The Holmes boys, they say, too pretty for their own good, and too smart for their own good. The dark haired one, they say, a little too sinister, and the red haired one a little too quiet.
Mycroft paid no mind to the remarks from his fellow villagers. He had always found himself drawn to the woods, while his little brother was fascinated by the secrets of people.
Nature, Mycroft found, gave him a mixture of dangerous excitement and awe. The scent of wet dirt and fresh grass intoxicating, sent waves of thrilling sensations when he breathed it in.
Nature had its set of rules, too. Just as the rules made by men in their little society, the rules set by nature herself were sometimes deemed too cruel in the eyes of the feeble, and over the years Mycroft learned them the hard way. He grew stronger, and played her games with a passion. Where he lacked in strength, he made up for with his intelligence. The traps that he laid, as years went by, were increasingly intricate and all the more powerful. His parents praised him often, when he brought in what he caught - always some miserable small animals, sent to a quick death under his design.
Although Mummy would always remind him to be cautious, for there are wolves out there in the woods.
It was in the woods that Mycroft discovered that he was not exactly kind, but not without mercy, either.
It was in the woods that he learned a sense of reverence for all life, innocent and heinous alike.
When the weather turned warm in early spring, Mycroft, somewhere over seventeen years of age by then, had discovered someone was stealing from him - A fox, perhaps, he first thought. Each day he began to find traces of his games wrenched out of his trappings. As days went on, however, he noticed footprints. Human ones. Mycroft had attempted to track them but to no avail.
The mystery kept Mycroft's mind turning for several nights, until one morning he brought from home some bread and a bowl of porridge into the woods, and laid the food out where he last spotted traces of the thief.
When Mycroft returned a few hours later, he found the bread gone, and the bowl empty. He knew not who the person was, but believed he had got himself a friend.
On that day, Mycroft set out for the huntsman’s shed in the afternoon. The man was almost twice his age, between him and Mycroft they shared something of a carnal nature.
It was with the huntsman that Mycroft first learned to wield a knife, to skin a prey; and it was with the huntsman that he first learned about lust.
The huntsman always told Mycroft he was a boy in need of a lesson - a lesson about brute force and compliance, about meekness and shame - something Mycroft never really felt too keen to learn, but he was usually good at pretending to be humble.
Mycroft knocked thrice, and the little wooden door opened with a squeak. The dark haired man gave him a glance from head to toe, then a cautious glance that passed Mycroft’s shoulder into the woods.
Mycroft was let in, with an eager hand landing on the back of his neck, and a door abruptly shut behind him. The hand then shifted to his shoulder, suddenly too heavy for his youthful frame to bear.
“Well? What are you waiting for?” Mycroft heard the man ask.
He felt the hand pressed him down until his legs gave in, another hand yanked his hair so hard he stumbled forward, his scalp numb with pain. Mycroft reached for the ties on the garment.
The man was half erect already. Freed from his trousers, the purplish member dangled before Mycroft’s face.
“Oooh you like that don’t you, you little slut.” Mycroft heard the man growl above him as a wet line of salt was pushed across his tongue.
Mycroft did not reply. He guess he did crave for the feeling of wiry hair against his lips and how the foreign flesh with each thrust closed his throat. They seldom kissed. He was never held. This - was all he ever knew, and he had learned to do a damn good job of it, he knows.
Through gritted teeth, the man told Mycroft to take it. As Mycroft cupped the man’s cooler testicles in his palm, Mycroft hoped that today was one of the better days, and after this he would be rewarded with his neck pinned against the wall by an arm and his orgasm rubbed out by a calloused hand.
He felt himself being pulled away. A thumb hooked around the corner of his mouth, the edge of a nail scratched against his molars.
He looked up, confused, for the man had not come yet.
“Well, I think it’s about time, don’t you?” The man said.
Mycroft did not understand. When he was turned toward the bed, he did not resist, and when his face was pushed to the mattress by a shove at the back of his head, he did not complain. Something new, he thought, different, and like many times before, he never has a say in how it proceeds.
