3rd April, 2017
Sherlock watched the wavy line move up, peak, and roll back down again, along the same angle as the incline. A perfect mirror. Steady. The line swooped down, and crested up again. And each time it did he felt the same thrill of relief.
"Have they said..?" a gentle, omega, voice came from one of the plastic seats beside him.
Sherlock shook his head.
One of the machines beeped.
At head-height, a bag of clear fluid gave a drip within itself.
Sherlock looked back at the monitor. The line - was it green, or yellow? - followed the same path as before, as though drawn on, like it wasn't real. It was too perfect, it had to be a trick.
Or else John really was that perfect.
"Have you been to see her?" a sharper voice. Full of regret.
" - can wait," Sherlock said, baring his teeth. "This omega is the one I want to see, at the moment."
There was a silence, and Sherlock knew they were exchanging glances. Fuck family obligation. John needed him. The family he had found needed him.
"You can't do anything for him, Sherlock," Mycroft came over, and touched his brother on the shoulder. "And this... wasn't her fault."
Sherlock clenched his fists. "You think I don't know that?"
"I think you need to remember that family bonds are the most important thing here. You can spare a few minutes."
Sherlock let himself be dragged upright, his eyes still on John. "She's here, then? In this hospital?"
"In a ward on the next floor. I'll come with you?"
Sherlock shook his head. "Sherry, would you?"
"Of course," Sherry wiped his eyes quickly, and stood. "This... is my doing, I should never have taken -"
Sherlock held a hand up. "Just come with me. I don't need self-flagelation." He bent over the bed, and kissed John's clammy forehead. "I won't be a moment, my love."
Mycroft didn't say he can't hear you, which made everything seem so much worse.
Sherlock gave John's hand - the one without a cannula - a squeeze, before following his brother out of the room, and into the hospital corridor, following the signs for the next ward.
Every step felt like drowning.
Thirteen weeks ago they were unpacking John's things at Baker Street.
How had it come to this?
12th January 2017
“I hate hospitals,” Sherlock sighed.
“Yeah, well,” John stretched his arms behind his head. “At least neither of us is ill.”
“True…” Sherlock trailed off as the ultrasound nurse came back in, carrying John’s notes.
“Hello there,” the nurse smiled, shaking hands with them both. He was a beta man with a happy face, and John relaxed slightly. “Routine scan, we’ll do all your measurements… you’ve got a full bladder, yes?”
“Yes,” John winced. “Dangerously so.”
The nurse laughed. “Well, hopefully seeing baby will make up for the strain. Did you want to know the sex?”
“No,” John glared at Sherlock. “Come on, Sherlock, it’s going to be an alpha boy. Let’s at least pretend we’re getting a surprise.”
The nurse hummed. “Statistically, yes, you’re looking at an alpha boy. But, surprises do happen.”
“I want to wait to find out,” John said firmly.
Sherlock shrugged. “Fine, fine.”
The scan got going, and John lay beaming happily at the screen as their baby fuzzed into clarity, little arms and legs wriggling about.
Sherlock took his hand, rather tightly.
“They’re lively,” the nurse said, taking some photographs, and making measurements. “You’ve felt them moving ok?”
“All the time, now,” John said. “Sherlock hasn’t, though.”
“Oh, you will soon.”
Sherlock just nodded, staring at the screen as his baby’s side-profile filled it. “It’s got your nose, John.”
“All babies have the same nose,” John sighed.
“Right,” the nurse said, moving the wand about. “Let’s get you a couple of photos…” the image froze several times, and then went blank as the wand was taken from John’s belly.
“Does it look ok?” John asked, wiping his skin with some paper towel.
“Oh, yes, you don’t need to go in the bad news room,” the nurse said. “The images are assessed again, and if there was a problem we’d call you straight away. But from what I can see, you’ve got a healthy baby.”
John beamed again, and Sherlock bent over to kiss him.
“You don’t need to thank me, you idiot,” John smiled. “I’m not doing anything aside from being a glorified incubator.”
“That is not true,” Sherlock helped him sit up. “You’re growing a tiny human, and looking after yourself and them. I can’t even look after myself.”
“Very true,” John grinned.
There was a whirring noise from the printer as the nurse printed the photos for them. “Here you go, guys.”
“Thank you,” John took the pictures. “So… what happens now?”
“You’ve got two more appointments with your midwife – one at your GP, and one at home, to check it’s a suitable environment…”
Sherlock looked up in alarm.
“…and that’s it. I’m updating your due date to… the fifth of June. But baby can come anytime after thirty-seven weeks. And since it’s your first one, you can go up to ten days overdue before we induce you.”
John pulled a face. “No, thanks.”
“There’s plenty of ways you can speed things along,” the nurse grinned. “Check those leaflets. And take care of yourself, John.”
It had been a funny sort of week.
John’s things were now re-installed in 221B. Mycroft’s cleaning force had been in and eradicated any trace of Victor Trevor’s scent from the flat, and John’s belongings had been liberated (and cleaned) from James Sholto’s house.
They had been delivered along with a note.
The note sat on the mantelpiece, unread, for now. John didn’t have it in him to read it, quite yet. He suspected it would be full of apologies and reasoning… and he didn’t need that, right now.
John had gotten away from that house having had his worst fears confirmed – that people he hadn’t told knew about the abuse he’d suffered as a child, and that that may have been used to coerce him into sex. There was every chance he would never know for sure how willing he had been the night James Sholto had sex with him. The more he thought about it, the more tangled the truth seemed to get.
The only surety he had was that James had both desired him and tried to keep him. Had scented him without permission. John had hit him, hard. And only later had it come out that James had known all along about John’s abuse at the hands of Sherlock’s father.
Mycroft’s suggestion that John go back to therapy had been met with an icy reception. John’s last therapist had told James his secrets. He now had a deep distrust of therapists, and a reluctance to share his past with anyone who didn’t already know about it.
In the week since John had moved back in, there had been a quiet birthday celebration for Sherlock. He was thirty, and though John had half-suggested a party, they ended up having a night at a small Italian restaurant, and a walk through the quiet London streets, enjoying what Christmas lights hadn’t been taken down quite yet.
“How’s it feel, being thirty?” John asked.
Sherlock smiled. “Oh, it’s horrendous. I can feel my joints crumbling into dust as we speak.”
John laughed softly. “We are so fucking young.”
“…you realise we’ve known each other for fifteen years?”
Sherlock hummed. “Extraordinary.”
“Bar a little break in the middle,” John added, thinking of his six years of military service. “I’ve known you for longer than I’ve not.”
Sherlock took his hand. “We were far too young, when we met.”
“Do you regret it?”
“God, no,” Sherlock said. Then considered. “I do wonder, though. What would have happened, had we not met when we did. If your parents were never… If you were brought up by your own parents. If we had met when you were sixteen, and me twenty-one.”
“I suspect we’d have a lot of children, by now,” John said, feeling rather ill. “Christ… Sixteen. I was just a kid. I still feel like a kid. I still feel too young to be a mother.”
“It wasn’t lucky, what happened,” Sherlock said. “But it gave us time, at least. You’ve got your career.”
“And you yours.” John pressed the button for the pedestrian crossing. “It’s strange. I hate what happened, back then. For so many reasons. Mum and Dad. Harry. All that shit with your dad… It was pretty much the worst time of my life. But it also gave me you. Shit, there’s no wonder my head is so fucking messed up.”
Sherlock took his hand again as they crossed the road. “Mycroft could have a point about therapy, you know?”
“Because it’s helped your sister so much..?”
“You know full well that Eurus is a unique case. Her problems are not yours, and vice versa. At the very least, she is a murderer. She’s killed someone.”
John blinked. “You think I’ve never killed anyone?”
Sherlock’s steps faltered.
“What did you think I was doing in the army?” John shook his head.
“You’re not a murderer, John.”
“But I’ve killed people, and I don’t feel remorse about it.”
Sherlock sighed. “Please think about therapy, John. This… I love you, and I will support you until the end of my days, but I do think you need real help. To talk to someone who isn’t your mate. We can find someone trustworthy.”
They were at Baker Street, now. John nodded, and took his hand away as Sherlock fished around for the keys.
“I’ll think about it,” John said. “Right now I want a bubble bath and a sleep.”
“I think we can arrange that,” Sherlock smiled, letting them both in.
“I’d like to go and see her,” John said, when they were in bed, that night.
“Her?” Sherlock frowned.
Sherlock looked back at his phone, his lips going thin. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I know. I wouldn’t go on my own, though. And she’s in a secure unit. She couldn’t physically hurt me.”
“As uncaring as it sounds, it’s not physically I’m worried about.”
John rolled onto his back, but the baby complained by delivering several vicious kicks, and he was forced back onto his side. “My head is fucked. What else could she do to me?”
Sherlock put his phone down. “John, please.”
“Fine,” he shut his eyes. “I just think it’d be nice for her to know she’s going to be an auntie.”
Sherlock put his phone on the nightstand, and shuffled down under the covers to face his mate. “John… I’m not trying to control you, I swear it. I’m just trying to keep you safe. I’ve failed to do so too many times as it is. I’ve let you down. When you were little, when I didn’t welcome you back instantly… I’ve caused you too much hurt. Let me try and look after you now. Eurus is not for visiting. Please, trust me on this.”
“Alright,” John nodded, opening his eyes. He looked at Sherlock’s shadowy face. At his striking features, his handsome bone structure and pale skin. He was the sort of alpha you dreamed about as a teenager. And he was John’s. “I love you,” he said suddenly.
Sherlock smiled. “I love you, too.”
They lay stupidly for a moment, smirking at each other, before Sherlock came forward, cupping John’s face with a hand, and kissing him gently, softly, as if the slightest pressure would make him shatter beneath his touch. Their lips grazed in a tracing heat before parting, tongue slipping in to explore with a familiar sensuality. Sherlock’s hand gripped John’s hip as his own pelvis rocked forward, hardness meeting growing hardness beneath their pyjamas, and the blankets.
“Sherlock…” John leaned up, chasing a kiss as Sherlock’s hand stroked over his cock, feather-light, then up to the curve of his pregnant stomach.
“Oh!” Sherlock snatched his hand away.
“Did you feel that?” John gasped, delighted.
“I…” Sherlock put his large hand back on John’s bare skin. “Do it again?”
“I can’t just make them- ” John stopped and laughed as the baby pressed a foot against their father’s hand. “Oh, maybe I can make them move on demand.”
Sherlock was staring as if John wasn’t real. “This is… bizarre.”
“Cool, though, right?”
“…yes.” Sherlock looked back up. “Oh. Oh, come here,” he gathered John up in his arms, and they locked together face to face, gently moving together as their friction rocked their baby to sleep.
Sorry this update has been a while coming. I've had a lot of work on, and then it was London Comic Con (yes, I met Benedict, and yes he was wonderful and beautiful and kind, as I'm sure you've all heard!), but here's another short 'April' chapter. Enjoy!
3rd April 2017
Mycroft looked up as Sherlock and Sherry got back. “How… was she?”
“Sleeping,” Sherlock said, slumping back into the chair beside John. “Not allowed to try and touch her… for everyone’s safety.”
Mycroft looked uncomfortable.
But neither of them could really understand the crushing, caving-in horror that was going on in Sherlock’s chest. The guilt. The fear. The anger.
Mycroft cleared his throat. “They came in, whilst you were gone. The doctors.”
Sherlock nodded. “What did they say?”
“They’re going to bring him out of the coma, tomorrow. They think his pain has stabilised. He just… needs to rest, now.”
Sherlock took John’s limp hand, and stroked it gently with his thumb. It was like stroking the hand of a corpse, except if he stayed still he could feel the steady thrum of John’s heart, as measured by the monitor opposite. “…what am I going to tell him, Mycroft?”
Mycroft and Sherry exchanged a glance. “The truth, I think.”
“I can hardly lie about this, can I?” Sherlock looked over his mate, the drawn-out longing inside him intensifying. “He’s… going to notice.”
“Just… keep your calm. As much as you can. You need to be there for him, more than ever. He’s going to need you. He might hurt you, shout at you… but he will need you there. He… is going to have to grieve.”
Sherlock swallowed, his throat sticking. He pinched between his eyes with his free hand, feeling more tears start – hot tears, dehydration tears – and threaten to overflow. “He… She’s upstairs, and he…”
“It will be ok, Sherlock,” Sherry got out of his chair and came around the bed to hug his brother. “Sherlock, I promise. It will be ok. John will recover. He… he’s stronger than you know.”
“He’s the strongest man I’ve ever known,” Sherlock snapped, though he clung to Sherry’s shirt, hard. “He… deserved better than this.”
“Your story isn’t over yet,” Sherry said softly. “It’s just beginning, little brother. You and John, and… your future… that’s all still to come. This isn’t the end. Ok? You can’t focus on what might have been. Your family is here. All of us.”
“More’s the pity,” Sherlock sighed, going slightly limp. “Christ…”
Sherry let him go, and looked him in the eye. “You are going to get through this. When John mourns, you be there. When you mourn, he’ll be there. You’ll have each other, and your family, and Christ alive Sherlock, you are never going to be alone in this. Even if John…” Sherry stopped. “We would never leave you on your own. You understand? You’d never have to do this alone.”
Sherlock stared at his brother, then buried his face in his hands with a sob.
Sorry this has taken so long. Been in serious need of money-making work recently. Hope this is worth the wait! Back to a 'before' scene...
1st February 2017
It was still early, by the standards of the average Friday night, but 221B Baker Street was dark, and quiet. The clock on the mantle ticked – the second-hand going the wrong way after Sherlock had tinkered with it and put it back together in too much of a hurry. Beside a collection of impaled butterflies, a single letter sat, torn open, the contents read and re-read several times, and still to be digested. More letters – this time with an address penned with military precision – were stacked on the desk against the wall. Around one half of them were still to be read, their contents sealed up against the years.
A pigeon flew past one of the windows, disfiguring the street-lamp’s orange light into a flurry of shadows, unseen by the flat’s occupants as they lay in bed, wrapped around one another.
“Sherlock…” John shuddered as his alpha pushed inside him once more. He sighed, and tried to part his legs further, though the round belly and aching pelvis that came with it made it difficult.
“Shh,” Sherlock soothed, stroking John’s hair, and kissing him gently on the temple. “Just relax. You don’t need to do anything.”
“…want to,” John said, stifling a moan as Sherlock rolled his hips, withdrawing to the very tip of his cock before sliding slowly, torturously, back inside him. “Oh, fuck.”
“This is definitely my favourite trimester,” Sherlock murmured, making John laugh into the pillow. “I’ll be sorry when the hormones die off.”
“No more – oh, god, that’s good – mood swings, though,” John let his head fall back again. “No one’s going to miss those…. Shit, just… Sherlock!”
Sherlock gave a firmer thrust, letting out his own soft cry. “Your moods are… Uh, John…”
“Less talking, more fucking,” John said, shutting his eyes and gripping Sherlock’s hip as best he could. The spooning position wasn’t his favourite, but it was the only one that felt comfortable tonight. Going on top made him feel like his baby was going to fall out, and being on all-fours just felt too exposing. He wanted the closeness, as well as the pleasure.
During the second trimester, omegas often became, for want of a better phrase, really randy. The hormones produced during the second stage of pregnancy mimicked those emitted during a heat, so for a few weeks, omegas wandered around in a sort of prolonged mini-heat that made heads turn in the street, and John unable to keep his hands off Sherlock in private.
Sherlock spent most of their time in public snarling at alphas who dared to even inhale in John’s direction. Including poor Greg Lestrade, who innocently gave John a hug and had to deal with Sherlock yanking them apart, Greg by the collar.
“You nearly strangled the poor bloke,” John said, annoyed, as they walked home.
“He had his nose all over your neck,” Sherlock snapped.
“He’s a friend, Sherlock. In another life, he might have been your brother in law.” John sighed, and ruffled his hair, sending another wave of pheromones into his mate’s face. “You know he gets worried about offending people as it is.”
“Mm…” Sherlock took John’s hand. “Their relationship is still secret.”
“And for good reason,” John sighed. “You saw that adultery case in the papers. Two alphas, it was a right scandal. Greg’s already looked at funny for having a broken bond.” He bit his lip, and Sherlock watched worry crease his face. “Just go easy on him, ok? He’s just being affectionate, not sexual. He doesn’t see me like that. But if he needs a sniff of omega, I’m fine with that omega being me.”
I’m not, Sherlock thought, but didn’t voice it. John’s caring nature should be encouraged and praised. If only it didn’t make him so damn jealous. He squeezed John’s hand.
