Ponies (12,194 words) by errantcomment, LokiOfSassgaard
Fandom: Sherlock (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Sherrinford Holmes
Additional Tags: crack, drug use, road trips, alternate universe
Summary: The Holmes boys decide to take a trip to Paris.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, the Holmes boys are a bit mad.
The house was finally quiet after the celebrations of the day, marking the achievement of the twins not only not being expelled from school, but actually managing to graduate. Mycroft was still in the kitchen, no doubt eating the entire contents of the fridge while no-one was looking. Sherrinford could hear him banging around down there and he hated it.
He needed to do something. He was far too young to become an adult. Jobs and serious relationships were still an abstract concept.
“Sherlock!” he declared, bounding from his bed to his brother’s. “We have to leave. I’m going mad.”
“You’re such an oaf,” Sherlock complained, dislodging his book from underneath Sherrinford’s elbow and resettling so that the bonier parts of his brother weren’t about to pierce his spleen. “Where would we go? The place in Cornwall?”
“Ew. No. God, what are you thinking? Cornwall?”
He began bouncing up and down, doing his best at unsettling Sherlock.
“We have to go, and somewhere that isn’t Cornwall. And we have to go now.”
“Stop that,” Sherlock ordered, biffing his brother with his book. “Fine. Somewhere that isn’t Cornwall. Manchester? Birmingham? Glastonbury?” He made no move to get up though. But that was because he didn’t understand why anyone would want to go to Glastonbury.
“No!” Sherrinford continued to bounce up and down for a few moments more until he was struck by an idea.
“France!” he said. “If we’re going to go somewhere, it shouldn’t be in England. It should be in France.”
“France?” Sherlock looked up, actually interested now. “Who do you know in France?”
“That isn’t Nan?” Sherrinford asked. He thought about it. “No-one. And that’s why we should go there!”
Sherlock stared at the ceiling while he contemplated this.
“Can we go to Paris and explore the catacombs? They’ve made whole mosaics out of skeletons.”
“Of course we can go to Paris and explore the catacombs,” Sherrinford said. “That’s why you go to France, isn’t it?”
He began bouncing up and down again, trying either to annoy Sherlock into agreeing with him or to bounce him right off the bed. Either outcome would have been satisfactory.
Sherlock shoved his brother hard, mid-bounce. Hopefully he’d fall off the bed.
“Alright, alright, if we must. Let me just grab my coat…”
What, it wasn’t like he was going to say no, was it?
Sherrinford landed on the floor but was up again in short order.
“Of course we must,” Sherrinford said as he scrambled over to the chest of drawers they still shared. He pulled open the top drawer and dug through it, finding anything that might be necessary for an impromptu trip to France at two in the morning, and tossing it onto his bed.
He grabbed his bag, still packed from their last trip, and replaced its contents with the sort of things two young men would need for a road trip.
“Have you got everything?” he asked when he was done.
Sherlock had his tatty and beloved leather jacket and his book. Everything one might need.
“Of course.” He patted his pockets, double checking. “And I figured out how we’ll get there. You’ll like it.”
Sherrinford tossed the bag over his shoulder, thrown slightly by the weight of it.
“Then lead on, my stalwart companion,” he said.
“We’re going out!” Sherlock called into the house, taking no small amount of pleasure in slamming the door on Mycroft’s answer. “Look what I’ve got.” He held up Mycroft’s car-keys, with a grin. “I know where he puts the distributor cap too. Come on.”
“Oh, you are a prince among men!” Sherrinford declared.
He took the keys from Sherlock and bounded over to the old S-Class, taking little care in how he treated the interior as he shoved the bag into the back seat.
As he waited for Sherlock to put the car to rights so it would be driveable, he slid into the front seat and slid the key back in the ignition to turn on the radio.
It only took a couple of minutes for Sherlock to join him in the car, and roll down the window so he could light a cigarette.
“Anything except Radio One.” He started rooting through the cassettes in the glove box. “Did you know our dear brother likes to listen to Queen?”
“I knew he was one,” Sherrinford said.
He started the car and left the drive with an attempt at making the tyres squeal. Being that the drive was composed of loose gravel, all he managed to do was kick up a mess and make a bit of an unholy racket.
They made it to the motorway heading to Dover before Sherrinford finally got bored again.
“What have we got?” he asked.
Sherlock fumbled in his pocket and brought out an innocuous leather pouch.
“Cannabis, mainly. And some liquorice.” He poked through it, and ate some of the liquorice. “I thought anything more interesting might be an issue at Customs. Did you pack anything?”
“That’s an odd mix,” Sherrinford noted. “You said you had everything.”
“Yes, but it’s dependent on your meaning of ‘everything’.” Sherlock sighed. “I thought we could just get whatever we needed on the other side. We could probably even manage it on the ferry if we play our cards right. Don’t pout, at least on the ferry it’ll be duty free.”
Sherrinford sighed. “Yeah, all right,” he said. “Roll me one.”
Sherlock rolled two, in fact, and lit them both before handing one over. He even rolled the window down, in the spirit of not having Mycroft yell at them about the smell. Really, he reflected, he was the perfect brother.
Sherrinford took what was proffered to him, not bothering to roll his own window down, because Mycroft could just cope.
“You know, I was thinking,” he said. “Why don’t we just stay there? In France, I mean. Maybe not forever, but you know. For a while.”
Sherlock didn’t reply straight away, just settled back comfortably. It could be amusing to trek round Europe in Mycroft’s car, for a few months, at least.
“Mummy will expect us to call in on Nana if we do,” he warned his brother. He took a long drag of his joint, and smiled lazily as the hit and the thought of a few months of freedom took hold. “Why not? It’s either that or go to university and find work and be boring forever.”
“At least Nana feeds us,” Sherrinford pointed out.
He took a long drag and put the joint into Mycroft’s pristine ash tray so as to adopt the ten-and-two position.
“It means we’ll actually have to speak French. Like, for real.”
“Oh lord.” Sherlock rolled his eyes. “Well, I’ll just block my ears every time you talk. Nana’s essentially deaf nowadays, as long as we say ‘oui, oui’ when she pauses for breath we should be fine.” He started to giggle. “I want to hear you order bread again though. That was hilarious last time.”
“Only if you order the wine,” Sherrinford threatened. “I really didn’t think this through, did I?”
He knew perfectly well that they could still turn back at any moment, but he pretended that the thought had never occurred to him.
“Nope. But all your spontaneous ideas lack the sort of meticulous planning your average five year old would give it.” Sherlock scoffed, though without rancour. “Can we stop at a services? I want Jelly Babies before we go to France and have to live off Haribo for the next however long.”
“Eurgh. Good point.”
Sherrinford missed the first two services they passed, finally spotting the sign in time for the third. As he got out of the car, he tossed the keys to Sherlock, indicating that he was bored with driving and that it was his brother’s turn.
Inside the service station, the tired man behind the counter gave the pair of them a positively foul look as they walked in, but said nothing. Sherrinford ignored him, electing to go search for something he could properly fill up on. Like some doughnuts, perhaps.
Sherlock grabbed half a dozen bags of Jelly Babies and a sandwich. He was making his way to the check out when he went past the little bit where they always sell cheap-o toys. Since it was summer, they were selling beach toys, which made sense. He spotted something.
Sherrinford spent the next fifteen minutes trying to decide what he wanted. Eventually, he settled on the doughnuts with the white power on. And grabbed about a dozen packets of them. After that, it was a few chocolate bars, and about eight different sorts of soda.
If they were going to be driving around France for the next foreseeable future, he was going to be prepared.
It was nearly a half hour before he finally paid for his snacks and made his way back out to the car.
Sherlock sprung out of the driver’s seat.
The cheap water pistol worked surprisingly well, neatly catching his brother in the face and chest. It was a shame he’d only thought to buy lemonade, really.
Sherrinford dropped his carrier bags in favour of trying to get the lemonade out of his eyes.
