The Family Man
John hurried up the stairs to the B flat on 221 Baker Street then briskly walked inside. He looked into the sitting room and sighed, relieved.
"There you are!" He said to the tall, slim figure standing with its' back turned toward him. "I've been looking for you for ages."
The figure turned around at this huffed exclamation and John Watson blinked, pausing mid-step on his way to the chairs in the front of the fireplace.
The figure was that of a man, of course. A tall, slim, dark haired man. But quite younger than John's flatmate. His hair was as curly as Sherlock's tough, and even fell around his face in the same fashion. His eyes were as blue as Holmes' and his face started to share the same angular lines as those of his quickly-becoming-best friend.
But this man was not Sherlock Holmes. Oh no. He just looked like a younger carbon copy of him.
"You are not Sherlock." John said dumbly before he could stop himself.
"And you must be Dr. Watson." The figure shot back. "What with stating the obvious and all." Even his voice sounded similar to Sherlock's, though one could hear a slightly different timbre to it.
John frowned. "You may not be Sherlock but a Holmes you are for sure." He replied sardonically.
"Again with the obvious." The young man before him said, his blue eyes were as piercing as those of the Consulting Detective.
John felt the familiar exasperation sip into his veins, not unlike the one he experienced whenever he dealt with his difficult flatmate.
"So, Mr. Holmes, care to introduce yourself properly, so I won't be stating the obvious anymore?" He asked the young man sharply, wondering what relation of Sherlock he could be. Did his friend have another brother? A younger one? Or a look-alike cousin?
"Why, of course." The younger man before him straighenest to his fullest capability. "Benedict Holmes, at your service." And the git had the nerve to give a slight bow. "So sorry for my abrasive behaviour, Mama always made sure I knew my manners."
"And you'd better hope she won't find out about your lapse now." The familiar voice of John's roommate flew from behind them.
"Hello, Dad." Benedict Holmes called to the newest comer with a short nod and a cheeky smile.
Dad!? John Watson was in the middle of his turn to face Sherlock when once again he stopped mid-step, feeling stupefied. He blinked. Did this lad just call him DAD?!
"Ben." Sherlock replied calmly. "Back already from Oxford before the Spring term, I see."
"Right you are, Dad." Ben replied with a boyish grin.
Sherlock just nodded at him as he took off his scarf and Belstaff. "Good, did you see your Mother already?"
"She's working, isn't she? Didn't want to interrupt her." Ben replied and sat down on the couch, slouching in that way only teenagers were able to.
"I'm also working." Sherlock replied, giving his son a side look.
The young lad gave him a sunny smile. "I'm sure you are, Dad."
"Then why are you interrupting me?" Sherlock's mouth quirked with a knowing smirk.
Benedict Holmes tired to look innocent. "Just wanted to visit my old man."
Sherlock just raised his eyebrow.
There was a pause.
"Fine!" The boy huffed at his Father. "Mrs. H. gives me tea."
Sherlock's smirk widened. "With biscuits, as I can see. Well, I can't fault you for that. She does make them exceptionally." And to prove his point, he stole one from the plate on the table in front of the couch.
It was then that John finally caught up with this alternate reality.
"Wait a moment! You- you are his dad?!" He spluttered, eyes on Sherlock, while he pointed inelegantly to the younger of the two Holmes before him.
Both Father and Son looked at him with equal looks of bored disbelief.
"The resemblance is uncanny, or so I am told." Sherlock drawled.
Well, John could definitely see it with his very own eyes right now.
His flatmate moved calmly to his leather armchair and seated himself in it comfortably.
John spluttered some more. "But- but he looks like he might be seventeen!"
Ben actually looked affronted. "I am seventeen." He glowered.
John paused. "But that means- when he was born-"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "I was seventeen."
"Really?!" John gawked at his flatmate.
"Mama was even younger." Ben chirped over a biscuit in his mouth, still lazily seated on the couch, a cup of tea in his hand. "Barely fifteen, I think."
"Really?!" This time it was Ben at whom John gawked.
"Yes." Sherlock replied tersely. "Honestly, John, did you suddenly lose all of your vocabulary?"
"No! But! You- at seventeen- and I thought- aren't you a virgin?" Then the Army Doctor flushed bright red, realizing what he has asked out loud in front of his friend's teenaged son.
