Christmas at the Holmes's was very conservative. At ten o' clock on the dot, the family would gather in the parlour to exchange gifts, then at eleven the boys would go on a walk through the grounds, before returning at two for a Christmas lunch. They would hold a gala in the evening in which their parents (and later any Mycroft) would strive to build connections with wealthy business associates. Usually Merlin would be allowed to stay in his room, however at age six his parents decided it was about time that he began bonding with the other children and by extension their families. "How else are you going to meet a nice family to marry into," his mother said exasperatedly, pushing a stray hair back out of the little boy's face completing an otherwise pristine appearance. "Now just say hello, smile and have fun," she declared, taking one last glance in the mirror to touch up her lipstick before smiling falsely and walking back inside.
That was how Merlin found himself wandering around the corridors, feeling very small and lost for words around the scary women who kept pinching his cheeks and the loud men with booming voices that used long words he couldn't always understand. He pulled at the bow of his tuxedo, the scratchy fabric feeling itchy and constricting around his throat.
He suddenly noticed that there were two boys over by the champagne reception that looked about Sherlock's age, clearly some of the only other children at the party. He took a deep breath and walked over to them. "H-Hello, my name is Merlin."
"Merlin!" One of the boys spluttered. "Who came up with a name as stupid as that! It sounds like the sort of thing I would could call my cat!"
"But you don't have a cat, you have a dog that dislikes you, don't you?" Merlin asked earnestly.
"Well, the strands of fur that's stuck to your suit aren't from a cat, they're from a long haired dog, probably a border collie judging by the colour. Although you've tried to wipe them off, there are still muddy paw prints on the front of your shirt, and there are some scratches on your lower neck where it's claws hit it. You can see which hand you defended yourself with because of the indentations and cuts from where it's teeth made impact with your skin. It would probably like you more if you'd stop hitting it when it jumps up, that's just a dog's way of getting attention, and collies require a lot."
The two other boys looked at the younger one dumbly for a moment before the boy with the dog pushed Merlin over, causing the little boy to stumble over and hit the back of his head on the wall. "What kind of freak are you! Are you stalking me or something!"
"N-No!" Merlin stammered. " I just-"
"Do you know what happens to odd people, Merlin? Little freaky things like you just need the weirdness beating out of them. That's what my dad says." And with that the teenager grabbed the six year old's collar, lifting him off the ground and raising his hand as though to strike him. Merlin shut his eyes fearfully and braced himself for the impact.
"Hey Atticus! Why don't you pick on someone your own age instead of a child ten years younger than you!" came a snarky voice from behind the larger boy, who turned to face the source of the noise.
"Why, if it isn't another little freak. This one related to you, Sherlock?" he sneered, shaking Merlin to emphasise his point, making the child whimper.
"Of course Merlin is related to me, ignoring the fact that he is more intelligent than the two of you put together can you not see the similarities in our appearance. Are you as blind as you are dumb?"
"Did he just call us dumb?" said the shorter, stockier boy who wasn't holding Merlin.
"I believe he did Mathias. And that simply won't do," and with that he flung Merlin into the wall where the youngest Holmes crumpled to the floor, a cut now visible on his cheek with bruising already blossoming.
"Merlin!" Sherlock shouted turning angrily to the other boys.
"What are you going to do about it Sherlock? Which adult is going to believe a freak like you?"
"I think you'll find I will," said Mycroft Holmes. "And I think you'll find any court will believe me when I have you charged with breaking and entering and assault of a minor. So if I were you I would walk away and enjoy the party elsewhere."
The two boys walked off, grumbling about Holmes as they left the room and glaring at Sherlock as they went passed. Sherlock glared back at them for a few moments before looking back to Mycroft.
"I had the situation under control," Sherlock said scowling.
"A simple thank you would suffice," replied Mycroft, who walked over to where Merlin was sitting looking dazed. He cradled the younger boys head, and glanced over the glazed eyes and cut to his face.
"Concussion," he said, lifting the younger boy up and carrying him up the stairs to his bed. "Mother will be annoyed at that cut."
"I'll watch him Mycroft," said Sherlock, as the eldest Holmes lay his brother down in bed.
"Good, I was in the middle of a talk with an associate of the Chinese government. Don't let him go to sleep." He looked back just as he reached the doorway. "And tell Merlin," he said, the little boy flinching at his name, seemingly unaware of what was going on, "-That I'll see him on his birthday."
As the young man left the room Sherlock snapped his fingers in front of his little brothers face, making him jump. "You heard Mycroft, no sleeping just yet, I'd give it half an hour, from what I saw of the force of your impact."
Merlin nodded, cringing as the movement jarred his aching head. The pair sat in silence for five minutes, Merlin fiddling with his suit before turning to face his brother again.
"Sherlock, d- I mean, am I a... a freak?"
Sherlock scowled. "What makes you think that?"
"Just what those boys said. That I'm a freak that needs to be fixed."
"Merlin listen to me," said Sherlock, and Merlin looked up into the teenagers eyes. "Atticus Hoy is an idiot. His father traded his mother for a younger woman, and he has less intelligence in his whole body than you do in your index finger. And as for his friend? Well, he walked into a glass door because he forgot it was there. Twice. In the space of five minutes. So don't you dare listen to a word they say. You're not a freak you're interesting. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
Merlin practically beamed at Sherlock, and wrapped his arms around the seventeen year old's waist, relishing in the comfort of his older brother.
"Love you Sherly."
"And I love you too Merls."
So this is up A LOT later than I had planned, sorry! But I got into a new relationship and rehearsals for my AS Drama and for West Side Story have gotten in the way, plus mock week at my school (I am never going to pass German). But it's here, the first one shot! And hopefully you won't have to wait too long for the next one!
Next: What if Merlin wasn't a Holmes, but the brother of everyone's favourite psychopath (as suggested by Tolleren) Don't forget it you want to see a particular scenario or character then just add it to a review or send me a PM