Hello, everyone! Please enjoy this fluffy update to make up for my being a sucky updater. =/
Also, I just wanted to let you all know that sometimes I miss notifications that you have reviewed on my story. So if I do not respond to you, please do not take offense; I promise I am not ignoring you! ;D I just don't always get notified when someone reviews, which always bothers me, because it's very important to me to take the time to respond to as many reviews as I can. So, even if it may take me two years, I will try to eventually respond to your reviews! I do love reading them and they provide such wonderful and reassuring encouragement, so thank you! =)
I hope you enjoy! And, as always, you all have my utmost respect and love for following this story as long and as diligently as you have!
P.S. Also, just for imagery purposes (this is more for me when I'm writing), I've imagined in my mind that Sherlock got Hamish a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. YOU are free to imagine whatever type of dog you want, but I just thought I would let you all know what kind of a dog I have in mind when I write about the little pup. =)
Chapter Fifty-Eight: New Addition
"A puppy!" Hamish gasped, tugging the tiny animal close. "A puppy! Oh, Daddy!"
Clearly quite surprised by such excitement, but enjoying it nonetheless, the tiny, tan and white-colored puppy eagerly licked one of Hamish's flushed cheeks. The little boy gasped at the sensation. "Is soft, Daddy! Not like Toby."
"You're quite right," Sherlock chuckled in agreement, "Toby's tongue is far more rough."
"Hmm." Cuddling the puppy close, Hamish rested his check against the side of the dog's face. Enjoying the warm and close contact, the puppy lapped at the little boy's nose, panting in happiness. "Tanks you, Daddy!"
"You're most welcome, Hamish. Though it's not really me you should be thanking. Your Uncle Mycroft is the one who got the little creature."
Hamish turned his gaze to the government official in question. "Did get?"
With a gasp and gulp of breath, Hamish stood and set the puppy on top of his father's shoes-much to the detective's rather obvious dismay. This went unnoticed, however, as Hamish then rushed over to Mycroft, who promptly lifted the little boy into his arms. "Tanks you, Uncle Myc," Hamish mumbled into the government' official's collar.
"You're most certainly welcome, my boy," Mycroft replied with a smile and a pat to the little boy's back.
After a few more moments of the embrace, however, Hamish mumbled, "Okay. I can get down now. Tanks you."
Mycroft obliged with a smile.
Now free of his Uncle's arms, Hamish hurried back over to the puppy. It appeared the little animal had attempted to follow Hamish when he'd left to hug Mycroft. As a result, Sherlock was now crouching down, holding the puppy in place with a single hand. "Well, we've got to think of a name for him, haven't we?" the detective asked, releasing the dog from his gentle grasp.
"Oh!" Hamish gasped, having just come to the same realization. "'Es..." Rather perplexed, Hamish, quite intensely thinking, sat down, barely noticing the puppy pawing at his arms. "I d'nt know, Daddy..."
"Well..." Sitting down and scooting closer, Sherlock petted the dog. "Maybe we'll have to think on it for a few days, and then it'll come to us, yes?"
Agreeing, Hamish stood and then passed the puppy to his father.
"Oh... Thank you," Sherlock answered, trying to hold the eager animal — and his tongue — away from his suit.
"Well, I'd best be off, I think," Mycroft sighed with a twirl of his cane. "You're all set, then?" he asked with the slightest hint of a smirk.
Lips quirking into an annoyed line, Sherlock rolled his eyes in assent. "Quite."
"Very well, then. Farewell, Hamish. Enjoy your new pet, lad. I'll see you quite soon, I'm sure."
"G-bye Uncle Myc." Abandoning his father with the puppy, Hamish toddled over to his uncle, wrapped his arms around the government official's legs, and then waved goodbye as he disappeared down the stairs.
Smiling down at his son, Sherlock pulled off his Belstaff and, after abandoning it on the couch, took a seat on the floor. "We'll need a name for the little guy, won't we?"
"Oh! 'Es, we 'ill..." Furrowing his brows together, Hamish absentmindedly patted the eager little puppy as he mused. "I dun't know, Daddy." A shrug.
"That's quite alright," the detective chuckled. "There's plenty of time for that."
"Oh. M'bye John can help... I can'ts wait until John come home," Hamish stated in delight, petting the puppy with chubby fingers.
Sherlock raised a brow. "I can, Hamish. I can most certainly wait."
"You bought him a puppy?"
"He was very upset about Toby, John," Sherlock huffed in explanation.
"Again. So you bought him a bloody puppy?"
