Sherlock bust into the house like a tornado, his excited voice loud and pure, waking Mycroft from his trancelike sleep. The older brother extended his arms to the younger, and Sherlock launched into the hug. Mycroft held him tighter than he ever had before, squeezing his eyes shut, trying to lock in the smell of Sherlock's hair, the feel of his body pressed tightly against his own, the muffled chatter. Mycroft gritted his teeth, struggling not to explode with love for the little boy. Kevin turned to Lizzie, a drained and hopeless look on his face, and she pulled him into a hug. John had got himself some juice, and sat down on the sofa, lazily turning on the television, rolling his eyes at all the sentiment around him, yet keeping a close eye on Sherlock, making sure he was okay. Kevin almost groaned out loud as he remembered Harry.
"Liz, will you stay with the boys while I talk to Harry?" He whispered in her ear.
"Of course darling. You did well." She said sincerely, planting a small kiss on his slightly stubbled cheek. Kevin trooped up the stairs to comfort his almost teenage daughter, taking a deep breath before he knocked.
"Mycroft?" Lizzie said quietly, moving closer to the kneeling boy. He opened his eyes, and she saw a flash of fear, pain and... loss move across the bright blue before they settled onto blank acceptance. "Sweetheart, are you alright?"
"It was simply a dissociative episode brought on by a flashback trigger" he said clinically, rubbing his brother's back.
"But are you okay? Did you have a flashback? A bad one?" She could tell his answer by his sudden embarrassment and the shame flooding his features. He gently disentangled himself from Sherlock.
"I will put Sherlock to bed now. I expect he is tired from his day out" he sounded stiff and formal, and placed a firm hand on the little boy's shoulder.
"You don't have to. You can talk to me. We can put the boys to bed and then have a chat?"
"There is nothing to discuss, Mrs Watson. Good night." He dragged a wildly protesting Sherlock up the stairs and got him ready for bed. The boys lay in their room together, dusky light still coming in through the curtains, Sherlock complaining that it was just too early.
"Croft, it's not even eight! I want to go downstairs and watch television with John! Lizzie said we could have hot chocolate when we got home."
"Go to sleep, Sherlock. I should not have let you go at all. What if you had fallen over?" A surge of panic rose in Mycroft's chest, making his breathing accelerate.
"I'm fine! Why are you being so weird?"
"I am not being 'weird'. Just go to sleep."
"No. I don't want to go to sleep!" Sherlock jumped out of bed and ran out of the room.
"Sherlock!" Mycroft yelled, anger overpowering his fear. He jumped out of bed too, and followed his brother down the stairs. "Get back here, right now!"
"You're not the boss of me!" Mycroft caught up with his brother in the kitchen, seeing red with the force of his rage. It was as though he wasn't in control of his body any more. He didn't know why he was so angry. He didn't know why his left hand had clamped down so hard on the little boy's arm. He didn't know why his right hand was raised. He didn't know why Sherlock suddenly looked so terrified, cowering away from him. He didn't know why his hand was now traveling quickly downwards, towards his brother, balled into a tight fist. The next second, he felt a hand grab his, just as he was about to punch Sherlock. Mycroft's eyes widened, a sickening feeling of guilt crashing down on him. He had almost hurt Sherlock. He looked at his hand, in the grip of Kevin's bigger one, and felt unending repulsion. He wrenched it out of Kevin's grip, and, ignoring his shouts, sprinted haphazardly back upstairs, banging himself on walls.