Oneshot gift for
You calm your breathing in an attempt to be as silent as possible. You can’t let them find you. Shuffling your feet nervously, the leather pirate hat gradually falls over your eyes and you grip the small wooden cutlass, your only defence, even tighter in your small, six-year-old hands. You peek through the gap between the wardrobe doors which gives you an unobstructed view to the hallway. In the distance you can hear the odd bark and scuffle of shoes on wooden floors. They are at the other end of the corridor. You remain motionless, the shirts above you only just brushing against the top of your hat and the distinctive scent of lavender saturating the air of your hiding place.
The familiar pad of paws on floorboards, gentle with the slight click of nails against wood, followed by the careful tread of your hunter, approaches the doorway. Your heart starts drumming against your ribcage till all you can hear is the rush of your blood thrumming in your ears. With clammy hands you get ready to bolt from your sanctuary, adrenaline already surging through your veins. You are just about to throw open the wardrobe doors when they appear at the threshold.
Redbeard, a nine-year-old bole-coloured Irish Setter, stands loyally at the door, nose in the air, beside Captain Sherlock, your older eight-year-old brother. The young commander surveys the room you’re hiding in, his dark brown curls escaping his black pirate hat, complete with gold trim and a solitary white feather, squinting slightly due to the eye patch secured to his face. In spite of his ordinary green buttoned sweater and white collared shirt, he still seems a little menacing brandishing a wooden cutlass in one hand and a small wooden hook from a broken coat-hanger in the other.
“Do you think she’s in here?” Sherlock asks his companion.
Redbeard wags his tail in response.
“Looks like our Spotter’s found you, (y/n). You didn’t really think you could hide forever did you? We’re the greatest pirates that have ever sailed the seven seas.” His voice gets louder with every statement as he slowly advances into the room.
You inch away from the doors, the shirts parting slightly in your wake, till you make contact with the back of the wardrobe.
“Do you know what the punishment for mutiny is, First Mate?” He growls.
You can barely breathe as his footsteps get nearer.
“WALK THE PLANK!” He yells, cutlass raised above his head.
“SHERLOCK!” Mycroft, your eldest brother, roared, storming down the hall. “I have already told you on numerous occasions to cease your shouting.” He continued, calming his voice to a dangerous level whilst pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration, “I am trying to study.”
Sherlock turns, distracted from his search, to face this new foe. “And I am trying to stop a mutiny. Honestly, you have no appreciation of the intricacies of running a sloop.” He replies, his tone as equally serious as his brother’s, and each phrase punctuated with a wave of the cutlass.
Mycroft’s frown deepens. “And you are a stupid child who has no comprehension of the real world. I am studying for my exams, Sherlock, and as Mummy has already made quite clear, you are not to be a hinderance. Well, no more than usual. Which means that you and (y/n) can either shut up, or take your childish nonsense outside.”
He glares heatedly at his younger sibling, then, turning on his heel, he exits the room. The silence is overwhelming following his absence. Sherlock remains in the centre of the carpet staring at the space his brother had previously occupied. Sensing his master’s sudden cheerlessness, Redbeard nuzzles his head against Sherlock’s leg, his eyes lovingly cast upwards with the hope of continuing their previous game of searching for the mutinous First Mate, (y/n). Sherlock switches the hook into his right hand in order to give him a reassuring scratch behind his ears, “It’s okay, boy, stupid Mycroft doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
He sticks his tongue out at the doorway, which earns him a wagging tail from his companion. During this time, you carefully withdraw from your shelter amongst the clothes, and soundlessly edge as close to Sherlock as you dare, sword at the ready.
“AVAST YE, MATEYS!” You yell gleefully, brandishing your cutlass at the momentarily stunned Sherlock and a jubilant Redbeard.
Glowering, he returns, “Only a Captain can say that (y/n).”
“Exactly. And this is a mutiny. So I’m taking over the ship.” You retort with a grin.
A smirk slowly forms on Sherlock’s face. “I’ll give no quarter, rapscallion, unless you smartly concede defeat!”
You lunge forward, using the sword to attack his chest from the right and left; two swipes, one after the other, but both are easily evaded by his nimble reactions. He flicks the hook back into his left hand whilst simultaneously blocking your third endeavour with refined precision. Seeking to eliminate his height advantage, you leap onto the old, cinereous corduroy sofa, the embroidered cushions catapulting to the floor. He surges forward to meet your rain of attacks with a succession of parries, the fight punctuated with the clatter of hardwood blades and enthusiastic barks from Redbeard. You are steadily forced backwards along the sofa as Sherlock advances, and in a desperate attempt to maintain the high ground, you sharply draw back your cutlass then forcefully deliver a downward cut. But you fail to inflict the blow that would ensure your victory, as Sherlock meets you with equal strength, and your blades lock as you both push against the clinch.
“I’ll not strike colours, Sherly.” You declare between breaths, the exertion of battle taking its toll.
