Greetings and Happy New Year! This is Requiem for a Sunburst. I've never written any Russell/Holmes fics before but they're on the top of my list of favorite series. This oneshot came to mind as something that most likely will never appear in any book—but like most ideas it put root and grew. Please enjoy my humble offering…
In the sixty-odd years he had lived, Sherlock Holmes was not accustomed to taking orders from any man or woman. But after being thrown out of the cottage consecutively by his wife, her doctor, and his housekeeper, he was beginning to think there might need to be some changes in his old and set-in ways.
It was bitter cold out in the garden, a day that promised more snow. He forced himself to examine the first hive to still his pacing. He was by nature impatient with those of lesser mentality, but as he glanced towards the house his nervousness slowly took over him.
"Go check your bees, Holmes," Russell breathed from the pillows. "As much a mother hen as you have been these past weeks, I don't appreciate you hanging over the bed as if awaiting my funeral." She was certain that he would be too caught up in his own worries to distract her from hers.
Then to have Watson tell him—him!—that his assistance would be rather limited in regards to his experience infuriated Holmes to no end. If Doyle got a breath of this…
A cry from the cottage jerked his head up. Despite his rheumatism he would have dashed up the back porch into the kitchen had not Mrs. Hudson locked the door. Quietly muttering Cockney obscenities, he threw the cover on the first hive a bit rougher than his experienced hands intended to. Crunching snow underfoot, he made his way to the second box, every nerve screaming in resistance.
Forcing his mind elsewhere from the forbidden bedchamber, he could not help but think of Russell. Not the state she had been in these past months, but the vibrant young girl who caught his eye by pointing out the bees he'd been marking that day ten years ago. Without sentimentality, she was the most fascinating creature he had ever encountered, and he knew from the start where they would go.
Though Watson had been sure the procedure would go as expected, Holmes had long since mistrusted doctors' orders and had hovered over Russ like a hawk. It had been a risk they had accepted though neither thought the end results would be as such.
I'm sixty-four years old. Not necessarily the right requirements—hell, I married at woman over thirty years my junior. On most occasions, that thought did not even register any value. Russell was the only woman for him, despite what that man had published. Never once would he consider her a mistake.
The click of the door unlocking brought him out of his reverie. He turned expectantly towards the bulky figure of Dr. Watson. The doctor shivered as the first wave of cold washed over him, then clomped down the steps to meet Holmes.
"Well?" Holmes' voice was pitched to feign casualness, an almost disinterest in the whole matter. His eyes, on the other hand, were crinkled with worry.
Watson was not fooled. Looking up at the windows, he sighed. "Holmes, it wasn't easy."
The gray eyes narrowed. Watson did not break their gaze, in the full bluster of his profession.
"Mary will need another several weeks to recover. I'm not sure if it was the medical drugs from her first injury, but it was hard. But you mustn't put her on morphia—it will just complicate matters."
"Russell will dearly love my playing nursemaid for another month. However, it will be rather a relief to not send Mycroft searching the globe for various manuscripts and delicacies. I had thought she would be above that peculiar habit of women but I conclude not."
"Damn it, Holmes! Aren't you at all concerned about the babies?"
He was not often at a loss for words. Beneath his indignation, Watson was quite pleased at reducing the great man to gapes. Holmes was succumbing under a combination of shock, horror, and exhilaration at being a father. His thoughts not completely coherent, he could only stare at Watson.
"Two…" He sputtered. "Twins….?"
"Yes, Holmes. Twins. A son and daughter. I fear you and Mary will be raising a pair of geniuses for the rest of your lives." Surmising that Holmes was not in the frame of mind to be doing any calculations, he grabbed Holmes' upper arm and started guiding him towards the cottage.
"Watson." Holmes' voice was almost panicked.
"Under no circumstances will you relate this to Doyle. I don't even want to think of the damage he could do with this. 'The Great Sherlock Holmes, Brought Speechless by Two Infants He Must Call His Own'. It would be worse than the fairies, and I am getting far too old to be engaging in fisticuffs."
"Now Holmes! You know I was not responsible for the fairies."
"My dear Watson, it is guilt by association. That man has no sense of his own—his fancies need not be made public, especially where I am concerned." All Watson could do was shake his head.
"'Tis a pity duels are illegal now." The look Holmes shot him was a reflection of his previous shock, but his eyes crinkled and he appeared to be holding in his laughter.
"Watson, occasionally that rough stone shows some polish."
He just shrugged his shoulders.
When they reached the bedchamber, Watson gently rapped the shut door. Russell's voice traveled through to call an invitation. Holmes almost shoved the doctor aside as he thrust the door open. He crossed the threshold, eyes only for Russell.
Her golden hair brushed the shoulders (reminding him painfully of their former, glorious length) as she lay back against the headboard. The sheets were pulled up to her waist, and some bundle obscured most of her torso. She appeared exhausted, but her eyes were shining. Was this that unknowable joy a mother felt at the sight of her newborn?
"Russell." His voice was quieter than normal, to fit in with the atmosphere. All the worry and anxiety colored the word, and his wife smiled.
"My dear Holmes, I do believe that the one experience is enough to last the lifetime. I am not sure what we have tangled ourselves in this time," she murmured. Her voice was weak but her spirits high, and he found himself relaxing slightly.
"But do not ask for first hand expertise when writing your monogram. I am tired, and have all the reason to forget my pain." She glanced down at the bundle she was cradling, and at last he found himself curious to see the child with which he had the misfortune to be settled with.
Mrs. Hudson rose from her chair on the other side of the bed, and presented him with another bundle. His hands froze when the weight was added to his arms. Scolding him on his stiffness, the housekeeper arranged his hands so that he was now imitating his wife. Sighing deeply, he resigned himself to the loss of all freedom for the next year (or more, his mind reminded him) and looked down into a pair of crystal-gray pools.
It was larger than he expected it to be, his mind duly noted, but the thought (and others like it) was shoved into the back of his head. Those eyes…Something tugged inside, and in an almost outside perspective, saw himself lose to all the emotions fighting to break free.
The girl blinked her gray eyes, scrunching her face as she opened her tiny mouth and yawned. Mesmerized, he watched her twist toward his chest and settle on it with a gentle thud.
A soft chuckle sounded near him. "She entrap you as well?" Russell was smiling down at the boy in her arms. "I swear I am going to have to watch out, or she'll be manipulating people before she's walking. Her father's daughter."
"She has your hair," noting the soft blonde wisps.
"But your eyes," she countered. "They will be hard to tell apart for a few months…Holmes. What have we gotten ourselves into?"
"A lifetime of servitude," he said, barely above a whisper. The baby lay curled up against his chest sleeping, unaware of the destruction she was causing to the carefully developed image he had built over the decades.
"You realize we've probably produced the most inquisitive, infuriating, and intelligent offspring England will see this century?"
His mouth twisted. "And most likely shall." He sat on the bed next to his wife, viewing his son for the first time.
"Russ," he spoke suddenly. "I suppose now is not the timeliest to mention a case Mycroft has written to me about..."
"My dear Holmes, if you take a step out of Sussex during the next months without my permission I will personally be ringing Doyle…"
He smiled wryly. "I thought as such." And I am not so sure that I could leave now if I wished."Now about names…"
Basking in the relative peace of the moment, Holmes felt his former life slide into the past. It was going to be an interesting year….
I hope you enjoyed it! I'm not sure whether to continue this story line with any more oneshots—please review and let me know! Take care! -Req