Mycroft knocked on the Watson's door conflicted between elation and worry. Kevin opened the door for him and they looked each other in the eye for a moment, Kevin trying to ascertain if his charge had hurt himself, and Mycroft trying to convey his innocence. Kevin nodded, satisfied, and let Mycroft inside.
"I need to talk to you." Mycroft said, something curling up inside him. There was no way he could ask his foster father what the feeling was. He knew it, deep in the back of his brain. But he didn't want it. Just another thing that made him abnormal.
"Okay. Now, or later this evening?" Kevin tried to keep his body language open, almost painfully aware that he needed to act differently towards the boy than he would usually.
"Now, if that's okay?" Mycroft ran a hand through his hair, feeling the slight pull as he miscalculated the length. Kevin nodded and followed the boy to his bedroom. Mycroft lent against the wall on the opposite side of the room to the wardrobe, and Kevin picked up on his body language, making a mental note to move it into the other guest room.
"What's up?" Kevin said, sitting down on the floor by Mycroft's bed, placing himself lower down than the boy, trying to look as unthreatening as possible.
"Greg invited me to his party, and we walked some of the way home together today, and I had this really weird feeling in my stomach, like something was crawling inside it, and I couldn't breathe properly and I started stuttering and stuff, and I think I..." Mycroft didn't breathe, spilling everything out.
"Hey, slow down. Do you think you might like him, is that what you're saying?"
"I don't know! He's smart and funny and... handsome" Mycroft blushed when Kevin had to suppress a smile.
"The kids tend to say hot in this century, Mycroft" he smiled.
"Whatever. Seriously though... I'm meant not to like boys." Mycroft felt like sinking into the floor in shame.
"You're allowed to like boys. My brother is gay. He and his partner live in Glasgow. It's totally normal."
"But... what if... what if I was... normal before my father... and now I'm... not" Mycroft slid down to the floor as the smile disappeared from Kevin's face.
"Oh Mycroft, it doesn't work like that."
"He always said I enjoyed it. That I liked men. But I didn't think I did. And now..."
"God... Mycroft, it really doesn't work like that. What your father did was... foul, and it doesn't affect your sexuality. What it does affect is how you feel about it."
"But what if it has affected me like that? I never felt like this before... " Mycroft bit his lips hard. Flashes of memories clouded the sides of his brain. His father, his father's friends, strangers...
"Mycroft? Come back here buddy." Kevin said, noticing the glazed and frightened look in Mycroft's eyes. The boy came back to the present, noticeably upset "look, it's okay. This boy, Greg, will be okay. You're twelve, Mycroft. I know you have had experiences in this area, but your experiences have been extremely a-typical. That is not what a loving, equal, consensual relationship is like. So this is simultaneously an encouragement and a warning. Have fun exploring with him in an age appropriate way. Remember that you're not even a teenager yet! There should not be anything sexual, at all, okay? Remember that. A little kissing is okay, but anything else is off limits. But if you feel uncomfortable, or something reminds you of your past, stop. He won't mind. It doesn't make you weak."
"But... what if he wants..."
"He won't. Kids your age, they don't do stuff like that. I know Greg's father, and Greg is not the kind of kid who would want that yet, let alone ask you."
"I... okay" Mycroft smiled thinly.
"Mycroft, don't let your past hold you back. You have such a bright future ahead of you, and I wish you could see it like we do. Just be sensible with Greg. Anything that makes you feel even a little uncomfortable, tell him no, and he will stop. He will stop, Mycroft, and he won't think any less of you for it. You can always call me and I'll come and get you from anywhere, at any time, for any reason."
"Thanks, Kevin" they sat in silence for a few minutes, Mycroft staring at the ceiling, Kevin surreptitiously staring at Mycroft. "Shall we go downstairs now?" Mycroft asked quietly.
"Okay. I'm proud of you." Kevin said.
"I'm proud at how far you've come from that kid we picked up not even a month ago. Do you remember? You were frightened of everything, and always trying not to upset us. You've done so well." Kevin got up and left the room, conscious of the emotion he had caused in the boy. Mycroft remained sitting on the floor, thinking, for half an hour, until Lizzie called him for tea.