Almost every evening, without fail, my friend takes my paw and runs down the grand staircase. I swing by his side and the air whooshes through my fur and tickles my tummy. If I had a mouth I would say to my friend, "Again, again!" but I am a teddy bear and cannot speak. We reach the bottom and he takes us to a large room with two tall windows. Books line shelves and there is a heavy wooden, polished desk in front of the windows with stacks of abandoned paper upon it.
We stop in the centre of the room and he slowly turns around. He still is holding my paw and as the room spins, I can see the spines of the books. Some are more intact than others – one doesn't even have a spine! Eventually my friend's gaze has landed on his book of choice so he sets me down and makes sure I don't fall. He pats my head and moves away. I can see him from the corner of my eye as he stands on a chair and reaches up high to collect the book. He pulls it down and comes back over to me. He sits down beside me and opens the book. Dust fills the air and he sneezes.
The book is a huge, grassy green one with half a spine. I listen to him flicking the pages. "Ah, this is the bit I was looking at, Teddy," he says. Maybe I should point out now that my name is Teddy since that's what my friend's mummy chose to call me. I like my name and – oh, he's talking again. "Do you remember this bit?"
I have to admit that I don't.
"No, I didn't think so," and he tilts the book so that the pages are visible to me too. There's a picture of a grown-up in a suit. He looks overstuffed, like one of my friend's other teddy bears. "Winston Churchill," he reminds me.
I remain unmoved. I remember now, though, what we were reading about yesterday. You see, my friend is becoming extremely interested in something called 'politics'. As a teddy bear, I don't care much for it.
"When I grow up, I would love to be a politician," announces Mycroft. He sounds excited. "Can you imagine? I could be like Winston Churchill!" Looking at the picture now, I can hardly share in his enthusiasm. He doesn't have a cigar for a start. But I suppose, as he is my friend, he would make a good government-person.
Before he asks me for my further opinion we are interrupted by a call of, "Mycroft?" from outside the room.
My friend turns to stare at the door and replies, "In here, Mummy." My friend's mummy walks in with a grin on her face. She always knows that we're here but hardly ever interrupts us so something important must have happened. She comes to a stop in front of us and mirrors my friend's pose by sitting in front of him and crossing her legs like a child. I have never seen a grown-up sit like that before. She puts her elbows on her knees and rests her chin on her hands. Even sitting down, she is very tall. But then all grown-ups are.
She asks, "What are you reading, sweetheart?"
My friend closes the green book and the dust flies once again, a few specks landing on my shiny black nose. He holds up the cover for her to see. "Father's book on politics. It's very interesting." She nods, brown hair bouncing up and down.
"My little politician," she says proudly. Takes a deep breath and adds, "I've got some news for you."
"What is it?" Mycroft asks, raising an eyebrow in curiosity.
Mycroft's mummy exhales, looks him in the eye and says, "You're going to have a little brother or sister…"
Over the following months the reading material changes from politics to maternity. There are no books in the study on the subject so my friend is forced to borrow a few from the library. We sit together in the middle of the study one day with a pile of unread books in front of us. He picks up the first one and flicks to the first page. "The human male…" he begins, but rapidly trails off. His mouth drops open and I am denied the end of the sentence. Mycroft's face is one of absolute horror, so perhaps I should be grateful. He abruptly shuts the book.
He looks at me. I look at him.
We don't read any of the others.
Every time I see Mummy she's that little bit bigger. Her tummy's growing and no matter how many times I try to explain to her that she is becoming overstuffed, she just pats my head and leaves me in Mycroft's room with an explanation of, "Mycroft's at school."
It happens every day. I want to sit on the kitchen table and wait for my friend to come back, but she grabs me around my tummy and carries me upstairs. But one day when it's really too hot for me on the kitchen table and I'm for once looking forward to going upstairs, she sits down at the table with a cup of coffee and a chocolate bar. Her tummy is now bigger than the expensive vase in the front hall and she could probably use it for a table, but I don't mention this.
She has a guilty look on her face as she rips the chocolate's wrapper open, setting it to one side. "Let's not mention this to Rodger, shall we?" she whispers to me. She finishes the chocolate incredibly quickly but breaks a little piece off of the end and sets it on the table beside me. "For Mycroft."
She doesn't take me upstairs anymore and seems to make a big deal out of moving at all. Overstuffed, that's all I'm saying.
Mycroft and I are in his bedroom one night when his father bursts in. "You've got a brother!" he says, wild. "A brother!" Nanny comes in, frowning in confusion.
"What's all the noise? What's going on?" she asks, adding, "Sir," when she spots Father.
"A boy!" he replies.
We are taken to the hospital which is a very white place. In one room of many, there lies my friend's mummy, fast asleep. Mycroft holds my paw as his father leads us in. He turns to us and mouths, 'Shh.' We tip-toe over to a box on wheels. On blankets, also asleep, is—
"That's a baby," states Mycroft simply. He holds me up so I can see inside the box.
His father nods. "Your baby brother." He rubs his finger along the baby's cheek gently – which startles me because usually he's quite a rough fellow. He nearly tore one of my ears off once – Nanny had to give me some extra stitches. "Do you know what we're calling him?"
"No," he says. While Mycroft is talking I place my paw on the edge of the box. At this, the baby opens his eyes. A striking blue they are, even when he's just appeared, a blue which rivals the blue of the ribbon around my neck. He sees us and begins to gurgle.
"We're calling him…"
The gurgling grows louder and I wish to cover my ears. My friend and I never did finish that baby book, but he did tell me that babies can be very loud. Sure enough, the wailing begins. Mycroft's mummy jerks awake. Father winces. Mycroft stares at the screaming baby.
And suddenly I'm moving, being laid down on a soft blanket beside a wriggling warm thing. I'm set down beside the baby's head. And two blue eyes are staring at me. The room falls silent again.
Father finishes, in a whisper as not to wake the baby again, "We're calling him Sherlock."