When the topic of children had come up, they'd already been together for nearly eight years. John had made some passing comment about the fact that they could never have children, and Sherlock had gone still and quiet. His lips pursed. "Would you want children?" He'd asked.
"Well…" John thought for a second. "I suppose I would, but since it's not really a possibility with you, I'm alright with that. As long as I'm with you." He smiled, and kissed Sherlock slowly. The genius sighed against his partner's mouth, his eyes closing. When John pulled back, he saw Sherlock's brow was furrowed.
"What if it became a possibility? Would you want that?"
John laughed. "What… to raise a child with you?" Sherlock was deadpan, and John's smile faded quickly when he realized Sherlock was being serious. "I… I mean, really? I think you could be a great father. A bit of a bad influence, probably, but I imagine I could keep you from doing too much damage. Overall, I think together we could raise a pretty decent breed of child, don't you think?"
Sherlock smiled stiffly. "You're forty-five now."
"Yes, thank you for reminding me."
"I'm forty, now." He drew a deep breath. "If I'm being honest, we probably won't be chasing criminals across London for the rest of our lives. Your knees are already creaking with age, and it doesn't take a genius to realize you're going to need glasses one of these days." He blinked down at John, who smiled.
"What are you saying, love?" John reached up and stroked Sherlock's pale cheek. Sherlock placed his hand atop John's, and leaned in to the touch. "You aren't actually considering…"
"John," Sherlock interrupted. "I love you. All I want out of life is to make you happy, and to be the best detective in the world. I already am that," he said, and he looked extremely smug, "but I know there is a ways to go before I've done all I can to make you happy. I want to give you all I can. I want to give you love, and a family."
"It would please you."
"I thought you hated children."
"Only ones raised by morons," Sherlock sniffed, looking disgruntled. "We would make better parents than most."
John shook his head, smirking. "You are such a git," he said. "Children are all morons, in their way. They don't know anything. They have to learn everything from the ground up. I don't know if you'd be able to stand that."
"I am more competent than you give me credit for, John," Sherlock breathed. He looked a bit sad. "And I think… that if you wanted a child… I would be only too happy to oblige."
A little over a year later, after a ton of discussion and planning, Harry was pregnant. John spent most nights with her to see that she wasn't taking up drinking again. She moaned and complained about the weight of Sherlock's DNA in her womb, but she did so with a smile.
Once, when Sherlock and John were at her flat for dinner. Over dessert, she whined about how much she'd been eating. "Who am I to complain, though?" she chuckled. "I don't really want children of my own, so I'll probably never experience this otherwise. I'm lucky, really, and honored that you brought me into your family, John."
John put a hand on her stomach, grinning from ear to ear. "I can never thank you enough for this, Harry." Sherlock sat back in his chair, watching the interaction. John waved him over. "Come on, Sherlock. It's yours, too, y'know."
The detective reached over awkwardly. He placed his wide palm on Harry's bulbous stomach, and looked up at her, admiring how much she looked like John. Inside her grew a child—his child. He felt a tiny thump against his finger, and drew back quickly, looking shocked. His lips were parted in surprise, his eyebrows raised. Harry laughed. "Did it kick you?"
"Rude," Sherlock said, but there was no annoyance in his voice. He had never felt his heart so warm, and it frightened him. He blinked, staring at Harry's stomach, when John slipped his palm in his. They looked at each other. Sherlock felt numb with awe. John was still smiling.
"Beautiful, isn't it?"
Sherlock nodded. "Ridiculously."
John leaned forward and pressed his mouth to Sherlock's, to snap him out of his reverie. The detective delved deep with his tongue, tasting every inch of John, and that's when Harry gave a loud clap. "Oy!" she grumbled. "What's wrong with you two? You know I don't want to see that. You're my brother, John. Stop it. That's disgusting."
"You're only bitter because you're still single, Harry," John said with a laugh, pulling away from Sherlock's hungry expression but keeping a firm hold on his hands.
"Yeah, well, it's not so easy to seduce a girl when you're this pregnant," she said bitterly, forking another bite of cake into her mouth. "Believe me, I've tried."
"You tried to have sex with my child inside of you?" Sherlock looked disgusted. John burst into laughter.
"You do know that doesn't hurt the baby, right?" Harry was glaring.
"What about sexually transmitted diseases? You've got to be careful."
Rolling her eyes, Harry said, "Trust me, I'm careful. I haven't got any time to take risks anyway, with the tight leash John's had on me these eight months."
"Damn right," John giggled, putting a hand to Harry's stomach again and gazing at the spot with deep reverence. "I want it all to go perfectly, Harry. I want our child to be safe and healthy. Our child, Sherlock, can you believe it?"
"Not really," he sighed.
"You will. When you hold that little creature in your arms for the first time… then, you will."
John was right, as usual.
Sherlock felt an unusual amount of panic in his chest the evening that John called from Harry's flat to say that she was in labor. The doctors were good enough to let both men into the room, but Sherlock refused to go in. He paced back and forth in the waiting room with his hands deep in his trouser pockets. His life was about to change, and it was all for John. Only for John's happiness would this be worth it, he thought to himself. He and John had spoken about the detective work, and they'd come to the conclusion that they'd still do it, but if John deemed the case too dangerous, they'd solve the case from home, and let Lestrade do the legwork. They would no longer be risking their lives every day, because now there was another life to think of. He and John, after this day, would be responsible for a tiny, fragile life.
When John emerged from the private room where Harry has been holed up for the last seven hours, Sherlock stopped his pacing. He stared at John's dazed expression, feeling his heart pound against his ribs. "Well?"
John was breathing heavily. He approached Sherlock looking totally shaken. Sherlock waited with bated breath. A second later, John threw his arms around Sherlock's neck, pulling him into a bone-crushing hug. "We have a son, Sherlock," he cried in a trembling tone. "We have a real live son. He's got all his fingers and toes, and a tiny nose and oh god, Sherlock, he's real."
Sherlock clutched John tight as though he'd die if he ever let go.
"Thank you," John choked out. "Thank you, Sherlock. Thank you for giving me this. Thank you for all the sacrifices you're making for this family to be possible. I love you."
"I love you," Sherlock rasped. He felt numb. "Can I see him?"
John pulled away, and Sherlock felt cold without his warm body in his arms. John took Sherlock by the hand, not remarking on his partner's sweaty palms, and led him to the room.
The room was softly buzzing with nurses, and Harry was still lying in the bed. She looked happy, but a little sad at the same time.
Sherlock followed her gaze, and saw the little open plastic incubator. A small arm was waving over the edge, and a faint cry could be heard over the rest of the room's noise. John made his way over, but Sherlock hung back, staring as though he was seeing things.
"He doesn't bite, y'know. At least, not yet. Not until you teach him to." John smiled widely down at the little creature in the box, and Sherlock stared as a tiny hand partially closed around John's pinky. His heart leapt. He stepped forward.
The baby had his eyes closed. His mouth was wide, emitting a high whine. His little legs were kicking at the air as much as they could. He did have a tiny nose, indeed. Buttonish, like John's. He had a low brow, and a dark tuft of hair on the top of his head, like Sherlock.
Sherlock's head was reeling. He felt faint as he reached out instinctively to touch the little life in front of him, and when it clasped a delicate hand around his pointer, Sherlock actually gasped. His heart flooded. His eyes prickled.
"You big sap," John joked. "Look at him. Just look at him."
"Isn't he? I think he looks like you."
"He doesn't look like anything, John. He's pink and wrinkled."
"Look at that brow, though."
One tiny pair of eyes opened. John's smile was so wide, it looked painful. Sherlock's heart seemed to settle somewhere in his throat.
"Those are your eyes, Sherlock. You can't even deny that. I doubt they'll fade. They're so bright. Like yours."
Sherlock could not speak. He could not breathe. He could not do anything but stare at the flawless form in front of him; a tiny, impressionable human being to be molded and grown into something unstoppable. This was the very definition of potential. Life. That was it.
He felt lips on his cheek, and a warm arm around his waist.
"Shall I text Mycroft, Sherlock? D'you think he wants to come see him?"
"Mm," Sherlock grunted. He was transfixed. Awed. Broken. Remade.
"Excuse me," came a voice. Sherlock did not look up. "I'm going to have to move him, now."
"No," Sherlock said firmly.
"You can see him again very soon, but we need to run all the tests and take his footprint."
"No," Sherlock said again, finally looking up. "Later." His glare was so fierce, the poor man could not argue. "Go back to your three cats you've got at home and leave us be. I need to be with my son."
John stepped in immediately, apologizing profusely and looking increasingly awkward. Harry was chuckling weakly to herself in the bed, enjoying the pudding and painkillers they'd given her. "Jesus, Sherlock," John hissed. "There are certain procedures after a birth. You've got to let the doctors do what they do."
"He's ours, John. They can't make us leave him." The crying suddenly grew louder, and Sherlock's fiery disposition crumbled immediately. "What's wrong with him? Does he need to eat?" He glanced uncertainly at Harry, who flung up her hands defensively.
"No, no, no," she said. "I'm not breastfeeding him. That's all you, boys."
Sherlock turned on the heat again, and snarled at the doctor. "My son needs food. Now."
"We—" He gulped, fidgeting with his latex gloves. "We've got some, er—some formula right over there, on the table beside you."
Sherlock shot John a clear glare, and John snatched up the bottle of formula. John checked that it was warm while Sherlock slipped his enormous hands under the baby's fragile body, and gently lifted. The creature squirmed in his arms as he brought him close to his face.
John laughed blissfully. "Look at that," he said softly. "Amazing."
"See that, boy," Sherlock whispered to the wriggling baby. "You've already got your daddy praising you. You'll learn to like that as much as I do."
The baby cried out, blinked, and tried to grab Sherlock's chin. Sherlock lowered his head, and the tiny hands clawed lightly at the chiseled jaw. John squeezed Sherlock's shoulder.
"Beautiful," John sighed, touching the baby's cheek with the back of one finger.
"Go on," Sherlock said quietly. "Feed him." John pressed the bottle to the tiny whining mouth, and it closed around the nipple instantly. John and Sherlock both giggled at the little suckling noises the child made. "He is beautiful, isn't he." It wasn't a question.
"Gorgeous. Look at him! He's eating. He's so human. It's unreal."
"Quite an observation, John. Thank you for being painfully obvious."
"Oh shut it. He's amazing, and you know it."
"Yes," Sherlock said, taking in every inch of his child in his arms. "He definitely is. My god."
