The mid-summer day was sweltering, and Lestrade dreaded the thought of leaving the relative comfort of New Scotland Yard, especially at high noon. But he was on his lunch break, now, and with multiple open cases he knew he couldn’t even spare an hour off. He’d managed to get his hands on copies of some files for one of his cases, one that Sherlock was going to be working, and he needed to run them over to Baker Street while he had the chance. Perhaps he would grab a cup of coffee on his way out. That was as good a lunch as he was going to get today.
Lestrade dug his mobile out of his pocket and shot off a quick text to Sherlock as he breezed out of his office, making for the front of the building.
On my way with some files for the case.
The response was several minutes in coming, and he didn’t get it until he was stepping out of his car at Baker Street.
Cal sleeping. Door unlocked.
Lestrade understood the message that went unsaid: Wake him and die.
“Rough night?” he called softly as he shut the door of 221B behind him and toed off his shoes so as not to make much noise. He padded into the kitchen, where Sherlock was standing bent over a microscope.
“Rough week,” Sherlock replied. He took the files from Lestrade and flipped the first one open, glancing at the photograph on top. “He hasn’t been sleeping well.”
“Have you been letting him cry himself back to sleep?” Lestrade asked.
“Yes, and he has been doing that.” Sherlock set the files down and rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. “But I’m a light sleeper, and John has trained himself to be ever since the birth.”
Lestrade squeezed his shoulder. Sherlock did look quite worn, with dark crescents under his eyes and a translucency to his already-pale skin. “I could always take him for a night or two. Let you two get some rest.”
Sherlock snorted. “Calvin would have a fit. He’s having a hard enough time with John away at that conference all week. He doesn’t like having us out of his sight, and God forbid anyone else should try to hold him. He’s been a terror, actually.”
“He’s protective,” Lestrade said with a grin, unable to find the situation anything but endearing and amusing, mostly because now he was on the other side of it. “Has he been asleep for long this time?”
“About an hour. He -” But the rest of Sherlock’s sentence was cut off by a sharp wail from the room behind the kitchen. Sherlock hung his head, muttered something in French, and looked so utterly defeated by it all that Lestrade couldn’t resist squeezing his arm again.
“I can go get him,” he said, but Sherlock shook his head.
“I don’t have the energy to deal with the tantrum that will ensue. Just give me a moment. I’ll be right back.”
He returned with the sniffling child nestled in his arms a moment later, and Lestrade supposed that the one consolation to be found in all of this was that Calvin looked as worn as his father.
“Hey, sport,” he said softly, reaching out to run the back of his finger down the baby’s cheek tear-streaked cheek. “What’s got you in such a state?”
“Teething, John believes,” Sherlock said, and Lestrade nodded.
“Well, he’s at the right age.” Lestrade ducked his head, trying to make eye contact with Calvin. He brushed his hand across the baby’s head. “And he looks downright miserable. Can you give us a smile, Cally Jack?”
Calvin’s response was to turn his head into his father’s chest and screw his eyes shut; a moment later, he was wailing again.
“Have you tried the loose floorboard?” Lestrade asked above the cries, and Sherlock nodded.
“It was the only way I could get him down this afternoon.”
There was a loose floorboard near one of the windows and John had discovered, by accident one day, that Calvin was soothed by its squeaking. They spent many hours rocking him to sleep over the creak of the floorboard, but it was usually reserved as a last resort.
A thought suddenly occurred to Lestrade. “What about your washing machine?”
Sherlock frowned. “I don’t follow.”
“We used to do that with Jack when he was little - I can’t believe I didn’t think of it ‘til now. Babies find vibrations very soothing - that’s why sometimes new parents will drive around in the car with them until they fall asleep. It’s a nice trick, only a bit impossible for you two as you don’t have a car. But, so long as your washing machine isn’t too jarring, it might serve to do the same thing. You’ve got a car seat, yeah? Put him in it, set him on top of the machine, and do the washing.” Lestrade smirked. “Kill two birds with one stone right there.”
