Written for @watsonsanatomy =)
Rosie was crying. Again. It was the fourth time that night, and John had barely gotten a wink of sleep. He rolled out of bed and padded over to her crib. She wailed up at him and reached out, and he picked her up in his arms, pressing his cheek to her forehead and murmuring “Shh, shh, it’s all right, daddy’s here.”
She felt warm. Too warm. As a doctor, John knew better than to panic about a little bit of a fever, but it still wasn’t a pleasant thought. Still whispering soothing words against her head he carried her carefully down the stairs.
221B was dark and quiet, only the distant sounds from the street outside permeating the silence. Of course Sherlock would pick tonight to go to bed at a reasonable hour when John had a screaming baby in his arms and was bumping into things left and right trying to get to the loo.
Ever since he’d moved back to Baker Street with Rosie he’d kept all of the medical supplies in the cabinet under the sink in the loo. The hallway that led down that way was blocked off by a gate so she’d never be able to get to it. He knew he had some baby medicine in there somewhere.
Rosie was still sobbing, but the sound was muffled by John’s shoulder, and Sherlock usually slept like the dead so John wasn’t too worried. Until he hooked his foot on the top of the gate while trying to step over it and it came crashing down as he stumbled into the wall.
John cursed and heard a thump from inside Sherlock’s room, and a few second later the door swung open and Sherlock appeared, looking…well, endearingly disheveled and still half-asleep. He squinted at John in the darkness.
“Is everything all right?”
Rosie’s cries stuttered a bit, and she picked her head up, craning her neck around to see Sherlock.
“Yeah, yeah, just…tripped over the damn gate is all. Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
Sherlock stepped closer, tilting his head slightly. His eyes were slowly regaining their intellectual light, and he stopped in front of John, his gaze on Rosie, reaching out to flick on the hallway light. John winced at the sudden brightness in his eyes, but when he managed to get a clear look at Sherlock he noticed a developing red mark on Sherlock’s cheek.
Rosie reached out a hand for him, and Sherlock gave her one of his fingers to hold onto.
“Why is she crying?” Sherlock asked.
“Daddy,” Rosie said. John kissed her temple, letting her know he was still right there.
“She’s a bit feverish,” he said distractedly, stepping closer and reaching up with his free hand to touch Sherlock’s face. “Did you–did you fall out of the bed?”
Sherlock’s flushed and smacked his hand away. “No.”
John couldn’t prevent the grin. Not that he tried very hard. “Yes, you did, you fell out of the bed.”
“You startled me!” Sherlock snapped. “Shouldn’t you be taking care of your daughter instead of interrogating me anyway?”
“Daddy,” Rosie said miserably.
“I know, love, I know, we’ll get you sorted,” John said. Then, glancing back at Sherlock with another small grin, “You should really put some ice on that.”
Sherlock huffed and turned to sweep back into his room in characteristic dramatic fashion, but before he’d even taken three steps Rosie cried out, “Daddy, no!”
Sherlock froze. So did John. Rosie was squirming in his arms, reaching unmistakably for Sherlock who still had his back to them.
“Back, back, c’m back, daddy!”
John felt like something in his chest might burst, and he said, “Sherlock,” a bit hoarsely.
Slowly, as if he was afraid he might break if he moved to quickly, Sherlock turned back around. His eyes were wide, and he looked as Rosie like he’d never seen her before in his life.
“Daddy, daddy!” Rosie sobbed, her arms flailing out in front of her, but she couldn’t reach him. She turned around to look at John, and her expression was almost accusatory. “Want daddy!”
John stared at her, stunned, and then looked back at Sherlock who was still staring at Rosie, and there was something so so fragile in his eyes, something John wasn’t sure he’d ever seen before. John did the only thing he could think to do, which was to put Rosie down on the floor where she immediately crawled over to Sherlock and pulled herself up by his pajamas.
“Daddy,” she said firmly, her little fists closed around the worn fabric as if she could keep him there by force.
It was like watching a statue learn how to move. Sherlock leaned over, his movements strangely jerky, and pulled Rosie up into his arms where she immediately cuddled herself into his chest with a little sigh.
John suddenly found he needed to blink very rapidly. “I–I’ll go get the, um, the medicine. Can you just…?”
Sherlock nodded mutely, all of his attention on the little girl that had attached herself to him like a barnacle. John hurried past them and went into the loo where he leaned back against the door and took a deep, shuddering breath. There was the sound of Sherlock’s muffled voice moving down the hallway, toward the sitting room, and of Rosie’s delighted replies that were mostly garbled noises.
John listened to them and pressed the heels of his hands hard into his eyes, willing himself not to cry. His chest ached, and he wanted nothing more than to go out there and wrap his arms around both of them and never let go.
In hindsight he should’ve seen it coming. Of course she would see Sherlock as her father. He changed her nappies, he fed her, he played games with her, he played her the violin when she was fussy, he was…he was her father.
John let out a long breath and pushed off from the door, crouching down to rummage through the cabinet. He had to pull himself together and get Rosie feeling better so he and Sherlock could have a much needed talk.
There will probably be a part two to this. It just got…very long. Ahem. But I want my boys to have their kiss, soooo yeah. :)
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