“Well, I’ll not allow you to invoke parley.” He remarks through gritted teeth. Slightly irritated by the nickname, he continues, “And it’s Captain Sherlock to you!”
He rapidly thrusts the strong of his blade against the upper half of yours, causing you to stumble backwards and scramble up onto the arm of the sofa, as he joins you on the furniture. You balance precariously as he begins an onslaught of direct attacks, each one becoming more difficult to block as you tire. Following a beat parry against his indirect cut, you take drastic action in an attempt to escape by engaging in a false attack. It produces the desired reaction as Sherlock instinctively tries to intercept a blow that you have no intention of landing, giving you enough time to leap from the sofa, and you hope, to freedom.
You manage to jump clear of the end table, complete with a stack of your Mother’s mathematical textbooks, but you are unaware of a playful Redbeard, who, in the course of bouncing round the sofa with enthusiasm at your escapades, is able to thwart your escape. Your foot catches his rear mid-play-bow, culminating in your painful collision with the floor and Redbeard’s shocked yelp. By some miracle you are both unhurt, but the fight is far from over as Sherlock stands on the edge of the sofa, towering over you, cutlass directed at your face. You hurriedly scuttle back into the corner away from the weapon. Now cornered between a bookcase, the dog, and an unrelenting Captain, you nevertheless refuse to submit, instead choosing to stare defiantly into his cerulean eyes.
“Disobedience on my ship will not be tolerated, (y/n). I need a First Mate who will live by the Code of Conduct, lest you find yourself walking the plank. What say you?”
“Scupper that! I will be Captain (y/n), or I’ll die trying!” You challenge fiercely.
“So be it. Redbeard?”
The Spotter’s ears raise in recognition of his name, ready to receive a command from his master.
A smirk tugs at your brother’s lips, “Attack!” He shouts joyously.
Redbeard bounds over to you, his large front paws supporting his weight on your shoulders as he lands a barrage of kisses over your face. You shriek with laughter and the sword in your hand hits the carpet with a dull thud, as you try to untangle yourself from the onslaught. His slobbery kisses leave a trail across your skin and his wet nose brushes against your forehead. You continue to giggle, soon yielding to his affections, and returning them by stroking him behind the ears, to which you are given a wagging tail of appreciation.
“I love you too, buddy.” You whisper into his fur, before he gently removes his paws from your shoulders and desists with the kisses.
Sherlock clears his throat, and the two of you return your attention to the young commander. “As you failed to surrender and recognise me as Captain Sherlock, you will now be forced…” He pauses for dramatic effect, then thrusts the cutlass into the air as he bellows, “TO WALK THE-”
“ENOUGH!!! Sherlock get down from there and (y/n)… Sherlock what have you done to our sister?!” Mycroft exclaims, anger quickly morphing into concern.
“I’m fine, Myc.” You sigh, clambering to your feet and brushing invisible dust from your trousers. “We were only playing.”
“Yeah, we were only playing, Myc.” Sherlock confirms with a whine, putting specific emphasis on the nickname you both know your brother detests.
“For the last time you two, it’s Mycroft! Sherlock, get off the sofa. It’s a surprise that neither of you are entirely bruised from all this nonsense. And pick those cushions up, too. They’re expensive and some of Mummy’s favourites.” He scolds.
You huff, throwing them back where they belong. “There. All better?” You add with a roll of your eyes, crossing your arms defensively with Redbeard at your side.
“Don’t be smart, (y/n).” Mycroft reprimands harshly.
“Why, because you’re the smart one?” Sherlock bitingly asks.
“I am the smart one… Sherlock why are you still on the sofa?!” He exclaims with exasperation.
“Well I’m not NOW!” He yells, flinging his arms wide with frustration whilst leaping from his vantage point, his knees bending as he makes contact with the ground.
Sherlock glares savagely up at Mycroft, his breathing ragged, both the cutlass and hook gripped so tightly that his knuckles are turning white and his hands are shaking slightly with rage. The air is charged with animosity; the stillness and intensity of the moment causes you to hold your breath whilst Redbeard licks his lips nervously and holds his tail low.
Mycroft breaks the stalemate, somehow managing to keep his voice steady despite his evident anger: “I’ve had enough of you both and your stupidity. My exam is in three days. Your game ends now.”
With the finality of his statement registering on your face and Sherlock’s scowl deepening, Mycroft takes his leave and exits the room, stalking off down the hallway before pointedly slamming his door. The silence that had permeated your playground is quickly broken by Sherlock, who drops the weapons and claps his hands gleefully.
“Well, looks like we’ll just have to find some other source of amusement.” He says lightly.
He glances around the room, assessing whether it offers any suitable distractions. Within a couple of seconds he ascertains that it does not, and proceeds to discard the pirate hat and eye patch. Turning, he holds his hand out towards you, “Mycroft was wrong, (y/n)…” He starts with a smile.