John yawned suddenly, and snuggled against Sherlock’s side as they walked, letting his alpha pull him close. “I’m so tired. But I kind of want you to ravage me, too. Pregnancy is weird.”
“Pregnancy is nice,” Sherlock said, innocently.
John flicked his ear. But they managed to make it home before John started undressing Sherlock and dragging him towards their bedroom.
“I’m not made of glass,” John moaned. “Fucking… fuck me.”
“God…” Sherlock angled his body to better penetrate John’s body, and snapped his hips forward, his weight on his arms. “God, John, you…” he groaned, trying to hold off, but John’s body was pliant and wet as it would be in the start of a heart, and the scent of him…
“That’s it,” John gasped, one hand to his belly as he tried to back up onto Sherlock’s cock. “Sherlock – please – just –” his words broke down as he came suddenly, spilling over the mattress in colourless ropes of fluid.
Sherlock almost collapsed as he let himself go, stopping just short of knotting his mate as he came inside him, biting down on the bond-bite that had been re-opened several times by now. John cried out as the skin broke, the nudge of pain making him come again, his entrance clamping hard on Sherlock’s cock, making him gasp, over-sensitive, the last drops of come entering John as Sherlock tried to fall in slow motion, behind him.
“Mm,” John snuggled back, enjoying the attention and closeness, even with Sherlock’s solid cock up his arse still. The inflated knot pressed against his buttocks, and some part of his brain wondered how he could ever fit that inside him again. It felt enormous, though admittedly it was larger than it would be if compressed inside John’s body. “Does it hurt?” he asked, rocking back against it.
“A little,” Sherlock said. “Not badly. Nothing like a rut. It goes down after a while.”
John hummed, again. “I’m aching, even if you’re not. I feel like I’m already too fat for this.”
“You’re not fat,” Sherlock snorted, putting a hand to John’s stomach, where the baby was doing backflips, high on its mother’s heart-rate. “You’re filling up with baby.”
“Euck,” John made a grossed-out noise. He leaned, and Sherlock gently pulled out of him, the two of them wincing at the sensation, and the sudden dampness of the bedsheets. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Sherlock kissed his shoulder. “I’ll change the bed whilst you have a bath.”
“Lovely,” sighed John, though his eyes were already closed. “Some tea and chocolate would be nice, too.”
John took the letter from the mantelpiece and sat down to read it, yet again. He lifted a slice of breakfast toast up as he looked over the words, now pretty much known off by heart.
Sherlock glanced at him as he passed, his hair damp from the shower, but he didn’t comment. He was letting John digest the letter, John knew. He didn’t know how to talk about it, though.
“Please,” John flipped the page over as his t-shirt rode up comically, over his belly. He tutted, and pulled it back down. “Need some new clothes.”
“We could go out –”
“I don’t want to go shopping,” John interrupted. “Everyone stares at me. I stink like a brothel full of omegas on heat, and everyone’s trying to look at my bump, and they can all fuck off.” He knew he was being rude, but he didn’t care.
“You just said you needed new clothes.”
“I do, but I don’t want to go out.”
“Then… do you want me to go out for you?”
“No!” John glared, hormones controlling the conversation for him. “I don’t need you bloody babying me, alright?”
Sherlock turned back to the tea, annoyance coming off him in waves. No matter what he said in bed, he did dislike John’s mood-swings. You’d have to be blind and Deaf not to be affected by them.
John put his letter down. “I’m sorry for being a bitch.”
“You’re not a bitch,” Sherlock passed his tea over. “You’re just very hormonal. It’ll pass.”
“The sooner the better,” John grumbled into his mug. He looked at the letter, again. “I don’t know why I keep reading this. It just winds me up.”
Sherlock took the seat opposite. “Are you going to reply?”
John considered. “I don’t know how to. How to do reply to someone who’s attempted to justify… that?”
Sherlock didn’t answer, just waited.
John looked back at the paper, and read aloud: “I hope you can forgive yourself for misleading me as you did, and that we can one day reconcile as the friends we were. I don’t think any less of you for what happened between you and Mr Holmes Senior – even if I found out through unconventional means, I don’t judge you for it...” John looked up. “Am I crazy, or is he saying what happened was my fault?”
Sherlock answered by plucking the letter from John’s hands, and scrunching it into a ball before pitching it into the waste-bin. “There. Gone.”
John stared. “That…. Thanks. I probably should have done that before I even opened it.”
Sherlock smiled. “Maybe. But it was your right to read it.”
“You’d better carry on with your pile,” John nodded at the letters taking over the desk.
Sherlock pretended to groan. “But they’re all so tiresome. And repetitive. Captain Watson does an awful lot of training and drills and pining.”
“You promised,” John pointed with a corner of toast. “This is payback.”
“I know,” Sherlock took his free hand. “I’m trying.”
They sat in a strange silence, for a moment.
John picked up his tea, letting go of Sherlock’s hand. “Mycroft and Greg are over later, don’t forget.”
“Oh, yes,” Sherlock said, ruefully. “Family reunion. Minus Sherry.”
“And Eurus,” John reminded him. “Are you going to let me write to her?”
“If you’ll stop asking to see her in person,” Sherlock pinched between his eyes. “I don’t understand why –”
“Because she is me, Sherlock,” John said. “She’s me, only no one saved her from Siger. In a few years, that could have been me, without Mycroft’s help. I think about her, and think… that could so have been me. And…” he touched his belly, “it upsets me that you don’t see it.”
“I know Eurus,” Sherlock said. “I went to see her every fortnight whilst you were away. And she got into my head. She poisoned me, against you, with our father’s words. Neither of us need that. Trust me.”
It was a question.
“Of course I trust you,” John said. He pushed his toast plate away. “We’re getting there, aren’t we?”
“I hope so,” Sherlock said, his eyes staying on the empty plate.
3rd April, 2017
“You’re very welcome to spend the night at my house,” Mycroft offered.
Sherlock pulled his coat on, his eyes never leaving John. “I should just stay here.”
“They’ve practically ordered you out,” Mycroft said. “He’s not being brought around until tomorrow. You need rest.”
Sherlock shrugged, knowing for certain that he wasn’t going to sleep.
Mycroft watched him. “Don’t make me insist, Sherlock.”
A monitor beside John gave a soft beep.
Sherlock gripped the inside of one of his pockets. “You think I’m going to… slip back into old habits? Really? When my mate is lying in a coma? You think I’d do that?”
“I think you need to be with someone.”
Sherrinford coughed softly. “If you wanted to go home, Sherlock… I’d go with you. If you can stand to be around me.”
Sherlock tutted, and rolled his eyes. “You badly want me to be angry with you, don’t you?”
“I don’t understand why you’re not.”
“Because I can’t… feel…. Anything,” Sherlock forced out. “Anything, except – fucking – fear, alright? I can be angry with you later, but right now I’ve got my…” he stopped, and puffed out a breath, looking at the ceiling tiles, fighting off tears. “I just want to stay here, with John, and I can’t even do that. What if…”
“Nothing’s going to happen,” Sherry touched his sleeve, gently. “He’s just sleeping. They’ll wake him up tomorrow –”
“And what then?” Sherlock snapped. “What do I tell him?”
“The truth,” Mycroft said, firmly as ever.
All three of them looked at John. His face was peaceful. A cannula in his left hand led to a drip. His gown didn’t look right, and the heavy blankets came up to his chest.
His stomach was as flat as a board.
Sherlock swallowed a cry that was threatening at his throat. “He…. He’s going to be devastated.”
No one disagreed with him.
Sherlock crossed the room, and planted a final kiss on John’s forehead. “I’ll be back tomorrow,” he said gently. “As soon as I can.”
“Did you want to say goodbye upstairs?” the nurse smiled as they walked past the desk.
Sherlock stopped. “…should I?”
“Well,” she said gently, “it isn’t as though she’ll know if you don’t, but… it might make you feel better.”
“It might not,” Sherlock countered, then cursed himself. “I’m sorry… I… I’m not good with –”
“It’s alright, dear,” the nurse said. “You don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with. I know it’s difficult.”
How can you possibly know? Sherlock though, but gave the nurse a nod, and followed Sherry and Mycroft to the lift’s, hitting the button to head down to the ground floor.
“I’ll come back with you,” Sherry said, as if they’d agreed.
Sherlock didn’t bother arguing. “You’ll need a toothbrush.”
“We can stop at Tesco?”
How can you think about going to Tesco at a time like this? Sherlock thought. How can you think of anything even remotely normal, at a time like this? John is lying in a coma, and somehow the world hasn’t come to a halt. Why? Why hasn’t the world stopped for him? Why is everything so normal?
“Mm,” he said.
“Or, I’ll nip out, once we get back. I imagine you’ll need milk. I’ll get you things.”
Mycroft adjusted his cuffs. “Do you want us there, tomorrow? When he wakes up?”
Sherlock shook his head. “No offence.”
“It’s fine,” Sherry said softly. “He’ll need you, after… it all.”
The lift reached the lobby, and the brothers said their goodbyes; Sherlock and Sherry getting into a cab as Mycroft got into a private car.
The journey home was quick, and silent, and Sherry let Sherlock stew in the darkness, and even paid for the cab once they got back to Baker Street.
Sherlock unlocked the door, and let them both in, barely letting the door close before yanking Sherry close, and pressing his face, animalistic and desperate, into the curve of his brother’s neck.
“It’s ok,” Sherry sighed, leaning into the touch immediately. “You just… it’s ok.”
Sherlock’s shoulders started to shake as he sniffed, inhaling the comforting scent of kin, tinged with his mate, with John. John… the last person he embraced was Sherrinford. John… all alone in that dark hospital room. John, no longer pregnant.
20th March 2017
“Oh my god. Oh…. This is better than sex,” John sighed, letting his head fall back. “Sorry.”
“I’d rather not know,” Sherrinford pulled a face beside him. “But I won’t tell Sherlock you said that.”
John laughed softly, looking down at the therapist rubbing something warming and peppermint-y onto his feet. “This should be weird, but honestly I never want to get out of this chair. Such a great idea, Sherry, thanks for suggesting it.”
“You need pampering,” Sherry sighed, making a noise that was vaguely concerning as the masseuse working on him crunched something in his calf. “Sherlock should be doing this for you every night.”
“As if,” John said. “He’s working every night. Or pacing. Or both.”
Sherry shook his head. “And how’s the nursery coming on?”
“Painted, at least,” John said. “We did that last weekend. We went for a sort of grey, in the end. Like a purple-y grey. I mean…” he pulled a face, “it’s hard to stay gender neutral when the odds are stacked in favour of one sort of baby.”
“Alpha boys like grey,” Sherry said with false certainty. “And anyway. Babies don’t care about colours. Just do it something you like, and can stand to sit in in the middle of the night.”
“Good point.” John hummed as the masseuse started putting warm towels onto his legs and feet. “God, I think I’ve taken root. You’ll have to wheel me back to the car.”
“Walking helps the circulation,” the masseuse looked up and said in deadly seriousness.
John blushed. “I know.”
“We’ll go for a coffee, first,” Sherry stretched his legs. “And pick up the bags we left at the desk. Maybe get a few final things. I’m not having my nephew or niece underdressed.”
“I think they’ll be in five outfits a day to get through everything you’ve bought them,” John laughed.
“You’ve not met many babies, have you?” Sherry said. “Five outfits a day sounds perfectly reasonable.”
They pulled their socks and shows back on (John puffing as he struggled to lean over), and Sherry helped John get to his feet, and get his balance again. At twenty-five weeks, John looked like he was constantly smuggling a beach ball up his jumpers, and he was now wearing the unflattering (although soft and comfy) maternity jeans non-stop.
“These jeans do nothing for my arse,” John sighed, as they walked past a full-length mirror.
“As if you need to be worrying about that night now,” Sherry rolled his eyes.
“Well, it’s nice to be wanted.”
“You did nothing but moan when you were giving off all those pheromones.”
“Yeah, I know,” John said. “But there’s a difference between being wanted because you’re you, and being wanted because you smell like heat.”
Sherrinford glanced at him, but didn’t ask him to elaborate. It was probably for the best. John had been to another midwife appointment, and had been asked outright what he was planning on doing for contraception when the baby was born.
“Well,” John had stammered, “I was on… for a long time… I mean, it’s all there in my file. I was in the army, and I had military-grade suppressants… I didn’t even think I could get pregnant.”
“You did, though,” she pointed out. “And it might happen again. Which is fine, if that’s what you want, but two close together is a challenge.”
John nodded. He tried to imagine Sherlock and him with a herd of children. Most omegas had large families – all alpha babies running around, swinging off the ceiling lights and chewing the furniture.
He could barely imagine having one baby with Sherlock in 221B.
“What are my options, then?” he asked. “I was told anything I used might mess me up, and that might have already happened… seems like a bit of a catch-22.”
“It is, rather,” she said. “I think this is something you need to discuss with your mate, John.”
John nodded again, taking the leaflets he was offered. He left them on the table for Sherlock to find later that night.
Sherlock came home and swept them aside as he landed a sealed contained on the table. “John, do you have any tweezers to hand?”
John looked up, and stared. “…yeah. Just a sec.” He huffed his way into the bathroom and back, landing the tweezers into Sherlock’s outstretched hand. He picked the leaflets up, and sorted them into a neat pile. “I had my appointment, today.”
“Oh, yes…” Sherlock twisted the top of the vacuum flask, and there was a loud hiss. “Everything alright?”
John stared. “…yeah. Fine. I heard their heartbeat. The baby’s.”
“Well, that’s reassuring,” Sherlock said, twisting the cap off fully.
“And the midwife gave me these,” John held the papers up. “About what… to do about maybe not having any more. Or having more. Whichever.”
Sherlock reached into the flash with the tweezers.
“Sherlock?” John said. “We… haven’t really talked about this bit? I mean, afterwards. Did you… I mean, traditionally… alphas want a lot of kids. But you’re not exactly traditional.”
Sherlock sighed. “Can we discuss this when I’m not trying to find a finger in a vacuum flask?”
John dropped the leaflets on the floor – just loosened his grip and let them fall. “Fine. Whenever’s good for you.”
Sherlock didn’t pick up the mess, and neither did John. John made himself food, and didn’t even attempt to feed Sherlock, who was dissecting something vile in the kitchen. They didn’t speak for the rest of the evening, and John was still in a foul mood when Sherlock came to bed (thankfully showered) and slipped under the covers.
He tensed as Sherlock came up behind him to spoon, arms wrapping around him gently.
John scooted away.
“Don’t even think about it,” John hissed, in the dark. “You’ve totally ignored me all night. You’re not getting sex or cuddles.”
“I haven’t ignored you.”
John made an incredulous noise. “You… don’t even know you’re doing it.”
Sherlock was quiet for a moment. “Clearly your hormonal mood swings haven’t let up completely.”
John almost exploded in rage, but managed to hold it together. “You… literally said you didn’t want to talk to me, then sat all night picking at someone’s dead finger whilst I sat alone and ignored.”
“…why didn’t you say something?”
“I shouldn’t have to,” John snapped. “You should realise something is wrong, and do something about it. God, you should smell the tension in the air, at least.”
Sherlock went quiet, again. “You wanted me to go with you to today’s appointment.”
John sighed. “Yes. But you said you had work.”
“I should have chosen you.”
“… maybe.” John rolled onto his back, winced, then then onto his opposite side to face Sherlock. “I know, you haven’t lived with me, properly, before. But you have lived with people. You can’t just live in your own head, Sherlock. I’m your mate. I need you.”
Sherlock reached out, and touched John’s cheek. “I am sorry. I’ll try harder. Victor never minded when –”
John moved his face away from the touch, and Sherlock realised his mistake.
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t appropriate –”
“Let’s just go to sleep,” John turned away. “But we do need to talk about contraception once the baby is here. Unless you want a big family in a hurry.”
John was about to say no, when the thought of armfuls of snuggly babies came to him, all smelling soft and sleepy, and warm and clean… “…I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s best, for us.”
“I want to go back to work, Sherlock,” John said. “And I can’t do that if I become the walking womb your sister always said I was going to be.”
“Are you ok?” Sherry asked, and John realised he’d been staring into space.
“Oh, yeah… just thinking. About family stuff.”
“Oh. How is your sister?”
“Out of rehab,” John said, forcing a smile. “She has a wife, now. They met in rehab. She’s a nurse.” He looked at his decaf coffee. “It’ll never work out. Harry’s not cut out for an LTR.”
“What is it with sisters?” Sherry sighed. Then glanced up, apologetic.
John shook his head. “It’s ok. I wrote Eurus a letter, actually.”