“You complete ass!” he shouted. “That wasn’t pleasant!”
The more he tried to rub the sting out of his eyes, the worse it got.
“You will rue the day!”
“Don’t be such a baby, it’s not that bad. Stop rubbing it will you?” Sherlock dropped the water pistol in favour of finding the emergency water in the boot of the car. “Here.”
He handed Sherrinford a handkerchief that was monogrammed MH, and soaked in brackish water.
“Well don’t shoot me with lemonade.”
He growled in frustration as he absolutely failed to stop rubbing his eyes.
“Don’t be so useless. Honestly…” Sherlock swiped at his brother’s face with the handkerchief, ignoring the fact that he would probably react in exactly the same way.
“There, see? All better.”
“No it’s not,” Sherrinford said.
It no longer stung like the fury of a thousand angry bees, but it was definitely not all better.
“Don’t get us lost on the way to Dover.”
He pushed past Sherlock, expecting him to pick up the dropped carrier bags and made his way to the car to climb into the back seat.
“How bored did you get?” he asked, stopping halfway through the door.
Sherlock did pick up the carrier bags, and took them round to the boot. He pulled out a box of donuts and a can of pop. “I don’t know. How long were you in there?”
He handed Sherrinford his food. He’d even picked the right can of drink.
“I don’t know,” Sherrinford complained as he moved the inflatable shark out of his way and into the front passenger seat, before climbing over it into the back. “I had to see what they had in there.”
He kicked the beach ball to the floor and sprawled out as best he could, taking from Sherlock his snacks.
“Where’s that water at? I’m gonna be crying lemon juice all week.”
“You are not. You’re such a drama queen,” said the kettle to the pot. “And it’s in the back seat with you, if you used your eyes.”
He started up the car, and they were off again.
“Can’t,” Sherrinford said. “Some twat blinded me with lemon juice.”
“Oh whatever.” Sherlock muttered, finding another cigarette. “Are you going to sleep?”
“No, too bored,” Sherrinford said.
He found the water on the floor and rewet Mycroft’s handkerchief before pressing it to his face.
“Do you know how to get to the ferry, because you’ve blinded your navigator.”
“Well, I assume I stay on this road. When I hit the sea, I’ve probably missed it, and flooded Mycroft’s car.” Sherlock said, grouchily. “And you’re not blind, you’ve just got a hankie over your eyes like you’ve got the vapours.”
“Blind,” Sherrinford insisted.
Despite this, he pulled the handkerchief from his face to look for his doughnuts.
“Do you want one?” he offered. “And where’s that joint? I think I left it up there.”
“I’ve got Jelly Babies, which are superior in every way.” Sherlock passed the joint back, and settled into ten-and-two. “And I got a sandwich, but I ate that.”
“Is that all you got?” Sherrinford asked. “At least I planned ahead.”
He settled back against the side of the car, trying to decide between taking a drag and trying to settle his legs comfortably.
Utterly failing to do both, he dropped the pop onto the floor.
“If you get Tango all over Mycroft’s carpets he’ll explode,” Sherlock observed. “And you haven’t fit into the back of this car since we were fourteen, so I don’t know why you insist on trying every time.”
“Too late,” Sherrinford declared.
Since Mycroft was already going to kill him, he didn’t bother picking up the can.
Sherlock laughed, and the motorway rolled out in front and behind them. The sun was coming up by the time they reached the ferry port.
“Do you have a credit card with you?” This was Sherrinford’s idea, after all.
Sherrinford jumped awake at the sound of Sherlock’s voice, not entirely sure when he’d fallen asleep.
“What? Yeah. In my wallet, where it belongs.”
After some mild acrobatics, he managed to fish his wallet from his trousers and tossed it into the front seat with Sherlock. He could find it himself.
“You snore when you lie like that.” Sherlock fumbled for the credit card. “One car two people, and an open return. Please.”
Because they probably will be back. Eventually.
“Can I see your passports?” The smiley lady said, staring at the shark that Sherlock had conscientiously buckled into the front-seat on a rest-stop.
“Sherrinford, don’t go back to sleep, give the lady your passport…” Sherlock, going through his pockets, came to a stunning realisation.
Sherrinford, still mostly asleep, only heard half of what was said, and tossed his passport in the vague direction of the front seat as well.
“There,” he muttered. “And no I don’t.”
“I wish we were identical.” Sherlock gave the lady his most winning smile. She leant back in her window like she was worried he would bite her. “Will a driver’s licence do?” Luckily, he kept that in his wallet.
“No sir, I have to see a passport.” She handed Sherrinford’s back to him.
Sherrinford sat up finally, glaring into the back of Sherlock’s head.
“What do you mean, you wish we were identical?” he asked stiffly.
For a moment, it’s almost as though Sherlock was flustered.
“You remember when I said I had everything? Well… Not quite, as it happens.”
“Look, do you want the ticket or not?” The not-so-smiley lady was eying the queue forming behind them.
“Are you positive about the driver’s licence?”
“Er.” Sherlock could feel Sherrinford’s gaze on the back of his neck. “Don’t, we’ll get arrested.”
“Is it still murder,” Sherrinford asked, “if you’re just putting an idiot out of his misery?”
He didn’t care about the smiley lady or the queue. He cared about Sherlock’s failure to have anything even resembling ‘everything.’
“Yes, definitely. Sorry, we don’t need the tickets. Sorry for wasting your time.” Sherlock gabbled, before putting his foot to the floor and getting out of the queue. In the big car-park just outside the port, he stopped the car.
Sherrinford at least waited until the car was stopped before punching Sherlock in the back of the head.
“What part of everything is so hard to understand?” he asked. “Twice! Twice today you’ve failed to grasp the concept of everything!”
He hit Sherlock again, just for good measure.
“Ow! OW! Stop it.” Sherlock undid his seatbelt and struggled round to defend himself. “I didn’t mean to—look, just stop hitting me!”
Reasoning wasn’t working, so he did what anyone would do, and punched Sherrinford hard in the nose. “STOP IT.”
Sherrinford brought both hands to his face as he cried out in pain.
“You caused this. You don’t get to hit back,” he said, before punching Sherlock in his own stupid nose.
“OW. Oh, hell.” Sherlock sat back painfully on the steering wheel. “You made me bleed, you ass.” He opened the door and scrabbled in the boot for the emergency tissues (thank god for Mycroft and his neuroses). “Look, I didn’t mean to forget my passport. I forgot I needed it.” That sounds lame, even to his ears. “I’m sorry.”
Still holding his own face to keep it from falling apart or exploding or whatever faces did after they were punched really hard in the nose, Sherrinford awkwardly climbed over the seat and out of the car (damn Mycroft and his two-door car) to join Sherlock out in the car park.
“I need some too,” he said.
“Here.” Sherlock handed him the Kleenex box. There was a busy moment where they concentrated on keeping their blood on the inside, and then Sherlock (who blamed it on the pot, honest) set his tissues on fire trying to light a cigarette.
Still holding his face together, Sherrinford leaned against the car and rolled his eyes as his brother lit himself on fire like an idiot.
“So now what?” he asked. “Though, at least we don’t have to speak French.”
Sherlock stamped out his tissues and used some of the emergency water to clean his face. His t-shirt was ruined anyway, and he really could use a cigarette.
“Well, if you want to go to a different country, there are two of them within driving distance. How about Wales?”
“Scotland,” Sherrinford said, not giving Sherlock the opportunity to win something just yet. “Do they still have ponies in the Shetlands?”
“Maybe. We could find out. Are Shetland ponies the really tiny ones?” Sherlock got his little pouch again and started to roll.
“I think so.”
Sherrinford turned to open the door and get into the car before Sherlock got them busted for rolling a joint in a ferry car park, and was met with a rather nasty surprise.
“Brother of mine,” he said. “Do you have the keys, by chance?”
