Disclaimer: Better do this now, so I don't forget: I do not own Sherlock. Heartbreaking, I know.
Lestrade was so close to taking down these thugs he could taste it. Nasty lot they were, what with drug trafficking and disregard for human lives. Nothing would please him more than to see the creeps locked behind bars for good.
So in times like these, when getting a conviction was sweeter than any amount of pride he may have to lose, Lestrade thanked his lucky stars for Sherlock Holmes.
Unfortunately, in his usual zeal to solve the case, Sherlock and took a rather nasty fall off a ledge. Luckily, he emerged with only a broken ankle to show for it, and perhaps a sore eardrum for all Dr. Watson had to say on the matter.
Now they stood in the Baker Street flat, an irate Sherlock fuming over an order of bedrest, and an alert army doctor awaiting orders. As was the inspector.
Just then, Lestrade's phone rang. Thinking it was an important message from one of his deputies, he answered with haste, only to release a string of curses at the text portrayed.
Greg, bringing the kids over in half an hour. Where should they be dropped off?
Shat. Lestrade berated himself. How could I have forgotten? God, what horrible timing! There was no way to cancel on his kids, nor would he be able to simply walk away at such a crucial point in the case.
Funny how cancelling on his wife seemed more vicious and scary than dealing with armed drug dealers.
Damn! I can't just put the case on pause, nor can I simply leave them unattended. If only I could find a replacement sitter somewhere...
Just then, an ongoing conversation morphing into an argument between the doctor and the detective snapped Lestrade out of his mental dilemma.
"I'm coming with—"
"Oh, you most certainly are not," John cut off sharply, adopting a no-nonsense tone.
"I am a vital key to this investigation!" Sherlock protested.
"And you've done your job admirably. Now, just let us do the legwork."
"What the bloody hell am I supposed to do while you're gone?" the petulant detective grumbled, abundant with sarcasm.
A literal lightbulb seemed to appear above Lestrade's head.
Don't be ridiculous! the more rational part of his brain exclaimed. You want Sherlock soddin' Holmes to babysit?
Not particularly, admitted inner Lestrade. But I don't exactly have any other options, and I'm sure he is competent enough...
More than that, time was ticking, and the more wasted seconds they spent lingering here the less time they had to apprehend the suspects, so—
"May I make a suggestion, gents?" Lestrade piped up, causing both heads in the room to whirl towards him.
"I cannot believe you just did that," John said as soon as they were outside.
They had rushed off down the stairs in a hurry, as if expecting the invalid inside to come storming after them.
"He agreed," Lestrade shrugged.
"He did not," John negated, torn between amusement and indignation on his friend's behalf. "You asked him, he said maybe, then tried to ask more but you were already typing directions out on your phone and dragging me out the door behind you."
"Well, I was out of options. Couldn't just wait around for him to decline, could I? This way he's stuck with it and we can still get a conviction before it's too late," Lestrade reasoned.
John likely conceded to all of the above, however, could not ignore the probable outcome of the whole charade.
"He'll kill you for this," the doctor blurted. Not so much dry as brutally honest.
Lestrade tried to play it off positively. "Yes, yes. But everyone says that, no one ever actually follows through—"
"High-functioning sociopath," John reminded simply. The officer's optimism all but deflated.
"Right. I'm screwed." Lestrade sighed. "Oh, well. At least it won't be my wife who does it."
Later on, three children were waved off by their mother and dropped off on the curb, with the address of their destination scrawled onto a piece of paper. Henry Lestrade, the middle child and only male, looked around.
221B Baker Street? Well, this was it. Nothing extravagant, but that was fine, he had a simple taste in sitters. No desire for Marry Poppins or any other musical manifestations.
"Uh, oh," Henry paled, glancing to his left.
"Uh oh, what?" Leslie Lestrade, his older sister, questioned. She was carrying Tessa, their baby sister, who added an intelligible coo to the conversation.
"Morgan, Weber, and Hail," he said in a rush under his breath. Insecurely, Henry pushed the glasses back up the bridge of his nose, which had gotten slick with sweat.
Drew Morgan, Ernest Weber, and Duke Hail were the meanest boys in his elementary class. They picked on weaklings, droves the teachers bonkers, and the ringleader Morgan had it in for poor, meek Henry.
As he approached, Morgan donned a vicious grin. "Oi, Lestrade, what are you doin' in our part of town?"
"I-I don't see your names on it," Henry stammered bravely. It was about the best he could manage.
"Brave words from a shaky mouth," Morgan scoffed, and the lackeys guffawed loudly.
"Lay off, twits," Leslie warned nastily. However, a girl could be only so intimidating whilst holding a squirming baby sister in her arm's.
Weber blushed slightly, finding the older girl sort of pretty in a way he didn't get, but Hail shoved him hard to bring his head out of the clouds. Morgan, knowing she was no threat with Tessa along, was unruffled.