A snort form the younger man followed. "Hardly. There are six of us after all."
"Six!" John chocked. His whole world was making a rapid turn, upsetting the established order. But- but-
"Yes." Ben nodded with an air of a long suffering expert of the topic. "It's a miracle there is such an age gap between me and Julie."
"Not for the lack of trying." Sherlock mumbled under his nose then added louder. "And it's Julie and I, Ben. Watch your grammar."
"Shesh, school is over, Dad, don't be such a grammar nazi!" The younger man exclaimed, all with the air of a proper malcontent teenager.
John tried to wrap his head around all those new revelations about his friend. "You have six children, Sherlock?" He asked and could not stop himself from adding. "With the same woman?"
Sherlock scowled as Ben sniggered from the couch. "Oh, for God's sake, John, of course with the same woman. I married Molly at Gretna Green the moment she turned sixteen."
"From what Mama told us you two would have married years sooner but that is the legal age." Ben added helpfully.
John's eyes boggled even more so. "Molly? Your wife is named Molly? As in Molly that girl in Bart's morgue?"
"Do I know any different Mollies?" Sherlock asked his friend haughtily.
"For Mama's and yours sake, Dad, I hope there aren't any other Mollies to whom you are married." Ever the helpful son, that Ben was.
Sherlock glared at him.
John exploded. "Are you telling me that we've been roommates for the past couple of months and you have never told me you are married?! To Molly form Bart's of all people?!"
Sherlock shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. "The topic has not risen so far."
"What about our talk we had that very first evening we've met about boyfriends and girlfriends?!" John rounded on his friend.
Sherlock shrugged once more. "Told you, not my area. I have been already married."
"And you didn't feel the need to mention it back then?!" John could not believe the nerve of this exasperating man!
And to think he reproduced!
He glanced at the carbon copy on the couch and shuddered.
"It was irrelevant." Sherlock replied calmly.
"Did you just call us irrelevant?" Ben asked sharply, the cup of tea hovering over the tea table as he paused to look at his Father.
Sherlock grimaced. "You well know what I meant, Ben."
Ben looked at his father expectantly. "Actually, I don't."
Sherlock's eyes narrowed as his mouth twitched.
Ben continued looking.
John's gaze slid from one to the other and he shifted, feeling suddenly uncomfortable.
Sherlock's jaw clenched as he gave his son a quick side glance.
The younger man put down the teacup and crossed his arms as he smirked knowingly at his Father.
Sherlock side eyed him one more time.
"Fine!" He sprang from his armchair taking a few paces in front of the fireplace. "You well know why I don't advertise having a big family. Never did. It's no one's business. And the more I work with Lestrade the more it becomes dangerous for you all. So it's better this way."
Ben uncrossed his arms. "It's sweet of you to protect us, Dad."
Sherlock turned swiftly and glared at his son.
"I am serious, Father." And for the first time, he did sound it.
Father and Son stared at each other until John Watson interrupted them once more.
"Are you separated?" The Army Doctor asked with a frown.
"What?" Sherlock whirled his head to look at his roommate.
"You and your- Molly. Are you separated?" John repeated impatiently.
"We wished!" Ben added once more in that chipper, teasing voice of his. "What with that constant PDAs and all..."
John looked at Sherlock, trying to understand all the new information he's just learned. "Why are you living here and not with your supposed wife and- and kids, then?"
"Who said I don't live with them?" Sherlock shot back.
"Well, I haven't seen any kids neither the wife here." He said sarcastically. "I only see her at Bart's and you treat her horrendously all the time." He finished pointing his finger at the exasperating man.
"That's their foreplay!" Ben called over another mouthful of biscuits.
Sherlock shot him what looks like a well practiced glare which the teenager patently ignored.
"Well?!" John huffed.
Sherlock turned back to him. "They don't live here, John, don't be stupid. How do you think we would have fitted here six children, four of whom are under the age of ten. They live at our Edwardian house not that far from Bart's so Molly can spend as much time with them as she's able while working her hours as the Specialist Registrar."
"Then what is this?!" John asked exasperated, gesturing to the flat around them.
