Hey guys! So sorry for the wait! I know I thank you guys a lot, but I'm going to thank you again, anyway. You all are awesome and I truly do appreciate each and every one of you! =) Thanks so much, guys! Hope you all are having a great summer!

(Please excuse the errors, per the norm!)

Also, I would love some suggestions of chapters you guys would like to see written. Thanks!

Chapter Fifty-Two: A Playdate

"Thank God!" Sherlock gasped dramatically, collapsing atop his bed, equally dramatic.

"Please, Sherlock. It was a few days," John scolded with a raised brow, though he kept his voice low, seeing as Hamish was sound asleep in his arms.

"Perhaps, but such a statement is irrelevant, seeing as it felt like so much longer," the detective muttered into the sheets.

An eyeroll. "I'm putting him to bed."

"Mmm." Fingers curling against his long-missed bed, Sherlock took one deep breath in and then stood, smoothing a hand over the front of his suit. "I'll come."

"Thought so." A smug smile on his lips, John turned and began to tote his tiny flat mate up the stairs to his room, followed closely by Sherlock. "For the record, your son seemed to have had a great time." The doctor could practically see the smile in friend's voice.

"I suppose that... possibly... added some worth to the trip," the detective admitted with an eyeroll.

"Uh-huh." Smirking, John treaded over to Hamish's bed and very gently set the small boy under the covers, pleased when he remained sleeping. "There you go, little man," he murmured, placing his hand atop Hamish's head and using his thumb to brush away some stray curls. "Sleep tight, bud." The doctor backed away, corners of his lips curled upwards into a warm smile. "Right, then. I'm off to bed. See you both tomorrow." Yawning, John padded past his flat mate, clapping the detective on the shoulder as he went, and then descended the stairs.

Blinking his attention away from the entryway his flat mate had just exited through, Sherlock turned his ever-changing eyes to his son's sleeping form. "Oh, Hamish," he murmured, taking a seat on the edge of the little boy's tiny bed. "I do hope you had a good time, love."

Humming in his sleep, Hamish whined a tad while he stretched his small arms and legs, shifting underneath his covers. The little boy eventually settled on his side, an arm draped over his face.

With a chuckle, Sherlock managed to kiss between his son's hand and press his lips to Hamish's cheek. "Goodnight, Hamish. I, too, hope you sleep well. Mmm." Smiling, the detective brushed the pad of his thumb over Hamish's cheek, and then pecked his lips one more time to the small boy's cheek. "Right, then." Once concurring that his son was tucked in properly enough, Sherlock padded downstairs to find John was in the kitchen, preparing a glass of water. "I thought you were going to bed," the detective mumbled with a raised brow, stifling a yawn.

"I was. Just thought I'd make a side stop for a drink. How about you?"

"Hmm?"

"Are you popping off to bed, too?"

"Oh. Yes. Unfortunately, even someone like me requires such trivial neccessitites as sleep... And food, on occasion."

John withheld an eyeroll. "Welcome to the world the rest of us live in," he mumbled, turning, glass in hand.

"... I don't understand."

Pausing, John couldn't help but chuckle. That's quite all right. Probably best you don't, anyway. Oh. By the way..." The doctor turned back to face his friend. "Now you don't have to make any decisions tonight, but I just think you should start thinking about getting Hamish into some kind of daycare."

Sherlock rolled his eyes and heaved a sigh. "What for?"

"For social reasons, Sherlock. He needs to be interacting with other children his age to help develope those skills." Sherlock tried to say something. "No. Shush. Now I said no decisions needed to be made today, I just wanted to make sure you're thinking about it, all right?"

Sherlock merely nodded.

"Right, then. Goodnight, Sherlock."

Frowning slightly, Sherlock watched as his flat mate exited the kitchen and began to pad down the stairs to his room.

"Mmm." A tired hum resonating deep in his chest, Sherlock placed a hand on the nearest counter, glancing around at his long-missed kitchen. A small smile graced the detective's lips. "Right, then." Yawning, Sherlock shed his coat, draping it over the back of a kitchen chair, and then padded into his own room, not bothering to change out of his suit.

After collapsing atop his bed and curling under and around the sheets, Sherlock managed to discard his suit jacket. Inhaling deeply, a tired smile ghosted over the detective's lips, pleased to be home and done with the holiday. With a pleased exhale of breath, Sherlock fell asleep, wrapped once again in the familiarities of 221B.