Frown deepening, Sherlock scowled at his flat mate. "Why are you so upset?"
"Because, Sherlock, that is not how parenting works; when a child is upset over something, you don't just buy him something else to make up for it! That is what will teach him that if he throws fits, he'll get whatever he wants. In addition, our lifestyle is not conducive to a living animal, nor do we have the living space for a puppy! You know Mrs. Hudson doesn't allow pets."
"I've already planned for that," Sherlock explained hurriedly, brushing away John's comment with a wave of his fingers.
"Oh? And how's that exactly?" Eyebrows raised high and arms crossed over his chest, John's lips pressed into a thin line.
"None of your concern."
"Ah, ah, ah. Nope. Not doing that. Tell me."
A sigh. "I'm going to have Hamish do it," Sherlock mumbled under his breath.
Lips parting just slightly and brows stitching together, John raised his eyes to the ceiling and muttered, "Again?"
"Oh, you heard me!"
John chuckled humorlessly. "You're going to have Hamish guilt Mrs. Hudson into letting us keep the dog?"
"Well, it does sound a tad bit awful when you put it like that."
John shook his head. "You're absolutely, completely, bloody unbelievable!"
"Am I, though, John? I mean is this really so far-fetched for me?" Sherlock asked with a raised brow. "In fact, by your own allegations, this seems remarkably believable for me."
"And that's what's so ruddy ridiculous," John huffed.
It turned out that guilting Mrs. Hudson via Hamish was the perfect way to allow the little boy to keep the dog. After catching sight of Hamish cuddling the small animal—whose name had eventually been whittled down to Gladstone—the landlady had swayed, only upon stating that caring for the dog would never be her responsibility.
"Absolutely, Mrs. Hudson. I will personally tend to the dog," Sherlock promised with a warm smile.
"John!" Sherlock called from where he was seated at his microscope, "the dog needs walking."
"Wha-? No! Absolutely not!" John cried, throwing down his morning newspaper. "Absolutely not. I've been walking him since you decided to get him. You know the park is quite a long ways away!"
"Tired. Not my turn."
"What's not, John?" Hamish asked, having just exited his room, arms full of newly-bought dog toys.
"I was just trying to explain to your father that, as I have walked the dog many times, it is only fair that he walk the dog now."
"Oh. 'Es. Tat make sense," Hamish concluded with an agreeable nod.
"No," Sherlock's voice rumbled in from the kitchen. "Case."
"Oh," Hamish stated once again. Abandoning his toys, the little boy toddled over to John, who had the puppy's little leash in hand. "How 'bouts 'tis, John," he compromised, holding onto the doctor's leg. "John walks ah puppy tuy-day and 'ten Daddy does uh-morrow?"
Smiling down at his little and kind-hearted flat mate, John fondly rolled his eyes. "Fine," he sighed playfully. "But this is the last time," the doctor added, shooting a glare in Sherlock's direction. "Want to come?"
There was a simultaneous response: "Yes!" and "No."
John rolled his eyes. "I wasn't talking to you Sherlock."
"Mmm," the detective grumbled in response, twirling the knobs on the microscope.
Rolling his eyes and with a bit more force than was necessary, John snatched the leash from where it had been discarded on the couch and then approached the little puppy.
"Here, John. I hold him still." Abandoning the doggy toys, Hamish hurried over to the excitable little puppy and attempted to hold him still. "Gadstone!" he gasped when the little animal attempted to jump into his arms. "No, Gadstone! We needs ah go for a walk!"
With a smile at his flustered little flat mate, John quickly hooked the leash into Gladstone's matching collar and then clicked his tongue, signalling it was time to go. The puppy bounded towards the stairs, pausing at the top of them; the little pup had not quite gotten the hang of them yet. Holding Hamish's fingers with one hand, the doctor scooped up the little puppy with the other and then toted both down the stairs.
Having arrived at the park, John spotted a close bench, situated right in the sunlight; perfect for a chillier day like this. Clicking his tongue so as to get Gladstone's attention, the doctor led the little puppy over to the bench, with Hamish trailing close behind.
Holding the leash by a few fingers, John allowed the little puppy to explore the grass around the bench and then took a seat.
"Oof! John, I needs help, 'ease," Hamish groaned as he tried—and failed—to hop his way onto the green bench.
"Of course." Laughing, John resituated the leash and then hoisted his little flat mate onto the bench next to him. "Good?"
"Yes," Hamish sighed, as if exhausted.
John watched fondly as the little boy smoothed out his small jeans, brushing a few particles of dirt away, and then fixated his gaze on Gladstone. After a few moments, the doctor tapped Hamish on the shoulder and then nodded to the dog. "Would you care to hold the leash?"
