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Unrequited but Not Much Longer

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John woke up slowly. He couldn't see at first because the light was so bright, but his eyes adjusted, and he was… in a hospital room. That couldn't be right. He remembered falling asleep in his bed at Baker Street, and he had just moved in. When had he shown up to a hospital? He looked around the room, and saw Sherlock asleep in a chair next to his bed. He looked like he hadn't eaten or slept in days, which suggested John had been out for a while. However, if he knew Sherlock well, it meant just speaking would wake him up.

“You look like shit.” He said raspily. “What happened to me?”

It was almost as if he’d turned on because Sherlock immediately woke and was completely aware.

“John! You’re awake!”

The detective immediately moved his chair closer to John’s bedside with an intent look in his eyes.

“You didn’t answer my question, Sherlock. What happened? How long have I been here?”

Sherlock didn’t meet John’s eyes. He hit the button to call the nurses and doctor instead. In the ensuing confusion of neurological checks and being poked and prodded and assessed, John forgot his initial questions. Apparently he was as good as someone who came out of unconsciousness could be. However, the doctor said some of his motor skills were a bit off, so John would need physiotherapy for a bit when he was released. He also had a head wound that had healed perfectly and the bandage was taken off. When the medical circus retreated John asked,

“So… when am I allowed to head back to Baker Street?”

Sherlock looked confused.

Back to Baker Street?”

“Yeah, I just moved in after that horrible shit-show with your sister.” John affirmed.

“I don’t have a sister.”

The look on Sherlock’s face made John increasingly concerned. It was almost as if the man didn't know what he was talking about, when Sherlock was there for the entire thing. He found out his best friend was murdered by his secret sister, and he didn't remember that!? That had to be some form of amnesia or a joke.

“Are you kidding me, Sherlock? Your sister that you didn't know existed until she shot me with a tranquilizer in our therapy session! You found out your best friend as a kid was murdered by her and that Mycroft changed your memories so you only remembered a dog! How could you not remember that!?”

The detective leaned forward in his seat and looked as if he was thinking of a way to word his next phrase gently, this alone was enough to worry John.

“You have been in a coma for over two months, John.” Sherlock calmly stated. “You were shot by the therapist you had been seeing, but you ducked just in time and the bullet only mildly damaged your parietal lobe. The ‘therapist’ disappeared after you were unconscious probably thinking the blood-loss would kill you, but a neighbour called 999 and we found you. We’ve been waiting for you to wake up so we could ask you what happened and track down your assailant since you are the only witness and no CCTV footage was able to track her whereabouts. We know only that she murdered the therapist that was supposed to see you and has the training necessary to disappear after an attempted murder. It suggests that she was previously a government operative of some sort that has gone AWOL and -.”

“You're telling me the last three months of my life have been - a - a dream ?”

“Yes.” Sherlock confirmed. “I’m - well - I’m sorry , John. You can tell me about your dream later if you wish, but right now we need to know what happened just before she shot you.” Sherlock cleared his throat a bit and stood up. “I’ll call Mycroft and Lestrade so you can make an official statement, and there will be no need to rehash it at a later date.”

No! There wasn’t time for formalities in John’s opinion. He had to tell Sherlock all of what he dreamt because he was somehow sure parts of it were accurate. It was almost as if someone whispered things to him while he was asleep.

“Sherlock, wait, I think you need to hear this first.”

The detective resumed his seat but hid his phone behind his back and texted his brother to come to the hospital. He knew Mycroft would contact Lestrade. However if John insisted that he needed to tell him now, he would listen. He sat back down in his chair.

“She - the therapist, well, fake therapist, I suppose... she said she was tired of me talking about myself, and then went on about a secret Holmes brother. Turns out it was a sister and her name is Eu-something.” His mind must have been affected a bit more by the idea that the last three months had been a dream because he couldn’t remember the name at first. “Wait... I remember now; it was Eurus. She also turned out to be the woman I texted with, ‘E’, and the lady you spoke to, the one you thought was Faith Smith... and then she pulled out a gun and she must have shot me.”

Sherlock gaped a bit at this.

“And she said she was my sister?”

Sherlock then stood abruptly.

“Mycroft will be here shortly, he can straighten this out.”

Thirty minutes later (after much pacing), Mycroft arrived (without Lestrade) in his usual three-piece suit, which made him look wildly out of place in a hospital room. Sherlock immediately confronted him with the question of whether this Eurus person existed. The elder Holmes leaned against his umbrella with a tired look on his face and sighed heavily.

“Doctor Watson, you are correct in that Eurus our sister but there is a reason she is no longer a constant in our lives.”

John gaped at Mycroft. So the therapist really was Eurus!

“So I have a sister that I mysteriously can’t remember? I have tried to delete YOU many times, Brother Mine, but I have yet to actually succeed . How is it possible that I could forget this important fact? More pertinently: why would it be deemed necessary?”

Sherlock remembered everything of importance. Why didn’t he remember his own sister!? Mycroft simply sat down in a nearby chair and leaned his umbrella against the wall. Sherlock followed suit.

“You both deserve an explanation.” He said. “She had always been different from other children. All three of us were tested multiple times by professionals, however, the one that stood out the most was Eurus. She was calculating, able to enslave people by conversing with them, and acted in ways no child her age could comprehend. She was described as an era defining genius, beyond Newton, but when she was five years of age, she did something terrible.”

He said that in my dream! John’s thoughts screamed. Not only that, but also she did something bad when she was a kid, just like in his dream. What next? Did Sherrinford exist!?

“What do you mean?” Sherlock said through gritted teeth.

Mycroft continued.

“Redbeard wasn't put down, Sherlock. Your mind rewired itself to make you falsely remember that he died of cancer. Eurus… she hid Redbeard somewhere we couldn't find him. Mother and Father begged her to tell us where he was, but she'd never say. She was silent and unmoved by Sherlock’s cries and frantic searches for Redbeard. It was as if she had no emotions whatsoever.”

Sherlock was starting to remember a bit of the incident. He could see Eurus’ stone cold face while he cried for Redbeard; begged her to tell him where he was. He could see himself running all over Musgrave’s property and beyond looking for his canine friend.

John had been silent until now, but he stared at Mycroft incredulously and blurted,

“Then how doesn't he remember her? He remembers Redbeard and playing pirates with him as a kid. You three were living in the same house weren't you? How could he have memories of the two of you, your parents and the bloody dog without remembering a sister?”

Mycroft looked taken aback a bit at John’s outburst and was silent for a moment, then he explained,

“Eurus started a fire in the house the same day Redbeard disappeared. She burned it to ashes and felt no remorse for her actions even though Mummy had been afflicted with a few second degree burns. For her own safety and ours she was taken to a secure institution where she remained for the next ten years of her life undergoing psychological treatment.”

“What happened after those ten years?”

Mycroft looked at Sherlock intently,

“She was released. Her treatment team deemed her fit to rejoin society and go to school like a normal child. However, she wanted to distance herself as she felt she would endanger us, especially you, Sherlock, she’d always called you her favourite. So she emancipated herself and took up various jobs to pay for a house under a false name. Since then we have had limited contact with her and Eurus thought it best that Sherlock continue not to remember her at all.”

John looked up at the ceiling, and tried to process this new information into what he could only think of as his ‘addled brain’. He was truly confused by the coincidences and began to figure out some way to tell Sherlock about the dream without sounding crazy. Surely if he told them all of it as he remembered, they’d insist on sedating him… there would certainly be more brain scans involved. All he wanted was to go back to 221B, or as he thought of it now, without reservation - home. He cleared his throat,

“She said he was her favourite… in my - um - dream… how could I have dreamt that?”

“John, let us stick to the facts for the moment.” Sherlock said. “Mycroft, I assume you have her monitored on a daily basis?”

“Yes. Uncle Rudy promised to keep a watchful eye on her when he had her committed, and I continued to do so when he no longer could.”

John took a deep breath and asked: “So what's the chance that she was the one who shot me?”

“Very slim; she developed severe agoraphobia a few years after she was released. She doesn't go outside and has minimal social interaction day to day. She works as a translator for government officials as she has learned every language currently in use as well as a few of the dead ones. Attempting to leave her front door would give her an intense panic attack, so doing what this woman has done would have been impossible for her.”

There were only a few possibilities as to why Sherlock couldn’t remember Eurus. He knew it was probably due to trauma being blocked out, but it was important to him that this secret was uncovered.

“I can’t fathom how completely she has been erased from my memory.” Sherlock said. “Perhaps because the minds of children are much more malleable than those of adults. I would have thought myself superior to such manipulations, but it appears I have been mistaken.”

“I would check from time to time whether any memories had begun to resurface.” Mycroft said. “I tried to trigger them by speaking of an East Wind coming or mentioning Redbeard. That’s what Eurus means, the goddess of the East wind. Do you remember me mentioning it before you got on the plane? I was testing you.”

John couldn’t figure out how his dream was so close to reality if he didn’t know any of this. The fact that dream-Mycroft said he tested Sherlock with trigger-words like real life-Mycroft alone was surreal. How could he have known all these things subconsciously if he never heard them before?

“Thank you Mycroft, I think you should leave now.” Sherlock said tersely. “John, I would really like to hear more about that coma dream, it may spark some remembrances in my own mind.”

Mycroft nodded curtly, then silently left the two friends alone. Sherlock looked as if he was seriously thinking about what Mycroft said, trying to figure out if he could unlock his brain to show him the memories of the past. John himself was shocked as to why he knew certain things that only Mycroft (and the secret sister) could know. He closed his eyes and tried to think back to the moment he was shot.

 

“He’s making a face… I think I’ll put a hole through it…”

 

She pulled the trigger, and then… there were whispers, but they were incomplete, out of order even…

 

“Sherlock was always my favorite.”

 

“If only he’d become friends with Victor Trevor instead of you, he’d be easier to manipulate.”

 

“Oh my older brother loved Redbeard, but he never played with me, so I hid him… That night I was so happy that Sherlock was laughing… But I got it wrong… he was screaming.”

 

“Mycroft made sure I stayed away, so he locked me up. Didn’t work out so well.”

 

“I’m sorry I had to kill another one of his pets, but would he listen otherwise?”

 

“I’m sure he doesn’t even remember me, just the dog, typical...”

 

“Goodbye, Doctor Watson. I hope that you’re happy with your dead wife.”

 

John snapped back to reality with a jolt. That had to be how he knew: she had said things to him when he couldn’t move! His brain most likely processed the information subconsciously, but constructed it a different way with the information that was whispered to him.

“You said you knew things that were described by Mycroft. She must have said things to you that only Eurus and Mycroft would know.” Sherlock deduced.

“No shit, Sherlock.” John said.

Sherlock hummed in agreement and steepled his fingers under his chin with a thoughtful look. He needed to know what John dreamt. It could help his own mind connect missing pieces.

“John, please tell me exactly what you remember from the dream.”

“Ok - um…” John tried to reconstruct the order of events as he had experienced them. “It’s a long and... strange story, so let me get it all out, try not to interrupt me, I know it sounds a bit… bizarre. At the beginning of it, you found me at the house with a tranquilizer dart in my forehead. You said no one had seen the woman flee and that the real therapist was murdered and put into bags in a cupboard. Then I told you what she told me, and at first you didn’t want to believe it, then I told you Mycroft admitted there was another Holmes kid, but if we wanted him to say the whole truth, we needed to scare it out of him. So we set up a whole ‘experiment’ where we had two druggies act as characters to scare Mycroft, messed with his security, and had audio recordings. He was saying things like, “You can’t have got out!” and then you came in with your usual deductions based on the situation, saying that you had a secret sister who you couldn’t remember and I told him to come to Baker Street, like a client would.

“Later the next day, Mycroft came to Baker Street and of course refused to be treated like a client at first, but Mrs. Hudson cut him down to size then left to go downstairs and clean her flat. I started asking him questions like the age gap, and the whole ‘deduction thing’, and he said in those exact words, “Eurus was described as an era-defining genius, beyond Newton.’ I have no bloody clue how I got that spot on. And then he started saying that when you were little, there was your dog Redbeard, and your old house called Musgrave Hall, which had fake gravestones that fascinated you.

“Then one day Eurus started singing a song that made you realize that she took Redbeard away and hid him. You tried to decipher the song and Mycroft said you were searching constantly for the dog but never found him. Eurus wouldn’t say anything except her song, saying it was the answer, except it didn’t make sense. It turned out that after Eurus was taken away to a facility, another fire was staged there so that she would be taken to a place called Sherrinford. A kind of high tech insane asylum and prison, where she had been since she was a kid.

“When Mycroft finished telling the story, something crashed through the kitchen window. It was a drone with a bomb on top of it, a uh… Patience Grenade , and if we moved it would destroy the flat. The drone landed in the middle of the room, and we started discussing what to do, still as statues. We ended up with Mycroft going downstairs to Mrs. Hudson, and you and I going for the windows. We all survived the explosion, somehow unharmed (I’m not sure how ), and decided we needed to break into Sherrinford to find out if Eurus actually had gotten out and if security was compromised.

“We stole a fishing ship and had it crash into the side of the island. Mycroft pretended to be an old sailor to be a distraction, you knocked out two of the guards to find the right clothing to fit and take their place, and I stayed the same so they thought Mycroft was you. When we got down to the holding cell, the head of the facility gave you the card to go to Eurus thinking you were a guard, and he stayed with me and Mycroft.

“After we revealed who we were and why we were there (as well as a threat from Mycroft), the Governor took us to his office and showed us footage from a psychiatric evaluation Eurus had a few months before, but apparently that wasn’t supposed to happen because she enslaves people by talking to them. I don’t know what ended up happening between y- the dream you and Eurus, but we ended up finding out the Governor was the one on the tape being talked to, and that meant he wasn’t running the prison anymore. He pressed a button which brought all the guards to us, and I tried to get away. The thing was, a voice came over the intercom, and a face came on screen: Moriarty. They ended up knocking me out, and I woke up in the cell Eurus was supposed to be in, with you, Mycroft, and the Governor.

“Eurus had set up a TV so she could talk to us, and would sometimes play a clip from Moriarty. She said that he had left her different voice messages and videos before he died. Things started to get more intense because she started having us do different things in order to try and save a little girl through the phone who was on a plane and everyone on it was asleep. There were four tasks, and she would make sure that there was ‘emotional context’ for each, like some demented experiments and we were her lab rats.

“The first one was in order to save the Governor’s wife from being shot by Eurus, you had to choose between me and your brother which of us would be the one to kill him. There was a gun in the cell with us with 2 bullets in. Mycroft refused, he didn’t want to murder someone, then I tried but I just couldn’t do it. Even when he begged me, I couldn’t kill an innocent man. The governor got hold of the gun and ended up shooting himself, but because it wasn’t either of us that took the shot, Eurus shot the governor’s wife anyway. I took that ridiculously literal interpretation of her threat… pretty badly. I didn’t want to go on with that insane experiment, it was inhuman, she was inhuman.

“Then she forced us to go into another room where another task was set up. Just to get us to keep going, she reconnected us with the little girl who told us she was on a jumbo jet and it was night, then she was cut off. The task was to solve a case that she had already solved. There was a man who was killed from 400 meters away with a buffalo gun, 3 brothers were the suspects and we were supposed to solve the case based on photos of the brothers and the gun itself. Eurus said that you needed emotional context so she could see if it would cloud your deductions. So… she hung the brothers in front of a window for us to see. They were all tied up so they wouldn’t be able to swim if she let them go. You and Mycroft figured out that the middle brother committed the murder, but then she told you that you needed to condemn him. You didn’t take it very well, not wanting to effectively be the man’s executioner. She ended up dropping all three of them into the ocean. It was sick, just really disturbing... with Eurus on the screen milky pale with this shock of unkempt dark hair - like an alien, the panicked little girl on the phone, and these silly Moriarty video snippets where he was acting like a train conductor, and to top it all off, both the innocent men being killed. None of us wanted to keep going after that, but we had to be soldiers . I told Mycroft that in order to save the little girl, we had to keep going with these experiments and it didn’t matter what happened to us.

“The next room we reached had a plain pine coffin in it. You deduced that it was for a person about 5’6, who was practical about death, and didn’t have a lot of money… you were going to carry on until Mycroft found the lid, with the words ‘I love you’ on a plaque. It was supposed to be Molly Hooper’s coffin. Then Eurus was back and she told us she had rigged Molly’s house with explosives and you had 3 minutes on the phone to get her to tell you she loved you without making it sound like it was an emergency. There was video footage showing her in the kitchen making tea. She looked like she’d had a rough day and almost didn’t answer. You, um, eventually coaxed it out of her, just in time, but Molly was crying and you were so upset you smashed the coffin to bits because it turned out that there weren’t explosives after all. I really thought you weren’t going to carry on, and I had no idea what she’d do to us then, so I held my hand out to help you up and reminded you we had to be soldiers . You took my hand, and we went into the next room.

“Eurus came back onto the screen and told you that only two of us could go through to the next challenge and that you had to shoot either me or Mycroft. Mycroft kept saying things to tip you over the edge; things like you needed brain power, not heart or strength. I told him he was right, and that you needed to shoot me, but then he started getting even worse. At first I tried to get him to stop, then you said he wasn’t convincing and it turned out he was acting. I think he mostly said it to make you more likely to choose him instead of me. He asked to be shot in the heart, because his brain was to be preserved for science (I think he was trying to lighten the mood). I was mostly speechless, except to say you needed Mycroft’s brain more than mine. Then it turned out it was his fault that Moriarty got involved with us. For Christmas five years earlier, Eurus wanted to talk to Moriarty for five minutes unsupervised. You pointed the gun at Mycroft, but then refused to do it. You threatened to shoot yourself, held the gun against your chin and everything. Eurus was not pleased. Then suddenly before you could do anything, we all got shot with tranquilizer darts.

“I think we were out for a long time, because when I woke up, it was obvious we’d been moved away from Sherrinford. I was, um, in an old well, my feet were chained to the bottom and at first there wasn’t much water but…” This was difficult to talk about, even if it was a dream. “I could feel something else in there with me. Bones.”

Sherlock looked shocked and appalled to hear this. If only they’d known there was an abandoned well on the property at Musgrave, they might have been able to save Redbeard, his eyes looked slightly glassy, but he urged John to continue.

“You said we had been out for hours before we started talking again and I told you about the bones. You said they were Redbeard’s, and halfway through your conversation with Eurus, she started letting water into the well. I tried to climb up the side, but I slipped and fell back down, and under the water I saw something that made me figure out what really happened with Redbeard. The bones weren’t dogs’ bones. There was a child’s skull in the well with me, and you remembered that you didn’t have a dog. Your best friend as a child was a boy named Victor Trevor, and you would play pirates together. Eurus killed your best friend because you wouldn’t play with her.

“After the shock wore off, you started to figure out that Eurus’ song was actually a cipher to the gravestones at Musgrave Hall, and you figured out the song. She wanted you to find her in her old room, and you deduced that the little girl wasn’t even real, Eurus was using a voice coder to make herself sound like a little girl to get under our skin. You convinced her to help me out of the well, then the police arrived, and took her back to Sherrinford. She was secure this time and the facility was re-staffed I think.

“After everything was settled and Mycroft told your parents about Eurus being alive, we started putting the flat back together. We hired workers to clean the burned remains of 221B, some things we kept, others we had to replace, and we even did that dumb smiley face on the wall with the gunshots in it again. You also started going to see Eurus once a week and played violin for her because at first she wouldn’t talk or communicate at all with anyone. You two started to play violin duets together and your parents finally saw her while you played a duet.”

John paused and took a steadying breath. The last bit that was important was Mary’s final video message that arrived at his house, and it still broke his heart but made him happy to think about.

“While the renovations were happening, Mary had one last video message for us. She sent us a message that we need to keep doing what we do together, and even though you’re a junkie who solves crimes to get high, and I’m a doctor who never came home from the war, the stories are what matters. And after the renovations were complete, Rosie and I moved in. And that’s about it.”

Sherlock sat in silence for a bit. He couldn’t believe that John’s mind made him go through all that. There were, of course, logical fallacies in terms of Mycroft and himself, but that had to be traumatizing for John. There would absolutely be PTSD in response to the dream because it felt real and caused emotional trauma. It would most likely take some experiences of the real life truths in order for him to become even remotely better. Sherlock couldn’t decide what to say, she he decided to pick a somewhat relevant topic.

“I knew a Victor Trevor at Uni, an exchange student from Bangladesh.” He decided to say. “He was very much alive when I last spoke to him, but I’ll have Mycroft check up on it if you like.”

“What was he like?” John asked.

“Actually fairly intelligent… for an average class degree.” John chuckled at that. “But to be fair he wasn’t able to accurately show his intellect based on the outdated teaching strategies and class curriculums we still use in our society. That is why when you and Rosie move into 221B she will be homeschooled-.”

“Wait, hold on.” John interrupted. “Who said anything about Rosie and I moving into 221B?”

“I believe you did.” Sherlock grinned smugly at John and continued, “I’ve actually had the flat baby-proofed while you were in your coma; all my experiments have been moved to 221C, Molly helped with that when she wasn’t watching the baby, the power outlets within Rosie’s reach now have special inserts where only a considerable amount of force can actually use the plug... I’ve been hoping you’d move back in since my birthday. I was going to ask, but all of this happened before I could.”

John actually felt a little touched by Sherlock doing that for him and Rosie. He shouldn’t have been surprised about how much he was doing for Rosie though, because as soon as she was born (on the side of the road he might add), he fell in love with her.

“Also with the injury you have been afflicted with, you will need assistance in everyday life until you are fully recovered.” Sherlock continued. “As I am the only one who can both assist you and live with you, it only makes sense that you two come to live with me at Baker Street. Mycroft no doubt has looked into government grade physiotherapy facilities for your rehabilitation, therefore we will have you start a week after you are acclimated to the flat once more.”

The soldier smiled at his friend, and knew he was right. It only made sense that he moved back into Baker Street… in his own mind he already had. There was really nothing left for him at his house he lived in with Mary, and without someone there, it just felt empty. Plus he couldn’t raise Rosie on his own. With the cases he did on top of work at the clinic, someone needed to watch his daughter when he was gone. He hated passing her around to Molly, Greg, and Janine when he wasn’t home, and he was sure Sherlock could handle it.

“She’s not getting home schooled by you. You would just teach her that everyone is stupid and you are the only smart one in the world. We could probably get her into a school that is different than normal schools, but that’s it.” John said with a smile.

Chapter Text

After three more days of observation, John was released from the hospital. Embarrassingly enough, he needed some help from a nurse on certain things like buttoning up his shirt and tying his shoes. Damn the brain damage was all he could think during the ordeal. He had given his statement to Lestrade two days prior, so everything was settled on that end, and Mycroft promised he’d have his best people track down whoever shot John in the first place. With that, Sherlock also insisted that there be surveillance on Baker Street 24/7 until the assailant was caught (which no doubt included bugging the flat). John was even driven to Baker Street by one of Mycroft’s town cars that had bulletproof glass.

Personally, John thought this was a little excessive. He may have been temporarily impaired, but he was pretty sure he could fight off whoever shot him if she showed up again. He was a bloody soldier for Christ’s sake, he should have been given a bit of credit for his abilities!

He had a bit of trouble with the key to the front door, but once inside, he was greeted by a very enthusiastic Mrs. Hudson fawning over him. She asked him if he was feeling well, what the doctors said, and told him that if he needed anything at all, he just had to call for her. John then made his way upstairs to the flat, and as soon as he opened the door, was greeted by a high pitch,

“DADA!”

Sherlock was on the couch with Rosie, who was holding a little stuffed bee in her tiny hands whilst lying on her back. Her toothless smile was bright and wondrous. She had gotten so big since the last time John had seen her. It seemed that she had Mary’s eyes, and was developing dark brown, curly hair. The smile was also Mary’s… god she looked so much like Mary now. John put his keys in his pocket, and immediately approached his amazing daughter.

“Hello darling.” John said as he picked her up.

He planted a big noisy kiss on her cheek, which made his baby girl squeal heartily.

He was surprised that she was already saying ‘Dada’... but then again, he was in a coma for two months. It was somewhat sad though that he wasn’t there for Rosie’s first words. Hopefully Sherlock was there for them at least.

“I brought her to the hospital every day so that she would remember your face.” Sherlock explained. “Children of her age often confuse different people in their lives if they are not seen regularly - I was afraid she would bond with me too much and start calling me ‘dada’, it would have been more difficult to reverse than to prevent. She spoke her first ‘dada’ to you, when she was at the hospital with me.”

John felt his throat close up a bit from emotion, but discreetly cleared it.

“Thank you, Sherlock…” He said. “That… that’s um…”

“It was prudent, children of her age need constant reinforcement. You would have been upset if we had to retrain her because she’d forgotten who you were to her. She enjoyed playing with you at the hospital-.”

“Does this mean you were the one taking care of her all this time?”

Rosie seemed to just be listening excitedly and looked to Sherlock with a bright smile. She also gnawed at a toy bumble bee in her hands. That’s when John noticed he never got her the bumble bee, which meant Sherlock probably got it for her. He smiled to himself.

“And you got her this toy bee, didn’t you?”

“To your first question: of course. I am her godfather after all, I made an oath. Mrs. Hudson and Molly helped, obviously. Secondly, you know of my love of bees, extraordinary creatures, really. This one was not as anatomically correct as the others I looked at, but Molly convinced me that in baby toys, the ability for them to be washable was most important. Within two days, I fervently agreed with her.”

Sherlock made a slightly disgusted face at Rosie’s gnawing, and John followed his eye movement to see the problem.

“Well, I’m happy you chose a cartoon bee, because I’m pretty sure a realistic one would have scared her.”

The little girl nodded her head… which was unusual. Children didn’t start doing that until seven months at least - Rosie was only four months old. Sherlock peered closely at her.

“That’s peculiar,” He said. “Most babies only learn to hold their heads up at 3 months, she’s actually nodding, John. She did seem very advanced from all the baby books I read while I kept you company in the hospital… could she really be capable of nodding at four months when she should only be doing that at 7 months?”

John took another look at Rosie, and seriously considered what Sherlock was saying, but he decided not to think about it too much. Babies did things at different rates, so maybe it was normal? Then he realized Sherlock said ‘the baby books I read’. He read baby books ?

“I don’t know… but you also read baby books?”

“I’d read some before she was born, but when I suddenly became the primary caregiver to a two month old child who had already lost her mother, I did what I knew best, John, I researched. There’s a nursery in my Mind Palace now,” Sherlock sighed, “those are words I thought I’d never say.” Sherlock thought back to the time he called his mother when he was desperately trying to calm Rosie from a crying fit. “I even called my mother for help, she told me to sing the child to sleep… being less than willing to do that, I tried my violin and it worked.”

“Which song?”

“A song from a children’s movie I found in her things…”

Sherlock looked down with a deep blush starting to crawl up his cheeks while he rapidly searched the nursery in his Mind Palace. He tried lighter classical songs for Rosie, but she just didn’t care for them. If anything, it made her cry harder.

“Um… How Far I’ll Go, from Moana.”

The detective looked up briefly to see John actually smiling at him.

“I’ve never seen that movie, but Mary said that it was good to watch with kids… so maybe I should watch it with Rosie.”

It was extremely hard not to laugh at Sherlock in that moment. It was a no-brainer that Rosie would like a kid’s movie song because Rosie was a child . It didn’t take a genius to figure that out.

The child in questions started to get fussy, and John could smell poo coming from the diaper. Time for a nappy change.

“Where have you been changing her?”

“There’s a pull-down changing station in the bathroom, it’s perfectly safe. There’s a bottle warmer in the kitchen, a machine to sterilise bottles and dummies, the cabinets have been baby proofed and the counters are still well out of her reach for now. I got them to add gates -”

“Well that’s interesting, Sherlock, but she’s starting to stink up the flat, so I need to go change her now.”

John went to the bathroom, and immediately saw new additions to it: baby towels with hoods, bath toys, Rosie’s shampoos and body washes, even puppet looking washcloths. The fold-out changing table was where the towel rack used to be (the towel rack was now by the sink next to the toilet). He folded out the changing table and saw that it also had dispensers for the wipes and nappies there was a DiaperGenie below it, next to the hamper.

“Looks like Uncle Sherlock picked a right good one for you.” John said to Rosie.

He laid Rosie down on the folding table, surprised at what a relief it was to be rid of her weight; his arms were tired . He felt like a little nap would be nice, but no - he had to change his daughter’s nappy. He undid the buttons on her onesie, which was surprisingly difficult ( deficits the neurologist had said), he’d never expected to have trouble with bloody buttons.

Once she was out of it, he pulled on the release straps on the nappy - she’d gone up a size, he realized. He pulled it back and tried his old trick with the wipe in one hand, and the diaper in the other. It was like a magician pulling a tablecloth out under the settings… he reached for the built-in wipe dispenser, and felt the wipe brush against his forearm, and realized his spatial issues were manifesting at the worst possible time. He tried again, slower, he clearly wasn’t going to break his old nappy-changing records. He tried his old magician’s trick but everything went to hell; there was poop on the table and he already had to use four wipes before he could put a new nappy on. He tried to align the tabs, but it made him feel slightly dizzy. He needed help.

“Sherlock!” He called out. “Can you, um, help me out a bit, please?”

He couldn’t believe he was asking Sherlock to help him change his daughter. Sherlock Holmes of all people.

Sherlock walked into the bathroom and observed the mess, which caused him to immediately deduce that John’s new neural deficits were to blame. John had been in denial about them and it made Sherlock wonder if this had made him see they were a problem and that the physical therapy the doctors recommended wasn’t, as John had so eloquently put it, “bollocks”.

“I daresay you’re a bit out of practice, John. My first try looked much like this.”

Sherlock adjusted the position of the baby on the table, took out a new nappy, and got to work.

“I believe it’s all in the alignment the blue tab here connects to the yellow part there and they combine to look green. Then the same on the other side… all done. Was there any faeces on the onesie?” He checked real quick. “No? Good, I tried every brand of nappies at Tesco, my experiments have proven these have the best seal.”

He put the onesie back on Rosie then grinned at John, but was entirely unsure as to what John’s expression meant.

The soldier was looking at Sherlock, a bit bemused and shaking his head slightly. He couldn't exactly comprehend this new side to his best friend, and he felt his heart warm up. He had no idea where this was all coming from, but it was extraordinary.

“You really put every bit of effort in, didn’t you?” John asked. “I mean, I didn’t even try and see which nappy had the best seal or whatever else you tried when I knew Rosie was going to be born, meanwhile you have practically everything figured out.”

“Not everything, John. Every day I have to look something up on the internet because she changes so fast, it seems to be a consensus on all parenting forums that if you think you know everything, you’re most certainly incorrect.”

“Yeah, that’s pretty much a given.” John chuckled. “But seriously, you don’t ever hang around kids at all. Even when Donovan invited you to her baby shower you refused and you almost totally refused to be Rosie’s godfather because you’re a hardcore atheist.”

Sally Donovan actually found out she was pregnant a few weeks before the wedding. Because of her affair with Anderson, she ended up having a son named Oliver Andrew Donovan, and decided she needed to take a year off from Scotland Yard to get her life sorted out. Lestrade even convinced the Yard to give her a raise so she could support herself and her son. Anderson hadn’t spoken a word to her about it as far as everyone knew, and Sherlock flatly refused to go to her baby shower when she invited him.

“Rosamund was a different case altogether,” Sherlock declared. “Though I don’t believe in the institution of godparents, I agreed once I had understood my prejudice for what it was. I later, quite unexpectedly, realised it granted me a small measure of parental rights and made me part of ‘the emergency parental proxy team’ as Molly put it. I’ve never cared for another child, they often bore me until they can communicate properly, but the moment I saw Rosamund, saw you in her, nothing could tear me away.”

John looked morose and didn’t meet Sherlock’s eyes. He hadn’t realized how much Sherlock cared for Rosie, at all. After all, he wouldn’t get off his damn phone when she was in the process of being born! John delivered her himself on the side of a road, and it wasn’t until Rosie was crying that Sherlock even looked up. To think that Sherlock actually felt like a parental unit for Rosie was a shock to him, and made him feel horrible when he rejected Sherlock’s friendship after Mary’s death.

“Even after Mary’s death when I refused your help and wrote that awful letter?”

“Yes John, even then.”

Rosie started waving her arms and babbling, as if to say ‘hey, I’m right here, pay attention to me’ as Sherlock had finished changing her a few minutes ago. John then picked her up and blew a raspberry into her cheek, which made her squeal with joy. That sound always made John’s heart grow a bit more.

“You’re all clean now.” He said with a yawn, and then Rosie yawned as well. “It looks like we both need a nap.”

Sherlock picked up on John’s question as to where everything was immediately. The man in front of him looked considerably more tired than he had when he walked in thirty minutes ago. The lack of muscle and brain usage for two months had obviously taken a toll if a ride in Mycroft’s car, going up stairs, and interacting with the baby made him this tired already.

“Her cot is in my room. I’d prefer if you slept downstairs as well, I’ll take the couch. I’m not planning on sleeping too much tonight, lots of new information to assimilate.”

Sherlock had already placed the receiver of the baby monitor in the lounge so he could get Rosie the moment she woke up. He intended on having John sleep as long as he needed to, and was determined that he not take the stairs every morning and night to go to bed.

“Sherlock, it’s fine, I’ll just go to my old room upstairs.” John insisted.

John started to go to the cot, but Sherlock blocked his path with a haughty look of authority, and didn’t move out of the way.

“Um… could you move aside please?”

“Not upstairs. Everything is already in my room, I see no reason for you to climb any more stairs tonight. I’ll hold her while you brush your teeth.”

“But the couch isn’t comfortable at all.”

“I won’t be asleep very long, if at all. You know I’m perfectly capable of making myself comfortable wherever I fall asleep.”

John sighed, defeated. He knew Sherlock wouldn’t let up no matter how many arguments he made, so there was no point in trying.

“Alright, I’ll sleep in your room. Just let me put Rosie down before she starts crying.”

John found the crib along the right wall of Sherlock’s bedroom, easily visible from the doorway. He deposited an already dozing Rosie in there and smiled at his daughter. He felt distinctly uncomfortable there. He glanced toward the bed, which he’d only seen a few times in all his time living here. Irene Adler had been in there at least once, but to John it had always felt forbidden. He found that his pajamas had already been placed neatly on the bed (by Sherlock?). He remembered how tired he was, decided that ‘it’s all fine’ was a good motto for that night, slipped on the pajama bottoms, and was disconcertingly happy to find the shirt had no buttons - asking Sherlock to button his shirt was a humiliation he was unwilling to go through when he’d already had to ask him for help with the baby. He walked into the bathroom from the adjoining door (another new experience) and brushed his teeth reasonably well, though not with his usual even strokes. He urinated then walked back into The Bedroom, he wandered over to the bed again and was suddenly unsure which SIDE to sleep on. Since the left-hand side was closest to the bathroom, he decides to just go for it. He laid his head on the pillow he is engulfed in the smell of Sherlock, his shampoo and soap and his own natural scent, for a minute it was the most comforting smell in the world…

He suddenly realized that he’d been rubbing his face into the pillow inhaling deeply, and felt some very old urges awakening. ‘No,’ he thought, ‘this is the worst time for those old feelings to resurface.’ All he should have felt was gratefulness that his friend had done so much for his child during his… absence’. John settled on his back and fell asleep faster than he thought possible.

Sherlock was on his chair in the lounge, in his thinking pose, deep in the John wing of his Mind Palace, filing away details about John’s neural deficits, thinking what else he can buy to help John. Dimly, he heard the toilet flush in the bathroom, he floated back to the real world and realized John had used the en-suite entrance… it gave him a small thrill - he’d have to puzzle out the significance of that later. Through the baby monitor he heard John get into the bed - he’d asked Mrs Hudson to change the sheets when he foresaw this as the most probable outcome. There was a minute of unusually deep breathing then the sheets rustled again. Sherlock wondered idly whether John was smelling his pillow. He wasn’t entirely sure of the etiquette for this situation, pillows often retained smell molecules despite their covers being changed, but surely going out of one’s way to sniff at a pillow was a bit odd? Less than a minute later, the faint sound of John’s snoring could be heard from the baby monitor.

Rosie was quietly snuffling in her sleep, which Sherlock had learned was a sign of contentment. He stood up to make himself some tea (lightly steeped Earl Grey with sugar and milk). This is something he had to learn to do himself in the time John was away. He sipped lightly and retreated back into his Mind Palace; every second since John arrived home had to be saved. Today was important - today, as that trite saying went ‘was the first day of the rest of his life’ and Sherlock was going to make the best of it.

 

***

The next morning John was woken up by Rosie crying. He didn’t wake up during the night at all, but that didn’t mean Sherlock couldn’t have helped her in the night. He was exhausted before he went to sleep after all. John stretched in bed, and got up to take Rosie out of her crib. At first, he over-estimated how far he needed to reach, but the second time he successfully picked her up and rested her on his hip.

“Good morning.” He said gently.

Rosie sniffled a bit, but seemed a bit at ease by getting attention from her Daddy. John could feel the diaper was a bit heavy under his arm, which signalled it was time for a change.

“I’d say it’s time for a nappy change, wouldn’t you?”

The changing went uneventfully. John managed to get it right this time without incident, and tried to not make noise so he wouldn’t wake Sherlock. However, the damn brain trauma got him when he was heating up Rosie’s formula. The bottles were already sterilized, everything was going swimmingly… until he tried to take the bottle off of the machine. It was so hot that he dropped the bottle and it spilled all over the floor. He cursed loudly and it was sheer luck that he didn’t forget to keep holding Rosie. His hand stung something fierce and he honestly felt it was Sherlock’s fault for getting such a fancy bottle heater.

“Sherlock!”

Sherlock ran into the kitchen hair askew in his pajamas, looking anxious.

“John! Are you alright?” He surveyed the chaos. “Here, let me put Rosie in her high chair, I’ll clean it up and make her a new one. What happened?”

John handed Rosie to Sherlock.

“You bought a damn bottle-heater that didn’t have a cool-down… thing so I could pick up the bottle without burning my bloody hand!”

“Sorry, John, there’s a switch on the side… I… uh... was planning on showing you. The baby website said this was the premier model, supposedly intuitive to use, but it’s clearly not. I’ll register a bad review on their website.”

He said this last part meekly, embarrassed to have made John angry. He looked at him with pleading eyes, and wondered what he could do to fix the situation without making John feel worse.

“Just… just fix her a bottle. I’m gonna take a shower.”

With that, John angrily stomped to the bathroom and slammed the door. Rosie started to cry in Sherlock’s arms either from hunger or from the noises, it was a toss-up honestly. Sherlock cringed and they looked remarkably similar in that moment. Obviously John’s brain injury caused him to be more irritable than normal.

John didn’t know why he was so angry at Sherlock. It wasn’t as if he did anything to cause the anger in the first place, so why would he be almost enraged at Sherlock for John burning his own hand? It didn’t make any sense, and thankfully when he was done with his shower, his anger had subsided. When he exited the bathroom and went to the bedroom, some clothing was already set out on the bed for him. It was a simple jumper with a pair of jeans and pants. Even if the jumper didn’t fit John anymore, he was thankful there were no buttons on them. Soon he was ready for the day even though he felt like he only had half of the energy needed to do anything when he got out to the lounge. He found Sherlock sitting on the sofa with Rosie in his arms. She had clearly already eaten and was contentedly watching a children’s program on the TV. Sherlock was frowning at the telly, looking puzzled.

“Hello John.” Sherlock said gently, “Would you like to join us?”

He gestured to the other seat on the couch and began to pass Rosie over to John. John sighed and dropped down in the seat, and allowed his daughter to be passed to him. He smelled the top of her head and felt some comfort.

“Listen, I’m sorry about being a d-.” He stopped himself because Rosie was in his arms. “Being… angry. I don’t know why I did that when it was my fault to begin with, so let’s just forget about it, okay?”

“Already forgotten, deleted from my Mind Palace. It’s typical behaviour for anyone who has suffered a brain injury. Mycroft has found a physiotherapist who specialises in neural issues, she’ll be here in two days.”

“I don’t need physiotherapy, Sherlock.”

“Not to sound like a ‘prat’ as you’d say, John, but you really do. Haven’t you proven that to yourself twice already?”

“Prat.”

Sherlock gave him an indulgent look and shook his head slightly.

“I mean, yeah I have been a bit off, but that could easily be because I was unconscious for two months.” John said.

“Unconscious because of a brain injury, John, needing to remind you only furthers my point.” Sherlock drawled sarcastically.

John tried to punch him on the arm, but missed and rolled his eyes.

“Just so you know, I missed because I was trying not to jostle the baby.”

Sherlock eyed John sideways, scoffed, and reconsidered the symptoms John was likely to present with: spatial impairment - check, irrational anger- check, denial - check (twice, because John is terribly stubborn), increased anxiety - a bit of that, increased frustration - definitely, sequencing abilities - as yet unclear, joint and muscular stiffness due to atrophy - certainly, fatigue - obvious. There were many other minor inconveniences that could appear, but hopefully wouldn’t. Sherlock calculated that integrating the physiotherapy with Rosie’s play would most likely have the best results and make John more comfortable… as long as he didn’t catch on too quickly.

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“You have your deduction face on, don’t do that right now.”

Sherlock looked unabashed with his most oblivious look.

“I wasn’t doing anything, just watching Rosie.”

“No you weren’t. You were doing that look where you were intensely staring at me but also thinking really quickly or something. I could practically feel your eyes on me.”

“I wasn’t doing anything of the sort, I really think you need to consider the physio, that’s all. Mycroft found a specialist, the best his money could buy - I think he feels guilty for one of his agents getting ahold of that file and going rogue.”

John looked down at Rosie, who was running her tiny hands over the stuffed bee and watching the TV. He guessed that could be true, but it wasn’t-.

 

“No flowers, brother mine. My request.”

 

John was back in the room at Sherrinford. Sherlock was pointing the gun to Mycroft’s heart and Eurus’ hollowed face was on the TV screens around them. John felt entirely helpless, and didn’t want to see anyone else die. The fact that it would be Sherlock killing his own brother was the worst thing he could almost imagine.

 

Things suddenly flashed forward to Sherlock counting down from ten. The only thing that kept going through John’s mind in that moment was, ‘No! Don’t you dare shoot yourself, Sherlock! I can’t lose anyone else I care about, not anymore! I can’t lose YOU again…’

 

Sherlock watched John’s face go rigid, his teeth clenched. At first he was perfectly still, then he suddenly began to shake. Sherlock immediately removed Rosie from his lap and placed her on John’s chair.

“Don’t you dare shoot yourself…” John whispered.

“John, come on, wake up, you’re having a flashback of some sort.”

“I can’t lose you again… Not now Sherlock…”

A picture formed quickly in Sherlock’s mind, ‘ he must be in the room where I have to choose between shooting him or Mycroft’ Sherlock held John’s hand tightly.

“Nobody’s getting shot, we’re all alive and well, John. You need to come back to me, right now I’m losing you . Please come back to me John. Come back to Rosie, we need you.”

John’s eyes suddenly focused again and he gained his sense of where he was. He was still shaking uncontrollably, and his breathing was erratic. He felt sick like he did when he used to have bad war flashbacks, and immediately ran to the bathroom where he wretched into the toilet.

Rosie looked concerned as her eyes were on the bathroom door. She looked up to Sherlock and pointed at the bathroom.

“Bafoom!” She said it in a commanding tone, to almost tell Sherlock to go to her father immediately.

Sherlock had been staring after John the second he ran to the bathroom, frozen. He looked down at Rosie when she spoke and immediately followed the four month old girl’s command. There was no need to knock on the bathroom door as it had been left wide open in John’s stampede. John was resting his head on his hands as he sat by the toilet, silently sobbing. Sherlock stood frozen again at this. He was getting better at it, but emotions were still not his ‘area’. He crouched down next to John, and rubbed his back in a soothing circular pattern he had discovered worked well on Rosie. John looked up at him and grabbed the lapels of his dressing gown.

“It’s not real, it never happened. Tell me Sherlock!”

“It’s not real, John. None of it happened, it was all a dream. I promise.”

Without a word, John buried his face in Sherlock’s shirt, and tried to will himself not to cry but made sure that this Sherlock, the one right here in front of him, didn’t have to go through what he did. Unfortunately, the emotions overtook him and his breath started catching.

“We were there… Mycroft told you to shoot him… but you… you…”

“Shhh, John, I know. You whispered something during your... attack, that helped me deduce the situation. I’m glad you shared so much of your dream with me… otherwise I wouldn’t have known what you were experiencing.”

Sherlock gave up on the ‘soothing’ circles, they clearly weren’t up to this task. Maybe Rosie would help cheer John, she always seemed to… He was a bit out of his depth here, he’d have to do some research on how to best comfort a PTSD attack… His neatly ordered mind was on the edge of panic. Rosie, that was all he could think to do. Clean John up and fetch Rosie. She couldn’t be left alone much longer.

“It’s all fine, John. Come let me help you clean up before Rosie learns to walk over here.”

John almost chuckled… almost , but it was like everything in his body was devoid of good things. He just kept holding onto Sherlock, hearing his heartbeat, feeling the rise and fall of his chest, knowing he was alive. It was different than the fall (which actually did happen). His dream in Sherrinford was Sherlock about to really take his own life. He was actually going to pull the trigger instead of pull some elaborate trick that he devised. If it hadn’t been for the tranquilizers, he would have definitely lost Sherlock Holmes forever… but it wasn’t real. He had to constantly remind himself of that. It. Wasn’t. Real.

“John, stand up for me, please.” Sherlock urged. “I really wasn’t joking about Rosie, she picks things up at a remarkable rate. When you ran out she pointed at the bathroom and said ‘bafoom’, that kind of comprehension is far above her age level.”

John slowly rose, muscles stiff. He groaned a bit, even though it made things considerably more difficult, he clung to Sherlock the entire time. Sherlock could only think practically in this situation, he grabbed a flannel and dipped it in cool water to wipe John’s face. The soldier stood there still clinging to Sherlock’s arm, one hand on his bicep, the other on his wrist - taking his pulse for some reason. This would be a considerably easier task with the use of both arms, but he wouldn’t begrudge John whatever comfort he needed. He’d caused him so much pain already… but now was not the time to dredge up old wounds. He passed John the mouthwash, John took a gulp, swished it around his mouth and spit it into the basin. Better, minty fresh, ready to see Rosie. He began to move toward the door, John still clutching his left arm… this was beginning to stir uncomfortable, no - forbidden feelings, in Sherlock. They made their way slowly to the lounge, where Rosie was still seated in John’s chair.

“Not walking yet, maybe next week.” he said in an undertone, “Thank goodness.”

John chuckled.

“At least your humor works now.”

Rosie peered at John with a worried look, and held out her hands in a grabby gesture.

“Dada.”

John smiled, and kneeled in front of the chair where Rosie was seated. He dragged Sherlock down with him. John realized he hadn’t let go of Sherlock and they landed awkwardly on the floor together, Rosie giggled. She reached out and gently grabbed John’s nose, then gently pat it in a surprisingly loving gesture, as if to say ‘you’re okay’. John almost laughed, but instead went with pretending to eat her hand, which made her laugh heartily.

Sherlock gently removed John’s hand from his bicep and put it on Rosie’s foot, she giggled again. The vice grip on his pulse proved harder to remove at first, John just clung tighter, then, seeming to realise what he was doing, he removed his hand quickly as if ashamed. Sherlock merely gave him a reassuring smile, stood up and walked out of the room. He had an urgent call to make. Once he had stepped into John’s room and shut the door, he took his phone out of his robe pocket and called the intended number.

“Brother, how are you?”

“Fine, Sherlock, what ails you?” He sounded out of breath.

“John needs a therapist, preferably well vetted this time. One with a high government clearance - one he can actually discuss classified material with.”

“I do have a country to run, but I’ll see about getting someone on it.”

Sherlock noticed the fact that Mycroft was out of breath and that there was someone else breathing heavily in the room. It seemed Mycroft was entertaining company.

“It’s a bit early for company Brother. I wasn’t aware you were pursuing a social life after all these years, seems so sentimental of you. What scared you into this foray into the ‘obscene’?”

Mycroft hung up, which made Sherlock chuckle. Obviously Lady Smallwood was getting a bit more than a friendly meeting from Mycroft about politics. He banished the observation from his Mind Palace and went back downstairs.

John had Rosie on her back in his lap while he sat in his chair, and was tickling her. The little baby was kicking and squealing in delight from the assault of tickles she was getting. John was also laughing, but not as energetically as his daughter was. It was more of a highly amused and loving laughter. It was obvious that he looked tired, and Rosie was starting to tamper down her laughing.

“It looks like a nap is in order, for both of you.”

“For her, yeah. I’m fine though.”

A yawn immediately betrayed him. He cursed his body for getting too tired early in the day. He wasn’t an infant or elderly, he was in prime condition for god’s sake!

“Let’s just watch TV while she falls asleep, yeah?”

“As you wish, John. Go take Rosie to her crib and I’ll try to find one of your favourites.”

John silently nodded and got up with Rosie cradled against his chest. He spotted the stuffed bee on the floor next to the chair, and just barely managed to pick it up successfully. He fought the urge to fall asleep as much as he could and put his baby in her crib. She fell asleep in two minutes, and once she did, John went back to the living room. Sherlock had put on a rerun of Top Gear so John sat down on the couch next to his friend.

“What’s happened so far?”

“The tall baboon-like one doesn’t like the blue car, but the hamster does, because it’s American, the curly one thinks the yellow one is the best, baboon favours the green, and that’s about it so far. They’re about to do one of those celebrity things, if I remember correctly.”

“You really know nothing about cars, do you? Did they get deleted with the solar system?”

John smirked.

“Oh no, I never bothered to learn a thing about them until I had to acquire a driving licence, couldn’t care less about different types and models. I keep the bare minimum of information in a small file should I ever need to drive.”

John rolled his eyes and let out a burst of laughter, followed by a yawn he stifled as much as possible.

“Let’s just watch, eh? I’m not even going to begin to explain to you why this is still the best car show in the world. Bugger that new lineup, bunch of tossers. Nevermind...”

John watched the trio argue, catalogued the cars and saw this was quite an old episode, 2005 possibly, Clarkson was shamelessly trying to flirt with Billie Piper, who was in a rather transparent black top. He tucked his feet up on the couch. Gradually his eyes shut and he began to slide sideways along the back of the couch until his head was resting on Sherlock’s shoulder. His last thought was “bony” before he drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

Sherlock watched John’s inexorable slide toward him with mild curiosity, and feared that John’s feet would not be warm enough. He managed to extricate the blanket that hung over the back of the couch and flicked it over John mere seconds before John’s head hit his shoulder. It was surprisingly comfortable, and after the long hospital stay, comforting, to feel John’s presence in this way.

He briefly considered sleeping himself, but there was far too much planning to do for John’s recovery. John’s reluctance to see the physiotherapist would be nothing compared to the level of convincing it would take for John to see the government-vetted psychologist. He wasn’t entirely sure which one should be the priority… he decided the physio would help build John’s confidence, which might then convince him to see the psychologist. Considering the impact the rogue agent’s whisperings had had on John’s unconscious mind, he decided to try the same method.

“Rosie loves you so much, John, and you need to be able to care for her independently. The physiotherapy is the best way to attain that, you have to try, you have to make the most of it, for Rosie.”

John made a snuffling noise in his sleep, Sherlock decided to take that as an agreement, mostly because he was feeling quite foolish at this point. He turned his head forwards again, towards the inane TV program. Some celebrity from that alien show John liked was on, ‘Billie’...something was laughing about doing a ‘lap’ around the track, he couldn’t bring himself to care. With John’s warm weight on his shoulder, he felt strangely at peace for the first time in months. He listened to some music in his Mind Palace - who needed mp3s when you had total recall? The concerto was dying down when John’s head moved further down to his chest. Sherlock shuffled to try to minimise the strain on John’s neck, which only resulted in John’s head ending up in his lap. This felt so… right… somehow, but simultaneously a ‘bit not good’.

He retreated into his Mind Palace and tried to seal away those feelings he sometimes had around John. There was a locked cabinet in a locked room of the John wing. The fact that he had allowed himself an entire Wing filled with John was probably ‘really not good’ but he tried to ignore that as much as possible. He had spent weeks in there after John married Mary. He had been extremely fond of her as a person, and thought that she was the only woman out there who had a skill-set that matched John’s need for danger. Her death had been unimaginably tragic, and he still blamed himself for not recognising the signs of impending doom in time to prevent it. He blamed himself for always needing to have the last word. No! This was not helpful, this would not bring her back, it was pointless speculation at best. He finally had John and Rosie back and he considered that a gift he didn’t deserve.

Sherlock realised he was wallowing, it was time to ascend back through the levels of his Mind Palace, back to reality. He checked the clock, it had been two hours since John had fallen asleep. He tried to find a nature documentary on the telly, there was something on about penguins but they had always bothered him for some reason. He turned the telly off and decided that John’s head in his lap was far more interesting than any penguin. John looked younger in his sleep, there was something childlike and peaceful in his face that took years off his actual age. He catalogued the hollowness in John’s cheekbones, with the bottle incident he thought John may have missed breakfast. He would not allow that to happen again. He saw the scar that marked the trajectory of the bullet buried beneath two months of hair growth, they would have to get the rest of it trimmed to the same length. He held in a chuckle at the thought of his Army Doctor with a buzz-cut.

A whimper over the baby monitor signaled that Rosie probably needed a new nappy. He felt somewhat bereft at having to stand up, trying not to jostle the sleeping John, putting a throw pillow under his head to fill the void where his lap had been and making sure his feet were covered. He carried the monitor with him in his robe pocket and walked towards his room. Rosie was indeed fussing increasingly, and a quick feel showed a wet nappy. He changed her quickly and efficiently then occupied her with her bumblebee, making it zoom around and land on her head. She giggled but Sherlock was worried about interrupting John’s sleep so he made a shushing gesture with his forefinger in front of his mouth.

“Shh, Dada’s sleeping, Rosie. Come play quietly with Uncle Lock.”

                       

*****

“John, this is the physiotherapist Mycroft sent over.”

John looked her up and down. She was plump and motherly with kind brown eyes and nice teeth, her long brown hair complimented her features well.

“Doctor Watson.” She held out her hand with a smile. “I’m Dr. Katherine McIntyre.”

The soldier reluctantly shook her hand and noticed that despite the Irish last name, she had a Welsh accent. He forced a smile, but it seemed it wasn’t convincing enough, because she just gave a roll of her eyes.

“You don’t think you need this, but that’s a common symptom of having neural deficits like yours. I’ve seen it in plenty of patients in the past.”

Before John could give a witty retort, a little voice started babbling on the baby monitor. It was obvious Rosie was awake from her nap.

“I’ll go get her. John’s 4 month old, Rosamund.” Sherlock said to Dr. McIntyre. “I’ll be back as soon as I get a new nappy on her. Please try to acquaint yourselves.”

He gave John the pointed ‘be nice’ look, that he remembered John giving him on so many occasions. The irony made him smirk as he walked towards Rosie’s crib.

John stood quietly for a moment in the sitting room while the Dr. McIntyre got out a patient file and got ready to take notes.

“Now, I’ll need to ask you a few starting questions before we begin the actual physiotherapy.” She sat down on the couch with her notepad. “That way I can decide what would work for your specific case. People recover from neural deficits at different rates.”

“Alright.”

John pulled out what would normally be the client chair but sat it on the other side of the coffee table so he could face her. It seemed Dr. McIntyre took a note just from the action. Then she looked up with a kind smile.

“You were able to do that easily, so that’s good. Gross motor skills seem fine. She smiled again. “Now, have there been any incidents as of late with depth perception where you unintentionally reach too far or too short?”

“A… a few times, yeah.”

“Can you give me some examples?”

John leaned back in his seat and thought for a moment and thought of the instances she needed.

“First day back, I overreached the baby wipes when I was changing Rosie, then there was the next morning when I didn’t quite reach her to pick her up out of her crib, then I stupidly grabbed a hot baby bottle out of the bottle heater (but I guess that’s just poor judgement), when I tried to do a playful punch I missed, yesterday I tried to eat some food, but I missed the food with the fork a few times, things like that.”

Dr. McIntyre wrote down more notes.

“You said you grabbed a baby bottle before it was cooled, that would be a sequencing error, most of those correct themselves with time. The rest seem to be hand-eye coordination deficits, we can work on those quite easily. The muscle atrophy in your chart concerns me more, I understand you have a previous injury in the left shoulder, an old war wound. John nodded and touched the scar absently. “Has that been more stiff than usual, especially in the cold?”

“Yes, it has been worse, but I didn’t expect sunshine and roses after a 2 month coma. I remember the old exercises and I’ve been doing them, stretches mainly.” His tone wasn’t rude, but it lacked his usual good-natured warmth.

“Good, I’m glad you have that well in hand. Obviously you’re familiar with basic drills from the army, pushups and situps and running drills. It would be in your best interest to reacquaint yourself with those as soon as we have improved your balance and hand-eye coordination issues.”

“How long will it take?”

“That depends entirely on how much work you put into it, Dr Watson. Everyone heals at their own pace.”

Sherlock arrived at the lounge door with a freshly changed and clean Rosie. He tried to let John and Dr. McIntyre have some time to talk to John alone so that they could be more acquainted.
“Is this the little angel you mentioned, Mr. Holmes?” The physiotherapist said with a bright smile. “Oh how precious, I have three of my own, 2, 4 and 7 years old. How about you join us little lady?”

“Rosie, let’s sit by Dada.” Sherlock said.

Rosie gave a toothless grin in appreciation.

“Sherlock, I’m not sure I want her here for this.” John worried.

“Nonsense John, she’ll just think you’re playing…” He still looked to Dr. McIntyre however. “Will it do her any harm?”

“No, in fact, I think she can help her Daddy, but keep her with you for now. Let’s all sit on the carpet right here, you too Mr Holmes, I’m going to begin with rolling a ball. Rosamund is a bit young for this, but I’m sure she’ll enjoy it nonetheless.”

They all sat in a triangle on the carpet, Sherlock with Rosie on John’s right. Dr. McIntyre took out a soft foam ball and sat to John’s left. John figured they were about to do a hand-eye coordination exercise.

“I’m going to roll this towards our little girl here, let’s see if she’ll roll it back for us.”

Dr. McIntyre rolled the ball over to Rosie, who only was able to push it halfway. Dr. McIntyre stood up on her knees slightly and reached to roll the ball the rest of the way to herself.

“Good try angel, now let’s see how Daddy does, hmm?”

She rolled the ball directly at John, and he fumbled a bit before grabbing it. He looked sheepish and misjudged the force required when he rolled it back, but Dr McIntyre caught it as it nearly rolled past her.

“Ok, John, nothing to worry about, that’s what we’re all here for. I’ll roll it to you, you roll it to Mr. Holmes and your daughter, then they’ll roll it back to me, alright?”

John was beginning to tire of the surnames and his irritation at the ball incident made him blurt out.

“It’s John, Sherlock and Rosie, please, do you have a prefered name? He said through gritted teeth, making an attempt to be polite. John thought she looked like she wanted to make a note of his not-quite-outburst.

“You may call me Katherine, John.

She rolled the ball to John again. He estimated the direction and distance better this time and rolled it much more gently toward Sherlock (who was poised to grab the ball if John pushed too hard again), it rolled gently to Rosie’s outstretched arms and she pushed it back to Katherine, all the way this time. They continued, in the other direction for a few more rounds.

“That’s very good, John.” Katherine said. “I wonder, do you have a tablet around here? There’s an app I’d like to try, it’s free but quite effective.”

“I’ll get my iPad.” Sherlock said.

He handed Rosie to John, she settled in his lap with a contented sigh. Sherlock found the iPad in the kitchen, hastily cleaned it and brought it to Katherine, unlocked. He wondered what she wanted to download, but trusted her if Mycroft was the one who vetted her. Katherine searched the App Store for a few seconds and installed an app called ‘Balloon Frenzy!’. She opened the the app and handed the tablet to John.
“You begin on level 1, John, bursting the balloons with a touch. I’m sure Rosie will be eager to try in no time.”

John reluctantly did as he was told, when he missed a balloon the app gave a buzz, when he hit the balloon it made a popping sound and gave a score. After a few minutes there were more hits than misses and he had reached level 3. Rosie started pawing at the device so John showed her what to do. She immediately stabbed her little fingers into the screen (John hoped she wouldn’t damage it) and began popping balloons with glee. Then she said ‘Dada’ in a serious tone and made him pop some more.

“Next time Rosie will help us learn some stacking and we’ll play with that Lego I see there. That was a good start, John. Thank you Sherlock and Rosie for helping,” She smiled brightly at Rosie, with great warmth. “I’ll see you all next week.”

She nodded at Sherlock as he held the door open for her and ushered her down the stairs where she suggested that getting John to use chopsticks would be a good tactic for furthering his therapy outside of the sessions.

****

John was determined to get over his neural deficits as soon as possible. He couldn’t stand people babying him anymore because he was a bit off, so he started to exercise in the flat. It started off easy with push ups and sit ups, then he invested in some weights. That was where he was today, two weeks after he started the physiotherapy sessions. He was on the floor doing crunches in a pair of gym shorts and an undershirt. His routine was that he did thirty crunches, thirty push ups, twenty lunges, and thirty reps on each arm with the weights. He would do these exercises on a yoga mat he purchased in the lounge… in clear view of Sherlock.

Sherlock was sitting in his chair, determined to be interested in playing with Rosie and nothing else , because the sweaty, muscle-straining John was not affecting him in the slightest. Not at all, he told himself. Staring (what he could only describe as lustily) at your flatmate while caring for their 4.5 month old daughter was definitely a lot not good. Building a gym in the John wing of your Mind Palace for him to work out was also decidedly not good, but what John didn’t know wouldn’t harm him… He snapped his attention back to Rosie. He was trying to teach her colours from a book… they were on red… like John’s face when he did a situp. NO, he was not thinking about that. Red was the colour of roses or something insipid like that. He looked at Rosie, she was giving him an expression that clearly told him she would prefer to be the focus of his attention at this time. Even the child knew he was having some filthy thoughts about her father.

“Rosie, this colour is red, R-E-D, like roses, that’s where your name comes from, you know.” He smiled weakly at her.

“Obvious.”

Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and looked at her. She just said obvious … she shouldn’t have said a proper word yet. John got up and went over to her with a look of… concern maybe?

“What did you just say?”

Rosie rolled her eyes.

“Obvious!”

Sherlock merely gaped at the child in surprise, he was never very good in moments like this.

“Oh god, she’s just like you.” John said.

“Me?”

“She rolled her eyes at me and said “obvious”, I’d say that’s just like you.”

John started to wonder how many times Sherlock had either rolled his eyes or said the word around Rosie while he was in a coma. He also was wondering how a little girl who wasn’t even five months old could say that word and have that mannerism. It seemed too advanced for her to even think about doing.

“How advanced would you say this is? You read the baby books.”

“Expressions are easy to copy, babies’ brains are full of mirror neurons, that’s how they learn to be… people. The speech is much more advanced. Ob-vi-ous is a tricky word, she shouldn’t be able to put the two together until she’s at least twice her current age. This is remarkable.”

“So… does she need to be assessed? I mean, she could be a super-genius for all we know at the rate she’s learning.”

Rosie seemed to look bored, so she pointed at the fireplace.

“Fireplace.”

She pointed at the skull on the mantle.

“Dead.”

She pointed at Sherlock’s trousers.

“Black.”

She pointed at John’s sweat drenched hair.

“Hair.”

She pointed at her mouth.

“Mouth.”

“Alright Rosebud, I think you’ve made your point: you can talk.” John assured.

“We should start teaching her to speak in full sentences, and since she can clearly understand what we talk about, I’ll give you my opinion on ‘testing’ her in private.”

“Good idea.”

