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15 March 2013 @ 01:54 pm
FIC: A Weekend in the Country (1/6)  
Title: A Weekend in the Country (1/6)
Author: Winter_of_our_Discontent (winter_hermit)
Betas: analineblue, lareinenoire
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock/John, Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, Mrs. Holmes, Q (Skyfall), Martin Crieff (Cabin Pressure), Merlin (The Adventures of Merlin)
Rating: PG13
Warnings: none
Summary:
“It may interest you to know, John, that while Sherlock is of course my younger brother, he is not my only brother.”

“Oh god,” John said, pulling himself upright, “there are more of you?”

Wherein John finally meets Sherlock’s brothers (all of them) and his mother, imagines the Christmas dinners, and learns a great deal more about his flatmate and himself.

A/N: Since Skyfall, I’ve seen a number of fics featuring Q as a younger Holmes brother. That, of course, led to me thinking about some of the other characters I’ve seen added to the Holmes clan in fanfiction, and ended with me deciding to go for broke.

On AO3 or below this

Mycroft knew if he so much as hinted to Sherlock that it might be appropriate for his partner to meet their family, Sherlock would display levels of truculence that would make his tantrums of recent memory resemble Mahatma Gandhi having a particularly good day. However, if he waited any longer to facilitate the august occasion of the doctor’s introduction to the Holmes clan, he would have Mummy to answer to. And Mycroft had no interest in having that particular conversation with a woman he had not once in forty-odd years won an argument against.

So since anything involving Sherlock directly would inevitably take the path of most resistance, he would take another route entirely.


***





“So…" John said, putting his hands behind his head and generally making himself comfortable on the plush leather seats of the black town car, “what’s it today, then? Only I’ve just got an hour for lunch and I would prefer to actually eat something at some point. So maybe instead of your club or an abandoned building or just going around in ruddy circles we could maybe stop at a Pret? Of course, if this is quick you could just drop me off at Lemongrass, I quite fancy a pad thai.”

Mycroft raised an eyebrow. John felt a wave of dread, the sensation settling uneasily on his empty stomach. “I won’t be back to finish my shift, will I.” He knew, at least, that Mycroft would have arranged for Sarah to be notified, though he’d probably already used up his quota of kidnapping days for the month.

“It may interest you to know, John, that while Sherlock is of course my younger brother, he is not my only brother.”

“Oh god,” John said, pulling himself upright, “there are more of you? I mean,” he added awkwardly, “Sherlock hadn’t mentioned…”

Mycroft shook his head in a disapproving gesture, looking rather like John’s mental image of an Etonian schoolmaster. “If Sherlock had his way he would have the world believe he sprung forth full-formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Despite this, the fact remains that he is one of several children, born in the traditional fashion, and it’s well past time you were introduced to our family.”

John slumped back against the seat. “He doesn’t know about this, does he?”

“By the time he realises where you’re going and why, he’ll have no choice but to follow.” Mycroft made a show of looking at his watch. “Which should put him just in time to join us for Mummy’s birthday dinner. She’ll be quite pleased, he hasn’t come back for it in years.”

Forestalling any further commentary from John, Mycroft pulled a takeaway bag from one of the car’s compartments and offered it to John. “Your usual, I believe.”

John accepted the proffered bag, completely unsurprised to see it contained a chicken sandwich, a can of ginger beer, and, where it might have been lost under the napkins if he hadn’t known to look, a brownie.

They sat in semi-companionable silence, John preoccupied with trying not to get crumbs in the upholstery and Mycroft attending to some of the reams of paperwork he had brought with him.

He flattened the sandwich box and packed it neatly in the bag with the empty can and other lunch ephemera, forcing himself to relax and look out the window rather than at Mycroft. One hand brushed against the mobile in his pocket; he still had time to call Sherlock, who otherwise wouldn’t be expecting him for another few hours.

“You could, of course, call Sherlock,” Mycroft said. “But then you’d never get to meet our family or see where we grew up.”

John sighed and moved his hands to his lap. It was going to be a long ride.

After a few hours during which John resolutely refused to ask Mycroft any of the million and one questions he had about the Holmes family, and Mycroft resolutely refused to quit radiating smugness, his mobile buzzed. John glanced up at Mycroft, who smiled at him knowingly, before pulling it out of his pocket.

Where are you? SH

Kidnapped by Mycroft. Your mum’s birthday?

I’m going to kill him. SH

They’ll never find the body. SH

For heaven’s sake don’t talk to any of them. SH

Especially Mummy. SH

Or Freddie. SH

Just lock yourself in a room until I get there. SH

And DON’T eat the cake. SH

Why, won’t they like me? John texted back, more amused than alarmed by Sherlock’s apparent panic attack. The whole affair was beginning to remind him of first meetings with a girlfriend’s parents. Which was ridiculous, of course.

That is not what I’m worried about. SH

You are eminently likable. SH

John smiled, a small soft smile at Sherlock’s praise, before texting back I’ll see you soon. He looked up to see Mycroft not watching him in such an ostentatious manner that he knew that not only was he being watched, but that Mycroft wanted him to know it. Suddenly self conscious, he put the mobile back in his pocket.

Mycroft smiled and said nothing.




***





John was far too embarrassed to ever admit it, but his first thought upon seeing what was less ‘Sherlock’s childhood home’ and more ‘the Holmes ancestral manor house’ was to wonder if the role of the Dowager Holmes would be played by Maggie Smith. No wonder he had a mind palace, he was hardly going to have a mind council flat after growing up here.

It wasn’t quite that impressive, but to someone who’d grown up on a street of nearly identical, perfectly serviceable brick postwar housing, it was… well, big. And old. John was suddenly glad he was wearing a tie.

He was so busy being gobsmacked, he almost missed the driver talking to Mycroft.

