It was the heat of the room that made Joan stir from her sleep. Covered by a thin cotton sheet she felt sticky and hot. Instantly she noticed that Sherlock was not beside her, she couldn't feel his own body heat or the dip in the mattress that he created. She kept her eyes closed though. Somewhere to her right she heard shuffling and she peaked out of one eye to see Sherlock standing in the moonlight by their bedroom window, bed-hair scruffy on his head and his trousers scrunched by sleep. Even lying here Joan could feel the heavy burden of lack of sleep sitting on her head. It blurred her thoughts and the reason for this exhaustion was currently lying in Sherlock's arms.
He rocked baby Rio gently back and forth humming "You're gorgeous" by Babybird to her. Joan wondered if he knew the full lyrics to the song, (past the chorus) if he would still choose to sing it to his daughter.
There was another word that sat strangely in Joan's mind; along with "Married" and "Mother." Although she and Sherlock had been married over six months she still got that kick in her stomach whenever she saw her wedding ring or the pictures of their day around the Brownstone. Motherhood was an altogether newer experience. Rio was just a week old and already she had wrapped her Daddy around her finger. Joan practically had to fight Sherlock to stay in bed as it was "her turn" to check on her when she cried. Sherlock had won this time around though, as he hummed and rocked gazing out the window.
She gurgled in his arms as if she was about to cry.
"Shh, come now Rio, you don't want to wake your Mother up do you? She is cranky when awoken as I have learnt to my disadvantage on many an occasion."
Joan smiled to herself, enthralled to be watching this private encounter between Father and Daughter. Sherlock changed his direction of rocking and began to walk around the room humming an altogether more familiar tune. One that Joan guessed, Rio would probably grow to loathe as she got older.
"Now since we are both awake I need your opinion on a case. Do we really believe Captain Gregson? Is Gwen Osoku really guilty?" Rio gurgled. "I agree, definitely not. We need to look for the real culprit to that manuscript theft."
Joan interjected, "Aren't there child labour laws preventing children aged 7 days old from working?"
Sherlock looked panicked "We didn't mean to wake you, she just won't settle!" He looked frustrated and bedraggled and now that he was facing her, Joan could see his bloodshot eyes. "Perhaps I'll take her out for a drive in the car like last night. It is surprising how many other Fathers you encounter, blearily driving around with children strapped in the back, willing them to sleep. And whilst you know how I love our chats Rio Jay Holmes, I do wish that you would go to sleep." Joan held out her arms and Sherlock carefully lowered the bundle into her arms.
"Don't worry about waking me." Joan glanced across at her clock 2:34am "I've had a full hour and forty five minutes since she last woke me up." She gave a slightly manic grin and looked down at the now sleeping baby. Sherlock tip-toed across the floor and slid himself into the bed with surprising stealth. Joan hooked her feet off the bed and stood up to lower the baby into her crib. As her body touched the mattress though a cry started from deep inside and was soon resonating off the walls. Joan and Sherlock groaned together. Joan picked her back up and walked to the door.
"I'll take her into the nursery and sit with her in the rocking chair."
Sherlock's face suddenly changed as if he was desperate to say something.
"It's just, we'll be okay won't we?" he asked quickly.
This fear had seemed to come from nowhere. "Of course we'll be okay. We've survived this long haven't we! And we've certainly been through more than most couples have to go through in a lifetime. We'll be fine. All three of us."
Sherlock seemed reassured and she opened the door with one hand.
"You have one hour forty five minutes, enjoy it with you can!" she told him as she left.
And with that Mrs Holmes crossed into the nursery to tell Rio about the time her Daddy almost saved her Mommy from armed kidnappers.
"We Holmes girls don't need heroes" she told her. "But secretly, we're glad we've got one..."
And that's it! Thank you to all who have reviewed/favourited/followed. I have enjoyed writing this story more than you know. I plan on writing a new story that is sort-of linked into this one, about Joan and Sherlock as they experience Joan's pregnancy. A series of one-shots if you will. Message me/review if you have any ideas for what you want included. Thank you all again! Until next time, TGWTK x