Characters: Siger, Sherlock, Dora
Word Count 1,979
Summary: Sherlock and Siger make friends with an inhabitant at the beach house.
Author's notes: Set in the Trio 'verse.
Part two of the 'Siger + small Holmes brother' trio, Sherlock and Siger this time. Mycroft and Siger are here.
“Has anyone seen Sherlock?”
Ah, the age old question. Siger looked up from his work and waited for the response that they had located him.
Surely they couldn't have lost Sherlock in the beach house. It wasn't big enough to lose a child in. There wasn't even a first floor.
No, no answer. Just silence, and then a flurry of activity as the rest of the occupants sprung into action. Siger stood up and made sure Sherlock hadn't slipped into the bedroom when he wasn't looking. He checked the loo as well. No Sherlock. He hurried out to the living room.
Siger had discovered that there was nothing so panic-inducing as the idea that one might have misplaced a child. He worked in a profession where his mistakes would mean the difference between a million people living or a million people dying and that didn't even make him nervous.
Because those one million people weren't his family.
He glanced around the living room. Mycroft was headed for the front door, so he went to the deck. A quick glance was unfruitful, but he forced himself to pause and look carefully. There was a mop of black hair down the beach a little.
“I have him!” he called back into the house, before going to collect Sherlock and possibly kill him. “Sherlock, what are you doing?”
“Looking,” Sherlock replied, unruffled by Siger's ire. “I found a thing.”
Siger crouched down in the sand next to him. Sherlock was watching a small crab scuttle along.
“You saw that from the house?” Siger asked.
“Yes,” Sherlock said. “Where is it going?”
“Home, probably,” Siger said. “If you wanted to look you should have asked permission. It was not good to go out on your own. You've upset your mother.”
“I'm sorry,” Sherlock said, with literally no conviction to it. He moved to keep up with the crab, eyes still glued. “What's its name?”
“Crabs don't have names,” Siger said. “Well, I suppose they might to other crabs. Unless you mean its species, in which case I believe it is a shore crab.”
“Where does it live?” Sherlock asked.
“Around here somewhere, I imagine,” Siger said.
“But where?” Sherlock insisted. “Where is it going? Is it a boy or a girl? What does it eat?”
Siger sighed. “I'll get the encyclopaedia,” he said. “You stay right here, do you understand? If you move, I will be very upset.”
Sherlock nodded and duck-walked a little more to follow the crab. Siger hurried back to the beach house. Dora was watching them from the living room, Trevelyan in his sling at her front, pawing at her necklace.
“What's going on?” Dora asked.
“Crabs,” Siger said. He went over to the bookshelves and selected the appropriate volume of the encyclopaedia. The fact that the Mycroft family chose to keep an updated version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica at what was essentially a holiday home was proof to Siger that he had married into the proper clan. “I could bring him in, but—”
“He'll just go out again,” Dora said. “Yes. We'll have a discussion about asking permission later on.”
Siger put the book under his arm and went back out to catch up with Sherlock, not as angry as he probably should be about Sherlock's talent for escapology. He found passing on knowledge to Sherlock was the best--and often only--way to connect with him. He wasn't like Mycroft. He lived very much in his own world, and Siger found it much harder to penetrate than with Mycroft, who was always happy to accommodate him when he tried to enter. Sherlock communicated with questions and not with statements. He didn't just say how he felt or what he wanted to do, he challenged you to demonstrate you were worthy first. It was rather like Dora on Siger's first few dates with her, where he could tell he was being measured. Sherlock hadn't yet decided if Siger was worthy or not.
“All right,” Siger said. “Let's learn about crabs.” He leafed through the pages until he found the right one. “Carcinus maenas, AKA the shore crab or the European Green Crab—”
“It's not green,” Sherlock objected, with an indignant point toward the crab. “It's brown.”
“Perhaps the person who named it was colour-blind,” Siger suggested.
“What's colour-blind?” Sherlock demanded.
“When you mistake one colour for another because the cones in your eyes are missing or undeveloped,” Siger said.
This led to a question about cones, and it was some time before they came back to the subject of crabs once again. Only after Sherlock had listed possibly every single person he had ever met and established whether they were colour-blind or not.
“The colour of the C. Maenas can vary greatly,” Siger went on, a bit pointedly, as, if they had read this next sentence, they would have saved five minutes of speculation. “Due to genetic factors, or local environmental factors. Crab which delay or resist moulting may be more red than green.”
“What's moulting?” Sherlock demanded.
Once they had established what moulting was and whether or not anyone they knew moulted, they carried on.
If someone had told Siger that fatherhood would at some point involve reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica aloud to his son while walking down a beach in France, chasing a crab, he would—well, he would be relieved that it involved less bodily fluid and crying than he had imagined, actually.
Sherlock crawled along with the crab—whom Siger thought was probably as confused by this event as he himself was—and watched it, asking his questions and testing to see what would happen if he put a stick in the crab's path (the crab scuttled over it) or a rock (the crab scuttled around it). Siger dissuaded touching of the crab, for fear of having to return to Dora with a pinched toddler, but otherwise let him experiment and answered his questions as best he could.
“Female c. maenas carry an egg sack on their stomachs in which they keep their young until they are born,” Siger read. “'Young' means their babies.”
