You know how I like writing baby fics, right? Well, they've gone and made it nearly canon. This will be fluffy nonsense.
I'd also like to direct you to Sarah Knight's new story 'Sentenced'. That is not fluffy nonsense, but an exceptionally well written case fic, and a very good read. And she's kindly published it complete. It's here s/10204492/1/ (and if that link doesn't work, it's in my favourites list).
Now - the promised fluffy nonsense. As usually, I'll give you a chapter a day.
'We'll have about five minutes.'
John sighed and looked up at his wife.
'I know you keep saying this, but I really think it's going to be fine.'
'No, we'll have five minutes.'
She looked certain.
'So you're basically saying if we don't give Sherlock our daughter to hold in the five minutes after he's first laid eyes on her, he won't touch her at all, ever. Five minutes and one second would be too late?'
'No, I'm not saying never ever. I'm just saying, we'll have about five minutes from first sight before he's processed and sorted and will have filed her away as something that's very much the domain of other people.'
'I've known Sherlock for years now, and believe me; we'd prefer our daughter to be something that's very much the domain of other people.'
Mary watched him, her eyes twinkling, annoyingly.
'You don't mean that,' she said. 'You want him to be a part of her life.'
'And he will be,' John said. He'd have to be. John was utterly determined on this; more determined even than Mary, who hadn't let the 'five minute problem' rest for several weeks. He wasn't entirely sure if he was fighting Mary for the sake of it, or whether he just did have more faith in Sherlock. 'I just think she will be whether he first holds her at three minutes or seven minutes or twelve minutes.'
She prodded him with her toes. 'It'll need to be three minutes,' she said. 'Seven minutes will be too late.'
'It won't be too late.' The sound of the key fitting the lock drifted into the flat. 'Hey up. Talk of the devil….'
He looked up, waiting for Sherlock to appear. He didn't move other than that. He stayed where he was on the end of the sofa, while Mary reclined against the other end, occasionally wriggling her toes into his thigh.
Sherlock appeared in their living room, well wrapped in his coat and scarf despite the pleasant spring weather outside.
John smiled at him. 'Good morning.'
'Can we help you with anything?'
'Why aren't you dressed?'
'It's only just turned eight.'
'Has it?' Sherlock charged to the window to check this. 'I thought it was still last night. Anyhow, can you come?'
John took a long, deep breath. Mary merely smiled.
'I need to check,' John said, 'before we come to the whys and wherefores of this case which you've told me absolutely nothing about; do you remember what I spoke to you about on Sunday evening after dinner?'
Sherlock narrowed his eyes. 'Was it related to…' he searched his memory. 'Forgery?'
'No. Guess again.' He allowed a hard edge to enter his voice, and Sherlock clearly registered this. He stood back and thought further. His gaze slipped from John and travelled along the sofa to Mary.
He took a breath.
'Mary, obviously, of course, and the whole pregnancy thing.' He waved an ambiguous hand at her. 'Of course I remember. I wouldn't forget a thing like that.'
'What specifically related to Mary's pregnancy, did we discuss on Sunday?' John asked.
The look now was spectacularly blank, and John sighed.
'Mary is now full term,' he recapped. 'Her due date isn't for another eighteen days, but the baby could basically arrive at any time in the next five weeks, and so I would prefer to remain closer to home at the moment.'
'How close to home do you need to be? Because I'm only talking as far...'
'Closer than there,' John said.
'I have, in fairness, done most of the work,' Sherlock said. 'All the thinking side of things that you're not capable of is all done.'
'I just thought you might want to come along for the actual arrest.'
'Where is it?' Mary asked.
'Green Lanes. I'm hoping to surprise him at his factory.'
She glanced at John. 'That really isn't far. What factory?'
'He's involved in the carpentry business on a fairly large scale.'
'Big machinery,' Mary said, waggling her toes into John's thigh. 'Big, dangerous industrial saws…'
'I'm not going,' John said.
'You should take your gun,' she said.
'I'm not going.'
She sighed and put her feet down and pulled herself around.
'Fine. I'll take your gun.'
'Wait, what?' John said. 'You can't go!'
'If this is about the pregnancy thing again, I have to say, that's getting really boring as excuses go.'
'Yes! That's what I think too!' Sherlock said.
'And he does too,' Mary said, putting out her hand and letting Sherlock pull her from the chair. 'He's bored out of his skull and he needs you to take him out for one last fling before all the nappies and sleepless nights set in.'
'Don't try to handle me!' John snapped.
'Come on then, husband,' Mary said. 'Go and get dressed. Actually, come and get dressed; I need to get out too.'
'What?' John stood up too. 'What are you talking about? We can't go on a jolly, family trip out to catch a murderer!'
'He's a forger,' Sherlock said. 'If you wanted to be precise.'
'So no real danger then,' Mary said.
'Shame. Still, it's better than nothing I suppose. Wait here while I get dressed.'
She started slowly up the stairs. They were still watching her several seconds later, as she took each step slowly and leaned heavily on the banister as she went.
'You see?' John said, unable to contain himself any longer. 'You can't come! You can barely move around the house.'
'I'm going, and that's final!' she called as she vanished around the corner.
John gave Sherlock a look, hoping for some solidarity, but Sherlock's mind had clearly wandered back to the case.
'I can't believe you,' he muttered.
