally die at that moment. He's got no choice but to be brave and turn back to them.

Ann walks towards them and gives him a genuine smile.

Beside him, Sherlock smiles, amused.

Mycroft gives him a look of few friends. "I liked the time when you were shy and not this extroverted energy ball better."

Sherlock has the audacity to laugh. "I saw my opportunity and I took advantage of it."

"Hi Sherlock." Ann ruffles his hair fondly. Her smile deepens when his gaze stops at the eldest of the brothers. "Happy Valentines Day."

"Hi Anthea," says Mycroft. "Pretty party, very..." His eyes are lost in the teenagers drinking non-stop by his side. "Educational."

Ann laughs and takes his hand.

The contact creates an electric current that runs through his body. It’s incredible.

"We're going to find you something to drink."


 

"Why are you here?" a tall boy asks with a cigar in his hand.  "Are you his wingman or something?" He beckons to Mycroft, who chatters animatedly in the kitchen with Ann.

"Nuh-huh," Sherlock says, cocking his head and wagging his finger "I don't know what that means, but I'm not. I'm his brother. "

"Good," the guy agrees. "You want to play with us?"

Sherlock nods.

And this is how the seven-year-old ends up learning how to play ping-pong at his first adult party.


 

Thirty minutes later

Mycroft is sure that nothing can go wrong at this party as he talks animatedly with Ann. That, maybe, was his first mistake.

Especially when he has the seven-year-old terror with him. A bad idea.

So, when the little boy runs, terrified, towards him, he's not prepared to receive a strong blow to his right eye.

Definitely not.

His skin screams, he can feel the dark hematoma about to appear when the second blow hits his right cheekbone, taking him to the ground.

Anthea screams at his side, as does Sherlock.

He opens his eyes to meet his aggressor. He's a tall, robust boy. Big. Strong. A complete giant.

He gets up with his pride bruised. His hand closes in a fist that almost hits the boy's chest. Keyword - almost.

The giant dodges and throws the third blow.

"I can't hit small children!" the giant yells, his anger directed at Sherlock. "I would be more careful the next time I make fun of someone's intelligence!"

And with that, the giant is gone.

Mycroft scolds Sherlock with a look. Of course that would happen.

Later he finds out that his brother defeated the giant in three ping-pong games.

The giant wanted to attack the child, and as usual Sherlock's sharp tongue came out in his defense, embarrassing the giant, earning a room full of laughter and applause.

At least that worked out well.


 

It's ten minutes later when they are both alone in the bathroom; he with an incredibly large buise on the right side of his face, she with a first-aid kit in her hand, when he realizes how much he likes this girl.

Ann is nice, intelligent and completely different from the girls he knows. Maybe that's what attracts her even more.

Her hands are soft against his skin, as she disinfects the area before applying an ice pack. Something to reduce the swelling.

"I'm so sorry, Myc," she apologizes, her hand stroking the healthy side of his face.

"It's okay. It doesn't hurt."

Before her incredulous look, he adds "It doesn't hurt so much."

The small smile pulling the corners of her lips captivates him.

His voice fades, he can no longer speak. Focussing his eyes on hers, he can see the small brown spots in them and he wonders if everything is as beautiful as her eyes are.

And in a bold move, at eleven o'clock at night, on a Friday, in a confined bathroom, Mycroft Holmes kisses his first kiss.

It's gentle, soft, like the brush of a petal on skin.

Faint.

But the gesture has his heart beating a thousand times over. When he opens his eyes, she's as flushed as he is. For the first time he looks a bit worried, and glances down at her.

"It's okay,” she assures him, taking his hand."I mean, it was more than okay. Do it again... it felt good."

He smiles, leaning in to her again.


 

The next day

Violet casually crosses the hall when the voices of her children stop her.

"But I know that game, it's very old," Sherlock replies with his arms crossed over his chest. "I'm wiser than you think."

Something about a game, Violet imagines.

Myc laughs, and they have a discussion for a couple of minutes about some board games.

"Forgive me, fossil ancestor, witness of the dinosaurs, son of Tutankhamun," Myc grins, unbearably victorious. It wouldn’t be Mycroft without the arrogant and childish attitude.

Sherlock smiles, taking one of the games in his hands.

"Myc, I already understand what love is."

Mycroft’s voice is confused. "You do?"

"Yes!" Sherlock declares with efficiency. "It's when you want a person to be happy, and you want to protect her. And you go to parties you don't like to see that person, and you do silly things like trying to hit a taller, stronger, bigger guy than you. "

Something must be showing on the face of her eldest son, because Sherlock asks, insecure: "Did I say something wrong?"

"No," Myc assures him. "You’ve covered the essence of love."

Violet smiles to herself, following her path along the hall. "You learn fast, my little caveman of love."


 

There are words that can really hurt.

That is the second thing Sherlock learns this year.

James Robert tends to make fun of children younger than him – timid ones, those who don't share his skin color, those who wear glasses - in general, everyone that he finds different.

Until a couple of years ago, Sherlock Holmes shrugged his shoulders with indifference at the boy's cunning ridicule. He looked at James out of the corner of his eye and walked past without paying attention.

Until Molly Hooper appeared.

With her bright brown eyes, her dress of bees that fly around her when she spins around and around in circles, and her bows of colors.

His stomach tightens when he sees her smile. She has the most beautiful smile that exists in the world, and she's pretty too - she has really long brown hair, like the princesses in the movies he watches at her house.

He likes her a lot. She's nice and cute, and is the best assistant in his experiments.

She's the best person he has met in his life, and is likely to be the best person he will ever meet. He may be seven years old, but he's sure of that. Sherlock knows from the look that Miss Mills gives Molly that she thinks that, too.

Plus, she has a notebook. It's filled with drawings of cats. Her cats are cute. Really cute.

It's amazing. He enjoys watching her draw and colour her many pictures. Sometimes he helps her, but his drawings aren’t the best, so he throws down the crayon in frustration and feels like he wants to cry because he just ruined her good notebook with his yucky drawing. But she assures him, with a smile, that his drawing is simply perfect.

She always smiles for him. She's kind to him.

She's kind to children like James Robert, who treat her badly.

She's kind all the time, even when she is sad. Even if that happens daily. Even if it ends up being totally his fault.

 


 

It starts one morning. The class period has started. Miss Mills sits cross-legged in her chair, listening attentively to the girl reading out loud in front of the whole room.

Molly’s cheeks are red, and Sherlock sinks into his seat, ignoring the laughter around him.

"The sto -ry be –gins" Molly stutters. "Becau"… the words are forced through her lips.  "Because. "

"Beca Beca Because -" James makes fun of from his seat, laughing at the girl’s stuttering. Sherlock frowns in his direction.

James’s companions at his side burst into laughter.

Miss Mills reprimands him, and he stays quiet for a couple of minutes until the next stuttered word comes out of the girl's lips, and it begins again.

His father says that he shouldn’t hate his companions. Hatred is a strong feeling that destroys the hearts of people, little by little. Those children who make fun of him or Molly are still so small they don't understand the diversity of the world and aren't able to recognize and accept different people.

His father doesn't say it, but Sherlock knows.

They aren't able to recognize and accept different people. Rare people like him.

But this is just the begining.

It doesn't take long for him to realise what the speaking out loud does to her.

She smiles at him, but he can clearly see it.

Her lip trembles, and her eyes fill with tears.

But she's strong and brave, like the princesses in her stories. Even braver, because they didn't face offenders on a daily basis, nor did they have their hair pulled or their hairstyle damaged.

A lot of the other kids pick on her for being different (the shyness and stuttering) and it makes him really upset, because there's no need to be a big meanie to Molly for no reason! James Robert does that. He's a big meanie to Molly, even if he denies it when the teacher talks to him. So sherlock tries to stand up for her, but it's pretty hard to do.

And even when he can't be brave for her, she does it for him. She defends him from James and his thugs.


They make fun of her stuttering almost daily.

However, she doesn't cry when she sits in the playground or when she leaves for the bathroom.

She just smiles, and laughs at Victor's bad jokes.

She takes Sherlock's hand and creates strange patterns on his palm, sometimes of animals and other things at other times.

He smiles without daring to stop looking at her.

Sherlock listens to Miss Mills say that losing her mother being so young has left a mark on her. He’s tried to look for the brand, but until now he hasn’t found it.

He hears that Molly's mother went to heaven. That's why she lives with her father.

Anthea, who’s been her babysitter for three weeks, says that people who go to heaven become stars. He doesn't know if it's true. He doesn't want to ask Mycroft. He’s searched the books, but hasn’t found an answer.

He hopes so. Let Molly's mother be a bright star at night, to take care of her when she's afraid and he can't be there.


There are words that can really hurt her. But she's his girl. So he’ll do everything to protect her from them.

Molly and Sherlock lay in bed. She lays next to him, drifting away into sleep. He’s falling asleep as well.

"I really like you, Sherlock.," she says hazily.

He smiles openly, his cheeks dyed pink. "Me too. You're my best friend."

Her face is full of sadness when she says "Don't leave me. Everyone leaves me."

His eyes open, just like his mouth. He would never leave her. Never. "I won't leave you!"

Her eyes shine. And his face becomes even redder because of it. "Promise?"

Sherlock says with a tiny smile "Promise."

Yes, he will do everything to protect her. That is a promise.


 

Snow White's kisses aren't the only magical kisses.

This is the third thing he learns, although it can be said to be the most important; although his brain took years to accept it.

"At that moment a prince appeared on the back of a spirited steed, and when he contemplated the beautiful young girl he fell madly in love with her, wanted to kiss her, when suddenly, Snow White came back to life! Because the kiss of love that he had given her broke the spell of the evil queen. Snow White married the prince and expelled the cruel queen, and they all lived happily ever after... the end." Mycroft says with a sideways smile.

"I really like this story." Molly smiles, settling herself between the colored blankets. Next to her, Sherlock's eyes are almost closed.

"I know, I've read it to you a thousand times!" the eldest of the brothers complains. Reading fairy tales is something he does for the girl with the beautiful brown eyes. He knows for a fact that his brother isn't fond of this kind of story, but he listens attentively without complaining, watching the smile on Molly's face.

Both are usually asleep before he can finish the story. However, it seems that this is not one of those nights.

"Are kisses magical?" Molly asks innocently, waiting for her answer.

Mycroft sighs. He's not the right person for these types of questions. "I guess some are."

"Why only some?" This time it's Sherlock who asks.

Mycroft shrugs. Great! Two naughty children with active curiosity and not wanting to sleep. He answers honestly. "I'm not sure."

The look that his brother is giving him is one of complete study. "Why not? Are not your kisses magical?"

"Hey…”

"Andrew says all his kisses are magical. Why aren’t yours?"

Mycroft laughs. His cousin is usually a bit talkative when it comes to revealing his conquests. "Andrew has kissed many girls, he has a lot of experience."

Sherlock snorts. "And you haven’t been kissed?"

Mycroft answers sharply. "It’s different. "

"Why?" Sherlock inquires, wide awake.

Mycroft swallows. How did he get into this situation again? Oh yeah. He offered to read Snow White again so that both children could sleep. Bad idea. "It's a topic that is not talked about with children."

Sherlock looks at him with resignation. He knows Mycroft well enough to know that he wouldn’t give his arm to twist if he didn’t want to talk about it.

"But I still don’t understand why?"

"Why what, Molly?" Mycroft asks.

Her face is full of curiosity. "Why are some kisses magical and others not?"

"I suppose it depends on the person. In this world, each person must find somoene who makes their heart beat very fast, so when he looks at her she feels that she wants to spend the rest of her life with him and that she loves her as much as he wants to. Therefore when they kiss, those kisses will be magical, as well as those of Snow White and her Prince. Do you understand?"

The little girl nods, with a smile on her lips. She gets up and hugs the eldest of the brothers.

"I hope all your kisses are magical, Myc."

Oh. They’ve already done it. It's all he can think.


 

Two days later

Sherlock’s breathing is agitated as he takes short steps, tightens his wooden sword hard while hiding behind the tree of his house. "You can do this, don't be afraid," he says to himself.

He breathes deeply, grabs his sword and runs to the wooden fort. "Villain, it's time to deliver the princess!"

Victor lets out a laugh, shaking his head. His sword rises towards the sky. "The kingdom is mine!"

Sherlock takes a step, wields his sword and waits for his opponent.

Victor looks him up and down. A smile crosses his lips. And run towards his rival.

The sound of the swords is the only thing heard in the garden, along with hurried footsteps that are soon joined by cries infuriated by the battle.

"No!" shouts the raven, falling to the defeated ground. His sword too far from him.

Victor raises his hands in triumph. "You can never beat me!" he shouts, exhilarated.

But that doesn’t last long. His sword quickly falls to the ground. The redhead turns with surprise to meet the eyes of the princess looking at him triumphantly. A sword now points to his chest. "You're dead, villain!"

Sherlock gets up to look at Molly. She looks at him and smiles.

"No, Molly!" Victor complains, visibly angry. "You are my prisoner, you can't move."

"I've broken loose and I want to save Sherlock!" she crosses her arms, pouting.

Víctor yells at her. "You can't!"

Molly stamps her foot. "I can! "

"No, you can't, you're the prisoner!" Victor complains, pouting.

"I'm my own woman, I don't need to be saved!" Molly says with a certainty that she's laughing at Ann. "Tell him, Ann," she says, directing her gaze to the older girl.

