|I Want Some Figgie Pudding In The Face
Author: Heart Torn Out PM
Sequel to Ridiculous: it's X-Mas at Grand'Mere's house and the whole family is coming. And when we say whole family, we mean it. Legit. Sherlock/John, Mycroft/Lestrade and Anthea/OC. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong. Who'dve thunk it?Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Drama - Sherlock H. & Mycroft H. - Words: 12,591 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 32 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-20-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7655107
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So... I was really surprised when a buncha people wanted me to write another story for Ridiculous. So now this is a Universe. If you have issues with that, bring it up with the peole who wanted more. So. Here it is. X-Mas holiday (mostly) at Grand'Mere's. Oh i hope you guys like this. A lot of slash. Mostly slash. Legit slash everywheres you looooooks. Also: lots of Sherlock/John in here. Lots of Mycroft/Greg in here though not as much as i wouldn've liked. Look, guys, i just went at this. ok? I just attacked. And hey, there's some Anthea/OC in here! YAYAYAY!I think that might answer lotsa people questions on if Char gets her gurrl.
A little thing on current events in my life: I just found out the release dates of SHerlock for next year and am psyched! Also: erm... Mark Gatiss has a husband? I didn't even know he was gay. But his husband is cute and from what I can gather nice. So there I hope my fav. actor is happy! REALLY! 8D Cuz i'm happy for him.
Also: Rupert Graves' son is so adorable. Saw a pic of the two of them and ugh. Looks like his daddio. So adorable. Legit.
Also: Amanda Abbington and Amrtin Freeman are currently my most favoritest couple in like FOREVER. So awesome. I'm glad they foudn each other.
Benedict is like, the only one i haven't commented on. But he's in War Horse and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. So watch them both!
Kay, i'm good for now.
Current Song: Come Out Of The Shade by the Perishers
Current Mood: Gonnnnnaaaa a test tomorrow. Ok. I'm fine with that. Not really. Ugh.
Disclaimer: I DON'T OWN ANY OF THEM (besides Abbi, Abigail and Charlotte). But then again, neither do you. I'm just takling the initiative and playing with them when i can get my hands on them any chance i get.
Spoiler: I used my creative liscence to its extent here when i talk about Abigail Holmes. She's not really real guys. I just thought, hey, why the fuck not?
Title from that other verse of We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Except they never say in the face. That's just me being creative again and saying that shit meets fac in this story. Sorry, rambling. Go ahead and read.
I Want Some Figgie-Pudding In The Face
Charlotte was correct in her deduction. Mycroft does ask Lestrade over for Christmas.
And so does Sherlock. Except, he isn't just bringing John. They had picked up a… tag-along in America.
"A baby?" Donovan had exclaimed when she'd been invited over to see the child. "You adopted an American baby? What is the matter with the two of you!"
And Sherlock had given her a look, taken the infant from her arms and said to the little girl, "She didn't mean that. We'll turn you British in no time." And Donovan had been speechless when the baby had gurgled, patted Sherlock in the face, and garbled, "Da," resulting in the younger Holmes smiling like a lunatic, at which point she had voiced her desire to leave.
John is just as bad. Whenever the baby crawls over to him and calls him, "Pa," he absolutely glows and smothers her in kisses. Obviously, something more had happened in America than either men were letting on, but everyone lets it be. They'll tell when they're ready.
When Mycroft breaks the news that he and Charlotte desire Lestrade to come along for the Christmas holiday, Greg only smiles.
"Seems that brilliant daughter of your was right," he says.
Mycroft studies him a moment and then answers, "You are quite fond of her already, aren't you?"
Lestrade smiles. "I only like her as much as I like her father." And then he winks and kisses Mycroft swiftly before acquiescing to the holiday plans and saying he needs to leave since there's a murder down the Westminster district and he'll look bad if Sherlock gets there before he does.
When Sherlock breaks the news that he desires John and the baby to come along for the Christmas holiday, John is shocked.
"You want me to meet your mother?" he asks.
Sherlock raises an eyebrow. "John. We have been 'wedded' for almost two years, we have a child," and with that his cool eyes land on the baby, happily squirming in John's lap on the couch, and they soften. He looks back up to the army doctor's face. "And it won't even be for the whole holiday."
John makes a face. "It won't? Why not?"
Sherlock actually shudders. "Because Mummy is worse than locking Mycroft and I in a room alone for a whole hour, that's why. The three of us usually stay only for the first three weeks of December then head home for the actual week of Christmas."
"The three of you?" John asks as he feels the baby soften in his arms, sleep overtaking her. She likes the sound of her parents' voices and it's always the trick to putting her to bed.
"Yes. Myself, Mycroft and my niece Charlotte."
"Charlotte's back from school?" John asks. He feels very out of the loop. He tries to shift their daughter so she doesn't get a crick in her neck, but it's hard because his arm is falling asleep.
Sherlock nods. "Just in time for our yearly, familial hell. Splendid little bird, really. Lestrade's been, if I must grudgingly say, a good influence on her."
"Oh. So she knows about Greg and Mycroft?"
"Of course she knows, she's – oh give her here, that looks uncomfortable, I'll put her to bed," and Sherlock holds out his arms as John deposits the baby into them. He goes up the stairs to what was once John's room and puts her in her crib, tucking her quilt around her small body since it's a bit chilly. Sherlock stares at the tiny face that makes his heart squeeze just as much as John does and then sighs, dropping a kiss to her forehead. He heads back downstairs.
"She settled?" John asks, patting the space of couch beside him as Sherlock comes back down.
The younger Holmes nods and plops down beside him. "As snug as a bug in a rug, or whatever rubbish they usually say."
"I'm sure that's correct," John says with a smile. He curls around Sherlock on the couch, his head on a thin shoulder, as Sherlock wraps an arm around his.
"Mmm," Sherlock muses, then continues on with their earlier conversation. "So, if you do want to go, we leave tomorrow. Mycroft will be there already, he usually gets there a day before me. Charlotte is with him and I think he mentioned bringing Lestrade-"
"Greg," John sleepily corrects, trying to break Sherlock out of the habit of calling the D.I. that when they weren't working.
"- along as well. I think we can all survive Mummy if we band together. That's…" And he quickly does the maths in his head. "That's five of us and an infant against one. I think it'll do." He pauses and rouses John from the little hint of sleep he had been getting. "So, are we going?"
John blinks blearily at him and rolls his eyes. "Of course we're going, you tosser. It's your family, and by extension my family. And as long as we're back for Christmas, I don't see why not. Now, shut up and let me have a kip, then."
Sherlock doesn't even try to hide his pleased smile as John falls back asleep.
They get to the manor a little before noon. It's large and wonderful and John finds himself wondering how the hell the thing survived a young Sherlock. That is, until Sherlock himself tells him it didn't. There were two separate occasions in which the entire building had to be rebuilt and several other occasions when it had portions rebuilt. Sherlock was a very… expressive child, as much as he was as an adult. He blames several of the accidents on Mycroft, his brother touching things in young Sherlock's 'labs' that he should not have been touching.
John only grabs the baby carrier, handing it to Sherlock, and then grabs the rest of their bags. Two weeks in this place ought to be interesting, he surmises. Especially constantly being around Mycroft, his daughter and Greg. Oh it's going to be very interesting.
Sherlock hesitates when he gets to the front door. But then he straightens up to his full impressive height and knocks on the large door with a stately knocker. After a few seconds, the door is pulled open and someone says, "Uncle Sherry!"