Once John had finished his exercises, they decided to put on a movie so Rosie would be distracted. They had decided on Moana since she loved one of the songs so much.

“We are not having her poked and prodded and put through psychometric testing like I was. It is something that to this day I cannot think about without my bile rising…”

“But we need to know exactly what’s going on with her. She could be extremely smart like you and Mycroft, or she could be a child prodigy in a certain area. Mycroft could pick the psychiatrist or something.”

As a Doctor, John needed to know how far ahead Rosie was in development. They needed to know how to raise her depending on how advanced she was and how to teach her certain things for that age range. It was essential to understanding Rosie.

“Only if it’s a child-psychologist who will come here to the flat and not make her feel like she’s under a microscope.”

“Well, I can’t guarantee that, but I think Mycroft could.” John paused for a moment to look at Rosie, who was in Sherlock’s lap watching the movie. “Was it really that bad when you were tested?”

“Worse than you can imagine. Where do you think I got “high-functioning sociopath” from? Though that’s turned out to be completely untrue. Apparently I presented that way because of the Eurus trauma, I’ve since learned I’m capable of empathy, and love...”

Sherlock avoided John’s eyes and looked pointedly at Rosie instead.

“But practices have changed since you were tested. I mean, it’s probably been over 25 years since you were assessed so it probably isn’t that bad anymore.”

“I agree, as long as it’s not done in an unfamiliar or clinical setting, I think it would barely be traumatic at all. I know much has changed, a child should never be made to feel less than human, not ever .”

John nodded in agreement. He couldn’t imagine how Sherlock must have felt when he was tested considering how smart he was. The rest of the night passed uneventfully as Rosie went to sleep at her normal time, as did John, once again in Sherlock’s bed.

 

***

A few days later John and Sherlock went to Tesco while Mrs Hudson watched Rosie for a while. John insisted that he could do it on his own, but Sherlock didn’t think that shopping alone was a good idea with the deficits still being a problem. Certain things did happen like John overreaching or being unable to press the buttons for the checkout, but other than that, it went fine.

Things went wrong on the cab ride home. There was a traffic jam which forced them to stop next to a construction site for a while, where the workers were filling cement into a hole… which resembled the well…

 

“Sherlock… the bones I found…”

 

“Yes, they’re dogs bones, that’s Redbeard.”

 

“Mycroft’s been lying to you - to both of us.”

 

What John held in his hands weren’t the bones of a dog, no far from it… it was a child’s skull. The age couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old, and it made him realize what was really going on: Redbeard wasn’t a dog, he was a child. He heard Sherlock whisper about a boy named Victor Trevor, his best friend. Eurus had killed his best friend when they were only children!

 

Sherlock saw John go absolutely rigid in his seat, shortly before clamping his hands to his eyes and moaning softly, rocking back and forth, as close to a foetal position as he could manage in the cramped space of the cab. The cabbie looked at him with alarm, Sherlock just shook his head in a dismissive gesture.

“They’re children’s bones… oh god.”

“John, it’s just another flashback, come on, come back to me. It’s not real, it never was. John!”

“She killed him…”

“She killed a dog , John. It was awful, but not nearly as bad as you think.”

Sherlock was holding John close to him at this point, trying his best to comfort his friend, though he was at a bit of a loss. Most of the research he had done on PTSD and flashbacks said to try to wake the person or if that wasn’t possible, let the vision play out. He hated seeing John this way, and Sherlock felt helpless not being able to help him.

“The water… I’m gonna drown… and I won’t get to tell him…”

John felt himself snap back to reality, and he found himself in Sherlock’s arms in the back of a bloody cab. It was mortifying, especially since the cabby was no doubt watching the whole thing. John took a few steadying breaths.

“I’m okay, I’m okay.” John said to reassure his friend.

“You were never in any danger, John, I was here, I’ll always be here for you.”

Another episode, in public this time. John hated to show this kind of ‘weakness’, he’d feel terribly embarrassed… Sherlock wasn’t sure what to do to make it better. He knew he had to convince John to see the psychologist Mycroft had found. Perhaps this would be the best motivator for it, he fervently hoped so, because this problem was not going to go away on its own. The cabbie was still staring as the traffic began to move, Sherlock gave him a vicious look.

“Just because you have marital problems and erectile dysfunction doesn’t mean you get to stare at your fares like your own private peep-show.”

The cabbie gaped at him for a second then turned around swiftly, as they passed the construction site and the obstacle that had caused all the traffic.

“I’m sorry, Sherlock.”

“You have nothing to apologise for. Other people in this cab may have some apologies to make, but not you. Let’s just get home, John, then we can talk about it if you want to.”

The rest of the cab ride home went without incident, and they got the groceries up just fine. After which, they picked up Rosie, and Mrs. Hudson gushed about how Rosie was naming things in her flat like there was no tomorrow. John just faked the formalities, and went back up to the flat. Sherlock was sitting in his chair in his thinking pose, obviously already having deduced what John had experienced in the cab.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

John sat down in his chair and placed Rosie on his lap.

“You obviously figured it out, so why don’t you tell me?”

“You were in the well, discovering the bones, not of a dog, but of a child. The only part that puzzled me was you saying “I won’t get to tell him.” What was that about?”

John looked away and blushed. Why did he say that!? This was not something he was going to tell Sherlock probably ever because there was nothing indicating that Sherlock felt the same. Dammit, it was like his subconscious was trying to force him to say it. Sure he thought he’d die without telling Sherlock how he felt, but in real life it was unthinkable.

“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”

“It’s the only anomaly in the whole incident and you expect me to ignore it. John, how long have you known me?”

“I don’t want to talk about it, okay? Just let it go.”

When had Sherlock ever been able to let go of a puzzle? He wanted to preserve his friend’s dignity, but that hopeless whisper in the cab had had a tinge of longing in it that he couldn’t ignore. It spoke of the feelings he repressed constantly and Sherlock began to wonder if there was the slightest possibility they could be reciprocated.

John sat back in his chair and Rosie was sucking on a dummy while tugging on the wings of her bumble bee. She had grown very attached to it and even when they washed it, she started crying.

“Do you really think I need the therapist?”

“If you won’t talk to me about these things - not that I’m even remotely qualified to deal with them - then yes, you need to see the therapist, John. What would have happened if I hadn’t been with you today? What if you had been taking Rosie out for a walk and had a flashback? If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for her.”

John thought for a moment, and when he looked back down at Rosie, she looked concerned as well. She obviously understood what they were talking about, and seemed to be looking at John as if to say, ‘I want you to be better, so please get help.’ He looked back to Sherlock, who was giving the same expression.

“Please, John. You know I don’t often plead for things, but I think you really need this.”

John didn’t answer.

Chapter Text

“So, Mr. Raegan Anderson, also known as ‘Genesis’, you’ve hacked into the MI6 archive, the Pentagon’s security system, and the Kremlin’s servers. Currently you are serving life in prison for the combined crimes, do you have anything to say for yourself?” Mycroft inquired.

“Yeah, why do you care? They told me how much you do in the British government, so why are you talking to me?”

Mycroft had a plan he needed a hacker for, and of course he only was going to use the best. The best currently was Raegan Anderson, who hacked different governments’ servers and was serving life in prison. However, if he agreed to help, some charges would be lifted as per Mycroft’s request.

“I’m here to offer you a deal. In exchange for a favour , I can help to lift some of your charges and reduce your current sentence. I have some influence over Interpol.”

The hacker looked Mycroft over, as if there was an ulterior motive for his move.

“What are you playing at?”

“Exactly as I said. You recover some information for me and I get your sentence reduced. Perhaps your MI6 escapade will disappear from the records completely.”

“And what information do you need exactly?”

“I have a highly encrypted recording device which I need… decrypted.”

Raegan scoffed with a smirk.

“Any hacker with beginner’s knowledge could do that.”

“Yes, but I tend to go to the best whenever I am in need of assistance, and as it stands right now, you are the best there is. Not to mention the one who placed it is highly trained in fields such as this. So will you agree or not?”

“It’s not like I actually have a choice, is it?”

 

***

Sherlock opened the front door of 221B to a tall, thin black man dressed in a black suit, white shirt and a neutral coloured tie. He looked very much like a stereotypical FBI agent from those awful police shows John liked. Sherlock deduced that he had a public school education from his bearing, his qualifications must be formidable since Mycroft had recommended him, probably Oxford or King’s College. His shoes told him that he was never an agent and he did only office work, and the three errant cat hairs (one grey tabby) that had escaped a careful brush down lead Sherlock to think he was a empathetic person, who had high standards for his personal grooming. Unfortunately, cat hair was inescapable if one was a slave to one of those creatures.

“Mr Holmes, I recognise you from your photographs in the media. I’m Terrence Jordan, psychologist.”

Sherlock deduced Mycroft would send nothing but the best, so he must have a doctorate as well.

“With a PhD.” Sherlock pointed out. “Don’t be modest, doctor.”

“I prefer to stick to a first name basis, it makes clients more comfortable.”

“Let me introduce you to John Watson, your client . I’m sure you’ll be familiar with him from the media as well.”

Terrence followed him upstairs to the lounge where John was watching Rosie on her mat.

“John, I’d like you to meet Dr. Terrence Jordon, who prefers a first name basis, apparently . He has the highest clearance possible so you’ll be able to speak freely about topics you’ve had to be subversive about in the past.”

John gave a pleasant smile and shook the therapist’s hand.

“Nice to meet you… Terrence.”

Sherlock took Rosie from the playmat with a look that said ‘she understands too much’ and may have accidentally dropped the transmitter for the baby monitor behind the couch while grabbing her bee toy before leaving for the nursery upstairs.

“Uh, please have a seat.”

John sat down on the couch while the therapist sat down in the client chair, almost mirroring John when he met his physiotherapist. Terrence opened his suitcase and took out an A4 notepad on a clipboard and a pen.

“I don’t usually work with civilians, but you must be an important asset if Mycroft Holmes assigned me to you. I’ve been briefed on your history, but only in the broadest sense. Would you like to elaborate? I find it’s always more accurate from the person who experienced it.”

“Um, okay…” He didn’t know where to start, so he guessed he’d start with the shooting. “I assume you’re familiar with the earlier stuff, so I’ll start with why I’m seeing you. After my wife was killed, I looked for a therapist to cope. I found one near the clinic that I could go to when I had my lunch break, so I saw her twice. She acted perfectly normal, and she helped me a bit, but after Sherlock got better and we talked again, she turned out to be a fake. She had murdered the actual therapist and said she was Eurus Holmes, and I only heard Mycroft mention another Holmes sibling a few times.

“She started saying she was tired of me talking about myself and she had a gun pointed at me. She actually shot me, but I don’t remember that I ducked, and it grazed my head. She ended up jostling my brain enough that I passed out, and she thought the blood loss would kill me. She whispered things to me, and I ended up having this incredibly realistic dream while I was in a coma for two months.”

Terrence took some notes.

“I’m not going to ask you to explain everything you dreamt, I read Sherlock’s statement about what you told him. I’m more interested in the reasons behind it and what has been triggering this PTSD.”

“Sherlock made a statement about my dream?”

“Does that upset you?”

“No, no, it just… surprises me I guess.”

“So the fact that he did so without your knowledge is not important to you?

John paused for a moment to think about that. Was it really that shocking that Sherlock made a statement about his dreams? He tended to do things in regards to John that were either good or ill-advised. It was all in what Sherlock was thought was John’s best interest.

“I guess I’m not surprised, actually, because Sherlock would do that so I wouldn’t have to.”

“So within the confines of your relationship, it doesn’t bother you? That’s a level of trust I don’t even see in married couples.”

“Well I mean… he’s done a lot for me. I’m sure you saw when the media covered his fake suicide, and that’s a really big sacrifice to make to save your friends. He even forgave my wife after she shot him. It’s nice not to have to beat around the bush on these things.”

“I can see how this would differ from your normal therapy, it’s almost refreshing, isn’t it?

John chuckled.

“Yeah, I guess it is.”

“So… your relationship with Sherlock, how would you characterise it at this point? I can see you live together, fight for each other and are very dedicated to each other’s happiness...”

John thought about it. It seemed they obviously were more than just best friends, and they would actually die for each other if needed… he immediately thought of the moment in his coma dream when Mycroft insisted that John left while discussing Eurus. He had said,

‘This is family.’

And Sherlock exclaimed,

‘That’s why he stays!’

“Family.” John answered.

“That’s rare. A familial relationship between two, I can only say ‘partners’ without any overt romantic feelings? Completely platonic?”

John blushed a bit, but wasn’t comfortable with talking about that yet. There were feelings that were more than friends, at least on John’s end, but it was only the first therapy session, so he didn’t want to talk about it yet.

“I’d rather not answer that yet.”

“That’s fine, therapy goes at your own pace. Would you like to talk about the flashbacks you’ve had and discuss possible triggers?”

John then discussed the two times he had PTSD flashbacks: his first full day back at Baker Street, and in the cab two days prior. Terrence wrote down more notes as John told him what happened.

“So the first flashback was triggered by talking about Mycroft’s help in finding a physiotherapist, why do you think that was a trigger?
John shrugged.

“Mycroft acted like he cared about people for once, and in the dream he was willing to die for his mistake, I guess.”

“That makes a certain amount of sense, has any subsequent mention of Mycroft being caring given you any difficulty?”

“Not really.”

“I think we’ll explore that more fully in another session. In the meantime, tell me what triggered the second flashback.”

“Um… seeing construction workers fill in a hole with cement, and the hole was big enough to be like the well I was in.”

“That’s a far simpler trigger to explain isn’t it? It was literally a concrete concept transferred from the dream into real life.”

“Yeah…”

“That incident doesn’t worry me as much, as it isn’t very likely to occur again. Are there any other parts of your dream that you think could be triggered by real-life events?”

John thought some more about the different events in the dream. Surprisingly, there were plenty of triggers that would most likely happen with his occupation.

“I’m worried I’ll freeze the next time I encounter explosives since I don’t doubt Mycroft will ask for us to help with another terrorist attack.”

“That was because of the… ’Patience Grenade’... interesting concept. I wonder how your mind invented that, but let’s leave that for another session.” He made several more notes. “What else?”

“Um… if I have to shoot someone again because of when I had to shoot the governor.”

“One can only hope that won’t be necessary, though in your line of work nothing is guaranteed.” He wrote another note.

“I’m worried I’ll encounter a woman with pale skin and long dark hair in public, like on the tube, and have another attack. I couldn’t stand the embarrassment. What if I’m alone? Sherlock’s been with me the last two episodes and I think he’s the reason I snapped out of it.”

“What do you think will happen if Sherlock isn’t there?”

“That I’ll just freeze up, and I won’t wake up. Sherlock told me I say things when I’m having an episode, but I might actually do something if I don’t fix this.”

“Are you worried you’d hurt a woman like that, or one that looked like your previous ‘therapist’?”

“I think… one that looks like Eurus in my dream.”

“I work with a lot of people with PTSD due to their line of work, and I’ve discovered that the chances of the sufferer hurting someone during an episode are higher if they tend more towards fight than flight or the seldom mentioned freeze reaction to danger. Your military history has probably made you more likely to fight, which is concerning.” He took down another note. “What do you think we can do to alleviate that as a concern?”

“I honestly don’t know, that’s why I’m talking to you.”

“I’m here to be a sounding board for you, there’s no ‘cure’ for this. No-one else can control what triggers you or what your actions will be and Sherlock can’t follow you around forever, John. This is something you have to work at.”

“I’ve heard that before, not exactly useful , is it?”

“No, it’s not terribly useful, I’m afraid. We can try some exposure therapy perhaps.” He said making another note.

“And how would that work?”

“We simulate the triggers you have suggested, we expose you to them in a safe environment repeatedly until the fear response has abated or at very least lessened. It’s not foolproof but this kind of cognitive behavioural therapy has been known to work with some PTSD sufferers, though it is much more common in the treatment of phobias.”

“I mean… if you think it’ll work, I guess we could try it.”

John wasn’t too sure about this. He didn’t know if he could handle it the first time. Terrence must have noticed his dubious expression.

“Would you be more comfortable if we involved Sherlock in the first round of exposure?”

John nodded with a quiet ‘yes’.

“Right, then I think we know how to proceed, I’m sure Mycroft can procure the necessary stimuli… I think that this has been quite enough for one session, John. Shall we make an appointment to meet again next week?”

He almost hated to admit it, but John felt better after talking about all of this. Especially the fact that he could talk about classified information. He had to lie to Ella in the past about certain cases because they were classified, and he hated it. Maybe this could work.

Sherlock had put Rosie down for her nap and had been listening intently on the baby monitor. It wasn’t simple curiosity or nosiness, he had a strong need to help John as best he could and he was eager to learn all he could from the session. As he’d said, if John wouldn’t talk to him, he had to talk to someone, that didn’t mean Sherlock couldn’t overhear it… He had a slightly different set of ethics to ‘normal people’.

He felt a little jolt of joy at the therapist’s recognition of their somewhat abnormal (as he had been told) relationship. He really had to build a stronger vault for these ‘feelings’. He actually felt quite touched when the therapist had suggested he be around for the first round of exposure therapy. This needed to stop, he really wished John had addressed the question of what ‘they’ were, but no such luck. Until he knew for certain, Sherlock would not, in fact he could not act.

There was a beep from the baby monitor - the battery was running low. Sherlock hoped John hadn’t heard it, then there was a strange sound over the monitor as if it was being scraped against the furniture. Sherlock had time enough to think “Oh no!” before John shouted “SHERLOCK!” into the transmitter, which travelled directly to the receiver next to his ear, and he couldn’t avoid an “ouch!” from escaping his lips.

This was not okay at all! Sherlock eavesdropped on a therapy session that was supposed to be private ! What if John had let slip how he felt about Sherlock? Their friendship would be ruined.

“Get down here and explain yourself right now or I’ll make you stay with Greg for a week, got it?”

Sherlock meekly descended the stairs… he was a Holmes, how had he become meek ? That was a puzzle for another time, now he had to find a way to explain his motives in a way John would understand. That would be challenging, to say the least.

Once Sherlock was downstairs, Terrence had already left and John stood in the lounge with an angry look on his face. He honestly felt a bit betrayed that Sherlock would do this to him. The reason he got a therapist in the first place was because he didn’t want to tell Sherlock certain things.

“This isn’t okay, Sherlock.” John said in a slightly raised voice. “You were listening in on my therapy session, and you didn’t even ask!”

“I… needed to know how to help you if you had another episode, I thought this was the best way… I take it that it was ‘very not good’ as you’d say…”

Sherlock looked at the floor and tried to peer at John’s face from under his curls, John looked furious. It could have also been slightly due to the deficits.

“Then you ask about the session, not listen in without permission.” John ran his hands through his hair. “It’s like living with another child at times, and in this case the child is a super-genius git who tries to do anything to get his way. Have you ever thought that one of the reasons I needed a therapist to talk to instead of you is because there are certain things I don’t want to tell you!?”

John was practically seething at this point. His heart was racing, his fists clenched and he began to feel a bit faint.

“John. You’re sending yourself into a hypertensive episode, you could have a stroke. Please sit down and take deep breaths.”

“Don’t you bloody tell ME what to do, Sherlock! I’m the bloody doctor here!”

“I grew up with Mycroft, spying is half of my job as a detective. I didn’t think you’d be honest in telling me the details so I did the only sensible thing I could in the situation. Do you think Mycroft hasn’t got this place bugged?”

“I don’t bloody care! The difference between Mycroft and you is while I can’t stop the British government from being snoopy, I can stop you from being immature and intrusive, and you’re my best friend! I would think some privacy with my own goddamn therapist wouldn’t be too much to ask for!”

John then stomped past Sherlock and got his coat on.

“I’ll be back whenever I want, and don’t text me unless it’s an emergency.”

With that, he stomped down the stairs, and slammed the front door. Sherlock sank back into his chair and tried to search through his Mind Palace for a way to apologise. He was used to John storming out after a tiff, this one was worse somehow. He actually felt guilty , how had that happened? He was so sure that listening in was the best option, of course that depended rather strongly on not getting caught. He was not equipped to deal with this.

Mrs. Hudson came upstairs shortly after John left, and saw Sherlock sitting in his chair with a look of guilt on his face.

“Oh dear, did you two have a little domestic?” She asked worriedly.

“I suppose.”

“How about I make you a nice cuppa and some biscuits?” She said as she walked into the kitchen. To her immense surprise, it was clean , having Sherlock care for a child had definitely improved him. “At least I can see the counters now. Nobody should have to walk through a lab of body parts in order to get their tea.”

Sherlock just sighed. He knew she was quite content to chatter to him as if he were listening, sometimes she even supplied the answers.

“Now I know you two will make up. You always do. It doesn’t matter if it’s because of the color of his jumpers, or where someone places a thumb. You two stick together like glue, so I wouldn’t worry.”

“I hope so, Mrs. Hudson. You know how he gets when I’ve disobeyed a ‘social norm’.”

The kettle started boiling and so Mrs. Hudson steeped the tea.

“Well sometimes you deserve it, dear. You never quite understand how people feel no matter how much you ‘observe’.”

She brought out the tea and biscuits and placed them on Sherlock’s side table.

“There, that should hold you over until he gets back.”

“Thank you Mrs. Hudson.”

***

John reappeared 4 hours later, smelling of the pub. Sherlock supposed he had called Geoff and had a few pints. He seemed much calmer, at least he had never been an angry drunk.

“Sherlock? I’m back.”

“I know, you brought the pub-smell back with you.”

Sherlock hadn’t moved from his spot in his chair except to sooth Rosie when it was time for her feeding. Even then his mind was multitasking by thinking about how to make things better.

John could see he looked rather morose.

“Feeling better?”

“A bit.” He took off his coat. “But I’m still mad at you.”

“I thought as much. I’m not sure how to rectify this, John.”

John sighed.

“I don’t think you can this time. You… you honestly crossed the line on this one.”

“I just wanted to help. I apologise John, it wasn’t meant with malice.”

“It doesn’t matter what you meant it as, Sherlock. You basically broke my trust and I was counting on that you weren’t listening because there are things I’d prefer you not to know yet, if ever.”

“Most people would ask ‘like what’ at this point, but you’ve indicated it would be a wasted endeavour. It is what it is, that may just be the best we can do for now.”

“Yeah, it is what it is.”

John yawned and decided to turn in for the night. However tonight he wanted to sleep in his own room.

“I’m going to bed… but in my own room this time. You can keep your bed tonight.”

He was upstairs in bed thirty minutes later. It was a little difficult to go to sleep, except it was probably because he felt hurt about what Sherlock did. Granted, it wasn’t as if he left Rosie alone or anything, but it was a breach of his trust. He knew Sherlock had been sleeping in John’s bed, and like the first night home, he could smell him on the pillow; he just couldn’t get away from the man today. He didn’t want Sherlock to hear anything because he actually wanted to talk about the feelings he had for Sherlock with someone. John felt a bit bad honestly.

Sherlock maintained his position on the chair until after Rosie’s 4 a.m. nappy change, at which point he decided to try to sleep. After his ablutions, he lay on his bed, feeling worse than he had since Mary had taken that bullet for him. Vivian Norburry , he thought, and wished someone had mentioned that name to him before he listened in on John’s session. He had gotten too full of himself, he and John had been so codependent lately, he had actually convinced himself he had the right to know what John said in confidence. He rolled over and smelled John’s scent, now dominating his old pillow. He drank it in once more and made himself stop. He was being ‘not good’ again, this was the sort of thing that would make John uncomfortable. He rolled to the other side, as far as possible, shut his eyes and tried to sleep. His body was tired, but his mind was not. He longed to play his violin but between John and Rosie that was not a good idea… See? He was learning, apparently just not quickly enough.

 

***

Things were tense for the next few days. John and Sherlock barely spoke to each other, meanwhile Sherlock busied himself with cases he could solve over email and taking care of Rosie. John started back at work at the clinic since he was getting over his deficits incredibly quickly, so he would be at work for long periods of time, leaving Sherlock to teach Rosie new words, and to think.

Rosie and Sherlock were in the lounge while Sherlock played his violin. It was an original piece, and Rosie seemed to like it as she was listening intently from John’s chair. Unfortunately, it was a sad piece about his fight with John… Of course Rosie, being the clever one that she was, could tell.

“Why you sad?”

Sherlock looked up from his silent contemplation of the instrument. This child never ceased to amaze him. That was incredibly perceptive for a 4.5 month old child.

“Why do you think I’m sad, Honeybee?”

Rosie put her hands together and looked like she was seriously considering the question, mirroring Sherlock’s thinking pose.

“Sad music.”

“What a clever girl!”

Sherlock walked up to her, picked her up with a twirl and kissed her on the head. Rosie giggled, but went back to looking serious.

“Sherlock, why sad?”

“Daddy and me had a fight, and Daddy’s still mad at Uncle Lock.”

“Not Uncle Lock anymore.”

“Then who am I, Honeybee?”
She wrapped her tiny arms around his neck.

“Papa.”

Sherlock stared at her in shock for a moment, and tears pricked at his eyes. He opened his mouth to respond, but only a choking noise came out. He took a moment to compose himself and hugged her tightly to his heart, kissing her all over.

“Thank you, Rosie, my little Honeybee, that’s a great honour.”

At just that moment, John arrived back from work… John could see Sherlock was was trying not to cry, but he had a smile on his face and was hugging Rosie tightly. He was seriously worried and curious as to what was happening.

“Um… what’s going on?”

Rosie turned around in Sherlock’s arms with a smile.

“Daddy!” Then she looked at Sherlock and looked at John again. “Papa says he’s sorry.”

John froze where he was. Rosie just called Sherlock… Papa . Where did this come from?

“Did you just call him Papa?”

Rosie nodded resolutely.

“You’re Daddy, he’s Papa.”

“I... I didn’t teach her that, she’s your daughter, John.”

Sherlock’s eyes were wet with tears, John could see that as he held Rosie a little less tightly.

“Papa is sorry, so sorry he hurt Daddy.” His voice was slightly wobbly, but he was trying to keep his composure.

John could see the sincerity in Sherlock, and Rosie was looking at him expectantly. He wasn’t exactly mad anymore, but he couldn’t just forgive what Sherlock did at the same time. He decided maybe it had been enough time to accept an apology.

“Ok…”

“Daddy accepts Papa’s apology?”

John chuckled.

“Yes, I accept his apology.”

Sherlock showed more emotion in that moment than John had ever thought him capable of, John was quite moved by this.

“Thank you, John, thank you so much. And thank you Rosie for helping.”

Rosie clapped her hands gleefully.

“Daddy, Papa hug!”

Sherlock looked uncomfortably at John. They had only hugged once, it wasn’t usual for them. He carried Rosie up to John and they made a show of doing an awkward group hug with Rosie in the middle. Neither of them could meet the other’s gaze, but they understood this was important for Rosie.

“Right… um… good. Thank you Rosie, it’s, uh, all better now.” John said.

“Yes, all better Rosie.”

Rosie looked at Sherlock.

“No more sad, Papa.” She said with a pat to Sherlock cheek.

 

***

Mycroft strolled into the room with his umbrella tapping beside him, smiling in a way that visually made Genesis slightly uncomfortable.

“Have you decrypted the device?”

“Almost there.”

Five more clicks and some keyboard taps, and he was in. The list of different recordings were shown on screen which clearly showed that when a noise was present, the device would record it.

“All of the audio recordings.”

“Go to three and a half months ago, give it to me, and remove yourself from the room.”

Genesis did as asked with the recordings, and looked at Mycroft expectantly.

“My sentence?”

Mycroft fought the urge to roll his eyes. It was typical for even the higher class of criminal to be single-minded.

“By removing any evidence that you hacked into MI6, your sentence has been reduced by a year.”

“A YEAR!? ARE YOU SHITTING ME!?”

“The Kremlin doesn’t take kindly to hackers, nor does the Pentagon. This was the most I could negotiate with Interpol.”

Mycroft looked to the guards stood by the door and gestured for them to take Genesis out of the room. As the guards had Genesis, he gave Mycroft a death stare.

“Oh, and Mr. Anderson?” The guards stopped and the hacker looked at him. “Hacking every TV in London with a message to torment my brother… has added five years to your sentence.”

Genesis started yelling and trying to break free.

“YOU SON OF A BITCH!!” He screamed. “I’LL KILL YOU!”

“Take him away.”

Once they were out of the room, Mycroft sat down and started up the recording.

 

“He’s making a face… I think I’ll put a hole through it…”

 

The sound of a gun echoed through the room, and a thud on carpeted floor could be heard.

 

“Damn, I was hoping to get you in between the eyes. Well, the blood loss should kill you instead.”

 

Footsteps.

 

“Sherlock was always my favorite you know. Mycroft was smart and picked up things quickly, but Sherlock was more fun . If only he’d become friends with Victor Trevor instead of you, he’d be easier to manipulate. You’re more quick-witted than the people he usually associates with., that must mean he really likes you. I remember Sherlock only cared about one other being like he did you. Oh my older brother loved Redbeard, but he never played with me, so I hid him. I thought about giving him a clue, but where’s the fun in that? That night I was so happy that Sherlock was laughing, laughing so hard, but I got it wrong… he was screaming.

 

“I ended up making the house go up in flames because I was angry that he couldn’t just come and play with me. Mycroft and Uncle Rudy made sure I stayed away, so they locked me up. Didn’t work out so well. I faked being ‘normal’, made sure to seem like I could fit in with society, and now I’m taking my revenge.

 

“Sherlock will absolutely love this mystery. I’m sorry I had to kill another one of his pets, but would he listen otherwise? I’m sure he doesn’t even remember me, just the dog. Typical. He always loved that dog more than me or anyone else. That filthy bag of bones is rotting away in a well on our old family property.”

 

There was a sigh.

 

“Goodbye, Doctor Watson. I hope that you’re happy with your dead wife.”

 

There were more footsteps, and the front door opened and closed. That was where the recording ended.

Chapter Text

Sherlock answered the doorbell to Mycroft in his three piece suit and usual umbrella.

“You know I’d rather receive a text, brother, than you without warning.”

Mycroft rolled his eyes and gave a small sigh.

“Is it not possible for me to visit my little brother without snide remarks?”

“I highly doubt it. You may as well come upstairs.”

“Such a gracious host you are. Mummy would be appalled.”

They arrive upstairs where John was in the lounge with Rosie playing with the bumblebee, zooming it above her head and having it boop her on the nose which in turn made her laugh. John looked up and saw Mycroft, haughty air and all.

“Mycroft.” He greeted.

Rosie looked up too and waved at Mycroft with her dummy in her mouth.

“I’m surprised she remembers you at all, she hasn’t seen you since John came home from the hospital.” Sherlock observed.

“Is it really that surprising with how fast she’s learning?” John said.

“If she remembers him, I clearly need to teach her to delete things before that hard drive fills up with rubbish.”

“If I don’t visit, I’m terrible. If I do visit, her mind is filled with ‘rubbish’... You are not leaving me any options, Sherlock.” Mycroft jeered.

“That’s the way I most prefer you.”

“No fighting in front of the baby please.” John interjected.

Rosie took the dummy out of her mouth.

“No fight, Papa.”

“Okay Honeybee, Papa won’t fight with Uncle Myc anymore.”

Mycroft eyed his brother in snark.

“It seems you’ve skipped the whole marriage part of this family business, brother mine.”

Sherlock blushed and said to Rosie.

“Call him Uncle MIKE, he hates that.”

Rosie giggled and put the dummy back in her mouth.

“No cookies for you later, Rosamund.” Sherlock teased.

Mycroft cleared his throat and tilted his head toward the kitchen.

“Sherlock, John, tea?”

Sherlock and Mycroft moved into the kitchen, it was clear Mycroft hadn’t merely appeared for a visit. Once they were in the kitchen, Sherlock could see the pleasantry mask slip away. There was obviously something important happening for The British Government.

“Have we kept you from something important with our little family, brother dear?”

“This is rather urgent, Sherlock, I have evidence about the rogue agent who shot Doctor Watson.”

Sherlock leaned forward, interested and also not wanting John or Rosie in the next room to hear this.

“There was a recording device left in the house where he was attacked, and the agent was unable to retrieve it before the police arrived. I acquired a hacker to decode the audio, and we were able to track down via voice recognition who this agent is.”

Mycroft pulled a file out of his suit jacket.

“No one knows where her current whereabouts are, and she has not been a part of MI6 for quite some time.” Mycroft explained. “She was one of the agents sent to assist in watching Eurus while she was institutionalized. It was meant as an assignment to help her start in MI6, but not long after Eurus was released, she disappeared.”

“So she’s had MI6 training and some field experience and clearly is capable of living off the grid so to speak. How do you propose I find this person?”

“As always, I leave the legwork to you, brother. You are the great consulting detective after all, find a way.”

“The only consulting detective, Mycroft.”

“Of course.”

A squeal interrupted their conversation and upon further inspection, John was gently bouncing Rosie up and down on his knee to the tempo of a song. Specifically Rossini’s William Tell Overture: Final. John wasn’t bouncing his knee too much as to not hurt Rosie’s neck, but she was still laughing and squealing with joy.

“I believe this is my cue to leave.”

John looked up in confusion but didn’t stop bouncing.

“You didn’t even have the tea you said you wanted.”

He stopped in realization of what was going on.

“It’s about me isn’t it?”

Sherlock looked pointedly at John.

“Not at all, John, we just decided not to have tea. Say goodbye to Uncle Myc, Rosie.”

Rosie took out her dummy and waved a little ‘bye-bye’ with the other hand.

“Goodbye Rosamund, John. Sherlock - I trust you’ll see me out.”
“Bye Mycroft.”

Sherlock walks his brother downstairs and out to his waiting town car. He decides to fill John in as soon as Rosie has a nap.

 

                        ***

A few days later, John went to the clinic at his usual time. Everything seemed normal, but something was waiting for him at the reception desk.

“Doctor Watson.” The nurse said. “There’s a package for you.”

She handed him a small white paper package, which he looked over a bit, and said thank you to the nurse before going into is office. He sat his bag on the desk before he opened it. It was a disk that said ‘Miss You’. It could be one of two people, but he figured he needed to find out now. Thankfully his computer in the office was a PC, so he could watch it easily. The person who came on screen immediately made his heart shatter:

Mary

“I know, you thought I only had one last message before,” She said. “But if I've passed on, I have one more task for you and for Sherlock:

“Get off your arses and tell each other how you feel.

“I remember what you told me, John. I remember that night you broke down in my arms after our first date. You said you felt like you were betraying Sherlock because you wanted to pursue a relationship with me, and because I was there for you after the fall. But I told you,

‘You aren't betraying him. He'd want you to be happy with whoever you decided even if it's not me.’

“And knowing you now, you’ll feel like you'll betray me by being with Sherlock. Funny bit of irony isn't it?”

She smiled fondly.

“John, listen: you are not betraying me by being in love with Sherlock, you are denying yourself the perfect man for you, and before you say your classic ‘I’m not gay’, your love for Sherlock doesn't mean you are gay. I wouldn't have married you if you were. I love you John Watson, so does he, and we both want you to be happy. So please, tell him the truth, and accept it yourself.

“You're in love with Sherlock Holmes, and always have been.

“But I know for a fact you don't regret Rosie. If there was one reason you wouldn’t do it all over again with me it's Rosie. Don't focus your sole energy on Sherlock since he does feel the same.”

John almost said something in response, but she put her hand up to stop him.

“My video for Sherlock is telling him you are in love with him and that he shouldn't get cold feet about telling you how he feels. I'm telling you the same thing Captain John Watson . Use that bravery and compassion that helped you save your fellow soldiers in the war to tell him those three simple words:

“I love you.”

“I know you will have watched the original video I made for Sherlock to have him save you by now, knowing your need to snoop around, so when I said ‘The man we both love’ it was me affirming that I knew about his feelings towards you.

“This doesn't mean anything changes in your little business, it just adds something behind the scenes. The danger you love will always be there, the thrill of the chase, all of it. The only thing that will be different is that you two know you love each other.”

She took a deep breath as if not to cry.

“I love you and Rosie so much, John. Don't forget that. Goodbye.”

Then it stopped. John didn’t know what to think or what to do. His dead wife just sent him a message telling him to confess to the man he still loves and would die for. It was true, he didn’t date because he still loved Mary, but it was hard to even fathom everything she had just said. She could be wrong about how Sherlock felt, except she was a great judge of character. It was scary at times actually.

He rested his head in his hands and the tears silently fell. He had so much to lose if things went horribly wrong, but at the same time he knew he needed to finally confess what he felt for Sherlock. It was by far one of the hardest things he had ever had to do.

 

***

John had gone to work. Without Rosie, Sherlock would be bored , but this particular child could keep him entertained endlessly. They were busy putting alphabet cut-outs into the correct places on the foam mat when Mrs. Hudson came upstairs.

“Yoohoo!” She greeted. “Sherlock dear, I’ve got a package for you.”

“Where does the ‘S’ go, Rosie? Oh Mrs Hudson, thank you, you can leave it on the coffee table.”

“I think this may be important, dear, come over and look what it says.”

Sherlock got up, making certain Rosie was propped up and could be left alone for a few minutes. He made his way over the toys to the coffee table where Mrs. Hudson held out a white envelope.

“See, it’s just like that other one.”

Sherlock held the white envelope with the clear panel showing a solid white DVD with “Miss Me?” written on it. His hands shook as he put the DVD into John’s old laptop on the coffee table, which still had a tray for discs. He was standing opposite the couch when Mary’s face came onto the screen.

“Hello Sherlock. I know that you thought my last message was going to be the final one, but if you're watching this, I’m dead, and have been for a few months. I timed these messages out so I could help you and John out with one more case.

“If you don't know by now, this'll be the first you hear about it: John is in love with you, and I know you love him too.

“If he hasn't moved into Baker Street with Rosie already, he's too afraid to ask. If he has moved in, you're on the right track. See, when John was mourning your fake suicide, he told me that he loved you so much, and he was going to tell you but then you jumped. He almost felt like he was betraying you by starting to date me.”

Sherlock tried to go into his Mind Palace

“Don't go into your Mind Palace to see if John showed any signs, he was denying it for years before he came to terms with it.

“I know he loves us both dearly, but he doesn't want to leave me just because you came back. He isn't even sure you'll love him back like he loves you. If I'm gone, I want him to have the happiness he denied himself for years with you.

“I'm telling you, Sherlock Holmes, to get off your arse and tell him how you feel. Before you think I'm just making it up or saying that you aren't really into romanticism, I know three things for sure:

  1. You're gay or demisexual, it doesn't matter.
  2. You were so torn up about me and John getting married that you just wanted it over and done with so you could wallow in peace.
  3. You love him enough that you'd die for him, like you did before (well, almost did before).

“So don't waste any time, Sherlock. I am sending John a message too telling him the same truths and to get the hell on with it.

“I know you two can be more than just an amazing duo, it also meant being a family. You two will be the best role models for Rosie if I'm gone, and she needs the stability that both of you can provide. There's no doubt she’ll be an amazing woman one day, but she needs parents to lead her down that path. You and John will be her guides, so even if you two don't last long, at least live together for Rosie.”

She smiled for a moment.

“Good luck Sherlock. Don't get cold feet about this.”

Sherlock sat down on the floor in front of the laptop, he was stunned into silence. He then realised Mrs Hudson had just witnessed the whole thing. He wondered briefly if she had something to do with the videos, it just seemed too convenient for her to always ‘find’ them.

“Mrs Hudson, I’d like to be left alone, please.”

Sherlock thought he must be shell-shocked for that to have come out so politely.

“Of course dear.”

Sherlock merely glared at her until she left, in a bit of a huff. His own thoughts were far more jumbled than he could immediately deal with, he felt overwhelmed. He took several long breaths, as he had been taught, to stave off a panic attack, got up from the floor, checked that Rosie was still playing on the mat. She had actually spelled out a word: Red. She looked up at Sherlock for approval.

“Wow, Rosie, that’s fantastic. Do you know that says RED?”

“Obviously.”

“Rosie, can you be a good girl for Papa for a few minutes? Just stay where you are and keep playing. Can you do that?”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks Honeybee.”

Sherlock took the laptop and some earphones and sat in his chair. He played the video twice more, until it was burned into his memory. He glanced over and saw Rosie spelling BLU, he’d have to explain about the E later. There was just too much information vying for space in his working memory. The violin - that would help, and it would keep Rosie entertained as well. Then maybe, Sherlock could remember how to breathe normally again.

He moved closer to Rosie and took his violin out of the case, in his agitation he played Mozart’s Flight of the Bumblebee, it was a technically difficult piece that always helped to calm his racing mind. Rosie clapped her hands when he finished. Afterwards he picked her up and soothed her, trying to get her to sleep.

“Papa, play Moana.” Rosie requested.

Sherlock obliged with his rendition of ‘How Far I’ll Go’, and Rosie’s eyes began to grow heavy-lidded. This was the perfect time for her nap. He put the violin down, picked the baby up again and laid her down to rest in the crib in his room. He took the baby monitor’s receiver with him as he retreated to the lounge.

Half an hour later, Sherlock was still pacing restlessly up and down in the lounge, he was sure he’d been talking to himself, but he wasn’t listening to what he had been saying. JOHN! John might love Sherlock in the same way he felt for him in the deep recesses of his locked box in a locked room, that was being renovated into a locked vault… No, it was impossible. Could Mary be correct?

There were far too many speculations and no concrete answers to be had. The wait for John to get home would be interminable.

 

***

When John got home, everything felt awkward. John didn’t know how to approach Sherlock after the message he got, and he didn’t know what Sherlock would do in turn if he indeed got a video as well. He stopped in the doorway to the flat and just look at Sherlock for a moment. He looked haggard.

Sherlock had been unable to stop thinking about the video, Rosie had chosen today to be in an especially exuberant mood, she had been starting to crawl in the past week and today, she mastered it. He had been trying to keep her in the lounge like some deranged game of bumper cars. All while his mind wouldn’t rest.

John could see how tired Sherlock was. He couldn’t blame him because of Rosie, but was it also because of a possible video? He didn’t know, and that was what scared him. Sherlock hadn’t even noticed him yet, which meant he was extremely deep in thought. That was either a good or bad sign. John decided to get his attention and cleared his throat.

Sherlock looked up, startled, the moment he’d been waiting for since the video had arrived, had passed him by, damn, he’d needed to see John’s first expression as he walked through the door. It would have told him volumes , but he had missed it. He merely looked at John, who by now had schooled his features into something neutral and said

“Rosie has mastered crawling.” Sherlock sighed

“I’ve been fearing this day…” He said with a forced smile.

“Be thankful you’ve been at work. She has bested me.”

“The great Sherlock Holmes bested by a five month old?”

“Indeed, is that Thai food? I think I might actually be starving.”

John held up the bag the tied plastic bag.

“Yeah, figured we could use some takeaway.”

John went to the kitchen and sat the food on the table, where the baby monitor was. Over it, he could just hear the snuffles of a little girl.

“Is she upstairs or in your room?”

“My room. I wasn’t letting her near the stairs if she learns to climb them - we might never know peace again.”

Sherlock slung his legs over the armrest of his chair, twisting until he was draped over both sides like a cat.

John’s eyes wandered down the lithe body in the lounge, but he quickly averted his eyes and went to Sherlock’s room, to find Rosie standing in the crib and holding herself up on the side of the crib. She held her hand out to him.

“Daddy!”

“Hello Rosebud!”

He picked her up and placed a noisy kiss on her cheek.

“Were you good for Papa?”

“Papa’s acting weird.”

John gave her a confused look.

“Weird? Weird how?”

“Quiet, and, uh thinking lots.”

Maybe that was a little indication that Sherlock was feeling similar to John, but he wasn’t going to jump to conclusions. Mary had said that Sherlock would be receiving a similar video so it was probably about that.

“I’ll handle that, don’t worry.”

John took Rosie out to the kitchen where he fixed her a bottle, and Sherlock had already set up their dinner. Thankfully, the deficits weren’t as bad as they were before, so he was able to handle everything easily and had Rosie up in her highchair with a bottle in no time.

Sherlock had spotted John’s eyes on him as he stretched on his chair earlier and now John seemed to be using Rosie as a human shield, appearing to pay no attention to Sherlock… that was interesting . John then sat down with a plate and put his food on it. He reached for a spoon and fork but Sherlock stopped him.

“Chopsticks, John.”

“Is this still part of that physiotherapy boll - stuff?”

“Of course, it’s part of her ‘continued rehabilitation program,’ you need to use them as often as possible.”

John gritted his teeth and looked like he’d quite like to say a few swear words, but was hindered only by the baby. Sherlock wasn’t sure what to make of this, did people who were in love with you still look at you like they were considering strangling you? Was that yet another facet of relationships he had no clue about? He was tying himself into knots over this, and the result was making him sound irritated and sarcastic. This certainly wasn’t how he envisioned sentimental relationships, John may as well be his brother right now - and that was a train of thought that should never have left the station.

“Fine, I’ll use the bleeding chopsticks.”

Sherlock lazily dished up his own food, he decided to use chopsticks as well, to appease John. He made quick work of eating though - he really had felt starved.

John knew by the way Sherlock was eating that he didn’t eat because of whatever was going on with him. He still didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but it was getting extremely awkward between them. Meanwhile Rosie had set down her bottle and was looking at the two men with the same look Mary would give them if they were being incredibly thick.

“Daddy, Papa, be nice!”

“What do you mean Honeybee?”

She gestured to both of them.

“Acting weird.”

“Papa’s just tired from running after you all day.” John said.

Rosie shook her head.

“You acting weird too. Both acting weird!”

“I’m sure Daddy’s just tired from work. See, nothing weird.” Sherlock assured.

Rosie rolled her eyes. She obviously didn’t believe them.

“Not tired. You act different tired. Talk! Talk to Daddy!”

“Rosamund the only thing weird here is that you aren’t in the bath yet.” Sherlock countered. “Come, I’ll help you.”

Rosie was looking properly angry now, and flapped her arms around.

“No! You acting weird!”

It occurred to John that Rosie might have only been saying ‘weird’ because she didn’t know another word for it yet. No doubt if she did, there would be more than ‘acting weird’ in her sentences. But obviously it was that she knew something was wrong, and that she wanted him and Sherlock to talk about it. Good, he wasn’t the only one thinking Sherlock was acting off.

“John, please, talk some sense into your daughter.”

He knew he sounded like a total arse, but the child would not let it go, she was far too perceptive for anyone’s good right now and stubborn just like John.

“No. Talk to Daddy, Papa. Talk! Stop being weird!”

As if to make a point, she angrily picked up her bottle once more and continued to drink from it, all the while giving John and Sherlock a side-eye to say ‘I’m watching you, you’d better talk’.

Rosie must have got her intuition from Mary because John was not that good at reading people. She wasn’t even five months old, how could she do that!? Instead of talking, he just silently ate his food and looked down at the table.

“Fine. John, lovely to see you, how was your day?

John caught on quickly and began to chat cheerfully.

“My day was full of sinusitis and bronchitis patients, and everyone with any kind of sniffle. Did you have a nice day at home?” He said with a forced smile.

“Yes! Rosie kept me busy all day, this morning she spelled RED with the foam letters.”

Rosie groaned and laid her head on the table with a muttered ‘weird’.

“It really is time for a bath though.” John said.

John figured he should give Rosie her bath since he was at work, so he cleaned up his plate and got Rosie out of her high chair.

“Can you handle the rest?”

“Certainly. Goodnight John, Rosie.”

“Night night Papa.”

When John turned to the bathroom, Rosie could see over his shoulder, so she gave Sherlock a pointed look of ‘stop acting weird’ before they disappeared into the bathroom.

Sherlock sighed, that had gone about as well as any trainwreck could be expected to. He resolved that if he and John did decide to talk, it would not be in the presence of the world’s most stubborn child. His head was actually swimming with exhaustion as he rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. He even managed to wipe the table and Rosie’s highchair with disinfectant before collapsing on the couch. He longed for a shower, but the main en-suite was occupied and he had endured quite enough pointed looks from a 5 month old for one day.

Even the child could sense the tension in the air - Mary had definitely sent John a video too, and he had watched it, and it must have run along a very similar theme to his video. She had been correct on every point in her video to him, surely she could only have been more accurate with John’s. He wondered briefly what John was feeling and whether this day had been so overwhelming for him as well. Surely seeing his departed wife had been enough of a shock, let alone the things she had probably said. Sherlock flung his arm over his eyes to block out the dim light and fell into a shallow sleep, full of strange dreams of Rosie yelling ‘weird!’ at everyone and he and John both being struck dumb.

Meanwhile in the bathroom Rosie was having just a blast with her bubbles. She was splashing and laughing at the little washcloth puppet John was using. He was glad she at least wasn’t going on about them being weird while having a bath, that would have crossed the line. John couldn’t help but think that maybe Rosie was right, maybe they just needed to talk it out. If only adult problems were that simple. The difference was a whole household was hanging in the balance if everything Mary said turned out to be wrong. Sherlock could have been acting weird because Mary thought the wrong thing and it made him uncomfortable that she assumed what she did? Or maybe she was right and he didn’t know how to approach the subject. There were too many possibilities and he was a bit afraid to choose which one it was in case he was wrong.

Rosie seemed to notice the tension in him, as she placed a foamy hand on John’s cheek and patted it a bit.

“No mad at Papa again.”

“I’m not mad, Rosie. Everything’s fine.”

“Then why acting weird?”

John inwardly groaned at the word again. He was sure he wouldn’t be able to hear that word again without thinking of this day. He sighed.

“Something happened today, and I don’t know what to do about it. I think Papa had something happen too, but we… I guess we don’t know how to talk about it.”

Rosie looked confused.

“Papa doesn’t know what to say?”

That made John laugh. She was right, Sherlock lived to explain and talk, yet he didn’t know how to approach this. Once he stopped laughing, he pressed a kiss on Rosie’s wet head.

“I don’t think he does.”

Rosie looked absolutely astonished at that fact. She obviously already knew Sherlock talked all the time, so this was a phenomenon for her.

John decided to continue playing with the toys and washing her off, so that he would stop thinking about the epiphany his almost five month old had given him. She was clean and the bathtub drained, he toweled her off and put her in a new diaper. By then she was starting to doze off a bit, but asked for her bee. When he went out to the lounge to look for it, he saw Sherlock softly snoring on the couch. Rosie must have really done him in if he was already asleep. The bee was right by the coffee table, so John picked up the bee, then put the throw blanket over Sherlock before he went to Sherlock’s room to sleep. He placed Rosie in her cot, and she was out like a light.

John decided to just do pants and his undershirt because he was too tired to go back upstairs. Once he was under the covers, he was a bit restless. Thoughts of what had happened that day kept coming back to him and he was replaying Mary’s message in his head. What if she was wrong? What would happen to their friendship? He fell asleep with that fear in his mind.

 

***

A few hours later, Sherlock woke to find himself on the couch, covered in the throw, which he had not placed there himself. That was another bit of information he needed to consider, John must have covered him. He was yawning too much to think about that right now, he stumbled down the passage, feeling like he was back on drugs, the floor seemed so far away, he yawned again and stumbled into his bedroom. He’d become accustomed to sleeping on the left-hand side so he couldn’t smell John on the pillow. He dropped his robe, glad that he was already in his blue silk pajamas and almost fell into the bed. He just managed to wriggle under the covers before drifting off into a deep sleep.

 

***

John woke up the next morning to his alarm, but something felt off. The bed was dipping on his left side, and it felt warmer under the covers. After he shut off his alarm, his confusion was cleared when he looked over to the source of warmth, only to see Sherlock Holmes sleeping soundly in the bed next to him. He almost yelped in surprise but stopped himself so he wouldn’t wake Sherlock or Rosie. What the hell was Sherlock doing in the same bed as him? He clearly had to have known John was sleeping in here, so what was he doing fast asleep? Thank god he didn’t awake to any other alarm except Rosie, or they’d be having an extremely awkward moment first thing in the morning.

Thankfully, Sherlock didn’t wake up at all during his morning routine, nor did Rosie. It seemed both of them were out cold, and John made sure not to wake them when he left the flat. However, he didn’t want to seem like a complete dickhead so he left a note for Sherlock.

 

***

Rosie woke Sherlock 10 minutes after John left the flat. He squinted up at her and saw that the other pillow had been slept on. One of John’s hairs was stuck almost straight up in the air though the rest of the covers had been pulled closed, in John’s military style. Sherlock closed his eyes for a moment and opened them again, the hair was still there, as was the increasingly fussy baby. How in the hell had he ended up here? He remembered being on the couch, John had even thrown the blanket over him. He didn’t remember moving to the bed. That disturbed him immensely, this John-situation was clearly messing with his otherwise well-ordered mind.

He gave in to Rosie’s increased moans and stretched as he got out of bed. He changed her nappy before returning to the room to find a new outfit for her. She’d outgrown so many of her clothes already and it was a chilly day so he found a new bee themed hoodie for her to wear on top of her yellow onesie. She looked adorable.

On the side table, he found a note from John that read,

‘Don’t know how you ended up in the bed since you were on the couch first. Didn’t want to wake you. - John’

After reading it the true horror dawned on him... he had slept in the same bed as John, without knowing it and John had awoken to him in the bed next to him. He’d known , how must that have looked? Oh no, this was unacceptable. He was used to absolute control over his transport and now… now IT had transported him to sleep next to John. Nothing good could come of this. He actually groaned out loud at the thought.

“Bottle.” Rosie said.

Sherlock clearly had too many Watsons to worry about in his life right now.

“Yes Honeybee, let’s get you a bottle. And maybe Papa can manage some tea.”

Sherlock sincerely hoped the little Watson hadn’t seen him in bed with John. Going by her persistence last night, she’d never let that one go. He took her to the kitchen, fixed a bottle and soon her little mouth was occupied. He boiled the kettle and steeped his tea. He did not feel up to the task of handling the child all day. He would have to get back into Mrs. Hudson’s good graces. Thinking quickly, he brewed a second cup of tea and delivered it to Mrs Hudson while Rosie was still occupied with her bottle.

When Mrs. Hudson opened the door, Sherlock put on his best smile.

“Good morning Mrs Hudson. I brought you a cup of tea.”

Mrs. Hudson looked at Sherlock with a slightly confused and concerned look. She barely restrained herself from taking his temperature.

“Are you alright, dear?”

“Of course I’m alright. Why wouldn’t I be alright?”

“You never usually bring me tea.”

“It’s an apology for being rude to you yesterday… with the video.”

“You didn’t need to. I understand that you were really confused and had a bit of a fright in the moment, so it’s fine.”

“I was wondering if you could take Rosie for the day.” He realised that this had unconsciously been his goal when he dressed Rosie in that adorable hoodie. “As you can imagine, I have some things to sort out and Rosie’s far too perceptive for anyone’s good in this situation. John and I haven’t spoken, dinner was a nightmare, and Rosie keeps telling us to talk to each other. She’s a force of nature at times, just like her mother.”

“Well I would think so.” Mrs. Hudson declared. “She’s a handful, especially since she’s ahead of other children her age. If I had a child like her, I’d be driven absolutely mad and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. My friend Julia had twins when she first got pregnant. She said she wouldn’t have been able to raise them at all without her husband Bill. But at least it’s you and John looking after Rosie, and not just one of you alone.”

Sherlock had blocked out most of her rambling but he managed to catch the last line and make a decent response.

“I shudder at the very thought Mrs Hudson. Are you able to take her for the day? I must warn you, she’s crawling now. It’s probably best to keep her talking about anything other than me and John.”

“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind. Now you go get the little angel, and go rest. It looks like you need the day off.”

“Mrs Hudson, you are a blessing I don’t deserve.”

Sherlock hurried upstairs to bring Rosie and her baby bag down with her little bee.

“Hello my little angel.”

Mrs. Hudson took Rosie out of Sherlock’s hands but Rosie didn’t seem too happy to be handed off. In fact, she looked like she just wanted to be with Sherlock all day and was close to tears.

“Rosie, it’s ok. Papa needs some extra rest because I was so tired last night. You’re going to have a lovely day with Mrs. Hudson. Remember your Papa loves you very much.”

Sherlock kissed both of her cheeks and she seemed to give a weak smile in return.

“Love you Papa.”

“Love you too, Honeybee.”

Sherlock went back upstairs glad to finally have some time alone with the myriad thoughts swirling endlessly through his brain. They needed some categorization, some organisation before they could truly be sorted out. Thinking of order and the importance of a clean mind, he took the shower he’d wanted to last night and changed into new pajamas and his blue silk robe. He was stressed and anxious with the thought of facing another night like the last one, that infernally perceptive child. He couldn’t do it, maybe he’d just throw a strop and spend a few hours walking the streets, it had been awhile since he’d done that.

He was craving cigarettes but he knew actually smoking would be out of the question. Rosie couldn’t be exposed to that, but perhaps… he could sneak a nicotine patch or two. This was quite possibly a three patch problem, but he didn’t want that to be evident to John… maybe just the one. He realised that he’d been pacing again so he walked toward the bathroom cabinet where all things of danger to a child were now kept. He applied the patch to his shoulder, it shouldn’t have been visible to John that way.

First, he consulted his Mind Palace. There may have been signs, he had searched briefly the day before, but if they were there, they were too subtle for him to have noticed… he used to be even more socially inept than he was now. Perhaps that very first dinner at Angelo’s when he thought that John could be flirting and he gave his standard ‘married to my work’ line, had nipped the whole idea in the bud from the start. Had there been other instances?

The Woman spoke of them as if they were a couple, “Someone loves you. If I had to punch that face, I’d avoid your nose and teeth too”, Mycroft and his snickering, even Moriarty and his talk about having his own live-in pet. Then there was the strange reaction of the Yarders when John kept coming along on cases, every time he’d praised Sherlock on a deduction there had been knowing looks passed around. Mrs Hudson said she saw it immediately… “there’s a second bedroom upstairs, if you’ll be needing two.” How had HE not noticed? For him ‘the feelings’ had begun just after John saved his life by shooting the cabbie and declared him an ‘idiot’. How had JOHN not noticed Sherlock’s interest, had he actually hid it as well as he thought he had? Or had John “NOT GAY” Watson just never wanted to see it? Maybe there was a precedent to what Mary had said, especially with ‘the fall’, that speech John had made to his empty grave seemed full of an undeniable emotion, perhaps more than that of a ‘friend’.

The second huge problem was that Mary had in no way left them a way to actually communicate with each other about this possibility. They had utterly failed to be anything but extraordinarily awkward about it so far, enough that Rosamund had nearly thrown a tantrum about it. Clearly they either needed to completely avoid each other, which would probably send the child into another fit of pique (that had paid to him walking the streets for hours to avoid John) or they actually needed to have some form of discussion, sooner rather than later. He’d rather indefinitely ignore the issue in lieu of some devastating fight than confront it head-on, but the child would not allow that. She now considered them both her fathers and would not let the issue be.  

Thinking of issues, what if Mary really had been wrong, and the instances he had thought about from his Mind Palace were tainted by his own sentiment, what then? What if they talked only to realise that John “If anyone still cares, we’re not actually a couple” Watson took the topic badly, especially so soon after Mary. Mary had been right, he was in love with John, just unable to admit it in those words. He had felt like he lost John to Mary, though Sherlock loved and respected her in his own way… he let the details of the wedding-planning consume him so he didn’t have to feel the impending loss and the fear that John would never be ‘his’ again. He had almost told John his feelings under the influence of so much alcohol on the stag night, thankful later for the intervention of the case, however badly that had gone.

The wedding day had felt like going into battle. He had gotten it over with barring the necessity of his over-long best man speech and the prevention of Sholto’s murder, and left the reception as soon as he could. Mycroft had even foreseen it as a danger night, which it had been.

The Magnussen case and Janine had been a handy excuse to avoid John’s married life and fall off the wagon. On the runway, he’d desperately wanted to say something, but all that he could come up with was “Sherlock is actually a girl’s name”. How pathetic! Then his mind had conjured up Moriarty saying “Ugh why don’t you two just elope for God’s sake!” how obvious. He knew that after convincing John to go back to Mary after the shooting for the sake of the unborn child and his shooting Magnussen to guarantee her safety, he could not jeopardise their union again. He learned to accept it as best he could.

Until Mary gave her life for his, which he had not known how to deal with. He had hoped to comfort his friend during that time of grief but he was denied, not even allowed access to Rosamund. In actuality confronting this particular elephant in the room, they could end up back in that same situation; breaking up their “little family” as Mycroft had put it. He could lose John forever, as he’d always feared (thus the lock-box, which had to keep being reinforced).

One thing Sherlock knew would send him into another unending grief spiral was losing John and the child they were raising together. For all the irritation she had caused him last night, he loved his little Honeybee, and another incident of John refusing him all contact with her would devastate him. That just reinforced his inclination to leave things as they were. Mary had told him to ‘get off his arse’ and not to have ‘cold feet’ about it, but how could he risk destroying the best thing that had ever happened to him?

A sound was creeping slowly into his meditative state in which he conducted his deepest thoughts, a high piercing wail… he ascended through the layers of his consciousness until he was once again in ‘the real world’. Rosie was howling, through her screeching he heard,

“I want Papa, NOW!”

A quick look at the clock told him that he had been pondering this conundrum for roughly six hours, with no solid resolution! This amount of time had clearly exceeded Rosie’s capacity for patience. She had become so accustomed to her time with ‘Papa’ (his heart still melted at that moniker) that she refused to be separated from him for long periods of time, unless she was with John instead. He would have to retrieve her from Mrs Hudson, who was not making the slightest dent in calming Rosie’s fury.

With slight irritation about his predicament, Sherlock made his way down the stairs to Mrs. Hudson’s flat where the screaming was occurring. He could hear the faint calm murmurings of Mrs. Hudson, but they were not working. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door, and immediately the crying was a bit quieter. When the door opened, a squirming Rosie was in Mrs. Hudson’s arms with tears down her cheeks.

“Papa!” She yelled with grabby hands.

“Hello Honeybee,” Sherlock said reaching for her, “I see you’ve been giving Mrs Hudson considerable trouble.” He looked stern and said. “That’s not what we agreed, Rosamund. You said you would be good for her.”

Rosie sniffled with wet eyes and just buried her face in Sherlock’s shirt.

“But wanted Papa.” She whimpered.

“That’s no excuse, Rosie. Now apologize to Mrs Hudson for your unacceptable behaviour. Go on, we’re waiting.”

Rosie didn’t look like she wanted to, but she turned to Mrs. Hudson anyway, and said a tiny,

“Sorry.”

“We will work on that,” Sherlock said to Mrs Hudson with an apologetic smile. “Thank you for taking her. I would have relieved you sooner, but I was in deep thought and lost track of the time.”

Mrs. Hudson gave him a gentle smile.

“It’s what you do, dear.” Then she gave Rosie a look of motherly disapproval. “But make sure she learns how to behave herself. I don’t want to go through that again.”

“Thank you Mrs Hudson, I think we neglected the discipline side because she’s actually so much younger than she acts. That will be rectified soon.” Sherlock said looking down at Rosie with a very serious expression that reminded him uncomfortably of Mycroft.

Rosie simply hid her face in Sherlock’s shirt once more as if to hide in shame.

Sherlock took a suitably abashed Rosie upstairs and told her that her behavior would be discussed when John got home. Then he put on a movie for her to watch and pretended to look at the screen with her for the duration. After that, he put her down for a nap and texted,

 

To John: [Rosie needs more discipline, prepare yourself to talk to her about it when you get home - SH.]

 

John had just finished with lunch when he got the text from Sherlock. He despaired to know what his little demon of a child had done to warrant the text or need for discipline, but he decided to put it out of his mind until he got home. He quickly texted back a response.

