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The Second Pink Line

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I remember the precise moment I decided to start up this journal of sorts. It was just yesterday, so I guess it’s not really that incredible that I remember. I was finishing an orange, far too sour and that should have ripened for another two days on the counter, and running the tips of my fingers briefly under the tap in the sink to rinse them, when the thought struck me like a brick. Document this.

So I am. Who really knows why.

I guess in a way it’s because this is the last time that it will truly be just Sherlock and me, just the two of us against the rest of the world. I mean, sure I’ll still have the blog for all of the cases, and the fun adventures we share going forward but. . . I want to remember every private moment too, every quivering breath in the uncertain air, every second that passes by before it’s finalized like sediment hardened into rock, forever lost and unchangeable. Because soon everything will be different, everything will be . . .

No, well, I guess I’m getting way ahead of myself. Jesus – I’m barely a hundred words into this thing and I’ve already run aground. But it doesn’t really matter since this is just for me, right? I can be as damned poetic or as damned crass as I want and the only retribution I have to fear is my own self shaking my head in embarrassment or nostalgia in ten, twenty years from now. So fuck all of the conventions I should be following, and let me say this.

This will be everything. Every fragile, bursting soda pop fizz, trembling, warm and rumbling detail. And every cold and dark one, too. This is what will happen to us, my love and I – a little snapshot of each month as he tries to do this. As we try to do this.

Sherlock is across from me at our little wooden kitchen table – you remember, the one with all the acid burn stains on the top? - hunched over a beaker with something that looks like dog boogers in it. It’s the most comforting sight in the world. It’s beautiful. His churning mind is shooting tiny beads of fireworks into the slightly stale air of our flat on a lazy Sunday morning, and a tiny crumb of toast balances precariously on his upper lip, hitching a secret ride.

I don’t blame the crumb. I wouldn’t want to leave those lips behind either if I didn’t have to.

Sherlock seems fine now. He looks up at me now and again, preparing to roll his eyes at whatever case-related, overly romanticized dribble drabble he thinks I’m writing. And then we catch each other looking, and we share a private smile, and he whispers my name into the dust mites swirling in the air and suddenly they are transformed into pure beams of light. I’m never certain of anything around Sherlock Holmes, except that he loves me, John Watson. And yet I think I can also be certain now that he has no idea that his every move, his every quiver, will be recorded here over the next year for my own selfish purposes.

He definitely wasn’t fine earlier. This is the first time he’s sat down and focused on any one thing for longer than five minutes since four days ago, when this all started.

You see, the two little lines on a pregnancy test are so small, so faint. They could be figments of your imagination, or ghosts of almost-pregnancies past, or a little piece of glitter that spilled in the pregnancy test factory and has been characteristically clinging to its chosen surface until pried off with considerable force. It could be any number of thousands of things. But for some reason, even to the world’s greatest consulting detective and his brilliant, luminous doctor assistant (I’m giggling as I write this and getting an undeserved stink eye from His-self), those two little lines simply could not mean yes, a baby.

But they did.

 

-

 

Remember this, John Watson, always remember this: the sounds that Sherlock made, small and crumpled on the floor, as the fifth test fell from his fingers and clacked on the hardwood floor. I’ve waited until evening to continue on here, while Sherlock is off poking his fingers into God-knows-what at Bart’s for a bit. I don’t trust myself not to show the anguish on my face as I write it, and he would have ratted me out in an instant.

God, those sounds. I’ve always known Sherlock to be a highly emotional man, even before the first time we fell into each other and let our bodies finally press into one. He just hides it, like a BAFTA winning actor. Even with me, his adorer, his One, he mostly hides it. And so I had never seen Sherlock Holmes break down and crash into pieces like he did that night. He looked into my eyes, and his irises shone fiercely in Technicolor outlined in disbelieving, angry, terrified red, and he whispered with a raw voice, “John, no, I can’t,” and then he fell.

I cradled him on the floor for hours, feeling the pained wails tearing themselves from his throat piercing through my chest, turning my insides to hot nails. He didn’t deserve that, not in a thousand years. Didn’t deserve to have his identity torn away from him in a blinding, mute fury by two small, faint, sickeningly unclear pink lines. I caught his tears with my thumbs as best as I could, and carded my fingers through his hair, and held him close against me, and felt the full weight of his sorrow seep its way slowly, slowly out of his body and onto mine. And I wondered what the hell we were going to do.

I guess any objective person who would see this same story played out on some ridiculously dramatic soap on telly would think we were mad for thinking this could never happen. They would set down their beer or their bowl of crisps, and point a salty, inebriated finger at the screen, and cry, “what the fuck did these two nitwits think was gonna happen?!” Maybe the grandma in the room would shake her head and whisper to her knitting that “it serves them queers right, it does, this befalling them like it is.” Maybe the nervous, sweaty teen would snicker to “that’s so sick, how does that even work, them having sex?” Maybe the religious aunt would clutch her mildly arthritic hands to her heart, right over her flea-market cross necklace, and wail “oh but that poor child, that poor poor child. It doesn’t deserve this fate!”

All I felt in that moment though was blackness. The void of my love’s despair drowning out any of the imaginary characters I could have created in my head to try and find humor, or hope, or reason. 

He was shaking, there on the floor. And his hands were so cold.

It is only now, with the clarity of a few days’ of distance that I think I realize the only error I ever made in this whole business. Because we used protection (and I’d like to remind everyone here and now that protection isn’t 100% foolproof so don’t blame the 1%, thank you very much), and we were careful, and we had thought things through, and we had used our heads. We’ve done all of these things, ever since the first breathtaking time we had sex.

And yet. . .

No, the error I made was this: I honestly, truly, with the entire depth of my conscious mind, forgot that Sherlock has a womb and a vagina.

And so, here we are. It honestly doesn’t even seem real, five positive pregnancy tests and ten years’ worth of medical school be damned. Mycroft booked us an appointment with a top-notch (and incredibly discreet) doctor in a few days’ time, and that appointment, written on our calendar in Sherlock’s spidery scrawl, seems to transport me to a make-believe land whenever I look at it.

For one thing, it just seems medically impossible. So many years on T, and so many years using the IUD, and still, and still, and still. . . yes, a baby. How that one fucking stubborn as fuck sperm somehow made its way to one of Sherlock’s long forgotten eggs and managed to set up shop there is an agonizing mystery to us both. Even the doctor was fairly speechless over the phone. It’s ironic, in a way. Sherlock lives for puzzles, for the tiny speck of the unexpected buried in the mundane, and then here is his own carefully cultivated body offering itself as its own experiment.

Ah, here he comes storming up the stairs. I can already smell the formaldehyde that seeped into his coat. Tonight calls for a long hot shower, spreading trails of soap bubbles over each other’s shoulder blades, and the sweet cocoon of home that happens when I curl up into the curve of his body, skin to skin, and fall asleep to the beat of his heart caressing my back.

This little record will be good for me, I think. I hope future-John isn’t rolling his eyes too much at my sentimentality. I would hope the same for future-Sherlock, but his eyes have probably already rolled out of his head and onto the floor, so it’s really too late for that, isn’t it?

This, then, is the story of how John Watson and Sherlock Holmes had a baby. I hope with the entire depth of my being that it has a happy ending.

 

--

 

2

 

Two months in, and life honestly feels exactly the same. Most days I forget this is even happening, until that sneaky calendar page flashes a doctor’s appointment at us. I still work, and Sherlock still works, and we just keep . . . living.

I feel as though, if I were indeed telling this to someone, that their first and maybe only question would be this: when did I ‘find out’ about Sherlock (and what did I think).

Except that question sounds so odd to me, so foreign and incomprehensible, because there simply wasn’t anything to find out. It would be like finding out your best friend since primary school has a kidney, or finding out that your girlfriend had surgery once long ago.

But still, maybe I’ll get hit in the head with a heavy object and suffer amnesia, or my PTSD will finally catch up with me and erase half of my memories, or I’ll simply become too old to remember it all, and so I want to record here for myself the day that I realized Sherlock Holmes is trans.

It feels odd to even write that word, because I don’t think I’ve ever even heard Sherlock use it. I’m sure, deep in his internal thoughts, that that must be how he identifies himself if he’s forced to put a label on it. I know for a fact that he vaguely keeps up with any trans-related news, humming noncommittally when there’s a news cycle about a protest or law or what have you. Aside from that though, and he honestly pays the same level attention to thousands of obscure little niches and factions, I guess it’s rather peculiar for me to think of him, or myself for that matter, as being any of the letters in LGBT. We’re just. . . us.

Sherlock is proud, fiercely so. And he should be. He has created his entire being from the ground up, from ashes. I guess future-John doesn’t really need to be reminded of that. Some days, like this morning, when he preens himself in his gorgeous shirts and suits, and cards his own long fingers through his curls, and rattles off a solution or deduction at the speed of light before me and all of Scotland Yard as if he’s simply reciting the alphabet, and then he just stands even taller and stretches out that long neck and breathes into himself. Christ, it makes my heart burst. It makes my palms itch with anticipation, like the first wisps of fresh, sharp grass that brush against your ankles before you take off across a field.

But all that to say, I don’t think it’s shame, or embarrassment, or even fear that keeps the word trans far away from his lips (these days, at least). It’s just his pride, simply that. His pride in how people see him, in how they respect him. Because, as impressive as he is, Sherlock hasn’t really gotten a lot of respect in his life – anything but. And it’s a pride I think he sure as hell deserves.

It was before we were together, when I saw. I feel that many readers of the blog probably think I must have noticed something on the day at Buckingham Palace - the infamous sheet incident. I’ve always been rather surprised at the popularity of that particular post. But I must remember that Sherlock’s back was to me after Mycroft tried to stop him from leaving, and even the doctor in me couldn’t have been expected to find anything remarkable about it (and I remember being thoroughly shocked when the ‘straight man’ in me did).

No, it was later, much later. It was after the fall.

Sherlock had come back to me. My Sherlock, my One, alive. He was standing before me on my doorstep one evening as if he’d just come back from doing the fucking shopping, and he didn’t even have the courtesy of looking nervous until after I decked him square in the jaw. It was a week after that, after he had come crashing back into my life like a gigantic blimp in the sky suddenly burst open and rained down onto my head books and beakers and bergamot and blue.

I had turned off the telly for the night, walking down the dark hallway still hearing echoes of the newscasters’ voices in my head. A dim light was on in his room, streaming under his door like a shimmering puddle of gold. I would have walked right past and gone up to my room, but then I heard it.

I heard him gasping, heard the tangled, gnarled rasps of bed sheets being thrashed across the mattress. I heard him call my name. Without a thought I pushed open the door and rushed in, running to his side. He was half asleep, fighting off ghostly mercenaries and invisible assassins. His mouth was twisted into a pained grimace, and his fingers twisted unnaturally like stone gargoyles. He was in terror.

I’d seen the scars on his back before, the day after he came back. He’d needed my help to dress them, and after wanting to crash my palms through a pane of shattered glass in order to unleash my internal grief and pain at seeing them, I helped him without a word. After all, he was alive. Alive! Always remember that, future-John. Sherlock lived.

Those same scars flashed ugly red scabs at me now as they peeked out from his writhing, shirtless back, threatening to leap off his skin and suffocate down my helpless throat. I called his name, tried taking his hand, but still he dreamed. I warmed my palms with my breath, and pressed them both down firmly on his chest, anchoring him to the mattress and calling him back to me with my voice. Finally, finally, he quieted. The haze over his half-opened eyes lifted, and a brilliant, terrified blue sought mine. I whispered to him, whispered his name. I really should have known then how badly I wanted to hold him close, skin to skin beneath the sheets. How badly I wanted to lift the fear off of his mouth with my lips.