Tearing off your hat, you place your hand in his, a grin adorning your face as you complete his sentence, “Because the game is always on.”
* * * * * * *
A crisp breeze caresses the garden; the meticulously tended rose bushes and cranesbill geraniums along the border quivering in the wind, and the tips of the hollyhocks twist and dance at their majestic height two metres above the ground. Delicate dew droplets garnish the dark violet spires of bloom on the larkspur, glittering like diamonds, still clinging to the morning chill. The watery sun radiates brush strokes of gold in great sweeps across the sky which hangs heavy with prophetic clouds. Beneath them, on the uppermost level of the stile connecting the garden with the meadow, stands Sherlock, gazing at the land beyond and the tumultuous sea of grasses whispering their secrets to the sky.
His herringbone wool coat is securely fastened and purposely hides the navy blue of his school sweatshirt and tie, whilst his laced, black leather shoes are already scuffed, in spite of being newly bought at the start of term. His blue book-bag is discarded beside the wall along with your own. You perch below him on a lower rung of the stile facing the fields, your grey pleated skirt catching slightly in the wind.
“Do you think there’ll be time before school?” You ask.
“Of course, Mycroft is still looking for his tie.” He claps his hands once, then jumps down onto the wooden platform beside you. “Well, let’s get on with it, First Mate.” His tone taking on a darker edge with the delivery of your title.
“I still refuse to recognise you as Captain.” You smile back.
“Arr, but I’m the better pirate, (y/n), and as I have more experience, your mutiny was never going to succeed. Hands behind your back.” He orders.
You oblige, knowing from all the previous occasions that he would never tie your wrists too tight. You hear him remove material from his inner coat pocket and feel the cool polyester glide across your skin before being gently secured into a knot. Sherlock then hops down into the field, searching through the red fescue and perennial rye grass, muttering to himself. He steps carefully, inspecting the denser tufts of grasses alongside the stone wall. He continues his hunt for another minute before reaching down and retrieving part of a small branch, about a foot long.
“This’ll have to do.” He sighs, clambering back up on to the stile so that he once again stands on the wooden board with you, offering in explanation: “He confiscated both cutlasses.”
You nod in understanding as he steps behind you and raises his newly claimed sword to the centre of your back. He softly presses it into your coat, forcing you to take a tentative step forward, whilst making you aware of the fact that escaping your fate is impossible as you near the edge of the platform.
Sherlock clears his throat. “After leading a mutiny aboard my sloop, you, First Mate (y/n), will suffer the ultimate penalty. Below you is one of many oceans, but it is here that you will venture to Davy Jones’s Locker. Today, you will WALK THE PLANK!” He yells with glee.
He prods the branch gently into your back a couple of times. You take a deep breath, bending your knees in preparation for the jump. Quickly scanning the ground nearby for a relatively soft landing, you aim for there, springing from the ledge and shouting “GERONIMO!”
You land on your feet with a thud, before deliberately falling to the floor and rolling to the side into some grass. You lay still for a moment then burst into a fit of giggles with Sherlock quickly joining in your laughter. After throwing the branch off to the side, he comes down to help you up, untying your hands in the process.
“SHERLOCK! (Y/N)!” Your Mother calls.
“OKAY!” You reply in unison.
He quickly grabs your hand and assists you in getting back over the stile. At the top he takes a wistful glance at the meadow, then drops back down into the garden beside you. Collecting your school bags, you both head round the side of the house. Passing by numerous potted plants and stepping over the garden hose that lay curled on the grey paving, you reach the iron gate. Recently painted black and well-oiled, the only sound is the ring of metal as you unlatch it and head to the car.
Your Mother is waiting for you, her eyebrows raised as the two of you sheepishly clamber into the back, but not before she has time to comment on the state of your clothes: “My goodness (y/n), your coat is covered in grass and what on earth have you done to those shoes? They’re almost as bad as Sherlock’s!” She admonishes, shaking her head as you guiltily brush the dirt from your uniform.
She leans inside the car to fasten your seatbelt, then she reaches over and attempts to tame Sherlock’s hair, earning her a pout for her trouble. “Stay in the car while I go and chivvy your brother.” She smiles as she closes the door.
As soon as she has disappeared inside the red house, Sherlock furiously ruffles his curls back into disarray with both hands. An amiable silence descends on the car, which is only punctuated after hearing the distant exchange between your Mother and Mycroft, who it seems is still unable to find his tie. You send Sherlock a questioning look, causing his customary smirk to tug at his lips. With a flick of his wrist he withdraws a bottle green and red striped tie from inside of his coat, which draws out your laughter for a second time that morning. He too begins to chuckle as he replaces the tie securely back in his pocket. Turning to face you, he places a finger against his lips. After you have responded with a nod of your head, he returns his attention to the view outside the window, but not before winking cheekily at you, his nose crinkling cutely as he did so.