Mycroft and Kevin were leaning on the fence, watching the little boys play. They were having a rather different conversation.
"So. You sleep okay last night?" Kevin asked, knowing full well that his wife had been absent for several hours tending to the boy's nightmares.
"Okay, I guess." Mycroft shrugged, looking anywhere but towards Kevin.
"Everyone has nightmares sometimes. Especially kids who've had to go through similar traumas as you."
"It won't happen again." He said, stiffly.
"What did you dream about, Mycroft?"
"Last night I dreamt about being made to watch my father screw my English teacher" he said as harshly as possible, hoping to stop the stupid questions.
"What about other nightmares?" Kevin said, seemingly unperturbed. Mycroft fell silent, thinking of the memories that haunted his dreams. Why was he asking? Why did he need to know?
"Nothing" he said sullenly.
"Come on, Mycroft. I want to help you." I don't need your help, Mycroft thought. He didn't want to tell, but, mid way though opening his mouth, he realised he was telling anyway.
"I- I dream about everything. I dream about the beatings and the women and the... The men he gave me to."
"Wait, what? There were others? That wasn't in the report" Kevin sounded panicked. Mycroft slipped into his memory, vivid details scorching his mind.
"If you don't do it, I'll hurt Sherlock" the man growled. Mycroft whimpered. He couldn't let him hurt Sherlock. Not the sweet, loving little boy. No one could hurt Sherlock. But he didn't want to do it.
"Please, don't make me, not again." he tried one last time. The man punched his son hard in the stomach, making him fold over, and repeated his threat. Mycroft stopped the tears falling, and stepped forward towards the stranger at the other end of his bedroom. The man was sitting on Mycroft's bed. Waiting for him. It wasn't like it was the first time, but that didn't make it any easier. Any less painful. Any less shameful. Money changed hands, and Mycroft stood, bent at the waist, holding his toes with his head bowed, and allowed it to happen, tears sliding down his face as his body was slammed back and forth. He did it for Sherlock. When it was over, and the man had gone, his father grabbed his throat and squeezed, making him want to choke.
"You loved that, didn't you! Little gay boy" the man let go of his son's neck and punched him in the side of the head.
"Please, can I go to bed now? I'm so tired..."
"You want to sleep?" The man lurched up to his full, quite considerable height and grabbed his son's fringe roughly, dark blonde hairs coming off in his hand. "Then you can sleep in the basement"
"The threat still stands, Mycroft. He's just two doors down. It would be so easy. Too easy. Think about what I could do to the boy. I could hit him. I could belt him, I could throw him down the stairs. I could call Dave back and-"
"Okay, okay! I'll go downstairs. I'll do whatever you want, just please don't hurt him" Mycroft said desperately. Nothing could happen to Sherlock, no matter how bad it got
for him. He walked down the corridor, casting a longing half glance at his bed before his father shut the door. They walked in silence down to the basement, his father's hand resting on the back of his neck. He opened the door, and shoved Mycroft harshly through it. Mycroft's foot slipped out from under him, and he tumbled down the stairs, smacking his head on the last step as his body hit the concrete floor. He groaned in pain.
"Who knows what I might do, now you're locked in here. Sherlock's still just upstairs"
"No! Please!" Mycroft yelled, twisting round to try and get back up as the heavy door slammed and he was left in total darkness, with only the pain and the fear for his brother to rock him to sleep.
Kevin looked appalled, and didn't look the boy in the eye, unintentionally increasing Mycroft's discomfort. "Mycroft, you can talk to me whenever you want. We want to help you" Kevin reiterated.
"I can't be helped. I'm just a bad kid, that's all. Everything he did, it was necessary. I care too much. Caring is not an advantage."
"No. You need to understand this" Kevin stopped and turned to the boy, squatting in front of him "you are not bad. What your father did to you, and what he let others do to you, was evil, and he will go to prison for it. Something I've learnt from 19 years of marriage and having kids is that you can never, ever care too much" tears were running down Mycroft's face. "You are safe now, Mycroft. You don’t need to be afraid."