Sherlock visibly sags and John swears he hears, "Thank God," before Sherlock is nodding and saying, "Hello, Charlotte."
Charlotte attacks Sherlock in a hug and then beams when she sees John. "Hello John!" She goes around Sherlock and hugs John, grabs the baby's bag and then ushers them all in. Once they are safely in the house, she drops the bag and gets down on her knees so that she is at eye level with the baby. "Oh would you look at that," she breathes.
John smiles. Charlotte is currently in a 'The Clash' t-shirt with a thermal underneath and loose jeans. Her feet are only socked in red stockings with candy-canes on them. Her reddish-brown hair is loose and around her face. And she looks absolutely chuffed to see the sleeping infant.
"So this is why you two were in America so long," she deduces correctly. "I assume Daddy helped you with the whole adoption thing, since he wouldn't tell me about anything that you two were up to." She looks up at them and then smiles in a way that makes her look like Mycroft. "I suppose I should be thanking you then. Your return a week into December took a week off of our stay here."
Sherlock nods. "That bad already?"
Charlotte just shudders and looks down at the sleeping baby. "Let's just say that even you'll be feeling bad for Greggie, Uncle Sherry." And then she takes the baby carrier from Sherlock's hand and walks away. "You're rooms are up the stairs and to the left, second door on the right. Uncle Sherry knows, it was his old room. Daddy made sure Grand'Mere had a crib up there. I'll just watch the little tot while you unpack, save her from Grand' Mere's sticky fingers for a while longer."
And then she disappears around a corner.
"Greggie?" Sherlock says. "I suppose that's what she's calling Lestrade." There's an evil smirk on his face.
"Don't," John says, already understanding where his mind was going. "Grand'Mere, though. Am I to assume that's your mother?"
Sherlock nods mournfully. "That's Mummy, and if she's already starting with Lestrade, I don't even want to know what she's going to do to you."
"Well, thanks for that. S'not like I was terrified before," John says, rolling his eyes. Sherlock's entire face crinkles when he smiles.
They unpack then head downstairs, John's hand in Sherlock's, Sherlock insisting that he was not going to let go, his mother be damned. Sherlock leads them to a sitting room where they find Charlotte with the baby carrier. Their daughter is in her arms and the teenager is marveling at the little face.
She turns to them when they walk in and then nods to a hall. "Daddy, Greggie, and Grand'Mere are in the kitchen."
Sherlock shakes his head and tugs John down to the couch across from Charlotte's. "Well they can just come to us then," he says. John resists the urge to roll his eyes at his husband.
Charlotte's eyes go back to the baby. "God, she's gorgeous. I absolutely adore the little thing. Where did you get her? I fancy I want one." She smiles good-naturedly.
John smiles. "Oh, you know. Around. And you don't want one. They cry too much."
"She seems fine to me." Charlotte rocks her slowly when she starts to squirm. "What's her name?"
John glances at Sherlock who looks a bit uncomfortable. He clears his throat, but Sherlock cuts him off and says, "Her name is Abigail."
A strange look comes over Charlotte's face and her eyes glisten. "That is a wonderful name, Uncle Sherlock," she says, using Sherlock's full name for the first time. John figures this has to do with the Relative No One Mentions. He knows better than to push. Charlotte turns back to the sleeping infant and gives a watery smile. " 'Ello Abbi."
It's then that Greg walks in, looking a bit harried, Mycroft behind him looking coolly composed. And behind him, well, John's not sure what he was expecting. An old bat in a wheelchair? A wrinkled thing in a shawl with a walker? Lady Holmes is nothing like that, not in the least. She's an elegant dame, with pale skin and thin wrinkles that add to her beauty, instead of taking from it. You can tell that she was once a beautiful young woman. She's got a shock of white hair that curls like Sherlock's and there are streaks of gray in it, suggesting her hair was once Mycroft's hue. She's tall, but a bit slouched because she walks with an elegant cane and slight limp. But she's altogether elegant. She's wearing a rose-pink skirt suit with pearls and flat, white slippers. And her eyes! Although they are hidden behind a pair of thin-wire spectacles that are perched on the bridge of her, her eyes are clearly seen. They are the same steel-grey as Sherlock's.
Lady Holmes takes a seat next to her granddaughter, who doesn't even freeze up like John does, just moves over for the older woman to have some room. Mycroft and Lestrade retreat to sit by Sherlock and John.
And then, she speaks. John's expecting the clipped, proper, soft voice. He's not expecting the underlining cynicism that's usually in Sherlock's voice, or the hidden mirth that's usually in Mycroft's. But that's what he gets.
"Sherlock. I see you actually came this year. Not getting too sick of seeing your poor Mummy, are you?" she asks.
Sherlock sighs and Mycroft mimics him. Here they go. "And you have been ignoring your doctor and over-working yourself, haven't you?" Sherlock shoots back calmly.
She barks out a hectic laugh and it's so similar to Sherlock's that John immediately relaxes. "I have. And you've been in America."
Sherlock doesn't even look to Mycroft as he says, "No, Sherlock. I said nary a word. And neither did the rest of us, for that matter."
"I didn't think you did," Sherlock says back, looking to his older brother and then to his mother.
Whose looking at John. Oh Christ. She's going to direct that stare at him, and as similar as it is to Sherlock's, the truth remains that it isn't Sherlock's. "You must be John Watson. A doctor, correct? Not another copper, like my eldest son seems to think is admirable."
"Being a copper is admirable, you old bat," Charlotte says dryly beside her grandmother. John can't even respond. Charlotte has a lot more gut than he does.
The old woman turns to her granddaughter, probably about to return an insult, but she freezes, honest surprise flitting across her face. "By Jove, what is this!"
"It does look like an infant, Mummy," Mycroft says in the same manner that his daughter did.
She turns a dark look to her oldest son and Sherlock cringes along with Greg. "I am aware of what it is. I want to know what it's doing in my home."
Something goes off in John then, something ugly. This woman, this woman that is making the man he loves uncomfortable and is making his friends uncomfortable, is talking down to his daughter, to their daughter. And she has no right to. He doesn't even realize it, but he's standing and looking the woman in the face. Sherlock is tugging on his wrist but John won't sit.
"Listen here, Mrs. Holmes. You can be rude to your children, you can be rude to Greg and me, and, though I don't approve, you can be rude to Char. She can handle herself." And he sees Charlotte smile smugly at the corner of his eye. "But the one person you cannot and will not be rude to is Abigail. That is our daughter, that is our baby. She is our life, and your youngest son and I love her very much. She's an infant for God's sake; she doesn't even know who you are. So do me a favor, do us all a favor and just be a grandmother to her. Please."
The entire room is silent. Charlotte looks absolutely smug. Greg looks to Mycroft and beams. Mycroft returns the gesture. Sherlock is chuffed, absolutely pleased. And Mrs. Holmes…
Well, the old woman looks like she's about to cry.
Now, John doesn't pride himself in making little old ladies sob, but that was his daughter she was about to be nasty to and you can't get any lower than being nasty to a babe. So no, he's not apologizing and he doesn't feel bad. He'll say more, that he will, if she comments again. And she's about to, she's about to speak. But then she stifles a sob with a hand to her mouth; her features go soft as she reaches for the sleeping baby and Charlotte hands her over. John feels a sudden surge of protectiveness, but Sherlock eases him back onto the couch and shakes his head.
"What did you say her name was?" Mrs. Holmes asks.
