A/N: Written for the shkinkmeme prompt: I want Guy Ritchie verse (aka Robert Downey Jr version) Holmes to be pregnant with a daughter, and he's falling so in love with his unborn child that he speaks to her often, even singing to her in French when she keeps kicking him in his sleep. Watson is the loving, doting father. He does whatever he can to keep Holmes happy. Perhaps Holmes becomes worried about whether or not their daughter will survive the birth and Watson comforts him with touches, kisses, belly rubs, you name it. And when the baby is born (they name her Nina, and she has Holmes' tan skin, and dark brown hair and eyes) Holmes discovers the joy of suckling her, even though he feels a twinge of sadness that she is no longer safe inside his womb..
Watson is the loving, doting father. He does whatever he can to keep Holmes happy. Perhaps Holmes becomes worried about whether or not their daughter will survive the birth and Watson comforts him with touches, kisses, belly rubs, you name it.
And when the baby is born (they name her Nina, and she has Holmes' tan skin, and dark brown hair and eyes) Holmes discovers the joy of suckling her, even though he feels a twinge of sadness that she is no longer safe inside his womb..
Thus the news that he himself was pregnant was something of a shock. He'd always known it was possible, of course, but he thought it such a remote possibility as to be ignored almost completely.
Watson didn't seem to know how to take it at first either. He'd reluctantly arrived at the diagnosis only after ruling out virtually every other possibility even though the evidence for that conclusion was incontrovertible. "I don't understand how-"
"We had sex, that's how," Holmes stated quite matter-of-factly.
"Yes, I realize that, but we took precautions . . . "
"Evidently not enough." Holmes stretched out on the tiger rug, trying to find the small lump near his pubic bone that had convinced Watson of his true condition. No matter his feelings on the subject-which were still quite muddled-he had to admire the tiny being for existing despite their efforts to prevent it.
Such determination was fitting for their offspring.
All of his previously assumed opinions about parenthood to the contrary, Holmes quickly warmed up to the idea of having a baby with Watson. He was not keen on the physical changes that had already begun, but he resolved to treat it as a long-term experiment. He could record the changes in appetite, physical appearance, and capabilities, and should a case ever arise where the suspect was pregnant, he would be better able to determine if the individual could have been capable of a particular action or activity.
Watson was enthused with the idea as soon as he recovered from the surprise and he was quite willing to indulge Holmes in anything, provided it was for the sake of the baby. Holmes rather took advantage of that willingness in the early days, when nausea and exhaustion were his constant companions and it was quite convenient to have someone fetch for him.
His first experiments concerned food and what was best to inflict upon a sensitive stomach, in what amounts, and at what intervals. Watson served to obtain various items for him and quickly dispose of anything that didn't agree with him. When the food experiment went poorly and Holmes brought up everything he tried, Watson would take him to bed, ply him with ginger tea, and rub his belly until he fell asleep or felt well enough to try eating again.
It wasn't long before the child made its presence known in a visible lump in his lower abdomen. Clothes still concealed it, but he and Watson knew and would often lie in bed or in the tub with their hands cradled over it. Watson would murmur into Holmes' ear about the baby's approximate size and weight and tell him what would come in the weeks ahead.
Some of it sounded uncomfortable, but Holmes looked forward to it in a way he'd never anticipated anything before. That his body was, at that very moment, growing Watson's child seemed more like a dream than an actual fact, but the burgeoning bulge below his waist indicated just that. It truly was a miracle.
He was becoming so very sentimental, and somehow he didn't mind one bit.
The only trouble was when he said or did something in front of Lestrade or other Yard officers or even Mrs. Hudson that was inconsistent with his old self and they gave him strange looks as if wondering about his sanity. His initial reaction was to fear that they would guess something had changed, but then he remembered who he was dealing with and was reassured. They wouldn't have any idea. Mycroft was the only person who could possibly guess.
They went to see Mycroft at his club once they had gotten used to the idea, which ended up being a few weeks after Watson's startled pronouncement. The child was a definite lump by then, but Holmes could still wear his usual clothes and he was eager to see how long it took his brother to see the truth.
