Video used as the soundtrack for this story is where this fic was originally posted: The Blanket Fort - Darth Stitch on Tumblr
The Duckling & The Detective
Nobody, except perhaps a certain Army Doctor, expected that Sherlock Holmes would get on so well with children.
If he were ever asked about it, one would be treated to a patented Holmesian eyeroll and a drawled, “Obvious.” If asked to elaborate, Sherlock would simply state that most children, unless already brain-damaged by the constant exposure to crap telly, still possessed the ability to think and question and often provided “a refreshing perspective.” Of course, certain doctors need to be reminded that this does not mean certain Consulting Detectives actually have the mentality of a five year old.
Certain Army Doctors would like to remind certain Consulting Detectives that it is quite hard to dispute the “five year old” thing, considering that they constantly need to be reminded to eat, pick up after themselves and go to sleep for a reasonable amount of time. And of course, flouncing about in a strop and curling up to sulk on the sofa does nothing to dispel the resemblance to a small toddler.
(Certain Army Doctors sensibly refrain from adding that the mental image of a tiny, curly-haired, lisping version of Certain Consulting Detectives is quite adorable and no, they will not be asking Certain Meddling Older Brothers for baby pictures. Although Certain Meddling Older Brothers would be quite delighted to provide said baby pictures even without a request.)
And naturally, Certain Army Doctors were not prone to toddler-like strops of their own, especially when, heaven forbid, they were out of milk. Or teased good-naturedly about their propensity for striped jumpers (“I like my jumpers, Sherlock - shut it!”), resembling a hedgehog (“Jesus, Sherlock, not you too!”) or pout for being called an idiot (“You know what I meant, John - you’re not like the rest of them!”) for something that should be patently obvious to someone with a working set of eyes.
This is an argument that will probably go on for quite a while and will most likely end up getting one Army Doctor or Consulting Detective (the boys are not picky) snogged quite thoroughly. At this point, Mrs. Hudson is likely to walk in on them (“Oh look at you two - they are rather adorable, aren’t they, Detective Inspector?”) and because Life tends towards the Ridiculous at 221B Baker Street, D.I. Lestrade would be right behind her with a new case (“Perhaps you two lovebirds would hold off the billing and cooing and give us a little help here?”).
But we digress. The subject being Sherlock Holmes and children.
It actually started with the Duckling and the fact that the Duckling and her Mum, Mary, lived next door to 221B. They were among Mrs. Turner’s tenants, as it turned out. Occasionally, the Duckling and her Mama ended up at the surgery for various typical illnesses. Being as “Doctor John” had become quite popular amongst the little ones, because, as the Duckling put it, “he tells good stories and he doesn’t make shots hurt muchly” - the little girl was quite delighted to learn that her favorite Doctor lived next door to them, together with a certain “Prince” who happened to be present in much of his stories.
Inevitably, visits occurred. Of course, as Doctor John and the Duckling’s Mama became good friends, the boys of Baker Street were sometimes asked to babysit - that is, if the Duckling’s regular babysitters were not available or if Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Hudson were not available to fuss over “the little darling.” Which she was, to be honest. The Duckling was not a perfect child, by any stretch of the imagination, but she was generally well-behaved.
John and Sherlock quickly discovered that the Duckling was less prone to be underfoot when given something to do and Sherlock proved to be rather inventive in devising experiments and activities for one active, intelligent five year old. Given a few books, paper, crayons, her old iPod and whatever toys she packed in her bag, the little one was quite content to sit still for an hour or two. That is, until she got hungry or thirsty or needed to go potty.
And she was rather interested in the books accumulated in Sherlock and John’s considerable library.
“Sherlock, what on earth is she doing reading my medical textbooks?” John exclaimed one day.
“I was about that age when I started reading those. Problem?”
John groaned. “She’s five years old! She probably doesn’t understand half of what these things say!”
“Some stuff I don’t get - but I get the others,” the Duckling piped up. “Mum says I should use the dictionary but my dictionary doesn’t have the words in this book. Sherlock explains them though and the pictures are gross but int’resting.” She holds up a picture of some poor soul suffering an advanced case of elephantiasis, arms and legs grossly swollen out of all proportion. “How could you get sick like this, Doctor John?”
John pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to stave off a headache normally brought on by a certain hyperactive boyfriend. “Don’t you want to read your Harry Potter books instead?”
“Boring!” was the response and Sherlock started laughing.
“Oh God, there’s two of you now,” John said in mock-horror.
“Much less boring now, isn’t it?” Sherlock rejoined with such an expression of perfect innocence that any sane man would be running for the hills. Of course, being as John was cornered by two of them, he didn’t have a prayer.