He knew Sherlock didn’t, because he was staring at them. Still in the ignition.
“…Oh.” Sherlock wondered if his nose would just explode like a ripe tomato if it was punched again. “You know what we need? A coat hanger.”
He put the pouch away and loped off towards the little cabin the smiley lady lived in to see if she had such a thing. You never knew.
“Where are you…”
Sherrinford gave up. He turned back around to search through the boot, but Sherlock had already shut that.
“He broke my nose, blinded me, and then left me in a car park,” Sherrinford complained to himself. “Worst brother ever.”
Sherlock miraculously came back with a long twist of metal.
“I met some nice Swedish tourists,” he explained. “They’ve apparently locked themselves out of their car six times in six different places in England. I like them.”
He carefully fed the metal into the door and jiggled about.
“I liked them. We should give them a present for being so nice.”
There was a clunk, and the door opened.
“Come on.” Sherlock picked up the beach-ball and a bag of Jelly Babies. “We should both say thank you.”
“By giving them a beach ball?” Sherrinford asked.
There was clearly no arguing with Sherlock though, so he pulled the keys from the ignition, made sure his face wasn’t still leaking, and went back round to the boot.
“They can have some of my doughnuts too,” he said. “If you’re giving up your toys, I mean.”
He grabbed one of the boxes, and a new can of pop for himself, and followed after Sherlock.
When they showed up with the metal and their armload of goods, the scatter-brained Swedes were politely bemused by their presents, and seemed to think they needed to return the favour.
There was some conferring in Swedish, with one of their number bouncing the ball and giggling, and they came back with half an ounce of pot and some chocolate.
“You take. We have more.” The spokes-Swede shrugged. Sherlock leaned to try and look into their coach, but a lot of the windows had the curtains drawn.
“Well, thank you.” Sherlock tucked it away, and the Swedes smiled and shrugged again and went back to their coach.
“If someone hadn’t forgot his passport, I might suggest visiting Sweden,” Sherrinford said. “Now I want a pony. You are going to buy me a goddamn pony if it kills us.”
He turned to return to the car to find a pony to make Sherlock buy for him.
“You wouldn’t have liked Sweden. You don’t like Ikea either,” Sherlock pointed out, reasonably. “And I’m not buying you a pony, you haven’t finished your last one.”
But by then they were in the car and heading north, so perhaps it’s a moot point.
“I have nothing against Ikea,” Sherrinford said. “I have everything against shelves that take six hours to put together.”
He shoved half a doughnut into his mouth, finding that they didn’t taste quite the same after being punched really hard in the nose.
“And you are buying me a pony. You can’t get out of this.”
“We couldn’t get it in the car. You’d have to ride it all the way back home.” Sherlock pointed out. “And those shelves wouldn’t have taken so long if someone hadn’t decided ‘instructions are for idiots’.”
“Pony!” Sherrinford shouted. “And if shelves need instructions then they shouldn’t be for sale!”
“What are you, six? Settle down, or so help me I’ll turn this car right round,” he barked in a passable imitation of either their father or Mycroft. “We should think about breakfast. I want chips.”
“You can’t have chips for breakfast,” Sherrinford argued. “We have doughnuts. Have some of those.”
“I’m driving and I want chips,” Sherlock said, as though that settled matters. “And I’m bored with sweet things. I want salt. Grease! Bacon!”
“Bacon isn’t chips,” Sherrinford said. “Make up your mind.”
He finished his doughnut and went for another one.
Sherlock stopped at a greasy spoon.
“This will do. Come on, you can’t just eat donuts all day, you’ll get carsick and I’ll have to clean it up whilst you complain about there being carrots in it.”
He opened Sherrinford’s door and tugged on his sleeve.
“Come onnn. Bacon!”
“I think I’ve decided I’m a vegetarian,” Sherrinford said as he followed Sherlock out of the car and inside the small building. “Mainly because I really don’t fancy bacon right now.”
“Fine, have a chip butty or something. I bet they even do hash-browns.” Sherlock breezed up to the counter and ordered their biggest set breakfast with extra bacon twice, and a cup of tea.
“If you don’t order something I’ll order something for you.”
Sherrinford leaned against the counter and rolled his eyes dramatically. “I ate in the car. I’m not hungry.”
“He wants toast. And tea. And orange Tango,” Sherlock told the lank-haired girl behind the counter. He even paid for it, and dragged them to a table.
Bacon anticipation was the best feeling.
“Fine. Eat bacon and die. You always do.”
Sherrinford picked up the napkins from the edge of the counter and began tearing them into tiny pieces, letting the bits sprinkle about the surface.
Sherlock could barely contain himself when the food did show up, wolfing bacon and egg and washing it all down with tea.
“They’ve done it just right as well, look. It’s not quite burnt.” He felt about in his pockets and came up with a disposable camera. He took a photo of the perfect bacon with a happy sigh.
“You’re disgusting,” Sherrinford complained. “I can’t believe we share DNA.”
“But we do, cherished womb-mate.” Sherlock mopped up the last bit of tomato juice and egg yolk with his bread and shoved it in his mouth before sitting back with a happy smile.
“That was amazing. We have to come here again.”
“That was revolting and I think I’m going to be sick.”
Sherrinford had barely touched his toast and tea. He blamed it on Sherlock, despite the nearly dozen doughnuts he’d eaten in the car.
“That’s because you’ve eaten three boxes of service station crap.” Sherlock tossed the keys to him. “Come on, don’t pout.”
“Fine. Just get in the car.”
Sherrinford climbed into the driver’s seat and started the ignition, impatient to get back on the road. They were bound to hit heavy traffic sooner or later, but he wanted to put it off as long as possible.
Sherlock stretched out in the back seat. His stomach felt tight and stretched, and he wondered if it was actually bulging out. He opened the top button on his jeans, and tried to get some sleep.
After about half an hour of pretending he didn’t feel more and more miserable, he snapped.
“You’re going to have to stop—” He closed his mouth again, and swallowed. “Please stop—”
Sherrinford tried to look into the back seat without crashing into the lorry in front of them. By the time he realised what was happening, it was too late, and the only thing he could do was laugh.
“You complete wanker!” he said.
“Don’t…” Sherlock moaned. “Oh god…” He scrabbled the window down, and had almost stuck his head through the gap when the nausea hit bad.
“It’s gone inside the car,” he mumbled, concentrating on not getting more inside. “Please stop the car. I’ll buy you a pony and everything.”
“I’m working on it, bro,” Sherrinford said. “There’s a lorry in front of us and a van riding my arse.”
Still laughing, he managed to get to the side of the road and opened the passenger door. Sherlock was on his own for getting over the front seat.
Sherlock sprawled out of the car. There really was no other way to describe the dead fish flop, and knelt by the side of the road, retching.
“What did I ever do to bacon?” He wiped his mouth and climbed up the side of the car. “Pass me the lemonade.”
He swilled his mouth out, spitting the sickly sweet liquid out before trying a swallow.
“We need something to mop the side of the car…” Sherlock hated throwing up, it made his head pound. He pulled off his blood-stained t-shirt and crawled back in, pale and miserable.
“If you don’t stop laughing I’m going to drive off and leave you,” he threatened, wiping at the trail on the door. “Do we have more shirts?”
“You said you had everything,” Sherrinford reminded him, still laughing. “Is it possible to be allergic to bacon? I mean, seriously. You do this every time. It doesn’t matter who makes or where it comes from. You eat bacon and then you get sick.”
He checked the rear-view mirror to make sure no-one was about to plough into them.
“And this is great! Mycroft won’t notice my pop now!”
“You have that whole bag. Give me a t-shirt!” Sherlock was paler than usual, with black bags under his eyes. “And I’m not allergic to bacon. It must’ve been that rat-infested hole we ate at.”
He sighed and surveyed his handiwork.
“We’ll have to stop at a services.”
Sherrinford pulled the boot latch and nodded vaguely in the appropriate direction.
