John makes his way up the stairs with their takeaway, and pauses on the top step as he hears a faint cry. He half winces, half smiles. Perhaps Rosie getting used to her earlier bed-time right away was a bit ambitious.
He hears Sherlock’s voice from the hall- tutting, actually tutting, and so John hovers between the step and the doorway, unseen.
Sherlock comes into view, gently bouncing Rosie up and down in his arms. “Now, you’re not meant to be awake, I hope you know that,” and his voice is so soft that John’s breath catches in his throat. Sherlock should have spotted him hiding by now, but he is enraptured by Rosie.
She wails loudly and Sherlock doesn’t even flinch. In fact, he laughs. “Yes, sorry, you’re stuck with me,” he says. “I would sing if it’d help, but that’s your Dad’s forté.”
John looks up, and blinks hard.
“Come on,” Sherlock murmurs. He’s rocking her, now, swaying her back into sleep. “Come on, darling. I know, let’s have a look out here, you’d like that, hmm?”
With one hand, Sherlock reaches across and opens the curtains a little. Rosie peers out- intrigued, but glazing over slightly as she drifts off.
“You’re going to have so much fun,” Sherlock whispers. His head has bent down, his lips just brushing the top of her head. “Just look at that, Rosie. Billions of people in the world, all of them connected in some way, and they don’t even know it yet, some of them.” She sighs deeply, sleepily. “That’s it, sssh. You don’t know it yet, but you’re going to have the best adventure, I just know it.”
Her eyes are completely closed now, and Sherlock gradually slows his rocking. “But the best part is coming home,” he finishes, and he says with reverence, like it’s the most precious secret in the world.
John steps back to compose himself. When he goes through the doorway, Sherlock is off putting Rosie back into bed. He sets up the cutlery, the wine glasses, the containers of prawn crackers, and fortune cookies, and everything in between.
He raises his head as he hears Sherlock’s quiet footsteps coming closer. “She’s not, you know that?”
Sherlock pours their wine, John’s glass first, then his own. “I’m sorry?”
“She’s not ‘stuck with you’,” John replies.
Sherlock’s cheeks turn pink. “I- well-”
“She’s not,” John insists. He hands Sherlock his wine glass and taps it against his own. “We’re her family,” he says. He says it, bold and firm and clear as crystal.
Sherlock sets down the wine glass, and kisses him with the biggest grin on his face John has seen. They both pretend, for now, that it’s not a teary one.