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There Was A Boy

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“Darling, I want you to listen to me…”

Hamish peered up curiously at his mother - who was actually crying. He’d never seen that before. She normally kept her face as brave as possible, wise and collected, but he could see the internal uncertainty and fear lingering in her now-glossy orbs.

“Stay hidden. Don’t come out, no matter what you hear.”

Hamish bit his lip nervously. She was scaring him.

“Darling, do you understand?” Irene repeated softly, cupping his sweet, unassuming face in her hands.

Hesitantly, he nodded.

“Good boy.” Her lower lip trembled as she moved in to kiss his cheeks tenderly, but urgently. Repeatedly. A loud bang from downstairs drew Irene’s attention to the closed door of her room. Hamish jumped too, but his mother’s hands held his face more tightly in silent reassurance. “Come on… in here.”

She quickly ushered him into her massive walk-in closet. “Stay quiet, Hamish, no matter what. Don’t come out until I tell you.” Taking one last look at her small, bewildered son - Irene winced and shut the doors, leaving him in darkness. Leaving him amidst countless racks clothes; her armour.

Hamish plopped down to sit on the floor after only a few minutes of waiting.

Footsteps.

Door opening.

Raised voices.

A calmer conversation.

His mother’s voice.

A man’s.

A gunshot. Hamish jumped at the sound in his little dark hideaway.

Everything went quiet.

He waited.

He waited.

Lying down on the floor, the boy tried in vain to peer underneath in the hopes of seeing whether or not it was clear to come out. It was deathly quiet, and completely dark now. Pulling himself back onto his feet, Hamish gently pushed on the closet door, and peeked out.

All was still. It took a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the dim streetlight that was flooding into the otherwise dark room through the large window… but when his blue orbs focused, he saw a lump in the middle of the floor.

A body.

Trembling, Hamish crept out of the closet and hesitatingly inched toward the familiar form of his mother. He knelt down beside her, and lightly touched his small hand to her shoulder, shaking her. She didn’t move. Lowering down to sit down beside her, Hamish was unsure of what to do next. His mother hadn’t told him what to do after he came out.

It wasn’t a good feeling. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t breathing. Hamish might be young… but he didn’t need anyone to tell him she was dead.

He didn’t try to be brave now. Tears were streaming down his cheeks as he whimpered; continuing to shake her lightly, in the childish hope that maybe it would revive her.

Time was lost on the child. He had no idea how long he sat beside her - and was only snapped out of his foggy, lost haze when he heard the front door open and shut.

Footsteps on the stairs.

Hamish scampered back into the closet, and closed the door, but left it open a tiny crack so he could keep an eye out.

He held his breath, and watched as a tall figure strolled into the room; dark coat fluttering behind him almost majestically. Hamish saw the stranger crouch near his mother’s body. He muttered a few choice swear-words, and then whipped out his mobile.

“Tell me you have him in custody.” He hissed sharply.

Silence; the person on the other end responded.

“No.” He answered. “…She’s dead.”

The stranger suddenly tilted his head at an odd angle… as if he’d just spotted something. Hamish watched worriedly as the man reached down to run his long fingers against the small indent in the carpet Hamish had made when he’d sat there moments ago.

“Someone’s here…” He muttered in a deep baritone.

The child gasped, and quickly covered his mouth.

The stranger straightened, and whipped around to stare at the closet. He pocketed his phone.

Hamish began to shake as he saw the tall intruder advance toward him - drawing a weapon from the inside of his long coat.

Throwing open the door, Hamish jumped back and held his hands up in a feeble attempt to defend himself. He couldn’t stop shaking. The stranger didn’t move, at first. His silence and stillness caught Hamish’s attention, and the boy found himself cautiously looking up at the stranger.

He looked oddly familiar. Hamish couldn’t recall from where.

A picture…

“Are… you alright?” The man asked.

Hamish nodded shyly.

“Close your eyes. Keep them closed until I tell you…”

Hamish did as instructed, and felt himself swooped up into the long arms of the intruder. He was so tall; Hamish didn’t think he’d ever been held up so high. It was warm within the folds of the man’s long coat.

He hadn’t realized how tired he was. His head found a natural position, resting on the man’s shoulder. He kept his eyes closed, as instructed. But he wasn’t scared anymore…

They walked out of the bedroom, and Hamish felt himself drifting in and out of consciousness. The stranger was on the phone again,

“Send a car, Mycroft.”

Chapter Text

 

The eldest Holmes son took one look at the small child, perched drowsily on Sherlock’s lap, and narrowed his eyes. “What have you done…”

“This is none of your concern.” Sherlock answered. “Moran is in captivity, I trust? I’d like some time to ‘speak’ with him. Hardly need to tell you this is his handy work, do I….” He asked.

But Mycroft pressed, “Just what the hell do you think you’re doing, Sherlock? Leave. The. Boy.”

“You know who he is, you know what he is; one look at him confirmed it.” Sherlock snarled at his brother. “Now… tell me to leave him. Tell me to leave him where I found him, in the master bedroom closet five feet away from his murdered mother.”

“How in God’s name could you let this happen?” The government official sighed in disappointment. “You have no idea what this means. You’ve created a weakness. A living, breathing Achilles Heel. Your partnership and fondness for Doctor Watson was bad enough. But this…” He shook his head.

Sherlock tensed, “So I say again: it’s none of your concern, Mycroft.”

His eyes drifted back to the boy, who still hadn’t made a peep. He didn’t even give any indication that he was listening, either; he was just staring off into space.

“It happened when you saved her, didn’t it?” Mycroft deduced, more calmly now than he was when he’d initially laid eyes on the child. “She ‘thanked’ you the only way she could. And in return, she was granted your DNA. Charming. You would’ve been better served allowing her to be executed. Shall we change your honorary title from The Virgin to The Father?”

“Enough!” Sherlock hissed.

“And our dear Doctor Watson. How do you suppose he’ll react? His best friend comes back to life, risen from the dead… and brings a boy with him. Will you tell him about your… ‘passionate endeavours’ with the late Miss Adler?”

Sherlock turned to gaze out the window. Looking at his brother was only infuriating him more with each passing minute. “He… will understand. John will understand.”

“What’s the boy’s name?” Mycroft asked after a brief silence fell between them.

He noticed his brother’s icy eyes shift down to look at the child, who was still contently seated in his lap. “We didn’t get to that yet…” He admitted quietly.

“What is your name?” Mycroft asked.

The boy slowly drew his eyes toward the eldest Holmes across from him, but remained silent.

“…Is he alright?” He drawled, glancing back toward Sherlock. Children were not his area.

“He just saw his mother lying dead on a rather expensive Persian rug. No. I don’t think he’s alright, I think he’s in shock.” Sherlock snapped, sarcasm and tension leaking into his tone.

Mycroft shifted uncomfortably. “What is your name?” He repeated, keeping eye contact with the child.

“H… Hamish.” He answered softly. His tone wasn’t timid, just somewhat bewildered. Soft. Distant.

The brothers exchanged a look.

“She has a sense of humour. I’ll give her that.” Mycroft made a face, clearly not sold on what he considered a ‘stale’ and mundane name.

Sherlock seemed lost in his thoughts, however, as he murmured, “John Hamish Watson… in case you’re looking for baby names.” He recalled.

“What was that?” Mycroft interrupted.

“John. John Hamish Watson.” He said a bit louder, so Mycroft could put two and two together.

His older brother sighed, and turned to look out the window. “Marvellous. You can always hope the small tribute to your Doctor will soften the blow when he discovers you have a son.”

Sherlock didn’t say anything else.

He was too busy staring at the boy; his boy. His eyes repeatedly scanned him and took in as much information as possible. Hamish’s relation to Sherlock was as clear as day. They shared the same eyes, dark hair and calm disposition. After all, most children would have probably been wailing uncontrollably after such a devastating and damaging ordeal. He could see some of Irene in him too; his nose and lips were a gift from his mother, that much was certain.

And despite only knowing the child for an hour (at most), he felt a strong, protective urge bubbling inside him. A connection. In fact, it caused him to instinctively (and very carefully) tighten his arms around the boy in his lap; further sheltering him in the cage of his long arms. Hamish didn’t protest, and actually seemed at ease with Sherlock. Did he know? Was there a sixth-sense acquired in children, that allowed them to sense when a guardian or parent was close? It required some scientific research… he would begin once he was home. Once THEY were home…

“Mycroft…” Sherlock uttered his brother’s name while keeping his eyes on a sleepy Hamish. “How… how am I supposed to do this?” He questioned in a daze.

The eldest Holmes felt himself twitch and his features soften. He had never bothered with a family. He’d had relationships, of course, but Mycroft’s love was his work; Queen and Country, and he’d been content with that choice his entire life. Sherlock had been on the very same path – though Queen and Country was replaced by Mystery and Adventure.

A child changed everything. They were both intelligent enough to recognize that simple fact.

“Doctor Watson has changed you, Sherlock. You’re not the man you once were, and it seems to be for the better. The old you might have simply left the child in the house, or turned him over to the authorities without a second thought. The old you might not have even bothered to rescue Irene Adler from execution, for that matter.” He paused, absorbing the rare picture of his brother holding a child. No, not just a child. Sherlock’s son. His nephew. “As much as it pains me to admit it… I believe of the two of us… you are the most suited to parent a child. John will help you. He will be upset, of course, and this is going to take him some time to digest. But together, I’ve no shred of doubt that you’ll be able to raise little Hamish into a Holmes we can all be proud of. It’s already apparent to me that you won’t be as ‘removed’ as our own father was in his parental duties.”

Sherlock scoffed quietly in agreement.

Hamish stirred, released a long sigh, and nestled further into Sherlock’s arms as sleep overcame him.

Mycroft didn’t miss the faint, affectionate gaze in his brother’s eyes.

“It’s over.” Mycroft reassured him. “You’ve successfully dismantled Moriarty’s web. Moran was the last link. Congratulations are in order.”

Sherlock’s jaw tensed. “Take us home.”

Chapter Text

 

“This better be important, Mycroft.” John mumbled, gazing around in wonder at the sleek, modern elevator that was ferrying them beneath the government office he’d been beckoned to.

Mycroft seemed rather uptight. At least, more uptight than normal. “It is, John. To be perfectly honest… I’m a bit… concerned as to how you’ll handle this.”

That caught John’s full attention. He looked back toward the government official with a furrowed brow.

“It’s serious.” He stated, rather than asked. Pursing his lips, John had to admit to himself that didn’t have a clue as to what could require this much secrecy. He hadn’t been on the best terms with Mycroft ever since he betrayed Sherlock a little over three years ago. John attributed part (if not all) of Sherlock’s fall to his brother’s sneaky doings with Jim Moriarty. It was still a sore issue.

“You’ll forgive me for not completely trusting you.” He added after a moment.

Mycroft lowered his gaze, “I don’t deserve your trust yet, John. No one is more aware of that than I.” He paused as the doors slid open with a gentle hiss. “I can only hope that this will rectify my past errors. Or at least… begin to.”

He gestured for John to exit the elevator. He did so, and was only a little discomforted by the fact that Mycroft didn’t join him. Instead, the government official disappeared back behind the elevator doors.

John slowly began to wander around (what appeared to be) a conference room of sorts. An expensive conference room. It was all very stylish and clean; almost as if he shouldn’t be down there, or should have been sterilized first.

“Alright… so…” John murmured to himself, stopping in the middle of the floor and looking around. “Why exactly am I here?” He called aloud to the empty room.

The sound of the elevator caught his attention again. Thinking it was Mycroft, John took a few steps toward it – but was stopped dead in his tracks when a small boy stepped out. He was dawned in a sweet little brown suit, had stunning blue eyes and a mop of dark, wavy hair atop his head.

“Oh.” John couldn’t help but offer the kid a warm smile. He’d always been fond of kids. “Hello there.”

The boy took a few tentative steps into the room. The elevator closed and disappeared again behind him. John waited patiently; watching as the child gazed around the sleek room in awe, much like John had done a few minutes prior.

“And what’s your name?” John asked, drawing the lad’s attention back to him.

The child looked back toward John, and gave him a small, shy smile. “Hamish.”

“Hamish! What a great name,” The doctor beamed. “You know, that’s my middle name.”

Hamish perked up curiously, “Really?” He tugged on his lower lip absently with his small fingers.

“Yup.” John backed up and pulled out one of the leather swivel-chairs from the glass conference table and sat down. He pulled out another across from him, and patted the seat. “John Hamish Watson.”

The kid trotted over and climbed up onto the seat a bit clumsily, but when actually seated, sat quite properly. More so than John would expect from a boy his age. Well mannered, well dressed… must have some stern parents, He thought.

“I know who you are.” Hamish smiled weakly again.

“That so?” John asked.

Hamish nodded, “My father knows you…” He gave an impish smile, as if it were some sort of guessing game.

“Your… father knows me?” The doctor repeated. He was rapidly trying to rack his brain. He knew Mike Stamford had no children, and he was almost positive that Mycroft had none. He winced at the mere thought of Mycroft fathering children. “So… who’s your father?”

Hamish kept his smile and spun the twirling leather chair back and forth a bit. “H-He told me that you have to guess.”

“I have to guess, do I?” John huffed, rolling his eyes comically in the hopes of getting a bigger smile out of the kid. It worked, and even earned him a quiet little laugh. “Well… you’re young. Incredibly little. Which is a plus for me, since I’m rarely the tallest one in the room. So thanks for that.” This earned him another little amused giggle. “Your name is Hamish, which is a fantastic name, if I do say so myself. You… have dark hair. Which is quite messy. Is there a bird’s nest in there?” He asked, frowning in concentration as he ruffled his hand atop Hamish’s head. The child laughed and squirmed away. He tried to pat it down neatly again, which only made John smile.

“Y’know I’m not that great of a detective. Sorry.” John shrugged. “But you won’t tell me your father’s name. He obviously told you not to tell. So… can I ask what your mother’s name is?”

Hamish seemed to consider the question for a moment, “Mother died.” He answered softly.

“Oh. I’m sorry.” John felt like a bit of an ass, but it did help him narrow the field down. Still, he couldn’t recall hearing from any friends that their wives had died. “Alright. I give up. Want to help me out, Hamish?” He asked with a sigh.

His phone chimed then, and John fished it out to look at the new text:

‘Elevator’ was all it said - and listed an unknown number.

The sound of the elevator caught the attention of both boys.

When it opened… John was sure he was hallucinating.

“Hello John.”

The doctor stood; mouth partly open, eyes wide with shock. “….No.”

“John… I… I know this is a shock…”

John took a few more steps toward the elevator, but his leg gave out, and he collapsed onto his knees, unable to take his eyes off of his deceased friend. “You… you’re dead… you’re dead…” He repeated.

“John,” Sherlock moved quickly and crouched by his partner, grasping his shoulder tightly, “You should sit.”

Shaking his head, John allowed his shock to morph into anger, and he stood – gripping the lapels of Sherlock’s trademark coat in his hands. “No. No, no, no, no…” He repeated again, shoving the tall detective right back into the elevator. “No, Sherlock!” He bellowed.

Sherlock stared at John, and genuinely seemed surprised at his reaction. The elevator doors closed, and he was gone again.

John couldn’t stop panting; hyperventilating rapidly as he once more fell to his knees.

“No… no…” He continued to chant the word like a mantra. Like this was some horrible dream he would wake up from…

With his control and strength out the window, John began to tremble and weep. Sherlock was alive, Sherlock is alive, Sherlock lied, Sherlock had been gone for over three years, Sherlock was back. His mind was reeling with so many questions, which were being battered around and pushed aside by his uncontrollable rage; he’d been betrayed, Sherlock had lied to him and kept him in the dark. He’d been grieving unnecessarily…

He wanted to curl up and sink through the floor. What the hell was he supposed to do now?

A gentle hand on his shoulder brought John back to the present, and he turned; face dropped, and more worn than it had first appeared upon arrival. Hamish was standing behind him with a concerned, curious look spread across his face. He tentatively held out a handkerchief toward John.

The doctor choked back a pathetic chuckle, and took the handkerchief with a nod. He didn’t use it, though. Instead, he took another good look at Hamish… and it all fell into place.

“You’re… Sherlock’s.” He said quietly. Hamish nodded.

Yes. He does look like Sherlock. Familiar messy hair. Piercing blue eyes.

John shook his head, and tore his eyes away from the boy. So not only was Sherlock back, he had a son. Was that what he had been doing? Did he have a double-life John knew nothing about? Lowering his head, John didn’t think he’d ever felt so stupid. So pathetic and duped.

“You should go back upstairs.” John instructed. “I… need some time. I need to think.”

He didn’t look at the boy again. He kept his head down and his eyes closed, desperately trying to wipe the image of Sherlock appearing in the elevator from his mind.

To his surprise, however… tiny arms soon wrapped around the back of his shoulders and neck. He felt a little body rest against his back as Hamish enveloped him in an awkward hug. John didn’t move, he didn’t embrace him back, and he didn’t lift his head.

He supposed he’d have plenty of time to get to know Hamish Holmes…

“Fuck.” He muttered aloud.

A pause.

“…you said fuck…” A small voice whispered in shock.

A pause.

“Right. Sorry. Sorry.” John sighed.

Chapter Text


 

“Remember not to crowd the poor man, Sherlock,” Mycroft warned gently, “It will undoubtedly still be a lot to process for Doctor Watson.”

Sherlock was sporting a rather petulant frown, sitting on the other side of the car, with his son sat snug between his father and uncle – distracted for the time being with a rubik’s cube. “He’s been away for three weeks ‘processing’ … he has had more than enough time. He should have forgiven me by now.”

You were gone for nearly three years, and you believe that three weeks is enough to get over the fact he had grieved in that time for no reason? Not to mention the arrival of young Hamish.” The boy’s head perked up when he heard his name, but when no further address was made to him, he continued to work at the cubed color-puzzle in his hands.

Sherlock didn’t respond to that. Instead his eyes watched his son, who was concentrating on trying to align the colours of the cube.

The luxury car slowed down to a stop in front of 221b Baker Street. Sherlock exited, and helped his son hop from the vehicle while holding his hand.

“Tread carefully, Sherlock.” Mycroft said, before turning his gaze down to Hamish, and offering him a warm smile, “Goodbye Hamish. I’ll see you again soon.”

He smiled up at his uncle and gave a shy wave, before Sherlock shut the door and led them through the front entrance as Mycroft’s hired car pulled away. “…Is he still going to be mad at us?” Hamish asked as he began to walk up the stairs.

A heavy, large hand stopped Hamish, and he turned to see Sherlock kneeling down, one step below on the stair so they were at eye-level with one another. “He’s not mad at us, Hamish, he’s mad at me. John likes you just fine. And neither him - nor I – want you believing otherwise.” Sherlock reassured him with a firm nod.

His icy orbs passed his son to gaze up the stairs. “Go on. You first.” he prompted, releasing Hamish and allowing him to clumsily climb the stairs ahead. Sherlock followed close behind, but thought it might ease the tension a bit if Hamish was the first one John saw.

He’d been staying at Harry’s for the past three weeks. Apparently she’d left for a trip to Dublin with her new girlfriend after the first, but permitted John to flat-sit in her absence. Truth be told, Sherlock had missed him. Greatly. Three years of estrangement, then another three weeks. Not that it had surprised Sherlock when John had announced he needed some ‘time away’ in the first place.

But to be perfectly honest, it had relieved the detective to know that John intended to return at all… especially after what Sherlock had put him through.

“Oh… hello….” John’s warm (but clearly exhausted) voice caught Sherlock’s attention and brought him out of his thoughts as he approached the top of the stairs and the door to their flat’s sitting room.

Hamish had already gone in, and was working at removing his little coat and shoes – oblivious to any oncoming tension. “H-Hullo John!” The child greeted, more focused on trying to keep his balance as he took off his outdoor clothing.

Sherlock caught a small smile at the corner of John’s mouth. It was a good sign, and indicated to the detective that John might already be a little smitten with Hamish. Rightly so. His son was a bright young boy, and Sherlock planned to condition and encourage his intelligence to accelerate him as quickly as possible. But he couldn’t do it alone. He would need someone with all the practical knowledge of raising a child; knowledge of how to keep him emotionally happy and aware of others.

He would need John. He always needed John - and it was only after ‘killing himself’, being without his companion for nearly three years that made Sherlock frighteningly aware of that.

Even taking care of Hamish alone for the past three weeks had been… unsettling… and felt wrong.

“Are you back now?” Hamish asked, going over to the side of John’s chair and leaning on it, rubik’s cube still in hand.

