Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes belong to Sir ACD and in this reincarnation Moffat, Gatiss and the BBC. We own nothing and are only writing this for fun.

Tell Me This Night Is Over.

Chapter Sixteen.

Dimmock kneeled next to the victim. She had probably been a very attractive woman once but there was a lot of wear and tear on her, not to mention the blue tint to her face from having been strangled.

He was handed the woman's purse by one of the sergeants on the scene and looking through it he cursed out loud when he got to the drivers license. Fuck! This was so bad and it wasn't something he could call about, this news had to be delivered in person. Again fuck, fuck, fuck and fuck him sideways as well.

"Inspector?" The sergeant frowned, "Is there a problem?"

"Yes, I believe you can say that." Dimmock pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. "This woman is Cynthia Lestrade." He knew the last name would be recognized. "Send someone over to her house, make sure someone is there watching the children. I have to go and give DI Lestrade the news." Something he was not looking forward to in the slightest.

The sergeant snapped to attention and nodded, "Yes, sir," before heading directly to a constable to send to Cynthia Lestrade's home. No one on the force liked her because most of them liked Greg and they all knew how much he loved those kids. If something had happened to them, even God wouldn't be able to help the person responsible.


Greg was enjoying his night off. Listening to Mycroft working on a few non-classified projects when the door to his office was open while he took a little time to mend some of the tears in his clothes with the game on muted telly was just this side of perfect. So when the doorbell rang he got up to answer it with a smile. "Dan, hey. What b-" the smile dropped off his face as soon as he got a full look at Dimmock's. He knew that look, wore it more often than he did a smile, someone was dead, "Who?"

Daniel wasn't going to insult Greg by throwing the same old platitudes they both used in the line of duty when it came to deliver this kind of news at him. "I'm sorry Greg, Cynthia was found dead earlier this evening."

Greg's hand tightened on the door handle and he went ghost white, "The kids?"

"I sent constable MacAllister over to the house; the children are alright, in bed sleeping and the next door neighbor watching them. A Mrs. Dunlap." Dimmock had made sure to check that the children were safe and well. "Cynthia was not found at home, she was found in an alley almost down by the docks. She'd been strangled Greg."

"Fuck. Do you need me at the morgue for an ID confirmation?" Greg felt weak in the knees knowing that his kids were okay and being looked after by the go-to baby sitter of the neighborhood. He tried to find some sort of grief for his ex but really there was nothing there. The only thing he felt was the same as he did for all victims, just sadness at a waste of human life.

Dan shook his head. "No, we've contacted her sister to ID her; I just wanted to tell you in person."

Mycroft had crept up behind Greg silently and now he placed a hand on Greg's shoulder in support. "Any suspects?"

"A few but I can't speak about that, not even to you Mr. Holmes." Dan stood up a little bit straighter.

Mycroft hummed a little under his breath. "What about the children? Can Gregory be with them tomorrow? Bring them here? They are going to need their father."

"I'll do my best to wake up a judge and find out." Dimmock bit back a sigh. "You'll know when I do."

Greg nodded, and seeing Dimmock shift uncomfortably, made it easier on him, "Tell me the ToD and I'll tell you where I was Dan. I know the drill." He'd be a suspect until an alibi was confirmed.

Dan made a face but he still looked relieved. "Time of death has been established to eight to eight-thirty pm. She hadn't been dead long when she was found."

Greg nodded, "I was here, with Mycroft. Sherlock and John came over with Ben for a goodbye dinner to Violet Holmes, Mycroft and Sherlock's mother. They left about," he checked the time, nine fifteen, "ten minutes ago."

"I can assure that Greg was where he says he was as can my family." Mycroft knew it was procedure but he still didn't like Greg being questioned. Really if he'd wanted to get rid of his ex-wife there were much more efficient and stealthy ways to go about it than strangulation.

"Thank you, both of you. I'll need to speak to Sherlock, John and Mrs. Holmes just to verify but you are not considered a suspect at this time. Mols...I mean Dr. Hooper should have more information for me tomorrow." Dan closed his notebook after having written Greg's alibi statement down.

Greg nodded, "Careful out there Dan, I'd hate to have to deck you on behalf of Molly if you would up in hospital due to doing something stupid." He'd caught the slip and being a cop made the connection.

"You know me, I'm always careful, almost to a fault." Dan gave his fellow DI a small smile. "I'll be in touch as soon as I know anything." He nodded to both of the men opposite him, his working day far from over.