Sherlock was awoken by a tiny form clambering onto his bed, and then settling against the curve of his back. "Mm. Good morning, Hamish," the detective murmured, keeping his eyes closed.

"Morn', Daddy."

Sherlock could tell from the tones in his son's small voice that he was barely awake. "Tired?"

"What, Daddy? Oh. 'Es."

"Have you eaten?"

"Uh-hum..."

The detective could feel Hamish nod against his spine. "Good, good." Yawning, Sherlock rolled over. "What did you eat, then?" he asked, tilting his son's head so he could see his face.

"Oh, uhm... Toast an' sta'berries," the little boy concluded with a tired nod.

"Ah, lovely. Is John still here?"

"Hmm. Oh. Uhm, what, Daddy?"

"Is John still here?" Sherlock repeated with a fond chuckle.

"Oh. No, Daddy."

"Work?"

"'Es." A sigh. "I is tired, Daddy," Hamish stated, as if confused.

"Yes, I can see that," Sherlock laughed, giving his son a playful pat on the bottom. "We arrived home quite lat last night, and—per the usual—you never really sleep in very late."

"Mmm." Eyes quickly sliding shut, Hamish snuggled against his father's stomach, yawning into the fabric there.

With a smile and a chuckle, Sherlock playfully ruffled hamish's auburn curls, humming an apology when the little boy's eyes fluttered open. "Sorry, love."

"Is 'kay, Daddy," Hamish yawned. "I needs ah get up?"

"Well... we've just gotten back from holiday... I suppose we could rest just a tad longer."

"Uh-hmm..." Quite clearly concurring, Hamish's eyes slid shut once again and he wrapped a small hand around Sherlock's, falling asleep once again.

A fond smile dancing over his lips, Sherlock curled an arm around the back of his son's smaller form, tucking him close. Quickly following suit, the detective closed his eyes and released a breath.


John returned to the flat for his lunch break to find it silent. Knowing Hamish was practically asleep when he had fed him earlier that morning, the doctor crept into Sherlock's bedroom, frowning when he found it empty. "Sherlock?" he called, returning to the kitchen.

"We're in the sitting room," soon came the detective's deep voice.

"Oh." Unusual for it to be so quiet when both Hamish and his father were awake, John entered the sitting room, expecting the worst. "Oh. What on earth are you doing?" he chuckled confusedly upon seeing Sherlock seated on the floor, fingers pressed to his lips, staring intently at Hamish, who seemed to be reading through a book.

"Shush," the detective murmured quickly, waving several unamused fingers towards the doctor, before returning them to his lips.

"Right." Smiling, though somewhat confusedly, John crouched down next to his friend, squinting at Hamish in an attempt to see what his flat mate was seeing. "What are we looking for?" he whispered.

"We're sorting through all of our toys and books to see which we should keep and which we should get rid of," Sherlock explained quietly, gaze intent as he stared at his son.

"Ah, right, right. And how long have we been doing this exactly?"

The detective glanced at his wristwatch. "Approximately twenty-two minutes."

"All right... And how many toys are we getting rid of so far?"

"Just the two." Allowing his hands to slide so they were positioned under his chin, Sherlock nodded towards a pile to his left consisting of one book and a puzzle.

"Ah, okay... Okay... Is this all you've got planned for the day?"

"No, no, later we've a plan to go to the park, now the weather's beginning to get nice once again."

"Park, Daddy?" Perking up, Hamish abandoned the book he had been flipping through and toddled over to John and the detective. "Go now, Daddy?" he asked, crawling into his father's lap. "He'o, John! We is be going to ah park ahday. Does want ah come?"

"I would love to, bud, but I'm afraid I have to go back to work," John chuckled sadly. "Sorry, little man."

"Oh. Is be 'kay, John. I is sorry has ah work," the little boy murmured earnestly. Pressing his small lips together, Hamish smiled and leaned over, gently patting the doctor's knee. "We will say lots stories."

"Excellent. I can't wait to hear them," John laughed, pressing a kiss to his tiny flat mate's cheek before standing.

"'Kay, John."

"So, then. Have you two eaten, then?"

"Yes, we—"

"Not Daddy," Hamish interrupted, as if to scold his father.

"Well that's hardly surprising, is it?"

