Kevin, John, Sherlock and Mycroft went outside and walked down the road, taking a right onto a footpath lined with trees and fields. John pointed out his favourite field, and he and Sherlock hopped over the style and began to run haphazardly onto the grass. John flopped down on the floor, and Sherlock skidded to a halt, looking a little nervous at the change in dynamic.
"Whatcha doing?" he asked.
"Sitting." John said as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Sit down, Sherlock, it's okay." John said, patting the grass beside him and crossing his legs. Sherlock sat down in the same position, his knees in an exact line with John's. "Has anyone ever told you you're a bit weird?" John blurted out.
"Yes." Sherlock kept his gaze fixed on the grass, pulling up little clumps and fiddling with the blades between his fingers.
"Oh. You're probably the weirdest foster kid we've ever had." He said it frankly, with no intention to wound. But Sherlock bit his lip, suddenly worried that they didn't want him after all, that he would be sent home, that he would have to leave Mycroft, that he would be alone in that huge house, with just his father's anger and his mother's unpredictability for company. "Hey, it's okay!" John said, realising his mistake. "I think you're pretty cool, actually. The other foster kids my age have always been soooo boring. There was this girl once, she was a year or so older than me, and all she did was sit in front of the television! She hardly ever spoke to us at all. Eventually, Mummy sent her back, because she was too difficult."
"Will they send me back?" Sherlock asked, so quietly John hardly knew he'd spoken.
"No way, I won't let them! Like I said, you're cool. You'll start at my school soon, and I'll show you all about the secret room under the art block so we can go in break. No one else knows about it, not even the senior school kids. You'll have to keep it a secret, okay?"
"Okay" Sherlock said, suddenly in awe of the boy, a year or two older than him, who seemed so sure of himself, so confident, so easy to talk to. He'd never found anyone easy to talk to. At least John had something interesting to say.
On the spur of the moment, Sherlock decided to let John in on one of his deepest secrets. "My favourite game is pirates" he mumbled, mixing his words slightly, having never told anyone but Mycroft. It seemed suddenly childish to him, now it was out in the open, hanging like a physical object in the air before them.
"Cool, I like pirates too!" John said enthusiastically. Sherlock breathed a huge sigh of relief, having expected to be mocked. "Do you want to play now?"
"Yes" Sherlock gave the other boy the biggest smile had had ever given. "John?"
"Do you have a best friend?" Sherlock bit his lip hard, feeling the pick of sweat in his arm pits.
"Can I be your best friend?" He mumbled the words, and they were so indistinct that John had to pretty much guess what he'd said.
"I would love to be best friends. Shake on it?" He stuck his hand out, thumb pointing straight upwards, and Sherlock raised his own to shake. He felt like he was signing a very grown up contract. John grinned at him, picked up a stick and brandished it as a sword. "What are your orders, Capt'n Sherlock?"