If someone had told Sherlock a century ago that he would have two Captains, he mostly likely would have either eaten them (humans) or told them to bugger off (dragons). But now that he had them... It was an interesting sort of adjustment. The back of his mind, once used for information like Copernicus's theory and the color of Molly's lip-stain, is now filled with Greg and John. They're always resting there and honestly? Sherlock is constantly awash with positive emotions that they push down their threads.
He rolls over, accidentally squashing John with his new form. Another conundrum and one that was easily fixed with practice; however, said practice often involved John as well as Greg in the form of falling against them or tripping on his long legs. It had been an incredibly rewarding but also frustrating week for them all. He pushed off of John and rolled over to wrap around Greg, only to meet cold sheets. Greg probably had gone to get his breakfast.
I'll be back with breakfast, Sherlock. No need to worry. comes the amused answer, the bond brightening with happiness.
I was not worried. he scoffs mentally, crossing his arms with a frown. Sherlock rolls back over to encounter a still sleepy John. He can't help but soften at the sight of his Captain not quite ready for the day. John's sandy hair is a complete mess, half of it flattened by the pillow straight up and the other half as though someone had rifled through it with a soothing gesture. The giggle escapes before he can help himself losing the will to fight his laughter after John yawned. Laughter rings throughout the Den that they'd been assigned after Bonding, Sherlock's eyes sparkling with mirth as Greg uses their combined magic to haul in an entire bull.
"Morning." Greg is essentially the bushy-tailed squirrel to John's impression of a bear wakening from hibernation.
"Hmm... Too early." John protests, even as his part of the bond ignited with reciprocated joy. "Your laugh's as gorgeous as you are Sherlock." Said Dragon preened in human form before he shifted to his true form, breathing fire to heat up the Den to a reasonable temperature. He was about to bite into his morning meal before he closed his mouth; neither John nor Greg had their own breakfast that he could smell. "Sherlock?"
"I would feel uncomfortable indulging in my own meal while you do not have one." he admitted quietly, ignoring his growling stomach in favor of his Captains. That was the loyalty the Bond inspired flaring to life inside him as he worried over their health. Greg's eyes lit up as he understood. John followed not a second later, his sapphire eyes widening.
"Oh. Hold on." John closed his eyes and food appeared, steaming hot as well as fresh on trays. The scent of tea wafted upwards, which prompted Sherlock to sink his fangs into the paper-thin hide of the bull finally enjoying his meal as his Captains enjoyed their own. The mutual happiness of being well-fed crisscrossed over the bond, echoing threefold over the telepathic link. Mycroft coughed at the edge of their Den; the feeling vanished instantly, replaced with a steely determination. Sherlock finished the bull by extending his jaw and swallowing the carcass whole, licking at the stray bits of blood on his inky muzzle.
"The French have just attacked the Ipswich Cliff Academy. Sherlock, you need your harness. This is your test flight and first battle rolled into one. I do apologize but we need the courier dragons."
"I understand perfectly. Flight in five?"
"Ten." With that, Mycroft was gone, likely in search of his own Captain.
Greg magically separated each armor piece and wrapped the obsidian plates over Sherlock's vulnerable places with a sure hand. Chest, neck, face, abdominal and tail plating hold as he keeps his position. The thick, solid chains that held them together were laced by John as the two men wore stern expressions.
This is too soon. Someone or something is watching the LFA. John sighed as he re-laced over the chains with thick leather straps as a precaution. Hey, Sherlock?
Yes, John? he glances down with worry. This is not his first fight, by any means, but it is his first Bonded battle.
You look bloody fantastic in this rig. Sherlock huffs out smoke in surprise.
You are the first to tell me that. Greg's part of the bond floods with warmth that is directed at Sherlock. He straightens his stance and everything falls into place with a distinct -Clank!- that he knows well. There are no more preparations as John and Greg finish their own armor, tucking their plumed helms under their arms. Exactly ten minutes have passed and Sherlock kneels before his Captains, extending his massive forearm for them to climb. Greg goes first, helping John up into the Dragon Captain's deck. When they step from the relative silence of their Den, the cacophony of noise makes Sherlock roar. The forced silence is one he appreciates even as it develops into whispers of awe and shock.
"What the actual-Bugger me, is that Sherlock?!"
"Sod it all to hell. I've seen everything. A Dragon with two Captains. Is he some kind of prodigy?"
"Related to Smaug, I hear."
"Both of 'em have been around for bloody ages. What'd you expect? Sherlock to remain with no Captain?" He's reached his limit with the gawking military men.
I do apologize but I will not tolerate this much longer. Hold onto something. He snaps open his wings, a tremendous thirty-two meter wingspan, with a gust of wind that leaves the crowd silent again. Sherlock crouches his hind-legs, launching from a dead stop into the cold London sky with a celebratory burst of flames that burn bright.
It's been a full two centuries since his armor was needed in flight and the weight is nothing as he slices his wings through the air with a triumphant bugle that's answered by Mycroft. Catching up takes the work of mere moments. Mycroft's Captain is standing proudly on her deck, her sharp grey eyes scanning the skies for French Dragons, who were slimmer and more likely to blend in with the dusky sky with their dull colors. Sherlock extended his wing-scales to lower the noise of his flaps, gliding on near silent wings as Mycroft nodded to him. The scent of burning acid was what alerted him to the fact that at least three French Dragons are in English territory.
The urge to remind them that England holds the remains of Smaug's line is almost un-bearable but he reigns it in with his considerable willpower.
That's really good, Sherlock. Greg reassures softly, John giving a wave of agreement. Myc's nostrils flared and Sherlock snorted smoke at his brother, careful to brush their wings in tandem strokes as to not throw his brother out of his rhythm. The rational side of his elder sibling returned and they continued to ghost along the clouds until they reached Ipswich Cliff Academy. Smoke curls from the partially destroyed walls and the smaller Dragons are breathing ice over them as fast as they can. The French acid-spitters are arching above the walls and striking at the recently frozen portions as though to weaken the couriers.
The smaller Dragons, a bright shade of teal, roar thier frustration at being unable to take to the sky. The instant one tries it's nearly clipped with acid, causing it to dive back down behind the smoldering walls. Sherlock's mind figures it out almost instantly. They're going to take the couriers; threaten their Captains into press-ganged service for the French. Everyone knows that the Ipswich breed of Dragons are the best at delivering quickly and efficiently.
They're going to take the Dragons.
That's insane! They haven't even... Oh. Sherlock impatiently shoved the explanation down the bond threads, breaking it up into neatly packaged facts for their human minds to process.
That is bad. Would you care for some roasted French Dragons? John's fierce tone is emphasized by Greg's fury. The Dragon breed is small and much weaker than the bigger acid-spitters. It was never meant to be a fair fight. Sherlock finally alerts all of the Dragons present that there are bigger enemies in the sky, drawing deep in his barreled chest for air. The roar reverberated for kilometers, causing vibrations in the air and water surrounding the Cliff Academy.
"Merde! London Dragons!" one of the French Captains shouts, crossing himself as he sees exactly what caught their attention. Sherlock drops into a spiral the second the snout of the French Dragon is aimed at him. He glides over the waves and generates fire to breathe within the next second; the flames come out a wash of bright blue, searing the light grey hide of the first Dragon with a horrendous sizzling noise. It screams in pain as the flames catch it's wing and it falls from the sky into the waves. Sherlock hadn't meant to kill it; never in his battles had he breathed fire at an opponent. He'd just used his bigger size to frighten them away. He bugled in his distress, extending his claws towards the pair that remained.
Greg soothes his turbulent mind with soft understanding as John sends down a sense of righteousness.
They were going to hurt the couriers. They probably would have scorched them with acid to torture them. I've seen it happen. You only defended your fellow Dragon. There's no shame in that.
But... If it survives, it will never fly again. Sherlock would not, simply could not, imagine giving up the sky in such a manner.
There are still two Dragons harassing the Academy. Think later, Sherlock. Right now you need to focus. Greg finished with a stern tone.