"Not is, John," the little boy agreed with a giggle.

"Yes, well... So long as you're fed."

"Yes, John, we've both been fed," Sherlock chuckled as he stood, taking Hamish with him. "I am capalbe of feeding him."

"I know, I know." Raising his hands in false surrender, John turned with a chuckle and sauntered into the kitchen, in search of food.

"Right, then..." Swaying back and forth, Sherlock absentmindedly patted his son's back. "So," the detective began, raising his brows, "to the park, then?"

"'Es!" the little boy declared, raising his arms.

"Excellent. Now, it's a tad bit cold today, so we're going to need to get you a jacket, okay?"

"'Kay, Daddy."

"Good. Oh, um... Any clue as to where it is?" he asked with a quirk of his lips.

"Oh... John?"

"Excellent idea."

Nearly ten minutes later, Sherlock was gazing down at Hamish over a pram that had barely been used, settled between the two of them. The little boy sat with his arms crossed, pouting just slightly. "So no pram?" Sherlock asked for nearly the fourth time, raising a skeptical brow.

"No, Daddy."

"Sure?"

"'Es."

"... Fine. But I am not carrying you."


Once reaching the park, Hamish had managed to find his way into his father's arms, and seemed quite content at having done so.

"I hope you're pleased," Sherlock mumbled, setting the little boy down on the ground once again.

"'Es, Daddy."

"Oh, well that's good." Rolling his eyes, Sherlock turned his attention to park, wanting to gauge the activity and crowd. The detective's eyes instantly traveled to a familiar form. Jess, the young, single mother and Ava, whom they'd met at one of their first trips to the park, was seated at a nearby park bench. Having become quite closely acquainted with her, and found he was actually not as annoyed by her as he thought he would have been, Sherlock had discovered Jess was a very interesting individual, one whom was not entirely unpleasant to associate with. And Hamish had developed quite a close relationship with Ava, despite the age gap. Sherlock could soon tell, however, that Jess was clearly going through a stressful situation. "Hamish," he murmured, kneeling down next to the little boy. "Who's that over there?" he asked, gesturing to Ava's form, running nearby.

A gasp. "Ava!" Hamish called, a joyous smile dancing over his lips. "Go, Daddy," the little boy practically squealed, toddling over to Ava.

Making sure he kept a watchful eye on his son's toddling form, Sherlock made his way over to the bench he and Jess usually shared and sat down next to her, slowly crossing his legs.

"Oh," Jess gasped, still unused to the silence with which Sherlock moved. "Hello, Sherlock," she greeted, a smile lightening her features.

"Good afternoon, Jessica," Sherlock replied, having learned that her real name was not Jess, but rather Jessica.

"Hello, Hamish," she called with a wave towards the two playing children. The young mother couldn't help but smile when the little boy yelled some unintelligible response back. "He's doing lovely, Sherlock."

"Mmm. As Ava appears to be, as well."

"Yeah, she's... Quite the handful now," Jessica chuckled with a little less enthusiasm than usual.

Sherlock watched as she tucked a stray hair behind her ear. "So, then," he murmured, pulling off his gloves. "Your mother's back in the hospital, then, is she?" he asked, already knowing the answer to the question.

Jessica's lips pressed together. "Yeah, she's... getting worse."

"I'm... sorry," Sherlock murmured, still not entirely clear on proper social etiquette for such situations.

"Thanks, Sherlock. I just... I've finally got a job, but I've barely got enough money to send Ava to her daycare, so she only goes a few days a week, and I, you know, fear that she may not last very long. Ava doesn't need to see that. But, unfortunately, I've got nowhere for her to go tonight, and I just... Some days I want to crawl into myself and make all the difficulties of every day life go away, you know?" Jess sighed, running several fingers through her hair.

"No," Sherlock answered.

"Sorry?"

"No, I don't know what it feels like to want to crawl into myself. Sounds terribly unpleasant, anyway," the detective continued, frowning slightly. He nearly jumped when Jessica laughed aloud, the bubbly personality he'd been used to seeing quickly rising to the surface once again.

"Thanks, Sherlock," she chuckled with a smile. "Now I've just got to figure out what I'm doing with Ava..."

