It was a day like any other. Mycroft was, as ever, watching over his baby brother. He loved Sherlock dearly, but being seven years older was trying at times; his little brother seemed forever wanting to be outside exploring the grounds. Mycroft enjoyed the scenery, often depicting it in his artwork, but his time was strained.
Genius or not, Mycroft needed to study and produce assignments. Having no social life to speak of helped balance school and his parents’ rather sternly intimidating demands that he escort their beloved Sherlock wherever and whenever the energetic nine-year-old demanded. It wasn’t an adversity, though – he’d do anything for Sherlock.
“Careful, Sherlock,” he muttered as he watched the mess of curls climb up over a log.
“I am, Myckie,” came the little reply. “The treasure’s this way!”
“Can’t you play over by the house?” he asked, exasperated. “It could be dangerous out here.”
“Pirates don’t fear nothing!”
Mycroft sighed. He was looking forward to the day that Sherlock decided he was too old to play pirates. The boy had a knack for getting himself into trouble as he explored the ‘new worlds’ of their parents’ estate.
He could see little Sherlock play amidst the bushes from his vantage point at the log, and so he sat and watched fondly as a plant took a beating with a wooden sword.
Mycroft had learnt better than to bring a sketchbook (or any other kind of book for that matter) along with him. It only took a blink of an eye for his little brother to disappear into a ditch or get lost in the trees. There was also, of course, Sherlock’s protests that Mycroft was ignoring him.
He could empathise with his brother’s loneliness. Growing up, Mycroft never had childhood friends, nor did he have anyone now. He’d been home schooled right up until taking his GCSE’s, two years younger than his peers, and the subsequent tormenting that had ensued had left him thankful for it – he had not developed any social skills to interact with them, let alone any resilience or shielding for his sensitive soul.
He was doing his A-Levels now, still two years early, and had learnt to hide behind an uncaring and brash mask. The workload was mind-numbingly easy still, and so his results alone were enough to cause torment no matter how hard he tried to keep out of the other students’ way.
He was afraid of how Sherlock was going to cope next year, as his parents had decided it’d be good for the boy to interact with others his age so ‘he won’t turn out like Mycroft’.
A noise to his left startled him out of his thoughts. He looked towards the rustle, ready to defend his brother, when out stumbled a dog. Mycroft stared, realising it was only a pup of about three months; somewhat skinny, and starting to look lanky with its long legs. The young dog stared back with bright amber eyes.
It was obviously at least part shepherd – perhaps a Belgian Malinois – but with a white, grey, and black coat. Its muzzle was dark, as were the large pointed ears, but its face was white and grey, much like the rest of its body except for black tipped fur on its back. Its markings were like that of a wolf – perhaps it was part Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, or maybe husky?
“Oh, a puppy!”
Mycroft realised he’d been staring at the dog, cataloguing its features, for some time as soon as Sherlock’s cry jolted his protective instincts.
“Stay back, Sherlock. It might bite.”
Sherlock knelt on the ground next to him, reaching his hand out to beckon the dog closer. The pup had remained staring at Mycroft until deciding Sherlock’s hand might contain food, and cautiously stepped closer to sniff.
“Where’d he come from?”
“We don’t know if it’s a–” Mycroft stopped mid-sentence after seeing that his little brother was indeed correct. “He could be lost.”
“Or a stray,” Sherlock said hopefully.
Mycroft didn’t comment. He’d felt a strange connection with the animal as it had continued to stare at him. He did like dogs, and knew lots about them, but knew his parents wouldn’t ever let him get one and so had never asked. Also secretly, he was afraid that if he did have a dog, it would sense his anxiety and try to bite him.
“Careful,” Mycroft reminded as the pup got close enough to sniff Sherlock’s hand.
“Yes.” Mycroft had to agree. He slid off the log slowly and knelt upon the ground. The puppy instantly ignored Sherlock in favour of greeting him.
He held his hand out for it to sniff, but instead it rubbed its head on his palm. It was soft, softer than he’d expected, and warm. A strange feeling of affection and serenity filled his chest as the dog licked his hand and begged for more attention.
Mycroft smiled gently as he used his fingers to scratch the fur behind the dog’s dark ears. The puppy tried to help with its foot, causing Mycroft to giggle.
“Can I keep him, Myc? Can I?”
Mycroft winced. “I’m not sure, Sherlock; it’s not my decision.”
Secretly, Mycroft hoped that his parents’ love for Sherlock and his brother’s frankly excellent skills of getting his way would let the dog stay.
“You look happy, Myckie,” Sherlock commented innocently. “You don’t look happy that often.”
“No, I suppose not,” he uttered.
“All the more reason for the puppy to stay!”
“Try not to get your hopes up, Sherlock. He might have a home already.”
“There’s no one else around here, though,” Sherlock moaned. It was true; they were far from their neighbours, and even then, a lost pup wouldn’t be of concern them.
“He could be feral,” Mycroft suggested. Honestly the dog didn’t look it, but he had learnt not to trust people that appeared kind enough, and applied that lesson to animals too.
His little brother’s eyes lit up. “He’s part wolf? He looks it! He’ll make a great first mate!”
“There aren’t any wolves in Britain anymore, Sherlock.”
“I can pretend anyway.”
“Yes, you’re good at that,” Mycroft laughed. He ruffled his brother’s hair.
“Oi, stop it,” Sherlock protested, and batted his hand away. His brother was adorable with his mop of dark curls, unbroken pale skin, and bright blue eyes constantly filled with wonder. He knew he, on the other hand, was far less attractive; he had wavy auburn hair, his skin pale and freckled, was far too pudgy for his liking, with a long pointed nose and eyes a mix of grey and blue.
“Do you have a leash?”
“A leash? No, I forgot to pack it,” Mycroft said with a smile. Sherlock rolled his eyes and huffed. “How about this, Sherlock,” he continued. “If the puppy follows us home, then it’s a sign that he wants to be with us.”
“Ok. But what should we call him to follow us?”
Mycroft looked at the dog, rolling before him asking for his belly to be rubbed. It looked up at him, tongue lolling out of its mouth in a crazed grin.
“Silver,” Mycroft said, the name coming to him from somewhere deep inside.
“Perfect! It’s like Long-John Silver, but a dog! Avast ye, Silver matey,” Sherlock cried, pointing the sword at the dog.
Mycroft laughed again when the dog bit into the wood, much to Sherlock’s upset. He picked the puppy up, which made it let go of the toy, and cuddled him close. He looked down fondly, rubbing his head, and uttered, “Hello, Silver.”