Sorry for the slow updates. Work has been making me so depressed I can't write a WORD. Also, I have a new boyfriend, and he keeps taking me out late at night so then I'm too TIRED to write anything. Forgive me!
When Hamish's incisors started coming in, they worried. He started trying to stick everything in his mouth that he could get his hands on. Most of the time, they kept pacifiers on hand. Sometimes, John offered him his finger to chew on lightly, but they didn't always have that option. When they were outside, he'd pick stuff up off the pavement to eat.
Once, Hamish gave them a bit of a scare while they were out at the park. John and Sherlock sat upon a park bench while Hamish ran a little ways away. John kept a steady eye on him while Sherlock rattled off facts to bounce off John.
"Hang on," John said suddenly, interrupting Sherlock's rant. Sherlock stopped talking, looking grumpy, and looked around. John stood, and Sherlock watched him jog to where Hamish was playing in the dirt. John returned with the toddler in his arms. Hamish was looking extremely smug with his lips pursed.
"He won't open his mouth," John said. He looked tired. The sun was highlighting the grey in his hair, and Sherlock thought he looked beautiful. Hamish blinked in the bright summer's day, but puffed out his cheeks as though to agree with John. "I saw him put something in his mouth but I don't know what it was."
Sherlock sighed, and squished Hamish's cheeks to force apart his thin lips. Out into Sherlock's hand plopped a few soggy old cigarette butts. "Hamish," he rumbled in a disappointed voice. "That's disgusting."
"Looks like someone's developed his father's nicotine habit a little early," John joked, but he looked sad.
"Don't be ridiculous," Sherlock sniffed, but he looked a little tense. He was wearing three patches at present. He had been giving in to his cravings more frequently. The less he slept (and sleeping was rare with a fourteen-month-old), the harder it became for him to resist his addiction. Had Hamish seen? Did Hamish perhaps smell the smoke on his jacket, and recognize the scent when he leaned in to see what the scraps on the pavement were? "I'm sure he's just sticking something little in his mouth as he usually does. Didn't really matter what it was."
"Yeah, maybe. Or maybe you've given him your bloody tobacco addiction."
"That's absurd. And impossible."
"It's not. Not if you've been smoking around him."
"I haven't been."
"Then I guess it was probably just a coincidence was it?"
Hamish giggled. "Mine, mine, mine," he mumbled, and leaned forward to try and snatch back the cigarette stubs from Sherlock's open palm. Sherlock pulled away with a disgruntled expression.
John laughed. "Like father, like son."
Sherlock didn't smile at that like he usually would. He looked introspective and a little nervous.
Beautiful, John thought, watching Hamish socialize. The boy was stunningly pale, no matter how much sun he got. His hair was deep ebony, growing unruly around his long face and glowing eyes. Watching Hamish sit with other kids his own age, John felt warmth in his chest. He smiled serenely as Hamish offered a straight-haired girl his blocks.
"Seems a little idiotic, doesn't it?"
"What does, Sherlock?"
The detective bristled and sighed, his hands in his coat pockets and his scarf hanging loose around his neck as though he'd only thrown it over his shoulders as an afterthought before heading out the door. He looked extraordinarily out of place in a room with foam puzzle pieces laid out upon the floor and chairs not big enough for any person of ordinary size. There were knee-height bookshelves full of trays for crayons and colored paper.
"This place. What does he need daycare for, anyway? He's brilliant."
"We know he's clever, Sherlock. That's not the problem. I want him to socialize."
"He's only sixteen months old. He doesn't need to socialize. What does one need socializing for anyway?"
"People need to understand what it's like to interact with other people. Without that ability, he'll grow up stunted. He'll never understand human beings."
Sherlock sniffed. "Useless. But I suppose… if you think it's necessary…"
John patted him reassuringly. "Thank you, Sherlock. I think this'll do him some good."
"He's not even two, and he's so much better than all these balls of snot he'll be playing with. He's above this."
Another parent looked over with an odd expression.
"Careful, Sherlock," John hissed. "I don't think it's a great idea for the parents of Hamish's future friends to hear you calling their kids balls of snot."
"He's better than that, though."