“Mycroft said so. I’m guess she hasn’t written back.”
“Well, I haven’t received anything.”
“Unsurprising, darling. What did you say to her?”
John shrugged. “Nothing much. Just told her about the baby, put in a copy of the scan photo, and told her a few things about the army. Sherlock said it wasn’t wise to include anything overly personal.”
“I agree,” Sherry nodded. “It’s just a case of guarding what you say. She’s… she can be harmless, if she chooses.”
“She helped to poison Sherlock against me,” John said. “We know that much is true. I can’t forgive her for that. Or for things she said to me when I was little. I know it wasn’t her fault… but…” he pushed his drink away. “I still hear her, you know? Her, and your dad. I still hear them. Feel… him, sometimes. When Sherlock and I are… sometimes it doesn’t feel like Sherlock.”
Sherrinford looked at him in horror. “Does Sherlock know this?”
“…some of it. I can’t… I can’t go into it too much with him. He’d be sickened. He wants me to go back to therapy.”
“I think he has a point.”
“Uh, don’t start,” John grimaced, thinking of the therapist who had betrayed him to James Sholto. “I can’t get into that right now. Maybe after the baby.”
“When’s your new due date?” Sherry asked, looking put-out at the subject change.
“Fifth of June. Another fifteen weeks to go,” John rubbed his belly. “I miss my six-pack, I’m not going to lie.”
Sherry shook his head. “You can get yourself back to one of those dreadful gyms, afterwards.”
“As long as Sherlock can be trusted to look after the baby. And my hips will never move back to where they were…” John checked his phone. “I should be getting back.”
“Alright, I’ll call the car,” Sherry signalled for the bill. “Do you think… if you maybe had a chance to speak about your problems to someone who wasn’t a therapist…”
“I don’t want to load my problems onto you, Sherry,” John said.
“I was thinking more along the lines of one of the… culprits.”
John looked up. “Sherlock would never let me go and see Eurus, Sherrinford. Never.”
“Well,” Sherry leaned forward, conspiritally. “Maybe we don’t have to tell him.”
4th April 2017
Waking John up was not, apparently, a simple case of giving him a jab and waiting for him to come around. They rigged up an oxygen mask on his face, and turned off one machine as they turned on another…
John’s eyes fluttered open at one point, and he promptly fell asleep again.
Sherlock almost laughed.
“It’s tiring, being brought around,” a doctor explained. “Being in a coma isn’t the same as being asleep. He’ll be exhausted.”
They gave John more oxygen, and a sternal rub, and he opened his eyes again as they tilted the bed up and immediately stuck something in his ear to take his temperature.
“Sh…..” John slurred, clapping a hand onto his face, co-ordination way off, and dislodging the oxygen mask, which was quickly put back on as he threatened to nod again.
“John? John, stay with us, young man…” the doctor jabbed something into John’s cannula. “Come on, you’ve got a room full of people waiting to see you.”
Hardly, Sherlock thought, then he realised the doctor meant the medical staff, not just John’s mate. Mycroft and Sherrinford were waiting outside. He clenched his fists tight as John slurred something again, going to scratch at his hand before a nurse caught it and moved it away gently, so he didn’t hurt himself.
“Sh… Sherry? What… Sherlock?” John scrubbed at his eyes, suddenly awake. He sat up sharply, then doubled over in pain, gritting his teeth and kicking his legs before another shot of something went into his hand, and he flopped back against the cushions. “Fuck… where’s my... mate? Sherlock?”
“I’m here,” Sherlock elbowed a nurse out of the way, and moved so John could see him. “I’m here, John, I’ve got you,” he took John’s free hand. John nodded, his eyes glassy and clearly not seeing well. The mask fogged up as he breathed out, and he looked so ill Sherlock could sob. His skin was grey, he was sweating, and he’d clearly lost a lot of weight, even without…
Even taking into account…
John squeezed Sherlock’s hand. “I’m sorry, Sherlock.”
Sherlock shook his head. “You’ve got nothing to be sorry for.” He kissed John’s forehead. “I… I thought I’d…” he couldn’t speak, so stopped trying, and kissed John again. “John…”
They had to part for a moment, then.
The mask was taken away, and a machine wheeled off as John blinked the sleep from his eyes and let the nurses manipulate his bed into a comfortable lean.
“That’s better,” he slurred, then coughed. “I’m not very –” he stopped.
Sherlock watched him.
A look of silent, growing, horror crept onto John’s face. Barely there.
Sherlock's heart melted into a dripping blackness that he could neither prevent nor deny.
John's shaking hand dropped down.
He pushed it away.
He lifted it, clearly not caring who saw.
John’s face stayed frozen, expressionless, as his fingers touched at the thick wadding, the bandages, the sensitive, bruised, iodine-stained flesh.
“Sherlock,” he whispered, staring into nothing.
Sherlock put his hand over John’s probing fingers, holding him still.
“Sherlock,” John said again. “Sherlock…. Where is my baby?”
Sherlock took a deep breath.
2nd April 2017
John looked at himself in the mirror, running a hand over his changed shape, hating every curve of it. Maybe, if he’d been the traditional sort of curvy omega since his teens, this wouldn’t be a shock. But the changes for John had been extreme, turning him from a toned and muscular soldier to a soft and curvaceous mother-to-be. John’s formerly flat stomach was rounded out, with a dark line running from his navel to his band of his briefs. His chest had changed from firm pectorals to what looked like soft breasts, albeit small ones that weren’t noticeable through his clothes (he reminded himself to be thankful for small mercies – some omega men needed bras when they were pregnant). The worst change, in John’s opinion, was his hips – his bones had actually changed shape to accommodate the weight at the front of his body, and he knew they would never go back to the slender set they had been – his pelvis was permanently altered.
“You look beautiful,” Sherlock came up behind him, and kissed the back of his neck, putting his hands on John’s hips.
John leaned back against him. “…thanks.”
“You don’t think so.”
“Not really.” John turned, pressing his nose into Sherlock’s breastbone. He had to curve his back to avoid squashing himself against Sherlock. Twenty-eight weeks, another twelve to go, and he already felt so big he could cry. He’d never been this shape before. “I don’t feel like me.”
Sherlock stroked down John’s back. “I love you. And you’re beautiful to me. And you’re doing something amazing. I know you’re not happy, but… I wish you could see how happy you make me. I love you so much.”
John felt a touch of guilt, and licked his lips apart before he looked up. “I love you, too. You know… I know I didn’t get a response when I sent that letter –”
“Uh,” Sherlock let go of him. “John, this is getting tiresome.”
“I know you’re fed up of hearing it, but –”
“I’m not so fed up of hearing it as I am upset that you don’t believe me,” Sherlock said, dragging a hand through his hair. “You’re not listening to me, even though I’ve told you what Eurus is like. What she did to me, what she did to us. She made me believe that omegas are terrible. She made me believe you were manipulating me. Do you understand how difficult it has been to try and train myself out of thinking like that?”
“Yes,” John snapped. “Yes, I do know.”
Sherlock lowered his hands.
“I know,” John said, his voice breaking, “because I still think like that. Sometimes. Sometimes, I… I hear it. I feel it.”
Sherlock frowned. “Feel… what do you feel? You mean, emotionally?”
John started to nod, then shook his head. “Yes, but… I mean…” he took a deep breath, “sometimes, if I’m not expecting it… if you come up behind me… it makes me jump, still. Scenting.”
“I’m sorry,” Sherlock apologised immediately. “I’ll try to remember to warn you.”
“It’s not just that,” John said. “It’s not just the sudden… It’s scenting, in general. Not all the time. Not even a tenth of the times. But… sometimes…”
Sherlock came back over, and gently took John in his arms. “John.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you,” John whispered.
Sherlock didn’t react for a good fifteen seconds. Then pulled John close, kissing the top of his head, snuggling into his hair, and holding him so tight John never wanted him to let go. “John… why didn’t you say?”
“I just have,” John said.
“I mean…” Sherlock pushed him back to look down at him. “John, you… please. Please, talk to someone about this. Please. I…” his pale eyes shone. “John, I am… so frightened for you. This fixation with Eurus, this revelation about scenting… the way you feel about your body… John…”
“There’s… nothing wrong with me,” John sniffed. “I’m just… it’s hormones. I’m just pregnant and ridiculous, that’s all –”
“No, John, that’s not all,” Sherlock said. “I know you’ve lost a lot of trust for therapists, and I understand why, but you need help. And… I am not qualified to give it to you. I can only listen. I can’t… help. Not in the way you need.”
John swallowed. “It’s fine. I… I don’t need anything urgently. I’ll just ride it out until the baby’s born, and then go and see someone.”
“John, the statistics for post-natal depression –”
“I will be fine,” John repeated. “Sherlock… I wish I’d never said anything.”
“I don’t,” Sherlock said. “I want you to be honest with me, John, even if you think it’ll hurt me.”
John almost said, then. What his plans were, for the next day. Going to the secure unit with Sherrinford. Seeing Eurus. Speaking to her. Saying what needed to be said.
That was sort of like therapy, wasn’t it?
“I don’t want to hurt you,” John said, instead. “Sherlock… this year has been… so shit. I found you, but at what cost? I made you leave someone you loved. I led James on –”
“You did not lead him on,” Sherlock interrupted. “You didn’t. He assaulted you.”
“It doesn’t matter,” John said, though it very much did. “I didn’t even think I wanted a baby, but then when one came along… I just wanted a bit of you, to keep. And I got all of you.”
Sherlock kissed him softly, on the lips. “First of many, if you want that.”
John smiled. “I might, actually. Maybe not four, like your family, but it’d be nice for him to have someone to play with.”
Sherlock touched John’s stomach, and the baby pressed against his hand with a foot. “Two, then.”
“Maybe three, if we think we can cope,” John mused.
Sherlock laughed. “You don’t like odd numbers.”
“Oh god,” John closed his eyes, “this is how it starts, isn’t it?”
“I think so,” Sherlock picked him up, and carrying him over to their bed, putting him down gently. “Unless the birth puts you off.”
“Unless I can’t have any more,” John sighed. “We got lucky with this one. My fertility isn’t exactly up to scratch.”
“I,” Sherlock said, planting a kiss between each word, “I – am – well – prepared – to – put – in – the – practice…” he kissed down John’s body, down to his bump, scenting over the stretched skin gently, kissing tiny presses of his lips, leaving a trail of goosebumps where he went.
John bent his knees, and pulled Sherlock close, so they were side by side, facing one another, on the bed. “I do love you, you know?” he whispered.
“I know,” Sherlock smiled. “I am so sorry that things still exist to make you unhappy. I promise you I won’t rest until they’re insignificant, or gone altogether.”
John kissed him on the nose. “Sherlock… tomorrow…”
“Mm? I’m going to court with Lestrade, if you wanted me.”
“Oh, no, it’s alright,” John shook his head. “I’m going to go out with Sherry. Just so you know.”
“Another shopping trip?” Sherlock sighed. “John, the baby barely has space to move, the amount of things Sherry and Alfie have bought for it.”
“I know, but it’s not shopping,” John said. “Just… a bit of family bonding stuff.”
“Yes, exactly,” John smiled.
Sherlock hummed, running a hand down John’s skin. “You can call me, if you need anything. I might not pick up, though. I’m a witness.”
“I’ll text,” John stifled a yawn. “I can’t see there being a problem, though. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon, or early evening.”
“Well, have fun, then,” Sherlock smiled. “And take care,” he put a hand on John’s bump, “both of you.”
Very short chapter, apologies for the length, but next chapter is the last 'Before' chapter before the rest of the fic runs on in "present day"...
4th April 2017
They could just about see John and Sherlock through the dull, frosted, glass. Like two shadows, and some other shadows which had to be doctors and nurses. Sherlock was stood.
And John was just waking up.
Mycroft adjusted his umbrella on the linoleum. “Did you know? Did you know what she was going to do?”
Sherrinford adjusted the sleeves of the shirt he’d had on since yesterday. “I swear to you, Mycroft, I didn’t know. She…”
“She got into your head?”
“Yes. What do you want me to say?” Sherry sighed, watching the glass as John was adjusted into a sitting position. “It’s not an excuse, but there it is. That’s… Do you want me to just apologise again?”
Mycroft didn’t answer. Through the glass, John was sitting up, now, and Sherlock had his hands up, obviously speaking quickly, trying to explain. “He’s telling him.”
“Oh, god.” Sherry stepped forward, trying to see through the glass. “Fuck. Shit.”
Mycroft sighed through his teeth, and looked at the floor, the ceiling, back at the glass.
John was trying to get up, now.
Several nurses were restraining him.
“Christ…” Mycroft winced. “Sherry… when did this all start?”
“When John was staying at Sholto’s. I went around. Took him a few gifts. Told Eurus about it… it was the most interested she’d looked in anything I’d said for years. She asked about him. I thought it was a family thing. She… they lived together. We lived together. I thought she might miss him.”
“Sherrinford, I swear if you weren’t my brother…”
“Do it,” Sherry scoffed. “Do to me what you’ve done to Sherlock. Cut me off. Cast me out. Put me where you don’t have to think about me. Like you’ve done to Eurus.” He glared. “You think you’re taking better care of us than Dad did, but you’re the same. You’re punishing us all for not being like you. And you’re flawed, too. Fucking that alpha policeman? You ought to put yourself into a centre.”
Mycroft grabbed him by the sleeve, and turned him. “Think. Think about what you’re saying.”
“I am,” Sherry spat. “Did you think I was immune to Eurus? No… only you’ve ever been immune to her, and do you know why? It’s because you don’t love anyone, Mycroft. You have things you like, and people you enjoy using, yes, but you don’t love anyone.” He looked at the glass, where John was clearly sobbing into his hands. “And Christ… fucking look where love has gotten us.”
A nurse exited the room, looking harassed, her lip wobbling.
“Miss, what’s –”
“He’s asked for a wheelchair,” she said, half-running away.
“A wheelchair…?” Sherry frowned.
Mycroft bit his lip. “He’s going upstairs.”
“Oh, god. In his condition..?”
Mycroft looked to the ceiling.
Finally, the mystery is cleared up, and we find out what happened to John.
Warnings for assault, blood, hospital procedures and surgery.
See you on the other side.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“You look nice,” Sherlock said, as John came out of their bedroom. “Is that new?”
“Oh, yeah,” John blushed, smoothing the maternity shirt over his bump. “Sherry bought it for me. Figured I might as well wear it.”
“Mm,” Sherlock put his phone down, and came around, embracing John from behind, splaying his hand over his bump. “It suits you.” He kissed him on the cheek. “Perhaps I should tell Lestrade I can’t attend court, today. My omega needs me. Badly.”
John smiled, letting his head back to get to Sherlock’s lips, letting his alpha caress his mouth with soft lips, before planting a kiss firmly on him. “Maybe you should.”
Sherlock hummed again, stroking John’s bump with small, ever-decreasing, circles. “I’d get in trouble.”
“You’re always in trouble,” John turned in his arms, so they were face to face. He stroked a thumb over Sherlock’s cheekbone. “You’ll be alright today, won’t you?”
“I will,” Sherlock nodded. “It’s only court. And you’ll have fun with Sherrinford?”
“We always do,” John smiled, and sighed happily as his mate bent to inhale along his throat. “Sherlock…”
“You smell like love and sex,” Sherlock kissed his bond-bite scar. “And softness, and home, and pregnancy, and…” he nipped the skin, enough to make John shudder. “I don’t want to let you go, this morning, for some reason.”
“You’re an affectionate beast,” John teased, chasing Sherlock’s lips until they met in a kiss made of smiles. “We can get cuddly, tonight. Get some take-away, watch a horrible film, have sex on the sofa?”
“That sounds agreeable,” Sherlock went back to nuzzling John’s throat.
John let him, enjoying the feeling of closeness and love soaking into his bones. They’d been remarkably close in the past week, when Sherlock wasn’t mentioning therapy or anything of the like. John almost said it, then. Where he was going, that day, what his plans were.
In the months and years to come, when he was awake at 3am, or pacing at midday, or looking at his washed-out and exhausted face in the mirror, he would wonder how different things would have been if he had just opened his mouth and said…
“I need to go,” Sherlock said regretfully, pulling away. “I can get a cab from here.”
“Alright,” John smiled, squeezing one last hug out of him. “See you later.”
“See you later,” Sherlock smiled, before grabbing his coat, and trotting off down the stairs.
Later, in the ambulance, John would realise they hadn’t said I love you when they said goodbye.
“Nervous?” Sherry asked, as the car rounded the corner onto the private road that led to the hospital. “You’re so tense.”