He'd been tracking them from the corners of his mind, wondering where Mycroft could be when he spotted the giant shadow eclipsing the two slimmer Dragons and knew exactly what his brother was planning. He banked back around, his wingtips slicing through the water with a hiss as he headed on a collision course with the Dragons. Greg and John's alarm through the bond was ignored as he put on a burst of speed, spiraling to the left as Mycroft physically crushed the one on the right with his weight. Sherlock clashed with the smaller French Dragon, his chest a good three times bigger as he beat his wings harder and harder. The screech of talons against his armor made him snarl as the sound hurt both of their hearing. It stopped scrambling after a bit and just let him fly them farther and farther into the sky. John sent a questioning feeling down the bond as he felt them shiver in the Captain's deck.
I'm going to get them to surrender. Only a little bit further, I promise. he managed as his own wings began to crackle as ice froze and broke off due to his internal furnace.
"Que fait-il? A cette hauteur, nous allons geler solide, Dragon dessous de nous ou pas! Miséricorde! S'il vous plaît?!*" the Captain shouted over the wind. Sherlock heard him perfectly fine, dropping into a dive that heated them up quite nicely even as Sherlock's forearms wrapped around the much smaller Dragon with ease. Mycroft had his down for the count, struggling against his brother's massive talons but getting nowhere. He back-winged into the court-yard as well whilst also pinning his Dragon catch.
"Technically, brother, we only need the Dragons." Mycroft's voice is cold, calculated to get them all worried. "They'll be more inclined to answer when their Captains are dead." The two Dragons struggled but were no match for the biggest pair of Dragons in England. Sherlock growled irritably as his captive shook his Captains.
"Cesser d'être un problème à mes capitaines. Nous avons juste besoin de vous vivant. Je suis sûr que vous blessez un capitaine de messangerie eg qu'ils aimeraient réondre en nature. Maintenant, qui aimeriez-vous être?*" he stated with a pleasant tone, baring his dripping fangs with no compunction whatsoever. The way he'd said it made the Dragon shiver with trepidation.
"Vivant. S'il vous plaît ne pas lui faire de mal. Elle vient de suivre les ordres.*" The Dragon exposed his throat as he spoke, a fearful golden eye glancing back as he checking on his Captain.
"Répétez qu'en anglais.*" Sherlock snapped as he was beginning to feel a headache coming on. If his facts were adding up, the French were working for someone, the same someone that knew Sherlock was bonded for a week total.
"My Captain, she is following orders. Please do not 'urt 'er." the Dragon rasped under Sherlock's talons.
"Moriarty." the absolute dismay in his tone has the whites of his golden eyes showing. "Please, get 'er to safety. He will kill us both."
"I take it they have... others watching?" he hums as he watches from the corner of his eye. Mycroft nodded infinitesimally before they released the pair.
"But-" one of the couriers protests before Sherlock interrupts him.
"Nothing. This is far bigger than a single Academy, a single Dragon." he rumbles as he takes in the destruction of Ipswich. "This one is dangerous. The game is afoot!"
Sherlock, what did you mean; the game is afoot? Greg asks as they fly farther away from London's Flight Academy. Where are we going?
Your Birth Den? John asks as they glided over green and gold country blankets of fields.
No. Only Mummy, Mycroft, Father and myself are allowed. I will have my clutch there. he hums in reply, flying in a casual loop-de-loop to amuse his Captains.
Clutch... Wait, you're male.
Clutching has nothing to do with gender. Did I bond with an idiot? Sherlock huffs, his amusement clear over the bond threads.
You'd have to Mate. The back-wash of emotions from Greg are tangled and intriguing.
Oh. You think I need another Dragon. He can't help but rumble softly at the thought of attempting to woo another Dragon. Not likely. The closest thing to a Mating I ever reached was The Dragoness. The feelings that unfurled were still true even after all the centuries between the memories that are burned in his mind; awe, cold dissonance and respect with a smidgeon of affection squeezed in.
... Is that capitalized? John questioned as they swooped over the rolling hills of England and towards Scotland before Sherlock back-winged over a particularly large hill to land.
"Yes. She was more than a match for my intellect and she was as sly as a fox on even her worst days. She Bonded last century to a Captain named Godfrey Norton." he continued out loud as he knelt for John and Greg to dismount. "I have not seen her since. I am certain she knows more of this Moriarty than anyone else I know."
"Then what are we doing at your private Den?" John asked promptly, taking in the feel of Sherlock's magic coaxing the entire area around the hill to grow green things.
"I need something to contact her. As I was not Bonded at the time, she showed interest merely at my line and because I was the younger of the Holmes pair. Mycroft was having none of her come-ons. She thought me naïve at the time; I was until I realized what she wanted was prestige. She would have paraded around the fact that she was Mated and Bound to Smaug's line. It is still a name that grants entrance to even the most strictly guarded Dragon places. Of course, proving that you are of the line is quite difficult even with a hide like mine." John let his gaze shift to Sherlock's ebon and crimson scales, making him look like a sort of giant Siamese save that his black faded more gracefully as well as his tail remaining the same crimson as his hide. He mantled his wings and stepped into the consistently warm Den, relaxing even further as he felt Greg and John's awe.
"This is your Den? Sherlock, this is amazing." The floor was covered in gems of several different sizes and types; gold melting into the floor as it sang out a welcome to Sherlock in the language of the earth. Farther back was his main hoard and the place he had reserved in case he ever received a Captain. It was elaborately decorated, quite cozy and retained the influence of Turkey from Sherlock's last skirmish. He'd loved the place so much that he'd brought home bits of it with him; the childish place had been a favorite for a long time and now... Now his Captains stood before him and it was a bit much to comprehend. It ached in places it shouldn't because under all of Sherlock's bravado was a little Dragon who had been repeatedly rejected by every Captain he'd met or only wanted for his fighting prowess.
"Is this... Is that our bed?" Greg asked as he looked up. Sherlock sat down, lifted his forelegs and set them back down as he looked away, his embarrassment clear in the bond. "Sherlock?"
I never thought I'd have Captains, let alone ones as loyal and protective as you two. So I dreamed one up in my younger years. he admitted mentally, still not looking his Captains in the eye. I could not imagine that the reality was far better than a dream.
Sherlock. Look at us, please? Greg commanded softly, tugging through the bond with a distinct edge to his gentleness. Sherlock obeys by pure instinct his entire body following the order as he faces them both. "You are the most stubborn Dragon I have ever come across in my forty years." Greg swiftly removed Sherlock's armor with efficient movements in his magic as John unlaced the ends. "Shift." He allows his human form to surface, nearly falling over as he attempts to flee to the darker parts of his Den. Greg catches him about the waist and physically lifts him into the canopied pillow pile. The scent of incense washes over him as he's cradled between his worried Captains.
"Why are you trying to push us away?" John asked softly as he slid his fingers into Sherlock's curls, reminiscent of the night before their Bonding.
"You don't want us to leave. We're not going anywhere. Care to tell us why the sudden shyness?" Greg finished as he rubbed soothing circles on Sherlock's much bigger chest.
"Everyone leaves." he finally says after a long moment of silence. "Mummy left when I was just a hatchling and Mycroft was nearly grown. Father only comes when he feels we need advice. Mycroft left our Den at the Academy with the Captain he'd always wanted, the one originally assigned to me. And now there is an unknown threat that will either kill us all or take you away. I am not as brave as I seem; I feel more than just... I do not want to lose you." Sherlock manages before he buries his face into the nearest shoulder and shudders hard, like he'd wanted to when the French Dragon had said the name. "I fear for you. Make it stop." he whispers, feeling so vulnerable that he nearly shies away when both John and Greg wrap tightly around him.
"Your gift to us... Doesn't that protect?" John hummed lightly as he examined the scabbard again. Both of his Captains were the envy of several others with the gifts he'd given them.