Oh boy! This is what she gets for letting seven-year-old girls watch feminist films.

Ann sighs, gets up from the chair, leaving her version of Little Women on the table next to her and heads to the children.

"She can't kill me, Ann, that's cheating," Victor declares, annoyed. "Only Sherlock can do it."

Ann rolls her eyes. "You tied the prisoner wrong and she escaped." She shrugs. "That gives her the right to save whoever she wants, Vic."

Victor's lower lip blinks. His foot kicks the grass until he nods.

Ann hugs him. "We can always come up with a plan to get revenge on the princess, muahaha," she laughs, making the boy laugh and nod enthusiastically.

"You came to rescue me," Sherlock says.

Molly smiles down at him and Sherlock smiles right back. Her eyes are big and warm and full of feelings for him.

"I always will", he replies softly. He puts his hand on his chest as if it were a promise. His face falls and he looks down. "I'm sorry I didn't save you."

"It's okay," she laughs. "You also deserved to be saved."

She didn't imagine at that moment how much. Nor how many times would she be the person who would come to save him.

But she would. Many times.


 

It’s two weeks later when the youngest of Holmes boys knows exactly whether kisses are magical or not.

All thanks to a game.

All he can see is Molly falling onto the lawn of the garden. Automatically a scream escapes his lips and his feet run towards her.

Concern crosses his features, as his hand gently brushes her cheek.

"Oh no, something terrible has happened, pirate!" Ann's voice is low by his side. "The princess has been poisoned! Yellowbeard has got revenge for the kingdom."

Sherlock's eyes open in surprise. His lips come together in a thin line.

"Don't worry, Redbeard, I'll find the villain and make him pay for his crimes."

Sherlock's eyes fill with unshed tears. Ann looks at him with her chest tight. The child's concern is genuine; she should tell him that the game is over. She hates seeing Sherlock so emotional.

She is interrupted by Mycroft's voice. "The solution is obvious, little brother."

Sherlocks’s mind turns. He remembers all the fairy tales he knows. In every one, the princess is cured with a kiss of love.

Maybe the same thing can happen with Molly.

Sherlock takes a deep breath. His eyes look at Molly with what Ann believes is determination. He’s got the answer.

Mycroft winks at her and she smiles.

"A kiss." Sherlock whispers.

"A kiss of true love that can break any curse, however powerful it may be," Ann assures him without taking her eyes off the scene.

Sherlock bites his lips. His thumb gently strokes the cheek of his best friend, his playmate and his girl again.

He feels his own cheeks redden. His heart beats very hard against his chest, and his hands sweat a little. He breathes twice before closing his eyes and leaning down and gently touching Molly's lips with his.

His heart beats even stronger; his stomach is spinning and his lips feel funny.

When he turns away and opens his eyes, he's greeted with a smile that illuminates the entire garden.

A pair of beautiful brown eyes look at him, shining.

Molly woke up. His kiss has worked, thinks Sherlock, smiling.

Ann smiles, tenderly placing a hand on her heart, At her side Mycroft smiles, interlacing her fingers with Ann's.

Molly sits on the grass. her hands embrace Sherlock fondly. "Thanks for saving me."

Sherlock swallows. "I'm always going to save you Molly. Always."

That's just the third thing he will learn that will mark his life forever.

Chapter Text

sherlock & molly

 

I invite you to look the image created by my friend Ursumar for this chapter. Just click on the image icon. 


 

Five: The birthday girl and the lonely babysitter


 

I want to see you.

 The words sneak into her mind, while a silly smile draws across her face. Anthea sighs, snuggling even deeper into the large cream sofa.

The sound of the TV ads resonate, but she can't focus on anything else.

Except for five simple words. Pronounced by a boy not so simple.

Mycroft Holmes, the last time he spoke on the phone with her.

Ann laughs foolishly, thinking of the boy with beautiful eyes and a deep voice.

They have shared four kisses and two hugs, but it feels like more has happened.

Much more. When you take into account their deep conversations, their shared letters and their longing looks.

Distance can do that.

She sighs and looks at the wall clock. It's fifteen minutes past eleven at night when it happens - a scream, accompanied by a sob, fills the room.

 "Molly!"

Her feet move quickly as she jumps off the couch, runs down the stairs and opens the door to the bedroom.

Her words are an unintelligible whisper. The little girl trembles as her hands cling tightly to the princess covers that adorn the bed. Her eyes are closed.

When Ann approaches the bed, gently touching Molly's hair, she's a sweaty mess.

Her hands tenderly caress the the girl’s sides. "It's okay, honey. Wake up, Molls."

She keeps shaking the girl. Her eyes flicker a couple of times before opening.

Ann swallows hard, grieved by all the emotions she reads in Molly's eyes.

"You're fine, Hon. It was just a nightmare."

Molly looks at her - one, two, three times - then buries her face in Ann's neck and sobs.

"I just want my mummy!" Molly says, sobbing louder than ever.

Ann's heart breaks as the little girl curls up like a ball into her chest and cries.

She cries as if she’s lost something precious. Something she can't get back.

Then Ann finds herself crying, because she understands exactly that kind of pain.

Ann feels devastated. Heartbroken and angry beyond belief about what Molly missed out for no reason with her mum.

"It's okay, baby. You're good," Ann says gently as she rocks and shushes Molly's crying.

Molly sniffs and looks up at Ann, her face and eyes red. "You p-promise?" Her voice quivers inconsolably.

Ann tightens her jaw to stop hermself from breaking down and slowly nodds her head. "Yeah, kid, I promise. You don't have to be sad, because your mum is always with you. She's always here for you even if you can’t see her. She loves you so much."

Molly exhales a shaky breath and leans back into Ann's chest. "Thank you, Ann," she whispers, her broken heart healing slightly.

Ann kisses her hair once more. "Of course."

A couple of minutes pass before the tears end. Ann kisses Molly’s hair and takes her hand in hers. "Come on, I want to show you something."

Molly's grip tightens on her hand. Ann can feel her fear running through her veins. "It's okay, Molly, I promise," she says, lifting the girl up. She automatically hugs Ann tightly.

Ann hums all the way to the garden. Molly's breathing is shallower; as is the beating of her heart. She’s calmer.

That’s good, Ann thinks.

Molly's eyes are wide open when she sees the moon's glow on the garden. The stars look like luminous points painted on a clear sky.

"See that?" Ann asks, pointing to each star in the sky.

Molly nods. They both sit on the swing that her father recently installed.

"Even though everything is dark, they appear to illuminate the sky, to let us know that although things look bad, dark and sad, there's always a light on the road, Molls."

Ann smiles, tracing her fingers over the strands of brown hair belonging to the girl she sits next to. "And the best part is that every star has a story."

"They do?" Molly asks in amazement.

Ann laughs. "Sure! That one over there?" she says as she points to one of the biggest stars in the sky, just to the left of the moon. "That’s Mrs. Walters. She was a very good cook at the restaurant where my mother worked. She cooked the most delicious dishes, Molls. Everyone loved her desserts."

"What happened?" Molly ventures. "How did she become a star?"

"Well, what happens to us all, Molls. She became an old lady. She lived a full life, and she went to heaven to take care of us, to light up the sky. From there, she prepares the most delicious dishes for the other stars."

Molly smiles, then asks "And what's there?"

"Oh, that's Mr. Edwards, the best-known carpenter in all of London."

Molly's smile is even greater as she listens to the story of each star.

She's almost asleep when she asks "Is your sister also a star?"

Ann gasps, surprised. Her heart skips a beat. Of all the questions that could escape from Molly’s lips, that’s one Ann didn't expect.

"How…”

"I heard you mention her the other night when you were talking to Daddy."

Ann gives her a look full of many things that Molly can't recognize.

Then she nods, smiling sadly. "She's my official caregiver from heaven."

"How do you know?"

A tear slips down her cheek when she responds. "It's the smallest star in the sky, that one over there."

Another tear is about to fall, but is stopped by Molly's little finger. Her hands cling to Ann's face. Ann sighs. She can marvel with her brown eyes, those eyes that remind her of other brown eyes, which are no longer here.

"Don't worry, Ann, you don't have to be sad, because your sister is always with you. She's always there for you. Even if you can’t see her, she loves you so much."

Ann hugs Molly and smiles at her words. She deposits a kiss on Molly's head. "I love you, honey bee."

"And I love you, queen bee."


 

Ann’s books are scattered on the bed; tasks and essays with which she has to catch up.

Later, she will do that.

Later. When her head isn't spinning.

The smile leaves her lips. And the perfume of the rose rose in her hands disappears from her senses.

She laughs.

NO! That won’t happen for a while.

She shakes her head, smiling.

Lets her hands feel the softness of the rose’s petals.

Her smile grows as her gaze rests on the note that the rose brought.

The perfect calligraphy with simple writing. All human wisdom is contained in these words: wait and hope.

Of course. 

She thinks again, smiling at the words of the Count of Monte Cristo. She places the rose on the bed, spins around, laughing, and turns on the radio. Turns up the volume when the chords start playing.

And I'd give up forever to touch you
'Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now

"Ann!"

The little voice bellows as she sways from side to side while continuing to sing.

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
And sooner or later it's over
I just don't wanna miss you tonight

"Ann!"

Again she hears her name, but doesn't dare to open her eyes.

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's meant to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

"Ann!" Sherlock shouts at the top of his lungs, earning her attention.

Ann is startled. Her cheeks are tarnished pink, and the naughty boy has the audacity to look amused.

"Sherlock!" Ann hurries to lower the volume of the music. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay?" she says as she inspects him. His clothes are slightly sweaty, like his hair. His curls stick to his face, which is flushed. That's weird. Even more strange is the fact that Sherlock is here. It's the first time the child has stepped foot in her house.

"Sherlock, is everything okay?"

The brunette boy smiles and nods, observing every detail of her room with attention.

His eyes flicker with surprise when they stop at the rose on the bed. A knowing smile plays on his lips, but it fades very quickly when he frowns.

"I told him it had to be artificial." He speaks as if that phrase is a sufficient enough response for her, then crosses his arms.

Ann gives him a look. "It's four o'clock on a Thursday afternoon," she says. "You should be in your violin class with Mr. Hamilton, whose house is in the opposite direction."

Sherlock doesn't respond, too absorbed at looking at her collection of books and music.

"Who brought you here?"

Another beat of silence.

"Sherlock."

He turns around, and Ann can see that he looks slightly embarrassed.

Oh no! This will be bad.

"I skipped Mr. H.'s class."

Ann's eyes open comically. "You what?"

"I skipped” ...

She dismisses his words with a wave of hands. "I got that! The question is: why, and how did you get here?"

He frowns. "It's obvious." In the absence of her response, he continues. "I calculated the time it takes you to get to Molly's house, taking a detour from 5th Street. I remembered that the school you attend is four blocks away from that street, so you add more time, more steps and numbers. Street, and” -

Ann can feel a headache about to begin. She runs her hands over her face. "Sherlock," she scolds. "You walked sixteen blocks to get here!" She takes a breath. "Alone!"

"Actually, it was nineteen, I had to detour at” -

"Are you listening to yourself?" Her words are strong when they come out.

He opens his mouth and takes a step back.

She sighs, trying to calm down. "You walked nineteen blocks in the opposite direction to your violin teacher's house, alone! Something could have happened to you, honey." Her hand stirs his curly hair when she approaches him. "Everyone will be worried about you."

Sherlock bites his lips and gives her a look she can only recognize as repentance. "Sorry, Ann."

Ann shakes her head, caressesing his hair with tenderness. Naughty boy! "Don't do it again, Sherlock, it's dangerous."

He nods.

"I'm going to call your mother, let her know you're here."

Sherlock frowns, whimpering. He wipes his face dramatically and sits on the edge of the bed.

His expression would make her laugh, if she didn't know about all the trouble the little boy will get into. She can already imagine the reprobations of Violet Holmes.


 

Five minutes later, she returns to her room with cookies, a glass of milk and a smile.

Sherlock gives her a questioning look, with his hands in his lap as if he expected to be punished, then lets himself fall on the bed, sighing.

Ann laughs and places the plate with the cookies on the nearby table. She sits next to the child.

She pats the bed and smiles fondly at him. "What’s so important that it made you miss Mr. H's class, which I know from a very good source that you like a lot?"

Sherlock looks at her but doesn't respond, so Ann investigates again. "What made decide you couldn’t wait to see me and walk nineteen blocks?"

Sherlock covers his face with his hands. "Molly."

Ann smiles. This naughty boy would do anything for the tender girl with the cute brown eyes.

"Her seventh birthday is this Saturday, but she won’t go to visit her grandmother like last year, nor the one before."

Oh! Of course! How could she forget that little detail? Michael and Molly will be home. It's the first birthday that Molly will celebrate away from her grandparents. Knowing Molly's father, he will prepare something nice for her, but not beautiful enough for a little girl.

She covers her mouth with a hand. "She’s never had a party before."

Sherlock shakes his head. "She hasn’t."

"It's time to change that, don't you think?"

The smile that Sherlock gives her illuminates the room. He jumps up. His eyes are big, beautiful, when he hugs her tightly. "Thanks, Ann!"

"You like Molly a lot, right?" Ann says with a smirk.

  A blush covers his cheeks. "She’s my girl, Ann."

"Walking nineteen blocks as a seven-year-old! What will you do when you’re twelve, cross London for her?" she murmurs. His expression shows that it's probably something he would do, she realised. "Don't look at me like that! I'm not giving you ideas."