“Can you blame me?” John kept lacing and un-lacing his fingers together. “I’ve not seen her since I was a teenager. I keep thinking what I want to say to her… I want to say I’m still upset for the things she said to be when we were younger, but that I - I’m trying to understand that that wasn’t her fault. And I want to say I’m sorry for what was going on, and I shouldn’t have stood there feeling grossed-out, I should have done something. Told someone. And… I just want her to have the chance to know that yeah it messed me up, too… but we can get better, can’t we?”
Sherry’s face was oddly blank, then he blinked and seemed to find himself again. “I’m sure she’ll listen to you, John. She… doesn’t talk much. But what she says… can be difficult to hear.” He took John’s hand. “But you’re strong. You’ve come through a lot, darling. War, school, bastard alphas with their own agendas… You can handle this, I’m certain.”
The car pulled up in front of a white stone building. It looked more like a country house than a hospital. They got out, and John could hear the distant whoosh of the cars using the motorway, just out of sight beyond the trees. The place wasn’t as remote as it looked. They were greeted by a doctor wearing a smart navy trouser suit, and she invited them inside, giving a glance to John’s pregnant stomach.
“So, you’ve never visited Miss Holmes, before?” she asked as they walked.
“No, not here. I mean… we sort of grew up together. But I haven’t seen her in years,” John said, his legs aching a bit trying to keep up with the beta woman, whose high heels clacked on the polished wooden floors.
“I see. Well, there are several rules concerning Miss Holmes. Since this is your first interview with her, we’ll place both of you into a safe room – that’s what we call the interview rooms that aren’t the patient’s own rooms. It’s a neutral space, you see, so no one is seen to have the upper hand.”
The doctor continued. “Do not attempt to touch her. Do not repeat your questions repeatedly – if she has any interest in what you are saying, she will respond. But an irritated Eurus is not one we wish to deal with. You must not hand her anything. And if you feel unsafe at any time, simple stand up and leave the room. Her hands will be cuffed at all times.”
“Cuffed?” John stopped in his tracks. “Is… she a prisoner?”
The doctor stopped. “Miss Holmes is a murderer,” she said, her factual tone making John’s insides coil. “She is here because she is mentally unfit to stand trial. Since being in this establishment, she has repeatedly become a danger to herself and others. Twenty-seven staff members have resigned from working with her. Fifteen of those require ongoing therapy. If you believe Eurus Holmes is not dangerous, then I advise you to about-face from this hospital this instant, Mr Watson.”
John nodded, but squared his shoulders. “If I feel unsafe, I’ll walk out,” he said firmly.
The doctor looked him over. “Fine.”
Sherry patted his arm as they continued walking. They passed several open offices and sitting areas, and the place felt rather like a school, John thought, until he was shown into a room full of alpha security guards, and asked to walk through a metal detector (his shoulder set off the alarm), and then to endure a pat-down, which made his inner omega squirm with discomfort, particularly when one of the alphas’ hands ran over his baby bump. He adjusted his shirt quickly, afterwards, full of the shame he knew he’d still be feeling next time he saw Sherlock.
“Alright,” the doctor said. “She’s in the room. Take the chair on the opposite side of the table. Remember the rules… and I hope this gives you what you want.”
“Thank you,” John said, putting a hand to the door handle, feeling rather more finality than he had thought he might.
Eurus had always been thin. Even when John was ten, she was slimmer than most people. But now she looked emaciated. Her clothes – a blue t-shirt and soft trousers – hung off her bones, and her face looked sunken, though her dark hair was as glossy as ever, somehow. She looked up as Joh walked in, her eyes going straight to his bump, and remaining there as he pulled the chair out, and sat down, too large to push the chair back under.
“Hello,” he said gently. “Remember me?”
Eurus didn’t answer, but her gaze drifted up to John’s face, then down to his neck, his bond-bite scar just visible at his open collar. Then she looked back at his bump.
“I…” John swallowed, and tried to gather his thoughts. The silence was oppressive. The things he wanted to say didn’t seem to want to come out. “Eurus? Did Sherry tell you Sherlock and I are expecting a baby? You’re going to be an auntie.”
Eurus’s hands – locked together in cuffs – clenched together, like a stance of prayer. “You bonded with my brother,” she said, her voice like dry leaves. “And you left him alone.”
“I did,” John said. “But I came back. And… we’re ok.”
Her dark eyes, like wells, went wide. “Oh…kay? You left my brother alone and mourning his omega mate. You abandoned your mate. What sort of omega does that?”
“This one,” John said, feeling a twinge of unease. “Eurus… Sherlock and I have worked… are working… through that.”
“Because you’re having a baby.”
“Because… we love each other. The baby is… incidental, really,” John winced. “It wasn’t… I mean, alright, if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, we might not be together, but it wasn’t a trap –”
Eurus laughed. It sounded like a death knell, lacking any humour, the rasp of her throat like chipping rust through under-use, the rattle in her chest betraying the state of her health. “You don’t need to lie to me, John,” she smiled. “I know what omegas are. I’ve known for years. Omegas are an alpha’s bane – their cross to bear. Our very nature is to corrupt.” She dropped her hands down to her lap, and stared right into John’s eyes. “I know you know it. You tore Sherlock away from Victor, his love. You made my father overlook his family. You forced Mycroft to put a roof over your head, and you even made another alpha desire you just so you could stay in a fancy house when you left the army.”
John couldn’t speak. It was as though his head was empty, and Eurus was pouring words into it, filling him up, drowning his objections in half-truths and the past.
John grit his teeth, and raised eyes he didn’t realise had been focussed on the table. “No,” he said aloud, the effort making him break into a sweat. “No, Eurus. That is not what happened. That… is not my fault. Your dad, and you… you filled my head with so much shit that it’s still festering. Well, you’re not adding to it. I came to say that I want to try and forgive you, that I understand what Siger did to the both of us, and I know you had it worse. But I don’t know if you want me to try and forgive you. I don’t know what you want, but this isn’t something I can give you.”
Eurus smiled, as if John had showered her with compliments. “You can think,” she said. “You can. Such a shame.” She cocked her head to one side.
Then planted her cuffed hands to the edge of the steel table, and shoved it.
The table shot forward, hitting John in the stomach.
He crashed to the floor.
Pain ignited across his belly, down his back and thighs as he tried to sit up.
“Oh my god,” he put a hand to his stomach.
The doors to the room were opening, but he didn’t care.
“Oh my god. Oh, fuck. Jesus. Shit…” he put a hand between his legs, feeling the wetness there, seeing the dark stain seeping down his trouser legs.
Call an ambulance, someone yelled.
“No,” John rubbed his belly frantically, trying to feel movement from his baby even as the pain increased, and his trousers were soaked through. “No, no, please, no, please, I don’t want this to be happening, please –”
The monitor-band felt like it was cutting into John’s skin, but he didn’t care.
He kept his eyes on the wobbly line that showed his baby’s movements, their heartbeat, even as contractions made him scream into the oxygen mask on his face.
There was another gush of fluid, stained with more blood, and the paramedics roared at one another as they sped through the town.
John was sedated as soon as he got to the hospital.
He was operated on within minutes of his arrival.
His baby, a tiny 3lb 3oz omega girl, was delivered and rushed immediately to intensive care.
John’s uterus, entirely ruptured by the force of the blow, had to be removed. There was no saving the organ – John didn’t have enough blood to keep himself alive, let alone heal something so massive.
They placed John into an artificial coma. His coccyx was broken, he’d had a hysterectomy, and he was a mother. He received five pints of donor blood during his surgery.
But he was alive.
John was steered into a private room, and made comfortable.
On the floor above, Baby Watson was beginning a course of treatment to bolster her tiny lungs, and encourage her little organs to grow, and keep her alive.
Four hours after John first arrived at hospital, Sherlock’s phone rang.
In case anyone is wondering why Sherry didn't ring Sherlock sooner - he was taken into police custody for questioning, but released without charge.
Back to John's POV, and there'll be no more flicking back to the 'past' from now on. Thanks for all your amazing support with this fic, everyone. I live for your lovely comments and feedback, you really make this a ride worth hanging on to.
“Sherlock,” he whispered, staring into nothing.
Sherlock put his hand over John’s probing fingers, holding him still.
“Sherlock,” John said again. “Sherlock…. Where is my baby?”
Sherlock took a deep breath.
“Sherlock,” John snapped, starting to shake. “Where is he? Jesus Christ, tell me what’s happened because if I’ve lost him –”
“Her,” Sherlock said. “Her, John. She’s – she’s been born, she’s not – not…” he swallowed. “She’s in intensive care, upstairs.”
John felt his entire world grind to a halt. Dread, as heavy as cold rocks, thumped into his stomach, dragged sharp edges through his heart as it went. “…what?”
“John, you were delivered a baby omega girl, by caesarean,” a doctor said, taking control of the situation. “She was taken straight to Neonatal ICU, and she’s stable.”
John stared at the doctor’s face, not really seeing it. He was vaguely aware of pain in his pelvis, of the throb of the cannula in his hand, the dull pain inside him, but nothing else.
There was a space, where she ought to have been.
“She’s… too little,” John said. “She’s only twenty-nine weeks. Not even that, really.”
“We know, John, and we’re doing everything we can for her.”
Sherlock was still touching his hand. “John, I –”
“I need to see her,” John said, ignoring him.
The staff around him exchanged glances.
“Someone get me a wheelchair, please?”
“John,” the doctor who’d spoken before said gently, “you’ve only just come out of a synthetic coma, and we really need to assess you before we can let you –”
“Get me. A fucking wheelchair,” John snarled, baring his teeth. “Or else I’m going to pull these fucking tubes out and drag myself up there. Understand me?”
“DO IT!” John shouted, trying to swing his legs out of bed. Several nurses, and Sherlock, caught him, holding him still. “I need to see my baby, don’t you fucking understand me?!”
Sherlock touched his face. “John, stop. You’re not going to do any good by fighting –”
“Do I look like I give a shit what happens to me, anymore?” John wrenched his arms free. And quickly, with the skill of a medical professional, pulled the cannula out of his hand. The heart monitors went next, and a nurse left the room in a hurry, presumably to get John a wheelchair. “Have I got a dressing gown?”
Five minutes later, John was bundled in a dressing gown, and sitting in a wheelchair, pain starting to curl in his abdomen as the drugs he’d cut off started to leave his system. He didn’t care. His backside hurt a lot, and Sherlock told him he’d broken his coccyx – presumably from the fall – but that was nothing compared to the ache around his belly button. He knew there were scars – a large, anchor-shaped one, to be precise, but his entire digestive system felt out of place. Presumably because of having a baby removed from resting on it, at short notice.
“How much did she weigh?” John asked, as he was wheeled towards the lifts.
Sherlock strode beside him. He looked ill, drawn and pale, and John wondered if he’d slept at all. He must have been so angry. Maybe he still was. John had gone behind his back to see Eurus, after all. “Three pounds and three ounces.”
John nodded, and winced as the wheelchair went over a bump. “Three.”
“And three ounces.”
They went into the lift, and Sherlock hit the button.
John laced his fingers together. He wanted to start apologising, but the nurse holding onto his wheelchair suddenly seemed very… there.
He needed privacy, before he started apologising for this.
The doors opened again, and they went down a short corridor before the nurse beeped them in with her pass, and took them to the small reception desk.
John couldn’t help thinking it was all too surreal.
“Mr Watson, and Mr Holmes, to see Baby Watson?” she asked for them.
John felt a pang of distress, and clutched at Sherlock’s hand. “She doesn’t have a name?”
“I didn’t want to choose for you,” Sherlock looked down at him, sadly. “I know we… didn’t really discuss it.”
“She doesn’t have a name,” John repeated. “I… I don’t even know what to name her.”
“You don’t have to decide just yet, dear,” the nurse said kindly. “Now, we need to get you sorted…”
John forced himself to stand out of the chair, though his entire torso felt as though it was both on fire and plunged into ice water simultaneously. Sherlock watched him, face full of concern even as he was given a robe and a hairnet and a face-mask.
“Do I need that?” John asked.
“Hairnet, yes,” the nurse popped one over his head. “You’ll be alright without another gown, you’ve not been outside.”
Sherlock offered his arm, and John took it, leaning more of his weight over than he might have done before. “Are you alright?”
“Hurts,” John admitted. “Doesn’t matter.”
Sherlock stroked his arm. “John… you don’t have to push yourself, it’s alright.”
“I’m going to see my baby. My daughter,” John said, trying out the new word. “If I have to drag myself over the floor, I’m doing it.”
Sherlock’s jaw went tense, but he nodded. “Come on, then.”
The nurse opened the door for them, into a half-dark room full of blinking lights, and plastic boxes, with little sleeping dolls inside.
John followed the nurse in, taking careful steps in his slippers, over to one of the plastic boxes. There was a pink blanket draped over the top, a bundle of notes beneath, and several monitors, from which lines and tubes ran into the box.
“Here she is,” the nurse whispered.
John let go of Sherlock, and half-staggered over, putting a hand to the box as he looked inside.
A tiny, screwed-up, red and pink creature lay on its back on a soft-looking pad. It’s fingers, with fingernails like splinters of sea-shell, were curled around some of the wires.
“She’s stable, at the moment,” the nurse was saying. “She did a bit of crying, earlier, but she’s asleep again, now. I think she misses her mummy.”
John realised he was crying.
“She’ll have to stay in for a while, John, I’m sure you understand that.”
John sniffed, snottily. “Can I hold her?”
The nurse shook her head. “Not yet, John, I’m sorry. Maybe in a couple of days –”
“Please,” John begged. “Please, I…” his fingers clenched on the plastic. “Please, I’ve never held a baby before…”
“Can’t she stay on that pad?” Sherlock suggested.
“No, Sherlock, the incubator is temperature controlled. As I say, maybe the day after tomorrow…”
“Please,” John begged again, tears streaming. “She’s so small. I just need to…”
The nurse winced. “You can touch her feet,” she gave in. “Just here…” she indicated a meshed opening, and slid it aside. “That’s all I can do…”
John wiped his face, and didn’t even say thank you before accepting a cleansing wipe, and putting his fingers through the gap.
The baby’s red feet were so small they looked fake. Nothing could be that tiny, and be real.
John gently touched the sole of her foot.
She flexed her toes, and curled them around the pad of his finger.
John started crying again. “She’s holding it. Oh god, she must be so lonely…” he rested his head against the box, and cried. “I’m so sorry,” he sobbed. “I’m so sorry, baby, I’m so sorry my angel…”
Sherlock’s arms were around him, holding him tight as milk began to leak from John’s chest, soaking through his gown.
“I love you,” John wept, feeling the impossibly tiny toes flex and grip again. “I love you, and I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Thank you everyone for being so patient and lovely waiting for this chapter. And for all your support with this fic and others. It's been a very tough time personally, and for the whole world, and it's been difficult to write for a lot of reasons. I hope everyone who reads here is safe and well. Thank you everyone who's kept on reading, and for all your feedback. xxx
“I want to see her records,” John said, after he’d wiped his face. They were still in the dim room, the baby sleeping soundly, unaware of her mother’s breakdown. John was sitting back in his wheelchair, the pain in his abdomen worse than ever.
The nurse hesitated.
“I’m a parent, and a doctor,” John said. “I need to know what’s going on.” He held his hand out.
The nurse nodded, and lifted the slim file from under the incubator, and handed it over. John flipped it open, and scanned for the important bits. It was well completed, at least, and John had to admit his daughter seemed to be being well cared-for.
“She’s on hour-by-hour monitoring,” the nurse said, apparently to Sherlock. “Most babies lose a little weight in the first 48-hours, that’s not unusual. She’s receiving drugs to keep her blood pressure up, and antibiotics, since the… labour, was spontaneous.”
John scanned the list of medications. He’d only done a short stint in paeds during his training, but nothing jumped out at him as being unusual. “Is she on a PICC line, yet?”
John closed the file, and handed it back. He noticed his gown was sticking to him, and picked it, slightly embarrassed. “I don’t suppose there’s a better use for this than just a sick sort of wet t-shirt contest?” he sniffed.
“You can express,” the nurse said, smiling. “We can arrange that straight away.”
John nodded, sitting back against the rest of the wheelchair. He realised he was exhausted, and dirty, and his brain was almost actively shutting down against the situation. He looked back at his daughter, laying like a starfish on the pad, covered in tubes, a nappy as big as she was taped carefully around her middle. She had a few longer strands of dark hair on her head, and her entire tiny self was covered in a fluffy down, like a little chick. She was very red. She didn’t look much like either of them, in her face… she wasn’t cooked enough.
