A/N: I have been quietly chugging away on this for the past two and a half weeks. Although if you want to check out my mental state while writing this, then do feel free to head over to Tumblr, where I am also Flaignhan. The fic is finished, so there will be daily updates. My beta reader is the glorious Livealoner (also on Tumblr, go follow her because she's great, though I'm not biased by the fact that she's part of my fam). This is the final instalment of the Schoolgirl Crush series, so it might be worth reading the other stuff first if you haven't already. That's about it! Hope you enjoy.
Dust in the Air
Everything is brilliant.
He's embracing his new role with cautious enthusiasm.
It's not something she ever thought she'd see.
She's thrilled to bits; she's a godmother, and a huge grin spreads its way across her face every time her brain gives her a gentle nudge to remind her of the fact. Rosie is utterly perfect of course, not that Molly's biased, not one little bit.
Her favourite part is seeing the effect of this tiny little miracle on Sherlock. Whenever that pudgy little hand closes around his index finger, every trace of cynicism and arrogance he has ever possessed dissolves in a heartbeat. Of course it returns as soon as she's out of sight, but he is not immune to Rosie's charm.
Far from it.
He'll be a fantastic godfather, Molly's certain.
Nonetheless, he's still a bit unsure of the baby. He won't babysit unless someone else is there, because "What the hell do I do if she starts crying?" and he won't pick her up, but he will take her if someone passes her to him. After all, who is he to invade her personal space?
He's getting there though, and it's only a couple of months before Rosie starts to remember his face, reaching out her little hands for him when he comes to say hello.
He's babysitting this evening, and Molly is there to supervise, while John and Mary go out for dinner for the first time since becoming parents. It's only a few hours, and Molly's stretched out across the sofa, reading a magazine, while Rosie sleeps soundly in her cot.
Sherlock is pacing around in his socks, veering around squeaky floorboards, and when he raises his phone to shoot off a rapid text, the speaker issues a series of clicking sounds as his thumbs batter the keyboard. He flicks his phone to silent quickly, then turns his head to check if he's disturbed Rosie, but no. She is still fast asleep.
"You okay?" Molly asks in a hushed voice. She turns the page of her magazine, sees a nonsense story about broccoli causing cancer, and flips to the next article, written by someone with at least a couple of braincells to rub together.
"Yeah," he says, and he returns to his text, thumbs tapping rapidly against the screen, but now without a single noise. Once he's finished his flurry, he slips his phone back into the pocket of his trousers, and pads over to the other end of the sofa. Molly lifts her legs momentarily so he can collapse down into the cushions, then resettles herself, her ankles crossed and resting against the tops of his thighs.
He's restless, and he keeps fidgeting while Molly tries to concentrate on her magazine. She holds out, wondering if it's just him trying to get used to being quiet in his own flat.
He's never had to be considerate here before.
"Is this it?" he asks, waving a hand towards Rosie's travel cot. "Is this all it is?"
Molly puts down her magazine and glances over to the cot, then back to Sherlock. "What d'you mean?"
"Well," he says. "She just sleeps all the time. It's not nearly as exhausting as they make it out to be."
"Maybe don't say that in front of John and Mary," Molly replies, and she reaches down to the floor to get her magazine again.
"Yeah well she doesn't exactly cry a lot, does she?" Sherlock argues. "Not as much as they say she does."
"Don't jinx it," Molly tells him. "If she starts crying then it's up to you to deal with it."
Sherlock huffs. "Jinx it?" He rolls his eyes. "Don't bring your silly superstitions into my flat, thank you."
Molly allows her magazine to flop down into her lap, her brow creased as she processes his hypocrisy. "Says the man who won't walk under a road sign."
"That's obsessive compulsive behaviour, not superstition."
It's actually a compulsion driven by superstition, hangovers from schooldays. She has them as well, little habits driven home by the masses that just manage to stick.
She's sure every generation has them. And if they don't, then they haven't lived.
Even the great Sherlock Holmes isn't immune.
She won't argue with him though. It's not worth the nitpicking, and quite frankly, she's far more interested in the cringeworthy letters page, filled with embarrassing stories. She's caught a glimpse of something about a spider bite on a tropical holiday that she's certain will be utterly disgusting and worth the price of the magazine alone.
"I've got some eyeballs in the fridge." He turns to look at her, his hand resting on her shin, fingers tapping absentmindedly against her jeans.
"No thanks," she says, her face hidden behind the magazine, a hint of a smile tugging at her lips. "I'm not hungry."
He lets out an over the top sigh and leans his head back against the sofa, staring up towards the ceiling.
Apparently he's flat out ignoring that particular joke, which is a shame. She was rather pleased with it.
He stretches out his legs, but his toe catches the foot of the travel cot, shunting it a few inches across the floorboards.
Molly lowers her magazine, just in time to see Sherlock's horrified face as Rosie begins to cry.
"That was good," Molly says with a hint of sarcasm, lifting up her legs so Sherlock can get up.
"It was an accident," he says, moving over to the cot. He looks down into it, dumbstruck,
"She won't bite, you know," Molly tells him. "She hasn't got any teeth."
He gives her a look, then reaches down into the cot to pick Rosie up. He holds her with both hands, directly in front of him, and looks at her as though she's an alien. Then, he turns to Molly, and she gives him a look.
Slowly, he sinks back onto the sofa, then holds Rosie against his chest, her little body wriggling about in her babygrow.
"I do apologise," Sherlock murmurs. "It was not my intention to upset you."