Sherlock shrugs, the smile still playing on his lips.


 

It's a day later when Sherlock runs from one side of the store to the other, his eyes scanning each piece - each plush toy, each flower, each toy. Looking for the perfect gift for Molly.

His mouth opens and closes as his hands touch each object. His head moves as he cataloges each option.

At his side, Violet Holmes looks at him with affection. A smile forms on her lips.

Sherlock, her restless little boy, is in love. Oh, yes!

In love with a beautiful girl, attentive and so kind.

She should be upset with him, and she was. Sherlock will have a monumental punishment for making her suffer an afternoon of anguish. But not yet. At least, not this weekend.

So she smiles, hoping her son decides on the most convenient gift for Molly.

"I'm not sure," he declares timidly.

"Well, what if you give her a pretty doll?"

He frows in confusion.

"With a pink dress, like those princesses Molly likes."

Sherlock shakes his head.

"A set of brushes and watercolors?"

His eyes open at the thought, then he shakes his head again.

"It's not good enough. I need the best gift for her."

"Do my ears deceive me?" Nathan, the store owner, winks at Violet and approaches the little boy. "Sherlock Holmes, looking for the perfect gift for a girl?"

Violet can't help but smile with amusement as the red flush spreads across her son's neck and face.

"She's the prettiest girl in all of London!" he states bluntly in a low voice.

"Wow, the prettiest!" Nathan whistles. "What a lucky boy!"

Sherlock smiles with pride.

"Then you're in luck, Mr. Holmes! I have a couple of perfect charms in my possession." He pauses. "The perfect gift for the prettiest girl in London."

Sherlock smiles and looks at his mother in search of approval.

Violet nods. And Nathan looks for the charms.

 


 

 

"This, Mummy!" Sherlock says after about fifteen minutes spent in silence.

He points to the pendant. It's a simple piece, a golden pendant that ends with a bee with golden wings and charms in silver. The black lines are drawn through its center. It's small, and incredibly detailed.

Her son has a good eye for jewelry. Who knew?

"Bees are strong and loyal. They work very hard, like her!" The child thinks it is important to clarify those two points. "And she likes them. She's the strongest girl I know."

Violet and Nathan try to contain their looks of amazement.

Violet’s chest swells proudly at his words.

Love. Of course.

"The bee it is! We’ll take it."

And Sherlock smiles briefly.


 

 

The big day is here.

Michael and Violet are busy in the backyard putting up the last of the decorations, while Mycroft, Sherlock and Victor have the job of distracting Molly.

Placing the last balloon onto the deck's railing, Anthea steps back, admiring her work. A smile sneaks onto her lips as her gaze falls on the garden of the Hooper house, now decorated perfectly with beautiful pale pink and white streamers winding their way around the deck's railing, pergola, and the double doors leading into the house.

Three tables, including, the ones for the presents and cake are covered in white and pink striped tablecloths with matching balloons.

Best of all are the inflatable castles and trampolines occupying the center, while two large counters at the sides are filled with sweets, sandwiches, sodas and an incredible amount of differing gift bags.

Five minutes later, the guests started arriving. Miss Mills, Mrs. Hudson, Victor's parents, Sherlock's dad and a lot of Molly's classmates; at least those that Anthea knows are nice to her. They also invited Sherlock's violin teacher, Anastasia the saleswoman from Molly's favorite bookstore, and Maggie.

Everyone is looking forward to the arrival of the birthday girl. Michael has his camera in hand; as does Violet.


 

 

"Has your day been entertaining, Molly?" asks the teenager, twirling the little girl with one hand.

Molly lets out an amused laugh. "A lot! Thanks Myc, I loved the aquarium and my gift." She emphasizes the white polar bear with the golden bow that is in her hands.

"There were a lot of incredible fish, and the shark had the biggest teeth I've ever seen in my life!" This time it's Victor who speaks excitedly.

Sherlock nods, waving his hands from side to side as he enumerates. "The clown fish, the betta fish, the surgeon fish, the angelfish and the sharks were the best!"

Molly agrees. "Yes, the blankets were also very nice."

Mycroft nods, completely pleased by the smile on the little brunette girl.

"However, there is still one more surprise for you, Molly."

The brunette's eyes open and a tender smile covers her face.

"Come on! You won’t want to miss your surprise!"

Molly squeals and takes his hand.


 

 

Anthea decides to go for a red dress with a white floral design and a white cardigan.

As she walks, she feels lighter, more cheerful.

Being the new girl has definitely not been easy.

But she's obtained a new family in exchange.

An incredible father figure, a great kind man who cares for her.

And a beautiful girl for whom to watch.

She's also won the hearts of two naughty children - one red and one brown.

And she's found him.

Who has her sighing like one of those enamored girls that inhabit her favorite novels.

She smiles more now. Thanks to him. Thanks to all of them.

She's lost in her imaginings of him.

But she's back to reality by an altogether cry.

"Surprise!"

Molly squeaks as she sees everyone waiting for her.

She runs, excited, to her father, who waits for her with open arms.

She squeals and wraps her arms around him.

Michael chuckles. "Happy birthday, baby."

She looks like an excited fairy. She embraces everyone and smiles for them.

Ann believes there is no other sight more perfect than to see the little girl smiling.

"Ann!"

Molly's singing voice greets her, making her smile instantly. She wears the cutest pink dress Ann has ever seen and sports a braided hairstyle that makes her look pretty adorable.

"You came!" Molly continues, talking excitedly by her side.

Ann’s arms are around her as she responds "Of course! I wouldn't miss it for the world, honey bee."

"I'm glad, because without you it wouldn’t be the same." Molly declares this as a fact. The smile hasn't left her lips.

"I love you very much, Hon."

"And I love you more, queen bee."

Yes, there is definitely no better sight than that of her little girl, smiling.


 

 

He's here.

He’s returned home, after an endless month without being able to come.

She can't deny the fact that he plays with her emotions. There’s a new sensation that goes through her, tempting her veins. It's overwhelming.

And that feeling only increases when he walks towards her, wearing the most beautiful of smiles.

He greets her with a chaste kiss, directly to the back of her hand. He laughs, amused at her blushing expression.

"Someone hasn't stopped talking about the aquarium and a polar bear, which is apparently the best caretaker bear in the world."

Mycroft shakes his head, feigning innocence.

She crosses her arms, looking as funny as he wants her to be. "That was a very nice gesture. You’re also being a perfect gentleman today."

"I just try to remember everything girls expect from a boy when they see him at children's parties," he replies in a low voice. She gently places a hand on his cheek.

"You’re doing it very well," she encourages.

Mycroft draws her to him, depositing a chaste kiss on her forehead. The smirk doesn't leave his lips.

As the party goes on, they talk about trivial things. They’ve fallen into conversations about movies, books, music and trips they’ve made.

Ann is easily hypnotized by the ease with which the boy understands her, and shares his anecdotes with her. They’re connected on more than one level. And she doesn't find anything wrong with it.

And as he smiles, she thinks it's not always bad to be the new girl.

 


 

 

Sherlock feels her steps approach and turns around to find her, smiling.

His cheeks immediately turn red. His heart beats very fast in his chest and his hands feel sweaty. Very sweaty.

Her eyes are warm and kind when she looks at him.

And he smiles in return. A great big smile.

Molly hugs him shyly, and he hugs her back for a couple of seconds.

This disease of love continues to affect him when he's close to Molly, but he's already somewhat accustomed. At least that's what he says to Ann.

He knows that's not true, and Ann does, too.

The only one who doesn't say anything is Mycroft, but Sherlock can see how it affects his brother when he looks at Ann. He isn't cured, either.

Sherlock thinks they probably never will be.

Maybe it's a good thing.

Weird, but good.

"This was the best birthday in the world!" Molly squeals at his side, parting a little from him.

Sherlock turns his head, looking at Molly with a smile. With shaking hands, he holds a gift box with pink and white wrapping. For her.

Molly's eyes open in surprise as she takes the gift.

Sherlock swallows, watching her. His fingers drum the seam of his pants.

"Do you like it?" he asks in a whisper.

She doesn't answer. Her mouth opens and closes while her hands touch the outline of the pendant again and again. Her face is dyed pink.

Sherlock swallows again. Unsure of her response.

"I do like it," Molly says, answering his question at last. "It's really pretty."

Her words make the corners of his mouth lift in a small smile.

Sherlock sighs. His cheeks turn pink again as he approaches, bends down and places a chaste kiss on her cheek. "Happy Birthday, Molly."

Her lips curve into a smile that has Sherlock Holmes’s heart beating non-stop. He can't help but smile at her in return.

Then she throws herself into his arms, sinking her face into his chest. His smile grows even more. "I love it! It's the best gift in the world."

"Molly"... His smile is shy when he says her name.

"Yes?"

"Will you marry me?"

"Now?" She feels her cheeks growing warm.

He giggles. "No!" Because he has to go to school and learn many things before having a serious commitment, says his mother. "When we’re big."

She pulls away to look at him. "Then why do you ask me now?"

He shrugs. "In case someone wants to get ahead of me."

"Yes."

His stomach is spinning. "For real?"

Molly smiles up at him softly, her cheeks growing hot and red. "Yes!"

And she hugs him for the third time.

He shakes his head.

No, he will never heal.

He has the disease of love.

And he never wants to be cured.

 

Chapter Text

 

Birds and bees

The door opens with a bang, followed by a couple of steps and whispers not meant to be heard.

The little boy’s blue eyes look for the presence of the greatest villain in the city - the evil Count Myc third, who with his henchman Miss Andromeda, has disturbed the peace and has stolen the belongings of the pirate ship Black Moon.

"Quick, princess, we should look for the incriminating evidence before it's too late!"

The chocolate-eyed girl nods solemnly, running her eyes over the place. Looking for the evidence they need.

He moves from one side to the other with precision, detailing each object and frowning at each article that the evil count possesses.

"I found it!" the boy says with emotion, revealing a diary with a leather cover embroidered with gold letters on the front.

The girl smiles sweetly and joins him in order to escape when voices stop them in the door frame.

The child's eyes open with surprise, look at the hallway leading to the exit, then into the room and finally the girl next to him.

He quickly takes her hand and both run to hide under the bed, giggling.

"Don't worry, princess." His blue eyes fix on her fondly. "I will protect you from the evil Earl."

The girl's cheeks are dyed pink and her hands are clasped together under the bed. Her heart beats fast in her chest at the feeling of adventure.

"Mycroft," Sigerbegins, closely following his son as they enter the room. "I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to you about something very important." However, he is truncated by his son.

The eyes of the eldest of the Holmes brothers scrutinize his room. His mind flutters as he sees the rumple on the bedspread, the subtle movement of the white horse on the chessboard and what he assumes is a strand of brown hair on the front of his black coat. He frowns, searching for the small offenders.

Siger doesn’t seem to notice the situation; he heads across the room, sitting comfortably on Mycroft´s bed. He gives his son a serious look and pats the free space next to him.

Mycroft crosses his arms, but after a second, sits next to him, feeling the sigh that escapes from his father's lips. The older man turns and smiles warmly at him - something that is such an intricate quality in him - the kindness he gives off around the people for whom Siger cares is impressive.

"What do you want to talk about?" Myc asks in a low, pained voice, already knowing what this little chat is going to be about.

"It has come to my understanding that there is a girl you are interested in." Siger pauses, sees his face in profile, and how his Adam's apple bobs as he swallows. "Anthea is a very beautiful and intelligent young girl."

His son's cheeks are deeply colored as he looks away to a point on the wall.

"Yes, young love!" Siger sings merrily, his eyes gleaming at the memories his mind evokes. "The first love in a person's life is one of the most important; a lot of emotions can alter us in an irrational way."

Siger pats his son's shoulder with affection. "How to forget the flutter of your heart every time you look at the person you like? The feeling of butterflies in your stomach, the sweat on the palms of your hands and the inability of your mouth to say a word when you are in her presence?" Siger laughs. "The best times."

Mycroft stands up stoically without saying a word.

"There are many changes that your body is experiencing, emotions that multiply exponentially."

Mycroft runs his hands over his face. His mouth dries up as he listens to his father speak.

Can someone die of shame? Mycroft believes that this is time it could actually happen.

"I want you to know that you can talk to me about everything. I’ll listen and help you."

 Mycroft's mind is spinning. Please, no!

"It's my responsibility as your father to tell you about the birds and the bees."

Myc groans in embarrassment.

Siger's response is a sympathetic laugh and a pat on his back. "I know! It's a big step talking about it, but it's necessary."

Myc slowly grits his teeth, feeling more mortified than he has ever felt in his life.

"Mycroft -"

"No!" Mycroft shakes his head with emphasis. "We don't have to talk about it. It's an issue that has been completely covered in my education, Father."

Siger sighs, his face somehow softening. "That's a relief," he says as his hand rests on his heart. "Your mother asked me to talk to you, but you're smart enough, right?" Siger gives him a curious look, smiling. "Protection first...”

Mycroft gives him a horrified look. "Father!"

"Your girlfriend needs to be respected!" Siger comments, ignoring his son's horrified face.

"She isn't my girlfriend!"Mycroft shakes his head.

Siger smiles, getting up from the bed. "So, what are you waiting for?" Siger asks. "Don't let her go! She's a good girl, "he emphasizes.

Myc nods, without knowing what else to say.