Nothing could be deduced from something so new. The baby had not been touched by the world yet. He had no experience and no damage that Sherlock could read into. He was a blank page for Sherlock and John to write upon. He was…
"He needs a name," John said, interrupting Sherlock's obsessed thoughts.
"I thought we'd already decided."
"Oh. I didn't think you were serious."
"Why wouldn't I be serious? Hamish is a great name. Even you suggested it once, a long time ago."
"As a joke, Sherlock. I wasn't…"
"Hamish. Is that you, child? Are you Hamish?" Sherlock pressed his nose to the baby's cheek, inhaling deeply. The tiny being blinked at him, but otherwise did not react. He was too intent on the bottle in his mouth to notice much else. "He is so small," Sherlock breathed, and John was sure it was mostly to himself.
John observed his partner. His eyes were glowing. His mouth was agape. His face was soft, the way it got when they were alone in bed together and, in a state of bliss, he'd gaze at John as though he were precious, as though he were a particularly exciting clue. John's heart felt light with pleasure at the sight. This was something to behold: Sherlock Holmes loved something that was not John or work.
"A gem," Sherlock said on an exhale. "A rare and precious gem, isn't he? So small. So simple." Suddenly he looked up at John with excitement dancing in his eyes. "Can you imagine the mind he'll have?" Sherlock looked downright devious. "Think of all the things we'll teach him. All he'll learn from us. All we'll do together."
"Alright, alright," John cooed. "Take it easy there, papa."
"Papa?" Sherlock asked. "Is that me?"
"Father. Papa. And I'll be dad. Daddy."
"I like it. Father." Sherlock looked back down at the feeding baby in his grasp.
Harry called out from behind them, suddenly. "Hey, Sherlock," she said. "Let John have a turn. Then I want some love, too. I've gotta start spoiling my nephew with love right away! Hamish, was it? You cheesy buggers."
John took Hamish from Sherlock, who looked absurdly devastated to let the baby go. When Sherlock took the bottle to hold it in to the child's lips, John put a hand on Sherlock's neck to soothe him. "I know you love him, Sherlock," he whispered under his breath, "but you've got all the time in the world to be with him. You can't claim him all for yourself. He's our child, and he's also got an extended family. We've got friends who are gonna want to hold him, too. You're going to have to get used to letting him go."
There were tears in Sherlock's eyes—actual pearly tears shining in his flawless, colorless eyes. "I don't want to," Sherlock said. "He's the perfect specimen. The perfect example of life, John."
John felt his heart expand. There was a great fluttering in the pit of his stomach at Sherlock's words. It was so beautiful. The baby in his arms was flailing, trying to push Sherlock's hand away. Sherlock pulled the bottle away, and Hamish gurgled happily. Both men preened. "I know, Sherlock. I know." Sherlock nuzzled into John's touch at his neck, gazing down at the small thing now licking his lips. "I love you, gorgeous," John told Sherlock. "When we take him home, I swear, you'll be able to hold him close as much as you need to, for as long as you like."
Sherlock nodded, swallowing hard. "Alright. Yes. Okay." He backed away, looking a little shaken.
John walked over to Harry, and handed Hamish over. Harry looked delighted.
"Hello!" she cooed, bouncing him slightly in her arms. "Hello baby Hamish! Aren't you precious!" Sherlock was rolling his eyes behind John. Harry suddenly laughed to herself. "I gave birth to my nephew," she said. "Isn't that funny?" He wrinkled her nose down at the baby. "You are so cute," she said. "You look so much like Sherlock. But you've definitely got that nose me and John share. I bet you'll smile like me and John, too. Look at those lips. Definitely not Sherlock's lips."
"If he's got John's smile, then he'll be handsome," Sherlock growled. He looked like he was itching to hold Hamish again.
John looked at Harry with raised eyebrows, then glanced at the doctor, who was still looking frightened. "Alright. Go on," he said. "Do whatever it is."
Sherlock sunk into a chair and breathed deeply, his head in his hands, trying not to cry. John joined him a moment later, his hand tracing light circles on Sherlock's back. Both men were stifling great sobs of unspeakable joy.
"It's easy, Sherlock."
"I'm going to hurt him."
"You won't. He's not made of glass."
"He might as well be. His bones are still soft. His skull is still taking its shape. He's only tissue, and that's breakable. We're all breakable, and Hamish is more so."
"I've done it, and I haven't broken him yet. So can you."
"You've got a surgeon's hands."
"And you've a scientist's. You dissect things all the time. This is nothing like that."
"Can't you just do it?"
"You need to learn."
"I don't want to."
John shoved the nappy into Sherlock's hands. "Come on. Do it."
Sherlock blinked down at the struggling creature on the table. Hamish was naked and giggling, playing with his toes. Sherlock loved those toes. They were absurdly small. Sometimes he'd touch them, just to remind himself that they were really human feet on this tiny little person, because sometimes he'd forget that this was not a new species, but really a tiny human being.
"It's been a week, Sherlock. At some point, you're going to have to change him while I'm at surgery." Sherlock sighed.
"I've avoided it thus far. Why can't it just be your job?"
"Because you're his father. When you're someone's parent you've got to get intimate with them. It's how you bond. It's a gross job, but one day you'll get to say to him, 'Hamish, don't be fresh. I wiped your bum as a baby, and you owe me some respect.' Y'know? It'll be worth it. Look at how sweet he is. He depends on you. You love him, don't you?"
"So much," Sherlock sighed with a dreamy smile. It was so uncharacteristic; it made John shook his head in amusement.
"Then clean his arse, you dick." John sat back, his arms crossed, waiting.
Sherlock glared, then fixed his attention on the wipe. He cleaned Hamish's bottom with a disgruntled expression. Hamish looked bored, and annoyed. It was unbelievably similar to some of the faces Sherlock made so often. John smiled as Sherlock finished, watching his partner wrap the clean nappy around Hamish's tiny waist. He struggled with folding it correctly, and John held back a laugh as he watched Sherlock redo it four times. He fastened it messily, and sat back, looking proud.
"Y'know, for such a genius to struggle with folding a nappy… it's really laughable."
"Look, Sherlock, you're going to have to do a lot that's new to you now that you're a father." John looked sympathetic when Sherlock glanced up at him. "You're gonna have to do a lot of stuff you don't want to do. Scold for bad behavior, even if you think it's smart behavior." Sherlock raised his eyebrows. "Praise for good behavior even if you think it's foolish or irrelevant." John stared pointedly at him. "I know you've got some questionable morals sometimes, but things like being mean, kicking other kids, stealing… that stuff's not okay. I want him to be a good person, while still being as clever as you."
"Are you saying I'm not a good person?" Sherlock bristled.
John reached out for his hand, and Hamish squealed. "Oh, Sherlock, no. That's not…" He took a breath. "You're one of the best people I know. You do, however, have…" He shrugged. "A little…I mean… Sherlock, we've been together nearly nine years, and I've known and loved you far longer than that. You must know you've got some… social problems."
Sherlock sighed dramatically, absent mindedly stroking Hamish's round stomach. "You were quite aware that I was a high-functioning sociopath when you made the moronic decision to marry me, and you know it."
"No matter how much you call yourself a sociopath, I'll never believe you." John's expression went soft. "You love with such intensity, and you're such a good man… there's no way you're really a sociopath." He shook his head. "Just no way."
Before Sherlock could say another word, John leaned across the table and kissed him. Those heart-shaped lips were soft and perfect. Sherlock deepened the kiss with a groan of need. He wanted John again. It had been over a week since last they'd touched intimately, and he needed it. Badly. "John," he sighed into his lover's mouth, and John whimpered in return. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Sherlock," John breathed. There was lust in his eyes.
Hamish let out a shriek of happiness, and they leapt apart. "Aw, Hamish," John sighed. "Your daddies love each other. You're very lucky." John winked up at Sherlock, who sighed.
"Let's put him down for a nap," Sherlock suggested. "People do that, don't they? When they want to be alone, and they've got children to think of? That's what baby monitors are for. We can go to the sofa while he sleeps. You can do that thing you like. I miss that. I miss you." Sherlock glanced John up and down as though he's delectable.
"Sure," John said quietly, his eyes sparkling with unsatisfied list. "It's only been over a week, but it does feel like it's been a while. Let's."
Sherlock grinned. "Good."
Hamish slept without a peep.
Chapter 2: Family
Sherlock suffers minor separation anxiety.
Hamish meets the rest of his family.
Two weeks after Hamish had come home, Sherlock and John were finally starting to get a good routine down. His crib was situated in the corner of their bedroom (the one that used to be Sherlock’s alone, what felt like a lifetime ago). Sherlock was with him, rocking the crib, staring shamelessly at the boy, swaddled and snug. He was making a gentle snoring sound while he slept. Sherlock had a sweet, serene smile on his face when he heard the door knock. John was not at home, but currently on his way home from surgery, so Sherlock resigned himself to stand and answer it.
“Mycroft,” he said, standing back from the door to let his brother in.
“I am sorry I couldn’t come by sooner. Peruvian mobs were just…” He smiled sneakily. “Well. Anyway. Where is he?”
“He’s your nephew. You could have made an effort. He’s worth it.”
“He’s a baby. He’s not going anywhere. He barely recognizes you yet.”
“John was very insistent that he get to know his family. He wants you and Harry to be part of Hamish’s life from a very young age.”
“He’s a week old. He’ll live.”
Sherlock turned his back on him, and made his way into the bedroom. Mycroft followed. Hamish was still sleeping when they entered the room. Mycroft glowered over him in his stoic, professional way, glaring down at him with the faintest twinkle in his eye. “Adorable,” he stated flatly. He sounded bored.
“You think it was a bad idea,” Sherlock said. “You think he’ll make me vulnerable.”
“He already has,” Mycroft sighed. He raised his eyebrows. “Have you seen yourself? Look at you. You’re tired. You haven’t slept in three days and you’re worn. Useless. You love something smaller and less significant than yourself. You’ve given yourself vulnerability that way. Love makes people weak. You were weak enough when you came to love your precious doctor, and now you have love for two, and are weaker than ever. Any enemy might use this boy against you.”
“I’m forty years old. How many enemies do you expect me to have now?”
“What about Sebastian Moran? Any of Moriarty’s other followers.”
“He died. Thirteen years ago. Moran was never caught, but how many followers do you really think Moriarty still has out there?”
“Moran has followers. You know that. What has become of you, brother?” Mycroft glared, hawk-like.
