Chapter Summary: Sherlock finally decides that some conversations are necessary, even if their content is obvious.
Author's Note: Epilogue chapter will be up soon.
The plan is that I will write the series in this verse but I'd quite like to do a fun, in between sequel called "A series of firsts". So far I have things like Sherlock's first parents evening, first cold, John's first school fight and day at his new school. If anyone has anything they would like to see then just let me know.
Thank you to NicolettelliW for all her help betaing these last few chapters. She's been fab :)
1st January 2006
It was so warm. Wonderfully warm and cosy, as the hand on his head raked through his hair in soothing motions. John buried his nose into the shirt that smelled like rain, whiskey, coffee and home
Comfortable, he dug his fingers into the silky material, clenching it between his fingers, He didn't want to open his eyes and instead squeezed his lids as tightly as he could, hoping he would fall back to sleep.
"Warm enough?" Sherlock asked sounding rather lost in his thoughts.
"Mm," John nodded.
It took him a while to wake up enough to realise that he was in an unfamiliar bed, cocooned in the covers and laying with his head on Sherlock's chest. Vague memories of being in the car last with Mycroft last night, then in the rain with Sherlock's pale face. Later, half asleep as he was popped in the bath and then tucked into bed; everyone being so quiet and watching with concerned eyes.
He'd run away.
"Shush," Sherlock soothed. "No-one is angry with you."
John clambered up, staring down at Sherlock nervously. His father just remained with his back to the pillows, watching him carefully.
"Did Mycroft tell you?" John asked in a small voice.
"I'm sorry," John launched forward. "I'm sorry I ruined your night and that you had to come and get me and that-"
Sherlock caught him and held him at arm's length. "Enough," he said firmly. "Enough. You are not to apologise, do you understand me?"
John nodded. "But-"
Sherlock raised an eyebrow and John fell silent.
"You believed that I wouldn't care you were missing?" Sherlock asked.
The hurt in his voice made John duck his eyes and falter, "I…no, I just…I know you have important things-"
"More important than you?"
Hesitating, John tried to squirm, but Sherlock held him in a rock solid grip. "I…you said…the work is important. And you…we…you let me live with you."
Sherlock closed his eyes.
"I like it," John said, biting his lip. "I…I'm sorry, I know I keep causing a fuss and disturbing things-"
Then he was pulled forward into Sherlock's arms properly as the man sat up from the pillows. Sherlock was shaking his head as he pulled John in.
Worried, John tried to wriggle back but Sherlock wouldn't let him.
"Listen to me," Sherlock said tightly. "You…you are the most important thing. You will always be the most important thing."
This time John managed to twist out and stared at Sherlock with confusion. A terrible, awful blossom of hope was starting to beat in his chest.
"How can you not know that?" Sherlock whispered, reaching out to cup his head. "How can you think…You are my son. Mine."
Well, yeah. But then Sherlock had a hissy fit when Molly had touched the fingers that had been labelled as his. Unless…
"Wait, like…" John tilted his head. "As in…properly?"
A flicker of annoyance crossed Sherlock's face," As opposed to?"
"I dunno. You get possessive over the weirdest things."
"I do not get-" Sherlock cut himself off with a scowl. "That is not the point."
John felt himself start to grin. "So…you…you actually want to be my dad?"
A thousand expressions danced on Sherlock's face as he nodded.
Oh. John flopped down on the bed in the huge space next to Sherlock, letting the duvet fall over his head.
"I guess that's okay," John called from the duvet, trying to stop grinning like a complete nutter.
The duvet whipped off of him, "You guess that's okay?" Sherlock repeated.
Turning onto his back, John looked up at Sherlock and nodded shyly. The peeved expression fell away and Sherlock smiled and lay down next to him. John wriggled until they were lying side by side facing each other.
"Are you still gonna let me come on cases?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes as he turned onto his back. "I wish to be your father, not inanely dull."
"So I still get to see dead bodies?" John asked sitting up.
"And we can still go out to eat?"
Sherlock watched him scathingly, "Do I look as if I am about to buy an apron and cook?"
"No," John sniggered at the idea. "So I don't have to eat healthily?"
Sherlock danced his gaze to the ceiling, "Do not make me into a nag."
"Can't imagine you nagging," John giggled. "What about homework?"
"You will be doing it."
"No. You will be doing it."
Groaning dramatically, John flopped backwards on the bed, letting his head dangle off the side.
Sherlock wanted him! Sherlock properly wanted him.
And they were in a really fancy room!
"Where are we?" John asked, blinking up at the ceiling.
"The hotel. We booked some rooms."