John takes a deep breath and then says, "Abigail. Her name is Abigail Harriet Watson-Holmes."
"Watson-Holmes? You hyphenated her last name?" she asks, softly, staring at the infant still.
"Aye," John says, a bit unsure.
"My older sister," he says slowly.
"Oh," she says. She finally looks up and her eyes are a bit glassy, but there are no tears. "Well done, darling." She's talking to Sherlock now.
"It only seemed right," Sherlock answers back, so much honesty in his voice that John can't take it. "It's a beautiful name. Put his sister's name right after and it fits. We hyphenated her name because we didn't do it to ours when we got married."
Now Mrs. Holmes raises an eyebrow and looks to Mycroft. "Well at least they've tied the knot. When are you and that blasted constable-"
"D.I.," Mycroft corrects as Greg winces.
"- going to make it official, My?"
Mycroft will not explode on his mother. He is the British Government. He's dealt with countries that hated each other and made them unite in less than an hour. He can deal with a sixty-eight year old menace of a woman.
"Whenever we deem ourselves fit, Mummy," is his answer. Greg relaxes at that. No surprise proposals then.
She sniffs in his direction then leans down as Abbi starts to fuss, her little fists opening, her arms stretching. Her eyes flutter open and she looks startled at the sight of Mrs. Holmes in her face. Her face turns red and screws up. And then she cries. Her little peals of displeasure don't sit well with John and in seconds, Sherlock is standing up and walking over to his mother. He extends his arms and she glares at him before she hands the infant over.
On the couch beside her grandmother, Charlotte snickers. Greg smiles at Charlotte and makes a face similar to the one that Mrs. Holmes is giving Charlotte and the teenager cackles. Mycroft rolls his eyes as his mother swats Charlotte on the shoulder and the young girl just keeps on, in hysterics. Greg chuckles himself, smiling at Mycroft. Mycroft can't be blamed if he smiles too.
John on the other hand is too focused. He's staring at Sherlock as he rocks their daughter back and forth, leaning her head on his shoulder, rubbing her back. He coos little words into her ear, and John knows for a fact that they are chemical equations. He knows because Sherlock does that in his sleep, when they have sex and, he's heard the actual words coming out of his mouth when he puts their daughter to sleep.
Everyone watches as the young child relaxes. Sherlock shoots John a blinding smile, unaware that everyone else is giving him strange looks. He comes to sit next to John.
"Hand her over," his mother barks.
"No," Sherlock says coolly. He puts the tot down on the floor, her little socked feet hitting the carpet. She gives a yawn. "She'll go to whom she chooses."
Instead of walking about, Abigail turns to John's knees and hides her face in them. She looks up at him and extends her hands, saying, "Up."
John smiles and runs a hands through her brown hair. "Nope. You have people to say hi to."
She makes a face and says, "Hi?" to John.
He rolls his eyes, turns her around, mutters, "Too much like your father." He gives himself a second to smirk at Sherlock's expense. "No. Say hi to them. Cousin Charlotte and Uncle Mycroft and Uncle Greg-"
"Lestrade," Sherlock corrects. "Uncle Lestrade. I expect you to call him by his given name."
"Yeah?" Greg says, joining in the conversation. "Given by who exactly?"
"By me," Sherlock says dryly, making Mycroft crack a grin.
Abbi takes this advice to heart and looks around. She walks over to the couch and for a moment, everyone thinks she's really going to go to Mrs. Holmes. But at the last minute, she takes a turn and walks right into Charlotte's knees. The teen makes a silly face to her grandmother, then to her cousin.
"Oi, you little trouble maker," she says to the infant.
Abbi merely extends her arms and says, "Up?"
With a laugh, Charlotte swings her up onto her lap. "Hello, Abigail. I'm Charlotte. Nice to meet you."
Abbi makes a face. "Hi, Char," she manages. Her hazel eyes are wide open now and soon she's struggling down to go meet all the new people she was awakened to. She goes to Mycroft who introduces himself far too formally for a toddler.
"Hello young miss. I am Mycroft. Your Uncle Mycroft. Please to make your acquaintance."
Abbi blinks at him and then looks to Sherlock saying, "Da?" as if she needed a translation since she had no idea what Mycroft just said. Which she didn't.
John chuckles as Sherlock says to his brother, "You might want to dumb it down a bit My. She's a year old. And although she's more advanced than most her age, I doubt she can keep up with you. Yet."
Mycroft frowns and Greg rolls his eyes. "Like this," the policeman says. He turns to the baby. She's in purple overalls with a black t-shirt underneath. "I like your overalls," he says and then points to the purple garment worn by the little girl. "They're very pretty."
In a bashful mood, Abbi turns bright red and fingers her violet clothing, swaying from side to side, embarrassed and flattered at the same time. She smiles largely at Lestrade and shows her two front teeth that are coming in. Greg laughs and she waves at him and says, "Hi."
"Hi, Lestrade," Sherlock throws in to mess with the D.I.
"Hi, Lestie," Abbi says, as best she can. Most of the room's occupants laugh. Except for Mrs. Holmes who seems to realize that the spotlight has been taken from her and centered on the little elf that has been ignoring her for the most part. She's a bit bitter, it seems, until Abbi turns and finally seems to notice her.
The child tilts her head and looks to Sherlock then Mycroft, as if noticing the similarities between the three of them. She squints then points to her, and says, "Da?"
Sherlock looks to his mother then his daughter. "That is your Grand'Mere. Daddy's Mummy." Abbi points to John as if to ask if that was his Mummy too. "No, just mine. And Uncle Mycroft's."
Abbi looks at Mycroft for confirmation. "My?" she asks.
"That cannot be normal," Charlotte says across the way to Greg as Mycroft nods. "Can it Greggie? I mean. It's just odd. She's like a little adult. It's… weird."
"Do you see who her parents are?" Greg asks the teen, who tries not to snicker.
Meanwhile, Abbi makes her way to Mrs. Holmes whose watching her with rapt attention. Abigail seems to evaluate the old woman before she puts a hand on her knee and says, "Gam'mie." It's as close as she's getting.
She walks away, leaving a stunned Grand'Mere and makes her way back to John where she doesn't even wait for his help. She climbs back onto his lap, snuggles down and smiles a bit to herself. In that one moment, she's the spit-image of Sherlock and John has to struggle not to laugh or cry and hug the both of them to his chest.
That's how the first day goes. After that, things get hectic. The days are filled with outings around the grounds, walks to the nearest village, games outside, games inside, arguing among the three Holmes', and cracks and jibes at John and Greg from Mrs. Holmes that they mostly ignore because they live and work with Sherlock so they can handle it.
There's one shtick that Mrs. Holmes has against Lestrade, though, and it's that she thinks he's absolutely useless. John she has a bit more respect for since he was in the service, just like her late husband was, but she finds Greg's profession stupid, boring and, once again, useless.
The day he proves her wrong, they've been there for a week and are going on their second. She throws a jibe about how coppers could probably rake the leaves better when Charlotte comes in with Abigail from playing out in the piles that John created. Mycroft deduces something about his mother using too much make-up to cover up her wrinkles because she's ashamed and the woman walks out of the kitchen where they had been conversing.
"I am sorry," Mycroft says sincerely, wrapping his arms around Greg.
Greg laughs. "My, please don't be. You're mother is who she is. I don't expect to changer, neither should you. She's seemed lay off of John and Sherlock at least. And she's getting along with the baby well enough…"
"There are other reasons for that," Mycroft admits, but doesn't volunteer the information.