 

To Sherlock: [I don’t really know what to expect that she did, so the fact that you’re telling me this is concerning - JW]

 

All day since he got to work, his mind had been in a different place, and that place was worrying what to do about the whole Sherlock situation. He didn’t know what he should do with Mary’s message, or if he could risk anything else in his life. He was just happy to be alive and living at 221B with his daughter and best friend. He was happy to be back at work (no matter how dull it got) and to see Sherlock and Rosie connecting. If he was honest, he was happy to see Sherlock not get back into his old habits.

John had a really bad feeling in his gut when he imagined telling Sherlock how he felt. It was as if his body was telling him to not say a word, meanwhile everyone else had seen it for years. That had to be the greatest indicator of all shouldn’t it? Everyone said Sherlock actually became a better person since the two started living together over five years ago. It wasn’t as if it was intentional, and it wasn’t one-sided either.

After his return from Afghanistan, John was practically a shell of his former self. He didn’t know if he would stick around much longer actually. Every morning when he looked at the gun in his drawer, he’d wonder if today was the day he’d use it. Thankfully, that fateful day when he ran into Mike Stamford had inexplicably brought him back to life and changed everything. He never thought that when he joined the army that he’d end up solving cases with a rather brilliant super-genius… and that he would fall in love with him.

But Mary was right, he wouldn’t do it over again with Sherlock. It just seemed after the two years that his detective had disappeared, things were just turning out for the better. He loved Mary deeply, and because of her, he had Rosie in his life. He was a bit torn up at the wedding, but he was sure he was making the right decision. He couldn’t just leave Mary because Sherlock showed back up, but he also knew Sherlock would have a place in his heart forever. When everything was explained to him about why she shot Sherlock, it took time, but he forgave her. It was a hard task for him, and he still didn’t regret it.

When Mary died, he started to feel that numb feeling again. He felt like he was just existing in the world, and all his anger was directed at Sherlock because he didn’t know where else to place it. His mind just went to Sherlock because that’s where it always ended up, didn’t it? The man drove him out of his mind, yet saved his life so many times. John knew he shouldn’t have cut him out for those few weeks, Sherlock was mourning Mary as well, but he just couldn’t face it. He just couldn’t mourn his wife with the only man he ever loved. It just seemed backwards.

If it wasn’t for Mrs. Hudson pointing out that Sherlock had a video of Mary, not only would Sherlock have died at the hands of a psychopath, but he wouldn’t have forgiven him ever. The fact that Mary knew they needed each other was more than he could ever ask for. All of John’s exes just thought they were competing with Sherlock, but Mary knew there wasn’t one without the other.

This, however, wasn’t as easy as all that. This wasn’t just Sherlock trying to regain trust or John needing to come back to himself, this was something he had forbade himself from having. He didn’t want to risk everything he had because of something he had locked away for so many years. One wrong move could end everything he and Sherlock had built together, and he didn’t want that ever again.

These thoughts went through his mind all day in between patients: how he used to be, how Sherlock changed him, what Sherlock meant to him, and how to proceed.

 

***

Sherlock saw one silver lining to the day: Rosie’s bad behaviour had bought him another evening to sort out how to talk to John. They could send her to bed early, eat a quick dinner and Sherlock could escape to his lab in the basement for ‘an experiment’. Rosie had been subdued for the rest of the afternoon, the promise and the waiting for punishment was always worse than just getting it over with as Sherlock knew from his school days.

John arrived home not too much later. He was tired both physically and emotionally. One of his checkups even turned into an emergency delivery because a woman didn’t know she was pregnant, and he knew for a fact that a pregnant woman without the proper environment to give birth was not going to be easy to deal with. Mary was an example of that, and Rosie was born on the side of a London street.

He didn’t even bother announcing his arrival. He just took his coat off, hung it up, sat down on the couch, and propped his feet up on the coffee table. He had to kneel down on the floor for three hours, and the clinic let him leave early since he had to go through a lot that day. He saw that Rosie was crawling toward him in a new looking bee hoodie, complete with tiny wings on the back, and antennae on the hood with a cute face. Rosie then climbed onto the couch and onto John’s lap. She then hugged him tightly, and he hugged back.

“Hello Rosebud.”

Sherlock came out of the kitchen where he had made them both tea after hearing the front door open.

“No matter how cute she looks right now, John, she still needs to be disciplined, we can’t let it distract us.”

“What exactly did she do?”

“I left her with Mrs. Hudson for the morning and she absolutely terrorised her in her efforts to get back to me. Mrs. Hudson said she never wanted to go through that again. I not only fear she has some codependency and separation anxiety issues, but also that her outbursts at dinner were unacceptable. We’ve been treating her according to her actual age, John, but mentally she is clearly exceeding that. We will have to treat her as she acts.”

“No!” Rosie yelled.

“Rosie!” John snapped.

He was a bit torn about treating his not even five month old daughter like a one or two year old, but Sherlock was right, they needed to treat her based on the way she acted. He stood up from the couch and sat Rosie down on it.

“Rosie, you need to not yell or scream because you don’t like something. That’s not… not nice for people around you. How do you think Mrs. Hudson felt when you were screaming for Papa? She probably felt really really bad.”

Rosie looked like she was about to cry, but John knew this tactic from his sister when they were little. She would cry just to get out of things and actually cried later in life to get a drink.

“Crying won’t get you out of this, young lady.”

Rosie pouted and crossed her arms in what was a very Sherlock fashion.

“I saw her, Rosie, you made her feel like you didn’t like her. That hurts people, believe me, I’d know. I made lots of people not like me because I was too smart for my own good, and I don’t want you to be like that, Rosamund.” Sherlock explained.

Sherlock thought back to his school days. He’d been such a show-off, always deducing things about the other boys and their parents, his teachers’ affairs or financial troubles. He and the headmaster were quite well acquainted. In fact, if Mycroft hadn’t been the bane of the same man’s existence seven years before, Sherlock may have been expelled. University had been a nightmare as well, until he learned to spend long hours in the lab, mostly to avoid other people.

Then he’d found that drugs were preferable to any attempt at socialising and he’d retreated into his own world for a long time. He’d managed to alienate all of Scotland Yard, besides Lestrade, who, somehow never allowed Sherlock’s barbed tongue to affect him as long as Sherlock kept giving him answers. He’d chased away so many potential clients with his abrupt manner and lack of social convention and traumatised victims’ family and friends in his need to eliminate suspects in search of the actual perpetrator…

Then John had limped into his life, praising his observations and easing the social aspects of dealing with clients and the people he needed to associate with during cases. He had actually learned how to treat people better and found that his cases could actually produce a decent income for them when he did. He began to think of associates and colleagues like Lestrade and Molly as friends, he even let Mrs Hudson be a pseudo-mother to him.

“It’s not your fault, it’s ours. We’ve been treating you like a little baby but you’re too smart for that, now you need to learn to act your mental age.” Sherlock sighed. “Daddy and I are going to tell you when you’re not being a good little girl, okay? Daddy actually had to do that to me a lot when we first met, because I was mean to people and I didn’t understand certain things about other people’s feelings.”

“I really did. Papa was pretty awful when I met him because nobody ever taught him to be nice as a child.”

Rosie looked a bit intrigued and confused.

“My mummy and Daddy saw that I was smart but they thought that meant I’d know when I was being mean or rude, but I actually didn’t. When I went to school, I got in lots of trouble for things I said to teachers and other kids. Nobody actually managed to teach me to be decent to other people until I met your Daddy.”

“Daddy helped Papa be nice? Daddy help me too?”

John felt his heart swell and break at the same time. It broke because Sherlock attributed John to making him better, and swell because Rosie believed he could help her be better. He smiled.

“Of course I’ll help you, Rosie.” Then he put on a stern face. “But for today, you’ll be in your nursery for 20 minutes.”

Immediately the expression on Rosie’s face changed and she looked angry.

“No!”

Rosie started chanting ‘no’ over and over as John picked her up and she was squirming in his arms, screaming. He made sure to to turn on a little camera in the nursery so he could see if Rosie did any damage to her toys. The webcam was a bluetooth camera that connected to his phone, a sort of baby-monitor app. Once he got her in her cot and shut the door with the gate in front as well (lord only knew what this child could do) he went downstairs and flopped onto the couch with a groan.

“I thought I’d be waiting at least a year before I had to deal with tantrums.” He groaned.

“She is, in that respect, unfortunately advanced for her age.”

It had not been an easy few days for either of them. Sherlock had learned to make several simple dishes in the past few months so he boiled some pasta with a simple bottled sauce for dinner, leaving John alone in the lounge to recuperate. He had observed some watered out blood-stains on John’s shirt when he’d arrived home, it was quite probable he had delivered a baby this afternoon. He must be exhausted. Good. This would most certainly forestall their impending ‘talk’.

Sherlock brought John a plate of pasta for him to eat on the couch. John eyed the plate in curiosity and shock.

“You cook now?”

John had no idea that Sherlock knew how to cook. Since he’d been back, they’d been either having takeout, or Sherlock had been making special orders at Speedy’s or Angelo’s. John had never even seen Sherlock use the microwave for anything other than experiments.

“I’ve always known the theory, John. It is a science after all. I didn’t make the sauce or anything like that, it’s from that jar we bought. It was quicker than ordering take away.”

“In all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you cook.”

“Perhaps I’ve finally become domesticated. There is a rapidly growing child in the flat, she’ll have to eat solids eventually. I just read a few simple recipes.”

John chuckled.

“Of course you would get it perfectly by reading recipes.”

“It’s a science, John, no different from chemistry, really.”

Sherlock retreated back to the kitchen to prepare his own plate. He sat down to eat there so that further conversation with this surprised and incredulous John could be avoided. The man was acting like pasta was miraculous, Sherlock didn’t know what to make of it.

John waited for Sherlock to come back to the lounge with his food, but he didn’t… ok, they usually ate dinner together, so the fact that Sherlock was eating alone wasn’t a good sign. John decided to not care about his aching feet as he got up with his plate, and sat across from Sherlock at the table. He ignored the slight scowl he earned from that, and started to eat. The food tasted perfect and he made an hum because of it.

“This tastes amazing!”

“It’s the sauce.” Sherlock said waving a hand airily.

“No, you cooked the pasta just right and is that garlic butter I taste in it?”

Sherlock sighed, clearly John was intent on complimenting his cooking. He was finding it cumbersome since he hadn’t wanted to talk at all. He began eating faster, in between bites he said,

“Yes, it is. It’s sold in a package next to the regular butter, the recipe suggested it.”
John rolled his eyes.

“You hate that I’m complimenting your cooking? Really?”

“I haven’t performed any miracles, it’s discomfiting to be complimented for such a menial job.”

“Well Rosie will probably be doing that soon, so you had better get used to it.”

“Speaking of Rosie, what is she doing?” Sherlock inquired. “Let me see your phone. We need to figure out what kind of discipline works on her.”

John handed Sherlock his phone with the app up, and it turned out Rosie was asleep in her crib. It seemed the tantrum had worn her out enough to make her sleepy, but some toys were on the floor that had originally been in her crib with her, so she probably threw them in her anger.

“She’s asleep, I don’t think that constitutes a proper disciplining… Are children supposed to fall asleep in a time-out?”

“Some kids do that to make the time pass, but she could have been throwing a fit and wore herself out.”

“Yes, but does that indicate success from a disciplinary standpoint John? Shouldn’t she have learned some sort of lesson or something?”

“She probably did, but this was her first proper tantrum that got her a time-out, and her last nap was when?”

“She woke up from it two hours ago. I just want to know if we did this correctly, John. I have no experience with discipline.”

John realized Sherlock was actually panicking a bit. That was unusual for him considering he was mister “I know everything”. Well, it seemed even the world’s only consulting detective wasn’t sure about children.

“She probably will learn the lesson we want her to, but Sherlock, kids deal with punishments in different ways. There’s no set way of doing things as a parent, you just kind of wing it. I mean, you could read every piece of information about child development or parenting techniques, but at the end of the day, it’s different for everyone.”

Sherlock looked back on his own childhood. After Mycroft had been at school a while, he used to tell Sherlock that he was doing certain things wrong. Mummy and Daddy had mostly left him to his own devices. Perhaps their lack of discipline (or rather, considering an entire sister was missing from his memories) had something to do with the social ineptitude he and Mycroft had often shown. Perhaps proper discipline could have prevented Eurus from committing the terrible acts Mycroft had described. How was he supposed to impose discipline on a child when he’d only experienced it himself so late in life? John’s system of telling him he was not being good, childlike in its simplicity, had been the first of such efforts to actually work. Would Rosie respond to the same method? Who could know, the child was in a league of her own.

“The first time I really encountered any discipline was when you’d tell me something I did was not good. I wasn’t lying to Rosie, John, it was the truth. How can I impose any discipline on her?”

John shrugged.

“Like I said, it’s different for everyone. You figure out a style of parenting, and you do it.”

“John, you’ve seen my family… Is it even possible for me to end up helping to raise a socialised child?”

John smiled fondly at his friend.

“You showed you were able to have emotions and control them, and Rosie is incredibly emotional, so I have no doubt that she’ll be sociable. Plus she’s Mary’s too, she’ll be able to relate to even the most anti-social people out there.”

“John… your family, it wasn’t perfect either.”

John immediately looked up at Sherlock in shock.

“What?”

“You aren’t in touch with your parents. I think since Harry came out you had minimal contact, probably because they reacted badly to it. You went away to medical school as soon as you could. Once you left for the army, you cut them out entirely most likely due to being filled of those with conservative ideals and homophobia, and that’s why you didn’t reach out to them when you were searching for a flatmate. I thought maybe they were deceased, but then on your birthday your first year here, you received a call from your mother, who wanted to reconnect except when you questioned whether they were doing the same with Harry, and they said no, you said you didn’t want to speak with them anymore. On top of that your prefered clothing at the time were old jumpers and boots, indicating that your father was a small village thatcher who wanted you to follow in his footsteps. You used to look up to him, then Harry came out, and you despised him. He tried to pull you back from going into medicine in the army which added fuel to the flame, and when they didn’t help Harry at all with her drinking, you knew enough was enough and completely isolated yourself from them.”

John just stared at him blankly. There was no ‘brilliant’ or ‘fantastic’, just silence, and… anger? Sherlock looked at John’s face, perhaps this was not the time to have brought up his family issues and homophobia in particular, not after the videos... any possible relationship between them would be called ‘gay’. He feared he had made an enormous mistake. He never could control the deductions when they started, he always spoke his mind without holding back - he was thinking and speaking too fast to do any editing along the way. He cursed his appalling sense of timing. He could only blame it on the worry he felt about Rosie and his general awkwardness around John since the video… He wondered what exactly Mary had said to John, maybe if he knew, they could talk about it without him making a total mess of it. An idea began to brew in his mind, but he brushed it aside. The immediate problem was the look on John’s face, and he had no idea how to rectify that.

“I apologise, I shouldn’t have said that… any of that. Sorry John. I’ll leave you alone for a bit.”

John simply looked at his food as Sherlock got up and cleaned off his plate. Sherlock knew all of that about his family, and didn’t bother to tell him? How long had he been keeping it to himself? It was true, his parents were homophobic, small minded people. That was why he didn’t invite them to the wedding or tried to have them stay around when Rosie was almost due.

When John went off to medical school, it was like crabs pulling the one crab back into the barrel, only he didn’t fall back in. He hated most of the people in his old village. They were homophobic, xenophobic, racist, any and every label of intolerant. They thought they could bring John back when he was sent home from Afghanistan, but he told his parents to their face, ‘If you care about me at all, you won’t try to make me go back to that horrible place I used to call home’ and slammed the door on them. He swore he heard his mother sob in the hallway, but he was too angry to care.

The birthday call his mother made a year later had mostly ended in the same fashion, except that time it was about them not reaching out to help Harry. They were too prideful to have a black sheep in the family, so they thought they could just push her out completely to make themselves look better. It was one of the worst times in his life. His father didn’t even care that Harry was brighter than John would ever be, the fact that she was gay and an alcoholic made him disown her when she was only 16 years old.

That wasn’t what made him angry in this moment, it was that Sherlock knew all this time, and didn’t say anything. That was what made him angry. He sighed, and got up to wash his plate in the sink. Bed was a fantastic idea at the moment, and he definitely needed it. Now he didn’t know if he would ever talk to Sherlock about the video he got. Too many things happened today and it made him think that maybe it was some force telling him not to do it.

John stood up abruptly, leaving his plate on the table and announced in the most level voice he could muster (though it was low and quite rough),

“I’m going to bed. Upstairs. You deal with Rosie.”

Sherlock turned away from the sink and nodded meekly at him, with wide eyes.

Sherlock merely stared silently at John’s retreating back. When he heard the shower turn on, he scraped John’s plate clean and rinsed it, put it in the dishwasher with his own, and sat back down at the kitchen table. He waited to hear John’s footsteps go upstairs before rousing Rosie for a nappy change, then her evening feeding, and a quick bath. He rocked her back to sleep, glad she was still quite subdued and hadn’t even asked where ‘Daddy’ was. He completed his own ablutions and tried to fall asleep, as far to the left of the bed as possible, horribly aware of John’s scent and how much he had upset its owner. Last night they had (unknowingly) slept in this bed together, now they couldn’t be further apart. The idea that had come to him earlier began to solidify, if he saw Mary’s video to John, he would have the advantage…

The video was definitely being kept in John’s office at the surgery, he would not have brought it home. Sherlock knew John hadn’t looked for his video because he was the only one with keys to the basement laboratory. John would feel the same security at the office.

Sherlock, unlike John, knew how to circumvent that security, he merely needed his lockpicks, the security alarm code, which John had saved to his phone and John’s keycard. In his rage, John had left his phone in the kitchen, so getting the code was child’s play. John always left the keycard in his wallet, which Sherlock could see was still in his coat (it hung slightly lower on the right side), he swiped it with practiced ease. Lastly, he got dressed in old jeans and a hoodie and set off with the code (memorised), keycard and the lockpicks he always kept in his coat. He crept silently down the stairs to the front door and took a cab to a spot a few streets away from the surgery

As he walked the rest of the way, he reflected that he was about to do something seriously not good, but this did not deter him. He had made his choice, the only other concern now was not getting caught. He approached the side entrance to the building, where he knew there were no security cameras. He held the card up to the reader, which beeped and flashed green, then opened the door, quickly keying the code into the alarm panel near the door. Then he took a look around, there was no camera monitoring the hallway, only the reception, staff kitchen, waiting room, and the stockroom. He was safe from scrutiny. He found John’s office in the dark (Sherlock had purposefully developed superior night vision), unlocked the door with the lockpicks, entered and closed the door behind him. On the desk there was a picture of Rosie and Mary, a notepad, some pens in a holder and a desktop computer, which he switched on. The desk drawer was locked, again, no match for Sherlock’s skill as a lockpicker. He opened it to find John’s prescription pad and the usual office detritus and at the very bottom, a white envelope with a DVD that said “Miss You”. The computer had booted up and responded to a simple login with the admin account and a rather generic password (they should sack the IT person who had set up this useless level of security). He placed the DVD in the tray, plugged in his headphones and it began to play. Although he had been prepared for it, seeing Mary and the love in her eyes as she looked at John, was still a shock. He gasped a bit and took a deep breath. Mary began to speak:

“I know, you thought I only had one last message before,” She said. “But if I've passed on, I have one more task for you and for Sherlock: Get off your arses and tell each other how you feel.

“I remember what you told me, John. I remember that night you broke down in my arms after our first date. You said you felt like you were betraying Sherlock because you wanted to pursue a relationship with me, and because I was there for you after the fall. But I told you,

‘You aren't betraying him. He'd want you to be happy with whoever you decided even if it's not me.’

“And knowing you now, you’ll feel like you'll betray me by being with Sherlock. Funny bit of irony isn't it?” She smiled fondly. “John, listen: you are not betraying me by being in love with Sherlock, you are denying yourself the perfect man for you, and before you say your classic ‘I’m not gay’, your love for Sherlock doesn't mean you are gay. I wouldn't have married you if you were. A man who likes women can be in love with another man, it's just rare. I love you John Watson, so does he, and we both want you to be happy. So please, tell him the truth, and accept it yourself.

“You're in love with Sherlock Holmes, and always have been.

“But I know for a fact you don't regret Rosie. If there was one reason you wouldn’t do it all over again with me it's Rosie. Don't focus your sole energy on Sherlock since he does feel the same.

“My video for Sherlock is telling him you are in love with him and that he shouldn't get cold feet about telling you how he feels. I'm telling you the same thing Captain John Watson . Use that bravery and compassion that helped you save your fellow soldiers in the war to tell him those three simple words: “I love you.”

“I know you will have watched the original video I made for Sherlock to have him save you by now, knowing your need to snoop around, so when I said ‘The man we both love’ it was me affirming that I knew about his feelings towards you.

“This doesn't mean anything changes in your little business, it just adds something behind the scenes. The danger you love will always be there, the thrill of the chase, all of it. The only thing that will be different is that you two know you love each other.”

She took a deep breath as if not to cry.

“I love you and Rosie so much, John. Don't forget that. Goodbye.”

Sherlock played it through a second time to commit it to memory. He was still stunned by what she had said. He felt like a bit of an intruder, seeing this wife’s last message to her husband, ‘the man we both love’... He replaced the disc to its envelope and its exact place in the drawer, switched off the computer and locked the drawer. He exited the office carefully, re-locked the door, re-armed the alarm and left the way he had come. He felt quite guilty for what he had just done, but he was glad that he had the extra information.

As he walked a few blocks away before hailing another cab, he replayed the salient points in his mind. John had cried to Mary about not telling Sherlock how he felt and John felt he was betraying Sherlock by being with her. Mary knew about their feelings for each other and thought Sherlock was the perfect man for John but she had phrased it carefully enough to de-emphasise the idea of John being gay (this was essential information and he was glad to have obtained it). She had known John would watch the original video (which meant he would gladly have watched Sherlock’s video, a fact that allayed his guilt over tonight’s little adventure considerably).

Mary was confident that nothing would change except that they would both know about their feelings for eachother. Sherlock was beginning to share some of this confidence. When (not an if anymore) they spoke about this, Sherlock would be prepared. He would offer his video to John to watch, if he wanted to. It would only be fair, however he would in no way let John know that he had watched John’s video. He arrived home, went softly up the stairs and changed back into his pajamas before crawling back into bed, this time he cuddled John’s pillow to him and inhaled deeply. He almost felt confident in the success of their talk now, so much so that he composed a small speech to John about his feelings. Tomorrow would be the beginning of a new era.

 

***

 

John was in his room at Baker Street. It was dark, but he could make out someone in the room: Mary. He knew he was dreaming, and he knew this meant his subconscious was going to tell him something. He sat up in his bed.

“Mary?”

She smiled at him.

“Hello John.”

She sat down on the bed next to him.

“It’s been an exciting couple of days hasn’t it?”

John chuckled.

“Yeah, you could say that.”

“Rosie’s gotten so smart already.”

“And it’s driving both of us mad. She’s already having tantrums, and she’s not even five months old!”

Mary just chuckled and laid her head on John’s shoulder.

“That’s not the only thing driving you mad.” She said in a serious tone.

The soldier sighed and nodded.

“Yeah.”

“Do you think you might be overreacting a bit?”

“What?”

“John, you know how much Sherlock has done for you and Rosie these past few months, so why would he throw your friendship away over something you feel for him? Plus that deduction is hardly something to have a tiff over.”

John thought for a moment. She was probably right, as usual. Sherlock was raising a child almost completely on his own before John woke up. And that deduction Sherlock revealed wasn’t exactly something that should have irritated him like that.

“Maybe. I just don’t want to risk everything falling apart on me.”

She just looked at him with the ‘you’re an idiot’ look.

“It should be completely obvious to you that he cares.” She said matter-of-factly. “He faked his death, is pushing you to get proper treatments, is practically another father to Rosie, everyone else has seen it, so why won’t you accept it?”

 

John woke up. That question echoed in his mind of why he couldn’t accept it. Maybe it was because he was afraid of what it would mean if they both felt like that. For one thing, John had never been in a relationship with a man before. His homophobic parents never let him see anything pro LGBT when he lived with them, and constantly told him that he would be kicked out if he ‘went down the same path as Harry’. On top of that he knew for a fact he wasn’t gay. It made him slightly uneasy that even though he’d only ever had sex with women or dated women, he’d almost never thought of men that way before. There was one time when he was in primary school, but his parents scared him into not letting himself feel that way about other boys again.

He rubbed his hands over his face with a sigh. ‘Mary’ was right, Sherlock wouldn’t throw away their friendship over this. It was too important to him, and Rosie was incredibly important to him as well. He could probably say something, and everything would probably be fine. It would probably just be awkward for a while and then they would go back to the way things were. That was the most he would hope for.

He’d tell Sherlock tomorrow.

 

***

John had the day off from work so he spent the morning with Rosie, as he seldom had the opportunity. Sherlock was still fast asleep in his bedroom, holding onto a pillow like a child with a teddy bear. He hadn’t even stirred as John removed Rosie from her cot. John had arranged for Molly to babysit after Rosie’s afternoon nap. He thought this would afford Sherlock and him the opportunity to talk, as well as testing whether Rosie had learned any lessons from yesterday’s disciplinary experiment.

Rosie was very happy to be able to spend her most active morning hours with her Daddy.

“Daddy, up!”

Rosie had a new trend of wanting to be picked up and spun around. It was adorable, but John’s arms were starting to get tired.

“Again?” John said overdramatically.

“Yes! Up!”

John gave an exaggerated sigh but picked her up and spun her around semi-fast, which caused his little girl to squeal in delight. It was nice to spend time with his daughter without work in between the encounters. His deficits were even almost completely gone which made him more confident to do things like this. He had also let Sherlock sleep in this morning so that he could have some rest. Sherlock had been taking most of the workload with Rosie as of late, and John felt bad about last night. He deserved a break from the crawling, talking baby.

Sherlock woke up to the noise of Rosie squealing in delight at something, he hadn’t even known she was awake. John must have let him sleep in as it was already eleven o’clock. There were two possible reasons for that: either John was still angry about the deduction last night and hadn’t wanted to deal with Sherlock’s presence, or John had forgiven him and allowed him to sleep in as a gesture of thanks for all the early mornings he spent with Rosie. He obviously preferred the second option, but as he went to the bathroom for his morning ablutions, he prepared himself for the first. A frosty John was so tedious to deal with… He sighed and entered the kitchen, ready to face his fate. He looked into the lounge from the kitchen doorway and greeted John with a small wave. John smiled at him and waved back. Option two then, good… John had slept off his rage. Sherlock breathed a quiet sigh of relief and retreated to the kitchen for some tea and toast.

Sherlock was now up… that was good. He also looked well rested which was important as lately, he had been looking a bit more tired than usual. On top of that he was making something to eat, which was another good sign as that meant he wasn’t overly torn about whatever had been making him anxious.

John made Rosie and himself some lunch while Sherlock settled into his chair with his laptop, absorbed in whatever he was doing. Soon Rosie had her afternoon nap, John changed her nappy, put her into going-out clothes, and Molly arrived to pick her up. Mrs. Hudson let her in and she arrived with an excited smile.

“Hi little Rosie. Gosh, it’s been awhile since you last played with me, huh? You’ve grown so much!”

“She’s also talking up a storm.” John said.

“Really, Rosie?”

“Don’t be scared of giving her a time-out if she bullies you. She gets quite aggressive in terms of yelling.”

“But… but she’s so young. She shouldn’t be doing that yet.”

“Hi Molly, she’s extremely advanced for her age, you’ll see for yourself this afternoon.” Sherlock said as he looked up from his laptop. “We’ve decided to discipline her according to her mental age, not her physical one”.

Molly looked genuinely shocked by this revelation, but Rosie was also making grabby hands at her, indicating she wanted to be with her.

“Molly. Molly up!” Rosie said.

It seemed that broke Molly out of her daze because she put on a smile, and picked Rosie up.

“My goodness, you are talking.” She poked her nose, which made Rosie giggle. “We’ll have lots of interesting conversations, won’t we?”

Rosie nodded in response.

Once the basic updates on Rosie’s behavior were discussed, and the diaper bag was handed over, Molly and Rosie left for the afternoon.

Sherlock was quite glad to have a bit of a break from child-rearing, especially after the last few days. He had been researching articles on “leaving the friend-zone” as the ridiculous sites had called it, nothing of use had actually come up. Their situation was rather unique, it seemed. There had only been one ‘Agony Aunt-style’ piece about having fallen in love with one’s flatmate, but that had been within the first few months, not after years of living together and all the other things he and John had gone through in the interim. He was, nonetheless, feeling quite prepared to have the necessary discussion, but it seemed like something John would have to bring up. Perhaps that was why John had arranged for Molly to take Rosie? It was plausible… usually John spent his entire day off with his daughter, so sending her off with Molly was out of character.

They needed to talk before Molly brought Rosie back. John had some of what he would say planned out, but he was still incredibly nervous. He wasn’t good at expressing his emotions, he’d even said it when he thought he was going to die in that train car, so this was a whole new level. John and Sherlock had just eaten lunch, and once he was finished washing the dishes, he made his way out to the lounge. Sherlock was in his chair, his laptop discarded, he sat plucking strings at his violin.

‘This is it.’ He thought. ‘It’s now or never.’

“So…” he paused to pick his words carefully. “I got a final video message… from Mary.”

Sherlock didn't look up from his violin but hummed in response. John was finally going to initiate the talk, the waiting truly had been the hardest part.

“And in it she told me to tell you something.” John continued. “So this is me telling you, and I pray she isn't wrong because I'm saying this after years of keeping it to myself.” He took a deep breath. “Sherlock, for the last few years I've…”

He paused to get his bearings. He was a soldier for Christ’s sake, it shouldn't have been that hard. But it was reassuring that Sherlock looked up from his violin and motioned for John to take his usual seat across from him. Good, it meant he wanted to hear him out.

The detective watched as John sat down. He could see John was nervous but trying to get through it. He was cold sweating and gripping his knees as an obvious coping mechanism. At least John looked slightly more well-rested than he had since this had begun.

John took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

“Sherlock, what Mary said… it's true.” He said (he didn't want to say the words just yet, but he had to soon). “I don't know what she said in your video, but if it is what I think it is, it's true... I do - um - care about you, very much. I always have, and probably always will. I know I keep saying that I'm not gay to, well, everyone , but I rarely ever felt anything for blokes until you. I didn’t want to believe I could feel that way about men because, as you figured out, my parents weren’t the most accepting of people.”

Sherlock just hoped this speech would come to an end soon so they could both acknowledge that they were romantically attached to each other and set ground rules for a relationship as it was what Sherlock had wanted for years. If John was having this much trouble, it must have meant a lot to him too.

“I told you before I’m not good at expressing emotions, and this is me trying hard to get it out. I... I love you, and I'm sure it won't change. I kept telling myself for years that I shouldn't be in love with my best mate, but it still happened. So many times after we got home from a big case I just wanted to… y’know, kiss you, but I couldn't do it because I didn't know if you even wanted a relationship with anyone . So if I'm wrong about you, we can forget I said anything and just move on because you’re still my best friend, and I don’t want to lose you.”

John waited for Sherlock’s response. It was killing him waiting to hear what Sherlock would say next.

Sherlock knew John was incredibly scared about what he would say next; it didn't exactly take the world's only consulting detective to figure that out. He decided to try and ease John’s worries by telling him the truth.

“John, it seems we’ve both been worried over nothing.” Sherlock said simply. “To be perfectly honest, I began having feelings for you that I’d never have expected to have for anyone quite shortly after we met. I’ve been locking them up in my Mind Palace for years. You are the exception to every one of my personal rules as well. I thought it impossible for you to feel the same, as you’d pointed out rather emphatically and with astounding regularity that you were ‘not gay’ and we were ‘not a couple’. I was too cowardly to admit my feelings before the fall, then Moriarty played his hand and my plans had to be altered. I wished I could have given you an indication I was alive, but your grief was essential to the plan. And when I came back you had… moved on.

“When you married Mary, I thought I had lost my chance forever. I was content for you to be happy with someone else, though it felt at the time like I had lost you for good. I forgave Mary for the shooting because I understood her impulse to do anything she had to in order to hold onto you. A part of me died with her, as it did for you. Rosie has been her most amazing gift, her legacy to us and I hope that we can continue to raise that astonishing child as we have been.”

John looked genuinely shocked and stared at him with wide eyes. The detective put his violin in its case next to him and leaned forward in his seat with his hands clasped under his chin.

“It doesn't matter if you feel any sexual attraction toward me because you’ve only had sex with women, but it does matter that you care for me as I do you, and it appears that you love me as I love you.”

They both sat in silence, almost as if they were waiting for the other to speak, but didn’t know what to say. John honestly didn’t know what to say to any of that. He was shocked, but happy at the same time. Overjoyed in fact. Where would they go from there?

“So… what now?” He asked. “Do we… kiss or something?”

“Since neither of us have been in this kind of relationship before, maybe we should wait on that… take things slowly. Perhaps set out some ground rules.”

They were still seated opposite each other on their respective chairs though John was leaning forward in his seat.

“Like what?”

“Some sort of timeline. I’m a virgin and you’ve never been with another man, we should be careful, take this in small, manageable steps.”

John sat back in his chair. His mind immediately went back to Mycroft’s comment at Buckingham palace years ago. Sherlock had said, ‘Sex doesn’t alarm me’ and Mycroft had mocked, ‘How would you know?’ .

“You’re seriously a virgin? Mycroft wasn’t kidding?”

John was honestly shocked that Sherlock admitted this so… freely… Sometimes he had no grasp of social norms.

“No, he wasn’t. There really was no-one else who deserved my interest until you came along… I thought I was… asexual.”

“Remind me what that is?” Sherlock gave him a look. “I didn’t exactly have a plethora of information around me as a kid and I wasn’t really interested in that stuff in uni.”

“I’ve never had any urges of a sexual nature, not toward anyone. While yes, I have had sexual urges that I can easily subdue (as asexual does not always mean having no sexual urges), the only person in my life that I have been able to point fantasies towards is you. I believe that would make me demisexual, but I will need to do further research. Because no one ever sparked my interest, I never sought after someone to be intimate with which lead me to believe I was asexual.”

The only thing John really got out of that was Sherlock wanked to fantasies of him. He understood the concept of asexual, but the fact that Sherlock had masturbated to thoughts of him made him feel… weird, maybe? He’d have to think about that later.

“You… thought of me when you wanked?”

“Not often. I was trying desperately not to feel that way about you - for the sake of our friendship. I mostly did it for scientific and the obvious medical reasons.”

“In other words, you wanked for health and experiments before me.”

“Yes John,” Sherlock sighed, uncomfortable with the unscientific terms John was using. “Even after I developed feelings for you, I tried not to indulge such fantasies, I was uncomfortable with the romanticism of it. My releases were mainly to relieve physical discomfort.”

“Why am I not surprised?”

“Since I just bared my sexual habits, might I ask if you ever,” he could not bring himself to say ‘wanked’, he just couldn’t. “Fantasised about me while performing that action ?”

John blushed so hard he swore he must have looked bright red. He did fantasize every now and again about Sherlock, but when it started, he tried to not think about Sherlock so much. But after he accepted it, he just went with whatever his mind gave him.

“Can we not have this discussion about my masturbation habits?”

“I don’t see why not, honesty is supposed to be a good basis for relationships. Though I think I can deduce enough from the frankly alarming shade of red your skin has turned.”

“Yeah, let’s just leave it at that.” John said. “We haven’t even kissed yet, so talking about how we masturbate is a bit further down the line.”

Well, Sherlock thought, once again his social ineptitude had made an awkward situation worse… Apparently blatant honesty wasn’t always welcome. He felt a bit uneasy about his admissions now. Why did John keep bringing up the kissing thing? Sherlock had never been kissed in a romantic capacity, though he thought the concept had some merit, he thought there were other… steps… that had to be taken first. Holding hands, hugging, an actual ‘date’, these were all things he’d read about. Kissing seemed to be skipping several steps.

“Why do you keep going on about kissing? Aren’t there other stages in a relationship that have to be fulfilled first?

“I’m not saying kissing is a step we have to take, I’m saying we’ve barely even hugged. We don’t ever get into each other’s space unless it’s necessary, so talking about sexual things is a bit of a jump.”

“I’m not the one who brought it up, John.” Sherlock looked slightly indignant.

“No, you did. You talked about how you fantasized about me.”

“I was merely explaining my perception of my sexuality and how you changed it. I’m not the one who asked if I thought about you when I… you know.”

“Let’s just forget about it, okay?”

“Okay. So those ground rules I was talking about earlier… I think we should take all those other steps first… before the kissing or… anything else, and no intimate displays when on cases, or in front of Rosie for the time being.”

“That’s what I was thinking. We shouldn’t just jump into this relationship by acting like a full on couple. You said yourself that you’re a virgin, so we need to take it slow… but I think I’ve only ever seen you kiss someone once, and that was for a case.”

“Kissing Janine was… very uncomfortable, but yes, it had to be done for the case.”

Sherlock’s skin crawled just thinking of it, a month of pretending he was ‘smitten’ but he wanted to wait for marriage before they had sexual relations… saying he was ‘old fashioned’. Janine had seen through it in retrospect, and she’d had her revenge in the tabloids.

“Have you ever kissed someone you liked?”

“No, I haven’t.”

John had an idea, and he was sure Sherlock would try it to ‘experiment’.

“Can I try something?”

Sherlock replayed the last few sentences John had spoken and decided that maybe some experimentation was in order.

“Yes.” he breathed.

With great hesitation, John sat up from his chair and approached Sherlock. He had never kissed a man before, and he was sure Sherlock only kissed for cases, so this would be interesting. He placed a hand on Sherlock’s knee, and slowly leaned down. He felt his heart pounding in his chest and he almost thrummed with nerves. Right when he was an inch from Sherlock’s lips, he waited for a sign that it was ok to do this. Sherlock gave a slight nod, and John gently pressed his lips to his… lover’s. He felt as if sparks were going through his entire body from his lips, and his wildest dreams were finally coming to fruition. It was like everything in the world was Sherlock, and nothing else.

As John approached, Sherlock’s breathing grew shallow, his mind was utterly, blissfully blank. John touched his knee and he felt like his heart skipped a beat. He was looking directly into John’s eyes when John stopped an inch away, he seemed to be asking permission… Sherlock nodded and then John’s lips were on his. He was so gentle, but Sherlock’s heartbeat felt totally out of control. This was what he had been waiting for, for so long. His body felt electrified, his lips tingled and for a few moments he couldn’t breathe. When John’s lips left his, he felt utterly bereft, a small gasp escaping before he regained his breath… that was nothing short of incredible.

The two men simply stared at each other for what felt like ages. Both of their breaths were short, and their pupils were dilated. It was clear that it was… something fantastic and beautiful for both of them.

John cleared his throat and straightened up.

“So… was that okay?”

“Hnggm.” Sherlock realised he had made some kind of completely unintelligible noise. He cleared his throat and tried to slow his breathing, this failure of his transport was beginning to be quite annoying. “Um… quite.” he managed to say in a low voice.

John chuckled a bit. He had actually rendered the great Sherlock Holmes speechless from a simple action such as a kiss. It was a bit weird, but he felt proud of himself.

“Fantastic?” John supplied.
“Yes.” Sherlock practically purred, he was staring at John, unblinking, completely unsure what to do next.

He was an addict, after all, too much of a good thing was kind of his style . He felt a fierce desire to initiate his own kiss, but he was still a little too shocked to actually do it. The thought of ground rules had completely fled his mind for the moment.

John awkwardly sat down in his chair and wrung his hands a bit. He didn’t know what they were going to do next, and he figured they should keep discussing ‘ground rules’ as Sherlock had called them.

“So… what other rules did you want to do?”

Sherlock was still waiting for his brain to adjust to this development. He’d never used more ‘filler’ words in his life… if he said ‘um’ one more time, he swore he’d have to slap himself back into coherence. He took a deep breath before speaking.

“As we’ve said, taking things slowly. We can begin by showing each other more physical affection. We also don’t want to alarm Rosie, so nothing that would overwhelm her. We’ll keep to separate beds, obviously, to avoid any more… accidents or general confusion. Where would you prefer to sleep?”

“Upstairs.” John answered. “Do you want to alternate where Rosie sleeps, or should I just keep her with me for now?”

“Alternating might be best. I suppose we could ask her, she does have her own, rather strong opinions.”

“That might cut out some screaming and crying.” John chuckled.

Sherlock looked embarrassed and a blush crept up his cheeks.

“Perhaps we could… share a goodnight kiss before bed?” He wasn’t looking directly at John anymore and his eyes were slightly unfocused.

John blushed a bit as well, but nodded.

“If... you’re comfortable with that, we could do that.”

“I think I would be amenable to that.” He looked up at John, a small smile quirking up on one side of his mouth.

“Ok…”

After an hour filled with Sherlock solving quick cases John read out to him, Molly called to bring Rosie home, and so the little one was back at the flat not too long after that. She looked a bit tuckered out, but not much. John chased Rosie across the floor pretending to be a monster, which made Rosie giggle and crawl fast. She crawled towards Sherlock for safety and he picked her up for a cuddle every time the game repeated itself.

Soon it was time for dinner, Sherlock ordered from Angelo’s and prepared Rosie’s bottle when the food was delivered. She was sitting in her highchair quite full when Sherlock looked straight at her.

“Rosie, Daddy’s going to sleep upstairs from now on, and Papa’s going to sleep downstairs. Where do you want to sleep tonight?”

Rosie looked quite serious for a moment, even put her hands together under her chin like she had seen Sherlock do countless times before. After about two minutes, she looked up.

“Daddy tonight, Papa tomorrow.” She answered resolutely.

John laughed a bit, and patted Rosie on her head. This child was sometimes incredibly funny whether she meant to be or not. She probably got it from Mary as she had a good sense of humor.

“Ok, Rosebud, we’ll sleep upstairs tonight.”

Sherlock grinned at her too. He’d been right, she was perfectly capable of making her own choices.

“Alright Honeybee, I think Daddy will give you your bath and get you ready for bed when you sleep by him, and I’ll do the same when you sleep by me. Okay?”

“‘Kay.”

After they had all eaten dinner, John gave Rosie her bath, and put her in her night time clothes and took her upstairs. However, she was very squirmy that night. She seemed to not want to go to bed at all. Even when John got her in her cot, she was just standing up with her bee clutched in her hand and talking at John. It was clear he’d need a little help.

“Sherlock,” John called down the stairs. “Would you mind playing her some violin….?”

Sherlock had been hearing the commotion over the baby monitor, so he picked up his violin and bow and (with some reserve, because this was now John’s space) climbed the stairs.

Sherlock played a bit of Fur Elise to start with, Rosie didn’t seem to respond. He tried Chopin’s Nocturne to similar effect.

A tune that had been forming in his mind when he was waiting for John to awaken from his coma suddenly came to mind. He had been mentally composing a lullaby for Rosie, but he had never had need of it, as he found the children’s movie songs had worked quite well. This seemed the time to try it. The piece flowed from him without effort as all his own compositions tended to do, his eyes were closed and he unknowingly swayed gently to the music.

John had never heard this piece before. He didn’t think it was from anybody like Mozart or Bache, and Sherlock seemed to be really into it. That meant it was an original piece that Sherlock wrote, and it seemed to be working on Rosie. It was very sweet how his detective seemed to be entranced in the music as he was swaying around a bit to his playing. It always reminded John that Sherlock had more passions than just solving murders or getting adrenaline rushes. It showed that he was human in more ways than one, and reminded John how much he loved the man.

It didn’t take long before Rosie was nodding off. She was soon fast asleep on her baby blanket and clutching her bee tightly against herself while her other thumb was in her mouth. Her little dark curls were also in different directions and made her skin look like porcelain. It occurred to John that she looked more like Sherlock was her father in appearance than John’s because of it, but he could still see Mary in her. With a content sigh, he placed a gentle kiss on his daughter’s head, grabbed some pajamas, and headed downstairs to get ready for bed.

When he had finished the piece, he opened his eyes to see Rosie had fallen asleep. He watched John kiss her head and fetch pajamas, John was clearly going downstairs to prepare for bed. Sherlock’s stomach gave a little flutter (he’d always seen that as rampant sentiment and never believed it could be a physical sensation) when John went to bed, they would have that ‘goodnight kiss’ and Sherlock found he could hardly contain his excitement. He followed John downstairs and waited in the lounge while John showered and brushed his teeth.

John knew that a goodnight kiss was going to happen, but he decided to not let it take over his thoughts. He completed his night-time routine and took a deep breath as he exited the bathroom. As he entered the lounge, Sherlock stood up awkwardly, not quite meeting his eyes.

“Are you going to bed?” Sherlock asked, feeling stupid - that was obvious !

“Uh yeah…” John paused. “So…”

They both walked tentatively towards each other, nerves on edge.

“Goodnight, John.”

“Night Sherlock.”

Very awkwardly, the two moved close to each other and had a gentle kiss. Neither of them moved, neither of them dared to, but John moved a hand up to Sherlock’s jaw and cradled it while they had their kiss. Once they moved away from each other, John just nodded and went upstairs where he felt content as he went to sleep.

Chapter Text

Sherlock had originally cut off seeing walk-in clients while John was in a coma and recovering from his deficits (which were now completely gone after 2 months out of the hospital), but now that everything had settled down, he felt comfortable taking on clients in the flat and going to Scotland Yard once more. He sent out a tweet to make a point.

 

[221B is open once more. John has recovered and we can both see clients again. #221BringIt]

 

Their first walk-in was a young woman in her late 20’s named Anna Parker. She had long brown hair in a somewhat messy braid, blue eyes, tan skin, some stud earrings, and ugly clothing on with an expensive looking band, but working class watch. She came in for the usual “my spouse is missing” situation, but John was surprised that Sherlock was willing to listen to her. “My husband disappeared two days ago.” She said as she got out her phone. “His name is Ryan Parker.”

She handed Sherlock her phone which had a photo of her and her husband together in front of a mountain view, most likely on vacation. Sherlock handed the phone back to her, and he started surfing on his mobile. She looked a little offended, but he said,

“Keep talking.”

“Ok… um… Ryan said he was supposed to come back from a business trip two days ago, but he hasn’t shown up. I mean, I knew he had been having some trouble at work and the weather wasn’t that good, but he would have called or texted me to tell me he was held up. He’s just gone. I’ve contacted his mum, I’ve talked to his friends, and I even called his company, but no one has seen or heard from him. The police said they would look into it, but I haven’t heard back from them at all. I’ve read the blog, and someone else I know said she came to you and you solved it in five minutes. I’m really hoping you can help me.”

“Your husband is a closeted homosexual who went to start a career in drag abroad.” Sherlock said casually.

Everyone in the room went silent, and John was wondering how the hell he came up with that or if he was just having fun.

“What?” Anna asked.

“You were raised by your father, you seem to have more masculine personality traits and your fingernails indicate you work as an auto mechanic as they have oil stains on them. You also have scars on your hands specific to sports as well as your line of work and you are struggling to keep a feminine sitting position. Your husband, on the other hand, is quite effeminate and I imagine has been harassed by your male family members because of it. The difference in the picture you showed, where your husband had obviously helped you with your hair, makeup and choice of outfit as it differs significantly to how you normally present yourself. In the same photograph, your husband has traces of mascara on his lashes - it’s impossible to remove it all…” John gaped at Sherlock. “It was for a case John, if you’ll close your mouth now. Also, if I’m not mistaken, he has used contouring techniques to look more masculine.”

“I mean he helped me with my outfits, but that doesn’t mean he’s gay!” The wife looked like she was angry or outraged.

Sherlock showed her the search he had done on his phone. There were probably 50 photographs of her husband in drag, almost always accompanied by the same man.

“This is his lover, who I suspect he has run off with.”

The other man in the photos was probably in his mid twenties, slightly tanned skin, muscular, hair in that spiked up look kids had been doing, and wore very tight shirts. There were even photos of them kissing like a couple.

“I’m sorry.” John said to her.

Anna started sobbing quietly, shocked when an accompanying wail sounded over the baby monitor. John sighed and went to get Rosie from Sherlock’s room. Why couldn’t she have stayed asleep for a few minutes longer? It would have been far less awkward. Sure enough, when John looked into Rosie’s cot, there she was crying in her pink elephant onesie with a wet diaper.

“Daddy’s here, Rosie.” John said as he picked her up, walking to the bathroom to do a quick nappy change.

“Want Papa.” Rosie declared when she was warm and dry again.

“Okay, Rosebud.” John said, and brought her to the lounge.

The crying wife looked at Rosie with a disgusted look.

“Oh, so now you have to rub it in my face that you two are gay and raising a baby together!?”

“I’m not rubbing anything in your face!” John snapped. “She just woke up from a nap.”

Sherlock looked at John, completely at a loss for what to say. In the past John would have used his classic “we’re not a couple” excuse, but now… they actually were, though neither identified as ‘gay’. Should he say that ?

“We are not gay , actually.” John looked a bit shocked at Sherlock using his line, but he supposed it was technically true .

Rosie seemed to just glare at the woman, and reached out to Sherlock.

“Papa.”

It seemed Rosie had picked up exactly how best to irritate someone from Sherlock as Mrs. Parker looked even more appalled when John passed Rosie over to Sherlock. John then went over to the door and opened it.

“Your case is solved, now you have to leave.” He said sternly.

Mrs. Parker looked between John and Sherlock for a moment, then stormed out of the flat. John slammed the door behind her flopped onto the couch.

“Is another reason he left her because she’s homophobic?” He asked.

“Apparently.” Sherlock sighed. “Not a big leap considering the rest of her family.”

“What’s gay mean?” Rosie asked.

John looked up at his daughter with a slightly anxious expression. Rosie had actually picked up on that. Oh god, what next? She was only five months old, and she was asking what gay meant. John simply looked to Sherlock with an expression of ‘you explain please’.

“Gay means… men who only love other men and don’t love women in the same way. Of course, it can also mean women who only love other women, but they like to call themselves something different.”

“But you and Daddy love each other. So why not gay?”

‘This is getting too complicated.’ John thought.

“Well, that’s because your Daddy also loved your Mummy, so he’s not gay, even if we love each other.”

Rosie nodded, but was quickly distracted by her toy bee in her hands.

John looked relieved that Rosie took it so easily. He guessed that was a talk done a few years early. He smiled at Sherlock and whispered,

“Nice one.”

 

***

The Disguised Damsel

A young woman who was in her twenties came into Baker Street. It was the usual “I think my husband is missing” scenario, but Sherlock still took interest instead of just dismissing her.

He looked at her while she spoke, you could tell doing his usual deductions in his head, and then she showed him a photo of herself and her husband together. He gave the phone back to her, and she explained how her husband wouldn’t just disappear and that the police weren’t helping. Sherlock had been looking up something on his phone as she spoke, but then he said,

“Your husband is a closeted homosexual who went to start a career in drag abroad.”

Both of us were stunned into silence, and he explained how he knew.

Sherlock asked that I should try to include his deductions, but I honestly don’t know if I’ll get it all right. He usually deletes the less than exciting cases from his Mind Palace when he can so I can’t ask.

He said that how he knew the masculinity thing was that the woman in question was a mechanic based on her nails. She also didn’t do her own makeup and hair and clothing without the help of her husband as in the photo she looked perfect, and in front of us she looked like she didn’t quite know what she needed for her ‘look’. Somehow he was able to deduce that her father constantly berated her husband’s femininity and cared about his appearance even on normal days or family vacations.

She confirmed these things, but she didn’t want to believe it at first.

Sherlock also, apparently, while on his phone googled her husband, and several drag photos appeared in the images. It wasn’t just the husband at the drag shows, but also he, himself was in drag. There were also a few pictures of the husband with another man most likely in his mid-twenties in very romantic selfies.

We also figured out that she was homophobic because Rosie woke up from her nap when the woman started crying, and when I brought her out, she accused us of being gay and raising a child together. Of course Rosie had picked up how to annoy her as she reached out to Sherlock and said, “Papa.”

Forgot to mention, we think Rosie is a child prodigy. She’s only five months old and is speaking full sentences, and trying to understand the world. I have no idea where it comes from.

 

***

It had been an interesting day with the case and Rosie’s first foray into learning about sexual orientations. After dinner and putting Rosie down for the night, Sherlock and John decided to watch some crap telly and just enjoy being together. They’d had a good laugh over Sherlock’s “not gay” comment, the irony was too good for John to let go of.

“Honestly, that was brilliant.” John said.

“It is technically true.” Sherlock grinned.

He held his hand out for John to hold. They weren’t showing much affection in front of Rosie yet, but they had been ‘practicing’ after she was asleep.

John interlaced his fingers with Sherlock’s hesitantly, but he felt extremely giddy that he was finally doing these things with Sherlock. He had been waiting for years to be able to love Sherlock and to be loved back by him, and it was beyond fantastic that it was finally happening. John decided to do another step: he scooted a bit closer to his detective, and laid his head on his shoulder, scarcely daring to breathe.

Sherlock was a bit shocked, but the sensation wasn’t entirely new to him. There had been that incident of John falling asleep watching that car show when his fatigue had been particularly bad. He felt a thrill at the fact that this was allowed now, he didn’t have to feel guilty about it. He leaned his head against John’s and thought he heard John let out a small sigh, as if he’d been afraid his action would be rejected. Both were slightly wary of breaking the silence in this moment, it seemed so tentative, as if it could easily shatter.

“Is this okay?” John asked.

“I think it requires a small adjustment…” Sherlock unclasped John’s hand and threaded his arm through the small gap and over John’s shoulder. “That’s better.” He said with a small smile.

John sighed in contentment and felt warm, complete even, as he snuggled into Sherlock’s side. It felt like he was supposed to be there with Sherlock; like he was created specifically to cuddle Sherlock Holmes. It was just right . They ended up watching three episodes of some bad reality TV, but neither paid much attention to the telly.

Sherlock could hear John’s breathing start to even out, but the moment was ruined by a text. Sherlock only had one personalised text alert, and at least it wasn’t that one , but he made a mental note to assign specific sounds to those who texted him most often… That way he would know who had intruded on this spectacular moment - John was about to fall asleep in his arms for the first time he knew of and a blasted text had just ruined it. John sat up in order to allow Sherlock to reach his phone, but Sherlock wanted to stubbornly refuse. With a great sigh, he reached for the phone on the coffee table and opened the text

 

From Lestrade: [Got a good one for you. I’ll be over tomorrow with the file - GL]

 

“Seems that Greg saw your tweet about taking clients again.” John observed.

“Unfortunately.” Sherlock nearly growled, he pulled John back into their previous position in a decidedly possessive way.

The soldier could tell that Sherlock didn’t want them to move. He found the possessiveness endearing, but they needed a case from Lestrade. The small cases from clients were okay, but when it was all said and done, they needed the money from The Yard, especially since the other woman had stormed out without paying.

“He probably was saving a case for us.”

“It’s probably a cold case by now if he’s been saving it this long.”

Sherlock wanted cases, he always did, but this interruption during his ‘John time’ had irritated him. After a few minutes more of cuddling, he grew calm once again and began to feel some excitement for whatever Lestrade had come up with.

***

Lestrade arrived at ten o’clock the next morning, which also happened to be John’s day off. He looked a little nervous, but still had his briefcase and files on hand. However his attention was first taken by Rosie crawling on the floor.

“Wow, she’s gotten big hasn’t she?” He asked.

“She’s already five months old and talking like mad. I’m pretty sure she made Sherlock proud by irritating a woman we saw yesterday.” John said.

Greg cackled,

“Well you picked a fantastic role-model for her, didn’t ya?”

Sherlock had been in the kitchen cleaning up something Rosie had spilled, he came out with a nod towards Greg saying only “Lestrade.”

“I think I’ve got an interesting one for you, Sherlock.” Greg said as he sat down and opened his briefcase. “There were a few murders that happened in a village up in Yorkshire about 4 months ago, but they all had the same name.” He handed the file to Sherlock. “It was made a cold case because you and John weren’t available.”

“The coma, I presume.” Sherlock said.

“Yeah.”

He handed John the medical file and Sherlock the autopsy report and case-file. The cause of death was a single gunshot to the head for 3 men, all unrelated except they had the name Samuel Paterson. The first was Samuel Jason Paterson, age 34, who was leaving his local supermarket when he was shot. He was a single man recently divorced, no children. The second was Samuel Earnest Paterson, age 45, happily married to his long time partner now husband Anthony Clark and was at the park with Anthony when he was shot. The third was Samuel Jacob Warren Paterson, age 39, a father of 3 children, married for 13 years, and was at his desk in his office when he was shot. The bullets were from a long-range assault rifle, but no gunshots were heard in any of the incidents.

“It looks like the world’s worst hitman didn’t do his research properly. Tell me about the spouses.”

“One of them was recently divorced from his wife of 10 years but they’re still friends, one had a husband he’s been with for 22 years, no problems with their marriage, and the other had a wife named Alexandrea Paterson who he had 3 sons with. But how the hell do you get that it was a hitman?"

“Long-range rifle with a silencer, could only be a professional. However, he must have been extremely misinformed since he killed two Samuel Patersons before getting the right one. It’s almost as if he looked them up on the internet just enough to find their approximate locations, however, not enough that he would notice different middle names. The man can’t even have had a picture to go by, or an estimated age. He must only have had a name.

“Obvious!” A little voice declared.

Everyone turned to Rosie who was playing with a stuffed water molecule. She looked like she had been listening at the same time

“She really just said obvious?”

“That’s one of her favorite words.” John said.

“It was her first proper word, actually, besides ‘dada’.” Sherlock looked proudly down at Rosie. “It is obvious isn’t it?”

“Not to the rest of us.” John said.

“The third victim was obviously the intended target, otherwise he would have stopped earlier. It would seem that the recently divorced man was the target of an unhappy ex-wife, but then the contract would have been fulfilled and no other Samuel Paterson needed to die. The hitman probably didn’t receive the rest of his payment so he went looking at other Samuels. If a woman had hired him, seeing a man who appeared to have a gay lover would look like a decent motivation for the killer, so he shot the second Samuel. Since he obviously didn’t receive payment again, he went looking for yet another Samuel Paterson. The only part that puzzled me was why the man was so incompetent at finding the intended victim.” Sherlock paused for dramatic effect. Everyone just sat there for a moment, just processing the information, until John broke the silence.

“But who paid them then?” He asked.

“The wife of the third victim, obviously. They had three children, so he probably had a sizable life insurance policy. The wife was obviously unhappy, so I suspect there was domestic abuse of some sort, she wanted him out of their lives and also needed the money. Now ask me why the hit-man was so badly informed.”

“Fine Sherlock, why?” Greg asked.

John just sighed at his drama queen. At times he wondered how he could love this man when he was so bloody dramatic to people.

“That is the most interesting part… The original hitman… delegated the hit to a less experienced person in the organisation. The original hitman would have had all the information about which Samuel it was, his habits, his probable location and all the other details a wife could give. However, when the task was delegated - perhaps to test the novice’s mettle, he was only given a name and his weapon.” Sherlock looked at John and grinned. Then he looked at Lestrade with a more serious face and said, “It really was obvious.”

“But if it’s a hitman, wouldn’t going after the hitman himself make other hitmen come after us? I mean, I read the blog where you two tried to take down the Golem, he nearly killed you.” Greg said.

“He actually has a point, Sherlock.” John agreed.

“The Golem was a singular case, he was incredibly skilled in unarmed combat, most hitmen are useless without their weapons. I mean, the man killed two people before finding his actual target. You needn’t bother with him he’s only doing a job (badly). He’s not even a well-trained assassin, which is an ancient trade. Go after the wife, she’s the one with the motive, and you’ll be able to prosecute her.”

“Um… okay?” Greg awkwardly said.

He packed up the files without a word and looked over to Rosie little brown curls again with a smile.

“Y’know, she looks like she’s Sherlock’s.” He commented.

“I don’t see much of a resemblance except for the hair, the rest is just learned behaviour, she spends a lot of time with me.”

John chuckled. Definitely a learned behavior, but she had a few of his qualities too. The thing was, he mostly saw Mary in her. There were just some expressions she made that Mary had made at certain times in certain situations. He couldn’t help but notice though that most people said they either saw Sherlock or Mary in Rosie, not him. He didn’t mind as he wasn’t really that much in comparison to them, but he couldn’t help but feel a bit irritated at that.

Greg left without further questions and had his phone to his ear by the time he reached the landing, most likely to have officers interrogate the wife and look at bank records. Sherlock supposed that had been an entertaining case, pity it had been so short, they hadn’t even needed to go to Yorkshire. Lestrade’s comments had been slightly troublesome. He was always slightly worried that John would take offence at comparisons people made between him and Rosie. He personally saw more of Mary in her than anyone else, but he thought, or rather hoped, that she would grow up to have John’s heart. He didn’t want her to take after his cold intellectualism too much. He wanted her to be her own person, one with the heart of the man he’d fallen in love with.

Sherlock looked at John, who was holding Rosie to help her doze off. The little one wanted to be held for her afternoon nap this time, and John obviously didn’t want to deny the chance to bond.

“John, can we talk about something?” Sherlock spoke softly not to wake the dozing child.

“Yeah, sure.” John whispered back as Sherlock sat on the couch.

“I don’t like it when people say that Rosie’s more like me. I don’t want her to be. I want her to be like you, John. You have this… heart … that’s so incredible, not like Mary or me. We were built differently. I don’t want her to alienate people like I do.” Sherlock sounded saddened by the thought.

John paused and thought about what Sherlock had said. He knew that Sherlock meant it, but he never thought of himself as anything incredible by any means. Sherlock had also said something astonishingly sweet and heartwarming. He’d never thought of himself as having a big heart, in fact he thought he was a bit of an arse at times, except Sherlock thought differently.

“That’s… one of the nicest things you’ve ever said to me.”

“Is it?” Sherlock looked confused.

“Other than that time when we were on the Baskerville case and you were trying to suck up to me, or your best man speech, but yeah, it is.”

“That’s what I mean, I don’t want her to be like me. I’ve loved you for so long and the only time you can recall me saying something nice is when I was trying to appease a cruel experiment... or when I was forced to by social convention. Of course I couldn’t allow myself many opportunities to show my feelings, but I could have been a better friend. I want Rosie to have friends and be liked, Mary barely had any and I just had you.”

“It’s not exactly something you can teach.” John said, but he realized something. “But I guess we kind of are teaching her already though. By loving her and showing her affection, we’re teaching her how to be a good person, which unfortunately includes when we have to scold her.”

“I hope so, John, I really do.” Sherlock sighed and stood with John, crowded around a Sleeping Rosie. “I like that I don’t need to hold back my sentiments towards you anymore now that we’re… together.” He gathered a deep breath, why were those three small words always the hardest to say? He whispered, “I love you, John.”

John’s breath caught for a moment at the words and his face heated up. He didn’t expect Sherlock to say that so earnestly, out of the blue, but when had Sherlock ever followed social norms? John looked up at Sherlock, and placed a gentle peck on his lips.

“I love you too, Sherlock.”

 

***

Sherlock and John had begun to wonder if they were equipped to deal with Rosie’s rapid progress… Sherlock had agreed to have her tested under very specific conditions. This would entail a call to Mycroft.

Sherlock dialed the number, knowing that his brother prefered to talk . Mycroft answered on the third ring.

“Sherlock.”

“Mycroft, how is Lady Smallwood?”

“Oh please do not be childish. We are both adults, and as far as I know, you recently started your own relationship.”

“Is the inside of our flat still bugged? I will find them, Mycroft. There has been no attack, it’s a matter of invasion of privacy now.”

“You know as well as I do that until one of us have caught Doctor Watson’s assailant, the security measures must stay in place. Which by the way, no thanks to you, I have been able to locate her place of operations and will be sending a team out by this evening.”

“How fortuitous that I called today then. John and I will be joining that team, no arguments. Text me the details.”

“That will not be necessary. A team of MI6 agents whom I have chosen myself will be taking the Rogue from her location, and I do not wish to risk having Doctor Watson in the line of fire after what he has already endured.”