“You can come back up to see her in the morning, John,” the nurse said. “Do you want to say goodnight?”
John couldn’t speak. He just leaned forward, ignoring the scream of his insides, and slipped a hand through the opening to stroke his girl’s foot again. “I love you,” he said. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Her tiny toes flexed.
Sherlock helped him take the gown off, whilst a nurse sorted the wet-room for John to use. John had had a dose of oral morphine when he got back to his room, and it took the edge off enough for him to ask for a shower.
“You can’t get your staples wet,” he was warned. “It’ll have to be a strip-wash, if someone helps you.”
Sherlock didn’t hesitate before offering to take care of him.
John didn’t protest.
“Shit,” he hissed, as the gown was removed. “That’s a scar. Shit…” he went to touch the wound, then stopped short. “Shit, that’s really big. Was she transverse?”
“You don’t know, do you?” John looked up, suddenly very aware of the mesh pants he had on. He wondered if his old clothes had been incinerated, or thrown away, or what. They’d had to be cut off, for sure. “It doesn’t matter.” He looked back at the wound. “Guess mourning for my six-pack was a bit stupid, after all.”
The nurse came around the curtain, and John flinched, instinctually trying to hide himself, but she wasn’t really looking. “The water’s a good temperature. We say to stay on the wheelchair, and let your mate give you a wash down – don’t get water into those staples, so don’t go under the stream of water, ok?”
John nodded, and Sherlock made a noise that meant he’d been listening before wheeling John into the wet area, and clicking the brake on.
Sherlock picked up the packet of sponges, and opened it, selecting a soft one, and foaming it up with anti-microbial soap before sitting on the dry bench beside John’s wheelchair, and picking up his hand.
John wanted to speak. He wanted to start speaking, start apologising, start trying to explain, but he couldn’t.
Sherlock gently cleaned the dried blood from under his fingernails, from the creases of his hands, his knuckles. The bubbles went up over his wrist, his forearm, washing sweat and iodine and old blood away.
John realised he was crying, again. Silent streams of tears from his sore eyes, running down the already dried salt-tracks on his face, feeling tight and hot and aching.
Sherlock didn’t say anything, just carried on wiping and cleaning his mate with the sort of gentleness John hadn’t realised he was capable of. Even when John had to stand, and Sherlock tossed the mesh underwear into the bin, there was nothing funny or embarrassing about it. It felt like being cared for.
John didn’t deserve it, not one bit.
“Why don’t you?” Sherlock asked, and John realised he’d said that out loud. “Why don’t you deserve this?”
John stared. “I… our baby…”
Sherlock put a hand to his damp, newly washed face. “John, look at me. In the eyes, John. Come on.”
John glanced up, afraid of what he might see.
Sherlock stroked his cheek with a thumb. “John, this wasn’t your fault.”
“It was, I didn’t listen to –”
“It doesn’t matter,” Sherlock said, over him. “You didn’t go out with anything but good intentions. I know that.”
“You told me to stay away from her,” John insisted. “And I thought I knew better. I…” he took a deep, shuddering, breath. “I’ve always thought I knew best, but I don’t. Every time I’ve made a decision it’s ended up hurting me, and other people. The army. James. Being pregnant. You. This… I’ve ruined everything. Again.”
Sherlock shook his head. “You joining the army was a good decision – for you.”
“But we –”
“Neither of us could have known I’d choose the outlet for my grief the way I did,” Sherlock sighed. He pulled a towel from the warm radiator and wrapped John in it. “That was my mistake, not yours. I thought I could cope, and I was wrong. That was not on you. That’s on my upbringing, and my lack of foresight.”
John blinked, the towel’s warmth soaking into his skin.
“And James… even I thought he was a kind man, at first. Yes, I was jealous he got to be so close to you, but I thought he was a decent man. His choice to try it on with you, and then to hurt you, was his choice. Not yours. You needed a place to stay, and I wasn’t being the mate I should be. That wasn’t your fault.” Sherlock gently started to dry John’s hair. “And staying pregnant was the best thing you did. It didn’t seem so at the time, but it was. It honestly was.”
John sniffed, biting the inside of his lip to try to keep the tears at bay.
“John, I am not going to get angry at you about any of this,” Sherlock said. “I can’t. That would be pointless. Emotions have never been my strong point, as you know, but this isn’t the time for us to rake one another over the coals. We need to be a united front, and pointing blame isn’t going to get either of us anywhere. There’s a baby upstairs who needs her parents ready to look after her.”
John stared. “I never thought I’d hear you say something like that.”
“Yes, well.” Sherlock went to pick up the new pyjamas, and brought them over. “Fatherhood must suit me.”
“I think it does.” They were quiet for a moment as John was helped to dress, and sat down in a dry wheelchair, the old one being left in the shower, for cleaning. John hissed as he sat back down. “I think I need to lie down. It hurts a lot…”
Sherlock’s hands paused on John’s buttons. “John… You…”
John looked up at him. “I think I know what you’re going to say. This seems like a lot of pain for a C-Section.”
Sherlock’s mouth twisted.
“And the scar’s wrong. Even if she was transverse.” John shook his head. “It’s ok, Sherlock. I know.”
“…I didn’t know what had been done, until I got the phone-call,” Sherlock said. “I didn’t know. I… I’m so sorry.”
John gave a tiny smile. “I probably deserve this. I couldn’t be trusted with a second baby, after this.”
“No,” Sherlock took his hands. “No, you don’t, John. Please don’t say that.”
John just looked down at Sherlock’s pale hands wrapped around his own, slightly more tanned, smaller ones. Everything felt as if it was balanced on a knife-edge. Their relationship. The day. The baby’s life.
Everything could break, at any moment.
With a single wrong word, everything could fall apart.
John took a steady breath. “I… want to see a therapist.”
Sherlock looked up.
“I want to see one… here, if I can. Soon as I can. I…” John twisted his hands so his fingers interlocked with Sherlock’s. “I can’t keep thinking I’m ok, anymore. I’m not. And I’ve not been for a long time. And that’s gotten me, us, here. I need… help. I can’t solve any of this,” he tapped his temple, “on my own. I…”
Sherlock leaned up, and kissed him. “Thank you,” his said, his voice a dark caress. “Thank you, John.”
“What happened to Eurus?” John asked. His eyes were closed, and he was back on a drip for fluids and painkillers. He badly needed to sleep, but his skin was aching through missing his baby. It was as if she was still attached to him by some invisible cord, and he could sense her, even on the floor above.
Sherlock sighed. “There’s nothing can be done. She’s already in solitary confinement. They can’t punish her, or send her to trial because she’s ill.”
John hummed. “She knew about us.”
“Sherry said she worked the information from him, as soon as he told her he’d seen you.”
“…why does she hate me so much?” John opened one eye. “She hates me, Sherlock. I thought she disliked me a bit, but…” he put a hand to his empty stomach.
Sherlock looked at him. “Because you escaped,” he said. “I don’t mean from the house. Sherry did that, too, and she doesn’t hate him. I mean, you escaped from Siger.”
“Not completely,” John winced.
“But enough to live a normal life,” Sherlock said. “You bonded, and had a career, and you were pregnant. You lived in the outside world, and you had friends and happiness. Siger was a footnote in your life. To Eurus, he’s the reason she can never have that.”
“It’s just jealousy?” John asked.
“I don’t know,” Sherlock admitted. “But I do know she hates herself as much as she hates you.”
John closed his eye, again. “I don’t know if I hate her. I mean, I do. I do, but it’s so mixed up. She tried to kill my baby. But I can see what drove her to it. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever forgive her. I do hate her, yes. She… isn’t what I thought she was.”
“What did you think she was?”
“I thought she was me,” John said. “In another life. But… She’s just her. I’d never do anything like that, to anyone. I’m not like her. I thought I was, but I’m not. I thought we were the same, because of what happened to us. But… I don’t… We’re not. I could never hurt someone like that. Even if I hated them. I’m not her, after all.”
“That’s a good thing, if you ask me,” Sherlock said.
John shifted against the pillow. “I’ll think of a name for her.”
“We can’t keep calling her Baby.”
“I don’t know, I thought it was quite original.”
John smiled into the pillow. “Goodnight, Sherlock.”
Heads up for mentions of breastfeeding, and ongoing hospital stuff.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Over the next few days, there were visitors.
The first was Harry, who turned up with Clara, her girlfriend, and sat in stunned silence beside John’s bed whilst he tried to carry the conversation. Harry looked sick – she wasn’t as thin as before, but her eyes were yellowed, and her hands were shaking. She declined going upstairs to see her niece. The couple didn’t stay long, and John was left feeling exhausted.
“People don’t know what to say,” Sherlock said, as he wheeled John to the lift, so they could go up to see their baby. “It’s nothing personal. It’s just… hospitals.”
“She could have said something,” John sighed, hanging onto the pole his drip was attached to. “It was like she wasn’t even there.”
They spent an hour with their baby after that, John pressing his face and hands against the plastic incubator whilst Sherlock went from kissing his head to staring into the box to pacing.
John didn’t blame him. His alpha instincts were to protect. He couldn’t do anything, here. Neither of them could.
“We still need to think of a name, for her,” John said, watching the baby’s chest move up and down. “Have you thought of anything?”
Sherlock sat down, finally. “I looked at the currently popular baby names.”
He pulled a face.
“Mm,” John looked back at their daughter. “What about family names? Old ones, I mean.”
“I don’t know. I don’t think there’s anything traditional. What was your mother’s name?”
“Jacqui. It’s a bit old fashioned, now.”
“Jacqueline…” Sherlock mused. “No, I don’t like it for her.”
“What about something floral? Poppy, Daisy, Willow, Ivy…” John mused, still watching her breathe. “This is impossible. Why does nothing suit her?”
“Something will,” Sherlock said, getting up again and going over to John, kissing him on the cheek. “You’ll know, when it’s right.”
The second visitor was Mycroft.
He came in as John was having his breakfast taken away, much to John and Sherlock’s surprise, as visiting hours weren’t until after lunch.
“Forgive the hour, but I was worried about you both. Sorry, all three of you,” he said, leaning a damp umbrella against the wall, and John realised he hadn’t been outside in a few days. “How are you… all?”
“Baby’s the same,” John said. “Well, a bit better. She’s moving to twice-daily assessment rather than hourly. They’re quite pleased with how she’s doing. For a preemie she’s doing quite well. Obviously, she takes after me,” he joked, not know how else to deal with the situation.
Mycroft visibly sagged with relief. “Good. That’s… good.”
“We’re hoping John will get to hold her, today,” Sherlock said. “No promises, of course.”
John nodded, biting his lip.
Mycroft pulled an almost-smile, and looked around the room.
John wondered what it was about him that seemed to stop people from talking.
“We’re open to suggestions for names, if you’ve been nursing a hope for something specific,” Sherlock said, filling the silence. “Since she doesn’t actually have one, yet.”
“Well, there’s not many female names on our side,” Mycroft mused. “Our parents both had male-male parents, so we never had any female grandmothers.”
John blinked – it was unusual, but not unheard of, particularly when the family was entirely alphas and omegas. He had had two female grandmothers, but he couldn’t remember their names. It was somewhat saddening to think he had no one he could ask. As Sherlock and Mycroft chatted names over him, he realised he’d never asked what happened to his parents’ home, their possessions, all their paper-work… he’d only been ten, when they died, but surely someone still had them, somewhere.
He made a mental note to ask after things, once they were all home.
The third visitor was Sherrinford.
John pretended to be asleep.
He didn’t want to speak to him.
Sherlock took his brother outside to speak to him, and he came back in alone.
John sat, trembling in the chair as the nurse lifted his baby out of the plastic cot. She was gently wrapped in a warm blanket, taking care to mind the tubes she still had fixed to her, and then passed over. John had a moment of sheer panic. He had no idea what to do with his arms. He’d never held a baby before, and this one – his own – was so tiny and fragile that he was convinced he would break her.
“Here you go,” the nurse manoeuvred the baby into position, her head resting in the crook of John’s elbow, her body encased in the blanket. “That’s it, just support her head. Perfect. You’re a natural.”
John couldn’t speak. He was frozen, looking down at the tiny human in his arms. Her eyes opened a fraction, and she glared at him. “Oh, well, she’s got your glare,” he forced out at Sherlock, who was taking a photo on his phone.
Sherlock just nodded, standing to get a better angle.
The baby licked her lips, her tongue like a little red lozenge, and blinked.
“Hello,” John said softly. “Hello, baby.”
The baby glared at him again, then screwed her face up and let out a single noise, like an angry sheep.
“Did you want to try feeding her?” the nurse asked.
John blushed. “Um… I…”
“You can try her, but don’t take it personally if she’s not interested. A lot of preemies aren’t. We can still use your milk.”
John went redder. He’d not talked to Sherlock about this side of things, though he had been expressing, to somewhat disappointing results. He felt ridiculous handing over tiny amounts, though the nurses always praised his efforts. “I… ok.”
The nurse took the baby back whilst John’s chair was leant back slightly, and he lifted his t-shirt up. The baby was unwrapped like a parcel, and slipped under John’s top before he had chance to think about it.
The effect on them both was instantaneous.
The baby stopped whining, and started nuzzling at John’s skin. Her instinct to scent her mother took hold, and she gripped at John’s chest with her little fingers, trying to almost burrow into him.
John gasped, his entire being seeming to catch on fire as it realised what he’d been missing. The skin contact with his baby – what he hadn’t had yet – seemed so overwhelming he could only put his hands over the t-shirt-covered lump and try not to faint as she moved about on him.
“John?” Sherlock looked panicked, and John realised his face must be a picture.
“…this is like a drug,” John breathed. “She’s so warm…”
Sherlock’s eyes went wide.
“You’ve got to try this.”
The nurses got John and his daughter settled, positioning the baby on John’s chest so she was close to one of his nipples, and Sherlock could sort of see her if he peeped down John’s top.
“This is all weird,” John said, when they went left alone. “This is so weird…” he looked down at the baby, who was investigating his chest. “She’s alive. I know, yeah, that’s obvious, but look at her. She’s all…. Alive.”
“And moving,” Sherlock said, looking down John’s top at the pink creature. “And… apparently hungry.”
“I’m not expecting her to… I mean, they don’t always find it easy. Premature babies, I mean,” John said, going red. “Um. Are you ok with… me having a go?”
Sherlock looked at him and blinked. “Why wouldn’t I be ok with that?”
“I don’t know,” John said, his face on fire, “some alphas don’t like to know about… breastfeeding. It’s… not something that gets talked about, very often.”
Sherlock smiled, and put a hand on the side of John’s face. It felt nice and cool. “John, this is entirely up to you. If you want to try, then try.” He kissed John’s forehead. “Do you want a bit of privacy?”
“A cup of tea would be nice,” John nodded.
Sherlock kissed, and scented the baby through John’s t-shirt before getting up and going out.
John counted to ten before reaching under his clothes and trying to remember what he’d read in the books, holding the baby close to himself and putting a finger to her chin to lever her mouth open.
Sherlock came back ten minutes later, with two cups of decaf tea in lidded paper cups. He paused in the doorway as John looked up, tearful, his hands over the lump under his shirt again.
Sherlock sighed. “John’s it’s alri-”
John shook his head. “She’s doing it. I daren’t move. But she’s doing it.” He glanced down, only moving his eyes. “I don’t even want to breathe.”
“You should breathe,” Sherlock said, looking delighted. He put the cups down. “So… she’s doing it?”
John hummed a ‘yes’.
Sherlock leaned over, and peered down John’s shirt. “She’s asleep? Oh, no, I can see her throat moving. And her mouth. Oh. Oh, that’s…” His eyes suddenly shone, and he patted John on the head, clearly afraid to do more in case he disturbed the baby. “Well done.”
John smiled, and breathed out a tiny laugh. “Did you bring a straw for that tea, by any chance?”
The fourth visitor was Violet Holmes.
“Isn’t she tiny?” she whispered, holding her only grandchild in a bundle, several days after John had first held her. “Oh, boys…”
“She’s put weight on,” John said, unable to hold back a flash of pride. Indeed, it was all he had after losing out on a lot of sleep the past few days. The baby liked to feed around the clock, and John ended up sleeping in the NICU one night, he was too exhausted and in pain to make it back down the lift.
“John’s doing a wonderful job,” Sherlock added, rubbing a hand down his tired face. Sherlock had lost weight. He’d barely been home, save to bring John clothes, and to shower. He caught snatches of sleep now and again, and John knew he’d been smoking at least once because he could smell it. He made Sherlock go home and change when he did – he didn’t want their baby being exposed to that. Sherlock had apologised endlessly, his sleep-deprived mind not thinking.