Greg gave him a small salute back then closed the door when he turned to leave. He closed his eyes and leaned back against Mycroft, "Shit."

Mycroft wrapped his arms firmly around Greg from behind, holding him close. "I'm sorry Greg, I'm so sorry. No matter what or who else she was, she was the mother of your children and I'm sorry."

"I'm not...the grief I probably should feel isn't there. She effectively destroyed anything I felt for her when she took the kids away, really I feel the same as I do when I stand over a body of a complete stranger. It's just...how am I going to tell the kids?" That was what was making his stomach twist and churn. How was he supposed to tell his children their mother was dead, "Joe's old enough to understand, Rick...probably, I don't know, but Holly...she's still a baby, not even two yet."

"We'll tell them it was an accident, they'll cry. Holly probably won't understand but she'll have you there to guide her through a very confusing and hurtful time. With you there your children will be okay." He didn't say it out loud but in Mycroft's opinion they would be much better off living with Greg than with an unstable and gambling addicted mother. "Gods I don't know anything about children but I do know what a wonderful father you are and that's how I know we'll get through this and that your children will be fine."

He turned in Mycroft's arms, his own arms going around his waist as he leaned hard. He was going to need Mycroft through this, was going to need all the support he could offer. "I love you."

Mycroft held on just a little tighter at those words. "I love you too, things will be okay, we'll get through them together." He knew it was going to be a rough road ahead. The children would have to face the trauma of losing their mother, moving to a new home and all of that. He had no clue how they would react to him and instead of planning their wedding they now would have to plan a funeral.

"God I hope you're right. I think I'm terrified that the kids might hate me for not being around the last several months or that Holly won't really remember me." And God only knew what Cynthia might have been telling them about him.

"When have I been less than right?" Mycroft did his best to sound much more certain than he was. "Of course they won't hate you; they are too young for hatred. I bet they've missed you just as much as you've missed them and I know Holly remembers her Daddy. You'll see when you get them back tomorrow."

Greg ignored what he knew about court process since he knew exactly how fast things happened when Mycroft got involved. "If Mallory's the one handing them over though, you might want to hide in your office."

"Oh?" One brow went up. "Why is that? I'm not in the habit of hiding unless it's from Mummy or Sherlock when he's at his most annoying...Or perhaps Dr Sawyer if she's on the warpath." Mycroft was pleased that Greg didn't seem opposed to some of his meddling now. It couldn't be a bad thing to get the children here as quickly as possible could it? They shouldn't end up with Cynthia's sister who was just as bad as she had been or even worse have to spend time in the care of the social service, that would only increase their trauma.

"Well if you really want my ex's man-eater sister trying to shove her implants in your face and trying to plaster herself on you," he lifted his head from where he'd leaned it against Mycroft's shoulder, and cocked a meaningful brow.

"Dear God that's the scariest thing I've heard or envisioned in a very long time. Hiding it is then, oh yes, definitely hiding." Mycroft actually shuddered. "Isn't Mallory married though or is she between husbands at the moment?"

"Still married, husband apparently doesn't care. So long as she looks good on his arm and lets him boff his secretary when she's busy boffing the pool boy. Match made in heaven that." He brushed his lips over Mycroft's chin comfortingly, "Thank God she's elected never to breed."

"I can do nothing except wholeheartedly agree with that." Mycroft ran his hands up and down Greg's back, knowing that his love was more shook up than he let on. "Sherlock has his...quirks but I do believe that you have traded up in the in-law department."

"I freely admit that. Holly'll be outnumbered, poor girl." He chuckled.

"Oh I don't know about that. I rather think that poor girl will grow up to have all the men around her wrapped firmly around her little fingers." Having been surrounded by strong women all his life with his mother and then Anthea he knew just what they were capable of. "Never underestimate a member of the female species."

"Never do. I say poor girl mostly because her chances of getting and keeping a date before she's thirty are very, very low." He smiled up at his fiancé, "Just look at all the people a prospective date will have to get through, me, you, Sherlock, John, her brothers, your mother, Anthea...that prospective date, whether male or female, will need balls of solid steel."

"That is the solid truth yes." Mycroft smiled back and leaned his forehead against Greg's. "Poor dates though by the time one of them actually has made it through all of us he or she will have proven their worth." Mycroft had no intention of making it easy on any of them and not only in regards to Holly, anyone interested in Greg's children would have to go through the British government first.