The man had told him that first time, “Don’t whine about it, you’ll learn to like it.”
His knees were on the floor; his hip bones collided with the hard edge of the bed frame. Mycroft was drowsy in the dull aches under a rough hand, stayed silent until suddenly he was engulfed in a flare of pain - stiff, foriegn flesh plunging into him like a burning rod of iron - then he was awake, eyes wide open in his own nightmare.
- the sharpness, the shock of it, that nauseating dread of being seized, pierced through the spine and ripped to pieces - that moment when a beast hears nothing but its last instinct ringing between the ears before it bolts in absolute horror beneath the claws of the attacker.
“I can’t do it. You ought to stop.” Mycroft had pleaded. He was ignored. At first he did not think the pain would get worse, then he heard the horrible noises that came out of his own mouth and realized he was wrong.
Anticipating Myroft to struggle, the hand on his back forced him down so hard he felt as if his spine might snap in half. Mycroft tried to wrench himself free from the weight above him, his body jerked once, it was no use; twice, he slipped free from the hold --- he flung his arm backwards and felt his elbow made impact with an eye socket. The man growled behind him angrily while Mycroft got back on his feet and attempted to run past his attacker. He did not get very far, before his shirt was grasped from behind and the air whoosh past him as he lost balance and fell on his back.
His head had hit something solid, and then the weight of a man was on him again - together the cursing, the fists, landed on his face as snort and tears began to dry tight on his cheek.
Mycroft was not so aware of when or how the intruder had entered the scene. All he managed to make out behind the tears in his swollen eyes was a shadow that leaped onto the huntsman, knocking the man across the room.
The two figures struggled on the floor, but Mycroft could only make out the screaming and cursing from one man. The other figure he saw - as he dragged his trembling limbs behind a pile of furniture and looked back - was a snarling, giant, grey wolf.
The huntsman had grabbed a small knife from somewhere and drove it across the wolf’s forelimb. The beast whimpered as it jumped away, retreating to the corner of the room and growled at the man as it stepped around slowly in a circle, cowering, ears flat.
The huntsman, with his face and body covered in fresh wounds and knees shaking, had his knife at the ready.
Then the wolf pounced first, this time aiming straight at the man’s throat.
It took a little less than a second. The huntsman fell to the ground like a tree, an arm twitching as blood pooled around his shoulder, then all was silent.
Mycroft watched, as the wolf released the man’s throat and glanced up at him - with a pair of cold, golden eyes - as the sun started to slip below the horizon.
Blood was congealing on the wolf’s snout; blood had stained the animal’s entire chest; Blood was the colour of the last light, from underneath the clouds through the window, spilling over every inch of this room.
When the wolf moved, Mycroft was ready to fend for his life, but then he realized it wasn’t exactly moving, not really.
It was shifting.
That bloody snout had shrunk into its skull, and that coat of fur had begun to disappear.
And so, bathed in the crimson twilight, the wolf had morphed into a human - a boy - not so far from Mycroft’s own age.
All the fur gone from the boy’s body, Mycroft could see he was clearly injured - there was a long, deep cut from his naked shoulder to his elbow - and as the boy stumbled and collapsed onto the bed, the blood gushed out, running from his forearm to the tip of his fingers.
The wolf boy turned his head toward Mycroft, and spoke, “Check on him.”
Mycroft blinked back.
“Go check on him, see if he’s still breathin’”
“W-what?” Mycroft glanced at the huntsman’s body on the floor, “no - I don’t think -”
Mycroft moved closer. He finally stared into the eyes of the corpse.
He recognized something in the emptiness of that stare, and in the gash on that open throat. It was all too familiar - the dark and unresponsive abyss of death - from the moment he heard the snap of a rabbit’s neck between his two hands when he was thirteen years old, the darkness had started to seep in - in drops, in streams, and now, it comes for him in floods.
