It was a kriffing twenty hours before they landed.
By the end of it Master was nearly crawling up the walls, and John was grateful when at last they touched down. Sherlock nearly threw himself from the ship, earning a scolding from Master Mycroft. John examined the pair skeptically.
They had barely any similarities. Their looks were insanely off, at least Harry and he had the same noses and eyes. Sherlock and Mycroft shared only their eye color, but even their personalities were different. Mycroft had the composure of a Jedi master, Sherlock was…not that.
Sherlock helped John with his pack, while ignoring Mycroft's lecture. A large hand linger in the boy's hair and scratched his scalp affectionately, despite his best efforts the padawan gave a small mew. Mycroft threw his hands in the air before stalking from the ship. The air was several degrees warmer on the outside of stifling shuttle. John took a deep, thankful, breath.
John peered curiously up at his master, but the older Jedi said nothing. Instead he guided John from the ship where two robed figures stood to greet them, only their eyes were visible. All three Jedi bowed low, Mycroft and Sherlock came up first before John was allowed to straighten himself. The two robed figures swept elegant curtsies.
They were women!
John tugged on Sherlock's sleeve until the older man looked down at him. It must have been against the code as well, because Mycroft scowled at him. John bit his lip with annoyance, he simply had a question. "Master, do we have to wear such garments?"
Traditionally they would dawn the clothes of the planet they occupied.
Sherlock shook his head. "No, padawan. These are women of Goria's high council, they are priestesses."
"Oh," the boy wrinkled his nose. The priestesses made a low growling noise that John would later find out translated to "come". He followed closely at his master's side, curbing the instinct to take Sherlock's hand.
Master would never forgive him if he proceeded in front of Mycroft.
They were led down a grand stair case, however only one person could walk down at a time. John was pushed in front of Sherlock, the knight was followed closely by a priestess.
A low growl came from beneath the shawls, Sherlock responded in kind.
"What'd she say?" John asked nervously, skidding to a halt at the end of the stair case. He walked backwards so he could keep his eyes trained on his master.
"She was complimenting me on my strong cub," Sherlock said irritably.
"Oh," the boy replied gleefully. His grip tightened around the leather handles of his pack.
"John, it is dangerous for them to assume-"
"I know, I know. But you corrected her right? So it's okay," John dismissed shortly. He turned his body away from his master, ears flushed pink. There was a moment of obstinate silence. A slight tug on his pack made him turn to a face a kneeling Sherlock.
"You know how I feel about you," the knight kept his voice low, his eyes darting around the compound swiftly. "But bastards cannot have bastards, John. They would kill you on the spot, with no hesitation if they thought you were my cub."
John touched his master's shoulder gently. Sky blue eyes caught ocean grey, John leaned forward to nip his master's ear affectionately. Sherlock growled approvingly, running his chin over the boy's fair hair.
"We should get going, young one."
John was nudged towards a shuttle.
His brother thought him blind.
It would take far more than blindness to see the attachment in the boy's face and his master's eyes. Sherlock was kneeling in front of the child, a gesture in itself that proclaimed humility. One of the strongest knights in temple humbled himself at the feet of a child. John barely noticed of course. He assumed the knight knelt to see him better.
Sherlock had rarely knelt for anyone.
A gentle hand was rested on the boy's cheek. They were all but beaming at each other, and when Sherlock rose he left his hand in John's hair.
He hadn't seen that look on his brother's face in four years.
He had never seen that look on the child's face before.
John had always been shy, quick to latch on to his senior instructors legs and hide as a youngling. Friends had come easy to him, but the boy seemed at a lost with what to do with them. Mycroft had watched the boy stumble around blindly his first few years at temple. He had been so different from Anthea, perhaps that was why Mycroft felt drawn to the boy.
Despite laying claim on John at the age of four, he was still snatched away by the council.
At first it hadn't been a terrible obstacle, Sherlock wouldn't be able to stand having a child follow him around. John would be too domestic for him and therefore too dull. It was simply a waiting game.
John would fail his evaluations and be taken from Sherlock.
But as the time drew near to fail them, an improbable hindrance was flung in his path.
The two Jedi had bonded.
And John clearly adored his younger brother.