"Good talk. "

"Yes." Mycroft says, very low. "Let's not do it again." But his father is out the door and can't hear him.

 


 

 

He falls on the bed, growling, his palms still hiding the shame on his face.

When Mycroft is sure that the color red has left his cheeks, he gets up from the bed and stands in front of it.

"Come out, both of you now, before I tell Mommy you've gone into my room, invading my privacy!" he yells.

Sherlock pouts and growls in his throat as he comes out of hiding, next to Molly with regretful expression.

Mycroft rushes to take the diary off his little brother’s hands . Enough shame has passed him by today for him to be mocked for his beloved writing, or his poor attempt to write letters to Ann.

Sherlock looks up guiltily at his older brother. "I'm sorry."

Mycroft glares at him. "You can go now."

"But" - Sherlock blinks. "I don't understand."

"What, William?" he asks, knowing the imaginative mind his little brother has.

"Why don't you want to talk about birds and bees?" Sherlock asks as his eyebrows furrow.

Myc stares at him, mouth open. He quickly defends himself. "I already know that story."

Sherlock makes a false noise of indignation.

"But Molly and I don't."

"Yes!" Molly rushes to his aid, her eyes sparkling as she asks "Myc, can you tell us the story of the birds and the bees?"

His face warms up again as he says "No!"

Before the eyes of the children, he adds "It's not a story neither of you two want to or should listen to right now."

Molly shrugs. The hopeful brightness of her eyes seems to decay. "Why not?"

Mycroft goes to great lengths to seem completely disinterested in the subject. "It's not a very good story."

The boy narrows his eyes.

Myc shrugs again. "It isn't!"

"But it's about bees!" Molly says.

Frustratingly, Sherlock shakes his head. "You're lying."

"I'm really not!" Myc smiles at them.

"But you're keeping something..." Sherlock bites his lip. "From me!"

"I might be," Myc titters with a shrug.

The suspicious eyes of his brother remain on him. "Huh?"

"You and Molly will talk about the subject you’re so excited about now in a few years," Mycroft assures him by lowering himself to their height. "You will remember my words, dear brother, and you will NOT like it at all." The young man ends with a funny smile.

Another shrug shakes Sherlock's body.

"Now go," Myc says, waving Sherlock away.

Both children growl and let out annoyed sighs. "He's notfair. We should have asked Ann."

Molly nods, following him as they leave the room. "She would tell us the story of the bees and the birds."

Mycorft smiles, still looking at them. After a while he shakes his head as a laugh leaves his lips. Sherlock will hate the story as much as, or more, than he does.

Myc is sure.

Only time will tell.

 


 

 

Two days later. On the beach.

 "Four books, three games and a full week."

Sherlock gives him a look that can only be construed as disbelief.

"Five books, four games and two weeks," Mycroft says, raising his bet.

"You have to try harder, Myc!" the little rascal smiles mischievously at him. "If you want me to play for an hour quietly on the beach without causing problems or bothering you, you should make an effort."

A muscle in the young man's face blinks, but he says nothing.

"My mind gets distracted and I get very bored, Myc," Sherlock says, with emphasis on the word ‘very,’ smiling amusedly. "I can't be calm if I'm bored." The boy shrugs his shoulders, justifying his response. "And if I'm not calm, I might want to play with you and interrupt your date..." He stops his movements, his eyes open with curiosity. "Why do you want to be alone with Ann?"

Mycroft's face quickly turns pink before his little brother’s curious look.

Myc quickly adds "We'll talk about adult things."

Sherlock gives him another look. "You aren't an adult. According to the age parameters, you're a teenager."

"He wants to be with her to do the kissing thing!" It's the little brunette girl who responds with a funny giggle.

Mycroft blinks at her. His cheeks completely burn with shame. To tell the truth, kisses are not far from his mind at the moment.

Kissing Anthea is one of the best experiences he's everhad. The warmth of her lips, their softness and the synchrony in which their hearts seem to beat was a wonderful, unique experience.

He wants to follow his thought process through, but his brother's voice brings him back to reality.

"I want ten new books, but not those designed for children with silly images." His nose wrinkles in disgust, and Mycroft wants to smile at the seriousness that the eight-year-old boy is transmitting, but he tries hard not to. Let him be a rascal, for once. "Eight games, including four board games for rainy days," he says, looking for approval from Molly, who agrees almost instantly. "And four weeks where you're the villain."

The young man tries torespond.

"I'm being generous, Myc."

A snort escapes the young man's lips. "That's called extortion!" he complains.

Sherlock smiles with a shrug. "I saw my opportunity and I took advantage of it."

Myc’s lips form a thin line, then he responds. "Okay, we have a deal."

Sherlock smiles triumphantly and takes Molly's hand, preparing to build castles in the sand.

"I could have acquiesced more things!" Mycroft boasts, crossing hisarms. A smile escapes when he sees his brother's horrified face.

For one, two seconds, the little boy remains silent.

Ingenious responses circles in his head. Mycroft notices it.

A second later, the smile that Sherlock gives him is full of complicity.

"I would have done it out of solidarity and brotherly love."

Mycroft just rolls his eyes.

Danm genius child.

 

 


 

 

Walking through the sand is Anthea.

His heart beats heavily in his chest. The palms of his hands are sweaty, and he's completely sure that his face is completely red. Unfortunately he can't blame the sun, not when her proximity has his mouth dry and his pupils dilated.

Mycroft stand up so quickly that he almost falls over, but his whole body stands rigid, staring at Ann as she looks around.

He's prepared a small tablecloth on the sand, with a basket of fruit, cheese and a couple of chocolates. As well as sodas.

He thought it would be a good idea; but looking at her, he isn't so sure anymore.

She deserves something more, much more elaborate.

Mycroft doesn't think he's ever been so nervous in his life. He doesn't know what to do with himself. One minute he is smiling sheepishly at her, the next his eyes are devouring her. His hands are in his pockets, and then they aren't. 

"I'm so glad you're here," he somehow croaks out, looking at her beaming face, the smile that melts his heart and the bright eyes that give him life.

Ann shyly averts her eyes between the sand and his face, but her happy grin remains on her face.

"Do you want to sit down?" he asks, wanting to kick himself for how pathetic he sounded.

Ann gives him a kind smile and sits next to him on the sand.

They talk about everything and nothing for what seems like hours. It's easy to have a conversation with her. It's fun, cultured and very beautiful.

"I've never asked you, but do you like the Institute that you go to?"

"I - I really don't know," he confesses with slight shyness.

"You don't know?"

"I don't know if you've noticed, but I don't have many friends." Myc lowers his head, slightly embarrassed. He remembers the years he spent alone, with no one to play with or talk to.

He was the fat kid who read too many books and whose sharp tongue was not appreciated by the neighborhood kids.

"People didn't like me," he continues. "They think I'm weird. "

There's a sad tone in his voice that makes Ann's chest tighten, and instinctively she places her hand over his, interlacing her fingers with his.

"And my best friend is eight years old and a mind that goes beyond many."

She smiles at that. There are very few occasions where Mycroft talks about his little brother, admiting how he feels about him.

"I don't know if you’ve noticed, but I'm not exactly the friendly and beautiful girl from next door."

"You're the most beautiful girl I’ve ever set my eyes on." It seems that he could say more, but his cheeks are pink.

"You're young, you shouldn’t say things like that."

One of his eyebrows goes up. "What am I supposed to say?"

She laughs. "You're pretty. "

Myc shakes his head in disagreement. "Then I would be lying. Because ‘pretty’ isn't a term that comes close to describing how dazzling you are. "

"Then I would have to say that I never thought you're strange. You're the smartest person I know, and I love that Sherlock is your best friend. You're a great example to follow, Myc."

The young man's eyes light up. His heart speeds up as she gives him a smile that puts the sun in disgrace.

"Has it occurred to you that there are moments that you’ll remember for the rest of your life?"

She nods.

"Today was one of those moments when I looked at you."

She doesn't say anything; she can't. But he feels he must; he must tell her how much his heart beats when he is next to her, how much he likes her laughter, her eyes, the way his hands sweat when her perfume reaches his nose, or just like his brain seems unable to put two words together when she looks at him.

So in a bold move, he takes Ann's face in his hands. He stares at her, and little by little he kisses her tenderly, with that feeling of the heart beating a thousand times, with the sensation that burns his skin, with butterflies flying around him. The kiss does not last long, but it is perfect. They look flushed as they part.

She's shaking her feet on the picnic blanket, to the legend she says, on her way to happiness as he gives her a tender smile.

Mycroft squeezes Ann's hands gently and looks into her beautiful eyes once more. "Ann?" he asks, nervously trying to stop his hands from shaking hers.

"Yes, Mycroft?" she asks breathlessly.

He takes a deep breath. "I want us to be like…"

Ann looks at him, confused; her eyes narrowing slightly as she tries to figure out what he means.

Mycroft sighs slightly, trying to think of how he can explain it.

"I want you to be my girlfriend. If you want to, of course. And I want to be your boyfriend." His voice is shaking as he looks at her with love.

Ann bites her lip.

"So, er… What do you think?" he mumbles nervously.

There is silence for only a second. Then Mycroft heard Ann speak. He can tell she is smiling.

"I would love to be your girlfriend… I would love for you to be my boyfriend."

Mycroft looks up, his eyes wide with excitement and joy. "R-really?" he asks, not believing his luck.

Ann giggles and she looks so incredibly cute that Mycroft just has to kiss her again.

"I really like you," he breathes against her lips.

Ann takes her hands out of his hold and brings them to the back of his neck while his arms wraps around her waist. "I like you too," she tells him tenderly as they kiss.

Mycroft feels himself getting swept up in a passionate bubble as he holds Ann closer.

However, the bubble is soon popped by the arrival of his brother.

"Ew," the boy complains, wrinkling his nose.

"Sherlock! What the hell are you doing here?" Mycroft gasps - half annoyed at being interrupted when he is trying to make out with his girlfriend and equally embarrassed that he’s been caught by his little brother.

"I'm a child of my word. An hour has passed."

Ann laughs at his side, hiding her flushed face on her boyfriend's chest. Molly smiles, excited, Myc looks slightly irritated - irritation that only lasts a second after feeling the weight of a kiss right above his heart.

"You're right."His heart hammers uncontrollably. There is nothing but adoration in his eyes when Mycroft looks at Ann. "It's been a wonderful hour."

Sherlock sighs, looking around, stopping his gaze on the picnic blanket on the sand, the basket and the pink rose at the end.

"Please tell me it's plastic!"

Ann laughs, separates from her boyfriend to approach the little one, a hand running through his disordered curls. "You're a little Casanova, Sherlock."

He's too cunning to look too proud of himself. "Everything Myc knows, he learned from me."

Ann laughs, and her laugh is contagious for everyone.


 

"Myc," Sherlock says as if he's going to discover something incredible as soon as his brother picks up the picnic basket and blanket. "You have a girl!" His smile is honest, full of so many feelings that the eldest of the brothers smiles in return. "Like me."

Myc pats his shoulder with affection. "I do, little brother."

And as if it were yesterday, the smiling little boy recites the words that were once uttered by Ann. "You'll have to be a very brave boy, be the best friend Ann can ask for. Protect her, help her, be there for her, because she's your girl, Myc."

Myc’s cheeks are colored again, his eyes on the girl who whispered such confident words.

He nods at the amused look Sherlock is giving him. A smile that doesn't leave his lips.

"I have a girl."

Mycroft takes his hand and walks home.

 


 

 

Sherlock’s wet curly hair falls over his eyes. He tries desperately to move it away from his face while his hands erase the bubbles from his face and arms.

"Why do we have to wear a bathing suit?"

Ann straightens up from her position outside the tub, giving Molly and then the boy with beautiful blue eyes a look.

"Because I don't know the rules about letting two children to bathe together."

Sherlock nods, without asking anything else. Beside him, Molly sends a stream of water in his direction. They both laugh animatedly, fighting for mastery of soap and water in the Holmes’s tub.

It goes without saying that Anthea ends up wet and more soapy than any of the children.

"Come on squirrels, time to go to bed," she declares, wrapping the little ones up in a large white towel.

Their answer comes with a couple of angry moans.

 


 

 

When both are perfectly prepared for bed, Ann sits down next to them. Molly's head rests firmly on her chest, while Sherlock's hand clings to the little brown girl's hand.

A gesture that Ann has learned means comfort.

Opening the big story book, she turns to a page, the eyes of both children following her carefully.

Ann will try to read to them about Alice in Wonderland - one of her favorite stories - when a shy voice speaks.

"Have you talked with Myc about the birds and the bees?"

Her mouth opens, and she's sure she must look like a fish out of water.

She blinks, trying to make her mouth make a meaningful connection with her brain that would give her the ability to respond.

They both look at her impatiently, expectantly. Completely excited.

The birds and the bees.

It's a conversation she hasn't had with her boyfriend, probably with anyone, is what she's really thinking.

Although both are children, maybe - just maybe - there is a story about birds and bees that doesn't involve that particular topic. Right?

"My Dad tried to talk to Myc about the bees, but he objected very quickly." Sherlock comments kindly, and yes... It's about that special topic.

She wants to die of shame. Imagine Myc's father talking to him about it! It makes her heart jump fast and her cheeks feel warm.

"His face was very red," Molly says. "Just like your face."

"Really?" She says, excited, while opening her eyes.

Maybe he's as embarrassed as she is about all this.