"Aww, does big sis havta fight your battles for you, wittle Lestrade?" Henry's face burnt tomato red. Sure, he was mad, but what was he to do? These boys were all bigger, bulkier; and he was only a four-eyed nerd!
"What the devil's going on out here?" All of the kids startled at the adult-spoken words.
Leaning against the door-frame was a tall man, with an obvious elegance to him, despite the wrapping on his apparently injured ankle. He had intense blue eyes, which were currently observing the scene playing out before him with an intelligence Henry could not even begin to grasp.
"Well?" he persisted, not even bothering to ask whom they all were.
Leslie said, "If this is your property, sir, tell these punks to get lost for us, will you?"
The stranger eyed the lot of them up and down, disinterested. He sent the bullies a bland, "Will you?"
For a moment, two of the trio looked slightly worried, but their ringleader was not disturbed in the slightest.
Morgan sized Sherlock up with a wicked stare. "Oi, look! Henry's got himself a gangly friend!" he announced.
Feeling cocky now, and still in control, the other two joined in.
"And he's a gimp!" Weber taunted obnoxiously.
But Sherlock ignored his comment altogether. In fact, the only person his calculating gaze focused on was Morgan. "Impaired as may leg is currently, bone will heal. What will not is your parents' marriage."
As though his behavior were but a switch, Morgan's demeanor abruptly changed. His confidence contorted into something raw, something more rude and angry than before—yet somehow, also vulnerable.
"Ruddy liar," he growled.
Regardless, Sherlock continued: "So really, bullying others will make you feel no more superior, and is plain brutish if you ask me. Go ahead and ask your mailman, he should be keen on giving advice, seeing as he may soon be your stepfather."
Morgan's face was burning with fury and humiliation. "We haven't even got a mailman! Our post goes to a P.O. Box!"
"Someone should inform your father of this fact, then," Sherlock suggested. "Maybe then he'll wise up and leave your mother before she gets alimony and child support out of his unobservant paycheck."
"Ali-what?" said Hail stupidly.
Without a word, a punch, or even a fit, Morgan turned away in a huff; frazzled and defeated. At a loss, Weber and Hail hurried after him. Henry stood there, too amazed to speak. Which lasted for all of two minutes.
"That was—amazing!" he gushed. "Geezus, you majorly saved me, mate! You just came in and talked and they—and you—and even Morgan was like—bloody brilliant, you were!"
"Yes, well, I have never been a man to condone bullying," said Sherlock, staring pointedly at him. "Nor is your father. Is he not aware of these future delinquents hounding you?"
Before Henry could stutter out a response, his sister replied for him. "He's too chicken to say." Leslie continued, "And they don't physically fight, not really, though Morgan did give Baron a bloody nose last year. Mostly Henry just nearly pisses himself at the sight of them."
"Oi, language! I'll tell Mum!" Leslie promptly ignored her younger brother.
"How did you figure it out, though? Not even I considered his mum having an affair," she went on.
"Easy. His clothes were crumpled and stained, a sign of inattentiveness. Why would his mother be distracted? Perhaps work. Unless you take into account that she's a stay at home mum. Obvious. So what's diverting her attention? You also have his acting out; that points to home trouble and arguing parents. Issues in matrimony, neglect, and rotten behavior—add them all up, and you have an affair."
"What about the mailman?" she pursued.
"That was mostly guesswork. My first instinct was milkman, but you never do see them quite often anymore, do you? Hmm." He tilted his head, eyes narrowed in thought. "Which one were you again?"
"Leslie Lestrade," she answered. "This is Henry and Tessa. Are you our sitter, then?"
"Apparently. My name is Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes."
"Lovely," said Leslie. "Let's go in then, shall we? Tessa seems 'bout ready for a change."
Sherlock's look went sour as the children bustled past him into the flat and the smell of the youngest's undoubtedly full diaper wafted up to his nostrils.
"Lovely," he repeated tartly.
Words failed to describe the scene John and Lestrade arrived to back at Baker Street. Mrs. Hudson led them up, assuring Lestrade that she had fed the children a proper meal, and how cute all his little angels were.
John didn't know what he expected: fires, spontaneous combustion, chemicals, edible poisons, body parts. Chaos, maybe, but certainly not this.
Sherlock sitting perfectly normal, holding a baby (the proper way, mind you) on the couch, with two elder children chattering away on the floor beside his legs, fiddling with an ancient-looking abacus.
"Oh, you're back," he said casually, causing the the boy and girl to turn towards the intruders. "Dad!" they both cried, and ran up to meet their father.
"Hey, kids," the inspector greeted, giving them each a kiss on the head. "You were well-behaved, yes?"
John glanced towards the adult still cradling the drooling infant. "How about you?" he asked sternly.
The detective was unamused.
"Thanks for keeping an eye on them," Lestrade said quietly to Sherlock, who blinked at the gratitude.
"No problem," he said back, without a trace of sarcasm in his tone.
