"Mycroft is on a date?"
John still couldn't believe it. He knew that Mycroft had had some time off lately, to…recover from the recent stress that he's not exactly used to, but he never actually thought that he would take comfort in Lady Smallwood. So she had in fact gotten over the fact that he had suspected her of foul play.
"So, what do you think – Sherlock?" he asked, looking around but Sherlock wasn't there. He had probably gone into his room. John shh'd Rosie who was falling asleep in his arms and rocked her from side to side, and slowly made his way out of the room and upstairs to his own room where he put her safely in her cot.
He quietly went down the stairs and went to Sherlock's room and knocked.
"Sherlock?" He opened the door slowly and Sherlock was on his bed, looking at something.
"What's that?" John said, coming over to him, and he frowned at the picture that Sherlock was holding. It was a photo of two children, one of them with dark curly hair wearing a pirate hat, and the other a blonde boy of about the same age.
Sherlock showed the picture to him, and John held it.
"Mycroft gave it to me. He kept it all these years, in case one day the truth would come out, and I would need it again."
John looked sceptically at it. "Is this you? And -and- "
"Yes, that's me, and…Victor Trevor. My best friend."
"Redbeard…" John said, looking at him.
John swallowed and handed the photo back to him.
"Are you alright?" John asked, concerned.
"I'm fine, John, thank you."
"Wanna come and watch some TV? Have a cuppa?"
"No, I'm alright," Sherlock said, getting up and smiling at him. "I think I'm going to get some rest now."
"Oh – of course, yea," John replied, nodding. "Night, then."
Sherlock sighed as John went out the door and closed it behind him. His throat had caught and he had to fight back tears. Every time he thought about it, he thought he might be remembering something new, and he wanted to hold on to that memory.
Sherlock woke with a start and heard an ear-screeching high-pitched screaming.
"Ugh…" He moaned, getting out of bed and opening the door, and the wailing just increased. "John, I can barely hear myself think- "
"Probably a good thing!"
"Can't you just make her shut up?" He asked irritably, storming into the living room, as John was changing her nappy.
"Little help, here?"
"Perfect, I've just got to grab some things…" John said, leaving to jump up the stairs two at a time.
The baby screamed even louder.
"OK, ok, please, just stop screaming, "Sherlock cooed. "Rosie, little Rosie, what's that, erm, nursery rhyme…" Sherlock trailed off, trying to think of it. He must have put that out of his memory as well. Rosie wailed again, and Sherlock was reminded of the problem at hand. "Right," he said, holding his hands in the air. "Baby. Nappy." He picked up the dirty nappy and hurriedly wrapped it in the plastic bag. "Ugh- "He wrinkled his nose furiously, and put it in the bin. "Right. Baby. Nappy!"
Five minutes later John came downstairs with a bag and Sherlock was looking at Rosie, who was lying on the table, quiet, but looking wide-eyed at them.
"What did you do?"
Sherlock looked confused. "I put on a fresh nappy, just like you said."
"She stopped crying."
Sherlock looked at him.
"How did you get her to stop crying?!"
"I don't know! She just - stopped. How am I supposed to know how these strange creatures work?"
John shook his head and stroked Rosie's cheek.
"So, are you ready to go?"
"Don't tell me you've forgot Sherlock, cause I'm not believing it for one second - the therapy!"
"Oh – that – yea, I thought I'd give that a miss," he said, and went into the kitchen.
"No, Sherlock, you're going to see this therapist, we talked about this," John said firmly. "Remember? She's an expert in dealing with traumatic childhood experiences."
"Well I'm not a 'traumatised child'," Sherlock argued, holding up his hands in remission. He was glaring at John and John pointed to his hand, which was clutching the photograph.
"You wanna try that again?" He challenged. Sherlock looked down to the photo he wasn't aware he'd been holding, and looked at it longingly again.
"Fine. Fine!" Sherlock stormed angrily to his room and grabbed his coat. John smiled triumphantly.
Half an hour later they were waiting at the therapists' surgery. Rosie was in her carrier next to John while they were sitting in the waiting chairs. There was no one around.
"You know, Mycroft has really surprised me lately. What with everything that's been going on. What he said about me when we were at Sherrinford…"
"You know he didn't mean that, John."
"Oh – yea, I know, of course. It's just – he surprised me. I didn't really expect him to say that. And I didn't expect him to do it to save my life.
"You two brothers…You both think you're just these clever geniuses – well, you are clever geniuses, of course you are – but I've honestly never met two braver people – who don't even know how brave they are."
Sherlock opened his mouth.
"W-well, er – thank you, John. That means a lot."
John nodded. "I wanted to er – thank you, actually. And Mycroft. I just – you would rather shoot your own brother than me – and you were actually going to shoot yourself, god, Sherlock, i- "
"You know I wasn't going to do it, I was just playing the game. I knew Eurus wouldn't let me die…I knew that, somehow, there was something between us. A connection maybe, I don't know."
"I know you did. But please, god, do not do that to me again, Sherlock. You need to just…take a step back."
Sherlock looked confused.
"I mean – not from solving murders, of course not. Just stop getting into so much – well, trouble! Danger! Stop taking risks, please? I know it's our job - but, just be more diligent about your own safety."
"You're starting to sound a lot like my mother."
He shrugged lightly and looked away. "I can try."
John gave him a look. He sighed heavily.
"Fine, fine, I'll do better."
"Like stop trying to get yourself killed?"
"Yes. That, I will do." He looked back at Rosie with a smile. "Of course I will."
"Ok, good," John looked back at Rosie as well, and frowned. "If there's ever anything you need to talk about – you know you can come to me, don't you?"
"Now you're starting to sound like my therapist," Sherlock complained.
John sighed at him. "You know it's important that you do talk about it though. Nothing left in the dark. Mrs Hudson was right. You are about the feelings. And I … want you to know that –"
"Now it sounds like a declaration..." Sherlock scoffed.
"What – no – what I mean- "John heaved a sigh. "You know what? I'm going to stop talking now. This is what the therapist is for. You know where I stand, Sherlock. I am your friend, and I am here for you."
"Are you sure that's all you wanted to say?" Sherlock drawled, sighing himself.
"Wha- yes – wait – I- well- "
"Mr Sherlock Holmes?"
"Yes, that's me," Sherlock flashed a smile at John. "Laters, then."
"Yea," John frowned at him. He sighed and puffed his cheeks.
Sherlock was someone who he was never going to figure out. He had got better at the mysteries, the deductions. But he never knew what Sherlock meant sometimes. Or maybe he didn't even want to think about it. Or maybe Sherlock was hurting still. John suddenly turned his attention back to Rosie, who started to cry out with her hands, and John picked her up in his arms and rocked her from side to side, shushing her.
He wondered how Sherlock was fairing, though to be honest he was really counting the seconds of how long it would take for Sherlock to walk out of the therapist's office. Or maybe he'd get through the whole thing, with minimal deductions, but rather deducing that he needs the help.
And then of course he'd deny it was any help afterwards, probably complaining about her lack of expertise. But he'd be better maybe. He'd come to therapy again. He'd be more open. Things would get back to normal - but it would be a better normal, no secrets, just two partners crime-solving.
With a side of raising a child.