It's sort of sweet, in its own way. Molly leaves him to it, and it's only a short while before Rosie settles down again, her head nestled against Sherlock's neck, her fingers curled around the inside edge of the button strip on his shirt.
Molly gets up, with as little disturbance as possible, and takes Rosie's blanket from the cot, then passes it to Sherlock so he can place it over the both of them.
Molly resumes her magazine, flicking onwards to the horoscopes, which she knows are a bunch of nonsense, but still enjoys reading regardless. Aries is right near the top of the list, and when she reads it, she frowns.
You could strike it lucky the second time around when Mercury reconnects with a degree the planet held around the first of the month. Do you ever get the feeling that you've had a conversation so many times you could speak each other's lines? Settle differences. Put them behind you.
The planetary index is, apparently, 2/5. Whatever that means.
"What's the matter?" Sherlock asks, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Horoscope," Molly tells him. "Bit odd."
He bestows a withering look upon her, and she feels better. She knows that they're written so broadly that anyone can find anything within their lives to which they can apply it, but all the same. It's odd.
"D'you want to hear yours?" she asks.
"Not really," he replies, but she ignores him, and goes ahead anyway, scanning her eyes down the page until she reaches Capricorn, right near the bottom.
"Today you should feel especially optimistic and enthusiastic, Capricorn, although you may not know why. Later in the week some good news could come your way. This should tell you that you were intuitively picking up on something wonderful. As a matter of fact, your intuition should be high for most of the week. Make it work for you." Molly lowers the magazine to see his reaction, which is, predictably, one of annoyance and disgust.
"I told you it was all nonsense."
"You mean you haven't been intuitively picking up on something wonderful?" she teases.
His mouth twitches at the corner, and she's not sure whether it's because of her words, or because there genuinely is something wonderful he's been picking up on.
Although he could be thinking of the looming threat of Moriarty.
It's the sort of thing that would make him smile.
Molly stretches her legs across him again, content in the knowledge that he won't be going anywhere for a little while. She wonders if physical contact with two people at once is a record for him. Even if one of the people is his infant goddaughter, it still counts.
By the time John and Mary arrive to collect Rosie, Molly is down to the dregs of her magazine, reading about budget holidays and meal prep recipes.
She should have brought something a little more substantial to read, but she'll know for next time.
Sherlock is fast asleep, snoring softly, with Rosie contentedly snoozing against his chest.
"How was it?" Mary asks in a hushed voice, while John whips his phone out of his pocket to take a picture.
"A few tantrums," Molly replies, "But Rosie was good as gold."
Mary smirks, and once John is pleased with the shot, she steps over towards Sherlock, reaching out for Rosie and gently extracting her from Sherlock's arms. He wakes up, puzzled at first, but when he sees Mary he relaxes again.
"All right Sleeping Beauty?" Mary asks, glancing over to Sherlock before placing Rosie in her car seat. Sherlock raises a lazy hand in greeting, but doesn't say anything, his brain still hovering in sleep mode. He exhales softly, resting his cheek against his fist again, and he's gone within seconds, a faint snore catching at the back of his throat.
"Did he really find it that exhausting?" John asks, folding up the travel cot.
"I think his body's just not used to being still for that long," Molly replies. "It's taking advantage of the lull."
She would get up to say goodbye, but Sherlock has one hand wrapped around her ankle, and if he's this tired, she doesn't really have the heart to wake him. He's been working on triple speed since the dust settled, and it's all finally catching up with him.
"We'll see you on Sunday," Mary whispers, picking up the car seat, Rosie tucked comfortably inside. "Thanks for looking after...well," she pauses, a smile spreading across her lips. "Both of them."
Molly grins. "Any time," she says.
"Yeah, thanks Molly," John says, voice low. "I'll text this to you later." He waggles his phone, indicating the photo of Sherlock and Rosie.
The Watsons leave the lounge, and slowly descend the stairs. A few moments later, the front door quietly opens and closes, but Sherlock, still fast asleep, does not stir.
As his elbow slides down the arm of the sofa, his head tilts at a sharper and sharper angle. When it gets to the point where Molly can't look at it without creasing her face in discomfort, she decides enough is enough, and reclaims her legs. He opens his eyes, looking around blearily, and Molly stands up, holding both hands out to him.
He takes them, and Molly pulls him to his feet, steadying him when he looks as though he might topple forward.
"Bed," she says, and she puts her hands on his shoulders and guides him to his bedroom. He goes without argument, and once they get to his bedroom, starts fumbling with his shirt buttons. Once he's mastered the shirt, he tosses it into the laundry basket, then turns around, his hand finding Molly's shoulder in the dark so he can use her for balance while he pulls his socks off of his feet.
"When did you last sleep?" Molly asks, concern rising up in her as he stumbles about.
"Oh," he says vaguely. "Last...something." He unhooks the fastening on his trousers and unzips his fly, and allows them to fall, pooling at his feet. He lifts his legs up and down until his feet are finally free, and then he slips under the covers, inhaling deeply as he settles down.
"Are you staying?" he mumbles, his voice obscured by the duvet.
"No," Molly replies. "I've got work in the morning."
He hums in acknowledgement, then reaches out to the pillow next to him, grasping around for something. Molly heads back into the lounge and spies his phone, abandoned on the sofa cushions. She picks it up and heads back to the bedroom, slipping it into his hand.
"Goodnight," she says. "Don't forget Sunday."
"Sunday," he repeats. "Sunday."