Sherlock blinked. “I’m more competent than ever, and you’re fatter than ever, brother.” He spit the last word as though it were poisonous. They glared at one another, disdain in both expressions. Sherlock gulped after a minute. “I did it for John,” he said. “Because I love him.”
“Yes,” Mycroft snarled. “I know. I just don’t see why you’d go so far to appease your love. It’s ruined you. You’ve grown stupid. I’m ashamed of you.”
“You know nothing of love, Mycroft, and neither did I until I met John. Love is worth all the weakness.”
Right on cue, there was a creak from outside the room. “Ah,” Mycroft said. “Speak of the devil.” He turned on his heel, and they both looked around at the entrance of the graying doctor.
John smiled from the doorway. He had bags under his eyes. “Mycroft!” he said happily. Hamish whined at the sound of his voice, and wriggled a little in his restrictive blankets. Sherlock bent over to shush him, and John approached.
“Good to see you, John,” Mycroft said with a stiff smile. If John could tell it was a fake smile, he didn’t say anything about it.
“Yeah. You, too, Mycroft.” John stroked Hamish’s head lovingly. Sherlock watched him. Warmth pooled in Sherlock’s belly at the sight of his lover being so careful, using those hands for something so gentle and delicate. He smiled. Mycroft scoffed. “Have you held him yet?” John asked.
“Hamish,” John clarified. “Have you held Hamish yet? He is your nephew, after all. Come on. I want you two to get on.”
“I can’t get on with a baby, John. He hasn’t a personality yet.”
Ignoring him, John lifted Hamish from his crib. The boy yawned widely, making a funny sound as he did so in the process of waking up. “Aw, there, there,” John hushed, unwrapping him from his tight blanket. He held him out to Mycroft, who looked at the child as though he were an insect. “Go on,” John offered. He was determined. Sherlock gave Mycroft a dirty look, and Mycroft rolled his eyes.
He leaned his umbrella on the crib, and took him. Hamish was rested on Mycroft’s forearms, his soft head in Mycroft’s wide palms. Hamish blinked up at his uncle, and Sherlock watched Mycroft’s face carefully. The man’s lips parted. His eyes widened a little. Hamish’s expression was remarkably like Sherlock’s. Piercing. Calculating. His wide eyes were green around the outside of the irises, and grey near the middle. They changed so frequently, just like Sherlock’s. Mycroft’s cheeks flushed as the baby snatched towards his face. Without thinking, Mycroft leaned in close, and Hamish took hold of Mycroft’s nose. Both the man and the baby smiled. Hamish’s high-pitched giggle broke the silence in the air.
John laughed in response to that. “See?” he chuckled. “No one can resist the charms of a baby, especially not a baby with a face like that. Look at him. Just like Sherlock, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” Mycroft breathed. He looked utterly enraptured. Sherlock smirked knowingly. Mycroft had never held a baby before. Now that he was experiencing what it was like to hold potential in his hands, he was overcome. Just like Sherlock had been. Completely smitten. To men as cold as the Holmes brothers, holding a tiny baby was a powerful experience. Heady. Bewildering. Incredible. “Spectacular,” Mycroft said under his breath.
“I know,” Sherlock agreed. “He’s a sight to behold.”
“A tiny life,” Mycroft said, as Hamish’s tiny palm struck his cheek repeatedly, “with DNA that partially matches mine. Imagine the potential there.”
“That’s what I thought,” Sherlock said with a grin.
John was still chuckling. “You Holmes boys,” he said, shaking his head. “So tough, ‘til you get your hands on a little baby. You’re definitely something out of the ordinary.”
“Why would anyone want to be ordinary?” Mycroft mumbled. “This child will be… extraordinary. This child holds the potential for whole world in his tiny heart. That’s…”
“Beautiful,” Sherlock finished for him.
Mycroft looked up. “Yes. Here.” As though coming back to his senses, he passed Hamish back to John, who hugged him close, kissing his soft forehead. “Congratulations,” Mycroft said coolly, composing himself in an instant.
“I trust you’ll be a nurturing uncle for your new nephew?” John asked.
Both Sherlock and Mycroft scoffed at that, but John held his ground. His expression did not change. He stared pointedly at Mycroft, who cleared his throat. “Yes, of course,” he sighed. “I’ll be whatever kind of uncle I’m able to be.” At that, he took his umbrella in his hands, tapped it once on the ground, and left in his usual confident stride.
“Never thought I’d see the day,” Lestrade said with a grin, standing in the doorway. “Sherlock Holmes. A father. My god. Look at you.”
Sherlock presses Hamish closer. The boy’s head rests on Sherlock’s shoulder. His hand holds the child’s body up and he can feel the tiny knees wriggle against his chest. He was patting the little back, running a finger along the length of his torso to memorize its shape. “Was there a reason you came, Lestrade?”
“Are you kidding? I wanted to see the little tyke! C’mere! Hand him over!” Lestrade spread his arms.
Glaring, Sherlock did not budge. He only tightened his clasp on Hamish’s round bottom. “John!” He called loudly, making Lestrade flinch.
There was a grumpy moan from where John was resting in their room. “What?” Lestrade dropped his arms again, looking annoyed. He flopped onto their sofa. Sherlock turned his back on him to face the rest of the flat.
“Lestrade is here. Please come take care of it.”
John emerged, looking exhausted but friendly. Both men were sporting bags beneath their eyes. “Hi, Greg,” he said with a yawn and a wave, ruffling the back of his hair. “How’s it going?”
“Good, good,” he said. “I miss when my daughter was this young. I love babies. They’re great.”
“You offering to babysit?” John laughed. “’Cause Mrs. Hudson’s already volunteered, but we can always use more offers.”
Greg breathed a chuckle. “I suppose, if you’d like. I wouldn’t mind.” He bit his lip in a grin, and spread his arms again. “Oh, go on then. Lemme hold him.”
Sherlock clung to Hamish protectively. John put a hand on his shoulder. “Come on, Sherlock. He’s our friend. Let him go.”
“Mycroft was one thing, but he’s too young to just be handing him out to people. He’s not a doll to be passed about.”
“He needs to learn to trust more than just us, love. Greg’s our friend. He’s practically family. Go on.” John pried Hamish out of Sherlock’s hands with a great deal of effort. “There we go. Good, Sherlock. Good. You’ve got to learn some separation.”
He’s too precious, Sherlock thought bitterly. I don’t want to separate from him. I want to keep him safe and protect him forever. He swallowed thickly when his son was placed into Lestrade’s grasp.
“Aw, there we go!” Hamish shrieked happily in Lestrade’s arms as he rocked him. “Oh, what an unfussy baby! My Charlotte was such a squirmer at this age. Hello, little guy! Hi, cutie! It’s your uncle Greg, Hamish! Aw, look at him.” Lestrade let out a low whistle. “Those are some eyes he’s got, eh?”
John nodded. “Definitely Sherlock’s eyes.”
“So intense. This kid’s gonna have a killer stare, I bet. If he’s anything like you, Sherlock, he’s gonna be super intimidating when he grows up and is able to glare at folks. Imagine.”
“He’s going to be brilliant,” Sherlock asserted roughly. He threw himself into his armchair, looking highly disgruntled. His fingers were twitching. “Unstoppable.”
John changed tactics immediately, taking a seat on the arm of Sherlock’s chair and teasing a hand into Sherlock’s curls to calm him. “Anyway, Greg, is there a particular reason you’re here, or just…?”
“Oh, mostly I just wanted to see my friends’ little three-week-old! Who wouldn’t? This guy’s cute as a button!” He was grinning down at Hamish as though he was made of gold.
Sherlock nuzzled against John’s palm, closing his eyes and breathing in John’s scent. He smelled fresh, the way he often did after a nap. With his eyes closed, Sherlock suddenly felt the weight of his exhaustion nagging at him. He rested his head against John’s side, and John stroked him like a soft pet. He was already starting to doze. He loved Hamish, but the boy was tiring. “Aw, look at you guys,” Lestrade sighed. “You must be wiped.”
“Mm,” Sherlock sighed in agreement.
John smiled softly at Lestrade. “Forgive him,” he said. “He’s not slept in almost four days. The most he goes is about three, usually.”
“I’m right here, y’know.” Sherlock snapped.
“He’s also extremely attached to Hamish. Won’t put him down if he doesn’t have to.”
“Still right here.”
Lestrade laughed. “Sometimes I think about the way you two were when I first met you, and I could never have imagined what an old married couple you’d end up being.” He kissed Hamish on his forehead, and Hamish let out a bubbling sort of murmur. “Oh, adorable,” he said. There was a minute of pause, and then Lestrade started to look uncomfortable. “Ah—actually, there is a case…”
“Oh, I knew it,” John said with a groan. “That’ll get him.”
Sherlock perked up immediately, eyes snapping open. “It’s been a month since the last case,” he hissed excitedly.
“Haven’t exactly been bored though, have you?” John piped up.
“No, but John! A case!” He stood, and began pacing. His face was lit up with excitement, his limbs jittery from exhaustion and delight. “Go on, Inspector. Lay out the facts for me.”
John slid into Sherlock’s seat to listen while Sherlock paced and Lestrade told him everything of importance. Fifteen minutes into Lestrade’s story, John took Hamish back from him to be fed. Sherlock was starting to complain about not being able to see the crime scene, but half an hour later, he’d pried everything he needed out of Lestrade, and solved the case with a flourish of rambling deductions.
“You see!” he exclaimed wildly, pulling Hamish out of John’s grasp and clutching him desperately to him. “You see, Hamish! Your father is an excellent detective without even leaving the flat! See the life we can live together, my boy? Do you see? Ah, Hamish! We’ll have a brilliant time, solving cases together! Ah! I’ve still got it!” He hadn’t been this cheerful since the night they’d brought Hamish home, but even that had been a calm joy. This was stimulated and bouncy. Hamish wore a disdainful look as though Sherlock’s excitement was irritating him.
John laughed. “You’ll always have it, Sherlock, no matter how old you get, or how busy you are with this family we’ve built. Once a genius, always a genius.”
Lestrade got to his feet. “Thanks a lot, Sherlock. I really appreciate the help.”
“Never be afraid to ask me for help, Inspector. Not even now that I’m a father. That is irrelevant.”
John and Lestrade both went very quiet. Lestrade raised his eyebrows. “It is relevant, Sherlock. I’ve been fine without you these last few weeks. I want you to have time with your new family. You can’t go running around facing danger every day when you’ve got a little boy waiting for you to come home and tuck him in.”
That rendered Sherlock speechless for a second, but then he shook his head. “Hypocrite,” he growled. “You perform dangerous tasks every day, despite having a child. You are proof that is possible to live the life we want while still parenting our son. Don’t underestimate me, and mind your own business.”
