Mycroft was walking on air for the next week, unable to stop himself smiling. Lizzie was overjoyed at the change in him. What she found most gratifying, though, was the change in the relationship between the Holmes brothers. Mycroft had relaxed his role as protector, and become a playmate. It was not uncommon now to see Mycroft lying on the floor, Sherlock kneeling on top of him, pointing a wooden sword in his big brother's face. John was often right behind, laughing at the older boy's deliberately contorted facial expressions.
On Thursday night, the night before the date, Mycroft and Harry were watching television, Mycroft sprawled on his stomach on the floor, his legs swinging in the air. He wore a dark blue baggy hoodie and dark jeans, and his blonde hair was flopping into his face. Sherlock and John were out with another boy from school ice-skating.
"Mycroft," Harry asked, furrowing her eyebrows "how come you're going out with a boy?" Mycroft flushed bright red.
"So, you prefer boys to girls then?"
"I like girls too. But just as friends" Mycroft's blush did not recede, if anything it got darker.
"Cool." Harry looked back at the television, and Mycroft lay in embarrassed silence. When the adverts came on, Harry clicked her tongue. "I think I might be the same. Just liking girls, I mean."
"Really?" Mycroft turned around and sat cross-legged in front of her.
"Yeah. See, I like Sandra. She doesn't like me back though. She's going out with Mark Evans." Harry sighed.
"Right. Have you talked to her about it?"
"No. She won't want to be my friend anymore. We've known each other for eight years. It's okay for you, because you're not risking long term friendships. Coming out to eleven year olds you went to primary school with is different."
"Aren't you a bit young anyway?" Mycroft asked. Harry scowled at him.
"You're only ten months older than me, Mycroft Holmes!"
"But twelve is nearly a teenager, eleven is still a child" Mycroft's eyes widened as Harry's narrowed.
"You're so... Sanctimonious!" She yelled, the longest, most clever sounding insult she could think of.
"Harry, I didn't mean-"
"I was just trying to share with you, because we're the same, and you had to go and be just like everyone else. I thought you were different. I thought we could be friends." She stood up. Mycroft stood too, and they faced each other.
"I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I was just pointing out that the parts of the brain that explore sexuality are more developed in mine than yours" Mycroft thought that that would solve the issue that was escalating so quickly he felt like the floor was being pulled out from underneath him.
"So now I'm stupid as well as childish!"
"No, I just-" Mycroft's words were cut short as the girl reached up and slapped him as hard as she could around the face. His breathing became ragged, his eyes locked on the floor, his hands twitching at his sides.
"Mycroft?" She asked, panicked. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I just lost it for a minute. Mycroft?" But he didn't look up. A million thoughts were running through his head as Harry sprinted upstairs, shouting for her father. The first was shock. Shock that the slap had hurt so badly, physically and emotionally. Shocked that he had lasted this long without making the Watson's hate him. Shocked that he was reacting so strongly. He could feel his body as though he were very small inside it, being kept prisoner. But, underneath all his deeper understanding of the situation, there was a raging undercurrent of terror. He had got used to not being in pain, and he was afraid to go back to that constant worry, that fear that at any moment the pain would return. He didn't register Kevin keeling in front of him. He didn't feel the man's hands encircling his wrists. He didn't hear his foster-father's worried questions. He was trapped inside his panicking body. And he hated how weak it made him feel.