John sighed, watching Violet coo and sing to her granddaughter. He rested his head in his hand, and felt his eyes grow heavy. Sherlock stroked his head. If he could just get a little bit of rest…
“So,” Violet said, making John jump. “Did you get settled on a name? She is ten days old, now.”
“Oh, yes,” John yawned, sitting straighter. “Finally. We went through pretty much everything in the book, but we think we’re settled.” He looked up at Sherlock. “Aren’t we?”
“Yes, I think so,” Sherlock smiled, tiredly.
“So,” Violet’s eyes sparkled. “Who is she, then?”
The baby opened her eyes, and gave a squawk.
John held his arms out, and had her passed back over. He smiled at her, at her dark blue eyes and tufts of dark hair. “This,” he said, “is Lucy Watson-Holmes.”
The next chapter will involve John's new therapy, and him discussing what happened to him as a child. This is your forewarning.
Chapter contains discussion of John's childhood abuse, and his unresolved feelings about himself and the situation.
Thank you to everyone who's still here, still supporting this fic. I love you all. xx
The therapist’s room was nothing like the ones John had been in in the past. This one was barely a cupboard – a small room within a room in the hospital, and the therapist worked for the NHS – the only one John and Sherlock could arrange at short notice.
It was a far cry from the large, window-dominated and airy rooms John had been in as a teenager, and the windowless medical bay in the army.
She smiled at him, and he smiled back, nervously.
“Now,” the therapist pushed her glasses up her nose. “It says here you’ve had talking therapy a few times in the past. Can you tell me about that?”
“Um,” John pressed his hands together. He was fully dressed in day clothes, instead of pyjamas, for the first time in three weeks. He felt a bit strange. His staples were due to be taken out later the same day. And there was talk of him being sent home.
Even though Lucy would be staying in.
“UM,” John shook off the thoughts, and tried to remember the question. “Yeah, when I was… a teenager. It stopped a bit abruptly, when I was eighteen. Because I joined the army.”
“But you went for another course?”
“Yes,” John said, his fingers interlocking. “But that… I mean, I was having therapy for one thing, but then when I was in the army I needed it for something else, so…”
“So you don’t feel as though anything got resolved?”
“…no.” John glanced away. “Not really. Doctor Smith.”
The therapist made a note on her pad. She had long ginger hair that fell forward over her shoulder, and she was younger than some of the other therapists John had had. Prettier, too.
“So,” she looked up. “You can call me Melody, you don’t have to call me Doctor Smith. And what is it you would like to accomplish through talking therapy, John?”
“I don’t expect you to make me better,” John said. “I just… I know that what happened to me was wrong. I know it happened and you can’t take me back in time and stop it from happening. But I want it to… I want what happened to make less of an impact on my life now. On my relationships.”
She smiled. “That sounds like something we can work towards. I’m not saying it’ll be quick, John, but it’s something we can work on, together.”
John forced a small smile back. He looked around the small room as Melody made a final note, and then put her pad down.
“I want to focus on something good, first,” she said. “A happy memory, a happy time. Can you think of a happy time? What’s the first thing that springs to mind?”
“Sherlock holding Lucy,” John said, instantly. “The day after I first did.”
“Tell me about it.”
John flashed a grin. “He… she’s in the NICU, yeah? So the day before, I’d done the kangaroo care thing, where you keep the baby down your top? And they asked Sherlock if he wanted to do it.”
Melody smiled. “That sounds sweet.”
“It was. He normally wears button-up shirts, and didn’t think to wear anything else, so he ended up having to take it off and turn it back to front like a poncho,” John laughed softly. “And they got her, and showed him how to hold her, and he just…” John shook his head at the memory.
“How is she so small?” Sherlock murmured, his voice sounding all high and wobbly. He looked up at John in wonder, his pale blue eyes shining. “John…”
“You’re doing great,” John said, taking a photo.
Sherlock adjusted Lucy (then still nameless) against his skin so he could sniff her head. He smiled as he did so, inhaling her baby smell, his alpha instincts memorising it, soaking it into his brain like indelible ink – he would never fail to identify her now, even in pitch darkness. It wasn’t the same for John, who could feel a pull towards his child as though she was one of his limbs – Sherlock had to learn her. And now he had, it felt like completing a circle. The three of them made perfect sense, now. Alpha, omega, and baby.
“What do you think she smells like?” John asked softly, touching the shell of her tiny, almost translucent, ear. “I think she smells like… a bit of you, a bit of kin, a bit of… newness.”
“I think she smells like heaven,” Sherlock murmured, kissing his daughter before sniffing her again.
Lucy nuzzled against his skin, mewling as she tried to get higher.
“Put her near your neck,” John said, reaching out to help get his daughter’s face close to where Sherlock’s scent was strongest.
Lucy relaxed as John’s hands touched her, her mother known to her – familiar and soft (and where food came from, importantly), then snuffled happily at her father’s neck, learning him back, the place in her mind that dealt with her parents satisfied with the arrangement.
Sherlock looked up at John, and kissed him, once, on the jaw.
John slid into Sherlock’s lap, Sherlock's spare arm holding around his back and waist as Lucy started to doze on Sherlock’s neck and chest.
The three of them softened and relaxed against one another, and John let his eyes close.
“That’s a wonderful memory,” Melody said. “I want you to hold onto that memory, tight. And remember you can visit that place – that happy cuddle with your mate and your baby – whenever you like. You don’t need my permission to go there, and you can go there as often as you like.”
John nodded, understanding why it was important to have a ‘happy place’.
“You need to keep that place close by,” Melody said. “Because what I ask you next will take you somewhere painful. And if it is too painful, you will need to leave.” She leaned forward. “Our task here is to make sure those two memories do not affect one another. Your happy memory is in a box that can let nothing in, or out, unless you want it to.”
“You want me to talk about what happened when I was a kid,” John said, the psycho-talk grating just a little.
“If you feel you can. It would help me to understand, and to make a plan of how we can work on making you accept what happened, and not let it affect you now.”
John stared at the desk, for a moment. “It’s a long story.”
“How did it start?”
“…with my parents dying,” John said.
“They died suddenly.”
“In a car crash. The day I met Sherlock.”
Melody made a note. “Did you know you were going to meet Sherlock, that day?”
“Yes, I knew I was going to meet someone I was going to marry,” John said. “I didn’t get why. But Sherlock told me about – about me being an omega.”
“Sherlock was the first person to discuss your gender with you?”
“Yes. I mean, I knew I was going to marry him, but I didn’t know that was because I was an omega, until he told me that.”
“How old were you?”
“…and your parents never discussed this with you?”
“They were both betas,” John said. “I don’t think they quite understood what it was to be… me. They were a bit embarrassed about it, I think. So, after they died, I ended up living with Sherlock’s family.”
“And how did you feel about being an omega, then?”
John sat back. “How… did I feel about it?”
“I… I…” he thought. Back fifteen years, to ten-year-old John in that big house, alone, crying and mourning without so much as a hug. Mycroft bringing him clothes. Sherlock having the door slammed in his face when John was angry. Eurus thinking he was a baby. Sherry not understanding him at all. He shook his head. “I felt different. Eurus, and Sherry, and Violet were all omegas, and they were… I mean, they never seemed happy with the idea. I didn’t even know what heats were, until I saw Eurus have one. And it was… scary.”
“What scared you about it?”
“…she looked sick. And she was unkind, with it. And Sherry told me about you wanting to… yeah, you know. That seemed frightening. Sherlock gave me some books to read, about puberty, and so on.”
“But no one sat down with you and discussed it with you?”
“Not really.” John picked a bit of skin off his finger. “When I was at school we got lessons about it, but I was in a mixed class and it was a bit like Sex Ed 101.”
Melody let John steady his breathing, before asking another question. “What did you feel, when you were little, about Sherlock being an alpha?”
“I didn’t get it, at first,” John said. “Even with the books. It didn’t seem possible – what happens in heats. I think I just sort of ignored it, and assumed it wouldn’t actually happen?”
“Children do that, it’s normal.”
“But then I saw him have his first rut,” John said. “And he looked… vicious. Strong, and angry, and just… out of control. And it was like everything made sense, even though I didn’t want it to. He was an alpha, and that’s what they were like, and he was going to want to do… that, to me, at some point. And it was like realising that we were different, and… and I was just an omega, and there was no way I could fight him off, and even then I wasn’t supposed to?”
Melody hummed. “John, at any point, did anyone ever tell you about sex that isn’t for procreation? About making love, or sexual pleasure?”
“I remember the books saying that omegas wanted to have sex when in heat,” John said.
“But outside of heat?”
“I… don’t remember,” John said, blushing.
Melody nodded. “Do you want to continue?”
John nodded. “Just a moment.” He gave the window a good stare, but wasn’t really looking out of it. “Sex was always something alphas did to omegas,” he said, not waiting for the question. “Every time. When Siger… and then my first heat, it was… But afterwards, when we started… I didn’t even go on scent blockers because I just wanted to be wanted, you know?” Words were spilling out of John without his control. “I wanted Sherlock to want me. Even though I didn’t think he should because I was… I was ruined, and –”
“Why were you ruined, John?”
“Because his dad was…” John stopped, putting a hand over his mouth. This was in his notes, the therapist knew about this, but he had to say it.
He had to.
“Use whatever words you need to use, John.”
John took a shuddering breath. “Siger Holmes scented my neck when I was twelve. He… he put his arms around me, and held me close, and fast. I was only little. He held me so tight, like he wanted to snap me in half, and he scented me, right down my throat. I hadn’t matured, I was still just a kid, and he scented me like you’d scent a lover. And he was the first person to do that to me. My parents never did, because they were betas, and I knew it was special, and I knew Sherlock would do it, one day, but he’d never be my first.” John pressed the heels of his hands into his wet eyes. “And it wasn’t just once. He did it whenever he could. Sometimes I wouldn’t be fast enough getting my shoes on, and he’d…” he looked up, inhaling sharply. “He’d get me at the back of the neck, and push me onto the floor, and scent at my throat with his weight on top of me.”
Melody’s face was frozen.
John shook his head. “I’ve never told anyone that bit.”
“About being pushed to the floor?”
“No. Yeah. I told them he was scenting me. But… he was so heavy, and I was so small, and I could feel… everything.” John wiped his eyes, angrily. “Sometimes, I still can.”
“Sometimes I dream about it. Less now, but I used to a lot. I’d wake up and be sick. Sometimes, now, when Sherlock and I… sometimes it feels the same.”
“It isn’t the same.”
“I know, but, for an instant…” John swallowed, feeling sick. “He’d shove me against the wall if he found me. Press a knee between my legs. I think he would have…. I think, if it had gone on much longer, he would have tried to rape me. I think he was waiting for me to mature. It was…” John looked up. “I’m glad he’s dead. I’m glad I slashed his face with my keys. But it’s like he’s still alive, because I can still feel him. He’s here,” John tapped his temple. “And every time I think about what it’s like to be an omega, he’s here, telling me what I deserve, and what I ought to be like.”
“What do you think, John, that you ought to be like?”
“A good mate,” John said, automatically. “A good mother, and good mate, someone loyal and kind.”
“You are all of those things, John. And more.” Melody wrote something down. “I want you to think about what you’ve just told me, and I want you to know that we are stopping talking about it, now. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and it doesn’t mean that it’s forgotten. It means that the time to talk about that is done, for today. It’s time, now, to revisit your memory of Sherlock, and Lucy.”
The memories rearranged themselves in John’s head, a door closing on his childhood, and the memory of Sherlock’s soft kisses on his forehead, and Lucy’s baby sounds, filling his mind instead.
He smiled, wiping his eyes. “What happens now?”
“We will talk,” Melody said. “It won’t be quick, John, but we will keep on at this, for as long as you need. Your feelings are valid, and reasonable, and you dealt with what happened to you as well as you could. You were such a brave boy, and you are a man I very much admire. Do you feel ok to leave this room?”
“Yes,” John said. “Yes, I… thought I might feel worse, actually.”
“Well, I think I have a clear list of issues to work through, and if more come to us, we will work on those, too,” Melody said. “Now… let’s get you back to your family.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” Sherlock asked, as John slipped Lucy under his t-shirt again, and she enthusiastically went for his nipple.
“No,” John shook his head. “Not yet.”
“Alright,” Sherlock kissed him. “She’s been ever so good. Asleep, most of the time.”
“Your alpha scent makes her drowsy,” John said, stroking their daughter’s head.
“Do you think therapy is going to help you?”
“I think so,” John said. “It’s not going to be quick. But… yeah. She made me think of things, already.”
Sherlock hummed, and ran a hand through his hair.
John frowned at him. “Don’t take this too personally, but you look like shit.”
“Thank you, John.”
“Go home, and get some sleep. And food. You’re no good to us dead on your feet.” John looked down at the baby. “I don’t know what I’m going to do if they send me home. I’ll end up coming in every day to feed her, surely?”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Sherlock sighed, putting his head in his hands. “I’ve spoken to the nurses but they’re adamant you need to be discharged once you’ve had your staples out. But Lucy needs you, and I don’t see what the alternative is when she’s not allowed out.”
“Technically she’s thirty-two weeks,” John said, wincing as the baby girl let go and re-latched with enthusiasm. “So, she’ll be in for another fortnight at the least.”
Sherlock nodded, not looking up.
“I don’t know how I’m – how we’re – expected to go home without her,” John said sadly.
Sherlock put a hand on his knee, and the two men sat in silence, the only sound their baby’s gentle snuffling against her mother’s skin.
Sorry this has been so long coming... I've had to take on more paid work to try and cover some unexpected bad news, and that's taken a lot out of me emotionally, too. Writing things I love, like fic, has had to take a back-seat, and that's just made me feel worse. But hopefully things are turning around, now! Apologies again for keeping you all waiting.
John was dozing, his hospital bed propped up a little as he lay on his side, facing the plastic box that Lucy was sleeping in. They’d spent the night in the same room, as an experiment, or trial run, though Lucy had still been hooked up to machines and tubes. It had been a night of not a lot of sleep for John – the little hink, hink of Lucy’s breath kept him awake, because he worried that if he fell asleep it might stop. It did make feeding her a lot easier, though John worried (again) that he’d nod off during the feed and drop his baby or have her roll out of the bed.
So, when morning came around, John felt wrung-out and shaky, and was just about ready to pass out when Lucy stirred, making a squeaking noise and flexing her little hands as she pulled a face that meant something unpleasant was about to go on in her insides.
John sighed, and put his hands over his face. “Where does it all come from?” he mumbled, shuddering as tiredness got hold of his bones, and he regretted not letting himself sleep when he had the chance.
Lucy whined again, just as the smell hit John’s nose. She balled her fists, and screwed her face up, ready to yell.
John forced himself upright, and shoved the covers down his bed, picking Lucy up and putting her on his bed before she could really get going. The scent of her mother made her relax, and her dark blue eyes opened as she sniffed the warm, sleepy smell around her.
John kissed her hair, which was beginning to fall out (they’d said it might, though he was still funny to look at), before starting on the grim task at hand. Minutes later, the nappy was replaced, and John was lying back on the bed, Lucy under his pyjama top, starting on her breakfast with gusto. He kept a hand on her back, and let his eyes close, half-grateful for the pinch on his skin where she dug her nails in – it kept him awake.
He wondered if it was possible to actually die from a lack of sleep. Jealousy curled under his skin, suddenly – Sherlock had spent the past week going home at night, and he looked much better for it. John hadn’t had a full night’s sleep for a month. He doubted very much that things would change when they were all home. Sherlock couldn’t feed Lucy, and he was unlikely to bring John a drink of water when the feeding-thirsts gripped his throat in the middle of the night.
By the time the breakfast trolley came around, John was sitting up, Lucy on her back on the mattress as he waved a colourful toy above her.
“What can I get you, dear?” the porter asked, brandishing a pair of tongs.
“Black coffee and a full English would be great,” John yawned. He scooped Lucy up, and put her back in the plastic cot.
The porter smiled, and cooed at Lucy before plating up what John was allowed – eggs, beans, toast and tomatoes. And tea.
The one cup of caffeinated tea John permitted himself a day. Like gold dust.
John thanked her, and swigged down half of it without waiting for it to cool, before starting on his low-salt, low-saturated fat breakfast.