John glanced up to see Sherlock standing in the doorway, attempting to look aloof, but failing miserably; his interest in the answer to his son’s question evident in his tense body language. “Would you excuse us for a minute, Sherlock?…”

The detective opened his mouth, ready to protest the request – before he recalled his brother’s words. It also didn’t help that the two most important people in his life were staring up at him expectantly.

“Of course…” he muttered with a brief nod. He hung up his coat, took another uncertain glance toward John – before he disappeared down the hall and into his room.

John turned back to Hamish, who was still draping himself against the arm of John’s chair. “Would you like me to be back for good, Hamish?” He asked.

Despite the circumstances, the good doctor certainly did not blame the boy at his side. John had already been thoroughly charmed by the child when they’d first met, and when he told Sherlock (over a rather heated argument) that he’d be taking a break from Baker Street – Hamish’s sad, guilty eyes had nearly stopped him in his tracks then and there. But he HAD needed a bit of distance, some perspective.

It was all a lot to take in.

“Y-Yes,” Hamish answered a bit distantly, still getting distracted by solving his coloured cube.

John nodded, happy to hear that. “And… your father? How was he these past few weeks?”

Hamish tore his big eyes away from the rubik’s cube and looked at John,

“He was quiet.” the boy answered softly, as if it were a secret he shouldn’t be talking about. “Sat in the li… lib…” he frowned, focusing on the word, “…libr-ary and was quiet, but… Uncle played. He played with me.”

John quirked a brow, having a hard time imagining Mycroft playing. With anyone… even his nephew.

“Right.” he muttered. He took a moment to consider how he wanted to approach this new ‘family’ he found himself smack dab in the middle of – before he stood. “Keep my seat warm, yeah?” John rolled his eyes, before picking Hamish up and playfully tossing him into his spot in the big chair. Hamish giggled and flopped around until he was sitting upright again.

With the boy focused on his rubik’s cube again, John headed down the hall toward Sherlock’s bedroom. He paused outside the door, gave two sharp knocks, and let himself in.

Sherlock had been standing by his window, but spun quickly when he heard John enter; he froze and stood there there awkwardly.

“Right.” John nodded, taking a deep breath as he stepped further into the room. “If we’re going to, uh… make this work… you need to let me in. And I mean really let me in, Sherlock,” the doctor threatened, keeping his eyes locked on the detective’s, “No more secrets. No withholding information. No more going off on your own. No more death-defying stunts or fake deaths. You have a son now. And I’ll be buggered if I’m going to let you get killed over some stupid risk or a case that will result in leaving that boy and I all alone.”

Sherlock had gradually began to walk toward John during the ‘list’ of conditions, nodding as he moved, “Yes, fine, of course…” he responded quickly, not daring to take his gaze off his estranged partner for a second. “…Are you… back now?”

John lowered his eyes, heaved a heavy sigh, and nodded before looking back up at Sherlock again.

“I am. Just…” he pursed his lips, and hardened his gaze, “Do anything like that to me again, Sherlock, and I’ll-” John stopped himself. He didn’t want to fight or yell anymore. The pair had done enough of that when Sherlock had revealed himself to be alive. “Forget it. Just don’t… disappear again…”

John turned, and had just begun to head back toward the door when he felt two long arms wrap tightly around his shoulders and chest; a dark-haired head soon rested beside his own, while his body slumped against John’s with what the doctor could only assume was relief.

You don’t disappear again either.” Sherlock mumbled. “I… I can’t do this without you John. Any of this,” he paused, and decided that now was as good a time as any to say the words he hadn’t said yet – but had owed John for years now. “…I am sorry.”

John held his breath for a moment before he released a slow sigh, and nodded; his hand coming up to grip Sherlock’s forearm as it stayed wrapped around him.

“Good.” John gently pulled the detective’s arm from around his body and stepped out of his embrace. He couldn’t be certain, but he was quite sure he’d felt a bit of reluctance in Sherlock’s muscles and movement… almost as if he didn’t want to let go of John again so soon.

“Come on then,” John gestured toward the hall with a tilt of his head and a small smile, “Let’s go see what Hamish is up to… and decide what would be best for dinner.”

Sherlock followed, and wondered what penance he’d have to further endure in his life to keep John Watson by his side. As far as he was concerned, there would be no limit… no cap on the gratitude he felt for the man before him.

They would be alright.

Chapter Text

 

“Hamish…” Sherlock muttered, still not looking up from the book he was pouring over. “Stay where we can see you.”

His son frowned, “I’m not a child.” He continued to make his way down the aisle anyway.

“Hamish.” Sherlock warned.

“Alright, ease off,” John interrupted, staring at the shelf. This was typical behaviour from his partner and his son. Especially when he suggested these weekend ‘family outings’ when they didn’t have a case. “It’s a library, Sherlock, he’s fine.”

The detective huffed, “That’s what you said last weekend at the park, and he ended up making several other children cry by dismantling their toys and permanently disabling the see-saw.” His eyes continued to fly over the pages he flipped through.

“Mmm. Remind you of anyone?” John mused, plucking a book about WWI off the shelf.

Sherlock’s mouth quirked a bit. “…Can’t say he does.”

Chapter Text

 

 

 

“Explain.”

Hamish sheepishly looked up toward his father. Sherlock was sitting beside John on the weathered love-seat against the wall of Molly’s flat. She wasn’t home, currently, which only served to amplify the level of trouble Hamish knew he was in.

“I already told dad.”

“Yes, and now you’re going to tell me.” Sherlock instructed firmly; regarding his young son with a casual, but stern demeanour from his position on the love seat. He had one leg crossed over the other, and seemed more at home in Molly’s flat than his husband was.

He had initially been standing, but John being the ‘peacekeeper’ of the family, made him sit. He had told Sherlock that confronting children about their ‘misbehaviour’ was better done at eye-level so the child didn’t feel intimidated. Sherlock rather liked intimidation because of his height, but listened to his partner regardless. John had a gentler, more emotionally-aware tactic during these confrontations that had proved effective in the past.

“School is dull.” Hamish finally answered.

Sherlock scoffed, “Yes, but that’s hardly an excuse. I have cases at Scotland Yard that require my attention - which is difficult to keep when your incompetent teachers continue to ring me.”

“Actually they ring me, but keep going.” John chimed in quietly, glancing around Molly’s flat. “Actually, no. I’d rather talk about your growing habit of breaking and entering.”

Hamish pouted, “Molly doesn’t mind.”

“Only because she doesn’t know.” John countered with an unimpressed look. “She gave us that key for emergencies. Her flat isn’t a hideout for you to ditch school, Hamish. You didn’t have permission.”

“Father does it.”

John sighed, and looked to Sherlock. “Told you.”

“You cannot always justify your behaviour by linking it back to me.” Sherlock huffed. “If I jumped off a bridge, would you?”

Hamish shot his father a look; it was of frustration and annoyance. Every time John saw that look, he saw Sherlock in their son. It was amazing, really. “Yes, because chances are you’re jumping off a bridge for a good reason. You’re smarter than anyone else.”

Sherlock tilted his head in thought, and then smiled.

“Hamish, don’t distract your father with flattery.” He groaned, shaking his head. “You’re going to be punished for this. And you’re going to apologize to Molly - and I am going to set about hiding her key in a more secure place.”

Hamish pouted more. “I’ll still get in.”

“Sounds like a wager to me.” Sherlock muttered, glancing around Molly’s flat for himself. “It wouldn’t take much. Might be a good experiment to see how Hamish could adapt to the lack of a key, obstacles or witnesses who may catch him in the act of breaking and entering. Perhaps we c-“

“Sherlock.” John snapped, quickly silencing his partner. “Hamish, you’re grounded for the next week. And you’re going to continue to attend school. If I find out otherwise, I’ll send you to stay with Mummy Holmes and you can spend a few months being privately tutored at the estate.”

Hamish’s eyes widened. “B-But that’s way outside of London!”

“So’s my patience.” John nodded. “Go to school and there won’t be any problem, yeah?”

Slowly, their son nodded.

“You said I could discipline him this time.” Sherlock complained petulantly crossing his arms and leaning away from John on the tiny loveseat.

John rolled his eyes with a smirk, “For godsake, Sherlock, don’t pout.” He shook his head as he stood up. “Come on. Let’s clear out before Molly gets back from St. Bart’s. I don’t fancy having to explain why we’re all here.” As he passed Hamish, he gave his son a quick ruffle on the top of his head to show there were no hard feelings.

Sherlock stood slowly and walked toward his son; towering over him as he held his gaze. Hamish held his right back, and straightened his posture.

“…How did you find the key?” Sherlock asked curiously.

Hamish stared up at him. “…How did you find me? I tried not to leave any clues.” He sulked.

Sherlock tilted his chin up a bit.

“I’ll tell you, if you tell me.”

Hamish smiled, “Deal.”

The corner of Sherlock’s mouth turned up into a small grin, before he placed his hand affectionately atop Hamish’s head. His boy smiled back.

Chapter Text

 

“It’s nice of you.” Mike commented, gazing around the lively park.

John frowned and straightened his posture a bit, idly rotating his coffee cup in hand. “Nice of me?”

“Yeah. It’s nice of you… takin’ the young lad out for his birthday.” He explained, motioning briefly toward the boy who was currently stuffing some pieces of tree bark into a small plastic bag. No doubt sampling for later experimentation.

Something tugged briefly in John’s heart, before he shrugged, “Gotta do something on his birthday, right? I mean, I know he’s a Holmes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give the kid a bit of fun now and again.”

“Sherlock on a case?” Mike asked.

“As always.” The doctor shifted on the bench. “He’s not really sold on the whole ‘birthdays are worth celebrating’ idea. Thinks they’re a waste of time.”

Mike stared at John for a few moments, before he nodded slowly. “Well… lucky he’s got you then, eh?” He smiled.

“Right.” John seemed to take that comment more seriously than Mike had intended. But before he could elaborate, John was standing up. “Nice running into you Mike. We should pop off, though.”

Mike stood and shook John’s offered hand. “Cheers mate. See you later.”

The two men turned, and walked in different directions; Mike toward St. Bart’s and John toward young Hamish.

“Ready to go?” John asked lightly, giving the boy a smile.

Hamish looked up toward the tree, clutching his baggie of bark-samples in hand. “I haven’t gotten a leaf yet.” He pointed up.

“Well, I think we can manage that. I’m not as tall as your father, but… well, no one is. A living bean-pole, eh?” He teased, reaching down and hoisting Hamish up. The child giggled quietly, and reached up to pluck a few leaves off the branches of the tree. John set him back down with a plop, and smiled as Hamish delicately put the leaves in with the bark.

Big Ben chimed in the distance.

“Huh. What do y’know…” John murmured.

Hamish looked up at him expectantly. “What?”

“I believe it’s time for birthday cake.” He hummed, glancing down to see Hamish’s smile growing a bit brighter. “Come on, shortie. It’s half-past, so Ms. Hudson’s probably getting your cake out of the oven. We’ll head home, have a piece and maybe some gifts, yeah?”

The pair began to walk back across the park. “Father too?” Hamish finally asked.

“Well, uh… I’m… I’m not sure. Maybe.” John nodded. “He’s on a case, though, remember? I’m sure he’ll come home as soon as he can. He was really looking forward to your birthday too, y’know.” He fibbed.

Hamish didn’t say anything.

John was hoping to keep the boy’s mind off Sherlock’s absence, but his own went blank when he felt Hamish’ small hand slip into his. “You don’t have to lie to me.” He said softly.

John pursed his lips, and squeezed Hamish’s hand back.

“Hamish, oi.”

The young lad snapped out of his haze, and turned to see John standing in the flat kitchen. “Sorry. Thinking.” Hamish answered.

“Sounds familiar.” The ex-army captain smirked. “Want some cake?”

Hamish’s eyes flickered toward the fridge, which contained a few condiments, his birthday cake, and another severed head. “No thanks.”

“Come on.” John pressed lightly, “It’s your birthday and you haven’t tasted it.” He had asked Hamish all day if there was anything he wanted to do to celebrate… but the boy had been surprisingly withdrawn. Not that John didn’t have a gut feeling as to why…

He turned back to his book with the intention to keep reading, when John sat on the couch across from his chair (that is, the chair Hamish had taken to occupying). His dad set a poorly wrapped gift on the coffee table in front of him. “Go on, then. Open it.” John smiled.

“It’s from you?”

“From me and your father.” He nodded.

Hamish eyed the gift.

“Maybe later.”

John stared at Hamish sadly for a few moments, before he exhaled a heavy sigh. “Look… Hamish, I know… your father’s been a bit remiss when it comes to these sorts of things. But he cares. He really does. He picked this gift especially for you. I had no say in it. Unfortunately.” John recalled fondly, trying to get Hamish to open up.

Hamish stood up from the chair. He took the present in hand, stared at it for a few minutes, and then handed it back to John. “Thanks anyway.” He uttered softly, before disappearing out of the room with his book.

John listened to his footsteps grow more and more faint as he retreated to his room.

Huffing out an annoyed breath, John took out his cell phone, and contacted the most frequently texted number:

You’re an idiot. JW

Chapter Text

 

“…Will she be alright?” John asked as his eyes followed Hamish and Eloise Holmes down the hall.

The ‘two and a half’ Baker Street Boys had arrived at the Holmes estate no more than fifteen minutes ago. Mycroft had invited them on his mother’s behalf, and they were set to spend the weekend there. Sherlock had been against making the trip outside London from the start… but John was eager for a bit of a break, and Hamish had yet to meet his Grandmother.

When they’d stepped out of Mycroft’s hired car, the house-help swooped in and took their luggage inside. Eloise ‘Mummy’ Holmes met them at the door, bringing her boys in for a polite kiss on the cheek - while John was given an actual embrace (Mothers in general seemed to adore him; Sherlock had pointed it out countless times).

But when Eloise had caught sight of Hamish, shyly standing behind the three men on the front steps of the estate, she’d frozen. No one spoke for a good five minutes, and John found himself on the cusp of breaking the silence himself, when Sherlock said: “Mother… this is Hamish.”

Eloise had turned her eyes to Sherlock - and again, John felt like he was being left out of a wordless conversation. He could have sworn that Eloise’s eyes began to mist over, before she blinked, and looked back to her grandson.

She gently beckoned Hamish (who had been shifting back and forth on his feet rather nervously for the past ten minutes) inside, and led them down the hall and out of sight without a word.

Sherlock tilted his chin up ever-so-slightly, “She’ll be fine.”

“She would be better if you’d actually informed her she had a grandson prior to your arrival.” Mycroft sighed; there was a clear twinge of irritation in his voice that John knew could indicate an oncoming ‘Holmes brothers tiff’.

He rolled his eyes, prepared to defuse the argument, when Mycroft’s words actually sunk in.

“Hang on… Sherlock, you didn’t TELL your mother you had a son?” John repeated in disbelief. “Oh God. Jesus, Sherlock… no wonder she looked so taken aback.”

“Mummy doesn’t need me to tell her anything, Mycroft.” Sherlock growled toward his older brother, completely ignoring John.

The government official straightened, “Only because that boy is the spitting image of you.” He blinked slowly, and pursed his lips. “Couldn’t help injecting some unnecessary drama into the weekend? Really, Sherlock.” His younger sibling smirked, and refused to answer. “No matter. I’ll look forward to seeing Mummy tear a strip off you later. Dinner is at six o’clock sharp.” Mycroft drawled, before he nodded to the doctor in farewell, and disappeared into the lounge.

“Nice, Sherlock.” John groaned. “I was rather hoping for a nice, relaxing weekend.”

“Boring.” The consulting detective grinned, nudging John in the side in a silent command to follow as he led them up the grand staircase. “It’s better that my Mother find out about Hamish this way. She would not have taken the news well over the phone. After all, this isn’t something one just blurts out, is it? …I’m not quite sure, myself, seeing as it’s my first time.” Sherlock mused.

“Your ONLY time, hopefully. The last thing this world needs is more Holmeses.”

Sherlock frowned - though his eyes retained a playful spark that John had come to know well, “But then everyone would be Holmesless…”

“You’re so fucking funny.” John muttered, shaking his head as a small smile tugged on the corner of his mouth. “Which room’s mine? I think I fancy a nap before dinner.” He asked, glancing through each door they passed. “This place is enormous, by the way.”

Sherlock made a face, “Sleeping? Pointless, John.” When his partner fixed him with a pointed look, the lanky detective sighed. “Fine. I will show you to your room, if you can deduce which room was my favorite as a child.” Sherlock challenged slyly.

“Pft. You’re joking.” John scoffed. “I know you better than you think I do.” He made a slight show of straightening his jacket, before he started searching through each room they passed.

Finally, the pair came across the exact place John had been looking for. It looked to be a small library, or study, of sorts. He’d never been there before, of course, but John had a hard time imagining Sherlock as a boy who preferred the outdoors.

The Library was a safe bet.

“Oh. Well done, John. Really, well done.” Sherlock praised.

His tone, however, was anything but proud. There was a smoothness and hint of sarcasm to it that John, again, was very familiar with. He tensed, and looked around them. “…What? What did I get wrong?”

“Nothing.” Sherlock shrugged innocently, keeping his eyes fixed on John as he approached him. John backed up until he was against one of the bookshelves that encompassed the walls of the room.

John looked up at Sherlock suspiciously as the taller man stood inches from him. “So. Show me to my room then, you nutter.”

“Happy to.” Sherlock’s smug ‘tricked-you’ smile was the last thing John saw - before his partner pushed on the bookcase behind him. It swung open, and John tumbled back into, what was apparently, a secret bookcase passage.

‘I thought these things only existed in bloody murder mysteries,’ John thought horrifically to himself. “Sherlock!” He bellowed.

The detective simply chuckled and slipped into the passage with John; allowing the bookcase to swing shut, and back into it’s natural (unassuming) position.

Chapter Text

 

John huffed in exhaustion as he slugged himself up the stairs of 221b Baker Street. He’d had a rather long day at St. Bart’s. Lot of trauma, for some reason; panicked, bleeding, dying patients. It could take a lot out of a person. Granted, John Watson had seen his fair share of gore and death when he was serving overseas.

Though just because he could handle it, didn’t mean he enjoyed dealing with it. It only served to remind him how fucked up people could be; hurting other people for money, love, stupidity - over heated arguments or simple misunderstandings.

But as he reached the top of the stairs, John found himself slowed to a halt at the sound of beautiful, violin music. Could be worse things to come home to, He thought bemusedly to himself. Then he heard a familiar baritone speak,

“Good.” Sherlock praised calmly. “But you hit a few incorrect notes a few bars back.”

John frowned, and peeked forward around the doorway to see Sherlock sitting in his chair - and their son Hamish standing near the arm of it, peering over his father’s shoulder as Sherlock took him through the proper technique of the alleged ‘incorrect’ notes.

The doctor couldn’t help a small, warm smile from growing on his lips. It was not often that he was privileged enough to see these rare, picturesq father-son moments between the two. Sherlock and Hamish were always running at full speed; they argued and teased one another, just as much as they tried to one-up each other. Hamish was always seeking Sherlock’s approval in the hopes of proving just how intelligent he was. Sherlock would act unimpressed, of course, but John could see the pride in Sherlock’s eyes.

Each time Hamish aced his school work, each time Hamish solved a puzzle or mystery Sherlock had challenged him with, each time Hamish excelled in his violin lessons…

John could see the bond and love between them, though predictably, both were experts at hiding their true feelings. They pretended it didn’t matter. But here and now - he was able to see it. They were close, and strikingly similar. ‘I guess this is how they behave when I’m not around?’ He mused to himself.

John was always the mediator. Sometimes it felt as if he were raising two children instead of one. But this was a clear example (and proof) that Sherlock Holmes could be a responsible parent when the situation called for it.

Still. He wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

“Again.” Sherlock’s voice brought John out of his thoughts.

Hamish pouted, “What for? I’m not going to be as good as you.”

‘Ah, there it is. That petty, Holmes stubbornness when their genius is threatened…’ John smiled.

“Nonsense. You’re already better than I was at your age.” Sherlock tossed the comment aside as if it were merely just one of his many, daily deductions. Hamish seemed just as shocked as John by the off-handed compliment, and stared at his father in awe for a few seconds - before he carefully tried to hide his gratitude for the praise behind another pout.

“Again.”

Hamish took Sherlock’s violin in hand again, and positioned it beneath his chin.

“Wait.” He smirked knowingly.

‘Shit. Busted.’ John cursed mentally.

“Perhaps your dad would like to hear you play the next piece. Of course he’s perfectly free to remain standing in the hallway with all the grace of a homeless man on Oxford Street.”