She sighs, wanting more than anything to evade the subject.

"I'll tell you when you're older," Ann tells her.

Her lips quirk in an adorable smirk, reminiscent of her father. "Like tomorrow?"

Ann gigles. "You're too much smart for your own good."

Molly smiles.

"I tell you some day Molls, I promise you."

However, they don't seem convinced.

Both children begin to protest, but she's much faster and with the best narrator's voice that she knows she begins to tell the story.

 


 

 

A couple of days later

A small splat of paint hits his cheek and she let out a squeal. He looks scared, but she laughs and he calms down. She sends another little splat of paint his way.

The bristles of the brush dancing across his skin almost feels natural now, and she's become an expert at painting it on him. She concentrates really hard when she does it, and he can tell because she purses her lips and her brows knit together and she holds her hand steady so it doesn't shake and mess up.

It's her masterpiece, and he loves the way this makes her smile.  A smile which covers her whole face and makes her eyes glow.

He smiles in return. Not daring to touch his face painted with the skull belonging to the insignia of his pirate ship.

No, he doesn' t want to damage her work. He doesn't want to make her feel bad. He would never want that.

Molly smiles again, wipes her little fingers covered with paint with a towel and looks at him amusedly.

"We should try the kissing thing, " she says. "Meena tried it with a boy at school." Molly grins. "She said it feels funny. "

"Is – is she getting married?" he gasps. Oh, no! No – she couldn’t get married now! Meena was really mature, but she was still only eight. Sherlock always heard that it was bad to marry too young.

"No!" Molly laughs. "Why would she do that? She hardly even knows him. They just did it for a dare."

Sherlock opens his eyes and blinks quickly.

"Ann and Myc do it," she points out as an important fact.

Sherlock bites his lips. He loves being able to overcome every thing his brother does. It’s a competition over who can do it better.

If Myc does it, maybe he should do it, too.

He looks very entertaining when his face is close to Ann's face.

In addition, Myc is a very intelligent person. He would never do something boring or something that would waste his time.

It's disgusting, but Sherlock is curious.

He sneaked over so he could see his brother kissing Ann in an opportunity that caused him a month of punishment and a reprimand from his brother, but for him, it was an experiment with productive results. Sherlock could see the rosy hue on both their cheeks, rapid breathing and bright eyes on them both. A look he had only witnessed when he saw his parents.

"Come on," Molly grins, and leans towards him. "Let’s try it."

"I – I…"

Sherlock tries to protest, but no words come out. Instead, his face turns an even brighter shade of red. His eyes start to twitch because they’d been too wide for too long, and his heart beats even faster in his chest – it feels like he’s going to have a heart attack, and that panics him even more. His whole body is shaking. He feels hot. He is sweating – if he carries on, he’d die of dehydration! He needs water…

Sherlock yelps as a quick, moist warmth strikes his lips. It only lasts a few seconds, then Molly pulls away and plays with her mouth, examining the sensation of the kiss. She shrugs, then hums.

"Mmm... That wasn't so special," Molly says. "I don't know why adults do it so much. It's kind of gross… I don't think I like wet stuff on my lips.'' She looks at Sherlock, seemingly unfazed by what they’d just done. "What did you think?"

"I… uh…" Sherlock is in such a panic. "Ew, that was gross!"

Molly giggles.

Sherlock lets out a relieved sigh.

Yeah. Maybe they are too young for the kissing thing.

 


 

 

From a distance, a couple observes them with worried and amused faces.

"Shush, Myc!" Ann hushes him with a peck to his nose.

He grins.

Ann smiles. "They're kids, not horny teenagers. I doubt Molls can corrupt Sherlock just yet."

"She's too young for him."

She laughs with a shrug."Only by a few months."

Yeah, Just yet.

Chapter Text

 

The arrow of foam rubber hits a few centimeters outside the central target, and the redhead sighs in defeat. Beside him, Sherlock shrugs his shoulders, observing every detail in Victor's room.

The numerous boxes are crowded right next to Vic´s bed. A large box labeled ‘books stands out from all the others.

Sherlock frowns and crosses his arms, his gaze now on Victor, who tries to pull the arrow from the wall, with great effort.

"Are you and your mother moving?"

Victor pulls the arrow out with his right hand, smiling as he accomplishes his task. "Just a few blocks away. Mum says she doesn't want us to live with my uncle anymore."

Sherlock nods, accepting the answer provided by his red-haired friend. He moves to take one of the arrows, observing it, analyzing what he must do to effectively hit the target.

He bites his lower lip in concentration, placing the bow in perfect synchrony with his pale fingers, taking the right distance to balance it between his arm and shoulder.

Victor watches him, now sitting on his bed, his head on the pillow as he says "It will be lots of fun! It's a very big house."

Sherlock nods, not quite paying attention. The bow tightens; the small boy with the light eyes looks at the arrow, then the target, takes a deep breath while his agile fingers move back to release the arrow - but his attention is quickly broken by the redhead’s next words.

 "And the best part is that it's right next to Molly's house!" Victor smiles and his eyes shine. "I'll be able to see her every day, every hour. Cool."

Boom! The arrow hits the door. Very far from the center.

His eyes open with horror when reality arrives. Victor will be Molly's new neighbor. His girl.

Sherlock will no longer be her favorite.

The redhead jumps up, patting his back as a sign of encouragement, misunderstanding his behavior. "Bad luck, Sherlock." Victor smiles at him with simplicity. "You'll do better when you try again."

Sherlock nods without saying anything else.

He can only look at the boxes filled with toys on the floor.

Hating the way his chest hurts at the thought that he will not be able to see Molly every day.

That thought brings a bitter feeling to his lips.

One that makes his heart beat very fast, and his stomach forms a heavy knot.

His father chuckles when Sherlock tells him how Victor will move closer to his Molly. Siger realizes what his little one is experiencing, says comforting words and stirs his indomitable curls.

His mother smiles, and assures him that everything will be fine, but he just can't stop thinking that something is about to change’ and he doesn't know how to prevent it.

Sherlock hates it.


 

 

The change begins with something simple.

A giggle from the courtyard of Molly's house.

His ears are arrested by the sound, while his heart beats strongly against his chest.

A smile forms on Sherlock’s lips as he rushes to the tree house, built two weeks ago and finished a few days ago by Mr. Hooper.

He climbs the makeshift ladder with great skill, and with a smile that does not leave his lips.

Until his eyes stop at the room decorated with a small tea table, cups and matching teapot.

His heart jumps when he sees both his friends smile.

Victor waves his right hand in greeting, while his other hand delicately holds the white cup with gold edges and painted bees.

"What are you doing?" Sherlock asks with pursed lips.

The redhead is about to respond, but the brunette girl is much faster. "We are having a tea party!" she says animatedly.

He squints. "Why?"

Molly looks at him and lets out a funny giggle. As if the answer is obvious.

His heart jumps again, and his eyes swivel again to Molly, the cups of tea, and finally the smiling redhead.

He hates the whole situation.

She’s never had tea with him. Not in the treehouse, not anywhere.

His posture changes as he steps forward, folding his arms in protest. "Why have not I been invited?"

"You never liked playing this game."

His eyes open. He bites his lips and takes a step back, hurt by her response.

Automatically, she gets up, as if she felt his pain. Wanting to approach him, wanting to be kind to him. It’s always been like that.

"Sherlock..."

He takes another step back, his eyes turning to water.

"Oi!" Víctor yells. "You can play if you want."

Sherlock growls "I don't care! It's a lame game, anyways."

And with that, he's gone.

But it's only the beginning of the change.


 

Two days later

Sherlock and Molly walk together when they leave school. He carries not only his bag, but Molly's books, a gentlemanly gesture learned from Mycroft. Steps behind, Anthea is having a lively conversation with a new friend named Karen; something silly like the color of enamels and the test in a juvenile magazine about soulmates.

"Do you want to read the adventures of Nancy Drew and solve the mysteries before finishing the book?" Sherlock asks Molly animatedly, his eyes bright, thinking about the adventures, the intrigue they could find. Since he began reading the saga, provided by his American cousin, he’s quickly devoured and solved each mystery with the small clues contained within.

But he has always liked to read with Molly, watching the way her tongue wet her lips in concentration, her brown eyes light up with each word as she jumps before each bold villain.

Molly shakes her head timidly from side to side. "Victor is coming home. I promised to help him with his homework and to put together the 1000-piece puzzle of the solar system that his mother gave him."

That stops him in his tracks. Solar system, task. He rolls his eyes.

How in the Queen's name is that fun?

"Fine."

"You can come, it will be fun if we are all three!"

Sherlock vehemently shakes his head. "I'll read alone." He gives her a look and swallows. "I don't need your constant stammering, or you slowing me down by stirring up the mystery."

Molly's mouth opens wide and he sees the first of her tears fall, but he's too angry to retract his words.

He drops the chestnut-haired girl’s books and runs home.

When he opens the door, he can no longer see his friend, or Ann or Karen, but he can feel the quick peal of his own heart, his frown deepening and a warm tear running down his cheek.

If Mycroft looks at him as if he were an enigma to solve, he's sensible enough to not say anything.

But it's another situation that leads to change.


 

 

At the end of the day

Sherlock’s head is heavy against the cushion that decorates the living room. He’s tried to read the adventures of Nancy Drew, but can’t get past the first page, growling in frustration after his fourth attempt.

Who needs to know about the solar system?

Since when are jigsaw puzzles fun?

Will Molly be having fun?

He doubts it.

Sherlock closes his eyes, wanting his mind to stop conjuring questions that his brother would consider illogical; and that no matter how much he wants to, he can't answer at this moment.

Three seconds later, his ears are encouraged to hear soft footsteps in his direction, making him open his eyes and meet the brown eyes of the girl disturbing his thoughts.

"Sorry!" she says suddenly.

His eyes open even more, feeling very confused. It's not she who should apologize.

"Why are you here?" His question is sharp; he hates the tone of his voice.

"I'm sorry that I stutter when reading and slow you down, Sherlock," she continues. "I would like to be faster." Her eyes are on him. Sherlock sighs, seeing the small brown spots in them, and wonders if everything is as beautiful as her eyes are.

"Sorry!"

She sighs and runs her hands over her dress, playing with the soft fabric.

He meets her patient eyes, waiting for his answer.

He opens his mouth - and nothing comes out.

"Munchkin!"

Ann's voice scolds him from the doorway. Her look is a clear indication that he should apologize.

He nods, giving Molly a look that is usually reserved for his mother in those situations where he knows he has been mischievous.

"I’m sorry!" Sherlock hurries to calm Molly’s hands, still playing with her dress. A sign of nerves. "I like solving mysteries with you and I like you...”

He feels his cheeks redden so he looks down.

"I like when you stutter, it's cute."

He hears her laughter for the first time, echoing in his ears.

It's the best sound in the world, he's sure, but he probably won’t tell Molly for a while. Not in Ann's presence, at least.

He smiles, which is reciprocated with a hug. It makes his heart warm and his cheeks burn even more.

Ann smiles, and leaves the living room.

Everything is perfect, like it was before.

As it should be, is the thought of the little boy with the head of dark curls.

But unfortunately, the following days aren't like that at all.


 

 

Tuesday

In the school playground, they play hide and seek until their next class begins. Smiles flicker on their faces, and the hot sun reflects in the pinkness of their cheeks.

The air runs over Sherlock’s indomitable curls, and Molly tries to tame them, without any efficiency.

That brings another round of laughter, until the little redhead boy turns to Molly, smiling.

"My Mum is going to make star-shaped chocolate cookies after school; Do you want to come and join us, Molls?" Victor asks.

For some reason, Sherlock feels a sudden anger inside him; and frowns.

She nods, and walks to Ms. Mills’ class.

Sherlock stays behind, with a frown and lips forming a thin line.

"Why are you acting weird?" Victor asks with a raised eyebrow.

Sherlock shrugs and walks away.

He doesn't understand why the idea of his friend being so close to Molly bothers him so much.

But it irritates him more than he should.


 

 

Thursday

"Molls, do you want to sleep at my house? We can watch Disney movies and eat sweets!”

Sherlock raises his eyebrow at Victor’s question, who is waiting for Molly’s answer.

Usually on Thursdays Sherlock and Molly read books together, decipher mysteries or make desserts with Ann, and occasionally Myc when he's home.

But Sherlock’s cold blue eyes are inexpressive, so Victor continues.

"Sherlock doesn't like watching movies; he finds them tedious and long."

The chestnut-haired girl nods, smiles and promises to bring the Lion King and Pocahontas.

With a tense smile, the youngest of the Holmes brothers watches Victor go, with a feeling similar to a roar in his ears, until he feels the soft touch of his girl on his arm. She’s looking at him. "You're good?" she asks.

"Perfectly," he says, forcing the words to come to the surface.


 

 

 Friday

Sherlock runs excitedly to Molly's house. Ann told him they’ve installed a couple of swings and that they can climb very high! Even Myc tried them!

He can't stop marveling at it.

However, when he's only a few feet from the swings, Sherlock freezes.

His eyes widen and he gulps.

Molly is miling, sitting on the pink swing. Behind her, her red-haired friend gently pushes her, receiving a giggle and a funny look from the chestnut-haired girl.

That look was always for him. And only him.

With narrowed eyes, his mind works through the deductions.

He's no longer Molly's favorite. Maybe he's not even her boy, anymore.

If he ever was.

