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New Fic: "First Words" - Young Mycroft & Sherlock - PG [Apr. 1st, 2011|04:58 pm]
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Title: First Words
Characters: Young Mycroft & Sherlock
Rating: PG
Warnings: Death of a parent
Notes: Written for the most recent round at thegameison_sh. The challenge theme was Older/Younger, and so I wanted to focus on a young Mycroft and the crucial hand he's had in Sherlock's development from day one.
Summary: You curl Sherlock's tiny fingers around your thumb while the adults converse quietly in the far corner of the room, and, sure enough, his eyes focus briefly on yours. It's the first of his many secrets that you'll keep.


Such a frightening child, you hear one of Mummy's nurses say. He doesn't cry.

You don't know if Sherlock made a sound during the delivery, but from what Father had explained of what a Caesarian section is, you would have a hard time believing he didn't. Mummy is fast asleep, damp dark curls plastered to her forehead, and Sherlock is quiet and wide-eyed in her arms.

He doesn't make eye contact, either, whispers the other nurse, and Father frowns.

You curl Sherlock's tiny fingers around your thumb while the adults converse quietly in the far corner of the room, and, sure enough, his eyes focus briefly on yours. It's the first of his many secrets that you'll keep.

Several days later, after the respiratory infection sets in, you anxiously watch the fretful kicks of Sherlock's skinny legs inside the incubator as the doctor slips a needle in his hand. After a minute, you shout Stop! Stop! and bang against the glass as Father tries to restrain you. He's choking! Stop!

You learn the phrase penicillin allergy. It's the first of many times you'll save your brother's life.

In the weeks following, you learn how to feed Sherlock when Mummy hurts too much to do anything but sleep. You correct Father when he holds the bottle at the wrong angle. You learn how to burp Sherlock, soothe his colic, and change his nappies. You learn that your scratchy efforts on the violin you found in the attic somehow lull him to sleep.

Sherlock still won't look at anyone but you, and you still won't tell a soul. He doesn't cry, but he whimpers. Once, he even smiled when you spilled formula down his chin, made a hiccup like a laugh. He stretched out his hand and touched your mouth, and you laughed, too.

Father and the doctor still say there's something wrong. When Sherlock is six months old, you begin to hear terms like partially deaf and autistic and doesn't fit any known profile. You know that Sherlock can hear; he reacts to the sound of your footfalls when you enter the nursery. You do some sneaky reading in Father's study and decide that autism is a possibility, but that it's too early to tell. As for what profile he fits, you know better than they do.

Sherlock is Sherlock.

At eight months, he begins responding to voices and making eye contact with others. It's not that he'd been unable, you conclude; it's that he'd been too busy paying attention to other things. Birdsong and the screech of tyres out the window. The movement of pedestrians in the busy streets of London. Your hands as they sign to him slowly and carefully, just in case.

You borrow a set of alphabet flashcards from your school library and spend your afternoons (assignments are boring; you finish them while your teacher rambles on) showing the flashcards to Sherlock, explaining each letter's sound and function. He watches, clear-eyed and silent, but he never says a thing. He'll touch the cards, even pick them up and study them, but that's it.

You hold him all night when the police ring with news of Father's death in a road accident, shield him from Mummy's sobbing. You swallow your own tears and wonder how much Sherlock really knows. Enough, his restless fingers in your hair seem to say.

Mummy heals just like she healed after the surgery that brought Sherlock into the world, because she's strong. She moves the crib into your bedroom and reads to you both at night.

When the weather is nice, Mummy takes you to the park, where Sherlock tastes everything within reach, but never the same thing twice. You find twigs, a bottle cap, and a sun-bleached bird skull down one of his socks when you put him to bed. He is almost two years old.

Grand-maman comes over a few times a week and helps with Sherlock and the flashcards. He smiles and laughs rarely, but still won't speak. On separate occasions, he arranges the cards to spell NO and WHY, but you can't decide whether or not it's coincidence. His third birthday approaches.

Sherlock's first word, when it finally arrives, takes everyone by surprise.

Mummy and Grand-maman are watching the news on telly, and you're on the floor with Sherlock, patiently reviewing the flashcards. I, you say. J, K, L—

My, Sherlock says, snatching the next card off the pile. Mycroft.