"The bottom-line is, I don't care what your mother thinks of me. So long as you're alright with having a copper for a boyfriend, then I'm happy to be yours."
Mycroft kisses him then, because he really does love Greg, no matter the sly remarks Sherlock makes to poke fun at him for not making anything permanent yet. "You still shouldn't have to put up with that nasty old woman. She can be difficult, but once she's familiar with you and likes you, things get easier."
Greg knows it's true. He's seen how Mrs. Holmes acts towards Charlotte, with a lot of love, albeit with the Holmes twist on it, criticizing everything she does but in a way that won't permanently offend the young girl. She does it to Abigail too, which John hates, but the tot somehow can always make the old dame shut up by either saying something clever in her baby talk or pointing to herself and saying, "Abi'ail," her garbled way of saying 'Abigail'. That always gets the old woman to be quiet for a couple of hours.
Greg smiles at Mycroft and nods. He turns then and says, "You know, I think I'm going to make dinner tonight. What say you?"
Mycroft suddenly gets an odd look on his face and he's nodding. "Yes. Yes, do that." He turns Lestrade around and says, "Whatever you do, don't cook anything with fish."
And then he leaves Greg alone in the kitchen. The refrigerator is stocked so he has no need to have to go out for anything. He decides he's going to make soup. His mother had been French and she'd taught him many a thing in the kitchen. The soup was hearty and yet light. But it was warm and it was starting to snow out so he figured he mind as well.
Half an hour in, John makes his way into the kitchen. His nose is red from being out in the cold with the kids, and he makes a face at Greg. "Tell me that's food and not just a very nice smelling candle."
Greg laughs and says, yes its food, no it's not a candle, and no, John can't have any because it's not ready yet. John sighs and stays in the kitchen. Apparently, Sherlock and Mycroft are showing off embarrassing stories about each other to Charlotte while Abbi takes a nap and Mrs. Holmes says she's 'resting' but she's really just too tired from pushing herself all week. John's already heard all the embarrassing stories he can take.
"So have I," Greg says. "Remember when Mycroft and I first started seeing each other? Sherlock made sure I knew exactly what I had gotten myself into." They both laugh.
"Yeah… I didn't know you could cook Greg," John says.
Greg shrugs. "My mum taught me to when I was a kid. I'd stay home sick and she'd teach me little stuff until I got older and brave enough to ask. The day I came out to the family, that's all she did with me because it was really emotionally stressful and she knew it would cheer me up." He stops and smiles. "We made this soup, actually. Huh."
John nods and lets him cook in peace, just sitting around for company as their significant others and children had some time for themselves. After a few minutes though, John blinks and says, "Wait. We're being kitchen-dwellers."
"Yeah…" Greg says slowly.
"And you're wearing an apron."
Greg blinks and looks down, trying not to blush. "Yeah. So?"
John makes a distraught face. "And, and we're reminiscing about our families."
"Your point John?" he finally snaps.
"Does this make us… the woman in the relationship?" John's got an uncomfortable look on his face.
Greg groans. "Oh God." He takes off the apron, throws it in the rubbish bin and gets them both a bottle of beer from the fridge. "There," he says, "I think we've restored our masculinity somewhat."
John sighs and takes a swig of his brew before Sherlock stumbles in with Abbi on his shoulders, chubby hands fisted in his curls. He goes and takes John's beer from his hands and gulps down a mouthful before his husband commandeers it back.
"Uh, uh, uh!" John says smiling up at their daughter. He gives Sherlock a mock frown and says, "No carrying infants under the influence."
"Fine then," Sherlock says he tips back until Abbi lets go and John has a moment of terror until he notices Charlotte standing behind Sherlock. Abbi falls into her arms and Sherlock steals John's beer back. "There. Not carrying anything now."
Abbi smiles and claps her hands. Charlotte's smiling and laughing and then sniffing the air. "Mmm," she says. "Greggie, is that a work of your genius?"
"Why yes it is, Char. Glad you can recognize what's my cooking and what's your father's," Greg says with a smirk, a hint at an inside joke.
Charlotte smiles and, just as Mycroft walks in, says, "Well, Daddy's cooking is usually accompanied by the fresh smell of burnt food."
Mycroft stands with dignity and takes the chuckles that are directed at him by his familial unit. When they finish though, he nabs his niece from his daughter and smiles down at her. "Thank you for joining us Ms. Watson-Holmes." She smiles a gap-toothed smile at him, as if she knows she's being addressed. Mycroft turns to Greg and says, "That soup ready, Gregory?"
Greg tastes it, then passes the spoon to Charlotte so she can double-check. She makes a blissed-out face and nods. "Oh yeah. Definitely done. Let's eat this shite while it's still hot."
Greg swats her on the butt with the wooden spoon he had used to stir the soup and says, "Watch that mouth of yours around the baby, missy."
Charlotte smiles. "Whoops."
As Greg shakes his head in mock-disappointment, Mycroft turns to where John and Sherlock are sitting and asks, "May I borrow your child for a moment?"
John chuckles and Sherlock gives him a suspicious look. "Why?" he asks his brother.
Mycroft lifts an eyebrow and waits a moment before John says, "Oh Sherlock. It's Mycroft. Let it be." He nods to Mycroft. "Go on. I trust she'll be safe with you, yes?"
"As a bug in a rug," Mycroft says with a smile.
As he walks out, Sherlock yells, "That's SNUG AS A BUG IN A RUG!"
John merely smacks him up-side the head, Greg and Charlotte going into hysterics again. Despite the rough time they'd been given, John has this odd feeling that this is the best Christmas everyone has had in a long while.
A few minutes later, Mycroft comes back down, but he's not carrying Abigail. This gives Sherlock and John a moment's pause until they see Mrs. Holmes walk in with the baby in her arms. Even as John relaxes, Sherlock only tenses up more.
"You took my daughter to go wake Mummy?" he asks his brother who lifts a thin eyebrow and looks to his partner.
"Well the soup is done, is it not Gregory?" Mycroft says.
Lestrade nods. "More done than possible."
"See? We needed Mummy for dinner, as I told her. Abbi was just some incentive to get her out of bed," Mycroft says. He smiles. "It worked."
They all sit at the table and it's elegantly made up. Charlotte makes a face when a bowl is put in front of her. "Greggie. The spoons. There are so many spoons. What the deuce do I do with them all?"
Greg rolls his eyes. "Mycroft, please tell your daughter to mind herself at the dinner table."
"Tell her yourself," Mrs. Holmes said and they all felt an insult coming. "You act like her father already, and you fancy yourself a good substitute for the other parental unit she's never had. You'd mind as well do it yourself."
If it wasn't true, everyone in that room knows that Lestrade would have snapped. Instead he says, "Char, watch your mouth at the table." Then he looks to Mrs. Holmes and says, "And Mrs. Holmes?"
"Try the soup. It's pretty damn good." Greg smiles.
Sherlock allows for the corner of his mouth to lift a centimeter as he sets a small bowl in front Abbi where she is in a high chair, and John smiles into his soup bowl. Charlotte nods and mimes zipping her lips closed as she reaches for a random spoon, and lets Greg point out the correct one for her to use when she goes for the dessert spoon. Mycroft sighs and lets it go, because really, what is he supposed to do?