Sherlock stared at him dumbly for a moment.
“Lestrade,” he said finally, “I have seriously underestimated your usefulness over the years.”
Lestrade snorted. “You’re welcome, git.”
Sherlock adjusted Cal in his arms and asked, almost tentatively, “Is he...in much pain?”
“Well, he’s uncomfortable, no doubt about that one.” Lestrade stroked the baby’s cheek again. “Get him some teething rings, and you can give him acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the pain gets to be especially bad. Unfortunately, this is one stage you’ll just have to weather on your own, for the most part. There’s not a lot that can be done to remove the discomfort.”
“That’s -” Sherlock appeared to cast around for the right word, “ - frustrating.”
“It is,” Lestrade agreed, remembering a time when his own child was in pain and there was nothing he could do to relieve it. “He was probably just beginning to sleep through the night, too, wasn’t he?”
Sherlock nodded solemnly. “John was just starting to get six hours of sleep again.” He adjusted Cal again, and added, “He doesn’t function well when he gets less than that.”
Lestrade went over to the sink and washed his hands, deciding that there was at least one more method they could try to get the baby to quiet.
“Here,” he said, holding out his arms, “let me try something.”
Sherlock mumbled a warning and then transferred Cal so that he was nestled in the crook of his godfather’s left arm. He began to cry almost instantly, thrashing against Lestrade’s chest and kicking at the air.
“Easy - easy there, sport,” Lestrade murmured, bouncing him gently. “Your dad’s still here - look.”
He waited until the cries had softened, though Calvin still remained uneasy. Sherlock hovered close to Lestrade’s shoulder, one long finger caught in Calvin’s fist.
“Sometimes it helps to rub the gums,” Lestrade said finally to Sherlock, pressing a finger to the baby’s lips. Calvin accepted it without much fuss, evidently looking for something to relieve the pressure in his mouth. “The bottom teeth are the ones to come in first, so I’d start there. Sometimes you can tell by slight swelling where the tooth is going to come in, but I’d just rub all along the gums. It’s soothing to them.”
Sure enough, Calvin began to quiet further at the gentle motions and regarded Lestrade through wide blue eyes, as though he couldn’t quite believe that the pain was gone. Lestrade’s heart caught at the expression, and he managed a tight smile.
“That’s better, isn’t it?” he murmured to the baby. “Ready to go back to your dad?”
He gently transferred Calvin back to Sherlock’s arms. Sherlock began to sway as soon as Calvin was settled, an automatic movement that his body performed the moment there was a warm weight placed in his arms. Muscle memory, Lestrade mused. He was the same with his godson, though he hadn’t held a young child in years before Calvin came along. But his mind - and his body - never forgot the rhythm.
Sherlock was a natural with Calvin, and if Lestrade hadn’t seen him around his own child he never would have believed it to be true. But there was something about children - perhaps because they were clean slates, as it were, with minds like a sponge and full of so much potential. They hadn’t yet had a chance to be tarnished by society’s expectations and teachings - or as, Sherlock would probably say, they hadn’t had a chance to become idiots yet. And Sherlock was good with them.
Calvin adored both his parents, but even at this young age Lestrade could see that it was Sherlock with whom he bonded. John had told him stories already, about how Sherlock knew Calvin’s needs and wants even though the baby couldn’t properly articulate them. There was a certain understanding between father and son, one that defied explanation. Lestrade saw it now, with the way that Calvin stared up at his dad, thumb in his mouth, one tiny hand curled into his shirt.
He saw it in the way Sherlock stared back, as though he couldn’t quite believe that this was his son. His eyes raked over the baby’s face, lips parted ever-so-slightly, and Lestrade knew he was committing it all to memory.
“He’s changing,” Sherlock whispered. Of course he’d been reading Lestrade’s thoughts, even without looking at the man. “Every day. Every hour. I have to catalogue it all the time, but sometimes I miss something.”