“He’s dead.” He said.
“Good.” The boy let out a heavy sigh and turned his face toward the ceiling, closing his eyes.
The boy didn’t move. “I’ll be alright.”
“C-can I fetch you anything? ”
The wolf boy’s eyes remained shut as he snarled in a way that was somewhere between human and a beast, “I said, I will be fine.”
“Alright.” Mycroft breathed. With a throbbing headache, he pulled himself up from the floor and winced at the pain lingering in his backside.
He slumped into a chair in the corner of the shed, looked at the dead man turning cold on the floor, and at the werewolf falling asleep on the bed. He did not have the strength to move, let alone walk all the way back to his village.
Besides, his eyelids were growing as heavy as his mind.
In a place like this - a village hidden deep in the woods - life is stagnant. Generations of men and women slumber under the thick, dark soil, while the living fought a long and tedious battle against an eventual death. They use their sweat and blood, their fire and iron to ward off the shadows, always calculating, counting the days to winter and then into the spring. There were seldom grand and glorious fights in a life like this. Fatigue, like the carpenter ants chewing on a house beam, eats you away until your bones become hollow, and your flesh becomes stale, then a disease will come to smother you completely.
In a place like this, people grunt and moan and complain in that muffled, flaccid way, yet the chorus of the wolves stretched then shortened as the seasons came around; cries of restlessness in the spring, cries of gluttony in the fall; in winter, the wolves howled with wind. There were so many nights where fools wandered into the woods and never came back; in those nights the wolves cried agony and slaughter.
In a place like this there are no villains. Violence was but another rule of nature; violence runs in the blood of every living soul; violence is trustworthy, as constant as the cycles of the moon.
Mycroft knelt down on the wooden floor and layed a sheet of cloth over the huntsman’s body. The undried blood latched onto the fabric in an instant.
“What are you doing?”
Mycroft turned around. Unknowingly, he had woken up the wolf.
“I’ll take it out to the back and - the body - I’d better dig and - cover it up somehow.”
With those dark brown human eyes, the wolf took a long, thoughtful look at him, and shook his head, “I wouldn’t bother with it if I were you. A jackal will dig it up by the morning.”
“I still think I should do it.”
“Suit yourself.” The wolf snorted an almost boyish laugh, then twisted his body around on the bed, turning his face away. “I know you want to ask. The answer is yes.”
“Okay.” Mycroft hesitated, he wanted to know more.“Are there...more? ...like you?”
“Do you have family?”
Mycroft watched the boy, all he could see was his bare shoulders, half concealed under the covers, unmoving. “Are they not going to look for you?”
“It’s the mating season now.” Not an answer to his question, really. Mycroft assumed what the boy meant was that they were too busy to take notice of his whereabouts.
There were a few more moments of silence between them. The boy did not turn to look at Mycroft again, even as he moved about the room to clean away the traces of his murder.
“I think I’d better go.” Mycroft said finally, the handle of the shovel cold in his grip. “I’d better take care of … this.”
“b’careful, would ya.” The boy mumbled.
“Wolves out there.”
Mycroft just laughed.
When Mycroft came back in later to pull the bloody carpet away from the floor, the wolf boy was snoring softly, his good arm lazily folded over his naked chest.
The second day, Mycroft went back to the shed the first thing in the morning. The wolf boy was gone. Mycroft's hands were numb from the cold air through the journey, with them Mycroft lifted the messed up blanket from the small wood frame bed by its corners and shook it straight. A long, silver hair flew up in the air as he did so. He caught it. It was soft as anything.
The third day, Mycroft found himself back in the shed again in the afternoon, with nothing for him to do. He sat for an hour in the empty room, staring at the walls, and hurried back home before dark.
The fourth day, Mycroft had his lunch sitting on the abandoned bed. He folded the blanket into a square before he left.
On the fifth day, it rained. Mycroft lit a fire and hung up his wet clothes by the fireplace. He hid his shivering body beneath the blanket and drifted off. The bed smelled of dust and mildew.
