Today, the baby was to arrive. I'm still unsure whether I want it, babies are noisy, messy and take up a lot of space and time. But John was so persistent, he loved children and he wanted to be a father so badly, I had finally relented. My husband always finds a way to persuade me to do whatever he wants (something I still can't fathom).
Currently, my spouse was running around the apartment checking we had everything ready for the child's arrival. I had told him repeatedly that I had everything itemised but it was one of his little ways to calm his nerves "Babies rarely arrive on their due dates, love. Obstetricians are horribly inaccurate" I called out, not bothering to move from what John called my 'thinking position' on the sofa. John came back into the room, flushed
"But what if he comes and we're not ready?"
"John, you're an ex-solider, there's no way you would have forgotten anything. Even if you did I would have informed you. You made me read that book didn't you?" Earlier, I had reluctantly picked up one of the books John had bought 'Baby and Me' which listed all the 'Do's and Don'ts' of parenting. I thought it could be interesting , may even make a child seem as if they were something other than an incredibly tedious small person unable to do anything themselves. It hadn't worked. This little thing(John had told me to stop calling it that) – baby was going to take up all of John's time. What was I going to do when he was constantly preoccupied with nappies and toys that he barely had time to work on cases- I always work so much better when he's with me-? Barely had time for me at all?
"I know, I know. I'm just worried" Of course, I had known this from one glance, but John would always still tell me as I tended to forget about emotions when assessing someone. John was different though, after three years together, two of those married, I knew every movement and expression and, at least in him, the emotion that they portrayed. So now, I stepped forward and pulled him into my arms rubbing disjointed circles on his back in a way that I knew he found to be calming.
After a few minutes, John's stance began to slacken and he leant against me. I pulled him over to the sofa and sat him on my lap. He was exhausted, he had spent the last few nights wide awake by my side fretting and listening for the phone, in case the baby came early. John moved away and lay down, his head on my lap, I moved across the sofa so that he could lie upon my chest. "Why don't you sleep? You don't do well on less than 8 hours."
"No- not t-iii-red. What if she phones?" he yawned widely, effectively abolishing his point. I just stared at down him, dragging my fingers through his rumpled hair. "I'll tell you"
"Fine, fine" he said giving in, and buried his face in my shirt. I continued running my fingers through his hair until I heard the muffled snorts which meant he had fallen to sleep.
It's now Tuesday ,2.34 am, meaning the baby is 5 days late. As if the little creature had no idea about how rude it was too keep us all waiting. I, of course, usually wouldn't have cared for manners but this was putting a great deal of stress on John, something I can't stand to see. I hadn't been down to Bart's lately, John not wanting to be alone if the surrogate had called, so Molly was bringing up some toes heavily infected with gout at 11am for my latest experiment. I was already awake because John was restless and my secondary experiment needed to be observed in the dark.
"Brrrrrrrrrrrrrring, Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring" the sharp wring filtered through the silent apartment, almost surprising me. I didn't move. I didn't need to. It was obvious who was calling. It was her. The baby was coming.
John picked up the phone in our bedroom and I could hear the excitement and fear in his voice from my place at the kitchen table. He didn't sound tired, despite the fact he had just been awoken in the middle of the night, he was alert and his words were clear (something I summarised was form his training as a solider). I could hear John bumbling about in the room from the sounds of the wardrobe doors and material being pulled he hurriedly dressed. "Lara. Stay calm." There was a pause; I walked to the bedroom so I'd be able to hear Lara's words by listening against John's ear. John gave me a wide grin but his expression was tense "You're at Bart's?" Lara gave a sort of grunt "We'll be there in 5 minutes" He put the phone down and began running around the flat, "He's coming Sherlock. He's coming! We have to be quick; the nurses have said it won't be long." He began looking around the room frantically "Where are the clothes? We need something to dress him in, and the formula, and the nappies!" His movement we're getting more and more violent in his hast, throwing sofa cushions around, searching. "Mrs Hudson moved the bag you packed downstairs, so it would be easier to get"
"Why didn't you say before? We have to get going" John yelled behind him descending the stairs, "Sherlock. Come on. We're going to be dads" his voice raised an octave at the end showing again his complete excitement. I ran after him, mind whirring. Me. A father.
John had already hailed a cab, thanking God for London's abundance of them. " St Bart's" he snapped as I slammed the door. I barely took any notice.
I hadn't thought about this before, I had only considered what a disturbance the little thing- baby- would be. Me. Who'd want me as a father? I had never been able to show, or feel, love towards anyone other than John. This poor child would be raised with one warm, loving, parent and the other manipulative and cold. I couldn't let everything slip, I had to work on cases and what about my experiments? "Sherlock?" John leaned across the seat, taking my hand.
"Mmmmm?" I said, picturing a small dark-haired child crying incessantly, knocking over a beaker of chemicals, badgering me as I worked on a case, shouting at me for being a horrible parent-John siding with it.
John knew me too, to him I no longer put up walls, he always saw the real me (why hadn't he run off years ago?) "What is it? You should be excited" John was practically bouncing in his seat. He was going to make such a great dad.
"What if it doesn't like me?" I admitted, being with John had changed me, I had started to feel things. Have the emotions I had blocked out.