Slowly he came out of it, his eyes never leaving mine. I could feel the air around us shift, losing its electric charge and settling into a floral sigh, like heavy wet moss laying its blanket down on the earth. We looked into each other, sought reassurances both, and without thinking I slowly started to trace my fingers down across his chest, down towards his nipples, down towards his stomach. It wasn’t sexual. It was salvation.

And then I felt them.

Two ropy, velvet scars surged up under my fingertips, gliding along in arcs under each of his pectorals. They startled me, and I unthinkingly broke our gaze to look down. I recognized them immediately for what they were. My doctor’s brain started spinning, trying to put the pieces together, trying to tell their story. I’m not sure how long I stared down at them – far too long, probably. I startled when he called my name, a low, broken sound.

I looked up at him and almost gasped when I saw a lifetime of fear and pain written across his face. I knew, without having to ask, that he was preparing himself for my rejection, for my anger and betrayal, for my dismissal. His breath shuddered out of his lungs like a tiny, struggling bird, and his eyes were wild and glossy. I thought of all the rejections he must have faced in the past, all the names he must have been called, all that he must have suffered, in order to feel such fear now, even with me. So I made a vow in that moment, one that I will keep, that I must keep, until I die – that I would never make Sherlock Holmes fear rejection from me again.

I kept my palms where they were, covering the scars. He was trembling beneath me, his muscles clenched in fear. I leaned my weight forward on to him slightly and heard Sherlock’s breath hitch in his chest as I pressed a soft, dry kiss to his forehead. I had never kissed him before, and I wouldn’t again until many months after that, but he understood. He knew what it was, what I was saying. I heard a sharp exhale through his nose, a small moan bordering on a sob, and then I was fetching a cool washcloth from the bathroom, and placing it across his clammy forehead, and laying down beside him on the bed until he drifted wordlessly to sleep.

Gradually I learned bits and pieces of the whole story, always in unexpected fragments strewn in with everyday life. He would offer them to me, his tiny, golden secrets, and I always struggled to feel worthy. He showed me a picture of him as a child, the only one he’s kept because it was the day he graduated from magic camp, and while I know he still has it in a shoebox somewhere in the closet, we both know that it never needs to see the light of day again.

I have Sherlock now. The real, true Sherlock. And he is alive.

 

-

 

I guess I should probably talk about the present now, since that’s the whole point of this ruddy journal. Maybe future-John is trying to remember how we went from crying on the floor to deciding to keep the baby, since I’ll admit that seems like an awfully big stretch. Perhaps after our future son or daughter has done something particularly infuriating, like ride a motorbike without a helmet (my infuriating action), or take up a religion (Sherlock’s infuriating action), I’ll be wondering in a fit of parental grump why we ever even went through with this damned idea.

Well, I’ll write it down. It was awfully simple. The morning after we found out, I woke up to a characteristically empty bed and the sound of Sherlock in the living room. I was stretching my tired, aching muscles across the freshly washed sheets, letting the scent of Sherlock’s nightly hand cream rise up out of the fabric like puffs of sunlight and warmth, when he appeared at the foot of the bed. His face looked pale, with eyes still puffy from the long night. He was naked.

I sat up, and we looked at each other and took a mutual breath. And then he said, “John, I can’t do this, but we can.” I was tempted to clarify, to ask if he was sure, to ask a million questions, but then I remembered that I know Sherlock. I know him like my own skin, and he would never come to a decision like this if he weren’t completely sure. And so I nodded my head slowly, a bit dazed, and whispered, “We can. I love you.” He crawled up the bed to my side, a half smile on his lips, and I held his creamy soft skin against my own. I kissed him on his lips, his neck, his chest, his belly, down below his navel. I kissed the tip of his cock, the one he is so proud of and has worked so hard for. His cock that is incredibly beautiful. I surrounded him with my mouth, and felt his body sigh beneath me, and met his half-lidded eyes as the taste of him ran down my throat like warm honey.

Perhaps it’s weird for me to be writing stuff like this in here. I’m honestly not sure if my future self will enjoy these little insights into my past sex life. But I swore to myself that this would be real, that this would be it all, and the realest thing to me in the world is the warm weight of Sherlock’s body on top of my own, the body I thought was buried under the ground forever with a smashed in skull.

 

-

 

Sherlock is hyperactive these days, and for him that’s really saying something. I feel he’s channeling his emotions over the pregnancy into learning everything he can about it, and so our flat is absolutely plastered in gynecology textbooks, the history of childbirth, old and new diagrams, etc. But aside from that life has pretty much gone on as before. We still have cases, I’m still at the clinic, Sherlock still never really sits down. We still cook and eat and argue and caress and watch telly and go for walks and tease and have early morning sex.

And now I’m realizing that I said pretty much the same exact thing when I wrote in here two days ago. So I hope future-John is happy with how unbelievably unimaginative and predictable I am. Sherlock would be enraged, call for me to cut and edit the entire thing. I’ll leave it in to annoy him.

We haven’t talked about what will happen when he starts showing. The thought won’t even fully stick in my head. It floats away like a stubborn moth, alighting just at the last second before my palms can cup around it. Sherlock’s stomach has the tiniest swell to it, even now after barely two months. We both noticed it at the same time. I was stepping into the shower as he was stepping out, and I asked him if he was feeling alright, because he looked a little bloated. He looked down shocked at himself, his hands flying to either side of his belly button. I watched the progression of emotions across his face – confusion, disbelief, a flare of panic, then resignation.

I cupped his wet cheek with my hand and turned his face up towards me. I looked into his eyes, opened my mouth as if I was about to say something desperately touching and important, and then purposefully let out the gigantic beans on toast fart I had been holding in for hours. Sherlock groaned, and rolled his eyes, and called me a heap of garbage, and then promptly forgot all about the uninvited curve to his belly and instead stalked out of the bathroom in an indignant huff, ready to carry on with his current case. Sometimes I manage to make myself useful.

I think I can admit here that I’m worried for him. He has access to the top doctors who actually know more than a rat’s ass about this sort of thing, no small thanks to Mycroft, but still. I worry.

I hope future-John forgives me for not writing down the painful details of every doctor appointment. Frankly they’ve all started to run together. Sherlock had to go off of T, and I stood beside him in the bathroom holding his hand for over an hour on that first day. He had forgotten to turn off the alarm on his phone that reminded him to take it, and so we stood there listening to the tinny phone ringtone echoing off the bathroom tile until Sherlock felt ready to put the unused hormones back into the cabinet. I cannot believe how strong he is.

I love him fiercely, I do. I just hope he was right, that we can do this.

 

--

 

3

 

If I never have to hear Sherlock Holmes vomit ever again it will still be too soon. Christ, he’s gone through a lot. I can complain as much as I want about having to listen to it at all hours of the day and night but. . . this man I love is a gladiator.

The first time it came over him we were at a crime scene. No one else knows about the baby, or even about Sherlock, for that matter. They don’t even know that we’re together. Not even Greg, who found Sherlock high as a kite and nearly dead in a drainage ditch all those years ago. (Apparently Sherlock kept yelling at Greg when he was trying to pull him out and get him into the squad car to go to hospital that “the elf king is having a meeting down there and the fucker didn’t invite me” – which would be rather funny if I could ever forget the part of the story where Sherlock was on drugs and almost dead).

Anyway, we were standing in the sitting room of a suspected killer on the run. Lestrade and his team were there, of course. And Sherlock was staring down at the carpet as if it was a fascinating ancient rune he had just uncovered from a pile of hot sand in Egypt. He was mid-sentence telling me what a complete moron I was for failing to see that the plain white carpet was actually telling me that our suspect was on a plane heading for Argentina, when he stopped. He looked up at me confused, reached out for the lapel of my jacket, and preceded to throw up all over me, the wall behind me, and the magic carpet we were standing on.

I have never used the word embarrassed to describe my love before but I’ll use it now. He looked embarrassed, mortified even. I probably looked like I was about to vomit myself when Greg ran over yelling “what the fucking hell” and asking Sherlock if he was alright and “why in bloody hell did you have to throw up on the man’s carpet before we have a warrant to even be in here?”. I just stared at him, shocked. My brain took an embarrassingly long time to catch up, to realize what had just happened.

Morning sickness is a bitch. And it doesn’t just happen in the morning.

We left the scene immediately, Sherlock calling out the flight number over his shoulder just before the door shut behind us. I wiped myself down with a handkerchief as best I could, called a cab to get us home, got both of us immediately into a shower, and then held Sherlock under the hot water until it started to run cold. He never apologized, but I didn’t need him too. And when his face was buried in the hollow of my neck while we stood under the spray, I know that some of the drops of water that dripped down my collarbone were tears.

Suddenly this is our life now. Doctor’s appointments and gynecology textbooks and odd glances from Lestrade and his team when Sherlock’s shirts all look just a skosh too tight, and then again when he finally switches to wearing some of my jumpers. He claimed it was an experiment, and thankfully he’s done enough weird things that they all believed him, gave me a shrug and a pat on the shoulder (“good on you for putting up with him, mate”) and moved on.

But soon they won’t be able to move on. They’ll see. They’ll know. And we still haven’t talked about it.

 

-

 

It’s strange how quickly Sherlock is starting to show. He’s so thin, his muscles always so flat and taught, that suddenly any extra weight at all is immediately noticeable. He’s even gotten a comment or two from Mrs. Hudson or Lestrade that it looks like he needs to cut back on the sweets. They give him a knowing wink and laugh it off and go back to their baking or their paperwork as if it was nothing. And for all they know, it is nothing. But it cuts into me like a knife when that happens.

I see the look of panic that flashes across his face, and it makes me have to look away so he can’t see the mist building in my eyes. His body is rebelling against him, dragging him back to the lie he was forced to fully live out for seventeen-plus years, and it kills me to watch it happen – to watch others watch it happen too without any invitation at all.

But there are good moments too. Like this morning.

I woke up just before the sun, and the pre-dawn light was filtering into our room, turning the walls and ceiling into a velvet grey. Sherlock was pressed up against me, clinging to me like he always does in his sleep. His slow, even breaths were causing the hairs on my chest to ripple in the wind. Maybe that was what made me want to laugh, since it tickled. Or maybe it was the fact that I was lying in bed with Sherlock, who was solid and alive. Whatever it was, I started to chuckle, and he fluttered his beautiful eyes open and reached up sleepy fingers to trace the outline of my lips as I grinned. I pressed a kiss to his palm, and swept the fringe of sleep-wild curls out of his eyes, and surrendered myself as he rolled on top of me, covering my naked body with his own and pressing warm, wet kisses from my shoulder to my ear.

I hate myself for even thinking this, but it felt different. He feels different. His hips are softer, and his jaw has lost some of its razor sharp edge underneath my fingertips, and, most of all, I could feel the tiny swell of his belly rubbing against mine, an alien fullness where it was once flat and hard. It felt magnificent, intoxicating. 

Never in a million years will I ever tell him that. This is not his body, not really. And I see from the dull resignation in his eyes when he looks into the bathroom mirror as he brushes his teeth that he derives no pleasure from it.

But Christ, I do. I really do. He whispered to me in a raspy, sleep worn voice. Asked me to take him, to overwhelm him. I knew exactly what he wanted, and Jesus I wanted it too. I grabbed the lube from the bedside table, pressed sleepy kisses up the inside of his thigh as I crawled on top of him. He always means the same thing when he says “take me.” It always means anal sex. And, in the spirit of recording everything in case future-John forgets or is abducted by aliens and given a different personality, this is usually how we have sex anyways. We’re men, and we’re having sex, so usually that results in gay male sex. We never really decided upon it, or voiced any opinions. It just naturally happened that way and it’s always felt right, except on the rare nights it doesn’t.