She never told him he was.

His voice fades and he shrinks into himself, looking away.

He finally turns around, without daring to look again.

With tears in his eyes and a pain in his chest.

The disease of love is still with him, but is it possible that Molly doesn't has it anymore?

Maybe she was cured.

And that knowledge hurts more than anything.

 


 

 

Saturday

"Get out of bed!" Mycroft orders, as he picks up several items of Sherlock’s clothing.

"Uh-uh," comes the response from under the covers.

"I promised Ann we would have a picnic with her and Molly.”

"No."

Myc snorts, drapes a shirt and a pair of pants on his arm and sighs. "Yes."

"I can't do it," Sherlock murmurs, feeling his heart shrink at a word. Molly.

"Sherlock, I promised Ann a month ago. So I can't say no now. Come on!"

"Tell them we moved," he suggests, tossing the blankets over his head.

"Excellent plan," says Mycroft with clear sarcasm. "They will never suspect a thing!"

"Smartass," Sherlock murmurs.

The little boy waits for another sarcastic response from the older Holmes brother, but when his head comes out over the covers, he meets the smiling face of his erstwhile sister-in-law.

"Hey, Sherlock!" It's Ann's laughing voice.

"What are you doing here?" Sherlock yells. He doesn't want her here! Not when she's also a friend of Victor and likes his company very much! "You can't be here!"

Ann rolls her eyes, putting a hand to her heart, feigning offense.

However, Myc doesn't consider his words funny, and sends Sherlock a look that leaves him frozen.

"Don't be a handful today!"

"Must be genetic," Sherlock whispers under his breath, but apparently not low enough not to be heard by his brother.

"What did you say?" Myc asks, visibly annoyed.

Sherlock shrugs, picking up his clothes and resigning himself to walk towards his fatal destination.

He sighs too loudly. This is going to be one of those horrible days.


 

 

Sherlock doesn't dare look at her.

He doesn't dare talk to her, either.

Which leaves much of the morning filled with comments from Ann, Myc and Molly.

Ann organized a picnic in the courtyard, savannah spread out on the lawn, flowers in a vase and an immense amount of sweet desserts and salty food for all four to eat.

Unfortunately, the flavor of the pastry cream does nothing to cure the feelings of bitterness on Sherlock’s lips, or pull the pain from his chest when he hears Molly’s laughter. And watch the constant romantic scene of Myc and his girlfriend kissing and holding hands.

He frowns. Wants to scream at Myc.

Tell him to stop. That Ann will break his heart, just like Molly did with him.

But none of that happens. He keeps silent.

For the first time in all his years, he remains silent while everyone else speaks.

 


 

 

Ann notices things. Even the smallest ones. It’s a gift that she's perfected over time, and has grown exponentially in Mycroft’s company.

Sherlock. Something has happened to him.

The little one loves being in Molly's presence. That child kisses the ground where she walks, and will do anything to see her happy.

But now, something has changed.

Since Victor moved next door, the boy with beautiful curls doesn't seem to be the same.

Maybe he feels hurt, betrayed, displaced.

Or even jealous?

"Ann, my stomach feels weird." Molly's voice takes her out of her reverie.

Ann touches her abdomen tenderly.

"Do you want to lie down for a while so you feel better?"

She nods, so Ann takes her in her arms and carries her to the sofa.

 


 

 

"Hey Molls, Ann told me you were feeling bad," Victor says with a sad voice, crossing the room and sitting in front of her. "I brought another puzzle! My mom bought one that has the whole galaxy!" His expression is dreamy, too cheerful.

Molly smiles, despite the pain in her stomach. She's a strong girl.

"We can put it together when you feel better!"

Molly grins.

"Do you want me to take your hand so that you feel better?” he asks with a smile and slightly rosy cheeks. That's what my mom does and it helps me a lot."

Molly nods, so she makes a space for him to sit beside her and hold her hand.

He smiles again, and Molly thanks God for having Victor Trevor as her friend.

She sighs and closes her eyes.

 


 

 

Sherlock blinks a few times when he enters the living room.

If he thought the incident of the tree house was annoying, this is ten times worse.

Catastrophic.

The roar in his ears intensifies and his stomach spins endlessly.

He hates the sensation as much as he hates the closeness and growing friendship between Victor and Molly.

It makes him feel sick.

It makes him feel like The Hulk: furious, wanting to break and smash everything.

It hurts him no longer to be Molly's favorite. It hurts him to be replaced by his red-haired friend.

He was always Molly's center of her attention; but it's not like that anymore.

When his eyes watch the scene in detail, his heart breaks even more.

Victor's gently holds Molly's hand, while he tells her one of those silly tales about princesses that Sherlock knows she adores.

There is a sinking feeling in his stomach that Sherlock doesn't recognize for now; but in the future he probably will.

It takes Sherlock about thirty seconds for the realization to hit - then opens his eyes and takes a step back.

He's being replaced.

 He's losing her.

He gasps. Oh no! No!

But then Victor does the worst that anyone can do. He kisses Molly's cheek and gets up with a smile on his face.

 And that awakens the fury within Sherlock that he keeps particularly for James and his thugs.

NO!

JUST NO!

She is SHERLOCK's girl! HIS! Not Victor’s!

"Get out!" he screams, hitting his former redheaded friend on the shoulder with force.

 "What?" Victor asks, clearly confused.

"Don’t touch her!" he screams again, earning Molly's attention, her eyes wide open.

"Really?" Victor replies in astonishment.

"Go away, Victor!" Sherlock’s nostrils open and he feels his face burn. "Now!"

"You can't tell me what to do, Sherlock." The redhead crosses his arms in defiance.

Sherlock's eyes widen, while Victor looks annoyed and slightly angry.

If Victor wants to be the villain, he will give him his due.

It doesn't matter if this is Sherlock's first real fight.

He rushes to hit Victor in the face, but the redhead is much faster, and deflects the blow. He hits one of his own fists in Sherlock's right eye.

Sherlock screams in pain, holding a hand to his face.

Molly screams and Victor reflexively does the same.

Mycroft frowns at the scene in front of him as he enters Anna's room.

Myc's eyes widen when he sees his brother's face and Victor's red knuckle. "What the hell, Sherlock?"

The child's expression is severe as he tries to hit the redhead again, only to be trapped by his brother, who sighs deeply while his lips purse.

"Come on, Víc, let's take you home," Ann says without waiting for his response, dragging him by the wrist outside the house.


 

 

His brother’s arms of his brother trap Sherlock with force. They’re a prison, a death trap, as he screams, kicks and cries.

Scream out of frustration.

Cries out of loss, and for treason.

He's lost his girl. He's lost his entire world.

"Sherlock, talk to me!" Myc says, with a tone he reserves for his mother and Ann. He's much more calm and kind.

Sherlock hates it.

"I don't need your help!" he yells loudly, feeling Myc's sigh against his shoulder.

A few seconds later he's free, breathing like an enraged dog.

He sees Molly's eyes narrow and fill with water.

"Go away," he says in a warning tone.

But she being who she is, she doesn't listen. She gives him what he thinks is a kind smile.

"Go away!" he screams with tears in his eyes.

"Hey, stop it!" Molly shouts at Sherlock.

"Why are you talking to Víctor and taking his hand so much?" Sherlock demands.

"Cause he's nice!" Molly says with her arms crossed. Sherlock stares at his pouting friend.

He furrows his eyebrows. He says with enphasis. "No, he's not."

"Yes he is." Molly insists, confused. "I like him. He's fun to play with. "

Sherlock's heart shatters as his little body deflates. He glares at Molly.

"Fine!" he spat. "Then go play with him all the time and he can be your best friend."

Molly quickly grabbes his wrist. "But Sherlock, you're my best friend," she says honestly.

"I'm not! I hate you!" Sherlock shouts.

She looks at him with teary eyes.

"Now leave me alone and I don't wanna see you anymore in my entire life! I hate you so much!"

She looks positively crushed when he rips his wrist out of Molly's grip so hard that she loses her balance and falls, hard.

He turns and runs.

Molly watches the raven-haired boy go, lying helplessly on the ground. She sniffs as tears prickle in her eyes.


 

 

A couple of hours later

The torrential rain covers the streets. There is only one light on throughout the house, and it comes from the TV.

"That went terribly badly," Ann tells Mycroft, sitting next to him, curling up in his warmth. "She’s fallen asleep, after crying a lot." Ann sighs. "She thinks she lost her best friend today."

His hands caress her back with practiced skill when he says "He was being overprotective; he was the lion taking care of a puppy, the lion attacking his prey. I’ve never seen him so upset before."

"He's jealous of Victor."

Myc nods. "Sherlock thinks she doesn't want him. Or worse, that her attention has been stolen by Victor."

"We have to do something. We can't let them suffer like that."

Myc shakes his head. "We’re going to help them."

They snuggle for a while without saying anything else. Happy to be together.

"Thanks for taking care of me," she says, pressing herself closer, her cheek against his chest.

"It's a pleasure, Miss Ann."

His voice is comfortable, familiar and gentle. She snuggles closer to him.

"Flatterer!" she laughs. "Darling, all you have to do is kiss me and I'm yours."

"Oh, you have no idea," he replies, smirking happily.

His hands cautiously mover over her face, and she knows that she’s grinning like a fool - she can feel the tightness in her cheeks intensify as he leans closer to her, his thumb caressing her skin. Ann grabs his wrists while he closes the distance, kissing herm tenderly.

If she was ever in doubt that time does not really exist, this moment consolidates her abstraction - the rain floating in the outside air and the hum of the heater that stops when the only movement is their lips and the rustle of her fingers in his hair and the rhythm of his pulse accelerating under her hands.

"Myc..."

The boy's voice causes both to separate quickly, blushing and slightly embarrassed.

But the shame lasts only until Ann sees Sherlock's face. He has the most anguished expression she's seen on a child.

"Dear? Are you alright?"

Sherlock looks up, Ann's face blurry through his tears.

"Moll ... Molly”- he tries, before a sob takes his breath away and he buries his face in his hands.

Myc gives Ann a worried look, and they both go upstairs, the boy crying behind them.

"Molls, hon?"

Ann touches Molly’s forehead cautiously, feeling the heat emanating in waves off her skin. Her face is sweaty, pale and full of pain.

"Ann... hurts," she whispers, writhing in pain.

"Where babe, where do you hurt, bee?" Ann’s voice is worried.

She points painfully to the right and lower part of her abdomen. "It hurts so much Ann, a lot!" She cries, breaking her nanny and her boyfriend’s hearts. "I can't stand it..."

"Please, Ann!" Sherlock screams.

Molly looks at him, and the way he looks at Molly breaks her heart again.

"You'll be fine, hon!" Ann says, swallowing the lump in her throat. Tears slide down her face as she whispers, "Shh, it'll be fine, hon." She turns around to find her boyfriend's face full of emotions. "Right, Myc? Molls, stay with me, baby."

Ann lets out a sob. "Myc!"

He doesn't answer, just takes a step toward the bed. He looks at her in horror, then gathers the girl into his arms.

"Call Emergency Services, Ann."

Chapter Text

 A night in E.R.

 

After the paramedics come into action, the rest is a blurry memory.

There are too many quick movements; calls and a couple of screams.

However, his mind seems to have stopped.

Stopped with a single thought spinning around.

"I hate you!" Sherlock shouts." I don't wanna see you anymore in my entire life! I hate you so much!"

He said that. Sherlock said every word to Molly.

And now, she's sick and on her way to the hospital because of him.

His best friend is sick because of him.

That thought makes his heart ache. His chest feels very tight and his stomach churns.

He really doesn’t want that.

He never wants to see Molly hurt, or sick, or sad.

Sherlock feels the first of his tears fall down his face as he drops to the hospital’s cold floor.

He wipes the infringing tears quickly away; he's a child who hates crying. So, he directs his gaze from the ground to the space around him.

His parents talk with intensity with Mr. Hooper across the aisle, who looks pale, downcast and somewhat sad. His mother rests her hand on his shoulder in a way that she considers reassuring. It's a form of support, comfort for the man in this moment of anguish.

Siger nods, giving words to Mr. Hooper that Sherlock is sure are cordial.

"She can't be all right...” Sherlock says to himself, watching the people speaking in low voices, the nurses walking up and down the corridor.

Even Mycroft walks with his arms crossed over his chest, a frown glimpsing through his features.

Ann’s face is hidden, sinking into a seat next to him. She’s crying, if her red eyes are a feasible indication.

Sherlock swallows, drumming his fingers on his pants.

After what seems like years, a man comes out. Dr. Jones talks to Mr. Hooper.

His pale face falls slightly, as does Sherlock's heart.

"Appendicitis," Mr. Hooper speaks shortly to Sherlock's parents, struggling with the lump in his throat. "She's holding out, but the surgeon says they need to operate immediately."

He ends up crying in Siger's arms.

 After the announcement, Sherlock bursts into tears. Ann wraps him in her arms, and the little boy cries inconsolably in her chest. "It's my fault!"

Ann's words are a whisper. "Shh, squirrel, this is not your fault. Okay?"

Sherlock shakes his head. "I told her I hated her!" he sobs. "That she wasn’t my friend anymore, and that I didn't want to see her anymore!" He screams, crying.

"Honey...”

"I MADE THIS!" Sherlock screams again and again, crying like a broken child.

"Sherlock, this is not your fault It's not anybody fault." It's Mycroft who speaks slowly. "It could have happened to anyone."