"Yes. I have something I want to give you." he scrambles out of the nest of pillows with a lot more grace than he expected. Sherlock strides to the very edge of his hoard with a purpose, his long legs eating up the distance easily. The amulets are still a brilliant sapphire and they are perfect for what he needs. Picking them up takes the work of moments before he scoots back in with his interested Captains. He separates the pair only to find a third swinging quite neatly in his hand. "These were given to me by an Egyptian Seer Dragon. The branch died out suddenly after I received the pendants; I think she was waiting for me to come and take them home with me. They offer joint protection to whomever wears them."
"Seer Dragons?" Greg asked as he put it on without question, the silver chain showing even after he tucks it under his tunic and armor.
"She was around when Smaug lived; I think the last was holding on by sheer, stubborn will to give the pendants to me as a parting gift. She mentioned that I look like Smaug down to the tail, save that I have black where he was red. Our human forms are apparently mirror images and that, and I quote, 'One Captain will be the soul of the ancestors.' She never stated anything about Greg but I could tell that she was not allowed to reveal more than what she spoke."
"She sounds restrained." John says after Sherlock peters off into contemplative silence, also putting on the pendant. He takes Sherlock's own and motions that he duck his head. The ancient magic hums in apparent delight, shining brighter before it fades into a faint glow.
"No, never restrained; more like she witheld the information because Dragons and humans do stupid things when they know all of their future. She was being cautious. I cannot say I can blame her." he offers, stretching out and cuddling with his Captains.
"Where is the contact that you need for the Dragoness?" Greg asks as they laze about in the nest.
"Irene Adler." he spoke clearly and cooly, using his intent to summon her shade.
"Sherlock." she practically purrs his name as she glances down at her husband/Captain. When she notices Greg and John's possessive grips, her lipsticked mouth dropping open in shock. She closes it with a sharp click. "I see the rumors were not lying."
"Indeed not." he rumbles back, soothed by the obvious jealousy roiling through the threads. Sherlock pulses back contentment and ease, arching into their touch. "I find myself calling in the favor you owe me, Irene."
"The favor?" Her brow tips up in astonishment. It was an old favor that he was calling in, something that Godfrey was never intended to know.
"It is the only thing I hold over you." he quips back casually.
"What is it you need? After this, we are done?" Irene questions even as she soothes her Captain with a firm stroke along his scalp.
"We are done after this, so I swear." he murmurs. "The name Moriarty. Does it mean anything?"
Irene's entire demeanor changes instantly; her lax position is instantly straightens as well as awaken her Captain. "Does it mean anything, he asks. You speak of a Captain and Dragon pair so twisted that their Bond has turned them into an incredibly cohesive unit."
"Telepathic?" Sherlock presses, knowing that the information she holds is important.
"They might as well be, Sherlock." He's never seen her so serious. "I have never seen anything like it in all my years. Moran, his Dragon, is young; he may yet be swayed by someone of your lineage. Moriarty means to rule the world from behind the scenes. He wants War, total and complete between countries that will eventually boil over anyway. I should not even be telling you this if I did not hold information over him myself. He will not touch us. Stay out of this, Sherlock. He will destroy everything." With those ominous parting words, she disipates her shade. The knowledge coils tight in his mind, burned with the label 'Enemy' in bold and elegant script.
"Well, that settles it. When are we facing off with him?" John cracks up laughing, the thick determination echoing off of Greg's assurance.
"This will require a great deal of cunning on our parts." Sherlock murmurs as he flexes his will to coax his internal flames outside into his palm. He releases it to float between them. "I will need you to touch this; it renders you a hybrid of Dragon and Captain, thus protecting you from spells targeting either set."
"Doesn't this give you autonomy?" Greg quieries with a flash of curiosity. "What is this going to do to our telepathic bond?"
"I have no idea. The idea is one that Smaug used with his Captain. The results were never documented." he admits candidly, shrugging as he sits straight.
John looks at the ceiling as though appealing to a higher power as he groans softly, "Hold on then, you've got no bloody idea how it's going to work, yet you're suggesting this as a last measure of protection?"
"... My Heart." Sherlock muttered, touching the center of his chest with his hand as his flames vanish with a faint whooshing noise. His Heart glows vibrantly under his fingertips, thrumming in time with both Greg and John's heart-beats. "Something told me to offer my flames, so I did."
"Alright." John placed his hand over Sherlock's and Greg did the same, both of them flooding Sherlock's end of the bond with affection. "We'll do it."
The sensation was nothing that Sherlock had ever felt before and would likely never feel again. Their telepathic bond, always at the back of his mind, snapped to the fore and lead them to an empty room.
"Gregory? John?" he called out to his Captains and they were there, the bond thickening from a single strand to nearly the width of John's broadsword. Sherlock stumbled with the force of the emotions his Captains were feeling at the moment; concern, adoration and something he simply could not place.
Love? Greg asked, the unknown emotion pulsing through the bond again.
We have known each other all of a sennight! I cannot fathom why you would be so attached to me... he snarls, scared and unsure of how to act with the bond opened this wide.
Pride. John answered, soothing both Greg and Sherlock with a wave of calm. You are a wonderful Dragon and it is a matter of the heart when we chose our Bonded. It's not quite love, just yet, but it can be Sherlock. These things take time and you know that as well as I do. Sherlock sank to his knees before his Captains and the tears that had sat brewing for centuries slipped quietly down his cheeks. "We have that time now. I would go back and hurt each Captain that rejected you so cruelly were it not the way of things. Greg would do the same. Trust us, Sherlock."
"We'll protect you. We swore that when our Dragon came to us that they would never want for anything." Greg spoke with such a rush of conviction that Sherlock's breath hitched as he attempted to keep his distance. "You're safe. You're wanted for every little thing that makes you who you are, Sherlock." They knelt before him and he crumbled harshly, great wracking sobs torn from hurt that had never faded. "Shh." Wrapped in the warmth of his Captains, Sherlock began to heal. Wisps of blue flames kindled about the room and vanished, each time getting closer to the trio before they were engulfed in them. Sherlock keened softly, burying his face into Greg's shoulder as John blanketed him from behind.
"Thank you." he rasped as the last of the flames left them renewed.
"You never have to ask us for this." John crooned as he tucked Sherlock's lean body against his chest, Greg pillowing himself on Sherlock's chest as they did not want to be parted for the moment. The empty room vanished to be replaced with his Den, pillow nest and all. "Are you feeling better?"
Sherlock mentally examined everything down to the last detail before conceding that he did indeed feel much better and that the cause was currently surrounding him. "Yes, John."
His arms curled around Greg, protective as well as curious. He nuzzles against his Captain's neck breathing in the hybrid smell of Greg as he snuffles in air. Rumbling deep in his chest, eyes half-lidded as the overwhelming feeling of contentment washed over the bond, Sherlock carefully opens his mouth to bite his Captain. Greg is lax in his grip but that does not mean he will take well to being Marked. He laves carefully at the spot he's chosen, keeping up a rhythm with his papillae scraping the smooth skin.
"Sherlock, what are you doing?" the tone isn't harsh or demanding in anyway. Sherlock flushes at being caught. "Sherlock..."
"I was Marking you." The explanation lingered in his mind before he pushed it down the bond threads, bracing himself for the reprimand he knew was coming. What he gets in return is nothing short of a miracle; many Captains refused to bond like that to their Dragons.
"Is that it? You don't want anyone else in our hearts or beds?" John chuckles, warm and accepting.
"Most will reject their Dragons in favor of human companionship. It has happened often in our history." he murmurs quietly. "I understand if such an act would bother you."
"That felt nice. Why would someone reject it?" Greg asked in confusion.
"Their Dragon is often of the opposing sex but they do not feel attracted to them in that manner. Many are married by the time they Bond to a Dragon." Sherlock huffs, a smile tugging on the corner of his lips. "You do not oppose this?"
"Not in the least, Sherlock." John hummed as he allowed his fingers to card through Greg's argent locks.