Greg closed his eyes, nuzzling Mycroft's nose affectionately, "Works for me." He kissed his fiancé lightly, "I'd best call John, let him know they'll be getting a visit from Dimmock, Dan prefers to verify alibis in person. Part of why he's a DI so young."

"Yes, go ahead and do that." Mycroft nodded and released Greg reluctantly. "I'll just be in the office." He had some meddling and smoothing the way to do to make sure that the children would be here where they belonged come morning.

He lifted his hand to Mycroft's cheek, "Just come join me in the living room when you're done baby. I'll even put on a Hitchcock movie for you."

"I'll be there." Mycroft moved away to get things done so that he could settle with Greg and watch Hitchcock, it was a few of the movies he could actually stand to sit through.

Greg headed into the living room, dialing John's mobile while he started to set up a DVD of Notorious. He listened to the ringing and hoped he wasn't waking up the baby.

"Hello Greg, has something happened?" John's voice was low, more out of habit than of any real risk to wake Benjamin up. Once he was out he could sleep through almost anything.

"Oh yeah," Greg flopped onto the sofa, sighing out a long breath, "You and Sherlock are going to be getting a visit from Dimmock in a little bit, nothing to worry about, he's just confirming an alibi." He leaned his head back feeling a bit drained already.

"Shit...Christ." John grew completely serious, if there was a need to confirm an alibi then something very serious had happened. "What's wrong Greg? What's happened?" He crossed the room to stand ready by the door, no need to get Mrs. Hudson up after one of her evening soothers if the doorbell should ring.

He began fiddling with his sewing needle, "Cynthia was found dead, murdered. Verifying alibis for her known associates or former lovers is procedure."

"Fuck, I don't really know what to say to that. Are you okay? The kids?" John couldn't pretend to care about Cynthia's fate but he did care about Greg, the kids meant the world to him. "You know what, stupid question, how can you be okay and I'm sure Mycroft is all over the children situation. My bad. Just let us know if you need anything alright?"

"I'm alright John. I'm worried about my kids and how to help them through this but I'm okay. I will let you know if I need anything though, you've got my word. Sherlock already giving you the deduction stare?"

"Yup." John looked over at his lover who was indeed giving him the deduction stare. "Call if you need us." John said his goodbyes and ended the call. "So, any ideas?" He kept one eye on Sherlock and one on the door.

"Something happened to Lestrade's ex wife. You wouldn't have asked about the children otherwise and someone is coming to talk to us, not Lestrade. She's dead or dying at someone else's hands."

John grinned despite the seriousness of the situation, he couldn't help it, Sherlock was just amazing. "Dead, murdered. Dimmock's on his way over to confirm Greg's alibi, that we were in fact there for dinner I'm guessing."

Sherlock nodded, mind already cataloguing ways and reasons Cynthia Lestrade would have been murdered. "Mycroft will have Lestrade's children returned to him by morning." He knew how his brother worked and in this case his brother would be working even faster than usual.

"Yeah, I have no doubts about that, if Greg's lifted his no meddling clause then I can picture Mycroft hard at work, when the children do arrive there will be no way that they ever leave again." For once John was happy that Mycroft was the powerful, scheming bastard that he was.

"Not until Uni certainly." Sherlock leaned casually against the wall as the door was knocked on. He'd be measuring Dimmock and listening for clues as to how Lestrade's ex was murdered. He truthfully wouldn't have put it past his mother to have arranged something.

John opened the door to let Dimmock in.

"I'm sorry to be bothering you at this hour." Dan nodded toward both John and Sherlock. It still gave him a little jolt, seeing Sherlock alive and well after all that had happened but he was glad the detective was alive. "I suppose you already know what I am here for; I just need to hear it in your own words, where you were this evening between oh, seven-thirty to nine pm."

Sherlock didn't stir aside from speaking, "We were at my brother's home having dinner, baked parsnips and pork in wine sauce if you're interested, Lestrade cooked. It was a farewell dinner for my mother."

Dan wrote it down in his little notebook, no longer getting his feathers ruffled by the way Sherlock was.

John nodded, "It's true, we arrived there shortly after six and left around nine. It was getting late and it was time to take Benjamin home. Greg's an excellent cook and the dinner was delicious."

"Thank you, the both of you for your statements." Dan said and put his notebook away once again.