Sherlock wipes his nose hard. His eyes are red; it's a rare contrast against his beautiful skin. "But it's Molly," he sobs. "My girl, Myc!"

"I know, I know; it hurts." Mycroft crouches down to be at his level. Ann takes a step backward, and his brother picks Sherlock up as if he were a child frightened of darkness (as in previous years). Mycroft hugs him tenderly, his hands forming comforting circles on his back. Reassuring. "She'll be fine, little brother."

Sherlock is slightly calmer after crying so hard over his older brother.

"You promise me, Myc?" Sherlock's voice is soft, broken.

Ann looks at him, shaking her head, tears running down her cheeks, simulating Sherlock's.

And for the first time, Mycroft does what he’s never liked to do. It clings to the unknown, an inexplicable feeling.

He clings to hope. "I promise."


 

An hour later

 

"What are you doing?"

Sherlock swallows. His hands writhe beside him.

"I’m praying."

Mr. Hooper's lips twist into a smile. "I didn't know you were a religious boy, Sherlock."

"I'm not, Mr. Hooper," he says honestly. His mother, being a woman of the world, was never one to impose religion on any of her children. "But Molly says she prays when she wants to help and she doesn't know what to do."

The man nods. His heart beats strongly for his sweet and beautiful girl. "Do you want to help?"

"Uh-huh."

"But you don't know how to do it, and that's why you pray, even if you've never done it?"

Sherlock nods, and Michael has no choice but to hug Sherlock and feel touched by the gesture. This unique little boy, with his unique way of loving his daughter.

"What prayer were you saying?" Michael asks after releasing the child from his embrace.

Sherlock looks slightly bewildered at that.

"What were you saying to God?"

"I..." His cheeks are pink. "I recited the laws of thermodynamics, Mr. Hooper."

Michaels lets himself smile.

"I see." He stirs the hair of the boy; whose eyes watch him expectantly. "In that case, let's recite them together."

Sherlock smiles, nodding.

"She'll be fine; she has this boy in her life."

It's what the man thinks before he begins to recite the first law of thermodynamics.


 

 

Sherlock’s head rests against the cold wall, his hands twisting the hem of his flannel shirt when he feels an added weight at his side.

"I'm so sorry!"

Sherlock doesn't have to open his eyes to know that the voice comes from his red-haired friend. "I didn't want to hit you!" Victor moves restlessly in his seat.

Sherlock swallows. The pain is still present in his right eye, now inflamed.

"It was my fault," Sherlock admits after what seems like minutes. His eyes open to meet Victor's shy stare at his side. "I shouldn’t have provoked you. You're my friend. My best friend."

The redhead smiles, nodding.

"It's okay, Sherlock, I'm not angry," he shrugs. "Plus, you're a very bad fighter!"

Both laugh after that comment.

"So, we're still friends?" Sherlock asks, with that phrase he has heard so many times in the movies.

Victor nods, embracing his friend quickly and awkwardly. "Friends, We're fine, Lock"

"Right, okay." Sherlock allows himself to smile, a true smile after all the tears shed earlier.

The silent minutes feel calm. Sherlock’s heart beats constantly. The worry feels less intense with the faithful company of his best friend by his side.

"I don't like Molly."

This takes the younger Holmes by surprise. "Uh?"

Who in their right mind would not like Molly? She's nice, kind, intelligent...

In addition, Sherlock loved smart people.

Besides, she's cute. Very cute.

So he doesn't understand how his best friend can say such a thing.

"Not in that way," Victor assures with fairly large confidence for a child. "Ann is cool as an older sister; Molly is cool as a younger sister," he explains, as if it's obvious enough for everyone involved.

Sherlock blinks a couple of times when the realization sinks in.

Victor doesn't like his Molly.

Victor doesn't have the disease of love, unlike him.

His heart beats fast in his chest.

Sherlock finds himself smiling like a child in a candy store.

Victor shakes his head at his best friend’s attitude. "I don't like girls." There is a slightly long pause before the child continues. "Girls have lice! Eww, Sherlock!"

Sherlock is about to reply when his mother's voice silences his words.

"She's out of danger. The doctors say she should rest, but she's fine."

"She's fine?" Sherlock repeats with tears in his eyes.

His mother nods, taking steps towards her little son. His arms are strong when they cling to her, but Violet doesn't care in the least.

"She's fine!" he says again, like a mantra.

Mrs. Holmes smiles, kissing his curly hair repeatedly, assuring her son that the girl holding his heart will be completely and perfectly well.


 

Sherlock’s heartrate shoots up with every glance towards the room.

It's been eleven hours, twenty-seven minutes and fifty-six seconds since Molly was brought to the hospital.

A long night, according to Ann's words.

However, he hasn't been able to sleep for even ten minutes.

No, he will not.

Not without first seeing her. To make sure she's really well.

His mother has asked him to go home, but after a horrible display of screaming and crying, he's managed to stay.

He shouldn’t feel so comfortable with the situation - but he does.

"Will you look at the door forever, or will you go in?" Ann laughs.

He looks at her with disgust.

"She woke up with some pain, but she's fine."

Sherlock nods, with tight lips in a thin line.

"She can't talk much, but I'm sure she'll recognize your pale face and your untamable curls," Ann teases with a smile.

Sherlock responds with a loquacious movement - he sticks his tongue out at her.

Ann laughs. "Come on squirrel! Be brave."

His lips murmur a reply.

Ann blinks in bewilderment. "What?"

"What if she hates me?"

"Hate you?" Ann's face is filled with disbelief. "She would never hate you! I think that girl loves you like nobody else can love you in the world!  After your mother, of course."

Sherlock doesn't say anything, but the blush on his cheeks says everything.

He nods, taking the handle of the door between his hands. "I'm brave," he tells himself before entering.


 

She's small, very small in the hospital bed.

Her hair falls on her pillow, and he can see her pale face.

Her lips open and close when she sees him.

Sherlock swallows, wanting to take a step back and away from Molly Hooper's sad eyes.

His eyes roam from the floor to the medications on the bedside table.

But she knows him well; and she speaks, breaking the tension.

"Your eye looks bad. Does it hurt?"

"Yes," he responds mechanically, without looking her in the eyes.

He can almost hear the tone of disapproval in her voice when she speaks again. "You must be more careful."

Sherlock nods, wanting desperately to approach. But the words he wants to say do not come out. So he opts for others.

"I brought you a blanket so you don’t get cold." he says timidly, approaching the bed slowly, and leaving the red blanket with white snowflakes by her fingertips.

The idea that she could become cold again makes his stomach twist.

She smiles when her fingers touch the soft fabric. Her eyes glow even more as she inspects every detail. "I like it! It's very cute."

He can't do this. Not now.

Not when he almost lost her.

But Molly Hooper doesn’t give up. The sweet girl has his heart.

So when she looks at him with concern, he responds.

"You're good?"

Sherlock swallows hard. "I lied."

"When?"

Sherlock lowers his head, and she sighs. That has never been a good sign.

"I'm sorry!" There re tears on his cheeks. Tears of regret, pain, and fear.

"I'm sorry, Molly, I made you sick!" Sherlock manages to say. "I'm sorry because I said I hated you and it wasn't true!"

"Sherlock..."

 "I'm sorry!" He continues crying.

"William!"

Her voice is high, enough for him to look at her. Look at those brown eyes with tears in them.

She never calls him William.

Her hand gestures for him to approach the bed.

He does, still crying.

When he reaches the edge of the bed, her warm hands clean the tears from his cheeks.

"Mm-my fault!"

"It's not, Sherlock. I promise."

"You forgive me?" he murmurs, this time a little more audibly.

She silences him with a soft kiss on the forehead. "I do," she insists. "You're my best friend."

His eyes shine when she smiles. "I am?"

She nods, with a big smile on her face. "Forever, William Sherlock Scott Holmes."

The emotion is palpable in his eyes when he kisses her cheek. "Forever, Margaret Ann Hooper."


 

Sherlock approaches, slowly moves to the bed and climbs into it. The small space supports them both.

Sherlock gathers up a lock of her hair, his fingers playing with the brown strands for a few seconds until placing it perfectly behind her ear.

Her cheeks feel hot at the gesture.

Molly swallows when his cold thumb tenderly caresses her cheek.

His blue eyes shine when they look at her.

"You're really pretty."

Molly blushes again, smiling shyly.

"You're my best friend, Molly."

Her smile is light. "And you're my best friend, Sherlock."

"Forever?" His voice is no more than a whisper.

She nods. "Forever."

He smiles shyly, taking her hand in his. Minutes later, they are both sleeping peacefully.

And if someone sees a child lying in a small hospital bed next to a newly operated-on patient, nobody has the heart to say it out loud.

Not even the grumpy nurse on the night shift.

She just smiles and let it go.

Hours later, when Sherlock wakes up, his hand still remains between Molly's.

His cheeks quickly heat, but he doesn't think much about it. It's a new gesture, one that he's quickly getting used to.

He's slipped out of bed when Molly's eyes open.

Sherlock looks at her. He smiles and runs his hands through his disheveled curls.

She smiles at him in return.

And without saying anything, she kisses him on the cheek.

Sherlock takes a few seconds to record what happened, then smiles and runs out of the room - and jumps around animatedly.

"What’s gotten into him?" Siger asks with a frown from the other side of the aisle, watching his son smiling foolishly.

His wife leaves the reading she has in his hands and smiles. "You know, only the disease of love."

"The disease of love?"

"Yes, honey, you heard correctly." She smiles again in her son's direction. "The disease that's affected Sherlock, Molly, and a couple of teenagers...?”

"Oh." Siger nods. "The one that’s affected us for years, honey?"

"The same honey. The same."

Chapter Text

I can't get your smile out of my mind

I think about your eyes all the time

You're beautiful but you don't even try

(You don't even, don't even try)

Modesty is just so hard to find

 


 

CHANGES

 


 

When Molly finds Sherlock, he wears the uniform of the new school, that of the Academy Mycroft attended. The black blazer with red stripes; the striped tie and the white shirt. It looks good on him; he looks elegant, she tells herself.

However, something in his expression betrays him. His eyes seem conflictive; sad. Her heart leaps in response to the pain she's seeing.

Molly sighs, sitting next to her.

The sand is cold, rough on her hands. But she doesn’t say anything. She knows him well enough to know that he will speak in his own moment - not before, not after - only when he feels ready.

"I don't want to do this...”

"Myc and Ann spoke all the time; they wrote and saw each other."

"But it won’t be the same!" he complains, giving her a look too deep for a child of eleven and a half years. His voice is no more than a hard note, whispered under his breath. "I can't take care of you anymore."

She takes his hand gently, as she always does. "I don't need you to take care of me, Sherlock."

His lips come together in a fine line. Of course, out of everyone, he wouldn’t agree with that statement.

"You're always going to need me to take care of you."

Molly doesn't say anything, because that may be true, so she intertwines her fingers with his.

"Molly..."

Her heart rings rapidly in her chest. The sting of tears clings to her eyes, but she doesn't want him to see her like that. She doesn't want to cry.

This isn't a farewell. It's just a simple ‘until then.’

He must go. He must attend the Academy with people as smart as him, to have a good future, like Myc.

She knows this.

However, that doesn't do anything to alleviate the sadness she will feel by not having his daily presence.

But she swallows the tears, gives him a smile.

"I'm going to wait for you."

Sherlock sighs audibly, but she continues. "Every Friday afternoon I'll wait for you to come back and tell you everything. I'll write to you daily, I promise."

She doesn't see his face, but feels a warm grip between her fingers.

"I'm going to write to you...” Sherlock begins timidly. "Every thought, every detail... everything I learn." His pause is incredibly long. "I'm coming back, I promise."

Her cheeks are pink, the cold air blows over her hair, but at that moment Molly Hooper only feels the warmth of Sherlock's fingers and a feeling that pierces her chest, causing her insides to contract in a good way.

"Sherlock" -

He looks at her for a moment. His flushed cheeks are only the mirror of his own reflection when he leans over and kisses her cheek with tenderness. "You will always be my girl, Molly Hooper."

"And you'll always be my boy, Sherlock Holmes."


 

 

The redhead boy looks at the scene with amusement: his two best friends remain tightly embraced.

Victor sighs. Sherlock and his dramatic moments!

He coughs twice. Molly blushes and greets him; then walks away.

Sherlock gives him a look that Victor doesn't know how to interpret.

Before he can talk, Sherlock comes forward, looking completely out of his comfort zone.

"Will you take care of her for me?"

Victor nods lightly.

"Will you protect her from the malicious comments of James and his friends?"

Victor grimaces at that, but then agrees.

"You…”

The redhead cuts his speech short with a wave of his hands. "She'll be fine, Sherlock! You’re going to study at another school, you're not moving continents!" he reminds him with a very characteristic roll of eyes. "We saw Mycroft all the time! We'll see you all the time! Nothing will change, I promise."

Sherlock nods, holding out his hand.

Victor laughs and catches him in a prolonged hug.


 

 

Two years later

Eventually, everything changes.

The games that Molly usually loved were replaced by much more complex games: hunting hidden treasures; deciphering the clues of some enigma hidden in the old books from Sherlock's dad.

The dolls don't interest her much anymore; neither do the stuffed animals, although she still likes them for the great enjoyment of Victor and Sherlock's horror.

