Disclaimer: Not my characters, obviously, if they were Sherlock season 5 would be out now.
Ten year old Mycroft Holmes sat on one of the couches outside his father's office, waiting to be brought home. He had been promised that this would be a quick trip just to pick up some files his father had left; he had been waiting an hour. He envied his baby brother for being able to stay at home with the nanny and not having to wait in this cold building by himself. He heard the door to the offices open and popped his head up in hopes that it was his father. It wasn't, instead a little girl strolled out casually.
"Who are you?" She asked when she noticed Mycroft sitting across from the door which she was now leaning again.
"Mycroft," he told her, wondering why she had been allowed back there, his father had never let him into his office.
"That's a funny name," she told him as she moved to sit beside him.
"What's your name?" He asked ignoring her snarky comment.
"Now that is a funny name," he laughed.
"No it's not," she crossed her arms over her polka dotted dress.
"I've never met anyone named Irene before."
"Well now you have." Mycroft couldn't help but smile at the little girl, she reminded him of his little brother. She began to twist a long strand of hair around her finger and sucked her cheeks in.
"So what are you doing here?" She asked after a minute.
"My father works here," he explained.
"So does my mum, but why are you waiting out here?"
"Why are you?" He challenged.
"Mummy said I was being a bother and told me to leave," her shoulders slumped as she spoke.
"My father won't even let me in there," Mycroft said, "He says that it's no place for a child."
"You don't act like a child," she noted as she pulled her knees under herself so she could sit taller and study him. "You act like a grown-up."
"Just the way you sit."
"And how do I sit?"
"Too straight, and your hands are folded into your lap."
"So, normal children don't sit like that."
"Are you saying I'm not normal?" He asked.
"You're holding an umbrella," she pointed out, "and it isn't raining." With that she hopped up and slipped back inside the offices. A few minutes later Mr. Holmes came back and took his son, who would later dream of the little girl, home.
Twelve year old Irene wrapped her arms around herself as she cried harder. It had started to rain but she ignored the droplets on her shoulders as the cold inside her spread. The grave before her was still fresh, the headstone had not yet come in and there was only a small marker that was currently getting soaked. She heard the faint call of her name in the distance but ignored the voice as she continued to cry.
"Irene!" the voice grew closer but still she looked down, refusing to turn away from the last remnants of her mother.
"Adler," the voice had reached her, and with it, an arm which spun her around to look at the boy before her. He moved the umbrella so that is covered her more than him.
"She's gone," Irene croaked out, her hand finding the collar of his coat and clenching it tightly.
"I know," he said softly, his other hand stroking her tear-soaked cheek.
"She's gone," she repeated. Mycroft pulled her to him with his free arm and held her tightly. It had been two days since the funeral when he last saw her. When her father had called to tell him she was missing and to ask if he knew where she was he immediately went to the cemetery. He was not surprised to find her standing alone before the grave but the sight still made his chest hurt. She was only twelve years old, too young to lose her mother. And yet four years older than he had been when his own mother past.
"Thank you for coming," she sighed as she pressed her face into the crook of his neck.
"Always," his mouth suddenly felt dry and the word tripped out awkwardly as his voice cracked.
Sixteen year old Mycroft Holmes was being pulled down the streets of London by his fourteen year old best friend. She was holding his hand tightly, so not to lose him, and weaved her way effortlessly through the crowd.
"Slow down," he wheezed as his legs began to give out.
"I want to see her!" Irene called back to him excitedly. They reached an opening in the mass of people and Irene pulled him out as close to the street as possible.
"There!" She called pointing to the oncoming carriage. Mycroft craned his neck to see the woman inside who was waving to the people.
"Alright you've seen her," he said, "can you stop breaking my hand now?" Irene looked down when she realized their hands were still intertwined and she was holding it tightly.
"Sorry," she blushed as she pulled away, "I guess I'm just excited."
"Over seeing the queen?" He asked.
"I've always wanted to go inside Buckingham Palace," she admitted, "and pretend to be a princess."
"I'll take you someday," he promised as he retook her hand in his. The gesture startled her and the blush on her cheeks moved to cover her entire face.
"How would you get in?" She asked cheekily.
"You'll see," he said with a smile.
Sixteen year old Irene Adler knocked on the window of the Holmes' mansion outside the balcony. She heard groaning from inside followed by a crash and a slew of curses. Mycroft pushed up the window and raised an eyebrow at the girl standing before him.
"Do you know the time, Irene?" He asked.
"Late?" She asked.
"Precisely," he sighed but still offered her a hand to help her climb inside his room. She tripped on the ledge and they both went crashing to the ground, her on top of him.
"Irene," he tried sounding annoyed but it came out with a laugh mixed in.
"What?" she asked innocently. "You said your father wasn't home."
"Yes, but Sherlock is," he said as she rolled off of him and he pulled himself up.
"So, it's about time I meet the baby brother."
"Not tonight," he said.
"Why?" Her eyes sparkled in the moonlight.
"Because he's a freak," Mycroft said before he could stop himself. Irene watched him for a moment as her eyes adjusted to the dark.
"That's not very nice," she teased as she joined him on the bed.
"What are you doing here anyway?" He asked.
"You're leaving soon and I wanted to say goodbye," she said.
"So you scaled the house up to my balcony at three in the morning to say goodbye?"
"Yes," she said is as if it was a logical scenario.
"What am I going to do with you Irene?" He asked.
"Don't forget me."
"And how could I possibly forget someone like you?" He asked. Through the darkness he could see her smile.
"I'll miss you Mycroft," she said bumping her shoulder with his.
"I'll miss you too Adler.
Twenty-three year old Mycroft Holmes pushed open the door to his apartment and was only half surprised to find the young woman lounging on his couch.
"Don't you have classes to be at?" He asked as he hung up his coat.
Mycroft was alone on Christmas. It wasn't the first year, and that made it all the more sad. He was still thinking about her, the woman, his woman. He couldn't get her face out of his mind; the smell of her perfume still stung his nostrils. The ringing of his phone brought him back to reality and he dug into his pocket and for a moment hoped it was her. No, it was his baby brother.
"Oh dear lord," he tried to joke, we're not going to have Christmas phone calls now are we? Have they passed a new law?"
"I think you're going to find Irene Adler tonight," Sherlock's voice was harsh and Mycroft felt a jolt of excitement hit him.
"We already know where she is," he tried to sound impartial, "as you were kind enough to point out it hardly matters."
"No, I mean you're going to find her dead," with that he hung up and Mycroft felt his own phone slip through his fingers.
"No," he whispered to himself. His chest suddenly began to ache the same way it had when he found her in the grave yard all those years ago.
He hated that he had to get his little brother to determine the identity of the woman he loved, but he knew he wouldn't be able to explain it to the government if he identified her himself. He followed his brother into the morgue, made a joke, gallows humor. As Molly lifted the sheet he prepared for the worst, but it did not come. Because that woman was not Irene Adler. She was not the girl he had fallen in love with at age ten. When Sherlock asked to see the rest of the body and concluded that it was indeed Irene Adler he held back a scoff. Of course she was naked in front of him, when was she not? But he knew more about the woman than Sherlock, he knew that it was not her.