And so this morning I finally entered him, pushing long and slow into the heat of his body, my ears tingling at the sound of my name being moaned into the stillness of the room. I kissed him with my palm cupping his cheek, and kissed and licked his nipples, and braced myself with one hand against the headboard as I started to slowly pump into him, taking him and overwhelming him, moving to the soft sounds of rustling sheets and shuddering breaths and wet skin slapping skin.

And then he took my hand in his, and after kissing the tips of my fingers he placed them on his belly, right below his navel where his fullness was slowly growing. I ran my hand back and forth across his beautiful skin, across his perfect organs that held our perfect child. He groaned, “John, my John, fill me,” and so I did. I felt his own cum streak across my hand where it still cupped the swell of his stomach, and I trailed my fingers through the glistening streaks until his entire belly shone in the sunrise light, quivering under my touch and rising up in its fullness to meet the warmth of my hand.

I have no idea how long we lay there together after cleaning up – far longer than Sherlock normally permits himself to cuddle. Our hands were still resting gently on his stomach, feeling the rise and fall of his breathing.

Then it happened. A kick! A tiny, inconceivable pressure that pressed out from inside of my love and pushed gently into our palms. We both gasped and stared down at his belly, silently pleading with the universe for it to happen again. And, because Sherlock has the strongest will on the planet, it did happen again. And again, and again, and again.

He looked at me, wide eyed and amazed. “Oh, John,” he breathed, and I giggled and grabbed frantically at my phone and took a video, capturing the first moment I think either of us truly realized that we were dads, and this was our child saying hello. Sherlock leaped out of bed, a ball of restless energy (“it’s hungry, John! Quickly!”) and we ran into the kitchen giggling like little kids as we tried to agree on what to make for breakfast (“no, Sherlock, we’re not having pickles and fresh dirt from that one specific garden mixed with chocolate chips”). We settled on toast and a fry up with generous amounts of honey (and, yes, one or two pickles).

Yeah, there are some things about this pregnancy that definitely aren’t so bad.

 

--

 

4

 

Holy mother of god in a handbasket fuckitty fuck fuck hallelujah Jesus Christ

Girls! Twin girls!

Turns out the second little one was hiding behind her sister all this time during the previous ultrasound, and now we have two of them. Two little girls.

TWO!

Even now a day later just saying it has me giddy. Oh, Sherlock, though. The way he looked at me when we saw . . . I’ll admit the first ultrasound didn’t really do much for either of us – it was so early, more making sure that the baby actually existed and wasn’t some crazy alien, that neither of us felt a connection towards it any more than I feel emotionally connected to this laptop screen. But then yesterday, when the wand glided over Sherlock’s tight growing belly, and a second tiny head appeared, all three of us in the room gasped. Sherlock squeezed my hand until I heard my fingers crunch and looked up at me with tears in his eyes – and it took my breath away when I realized they were happy tears. He called my name, and his voice shook, and I captured the ghost of my name on his lips with my own, mixing together our breaths of joy and relief.

Neither of us ever said it out loud, but we weren’t fooling the other one bloody bit with the fact that both of us were desperately hoping for a girl. Desperately. And now we have two! Two little girls. . . .

It was some much needed good news to help temper the bad – which is that, for whatever fucking unlucky reason bestowed on us by fate, Sherlock looks undeniably pregnant now, even so early. From just under his chest all the way down to his pelvic bone is a tight, round curve – one that will get even bigger faster now that we know two babies are in there. I don’t think that aspect of it all hit either of us until late last night, when I lay behind Sherlock on the sofa and wrapped my arm around his middle, trying to soothe and rub the nausea out of his stomach.

“I’m going to be huge, John,” he said, and I didn’t miss the tightness in his voice. I didn’t know what to say, I just kept rubbing small, soft circles around his navel. We laid there, pressed together as tightly as possible, breathing as one. I could feel the beat of his heart through my ribcage, hear as it rose and fell with his thoughts. Suddenly he rolled himself to sit up and stood, placing his hand on the unfamiliar weight of his belly while reaching out to me with the other.

I followed him into the bedroom and lifted his soft cotton t-shirt over his head as he lifted his arms. He did the same for me, and then he wrapped his long arms around me and drew me close into his body. He kissed me so urgently, so desperately. I was overwhelmed by the warmth of him, tingling all over my body like tiny grains of warm sand slowly dripping down my skin. He walked me backwards to the bed, and pressed me into the mattress, and then I knew exactly what he wanted. I nodded, wordlessly.

We keep the strap on in the closet – it’s so rarely used it doesn’t really warrant taking up space in the bedside table. I’ll probably look back on this and think that I’m just a dirty middle aged man, but Christ I practically salivated at the sight of Sherlock slipping those black leather straps over pale skin – at the look of the huge black cock jutting out into the silent, buzzing air of our room, at the way it peaked out from under the soft swell of his growing belly.

It was fucking exquisite, and I let him know that eagerly.

He entered me slowly, letting out a long, slow sigh as the vibrator found the sweet spot against him. I had tears in my eyes, he was so beautiful in that moment, his eyes shut tight in pleasure, with the weight of his full belly hanging low between us where there used to be just empty space. I could feel the soft swell brushing against me as he moved inside of me, gliding over my hard and leaking cock trapped between us.

I know why he felt the need to change it up tonight – he needed to feel like a man again. Just that afternoon we realized after a strop that ended in two broken mugs and a mound of clothes angrily thrown against the wall that none of Sherlock’s perfectly tailored trousers fit him anymore. He was hanging on up until now with one rogue pair that he’d probably filched off of some suspect years ago just to prove that he could get away with it, and that suspect happened to be about two stone heavier than him. But now, though, now he has nothing. The image he painstakingly built for himself over years has been taken away from him, gone in the instant it took the button on that last pair of trousers to pop under the weight of his belly, and it hurt my heart to see him standing there in his pants staring down at the heap of traitorous clothing. It felt like someone was stepping on my lungs and pressing the air out of my soul one tiny centimeter at a time, never letting me get more air in.

So yeah, I’ll let my gorgeous man fuck me every night through the mattress if it reminds him that he is still a man, always a man, my man.

 

-

 

I suspect we’re going to have a stressful conversation tomorrow about what to do when it comes to cases. Something – call it my special Sherlock intuition – tells me I’ll have to convince him that it is in fact necessary to actually wear any trousers at all, because knowing the mad genius that he is he’ll probably try to just go outside in his pants and a shirt and pretend it’s just some experiment that the yard can roll their eyes over.

The thing is, as much as Sherlock loves walking into a room and taking the breath away from everyone else in there, as much as he loves showing off and standing tall and being so fucking impressive, the last thing he wants now is to be a spectacle. Because a brilliant and gorgeous detective strutting across a crime scene draws a vastly different kind of attention than a pregnant man does. Christ I hated even writing that – a pregnant man. It’s like a headline for some bullshit tabloid newspaper you’d see in a Tesco’s checkout lane, or a TV special airing at 2 am to help shock the insomniacs into staying awake just a little bit longer so that they can purchase something when the home shopping network airs in thirty minutes. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a thousand more times: I think he’s beautiful. He’s pregnant and he’s handsome and he’s perfect being both of those things. But I fear I’ll be the only one to think that.

I see him as everything. The entire sun illuminating the earth. But everyone else will just see the full curve underneath his shirt combined with his distinctly male face.

He’s been called a freak enough times already.

I want to shield him from everything over these next five months. To reach up into the night sky and pull down a blanket of black velvet and stars, drape it over the both of us so that we can hide in the warm summer night breeze of each other and our love. Nobody else to see us or hear our whispers to each other or breathe our same air or see the absolutely beautiful miracle that is the two little girls growing in Sherlock’s belly.

But I can’t. I just can’t. He’s the strongest person I know, and the most capable. He had to be his own strength all alone for so many years, and I can’t just swoop in and declare him suddenly incapable of carrying himself through the world just because of our daughters. (Christ, our daughters – I hope I never ever lose the chills I get when I write those words). He needs me by his side, just like I need him, but I can’t step in and shut him off from his beloved London, from the every quiver of its beating heart that makes the blood in his veins zing. I can’t do that to him, and I won’t.

All I can do is love him fiercely. Love my sun, my One, my perfect pregnant husband.

(Oh, right, I guess I should probably note we got married last month! Seemed like such an obvious thing to do I honestly forgot it even happened. Just popped on down to the courthouse, took advantage of the last few weeks of Sherlock fitting into that gorgeous suit and deep purple shirt of his, snickered the entire ceremony together over the fact that John Watson and Sherlock Holmes were literally having a shotgun wedding, and subsequently enjoyed making Mycroft furious when he had to find out about it through a piece of government paperwork and CCTV camera footage a day later. We honestly should have done it all a long, long, long time ago.).

 

-

 

As much as I love (read: hate) playing “my pregnant spouse is missing and not answering phone calls” for two hours, I could have done without that game today. It all started when I realized I couldn’t find the ultrasound photos. I was feeling sentimental and soppy and I wanted to hold them in my hands and pretend to be a father for a little while. But they were gone from the fridge magnet (the one Sherlock bought me for a birthday gift that simply says ‘John Watson likes cock’), and when Sherlock was nowhere to be found in the flat even though I’d heard him only an hour ago, I started to go into panic mode.

Horrible images flashed in my mind. That he’d decided he couldn’t go through with it anymore, that the ultrasound photo had pushed him over the edge of body dysmorphia and made him want to do something rash – whatever that could possibly be. That he was somewhere alone and afraid, or angry, or hurting. That he was out chasing some criminal down an alleyway just to prove he still could. I thought I was going to pass out from worry.

I enlisted Mrs. Hudson, made sure he wasn’t with Lestrade, even called bloody Mycroft to try and find him. I have no idea how long he would have been missing if I hadn’t gone up to my room and glanced out the window. There’s a flat part of roof just outside of it – a little window cubby built into the slant of the shingles. He was sitting there with his back to me, looking out over his beloved city. I somehow managed to stay quiet enough that he hadn’t heard me come in (or my sigh of relief). I crept closer, feeling bad to intrude on his private moment but also right fucking pissed at him for having hid like that.

He had something in his hands – the ultrasound photo. It was only then I realized he was talking. I hadn’t heard him earlier over the roar of blood pumping through my veins or the breath wheezing out of my lungs. I caught snippets of what he was saying, rumbling in a low and steady voice. One hand, the hand with the photo, was resting gently across the top of his belly. The other one pointed out across the skyline.

He was showing our daughters London.

I wanted to rush forward and hug him because it was so beautiful, so gentle and sweet, so Sherlock.

But I also still wanted to strangle him for not answering his phone. I opted for a compromise. I cleared my throat to let him know I was there, although I’d bet anything he already knew and had been silently counting my breaths since the moment I spotted him. I crawled out to join him, letting the sound of his voice wash the last remnants of panic from my bloodstream.

I placed my hand on his. “You can’t disappear like that on me, Sherlock,” I said. I hadn’t anticipated how hard my voice would waver and tremble under the weight of those words, the memories they evoked. “I need you, we all need you. I just can’t have you gone like that again.”

I know he heard the emotion in my voice. We were both thinking of the same things – the same series of heartbreaking events replaying over and over. He nodded. I almost couldn’t hear him when he spoke.

“I’m sorry, John. I am. I just . . . needed to be out in London. I wanted to take them with me, just with me.” We’ve been cooped up together so much of the time, Sherlock’s stomach making it impossible for him to go too far from the flat unless he gets sick. How could I have expected Sherlock wouldn’t need space like I do? I have the clinic, and trips to Tesco, and jogs around the park. He has nothing.