Both Holmes boys looked over to the doorway as John sheepishly stepped forward. “Thanks for that, Sherlock.” He slipped off his coat, and gave Hamish a weary smile. “Sounded great to me, Hamish. Your father’s just jealous. Worried you’re going to swoop in and become and musical prodigy of the household.”

“Oh please.” Sherlock scoffed teasingly. “Hamish neither has the dexterity, nor discipline to surpass my musical genius.”

“I can too!” Hamish fumed, stomping to the middle of the flat with his violin.

John smiled and flopped down into his chair, situating Hamish between both his parents.“Had a rough day at St. Bart’s.” John nodded to his son. “Wouldn’t mind playing something soothing for your dad, would you?” He sighed.

Hamish smiled and nodded.

Chapter Text

 

“Hamish!” Sherlock yelled desperately; anger and frustration leaking through his booming voice as the search-party trudged through the dark woods in search of their son.

The past 72 hrs had been a nightmare for John and Sherlock as they desperately tried to retrieve their son from a group of low-level kidnappers. Granted, Sherlock had caught the offended within a few hours, and had proceeded to assault each and every one in search of information about the whereabouts of his son… but none of them said a word.

Sherlock had put all of his energy into searching for clues and leads, while John and Lestrade organized a series of search parties and ‘missing child’ bulletins.

Their combined efforts eventually brought them to Dulwich Wood, where Sherlock was convinced Hamish had been abandoned when they got close to locating the kidnappers. Sherlock hadn’t really considered the possibility that someone would use their son against them… it was foolish mistake, really.

He was determined to find Hamish at any cost, both for John’s sake, as well as his own.

He paused in the midst of their late night trek, and shifted his eyes around the woods for any sign of their son. Lestrade, John and a handful of other officers and dogs were still calling out for the boy. He was about to continue along behind them, when a small light caught his attention. It flickered a bit through some tree branches.

“John!” Sherlock shouted, and ran toward that small light.

Sherlock was certain he’d never run faster in his life. He skidded down a small slope, avoiding the trees that had grown askew in their path - before he caught sight of a small bundle near a heavy grove. Hamish had heard their voices, and turned on his signal-less cell phone in the hopes of alerting them with the light from his LCD screen.

Sherlock got to him first, and gripped the boy by the shoulders. “Hamish! Why didn’t you answer?! We…” He froze when he noticed how laboured his son’s breath was. His face was pale, his eyes were wide and each breath was echoed and weak. “…Hamish!?”

Hamish couldn’t answer; his eyes were watering, his face was red and strained as he attempted to desperately intake breath. Sherlock had never felt so terrified. If there was one thing he knew frightened Hamish… it was a bad asthma flare up - like this one.

“Where’s your inhaler!? Do you have it?!”

The young boy was trembling as he shook his head.

“Dammit Hamish!” Sherlock yelled. “Breathe! You must calm down! We’re here!” He shouted, as if the boy could turn his asthma off with a word. Aside from his panic-attack, Hamish seemed to be in one piece. His clothing was dirty and a bit ragged, and he only had a few cuts and scrapes; the dirt smeared across his cheeks was beginning to run with his tears.

The terrified mirror blue eyes of his son finally met Sherlock’s, as he wheezed and his body tensed - struggling to take in air.

“Sherlock move!” John’s commanding voice boomed as he barrelled into his family, and pushed Sherlock aside.

The detective scrambled back, “He can’t breathe, John! His panic-attack has flared his asthma! He needs his inhaler or else h-“

“Shut up, Sherlock!” His partner repeated furiously. “Hamish, you’ve just got to calm down. Breathe,” He coaxed, holding his trembling son.

Hamish looked up at his dad with watering eyes; his skin was unusually paler and he was sweating as he tried to breathe. “Hamish, just relax… look at me.” He said. When he didn’t, John spoke again more firmly, “Hamish, LOOK at me!” Taking either side of Hamish’s face into his hands, John nodded, “I want you to take a breath in… breathe through your nose, ok? Ready? You can do this,” He said gently.

Hamish shook his head anxiously, still struggling to breath through his gaping mouth as painful, frightened tears streamed down the apple of his dirt-smeared cheeks.

“Yes, you can,” John encouraged. “Just breath in through your nose, ok? Ready? Here we go… breathe…” He said, inhaling with Hamish - through his nose. “Come on, do it, breathe through your NOSE.” The army-doctor demanded. He nodded as Hamish awkwardly closed his mouth, and tried to breathe in through his nose.

It was a strained, nasal sound as he did it - but slowly, he exhaled. “Good, again,” John continued - breathing in again through his nose.

Slowly, Hamish’s body began to relax. Keeping his mouth shut, the boy shuddered as he breathed in again - more smoothly through his nose.

“Good, good.” John smiled in relief. “See? … You got your breath back,” He said. Hamish nodded weakly, as his shaking slowly began to subside. “You’re breathing again… you’re colour’s coming back… that’s good. Good boy.” John reassured his son gently.

He turned to look back at Lestrade, “Ambulance?”

“Waiting nearby.” The older man confirmed. “Let’s get him out of here and looked at.”

Sherlock nudged John back out of the way, and scooped Hamish up into his arms; holding him close as the boy draped his arms around his shoulders in exhaustion. “You’re alright now.” He muttered against the side of his son’s head. “We will find you, Hamish. We will always find you.”

Chapter Text

 

“You promised you wouldn’t.”

“…Promises are just words.”

Don’t…” Hamish’s lower lip trembled.

It was uncomfortably silent in the Holmes estate library. Hamish had sought refuge there after the heated argument he had witnessed in the family conservatory, between Sherlock, Mycroft and their mother.

“Sorry.” Sherlock apologized softly.

“Y-You promised you wouldn’t leave again.” The boy still wouldn’t look at him.

The detective tensed, “This is my job, Hamish. These men are dangerous and need to be stopped, and in order for that to happen… I need to do a bit of… travelling.” He seemed to pick his words very carefully.

“Then take dad with you if it’s so dangerous…” Hamish countered.

Sherlock sighed, “That’s precisely why I’m not informing him. I need you both here. Safe. Mycroft will fill him in when you both return to Baker Street. There’s a car waiting outside now.”

Hamish knew his dad was at surgery for the night shift, and had absolutely no idea what was transpiring between his uncle and father. He didn’t know about the new case, and he didn’t know Sherlock was leaving in pursuit of it. Yes, the doctor was in for an upsetting surprise…

“I-I… you… you can’t leave…” Hamish’s eyes began to water, and Sherlock could see the etching impression of a tantrum growing on his features.

So, he did the only thing he knew how, “Hamish, that’s enough.” He snapped firmly. “You have the intellectual capacity of a college student at the age of twelve. I will not baby you. Crying won’t change anything.”

His father had been firm with him, so, the logical step was to pass on that parenting method, wasn’t it?

Hamish’s face contorted in embarrassment and sorrow despite the warning, and - still without looking his father in the eye - he strode forward and burrowed his face into Sherlock’s stomach; clutching at his father’s coat with his small hands.

Sherlock froze. He had to keep it together; like Mycroft, and their own father, he had to remove himself from sentiment. It would only serve to hinder him, to endanger his family; Alone protects me…

“Are those r-really the last words you want to say to me before you leave?” Hamish’s small voice asked.

The detective slowly closed his eyes. He exhaled. There. There was that emotional perception Hamish had undoubtedly picked up from John. They could read him too easily - son and partner both.

Kneeling down, Sherlock grasped Hamish’s shoulders in his large hands, and pushed his son away ever-so-slightly, so they could finally see eye to eye.

“Will you look after him?”

He didn’t need to mention John’s name. Both knew who Sherlock’s mission would affect more. Hamish clenched his mouth shut, and tried to swallow back any remaining tears. He nodded, and fell forward to rest his head on his father’s shoulder again.

Sherlock finally wrapped his arms around his son, and embraced him tightly. Trying as best he could to convey the emotions that were still so foreign to him…

“Good boy.” He rumbled gently. “I’ll be back soon. A few days, a week at most.”

Hamish nudged his face closer. “Promise?”

“Promises are just words.” Sherlock repeated, attempting to cover any slight hitch or break in his voice from his son.

Hamish gripped his coat tighter, “…Promise anyway.”

Sherlock kept one arm wrapped around him, while his other hand found a familiar place to rest on the back of Hamish’s head, cradling it gently.

“Promise.”

Chapter Text


 

“I’m so sorry to have to call you in, Doctor Watson. I know you’re busy.”

John nodded; tension already evident in his body. “What is it this time?”

“I’m afraid that Hamish has been caught fighting. Again.” The principal huffed, moving some papers around on her desk. John took a quick glance, and noticed none of them seemed pressing; just trying to look important, then, He mused to himself. “This is the fourth time in three months. I’m terribly sorry, but he’s going to have to be suspended.”

John pursed his lips, “And I trust the students he’s been fighting with are ALSO going to be suspended?” He shot her a withering look. “There’s always two sides to a fight, so, Hamish can’t be solely responsible. He might be a brat sometimes, but I know he isn’t violent.”

“The students he’s been fighting with have had some problems in the past, that’s true,” The principal admitted, albeit a bit reluctantly, “But the witnesses in each incident mark Hamish as the instigator in every occurrence. He’s proven to be disrespectful in class, he talks down to the teachers and corrects them during  their lessons, he doesn’t interact well with other children, and he doesn’t complete class assignments.”

John’s hands curled into fists as he tried to keep his cool. “He had a history assignment due last week. I know he completed it, because I was there. He always completes his work… in record time too, I imagine.”

“Actually, Doctor Watson, Hamish has a horrible habit of belittling the assignments he’s given. He will do the work, granted, but then presents an ‘extended’ project in which he believes he’s improved the class syllabus.”

The doctor scoffed, “So, you’re chastising him for doing MORE work than is required?”

The principal sniffed in sharply, and looked back to her desk.

“I understand that parents can be over-protective of their children. And there’s no denying Hamish is gifted, but…” She trailed off, as if waiting for John to fill in the blanks himself.

“What exactly were these fights about?”

She continued on, blatantly ignoring his question, “Respectfully, Doctor Watson… the fact that I need to contact you tells me a lot about Hamish’s home life.”

“…Excuse me?”

“I’m not trying to make assumptions about Mr. Holmes’ occupation or your private life together… but you are of no blood-relation to Hamish. Yet, you are listed as the primary contact in his file, while his father seems to show little to no interest in him. Hamish is on a dangerous path, Doctor Watson.”

John felt like if he clenched his jaw any tighter, his teeth would shatter.

“Well, thank you for your ‘concern’.” He breathed, shaking his head in disbelief. “But you won’t need to worry about Hamish anymore. We’ll be pulling him out of this school. Poor kid shouldn’t have to stifle his genius to please you morons.”

The principal looked slightly taken aback, “There’s no need to be hostile, Doctor Watson…”

“I can’t be hostile toward an institution that’s displaying a similar hostility toward my son?” He countered sharply.

She took a deep breath. “I didn’t mean to offend you. Perhaps… if we could contact Hamish’s mother. I realize she and Mr. Holmes ha-”

“She’s dead.” John interrupted. “And trust me, Hamish’s home life isn’t the problem. No. I can see the real problem; clear as day now.”

With a curt nod, the ex-army captain headed out of the office without another word. Once in the hall, he took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. He didn’t need her to say any more; John was capable of reading between the lines and didn’t need ANYONE undermining or questioning his (or Sherlock’s) ability to raise a child. He knew it was probable that the school staff just didn’t like Hamish, but John wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bit of homophobia lingering about in the back of their small minds.

Looking to his left, he saw Hamish sitting silently on the wooden bench against the wall. John sighed and walked over to him; crouching down so he was at eye-level with his son. He still didn’t make eye contact with his dad, but instead, kept his gaze down. Perhaps he was expecting to be reprimanded. He had a bit of dirt smeared on his cheek (the fight took place outside then, John deduced), and his clothing was a bit ruffled.

“Good riddance to this place, huh?” John muttered gently in the hopes of reassuring Hamish he wasn’t angry. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a handkerchief, and carefully began to wipe the dirt from Hamish’s cheek. It broke his heart to see a large tear clinging to the corner of Hamish’s stunning blue eyes. His face didn’t contort, and he didn’t break down… but rather like his father, held in his disappointment. His pain, his frustration.

“We’ll look for a new school. Maybe that private school your father and uncle attended, hm?” John continued, trying to stay optimistic. Hamish still didn’t answer. “Look, Hamish…. I’m sorry. This was my fault. I thought putting you in a public school would be good for you. I just… I don’t know. I wanted to see if you’d take to it. But you’re a Holmes through-and-through. Guess I should have listened to your father, but…” He paused, tilting Hamish’s chin up so he had to finally look him in the eye. “I don’t want you to dumb yourself down. Not for anyone. You’re a genius, Hamish… definitely smarter than me. Er, not that that’s any great feat.”

The corner of Hamish’s mouth twitched as he tried to repress a smile.

John stood back up, relieved that he’d managed a tiny break through. Maybe he could ask Hamish later what the fights were about. “Come on. Let’s go home.”

Hamish slid off the bench, and obediently followed John back through the school corridors, and finally out the front doors.

John’s phone chimed, and alerted him to a new text.

Meeting go well?
SH

You know it didn’t.
Taking Hamish out of this school. They’re idiots.
JW

Told you.
SH

Is Hamish alright?
SH

I will make other arrangements.
SH

Is he upset?
SH

Bringing human brain home for Hamish to experiment on.
I think he’ll like it.
SH

I always hated that school.
SH

On my way home now.
SH

Does ice-cream make children feel better?
I read somewhere it does.
SH

Brain is probably enough.
He’ll love it.
JW

Chapter Text


 

"It's a new low."

"I know."

"I'd be speechless if I wasn't so pissed."

"I'm sorry, Greg."

"I mean Christ, John! What the hell were you both thinking?"

"There's some blood spatter on the floor near the downstairs bathroom." Hamish interrupted bluntly from the bottom of the stairs. John and Lestrade slowly peered over the railing to gaze down at him.

"...I figured I should say something, since none of your men sectioned it off. Are there a high number of new recruits in this unit? Is this some kind of training program?" Hamish asked, tilting his head a bit.

Greg shot John a glare.

"Hamish I told you to stay outside on the front porch." John reprimanded half-heartedly. This scenario was already as bad as it was going to get. He knew he shouldn't have let Sherlock talk him into this.

"I see Sherlock's already teaching your son how to criticize my unit." Greg growled. "I'm sorry John, I can't do this. You've gotta get 'em out of here. It's bad enough I have to listen to Sherlock's condescending commentary. But a twelve year old?!"

John winced, "Greg. I promise. He won't say another word."

"Detective Inspector!"

Both men seemed to heave the same, heavy sigh when they heard the familiar voice of Anderson bellow up from downstairs. John and Greg headed back down and into the living room, which was littered with police, blood, folded paper air-planes and three victims. It was a strange case, and John would have been more than happy to document the event, like usual... but unfortunately, Sherlock had insisted upon bringing Hamish along with them this time. They'd been out enjoying dinner when Sherlock had gotten the call from Lestrade. 

He had been a solid 'no' from the start, but it was hard to argue (let alone win) against a man and a boy who were both smarter than him.

"This is ridiculous! This kid shouldn't be here! He's disrupting the team and insulting our work." Anderson complained furiously.

Sherlock barked a quick laugh from the opposite side of the room. "He was merely asking you a question. I, for one, am also interested in hearing your answer."

"What... was the question?" John asked hesitantly, glancing between his partner and son.

Hamish crossed his arms petulantly. "I just asked him if the reason he misses obvious signs of evidence is because his eyes are positioned too close together. It looks strange considering the size of his head, but it's obviously a genetic problem."

"...Hamish." The ex-army Doctor mumbled, rubbing his eyes wearily. 'Here it comes.' He thought.

"You're a disrespectful little brat." Donovan piped in with her two cents. "He's getting in the way, sir."

Lestrade barked, "Enough." He turned to the Doctor, "John, take him out of here. Now."

"This is completely unfair!" Hamish shouted, pointing at Anderson accusingly, "This is my first crime scene, and he's ruining it."

Sherlock huffed and quickly pulled off his blood-stained latex gloves as he walked toward the center of the room, "Eventually you'll learn to just tune them out, Hamish."

"This is no place for him, Detective Inspector." Anderson continued with a sneer, choosing to shoot Sherlock a glare rather than respond to his insult. "In case you've forgotten, there are THREE dead bodies in this room! He shouldn't be anywhere near this crime scene, and you know it!"

Hamish piped up, "Three dead bodies! Even if you can't collect the right evidence, at least you can count..." He teased childishly.

Anderson's hand swiftly clenched around Hamish's small arm, "Listen you little-"

He never was able to finish his threat, of course... because Sherlock's hand was around his throat in a flash; slamming him back against the nearest wall, while applying just enough pressure to his windpipe to inhibit him from speaking. "If you touch my son again-"

"Sherlock!" John's voice silenced his partner. The consulting detective could feel John and Lestrade grip onto his shoulders, and tug him away from Anderson - who immediately bent over to catch his breath.

"That's it! Out!" Lestrade boomed.

Sherlock didn't even blink. He just grabbed Hamish's hand, and tugged him along at a quick pace - right out the front door and out of sight.

An awkward silence seemed to hang in the room as John stripped off the blue, disposable one-piece he'd put on when they arrived. He left it in a pile on the floor, and nodded to Lestrade as he took his leave.

There was already a cab loitering outside the house when John emerged from the crime-scene. Walking right over to it, he slipped in without a word. Sherlock was seated against the left-side window, and Hamish was seated against the right. So John took a seat across from the both of them.

For a while, no one said anything. Sherlock and Hamish were glancing at John uncertainly; both well aware that they were going to be put in their place by Captain John Watson.

Taking a deep breath, John finally slid over so he was sitting directly in front of Hamish. The boy kept shifting his eyes around; only able to face the disappointment in his dad's eyes for a few seconds at a time.

"I want you to tell me what you did wrong. Take me through it." John said. His tone wasn't overly angry, or overly kind - it was just neutral. Firm, but neutral. "I need to know that you understand why I'm upset with you."

Hamish's eyes moved over toward Sherlock,

"Don't look at your father, look at me." John instructed.

His son sheepishly looked back toward him. "I... I... they were missing everything!" He complained, deciding to change tactics at the last minute.

"Hamish." The doctor warned. As Sherlock Holmes himself could tell you, 'changing tactics' didn't work on John Watson.

Hamish frowned. "I shouldn't have insulted them. I was supposed to stay quiet, watch, and not interrupt." He recited; clearly having no trouble remembering John's earlier warning to him before they'd arrived.

"It was the only condition I set for you. And you broke it." John clarified. "Just because your father insults and belittles Lestrade's team, doesn't mean you can. I've told you before, Hamish: LEARN from your father's mistakes, don't imitate them."

Sherlock perked up at that, and glared at John, "...Mistakes?!" He repeated.

"I know." Hamish agreed; guilt painted all over his face.

Despite how much the boy clearly wanted to emulate and impress his father... he cared a great deal about whether or not John was pleased and proud of him too. Sherlock had noticed this early on, and was rather relieved that John's empathy and moral center seemed to be rubbing off on Hamish.

"You're grounded for three days." John said.

Hamish winced and thudded his head against the cab window in defeat, but uttered not a word, nor a protest about the decision.

John nodded, and slid across the seat so he was now across from Sherlock.

"Sherlock."

"If he touches Hamish again, I'll remove his large intestine: I'll use a dull spoon for the incision and chopsticks for the extraction."

"Sherlock!" John hissed.

His partner regarded him with a dark gaze.

"I want you to tell me what you did wrong. Take me through it. I need to know that you understand why I’m upset with you." John began once more.

Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Don't repeat the same speech to make your point. I am not a child!" He argued.

"Nope. You're raising one." John answered without missing a beat.

The cab fell silent, and the frustrated look on Sherlock's face slowly morphed.

He seemed almost taken-aback... as if that simple fact had somehow eluded him up to this point. He looked to his right to see Hamish staring back at him. The boy wasn't frightened, or anxious, or upset that his parents were bickering. He was just... observing them.

"I..." Sherlock parted his lips for a minute or two, before he closed them again.

It was a good sign. John could always tell when he'd gotten through to Sherlock, because more often then not, it left him speechless.

With a decisive nod, John heaved himself up from his seat, and moved over to sit between Sherlock and Hamish.

Five minutes later, Hamish rested his head on John's arm as he stared quietly out the window.

Ten minutes later, Sherlock's hand had somehow slipped around John's, settling between them on the seat.

John didn't seem to mind.

