"Oi don't wanna die…!" wailed the little Irregular, attempting to bury his currently bleeding head into the girl's housecoat. "Grandmum'll kill me if Oi die!"
Ann Marie didn't mind; the garment was getting rather old anyway, and the boy needed any comfort he could get. She doubted the choked mouthful of brandy was doing much to numb the pain as she stitched up the second of two gashes on his head, earned from an ambush by a rival pack of urchins. She kissed the top of his head briefly before continuing her work. "You're not dying, Alfie. You bleed a lot when you hit your head. I'm almost done. Mycroft…!"
The rotund man was most certainly not in a good mood, his home being currently populated with a good number of small, bloody children, and they'd had the indecency to come calling in the middle of the night. "Bloody" not being used as an expletive. There was a pile of them in the spare bedroom, and they occupied most of the surface space in the sitting room. However, he was not about to send them off to die on his stoop, nor was he going to repress his wife's mothering instincts. She knew where he slept, after all.
"I understand the fresh warm water, the thread, and the new bottle of alcohol," he frowned, setting the requested items on the deacon's bench in their entryway, currently the medic station. "But what's in the tin from the kitchen cupboard?"
Ann Marie pried the lid off of the metal box, taking out a ginger snap from it. "Now are you going to try and stop weeping and be a brave boy?"
Alfie nodded eagerly, his tears stemming as he began to munch on the treat, allowing her to clean up his wounds with only the odd flinch.
"You're next, Wiggins," she sighed as she simultaneously cradled the boy and washed the remainder of the blood away. "You're worse than a lot of the others are, I wish you'd have let me tend to you earlier."
Wiggins, their fearless leader, a compact pressed tightly upon his head, was firm. "The younger ones before me, mum. They need it most."
"We've discussed the 'mum' issue, young man."
"Well, you are startin' ta look the part," remarked Alfie from her lap, eyes shifting from the rest of the cookies to her protruding belly.
She found it impossible to be cross with a child for speaking the truth, so she merely stuck another ginger snap in his mouth after she had bandaged his head and shooed him off. "Go get some sleep, Alfie. There's a settee in my parlour, but please don't muss about with my papers?"
"Right, mum!" he chirped, obviously cured of his afflictions by the healing powers of sweets, scampering off to some well-deserved sleep and letting Wiggins take his place beside the girl so that she could stitch up the deep cuts in his arm and chest.
Mycroft, meanwhile, had slipped off unnoticed. He had several more months to be able to stand children; there was no sense rushing it.
"Sorry for comin' here, mum. Your old man looked something cross," murmured the boy, downing the offered brandy and gritting his teeth. "But we didn't think we could make it to Baker Street, and the doctor said how you stitched him up all good…"
"I'm happy to help, don't you worry about that. And Mycroft looks rather cross naturally. It's rather endearing after a while."
Dr. Watson all but burst in through the front door, black bag in hand, looking very out of breath. "I'm sorry, I was out with Holmes on a case, I didn't get your note until fifteen minutes ago, and…" He blinked, looking about and seeing a noticeable lack of dying children and utter chaos. "I thought you said…"
"Oh, I've mostly got them all fixed up now. I'm just finishing William here."
He blinked. "Is… Is there anything left to do?"
"There's a few in the kitchen, the maid's getting them something to eat. They were woozy and their eyes seemed a little glassy so I thought they might have concussions and you told me it's dangerous for someone with a concussion to sleep, so I suppose you can check them out… And there's likely a few bandages that need to be changed. But other than that…"
There was one half of the doctor hollering out that he was a doctor, not a nurse, and that he was rather annoyed he had been called out to perform such menial tasks. The other half, however, was very impressed with the young woman with the bloodstained hands, and knew that in several months she would make an excellent mother.
Snagging a cookie for himself, Watson made his way to the kitchen.