“John needs to confront his attacker, brother, it’s the best way to quell the remainders of his PTSD.”

“When she is in a controlled environment in custody, he will be allowed to confront her, not when she has access to other weapons.”

“I’ll agree to that on one condition: you have to find and vet a child psychologist with expertise in child prodigies. I think a female will be preferable and she must be trustworthy enough to do an assessment at the flat. John and I have acknowledged the need for Rosamund to be tested, but she must not be aware of it happening. I will not have her go through what we endured as children.”

“I’ll see to it as soon as the Rogue is captured.”

“Very well, I expect you to contact me as soon as she is in custody.”

“I will, but you will have to wait until she has been interrogated before Doctor Watson can confront her.”

“If we must.” Sherlock sighed audibly.

“Needs must, brother.” With that, Mycroft rang off.

 

***

The last thing John expected to walk into when he got home later that day was the flat looking incredibly torn up. Either someone had broken into the flat, or Sherlock had done something very strange again, and at this point it could have been either. Then he heard his phone go off and saw a text from Sherlock.

 

Sherlock: [Found all of Mycroft’s bugs. Currently disposing of them downstairs. Found sulfuric acid to be most effective. - SH]

 

John sighed and dropped his bag by the door. Of course Sherlock wouldn’t think to clean the flat up after finding all of Mycroft’s recording devices. It was just… a very Sherlock thing to do. He had to wonder where Rosie was, so he immediately texted Sherlock back.

 

John: [Where is Rosie? She had better not be in the lab with you or there will be hell to pay. -

JW ❤️ ]

 

Sherlock: [Why did you use a heart? - SH]

 

John: [Testing it out. People keep telling me I should use more emojis. - JW]

 

Sherlock: [Please refrain from using that ever again. It makes you seem very childish. - SH]

 

John: [It’s not like I’m going to send Greg a text laced with emojis. It’d only be with you. - JW]

 

Sherlock: [Getting off of the topic of emojis, Rosie is currently with Mrs. Hudson while I dispose of the bugs. I won’t leave her alone nor have her exposed to dangerous chemicals. - SH]

 

JW: [Alright, thanks. - JW]

 

SH: [Will collect Rosie and see you upstairs once I have decontaminated myself of noxious chemicals - SH]

 

A heavy groan escaped John’s lips, and he started getting to work cleaning the flat enough to be safe for Rosie… so she wouldn’t cause trouble.

When Sherlock arrived upstairs with Rosie, he received a text from Mycroft.

 

Myc: [The agent was not at her original hideout. She had left an hour before and hasn’t been seen since. - MH]

 

Sherlock came very close to swearing, which he hardly ever did, it was base and uncouth. He had not informed John about the attempt to catch the Rogue agent, and had been feeling slightly bad at keeping the secret… until now. John did not need to know she was on the loose.

John saw Sherlock scowling at his phone and knew something was up. He currently had three books in his arms from the bookshelves and only half of the lounge had been cleaned. Even if he was working out, he was still not as young as he used to be.

“Everything alright?” He asked.

“Mycroft is being annoying, as usual.” Sherlock lied, knowing he could not tell John the truth.

“That’s what brothers do.” John shrugged it off and placed the books in their spot on the shelves.

“I suppose mine must have received some special training...”

Sherlock didn’t put Rosie down yet, even though she was squirming to be let down.

“Honeybee, the flat isn’t safe yet, you need to stay with me for a bit.” He said softly.

“No! Down!” Rosie yelled.

“Rosie, no yelling.” John snapped as he cleaned.

“Down! Down, Papa, DOWN!”

“Rosamund Mary Watson!” John yelled.

Rosie immediately stopped yelling and the crocodile tears started to show. John simply put down the papers he was holding and stomped over to his daughter. He roughly grabbed her out of Sherlock’s hands and held her eye level.

“This is not okay, understood?” John said in a parental voice. “You are being incredibly selfish and rude.”

“But I want-!”

“You don’t just get things because you want them, Rosamund! Now you’re going into time-out.”

Rosie yelled ‘no’ and other arguments all the way upstairs to the nursery.

Sherlock listened to the commotion continue on the baby monitor, he wasn’t entirely sure this time-out method was working. After a minute of ceaseless whining he turned off the monitor. Whether or not he was keen on testing her, it was clear they needed some specialist advice on how to discipline an incredibly intelligent and ridiculously willful child. He decided to text Mycroft back while John was busy.

 

SH: [I told you we should have accompanied your team. Your operative was the problem in the first place. - SH]

 

SH: [We need that Child Psychologist, do what you must to get one here in the next two days. -SH]

 

Myc: [I know you destroyed the bugs, it was not yet safe to do so, Sherlock. - MH]

 

SH: [The rest of your security will be sufficient. I trust you’ll send me identification for the psychologist so that the Rogue operative doesn’t sneak in that way. - SH]

 

Myc: [She shall be there tomorrow, identification details in email Anthea has just sent. - MH]

 

John returned to the wrecked lounge whilst rubbing his arm. It was clear Rosie had kicked and flailed enough that she had hurt him, which was a little frightening.

Sherlock rushed over to him and began rubbing the tender area while leading them to the couch. John sighed, comforted by the attention. Sherlock soon found a pressure point that would relieve the pain and applied his acupressure technique to it. John moaned at the painful pressure this caused, but felt the ache dull almost immediately.

“That… is perfect.” John groaned. “You’re just full of surprises aren’t you?”

“Acupressure is simple enough to learn off the internet. I contacted Mycroft about the Child Psychologist. If nothing else, perhaps she can advise us on discipline. I fear these time-outs are not working, John. Mycroft said she’ll be here tomorrow.”

Sherlock did something quite unexpected and brought the injured arm to his lips for a soft kiss. John shivered from the sudden contact and blushed. That was a move that was a big jump from a quick kiss goodnight. Where did Sherlock plan on going from here? That was the big question.

“Um…” John stuttered. “What are you doing?”

“I read in the childcare books that a kiss often helps people feel better after an injury. Did I do it wrong?” Sherlock blushed now, had he made another faux pas?

John quickly moved his other arm over his crotch… because the effect was different. Was he really so starved of being touched that a simple kiss on his arm was making him get somewhat turned on?

“I - uh - I think it has a different effect when you’re a kid, not really the same when you’re an adult.” John answered nervously.

Sherlock had seen John’s arm move to cover his crotch and the blush increased exponentially. He hadn’t meant it as anything other than a simple gesture of comfort, but he also felt a slight pleasure at how John had interpreted it. It was far too soon to go down that particular avenue, they hadn’t even ‘snogged’ yet! Sherlock’s breathing had increased with the knowledge and the ideas that had popped into his head, and he decided it might be time for his own time-out.

John just immediately stood up and rubbed his arm a bit.

“I’ll just... uh... the bathroom.”

And with that, he rushed to the loo and slammed the door. He needed to handle the problem and quick, and so he did… keeping in mind of the time he saw Sherlock in only a sheet at Buckingham Palace.

Sherlock suspected John was… managing his bodily functions. Thinking about John doing that made Sherlock’s trousers feel a little tight as well. He was rather skilled at controlling his transport and was able to master the impulse with some deep breathing and a meditation technique he had taught himself after John moved in.

About twenty minutes later, John re-entered the lounge looking a bit embarrassed but less tense than before. He cleared his throat, and seemed to regain his bearings.

“So why is it you decided to completely destroy the flat and just leave it that way?” He asked.

“I had to destroy the bugs and Mrs Hudson only agreed to watch Rosie for a short while - she was a bit weary after the last time.”

“And you expected me to clean up after that?”

“I was going to get to it eventually, but Rosie has been... problematic.”

“You know, a normal person would clean up the mess they made before going to do something else.”

Sherlock sighed deeply… wasn’t a physical release supposed to put someone in a better mood? With the oxytocin and endorphins and increased serotonin?

“When have I ever been normal, John? I realise now that it was not good, I’ll try to do better next time.”

“Ok, good.” John picked up the papers he had been busied with before, then looked at Sherlock again. “I expect you to help me.”

“Of course.”

Sherlock began picking up other haphazardly discarded books and ornaments.

It took an hour to finally get the flat back in order and Rosie had cried for the whole hour. She sounded incredibly hoarse by the time John fetched her when they were done and Rosie seemed to only want to take a nap, which turned into just being asleep for the rest of the night.

John handled Rosie’s late night feeding and changing. Sherlock and John had no further uncomfortable incidents, and went to their respective beds for the night after a politely distant goodnight kiss.

 

***

The psychologist arrived at ten o’clock the next day, John had taken the morning off from work to be there. Sherlock checked her identification and her physical form carefully against the identification Anthea had sent over before he allowed her into the flat. He wasn’t taking any chances. Her name was Sarah Takahashi, she was predominantly Asian with black hair in a bob and green eyes that belied some Anglo heritage. The file had said she had two teenagers in Secondary school.

“Hi, I’m Sarah, as you already know, apparently.”

“I apologise for the security precautions, they are unfortunately necessary. Rosie is upstairs with her father, John, if you’ll follow me. She doesn’t know this is an assessment and I need you to go along with it as if it’s a play-date, please.” He led her up the stairs into the lounge, offered her tea which she refused and introduced her to Rosie by her first name only.

“Rosie, this is Sarah, she’s going to play with you for a little while, okay?”

Rosie looked like she was analyzing her, but looked back up to John.

“Why?”

“Because… she wants to know…”

John immediately looked at Sherlock for help. He didn’t know how to phrase this without sounding scary to Rosie.

“She wants to meet you because you’re so special to us. Sarah is an old friend of mine and we told her about you and she just had to meet you.” He felt quite bad lying to her, but it was for her own good.

Rosie seemed to perk up immediately and nodded.

“Okay.”

John handed Rosie over to Sarah, who held her up to her face and smiled brightly at her. “Hello sweetie. Have you been having fun with your fathers today?”

“Yeah, lots of fun.”

“What have you been playing with? Will you show Aunt Sarah?” She briefly glanced at Sherlock to see if that was an acceptable moniker for the situation he had invented. Sherlock nodded.

“Kay.”

Sarah put Rosie on the floor and Rosie crawled over to the blocks she had been using to build with, and also her favorite toy bee. The structure was actually very sound and Sherlock had been testing to see how much pressure it took to topple them each time she made a new structure. Rosie sat in front of the block structure, and gnawed at one of her bee’s legs.

“That’s a nice tower you built. Can I see how strong it is?”

“Papa’s been doing that all day.”

Sherlock was suitably impressed by Mycroft’s choice, Sarah was content to play along and make this as easy on Rosie as possible. It was entirely different to the assessments he’d undergone as a child. Rosie seemed to actually be enjoying herself and he was pleased at the ease with which she took to new people. It gave him hope that she was taking after John in that respect.

“Has he? Did he make the blocks fall down a lot?”

“He had to try hard.”

“Wow, that’s very cool.”
Sarah wasn’t used to using such gentle or colloquial terms during assessments, but she also wasn’t used to many five month old children with this level of vocabulary, grasp of grammar and frankly impressive spatial reckoning. From what she had seen so far, this baby - no, that term didn’t seem to fit her - was remarkably intelligent in several areas.

“Rosie, can you show me how you use your alphabet mat?”

“Mhm!”

Rose went over to the alphabet mat near the couch and sat on it. She put some letters together, and spelled “Rosie”.

“Wow! You’re such a clever girl. Can you spell ‘blue’?”

Rosie tried to spell it, but she didn’t know there was an ‘e’ at the end. She ended up spelling ‘blu’.

“That’s pretty good, Rosie, but sometimes there are hidden letters in words. There’s an ‘E’ at the end of ‘blue’, sweetie, but nobody really knows why, it’s just there.”

Rosie seemed surprised, but added the E to the end.

“That’s better! What else can you spell?”

Rosie contemplates]d this for a few seconds then spelled ‘DEAD’.

Sarah looked up at Sherlock and John, confused as to how she would have learned that word at her age, and spelled it correctly.

Sherlock looked abashed.

“Honeybee, where did you see that word?”

“Daddy wrote it and I watched, so I knew it has ‘EA’ in it, like I know ‘blue’ now.”

Sarah marvelled at this, she was not only speaking in full sentences but spelling and it appeared, reading. This was a whole new level of special abilities in a child. She wished there was an accurate way to measure her IQ, but no Wechsler-scale had ever been developed for children under 5 years old.

“Rosie, can you count numbers yet?”

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”

“Can you tell me what happens if you add a two and another two together?”

“Why?”

“Because I forgot the answer.”

Sherlock admired Sarah’s intellect, she was very fast on her feet and kept her wits about her very well. Even Mycroft had been daunted in the face of this child. He wanted to laugh, but restrained himself, looking at John instead. That was a mistake, John’s shoulders were shaking with suppressed laughter, and John laughing always set him off. He had to look away and take several deep breaths, but he couldn’t help the smirk on his face. He’d begun teaching Rosie numbers and basic addition last week and she already thought she was an expert.

Rosie looked at Sarah like she was trying to figure out how intelligent this person really was, then stated matter-of-factly, “Four.”

“Thank you, Rosie, I don’t know how I could have forgotten that!”

Sarah was lucky that she didn’t need to suppress her own smile, she was the only adult in the room who could look gleefully at Rosie without arousing suspicion.

“Well, this was a lovely visit - I taught you about the E in Blue and you reminded me that two and two makes four. I hope I get to see you very soon, so we can teach each other more interesting things.”

Rosie looked quite chuffed with herself, then her face turned sour. “No leaving!”

John spoke for the first time, his laughter had abated as soon as Rosie began being difficult.

“Rosie, that’s rude, you can’t just tell Sarah what to do, she’s our guest.”

Rosie’s eyes filled with those angry tears again.

“No leaving, I want to play more!” Her volume increased “Play more NOW!” She yelled.

Sarah looked warily at John and Sherlock. She stood up slowly and walked over to them and whispered,

“What do you normally do when she gets like this?”

John whispered,

“Tell her she’s misbehaving and give her a time-out.”

Sherlock cut in,

“It hasn’t really worked so far, she cries and screams the entire time. We were hoping you may have some advice.”

“Alright, John, put her in a time-out, bring the baby monitor so we can hear her and we’ll discuss alternate strategies.”

John went to pick Rosie up, she was howling and screaming and trying to kick him again. He gathered his strength for another battle.

“ROSIE!” He had to shout for her to even hear him. “ROSIE! YOU ARE NOT BEING A GOOD GIRL, THIS IS NOT HOW WE TREAT OUR GUESTS!”

He hauled her upstairs and locked her in her crib, closing the door and the gate after him as he descended the stairs. He flopped down on the couch, sighing heavily.

“Sherlock, is there one of those pressure points for my ribs? She landed a few solid kicks.”

Sherlock gave him a sympathetic look and pointed to the acupressure point at the junction of the eighth rib cartilage and the nine rib, in line with his earlobes. John copied the motion and felt some relief, though it had felt better when Sherlock had done it for him.

Sherlock sat down in the ‘client’ chair and motioned Sarah towards the couch. She took some notes before she addressed them.

“Putting aside the tantrum for now, I’ll explain what I observed. She’s five months old, but her intellect is closer to that of a five year old - her speech is incredibly advanced, she appears to even be able to read to some extent and is spelling basic words. She’s limited in that by the availability of only one of each letter. I’d like to find out if she has any conceptual understanding of death, as that is one of the most difficult concepts for children to grasp. Do you think she does?”

“Well, she was showing off her vocabulary one day and she pointed to the skull on the mantelpiece when she said ‘dead’. We are in a rather strange line of work, so I’m not sure what she picks up. She woke up from a nap when we had a client over who was distraught about her husband being gay, and she was upset that at that moment she saw what appeared to be a gay couple with a child.” Sherlock paused, “Rosie overheard her and asked what ‘gay’ meant. She’s very perceptive with people she knows - we had a fight one day and she tried to patch it up.”

“That’s very impressive, her physical development also seems advanced, her ability to not only grasp and place those blocks the way she did but also her physical strength... she’s crawling and sitting up and could very well begin trying to walk, which is slightly worrisome because her musculature should technically not allow for that yet.” She looked like she was considering her next words very carefully. “I’d like to do an assessment of some key developmental concepts next week, perhaps. Normally I’d insist on a full body scan to determine her muscular development, but I understand why you are opposed to clinical settings, she’s far too perceptive and wary to merely allow that. I don’t even know how she’ll fare with her 6 month checkup at the pediatrician, you’ll have to try to reason with her.” She looked up at both of them in turn, “Rosie has the intellect of at least a five year old child, but her emotional age has not caught up. She has the emotions of a three year old, but she’s stuck in a body that is only five months old. This is as confusing and overwhelming for her as it is for you.”

“But how do we deal with the tantrums?”

“Tantrums are normal for toddlers, which is where her emotional age is, currently. You’ve been trying to do time outs, which is standard procedure, but it may be better to try to avoid triggers in the first place. I can see that you were not prepared to be raising a toddler at five months of age. There is no real way you could have been prepared for that. Another tactic is to divert her attention from the source of her anxiety, you’re going to have to be quick on your feet. I notice you speak to her in full sentences, which is good for her language development but it won’t help when she’s in a tantrum. Shorter statements will get through to her better, until we develop her empathetic reasoning to a point where you can actually have a discussion with her. At this point, however, it’s an exercise in futility. She does need to learn that there are consequences to her actions, but you have to make these clear in more concrete and tangible terms.”

“So we just distract her next time she’s about to throw a tantrum?” John asked.

“If you catch it early enough, you can cause the distraction and redirect her attention before she gets fully wound-up.”

“What if that fails to work?” Sherlock asked.

“You will have to explain the consequences of her action succinctly, in simple terms, keep it short. Then put her in a time-out. Normally we use one minute per year of age, but her case is unique - she’s basically three different ages at once. Tell her she’s in time-out or the naughty spot and know that she’s going to continue the tantrum. Give her time to settle and learn to self-soothe, then fetch her out again.”

“She tends to fall asleep once she’s exhausted her energy, do we let her sleep or wake her up?” Sherlock asked.

“Let her sleep, but remind her of the reason she was punished when she wakes up. She needs to learn the lesson, not sleep off the punishment.”

John took in the information for a bit. His five month old had the mind of a five year old, she was emotionally about three, but somehow stronger than she should be physically, and her comprehension and intelligence were higher than that. Basically, he had a child prodigy with Mary, and now he and Sherlock were raising said prodigy. He had read that child prodigies usually were skilled in one area, but she could also have been incredibly smart in a bunch of areas like Sherlock. He didn’t know, and it was a bit terrifying and ironic to say the least.

“Thank you Dr. Takahashi. You’ve been a great help.” John said with a kind smile.

“Yes, thank you for pretending to be an old friend, I appreciate your efforts to make the assessment as far from clinical as possible. I’ll walk you down, and we’ll see you again next week. Perhaps you can subtly demonstrate those diversionary techniques if we haven’t managed to master them by that time.” Sherlock stood up and Sarah followed him out.

Sherlock returned to the lounge with a heartfelt sigh, and flopped down on the couch next to John. He just wanted to be held right now, he couldn’t help but remember stark white walls and linoleum floors and sitting across from an old gentleman in a White coat… two chairs and a very institutional desk… inkblots and IQ tests. He was so glad to have spared Rosamund that torture. He was feeling rather fragile at the moment, all the memories had escaped their lockbox.

John could see that Sherlock was a bit emotional (no matter how much he tried to hide it) and wrapped an arm around him. He had a feeling it had to do with Rosie in some way, and Sherlock’s past.

“Do you want to talk about it?” John asked.

“I’m just remembering things I never wanted to. I’m so glad we didn’t have to do that to Rosie.” Sherlock sounded morose and there may even have been a bit of repressed sniffling.

John held him a bit tighter.

“You know I’d never put her through anything like that. I just want to know exactly how advanced she is and how we can help her along.”

Sherlock couldn’t bring himself to look at John directly. If he did, he thought he might break.

“Thank you, John. I’ll have to thank Mycroft too, he did find the right person for the job, as usual. I wonder what Eurus had to endure in that… facility.” Sherlock felt John shudder and burrowed his face into John’s jumper, smelling his scent seemed to keep him from falling apart. He breathed it in deeply and felt better.

John shuddered at the mention of the name. He still had something to work through with his therapist, and he only figured out how to handle one of the PTSD triggers. Eurus (or rather dream Eurus) hadn’t been one of the PTSD triggers he figured out how to control. He still felt a bit of the emotions whenever she was mentioned.

“I’d rather not think about that.”

“Sorry, John… I didn’t mean to bring her up, it just slipped out. I completely misinterpreted your shudder. I - I didn’t mean to trigger anything.”

“It’s fine… I just don’t really react well to the name.”

Sherlock sat up and took John’s hands in his, looking at him earnestly.

“It might be time to actually meet my sister.” He declared. “You might benefit from it, and I know Mycroft has been trying to arrange a visit with her.”

John looked at Sherlock with a look of fear and shock. Sherlock understood the terror in John’s eyes, there could be no visit until John had seen his psychologist again, that much was clear. He didn’t regret mentioning it, as it was a necessary step for John and also because he wanted to meet the sister he’d never been allowed to know.

“John, Terrence is available whenever you need him, but he and I both think meeting Her is essential to your recovery.”

“I don’t think it is.” John said. “It could make things worse, for me at least, if she looks anything like my dream.”

“Mycroft says she has dark hair and is obviously pale because of the agoraphobia, but she dresses well and by all accounts she doesn’t wear her hair as you described, she looks after her appearance. I’ll see if I can acquire a recent picture for you before you meet her. Do you think you could handle a photograph?” John was pulling away slightly, so Sherlock gripped his hands tighter and tried to give him a reassuring squeeze.

“I honestly don’t know.” John said in a slight panic. “Let’s not do this right now, alright? I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Alright John, I understand.” Sherlock let go of John’s hands in favour of a reassuring hand on his shoulder. He surveyed the room for a distraction and Rosie’s timeout seemed as good as any, so he stood up and held out a hand to John, “Let’s go see how Rosie is.”

Chapter Text

Sherlock answered the door because he was already waiting downstairs for the doorbell to ring. He pulled Terence aside briefly and explained about the Eurus problem, emailing him a recent photograph from his phone and asked if it could be incorporated into the exposure therapy. As John had insisted since the first incident, Sherlock was downstairs having tea with Mrs. Hudson and Rosie. Her time with Sarah the psychologist and the tips she had given John and Sherlock had helped to control her temper.

Terence greeted John like an old friend.

“Hello John, how have you been?”

John sighed.

“Dealing with a toddler in a five month old’s body, so not too well.” He said with a smile.

“So Sherlock allowed an assessment?” He asked, sitting down in Sherlock’s chair, which had become his accustomed spot. John sat down in his chair opposite.

“Yeah, but he was adamant that we not go to a clinic. Turned out the psychologist was a perfect fit, she pretended to be an old family friend so Rosie wouldn’t suspect anything.”

“That’s an interesting approach, but I suppose it was the best way to handle the situation. Another of Mycroft’s contacts?”

“Yeah. Sherlock didn’t want her to be clinical in the assessment like when he and Mycroft were tested. Apparently he’s got some bad memories around that.”

“I’m sure he’s been repressing them for so many years in that Mind Palace of his, he’d never consider therapy. It’s quite a pity.” Terence smiled kindly.

“He did try therapy after Mary died, but he didn’t do it for long.”

“May I ask how your relationship is progressing?”

John blushed a bit at the question, but nodded.

“We, uh, we’re… kind of together, I guess.”

“You briefly mentioned that at the end of our last session… I can understand you’ve had a taboo about it for so long, it may be difficult to speak freely about, but that’s what I’m here for, John.”

John shifted in his seat. There had been three therapy sessions since his first one with Terrence. The second one which Sherlock was supposed to be present for had been done without him because of his spying. Two subsequent immersion therapy sessions had taken place and they have actually been useful. Indeed, he’d briefly touched on John’s feelings about Sherlock and how they had finally gotten together, but didn’t really go into much after that since they were pressed for time.

“Okay…” John thought of where to begin. “I got a package at the clinic from an unknown address. It looked weird, and when I opened it, it said ‘Miss You’, and I figured there was only one person who would send me that, and when I played the dvd inside, I was right.” He started to get a bit emotional. “It was Mary, and it was clear that… that she made the video the same day she made the first one for Sherlock. She told me that I need to ‘get off my arse’ and tell Sherlock how I feel. You know, after my first date with Mary, I had actually broken down crying. I felt like I was betraying Sherlock even though… he was… basically dead. She told me that Sherlock would want me to be happy with someone if I wanted to move on, and she didn’t care that I still loved him a lot.”

Terence looked slightly taken aback, but schooled his features quickly into a sympathetic expression. “That must have been quite a shock, seeing your deceased wife on screen, especially considering what she was saying. What happened after that?”

John shrugged.

“I broke down. I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do with everything, and didn’t want to risk my entire friendship over some feelings I had. In the video she said that she was sending Sherlock a similar video, and he definitely was acting strange when I got home. Rosie even said he was ‘acting weird’ when I asked if she was good for him while I was gone. Then we had dinner, and she kept yelling that we were both acting ‘weird’ and that we needed to just talk about it. Everything just was off for two days, and then I had this dream… and it was Mary talking to me. She was asking the right questions, and telling me things I should have known all along. I shouldn’t have been scared because Sherlock wouldn’t throw everything away just because he didn’t feel the same. On my day off, I had Rosie go to Molly’s for the afternoon, and we actually talked about the videos.”

“That must have been awkward at first, you’ve both been repressing those feelings for years. How did the talk go?”

“We ended up setting some… ground rules about what we did and didn’t want to do.” John blushed.

“That sounds sensible, I won’t ask for the details but how have things been progressing since then? Has it been as you imagined?”

“I honestly never imagined anything, but it’s been great. It’s honestly like nothing has changed, just added some romantic stuff to it.” He chuckled. “One woman who came in actually got angry at us for being gay and raising Rosie, and Rosie just decided to make her more angry by calling Sherlock ‘Papa’.”

Terence chuckled softly, “You didn’t have a problem with that categorisation?”

“Sherlock pointed out that it wasn’t technically correct, but he found it funny… until Rosie asked what ‘gay’ meant.”

“How did you handle trying to explain the concept to such a young child?”

“Sherlock handled it, I couldn’t even think of how to explain it.”

“Sherlock is surprisingly good with Rosie, did you ever expect that from him?” Terrence asked.

“Not at all. It took promising cake at Rosie’s baptism to get him to be her godfather actually. Even when he was invited to the baby shower of one of the Yarders we’ve worked with a lot, he refused.”

“If I may say something, perhaps out of turn… his attitude is most likely different because she’s your child and he has great affection for you.”

“Probably, but he also mainly took care of her when I was in a coma, so they also could have connected then.”

“Is Rosie aware that there has been a change in your relationship?”

“We haven’t exactly talked to her about it yet. We don’t really do romantic things in front of her anyway because she’s constantly keeping us on our toes.”

Terrence chuckled again. “How has the rest of his and your family reacted to your raising her together?”

“I don’t really talk to my parents, Harry has texted me saying things like ‘so when are you gonna propose’, Mycroft has only tried to help the best he can, and everyone else just sees it as I don’t really have anyone else to help and I live at Baker Street, so it makes sense.”

“So she has met Mycroft and a few of your mutual friends, but not your sister? I assume that’s due to the alcoholism you mentioned previously. Is Rosie aware there is actually a romantic relationship now, or had she been saying those things before?”

“I don’t know. I mean she only said one thing about it right after the woman who was angry that we’re together, but she’s as smart as a whip so who knows what she understands.”

“It’s certainly not a very conventional family you’ve built.”

“Sherlock solves murders and I blog about them, meanwhile we’re also raising a baby who’s a child prodigy, so I’d say that’s about right.”

“You’re also suffering from PTSD from a coma dream, which is a topic I think we need to get back to.” Terence spent a minute updating his notes then looked up to an anxious John. “As you know there is one trigger we haven’t yet worked on: Eurus. Yes John, I can see the panic in your eyes, but it has to be done.”

John rubbed his hand over his face. He was hoping he could avoid this day a bit longer, especially since Sherlock wasn’t allowed to be in these type of sessions.

“Do we have to?”

“Unfortunately yes, it is what I believe is necessary, and an opinion that is shared by others who are involved in your life.”

“Sherlock and Mycroft put you up to it, didn’t they?”

“It would be a breach of my ethics if I let other people direct your treatment. I personally think this is the next step in your therapy.”

“But they still helped you because you got the needed stimuli.”

“Yes. It was the only way to obtain it.”

“Then they did put you up to it.”

“If I believed it would compromise your treatment, there is no force on earth that would make me do it.”

The soldier sighed, and nodded while he kept eye contact with the floor.

“We’re going to start with the sketch you did with the police artist of the woman you saw in your dream, okay?” He reached into his briefcase to retrieve a tablet which he used to display the image. He paused and then turned the tablet around for John to see.

John looked slowly up from the ground and as his eyes connected with the picture he shuddered so hard it was almost a convulsion...

 

He saw her on the screen. The governor’s office at-.

 

NO! IT WASN’T REAL!

 

“That’s it John, you know it wasn’t real. That whole scenario took place in your head alone . There is nothing to be feared from it. It didn’t happen, John, you’re safe . Come away from that place, come back to what’s real , OPEN YOUR EYES, just like I taught you.”

John took deep breaths and started doing his clenching and releasing of his fists exercises, but it was extremely hard. He and Sherlock had tried the exercises at home with related stimuli, except this was about the person who caused all of his misery. He thought about the fact that it was a dream, and it didn’t have any bearing on reality except for a name. The whole situation he went through wasn’t real at all.

He forced his eyes open and looked around. His breath was still shaky, and he was clenching onto his knees like a vice-grip, but he did it… for about two seconds.

 

He was suddenly back at Sherrinford and the three brothers were dangling outside the window. Sherlock and Mycroft were deducing who had murdered ‘Evans’, but they all knew that no matter who did it, someone would die. The three men outside looked terrified. They looked as if they were making a pact with God to let them survive this horrible nightmare.

 

THAT’S ALL IT IS!! IT’S A NIGHTMARE!!!

 

“John, you need to open your eyes . You need to make a connection to the present. Come on, open your eyes for me. YOU CAN DO THIS!”

 

Rosie… he thought of Rosie crawling on the floor away from him squealing in joy. She looks so happy to play with him.

 

He opened his eyes. He was sweating, shaking, and panting.

“That’s it John.” Terrence approved. “Now, give me one thing you can see, one you can touch, one you can hear, one you can smell and anything you can taste.”

John looked around the flat and used all his senses.

“I can… I can feel the chair under me.” He said shakily. “I can hear you… I can smell… I can smell the fireplace we used recently… and I can taste my spit.”

“Very good.” He made a note that John had only given him four of the five senses he’d asked for, missing out on sight might be significant. “Stay grounded in the present. What brought you back from that flashback?”

“Rosie… just me playing with her.”

“That’s an excellent strategy, and one, I’m sorry to say, I hadn’t considered myself. Do you think you’ll be able to tell Sherlock about that coping strategy so he can assist you when I’m not around?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Good, John. Now, let’s work on some of those deep breathing exercising, help you totally regain your equilibrium. Breathe in for four counts, hold for two, out for four.”

Terence maintained eye contact with John, watching to see that he was listening and doing as asked. When he complied with the breathing exercise, John’s eyes closed and Terence watched his body language.

John started to do the breathing exercises. He kept thinking of moments he’d had with Rosie to keep himself grounded as he did so. It seemed he and Sherlock weren’t only helping her, but also she was helping him get better. He knew Eurus would be the hardest trigger to overcome, except he didn’t think it would be so terrifying. Once he felt himself calm down, he opened his eyes once more.

“Okay.” He said.

“Very good, John, this is a huge improvement.”

“I guess.”

“Now, do you think you can handle looking at the picture of the real Eurus? I assure you, she looks nothing like the sketch you provided.”

John took a deep breath.

“If she doesn’t look like the woman who shot me, sure.”

“Absolutely nothing like her. I promise.” He looked at John, with compassion and sincerity.

“Ok then.”

Terence turned the tablet back to face him, and pulled up a photo of the actual Eurus Holmes. She had black hair, in good condition, it looked silky, like she had used a straightening iron and good treatment products. It was in a neat ponytail at the base of her neck and not anywhere near as long as the hair in the sketch. She wasn’t smiling but her face was made up with a touch of eyeliner and eyeshadow, her long dark lashes not requiring any mascara She had Sherlock’s cupid’s-bow lips decorated with a natural shade of lipgloss. She was very pale, but Terence had treated a few agoraphobics and they were all quite pale. She was a healthy weight and her signature Holmes cheekbones were not standing out in stark relief from a gaunt face as in the sketch. She looked nothing like the unkempt ghostly figure in the drawing, nor the photographs of the rogue agent, besides the agent having a similar lip shape and not-quite Holmes-high cheekbones.

He cautiously turned the photo around to show John, slightly anxious over another melt-down.

“She doesn’t look that much like the woman I saw… or in my dream.” John said in relief.

“No, she doesn’t. I am given to understand you have been briefed on the lifestyle and habits of the real Eurus Holmes and that logically, she could not have attacked you.”

“So I’ve been told.”

“I think you should try to meet her, it would be the best way for you to dispel any lingering notions that she was in any way your attacker. I would be happy to be on standby for the meeting, if you agree to it.”

This was an incredibly hard decision. John didn’t know if it would work, but at the same time, he had found himself wondering what the real Eurus was like. Was she nicer? Did she act like Sherlock had when they first met? Was she loving like her parents? Did she think she was better than everyone else like Mycroft? Was she human ? He hoped she acted a bit normal so it would be easier. She looked pretty normal in the photo despite the lack of smile and the paleness in her skin. Taking a deep breath, he made up his mind.

“Okay.”

***

 

Sherlock was secretly very pleased that Terence had managed to convince John to meet with Eurus. John had told him once they had taken Rosie back upstairs and put her down for a nap. Mycroft had been in negotiations with Eurus for some time now as she struggled with the idea of letting ‘strangers’ into her home. Sherlock was rather excited to meet the sister he had deleted. He had gleaned all he could from her online presence, but it was minimal. To be able to observe her properly, they needed to meet face-to-face. He wanted John to confront his demons, but he also couldn’t help a selfish thrill of pleasure at the chance to re-acquaint himself with a lost sibling who was a total mystery to him. The meeting was arranged for the following Monday when John was not scheduled to work and Mycroft wasn’t scheduled to wage any new wars.

A strict list of instructions had been sent along with her permission (it wasn’t really an invitation , more like a legal application to travel). Eurus would not allow the psychologist onto her property, he would have to remain in the car. They were all to enter through the front door bearing identification and submit to a weapons check after going through the decontamination chamber in what most people would have used for an entry hall. They had to wear freshly washed clothes (which Sherlock thought was a bit obvious). No shoes were allowed inside, they would all be supplied with sterile slippers once inside and could collect their shoes on the way out. No other foreign objects (such as Mycroft’s umbrella - Sherlock almost giggled when he read that) would be allowed, they would have to show their pockets were empty and their mobile phones would be kept along with their shoes.

Mycroft’s town car pulled up to the road where Eurus’ cottage resided. Even the cars were spotlessly clean, though that had not been stipulated - Mycroft was clearly trying to make some amends. Terence stayed in the backseat where he had been, next to John who was in the middle seat, actually gripping Sherlock’s hand in a previously unthinkable display of public affection. As they arrived a camera swiveled to follow their progress. A video intercom was next to the electric gate in the high wall that surrounded the property. They pressed the buzzer and were allowed to enter.

They approached the entrance one by one, Mycroft first, then Sherlock and lastly John. Sherlock could only hope that John would not turn and run once Sherlock was inside the door. Another video intercom was placed next to the door, Mycroft buzzed and was asked for identification by an anxious woman’s voice coming through the slightly tinny speaker. Sherlock watched John carefully for signs that the voice had affected him, but John showed none. He had his ‘soldier’ face on, but his eyes betrayed the nervousness he was trying so desperately to hide.

Mycroft entered the first door, removed his shoes, mobile, and wallet and opened the packet with the sterile slippers, putting them on. He showed the camera on the other side of the double glass that his pockets were empty; he had even left his umbrella in the car. A burst of air (which must have been the decontamination chamber at work) ruffled Mycroft’s impeccably styled hair and clothing, and Sherlock had to stifle another giggle. He looked at John to share the joke, but John was staring into nothingness, not taking in any of the scene in front of him. Mycroft was allowed into the main house and Sherlock could see through the haze that he was fixing his hair and clothes. Sherlock stepped up next to present his identification, Eurus didn’t speak to him, the door merely clicked open and with a glance back at John, he stepped into the chamber. The process was repeated and then Sherlock had a quick look and saw Eurus was not in the room yet.

He turned around to watch John show his ID mechanically, enter and complete the decontamination procedure and emerge on the other side. John looked… blank, Sherlock thought, and he reached for his hand again, to try to bring him back to reality, as his fingers twined with John’s he whispered,

“Remember that first day you came home and Rosie was so excited to see ‘dada’?”

When John looked at Sherlock, he seemed a bit steadier and he gave him a grateful smile.

They all stood, waiting expectantly for Eurus to enter through one of the doors they could see. Slowly, the furthest door opened, if the hinges were not so well oiled, it would have creaked. A pale figure dressed in a corporate-style black dress emerged, feet in the same slippers they were all now wearing, her pale legs and arms showing a slight trembling. Her hair was neatly styled in a bun and her face was made up similarly to the picture John had been shown. She had the Holmes cheekbones and Sherlock’s cupid’s bow lips and a chin similar to Mycroft’s. There were a few moments of awkward silence as they all looked at each other and waited to see who would speak first. Eventually Mycroft spoke,

“Thank you for allowing us into your home, Eurus.”

Eurus looked at him with piercing blue eyes. “Hello Mycroft…” She looked over to Sherlock, and gave him a kind smile. “And hello Sherlock.” She seemed to be analyzing him like the brothers did to other people. “You’ve grown so much since the last time I saw you.”

Sherlock answered in a voice that was slightly hushed with awe,

“I would imagine so. It is… nice to finally meet you, Eurus.”

She simply nodded, and looked at John, who hadn’t said a word and was looking at the floor.

“And this must be Doctor Watson… the reason for our little reunion.”

John looked up and said a little ‘yes’. Eurus gave him a warming smile instead.

“I’ve been following your blog for a few years now to keep up with Sherlock, and I can’t imagine my brother is easy to live with as, when he was a child, he was hard to live with too.” She eyed both Mycroft and Sherlock with a smirk. “Actually, you both were.”

Mycroft merely raised an eyebrow in a sardonic look. Sherlock cleared his throat and gestured to the plastic covered furniture with a questioning look.

“Please, have a seat.” She said as she gestured to the couches and chairs.

Sherlock noticed that the chair furthest from the window had a slight indent in the plastic covering and deduced that Eurus usually occupied that chair. He steered the others accordingly, Mycroft to the other chair and he and John to the couch.

Mycroft sneered slightly at the plastic and said,

“I didn’t think they made these anymore, wherever did you attain such things?”

“I had them custom made by a company in Sweden.”

“It’s quite wondrous what you can find on the internet.” Sherlock said in the most congenial tone he had ever used, trying to make up for Mycroft’s snide comment.

John looked at him with a confused expression, which asked ‘what are you doing?’ Sherlock gave him a strange look back, which John interpreted to mean ‘I’m trying to be nice.’

“Well at least one of you is being sincere. Sherlock you do not need to sugar-coat everything, I hate false sincerity.”

John was actually beginning, very tentatively, to like her. She had the gall to call her brothers out on their idiosyncrasies, which he found highly amusing. Mycroft was always the one who called Sherlock an idiot, and now he was being talked down to by someone who was supposedly even smarter than him. John cleared his throat.

“So…” He started. “You know about the reason we’re here, right?”

“Yes.” She answered. “Partially due to your PTSD treatment, but mostly because of someone posing as me going off the grid.”

Mycroft looked like he was about to ask how she knew that, but she stopped him before he could.

“Oh please, Mycroft, you don’t visit me for eight years and turn up about PTSD that supposedly has something to do with me in some way? Just the fact that Doctor Watson has therapy for that kind of thing indicated it was about someone who was pretending to be me. On top of that, if you haven’t been able to track them down, that shows they can live off the grid and away from the eyes of the British Government.”

Sherlock was only slightly surprised at her deduction, she was ‘an era defying genius’ after all, and it seemed that either Mycroft had played ‘deductions’ with her as a child as he’d done with Sherlock, or the observational skills merely ran in the family (Father being the exception to this rule, it must come from Mummy’s side). He always enjoyed seeing Mycroft put in his place, but knowing it was coming from his sister gave it a special significance. He hoped that more time spent with her would bring back all the memories he had been programmed to erase.

Mycroft couldn’t help another sneer, it was his default expression after all,

“Well deduced, sister . It is of course classified information, so I will not be sharing anything else with you.”

“I don’t need anything else, in fact I already know that you got an audio recording of the incident from a hidden recording device, using the best hacker in the world because you only ever go for the best and are planning to give it to Doctor Watson’s therapist in order to help him with his immersion therapy. Sherlock of course is finally with him after years of hidden feelings, so only a therapist with high security clearance and that is well vetted by you would be able to know about me.” She sat back triumphantly. “Oxford educated, correct? But you weren’t quite able to find someone with high education throughout their entire life.”

Sherlock grinned at John, who actually smiled back. Sherlock was fascinated by Eurus and desperate to remember her as a child, even if it would be opening some old wounds.

“Mycroft, why have you been keeping her from me all this time?”

“It wasn’t my decision.” Mycroft said.

Eurus sighed and her expression fell.

“In order to try to prevent further pain, I decided to let you forget me.” She explained. “I was a horrible child, and when Mycroft and our parents informed me that you blocked me out, I thought it was best you didn’t remember me. You didn’t need to remember the horrible things I did.”

“I’ve been briefed on that and I think I would like to try to remember. I would like to include you in my life, Eurus, if you’ll let me.”

She looked as if she was having an internal battle. Sherlock noticed the strain in Eurus’ face and felt a ‘bit not good’ for asking her so bluntly, when they’d hardly had any time to get to know each other. Perhaps it was a bad idea to expect a person who lived like she did and himself, who both lacked so many social skills, to try to forge a bond that had been broken so long ago.

“Possibly.” She answered. “I’d like to consider the pros and cons of it first because when I first made my decision, the cons were far greater.”

“I respect that. I… may have been too hasty. My apologies.”

John felt Sherlock shrink back into himself a bit, next to him. Sherlock didn’t often open himself up like that because he tended to expect rejection. That little reinforcement of that expected response from the sister he was so eager to know had hurt him. John wished he could wrap him up in his arms to reassure him that he was loved, but he thought Sherlock wouldn’t appreciate that with the current audience. He shifted on the couch until his leg pressed against Sherlock’s and gave him a small, private smile. Sherlock hadn’t let his emotions show on his face, just the minute shrinking movement that only John noticed (and probably Eurus, because she was so bloody observant) it was less than a flinch even.

“Well I think I’ve gotten all the ‘therapeutic benefits’ I can from this visit.” John announced. “You are not the person who shot me or the person who caused the… other trauma.”

Mycroft picked up on this cue for them to leave, nodding at Eurus (who he knew would not have appreciated a handshake) as he stood.

“Thank you for your hospitality, Eurus. We shall endeavour not to bother you again.”

Sherlock and John stood up in a synchronised movement that could only come from having spent many years together and Eurus stood up as well, nodding at each of them in turn.

“I appreciate you three coming.” She said sincerely. “Not everyone is allowed to visit, and the only way someone I don’t approve of comes is if there is an emergency in my line of work. Even then I highly recommend a Skype call.”

“What about your parents?” John asked.

“They think that my routine for entering the house is ‘too tedious to even bother with’ so they give me video calls and presents on certain occasions.”

“I am the only one who didn’t know about you?” Sherlock said, shocked. “How could I have been so oblivious?” He scowled at Mycroft. “You made me a goldfish, Mycroft. Did you enjoy lording that knowledge over me?”

“Oh here we go.” John whispered to Eurus with an eye roll.

“I was under an obligation and a mutual agreement not to inform you, brother. I expect our parents have had a difficult time keeping the truth from you as well.”

“Uh oh, Christmas is going to be extremely awkward this year.” John sighed.

Eurus chuckled as the two continued to argue.

“You should have seen how it was as children. They’d just keep deducing the gifts by shaking them one by one. Mother and father kept telling them to enjoy the surprise, but of course, brotherly rivalry ensued.”

“We’d best be going, it’s already going to be a very uncomfortable car ride…”

At that, Eurus whistled loudly, which startled the two brothers into silence.

“As much as I love to have both of my brothers here for once, I’d prefer to not have the brotherly arguments happen in my house.” She said with a cheeky grin.

John was trying incredibly hard not to laugh. Honestly, he hoped Eurus would stick around. She seemed incredibly intelligent but also human. He never thought that was possible for a Holmes child considering the other two he had to deal with already.

Small as she must have been at the time, Sherlock realised that Eurus had picked up the whistling from their mother. She had replicated it perfectly. He remembered that whistle from every school holiday Mycroft and Sherlock had shared at home and every family gathering they had been forced to attend. He marveled at how Eurus had practically been their mother in that moment, down to the cheeky grin. It was uncanny, and it just reinforced the conspiracy that his entire family had left him out of. He felt himself redden in anger and tried to contain it for John and Eurus’ sake, but Mycroft would be feeling his wrath soon.

The three of them left the cottage and got into Mycroft’s car, but John could still feel the anger in the air. He should have known this was going to happen, but he hoped that the reunion would make things a bit easier for them. Trust Sherlock to feel like his brother would intentionally keep him in the dark for entertainment. In order to make the tension a bit bearable, he laced his fingers through Sherlock’s who was sitting next to him, and smiled at him. Sherlock responded with a gentle squeeze.

Terence’s attention was focussed on John at first, but seeing that his client was fine and showed no signs of panic, he scanned the faces of Mycroft and Sherlock. There was an extremely tense atmosphere between the two. He was worried he would be forced to intervene if it came to a verbal altercation. Luckily the two brothers merely sat in silence, one occasionally glaring at the other, but otherwise staring out of the windows. Nobody spoke all the way to Baker Street.

 

***

 

Sherlock was out of sorts for days after the encounter with Eurus and the discovery that his entire family had been lying to him. When Rosie was not around, he spent most of his time flopped down on the couch in his dressing gown refusing to speak to anyone, even John. It wasn’t until he suddenly had the idea to use his homeless network to find the rogue agent that he actually began to soften his demeanour from the Sherlock John had known in the early days of them living together. There were no cuddles on the couch or goodnight kisses while Sherlock was in his dark mood. The storm cloud he seemed to drag with him only ever lifted for Rosie, and John thought that was solely because he didn’t want to teach her to sulk.

The soldier did his best to make him eat or sleep, but nothing seemed to work. Sherlock was starting to get back into his old habits of barely sleeping or eating on cases, which was what was partially going on. When they had arrived at Baker Street, Mycroft had started to demand Sherlock start working on John’s case, and so he was. It felt weird that the pictures and notes tacked on the wall were now about him, and not someone else. He couldn’t bear to look at them most of the time because it was difficult to see the pictures of where he was shot. Not exactly a trigger, but still made him emotional.

Rosie seemed to love it though. She would watch the wall if Sherlock added a new piece to it, almost as if she was trying to work it out as well. Sometimes she’d just climb onto John’s chair when Sherlock was in his thinking pose and do the same pose to mimic him. It was honestly adorable but made John fear what would become of his child in the future.

It had been about a week after the visit with Eurus when Sherlock finally got a lead. John and Rosie were on her playmat spelling new words (he had bought her more letters as Sarah suggested), when Sherlock came bursting through the door with the look he got when he found a new lead.

“The homeless network found something, John.” He announced. “I’ve called Mycroft’s band of incompetent agents to join me in searching where she was last seen. The network believes she will be there for at least one more night, however she is out at the moment.”

Rosie started clapping with a huge smile and turned to John.

“You can catch her, Daddy!” She said. “You and Papa catch bad lady!”

“I don’t think Papa wants me to come for that, Rosebud.” John said honestly. “It wouldn’t be a good idea.”

She gave him a look of ‘are you stupid?’ and pointed to Sherlock then him.

“You’re Sherlock Holmes and John Watson! You do it together!”

“Precisely, Rosie. Mycroft refused to allow us on his first useless attempt to catch her, but I’m not playing by his rules anymore.” Sherlock sneered at the mention of his brother, but he changed back to a neutral expression because Rosie was looking at him.

John didn’t think it was a very good idea. He was still having trouble in immersion therapy with just looking at the sketch, but chasing after the agent would be a different thing altogether. He looked down to Rosie and said,

“Rosie, I need to talk to Papa for a bit. You stay here and see how many words you can spell for a while, okay?”

Rosie looked at him suspiciously, but nodded anyway. John kissed her on the head, and gestured for Sherlock to follow him to the bedroom.

“I can’t go with you, Sherlock.” He said once the door was shut. “I can’t even look at the police sketch without having an episode, so you can’t expect me to go after her, can you?”

“I’ve spoken to Terence - yes, I know I shouldn’t have, berate me later - he thinks it would be therapeutic for you to get out and do what we do best. Especially since you will also have the chance to confront your - as he said - ‘abuser’.”

Sherlock was grinning, probably at his ingenuity or something, but as great as it was to see him smile. It wasn’t all that comforting for John, whose privacy had been invaded again.

“Okay first, do you not remember what we talked about in terms of privacy with my therapist? Secondly, I don’t think I’m ready. We’ve only tackled a few small in-flat cases since then, and one of them, while from the Yard, was one you solved in a few minutes. Just please give me some time alright? Don’t just expect me to jump in so quickly.”

Sherlock could see the slightly wild look in John’s eyes which usually preceded a panic attack.

He put his hands on John’s shoulders, bent down a bit and looked him in the eye.

“Did you hear your daughter? Rosie thinks this will be good for you, and she’s the most perceptive human being in this flat.”

“Rosie is five months old, Sherlock. I wouldn’t talk to my five month old about therapy or case related items so she doesn’t know about what I’m actually feeling. And if you have I swear to god I’ll be the one shooting up the wall this time.”

“Rosie has seen the case wall, she can read simple words and I honestly can’t help if I talk aloud while I think, John. I’m not saying I have done that, but it is a possibility. Shoot the wall all you like, but that child is far more shrewd and insightful than you give her credit for.”

“This isn’t about Rosie, Sherlock. This is about the fact that I don’t feel I’m ready to get back to chasing down fucking maniacs! Especially the one who shot me!”

“Why? A maniac tried to shoot us and we chased him before. You might remember him, crazy Irish fellow?”

“Of course, but that time I didn’t have my own family. I didn’t have a lot to lose back then, except you. If I slip up and have an episode while we’re chasing this woman, it could mean either of our lives, and Rosie could lose her only other parent. I don’t want to do that to her and I don’t want to do that to you.”

“I understand that, John. You’ve made some very good points. I can’t force you to come with me, but I will be going. I’m not leaving something this important to Mycroft’s agents, they’re only a few IQ points above Scotland Yard.”

He looked imploringly at John for a few moments, then seeing his jaw set resolutely, opened the door to swoop out dramatically, however he was brought up short by a tiny spy.

Rosie hadn’t stayed at the playmat, she had crawled over to the door with her bee and was listening in. She sat outside, and looked lovingly at her father. It seemed she’d heard and understood John’s points as she crawled past Sherlock, and straight to John. She asked to be picked up, and when she was, she hugged her father tightly and said,

“Love you Daddy.”

John felt his heart swell and his throat start to tighten from that tiny gesture. He hugged her tightly in return.

“I love you too, Rosebud.”

“You can chase fucking maniac.”

Both men blanched at Rosie’s curse but she just smiled at John like she did when she used a new word. John cleared his throat.

“Don’t say that word again, Rosie. That’s a grown-up word.”

Sherlock could feel laughter bubbling up, but he knew that to let it show would undermine John’s discipline. He felt like he ought to go outside and let the laughter out before suppressing it damaged his ribcage and abdominal muscles. Now that Rosie was out of his way, he practically flew down the stairs to the outer door, just bolting out onto the street before the peels of laughter escaped.

John could hear Sherlock’s laughter, but decided to ignore it in order not to laugh himself. He simply looked down at Rosie who looked confused.

“Papa just needed a moment alone.” He said.

 

***

Sherlock returned with his composure intact 10 minutes later, after a walk around the block laughing like a “fucking maniac”; he had managed to stifle the last of his giggles as he went back to Baker Street to await the signal from the homeless network which would indicate the rogue was moving back towards her hideout. A few hours passed while he planned how to execute the ‘retrieval operation’ as Mycroft’s (stupid) agents had called it. He had his small torch, lockpicks and handcuffs (stolen from Lestrade) in his coat, he showered and dressed in his usual black suit, with a black shirt, for maximum camouflage. He was expecting the signal any minute and was watching out the window for the phone camera to flash 3 times.

 

John knew Sherlock was anxious to get out there, and he couldn’t blame him. Sherlock hadn’t done any legwork as far as he knew for over three months, and he had been waiting for John to be in peak physical condition to go on a chase again. The fact that even Rosie knew that was astounding to say the least. As John watched Sherlock at the window, he felt his palms begin to sweat in a very familiar way, his adrenaline was starting to pick up like it did whenever they did a stakeout or were on their way to a crime scene. He shouldn’t have been excited, but he was. He honestly wasn’t thinking rationally, and his body was making sure of that. Rosie was already put to bed, and Mrs. Hudson said that if John changed his mind and decided to leave with Sherlock, she’d watch the flat while they were gone. It was a tempting offer, and it made him want to go even more.

The three flashes Sherlock had been waiting for finally came and he dashed out of the lounge, pulled on his coat and after double checking that he had all the necessities, he gave John one final look, it very clearly said ‘I love you’, then he raced down the stairs and was almost out of the door. Mycroft’s agents would be waiting on his orders at the rendezvous point and he made a quick call to let the leader know she was on the move.

“Sherlock, WAIT!” John called against his better judgement.

His addiction to danger took over when he rushed down the stairs after his lover as he put his coat on. How was it Sherlock was always right?

“Mrs. Hudson!” He called to the apartment on the ground floor. “You’ll need to watch Rosie after all.”

He heard a muffled ‘yes dear’ through the door.

Sherlock grinned when he heard John yell, this was just like old times and he couldn’t wait to be out there with his partner again. John had grabbed his coat, but Sherlock had to wait while he retrieved his gun from the safe that had been installed for Rosie’s sake. In the meantime, Sherlock hailed a cab, gave the address and waited eagerly, John was on the street a minute later. They were both almost giddy with the excitement, the game was on once again and they were finally going on a chase to apprehend a criminal after months of abstaining from it.

Their destination was a council flat in the Winstanley Estate in Battersea, near the York Gardens. This section of 6 flats had obviously had a fire about five years ago, but it seemed there was a new tenant living in one of the flats… the small glow from a gas heater could just barely be seen through the blackened windows.

The homeless network were hanging around the Estate, it wasn’t unusual for people to lurk in this part of town so they went unnoticed.

It was a twenty minute cab ride from Baker Street, and Mycroft’s agents had been waiting at St. Peter’s church nearby since sundown. They had strict orders not to move onto the Estate before Sherlock and John arrived. Traffic was minimal and the journey took 2 minutes less than expected, which always pleased Sherlock and John gave the cabbie his tip accordingly.

They slunk onto the estate, keeping to the shadows, as they neared the building the MI6 operatives were doing the same, approaching from the opposite direction in groups of two and three. When they had the building encircled and 2 operatives took over John and Sherlock’s positions, the detective and his blogger silently entered the building as the homeless network had instructed. They used the stairs, as the lift had been burned out in the fire and would anyway have been too conspicuous. Creeping up to the second floor flat the rogue agent was occupying, John took out his gun and they stood outside for a moment. Sherlock looked at John, and John looked back.

“Are you ready?” Sherlock whispered.

“As I can be.” John whispered back.

John kicked in the rather singed door and they both stormed into the lounge/kitchen/dining area. The rogue agent, easily identifiable by the light of the gas heater, was startled out of her sleeping bag, but recovered quickly, pulling a Glock from under her pillow. She aimed it at Sherlock’s head, because she thought she could take a chance on his reflexes not being quite on par with John-basically-dodged-a-bullet-Watson’s. John however, already had his Browning aimed at her. It was a stalemate.

“Come quietly into custody and nobody needs be hurt, Elizabeth.”

“I’m not Elizabeth, my name is Eurus Holmes, I’m your sister Sherlock. You can’t let him shoot your own sister, please hear me out before you do anything rash!”

Sherlock decided to indulge her for a moment, to see if he could break the stalemate with logic.

“No, I couldn’t shoot my own sister, but since you’re pointing a gun at my head, killing me - ‘your brother ’ - doesn’t seem to bother you.”

She cringed and lowered the gun, aiming at Sherlock’s thigh

“You’re right, I couldn’t kill you, but if you won’t let me explain, I can slow you down long enough to get away.”

Sherlock considered the depth of her psychosis, clearly her delusion wouldn’t be broken by logic, she was far beyond that. Perhaps shock might work.

“Oh, but you’ve been in hiding for quite a while, you may not have the latest information… You see, I’ve met my sister, she’s currently in Norfolk at this very moment. She has a few problems which would preclude her ability to be here, out in the world -- namely her crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Agoraphobia. Also, unless you can speak every language currently in use, you are not my sister.”

Elizabeth looked shocked then immediately turned angry. She recognised she was beaten and raised the gun back up to Sherlock’s head, her face became cold and calculating, with a slightly quizzical smile.

“Should I put a hole in his face now, John?” She asked. “I doubt he can actually dodge it this time.”

At that moment, when she looked at Sherlock the exact way she’d looked at John before the shooting, John lost control of himself. He couldn’t make his finger pull the trigger, and he kept trying to tell himself to do it. He could see Elizabeth was about to pull the trigger on her gun and things suddenly went into slow motion. His mind was processing every single detail in the room from the graffiti on the wall to how the crazy person in front of them was shaking ever so slightly.

‘Knock it off.’ He told himself. ‘If you don’t pull the trigger, Sherlock dies. SO. FUCKING. DO. IT!!!!”

The moment she had spoken those words, most of Sherlock’s attention turned to John. While he still kept part of his focus on Harker, watching for the first sign of movement out of his peripheral vision, he was mostly worried about John. He looked frozen and Sherlock feared that he had been terribly wrong about bringing him along. If John broke the stalemate by having a panic attack, one or both of them may very well end up grievously injured or worse… perhaps he should have listened to John in the first place.

It seemed John’s thoughts of encouragement was the thing that stopped his blockage as he immediately pulled the trigger and shot Harker in the chest. She screamed in pain and fell to the floor and let her gun fall with a metallic crash. John had to catch his breath for a moment before he went over and grabbed the gun away from Harker.

As Sherlock watched, John’s breathing slowed and his darting-eye movements stopped, his focus returned to Harker and though his gun had lowered from her head to her chest, he pulled off a clean shot that sent her to the floor and even had his soldier’s presence of mind enough to immediately remove the gun from her vicinity. He breathed a sigh of relief, he had not been wrong. John had faced his fear and hadn’t succumbed to it. In fact, he had triumphed over it, just as Terence had hoped. Sherlock had organised a session for the next morning, he didn’t care if John thought he was intervening inappropriately again, John would have needed to discuss these events regardless of whether he chose to be involved or not.

Elizabeth was writhing in pain from the chest wound, her breathing was laboured. John had aimed to the right, probably collapsing a lung, it was unlikely to be fatal with prompt medical intervention. He called Mycroft’s men, who had an ambulance on standby (well hidden) and gave them the order to collect her. She could then be punished to the full extent of the law and institutionalised. She’d be out of their lives and John could call this a victory over his PTSD and maybe things could settle down at Baker Street once more.

When they entered the front door to Baker Street, Sherlock knew that adrenaline was no longer his only source of energy at the moment. He needed John, needed him so much that he ached. He was feeling that old form of lust he felt when he returned from a chase with John, only this time he was allowing himself to act on it.

“Where is Rosie?” He inquired.

“In bed, but Mrs. Hudson should be in the flat watching her.”

“We’ll need to rush her out quickly.” Sherlock said, looking flushed with the excitement of a successful capture.

“What did you have in mind?”

“Can’t we send her out for something, to an all-night pharmacy? Baby supplies, formula, nappies, just - anything? I don’t know.”

“I guess.”

Immediately, Sherlock pinned John to the wall and kissed him ferociously. He pressed against the shorter man to make sure he felt Sherlock’s desire slowly but surely growing between them. John reacted immediately as his hands moved from their original position and entangled in Sherlock’s hair with a light tug. If it wasn’t for Baker Street being full of Rosie and Mrs. Hudson, he wouldn’t have made John wait until they got to the bedroom, but tonight there was no damn to be given. They could snog in the entry hall for all he cared, until they could get rid of one or both of their obstacles.

Sherlock’s lips parted with John’s and he whispered urgently,

“She’s more likely to believe you if you ask her to go out for something, though she’ll probably suspect something either way.”

“Fine I’ll bloody do it.” John whispered back, smoothing his hair and clothing.

Once they both looked presentable, they made their way upstairs to the flat where Mrs. Hudson was doing some knitting on the couch. She looked up with a smile.

“You two seem happy.” She said. “Just like the good old days after a chase.”

“Yes, it was good to get out there again. The guilty party was apprehended.” Sherlock said.

John cleared his throat.

“Actually, Mrs. Hudson, could you run to the shops for us please?” He asked. “We’re low on nappies.”

He did his best to sound entirely normal, which seemed to work as Mrs. Hudson packed up her knitting and said,

“It’s a bit late, but that little girl will probably need a change in a few hours, so I’ll hop off.”

Right as the front door shut, the two men were all over each other once more. Thankfully, Rosie was asleep upstairs tonight, so they had the spacious bed to do as they wished in Sherlock’s room. Once inside the room, John pushed Sherlock onto the bed and knelt between his legs, which revealed a very hard erection against his thigh. They continued to snog, and soon enough, John was starting to get hard as well, and he hoped that tonight would be the night where they finally had sex. He hoped that tonight Sherlock was finally comfortable enough with him to be intimate. However, when John tried to slip his hand below Sherlock’s trousers, the detective grabbed his wrist and ceased the hungry kissing to lean his forehead against John’s with his eyes closed.

“Not tonight.” He breathed. “While my transport is aroused by the idea of you pleasing me that way, I myself am not ready for that yet.”

Sherlock was nervous, he had a set of steps planned and he didn’t want to skip ahead too soon. He worried about his own reaction and John’s lack of experience with men, the only way he could think of to stay calm was to stick to his plan.

“Don’t misunderstand, John.” He said. “Another step shall be taken tonight, but only in exposing upper bodies to each other.”

They had moved onto actually making out already, but they hadn’t really done anything with orgasms yet. John knew Sherlock would have one off when they were finished, and so would he, just nothing where one did it to the other. But tonight they desperately needed release. At the moment they were relieved of coats, Sherlock’s blazer was on the floor, and John’s jumper joined with it. He decided to do as Sherlock suggested in just taking off their shirts. Very slowly, he started unbuttoning his detective’s black button up. He could hear Sherlock catch his breath every time John’s fingers skimmed over newly exposed skin with every button, and it just reinforced that Sherlock was indeed a virgin. Once the shirt was entirely open, Sherlock moved to shrug it off, but John stopped him.

“Don’t.” He whispered. “It looks good like this.”

Sherlock’s breath was coming thick and fast and his heart practically skyrocketed out of his chest when John complimented him. He reached up with trembling hands to undo the top button of John’s shirt. He felt quite alarmed at his inability to breathe when his fingers brushed the small part of John’s chest that had been exposed. He was itching to see John’s scar up close. At the second button Sherlock felt material instead of skin. John was wearing a vest under his shirt. Well, that put a dampener on things… he undid the rest of the buttons quickly and pulled the vest out of John’s trousers and halfway up his back before John pulled away slightly.