Sherlock resumes his licking, the rumble deeper and more satisfied than it was previously. Opening his mouth is nearly instinctual by this point and his canines have lengthened as to better sink them into Greg's neck. It takes but a moment before the crimson liquid floods his mouth with it's coppery taste. He swallows about three mouthfuls before he ceases, licking to heal it as he turns the fangs to his own wrist. The much thicker burgundy liquid barely begins to drip before Greg is latching onto it, his lips sealing over the bite as to not spill any of it. Sherlock growls after Greg's third mouthful healing his skin before his Captain can get lost in the taste. He cleans his own blood away, easing Greg into his own pile of cushions.
"John, are you certain?" John had been thrown into an arranged engagement before he'd left for Afghanistan; Mary Morstan would have to find another to fulfill her duties as Heiress of her House.
"I barely know the woman. Go ahead." John assures as he bares his neck. Sherlock needs no further assurance after that.
The weeks that they know each other turn into months and Sherlock finds the inner workings of his Captains to be interesting. They find him just as fascinating, which Sherlock is immensely grateful for in the long run. It's when Mary Morstan, John's former betrothed, barges into the Academy that he finds it necessary to remind everyone to whom John voluntarily Bound himself to for centuries to come.
"I am here to see John Watson." the soft tone holds worlds of command to it. Sherlock is lounging on his Captain's laps in their private Den when the uproar starts.
"Miss, you can't go back there. It's Warded. Those are the Dragon Dens." Sgt. Murray does his best, obviously, but this woman is pushy. The Wards tighten as she attempts to get through them.
"John Watson! What is the meaning of terminating our two-year engagement?!" she screeches, awakening the other Dragons in their Dens, namely Mycroft, Dimmock (Molly's Bonded) and Gregson. They were not pleased; Sherlock growled irritably as he shifted, herding the upset Dragons back to their Dens with a rumble and a nudge. Mycroft received a cursory grooming as an apology. He presented himself outside the Dens, towering over this disruptive woman with a cold gaze.
"Madame, there is no need to shout. You are in search of Captain John H. Watson?" Sherlock says quietly, calm to her furious expression. "Speak in moderate tones as I have saved you the trouble of dealing with three grumpy Dragons. It would not do to waken them."
"He owes me!" she hissed furiously, her small hands clenched into fists by her side.
"In what manner?" he presses, certain he knows the cause.
"The Watsons owe the Morstans a great deal of money. The betrothal was negotiated to pay off most of the amount but they still owed us. John Watson was to marry me to-day as a matter of fact, but he never showed his cowardly face." A great deal of John's former habits made sense suddenly and Sherlock knew he'd ceased after becoming Bonded to him.
"The money that is owed can easily be paid. What is the true face behind your wrathful entrance, Madame?" Sherlock quips, intending to drag the reason from her if he had to.
"They say he has Bound himself to a Dragon. 'Tis true that the debt may be paid easily. How did you know?" she states clearly, her manicured appearance at odds with the roughness of the Academy and her mannerisms even more so.
"Take care how you would speak of a Dragon Bond. It is a sacred thing. As it so happens, Madame, I am his Dragon. If you have a quarrel with my Captain and Marked, you have a quarrel with me as well." Sherlock rumbles finally, straightening his posture to an almost painful stiffness as he gazes down at her. Her fists uncurled from her sides and she snapped open her fan as she realized she was out-matched.
"Then you must make reparations to our House." she sniffed as she plucked at her skirts.
"Done. Would you like me to do it in person or by Deed?" he replied as formally as she had.
"In person." she states as she fans herself.
"As the Lady has commanded." he inclines his head, shifting before her very eyes, his height still far above her own. "Shall we?" Sherlock summons the sack that holds his money with ease and ties it so that it lies flat under his trenchcoat and offers his arm in the same breath. Sgt. Murray mouths a 'thank you' at him as he leads her out of the Academy. The ornate carriage spoke of the reason for pressing John for his end of the bargain. He helped her in and then took a seat as well. The silence that permeated the carriage was one that he was not bothered to break. She did, however, clearly nervous to be around an actual Dragon.
"Does that hurt? When you transform?"
"No." The one-word answer does not dissuade her in the least.
"Do you really have a hoard?"
"Why is John your Captain? I thought that Dragons were always the opposite genders of their Captains?" The insistent pressing makes him irritable.
"There are more Bonds than those that are written about in those racy romance novels that you read. Gender does not matter to a Dragon." he sneers, turning his gaze out of the window as he recognizes each building that passes by due to his aerial map. The silence is even thicker after that but thankfully she holds her tongue. Upon stopping, he helps her out purely on societal expectations. Looming over her has the desired affect on the maid at the door. The butler shies away from him as Ms. Morstan leads him into the drawing room herself and raps her knuckles against the door of the study of the Morstan Head.
"Enter. Hello darling. Any luck with Mr. Watson?" The man's voice is no-nonsense, directly to the point. Sherlock would not have to waffle on with this man.
"No, Father. I did manage to get someone in charge of his finances." she states, the rustling of her skirts meaning that she had straightened her spine in the man's presence. Sherlock waited for a moment, then stepped into the room with his Dragonic presence. His tail was curling and uncurling as he waited for the man to address him.
"Mr. Watson's lawyer, I presume?"
"Incorrect. I am Captain Watson's Dragon, Messr. Morstan. Your daughter may leave as the story does not flatter her reputation." he states cooly, not slouching to hide his height in any way.
"Now, daughter." She slams the door on her way out, barely managing to keep her dress tassels out of it. "I take it my child was rude?"
"Uncouth. She woke the Dragons in their Dens and raised her voice a great deal more than called for at the moment. Had I not interfered, I am afraid your daughter would have been ash. We do not take kindly to such noise." Sherlock murmurs as he hears the wrinkling of the cloth that makes up her dress at the door. "She also is a terrible eavesdropper. Tell me, the debt the Watsons owe you, is it negotiable?"
"Most assuredly, Dragon."
"Her assertion that they were to be married?"
"It is not for another month." the man's mouth pressed thin as he realized what sort of ruckus his child has caused. "Tell me she did not throw these accuations in full view of the public?"
"It depends on your definition of public. The Dragon Dens and the area surrounding it are thickly Warded; only Sgt. Murray and the Captains are allowed there. It is a miracle she managed to even get that far." He sneers at the thought of having to sit the day away to strengthen the Wards again.
"My God. I extend an apology to all of you at the Academy. Shall we settle the matter quickly?" Messr. Morstan sighed. "What do I call you?"
"Dragon is a common term of address. If it makes you feel better, you may also use Holmes." Sherlock says calmly.
"Holmes, here is the balance." Messr. Morstan slid a piece of parchment across the desk, a figure that's not even close to what Sherlock had figured it would be.
"This is paltry. Why in Draconis's name would you negotiate for so low a price that could have easily been paid off?" he rumbles lowly, displeasure sinking into his every word. "Unless your daughter needed an excuse to marry Captain Watson." Sherlock selects a single ruby from his bag, setting it on the desk. "Do what you need with that and do not bother my Captain again." He opens the door with a great deal more force than necessary and snarls at the girl on the other side who is nearly tripping over her skirts to get out of his way.
The dark look on his face as he exits the Morstan household is enough for several people to shy away from him. A sharp whistle brings a driver, the horse clearly nervous from sensing Sherlock's anger. He snorts out smoke to ease his tension. He hands the man a tenner before waving him on, his tail lashing from side to side in his disgust, a massive wave of fury washing through the bond as he thinks of it again.
I will be back after a walk around the city and possibly a fisticuffs match. he sighs, loosing a bit of tension along the line of his shoulders. I will explain.
Alright. Don't hurt anyone too badly. Greg sends warmth down their bond with affection following after.
I'll try. Sherlock grumbles, most of the heat in him lost after the talk with his Bonded. The walk to the Underground is far shorter than he remembers it being before he realizes that his legs are far longer than the last time he took this trip.
"Is that the brat?"