Sherlock just hummed vaguely, "Anything particularly interesting about her death?"

"Not really, the alley where she was found is right by one of the illegal gambling clubs in town and she was dressed for a night on the town." Dan didn't want to say too much, not because he wanted to keep Sherlock out of the case but because he didn't have all the information himself and making assumptions was the worst thing a police officer could do in his opinion.

Not arranged by his mother then. Violet Holmes wouldn't have had her dumped in an alley, more likely she'd have been found in the club had it been at his mother's order. He'd place his money on a debtor trying to collect on what was owed him. "Hm, try judge Mayhew in regard to Lestrade's children. He suffers from insomnia so he'll already be awake." He turned and went back inside the flat to work pick up his notes on his latest experiment.

John rolled his eyes but gave Dimmock a smile; he knew that the DI would work hard to get to the bottom of the case as quickly as possible. "Good luck with everything DI Dimmock, you know where to find us should you need anything else."

Dan nodded. "That I do, have a nice evening." He turned to leave.

"Oh, give our best to Molly." John called after him.

Dan just waved and walked down the steps. He wished he could go home to Molly now but he had a long night ahead of him.


Greg hadn't slept. He'd tried, wrapped up with Mycroft and comfortable, he'd just laid awake, mind spinning and worrying over the kids and how to explain that Cynthia was dead to them. He was aware of his fiancé's concerned gaze on him as he set a morning tea in front of him, and he just leaned in and brushed his lips over Mycroft's. "I'll be fine."

"Yes you will be." Mycroft said and pressed his lips against Greg's lightly before pulling away. He was worried, he was worried about Greg about the children and about how their lives would change now, with three small children that had never met him before and that had just lost the mother coming to live with them. So much could go wrong but Mycroft had to believe it would be fine.

He had just taken a sip of his tea when their doorbell rang. Apparently Dimmock and Mycroft's people had worked quickly.

Lestrade squeezed Mycroft's arm then went to answer the door, "Mallory," the woman was in complete man-eater form, tight red shirt, black skirt, ankle breaker heels, fully made up and fluffed, and she looked like hell. He knew there wasn't much love lost between Cynthia and Mallory but a sister was still a sister. "I'm sorry."

The bottle blond shook her head, "Don't Greg. Really I've heard it already, from more than enough people. Nothing to be sorry about." She turned and gestured a come hither at the sedan she'd arrived in, "I pity you more than I do myself." That said she turned and walked back as the door to the car opened and the woman who'd come with the sedan stepped out, holding Holly in one arm while the other hand was helping the boys out of the car.

Greg's hands shook and his heart tore into two ragged pieces at the sight of his children's puffy eyes and he nearly cursed Mallory out. It was obvious she'd already told them. Then Holly spotted him and immediately began reaching out and leaning in his direction.

"Dada! Dada! Dada!"

He was moving before he was aware of it, taking Holly from Anthea into his arms and feeling two other little bodies bang into his legs before he was on his knees, holding all three of his children and murmuring loving, comforting words over and over again.

Anthea watched the touching moment and it made her heart ache a little. Especially when Mallory just got into the car without a second look at the children. "Their things are coming, there will be a car arriving with them later on." Right now they only had small backpacks with them that contained their favorite things. Books, plushies, safety blankets and such.

"Mally said that Mummy is dead and never coming back. Just like Ginny the Guinea pig." Joey clinged to his daddy. "Will we have to bury Mummy in a shoebox in the yard as well?"

Greg bit the inside of his cheek. It was horrible, absolutely horrible, but God he wanted to laugh at that question. Just the thought of Cynthia stuffed in one of her Manolo shoeboxes and buried in the yard was so morbidly amusing. He was a sick bastard for wanting the laugh. He managed not to and stood up, all three children still in his arms, to carry them inside. "No, we won't be burying Mummy in a shoebox." He didn't know whether to be glad or not that his ex had been adamant on cremation.

Anthea said her goodbyes as a black jaguar rolled up to the curb, her phone was already back in her hands and she had sent a text off to her boss. She took the time to tell all children goodbye before she went to the car. Since her boss would be absent today she would be needed at the office.

Joey wasn't satisfied with his Daddy's answer though. "Where will Mummy go then? Peter's family had their kitty stuffed, we won't stuff Mummy right?" His voice wibbled a bit, he didn't like the thought of Mummy being still and quiet, there but not there.