John knew his vest would put Sherlock off a bit, but decided to make a show of taking it off. Very slowly, he slid the item of clothing up his body to reveal his abs, then his chest, and pulled it over his head, which left his hair slightly messy, and now everything was in view… including the scar on his left shoulder. He was still insecure about that patch of skin as he didn’t really like telling the story of it when he was in bed with one of his ex-girlfriends. It seemed his thoughts were visible though because Sherlock reached up and traced his finger over the marred flesh, clearly fascinated by it.

At last, Sherlock thought as he reached a tentative finger to the scar, marvelling at finally being able to touch it. He traced the outline and in a moment of bravery or insanity, he leaned his head up and kissed it. John immediately shivered at the contact and leaned into the sensation. Sherlock took that as a sign to continue and he licked and nipped at the spot, lavishing attention on it, secretly hoping John would treat his scars similarly and not be as appalled by them as he was by his own marred flesh.

Only one other person had done this for John, and it still felt oddly good. Maybe it was because of the muscles being more sensitive, or maybe it was psychological, but it still felt amazing. In response, he rolled over so he was on his back, and Sherlock was on top of him, where he snogged his lover senseless. As he ran his hands under Sherlock’s shirt and over his back, he noticed furrows and raised welts in the skin.

“Sherlock, what is that?” He asked.

“I forgot that you, um, haven’t… seen my back. Just ignore it John, it’ll ruin the moment, and we only have 40 minutes - if she hasn’t taken the Aston Martin, which under other… circumstances I might have listened for.”

But John ignored his plea and moved so Sherlock was lying down on his front after removing his shirt. All over his back, there were scars that looked like lashings and burns and cuts. Some looked only a year and a half old, others over three years. That’s when it clicked: these were scars from when Sherlock was gone. All of these scars were from him being tortured for god knew how long when he tried to take down Moriarty’s network. John traced his fingers gently over them, and felt Sherlock’s muscles contract under his touch.

“These are from when you were gone, aren’t they?” He asked.

This was not a moment Sherlock had been looking forward to, he had managed to keep John from seeing the scars even when John had come to look after Sherlock after Mary shot him. Luckily there had been no exit wound, so John never had to look at Sherlock’s back during that time. He wanted to go back to the carefree adrenaline-fueled lust they had been experiencing without bringing up that particular period of his past. The scars were not important right now, feeling John’s bare skin against his was important , it was as crucial as breathing.

Then he felt something he didn’t expect: lips on the scar on his left shoulder. Soft pecks traced down that particular lash, which went from near his neck to right below his armpit. He could feel John cover Sherlock’s body with his own, and John’s nose nuzzle his hair.

“We don’t have to talk about it right now.” He whispered. “I just needed to see them.”

John continued his ministrations of kissing Sherlock’s scars. He didn’t kiss every single one (that’d take all bloody night), but he kissed the most prominent ones: a lash on the left shoulder, a burn down the right side of his spine, three cigarette burns near the base of his spine, and a badly healed cut to the right of the ribcage. He could hear Sherlock softly sigh with each touch of his lips, and it made John happy that it was him doing this to Sherlock, it was him giving him these sensations.

“Turn over for me, love.” John whispered.

“No pet names, John, we agreed.” Sherlock mumbled into the be covers, before turning around.

“I think you can live with just one.”

Sherlock had a dumb rule about having no pet names for each other. Somehow it didn’t surprise John that it was a rule at all, but it was still ridiculous. When he was settled between Sherlock’s legs once more, he kissed him again, only this time slower, more passionately. It was as if to say, ‘I love you no matter how ridiculous you are.’

Sherlock felt the depth of love in the kiss and thought he’d never felt more alive than when John kissed him. When John pulled away briefly to smile at him, Sherlock whispered,

“Fine, just not in public.”

John chuckled, and said nothing more. He started to kiss and nuzzle Sherlock’s neck as his hand slid down toward Sherlock’s groin. He didn’t plan on going underneath any clothing, but the hardness underneath it had been poking him for a while. Right before he got to the waistband of his trousers, John looked to Sherlock for permission to go down further.

Sherlock nodded, but gasped at the first contact of John’s hand. He had never been touched this way before, and even through his pants and trousers, the warmth of John’s hand against his erection felt amazing. He almost threw the rule book out the window at that point, until some logic returned. John was feeling the shape of him with gentle fingers, and it was exquisite. In all his life nothing had ever felt like such a high.

John could feel Sherlock wasn’t extremely large, but still a decent size. It seemed more long than thick, and it honestly gave John a bit of relief because he knew at some point they’d be having penetrative sex, and his biggest worry was not being able to stretch enough for Sherlock to fit. He started experimentally rubbing Sherlock’s cock through the fabric of his trousers, and got a low moan in return. Of course, Sherlock had his mouth closed and looked like he was holding back sounds, but that wasn’t going to work.

“Sherlock.” John said. “You can make noise you know. It’s not a big deal.”

‘Lies’ he thought, ‘you’ve always wanted to hear what Sherlock would sound like when he was having sex.’

Sherlock’s mind was so full of the sensations John was creating in his body that his jaw was locked and he was stifling the groans and moans he wanted to make. He’d never thought himself capable of moaning , it was almost shameful, wasn’t it? John was clearly unconcerned by the sleeping child or Mrs Hudson’s imminent return - meanwhile a part of his brain was keeping track of the time. There were probably only 20 minutes left depending on whether Hudders struck up a conversation with the sales person, he hoped she would, he truly didn’t want this to end. John was rubbing him with more purposeful motions and he was beginning to worry he’d orgasm soon - it would be a terrible mess inside his pants and trousers, but - oh - it just felt too fantastic to stop.

He began to worry he was being rude by not reciprocating the action, so he reached for the waistband of John’s trousers, seeking permission. To his surprise, John shook his head, Sherlock could read in his expression that this was meant to be about him right now. He could reciprocate later if there was more time. The thought that John considered Sherlock’s pleasure more important than his own produced its own thrill and he moaned far more loudly than before.

John didn’t want to have Sherlock focus on him for his first handjob. He hadn’t forgotten that his detective was a virgin, and John wanted to make sure that he felt fantastic. He added a bit more pressure to his grip and started to stroke a bit faster, which caused Sherlock to gasp and buck upwards. There was one noise down, now to make him moan freely. In order to achieve that, John leaned down and flicked his tongue over Sherlock’s nipple, the result being a groan through clenched teeth. Then he lightly bit it, and Sherlock gave a somewhat choked back moan. This was going to be a bit difficult. He decided just kissing him while he stroked would work, so that’s what he did. He started kissing Sherlock hungrily, with all the heat and emotion he could muster.

John’s kisses loosened Sherlock’s tightly locked jaw and he moaned right into John’s mouth. The depth of passion in the kisses on top of the stroking made Sherlock’s mind go completely blank. Even the timer in the back of his mind stuttered to a halt, there were just too many sensations at once… it was incredible. He was beginning to get quite close to a release.

John could feel Sherlock getting even harder, which signalled he was close. He picked up the pace and whispered,

“Come for me, Sherlock… let go…”

Sherlock was panting, open mouthed at his point, and he did moan out loud. His limbic system was in overdrive and his body reacted to John’s voice in that seductive tone almost instantly. His subsequent release was far more powerful than any of those he achieved by himself. He found himself moaning John’s name over and over and a ‘love you’ had probably slipped out too, while his brain was offline in an orgasmic haze.

Now John had heard all the things he wanted to hear Sherlock say. The number one item on his list was Sherlock moaning his name… but he hadn’t expected an ‘I love you’ to top that. Just looking at Sherlock completely wrecked below him was almost enough to make himself finish from both the emotion of what he heard and the utter sexiness of Sherlock post-orgasm. He placed a gentle kiss on his lover’s lips and smiled at him.

“So your first orgasm with someone else.” He said. “How was it?”

Sherlock, the man who always had to have the last word, was struck speechless. He managed another happy moan, sighed and drew John close to him with arms that felt rather limp. He’d never known a greater high, and considering his history of narcotics, that was saying something. He wanted to just hold John close for a few moments before reciprocating the action on the… hardness… he felt pressing into his stomach just above his groin.

John let himself be held by Sherlock, but his erection never faltered. He had a gorgeous man underneath him after all so he wasn’t surprised. He took the moan as the answer to his question, and rolled off to lay beside Sherlock. He was ready to wait for him to recover, even if his trousers were a bit uncomfortable at the moment. He spent his wait staring up at the ceiling, thinking about the things he and Sherlock would do in the future. It took probably three minutes before he felt a hand start traveling up his leg. He tensed a bit in surprise, but let Sherlock continue upwards.

Sherlock felt the powerful thigh he had watched John build up with such lust at the time. John tensed the muscle slightly and Sherlock wondered if he was doing this correctly… maybe he should have started at the top like John had? Now that his brain had returned to a functional state, he had too many doubts and questions whirling around in there. He wondered whether he could use any of the research he had done on what people call ‘handjobs’ in this situation, with the pants and trousers in the way. With no practical experience he’d felt far too clueless for his liking, and the internet was a vast resource. He hadn’t found anything on this, though. He brushed his hand higher until he felt a bulge... John gasped in his ear at the contact. Sherlock could feel his testicles as he briefly skimmed his hand up to his… he cringed internally, but forced himself to think penis, it was less embarrassing to use scientific terms.

He allowed himself to feel the dimensions: John’s - penis - was a similar length to his own. Long, but also with greater girth (he refused to think of the implications of this for later on). John was extremely turgid against his hand, so he was probably quite close to his own release, Sherlock hoped he could complete the ‘job’ at ‘hand’. He took a firmer grasp of it in his hand, stroking up as John had done. There was another gasp and John moaned a bit - clearly Sherlock should be a bit more vocal in future. John had seemed to like that and he was doing the same himself. Sherlock brushed his hand over it on the downstroke, then decided on a tighter grip. One tip from his research he could use was to give a little squeeze when he reached the ‘head’, he’d found it pleasurable when he tried it on himself, so he did that and earned a small exclamation of ‘Sherlock!’ from John. He felt like that was a small victory and smiled a bit. He began a steady rhythm of upstroke-squeeze-downstroke-repeat and John began to press himself into Sherlock’s hand, his hips making small involuntary movements. Sherlock interpreted this to mean he should increase the tempo, another moan followed by a long, drawn-out groan proved he was correct.

For a virgin, Sherlock was fucking fantastic at giving a handjob. John had no doubt Sherlock had done research of some kind since that was how he did things, but at the moment, he couldn’t give two shits as to what Sherlock did to learn this. It had been too damn long since he had any sexual contact with anyone as when he and Mary first had Rosie, they were so busy trying to get the parenting thing down to focus on anything other than work, Rosie, domestic items, sleep, and cases. He hadn’t even had mourning sex with any women after Mary died. Now he had Sherlock Holmes, the man he had always loved, basically milking his cock in his trousers and he was sure he was going to come in his pants. He even did that thing where you squeeze at the head of his cock. He wasn’t going to last very long.

In a mere few minutes, John was bucking against Sherlock’s hand like a horny teenager. He knew he was making noises and he didn’t intend to stop them, but he tried to at least keep them a bit quiet so they wouldn’t wake Rosie since she was in his room not too far away. John’s eyes were closed, but he could feel Sherlock start to kiss his neck gently and that was what set him off. He slapped his hand over his mouth so that he wouldn’t scream and wake up Rosie. He felt like he had reached fucking euphoria via orgasm, and it made his head spin.

Sherlock felt John bucking more insistently and his moaning was becoming more frequent. He must be close. Sherlock leaned over and began to kiss his neck and John slapped a hand over his mouth to stifle - a scream? Was that good, or had Sherlock done something wrong? John shuddered at Sherlock’s continued stroking and Sherlock slowed, trying to remember how long John had stroked him after his release. Of course his brain had been offline at the time, so he decided to merely rest his hand on the bulge as he felt it begin to soften a bit.

Meanwhile John was still coming down from his high. He hadn’t experienced anything that intense in (maybe) years. It was incredible and honestly made him rethink how good his other experiences had been. Maybe it was also because of the adrenaline or the fact that he loved Sherlock. He could honestly not care less about what caused his almost best orgasm ever, because it was obvious he needed it after what he’d had to do that night. Sherlock brought his hand up from John’s crotch and awkwardly put it on his cheek and pulled him in for a kiss, it was a lazy, almost sleepy kiss.

Very lazily, John rolled over and wrapped his arms around Sherlock. He felt like he was already falling asleep except he didn’t want to be asleep yet. He wanted to bask in the afterglow with the man he loved and had saved (yet again he might add).

Sherlock heard Mrs. Hudson’s key in the lock at the main door and realised he had totally lost track of time. He had only one thought he needed to express before she interrupted this perfect scene with her chatter.

“John,” he murmured, “stay here tonight, stay here every night, ” his voice was almost a whisper as he said, “ please?”

That immediately broke John out of his daze as he propped himself up on his arm and looked at Sherlock with a confused look. Did he really just ask him to move in?

“You mean…” He said. “You want me… to move into your room?”

“Yes John.” Sherlock said in a soft voice, it was almost a plea.

John laid back on the bed and rubbed his hand over his face. It would definitely help with not needing to groggily move to one room or another every night, he wouldn’t have to go up stairs to go to bed, the bed was definitely more comfortable, and Rosie would get her own room entirely in a year or so. He hated being a whole floor away from Sherlock anyway, so why not.

“Sure.” He answered simply.

At that moment, Mrs Hudson knocked at the door to the lounge. Sherlock spoke just loud enough for her to hear him.

“Just a moment, Mrs. Hudson.”

He practically leapt from the bed, with a huge grin at John, grabbed his dressing gown, cinched it tightly and strode out to meet her.

“Thank you so much, we really appreciate it.”

“Not to worry dear, just don’t make it a regular thing. It’s late and the cold isn’t good for my hip.”

“We’ll try not to let it happen again. Goodnight Mrs Hudson.” Sherlock said ushering her out of the door and towards the stairs.

Sherlock put the packet of nappies in the kitchen, where there were already three more bags. He half wanted to kick himself for the unguarded moment when he asked John to move into his bedroom, but since John had agreed, he simultaneously wanted to jump for joy. He settled for another big grin and considered the implications of his spontaneity and how this would work… They had yet to be naked around each other but they were definitely intimate. Perhaps there could be a pajama bottoms at all times rule for now? He went back to the bedroom, satisfied with this decision and also feeling a distinct need to rid himself of his sticky pants.

John had already beaten Sherlock to getting rid of his pants as he was in the bathroom cleaning off his basically soiled crotch and hoped to save his underwear. He also knew he had to go get pajamas as, knowing Sherlock, there was no way he’d just be able to sleep in bed in the nude if they only just recently saw each other without shirts on. It was annoying, but Sherlock was new to all of this, so he would endure the ridiculousness of it all for his sake. He heard Sherlock enter the bedroom once more and open his - their wardrobe. He had to start thinking of ‘Sherlock’s Room’ as their room now. He’d have to move his things in tomorrow at the latest before Sherlock tried to do things ass-backwards with placement of certain clothing and organizing their separate things.

He finally decided to give up on the pants, and simply put his jeans back on to exit the bathroom. But instead of exiting via the en-suite door, he went to the main hallway so he could go get some pajamas. He made sure to skip the squeaky step as to not wake Rosie and gently opened the door. She was still asleep in her cot, which John was thankful for. After getting what he needed without incident, he made his way back to the bathroom and got ready for bed.
Sherlock was getting fresh pants and pajama bottoms when he heard the hallway door to the bathroom open and shut and realised with relief that John was going upstairs for new clothing. Perhaps John had intuited his need for bottoms to be worn in bed. John could read Sherlock better than anyone else. He used this time to clean himself up and change for bed. He stood awkwardly in the bedroom as he contemplated where to find space for John’s clothing, and also, who would sleep on which side of the bed.

Eventually, John returned to the bedroom in a baggy t-shirt and plaid pajama bottoms. His hair was still a bit messy from earlier, but he was about to go to bed so who cared? He and Sherlock stared at each other for a moment in a silent conversation of who would sleep where… so John simply took the side he had been sleeping on when he was sleeping in the room alone.

Sherlock nodded silently and climbed into the other side of the bed.

For a while, they just lay in awkward silence. They had only slept in the same bed once before and even then, neither of them had consciously done it. Neither of them knew what to talk about, so John filled the silence with something that he knew was topical.

“So…” He started. “How was… that for you?”

Sherlock looked confused at the question… was he supposed to give the experience a rating? How did these things work when there was another person involved? He’d never bothered to rate his solo ventures, they were a means to an end. Sure, the ones with fantasies about John were stronger and probably produced more ejaculate… was he supposed to have measured that somehow?

“I… have no idea how to accurately answer that question.” Sherlock said, falling back on polite honesty.

“Well what I mean is - uh - was it good? Bad? The best ever? Something like that.”

“Oh, then ‘best ever’ would be the most accurate description.”

John raised an eyebrow, pillow talk wasn’t supposed to be multiple-choice. He would not laugh though, because this was new to Sherlock.

“This isn’t a test, Sherlock. I’m just asking how it felt for you.”

“Well, that was the best orgasm I’ve experienced.” He said it matter of factly then seemed to remember his manners. “How was it for you?”

“Second best orgasm.”

Sherlock was nothing if not competitive and his face dropped a bit at that. “What was the best, then?” He asked, determined to beat it.

John blushed a bit.

“I, uh… snuck one of my dad’s magazines when I was either 14 or 15.” He answered honestly. “The internet wasn’t exactly a thing I could use back then, so while my mum and dad were at a party with coworkers, I got into my dad’s stash of magazines, and went to town. It was the first time I actually saw a woman’s body in that way so I guess it just made me visualize things… better?”

Sherlock was sure he could beat visual stimuli in a magazine of all things. He scoffed internally and began to plan. He would research, he would practice if need be, but he would conclude his experiments with a win. He would find out exactly what John liked best for every sexual act and he would pleasure him more than anyone or anything had ever done before. Sherlock would not be second best to some busty woman in a trashy magazine. He was slightly taken aback by the ferocity of his own determination in this respect. He felt very possessive over his John and he hoped that wouldn’t be considered a bad thing. He couldn’t say any of this aloud, so he stammered out an awkward response.

“Oh… well… visual stimulus has never been… necessary for me.”

“Probably because you’ve never wanted to see anyone like that.”

“Not before you, and I have a Mind Palace for that.” Sherlock said flatly.

John sputtered at that. Sherlock kept images in his Mind Palace about him? How the hell had he not noticed!? Then again, was it really so odd that he did that? This was Sherlock after all. He sighed and rolled onto his side to face Sherlock.

“Do I want to know what images you have stored in there?”

“Probably not, they were more like feelings than images. Memories of chasing criminals and giggling at crime scenes, moments you surprised me and the feeling of your company. Music I-”

Sherlock stopped abruptly, surprising John.

John had to think about that for a moment. It was emotions that drove his sexual fantasies. Emotions , not physical gratification. John knew there was a word for that because Harry told him about it when trying to educate him on LGBT labels… he immediately picked his phone up from the nightstand and looked up sexuality labels and definitions . After a minute or two, he found the right one.

“So that means you’re demisexual.”

“I suppose so, it is the closest ‘label’ I’ve found that fits.” When Sherlock had begun to feel attracted to John, he had done some research.

The definition didn’t entirely fit what he’d just described as what he used for… stimulation, but he had never really managed to fit into any ‘boxes’, he wasn’t what people would call ordinary.

John put his phone back on the nightstand and looked at the ceiling for a bit. He knew that having a visual wasn’t the only thing that got him off at times. He was on the school rugby team when he was in secondary school, and with that came the locker room visuals. He sighed.

“It wasn’t ever just girls that got me excited.” He said. “I kind of held a stigma against being bisexual because my parents had kicked Harry out when she was 16 for being gay, so I did my best to act like they wanted, and then things just never went back down the route of having an interest in men… well, at least until you.”

“So your best orgasm was while using a woman as the stimulus, and you never used images of males?”

“Like I said, I was trying to suppress what I really felt so even thinking about that type of thing with a man terrified me. I didn’t want to come home with a boyfriend one day and suddenly my parents decided to kick me out like they did Harry. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the reasons she started drinking.”

Sherlock considered that, though it didn’t feel like the right term, he was now John’s ‘boyfriend’ . Would he ever meet John’s parents, and if he did, how would they react? He didn’t much care how the bigots would treat him, he was used to rejection, but he worried for John’s sake. He was unsure whether such people should be allowed around Rosamund, but they were her grandparents and perhaps that gave them some unassailable familial right to at very least meet her?

“Do you think you would ever reconnect with your parents?”

John cringed at the thought. The reason he didn’t ask for his parents’ help was because he didn’t even talk to them anymore. They would send him letters at Uni, but he’d always throw them away. He had dared to open the very first one, but he had screamed and burned it because the line about Harry infuriated him,

 

‘Harriet came groveling to our doorstep to ask for our help. That poor girl doesn’t seem to understand that she is no longer a part of our family and hasn’t been for quite some time as you remember.’

 

He didn’t even finish the letter after that. His parents turned away his sister who was asking for them to help her get clean because she was gay. A single part of her personality apparently was worthy of shunning her entirely, and he was sure it was their fault in the first place that she started drinking. It was honestly the most disgusting thing he had ever heard his parents do and he was ashamed to be their son.

“I doubt I’ll ever talk to them again, Sherlock. They turned out my sister for being gay, so me coming to them with you as my lover would be hell breaking loose.”

“Not that I’m advocating exposing her to their bigotry, but they are Rosie’s only grandparents, isn’t there some social convention that overrides your dislike of them? I ask only because you know that’s not my ‘area’.”

“I don’t want her to be exposed to that.” John said resolutely. “She doesn’t need any of that in her life this early on. I know it’s unavoidable in the real world, but she doesn’t need that from her supposed ‘family’.”

“I concur with that. Perhaps we can introduce her to my parents when she’s older. They may have lied to me my whole life, but they are otherwise considered ‘good people’ by their peers.”

“And I agree. I was surprised they were even your parents when I first met them because they’re so normal. They didn’t come across what I imagined at all.”

“I’m sure they would love to meet Rosie, I doubt they ever expected to be grandparents at all, with the three of us as their children. They would be thrilled to spoil her.”

John chuckled.

“They would, wouldn’t they?”

Sherlock thought about his childhood, his parents had always tried their best, with (as far as he knew at the time) two very gifted but rather difficult children. Why they’d even continued to reproduce after having Mycroft, Sherlock couldn’t imagine - perhaps to rectify that mistake… Well that hadn’t worked out very well, had it? They would love Rosie, though, and they still had a lot of love left to give. He had resented the ‘sentiment’ at the time, but he had to admit he had always felt loved at home.

“Oh they would love her, even through the worst tantrums, they have had experience with difficult children.”

“I’m not surprised considering I live with you.”

Sherlock merely smiled at that, breaching the gap between them with a soft kiss. He pulled John closer until they were cuddling each other. This was a bit different to the couch, both of them were lying down and that gave it a different connotation… They tried to find a comfortable position and ended up with John being spooned by Sherlock in the middle of the bed.

They fell asleep in comfortable silence.

Chapter Text

Both Sherlock and John were woken up abruptly the next morning by wailing over the baby monitor. John could feel his heart practically beating out of his chest at the sheer shock of his daughter’s screaming and was worried that something was happening to her. Without a second thought, he got out of bed and rushed upstairs to his old bedroom to find… Rosie was just screaming in her cot. John rolled his eyes but went and consoled his daughter nonetheless. He picked her up with soothing words, and she looked up at him with terrified, wet eyes. She must have had a nightmare.

“Don’t leave Daddy.” She said in a broken voice.

John was shocked to hear that from her. It must have been a really bad one then. He held her to his chest and whispered,

“Never, Rosebud, I’ll never leave you.”

“Or Papa.” She said.

Sherlock arrived at that exact moment (he’d stopped to grab his violin), and stood in the doorway, feeling like he had intruded on their conversation.

John looked over to Sherlock with a smile.

“Or Papa.” He said.

Sherlock walked up to where John was holding Rosie and kissed her on the forehead.

“Papa’s not leaving either of you, Honeybee. What made you so scared?”

She sniffed and looked up at Sherlock.

“Both dead.”

John’s heart broke at those two words. She’d really had a dream that they were both dead, and it obviously tore her up intensely. He just wished he could wave a magic wand and make the bad dreams go away for her because nothing is worse for a parent than not being able to help their child. It was hard not to break down in that moment.

“Oh, Rosie, we’d never let that happen.” Sherlock soothed. “We’re Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, remember? We fight the bad guys and catch the maniacs.” Sherlock said it with all the sincerity he could conjure up, but he knew John had had a point the day before, their lives were dangerous and there were no guarantees in it, they’d both learned that the hard way many times.

“Do you want me to play Moana, Honeybee? Will that help?”

She shook her head.

“Just want you two.”

Sherlock put his violin down on John’s old bed and joined in as John continued to hold her and rock her in a little group hug interspersed with kisses and loving words. Sherlock wondered if it was just the conversation she’d overheard or that in their adrenaline fuelled lust they’d overlooked the importance of reassuring her they were both alright. The world’s most perceptive child had gone to bed knowing her parents were in danger and when they had gotten back they had been so wrapped up in their own hormones … they would have to do better by Rosie in the future.

John continued to soothe Rosie until she fell asleep once again. He had to take a breath (which unfortunately ended up shaky) in order to keep himself from crying. He realized Rosie would be affected by their jobs as much, if not more, than anyone. Sure, it was all fun and games during the chasing and fights, but at the end of the day, Rosie was the one they came home to, and Rosie was the one they needed to take care of above all else. He didn’t want to let her go just yet, so he continued to hold onto her tightly and thought of why she would have had that nightmare. She had seen all the photos and the evidence wall, but she didn’t seem to be bothered by it. So what -?

“The argument.” He said. “It was our argument about me going on the case that got her this way.”

“I thought so too.” Sherlock agreed. “It’s my fault. I should never have forced you to go and when we got home we should have woken her to show her we were both fine. Our hormones got the better of us and that was unacceptable. I’m sorry John.”

“It’s not me we should apologize to, Sherlock. Rosie’s the one who is terrified of losing us.”

“We will do better for her in the future. We have to . What do you think we can do to make it up to her when she wakes up again?”

“I guess I could call off the appointment with Terrence today, and we can just play with her and spend time with her. Also calling Sarah wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to see the best way to approach this.”

“We’ll do that, and I’ll call Sarah, you just hold her for now.”

Sherlock returned from his call a few minutes later.

“Sarah says you’re absolutely right John. Spend time with her, reassure her of our continued support. Comfort her as best we can.” Sherlock reported back when he re-entered the room.

John made sure to not let Rosie out of his arms unless absolutely necessary, and she seemed to not mind that. He fed her in his arms, played with her in his arms (with some yells for Sherlock from time to time), and they all made sure to stay together. Sometimes they rolled a ball back and forth between John and Sherlock so she would go between each of them to chase the ball. She seemed to enjoy herself and calmed down substantially.

Eventually she had to go down for a nap, but insisted she sleep in John and Sherlock’s room with them in it entertaining themselves. So John had an ebook he’d bought on the Amazon Kindle app on his tablet and Sherlock had his laptop on and was quickly answering emails about insignificant cases.

Sherlock felt terribly guilty about the dramatic start to their day. He set his laptop aside and put his arms around John. John put his tablet down and sighed tiredly, resting his head on Sherlock’s shoulder. He almost looked like he was about to cry again, but he mastered his emotions once again with a few deep breaths. Sherlock thought it would be fine for John to cry, but he shouldn’t do it in front of Rosie and he was grateful that John had managed to avoid it so far. His comforting skills were somewhat underdeveloped and he wasn’t sure he could handle John crying about this without possibly joining in. He whispered to John as they held each other.

“She can sleep downstairs with us tonight, that might help…” Sherlock suggested. “Unless you want to sleep upstairs with her… I understand. Maybe we decided on the move too suddenly, we gave her no-one to wake up to and no time to adjust. I was rash, John. Last night was… amazing, but we should have thought of Rosie waking up alone. I don’t know how to apologise to her for that, so I’m apologising to you.” Sherlock tended to ramble on a bit when he was nervous, so he forcibly stopped himself and stared imploringly at John.

“I know. And I think we apologized to her by spending the day with her. She loves you, Sherlock, and…” He paused for a moment and tried to choose his words carefully. “Honestly, I know for a fact that no matter what happens with us, you’ll find a way to stay in her life. She also considers you one of her fathers, so… I think you should adopt her.”

John meant every word. Rosie chose to call Sherlock her ‘Papa’ and treated him as such, so it only made sense that he become legally part of her life forever. He knew that even if he told Sherlock to leave them alone and never come near them again, Sherlock would find a way to see her. Even if he broke into her room to see her every night, he wouldn’t give up. That was one of the things John loved about his detective: he didn’t want to give up the things he loved. Never would he give up their friendship or Rosie. John would never trust anyone else as much with his child.

Sherlock was so overcome with emotion at John’s suggestion, he saved every word in his Mind Palace to review later. He knew he was gaping at John with wide eyes and that those eyes were beginning to fill with tears of the utmost joy. He shut his mouth and cleared his throat, looking up and blinking rapidly to keep the tears from spilling, he was unsuccessful. He barely managed to say “Thank you John.” without a small sob. He didn’t feel he deserved such an honour after his selfishness last night.

“Are… are you sure about this?” He whispered hoarsely.

John pressed a gentle kiss to Sherlock’s cheek and said,

“I don’t think anyone else can take care of Rosie better than you.”

“It’s such an honour John, but I don’t feel worthy of it. I caused that nightmare, I caused her that pain. I’ll never be good enough to deserve her trust.”

“No parent feels worthy of trust from their child, but they carry on anyway.”

Soon enough, they heard some fussy noises coming from the cot. Thankfully they didn’t indicate she’d had a bad dream, which was a big improvement.

“Daddy, Papa?” Rosie called out.

“We’re both here, Honeybee. How are you feeling?” They both hurried from the bed to Rosie’s cot.

Rosie stood herself up with the help of the side of the cot, and looked up at her fathers.

“Wet.” She answered.

“I have a feeling you’re in need of a nappy change.” John said softly.

The little girl nodded her head and held her arms up. John picked her up and went through the ensuite door to the bathroom to change her.

Meanwhile, Sherlock’s curiosity got the best of him and he figured he should find out a bit about John’s reading. He picked up the tablet, (John never password-locked it), and saw that it was open to a book. He tapped back and it showed him the cover which contained 2 men holding each other (obviously heavily photoshopped) in a bed, and the bed had a rainbow sheet on it. The title read ‘What You Need To Know About Gay Sex for Males’ . Obviously John had been thinking about preparations for further down the line. Sherlock had done the research too (on the internet), but the cover on the ebook just made him want to laugh. He was still stifling giggles when John returned with Rosie. He had been caught out snooping but he didn’t care. He looked at John, glad that Rosie was faced the other way and mouthed ‘Rainbow sheets?’. John gave him an embarrassed smile, also suppressing a giggle.

“Food.” Rosie said.

“Alright Rosie, we’ll get you a bottle.”

“No, food !” She insisted. “Bananas!”

“Ok, Papa will go get some bananas and Daddy and I can get some lunch too.” Sherlock assured.

John knew they would need to switch Rosie onto actual food soon, but he didn’t think his daughter herself would demand the food. Then again, it was Rosie, he shouldn’t have been surprised. Sherlock entered the kitchen to mash some bananas, meanwhile John set Rosie up in her high chair. This time with the addition of a bib which they had never needed before.

Sherlock busied himself with mashing up bananas into a baby bowl that they’d also never needed before. This child was growing faster than he’d been lead to expect from all the (useless) baby books he’d read on his phone. He handed the bowl and the little spoon to John with a sense of trepidation.

“Now Rosie, if you don’t like the taste, you can’t just spit it out.” John warned as he scooped up some banana.

When Rosie took her first bite, she actually looked incredibly happy, and yelled,

“Food good!!!”

She looked as if she was on top of the world. It was funny, but also a huge step in her diet. She was at least progressing normally in that sense.

Her meal continued without any incidents and Sherlock made John and himself food while Rosie ate. The bib would need to be washed as the bananas didn’t stay on the spoon very well, so they’d need to go get some actual baby food soon. Sherlock ended up making some sandwiches for their lunch. He made John ham, cheese, and lettuce, and himself some toast with jam - he had a bit of a sweet-tooth.

To keep Rosie occupied while they ate, the playmat was put in the entryway to the kitchen so they could both see her and tell her if she spelled a word right or, as of late, what the word she spelled meant since she had seen plenty of words, but didn’t always know what the definitions were. She was also getting better at spelling the words with silent or hidden letters.

Sherlock couldn’t believe how much she’d picked up just from conversation and papers that were left around the house, which was why he’d convinced John that reading on his tablet was a better idea. He should convince him to use the fingerprint sensor too - Sherlock would program in his own too, of course, it wouldn’t do to be unable to snoop if he wanted to. Rosie was comfortably playing and he began to think seriously about the offer John had made… Could he adopt Rosie? He was a (currently reformed) drug addict with a dangerous lifestyle that had ended in tragedy and more than a few close scrapes already. Would adopting her be a matter of public record and put her in danger? How would he live with himself if anything happened to her (or John) because of his line of work? He had so many doubts but there was one little nagging tug at his heart that clearly wanted to say yes. He loved Rosie and John was right when he’d said that Sherlock would not allow himself to be separated from her again. He had already experienced that once and he… hadn’t exactly taken it well. Sherlock loved her and she (somehow) had deemed him worthy of her love in return. He wondered if he could convince John to call Mycroft as he still hadn’t spoken to him directly after the revelation that he was the only Holmes in the dark about Eurus’s existence.

He looked from Rosie to John, held out his hand to him, which John curled his fingers around and Sherlock said quietly.

“Yes, I want to adopt her, John, but you’re phoning The British Government because I’m still not speaking to him.”

John rolled his eyes, but smiled indulgently at Sherlock, he would make the call if he had to because this was important.

Sherlock changed to a whisper, close to John’s ear. “Please see if he can keep it off the public record, before the ‘fucking maniacs’ target her because of me.” John smiled at the inside joke but nodded seriously at the implications. He whispered back, just as quietly,

“I just want you to have full parental rights if anything ever…” He paused. “Happens to me. If something did happen and you aren’t her legal parent, she would be put through the foster system, and Lord knows what would happen to her then.”

It wasn’t just that for John, Sherlock was practically a father to Rosie already. He asked their friends who helped Sherlock watch Rosie how he treated her, and everyone said they were like a family. On top of that, seeing them together was like witnessing the other parent with their daughter. It just kind of made everything fall into place.

“I won't let anything happen to you, John.”

John smiled.

“I know.”

***

The Truth

So a photo has been going around in the media that we didn’t give permission to. I’m going to put the rumors to rest right now and tell you the truth:

Sherlock and I are now together, we were never a couple before, we are both raising my daughter, and I didn’t cheat on Mary with Sherlock.

I’m also furious that someone decided to take that photo. We were having a moment to ourselves and didn’t expect a photographer to just be waiting across the street for a ‘juicy photo’. It is not okay to do that to people no matter if they are ‘famous’ or not.

Now please stop with the accusations and rumors. I hope you have a nice day.

 

***

The photo in question was of John and Sherlock in a window of their flat holding each other. They were having a bit of banter together and it had turned into flirting. Sherlock had wrapped his arms around John and kissed him on the head. Apparently a Paparazzi photographer had been waiting across the street in the dark for a photo like this. John had decided to just stop the rumours and reporters with a blog post so everyone in the media would shut up.

The post went viral and got a lot of love, but of course, some hate and homophobia. It wasn’t unexpected in all honesty. John knew how a good portion of the world felt about LGBT couples, and having two semi-celebrities end up being a couple was bound to get attention. It was like saying Tom Felton and Daniel Radcliffe were actually dating while filming the Harry Potter franchise, which would make a lot of conspiracy theorists happy.

People like ‘theimprobableone’ sent their regards, so did Mike, Harry, and Molly, then there were some Westboro Baptist Church people who decided to comment for some reason, and there was a bombshell comment in there… from Hamish Samuel Watson.

 

Hamish Samuel Watson: Son, I hope you can forgive your mother and I for shunning your sister years ago. It is my hope that we can patch your relationship with you, even if you have started dating a man. We want to meet our granddaughter, so please try to visit or even call. We still love you.

 

John did everything he could not to throw his tablet across the room in anger. ‘Even if you have started dating a man’ , really!? They couldn’t just ask to meet Rosie, they had to bring Sherlock into it!?

Speaking of him, Sherlock walked into the lounge with a tiny Belstaff coat for Rosie that perfectly matched his own and had obviously been custom made. John stared at it - it was both the cutest and the most ridiculous thing he had ever seen.

“You do realize she's just going to outgrow that in a few weeks, right?”

“Then we'll get her another.”

“Sherlock, what did that even cost ?”

“I encouraged them to charge as much as they wanted when I put it on Mycroft's tab at the tailors. I hope she needs a new one every month.” he grinned slyly.

“You’re going to bleed him dry one day.”

“Mycroft is financially secure enough to live in luxury for at least ten lifetimes, and I have some revenge to exact.”

John merely chuckled and shook his head, but his smile faded when he caught sight of the comment again. It must have immediately shown because Sherlock took the tablet out of his hand and looked at the comment.

Sherlock stared at the comment from Hamish Samuel Watson with total disbelief. The very last thing he had expected from John's blog post about their relationship was this . Westboro Baptist, yes, they trolled everyone, but John's father , he could never have foreseen THAT . They wanted to meet their granddaughter, which made sense, but to comment (only with a slightly rude connotation) on this post of all things? Would they want to meet him as well? Well that was a moot point. Sherlock would never send John into battle alone.

“Well, well, the prodigal parents return? That is certainly an unexpected twist.”

“Yeah…”

“What are you going to do? I'm with you whatever you decide.”

“I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Rosie doesn’t need the amount of hate they’ll give her because of her parents being gay. They don’t deserve to be in her life.”

Sherlock wondered briefly what John's parents would actually do if he and John displayed different and increasing levels of affection for each other during their meeting. It was like the perfect opportunity to take out his verbal frustration on two Andersons… practically ‘Christmas’.

“Imagine their faces if we told them I was adopting her, though.” he said with the kind of smile and dancing eyes he usually reserved for a good serial killer.

John gave him a quizzical look.

“What are you suggesting?”

“We test their tolerance with increasing levels of affection. We make it into an experiment before they're allowed to meet Rosie.”

That… was actually very intriguing. It would be a very interesting opportunity, and considering that how his parents found out about Harry was when she brought her first girlfriend home with her for dinner, he knew that seeing two adult men being a bit handsy would make them nauseous. It would be totally worth it. He smiled mischievously.

“I think I could work with that.”

“It would be the best test… Are you going to call them?” Sherlock was grinning wickedly now.

“I don’t even have their number anymore. I deleted all of their contact information when I left for the army.”

“Well you can't arrange a meeting publically on the blog, we'd be stalked.”

“Maybe a quick call to The British Government would help?”

He closed out his tablet and stood up with a bit more happiness than earlier… even if it was over something ridiculous.

“And you’re calling him this time because I already called about the adoption papers.” He said as he walked back to their bedroom.

“I consent to a text message only!” He yelled toward the bedroom.

 

To Myc: [Need contact information for Hamish Samuel Watson, John's father. - SH]

 

To SH: [Information in email. - MH]

 

Sherlock refused to even text his thanks. It would cost him the next time he had to ask for a favour but he didn't care. He forwarded the email to John's phone and waited.

Chapter Text

John had been the one to make the arrangements and endure the phone call. His parents seemed to actually be trying because they didn’t mention Harry or Sherlock. It was actually pleasant, but he could tell it was rather forced. So he and Sherlock sent Rosie to Sally Donovan’s (which took a lot of convincing, but John said Rosie needed a friend her own age), packed a weekend’s worth of clothing and toiletries, and hopped on a 9:30 am train to what John called Torturedon, but it was really called Elvedon.

However, halfway through the six hour journey, John could feel his nerves start to get bad. He hadn’t seen his parents in over half a decade, and now he was going to visit them for a weekend. He was starting to have second thoughts about the whole thing. What if everyone in the village had seen it? What if people started yelling things at him for it? What if his old school bullies revelled in the fact that he had started dating a man? He started to clench and unclench his fists because he was that tense.

Sherlock noticed John tense up, he was showing signs of nervous anger, the fist clenching was always the sign for that. Sherlock reached over and took John's hands in his, prying the fists open and raising John's palms to place a gentle kiss on each of them. He looked John in the eye and held his gaze seriously, mouthing 'I love you’. John's breathing seemed to ease a bit. He gave a small, lopsided smile.

The rest of the trip went smoothly. The anxiety was there, but not as much as before. Sherlock never let go of his hand except to use the loo. When they arrived at the station, John smelled the familiar air, recognized the old station from the day he left for Uni, and could see a few familiar but aged faces. In order to hide his face, he put his jacket hood up (he’d decided to go with a heavier coat for this trip). It seemed to work as nobody stopped him to say hi.

They grabbed a cab and went to the only good inn in the village. It seemed to have been recently refurbished, and even had a new owner. When he asked the woman at the front desk, it turned out the original owners Ethel and Cedric Morton had passed away about six years ago, which left the hotel to their son and daughter. John felt a little bad as he actually liked them and they were progressive. They were the first ones to take his sister in when she came out and they’d given her a job as a maid.

The couple were given one of the rooms on the second floor and Sherlock saw it was a comfortable medium sized room with a king size bed, an ensuite bathroom, a small couch, and a desk. It looked rustic, but had modern paintings on the wall as well as a few modern conveniences such as the flat screen TV, which just looked out of place.

They were scheduled to meet John's parents for dinner. There were a few hours to spare and Sherlock thought having John cuddle and watch crap telly would help him to relax. Sherlock pulled him onto the bed and handed him the remote control with a pointed look.

John knew there wasn’t really anything good on, but he decided to go with one of Gordon Ramsey’s many shows where he actually showed you how to cook, not just yelling in people’s faces. They stayed like that for a few hours until it was finally time to leave. John had to take a few deep breaths before they got into the cab. He gave the address to the cabbie, except afterward, the cabbie gave John a look of recognition.

“You’re Johnny Watson aren’t you?” He asked.

The cab was shabby and the cabbie was old. He was likely the only cabbie needed in such a small village and was therefore also a key player in the village's gossip network. This was going to be awkward and uncomfortable for John, so Sherlock started to speak as John barely managed a nod.

“Yes, and you are recently divorced from your wife because of an affair with… ah! The town florist. The only reason this hasn't made you a social outcast is because you are the only cabbie in town and therefore essential to town gossip. Now can we please dispense with further chit-chat?”

John chuckled at the deductions. He still didn’t recognize the cabbie, but it made him feel a bit better that Sherlock wasn’t thrown off his game by the situation.

They arrived at a cosy cottage-style three bedroom house, which looked very much like the others in the village. Only the red door made it unique from its neighbours. There was a decently kept garden in the front with seasonal flowers. It looked very ordinary to Sherlock, but he could see it had a different effect on John. They had not touched on the way over, not willing to give the gossip network any more than they already had. Sherlock longed to hug John, but that would have to wait for further into their experiment. Once John had shakily paid the cabbie and exited the cab on trembling legs, Sherlock waited until they were well out of view before holding John by the shoulders and whispering.

“Remember the experiment, John. They have no hold over you, do not give them the satisfaction. Come on - into battle .”

John squared his shoulders like the soldier he was and walked beside Sherlock down the garden path to the front door. He rapped on the door and took a deep breath. He heard a set of heeled footsteps approach the door, and then it creaked open to reveal John’s mother, Sophia Watson.

“Mum.” John greeted.

She smiled brightly at her son, but then caught sight of Sherlock and her smile faltered by a fraction. Sherlock looked her over seeing that she had medium length wavy hair that was obviously dyed dirty blonde and brown eyes as opposed to John’s blue ones (his father most likely had John’s eyes unless it was a recessive gene). She had an hourglass shape but had clearly struggled to maintain a steady weight. She was dressed well, in a pair of three inch heels in a nude hue only a few seasons out of date. Her black dress pants skimmed the top of them - tailored to fit her, as she was about 5”4’. She also wore a white blouse, and had numerous bracelets and rings on. She looked more enthusiastic to see John than Sherlock had expected. It was likely she had initiated the contact, but he would need to meet the father to be certain - there was insufficient data.

“John.” She greeted him in a posh Northern accent (unlike the rest of the village, she was a Northerner but definitely from below the midlands), then met Sherlock’s eyes. “And this must be Sherlock Holmes.”

“Yes, pleasure to meet you Mrs. Watson.” Sherlock smiled politely as he’d been taught by his Mummy. If there was ever a need to turn on the Holmes charm, this was it.

She smiled at him then ushered the two men inside. The entrance hall hadn’t really changed for John. The only difference he actually saw was new wallpaper that was buttercream with flower designs on it.

“Hamish!” Sophia called. “John is here with his friend!”

‘Friend… wow.’ John thought, nudging Sherlock to prevent the inevitable eye-roll. The entrance hall had the stairs to the upper floor on the left side, then to the right side was the entrance to the lounge which had a flat screen telly, a sofa, two chairs, a coffee table, a fireplace in the left corner, and a few houseplants. On the left side of the lounge was an archway that lead to another small hallway and you could see there was an archway that lead to the kitchen.

The two took their coats off and hung them by the door as they heard the stairs creak against hard thuds. Sherlock watched as Hamish Watson came downstairs in a mauve colored jumper, which was not a big surprise, he thought of John’s collection of jumpers (it had to be genetic, he joked to himself), otherwise some part of John still held to this image of masculinity. Hamish’s jeans were washed out and very worn, he hadn’t even bothered to dress up for the occasion whilst his wife had, which indicated that she was the one encouraging this reunion but was not very well acquainted with technology and unable to send the message herself. The thumping on the stairs had been caused by Mr. Watson’s work-boots - really? Sherlock thought, was it so necessary for the man to assert his masculinity? He was a shorter than average, heavy-set man who was balding (Sherlock observed a healthy head of hair on Sophia, so it was unlikely John would begin to go bald as that gene came from the mother’s side.) The hair that was left was white, which was unsurprising given how grey John had already gone. He had the same tanned skin as John though with the deep wrinkles of a man who worked in the sun often. Their eyes were the same blue. Sherlock could vaguely see the resemblance to John’s nose, but he was a bit too aged to tell.

“Hi dad.” John said stiffly.

Hamish looked him up and down then looked at Sherlock, and back to John. He nodded to them.

“John.” He said. “It’s… good to see you again.”

“It feels weird to be back.”

“It’s nice to meet you Mr. Watson.” Sherlock said with the same politeness he had given John’s mother. He was determined to be on his best behaviour… for now.

The elder Watson ‘hmed’ with a nod and gestured for everyone to go to the lounge. John felt extremely uncomfortable as he didn’t know what to say or do. A part of him wanted to scream at his parents, to just cuss them out and tell them he’s been doing better than they ever hoped for him, but he knew he’d get more satisfaction from the experiment. He gestured for himself and Sherlock to sit on the couch, and made sure to be closer than usual. It seemed to put off his dad a bit as he sat down, but his mum just looked neutral.

“So, Johnny.” Sophia started. “How is life in London?”

“Great. I work at a clinic, help Sherlock solve murders, and blog about it.”

“Not exactly a normal lifestyle, is it? Not to mention actually working for the NHS.” Hamish said, eyes flashing at the organisation universally detested by Tories.

Though what Hamish had said played into all his worries about Rosie, Sherlock didn’t let it affect him, he maintained a pleasant expression while he studied Hamish for signs of stress. He observed Sophia equally, this information was as close to the control group of an experiment as he was likely to get. He decided to begin trying his luck, with words before actions.

“Oh John would be terribly bored with anything else. It may not be normal, but it suits us.” Sherlock gave his sweetest grin, usually reserved for grieving clients and people he had to chat up for information.

Sophia cleared her throat.

“Well, Johnny has always been one for adventure.” She said with a smile. “Even at a young age. When he was five he heard about the town legend of treasure hidden near the old caves by elves. He and Harriet went to search for it but John fell into a cave and broke his leg. Even then, he still wanted to go do things like that.”

“Was it his right leg?” Sherlock asked.

“Yeah.” Hamish answered. “Right in the middle of his calf. The doctor said he was lucky it was just the leg and nothing else. He wouldn’t have been able to climb up with just Harriet alone.” Hamish seemed to flinch a bit at the use of his daughter’s name.

Well , Sherlock thought, that explained the psychosomatic limp … something to explore at a later date, he doubted there was even a scar given how fast children’s bones healed. He also noted Hamish’s flinch at Harry’s name, which John also saw, his fist curling between them, jaw tightening in a way that would be imperceptible to anyone without Sherlock’s observational skills.

“Yeah…” John said awkwardly.

John knew they were just trying to do polite conversation before some big discussion. It was the same tactic they used for him and Harry back in the day. The last time they did it was when they kicked Harry out, so there was no doubt it was about him and Sherlock this time. The only difference was John was in his 40’s and didn’t live at home.

“I’ve been following your blog, John.” Sophia said. “You’ve really worked with the British government on cases?”

“Yeah. Sherlock’s brother works for the government, so he sometimes has us do classified cases.”

“My brother has always been inclined toward bureaucracy.” Sherlock noted. “He lives for ordering his subordinates around.”

“That’s a way to put it.” John muttered.

Hamish looked like he had enough of the pleasantries.

“This is ridiculous!” Hamish announced.

‘Here we go’ John thought.

“Hamish.” Sophia snapped.

“No, Sophie, I won’t let you invite our son here without addressing the real issue: John has become a queer .” He said snidely.

“Hamish stop it right now!”

“You had a wife John. You have a child for God’s sake, and yet you still decided to be in a relationship with a man and expose your child to that unclean lifestyle! Why couldn’t you just find another woman to raise your daughter with? What possessed you to go down the same path as your whore of a sister!?”

Enough. ” Sherlock said emphatically, he would not tolerate any more insults to John. He snatched up John’s hand from the couch, John’s fist uncurled and immediately interlaced with his own fingers. “If you want to talk about unclean lifestyles , we’ll start there - where exactly do you think Harry learned to drink her problems away Mr. Watson? Your home had none of the unconditional love and acceptance that ours does, no child could ask for more support than Rosie gets. You couldn’t have been bothered to attend John’s wedding to a woman, whom I might add was actually a trained assassin, so not quite the loveable mother-to-be she showed the world. When that same wife died you didn’t bother to attend the funeral. You claim to want contact with your granddaughter yet you have shown no interest in her life so far, not so much as a card when she was born. You have done nothing for John since he left for medical school and you have no right to cast aspersions on the character of a son you don’t even know - outside, apparently, of his blog posts.

“You repel me, both of you, the homophobic father who feels he has to wear work-boots indoors to appear masculine in front of his son, and the mother who couldn’t even reach out to her son because she was too stuck under his thumb to do the right thing. Be honest, you couldn’t even try to contact John without your husband’s permission . No, don’t try to deny it, I know I’m correct. You’ll find I usually am. Don’t bother to contact us again.”

John couldn’t help the smile that came across his face. Sherlock had said everything he himself wanted to shout, and it just showed how in sync they were. Without a word, they both stood up and went to the door for their coats. Hamish stomped out through the kitchen probably to go get a drink.

“John, wait!” Sophia called as she ran after them.

“Let me ask you something before you start begging me to stay.” John said. “Have either of you tried to talk to Harry before you messaged me?”

Sophia didn’t meet his eyes and looked incredibly guilty. John couldn’t even bear to look at her.

“Before you even think about patching things up with me, talk to Harry, because she’s the one that needs help, not me.”

And with that, the two left the cottage. John was honestly seething from their confrontation. He knew he shouldn’t have come, he bloody knew it , and yet he still came back to this godforsaken village! He started pulling at his hair and was close to screaming out of anger.

“This was fucking worthless!” He declared. “I knew this wouldn’t help anything.”

“I’m sorry John, I’d hoped for some form of reconciliation, but their hatred was far more ingrained than I had hoped.”

“No shit, Sherlock!”

Sherlock hadn’t expected a miracle, but he’d at least expected some civility, he’d even been on his best behaviour. They hadn’t even begun their experiment before all hell broke loose. Clearly John got his temper from his father (something Rosie seemed to have inherited too). John stormed away from him and Sherlock followed more slowly, giving John the space he often craved after a fight. He briefly calculated whether the hotel was close enough to reach on foot (4 blocks - so quite manageable) and whether John was even headed in the correct direction. It seemed he was.

John couldn’t exactly walk around London on his normal route so he resolved to walking to the hotel, which was about four blocks away. It was infuriating that his dad hadn’t changed. He knew his mum was torn up about Harry being kicked out, but she had the role of the housewife in the eyes of the town, therefore she forced herself to accept his father’s decision. Halfway through the walk, he stopped and looked up at the sky. Had his life really come to this? Just storming out whenever he had a problem? He didn’t know if that was the best way to do it anymore because that was what his father did: stormed off and had a beer.

Sherlock briefly considered keeping his distance when John stopped to contemplate the sky. He never really had understood human fascination with the stars, they existed so far away it was of no consequence to daily life at all. Besides the case involving the Van Beuren Supernova, he’d never bothered with astronomy. John looked deep in thought and Sherlock thought it might be safe to approach him. Wasn’t this usually the time for a hug? He was slightly afraid that John might punch anything that touched him right now, so he made sure to speak first.

“John? Is there anything I can do?”

He shrugged.

“Unless you can change my parents, I don’t think there is.”

“I could ask Mycroft for replacements.” He said with a smirk.

John chuckled, but his face fell once again. Before he could say another word, a gruff voice yelled,

“Hey, you’s Johnny Wasson!”

The two men turned to see a man come up to them. He seemed to be a quite drunk.

Sherlock gave him one look, determined he worked as a woodcutter from the sawdust that clung to his boot-laces, saw his heavy beard and emphatically masculine air and deduced that he was probably insecure about his latent homosexuality and was one of those men who would attack ‘queers’ to prove he was ‘straight’. He was also quite the chav, from his lack of grammar and tracksuit pants.

“And you are?” John asked.

“You don’t ‘member me? Alber’ Brooks! We wen’ to Sssecondary togever!”

The only thing John remembered of Albert Brooks was being bashed for his sister being gay, as well as jokes about getting her in on a threesome. He was one of the utter chav pricks of the school and preyed on weaker kids to make himself feel better. Everyone knew his mum was a drunk and his father left when he was four, but no one seemed to pick up he was obviously gay. The only reason he’d backed off back in the day was because John caught Albert kissing a boy in the backwoods of his property, and John basically blackmailed him to stop picking on everyone.

“I remember you.” John said cooly. “You kept saying my sister was a queer slut.”

“Oh, come on. You’s not shtill mad ‘bout that, are ya?” He lazily removed his hand from his tracksuit pants and waved it in the air in an unsteady arc.

“I’m saying I don’t remember you in a good way.”

After the night John had just had, this old school bully was the last thing they needed… or perhaps it was the best thing for John right now. The guy was just too drunk to realise what the look on John’s face meant - and he was getting closer by the second. Sherlock knew his Army Doctor would take him down in seconds and it would be quite cathartic. Perhaps not the best habit to get into but, as a reformed drug addict, he really had no right to tell John off for it.

“Well, no one’s shurprised you ended up a queer.” Albert said with a smirk. “You juss moved to London wif this guy and do all this bullshit with him. Tha’ wife waz juss a lie to cover up you was buggering him .”

John snapped at that moment. He immediately tackled Albert and started punching him in the face, hard . He didn’t care if there was a broken nose or fractured skull, he wanted to hurt him, he wanted him to bleed .

After the first punch, Sherlock grabbed his hand on the upswing, but John shook him off and kept punching the man on the ground. Sherlock was reconsidering catharsis versus bad coping mechanisms and he managed to pull John off of the man from behind. John nearly clipped him with his elbow but Sherlock turned him around (risking possible injury) to look him in the eyes.

“John, this isn’t the way to deal with your anger - this is - it’s me and cocaine, John, it’s destructive. Please stop.” John met his eyes and took a breath. “Come back to the hotel with me, your hand is going to need attention.” At that, he turned, dragged the bloodied drunk onto the pavement, and left him there.

“Thas righ’, Jawnny.” Albert called with a slur. “Walk ‘way. That’s wha’ you alwayz do!”

Sherlock saw John take a step towards the man before coming to his senses again. He reached to John and led him away with a hand on the small of his back before the idiot could incite him further. He watched John relax in increments the further they walked and by the time they reached the hotel, John’s breathing was regular and his shoulders were relaxed. He still seemed dazed and allowed Sherlock to lead him to their room and inspect his fist, before he spoke again.

“I’m sorry you had to see that.” John apologized.

“I was more worried about your unhealthy coping mechanisms. I think we will have to arrange another session with Terence. Rosamund cannot be allowed to learn that behaviour, John.”

“You’re right. It wouldn’t be good for her.”

Sherlock found John’s small first aid kit and disinfected the damaged fist, applying ointment and wrapping it in gauze. John flinched a bit when the ointment was applied, but other than that everything was fine. They decided to watch some bad movies and order room service for dinner. They had settled on a rom-com called Bridget Jones’ Diary and ate fish and chips for their dinner. The amount of times Sherlock rolled his eyes and sighed during the movie calmed John considerably.

“I’ll need to delete that immediately. That was awful.” Sherlock scoffed.

John chuckled.

They got ready for bed, taking turns in the bathroom as per Sherlock’s rules. Then they climbed into bed properly and cuddled together. They didn’t say anything as there wasn’t really much more to be said in words. Instead, there were kisses. Intense kisses, soft kisses, heated kisses, an array of kisses initiated by Sherlock. It was as if to say “I love you, and your parents are idiots”, which was good enough for John. Who cared what his parents thought? He had an amazing daughter, a fantastic job, great friends, and a fantastic lover (they hadn’t really discussed labels yet), what more could he need?

Those thoughts helped him go to sleep.

 

***

The next morning John and Sherlock decided they had no reason to stay in Elvedon for longer than they had to, so they checked out early and went for breakfast at the local cafe. It was a bit busy as it was a Saturday morning, but John didn’t get approached. Apparently the waitress remembered him and knew exactly what he’d wanted from his years of coming there before. Sherlock, however, got a plate of toast and preserves, which he merely picked at, uninterested in food.

Unfortunately, their perfectly fine morning was ruined by something John didn’t expect: his parents on the other side of the room. It looked like they were with a bunch of friends for a breakfast, maybe a monthly occurrence? He didn’t want to know.

Sherlock was busy looking up the train schedule on his phone so John noticed them first. As Hamish approached the table, John’s stomach fell somewhere in the vicinity of his shoes, the breakfast wasn’t sitting very well anymore. Mr. Watson cleared his throat and with no further ado announced,

“We want to meet our granddaughter, because no matter what, she’s a Watson.”

John scowled.

“She’s not your granddaughter, and the only Watson she is, is one that doesn’t hate someone for who they choose to date.”

“But John, she’s our blood. Blood runs thicker than water.”

“Sometimes it shouldn’t. Blood has no bearing on parenthood. I believe it is said that the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb. ” Sherlock sneered.

“You aren't her father, Holmes. She's John’s blood.”

“Mr. Watson, if blood relation is so important to you then do heterosexual couples who adopt because they are unable to conceive not qualify as parents? Does that make step-parents ineligible to parental rights? What about in vitro fertilization for couples unable to conceive? Are they not parents if a child is born? Are you going to start in on couples that have children out of wedlock as well? If you really think about it, nobody can be more than 50% of a parent, genetically.

“Parenthood can most definitely exist without blood relation, and quite frankly, in our case, we have thrived without it. Your grandchild is exceptional, Mr. Watson, and I am proud to be able to co-parent her. I love her as much as any blood relative, I always have since I first laid eyes on her at her birth… an occasion, I might add, her paternal ‘blood relatives’ were unwilling to attend. If any of that makes you uncomfortable, the adoption papers are being processed as we speak and I’m afraid your permission is not required.”

“Sherlock, that’s quite enough. The only person who gets to decide whether you’re a father to her is Rosie, and she’s made her feelings abundantly clear .” John side-eyed his father then looked back to Sherlock. “You don’t need to be all defensive, we’ve already chosen you, love.”

To make a point, John leaned over the table and kissed Sherlock on the cheek, right in front of his father and half the town. Some scowls were given, others just looked indifferent, most didn’t care. His father though gave a disparaging look.

“Don’t taunt him, dad, he will make you eat your words. It’s a Holmes thing.”

Hamish grunted in anger and stormed back to his table. Everyone at the table were giving both Hamish and the couple disapproving looks. ‘Good’ John thought. ‘Let him feel the ridicule he deserves.’

***

No one gave them any grief during what was left of their breakfast, and John had called Sally to tell her that things didn’t go well so they were coming back early. But he was happily and snarkily told that Sally’s son Oliver and Rosie had become quite close over the past day. He knew she was telling him that to rub it in his face, but he just thought it was brilliant irony. He’d only tell Sherlock when they got home though.

The train ride was uneventful and the cabbie wasn’t chatty, which was a blessing at that point. They fetched Rosie from Donovan’s flat.

“Daddy! Papa!” Rosie squealed when Sally brought her outside in her carseat.

“Aren’t you three adorable, so it’s Papa Sherlock now?” Sally said with a smirk, it was a lot less hostile than she’d been to Sherlock in the past - she hadn’t even called him ‘Freak’.

“Yes, Papa, soon to be official. I’m adopting her.”

Sally gaped for a second, but recovered quickly.

“Congratulations, I suppose.”

“So it is true that pregnancy affects a woman’s brain for two years after the birth, I’d always wondered about that.” Sherlock said, but not with anywhere near as much venom as he normally would.

Sally had mellowed out and Sherlock could do the same. Sherlock took Rosie from her and actually smiled.

Sally looked smug when she said, “Rosie and Oliver have actually become quite close, it looks like they may become good friends.”

Several expressions flickered across Sherlock’s face before he settled on the ‘polite’ expression he’d used on Mr. and Mrs. Watson the first time.

“That’s splendid, isn’t it John?” He sensed that John had already known this little tidbit and gave him a suspicious look.

“I honestly think it’s a good thing.” John said sincerely. “She needs friends, Sherlock. We don’t really have other friends with babies, so this is good for her.”

John had seen plenty of pictures of Oliver, and had met the kid a few times himself. He was actually bright and was easy to make laugh. He also didn’t really care about gender roles. According to Sally, he asked to play with dolls on a few occasions, and Rosie still liked girly things, just not as much as scientific things. He wasn’t surprised that they got along.

Sherlock sighed internally. Rosie, his Honeybee would potentially be spending time with a child who had half of Anderson’s DNA. Surely even Mycroft could find a better candidate for a ‘friend’ for her. Despite all his previous years of mutual dislike with Donovan, he hoped the child had at least gotten her IQ, which (in spite of her desire to repeatedly sleep with Anderson) was actually quite high. He wished he believed in a deity he could pray to for nurture to triumph over nature in this instance. At least Anderson was not involved in the child’s upbringing… the poor thing had a chance to grow up reasonably well.

“I will evaluate that at a ‘play-date’ as I believe they are called, at our flat, which you can organise with John.”

“Not at that bloody toxic waste dump! I found eyeballs in the microwave!”

“He doesn’t do experiments upstairs anymore, Sally.” John defended. “He had all of his experiments moved down to 221C away from the main living areas. He specifically did it for future children running around the flat.”

“Well thank God for that.” Sally sighed. “You may actually manage this parenting thing, ‘ Papa’ .”

John chuckled. He was glad she just did teasing nowadays because he didn’t want Rosie to hear the things she used to say.