He observed the pair closely as he stepped foot in their loading shuttle. John was ignoring all Jedi protocol and trying desperately to clamber onto Sherlock's shoulders. His brother should have scolded the youngling, but instead held the boy upside down at an arm's length. Feet were flailing unceremonially in front of the priestesses, but the offense went unnoticed by the giggling pair. Righting himself in his master's arms, the child lunged and finally achieved his goal of sitting astride Sherlock's lengthy shoulders. The young knight smiled as he dipped forward and dumped the boy off.
So did the priestesses.
Was nothing sacred anymore?
Maybe they shouldn't have been playing so hard.
Master Mycroft sat in his seat, arms crossed, eyes livid.
John swallowed the lump stuck in his throat and forced himself to breathe. Sure he had started the tussle, but Master had followed without too much instigation. And the priestess had laughed too, so there was no real reason Mycroft should be mad.
But he was still miffed.
John muttered his apologies with his head bowed low, Master said nothing, of course. The knight stared out the shuttle window far away. John wondered if he really saw anything, or was simply in his mind palace. Sherlock took his knee gently.
"Stop thinking so hard," he muttered gruffly.
"You can't get mad at me for thinking," John scowled.
"You are doing it rather loudly, young one."
Master refused to call him "little one" in front of Mycroft, which had the young padawan bothered. He turned his face away from the knight with a small huff of annoyance. Sherlock glanced at the angry child and rolled his eyes. His long fingers unzipped the pack on John's shoulders and pulled out a cold sandwich. He laid it in the boy's lap with a command to eat.
John obeyed hungrily.
Sherlock knew how irritable his padawan could get when he forgot to eat.
John found himself leaning tiredly against Sherlock's arm for the rest of the journey. Master Mycroft cleared his throat more than once, prompting Sherlock to correct the slouching Jedi. His master shrugged, unbothered by his padawan's disrespect.
"He is young," Sherlock excused. "And he has been up for twenty hours, let him rest."
"A Jedi must be alert all times, your padawan-"
"He's only nine years old, as you so often remind me. He is younger than most, Mycroft. Move him if you wish, but I will let him rest," Sherlock said dismissively. John would have liked to nestle closer, but knew that would send the Gorian master over the edge.
Mycroft rolled his eyes angrily, but did not separate them.
Upon reaching their destination, the priestesses spoke directly to Mycroft.
"Your quarters have been prepared, Master Holmes. Shall we take you there now?"
"Yes, thank you," Mycroft replied easily. The shuttle pulled into a long satiation, halting just before a bumpered stop. The priestesses led the trio of Jedi from the shuttle and through a large crowd, John pressed deep into Sherlock's side.
He was nervous and honestly quite tired.
Sherlock reached down for the boy's shoulders, guiding him in front of his long legs. The boy tilted his eyes upwards towards his master's, Sherlock gave him a small wink. A yawn was the only response John could give.
"We will be able to rest shortly, young one," Sherlock promised.
"Yes, Master," the boy murmured tiredly. He wished Master would lift him, or at least slow his pace. John stumbled swiftly after the two masters, observing that his teacher's home world was covered in thickets as far as the eye could see. A great howl erupted from his right, causing the boy to practically throw himself into his master's leg. The tall knight snickered.
"A wrywolf," Mycroft stated with amusement. "Is that not interesting, Master Rathbone?"
"I was three, Master Holmes," Sherlock replied brusquely. John cast Sherlock a questioning look and was given a glare. John placed his hands on his hips with a small huff of annoyance that caused Sherlock's lips to twitch. The boy was pulled close to the strong side as they drew near their temporary quarters. John nearly whooped with relief as the door was opened revealing a small living space. Sherlock took his shoulder lightly as they swept final bows to the departing priestesses.
"John," Sherlock called to his protégé, "come. We will find your bed."
John padded eagerly behind Sherlock into a side room. Two beds sat against separate walls, one large bed meant for Sherlock and one small one meant for John. Sherlock was frowning in the doorway as John began preparing his bed with his sleeping robe and teddy bear. The knight turned towards Mycroft, who merely raised a cool eyebrow.
"Oh," Sherlock said softly. "I am undercover, not you."
"You're very observant, brother mine. Yes, I am still known as a bastard on this planet."
Sherlock scowled. "Take the bed, I will take the rags."
John tugged at his mentor's sleeve persistently. "Where is Master Mycroft's bed?" the innocent child asked in a hushed voice.
