John was having a hard time focusing on the book in his hands. Usually he had no trouble ignoring Sherlock's antics: nothing surprised him anymore. But for some reason John found himself utterly fascinated as Sherlock paced back and forth in their living room, lecturing about some historic war (John wasn't paying enough attention to Sherlock's words to know which), waving a rusty old bayonet in the air to emphasize his points. To be perfectly honest, John didn't even know why Sherlock was doing any of this. Was it a case? An experiment? Entirely random? All he knew was that a sort of amused and pleased buzz had settled in his brain as Sherlock turned to stare unseeingly out the window, still lecturing.
Apparently Sherlock had reached a very important point in his speech, for his whirled around from the window, bayonet raised high in the air, stance utterly dramatic and ridiculous in every way possible. He froze almost immediately and John let out a short snort of laughter. But then he noticed the expression on Sherlock's face and the laughter died away immediately.
Sherlock's eyes had flown wide, arm supporting the bayonet rigid as a board. Almost faster than John could follow, Sherlock swiped the bayonet behind his back, carefully setting it on the table as discreetly as possible. Completely confused, John followed Sherlock's gaze to see someone standing in their open doorway.
"Mum!" Sherlock cried, a foreign tone of cheer and familiarity in his voice as he stepped nimbly forwards, arms outstretched for a hug.
Suddenly John felt like he wasn't actually part of the scene taking place before him. An eager audience member, John scooted subconsciously to the edge of his chair, fascinated by this unexpected turn of events. Sherlock's mother. Mrs. Holmes. The woman who raised the world's one and only consulting detective. She had to be incredible. Patient. Crazy. Eccentric. God-like, even.
She looked entirely ordinary.
Both Sherlock and Mycroft had certain airs. They held themselves in ways that caught a passerby's eye. You may forget you ever saw them, but in that moment, that one blip of time, they were the most interesting and intriguing thing you ever will see.
You wouldn't even give Mrs. Holmes a first glance, much less a second.
That wasn't to say she wasn't beautiful. And she had to be a fantastic mother, especially considering the way Sherlock's demeanor had shifted into something John had never seen before. But she wasn't mysterious. Commanding. She was completely and totally ordinary.
When son and mother broke from their hug, Mrs. Holmes was beaming. "Oh, I've missed you, Sherly."
John's ears perked at the nickname and he looked quickly between the two, waiting for the scowl and eye roll that was sure to come from Sherlock. It didn't.
"Missed you too, Mum," Sherlock replied. John stared, straining to pick up the usual acidic tone of sarcasm. But Sherlock not only sounded genuine, but the smile on his face seemed perfectly genuine as well.
"How come you never visit? Mycroft even stops by every now and again."
There. A comparison to Mycroft. Sherlock had to drop the cheer now, he just had to.
"Mycroft not only travels more than I do, Mum, but he has more of the financial capability to go all the way home."
John blinked blankly. What in the hell.
Mrs. Holmes was patting Sherlock's arm. "He has offered to help you out, Sherly."
Sherlock shook his head, a small, normal smile still on his lips. "I'm doing fine on my own, Mum."
"Yes, of course, with your consulting detective business," Mrs. Holmes said brightly. "Mycroft told me that's been going exceedingly well as of late."
"It has! Oh!" Sherlock suddenly seemed to remember there was another person in the room. He placed his hands on his mother's arms, turning her slightly to face John. "Mum, meet my friend, John Watson. He helps me with my cases." Sherlock gestured from John to Mrs. Holmes, fidgeting almost like he was waiting excitedly for his mother's approval. "John, Mum."
John shifted, ready to get to his feet and shake Mrs. Holmes' hand, but Mrs. Holmes turned back to Sherlock.
"Oh, yes, Mycroft mentioned him as well! I'm happy for you, Sherly."
Happy for you? Oh, hell, she didn't think the two of them were a couple too, did she? John slumped back in the chair with an exasperated sigh.
"Well, I only stopped by to let you know I was in town. I'm here on holiday with Mrs. Jennings. We should get a bite to eat later, all right?"
Sherlock nodded. "I'd like that."
Mrs. Holmes placed a light kiss on Sherlock's cheek. "I'll see you later, dear."
Sherlock kept standing where he was as Mrs. Holmes turned and walked out the door, down the steps. John watched him, brow furrowing as he tried to understand. The tall, lanky man looked so strange in such a relaxed, natural, and normal pose. But then John blinked and the usual Sherlock was back. He scrambled back to his bayonet and, without missing a beat, went back into his war lecture.
"Sherlock?" John finally interjected as the bayonet motions got wilder. Sherlock didn't halt his stabbing at some imaginary foe.
"I just thought you should know... you make the most adorable son ever."
The bayonet quavered in the air only momentarily before Sherlock spun around, attacking yet another foe. "Thank you, I suppose."
John chuckled, settling back in his chair. He knew he would never fully understand the complexity that was Sherlock Holmes. But, if John looked very closely, he could have sworn he could see the detective blushing.
A/N: This was inspired by an actual experience I had. I had a history teacher who was hard and cold as stone. Then one day his daughter and granddaughter visited. I've never seen such a stark contrast in personality in one person. :)
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