“Eyeballs! Eyeballs at home!” Rosie said excitedly.

“No sweetheart, you are not playing with eyeballs at home.” John said to his daughter.

“But EYEBALLS!”

“Oh God, she’s just like him! ” She stage-whispered to John, who shrugged with an expression that said ‘it can’t be helped’.

“Well, this has been… entertaining, Donovan. Thank you for taking care of Rosie but we must get home.” Sherlock said, looking insistently at the cab, which still had the meter running and handed the carseat to John.

“See you Sally.”

Rosie also waved with a little ‘bye-bye’ as John carried the carseat to the cab. On the way home, Rosie talked about all the things she and Oliver did. They played dolls, she taught him words, crawl-raced him, and apparently Oliver just went along with it and even enjoyed it. Sherlock looked displeased throughout the entire thing, and John just listened intently. Rosie seemed to really like Oliver, and John planned on giving them more playdates.

 

***

As soon as he could, John scheduled a session with Terence. He was a little worried about his tendency towards showing his anger physically. They greeted each other with the usual pleasantries and went upstairs. Sherlock was still exiled to Mrs. Hudson’s with Rosie for John’s sessions and he gave John a quick kiss in the cheek as he passed them going down.

“Bye-bye Daddy.” Rosie said.

“Goodbye Rosebud.”

“Goodbye Rosie.” Terence said before settling into Sherlock’s chair with John in his own.

“So your visit to your parents didn’t go well?”

“Not well at all.”

“You’ve never spoken very well of them, due to the way they treated your sister. Was arriving at your childhood home with Sherlock very worrying to you?”

“I had no worries about Sherlock being there, I just knew something bad would happen before something good happened. Nothing good really happened at all.”

“How did Sherlock react?”

“He actually made the big speech right before we left. He said he didn’t have high hopes about my parents reconciling with me, but he still felt bad for me.”

“This all came about because of a blog post you made proclaiming you to be a couple, correct?”

“Yeah. My dad had commented asking to meet Rosie.”

“Do you think he did that on his own or was it your mother that urged the reunion?”

“Sherlock deduced just by how my parents were dressed that it was my mum who wanted to reach out, and I can’t say I’m surprised. My mum was always the one trying to get my dad to do the right thing, but whether she did it or not was on my dad.”

“Were you alright with Sherlock speaking on your behalf that way?”

John never thought of it like that. He just figured it was Sherlock reading what he was thinking and saying it, not speak for him.

“I didn’t think of it that way. I just thought Sherlock read me (as usual) and said what I was thinking, but also what he felt.”
“Did you see it as a loving gesture?” Terence asked making a note.

“Yeah. He just knows me well enough to know what I wanted to say.”

“Does Sherlock do that often, specifically with other people?”

“Not say what he thinks they’ll say, just what is actually going on with them. I don’t think he says what they’re thinking as a way to, y’know, help anyone else.”

“So your connection to Sherlock seems quite unique. Has he ever seemed that intimately acquainted with anyone else?”

The first person who came to mind was… The Woman . Irene Adler had successfully wormed her way into Sherlock’s mind and soul, and even outsmarted him in a way he only thought Moriarty could do. John didn’t have fond memories connected with her, just jealousy and sadness. At the same time she was denying that she was in love with Sherlock, and it caused her downfall.

“Irene Adler… The Woman.”

“I do know of her.” Terence said, making a note.

“Was that the only time when you thought Sherlock might be interested in someone?”

“Only Irene Adler.”

“So, how did it make you feel when it appeared that Sherlock had feelings for Irene Adler?”

John paused and considered his answer.

“I guess… at first that I didn’t mind because I wasn’t fully aware of my feelings for Sherlock yet. I mean, when we first met, I thought he was good looking and he shut me down when I asked him if he dated. Then I thought it just wasn’t best to date him. When it turned out Irene wasn’t dead, I felt like I wasn’t ever going to be good enough. I mean, I can’t go to Tesco without having a row with the machine, and she faked her own death with a body Sherlock would recognize… by its measurements.

John sighed.

“I felt like no matter what, there would always be someone else better than me in the world that Sherlock would feel... even a little emotion towards. Meanwhile, she basically accused me of being his boyfriend, but I denied it and said I wasn’t gay, very dramatically in fact. Then there was a sliver of hope that Sherlock wouldn’t care because Irene said she was gay, but he still tried to impress her when she hid at our flat. Seven seconds was how long it took to deduce the code, and he was doing it to impress her. Then she texted him on his birthday, and I told him that he should talk to her and go out with her because his chance at a relationship would be gone before he knew it… but I was talking about me.”

Terence made a small note. “Well it’s progress that you were willing to admit what your true desires were at that point.”

John smiled softly, “I wasn’t going to tell him right then because I was still grieving Mary, but I had hoped that he would see what I was talking about.”

“It seems to have been a good thing that he did… eventually. Now, I think it’s pertinent to go over some of the anger management exercises I’ve given you in the past, and perhaps add some others.”

 

***

 

A week after their return from Elvedon, John figured he would do something nice for Sherlock considering the hell they went through with John’s parents. Even though they were a couple, he and Sherlock had not yet been on a proper date. One could argue that their equivalent of dates were solving murders and catching serial killers, but John still wanted to go somewhere nice for one night. With a bit of discussion, he convinced Sherlock that they should go to Angelo’s for their date as kind of a throwback to their first ever case together. John even put on the same jumper he wore the night they chased the cabbie.

He had arranged for Mrs. Hudson to babysit, and reserved the table by the window at Angelo’s. Sherlock thought that this was some kind of sentimental nod to their first dinner together. He took extra care with his hair and wore a nice suit with a white shirt. John was taking him on a ‘date’. They took a cab to the restaurant and Angelo greeted them with a wide smile, mentioning the blog entry and how they had finally gotten their act together.

“Yeah… it’s been great.” John said sheepishly as they sat down.

“Does nobody have anything better to do than read John’s blog? There has to be more to your lives.” Sherlock muttered.

“Well yer life ain’t normal. Compared to the rest of us, ya got the life of secret agents.” Angelo insisted.

“I have the life of a stay-at-home-parent most of the time, actually.” Sherlock said.

“Well you have to bring Rosie in some time when you two lovebirds aren’t on a date.”

“Actually, Angelo, can you bring us a candle?” John asked to stop the conversation.

“Coming right up.”

And the restaurant owner disappeared to the back, leaving the two lovers at the table with their menus. Sherlock disregarded it as he always ordered the tortellini with white sauce.

“Well, that was more than a little embarrassing.” Sherlock grinned shyly at John.

“He at least has a way of making people remember the restaurant with the energy he has.”

John looked at the menu… he had a bit of a plan for what they were going to do tonight. There were things John hadn’t said that first night he had regretted not saying before, and he figured (even though it was childish) that he’d start over that conversation. He would say what he should have said that first night.

“I figured this was the best place to cement our relationship, fix what we screwed up the first time.” John said honestly.

“It is apt. You’re not going to start asking who Mycroft is again, are you?”

“No, I think we can skip that bit… I’ll just go straight to my question about girlfriends.” John winked, urging Sherlock to play along.

Sherlock smiled indulgently at him and repeated, “Girlfriend? No, not really my area.”

John replied as he had that night, with an ‘Mm’ then said,

“Oh, right... D’you have a boyfriend then?”

Sherlock smiled slyly and said: “I’d like one.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes.”

“Am I in the running for that?”

“I do believe you’re the frontrunner.”

Sherlock nearly giggled at the utter silliness of this, that was somehow making his heart (well not his actual heart, of course, his hormones ) flutter and feel warm. Instead he attempted a saucy grin.

“I’m guessing you don’t date that many people to begin with, though with those cheekbones I’d find it hard to believe.”

John was doing his best not to smile like an idiot. It felt rather cathartic to finally redo that night all those years ago, even if they hadn’t gotten into a TARDIS and actually redone it.

“Actually, no, I don’t date… usually. I’d be making a special exception.”

“I guess I’m lucky then.” John ended that with a wink.

“I do believe I’m the lucky one.” Sherlock almost cringed at that, but he also actually meant it.

Sherlock reached out a hand to pull John’s jaw close and gave him a slow, sexy kiss, which he ended with a grin and a wink when he pulled away.

Somehow, John knew that was something Sherlock would have done years ago, the wink especially. He figured his lover was channeling his former arsehole self, who was really cocky. But from that kiss, he felt like a pile of goo. They had just done that in public, and right before he could say more, Angelo came back with the candle and a bottle of wine.

“Figured it’s a special occasion, so I got ya the best we have in stock.”

Sherlock actually laughed at that, it was partly the ridiculousness of it all and those hormones again. Angelo patted him on the back and took their order, returning to the kitchen, because he always cooked Sherlock’s meal himself.

“I think that was a good redo, don’t you think?” John asked.

“Far better than the first time. I regretted that ‘married to my work’ thing for years.”

John chuckled and Sherlock joined in, just like the crime scene they had giggled at that night. But there were certain things they hadn’t discussed yet, like labels. They were a bit old to be boyfriends , so what were they?

“So what do we call this, anyway? Are we boyfriends? Lovers? Partners?”

“Lovers?” Sherlock looked stunned. “Definitely not, and boyfriends sounds juvenile. I prefer partners, we’ve always been that to each other, now it just means a little more.”

“That’s true. But it used to be you calling the shots, remember that?”

“Of course. It’s an equal partnership now, though. It has been since you moved back home.”

He realised he had thought of John as his ‘partner in crime-solving’ but more in a sort of assistant capacity. Their relationship had changed after Mary entered their lives and now it had changed again when John had moved in with Rosie. Sherlock deferred to him on parenting issues and until the adoption request, he hadn’t felt like an equal father figure to Rosie. It was odd how things sometimes changed without one even realising it. He thought it was something worth reinforcing, for John’s sake.

“We’re equal partners John, and we should keep it that way.”

John felt his heart swell at Sherlock’s declaration. It wasn’t too long ago that Sherlock was the one running off after telling him to do something. It was usually ‘Sherlock had me look up this’ or ‘Sherlock wants to go here’, but now they both had a say on what was going on. The fact that Sherlock recognized that was much more than the Sherlock he met over half a decade ago. It just showed that people can change, even a self proclaimed ‘high functioning sociopath’.

They walked back home after dinner, hand in hand. Sherlock was more than a bit tipsy, which made John laugh because he’d barely had two glasses of wine. They both laughed as they recounted how badly the case on the drunken stag night had gone.

“Clueing for looks.” Sherlock said in between giggles, “D’you really say that?”

“I did… but that was just before you face-planted on the carpet and threw up on the crime scene!” They were close to 221B by this time, and trying to stifle their giggles. They knew Rosie was asleep at Mrs. Hudson’s flat and they didn’t want to wake her. John opened the door softly and tried to keep a tipsy Sherlock quiet on the stairs until they could get to their bedroom… which was difficult because he would occasionally trip on the stairs.

“I thought you abused substances in the past.” John hissed. “How are such a fucking lightweight?”

“Alcohol… s’not my drug of choice… y’know that… slows down brain… makes me dumb. Cocaine, heroin, better.”

“Only you would think that.” John said as they got into the flat.

The only thing he could think to do was get Sherlock a glass of water and get them both into bed. It was funny to see Sherlock drunk, but not something they needed for an extended period of time.

“Let’s get you to bed, and I’ll bring you a glass of water.”

“Mmm… ’kay.”

After getting Sherlock into pajamas and under the covers, John made his way to the kitchen where he got a glass and filled it up with tap water. He took out some paracetamol with a child-proof cap and put it in the drawer of Sherlock’s night stand, just in case. He made Sherlock drink the water. Then he carried out his ablutions and came to bed. He gave Sherlock a sweet kiss on the lips before Sherlock wrapped him in his limbs like an octopus and passed out cold. John tried his hardest not to laugh at Sherlock passing out during a kiss, but he held it back.

When he was sure Sherlock wouldn’t wake up again, John sent a quick text to Mrs. Hudson that they got home alright and to bring Rosie in the morning.

He fell asleep just fine.

Chapter Text

It was finally time for Rosie and Oliver’s playdate. Sherlock had been dreading the day, so he insisted that he come with Rosie to Donovan's apartment. It wasn’t just for supervision though, it was also to assess Oliver’s intelligence. He had small hopes that because Anderson wasn’t involved in helping to raise the child he wasn’t going to be as stupid… but genetics were a powerful thing.

Sherlock had dressed Rosie up in a purple butterfly themed outfit complete with striped leggings, a purple tulle skirt, a black shirt with a purple butterfly design, and a purple butterfly clip. However, she was still wearing her mini Belstaff over her outfit. Donovan answered the door with Oliver on her hip. She looked as smug as ever about this playdate, and seemed to be reveling in the fact that Rosie liked her son. Oliver was dressed in a turquoise and yellow striped polo, and khaki shorts. The boy was darker skinned, had short curly hair, and freckles and mostly resembled Donovan (which he was secretly thankful for). The only thing to show Anderson was his father were the eyes, nothing more.

“Hello Rosie!” Sally smiled brightly, then her face became more neutral when she said. “Hello Sherlock.”

“Not Sherlock, Papa!” Rosie corrected.

Sherlock blushed, an action Sally had hitherto been unaware he could perform.

“Yes, Rosie, you have Papa wrapped around your little finger, don’t you?” He said without quite meeting Sally’s gaze.

Rosie chuckled and waved at Oliver, who had a dummy in his mouth but waved back with a smile. Sherlock could see that he was at least 3 months older than Rosie, but big for his age, so his physical development would probably be relatively well matched to hers. He responded to greetings, and seemed to recognise her, which was a sign of a normal intellect at this stage.

Sally led them into the flat and showed Sherlock to a chair in the lounge.

“Thank you.” He said and placed Rosie on the carpet. Sally did the same with Oliver, removing his dummy.

“Ha Rosie!”

“Hi Ollie!”

Sherlock tried not to sigh. He was surprised Oliver had pronounced the R properly, but he clearly didn’t speak as well as she did. ‘Ha’ he thought, this would be tedious. At least he had all that research on normal babies to fall back on.

Rosie pointed to the dolls in the corner of the lounge and asked,

“You wanna play dolls?”

“Doll!”

Rosie seemed to take that as Oliver wanting to play dolls so they both crawled over to the dolls in the toy bin. Both Oliver and Rosie were able to hoist themselves up using the side of the toy bin and reach in to get individual dolls. Rosie picked a boy doll, Oliver a girl doll.

Sherlock noted the lack of gender specificity with approval. Sally asked if he’d like some tea, which he accepted, giving her the specifics but not expecting her to get it right. She surprised him with her courtesy, and later handed him a passable cuppa.

Rosie seemed to take charge of what they decided to play. They started making the dolls fly around like fictional characters and Rosie did little noises to go along with it. Oliver started to copy her, but mainly waved his arm around instead of steady motions like Rosie.

Sherlock was watching all of this carefully, comparing his little genius to a normal control group (fine, child ) was an interesting experiment to while away two hours of his time. According to the books Oliver was slightly ahead of his projected development, but not what Sherlock could in good conscience call ‘advanced’. If Rosie insisted on this friendship, he hoped that time would bring a high IQ to the child. It was a pity there was no Wechsler Scale for children under 5 years old or he would have already administered the test.

Rosie then suggested tag, which Oliver seemed to understand as he tapped Rosie on the arm and started crawling away, giggling. Rosie started crawling after him while laughing and they were just chasing each other around the room. Rosie got his foot, but Oliver looked like he was about to cry at that. Rosie rolled her eyes and said,

“Now you tag me.” In a ‘duh’ kind of voice.

Sherlock suppressed his laughter, he’d become quite good at doing that around Rosie - he never wanted her to feel laughed at , nor did he want to teach her that it was okay to laugh at other people’s expense. He’d endured enough of that as a child. He did enjoy watching her take charge - she was like a miniature army sergeant, which reminded him of John the few times he had pulled rank on people.

Oliver seemed to be reassured by Rosie’s explanation as he started to chase after her. Rosie seemed to still be annoyed by his little almost crying fit, but she was a faster crawler. She kept dodging him easily and Oliver didn’t seem to want to give up. He looked determined to catch her no matter what.

The books had said that determination was good but perseverance in a losing situation would likely lead to frustration. He was quite proud that Rosie had looked at Oliver with scorn when he began to cry. She had developed much healthier coping mechanisms than the tantrums she had thrown mere weeks before. She clearly thought that crying like that was childish, the irony of which was amusing, she was 3 months younger after all. Sally was also watching avidly and she looked a little taken aback at Rosie’s use of full sentences and her dominance. Sherlock hid a sneer. As long as she never called Rosie a ‘freak’ he was content for them to have the occasional visit.

Oliver seemed to tire out after a while and he simply sat on the floor while short of breath. Rosie seemed to notice and sat down with an annoyed look. She couldn’t hide, though, her chest rising and falling quickly. She seemed to have tired herself out too. She crawled over to Oliver and patted him on the head with a smile.

“Take break?” She asked.

Oliver nodded as he reached for his dummy and put it in his mouth. Rosie looked to Sherlock and asked,

“Dummy?”

Sherlock searched through the baby bag and found a dummy in a side pocket. He handed it to her thinking it quite strange how her age seemed constantly in flux today. She rarely asked for the dummy around other people, but she asked now. He hoped her mental age wasn’t being affected by Anderson’s inferior genetics.

She put the dummy in her mouth and it seemed to be a gesture of kindness. She started to pat Oliver’s hand and he in return did the same. Rosie actually started to clap his hand and he in return smacked her leg. It wasn’t too hard and Rosie didn’t flinch. She started to tackle him and they actually started play wrestling (or rather rolling on each other) and laughing while doing it.

None of the books had mentioned this aspect of physical play and Sherlock was unsure if it was a good idea. He looked to the only other source of guidance he had and asked.

“Is this sort of rough-housing normal?”

Sally chuckled and moved closer so they could actually speak - they had naturally assumed positions as far from each other as possible after the tea had been handed over.

“It’s all perfectly fine unless someone gets hurt, then they cry a bit and we distract them. Their attention spans are quite short.”

“Maybe Oliver’s is, but Rosie can harp on about something for half an hour at least. It does become tedious.”

“I think she got that from you, Mr Know It All.” She said it with a genuine smile, just a tease not an insult. Things certainly had changed.

“Probably.” Sherlock admitted.

“So you actually managed to child-proof that flat. I have to say, I was kind of shocked when John moved in there with a baby.”

“There was nowhere better for them to be. John was recovering from the coma and I had the place baby-proofed in a week. Until then she didn’t leave my side.”

“And all your ‘ experiments’ ?”

“Molly helped to move everything to the basement flat Mrs. Hudson had never been able to rent out. I was either at the hospital or busy with Rosie at the time, and I didn’t want to expose her to… any ’toxic waste’.”

“We’ve come a long way from the days of drugs busts, haven’t we?” She said, “Can you believe we’re having a civil conversation about our children?”

“Not really, but so much about Rosie has been a shock, that the wonders never seem to cease.” Sherlock said, with a tiny smile, which he’d never expected to direct at Donovan.

One of the children squealed in pain, and it turned out to be Rosie. She started to cry and hold her left arm, but Oliver looked incredibly guilty for whatever he did. Sherlock immediately sprang up and picked her up, taking her back to the chair with him. She appeared not to be physically damaged by the encounter, though he still threw a stern look at Oliver. He soothed Rosie with kisses to the arm and then her belly, which made her giggle and stop crying immediately. He dried her eyes and asked her if she wanted to go down again.

“Please?”

Sherlock put her down and looked up to see Sally staring at him, mouth gaping wide. When she realised this, she shut her jaw with an audible click. She didn’t say anything and Sherlock was more concerned with Rosie anyway, watching as she crawled back to Oliver and stuck his dummy (both of which had been ejected by the struggle) in her mouth - oh, no, Sherlock thought, she’s actually ingesting Anderson DNA now.

“Rosie, that’s the wrong dummy.” He said as calmly as possible. “Come let Papa give you a clean one.”

Rosie crawled over and handed him the dirty dummy, which Sherlock tossed at Sally. She took a clean one without complaint. Oliver seemed to start to tire. His eyes were slowly drooping and his head was starting to lean to the side. Rosie looked a bit put off by this but yawned herself. Because of this, she crawled over to Sherlock and held her hands up as a signal to be picked up.

Apparently young children tired easily when in groups, for which Sherlock was grateful, this entire encounter looked like it would be over in less than an hour. Even after he’d thrown the dummy at Sally, she had continued to stare at him in bemusement. He was not enjoying that at all . He picked Rosie up, secured her in the car seat and stood to say his goodbyes.

“It looks like this visit is finished.” He looked in Oliver’s direction and rationalised that a ‘goodbye’ at this point was only likely to wake him. He then looked at Sally, who was now schooling her face into a practiced mask.

“Goodbye.” She said, and he nodded at her as she opened the door.

They took a cab back to Baker Street where Rosie had a good long nap upstairs in John’s room.

 

***

Sherlock decided to take advantage of Rosie’s long nap in the best way possible. John was home, and he thought it was time for another ‘step’ forward in their sexual relationship.

John was sitting at the kitchen table with a few newspapers and a mug of tea. The media was still somewhat speculating about their relationship, but mainly they had backed off. He was honestly thankful for that, but now they were talking about Rosie and the fact that John sometimes updated about her development. It was actually worse that they were talking about Rosie, not him and Sherlock. She was only a baby.

“Something on your mind?” Sherlock said.

“The papers are talking about Rosie now…” John sighed.

“I think I may have a good distraction for that.” Sherlock’s voice had dropped an octave.

John had come to recognise that tone and he felt his excitement build at what Sherlock may have planned. They hadn’t gone beyond grinding with trousers and pants on, which was just fine for him, he was allowing Sherlock to set the pace.

Sherlock held out a hand for John to stand up and follow him. He led them directly to the bedroom. Sherlock immediately trapped John against the bedroom door with his body, kissing him ferociously. John let out a deep groan and Sherlock hardened. He rubbed his crotch insistently into John’s stomach and he felt John harden against his thigh.

“Clothes off.” Sherlock commanded. “All of them.”

John looked mildly surprised, but began to unbutton Sherlock’s shirt while Sherlock unbuttoned his. So, fully naked now, it was definitely another ‘step’ and John was somewhat giddy at the prospect of seeing Sherlock entirely nude. When they finished, John reached the belt and buttons on Sherlock’s trousers and looked up for a final confirmation. Sherlock merely nodded and got on with unbuckling John’s belt and unbuttoning his jeans. John followed suit. Sherlock was quite breathless, finally getting to see John naked was a big step in his mind. He wondered how John kept his pubic hair, did he trim it like Sherlock did? What, for instance did the hair on his upper thighs feel like? He had many unanswered questions and so much information to collect, but he was finding it difficult to focus on the scientific when there was just too much data coming in from all his senses. The slide of denim, the familiar scent of John , the impending revelation of John’s pants, just the sound of zippers being pulled down had made his mouth dry.

Sherlock gripped John’s arse before pushing the jeans down to bundle around his ankles. John wore similar boxer briefs to his own, except they were of an inferior quality - that he could rectify at a later date, they could definitely be upgraded - why was he thinking of shopping? Sometimes he wished he could switch his brain off, it came up with the most ridiculous things at the most inappropriate times ... John stepped out of his jeans, first managing to kick off his shoes in a reasonably elegant way. Sherlock’s mind went blank just taking in the sight of those sandy coloured upper thighs which had never been revealed by any of John’s exercise gear. Sherlock had been privileged to have a front-row seat to John’s workouts, but he’d had no idea of the tone and strength hidden by those damnable shorts. The rippling of muscles was all his brain could focus on at that point. Finally, some peace from his own thoughts.

Sherlocks trousers were more snug around his hips and arse (no surprise there) but standing in only his shoes and pants, John traced a line down Sherlock’s sides, ending by hooking his thumbs into the waistband of his trousers and gently pulling them over that firm arse. Miles of pale skin were exposed on his thighs and Sherlock also swiftly toed off his shoes and flicked his trousers a decent distance away. He stood in his fancy socks that had probably cost more than John’s jeans and a pair of grey Calvin Klein boxer briefs that perfectly showed off his arousal and the arse that John had to grab that instant. How did he get so lucky to have a sex God as his partner? It was like some force had said he was allowed to have whatever he wanted so he got Sherlock fucking Holmes.

Sherlock led them cautiously to the bed, avoiding the strewn clothes, sat down, and began to hastily remove his socks, sneaking another peak at John’s erection as he did. John stood just in front of him and did the same - he’d always had good balance despite being slightly nervous. Once the socks were taken care of, John stepped forwards between Sherlock’s legs, splayed apart by the action of removing his socks, and pushed him into the mattress for another scorching kiss and grind to ease Sherlock into the bare, physical contact. The taste of his lover’s mouth was always intoxicating and mind-blowing whenever he indulged in it. It just tasted distinctly Sherlock , and John loved it. He gently brushed his hands down from Sherlock’s collar bones to his nipples, which he bent to teasingly lick and nuzzle. He knew how much Sherlock liked that from previous excursions, and they felt soft yet stiff under his tongue.

His hands slipped down over Sherlock’s abdominals and further down, until he cupped his erection in his hand, rubbing slightly then he raised his fingers to the waistband of Sherlock’s pants and gave a small tug, looking up for permission again. Sherlock gave it by reaching for John’s waistband and tugging until his penis sprang free. He shivered slightly from the stark contrast of his penis being covered to being unclothed, but now he was too focused on seeing Sherlock naked. Then the detective arched off the bed, allowing John to do the same. Sherlock gasped as his own erection brushed against the fine fabric of his pants, and kicked them aside.

They practically fell on each other kissing deeply, enjoying the feeling of their cocks touching for the first time, with no barriers. Sherlock felt his whole body electrify just from the physical touch. This was glorious, nothing but John’s skin on his, it fed his nervous system like a drug, alternately revving up his brain and his senses. It was difficult at times to keep track of all the questions he wanted answered. He only barely registered that the hair on John’s thighs was softer than that on his calves - one crucial bit of data collected, but everything about John was crucial data. Sherlock gripped John’s arse again with a groan from both of them, controlling the speed of their thrusts - he wanted this to last… The feeling of John’s arse with no covering was novel too - he jotted down a few notes in his mind palace about the smoothness of the skin and the hairs he could just feel if he let his fingertips trace the edges of his buttocks (which elicited a shiver from the man above him). John’s pubic hair was still brown, like his hair had been when they’d met - this had been a piece of data Sherlock had coveted, the rate at which greyness begins to show in different parts of the male body. He was very glad to have some results in what, he hoped, would be an ongoing experiment. He gathered his wits and asked for what he wanted, it was far more difficult to get the words out than he’d thought they had never been very good at the talking part of their relationship.

“John, I want you to touch me, to penetrate me with your fingers.” Sherlock said in the same deep voice John found extremely sexy.

Well , John thought, that was an unexpected ‘step’. Sherlock had decided to not only move to being fully undressed, but also finger penetration. In no world was John complaining, but it was still odd in terms of the different levels of intimacy. Had Sherlock planned this? He’d sounded sure when he said the words, but Sherlock had a tendency to be swept away by his mania sometimes. In any case, it was a clear request, so John couldn’t help but comply… especially when Sherlock used that voice.

There had been lube in both side tables (which were baby proofed). John didn’t want to move away, but he had to, his body felt cold at the loss of contact and Sherlock made an unhappy grunt. He disengaged the child-proofing and opened the drawer, his hands grasped the bottle and he deposited it on the bed. Sherlock had shifted so that his head was on John’s pillow and John could see him breathing in the scent - Sherlock’s cock actually gave a slight jerk when he did that and John felt strangely flattered. That thought quickly evaporated from the mere sight of Sherlock naked and hard for him. If it wasn’t for those damn steps they were taking, he would ravage his detective right now because he looked too damn sexy.

John crawled over to him and positioned himself between Sherlock’s legs. Sherlock was of course neatly trimmed and ‘manscaped’ a bit more than he was, but then he hadn’t been expecting this… Perhaps Sherlock had prepared and planned this, or maybe he was just always like that, it wasn’t John’s job to make the deductions after all. He started to think about the different women who gave him blowjobs and how he highly appreciated the art of it now. He was glad the first blowjob he was giving was to Sherlock, but that also meant he was very inexperienced.

John found himself leaning down to kiss the head of Sherlock’s cock and Sherlock let out a gasp. John was slightly nervous, having never been on the giving end of a blowjob before, but he had read some tips on a women’s website and he hoped that would be enough. He gave the head a quick suck, then blew on the saliva left behind. Sherlock, rather surprised at this unexpected development, was no longer stifling his gasps and moans. This helped John immensely, the previous silence and muffled moans had been hard to read, these were a far more useful guide.

John used his hand to pull up Sherlock’s foreskin he inserted his tongue between that and the head and did a full circle - Sherlock’s hips stuttered on the bed and he tried weakly, gasping for air that seemed to have deserted him, to look down to see exactly what John had done, because it had made him see stars behind his eyelids for a second. Sherlock’s mind had gone momentarily blank and he had to learn to do that to John, because that had felt incredible, and here was another bit of data: John was also intact.

Next John used his tongue to toy with his slit ending off with engulfing his head and pulling away with a pop of suction. Sherlock made a gasping, mewling noise and his eyes fluttered shut. John scooted down further lightly cupping Sherlock’s testicles, he felt for the perineum and rubbed with a bit of pressure to try to find the prostate externally. When Sherlock didn’t gasp or moan (so his skin wasn’t sensitive there then), he resolved to find it internally - he had been given permission after all.

John held Sherlock’s cock in one hand, it was a comfortable size and girth, much as he’d expected. He gave him a few strokes and then lowered his mouth over it, taking in as much as he could. His gag reflex kicked in, but that was what the hand was for. He licked a stripe up from the bottom of Sherlock’s cock, and peppered it with kisses on the way down, earning multiple gasps and soft moans, then he resumed taking him into his mouth with a bit more suction, hand ready to fill in for the deepthroating he was unable to do. His fingers formed a ring where his mouth could go no further and followed the motion down. He did the same on the upstroke, stopping his fingers at the base of the head, he started again, picking up rhythm.

This, Sherlock’s short-circuiting brain registered, was what was referred to as a ‘blowjob’ and it was exquisite, he filed away as much of the information as he could for when he could reciprocate, the picture of John writhing under his ministrations flashed into his mind for a moment. Then he remembered his plan...

“Y-your fin-gers.” Sherlock managed to stutter out pleadingly, between hoarse gasps.

Dear Lord it should have been a crime for Sherlock to sound like that. John was about to orgasm just from him begging. So John abandoned his current project, slicked up two fingers with lube, placed more at Sherlock’s entrance, all while cupping and raising his balls again. He rubbed his finger around the entrance, feeling the muscles contract. So he resumed his ministrations to Sherlock’s cock with his other hand in hopes that sherlock would relax. Sherlock visibly relaxed when John stroked from the balls, along the perineum and stopped just short of the tight ring of muscle. He felt those muscles release slightly as he continued to suck Sherlock off and he began circling the hole once more. He stuck the tip of his forefinger just inside the entrance, waiting for the quivering to stop. He pushed inwards to the first knuckle heard a hiss from Sherlock and stayed perfectly still except for the kisses he was applying to various areas of Sherlock’s cock. When the ring of muscle didn’t relax, he decided more lube was in order.

“Relax for me, love, I’m going to pull out, I think you need more lube.”

Sherlock tried to calm the hissing breaths he was taking and relaxed his transport a bit. That was rather uncomfortable. His research indicated it could be pleasurable, but not at first.

John pulled the finger back out, thinking one finger would probably be the limit today. He decided to use his middle finger so that he could reach Sherlock’s prostate if all went well. He re-applied the lube, with lots to spare and coated Sherlock’s hole again, just in case. Leaning up he kissed him softly and lovingly, Sherlock pulled a slightly funny face because he could taste his own pre-cum on John’s tongue.

“I’m going to be very gentle. Do you think we can try again?” He said with a shy smile, “You just have to relax your transport .”

Sherlock gave a tiny nod. He could do that, he was the master of his own body - or at least he’d thought so until he started letting someone else play with it. He took a few deep breaths and thought that this time he knew better what to expect, so it wouldn’t feel so… invasive.

Right , John thought, time to make him enjoy this. He began again by rubbing the ring of muscle until it relaxed, then pushing through to the first knuckle. Sherlock didn’t hiss again, thankfully. He waited for him to adjust before pushing deeper, and repeated the process. His whole finger was now encased in Sherlock, and it gave him a thrill to think what he was about to do next…

Sherlock realised that this time had been better, sometimes expectation was worse than reality and that was what had happened before. He felt quite full as it was, with just one finger… He wasn’t confident yet that he could allow a second finger, but this was progress nonetheless, and it was getting them closer to the end goal and...

John found and brushed the prostate and Sherlock gave a strangled near-scream.

Sherlock saw a bright light behind his closed eyelids and made a sound tempered only by the presence of a sleeping child upstairs, it came out as a stifled squeak-scream that he hoped would never escape his lips again, because that had been frankly embarrassing . Only after those thoughts flew through his brain (he really did think too much) did he realise that it was pure pleasure that had caused the noise.

John decided to let Sherlock get used to the sensation before he started fondling his dick again. He wanted his detective to get used to the feeling of having his prostate played with before he came. He whispered sweet, dirty nothings into Sherlock’s ear and nibbled at his earlobe as he moved his finger in and out, brushing against the prostate every two or three thrusts. Sherlock was moaning quietly but would be a bit louder every time his prostate was touched.

Sherlock felt so much sensation from the movement and the prostate brushing he devolved into the most scientific thoughts he could manage right now. His heart was racing and a good portion of the blood being pumped was not going to his brain, this was causing him to feel light headed. He knew that his serotonin levels had increased substantially along with dopamine and the veritable explosion of oxytocin and prolactin which would soon flood his system. He was trying to resist that final step until John took him into his mouth again, mostly because he had no idea how to clean ejaculate from a ceiling, which seemed like the trajectory he would reach if John kept stroking his prostate.

“John…” He breathed. “Close!” There was a note of desperation in his voice.

John felt like he was on cloud fucking nine hearing Sherlock moan those words. It was as if Sherlock’s voice, desperate and wrecked, was a siren call to fuck him. If he could, he would have pounded into his lover (after proper preparations) and fucked them both to completion.  Despite the patience he had given his detective, in order to not just do something rash, John moved down and took Sherlock’s prick into his mouth while continuing to finger him.

Sherlock was writhing now and the friction was unbearable and now… oh! The suction had returned and he just couldn’t hold back any longer there was another one of those blasts of light.

“JOHN!”

Luckily Sherlock was quite breathless at this part so it came out as a moan more than the scream it otherwise would have been. It would be an extremely inopportune time to wake the child. As his mind drifted on a cloud of serotonin and oxytocin, he wondered vaguely about his ceiling hypothesis and whether he had hurt John’s mouth.

John felt his mouth fill with semen. He’d never given any thought as to what it tasted like… it was salty and a bit like egg whites in texture, with a touch of bitterness. He swallowed down all he could, Sherlock had shot off like a rocket. That alone was enough of an indicator that he was a virgin at this point. The rest of it John started to gag on so he pulled off and coughed a bit, but Sherlock was still coming.

Sherlock felt John remove his mouth, but he was still ejaculating, he understood when John coughed slightly. Ceiling hypothesis confirmed then , he thought, to add a bit of levity to the fact that his penis now felt lonely, softening and cold. A substantial puddle was forming and he felt like he had been ‘milked’ by the prostate stimulation. When he returned the favour, he knew he would swallow every drop of John greedily. His brain was swimming in serotonin and dopamine which was surprisingly similar to a heroin high. He wondered vaguely when actual logic would return to him (after the oxytocin wore off?) - as well as the ability to move his limbs (that one probably had to do with the prolactin).

John laid down next to Sherlock and wiped his mouth. Sherlock looked completely done in, and it looked ungodly filthy. Since it seemed his lover wasn’t going to be doing anything anytime soon, John grabbed some tissues from the nightstand and wiped off the puddle from Sherlock’s abdomen, then waited. It had become routine at this point that when one of them was coming down from their high, the other waited for whatever the first had in store.

That John room/wing/castle in his mind palace was constantly expanding, Sherlock thought as he filed away all the sensations he had just experienced. He honestly could not believe how amazing the prostate massage had been… if John was going to ‘Top’ for their first time, was it appropriate to reciprocate that action? He hoped so, because the memories were so incredible in his mind, he wanted John to feel that. Could he even replicate that? John was a doctor, he had done prostate exams before, but Sherlock had never stuck his fingers into anyone’s anus. Molly would probably draw the line at him attempting it on corpses... Not to mention the ‘blowjob’, how was he supposed to replicate that without simply copying everything John had done? He knew for a fact that he couldn’t say the kinds of things John had said while he was massaging him from the inside, Sherlock blushed at the very thought. Oh dear - no , he would not be the blushing virgin here. He needed to get a grip on his mind and his transport and make a plan.

Alright, Sherlock would begin with some kissing - even if it would be strange to taste his own semen, his main goal was to taste John’s. Then, he would pay some attention to those glorious thighs that he’d never had access to before… then the pubic area, and the penis itself. He was nervous about that. He’d done some reading but now he felt it hadn’t been nearly enough.

John could practically feel the nervous energy coming off of him. Never once did John ever forget that Sherlock was a virgin, so it was understandable. As he’d promised at the beginning of the relationship, he’d let Sherlock set the pace. If he didn’t feel ready to do anything to John, he’d be fine with that and go to the loo to rub one out. If he wanted John to penetrate him, he’d be very gentle and loving. It was all up to him. In high school and uni, there were a few girls he had to usher through their first times. Sometimes he actually got them to do anal for the first time and each time he was incredibly patient.

Sherlock pulled John closer to him and began kissing him deeply, he could taste his own ejaculate and he filed it in the mind palace so he could do a comparison. He was rather nervous, but also a bit excited at the prospect. He positioned John as he himself had been and kissed his way down John’s midline until he arrived at the previously forbidden fruit. He nuzzled into the pubic hair, committing the scent to memory. Then he passed down to the thighs, alternating soft kisses and licks, feeling the leg hair against his face, lips and tongue. As he kissed back up, he briefly contemplated fondling John’s testicles, but worried about sensitivity (he didn’t want to ruin the ‘mood’), he merely gave the sack a light kiss. He took a deep breath and let it out along John’s length, then he remembered that John had licked first to create the sensation, but he didn’t want to copy him exactly. He kissed up from the base to the head and over the top of it down the other side. This made John’s penis touch Sherlock’s chin and neck, which evoked a small sigh. Sherlock reversed direction until he reached the top again and took the head into his mouth with an experimental suck. John moaned with a shudder.

Was there nothing Sherlock Holmes couldn’t do? Could he do no wrong? John was sure that Sherlock’s body was made for sex and looking sexy while solving crimes. When he pushed his mouth further with his tongue swirling side to side slightly, John forced himself to grab hold of the headboard behind him to not just push Sherlock down onto his cock. He didn’t know why it was more intense than other blowjobs he had been given but he decided to think about that later (if his brain switched on again at some point). He looked down and saw Sherlock’s beautiful lips stretched around his cock, glistening with saliva and continually going further down. That image would be burned into John’s mind forever.

Sherlock pushed his mouth down further, taking more of John into him. When no gag reflex appeared, he went deeper, and was shocked to see that he had engulfed three-quarters of John. He experimentally moved his tongue from side to side and felt John thrust his hips up. Sherlock immediately began to use a technique that professional singers had for achieving more resonance, which opened the throat wider. John’s hips stuttered up again as Sherlock swallowed excess saliva quickly - apparently John had liked that. It had earned him a moan and another involuntary pelvic movement. John seemed to want to thrust into his mouth. Sherlock thought that a novel idea which he was on board with since his gag reflex was now reduced. He sucked up and down on John to try to send a nonverbal message, as John seemed to be trying to stop himself from thrusting. On the way down, he felt John’s pubic hair brush his nose and breathed the scent of arousal in deeply.

Jesus fucking Christ he’s deepthroating me! In his life, no one had ever deepthroated him before. Fucking Sherlock fucking Holmes was a virgin and could apparently do anything! His sex-crazed mind briefly wondered if Sherlock’s body was magic because it was fucking fantastic at doing miraculous things. John was sure that if he gripped the headboard any harder he’d break it because he was on the brink of just letting go of his control. Just Sherlock moving down his cock was sending shocks of pleasure down his spine.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Sherlock.” John moaned.

Sherlock smiled briefly around John, who was still in his mouth - that sounded very much like a compliment. He bobbed his head up and down a few times, trying to convey his intentions to John, who seemed to lose any semblance of control at that point and began thrusting into his mouth as Sherlock had been trying to get him to. It was still quite gentle though and he wondered why, but wasn’t in a position to ask.

John thrusted, but he did so gently. He didn’t want to hurt Sherlock at all based on a certain experience he had with a girl back at Uni. She was desperate to prove she could do facefucking, but when John started to really get into it, he accidentally bruised the back of her throat. She had to be sent to the A&E. Then again, that was almost thirty years ago, he probably had some better control… but with Sherlock nothing was ever certain.

Sherlock bobbed up and down more insistently, in counterpoint to the thrusts, swallowing around John’s penis every third time it brushed the back of his throat. Sherlock gently stroked John’s testicles as encouragement. He felt how contracted they were and thought that John must be getting closer to ejaculating.

John knew he wouldn’t last much longer. Sherlock was just too damn good at sucking his cock that he was sure his soul would be sucked out along with his come. He couldn’t thrust too hard lying on his back, so he was starting to go wild with his hips. He could vaguely hear Sherlock moaning in response, which only sent vibrations through his mouth and was even better. Sherlock was just fantastic at sucking his cock.

“Sh-Sherlock…” John gasped. “Coming…”

Sherlock was glad that John had finally let go and was thrusting wildly, he knew that John wouldn’t hurt him, there was an implicit trust between them. He felt John’s balls almost spasm and then there was a pulsing against the underside of his tongue just before John ejaculated down his throat. Sherlock just kept swallowing it, moving his mouth up a bit to get some on his taste buds (for comparison) until the last pulsing squirt had died down. He couldn’t believe he had managed to make John come undone to this degree. He looked debauched, and Sherlock had been the one to do it. He grinned internally. He felt John begin to soften and bobbed his head up and down once more, to feel the difference. He really wanted to feel him harden from complete flaccidity in his mouth one day. He let go of John’s penis with a pop of suction, which caused more writhing from John, and a small surprised gasp.

John was practically brain dead from the high of his orgasm. He had just done two things for the first time tonight, and the second one was fucking incredible. This was sex with Sherlock (even if there wasn’t penetration) and it was bloody brilliant. He also was a bit turned on by the fact that Sherlock had swallowed it all, though his dick didn’t dare harden. Could he just die feeling this way? Could he please die by just facefucking Sherlock over and over again? That would be an amazing way to die.

Sherlock lay back down next to John. He wasn’t sure if a kiss would be appropriate right now. He held John and wound him in his limbs as John seemed disinclined toward actual movement right now. He kissed him softly on the forehead and just held him. Then what John had been saying about the newspapers came back to him (before he had been too focussed on his plan and hadn’t really listened beyond anything that could prompt his prepared line).

“So, you were saying the papers have tired of us and are focussing on Rosie?” Sherlock kissed John’s forehead again, as if to shake him out of his stupor.

“Shut up.” John groaned.

Trust Sherlock to ruin a perfectly good moment with a total non-sequitur to their daughter. Really the king of the buzzkills without meaning to be.

“I just realised what you were saying earlier, John.” Sherlock insisted. “We cannot let those vultures target our daughter, she is far too young to deal with that kind of attention. We should talk about this before she wakes up from her nap.”

John rubbed a hand over his face and sighed. Sherlock was right, as usual. What would happen when Rosie started going to Primary school? Would they start hanging about their places they go to like the park or Barts just to get a glimpse of her? Would someone try to do something horrible to her because they saw her in the gossip columns? Rosie was smart, but she wasn’t able to handle these kinds of things yet. It was way too soon for her.

“We’ll have to do something to take their minds off of Rosie.” John said. “They’re talking about her because I’ve posted some things, so we’ll have to do something that’ll grab their attention.” He turned to Sherlock. “I just thought of including things about Rosie as, well, parental bragging I guess? I’m just insanely proud of her and I want the world to know what she can do.”

That string of cases leading up to Reichenbach, Sherlock thought, ever since he had found that blasted painting, the media had become part of his life, he had hardly noticed until they turned against him. He could not forget that this breed of lesser human had driven a royal figure off the road in their pursuit, which had resulted in her death. He didn’t care for the monarchy at all, but that was the best example of the paparazzi’s attitude he needed.

“We can’t just stop putting things on the blog, that will force them to invade our lives more, trying to get a glimpse of her. She has become a public figure now, it cannot be helped, the media will always have an interest in her. Perhaps if you update more regularly they’ll be satisfied with republishing those snippets.”

“Now I kind of feel guilty with posting at all. I honestly didn’t think about the fact that we’re in the public eye, but should it be wrong to be… to be proud of your daughter for being a fantastic human being?”

“Of course not, John, that’s only natural. The parents of an extraordinary child often start a blog for the express purpose of showing off their child’s development - they have been doing so for years. The only reason Rosie is getting the amount of attention she is is due to our ‘fame’”

“Yeah, but it isn’t fair on her.”

“Of course not, John, life is seldom... The most we can do is protect her to the best of our ability.”

John cuddled close to Sherlock and closed his eyes. He felt safe in his detective’s arms, but they wouldn’t always protect him. Sherlock could only do so much, and the same went for Mycroft. They could only do as much as they could.

“Fine.”

Almost as if on cue, the sound of Rosie sniffling could be heard over the baby monitor. John groaned and got up without another word. He was a bit achy (it seemed age was catching up to him) as he got his clothes on and threw Sherlock’s to him. He knew Sherlock was right, but he couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty and like he was exploiting Rosie by blogging more about her.

While John fetched Rosie, Sherlock dressed quickly - after a trip to the loo to run a wet flannel over his abdomen and genitals. Since the nightmare, Rosie liked to see both of them when she woke up, if possible. He walked towards the kitchen where they would be having a snack with her. He briefly wondered whether they should start a second blog, specifically for Rosie, but dismissed the idea. There were dangerous people out there and at least having her blatantly associated with a Consulting Detective and an Army Doctor might protect her from some of the crazies. On the other hand, association with Sherlock and John held entirely different risks. He didn’t want their daughter to be raised in the public eye, but apparently the paparazzi had decided differently, and Sherlock knew how dogged they could be. John entered with Rosie, he was making an effort not to show his thoughts to the far too perceptive child, but she had already picked up that something was off with Daddy. Sherlock considered himself a far superior actor so he stepped forward to take her from John.

“Hi papa!” Rosie said cheerfully.

“Hello Honeybee, did you have a nice nap?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s good sweetheart. Did you enjoy playing with Oliver?”

“Yup.” She popped the ‘P’ just like Sherlock and John giggled.

“Sometimes she’s so like you it scares me.” John teased.

“Only the very best parts, I hope.” Sherlock said with a half-smile.

“Papa is the best.”

If only she knew, Sherlock thought. His worst parts were very dark and nothing he’d like to pass on to a child. He hoped that her high intellect wouldn’t lead her down the dark path of drugs he had thought he needed to tread for his own sanity.

“Thank you Rosie, I’ll always be the best for you.” Sherlock smiled but couldn’t quite keep the worry from his eyes.

“Papa, why you and Daddy look sad?

“We’re just tired, love.”

“Yes, Honeybee, you had a nap but Daddy and I didn’t. That’s all.” Sherlock gave her his best smile and wink combination - it was almost always a winner.

Rosie looked suspicious, but her tummy growled and she looked down at it.

“Hungry.” She announced.

“Yes I think we could all hear that.” He chuckled and the worry disappeared from his eyes.

“Peaches, pears or bananas, Rosie?”

She pulled a concentration face that was very much like John’s and said resolutely,
“Peaches.”

“Peaches it is then.”

Sherlock set Rosie in her high and John got out the organic peach baby food they got from the farmer’s market. Sherlock was the one who suggested the baby food be organic, but John agreed because of the chemicals and preservatives used in practically everything nowadays. Rosie kept trying to use the spoon herself, but John told her she wasn’t ready yet, which in turn made her start to get angry. She was about to have a tantrum, and John had no patience for that right now.

Sherlock knew that look, it spelled disaster and John threw him a desperate glance. He rushed out to the lounge and grabbed the skull off the mantelpiece, returning quickly with it behind his back. He stood behind Rosie’s high chair and stuck the skull out next to her in a sudden move, this startled her out of the tantrum. She hadn’t been tall enough to reach it yet, so she had never felt the smooth bone. Rosie grabbed for it, but Sherlock pulled it back and stuck it out on the other side. She made to grab it again with a giggle and Sherlock performed the same action, not allowing her to touch it with her sticky fingers.

“Rosie, let Daddy feed you and when you’re finished and your hands are clean, I’ll show you the different areas of the skull.”

“Kay!”

John then continued to feed her without issues. She ate her food, and as per routine, Sherlock and John ate at the table after cleaning her up and setting her on the floor with her mat of letters. She’d put new words together and John and Sherlock would tell her if they were right or if it was a word at all. Things would get better, John knew they would.

Afterwards Sherlock let her touch the skull as he showed her the cranium, the occiput, the temporal bone which lead into the temporomandibular joint of the jaw and the teeth. He pointed out the cheekbones and the chin. He had her spell ‘skull’ and ‘cranium’ and ‘teeth’ and ‘chin’.

Sherlock found it highly amusing, but John foresaw this being a rather macabre favourite toy later on.

Chapter Text

Sherlock sighed loudly after his phone pinged a week or so later. John gave him a questioning look to which he replied, “My parents just arrived back from a trip to South Africa, they want to meet Rosie.” That weekend, Violet and Siegel Holmes came to 221B to meet their (newly official) grandchild.

“Hello Sherlock dear, I’m so glad you’ve had the little one to take care of, not getting shot at all the time. I still haven’t gotten my revenge on that person who shot my little boy. You are taking care of him, John, I trust?”

“Yes Mrs. Holmes, I’ve been doing my best.”

“Mum, that was ages ago, it never mattered to me. John, this is my father, you should have a lot to discuss in the way of jumpers.”

“Well it’s an art only few understand.” Siegel teased.

“I couldn’t agree more.” John said.

“I can see you’ll get on swimmingly.” Sherlock said dryly.

Rosie started to call out to Sherlock and John over the baby monitor. It seemed she had impeccable timing when it came to waking up from her naps as the elder Holmeses became very excited.

“I didn’t think I’d see the day, my son with a child… Bring her down for us, will you John? I’ll get Sherlock to make us all some tea.”

Sherlock muttered a bit under his voice at this command, but gave a soft sigh and complied as John went upstairs to fetch Rosie from her crib. She had calmed down a bit after the nightmare incident and had finally been okay with having her own room. When he reached the room, Rosie was standing in her cot with a bright smile on her face. She was wearing a bee onesie today with an embroidered honey jar on it.

“I meeting Granny and Grandad?” Rosie asked excitedly.

“Yes you are Rosebud.” John said as he picked her up. “They’re right downstairs and excited to meet you too.”

“Yay!”

Sherlock went through the motions of making tea, he even used the bone china tea set he had used when Moriarty visited the flat. He was a bit reluctant to go out to the lounge, sure he would be regaled with far too many details about safari trips and the like… hopefully the baby would be a welcome distraction for that. He’d seen enough blurry photographs of wildlife over the past fortnight to make him wish Mycroft had never given Mummy a smartphone (more for the GPS bugging capabilities than for the camera, which they had both suffered for). Moreover, his parents were going to meet their only grandchild and he didn’t think they had actually shown a great track record with genius children… He put the tea set on the tray and set it on the coffee table just before John and Rosie entered.

John could see the excitement in Rosie’s face. It was as if she found someone incredibly important in her life. Violet and Siegel practically lit up at the sight of their new granddaughter, and John swore Mrs. Holmes almost cried when Rosie waved at them.

“Hello Rosie! Isn’t that just an adorable outfit. Oh, John, she has your smile… I just want to gobble her up, she’s so adorable.”

Finally , John thought, someone noticed something about me in her. He knew it was stupid being happy over something so simple, but it was nice not hearing that she was just like Sherlock.

“Obviously.” Rosie said.

“I think we have a nature versus nurture thing going on, Sherlock, that was absolutely you.”

“She seems to have picked up narcissism from you, Sherlock my boy.” Siegel said with a smirk. “She knows she’s adorable.”

“Of course she knows, it’s clearly true. I picked the outfit, by the way.” Sherlock seemed to be beaming, genuinely happy at his parents’ approval.

“Come to… oh what should you call me, little one?” Violet asked.

“Granny.” Rosie answered.

“Okay, come to Granny.”

John handed Rosie over to her new Granny and Rosie looked like she was deducing Violet on sight. He prayed to god she wouldn’t say anything inappropriate to put off her Granny. Unfortunately, his silent prayers did nothing as Rosie pointed at Violet and said,

“Cheekbones and talks a lot.”

“Sorry, Mum, she’s very perceptive. I think that was her way of comparing us.” Sherlock said quickly. “I talk a lot and well, the cheekbones run in the family, don’t take offence.”

“Of course not, dear, we’re used to you.” She laughed at Sherlock’s slightly stunned expression.

“Thank you, Rosie, I suppose your…” Violet looked thoughtful for a second. “Ah, Papa had to get it from somewhere.”

“Obviously!” Rosie declared.

“Is that your favorite word, Rosie?” Siegel asked.

Rosie nodded with a hum, and John could feel his heart warm at the sight of Rosie bonding with her adoptive grandparents. He knew she’d never meet his parents, so the fact that she had Sherlock’s parents as grandparents was just great. It was what she needed, but he also knew Mrs. Hudson would want to be pronounced “Nana” soon. She watched and played with Rosie enough that she earned the title on her own.

“Oh, the poor dear seems a bit soggy, can I change her?” Violet looked so genuinely happy to change a nappy, Sherlock merely led her to the bathroom in stunned amusement.

“I couldn’t believe you actually did this while John was in the hospital, Sherlock. I never thought I’d see the day you became a father.”

“Needs must, Mother.” Sherlock said with a tinge of red to his cheeks.

Mrs. Holmes efficiently changed Rosie’s diaper and picked her up again, she seemed reluctant to let her go.

“I suppose we have to go share her now.” She said, walking towards the lounge.

“You must be very proud of her, John.” Siegel remarked. “A child like that doesn’t happen often.”

“Well you had three, and the two boys ended up living at home, I’m surprised you survived.”

Siegel laughed at that.

“It’s true, the boys were trouble, but it all worked out in the end.” He said as Violet walked in with Rosie and Sherlock. “The proof is right in front of you.”

Sherlock wasn’t sure ‘it all worked out in the end’ was a good way to explain their family. His parents had tried their best, but between Mycroft’s arrogance, Sherlock’s desire to perform dangerous experiments and his history of addiction, not to mention Eurus’ early psychosis, it was rather inaccurate as a family motto. He tried to bottle up the rage at his parents and Mycroft that always seemed to bubble up at the thought of everybody else knowing he had a sister whilst he remained oblivious - today was not the appropriate time for that conversation.

“Well, even if Sherlock drives me up the wall, he and Rosie are worth it.”

“So Rosie, what should I be called then?” Siegel asked.

“Grandad.”

“Alright, then come here to Grandad.”

“Wanna play with letters.” Rosie countered.

“So you can show Granny and Grandad what words you know?” John asked.

“Yeah.”

“Spelling at this age is quite extraordinary. Show Granny what you can do sweetheart.” Siegel and Violet sat on the chairs closest to the spelling mat.

She sat Rosie down on her mat and Rosie started to pick out some letters. She spelled a few words like ‘skull’, ‘teeth’, ‘chin’, even ‘cranium’, which John didn’t know she even knew how to spell. He was shocked she knew at all because she only really spelled simple words.

“Rosie, where’d you learn to spell that?”

“Papa showed me.”

“A little over a month ago when I showed her the skull, I taught her a few of the simpler terms. I didn’t expect ‘cranium’ to stick, though.” He grinned proudly down at her and gave her a wink.

“Papa’s smart! He knows everything !”

“We know, he used to do the same things to show off to us.” She whispered to John. “Of course his boasting usually involved eyeballs or bird livers.”

“Eyeballs!” Rosie said gleefully then spelled it.

“She apparently has quite excellent hearing too.” She looked at John and Sherlock apologetically.

“She’s just incredibly smart in a lot of areas. It’s hard to keep up.” John defended.

“She’s also years ahead of where she should be, it’s quite remarkable.” Siegel commented.

“Yes, and we love her just as she is.” Sherlock said.

“Who could blame you? She's a sweetheart.” Violet said.

Soon Rosie started spelling more words on the floor and Sherlock’s parents started regaling tales of safaris, culture, and hotels. John was actually quite interested in it all and asked to see pictures (much to Sherlock’s dismay). There were photos of giraffes, antelopes, everything you would find at a zoo, only in their natural habitat.

However, Sherlock noticed something quite strange occurring in their own habitat… Rosie had been spelling some easy words like lion and rhino (“there's a hidden ‘H’, Honeybee”) and suddenly seemed much more interested in the idea of pictures. Rosie actually stood up on her own, and looked like she was about to walk.

John heard Sherlock’s command to look at Rosie and was absolutely shocked. He then urged Mr. and Mrs. Holmes to watch Rosie as well. Rosie seemed to be a bit off balance, but then took her first step. Sherlock knelt down on the floor next to the table. Violet immediately began to record the moment on her phone.

“Hey, Honeybee, do you want to come over to see the pictures? Come here to Papa.”

Rosie smiled brightly and took three more steps. She fell forward a bit but balanced herself out and walked with determination. Surely enough, Rosie had reached Sherlock in thirty steps and hugged him. John started clapping and said,

“Great job Rosie! Fantastic!”

“Oh, those were her first steps weren't they? I can't believe I managed to film it, my hands are shaking!” Violet sniffled a bit, tears shining in her eyes. Siegel located a tissue box and passed her one, she dabbed delicately at her eyes.

John was so happy that Rosie could walk, but also terrified at the same time. Now she wasn’t restricted to crawling to get to places, she could now stand up and reach things that were usually crawl-proof. Then again, many parents who were John’s patients in the past said kids take to walking all the time at different rates. It would at least be months until she walked full-time, which gave him some comfort.

“Soon she’ll be grabbing things that she usually couldn’t reach.” He commented.

“I'll have the child-proofing people back here tomorrow, and we'll do a full inventory of what we keep on the places that are now within her reach.”

As gratifying as it was to see his little girl growing up, it also terrified Sherlock… this unusual pace was beginning to worry him. He was becoming more interested in her musculature, and how she was able to support herself. He almost wished they had done that body scan, it would be more fascinating to him than a hundred corpses.

“It seems once again our granddaughter has progressed further.” Siegel said.

“She might be showing off for you a little bit… John would say she gets that from me.” Sherlock rolled his eyes.

“Probably. She’s been around for when you’ve shown off for clients.” John agreed.

“Obviously.” Rosie interjected.

“With two of you that's going to get annoying very quickly.”

It was my line first , Sherlock thought and mused briefly that maybe she could use ‘bored’ and he could use ‘tedious’, his thoughts were interrupted by him noticing the time. His parents had to leave soon or they would miss their train. They should at least show Rosie those pictures first, she had walked to see them. He picked her up with a spin, which made her giggle and deposited her on Granny's lap so she could see the phone.

“Is that a lion?” Rosie asked for one photo.

“Yes it is, Rosebud. The king of the jungle.”

“In actual fact John, that is a title more befitting of the tiger as they inhabit jungles. Lions naturally inhabit the veld or savannah, which is why their colouring matches that of long grass.” Sherlock said.

John sighed.

“Alright, the king of the savannah .”

“Some things never change, John, he always has to have the last word.” Violet smirked.

“Trust me, I know.”

Rosie then asked about rhinos when they got to pictures of them in an enclosure.

“You can't see many of them because they have to be protected from nasty people who want to cut off their horns.” Sherlock explained.

“That’s mean!” Rosie exclaimed.

“It's disgusting.”

“Why can't Daddy and Papa catch the bad men?”

John tried really hard not to laugh. It was adorable that Rosie thought they could do things like that, but that wasn’t really their area.

“Because we catch murderers, Rosie, not people who kill Rhinos.” John explained.

“But the bad men are murdering Rhinos too.” Rosie countered.

Sherlock realised that she was actually debating with them. That was a whole other level of conversational intellect.

“When there are no more murderers here, we'll take a trip to Africa, Honeybee, okay? We'll go catch the rhino murderers.”

At that the little one gasped and nodded with a loud ‘yeah’.

They had just put themselves into a binding contract with that suggestion. Sometimes John wished Sherlock would think ahead more before making decisions. He made a promise to himself that if Sherlock tried something like that again, he’d try to talk him out of it.

At around 7 pm Rosie was starting to fall asleep. It was also a good time for the grandparents to leave so they said their goodbyes to Rosie before they left and John put her to bed. He was honestly a bit exhausted by that point. He just wanted to fall asleep to delay the inevitable chasing of Rosie around the flat tomorrow. When he was in bed with the covers on, Sherlock came into the bedroom as well.

Sherlock gave John a smoldering look, but John ignored it. He began to undress slowly well within John's field of vision. He kept his pants on and showed off his rear end walking around to the wardrobe to fetch pajama bottoms (unnecessarily). John merely groaned and closed his eyes. Sherlock went to the loo, then climbed into bed.

“I know what you’re doing, Sherlock.” John mumbled.

“I was being rather obvious purposefully.” Sherlock said in his deeper ‘bedroom voice’.

“While having sex has it’s appeals, I’m knackered and just want to sleep.”

“I had observed that, John. I thought you might sleep more soundly after some intimate contact.” He said as he slowly ran his hand over John’s arm.

“Well I was about to go to sleep, but then you came in acting all sexy and distracted me.”

“Well, I am feeling… aroused … perhaps we could reach a compromise.” Sherlock intoned.

John’s cock twitched a bit at that.

“I’m listening.”

“I've read that mutual pleasure can be gained by a process called frottage…” Sherlock could see John shivered from that suggestion. “Your body certainly seems to like the proposition.”

“If you do all the work, I wouldn’t be opposed to that.”

Sherlock hooked his thumbs into his pants and wriggled out of them, his erection already prominent, then he knelt over John and helped him to do the same. He positioned himself between John's legs, his own penis hardening even more as he saw John's begin to fill and give another twitch. He stroked John to full readiness, and marveled at the fact that he'd been so inexperienced a short time ago. John felt like he had been made specifically for Sherlock and Sherlock loved it. He had read that lubricant would increase the pleasurable feeling of their two penises rubbing together, so he extracted some from the drawer. He let it heat up in his palm before applying it to John… he had promised to do all the work, after all. Then he leaned forward, aligning them and began to kiss John deeply. His penis was being lubricated by John's and it felt glorious. He began to thrust them together.

John didn’t know that just the act of rubbing their cocks together could feel so good. He thought that having a hole or a mouth would be the best, but this was almost as good as that. There was just something fulfilling in this and he loved it. He started to moan quietly as Sherlock picked up the pace and grabbed onto Sherlock’s arse hard to signal he wanted it rougher, which was what he got. If he wasn’t so tired, he’d have pinned Sherlock to the wall and fucked him senseless… but damn his body for having human needs such as sleep.

“D-do you like that?” Sherlock gasped. “Does my penis feel good?”

“St-stop with the dirty talk.” John groaned. “You’re no-ot good at it.”

