“-and they all lived happily ever after,” John finished softly, closing the book. He smoothed down the duvet as he stood, a small Hamish tucked between them. “Good night, darling,” he smiled, leaning down to kiss the six-year-old’s head.
“Papa, don’t go!” Hamish cried out pitifully and John froze. “You can’t leave cause if you do the monster under my bed is gonna eat me!”
John sighed. “Hamish, Daddy and I already told you. There are no such things as monsters,” he explained for the fourth time that evening. “Daddy made a pie chart and everything.”
Hamish was uncomforted. “Yeah but Sammy Pete Spencer’s older brother said that there are too monsters and he’s in fourth year plus he’s super smart. He even knows how to spell incorrigible so I would think he knowses a lot about monsters.”
Sherlock would kill him for encouraging the fantasy by getting on his knees and looking under the bed. But John did it anyway.
“There are no monsters,” he announced, back sore as he stood.
Hamish shook his head. “Sammy Pete Spencer’s older brother said they turn ‘vinsible when you’re not looking at them. He said they wait till you’re sleeping and then they climb up on your bed and eat your eyes cause eyes look like gummy bears.”
John gave up. “Hamish, Daddy and I both told you there are no such things as monsters. You know we would never lie to you.” He searched the room helplessly until he found Hamish’s stuffed rabbit. “Here, you can cuddle your rabbit,” he offered.
Hamish sniffed. “His name is Paulie Peters Smith the Third,” he protested as John handed him the stuffed rabbit. The small boy grabbed the poor thing and clutched it to his chest, burrowing beneath the duvet.
“Well Paulie Peters Smith can protect you,” John apologized.
“Yeah only he can’t on account of how he’s stuffed,” Hamish reminded his silly Papa and John wondered how people considered fatherhood easier than, say, Afghanistan.
“So monsters under the bed you’re fine with, but a vigilante stuffed animal, no that’s going too far,” he muttered as he moved to shut the light. “Goodnight Hamish,” he said quietly, closing the door behind him.
John padded downstairs to find Sherlock on the couch, lounged out. He looked up as John entered and moved his feet, making space for the man to crash down.
“Monsters again?” Sherlock asked and John let his head hit the back of the couch.
“I don’t know where he gets it from,” he sighed, scrubbing his face with his left hand. “His parents work with dangerous criminals and he’s scared of monsters.”
Sherlock was silent and John moved his hand away to find the man grinning wickedly at him. In three seconds John went from thinking about their son to thinking about Sherlock’s mouth, which would have been disturbing if he wasn’t rather desensitized to it by now.
“Long day?” John teased as Sherlock crawled over and moved to straddle him, arms winding around John’s neck.
“Oh shut up,” Sherlock smirked and John moved to kiss that smirk off the genius’s face when they heard a sound on the stairs. Both men turned their head to find Hamish standing there in his fire truck pyjamas, rabbit in hand.
“Sorry to bother you,” Hamish said nervously. They’d been teaching him manners last week and he was taking his lessons a bit too close to heart. “I’m just gonna sit on the couch and maybe watch some BBC News at ten.”
Sherlock and John shared a look. “Your turn,” John said stubbornly and Sherlock sighed as he unwound himself from John.
“That’s it, off to bed,” Sherlock ordered, lifting Hamish up over his shoulder and carrying him back up the stairs.
“We could do a ‘speriment! Or make tea! Can we make tea?” Hamish called out over Sherlock’s shoulder as the taller man carried him up to bed. He was back a minute later, flopping back on top of John with reckless abandon.
“How long do we have before he comes down again?” Sherlock begged, already working on opening John’s shirt.
“I’d give it five-“ John started but was cut off by the sound of Hamish’s voice echoing through the flat.
“Paulie Peters Smith the Third needs a glass of water!” the little boy shouted and John shoved Sherlock off him.
“That’s it, I’m getting the monsters spray,” John conceded, walking to the kitchen.
“You’re only encouraging him,” Sherlock protested from his spot on the floor, sprawled out unceremoniously and unhappily.
John poked his head back into the den. “Wait for me in the bedroom. I’ll be there in ten,” John promised, eyes glinting dangerously.
“Then again, I completely respect your parenting strategies,” Sherlock offered, already shedding his shirt as he ran from the room, leaving John to walk up the stairs alone, ready to spray the underside of Hamish’s bed with Aerosol.