A few minutes in and everyone understands why Greg had hurried their soup ingestion. It is damn good. It's strong and hearty, but the broth is light and doesn't take away from the flavor. It's made well, with thought and heart, with people and their taste-buds in mind. It's a good bowl of soup. Several of them get up for seconds, including the Brothers Holmes' mother.
"My God, who made this? John was it you? Is this what the Royal Marines has been teaching our boys? Because I approve whole heartedly." She nods to John.
But John shakes his head with a smile. "No. Not me, ma'am." He looks directly at Greg who nods to him. "Great soup, Greg. You really must pass the recipe on. Mrs. Hudson would definitely want it."
The older woman freezes then turns to Lestrade and says slowly, "You made this?"
He looks to her and nods. "I did."
Greg made a face. "Well, if you want the recipe, I can write it down, but-"
"No, I mean…" She stops. "I did not expect this. I underestimated you."
Greg smiles slowly as Mycroft, Sherlock and Charlotte all make eye contact, incredulous looks on their faces. Grand' Mere had just admitted to being wrong, in a sense, something that had never happened. "Well thank you. I'll take that as a compliment, miss."
"As you should," she says and then sniffs in his direction. She dives back into her soup and as her head is bent, Mycroft steals a kiss from Greg, which gets Charlotte to giggling and John reaches over and grabs Sherlock's hand, squeezing it.
Abbi just flings a noodle at her uncles and smiles.
The week after that tones down. Mrs. Holmes insists that Greg cooks dinner every night, and since she's a lot less rude when he does, he makes sure to do it every time she asks, acquiescing to her if she has any preferences. She only comments on the side about John and she'll only say something snooty about Greg when he's not in the room.
It's a step up from when they first got there, at least.
Charlotte grows ever closer to Abbi, and vice versa. Although there's a fifteen year difference between them, it doesn't seem to stop them from getting along just splendidly. It made both their fathers feel better, at least.
It's only half-way through the week that things fell apart, but in a way no one had thought of. All four men have the holiday off and for three of them it is a definite holiday off. For one of them though, it's ever changing. And that is exactly what happens to him.
It's a Wednesday, and it's too cold out for Charlotte to take Abigail out, so she contents herself with playing with the toddler until she falls asleep on the carpet. John swoops in and brings Abbi to their room where Sherlock is working on some cold cases that he snuck in with their bags for when the day got slow and there was nothing to do. John will be up there a while, letting Sherlock bounce ideas off of him, both of them more relaxed while watching Abbi sleep.
Essentially then, it's just Greg, Charlotte, Mycroft and Mrs. Holmes in the sitting room when the tell-tale sound of heels on hard wood echoes down the hall. Shockingly, Anthea is standing there, her mobile in hand, a harried look on her face. She looks less than perfect today, her auburn hair in wisps around her head, her eyes tired, her knees a bit wobbly in her heels. It makes her look all of her twenty-eight years.
"Sir," she says upon seeing Mycroft.
"How did she get in this house?" Mrs. Holmes asks, but everyone ignores her in favor of sitting Anthea down. Greg gets her a glass of water, but Anthea won't drink it until her message is delivered.
"Sir, there is need of you in the cabinet," she says hoarsely.
"Oh, Ms. Anthea, stop being stubborn and drink something before your throat goes so dry you won't be able to tell Daddy anything," Charlotte says taking a stand for once.
Anthea looks at her as if she's never seen the young lady before, but then nods and takes the glass, downs it then continues on with her spiel. "SK and NK are starting to stir again, sir. They need you to calm the eddies."
Charlotte is aware that they are using code and, although she doesn't understand it precisely, she understands that her father is direly needed and that it might take a while. She looks to Mycroft's conflicted face and, at the same time Greg does, she sighs and they both say, "Go. They need you."
Greg looks at Charlotte and, in turn she looks at Greg. Smiles break out across their faces and they laugh softly. "Go," she says then at Mycroft's amused face.
"But…" he starts then he stops and shakes his head. "Of course. You're correct. I must be going." He turns to his startled mother and says in lieu of an apology, "Being a minor government official has its days. And then there are days like these." He shrugs. "Duty calls. I trust I'll be back before the week is out." He turns to an exhausted looking Anthea. "A," he says, a shortened version of her codename. "Have you been working all week?"
"Of course sir," she says, as if she's offended that he would think she would take a break while he was on holiday. He's a silly man if that's the case, but it's not.
"And do I need you for this certain emergency?" he asks. "Honestly?"
She stops and thinks for a moment then shakes her head. "No sir. James drove me here. If you really needed something, he is more than capable of sorting it out."
"Good," Mycroft says and then he smiles. "You're staying here then."
Her soft brown eyes widen. "Pardon, sir?"
Greg looks to Mycroft and the utter seriousness on his face. "I said, you are staying here. Relax for the remainder of my absence. That is an order."
Anthea blinks and looks to everyone, even Mrs. Holmes who is so out of the loop that she isn't even bothering to pay attention to the scene in front of her anymore. "What am I to do then, sir?"
"Relax," Charlotte answers, a line appearing between her brows. "Didn't you hear the bloke?"
Anthea looks at a loss for words. "But sir…"
Mycroft shakes his head. He's been in a jumper and denims, but he heads up the stairs to change into a suit and tie. "Stay, Anthea. I feel as if you deserve it more than you let on."
She sits there, still and not saying a word until Mycroft comes down changed and says his goodbyes. He kisses Greg a bit lingeringly, and then gives Charlotte a chaste kiss on the forehead, explaining that he's already said his goodbyes to John, Sherlock and Abbi while he was upstairs. He reinforces his orders by saying that Charlotte is responsible for Anthea while he is gone and then nods to them and disappears out the sitting room.
In a fit of curiosity, Lestrade follows him to the front door and says, "Did you do that on purpose?"
"Did I do what on purpose Gregory?"
"Did you put Char in charge of A on purpose?" Greg asks again, although he can tell when Mycroft is fucking around with him and he was just then. Greg just knows these things.
Mycroft gets a look and then slowly nods. "Yes. Yes I did."
"You know then," Greg says. Meaning that Mycroft knows about Charlotte's preference and her attraction towards Anthea. He had basically just given Charlotte his blessing.
"Of course I know Gregory. I wouldn't be doing my job as a parent or as a minor government official if I didn't know." He winks, which is new and Lestrade likes it, and then kisses Greg one more time before he disappears out the door, into the black BMW and down the drive. Greg knows he'll be seeing Mycroft in a few days, so he tries not to worry.
When Greg walks back into the sitting room, Mrs. Holmes still looks lost. He decides to rescue her and her granddaughter who is, currently, trying to loosen Anthea up, by asking Mrs. Holmes if she would like to accompany him to the kitchen and learn how to cook the Italian dish he had planned for that night. She seems, for once in her life, to take a hint and nods to him, taking the hand he had offered to help her off the low couch and letting him haul her up. She nods to Anthea and Charlotte before she disappears into the kitchen with Greg.
He leaves his almost-but-not-really-daughter with his boyfriend's mysterious, top secret PA.
Greg is strangely ok with that.
Charlotte is not stupid, no matter what anyone says. Although she's sure no but Uncle Sherry has ever called her that, so she's safe. Still. She's not stupid. She knows that Greg had taken Grand'Mere out of the room to give her a moment with Anthea. Beautiful Anthea, who was only about a decade older than her. With her frazzled hair and harried eyes. With those stupid heels that Charlotte can see are absolutely killing her and that mobile that never stops buzzing. It's evident that Anthea really hadn't taken a break over the time her father had been on holiday. No wonder she had had to sit when she had walked in.