“When I escape here,” he said to Lucy, once the porter had gone, “I’m getting chips. And McDonalds. And cake. And…” he shook his head and shovelled half a poached egg into his mouth. “Everything in moderation,” he said, swallowing.
Lucy waved her hands in reply.
“John?” a nurse poked her head around the door. “You’ve got a visitor.”
“Really?” he frowned. It wasn’t visiting hours, yet, and Sherlock and Mycroft didn’t tend to stick to them, anyway. “Who is it?”
“It’s a member of staff, I hope you don’t mind…”
John blinked. He didn’t know any medical staff.
A man walked around the nurse, and stood in the doorway. He gave a cautious sort of smile. His hair was shorter, and he looked tired, but…
“Mr Trevor has just come off his shift,” the nurse said.
“If you want me to go, that’s fine,” Victor said. “I don’t mind, John… I just heard on the grapevine, and…” he held up a bunch of flowers.
John cleared his throat, and glanced at Lucy. “She’s asleep.”
“Ok, I’ll go –”
“No, just… keep quiet,” John beckoned him in. Victor thanked the nurse, and walked in, putting the flowers down on the windowsill.
“Thought you’d have a lot of bouquets, I have to say,” he smiled. He turned the blooms to face John, then let the smile drop. “How are you?”
John started to force a smile of his own, then gave up. “Shit,” he said.
Victor nodded. “Thought as much. I heard through a colleague there was an omega man in who’d delivered early, something about his mate’s sister… You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that out.” He looked at the cot. “Is that her?”
“Yeah,” John said, wishing he could sound proud, when all he felt was tired. “Lucy. Watson-Holmes.”
Victor leaned over the cot, and smiled genuinely at the baby. “God, she looks like Sherlock,” he said softly.
“Hopefully she’ll get his brains,” John nodded.
Victor gave the sleeping baby another smile. “Oh, I don’t know. I think a mixture might be good.”
John forced a laugh. “How’re you keeping, then? You still at your parents’?”
“No, no,” Victor took a seat in the visitor’s chair. “Changed jobs, and found somewhere closer to here. Flat-sharing, still, but…” he shrugged. “It’s ok.”
John hummed, not knowing quite what to say. There was an awkward pause.
Lucy saved them by waking up and promptly making a noise like an angry goose.
“Crikey,” Victor winced as John picked her up. “She’s got a pair of lungs on her.”
“I’m not supposed to let her cry,” John said, fussing her. “It’s a waste of energy she needs for growing.”
Victor nodded, watching as John held her close, kissed her head.
“I don’t think she’s hungry,” John said as his daughter started nodding off again. “She doesn’t like that cot-thing. She’d rather sleep on me all day.”
“You must be knackered.”
“I am,” John yawned, on cue. “But… what can you do?”
Victor watched them both, for a moment.
John licked his lips apart. “Did you… want a cuddle?”
Victor’s face lit up, and he reached out without hesitation to take the baby. He was obviously experienced with babies, tucking Lucy against himself in the crook of his elbow, putting a cushion under his own arm to stave off the dead-arm. “She’s so little.”
“Mm,” John leaned back. “She was only just over three pounds when she was… born.”
“Growing fast, though,” Victor touched her little hand.
Before John knew it, his eyes were closing again.
Sherlock came into John’s room to find a sleeping John, and Victor Trevor holding Lucy with one hand, and reading a magazine with the other.
“Shh,” Victor glared. “She’s asleep. They both are.”
Sherlock looked from him to John, who was snoring like an pneumatic drill. “Right…” he whispered.
“You made a good one,” Victor nodded at Lucy. “Well done.”
Sherlock had to smile. “I know. Thank you. But… John did all the work. Still does.”
Victor frowned. “You need to make sure he’s not doing all this on his own, Sherlock. The man’s exhausted. He’s as pale as you.”
“Seriously, Sherlock. You can’t live the life you used to – you need to be there for both of them. That means making sure John’s fed and watered, making sure you take Lucy away so he can have some time for himself…”
Lucy stirred, and stretched, in Victor’s arms.
“When do you get to take her home?” Victor asked softly.
“Next week,” Sherlock said. “They want to discharge John tomorrow, though.”
“Without her? Jesus.”
“I know. Mycroft is… trying to convince them to let him stay in.”
Victor pulled a sympathetic face.
John’s snoring stopped, and he rolled over.
“Here you go, then,” Victor indicated Lucy. Sherlock picked her up, and the sudden scent of her alpha made her press her little face against his shirt and try to burrow in. “She knows her dad,” Victor smiled. He stood, and flexed his arm, getting the blood back into it. He came over to Sherlock, and looked at him, something undefinable in his eyes as he looked at his old flame, baby in his arms. “Suits you, Sherlock.”
Sherlock almost blushed. “…thank you.”
“You’re welcome. It’s not something you’d’ve gotten with me, and it really does suit you.” He picked his coat up. “John’s got the gossip, if you want to ask him. And… good luck, I guess.”
“Victor,” Sherlock said, before the beta got to the door, “Victor, any time you want to…”
“It’s alright,” Victor said. “I’ll call, at least. And… anytime you need an ear, or a shoulder…. Either of you.” He nodded at Sherlock, who smiled back as the man he used to love let himself out of the room.
“Oh, fucking hell,” John stood in front of the mirror, eyes boggling at himself. “Shit.” His staples were taken out, and the effect was… shocking.
Sherlock put a hand to his lips. There was no point in pretending John’s scar wasn’t bad, because it was. A reddish-purple line that went down and then across, sunken and angry, the skin around it sagging slightly in a way that was unusual for omegas, who usually snapped back into shape within a few weeks. Truly, the overall effect wasn’t bad for an emergency cesearian secrtion and hysterectomy, but compared to what John had before…
John’s eyes brimmed over, and he brushed at them angrily. “Jesus Christ, I shouldn’t be like this, it’s not like anyone can…” he looked at Sherlock. “Ok, you can see, that’s something.”
Sherlock lowered his hand. “John…”
“Don’t give me any shit about it not being bad,” John snapped. “I know it is. And I know it’s ugly. Just…”
Sherlock got up, and took John into his arms, pulling him close, kissing his face over and over.
They didn’t say much after that.
And John spent his final night in hospital with his mate squashed into the bed with him, holding him tight, one pale hand splayed over his scarred stomach, face buried into his hair.
“What’s this?” John picked up the envelope. His packed case was on the bed, and he was wearing the jeans and plaid shirt he favoured before he was pregnant.
Mycroft smirked. “Something to soften the blow.”
John frowned, and tore it open. Two folded piece of paper slipped out, and he opened them to read. Then looked up, in surprise. “But – but how can –”
“Lucy can be moved by ambulance,” Mycroft said. “Think of it as a holiday.”
John looked back at the paper. “Mycroft, this is too much…”
“No, it isn’t,” Sherlock took the paper.
Tall Trees Park: Family Respite Care Centre
Fully medically equipped, this medical centre is a home from home for families who need extra support.
“It’s a hospital, under another name,” Mycroft said. “Not quite home, but not here, either.”
John nodded, looking at the pictures of the premature baby nursery, the family rooms, the swimming pool… “Thank you, Uncle Mycroft.”
Mycroft went red. “Oh. Well. You’re… welcome.” He cleared his throat. “Only a week, of course. All being well, you’ll be back at Baker Street after that.”
Sherlock put an arm around John’s shoulders, and squeezed. “Home.”
John felt as though he might cry, again. Instead, he grabbed Mycroft around the chest, and pulled him into a hug – the first real touch they’d had since John had hit Mycroft with a cricket bat, some ten years ago.
Mycroft stiffened in surprise, then patted John awkwardly on the head. “You’re welcome.”
John let him go, and smiled. Then remembered. “Oh, can you give this to Sherry?” he fished a letter out of his bag. “Melody made me write it to him. I… I want him to read it.”
“Certainly,” Mycroft put it in his inside pocket. “Now… if you’ll excuse me,” he picked up his umbrella, and showed himself out.
Sherlock picked up John’s case. “The private ambulance is going to pick us up in a couple of hours. What did you want to do until then?”
John smiled. “How about you take me on a date?”
Sherlock grinned. “I was hoping you might say that.” He offered his arm to John, who took it. “The finest hospital canteen coffee awaits.”
“And yesterday’s cake,” John said, dreamily.
Laughing softly, the two parents said goodbye to the nurses and doctors who had looked after John for a month, and walked from the ward arm in arm, their fingers knotting together as they waited for the lift.
As the elevator door slid together, the more eagle-eyed of the nurses saw the omega be picked up by his mate, and kissed firmly against the mirrored interior of the lift.
I was going to start this letter by saying I forgive you, but my therapist has (correctly) pointed out that you haven’t done anything wrong except care. And I don’t think you need forgiving for that.
I understand why you told Eurus about me and Sherlock, and Lucy, and I understand you weren’t trying to hurt any of us. It was difficult for me to tell myself that, even when it was obvious – I just wanted to be angry at someone, and you were there. I’m sorry I kept you away from seeing much of Lucy. That wasn’t fair of me, either.
I miss you.
We’ll be back at Baker Street next week, all being well. Please come over, and bring Alfie, too. Lucy misses her uncles (and Mycroft is rubbish at cuddles).
“Watson-Holmes?” Sherlock asked, after John read out the draft of the letter he’d sent to Sherrinford. “You never changed your name.”
“No, but I was thinking about it,” John blushed, in the low lamplight. “I’d… I’d quite like the same surname as Lucy, and…” he put the notepad down on the side-table to hide his embarrassment. “…and it’s a nice thing to do.”
Sherlock leaned up on an elbow. “John… did you want to get married?”
“That had better not be your proposal.”
“No. But… did you?”
John sighed, and settled on his back, letting the covers sink over him. It was their last night in the private hospital. And the last night Lucy would be spending away from them, in the nursery. She was ready to go home, with them. Still tiny, tinier than she would have been even if she’d been born right then, she’d already proved herself as having inherited her mother’s soldier-blood, and her father’s determination. The family had spent the week learning what they should have learned at home. How to bath Lucy (it turned out it was more difficult than you’d think to keep hold of a slippery baby), how to collapse and re-open her pram (John could do it one-handed, but Sherlock was still struggling), how to put eye drops in (both of them cried more than the baby when they managed it), and how to juggle sleep when both of them were dog-tired, but only John could handle feeding duty.
“You could try a bottle,” a midwife said, but John refused. He knew it was guilt keeping him going with that side of things, but he wasn’t ready to share that job with a tin of powder quite yet.
Lucy’s hair had completely dropped out the day they arrived (John collected the wet strands and dried them out before sealing them into an envelope, though he wasn’t sure why), and she was as bald as an egg aside from her eyebrows. John felt sorry for her, and made her wear a pink hat.
Slowly… things began to feel normal, again.
John hummed. “I don’t know about getting married. Betas do it, don’t they? Hardly seems worth the effort once you’ve got your teeth into my neck,” he grinned, and Sherlock grinned back, leaning down to nuzzle as John’s scar, kissing it, and inhaling the scent of him.
“Some people like the ceremony,” Sherlock murmured, his tongue warm as it licked over the scar tissue.
“Yeah,” John said, one hand going for Sherlock’s soft curls. “I suppose it isn’t… too awful an idea…” his thoughts were threatening to de-rail as Sherlock’s tongue was joined by teeth, scraping over the skin of his throat, working up to his jaw. John’s skin prickled, like tiny stings over his body, as if it was waking up after a long winter sleep. Warmth ran over his limbs, chased by cold and nerves as Sherlock’s breath ghosted over the shell of his ear.
John nodded. He turned his head, just a fraction, and kissed Sherlock on the lips. Soft, like a teenager asking permission, or giving it. With the same fierce tension gripping them both. Unsure what was allowed. Desperate to find out.
Sherlock’s kisses deepened, his tongue slipping into John’s mouth, drawing a soft moan from somewhere deep within him. Somewhere neglected, and lonely. John ran his hand up Sherlock’s arm, feeling the smooth skin, only interrupted by the slight rough of his elbow, the tickle of hair at his underarm, the strong muscle at his shoulder. John gripped it as they kissed, grounding himself, feeling the muscle tense under his touch, making something coil in his stomach at the reminder of his alpha’s strength.
They hadn’t been this close in weeks.
The sheets made a cold sound as the two men shifted position, Sherlock hooking a leg over one of John’s broad thighs, the feel of his semi-erect cock pressing against John’s leg, making him flinch, tense at the implication. The idea that Sherlock wanted him… And god, John wanted him back. He didn’t need the soft feeling between his arse cheeks to tell him that.
There was no rush.
Kisses continued, breathy names whispered back and forth like prayers. John shuddered at the growing warmth inside him, and he smiled against Sherlock’s lips as those long, deft fingers stroked over his throat, down over his collarbones, his chest. There was a slightly sticky moment as Sherlock’s fingers crested over John’s nipple, and Sherlock paused.
“Oh, I’m sor-”
John laughed. “S’okay. I can’t… Are you ok?”
“It’s fine,” Sherlock kissed him, and smiled. “So long as you’re comfortable.”
“Not too much, or I’ll fall asleep.”
“Oh,” Sherlock nipped at his jaw. “Oh, we can’t have that, my omega.”
John shrank back and let himself be named, and claimed, as Sherlock’s. He noted, somewhere in the furthest back of his mind, that there was no longer a sting at the ‘my’. Therapy was working. He knew, now, that Sherlock was his as much as he was Sherlock’s. And that was not a bad thing.
Sherlock kissed at his throat again, moving down his body to his clavicle, even licking once at his chest, and making an interested noise.
“Don’t comment,” John warned him. “Don’t even think about it.”
Sherlock smirked, and licked again before continuing down, kissing and sucking at John’s bare chest and stomach, kicking the bedclothes out of the way until his face was at the bulge in John’s pyjama bottoms. He hadn’t kissed over John’s scars, and John was grateful for it. Right now, he wanted to ignore them, not be told they were beautiful, because that would be a lie.
John tensed as Sherlock kissed at his covered erection. He gripped the sheets in one hand as the other reached for Sherlock’s hair, touching gently, feeling the individual strands against the roughness of his skin. Sherlock’s kissed traced along the waistband of his pyjama bottoms, before his fingers hooked over the fabric, and pushed it down. John raised his hips to aid the process, feeling the slight slick of his skin against the cool air.
“Missed having you like this,” Sherlock said, his words rolling deep through the quiet night.
“Yeah,” John breathed, his skin hyper-aware of the minute touches Sherlock was trailing up his thighs, each hair moving under his fingers. “Yeah, I…” his breath hitched as Sherlock stroked over the soft skin of his inner thighs, the feeling somehow cold, like being cut open and exposed.
He parted his legs a little.
Sherlock let out a soft moan. “John…” He licked his lips apart, and John could see the want shining in his eyes in the gloom. A throb of hot desire went straight to John’s cock, and John had to shift again to hide the twitch, the scent of his arousal permeating the room.
“Please,” he managed.
A low rumble of an almost-growl crept up Sherlock’s throat, and he kicked off his own underwear before laying almost completely on top of his omega, one leg between John’s, pressing up firmly to his thigh became wet with slick.
Their mouths met again, and John cupped Sherlock’s face as they kissed, lips sliding over and over as tongues rolled. John dropped his jaw, letting Sherlock all the way in, letting his alpha consume him, and the rock of Sherlock’s body against his drew more moans from the former soldier.
Sherlock’s cock pressed against John’s leg, his stomach, grinding against his hip as Sherlock tried to get purchase against the omega’s body. Eventually, they ended up face to face, their erections pressed hotly together as they both thrust, up and down, against the matching hardness of their mate.
“Fuck,” John breathed, holding tight onto Sherlock’s arms. “Oh… God…”
“Uhhnnn,” Sherlock could only say in reply, grinding his pelvis down to fuck against John’s smaller, but just as hard, cock.
Omega slick was gently running down John’s arse, and he reached quickly, soaking his fingers before gripping both of their erections together, and lubricating their frottage with his own slick.
Sherlock let out an animalistic cry, rutting into John’s hand like an alpha possessed. John grit his teeth, trying not to let the hot spikes of pleasure tip him over too soon, even as he thumbed over the hot head of Sherlock’s cock, easing down his foreskin to smooth over the darker flesh beneath. Pre-come gathered at the tip in a clouded bead, and John didn’t bother to think. He let go of them both, and shuffled down the bed quickly, taking Sherlock’s hips in his hands and licking wetly at his cock.
Sherlock shouted, his hands flying to John’s hair. “John – John, I – please –”
John swirled his tongue around the swollen head, tasting the pre-come taste that gathered at the back of his throat. He put his lips over the glans and sucked gently, listening to Sherlock’s stifled groans, feeling the tremble of his thigh muscles in his hands.
