Sherlock woke to bright sunlight streaming in through the open window next to his bed. He felt John stir beside him and reached up an arm to lazily draw circles over the doctor's back. John nuzzled into Sherlock's shoulder and gently kissed the soft skin at the base of his boyfriend's neck.
"Morning, love," John murmured sleepily. "We forgot to close the blinds last night."
"We were a little preoccupied," Sherlock chuckled. John loved Sherlock like this. Each morning the detective woke affectionate and content. It was one of the only times John saw Sherlock completely relaxed. Sherlock leaned down to brush his lips over John's.
"I'm going to have a shower, Lestrade'll be calling any minute with a case," Sherlock said, disentangling himself from John and walking to the bathroom. It wasn't their phones on the nightstand though that woke John completely; it was the blaring chime of the front door bell. John sat up, sleepily running his hands through his hair before pulling on a t-shirt and Sherlock's pyjama pants.
He wasn't surprised when Mrs Hudson's voice echoed up the stairs. "Boys, it's for you!"
Expecting Lestrade, John wandered into the living room to find a well-dressed woman and a police officer stepping through the doorway.
"Is Lestrade on his way?" John asked, but was met with the look of confusion from both of them.
"John Watson?" the officer asked. John nodded and the man gestured that they should sit down. John let them take the couch and silently pulled up his armchair so he was facing the pair.
"How can I help you?" John asked.
"My name is Caroline Stewart," the woman spoke. "I'm with the Department of Child Care and Services. This is Constable Jeff Carter. I'm afraid the news we bring isn't good." John felt his heart race. Was it his family? Harry? Harry had been sober for nearly a year and he was just waiting for her to relapse and do something stupid.
"Dr Watson," Constable Carter began, leaning forward to rest elbows on knees. "We believe that almost three years ago you were in a relationship with a woman by the name of Joanne Banks?"
For a moment John couldn't put a face to the name, but of course he remembered who she was. He'd been seeing her for two months before he met Sherlock, but she'd broken up with him when his nightmares began getting worse.
"Yesterday Ms Banks was involved in a car accident," the constable continued. "Her car collided with another and rolled into a tree. Paramedics were unable to revive her." John looked down to the floor, before looking up to make eye contact with Constable Carter.
"I'm very sorry that she's gone," John said. "But it's been at least three years since I've seen her. I'm not family, I don't think I even have her number anymore. Why are you here?"
"That's the thing," Caroline Stewart spoke. "Ms Banks didn't have any family. Her only relative, her mother, died last year. That is except for her son."
"Her son?" John asked. "Joanne didn't have a son, I would have known."
"Dr Watson, her son Daniel is two years old and on his birth certificate you're identified as the father."
John stared at her. He raised a hand to brush over the stubble at his chin before shaking his head.
"No," he finally said. "No, it can't be. I can't be his father. I can't be a father."
"Because you work with the police your DNA is on record," the constable interrupted. "We had Daniel tested and his DNA is a match to your own. You are the father."
"We understand that this is difficult to comprehend," Caroline said quietly, watching as the doctor nervously ran a hand through his messy hair. "And you have no legal obligation to take responsibility the boy. He's young, smart, we wouldn't have trouble placing him with a foster family. Eventually he'd get adopted if the right family came along. We would, however, rather you'd take him. As of yesterday Daniel Watson has no family and if you are able to take care of him we'd give you all the support you need to become a single parent."
John had stopped listening after the words "Daniel Watson". How was it possible that there was a child out there that was his own, who carried his name, his DNA? John jolted when he felt a hand rest on his shoulder and looked up to see Sherlock showered and dressed, his hair still damp. John felt his voice catch in his throat and leaned forward to rest his head in his hands. Sherlock sat down on the arm of John's chair, looking at the pair on the couch before them.
"John, what's wrong?" Sherlock asked before looking up. "What did you tell him?"
"Dr Watson, we understand that this is a difficult decision," Caroline said, standing up. "I'll leave you to think it over. Here's my card, we need to know your decision within the next two days." Caroline led the constable out of the flat and John jumped slightly when he heard the front door slam.