"Oh, yes 'ease!" Opening both palms toward the doctor, Hamish tensed his little fingers in preparation for the leash.
"There you go." John transferred the black leash to Hamish's own little hands.
"Oh! Is very heavy, John," the little boy sighed in amazement. "But Gadstone is so l'ttle, John."
"Well, he is very little now. But he's going to grow and get bigger, and when he does, we'll need a big enough leash to hold him. So we're just planning ahead, you see."
"Oh. Tat makes sense," Hamish agreed with a nod of his head. "Okay. I gots him."
"Yes you do. We'll wait here a little while longer and then we'll head back, yes?"
A hand draped lazily over the back of the bench, John sat, his much-smaller flat mate seated next to him. The doctor couldn't help but smile at the way Hamish's small little legs didn't even come close to reaching the ground below the bench.
The two sat in silence for several moments. It was soon broken by a question, "John?"
"Why Daddy not does like Gadstone?"
The doctor glanced fondly at the animal in question and then back at Hamish, who was gazing up at him with wide eyes. "Oh, I think he does. He just doesn't know it yet. You see, Hamish, I know this is rather difficult to understand now, but your father is a peculiar man; it's very hard to understand what he's thinking. And frankly, I think that's how he prefers it. Either way, the point I'm trying to make is that sometimes it may seem like your father thinks one thing when he's actually thinking quite the opposite." The doctor squinted his eyes. "Does that make much sense?"
A breath. "Um… No, John," Hamish answered earnestly.
"Right. Well… Oh! When your father was little, he actually had a dog, himself. Did you know that?"
"Really! His name was Redbeard. So he's got a soft spot in his heart somewhere for dogs. You should ask him about it sometime. Maybe you can get him to open up more than I can."
"Tanks you, John." Turning his attention back to Gladstone, Hamish took a big breath and then shouted, quite loudly, "Gaaaaaadstooooone! It time to gooooo!"
Wincing just slightly and ignoring the stares from passersby, John whistled, also calling the little pup over. "There's a good job. Go on, Hamish. Give him a pet." The little boy gleefully obliged.
By the time John returned to the flat, he was carrying both Hamish and Gladstone, with the puppy in his arms and Hamish on his back. Realizing the little boy had fallen asleep, John placed Gladstone on the floor, as he could go up the stairs quite well on his own, and then followed the eager puppy up to the flat. He was greeted by a pacing Sherlock. The detectgive paused briefly, glanced towards the doctor's legs and then frowned.
Knowing what his friend was wondering, John obligingly turned around.
"Ah," Sherlock mumbled in understand. He resumed his quick pacing. "Good walk, then."
"Yes. Sorry you missed it."
The detective shot his friend a disapproving glare.
"I'll take him up to his room."
After toting Hamish up to his room and tucking him in, John returned to Sherlock's pacing form and then took a seat in his own chair. "Good case, then?'
"Good, good… Need any help?"
"Not at the moment. Could you please shut up? I need to think."
"No. By the way, Hamish thinks you don't like Gladstone."
A pause. Brows quirked in confusion, Sherlock's lips drew down to form an expression that asked, "Why would he think a thing like that?"
"Oh, I don't know, Sherlock, maybe because you show virtually no interest in the poor thing, you refuse to take him for walks, and you've been so busy working this bloody case that you've barely left your microscope in the last seventy-two hours."
With a slow and careful blink, Sherlock lowered his hands from his lips. "I see," he rumbled, taking a seat in his own chair. "I must admit I… it had not occurred to me that perhaps Hamish thought I was neglecting the dog."
"Yes, perhaps a good place to start would be to refer to the animal by its name," John suggested with a raised brow.
There was a sudden loud chirping. Realizing it was his phone, John pulled the device out and then squinted at the message. A sigh.
"Called in?" Sherlock asked with a raised brow.
"Yep," John sighed, tucking the mobile back in his pocket. "Overflow of patients, too many staff out sick. I'll be back, then. Probably late."
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Very well. I'll... take care of the dog, then." Upon receiving a distinct glare from his flat mate, Sherlock corrected with a sigh, "I'll take care of Gladstone."
"Very nice." Coat in hand, John made to step towards the door, but then paused. Sticking his head back through the door, the doctor added," By the way, just so you know in case it comes up, I did mention Redbeard to Hamish earlier today."
"You what?" Sherlock whispered, the word flying off his tongue as he spun to face the doctor.
