It took twenty minutes to lull Rosie back into a sound sleep. She was drowsy from the medicine, which helped, but she was clearly still feeling the effects of the fever, and the first couple of times John tried to lay her back down she woke back up with a miserable cry. Honestly, John thought as he held her close and walked her around the room, she might as well be Sherlock’s daughter if her appalling timing was anything to go by.
He was torn between feeling grateful and regretful at her interruption. He had still been able to feel Sherlock’s warmth clinging to him as he’d climbed the stairs to get her, but it had dissipated more and more every second like steam rising from the surface of a pond on a cold day, lovely and impossible to hold on to. But maybe it was better this way; maybe they needed a few moments to cool off, to map out this new territory before they lost themselves in it.
He sighed and pressed his lips to Rosie’s head, hushing her with soothing words. She turned her head into his shoulder, sniffling, and let her eyes close, one fist clutching at the worn collar of his t-shirt. Music drifted up through the floorboards, the delicate notes of Sherlock’s violin wending their way through the flat.
John smiled; he recognized the tune. He didn’t know the name of it, but it was what Sherlock always played when Rosie couldn’t sleep. He’d been meaning to ask if it was one of Sherlock’s own compositions because it resembled a lullaby, but it wasn’t one John had ever heard before. The thought alone made John ache to return downstairs and finish what they’d started.
Rosie’s breathing slowly evened out, deep and steady, as Sherlock’s music drifted around them, and John gently lowered her back down into her crib; she sighed and curled up around her blanket but didn’t wake. John held onto the edge of the crib and watched her a moment longer, strangely nervous all of a sudden. Which was ridiculous, he thought, since he knew that the only thing awaiting him downstairs was what he’d always wanted.
But perhaps that was just it. He and Sherlock had never been able to get to this place before; there had always been something standing between them, death and marriage and chaos keeping them apart. And now that he was here, now that this new life was his to take…he was afraid he wouldn’t know how to keep it.
He shut his eyes, breathing in and out, attempting to calm the rapid beating of his heart. When he was sure he wasn’t going to lose it, he pushed away from Rosie’s crib and took the stairs with slow, even steps.