Original Story Title: A Careless Child
Original Story Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/291162
Original Story Pairings: Gen
Original Story Rating: General Audiences
Original Story Warnings: none
Remix Story Title: An Attentive Mummy
Remix Author: chibifukurou
Remix Beta: marietcaelum
Remix Britpicker: thesmallhobbit
Remix Story Pairings: Gen
Remix Story Rating: General Audiences
Remix Story Warnings: none
"An Attentive Mummy"
She became pregnant for the first time when she was just about to finish college. It’s her first mistake, though not one she would ever regret making.
She was bitter and angry for all nine months of her pregnancy: angry at the world for letting her get pregnant. Angry at her lover for taking her Father’s money instead of staying with her. Angry with her father for pulling her out of college, and for hiding her away in disgrace.
Then they placed little Mycroft in her arms and she couldn't stay angry. He was perfect. With his ten little toes, his ten little fingers, and his daddy’s eyes.
Father tried to get her to send him away to a nice family. He even offered to let her go back to college - a different college, where he could claim she had been sick instead of pregnant, but it wasn’t like she could be picky; not after she’d given up her chance to achieve her dreams of becoming a scientist.
She told him that she would be fine on her own, and left the hospital the next day, Mycroft in one arm and her suitcase in the other.
Teaching primary school had never been something she had considered. It lacked the challenge that she craved, but with only her trust fund to fall back on she didn’t have the option of waiting for a better position to become available. Besides, the school was willing to look past her ‘youthful indiscretions,’ just as long as none of the governors found out she had a child hidden away in her tiny flat.
She discovered that teaching children came with its own set of challenges. It wasn’t the same as the wonder she found in science, but little Mycroft provided her with all the wonder she would ever need.
He was a brilliant baby. At four months he could already sit up on his own and babble along with her when she read him bedtime stories of King Arthur and his Knights, and Dorothy in the land of Oz.
He learned to escape his cot by the time he was ten months old. She made him a pallet on the floor after that, but most nights he’d crawl into her bed.
By the time she was ready to take a position as an infant teacher in Kent, there was no longer anyway for her to hide him away. He was a bright boy and it would have been cruel to keep him out of nursery school, even if he was a year younger than the other children.
She told anyone who dared to ask that her lover died while she was pregnant. A tragic car accident. People still judged her for having a child out of wedlock, but at least they were kinder when they didn’t think Mycroft’s father ran off.
When one of the other teachers asked her out on a date, she accepted. It was the expected thing to do. After a few dates when she spoke about nothing but Mycroft he started up with one of the other teachers. She didn’t mind.
Nor did she mind when the various other men who attempted to date her, moved on to greener pastures.
As far as she was concerned, Mycroft was the only man she would ever need.
Father came to call when Mycroft turned nine. He was her little genius, already years ahead of his peers, and she knew that she couldn’t give him the education he needed.
Father knows it too, and uses it to his advantage. He talks about helping Mycroft to become the best he can be, but she sees the liver spots on his hands and the tremor that he can’t quite hide. Father is getting old, and Mycroft is the only remaining Holmes heir.
The Holmes are the British government. Making a deal with one was like making a deal with the devil. As many an unfortunate had learned over the years.
She could make him beg for the chance to have his grandson follow in the Holmes path. She could even hold out until he was forced to take her back as his heir in order to get his chance at Mycroft. He needed her more than she had ever needed him, as the last nine years had proven.
The problem was that no matter how she hated Father, she still cared greatly for the Holmes name. It was the legacy she had never tried to shake. Now it was time to discover if Mycroft shared her sense of family loyalty.
When Mycroft came home from school, she told him that it was up to him to decide if he would like to continue at his current school, or take up his Grandfather’s offer and begin training to become the next Lord Holmes.
She made sure he knew that he could wait, and decide whether to become his Grandfather's heir when he was older. Grandfather would not be allowed to rush him.
He looked her in the eye, and she knew his answer before he spoke. The pain of losing him was twisted up inside her, with the joy of knowing that the Holmes family would continue.
Together they went to Father and worked out the parameters for their deal. Mycroft was wicked and scheming and every bit his mother’s son. He wrangled promises out of Father like they were nothing.
Because he acted like they were nothing, Father gave them away without thinking. He promised to provide for all of her needs and to never try to take anyone else away from her by force of will or monetary compensation. Even though she knew he made these promises because he already saw her as beyond redeeming, they still made her feel happy that Mycroft was looking after her.
Almost as happy as she felt when she watched him swear to become a true Holmes and uphold their family’s position in the government. Father didn’t even notice the fact that Mycroft never promised to become his heir.
In the end, the only thing she had to make Father promise was that he will never stop Mycroft from visiting her when he’s on Holiday.
It might not seem like a lot to ask for, but she remembered her own childhood and knew the value of having somewhere to go when everything got to be too much.
She waited two more years before she had another child. This time it was not a mistake. She knew the price she would pay. It had been years since she had Mycroft, but people still weren't kind to un-wed mothers.
But she doesn't care what people will say. Because this time her Father wouldn’t be able to take her child away from her. With Mycroft she had discovered the joys of being a Mother. With Sherlock she planned to experience it to the fullest.
He was her perfect little boy, with his ten tiny toes and ten tiny fingers, and his too-wise eyes.
By the time he was two, it was obvious that Sherlock was just as bright as Mycroft. He’d escaped his cot in record time, and seemed to have taught himself to crawl just so that he could start climbing up on the furniture and give her a heart-attack.
