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Assume a Man a Criminal

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Picking up Rosie from school is John’s thing. It’s always been John’s thing. So one day, when he’s running late due to a patient at the clinic, Sherlock is persuaded to go instead. 

He’s a new face to the teachers and Rosie’s classmates. In fact, the man’s identity is a total mystery to everyone. 

“I’m here to pick up Rosie.” Sherlock speaks to the woman he knows to be Rosie’s teacher. It’s her role to wait with all the children until their parents come to pick them up. Today is no exception.

The woman looks Sherlock up and down. Her back straightens defensively. “I’m sorry. Who are you?”

“I’m her father.” 

The woman’s gaze narrows. “Her father? Rosie Watson’s father?”

Sherlock rolls his eyes, hands in his coat. “Last time I checked, yes. Is she ready to go?”

The woman ushers the other waiting children inside and tells them to sit quietly. She turns back to Sherlock. Her eyes are fierce. “I have no idea who you are, but I’ve met Rosie’s father on multiple occasions and you are certainly not him. Now I suggest you leave the premises right now. You’re scaring the children.”

Sherlock wants to snort at her stupidity, but self-consciousness gets the best of him. Had John not told anyone he was married to a man? That he was married at all? Did he even wear his ring in public?

I’m scaring them? I’m just trying to pick my daughter up from school. Maybe if you went and fetched her, you’d realise this was all a huge misunderstanding the moment she recognised me.”

“You think I’m taking that risk? A shady looking guy, wandering around a primary school, claiming to be a girl’s father when everyone here knows you’re not... If you don’t leave right now, I’m calling the police.”

The curious faces of many children peek out from behind the blinds. Sherlock tries to see if he can catch Rosie but she’s nowhere to be seen.

The woman realises he doesn’t plan on going anywhere, and pulls her mobile from her jacket pocket. “You leave me no choice.” She sighs.

Other parents have started to arrive, cautiously watching the ordeal in fear for their own children. Sherlock wants to scream. He is Rosie’s father, god darn it. Maybe not biologically, but the adoption papers had been filed years ago.

The teacher has dialled the police by now, and waits with sharp eyes for it to be answered. Apparently, however, there is no point. Her eyes lighten up with satisfaction as she spots a familiar figure in the distance. It’s John, and he’s jogging slightly to where the commotion is taking place.

She begins to ramble on before John can even get a word in. “John! It’s such a relief… This man here arrived before you and is claiming to be Rosie’s father. I was just about to call the police – I still can if you want? He didn’t look like he was about to leave anytime soon and could still be a threat to the children…”

John frowns in confusion, looking from the teacher to Sherlock. “Call the police…?”

She nods and grabs her phone again. John’s eyes widen in understanding.

“Wait—No!” he calls. “I think there has been some huge mistake…”

The teacher raises an eyebrow, prompting John’s explanation.

He sighs exasperatedly, before offering Sherlock a worn smile. “Sherlock is Rosie’s father.”

Silence ensues.

“Then who on earth are you?!” she exclaims.

Sherlock can’t comprehend her heteronormative ignorance. Apparently, neither can John. He rolls his eyes.

“I’m her father, too.” He explains slowly. He reaches out to take Sherlock’s hand. “We’re married?”

Sherlock looks down, happiness jolting in his stomach as he realises John is wearing his wedding ring.

The woman looks as though she wants to die of embarrassment. Sherlock doesn’t blame her. “I’m so, so sorry!” she apologizes after a moment of tense quietness. “I… I should have put the dots together. God, I’m so sorry.”

John brushes off her apologies with a kind smile and a few words of forgiveness. Sherlock meets her expression with a subtle smirk.

Certainly not her father, indeed.” Sherlock mumbles beneath his breath, mockingly.

Rosie chooses this moment to poke her head out the door. Her eyes light up instantly and she sprints over to where John and Sherlock are standing. “Daddy! Papa!” she yells, jumping into Sherlock’s arms. Sherlock instinctively lifts her up and spins her around, smile spreading over his face.

“Little Watson,” he greets, putting her down gently and slinging her backpack over his shoulder. “How was school?”

“Really fun! We learnt about tadpoles and frogs and stuff.” She exclaims, excited.

“The poisonous ones, too?”

Rosie shakes her head, bottom lip jutting out. Sherlock tuts. “How about we do a little experiment when we get home, then?”

This prompts a loud cheer from Rosie. John groans but a grin etches his face. Rosie stands between them, one of her father’s hands in each of her own.

The teacher watches as they walk off, cheeks still lingering red. Ashamed that she would first assume a man a criminal than married to another man.

Heteronormativity, she curses. It’s a real bitch.