John's lips went thin, and his brow knotted. He rubbed his temples the way he always did when Sherlock was being particularly thick. "We've talked about this," he said slowly, cautiously. "We've already decided we don't want him to be antisocial like you."
"No buts, Sherlock. He's going to daycare. I know with your genes as strong as they are, he'll probably have a harder time making friends than other kids. That's why we ought to start young."
They went silent for a moment. Sherlock was scowling while they watched Hamish play. When the boy stuck a block in his mouth and began to chew on it, Sherlock smirked, and John leapt forward. "Unsanitary, Hamish, love," he said, pulling the orange rectangle away from him. The toddler glared at him, so like Sherlock.
He gurgled a little, and then reached out for the block again, which John had placed back down in front of him. The girl across from him was knocking too blocks together and making a loud noise, but Hamish didn't seem to like that. With the damp orange block, Hamish whacked the girl's hand. "Stop," he whined loudly. His voice was shrill. "Rude," he spat, and Sherlock's grin was uncontrollable. That's when Hamish lashed out. He hit the girl again, this time with a tightly closed fist. The girl began to cry.
"Whoa, Hamish," John scolded, and lifted him from his spot.
Hamish was scowling like his father in John's arms. "Rude, rude, rude," he repeated in his tiny squeak of a voice.
"Not even two yet and he's already fed up with normal folks. A good start."
"Good start? Sherlock, I don't like it. This is his first day at Daycare and he's just punched a kid for being 'rude.' I certainly hope he's not always gonna be like this."
"He might be," Sherlock said quietly. "Until he learns to internalize how overwhelming everything is."
"That's rather… not good, Sherlock." John patted Hamish's back soothingly while the kid made grumbling noises of frustration. He rested his little pale chin on John's shoulder.
Sherlock stroked Hamish's hair gently from John's side. A teacher approached them with a bright smile. "Hello, Mr., uh…"
"Holmes," Sherlock rumbled, rolling his eyes.
"Watson," John said, reaching out with his free hand to shake hers. She had blonde hair and a cheerful demeanor. Sherlock wondered vaguely if John found her pretty. He wouldn't know. He didn't like women, except for The Woman, and John was the only person he allowed himself to notice anyway.
"Hi," she said warmly. "It's good to meet you. Holmes… Watson… so, you're…" She checked a list on a clipboard. "Hamish's parents, then?"
"Yes." John was relieved she didn't seem to care that that their family consisted of two fathers. It had been a concern of his, and he was glad it wasn't turning out to be an obstacle.
"Right. Well, first time parents?"
"Ah, yes," John said. "How could you tell?"
Sherlock spoke over her. "She's an experienced Daycare instructor, John. She's seen hundreds of first time parents and knows the signs. We're some of the last parents to leave the classroom, whereas most parents leave their kids, say goodbye, and leave after a small amount of whining from the child. After Hamish was already situated, she witnessed you pick him up again, as though not ready to let him go. Her deductions were quite accurate, I'm afraid. We are, indeed, first time parents. Come, John. Put Hamish down if you want him to stay."
"But you don't want him to stay, Sherlock."
"No, I don't. But I know you do, and you're going to make me leave him here no matter what, so we may as well skip the arguing now and just leave."
The Daycare teacher looked awkward. "Uh… right!" She quickly wiped the confused look off her face and resumed her professional expression of forced cheeriness. "Good! Well. I can assure you he'll be extremely safe here."
"Don't make assurances you can't keep. No one can promise safety. Any number of things could happen." At that, Sherlock turned on his heel with a wide swish of his coat, and left.
John hugged Hamish tight. "Right, Hamish. We'll see you at the end of the day, alright?" He placed him on the ground again, and Hamish glared up at him with wide, wet eyes. "Okay. Well... Thank you very much, Miss McNeil. See you… later, I suppose."
Sherlock had gotten a cab alone. John arrived home to find no one there. He flopped into Sherlock's armchair, soaking in the unusual silence of the flat. Without Hamish and without Sherlock, the quiet pressed in on John like a smothering blanket. He felt warm, comfortable, and sleepy. He let his eyes close.
Some hours later, he awoke to Sherlock's voice. "You're in my chair."