He glanced back at Lestrade, eyes shining. “I don’t want to miss this.”
Lestrade brushed his knuckles against Sherlock’s jaw and murmured, “You won’t.”
He bent down to press a kiss to the nearly-asleep Calvin’s forehead and added, “I should be off, lads. Will you be all right?”
Sherlock nodded. “I - we’ll be fine. Thank you, Greg.”
“Get some sleep, sunshine,” Lestrade advised, and squeezed Calvin’s tiny hand one final time.
“You, too, Cal,” he ordered softly. “Sleep.”
The baby gave a tremendous yawn, and proceeded to do just that.
The door to the flat sprang open promptly at six, and John heard Sherlock go through the usual motions of whipping off his coat and scarf, adding a dramatic flair to the mundane gestures as he was wont to do when he was in a good mood. Likely Lestrade had brought him another case, John mused. Christmas come early.
John stuck his head around the corner and waved before going back into the kitchen. “In here, Sherlock. One of your experiments exploded; trying to clean it up.”
“Oh? Which one?” Sherlock asked, sounding entirely disinterested. He crossed the living room to where Calvin was sitting on the floor, entertaining himself with his foam blocks.
“The green one.”
“Ah. Unimportant.” Sherlock crouched on the floor in front of his son, ran the back of his finger down his cheek, and kissed him on the forehead. “Hello, Calvin.”
“Cal, say hi to your dad,” John called. Sherlock snorted.
“John, don’t be ridiculous. He’s only -”
Sherlock blinked. Calvin tossed the cylindrical foam block at him; it bounced off his nose and hit the floor. Evidently, this was something to be proud of, because he clapped his hands and shouted, “Da!” once more. Sherlock continued to imitate a statue.
“He started that about an hour before you came home,” John said, grinning and walking over and putting a hand on Sherlock’s shoulder.
Sherlock licked his lips. “And how do you know he’s not referring to you?”
“He was sitting on my lap earlier when I was working on the write-up for the Dower case. He spotted your picture on my blog and kept pointing at it while chanting Da. I’m certain he knows the difference.”
At the sound of the word, Calvin again demanded, “Da,” and held out his arms. Sherlock acquiesced to the request, and rose on shaky legs with Calvin in his arms.
“And here I was agonizing over what to get you for Christmas. You’re a lousy person to buy for,” John teased as Calvin dug his hands into Sherlock’s shirt and buried his face in his father’s neck. Sherlock rested his cheek on the baby’s head, eyes glassy and stunned. “Calvin went and solved that problem for me.”
John put his hand on the small of Sherlock’s back, and Sherlock bent his head slightly to the unspoken request, allowing John to press his lips to his forehead.
“Happy early Christmas, Dad.”
“Cally Jack, can you walk to me?” Lestrade asked. He crouched, ignoring the cracking in his knees - damn, he was getting old - and held out his arms. Calvin was standing over by the table, holding himself up by grabbing onto the edge. He put a hand in his mouth, beaming, and glanced over at Sherlock as though asking for permission. Sherlock was standing a few feet to Calvin’s left, far enough away that the boy would have to do it on his own but close enough that he could make a grab for him if he took a bad spill.
“Go on, Calvin,” he urged. “I know you can understand. Walk to Lestrade.”
“Uncle Greg,” John corrected. He was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, surveying the scene. He smiled at his husband. “Don’t confuse him, Sherlock.”
“Yes, fine. Calvin, walk to Uncle Greg.”
Calvin let out a delighted giggle and slapped the table.
“That’s not walking, Calvin,” Sherlock said, arching an eyebrow at him.
“He has done this before,” John said to Lestrade, shaking his head. “I’m not sure why he’s decided to be so stubborn.”