"Well, I'm sure you'll—" Sherlock paused mid-sentence, a thought suddenly occurring. The conversation he'd had with John just the night before quickly replayed in the detective's mind. And he soon had a solution to both his and Jessica's problems. "Jessica," he stated, turning towards her, "I would be more than willing to sort of... babysit her for a little while, if you would feel comfortable."

"Are... Seriously? Oh, my... Sherlock, that would be positively wonderful! Are you sure? I mean—I just—Sherlock, thank you so very much!" Nearly squealing in relief, Jessica quickly leaned forward, pressing her lips to Sherlock's cheek, in a quick, thankful peck. "Thank you. Thank you!"

Rather quite shocked from the quick and sudden kiss, Sherlock merely blinked at the young mother, not a clue as to what the proper reaction to such a thing would be. "Of course," he managed eventually.

"Right, then. We live just a few blocks from here, so I suppose it would be easiest for me to run home quickly and pack a bag for you. You're still sure?"

"Yes, sure, of course," Sherlock answered quickly, always finding he could get rather overwhelmed with Jessica's quick, non-stop speech patterns.

"Great! Thank you so much! All right. I'll be back in just a moment. You can watch the two of them?"

Sherlock merely nodded and managed what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

"Excellent. Be back!" Grabbing the bag she had set next to her on the bench, Jessica hurried towards her daughter, explaining something to the little girl before hurrying away and out of the park.

Sherlock waited patiently, watching Hamish fondly as the little boy interacted and played with Ava. The detective knew he would never tire of hearing his son's bell-like, and rather contagious laugh. A tender smile ghosted over Sherlock's lips as Hamish toddled over to Ava, who had just fallen, and attempted to help her up. The detective could hear the little boy ask her worriedly, "Is be 'kay, Ava?"

"Yep! All good!" the little girl replied with a grin, brushing the dirt off her knees as she stood.

"Oh. Good!" Relief clearly flooding his tiny form, Hamish toddled over to the swing set and then turned, grinning when he found his father's seated form. "Daddy?" he called, tiny voice just barely reaching the detective.

"Coming, love," Sherlock called back. Tucking his gloves into his pocket, the detective left his seat at the bench and hurried over to his son's waiting form.

"He'o, Daddy."

A laugh. "Hello, love."

"He'o. I can do ah swingies?"

"Yes, of course." Smiling, Sherlock leaned down and gathered Hamish into his arms, transferring him to the swing. "Ava?" Knowing he was supposed to be watching her, too, the detective turned and found she was standing behind him, now looking rather feeble. "Oh. Hello, there," Sherlock greeted, attempting to sound friendly. Despite the reassurance he'd received from John that his treatment of Hamish was normal and loving, the detective never quite knew how to react around other children. "Would you like to swing?" he offered, suddenly realizing the small girl may feel left out.

"Yes, please. 'Tank you, Mr. Holmes," Ava thanked with a small voice.

"Sherlock."

"What?"

"I prefer to be called Sherlock," the detective explained, gesturing to a swing next to Hamish. "Do you need any help?"

"Sometimes mummy helps me."

"Oh. Well..." Sherlock waited patiently while Ava moved over to a swing, placing a hand atop Hamish's back while he waited. "Good?"

With a grunt of effort, the little girl hoisted herself onto a swing and then settled in, taking ahold of the chains on either side. "Yes, Mr.—Oh. Sherlock," she corrected with a giggle.

"Quite. Do you need a push?" the detective asked, having already started pushing Hamish, who was laughing and squealing contently to himself.

"Nope. I can do it. 'Tank you."

Sherlock's lips twitched at the corner. "All right."

"More, Daddy," Hamish laughed, raising his tiny arms into the air as he swung rhythmically back and forth.

"All right, all right." Chuckling deeply, Sherlock gave his son another push. "Doing well, Ava?" he asked, turning to the little girl.

"Yes, Mr. Holmes."

"Sure?"

"Yep!" the little girl reassured with a smile, giving herself a small push.

"Very well. How are we doing then, love?"

"Lots be good, Daddy. He'o Ava!" Hamish squealed as he swung past. The little gil giggled contently in response.

"Oh. Ava, your mother's back. Come here, little one." After stopping Hamish's swing with his hand, Sherlock gently pulled the little boy from the plastic seat and settled him against the curve of his waist. "Ava, your—"

"Mummy!" Abandoning the swingset, Ava quickly toddled towards her mother, nearly tripping over her own feet in her hurry.

