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Peach

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“I would like to adopt a dog!” Greg looked up seeing a young man, he got in so quietly Greg only realised he was there once he spoke. The young tall man was in an impeccably tailored suit, not a sight he was used to at the shelter. He would expect him to buy a dog and have a dog sitter take care of it instead of him. Don’t judge Greg warned himself and smiled at him as warmly as he could.

“Hello.”

“A smaller dog if possible.”

“You know, it’s a bit more complicated…”

“I’m aware of that.” he straightened his suit jacket nervously.

“You seem nervous.”

“I…just…it’s nothing.” he sighed and tried to smile.

“Not scared of dogs?” Greg smiled at him knowing his assumption was wrong.

“Not of dogs.”

“No need to be scared of me either.” Greg chuckled.

“Easy to say.” he mumbled fiddling with his umbrella. Overworked, well dressed lonely young man needing company and love of another creature; which he hasn’t experienced in a while.

“What kind of dog you are looking for…other than small?” he tried to distract him.

“I live in a flat, so someone who could live there. A calm dog…”

“Why have you decided to adopt today?”

“So I leave the office in time, I leave my flat and…maybe help me relax after the day…or I read on the internet that it could be beneficial.” his voice got quieter and quieter.

“Okay…not a young pup then.” Greg mumbled to himself.

“I don’t know.” he whispered.

“Why I’m here to help.” he smiled giving him a form. “Please fill this out…then we look around. If you think you found someone, one of us will be over to check your flat, to make sure she goes to a good place. And see how you two get along.”

“She?” he looked up from the form.

“I have someone in mind, of course it is your choice. Also she is a bit bigger…middle sized I’d say.”

“Oh…”

“Very calm, a sweetheart…she could definitely help you relax and she’d be more than happy to just snooze during the day.” he smiled and took the form for him, running his eyes through it. “This way Mycroft. We walk around and see if anyone speaks to you.”

“They are all barking.” Mycroft followed Greg through the door.

“Well yes…” Greg chuckled and turned to look at him. “Are you all right?” he asked worriedly, Mycroft was pale when he walked in but now he looked even whiter.

“It is really noisy in here.” Mycroft gripped his umbrella.

“They are just excited.” Greg smiled softy, stepping closer slowly, like he was approaching a scared dog, after all the young man seemed to be on the breaking point. “Why don’t I show you the garden, you can wait there…it’s quiet, promise. I bring a few possible candidates for you.”

“Okay.” he mumbled and hurried his steps to get out of the noise. “Be right back.” Greg left him on a bench under the tree.

 

“Hey girl, hey…I might have found a dad for you.” he petted Peach, who followed him to the garden curiously.

“Mycroft meet Peach…we named her Peach because of the colour of her fur. She is as we guess an eight years old Pit Bull. She is the sweetest and calmest and most gentle creature I’ve ever met. She loves to snuggle and sleep. She is pretty well trained…had a home but they just left her behind.”

“A Pit Bull?” he regarded Peach with concern.

“Lots of misconceptions. May we approach?” Mycroft nodded hesitantly, Greg loosened his hold on the leash, letting her closer to Mycroft. She sat in front of him resting her head on his knee.

“Hello Peach.” he whispered his hand was shaking as he reached for her. “You are a pretty lady.”

“She is.” Greg sat next to them. “No one really wants her, she is older and a Pit Bull. Another factor is that she is not too good around other dogs, we tried to socialise her, but…” he trailed off. Peach looked up at Mycroft lovingly wagging her tail but Greg watched Mycroft, who was much more relaxed and in the sunlight more handsome.

“Meaning?”

“Yes, sorry...” Greg cleared his throat. “The problem is…when meeting other dogs she freezes or runs for cover. Not aggressive, she never even barked at them; she just hides which makes walking a bit trickier.”

“She was the one you thought off?”

“Yes. What do you think?”

“I like her, really like her.” he smiled at Peach, still petting her.

“She does too.” Greg smiled at him. “Look at that smile, look at her smile.”

“Yes, happy darling?” Mycroft patted her back. “Happy.”

“Want to meet someone else?” Greg asked, secretly hoping the answer will be no.

“No.” Mycroft answered immediately. “Is she trained…I mean…”

“She is flat safe.” Greg chuckled. “I fostered her before, she did really well. It will be strange at first, new space and all but…I think she’ll do perfectly fine. Do you have time now? We could go for a little walk with her.”

“I have the time.”

“Great!” Greg got the leash off her. “Here.” he handed it to Mycroft. “You do it.”

“All right.” Mycroft didn’t take his eyes off her. “We go for a walk now, okay?” she licked his hand.

