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A Hive Of Our Own

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“An apiary, Sherlock?” Molly looked at the building they had pulled up to. “On a family outing?”

“This one is special,” Sherlock said with a smile as he got out of the car, going to the backseat. Aileen and Jacquelyn had slept the entire drive out of London and into the country, and it was only now that they were waking up. Aileen, being older, would sleep more normally, but Jacquelyn was less than a year old and her sleep was still erratic. But the soft rumbling on a car’s motor seemed to lull her to sleep instantly and kept her asleep until the engine turned off.

“Shh, shh,” Molly said on the other side, unbuckling Aileen and picking her up. She was at the stage where she decided herself what she wanted to wear, and today was a “jammie day,” so she was wearing a green onesie made out of a fluffy microfiber material. It had frog’s feet on the footies and there was a frog face on the hood which Aileen often wore over her head. Since Jacquelyn wasn’t old enough to voice an opinion on her clothing she was in a purple onesie with brown pants over it, and a pair of cute trainers from Mrs. Hudson that she was going to outgrow soon so they wanted to get the most out of them. One of them had fallen off during the trip and Sherlock quickly put it back on. “Sherlock, we don’t know if either of the girls has an allergy to bee stings, you know.”

“Well, these are some of the most well-behaved bees in England, ours are,” he said as he got Jacquelyn unlatched. “A gift from a friend who had a hive in Sussex. She enjoys the fresh honey and thought we might want a hive of our own.” He settled Jacquelyn against his chest, running a hand along her back as she woke up. “And it’s always good to watch them in their semi-natural environment.”

“You or the girls?” Molly asked as she straightened up with Aileen on her hip.

“For now, me, but eventually the girls,” he said. They locked up the car and made their way to the building that housed the information about the hives and had the apiary specialists who managed them. “Did you know Neil Gaiman has had bees?”

“No, I actually did not know that,” Molly said, surprised he remembered Neil Gaiman was a favourite author of hers. “Here in England?”

“In the States,” he said, shaking his head. They went into the building. “But now you have something in common with your favourite author.” After a moment conversing with the woman at the information booth, they were told where their hive was located. There was a viewing area that they could go to to see them, and they moved in that direction. The woman giving them the information told them about the bee farm, and the uses bees had in the area and the benefits of owning a hive.

Eventually, they got to the area where they could inspect the hive. “Shouldn’t we have beekeeping outfits on?” she asked.

“The mesh is fine enough that they can get close but not sting you,” the woman said. “Oh look! They’re active.”

Sherlock went as close to the mesh as he could get and stared in fascination, with Jacquelyn wearing a nearly identical look of fascination on her face. She gurgled when a bee flew close to the mesh and reached out towards them.

Molly felt Aileen reach towards the bees and moved closer to her husband and youngest daughter. After a moment the girls laughed their different laughs when a bee bumped into the mesh and their father reached for it himself. “Well, I think a love of bees is one family trait that’s managed to pass down the generations.”

“Oh, wait until they’re allowed in their grandfather’s garden and get to see his hives,” Sherlock said. Molly shook her head and watched her family in fascination, trying to calculate just how long it would take for froggies to be out and bumblebees to be in in the Holmes household.