Joan Watson was not a very feminine woman, at least not to outsiders.
Technically, when you got down the root of it all, anything she did was feminine because she was in fact female making any action she partook in feminine. However the world, or common society at the very least, dubbed certain things masculine and others feminine, no matter the participants. She'd often had this argument with her peers throughout her life time and even a professor once while she was in med school and again while she was in the army, and despite every explanation and every argument and counter argument she came up with people still thought along with the social norm.
It didn't help any that she was an extremely private person who'd never exactly been forth coming about the feminine things she did like to do.
So because of her love of rugby, propensity for wearing jeans and oversized jumpers, and a rather particular dislike of romantic films and shows, no one ever thought about asking her to go on what could have been a pleasurable girls' day out.
Her mother, when she'd been alive, and Harriet had often had days where they'd go and pamper themselves or comb through stores for clothes and have make-over's done as they perused the shops. They left her home with her father and the two of them would often go out towards the back of the family property and shoot the rifle that he owned, sometimes even getting a pheasant for dinner. Despite the fact that she enjoyed the time she had spent with her father, the fact that her mother and sister had never even been bothered to invite her along to the shops or ask if she'd like to get her hair and nails done hurt.
So since no one ever invited her she'd taken to doing these things herself in the comfort of her own home once she had moved into a small dorm room for school. Of course Joan hadn't exactly had the time or chance to do it once she was in the army and she hadn't felt quite up to it once she had gotten back, but now that she was settled she really, really wanted to feel as if she was being, well, girly for the first time in several years. Besides, it was nice to change it up a bit every once in a while, and the grey dress she'd found the other day looked splendid on her and with the black knit cardigan to go with it she had a way to discretely hide her shoulder.
So ever aware that Lestrade, or Mycroft, or the Queen knew who could call at any moment on Sherlock's skills, and thus her as well, she decided to have a day to herself as long as she was able.
She had not bothered to alert Sherlock to this, knowing the petulant mood he'd been in with no case for the past few days, and that he was currently sulking at the back of the couch but made sure that the bath was clear of any potentially hazardous experiments and that she had all the necessary equipment for what she planned to do. Joan quickly made a lunch of sandwiches and left them on the top shelf of the fridge, well away from the experiment of fungus and a half decomposed head, for Sherlock when he decided he was hungry.
And so prepared, with everything she thought could happen covered, Joan dove into her socially acceptable feminine activities. First up a good long soak in the tub with the vanilla bath salts Harriet had gotten her as a welcome home gift months earlier.
It wasn't until Mycroft showed up, a request from Mummy Holmes that they all turn up for supper that Sherlock even realized that Joan had been absent for the majority the day.
Sherlock thought hostile things towards his brother as he dressed; how could Mycroft just stride right in and demand that they obey what he had undoubtedly arranged? Especially since he'd been keeping tabs on them and of course that would be the only way Mummy would know absolutely, as she needed to know without a doubt, that they were available for dinner. Not to mention the fact that Joan was definitely not the woman Mummy would prefer him with, he couldn't hold in the snarl that escaped as he finished buttoning his charcoal suit jacket at the thought. It wasn't that Joan wouldn't be perfectly acceptable for his mother; it was just that Joan didn't have any of that softness most women had, a softness his mother had long thought he needed to calm him down. He would, of course, be the first to tell his mother that he wanted Joan just as she was, rough around the edges with a darkly protect streak he could only hope was forever focused on him, but she'd never been the type to try and coddle and sooth him with the genteel ways his mother had long hoped he'd find amongst the fairer sex.
He couldn't help the glare he sent towards the sitting room as he made his way up to Joan's room, hoping that she hadn't sequestered herself away for the day due to an ailment he'd been too busy huffing in boredom to notice.