When Mycroft woke up again, it was already night time. The fire was out, and the rain had stopped. Not knowing what time it was, and fearing that his family may grow suspicious of his frequent disappearance in the past week, Mycroft went on his way home.
Wind was soft, whispering to him the news that a summer was near. With drops of water still dripping from the leaves up high, the woods was freshened and alive after a day of rain. Mycroft contemplated carrying a lamp with him, and found he did not need one. There were no more clouds, and the night sky was a clean slate of darkness full of glistening stars, among them a full moon already high above his head, bright and perfectly round like a porcelain plate.
Knowing the paths of the forest as well as the back of his hand, Mycroft hurried through the silver trees and their fuzzy shadows under the moonlight. The insidious noises of the nightly creatures stalked him while he walked, whimpering beside his ears and cursing behind his heels. With each step Mycroft regretted his clumsiness as the leaves of grass screeched under his feet.
Then he heard the sudden rustling sound, so close to his person, of something dashing through the shrubs behind him.
Mycroft refrained from turning around. As much as he could feel his heart speed up and his hands turning cold, he kept his pace just as before.
-Then it happened again. This time instead of coming from behind, the noise came ahead of him.
Mycroft stopped dead in his tracks.
The bush just a few feet before him, its leaves still shaking after the sudden disruption.
As Mycroft glanced around, alert, commanding himself to even his breaths, he thought perhaps was being taunted.
Or preyed upon.
He fixed his eyes ahead and listened. The chatter of the forest had ceased. The air around him congealed into an eerie silence, all except for the constant drumming of the leftover raindrops hitting on leaves.
Out of nowhere came a hot, damp breath against the back of his neck.
Mycroft heard himself gasp.
He could hear the moisture swelling between the gum and teeth of that mouth; could hear the air travelling through nostrils, underneath were a gulping throat and a pulsing heart, that heartbeat as apparent as his own.
"I told you to be careful." - came the voice so near, low and guttural, like rolling thunder behind his ear. Mycroft forced down a shiver.
With a throat still stiff from the sudden attack, it took a few seconds for him to manage to squeeze out a nervous laugh.
"How did you find me." he whispered.
"I trace your scent. I can smell you, just as I can smell your fear."
Mycroft's shoulders relaxed. "I'm not scared."
"You should be."
"Whatever is there to be scared of?"
"I could hurt you. I could hurt you like the huntsman did."
Mycroft turned around.
Finally he saw his predator in the face. The wolf boy was wearing some garments that, other than some mud stains, were not so different from the humble clothes on Mycroft himself. His face was slack, with gaze so focused in observance of his counterpart. His eyes were as dark as the night sky.
"Do you want to, hurt me?"
"No." Replied the wolf boy without hesitation. "But I won't be able to stop myself if I do."
"Try." Mycroft heard himself say, before he pushed his overcoat off his shoulders and pulled loose the fastenings on his shirt.
He grabbed the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head, the tighter portions of the collar caught under his jaw for a brief moment, and in the few seconds of blindness and panic he felt a hand come to his bare ribs and stayed there in gentle contact; another hand tugged the shirt up and away. Dark eyes stared back at him, seeming to be catching a breath as the clothes fell atop a layer of moist grass on the ground.
Their foreheads came together, the wolf boy’s brow bone against the bridge of his nose. He smelled like the woods, of pine cones and dark mud. Mycroft blinked at the blurry shadows of the boy’s dark and long lashes, inches away from his own eyes. He laughed.
“What?” The boy asked, voice coarse and lower than before.
“I haven’t even catched your name yet.”
“Greg. It’s Greg. Greg Lestrade.”
And that was that, no more pleasantries. It was not the time nor place for Mycroft to pretend to be civil, and Greg clearly had no patience for it, either, as he moved his hands to the sides of Mycroft’s face and kissed him.