"Oh, hello there, dear," Jessica greeted with a hug.

"Did you get every'ting, Mummy?"

"Uh, yes. I hope so, at least."

"He'o Jess'ca!" Hamish greeted cheerfully from his perch on his father's hip.

"Hello, Hamish," the young mother chuckled fondly, passing the bag she'd prepared to Sherlock, who silently thanked her.

Once done with exchanging hugs and kisses, Ava was soon back to playing with Hamish, and Jessica was off to the hospital, having thanked Sherlock numerous more times.


Once it seemed like Hamish and Ava had had their fill of playing, Sherlock left his seat at the bench and made his way over to the two children. "Right, then. Ready to head home, are we?" he asked.

"'Es, Daddy," the little boy sighed, hurrying over to his father and huddling around his legs. "I is tireds. Can go home now?"

With a smile, Sherlock leaned down and pulled Hamish into his arms. "Very good, then. Besides, it's almost time for your nap, anyway."

"'Es. Ava has ah nappies?"

"Well, I... Don't really know. I suppose we'll find out." The detective turned when he felt a small tug on his trousers.

"Mr. Holmes?" Ava asked, dropping her hand from the fabric of Sherlock's trousers.

"Yes?"

"Mummy says I am go home with you," she stated with raised brows.

"Yes, that's right," Sherlock answered, grabby the bag Jessica had packed for the two of them.

"Okay." With a nod of her head, the little girl turned her large eyes up towards the tall detective, waiting patiently.

"Right, then. Ready?" he asked, though the question was mostly directed at Ava, seeing as Hamish was begin to doze off against his shoulder.

"Okay."

"Good." Pressing Hamish close and setting a slender hand atop the little boy's back, Sherlock began the walk back to 221B. Soon, however, the detective felt a tiny hand wrap inside of his own. Coming to a halt on the pavement, Sherlock glanced down to find Ava had taken ahold of his fingers and was gazing up at him expectantly.

Clearly sensing the detective's confusion, the little girl began to giggle to herself. "Mummy says to hold hands always when we walks home."

"Ah," Sherlock sighed in understanding, hesitantly closing his fingers around Ava's smaller ones, despite their being just slightly larger than Hamish's and feeling foreign to his touch. "Right, then. On we go."

Hamish now slumbering on one shoulder, Jessica's bag draped over the other, and hand-in-hand with Ava, Sherlock could only imagine how domesticated he looked. The detective's thoughts were further confirmed by the fond smiles he was receiving from passersby. Sherlock couldn't help but breath a sigh of relief upon reaching the steps of 221B.

"Is this where you an' Hamish live?" Ava asked, gently tugging her hand from Sherlock's

"Yes. This is the flat we live in, along with John. Have you met John?"

The little girl thought for a few moments before shrugging with a small smile. Sherlock merely chuckled in response, as he pushed open the door, allowing Ava to take a hesitant step in, before following with careful steps, not wanting to wake Hamish. "Right, then," he sighed, once again taking hold of the little girl's hand as he led her up the stairs. "This is it. Umm... Right, Hamish needs to go down for his nap, and your mother didn't mention if you..." Sherlock trailed away when he turned to Ava to find her yawning and rubbing at her eyes with a first. "That answers that, then. Come along. This way," the detective chuckled, gently turning their tiny guest towards the stairs to Hamish's room. "Oh." Suddenly coming to that thought that both children would be requiring a sleeping space, the detective paused. "Right."


To: John Watson at 2:09 p.m.

EMERGENCY. FLAT. NOW.

SH


Having heard his phone chime in such a way that meant he had received a text from his flat mate, John rolled his eyes and then glanced at his phone, expecting the detective was bored with his first day back, and was requiring a new case. "Oh, my... Jesus!" the doctor breathed upon seeing the message on his screen. Quickly grabbing his coat, John mumbled some sort of an explanation to a nearby nurse, and then hurried out of the hospital, in search of a cab.

Once at the flat, John quickly bound up the stairs, taking them two at a time, panicking when he was met with silence. "Bloody hell... Sherlock!" he called worriedly. "Sherlock, what's happened—"

"Shush, John," soon came the detective's voice. "We're up here. And keep your voice down, please."

