Rating: Probably M/15+
Pairing: Sherlock/Girl!John (Joan)
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, and am making no profit from their use.
Warnings: Very medical discussions of pregnancy, also violence and implied sex.
Summary: Another kinkmeme prompt (I really need to stay away from that site...) Sherlock and girl!John (Joan) get together. A few months down the line Reichenbach Falls happens. Turns out that Joan was pregnant and she never got to tell him. Sherlock defeats the rest of Moriarty's organisation in only a few months. The day he arrives back in London is actually the day that Joan is in labour. Established Sherlock/girl!John, so...technically het, but still feels like slash in my brain.
Fourteen weeks along, and Joan was starting to consider maternity clothes. There was a definite thickness at her waist now – not enough to prevent her wearing her favourite pair of jeans, but certainly enough to make her think about what it would be like in a few weeks time. She'd have to pick up a cot and a changing table at some point as well; preferably now, as she didn't want to be assembling it when she couldn't see her feet.
She'd waited to tell Lestrade and the others until the first trimester was over and the high-risk miscarriage period had passed. The first twelve weeks or so was the period in which the building blocks were being laid, so to speak, and the most likely time for something to go wrong and result in a miscarriage, especially as this was Joan's first pregnancy. But now that was over and done with, her chances of carrying this baby to term rose significantly.
There was a sort of informal get-together about once a month, in which Joan, Molly, and people who'd had to work with Sherlock in an official capacity went down to the pub and drank and talked and (on occasion) reminisced. It had started after the funeral and had continued by a sort of silent consensus – Joan thought they were really just worried that they'd lose touch with each other, and figured knowing Sherlock bonded people in the same way a life-threatening experience would have.
But before she made her announcement, she was going to listen to Lestrade's and Dimmock's loud debate over whose first day with Sherlock was the worst.
“You can't win at this,” Lestrade was telling the other inspector. “You just can't. Because when you met Sherlock, he already knew Joan. And before Joan came along, Sherlock was an absolute nightmare.”
Donovan snickered. “Yeah, the Inspector here used to wait until the last minute to call him in, and usually only because he made such a bloody nuisance of himself. When she came along,” Donovan nodded at Joan, “We started calling him in at the beginning of cases, rather than as a last resort.”
“Still, he was a monumental prick during that case,” Joan reflected. “Although, looking back on it, it might have had something to do with the fact that I was dating Sarah at the time.”
“Well, that explains it,” Dimmock mused. “I knew he was smitten-”
“You did?” Joan blurted. Because really, that was news to her.
“We all knew,” Anderson shrugged. “He was less boastful when you weren't around. Not by much, of course, but it was there. And when you were around...”
“He'd show off like mad,” Molly finished with a sad smile.
Lestrade nodded. “He'd strut 'round like a cock in a hen yard.”
“Oh,” Joan said quietly. She'd never noticed any difference in Sherlock's behaviour with her...but then, that was the point – they said he'd been like that whenever she was with him.
The thought that Sherlock had been showing off for her like a little boy with his first crush made her throat tight and her eyes itch, just a little.
Joan cleared her throat roughly. “Everyone? I have something to say...or, well, I guess it's sort of an announcement...”
Molly's eyes widened. “You're pregnant, aren't you?”
Anderson choked on his drink, Dimmock groaned, Lestrade goggled at her, and Donovan scrubbed a hand over her face.
“I'm pregnant,” Joan confirmed. “How did you know?”
“This is our fourth get-together, and I've never seen you drink anything but soft drink and mocktails,” Molly explained. “And I suspected something when you came over to Bart's and gave the teratogens a wide berth.”
Joan nodded, remembering. A teratogen was the nickname given to any substance that could cause abnormalities in developing embryos and foetuses – she'd ensured she stayed well away from them.
“And I'm sure everyone's noticed you've been getting...well...” Molly gestured to the small bulge that could be seen beneath Joan's clothes.
“I'd noticed,” Lestrade admitted. “But if I've learned only one thing in all my life, it's that you never mention a woman's weight or age.”