The driver, who had the sort of nonexistent neck that strongly implied he had duties in addition to driving, was depositing luggage from the boot onto the kerb. “I’ll bring the car around at seven sharp on Monday, Mr. Holmes.”

“That will do, Jeremy,” Mycroft said.

John spun away from the house to face them. “Monday?” That was three days away. It was then he noticed that one of the things pulled from the car was his old rucksack.

“You didn’t think I’d have gone to all this trouble for one dinner, did you John? We do all of us get together so rarely we usually make a weekend of it.” He took John’s glare in stride, adding, “I took the liberty of having a few of your things packed.”

Now John had to combine his growing uneasiness about meeting Sherlock’s apparently exceedingly posh family with the knowledge that one of Mycroft’s assistants had rifled through his pants.

It was going to be a long weekend. Assuming, of course, that Sherlock didn’t arrive and immediately manage to kidnap him back to London.

But if Sherlock did that, he’d have missed his one chance to learn more about his flatmate. John couldn’t read someone’s history in the way he held his fork or combed his hair the way Sherlock could, and Sherlock had never voluntarily shared anything about his past. He doubted he’d even have known about Mycroft if Mycroft hadn’t made such a point of making himself known to John.

John squared his shoulders and forced a smile. “Well then. Let’s go pay our respects to your mother.”




***





A short while later saw John’s luggage sitting in a guest room, Mycroft vanished off to parts unknown to do things unknown, and John deciding he might as well look around and enjoy the calm before the inevitable Sherlock-shaped storm.

The first room he entered downstairs had an unexpected treasure: a family photograph with a very young Sherlock and four other boys in an old-fashioned silver frame. Sherlock, of course, looked like he’d rather be anywhere than in the picture, while Mycroft bore himself with the portentious dignity of a young Winston Churchill. The other three to the right were all younger… god, four brothers, and not a word to him about three of them. John was hesitant to hazard any guesses about what a family that could create Sherlock and Mycroft was additionally capable of. He’d just have to wait and meet them.

As he stared at the photo, trying to glean more about the brothers Holmes and noting with amusement how nobbly Sherlock’s knees had been, he heard someone enter the room behind him.

“Oh! Sorry, I wasn’t expecting…” the man exclaimed, then straightened up a bit. “And you are?”

“John Watson. I’m a friend of Sherlock’s.” John extended his hand. “Mycroft invited me to dinner.” Which was close enough to the truth.

The man shook it eagerly, face brightening in recognition. “Oh, yes, Sherlock’s John. Mycroft’s mentioned you. I’m Martin. Mycroft’s brother. Well, Sherlock’s too, obviously.”

“I’m guessing that’s you in the middle,” John said, gesturing at the photograph. Seeing as the man looked uncannily like a shorter, ginger Sherlock, and as only one of the boys in the picture didn’t have dark hair, it was an easy enough deduction to make.

“Yes, that’s… Mycroft, obviously, then Sherlock, then me, I’m holding Merlin, he’s the youngest, and next to us is Freddie.” Martin laughed, high and a bit nervous. “The rest of them have Father’s height and Mummy’s hair, but I got it the other way ‘round. I’m sort of the black sheep of the family. Well… short, gingerish sheep?” He ran a hand through his close-cropped hair self-consciously.

“So what is it you do, then?” John asked as he tried to picture what would constitute a black sheep in this family.

“I’m a pilot. An airline pilot,” he said, shaping his mouth around the words with obvious relish. “A captain, in fact.”

Only in the Holmes family would that be considered underperforming. “I’d say that’s pretty impressive,” John said sincerely. Martin puffed up slightly with pride, looking a bit like a small ginger pigeon. “And you obviously enjoy your work.”

“That, at least is a Holmes… thing… finding something you love and pursuing it at all costs. But then, you’d know that, wouldn’t you?” He turned red. “I mean… that is to say…”

John took pity on him and interrupted. “He’s certainly passionate about his work, yes.”

“Yes,” Martin said, seizing the verbal life preserver. “The work. The chemicals and bodies and…“ He waved his hands around in a gesture clearly meant to encompass all that Sherlock got up to.

“Must have been interesting growing up with him.”

“I still remember, when I was seven and my hamster died, he dug it up to autopsy it. I cried for days. Mummy made Sherlock apologise to me and promise never to autopsy anything without asking permission first.”

John grinned. It was very… Sherlock.

Martin stared at him for a minute, searching his face. “Maybe you can sit near me at dinner, so I have someone to talk to if Sherlock and Mycroft start going off on each other? And Freddie and Merlin… they’re not nearly so bad but they do tend to go on a bit. You can imagine the Christmas dinners.” Martin shuddered, then brightened. “Though maybe it’ll be better now you’ll be joining us.”

“I’m just here for a dinner, I doubt I’m going to be invited back for holidays,” John demurred politely.

“Well of course you…” Martin’s ears turned bright red again. “Forget I said anything. I should go. Flight manuals. Won’t read themselves. I’ll see you at dinner.” He all but fled the room.

Sherlock told John, frequently, that he was a terrible liar. But compared with Martin, he could account himself a regular Mata Hari. He just wasn’t sure what exactly it was Martin was trying so poorly to hide.

Before he could ponder the question much further, or figure out where more childhood photographs were likely to be located, he heard a familiar voice shouting his name.



 
 
 
(Anonymous) on March 16th, 2013 11:26 am (UTC)
Great story so far. Hope you continue it.
(Anonymous) on August 24th, 2014 09:53 am (UTC)
Wow
Wow I loved the story
Can you add another chapter please
WinterOfOurDiscontentwinter_hermit on August 24th, 2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow
I'm not sure if you'll ever see this, anon, but if you head to AO3 I'm up to Chapter Three of this story.