Heart thrumming rather painfully in his chest, John hurried up the stairs to Hamish's room. "What, what's the emergency," he breathed rapidly, glancing worriedly around the room in search of any danger. His whole form quite literally froze upon realizing there was not one tiny form in the room, but rather two.

"Have you been running?" Sherlock asked, voice just a whisper, absentmindedly swaying Hamish, who was still asleep in his arms, back and forth.

"What... Who's that? Why are there two kids?" Once determining that the tiny form in his flat mate's arm was Hamish, John very confusedly turned his gaze to the form resting in the little boy's head. "Is that... Is that Ava? From the park?" he asked breathily.

"Yes, of course. Her mum's having some family troubles, so I volunteered to watch her for the—"

"So there's no emergency?" John asked in disbelief, hands clenching at his sides.

"Well, no of course there is. Don't you see it?"

"You nearly gave me a bloody heart attack, Sherlock!"

"Shh—"

"You can't just text me something like that when there's no emergency! I thought something had happened to you, or worse, to Hamish. Jesus, just..." Releasing a sigh, John ran several fingers through his short, sandy hair. "In the future, please don't text me about an emergency until there actually is one."

"Apologies. Now, then. What should we do about the problem?"

"What in the bloody hell is the problem, Sherlock?" the doctor asked, exasperated.

Rolling his eyes as if the answer was painfully obvious, Sherlock gestured to Hamish's bed, where Ava was currently slumbering.

"It's a shame he's not awake to scold you for being so rude," John drawled, scowling at his flat mate.

"You scold me all the time."

"Sure, but you actually listen when he does it."

A fond smile twitched over Sherlock's lips. "I suppose," he murmured, pressing the sharp curve of his cheek atop the little boy's curls.

"Either way, I still don't see the problem."

"What do I do with the two of them?"

"How do you mean?"

"Well, she rather fell atop Hamish's bed and just sort of dozed off, and I've got work to do, so where shall I put him?" The detective gestured to Hamish's sleeping form.

"Just put tuck him in with Ava, they'll both be fine."

"What?" Sherlock looked practically appalled.

"Sherlock," John chuckled in realization, "they're children. They'll be fine."

"Are you sure? I mean..."

"Sherlock." John smiled reassuringly at his friend. "They'll be fine. Was that the emergency?"

"Well, yes, but... You've not really solved it."

"Fine. If that bothers you, allow Ava to stay in here, and you can take Hamish downstairs with you and just let him have a rest on the couch while you work. This is really not a big deal, and definitely does not qualify as an emergency."

Sherlock frowned slightly. "Very well. Thank you. You can go back to work," Sherlock dismissed with a wave of his fingers.

Shaking his head, John chuckled and then glanced between the two slumbering children. "Should be an interesting evening, then."

"Mmm," Sherlock hummed in agreement. "You're hardly one to complain, however, seeing as the situation is your fault."

"Oh? And how did you come to that conclusion, exactly?"

"You were the one who brought up social interaction for Hamish. I saw an opportunity for social interaction. Now Ava is staying with us for the evening. Your fault."

John merely pressed his lips together before mumbling, "Right," and heading back down the stairs.

Contemplating the situations John had given him, Sherlock glanced between his sleeping son and the tiny bed in front of him, before coming to the conclusion that he would just keep Hamish with him. "Right, yes, good." Quite unsure of what to do with Ava, the detective remembered that he should treat her much like he treats Hamish. With unsure movements, Sherlock padded over to the small bed and quickly draped the blankets over her, as if worried she may wake should he touch her for too long. "Yes, well... All right." When Ava did not wake, Sherlock concluded all was well and then turned, heading down the stairs, pressing soft kisses to Hamish's curls.

"Here we go, love," the detective murmured once in the sitting room as he made to set the little boy on the couch. Not wanting him to get cold, however, Sherlock managed to find a blanket, and then draped it over his son's tiny form. "Have a good sleep, Hamish," he murmured, brushing several curls out of the little boy's eyes with the back of his knuckles before sauntering into the kitchen, eager to look at the samples Lestrade had left him.


Sherlock's working was soon disrupted by his son's tiny voice.

"There is Ava in my's room," said little boy stated, impossibly confused.

"Ah. Yes, there is," Sherlock chuckled, turning away from his microscope. "She's staying with us because her mummy's a tad busy. Is Ava awake?"

"Oh. I nots know."