Sherlock grimaced before explaining that children born out of wedlock did not receive beds on his planet. Even as young infants.
"But where do the babies-?"
"With their mothers," Sherlock said gently.
He did not mention that, it was only if the elders deemed the babe worth living. He pulled his child close as the young mind mulled it over. John frowned up at his master, but remained silent, his head slightly shaking. Sherlock nodded shortly, laying a large boot over his padawan's smaller one. John smirked with a raised eyebrow, prompting his master to shove him backwards onto his bed.
"To bed with you, my brat."
Sherlock turned to his brother and handed the older Jedi John's pack. He reached around to gently tug his padawan's braid and turned to find a suitable sleeping place in the other room. Horror dawned over the boy's face as he realized his master would be sleeping away from him.
Since the first time he was injured.
"Master, I-" the boy began to panic.
Master motioned for him to follow him out of the room, away from Mycroft. John staggered behind him silently, head hung low. Sherlock couldn't just leave him at night, his night terrors had yet to cease plaguing him. He wouldn't dare. Sherlock crouched down in front of his child, the boy all but ran into his arms. Soft, secure hands ran through the boy's hair, John hid himself against his teacher's chest.
"Master, can't you stay in the same room? Please?"
"Little one, we have discussed this. You can have either your bear or me at night. It will be good practice for you, Mycroft will be with you all night. You don't need me." Sherlock pressed the child gently to his shoulder.
"But I want you…"
"Little one," Sherlock steeled himself, "I am not your father, nor your mother. I cannot go on coddling you when you have fully healed. You are a Jedi padawan, John."
"Yes, Master," the boy whimpered.
"Mycroft will be with you, worried one," Sherlock soothed. "And I will come if you need me, but only if you need me."
John nestled under Sherlock's chin. "Will you still tuck me in, Master?"
"Yes, little one."
Thank the Force.
Mycroft observed the child preparing for bed.
John was dressed in Sherlock's old tunic, which pooled around his thin ankles and swished as he brushed his teeth. His younger brother had volunteered to sleep on the pull of rags instead of the soft bed prepared for him. Sherlock fluffed and twisted the spread into a comfortable sleeping area.
John peeped his head from the bathroom door with his shy smile. His eyes flickered to where Sherlock was settling.
"Master, I'm done!" his padawan called.
His brother waited for the child to come to his room, before he followed closely behind him. The boy trotted happily behind his teacher, throwing Mycroft a swift goodnight, the ignorant child did not even grace him with a turn around.
Mycroft meditated peacefully on the floor, knees crossed, head bowed. The closed door was no obstacle for the master as he poured his attention to the child and the teacher.
It wasn't eavesdropping.
Jedi did not eavesdrop.
He did not tremble.
He was a Jedi padawan, they did no such things.
John was lifted into the air and cradled closely, his eyes squeezed shut against Sherlock's bare shoulder. Sharp teeth grazed the child's earlobe as he was rocked into a state of near sleep. The boy fought against the pleasant sleepiness, earning a frown from his master.
"Little one," Sherlock whispered gently.
The boy maneuvered his head so it was tucked neatly under his master's chin, he was working brilliantly on Sherlock's heart. A teddy bear was pulled across the room, lifted easily with the controlled Force and plopped into the boy's small arms. Sky blue eyes lifted their gaze to Sherlock's. The knight's resolve began to crumble around his clever padawan, he cleared his throat unwillingly.
"It is time for bed, John."
"Stay," his child pleaded a final time.
"Your bear or me, little one," Sherlock said firmly. Gently he lay the boy into his small bed, softly securing blankets around the small figure. He drew his robe over the comforter, delighted that even at night John would smell of him. Small eyes watered up at him as he leaned to kiss the smooth brow, his apprentice sniffled. "John, I am just in the other room," Sherlock informed the boy sharply.
His child's expressions made him feel guilty.
Absurd. He was raising the boy correctly.
The knight kissed the young forehead firmly, as sign of goodnight, and rose steadily to depart. John shoved off the covers swiftly, bounded to the end of the bed, and flung himself wholeheartedly into his master's arms. "Goodnight, Master," he muttered.
Sherlock smiled against his boy's cheek and nodded slightly.
"Good night, little one."