"My working place." Sherlock said as if it was obvious. Then he grimaced. "And what the Americans call it?"
"Man Cave, Dad." Ben added helpfully.
"Ah, yes, Man Cave." Sherlock nodded at him.
"So, you were looking for a roommate for your working place and a- a man cave?" John asked the infuriating man in front of him.
Sherlock shrugged. "Yes, as Ben left for the university and Molly is busy with the youngsters I needed someone to bounce my ideas of." He sat down in his armchair once again. "We try not to talk shop home."
John crossed his arms as he glared down at his roommate. "So you live here and she lives there with the kids, and you tell me you are not separated?"
Sherlock sighed tiredly. "I don't live here. I live with the rest of my family."
John blinked as his arms come uncrossed. "But- I've seen you sleep here! You have a freaking flat here with a bedroom and full accommodations. You even have a flatmate!"
Sherlock stapled his fingers under his chin. "Once more, John, you see but do not observe. I spend most of my time here but how many times have you seen me actually sleep over night here?"
Hm, actually not that many times, now that John had thought about it. Whenever he saw Sherlock sleeping here - more like crashing down - it had always been post-case and usually during the day... With a fleeting glance at Benedict Holmes John decided to keep that last thought to himself, not sure if he wants to get another glimpse into Sherlock's – this time nocturnal – activities... "But- but you- you are here when I wake up in the morning!"
"Fully clothed or coming inside?" Ben added his two cents knowingly, while Sherlock gave him a small proud smile.
John stuttered. "I thought you were out on cases..."
"I was home." Sherlock replied with a shrug.
"But you stay here even after I go to sleep!" John Watson didn't give up that easily.
"Ah, yes." Sherlock nodded. "I do sometimes need to stay here till late hours, as I will NOT bring my experiments to a household with four kids under the age of ten and a dog running around."
"Don't forget Toby, Dad." Ben called from his couch right away despite looking fully engrossed in his mobile.
"Ah, yes, the cat." Sherlock waved his hand dismissively. "As I hope you can imagine, John, it all spells a disaster. Molly and I quickly agreed I'll need a space away from home for my experiments, and it cannot be Bart's."
"According to Mama, he's way too distracting while he's there." Clearly Ben was enjoying this way too much.
"Thank you for your input Ben, shouldn't you be on your way home?" Sherlock asked his eldest son.
The boy looked up at him and smiled a charming smile, the total replica of his Father's. "Aren't you happy I came to visit you first, Dad?"
"Delighted." Sherlock replied flatly. "That smile works only on your Mother, and maybe Hannah, not on me. Now move along and go bother your siblings. And preferably not Hannah."
"Sherlock, are you here?" A female voice called from the stairs and all males turned toward the doorway. "I brought you that liver you've been bugging me for- Oh, hello." Molly the Morgue Girl, that turns out to be Sherlock's wife and mother of his children, stopped in the doorway looking at John with a tentative smile, then her eyes widened and her smile brightened. "Ben!"
The youngster's disposition changed immediately and form the little arrogant version of Sherlock he turned into a Mama's sweet little boy.
"Hi, Mama." He called and after three big steps he had her engulfed in his arms. "I missed you at Oxford."
"Umph!" Molly squeaked and laughed delightfully. "It's good to see you, honey."
John looked at Sherlock and for the first time since he had met him all those weeks ago, he saw something amazingly soft and tender cross the Consulting Detective's face. He was transfixed at the subtle but undeniable change on his eccentric friend's face.
"You have grown a few inches again, Benny." Molly said, smoothing her son's hair.
"It's been only three months since Christmas, I don't think so." Ben denied as he separated from his Mother.
"Oh, but I do, Mothers know those things." Molly smiled at him and reached to take the cooler with the bio hazard warnings written across it.
"Your Mom is correct, Ben, you did grow." Sherlock replied as he suddenly appeared next to them. He took the cooler from Molly and looked at her with soft eyes.
Ben glanced at his Father and promptly rolled his. "Oh, God. Really? Again!? Honestly!"
"What?" Molly squeaked as she and Sherlock turned toward their son, surprised. "What are you talking about?"
Ben looked from his Mum to his Dad and back to his Mother. "I know that look Dad just gave you. I've seen it four times already in the past. Seriously, you two should restrain yourself!"