“It’s ‘cause now he has an audience,” Lestrade said, winking at the child. Calvin gurgled happily. “But how can you expect not to have one, Cally Jack, with all these milestones you keep springing on us? First words, and then walking just a couple of weeks later? You’re astounding.”
“He is,” Sherlock and John chorused, and Lestrade laughed out loud.
“Here,” Lestrade said finally, reaching over and snagging one of Calvin’s toys off the floor - a stuffed elephant he held very dear. “Come on, Cally. Can you walk for us?”
That did the trick. Calvin released the table and threw his arms out for balance. It took five wobbly steps, and then he was over by his godfather, grabbing gleefully for his toy. Lestrade caught him in his arms and swept him up off the floor, beaming, and Calvin squealed.
“Wonderful!” he exclaimed, kissing the child’s cheek with exuberance. Calvin giggled, shying away from his godfather’s ticklish five-o’clock shadow, and made a grab for the elephant. John grinned and turned back to the kitchen table, where he’d been working on a blog post. Sherlock, looking pleased, crossed over to Lestrade and held out his arms.
“I can take him, da -”
Sherlock froze, clamping down on the end of the word, but not soon enough. It was all too evident what he’d been about to say. Behind him, Lestrade heard John shift in surprise; Sherlock, for his part, had gone worryingly pale. A red flush crept up the back of his neck and tinged his ears, and his jaw tightened; defensive.
Lestrade spared him the embarrassment of pointing out his mistake - because, really, what did Sherlock have to be sorry for? - and handed over Calvin.
“He’s growing too quickly,” he said, running the back of a finger down Cal’s cheek. “Aren’t you?”
Calvin gurgled in response and rested his forehead against his father’s jaw, looking at Lestrade slyly out of one eye.
“He is,” Sherlock agreed quietly. Lestrade squeezed his elbow.
“Well, that’s it for me lads, I’m afraid,” he said regretfully, marveling at how his lunch hour had - once again - vanished in the blink of an eye. “Should be getting back.”
He said goodbye to John, and Sherlock deposited Calvin in his papa’s lap before walking with Lestrade to the door. He opened it, and Lestrade was halfway over the threshold before he’d made up his mind to say something.
“Might as well be, you know,” he said quietly, turning to look at Sherlock. “My own. I’d’ve liked that.”
Sherlock’s eyes flicked hesitantly to the ground.
“You aren’t the only one,” he said finally, and then his expression shifted; became business-like once again. “I’ll text you as soon as I have any information on your case.”
Lestrade nodded, and left.
“Oh, Sherlock, didn’t hear you come in.”
“...what is on our son?”
“He’s not going to be wearing it! I just needed someone to hold it and you weren’t home and - look - he loves it!”
“He loves everything. He eats everything, too, or haven’t you noticed? Calvin, here, don’t - yes, don’t eat that, here, let’s get this off of you.”
“Oh, I was going to take a picture.”
“Hey, where are you taking him? We aren’t finished decorating.”
Sherlock gave a sniff, surveying the room with Calvin balanced on his hip. “I think you’re quite done, actually. Where did you find all of this?”
“Went out to the shops this afternoon, and some I borrowed from Mrs. Hudson.” John turned on the spot, hands on his hips, taking the living room in. “What do you think?”
“Is this really necessary?”
“No, not technically, but it’s Christmas, Sherlock!”
“A holiday you only observe out of some sense of tradition, rather than for religious reasons,” Sherlock pointed out.
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to commemorate the close of the year, nor with wanting to have an excuse to get together with family. Plus, it’s Calvin’s first one.” John took the garland Sherlock had removed from Calvin and wrapped it around the back of his neck, using it to drag his husband in for a kiss. Calvin giggled between them. “Now help me finish the tree.”
“I have more pressing matters to attend to than the tree.”
“You haven’t got a case on, Calvin’s already been changed and fed, and your dinner’s been made and is in the fridge in case you ever feel like eating today.” John folded his arms and raised an eyebrow. “No way out of it this time, Sherlock. You have absolutely no excuse.”