The Inspector left in a state of defeat. John sat in his armchair across from Sherlock, who looked puzzled at John’s pointed expression. “What is it? Was that… not good?” He pouted.
“A bit not good, I’m afraid. I’m really proud you were able to solve that case without even leaving our sitting room, but… not all cases will be those kinds of cases. Sometimes you’ll need to do a bit of investigating, and we’re really gonna need to talk about that.”
“Why? I’m perfectly capable. I haven’t died yet, now, have I?”
John sighed, frustrated. “We already had this conversation before Hamish was even born. Before Harry was even pregnant. Remember?”
“Of course I remember.”
“And we agreed that we’d eliminate all the violence we can.”
“I know.” Sherlock blinked guiltily, patting Hamish’s fuzzy head. “And I’ll do my best at that. But I can’t promise anything, can I? I don’t want a life without casework.”
“I know. And I don’t want Hamish to have a life without his father.”
They stared at each other. They both knew Sherlock could never be kept from his cases; they also both knew that Sherlock didn’t want to put himself in mortal danger intentionally anymore. This new life was sure to put a lot of strain on Sherlock’s heart, mind, and conscience, and they knew it. His two halves would stretch themselves in different directions while he tried to keep himself sane and his son safe.
John hoped it wouldn’t tear him apart too much. He hoped his poor partner would be able to keep it together enough to give Hamish the kind of happy life he deserved.
“We’ll talk about it in a day or two, after you’ve gotten some more sleep under your belt, yeah?”
Sherlock nodded, passed Hamish off to his dad, and retreated for some much-needed rest.
It had been a month since Hamish’s birth. The child was growing faster than Sherlock had expected. He was very round, with pudgy cheeks, which John had caught Sherlock pinching on numerous occasions. When that happened, Sherlock had immediately stopped and pretended he wasn’t doing it.
“Even the biggest and baddest are softened by baby fat. There’s no question,” John giggled. He tangled his fingers into Sherlock’s curls, and Sherlock sniffed haughtily.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sherlock went pink, and John laughed.
“You can’t hide from me, you big softy. I’ve seen you pinching his cheeks, fiddling with his toes, and such. It’s sweet. I love how you are with him.”
Sherlock poked Hamish’s nose, and the baby whimpered cheerfully. “I love him,” he sighed. John watched his expression sadden.
“What’s the matter, love?” John hugged Sherlock around the middle where they stood beside Hamish’s crib. He nuzzled into the spot where Sherlock’s neck met his shoulder. “Why d’you look sad?”
Sherlock shrugged, and leaned his head atop John’s. The sandy hair was soft on his ear, and he sighed, closing his eyes. “I’m not.”
“Can’t lie to me. You know I can always see through you, you bastard.”
“Just… the last couple of weeks have been…”
There was a pause. “Cases,” Sherlock said vaguely. He cleared his throat, and started again. “I mean… I really love this boy, and that makes me weak. I am more likely to fail at my work when I love something so deeply. I will drop everything to come to him if he needs me. I thought you’d be my only weakness, you see, but now…”
“Now you’re screwed,” John said with a laugh.
“This isn’t funny!”
“No. Sorry.” John bit his lip to keep form laughing. “Mycroft said something to you, didn’t he?”
“You’re not…” John suddenly grew very serious. He pulled back to look Sherlock dead in the eyes. “You’re not regretting this life, are you?”
Sherlock’s eyes went wild. He grabbed John on either side of his head and pressed their foreheads together. “I wouldn’t trade you and Hamish for the world. Not even for the most exciting cases. Maybe I would have twenty years ago, but I’m not that person anymore, and it’s because of you.”
John smiled warmly, his eyes a little sad. “I understand you’re giving up a lot for this, but I don’t want you to be sad. I want you to work as much as you want to. I just also really want you to be safe.”
Sherlock kissed him. John let the kiss grow deep. When he released John’s lips, he sighed. “I know. You’re amazing.”
“Yoo-hoo!” Both men looked up. Mrs. Hudson was calling from the other room. “Where are my boys?”
“In here, Mrs. Hudson!” John called back. Sherlock lifted Hamish from his crib and held him close as they exited the bedroom.
The landlady spread her arms wide and gestured emphatically toward herself. “Give him here! Give him here!” With great reluctance, Sherlock handed him over. He looked bitter, but he was learning to just take a deep breath and let go. John held his hand to calm him, knowing perfectly well how hard it was for him just to put the boy down. He gave him a reassuring squeeze of the fingers.
“Aww, sweet Hamish. Look at you. Such a handsome boy today! Aren’t you? Yes!” She wiggled her finger in Hamish’s face. Hamish laughed, and then looked at Sherlock. His eyes were wide, bright, and shining. He wore an expression eerily similar to Sherlock’s, and the detective smiled proudly at the sight.
“How’re you doing, Mrs. Hudson?”
“Oh, fine, fine,” she said. She was looking particularly old this afternoon, but cheerful. “You boys got anything going on? Any cases?”
“Haven’t had any lately,” Sherlock said stiffly.
“Lestrade’s been trying to give us time with Hamish.”
Sherlock scoffed. “Yes, but he’d better not keep that up forever.”
John patted him gently on the lower back. “Sherlock’s in a bit of withdrawal, I think,” he explained to Mrs. Hudson. “Not having a good case in this long can make him a little testy.”
“Oh, I know, dear,” she said quietly, gazing into Hamish’s face with a soft expression. “Well, any time you get one on your hands, I’ll be happy to look after sweet little Hamish here for you.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Hudson,” John said appreciatively, while Sherlock pursed his lips. “You’re wonderful for offering.”
“Oh, don’t be silly, dears,” she said. “You’re family. He’s like a grandson to me, loves. You boys are the sons I never had.”
Sherlock put an arm around her and hugged her close. Hamish squeaked and snatched at the air towards his father’s face. Sherlock swooped down to his level so Hamish could lose his hands in Sherlock’s thick head of hair.
Mrs. Hudson giggled. “Oh!” she cried. “You are just the sweetest thing! Look at you boys, being parents! I can still barely believe it even after a month.”
John laughed. “Neither can I, sometimes.” He yawned.
“You boys need a break. Let me take him for a few hours.”
“No, Mrs. Hudson, we couldn’t…” Sherlock said quickly, looking torn between a chance to be with John alone and the desire to keep Hamish close to him.
“You absolutely could, love,” she said, patting him on the cheek. She looked up at him with a motherly smile. “Family. Remember?”
“We could do with some time off, yeah,” John said. “Come on, Sherlock. You’ve got to learn to let go, remember? You’ve got his whole lifetime to cling. You haven’t slept properly in ages. Let’s go have a rest, right?”
He nodded stiffly. “Yeah,” he said, backing away from her. “Yes. Go on then, Mrs. Hudson. He’s yours for the next…” He checked his watch. “…Four hours. If one hair on his head is out of place, mind you…”
John interrupted him quickly. “Ah—thank you so much, Mrs. Hudson. Forgive him. This is our first time ever letting someone else look after him.”
“Understandable, loves,” she cooed, stroking the back of Hamish’s little head. “He’s only a month old, after all. You love him. It’s gonna be nerve wracking. I’ve seen friends raise kids before. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t get any easier. You’ll always want to keep him close.”
“Yes,” John said sadly, reaching out to take Hamish by the hand. “That’s why we’ve got to get used to it.” He smiled widely. “Thanks again, Mrs. Hudson. Come, Sherlock. Let’s go to bed.”
Mrs. Hudson winked. “Have fun, you two.” She walked off, rocking Hamish in her arms and humming to him. Sherlock looked like he might punch something. His eye was twitching.
“Calm down, gorgeous,” John whispered, pressing his mouth to Sherlock’s ear and running his tongue along the shell of it. “He’ll be fine. And so will we. Mrs. Hudson might as well be Hamish’s grandmother. She’ll take good care of him. Now…” He pressed a kiss to Sherlock’s neck, and the taller man shuddered noticeably. “Let’s go to bed, shall we?”
“Mm, yes, please.” A switch seemed to go off. Sherlock’s hands began to roam, making John chuckle.
“Come on, you bloody idiot. Bed.”
Sherlock kissed John all the way to their room, and pressed him fast to the bed as soon as they flopped onto it. He worshipped John’s mouth, his arms on either side of his doctor’s head, cupping him gently and loving him into a stupor. Their legs wrapped around each other, warm and tangled in a flurry of sighs and moans.
Less than thirty seconds later, they were fast asleep in one another’s arms.
Chapter 3: Domesticity
Sherlock takes Hamish for a walk in the park.
I’m going out. SH
To the park. SH
No. I’m leaving him at home all by himself while Mrs H is in Italy. SH
Yes of course, with Hamish. SH
Youve never taken Hamish out on your own before.
I’m not incompetent, John. I can manage.
Right. I trust you. anyway, I may be here all night. Not sure.
You haven’t spent a whole night away from home in over five months. Before Hamish was born. Why? SH
Work. Obviously. Loads of paperwork.
Scared of having Hamish alone for a whole night?
No. Please John don’t underestimate my capabilities. SH
Go back to work. You only stop using proper English when you’re distracted by work. SH
Right. Love u.
I love you, too. See you tomorrow. SH
Hamish gurgled in the high seat. Sherlock set his phone down on the table, and placed his hands on his hips, staring at the fat baby. The child’s hair was thick and curly after five months of life. He looked remarkably like Sherlock, but the smile was a fantastic blend of the Holmes and Watson smiles.
“Well. We’re going out. Just you and me.” He grinned at Hamish’s excited expression. “That’s right, boy. Daddy’s not coming with us, today. You and me, kid. “ He double checked their emergency bag, then spotted the carrier. He blinked at it, and then glanced at Hamish. “Your dad always carries you about in that thing. I know you like it. Don’t think for a second I’d like to be caught dead in that.” Hamish laughed. “Bugger off.” Hamish only laughed harder, as though his father’s hesitance was the funniest thing in the world. “Stop that, now. Stop it. I’m not wearing it.” It was lying on the table, taunting him. It would be less tiring for his arms, he supposed. “Absolutely not,” he stated coldly. Hamish stopped laughing, and stared at him, blinking his wide blue eyes. They glistened in the overhead. Sherlock glared at him, and Hamish glared right back.
