A Midsummer Night's Honest Mistake
Miss Mary Morstan caught her third-grade student Hamish Watson peeking uncertainly out from behind the curtain as the parents and other family members gathered in the school auditorium to watch the primary school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which he was playing the part of Bottom.
She looked out over his shoulder and saw his father—a usually sweet-looking man—pacing and talking angrily into a mobile phone.
"Is he calling your mother?" she asked gently, kneeling down beside him.
Hamish shook his head. "I haven't got a mother," he said absently. Mary Morstan took his tone as sadness. She was about to place a hand on his shoulder when there came a cry of "Miss Morsta-a-a-an!" from somewhere else backstage, and she flashed a comforting smile at him before she ran off to attend to the newest crisis that her third-grade Hermia had fabricated.
"Sherlock," John said with frightening calm, "You are about to miss our son's performance… What? … No. Sherlock, I want you to get in a cab now… Not fifteen minutes from now. This minute. Now!"
John hung the phone up and walked into the almost empty theater with the feeling of a job well-done. As much as Sherlock was engrossed in this latest case, John knew that he would regret missing this.
John sat down in the front row and had a bit of difficulty suppressing a giggle as he imagined the look on Sherlock's face when he realized he was being kicked off of a crime scene. Oh, he would argue, but that was why John was feeling particularly smug. Sherlock was not about to miss the performance, because John had called him an hour early. That gave him about 15 minutes to argue and catch a cab, and a good 10 minutes leeway to get to the school before the curtain rose.
Yes. John Watson certainly knew how to deal with his husband.
"He's still not here!" Hamish snapped at the curtain out which he had been peeking again, five minutes before the show. He stomped his foot in annoyance, and Miss Morstan looked out at the curtain herself, wondering vaguely who he was talking about. Then she noticed the empty seat in the front row next to Hamish's father.
Probably an uncle, or a grandfather, who never really intended to come and has forgotten all about it by now, she reasoned. To Hamish, she said comfortingly, "I'm sure he'll be here."
"You're not," the boy retorted, "You're just saying that to make me feel better."
The small boy walked away from her, then, in a sulk.
"Your dad's here, though, isn't he?" she reminded him before he got too far. "Even if he doesn't come, your dad can tell him all about it, and you can, too."
Hamish looked up at her incredulously, and Miss Morstan wondered, not for the first time, where he'd learned the look. Certainly not from his father. She couldn't imagine John Watson with that look on his face. Come to think of it, Hamish didn't look much like his father at all.
His mother, then? Mary looked out at the front row one more time. She wondered how his mother had died, or if she'd left them.
And then she realized that she had never seen anyone with Mr. Watson since Hamish had been in her class. She resolved then that she would approach him, and ask him to lunch. That was a nice start. And he had such a nice smile.
But that was after they managed to get through a Shakespearian comedy filled with miscommunications and mix-ups. She took a deep breath and called "Places!" to her students.
True to form, Sherlock slipped into the front row without any hesitation as the lights dimmed.
John briefly worried that Sherlock would be angry for being dragged away from his work, but his fears proved unfounded. Sherlock seemed to read his mind, as he so often did. He favored John with a small smile and gave his hand a small squeeze as a slew of tiny Amazonians and Greeks came onstage with small wooden swords, yelling at the top of their lungs.
Hamish was, needless to say, the highlight of the production, and anyone who could see past their love for their own little actor or actress could tell you that. However the entire production went fairly well. Hermia had not burst into tears onstage. Miraculously, no one had been hurt with the toy weapons, or anything else. And, most importantly, the donkey head had not gotten stuck.
It was with this triumph under his belt that Miss Morstan was escorting Hamish out to meet John, intending to use her congratulations as a segue into asking John Watson to lunch, or drinks, or dinner, depending on how the conversation went.
Hamish spotted John through the crowd first and rushed over to him in excitement. But as John knelt down to give him a hug, Hamish's face fell.
"He didn't come, did he?" the boy asked sadly.
"He did!" John said, touching Hamish's nose with a finger and making him laugh, "He was here a second ago. I've no idea where he's got to since then, but you can bet it'll be into trouble."
Hamish was beaming, then, and Mary saw her entrance.
"Mr. Watson!" she said, as he was standing up, "So good to see you again. So glad you could come. Hamish was just excellent, don't you think?" She smiled widely.
"Oh, yeah! It was wonderful. I really enjoyed it," John said honestly, "and I have to congratulate you on this. I can barely handle one of them. I can't imagine keeping track of fifteen!"
Miss Morstan was framing her reply when Hamish caught sight of his father and went tearing across the room to get to him.
Sherlock swung his son up into his arms.
"Was I all right?" the small, dark-haired boy with the smudged makeup asked anxiously.
"You were wonderful!" Sherlock said, "Absolutely the best on the stage. I would have been with dad to meet you, but your Titania's grandmother tried to engage me in what she apparently calls a conversation. She says you're the spitting image of me." He rubbed noses with his son and laughed.
"And then she said," Sherlock continued, in a purposely-bad imitation of Mrs. Taylor, "That she was 'so happy to see someone else with such talent in the third grade!'"
"And what'd you say?" Hamish asked, giggling.
"I told her that she was misled in calling her own granddaughter talented, but I agreed with her about you." Hamish giggled harder.
Sherlock's eyes were searching the crowd for his undoubtedly better half.
"Ah," he said aloud, with a smirk, when he saw Miss Morstan flirting as hard as she could without being obviously desperate. "Hamish," he said conspiratorially, "do you want to see me surprise your teacher?"
Hamish nodded vigorously. Sherlock set him down and took his hand as they made their way through the crowd to John and Miss Morstan.
"Sorry I'm late," he said in a pleasant tone, nodding briefly to Mary, "I was engaged in a conversation with your Titania's grandmother."
Without further ado, he bent to kiss his husband a little harder and a little longer than was strictly necessary, or might have been strictly polite. In fact, he waited until John had put a hand up to cup his cheek before he broke the kiss and turned to Miss Morstan for her reaction.
Hamish looked too, and burst into laughter when he saw the badly-disguised shock on her face.
"So sorry," Sherlock said to her, smiling, "I forgot to introduce myself! I'm Sherlock Holmes, technically Holmes-Watson. And you are Miss Mary Morstan, I presume."
Mary smiled valiantly through her embarrassment. "Yes, I'm Hamish's teacher. I was just telling his—erm, Mr. Watson—how wonderful he was…"
"He was, wasn't he?" replied Sherlock, looking fondly down at Hamish as he slid an arm around his husband.
Even John noticed Mary's eyes flick to the hand which had appeared on the other side of his waist. "Really nice to see you again," he said to bring her attention back up.
"Oh. Yes. Nice to see you again, as well. And nice to meet you, Mr. Holmes…-Watson." She turned and all but fled towards another family which had reunited at the other side of the room.
"You did that on purpose, didn't you?" John muttered to Sherlock as soon as she was out of earshot.
Sherlock gave him a perfectly innocent look, which Hamish promptly spoilt with a giggling fit.
John split his look of disapproval between the boy and the man in front of him.
Sherlock shrugged. "She was flirting with you," he said by way of explanation.
John shot him the incredulous look that Miss Morstan had earlier decided couldn't possibly be his.