A/N: This is a birthday fic for my darling Shefali. She said awhile ago in response to my "The Place Your Heart Calls Home" fic that she'd like a series of fics where John does childhood things with Sherlock, like bathtime and lollies and bedtime stories about camel spiders. So I'm turning that fic into a series for her. Happy birthday, Shefy. x3

Bedtime Stories

Solifugae is an order of animals in the class Arachnida. Their order includes more than 1,000 described species in about 153 genera.

John read from the textbook as Sherlock lay in their bed.

John was on a mission to help Sherlock capture bits and pieces of his lacklustre youth. Today's crusade was reading bedtime stories.

The Solifugae are an order of their own. Although non-biologists are prone to confuse them with spiders, spiders form a completely distinct order, the Araneae.

John would have preferred to read childish stories, fables with lessons. Little Red Riding Hood. The Three Little Pigs. The Ugly Duckling. The Little Engine That Could.

But Sherlock would have none of that. John would have to read him something interesting, something he could use, or nothing at all.

John had conceded on one condition.

They'd had to fight it out, but John had finally gotten Sherlock tucked in nice and cosy.

Solifugae are typically univoltine. Reproduction can involve direct or indirect sperm transfer; when indirect, the male emits a spermatophore on the ground and then inserts it with his chelicerae in the female's genital pore. To do this, he flings the female on her back.

There would be no sex tonight. Children did not have sex. At least, no child under John's care.

Tonight, Sherlock would be cuddled and cared for and loved.

He'd be read to sleep, lulled by the sound of John's voice and the comfort it brought him.

He'd be kissed on the forehead, because that was the ultimate sign of affection in John's view.

He'd be watched and smiled over as he slept for awhile, because someone was happy with his growth and development and his energy.

He'd have his hair stroked. Because who was John kidding? He couldn't not do that.

The name Solifugae derives from Latin and means "those that flee from the sun." The order has several other scientific names, but their common names include camel spider, wind scorpion, jerrymunglum, sun scorpion, and sun spider.

John retreated to his old bedroom. They kept it intact for no reason he could discern as it was almost never used. But at times like his, he was glad it was still ready for him. The couch would have been a pain. John did not share Sherlock's love for it.

Sherlock would sleep alone tonight. He was a big boy. He would enjoy this bit of independence.

Solifugae are the subject of many urban legends and exaggerations about their size, speed, behavior, appetite, and lethality. Members of this order of Arachnida apparently have no venom and do not spin webs.

When John woke to find Sherlock curled beside him, he smiled.

No, it wasn't the act of a child seeking comfort from a scare in the night, but he could pretend.

Still, having Sherlock seek him out just because he loved John, just because he wanted to be near him, wasn't such a bad thing either.

John couldn't complain about the way this little boy had grown up.