"Dad, did you catch the bad guy?" asked Henry.
"Yes, did you apprehend the suspects I led you to?" Sherlock demanded.
Lestrade straightened triumphantly. "They'll be spend tonight and many more behind bars. Right, Dr. Watson?"
"Certainly," John affirmed, smiling. "So...how did everything go here?"
"Great!" Leslie exclaimed, much to her father's surprise. She was rarely so spirited. "Sherlock taught us all sorts of scientific stuff—and we watched crime shows on the telly, and he showed us everything that was wrong, so we could do it better in our heads!"
"Yeah, Dad, Sherlock rocks at Cluedo," Henry added, "I never knew the vicitim could be the perpetrator!"
John glared. "They can't—"
Before he could go off on a rant, Mrs. Hudson shushed them all. That's when the rest heard it, too. Tessa was stuttering aloud, her mouth working furiously, trying to form words.
"De, de, de—"
"Tessa, luv, are you trying to speak?" asked Lestrade excitedly. "Go on, then."
"De-deduck-sion?" Tessa squeaked, ending with an adorable laugh of accomplishment.
Dead silence fell over the room.
"Oh, my," mouthed Mrs. Hudson, glancing between the happy toddler and her baffled father.
"She said deduction," John deadpanned. "Deduction, is what she said, isn't it?"
"Yep!" chirped Henry. "Brilliant, huh?"
Lestrade retrieved his child from Sherlock's arms. "Thanks," he said blandly.
"At least it was a word," the detective defended. "Three syllables, no less. I'd be proud."
The corners of Lestrade's mouth quirked up. "Yeah, I am," he admitted. "Alright, time to get home, kids. Say goodbye to Sherlock and Dr. Watson."
John gave them all a cheery wave and Mrs. Hudson left with a pleasant goodbye. Leslie and Henry, however, went right up to Sherlock sodding Holmes ad hugged him around the middle. For the first time since he'd known the detective, Sherlock was at a complete and utter loss. More surprising was his lack of revulsion to the hug.
What really topped it all off was little Tessa, who squirmed in her father's arms so bad he was forced to oblige and stick her close to Sherlock's face, where she gave him a sloppy baby kiss on the cheek.
"Bye!" the siblings called, as the Lestrade family departed down the stairs. Only when the front door finally shut did John gather enough of his bearings to speak.
"That was..." Once again, words failed to described the scene. "...possibly the most touching thing I've ever witnessed."
"Please, stop," Sherlock groaned long-sufferingly.
"No, really," John insisted. "God, of all times to misplace my camera, why now? When I so desperately need to memorialize the moment?"
"You do remember that I am more than capable of smothering you with a pillow in your sleep and hiding all evidence if you fail to desist this instance."
"But you won't," John pointed out unconcernedly. Sherlock debated it.
"You're right. I'd pin it on Anderson. That is besides the point." He sent John a withering look. "The threat remains."
"Okay, okay, I'll lay off," the doctor relented. In earnest, he did add, "Honestly, though, you actually seemed to do well with those kids. They certainly enjoyed your company, which is more than most will admit to." John being a blatant exception, of course. "Think you'll consider watching them again?"
Sherlock scoffed. "Please, John. I have much more adequate ways of occupying my time other than minding a group of children."
John failed to be impressed. "Uh huh. Which is?"
When he received no direct answer, it was no surprise, so he went forth and switched on the telly. Meanwhile, Sherlock had procured his phone from somewhere and was violently abusing the keypad in search of some answer. John knew he had found it went his flatmate let a small sound of victory and began dialing.
Feigning interest in the television, John tried to pretend he was not totally eavesdropped on whatever Sherlock was planning to do.
"Hello? Is this Mrs. Freida Morgan? Yes, my name is Donovan Anderson and I am calling to inform you about your son's recent behavior issues at school." The woman on the other line spoke. "Well, bullying, for one. Physical and mental. And may I add that, such marks on a permanent record do not bode well to prospective universities.
John merely stared. It was like watching the telly, only better.
Another load of words from the mother, much sharper than the last.
Sherlock stroked his chin in thought.
"My advice? Stop arguing with his father over your growing infidelity and spend more time with dealing with your son's disciplinary issues. Though it will cut into your time with the mailman, I'm sure your weekly regime of Deliver and Receive can wait."
Without waiting for the sputtering outcry from the opposite line, the detective hung up and cast the phone aside.
"Well, I sincerely doubt he will be giving Henry Lestrade any trouble again," Sherlock declared, supremely self-satisfied. He had obviously relished toying with the foolish woman over the phone.
And John couldn't help but crack a smile, because no matter how vehemently he might deny, Sherlock sounded almost like he really cared.
Sherlock gives me such a 'bully victim' vibe that I imagine he would take no mercy on such brutes, especially if they were after poor nerds who were also Lestrade's children!
If you guys want more, just request it. Reviews are appreciated!