“Back there,” he said, suddenly sober. “Would you like to drive? You’ll feel better. Or would you just rather stay here for a little while?”
“Give me a moment, and we can keep going.” Sherlock clambered out of the car again, and rifled the bag. “You have such terrible taste in clothes,” he said, almost absently as he pulled dark green shirt over his head. “You drive.” He was feeling pretty woozy, not enough sleep and too much pot and bacon. “We need to stop, otherwise that smell’s going to make us both sick and then the ponies won’t like us.”
Sherrinford nodded. “Maybe we can pour the rest of your lemonade over it,” he suggested.
He peeked into the back seat and frowned.
“Sit in the front. Watch the road. Do you want something to drink?”
“All we’ve got is pop.” Sherlock pointed out, getting in the car and winding the window down.
“Tell me when we stop.” For good measure, he pulled the t-shirt over his nose and mouth and closed his eyes.
“There’s a Sprite. That helps.”
He cast a glance to Sherlock, but when it became clear that he didn’t want it, Sherrinford turned off the hazard lights and re-joined traffic.
“Apparently chewing on ginger helps. We’ll see if we can find you any.”
“Mm,” Sherlock grunted.
He opened his eyes when they reached the services.
“Thank god.” He stumbled into the services and immediately bought wet wipes, ginger ale, and Ritz crackers. The girl behind the counter gave him a sympathetic look.
“Someone get sick?”
“Yes,” Sherlock replied, sullenly. “And he wouldn’t stop, so now it’s all in the car.”
While Sherlock busied himself in the service station, Sherrinford worked on pulling the front seats forward as much as possible, and discovered vast amounts of back seat he hadn’t realised existed.
“Augh, there are bits in it!” he complained as he covered his mouth.
“I told you to stop.” Sherlock dumped everything out of the plastic carrier and started to clean the car. “Help me out, or we’ll be here all day.” He took a swig of ginger ale, and some colour came back into his cheeks.
“Lorry. Arse-riding van,” Sherrinford reminded him.
He grabbed the paper towels and tried to clean up the mess, but gave up soon after.
“These bits came out of you. You should be doing this.”
“I am…” Sherlock whined, and kept going till it was as clean as it was going to get with wet wipes and a box of Kleenex.
He swilled more ginger ale and opened the Ritz crackers.
“Come on, let’s go.”
“You drive,” Sherrinford said, slipping into the passenger seat. The back seat was officially a biohazard zone, as far as he was concerned. “And then I’ll yell stop suddenly and you can try to not kill everyone on the motorway.”
“I’m tired…” Sherlock sighed. “Fine.”
They were halfway to Birmingham when he suddenly looked down and said, “Ah…”
Sherrinford was busy ignoring him, and drumming something rhythmless and irritating with his hands on the dash panel.
“You know, you’ve been in a mood all day. What’s up with you?”
“We’re running out of petrol,” Sherlock replied, neatly deflecting the question. “And what’s wrong with me is that we’re about twenty miles from the next service station with about fifteen miles of fuel.”
Sherrinford stopped drumming on the dash panel.
“Do bad things just follow you?” he asked. “I never get into half as much of shit we’ve got into today when I’m alone.”
“Maybe if we just stick in the slow lane…” Sherlock muttered, not really paying attention. “And this isn’t the worst trip we’ve ever been on. Remember France in ninety-two? When Mycroft got food poisoning and you caught that weird bug from the kids in the next cottage?”
“I was poisoned, and nothing will convince me differently,” Sherrinford said. “And I thought you’re supposed to drive faster to save petrol?”
“I don’t know.” Sherlock looked at the petrol gauge. “I think if you go slower then it burns less fuel.”
He slows down accordingly.
“I don’t understand why Mycroft didn’t leave this thing full,” he complains.
“We did stop twice,” Sherrinford pointed out. “Why didn’t you get petrol?”
He looked at the traffic behind them, feeling fairly confident that if they stopped right there on the motorway, the Smart behind them would barely leave a dent in the rear-end of Mycroft’s Mercedes.
“I don’t know. Why didn’t you?” Sherlock said, concentrating on the speedometer, keeping it precisely on sixty. People were over-taking them but that was okay. “Bags not walking.”
“You know. If it wasn’t for you, we’d be in Paris right now,” Sherrinford said. “Drinking something really expensive, and eating snails with some pretty French girl on my lap.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and slouched down into his seat.
“But I’m not. I’m in here with you, about to die on the motorway because you’d rather blow up sharks and blind me than get petrol.”
“Shut up. The shark is the best thing about everything.” Sherlock snapped, just to be contrary. “Anyway, if I’d known you were just going to Paris to get off with some tart…”
The service station sign came up just as the car started to wheeze ominously.
“Do you know, I think we might make it?” Sherlock couldn’t help the bubble of optimism.
“Yeah, well, getting off is the one thing I get to do without having to put up with you. But that’s sex, and not anything you’d even know about.”
He looked out the window and frowned at the passing hedgerow.
“Well, fine. Be like that.” Sherlock scowled at his brother as they sputtered to a halt at the petrol station.
“Don’t worry about moving.” He slammed out of the car.
“Don’t worry, I won’t!” Sherrinford shouted back at him.
He slouched down into his seat, tempted to lock Sherlock out of the car. But then if he did that, he’d have to listen to him whine and complain from outside until he got annoyed enough to let him back in.
Sherlock concentrated on filling the car as angrily as he could. He paid testily (which was unfair on the poor boy behind the counter, who only asked if he had a BP card), and bought a resentful air-freshener for the car.
To drive home the point, he shut the car door brusquely and pulled out of the services crisply.
“Did you remember to replace the filler cap?” Sherrinford asked, still very much not looking at Sherlock.
Sherlock was quiet for a moment.
“…Yes,” he finally decided, still aiming for surly. “I might not be capable of human interaction, but I can just about manage to remember how to fill a car with petrol, thanks.”
Okay, as bitchy comments go, it wasn’t going to get a studio audience going ‘OoooOOOoohhh’, but whatever.
“Could have fooled me,” Sherrinford said. “Just take us to Scotland. And try not to get lost on the way.”
Sherlock gave the road a look that seriously traumatised a small child in the car in front, and sped up, weaving through the cars. Maybe they would crash and die. Good.
With Sherlock actually shutting up, Sherrinford realised that he was only getting grumpier. At least with Sherlock being insufferable, he had someone to shout at. And now that he wasn’t, Sherrinford could only be angry in silence.
“Dad offered me a job,” he said finally.
“I know. Mycroft let slip yesterday. He didn’t realise you hadn’t said anything.”
The black cloud seemed to slip down another couple of notches.
“I don’t want it,” Sherrinford said. “He was talking and I realised he might actually be right so I agreed to take it. And then I realised I was actually agreeing with him and I panicked and now we’re running away to Scotland because I’m still pissed off at the old man.”
He sighed deeply, looking away from Sherlock.
“I was serious about staying in France for a while. I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to work for him.”
“Yes you do. Or you will, anyway. He’ll make sure of it, and so will Mummy.” Sherlock slumped over the wheel. “It’s a good idea. You’ll work for him for a year, maybe two if you’re lazy and then go on to be hugely successful in something grown-up and dull. And you know. That’ll be good.”
It didn’t sound like he thought it was good.
“No. I want to stay in Scotland and raise ponies. That’s what we’re going to do because that’s what I want to do and you’d go nuts without me.”
He knew he was still being selfish, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.
“Fine. We’ll do that then.” Sherlock sighed. “Can we swap? I’m bored of driving.”
“Yeah, fine. Pull over,” Sherrinford said. Finally, he looked over to Sherlock. “And why didn’t you tell me you knew, you ass?”
“I figured you would tell me when you got round to it.” Sherlock pulled into a hard shoulder and got out of the car. “You’re not the only one who isn’t relishing the thought of joining the grown-ups.”