“Oh, you’re good,” he said, pointing an accusatory finger. They continued to stare at one another for a full minute, Hamish occasionally licking his lips, but never breaking the stare down. “Fine,” Sherlock said finally. “You got me. But I’ll hate you forever for this.” He didn’t mean it. He strapped the carrier around himself, and fastened Hamish in. “You’re heavier than you used to be, you little bastard,” he said. “What on earth has John been feeding you? Lard?” He chuckled to himself as the weight of Hamish’s little round body settled on his front. Hamish leaned his head back against Sherlock’s chest, and Sherlock slides his fingers through his little curls with one hand as he lifts the emergency bag. “Come along, then. We’re going.”
There was a lot of sun on this day. Sherlock scowled at it. He played with Hamish’s pudgy fingers while they walked, glaring at every passerby.
“Hamish,” he sighed. “Have I ever told you about the case of the Naval plans? Important stuff. Your dad was particularly excited about that case, because it was so high profile. I almost didn’t take it, to be honest, but…”
Hamish squeaked approvingly as they walked, clearly just enjoying the sound of Sherlock’s voice. Sherlock sat on a park bench just a few yards from a playground. He watched the children running with a look of disgust. “You won’t be like that, will you Hamish? So….” He watched a little girl licking ice cream off her fingers. “….Sticky?” He shuddered, and Hamish laughed, raising his arms in the air and giving a little shriek of joy. “I envision you being the quiet child. The one without all those annoying friends, or whatever it is normal kids have.” He smiled to himself, stroking the top of Hamish’s head.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a woman approaching. He put his guard up immediately, hugging Hamish around the middle protectively when the woman came to sit down on the bench beside him. “Aw!” she exclaimed, and he glared at her, scanning her up and down once to take in all he needed. “How old?”
“I don’t understand the question,” Sherlock hissed.
“I… I mean, how old is he?” she clarified, gesturing to Hamish.
Sherlock glared. “My son’s age is irrelevant to you. You are a school teacher with two children, going through a bad divorce with an abusive man, and I know feeling more involved with the children around you probably makes you feel better about keeping your kids around such a harmful father for three—no, five years of their lives, but it’s not going to help anything, and is in fact merely boring to those around you. Stop blaming yourself and being so tiresome and just focus on getting your life back into shape, why don’t you?”
The silence which followed this outburst was broken only by Hamish’s disapproving grunt. The clever boy, he seemed to take his ability to tell right from wrong from his daddy. That was good. Sherlock didn’t quite pick up on it.
As the woman stamped away in tears, Sherlock’s face softened. He seemed confused. “What have I done, Hamish? Why was she upset? Do you know?” Hamish gurgled and waved his chubby arms in the air in front of him. “People can be so… ordinary, Hamish. You’ll learn that quickly. I hope you’re not as bored by them all as I am for the rest of your life. You don’t deserve that.” He sighed, and sat back.
“Have I told you yet, the story of the Red Headed League? Oh, that was a really weird one, my boy. Sort of funny, too. John couldn’t stop laughing.”
Just as he began his tale, his phone vibrated. It was a text from Lestrade.
Body found, missing several organs, stitched up, no evidence around, please come if you have the time, sorry to disturb, hope you’re getting on.
Sherlock stood quickly, keeping a hand on Hamish’s head to keep him from getting dizzy. “Hamish!” he exclaimed loudly, still staring at his mobile. Several parents by the playground glanced over at him, a little afraid that he was a crazy person, obviously. He didn’t notice. “Hamish! We’ve got a case! Come! Be my partner for this evening, son! You’ll make a fine detective!” He twirled on the spot, holding Hamish’s head steady, and sent a fast text requesting an address.
“You’ll love this, Hamish,” he whispered to the mewling baby. “I promise.”
When the text came with the location of the crime scene, Sherlock grabbed the emergency bag, and was off in a flash.
“Sherlock!” Lestrade gaped. “What on earth? Why are you… What are you doing here with him?”
“He’s a tough boy. He can handle it.”
“He’s only five months old, you dimwit! What were you thinking? Where’s John?”
“At the hospital. He’s got work to do. He may be working all night, in fact. Where is the body?”
“Where is—are you kidding, Sherlock?” Lestrade crossed his arms. “I’m not going to show you the body with a baby hanging off your chest.”
Suddenly, there was a cry of delight. He rolled his eyes. Sally Donovan. He hadn’t anticipated the inevitable fawning. The entire police force was giving him funny looks, but Sally Donovan was on her way over, now. “Oh, he’s beautiful, Sherlock!” She reached out, but he cowered from her touch.
“Don’t you dare touch him,” he snarled. She threw her hands up in surrender.
“Jeez,” she said. “Should’ve figured you’d be mad about it. Still just as much of a freak, even now that you’re a family man.”
Lestrade hissed. “Come on, now. Not in front of his son.”
“What is he even doing here? What kind of psychopath brings a baby to a crime scene?”
“She’s right, Sherlock,” Lestrade said sadly, while Hamish screamed. “I can’t let a baby past the tape. I’m sorry.”
“Then you hold him. Give me three minutes and I’ll give you everything you need,” Sherlock said, dropping the emergency bag and starting to unfasten the carrier. Hamish was starting to cry. There was too much commotion.
“Wha—Sherlock, he’s upset! That’s not…”
“He’s just hungry,” Sherlock said flatly with confidence. “There’s formula in the bag.” Hamish was in Lestrade’s arms a second later. Donovan was rolling her eyes. “Three minutes. That’s all I need.” At that, he pushed past them toward the police tape.
Lestrade and Donovan glanced at each other. Hamish was still screaming. Donovan retrieved the formula bottle and handed it resentfully over to Lestrade, who sighed when he offered the nipple to Hamish. “Leave it to Sherlock to know exactly what the kid needs when he cries, with his ridiculous abilities. Wish I’d had him around when Charlotte was growing up.”
Donovan laughed, and watched with a smile as Lestrade fed the wide-eyed baby. He suckled deeply, clutching the bottle tight with both his hands, trying to pull the thing out of Lestrade’s grip. They fawned for a bit, and another couple of officers came over to join in while Sherlock got down on all fours at the body’s side, examining the earth underneath the victim’s backside.
Precisely three minutes later, Sherlock returned to them. “Shoo,” he snapped, waving everyone off. The grumbling crowd dispersed, and Sherlock snatched up his son furiously. “Mine,” he hissed. Lestrade looked perturbed.
Sherlock explained his complex deductions, bouncing Hamish up and down in front of him while Lestrade shook his head, impressed. “Thanks a lot, Sherlock. I really appreciate the help today, even under the… inappropriate circumstances.” He raised his eyebrows at Hamish, who emitted a squeal when Sherlock began to refasten him into the carrier.
“Inappropriate?” Sherlock looked confused. “The boy must get used to this sort of scenery. It’s how our family lives, and he’s a part of it.”
“Not exactly a great environment for a child to grow up in, though,” Donovan said with a laugh.
“You know nothing, Sergeant. Stay out of this.”
Lesttrade cleared his throat. “Does John know you’re here, Sherlock?”
“I told you. He’s at work.”
“So… he doesn’t know you brought his son to a crime scene?”
Sherlock pursed his lips. “Ah.”
“Did it honestly not occur to you that John might not approve of this?”
Hamish said something that sounded oddly like “Bababababa,” and they all stopped to look at him. Lestrade smiled.
“Looks like he might be getting close to his first words,” said Lestrade. Sherlock blinked.
“Do you think so?”
“Yeah. So watch what you say around him.”
“John will understand,” Sherlock said suddenly, trying to reassure himself, perhaps. “He knows I needed this. He understands.” Sherlock nodded adamantly. “He understands.”
He hoped so, anyway.
I went to a crime scene this afternoon. SH
Really? where was hamish?
In the carrier. SH
…was the carrier on you?
There was no answer for fifteen minutes, during which Sherlock fidgeted at the kitchen table with his fingers laced beneath his chin, watching Hamish bang his pacifier against the side of his high chair. “Do you think daddy with be angry with me, Hamish?”
Hamish’s eyes widened. “Gubbbbbb.”
We’ll talk about this when I get home in the morning.
He was fine there. He’s fine now. SH
Im sure. Still let’s talk about it when im home ok?
Fine. I love you. SH
i love you too
“I think he might be upset with me, Hamish.”
“Eeeeee,” said the child.
Sherlock smiled. “It’s possible,” he said.
He didn’t sleep that night. He watched Hamish snooze, instead, curling his little hand around his blanket for safety. When he woke, Sherlock would satisfy him with whatever he needed, with more efficiency than John probably ever could, and whispered case stories to him to lull him back to sleep. The flat was so quiet apart from Hamish’s little noises. He missed John’s snoring. When the sun rose, he missed John’s bustling to make tea and breakfast. He missed John’s hand on his shoulder and his greeting kiss.
When he heard the key in the door, Sherlock perked up. He met John in the sitting room and threw his arms around him.
“Nice to see you, too,” John said with a chuckle, rubbing Sherlock’s back as the embrace went on.
“John!” he rasped. “Some stupid woman asked me about Hamish’s age. What business was that of hers? And the people! Oh god, John, so many people! How they flocked to him! What’s wrong with them all?”
“He’s very cute, Sherlock. People like cute babies.”
“But he’s ours. Not theirs. Why can’t they leave him alone and just mind their own business?”
“I think the real question here is: why was Hamish at a crime scene?”
Sherlock paused, and pulled away, avoiding John’s eyes. He looked like a guilty child. “I was out with him at the park,” he explained, “when I got the text from Lestrade. It sounded like a good one. I solved it in three minutes.” He glanced up as though hoping for praise, but he got none.
“So you just brought Hamish with you?”
“He stayed on the sidelines,” Sherlock insisted. “Lestrade held him. He was fine!”
“That’s not the point. A million things could have happened. You might not have been able to solve it in three minutes. The criminal could have returned to the scene. I just... I don’t think I want him at crime scenes anymore.”
“Not unless we’re both there.”
Sherlock thought about this. “Fine. Reasonable.”
John nodded. “Glad you agree.” He smiled warmly, and kissed Sherlock, who swooned at the contact. “See, Sherlock? We can do this. We can parent. Look at us. Making compromises.”
“Pretty amazing, isn’t it?”
“I suppose it is,” Sherlock agreed with a faint blush.
There was a loud cry from the bedroom, and they sighed, still pressing each other close for a few more seconds before withdrawing. “I’ll get it,” John breathed. He pressed a kiss to Sherlock’s forehead. “I got about an hour’s sleep at the office. I bet you didn’t sleep a wink, though.” Sherlock’s lips twitched in acknowledgement. “Yeah, alright. I’ll get it, then. Put some tea on, would you?”