Sherlock raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t I? John, marking the growth rate of grass would be more beneficial to me than decorating a dead tree that’s sitting in our living room. Not to mention safer - you do realize that’s a fire hazard, correct?”
“Since when do you worry about fire hazards? You, the man who has set fire to our stove more times than I care to count - and Greg’s as well, before I was around to harass.”
Calvin chose that moment to let out a particularly content gurgle. Sherlock nodded solemnly and said, “Yes, very astute, Calvin. My concern is not for this flat or our lives, but rather yours.”
“That is not what he said.”
“How can you be sure?”
John sighed. He would have to play his final card. “Fine. If you help me get the rest of these decorations up, I’ll let you start keeping body parts in the fridge. For...three months.”
“Three,” John said firmly, determined not to give him any more time than that. “And...I’ll make sure the decorations come down New Year’s Day. You’ll only have to look at them for a few weeks. Deal?”
Sherlock heaved a sigh. “I suppose I could spare an hour or two.”
John nodded solemnly. “That’s very gracious of you. Here.”
He shoved a box of ornaments into Sherlock’s free hand. “You and Calvin can finish off the tree while I track down those stockings.”
Sherlock barely suppressed his groan. Calvin giggled.
“We need to talk about Christmas plans,” John said later that night. The remains of their decorating spree were scattered about the room - empty boxes and bits of newspaper that had protected the more delicate of the ornaments. He would deal with it in the morning.
“Do we?” Sherlock asked absently, absorbed in work on his laptop. He was sitting on the floor, his back against the sofa and legs outstretched in front of him and crossed at the ankles. Cal was playing with a box on the carpet a few feet away.
“Yes.” John came over and sat behind him on the sofa, planting his feet on either side of Sherlock’s hips and dropping a kiss onto his head.
“I’m busy at the moment.”
“With a cold case that’s twenty years old,” John pointed out. “It’s not going anywhere; you can spare five minutes away from it.”
“That may well be true, but I’d rather not waste those five minutes talking about a ridiculous holiday and one you insist on observing.”
“It’s important to me,” John said finally. Sherlock craned his neck to look up at him, sighed, and shut the laptop. He set it aside and pulled himself up onto the sofa next to his husband.
“All right,” he said, scowling at the ground. “What would you like to discuss?”
“We’ve got to coordinate plans between our two families.” John sighed and leaned back into the couch. “And with Greg, of course. My mother wants us Christmas Day, but I assume yours wants us as well - for Christmas dinner. What does Greg do for the holiday?”
Sherlock raised an eyebrow at him in disbelief. “Really, John, as if I’ve ever concerned myself with what Lestrade has been doing for the holidays in recent years.”
“Does he have any family?”
“I’m aware of a brother, sister-in-law, and nephew.”
“Right, well, he probably spends the holiday with them.” John sighed. “I’ll have to call him later and find out what he has by way of plans.”
“You hate this,” Sherlock said suddenly.
“Come now, John, you have no more desire to spend time with your family than I do mine. Why go through all this if it’s simply going to make you unhappy?”
“Because it’s the right thing to do,” John said quietly. “And it’s Calvin’s first Christmas. His grandparents and aunt and uncle have the right to spend it with him.”
“And what about his parents?”
John sighed and leaned against Sherlock’s side. After a moment, an arm went around his shoulders and tugged him closer. “You’re right, of course. I’d much rather spend the holiday here, at Baker Street, with you two and Mrs. Hudson and Greg. But that’s not how it works.”
“My understanding is that this should be a season of joy,” Sherlock said, only slightly disdainful of the idea. “Yet all I see is you putting undue stress on yourself.”
“Can you imagine what would happen if we didn’t see our respective families for the holiday?” John countered.
“You’d be happy,” Sherlock pointed out. “But since I know that you are going to be completely irrational about this, I suggest we spend Christmas Eve at your mother’s, Christmas Day at mine, and Boxing Day with Lestrade. Next Christmas we can do the reverse: Christmas Eve with my...family and Christmas Day with yours.”