Opening the door to her room without warning, as he was often wont to do, he came upon a sight he was not anticipating in the slightest. Sitting on the bed in front on him was Joan Watson in a dress with her short dark blond hair nicely swept to the side with mascara on her lashes and a faint blush on her cheeks putting a rather dark shade of lavender polish on her toes and a coat of it already on her fingers. The thin straps of the dress did nothing to hide what many would consider a grotesque scar on her right shoulder and the makeup did little to mask the lines around her eyes, though they did soften them enough for her to not look as stern as usual. The thing that was the most extraordinary about all of this, though, was that she'd done this to herself without being privy to the machinations put in place by Mycroft, though Sherlock now believed this was why they were having dinner with Mummy in the first place, and the difference just a few subtle changes made in her appearance.
He'd always been aware, of course, that Joan was a lovely woman, how could he not when she not only put up with him, she did it without too much of the normal hassle most women gave, and the attention most men gave her. He was sure she must have been peripherally aware of it all, how could she not? But he'd never exactly had the fact that she was female thrown into his face so blatantly, Joan was a very private person and she never complained or whined to him about cramps or bloating when she had the trouble or got 'dolled up' for a date, so seeing her in such a state stole his words away.
Joan looked up at Sherlock after she finished the last nail, mentally preparing herself for whatever was going to be thrown her way when she caught the look on his face. She had seen quite a few expressions there but this one was new. He appeared to be startled and she watched him as he seemed to swallow whatever had made him pause before he cleared his throat.
The dinner invitation, nee order as it seemed to actually be, was not what she expected and she had to wonder how exactly Mycroft knew when exactly she would decided to pamper herself before deciding she didn't want to know. The Holmes brothers were, without a doubt, the most astute beings she had ever met and learning she had given away her plans by doing this or that was not one of the things she really wanted to know at this point in time.
Now she was just focused on making sure her pampering made her adequately presentable for Mummy Holmes—hopefully.
Sherlock had to swallow once again and even Mycroft rose an imperial eyebrow as she came down the stairs, finally finished being as put together as she possibly could for meeting their mother. Her dress was composed of a vaguely opaque grey fabric, layered with dark grey slip underneath, ending at her knees with a last reaching transparent layer. The black cardigan stopped just above her waistline, creating the allusion of a shapely form on her normally rather stocky, rectangular shaped body. Some basic makeup with a lightly tinted lipstick made her seem years younger, her hair softly framing her face and being held there with a plain dark lavender slide, similar to the color of her nails. Her black flats made nearly silent sounds as she finished descending the step and she stood before them both, awaiting their judgment.
The Doctor cleaned up rather well, Mycroft observed, though not the type of dress he would have picked for her to wear the first time meeting their mother, the dress and the accessories picked to go with it flattered both Joan's shape and her coloring rather nicely. Still for having sprung this on the duo, it would work. Now he just had to find a way for Sherlock to behave while they visited Mummy, though that did seem it wouldn't be a problem at the moment, for his brother appeared to be struck dumb by the obvious out of character appearance of his roommate and partner in crime.
Joan felt her cheeks heat slightly under the brother's scrutiny, well aware that she was dressed in a much more gender specific, and definitely more revealing than her jeans, style of clothing than normal. With a deep breath she squared her shoulders much as she had under the stare of her superiors in the RAMC, disregarding her state of dress, and looked them both in the eye before narrowing her own and placing her hands on her hips. It took Sherlock mere seconds to snatch up her coat and then his own before sneering at Mycroft to hurry up, seeing as dinner was his idea.
As Joan settled into the car Mycroft had sent for, she had to wonder what Sherlock's take would be on her argument about gender stereotyping and made herself a mental not to ask him about it after dinner with Mummy Holmes. She was going to meet one of the people who had created her roommate, her friend, and she really didn't think now would be the best time to bring up such a topic, it wasn't good form to deliver Sherlock when he's worked himself into a snit after all. So she settled into her seat and listened to the two Holmes boys push at each other's buttons, smiling slightly at Anthea before they rolled their eyes together at their men's actions.
Despite the surprising invitation, Joan had a good feeling about tonight.