"Can't be; he's way too tall to be that brat." Sherlock strides into the sunlight, his curls far longer than the last time he'd seen them running away from John's blades. "Oi!"
"Yes?" he growls, the heat back in the forefront of his mind. The flames are a full meter this time flaring out wide as he exhales through his nose.
"As it so happens, I am the brat that visited Bookkeeper." he continued as though he hadn't just flared. "Dragons mature a different way than humans." Sherlock leaves them with their mouths open striding into the shop with a click of his boot-heel. Both John and Greg had insisted he wear different things when he transformed, thus meaning more clothes for him. The boots were an easy concession once they'd been worn in. "Master Bookkeeper?"
"He is not in right now, may I help you?" The man's daughter, clearly married now and pregnant, comes to the front. "Funny, I could say you'd be an adult Sherlock..."
"I am." The wry smile that accompanied it could not be helped.
"Oh! You found a Captain?" As he knew she would, she picked up on the subtle implication.
"Indeed. Is the blue book still here?" The scent of ink, parchment and the hum of innate magic soothed him even further than he had expected. Perhaps he wouldn't need a round of fisticuffs after all.
"Father reserved it for you." she smiles as she reaches under the counter for it, the book much smaller in his hands than it had been previously. "Will you want it wrapped and the bill sent to the Academy or...?"
"The latter." he replies simply, paying the proper amount easily. "May I get this wrapped?"
"Of course, Mr. Holmes." The brown paper and twine are procured and the book expertly wrapped before the book is handed back. "Have you anything else you wish to browse?" Sherlock takes a glance and does not see anything that catches his eyes at the moment nor does his magic seek out a specific book. "No?"
"Perhaps next time, Madame." he concurs politely.
"Good morrow to you Master Holmes." she says as he steps outside of the shop. "You take care now!" The smile that curls his lips into an amused expression does not last very long but he pulses his contentment down the bond easily.
I take it that you found something good? Greg's absent question is followed by a visual of paperwork.
Indeed. Dwarven books are much harder to find than one might think. Mycroft will be pleased with it, no doubt. he hums as he strides through the darker areas of London, the Elven lullaby one Father had learned from a certain Prince of Mirkwood. The inhabitants of the dark districts perk up as they hear the lilting melody of days past.
"Wot's tha' song yor hummin' pretty man?" the homeless man croaks lowly.
"A lullaby." he murmurs with care. "Very old."
"Welcome." Sherlock wanders deeper and deeper, his humming being followed by two gang-members that he noticed three blocks ago. They are so transparent. I may not be back in time for dinner. Save me a cow?
What have you been doing to have gotten you into trouble?
Gang-members. I've been humming lullabies. he smirks as the two men pull a knife and a gun on him. "Good evening, gentlemen."
"Boss wants ye."
"I suppose so." He laughs as they lunge for him, leading them on a merry chase with a flick of his trenchcoat.
The skip in his step as he strides into their den is interrupted by John's gasp and Greg's cool hands touching the swollen parts of his face. He grins even though it's painful and sets down the books he received.
"I made friends." Sherlock says before they can ask what happened. "Not exactly appreciated by society but definitely useful." He winces as John wipes the crusted blood away from his lips, cheek and the solitary cut above his left eyebrow. "That isn't necessary-Mmm?" Blinking at the feel of Greg's lips against his own, Sherlock purrs as John gentles his touch to dab warm water over the cuts.
Greg pulls away with a sigh,"You're an idiot." comes the chiding tone. "Why didn't you at least contact us through the bond?"
Sherlock licks at the Mark with a happy noise and wraps his arms around both of them. "Psychic. She was incredibly knowledgeable. Did you know that after they'd roughed me up, they introduced me to her? She had this book in Elven Runes that she let me have. Marvelous." he looks at each of his Captains with a brilliant smile on his face.
"You make friends with the strangest people..." John laughs with a rueful grin. Greg just shook his head and caressed Sherlock's face (the uninjured part) with a soft expression.
"I've got to tell Mycroft-" He hugs his Captains with a nuzzle to each of them. Turning on his heel, Sherlock sees Mycroft tapping his foot at the entrance. "Myc, two words for you; Elven Runes." Mycroft's eyes widen as Sherlock hands him the elegantly-made book. "I've not even gone through it yet. Go on, tell Anthea you will be busy for at least a month. I'll even take your spot in the formation."
"Sherlock..." His elder sibling pulls him in for a tight hug. "Le fael*."
"I 'ellen, toreg." Sherlock croons in reply, Sindarian rolling off of his tongue though they have not spoken it in centuries. The little comfort they take in the language is not disturbed in any way as Mycroft presses a familial kiss to his curls before leaving with a skip in his own step.
"What was that?"
"Sindarian Elvish. I do not know if the Elves I met as a hatchling are even still around to speak it with; for all I know, my brother and I could hold the remnants of a dead language. By Dragon standards, we are barely out of childhood." he admits with a shrug.
"You're still a adolescent?!" John coughs after he sprays the tea from his mouth in astonishment.
"It fits, I suppose. Father is millennia old. Grandfather is Smaug himself. We have only seen him once and that was in the hills around the last Elven stronghold, Rivendell. If my calculations are correct, perhaps Grandfather may visit now that we have Bonded." Sherlock remembers his Grandfather with a happy wistfulness that is no longer his to hold. "His Captain is very sweet."
"Wait... You are telling us that Smaug's Captain is still ALIVE?!" Greg's mouth dropped open in a display of shock.
"He lives as long as Grandather does if he does not suffer a fatal wound." Sherlock mutters as he shifts to eat his dinner cow. "Who do you think came up with the rules regarding Captains?"
Avoiding the jet of flames from Dimmock was easy, annoyingly so as he spiraled to the right with his Captains giving whoops of joy. Sherlock bugled at the other Dragon's incompetence while he struck a glancing blow to the deep green Dragon. His claws clanged against Dimmock's re-inforced bronze armor with magical Styngian steel and shed sparks as they faced off again. They clashed repeatedly, Molly's normally sweet expression tight and serious as they evaluated the newly Bonded pair. Dimmock collected quite a few slash-marks from Sherlock and Sherlock, in turn, recieved a few of his own. Biting was not allowed in simulated fights as it disabled an ally far faster than anything else.
Gregson flared a brief burst of flames at his back, simulating battle with more than one opponent but that had landed a bit too close to his Captain's Deck for comfort. Sherlock roared this time, his eyes flaring bright with anger and magic with the shade of glasz leaving glowing trails as he opened his mouth to return fire.
No!Greg stated sharply, mentally soothing his internal furnace until it was at harmless flaring levels. He shot it out anyway, singeing Gregson's face with the heat of it.
"Flare at my Captains again, Gregson, and I will kill you next time, bedamned the consequences!" He snarled, baring his fangs that were dripping with propellant and just missing the spark to flame to life. The younger Dragon flinched as he faced Sherlock's wrath as both Gregson and Dimmock are downed seconds after he lashed out with his claws. He spun in tight circles to rid himself of the anger while breathing out flames in a bright green color, the hottest he could go without scorching his throat. Rumbling deep in his chest, Sherlock back-wings carefully into the Dragon Dens with a sigh of relief. He noses his Captains into their shared Den before he whirls on Gregson and his Captain Sarah Sawyer.
"I didn't mean to hit so close to the Deck, I swear!" Gregson squeaked as Sherlock invaded his space with his much bigger body.
"Practice makes perfect. You and your Captain are to report to target practice each evening after dining hours are over. I do not want to see you again until I have your stats from the magic board. Do we understand each other?" he sneers, huffing smoke as he glances down at Captain Sawyer. "You will also need to expand your Bond further if you are to have any luck at harnessing the internal furnance. That was weak. An enemy would have shot to kill my Captains, not faff about and dwadle."
"Yessir." Both Captain and Dragon sufficiently chastised, Sherlock strides into his Den with a long-suffering sigh.