She goes to school to learn new things about science, math and literature. Each of her afternoons is full of reading. Ann started the habit, and now Molly is unable to stop reading novels about mystery, romance and adventure.

She devours book after book, page after page.

And when she doesn't read, she spends her time helping her father with the house, doing her homework and talking animatedly with Victor. He's her support, her protector, her great friend and confidant.

She adores every day; she loves what she does.

However, she yearns for every Friday afternoon, every Friday where she's able to hug Sherlock and listen to his (changing) voice telling her about the most fantastic adventures, his boring classes and how the space in his mind seems to be bigger.

He calls it his ‘mental palace.’

They remain essentially the same.

He's still her best friend; only he's slightly taller, thinner, and with many more marked curls clinging to his head.

Nothing has changed.

Only at the point when perhaps everything has been done.

Molly sighs, looking at herself in the mirror. Her light blue swimsuit is much smaller than from the last time she wore it. It also feels tighter than the last time.

She has grown a little, but nothing compared to Victor or Sherlock. She's still the youngest of the three.

She sighs again, not knowing whether to cover her growing bust or just lie and say she doesn't feel like swimming in the new pool built by Sherlock's father.

"Come on Molly, you're missing out on all the fun!" It's Victor's shout from the other side of the door.

Molly takes another look and shrugs. She can be brave today; they’re just her friends. Nothing could go wrong.


 

Victor enters the water in the shape of a cannon, sinking, then swiftly swimming with a smile on his face.

Sherlock sees him in the water and jumps in. They splash around for a bit.

Until Victor, being the athlete he is, looks for a ball and throws it in his direction.

Sherlock dodges it, entertained by another person occupying his attention.

Molly.

She walks slowly, with a white towel that’s too big for her clinging to her body.

She smiles shyly at them.

Sherlock frowns. She looks nervous, and flushed.

Why in the name of God would Molly be blushing?

"Molly…”

"Are you guys gonna play with me or not?" Victor yells.

Molly nods, taking off her towel in a quick movement and diving into the pool.

Victor smiles mischievously and splashes water to his side, creating a battle between them.


 

Victor had climbed out of the pool to eat some cookies when Molly feels a warm sensation taking over her belly, automatically lowering her gaze to see red liquid running down her thighs and mingling with the water.

Her eyes open in wonder and her mind runs through a lot of scenarios.

She knows what this means. Ann spoke with Molly about the matter; however, she still wants the earth to swallow her up because she feels that at this precise moment she could die of shame.

Tears sting in her eyes when she sees Sherlock's gaze tracing the red color in the water.

Of course, of all people, he would have to witness her first period.

Molly swims to the side quickly, takes an impulse and is out of the pool three seconds later.

She takes the large white towel and wraps it around herself. She takes a deep breath, wiping the tears from her face, when Sherlock's soft hand touches her right arm.

"What are you doing?"

No response.

He asks a little louder. "What's wrong?"

She doesn't want to answer, but she knows she must do it. It's Sherlock, after all. He will not accept an evasion to his question.

So, she decides to go for the truth, hoping that her friend gets the hint and she can keep what's left of her dignity.

"Sherlock, I'm bleeding."

His blue eyes open in horror when he asks "Where?"

"I'm bleeding, down there," she murmurs; too low, but enough for him to hear.

However, Sherlock looks incredibly lost. "Are you hurt? I'll get someone."

She gasps. "No, please don't."

"Why?"

"Please, Sherlock!" she almost begs; she doesn't want Victor questioning her, too.

"I'm not leaving until you tell me what's happening!" he says with indignation.

She bites her lip, swallows and decides to look at a spot on the ground. "It's a girl thing."

His eyes narrow slightly. "Since when do you have ‘girl things’?"

She sighs, too embarrassed to be outraged. "Since I'm a girl!"

"I know that, but since when did you keep things from me?"

"Please Sherlock, I just want to get out of here!"

Sherlock narrows his eyes, clearly deducting the situation. He has become incredibly good at that.

He's about to speak again when she takes the opportunity to run, terrified, up the stairs to the bathroom. Regardless of the cries that he's throwing in her direction.


 

His heart sinks.

His mind is spinning, but he can't understand it.

Is Molly hurt?

Is it a lower digestive hemorrhage?

Why is she running instead of going to the hospital?

He swallows at that.

Sherlock had a whole year of nightmares where his girl came back to the hospital. He doesn't want to repeat that horrible experience.

So he runs behind the chestnut-haired girl.

Climbing the stairs, before the surprised looks that his brother, Ann and Victor give him.

He doesn't care.

The only thing that matters is Molly.

"Molly, please," he says with a broken heart. "Please let me in!" He shouts again and again at the bathroom door.

"Please let me in!"

Tears sting in his eyes, his heart pounding, worries clouding his mind. "Please!"

She sobs, burying her face in her hands before answering. "Please, go!"

Sherlock blinks, surprised. It's the first time Molly wants him not to get close to her.

It hurts.

It hurts much more than it should.

He doesn't have time to think about it enough. Ann's voice brings him to reality. He turns to meet her calm expression.

"Aren't you supposed to be in the pool?" Ann asks, folding her arms.

"Molly is in there!"

He responds as if her presence on the other side of the door is obvious.

She wants to say something else but she just sighs and asks "What happened?"

"She says it's a girl thing."

Ann looks at Sherlock, then she raises an eyebrow at him. "Sherlock, go back to the pool, I'll take care of Molly."

"But…”

"Go!"

"Ann..." he complains with his best pout and puppy face.

That doesn't work with Ann.

"She'll be fine, you can go, I promise."

Sherlock wants to say something else but he doesn't. He walks slowly, shuffling his feet on the cold floor until he goes down the stairs and away, a safe distance from the bathroom.


 

Myc appears twenty minutes later. His explanation comes in the form of a book.

One with white letters, a pink cover, one that talks about hormonal changes and growth.

Sherlock's eyes flicker with confusion before he takes the book and reads the first title that appears.

The Changes that My Body Suffers. Chapter One: Menstruation.

The corners of Mycroft's lips contract, but he says nothing. Just sits next to his little brother while he quickly devours each line of the book.


 

 

A couple of hours later, he walks through the corridors of his house until he feels brave enough to approach Molly.

The book was enlightening. Horribly enlightening.

Sherlock thinks that in some class they probably talked to him about it, but clearly he deleted it from his mental palace.

He sighs.

He can do this.

He knocks on the door of his own room. The door opens after a couple of seconds.

Sherlock stays there, confused, looking at Molly. She looks at him standing there and sighs, waving for him to come in.

He sits down on his bed and she quickly scoots away from him.

"What's wrong? Are you mad at me?" Sherlock asks, sounding fragile.

She shakes her head.

"Then what is it?"

Her words are sharp enough to bring an implicit truth to them. "We're not little kids anymore."

He really tries not to roll his eyes. "I know."

Molly sighs without looking at her fine lines. "Then why are you asking so many questions?"

Sherlock sighs. If it were someone else, he would turn around, avoiding any kind of meaningless confrontation, but it's Molly.

And everything about her is too important for him, so it's something he is unable to deny. "I don't know why you don't want talk to me."

"Because... because..." Molly starts to cry as she hugs her chest.

Sherlock, seeing her cry, slowly reaches out to her. He pulls her closer and holds her as she cries.

"It was embarrassing, Sherlock! I didn't want that to happen, and even less in front of you, of all the people in the world!"

He should feel offended by that, but a part of his brain tells him it's better to keep quiet.

"My belly hurts, and I feel like crying and screaming at the same time! It's not something I wanted my best friend to see!"

"But the book says they are understandable responses to the changes that your woman's body is experiencing…”

The phrase your woman's body remains in the chestnut-haired boy’s mind like a whirlpool. Sherlock stops his tirade and looks slightly embarrassed.

That's when she realizes a book is spread on the floor, along with some sweets and pills that are clearly for menstrual cramps.

All are things brought by him to try to understand what she is suffering.

He's also ashamed.

She laughs.

"You okay?" he asks, bending down so he is at eye level with her. His thumbs gently wipe tears from her face.

Molly nods.

"Well, the bleeding in the pool was disgusting. Please don't do it again," he jokes.

Molly grabbed a pillow and hit him with it. Sherlock quickly grabbed a pillow and hit her back. They began hitting each other and laughing. Just like old times. But Sherlock could not help but watch her beautiful smile when she moved. He could not help it. He felt the pillow hit him in the head and snapped out of it. She fell forward onto him, and they fell back onto the bed. She was laying on top of him.

"You don't have to be embarrassed," he assures her with a sweet smile. "I don't know what's happening to me either. My voice is changing, I'm growing hair in weird parts of my body and I... I cannot control it."

"It's ok Sherlock, we're both going through changes."

"I wish it would stop. I wish we were still kids again."

"Me too."

Molly wraps her arms around him from behind. She rests her head on his shoulder. He reaches up and runs his fingers through her hair.

They both laugh.

Sherlock wraps his hand around her wrist, which was holding onto him.

"Promised you I wouldn't leave you. And I won't."

"I know, Sherlock, I know."

Molly sighs contentedly, feeling the smooth skin of Sherlock's chest, her heart hammering at a pace that only gives her comfort.


 

 

They lie in that way for what seem like hours until the door opens and Mrs. Holmes's voice rises loudly in the room.

"What the hell is going on in here?!"

Molly and Sherlock let go and both stand up. Violet looks at Molly's bathing suit and Sherlock's bare skin and thinks the worst.

"Margaret, put your shirt back on NOW! And William Sherlock Scott Holmes… You are never allowed to be in any room alone with her! Do you understand me!?" Violet yells.

"Yes!" they say at the same time. Molly pulls her shirt over her head.

"William, get out now, I'll talk to you later," Violet barks.

Sherlock looks at Molly and quickly rushes out. Violet turns back to the girl.

"What the hell did I just walk in on?! What would have happened if I didn't come in?"

The words are strong. She hates how they make the brunette girl tremble. But she doesn't back down. This girl is part of her family. Violet has seen her growing before her eyes, so the last thing she wants is for something bad to happen, something that came about by the extended curiosity of her youngest son.

God save her, she never had to live through anything similar with Mycroft.

"Nothing! Nothing happened!" Molly hurried to answer.

"Why the hell were your clothes off? Did he try to touch you?"

Her eyes widened with horror. “What? NO! This is Sherlock!"

"Yes, Sherlock is a boy, my son.  I'm well aware of that! Did he touch you? Did he do anything to you?"

"All he did was talk to me, and listen to me! And he was trying to make me feel better."

Violet tightens the bridge of her nose and then looks directly at her.

"He was worried, and he wanted to know if I was okay. Nothing happened." Molly takes a deep breath. "I swear."

Violet looks at her intensely but does not say anything else for a few seconds.

"Find your stuff, Molly, I'll take you home."

She sighs in assent. Violet can see the tears running down her pink face.


 

"Mycroft!" Ann calls, after seeing Mrs. Holmes’s outburst an hour ago.

She clearly was not happy with the situation. At least, that's what she told Ann when she told Myc everything quickly before taking Molly back home.

"Look, you have to talk to him about this. He's not a little kid anymore. And by the looks of it, Molly isn't a little kid anymore, either. Besides, it just sounds like they were just curious and nothing happened."

"But they can’t be alone together anymore."

"Well, not in a public setting, that is. They're young, they're going through puberty. God, so they're curious, is it a crime?"

"It is if he does something to her."

"He's a boy, so you get to talk to him. I’ll talk to Molly later, but guess what? Sherlocky's a boy, so man up and talk to him."


 

Myc sighs and walks down the hallway towards his brother's room. He knocks on the door. Sherlock is looking at his shoebox of things he collected. He puts the cover on the shoe box and slides it under the bed.

"Come in," Sherlock says.

Myc walks in and sees Sherlock sitting on his bed. Myc sits on the bed next to him.

"Mummy was really upset," Myc starts.

"Yeah, I heard."

"She was rather upset to find you and Molly alone in your room together."

Sherlock didn't say anything.

"What happened?" Myc asked.

"She was crying, and I was trying to make her feel better."

"Myc?" Sherlock asked as he saw Myc get paler and paler.

"When you say ‘make her feel better,’ what exactly did you do?"

"I hugged her, because she felt sad."

Myc lets out a sigh of relief, and then a small chuckle. He places his hand on Sherlock's shoulder. "So, nothing else happened?"

"We had a pillow fight..."

"That's all?"

"She fell on me," Sherlock remembers. "Then Mum came in, screaming at us."

"Ok, ‘nothing's’ good. Nothing happened."

"Why does everyone keep saying that?"

Ann is leaning in the doorway and smirks.

"Alright, Myc, you've been floundering around enough. I'll take over," Ann says, walking in and sitting in a chair across from Sherlock.

"Sex. That's what they're afraid of. They're afraid that you and Molly will have sex," Ann says.

Myc  is horrified. Sherlock is confused.

"What do you mean?"  he asks.

"You see, your bodies are changing and you're growing up. All the adults here are afraid that you two will have sex, though you probably don't know the mechanics of it. But, see, if your boy parts line up with Molly's girl parts, well then, if you have sex, you could get her pregnant."

"You mean she could have a baby?"

"Yes, so your boy parts can't touch her girl parts."

"Ann!" Myc yells.

"What? You weren't going to explain it to him, so I am!"

The answer comes from Sherlock with a twist of eyes and the word. "Gross!"

The couple laughs. At least it is one less issue to address.

They are still innocent kids.

For now.