John went to take care of Hamish. Sherlock put the kettle on, and leaned back against the table with a soft smile, watching the blue flame flickering on the stove. How very domestic he’d become, he thought. It was odd, certainly, but never boring. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d thrown one of his tantrums, and it was all thanks to Hamish. Brilliant Hamish. Wonderful Hamish.
He sighed proudly, soaking in the peaceful moments of early morning tea with his partner, and loving every part of it.
Chapter 4: Milestones
Sherlock spooned a lump of baby food into Hamish's mouth. The child slurped it messily, dribbling a little down his front. "Careless," Sherlock sighed, but there was no irritation in his voice. It was all love.
Hamish squealed and mumbled, chewing the mush with his gums and testing the texture of it on the inside of his cheeks like a proper curious baby, At almost seven and a half months, he was more curious than anyone Sherlock had ever met, other than himself. He tested everything, with his hands and mouth, and went wild with every new discovery. His eyes danced the same way Sherlock's did when he'd find a new piece of evidence at a crime scene. He was an obscenely fast learner. He was already pushing himself into a standing position against sturdy furniture. It frightened John a little, who was often afraid Hamish was going to start picking up on Sherlock's habits soon.
"God, he's getting big," John exclaimed as he passed the kitchen table, placing a hand on Hamish's head and ruffling his curls. The baby shrieked happily and snatched at John's hand. John sat beside him, letting Hamish examine the details of his fingernails. "He's so long. Like a tiny little alien. He's gonna be tall like you, Sherlock. I know it."
Sherlock grinned. "D'you think so? I hope so."
"Yeah. He's gonna be tall and handsome, just like his father. And with those piercing blue eyes and his brilliant mind, he'll really be just like his father."
"Don't forget that sweet smile and nose like his dad. Or his moral compass." Sherlock raised his eyebrows pointedly.
John looked flattered. He leaned across the table, and Sherlock did too. They kissed, long and slow, with Sherlock's hand still clutched around the spoon, and John's hand still occupied by Hamish's observant gaze. For a long moment, they were lost in each other's mouths. They ignored his presence for a minute, allowing themselves this needy grasping of lips. They found any moment they could to touch each other, to be alone, or to make love. Those moments were fewer and far between now.
It took them a second, as they were lightheaded from the kiss, but then…
They leapt apart. John looked around in shock. "Did he just?
"Case." The word was a little garbled. It was honestly a bit more like "Kays," but it was still distinguishable."
"No." John shook his head. "Hamish? Did you just…?"
"Oh god. He did. Sherlock. He really did."
Sherlock was shining with pride. "Yes, he did."
"He's so young, though!"
The beaming smugness on Sherlock's face was a sight to behold. "I spoke early, too. He's definitely a Holmes boy."
"Sherlock. His first word is "case."" John slapped a hand to his forehead. "Oh god. I hoped it would be 'papa,' or 'daddy," you know, something normal. 'Dog,' or 'cookie,' or something."
"I'm hardly surprised. He hears the word enough to have picked up on it, and it's short, simple enough. Besides, he likes cases."
"I knew it would be a bad idea to tell him case stories at bedtime. It's your fault, y'know."
"I don't see how I'm at fault," Sherlock sniffed. "No child needs to hear about fictional princesses being rescued by dopey princes. Those silly fairy tales only ever lead to dull expectations of life, and set poor mentalities that contribute to the utter awfulness of the world. Why would I want our Hamish to be part of the problem? The stories he'll grow up knowing will be better, more interesting, and more useful than any other. The other children will envy his intellect and his unbiased morality. He'll own them."
John cleared his throat. "Uh… no, Sherlock," he said. "He'll be laughed out of the playground for not knowing what the other kids know. He'll be teased for being smart, not praised. That's how it is, being a kid. Don't you remember? What were you like as a kid? Outcast?"
Sherlock twitched. He sat back in his chair, twirling the little rubber spoon between his fingers. "Small," he said after a while. "Runty. All the way up until puberty. I was alone, but I liked it that way. You know my body is merely transport for me, John, and that was always true. My classmates abused me, but I ignored them, locking myself away in the only place things really mattered: my own head. I was so lost in my own head sometimes, though, that I sometimes couldn't get out. I went a little mad. Then I hit puberty. I became…." He gestured to his body.
"Gorgeous?" John supplied with a quirk of his lips.
"Whatever. This. I became attractive. Everyone wanted me, but only to use. No one wanted to actually be in my company, because I was… myself. No one liked me. They called me a freak. Psychopath. I took advantage of my attractiveness, and I fucked people at my leisure just to learn. They called me a whore. They spat on me. They threw money at me. I was only sixteen, then." His eyes darkened.
John's jaw was slack, listening to this story with a great ache in his heart. He hadn't known any of this.
"I was tormented, but unaffected by all of it." He looked up at John. "I don't want Hamish to go through that, but I do want him to be as strong as I was. I want him to be clever. Cleverer than anyone else he'll ever know, aside from me. I want him to excel, but still be liked. Don't you think we can do that? The two of us?" His eyes were shining, and John's heart was weeping for him. "Do you think we can give him what I couldn't have?'
"What's that?" John asked softly, stroking Sherlock's cheek with the back of his hand.
Flabbergasted, John sighed. "Sherlock," he said sadly. "You have a heart. You always have."
"You're my heart," Sherlock said under his breath. "I'm quite convinced I didn't have one before you came along."
"I know you think that. You've always said that. But I just don't agree with you, my love. I never told you this, but… years and years ago, long before the day you first kissed me, Mycroft once pointed out to me that even with the mind of a scientist, you elected to be a detective. What do you think that says about you?" He raised his eyes. "I think it means you actually want to help people, because despite your bitter disposition, you want the world to be a better place, and you want to be part of it. You have the greatest heart I've ever known, Sherlock. Don't you dare underestimate it."
John let his fingers trail down Sherlock's neck and collarbone to rest on the spot over his heart. He pressed his palm here in a protective gesture. He felt the pulse beating under his fingertips, and sighed. "You're beautiful," he rasped. "I'm sorry you had such a lonely childhood. It's no wonder you turned to drugs later. The more I learn about you, Sherlock, the more I love you. I hope you know that. All these years later and I still feel like I don't know you sometimes, but every time you open up to me just a little bit more, I remember how lucky I am. You're the best man, and the most brilliant mind in the world, and you're all mine. You're an amazing father, and you'll continue to be.
"Hamish is going to grow up his own person, though, Sherlock. He's not going to be just like you, and he's not going to be just like me. He may be a funny combination of the two, though, but we'll just have to wait and see, won't we? And yeah, he may be teased like you were," John added with a shrug. "The nice ones and the smart ones always are. But that's okay. He'll grow up stronger for it, and he'll be an amazing man when he grows up, just like you."
"Just like you," Sherlock corrected. He grinned. John joined him.
They kissed again, and this time, Sherlock moaned deeply against John's invasive tongue. He forgot entirely that Hamish was at the table as well, and stood up, pulling John in for a bruising kiss some feet over the tabletop. He was practically about to lunge across it—to clear the surface, pull John onto it and shag right there, but the tiny squeals from the innocent baby beside them held him back. "Damn it," he growled against John. "I love you so much. I want you so bad, now. Please, John."
"Hamish is right there, Sherlock," John hissed with a laugh bubbling under his tone. The poor boy will be scarred for life. He just said his first word. Let's keep this moment sacred."
Sherlock groaned, then flung himself back into the chair. He met Hamish's eye. The child was staring at him as though he were an ugly insect. "What are you looking at?" Sherloc spat.
"Case," Hamish said sternly.
"He really sounds like you more and more every day. It's frightening." John fed Hamish another spoonful, and they watched him toothlessly mush it around for a minute. "Y'know what?" John said suddenly. "I think we should commemorate this moment." He stood, and left the room.
A minute later, he returned with a camera. "There we go," he said happily. "Get over here, Sherlock."
"What are you doing?"
"Taking a picture of us."
"Would you like me to do it?"
"No. I want you to be in the picture, too."
"This is stupid."
"Yes, alright, you big baby. Come over here and kneel next to Hamish's chair."
Sherlock did. John leaned in close, held the camera as far away as he could, and clicked. Hamish screamed with delight at the flash.
Over Hamish's head, John gazed at Sherlock lovingly. "Our first family photo," he said. Sherlock rolled his eyes, but he was smirking in a way that spoke volumes to John's knowing eyes. Sherlock Holmes was truly happy.
All was quiet. The doctor and his detective were lying together in bed. Sherlock was almost asleep. John was wired.
"Hamish is turning one year old in just a couple of months."
"Are we gonna have a party for him?"
"Why would we do that?" Sherlock rumbled. His voice was a little muffled with his face pressed into the pillow.
John laughed. "People do that for their kids. They throw parties for their birthdays. He's never had a birthday before."
"Sure he has. He was born, wasn't he? That was a birthday."
"Oh, you know what I mean."
"But what use would it be? He won't even remember it. We may as well just lie and tell him he had a first birthday party when he's older."
John shrugged. "It's fun. Sentiment. I donno. It would just be for us, really. Just as a mark of the fact that our little Hamish will have been alive for an entire year."
"Not exactly a huge feat. People do it all the time."
"He's brilliant and special, and he doesn't need a party in order to know it."
John snuggled close, burrowing his nose into Sherlock's bare chest. "He is brilliant. I mean how many babies almost eleven months old d'you know who can nearly walk and say as many words as he can?"
"Case," Sherlock rattled off proudly, "killer, blood, papa, daddy, and yeah."
A breath of laughter ghosted Sherlock's skin. "Trust you to rank 'killer' and 'blood' higher than 'daddy' and 'papa,' you little git." Sherlock kissed John's head, then yawned into his hair. John grinned sleepily, running his hands over Sherlock's soft torso. Sherlock hummed approvingly at the light caress.
"He's remarkable," Sherlock breathed. "And he's all ours. I love you for giving him to me."
"I love you for letting him happen."
"Best decision I ever made."
John sat up suddenly at that. Even in the dark, Sherlock could tell how surprised and touched John looked. "That's…" The silence was thick. Sherlock waited. "Are you serious?"
"Of course I'm serious. Why would I lie?"
"I… don't know." John settled back down beside him. He was so warm. Sherlock wriggled closer, trying to garner all the body heat possible. "I'm just… I donno, no matter how much time passes, it still amazes me the kind of profound effect Hamish's life has had on you. He's made your heart bigger than it was before. He's made you stop and think about the value of treasuring life and love. He's made you a better man. I can see it in your eyes every time you look at him."
