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Dresses and Masculinity

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“You produced this-”

“Sherlock,” John cuts in.

Molly Hooper has a living baby in the morgue, and John will put a bullet through Sherlock before they find themselves hauled in for child abuse or any other crime containing the word ‘child’ in it.

“No, of course not,” Molly answers.

She begins the autopsy, and John does realise it’s unreasonable on his part, but some part of him can’t help but feel a child shouldn’t be within eyesight of dead bodies.

Thankfully, the baby is sound asleep.

“Edward is my nephew,” she continues. “I’m babysitting.”

“This child is a boy.”

Deliberately biting his tongue, John simply gives Sherlock a look.

He does somewhat understand Sherlock’s incredulous, bordering-on offended tone. The baby is dressed in a dark pink dress and white bonnet with fuzzy white socks.

“He’s only three months,” Molly says. “Putting him in dresses isn’t going to have any effect on his masculinity or self-esteem.”

John supposes this is fair enough.

Harry’s always gone for girls.

It’s just something John’s always known; it’s a fact existing outside of morality. His sister liked girls, his sister loved strawberry jam, his sister had an annoying habit of leaving half-drank fizzy drinks scattered around the house, and a million other facts.

The fact there were boys who liked boys hadn’t come as easy. Nor had the fact there were boys who, straight or otherwise, were more interested in feminine things.

He wouldn’t describe himself as outright homophobic, but John will admit there was a time his reaction to these such facts left something to be desired. Still, John’s always believed most people (criminals trying to kill him and/or his loved ones excluded) deserve basic respect. So, he forced himself to confront his inner reactions, and he’s mostly gotten to a point where his reactions are neutral to happy.

He’s met gay couples who he’s raised his glass to and hoped he’d one day have a happy and stable relationship such as theirs. He’s had transsexual patients, little boys who preferred the girl toys in the waiting room, tomboys, and people with frankly bizarre kinks, and he’s always tried his best to give them whatever care they needed and establish a relationship of trust and respect with them. He’s gotten to the point the fact most people think he and Sherlock are together doesn’t bother him.

Well, mostly on the last one.

The fact Sherlock is Sherlock makes him question what exactly people think of him. If people want to think he’s with a bloke, fine, but living with Sherlock is bad enough. Being in a relationship with him would end up with one or both of them dead in an extremely short period of time.  

When he thinks about it, he’s aware Molly is absolutely right. The baby is a baby and uncaring about anything besides loving voices, having a full tummy, and a warm place to sleep. Putting him in a dress isn’t any different, at this point, than putting him in an infant body suit. And if he grows up wanting to wear dresses, the world is becoming more gender equal by the day. Hopefully, the desire will be looked upon as no different than a woman’s desire to wear a traditionally masculine suit.

“He’d make for-”

“You’re not doing experiments on my brother’s baby!”

John quickly snaps out of his musings.

“Sherlock,” he hisses. Reaching over, he yanks Sherlock away from the bassinet. “What’s the rule about not talking about doing experiments on children? Especially in front of said children’s caretakers?”

Sherlock looks almost mournfully at the baby. “But he’d work so much better than the rabbit.”

Thanking God Sherlock didn’t specify the fact said rabbit is dead, John says, “Please, call us when you have the results. Good day.”

“No problem,” Molly says.

John firmly drags Sherlock out.