Surprises everyone, that is, except for you.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: nejem
2011-04-01 04:11 pm (UTC)

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Oh this marvelous! Sweet in a very Holmesian way, I loved it! *____*
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:05 pm (UTC)

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Very glad you enjoyed it! The prompt this time around was a rewarding one to work with, I found. Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: marita_c
2011-04-01 04:18 pm (UTC)

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How fitting, Mycroft being Sherlock's first word. I loved it - somehow sad yet at the same time warm and fuzzy.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:11 pm (UTC)

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Melancholy was definitely my aim, but I do hope the ending redeemed it! I'm pleased to hear you enjoyed this; thank you very much!
[User Picture]From: mushroom18
2011-04-01 04:30 pm (UTC)

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*squeals* This was adorable. It had its sad moments, but that final reveal was so sweet. I do believe that no matter how childish Sherlock may act around Mycroft, he does love his brother a whole lot. Mycroft just can't help being protective, I mean, that first episode with the John-kidnapping pretty much screamed psychotic and overprotective older brother, lol.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:13 pm (UTC)

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Oddly enough, I didn't have the "reveal" in mind when I started writing this! In fact, it wasn't until I hit the sequence of letters that Mycroft's reading off to him at the end that I thought, Oh my, he's coming up on M, what if - And then the lightbulb went on :)

Thank you very much. And yes, Mycroft is as psychotic as they come, older-sibling-wise. I can relate.
[User Picture]From: lindentreeisle
2011-04-01 04:49 pm (UTC)

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That is absolutely sweet. <3

Mycroft understanding Sherlock from the first is absolutely canon in my head.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:18 pm (UTC)

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In mine too :) Thank you very much!
[User Picture]From: sabrinaphynn
2011-04-01 04:53 pm (UTC)

I bow in your general directions..

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this was pitch perfect. It is now in my favorites.
Jenn, who is sadly going to have to spend much much less time here after monday (damn real lilfe!)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:19 pm (UTC)

Re: I bow in your general directions..

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(Less time where after Monday?)

Thank you very much for reading! I'm glad you liked it well enough to favorite it :)
[User Picture]From: poetic_self
2011-04-01 04:55 pm (UTC)

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I always thought his first word to be 'Wrong!' but this works really nicely :) Thank you.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:20 pm (UTC)

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I think I would have found "Wrong" a bit too obvious for my purposes; he's such a contrary creature, so I thought perhaps the first sentiments to emerge would be those of "I don't think so" and "Why is it like that, anyway?" :) Thank you so much for reading!
[User Picture]From: eglantine_br
2011-04-01 04:56 pm (UTC)

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Yes this. Just right. I love that Mycroft signs to him 'just in case.'
[User Picture]From: musical_lottie
2011-04-01 05:25 pm (UTC)

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Ditto; this was perfect.

(and now I kind of want an AU in which Sherlock is deaf ... )
[User Picture]From: fifthviolet
2011-04-01 05:00 pm (UTC)

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Oh this is so sensitive and lovely, thank you. ♥
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:22 pm (UTC)

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You're very welcome. Thank you for reading ♥
[User Picture]From: falling_voices
2011-04-01 05:11 pm (UTC)

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D'aww. &hearts

'My, Sherlock says, snatching the next card off the pile. Mycroft.

Surprises everyone, that is, except for you.
' — This I really like. I can see adult!Sherlock overcompensating for his childhood adulation for Mycroft, and this... rather plays into that. And is ridiculously sweet. (Also, second person!narrative is ace.)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:23 pm (UTC)

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adult!Sherlock overcompensating for his childhood adulation for Mycroft

THIS, YES. That's at least partly the theory I was working backwards from; Sherlock must be slightly embarrassed about how much he used to look up to and rely on Mycroft (how much he still does, particularly in the reliance department).

Thank you very much!
[User Picture]From: ladymakbeth
2011-04-01 05:27 pm (UTC)

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Again, I don't know what to say. I always suspected there's something between two Holmes brothers, they don't show us. Sherlock was a special child and only Mycroft could really see this. This is beautiful and lovely <3
BTW, I've been reading somewhere, that many children who weren't speaking for a long time, are very intelligent and talented when they grow up.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:25 pm (UTC)

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Sherlock was a special child and only Mycroft could really see this.

