A/N: Ok, this story is a little far-fetched but I just couldn't stop myself from writing it. I'm still working on whether this is going to make it as a full length story. So it would be nice to know what you think. It has not been Beta'ed, so will most probably have spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Set post-Return.
Sherlock stared up at 221B nervously. He knew he should go to see Mycroft first, after all they were family but after three years away Sherlock only wanted to go home and relax.
He wanted to walk into the flat and see John, but he knew that wasn't going to happen. John had moved out of 221 just after the funeral. Of course there was always the chance that he could have moved back while he was away, but he found that unlikely. John had been devastated by his supposed death, and everything Sherlock knew about his friend told him that the man was too sensitive to continue living there. It was probably for the best; after all he was back from the dead. John was not going to take that very well, not at all. So he'd give it sometime. Hopefully Mycroft could lay the ground work. Once Sherlock had told his brother he was alive, of course. But right now, he just wanted to settle back into his flat and relax.
Pushing open the door, Sherlock listened. He'd expected Mrs. Hudson to come running out of her flat at the sound of the door, cricket bat in hand. - He smiled to himself. - But there was no sign of her. Figuring she was out shopping Sherlock took the steps slowly. It was strange being back after so long. The world was different, he was different but 221 was exactly the same. Same carpet on the stairs, same wallpaper. If only everything was the same, if only John was there to welcome him.
A sound from above suddenly caught his attention and Sherlock found himself wondering if maybe Mrs. Hudson had re-let the flat. Why hadn't he thought of that before? Of course she would have. She needed the income. Taking a breath he debated what to do, carry on or turn back. Deciding to just be sure, after all, it may be an intruder, Sherlock continued up the stairs.
He walked cautiously into the living room and froze. On the floor sat a young red-haired woman playing with a dark haired girl of about eighteen months. Sherlock stared at the pair, before politely announcing his presence with a cough. When the woman turned, her face paled.
"Do not be alarmed, I was not aware the flat had been re-let."
She continued to stare at him like she was seeing a ghost, which in a manner of speaking she was. Sherlock deduced she recognized him from his times as a front page oddity, although that had been almost three years. Undoubtedly Mrs. Hudson has shown her a photo. Her shuttered words confirmed his suspicions.
"Y-you're…. You're….?" her eyes widened as she got to her feet, lifting the child and carrying her on her hip as she walked towards him. "…You can't be. - Your Sherlock Holmes."
Sherlock straightened his spine. "Yes. - And you are?"
Now it was Sherlock's turn to stare, pale faced and wide eyes. "Watson?" he repeated. John had gotten married. Of course John had gotten married, it was perfectly logical. He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting.
Well that was a lie. He'd been expecting to be able to stroll back into John Watson's life and pick up where they'd left off. Sherlock swallowed his disappointment and turned to stare at the child, her eyes so like John as she stared back at him with curiosity and something akin to recognition. So John was a husband and a father. Well, that was good, wasn't it? All Sherlock had ever wanted was John to be happy. But this sudden change in the man's circumstances meant that they couldn't continue their adventures. He could not allow John to put his life at risk knowing he had a wife and child waiting for him. No, he would find somewhere else to live and carry on alone. He had been solving crimes for years before he met John Watson, he could do that again.
Expect a voice in his head was telling him he couldn't. That it wouldn't be the same without John there to watch over him. Sherlock blinked back tears that he hadn't shed since the day he'd said goodbye to his only friend. Deciding it was best to leave; he turned on his heel and rushed down the stairs, Mary Watson calling after him.
He was a few steps from the front door when it opened to reveal the two people he'd spent three years missing, Mrs. Hudson pushing a smart pram, while John followed her in with three large carrier bags, in each hand.
The scream elicited by Mrs. Hudson set off a high pitched wail from the small child. Sherlock watched in horror as the old woman collapsed back into the full arms of John Watson. The man himself stared in shock at the resurrected detective, his mouth hanging open. Behind him Sherlock could hear the sound of running feet.
"S-S-Sher-lock?" John stuttered.
"Hello John." he gave a shy smile.
The room was filled with awkward silence and strain. Sherlock had returned to his old grey leather chair, watching John tend to a pale, shaken Mrs. Hudson. On the floor sat John's little girl, staring up at him intrigued, while her mother fussing around in the kitchen. The small newborn lay peacefully in the nearby Moses basket. Sherlock watched the scene with a feeling of not belonging. Finally John had convinced Mrs. Hudson that everything was alright, through the woman still looked at Sherlock like he was some kind of monster.
"He's real? - He's alive?" she asked nervously.
John glared at Sherlock, his jaw clenched tight. "It would appear so. - Though he may not remain that way." John was on his feet, his arms crossed over his chest.