I need to do better, for him and for myself. For all of us.

 

--

 

5

 

Why in hell didn’t I sit down five months ago and write out a fucking list of reasons not to kill Sherlock with my own bare hands, because being trapped in this house with him nonstop aside from clinic shifts for over two weeks now has made me want to ring that insufferable neck of his GOOD GOD IN HEAVEN.

After slamming every door in the flat and storming off for the entire afternoon without a word and staunchly refusing to answer the avalanche of texts and calls, I think I’ve finally got it out of my system. And I think Sherlock also got the message loud and clear.

 

-

 

God I feel horrible for being angry with him, though. . . after writing that first paragraph I slumped downstairs like a remorseful teenager, a dog with my tail between my legs. It’s not his fault that he’s trapped here, that his body is yet again turning against him and turning him into a person who doesn’t feel comfortable walking around in the world.

I must be the worst husband on the planet.

Sherlock was sitting at the table bent over a microscope. Or, at least he was trying to bend over. His belly has grown so much since I wrote in here last month. He gets rounder every day, and our little girls have finally popped out his belly low and full.

It’s the reason for this horrendous house arrest he’s essentially been placed under. Up through most of last month he could still get by out in public as long as he wore a jumper with his coat buttoned up over it. It was still the tail end of winter, and so nobody looked twice at a man dressed in multiple layers even indoors. Even Lestrade and his team didn’t even really bat an eye – Lord knows Sherlock’s worn weirder things when in disguise or in the middle of some social experiment or another. But now the weather’s changed, and his belly has changed from looking overweight after a huge dinner to a tight round bump hanging low over the waistband of his pajamas, weaving stretch marks into his beautiful pale skin and sticking out from beneath the bottom of his old t-shirts.

On the one hand I hate it, because it’s taken away his freedom from him. It’s taken his body and turned it into something alien, some bizarre form that stares back at him as that of a stranger whenever he looks in a mirror. Even now it juts out between him and the edge of the table, keeping him away from his experiment and cramping, even with his long fingers rubbing idly back and forth over the stretching skin as he works. It’s between us when we lie facing each other in bed, keeping space between our bodies where we used to leave none.

On the other hand, though, it keeps our perfect daughters safe. And it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I tell him that as much as I possibly can, even if it’s in the middle of me telling him he’s the most bloody annoying person in the entire universe to be trapped in a flat with. He always reacts the same way when I tell him he looks beautiful, or handsome, or sexy as hell. He gets a sad look in his eyes even though the corner of his mouth quirks into a smile, and then he looks down at the top of his round belly and runs his hand along the smooth, exposed skin underneath it. I know he never truly feels the same way as I do. And so then I go back to hating it again because that sad look in his eyes makes me breathless with grief. I mourn for him, like I know he mourns for himself.

Anyways, I went downstairs and waited beside him until he was ready to look up at me. He knew exactly what I had come down to say, but I said it all anyway. And then I helped him stand, and placed both of my hands up under his shirt on his firm, warm bump, and I leaned down and kissed his belly. Kissed his navel and the stretch marks along the sides and up over his darkening nipples. And in between my kisses I whispered secret words to him, the language of love that only we know. It’s a language that I know future-John won’t ever need any reminding of.

We had Chinese food after that, and watched a Bond film so that Sherlock could pick it apart scene by scene and make me double over in laughter, and then disappeared into the city in the dead of night, sticking to the hidden pavements and passages that only Sherlock knows, where only the two of us existed, far away from prying eyes and unfamiliar voices.

 

-

 

The very last time we went out together in the daytime we both knew it was a bit of a mistake. We had spent the few days before sticking to the flat by choice – with Sherlock busy trying to crack some chemistry mystery for Lestrade. Neither of us really realized how much Sherlock had grown in those few days, and so it wasn’t until right after he donned his layers and buttoned up coat and we turned out onto the pavement that we both saw how visible the round curve was beneath the fabric. Neither of us said anything. I could tell that Sherlock needed to do this – to prove to himself one last time that he was stronger than he felt. And so we kept on. On an unspoken agreement we steered clear of Bart’s, or any place we might run into someone we know. We went into the park and got a bag of spicy chips to eat on a bench in the sun.

That’s when it happened. We hadn’t really gotten any stares, beyond the normal stares that come with Sherlock being gorgeous and also being a gay couple (which thankfully isn’t too much in a city like London). We were engrossed in a debate over a piece of evidence Lestrade had sent over photos of, and so neither of us really noticed how Sherlock’s coat had become unbuttoned, exposing his round belly under one of my larger soft jumpers. Our heads were bent towards each other, Sherlock’s curls falling over one side of his face. He’s let them grow longer lately. It looks ridiculously good.

It’s the only explanation I can think of for why an older woman came up to us and said “oh, but what a lovely couple to be expecting a baby!” and placed her hand right on Sherlock’s stomach. It scared the shit out of both of us, and I almost feel bad for how much we startled the lady when we both jerked up. She took one look at Sherlock’s face and blanched, snatching her hand back. She started stammering out apologies, thinking she had just placed her hand on a slightly rounder than normal beer belly, when Sherlock sat up straighter, and puffed out his belly even more, and looked her straight in the eyes as he calmly said, “no, you were correct before.”

His voice has gotten higher since he had to go off T, getting softer along with the rest of his body, but it’s still gravely enough to be pretty obviously male. The woman took about five full seconds to process what exactly was going on here, during which I thought my heart was going to hammer out of my chest and crawl across the gravel walkway to be hit by a bicyclist. Then a little spark showed in her eyes, and she leaned forward as if we were great friends telling secrets in the clubhouse at Scout camp and whispered, “well, how marvelously progressive of you both. I can’t wait to tell my grandson about this – he only just came out and has been having a hard time of it. He’ll be so uplifted to hear of how the two of you have faced even bigger hurdles and come out the other side.” Then she winked, and placed her hand on Sherlock’s stomach one last time for a quick pat as we both sat there dumbfounded, and continued on her walk, a little prance in her step.

I felt frozen, like my mind would be forever racing at the speed of light while trapped in a stone body. For a full minute we both just sat there breathing. Then Sherlock slowly covered himself back up with his coat and painstakingly did each button. He flicked up the collar, even in the bright sunlight, and curled in on himself until he looked like he was drowning in the black fabric. “I want to go home, John,” he said, and then I struggled to keep from pulling down that blanket of sky to protect us when I realized that he was silently crying.

I didn’t find out until later, when we were lying in the dark of our room cradling the swell of his belly between us, what exactly had tipped him over the edge. It wasn’t exactly the woman touching him, or her quick look of shock, or even the initial mis-gendering. It was her holding him up as a paragon of progressive liberalism – as if he and I had chosen to start a family together in this way just to stick it to everyone who still uses the word faggot. It was that our love had been reduced to some form of protest, designed to put all other progressives to shame by being both gay and trans. Neither of us blame her a bit, and a part of me hopes that maybe her grandson did get a little something out of it. But the other part of me wants to grab a wand straight out of Harry Potter and go find that woman and erase her memory of the incident entirely.

He apologized to me – apologized to me – because he was afraid people would think I was only with him to make a political statement. Christ, I chased those words off his lips as quick as I possibly could, kissed away his unnecessary apologies, helped him squat over my face as I took his cock into my mouth until he came, throwing back his head on that long neck and pushing out his round, full belly in his final moments of pleasure.

I made a note to call Mycroft tomorrow. It’ll be the start of six months next week, and I don’t think either of us can comprehend or accept the thought of him being trapped in the flat away from prying eyes for the months to come. I have a feeling he’ll be able to help, as much as it horrifies me to admit it. . .

 

--

 

6

 

This is the only time in my entire life that I will say this, so I might as well write this down so I have a witness in my future self.

God bless Mycroft Holmes.

After barely more than a two minute phone call, snuck in while Sherlock was vomiting over the toilet and simultaneously calling out for me to grab some Tupperware asap to catch the vomit for an experiment (I did no such fucking thing, thank you very much), he had everything arranged perfectly. For the first and probably only time ever, I surprised Sherlock.

Well, he tells me I surprise him all the time, but I suspect that’s usually just by not being a completely dull and useless idiot turd so the bar isn’t really very high, is it?

Anyways, one of Mycroft’s ridiculous black cars pulled up at midnight exactly one week ago. We were still up – the pregnancy having reduced what little sleep schedule Sherlock had to absolute lunacy. He was playing his violin, which let me tell you is a fucking gorgeous sight. He was wearing only his pants and a dressing gown, the sides of which hung openly to reveal his swollen belly peaking through. He looks almost like a normal full term pregnancy now, and instead of hanging full and low like he did in the beginning his belly now sticks straight out, defying gravity and preparing to grow even more. It’s incredible. He’s incredible.

The lights in the room were off, and only the fire and the moonlight streaming through a window illuminated his skin, and I watched enraptured as he worked on the piece he claims he’s writing for practice but I really know is meant to try and somehow encapsulate the emotions he’s experienced since this all began. There’s a hopefulness to his notes, and a quivering anticipation, but it’s undermined by a gripping low hum of grief as his body slips further and further away from him, revealing the outer shell he worked for so many years to obliterate. The outer shell that made cocaine seem like the only option.

He heard the engine before we even saw the reflection of the headlights, of course. He was just starting to roll his eyes and have a good pout when I jumped up and hugged him from behind. I interlaced my fingers underneath his belly and held it up to relieve some of the pressure, and then I pressed my cheek in between his shoulder blades and whispered that we were going to leave it all behind now and be free. Be safe. Be us. For a little while, at least. He trusted me.

And now, a full day of undercover traveling later, I’m sitting on the porch of a little seaside villa that the Holmes (or rather, Mycroft) inexplicably own somewhere in Spain (and I say somewhere because I literally have no idea where we are. We could be in America or New Zealand for all I know, but I can’t help but notice that at some point during our travels the primary language switched to Spanish.) The early hints of summer are here, and so the breeze coming off the ocean is warm against our faces, the sand like a blanket fresh out of the laundry. There are no neighbors, no house staff (the result of Sherlock winning a vicious staring match with his brother), absolutely no souls in sight except for the two of us. Well, the four of us.

Sherlock is swimming in the calm, blue waters as I write this. I’m sure my future self won’t be surprised at all to read that Sherlock is stark naked as he does this. He floats on his back in the steady shallows of the little inlet, stretching out his long body to receive every bit of sunlight it can. It’s an anatomical mystery to me how he’s even managing to float, but, because he’s incredible, he is. Occasionally his hand comes up to rub soft, warm seawater over the curve of his belly, growing rounder every day. Even from this distance I can see the little nub of his belly button popping out from the tight skin, like the bottom part of a balloon. I don’t need to get any closer to know that he hasn’t stopped smiling all afternoon.

We can’t stay here forever, I know that. He knows it, too. Lestrade and his team, along with all the other people we know aside from Mrs. Hudson, can’t be held off much longer with claims of “much better things to do,” and we both know deep down that we’ll have to tell them the truth when we get back. Jesus, the thought makes my spine shiver. It’s already a huge moment to tell someone that you’re in a relationship, or that you’re gay, or that you’re married, or that you’re pregnant, or that you’re trans, but telling all fucking five at once is like winning a sick lottery neither of us ever even wanted to enter. We just wanted each other. But Sherlock will stand up tall and do it. He’ll do it for me, and for us, and for our daughters. He’ll do it because he is the sun.

