Characters: Mycroft, Sherlock, Mrs. Holmes
Word count: Approx. 1650
Summary: Sherlock Holmes learns to drive.
Author's notes: This is inspired by a comment joonscribble made on her journal, wondering who taught Sherlock to drive and if it might have been Mycroft. I decided that it might be fun to write that. Thanks to her for the inspiration!
Sherlock would be about seventeen here and, provided they are keeping the age difference the same as in the original stories, Mycroft would be about twenty-five. I've taken some liberties with Mrs. Holmes.
“All right, now check your mirrors and look for oncoming – Sherlock!”
Mycroft grabbed hold of the steering wheel and slammed his foot down on the brake pedal. In doing so, he also slammed his foot down on his brother’s, which was hovering over the pedal. Sherlock yelped in pain.
“Mycroft, if this is some ploy to cripple me, it would be far simpler to drop a cinder block on my toes and be done with it,” Sherlock complained. “That’s the third time you’ve done that.”
Mycroft waited for his heart to start beating again. Why on earth had he agreed to teach Sherlock to drive? Some sort of idea that it might help them bond. He wasn’t sure if dying together in a fiery car crash counted as bonding.
“Sherlock, it never fails to amaze me how you can notice every speck of dust on a fly’s wing and every calorie I consume, but you completely miss the obvious,” he said, trying to keep his voice level. “Such as the rather large vehicle coming toward us.”
“I did notice it. The driver was a Caucasian male in late forties with black hair. Probably a farmer, judging by the tan and the mud on the tires, and divorced judging by the state of his beard,” Sherlock said.
“And you decided to pull out in front of him anyway?” Mycroft asked.
“He wasn’t going anywhere important, didn’t you see his hat?” Sherlock said.
Mycroft closed his eyes and raised his face heavenward for patience. “Sherlock, driving does not work on a triage system. It doesn’t matter who has the more important journey. He had the right of way. We have to be courteous. So we don’t die.”
“Boring!” Sherlock declared. “This is all utterly boring! Press this pedal, press that pedal, turn this way, check that mirror, don’t hit pedestrians. Wait, wait, WAIT!” he honked the horn in frustration. “All the waiting! It’s excruciating! A monkey could drive a car, Mycroft. Not even a clever monkey. A stupid one.”
“And yet you seem to have failed to grasp the concept,” Mycroft said.
It was the wrong thing to say and he knew it the moment he said it. Sherlock’s jaw muscles tensed and he sat ramrod in his seat. There would be no dealing with him now.
“I’m sorry, that was uncalled for,” he said. Sherlock pouted childishly. “Why don’t we take a break for today?”
“Agreed,” Sherlock said, curtly. He waited for a few seconds. “Mycroft, you have to let go of the wheel and move your foot so I can turn around.”
“I know,” Mycroft said. “Just give me a moment. It might be my last on earth.”
Mycroft followed the sound of his mother’s voice into the front room of the house. Metrodora Holmes sat reading a book, positioned both near the window and the phone, so she could monitor the proceedings and call 999 if necessary.
“How far did you get today?” she asked, her eyes moving over his face and preemptively frowning at what she saw there.
“The end of the driveway,” Mycroft said.
Her face brightened. “That’s much better than yesterday,” she said. “Well done, Sherlock!” she called.
“Thank you, Mummy,” Sherlock called back, as he limped past the doorway.
Mycroft sat down in a chair opposite her, feeling exhausted. “How many days until school break is done?” he asked.
She smiled at him in sympathy. “You know it’s very hard for Sherlock,” she said. “He prefers to learn skills by himself, where no one can see any mistakes he makes until he’s perfected it. You remember how he used to practice his violin in the attic and yelled at anyone who came near him. It’s very hard for him to have you right there while he’s trying to puzzle it all out.”
“Yes, Mummy,” Mycroft said, with a sigh.
“But I could take a turn,” she offered. “Or we could hire someone.”
“That’s a very nice idea, but I just don’t think we could afford the lawsuits.”
“Good, Sherlock, you’re doing very well,” Mycroft said.
“I am not a dog, Mycroft, I don’t need constant praise,” said Sherlock. “Besides, your words are undermined by the fact that you are clinging to the door handle as though you were planning to throw yourself out at any moment.”
“The thought had occurred to me,” Mycroft said, pleasantly. “Eyes on the road, please.”
“They are,” Sherlock said. But he couldn’t stop himself from adding, “that woman is clearly having an affair. Did you see the red of her lipstick?”