Chapter Text

 

 

 

“I would like a straight answer, Sherlock. Did you, or did you not, teach Hamish to perform card tricks with the intention of swindling some of my more distinguished guests out of their money?”

John looked back and forth between the Holmes brothers. This was all news to him, of course. The small family had arrived at Mycroft’s home for some kind of fancy benefit. John couldn’t tell you what it was for; all he’d known was that Mycroft had sent them all tuxedos, and Sherlock had been in a mood ever since. He had initially refused to go, but with Mycroft and John’s insistence that it would be good for Hamish to experience some ‘high class’ social situations (after all, being a ‘Holmes’, Hamish would surely be exposed to many), Sherlock had no choice but to give in.

He had, however, already conveniently ‘lost’ his bowtie.

“I may have. What’s your point?” The deep baritone finally answered.

John closed his eyes, “Sherlock…”

“I know you don’t like these events, dear brother, but I hoped that just this once… you would behave like an adult. I’m disappointed you’ve dragged your own son into this childish feud you refuse to give up.” Mycroft huffed.

Sherlock’s eyes narrowed, “A childish feud I refuse to give up?” He repeated aghast. “It wasn’t me th-“

“Alright, alright, that’s enough of that,” John smiled, grasping Sherlock by the arm and steering him out of Mycroft’s study. “We’ve been here for half an hour, you’ve both had your little brotherly spat - in record time too, I might add… and I am not even remotely close to being drunk from the half-flute of expensive champagne you wouldn’t let me finish when this fight started.”

Sherlock frowned as he allowed himself to be led back through the lavish, antique-themed halls of Mycroft’s London home. “You’re not going to yell at me for teaching Hamish how to cheat some of London’s highest government officials?”

“No. I’ll yell at you later. But we’re at a rather important party, and like I said, I’d rather be enjoying that free, unlimited expensive champagne. Lighten up, Sherlock. Stay away from your brother, and try to behave for at least another hour. Then we’ll go home.” John sighed, grabbing two champagne flutes from a passing tray, before handing one to Sherlock.

His partner rolled his eyes, and quickly scanned the room. “Where’s Hamish?”

“Still working the crowd, I imagine.” John grinned. “He might have your brains, but thank god I’ve managed to give him some of my charm.”

Sherlock hummed as he sipped from his glass, “Ah yes. He’ll be a regular ‘Three-Continents Watson’ in no time then?”

“You’re not going to let that go, are you? It’s fine if you’re jealous, but really, Sherlock, there’s no need to let it deflate your ego. One day, you may even be able to f-” John began, but stopped speaking with a giggle when Sherlock tipped John’s flute back up to his mouth to prevent him from talking.

John drank half the flute back in one swig.

Both their eyes fell back onto Hamish, who was still across the room dazzling some of the guests with card tricks. It seemed some of the other attendees were betting on whether ‘that brilliant young boy’ could tell which card was in their hand. Apparently, Hamish found no challenge in the task, and met their praise and applause with a sly smirk each time he deduced it correctly.

“You should be proud of him. He’s doing well.” John said.

“I am proud of him, I never said differently.” The sharp, quick answer came almost before John had finished speaking his sentence.

He glanced over toward Sherlock, “Just… re-stating it, that’s all.” John shrugged.

Another silence fell between them while they continued to observe Hamish.

“You don’t think of him as your son, do you?” Sherlock said, perking up as if he’d just deduced an important clue from one of his cases.

John gaped at the consulting detective for a moment before speaking. “Where the hell did that come from?” He asked.

“You think of Hamish as mine, because he takes after me in looks and genetic material.” He continued, “It bothers you. So much so that you say ‘you’ should be proud of him, instead of ‘we’. Why is that?”

John downed the rest of his champagne flute, and put it down (a little firmer than necessary) on a neighbouring antique end-table. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Sherlock. Drop it.” He warned.

“Why, are you worried I won’t enjoy your answer?” He snarled. “I altered Hamish’s papers and certificate to read Watson-Holmes, and it would seem that not even THAT gesture is enough to convince you that both Hamish and I see you as a prominent, parental figure in his life.” Sherlock’s tone was a bit defensive, but it always seemed to take that edge when Hamish was the subject of conversation.

John pursed his lips together; his whole body seemed to grow more and more rigid with each second.

“Shouldn’t you proud of Hamish, too?” Sherlock shot at him again.

“I-” John grit his teeth together; aware that his voice was beginning to raise. He took a deep breath to calm himself, before turning his eyes back toward Hamish. “I’ve never been more proud of anyone… I…” He stopped and swallowed back the tiny lump that was beginning to form in his throat. “But I tell Hamish that regularly.”

Sherlock seemed to understand where this conversation was going. His mind quickly filtered through the last five minutes of their argument - right back to John’s exact words when this little tiff started…

“You are proud of him. You never said differently.” John repeated, shaking his head. “But you never ‘say’ it at all, Sherlock.”

Without another word, John made his way through the crowd and toward Hamish. When the boy saw his dad, he lit up, and rapidly began retelling his success to John - who smiled and commented at all the right moments. Sherlock felt like his heart was seizing up with a kind of terror he was unable to identify; a feeling of terror and disappointment that he’d experienced before, but not spoken of. A feeling from his youth.

Slamming his champagne flute down on the nearest table, the tall detective stormed over to his son, and grabbed his hand. “I need to have a word with my son, excuse us,” Sherlock told the bystanders, and John, with a quick fake smile.

Hamish trailed along obediently behind Sherlock as he led them through the cliques of chattering guests – and finally into Mycroft’s library. He shut the door behind them, and brought Hamish over to a Victorian parlour settee where he could sit.

Sherlock knelt down in front of him; his son looked mildly confused, but more curious as to why his father had dragged him away from everyone.

“Did I do something wrong?” The boy asked earnestly.

Sherlock shook his head, “No, you didn’t, you… I…” He always found himself at such a loss of words sometimes with Hamish. Most of the time they were fine, but when it came to expressing his feelings – Sherlock appeared to have a serious mental block. “Your dad. He… tells you that he’s proud of you?” He asked.

Hamish nodded.

“Often?” His father clarified.

“All the time.”

Sherlock worried his lower lip for a moment with his teeth, “Oh.”

A few, quiet minutes ticked by.

“Did you and dad have a row?” Hamish asked.

Sherlock chose to pass on answering that question in favour of asking his own, “Do you wish… I… told you that? More often?”

Hamish regarded his father silently for a moment, before he shook his head.

“I know you are.” He answered. “Dad says that you probably have a hard time saying it, because you weren’t told enough yourself growing up.” Hamish recalled shyly.

Sherlock was almost stunned into silence.

He tried to save face when Hamish’s eyes began to gaze at him sadly.

“Well. When your father shows me his fictional degree in Psychology, I’ll consider listening to his unfounded theory.” Sherlock scoffed, though his voice didn’t carry it’s usual confidence. Hamish seemed to notice instantly, and just remained silent.

“Hamish, you know…. I….” Sherlock stopped himself again; as if he were trying to physically not choke on the words. “I… I am. I am… p-” His face tensed, and Hamish could almost hear his father cursing inside his head. “I’m… proud. Of you.” Sherlock nodded. “I am proud of you.”

A small smile spread across his son’s lips, and he nodded. “I know.”

Satisfied, Sherlock nodded to himself before he stood up from his previous, kneeling position in front of Hamish. “Well… we best g-”

“Do you want to make a run for it?” Hamish interrupted, eyeing the library window across the room.

Sherlock exhaled a long breath, “I thought you would never ask. Come along, then. I’ll go first.” He said, a slight bounce in his step as they approached the window. He unlocked it, pushed it open, and slid out. Luckily, it was not that high – and once on the ground, Sherlock was able to lift his arms, and catch Hamish easily as his son jumped out after him.

With his hand resting lightly on the back of his son’s head, the pair made their way along the side of the house and back onto the bustling London streets.

John’s cell vibrated with a new text. He excused himself from a conversation between he, Mycroft and the Chief of Surgery at St. Bart’s to read it.

Made a run for it.
We’ll see you at home.
SH

John shook his head. He’d wondered where they’d gotten to.

If you’re getting Chinese, leave me some.
I’m starving.
JW

Champagne doesn’t taste as good anymore.

JW

Thank you, John.
SH

What for?
JW

Food is waiting at the flat.
SH

Ok. But why are you thanking me?
JW

Come home.
SH

Chapter Text

 

His first clue had been the footsteps on the stairs.

One set. Small feet. Light body-weight. Familiar.

Hamish.

But not John.

Sherlock was up from his chair, tossing John’s laptop aside haphazardly and already moving to the door when his son burst in; tears streaming down his face, which was set in the most horrified expression Sherlock had ever seen.

“What happened?” Sherlock demanded, crouching down to look Hamish in the eyes.

Hamish inhaled a shakey breath amidst his tears, “D-Dad did what they asked… we… we were j-just coming h-home…” Sherlock tightened his grip on the boy’s arms, hoping to cease his trembling.

“Where’s John!?” The detective’s voice boomed.

Hamish jumped and tried to shrink away from his furious father, but Sherlock pulled him back and wrapped his arms around him; holding him close to his chest.

“I’m sorry, Hamish, but you must tell me! Where is he?! I need to go help him! He’s in trouble, isn’t he? Is he hurt? Is that why you’ve returned alone? Hamish, TELL ME!” Sherlock urged. He’d hoped to keep his tone free of desperation and fear, but that was impossible now.

“N-Northumberland Street…” Hamish wept.

Sherlock’s jaw clenched. Street harassment, attempted assault or robbery, perhaps. “Alright, stay here. Don’t move. I’ll bring him back.” He spouted quickly, lifting Hamish in his arms to set him down in John’s chair. Sherlock paused just before he pulled away from his son, “Are you alright, Hamish?” He remembered to ask; eyes quickly scanning over the boy for injuries.

“F-F-Fine…” Hamish seemed to be trembling and shaking more and more with each passing minute. Sherlock hesitantly placed an awkward kiss atop Hamish’s head, unsure of what else he could leave the boy with.

He must have seen it - high possibility of assault, John is hurt - alone now - made Hamish run home…

“Ms. Hudson!” Sherlock yelled as he raced from the flat. Charging down the stairs while tossing on his coat, his landlady scuttled out from her flat in confusion. “Stay with Hamish! Calm him down, I need to find John…” He instructed.

He could hear her tutting away in worry, but he was in no place to humour her or give her more information. He had to get to John.

Sherlock was almost certain he’d never run so fast. He pushed aside shoppers and Londoners who happened to step in his way. They cursed him, they looked at him like he was crazy… but it was all a blur.

Reaching Northumberland Street, Sherlock finally reigned himself to a stop and whipped out his mobile. He clicked the second speed dial number listed in his phone, and waited impatiently for Inspector Detective Lestrade to answer.

“Lestrade, send a unit to Northumberland Street…. I don’t know WHERE! John is hurt, and I need to find him! Do something useful and send an ambulance as well!” He barked, quickly hanging up without waiting for an answer.

He clicked the speed dial for the first number in his phone.

“….S… Sherlock…”

“John! Where are you! What do you see? I’m here, I’m looking!” He shouted into the phone, as if it were all John’s fault.

Luckily, his partner knew that was just the fear talking. “Mm… I… f-few feet from Angelo’s… I think…” He could hear John panting and groaning in what was presumably pain. “I-I… I can hear jazz music… in… I’m in… an alleyway…” He coughed. “S-Sherlock… Hamish! Is… is Hamish…”

“He’s fine, John, STOP talking for godssake man!” He snarled, tearing back through the streets. He checked every alleyway he came across, listening for the sound of wafting jazz music.

He had to find him. His John. His roommate. His partner. His best friend. His…

Finally, he heard it. Wafting jazz music.

“John?!” He called; eyes frantically darting to each corner as he barrelled down the closest alleyway.

Sherlock heard a weak cough, and noticed a pair of legs lingering from behind a rather large garbage bin. Sherlock dove to that spot, and found John propped up against the brick wall. “John!” He exclaimed, kneeling close. “John, can you hear me?”

He looked awful. His eyes were already beginning to bruise from where he’d clearly been punched, his mouth was bleeding, and there was a sizable gash along the side of his left temple. John’s clothing was rumpled and somewhat dirty, so the struggle had taken him to the ground.

“K-Knew you’d turn up…” John winced with a weak smile.

“Shut up,” Sherlock snapped. “Conserve your energy. Three, maybe four offenders. Robbery, was it? Or just London’s unfavourable youth taking the piss out of you and my son?!” He hissed out his deductions as he tried to help John stand. He wrapped one of John’s arms around his shoulders, while he wrapped one of his own around the Doctor’s waist. “You still have your phone, so mugging seems likely, but just for your wallet. Or did you hide it? Did you fight back, John? Did they touch Hamish? TELL ME!” He boomed.

John coughed, “If… you’d…” He stopped, the sounds of sirens pulling up nearby catching his attention. “You… called… Lestrade.”

“That’s an idiotic observation, John. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and chalk it up to that blow to your head.” Sherlock growled, helping him back out of the alley and onto Northumberland Street.

The ambulance was just arriving alongside an unmarked car. John was immediately taken out of Sherlock’s grasp, and into the hands of the medics on scene. Lestrade stepped out of his car, “What the hell happened to him?”

“I don’t know all the details, I arrived only a few minutes before you did.” The consulting detective huffed. “John is too dazed at the moment to answer questions coherently.”

Lestrade nodded. “Well, uh… I don’t mind stayin’ with him, of course. The medics will give him a look-over, and when they’re done, I’ll bring him back to your flat, yeah?”

“I’m staying.” Sherlock insisted.

“No.” The older detective grasped his elbow firmly. “You’re going to go home, and stay with your son. If you’re both here that means he’s alone, doesn’t it?”

Sherlock narrowed his eyes petulantly, “Ms. Hudson’s looking after him. He’s fine, just shaken up.”

“Shaken up?” Lestrade repeated. “Christ, Sherlock, was he with John when this happened?”

“Yes. He came back to the flat alone, and I knew something was wrong. GOD! I need details!” Sherlock shouted.

“Oi, enough!” Lestrade yelled back to him. “Go home, Sherlock. Go home and stay with your son, and I’ll bring John ‘round. If he needs to be admitted, you’ll be the first to know. But you need to go home. Hamish is probably scared shitless, and Ms. Hudson won’t be enough to calm him down. Not with both you and John gone.”

As much as he hated to admit it, Sherlock knew Lestrade was right.

“Bring him home immediately once they’ve finished. And they better do a sound job of it too.” He warned darkly.

Taking one last glance toward the ambulance that was currently hosting his injured partner – Sherlock turned and began to storm back toward Baker Street. This was unacceptable. He hated not knowing. But what he hated even more was seeing John hurt. No one had any right to hurt that man; he was the most saintly human being Sherlock had ever had the privilege of knowing (not that he’d ever say that out loud).

He was a war hero. He was a doctor. He was an army captain. He was moral, and loyal, and…

Chapter Text

 

His phone chimed; incoming text.

Pulled together the CCTV footage.
Culprits apprehended.
How is my nephew?
MH

Sherlock furiously texted back:

I want that footage.
I want to deal with them personally.
SH

You’ll keep your distance.
This wasn’t personal, just an unfortunate coincidence.
I will take care of them.
MH

How is Hamish?
MH

He’s FINE!
SH

He stuffed his phone back into his pocket as he arrived back at Baker Street. He didn’t want to talk to Mycroft anymore. All he wanted was for John to be brought home; he had to wait around like everyone else, since his own brother wouldn’t even let him in on this case.

‘You’ve made it personal’ they would all say. Damn right it was personal. ‘No one can hurt John and scare Hamish and get away with it…’

Arriving back into the flat, he dismissed Ms. Hudson as quickly as possible.

He refused to answer her questions, and opted instead to sit down in his chair to have a well-earned sulk. Eventually, the sweet landlady gave up and went downstairs, alerting him that Hamish was in his room, resting. She’d given him an ‘herbal soother’ apparently to calm him down and help him sleep. On any other given day, Sherlock might have protested the decision…

But right now he had more important things to consider. So he remained in his chair; his hands in their usual prayer-position, index fingers lightly touching his lips as he ran through all the potential actions he could take to ensure this didn’t happen again…

 

-----------------------

 

It had been almost three weeks since the ‘incident’ had occurred, and it seemed that Sherlock had well and truly settled on one particular course of action he could take to guarantee John and Hamish weren’t harmed again.

Never let them out of his sight.

It was a rather childish and impossible feat, as far as John was concerned, but Sherlock was having none of it. When John was required to go to work, the detective allowed some leeway; he only insisted John have his gun with him. His partner’s refusal to take a weapon to St. Bart’s didn’t sit well with Sherlock, but unfortunately, he couldn’t really DO anything about it; he was already escorting Hamish to and from school personally.

‘Perhaps I can utilize more of my homeless network; set up extra perimeters? I already have two commissioned to watch St. Bart’s when John is on call, dismissed only when they see him get on the tube or in a cab… another stationed at the school, dismissed only when she sees me arrive to retrieve Hamish…’

Sherlock was pulled out of his thoughts when he saw Hamish pulling on his shoes.

“Where are you going?” He questioned rapidly; his eyes scanning Hamish’s clothes for an indication.

His son heaved a heavy sigh, “Just to the park.”

“What? Why? …No.” Sherlock seemed to have the entire conversation, himself, in three seconds.

Hamish frowned, “Why not? Dad’s coming too…”

“Then I’m coming.” Sherlock announced, grabbing his coat.

John’s presence was soon announced to the father and son as he jogged down the stairs; coat already on. “Ready to go?” He smiled at Hamish, before turning his eyes toward the lanky detective. “Oh, you’re going out? Is there a case?”

“No. You’re going to the park. I’m escorting you to the park.” He informed his partner petulantly.

John rolled his eyes, “Sherlock, for f-” He winced, glanced at Hamish, then looked back toward his detective. “This has got to stop. For the love of God, Sherlock. I’m fine. Hamish is fine. It was a bad bit of business we went through, yes, but that was three weeks ago. We just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. We’re not going to be ambushed the second we’re out the door just because you’re not around.” John huffed.

Not eager to have a real argument in front of Hamish, John tried to make light of the situation by joking, “You’re a big beanpole anyway. Hamish and I have a better chance at defending ourselves; a stiff breeze could blow you over.” He smiled.

Hamish smiled, but it was quickly wiped away when he saw the severe, unamused scowl on his father’s face.

“I either accompany you, or you don’t go out at all.” Sherlock threatened.

John shook his head, “Right. That’s it.” He growled, grabbing his phone. He dialled a number, and headed into the bathroom so he could speak privately, “Hello, Mycroft?… It’s John,”

The door slammed in Sherlock’s face before he could even attempt to intercept the call.

“John!” He yelled, pounding on the door. “You won’t achieve anything by phoning Mycroft. This isn’t his concern!”

Sherlock looked back toward Hamish, who was silently scowling at him. “Don’t give me that look, I devised that look; it doesn’t work on me.” He frowned. “What is so important about going to the park today?”

“Some of my friends were going to play rugby, so dad said he’d take me.” His son answered.

Friends?” Sherlock spoke the word as if it were still foreign to him; even bitter on his tongue. He looked back toward Hamish, and waved his hand dismissively, “Rugby is a waste of time, Hamish. Barbaric, pointless sports will do nothing but earn you bruises, perhaps a concussion, and a foul mouth.”

Hamish leaned back against the wall, clenching his small hands into fists, “It… it can help with hand-eye coordination.” He shot back.

“So can the violin. Which you’ve been neglecting.” Sherlock pointed out a bit snappishly. “Everything you need to stimulate yourself can be found in this flat, Hamish, so there’s no reason for you to leave it.”

When his son didn’t answer, Sherlock spared a look in his direction. He regretted the decision immensely when he saw Hamish’s head bowed; his small body was stiff (even as he leaned against the wall), and there was an aura of disappointment wafting around him.

Before Sherlock could speak again, John emerged from the bathroom.

“Ok. We’re off.” He instructed, ruffling the top of Hamish’s brunette head and nudging him out the door.

Sherlock followed, content in assuming that his persistence had paid off.

When the small family stepped outside of 221b, however, Sherlock noticed that John didn’t begin walking in the direction of the park - but instead, opened the door of a black luxury car which was conveniently parked right outside. He stared coldly at the vehicle (as if it had personally done him a great injustice) as Hamish scampered in, and John followed.

Sherlock shot his arm out to prevent John from closing the car door before he could get in.

The car pulled away from the curb, and began to chauffeur them through the bustling London streets. Any hope Sherlock had that the car was simply there to take them to the park was wiped away, when it pulled up to Mycroft’s central London home.