As Anthea tries to relax her breathing, Charlotte slides off the couch and goes for her heels. Anthea is, at first, shocked. But then she realizes what Charlotte is trying to do and allows her to remove the high-heeled shoes from her aching feet. Charlotte slips her stockings off as well, the circulation starting back up in Anthea's legs.
"Thank you," the older woman says a bit breathless. She flushes then and tries to compose herself to that perfect slab of stone she usually is, but somehow, it doesn't work on Charlotte, who looks at Anthea as if she's being a foolish child. After a second, Anthea gives it up and her face crumples to one of relief. Charlotte is fairly sure that if she left Anthea alone, she would have cried tears of exhaustion.
"And thank you for making me drink that glass of water," Anthea says suddenly. She looks at Charlotte, who is still on the floor, earnestly. "It helped."
"I know it did, you daft bird," Charlotte says, a bit scolding. She stands, her knees popping as she does so, and stretches. For some reason, seeing Anthea like this, tired, exhausted, so open in ways that she never could be while on duty with her father, well, it makes Charlotte unafraid or nervous. She can talk to the woman without stuttering and it's so amazing and freeing. "That's why I did it."
Anthea blinks, surprised that Charlotte of all people has the courage to speak to her like that. "Oh," is all she says.
Charlotte smiles and Anthea notices, not for the first time, that it looks so sweet on her face. "Surprised?"
Anthea shrugs. "A bit."
"Next matter of business," Charlotte continues. "The hair. Either let me fix it or take it down. Looks like all those bobby-pins are giving you a headache."
"They are," Anthea says dryly. "Your skills of deduction cease to amaze me, Ms. Charlotte."
Charlotte laughs and stands. She walks over to Anthea and slowly, carefully, takes out the pins. "At least I have them."
"True," Anthea says and sighs in relief as her springy hair is left free. "Thank you," she says again.
"You don't relax much, do you?" Charlotte asks, sitting on the couch beside the older woman.
Anthea laughs, a bit bitter. "No. No I don't. I'm a bit busy working for you father."
"Thanks for that, by the way," Charlotte says. "Without you, I don't even want to think about what would become of Daddy." But Anthea is frozen now and Charlotte backtracks, starts to become afraid and nervous and unsure again. "Did-did I…did I say something wrong?" she asks then curses herself for her weakness.
"Did you just thank me for my services?" Anthea asks, a bit shaken.
"Y-yes?" Charlotte says. "Was that… wrong?"
"No, no. Not at all. It's just…" And this is the first time Charlotte has ever seen Anthea at a loss for words. "No one has ever thanked me before."
Charlotte blinks and forgets her fear for a moment to say, "No one?" Anthea shakes her head. "Well that's utter bollocks then. Why wouldn't they? You do so much for so many people. Why, you're just as important as Daddy is."
Anthea smiles, a real smile, one that isn't controlled, and it transforms her face into something entirely different. She looks younger and sweeter, maybe a bit more shy. "Thank you," she says to Charlotte.
Charlotte feels the heat rush to her cheeks and if she's going to say anything, she needs to say it now. "Look, Anthea," and she gets a thrill because she just said her name without the 'Ms.' Tacked onto the front and it was freeing, "I know that I'm younger than you. Much younger."
"That you are," Anthea says, but there's no anger or cruelty in it.
Charlotte feels confidence bubble in her chest as she continues. "And I know that I'm not much and that I am not that important-"
Anthea cuts her off to say, "On the contrary, Charlotte. I believe you will be something great one day. And you are very important to many people. Your father, the Inspector, your uncles." Anthea clears her throat and looks away as she says, "And me."
Charlotte smiles a bit, even though she's quite shocked at that. She is about to say something when Anthea's mobile goes off. Before the woman can get to it, she tosses it to the ground. "There's that," Charlotte says. But Anthea isn't looking at her and she needs to for this next part. "Anthea. Could you look over here for a moment?" The woman turns slowly and nods at Charlotte to continue. There is a slight blush staining her cheeks. The truth is, Anthea is quite fond of her employers daughter, no matter her age. She realizes the potential in that young face, not just for her looks, but for the woman she can be and Anthea is attracted to that as much as Charlotte's green eyes. What she feels isn't love or lust or anything of the kind, but it is affection. Affection with potential to be one of the aforementioned emotions, or even both. So when Charlotte speaks again, Anthea looks right at her to see if she is mistaken in her thoughts. She is not.
"I like you," Charlotte says and waits for Anthea to protest. When she doesn't, Charlotte lets out a calming breath and continues. "And I don't know your preference, or if you even have one, but… well, you're my preference." Anthea looks overwhelmed, feels overwhelmed, but stays silent. "I'm going to grow up one day," Charlotte continues. "Actually, I think I've already started. A while ago, you know? So. I just wanted to say that if it makes any difference to you, when I do grow up…" Charlotte takes a deep breath. "Well, I'll still be here, is what I'm saying. I'm not going anywhere. And neither are my affections."
And there, right there, the fact that Charlotte isn't confessing her undying love, isn't promising her hand, but is just… just making it known, just laying down the unsullied facts, that is what Anthea sees in her. What Anthea likes about her. What Anthea can learn to love about her.
"Well good," Anthea says, startling the younger woman. "Because I'm not going anywhere either." She looks at Charlotte then asks softly, "May I…may I try something, Ms. Charlotte?"
Charlotte tries hard not to smile and says, "My name is Charlotte and you can try whatever you'd like."
Anthea gives a soft tinkling of a laugh and then beckons Charlotte closer on the small couch. One they are mere centimeters apart, Anthea suddenly leans in and presses her lips to Charlotte's. Charlotte tries not to startle, so she just closes her eyes and hums as she presses softly back.
When Anthea pulls away, Charlotte lets her. She swallows as the older woman looks at her and nods. Just as she had thought. Charlotte is a good girl, will grow into a good woman and that is all Anthea really needs. Or wants.
Charlotte is going to say more but Anthea excuses herself to go freshen up in the restroom. As the older woman walks away, Charlotte admires not just her body, but everything else about her as well. And, well, alright Anthea does have a nice, slim hour-glass shape, but that's beside the point.
The point is that they had an… understanding of sorts and that was good. Better than good, it was great.
She presses her fingertips to her lips for a second then shakes her head as her hand falls back down by her side. God, that wasn't likely to happen again for a while but it was worth it. Very, very worth it. She tries not to be giddy as John comes downstairs a few minutes later with Abbi in his arms, but she's sure she must have failed because he looks at her with an odd look on his face and then shakes his head.
"Watch her for a moment?" he says, handing Abbi to her, and Charlotte says of course.
"What is the matter?" she asks when the baby is safely in her arms, snuggling close to her. It is obvious John had woke her up before she wanted to and brought her down.
John looks tired. "Sherlock and I are having a little bit of a row," he admits.
"About?" Charlotte asks a bit worried. Rows with Uncle Sherlock never ended well for anyone.
John hesitates and that really gets Charlotte's attention. Because then he sighs, as if defeated, and says, "About Abbigail."
Charlotte looks down at the baby, already falling asleep in her arms and says, "Why? What'd the little tyke do?"
John swallows and says, "Not that one."
It is then that Charlotte understands. Not Abigail Watson-Holmes, but Abigail Holmes, the person she was named after. "Oh," she says nodding. "You have every right to know, John. Just remind him of that."
