Disclaimers:  I do not own Sherlock or any of its characters.  I am only using them for entertainment purposes and no money is
being made from this.

Notes:  #6 in my holiday series.  I wasn't going to do another Christmas story, but I just couldn't resist.

Summary:  Five year-old Sherlock figures out the truth.



Santa Claus is Coming to Town



Mycroft turned sharply at the loud crash that reverberated through his room.  He put down the book he had been reading and
jumped to his feet, hurrying out of his room and to the room just next to his, his younger brother's room.  The noise had come
from in there, and even now, Mycroft could hear what sounded like a struggle coming from within.  Without knocking,
Mycroft reached out and turned the doorknob, pushing it open and stepping into the disaster area that had once been his
brother's bedroom.

The room was in complete disarray.  It looked as if a tornado had swept through and torn it apart.  Books had been pulled off
of shelves and were piled in heaps on the floor.  Puzzles, toys, and various games had been taken from their places and were
scattered everywhere.  Portraits hung askew on the walls and one poster was hanging tenuously by a single corner.  Even the
furniture had been pulled away from the walls.  The crash had come from a chair that had been toppled over and it lay there
still, on its side, the lamp from the reading table beside it buried half underneath it and throwing long shadows around the room.

Amidst it all, stood a single five-year old boy.  Sherlock was standing on his bed, the blankets and sheets pulled away and lying
in a muddle on the floor, leaving the mattress bare.  He was stretching up on his toes, reaching up to the items on the shelves
above his bed.  Whatever he pulled down, he would look at closely, shake near to his ear, then toss aside carelessly when he
didn't find whatever it was he was looking for.

"What are you doing?" Mycroft asked, standing in the doorway, wary of entering and stepping on - and possibly breaking -
something.

Clearly agitated, Sherlock huffed out a breath.  "I would think that was obvious," he said.  The bear that Grandmere had made
for him, which always sat just above his bed, was taken down, examined a bit more carefully than the other objects and then
delicately placed back onto the shelf.  He was utterly devoted to their grandmother, almost as much as he was to Mummy, and
any gift bestowed on him by her was treated with the utmost care and respect, even while ransacking his own room.  
Everything around the bear was removed and cast aside with utter carelessness.  "It must be here somewhere," he muttered to
himself.

"What is?" Mycroft asked, annoyed now.  "Sherlock, what are you looking for?"

Sherlock looked at him and rolled his eyes.  "The cameras, of course," he said, as if it should have been perfectly obvious what
he was doing.  "And the listening devices.  They have to be here somewhere."

"What are you talking about?"

Sherlock didn't bother to stop what he was doing.  Instead, he moved on to the next shelf and began dismantling things there.  
"Well, Mummy was wrapping presents, and you know she likes to listen to Christmas music when she does."

"You were snooping again?"  This happened every year.  Two years ago Sherlock had begun tearing into presents before
everyone else awoke.  Since he hadn't been able to read at the time, he'd just gone for the first presents he saw.  Unfortunately,
they had been Mycroft's gifts.  Last year, he had been sneaking around when he should have been in bed and had inadvertently
come across Mummy and Daddy kissing.  The fact that their father had been dressed up like Father Christmas had led to
Sherlock fearing their parents imminent divorce.

"I didn't see anything!" Sherlock protested, although he didn't deny that he'd been snooping.

Mycroft crossed his arms.  "All right.  So Mummy listens to Christmas music while she wraps presents," he prompted,
wanting to know just why Sherlock was destroying his bedroom.

"There was this song playing and it said that Santa was watching me.  If he really can see me when I'm sleeping, then there
must be a camera here in my bedroom.  How else would he know when I'm awake?"

Mycroft brought one hand up and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.  Only twelve years old and
already his little five year-old brother was driving him mental.  Mycroft wasn't sure he should be looking forward to their
future.  Maybe he should dread it instead.

"You're not serious, are you?"

Sherlock looked affronted.  He stood up straight and glared up at his brother.  "Of course I am.  Father Christmas is watching
me somehow."  He suddenly flinched and his glare turned assessing as he raked his eyes over Mycroft.  "If not by electronic
means, then perhaps he's receiving information from someone on the inside.  Of course!  You're spying on me!"  He
punctuated that by pointing up at his brother accusingly.

"Sherlock, I most certainly am not on Santa's payroll."

