A/N: first in a series of responses to Hades' December Challenge. Many thanks to Hades for hosting this:-)

Prompt 1 from Hades: listen to Ben Caplan's "Lullaby", and write a response based on the song.

I had not heard the song before...I hope to be kinder to Watson as the month progresses...this is set during the Hiatus.


Dr John Watson arrived home

From a complicated, but ultimately rewarding urgent late call;

Hat, coat, cane and Gladstone bag

Absently returned to their usual resting places in the dimly lit hall.

It was past midnight, all was silent

And most respectable folk were long abed.

He too, should sleep, but sat in front of the dying fire,

Reflecting on the evening's events instead.

The sights and sounds of the past few hours

Were vividly recalled; the step by step details of a difficult birth;

The young mother, her anxious family,

And, eventually, thank God, that first cry; the sweetest sound on Earth.

He smiled, grateful for one of the privileges of his profession,

Then damped the fire down and headed upstairs.

He reached the landing, and paused;

He turned away from his intended path, emotions catching him unawares.

A deep breath, a latch lifted, a slight hesitation;

And for the first time in months, he entered her room.

A candle on the dresser was carefully lit,

Casting light, making shadows dance, dissipating the gloom.

A comfortable chair by the window, an alphabet sampler above,

Stitched in a familiar delicate hand,

A painted chest of drawers, a patterned china bowl and jug,

Set out with linen on a small, tiled wash stand;

A colourful rag rug, each scrap picked out and carefully placed

And knotted, brightening the wooden floor.

Flower sprigged curtains: he could hear her exclamation of delight at the purchase;

Was it really just a year or so, before?

He ran his fingers along smooth, polished dark wood;

A beautiful carved oak cradle, in which no baby had ever slept.

He stood still for a moment, head bowed, then snuffed out the flame,

Closed the nursery door, moved on to his bedchamber alone,

Remembered Mary,

And wept.