Sherlock frowned, startled. 'What aspect of me are you having trouble with?' he asked. 'I'm much the same as I've always been.'
John nodded. 'Yes. That's what I'm having trouble with. Wait here – I'm going to try to persuade her out of this.'
'I wouldn't bother. You won't succeed, so it'll just be a waste of time and energy.'
'There are times when you're the giddy limit.'
'Yes. You've often said.'
John gave up and darted up to the bedroom. Mary was sitting on the end of the bed wearing her maternity jeans and a triumphant look.
'She must have shifted,' she said. 'I couldn't do the trousers yesterday, but today I can.'
'Hurray,' John said.
'Still can't do my socks though,' she said, waiving them at him.
'And yet you want to chase Sherlock around. Of course, that's an excellent plan.'
'Just do my socks.' She looked down as he knelt at her feet. 'I don't want to chase Sherlock. I want you to chase Sherlock while I sit in the car, watching your sexy bottom chase Sherlock and whoever this forger is.'
'Couldn't you just wait here?'
'No. I need to get out. I swear I've never been so bored.'
'We could go for a walk around…'
'Around the park, yes, I know. We've done that several times this week. I can't tell you how stimulating the flowerbeds in the ruddy park are. Now, help me stand up again and get dressed, or I really will go without you.'
If it weren't for the fact that he was properly sulking, John might have felt able to admit that he was, slightly, possibly, looking forward to whatever was going to happen. Obviously, he was looking forward to the baby too, but he was also slightly looking forward to the forger.
He wasn't particularly listening to what Sherlock was saying as he sat in the passenger seat next to a confused and concerned Lestrade. There were certain details relating to the case coming at him, and a fair amount of showing off, but what John was mostly thinking was 'I wonder if I'll actually get to run. And possibly tackle. And maybe punch a bit…'
'This really isn't regulation,' Lestrade muttered for the third time.
'I'm fine,' Mary said. 'Really, I'm just an innocent spectator.'
John snorted, and instantly tried to cover it with a cough. Mary had seen though, and for a second her face turned sour and upset. She swallowed it quickly though, and he squeezed her hand in an encouraging and apologetic way. She gave him a quick smile.
'Right, here we are,' Sherlock said.
They drove into a large, but quiet car park outside a medium sized, red-brick factory.
'Why is nobody here?' Sherlock asked.
'Bank Holiday,' John replied.
'Is it? Well, that makes things easier.' The car came to a standstill, and they both got out.
'Stay here,' John said to Mary, firmly.
'I'll be as quiet and still as a mouse.'
He joined Sherlock and they strolled together towards the factory door.
'What does he forge anyway?' John asked. 'Money?'
'No, that would be too boring. This chap is forging government documents. It's causing havoc in the secret services. Other people's I mean; not ours.'
'Wouldn't it be more worrying if he was leaking actual true things?'
'Not according to Mycroft. He likes to have complete control over what reaches the ears of other governments.'
'I'm not sure that mice are known for being still,' Sherlock said. 'Also, in the right conditions, they're not that quiet either. I'm just saying.'
'Shut up,' John said, looking around.
As he did so, he noted a few things that seemed strangely out of place. There was a row of neat oil barrels that seemed to have been moved there recently. He couldn't say for sure why there might be oil barrels in a carpentry factory, but he supposed there might be petrol driven machinery inside. He wouldn't have expected the barrels to be arranged so neatly though.
The pattern of the cars in the carpark was strange too. The few cars that were there had not been placed close to the factory entrance, as you might expect.
The gate in the chain-link fence was closed but the chain that locked it was hanging loosely through its hooks.
He couldn't say precisely why these things bothered him, but he noticed Sherlock was slowing and frowning around too.
'Something's wrong…' Sherlock muttered.
John was uncomfortably aware that his pregnant wife was just a few meters away, and that the car wouldn't offer too much protection from certain things.
'Yeah, Sherlock, I'm going to….'
A wiry looking man popped up from behind a barrel and pointed a gun right at them. Sherlock and John stopped walking instantly.
'I know who you are!' he called.
John judged, from the pitch of his voice that he was nervous as hell. He put his hands up, and allowed his hips to relax so he could stand in the least threatening pose possible.
'Where's Simpson?' Sherlock called.
'Never you mind!'
The man's attention was caught, presumably by Lestrade over to their right, and his gaze and his gun moved to there.
John thought of Mary in the car just behind Lestrade, and the split second of panic caused the mistake.
Rather than relax and diffuse the situation, something he knew he could do perfectly easily, he found his gun in his hand, and it was pointing at the gunman opposite.
The gunman panicked, spun his weapon around, and attempted to disable John.
It was a bad shot over a fair distance, and even as it hit, and the pain flooded out of his left hand side, John knew that this was not a kill shot. On the other hand, it was hugely inconvenient, and it hurt like hell.
He was aware that the factory door had opened, and a fat little man in a suit had wrestled the gunman inside amid a torrent of angry yells.
Sherlock spun around to John looking terrified as he located the bullet wound.
'Forwards or backwards?' he yelled, his eyes bulging. 'Forwards or backwards?'
'What?' John said.
'How do you want to fall?'
'I don't ruddy care! Just get me down!'
Sherlock grabbed at him to ease him to the floor, and John could see past to where Mary, pale faced, was getting out of the car.
'Oh God damn it!' he muttered.