Sherrinford didn’t even wait for him to get out before trying to move his long limbs to the opposite seat.
“Yeah, well, if I’d known you already knew, we could have avoided a lot of hassle.”
Sherlock decided he really didn’t want to talk about this anymore. Thinking about the future, where he and Sherrinford were grown-ups and couldn’t just go to Scotland because they were bored gave him a funny swooping feeling. Combined with the lingering nausea from breakfast this did not make for a happy camper. He buckled up and closed his eyes.
“Wake me up if something interesting happens.”
And that was it, like someone flipped a switch from awake to asleep.
And then Sherrinford did as he was told and shook Sherlock awake.
“Bro, wake up,” he said, nudging him hard on the shoulder. “Hey. Wake up and tell me you know how to change a tyre.”
Sherlock lifted his head, blinking.
“This certainly puts the petrol thing into perspective.” He yawned, and stretched. “There’s probably a spare or something…”
When they got the spare out, it was immediately obvious that neither he nor Sherrinford had the least clue how to change a tyre.
“…We could call the AA…” Sherlock sat with his legs dangling out the car, and lit a cigarette.
“How?” asked Sherrinford. “We’re on the M6 between Nowhere and Nothing. I don’t see a payphone anywhere around here. Do you?”
He leaned against the side of the car and glowered at the passing traffic.
“Don’t pout, it’ll make your hair curl.” Sherlock sauntered round the side of the car and surveyed the traffic as well. Wordlessly, he passed his brother a joint.
“I’ll walk down to the next shoulder and see if it’s got a phone. You sit here and look pathetic, maybe someone’ll take pity.”
Sherrinford took the joint and took a puff from it, before handing it back. Somehow, standing by the side of the motorway with marijuana on him did not seem like the best way to get noticed by someone.
“And I’ll stand here and try not to get killed,” he said.
Mycroft was going to kill them if the traffic didn’t. He just knew it.
“If you see a mechanics van, try waving it down.” Sherlock suggested. He sauntered up the hard shoulder, occasionally waving at a white van, which would ignore him.
It turned out to be a good half-mile to the nearest phone, and by the time he got there he was thoroughly stoned, and by the time he got back, he was still giggling.
“I asked the switchboard girl out for you.” He flopped into the car and pulled out a cigarette.
Sherrinford was sitting on the bonnet, eating more doughnuts.
“Was she cute?” he asked.
He wondered why Sherlock ever needed things like bacon. Doughnuts were perfect.
“She asked where you would take her, and I said to Glasgow to see the ponies,” Sherlock continued, expansively. “She said she didn’t like ponies, so I told her that it probably wouldn’t work. We both agreed it was a shame. She was nice.”
“Damn,” Sherrinford said. “Did you call the AA guy?”
“No, no, I asked her to send someone out before I asked her out for you. I know what you’re like with girls.”
Sherlock sighed, happily, and opened a fresh bag of Jelly Babies.
Sherrinford thought about this for a moment.
“You’re kind of a lame wingman, you know that?” he asked. “You’re supposed to at least get a number or something. Don’t you know anything about women?”
“Women aren’t my area. That’s your… Thing.” Sherlock shoved Jelly Babies into his mouth.
“No, you’ve been drooling all over them,” Sherrinford said. “And god knows where your fingers have been.”
“Nowhere more or less gross than yours.” Sherlock got up, dropping the bag onto the seat behind him.
“Can we get fish for dinner tonight?”
“I don’t like fish,” Sherrinford said. “They live in the same water they piss and shit in. Why would you eat something like that?”
He made a disgusted face and focused on his doughnuts.
“You can have crab then.” Sherlock said, decisively. “They go in and out of the water.”
He sat quiet for a moment.
“Are you going to move into your own place when you start working for Dad?”
“Crabs still live in the same water as all the other disgusting fish,” Sherrinford said. “And I’m not working for Dad. I’m staying in Glasgow and raising ponies. Or maybe just living off my trust fund. I don’t know.”
“You will. Mummy likes the idea.” Sherlock stared at the floor. Before he could marshal the next scattered thought, the tow-truck showed up.
Sherrinford slid down off the bonnet and stood aside while the middle-aged man with ill-fitting jeans hooked the car up to his truck.
“For once, I don’t care what Mummy likes. I’m not doing it.”
“Hm.” Sherlock didn’t say anything about how he’d heard that before. He didn’t have to, Sherrinford knew it already.
The middle-aged man was genial, in a generic sort of a way, making small talk as he drove them to the nearest garage. He even kept being genial when he discovered the spare tyre in the boot that could have saved them a big detour.
Sherlock suspected that the reason for this was either drugs or because Sherrinford just handed over his credit card without asking how much anyone was charging anyone.
“Shall I drive?” he asked, as they wandered out onto the forecourt.
“Yeah, I think I need a nap,” Sherrinford said. “I’ve not slept since Kent.”
He awkwardly folded himself into the passenger seat, still avoiding the marginally more comfortable back seat, eventually realising that if he took off his shoes he didn’t have to deal with his heel digging into his own thigh.
“Damnit, you’ve got Jelly Babies all over the place over here. How does an intelligent person manage to make a mess with Jelly Babies?”
“How can an intelligent person pass up any great opportunity?” Sherlock peeled out and heads towards the motorway.
“And you call me a child,” Sherrinford said.
He finally got comfortable and threw the last bit of the errant Jelly Babies out the window.
“You are gonna stay with me, right?” he asked. “In Scotland, I mean.”
“Nope, going to finally return you to your own kind, the Shetland pony. I’ve done all I can.” Stupid question, really.
“Fine,” Sherrinford said, back to grumpy. Maybe he just needed to hear it after yet another attempt by their father to break them apart.
This was supposed to be the ultimate rebellion. It was instead turning out to just be the ultimate headache.
“Well, what else would I do? Go back to England, continue to disappoint friends and family alike, except now I won’t even have someone who knows how ridiculous it all is?”
Sherlock’s knuckles were white on the steering-wheel.
“I don’t know. Maybe he’d give you the job instead and just forget about me. I always got the feeling he would have preferred there to be only one of us anyway.”
He sunk further down into the seat until his feet were up on the dash panel.
“I thought you might like that or something.”
Sherlock didn’t say anything for a moment.
“Is this what it’s going to be like from now on? We won’t be… Us, anymore?”
“If you’re going back to England,” Sherrinford said. “I guess so.”
“I was never going to go back to England, you idiot.” Sherlock said, but without the rancour that would mean the fight was over. “But when the ponies grow up or Mycroft finally works out what happened or we run out of money, what then?”
“Sell the ponies and start over?” Sherrinford suggested. “We may have to take on new identities. You know how Mycroft is.”
“…Fine. We’ll sell the ponies.” Sherlock let it go. Talking could be so difficult. “You’re still an idiot though.”
“Maybe we should go ginger,” Sherrinford suggested. “Mycroft would never expect that.”
“You’d look like a clown if you went ginger. A ginger giraffe afro clown.” Sherlock lit a cigarette.
“Give me one,” Sherrinford said. He looked over at Sherlock and tilted his head slightly. “You’d look like Ford Prefect. You already sort of do, only not ginger.”
“Does that mean you’d be Zaphod Beeblebrox?” Sherlock passed the packet over. “Mycroft could be a Vogon.”
“Mycroft already is a Vogon,” Sherrinford said. “Just look at him. When he talks, all I hear is, ‘gurgle, gurgle, snort’.”
“He’s not green.” Sherlock pointed out. “We’d have to get an Arthur Dent. Maybe we could just train one of the ponies to drink tea and wear a dressing gown?”
“Some Vogons are grey. The ones from the other realities.”
Sherrinford looked out the window, hoping to catch a sign that would tell them how much farther they had to go before they left England.
“I think this is for the best. I really do.”
“Yes. Definitely.” Sherlock settled back. “This is good.”