"Yes," John groaned as he stretched out his limbs. "Sorry. I just…"
"Oh, stop, I know you sit in my chair when I'm not here. I've always known. And yes, I know that it's not because it's more comfortable but because it makes you feel like you're with me. A little pathetic, John, but I do believe it would be construed as romantic in normal society."
"Maybe," John said sleepily. "Mm." He stretched a little more, and rubbed sleepiness out of his eyes.
Sherlock was looking tired. He never looked tired.
"You okay, Sherlock?"
The detective shrugged. "I've just helped Lestrade solve three cases."
John checked his watch. "It's only been three hours!"
"Indeed. And we've still got the rest of the day without Hamish."
"Told you Daycare was a good idea."
"Still not so sure about that. What if the brats around him have some sort of… impact on him?"
"That'll be a good thing. With your genes, he needs all the goodness he can get from me and from others around him!"
"Are you implying I can't raise our son properly?"
"Oh shut up. Come here, you. Let's just enjoy this time together."
Sherlock blinked, his hands in his pockets.
"Please?" John said, reaching up to him. Sherlock took his hand, and pulled John to his feet. The doctor found himself pulled into Sherlock's warm embrace, and was well rewarded with a gentle kiss.
Sherlock's tongue was soft. John purred against it, completely overwhelmed by the scent of his partner's closeness. "It's been way too long," John sighed.
The detective hummed approvingly, nipping John's bottom lip. "Bed?" he suggested with sultry eyes.
"Bed," John agreed.
At 2:30 PM, Sherlock and John were outside the Daycare exactly on time. Other screaming children were already being carried out by their parents when they spotted their son on the rug by the teacher. He looked totally impassive, and was staring down at his toes as though they were fascinating. McNeil waved them over.
"Ah," she said. "Nice to see you again!" Her smile was extremely forced. John eyed Sherlock carefully to make sure he wasn't going to say anything.
"Yes," said John, shaking her hand. "How are you? How was today?"
"Good, good," she said. Then her demeanor changed. "Listen, uh… Mr. Watson…"
"Dr. Watson," John corrected, grasping his hands behind his back and looking very much like an army man. Sherlock glared at him.
She nodded. "Yes… So, Dr. Watson… Mr. Holmes…" She glanced between them. "I was wondering if there are any circumstances at home I should know about. I mean… has anything happened, or…?"
"No," John said quickly. His brow was furrowed. "No, not at all, why… Why do you ask?"
"It's just…" She hesitated. "Well. Your son basically refused to talk, for the entire day. He stared me down almost unblinkingly, but wouldn't speak. He wouldn't play with the others, either. He just sat there. When someone offered him a toy, he'd take it and walk away, then hide the toy somewhere in the classroom. Such anti-social behavior is usually something we try to watch out for."
Sherlock lifted Hamish into his arms, and held him close. Hamish played with his father's curls, twirling the locks around his fat little hands. "Hamish has never really socialized before. There's bound to be some transitional problems." Hamish blinked stoically at John over Sherlock's shoulder.
John nodded in agreement. "Yes," he said. "I'm sorry if he was a problem, but that's the whole reason we put him in Daycare to begin with. We want him to socialize like any normal boy."
"Is there any reason he shouldn't be a normal boy?" Miss McNeil asked, narrowing her eyes.
"None at all," Sherlock spat. "We're leaving."
John nodded toward Sherlock's retreating frame. "I'm afraid Sherlock's got some… social problems that I worry may be very much alive in our son. I don't know if that's just from observing Sherlock work and interact with others, or if it's something else entirely, but… thank you for letting us know."
Miss McNeil smiled. "No matter," she said kindly. "Have a good day. We'll see you again tomorrow, I expect."
"Yes. Of course. Unless Sherlock has other plans."
Indeed, Sherlock was considering having Hamish home schooled. He let the boy walk home while John held his hand. Halfway down the block, the round little child bent over, and the couple stopped to watch him pick a cigarette butt off the ground and stick it into his mouth. They looked at each other, eyebrows raised. Sherlock's expression was mostly defensive, but John's was slightly fearful.
I know this one's kinda short, and I apologize for that. I'm trying, okay? Don't hate me.