The next day was Friday, the night of the date. Mycroft met Greg outside the pizza restaurant ten minutes before they had arranged to be there.
"Hey" Greg said, pulling him into a one armed hug.
"Hi" Mycroft muttered nervously, pulling the sleeves on his new shirt down further, making sure to cover the bandage from last night.
"Shall we go inside then?" Greg asked. The younger boy nodded, and they went inside, Greg confirming his booking and leading Mycroft to the table. "So, how's your week been?" Mycroft's brain went into overdrive, wondering how much to tell him.
"Okay. Just mucking about with my brother and the Watson's."
"Cool. What do you do with them?" Mycroft could tell that Greg was having to try hard to keep conversation, and felt pinpricks of sweat under his arms.
"We watched a movie last night. The Lion King. Sherlock and John really wanted to watch it. I thought it was cute. But it was a bit childish."
"My little sister loves Lion King. I gotta say, I quite enjoy it. I know it's really uncool and whatever to like Disney, especially for a fourteen year old boy, but it has good music, and a good plot, and it reminds me of being a little kid. So yeah, I kinda like that sort of thing."
"Me too. Sherlock loved it. John's been teaching him the words to the songs."
"He's so cute, isn't he? John, I mean. He's in my sister Amy's class, and he's always nice to everyone."
"Yeah, he is cute. And Harry's nice too. Sherlock and I were really lucky to get them." At that moment, the waitress arrived to take their order. They relaxed into easy conversation, laughing and telling jokes. "Tell me about your family"
"There's nothing interesting to tell you. My parents got divorced two years ago, and my little sister Amy and I live with Mum. Dad moved to Gloucester, and I see him once a month. Amy doesn't see him at all, she says she doesn't want to. I can tell it breaks Dad's heart every time I come without her. But we have fun. What about you?"
"You know about me" Mycroft turned away slightly.
"What do you want to know?"
"Tell me about your real family."
"Sherlock and I lived with our mother and father until a few weeks ago when we moved in with the Watson's. Mother and Father... weren't the best parents. Sherlock is the sweetest, most adorable little brother ever. He's smart, and funny, and he's always getting into everything he shouldn't. I've tried to teach him the mental tricks and deductions, and he's picked them up much better than I ever did."
"What kind of mental tricks?" Greg asked, leaning towards the other boy. Mycroft gawped at him. He had ignored the information about Mycroft's parents.
"I- you know, like memory techniques. And deductions. We observe things about people, and put those things together to make reasonable leaps of deduction, thus working things out about people. Most people think it's pretty weird."
"Do me" Greg said enthusiastically, then went bright red as he realised what he had said. Mycroft hadn't twigged, so they skimmed over it, Greg suddenly very relieved that his partner was slightly younger and less teenage-minded than he was.
"Are you sure? People don't usually like it" Mycroft twisted his hands together.
"I'm not usual people. Go on, Myc, do your thing."
"I- okay..." Mycroft took a few seconds to appraise the boy in front of him. "This is just objective, okay? It's not necessarily what I think, just what I see."
"Okay. Get on with it" Greg said eagerly.
"Okay. You have a small dog, a terrier. He's a young puppy and he hasn't finished obedience training. You're struggling in history at school. You had porridge with blueberries on it this morning. Your sister is in a bad mood, and keeps throwing tantrums. You are doing something important later tonight with someone you want to impress. You are going to see your father this weekend, and he is taking you bowling."
"Wow. How the hell did you know all that?"
"You have white dog hairs around the bottoms of your jeans, and they only go a few inches up, but then there are scare hairs further up, meaning that your small white dog jumps up, indicating a puppy who has not completed obedience training. You were up last night studying, you have ink on your hands which if you read it like how it could have been on the page reads 'war' indicating history, and, as your favourite academic subject is obviously English, you would not be reading a history book for fun. Therefore you must be struggling, and not wanting your mother to know. You have a very tiny stain of blueberries on your bottom incisor, and you had a little porridge on your trouser leg this morning in school, which simultaneously points to your breakfast food, and that your sister has become prone to tantrums. She threw her porridge on the floor this morning, splashing you."
