A series of one-shots about life in 221B after Astrid moves in but before the events of TGG. Companion to A Great Man. Inspired by comments from IsleofSkye. As usual, I don't own any of the characters but Astrid. The world should be glad for that. :)

Warning: I can guarantee that these will not remain in chronological order; my brain just doesn't function that way. However, if it's important when something happens, I'll note where on the timeline that particular one-shot occurs in my A/N.

"We need to talk." Astrid's voice was deadly serious.

"'m busy," Sherlock muttered into the microscope, not even bothering to look at her.
"Yeah, well, this is more important." A pause. No effect. "I found your stash."

Suddenly the room is deadly quiet. It seems like a movie that has been muted-even the sounds of London have hushed to watch this conversation, hear every breath drawn and every word uttered.

Sherlock looks at her darkly, as though trying to puzzle something out, something confusing. "Oh?" he tries to keep his voice even, but she can hear the slight change in inflection.

"You forgot to child-proof your house," she comments. "but that's understandable. I've noticed children aren't really your forte."

She waits. She desperately wants him to say something, wants him to be her father, damnit, and fucking parent for two bloody minutes but all she gets is more silence.

Fine, I'll settle for a little contrition, an apology, a promise to throw it all out. Still no results. Clearly Sherlock Holmes is not the mind reader some people think he is.

"You're my father."

"Stunning observation."

"I wasn't finished. You're my father, but I accept that you probably don't want me, most likely don't even like me, and would rather I had never needed to know of your existence. All of that is singularly understandable, because I am human, and thus I am selfish, so I can understand selfishly guarding a way of life and a person you see as just yours." John.

"But please understand that he is not just yours. He is mine too. He was mine from the moment he silently convinced you to adopt me. He became even more strongly mine when he was realistic enough to know that you had never dealt with a teenage girl before, when he wouldn't let me ask you how I looked because he knew that you'd give an honest answer, no matter what I needed to hear. He's mine because he taught me to cook risotto, and he can miraculously braid hair better than almost anyone, which means nothing to you. So please, know this: he is not just yours. And I don't know everything about your life. God knows, I know almost nothing. But I do know that if you ever used again, it would kill him. Inside. Where the doctors can't fix and stitches can't hold together. He'd break. And I need him. Like air. Like gravity. Like just a few minutes of sunshine after a week of gray drizzle, I need John. Not like you need him, because that would be weird. But like a ship needs a port in a storm. I need him. Because I sure as hell don't have you." She waited, desperate for some response. She would give him a long time, because she doubted he had noticed her observing him. He probably didn't know she had seen the tiny tell-tale scars. She herself hadn't believed until this morning, when she wandered into the bathroom, because surely somewhere in this house there were bandages, and her hand brushed something on the very top shelf that might have been a bandage box but wasn't, it was so much worse, it hurt instead of healing, destroyed instead of protecting, and she was sure that he had told everyone that life was far behind him but here he was with a stash in the bathroom he and his beloved shared. She didn't fool herself it was the only one.

"I…when I…" Sherlock tried to speak. For some reason, words just wouldn't come. He felt…betrayed. By himself. Of course the girl, shorter than him but still tall, would be able to reach the higher places he had taken to hiding things from John. Why hadn't he thought about that?

"Don't. Just…don't." she stopped him. She didn't have the patience for the excuses she knew were coming, she couldn't tolerate hearing him try to make his actions seem acceptable. "All I want you to know is that if you hurt him, you'll answer to me."

Sherlock nodded, his mouth dry. No one-with the possible exception of Mycroft- spoke to him like that. As Astrid left the room, she prayed the pale, brooding man couldn't see her hold her breath, didn't notice the sob that escaped as she vainly tried to escape to her room before breaking down.