Sherlock couldn't help but laugh when he saw his son's still-waking form toddle out of view, followed closely by the sound of his tiny footfalls making their way up the stairs, and then return a short time later. "Well, then?" he asked once Hamish returned into view.

"Ava is be up, Daddy," the little boy concluded proudly and with a nod of his head.

"Excellent. We should probably go help her down the stairs, then, shouldn't we?"

"'Es, Daddy. Is be nice."

"Quite." Letting Hamish lead the way, Sherlock followed his son up the stairs to his room, where he found Ava waiting at the top of the landing, tugging at her fine, and now rather messy, brown hair. "Hello, Ava," Sherlock greeted, smiling fondly when he saw Hamish wave at the little girl out of the corner of his eyes. "Did you have a good rest, then?"

"Yes, Mr. Holmes."

"Sherlock," the detective chuckled.

"Hamish," the little boy inputted suddenly, quite confused when his father laughed aloud.

"Right, then," Sherlock hummed, still chuckling. Glancing between the two still-waking children on the landing, the detective scooped Hamish into his arms and offered a hand to Ava.

"'Tank you," the little girl thanked tiredly, grasping Sherlock's larger hand in her own and allowing the detective to lead her down the stairs.

"Well, what shall we do, then?" Sherlock asked once in the sitting room, releasing Ava from his grasp and setting Hamish on the ground.

"Oh! Oh! Ava, come, come see! I has lots toys," Hamish declared proudly, hurrying towards the little girl. Quite clearly excited to show his friend his treasures, Hamish tugged Ava towards the toy bin that had taken permanent residence in the sitting room and, after situating the little girl in just the right position, began to pull out all of his favorite toys.

A single hand having found its way to his pocket, Sherlock watched the scene with a fond gaze, ever-changing eyes cataloguing each small interaction and smile and giggle between the two tiny children seated on the floor in front of him, creating an entirely new corridor in his mind palace for the information he was logging.

Knowing the two children would be just fine, Sherlock silently returned to the kitchen, making sure the sliding doors were open, so as to keep a careful eye on Hamish and Ava.


"Well, hello there, Ava!" John declared cheerfully as he made his way up the stairs, to find the little girl appeared to be running in circles around the flat, chased by Hamish.

Upon hearing the unfamiliar voice, Ava stopped mid-step, tripping over herself in the process. Not quite remembering the doctor from their few previous encounters, the little girl hurried back into the kitchen. "Sherlock!" she called with her tiny voice, huddling around the detective's legs.

"Oh, no, no, Ava, it's all right. I'm John, remember? We've met at the park a few times," the doctor chuckled, gathering Hamish into his arms when the little boy ran up and hugged his leg with a delighted cry.

Upon seeing her friend react so calmly to the doctor, and hearing Sherlock's deep voice call a greeting, Ava took a hesitant step away from the detective's legs. "Hello," she stated quietly, still unsure of whether or not she trusted the doctor.

"Hello there, little one," John chuckled reassuringly. "I hear you're to be staying with us for the evening, hmm?"

"'Es, John! Ava and I is be play lots!" Hamish explained cheerfully, wrapping his arms around the doctor's neck.

"Oh, is that so?" Smiling, and hoping it would make Ava feel more at ease, John pressed a kiss to his tiny flat mate's cheek. "So you've had a good day, then?"

"'Es! Lot is be good, John."

"Well, I'm very glad to hear that!"

Coming to the conclusion that John was safe and kind enough for her to feel at ease, Ava's worry quickly melted away to reveal her bubbly personality. "Hamish," she giggled, quickly returning to the game they'd been playing.

"Oh! Down 'ease, John?"

The doctor quickly obeyed with a smile. "Of course. Go play, bud."

"Tank-su!"

Smiling after the two small children, John sauntered into the kitchen. "So, they've had a good day, then?"

"Quite. Or so it would seem. They both seem content and aptly entertained."

"Well, that's good. Dinner?"

"Not yet. I was rather hoping you could take care of it," Sherlock murmured, focusing intently on his slides.

"Of course." Chuckling, John drummed a few fingers on the kitchen table before pulling out his mobile. "I'll get takeaway, then."

"Mmm."


Once having eaten, both Hamish and Ava soon began to tire out, a day full of playing with each other beginning to wear down at their energy. Eventually, the two young children were seated on the floor next to each other, listening contently as Sherlock plucked out a soft melody on his violin, playing each note with careful precision.