The two men stared at each other. Sherlock knew he was going to have to explain what had happened, how he'd done it.
"Well!" he snapped loudly.
"John." hushed Mrs. Hudson looking at the basket.
"Outside. Now!" John ordered angrily, his gaze still locked on Sherlock.
The detective got to his feet and followed the doctor out of the room, down the stairs, cutting through Mrs. Hudson's flat; they exited into the bare backyard. John drew to a halt, Sherlock a few steps behind him. The doctor didn't turn to look at Sherlock, not for a few minutes. When the older man finally did turn his eyes were raw, angry and filled with something Sherlock couldn't quite place.
"You're alive?" he said through clenched teeth.
"Obviously." Sherlock replied flippantly and instantly regretted it when fury filled John gaze.
They silent stared at each other for a few moments.
"Where have you been?"
"Here and there." another cold glare had Sherlock talking again. "Europe, the Middle East, America."
Huh, the big question. The one Sherlock had been expected even before he'd set food on English soil. "I had no choice. Your lives were in danger." not enough information, Sherlock deduced from the tightening of John's jaw. "Moriarty had people waiting to kill you, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade if I didn't jump. - So I jumped."
John continued to stare at him with a blank expression. "So you faked your suicide to protect us."
"Did Mycroft know?" John voice was cold. Empty. Sherlock had expected shouting, yelling, maybe even a fist fight. Instead there was nothing, and that was a thousand times harder to take.
They were silent again, the tension a physical thing between them. So much so that eventually it snapped and Sherlock was on the receiving end of the backlash when John's tightly clenched fist swung around to connect with his jaw.
Sherlock remembered the feel of the man's fist for their previous encounter, only this time there was more force and fury behind the swing. There was blood this time and pain. This punch held all the strength of John military career.
"I thought you were dead!" John yelled very loud. "Fuck it Sherlock, do you have any idea what watching you jump did to me! Do you? I was in therapy for a year!"
"It was the only way!" Sherlock yelled back. "It was you, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade or Me. I made the right choice!"
"For all of us. Logically one life was better than three. - Beside I wasn't dead. I always intended on returning."
"Oh that's alright then. We'll just forget the months of pain. The funeral. - I'll just forget the nightmares watching you jump caused!"
Sherlock looked at the tears filling his friends gaze and felt a fresh wave of guilt. "It hasn't been easy for me either John. Not having you there at my side. Knowing the pain I'd caused you all. But it was to keep you safe and I don't regret my actions."
John stared breathlessly at his resurrected friend for an eternity. Sherlock spat blood into the small patch of weeds before John shouldered past him to march, literally, into Mrs. Hudson's kitchen. After a few moments Sherlock followed after him, finding the doctor piling ice into one of Mrs. Hudson's tea-towels.
"Here." he handed over.
"Thank you." Sherlock took the dampening towel and pressed the covered ice to his jaw, dropping into the chair at the old woman kitchen table. John remained standing by the counter.
The room filled with a strained silence so thick he could be cut with a knife.
Sherlock was the first to break it. "So you got married?" he asked casually. "Congratulations."
"What?" John's head snapped around to stare wide eyed at Sherlock.
"The young woman up stair… Mary?"
John's jaw clenched tight. "Is no relation of any kind." he stated matter-of-factly.
"But the name, Watson?"
"Coincidence. - She's not my wife Sherlock, she's the nanny."
Sherlock sat dumb-founded, his mind sorting through the fact as fast as he could, but nothing was making sense. He even worried that he'd lost his touch after being away for so long. "But…the children are yours?"
John smiled sadly, shaking his head. "No."
Sherlock didn't understand were the relief came from, but it flooded his body quickly. John wasn't married; he didn't have children, which was wonderful news. It meant they could carry no from there they left off. They could go back to solving cases together, as soon as he cleared his name and reputation that was.
"Not technically." John was saying, interrupting Sherlock's thoughts.
John cleared his throat. "I have sole custody; I've raised them, but biologically there not mine."
"Harry's?" It was the only logical explanation, Sherlock deduced, though it lead him to wonder who their father was, seeing as Harry was gay.
Huh. "Their father? - A donor no doubt. But why got to all the trouble to get a sperm donor only to abandon the children to you."
John stared at him for a long time, as if trying to communicate something telepathically. Something Sherlock wasn't getting.
"It was Harry's idea." John said after a few moments of contemplation. He sounded eager to make that point clear.
"That you care for her children?" Sherlock did not sound impressed, which wasn't all that unusual considering. After all, he'd never really like Harry.
"Their my children Sherlock." John insisted harshly. "Harry is merely their biological mother."
Sherlock stared at John. "You cannot be their father John."