Chapter Text


 

“That’s a nice weapon you’ve got there, Doctor Watson.” Sebastian smirked.

The small group had found themselves at the very top of the palace of Westminster; right in the bell tower, just above the clock face of Big Ben. The pursuit of the deadly mercenary had led them all to the terrace that bordered the infamous Gothic structure; Sebastian had strategically placed Hamish on the ledge, between him and his parents. 

John clenched his hand even tighter around the gun. “Touch one hair on that boy’s head, and you’ll become well acquainted with it.” He swore.

“What did you give him?” Sherlock hissed; eyes fixed on Hamish. He seemed so unsteady on that perch. He had never had to fight so hard to keep his body from reacting on instinct, and simply snatching Hamish away from the high rim on which he stood.

Sebastian shrugged, keeping his hands visible and in the air. “Dunno what you mean.”

“His pupils are dilated, he’s sweating, skin flushed, he appears disoriented and cannot stop his body from trembling so TELL ME WHAT YOU GAVE HIM!” Sherlock’s voice grew louder with each word, until he’d resorted to out-right yelling. The severity of the situation was clear, and despite being outnumbered, both Sherlock and John knew that Sebastian still had the advantage. Their son was not out of harm’s way yet.

“Hound.” Sebastian mused gruffly, sly grin still evident on his lips. “That’s what the project was called, wasn’t it? Jim told me all about it. Fascinating, really. Shame they had to stop it… that drug has a thousand uses.”

John cocked the gun into its loaded position, “Let him go. And step away… slowly…”

Sebastian stared at John silently for a few minutes. The only sound to be heard was the soft static of wind whipping around them.

The mercenary smiled again, and cocked his elbow, successfully hitting Hamish off-balance to send him toppling right off the ledge.

John had never heard such frenzied terror in Sherlock’s voice before, as he yelled and bolted toward the ledge after his son… but the army-doctor was more focused on firing his weapon at Moriarty’s right-hand man.

Two bullets: one in Sebastian’s shoulder just above his heart, and the other in his leg succeeded in crippling the mercenary to the ground.

With Sebastian immobilized, John turned his attention toward his partner, who was already positioning himself over the ledge. He initially feared the worst, but when he heard Sherlock frantically shouting instructions - he knew there was a chance that fate had been on their side…

Leaning over, John saw Hamish weakly clutching to the side of the protruding architecture. He was still shaking, sweating, and his eyes were the size of dinner plates. He was staring up at Sherlock and John as if they were strangers. The doctor knew first hand what the H.O.U.N.D drug was capable of, and John could only imagine what terrors were playing out before Hamish’s eyes.

The dire situation they now found themselves in certainly didn’t help.

Sherlock was almost completely suspended over the ledge himself in a desperate effort to reach Hamish. John grasped Sherlock’s free arm, and braced himself against the solid stone of the terrace, while Sherlock attempted to utilize his long limbs in the hopes of reaching his son.

“Hamish… take my hand…” He coaxed over the wind that continued to whip around them. “Hamish… it’s me!” Sherlock pleaded, “Take my HAND!”

He saw his son tentatively look up at him; sweat still dripping down his temples, eyes bleary and confused, and his hands and legs shaking with weary tension. He wouldn’t be able to hang on much longer, that much was clear to the detective.

Heaving himself forward (and simultaneously trusting John to keep hold of him no matter what) - Sherlock made another attempt to grab Hamish, but he just managed to brush his hand over the top of his son’s head. The child flinched and spouted some nonsensical gibberish as he looked around wildly, becoming a bit distracted by the distant view of the London Eye.

“HAMISH!” Sherlock yelled, commanding the boy’s attention again. In a last, frantic attempt, the detective lunged forward and managed to snag Hamish’s thin wrist in his hand.

His son screamed in shock, and jolted back; his foot slipping from it’s hold. He flailed wildly in an attempt to grasp something, anything - and thankfully resorted to grasping onto his father’s sturdy arm. With John’s help, Sherlock yanked Hamish back up to the ledge and over onto the ground.

Sherlock collapsed back onto the ground, clutching Hamish in his arms. He was nearly hyperventilating as his adrenaline began to diminish with the knowledge that Hamish was safe again (close call that it was).

Hamish was still shaking and trying to shift in Sherlock’s arms, jabbering a string of words that didn’t make sense to either of his parents… but they knew the drug would wear off soon enough.

A gargled cough brought their attention back to Sebastian, who was still bleeding out on the ground. He was chuckling, very weakly… as if the sight of Sherlock so utterly terrified and furious was just as amusing to him as it would have been to Jim.

He’d been trying to achieve a just revenge for Moriarty’s death ever since The Fall. He blamed Sherlock, and had already succeeded in killing Irene in search of his retribution. Hamish was going to be the final piece…

John shifted his eyes to Sherlock, only to find his partner staring back at him with eyes as cold and furious as he’d ever seen. Lifting his hands, Sherlock placed them against either side of Hamish’s head, and covered his ears. Then he drew his son’s head into his chest to obstruct any possible view of what was about to happen.

John didn’t think twice about raising the gun, and putting a final bullet through Sebastian’s head.

Chapter Text


 

It took Hamish about three seconds to realize there was something different about his room.

Namely, the mysterious man who was sitting silently in his bedroom desk chair, gazing out the window at the starless night sky.

“I like your room.” He offered in way of a greeting. His voice was eerily soft. He was clad in a simple white t-shirt and dark black jeans. He had no weapon that Hamish could see, and wasn’t behaving in a hostile manner. The stranger did, however, look as if he’d been through the ringer a few times.

He seemed tired, sedate even, with dark circles hovering beneath his unusually large eyes.

“…Who are you?” Hamish asked blearily, rubbing his eyes with his small fist.

The child didn’t sit upright, or feel too nervous at the moment. After all, his father was a renown consulting detective and his dad was an ex-army captain and doctor. And they were both downstairs. If there was one place Hamish felt completely safe: it was 221b Baker Street.

He simply assumed that his parents knew this man was here.

“I’m a friend of your father’s.” The intruder confirmed lightly, turning his attention back toward Hamish.

The young Holmes frowned. That didn’t sound quite right to Hamish. He was still rather tied, however; a quick glance at the clock showed it was nearly midnight.

“Father says he doesn’t have friends.” Hamish yawned.

The barest hint of a smile touched the corner of the stranger’s lips. “Such a clever boy…” He whispered, almost as if he were speaking to himself.

Shifting his right foot a bit, the stranger began to lightly swivel the desk chair he occupied in a childish manner. “I came to surprise your father. Leave him a little message. At least… initially.” He stopped twirling back and forth, and stared at Hamish, “But you can imagine my surprise when I came into his old room to find… you… instead.” He grinned.

Hamish’s stomach began to churn with nervous butterflies, and he had no idea as to why. He had no basis; this man hadn’t harmed him, or indicated he was violent, or upset, or confrontational. And yet… the nervous, internal butterflies continued to flutter.

‘He looks like a Cheshire Cat…’ Hamish thought to himself, tilting his head.

The stranger mimicked the move. “I love that book too.” He smiled.

Hamish winced. Another person might have felt a little unsettled with the knowledge that someone could read their mind so easily. Hamish, however, was used to Sherlock doing it constantly… so he presumed he was just ‘easy to read’. A pout crossed his features; he needed to work on that.

The gentlemen smiled softly when Hamish couldn’t contain another yawn.

“Yes, I guess it is rather late.” The older sighed, standing up from the chair. He moved over toward Hamish, and plopped himself down on the edge of the bed,”The itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout… down came the rain and wasssssshed the spider out,” He began to hum; eyes trailing over Hamish’s form with a gentle appreciation. “Out came the sun and dried up all the rain… so the itsy-bitsy spider went up… the spout… again…

Hamish gave him a tired glare, “I’m too old for nursery rhymes.” He protested weakly.

“It’s more of a riddle.” The man perked up. “Do you like riddles?”

Hamish shrugged.

“You should learn to. Riddles have a hundred uses. And lots of layers to be extracted from their words. They’re conversation for the clever.” He beamed. “Maybe I’ll start sending you some. It’ll be like a game. You can start learning to do what your father does… but it’ll just be between us.” The gentlemen paused; eyes darting toward the door quickly, as if he’d heard something… before turning back to Hamish and offering him another crooked smile,

“I would like us to be friends, Hamish. You’re a bright young boy. And I have a gift for spotting talent.” He grinned pleasantly. “I think I’ll visit your father another day. But for now, let’s just keep this as ooooour little secret, hm? I really want our reunion to be a surprise.”

Hamish blinked, curiously observing the man, “It’s been a long time since you’ve seen him?” He asked.

“…Ages.” The whispered answered came. The stranger held something out for Hamish to take, “I took the liberty of programing my number into your phone. If you ever need anything… a friend… someone to listen… I will do my best to help you. But you can’t tell your dad or your father anything about me. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want it to be a surprise. Do you understand?” He instructed with playful encouragement.

Hamish nodded. His eyes were already beginning to droop as sleep started to overcome him once more.

“Goodnight Hamish.” The stranger bid in an airy, sing-songy voice as he stood and headed toward the bedroom door. “I’ll visit you again soon.”

Hamish closed his eyes for a moment and huffed out a long, weary sigh. When he opened them again, the stranger had vanished; the boy hadn’t even heard his bedroom door open or close.

Realizing his phone was still in hand, Hamish clicked it on - immediately wincing at the brightness of his LCD screen in the otherwise dark room.

He scrolled down to look at his contact list. He didn’t have many numbers; he had his parents, of course… his uncle, and Detective Inspector Lestrade (in case of an emergency when his parents were unreachable), Mrs. Hudson, his Aunt Harry, his grandmother… and finally… his new, secret friend.

Hamish stared at the number for a few minutes before he set his phone down on his bedside table; left open on the last contact he’d viewed… which was simply listed as:

Jim.

The faint sounds of his parents talking and moving about downstairs lulled Hamish back to sleep.

The LCD screen powered down, and the room plunged back into darkness.

Chapter Text

 

Hamish bounded down the steps from his bedroom, skipping two at a time in his haste, until he landed at the bottom with a loud thud.

“Oi,” John muttered, chomping down on a piece of toast, “It’s too early to be making such a racket.”

He and Sherlock were currently seated at their makeshift breakfast table in the sitting room of 221b. Their actual kitchen table, as usual, was strewn with Sherlock’s latest experiments and equipment. Hamish ignored John’s lighthearted reprimand, and didn’t yet take his place beside his parents to eat his breakfast.

“Is it in there?” The boy asked eagerly, though he was doing his best to remain as calm as possible.

John frowned, “Is what in where?”

“Yes, Hamish, do try to be more specific.” Sherlock drawled with a small smirk.

Hamish shifted back and forth anxiously, “You KNOW what I’m talking about! My review! Is it in the paper!?”

Sherlock grinned, returning to reading the morning paper, while John tilted his head and drew the suspense out a little longer, “Hmmm…. y’know now that you mention it, I think I do remember seeing some kind of article in the paper about a solo competition.”

“Dad.” Hamish pouted.

John glanced over toward Sherlock for a moment, before he resumed eating his breakfast, “Why don’t you ask your father to read it aloud? As you can see, I have eggs to finish eating… can’t possibly find a moment…” He teased.

“Ah yes.” Sherlock mused, crisping up the paper in his hands, “The very idea of a musical ‘solo competition’ for the youth of London may cause a small chill to course through the bodies of adults and professionals who love the craft. But don’t be fooled. These children are musical prodigies, and have earned their place on the stage of Wigmore Hall-

Hamish groaned, “Am I mentioned?! Specifically? I must be! Please tell me!” The child insisted.

“Um,” Sherlock narrowed his eyes, making a slight show of skimming through the article. “Oh. Well, look at that. You are mentioned.” His playful demeanour shifted into that of a proud father as he read, “The biggest, and most impressive thrill of the evening was the stunning debut of Hamish Watson-Holmes. Having never participated in a public competition before (as his program biography states), the crowd rightfully seemed a bit apprehensive when the twelve-year old plunked himself down in front of – not only a piano – but violin and a koto as well. You can imagine why spectators were cautious. However, this young musical prodigy carried himself with elan. A quick click of his laptop provided him with a metronome to follow, and we were off to the races. Simply put: Hamish Watson-Holmes turned out to be the shining star of the evening, by mastering not only one instrument, but three…

John took a moment to shoot his son a proud, beaming smile. He’d never seen Hamish so happy…

When all was said and done, neither judge nor patron were surprised to hear young Mister Watson-Holmes’ name called out as a finalist. The quiet boy was met with thunderous applause, and even bids for an encore. But while we were not privileged to hear another piece from the young virtuoso, we can look forward to the upcoming competition-close in two weeks time, where the finalists will have an opportunity to compete for the chance to perform for our Queen.” Sherlock continued, before he shrugged, “Then it’s just details, details and more dribble.”

John nodded, “Well done, Hamish. I mean really, well done. We’re both very proud of you.” He said, sparing another glance at his partner. “Of course I had to reign your father in from making any snide comments in the heat of jealousy…”

“I am NOT jealous.” Sherlock pouted.

“Ignore him. I think he always secretly wanted to be a musician. Must get his goat to see his son surpass his musical genius.” John continued mildly.

Sherlock glared over the top of his paper, “Please. I could easily out play our son.”

“Using THREE separate instruments? No. Come on, Sherlock.” John shook his head. “Actually… it’s not a bad idea, that. How about it Hamish? Want to get out all three instruments? We’ll set it up right here, and you and your father can have a little competition?”

The two looked back toward Sherlock, who was wearing a mask of indifference on his face. He sniffed in sharply, “I’m too busy.”

“Right. I know a forfeit when I hear one.” The doctor chuckled. Standing up, he tugged Hamish into a grizzly hug. “Well done, Hamish. Really. You’ll blow them all away,” he smiled, ruffling the top of his son’s brunette head. “I’ve got to get ready for work. Can’t miss a day to boast about you, can I?” John smiled, heading down the hall toward the bedroom.

Having never felt more proud of himself, Hamish took John’s vacated seat and switched their plates before beginning to eat his own (now slightly cold) breakfast.

A comfortable silence fell between the father and son before the elder of the two spoke again.

“You’re grandmother will undoubtedly wish to speak to you later. Your uncle, too.” Sherlock hummed, still running his eyes over the paper. “Which means an invitation for dinner at the estate is inevitable. I blame you.” He pouted.

Hamish giggled as he stuck another forkful of egg into his mouth.

“So… is there anything you’d like to do today? A reward is customary when children do well. Or so I’ve been told.” Sherlock stole a quick glance toward his son. “Your dad will be at the hospital until two o’clock. If you wish, we can wait for him.”

The bright young boy turned to look at his father; his beaming smile morphing into an anxious, but hopeful, front. “I want to play…” he answered, knowing that the need to vocalize which instrument was pointless. His father would know. “With you,” he added hesitantly.

Sherlock stared at his son for an entire minute, before he sighed. “I suppose.” He rolled his eyes, as if it were going to be the biggest inconvenience of his day. But Hamish had gone back to smiling broadly. “Go on. Tune your violin and then come back down.” He gestured with a slight motion of his head toward the stairs.

Hamish wolfed down the rest of his breakfast before darting back off up the stairs.

Sherlock waited, listening to the sounds of Hamish’s retreating footsteps. When all was clear, he shot out of his seat with the newspaper in hand. The detective routed through the kitchen drawers until he came upon very item he’d been searching for. A pair of scissors. He spread the newspaper out atop the table, with no care of his experiments (at least, for the moment) – and quickly cut out the article.

His icy eyes shifted up to the ceiling when he heard Hamish shuffling around up there. Careful not to fold or crease it, Sherlock slipped the square cut-out into his large, dressing gown pocket.

“You’re a big softie.” John’s voice actually startled Sherlock, and he turned swiftly to see the Doctor leaning against the kitchen doorway, duffelbag in hand. “Daft too,” he tossed in before making his way to the coat rack.

Sherlock stiffened, “I don’t know what you mean,” he lied, lifting his chin up a bit haughtily as he trailed behind his partner.

“Uh huh.” John muttered, slipping his coat on. “Mycroft texted me while I was getting ready. Apparently we’re invited to your mum’s for dinner.”

The lanky detective didn’t seem incredibly surprised at the news, nor did he whinge or complain about needing to spend the evening in the company of his brother or mother.

Instead, he stepped forward and took over the task of buttoning John’s coat for him; straightening the collar too, when he reached the top. John seemed a bit taken aback by the gesture, but didn’t move or protest.

He couldn’t stop the curious smile that crossed his lips, as if to silently ask: ‘…what was that for?’

“John…” Sherlock muttered quietly.

“I know.” His partner interrupted. “You’re proud of him. Incredibly proud of him; so proud you’re worried your heart might beat right out of your chest. That’s normal. You’re unsure what to do, and now, you’ve decided the best outlet is to try and be affectionate toward me.” John smirked. “It’s unnecessary.”

Sherlock pursed his lips and nodded. “Hm. You’re right.” He hummed, eyes flickering with their usual playfulness as he stepped back away from John. “Go to work. You’re annoying me,” he waved his hand in a dismissive gesture.

“I love you too.” John chuckled. “Bye Hamish! I’ll see you this afternoon, yeah?” He called up the stairs on his way out.

The detective grasped his violin, and flopped into his chair; listening as Hamish called back a farewell to his dad. Sherlock’s eyes followed John as he disappeared down the steps and finally out of sight.

He plucked the strings of his violin idly, both lost in thought and simultaneously checking to make sure the instrument was still in tune. He was only brought out of his contemplative haze when Hamish trotted back down the steps.

“Ready?” Hamish smiled, violin already beneath his chin.

Sherlock returned the grin, though his eyes seemed a bit distant; as if he was still thinking of someone else. “Yes… I believe I am.”

His son couldn’t help but wonder what question his father was actually answering.

Chapter Text

 

“What’s in the sink?”

Hamish’s head peeked up from behind the arm of the couch. Sherlock didn’t move, but rather, kept still with his back to the room.

“…Hey?” John prompted, looking at his partner and his son in bewilderment.

The youngest shifted his eyes down, “Experiment.”

“I get that it was an experiment; I’ve lived here longer than you, I’m used to it.” John tensed, giving his son a warning look, “I’m asking /what/ is in the sink.”

Hamish frowned, “Sheep hearts.”

“And you did what with them to make them… look… like…” John trailed off, looking back toward the kitchen sink and counter with a grimace.

His son stared at him. “…Put them in the blender.”

John gaped at the bloody counter and spattered cupboards.

“And /where/ is the blender?”

“…Had to throw it out. It was spoiled, and bits of the tricuspid valve and chordae tendinaes were tangled inside.”

John groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Hamish, you’re replacing that. You won’t get a weekly allowance until it’s paid off. I can’t believe you would be so irresponsible! You know better than to use the kitchen equipment for experiments! I only bought that blender three months ago, and y-“

“It wasn’t me, it was father!” Hamish blurted, pointing accusingly at his other parent.

Sherlock suddenly whipped his head up to look over his shoulder at John. The doctor turned his glare to him and his jaw tensed up…

You are double-crossing turncoat!” Sherlock hissed, narrowing his eyes at his son.

“I’m not getting in trouble for /your/ idea, I told you dad would be mad!” Hamish replied, stomping his foot and adopting the legendary ‘Holmes pout’.

John stared at them both.

“I’m not taking you to the morgue tomorrow. I don’t allow whistle-blowers to accompany me.”

“I don’t care, I’ll get dad to take me!”

“He won’t.”

“Yes he will!”

“I’ll hide all his jumpers. He’ll be incapable of going.”

“I’ll hide your mobile.”

“Good luck finding it.”

“I will.”

John wondered if it was possible to ship Sherlock and Hamish off to Mummy Holmes for the weekend.

Chapter Text

 

He felt like he’d owed it to Mary.

She had always been keen on adoption; always had a soft spot for those poor little buggers who’d been abandoned, abused, or simply pit against a series of unfortunate circumstances.

He hadn’t taken her death well. They had only been married for three months before she’d gotten sick and unexpectedly passed away. True to form, John Watson grieved with his whole heart. It wasn’t easy. And his life may have gone completely pear shaped, had he not stumbled upon the blank adoption forms in their room while he was clearing out some of Mary’s things.

He hadn’t thought much of it at the time… but as the week passed, those forms had pushed their way to the forefront of his mind. So, he’d made an appointment; gone through several interviews and background checks, and finally, was introduced to a few children who were in need of a good home, and fit the criteria he was looking for.