He’s calling to me now to come swim with him (whining at me is more like it), and I’d bet my life savings that he’s stomping his adorable foot like an impatient child beneath the waves as I hold up a certain special finger and tell him to wait like an adult. But of course I’ll drop everything and go swim with him. Of course I’d swim with him across the entire ocean if it meant he’d keep saying my name, keep letting me rest in the warm, safe place beside his body. Keep showing me home.

 

-

 

All good things come to an end. That’s the sort of trite shit you’re supposed to write in journals and memoirs, right? All saccharine retrospect and remorseful nostalgia. Well, it’s true though. Twelve blissful days without seeing a single person besides my husband and now we’ve been plopped right back into the fishbowl of London – back to keeping indoors and sneaking around at night and doctors upon doctors upon doctors.

What’s funny is that we didn’t even really talk about anything during our vacation. We didn’t go over baby names, or talk about how our lives would change, or what we would say to Lestrade and his team. We didn’t wonder at how we got here, or re-hash what the doctors have told us, or even guess at what it will be like to be fathers. Instead we spoke our secret language, the silent, gentle looks that can communicate everything between us, whether we’re sitting across from each other at home in our chairs or standing over a body at a crime scene. We have it down to an art form. And so there was no need for long, rambling talks while walking hand in hand along the shore, or while cooking dinners side by side in the kitchen, or while sitting for hours out on the porch while I massaged his tired, swollen feet and ankles in my lap. All these past months have been nothing but talk – talking to each other, and talking to doctors, and talking over cases, and talking, talking, talking. It was so wonderful to be silent.

We talked at night with our bodies. We lay in bed, with the floor to ceiling glass doors thrown open to look out over the sand and water, and we made slow, reassuring love with the warm, salty breeze on our backs. Six months pregnant with twins is far past most people’s ability to have any semblance of rough or active sex, all legs in the air and red handprints on thighs and hoarse, gasping breaths. So instead we moved achingly slow, with sensitized fingertips trailing over goose-bumped skin, and warm palms cupping cheeks, and two bodies slowly pressing together, surrounding the gorgeous, round belly in between them.

The second to last night, though, we talked. Well, Sherlock talked. He leaned back against me with his head on my shoulder from where he sat in between my legs, and I reached around him as far as I could to rub my fingers on the marks of his stretched skin, soothing the ache in his hips and underneath the heavy weight of our daughters. He told me parts of his past I had never known, about his family, and his body, and his days back in school. Some of it was sad, and I could feel his skin quiver against me as I wrapped him tighter in my arms, weighed down by the pain in his voice. Those stories were the drugs, and the depression, the times he cut his skin and the nights he lay missing me enough to cry when he was away for those two years.

But, honestly, a lot of it was rather hilarious. He told me about mishaps dressing in men’s clothing for the first time, and how the other day he had practiced balancing full teacups on the top of his belly just to see if he could. He told me the first time he knew that he loved me, which was apparently when we sat at that picnic table at the Inn in Baskerville and I was berating him over the fact that he fucking drugged me and locked me in a room with an imaginary killer hound (yeah, turns out I’m still a bit miffed about that – and future-John I hope you never let him live it down).

Christ, I missed his laugh. I realized while we sat there cracking up and looking out over the water that we hadn’t really laughed together in a long time. There’d been smiles, and happy tears, and excitement, but not really laughter. Probably because every time I wanted to laugh, to throw out a joke or egg him on until his humor came out, I’d remember him crumpled on the floor that first night in tears, and suddenly I couldn’t bring myself to laugh anymore.

We laughed for hours, and then he wordlessly turned in my arms and started removing my clothes. He laid me down on the soft porch bench, and straddled me as he opened himself with lube the sneaky bastard had hidden in the cushions. Then he looked straight into my eyes, and placed my hands either side of his belly, and sunk down until I was fully inside of him. He rode me deep and slow, every muscle in his thighs tensed as he lifted himself up again and again.

I couldn’t help myself, the sight was intoxicating. I whispered forbidden words to him: “you’re so heavy, love. Look at your tight, low belly bounce as you ride me. Look at you, you gorgeous man. Look at how huge you are, how stretched you are for me. Gorgeous, babe, gorgeous.” He threw his neck back and ran his hands down his neck, over his swollen dark nipples, over the huge swell of his belly and held his girth in between his long fingers. He moaned, “I’m so full, John. I’m so tight and full. Fill me until I can’t breathe. Feel how full you made me, how round and hard you made this belly. Oh God, John.”

Well, considering how hard I am just writing that, I don’t need to give my future self any more details. Got a little carried away there. . .

I guess I’m dwelling on it so much because it was the first night that we both took a complete and whole pleasure out of what was happening to Sherlock’s body. There was no hesitation, or shame, or restraint. No hiding. There’ve been many nights, and I’m sure there will be many more, where Sherlock prefers I don’t touch him there, or feel the way his chest is slowly trying to grow back into breasts. I’d do anything for him, and so as much as I want to run my hands over that gorgeous curve of skin I stay far away from it. Instead I lick into his arse with my tongue, or suck his small cock into my mouth, or, more rarely, throw back my head as he enters me. I know he needs those nights – those nights where his growing, soft body doesn’t exist, and he is once again the strong, lithe, muscular man he’s known himself to be for his entire life.

But I think I can confidently write here, in the safety of this journal, that I don’t think he’s ever been hotter, ever been more of a sexy, irresistible man than when he fully embraced the newness of his body that night, and took all of his pleasure from the changes in his skin. Even since that night he’s grown, and it makes me sad to think that it might not be possible to do that again any time soon. But I’ll cherish this trip forever. It wasn’t lost on me at all that most people on the planet don’t have a Mycroft Holmes to magically whisk them away to a private villa in Spain – that if Sherlock had any other last name we would just be two guys totally alone in getting through this, without any respite or recourse to turn to when the world rejects our family. Christ, I’m a fucking lucky man.

 

-

 

It feels so odd to be back in Baker Street. We weren’t even gone that long, but everything feels different, transitory and illusive, as if someone’s made a copy of our old flat and reproduced it with five tiny, hidden changes that we have to seek out and find. Sherlock was up before me this morning, and when I made my way with half-closed eyes into the kitchen he was standing at the kettle, his back to me, wearing his favorite blue dressing gown. Suddenly I was transported back in time. My sleep fogged brain honestly forgot about everything that’s happened – about how it won’t just be us two for that much longer. Suddenly he was just Sherlock, up and making tea, getting ready for a day of traipsing around his beloved London with me at his heels.

Then he turned sideways with a mug in one hand and the other slowly gliding under the heavy curve of his belly, which jutted out from his dressing gown underneath an extra large t-shirt like a beach ball. It took my breath away, and he heard me gasp.

Christ, I wish I hadn’t done that. It wasn’t a gasp of “oh, how beautiful.” He heard it for what it was – I was honestly startled. He still said good morning to me, and handed me my tea, but his eyes were flat, and I watched as he drew his dressing gown tighter around himself while he made his way down the hall to the bathroom, walking slowly and carefully so that his full hips wouldn’t sway and waddle under his weight.

It broke me, to know that I had done that. He’s been in there for almost two hours now, and I can guess what he’s doing. He’s been staring at himself in the mirror, staring at his sideways reflection at the way his belly pushes full and round out in front of him, and the way his nipples have swelled and peaked. I know he’s standing there wondering why I’d ever think that was handsome, or why he’d ever kidded himself that he’s a true man, body and soul.

I have to make it up to him, somehow. I’m meeting with Greg soon to try and explain everything. We both decided it would be better if I went to him alone. First of all, him and I are actually friends and have a good rapport that doesn’t largely center around insults and rolled eyes. And second of all, Sherlock is six, almost seven months pregnant with twins, and there’s no fucking hiding that. Neither of us wanted to watch the expression that would inevitably (and understandably) be on Greg’s face when he saw us before we had time to explain.

I can’t fuck this up. Everything he’s worked for, everything he’s made himself into – I feel it all rides on how I handle this conversation. For Sherlock to ever be able to walk back into a room or a crime scene and work with the Yard again after this, and to feel that he is still respected (and feared, envied, loathed, what have you) as Sherlock Holmes the detective, the genius, the man, and not just as the pregnant freak, I need to do this right. He has placed his entire image in my hands, and I don’t take that lightly.

It makes me nauseous to think what will happen if I screw up. But now I hear the bathroom door opening, and Sherlock is calling for me to go to the hardware store and buy supplies because apparently it is imperative that we re-tile the bathroom for science. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do (after stopping at the pub on the way for an ice cold beer, or three).

 

--

 

7

 

Let it be known here to future-John Watson that Gregory Lestrade deserves every damn medal the police force, and the entire universe, can give him. Just, pile them on him in an avalanche of gold and ribbons and give him a snorkel so he can still breathe when they rise above the level of his head.

I met up with him, finally. Sherlock and I had a good laugh about the fact that we somehow successfully hid a man’s pregnancy with twins from the entire Yard for seven whole months. When I went to leave though I could see the quiet fear in his eyes, and it took everything in me not to stay home and just hold him close. Because the only way to get rid of that fear was to go and do this. For him, and for us.

If you had asked me six months ago when we thought we’d have to come out and explain everything to everyone I’d have seriously doubted we’d make it even another month or two. I realize in thinking back on this that I’ve really left out a lot of people we know – people that any readers of my blog would probably be waiting to pop up. But, I did say at the start of this whole thing that it would be about us, about my love and I. It turns out I’m a jealous bastard, and the thought of mixing and blending our memories together with anyone else feels sacrilege. And I honestly don’t think future-John will be complaining too hard about reading a diary that talks about Sherlock and Sherlock alone.

But Greg, though. Greg deserves a special paragraph. We met up at a pub – I hesitated over that choice for days. . . I knew the man well enough to know he wouldn’t cause some sort of scene, but still, it felt like such an impersonal place to have to suddenly split myself open and reveal my internal organs, the beating of my heart and soul, the warmth inside my skin. On the other hand, though, I needed him at his most relaxed.

He punched my arm when I arrived. Yelled at me good-naturedly for ghosting him for months and calling Sherlock “such a flake the bastard’s basically a gigantic piece of dandruff.” I had a good laugh and let him get it out of his system – he had a right to be pissed, after all. I can only imagine the insulting or rude excuses Sherlock came up with over the past months since we’d stopped going out (in the daylight, that is). I himmed and hawed and told him about my job, asked about the team, chatted rugby, etc. God I’m bored even writing that.

It was time.

I took a deep breath, and I could tell instantly that Greg’s police senses picked up on the change in the atmosphere. I squared my soldiers like Captain Watson, and looked him in the eye, and I told him everything, sentence after sentence, without any pauses, or apologies, or rationalizations. I just told him.

I’m gay. (a subtle nod of acknowledgement, a touch of confusion over the dramatics)

Sherlock and I are in a relationship. (a spark of realization, the beginnings of a smile)

Sherlock and I are married. (pupils blown wide, a mixture of amazement and righteous anger that he wasn’t invited to the wedding)

Sherlock is trans. (blank)

Sherlock is pregnant. We’re having twin girls. He’s almost eight months. (blank blank blank)

We’re really happy, and we wanted to tell you. (blink, then blank)

I sat and waited inside my own personal mini hell, where I was trapped in a block of ice and had jackhammers going off inside my stomach. I’m fairly certain a full minute went by, with Greg barely breaking my gaze.

Finally he took a breath and looked up at the ceiling. He looked out the pub window we sat next to, his eyes gently scanning the cars and cabs as they sloshed by in the rain and fog. When he looked back at me he had tears in his eyes. I’ll never forget what he said (especially now that I’m writing it down): “Christ, man, I’m so fucking happy for you. You and Sherlock are gonna be fathers . . . aw, John come here.” He stood up to hug me, a huge smile on his face.