“John, my love, you’ll have to stop,” Sherlock choked out, pushing him away carefully. “I don’t want to… You’re too good at that.”
“I guess it’s been a while,” John wiped at the corner of his mouth with a finger. “I just… want everything. There’s more, and I…”
“I know,” Sherlock gathered him into his arms and leaned back against the bed-stead, John in his lap, legs splayed out wide. “I know, but…” his hands trailed down, over John’s curves.
John smiled, and pressed their foreheads together as Sherlock’s fingers touched at his soft entrance, wet with slick and need. Sherlock traced a circle over the delicate flesh, spiralling inwards over the tiny twists of hair until the skin puffed and rose and parted, welcoming two of his fingers inside with the ease of breathing.
John moaned silently, a gust of air leaving his lungs. Sherlock caught it, and kissed it back to him as he slid his fingers out and in again, curling his touch, feeling the depth of John, the warmth and wetness, the familiarity. He ghosted over John’s prostate, making the omega shudder, and arch his back, his body seeking the touch again, and Sherlock gave it to him.
“Oh go—d,” John shut his eyes as his body awoke, and a fresh wash of slick ran through him, down to Sherlock’s hand. The room heaved with pheromones. “Sh…lock.”
“I love you,” Sherlock breathed, kissing him again, the searching of his tongue matching the strokes of his fingers, so John was penetrated at both ends, and the sensation made his cock bob, hard against Sherlock’s stomach, leaving a patch of wet. Sherlock’s cock was hot against John’s thigh, and he must have been in desperate need, but he just kept on drawing those sensations from his omega, reducing him to a desperate, trembling mess of cries and sweat.
John’s legs shook as he raised himself up onto his knees, and Sherlock’s eyes almost formed a question before John dropped himself down again, firmly, onto Sherlock’s fingers. Three, this time.
“Oh, that’s it,” John gasped, hands gripping the wrought-iron bed-stead. His body was moving on its own, fucking itself on Sherlock’s fingers even as Sherlock held the omega’s hip hard, his own need coming through in that tight grip, but John was losing himself completely, and all that mattered was the fact it was Sherlock.
“No,” John stopped, sinking down again, relishing the stretch, the fullness. “No, I… want – Sherlock – just – now –”
The alpha needed no encouragement. He withdrew his fingers from John’s sopping entrance, and manhandled him backwards onto the mattress. John hooked his legs up, over the back of Sherlock’s, watching as the alpha grasped the base of his cock, the knot already swelling, and lined up with John’s hole, pushing against it, but not in.
“Oh, come on,” John snarled, tightening the grip with his legs against Sherlock’s, and urging the head of Sherlock’s thick alpha cock inside himself with a gasp.
Sherlock moaned hard, his curls fanning out on John’s chest for a moment before adjusting his weight and letting himself sink inside.
And inside, to the knot, so far and so deep and so thick that John thought for a moment that it might be too much, that his body had changed, until Sherlock’s kisses found him again, and they took a moment to gently find one another, whilst joined in the most intimate way they knew.
“God,” John breathed, as their lips parted. “Sherlock…”
John smiled, and moved his pelvis, feeling the hardness inside him move, and Sherlock swore under his breath before exaggerating the motion, pulling his hips back and forth with a snap that made John throw his head back like he’d been punched.
John’s hands skittered from the bed to Sherlock’s arms, his face, his back, trying to hold on, trying not to lose him, trying to stay with him. One of Sherlock’s hands touched at his cheek, and John leaned against it, crying out at the fierce rub over his prostate, that only led one way.
John came with a yell, arching his back and bearing down on Sherlock’s cock, his body demanding a knot it couldn’t have, as Sherlock fucked hard against him, as deep as he dared, his own climax moments away even as John’s cock spilled between them, his body going limp against the alpha’s attentions, and Sherlock gave in, thrusting hard into John with a roar that sounded more like a sob, hot seed spilling inside the omega to make him shudder and cry out again in a half-orgasm that wracked his exhausted limbs.
“I don’t think we ought, for a while,” John said, later, when they were both showered and drifting to sleep. “Get married, I mean. Maybe when Lucy’s old enough to enjoy the party.”
“That’s fair,” Sherlock murmured against the back of his neck. He finished the sentence with a kiss, like a full stop. “What did you want to do in the meantime?”
John hummed, his eyes closed. “Live. Get old. Watch Lucy grow up. Work.”
Sherlock kissed him again. “Army doctor and detective. It could work, you know.”
“Work with me. Consult, with me.”
John smiled into the pillow. “Not sure I could stand that.” He snuggled back against Sherlock’s chest. “I’ll think about it.”
“Good. Because I’d be lost without you.” He said it without a drop of irony, and John was surprised.
But he didn’t comment. Just let sleep take him wherever it would. He didn’t need a destination. Because he was travelling with the best passengers.
Stay tuned for the epilogue, and the tying up of loose ends.
3rd April, 2018
It had been Mycroft’s idea to have the party at his new home. The private house had a large garden and a sweeping driveway that could accommodate several cars, and the kitchen was large enough to handle the caterers.
John and Sherlock had accepted his offer with only the mildest of arguments about it.
The sun wasn’t quite beating down, but it was unseasonably warm for April, with no breeze whatsoever to ruffle the baby leaves sprutting on the boughs.
Lucy used her Daddy’s deckchair to pull herself upright, wobbling on her fat little bow-legs, before letting go with one hand, and guiding herself around to the front of the chair, and then around the long legs held still as her pudgy hand gripped the trouser fabric tight.
“She just won’t let go with this hand,” Sherlock smiled.
“She will,” Greg said, watching the baby girl wobble again, before plonking herself down hard and pulling up handfuls of grass. “And then she’ll be off. You’ll get no peace.”
Sherlock was tempted to point out there’d been no peace whatsoever for a year. But one of the things he had had to learn was how to handle the regurgitated ‘banter’ spun out at parents. There’d been more than enough of that over the last twelve months.
“I think we need to take her to hospital,” John said, holding the thermometer to the light. His hair was on end, and the creases under his eyes looked as though they’d been carved there. “This is way too high. And she just won’t stop coughing.”
“That pink medicine is supposed to reduce a temperature in twenty min-”
“Sherlock, neither me nor Lucy have slept in forty-eight hours, so it feels like. She’s only passed out when she’s been able to lie on me, and then she wakes up coughing.”
“All children get –”
“With all due respect, Sherlock, fuck off and shut up. I’m a doctor, I know when my child needs to go to hospital.”
Sherlock put a hand to John’s arm, to scold him or to reassure him he wasn’t sure, but John snarled at the touch, teeth bared, shoulders raised in a classic defensive omega stance, and Sherlock was forced to step back, to lose the ground.
They took a cab to the hospital.
Lucy was admitted, the paeds doctors concerned about her as a preemie baby. She was given steroids, and finally crashed out asleep, not coughing at last.
Sherlock looked over at John, the crib Lucy slept in separating them. “I’m sorry I doubted you.”
John pulled a face. “I’m sorry I… growled at you. I’m just so tired.”
“Go to sleep. I’ll watch you both.”
“You’re tired, too.”
“I’m used to it.”
John smiled. “Me too. Different reasons, I guess. You’re not up all night because someone wants to suck on your nipples until they bleed.”
“Ha ha,” John closed his eyes. “Wake me up if… anything…”
John looked over his face in the bathroom mirror. He raised a hand, and pushed his forehead up, just a touch, to erase the lines that had appeared over the past year. He let go, and watched them form again.
“Come on, I’m not even thirty,” he tutted, wincing at the tiny flecks of grey hair that had appeared at his temples. “Parenting’s a magical experience alright. Makes you transform…” he washed his hands, and went out onto the landing, listening to the clatter of the caterers down in the kitchen, the laughter from outside. He went over to the window, and peered down into the garden.
Sherlock was bent double, letting Lucy hold onto his fingers as she ‘walked’ over the grass. Greg Lestrade was laughing his head off as he filmed it, and Violet Holmes was giggling into her pink gin as Molly – Sherlock’s friend from St Bart’s – watched with something like a mixture of apprehension and delight.
John had to smile. There’d been a lot going on in the past year. But almost all of it positive. Sure, there’d been arguments, and illnesses, and one memorable weekend when Sherlock was delirious on some experimental drug a criminal jabbed him with (he thought he was back at boarding school, and wouldn’t have it that John was anyone but his teacher. John kept him quiet by setting him small tasks and essays to write).
There had also been John’s first heat after Lucy.
“It’s definitely heat,” John said, pulling his t-shirt off over his head. “God almighty.” He dropped the shirt, and bent over the kitchen island to rest his beating forehead against the cold surface.
“Mycroft’s on his way for Lucy,” Sherlock said, holding their daughter and making a sympathetic face as John moaned softly. “Is it bad?”
“Define bad,” John said. It was true that his insides ached badly, but nothing like he remembered. It felt more like the flu, only accompanied by a desire to rip out the throat of anyone who tried to help him. He didn’t feel horny, exactly, more defensive and hot and hormonal. It was true that post-baby heats were less strong, and certainly not likely to put John in physical danger, though it was going to be a high uncomfortable few days.
Mycroft arrived half an hour later, and was sent packing with Lucy, and an entire carful of supplies. It was only a mercy that Lucy was weaning, and John was no longer feeding her himself.
Sherlock came back up the stairs, and stood in the doorway, watching as John unfastened his trousers and let them drop before stepping out of them and towards the bathroom. “John…”
“Really. Not at the moment,” John managed, locking the bathroom door behind himself. He turned the shower on, and stepped under the cool water, remembering only when he was wet to drop his underwear. He stayed in the shower for a good half hour, before getting out and wobbling into the bedroom, letting the warm summer air dry him as he walked.
Sherlock had changed the bedclothes, and put a large glass of iced water by the bed, along with one of those slow-release energy bars.
John made a small noise of gratitude in the back of his throat. He was even grateful that Sherlock wasn’t there. John knew he had to smell of sex and heat by now, but Sherlock wasn’t around him, and he was providing like a good alpha, and both of these things combined made John squirm in appreciation. They’d been to therapy together, and John had, finally, admitted all of the dark secrets that haunted him still about the abuse from his childhood.
Sherlock had taken three days to process it, barely speaking, until he suddenly came out of it, and his entire demeanour changed. In the words of Mycroft, Sherlock pulled his socks up. He started dividing his time better between his work and his family. He made good on his suggestion to include John in his work, and John started going with him on cases on the days Lucy was at Nursery. And in terms of their physicality, he handed John the reins (once quite literally, and John hadn’t know where to look), and they drifted closer together until they were sometimes like two smitten teenagers.
That wasn’t to say they no longer had screaming rows. Because they did. But it no longer felt like the end of the world when they did argue. John no longer worried that Sherlock was going to leave him. If anything, he felt grateful that Sherlock treated him as an equal, and screamed straight back at him, and gave way as often as he stepped forward.
It wasn’t a conventional alpha-omega bond, by any means. But they weren’t conventional. They never had been. They were never going to be.
“Sherlock?” John called, once he was sitting on the edge of the bed.
Sherlock opened the door after a moment, and John saw a shudder of lust run through him as his nostrils flared. “John… how – how are you doing?”
“Come here?” John raised his arms.
Sherlock clearly wanted to fling himself across the room, but he walked steadily, coming over to stand close to John. His hands were shaking.
John smiled, and ran his hands up Sherlock’s thighs, up to his arse, squeezing once before moving his hands around to the front, and starting to undo Sherlock’s belt.
Sherlock’s knees gave a wobble of what was probably relief. “John. If you don’t –”
“Does it look like I don’t?” John scoffed, glancing down at his own erection. He pushed Sherlock’s trousers and pants down in one shove, Sherlock’s cock bobbing out almost smacking him in the face. “Bloody hell, Sherlock.”
“Sorry,” Sherlock breathed, his pupils blown wide, and clearly not having a clue of what to do with his hands as John planted a kiss on the tip of his cock, and then licked it generously. “John…”
“Be quiet, please,” John said, licking again. “I want you to fuck my mouth, but not narrate it, if you please.”
Sherlock made a noise John was certain he’d only heard in pornography as John took him into his mouth, holding onto the base of his cock with a clenched hand. There was no way John could take it all in, but he wasn’t doing too badly. Sherlock’s thick cock was hot and heavy on his tongue, and the idea of being suffocated was gently thrilling, though there was no danger of that. Sherlock moved his hips in small thrusts, moaning every time his cock touched the back of John’s throat. The thick drip of pre-come gathered at the back of John’s throat, and he swallowed, making Sherlock gasp, and grip John’s hair hard.
“Ah,” John pulled off, a string of come touching his lip and the top of Sherlock’s cock. “Fuck.”
“Please,” Sherlock said, then huffed out a laugh.
“Yeah,” John flopped back, spread-eagled on the mattress, not caring about his scars, which had faded a lot, the skin tightening almost to what it was before. “Sherlock…”
Sherlock dropped to his knees, and pushed John’s legs apart, plunging his face between John’s thighs intimately, and licking firmly at John’s hole.
John gasped, and arched his back, one hand flying to Sherlock’s curls.
Sherlock continued licking, tasting John’s slick even as it ran from him, the soft flesh of his entrance welcoming Sherlock’s tongue pushing inside, tasting the desperate warmth, the trembling muscle. A finger joined Sherlock’s tongue, and John sank himself onto it, the depth and width not nearly enough, so he cried out for more.
“Sherlock, please just…” John was sweating again, now, hands reaching for Sherlock, legs spread, the ache of his heat starting to overwhelm his lust.
“I love you,” Sherlock breathed, helping his omega up the bed so they’d both be comfortable. “So much, John. Love you so much…”
“Scent me,” John gasped. “Scent. Bite. Right when you…”
Sherlock stared, for a second. Then nodded, parted John’s legs again, and thrust inside him.
John howled. He clung to Sherlock’s shoulders, and let his mind detach, his heat taking over as he begged to be fucked, as he cried out how much he wanted his alpha, as he demanded to be knotted and bred, until Sherlock’s knot swelled inside him, and they both climaxed as Sherlock’s teeth sank into John’s neck, breaking open the old scar, and switching John’s brain off entirely.
“You’re looking well, Sherlock,” Molly handed him a drink as Lucy started playing with her own toes on a playmat. “Suits you.”
“Oh, darling, it definitely does,” Sherry called from where he was perched on Alfie’s lap.
“Mm,” Sherlock said tonelessly. “I suppose.”
Sherry winked at him, and he had to smirk back.
Molly frowned. “Don’t you think so?”
“I… I don’t know if parenting suits anyone. But I…” he tried to articulate what he felt. How he would fight a tiger with his bare hands to protect his daughter. How he’d take a bullet or five for John, his mate. How he couldn’t begin to think about the person he was before he had this.
How he didn’t want to go back.
John’s hand slid around his waist. “We do alright, don’t we?” he smiled.
Sherlock put a hand around John’s shoulders. “Better than alright. I think.”
“Good team in the field, too,” Greg raised his wine glass. “Don’t tell anyone I said that.”
John laughed, and Sherlock had to marvel at how easily the people around them had accepted Greg moving in with Mycroft. It was just another way their family was different.
The beginning had been bad. It had been poor, and abusive, and wrenching before its time. The middle hadn’t been much better. Addiction, anger, and poor communication had meant Sherlock and John had missed out on the love they might have been building up had they had another life.
But the end…
The end was always on the horizon. Being chased. Never reachable.
Not for a long time.
Perhaps this wasn’t really the beginning of the end. Maybe things were just getting started, after all.
“What’re you thinking?” John asked, coming around to press their chests together. “You were smiling.”
“Just us,” Sherlock shrugged. “All three of us.”
John smiled. “That’s nice.”
“Right, everyone,” Violet came out of the kitchen, a cake in her hands. A single candle was lit in the centre of it. “Are we all ready to sing? Someone get a camera. Mycroft!”
John bent down, and scooped Lucy up, holding her so she could see the cake.
Sherlock stood beside them both.
A camera flashed.
The candle was blown out.
Lucy clapped her hands.
And the candle-smoke drifted away, on the tiniest spring breeze, disappearing amongst the white clouds, and the new, blue sky.
Merry Christmas! Thank you so much to everyone who has joined me on this rather epic journey. I never planned for this series to be so long, but I'm quite satisifed with how it's panned out. Thank you to everyone who's read, and commented, and left kudos - you're all amazing, and I can't thank you enough for keeping me going in this very difficult year. See you in 2018. Dani xx