So here he was. Sitting in the park, waiting for his supervised ‘play date’ with one of the selections. He wanted to be sure he got along with the child, and that they in turn, got along with him. John was sure it would be fine. He’d always liked kids… and it might be nice to have a bit of company

“John?”

His attention was brought back to the case worker he’d been assigned, who was smiling warmly – holding the hand of a little boy. “Yes, hello,” he greeted. The child couldn’t have been more than two, but his bright frost-coloured eyes were quickly darting around the park, taking everything in. “He seems like a curious little guy.” John smirked.

“That’s one way of putting it.” The young woman smiled. “John, this is Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock,” she tugged on his hand a bit to get his attention, “This is John Watson. He’s going to play with you for a bit. I’ll just be over here if you need me…” she motioned to a nearby bench.

Sherlock seemed to be eyeing John with some uncertainty, but more boredom than anything else. John was a bit surprised; he’d never met any ‘bored’ two year olds before. They were always so rangy, so eager to explore and get attention.

The young case worker excused herself, and the ex-army Doctor found himself alone with a little boy who was sporting a mean scowl.

“Aw come on. I’m not that bad.” John smiled. “Do you want to go to the swings? Or the slide, maybe?” He suggested, looking around.

Sherlock shook his head, and instead, held his arms up to John; his face set in a rather demanding glare. “Oh… up?” John clarified, a bit surprised that the boy was ready to be held by him. Of course when he scooped Sherlock into his arms, the quick little guy scampered up and around his shoulders; settling himself to sit there, hands holding John’s head for steady support. “Right…” John tried to contain his smirk.

He felt Sherlock tug at his hair, and point straight ahead. “So… we’re going this way are we?”

“Yeah…” the boy finally answered in a cute (but firm) voice.

“Alright.” John smiled, beginning to trudge toward a thick scattering of trees that Sherlock appeared to be pointing to. When they arrived, he could feel Sherlock shifting on his shoulders in an attempt to reach some of the leaves. He whimpered impatiently when he couldn’t grasp one, so John raised his own arm up, and tugged down a branch to shoulder-level. Sherlock made a few jabbered noises of approval, and yanked a leaf off. He rested his body weight against John’s head as he stared at it for a few moments… then, his fingers were back at John’s face, tugging and motioning toward the next tree.

For the next ten minutes, John indulged Sherlock, and let him pick a leaf off of every tree in that small grove. “Sorry Sherlock… my shoulder’s starting to ache with you bouncing around up there every five seconds,” he apologized, hoisting Sherlock off and setting him on the ground. Sherlock was giving him another glare, which John now found to be rather cute. Most children his age didn’t glare like that.

Plopping himself on the grass, John watched as Sherlock laid out each leaf he’d pulled on the ground in front of him. Then, he began to stare at them. Occasionally his small, short fingers would trail over a leaf, then the next, and the next… then, he’d rearrange them a bit… then, he started tearing them in half, settling the pieces next to one another.

It took a few minutes, but John eventually clicked in. He was studying the leaves; he was looking at the ways they were different.

“Huh…” John breathed. “You’re a smart little guy, aren’t you Sherlock?…”

Sherlock lifted his large, inquisitive eyes back to John. He spouted some gibberish, and clumsily pointed at the leaves. “Yes, they are different. You’re right.” John played along, nodding and putting on his best thinking face. “Oh, so, this.. and this… go together, right?” he asked, picking up two completely different leaves.

“No!” Sherlock huffed, standing up and moving beside John.

He took one of the leaves out of John’s hand, and then replaced it with the proper half. “OH! I see! Yes, of course! Well done, you…” he beamed.

For the first time that day, Sherlock offered him a small, proud smile.

From that point on, John chattered away, humouring Sherlock while the little boy jabbered back to him. He couldn’t really understand what Sherlock was saying, since the child hadn’t mastered many proper words yet… but his vocal inflections were enough communication. He trailed behind Sherlock when he toddled off to explore, he lifted him when he couldn’t reach something, and he praised him enthusiastically when he did something clever. And as luck would have it, John even managed to draw a laugh from Sherlock when he put a clump of grass on his hair and told Sherlock (with a straight face) that it was real hair. Sherlock had given him a belly laugh, climbed on John’s lap, and messily swiped the grass off of his mousey colored head, repeating ‘No, no no no…’ as he giggled.

“John,” He winced, turning to look back at the young woman – who’d approached them again with a sad smile. “I’m sorry, your time is up. I need to get Sherlock back.”

Sherlock looked past him to see her, and immediately latched his tiny arms around John’s neck. “No,” He whined desperately. When she took a step forward, Sherlock yelled louder, “No!”

“Ok, ok… that’s enough of that,” John soothed, shooting her an apologetic look – as he stood, and held Sherlock in his arms. “I had fun today, too,” he began, rubbing small circles on Sherlock’s back. “And I promise I’ll see you again real soon.”

Sherlock’s doe-eyes began to well up with tears, and he tried to keep his glare on… but it was slipping fast in time with his trembling lower lip , “N-No…” He frowned.

John wondered how many times Sherlock had heard someone say to him: ‘I’ll see you again real soon’ – and then never return. It broke his heart a little.

“Sherlock. I promise.” he repeated. “You’re brilliant. You’re fantastic and really REALLY smart! Much smarter than me,” John smiled, wiping a stray tear that had rolled down the apple of Sherlock’s cheek. “So you should know I’m telling the truth. I will see you soon.”

Reluctantly, Sherlock nodded and loosened his vice-like grip from around John’s neck. “J-John…” He sniffled, putting his glare back in place. It lacked the heat John had been on the receiving end of when he’d first met this little ball of energy… so he knew Sherlock was just upset he would miss him.

The young case worker took the boy’s hand again, and looked to John. “I’ve… never heard him say the name of a potential adopter before. You must’ve done well,” she smiled. “Sherlock can bit a bit stand-offish.”

“Well, we…. we had fun.” John shrugged. “Sorry, I… I can’t recall your name, Miss?”

“Oh. Hooper. Molly Hooper.” She smiled, shaking his offered hand.

Sherlock stomped forward and slapped their hands apart – turning his furious eyes up toward Molly. “Mine!” He spat, wrapping his free arm around John’s leg.

“Oh dear.” She giggled, “Sorry, sorry!” Molly apologized and coaxed him back. “Well, I’ll be in touch John. If your next visit goes as well as this one did today, I have no doubt you will be a shoe-in for approval. I’ll do my best to support your positive interaction in my report.”

John nodded and sighed in relief, “Cheers, yeah… that would be great. Thanks.”

Molly gave him a small wave, and began to lead Sherlock out of the park. The little spitfire had other ideas, however, and made their egress more difficult by continuing to turn around and look back at John – shouting jabbered instructions, that had John was nodding along to anyway.

“Sherlock Holmes.” He smiled to himself.

Chapter Text

 

“No, no, no, John. Look at the color and the shape!” Sherlock huffed dramatically, pointing intensely to the ‘star shaped’ hole on the toddler board.

John chewed on his lower lip and stared up at Sherlock, before babbling a bit of gibberish and attempting to put the star-peg into the triangle spot.

The detective groaned and hoisted the child up and over to sit on his lap, “Disappointing. Here, observe,” he sighed as if terribly inconvenienced, though his voice held an underlying tone of warmth to it. John kicked his small, onesie-clad legs gleefully as he was moved.

“John. Look here,” the detective instructed firmly, placing his massive-looking hand over John’s tiny one. He guided his tiny fist, still clutching to the star peg, over to the proper spot, and helped him drop it in. John tilted his head and blinked his large eyes in adorable bewilderment, before giggling and thumping his head back to lull against Sherlock’s chest.

“Yes. See how rewarding that is?… Piecing a puzzle together?” Sherlock enquired rhetorically, moving onto the next shape and handing it to John.

The sudden clamour of heavy footsteps ascending the stairway caused Sherlock to respond by briefly tightening his arms around John.

“Oh bloody hell…” Lestrade’s disappointed groan came from behind him, “…I knew there was a reason you weren’t answering my texts or calls, but… this?!” he gestured toward the baby perched on Sherlock’s crossed legs. “Please, please tell me that isn’t the missing child from the Watson case.”

Sherlock kept his eyes on the puzzle board, simultaneously ignoring Lestrade, while inwardly invested (and pleased) when John correctly slotted the rectangle piece into correct hole. “John Watson is his name.”

“Where was he?!” Lestrade demanded.

“After your ‘unit’ - so called - cleared the crime scene, I returned to the Watson residence and broke in to comb for missing evidence. Your men have a tendency to blunder the obvious, as you’re well aware,” he explained snappishly, “…It simply didn’t make sense that the youngest Watson would be missing. No forced entry, family history of drinking; the senior Watson already up on charges, and suspected domestic abuse only solidified the evidence that he killed both his wife and eldest daughter, before doing himself in. Obvious. Open and shut. So where was the infant?” Sherlock continued, still not bothering to look at Lestrade as John placed the triangle piece into the triangle slot with a happy babble. “I found him stashed away in his sister’s closet, swaddled in a heap of clothing. He was quite content when I found him; quiet, well behaved. Fascinating, really, and perfectly willing to accept me as a new parental figure. Clearly he’s had no such attention from his actual father, and the fact that he was stashed away in his sister’s closet indicates that she was more intent on ensuring his welfare and safety than his mother or father.”

A heavy silence filled the room, before Lestrade huffed out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding in.

“Right… and… when exactly were you planning on telling me any of this?” he scolded, “How long have you had him?”

“About a week.” Sherlock answered distractedly.

“…A week?!”

Silence.

“Where did you get those toys, anyway?” he asked, gesturing to a few scattered around the room amidst Sherlock’s usual chaos. Clearly, seeing Sherlock Holmes with a baby was definitely not something the Detective Inspector expected to see. Ever.

The other shrugged one shoulder, “…Relatively easy to acquire.”

Christ almighty, Sherlock…” Lestrade muttered unhappily, “I’m coming by tomorrow and picking him up. I’d take him now, but it’s late, and I need to arrange the paperwork and try to get in touch with some relatives. You can’t just up and ‘claim’ a kid like that. It’s completely inappropriate… and you don’t know the first thing about children.” Sherlock could hear him adjusting his coat as he prepared to leave again, “If there’s no available family members to take him in, he’ll be turned over to the CPS. You both better stay put.”

The consulting detective simply sat there, listening to Lestrade retreat back down the stairs – share a few muffled words with Ms. Hudson (which were probably instructions to check on him) – and finally leave.

John’s cooed murmurs brought Sherlock’s attention back to the infant in his arms. John was trying to place a square piece into a round circle peg.

“No, John…” Sherlock guided, voice softer and bit more distant than before, “The square peg cannot fit into the circle spot… no matter how much it tries.”

John leaned back to gaze up at Sherlock with inquisitive blue eyes. Why did he suddenly feel reluctant to give the child up? He wasn’t his; he had no physical chemistry or related genealogy to the infant. So why did the thought of John being removed from him, after only a week, leave a powerful lurch in his chest?

It was a feeling he hadn’t felt in years; one he’d hoped to forever avoid since he was younger.

Pre-loneliness.

He would survive and move on of course. Only knowing the infant for a week would make for an easy ‘deletion’. But it was those moments before; the ‘pre’ stages, as he referred to them, where Sherlock was bluntly reminded he was human. No matter how hard he tried.

The blond-haired infant in his arms seemed to notice the serious, more melancholy vibe radiating from his guardian and jabbered away wordlessly, patting his small hand against Sherlock’s chest.

The detective kept his eyes on John, shifting him to rest back in the cradle crook of his long arm (strange, he thought, since he wasn’t in a habit of holding children; no doubt an instinctual human response) – and held up his other hand in front of the boy’s face. John furrowed his cute little brow, staring intensely at the long appendage, before he gave a breathy smile, and reached up to latch his small fingers around it.

“…Sh’lck…” the child sputtered, prying Sherlock’s fingers apart and bending the long digits in fascination. His doe-eyes looked passed the hand, and back to Sherlock’s face. He emitted a small, content giggle, before closing his eyes sleepily.

Sherlock’s mouth quirked up fondly. His eyes were rapidly scanning John’s tiny form, as if eager to commit the child to memory… before he would ultimately delete him once he was gone, and the toys were disposed of.

John’s tiny fist clutched onto one of Sherlock’s fingers, while his other arm lifted, pointing up toward Sherlock himself. The detective adjusted his arms and grip, and hoisted John up to rest against his chest. John gravitated toward the warmth, and heaved a big, content sigh as his head found a natural resting place beneath Sherlock’s chin by the crook of his neck.

Despite that ever looming fear that he was going to do something wrong, or unintentionally hurt the tiny human in his arms – Sherlock tried to quiet his chattering, over-active mind… and allow his body to act on instinct. It proved successful, as his hand found a natural position splayed over John’s small back to support him, while his other arm was still cradled beneath his backside to keep him up; his weight relaxed completely against Sherlock’s chest.

“…Goodnight John.” Sherlock’s deep baritone muttered quietly, “…We have a big day tomorrow.”

His arms, once again, seemed to tighten their hold around the infant. He was painfully aware of John’s tiny hands clutching to the fabric of his shirt in what felt like an unbreakable hold.

Sherlock’s heart clenched again.

Pre-loneliness. How he despised it.

Chapter Text

 

 

LONG DAY, SHERLOCK…

It had been a terribly exhausting day. In fact, all John wanted to do was take a shower, have a cup of tea, make dinner and go to bed. He’d picked up Sherlock from Ms. Hudson’s on his way; the little, dark haired toddler already tugging on his hair while he tried to speak to the landlady, and gesturing to their flat upstairs clearly. He was always eager to return after being babysat by Ms. Hudson while John was at work. So he lugged them both up the stairs, only able to give Sherlock half-hearted responses to his quick, nonsensical toddler-jabber. The child seemed to notice John wasn’t his usual, chipper self, and so proceeded to stop talking – and simply stare at his guardian with those piercing, sharp eyes of his.

He set Sherlock up on the couch and turned on a copy of Planet Earth – thinking the toddler would enjoy watching the animals. The boy tended to find the more gruesome or tragic parts a little too captivating, but John knew he was just a curious (and frighteningly intelligent) little guy. And it was because of that, he felt comfortable heading upstairs to take a shower and change. He was relatively quick, and had been gone for about fifteen minutes.

Which made him all the more confused when he came down the stairs, and tripped over a stack of pots and pans. He stumbled, though managed to brace himself against his chair before toppling completely over. The clatter seemed to echo in the otherwise silent flat, though John drowned out the sound with his cursing, “God dammit!” he hissed, already knowing he would have bruises. The culprit was nowhere to be seen, “Sherlock!” He yelled, maneuverings around the scattered kitchenware.

A small, curious head poked out from the kitchen. His shocking, large blue eyes already had a glare set… but he looked a bit uncertain. John never raised his voice to him. But the combination of his long week, exhaustion, and newly forming bruises seemed to be the final straw.

“Sherlock how many times have I told you NOT to leave things lying around!?… I know you understand that rule! I could have seriously hurt myself!” John bellowed, pushing a few pots and pans out of the way with his foot as he stormed toward the kitchen. Sherlock had skittered back away from the door. Unfortunately the kitchen was even worse. There was more cutlery and pots littering the floor, accompanied by some random food items, a few broken eggs, and spilt milk. “Fuck,” John cursed, gritting his teeth as he grabbed the paper towel and got to his knees, “This is not good, Sherlock. You know better than that. I’ve had the longest day of my fucking life, and now I have to clean up almost a week’s worth of food!? …I just did the shopping too! This is a waste, Sherlock, do you understand?! You’ve left dangerous items lying around and wasted food. I’ve told you before that the kitchen is off limits! You can’t ju-”

John looked up at Sherlock with a stern glare for the first time since he’d begun his rant… and was struck to an immediate stop.

His little Sherlock was standing in the far corner of the kitchen, fiercely determined to hold his glare, but failing miserably. His eyes had welled up with tears, his posture was recoiled in shame, and his cheeks were flushed with embarrassment. John could tell he was trying to hold himself together, and felt a wave of guilt wash over him as well. Sherlock was a bright, special boy – and he’d been ‘warned’ by the adoption agency when he’d selected him that the dark-haired toddler was a bit ‘difficult’, over-inquisitive, and prone to alienating other children due to his advanced intelligence.

“Sherlock…” John sighed, unable to stay mad at the boy he’d come to adore, “…Sorry. I’m sorry. I’ve had a long day, and…” he trailed off, feeling the anger drain out of him as Sherlock’s lower lip trembled.

He stood up and walked over to the small boy hovering in the corner near the cabinets, and picked him up. “I’m sorry…” he muttered again quietly, placing a small kiss on Sherlock’s temple.

“…D-Din… dinner… John,” Sherlock choked out, breath hitching rapidly as he tried not to cry.

John frowned and took another look at the kitchen. Two plates had been clumsily set on the table with two glasses, though the chairs had been erratically placed where Sherlock had used them to get things out of the fridge and cupboards. “Were you trying to make dinner?” John asked softly.

Sherlock glared at him as his lip continued to tremble, and refused to answer, opting instead to bury his face into John’s shoulder and wrap his small arms around his neck.

“Oh Sherlock…” he sighed, resting his head atop Sherlock’s as he swayed them back and forth. “That was… nice of you to try. Thank you.” John placed another kiss into his thick mess of black curls, “Why don’t we go out and eat?… We’ll clean this up first…”

Sherlock shot his head back up to look at John, “…No…” he frowned.

Yes, John knew how Sherlock hated cleaning.

“Sherlock.” he warned, quirking a brow.

Sherlock huffed, and reluctantly nodded; his small fingers absentmindedly tugging and gripping John’s shirt into his small fist. “…O-Ok.” he agreed reluctantly.

“If you help me clean, I’ll take you to the zoo after dinner…” John offered as a compromise. The toddler’s eyes lit up, and he rapidly spouted some excited gibberish in the form of (what John could only assume was) a question. “Uh… yeah. Sure?” he offered as an answer. John really hoped that despite his age, his intelligence would allow Sherlock to start forming proper sentences soon. He had a feeling Sherlock’s mind was progressing faster than his body, and he was curious to know everything that was buzzing around the youngsters mind.

He set Sherlock down again and ruffled the top of his head. “Right. Let’s get this kitchen clean again. Why don’t you start picking up the pots you’ve left about…” he suggested, crouching back down to soak up the milk with a towel. Sherlock toddled off to start noisily collecting the pots and pans, still jabbering out loud.

John simply listened… and smiled fondly.

Maybe there was hope for this day yet.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

NOT NOW, JOHN…

“…Sh’lck!” John smiled largely, trying to stretch as far as his little arms could in the hopes of showing Sherlock his picture.

But Sherlock kept his eyes up, hands twitching as he rambled and paced around the somewhat messy flat, “…There has to be another connection, a missing piece!” he growled to himself, “It doesn’t make sense for the first brother to be involved – he’s too stupid to pull off the murder, his wife is too controlling, and the DNA at the scene was family-based, but not /him/… what is it, what is it, what is it…” he rattled quickly. “The mother has an alibi, the youngest was camping with a companion in Ireland…”

John huffed in frustration as Sherlock ignored him, and decided to toddle over to the kitchen. “Sh’lck!” he exclaimed, holding up the picture again. When the detective still didn’t acknowledge him, little John stretched up to try and put the painted picture on top of Sherlock’s microscope, since his guardian seemed to spend so much time on that particular object.

Unfortunately, as he tried to climb up onto the chair to leave said-picture in the right spot, John inadvertently caused a pile of crime scene photos and files to slip off the table and onto the floor. Sherlock whirled around at the noise – to rest his sharp eyes on the guilty, little blond child currently kneeling on the chair, frozen…

“Ss…ssh…. sorr….sorr’eeeeeeee….” the toddler slurred worriedly; wide-eyed, and awkwardly climbing back down from the chair before moving over to the toppled pile.

Sherlock groaned and marched over to his charge, grasping him by the shoulders, “John, go entertain yourself, and do not emerge from your room until I tell you!” he growled, pushing the boy down the hall and to his bedroom. The detective closed the door behind him without a second glace, and stomped back to the sitting room – hoping he could get back on track and figure this blasted murder out.

Almost two hours passed before Sherlock found himself texting Lestrade the intricate details of the murder he’d finally solved. The Detective Inspector was a bit taken aback by the consulting detective’s usual curtness, but thrilled none the less, and told Sherlock to head down to Scotland Yard so they could verify his deductions, and bring in the culprit with the evidence he could provide.