Sherlock stopped immediately and drank in John's moans with his kisses instead, he was taking all the signals he could from John's body. When John had gripped his cheeks, he thrust harder and faster. Putting most of his weight on his left arm, he snaked a hand between them and held their two penises together so that they were thrusting into the circling embrace. Even John couldn't help thrusting up at this point. They stopped kissing because their breathing was so ragged, Sherlock whispered quiet 'I love you’s’ in between breaths. John sounded close when he groaned Sherlock’s name and Sherlock tried to match his orgasm to John's. He failed by only a second, but the extra lubrication from John sent him over the edge immediately.

It seemed like every time Sherlock did something new with him, John would reach a new level of orgasm. He didn’t know if there would be anything else that could surpass this one because it was fucking incredible. Sherlock had become incredibly good at sex just from these past few months and it was insane but also unsurprising. His mind was always useless after sex with Sherlock for a good while because the intensity was always incredible.

They were both covered in their commingling ejaculate. Sherlock gave John one last loving kiss before reaching over to replace the lubricant and grab tissues and baby wipes (they had proved surprisingly good at cleaning… all manner of things). He cleaned them both up and threw the debris in the rubbish bin nearby. John was as flushed as he was and he had managed to calm his breathing enough to talk.

“Thank you, but please don't try to talk dirty again. It's not who you are, love.”

Sherlock smirked and gave a brief chuckle. “I promise.” He kissed John on the cheek and asked whether he would like his pants put back on. John shook his head with a yawn. Sherlock decided to forego his pants too. He was sated and it was just too much effort. He offered John a sip of water from the bottle he kept in his drawer. John accepted, yawned again and snuggled onto Sherlock’s chest. Sherlock took a quick gulp from his restricted position, placed the bottle on the nightstand and could have sworn he felt John's drowsiness seep into him. John was already fast asleep with his right arm curled around Sherlock's abdomen. He fell asleep filing more happy memories into his mind palace, first this latest experience with John, so he could ‘clean his mind’ to think of Rosie taking her first steps and his parents’ pure joy at meeting their grandchild. It had been an exceptional day.

 

 

***

 

Over the next few days, Rosie didn’t want to stop walking. It seemed John’s hope of Rosie not taking to walking so quickly was diminished because she just followed them everywhere. Even when John went to the bathroom, she would walk up to the door and sit waiting to follow him again. She seemed to be relishing in the fact that she could walk now and it was amazing but terrifying.

The child-proofing experts had been to the flat early that first morning, looked shocked, and basically pronounced there was little more they could do except to put in higher gate rails. Sherlock feared she would soon learn to open them and they would become superfluous anyway, as would the child-proof door, drawer, cabinet and cupboard locks. They now had to practice maximum stealth in retrieving anything from a locked place. Very soon she would be able to reach everything, she wasn't that tall yet, but she was growing every day. Sherlock shuddered to think what she would do to his sock index or his suits.

John hadn’t been around for some of the excitement, so Sherlock had to deal with the chaos the most. He felt bad, but a selfish, exhausted part of him was thankful he had a second person to take part of the trouble. Just Rosie walking around the first full day had been incredibly hard, but her following them around was even harder.

Being tailed by a walking child had become very old, very quickly. Apparently children taking their first steps was supposed to be a huge moment for parents, and it had felt that way at the time, but he hadn’t expected it to become a permanent feature immediately. Even Sherlock was beginning to tire of the constant lack of privacy. He had to lock both bathroom doors just to complete his ablutions, it was getting ridiculous. He hoped that the new gates would hold off her learning to climb stairs. The flat was beginning to feel like it was shrinking by the moment. Sherlock could really have used a cigarette at this point. He couldn’t call on Molly as she was working and Mrs. Hudson would never keep up with the child. He wondered briefly if he could set her on Mycroft, but dismissed that with a private giggle… perhaps one day, when Mycroft had really wronged him. At least she seemed to tire quite easily and she wanted an extra nap. He carried her up the stairs, disengaging the gate in a way that hid the trick from her. He had an hour and a half to himself to rest and think of a plan. The plan took a few minutes, making himself a cup of tea (with lots of sugar) and some toast with a good deal of honey took a few more and flopping down on the couch took up the rest until the baby monitor woke him. It was a sunny day, a rarity for Spring in London, and this had inspired his plan: he would take Rosie to Regents Park.

Rosie started to call out to Sherlock over the baby monitor, but it was slightly softer than the usual noises when she woke up. She was probably still half asleep so there would be a bit of time for Rosie to be drowsy and not running around everywhere, which was fantastic.
Sherlock gathered himself, breathed deeply a few times and found the baby sunscreen that Rosie would need, as well as his coat, scarf and shoes - and her little replica coat. He trudged up the stairs. Rosie was rousing more as he applied the sunscreen and got her dressed for leaving the flat. By the time this was done, she was ready to walk around everywhere with him. He did his stair trick again, and insisted he take her in her carrier for the walk to the park, she reluctantly complied.

“Wanna walk.”

“If you walk you’ll be tired already when we get there, don’t you want to walk on the grass and play?”

“Yeah.”

They reached the park where they could walk around freely, without the sense of claustrophobia Sherlock was beginning to develop in the flat. He’d taken her out of the carrier as they arrived and stowed it near some benches under a tree. It should be reasonably safe there. Sherlock immediately realised a problem, most children who began to walk were tall enough to reach their parents’ hands, which was a good safety system… She was diminutive and he was tall and this would be problematic because he did not want her to wander off, especially if there were any press or predators about. He quickly untied his scarf from his neck, instead tying it to her little wrist and holding the other end. It was a bit absurd to be walking a child on what was effectively a leash, but he would not let anything untoward happen to his daughter. He and Rosie walked to the pond, over the small bridge and watched the ducks. She saw some other people tossing bread to the ducks and looked like she wanted to as well.

“It’s actually really bad for the ducks Honeybee. They don’t digest the bread properly and the other pieces contaminate their water. I wish people would stop doing it.”

“Then why do it? Why not feed duckies duck food?”

“People are ignorant, Rosie. They just keep doing what other people have done for generations without knowing it’s wrong. They don’t bother to check if it’s healthy for the ducks.”

“But it hurts duckies! It’s bad !”

“Yes, but they don’t know that, they haven’t done their research.”

“What do duckies eat?”

“They can eat vegetables like peas or corn or lettuce, they also like seeds and oats. You can even buy special duck pellets, I think. How about I do that for next time? Then we can feed them too.”

“Yeah!”

Rosie then watched the ducks for a while. She sat down in her mini Belstaff just watching their movements and how the ducks interacted with one another. However, a little duckling came very close to her. Rosie gasped with a giant smile and reached her hand out. The duckling of course backed away, but then moved close and allowed her to pet it.

Sherlock snapped a picture with his mobile of Rosie and the duckling and sent it to John. Rosie looked radiant, grinning wildly, hair ruffled by a slight breeze. He felt his heart melt once more at the sight. For the first time since the walking started, he felt all the irritation leave him as he looked at his daughter.

Unfortunately the moment turned sour when the duckling bit Rosie and went back to its family. Rosie started to cry and her hand had a bright red mark from the duckling’s beak.

“Shh, Rosie, shh.” Sherlock said as he immediately picked her up. “Maybe we can go visit Daddy at work to make sure that the duckling didn’t hurt you… would you like that?”

“Please.” She said between sniffles and tears.

Sherlock sent John a quick text saying the duck incident had gone slightly wrong and they would be popping by to see him at the surgery. John replied that he would clear a spot for her.

Carrying Rosie, Sherlock retrieved the baby carrier and strapped her in before leaving the park and hailing a cab.

When they got to the clinic, there were a few people who recognized Sherlock. They didn’t say anything, but it was obvious on their faces that they recognized him. But things didn’t get better as someone actually took out their phone to take a picture specifically of Rosie. Sherlock struck out with his free hand, grabbed the man’s wrist and squeezed a point which made their hand go limp and their phone drop to the ground. It was in a protective case, which disappointed Sherlock, because he had really wanted to see it smash into pieces.

“Would anybody else like to try to take a photo of my daughter?” he said, shoving the man away and rounding to face the rest of the group. He bent to pick up the phone, the screen was still on so he could erase the blurred photograph of him reaching toward the camera. Sherlock covered Rosie’s ears as he hissed out “Maybe you’d like all the details of your private lives exposed? I can do that, deduce every dirty secret in a few moments… You know who I am, believe me, you do not want to see me in action when I’m angry.” He cast another calculating glance around the room before he turned swiftly in a swirl of coat to shield Rosie and stormed into John’s office.

John had just finished with the previous patient and sent them out when his door slammed open and Sherlock swept inside with Rosie’s carrier half concealed under his coat. The suddenness scared the shit out of him and made him jump.

“Sherlock!?” John exclaimed. “What in the he-.”

“Your waiting room is full of nosey idiots with camera phones.” Sherlock growled. Placing the carrier down gently, in a move completely incongruous with his body language, he then kicked the door shut in frustration.

“What are you talking about?”

“They tried to take photos of Rosie. Don’t worry, only one person managed and the shot was entirely of me grabbing his stupid wrist.” Sherlock rolled his eyes.

“Someone tried to take a picture of Rosie!?”

John couldn’t believe this! Someone actually tried to take a picture of Rosie without their permission. Thank God it was Sherlock there and not John because it would have probably gone undetected by him. It was just horrible. He had to take some deep breaths in order to not go and find the dickhead.

Sherlock took some deep breaths along with John. It occurred to him then that Rosie may be in some distress.

“Daddy, Papa?”

John finally felt calm enough to look Rosie over and put on a semi-calm expression.

“It’s alright, Rosie.” He assured. “Everything’s fine now.”

“Why did the man wanna take a picture of me?”

Sherlock wanted to throttle that idiot. How were they supposed to explain to their innocent child that their fame had rubbed off on Rosie? How could he explain that tabloids would pay for a picture of her? Could they even explain to her that going to the park may be dangerous for her? This was an invasion of her privacy before she’d even been able to develop a sense of what that was - a child who relied on other people to change her diapers could hardly be expected to know what personal space was. Sherlock looked helplessly at John for answers, but John didn’t seem to have any either.

“Rosie, you know how Papa and Daddy are well known as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson? Well, some silly people like to take photographs of us because they like what we do when we solve crimes.” Sherlock explained.

“Okay.”

“Now that they know how much we love you and how special you are, they want to take pictures of you too.”

“Me?” Rosie looked shocked but also like she wouldn’t mind preening for the camera.

“Yes, darling.” John answered. “But it’s not nice.”

“Daddy and I don’t like it because strangers taking pictures without asking permission is very rude.” Sherlock said.

“So if they ask it’s okay?” Rosie inquired.

“Daddy and Papa will have to decide, depending on the person.” Sherlock said.

“No maniacs?” Rosie asked.

“Exactly, we have to be sure that they aren’t maniacs.” John said, very glad she hadn’t remembered the exact phrasing she’d used before. “Now let’s see what the ducky did, okay Rosebud? Show me your hand.”

Rosie gingerly held out the injured appendage. There was no damage, just a slight red mark which wouldn’t even bruise. He prescribed a disinfectant wipe and lots of kisses, which made Rosie giggle.

Sherlock looked at John, with a bit of pleading in his eyes, John seemed to have read the message accurately and he gave Sherlock a comforting hug. Sherlock was worried about how to exit the building without the same drama, but he remembered there was a back door (not that he was about to be honest as to why he knew that).

“Can you let us out the back way, John?” Sherlock asked.

“How did you even - ? Nevermind, you probably have blueprints for the surgery in your mind palace.” He shook his head with an eye-roll and gave Sherlock a kiss on the cheek. He lead the way out of the office and to the rear exit.

They caught another cab, without any hassle and returned home without further incident.

 

***

Enough is Enough!

Alright this has gone far enough! Sherlock and Rosie went to the clinic today and someone decided to try and sneak a photo of our daughter. THAT IS NOT OKAY! Rosie isn’t even a year old, and some of you think that because she’s our daughter that she automatically is a target of attention, but she isn’t!

To the man who decided to try and take a photo of our daughter in the waiting room, you’re lucky it wasn’t me who caught you. Things would have not gone smoothly for you if it were me in Sherlock’s place.

This is a promise to anyone who takes a photo of Rosie without our permission and sells it or posts it: CONSEQUENCES WILL BE SEVERE.

This is the last I’m going to comment on the subject.

 

***

 

Sherlock had unexpectedly taken John out for a nice dinner and organised for Sally to take Rosie for the night. John was slightly suspicious, because even he had noticed the trend of Sherlock making sexual advances when bad events occurred. When they arrived home he turned to Sherlock at the door to their room and said,

“You really think having sex will solve all our problems, don’t you?”

Sherlock gave him a quizzical look and tried to look innocent.

“I have no idea what you mean.”

“Every time we have a problem or just come back from a chase, you insist on having sex or taking a further step. I feel like you think sex just makes the problems go away.”

“I don’t think it solves the problems, that would be idiotic. I have merely been trying to channel my frustration with certain events in a positive way, namely into my libido. Otherwise I’d be walking the streets looking for some other fix.”

“It shouldn’t be through sex all of the time. I’m not complaining about the sex though, it’s great. Brilliant even. I just think it’s a good idea for you to find other coping mechanisms.”

“John, we both know my only other coping mechanisms are bad ones.”

“You don’t need a fix, it’s just a good idea to have other positive ways to cope.”

“You’re the best fix I’ve ever had, is it so wrong of me to want more?” Sherlock said in a sultry tone, trying to change the subject back to the bedroom.

John sighed. Damn Sherlock and his amazing bedroom voice. He knew full well what it did to him.

“We’ll talk about this later.”

Finally, no more talking, Sherlock knew what he wanted and that was John. Just John, his body, his pleasure, not his psychoanalysis. Sherlock had to shut John’s brain down. He started with a particularly sensitive spot he had discovered on John’s neck, first a kiss then a little nip, he licked his way up from there to his jawline, kissed along it and by the time he reached John’s mouth, he could tell by the heavy breathing that he had achieved his goal.

John managed to open the bedroom door and have them stumble inside, switching on the lights with an elbow because he liked to see Sherlock. He started to take off Sherlock’s clothes and kissed every bit of newly revealed skin he got to. Every touch and every kiss set his nerves on fire and he felt that familiar feeling of his body electrifying with lust he always did with Sherlock. When they were on the bed naked, John assumed his detective wanted to do something similar to a week ago when they ground together. He started to rut his cock against Sherlock’s with reckless abandon, but Sherlock stopped him, which was incredibly confusing.

“What’s wrong?” John asked.

“That’s not what I want tonight. I want you… to take me… fully .” Sherlock managed to say, turning rather red.

John gulped.

“You mean…” He breathed. “You want me to…”

Oh the talking, Sherlock couldn’t handle the talking part. He always thought he sounded stupid in these situations. He didn’t know how to express it except blatantly, in the most scientific way, which he knew others would find ‘cold’ and ‘not sexy’. Luckily John knew him better than anyone else on the planet, so he hoped it wouldn’t ‘turn him off’.

“Penetrate me. Yes John. If you’re willing…”

‘If you’re willing’ ? Of course he was! He wouldn’t trade the opportunity for anything unless it was a life or death situation. It made him harder just thinking about doing this to Sherlock. Fuck, it would be hot.

“You have no idea how willing I am to do that.” John whispered before ravaging Sherlock with a kiss.

Sherlock breathed a sigh of relief and nervous tension. He was nervous about this, he knew it was an important step and he didn’t want fear of pain or anything to ruin this. John had been increasingly ‘opening him up’ during their sexual activities. Sherlock had insisted they manage four fingers before the main event, that had been simultaneously extremely invasive, but also very pleasurable. However, the main event was now upon him and he was trying not to panic. He had prepared for this beforehand, having administered an enema earlier in the day and making sure that he was cleared of any… remnants… before dinner.

John could tell Sherlock was tense, he wasn’t as relaxed as he was when they normally had sex. He could understand it, it was Sherlock’s first time after all. He knew he had to ease his detective into it, so he slowed down the kissing to something more sensual and romantic. He wanted it to be special for them, not just the result of urges. John started to kiss down the side of Sherlock’s cheek, trailed across his jawline, and down his neck to his nipple. He started to lick, nip, and suck it the way Sherlock liked it which caused Sherlock to start moaning quietly. John started to wonder which way he would prepare Sherlock? Eating him out? Fingers? There were a few options out there.

He decided on just doing what they had been and licked a trail down to Sherlock’s cock. He kissed up to the tip of his gorgeous dick and sucked the head into his mouth but didn’t go full force like they did when they were incredibly turned on.

John was being very gentle with him, which Sherlock appreciated. Part of him was grateful, the lustful part of him just wanted to hurry it up. He also knew his doctor would take care not to hurt him, which eased his worries from earlier. The sensations on his nipple were driving most of the worries away already, and when John used his mouth on him, they disappeared completely.

John started to bob his head up and down Sherlock’s dick at a slow pace. There was no rush this time because Rosie was at Sally’s, and no cases were being pursued at the moment. They had all night to do what they wanted and John was going to utilize the time as much as he needed. He made sure to rub his tongue around the shaft when he went up and down and added a bit of suction when he moved upward. Sherlock started to buck his hips, but very gently. Obviously it was working.

John’s tongue was doing some fantastic work. The suction he applied was at the perfect level to keep Sherlock relaxed and aroused without bringing him closer to orgasm. Sherlock was trying to control his urge to thrust. He felt John’s hands move to the drawer and focussed on the sensations instead of letting himself become distracted by the implications.

John let off for a moment as he found the lube and asked,

“Doing alright?”

Sherlock moaned a confirmation and managed to gasp a ‘yes’.

“I’m going to go down to the… back door now, if that’s okay?”

“I… prepared for it earlier… but we may need to disinfect the area before you… if it’s with your mouth...” Sherlock managed to say, blushing profusely. “There are wipes… in the drawer.”

That’s… actually quite thoughtful. John thought as he reached in the drawer. Surely enough, he found wipes in the bedside drawer near some condoms. After grabbing a wipe, he also grabbed a condom mainly so there wasn’t more of a mess to clean up after their ‘festivities’.

“Do you want me to do the wipe, or do you want to do it?”

“I’ll... do it, if you wouldn’t mind.... give me a second.” He wriggled out from under John so he could perform the necessary action, thoroughly. The nerves were back, but he tried to breathe through them. When he was finished he tossed the wipe into the bin nearby.

“So what position would you like?” John asked with a heavy blush. “From behind usually works the best for first time anal sex.”

“Perhaps, but I think I would prefer… to see you…” Sherlock said quietly.

He wished that these first time nerves would disappear, he wanted this to be natural for them to know each other’s wants without the need for questions. Questions were awkward, answering them was almost unbearable, but he had to answer, this was not only his first time, it was John’s too - with a man.

“Okay…”

The two positioned themselves so that Sherlock was lying on his back and John was in between his legs. With a stroke of confidence, John lubed up his fingers and circled one finger around Sherlock’s entrance. He waited for Sherlock’s usual deep breath of relaxation and proceeded to push in slowly. He got up to the first knuckle then pulled out again, only to push in a bit deeper. It was still so tight despite the times they had done fingering in the past. It was almost sinful how tight it was.

Sherlock felt the familiar first breach and tried to consciously relax the ring of muscle, which helped a bit, but never quite stopped that feeling of fullness that such a small digit could provide. He reached up to kiss John sensing that they were both nervous and he thought more of a romantic air would ease that. They kissed each other deeply, breathing shared air as John continued to open him up. This was better, less clinical, he wanted John to feel his hardness and to feel John’s in turn, he needed more of an emotional connection as well as the physical one.

“I love you, John.” He whispered during a break in the kissing. John’s face softened and he gave him a sweet smile.

“I love you too.”

John started to move his finger in and out consistently. He tried to focus less on the physical act he was performing and let his deep love for the man he was touching and kissing fill his chest. His heartbeat increased even more and he knew the time for talking was over, this was finally going to happen. He was going to take Sherlock’s virginity, Sherlock would be his and his alone. He felt possessive about that and glad he didn’t have to be jealous of any previous lovers. Soon more fingers were added and Sherlock was writhing on the bed with beautiful noises escaping his perfect lips. It was the most erotic thing John had ever heard and the fact that it was him doing that to Sherlock was even more incredible.

All thoughts of technicalities and all nervousness left Sherlock as John kissed him and he felt his body against him. Moans escaped him with every brush of his prostate and he let them go with abandon, because there was nobody to disturb and he no longer cared. He felt pleasure and love and was almost overwhelmed by this act that would signify a new consummation of their relationship.

“Take me John, I want you inside me.” With his nerves gone, immersed in his emotions, he found himself able to communicate better, in that sultry tone John called his ‘bedroom voice’.

“Alright.”

John slipped his fingers out, eager to fill Sherlock up with his cock. Even stretched, his hole felt tight around his fingers. He put on the condom he’d gotten out of the drawer and lubed his cock up before lining up with Sherlock’s entrance.

“You ready?” He asked breathily.

“Definitely.” Sherlock noticed John shiver at the tone, bedroom voice indeed he thought.

With great anticipation and no small measure of excitement, he slowly pushed inside of his lover with as much restraint as he could muster. It was so tight and warm and everything he could ever want. This was what it was like inside of his beloved Sherlock, this was being inside of his amazing detective. He felt his heart (and cock) swell at the thought.

Sherlock had never felt this full, it was an odd experience at the same time as being unbelievably erotic. His thoughts briefly flashed over all the moments he had fallen more in love with John over the years, and this was the culmination of all those feelings, in a single experience. He had memorised every second that he could, to save in his mind palace once the endorphins and other neurotransmitters had stopped flooding his ability to store information. He most certainly did not want to have to dissociate himself from a moment of this magnitude of feeling to go to his mind palace. His insides tingled and his heart overflowed with all the sentiment he’d eschewed for years.

John had been still, allowing Sherlock to adjust but he began to move slowly. He barely moved an inch outward then slowly inward. Sherlock let out an extremely erotic groan. He continued to barely move so that Sherlock would be used to the drag a bit before he started to properly thrust. He still felt a bit of disbelief that something he’d fantasized about for so long was finally happening and he felt more love at that moment than he had ever thought himself capable of.

John’s movements stirred not only Sherlock’s heart rate and his raging libido, but it felt like John had reached into him in some way, forging a connection between them that could not be broken. This was the final link in a chain between their two hearts, minds and bodies, and Sherlock felt completely fulfilled after so many years of longing and heartbreak. Sherlock lost all connection to reality as John brushed his prostate. He saw nothing but bright light and felt a lightning bolt of pleasure slam into his body, his own penis jerked and he had to calm himself before he orgasmed on the spot.

John started to thrust further and with more power when he saw Sherlock’s reaction to hitting a certain spot inside him. The feeling of Sherlock’s hole milking his cock was incredible and unlike anything he had experienced before. This was Sherlock doing this to him, and vice versa. It was the most powerful connection for romance he had ever felt in his life. So much was going through his mind and his heart just from thrusting into Sherlock Holmes, the man he would die for if he had to, the man who took on his daughter while he was gone… just the most amazing man in the world. This was Sherlock Holmes, and he was incredible.

Sherlock couldn’t restrain his moaning and groans every time John, his John , thrust in and out of him. When John hit his prostate again, he gasped his name out loud without meaning to.

“John!”

That sound made John’s hips stutter from how fucking hot it was. Jesus Christ there was nothing Sherlock could do in this moment that wouldn’t be hot. John continued to thrust and held himself back from just pounding into his lover. He wanted Sherlock to feel him full force, but reminded himself that Sherlock was a virgin, so it wasn’t okay to do that… yet .

Sherlock began to mumble incoherently, John thought he could make out words as they got louder, but he certainly hadn’t expected Sherlock to invoke any deities as he was an avowed atheist, and some of the cursing was quite a shock.

“Jesus, fuck, John!”

John didn’t know he could get even more turned on and simultaneously feel endearment in this situation. He knew he had made Sherlock feel fantastic and that he had hit his prostate quite a few times. He leaned down and whispered,

“Do you want m-me to pound into you? Want me to fuck you senseless?”

“God yes! Fuck me, John!” Sherlock practically moaned/screamed/yelled.

Everything was speeding up and Sherlock was barely aware of the words coming out of his mouth. He was focussed on the intense pleasure and the passion he felt for his lover and he thought he might be swearing, but he could hear nothing other than John’s moans and his question, to which he’d replied automatically without thinking and would probably regret his language later… His testicles were pulling up close to his body and he began to feel the first signs of his orgasm.

“John, I - I’m…”

“Do it.” John groaned. “Let go.”

John could feel Sherlock’s muscles start to contract around him and it made him about to come too. His usual stamina hadn’t managed to manifest before he could hold back no longer. Sherlock let out a long moan of his name as he became almost unbearably tight and caused John to come with a gasp. He felt like the entire universe culminated all erotic sensations and put them into Sherlock’s amazing arse because holy shit, this was by far the best orgasm he had ever experienced.

Sherlock felt John shudder and thought he even felt a pulsing from his release, his own was  shooting in jets across his stomach and chest, without even needing to be touched. He absently thought that he hadn’t lasted as long as on previous endeavours, but that was probably to be expected from the anticipation alone. He drew John up to his mouth, not caring that they were both being covered in his fluids. The kiss they gave each other lasted until Sherlock felt John soften inside him and begin to slip out.

John flinched a bit at the overstimulation, but pulled out nonetheless. It was suddenly colder without having Sherlock around him, but he also felt a little disgusting having a now used condom on his dick. He quickly got into the drawer and pulled out some wipes to clean up the semen on the both of them and the lube on Sherlock’s arsehole. When that was done he tied up the condom and put it in the bin. That was when he let himself practically fall onto the bed next to his detective and replay the moments they just had in his head.

Sherlock felt bereft at the loss of John inside him. He was stretched out and that felt peculiar but at the same time, he hadn’t ever wanted John to leave his body. They cuddled close after John had cleaned them up. Sherlock waited a few minutes for the hormonal avalanche to recede a bit before he entered his mind palace and stored the entire experience there. When he returned to the world, he pulled John’s face up for a slow, soft kiss. His heart was bursting at the sheer power of his emotions, and he had to try to calm himself before doing something stupid and embarrassing like shedding tears. He swallowed the lump in his throat and let himself bask in what his research had called ‘the afterglow’ (apparently for good reason).

They didn’t speak before they fell asleep, as they felt the way they were holding each other and what they had experienced spoke volumes.

 

***

Sherlock woke earlier than John and for a moment just took in the sensations his body felt the morning after losing his virginity . His rear was tender and despite their preparations, Sherlock thought that it was likely to be painful. He re-lived the memory in his mind palace again and had to concentrate not to allow himself to harden again. John was lying across his chest and he could feel both of their heartbeats thrumming through his body. He kissed John softly on his head and breathed in the scent of him. John began to move slightly and Sherlock worried that he had woken him.

John slowly came back into consciousness and felt content from the warmth surrounding him. He knew Sherlock was cuddling him, but it felt… different than the other times. Maybe because he was still somewhat experiencing the afterglow of the previous night, or maybe he fell in love with Sherlock even more because of it. Whatever it was, it felt fantastic. John stretched his free arm out with a yawn, and smiled up at Sherlock.

“Morning.” He said, his voice laced with grogginess.

Sherlock smiled at him,

“Good morning John, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“‘S fine. We need to wash up anyway.”

“Definitely before Donovan drops Rosie off, but she’s only due to arrive in another two hours.”

“Wait, what time is it?” John asked as he checked his phone.

“Eight o’ clock. I suppose my body woke me on Rosie’s schedule.” Sherlock said wryly.

“You’re usually the one waking up with her, so that’s why.”

“True. Of course, it may be a good thing because it does offer me the opportunity to deal with your morning… excitement.” Sherlock said feeling something familiar press into his thigh.

John felt a bit embarrassed that he had morning wood, but he couldn’t exactly control it. He blushed.

“Yeah, sorry about that.”

“I only just managed to control my own transport’s reimaginings this morning, there’s no need to apologise.”

“Of course you have.” John mumbled.

“There was a high probability due to last night’s events. Your body is still full of hormones, as you may know -.”

“I know, I learned all about it in med school, Sherlock.”

“Of course you did. I feel compelled to ask whether you found last night enjoyable…”

John stifled a laugh at Sherlock’s bluntness. Leave it to Mr. Science and Chemistry to go for data by asking up front, even if it was about sex.

“Worst pillow-talker ever.” John teased.

Sherlock supposed he could have been more subtle with his question, but he felt an urgent need to fill the gaps in his knowledge. If it wouldn’t be off-putting to his partner, he would not only ask a multitude of questions, but also ask for comparative blood samples to check hormone levels before and after. Perhaps one day John would indulge him in that. Today, it was apparent he would not. Worst pillow talker ever he thought - well, wasn’t that what one was supposed to say? Some asinine derivative of ‘how was that for you’?

“Sorry, I was under the impression that was a requisite question.” Sherlock said, now in a slightly confused tone.

“There was no segue. That’s what was off.” John sighed and decided to humor him. “It was probably the best sex I’ve ever had in my life.”

And that was not an exaggeration. It was the best orgasm he had ever experienced, the most emotional attachment during sex, everything he could ever hope for in a first time with someone. Even thinking about it now made him feel warm and tingly all over because it was that incredible. Again, he wondered how he got so lucky with having this brilliant man as his partner.

John had ranked a previous orgasm as second best to a youthful experience with a dirty magazine, so Sherlock wasn’t entirely sure whether he now ranked first or not. He wanted to rank first, he wanted as many of John’s firsts as he could collect. ‘Probably the best sex I’ve ever had in my life’ John had said, was that based on all-round experience, emotional connection, pure physical pleasure, best orgasm? Sherlock needed data and apparently he didn’t know how to ask for it. He attempted a joke and hoped it would work, for added effect he said it in his ‘bedroom voice’.

“So did I finally beat the dirty magazine for best orgasm?”

This time John laughed, and he laughed hard. He actually forgot that he had talked about the magazine incident, but last night had topped even that.

“A thousand times better than that.”

Sherlock had predicted his victory based on the tone of John’s laughter, but a verbal confirmation was always better, and a thousand times was quite the compliment. He allowed himself a chuckle - he never could resist laughing with John. He knew he was overthinking things again, but his mind wouldn’t stop.

“Why?” He asked simply, hoping it conveyed all the meaning he wanted it to.

“It was… intense… more emotional… and just… felt right.”

Sherlock was grateful again that he had shared this experience with his John , the only person who understood him enough to answer a childishly simple question in a way that he could infer data from. His heart swelled with love.

“For me too.” He replied, kissing John’s forehead.

“Shouldn’t I be the one who holds you and gives you kisses after last night? I mean I’m the one who did you...” He raised his head a little and gave a naughty wink.

“I thought we had established an equal partnership, John. However I won’t stop you if it’s some social custom I’m unaware of.” Sherlock smirked.

John maneuvered them so that he was the big spoon and softly kissed Sherlock’s neck. This was what he imagined when he thought of him and Sherlock together. This was the thing he had always craved but thought he could never obtain. The difference was it was so much better than he ever imagined. Having Sherlock here in his arms, after so many years of not saying a word about his feelings, was worth more than anything else in the world (other than Rosie).

Sherlock allowed himself to be moved so that John was holding him, he felt the soft, sweet kisses and the love that radiated from John. Sherlock knew he was projecting the same feeling, he hoped John would pick up on that. He interlaced their fingers over his middle and snuggled back into the embrace. There was still at least half an hour of cuddling to enjoy before they needed to ready themselves for Donovan and Rosie. He was delighted to spend every moment of that time with the man he loved.

Chapter Text

Bored at Home

Scotland Yard asked us to come on another case: a locked room, and ten dead bodies with stab wounds to the heart. However a little someone didn’t want to be left out of this one. I tried to talk Sherlock out of bringing Rosie to the crime scene, but Rosie just kept saying “Let me come!” and I couldn’t take the noise. Emergency surgery the night before and all that.

When we got to the scene, everyone started out being outraged that we brought our daughter to a murder scene, but it only took a few damning deductions to shut those officers down. It was actually funny seeing Sherlock deduce things from the crime scene while having Rosie strapped to his chest. I think Lestrade got a good laugh out of it too because I caught him taking photos every now and then.

Anyway, Sherlock figured out that the scene we were looking at wasn’t exactly a murder, it was actually a cult suicide. The police first ruled it as a murder suicide since the body with the knife still had its hand on the blade, but Sherlock pointed out that every person had the stab wound at a different angle, which meant every person took turns stabbing the other in the heart. He also said that there was a group of people missing that all joined the same occult forum, so that was our best bet.

Rosie also pointed something out herself. She saw that on one of the bodies there was a tattoo on the inside right wrist, and when the rest of the bodies were looked at, they all had the same tattoo. She basically helped reinforce the cult theory. I thought the symbol looked like it was from some TV show I saw a while ago, and Sherlock did a google search. It was a triquetra, an occult symbol tying in with the occult forum the cult was on.

I can only pray Rosie doesn’t start doing experiments in the kitchen when she’s older.

 

Toddler in Training

We finally got Rosie in for a scan, and the doctor said we could start toilet training her early. Now it should be a bit less difficult considering she’s as smart as a five year old right? Well, you’d be wrong.

Rosie made it abundantly clear that she is content with wearing nappies and even peed on the floor to make a point. She was acting stubborn like Sherlock (even though Sherlock says she has my stubbornness).

I don’t know what to do with this child sometimes, but I guess we’ll have to see how things go.

 

Macabre Toy

A tactic we tend to use with Rosie when she’s about to have a tantrum is distract her with the skull Sherlock keeps on the mantle. She usually laughs and tries to reach for it when we use it, but now she’s been at the fireplace trying to reach for it. It’s hard to be surprised anymore when it comes to Rosie because she seems to have both nature and nurture affecting her.

Sherlock ended up getting the skull for her and she was rubbing her hands all over it, stuck her hands in the eye sockets, even SMELLING it. She must have seen Sherlock do some experiments where he used all of his senses.

 

Quirky Couple

This case started out as a usual walk in: my wife is missing, hasn’t phoned back, that sort of thing. Problem is, it became deeper than that. Sherlock took on the case, and when I asked him why, all he said was,

“The British Government should be phoning soon.”

In other words, we got put on a classified case for the British Government.

Sorry that I can’t elaborate more.

 

Sun, Sand, and Family

We decided to go to the beach for a weekend as some much-needed time off. It was just the three of us and we went to the coast where the weather was actually still warm. Rosie had never been to a beach before so she was in awe at everything. When we showed her the ocean, she even asked,

“How is there so much water!? Shouldn’t the fishies have drank it all?”

Sherlock explained the process of gills turning water into oxygen, not drinking water, because of that little comment.

Rosie also wanted to have a little contest between me and Sherlock for who could make the better sand castle. She had us go head to head for who could do better, but surprisingly I won that one. I think it’s because I actually spent time at the beach with my family several times growing up, meanwhile the Holmeses were doing experiments and getting into trouble. It could have also been because he was trying to make his mind palace out of sand.

I’d like to keep the rest of the visit to myself though.

 

Christmas for a Small Family

This year for Christmas, Sherlock, Rosie, and I decided to stay at the flat. There are some not so pleasant memories from a year or so ago that come along with Christmas for us, so we wanted Rosie to have a small holiday with us at home.

I ended up getting bullied mercilessly about my favorite Christmas jumper by both Sherlock and Rosie. The joke was on them though because I got both of them jumpers that matched mine. It was honestly priceless to see Sherlock’s face as the thoughts went through his head. I could tell he was trying to figure out what to say or what to do and the faces just flashed through quickly.

We knew Mrs. Hudson would have been alone if she didn’t come for Christmas, and it was handy that she was there because I had her take a picture of the three of us in our jumpers and I plan on putting it on the New Year’s cards.

Sherlock then had to go all out on the presents for Rosie because he got her a child-proof iPad, lots of mind-building games, children’s books about science (“Accurate science, not dumbed down science.” according to him), and HER OWN SKULL! The skull I had a very long conversation about because it doesn’t matter if Rosie likes that kind of thing, she shouldn’t have that as a gift. We agreed to put the skull away until she’s a bit older so that she doesn’t insist on taking it with her to places like the shops.

And to top it all off, on New Year’s Eve we went to see the fireworks at Regent’s Park. Rosie was just entranced by the lights in the sky and I’m surprised she stayed up that long. Thankfully, right after the fireworks she was out like a light.

It was a good new year for us, and let’s hope that this year goes even better.

 

Rosie can Climb

No place in the flat is safe now. Rosie has figured out how to climb stairs and disable the gates. ‘Child-proof’, my arse! I’m nervous about what will happen when we have to leave her with someone to go on a case. We’ll probably have to put full locks ON THE CHILD GATES!

Usually what happens is there’s a latch on the gate where you have to pull a trigger and slide it onto a notch like if you were at a petrol pump. Rosie apparently took a broken rubber band and pulled on the gate hard enough to open it.

Definitely going to need full on locks on the gates for the stairs.

 

Sonly Stalking

An older man came into Baker Street saying he thought he was being stalked. He said the man stalking him kept following him after he visited his son and daughter at their mother’s. He said he had been divorced for 3 years now, and hadn’t been dating anyone.

Sherlock, however, saw through the lie immediately. The man had been going to gay nightclubs because he still had glitter on his jacket (an especially gay club apparently), his clothes and hair were updated, there was a nightclub stamp on his hand, and he looked to have a hickey on his neck near his clothing.

That apparently was enough for Sherlock to figure out that the stalker was the man’s 17 year old son. According to Sherlock, the son didn’t believe his dad was gay and was following him so that he could see it for himself. The thing is, his son is homophobic and would probably hurt the man if he showed up with a boyfriend outside of the club. Sherlock suggested that the ex-wife be notified of the stalking and to go through the son’s internet history where they will find anti-gay forums and youtube videos.

 

***

 

A year later...

Mini-Sherlock

I have found a new reason that Rosie is turning into Sherlock: he’s teaching her how to build a mind-garage, but Sherlock says it will grow with her. I mean, I guess it’s a good thing because she’s incredibly smart and already gone through half of the Harry Potter books at a year and a half, but it’s still alien to me that a girl who is almost two years old is trying to build her own Mind Palace.

On the bright side, she only knows about Sherlock’s good parts so I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Let’s just hope he never tells her about how in a fit of boredom he spray painted and shot up the wall. She’ll think that’s fun.

 

Potterhead

Well, Rosie apparently has filled most of her mind-garage with Harry Potter facts and wants to go to King’s Cross on September First. That’s honestly the most normal thing I could have ever gotten out of this child: a love for a geeky thing.

Because of this, she’s started drawing, and I think I’ve figured out her child prodigy talent: art. Rosie can draw extremely well for her age and is drawing the characters in her own way, not like the movies. Then again, she’s also incredibly talented in understanding Chemistry, so she might be the only child prodigy in the world skilled in two areas.

 

Christmas with Extended Family

This year we decided to have a proper family christmas. Rosie was excited as ever to have her extended family with her on Christmas. Usually they’re all scattered about and unable to be in the same room.

Sherlock’s brother actually revealed he was seeing someone, which is something we all never thought we would see. Sherlock won’t reveal who it is and keeps saying it would be obvious to me if I just ‘paid attention’. It drives me mad when he does that.

His brother also spoiled Rosie rotten with lots of toys, Harry Potter themed clothing (in sizes that will work until she’s 5), some mystery novels, science textbooks, drawing classes, even her own library card.

Her grandparents tried to get her things that work for her age, but she just got bored with them and went for the toys Sherlock and Mycroft got her. I’m surprised they tried to push age appropriate toys on her honestly.

 

The Explosion that Never Was

You all probably heard the news that came out of Scotland: 2 brothers were arrested for planting a bomb in an old church. Unfortunately, the constable of the village was so stuck up about not solving the case himself that he refused to acknowledge that Sherlock solved it. So here’s what really happened.

We got a call from the village’s local police force because they were having trouble solving the case. At first Sherlock wasn’t that interested about the initial bombing of an abandoned house in the village, but then when the officer mentioned a defective bomb at the church, Sherlock bumped it up to an 8. We took the earliest train to Scotland (I try to not have Sherlock fly if possible or else he gets incredibly agitated) and had Rosie stay with Molly.

Right off the bat, Sherlock started deducing why the police force was ‘inadequate enough to not solve a bombing case’ and two of the officers decided to fire back with homophobic remarks. Two deductions later, they were in tears.

I started doing some research on the two properties that were affected by the attempted bombings, and Sherlock looked at the reports of the bomb materials. I found out that both the abandoned house and the church were owned by the same family: The Smiths, and the church was about to be sold to a local company to be made into apartments. Sherlock deduced that the materials used in the bomb were chemicals you could find in cleaning products.

We interviewed Diana and Rick Smith, but they weren’t exactly the brightest of people to pull off two bombings, but, according to Sherlock, “smart enough to sabotage appliances to gain more money”. Then we talked to their daughter Gigi, who was 16, and was more focused on becoming a biologist and leaving the village than anything, but finally we spoke to her twin older brothers who were 18, and looked through their room. They were 100% the bombers, and it turns out they were trying to leave through a window while we were going through their computers.

We managed to corner them at the edge of a cliff  after a long chase through the forest and arrest them with a full confession. Turns out that they were obsessed with their status in the community because their family owning property got them girls. But since their family had been having hard times with money issues, they had to sell the church and the house they usually rented out. The boys had an notion of “If we can’t have them, nobody can.” and that’s why they bombed not only the house, but also planted the bomb in the church.

Sherlock didn’t even bother to give them a scolding as the boys’ parents bursted in and started doing that for him. We decided to head home since the case was solved, and spent a day relaxing.

 

Locks Are No Longer Safe

Sherlock taught Rosie how to do something that now means nothing is safe: picking locks. I wish he wouldn’t have done that because now Rosie can access child locks and get out of the flat if she wanted. Sometimes I still think he doesn’t get the whole raising a child thing.

Last night she actually got into my bedside drawer and found some items that I’d prefer she not EVER see. Thankfully, she didn’t ask any questions, but it was still incredibly embarrassing.

 

Diamond in the Crime Ring

We were called to the Yard to interrogate a suspect. It was supposed to be about a simple jewelery theft, but Sherlock deduced that there was something bigger going on. He asked to see files on similar cases and Lestrade came up with a good number of them. From the pieces that had been stolen, he figured out that there was a crime ring operating in Germany. The criminals had been after a very exclusive range of gemstones, part of a collection, this showed that a single buyer had hired the crime ring. After much interrogation of the suspect, Sherlock managed to get a name - Johannson. Armed with this information, the Yard was able to round up the rest of the gang on their own, leaving only Johannson for us to find.

I don’t even know how, but Sherlock had figured out that this ‘Johannson’ person was a woman named Adriana and she was in Canada. He apparently was booking tickets on his phone as he was explaining everything… but he forgot about Rosie. Thankfully Mrs. Hudson watched her while we were overseas.

Sherlock had deduced that Adriana did a daily rendezvous with her smugglers at 8 pm, so we hid in an abandoned complex across the way and waited for 3 hours. She came out of her flat like clockwork and we ended up chasing her through a motorway and I almost got hit by two bloody cars. We eventually got her in cuffs and turned her over to Interpol. When her flat was raided, it was full of the gems that were stolen, and some that no one knew were stolen because they were replaced with almost identical fakes.

When we got home, Rosie wouldn’t go to bed until we told her exactly what had happened. Sherlock was, of course, more than willing to share with our daughter what had happened and the deductions that lead up to the arrest. I will murder Sherlock for keeping her up until 3 am with explaining not only the deductions, but the SCIENCE behind it!

 

A New Family Member

Well, after weeks of asking for a puppy, we finally gave in and got our 2 year old a dog (though I wouldn’t be surprised if Sherlock helped the obsession along). We agreed that it should be a birthday gift so Sherlock and I went to a shelter to find a puppy Rosie would like. It took a while, but we agreed on getting her a bloodhound that was about 3 months old.

Rosie immediately squealed in delight when she opened the box to find the puppy inside. It scared the dog a bit, but she immediately hugged it and he licked her. She named the puppy Fluffy after the 3 headed dog in Harry Potter.

Sherlock privately told me why he had decided on a bloodhound, and it turns out he wanted a dog to help him on cases for tracking. I’m not surprised.

 

Nurseries

Rosie has gotten mature enough that she won’t have separation anxiety if Sherlock and I have to go on a case, so we’re looking into daycares. Here’s the problem: there are no nurseries for child prodigies. Sure child prodigies are becoming more common, but Rosie needs a nursery that won’t try to stifle her intellect.

Sherlock has been looking at many nurseries in London, and only found one where he thinks the staff is ‘acceptable’. We’ll be trying that one out for a week and see how it goes.

 

DRAG-ged Into Cour t

This was… by far the funniest case I’ve ever been on.

I know this was covered in the media recently, and the only funny part is HOW we ended up putting Judge Callaway in prison. There’s never anything funny about sexual assault.

Let’s start from the beginning. I had immediately recognized the woman who came into Baker Street as the former secretary of Callaway who had come out with sexual assault allegations. She was begging us to try and get Callaway put away because, according to her, he abused the women in different ways and used his power to keep them quiet.

This is where it got interesting: Sherlock decided to dress in drag and pose as Callaway’s new secretary.

I am not even kidding, and he was actually a very convincing woman, even attractive. He had apparently dressed as Callaway’s type so he would be a better target: a conservative outfit with high heels, a pencil skirt (why the hell do they call it that?), proportional chest, subtle makeup, and blonde hair. The fact that Sherlock knew how to do the look on his own makes me wonder how much his infamous Uncle Rudy influenced him.

Anyway, I had to disguise myself as well and was a custodian so that I could stay late and be around if Sherlock needed me. It was incredibly hard considering I was trying not to laugh every time I saw Sherlock act feminine and everything. I actually was able to talk to other custodians about the allegations, and they pretty much confirmed that it was a usual thing. Then I got a text from Sherlock telling me to mop outside of Callaway’s office since it was clear Callaway was about to make a move.

I was standing outside of Callaway’s office for probably 20 minutes before I heard a slam and Callaway yelling about ‘Sherly’ being a ‘tranny’. I knew that was my moment to strike so I bursted in with my pistol ready to find Callaway had Sherlock’s skirt hiked up while Sherlock was pinned to the desk. It disgusted me but I had to get photographic evidence. I had only been in the room a moment before Sherlock kicked Callaway into his bookshelf and pinned him to the ground. The man had started spouting transphobic things about ‘Sherly’, but Sherlock dropped the act immediately and said,

“Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective with Scotland Yard, and you are under arrest. For your information, it shouldn’t matter what’s under my skirt, because you had no right to be fondling me in the first place - NOT without my permission.”

Lestrade showed up 5 minutes later and I swear that he was trying not to laugh as Sherlock explained everything… since he was still in the makeup and outfit. Not to mention when we got home, he had apparently bought every makeup remover he could find because he only knew how to put on the makeup, not take it off. It seems mascara is stubborn stuff, his lashes were curly for days.

 

Harriet Watson: John, don’t lie, you got off on it!

John H. Watson: HARRY!

Harriet Watson: I NEED to see that photo, John.

John H. Watson: I promised Sherlock that once it went in the case file it wouldn’t go anywhere else.

 

Enjoying The Nursery

Rosie is enjoying her nursery very much and wants to keep going there. However, she’s told us about some adults outside giving her ‘strange looks’, which can only mean that people are recognizing her and either myself or Sherlock (depending on who picks her up). Now this is my first and only warning to everyone: do NOT approach or take pictures of Rosie at the nursery. If you do, the police will get involved and I don’t think anyone would want that.

 

Fluffy’s Case

Scotland Yard asked us to come in on a case. There were a string of murders of rich private citizens in London, but the murderer would always leave a perfume sample strip… thing. Sherlock knew it was time to test Fluffy’s skills so he brought the dog out to the crime scene and he started running through London. He went to the wrong people twice, but then we found the killer in her flat with a gun ready to fire at us. Sherlock had to restrain Fluffy from mauling her because he knew we were threatened.

I was able to shoot her in the shoulder and the leg and we were able to cuff her. Sherlock had figured out upon seeing her that she was desperate to be a famous serial killer, so she would target rich businessmen and leave her perfume specifically to be tracked and die during a police shootout.

He also realized that Fluffy would also make a great attack and guard dog for the flat and cases. No doubt he’ll be putting Fluffy through more training very soon.

 

Fluffy and the Detective of Baker Street

Sherlock has grown rather fond of Fluffy over the past few months. It’s not only training Fluffy to be a tracker, but also actual bonding. I’ve actually caught him a few times cuddling the puppy and talking in a high pitched baby voice. I know, it’s hard to believe, but I wouldn’t have believed it either if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

On top of that, Fluffy has actually gotten really good at tracking. Since the last big case we did, he’s been getting even better at tracking down smells. It seems the training hasn’t gone to waste.

 

Sherlock Holmes: John, remove this IMMEDIATELY!

John H. Watson: Just because you don’t like it, I think I’ll change my password into something ridiculous so you can’t remove it.

 

Paparazzi

This is a message to the media and specifically the paparazzi: stay away from us when we’re having a day to ourselves. We were at the park having a little family day when Sherlock and I saw a man with a camera taking pictures of us. When he saw that we noticed, he tried to get away, but Sherlock caught him and actually smashed his camera. He’s lucky it wasn’t also getting assaulted by him.

So stop following us around!

 

Friendships

Rosie and Oliver have finally gotten to see each other on a regular basis again because Oliver has started at the same nursery as Rosie. It’s honestly really good for her because she doesn’t really have any friends at the nursery. I know Sherlock is annoyed beyond belief that it’s one of the Yard officer’s kids, but I’m hoping I can convince him that this is a good thing. Rosie is actually a lot happier when we go to pick her up now because of Oliver.

 

***

One Year Later...

 

The Measles Strike

As a doctor, I can’t emphasise enough the importance of vaccinations. One of the parents at Rosie’s Nursery school is an anti-vaxxer (Sherlock calls her an idiot). This has thus allowed her child to contract a perfectly preventable disease with potentially deadly consequences. As it is, the poor kid contracted measles-related encephalitis and this has caused nerve damage, which may never heal. I visited her at the hospital only to find a 3 year old screaming in pain all because of some misguided ‘research’ her mother found on the internet.

Please, people, let this be a lesson to us all. Vaccinate your children, it’s not worth the alternative. I don’t want anyone else’s children to suffer like this one has.

 

The Whistleblower

We were brought in for a murder case of a young woman who was found at a mini power station. She was in her mid 20s, worked at a nearby power plant, and was shot in the head. She had been reported missing 5 days earlier by close friends and coworkers, but the police couldn’t figure out motive or where she was killed. When we investigated her apartment, we found files that linked her boss’ power plant to selling coal and copper cabling illegally straight from the factory. She was about to expose the scheme, but then she was murdered by her boss and left by a nearby substation.

When we arrived to talk to the suspect, he had already made a rope to go down the side of the building. We tried to chase him through the power plant, but before we could get to him, he had tripped and electrocuted himself on one of the conduction rods. Sherlock berated the Inspector that was in charge for not going through her flat… and it turned out that he was in on it too. The fact that Lestrade brought us on apparently ruined everything. At least there was someone who could be charged in the end.

 

Time to Start Primary

All this month, Rosie had been so excited to start at her new Primary school. She talked about it practically every day and then a week ago, she never brought it up. I think that she’s scared about starting school now. She’s never really been scared about things like this, she’s always wanted to start actual school, but I guess the weight of it has finally set in. Let’s hope Sherlock can talk her into actually going to school in 3 days.



Chapter Text

“But Papa, I don’t want to go!” Rosie whined.

It was Rosie’s first day of Primary School. She was already four years old, and going to a special school where they based the level of teaching on the intellect of the child. She was wearing her little uniform made up of a plaid skirt, white button up, red cardigan, tennis shoes, and knee high socks. John made sure to even do her hair in pigtails, and got her a Harry Potter backpack and pencil case. At this point she was stood in front of the door to the lounge, refusing to move.

I don’t really want you to go either , Sherlock thought. He and John had spent hours in debate over an actual school or just private tutors (mainly Sherlock himself). John had eventually won ‘because Rosie needs to socialise’. Sherlock had found a school he could tolerate and had Mycroft vet every person there, including the other parents.

“I know Honeybee, but this is really a great school and since Daddy doesn’t think I’m going to be an adequate replacement for a peer group, you have to go. It’ll be nice, you’ll make new friends.”

“But other kids my age are dumb ! They don’t comprehend things like death yet!”

“This is apparently the problem Daddy was talking about. There will be children of different ages in your class, and they all have to be at a certain skill level to be in the class as it is, so they can’t all be idiots. Please try not to treat them like they are until you have observed enough data to prove your assumptions, and even then, just be… nice. Okay?” Sherlock held her cheek and smiled.

Rosie looked down to the floor, but she nodded nonetheless.

“Fine.”

“That’s my girl. Let’s not keep the town car Uncle Myc sent over waiting, you know how the normal people value punctuality.”

John had already gone to work, so Sherlock had to take Rosie to school. They arrived at the school in fifteen minutes and Sherlock suspected Mycroft was playing with the traffic lights again. This left them with a few minutes before Rosie had to go in, and Sherlock was as reluctant to say goodbye as she was. They looked at the other children who had already assembled in the garden in front of the school. Sherlock was about to let out a sigh when he thought of the game they usually played.

“Rosie, that little red haired girl, what do her parents do for a living?”

Rosie looked really hard at her parents, then looked up at Sherlock.

“The Daddy is a cab driver, the Mummy is a hair stylist.”

“Very good-.”

“But the Mummy doesn’t like him very much. She’s actually dating someone behind his back because she’s dressing younger than her age, so it’s a younger guy.”

Sherlock merely shook his head, he had done too good of a job teaching her to read people. Not to mention that he’d underestimated her understanding of human relationships. She should not know about affairs at this age, not that she really was four years old, not in her head. But still… they were probably going to have to have ‘The Talk’ with her soon, and that was something he’d prefer never to have to do.

“Next time, just focus on the question, Rosie. If you talk about people’s private lives, it tends to make them uncomfortable. Please don’t say things like that to people. Besides, Daddy calls it ‘showing off’.”

“But where’s the fun in that? Shouldn’t it make people think I’m smarter than my age?”

“Don’t worry about that Rosie, they’ll see that without you needing to deduce any further than their parents’ professions. If you get into things that people consider too personal, they will be mean to you. Trust me on that, I have far too much experience to let you go around alienating people with your deductions - save the truly brilliant, very personal ones to tell me later, okay?”

“No promises.” Rosie said in a low voice.

“I’m serious, don’t make my mistakes, please. Everyone I went to school with called me a freak or some variation along that theme. I don’t want that for you, Honeybee.”

He gave her a look that bordered on pleading and she couldn’t help but agree for his sake. Rosie looked up at Sherlock, and her face immediately said that she felt guilty and understood. In response, she wrapped her arms around his legs and mumbled,

“I won’t Papa.” Then she looked up at him with a smile. “Even if it’s extremely boring.”

“I think school is supposed to be a bit boring, especially if you’re really clever.” He chuckled.

Despite the laughter he truly worried she’d do what John was dreading most - deduce someone to pieces like a true Holmes. Sherlock had stubbornly borne the rather boring and uninventive nicknames and labels he’d acquired through his life, but if he could stop Rosie from being marked in the same way, he would, he only hoped she’d let him. John didn’t need another fake-sociopath whose emotional capacity he had to repair.

Soon the doors to the school were opened and the teachers started letting in their students. Sherlock hugged Rosie one more time before she went inside with the other children. Sherlock had never believed that sending Rosie to school would be this difficult. She had gone to nursery school for several hours a day after all, but this felt different, perhaps it was the little uniform. He sighed heavily to himself and climbed back into Mycroft’s waiting car. All the way back to Baker Street, he felt like he’d left a piece of himself behind.

When he returned to the flat, he was feeling rather morose, wishing he had the distraction of a job like John’s brought on a day like this. He didn’t have to wait long as when he opened the door to the lounge, he was immediately greeted by Fluffy. He had grown very large since they had gotten him two years ago and he was still as cuddly as ever. Fluffy started barking lovingly at Sherlock and even pounced him strongly enough that they fell to the floor.

“Oof!” Sherlock exclaimed upon impact. “I really do begin to feel my age when I fall on my coccyx, Fluffy. It’s an unpleasant reminder.”

Sherlock regularly spoke to the dog as if he were a person, it was similar to how he used to talk to John when he wasn’t even in the flat. These days he kept better track of John’s schedule.

Fluffy merely licked Sherlock’s face barked at him a bit. It was the specific bark that meant he wanted food. Sherlock had catalogued all of the different noises Fluffy made so that he knew what the dog wanted at any given time.

“Did Rosie forget to feed you? She was in a bit of a snit, I suppose. Come on, let’s get some breakfast, I couldn’t eat anything this morning either.”

Sherlock made himself some toast, and ended up giving Fluffy part of it because he could never really resist those ‘puppy dog eyes’.

***

“They took everything of value, Mr. Holmes!” The woman pleaded. “You must help us!”

“If you’d bother to make the briefest of observations, you’d see my presence is hardly necessary.”

It was patently obvious that the husband had stolen the valuables. His glove was still at the scene and Sherlock could see by the style and size that it suited him perfectly. The husband was standing less than 4 metres away, and this idiotic woman couldn’t recognise a glove he wore often enough to have worn the suede shiny on the inside.

Luckily he had brought Fluffy with him when Lestrade mentioned the glove, so he quickly told them that the dog was trained to follow scents and would lead them straight to the thief. He always called Fluffy ‘Fang’ in public, because Rosie may have him wrapped around her finger, but the rest of the world didn’t need to know that (at least he’d kept it in the Potter universe). In ten seconds flat, the dog had sniffed the glove, lifted his nose to the air and trotted over to the husband.

“Your husband has incurred some gambling debts he is having trouble paying off. He is indubitably the perpetrator.” With that, he stalked out with a sweep of his coat and the dog in tow.


***

“Ms. Hamill.” John said solemnly. “I know you had been worried about an STD from a stranger, but the tests came back positive for something else.”

John hated delivering bad news to patients. He hated how they broke down or looked absolutely crushed when it turned out to be something horrible. This young Uni student had come in saying she had been to a party at a friend’s house and woken up in a stranger’s bed, but she had a boyfriend, and wanted to get tested for an STD. Unfortunately, it was far worse than that.

“What?” She said with an air of trepidation.

John sighed,

“I had your blood sample tested for possible pregnancy - it’s standard procedure… and that’s the only test that came back positive.”

“No.” She looked stunned. “It can’t be… I can’t be… My boyfriend and I are always so careful!” Tears began to leak from her eyes.

“You said that this party happened two weeks ago and you haven’t had sex with your boyfriend since then, correct?” She nodded. “That’s more than enough time for a pregnancy to be detectable via blood test.”

“Oh God, no. This can’t be happening!” She was sobbing now. “My life is ruined!”

John handed her some tissues and rubbed her back reassuringly.

“You probably already know your options, but if you want, I can explain the… alternatives to you.”

“No, n-no thanks.”

He gave her a kind smile.

“Realize that whatever you decide, it’s totally justified. It’s your choice as to what to do.”

He hoped that whatever decision she made, it would keep her health in mind. If it was Rosie, he’d do whatever he could to help her, and as a doctor he was obligated to help others as well. Not to mention it was an outcome she had little control over.

 

***

Sherlock thought he was over the ‘separation anxiety’ phase of parenting, but his desperate desire to jump in a cab and invent an excuse for having to fetch Rosie immediately told a different story. It didn’t help that everybody was being so BORING today. He was looking through his emailed case requests and most of them barely warranted a reply he solved them so quickly. Even the dog was asleep.

He caught sight of a stack of journal articles under the skull on the mantelpiece. John had scribbled a quick sticky note on top:

 

Sherlock -

Read these then watch the link I emailed you, the program is fictional but I think you might actually enjoy it.

Love, John.

 

The articles were about the unfortunate phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder among bees (John knew him so well, he thought with a sigh). He read through them and came to the obvious conclusion that robotic bees such as the ones being engineered in China were the only viable option to keep the ecosystem stable and enable the growth of crops.

Then he switched back to his laptop where John had left a link for some show called Black Mirror on Netflix - seriously John? After watching it, he spent the rest of his day in the apiary on the roof of his mind palace, in silent contemplation. He might actually watch a few more episodes of that show, if they were all this thought-provoking.

 

***

John’s next few patients were merely there to receive their chronic scripts. There was one spectacular example of Strep Throat, and a sinus infection which had gone untreated for months. It was mostly boring, but one exciting thing happened, and it was only ‘exciting’ in the sense that it was… eventful.

A very rich looking woman had brought her son in due to him playing a little too roughly. She looked absolutely disgusted at the fact that she had to be there, and the son looked like he just wanted the pain to stop. She was talking loudly on her mobile,

“I don’t think physicians should be allowed three weeks off. I mean, now I have to come to this dingy little surgery. Lord only knows what Timothy could catch just by being here.” She made absolutely no effort to lower her voice and her son was beginning to look extremely embarrassed.

John couldn’t take much more of this woman.

“Mrs. Carter, please tone down your voice. There are other patients in the building having their own appointments.” He said as level-voiced as he could.

The young boy named Timothy looked up at his mum with pleading eyes.

“Mum, please listen to Doctor Watson.”

“Danielle, I’ll call you back once this is over with. ” She rang off and glared at the doctor. “Go on, what has he gone and done to himself?”

John took a deep breath in order not to just lash out. If only Sherlock was there to deduce her into oblivion, then she’d shut up.

“Well, your son has fractured his ankle and pulled a few muscles.” John stated plainly. “If you were paying attention to what he told me, it was because he was rough-housing with a few of his friends and fell on his foot which in turn had hit a rock. I’m prescribing three weeks’ worth of pain medication and am going to wrap his foot up, then give him a medical boot so he can walk around without damaging it even further.”

Timothy immediately lit up.

“So it’ll look like I have a robot foot!?”

“Can’t it wait until our regular physician is back in a week? I’m sure he has higher quality materials at hand.”

He had enough of her bitchy attitude. Obviously she was only used to caring about ‘high quality’ or ‘extremely high class’ things, but not about her son. People like this made him thankful that he didn’t grow up like that, and that Rosie wouldn’t be brainwashed by that type of thing.

“Mrs. Carter, if you care about your son at all , I suggest you shut your trap and think about his immediate needs, not what can happen in a week. When your physician returns, he can take care of your son further, but you came to this ‘dingy surgery’ because he isn’t here. I’m sure thirty more minutes won’t kill you.” He snapped.

She attempted to look appalled and indignant at the way she was being treated, but must have come to the conclusion that it would not have the desired effect. She stuck her chin up and looked down her nose at him, as if he were a bad smell and muttered,

“Fine.”

Timothy looked overjoyed.

 

***

“Quite a delightful woman, that last one, eh?” The kindly head nurse at the surgery enquired.

“A beaming ball of light.” John chuckled.

“Off to fetch the little one from her first day at school, Doctor Watson?”

“Yeah.” John said. “As far as I know there were no calls from the school, so at least she’s not getting into trouble.”

Sherlock had agreed to have John pick Rosie up after school. They both knew John could coach her through different social situations if she had any trouble or didn’t understand certain things about children her age. Both parents agreed that having Rosie turn into Sherlock as he’d been before they had met wasn’t going to be an option.

“I don’t see how that little angel could get herself in trouble the first day.”

“You clearly have no idea how much trouble she gets into at home.” John chuckled.

Very soon, John was standing outside of the school with countless other parents waiting for their children. He knew some of them recognized him, but he wasn’t going to acknowledge them. He just wanted to pick up his daughter, and that was it.

Almost as if one cue the doors to the school opened and the children poured out to their parents. Surprisingly, Rosie was actually talking to another girl as she walked out. She was older than Rosie, probably ten, long blonde hair in a ponytail, blue eyes, and freckled cheeks. They were actually very happy talking. When Rosie saw where John was, she pointed at him and the girl followed her over to John. Instead of an introduction, Rosie hugged John incredibly tight with a ‘hi Daddy’, then looked over to the girl.