Greg - thought Mycroft as he smiled against the surprisingly gentle press on his lips. Greg. He tried the syllables in his mind as the boy slowly coaxed his mouth open. Greg. His throat worked, and made an incomprehensible noise in the end, followed by a low hum in Greg’s chest, echoing his.
Mycroft felt Greg’s tongue sliding tentatively into his mouth, and wondered if he was holding back. The thought set off a spark somewhere in his mind, something a little too nasty, too terribly exciting and irresistible. And so Mycroft pushed his tongue against Greg’s, grasped the front of his shirt and pulled, hard.
Greg’s body tensed as their bodies came together; there was a sharp intake of breath, a groan that, though he swallowed back mid-way, made Mycroft’s blood boil all the same. “Greg.” He whispered as they parted for air, and concerned eyes snapped up to meet him in an instant, asking - what?
Mycroft saw the shadow of a line between Greg’s slightly furrowed brows, felt Greg’s warm and rough-skinned palms cupping around his jaw and wondered if Greg could detect the beat of his pulse, the rush of his blood, or even the tingling under his skin.
“Greg.” He murmured again, looking into his eyes.
What he meant - I want you too.
And Greg seemed to understand.
When their mouths collided again, it was fierce and hungry, like a confession of every little desire that ever plagued both of their minds and drove them into madness. They kissed and kissed and kissed, grinding their erections at each other’s hips and panting. Mycroft ran his tongue across Greg’s row of teeth - perfectly ordinary in his human form - and wondered if the faint, odd taste that soured the edge of his tongue came from old blood and bone dust. Greg’s mouth was slick, and so hot, and safe, and yet Mycroft knew very well that it was also the gin trap that once snapped closed over a jugular, right in front of his eyes. Mycroft wondered - even though he suspected he already knew the answer to this one - whether it was all down to power.
The power, the strength, the drive, he thought, as he ducked his head and nuzzled into the crook of Greg’s neck and, licked a line through a thin film of cooled sweat, Greg’s heartbeat on his lips. How easily it could be , he thought, for you to be the end of me, and for me to be yours.
And all he needed to do was to get nearer.
“Here.” Greg said, as he laid his own shirt down on the ground and they fell on top of it. Greg’s shadow hid him away from the world and the wet grass poked at Mycroft’s back beneath the fabric, and when Greg’s hand slid down the back of Mycroft’s thigh and pulled his leg around his waist, God, Mycroft felt it. It was like standing right in the middle of an overwhelming current of it. He was bathed in it, drenched in it, on the brink of being smothered by it.
More, he thought, rolling his hips to hear Greg gasp back. When Greg tugged down the waist of his trousers and wrapped a strong and determined hand around him - thumb pressing gently at the tip - Mycroft shivered and let out a sigh, it was like the forest had sighed with him, and the night sky was as dizzy as his mind driven wild. Mycroft ran his hand along Greg’s arm, from the angles of his shoulder to the solid line of muscle at his bicep to his chiseled forearm, to his shifting fingers that were joined with Mycroft’s aching self. He reached in Greg’s trousers and held the heavy length in his hand, felt it hardening and twitching as he stroked in synchronization with their panting breaths. Greg grunted into his mouth, Mycroft felt the shudder of Greg’s hips and there it was again, a flicker of it, a glimpse of what he could do, and Mycroft chased it, like a hound after a hare. He planted his feet on the ground and spun them both around, pushed Greg on his back and straddled his thighs.
For a moment or two, Greg looked quite innocent and helpless, lying beneath him with hands at the sides of his head. Then he huffed out a laugh and shook his head, reaching out to caress Mycroft’s pale thighs.
“What.” Mycroft asked.
“Nothing.” Shook his head again.
“What is it?”
Greg curled up and pulled Mycroft into a closed-mouthed kiss, then he retreated, “Think you look pretty, like this.”
“what, sitting on you?” Mycroft, flushed and grinning like a fool, shifted his weight forward so their cocks brushed together, and Greg’s eyes rolled back for a moment, before he smiled back. “Gorgeous,” he whispered, “when you do that.”