"Benedict William Holmes!" Molly scolded him, hands fixed on her hips as her cheeks turned bright red.
Ben flinched. "I apologize, Mama. But I'm right, am I not?" He turned to his Father.
Sherlock gave him an inscrutable look. "And you supposedly deduced it from just the glance I bestowed upon your Mother?" He asked his son, his eyebrow raised sceptically.
"A glance you have been bestowing upon her during four significant times in the past, Dad. And each time it lasted for about nine months since the first appearance of it. So I ask, again?!" He threw his hands up in indignation, paused for an effect, then he grinned good-naturedly at them.
Molly huffed exasperated and with raising eyebrows gave Sherlock a look that could only be interpreted as See what you sired?
But Sherlock just smiled approvingly at their son. "It's a reasonable deduction, I suppose. Just keep it quiet for now. It's still early."
"You just don't want to share it with Uncle Mycroft yet, do you?" Ben asked his Father knowingly.
Sherlock smirked smugly and looked at John with fiendish glee written on his face. "Brother dearest just cannot ever forgive me that I gave Mummy her very first grandchild before he had even had the time to contemplate such a notion." His smirk widened even more so. "Now he wants to outdo me with the number!"
"And I learned already how you hate to lose." John shot back, an incredulous bark of laughter building in his chest. He shook his head disbelieving. "Why, you are a saint, Molly." He turned to the quiet and unassuming girl. Who would have thought...?
"No, she's not!" Ben added, then ducked quickly out of his Father's reach as the elder swung his hand to swat him lightly over the ear.
Molly blushed, but smiled a happy little smile. "I've always wanted a big family, being an only child." She said simply, glowing prettily as she looked affectionately at the two almost identical males next to her.
"The more, the merrier!" Ben exclaimed and headed towards the door. "Thank Lord, I'm off to Oxford!" Then he grinned mischievously at his parents. "I'm sure Grandma will be delighted, Uncle Mycroft less so. Hm, come to think of it you might try to avoid Auntie Thea in the future!" Ben snickered as he turned around to face John. "Dr. Watson would you care to join me in visiting my siblings. It's better to leave my parents alone now."
"Ben!" Molly called at him in an appalled voice.
Sherlock only smirked. "Go on then, John!" And he pushed his workmate out of the flat.
"Sherlock!" Molly scowled at, well, John still had a little hard time believing it, her husband.
The said husband only grinned charmingly at his wife, making her blush in the process.
John Watson shook his head. At least one thing stayed unchanged. Life with knowing Sherlock Holmes would never be boring!
He followed Ben out of the flat.
"So there are six of you?" He asked the young man.
Ben nodded as he ran down the stairs in a frighteningly similar way to his Father's.
"Yes. There is me, and then is Julie, she's twelve. Grandma said Mama wanted to finish university and medical school before second child. Apparently Dad helped her finishing summa cum laude a couple years earlier!"
John laughed as they left the flat. "And Hannah?" He asked.
"She's our nanny, screened by Uncle Myc himself. Been with us since Mama started working after Julie's birth." Ben smiled mischeviously. "She's actually the saint in this whole bunch, you know!"
John could only imagine. "So who else is there?"
"Right! After Julie there is Rosie, she's nine and she sings. Out of tune. After her it's Michael and Joshua, the twins. They are seven. Apparently they are worse than Dad was their age. Currently in their Captain Kirk phase. Finally it's Minnie, she's three. She's the meanie of the family. I'd avoid her."
John nodded and smiled at the obvious pride and love Benedict Holmes unconsciously expressed during his little speech.
"I fear to think what's the littlest one be like!" The boy continued happily then he stopped. "Bollocks! It was supposed to be a secret!"
John laughed out right. "Don't worry! I heard your talk in the flat with your parents, so I knew about this already. And I won't tell anyone."
"Thank you, Dr. Watson. Dad was right, you are awesome!" Ben grinned at the Army Doctor.
And John flushed at this praise, but couldn't stop the pleased smile blooming on his face. Looks like with gaining Sherlock as a flatmate he actually gained a whole bunch of a family!
Who would have taken Sherlock Holmes for being a family man, after all?
But looks like a family man he was, indeed.