When they hit Newcastle Sherlock stopped the car at another services and filled it up. When he came back he poked his brother in the face.
“You’re snoring again.” He poked him again. “Wake up. We’re going to get food.”
Poke, poke, poke.
“Don’t want food,” Sherrinford grumbled, slapping Sherlock’s hand away. “Not hungry. Still drowning in Jelly Babies.”
“I’m not stopping again till we’re somewhere Scottish,” Sherlock said, threateningly.
“I still got doughnuts,” Sherrinford said.
He tried to roll over to put his back to Sherlock, but failed in the cramped space of the passenger seat.
“You’ll make me eat something vile.”
“Fine, be like that.” Sherlock wandered off. Maybe they could get haggis in Glasgow. Probably Sherrinford would like that if he didn’t know what it was until afterwards.
He rushed back a few moments later clutching a sausage roll and grinning.
“Get up get up get up! I found something brilliant!”
Then he got into the car and spun it round to a car-grooming station.
“No,” Sherrinford complained. “Why do you torment me like this?”
He sat up anyway and looked over to Sherlock, the effect of his glare rather diminished by the way his hair stood up on end.
Sherlock found his disposable camera and took a photo of his brother.
“I shall call this one ‘Sleeping Beauty Arises’,” he declared, happily. “I found a car groomers. They’ll clean the back of the car and it won’t smell like dead bacon anymore.”
Sherrinford continued to glare.
“Which was your fault to begin with. I told you you’re allergic to that stuff.”
“Well, then I’ll pay for it. Come on, there are sofas in that coffee shop and everything.” He got out of the car and went to talk to the kid with the bucket.
Sherrinford grudgingly climbed out of the car and followed after Sherlock, pulling a comb from his trouser pocket and attempting to make his hair come close to behaving.
“I need some water,” he said. “Or hair gel. Beeswax, maybe.”
“Motor oil.” Sherlock advised. Behind them, the kid with the bucket poked his head into the car and recoiled with horror. “You should just embrace your hair. Let it roam free.”
He ran his hand through his own hair, as an example.
“No, I hate you,” Sherrinford complained.
He threw the comb at Sherlock and dropped himself down onto the sofa. He was beginning to think that maybe they should have at least slept a little bit before nicking off with Mycroft’s car.
Sherlock ignored him and wandered off again. He came back with two cups of tea and a little pot of hair gel. It was the best that the service station had, which is to say, not fantastic.
“Here. Look. Your grease, sir.”
“Where’s my comb?” Sherrinford asked, looking around. “I gave it to you.”
“Oh, here.” Sherlock pulled it out of his pocket and stuck it in the end of one of Sherrinford’s curls.
“Yes. Good. Make it not horrible,” Sherrinford said. “One of these days, I’m going to steal your hair. It will be mine. Just watch.”
“No, you’re not allowed it, you’d just abuse it and use it to get off with girls.” Sherlock started to comb Sherrinford’s hair out, sat on the back of the sofa like Jack Skellington. “I don’t understand how you make it do this anyway.” He tugged on a knot. The comb made that noise combs make when they’re trying their best and you’re not helping.
Sherrinford tried not to shout in the middle of the service station.
“I don’t do anything. I have to make it not do this,” he complained. “I blame dad. This is all him.”
“That’s a lie. Mycroft looks like Dad and his hair is fine. I think you just broke into our DNA and stole it out just to be annoying.”
Sherlock worked on the knot with his fingers and opened the pot of gel.
“Here, hold that. You should really learn to do your own hair. We look completely unhinged. And my tea’s going cold.”
“I do just fine when I have a mirror and an hour,” Sherrinford said, taking the gel and sniffing it. “But you’re—ow!—quicker.”
Perhaps a bit rough, but still. Quicker.
Sherlock sighed and tried to tug less. He’d made his point. After a bit, in which both cups of tea went cold and Sherlock smeared hair gel on the couch, Sherrinford finally looked presentable.
“There, you look marvellous, darling.” Sherlock slid off the sofa, carefully avoiding the hair-gel disaster area. “And my tea’s cold. Vanity, thy name is Sherrinford. Cruel parents, apparently.”
“I was content to stay in the car,” Sherrinford said. He returned his comb to his pocket and set the gel aside. “You’re the chemistry geek. Can’t you find a way to fix it permanently?”
“I could, but your hair would probably fall out. And then no one would want to shag you unless they had a thing for Patrick Stewart.” Sherlock drank some of the cold tea anyway, just to prove that it was horrible. “And you couldn’t stay in the car, that kid looked really upset.”
“Probably because you’re not paying him enough to clean up your vomit,” Sherrinford said. He reached for his tea, sniffed it, and put it down again. “I’m taking you off bacon. For good.”
“Hey, that’s not fair. You can’t take my bacon away from me. That’s really rude.” Sherlock crossed his arms, pouting. “And I was going to pay him extra.” A thought struck him. “If you let me have bacon, I could use the grease on your hair.”
“If you touch me with anything that came from a pig, I will stab you in the neck with a spoon.”
Sherrinford glared at him threateningly, wishing he had a spoon with him for better impact.
“No you won’t. Do you think that kid’s done yet?” Sherlock craned to look out of the window.
“Go ask him,” Sherrinford said. “And tip the poor bastard. He deserves it after that mess you made.”
The kid was justifiably traumatised, but the car was also pretty much clean. Sherlock tipped generously, and the kid looked less traumatised. He offered him a Jelly Baby, and the kid backed off, muttering about not wanting any trouble. Sherlock shrugged and sloped back to the cafe.
“That kid’s weird. We can go now though. You can’t even see where you maliciously tipped pop all over the floor.”
“Malicious, my arse. You hit a bump,” Sherrinford said.
He got to his feet and followed after Sherlock, pouring his cold tea onto the pavement once he stepped outside.
“Would you like me to drive, oh brother mine?” he asked. Now that he’d been forced to be awake for a while, he wasn’t in the mood to go back to sleep.
“If you like. I might sleep some more…” Sherlock clambered in the back. There was a smell of industrial cleaning fluid and he wound down the window.
“Wake me up for the border, I want to see if there’s a red line there.”
“As you wish.”
He got into the car and looked around, trying to get his bearings.
“Right. Where the hell are we and where am I going?” he asked.
“We’re in some dreadful place called Penrith. Go that way.” Sherlock pointed up the motorway. “There are sign-posts. When there’s a red line, that’s the border. And when there are kilts, you’re actually in Scotland.”
Sherrinford pointed the car in the appropriate direction and tried not to hit anyone as he merged into traffic.
“What if there isn’t a red line?” he asked. “And I think they don’t wear kilts casually. Is it possible to drive right past Scotland somehow? Like, just accidentally wind up at the Faroes?”
“Of course there’s a red line. Why wouldn’t there be? And we’ll drive past ponies before we get to the Faroes.” Sherlock snuggled down in the back seat. “It smells like Dettol.”
“Better than what it smelt like before,” Sherrinford pointed out. “And how do you know? Have you ever been there?”
“No but it has a line on the map.” Sherlock pointed out, reasonably. “Can I get some rest now, please?”
“If there’s no line, and I pass it, it’s your fault,” Sherrinford said. “Now hush and go to sleep. Or do you need your dummy?”
“You gave my dummy to Aunt Fifi’s dog,” Sherlock pointed out, and shut his eyes.
Sherrinford laughed to himself.
“I liked that dog,” he said.
He let Sherlock get a bit of a nap in, more interested in searching for the big red line between England and Scotland. While he never found it, he did find red, flashing lights behind him.
“Uh, Sherlock,” he said, reaching back round the seat to slap his brother. “Wake up, man. Trouble.”
“Huh, what? Oh shit…” Sherlock fumbled for his little pouch and shoved it deep between the seat cushions.
“Don’t just sit there, pull over!”
“Yep, on it,” Sherrinford said. “You’re holding. This is bad. I didn’t even do anything, I don’t think. Why’s he messing with me?”
