Mycroft was finally released from hospital on Tuesday afternoon. He was now fully mobile, and apart from the customary wheelchair ride from his bed to the car, he was allowed to walk. Not to run, but to walk. Mycroft was happy with that.
He went upstairs to have a nap before dinner and found a new selection of clothing on his bed, including blue and green pyjamas and a black suit with a dark blue shirt for the trial. With a knife twist of sudden nerves, he moved the clothes onto Sherlock's bed and laid them on top of Sherlock's own matching new suit, a trouser and blazer set with a sky blue shirt.
Mycroft collapsed onto his bed, shielding his ribs. He didn't sleep a moment during the hour he spent lying in the dark in the familiar, kind bedroom. The trail was in two days. Two days. What if they didn't believe him? He would be the only witness except for his doctor. They were going to let him give his evidence in a separate room with a video link, so that he didn't have to look his father in the eye. Mycroft was relived about that, but his hands still shook. What if they were sent back? What if just Sherlock was sent back? They wouldn't do that, not after last time. Surely there was enough evidence. They had done a full body scan of him at the hospital, which showed several healed fractures and breaks in his arms and ribs, as well as a fractured kneecap and a couple of marks on his skull. To his utter shame, the doctor had also done more tests for sexual abuse, and had sent his blood to be checked for STDs. Mycroft had cried silently alone in his room for an hour after the test. The abuse tests had come back positive again, as they had known it would, but the STD panel hadn't come back from the lab. They hadn't tested for that when he was brought in the first time.
Mycroft dug the heel of his hand into his sore eyes. What if his father had given him something? Or one of the other men? It was not at all out of the realms of possibility. He could almost feel the poison pumping around his body. What if he had something incurable? What if it meant he couldn't have children?
At that thought, his blood ran cold. What right did he have to have children? He would probably end up just the same as his father. It made him sick just thinking about doing the same thing to a child. To his child. An image of a small girl with long, black, curly hair, just like Sherlock's, sobbing, curled into a ball in the corner of a room flashed before his eyes. Panning around, he saw a grown up version of himself, spit flying from his mouth as he screamed obscenities at his daughter. Mycroft let out a strangled sob, burying his face into his pillow. He couldn't be that. He just couldn't. He felt the need to cut overwhelm him, sweeping through from his head to his feet, the desperation to let out the frustration, to punish the thought.
He leapt out of bed and paced back and forth across the room. He had promised. He had sworn. Digging his fingernails into the palm of his hand, he called out.
"Lizzie! Please, come here!" Immediately, he heard her footfalls on the stairs.
"Are you okay?" She asked, bombing through the door.
"No. No I'm not okay. What if he gave me an STD? What if I end up like him? What if Sherlock has been more affected by this than I thought? What if he ends up as screwed up as me? What if we lose the trail? What if, even if we do win, they don't let you adopt us? What if we're just passed onto another family? What if they don't like us? What if they're like father? Or worse? What if-"
"Mycroft, honey! That's a lot of what ifs."
"There is nothing but what ifs! Don't you understand?" He shouted it as though she were a small, ignorant, particularly slow child.
"There are certainties in your life, Mycroft. I know they are few and far between. I know that some of them are bad. But you can't dwell in that. Or in what you don't know yet. Don't get stuck in the past, no matter how valid your reasons. The trial will let you move on."
"Or it will end up with Sherlock and I back in that house with HIM. I can't let that happen to Sherlock. I would kill us both before letting them send us back."
"Mycroft... That's a very serious thing to say." Lizzie's eyes were wide. He couldn't mean it....
"I would though. I would rather we were both dead than back with him."
"Mycroft..." It couldn't be a threat. It couldn't be real. He was just trying to exert control over the situation. He would surely never hurt Sherlock, even if they were sent back. "I'm under obligation to mention this to your psychologist."
"Why? Because I would rather be dead than get beaten and raped every couple of days? Sure sounds insane to me." He was trying to be sarcastic, but the facade dropped at the last second and his eyes went wide, willing her to comfort him.
"You're not insane."
"Really? That's bloody good news then isn't it? Let's have a freaking party!" He was almost hysterical.
"You would never kill Sherlock."
"You still don't get it, do you? What is it with you? I mean, I get the whole optimism thing, but you have to be realistic! If we go back there, it will be a hundred times worse than before. This is the most I've ever done to make him angry. Once, when I was 10, I was in the garden with Sherlock, and we discovered an old shed. We decided we'd make it our special place, somewhere where nothing would ever go wrong. Father found it within an hour. Can you guess what he did? He tied me up inside that shed for four days. He didn't give me any food, and I only had water because it rained the whole time. He came in three times a day to beat the living day lights out of me. He didn't care that he fractured my arm or three of my ribs. He didn't care that the open wounds got infected. He laughed when the insects started crawling all over me, or when the rats thought I was dead and started ripping my clothes for nests. He didn't give a shit what happened. He only let me out at all because the school called him and told him I was skiving. That was just for having a fantasy of a safe place. Can you imagine that, Mrs Watson? Can you imagine what he would do to me if I went back? What he would do to Sherlock now I broke the contract?"
"Oh sweetheart..." She had no words. She didn't know how to comfort him, how to make him feel even remotely better.
"No, you don't. So if I say I would rather kill myself and my brother than go back into hell, you can't judge me. You can't judge me at all."