"Mmm," Hamish hummed, a tiny smile gracing his lips as he watched his father's graceful fingers glide over and across the strings, light from the lit fireplace flickering over the equally-graceful instrument. Heaving himself up from the ground with a grunt, the little boy managed to crawl atop the couch and quickly settled himself against Sherlock's side, snuggling against his familiar form.

Continuing his gentle playing, Sherlock shared a fond smile with his flat mate when he noticed both Hamish and Ava's eyes beginning to droop, fluttering closed with each soft pluck of the violin strings.

Hamish's eyes eventually slid closed when his father began to hum along with the melody he was playing, deep voice soothing and lulling him to sleep. Ava soon followed suit, lying down on the bed of pillows that had managed to find their way into the sitting room.

"Are they out?" John mouthed to his flat mate, setting the book he'd been reading down.

"Quite," the detective mouthed back. pressing a soft kiss to his son's head before setting the violin down.

"And now we wait."

"Mmm."


Jessica returned several hours later. Allowing John to go make the proper and necessary greetings and condolences, Sherlock managed to gather Ava into his arms, deciding he would bring her down. The little girl shifted slightly once in his unfamiliar hold, but soon settled, allowing the detective to support her weight.

After finding the little girl's bag, Sherlock slowly toted Ava down the stairs and transferred her into her mother's waiting arms.

"Thank you again," Jessica thanked for the fourth time. "I truly appreciate it, you two." After more profuse thanking and then reassurances from John, the young mother and her slumbering daughter slipped away into the night.

Once upstairs again, Sherlock carefully gathered Hamish into his arms and then carried the little boy up to his room, tucking him in. "Goodnight, Hamish," he murmured against his son's forehead, placing several soft pecks to the skin there. "You did wonderfully today love. Mmm. I love you."

The little boy merely hummed softly in response.


"Daddy?" came Hamish's tiny voice.

Eyes instantly leaving the specimens under his microscope, Sherlock quickly left his seat and hurried over to his son's little form. "What's the matter, Hamish?" he asked, noticing that the little boy was barely awake.

"I... I hads a bad dreamies," Hamish mumbled, bumping his head against his father's jaw in an attempt to get close, while simultaneously hugging the stuffed animal clutched between his tiny fingers close.

"Ah, I see," Sherlock murmured, guiding his son's head so he was resting atop his shoulder. "Well, let's see if we can't help that, hmm?" Grabbing a blanket from the sitting room, Sherlock slowly meandered upstairs, swaying back and forth as he went in an attempt to get Hamish back to sleep. "Here we go," he murmured, trying the set the little boy back in his bed.

"No, Daddy," Hamish protested, exhausted tears beginning to form. "I wants ah stay," the little boy began to cry, still barely awake.

Concluding that one night would not do much damage to his son's routine or sleep pattern, Sherlock lifted Hamish back into his arms and draped the blanket he'd grabbed around the little boy's body.

Clutching his stuffed animal, Hamish quickly snuggled against his father's chest, seeking the detective's reassuring hold.

"There now. You're all right. It was just a bad dream, love," Sherlock murmured, taking a seat in the rocking chair behind the bed. "You're all right..."

"Was... Was ah bads... Dreamies, Da'ey," Hamish mumbled into Sherlock's chest, pausing with each gentle rock of the chair.

"I know. They're no fun, are they?"

"No... Nots is..."

"I know... I know they're not." Adjusting the blanket he'd draped over Hamish, Sherlock tucked his son's head under his chin as he continued to rock, stroking several fingers up and down the little boy's back. "It was just a dream, love."

"'Es... Dreamies..."

"Mmm. Exactly."

As if feeling the vibrations of his father's deep, resonating voice, Hamish hummed to himself and, with a sniffle and an exhale of breath quickly fell asleep once again, a single hand grasping his father's shirt.

Wanting to make sure Hamish had actually fallen asleep, and not minding the contact, Sherlock silently rocked for a few more minutes, keeping Hamish tucked and snuggled close.

The detective suddenly realized this was the first time Hamish had fallen asleep on his chest since he was younger, and had not yet acquired his own room. A strange pang seemed to dance through the detective's chest at the thought.

Well... he thought to himself, perhaps just a few more minutes wouldn't do any harm, either.