"Do we get room service?" John asked picking up his head to look at Sherlock. The serious look made him hesitate. "Sor-"
Sherlock reached forward, grabbed his ankle and pulled him down the bed towards the headboard. "Not that word again," he scolded.
"You looked unhappy," John defended.
"I…what Nigel said to you," Sherlock pulled him up to the sitting position. "About…" Fury crossed his face. "Never ever believe that."
He didn't want to think about it. He wasn't sure what Sherlock meant by-
Sherlock stroked the hair away from John's forehead. "You are not…you are and will always be the thing I am most proud of."
John almost ducked his head but Sherlock's hand stopped him firmly. "Even if I can't deduce?" he asked, the secret nagging worry rearing again.
"Even then," Sherlock agreed, pulling him close for another hug.
"How is he?"
"Whining about the fact I will check his homework from now on," Sherlock said, eyes fixed on the bathroom door where John was probably frolicking in the shower given his earlier awed expression at the amount of nozzles.
His father nodded and sat down next to him. His breathing seemed laboured somehow, as if he were steeling himself for something.
Dragging his eyes from the door, Sherlock glanced at his father's face and then rolled his eyes.
"Saint Mycroft hasn't passed on the fact that I do not wish to sever contact between you and John?" he asked with some irritation. "For a man who deals with information all day he is truly awful at relaying it."
"You weren't yourself last night," came the quiet reply.
He hadn't been himself this morning. Watching his son alive, happy and laughing had made him…sentimental in the extreme. "That does not mean I didn't mean it," he said, determined to leave it at that.
His father, however, seemed to have other ideas. "May…may I ask why?"
Sherlock stared back at the door, hating this with every inch of his being. "Because…I cannot and will not give him normalcy. I will not provide birthday parties or endure sleepovers. I will not make a packed lunch or wrap presents. I will go away on a case and there will be times I will not be home. And I cannot pretend that will not affect him if he doesn't have somewhere to go, nor will I pretend that there isn't some…use in the traditional, a use I will not be able to provide him with."
Next to him his father stiffened.
"Spare me the lecture about responsibility," Sherlock snapped. "I am merely being-"
Sherlock tilted his head not sure he had heard that right. Confused, he slowly looked at his father.
"That's quite possibly the most responsible thing you have ever said," his father clarified.
Sherlock eyed him, a little worried. What were the signs of a stroke again?
"You never had to do this on your own Sherlock," his father said slowly, seeming uncomfortable by the look Sherlock was aiming at him. "It was never all or nothing."
Almost squirming now, Sherlock felt his lip curl in some distaste, from simple lack of experience in this kind of conversation.
"And John isn't lacking Sherlock," his father added, standing and clapping him on the shoulder. "You've done well with him."
"I've had him for three months," Sherlock protested. "I've hardly 'done' anything."
"You've done far more than you think you have."
Distinctly disapproving of the almost compliment, Sherlock waved him away. "Let's not give John a heart attack by sitting out here in a…relatively cordial manner."
His father nodded as he made his way to the door, then paused. "Your mother…the reason she's pushing so hard is because she believes there is a chance to get you back as well."
"Forcing things does not work," Sherlock snapped back.
"I see that," his father replied mildly. "Slowly but surely we are learning that."
Then he closed the door behind him, leaving Sherlock staring at the wooden panel.
Good god almighty, he needed a murder after drowning in this sentiment.
Preferably a violent one.
A poisoning so John could come along as well.
Sherlock caught his thought process and nearly groaned.
He was done for.
"How long do you think it will last?" Lucian asked Mycroft after he finished his phone call.
"Sherlock. In this pleasant mood. How long do you think it will last for?"
"Probably until he meets the incompetent receptionist and her appalling grammar," Mycroft replied flippantly with a glare in the direction of the reception desk.
His son looked up and scanned him carefully. "Will you ever forget the day I told you what had been happening?"
"No," Lucian replied hoarsely, the image in his mind scratching at his throat. "I wasn't asking how long he would remain interested in John, Mycroft. I simply wanted to know how long you thought he would remain…hesitant and vaguely repentant."
"A week," Mycroft predicted with ease. "Maybe less depending on whether he gets an interesting murder. Why?"
Lucian looked around, trying to make sure no-one would hear what he was about to say. Mycroft's eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"I'm finding his attitude…" Lucian scrambled for the right word.
"Disturbingly wrong?" Mycroft offered with a twitch of humour.
"Indeed." Lucian let out a relieved breath.
"Agreed," Mycroft pulled a face as he lifted his coffee. "May Sherlock Holmes return to his usual caustic self before his next birthday."