“Eyes on the road, please,” Mycroft repeated. “And she’s not having an affair. Too pink. She’s trying to patch things up with her husband.”
Sherlock made a face. “I didn’t get a good look,” he muttered.
“Good, because your eyes should be on the road,” Mycroft said. “Turn onto that road, there. It’s usually very quiet. We’ll practice emergency stopping. I have a feeling it will come in very handy for you.” He winced as Sherlock took the corner with far too much speed. “Yes, all right. Drive along as normal and at some point I’ll say ‘stop’, then you stop as soon as you can, while keeping control of the vehicle. Don’t anticipate it.”
They drove a little ways and Mycroft flicked his eyes to the mirror to make sure there was no one behind them. Before he could say stop, however, Sherlock already had.
“Sherlock, I didn’t say stop,” he said.
“You were about to,” Sherlock objected.
“Yes, but I asked you not to anticipate it,” Mycroft reminded him. “We’ll try again.”
Sherlock drove on, but again stopped just before Mycroft spoke the word.
“I can’t help it if you broadcast it,” Sherlock said.
“I wasn’t broadcasting it,” Mycroft said.
“Of course you were, how else would I have known you were going to do it?” Sherlock snapped.
Mycroft sighed. “You can’t do this on your test, Sherlock. Try again.”
Sherlock muttered under his breath and started the car moving again.
It took them six more tries and the complete length of the road to get one proper emergency stop completed. After that, Mycroft suggested that the lesson should end for the day. Sherlock readily agreed and drove them back toward home.
As Sherlock was about to turn up the drive, a small black dog dashed across it. Sherlock performed a textbook emergency stop.
“I’d accuse you of doing that on purpose, but whatever plans you have to take over the government, I very much doubt you can control animals,” Sherlock grumbled as he pulled into the driveway.
“Oh brother, how you underestimate me,” Mycroft said.
And for once in his life, Sherlock actually laughed.
Mycroft looked at his watch for the seventh time in the last ten minutes. Unsurprisingly, it was ten minutes later then it was ten minutes ago. Which put Sherlock’s test running about fifty minutes. On average, it should only take 38 -40 minutes. Not that Sherlock did anything like the average person.
After many months of practice, Sherlock had turned into what could be defined as a ‘good’ driver. Better than Mycroft could have hoped for, really. His quick reflexes and keen eye served him well, even if he was still a bit reckless in his maneuvers and seemed to have developed some sort of persecution complex in regard to traffic lights and their plot to interrupt his journey.
There were still a few nights he had to spent icing his toes after Mycroft had to intercede, of course, but mostly Sherlock had become a capable, responsible driver. Now he just had to pass the test, which given his abilities to interact with people, was probably the greater hurdle.
Several minutes later, Sherlock emerged from the DSA building. Mycroft couldn’t tell by his gait whether it was good news or bad, which meant Sherlock was purposefully controlling himself. A few feet away, he broke into a big grin and flashed his test results at him.
“You owe me a hundred quid,” he declared.
Mycroft stared in disbelief. “You passed? On the first try?”
“Yes, of course,” Sherlock said. Mycroft raised an eyebrow. “All right, only on the condition that I stopped talking and never took the test at this particular centre again.” Mycroft’s eyebrow remained raised. “And promised not to tell his wife about the fact he was sleeping with his daughter’s ballet instructor. Pointe shoe resin on the turn-ups of his trousers.”
Mycroft rolled his eyes. “You blackmailed a government official to get your driving licence?” he said.
“No, no. I wasn’t actually going to tell his wife. What do I care about his wife?” Sherlock said. “Besides, I had scored perfectly on the theory test and the hazards test. He said he’d never seen anyone identify them so fast. I earned it.”
“Yes, it was only the actual driving part that tripped you up,” Mycroft pointed out.
Sherlock scowled. Mycroft held up his hands in peace. “Congratulations. I suppose we should celebrate. Should we go out for lunch?”
“There is something I’d like to do,” Sherlock said.
Mycroft was surprised. “Really?” Sherlock wasn’t usually much for celebrating.
Sherlock raised his foot and stomped it down, hard, on Mycroft’s toes. He pushed past him to get to the driver’s side door, while his brother limped around in pain. “I can see why you did that so much now, Mycroft,” Sherlock said, hopping into the driver’s seat. “It really is immensely satisfying.”
Mycroft hobbled over to the passenger side of the car, deciding ‘responsible’ might be a bit of a strong word.