Greg was a bit worried seeing how shaken up Mycroft was before, how uncertain he seemed but he put the leash back confidently and started to walk with her. “Gregory…which way?” Peach walked forward showing the way.

“Just follow the boss.” he chuckled closing the doors behind them. “Now…you take charge.” he stopped them when reaching the streets.

“I’m in charge.” Mycroft repeated.

“You are.”

“At least I’m in charge of this walk.”

“After you boss.” Greg bowed making Mycroft chuckle.

 

The walk successfully completed and Mycroft said his goodbyes to Peach.

“So, someone will come by on Saturday.”

“You?”

“I…” Greg thought for a second. “Maybe I’m free?”

“Free?”

“It’s just voluntary work…Police force.”

“Oh…I would prefer if it was you.”

“Are you home on Sunday?”

“Yes.”

“Then Sunday it is. I go, look around and if everything is fine she can go to you the next week.”

“That soon?”

“It’ll be better for her and maybe for you too.”

“Me?”

“You calmed down not long after I brought her out.”

“I have a lot to do.” he mumbled to himself.

“If you have any questions…” Greg tore a piece of paper and wrote down his number. “Call me.” he handed it over.

“Thank you Gregory. See you on Sunday.”

“I’ll call when I can go.”

“Thank you.”

 

******

 

“So, the boss gave her blessing to bring her and see the flat together.” Greg smiled at Mycroft when he opened the door. “To see if she likes it or not.”

“Welcome in my humble flat.” Mycroft stepped aside.

“Nice place.”

“Thank you…it’s…not that big, but there is a park close by where I can walk her…not lot of dogs around here, I checked.” Peach already got entwined between Mycroft’s long legs. “Hey lovely.” he smiled, petting her. “Hey Peach…I missed you too.”

“I look around if you allow me, you two just play.” Greg smiled at them.

“Sure.” Mycroft leant down petting her.

When Greg got back from the inspection, Mycroft was sitting on the floor with Peach in his lap, his face buried to her fur.

“You got lots of stuff for her.”

“All approved?”

“All approved.” Greg sat next to them.

“Thank you for your help Gregory.”

“Sure thing…I’ve seen the way you two looked at each other. I want this to happen as badly as you. Let’s show her around. Come on girl. Come on…” Greg called her again, but she remained seated in Mycroft’s lap. “What is it? I’m not taking you away Peach, you can stay love. Let’s look at you pretty bed.” she still didn’t move. “Strange.” Greg mumbled, Mycroft got up too.

“Come Peach.” she followed Mycroft not taking her eyes off him. “This is your bed.” she sniffed around now, all the new things peaking her interest.

“She is like in love, not taking her eyes off you…not that I blame her.” Greg mumbled turning red.

“May I offer you a tea?” Mycroft asked not being sure what to answer to that.

“Thanks. If you don’t mind, later I’d like to see how you walk with her around here too…not that I don’t trust you just…”

“It’s okay.” Mycroft smiled at him. “I put on the kettle.”

“What do you think?” Greg leant down to Peach when they remained alone, she couldn’t decide which toy to play with, her mouth full with three at once. “Like it?” her tail was waggling rapidly. “You’ll be treated like a queen.” Greg chuckled. “What you deserve. Told you I’ll find you someone and I keep my promises. Took me longer than I first imagined, but here you are…”

“Here you go.” Mycroft came back with tea.

“Thank you.” Mycroft sat next to him, Peach jumped up too laying next to them on the sofa, resting her head on Mycroft’s thigh.

“She loves her new place.”

“I’m glad. I tried my best.”

“You certainly did.”

“I wanted to ask…how’s she with water?”

“Oh, bath time isn’t her favourite, but manageable. I can come over if you need help wrestling with her.”

“Thank you.” he whispered turning red. “I might need that.”

 

******

 

“Thank you for coming Gregory.” Mycroft sighed relieved.

“Sure. Shift ended late, sorry that you had to wait.” Greg looked tired but he kept smiling at Mycroft.

“You could have told me how tired you are.” Mycroft felt guilty dragging Greg to his flat after a long tiring shift. “I wouldn’t want to keep you…” he mumbled.

“It’s okay, you seemed desperate for help!”

“I am.” he sighed, stepping aside.

“Oh…” the flat was covered in mud and muddy paw prints.

“We went for a walk, it started to rain…we ran home. I tried to bathe her but…” he waved around with despair.

“Where is she now?”

“Under my bed. I gave up tackling the task on my own and tried to save my clothes instead.” he sighed.  “Learned my lesson! I must get changed before walking her!”

“Yes, that might be a good idea.”