"Bloody hell. You could tell all that by looking at me?"
"Sure. It's not hard, you just have to observe rather than simply see."
"That is so cool! Can you teach me?"
"I don't know. A lot of it is kind of instinct. I don't know if I can teach it."
"You taught Sherlock" Greg sounded a little put out.
"I'll try." Mycroft said quickly, making Greg smile.
They talked for a good hour after they had finished their desserts, and, at around nine thirty, they decided to go home. Greg offered to walk Mycroft home, so they left the restaurant together. Mycroft felt ten inches taller, walking hand in hand with Greg.
"I had a really nice time tonight, Myc" Greg said
"Me too. I had a lot of fun."
"We should go see a movie next Friday. Something a bit more substantial than the Lion King!"
"That sounds good" Mycroft said, squeezing Greg's hand. They walked in silence for a bit, going steadily towards the Watson's house. Mycroft could feel himself relaxing more and more into the quiet.
"Oi! Fag!" A shout came from a group of teenagers Mycroft hadn't been paying any attention to. "It's Holmes-ey-boy! I always knew you were a freaking poofter, Holmes!"
"Oh no. Greg, go home, okay? Go on, run!" Mycroft tried to push Greg away, but the older boy refused to budge.
"Who are they, Myc?"
"Just some guys from my old school. Run away!"
"I'm not leaving you here" Greg crossed his arms.
"You little fairies tootling off to the fairy castle, are you? You're a long way from home, Holmes"
"I don't live there any more."
"Really? Lord of the Manor got so grossed out by your little fairy ways and sent you away, did he?"
"No. Look, Jenkins, leave me alone? I'm no where near the school, I'm not bothering you"
"Oh, look boys, Mykie's grown a backbone!" The four sixteen year olds laughed, and Greg frowned.
"I dunno what you think you're doing, but I think you should leave us alone" Greg said. The older boys howled with laughter, Jenkins actually wiping away a tear.
"The little fairy has a fairy friend! How quaint!"
"Shut up!" Mycroft said loudly, not quite shouting. The other boys went silent, and Mycroft went pale.
"What did you say to me?" Jenkins growled, approaching the much younger boy with his hand outstretched, grabbing his neck and backing him into a wall.
"I-I-I" Mycroft struggled to breathe while Greg stared in horror. "Nothing"
"You little freakish twat, Homes! Just because you've gained ten pounds and actually bought clothes that fit, doesn't mean you can go around being rude to people better than you, does it?" Jenkins whispered the last sentence into his victim's ear threateningly.
"No, I understand. Let me go?" Mycroft could feel the oxygen leaving his brain as the older boy's hand clasped firmly around his neck. The other three teenagers hovered around, and Greg stood stock still to the side, not daring to interfere in case he made them hurt Mycroft.
"Why haven't you been in school? We've missed you" Jenkins said in a sickly sweet voice.
"Like I said, I moved away" Mycroft was almost blue now.
"Round the corner. Let me go, Jenkins, please?" Mycroft had been in the same position with this boy too many times to hope for an affirmative answer, so it didn't come as a surprise when he laughed and punched Mycroft in the side of the head. Greg snapped into action and launched himself onto Jenkins' shoulders.
"Get off me, you fucking pansy!" Jenkins yelled. Two of the other boys grabbed Greg by the shoulders and shoved him onto the floor. He landed hard on his back, and the skinniest teenager held him down whilst the other three closed in on Mycroft. "Just like old times, Freak"
"Jenkins, don't, come on, leave me alone" Mycroft was backed up into the wall, and shut his eyes as the first punch hit his face. He refused to let it knock him over, and attempted to punch back.
"Ohhhhh, he wants a fight!" Jenkins howled. The large teenager grabbed the front of Mycroft's new shirt and lifted him off the floor. "You're not worth fighting with" he spat. Jenkins dropped his prey, and the others pounced. Mycroft's eyes widened as he realised that their shoes were coming towards him rather quickly.
"STOP! MYCROFT!" Greg yelled as the boots hit his date over and over. The younger boy curled into the foetal position, trying to protect his face and his middle.