He grabbed his coat and slung it on, before heading back over to the kitchen table to grab what casefiles he’d need to further explain his point to the dullards at Scotland Yard… when a picture caught his eye. Not just any picture… John’s picture. A crudely painted rendition of what Sherlock could only assume was himself; bluey-green blotches for eyes, a black slop of erratic paint at the top, and a misshapen face and mouth. As messy and… ‘abstract’ as it was, the scribble of color was clearly him.

There was no real artistic talent, though he had to remind himself that John was still incredibly young, and just developing at a normal, healthy stage for children his age…

That being said, he also had to remind himself that John was still in the flat.

In fact, still shoved off in his room, where Sherlock had seen him last…

Frowning, he swept himself down the hall and past the kitchen to John’s room, stopping just outside the door. Sherlock pushed it open slightly to peek in, which might have been a mistake.

There was an odd sensation clutching around his heart; one he faintly recognized as guilt. His young John was sitting in the middle of his floor, scattered puzzle pieces in front of a 1/4th messily completed puzzle; his stuffed giraffe propped up across from him. The toddler seemed to be babbling to it quickly (but quietly) as his little brow furrowed in concentration as he attempted to do the puzzle alone.

His John. So well behaved, eager to impress and please… and for one of the first times in his life, Sherlock felt horrid for brushing and sending someone off.

Perhaps children were different? Perhaps he should really be making more time for the sandy-haired boy who had simultaneously won his heart and captured his attention (most of the time). He wanted to keep John after all, didn’t he? So it wouldn’t do for Mycroft, Lestrade, or anyone else to hear that he pushed John off to his room for nearly two hours - alone - while he solved a case. ‘I should start taking him to crime scenes,’ Sherlock nodded, as if it was a reasonable compromise, ‘He’s well behaved. It will get him some experience…’

Pushing the door open, the tall, looming form of the consulting detective stepped in. John jumped slightly - immediately grabbing his giraffe and holding it close. When his doe-blue eyes recognized Sherlock, the toddler gave a small, nervous… and oddly hopeful… smile. His little brow was turned up, and he looked past Sherlock – clumsily gesturing to the door with his arm, and emitting an optimistic noise, as if hoping he could come out of his room now.

Sherlock vaguely recalled a similar experience when he was little; a flood of memories and words rushing back into his mind…

NotnowSherlock,I’mbusy, NoSherlock, Don’tgointhereSherlock, SherlockgoandfindMycroft, Sherlocknotnow, Don’ttouchthatSherlock, GoplayorreadinyourroomSherlock…

The brunette’s small, underused heart nearly broke in half, and without thinking twice, he bolted forward and fell to his knees; enclosing himself around the toddler in a tangled tug.

John seemed startled at first, and then giggled, “….Sh’lck!” he cooed, going slightly limp against the detective’s broader form, always enjoying the closeness of another person when offered. John was generally a very affectionate little boy. Though, he seemed to especially enjoy the rare ‘cuddles’ and embraces he got from Sherlock more than anyone…

“I’m sorry John…” he sighed, unable to keep from lightly nestling his nose against the soft, baby hair of his temple.

The toddler didn’t answer, but made some nonsensical noises as he gestured to his unfinished puzzle and stuffed giraffe. Sherlock scooped him up into his arms, which emitted another small squeal from John, who seemed to enjoy the height and comfort that came with being in Sherlock’s arms.

“Come along. We need to make a stop at Scotland Yard.” he told the boy excitedly, carrying him close back out of the bedroom. He grabbed John’s small coat and hat before heading downstairs to catch a cab. He would properly fit John into his outer-wear once they were in the taxi.

John continued to chatter away without using any coherant words, but apparently ‘catching Sherlock up’ on everything he missed. His guardian could only smirk and hold him a little closer…

Chapter Text



 

Hamish worried his lower lip with his teeth as Greg Lestrade held his small hand, quietly leading him through their offices toward the interrogation rooms. Something was wrong. Hamish knew something was wrong. The environment was somber and bleak; no one was talking, really. Some were clumped in smaller groups whispering, but seemed to stop when they saw him.

He couldn’t remember his heart ever beating so fast – and briefly wondered if there had been an experiment done at some point to determine if a heart could actually beat right out of someone’s chest…

They came to the doorway of an interrogation room and stopped. Hamish looked up to see his ‘uncle’ Lestrade looking right back at him. There were dark, tired circles beneath his eyes, and his eyes themselves were not a lively, sharp or bright. Not like usual. They were burdened, heavy with what appeared to be… grief?

He reached up, and rested his hand atop Hamish’s head for a moment, before rubbing his hair gently and ushering him inside the room without a word. Only a nod. The young boy was confused, but tentatively stepped in.

There was a single light on which provided a soft, dim glow, a table in the middle of the room and two chairs. But he wasn’t alone.

His father was there… standing right beside the table. His posture was stiff, his face full of a kind of… internal pain… that Hamish had never, ever seen before.

Consequently, Sherlock’s detached demeanour was not the only thing that Hamish noticed wasn’t right…

“Wh… Where’s da?” Hamish asked in a whispered voice, eyes already welling up with fear as he wrung his small hands together anxiously.

Sherlock didn’t answer. Hamish could have sworn he saw his jaw clench tighter; his eyes grow harder, despite the fact that his father, too, had liquid pooling in the ducts of his icy-coloured orbs…

“Where’s da?!” Hamish choked, taking a quick step forward his father.

Look where you’re standing and make a deduction.” Sherlock stated coldly, doing his best to keep his voice even and deep. But Hamish could see him crumbling; systematically breaking down as he tried to maintain a collected exterior. “I don’t need to tell you anything because you already know, don’t you Hamish…”

His boy was outwardly sobbing now, chest heaving up and down erratically as tears streamed down the apple of his cheeks,

“Wh… w-w-where’s DAD?!” he howled, mouth stuck open as his lips trembled and sobs robbed him of any further sound.

Stop crying.” Sherlock hissed sharply through clenched teeth; his own eyes spilling over on their own accord as he kept his body frozen in a tense, defensive position.

Hamish released another painful wail, and flung himself into Sherlock’s middle, clutching to him as he cried. Sherlock tried to hold himself together as he spoke.

“You… were following it as-” he cleared the lump forming in his throat, “You were following it as we were. The latest case. Charitable organizations were being targeted, various bombings around the city. I knew it w-would…” he cleared his throat again. “I knew it would intensify, and theorized hospitals and shelters would be next. And… your dad s-suggestedhetr-” Sherlock inhaled and exhaled curtly, furious that his body was trembling with pain and heartache.

He clenched his teeth together and pushed his sorrow away; Hamish’s own screaming sobs still echoing through the small, dim room. “Your dad suggested he try and investigate at work.” he finished finally, lifting his chin and willing his heartache away long enough to finish. “I’m sure you’ve heard; seen the news. St. Bart’s was completely destroyed; over one hundred injured, another forty-seven dead, and thirteen missing… who presumably are somewhere within the debris of the structure.” he finished quickly, sucking in a quick breath as a small sob escaped his throat.

The consulting detective choked it back and swallowed. Hamish’s wails were still strong and incredibly pained. Sherlock had never needed to be convinced that his son loved John just as much (if not more) than he loved him. Certainly, John was able to spend more time with Hamish; not just because of his schedule, but because he was genuinely better at it than Sherlock.

But his son’s pain, his crying, gasping for breath… all of it was making Sherlock feel incredibly unstable.

John would know how to deal with this… John would know what to say to stop him from crying… to comfort him… but John’s dead. He’s dead because you let him go to work, and investigate a bombing you thought could potentially happen. And instead of using the clues to simply catch the culprit, you were prepared to wait a little while longer. To /see/ if he would bomb something bigger, more important… extend the game… more work… more adventure…. but this… not this. You contributed to this… Sherlock’s mind chipped away at himself destructively.

Kneeling down, he gripped Hamish firmly by the shoulders. “That’s enough, Hamish!” he snarled uncomfortably; his own body was beginning to tremble. He couldn’t stand it. It was torture; listening to his son’s howling, his crying. “Stop crying.” he demanded again.

Hamish didn’t quiet, and he didn’t contain himself. Instead, he shook his head – and continued to cry, flinging his arms desperately around Sherlock’s neck as he latched onto him in frantic desperation. Sherlock’s resolve was breaking. The tears he had managed to push back came flooding forward again, and his eyes were compromised… overflowing, like his son’s…

And then the door opened.

Sherlock’s face fell. He stopped breathing, stopped moving, stayed put and frozen as he willed the apparition to stay. “…John…” his voice whispered.

Hamish whirled around, shaking and red-faced as he too looked back to see John standing at the door.

“…Hey, what’s… wrong?” he asked, frown settling on his face as he stepped into the interrogation room and closed the door behind him. “What are you both doing?… You alright?”

The youngest Holmes descendant was the first one up on his feet. Hamish tore back across the room and dove into John’s arms, as the doctor knelt down to catch him. “Hey… hey, what’s wrong?” he cooed gently, lifting Hamish up into his arms and holding him close. He hadn’t picked Hamish up like this in years… but surprisingly, the young boy latched onto him instantly; hugging him so close John almost had difficulty breathing.

John looked to Sherlock for an explanation, but saw his partner was just as dumbfounded; shocked, with a reflective streak running down his cheek. Sherlock had been…crying? John’s mind wondered in complete shock.

“St. Bart’s was… bombed. Destroyed. You weren’t found, declared dead, a casualty to be dug out of the rubble…” Sherlock rattled off tensely.

“Oh… god, right…” John frowned, shaking his head. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to make you worry.” he began, still rocking Hamish back and forth; holding him with ease, despite how big he was getting. “I had to head over to Camden. Took a rather long lunch break. Harry fell off the wagon again and I had to go get her from some little, hole-in-the-wall dive pub. Just took longer to gather her up and then drive her all the way home. By the time I’d got her settled, St. Bart’s was all over the news. I borrowed her car and drove back as fast as I could.” John explained. He paused to look at Hamish, who was still sniffling (though noticeably calmer now), before placing a soothing kiss on his temple and looking back to Sherlock. “Was going to call you, but I’d left my mobile in my office. It’ll be useless now. I stopped by St. Bart’s first to see if I could help in any way. But when Stamford told me you had come and gone… I knew you might be… worried…” he trailed off, holding his partner’s gaze.

It was then he really noticed.

Sherlock was still behaving strangely. Even for Sherlock. He was trembling a bit, but then he would go stiff – then he would wince, then he would twitch – then he would be glaring. John couldn’t read him at all… and that was rare. “Hamish… please wait outside. Lestrade’s got a drink and a snack for you. We’ll be going home in a few minutes.” he muttered into his son’s hair.

Weakly, Hamish nodded and slid down from John’s arms. He held the door open for his son, and closed it behind him before turning back to see Sherlock already advancing on him.

“Sherlock, what’s the matter wit-”

John was completely cut off as Sherlock violently crowded him back against the door and covered his mouth with his own. It was a kiss… though not really a kiss. At least, not a kiss John was used to. More like Sherlock attempting to press every inch of himself against John, while their mouths were connected; near bruising with the force and intensity of it.

Carefully, John raised his hands and placed them on Sherlock’s arms. He felt the detective’s lips weakly knead against his own, so John responded gently, before pulling back. An odd sound of relief escaped the back of Sherlock’s throat, and once more, he was doing something John didn’t expect -

He slid down onto his knees, arms wrapped around John’s waist; face buried into his stomach.

His grip was tight, near suffocating, but John stayed still. He kept one hand on his partner’s shoulder, while the other came up to rest on his head; fingers carding themselves through Sherlock’s dark curls.

The consulting detective had been sure, once upon a time, that it was scientifically impossible for one’s heart to drop into one’s stomach. He briefly considered revisiting that notion, since his own felt like it was lulling back and forth in his gut; a wave of nausea crashing over him… but gradually subsiding with each tender, reassuring stroke of John’s fingers in his hair.

Chapter Text

 

The two stared at each other silently for a good two minutes.

“…Do you really live here?” Hamish asked quietly.

Jim stared at him; his eyes cold, as if he wasn’t exactly pleased to see the young lad who’d been escorted in. “…Is that really important?” he mimicked back.

“No…” Hamish answered, shuffling nervously on his feet as he stayed in the doorway. He was too uncomfortable at the moment to go any further into the room.

Another stretch of silence.

Then, Jim slowly slipped a smile onto his lips - and seemed to adapt a more ‘welcoming’ persona, “So what brings you to me, Hamish?” the smooth Irish voice asked.

“I… had a fight with my father…” he admitted shyly.

“Ooooooh…” the older cooed. “…Why don’t you tell me… All. About. It?”

Hamish inched further into the room, and took the seat in the armchair directly across from Jim. The consulting criminal watched him climb onto the chair, and grinned bemusedly at the sight of the boy’s feet dangling over the edge; not quite touching the ground.

“I… we had a fight. My dad and me,” he began quietly, “And I- …I said something I shouldn’t have.” Hamish stopped briefly to see if Jim would interrupt with a question, but he didn’t, so the boy continued, “He was angry because I came home late. H-He said I should have told him, but father never does, so I thought it would be alright! But… but he got really angry! So, I told him he wasn’t really my dad, and… I… I didn’t have to listen to him.”

Jim scoffed, “You’re right, he’s not your real father.”

Hamish looked up at Jim, stunned for a moment by his bluntness.

“Go on…” Jim sighed, rolling his eyes a bit as he slouched more. Apparently he was already a little bored of this ‘domestic’.

The boy continued hesitantly, “Well… my father got very upset. He yelled and I… I ran off…and-“

“-And now you’re here.” Jim interrupted with a groan childishly, “I was dearly hoping this would be a more interesting altercation. I’d hate to grow bored of you, Hamish.”

He lowered his eyes. He thought Jim had told him to contact him if he ever had a problem; if he ever felt alone, or needed somewhere to go, or-

“Come on.” Jim interrupted his thoughts, getting out of his chair with a sudden burst of energy. “We’ll go for a walk…” he continued, grasping Hamish by the arm as he passed his chair, dragging him off. Hamish stumbled a bit but managed to keep up. He followed nervously as Jim led them both out of the house.

He briefly saw his ‘secret friend’ send a quick text to someone, then stuff his mobile back into his suit-jacket pocket.

As they started down the dark, empty street - Hamish emitted a quick, startled sound as Jim unexpectedly grasped him beneath the arms, and hoisted him up so he was forced to cling onto Jim as a piggyback ride. “Not very easy for two men to raise a little boy together, you know?…” Jim hummed as they walked. “You’re probably a rather big inconvenience at times. Not on purpose, of course… of course. And you might argue that… ‘Doctor Watson’ isn’t your real dad. But you’re not his real son, either.” Jim pointed out a bit more cheerfully than he should have. “Your mother is dead, and given Sherlock’s rather lax knowledge and overall skill when it comes to children… your ‘dad’ has been saddled with the responsibility of having to care for you. About you.”

Hamish’s stomach continued to churn as Jim spoke. He already felt guilty enough…. but now, he was feeling guilty and nervous. What if he had really hurt his dad’s feelings? What if he did leave? His mind raced back to an incident a few weeks ago, where both he and Sherlock had believed John to be dead after a bombing at St. Bart’s. Hamish didn’t think he’d ever cried so hard.

He /did/ care about his dad… he /did/ love him. But Jim was right. He wasn’t John’s real son… and there was a possibility (in Hamish’s mind, at least) that if he was too difficult, John might just give up and leave him.

A sharp, cool breeze brought Hamish out of his thoughts - and he realized they’d stopped in the middle of Waterloo bridge. It was eerily quiet. Jim shrugged Hamish around to his front, so the boy had no choice but to put his feet on the ledge of the bridge, overlooking the dark water below. Hamish immediately moved to step down, but Jim’s hands were firmly planted on his waist - and held him up there as he stood behind him.

“J-Jim…” Hamish stammered nervously, not appreciating the height of this position nor feeling comfortable with the notion of having a man he barely knew standing behind him… balancing him on the ledge of a bridge.

“You know,” Jim continued, ignoring Hamish for the moment, “If you are unhappy, you could always come with me. You could live with me.” he suggested dreamily, hands tightening a bit where they held Hamish’s small waist. Hamish reached back shakily to grip Jim’s forearms, leaning back away from the ledge as much as he could.

“C-Can… you let me down?…” Hamish asked.

“I don’t really care for children, though.” He tsked, as if that were the biggest convenience. His large, dark brown eyes stared at the dark, nighttime waters below them. “But… you’re a bit different…” Jim muttered to himself, putting a bit of pressure on his hands, so Hamish was forced to lean a bit more over the edge.

Panic seized Hamish’s mind, and he quickly reacted by spinning out of Jim’s grasp and latching his arms around his neck to hold on for dear life. The consulting criminal snapped out of his thoughts, and released a manic giggle, “Aw… hugs!” he cooed, wrapping his arms around Hamish’s waist and setting the boy back down on the ground, as if nothing had happened.

Jim knelt down in front of him. Hamish was eyeing him a bit more suspiciously now; uncertain and weary, unable to interpret Jim’s apparent mood swings. He offered the boy a small, impish smile and touched the tip of his nose with his finger. “I know I wasn’t in the best mood when we met earlier, but… I do like you. You can come see me any time you want.” The Irishmen purred, widening his eyes innocently and giving Hamish a lopsided smile.

Hamish nodded, and began to tensely back out of Jim’s arms - but the consulting criminal tugged him back roughly. The boy froze as Jim lifted a hand, and carded it through his dark hair. He repressed a shiver.

“You really should get a haircut…” Jim mused distractedly.

“I… I need to go.” Hamish stammered, finally freeing himself from Jim’s arms. “I’ll… I should go back home.”

Jim nodded, “Right, naturally, it’s very late, Hamish.” he chided with a small grin. “I’ll see you later, yes?”

Hamish didn’t answer. He simply turned, and bolted back across the bridge - occasionally glancing back to see if Jim was still there. The man stayed planted where he stood, watching Hamish disappear with a small smile on his lips.

Chapter Text


 

“Hamish… Hamish. Hamish. Look at me, Hamish. Hamish… look up. Hamish.”

“Oh for godssake, Sherlock.” John groaned, tired of listening to his partner try and get the attention of his son, “You spent all that money on a fancy camera - so use it. Crouch down to his level. He’s more likely to look at you then…”

Sherlock shot John a brief glare, before he crouched down, “Hamish…” he called.

His son looked up with him, big eyed and curious as to the new device pointed in his face. Sherlock took the picture.

“I still can’t believe you let him wear that hat.” he muttered.

John grinned, “Well, that’s what he wanted to wear when we picked our clothes this morning. You try looking at that face and saying ‘no’…” he tilted his head and looked over to Mrs. Holmes, “He’s just jealous that it looks cuter than a deerstalker.”

“Mummy must be appalled.” Sherlock continued.

“On the contrary, dear. Rather used to it.” Eloise Holmes hummed, a small smile on her lips as she watched her grandson play in the midst of their sitting room. “You used to make me dress you in the most outrageous outfits. Wouldn’t leave your room unless you were wearing exactly what you wanted.”

John looked to her, “Please tell me there are photos.”

“Oh my, yes.” She smiled slyly, standing up and gesturing toward John. He stood up from the sofa as well, and offered her his arm, “You come with me, John. I’ll show you everything.”

Sherlock huffed, “Picture time is over! …You promised you would not display photographic evidence of my childhood to anyone!” he pouted.

“If it makes you feel better, I’ll show him photos of Mycroft, too.” She tossed back without looking at her youngest, “Even the playing field, hm?”

Sherlock sat down and aimed the camera at Hamish once more, “Be sure to show him the one where Mycroft was chased by the estate swans.”

Chapter Text


 

“Can we speed this up, Sherlock? We were supposed to pick Hamish up ‘bout fourty-minutes ago.” John grumbled anxiously, checking his watch again for the fifth time.

Sherlock ignored John’s excessive interruptions with a simple ‘He’s at a science fair John, he’ll be perfectly distracted until we get there’, and continued spouting off what he’d discovered about their latest case to Lestrade, “…the murderer was an avid reader of Shakespeare, this we know by the six copies of Hamlet, among others, stashed in his flat. Took it a bit too literal, and decided the methods in the play would suit well to his own purposes. Coating his mother’s food in an odourless poison was a bit unnecessary, considering he’d almost completely driven her mad by switching out her medication, therefore encouraging her noted schizophrenia and paranoia…”

John phone going off interrupted Sherlock’s flow – and he shot a heat-less glare to his companion, “Must I remind you, once more, to keep your phone on vibrate during our cases, John?” he scolded irritably, “If that’s Hamish, tell him we’ll arrive soon.”

