Disclaimer: Alas, I don't even own the idea.
Author's Note: This is simply the novelization of the most hilarious Holmes scene I've ever witnessed. It's from "The Baker Street Nursemaids" in the Ronald Howard version. It's just for fun. Enjoy!
It began as one of the more relaxed mornings in the famous Baker Street flat. Watson was absorbed in the newspaper while Holmes conducted some chemistry experiment or another. Luckily for them both, Holmes did not drop the beaker in his hand when a giant beast of an insect barely missed his face. Holmes gingerly placed the beaker on the desk and picked up a jar, clearly intending to trap the bug. He slammed the jar on the couch, but the pest escaped. Watson next indicated its position by waving the newspaper about his chair irritably. Holmes laughed, but was soon copying the doctor. He spotted it just as it flew into his room. Determined to remove the distraction, he followed it in and shut the door behind him.
A knock at the door distracted Watson from the paper yet again. With a sigh, he got up and answered the door. A messenger boy stepped inside with a basket. "Is this the residence of Mr. Holmes?" he asked.
"Yes. Is that for him?"
"I'll take it," said Watson. The messenger left without another word.
There was a crash and a cry of, "Ha! Got you at last!" from the bedroom. Watson shook his head, set the basket down, and returned to his paper.
Holmes emerged from his bedroom victoriously. The insect buzzed inside the upside-down jar, trapped by a piece of paper. "It's a queen bee, Watson!"
"Really," Watson said perfunctorily.
Holmes put the jar down on the desk and took out his magnifying glass to further inspect the bee. He was aware of a sound. "What did you say?"
"I didn't say anything," Watson said through the paper.
"Oh. I thought you said something."
"Oh." The sound repeated. It was clearly made by human vocal cords.
"What did you say?" Watson asked distractedly.
"I didn't say anything."
"Oh. I thought you said something."
"Oh." Watson returned his attention to the newspaper.
To fill the silence, Holmes began to lecture. He turned around to address his friend. "You know, Watson, the interesting thing about the queen bee is that she seldom leaves the hive, and is generally followed and protected by the other bees." Holmes was interrupted by the sound of crying. Watson and Holmes stared at one another, bemused. They turned their gazes to the basket, from whence came the sounds of a crying baby. They warily edged toward the basket. One stood at each end. Holmes pulled the latch out.
"It's just arrived," Watson said helpfully. "The messenger said it was for you."
Holmes favored him with a glare. They pried it open and leaned over to peer cautiously inside. The face and hand of a sleeping baby were visible over a lot of bundled cloth.
Watson looked up. "What is it?"
Holmes' brow creased as he met Watson's gaze. "Well, it's… er… obvious, isn't it?"
"Yes." Watson's eyes twinkled mischievously. "Holmes, you never told me!"
"Told you what?" he asked blankly. He frowned as the meaning sunk in. "I haven't got one," he said sharply, then looked down. "Well, I hadn't until now."
"Well, where did this come from?"
"I don't know. I was in there." Holmes jerked his head back towards his bedroom.
"What do we do now?"
"You're the doctor. Don't you know?"
Watson shook his head forcefully. "I'm not that kind of a doctor."
"Oh, I see. Er… shall we examine the matter a little more closely?" He paused uncomfortably. "Can you, erm, pick it up?"
"What do you mean, am I strong enough?"
"No, no, no. I mean, do you know how. There's some special way of handling these things, isn't there?"
"Nothing special about it at all. You just pick it… up." Watson made lifting motions.
"Oh, just… pick it up, eh? Well, I'll try." Holmes lifted the baby by the armpits and held it out away from him. "Well, Watson, there's nothing to it at all!" He seemed rather pleased with himself.
"I told you."
Holmes examined the child. "Good-looking chap, isn't he?" He deemed it safe to hold the baby more closely.
"Sing it a lullaby," Watson suggested. Holmes stared blankly. "Lullaby," Watson prompted again.
"Oh. Yes." Holmes cleared his throat and began to sing "Britannia." The baby wailed. Watson looked as though he wanted to, as well. Holmes stopped abruptly. "Oh. He doesn't like that. He's crying."
"I can hear him," Watson said dryly.
"What do we do now?"
"Perhaps he's hungry."
"Yes, of course, the poor fellow, he's… hungry." Holmes seemed more than a bit off balance. "Make him a cup of tea, Watson."
Watson spoke slowly. "Babies don't drink tea. They drink milk."
"Oh, do they? Well, then, make him some milk."