He found a suitable place on the shoulder to pull over and tried not to look like someone driving a car that wasn’t his, with illegal drugs stuffed into the back seat.
“This is bad. This is very, extremely not good,” he said as the police officer strode up to the window.
“Hi!” Sherrinford greeted, putting every ounce of his charm into it. “Is there a problem?”
Sherlock wondered if he should try a smile, but perhaps that’d just let on about what he was sitting on. So he just tried to look normal.
Oh hell, what did normal people look like?
“Wanna step out of the car?” the officer said with an accent that smacked of Edinburgh.
When had they crossed the border?
“I was always told to stay in the car,” Sherrinford said. “Was that wrong?”
“Out of the car, please,” The officer said, this time with more force.
“Yes, sir,” Sherrinford said, moving to open the door.
Sherlock watched the whole thing from the back seat. Did they smile at policemen? Or were they police officers? Or would they just sit and look straight ahead. Sherrinford was always better at this sort of thing…
Should he get out of the car as well? But then they’d see the pouch. He’d shoved it pretty far down in the little crack though. But what if they had one of those sniffer dog things?
Or magical Scottish powers? Sherlock looked at his hands and tried not to think about super powered kilts.
“This car yours, sir?” asked the officer.
“Ah. No,” Sherrinford said. “It’s my brother’s.” He pointed toward Sherlock. “Mycroft and I were just, you know, out for a drive. In Scotland.”
The officer glared at him for a moment before leaning against the car and addressing Sherlock.
“This your car, sir?”
Sir? Oh help, that was him. It wasn’t his car. He wasn’t even Mycroft. They didn’t—The policeman officer was looking at him funny.
“Yes.” He tried. That seemed the best bet. Surely Sherrinford had a plan.
“License and registration, please?” he asked
Well, they were screwed.
“Ah…” Sherlock drew out his wallet. Time had slowed to a crawl and the air felt like syrup and oh god Sherrinford didn’t have a plan. That arse. Sherlock was going to do something terrible to him.
He produced his licence. “I uh… I left the registration… At home?”
“It’s not actually his,” Sherrinford said quickly, looking rather sheepish. “It’s our older brother’s, and he reported it stolen, didn’t he?”
The officer nodded. “Turn around. Hands on the top,” he said. “You. Out.”
Convinced they were going to get arrested and spend the rest of their lives in prison, Sherrinford turned and did as he was told. At least he wouldn’t have to go work for his father now.
Sherlock wondered if he looked as sick as he felt. Of course he stumbled and fell flat on his face. Of course.
“Sorry…” he mumbled, picking himself up.
The officer cautioned them and called for back-up, keeping them where they stood for the few minutes it took for another car to arrive. While he searched and cuffed Sherlock and Sherrinford, the other officer began poking about inside the car.
“It doesn’t smell as bad as it did this morning,” Sherrinford said. “You should thank us for that.”
“You should probably shut up,” Sherlock finally managed. He was relieved, he almost thought he’d forgotten how to speak.
Sherrinford was beyond caring. He laughed as he leaned against the side of the car, ignoring everything Sherlock said.
After a few moments of this, the officer in the car straightened back out on the other side and dropped Sherlock’s stash on the roof.
“You boys’re in a lot of trouble.”
Oh. Maybe he has forgotten how to talk. Bugger.
Sherrinford started laughing even harder.
“We’re fucked,” he said.
“Please tell me you’re not on something other than,” Sherlock hissed. Probably jumping on his brother and pummelling his stoned and stupid butt would be bad in front of the police officer men, right?
Try as he might, Sherrinford could not contain himself.
“No more than you,” he said.
“Liar. You’re going to make it worse!” Sherlock hissed.
The policeman was watching, unimpressed by two young men apparently incapable of acting as such.
“I think you should come with me, boys.”
“Sherrinford! Shut up! Dad’s gonna kill us!” Sherlock nudged his brother hard with a bony elbow.
“Not if he gets to us first.”
Sherrinford nodded toward the police officer as he started to choke from laughing.
When they’d set off, he had not imagined his day going anything like how it had done.
Maybe he needs a lie down.
“I hate you. I hate you so much, I’m never going anywhere with you ever again. I’m going to go home and go to university,” Sherlock snarled as he got into the police car.
Sherrinford had to be helped in. For a worrying moment, the officer thought he may be having some sort of fit.
In truth, he was just so fucking terrified of what their father was going to do to them that this was the only thing he remembered how to do.
“He’s fine. Frankly if he chokes to death you should remember how much easier your job will be,” Sherlock said shortly when he saw the officer’s consternation. He stared straight ahead, ignoring his trembling brother.
Sherrinford never managed to contain himself properly. Not during the ride to the station, not during booking, not during anything.
They were separated after processing, put in adjacent holding cells, where Sherrinford finally started to… not calm down, exactly. More like just wear himself out until he couldn’t do much of anything. It got Sherlock working himself into his own tiz. He tried to get them put in the same cell but they wouldn’t let him, and when he offered to pay they just stared at him. He could still hear Sherrinford next door. Christ. He paced up and down the small cell. Could he dig through the wall? He picked at the wall but nothing gave. Who the hell designs prisons like this?
Finally, he called out, “Sherrinford?”
Sherrinford answered, only not really. It was more of a pathetic little whine, because he was exhausted and wrecked and if he made another sound, he may have just been sick himself.
“I’m next door.” Sherlock knocked on the wall and slumped down against it. He picked at the wall, a little scraping noise, but the paint didn’t even flake. “See? Right here.”
“I wanna go home,” Sherrinford complained. “I don’t even care about ponies.”
“Oh, now you tell me.” Sherlock rolled his eyes. “At least we did this in a country where they speak the language worse than we do. Can you imagine if we’d had to explain ourselves to the French police?”
“Our French is flawless and you know it,” Sherrinford said. He was not even in a joking mood. “Did you phone someone?”
Sherrinford didn’t. Because he was too busy freaking all the way out.
“I called Mycroft’s office and left a message.” Some of the paint flaked off the wall. Progress. “I figure he’s less likely to actually horribly murder us than Dad.”
“Gonna be sick,” Sherrinford declared suddenly, right before he did exactly that.
Sherlock probably should have seen this coming, actually.
Sherlock had had enough.
“Hey! HEY. POLICEMEN.” He kicked the door. “MY BROTHER’S SICK.” He kicked it again, and then hopped on one foot, because the door was made of steel and he was not.
For the most part, Sherlock went ignored. In that, when someone did (fairly promptly, actually) come to see to Sherrinford and move him somewhere else, no-one spared a passing glance to Sherlock.
Save for the one officer who toldhim to shut up.
“Hey. HEY. COME BACK HERE. THAT’S MY BROTHER!” Sherlock bellowed down the hallway. He couldn’t hear Sherrinford anymore and he was stuck in this stupid whitewashed cell and his foot really hurt. He tried yelling a bit more, but apart from someone else telling him to quiet down, nothing happened.
He flopped on the bed. This was rubbish.
Quite some time later, because it’s quite a long way to Edinburgh from London, the door to Sherlock’s cell was opened. Standing next to a tired and annoyed-looking police officer, was an extremely pissed off Mycroft.
“Father isn’t pleased,” he said.
“He’s not the only one. Where’s Sherrinford?” Sherlock pushed past his brother. His hair was entirely on end and he looked completely washed out. “Where is he?”
He was not an edge of panic. He was still pissed off they got caught and no one got any ponies.
“He’s fine,” Mycroft said, though he made no effort to try to comfort Sherlock.
He had the foresight to discharge them separately. Mostly because he knew how Sherlock would react to the sight of Sherrinford in the state he’d been.
“He’s waiting in the car that I had to borrow from the motor pool, and which we will be taking back home because of the state of the one you stole.”
“Right.” Sherlock was not even listening, really. Something about a car. Sherrinford was in the car. “Come on then, it’s so dull in here.”