Sherlock moved to kneel in front of John, gently prying the card from between the doctor's fingers.
"Department of Child Care and Services?" Sherlock murmured. He rested a hand on the nape of John's neck, trying to get him to lift his head, but John began to shake. "John, what's wrong? Tell me what's wrong. What did they tell you? What's happened?"
John looked up into Sherlock's eyes, the detective's lids hooded with concern and felt a tear fall onto his cheek. How long would it take for Sherlock to run from this? They couldn't look after a child. Sherlock couldn't even stand pets, let alone a tiny human. A tiny boy. Daniel. His son. It was decided; John would have to take him. Of course he would. He'd have to move out and raise this child he was now responsible for.
"I have a son," John eventually said.
"You what?" Sherlock stuttered, something John had never seen him do.
"I have a son," John repeated, feeling another tear fall.
John quickly explained, watching as Sherlock sat back on his heels, attention seemingly on the wall behind John. John finished speaking and waited for Sherlock to look at him.
"Look, Sherlock, I'm sorry," John said. "Everything's been so perfect and now this…" But Sherlock wasn't listening.
"When do we collect him?"
"What?" John asked, shocked.
"When do we collect the boy? Daniel, did you say his name is? He must be at the police station, hardly a good place for a child to stay for an extended period of time. We'll need a bed for him. What kind of bed does a two-year old sleep on? A cot? He'll need food, clothes, toys, books. Yes, definitely books." Sherlock seemed to be in a world of his own as he began listing what would need to be taken from the flat to make it safe for a child to live in, but he was interrupted as John launched himself at the detective. They both flew to the floor, John wrapping his arms around the taller man and burrowing his face into Sherlock's neck.
"John! What're you…?" Sherlock began but stopped when he saw John pull back to look at him, eyes full of emotion.
"Thank you," John whispered. Sherlock leaned up to peck John on the lips. John pulled back, a worried look crossing his face. "Sherlock, you hate kids. How will you be with one living here, getting in your way, requiring your attention?"
"I also hate people, John, but you are the exception. I assume a child of yours will be the same."
"We don't know how to look after a child," John rebutted, sitting up and allowing Sherlock to scoot from underneath him.
"Oh, I do," Sherlock said, waving his hand. "It's simple. I was in charge of babysitting my younger cousins when I was still living at home."
"We're really going to do this, then?" John asked.
"It seems we are," Sherlock grinned. "I'll call Mycroft and have him collect all necessary furniture and clothing for the boy from his mother's house."
"I'll call Caroline Stewart," John said. Sherlock stood, but John grasped his wrist. "Sherlock, are you sure? This is permanent. This is a child we'll have. We'll be fathers."
"I wouldn't say yes if I wasn't committed to this, John," Sherlock said, pulling John to his feet. "I want to look after your son. I want to make sure he's okay. We might not know how to be parents, but neither does anyone else. I told you that I was yours and you are mine. What's yours is mine."
"This isn't like me letting you use my laptop. This is a child. He'll be your son, too," John said, looping his arms around Sherlock's waist. "You'll be Daddy Sherlock."
"He can call me 'Father'," Sherlock huffed.
"No he can't," John laughed. "What two-year old can say 'Father'?"
"Ours will," Sherlock said defiantly. "I'm not having an idiot for a child. I'll have to go and buy him some books."
"A two-year old can't read, Sherlock!"
"Then I'll have to teach him. In the meantime I'll settle for reading him my scientific journals before bed."
John sighed, leaning in to rest his cheek against Sherlock's shoulder. "You're not going to discuss murders with my son, are you?"
"Not until he's older."
John laughed and pulled away, picking up the business card from when it had fallen on the floor.
"Time to go and get our son, then?" He asked Sherlock. Sherlock stepped up behind John and wrapped his arms around the shorter man's waist, resting his head on John's shoulder. John felt Sherlock softly kiss his neck, nodding in confirmation.
To be continued..