Well, this isn't quite the epic I had in mind when I finished It's a Wonderful Life, Sherlock Holmes—in fact, you could consider this a sort of AU to that fic. This is technically crack—the concept certainly is!—but it's crack that takes itself seriously. You can blame KCS for putting ideas in my head with her own kid!fics in the Star Trek: TOS and BBC Sherlock fandoms.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the original characters of SH22, nor do I own Sherlock Holmes, who is public domain. Non-canonical backstory, however, is very much mine.
==The Innocence of a Child==
Beth Lestrade finds herself the guardian of two boys when Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty are regressed in age to learn certain lessons about life in order to tackle the future.
Inspector Beth Lestrade stared at the toddlers sitting in the middle of her apartment floor and prayed desperately that her eyes were deceiving her. She blinked. They were still there, watching her, and a detached part of her wondered what was going through their two-year-old minds. At least, she figured they were two-year-olds.
This is so not happening to me. Please—let this be a dream!
The smaller of the toddlers apparently decided to shatter her frail hope. Something like recognition lit in his big grey eyes, and he rushed at her, happily shrieking, "Beeeth!" The little body struck her legs full-force, and she reached down instinctively to steady the small boy.
"Whoa there, Little Detective!" She froze. Did she seriously just say that?
The dark head buried itself into her legs, and she could not help but think this was just all kinds of awkward. The other toddler remained seated, but silent laughter lit his dark blue eyes. Oh, zed.
They were recognizably themselves, all right. Their basic facial features, their coloring… the big grey eyes were so very Sherlock Holmes, and the sharp blue eyes were so very James Moriarty.
And she'd though that that "visit" for the ghost of the real John H. Watson was just a dream. Ho boy.
"Sherlock," she said gently but firmly, "let go." Miracle of miracles, the age-regressed detective obeyed, with a radiant and completely unrepentant smile. Beth sighed but lifted him up into her arms, a rebellious part of her mind cooing over how completely adorable the pair of them looked in one-piece pajamas. for that matter, how adorable the two of them looked, period.
Zed, not good. Two minutes, and she was already melting.
She walked slowly towards the miniature Moriarty, who watched her impassively. She knelt down and said, "James?"
"Yeth?" Oh, golly, he had a lisp. The greatest criminal mastermind the world had ever seen, and he had an awfully cute lisp.
"Do you know who I am?" she said slowly and carefully. Genius though the kid undoubtedly was, she had no idea how much he understood or how well he could speak at this age.
A small crease appeared between the toddler's eyebrows. "Inthpectoh Lethtwahd," he replied, dragging out each syllable. Okay, so he recognized her, sort of—he looked as if he wondered how he knew that. Based on Sherlock's behavior, Beth figured that the two geniuses did not have adult minds in child bodies but minds fully as young as their bodies were.
And their memories hadn't been completely erased if both boys knew her. She was banking on suppressed memory, with just enough remembrance to function properly. It made sense, right?
Well, as much sense as any of this crazy turn of events made. What the zed was she going to tell Greyson?
"Well, sir, it's like this—John Watson, the real John Watson, showed up at my apartment in the middle of the night to tell me that the future depends on Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, and that they have to learn certain lessons, including how to get along with each other. He even warned me that they'd both revert to a really young age so that they could learn as they grow up. Every time one of them learns an important lesson, he'll age physically and mentally. Oh, no, sir, this isn't a hallucination or anything like that. Just run a DNA test on both of them."
Zed, it sounded insane to her.
James's dark blue eyes began to well up with tears. "Oh, hey, honey, you're all right!" Beth soothed, praying that he'd buy it. There was probably just too much information for even his brain to process all at once.
Sherlock finally turned to regard his former archenemy, curiosity in his deep grey eyes. Beth wondered if he was about to overload as well, or if the transition was easier for him because some part of his mind recognized that he knew Beth and that he was safe with her. James would have no such assurance.
The little erstwhile criminal began to cry in earnest, and Beth hastened to comfort him. Teenagers and smart-alecky street kids were one thing, but her tough exterior just crumbled before babies and toddlers. She was such a sucker.
She lifted James up on her free arm, grateful now that her own siblings had made her hold them two at a time in the past. "Shh, honey, shh. You're okay. You're okay."
He still wasn't buying it.
Sherlock stared at his fellow toddler with unabashed inquisitiveness. "Why he cwyin', Beth?"
Good grief, he had the most adorable baby voice…
"He's confused right now, Sherlock."
"Mm-hmm. He's not sure of… ah, why he's here."
"Oh." Sherlock looked down and frowned, obviously contemplating this to the best of his baby abilities. "Why he here?"
Half-pint Moriarty was starting to give her a headache—that, at least, remained unchanged. "He's going to be part of our family, sweetie." Fate, thy name is fickle.
Grey eyes widened. "He iz?"
Sherlock beamed at James. "Hey, don' cwy! You'w gon' be pah uv ouw fam'wy!" Yep, Sherlock definitely knew he was supposed to be with Beth in some way, shape, or form. Thank goodness.
Mini-Moriarty paused in his sobs to eye his onetime archenemy. He said nothing, but the hunger in his large blue eyes cut straight through Beth's frustration and nearly broke her heart. Had Moriarty ever been loved by anyone before?
"C'mon, kiddos," she said at last, shifting her hold on them both. "It's time for you to meet Dr. Watson."
"Bozzell!" Sherlock cried happily.
It took no more than five seconds to figure that one out, and, when Beth did, she could have turned into a puddle of Sherlockian goo right then and there. "That's right, Sherlock." She was smiling like an idiot—she just knew it. "We're going to go see your Boswell."
Awww, I just turned into a puddle of Sherlockian goo! ^_^ C'mon, baby!Sherlock and baby!Moriarty? How much more adorable can you get?
So, when I find time to work on this (don't expect regular updates), I'm going to be having so much fun with it. You will, too. *Jedi hand-wave* You will. And, yes, you're going to see little Sherlock and James grow up from babyhood to adulthood—and it's gonna be one whale of a ride!