The detective turned to continue to run down the case to the Inspector – while John answered his phone…


- - - - -

“…There you are, Hamish.”

The young lad would recognize that smooth, light Irish hilt anywhere. His body tensed as he slowly turned to face the owner of the voice.

“I’ve been lookin’ everywhere for you.” He mused, taking a few casual steps forward. “This school is a bit mad today, isn’t it?”

Hamish swallowed; his eyes darting briefly around the bustling crowd of busy students, proud parents and supervising teachers. “Wh… what are you doing here, Jim?” he asked cautiously. Hamish found his arms tightening around the Bionic model ‘man’ he’d made. It wasn’t a full scale model; just the mechanic torso from the waist up.

But he clutched it closer – as if it might shield him when Jim continued to move forward.

“I came to see your lovely work, of course,” The Irishmen purred with a sweet smile and affectionate gaze, “Someone has to be here to support your genius… Lord knows your parents aren’t,” he sighed, looking around and adopting a pout. “Bit upsetting, isn’t it? I’m sure it’s tough… learning your father prefers the ‘work’ over you.”

The boy frowned, feeling a bit defensive, “He doesn’t. T-They don’t. They said they’re coming, they are just…”

“Late?” Jim finished with a small chuckle, “Your class category is already done, and you won the top prize. Were they here to watch? To applaud and praise you?” He pouted, as if giving Hamish a chance to answer, but the child remained silent. “Well. No sense in hanging ‘round here any longer, eh?… I’ll take you home.”

Jim’s fingers wrapped around Hamish’s arm and tugged – but he resisted, “N-No, I’m going to wait here. My dad’s coming, he’s-”

“Oh, my dear boy,” Jim giggled in a sing-song lull, “That wasn’t a request…” he clarified, bending down a bit so Hamish was forced to look up at him. He was pleased to see the lad was already trembling slightly, eyes beginning to well up uncomfortably.

“You’re going to come with me. Otherwise… your dad might have a bit of an ‘accident’ on his way here. And John… well… you’re not John’s, are you? He’ll blame you for your father’s death, and since you two look astonishingly alike… he won’t want to keep you either, will he? Too painful.” Jim painted a lazy picture, knowing the logic was flawed – but children were not emotionally stable enough to surpass such manipulation.

And Hamish, as smart as he was, wasn’t either. “You… y-you wouldn’t…” he hiccuped through his oncoming tears.

“Oh I would.” The dark-haired Irishmen smiled brightly. “Wouldn’t be as fun as what I have planned… but I would.”

He tightened his grip on Hamish’s thin arm…


- - - - -

“Wait… you what?… Are you sure?…” John asked; his voice sounding distressed and confused to the point where Sherlock immediately took notice and stopped speaking to Lestrade.

Both men looked over, following John as he continued to speak on the phone, “…That doesn’t make sense. Hamish had his phone with him at school – he’s been texting me all day….” John’s voice trailed off as he caught Sherlock’s eye.

He lowered the phone, “It’s Mrs. Hudson… she said she was heading out to do the shopping and found Hamish’s mobile sitting on the steps of the front door.”

Sherlock’s face tensed, and Lestrade looked worriedly between the two men. “Thanks Mrs. Hudson, we’ll call you back…” John muttered quickly, ending the call and darting right out of the lab behind Sherlock and Lestrade.

- - - - -

They arrived at the school to find the bustling science fair still in full swing. It was mid-afternoon; broad daylight as they began to search the crowds for Hamish. Those they spoke to recalled seeing Hamish during his age category – and winning first prize – but not afterwards. Both Sherlock and John were nearly at wits end when Lestrade finally approached them.

He’d spoken to the teacher who was stationed at the front entrance on ‘raffle-ticket’ duty. She saw Hamish leaving with another man. He looked upset, but when she’d addressed them, the man had explained that the boy was ‘just having a rough day’ and he was his uncle; there to take him home. She didn’t think anything of it since Hamish didn’t protest.

Immediately, Sherlock and John caught a cab back to Baker Street, while Lestrade offered to stay and try and get some more witness accounts for any clues or descriptions of this mysterious ‘uncle’.

As they slipped into the cab, the consulting detective was quick to grab his mobile, and text Mycroft:

You could have told me you intended to pick Hamish up from his school fair. SH

I intended no such thing. I’ve been at the office all day. I trust he did well? MH

Sherlock’s heart began to beat even faster.

- - - - -


John was the first out of the cab to unlock the front door of Baker Street and dart inside with Sherlock right at his heels. Mrs. Hudson was in the foyey, waiting to greet them with a worried look on her face. Sherlock didn’t even bother to ask, and instead, snatched his son’s mobile out of her hand and began to go through it…

“Sherlock what the bloody hell is happening?!” John snapped angrily, pacing back and forth, “Hamish wouldn’t leave with someone he didn’t know. He wouldn’t, we-”

“No, he wouldn’t, which indicates that Hamish knew the person who picked him up from the fair,” Sherlock snarled as he began to filter through his son’s contact list, “The man identified himself as Hamish’s uncle – and it wasn’t Mycroft so we’re left with th….”

He trailed off, and John stopped pacing – watching complete and utter dread slowly flow over Sherlock’s face. “What?… What’s wrong?!” John demanded.

Sherlock clenched his jaw and didn’t answer, instead, turning the mobile around to display the contract screen, open to someone simply listed as ‘Jim’.

“No… it… that’s impossible… no, Sherlock,” John stammered, growing more furious and agitated as he looked to his partner, “He’s dead, Sherlock, Moriarty is dead. It has to be someone else, there’s n-”

The mobile rung with an incoming call. The hallway fell eerily silent as Sherlock looked at the call display, which came up as ‘Jim’. Mrs. Hudson had her hands over her mouth – knowing this was a moment she should keep completely quiet, while John took a few steps toward the detective as Sherlock answered, placing the call on speaker-phone…

“Jim.” He growled calmly.

But the voice on the other end wasn’t Jim. “H-H-Hullo… Sh… Sherlock…”

It was Hamish.

It’s… so… s-s-o nice to…. hear… your v-voice again….” The child stammered, obviously consumed by fear; the tone of his voice indicated he was either reading a script – or being told exactly what to say, “H-How… do you… like… the sou- …sound of my n-new… voice?….”

John’s eyes widened, and he looked to Sherlock in the hopes the detective would respond. But Sherlock didn’t. His mouth was open a bit… but nothing came out.

Truth be told, John had never seen his partner look at such a complete loss. So… helpless.

T-Time… to play another… game…”

The call disconnected.

Chapter Text

 

All lives end. All hearts are broken.

Caring is not an advantage.

Your heart should never rule your head.

Sherlock hated repetition. But ever since Hamish’s disappearance, he couldn’t think of anything else. Those words had continued to haunt him night and day. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d properly slept, or eaten. Occasionally he would pass out from total exhaustion… but upon waking, the detective would get right back to work. He had expected John to scold him for his reckless behaviour, but the good doctor was treading water in much the same fashion. John ate and slept very little, and was more involved in this case than he had been in any other. With good reason.

The consulting detective and his soldier were throwing everything they could into finding their son.

The pair searched, they reached dead-ends, they argued, they broke down… then they repeated the cycle.

It took weeks before Sherlock was able to crack a series of clues left to them by Moriarty. He and John found themselves in Hallsands; a deserted village in the south of Devon, perched in a precarious position between the cliffs and the sea. It was haunting and desolate. Both felt uneasy to be amidst the ruins and remnants of a place that had once been inhabitable. The skies were bleak and overcast when they arrived. Sherlock had insisted they go alone, no backup, no police… because in his mind, this was between them and Moriarty. No one else. And for once, John agreed. Sherlock wondered if it was because this had gone beyond personal… that Moriarty had not only played with his heart, but John’s as well. They both wanted the satisfaction of dealing with this villain themselves, and ensuring he met with the right kind of justice by their own hands.

As they walked up, through the decayed ruins of the empty town and toward the cliffside, both spotted the man they’d been looking for. Moriarty was simply standing there, looking out at the seaside view and impending sky that was drawing closer and closer. He turned, and when his eyes settled on Sherlock and John, he smiled and waved. John was quick to march over to him, and handcuff the consulting criminal’s hands behind his back. Moriarty offered him no resistance, just a smile.

“I was worried you boys would never figure it out. Thank goodness. I was getting rather bored hanging around here…” he complained petulantly. "It's so dull."

John didn’t give him an answer. Instead, he delivered a sound punch to his cheek. Moriarty groaned, and spit out some blood, before shooting John a glare and turning his attention to Sherlock.

“Where is he?…” Sherlock growled.

Moriarty frowned, and rolled his eyes upward in thought, “…Er, I don’t quite remember, actually...”

Sherlock snarled and gripped Moriarty’s collar tightly, shaking him as he repeated, “Where IS he?!”

“He’s definitely in a cellar. I know he is… but… I just can’t remember which one. It’s been at least a day, you know... since I saw 'im...” Moriarty giggled, shaking his head as if he’d forgotten something as arbitrary as picking up the milk. “You just- … you took so long. I began to think and do other things. He’s here, I know that, but… all these houses are incredibly similar. Give me a bit of a break, darling, I’ve had a lot on my mind.” he continued, shaking his head, “Your son wasn’t nearly as clever as I was expecting. It was a bit disappointing, really.”

Sherlock stilled briefly, his body tense as he asked, “…What are you talking about?”

Moriarty glanced between John and Sherlock, before he sighed and rolled his eyes.

“I wanted to give him a easy one. So I gave ‘im a choice between two… pills…” he drew out the last word, trailing the ‘s’ in an extended hiss. “Remember?… Remember that one?” he beamed, looking over to John, “A Study in Pink, you called it. Awful title.” Moriarty muttered, turning his eyes back to Sherlock. “You might not want to put this one in the blog, though. A bit anti-climactic. All he did was cry and blubber until he took the pill. Really. I thought you’d taught him better.”

Sherlock shoved Moriarty to the ground and took off running – back to the decrepit ruins of the abandoned village. He was vaguely aware of John calling his name, but he didn’t turn. There wasn’t time. If Hamish had ingested one of the pills, he would meet the same fate as all those poisoned ‘suicides’ from years ago. As clever as Hamish was, his usual intelligence would have been compromised, given the situation.

Alone in an abandoned township with a madman. A stranger. He would have offered him two pills, or the gun. Hamish wouldn’t have been able to recognize the gun wasn’t real; his mind probably clouded by terror and panic. It would have been dark. God only knows how Moriarty would have pressured him, manipulated him…


Sherlock weaved his way in and out of each dwelling he came across; searching the entire structural ruin and each cellar, before moving onto the next. He continued to call Hamish’s name – foolishly clinging onto a sliver of hope that his son was still alive. Each home had it’s own crumbling structure; old remnants of the lives it once housed. But the detective ignored all that. His eyes scanned the entire place up and down for signs of his son; drag marks, footprints in the dirt and dust… anything that would indicate he had the right place.

Finally, he came to a little place that had disturbed dirt, fresh, lingering on the front stoop. The door was already ajar, and slightly hanging off it’s old rusted hinges. He barreled in, calling for Hamish as he headed right for the cellar. There was an old table pressed right up against the door, which Sherlock promptly overturned, and pushed out of the way. He forced himself to slow down once he opened the door.

He had to observe. He was allowing his emotions to get the best of him. He had to soak up every single detail in the event that this was some kind of set up… or ruse.

Sherlock began by looking at the inside of the door first. There were small indents in the splintered, damp wood; marks of a struggle, and some hints of blood. The indents were at a shorter height. Pursing his lips tightly together, the detective slowly stepped down onto the first step, and then the second… but by the third step, the flimsy, wooden rail that bordered the stairs into the cellar was cracked; broken and split, as if something or someone had toppled or pushed through. His long fingers ran along the break briefly, before he continued down the stairs to the bottom.

It took a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the dark. And when they did, he was drawn to the footprints lodged in the dirt and dust on the cold stone floor. He finally took out his pocket flashlight, and clicked it on – following the trails until the light passed over a large lump, curled up on the ground. Sherlock dropped his flashlight in shock. It rattled on the ground and stopped rolling; illuminating enough of the room to make out the body, unmoving, by the side of the stairs.

He didn’t want to approach.

He knew it was Hamish, and the fact that he wasn’t moving and hadn’t responded was… logically… very telling. But he didn’t want to accept it.

As he took a few, reluctant steps forward, Sherlock realized he was shaking. He knelt down, and placed a gentle, trembling hand on the boy’s shoulder to roll him over.

His child had dried blood on his face. His skin was cold and paler than usual. Eyes distant and lifeless. He had abrasions on his small knuckles…

Hamish, pounding on the cellar door, scraping his knuckles and palms, crying and screaming as Moriarty barricaded him in by pushing the wooden table against the outside of the door…


Sherlock winced and closed his eyes – cursing his mind for deducing, for playing out the scenario so vividly in his head.

He opened his eyes again, and looked at Hamish’s other arm. It was dislocated. He frowned, and moved his gaze back up to the broken hand-rail…


Exhausted from trying to get the door open… perhaps affected by the poison he’d ingested… Hamish might have misjudged his step – or leaned against the unsteady rail for support. It snapped, sending him tumbling over the side and onto the stone floor…


A shaky breath passed through Sherlock’s lips as he carefully slipped his hands beneath his son’s torso, and pulled him into his arms.

What hurt Sherlock the most… what was going to haunt and plague him for the rest of his life… was that Hamish would never know that they had found him. That he would have died alone; cold, frightened, in pain… in a strange place in the dark. His chest heaved, and he choked out a heartbroken sob as he cradled Hamish’s lifeless form to his chest before releasing a long, deep, loud cry of pure, unrestrained anguish.

His son was dead.

He couldn’t keep track of the number of times he yelled the word ‘no’ to the walls of the cellar, his voice carrying into the empty house above him. The sheer volume seemed to rattle the foundation of the dwelling itself as it echoed again and again. Sherlock just kept repeating the word; as if it would somehow magically bring the child back to life. He adjusted Hamish in his arms and trying to hold him closer, always closer, but it wasn’t enough.

Gradually, his mind began to pulse John’s name. He would have to tell him… show him their son. Sherlock wondered if he shouldn’t; if he could somehow spare the only other person he cared for this pain. His partner wouldn’t have been able to hear his screams, given the distance between them and the fact that the crashing waves below the town would likely drown any other sounds out.

Still trembling, Sherlock cradled Hamish’s lifeless, limp body to him carefully and stood on unsteady legs. He ascended the stairs back up, and walked as calmly as he could out of the old house. He had to pause every so often to close his eyes, and rid them of the tears that refused to stop blurring his vision. He’d never felt such an ache, such loss and helplessness.

 

All lives end. All hearts are broken.

Caring is not an advantage.

Your heart should never rule your head.

Love is a dangerous disadvantage.

 

When Sherlock emerged from what was left of the village, he saw John was still standing over Moriarty, who likewise, was still keeling with his hands cuffed behind his back. He looked as if he were speaking to John, but the doctor wasn’t replying. His eyes were already locked on Sherlock… and the familiar boy in his arms.

“Oh! He found him…” Moriarty mused, releasing a small breathy scoff, “…’bout time.”

John ignored him, and jogged the last few steps to meet Sherlock and Hamish; already openly weeping himself as he took the boy out of Sherlock’s arms and into his own. He cried just as hard, if not harder, and began to repeat Hamish’s name just as Sherlock had done. The doctor in him immediately knelt down and tried to examine the child while he was in his arms… always holding onto that last shred of hope that there was something he could do. A way he could save him.

Sherlock stood close, watching John come to terms with everything he had moments earlier. He lifted his hand, and was about to touch the back of his partner’s head comfortingly, when he heard a raspy chuckle from behind him. The detective immediately tensed, his hand clenching into a fist as turned to look at the man responsible with pure hate and absolute disgust.

Moriarty didn’t seem all that phased. He turned his big, brown doe-eyes up at Sherlock and smiled sheepishly as he tried to tug at the tight, metal cuffs behind his back, “Well,” he shrugged, “Maybe next time you’ll do better.” he giggled breathlessly, “Go on. Pop out another kitten, maybe even a whole litter next time… and we’ll try again. This was rather fun, wasn’t it?…”

Sherlock didn’t answer. He simply strode over to his nemesis quickly, and punched him square in the jaw. Moriarty fell onto his back laughing, and Sherlock followed, beating and hitting him repeatedly until his face was bloody and bruised. His high-pitched laugh was soon replaced by strained gasps and wheezing as Sherlock’s hands clasped and tightened around his throat. He squeezed every last bit of life out of Moriarty without a second thought. When the Irishman had finally stilled, and his eyes were glassy and lifeless, Sherlock removed himself from him. He dragged Moriarty’s body to the edge of the cliff, and without remorse, tossed him over. He watched in mild satisfaction as it tumbled down the cliffside, bouncing off rocks until slamming into the treacherous, rough shores below.

He couldn’t help but stare absently after the body of his enemy, lost in his thoughts as he watched the waves crash against the rocks, over and over, digging a personal, watery grave for the worst human being Sherlock had ever encountered.

It was only the sound of John’s anguish that pulled him back. He strode back over to his partner and son, and fell to his knees beside them. He didn’t touch either of them, but remained close. It seemed like an eternity before Sherlock was able to find his voice again,

“…I’m sorry, John…” he breathed quietly.

John looked up, his face very much in the same state as the detective’s… bloodshot eyes, puffy from crying, his expression exhausted and defeated.

“I’m so sorry, Sherlock…” the doctor answered, his breath hitching again as he attempted to hold back another wave of sobs.

They knelt there for at least another thirty minutes; Hamish’s body nestled in John’s arms, as both men loomed closely, simply staring at their failure. Their loss. Eventually, Sherlock worked up the strength and energy to text Mycroft their coordinates… along with the bad news.

For once, his brother didn’t answer with anything other than,

I’m on my way. MH

 

 

 

 

 

Autopsy results came through in a matter of hours once the broken family had been returned to London, thanks to Mycroft's connections.

The poison was what had killed Hamish, ultimately, though his injuries and the cold did nothing to help the situation. He had only perished a mere ten hours before Sherlock had found him. To Sherlock, that was ten hours he had wasted by following dead-end leads or sleeping because his body failed to keep up with his mind.

The funeral was small and private; only Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft and Mrs. Holmes were in attendance along with Sherlock and John. They had decided to bury Hamish by their cottage next to Loch Striven in Bute, Scotland. It had been in John’s family for years, and when ownership had passed to him and Harry – he had bought Harry out of her share, and kept the cottage for himself. He and Sherlock had agreed, long ago, that it would be the perfect place for retirement.

What better place to bury, and keep, the most important thing in their lives?…

Sherlock ended up walking off half-way through the ceremony, but no one stopped him.

Once the funeral had come to an end, John thanked everyone for attending and saw them off. Mycroft inquired as to whether or not they would be returning to London with them, but John thought it best they take a few weeks to stay at the cottage. Distance would do them some good, and both were still very much grieving over the loss of their son. The eldest Holmes agreed, lamented the loss of his nephew again, before getting into their hired car, and driving off.

John found Sherlock further down from the cottage along the shoreline, sat amidst the tall, whispy grass, simply staring out toward the water. The doctor took a seat beside him, quietly slipping his hand into Sherlock’s to offer a gentle squeeze of support, before looking out at the water himself.

Retirement wouldn’t be far off for either man. This had damaged them both in such a way that recovery was unattainable. They had been playing 'the game' for so long, cheating death, upsetting one another, yet somehow always managing to stay strong. But this was something else entirely. John knew he was going to be the stronger of the two, already having dealt with Sherlock’s ‘death’ years ago. And while it hurt him just as much to know he’d never see Hamish’s smiling face again… that they would never enjoy this cottage as a family… John was going to be the rock.

He felt Sherlock’s head and body slump against his own in an exhausted stupor. His arms immediately came up to wrap around the detective.

“…I don’t want to leave…” Sherlock muttered brokenly.

John nodded, resting his cheek against the top of Sherlock’s head. “Then we won’t.” he promised.

They had enough provisions to stay at the cottage for a month or two, if needed. The nearest town was a few miles away, so if John had to take a couple trips in to get supplies, he would. They wouldn’t be disturbed here. They could grieve, stay close to their son’s grave, and each other… until they were strong enough to go back to London. And even then, John knew they wouldn’t remain there long. Sherlock would undoubtedly want to pack up Baker Street, and move to the cottage permanently. He would think that living in London would mean ‘abandoning’ Hamish.

And just because the boy had died alone, didn’t mean he would remain that way… forgotten in the ground.

They would always be a family.