"Stop sulking around like a child," John Watson scolded, turning over the page he was reading. His flatmate ignored him and stood at the window.
"Nothing's happening," he stated, observing the events out of the window. People walked down the street, chatting to friends, talking on their mobile phones or strolling by themselves. "It's sickening."
"Here's an idea; why don't you answer your brother's calls?" Sherlock scoffed at this. Folding the paper, the blonde turned to look at the other man. "He's called four times in the past hour alone. It might be important."
"Oh I'm sure it is. Top secret government project something or rather," his voice was toneless. Sherlock turned and flopped down effortlessly onto the couch. "I'm not dealing with his problems. They're boring."
This answer wasn't much of a surprise, but John sighed and shook his head just the same. "It's not as though you have anything better to be doing."
Picking up his violin from beside the sofa, Sherlock took it from its case and plucked a few strings indignantly. "I do so."
His friend shook his head. John stood up and threw his paper on the seat as he walked towards the kitchen. "Right."
Crossly, he plucked a few more strings. "Well I have to be available if something comes up. As far as Mycroft's concerned, I'm busy.”
A knock came from the door. Sherlock sat as though he hadn't heard it, picking away at his violin.
"Oh don't get up, I'll get it," John said sarcastically, setting down the glass he had just taken from the cupboard and walking towards the door. Opening the door slightly, he stuck his head through. "Yes?"
A smartly dressed man stood before him. "Sherlock Holmes?"
The man in question didn't move. A wave of cold realization washed over John. "Hang on. The downstairs door is locked. How did you... "
"Tell him my answer is no. And to stop calling!" The detective said with a wave of his hand.
John looked between the two men. "Oh," he felt foolish for not catching on sooner. "You work for Mycroft."
The man gave no response to this. "I'm just here to deliver a parcel." He turned, and this had caught Sherlock's attention enough that he strained from his seat on the sofa to see what the agent was bringing in. The dark haired man came back suddenly and dropped his 'parcel' just inside the door. He smiled at the two men as he walked out. "Good day, gentlemen."
John was sure that if it could have, his jaw would have hit the floor. As it was, it was not possible to open his mouth any further. Stammering, he looked from the delivery to his friend who had finally gotten to his feet. Sherlock's brow furrowed in confusion. Both had the same question burning in their minds; Why had he brought this...?
The baby in the carrier began to scream.
"What is that?" Sherlock asked, stunned.
"It's a baby," John answered numbly, looking down at the wailing infant strapped into the carrier.
"Yes, thank you, I can see that," he snapped back, "I meant why is it here? Why would Mycroft send a baby?"
Scratching his head, John shrugged. "You know your brother better than I do. Maybe you should have answered his calls!" Sherlock scoffed and turned away. "Is it... uh... possibly..." John stammered, trying to find the right words to voice the thought that had just occurred to him. Sherlock looked over his shoulder. John cleared his throat. "Mycroft does keep a close watch on your life. Is it... yours?"
"What do you mean 'mine?'" Sherlock asked.
His friend crossed his arms and stared hard back.
"You know... Yours." He repeated, hoping the so called genius would understand.
For a moment, Sherlock's face was blank. Suddenly, it seemed to click as horror descended upon his face. "What? No. No!" Sherlock looked as though the very thought disgusted him. "Of course it's not mine!"
The doctor didn't look convinced. "There's no way..."
"There's no way!" Sherlock insisted. "Do you really think that I'm the type to have an illegitimate child?" Before John could answer, Sherlock's phone rang loudly. Setting it to speaker, Sherlock pressed to answer the phone. "Why?" He demanded coldly.
"Nice to talk to you too, Sherlock. I hear you got my... delivery."
John was sure he could hear the smirk in Mycroft's voice. Kneeling down, he undid the fastenings on the carrier and lifted the crying child. It had obviously become their problem, and no power on Earth was going to get Sherlock to do anything about it, which left him. Fantastic.
"I am not your personal babysitter," Sherlock shot back. "Come and take your—"
"Now, now. The child's not mine, obviously," it was apparent that the elder Holmes was enjoying his brother's displeasure. "I need you to keep her safe for me."
"No." His brother answered stubbornly.
"No," he answered hotly. "Why don't you hire someone? Surely you of all people could find someone to watch..." he looked at the baby John was bouncing gently. "That."
"This is a matter of grave importance," Mycroft told him simply. "There is... trouble... going on currently, matters that you have no need to have any knowledge of. However, the girl is very important. She can't be watched by just anyone. She needs to be kept safe. Naturally I have all my best people dealing with this trouble, and I have to oversee matters. You're not my first choice, Sherlock, but unfortunately, you're all I have available."
"Well what exactly do you want me to do?" Sherlock asked impatiently. "Play house? I have far--"
Mycroft chuckled and cut off his younger brother. "You and Dr. Watson do make quite a nice couple."
John looked from the baby to the phone. "What?"
"Absolutely not, Mycroft," Sherlock tried to argue, but his brother continued.
"You really don't have a choice in this. Look after her, Sherlock. John, don't let him do anything rash. As I said, the girl is very important." There was a click, and the line went quiet.
"Well," John cleared his throat, and continued bouncing the baby girl. "Uh... what now?"
Sherlock folded his hands under his mouth, contemplating all the possible options. "Can't take her back to Mycroft. He's out of the country right now. He would have brought her himself otherwise. He'd have loved to have seen my reaction."
"Even if we could take her to Mycroft, he's not going to take her back," John added.
"Mrs. Hudson!" Sherlock declared suddenly. "She'll know how to look after it, and I'm sure she'd rather enjoy it too."
"No good," John shook his head. "She won a cruise from some raffle a couple months back, remember? She's gone for the next three weeks!" Sherlock returned to the couch and sunk down miserably. His flatmate sighed and set the baby back down in the carrier. "If we have to look after her, we're going to need a few things."
Grabbing his coat, John could only shake his head. He lived with the most intelligent yet most ignorant man he'd ever met. "Baby things. I'll run out and get them. You stay and look after her."
"No. No! John!" By the time he'd reached the door, John had left. Sherlock heard the door shut downstairs. Going to the window, he saw his friend getting into a cab. Putting his hands in his pockets, he turned and looked at the baby.
Her tiny face crumpled and a loud wail filled the room.