But Sherlock wouldn't hear it.  He started shoving at his brother, trying to use brute force to get him out of his room.  In the
end, Mycroft just went, knowing there was little to do to convince Sherlock that he hadn't turned into a snitch.  The only way
to do that would be to destroy the illusion that Father Christmas was in fact real, and he had promised Mummy that Sherlock
was to discover that on his own.  Right now, it was so very tempting to disobey and burst that bubble though.

"Mummy won't be happy about what you've done to your room."  He grinned as he backed away.  "And it will probably put
you on Father Christmas's naughty list."

Sherlock paused and seemed to be considering it.  Then he shook his head.  "Undoubtedly the information you've provided to
him up to now has already put me there.  Now go away.  You're not allowed in my room anymore!"  With that, he shut the
door in Mycroft's face.  A second later, there was the distinct sound of a lock clicking into place.

Mycroft rolled his eyes and went back to his room.  Really, having a little brother could be a bother sometimes.



*****



When they were called to dinner, Sherlock didn't come down.  Mummy sent Mycroft up to get him, but he refused to leave his
room, proclaiming that he wasn't hungry.  Mycroft shrugged and returned to the dining room.  Mummy wasn't happy that
Sherlock was missing the meal, but when Mycroft mentioned what had happened earlier as a possible explanation for his loss
of appetite, she decided to leave him be for now.  Surely, he would come down when he got hungry.

Mycroft was getting ready for bed when he heard Sherlock's door creak open.  For a moment, he considered ignoring it and
going to bed anyway, but his curiosity got the better of him.  He got to his door and opened it, just in time to see Sherlock start
down the stairs.  Fresh tears sparkled on his face and he was running the back of his hand across his runny nose.

Deciding to follow, Mycroft left his room and trailed after the small boy.  He paused at Sherlock's bedroom door.  It was open
a crack and light spilled into the hallway from within.  With a gentle push, Mycroft opened it all the way.  If he hadn't known
what Sherlock had done to his room earlier, he'd never be able to tell by looking now.  Each and every item had been placed
exactly where it had been before.  The only exception was the bed.  It was an unkempt pile of sheets and duvet.  The pillows
were beside the bed on the floor.  Sherlock still hadn't quite got the hang of making a bed.

Leaving the door the way it was, Mycroft turned toward the stairs and followed after his brother.  He made no pretense of
sneaking around.  Sherlock was too perceptive and would know he was there regardless of his efforts.

He watched Sherlock cross the hall to the doorway of the sitting room, where once again the Christmas tree had been erected.  
The little boy stood there for a moment, just watching.  Then, with a decisive inhale, Sherlock went inside.

Mycroft hurried to the door and stood there watching.  Mummy was sitting in a chair near the tree, reading as she so often
did.  At the first sight of Sherlock approaching her, she set aside her book.  When he was within reach, she scooped him up
and settled him on her lap.  Mycroft could see that he was crying again, though the only sound he made were sharp quick
gasps as he breathed.

"Whatever is the matter, Sherlock?"  Mummy asked, wiping her handkerchief over his wet cheeks.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Sherlock asked, his voice broken by his sobs.  "Why did you lie?"

Mycroft found his feet taking him closer to the scene.  He stood nearby them, worried for Sherlock, but certain that Mummy
would put things to rights.  She always did.

"About what?" Mummy asked, petting his dark curls.

If anything, his crying became worse.  "Santa's not real!" he whined.  "You told me he was, but he's not.  He can't be.  It just
doesn't make any sense.  Because there's no such thing as magic."

Mummy cuddled him close and kissed his forehead.  "Oh, my sweet little boy."  She sighed, and stroked her hand up and down
his back.  "You're growing up so fast."

Sherlock looked up at her, pouting.  "I'm confused."

"Well, you see, a lot of Mummies and Daddies teach their children about Father Christmas.  Many see it as a rite of passage,
that they should enjoy their childhood innocence while they can and discover the truth on their own as they mature."

Sherlock sniffed.  "Like a test?"

Mummy smiled softly.  "Something like that.  I'm so proud of you.  You're growing up so quickly."  She held out her hand
toward Mycroft and gestured him closer, then patted the cushion of the seat she was sitting on.  He hurried over and squeezed
in beside her.  The chair was actually quite large and Mummy was a slight woman, so it wasn't too difficult to fit in next to
her.  She wrapped an arm around him and pulled him in close, kissing the top of his head.  "I'm proud of both of my boys," she
said.