Greg struggled against the boy holding him down, and pulled out of his grasp, turning to punch him in the gut. The older boy doubled over, and Greg kneed him in the balls. The other three seemed too engrossed in kicking Mycroft to notice him. Greg hesitated. He could be clear if he ran now. He could get help. At that moment, Mycroft let out a noise like Greg had never heard before. It was a hollow, pain filled cry. "You bastards!" Greg yelled, launching himself on Jenkins again. Jenkins flung him off with ease, and Greg ended up on his back, winded. He dragged himself up and tried again.
"Oh no you don't, Faggot" the boy he'd kicked grabbed both his legs and toppled him. Greg fell again. With all his strength, he kicked both legs upwards into the other boy's chest. Free again, Greg tried to ignore Mycroft's whimpers and grunts of agony and ran. He ran for no more than a minute, pulling out his phone and dialling 999 at the same time.
"What service do you require?"
"Police. And Ambulance. My date's being beaten up. We're on Elm, about five minutes walk from the school towards the church."
"We're on our way. Stay out of danger." Greg ended the call, stabbing wildly at the touch screen. He shakily dialled his mother.
"Mummy, please come help us. Some boys from Mycroft's old school are beating him up, and I just managed to escape. Can you call the Watson's for me?"
"Oh baby! Where are you?" Greg told her, and she put down the phone, obviously trying to get there as soon as possible. Greg was alone. He was torn between going back to see if he could help Mycroft and waiting for the ambulance. He was not a strong boy. But he had a fierce sense of morality. Taking a deep, shaking breath, he ran back to Mycroft. The situation made him gasp. Mycroft was on the floor, wrapped up into a tiny ball, and the four sixteen year olds were relentlessly kicking him against the wall. Jenkins was at his head, knocking it over and over into the ground and the wall. The other three were down his body, and the two in the middle had laughingly synchronised their kicks so Mycroft slammed with double force into the brickwork.
"Hey! Leave him alone!" Greg yelled, furious "I've called the police."
"Oh really?" Jenkins turned around, sweaty with exertion. "Stop kicking lads, I want to talk to Holmes." They stopped kicking, disappointed, and Jenkins picked Mycroft up by the back of his collar, turned him around and slammed his back against the wall.
He was so pale he was whiter than the shirt had been, before it had been covered in mud and blood. His face was streaked in blood from his still spurting nosebleed, and his hair was matted with it, a large mess of dark liquid seeping from the back of his head. His eyes looked unfocused. "So then, Freak. I don't ever want to see you again, you understand? If you dare to come back to school, we will do this every day, until you die. If I see you around elsewhere, then you should have this in mind" he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a knife. It wasn't a kid's Swiss Army knife, it was a vicious looking black blade. Jenkins held it against Mycroft's neck, and the younger boy flinched away. "Scared now, are we? If I see you again, Holmes" then his voice dropped to a whisper, and he leaned into Mycroft's ear. "I will kill you, and everyone will know it was because you were a weak, pathetic, pansy freak." Jenkins pressed the blade into Mycroft's neck, and Mycroft stretched away, gasping as the knife forced its way through his clammy skin. Jenkins withdrew the knife without causing any real damage and grabbed Mycroft roughly by the hair. "Understand? I will kill you myself."
"Do it now!" The skinny one who'd been holding Greg down began to chant, gleefully.
"Shut up you moron. The police are coming, and there's a witness" he jerked his free hand to Greg, still holding a weak Mycroft up by the hair. "I don't expect to see you again, faggot. Goodbye. Right, let's get out of here before the pigs arrive!" Jenkins dropped Mycroft unceremoniously on the ground that was slicked with his blood. Greg rushed over to the younger boy whilst the older ones ran off, laughing.
"Myc, are you okay?" Greg shook his shoulder and Mycroft winced, letting out a low murmur of agony. "The ambulance will be here in a minute, and the police. And my mum and the Watson's"
"Sher..." He whispered
"You want Sherlock?"
"No" Mycroft closed his eyes, and would not move at Greg's attempts to rouse him. The sirens began to blare around them, and Greg was frantically shaking the younger boy. But nothing would stir Mycroft Holmes.