With a nod to the police officer, Mycroft walked Sherlock out of the building.
“My car will have to be cleaned, and towed back to England,” Mycroft told him. “And you will be paying for it.”
The car he brought up from London was bigger than his own. Four doors and a proper back seat, which was where Sherrinford was sort of curled up and looking a right mess. At some point, he’d bit his lip in all his hysterics, and the shirt he’s wearing was not the one he was arrested in.
That one was in a bag in the boot.
“Your licenses have both been revoked,” Mycroft said evenly. “Until I say otherwise.”
“Right.” Sherlock got in the car and reached out for his brother, gently. His favourite brother. “Isn’t prison ghastly? We shouldn’t do that again.”
He settled in the back-seat, as close to Sherrinford as he could. “It’s made your hair go completely mental.”
“So fix it,” Sherrinford said quietly.
He just wanted to go to bed. He felt awful in a brand new way he’d never felt before, and he hurt, and now after this failed experiment, he’d have no adult prospects at all.
Sherlock didn’t say anything, but he pulled the comb out of the little baggie the police put all their things in, and hauled his brother about till he could get to his head.
There was quiet, for a while, broken only by the soft sound of the comb through Sherrinford’s hair. Sherrinford doesn’t even complain when his hair gets pulled, though he did start to look a little worse for wear once they started moving.
Mycroft waited until they get onto the road before he said what needed to be said. It wouldn’t do to have a fight in the police station car park.
“What the bloody hell were you two thinking?” he demanded, his calm exterior evaporating in an instant. “Have you any idea how much bother this is going to be to clean up?”
Sherlock didn’t reply, concentrating on a knot that really wasn’t just made up of hair. He grimaced and wiped his hand on his jeans.
“It wasn’t supposed to happen like that. If you had just let us be…”
“You phoned me,” Mycroft reminds him. “If I had just let you be, it would be Father come to fetch you two. You’re lucky I didn’t leave you there.”
Sherrinford said nothing at all, still entirely too sick and broken to even bother getting into it. Sherlock had always been the one to be better at rowing for the both of them anyway.
“Yes, but you didn’t,” Sherlock snapped, suddenly furious. “I wouldn’t have asked you, because I knew you wouldn’t. We’re going to pay for your stupid car, aren’t we?”
He was still combing Sherrinford’s hair, although it was pretty much sorted by then.
“Sherlock, just stop,” Sherrinford said, actually not even in the mood to listen to a row. “We’ll pay for the car.”
“Of course you’ll pay for the car,” Mycroft snapped right back. “And you’re paying for this trip. Have you any idea how much it costs to drive to Edinburgh from London?”
… Yes, actually, as it happens they did.
Sherlock subsided into a sulky and slightly relieved silence. He’d never tell, but he was exhausted. He toyed with one of Sherrinford’s curls, absently, and yawned instead.
Mycroft settled into a seething, angry silence, and it was not long before Sherrinford fell asleep in his awkward position in the back seat. Even in a big saloon car, he was too tall and lanky to properly fit in the back, and Sherlock sitting crammed up next to him didn’t help.
Not that Sherrinford’s ever had any qualms about sharing a tight space with Sherlock.
Sherlock curled up round his brother, but didn’t fall asleep. He stareed at the back of Mycroft’s enraged head.
“Yes, Sherlock?” Mycroft asked stiffly.
Sherlock didn’t say anything for another couple of minutes, trying to fit the words properly.
“I…” No, that was not right. Uhm… “Tell Dad it was all my fault.”
“Was it?” asks Mycroft.
He was almost certain it was Sherrinford’s idea, actually. Sherrinford never once met a responsibility he didn’t try to run away from.
“…Yes.” Sherlock said, stubbornly. “You know that Dad will believe it.”
“What makes you think I do?” asked Mycroft levelly.
“Because…” Sherlock cast around, and then looked down at his brother. “Because he likes Sherrinford better than me.”
Mycroft glanced in the mirror at the pair of them. Sherlock should have been given the job, and Mycroft would never understand what the devil their father was thinking, giving it to Sherrinford. But then, the old man always did like to play favourites. Even Mycroft had to agree with that.
“What, exactly, should I tell him?” he asked.
“Tell him I convinced Sherrinford to run away with me because I didn’t want to go to university.” Sherlock looked as penitent as he can. “But I’ve learnt the error of my ways and want to go study chemistry next year. You’re good at spin. You tell him.”
“Chemistry?” Mycroft asked, almost disdainful. “Is that really the best you can do with yourself?”
“The old man will like it.” Sherlock said, simply. “Better than history and political science, anyway.” He shifted his leg ever so slightly, to encourage blood-flow back into it.
“Yes, and look where it got me,” Mycroft said dryly. “You’d be far more comfortable if you’d sat in the front, you know.”
“I’m fine.” Sherlock said, resettling his brother a little. “And so are you.”
Mycroft hummed, not quite believing him.
“You’re throwing an awful lot away, you know,” Mycroft said. “You’d be a lot better off if you told the truth.”
“But Sherrinford wouldn’t be.” Sherlock pointed out. “And I’m good at chemistry.”
“You’ve already been arrested for auto theft because of him,” Mycroft pointed out. “Not to mention, nearly expelled how many times? I’m not pressing charges, by the way, but the arrest will still be on your record.”
“So I won’t be able to get a proper job anyway. I might as well go to university and get my degree.” Sherlock had already got a feeling any job he ever managed to get wouldn’t be overly concerned with criminal records, anyway.
“Come work for me,” Mycroft said. “In six months, you’ll have your license back, and I’ll even consider doing something about today’s little mishap.”
“I don’t want to go into politics. It’s dull.” Sherlock slumped, as much as he was able. “I’d be terrible at it anyway. I’m far too childish foolish.”
Somewhere Sherlock’s old English Lit master was punching the air.
“How do you know, if you’ve not tried it?” asked Mycroft. “You may surprise yourself.”
“I don’t want to do politics. You do politics.” Sherlock protested.
“That’s hardly a valid reason, I think,” said Mycroft.
He didn’t say anything else on the matter, though. Maybe, if he was very lucky, Sherlock would be able to fall asleep as well.
Sherlock twisted his face up. He still hadn’t said it right.
“Sherrinford has to get the job with Dad though. He’d hate university.”
That still wasn’t right, but it was getting closer.
“That may be so, but it doesn’t mean he deserves it,” Mycroft said. “Father’s getting old. His decisions may not have been made in the soundest of minds.”
“Father’s never wrong about Sherrinford.” Sherlock said, decisively. “Please, Mycroft.”
Ah, that was almost it.
That did, at least, get a raised eyebrow from Mycroft. When was the last time Sherlock even used the word “please”?
“Come work for me,” Mycroft said again. “In six months, you’ll both get your licenses back, and this whole mess will have been forgotten.”
“And you’ll fix it with Dad?” Sherlock insisted. Sherrinford was snoring again, so Sherlock shifted around some more till the giant oaf went quiet.
“And I’ll fix it with Father,” Mycroft agreed.
If that’s what it took to get Sherlock into a proper career, then fine.
“Right.” Sherlock sat back, relaxing. There was another moment of silence.
“Yes, Sherlock?” he asked, wondering when he was going to get some peace and quiet.
“It was good. What you did. With… The police.” That still wasn’t right. Sherlock sighed. Maybe it would never be right.
But it sounded dangerously close to another thing Mycroft didn’t know Sherlock knew how to do, all the same.
“You’re welcome,” he said, figuring Sherlock would only get tongue-tied over the actual words.
“Right.” Sherlock lapsed into silence. That was sorted then.
Mycroft really, dearly hoped the remaining five-and-a-half hours of the drive could be spent in silence. He focused on the darkening motorway, wishing he’d been able to talk the ministry into sparing a driver as well.
Apparently he was not high enough on the totem pole for that. Even if it would have made his day easier.