Older siblings often have a way of perceiving these things more intuitively than parents, I think, especially when the age gap is greater than, say, two or three years. And I've heard that, too, about very bright children just watching and waiting until they're sure they can get it right (at least that's my guess at what they're doing). Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: mistyzeo
2011-04-01 05:48 pm (UTC)

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I especially love the format of this, the second person Mycroft voice. Delightfully done.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:26 pm (UTC)

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I only use second-person on really tough/unusual POV cases, and in my book, Mycroft is both of these ;) Thank you very much <3
[User Picture]From: sirona_gs
2011-04-01 05:51 pm (UTC)

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Oh god, my heart! This is beyond lovely. I love how it's just the two of them, always has been, even when Sherlock's being a twit and cutting Mycroft off. The dynamic you've set up is perfect, and baby Sherlock is the most amazing little thing. <3!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:27 pm (UTC)

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I'd love to observe Sherlock as a baby, no two ways about it. He was probably equal parts infuriating, adorable, and kind of frightening. Thank you very much :)
[User Picture]From: tehomet
2011-04-01 06:23 pm (UTC)

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Totally adorable and highly plausible. Loved it. Thank you.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:27 pm (UTC)

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You're welcome; glad to hear you did! Thank you for reading :)
[User Picture]From: maypanic
2011-04-01 06:37 pm (UTC)

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Oh, this is lovely!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:28 pm (UTC)

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Thank you very much!
[User Picture]From: moony
2011-04-01 06:37 pm (UTC)

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Oh this hurts so sweet. Now I want fic where they stop feuding and are as close as they are in canon. Bwee!!!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:28 pm (UTC)

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*thinks about that*

How fascinating that would be. You may have inadvertently handed me a plotbunny.

*hugs*

Thank you, my dear. I hope you're recovering!
[User Picture]From: anarion
2011-04-01 07:02 pm (UTC)

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Oh, this is perfect!
I love that he spells NO and WHY! *lol* And that he "tastes everything within reach, but never the same thing twice."
That is sooo Sherlock!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:30 pm (UTC)

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In all of the very brightest young kids I've known, no has been in at least the top three as far as first words. As contrary as Sherlock is, I'm pretty sure it was probably his very first, albeit in a different medium here than speech ;)

Thank you very much!
[User Picture]From: peach_megumi
2011-04-01 07:36 pm (UTC)

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This is wonderful. He does, indeed, look out for his brother, doesn't he?
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:30 pm (UTC)

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He does, which is one of the reasons I love him so <3

Thank you very much!
[User Picture]From: solara_karrde
2011-04-01 07:36 pm (UTC)

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Awwww, too sweet!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:30 pm (UTC)

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Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: jerel
2011-04-01 08:04 pm (UTC)

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I really enjoyed this. I love the relationship you've written here.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:30 pm (UTC)

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Thank you :) I enjoyed writing it!
[User Picture]From: unboxed_project
2011-04-01 08:38 pm (UTC)

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This is incredibly intriguing; Sherlock and Mycroft must have had a complex relationship from the get-go, and this is a fantastic look at what it could have been.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:31 pm (UTC)

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I imagine that Sherlock relied even more heavily on Mycroft when he was young than he does now, and part of him's still pretty embarrassed about that. Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: fengirl88
2011-04-01 08:40 pm (UTC)

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loved this one and wasn't at all surprised to see that it won! particularly enjoyed Mycroft as secret-keeper, Sherlock spelling out NO and WHY, and the ending, of course.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:32 pm (UTC)

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(My first word was a phrase, technically - What's that? As contrary as Sherlock is, I'm sure No would've been his first impulse, disagreement, followed by a demand to know why things are the way they are *g*)

Thank you very much for reading! And you have some new ones out that I'm behind on, so those are on my docket for this week :)
[User Picture]From: proxydialogue
2011-04-01 08:47 pm (UTC)

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OMG WHAT IS THIS!!!

This is wonderful. I am almost never a fan of 2nd person narrative, but you have done it so sweetly. And with a nuanced understanding of the character that really comes through.

Oh my poor heart! I really do have a soft spot for big brothers. Thank you for sharing. <3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:34 pm (UTC)

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Second-person is a tricky thing to pull off, and, strangely enough, I reserve it for characters that I find to be tough cases to crack. I have a soft spot for over-protective older siblings because I am one myself ;) Thank you very much for reading!
[User Picture]From: girlingoldboots
2011-04-01 08:52 pm (UTC)

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Aww, I had a feeling this was yours ;)

I love them as kids.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:34 pm (UTC)

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It was about time I did a Mycroft piece, considering what team we are! :)

Thank you *hugs*
[User Picture]From: leaper182
2011-04-01 08:54 pm (UTC)

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Awww, miniatures! Mycroft helping Sherlock, and Sherlock's first word! *flail*
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:35 pm (UTC)

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They do make cute kids, don't they?

Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: madder_badder
2011-04-01 08:56 pm (UTC)

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He's such a good big brother. :D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-02 10:35 pm (UTC)

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He really is <3 Thank you!
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