John nods and then says, "Thank you," before he heads back up and Charlotte is left with an armful of baby.
Anthea decides to walk in at that same moment and immediately freezes at the sight of Charlotte holding Abbi. Charlotte with a baby in her arms seems so… right. Anthea tries to ignore the odd tugging she feels in her chest at the sight. Instead, she walks over and sits slowly on the couch, close beside Charlotte and Abbi.
"And who is this?" Anthea asks, letting her guard down carefully. Just this once for just this one person.
"Abigail Harriet Watson-Holmes," Charlotte says as Abbi shifts in her arms.
"Ah. So this is the infamous little thing," Anthea says, and now Charlotte knows there has to be a bigger story behind the little thing coming home with Sherlock and John. But for now, she's content to let it lie. "Wait," Anthea then says. "Abigail? Like-"
"Yes," Charlotte says, quickly cutting her off. Of course Anthea knows. Charlotte knows her father still sends flowers. Anthea would be in charge of that.
"Well I think it's sweet," Anthea says. Then she holds out her arms. "May I?"
Charlotte laughs and nods, but before she can hand Abbi over, the tot is awake again and staring at Anthea with curious hazel eyes. She looks to Charlotte, as if seeking answers, then back to Anthea. She sniffs a bit then blinks and says, "Hi."
Anthea giggles and the sound makes Charlotte's cheeks flush. "I think she wants to get to know you," Charlotte says and hands the little girl over.
Anthea takes her surprisingly easily and smiles down at the girl, who's sitting up and touching her auburn hair. Abbi gurgles and smiles at Anthea, who looks absolutely charmed by her little gap-toothed smile and dimples. She lets Abbi touch her hair, clap her little hands to her face and basically explore her entirely. Charlotte feels an odd pang of jealousy that the baby can touch and be near Anthea that way, but she banishes it because Abigail is a child, of course she's allowed.
"She's gorgeous," Anthea says to her with a delighted smile. She then says to Abigail, "Hello Abbi. My name is Anthea. Could you say that?"
Abbi stares at Anthea until she makes up her mind and spews, "Tia." She pokes Anthea in the chest. "Tia."
Charlotte smiles. "Well alright then. You've been christened. I have no idea what to do with her. Greggie and Grand'Mere are off burning down the kitchen. Uncle Sherry and John are upstairs arguing or shagging or hell, even both. I don't understand them. Daddy's at work and… well. What to do with a one year old?"
Anthea bites her lower lip to keep from laughing. Then her eyes brighten. "I may have an idea."
Charlotte looks up. "Oi? What?
"Sherlock, it's a question. I deserve the right to know. You're mother almost cried in front of us all, our niece got all teary eyed, hell, even Mycroft got solemn at the mention of this, this Abigail!" John exclaims.
Sherlock is repressing and John hates it when he represses some emotion or memory or feeling. It scares John, reminds him that his husband is capable of feeling absolutely nothing whenever it suits him. Of course it scares him. Sherlock isn't making this any easier by sitting around and staring at the wall and merely shaking his head when John asks who Abigail was. He won't budge.
John had been reluctant to do as Charlotte suggested, but now he's fed up and let's himself go down that road. "I have every right to know who Abbi is named after, Sherlock. She's my daughter too."
That seems to do the trick. Something in Sherlock snaps and suddenly John is pushed up against the wall and Sherlock is absolutely seething, "But she wasn't your sister!" They both freeze and Sherlock let's go of him, walks away and sits down on the bed they share, sitting stiffly. He won't look at John. It's unnerving.
"Sister?" John asks where he's still hasn't moved. He's pressed against the wall, breathing shallowly and then he sees Sherlock sigh and when he turns to face John, his eyes are the saddest John has ever seen them. The absolute saddest and it breaks his heart, just tears it into two.
"Yes. She was my sister."
"Was?" John asks, getting closer, sitting on the bed.
"She's dead," Sherlock says without emotion. It only shows in his eyes, how much it hurts.
"When?" John asks, inching closer.
"When we were both 23."
John nods then freezes. "Wait…both? Sherlock…what do you mean both?"
Sherlock finally looks him in the eyes. "John, Abigail was my twin sister."
John can't speak. That was just… just terrible. Absolutely terrible. He couldn't even fathom having a twin, someone that was literally an extension of him, and then losing them. "Why didn't you ever tell me?"
Sherlock snaps again, shoves himself off the bed and spins to face John, his features livid, but his eyes bleeding pain. "Why? Because of all of this John! This hurts, it hurts and I hate it, John. I hate it. I won't speak of it if I don't have to John. I can't. I. Can't." His hands are shaking, balled into fists, his knuckles white. John can't move. He's… he's too heartbroken to move.
"Sherlock," John says.
"It was an accident," and Sherlock laughs bitterly at that. "An accident. With her older brother as the British government, it was a damn accident. I think not, but it was never proved. Not even I could prove it John. So maybe it was," he says distantly. He snaps out of it. "Her car, her car was smashed to pieces on the side of the road and her body was destroyed. They called me, out of university, to identify the body because Mycroft was busy and Mummy wasn't well. Me. They called me, I had to see her, wrecked and disgusting. Me."
Sherlock leans against the wall, slides down and stares into space. John finally stands and sits beside him, sliding his arm around those thin, bony shoulders. He can't speak, needs to let Sherlock get this off his chest. Needs to know the rest.
"It was her. The ring I gave her when we turned eighteen was on her finger, the facial structure was the same, the few birth marks we could find were an exact match." He laughs bitterly and there's only one tear that makes it out of Sherlock's eyes. "She was even wearing the same thing she had on that morning when she had met me for breakfast at Angelo's."Sherlock stares at his hands. "I made them do a DNA test. It was her. It was her and I couldn't change a thing. I couldn't even solve it, because there was nothing to solve. It was rainy the night before, the roads were wet. There was a possum in the road. She hated those. She must have spooked, swerved, crashed hard." Sherlock now sounds robotic and John squeezes his shoulders, just to let his husband know he's there.
"What was she like?" John asks, out of the blue.
Sherlock snaps out of wherever he had been at that. He looks to John then gets up. It used to be his old room, the one they were in, John remembers, and it makes sense as Sherlock goes about the drawers with ease and familiarity. He opens a draw, takes something out and then walks over to John.
It's a photo, an old Polaroid, and there are three people depicted in it. John recognizes Mycroft, tall and skinny and young, an umbrella in one hand, wearing a three piece suit. The other man in the photo, standing on Mycroft's left, is most definitely a younger version of Sherlock, about twenty years old. He's in trousers and a black shirt, his curls in a halo around his head, his eyes sharp. There's the smallest, barest grin on his face, just a twitch of the lips. A scarf John is familiar with is around Sherlock's throat. He's bundled into his coat.
But then, there's a woman. She's on Mycroft's right and shorter than the two men, though not by much. She is gorgeous. Her hair is the same black as Sherlock's, curly and shoulder length, pinned back. She's in a blue dress and black shoes. Her eyes are piercing. They are identical to Sherlock's. John doesn't need to be told that this is Abigail.
"She was wonderful," Sherlock says. "She was smart and witty. Clever. She was everything I was not. She had a conscience, was morally sound, loved literature. New about the solar system." He smiles at that. "She was kind. Without needing an incentive. To everyone, too. Not just selective people." Sherlock frowns. He looks up at John. "John, you must understand something. When I was sixteen and my father died, I thought I would never be the same. But when Abigail died, I thought it would destroy me. And it did. After her funeral was when I first started using."