Sherlock sighed, and rolled over so his back was nuzzled against John's front. "I can't believe he's almost a year old already."
"Time flies. Lestrade says we've got to treasure them while they're small because one day, in the blink of an eye, they'll be as tall as you, telling you off just for breathing too loudly."
"I hate loud breathers. And besides, Hamish won't be like that."
"He's still gonna be a normal kid, Sherlock."
"As normal as any Watson-Holmes child could be."
"Yes, I suppose. Still. Treasure this time."
"Then let's throw him a party. Let's enjoy it while he's this young. Let's watch him get plump for the day, and watch that little glow in his eyes when he's enjoying his sugar rush. It'll be so cute." John traced teasing circles on Sherlock's lower belly. He moaned and leaned backwards against his lover. "What do you say, Sherlock? Let's give him a party."
John was warm and inviting against Sherlock's back. His lips were torturous on the shell of his ear and the shape of his neck. "Mm, fine, but nothing extravagant, and no guests," he sighed.
"Yes," John exclaimed triumphantly.
"Shh!" Sherlock pointed dramatically to the crib in the corner of the room where Hamish lay. There was the faintest rustling from beyond its confines, and both men went silent. They waited, but when no other sound could be heard, they breathed easy again. "If you wake him up after the hours I spent trying to make him sleep, I'll murder you."
"I know, I know. Sorry."
"Mm. Right. I'm tired. Lease me alone."
"Hardly an excuse for the great Sherlock Holmes."
"Oh, shut up."
A month prior to his son's first birthday, Sherlock turned forty-two, and John knew better than to throw him any sort of party. He'd tried once—years ago. He'd learned his lesson well. This time, he'd settled for a single present. He bought Sherlock a new microscope (for his old one was growing shabby). In addition to that, he took off work and took Hamish for the whole day so that Sherlock could attend a gory crime scene.
On that very day, Hamish learned the word "No." He liked it. He said it in response to everything, and he did so with a devious smile as though he knew exactly what it meant and was mightily pleased to be disobedient. So like his father. Sherlock saw this new word as a personal gift to him on his birthday. John laughed at that, but he left Sherlock have his little fantasy.
The next morning, John took Hamish by the hands to let him totter around the sitting room. Hamish loved it when he did this. His eyes lit up, and he started shrieking "No, no, no!" while John laughed. He wriggled one strengthening leg, an stepped messily forward. When he began to tug his tiny pudgy hands out of his daddy's grip, John let go for just a second. Hamish stood, all on his own.
"Sherlock!" John's heart was pounding. "Sherlock, come fast!"
The great detective entered the room swiftly with his hands in his trouser pockets and his tailored blazer making him look sleek and gorgeous. "What is it?" he groaned.
When he saw Hamish standing by himself, albeit a little wobbly, he clapped his hands together with joy. "My boy! I was wondering when he'd figure that out. I learned to walk much earlier than he."
"Well he's not you, is he," John reminded him snappily. "He does things at his own pace, not yours. So shut it. Just look at him." His face went warm and proud.
Sherlock settled, cross-legged, in front of Hamish, just a few paces away. "Walk, Hamish," he ordered. The boy was looking up at him with excited eyes. He raised his little arms as though offering a hug, and took his first step towards his father. Sherlock's pride made him flush. His controlled expression broke into a wide grin when Hamish took three more tottering steps into Sherlock's arms.
"Amazing, Hamish! Really, fantastic! Good boy!"
Hamish screamed victoriously, and that led quickly into a sling of proud giggles. He knew exactly what he'd done, and what a huge step it was. Sherlock could tell. "He's pleased with himself," Sherlock said happily. "He should be. He's incredible." Sherlock's eyes were sparkling. John gaped at him.
"I haven't even…"
"You were going to ask if I'm crying. I'm not."
"No, but I can see there are tears in your eyes, you great lump. You think I can't tell when you're moved, by now? After all this time?"
"I'm fine," Sherlock choked, hugging Hamish close with one arm wrapped around the boy's legs and the other around his torso. He was embracing him the way he'd never embraced anyone other than John.
"You're perfect." John sighed dreamily at the sight of his partner holding their wriggling eleven month old. Hamish's little hands were on Sherlock's face. John marveled at the contrast between Sherlock's stern features, sharp angles, and Hamish's soft arms, creased with baby fat.
Sherlock grinned. "The perfect couple of days," he said. "A good case, a new word, and now his first steps. Oh, Hamish. You're brilliant."
"Bah!" Hamish shrieked. "No, no, no, no, no! No! No! Caaaaaaaase!"
Both men preened and fawned. Sherlock's icy demeanor was totally crushed at the moment. His cheeks were pink. His smile was wide. His eyes crinkled and his brow was relaxed. John shook his head. "I can't imagine how you'll be on his first day of school, or the first time he dissects something by himself…"
Sherlock laughed. "Nor can I," he said. "I believe the day he makes his first real deduction will be the proudest of my life."
Hamish's birthday came, and the child had no idea. He cried when he was hungry and he laughed when Sherlock picked him up. He ran around the flat like a lunatic. He gurgled, and tried to stick his fingers in both parents' noses. The fact that it was his birthday could not have been more irrelevant to him. In the middle of the day, however, John gave him a slice of cake.
Sherlock shoveled the first bite into Hamish's mouth, scowling at John for his insistence upon stupid traditions. Hamish's eyes lit up. It was the first time he's ever tasted cake. He grasped for the little plastic fork excitedly, and Sherlock handed it to him. He slowly fed himself, letting large quantities of vanilla icing mar his soft cheeks. Bits of cake crumbled down his front when he missed his mouth or only took half his forkful into his mouth. Hamish chewed sloppily with his gummy mouth, and Sherlock sighed, watching him. He rested his chin on his hands.
John sat down beside him, watching Hamish eat with a smile on his face. "Aww," he said. "Look how happy he is. He may not know it's his birthday, but one day he'll thank us for giving him cake."
"Case!" Hamish looked joyful.
"No, not a case, Hamish. Cake."
"Case," Hamish mumbled happily, prodding the spongy dessert with his fork and grinning down at it with his big blue eyes.
Sherlock laughed. John gave Sherlock a pat on his hand, then ran his fingers through Sherlock's soft curls. Hamish watched this interaction, and ended up missing his mouth again.
"He's so beautiful," John said quietly.
"Yes," Sherlock agreed.
"So are you."
"Can you believe we've had him in our lives for a whole year?"
Sherlock shook his head. "The time's gone so fast."
"Hasn't it?" John reached out and touched Hamish's arm gently while the baby continued to eat sloppily. They watched him in silence for a little while, and then John spoke again. "Did you ever think, Sherlock… when we were younger and just moved in together… that we'd end up like this? With a child? Watching him eat cake on his first birthday?"
"How could I?" Sherlock replied with a slight smirk.
"Yeah, but I know you were attracted to me, at the very least."
"Bet you thought about shagging me that first day we met, did you?" John snickered, and nudged Sherlock in the side.
"Can't deny it," Sherlock sighed. He turned to look at John, only to discover that John was staring at him, too. They were looking at each other with hungry eyes. Sherlock couldn't take his eyes off John's mouth. It looked sweet and perfect. A little bi of age had treated John so well. "Mm," he purred huskily.
"No, no," John said playfully, swatting him away. "Stop looking at me like that."
"Like I'm your cake and you're going to eat me alive."
"I very well might, Captain Watson."
"Shut it, you," John warned. They glanced at Hamish, who was actually rolling his eyes at them. He looked uncannily like Sherlock. Sassy, frustrated, and accepting of no bullshit.
They learned quickly why feeding sugar to a baby can be a silly thing. Hamish would not sit down, after that. He ran, without assistance, around the kitchen and sitting room for at least an hour, screaming at the top of his lungs. Mrs. Hudson came up at one point to see what was going on. Upon realizing, she sat on the sofa to watch Hamish enjoy his sugar rush for a bit. He looked a little ridiculous with his diaper making him look particularly round at the bottom, and with his bloated baby's stomach, waddling on unskilled but practiced legs.
Sherlock knew it was just a sugar high, but he liked to think that this burst of energy was a sign that Hamish would have Sherlock's perseverance. John told him he was grasping at straws, but Sherlock sat back and smiled, feeling confident in his son's likeness.
John was a little concerned that Sherlock would turn out to be a pushy father, one a little too insistent that Hamish become like him. On the other hand, he was also sure that either way, he'd be loving, giving, and great. Hamish had great parents, and was sure to have a great life ahead of him. John felt the potential swelling up in him again as he watched Sherlock watching Hamish. One birthday would turn into many. One day Hamish would become an older child, then a teenager, and eventually, a man of his own.
No matter how often the thought crossed John's mind, it was still too incredible to believe sometimes. Time is something precious, and definitely a thing to be savored.
Chapter 5: Like Father Like Son
Sorry, this one's a bit short. Also, sorry for the slow updates. Upsetting job, plus new boyfriend... overall, bad contributors to fanfiction writing.
When Hamish's incisors started coming in, they worried. He started trying to stick everything in his mouth that he could get his hands on. Most of the time, they kept pacifiers on hand. Sometimes, John offered him his finger to chew on lightly, but they didn't always have that option. When they were outside, he'd pick stuff up off the pavement to eat.
Once, Hamish gave them a bit of a scare while they were out at the park. John and Sherlock sat upon a park bench while Hamish ran a little ways away. John kept a steady eye on him while Sherlock rattled off facts to bounce off John.
"Hang on," John said suddenly, interrupting Sherlock's rant. Sherlock stopped talking, looking grumpy, and looked around. John stood, and Sherlock watched him jog to where Hamish was playing in the dirt. John returned with the toddler in his arms. Hamish was looking extremely smug with his lips pursed.
"He won't open his mouth," John said. He looked tired. The sun was highlighting the grey in his hair, and Sherlock thought he looked beautiful. Hamish blinked in the bright summer's day, but puffed out his cheeks as though to agree with John. "I saw him put something in his mouth but I don't know what it was."
Sherlock sighed, and squished Hamish's cheeks to force apart his thin lips. Out into Sherlock's hand plopped a few soggy old cigarette butts. "Hamish," he rumbled in a disappointed voice. "That's disgusting."
"Looks like someone's developed his father's nicotine habit a little early," John joked, but he looked sad.