As soon as they had exchanged their usual greetings and preliminary observations about one another, Mycroft commented, "Something significant has happened. No, don't tell me, I'll figure it out." While Holmes stood still, Mycroft slowly circled him, silently noting any number of details about his brother's person.
Watson watched with a smug look. He and Holmes had bet on how long it would take Mycroft to guess correctly and how many incorrect guesses he would make. Watson was foolishly certain that Mycroft couldn't possibly get it right the first time. Holmes knew he would.
"Well," Mycroft said finally. "I see you changed your mind about breeding."
Holmes shifted his weight slightly, holding out his hand, and Watson's face reddened as he pulled out ten pounds and slapped the paper into Holmes' waiting palm.
"You should know better than to bet against a Holmes," Mycroft remonstrated as he gestured for them to sit down.
"So I'm learning," Watson said ruefully.
"Shirley, if I may ask, what made you change your mind?"
Holmes exchanged a quick glance with Watson and Mycroft said, "Ah, I see. This wasn't planned."
"No, it rather took us by surprise," Watson admitted.
"But you're pleased, both of you. Good. My country home is, of course, at your disposal should you wish to have your confinement outside of London."
"Yes," Holmes said immediately.
"We hadn't talked about that yet," Watson said, looking at Holmes as he said it.
"I refuse to have Nanny underfoot," Holmes countered.
"Sherlock, you need to learn to discuss things with Watson if you expect to raise this child successfully," Mycroft reprimanded. He then steered the conversation to other topics as they had their tea.
Holmes gave serious thought to his brother's advice and decided he was probably right. Mycroft had more experience in actually getting along with people than he did. Holmes informed Watson what he had concluded on several points, including his desire to leave London for the birth and Watson listened quietly.
Watson had many questions, and Holmes had to walk him through his thought process-much like at the end of a case-but eventually Watson agreed with him in every particular, save one. "If anything should go wrong, you would be better off in London, near to help and the hospitals."
"What could go wrong? Babies have been born successfully for generations."
"Many things can go wrong! Do you realize how many children are born at the cost of the parent's life?"
"You're a doctor. I will be fine," Holmes said reasonably.
"I cannot bear to be responsible for both of your lives, not like this," Watson said miserably. "I'm a surgeon, not a midwife, and the cost of failure is far too high."
Watson's distress troubled Holmes, so he sat in silent thought until he found what might be an acceptable compromise. "Choose a specialist in the field and we will keep him on retainer. We could even put him up in Mycroft's house; there's a sufficient number of rooms. Then you will have someone on hand to ensure our well being."
"Do you have any idea what that would cost?"
"We can afford it," Holmes said confidently. "And if it would reassure you, the cost is worthwhile."
Watson nodded slowly, then chuckled. "Listen to you being reasonable," he teased.
One issue he hadn't yet decided was how long to continue taking cases. He'd already been accepting or rejecting inquiries based in part upon their potential for physical injury rather than just their interest, but the vast majority did not actually pose any danger to his person no matter what his condition.
He would have to base his decision upon his physical appearance, since he was certain no one at Scotland Yard would consult him when he was visibly pregnant-even they would behave in a protective fashion toward him if that were the case. So he had some time left if the current rate of growth continued; he judged he'd have through the month of April at least, since the child was due to appear in mid to late August. After that he could keep himself entertained with solving cases via correspondence, even when they relocated to Chichester.
For several weeks, life went according to plan. Holmes remained as busy as he could stand to be with cases both dull and interesting, not because of the money-he had enough of that to retire for good if he wished-but so he could feel he'd done enough that he could take a while off.
Watson interviewed several specialists, many of whom balked at the idea of spending time away from London, and ended up introducing Holmes to a midwife whose children and grandchildren lived outside of London in the direction of Chichester, so she was quite willing to stay there for a time.
Holmes was in a bad mood when she first came by but that didn't upset her in the slightest, and when he questioned her qualifications, she merely smiled. "I've been doing this for nearly as long as you've been alive, child. I haven't lost a soul yet and I don't expect you'll be the first."
Her manner reassured him-Watson's concern about something going wrong had lodged in his mind and whispered worries in his ear ever since-and he confirmed his agreement with Watson's choice after she'd left.