Cocaine. Sherlock's huge addiction to cocaine. John had known it had to have started sometime, but he never expected this. Sherlock never wanted to talk about it before and know John understand why. It doesn't matter that Sherlock doesn't use the drug anymore. It just matters that there has been a reason he had, whether it was right or wrong.
"Could she, you know, do the whole deduction thing?" John asks after giving Sherlock a moment.
Sherlock laughs at that, a real, sad, tired laugh. "Yes. I fancy it's genetic." He stills and then shrugs. "Or maybe just the way we were raised." He looks at John and says, "Abbi can do it to you know. On a smaller scale since she's so young, but I'm sure of it."
John blinked. Their one year old daughter could deduce people and things? That was just… oddly creepy. And yet endearing. He figures it won't be when she's older and calling Sherlock and him on all their shite.
"So you were close?" John asks.
Sherlock grunts. "John, she was my twin sister. You have a brain; use it. Obviously we were close. She was… she was the most important thing to me back then. The most. Foolish, I know, to hold ones sibling in such high regard. But she was mine, my other half. It was… hard giving her away to anyone."
"And yet," John says, realization, pride and love filling him, "yet, you chose to share her with me, with our daughter. You shared your most valuable possession with us."
Sherlock looks straight at John and says in all seriousness, "That's because you two are now the most important things to me. I thought you knew that John."
John closes his eyes now to keep from crying himself, because that's just embarrassing. He's a grown-arse man. "I do now," he says with a smile. "It's just nice to hear it sometimes, love."
Sherlock grunts and when John opens his eyes, he sees him still staring at the picture. "I don't think of her much," Sherlock says without thinking. "I guess I try not to. There's no use in thinking of someone who will never come back."
John remembers all the men that he had fought beside that fell: *Henn, McMath, Blackwood, O'Connell. Murray. When he opens his eyes, he finds himself shaking his head and saying, "I think that's where you're wrong. They may never come back, but they don't deserve to be forgotten."
Sherlock is quiet a moment before he nods with finality. "No. They don't, do they?"
Mycroft plans to surprise them all by coming back later on that night. SK and NK were absolute children, fighting over the smallest things. He'd settled it quickly and then come back. And now he is going to surprise them all.
When he walks in, it's like the world is against him because he encounters several surprises of his own.
He first slips in and stops by the kitchen, where he knows Gregory is, because it's almost time for dinner and Greg's been fixing it for the entire week since he found out Mrs. Holmes was fond of it and it kept him on her good side. What Mycroft doesn't expect to find is Mrs. Holmes in an apron, of all things, her cane off to the side, completely at peace as she jokes and teases Lestrade. She is peeling potatoes and Greg is mixing something in a pot. There are the soft strains of The Clash on the radio, probably something Greg put in since he loves them so much, but there's no arguing, fighting or dirty looks. Mycroft has never seen his mother enjoying herself this much, or Greg so at ease in this house. So he leaves them be, doesn't let his presence be known, moves on.
The next surprise comes when he visits the sitting room, all ornate and decorated for the holiday. But it's not being sat in in silence. On one side of the expensive Persian rug is his daughter, her thermal sleeves rolled up. On the other side, in her skirt and shirt sleeves, is Anthea. In the middle sits Abbi, on her bottom, staring slyly at the two of them. On some silent count, Anthea and Charlotte both start to crawl quickly to the middle from both sides, trapping Abbi. The tyke squeals and hops up, decides which way to run and then attacks Anthea. She belly-flops on his PA and they both start to laugh. Soon, though, Charlotte joins and together, she and Anthea tickle-attack his little niece. Their faces are flushed and Anthea and Charlotte share a look before they quickly clasp hands and give a quick squeeze. He's not surprised at that much as he is at the sight of them rolling around on the ground with the baby. He, once again, can't bring himself to disturb their felicity and makes a mental note to extend his invitation to Anthea to until they leave for the holiday. It'll be easier having her around anyway, and Charlotte will like that quite a lot. And, now that he thinks of it as he walks away, so will Anthea.
The last surprise come when he meets John and Sherlock on the stairs. Their hands are linked and they have small smile son their faces, but that's not what's a surprise. He's found them like this many times before, more scandalous than this, even. No, the surprise is the picture in Sherlock's hand, one he thought he lost many years ago. He freezes on the steps and when Sherlock sees him, he stops too. John looks between them, then sees Mycroft eyeing the photo. Things click into place and he gives Sherlock a disapproving look at his sheepish one before he kisses his husband and gives them a moment. He walks down the rest of the way and to his daughter and niece in the sitting room.
"Ahem," Sherlock says, clearing his throat. He extends a hand, the photo in it. "I believe this is yours."
"So he knows," Mycroft says instead. John, he means.
"Yes," Sherlock says. He flaps the photo in his hand again and shoves it at Mycroft. "Go. Take it. It's yours. I… I shouldn't have taken it…before." Before being right after Abigail's funeral. That picture had been the most recent of the three of them back then. He'd found it missing from his wallet after the service and had been distraught for weeks. He'd had copies of course, but losing the original hurt. He now knows where it went off to.
But Mycroft understand why Sherlock took it, can't blame him for wanting it. After all, even though she had been Mycroft's little sister, she had been Sherlock's twin, and that had to hurt a whole hell of a lot worse in a million different ways. So Mycroft merely shakes his head and pushes Sherlock's hand away.
"You keep it," he says to his younger brother's shocked face. "I think you need it more than I do. Besides, I have others of her. I doubt you have anything as recent as that."
Sherlock doesn't say anything for a long while, but he finally nods and puts the photo into his inside breast pocket. He doesn't say thank you; that would be too humane, too civil. But he does give Mycroft a lip-twitch smile, so similar to the one in the photo that for a whole five minutes after Sherlock is gone down the stairs and into the sitting room, Mycroft's heart aches for the time when they were all three together and Sherlock actually attempted to smile.
But then he thinks of their family now, how amazing it is, all the wonderful people that is a part of it and he knows that it couldn't have been any other way.
That night, there is ample Italiano for everyone. Greg and Mrs. Holmes have civil conversation, even crack jokes that the other laughs at. Mycroft and Greg sit close together stealing smiles and looks every once in a while. Anthea accepts Mycroft's invitation to stay, but only when Charlotte asks a second time. The two women sit close together and if anyone at the table had known any better, they would have sworn that they were very innocently holding hands underneath the table. It's a good thing none of them know better. Sherlock and John are closer than usual, touching even when it isn't necessary, and Sherlock even smiles once for no reason at all.
And Abbi? Well she just ate and laughed and watched, not noticing that anything had really changed at all.
*This asterisk is here because those three highlighted characeters (Henn, McMath and Blackwood) are not mine. They are borrowed from abundantlyqueer's Two Two One Bravo Baker fic on Archive of Our Own. Read it if you haven't. That shit is wonerful, my fav. Sherlock AU so far, so that is why i used it. They are my fav. minor characters that are all dead in that fic. *sigh* So, they are not mine! Just wanted to borrow, so there. Don't sue me!
Also, if you want more on Sherlock, John and Abbi, read Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not? kinda comes after this, their little X-Mas at 221B Baker Street.
So, back to this fic. What'd ya think? There's more to come definitely, but all in one-shots i think. I'mma persue Anthea/Charlotte 'cuz i just like it ok? Ok.
Review then, my darlings?