Well, Sherlock Holmes did the unforeseen and adopted a thirteen-year-old girl. He tried to tell me that it was only what Crewe and Carrisford would have wanted him to do and that he was merely fulfilling a debt, nothing sentimental about it, but those of us who knew him best knew that was not the full truth. I could see something had changed in him when in joyous gratitude the little princess in rags kissed his hand—when she gave him a devotion that completely transcended whatever responsibility he may have had in her father's death.
As I foresaw, he recovered quickly from the last shreds of the brain fever and showed that he had lost no whit of his keen intellect and his shrewd observation. He demonstrated it first that very day when the headmistress of the school next door, Miss Maria Minchin, came and made a scene about Sara returning to her patronage. Sara stood quietly, tense but unafraid, next to Holmes with her hand on his arm as Miss Minchin first commanded her to return to her drudgery and then tried to force her to return to her own ungentle care as a pupil. At first Holmes merely listened to her outrageous demands, and then he proceeded to turn her upside-down and inside-out with his observations on her person and her method of running her school. He told her straight that he would expose her to all her clients but for the fact that they would then promptly come and take their daughters away and it was much more convenient for Sara to have her friends next door rather than scattered in other schools all over London. Her methods of dealing with her pupils had perforce to change after that, now that there was a frighteningly-sharp detective next door who could tell simply from the way a little friend of his daughter's was dressed whether her headmistress was kind to her or not.
The little un-fairy princess was more than their princess: she was their queen, both the schoolgirls' and my children's and the Carmichael children's. Far from being jealous at her place being usurped by the older girl, my little Janet practically worshipped her and was treated as a favorite sister. Sara had a genius for making children love her, and not children alone, for we all doted on her. She became nearly a goddess to the army of street children Holmes ended up amassing to help him in his work. It was her idea to provide for the poor children she had once been part of; it was his to employ them as small detectives in his own work. A little girl named Anne Sara had once given her own dinner to became a lieutenant among them, but their captain was my own Janet, who, Holmes said, had a strategic and observational mind unlike any other child he had ever met. Sara is Holmes' daughter, but his goddaughter will be his successor, he declares.
Sara is now eighteen years old, still slim and dark and mysteriously foreign-looking, still full of fantasy and fancy, still in many ways the child who shivered in an attic and forgave a world of guilt for a chance at a friend, but grown up and lovely. My wife has been bespying hints of a romance with the oldest Carmichael boy, four years older than she, who played his own small part in the Magic that changed her life. Holmes, with a frown, says there is plenty of time for that in the future, that she is full young for romance. In truth he is reluctant to let her go.
I must confess that my premonition that he would be himself again was not entirely accurate. Holmes was never quite the same man again, not after believing himself responsible for the deaths of two young men and the pain of a little girl, not after months of brain fever and depression, not after find himself all-in-all to a little girl with enchantment in her eyes. He had a greater depth after that, a new richness, something to live for beyond the resources of his own brain. He is a different Holmes than I knew before his "death," a better version of himself. It has not hurt his career at all.
Author's Note: The end!
Yes, I purposefully changed the timeline with the Baker Street Irregulars.