“Like Mummy,” Sherlock said. “For Trevvy-lyn.”
Siger chuckled at that thought. He didn't think Dora would appreciate her uterus being referred to as an egg sack. “Mummy has more of an egg tube,” he said. Sherlock's eyebrows raised in interest, and Siger realized this wasn't an area in which they needed to explore just yet. “But the principle is the same, yes.”
Sherlock crawled onwards. Siger wasn't sure where this crab was heading, but he hoped it arrived soon, as the book was not exactly a beach novel to haul around with him.
“Mummy is no fun now,” Sherlock announced.
Siger employed the old 'ask a question' technique. “Oh?”
“No,” Sherlock said, grumpily. “She's busy. Trevvy-lyn is stupid. I don't like him.”
“I see,” Siger said. “I'm sure he'll get more interesting as he gets older. You weren't very interesting either.”
Sherlock looked up in great insult. “I was so interesting!"
“Were you?” Siger said. “Do you remember?”
“No,” Sherlock admitted.
“Then you don't know,” Siger said. “All babies are extremely boring. You aren't boring now, however.”
Sherlock was soothed by that. “I wanted a puppy,” he said. “Not a brother.”
“Yes, I know,” Siger said. No one who knew him would be unaware of this. His campaign to get a puppy had been a vigorous one and included petitioning both sets of grandparents, something that could only be described as a sit-in, and a refusal to draw anything but puppies for a full fortnight. “But a puppy would not be as interesting as a brother in the long run.”
“Is your brother interesting?” Sherlock asked.
“I don't have a brother,” Siger said. “Or a sister.”
“Why not?” Sherlock asked.
“Presumably because my parents realized the combining of their genes was a terrible idea and having successfully created a child who somehow miraculously had a brain and an ability to see outside the box, decided not to tempt fate again,” Siger said. “...Don't tell Mummy I said that.”
Sherlock made no promises. “I wanted to name the baby Redbeard."
“Yes, Sherlock, I know,” Siger said. “But Redbeard is not a baby name.”
“Is it a crab name?” Sherlock asked.
“Yes, it's a very good crab name, I should think,” Siger said. He headed off the next question at the pass, “you cannot keep the crab as a pet. We don't remove anything alive from its home. It disturbs the ecosystem. Redbeard will live here.”
“What's a ecosystem?” Sherlock asked.
“An ecosystem,” Siger said. “Is the place where something lives and all the plants and animals that depend on it for survival.”
“Like a family?” Sherlock asked.
“Yes, somewhat,” Siger said.
“Does it have a mummy?” Sherlock asked.
“I'm sure it does, but it doesn't live with her anymore,” Siger said.
Sherlock contemplated this. “Does it have a brother?”
“I've no idea,” Siger said. “But I doubt it.”
This seemed to make up Sherlock's mind. “I want to be a crab,” he said.
“Well, you're well on your way, personality-wise,” Siger said.
Sherlock looked at him as though he knew he'd been insulted, but wasn't sure precisely how. Siger had Dora's disapproving glare aimed at him. He chuckled, and Sherlock flicked a small smile back.
Onwards they ventured, until Siger had run out of crab facts to share. Sherlock stayed focussed on Redbeard and, finally, Siger could see a little tide pool ahead of them. He hoped that was where Redbeard lived.
“Do you have fun with Mummy now?” Sherlock asked.
Siger was fairly certain Sherlock hadn't meant the kind of fun to which Siger's mind had jumped. Siger was very ambivalent about that kind of fun. He was willing to participate but just as happy to go without. He liked Dora for her mind, and she still had that, even with a newborn in the house. Granted, she was a bit scattered and overly tired, but he still got what he wanted out of her, which was conversation and a bit of a challenge.
“Yes,” Siger said. “Mummy and I have a lot of fun, still.”
“She wasn't fun before,” Sherlock said. “Because she was big and grumpy.” He made a gesture to indicate how very big and grumpy Dora had been. “I liked it when she was just my mummy.”
“Babies need a lot of attention,” Siger said. “So we all have to get a little less attention.”
“Maybe we could send Trevvy-lyn back,” Sherlock said, hopefully. “And get a puppy. I would pay attention to him.”
“No, I'm afraid we're quite stuck with Trevelyan,” Siger said.
“That's what Mummy says,” Sherlock said.
“What about when I pay attention to you, is that acceptable?” Siger asked.
Sherlock thought about this. “It's not as good,” he said. “But I like it.”
“Well, I have a whole week where Mummy is making me stay here,” Siger said.
“Why?” Sherlock asked.
“I don't know, it's something grown-ups think is good for us,” Siger said. “But I'll have some time to pay attention to you if you'd like.”
Sherlock sat back on his heels to contemplate this. “You would be okay."
Glowing praise indeed. The crab climbed up into the tide pool, and Sherlock crawled up to watch him. Then his eyes moved over the rest of the pool and his face lit up as though all his Christmases had come at once. His eyes were the size of saucers and couldn't seem to move fast enough to take in all the things going on.
“Will you pay attention to me now?” he asked, excitedly.
Siger crouched down. “Yes,” he said. “But we're going to have to have a system. I can only carry one book at a time.”