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She'll Always Be Loved

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“...and that was how the twins ended up with the adorable portraits. Victoria said she couldn’t believe her son had proper pictures of Abigail but not them.”

Mary laughed as the two made their way up to the sitting room, but what she was about to say died on her lips as the two women stared in amazement at the elaborate structure that took up both chairs and the sofa. “Now that looks like that took all day,” she said.

“I bet it did,” Molly said with a smile. “The case must have been a one or a two.”

“Actually, Sally had it solved before Lestrade even finished asking for our help,” Sherlock said, his voice coming from somewhere within the blanket fort that stood in front of the two women. “It will be quite the pity if she isn’t promoted soon. I mean, the imbecile was in the process of divorcing his wife when she got pregnant, which meant that they were legally separated.”

“Yes, dear, we all know you like Sally but despise Phillip,” Molly said, shaking her head. She set down her bags and studied the structure. “Is John in there with you?”

“No, just the children,” he said. “John had an emergency call from the surgery about a patient with pneumonia who had to be hospitalized. He said when you brought Mary around we were to have her for tea and he’d be back as soon as he could.”

“It’s all right,” Mary said. “I have some surprises for the nursery I’d like to put in place before he gets home. You’ve kept him too busy to help me decorate so Molly and I took it upon ourselves to do that today.”

“Boy or girl?” Sherlock asked.

“I’ll let John tell you. Or maybe Molly when she can keep your mobile out of your constantly texting fingers.” She leaned over and gave Molly an awkward hug. “You should keep that up a few days. Have some fun in it.”

“We’ll see,” Molly said with a chuckle. She watched Mary turn and head back the way they’d come, then went to the opening to the blanket fort. “Is there a secret password?”

“How much do you love me?’ Sherlock asked, popping his head out to look up at her.

She squatted down. “As much as you love me, which isn’t quantifiable because it’s too much to hold in any one container.”

“I’ll have to remember that answer,” he said with a grin before opening up the flap to let her in. She crawled in and saw he had strung up some of the white Christmas lights they had all around, and also brought in the smalls radio and set it softly play classical music. She hadn’t even heard it when she had come in. Abigail, James and Rebecca were all on the carpet, sound asleep. “It’s been peaceful for nearly an hour.”

“How on earth did you manage?” she asked as he pulled her against him.

“Dry chocolatey cereal for Abigail to snack on and warm bottles for the twins until they were sated and sleepy, then violin concertos and back rubs, alternating between children every few minutes,” he said.

“I suppose I should give you high marks towards the Father of the Year award?” she teased.

“A kiss would be just as nice,” he replied.

“I can definitely do that,” she said, turning and kissing him softly. He let his fingers run through her hair as he kissed her back. Intimacy had not been lacking since the birth of the twins, she knew, though it was different now. It wasn’t as though there was a lack of confidence; she knew when Irene had returned before her death she had looked stunning and he hadn’t given her a second look, and here she was after carrying twins and Sherlock couldn’t seem to stop touching her. But there’s seemed to be more of a sweetness to their intimacy now, in that he seemed to treasure her in a way he hadn’t before. One day she might ask him about it, but for now she would simply enjoy it.

Their kissing was interrupted by a whimper that she knew was coming from Abigail and she pulled away, hanging her head with a smile on her face next to Sherlock’s head. “Oh, you jinxed it, you know that, right?”

“Who says I jinxed it?” he said, leaning back to pick up Abigail and then bring her to them. “You missed Molly and Daddy, didn’t you?”

Abigail nodded, and then yawned sleepily, curling into her father. “Mum nap.”

“I think she wants us to join her,” Molly said, smiling as she ran a knuckle down Abigail’s cheek.

“Perhaps that might not be a bad idea,” Sherlock said. “Should we nap with you too?” Abigail nodded, and Sherlock carefully laid down with Abigail next to him. Molly scooted over to the twins, scooping herself around James, looking over at Sherlock and reaching over for his hand across their children. “Molly?” he asked.

“Yes?” she answered.

He played with her fingers for a moment. “Do you think you would ever feel comfortable with me referring to you as Mummy in front of Abigail? I know I will in front of the twins, but…she really, truly is your daughter. Even Irene knew that, in many respects, she was more your daughter than she was hers.”

Molly was quiet for a moment. “Perhaps. I know I don’t stop her from calling me Mum. I just...I was worried you would feel it was disrespecting to Irene.”

“She can have two mothers,” Sherlock said. “The one who gave her life to save her, and the one who chose to be here to raise her. And I’ll make sure she knows that Irene had good qualities, before the world tells her she was a bad woman. She’ll know Irene loved her. And I know you’ll make sure Abigail knows you love her too.”

“Then I can live with it,” Molly said, her smile widening a bit as she squeezed Sherlock’s hand. Then she let go and ruffled Abigail’s hair. “I promise, she’ll always know she’s loved.”

“Good,” Sherlock said, giving her a grin of his own, and she was glad that they had had this talk. They should have had it long ago, but now it was out and talked about and she felt they could all live with it. She’d be the mum who chose Abigail, and chose her father too, and loved them with all her heart.