Goodbye Redbeard, Hello John Watson
From the moment I saw Mummy holding him at the hospital I felt happy. No. More than happy, it was pure bliss. I was thrilled at the prospect of having a little sibling. I promised myself right then and there that nothing would happen to him if I had any control over the situation.
This is my baby brother Sherlock; he is so many years younger than I am. He is defenceless, weak, and tiny. I am the elder one, I must protect him. Not out of duty, or forced to, but because I love him. Love in its strongest form- Agape. Agape means having unconditional love for him, my brother.
Love without regulations, simply pure and whole hearted devotion to him.
This is MY BABY brother William Sherlock Scott Holmes, no matter what age he might be. If he cries then they must grovel for mercy from the wrath of Mycroft.
I had someone to talk with at last. When I saw his first tumble as he learnt to walk, I made sure to cheer him at every step. I wanted him to run alongside me. We would have done everything together.
Stand up again! Keep going. Good Sherlock, now just move a bit faster. Yes!
I just couldn't wait for him to run around in our garden examining nature closely with me. I would teach him everything about politics and science. By the time Sherlock was in primary school, he surpassed his classmates with his knowledge. Granted, a little work on the presentation of information without insulting his peers would benefit him greatly. Well...learning a new skill takes time...for my brother dearest though, it would be quite a large deal of time in trying to master that art.
It was perfect.
Then everything changed.
I loathed it.
Absolutely detested it.
He was only ten years old, but merely a boy when the diagnosis came crashing in like a tsunami stripping away everything from him.
I hated the doctors for ruining our perfect world. "I'm so sorry to inform you but your son will have aggressive progressive vision loss as he reaches adulthood," breaking the news as gently as they could.
NO! How could that be?
Everything changed. Sherlock changed. I changed. Mum and Dad changed.
The diagnosis struck us all hard, Sherlock most of all. He no longer smiled as much, or laughed either. It was as if the condition took him away and left the shell of my brother dearest.
The only one who stayed the same was Redbeard. Faithful and loyal Redbeard.
Merely just a young boy and given the fateful news was quite a powerful blow my little brother. For nearly a month he sulked and wouldn't do anything, but keep Redbeard and his violin at his side. Those were his most valued possessions. The intelligent canine wandered into our hearts right when Sherlock was born, and is still in our hearts to this day even when his finally gave out. That was the first time I felt dread. It shattered Sherlock greatly when his beloved companion left. Dogs weren't meant to live long lives like people, especially since Redbeard was a couple of years old already when he found us.
I still recall the conversation at the veterinary hospital, a dismal and depressing one it was.
"I'm so sorry to be meeting you on a day like this. This is a very hard decision to make, but I want you to know this is the right thing for Redbeard. He won't be suffering any longer. I understand you wish to have him cremated and presented in an engraved box. Would you like a clay paw print and a clip of his fur?" spoke the veterinarian softly. Her hair was pulled back into a neat tight bun at the base of her neck, the bun brushing the imaginary specks of dust off the collar of her white coat. She stroked the canine's ear gently and ran her fingers through his fur, old age had taken the red silky shine from it.
"We understand, thank you. Yes please, the paw print and fur," Mrs. Holmes replied stoically.
The vet nurse silently left the room and quickly returned with the proper supplies. Sherlock made the paw print and save some of Redbeard's fur in a bag. The vet nurse gathered the supplies and said, "Take all the time you need and just open the door when you're ready. We'll come then."
Together the medical professionals left the room quickly and quietly. Now all attention was on Sherlock, who was cradling his beloved friend in his lap with tears streaming down his face.
"I'm so so sorry Redbeard, forgive me please. I only want the best for you and right now this is the only option. You've never left me alone, I won't leave you now my faithful companion. I love you," said the little boy in a broken whisper choking back more tears.
"My poor little brother, I shall teach you a very vital lesson so you will never have to experience pain like this again," I thought. "Caring is not an advantage. All lives end and all hearts are broken. Pay heed to those words and your life will never be this painful. I couldn't bear to see you in this state again. Remember Redbeard, never forget him. Never forget the laughter, love, and friendship he gave you."
"Now," whimpered the little one. "I'm ready."
Not a moment after the door to the exam room was opened, the veterinarian and nurse returned with the supplies.
"I will explain each step to you so there will be no surprises. First, we will soak his fur with a little water to smooth it down, making the vein easier to see. My assistant will hold the vein, but you may keep him in your lap. Talk to him, kiss him, hug him. Remember all the exciting times you've shared. Are you ready?" finished the kind doctor.
The Holmes family lost their voice at that moment, so just nodded. "I'm prepared for this, I know what will happen," each thought but the actual process of it shocked them.
It really is happening.
This is it.
Redbeard is dying.
The veterinarian slowly pressed the pink juice into the vein.
A final breath escaped the beautiful animal before the weight of his head sunk into Sherlock's hand.
An outburst of tears from Sherlock shattered the silence of the room. The feeling of Life leaving the body is such a feeling so chilling and humbling at the same time. Life is miracle that can be quickly taken in less than a second. Literally. It's something that can't be explained, only felt. To feel Death is to feel powerless. The feeling of a lifeless body in my arms is dreadful. Sherlock carried the body of his beloved one to the packing material the vet nurse held out and silently wrapped Redbeard in it. The next time Sherlock would see his best friend would be in a carved pine box.
With only his violin to comfort him on his bad days, he had more and more bad days. There were days so bad his music only made it worse. It was a dangerous path that soon led to his first taste of drugs. In time, Redbeard was tucked away in my brother dearest's vast memory, never to be mentioned again. Later on, when his spirit turned up drugs, they were used to keep his mind from exploding out of boredom.
What a sad life you've lived brother dear in that time, you could have come to us for help. You have always known that, always. Mum, Dad, and I don't want to see your life wasted away. Why didn't you come back?
Then Lestrade appeared in our lives, he was a miracle worker to some degree. Sherlock quit his drug and smoking habit, instead found his source of "high" from solving murder mysteries. It was a good trade. A very good trade, though I wouldn't admit it directly.
Then Doctor John Hamish Watson came. He is a miracle worker also. How wrong I was in judgement of him when we first met in that dimly lit car park. John Watson deserves more credit than anyone ever gives him. He brought my brother back. For that I am ever grateful to him.
With John at his side, the two of them run like the wind after criminals and have laughs about it when all is said in done. Never had I ever imagined my brother to act like that, to smile so freely without any tinge of sarcasm or masking hurt.
Sherlock Holmes, the one and only consulting detective with his blogger and best friend: John Watson.
A-N: An excerpt taken from In Whose Eyes? chapter 19 and expanded slightly. For more understanding of Sherlock's blindness and cause, please read Watching Over Each Other. Both stories are complete.