Fortunately for Watson, someone knocked at the door. "Perhaps that's the mother," he said hopefully. He opened the door and let Lestrade in. The inspector hung his hat on the rack, greeted Watson, and stopped dead, staring at Holmes.
"Not the mother," Watson announced unnecessarily. Holmes did not look pleased at Lestrade's appearance at such an inconvenient time.
Lestrade pointed at the bawling bundle in Holmes' arms. "What's that?"
"It's a baby," Holmes said stiffly.
"So it is. Is it yours?"
"Well, he's crying!"
"No, really?" Holmes retorted irritably. "We've been able to deduce that without the aid of Scotland Yard."
Watson decided to help. "Holmes, give him here. We've got to stop him crying." Holmes gratefully handed the child over to Watson, who promptly began to bounce the baby – to absolutely no effect.
Lestrade laughed. "The little mother," he said sweetly.
Watson shoved the baby at Lestrade. "All right. You hold him." As soon as Lestrade held the baby, it quieted down.
"Why, he's stopped," the inspector said, a bit smugly.
"So he has. He has stopped." Relief made Holmes vulnerable to repetition.
Watson stared. "But he likes you," he said incredulously.
Lestrade grinned. "Well, I'll be darned." He immediately looked ashamed.
"Please, Lestrade – no profanity in front of the child," Holmes chided.
"Who does he belong to?" the inspector inquired.
"He came in a basket," Holmes said matter-of-factly.
Lestrade gave him a no-nonsense look. "Babies don't come in baskets, Holmes. They've got to belong to someone," he explained patiently.
"Well, maybe there's a note," Watson suggested on sudden inspiration. He sidled around Holmes to rummage in the basket. "There is! It's addressed to you." He handed the paper to Holmes.
"Dear Mr. Holmes," he read. "Please keep Tony for me. I will contact you as soon as I can. Signed, Madame Durand."
"Madame Durand?!" the inspector exclaimed.
"Does that mean anything to you, Lestrade?"
"Why, yes! That's why I'm here – to talk to you about him."
"You mean her?" Watson suggested.
Lestrade rolled his eyes. "No, I mean him."
"Him?" Holmes asked disbelievingly, indicating the baby.
"Not him! His father, Doctor Durand."
"Doctor Durand?" Holmes' brow creased in momentary concentration. "Oh, yes, you mean the young French inventor."
"Yes, that's right. This must be his son. Dr. Durand was kidnapped yesterday morning, just as he was leaving the admiralty."
"I didn't read anything about that in the papers," Watson argued, glancing over at his recently abandoned copy.
"No, it's been a very well-guarded secret. Hardly anybody knew Dr. Durand was in this country."
Holmes, back in his comfort zone, spoke up. "Well then, it might be safe to assume, for the moment, that Madame Durand learned the whereabouts of her husband, went after him, and, fearing for the child, sent him here in our safekeeping."
"Have you anything at all as to who could possibly have kidnapped Dr. Durand?" asked Watson.
"Well, at the moment, none at all," Lestrade admitted.
"Where are they staying, Lestrade?" Holmes was eager to get on a case.
"In a mansion that the admiralty lent them, just up Parksley Square."
"Then I think that should be our first call," said Holmes.
Watson was more than ready. "Let's go!"
Holmes stopped him. "No, no, no." He shook his head admonishingly, seemingly all serious. "Someone has to mind the baby, Watson."
"Mind the baby?" Watson repeated blankly.
"Who else?" Lestrade asked innocently.
"Well, I don't know," Watson said crossly. "Couldn't you find a nursemaid?"
"Do you know any nursemaids?" Lestrade queried. Holmes raised an eyebrow.
"Well, I haven't had much use for them lately!"
"I think it would be wiser if no one knew that the child were here for the time being, Watson," Holmes said soothingly. "Madame Durand obviously had reason to believe that his safety was threatened."
Lestrade passed the baby off to Watson. Unfortunately, the child disliked being separated from the inspector. "Here, he's starting to cry!" Watson said indignantly.
"Yes, we can hear that," Holmes replied wryly as he made his way to the coat rack.
Lestrade shrugged. "Sing him a lullaby!"
He winced as Watson belted out, "Oh, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!"
The inspector mercifully interrupted him. "That doesn't sound like a lullaby to me."
"You think of one," Watson demanded irately.
"It's been a long time since anyone sang me a lullaby," Lestrade laughed. With that, he and Holmes left Watson alone with the infant. Watson stared down at the squalling baby.
"Where is Mrs. Hudson when you need her?" he grumbled.
I added the last line. I do own that much, at least. Review!