Back at the Watson's house, Sherlock and John had gone to bed. Harry had just been made to go upstairs, complaining bitterly all the way. But Lizzie and Kevin didn't ask Mycroft to go.
"We need to talk" Kevin said softly. Lizzie leaned closer to the boy. She and her husband sat together on the sofa opposite Mycroft's chair. He was bent very slightly, his elbows on his knees, fiddling with his fingernails close to his eyes.
"I said too much."
"No. We need to know some things, Mycroft, so we can be the most helpful we can be. We need to know if the abuse was also... different to physical and emotional. It'll also add another charge to your father's list" Kevin said, a little coldly, not looking at Mycroft.
"I don't want to..." he felt as though he was about to cry, a lump blocking his airway.
"Please, Mycroft. You don't have to, not at all. I think it would help you if you give voice to your experiences. It's never good to keep those feelings locked away." Lizzie spoke softly, encouragingly, reaching out to touch his knee. The boy flinched away from her touch.
"I don't want to..." he repeated, refusing to look up and meet their eyes, fidgeting worriedly with the nail on his right thumb. But, with the weight of experience telling him that they would force a confession out of him anyway, he began to whisper the story that played vividly in his head.
"Mycroft Hercule Holmes, come here" the nine year old bowed his head as he moved towards his father. His full name always meant trouble.
"Yes father?" he said, trying to be polite. His efforts earned him a backhander around the face.
"Speak when you're spoken to, boy. Do you know why I brought you here, to my office?"
"No father" he mumbled.
"Up here, on the top floor of the tallest building in London, the tallest building in England, in fact, I don't just own you. I own a whole empire."
"Yes father" Mycroft frowned.
"Remove your clothing and stand by the wall over there" the man gestured vaguely towards the back wall, near to the door. He turned to face out of the huge window, admiring the view over the city he had helped to build.
"Yes father" Mycroft stripped and folded his clothes neatly, placing the pile on a chair. Making his way to the corner, he noticed his father undoing his belt. He groaned silently, knowing what would happen. He already ached, having given the same thing just the day before to one of his father's friends.
"I'm not going to hurt you, Mycroft. You'll like this" his father said. The boy shuddered. That was a regular line. But instead of the expected rough hands and deep, unimaginable pain, Mycroft felt soft fingers rubbing his back and shoulders. They rubbed the stress away, and he almost felt like sobbing. He wasn't going to get hurt. It would be okay. The hands moved further down his thin back, tracing every visible vertebrae down past his coccyx. Mycroft gasped as a single finger penetrated him, the other hand working round to his front. After a few minutes, he heard his father groan, and felt a warm wet wad of thick liquid spat on his leg and trickle down to his foot. Mycroft sobbed as his father withdrew his hands and stood up, throwing a tissue at the boy.
"I'm sorry father" Mycroft whimpered, trying desperately to think of something he had done wrong.
"Get dressed and get out of my office. The driver will take you home. I want you to stay in your room. If you talk to Sherlock, anything I do to you this evening I'll double on him. Got it?"
"Yes sir" Mycroft whispered, dressing quickly. He turned to leave, and his father opened the door for him.
"Thank you Mycroft, you did well" the father said loudly as the boy resisted running down the corridor. He made his way back down to the waiting car. He pushed his feelings down, down right below the barrier he had built, squeezing his palms until he felt the skin break under his finger nails. He didn't let the driver see his tears. When they got home, he didn't say a word to Sherlock. Mycroft went straight to his bedroom and sat on his bed, leaning his head in his hands. He felt confused and embarrassed and angry, much more so than when it was a stranger. His father was supposed to love him. But no one loved him, not really. Even if his father said that what he did was out if love.
Mycroft waited for two hours for him to come home. When the door finally swung open, he groaned inwardly. The man was drunk. And that meant a beating. Mycroft stood up and waited in military attention for the pain to start. The man undid his belt and doubled it over, shouting meaningless, horrible things at his son as he started to beat him. The boy stumbled and fell over, and the lashes increased on his back and legs. He felt ill, shaking with pain and fear and sadness. Everything hurt, and they'd hardly even started. After almost ten minutes of constant kicking and punching, the man got tired and stepped back. Mycroft shook all over, blood trickling from some of the marks, others forming rapidly into raised bruises.
"I hope you've learnt something today, son" he said coldly "You are disgusting. You are pathetic. You are nothing." He left with a final kick, locking the door behind him, leaving Mycroft sobbing on his bedroom floor, trying desperately to block out the pain.
"That's just sick" Kevin whispered, standing up and turning away. Mycroft looked almost longingly at his back, wishing he'd never opened his mouth.
"Thank you for telling us, Mycroft. If you ever need to tell us anything else, we are here for you to tell. You are safe here" Lizzie said, wiping a tear from her cheek.
"I-I... Don't know what to say." He didn't know what to think. Why did they want to know anyway? They kept saying they wanted to help him. What did that mean?
"Then don't say anything. It's okay, Mycroft. You don't have to worry about it. Now, you go off to bed, and I'll see you tomorrow. If you need anything, anything at all, just call out, and I'll come" Lizzie said softly. Mycroft stood up and waved awkwardly as he left the room.
"My God" Kevin hissed, turning to pace back and forth across the room.
"I know. Those poor, poor little boys."
"He hasn't said if anything happened to Sherlock."
"My suspicion is that it didn't, that he took it all for both of them. Their father seems to have used Sherlock as a threat. If he hurt him, the threat wouldn't make Mycroft shake so much."
"I guess. I wouldn't be surprised if he had another nightmare tonight. I think I will"
"Me too. We should write that down for the social worker. I can't believe no one spotted this before. He's been there twelve years. Can you even imagine...?"
"No. Not even for a second" Kevin pivoted on his heel, unmistakable rage flashing in his eyes, and punched the wall as hard as he could, leaving a smear of his own blood on the creamy-white paint. Just outside the door, eavesdropping, Mycroft jumped out of his skin. This man seemed dangerous, in an undefined way, and Mycroft's story had made him angry. He wouldn't make that mistake again.