The Watson's were alone with Mycroft. Jane had gone out into the waiting rooms to find her son and ex husband. The four children were sitting in a row, Sherlock and John holding hands across Harry, who was awkwardly hugging both of them, and Greg sitting to the side of the group, his hands clasped as though in prayer, his forehead resting on his hands. Greg looked so much older than the others, so much taller, so much less innocent. Mike stood up when his ex-wife entered the room.
"He should be okay." She looked darkly at him, conveying much more than they would ever say to the children. Greg looked up slowly.
"Do you promise?" He whispered
"I can't promise that, my darling. I don't know what the doctors know." She resisted hugging him tight. Greg nodded.
"Hey!" Sherlock leapt up, suddenly angry "Why are you telling him and not me? I don't even know who you people are! He's my brother! You don't know him! How come you're allowed to see him and I'm not? It's none of your business! You can't have him! He's mine! You can't just butt in! He's my brother!" The little boy, as quickly as he had become angry, collapsed in tears. Harry knelt down next to him as he curled up into the foetal position, sobs racking his tiny body.
"We know he's your brother, Sherlock. No one can ever, ever take that from you. He will always be your brother. But at the moment, he's sick. He needs people's help. He needs more than you can give him on your own. So everyone is here to make sure that we can help you to give him everything he needs. You're in charge." Sherlock cried harder for a few moments, and then buried his head into Harry's lap, his tears soaking her jeans in seconds.
"But he needs me" Sherlock moaned.
"I know" Harry whispered.
"I want to see my brother. I want to... Please" Sherlock looked up at his foster sister, his eyes wide and red with tears of desperate longing.
"I'll go and ask mum and dad, okay?"
"Okay." He said, so quietly only she could hear him. Harry went to stand up, but Sherlock didn't move. She gently moved his head off her knee and gave him a small hug. "You're coming back, right?" The little boy whispered into her ear, smudging his tears onto the side of her face.
"Of course I am. You count to 500 seconds and I'll be back, okay?"
"Okay." He began to count. Harry stood up and went off to find Mycroft's room. Sherlock scooted back so he was under the row of chairs, crossing his legs and pulling his knees to his chin. Jane looked at her son in bewilderment and knelt down on the floor next to where Sherlock had gone.
"Hey buddy. You should come out from under there."
"9, 10, 11, 12"
"Sherlock, come out now, sweet heart" Jane coaxed, reaching out a hand. Sherlock eyed her hand warily, continuing his counting. She placed her hand on his knee and he flinched violently away.
"Don't touch me!" He screeched. "Never touch me!"
"I'm sorry honey, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to scare you" Jane said quickly, panicking.
"Just leave him alone, can't you?" John spoke up for the first time, jumping out of his seat where he had been sitting, staring blankly into space for almost an hour, and placing himself firmly in between Jane and Sherlock. Sherlock was shaking and rocking back and forth, his head pressed firmly between his knees, his legs crossed hard, his hands gripping his toes.
"He needs to come out from under the chairs. It'll be dirty under there."
"This is a hospital, how dirty do you think things get here? Let him be."John sounded far too mature for his size.
"Look, John, I know it's not what he wants, but he needs to come out." Jane gently moved John out of the way and reached for Sherlock, taking hold of his shoulders and dragging him out. Sherlock released a terrible, loud, piercing shriek when she touched him, his small voice filled with pain and anger and distrust and longing for his brother. The second the sound was out of his mouth, he became quiet. He simply whispered his brother's name over and over again like a chant of an ancient ritual, his eyes glassy, his body rocking and shaking.
"Now look what you've done! Why can't anyone just leave them alone?" John yelled, inches away from Jane's face, managing to look intimidating despite only being six. Jane looked ashamed. The entire waiting room was staring at them.
"I'm sorry, John. Sherlock." She went to sit in a chair a few rows away. The second she sat down, she began to cry.
Sherlock whimpered, and John put his arm around the younger boy, rocking with him. John's whispered reassurances seemed to help. After a few minutes, Sherlock whispered '500' and looked around. He simply began to cry again when he did not see Harry.