He found himself explaining the disease to the little girl anyway and reassured her that it was not something she was likely to get, being as the Duckling was rather earnest and so curious about it. Sherlock did reasonably point out that at the rate things were going, the Duckling was far more likely to learn more being in 221B Baker Street than she was in kindergarten.
“Medicine and crime solving for five year olds - Mary is going to kill me,” John groaned.
Sherlock shrugged. “She did say she wants to be a Consulting Detective when she grows up.”
John snorted. “Of course she does.”
“She also wants to be a Doctor just like you as well.”
Naturally, John pretended not to melt at that.
John supposed it was inevitable, being as the Duckling’s father was still in the Army and again serving in Afghanistan. The little girl treated John as a cross between “Dad” and “favorite uncle” while Sherlock, hilariously enough, became a sort of overgrown playmate and best friend. Not that Sherlock minded - he was as perfectly happy to have conversations with a five year old as he was with John or the skull, though he had to be cautioned at times as to what was appropriate subject matter for a small child. The Duckling often got away with asking him questions that the grown-ups would not, at least not without a blistering commentary on their I.Q.
“Being as she asks far more intelligent questions than most people several times her age, I’m inclined to answer them,” Sherlock had said loftily.
Mary, thank God, was actually used to her daughter’s precociousness and more often than not laughed herself silly whenever John found himself having to ‘fess up whatever silly antics the Duckling, himself and Sherlock had gotten into next.
“I’m a Music teacher and most of my mates are in theater,” she said gaily. “She gets warped enough at home!”
“So Sherlock wasn’t the one who taught her what adultery meant?” John asked nervously.
Mary rolled her eyes. “She watches soaps with me without batting an eyelash and tells her father he’d better not get up to any shenanigans while he’s away from us. I’m so proud of her.”
John had a sudden vision of the Duckling at puberty and thanked Christ he was not her father, that poor, poor sod.
And of course, there was the day that John came in from work to hear Sherlock on the violin and loud music being played in the flat, as if there was a party of some sort going on. Knowing that he’d just left his boyfriend “bored out of his mind” on that particular day and having already braced himself for disaster in the flat after Sherlock stopped texting him at fifty, instead of his usual 200-odd, John was stunned to discover the following:
Sherlock playing an absolutely amazing violin rendition of “Oh No” by Marina and the Diamonds.
(This was secretly acknowledged by everyone as Sherlock’s unofficial theme song. Molly started it, Lestrade picked up on it, Mrs. Hudson had been seen to groove to it, bad hip and all and no, John was not responsible for the video that turned up on YouTube which used a suspicious amount of CCTV-caught footage of Sherlock.
Not that it was Mycroft’s fault either - John was not a master at deduction but the presence of pink + CCTV footage all pointed to an Unholy Alliance of a Certain Bart’s Forensic Pathologist and Big Brother’s Blackberry-Addicted Assistant Not Named Anthea.)
The Duckling, singing the song, in pitch-perfect tones with a touch of a childish lisp and dancing on the coffee table with a hairbrush for a mic.
Mrs. Hudson being vastly entertained by the entire show.
After that, whenever John had to leave Sherlock and the Duckling alone for a few minutes, he never failed to tell the Duckling, “Mind Sherlock and please keep him out of trouble for me, all right?”
Surprisingly, the Duckling was rather good at complying with her Doctor John’s request.
A wife and children had always been a vague part of John’s future plans for himself. These days, of course, he definitely knows that having a husband was in his future for sure and he would not have it any other way. Children, of course, were another question entirely but then, perhaps he shouldn’t be so anxious about it after all.
He can’t help but watch his boyfriend and boyfriend’s tiny little B.F.F. in cahoots together and laugh quietly to himself. These days, the two of them were obviously quite close and definitely planning some mischief or the other involving John but he won’t spoil their surprise. He’ll leave them to their fun and if he indulged in a little bit of daydreaming that one day, Sherlock and the Duckling would be joined by a little one named Hamish, perhaps or maybe another little girl (Heaven help him, he hadn’t thought of a name for her yet), he couldn’t be blamed, right?
“Uncle Sherlock?” asked the Duckling. At this point, she tended to call both of them ‘Uncle’ now. “Do you and Uncle John want kids someday?”
“Perhaps,” Sherlock told her, standing up and walking over to where John was sitting in his chair. He brushed a kiss absently over John’s hairline and murmured, “I’ve always been partial to the name Gabrielle for a girl.”
Hamish or Gabrielle Watson-Holmes - John found himself grinning foolishly. He rather liked it.