He sighed. “Well, congratulations, Joan.”
“Thanks,” Joan grinned. “Though it still feels a bit strange to think that I'm pregnant – it's not like we were planning it or anything.”
It was only Dimmock's semi-incredulous gaze that made her realise her hand had wrapped around her belly again, rubbing gently back and forth as though she was subconsciously trying to soothe the baby developing beneath her skin.
“How far along are you?” Donovan asked. “Do you know the sex yet? Or are you planning to leave it be a surprise?”
“Only fourteen weeks, so I don't know yet,” Joan said. “I'll probably find out at my next appointment.”
And she wanted to know, if only so she could assign a pronoun in her head and stop calling the baby 'it' all the time.
“Are you having problems with morning sickness?” Molly wondered. “You never seemed to be eating bland food, which is why I wasn't too sure if you were pregnant or not...”
“Actually, I seem to have dodged that bullet for the most part,” Joan admitted. “The smell of some things made me want to puke, but as long as I started out the day with some fairly bland food, I was all right.”
“Oh god,” Anderson whimpered. “You know what this means, don't you? In twenty years time there'll be another one.”
Lestrade snorted. “I plan to be retired by then.”
“Amen,” Dimmock muttered, taking another swig of his drink.
Joan liked her doctor – Dr. Harris was a red-headed woman in her early fifties, a practical kind of woman who didn't take any nonsense. She'd never condescended to Joan, either; once she'd learned that Joan was in the medical profession herself, she didn't bother dumbing down her language and explained everything to her as one doctor to another.
She was currently sixteen weeks along, and definitely starting to round out. There was a solid curve to the skin that Dr. Harris was slathering with the ultrasound gel – this was the appointment where Joan got to learn whether she was having a girl or a boy.
Having an ultrasound was always kind of strange. Every time she saw the shadow of the baby on the screen, Joan found it slightly unbelievable that a tiny life was forming inside her. Strangely, that cliché about pregnancy was true – it was sort of...magical.
“There we go,” Dr. Harris said, sounding satisfied, while Joan was still caught up in watching her baby flex its hands. “You're having a girl.”
“Oh,” Joan whispered faintly, still staring at the screen.
That was her baby. In twenty-six weeks or so, she'd give birth to a daughter.
“You'll probably start to feel her moving soon,” Dr. Harris went on. “It won't be much at first, just a little flutter now and then.”
Joan nodded. She knew the baby would have to get bigger before she really started to feel it kick.
She wondered if she should start thinking about names.
The cot and change table were being taken care of, courtesy of Mycroft. He wouldn't hear of her paying for anything, and really, Joan didn't argue too hard – if she was going to take a few years off work, penny-pinching had to come in somewhere, even with the ridiculous amount of money Sherlock had left to her.
“You do realise that for your niece or nephew to think you're the best uncle ever you have to spoil them after they come out,” she couldn't help pointing out as his assistant (whose name wasn't Anthea today, but Tatiana) took down Joan's specifications for a cot.
Which, really, weren't much aside from 'something that can fit in my room and isn't too gaudy'.
Mycroft came around at least once a fortnight, sometimes twice. He had a weird habit of looking almost guilty whenever he glanced at the slight curve of her belly, and – bizarrely – almost panicked, as though he didn't quite know what to do. She was tempted to ask if anyone had been pregnant around him before, because she was pretty sure he'd been seven years old when Sherlock was born...but she didn't mention it.
In a weird way, it was nice to have Mycroft over. He always brought delicious food that seemed to come from restaurants she knew didn't do takeaway, and she got to tease him by asking him if he was ready to be an uncle.
It was only in jest, though – she suspected Mycroft would be a wonderful uncle, even if he was a little prone to trying to control every facet of the world around him. Actually, that wouldn't have been so bad; it was the fact that he'd more or less succeeded that made it so unnerving.
“Oh, by the way, do you have any suggestions as to names?” Joan asked, because Mycroft was there, and she figured she might as well get the uncle's input since the father's...would not be forthcoming.