"No, God no," that was a truly horrifying thought. He managed to get to the living room and settled on the sofa with the kids. "No. Do you remember what Sherlock told you about Viking funerals?" He felt Rick nod and then felt a frisson of worry when he didn't say anything. Rick was always the first one to volunteer information, no matter how upset he was, always.

"Okay, so we will be burning her then." Joey nodded to himself, considering that particular matter settled then. He was plastered against Daddy's side and reached behind Daddy's back so he could hold Rick's hand. Joey was still trying to understand what this all meant. The thought that Mummy was never coming back was hard to wrap his head around and then he felt guilty as well. He was happy to see Daddy again, to be with him. He was happy when he should be sad.

"Sort of, a special person at the funeral house will do that and then we'll spread her ashes over her favorite spot." He kissed the top of Joey's head. He felt Holly squirm then sniffled and immediately began rocking her. "It'll be okay sweetie." Joey was plastered to his side, Holly in his left arm, and Rick's arms were tight around his neck, his face hidden. "Rick?"

Joey pat one of Rick's hands that were clenched tightly around their Daddy's neck. "Ricky doesn't speak Daddy. He hasn't since you couldn't be with us anymore. He can sign though."

Mycroft was listening from behind the doorway; he wanted to give Greg and the children some time to themselves before he added to the confusion they must feel. If Cynthia hadn't been dead, Mycroft had been very tempted to find her and kill her himself. How could she let such a problem develop with her youngest son and not tell Greg about it, not even try to fix it when it was obvious that solution was to allow the children to spend time with Greg.

More of Greg's heart just tore into bits and he held his children tighter. It should feel wrong to hate a dead woman but God he hated his ex wife right now. How could she let that happen? Had she really hated him so much that she'd let Rick, little chatterbox Rick, draw in so much he stopped talking? How could anyone do that? He ran a hand over Rick's hair, "You're going to have to teach me then. I hope you don't mind if I'm a little slow."

That was apparently exactly what was needed because Rick pulled back enough for his hands to flip through a few signs that ended on one Greg did know. "I love you."

He kissed Rick's forehead, "I love you too monkey."

Rick signed again, pointing at the door at the end of it.

"He's wondering who's hiding behind the door." Joey translated, his voice taking on a slightly suspicious tone. He hadn't known anyone was behind the door but he didn't doubt his baby brother's instincts, he was never wrong about these things.

Letting out a small sigh, Mycroft left his little hiding spot and stepped into sight, he didn't want to be seen as a creeper and he had to meet them sooner or later.

Greg's lips twitched, "Sherlock would be very proud of you Rick," the light his youngest son's face took on at that made Greg's heart warm up. "This is Mycroft."

"Hello." Mycroft was trying very hard to leave his natural detachment and stiffness behind as he walked across the floor and sat down in one of the armchairs. "I'm very pleased to meet you; your father always speaks about you and how much he loves you."

Rick tilted his head then pointed between Mycroft and his Daddy touching the corner of his mouth then his cheek.

Joey wrinkled his little nose at that, a faint blush covering his cheeks but he got ready to translate when he was interrupted.

"Yes, your Daddy and I are kissing sweethearts." Mycroft was signing as he spoke, he knew there was absolutely nothing wrong with Rick's hearing but it was the polite thing to do.

Rick's eyes went wide, then delighted. Mummy had never tried to learn to read the signs because Joey had been there to translate. He noticed the rings on his Daddy's and Mycroft's hands and went into a flurry of signing about them.

Greg might not be able to read signing, yet, but he definitely got the gist of it. "I asked Mycroft to marry me a few months ago. He said yes but we're not married just yet, still planning the ceremony out. Did I miss any nuances there monkey?"

"I think you caught the gist of it." Mycroft smiled, still signing even as he spoke. Both he and Sherlock had learned sign language early on. Mostly to have a way to speak privately without the servants understanding but also because it was an important language and useful to know.

"How did you meet Daddy?" Joey asked, his eyes were still a little guarded and he was glued to Greg's side but he'd always been curious.

"I met Greg through my little brother Sherlock."

Greg had to scramble with his other arm to keep Rick from falling off his lap and the sofa as he signed in excitement, practically flailing his hands moved so fast. He looked over at Joey and saw him roll his eyes and just couldn't keep from smiling. Rick might not speak out loud right now but he was still a chatterbox.