The doctor rolled his eyes. "Of course I'm not their biological father, Harry's my sister that would be impossibly dangerous, immoral and I think even illegal. But as I have said I am their father, legally and emotionally. Beth calls me Daddy."
Sherlock dropped the tea-towel filled with ice on the table and stared at his friend. "John, so you adopted your sisters children, children she went out of her way to have despite never giving any indication that she wanted them." he frowned, his mind working through all the data. Then it hit him. John knew when it had because the detective's eyes widened to the size of Jupiter and his mouth hung open. "No." he gasped, shaking his head. "You didn't."
John nodded guiltily. "Yes, I'm afraid so."
Sherlock sat in the chair just staring into space. It had never even crossed his mind before. He'd completely forgotten all about it if he was truthful. He wasn't even sure why he'd done it in the first place. One of those illogical sentimental moments he had sometimes no doubt. But he could never have thought that this would…. Never. "Mine?"
John pulled up a chair on the other side of the table, nodding slightly, with a little shrug. "Yeah."
"But - But why? - What on earth possessed you to….Why?"
John smiled a little. "Like I said, it was Harry's idea." his head dropped into his hands. "I didn't exactly handle your death well Sherlock. Despite the months of therapy and moving out of here, I was in a bad way. I tried everything to get my life back on track; I got a proper job, started dating again, but nothing helped. I slipped into a depression. It was like before I meant you, the worlds just so….boring without you Sherlock."
"I'm sorry John." the detective sighed guiltily.
John kept his gaze fixed to the kitchen table. "Harry even tried to sort me out, can you believe it…" he smirked. "…she can't sort her own life out but is happy to do anything to get me back on the straight and narrow. - Anyway, when I received a letter from your solicitor asking to see me about your will, she came with me. I can't believe you made me the beneficiary of your will…."
"Who else?" Sherlock asked matter-of-factly.
John shrugged. "Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade… Mycroft."
"Hardly." Sherlock scoffed.
"He's missed you too Sherlock. I can't believe you didn't at least let him in on this insane plan of yours. - Whatever your plan was."
"And why would I have done that? - Beside, if I wanted the world to believe my death, you and sadly Mycroft were the two people they would look to. The slightest hint that your grief wasn't real would have ruined everything."
"What were you doing Sherlock? Three years."
"I will explain everything after you have. - Please continue."
John huffed. "Fine. Well, when we found out about the deposit you made I have to say I was more than a little shocked, it didn't seem like the kind of thing you would do."
"It was a lapse in judgment a long time ago." Sherlock dismissed.
"I figured it was some kind of experiment or other." John smiled. "To discover the suitability of frozen sperm or something."
"I hadn't thought of that." Sherlock frowned, ashamed at himself.
John couldn't help but laugh. "Anyway. As I thought it was one of your experiments, I dismissed it. But Harry suggested that maybe I should think about making a withdrawal. She advocated rather diplomatically that maybe the world needed an another Holmes."
Sherlock took a moment to think about that.
"I wasn't convinced. It seemed a little morbid if I'm honest. But I wasn't having any luck moving on. My dating skills hadn't improved. It seemed you were still able to chase them away from beyond the grave."
Sherlock smiled arrogantly.
"I'm glad you think it's funny. - Well eventually I gave up, well for the most part. I still go out but I'm not looking for long term. That was when Harry brought up the subject again, offering herself as an egg donor and surrogate. I really wasn't keen, but it turned out she'd already gone behind my back and done it. - She faked my signature on the documents, can you believe that?"
"Your signature is not all that hard to fake John." Sherlock remarked blandly.
"Thanks. That's not the point Sherlock. She did it without my consent. You left that in my charge and she…" his voice tightened with anger that swiftly vanished. "…I was furious with her, but she said it was too late and that I needed something to live for and as you were no longer here, your child would have to do."
John fell silent as his throat closed around the words. It had been three years and Sherlock was sitting in front of him, but the pain of losing his only friend was still there, it still hurt. Getting up from his seat he went in search of a glass of water. Taking a few deep gulps he turned around and leant back on the side. "She was right you know. Having Beth really did give me something to live for."
"Beth?" Sherlock queried.
John frowned at him. "Your mother's name was Elizabeth, I thought it fitting."
Sherlock swallowed hard. "Oh. Of course."
John had to smile. "Mycroft wasn't too happy."
"I can imagine." Sherlock mumbled tightly.
"He came round though. - Mrs. Hudson was overjoyed, insisted that I moved back here, so she could help me. It all seemed to run of auto after that, strangely. - Harry got clean and stayed clean. Two years now." he smiled proudly.
"What about the other child, the boy."
"Junior was my idea. I didn't want Beth to be an only child. Of course considering the relationships we have with our siblings, it doesn't bode well for happy families." John laughed. "Especially if they both take after their father."
A/N: So? You want more?