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Of Scales & Flesh

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There had been a time when everyone who took up residence at the castle was a human. The furniture didn't talk and there definitely hadn't been a dragon in the library. After years of mulling it over, Mycroft no longer found it difficult to pinpoint when it had all started to fall apart.

Their parents had always neglected them. He and his younger brother had grown up in luxury but in a deep seeded loneliness. Although their parents had never been present at the castle, knowing they were still out in the world, had filled Mycroft with a certain kind of comfort. It didn't last, though. It had only been meant as a year spent abroad, but their mother and father had died in a freak carriage crash, leaving the Holmes brothers alone in the world, with no living relatives.

Mycroft Holmes had been nineteen. His younger brother, Sherlock, had barely been twelve and had no memory of the parents who always neglected him. It filled the younger Holmes with bitterness, and a hatred that only children can know when they feel like they are completely alone in the world.

Although there was help at the castle, they were still that: the hired help. Mrs. Hudson did what she could in the place of a mother, Molly, the maid, did what she could to fill the castle with lightheartedness and Lestrade guarded them from outside threats. The years passed and the five residents of the castle began to make up a dysfunctional family.

Whatever happiness they did share was shattered one stormy night six years later. Lestrade brought a soaking wet villager into the castle and offered him a hot meal and lodgings for the night. When Sherlock came down for dinner and saw a stranger at the banquet table his reaction had been explosive.

He had demanded that the stranger be thrown out. If he, Mycroft, hadn't been busy with his paperwork maybe he could have stopped his brother; it was a thought that often swirled in his head and filled him with regret.

However, he hadn't been there. As Sherlock had been screaming at the man, the stranger had lowered his hood to the boy, revealing the emblem of Warlock on his forehead. The stranger then proceeded to chastise Sherlock for his cold and heartless demeanor. When Sherlock showed no remorse for his actions, the Warlock took action.

He decided to transform the impudent lad into the coldest creature he could think of: a dragon. Because the Warlock felt as if all the residents in the castle had neglected their duty in raising the boy correctly, he placed a powerful spell on them too. Transforming them.

Mycroft could still remember the shock he had received when he had first transformed; looking down to see wood instead of flesh. He had climbed down his office chair and ran to the closest mirror. Mycroft never told Sherlock, but the shock at his reflection, at seeing a clock instead of a man in the mirror, had caused him to faint.

The castle had never been filled with warmth and happiness before, but at least there had still been the occasional laugh, small moments of joy when Sherlock had been tolerable. Smiles exchanged between he and Mrs. Hudson; stolen laughs with Molly, now there was only tense silence and an undercurrent of worry.

The cloud of despair never lifted because Mycroft and all who lived there knew that the spell would never be broken. For the Warlock had given Sherlock one condition for him and everyone in the castle to become human again.

Sherlock had to find someone to love and to have his love returned. Before the spell became permanent, Sherlock had been granted two years to find the heart he lacked. The Warlock had given Sherlock a single rose to count down the time limit of the spell and a mirror, so that he could still view the world outside the castle. For although he retained a mostly human shape in the confidences of the castle, once he left the grounds, he became a full size dragon.

For the first six months, Mycroft had urged his brother to try and open himself to emotion- to the possibility of love.

But Sherlock had been too distressed at what had been done to him, and he withdrew into himself even farther; slipping into a deep depression. Mycroft feared that no one would ever be able to touch the heart of his brother.

And so another year passed and Mycroft lost all hope.