Greg was waiting outside A&E, sitting in a line with John, Harry and a sobbing Sherlock. He was dazed. He looked down at his hands and saw that they were shaking. On inspection, they were also covered in blood, which may have been why Sherlock looked terrified of him. He stood up so quickly it made him dizzy, and went to the bathroom with a word to Harry, passing on responsibility for the boys. He staggered through the corridors, unaware of the sympathetic or horrified glances coming his way. Greg found a bathroom and washed his hands, the water coming off pink. He splashed water on his face, hoping to snap out of the fuzziness in his head. As he dried his face, he found a tender spot on his cheekbone, and, poking it, came to the conclusion that it would probably bruise badly. Mycroft was about to come out of surgery. He had had a bleed in his kidney and a broken rib had grazed his lung. The biggest problem, however, was his head. Jenkins had been kicking it into the wall, and the doctors had no idea how much damage it had caused. Greg was staring, trancelike, at his reflection, when he spotted a familiar face behind him. He span around and grinned.
"Dad! You came!" Greg flung himself into his father's arms and let go of everything. Tears stained his father's coat, and he felt weak at the knees.
"Of course I came, son. Your mum phoned me and told me what happened. How is Mycroft?"
"I don't know" Greg almost wailed "they're operating. Dad those boys hurt him so badly, and I couldn't do anything! I should have done something, they weren't much bigger than me, whereas Mycroft's so much younger than them! I should have stopped it."
"You did the right thing, Greggo, you called the ambulance. There was nothing else you could have done."
"You don't know him, Dad. His father knocked him about a lot, and now he lives with the Watson's, the foster family, and it looks like the boys from his old school were pretty familiar with beating him to a pulp. I can't believe people have just been so awful to him, it's not fair!" Greg knew he sounded childish, but he couldn't help it.
"I know, Greggo. It's not fair. Very few things are fair. Kids like him have to learn that earlier than most is all. Sometimes we just have to make do with what we have and try to make things better for other people. There are always people less well off than you."
"I know what I want to do, Dad."
"Yeah. I want to be a police man. I want to make sure things like that don't happen."
"That's a good aim, lad. You go for it. I'm so proud of you. Although, you shouldn't have tried to interfere. You could have been hurt. And if you'd got away, you could have called the ambulance earlier. Promise me you'll do that, if this ever comes up again?"
"I promise. I'm sorry." Greg's dad hugged him close, and the men stood there in the bathroom for a while.
"Shall we go and check up on him now?" Greg nodded, and let go of his father.
They walked in silence to Mycroft's room where the adult Watson's, Greg's mother and two strangers were sitting waiting for him to get back from surgery. Greg glanced at the strange couple, sizing them up. The others in the room seemed to be hostile towards them, but Greg couldn't quite work out why. The man was tall and thin, his hair greying and his suit well cut. The woman would have been beautiful if she was not so covered in make up. They had identical expressions of casual worry and badly concealed rage. They all looked up as Greg entered, and his mother stood up to hug him. A moment of happiness shone through his thick cloud of negative emotion when his mother turned to his father and hugged him too. Greg hadn't seen them hug since he was about ten. Just as the two new occupants of the room had sat down, the doctor entered with a somber face. Lizzie leapt up, sending her chair scooting backwards.
"We've done all we can. His body will fix itself. We've pinned his broken arm, and stopped the internal bleeding. But there was a bleed in his brain. This incident seems to have been one in a long line of head injuries, making it less likely that he will make a full recovery. I have to tell you that the chances of total recovery are less than 45%. However, once he has woken up we will be able to run further tests, and hopefully they will give us a more accurate picture" the doctor gave a tight smile and turned to leave.
"Are you bringing him here?" Kevin asked.
"Yes. He'll be here in about five minutes."
"Can you ask security to escort these people out before he arrives, please?" Kevin spoke so politely and gently that the couple he pointed to hardly objected. The wife stood and waited for her husband. He stood too, and covered the distance between his chair and Kevin in a single stride.
"You can't keep me away from him. I own him. You just wait and you'll see who ends up laughing."
"Mike," Kevin turned to Greg's Dad "could you take Greg back to sit with the other children? I would be grateful if you sat with them too" Mike looked a little confused but led Greg by the shoulder out of the room. Relaxing a fraction knowing that Sherlock was with an adult, Kevin squared up to the other man. "You will never 'own' those boys. Now, please leave before he gets back."
"I'll see you in court, Watson" the man snarled.
"So be it" Kevin shrugged. The couple stalked out of the room, the man almost shaking with suppressed rage, and Kevin slumped down into his seat. Lizzie stroked his back and Greg's Mum Jane almost visibly bristled with rage.
"That bastard! He doesn't even care!" Jane spat. "How can you not care about your own son?"
"I don't know. But he did worse things than not caring." Kevin sighed, putting his head in his hand.
"Greg told me. Mycroft told his class during his presentation."
"Yeah" Kevin felt deflated, exhausted. He wanted to see his son. Foster son, he corrected himself. Then he stopped. Mycroft was almost as much his son as John, at least emotionally. Kevin stopped correcting himself after that. A few minutes of silence later, Mycroft was wheeled in on a bed. Bandages were wrapped around his head and chest, blood beginning to show at his temple. His left arm was in a sling, a large square of gauze had been taped to his neck where his attackers had threatened him with the knife. Kevin licked his lips, taking in the pale skin smattered in dark bruises. Lizzie burst into fresh tears and Jane's fists clenched around the arms of her chair. She had never been angrier in her life. Not when her ex-husband had had an affair, or when he had his second. Not when Greg had broken her mother's antique tea pot. She confused herself, being so angry on behalf of a boy she hardly knew. But she knew enough to know he needed people to be angry for him. The nurses lifted Mycroft easily from the wheeled bed onto the bed in the room, attached him to what seemed to be hundreds of wires, and then left, the whole operation taking less than five minutes. Lizzie took hold of Mycroft's hand, avoiding squeezing the place where the IV line entered his veins, and tried not to cry.