"Don't be ridiculous," Sherlock sniffed, but he looked a little tense. He was wearing three patches at present. He had been giving in to his cravings more frequently. The less he slept (and sleeping was rare with a fourteen-month-old), the harder it became for him to resist his addiction. Had Hamish seen? Did Hamish perhaps smell the smoke on his jacket, and recognize the scent when he leaned in to see what the scraps on the pavement were? "I'm sure he's just sticking something little in his mouth as he usually does. Didn't really matter what it was."
"Yeah, maybe. Or maybe you've given him your bloody tobacco addiction."
"That's absurd. And impossible."
"It's not. Not if you've been smoking around him."
"I haven't been."
"Then I guess it was probably just a coincidence was it?"
Hamish giggled. "Mine, mine, mine," he mumbled, and leaned forward to try and snatch back the cigarette stubs from Sherlock's open palm. Sherlock pulled away with a disgruntled expression.
John laughed. "Like father, like son."
Sherlock didn't smile at that like he usually would. He looked introspective and a little nervous.
Beautiful, John thought, watching Hamish socialize. The boy was stunningly pale, no matter how much sun he got. His hair was deep ebony, growing unruly around his long face and glowing eyes. Watching Hamish sit with other kids his own age, John felt warmth in his chest. He smiled serenely as Hamish offered a straight-haired girl his blocks.
"Seems a little idiotic, doesn't it?"
"What does, Sherlock?"
The detective bristled and sighed, his hands in his coat pockets and his scarf hanging loose around his neck as though he'd only thrown it over his shoulders as an afterthought before heading out the door. He looked extraordinarily out of place in a room with foam puzzle pieces laid out upon the floor and chairs not big enough for any person of ordinary size. There were knee-height bookshelves full of trays for crayons and colored paper.
"This place. What does he need daycare for, anyway? He's brilliant."
"We know he's clever, Sherlock. That's not the problem. I want him to socialize."
"He's only sixteen months old. He doesn't need to socialize. What does one need socializing for anyway?"
"People need to understand what it's like to interact with other people. Without that ability, he'll grow up stunted. He'll never understand human beings."
Sherlock sniffed. "Useless. But I suppose… if you think it's necessary…"
John patted him reassuringly. "Thank you, Sherlock. I think this'll do him some good."
"He's not even two, and he's so much better than all these balls of snot he'll be playing with. He's above this."
Another parent looked over with an odd expression.
"Careful, Sherlock," John hissed. "I don't think it's a great idea for the parents of Hamish's future friends to hear you calling their kids balls of snot."
"He's better than that, though."
John's lips went thin, and his brow knotted. He rubbed his temples the way he always did when Sherlock was being particularly thick. "We've talked about this," he said slowly, cautiously. "We've already decided we don't want him to be antisocial like you."
"No buts, Sherlock. He's going to daycare. I know with your genes as strong as they are, he'll probably have a harder time making friends than other kids. That's why we ought to start young."
They went silent for a moment. Sherlock was scowling while they watched Hamish play. When the boy stuck a block in his mouth and began to chew on it, Sherlock smirked, and John leapt forward. "Unsanitary, Hamish, love," he said, pulling the orange rectangle away from him. The toddler glared at him, so like Sherlock.
He gurgled a little, and then reached out for the block again, which John had placed back down in front of him. The girl across from him was knocking too blocks together and making a loud noise, but Hamish didn't seem to like that. With the damp orange block, Hamish whacked the girl's hand. "Stop," he whined loudly. His voice was shrill. "Rude," he spat, and Sherlock's grin was uncontrollable. That's when Hamish lashed out. He hit the girl again, this time with a tightly closed fist. The girl began to cry.
"Whoa, Hamish," John scolded, and lifted him from his spot.
Hamish was scowling like his father in John's arms. "Rude, rude, rude," he repeated in his tiny squeak of a voice.
"Not even two yet and he's already fed up with normal folks. A good start."
"Good start? Sherlock, I don't like it. This is his first day at Daycare and he's just punched a kid for being 'rude.' I certainly hope he's not always gonna be like this."
"He might be," Sherlock said quietly. "Until he learns to internalize how overwhelming everything is."
"That's rather… not good, Sherlock." John patted Hamish's back soothingly while the kid made grumbling noises of frustration. He rested his little pale chin on John's shoulder.
Sherlock stroked Hamish's hair gently from John's side. A teacher approached them with a bright smile. "Hello, Mr., uh…"
"Holmes," Sherlock rumbled, rolling his eyes.
"Watson," John said, reaching out with his free hand to shake hers. She had blonde hair and a cheerful demeanor. Sherlock wondered vaguely if John found her pretty. He wouldn't know. He didn't like women, except for The Woman, and John was the only person he allowed himself to notice anyway.
"Hi," she said warmly. "It's good to meet you. Holmes… Watson… so, you're…" She checked a list on a clipboard. "Hamish's parents, then?"
"Yes." John was relieved she didn't seem to care that that their family consisted of two fathers. It had been a concern of his, and he was glad it wasn't turning out to be an obstacle.
"Right. Well, first time parents?"
"Ah, yes," John said. "How could you tell?"
Sherlock spoke over her. "She's an experienced Daycare instructor, John. She's seen hundreds of first time parents and knows the signs. We're some of the last parents to leave the classroom, whereas most parents leave their kids, say goodbye, and leave after a small amount of whining from the child. After Hamish was already situated, she witnessed you pick him up again, as though not ready to let him go. Her deductions were quite accurate, I'm afraid. We are, indeed, first time parents. Come, John. Put Hamish down if you want him to stay."
"But you don't want him to stay, Sherlock."
"No, I don't. But I know you do, and you're going to make me leave him here no matter what, so we may as well skip the arguing now and just leave."
The Daycare teacher looked awkward. "Uh… right!" She quickly wiped the confused look off her face and resumed her professional expression of forced cheeriness. "Good! Well. I can assure you he'll be extremely safe here."
"Don't make assurances you can't keep. No one can promise safety. Any number of things could happen." At that, Sherlock turned on his heel with a wide swish of his coat, and left.
John hugged Hamish tight. "Right, Hamish. We'll see you at the end of the day, alright?" He placed him on the ground again, and Hamish glared up at him with wide, wet eyes. "Okay. Well... Thank you very much, Miss McNeil. See you… later, I suppose."
Sherlock had gotten a cab alone. John arrived home to find no one there. He flopped into Sherlock's armchair, soaking in the unusual silence of the flat. Without Hamish and without Sherlock, the quiet pressed in on John like a smothering blanket. He felt warm, comfortable, and sleepy. He let his eyes close.
Some hours later, he awoke to Sherlock's voice. "You're in my chair."
"Yes," John groaned as he stretched out his limbs. "Sorry. I just…"
"Oh, stop, I know you sit in my chair when I'm not here. I've always known. And yes, I know that it's not because it's more comfortable but because it makes you feel like you're with me. A little pathetic, John, but I do believe it would be construed as romantic in normal society."
"Maybe," John said sleepily. "Mm." He stretched a little more, and rubbed sleepiness out of his eyes.
Sherlock was looking tired. He never looked tired.
"You okay, Sherlock?"
The detective shrugged. "I've just helped Lestrade solve three cases."
John checked his watch. "It's only been three hours!"
"Indeed. And we've still got the rest of the day without Hamish."
"Told you Daycare was a good idea."
"Still not so sure about that. What if the brats around him have some sort of… impact on him?"
"That'll be a good thing. With your genes, he needs all the goodness he can get from me and from others around him!"
"Are you implying I can't raise our son properly?"
"Oh shut up. Come here, you. Let's just enjoy this time together."
Sherlock blinked, his hands in his pockets.
"Please?" John said, reaching up to him. Sherlock took his hand, and pulled John to his feet. The doctor found himself pulled into Sherlock's warm embrace, and was well rewarded with a gentle kiss.
Sherlock's tongue was soft. John purred against it, completely overwhelmed by the scent of his partner's closeness. "It's been way too long," John sighed.
The detective hummed approvingly, nipping John's bottom lip. "Bed?" he suggested with sultry eyes.
"Bed," John agreed.
At 2:30 PM, Sherlock and John were outside the Daycare exactly on time. Other screaming children were already being carried out by their parents when they spotted their son on the rug by the teacher. He looked totally impassive, and was staring down at his toes as though they were fascinating. McNeil waved them over.
"Ah," she said. "Nice to see you again!" Her smile was extremely forced. John eyed Sherlock carefully to make sure he wasn't going to say anything.
"Yes," said John, shaking her hand. "How are you? How was today?"
"Good, good," she said. Then her demeanor changed. "Listen, uh… Mr. Watson…"
"Dr. Watson," John corrected, grasping his hands behind his back and looking very much like an army man. Sherlock glared at him.
She nodded. "Yes… So, Dr. Watson… Mr. Holmes…" She glanced between them. "I was wondering if there are any circumstances at home I should know about. I mean… has anything happened, or…?"
"No," John said quickly. His brow was furrowed. "No, not at all, why… Why do you ask?"
"It's just…" She hesitated. "Well. Your son basically refused to talk, for the entire day. He stared me down almost unblinkingly, but wouldn't speak. He wouldn't play with the others, either. He just sat there. When someone offered him a toy, he'd take it and walk away, then hide the toy somewhere in the classroom. Such anti-social behavior is usually something we try to watch out for."
Sherlock lifted Hamish into his arms, and held him close. Hamish played with his father's curls, twirling the locks around his fat little hands. "Hamish has never really socialized before. There's bound to be some transitional problems." Hamish blinked stoically at John over Sherlock's shoulder.
John nodded in agreement. "Yes," he said. "I'm sorry if he was a problem, but that's the whole reason we put him in Daycare to begin with. We want him to socialize like any normal boy."
"Is there any reason he shouldn't be a normal boy?" Miss McNeil asked, narrowing her eyes.
"None at all," Sherlock spat. "We're leaving."
John nodded toward Sherlock's retreating frame. I'm afraid Sherlock's got some… social problems that I worry may be very much alive in our son. I don't know if that's just from observing Sherlock work and interact with others, or if it's something else entirely, but… thank you for letting us know."
Miss McNeil smiled. "No matter," she said kindly. "Have a good day. We'll see you again tomorrow, I expect."
"Yes. Of course. Unless Sherlock has other plans."
Indeed, Sherlock was considering having Hamish home schooled. He let the boy walk home while John held his hand. Halfway down the block, the round little child bent over, and the couple stopped to watch him pick a cigarette butt off the ground and stick it into his mouth. They looked at each other, eyebrows raised. Sherlock's expression was mostly defensive, but John's was slightly fearful.