“This is Charlotte, she’s in my maths and chemistry classes.” She introduced.

“Nice to meet you, Dr. Watson. My dad’s a mortician, he’s very fond of your blog.” Charlotte said in a slightly awed voice.

“Well it’s very nice to meet you too, Charlotte.” John said with a smile.

A woman started calling for Charlotte (which John assumed was her mum) so they parted ways and Rosie and John got into the town car. Thing was… Rosie started to look guilty about something, and she was clutching her backpack tightly. John knew something was wrong just from that.

“Rosie?” John asked. “What do you have in your bag?”

Rosie seemed to be startled by the question and started pushing it further from her father.

“Nothing.” She answered.

John wasn’t buying it for one minute. Without hesitation, he reached over her and grabbed the backpack to find… a bloody skull! It wasn’t the one off of the mantel, it was the one they hid in the linen cupboard when she was one.

“Rosie, exactly where did you get this?”

His daughter fidgeted nervously and didn’t meet his eyes.

“From… the cupboard.”

“And why did you bring it to school?”

“Because my toy bee was in the wash this morning?”

John zipped the backpack and gave his ‘parental disapproval’ face.

“You don’t take a skull to school, Rosie. If you took it out of the bag, then other kids and especially the teachers would think you’re not mentally well.”

“How do you think Charlotte and I became friends, Daddy?” Rosie countered.

She showed Charlotte the skull!? Dear Lord, Rosie was so much like Sherlock it was scary at times. Trust his daughter to find someone else in her school who had an interest in dead bodies. Then again, Charlotte said her dad was a mortician, so it kind of made sense, but the more important thing was Rosie took the skull out of the bag! AT SCHOOL!

“You mean you took the skull out of the bag !? Rosie, you can’t just do that!”

“But all the other kids were faking being nice to me!” Rosie said with a pout. “I could tell they were just being friendly because you and Papa are Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Everyone knows who you are, and by extension, know who I am, so they want to get close to me to meet you. That’s why I took the skull to school: to see who would actually be interested in being my friend.”

John sighed. He knew this would be an issue one day, but he didn’t expect it from a bunch of Primary school students. He took Rosie’s hand and gave it a squeeze.

“I’m sorry you had to deal with people being fake to you, Rosie.” John said. “But if you can tell who’s lying and who’s being truthful, you could find other ways to make friends.”

Rosie shrugged and her face dropped.

“But my interests are… eccentric. Only Charlotte and Ollie like that I’m interested in the same thing you and Papa are.”

One of the reasons Rosie didn’t want to go to this specific Primary School was because Oliver wasn’t going to be there. They were best friends already and Sherlock had even observed that the duo were similar to them in the early days: devoted, close, and willing to do anything for the other. The fact that Rosie actually found a friend at her new school was honestly better than he could hope for. Rosie sighed,

“We’re all freaks because we like dead bodies and murder cases.”

That stabbed him in the heart. Rosie thought she was a freak for liking what she liked… it was devastating to hear that she thought that about herself. John wrapped his arm around her and held her close.

“Freaks make the world go round, darling.” He soothed. “If there weren’t people whose interests were ‘eccentric’, we wouldn’t move forward as a society. If I remember correctly, Alan Turing was bullied and outcast for not only being gay, but also not understanding people, and he helped win World War II by building the first code-breaking computer. I’m sure that you’ll be able to do greater things than those kids going for a fame grab.”

Rosie seemed to be appeased by his words as she nodded and buried her face into her father’s side. This child was an amazing human being, topping even himself and Sherlock. He and Sherlock were incredibly lucky that they had her as their daughter. He knew Mary would be proud.

“Now, explain to me how you got the skull off of the top shelf of an eight foot high cupboard.”

“You’ll just make it harder to get to the top if I tell you.”

This child was too perceptive for her own good.

 

***

Sherlock was lying on the couch in his thinking pose when they arrived home, Fluffy had his head on Sherlock's lap as had become the norm for them. The bee dilemma had kept him busy for a few hours but he'd eventually grown bored and was filing the information and speculation away in his mind palace. He was just running out of things to do in there when he heard Rosie and John on the stairs and returned to the ‘real world’.

When John and Rosie finally got into the lounge, Fluffy immediately got up and ran over to Rosie. He never tackled her to the ground like he would John and Sherlock, it was as if he knew that Rosie was too fragile for that. Rosie giggled and greeted Fluffy with a hug as he licked her face joyously.

“Alright.” John said to the dog. “That’s enough boy.”

Fluffy backed off and went to his usual spot in front of the fireplace to lie down. John helped Rosie take her backpack off, but also made sure to take the skull out of it. He needed to have a serious talk with Sherlock about it.

“Rosie, why don’t you go upstairs and play for a bit, then Papa and I can help you with homework.”

The child’s face had a look of terror on it for a moment before she faked a smile and whistled to Fluffy who immediately perked up.

“Come on, Fluffy! Let’s play crime-scene!” Rosie said as she and Fluffy ran upstairs.

The game ‘crime-scene’ consisted of Rosie hiding random objects in her room with specific smells to see if Fluffy could find them and solve the murder. Sherlock had given her the idea as extra training for the dog in the form of a game.

Sherlock surveyed John for a moment,

“Rough day at the surgery then there was an issue with Rosie.” He said it as an unquestionable truth.

John sat in his chair with a sigh and set the skull on the side table.

“Rosie not only got the skull you gave her for Christmas off the top shelf, but she brought it to school .” John confirmed.

“Her bee was in the wash.” Sherlock shrugged as if it made perfect sense to him.

“That was her first excuse, but the actual reason was…” John’s face fell. “She wanted to see who would be her real friends, and who just wanted to be friends because she’s our daughter.”

“Ah, I foresaw that possibility, but I’d really hoped that with Mycroft’s checks it wouldn’t be a problem for at the very least a little while.” He sighed, “So, the very first day? I’ll gladly inform Mycroft that his team is useless.”

Sherlock, being rather an expert at probability theory, had indeed predicted this outcome, it was one of the reasons he advocated for home-schooling. It was troubling that Rosie had a contingency plan for it when he hadn’t thought of one, though he was quite impressed by her ingenuity.

“What did the other children do?” He asked instead of praising her idea, because he knew John would definitely find it a lot ‘not good’.

“Surprisingly she actually found a friend because of the skull, and her name is Charlotte. I met her when they let school out, she’s about 10 years old and her dad is a mortician.”

“That’s fantastic, which hospital?” Sherlock had the ‘it’s Christmas’ face on.

Of course Sherlock was missing the point. To him bringing a skull to school was normal , but John didn’t want Rosie to think it was okay. He had heard stories from Sherlock’s parents and Mycroft about how school was for him, and Rosie didn’t deserve that from her classmates.

“That’s not the point, Sherlock!” John exclaimed. “She brought a skull to school. That’s not okay! I know you probably would have done the same thing in that situation, but this is Rosie we’re talking about.”

Sherlock barely managed not to say “If I’d had a skull, yes.” Instead he stood up, went to John’s chair, knelt in front of him, grasped his hand and said soothingly,

“You were right about her needing to learn to socialise with normal children. I was very resistant to that, much to my detriment.”

“I know, love. That’s why I don’t want that to happen to Rosie, she’s too special to be emotionally closed off like you were.”

“Agreed.” He looked at their intertwined fingers for a moment before meeting John’s eyes again. “You obviously spoke to her about it, do you think that was successful?”

John knew that Rosie could have faked understanding what he said in favour of circumnavigating it, or she would feel guilty the next time she thought about it. She was stubborn just like him, but smart like Mary. Plus if they hid it again, she’d just find another way to get to it. It still didn’t make sense how she even got up there.

“I honestly haven’t a clue.” John admitted. “Things with Rosie are never so simple, so she could either stop taking the skull, or find a different way to do something like that.”

“Probably the latter. I thought I’d gotten through to her this morning about not making herself a target for ridicule by deducing the other children and their parents, however she merely found another way.” Sherlock huffed out a breath in amusement. “She was brilliant, she deduced that one child’s mother was having an affair with a younger man based on her clothing and makeup. I discouraged anything beyond ‘guessing’ parental occupations as a ‘cool trick’, but she’s just amazing, John. Her mind astounds me. How could she deduce an affair - we haven’t even had ‘the Talk’ with her yet.”

John cringed at the mention of that ‘talk’. It was a situation he didn’t even want to think about yet, but Rosie probably figured it out on her own one way or another. There were plenty of books she could look at in the flat about reproductive biology.

“Don’t remind me.” He muttered before meeting Sherlock’s eyes. “I just want her to have friends, and to be happy. I think she’s taken to nurture over nature though because if she thinks bringing a skull to school is a good ‘ice-breaker’, who knows what else she’ll do to make friends?”

Sherlock and Mycroft hadn’t really had much of a conventional childhood, but he realised that what John really wanted was for her to just be a carefree ‘kid’ while she could, but she continuously acted like a miniature adult… Was that due to his influence? He couldn’t be sure - she was so advanced that talking down to her had never seemed right to him. She seemed to attain that careless joy when she played with the dog, just as Sherlock had with Redbeard, but most of the time she was quite serious in her demeanour.

“She may never be like a ‘normal kid’ as you imagine them to be, John. She’s ridiculously advanced. The problem may lie in your preconceived notions of childhood. You may need to be the one who adjusts their expectations in this situation.”

“You sound like a Psychologist.” John teased.

“I picked a few things up.” Sherlock shrugged with a grin.

John sighed. Terence had said the same thing about Rosie, and it made him wonder if Sherlock had talked to him again. Rosie was by no means a normal baby, toddler, or anything like that. It was fantastic but also worrying how advanced she was at times. He didn’t even know if there were child prodigies as advanced as her. He thought of normal kids being happy when they played, running around with friends, getting into trouble, and learning about the world. Rosie wasn’t anything like that, and he didn’t want her to be ridiculed for it. He squeezed Sherlock’s hand.

“I don’t want her to be made fun of, Sherlock. She doesn’t deserve it no matter how smart she is.”

“I don’t really think that choice is ours , John. Children are cruel and though they can be delightfully curious toward adult things, they are often very stubbornly conformist when dealing with other children of their age. It’s all about ‘ peer groups.’

The peer group problem never really went away. Sherlock thought, by definition, peers change throughout your life. There was always some group with an expectation of a norm and a resistance to those who deviated from it. He and Mycroft had often felt peerless due to their intellect, and Sherlock in particular, being largely unwilling to pantomime in order to fit into society, had always been alone.

“I know…” John’s face changed to incredibly sad. “I just hoped I could have done more to prepare her for that.”

“We did our best, society is at fault here.” Sherlock shrugged.

“Yoohoo,” Mrs. Hudson called from the hallway. She entered with what smelled like fresh biscuits. “Brought some sweets for the little dear since it was her first day of school.” She said as she went to the kitchen.

Sherlock moved off the floor and into his chair. Sherlock tended not to show too much physical affection toward John around Mrs. Hudson because she easily got smug about predicting it from their first meeting. It annoyed him when other people were right and knew things before he realised them.

“So how did she fare with being in a new school and all?” Mrs. Hudson asked, taking a seat on the couch.

“She… acted more like a Holmes than I would have liked.” John was trying to put it lightly.

“Oh dear, it couldn’t have been worse than bringing a body part to school.”

“It wasn’t a fresh one , just that skull I got her so she’d leave mine alone.” Sherlock shrugged.

Mrs. Hudson looked absolutely shocked and horrified at the same time.

“A skull!? I thought you put it away three years ago?”

“She devised a rather clever pulley system to get to it. Apparently there are no safe spaces anymore.”

Sherlock perhaps looked a bit too proud about that. John shot him a ‘not good’ look in response.

“Well I pray she wasn’t made fun of for it.” Mrs. Hudson said.

“She actually made a friend because of it.” John tried to sound happy, but he knew he was coming off as tense.

Before the conversation could continue, two sets of footsteps (one human, one canine) ran down the stairs and a loud “NANA” followed before Rosie and Fluffy ran over to Mrs. Hudson.

“Oh my goodness!” Mrs. Hudson exclaimed upon being hugged tightly. “Let me have a look at you my little angel.”

Rosie took a few steps back and spun around for her Nana with a bright smile. Mrs Hudson looked very overwhelmed with emotion and covered her mouth with her hand.

“Oh my… you’re growing up so much!” She said almost in tears. “It seems like only yesterday you were beginning to speak, now you’re in a Primary uniform!”

“Well it was bound to happen, Nana.” Rosie reasoned. “I’m already four, but I’m not four in my brain chemistry or reasoning.”

“Well I know that, but it’s always a shock to see a child grow up so fast.”

It was Sherlock’s biggest parental issue with Rosie: at times even the master detective failed to foresee how she would develop next. He mostly took it as a challenge, but he was never particularly happy being surprised - he had always wanted more data . One individual comparison was not a data set, it was basically just anecdotal evidence. If only there were other children on her level she could be compared to, Sherlock would be thrilled to keep track.

“She is rather unique , it even shocks me at times.” Sherlock said with a slightly embarrassed half-smile.

Fluffy obviously started smelling the biscuits as he ran into the kitchen to try to get on the counter (which had been elevated due to Fluffy’s persistence). John immediately shot out of his chair and chased after the dog.

“Fluffy no!” John yelled.

John had to put Fluffy in the kennel for a bit because the dog was too damn stubborn. He swore that him and Rosie were perfectly matched because of how stubborn and persistent they both were. He could tell Rosie wanted to go and free the whimpering dog, but John shot her a look that said ‘don’t you dare’ before he sat down again. Rosie simply rolled his eyes and asked Mrs. Hudson if she could have a biscuit.

“The biscuit is for you , Rosie, not the dog.” Sherlock said in a surprisingly stern voice, then cringed, because he felt just like Mycroft when things like that came out of his mouth.

Mrs Hudson left after some more chatter about how fast children grew, which Sherlock mostly blocked out. They moved into the kitchen and Rosie prattled on about her day while Sherlock and John prepared dinner. Sherlock saw a few of the biscuits disappearing and hoped she wouldn’t ruin both her and the dog’s appetite.

As they sat down, they both spoke to her about the importance of social norms and not alienating her peer group. Sherlock was almost certain that Rosamund was too stubborn to listen to a word of it. They had done what was in their power and it was up to her now. After dinner, they sent her up to prepare for bed. Her little cardigan was full of fur and in need of some ironing because she had kept it on well past school hours. They would have to make her change out of uniform in future, if only to save on the cleaning costs. He and John spent the remainder of the evening on the couch, trying to rest and comfort each other before another school day descended upon them.

The rest of the week consisted of Rosie trying to do experiments shown in her chemistry book at home, some legwork cases, and trying to get Rosie to understand why she couldn’t deduce that her maths teacher had no idea what she was talking about to her peers.

 

***

After a long week of classes and constant complaints about Oliver not attending the same school, John organised for Rosie to spend Friday and Saturday night at Donovan’s flat with Ollie. Sherlock was glad to have the escape and appreciated their friendship a lot at that moment. He and John were able to have a quiet dinner together and it was comforting to have some time alone. Sherlock was watching John wash the dishes in a pair of his ‘Friday jeans’, which were tighter than the usual, to give an air of casualness, or perhaps just because he liked the effect they had on Sherlock.

John honestly wasn’t too happy that usually it was him doing the washing up. Back when Rosie was a baby, it was an equal effort. Sherlock would either be giving Rosie her bath while John washed the dishes or vice versa. It sometimes felt like they were back to when John did most of the housework and Sherlock was in his chair sulking or whatever. His train of thought stopped though when he felt Sherlock wrap his arms around him from behind… with a very specific bulge against his arse.

“Couldn’t wait until I was done washing up?” John practically purred.

“Not when you wear those jeans, John. You wiggle your arse far more than one would deem necessary for dishwashing.”

Sherlock particularly enjoyed when the wiggling was against him… The friction between the fabric of his trousers and those jeans was very enticing. He had one very specific fantasy that they had not yet explored and he thought tonight might be a good time to broach the subject. It would have to be done in a specific way, because one thing that John had yet to do in bed was agree to be penetrated. Sherlock tried to telegraph his intentions as he ground his erection against the parting of John’s glutes, finding a special thrill when John pressed back into his pelvis. He decided to try to express his thoughts in a more seductive manner, with words, and he hoped it wouldn’t come off as creepy or manipulative or plainly lacking in any sexual appeal.

“There’s something I’ve been considering… our experience of each other’s bodies is… incomplete, John.”

“Meaning?” John breathed.

John honestly thought that anything Sherlock would suggest would get him fully hard. His damn bedroom voice always got him hard and heavy even if John topped. Not to mention having thrilling chases and cases completed had resulted in a few… incidents… where they humped each other or whatever they could do in a broom cupboard or toilet or closed space at Scotland Yard. If he was honest, John was surprised Sherlock hadn’t suggested doing it on Greg’s desk just to piss him off. Right now, though, the feeling of Sherlock rubbing up against his jean covered arse was incredible, and soon one of his partner’s hands moved down to massage his dick through his trousers, which caused him to moan.

Sherlock felt the moan go straight through to his pelvis and decided that more of his seductive speaking may result in a favourable outcome. He spoke lowly, breath touching John’s ear.

“You know how I dislike gaps in my knowledge, John, and I’ve been fantasising about this particular scenario for a while… I’ve never had the pleasure of penetrating you … fully. It’s something that I wonder about often… what your anal musculature will feel like around my penis… what your prostate feels like against something other than my fingers.”

“Jesus…” John moaned.

“Would you be amenable to such an experiment? I have the perfect setting in mind.”

“Tell me…”

“I’ve been picturing us on my chair… So I can see your face when you impale yourself on me for the very first time. Warm leather all around us and the ecstasy on your features when I brush that certain spot with my glans. What it will do to you... and how it will feel for me. I’ve often touched myself while sitting in that very chair imagining it.”

“That… that sounds…” John couldn’t even finish his sentence, it was all too fucking hot to process.

Sherlock could feel John tremble slightly, he moved his hand from where it had been caressing John’s penis through his jeans and he reached to undo the button before removing his hand and creating just enough of a gap between them that neither had the friction they both desperately needed. He needed to know that John was fully agreeing to do this, as it was a step they had never taken before.

He’s really fucking doing this now!? Was all John could think before he turned around and practically forced Sherlock to pick him up by jumping on him. It was automatic as Sherlock held John by his arse and carried him to the lounge while their mouths were joined in an incredibly heated kiss. He wasn’t going to lie, it felt kind of refreshing to give up control for once as (unless it was just foreplay) John usually took the lead when they had sex.

Their mouths were still furiously connected when Sherlock put John down in the lounge and began to divest him of his clothing. John allowed this before helping unbutton his shirt - it was the purple one, which Sherlock knew John found irresistible. John pulled his trousers off together with his pants in his haste and they parted mouths for a moment while both kicked off their shoes and freed their legs.

Once they were finally naked, John vaguely noticed a color difference in the usually black leather chair. When he got a better view, he saw that Sherlock’s navy silk robe was laying on the leather… where they’d be all over each other for god knew how long. He eyed Sherlock suspiciously.

“You’ve been planning this, haven’t you?” He asked with a smirk.

“I admitted to masturbating over this fantasy, John, we’ve long passed the planning stage.” Sherlock grinned with a naughty wink just before pulling John into his lap as he sat on the perfectly draped robe (it wouldn’t do to get all painfully stuck to the leather, as his own ‘experimentation’ had shown).

It just really hit John what he was about to do… he was going to have Sherlock fuck him in the arse. He still had some things to work through because of the damn masculinity obsession his dad had instilled when he was growing up, and having all those Tory raised assholes at school wasn’t helpful either. Back then, taking it up the arse was considered ‘faggy’ or ‘queer’, and now he was about to do it. He had gotten through most of the stigma around it, but now that it was about to happen… he didn’t know what to think.

Sherlock noticed John’s breathing change from his usual arousal to something more panicked. John’s upbringing must have been rearing its ugly head once more… that was the main reason that they had done everything but full penetrative sex with John on the receiving end. Sherlock’s heart sank a little, he’d thought it might finally be time, but he was not about to force John to do anything he didn’t want to. He pulled back and held John at a distance, looking carefully into his eyes. When John didn’t fully meet his gaze he said,

“You don’t have to, John, we can just carry on as usual instead.”

“No.” John said resolutely. “I have to get over this sometime, and… if it means doing something that you want to do, I’ll do this.” John wrapped his arms around Sherlock and gently kissed him before laying his head on his chest. If it was with Sherlock, he felt a little less… guilty about it (he’d have to discuss this with Terrence). “Let’s just… take it slow, yeah?”

“I won’t force you, I promise.” Sherlock said, just loudly enough for John to hear. He stroked John’s back admiring the smoothe planes of his muscles, until John looked up at him again.

John let out a breath, and silently nodded before he kissed Sherlock again, except with more carefulness, and love. It was more of an affirmation that he was willing to do what Sherlock wanted, it would just be a little hard for him to do. He hated that it was still a barrier in his subconscious, but he hoped it wouldn’t be after tonight.

Sherlock deduced from John’s reactions that he considered this almost a form of treatment for the stigma he still carried with him and he wanted to help John, but he also wanted it to be pleasurable for both of them. He stared deeply into John’s eyes and said,

“I love you, and I always will.”

If they weren’t about to have sex, John swore he would have cried from that… but it wasn’t the right time. Instead he smiled.

“I love you too.”

Taking that as confirmation, Sherlock removed the tube of lubricant that was wedged between the cushions, placing it in view so as not to shock John later. They shared another deep kiss and both of their groins reacted, looking more invigorated than when the panic began. Sherlock stroked them both together eliciting an intense feeling of intimacy and togetherness. John’s pupils blew wide and his breathing was the right kind of ragged for Sherlock to take the next step. He lubricated his fingers and after bringing their penises together with the lubricant on, he slid his hand around. He had stimulated John’s prostate manually before, but not from this angle and he was glad to be taller, because his hand just reached John’s anus comfortably. He started as usual, running his finger around the rim, feeling the muscle tremble. He applied more lubricant behind John’s back then put it down and stroked them together once more. Sherlock gently inserted the point of his forefinger into John’s tight ring of muscle and was accepted up to the first digit.

He knew the preparation would take some time so he decided to try talking to John again in between kissing and nipping his neck, he told him how much he enjoyed it when John was open and he could feel his muscles around his fingers… he kept up a low rumble of talk about their past experiences and how he looked forward to this new one and how all the sensations were going to be new to him.

John had felt this before, fingers weren’t overwhelming. The fact that Sherlock was doing that in a normal way was comforting and didn’t make him feel overwhelmed like he had been before. With every kiss and every stroke, he felt the lust coming back and the love he had for his detective breaching the surface. It was what he needed for this to happen… and that voice had always gotten him going. He had gotten jealous/aroused a few times when Sherlock had to seduce a few women on a case using that same voice. It was especially awkward because he was wearing a wire and John had to make an excuse to put the clipboard over his crotch. It was the most confusing and weird erection he’d ever had. Thoughts of that case immediately ceased when a third finger was added to the mix and John felt a jolt of pain from it. He hadn’t ever felt that full, but it also hurt.

Sherlock felt John stiffen when his third finger probed into John’s anus. He realised it was causing John pain. He removed it slowly and used his other two fingers to make a scissoring motion that would open John up a bit more. He pumped his fingers in and out a few times and ensured that he brushed John’s prostate on one of those passes, the little frisson of the muscle had always soothed his pain when he was being filled. He hoped it worked for John too, because he had to be more open if this was going to be pleasurable for both of them.

“Mm…” John moaned. “Okay… okay do three.”

Sherlock hummed in appreciation and happily obliged after adding a bit more lubricant. John started to push back on his fingers as Sherlock captured his mouth in another searing kiss. John was so close to being ready for him, he felt even more blood rush to his groin. They were grinding together, both writhing and moaning into the kiss. Sherlock’s hand reached back into the cushions where he withdrew a foil packet, he nudged John with it, raising an eyebrow. John’s lips never left his as he shook his head. Sherlock was secretly thrilled. He slowly removed his fingers and lifted John so that the tip of his penis was aligned with John’s entrance. He held him there, waiting.

This was it… Sherlock was about to penetrate him for the first time. Just getting to this point was an emotional journey more so than when John did it to Sherlock, but he was ready. He felt like he could do this even with that tiny bit of his upbringing telling him not to. As slowly as he could, he started to sink down onto Sherlock’s cock. It took a little force to get the tip in, but once it was, it was a jolt of both pain and pleasure going through his own body. The only problem was that the pain was somewhat overshadowing the pleasure, so he had to pause and start to breathe through it. He was clutching the back of the chair with a vice-grip, and it took what felt like an eternity for the pain to fade away enough to allow more of Sherlock’s cock in. He could see Sherlock was worried and then his hands were gripping John’s hips as if to try not to come on the spot. He tried to go further down, and he could only go a little ways more before he had to shut his eyes and clench his teeth. How the hell had Sherlock not been writhing in pain from this!? He felt like he was being split in half!

The brush of Sherlock’s glans over John’s most private area was enough to drive all the blood from his cerebral cortex. As John descended, more and more parts of Sherlock’s brain seemed to go offline. John had his most sensitive parts in a hot vice grip of pleasure and endorphins were already beginning to flood his system. The feeling was very much like the rush of cocaine as it first entered his bloodstream, but that rush was suddenly interrupted. The part of Sherlock that was still capable of observation noticed John’s clenched teeth and complete change in breathing - mostly that he wasn’t… He gripped John’s hips to stop him from impaling himself further because John was obviously in pain. Had Sherlock not prepared him enough, was John panicking? He could hardly even think with how tight John’s muscles were squeezing him.

“Breathe, John, it helps, and if you want to stop, just… just tell me.”

“I know…” John said through clenched teeth. “I don’t…. Don’t think I can take any more.”

“Whatever you want, John, we can… stay here… it’s ok.”

“I think that… mmm… would be best.”

“You’re in control in this position, John, I won’t move unless you want me to.”

“Okay.”

Sherlock pulled John in for a kiss, careful not to move where they were joined. He noticed that John’s erection had started to flag a bit, but even the slight movement involved in reaching each other’s lips produced a new round of sensations for Sherlock and he remained hard despite his worry over his partner. John seemed grateful for the kiss and Sherlock suspected it had helped his pain. A minute later, John moved down a bit more, Sherlock wasn’t sure John even knew he had done it, but clearly he was relaxing. Sherlock moaned into John’s mouth and again John slid down to take a bit more of him.

Well it was obvious that one of them was getting pleasure out of this, and it was most certainly not John. It was still excruciating, and he just stopped moving. He didn’t dare to move because it was incredibly painful to even shift to kiss Sherlock. He kept his eyes shut as he tried to will his body to relax. He knew he was starting to get soft, and who could blame him? He needed to be more gentle with Sherlock the next time they had sex because fuck, did this hurt! John decided that maybe this was all he could take in at this point, so he started to move back up. It stung, but it wasn’t as bad as when he was first breached. He heard Sherlock gasp in response so obviously he was doing something right.

John moved upwards and it caused all sorts of neurons to fire and misfire in Sherlock’s brain, not to mention his body. He gasped at the sensation, but he could still feel the tension in John’s body. He let go of one of John’s hips and took him in hand, stroking lightly with his long fingers until he felt a reassuring twitch. John sank back to where he had been before and Sherlock began to worry about whether his thigh muscles were tiring and inadvertently causing him to take too much of Sherlock again.

It took a while, but John started to actually relax. He in no way thought he could take more of Sherlock inside him, but he felt like he could start trying to enjoy this. He started to move with more of a rhythm yet that one spot that should have sent sparks coursing through his veins was always just out of reach. The penetration felt good in itself, he just needed to go a little deeper. He could tell Sherlock was trying incredibly hard to not just thrust up. John couldn’t exactly blame him since the first time he ever had penetrative sex, it was fucking incredible. He started to move a bit faster and Sherlock started to moan. He had to know how far he’d gotten.

“H-how much is in there?”

“I th-think just over half. I’m not going to l-last much… ahh… longer.”

Sherlock wanted to take care of John too. He knew that if this continued, that was not going to be the outcome. He stopped John’s hips once more and urged him slowly upwards until he was completely off of Sherlock. He put John down in his lap in a way that his rear was not touching either of Sherlock’s legs, instead he stroked him to full hardness, handed over the lubricant and simply said,

“Switch?”

John was actually relieved that Sherlock was letting him stop. He didn’t know how much more he could have handled with the way things were going. He’d have to ask Sherlock for tips on how to handle being penetrated later on because fuck, that hurt. They decided on Sherlock bending over his leather chair with John behind him. The awkward height difference made Sherlock have to bend his knees a bit, but they managed. The preparation went faster with Sherlock than with John, and it made him feel a bit better knowing that Sherlock wouldn’t be in pain like he was. Soon Sherlock was pushing back onto John’s fingers begging to be filled, but John didn’t know if he wanted it bare or with a condom like they usually did.

“So… do you want a condom or…?” John asked awkwardly.

Sherlock gave him a strange look over his shoulder,

“You know I like to feel you, John.” Especially now , he thought, feeling as insecure as he was with their ‘mishap’. Yes, condoms made cleaning up easier, but he couldn’t handle anything being between them right now.

“Alright.”

John lubed up his cock and lined himself up with Sherlock’s arsehole. He didn’t want to start hard and fast, or make it about lust. He wanted Sherlock to feel him, wanted him to know that despite what had just happened, he still loved him. Very slowly, John breached his detective and they both gasped at the initial intrusion. It was always intense the first moment John was inside Sherlock, and it only increased as they continued.

Sherlock was happy to be sharing this connection with John, though he still felt a little incompetent and if he was truly honest with himself, disappointed at the recent failure of his fantasy. He could sense John was being gentle, perhaps because he had been unable to endure the stretch, but Sherlock was feeling very confused by the whole encounter and didn’t know if he wanted to be handled with such care or just buggered silly.

John kept going deeper and deeper, and soon he was fully seated inside Sherlock. It was so tight even after four years of doing this, and just as incredible every time. He started to slide out, then he pushed back in. He took his time so he could feel every twitch of muscle, all of the slickness, just every sensation he could from Sherlock. It was something he knew he’d never tire of.

Sherlock enjoyed the sensation of being filled, as much as he had over the last four years, he felt every bit of John and every tiny movement and was soon close to the edge again. John adjusted their position so that he would brush against his prostate and Sherlock yelped.

John picked up the pace but tried to keep it loving. He started whispering things in Sherlock’s ear about how much he loved him, he draped himself over Sherlock’s back so that he was practically humping Sherlock’s arse and they could be incredibly close. It just was perfect, so perfect for after the horrid excuse of an attempt at sex earlier. John could feel himself getting closer and Sherlock’s noises were starting to signal an orgasm. He started to fist Sherlock’s cock in time with his frantic thrusts and soon Sherlock was coming, his muscles started to contract around John’s cock and it made John come too. He held Sherlock so close to him that he was sure he would leave some bruises.

Sherlock finally came and realised how long he had been restraining himself, it was quite the explosion and all over his dressing gown, which had apparently served its purpose after all. Hot on the heels of his own orgasm, he felt John pulse inside him and then a shot of warmth was released into him, filling him up with John’s love, a sentiment he was currently also trying to transmit by bruising Sherlock’s ribs. John was draped over him like a blanket and he knew this was John’s way of apologising for earlier. He felt the warmth drip down out of him as John began to soften and his energy seemed to drain with it. He had some conflicting emotions to deal with, frustration and then sudden satisfaction and a profound sense of being loved, while he also couldn’t help feeling disappointed. There was far too much going on in his head, too many emotions clouding his judgement.

He picked up the robe and held it to his entrance as John pulled out. It was a practiced move that caught most of the spill and John used a corner of it to clean himself too. Once that was done, Sherlock kissed the top of John’s head and made his way to the bathroom to wash himself. He locked both of the doors as a clear signal that he wanted to be alone. He showered and got ready for bed. John looked confused when he came back into the bedroom carrying their discarded clothes. He was not used to being shut out, and Sherlock felt bad for having done so, but he had a head full of thoughts and a terrible weariness that dragged him straight to his side of the bed, where he promptly fell asleep before John had even finished his turn in the bathroom.

 

***

Sherlock had an epic sulk for the whole of Saturday and John could only hope he would manage to hide his mood when Rosie came back later in the day. John was confused and hurt by Sherlock’s actions, but he knew better than to attempt to interrupt Sherlock when he was lying on the couch with his back to the world. Sherlock’s mood swings were legendary, he could go from almost manic excitement and glee to a fathomless depression, and it was best to just let it pass. John would intervene if it affected Rosie, but on his own he had ample practice dealing with Sherlock’s sulking - or more accurately, avoiding a sulking Sherlock.

He had changed the code on the gun safe (Mrs. Hudson would not appreciate holes in the new wallpaper) and done a thorough search for any substances (even though Sherlock had not used anything since his birthday over four years ago). It was the kind of mood that used to make him phone Mycroft in the early days, but he wasn’t about to share the probable cause of this sulk with Sherlock’s brother, or anybody else, unless they were required to be confidential by law. So he dealt with his side of the problem by scheduling a session with Terence at his office in SoHo on Monday morning. For now, he would just have to deal with his own issues and try to leave Sherlock alone with his.

There were no distractions to deal with except the usual household chores (which John did all on his own) and taking the dog out, because even Fluffy wouldn’t go near Sherlock that day. John felt like he was in a time loop back to before the Fall, where he would leave cups of tea and toast near Sherlock, only to find them still untouched hours later. The only difference was that in this version, the tea and toast were set on higher places because otherwise they would be knocked over or eaten by the dog.

John announced he was leaving to pick Rosie up in the evening, and was thankful for the temporary escape. He noticed Sherlock sat up from the couch immediately and rubbed at his scalp as if he had a headache. As John left, he could hear that Sherlock was getting into the shower. It seemed that he wasn’t going to sulk in front of Rosie and John decided that was an excellent turn of events.

He was able to pick her up without incident, and all the way home she was excitedly talking about the different games she and Ollie played (which included ‘dumbed down’ crime scene). When they got home, it was as if Sherlock hadn’t been in a sour mood at all. He was freshly showered, in clean clothing, tidied up the lounge, even took the dog out while John was out.

Rosie seemed to have thought something was possibly wrong as she looked at Sherlock suspiciously for a moment, but then hugged him with a smile. Sherlock no longer stiffened when Rosie hugged him. He’d had four years to get used to it and it was almost normal now. She was, as usual, the exception to his rules.

“Why were you sulking again, Papa?” Rosie asked out of the blue.

How the hell had she known? Sherlock was baffled. He considered himself a great actor and his facade had just been taken down by a four year old - an exceptional one, but a child nonetheless. Why did they have to have the world’s most perspicacious child? The reasons for this sulk were certainly not things he wanted to discuss… with anybody, let alone Rosie.

“Why would you think I was sulking?”

“Because the couch always smells more musty and sweaty if you lie there for ages, Papa.” Then she looked up at him with pride. “Plus the dent in the couch is a dead giveaway.”

Sherlock realised how obvious his mistakes had been and felt the desire to smack himself on the head. He fought back against even running his hand down his face because it would only serve as confirmation. He allowed himself a mental sigh and eyeroll before speaking to Rosie.

“Well deduced, Rosie, how do you know I didn’t just feel sick?”

“Daddy would have told me about you being sick when he picked me up.”

John was genuinely terrified at how easily Rosie figured that out. Obviously Sherlock had taught her too well if she figured out he was sulking from a crease in the sofa.

“Yes, well maybe Daddy forgot to mention it.” Sherlock suggested, looking to John for help.

She just gave him a look.

“Really, Papa? He wouldn’t want me getting sick on top of you getting sick. He cares about us too much to forget something like that.” Rosie countered.

“What if it wasn’t contagious? Like I had some bad takeaway?”

“He would have said something like ‘Papa and I had bad food earlier so don’t be so loud’ or something like that, which would mean you both would have been sick.”

Sherlock knew he could contend that only his food had been off, but this attempt to distract her clearly wasn’t going to work… next she’d say that the flat didn’t smell like vomit or excess excrement. He had learned that it was sometimes better to admit defeat where Rosie was involved.

“You are right, I was sulking, but the reason isn’t important.”

“It could have been either about a case or you and Daddy. Those are the only times you sulk, and according to Nana, they last for days.”
“Rosie, I think that’s enough.” John interjected in an attempt to change the subject.

He really didn’t want to discuss the reason Sherlock was in a dark mood to her. It was not something he’d want to talk to, well, anyone about, and Rosie was at least a few years away from knowing about it (mental age was a constant reminder he had to keep). Instead he let Fluffy out of the kennel and the dog shot out and ran to Rosie. However right before he got to her, he looked up at Sherlock and started to actually nudge Rosie away from him. The damn dog was telling her to leave Sherlock alone!

The dog nudged Rosie away from him and Sherlock merely sighed, it was all a little bit too much. He’d been trying to deal with feelings he didn’t actually think he had a right to feel, then he got up and put on his best impression of being fine and the child hadn’t fallen for it. Now he couldn’t even convince the dog of his mental well-being. He had a strong urge to scuttle off to the bedroom and lock the doors so Rosie couldn’t get in… at the very least he wanted to hide in his mind palace, but she wasn’t about to allow that. He couldn’t even pace nervously.

John could see how uncomfortable Sherlock was with the whole situation. This was starting to become a normal occurance for them because Rosie was constantly exceeding their expectations of how perceptive she was. It was hard to keep up and getting harder as the weeks passed. His worst fears were realized, however, when Rosie said,

“It’s about you and Daddy having one of your ‘private moments’, but something went wrong, and Papa blames himself.”

Sherlock wished he had deities to invoke for times like this. Rosamund was far too astute for anybody’s good. They were going to be forced to give her some sort of sex talk and it would be mortifying, for all of them. He was sure John was thinking of some choice curse words right now, and if he didn’t find them banal, he would be too.

“What do you even know about our ‘private moments’ anyway?”

Rosie looked a tiny bit guilty, but she answered the question anyway.

“One time… I wanted to wake you up because I had a nightmare… and when I peeked through the door… you were… in the middle of one of those moments .”

“Oh my god.” John whispered as he rubbed his hands over his face.

Rosie saw them have sex! She hadn’t said anything or interrupted them, but hopefully she didn’t see much of it. What the fuck were they supposed to do now!? Just send Rosie off every weekend in fear that she’ll peek in again without telling them!? He would have much prefered Rosie interrupting them instead of not saying a word and waiting until now to say anything. This child had the worst timing.

Sherlock had a stunned expression on his face and he hoped it didn’t betray exactly how much he wanted to be sick at this moment. The desire to run away had escalated to an almost unstoppable urge to run out of the flat. His mouth gaped open and closed a few times. This was it, Sherlock Holmes was actually speechless . He wanted to know what she had seen, and how much of it, but he couldn’t bring himself to form words. He looked helplessly at John hoping he would ask the question.

“Um…” John didn’t know what the hell he could say. “Rosie… we…” Rosie looked as if she had felt bad about something she did, the face she usually made if she genuinely made a horrible mistake. “Listen, you haven’t done anything wrong from… seeing that happen… but it would have been better to tell us before now.”

Sherlock was still wide-eyed and mute. He tried to force words out, but they didn’t seem very coherent. “What… how much…” He took a deep breath, “What did you see?”

Rosie blushed and looked like she was trying not to curl up into a ball in embarrassment.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She said quietly whilst looking at the floor.

“Yes, well, when I didn’t want to talk about sulking just now, you didn’t extend me any courtesy, so go ahead, see how it feels.” Sherlock had hardly ever gotten angry with Rosie, but here he thought he was justified.

Instead of saying anything, Rosie ran upstairs with Fluffy to her room and locked the door. John was thankful for that, but he could tell Sherlock was extremely angry at what had just happened. He had a feeling he’d probably need to stop Sherlock from going after her in a few moments.

“Oh, no, I wanted to run away and hide in the bedroom, but I dealt with her instead. She will not get that luxury.” His body unfroze all at once and he lurched towards the stairs.

John immediately grabbed Sherlock’s arm and pulled him back, hard. Rosie may have acted like an adult, but she was still a kid dealing with new things on an emotional level. She needed time to process everything and obviously Sherlock needed time to calm down.

“She needs time alone, Sherlock.” John said in a commanding military tone.

“So do I!” Sherlock yelled and grabbed his coat as he headed for the street.

Obviously he didn’t get it, and John needed to get through to him in a different way. Before Sherlock could get the coat on, John grabbed it and threw it across the room.

“I know that Rosie may act like an adult to you, Sherlock, but she still has the emotional stability of someone only three years older than her!” John said in a raised voice. He took a deep breath. “You remember what Dr. Takahashi said when we first had her evaluated: she’s five years ahead mentally, and three years ahead emotionally, so her feeling this way is what other kids that age would feel.”

Sherlock knew he was being irrational, but he was irritated, angry, and his privacy had been invaded and he hadn’t been allowed to escape it, he was hardly listening to John through the pounding of his heart in his ears. His head throbbed and he just wanted to disappear into some dark alley where he could go delete this whole event from his mind palace - if it wasn’t already indelibly inked on the wall of embarrassment.

“I don’t care! Let me go, John, now!”

“No! You don’t get to storm out on Rosie because she’s dealing with something that makes you uncomfortable, Sherlock! She isn’t just my daughter, she’s your daughter too, and you will have to deal with shit like this all of the time! If you need to, you can punch a wall or even shoot it again, I don’t care, you just need to stay here for her!” John yelled over him.

Yes, she clearly was his daughter… a bit too much, Sherlock thought. He lashed out at the nearest bookcase, knocking everything off, they were mostly John’s novels so they weren’t of particular value, but he did feel slightly better as it toppled over. The pent-up rage and frustration needed an outlet and this was working. He kicked over the coffee table next, sending various medical journals flying, mostly under the couch. There had been an empty mug on it and the resultant crash was satisfying. He turned around to look for the next object of his rage and saw himself reflected in the glass of the window overlooking Baker Street. He looked quite insane and it brought him up short. He kicked aside the debris in his path to the couch and sat down heavily. He was breathing raggedly and found his hands were shaking. All the fury drained out of him and he fell against the cushions, exhausted.

John didn’t want to talk to Sherlock about what just happened. He knew that if he tried to, Sherlock probably wouldn’t understand where he went wrong. Instead, the soldier started cleaning up the bookcase. He wasn’t really worried about his books, he was worried about the picture of Rosie he had put up there. When he put the bookcase back up, he saw that the frame was face down on the carpet. He silently prayed the photo wasn’t damaged, and his prayers were answered. The glass on the little silver frame was intact and the image itself was untouched. The photo in question was Rosie when she was seven months old at Regent’s Park in her mini belstaff, her dark hair had a clip in it, she was smiling so brightly at the fact that a duckling was letting her pet it. It was his favorite photo of her if he was honest. With a sigh, he put the photo back onto the top of the small bookcase (they brought it in when Rosie was one because she was constantly asking for books) and started working on reshelving the books.

Sherlock watched John moving about with one eye, the other was too tired to stay open at the moment. He wished John would just stop and comfort him, but John probably had some ‘righteous reason’ for not doing so. He knew he hadn’t been ‘good’ - not at all. He had reacted very badly to Rosie’s revelation, not just because it was humiliating but also because the whole issue with John was too fresh in his mind. He’d needed time to get the desire to be inside of John out of his head, to seal up that line of thought and tuck it away somewhere in a mind palace pile of things that weren’t going to happen, but he hadn’t had the chance. His time on the couch had allowed him to see that demanding Rosie to effectively take a spoon of her own medicine was not a good parenting manoeuvre.

“John.” Sherlock looked up at where John was busy replacing a picture of Rosie that he hadn’t realised had been on the bookcase he’d taken his anger out on. He sighed when John didn’t look at him. “I’m sorry, John.” He said, slightly louder.

“About?” John said, clearly testing him.

“Quite literally throwing my toys out of the cot.” He said with a raised eyebrow.

Again, Sherlock was missing the point. It was a good analogy, but the fact that he wasn’t understanding the whole reason John had stopped him was frustrating. He sighed,

“It’s not just about that, Sherlock.” John said as he stood up. “Rosie is coming into her own as a child, and she may be incredibly intelligent for her age, but she’s still a kid. She’ll ask uncomfortable questions, she’ll see things we don’t want her to, but you can’t just get angry at her for it and storm out. We’ve honestly probably scared the shit out of her with the noise we just made.”

“How do I fix it, John?” He asked, looking quite pitiful.

John knew this was probably the time to comfort his detective, so he walked over to the couch and sat down close to Sherlock. He didn’t exactly want to start full cuddling mode yet, so he sat close enough that their legs were touching.

“Learn better coping mechanisms.” He chuckled at the memory of the conversation they’d had before they first had penetrative sex. “And obviously using sex as that coping mechanism isn’t on the table anymore since Rosie will know what we’d be doing. So… maybe therapy would work?”

Sherlock scoffed at that idea. He had a mind palace with a section dedicated to psychology - it was often useful in The Work to understand people’s motives. He didn’t think he would benefit from a lesser mind attempting to probe his innermost thoughts and feelings . He knew that therapy was great for some people, but he was not one of them. He had dealt with enough psychoanalysis in his youth to last him a lifetime - it had never proved to be anything but more damaging to what they would call his psyche. He longed for the days when he could use the high-functioning sociopath label to excuse his less savory actions. That wouldn’t work on John now, unfortunately - he didn’t think it ever actually had.

“I do not need therapy.” He said firmly.

“You just had a mental breakdown over Rosie figuring out something and not wanting to talk about what she saw when you and I had sex. If not therapy, just anger management since your… outlets are drugs, sex, and breaking things.”

Sherlock just barely refrained from reminding John that his outlets used to include beating Sherlock bloody (however much Sherlock might have deserved it at the time).

“I just needed time to deal with my emotions and nobody would allow me that. That does not mean I need anger management, just some space to regain control.”

He sighed and got up, striding towards his violin and picking up the rosin and bow, tightening the strings then lifting the instrument to check the tuning. He began to play the introductory notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, ’da da da dummm’ and looked back at John with a wry smile.

John merely rolled his eyes.

“A bit dramatic, much?” He teased as he stood up.

“Fine, some Bach?”

“Whatever helps to calm you down, love.”

Sherlock started to play one of Bach’s sonatas for the violin and John decided to go see if Rosie was alright (after cleaning up the coffee table). She looked incredibly embarrassed earlier, and he had no doubt that Sherlock gave her a bit of a fright with his outburst. He knocked on the door lightly, and called for Rosie. A few footsteps came to the door, and Rosie opened it with Fluffy hiding behind her. It seemed that Sherlock’s thrashing scared more than just their daughter.

“Is Papa done being angry?” Rosie asked in a quiet voice.

She started to look genuinely terrified… it was horrible. John never knew that Rosie would be afraid of her own father, and he hadn’t wanted that at all. He kneeled down in front of Rosie and held her hands.

“Yes he is.” John said with a kind smile. “But he doesn’t want to do that kind of thing again, Rosebud.”

“But I know he knocked things over. He shouldn’t lash out like that because of me.” She said with wet eyes.

In response, John wrapped her in a hug as she cried a bit. He petted her hair and rubbed her back with soothing words as she wept. It broke his heart whenever Rosie cried or shed a tear, and he just wanted to fix it every time. He kept his emotions at bay though and consoled his daughter for however long they were stood there. Soon the crying stopped, and Rosie was able to look at her father.

“Rosie, he didn’t know how to handle what you found out. I’ve talked to him, and now he’s playing music to calm down. It’ll be alright now.” John assured.

Rosie looked skeptical with a hint of fear in her eyes, but nodded nonetheless.

“Can we have dinner now?” Rosie asked.

“Sure.”

Sherlock felt glad that John was the one dealing with Rosie. He didn’t want to lash out at her again, and he wasn’t sure he could guarantee that he wouldn’t do that, not until he had some time to himself with the violin. He was beginning to calm down already, and it was good to take his feelings out in precice fingering and perfect bow strikes.

After a while he heard John come downstairs with Rosie. He took a long deep breath and finished the sonata before turning around to see them in the kitchen doorway. Rosie’s eyes were huge and he could see she had been crying… because of him. He didn’t feel like a fit guardian, maybe the adoption had been a mistake, he wasn’t worthy of being a father to this remarkable child. His next breath was shaky and he felt his eyes stinging with tears. He walked towards them and halfway he stopped to crouch down and hold out his arms. Rosie came up to him slowly and as he hugged her, repeatedly apologising, he let his tears flow. She was crying too, but it was the cathartic kind that was good for making peace after a fight.

The fact that they were able to make up like this actually made John want to cry too, but out of happiness. He knew that Sherlock would be able to be a great father for Rosie. It didn’t matter what happened in their family, they’d all come together again and make up. Soon Fluffy meekly came downstairs from Rosie’s room, and timidly went up to her. He sat behind her while Sherlock and her cried, and when Rosie turned around, Fluffy started to lick the tears off of her face. It made her giggle, and she hugged him with a little ‘thank you’.

After the extremely eventful afternoon, dinner went smoothly, Sherlock and John working together to chop vegetables and preparing chicken pieces to bake in the oven. While they waited for their dinner to cook, Sherlock and John sat on either side of Rosie and looked over the homework she had been given. It didn’t look very challenging, Sherlock lost interest very soon, browsing the internet for interesting international murders on his phone.

They ate in peace afterwards, all of them were perhaps a bit more careful about what topics they brought up, wary of any more conflict. There was time for a bit of telly before Rosie needed to get ready for bed, they tacitly agreed to watch whatever Rosie wanted, which turned out to be a Nova Special on AIs.

John was able to put Rosie to bed fairly quietly and started to get ready for his own bed. He decided he wanted to take his time with showering because he felt like there was emotional grime on him from the day that he needed to wash off. It was hard to shake off that it was probably his fault for keeping Sherlock home, but he was afraid as to what would happen if Sherlock went off on his own. He knew Sherlock wouldn’t want to go and get a fix, except it was a moment of tense emotions for him, so who knew what he would have done if he left the flat. He would at least have picked a fight with someone or gotten himself hurt somehow.

When John left the bathroom fully showered, a towel around his waist, he started to get his pajamas on. Sherlock was already in his own pajamas lying on the bed. He looked at John and felt the weight of the day settle on his shoulders. He was emotionally exhausted, a fact that would have been unbelievable to his younger self. He could only imagine telling the version of himself that had not yet met John that he’d be wrecked from all the emotion that had affected him because of a child he was raising… That Sherlock would scoff in disbelief -- sentiment was almost alien to him outside of people’s motivations for murder. He turned to John as he climbed into the bed, seeking his touch, his warmth and some kind of reassurance that things would work out in the end… such a silly phrase, and hardly ever the truth when given after an unfortunate incident.

“It sounds idiotic to me, John, but please tell me everything will be alright in the end. I never thought I could be so emotionally exhausted.”

John pulled Sherlock close to him and held him tight.

“It will be alright.” He assured. “Rosie is obviously giving you a chance, so things will go back to normal soon.”

“I hope so. I never needed banal reassurances before. My younger self would roll his eyes.”

“True, but I guess it shows how much you’ve grown as a person.”

“Have I become ordinary, John? Ordinary people are boring, I fear Moriarty might be disappointed in me from beyond the grave.” Sherlock said with a wry smile.

“Okay, firstly: don’t think about Moriarty, alright? That prick did nothing but cause trouble. Second: You had closed yourself off for years , and while you definitely have your moments of being a prick, you’re still smarter than a lot of people, and have a wit to match. I don’t think you’ll ever be an ‘ordinary person’.”

Sherlock felt oddly reassured. He didn’t know exactly why , but the idea that being emotional didn’t make him ‘ordinary’ was soothing, especially coming from John, because he knew that the words were said with love. He drew John closer to him and kissed him softly.

“Thank you for always knowing what I need to hear, John.”

“It’s part of my job.” John joked.

Once they turned off the lights and finally stayed under the covers for the night, John did some thinking about how they could avoid this in the future. It obviously scared Rosie beyond belief, and breaking things or just running out couldn’t be what they did anymore. They had to do something productive and possibly active to handle both of their anger. John didn’t know if he could handle seeing Rosie scared like that, of Sherlock of all people, ever again. He closed his eyes and let himself drift to sleep, where thankfully no dreams came.

 

***

John had mentioned finding a productive way to manage their anger, possibly studying a martial art together. Sherlock decided to see if there were any conveniently timed Tai-Chi classes in reasonable proximity to the flat. He found that they could schedule private lessons with an instructor within a short cab ride distance. He decided this would be ideal because they wouldn’t need to deal with other people ogling them, which was increasingly problematic due to their semi-celebrity status. Call it vanity but the last thing Sherlock wanted was the paparazzi getting hold of photos of him and John all sweat-soaked, one never knew what ‘fans’ would photoshop that into. They were supposed to be doing this for relaxation and to relieve tension, not create it.

 

***

 

John’s phone started going off after Sherlock went downstairs to the lab a week later, and it was from the school. He answered it, and they told him that he and Sherlock had to come to the school urgently. When he asked what was wrong with Rosie, they at least told him it wasn’t a physical injury or a fight… ‘just something she did wrong’. It obviously wasn’t ‘just something’ if it was Rosie, she got into enough trouble as it was at home.

So John put Fluffy in his kennel, and grabbed both his and Sherlock’s coats before going downstairs to the lab. Sherlock seemed to be in the middle of an experiment with… human flesh. He decided not to ask.

“I hope you can pause whatever you’re doing, because I just got a call from the school.”

“It isn’t ideal, but hopefully refrigeration won’t crystalise the cells too much.”

“It was urgent, so we need to go now .”

They took a cab to the school, Sherlock was deep in thought about how the refrigeration may factor into his experimental results and didn’t really realise that they had arrived until John opened the door and paid the cabbie.

“Sherlock, please focus.” John said as they got out of the cab. “And don’t deduce anyone to pieces, please.”

“I can’t turn it off, John, but I’ll be on my best behaviour.”

If he can control it. John knew it was hard for Sherlock not to show off, but sometimes (almost all of the time) it rubbed people the wrong way. If Sherlock said something wrong and decided to use his deduction skills, it could cause Rosie to be expelled after only 2 weeks. Thankfully it wasn’t hard to find the Headmaster’s office, and Rosie was sitting outside in a chair with a guilty look on her face. Obviously she knew what she did was wrong. When she saw John and Sherlock walk up, she smiled brightly.

“Hi, Daddy, Papa.”

“I wouldn’t suggest getting too comfortable Rosie.” Her face dropped. “If you did something really wrong, you aren’t getting away unscathed, alright?” John said in an authoritative tone.

Rosie looked to Sherlock with a silent plea, Sherlock was trying to deduce what she had done from her facial expression and her body language, but she was a Holmes by adoption and had a poker-face that could rival his own. He gave her a look she would know meant that he was annoyed she was in trouble but overcome with curiosity as to the cause. He was glad John didn’t know all their ways of communicating silently, often with no more than a glance, a shifted facial muscle or a raised brow. The slight tightening of the left muscle next to her lips told him that she had really annoyed an authority figure, but further than that, she didn’t explain. Sherlock rolled his eyes and followed John into the Headmaster’s office.

The Headmaster greeted them rather more warmly than Sherlock had expected, offering them both a handshake and a smile and saying that he hoped this issue could be resolved quickly with minimum fuss. The teacher sitting near to the window in the office glared at the man’s back. She was most definitely the complainant here. Her bearing told him this was not the first time Rosie had done something to irritate her in her classroom.

“Tell me what this is about.” John said as they both sat down.

“Miss Klein came to me with a complaint about Rosamund misbehaving in her classroom, apparently this is not the first time that her actions have displeased her teacher. Perhaps we should start with the older complaints first. Miss Klein?”

Miss Klein looked like she was barely containing her fury, she was very close to shaking in anger, Sherlock noticed. This must not have been the first time Rosie had embarrassed her in front of the class.

“Throughout the day whenever I teach, she will claim I’m not teaching something correctly, and use loopholes in activities to get what she wants. Quite often she will make a spectacle out of those scenarios, but clearly I can see where she gets it from.” She said in a tone of distaste.

“Miss Klein, if you could refrain from being rude to Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, this is not the sort of behaviour I expect from teachers at this school. Now, if you could proceed calmly in telling us what happened today?” The Headmaster had first looked sternly at the teacher then almost obsequiously at John and Sherlock.

Sherlock deduced that he valued his societal position as head of this school as much as he valued his salary and the lifestyle he had become accustomed to. He obviously didn’t want to alienate parents who were ‘famous’ because it could damage the reputation of the school, and by extension, his own standing in the community. By the way he had looked at Klein, Sherlock surmised that there had been a potentially scandalous complaint made by a teacher the previous year and he had not dealt with it lightly.

“Apologies, Headmaster.” She said with feigned calm. “Today all the children acted strangely, except, of course, for Rosamund. She looked like it was practically Christmas until halfway through the first block of class. When I asked her what she did, then she stood up on a table , and started explaining that she performed an experiment on her classmates . It was something about convincing them that they needed to mark their own papers and raise their hands even when they didn’t get the right mark on their papers. She even tricked me into letting them mark their own papers! Mr. Holmes, Doctor Watson, I hope your daughter’s punishment is severe because she manipulated both myself and the other children to do her bidding.”

John knew the teacher was being incredibly jealous of Rosie, but he tried to keep the peace.

“Miss Klein, I’m sure-.”

“You take a lot of pride in working with gifted children, Miss Klein, yet you are not yourself gifted, so you often find yourself jealous of the abilities your students possess. This was made patently obvious to you when Rosamund completed her little experiment not only under your nose, but with your unknowing co-operation and indeed, she manipulated you into doing it in the first place.”

“Sherlock, don’t do this now.”

“John, Rosie has obviously found this woman incompetent and gullible, I don’t think she’s qualified to teach our daughter.”

“How dare you!?” Klein exclaimed. “Your daughter manipulated us, Mr. Holmes! How am I the one in the wrong?”

“For the simple reason that you allowed yourself to be manipulated, of course. How can you expect to impose discipline on a class when you are so easily fooled by one of your own students?”

“Sherlock!”

“I was asking an extremely pertinent question, John. Do you disagree, Headmaster?”

“Of course not, Mr Holmes. We have a record for excellence that we like to maintain, discipline and keeping order in the classroom is a requisite of our mandate here.”

“My point exactly. Perhaps this particular class is boring Rosie, her brain needs to be challenged and that is what my brother and I both expected from your school.” Sherlock didn’t always pull the Mycroft card, but The British Government did tend to put ‘mere mortals’ in their place.

“Don’t bring Mycroft into this.” John said with an eyeroll.

“I don’t think you get to be annoyed, Doctor Watson. I was used! ” Klein exclaimed.

“Perhaps we can resolve all of this by moving Rosamund up to a level where she is challenged by the classwork.” The Headmaster said.

Klein gave an absolutely outraged look at the Headmaster.

“Are you fucking kidding me!?” She yelled.

The Headmaster looked scandalised, “Your language Miss Klein! How dare you speak that way in front of parents? This is deserving of a written warning, do not think it will be forgotten.”

“Oh it’s something I’m quite used to, unfortunately.” Sherlock shrugged, “I’d appreciate if we can possibly get back to the matter at hand and not Miss Klein’s damaged ego.”

Klein looked like she was about to punch Sherlock, and John was ready to restrain her if he had to. Thankfully, she spun and left in a huff, but out in the hallway she said something to Rosie that sounded like,

“You’re a little shit, you know that?”

In response, Rosie merely said,

“Why? Because I’m smarter than you?”

Klein made an appalled noise, but her heels then went down the hallway.

John was unbelievably angry at Sherlock. He couldn’t have stopped himself from deducing someone for once in his life, could he? There was no doubt that the teacher would be punished, but for all he knew, Sherlock had planned it that way. Why couldn’t he just keep his mouth shut!?

The Headmaster was still looking abashed by the behaviour of one of his teachers. It had clearly shocked him. It hadn’t shocked Sherlock, he had grown used to such reactions. What she had said to Rosie in the corridor was unacceptable.

“Did you hear that she just called our daughter a ‘little shit’ to her face in the corridor?”

“Yes, Mr Holmes. I’m terribly sorry, she will be dealt with, I assure you. As for Rosamund, I believe we should transfer her to the class 2 years ahead of her current year in History, effective tomorrow. Perhaps you should take her home for the day -- it’s not a punishment, I just think that to avoid any more trauma while Miss Klein is dealt with, it would be better to remove Rosamund from the school until tomorrow.”

“You aren’t going to punish her in any way? She did an experiment on her classmates.” John inquired.

John knew he was the strict parent in Rosie’s life, but the fact that the school wouldn’t punish her was just wrong, it was favouritism. Obviously this guy didn’t want controversy surrounding the school in any way and even hid things under the rug in order to keep people quiet. John hated those type of people… but then again, Rosie wouldn’t be getting expelled.

“What she did shows the extent of her intellect, Dr. Watson, we do not like to punish that kind of… initiative, this is a school for gifted children.” The Headmaster reassured, straightening his tie.

“That’s certainly an interesting approach. However, as it benefits Rosie in this instance, I’ll not be contacting my brother this time .” Sherlock said.

“Alright, fine.” John conceded. “But if she does it again, actually punish her.”

Sherlock was already stalking towards the door as John finished his sentence. John followed to find him taking Rosie’s hand as they left the school for the day. Sherlock hailed a cab with his usual ease and they climbed in. They were all silent for the duration of the ride to Baker Street, Sherlock replaying the scene in his head and thinking of how advanced it was for Rosie to manage to manipulate her teacher the way she had. For her part, Rosie stayed quiet and actually looked slightly contrite about the whole thing.

John knew they couldn’t let Rosie go unpunished. Despite how much of a bitch Miss Klein was being, Rosie did manipulate her classmates for an experiment, and that was wrong.  The only bright side to this situation was that she was able to move up two grades in History.

When they got home and John let Fluffy out of his kennel, instead of letting Rosie get lunch, he sat her down at the table with a serious look.

“Just because your headmaster didn’t punish you, doesn’t mean I won’t.”

Rosie started to look uneasy and stiffen up.

“Starting tomorrow, you won’t be able to play on your iPad, watch Telly, or do experiments after school. You’ll only be able to do your homework, eat dinner, and go to bed for a week and a half. Are we clear?”

Rosie looked as if she was about to argue, and looked to Sherlock with an expression that asked ‘Will you let me get away with not following his punishment?’

Sherlock knew how hard it would be for Rosie to follow the punishment John had set out. Worse, he knew that he would have to be the one to ensure she complied with this punishment while John was at work, safe from her boredom. He knew leaving her bored was probably the best punishment, but for a mind like hers, it would be torture. Clearly John had gained enough experience with him to know that. What was he going to do with her in the afternoons? He knew he had to comply with John’s decision, but this wouldn’t just take a toll on Rosie, it would be boring for him too.

“I have to stand with Daddy on this, Honeybee.” Sherlock said in a level tone, but an apologetic look was secretly shared between them, nothing John would notice, of course, but it was there.

“But Papa-!”

“You were wrong to do what you did, Rosie. Apparently it is unethical to experiment on other people without their permission.”

John was at least happy that Sherlock was taking his side on this. It wasn’t usual that he would keep to the punishment, but it seemed obvious that he wanted to do the punishments in a serious way.

The next ten days with Rosie were… difficult. At least she and Sherlock had found a loophole in John’s prescribed punishment: she was still able to draw. Rosie loved art and could lose herself in drawing for hours, so while Sherlock was alone with her, he let her draw to her heart’s content, but that had to stop when John came home. John was far stricter, it was homework then dinner then bed with no exceptions. Rosie didn’t enjoy the early bedtime or the lack of other mental stimulation one bit. She was, however, quite happy with her new History teacher and the extra reading she was required to do for the 2 year leap. John only had one day off during the ten day period, Sherlock escaped to his lab so John could deal with an increasingly bored Rosie. The lab was full of the drawings she had been doing -- it was the one place John tended to stay away from.