Mycroft could not bear it any longer, the way Greg was looking at him. There was a way about Greg that made him feel awfully safe and dangerous at the same time. He could see it in the eyes, perhaps, he thought, the intense stare he has, and the deep brown that ripples warmth through his bones when he loses himself in it.
Something sweet and venomous and intoxicating flowed in the space between them, in the shadowed undercurrent of it all, and Mycroft followed it despite himself, he wanted it like mad.
He used spit, a silver line dropped from his bottom lip to their groin, and he spread it with his hand on both of their cocks, stroking and circling and squeezing gently, felt it dry cold on his hot skin and joined by the warm pre-come that oozed out of his tip. Greg made a small choked noise and tilted his head back, his hand came to join Mycroft’s, wrapped around Mycroft’s bony knuckles and moved with him. Mycroft braced his other hand on Greg’s chest, feeling the way his rib cage expanded beneath his palm. They moved with the rhythm of pleasure in their veins, flowing with the rise and fall of all the lives that ever lived before them.
When they were close to the brink of something grand, Greg leaned up and kissed him messily, wet lips slid to his jaw and down, pressing at his throat. Mycroft carded his fingers through Greg’s sweat-soaked hair, his body worked open, melting into something greater than himself. Something more ancient than a ritual or a curse of the olden times, something that lived longer than both of their bloodlines, that was lyrical long before the wolves ever learned to sing, before the earth ever learned the turning of the seasons, Mycroft could feel its hymn vibrating in his bones.
They came just moments apart, Mycroft’s thighs shook and his muscles pulled his spine tight. Greg growled into his neck as he spilled onto both of their hands, and Mycroft felt as if they were born to do this - the pair of them - like hunger, like thirst, like wildfire sprouting on tinder. He wondered if Greg felt the same, that they were all but blind creatures swimming in oblivion and chaos, forever tracing a whiff of something they didn't understand until they found one another.
Finding his breath again, Mycroft searched on Greg’s face, his expression soft in the blue gray hue of moonlight, and Mycroft could not tell if he was content or not.
“You said you followed my scent.” He said.
“What do I smell like?”
“Like the center of sage blossoms,” Greg answered, running his hands down Mycroft’s side, “or freshly chopped cedar.”
Mycroft frowned at him.
“Like the best part of everything I like.” Greg smiled. “You should get home.”
Mycroft stood, picking up his mud stained clothes from the ground, unsure of what to say or do as farewell. His knees felt numb from kneeling on the grass, his body was starting to cool and the cold air had an effect on him, so did his many doubts about the near future.
“Here,” Greg said, a hand on his shoulder. “You have something——” He reached up to pull something out of Mycroft’s hair - a small, broken leaf - and showed it to Mycroft before throwing it over his shoulder.
Mycroft grabbed Greg’s wrists while he was still close, and pulled Greg’s arm around his waist as he leaned forward to kiss him one more time. Greg’s mouth submitted to him instantly, hands moving circles on Mycroft’s back, until he let out a strained noise and warned, “go, before I take you with me.”
And with that, Greg pulled away and in a few steps, shifted into the form of a grey wolf. His eyes turned gold, metallic and sharp as blades. The wolf whimpered at Mycroft, blinked a few times before turning around and walking away from him, disappearing into the woods.
When Mycroft snuck back to his room to find his little brother curled under the covers on his bed, the darkness was already dissipating into pale blue at the horizon.
“Move.” He said, and Sherlock grunted, half awake, “you were out all night again.”
“I got caught up.”
“I won’t keep covering for you,” Sherlock’s eyes snapped open, his whisper a little louder than before, a little irritated, “besides, mother says there are wolves out there.”
“Yes, there are.” Mycroft whispered back.
“And your hair is wet. Were you out in the rain? What were you doing?”
“I’ll tell you some other time.” Mycroft said, yawning, and let himself fall asleep.