Kevin Watson sat opposite a man wearing a blue pinstripe suit and looking like a pompous owl. The man had a briefcase on the mahogany desk between them. He shuffled through legal files, occasionally glancing up at Kevin with something close to contempt dancing on his lips.
"Mycroft Holmes is in hospital?"
"How did he end up there?" The lawyer asked, although he knew the answer.
"He attempted to kill himself. He slit his wrists."
"Under your care?"
"Why was a foster child under your protection allowed to carry a weapon?"
"He wasn't carrying a weapon" Kevin said, growing angry. "He had a penknife. He's a twelve year old boy, of course he owns a penknife!"
"And yet you failed to monitor his usage, to supervise him?"
"I didn't know he had it." Kevin growled.
"What else do you think he's hiding from you? If, as some now claim, he was abused by my client, he could be harbouring all sorts of negative, violent emotion. If it's not your fault, it's his."
"Mycroft is not violent. He's frightened. He's sad."
"There are two options here, Mr Watson, and after my consultation with Mycroft's social worker, I seriously recommend the first. Either Mycroft Holmes was not properly taken care of and should be immediately placed back with his loving father, who denies all claims that he abused his eldest son, or, and I think this is by far the worst option, we determine that Mycroft is a danger to himself and others, in which case he should be removed immediately from foster care and placed in a secure home for the protection of himself and those around him."
"None of that's true! He's not dangerous, he's depressed! He's been referred to a psychologist, and we will be able to tailor our responses to suit his needs better now that we know that. As for going back to his father, the state would never let that happen! He is a kiddie diddling, violently abusive alcoholic, and he does not deserve to have children!"
"There is next to no evidence to support the boy's claims. I will be defending my client, and unless you watch your mouth, you will be sued for deformation of character before you can say 'jail time'."
"They'll find something. It's easy to see how badly Mycroft was treated. He flinches at sudden sound or movement, he has flashbacks, nightmares, he's depressed, he has disturbingly low self esteem, I could go on for hours! And for heavens sake, he had bruises from that last night, huge scars across his back, stretching back for years, broken bones! The rape kit came back positive! How can you possibly say there isn't enough evidence!"
"Even if there is enough evidence to take Mycroft away from the only family he has, there is nothing on the younger brother," he flicked through the file "Sherlock."
"No way!" Kevin looked, aghast, at the lawyer "You can't be seriously considering fighting to send that little boy back there! He's five!"
"I am well aware of his age."
"Really? You weren't aware of his name ten seconds ago!"
"Sherlock, by Mycroft's own admission, was never abused by Mr Holmes."
"Mycroft protected him!"
"He does not need to be in foster care at all."
"He does! There is a great deal of psychological damage there."
"The plan is already in motion. Sherlock Holmes will be returned to his rightful home on Monday. After that, visitation with his brother will go to one hour a week. Mycroft is a bad influence."
"You can't do that! You can't send him back to that sicko! And you can't stop Mycroft seeing him. Do you know what that will do to both of them?"
"I'm afraid it's all already been arranged. My client can be very persuasive when he wants to be, I assure you. It was nice meeting you, Mr Watson"
"We already have. Someone will be round to take Sherlock home on Monday. Goodbye."