By early April Holmes was beginning to have trouble with the fit of his trousers over his slowly growing abdomen. He had long ago dispensed with the belt he usually wore but now he had to be mindful of his buttons as he sat down, there being a definite risk that they would come clean off.
Watson tried to convince him to buy a larger pair but he was adamant that he would retain his current wardrobe so long as he was accepting cases from Scotland Yard (even Lestrade could notice new clothing and wonder at the reason for it). Watson tried to argue that most people bought new clothing when their current clothing was as worn as some of Holmes' articles were, but Holmes remained unmoved.
Not long after the Great Trouser Debate, Lestrade sent an urgent summons. A string of burglaries in an upscale area had confounded the Yard; they were fairly certain the same individual was behind them but could not prove it due to an overall lack of evidence. The latest burglary was reported that morning and Lestrade wanted Holmes to give them some leads.
Holmes grumbled at first, but when he saw the lack of obvious evidence (he had suspected the lack was due to ineptitude) he was eager to accept the challenge. There were clear traces of the intruder's entry, but once inside the man had done an admirable job of hiding his tracks.
He carefully combed the house, paying particular attention to the room where the valuables were kept, and was intrigued that there were no signs of the man's departure.
Lestrade waited impatiently and finally demanded, "Well?"
Holmes sighed, then rattled off the height, build, and likely occupation of the intruder, that he covered his shoes with newspaper while indoors, and that he had chosen his targets based on familiarity with the homes after being hired to perform work inside them.
When Lestrade turned to leave to follow up with this information, Holmes said, "You needn't exert any effort to catch him. He's still here."
He led Lestrade and his men to a closet near the burgled room and opened the door with a flourish. A red-faced, angry man matching Holmes' description down to the newspaper on his shoes leaped out and started swinging his fists, his very first blow catching Holmes square in the stomach. The air rushed from Holmes' lungs and he doubled over, straining to breathe.
As soon as the man was restrained and being hauled out of the house, Watson hurried to Holmes' side. By then he could stand up straight again, though his breathing was still impaired and he felt light-headed. He wasn't sure what he said to Watson, but Watson made their excuses and hurried him into a cab.
"Deep breaths, Holmes." Watson had to coach him so he didn't hyperventilate along the way, and he put him straight to bed once they were home.
Holmes did not speak until Watson asked where the brute had hit him. He laid his hand on the spot just below his ribs. "Too high to do any damage, I think, but very effective at making it hard to breathe."
Watson felt for signs of internal bleeding and he relaxed perceptibly upon finding none. "Yes, I think you're right," he said, sliding his hand down to rest upon the child. "How are you feeling?"
Holmes took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Better, but that's it. I'm done."
Watson sat on the edge of the bed and scrutinized him. "You're certain?"
Watson left him to rest for a while, and Lestrade stopped in soon after. Holmes listened in with idle interest.
"I came to see how he's doing."
"He'll be fine. He's resting."
"Glad to hear it." There was some awkward throat clearing. "Mr. Holmes, is he all right? He's been acting rather odd lately. Odd for him, I should say."
"He's been overworking himself, that's all. I'm going to make him take a holiday to the country for a while to rest."
"Ah, I see. Good luck to you, then. I don't gather he's the sort to enjoy a holiday."
"No, he really isn't," Watson admitted freely.
Lestrade took his leave shortly thereafter, but Holmes had stopped listening. Instead, he was focused on a strange feeling in his stomach. It was nearly impossible to describe, but felt almost like a fluttering low in his abdomen. It was over in a moment and he wondered if it was just his imagination.
The odd sensation recurred the next morning as he laid awake in bed, too apathetic to move. Watson was still asleep. The fluttering lasted longer this time, so he had time to place his hand over his bump, but no motion could be felt externally.
The child did respond to his touch, though: the fluttering slowed. He rubbed slightly and murmured, "Sleep, baby," was was delighted when the flutters ceased.
"What'd you say?" Watson drawled, sounding mostly asleep.
"Nothing," Holmes said quickly. Watson turned onto his other side and began snoring and Holmes was left to marvel that he could feel their child move.