“I wish we could give more time to Greg. God knows it would make Calvin happy.” John bit his lip, considering. “But that’s actually a good plan.”
“Well, I am a genius.” Sherlock withdrew his arm from around John’s shoulders and got up from the sofa. He crossed over to where Cal was playing and scooped him up off the floor, holding him high above his head. Cal squealed in delight and threw his arms out, reaching down for his father. After a moment Sherlock gave in, holding him tightly to his chest while Cal grabbed fistfuls of his hair and shirt, chattering away in their private language; the one that only Sherlock understood.
John had just put Calvin on the changing table and opened his soiled nappy when a knock sounded at the door.
“Sherlock!” John called to his husband, who was upstairs changing. “Get the door! That’ll be Greg.”
“He has a key, John.”
“And he’s our guest! You can at least open the door for him.”
“Give me a moment, then.”
“Oh, for -” John grumbled under his breath, and called, “Come on in, Greg!”
There came the scraping of a key in the lock, and a moment later the door opened and he heard Lestrade step through.
“I’ll be out in a moment!” he called, and finished changing Calvin’s nappy.
“Not a problem,” Lestrade said, and John heard him moving about in the kitchen, putting down what sounded like a dish on the table - his contribution to their meal today, most likely.
“Come on, buddy,” he said, lifting Calvin off the changing table and placing him on his hip. “Let’s go say hi to your uncle.”
“How was the holiday?” Lestrade asked as they came down the hallway.
“Absolutely mad,” John said. “Though I’d be a bit disappointed, I think, if it hadn’t been. Have you ever met Sherlock’s family?”
“Only the brother. Good morning, sport,” he added, beaming brightly, and lifted Calvin from his father’s arms. Calvin did not return the sentiment; he scrubbed his eyes and blinked wearily up at his godfather. John sighed.
“He’s exhausted. I’m so sorry.”
“Well, it’s to be expected,” Lestrade said, putting a hand on Calvin’s back and rubbing in soothing circles. “He’s had a busy couple of days. I’m sure he was the center of attention everywhere you went.”
“Yeah,” John sighed. Harry and his mother had been all over the baby; he hadn’t even been able to yawn in peace without the two of them cooing over him and taking pictures and documenting everything. Sherlock’s mother had been more restrained, but only because most of her attention had been focused on John. He had spent the majority of the day at the Holmes family manor enduring veiled comments about his modest background and unimpressive ancestry, and Sherlock had spent most of his time trying desperately to keep his temper in check - not for his family’s sake, but rather for Calvin’s. And Calvin had picked up on his parents’ irritation and thus had spent the entire day stressed and a hair’s breadth away from crying.
It had been...interesting, to say the least.
“So, you’ve met Mycroft,” John said, shaking himself out of his thoughts. He set about making a drink for Lestrade.
“Yeah. Showed up in my office one day not long after I’d met Sherlock. Tried to get me to back off; leave his brother alone.”
“What’d you say?”
“Told him to fuck off and get the hell out of my chair.”
John gave a bark of a laugh, handed Lestrade his drink, and set about putting the kettle on for himself. “He kidnapped me. Right off the street. Brought me to a warehouse, of all places, and tried to offer me money to spy on Sherlock. Well, you can only imagine what dinner was like with the two of them in the same room, in addition to the parent who raised them. I think even little Calvin was traumatized.”
“I did warn you,” Sherlock said as he entered the room. His hair was still slightly damp from his shower and he was in the process of rolling up his sleeves. He nodded a hello to Lestrade and bent to kiss Calvin on the back of his head.
“Good morning,” Lestrade greeted. “I hope this wasn’t too early for you.”
“No, it’s more than fine. It’s just that this one,” John said, gesturing to Sherlock, “was too content this morning and I didn’t have the heart to rouse him at his normal time. He never has a lie in.”