"He, it's a boy. " John corrected, voice tightening slightly, pained that I hadn't referred to it as a human being. His voice softened again, ever the comforter, "He'll love you, you'll be a hero to him. Don't worry, love."
"But I'll be a terrible father" I had never felt so under confident, so vulnerable.
"No, you won't. When you see him, you'll feel it." I hadn't mentioned that I didn't understand his feelings of excitement, but he knew exactly what I had been thinking.
Due to the time of night, London was almost deserted so we had avoided all the traffic that could have slowed us so much. So right now we were pulling up to the curb outside the hospital. That pavement which holds so many distant memories, I still feel like I haven't made that up to John.
We ran up to the Maternity Ward, hand in hand, checked Lara's room number and burst through the door. The pallid-skinned, dark haired woman was drenched in sweat out of breath but seemed to be resting.
John had chosen her, with Mycroft's aid, so that the child would somewhat resemble me. I had wanted the surrogate to look like John, but had been overruled- John was always so good at persuading me. It would be a game of chance as to who was the biological father as we used a mix of sperm.
"I thought- I thought we were going to be too late" said John his voice cracking with emotion. He sat down beside the bed and took Lara's hand, they had become quite close. I hated the fact that someone else was so close to John, but could bear it in this circumstance. Despite this however I wondered over and placed my hand on John's shoulder possessively. John turned to look at me, but just then a contraction hit Lara and John turned back, wincing slightly as she squeezed his hand. I wanted to wrench him away-this woman was causing him pain- but didn't. She needed that. Lara's sister was on her other side wiping her head with a damp cloth. "How are you?" I asked politely.
John gave me a Look, the one that meant I had said the wrong thing, I raised my eyebrow enquiringly but he didn't have time to answer "How am I? How am I? I'm pushing another human being out of my body-"
Her sister, I hadn't bothered to learn her name, spoke up "Maybe you should wait outside…"
"He can't miss his son being born" John protested
"I can't…do this with him…in here…" Lara panted, she and I hadn't got along since I had done a little extra research on her. It was nothing, I just confirmed a few suspicions (she had refused to answer my questions) and give her a couple of small quizzes. My child, though I had not recognised the meaning of the words until now, would have to be intelligent. I had only ever thought of the positive and negative practicalities of a child, never the practice of parenting or what would be expected of me.
Fortunately she had tested as having an IQ above average and could have become a member of Mensa. I could have talked to her for a while but somehow I had offended her, maybe it was the comment about her mother's past as a stripper. That was probably right as when I said it, John had given me The Look. Or it may have been the hacking of her and her families medical records, plus I even asked for Mycroft's help on a family investigation. Excluding the things I had known from their first meeting, she was relatively clean. I concluded that it was the combination of all theses factors that had caused her attitude towards me.
"He can come back, when it's closer. Just not now" said Lara, her face relaxing slightly. I wandered out into the corridor and went to my Mind Palace, I needed to plan every eventuality of what could happen with this child.
Shortly, John appeared at the door "How are you doing?" he asked, his voice soft. I snapped out trance and looked at him. "Bored"
"Bored? There are babies being born all around us…and you're bored?" he came and sat next to me "It isn't going as fast as we thought, and I think I'm irritating Violet, she never liked me. I don't think she likes what her sister's doing at all. Shall we go for a walk?"
I stood grabbing John's hand and pulling him with me "Yes. I hate waiting. It's taking its time isn't it?"
"He, Sherlock. Stop calling him It. He can't help it. I thought I would help and I have my phone in case something happens, Violet will ring. I know how impatient you are" Again John had shown his caring nature, giving up something just so I would feel a little better.
"Yes, John you always know what's best for me". We walked around the hospital's grounds, John still bouncing, checking his phone every few seconds.
"Let's go back, you're much too restless" he quickly agreed and we walked back to Lara's hospital room.
"I was just about to ring you" said Violet over her sister's screams and grunts of pain, as we entered the room. "He's coming"
This was it. The baby was about to be born. He would be a part of the world. John had raced to the bed, flustered. "I-I can't-Thank you, so much. I-I" he babbled I followed him and took his hand.
"It's now Sherlock. He's almost here." John whispered in elation and wonderment.
Lara gave one final, loud, push and a screeching red mass fell into the nurse's arms. She turned and cleaned it up, was about to hand it to Lara, who immediately gestured towards John. "He-he's beautiful" John was crying, but the baby itself had quietened. "Thank you. This is the best gift anyone could have given" he turned to me "Here, you're his father too, hold him" .I held out my arms, and John gestured to make a cradle as he had, which I did. He placed the pink, wriggling mass, with a mass of blonde curls into my arms.
Right then, he opened his eyes and looked straight at me. He was perfect- there really was no other word, my mind was only filled with images of the infant it my arms. The tiny fingers, the light hair, the already inquiring eyes, I could already tell he was John's. "Hamish" I whispered. "After you". We had discussed names, or rather John had read aloud names from a book and I had paid little attention, but no name would have fit better. "John I –I love him" John smiled down at the baby adoringly, his eyes spilling over again. Then back up at me I was astounded at the statement, I never thought I would be able to love anyone else. This little boy was gorgeous, I couldn't look away. I knew then that I would do anything for this boy, anything to protect him and John. Anything to make sure that his life would be absolutely painless and utterly and completely perfect, as he and John had now made mine.