It hit me then like a crashing wave – the sheer relief I felt at hearing a positive reaction. It was like my skin had been smothered and sunburned for months, and now suddenly I felt the sweet, encompassing healing of fresh breeze and aloe. For so many months, day after day, I’d kept the most important part of my life a careful secret. Hidden it from my friends, and my coworkers, and the strangers I sat next to on the tube.

People get to share when they’re going to have a kid normally. They get to happily exclaim it to the barista at the coffee shop, and the guy fixing your car, and the little old lady next to you on the bench. They get to show friends the ultrasound photos, and shop for nursery furniture together in the store, and have a shower where everyone buys them little baby clothes and an expensive pram.

And honestly, I still don’t think I’d ever really truly want any of that. It’s not in my nature to want all the traditional trappings of a pregnancy. It’s claustrophobic to me, the same way a suburb and a 9-5 and a cubicle and a minivan feel. But there’s a shared happiness that I’d been subconsciously envying, like the poor kid in a Dickens novel staring through the glass of the sweets factory, his little clammy palms pressed tightly to the glass as if he could someday reach through and touch the confections with his own fingertips. Not even eat them, just touch and feel and own. 

Greg had just given that to me. And so before I knew it I was on my feet, and his arms were around me, and I cried happy and angry and relieved and terrified tears into his shoulder. I’m fairly certain the rest of the pub thought we must have been long lost brothers recently reconnected on Facebook, or that our favorite team had just lost, or that we were just magnificently sloshed. Sherlock would have been able to deduce everything, though, because he’s the sun.

I pulled away pretty embarrassed, wiping my face on my sleeve. Greg immediately asked for the ultrasound photos, which I keep a copy of tucked away in my wallet and had never before taken out, even to look at myself. He held the glossy paper so delicately in his calloused hands for a long time. “Sherlock made this,” he whispered. “He made these two beautiful little girls.” I tried not to choke up again as I barely got out “yeah, yeah he did.”

Then Greg told me to “tell the bastard that being eight months pregnant is now officially the only valid excuse I’ll take for him not answering my calls for months, so good fucking luck with him getting away with that ever again,” which made me laugh so hard the tears kept at bay in my eyes spilled over anyway.

I left it up to him whether or how to tell the rest of the Yard. I know that we could always just wait until Sherlock was recovered and back to his normal body and self and just pretend that we adopted. But, as much as I’m a fan of adoption, now that we actually have our own flesh and blood it feels like a betrayal to even consider hiding the fact that they’re ours. That Sherlock and I joined together and made them, right from the very first second of their lives.

When I came home that night Sherlock was inexplicably covered head to toe in flour and fingerprint dust. As I later learned, the flour was the result of an extremely short lived desire to bake a cake (ie he only got to the flour in the bowl step and then gave up), and the fingerprint dust was, as I had feared, the result of an attempt to get the babies’ fingerprints through his stomach. I’m sure he could tell instantly by my demeanor that it had gone well with Greg, and so he didn’t even bother himself to ask for details. Instead we stood quietly in the hallway, with both of our hands resting gently on his growing belly, and he quietly sighed as I slowly rubbed my palms along his tight and stretching skin.

 

-

 

Greg turned up three days later on our doorstep. Sherlock was sitting on our living room floor cross-legged, the weight of his belly resting on top of his shins. He was eating a popsicle (“Because I need a popsicle right this second or else I’ll keel over and surely die, John”) and had his shirt pulled up over his bump, every now and then running his finger along the smooth, round skin to catch drops of popsicle juice and pop it in his mouth with a loud suck. 

It was one of the most erotic things I’d ever seen, and I was considering how well it would be taken if I suggested he join me in our bedroom. We haven’t had sex, or any physical intimacy, really, since Spain. At first I was worried for him – even though he looks so hugely pregnant, he hasn’t quite hit that final stage of complete discomfort that usually comes with twins. He can still find an ok sleeping position, and move around and get up on his own without too much struggle, and so I guess I figured that even lying together and having a good snog would still be in the cards, especially after the mind-blowing sex we had on that porch.

It took me way too long to realize that we could still be doing that, that physically Sherlock was more than capable (and interested, too, if his cock some mornings was anything to go by). But at this point, with such a huge belly in between us, it’s become pretty impossible to do anything without touching it, and if anything has changed the past few week’s it’s been Sherlock’s almost startling disconnect from his body.

It took me so long to see this because Sherlock’s hands are almost always on his belly, rubbing or stroking or holding. Part of it is just simple balance, I’m sure. But I guess I thought he was starting to embrace it, to desire to feel the changes in his body under his fingertips and revel in the way his body was stretching and growing to protect our daughters inside.

But I was wrong.

It was a reminder, nothing more. A reminder to himself that he’s not his old self, the usual Sherlock with his perfect suits and his washboard abs and his muscled chest. I think he gets so deep in his head that he forgets, truly forgets, that he’s pregnant. And so the hand reminds him, reminds him that his body has done this uninvited thing to him.

So you see my issue, then, future-me. No matter how gorgeous or irresistible or fucking glorious he looked, if I touched him, I’d just be reminding him of everything that was keeping him from what he wished he could be. As much as I want to come up behind him and wrap my arms around him and admire the way my fingertips can’t even reach the very end of his belly because of how heavy and round and full and beautiful he is, I just can’t. Sure, he invites me sometimes, like when I came home from seeing Greg, and we kiss soft and gentle when our eyes meet first thing in the morning. He takes my hand, and lets me brush my fingers through his curls, and places his tired feet in my lap each night on the sofa. But I can’t betray his trust by taking his sense of self away from him and asking for more. Not now. Not when he is my sun.

Oh wait, Greg. That was the whole point of this, wasn’t it? Christ, I’m getting like a sappy Frued- wannabe with all this inner reflection nonsense. Yeah, so Greg turned up. We heard Mrs. Hudson let him in downstairs, and then shared a brief look of panic as Sherlock realized what state he was in (the pants and the pulled up shirt and the popsicle juice on his belly, as a reminder). Sherlock was still trying to struggle to his feet when Lestrade appeared on the doorstep. He was mid-greeting when he realized what was happening, and I know that both he and I saw the shame on Sherlock’s face as he heaved himself up on one foot, then the other, one hand clinging to the mantle above the fireplace and the other frantically pulling his shirt down over his belly, even though the old shirt only covered about half of it anyway.

It was silent except for Sherlock’s labored breathing, and I wanted to scream and shout and jump out the window if it got Greg to look away from Sherlock as he struggled. It felt like the greatest tragedy, our friend and Sherlock’s colleague seeing him so low. It was the first time anyone besides Mycroft or Mrs. Hudson had seen Sherlock past the point when his pregnancy became obvious, and none of us were prepared.

Sherlock, my lovely Sherlock. My handsome, fierce, gladiator of a husband. He let the silence drag on until he was finally standing, and then he turned and faced Lestrade head on, like a soldier before battle. It was glorious. And then Lestrade said, “you bastard” with a gigantic smile, and he walked forward and awkwardly leaned across and to the side of Sherlock’s belly to wrap him in a huge hug. I heard them whispering to each other, and saw a small smile at the corner of Sherlock’s lips. Even now I have no idea what was said. And then Lestrade pulled back, and pulled a card out of his jacket pocket.

He left before we could offer him anything, and demanded that he be the first to know when they were born or else he’d only send Sherlock cheating spouse cases for a year. When it was just the two of us Sherock opened the card with shocked and trembling fingers, and we saw that it was signed from what appeared to be the entirety of Lestrade’s team. Mostly genuine well-wishes, a few misplaced “happy birthday’s” or “get well soon’s”, and a gift card for a frankly exorbitant amount to a baby store. At the bottom of the envelope wrapped in tissue paper were two tiny police badges, with a note promising to have our daughters’ names engraved (and a special addendum from Lestrade that he would not have the badges engraved if we named our daughters anything Sherlock chooses – such as Flerovium, Metalloid, or Chromatography).

Sherlock gave the card to me and walked away muttering something about sentimental nonsense, but I know he was as touched as I am, if not more.

 

--

 

8

 

Well, it’s been a while. Not sure why I haven’t kept this up over the last month considering it’s been the least busy month of this entire ordeal. I finally lowered my hours at the clinic to just one or two days a week on-call. Mostly that was because Sherlock’s taken a bit of a turn for the worse. A terrifying scare early one morning of too-early contractions left Sherlock with an order of bed rest, and since bed rest is literally impossible for Sherlock Holmes, a strict house arrest has been enforced instead (because I’m not kidding myself one bit if I don’t believe that Sherlock’s still been sneaking out in some sort of disguise or another all these months while I’ve been at work, day or night).

I feel for him. I ache for him.

He’s in a lot of pain, I know that now. His face is a grimace every time he needs to move, and his legs wobble and sway when he walks. He barely sleeps at night, managing just an hour or so before he needs to get up. I’m always awake with him during those times – it’s essential that I am, though neither of us ever says it out loud.

During the day things are still relatively normal. We read, and Sherlock dives into the pile of cold cases Lestrade sent him. We cook a new recipe together each night, even though Sherlock can usually only stomach a few bland foods anyways. Basically it’s like a lazy Sunday happening day after day. Even the violin sometimes makes an appearance, although now he has to play sitting down.

But at night, though. That’s when our pretense falls. He’s terrified, and so am I. We decided to try and do a home birth, largely because of Sherlock’s intense distrust and fear of hospitals, and also because we agreed with just a single look that going under any sort of heavy anesthesia or pain killers wouldn’t be a good idea by any stretch of the imagination. Most twin births are c-sections nowadays, but as cheesy as this sounds, we’re not ‘most people’ are we? We meet with the midwife almost weekly to make sure everything is progressing normally, and I do everything I can in between. Logically, everything seems prepared and ready. Everything seems normal and safe and textbook. 

But. . . Christ he’s been slipping away from me. He spends most of every day, and all of every night, far away in his head. Far away from his body, and far away from me. He tries to stay, he really does. But then he inevitably floats away, right before my eyes as I call out to him not to leave me.

I think I can safely write here that it’s been hell. And if it feels like this for me, I can’t even fucking imagine what it feels like for him. I can’t even help him, can’t even take away any of his pain, can’t give him back any sense or semblance of himself, can’t make him realize how truthful I am, how it pours out from the depths of my soul when I tell him that I love him, and that he is my husband. My husband. My One.

 

-

 

I think a lot these days about when and how Sherlock and I first got together. Not in a ‘first meeting’ sense – although I think a lot about that, too. How easy it would have been for me to take a different path through that park and not run into Mike, or how I could have been just a tad too grumpy that day and rubbed Sherlock the wrong way so that he didn’t extend the flatshare invitation. How I could have already ended it all without every knowing what was waiting for me just around the corner.

As I watch Sherlock retreat deeper and deeper into himself, though, away from London and Baker Street and his body and me, I can’t help lying awake at night and yearning after that first night – that first time.

We had been on a case during the day, a fairly standard one as cases go. It was about six months after he’d come back – I think everyone, Sherlock included, was still getting used to the idea of him actually being alive. I honestly don’t even remember the details, the random series of deductions and evidence that lead to us hunting for a hairclip in the long grasses outside the church. I was so focused on Sherlock’s gorgeous mind whizzing like lightning ahead of me that I didn’t realize exactly what church we were at, or what cemetery we were about to walk into.

It was just the two of us tracking down this tiny piece of evidence. Lestrade and his guys were focusing on another angle closer to the crime scene, and so I was free to open my mouth and praise Sherlock was much as I wanted. I could tell he was soaking it up, letting my words hold his head higher and higher as we worked in that easy partnership we’ve always had.