"Yes my brother is very much alive and very much okay. Yes he will be your official uncle once your Daddy and I get married. Sherlock never stops working on new experiments but he has been a little bit busy being a Daddy himself since he and his John have just had a baby." Mycroft answered each and every question patiently, amused that Sherlock had such a fan in this little boy.

Rick's hands stalled at that and he gaped, making Greg chuckle just a bit before anticipating where his second child's mind was heading. Greg knew his chickens, so to speak.

"No not adopted. Yes John and Sherlock are both men and yes the baby is biologically both theirs." He watched Rick's eyes narrow then grinned as Joey just handed his brother a pencil and a notepad so Rick could write down questions and subjects to look up the answers to. He drew Joey in and gave all three of his kids a little squeeze. "I missed you all so much."

"We've missed you too Daddy." Joey hugged Greg's side. "Mummy has been away a lot. Mrs. Dunlap is nice I suppose but she always want to watch grown-up shows on the telly and she doesn't like Ricky sleeping in my room." Since Rick didn't speak he couldn't let anyone know if he was feeling bad or having a bad dream. When Rick was sleeping in his room Joey could keep an eye on him and take care of him. Rick was real smart but he was still only four, Joey was the big boy, he was six after all.

Greg let Rick go to rub Joey's back, "We'll move a second bed into your room here for now, what do you think of bunk beds later?"

Rick's opinion was obvious, he started bouncing.

Joey grinned, bunk beds was cool, yeah he was all for that idea. He exchanged smiles with his brother and nodded at his dad. "Please, bunk beds sound wicked." It would both be fun and allow him to watch over his little brother.

Mycroft made a mental note to get bunk beds arranged as soon as possible. He wanted to fix all rooms for the kids but he didn't know what furniture they would bring from their old home. The most important thing was that they would feel comfortable and at home here.

"That's what we'll do then," it lifted his spirits to see Rick punch the air. He knew that reality would intrude again soon enough but for now he was intent on seeing to it they smiled a bit. "Have you had breakfast yet?"

Rick shook his head and made a few signs, wrinkling his nose in distaste.

"Well if your Aunt Mallory forgot to feed you we'll certainly do it." Mycroft managed to push down the anger he felt that the woman had just piled the children into the car and drove them here as soon as Anthea showed. It was disgusting, they were her nephews and niece, how could she not care for them even in a basic level? "What are you in the mood for? Omelette? Waffles? Hot chocolate and toast?"

Before the boys could jump on the last one, Greg made a negative sound, "No chocolate this early kids," He gave Mycroft a smile, "Sorry, should have warned you. Big rule is no refined sugar before noon, and I saw that young man," he looked at Rick who had made a sign behind his back, "I don't know what it said but I can guess the tone. How about waffles with fresh fruit and cream?"

Holly tugged on his collar.

"Yes sweetie?"

"Eggs pease?" She blinked big brown eyes at him.

"You've got it princess."

"Ank oou."

He got up, "Well shall we move to the kitchen then?"

Mycroft smiled and stood, continuing to answer all of Rick's questions as he signed them. The boy was so curious, wanting to know absolutely everything. It was charming and Mycroft didn't mind answering as best he could.

Joey held on to Greg's shirt as they moved to the kitchen. This house was so different from what he was used to. Shiny but homey all at once. He wasn't stupid, with Mummy gone he knew they would be living here from now on, he just hadn't decided if he would like it or not.

"Me and Rick can still have waffles instead of eggs though right?"

He ruffled his eldest's hair, "Of course. That good for you Rick?" He looked over to see an excitable nod of agreement. "Four orders of waffles, one order of eggs it is then." He set Holly on the counter, moved a chair over by her for Joey to stand on, and got the ingredients for breakfast together. The kids usually 'helped' with age appropriate tasks like stirring, pouring measured ingredients into bowls and what have you. Rick though, was very much absorbed in talking to Mycroft so he'd be working with two pint-sized sous chefs rather than three this time.

Considering the answers Mycroft was giving and Rick's animated expression, that was more than fine for him. He got into the business of making breakfast with a smile.


Sherlock studied John, who was watching their son, awake and cooing at his mobile. His lover had just gotten off the phone with Lestrade and had moved immediately to just watch Benjamin. Something was obviously going on with one or more of Lestrade's children as they would have arrived this morning. "What's wrong?"