For a moment they were all quiet.  Then Sherlock piped up.  "How old was Mycroft when he figured it out?"

Humming, Mummy thought it over.  "I believe he was six."

Sherlock sat up a little straighter.  "I'm only five!"  He smiled a frankly smug smile at his older brother.

Mummy tapped him on the nose, causing him to blink.  "None of that now.  You both are exceptional boys, and I want you to
remember that."

They lapsed into silence again.  Mycroft had begun to doze off, lulled by the delicate touch of his mother's fingers carding
through his hair.  Once again, it was Sherlock's voice that broke the tranquility.

"Mummy?  Jewish people don't believe in Father Christmas.  How do they test their children?"

Mycroft shifted to look up at Mummy, wondering just how she was going to answer that one.



*****



Years Later



John returned home to find the flat in ruins.  Everything had been pulled out of the cupboards in the kitchen and were strewn
across every available surface.  Bookshelves had been emptied of books, paintings were hanging askew on the walls.  Chairs
were overturned and cushions removed.  Anything and everything was littering the floor, leaving very little space to walk safely
without trampling on something.

Mrs. Hudson would not be pleased.

"Sherlock?" he called out, wondering if his mental flatmate was even in the building.

"In here, John," came the reply.

John followed the sound of his - he didn't know what he and Sherlock were actually - to his bedroom.  Could he call the man
his lover when they hadn't gone that last step?  Boyfriend sounded too immature and didn't seem to fit their confusing
relationship.  Partner perhaps?  He supposed it didn't really matter right now.

Sherlock's bedroom was just as much of a mess as the rest of the flat and John hoped that Sherlock hadn't been up to his room
as well.  In the middle of it all was Sherlock.  He was sitting cross-legged in the center of the bare mattress that was his bed.  
The bedding had been thrown aside, along with everything else that had been in the room.  His hands were cupped together and
he was staring down at whatever it was that he held.

"What is going on?" John asked.  He gestured around at the mess as a whole.  "Why?"

Sherlock didn't seem to hear him.  Either that, or he was ignoring him.  He just kept staring down at his hands.  He was still and
silent for long enough that John was considering turning around and leaving to whatever it was that was so captivating.  But
then Sherlock shifted on the mattress, grasping the item he had been holding in his cupped palms between his fingers and held it
up.  It looked for all the world like a thin piece of wire.

"I knew there was one here," Sherlock murmured.

"What is it?" John asked, moving closer.  He looked at it more carefully.  Then it struck him.  "Is that a-"

"A listening device," Sherlock finished for him.  Smirking deviously, he brought the transmitter close to his lips and spoke into
it.  "Really, Mycroft, if you were so eager to spy on John and I, you could have done so much better."

"Spying on us?" John hissed.  "He was spying on us?  Why?"

Sherlock spun suddenly, planting his feet firmly on the floor, legs on either side of John's body.  Moving slightly, he knocked
his knees against John and placed one hand on his companion's hip, drawing him closer.  "Why, to discover the true nature of
our relationship, John," Sherlock practically purred as he leaned upward, stretching his back.  John's eyes were glued on his
mental flatmate's mouth, watching the lips move with every word he spoke, feeling a shiver run along his spine at the intent
behind his words.  "We could give him a really good show."

The temptation was difficult to resist.  They'd never done anything more than kiss.  Sherlock had always seemed hesitant to go
any further, almost as if he wasn't truly sure of what he was doing.  John was content to give him time, he wasn't in any
hurry.  He wasn't some randy teenager anymore.  He could wait.

He looked at Sherlock's lips, watching a flash of pink as the man's tongue darted out to moisten them.  Then he looked into
Sherlock's eyes.  For all his bravado, all the flirtatious posturing, John could read the fear in those pale eyes.  Sherlock might be
offering, but he clearly wasn't ready to take the next step.

John shook his head.  He kissed Sherlock's nose and was amused by the way the consulting detective scrunched up his face
with a childish display of displeasure.  "We won't be doing anything until you clean up this mess."

He turned and left the bedroom.  Behind him, Sherlock called out in a purposefully loud voice, "So no sex then?"



The End