“Lesson learnt.”

“And her?”

“She is fine, just filthy.”

“Okay…” Greg clapped his hands. “Do you have a t-shirt I can borrow?”

“Yes, right away!” Mycroft hurried to fetch one, almost dropping it when he came back and Greg was standing in his living room, shirtless. “I…” he swallowed hard his ears burning.

“Thanks.” Greg smiled taking it from him. “Let the battle commence!” he smiled and walked past the still stunned Mycroft.

“Hmmm? Yes! I get the water ready.”

“Do that. I try to trick her out of hiding.”

 

“Hey baby.” Greg laid on the floor. “Hello.” he chuckled. “What have you done gorgeous?” he chuckled reaching for her. “What?” he pulled her out to be met with a big wet kiss. “I love you too.” Greg picked her up. “Mycroft!”

“Ready!” Greg quickly stepped to the bathroom, Mycroft closing the door behind them. “One step closer.” Mycroft mumbled. Peach looked at them with hurt, they betrayed her. “Sorry Peach.” Mycroft tried not to laugh. “Sorry.” he chuckled. “She looks so cute this angry.”

“Peach, darling, it’s okay.” Greg kissed her head. “It’s all right.”

“Water is nice darling, look at the bubbles, look…” Mycroft knelt next to the tub while Greg tried to lower the wiggling dog to it.

“It’s okay.” she whined when the water touched his paws. “It’s okay.” Greg knelt down too, holding her by the collar, trying to prevent her jumping out. “Quickly My.”

Mycroft washed her paws and stomach with the warm water.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?”

“Nope.” Greg chuckled seeing her eyes. “Peach says no.”

“We’ll be ready soon…promise. Then you can…damn.” Mycroft grunted.

“What is it?” Greg asked with worry.

“I don’t want her to go out till I clean up.”

“I’ll dry her and you clean or the other way around.

“I clean.” Mycroft rinsed her off. “Can you manage?”

“I can, just run out quickly…I hold her back.”

“Thank you.”

 

“Well…” Greg chuckled dropping to the couch wet and exhausted. “This was fun!”

“It was…something.” Mycroft sat next to him with a deep sigh. “Thank you so much for the help.”

“I offered it.” he smiled widely.

“Want something to drink? Or eat?”

“I’m famished to be honest…I better go home.”

“Don’t go! I have dinner prepared. Just a second!” he jumped up. “I heat it up.”

“Mycroft…”

“The least I can do, please. I don’t cook that badly.”

“I would never dare to question your cooking skills. Thank you I accept the offer.”

Peach peaked out from the bedroom when Mycroft left the room.

“Hey Peach.” Greg chuckled. “Don’t be angry at your dad. You are nice and clean now…you smell like vanilla. A peach smelling like vanilla.” she huffed and dropped to her bed turning her back to the room.

“She came out? Good…” Mycroft sighed putting plates to the coffee table. “You think she’ll forgive me?”

“Of course. And you?”

“Me?”

“Lots of carpets, the sofa and the bedding in need of cleaning, possibly professional cleaning.”

“It’s fine. I’ll do it, somehow…” he mumbled. “There is more if you want…” he handed Greg a packed plate.

“Oh, no, no…I’ll be fine.” he looked at Mycroft’s plate which barely contained anything. “You are not hungry?”

“Not really, late lunch.” he waved.

“You said in your form that you work for the government.”

“Yes, minor position in the government, just papers and…lots of papers and forms and...” Mycroft reminded himself he needs to find a better cover story.

“Still stressful.”

“It is…anything to do with people and making phone calls and…yes…stressful.” he mumbled, Peach walked up to Mycroft, placing a paw on his knee. “Hello love.” he smiled stroking her head.

“Why not change occupations?”

“Because I like the challenge, that I can use my mind and come up with solutions to…” he bit the end of the sentence.

“It’s sounds interesting.”

“It is to be honest, too much to change jobs.”

“Told you she will forgive you.” Peach licked Mycroft’s hand.

“She just wants my dinner.” he tilted his head smiling at her.

“No…I don’t think so.” Mycroft got up putting the plate to the table but she ignored it, sitting to Mycroft’s lap once he returned to the sofa. “I should clean up the bathroom.”

“I help!”

“You helped plenty today Gregory, thank you.”

“In that case, I head home if you don’t mind, work tomorrow! Thank you for the dinner.”

“Sure thing, thank you for your help.”

“Any times.”

“Do you mean it?” Mycroft asked hesitantly.

“Yes.” Greg smiled at him. “I’d be happy to spend time with you two.” he blushed.

“You know where to find us.” Mycroft was equally red.