It would be time for her to move to another school soon. The gossip about which of her fellow teachers was Sherlock’s father would only become more unbearable once Sherlock entered Nursery.
Mycroft wouldn’t be pleased that they were moving from the house where he had grown up, but when it came to Sherlock, there wasn’t much she could do to please him.
He was still jealous that she had seen fit to ‘replace him’, but she expected that would change in time. He had already started scaring off the other children, when they called Sherlock things like ‘freak,’ and ‘monster’ because of the way he stared at them.
She barely managed to catch Sherlock when he almost tumbled off the couch after being elbowed by Mycroft. Honestly, her boys were just a bit too alike.
People liked to talk. That was just the way they were. They called Sherlock a freak or said that she should have never been allowed to have a child. Sherlock knew that they didn’t like him, she always did her best to make sure he never knew about the people who threatened to take him away from her.
They wanted him to get treatment because he was different, but she would never allow it. She was different too, and she would not allow her son to be punished because he would not try to hide his brilliant mind. So she stood by him at parents' meeting after parents' meeting.
One teacher thought he needed to learn about proper behavior. Another though he was just too bright. By the time he was ten, the teachers had decided to jump him up as many years as they could.
They talked about how he would become more normal once he had other things to concentrate on, besides dissecting his teachers and classmates’ wheres and why-fors. She didn’t believe them for even a moment. Sherlock would never stop dissecting other people’s lives; he enjoyed it far too much.
Soon after Sherlock figured out he was being moved up a number of years, he took to following her when she went to work in the evenings.
He would sit outside her classroom, kicking his feet and watching everything. She suspected that he snuck off and went exploring, but she never asked. It was better that she didn’t know, if someone decided to lodge a complaint.
It was after a particularly trying Parents’ evening that he informed her that he wouldn’t be calling her Mummy anymore. She smiled and kissed him on the forehead and acted like it didn’t hurt. But all little boys must grow up at some point.
No one could ever take her Sherlock from her, but even she couldn’t hold back time.
After Sherlock was almost thrown out of his second year of secondary school, she started dating again. It worked much like it had when Mycroft had been a little boy. The world had not changed as much as people liked to pretend.
The whispers about Sherlock’s strangeness turned into whispers about how he really did need a male role-model in his life; turned into whispers about what kind of woman she must be to refuse a marriage when it was so obvious that her child needed a father.
She had never been so grateful before that Sherlock had decided that she was quite boring, and didn’t dig into the reasons behind her increased interest in taking gentleman callers. Unlike Mycroft, he seemed to have inherited her own lack of interest in more sexual acts.
Mycroft was not so oblivious. He took to visiting more often. Always making sure to meet the men who requested more than one date. After a meeting with him they rarely requested a third.
He never felt the need to tell her what he said, and she never asked. As far as she was concerned, anything that got her two boys to spend time together was a good thing.
She was diagnosed with cancer when Sherlock was nineteen and Mycroft was thirty. Within two months she was bedridden. Mycroft came to see her, or sent one of his assistants with flowers or gifts daily.
Sherlock only visited her twice. The whole first visit he did nothing but bite his lip and fidget, while talking about inconsequential things that had to bore him horribly. It was hard to watch; both because he treated her like a stranger he needed to impress and because he wouldn’t allow himself to touch her. He was obviously putting too much stock in his peers’ opinions, now that she was not present to counteract the nasty rumors.
He told her about his studies and his friends, but when she tried to get him to tell her about his psychology classes, knowing how much he’d been looking forward to them, he wouldn’t say anything.
She sent Mycroft to speak with Sherlock’s Professor, the very next day. He came to see her the day after and informed her that the Professor in question would be taking an unexpected transfer to another University.
When he told her why, she was glad he didn’t tell her which university. She was in no condition to hunt the bastard down and she’d be hard pressed to find him from her hospital bed. Nobody got away with calling her baby a sociopath.
Sherlock’s only other visit came a month and a half later. He mentioned that one of his professors had taken an unexpected leave of absence, and watched her carefully to see if she would give him a reaction he can read.
She didn’t bother trying to hide anything. She didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty. He huffed in annoyance, but took her hand anyway and held it throughout the visit, while they discussed his studies and the unusual habits of the hospital’s nursing staff.
He stayed with her until visiting hours were over and she pretended to fall asleep. Then he pressed a kiss to her forehead. They both knew this was his goodbye.
Sherlock never forgot anything unless he chose to. If he was there when she was dying, he would have to forget his last moments with her. This way he would be able to remember and treasure every moment he had with her. Just as she treasured every moment she spent with him.
Mycroft came to see her the next day. He promised her that he would look after Sherlock for the rest of his life, just as he’d looked after her.
She had never doubted that he would, no matter how he and Sherlock had clashed when they were children. She thanked him anyway, and gave him a letter for Sherlock.
Inside it were all of her secrets, all of the trivialities of her life. The things she liked; the things she hated. It had taken almost the entirety of her illness, but this was the biggest gift she could think to give him. The entirety of what she was, committed in written form.
It might be years before he would be ready to read it, her kind-hearted boy, but one day he’d be ready.
And then he’d be able to know all the details that made her, who she was, and how much she had always loved him.
Because no matter how much he grew up, and how much of an adult he thought he was, she would always be his Mummy.
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