"I don't understand some people Sherlock, I really don't." John looked down at Benjamin. "Rick stopped talking after Cynthia made sure that Greg wasn't allowed to see the children. Hasn't said a word, relying completely in sign language. How can she let a four year old get that troubled and not do everything in her power to help? She didn't even take the time to learn how to sign, just let her six year old son translate for her. It makes me sad and angry all at the same time. The children should always come first, no matter what sort of feelings there are between the parents."

"Well I have always maintained that Cynthia is substandard and suffers from a chemical imbalance in the hormones involved in maternal instinct." He moved up just behind John, chest brushing against his shoulders as they both watched Benjamin entertain himself staring at the mobile. His insult masked the anger that sparked to life hearing that Rick had ceased to speak. It was wrong on some fundamental level.

"It's apparent that something was very wrong with her. One shouldn't speak ill of the dead but thank goodness that the children will be with Greg and Mycroft from now on. They will be loved and cared for much better there." John felt Sherlock's body heat as they admired their little miracle and just that closeness helped to soothe the upset he felt after speaking with Greg. "Apparently Rick is very impressed with the fact that Mycroft can sign though and he's been asking a million questions about you." John turned his head and smiled at his lover.

Sherlock preened, "Good to know I'm memorable. Such a pity he's impressed with Mycroft though," he chuckled at John's reprimanding elbow, "Did Lestrade say how Joseph and Holly are doing?"

"Joey seem to be doing fine, very protective of his younger siblings. My guess it's because he sort of took over after Greg when he was forced out. Holly is so young, very attached to Greg but that's no wonder." John had to chuckle a little at Sherlock's preening. "I think the kids are going to be alright once they get a chance to settle and get to know Mycroft better."

"Yes they should be. Children are remarkably resilient and my brother is a terrible mother hen. Joey has always been protective of Rick and that was extended to Holly when she came into the world. He is a miniature Lestrade in many ways, if perhaps somewhat excessively serious for a six year old." Sherlock rested his hands on John's waist, just above his hip bones. "Holly had not yet shown her personality appreciably beyond a tendency for remaining quiet and watching events around her when I last saw them."

"Nothing wrong with that. Harry used to say I was like that too when I was little. Quiet and watching the world around me, not making a move until I was sure about what I was doing." John shrugged lightly. "I guess I had trust issues even back then."

He rubbed his thumbs in little circles under John's ribs, "Understandable though I do rather think you were simply made to appear harmless so the fools of the world underestimate you."

John snickered. "Oh yes, I had a whole master plan worked out as a baby. Not everyone has your massive brain. I was just quiet...By my teens I'd grown out of it though, my teachers despaired that they couldn't get me to shut up or question everything they taught."

Sherlock looked inordinately proud, "Good for you." His lips brushed John's temple.

"Mmm, I thought you might approve of that." John grinned and shifted on his toes so he could press his lips against Sherlock's before going back to admiring Benjamin. "Look at him Sherlock, how much he's grown already. Every day he learns something new...It's incredible how much I love him, love you both."

Sherlock's arms wound around John, "He has inherited his Papa's ability to be utterly fascinating," he rested his chin on top of John's head. He did still find John fascinating, always unpredictable yet so...normal.

"More likely his Daddy's brilliance and ability to entrance me with a single glance." He spoke the truth too, he had been entranced by Sherlock, enough to kill a man for him less than forty-eight hours after their first meeting. John would always do anything for Sherlock, it was as certain to him as the fact that the sun rose in the east every morning.

"Why not both?"

As if he knew he was being talked about, the baby looked at them and made a demanding squawk.

"Both sound brilliant to me." John reached down to pick Benjamin up, holding him so he was facing outwards so that he could see his surroundings and his Daddy. John knew that Benjamin liked to watch over his little kingdom of 221B Baker Street.

"Both are brilliant," his eyes were warm on his little family, a smile settling comfortably on his face.

John held Benjamin up so he could pat at Sherlock's face with spit sticky baby hands and smile toothlessly up at his Daddy. John smiling too and even Sentinel added to the happiness of the moment by sitting at their feet, tail thumping against the floor happily. This, his family, it was heaven on earth and everything John could wish for come true.


AN: This is it, the end of this story. Thank you so much to those who have read it and left such wonderful feedback. We appreciate it so much. We chose to leave the ending a little open so that if we choose to we can revisit this world and see what's going on with our families. Again thank you for coming with us on this journey.