"The things I do for my brother..." he grumbles as he falls face-first into the pillow nest replicated from his private Den. John gave him a sympathetic cluck of his tongue as Greg sharpened his broadsword with a whet stone, the constant scrape a noise long since categorized as white noise to Sherlock's senses.
"You did volunteer to look after the newly-Bonded, didn't you? This is just the beginning and you know it. Anthea can only do so much from the ground as Mycroft is dug so far into that book she's honestly worried for him." Greg reminds Sherlock as he wipes his blade down and moves onto his dirk, pointing the end at him with a wry smile.
"A month is more than enough with his mind; I am ashamed to say that his intelligence outweighs mine by a great deal. He will be back in time for the graduations." Sherlock replies as he looks up from his pillow to see John seated cross-legged on a large cushion obviously waiting for Sherlock to dither before he cuddles with his Captains. Even after months together, he is still shy when it comes to his Captains lavishing him with affection. This time he edges closer before he pillows his head on John's thigh and his feet land in Greg's lap after the latter puts away his sword-care kit. John's fingers card through his hair as Greg pries off his boots to massage his feet. Sherlock purrs with a lazy contentment exposing his neck with a carelessness that denotes how much he trusts these men. "Mmmr. That feels wonderful." He slouches into their holds, his gaze half-lidded as he draws deep breathes. "Shall I reciprocate?"
"No. This is for you, silly Dragon." John laughs, tapping his nose with a fingertip as he scrapes his blunt nails across Sherlock's scalp.
"Are you trying butter me up for something?" the question is laconic, his gaze saying what he thinks of such a tactic along with the mild concernation flowing down the bond threads.
"There is no reason Sherlock. We told you, pampering you when you're frustrated or bored or anything, we're there for you." Greg chuckles as he massages a particularly tough knot out of Sherlock's calf. He lets the comment sink into his mind, examining it for anything that would say otherwise. Greg's end of the bond is tinged with mirth as Sherlock offers up his confusion readily. "Truth only for you, skeptical Dragon." He snuggled further against them with his lanky form plastered lovingly over them. Not comfortable with his position any longer, he shifts so that he's lounging over Greg and John's pressed along his back.
Somehow his Captains managed to coax him into a nap that leaves him in the middle of a warm cocoon. That is how Commodant Alice Charpentier finds them, Sherlock the first awake at the tap of her boots in their Den.
"Commodant." he greets her with a raspy tone fresh from sleep. "Is there something the matter?"
"I heard you took over the training aspects for your brother." she's completely no-nonsense, as is expected of someone at her rank.
"Yes, ma'am." he nuzzles Greg back into his fluttering dreams, "Has a problem occurred with either of the partnerships?"
"Tobias Gregson has been practicing for an hour now. I have never seen him be so coordinated. Dimmock is in a meditation pose with his Captain as well. What did you tell them?"
"That they should concentrate on expanding their Bonds. I told them to practice on the targets." Sherlock yawned after his report, staring at his Captain's superior with a raised brow. "Hatchlings could do better. Gregson nearly fried my Captains and Dimmock needs to spar more often. Logical conclusions considering that Dimmock and Gregson are still children, barely done stoking their internal furnaces."
"I do not appreciate you calling our newest recruits children," she sighs, taking off her plumed tri-corn to scrape back her thick curls.
"They are children. They are brushing a century perhaps two and they need guidance, plain and simple. Both of their parents bred just to breed, they had no thought for the clutch. I am attempting to curb their wilder tendencies. Do not test me." Sherlock snarls as he sits up, narrowing his gaze at her wide-eyed look. "Fresh out of the Potential Institute, yes?"
"I know a great deal by the way you gesture, the way you dress and even the magic you trail." he sniffs as he soothes his Captains with the bond, waves of calm making them relax under his palms. "You are not a Captain because the Potential saw use for you as Command. Yet you look longingly at the younger Dragons; you were disappointed that you were not a Captain. It takes the right combination to become one. Are we finished?" The gaze he gives her holds all of his years, a weight most cannot handle well.
She flinched back from them and her steps are quick, professional to a degree that would have most folk wincing as her spine straightens. Sherlock does not bother watching her progress beyond the Dens. He knows that she will report his words as insubordination but the Command will not rid the garrison of a pair of Dragons that are experienced; especially since they are fierce warriors without Captains and even moreso now that they are Bonded.
"Sherlock, did you drive another Commodant to report you?" Mycroft sighs as Anthea yawns in the shade projection.
"She tried to tell me that your recruits have been lazy and now that I've snapped at them, they are progressing quickly. Then she made the proverbial step into a hornet's nest when she tried to test my knowledge of those hatchlings. I may have prodded at her want to be a Dragon's Captain." Mycroft sighed as he allowed Anthea to cuddle close to him.
"I shall have to fix-"
"No. The book is more important. I will appear when I am Summoned by the Command. I will apologize, though it grates me so." His brother gave him a nod and Sherlock sighed as the shade faded from sight.
"'lock?" Greg slurs as he blinks sleepily.
"Shh. I will not be gone for very long. Sleep." he slides his slim fingers through Greg's silvered locks. Sherlock slides into more presentable clothing and tugs on his polished boots with a grim expression. He hated to admit that he often alienated people with his truthful words though he has been working on it lately. The length of his legs eats up the distance to the Command area where he enters the grand building.
Corinthian pillars hold up the magnificent hall, the vaulted ceilings could be scraped by his spikes if he curled up here in his true form. Glass windows light up the marble floors and make the wide floor all the more beautiful as the sunlight refracts into almost every corner.
"Welcome to the Command Center, how may I help... you?" Sherlock walks up to the reception desk with his lips pressed thin, startling the poor man behind the desk. He knows his expressions have a great deal to do with how people see him.
"I am here to see Commodant Charpentier." Sherlock tugs back his resentment at the way others react and pulls a tired smile.
"Sherlock Holmes." Drumming his fingers to affect an air of boredom is easy because no one is looking at his tail or his face. Most of the administrative workers only flinch when someone raises their voices due to the fact that they've gotten so used to people flowing in and out of the building.
"She's currently doing paperwork, Mr. Holmes, but you may make your way to her office. Six doors down that way and to the left; she's in the corner."
"Thank you." he states quietly as his tail flicked to help him keep his balance as he turns on his heel to walk down the arched corridor. The receptionist gasps but beyond that there is not much reaction to a Dragon from the Academy visiting a Commodant. He knocks on the door and recieved a harried 'Enter!' from her.
"Oh dear, I did not realize that filing paperwork against this particular Dragon would be such a hassle. It is the worst set of bureaucratic red tape I have ever had to struggle through... Oh."
"Oh indeed. I came to apologize." he sighs as he takes in the three thickly-packed sets of paperwork. "Or would you prefer to continue with the paperwork that will need to be triple-notarized, sent back to you at least twice that amount with corrections and Upper Command breathing down your neck to finish it properly?"
"Why is it so hard to report you?" she huffs as she gives up for the moment.
"The reason is fairly simple, Commodant; I have a file centuries thick and some of those pages preserved by magic because they are so old. You are attempting to slog through at least three centuries of protocol when it comes to a descendant of Smaug not to mention the fact that one of those packets is questioning why you wish to report a Bonded Dragon. As I said, it is better deal verbally than with paperwork. If you chose to go through that then I congratulate you heartily." Sherlock chuckles softly. "It is why the retiring Commodant and I have such a rapport."
"Did she also attempt this?" Alice blew out a long breath that ruffled her stray curls.
"Yes. Twice, as a matter of fact, before she realized it was easier to ask me why I said what I said." he gave her a rueful grin. "I will apologize for the jab at your want to be a Captain. I understand why you would want such a thing. However, I will not apologize for what I said about the hatchlings as they are still young and mistakes are bound to happen. Even older Dragons make mistakes..."
"Which is why you are apologizing to me." Alice made a noise that said she'd figured it out.
"Good. You catch on much quicker than the last." he says with an amused smile.