“It’s dull,” Sherlock and Lestrade said at once, and Lestrade laughed. “Here, let me take him.”
“It’s all right; I’ve got him,” Lestrade said as Calvin hunkered down in his arms, burying his face in the soft fabric of Lestrade’s shirt. Sherlock hovered, hesitant, arms still open.
“He’s a good deal heavier than the last time you were able to hold him,” Sherlock pointed out. Lestrade snorted.
“Sherlock, I’m fine. Holding a baby is not too taxing for me. And he’s perfectly content.”
“Need I remind you that you were shot?”
“Need I remind you that it was months ago now?” Lestrade said, smirking at Sherlock’s uncharacteristically outward display of concern.
“Sherlock,” John butted in, “as a doctor, I can safely say that Lestrade is more than capable of holding our son. Calvin isn’t going to break him. Now, stop worrying yourself into an early grave and give me a hand with the -”
He stopped, glanced at Calvin, and then mouthed, “Presents.”
“Oh for heaven’s sake, John, he can’t understand that word yet!”
Lestrade laughed and added, “My car’s just outside. If you’d be able to grab the ones that I brought...”
“Of course,” Sherlock said at once, lifting Lestrade’s keys from his pocket and making for the door. John rolled his eyes.
“And that’s how you handle an overprotective Sherlock,” Lestrade said smugly. “Give him a task.”
“You, sir, are a genius,” John said. He tweaked Calvin’s nose and said, “I’ll go grab the rest from our bedroom. Are you all right with him for a while?”
“Not a problem.” Lestrade smiled down at his godson, and John’s heart caught in his throat at the look of pure adoration he bestowed on Calvin. “We haven’t seen each other in a while, have we, Cally? We have catching up to do.”
He glanced at John and then back at Calvin and said, in a mock-conspiratorial whisper, “You can tell me all that your dad’s been up to lately, hm? All the trouble he’s been getting himself into because I’m not around and your papa lets him get away with murder.”
John shook his head, smiling, and left the room.
Hours later, the meal had been consumed and the living room was strewn with the detritus of the present exchange. Most had been for Calvin, of course, though he’d been more interested in the boxes and the packaging rather than the actual presents.
John stood over by the fireplace, pausing in his collection of the wrapping paper littered about the room in order to watch his son, who was over by the tree with Lestrade. The DI hitched the boy up high against his good side and let him lean over, pudgy hand outstretched, reaching for an ornament that had caught his eye. Calvin’s eyes were wide with awe, and he made a delighted noise when he slapped the shiny ball and it moved. He twisted his head back around to look up at his godfather, babbling in a rush, pointing at the ornament.
“That’s right, Cally Jack,” Lestrade said, taking the small hand in his and kissing the fingertips. “s’pretty, isn’t it?”
Sherlock approached John from behind, and a moment later he felt long arms encircle his waist. Sherlock’s lips pressed against his temple, and he murmured, “Was this a satisfactory holiday, John?”
“More than,” John whispered, twisting his head around to capture Sherlock’s lips in a kiss. Sherlock hummed against his mouth, and when they broke apart he added, “I love you, you know.”
“Good.” He leaned against Sherlock’s chest, and the arms around him tightened reflexively. Across the room, Lestrade was still absorbed in his one-sided conversation with Calvin, pausing now and then to plant noisy kisses on his cheeks while Calvin squealed in delight.
“He’s going to be one in a few weeks.”
“Yes.” Sherlock’s lips were against the shell of his ear. “I know.”
“It went so fast,” John murmured, mostly to himself, and he felt Sherlock swallow hard.
He was their boy. Their beautiful, perfect boy, whom they’d only known less than a year and yet, already, John couldn’t ever imagine a time when he didn’t know his son. His baby. Their baby.
“...and look, Cally Jack, can you see the star? Right at the top of the tree? Yeah, right up there...”