I literally walked into it – his headstone. When I looked down and saw the name it took the breath out of my lungs. I was back at Barts, watching him fall, hearing the crunch of his skull hitting the cement. I was screaming his name and reaching desperately for his bloody hand and watching his body be carried away from me forever.

Sherlock’s hands on my face broke me from the nightmare. I was on my knees next to the headstone, the same position I’d sat in countless times over the years that I came there and wept alone.

I wish I could say something more dramatic or noteworthy happened. There wasn’t some huge lead up, or a sweeping confession, or a special new spark in the air. It was just Sherlock looking into my eyes, the way he always had, and finally in that moment my mind was prepared to see it for what it was.

He saw my thoughts in the air between us, whispered my name right before he pressed his lips against mine, there in the shadow of the place where I thought my heart had been buried forever.

“Let me love you now,” he said to me. And I nodded, pressed his hand to my pounding heart and let his warm touch calm me. It’s funny to me now that we didn’t even head straight home after that. We stayed to retrieve that fucking hairclip – which I guess wasn’t such a bad idea considering it caught a serial killer. Twelve hours of searching, and a mad chase, and paperwork and statements later we finally arrived back at home. He took my hand silently as we walked up the stairs, looked in my eyes to make sure that all of this was still alright. He looked at me as if I would float away into mist any moment, just evaporate through his fingertips before he could really touch me.

But I stayed, and let him lead me into his bedroom, what I knew instantly to be our bedroom now, and learned all through the night what it meant to make love to someone, body to body and soul to soul.

I miss him so much. I see him in the same room, in the same bed, but he isn’t there. He’s gone. Gone like he was gone under that headstone. My bones ache for him and his touch. I miss him so fucking much, like I know he misses himself.

 

--

 

I have hope now.

Because something like last night happened, when I woke up at 2 am, and I saw the bathroom door cracked open with the light on. Sherlock was standing there naked with grey, tired eyes and frazzled hair. He was looking at himself sideways in the mirror, with one hand on the small of his back. The other rubbed slowly along the side of his pregnant belly, stopping when his fingertips just barely reached the front of his round curve, and then slowly moving up and over – a slow, repetitive circle. I could tell he knew I was there in the shadows beyond the door, but the only sound breaking the silence between us was the swish of his palm running along his skin. I looked at his body, really looked at it, and wanted to weep at what I saw. It was heartbreaking, and also so, so, so beautiful. How can the same thing be both? And so intensely?

He’s starting to carry heavy again now that the birth is relatively near, and the bottom of his belly starts to swell when he’s been standing for too long. After all the months of morning sickness, and cravings, of elastic waistband in pants and baby books and doctor’s visits and nursery shopping and swollen ankles and stretch marks covered in lotion – this is the final step, the end of the line.

It’s Sherlock, with an enormous, full belly stretched firm and round over both of our daughters. It’s this man I love, this man I adore, who has solved thousands of crimes and dashed over rooftops, now so heavy and pregnant, wheezing and weighted under this unfamiliar body. It’s him, with a swollen, sensitive chest and dark nipples threatening to undo all the hard work of the scars beneath them. 

And it’s him, looking at both of his hands disappearing under his belly to try and hold it up, try and make sense of this heavy, round weight pushing out from his front, and whispering to me, so loud in the stillness of the bathroom, “my body’s betraying me, John.” 

It’s Sherlock crying, weeping like that very first night. Leaning forward over the sink and bracing himself with his hands while his pregnant belly hangs down in front of him, his legs trembling as he sobs out the emotions he’s kept in check for nine long months. I rushed to him, cupped the side of his face with my hand and brought his forehead to my own. Words poured out of me – things that even until now I had never told him. How he saved me just when I thought of putting the gun to my head, how I would follow him to the ends of the earth, how I was born to love him, born for that purpose and that alone. How he was my sun.

His voice was raw. “I still want this – I promise that I want this,” he whispered, and I understood. I asked him to let me in, to finally let me share in the pain instead of just in the joy.

And he did.

He kissed me, then. A fierce, passionate kiss. We hadn’t kissed like that in weeks. It took my breath away, feeling him sigh into my mouth as his warm tongue rushed inside, dancing with mine. Suddenly we were back in time to a year ago – just the two of us snogging in our bathroom, unable to keep our hands off of each other, unable to break apart for breath. I moaned into him, tasted his lips as he whispered my name over and over and over. I looked up into his eyes, still rimmed with red, and I couldn’t help the smile that broke out across my face.

“We’re fathers,” I said, and then my heart burst open as his smile suddenly matched my own, like a flower finally, finally blooming after being locked in a bud all winter. “We’re fathers,” he said back, and then we laughed together, surprised, amazed, relieved, brimming over laughs. Laughs that turned into gasps as we reached between each others legs, and tasted our pleasure on each others’ lips, and finally came together with a mutual cry of “Oh god, oh god, oh.”

When he finally opened his eyes he looked down at me so tenderly, a perfect copy of his face the first time after we made love all those years ago. “There you are,” I said. “You’re back.”

Because he had been gone. Gone this entire month. And now I had my husband back, naked and glowing in the fluorescent light of our bathroom.

He nodded slowly. “Now we can do this,” he said. Oh, how I soared at hearing those words.

We’re ready now. It’s my love and I, and it’s our daughters, just the four of us against the rest of the world.

 

--

 

9

 

Any day now. . . . . any day now. . . .

By twin standards (and by relatively not-normal pregnancy standards), Sherlock’s been due for a little over a week now. Some might say that this is a good sign – that his body is adapting to the stress being placed on it, trying to give our daughters the most time possible to finish developing before being pushed out into the world.

But I damn well know better, and I know that the only reason why we don’t have two screaming newborns in our flat right now is because Sherlock fucking Holmes is a stubborn bastard and he is literally willing his body to put off labor every minute of the day.

What an utterly moronic dickhead.

But also, what an incredibly courageous man.

Shit, I don’t know how to feel about it all – about anything. He barely sleeps now, spends most of each day and night pacing the flat or lying on a pile of supporting cushions on the sofa. I’m by his side every minute, largely because any time I leave him for a moment, even if it’s to use the loo or make us some tea or supper, I come back to wide open eyes and a trembling voice that whispers “oh thank god, thank god you haven’t left me. 

I think this self-imposed isolation we’ve both been under has dragged him back to a dark place sometimes – made him remember lonely, dark alleyways and sinister, empty basements from those years he spent away tracking down Moriarty’s circle. The pure relief on his face every time I enter the room is enough to tell me that these final days of his pregnancy have rendered his emotional state a little unstable, and so the result is that I haven’t left his side in going on nine days now (and yes, that includes every time I’ve had to use the damn bathroom). To most people the thought of being with Sherlock Holmes every second of the day for nine days would probably sound like a torture sentence, but luckily for me I’m very much in love with him.

What’s incredible though is that the detective part of his brain is almost sharper than ever. He spends hours every day on the phone or in his email solving people’s puzzles and problems and crimes, and if my tally is correct he’s at about a 99% success rate. I think Lestrade probably wishes our girls would come even more earnestly than we do because if anything it will end this avalanche of paperwork he’s now facing over 100+ freshly unearthed culprits and pieces of evidence.

It’s amazing to watch him work like this, pacing the flat slow and steady with one hand pressing a cell phone to his ear and the other idly tracing circles around his belly which looks ready to burst. Sometimes our eyes meet, his mind wrenched briefly from the depths of his mind palace, and we share a secret smile. I know what we’re both thinking – that it feels like old times. Because I’m sure my face looks just like it did on that very first night standing over the poor journalist from A Study in Pink, and he knows that he looks even more radiant, even more like the sun than he did that day.

So all in all, I’m not too worried about those small moments each day when I lose him to the past, to the memories of his two years spent wandering and alone, because then I catch his gorgeous eyes, staring back at me from his rounded face that’s glowing under a beautiful sheen of sweat, and we both know that we’re still here. We’re still Sherlock and John.

The cribs are all set up, and all of the baby clothes perfectly folded and indexed. We have a fridge and cupboards full of food and formula, drawers overflowing with towels and bibs and blankets, and, as of yesterday, two little engraved police badges resting on the mantelpiece.

Elinor and Gwen.

Elinor and Gwen, Elinor and Gwen, Elinor and Gwen. Gwen and Elinor.

I could write those names over and over and never tire of them (and Sherlock has, in fact, written them over and over, in every style of handwriting imaginable and on every available surface, since he claimed it was imperative that we learn to recognize their names in every conceivable font so that we could identify the potential kidnapper from their ransom note – which made me want to vomit with worry until I saw that Sherlock was joking, and that he, too, just couldn’t get enough of writing our daughters’ names).

That night I wrote about last time – the night in the bathroom – it changed everything for us. Even in the best times during this pregnancy, even in Spain, neither of us were truly just being ourselves, just John or just Sherlock. We were always pretending. Playacting at the giddy soon-to-be-fathers gay couple, or the over the moon pregnant couple, or the world’s greatest consulting detective and his assistant, or the doctor at the local clinic with a “wife” at home, or the great Sherlock Holmes whose belly wasn’t heavy and full, ready to burst from under the extra large t-shirt.

We acted very well, so well we even fooled each other at times. But now, since that night, we haven’t been acting. We’ve been Sherlock and John, and oh what a relief that is.

So yeah, Sherlock solves crimes over the phone when he could literally start giving birth to twins any second, and I hold up fingers to him when it’s time for him to hang up and do things (1: go to the bathroom, 2: drink water, 3: eat food, 4: let us stand together with our hands on his belly so we can feel our daughters’ kicking, 5: kiss me and let me remind him he is my sun).

 

-

 

Sherlock is napping now with his head in my lap. I’m typing this one-handed on my phone as my other hand cards through his hair, relishing in the fact that he’s finally, actually getting some rest. The midwives are here in the other room preparing – when he wakes up, it will be time to go. Time to start.

This morning was bad. I woke up from a fitful sleep to the sound of Sherlock groaning next to me, clutching at the sides of his belly and grunting out my name. I’ve never pushed a speed dial button faster in my life, told the midwives to get here (well, actually I don’t remember saying anything at all but I must have made sense because they showed up on our doorstep thirty minutes later). Sherlock was kneeling on the floor with a pillow under his knees with me in front of him, resting the weight of his belly on a pile of blankets and burying his face in my neck, with his fingers clasped so tightly around the top of my shirt I could barely breathe. I rubbed his back, kissed his damp hair, ran my warm palm along the dark stretch mark along the front of his belly that I know pains him when it stretches. 

I could feel our daughters moving, pushing lower inside of him as the round curve of his belly slowly changed from pushing straight out to hanging low and heavy over his hips.

He must have deleted that I’d called the midwives, because when they showed up all hell broke lose. He started yelling at them to go away, to leave him alone with just me. He wouldn’t let them touch him or move me away from his grasp, and started muttering about the case he still needed to solve, and the gynecology textbook he still needed to finish reading, and the fact that he hadn’t yet tested every single fiber in every baby blanket and item of clothing to make sure it was free of toxins.

The poor women backed off with a slew of apologies from me, but as a doctor I know they’ve probably dealt with far worse. We were alone again in the room, and I whispered into his ear that I was there, that I wasn’t leaving. It would always be two of us, except we were just adding two more.

“It’s not time, not yet, not yet, not yet,” he said over and over. He started quoting statistics and numbers so fast I barely caught what he was saying. “Not yet, not yet, not yet, not time.”

I told him that the midwives were here and ready, that he was safe. That the warm pool of water was waiting for him, and that I was there, I was there, I was there. “It’s time to push,” I said.