-One Year Later-
Moriarty's first move after Ipswich is one that Sherlock does not care for; John has gone missing and the bond on his end is ominously silent. The roar that escapes Sherlock's throat vibrates the Academy as the silence remains. He's practically choking on his rage and sorrow as he feels Greg drowning under the intensity of his emotions. Sherlock tugs back on his emotions as he shifts to hold a sobbing Greg.
"He was in our Den, Sherlock! He took him-" The muffled sobs are ones that wrench at his Heart, even as his own tears slip down his cheeks and into Greg's hair. Mycroft is now guarding the Den entrance not letting anyone in or out.
"I know." he rasps, the pendant a burning shade of electric blue that shines through cloth and armor. "I know, bennig. Av-'osto.*"
"We're killing that bastard with our bare hands." Greg snarls, his normally calm ochre eyes a glowing tawny.
"Limb from limb, if there is but a scratch on him." Sherlock growls in agreement.
Try as they might, Mycroft will not let them leave to retrieve their Bondmate. Sherlock decided to take things into his own hands. He drugged their guard easily and Greg put on his battle armor in complete silence. John's end of the bond had fluctuated violently not a few hours before and the pendants had left faint burns in their skin. John was severely hurt; the pendants were glowing at all hours and had yet to fade. The usual -Clank!- was missing from the armor as Greg had just threaded through the thick leather relaces as a precaution against attracting more attention. They took off without so much as a whoosh, Sherlock's wing-scales spread as wide as they could go.
It's tugging me North. Sherlock banked from his Western direction to follow his Captain's instructions. The pendant was the only thing guiding them at the moment. He strained his ears for any sound of being followed, even the faintest noise that was not typical London night chatter could mean that Mycroft had decided to block them from retrieving John. They flew for hours, wincing as John's end finally sparked back to life with pain flooding through it.
... Sherlock? Greg?
Yes. Can you tell where you are? Sherlock is gentle about sending the message down the obviously pained thread.
Dungeon. It's wet... smelly... kind of gross. There are skeletons everywhere and some of them aren't exactly... done decomposing. John's weak amusement at the situation makes Sherlock want to kill Moriarty all the more.
That's a bit not good John. Greg sighs after a long moment of silence.
A bit, yeah. Moriarty is bad. That Dragon is... in way over his head. Seems not to care though.
We are on our way.
You cannot come here! It's Warded against our Bond.
The pendants should shield a great deal of that. It is how we are speaking right now. Moriarty will pay for taking you. Sherlock rumbles fiercely.
That's what he wants, Sherlock. He wants you to come here so that he can take your Heart. Then he'll eat it in front of us. He's into magic so dark that it could be considered Sauron-level of evil. I can't remember anything else since Moran clocked me unconscious before Moriarty could complete his rant.
I want him to try. Sherlock has kept a closely guarded-secret from his Captains; once a Dragon of Smaug's line gave away his or her Heart, the Captain held it instead of the Dragon. In Sherlock's case? Both Captains held a portion and the phrase 'Holding my heart' had never been truer. Surprise is always my favorite tactic.
Sherlock? What do you mean by that? Greg's tone is very worried as he presses concern down the bond threads to Sherlock.
You will see. he states egnimatically. Sherlock banks a hard right as Dragon fire flared up from the ruins of an old castle. That must be Moran.
He opens his mouth and out comes a burning white inferno, causing him to sear clear through the dilapidated walls and into the other side. Moran takes off with a bugle that turns into a snarl as he whirls to face Sherlock in the rising sun. There is no give-and-take in this battle; only brutal precision and opened, snarling jaws that rip into the tough scaled hide of the other Dragon. Sherlock blocks Moran's jaws with his forearm before his much larger jaws clamp down on Moran's exposed shoulder. He back-wings with considerable force as he shakes his head back and forth. His jaw aches as he slides his teeth out of the wound choosing instead to lash out with his talons, catching them against the edge of the armor and snapping the rivets under the weight of his body channeled into his forearm.
Moran manages a lucky snap with his fangs, snagging Sherlock's scales and ripping quite a few of them out. Blood, burning hot and bubbling forth like so much lava, pours out of the wounds they've given each other as the sun rises higher and higher. With one final opening Sherlock kicks Moran with his thickly-muscled hindlegs and slams him into the remains of a chapel, the stained glass providing a fractured rainbow across the spilled blood as Sherlock emerges victorious. Moriarty is nowhere to be seen in the crushed Captain's Deck.
"Where is he?" Sherlock lunges for Moran's exposed neck, his serrated fangs clipping centimeters from the jugular.
"Dungeons beneath the castle!" Moran gasps, his jaw open as he pants with his muzzle parallel to the ground. Blood is everywhere as it trickles from both of them into the thick, dark soil. Greg is unharmed and raring to go take down Moriarty. "Please, you don't know what he's like..." Terror lay in the brilliant storm-blue gaze, the short breaths indicating a start to hysterics. Sherlock huffs smoke in the other Dragon's muzzle to get him to breathe deeper. "My Captain is not Moriarty."
"I know. Your Captain is a child. Two years old currently." he rumbled while noting the Runes carved into Moran's hide. Sherlock slashes through them, his theory confirmed when wild sparks escape the destroyed array.
"Thank you." Moran rasps before he passes out from the blood loss. He will awaken when he is healed and will more than likely take off to freedom. Sherlock licks at his own wounds to seal them over, his tongue scraping over the thick blood to clean it off.
"We go to the dungeons."
Let it be known that long, annoyingly dark tunnels are on the list of things Sherlock openly despises. Anderson, Donovan and Moriarty top off that illustrious list so it is a hindrance at best. Greg treads in Sherlock's quiet footsteps as he sneaks along the tunnel with will o' wisp flames lighting the way. They pause when they hear a cackle inside of one of the many, many slimy dungeons under this loch-side castle.
"Ooo, look, that's obviously a Mark. Did he fuck you?" the sing-song Scottish tone makes Sherlock shiver at the way Moriarty says it. John clears his throat and then spits, hitting his target from the wet -smack!- that signals a success. "Oh, Johnny-boy, you're not going to like the consequences of that..."
"Bloody well worth it, you ponce." John says with a cough. "What we do in our Den is private."
"So he does!" the clapping that follows is vaguely less disturbing than the cackle.
"You have no idea what a real Bond is like, do you?" John's voice returns to the familiar tone Sherlock knows, "You had to enslave a Dragon with Runes to get a sense of what it means."
"As soon as I eat dear Sherly's Heart I won't have to imagine! He'll be mine, forever. Moran was useful in his own way."
"Was useful? Did you kill him?" John sounds horrified and Sherlock bites back the urge to say that they are so close to rescuing him.
"Someone destroyed the set of bastardized Runes I managed to pull together. I think some of them were from different languages. So much magic wasted in the effort, you know. I'll burn the Heart right out of you when I take your Dragon as my own." comes the giggling answer. "But I don't think he's coming to save you. Tsk, tsk, his brother is far too protective of him, you know?! I was there when he chewed out the baby Dragons. Sherly is so very dismissive when he wants to be, stormed right past me when he went to speak with that pretty new Commodant. I suppose I made it... difficult for him to find me out. Johnny-boy, I suppose your Bond is flaring with lots of pain, am I right? It hurts?"
"Bugger off." John huffs, chains clanking as he grips them to heave himself up. His beloved Captain is favoring his shoulder and leg, the latter clearly fractured internally if the pained expression is anything to go by for Sherlock's deductions.
"I would love nothing more, deluded Captain, but there's still that pesky matter of a Dragon to properly enslave." The innocent expression is one Sherlock recognizes. He feels like a monumental idiot for not having noticed earlier; James 'Jim' Moriarty from Armor Enhancements. He curses internally but keeps the conversation to the forefront of his thoughts. "Sherly is so very beautiful as a Dragon. He would have made a magnificent human, a great man of his time. He is so very easy to bait, though, which is a shame. It looks like I'll have to kill you after all, Johnny-boy, send a message." the sing-song bit is back. Sherlock's had quite enough of this now. He uses his strength (equivalent of ten men) to kick the door in with force. "Who's this, then?"
