Sherlock’s fingers twisted on the bubbled plastic wrap, a few of the tiny cells giving under the pressure and snapping with a satisfying release of air. That was fine, he decided-- he didn’t need all of them, anyway, and trying to slot the whole business into the repurposed plastic cup-and-dish towel contraption was turning out to be more difficult than he’d anticipated!
Tilting his head, Sherlock worried his fingers down along the edge, inching the cylinder of bubble wrap into the cup in tiny increments.
On second thought, he considered, it might just be too tight after all. “Hmm..” He frown at the makeshift sleeve, and pressed one finger down into the slot at the top, giving it a generous wiggle. There was just enough give, he was mostly sure. And a little lube would help.
So, with a smirk for his own ingenuity, Sherlock wrapped his DIY creation in a fold of his robe, and scurried on down to the bathroom at the end of the hall.
It was always so dull when they had guests over, and Sherlock was determined to make his own fun.
“I know… Go Johnny Go Go Go.”
Mycroft glanced up from the cards he was shuffling (at his mother’s request), one eyebrow arched as he listened to the collection of aunts, and close family friends, try to decide what game they wanted to play.
He wasn’t sure why they bothered, it almost always came down to Bridge, despite the occasional protest that it was getting dull, and there were dozens- hundreds!- of other games. And ‘we’re not old and dead yet, we should have a little fun!’.
“ Strip poker.” Added elderly Mrs. Jenkins at the end of the table, her recently blue-rinsed hair standing out against the usual whites and greys. Mycroft stifled a smirk at the comment, and looked back down to his cards.
Honestly, she only said things like that because they made Mummy Holmes tut and sniff in disapproval (he rather understood why Sherlock liked the old lady, she was feisty like that!)
“We’ll play Go Johnny Go Go Go.” Said Violet with an authoritative air, and held out her hand for her elder son to pass over the shuffled deck, “Myc, are you going to stay and play a hand?”
Mycroft wasn’t sure he had ever been more grateful for a reprieve! But just as the question left her mouth (with the tacit understanding that he would play, or else it would be considered rude) there was a God’s Almighty crash from one of the upstairs rooms. Jolting with surprise, Mycroft was half out of his chair before he’d entirely processed the sound.
“No thank you, Mummy.. I’ll go check on Sherlock, you enjoy your game. No- it’s really no trouble.” He added quickly, just in case she had any brilliant ideas about stopping to ‘help’.
“Sherlock? Lockie?” Mycroft ventured through the bathroom door, a few wisps of steamy air escaping through the gap underneath. He could still hear the water rushing against the tiles, but there was no sound of his brother. Heart tightening (what if he was hurt? He was never as careful as he should be, and sixteen had come with elbows and knees in ungainly new locations!) “Sherlock?”
With his ear to the door, Mycroft just managed to make out a low.. Moan? An uncomfortable sound, from inside the bathroom. Well, that cinched it! Better to err on the side of caution, he told himself, rather than take the risk that his baby brother was bleeding out on the middle of the blue and grey tiles.
Thankfully, Sherlock had never gotten into the habit of locking doors.
The inside of the bathroom was a complete disaster; the floor scattered with shampoo bottles, and the curtain hanging at a strange angle with half the rings still looped on the rail, complete with the torn edges of what remained of the curtain. “Lockie..” Mycroft’s heart unclenched a little when his brother blinked dazedly up at him from the bottom of the bath, his black curls slicked down across his cheeks.
“Mycie.. Slipped.” He mumbled, barely aware of his state of undress. Not when the back of his head was throbbing, and he was more occupied with trying to curse whoever had decided that baths should be treacherously slippery!
“I see that, brother mine.. Come on, out of the bath.”
A task that was much easier said than done.
Mycroft was soaked through as he reached over to shut off the water-- that was the easy part. More difficult was untangling the gangly teenager from his prone position on the floor of the tub. Slotting one leg against the side for leverage, Mycroft reached down to pull Sherlock into a sitting position; and nearly wound up right beside him as his foot slid wildly forward.
“Whoa!” He blurted, one hand slapping against the wall, and the other catching himself on the already tattered curtain, tearing a few more rings loose. “Lockie, what on Earth-”
“Lube.” He huffed with pained and betrayed irritation, rubbing the back of his neck with a baleful look to the tiny bottle of the side of the tub. Clear, unscented, and silicone based. Mycroft wasn’t sure if he wanted to burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of it; or shake his brilliant, mad little brother until he rattled some sense into his head! “So, brother mine, you’ve used the wrong formulation, and essentially turned the bathtub into the slickest slide in Sussex.”
Sherlock scrunched up his nose at the hateful alliteration, and didn’t bother to confirm the obvious. “And now I’ve hit my head, and it hurts , so stop being beastly and help me out!”
“I could leave you in there for a while. I’m sure you’d eventually find some way to eel yourself to safety.” Luckily for Sherlock, Mycroft wasn’t quite that cruel. And with a little finagling, his arms curled under his brother’s for balance, Mycroft managed to help Sherlock free of his impossibly slippery prison.
“I feel like an idiot.”
“Mm, I’m not surprised. You did manage to nearly concuss yourself while experimenting with .. this.” Mycroft had to bite his tongue to stifle a laugh when Sherlock glared at the now soggy and slightly mangled collection of household items. “You’re sixteen, Lockie. I don’t think you really needed to try reinventing the wheel.”
Wrapped in his brother’s robe (as he own was hopelessly soaked through) Sherlock grumped unhappily and planted his damp head in Mycroft’s lap, demanding attention as a balm for his hurts. “I wanted to know what it would feel like. And I have precisely no desire to find an idiot goldfish to experiment with.” He stated bluntly, and only began to relax a little when his brother’s fingers began combing through his curls, careful not to press the aching bump on the back of his head.
“Not like a dishrag in an old tumbler, Lockie.”
“No… But it didn’t feel like my hand , Myc. So it’s a valid experiment.”
“Until you nearly brain yourself, and have to be rescued.”
“The next time you want to experiment, Lock-- and I’m sure there will be another time, God save us-- don’t use hydrophobic lubricant in a wet environment. You’re lucky a bump is all you’re going to have.”
Sherlock harrumphed, and pressed his nose into Mycroft’s belly, burrowing in to hide his embarrassment. “Nrff’ad?” He asked, and felt the tiny vibrations of his brother’s quiet laughter.
“Why don’t you try that again, dearest. I can’t make out a word you’re saying."
There was a pause, and Sherlock leaned back just a little; clearly because he was being generous, and not because he couldn’t breathe through the thick layer of navy blue cashmere. “I said, ‘you aren’t mad?’”
“No.. no no. Not mad. Relieved you’re alright.”
“And relieved that you don’t have to play cards with the old ladies?”
“Mm.. But don’t think that’s going to get you off the hook, Lockie. You still have to clean up the bathroom. Consider it a new experiment-- what substance best removes liquid silicone from porcelain?
Mycroft received a mutinous look for his trouble.
“Later. Head hurts now.”
“.. Yes, alright. But only a little later.”
Mollified, Sherlock closed his eyes, focused on the slow pass of his brother’s fingers through his hair. And dreaming of a new and better design.
After all, just because the prototype was a failure didn’t mean he had to abandon the experiment...