He could barely talk through his contractions, let alone take in full breaths. I could feel the top of his belly growing hard and solid as the rest of his body trembled and shook. Through some reserve of superhuman strength he stood up on his own, then raked his fingers through his hair and told me to tell the midwives to come back tomorrow, that he would be finished with everything he had to do then. Then he pulled out the nearest cold case file and started looking at it, his eyes frantically scanning the words without really seeing until he doubled over and nearly dropped the papers as another contraction hit him. The fragile noise that escaped from his mouth made me want to walk right up to God, whoever the hell he or she is, and demand that they take it all away from him, make me the pregnant one, make me the one in pain. Just not Sherlock, not him, please please god not him.

I told him he could finish everything after our daughters came – that Gwen and Elinor could be there with him while he solved those cases. That it was time to push.

He held up a finger to me. “I’m getting to that, it’s next on the list. Just let me do this first. Let me do this!”

Now I was starting to get frustrated – frustrated at him, and at myself for letting him go through this, and at the universe for causing the body he hated to be causing him so much physical pain. We went on like that, back and forth, until I finally snapped. I hate what I said.

“Dammit, Sherlock it’s time! We need you to do this, our daughters need you to do this. The fucking cases can wait, we need to start the birth now.”

He slammed the pile of papers to the floor. He yelled. “I don’t need to do anything! Not now, and not tomorrow, or the fucking day after that!” And then his voice broke, and I couldn’t stop myself from running to him as he gripped his belly in another contraction and choked out how he couldn’t do it, how he couldn’t push for me, or for our daughters. How he couldn’t do any of this.

He started to cry as I helped him down onto the floor. I held his face in my hands and breathed slow and deep until his breathing matched mine. His tears were angry and afraid, so much so they felt like acid as they dripped over my fingertips. I held him, gave him every last ounce of strength that I had, told him the entire depths of my heart in words that only he and I will ever know.

I kissed his belly, kissed each of his swollen and raw nipples, then I drew him to myself and let his head fall into my lap. “My John, what would I do without you,” he whispered, and then he drifted off to his first real sleep in days.

 

-

 

The midwives came back in just now, and we whispered over our plans. They thought it best to let him sleep through some of his contractions, allow his body to relax again, and then we’ll wake him up and get us both in the bath. Sherlock’s nervous about that part, he told me last week. The part where other people will see his genitals, see all of the parts between his legs. But then I reminded him that they wouldn’t be looking at him, they would be looking at our daughters emerging out of him where they’ve been kept safe. That did us both a lot of good.

The midwives are coming back in. It’s time. I’m about to hold Sherlock as he pushes our daughters into the world, and then he’ll sit in my arms as we both become dads, as he holds our little girls tight against himself and sees the beautiful thing we’ve made.

We can do this. He can do this. It’s time.

 

--

 

10

 

Elinor and Gwen.

I think I can pretty confidently say that those are the two most beautiful words in the world.

Actually, I guess I can think of a third: Sherlock.

I knew, ever since he walked into our room and told me we could do this, that he would make a great father. I mean, a newborn baby, with all of their quirks and discovery and growth, is practically begging to be studied by someone as obsessive and detail-oriented as Sherlock is. That constant need for stimulation, for something new and miraculous and unknown to light up the pathways in the brain and explode the previously understood into magic – it’s something Sherlock seems to share with any curious newborn baby anywhere. The need to know what, and how, and why.

So yeah, I never had any great doubt that Sherlock wouldn’t make a great father, even on those darkest of days during the pregnancy where I seriously doubted either of us would make it through and still be thedynamic duo we once were.

What I didn’t anticipate, though, and which I definitely should have anticipated, is that Sherlock is an incredible father. He puts me to shame every moment of the day. He doesn’t just find our daughters interesting, or unique, or fascinating, he adores them with every fiber of his being. Sometimes I fear he loves them a thousand times more than I ever could – that his heart, so neglected for so many years, is making up for lost time by pouring every ounce of love it’s ever been capable of onto these two little girls. But what’s even more incredible, is that even after everything he’s been through, he also pours out all of that earth shattering, sunlit and wave crashing love onto me too.

He is my sun, and he is Elinor’s sun, and he is Gwen’s sun.

And he somehow still manages to find little moments in the day to irritate me completely on purpose, to egg me on to remind us that we’re still the old Sherlock and John, even if we have two babies in our arms now. Like this morning, when he somehow figured out how to make non-flammable glitter and then poured a handful of it into the toaster so that it exploded all over the kitchen counter when I made my morning toast. He did that just to make me surprised, and then mad, and then incredulous, and then tickled, and then incandescently happy. He did that to remind me that I’m John Watson.

I’m a fool in love with a lunatic.

I guess I should probably write something about the birth, but at the same time, I highly, highly doubt I will ever forgot a second of that day. My incredible, fierce, gorgeous husband was in labor for eighteen hours, and never once did he give up, or go back to thinking he couldn’t do it, or even take me up on my numerous offers to just scratch the home birth and get to a hospital so he could get something for the pain. Even the midwives were pushing him to do it, just so that he could try and get more comfortable.

Birthing twins naturally is no walk in the park. It was a surprisingly uncomplicated birth, even they remarked they were surprised, but still. He was in so much pain. Each time I offered, I could see him take a moment to think it over. We knew that Mycroft could have a car here in about 30 seconds, and Mrs. Hudson downstairs was practically scratching on our front door to be let in and help somehow, because hearing Sherlock’s cries from downstairs had to be heartbreaking. We knew that being in hospital wouldn’t make the birth any less special. Rationally we knew that. 

But. . . . he would look into my eyes, and I would brush his wet curls back from his forehead, and we both just knew. We had to do it here, at home in Baker Street, unless it became absolutely necessary that we get to hospital instead. We’ve both spent the worst days of our lives in hospital beds, and we had absolutely no desire whatsoever to bring our daughters into a world that only reminded both of us of pain, and suffering, and nearly dying, nearly slipping away from it all.

Sherlock was a warrior. I saw the fear in his eyes the first time the midwife had to really examine between his legs. Aside from his relationship with me, nothing good has ever come out of anyone touching Sherlock between his legs. But he looked at me and nodded for her to continue, and Christ I thought I would explode from love in that moment.

He was also typical Sherlock throughout the entire thing. Of course he had created a special spreadsheet in order to document the entire birth process, with an insane number of categories and parameters, and he relentlessly bugged me to fill it out, even when he could barely speak through the contractions. He also demanded I collect samples of every damn fluid that came out during the whole thing, so of course I did, with perfectly neat little labels at all.

He asked me to get in the water with him and hold him from behind, to wrap my arms around him and sing low into his ear (“for science, John, obviously”).

I was more than happy to do that.

After pushing for almost three hours (and I think I’ll hear Sherlock’s agonized cries in my nightmares for the rest of my life), little Elinor suddenly appeared in the midwife’s hands. I’ve never seen Sherlock reach for something faster in his life. His hands shot forward, and he lifted her out of the water, cleared her throat with his fingers like a natural and frantically counted fingers and toes while we waited breathlessly for her first cry.

When she did, I could feel Sherlock sink back into me with relief, and I couldn’t help it. I started to weep. Sherlock clutched her to him, resting above the swell of his belly where little Gwen still waited to come out, and Sherlock just kept whispering “our girl, our girl, our girl."

Gwen took her sweet time. The stubborn little bugger gave Sherlock another twenty minutes of contractions, during which we let one of the midwives clean and take care of Elinor, even though I had to practically pry Sherlock’s fingers off of her. Gwen was a fighter. Sherlock broke my hand, literally, as he screamed to push her out. As in, my right hand is still in a cast as I struggle to type all of this out with one hand and a few stray fingers that didn’t get totally demolished by Sherlock’s iron grip.

He did the same exact thing with Gwen once she arrived in the world, reaching for her frantically as if she would disappear if he didn’t get his hands on her fast enough. They brought both babies to him, both of our perfect little girls resting in his arms. I gazed at them speechless over Sherlock’s shoulder, kissed and kissed and kissed the side of his forehead as we both stared open-mouthed at our daughters and cried.

He turned to look back at me. His voice was nearly gone from getting through the labor, but to me his words were the most clear, pure words I had ever heard. “My John,” he said, “don’t let us go.”

On unspoken agreement we spent that first day just the four of us. After the midwives had taken care of us and ensured we’d be alright, they were gone as if they’d never even been there. We were alone with our daughters. That’s when my panic set in.

Sherlock could sense my nerves the second the door closed behind them. A million thoughts were zooming through my mind – how to feed them, take care of them, how do they sleep and what do they need and how do we know what to do and when and why and how. . .

I was pulled from my thoughts by Sherlock’s hand on my cheek. “Hey, come back,” he said. He placed Gwen in my arms, and then picked up Elinor into his own like he’d been born to do just that. He smiled at me, his wicked, gorgeous smile he gets when he’s thought of doing something genius (or insane). “Alright, dad,” he said, “let’s start the book.”

By ‘the book,’ he means the 4-inch thick notebook he has already filled with spreadsheets, trackers, and god-knows-what all in the name of documenting every second of our daughters’ lives over the next who knows how long.

That’s when I knew we could do this.

 

-

 

It’s nearly a month later now, and I’m watching Sherlock lay on his side on the floor with Elinor and Gwen next to him, pointing to a gigantic poster tacked to the ceiling of the animal kingdom and explaining, very scientifically, the most notable characteristics that separate the major animal species.

It’s adorable, and, since I’m an emotional mess these days, it makes me tear up as I’m writing this. It’s also been really fucking hard. Sleep is nonexistent, inexplicable crying takes up about 60% of each day, Elinor hates every type of formula and milk we’ve ever put in her mouth, and, horror of horrors, Gwen for some reason cries and then spits up whenever Sherlock tries to get them to play with the toy stuffed bacteria dolls he had specially made. It’s exhausting, and frustrating, and infuriating. It’s caused some harsh words between us in the middle of the night when someone has to get up and figure out who’s crying and why (and, I’m sorry Sherlock, but there is NO WAY that you can magically tell by the notes they’re crying what exactly they want and need. Nice try getting me to believe that, love.).

It’s just as difficult as everyone said it would be.

But it’s also magical. It’s the breathtaking sight of Sherlock sitting in his favorite chair and holding one of our daughters tight to his chest, looking down at her as if she’s a treasure he’s been trying to find every day of his life, the answer to all he was searching for. It’s the way that Sherlock rubs his hand over the still stretched and soft and puffy skin of his belly with a fond little smile, and the way our babies fit perfectly resting against it. It’s the way he looks at me when he calls me their dad, the way he stood up tall and so incredibly proud, like the Sherlock Holmes who took my breath away after that first deduction at Bart’s, the first day we took them out in the pram to the park. The way he lifted his head high and basked in the compliments we got over our perfect little family, and put his arm around me so that everyone would know without a doubt that this was our family together.

It’s the way he came home one day, his first day back from visiting with Greg even though he’s still tired and recovering, and his eyes were alight with little sparks, and he reached out of his bag and handed me a beautiful frame of wood carved to look like honeycomb with a photo of me and him in Spain inside – a selfie we tried six times to take sitting wrapped in a blanket on the beach, my hand resting atop of Sherlock’s belly, and his eyes looking down at me like he can’t believe his luck.

He’s looking up at me now from the floor, and he has that look in his eye that means he’s about to suggest we either leave the girls with Mrs. Hudson so we can go out and solve a fun little case, or leave the girls with Mrs. Hudson so that we can lock the door to his bedroom and get to know one another’s bodies again, soft and gentle, awestruck and whole. 

Whatever he’s about to ask me, the answer is yes. Because Sherlock is my sun, and because he gave birth to our daughters, and because he’s alive, a thousand times yes.