"My Captain was stolen from my Den. I don't suppose you know where he went?" Sherlock purrs with a bored tone. Behind the lazy façade lurks an incensed Dragon that waits for the opportunity to strike. "Jim was it? Armor Enhancements, I think."
"Sherlock Holmes. I can't say I have. But I do want something from you and I might be able to help you after that." The face isn't fooling Sherlock but when Moriarty stabs through his chest with a knife, he looks down at the blade with actual surprise as his mouth begins to drip blood. "I need your Heart, you see, and then you'll be my Dragon instead!"
Sherlock starts laughing, the blood spraying and falling to the floor with a sharp splatter. "Jim," and his voice is a little strained seeing as how he has a knife in his torso, "the problem with that is that my Line doesn't work under normal rules. My Heart lies within but without; held by those in love devout." He grabbed Moriarty's hand, pulling out the blade even as he knows he's crushing the human's bones. Sherlock flicks the hand he's crushing to the right and his eyes are full of the wrath he'd kept hidden. He can hear Greg unchaining John, most of his attention on the human who keeps looking at his hand as though it will fix itself.
"Johnny-boy is your Captain. Why are you standing here in perfectly pristine condition?!" Moriarty finally gets ahold of himself and fixes the broken hand with magic.
"As if I would tell you." Sherlock states coldly, magic gathering on his hands in response to his anger. "Death has been coming a long way for you, James Moriarty."
"Don't tell me you're going to be boring and hurt me?" the human coos sweetly as he flees outside into the sunlight and up the crumbling stairs of the moldering ruins.
Sherlock follows him up the tight spirals until they stand on a slightly more intact bit of castle. "Boring? Oh no, Jimmy, this nothing that you would find remotely numb-inducing. I swore that if my Captain was anything but pristine upon his return to our Den that I would rip you limb-from-limb."
"Interesting. I've eaten my fair share of Hearts though. It's going to be a bit-" Sherlock braces his foot against the stone as he takes the first limb, tossing it over to Greg; his other Captain had wisely started a fire from the inferno still eating away at the walls. "Ooo! I didn't think you had it in you-" The next comes with the satisfaction that he silences the menace that hurt his Captain as he tears away the opposing leg.
"Bare hands. I will not taste a drop of your blood, I will not show you the mercy of burning you in the hottest conflagration I can produce and I will watch your agony until all that is left is ash on the wind." Sherlock snarled as he snapped bones, tendons and muscle away from Moriarty's torso without so much as a flinch. The human was surrounded by a pool of his own blood, Sherlock covered in it due to the force with which he had separated the villain from his limbs. He picked up the still-giggling fool and tossed him into the white inferno, closing his eyes to savor the short, terrified scream that had escaped the crazed human before Death had taken him.
With the rending of their enemy was done, Sherlock shifted to his Dragon form to wash his body free of the blood that had accumulated. Shaking off soaked the lands around the castle but left the center hall untouched. John was pillowed on Greg's cloak and looking up at Sherlock with a wan expression. Sherlock nosed his still-injured Captain gently with his muzzle, curling around his Captains like a giant cat.
"Inpressive. Are you... always that articulate?" John says as he lays in the grass and just breathes.
"Just for you." he teases, his form sliding to human easily as he cradles his beloved Captain in his arms. "Would you like to know my secret?"
"Only if you feel comfortable." Greg replies as he looks up from bandaging John's shoulder.
"Smaug's Line possesses the ability to give their Captain their Heart. That way, should something like this occur, we are all safe." he murmurs as he contemplates healing John with his blood. "Can you do me a favor?"
"As long as it involves home I am more than game, Sherlock." John sighs as he relaxes in Sherlock's sure grip. He takes that as permission to bite his wrist and offer the dripping appendage to John.
"Drink that." Though it earns him an eye roll, John obediently swallows the burgundy liquid until he pushes Sherlock's wrist away and wipes his mouth on his bloody sleeve. "Do you feel better?"
"What sort of-Oh. Thank you." He's pulled down for a long, happy kiss that's flooding the bond threads with absolute joy. I love you.
And I you, John. Greg, you do realize this is reciprocated towards you as well? he croons down the link.
Bloody hell, yes I love you both! Greg's cheeks flush pink after his mental confession. Sherlock grins as he pulls his Captain in for a sweet, soft kiss.
Greeting the Academy with a happy bugle was not the way Sherlock had intended to come home but the noise had escaped because he saw his Grandfather standing next to his Hobbit Captain. Back-winging took the work of moments before he landed, banishing his armor to its shelf with a thought as he enclosed his Captains in a soft embrace against his barrel chest. When Smaug gave a shake of his head at Sherlock's display, he quickly shifted to human form to hug the Dragon that he rarely saw but loved nonetheless.
"Grandfather." he hummed as he buried his face into the much taller man's neck, a low purr a constant noise as he snuggled further into the embrace.
"Childe, you scared your parents and brother quite a bit." the chiding tone was one Sherlock could take if it meant John was safe.
"He had... He had my Captain and he hurt him." Sherlock shuddered at what would have happened had he not disobeyed his brother. "He was going to kill him if I hadn't burst in on time. I will not apologize for rescuing half my Heart."
"I have two Captains, Grandfather." he wipes his face discreetly with the kerchief offered by his elder, tucking it away in his trenchcoat with the intent to give it back later.
"Elrond always was a sneaky one. 'Two halves to make you whole, once bespoken, now a sight to behold.'" The wryness present in his Grandfather's tone almost reminded him of Mycroft. "Come, introduce Bilbo and I."
"Grandfather, this is Gregory Lestrade and John Watson. Greg, John, this is Smaug and his Captain, Bilbo Baggins." Sherlock detatched himself from his Grandfather's side to wrap an arm around each Captain. All four shook hands before the connection that John and Bilbo looked a great deal alike took hold.
"Watson... You wouldn't happen to have a Baggins in your line?" Bilbo questioned with a furrow in his brow.
"I do, actually. Druella Baggins née Took. Oh." John blushes but keeps his wide smile that is a near match to Bilbo's with ease.
"The Seer Dragon had an idea what she was stumbling into, I think." Greg chuckled softly as he grinned.
The pendants glowed brightly and Smaug snorted smoke in surprise, "How did you get the Silmarils?"
"Is that what they are?" Sherlock pulls his piece of the pendants out into the sunlight of the Dragon common area where it sparkles in brilliant colors. "I always thought there was more to them than protection."
"Yes. I should think the Elves in the Grey Haven would like to see these." Smaug traced a wondering finger over the jewel before he motioned that Sherlock should tuck it away. "All three are with you?"
"I think so, Grandfather. John did he-" The worry he felt coursed through their bond threads with a surprising amount of force. John sent back reassurance with an equal strength.
"No, I was just knocked unconscious and hurt, not stripped or searched in any manner." John sighed now that they were home. "I could use a bit of a kip with my Bondmates."
"As you wish, bennig." he hums as he scoops up his smaller Captain and holds Greg's hand as they slip into the complete privacy of their own Den. "I am not letting you out of my sight again, beloved." Settling into their pillow nest (which has a protective barrier around it now), Sherlock tucks both of his Captains close with soft affection in his warm gaze.
"I certainly won't object." comes John's sleepy answer. "You are quite lovely."
"Flatterer." Greg snorts as he plasters himself against John's back.
"Your cheeky flatterer." Sherlock growls lowly as their peace is disturbed. "Sorry, luv."
"Sleep. No one will attempt anything with Grandfather guarding our Den tonight." he rumbles as he laves at both of their Marks to make them sleepy. As his eyes close Sherlock wonders (quite briefly) what his life would be like if he had been human instead of a Dragon; he falls asleep to dreams of a set of hatchlings with features that are a mix of his own, John's and Greg's. Childish giggles are the last thing he remembers before he drops off to dreamland with his Captains safe in his arms.