"Why do people have babies?"
This question confused me and I stopped writing my homework assignment to stare at Sherlock, who was sitting grumpily on his bed, glaring at anything that came under his eye. I was confused over who he was speaking to; whether it was me or the wall or to Anderson – though that was doubtful as Anderson was only a toddler.
"What did you say?"
"Why do people have babies?" Sherlock repeated with equal bitterness, "Why did Mr Lestrade and his wife decide to have another one?"
"They didn't have Anderson Sherlock, they adopted him. Like they adopted us"
"Yes but why do they need another one, aren't we enough?"
I frowned at him, confused. Sherlock had never been happy about Anderson's arrival. Anderson was small and scrawny but seemed to be the most winning thing that had ever been brought into the house. He was cute in the face, with large handsome dark eyes, but equally fair skin and small features, and black curling hair. His spirit was high, and he always smiled. His anger was never fierce and tantrums were rare; I never heard him crying for more than a half hour. And I think that's exactly why Sherlock hated him. I was the opposite. I'd warmed to Anderson straight away and busied myself in caring for him when our foster parents were absent – after all, I'd always longed for a baby sibling. Sherlock would keep to the shadows and refuse to join in.
"They thought it'd be nice having a baby around" I told him, "Seeing as Mrs Lestrade can't have any of her own"
Anderson, who followed me everywhere now, was sitting near me in the room, chewing his silver bell, a gift from our foster mother.
"Ridiculous" Sherlock snapped, "Just another mouth to feed."
I ignored this remark. Sherlock Holmes in a bad mood was not a good road to go down. He kept his gaze fixated on Anderson, with a look that could kill.
When he thought I had my back turned, he quickly reached over and shoved Anderson in the back, so the littleun fell forward and almost broke his brow. The action didn't deceive my eyes, as I knew he was doing this to spite me rather than to cause any injury to the infant.
"Sherlock, how could you?" I stood appalled at the sight of the bellering child and went and stood him upright.
"He fell" Sherlock said sourly, arms folded, "It was an accident"
"You pushed him right over!" I snapped, kissing away the smear of blood that had appeared on young Anderson's temple, "I saw you"
Impelled by the angry spirit within him, Sherlock marched over and suddenly slapped my cheek, a stinging blow that made both eyes fill up with water. This shocked me, as Sherlock had never laid a hand on anyone in his life.
I covered the patch of red skin in shock at the act of violence my so called friend and foster brother had just committed, "That was a rotten thing to do!"
"I don't care" he snapped, "Get out John, I don't want you here!"
Little Anderson, infected by the emotion in the room, resorted to crying himself, sobbing out complaints at Sherlock who snarled in his temper and began shaking him roughly.
"Stop, stop, you'll kill him!" I cried out in my fright and lay hold of his hands; managing with the small amount of strength I had from my skinny little arms to prise him away from the littleun, "What's the matter with you? He's done nothing wrong!"
"Nothing wrong?" in an instant, he forgot about the wailing mite on the floor and turned the full blown force of his anger on me, "Nothing wrong! He was born! Isn't that wrong enough?"
"That wasn't his fault! Why must you be so hateful towards him?"
He turned his back on me, "If you enjoy his company rather than mine John, you can take him away with you!"
For a moment, I was mute.
"I mean it!" he spun round again like a whirling dervish, "Take him away with you! I don't want to see any of you again! He's your new friend now and I hope he can show you all the companionship I was apparently unable to provide!"
I stared at him, wandering if he'd gone mad. He folded his arms again, sulkier this time, his back still turned.
"Leave the room John" he said plainly and with no regret.
I turned away quickly, waiting until my eyes were less moist before picking up Anderson off the floor and saying my goodbyes in a subdued voice. Sherlock said nothing in return, just sniffed at me and sick of his ill mood, I left him to rot in his own sorrow. I took Anderson down to the kitchen and seeing as Mr. Lestrade was absent, sat down in the rocking chair with the child on my lap and proceeded to lull him to sleep. Sherlock's present mood was only natural. His parents had died when he was small and his brother had left him to fend for his own before Mr. Lestrade had adopted him. It was only normal for him to feel threatened by the new addition to the family. But it pained me to know that Sherlock wasn't Sherlock anymore. The Sherlock I knew wasn't violent or foul mouthed or miserable. I remembered the slap and my eyes watered again, for the loss of my good friend and surrogate brother. Anderson, who by now knew what crying was and its purpose, lifted a tiny arm to wipe the tears away. They flowed, undisturbed, but I appreciated the gesture and leant down to kiss his sore little brow. Being forced to choose my friends was a hazy task but the willing person inside me told me I'd chosen right.