Taken aback by the detective's abrupt response, John frowned. "I told Hamish… that you had a dog once before." The doctor hesitated. "Is that a problem?"
Sherlock hastened towards the doctor. "How on earth did you—" A sigh. "Mycroft."
Rolling his eyes, Sherlock began to knead several fingers into his temple. "That was not his secret to tell," the detective murmured, voice just a low rumble.
Eyeing his friend, John took a step back into the flat. "It's not a secret, Sherlock. It's not some great undercover mystery you've got to keep to yourself. You had a pet once and you cared about him. It's not something to be ashamed of, it's—"
"Human, Sherlock. It's human to get attached, to get emotional. It's human to have feelings. I don't understand why you're so opposed to these human experiences."
"Because, John, that is when people get hurt, when they make mistakes. Human nature, or rather my opposition to it, is the reason I'm able to function as I do; it is one of many tools at my disposal that makes me subjective in my investigations. The moment I let human nature take over is the moment I lose a case; the moment a murder gets away; the moment another innocent is murdered. And that is unacceptable." Sherlock's steel blue gaze bore into the doctor's own. "That, John, is why I am so opposed to human experiences."
Holding his friend's gaze, John took a breath and then delivered a calm response, "Well, thank goodness you've found enough humanity in your heart for Hamish."
With a saddened smile, John quirked his lips down and then disappeared through the door.
After waiting a few moments in the silence that now filled the flat, Sherlock squeezed his eyes shut. "Damn it," he muttered, kneading several fingers into his temple. The detective mentally scolded himself; he should have known John would never understand his opposition to human nature. I also probably should not have been as defensive about Redbeard as I was. Even at the thought of the beloved pet's name, Sherlock felt a wave of both calm and sadness wash over him. The detective shook away the feeling. It is exactly those emotions and feelings that cloud judgement.
Sherlock's scolding was interrupted, however, by a small pawing by his feet. Fingers still tense against his skin, the detective glanced down and found Gladstone panting up at him, two small paws propping the little puppy up.
Sherlock frowned as he stared at the tiny animal. "Oh, fine." Rolling his eyes, the detective obliged the little puppy's persistent pawing. Wrapping his two large hands around the white puppy's torso, Sherlock lifted, rather surprised at how light the animal was.
Now face to face with excitable pup, Sherlock squinted as he sized the animal up. "Well, you're quite a small little thing, aren't you?" In response, Gladstone stretched his small body as far as his spine would allow him in a desperate and futile attempt to lick the detective's face.
"Ah, ah. No. No licking." Sherlock raised a cautionary brow, as if Gladstone would understand. Never one to be discouraged, however, the little puppy merely settled for the next best thing: Sherlock's fingers.
Lips quirking into a disdainful frown, Sherlock placed the puppy back on the ground. "Well, that's quite enough of that, thank you." With long and precise strides, the detective headed back into the kitchen and once again took a seat at his microscope; he was determined to crack this case by the end of the hour. With one foot on the bottom of the stool and the other resting against the floor, Sherlock soon forgot about Gladstone.
Still persistent, Gladstone tumbled his way over the kitchen (the little puppy had not quite gotten the hang of his own legs yet, it seemed). With a small whine, Gladstone nuzzled his nose against the foot Sherlock had set on the ground. When this went unnoticed, the little puppy continued his whining, but began to paw at the detective's trousers.
Noticing the sensation, Sherlock rolled his eyes, and then glared down at Gladstone. "What? What on earth could you possibly..." Big, black, and pleading eyes stared back at him, and suddenly Sherlock was no longer looking at little Gladstone, but he was looking at his own puppy—at Redbeard.
Lips parted just slightly, the detective stared down at the little animal, his gaze softening with each passing moment. As the image of Redbeard slowly transformed back into Gladstone, Sherlock inhaled. "Very well, then." Reaching down, the detective pulled Gladstone onto his lap. "But you'd better not make a fuss."
As if to say don't worry, I won't, Gladstone spun himself in an wobbly circle (Sherlock's thighs were not the sturdiest ground, after all) and then plopped himself down on the detective's legs.
With tentative fingers and a cautious gaze, Sherlock ran several slender fingers over Gladstone's little back. The puppy responded by closing his eyes and promptly falling asleep. Sherlock couldn't help but chuckle when the little thing started to snore, the sound high and light. "I suppose you won't be too horridly unbearable. Well, not all of the time, anyway... There's a good boy." Removing his hand from where it had been resting atop Gladstone's back, Sherlock carefully resumed his position at the microscope. "Very good boy, Gladstone."