Sherlock stared at the dead child. Brown hair, tightly curled ringlets, framed her thin face, covering one eye in the process. Eyes that would never open again, judging by her lack of color. His hand slithered out of his coat-pocket to clench at hers. He kissed her tiny fingers like he always had done and waited for her to wake up. Rationally, he knew she wouldn't. Lily Holmes, just a little girl, (his little girl) just a baby and already gone from the world. Too good for Earth, he knew. He didn't believe in God, let alone angels, but he knew of there was a heaven, Lily deserved to be let in right away. She deserved better than anyone could ever give, even a so-called almighty god.
Sherlock let the hand slip from his grasp. Cool skin whispered against his, small nails scraped his palm. He could feel electricity crinkling down his spine, jolting him into a state of hypersensitivity. Everything was significant to the broken man. The chill of the room, rivaling the temperature of Lily…of her corpse. The smell of antibiotics, disinfectant and air freshener hung over them like a heavy curtain. Such a trivial way to go, he thinks.
He had seen men blown to bits by faulty microwaves, stood over women with forks shoved through their ears by jealous secretaries, talk to the parents of children that busted their heads open with wooden toys and solved a six hundred year old murder where a teenager had choked to death on a baby duck. Yet his daughter, his Lily, was dead because of a bad cold that left her drowning in her own lungs before anyone knew what was happening.
He looks up. The mortician, a serious woman in a long black dress, glides forward. She covers Lily with a knit blanket, tucking her in quietly. "Yes?"
"Mr. Holmes, my job is to prepare a body for death so its loved ones may look upon its face one last time and know they are at peace. You refuse to have a funeral so I must ask; what is it you wish me to do?"
"Miss. Addams, please, Mr. Holmes. I despise thinking of my bastard husband."
"Miss. Addams, then. I am afraid my job requires me to move around quite a bit. If I put my daughter in the ground, I will never return to that spot. She is to be donated to science, but all I ask for is a reminder of her. Is there something you can do?" Miss. Addams taps a slender finger against too pale lips and smiles, curling her teeth out until she resembles a cat.
"You underestimate me, Mr. Holmes. Go, return tomorrow at noon." He obeys.
At first, he was unsure of what to do with Lily. He nearly had a heart attack when Mycroft suggested cremation. So he did what he wished somebody had done for him. Sherlock helped parents save their children. Lily was to be donated and have her organs spread across to people he had painstakingly chosen. Per his request, he met them all under the guise of being a doctor without their parents' knowledge.
A six year-old baseball fanatic would receive her liver.
One of each from a set of twins would receive her kidneys.
A teenager would receive her frontal lobe in time for a ballet recital.
But, although he would never say this out loud, perhaps most importantly, an eight year-old little girl would receive her heart. He had stood at her bedside and squeezed her hand. Her eyes, bright, bright blue, rolled in their sockets to look at him. Sherlock had smiled at her, feeling the soft pulse beneath his fingers and understood. If they removed her heart, she would die. If they didn't, the outcome was the same. What kept her alive was slowly killing her. When he found out her name was Petunia he almost broke down. He had picked children from the very bottom of the list, the ones that weren't likely to get what they needed to save, because if they had been higher up, perhaps Lily would be alive.
Because there were many children to rescue, but only a handful he could save.
Sherlock picked Lily up, feeling smooth, cool bone underneath his fingertips. He knew he should be appalled; this woman had chopped off his daughter's head, stripped it off flesh and presented it to him like a present. But he simply felt grateful. He kissed her forehead and smiled. "I take it you like it?"
"Yes." He breathes. "I hope the brain was undamaged." Sherlock demands suddenly, turning to stare at her. Miss. Addams smiles.
"Of course, Mr. Holmes. Business is going well; I do not need to force more customers in let alone children. I am not crazy, simply perhaps a bit demented. However…the same, Mr. Holmes, cannot be said about you."
"I am not a psychopath. Merely a well-functioning sociopath, thank you very much." He leaves with his head held high and his daughter in his arms. Mycroft is waiting in the car and almost vomits when he sees Lily.
"My God, Sherlock." He whispers. "What did you do?"
"Is that any way to talk to your niece, dear brother?"
"Hello? Sherlock? Are you there?" He blinks, sitting up from where he was dozing, shaking off the final clinging tendrils of the memory.
"Whose skull is this anyway?" He stiffens and turns to face John. His flatmate eyes Lily quietly and picks her up. Don't touch her, a part of him wants to scream, don't you dare touch her! "I thought you said it was a boy." Watson mumbles, tracing a cheekbone. "It looks more like a female, and a very young one at that."
"Watson." His voice sounds gruff. "Put it down." He cringes inwardly from saying "it" but he refuses to acknowledge John's questions. His heart clenches painfully. "Please…just put it down." John blinks but complies, making sure to do it gently as Sherlock's eyes follow the skull like a hawk. There is a strange light in them, not hungry or angry, but protective. He had seen the light in Mycroft's eyes as he watched Sherlock. Protective, loving even. Just who was this child?
"All right, Sherlock. I'm going out for milk. Do you need anything else?" Holmes relaxes.
"No, no. I'll be fine. Thank you." John leaves quietly, shutting the door behind him and locking it, no doubt because of the current case they were involved in. It would be ended soon, of course, no case was a match for Sherlock bloody Holmes, but it was best to be on the safe side while an almost convicted murderer was on the loose. Lily grins at him, teeth glinting. He smiles back and kisses the space between her eyes, for a moment feeling warm skin instead of bone, hair tickling his cheeks. When his eyes open, he is still looking at a skull. Sherlock turns away, walking towards his bedroom. His fingers twist at the light switch. He stares straight ahead, clenching and unclenching his other hand, feeling the smooth, cold skin from so many years ago. "Goodnight, Lily."
In the dark of the room, too quiet to hear, a voice whispers back. Goodnight, Daddy…