“Male or female?” Mycroft inquired.
“You know very well the baby's a girl – you probably knew not ten minutes after I did.”
“...I was trying to abide by your request,” Mycroft admitted. “You asked for the illusion of privacy, did you not?”
“Ha, ha,” Joan said, her voice loaded with sarcasm. “So, any suggestions? Family members you were fond of?”
“What about your family?”
“I'm not going to call my daughter after any family member that's still alive, so Harriet is out,” Joan said firmly. “And I'm not calling her after my mother – I'm sure Ivonne was a perfectly lovely name in its time, but that time has passed.”
“Our mother's name was Camila,” Mycroft offered, and Joan made an indecisive humming sound.
“Our maternal grandmother was Adriana,” he continued. “And our paternal grandmother was Amelia.”
“I like the sound of them more than Camila,” Joan admitted. “Maybe Amelia? Though Adriana sounds nice as well...maybe for a middle name?”
She chewed on the end of her pen and surveyed the list in front of her of prospective names. Thus far she had:
She scribbled Amelia and Adriana on the bottom of the list and wet her lips before asking, hesitantly, “Was there anyone in your family Sherlock was particularly close to?”
Even if he was dead, it seemed somehow important to have a name he would have approved of – Joan wasn't about to name their baby after someone he'd hated.
Mycroft paused, then said gently, “I believe he was particularly fond of the name 'Joan'.”
Something thrummed painfully in Joan's chest, like a violin string plucked too hard.
“It's...pretty old-fashioned these days,” she managed.
“Perhaps a more modern equivalent? May I suggest Joanne or Joanna for a middle name?”
“...that sounds nice.”
Twenty-one weeks in, Joan was lying down on the sofa with a piece of paper, still torn between four names: Adriana, Amelia, Grace, and Lauren. Her 'baby bump' wasn't just a slight swelling at her waist anymore; her body was bulging from sternum to pubic bone, and she'd propped her feet up against the arm of the sofa – she was putting her feet up whenever she could, as from this point onwards she'd be prone to varicose veins.
She said the names aloud one by one, in the hope that something would appeal to her.
“Adriana Joanne Watson.”
“Amelia Joanne Watson.”
“Grace Joanne Watson.”
“Lauren Joanne Watson.”
Joan huffed to herself – she still couldn't decide. Except she might be ruling 'Lauren' out, on the basis that with it, every name ended with an 'n' sound. Maybe 'Laura' as an alternative?
Something quivered inside her, and for a moment Joan thought her stomach was about to rumble or a burp was coming on. But nothing happened, and it didn't feel like some gastrointestinal upset...strangely, it felt almost like a goldfish was swimming around in her guts.
It took her a few seconds to realise she was feeling her daughter moving.
Stunned, Joan pressed a hand to her belly, and there it was – a tiny flutter against her hand, like she'd somehow swallowed a live bird.
The sensation startled a laugh out of her, but on its heels came an intense pang of regret that Sherlock wasn't here to feel this with her. Because aside from being the baby's father and her lover, he'd been her best friend. She missed being able to talk to him, missed his often-sarcastic comments on whatever problems she was facing, some of which seemed to have been designed purely to make her laugh...she just missed him being around, period.
Even five months on, it still hurt. Not the way it used to – there was no sharp, knife-edge of grief that stopped her throat and twisted in her chest. Now there was the dull ache of a scar stretching, of a wound scabbed but still tender in places. Maybe one day she'd be able to think of Sherlock without pain, but only with the fondness you felt for an old, very good memory.
She didn't see that day coming any time soon, though.
“Whoa,” Donovan muttered when Joan squeezed into the booth as she arrived at their get-together. “Baby's popping out a bit, isn't she?”
“Just a bit,” Joan groaned, shifting to try to find a comfortable position. At twenty-nine weeks along, her lower back tended to ache if she sat in the wrong position or stood for too long.
“Have you felt it kick yet?” Molly asked, obviously curious.
“Yes.” Joan couldn't hold back a grin at the thought. “You want to feel it?”
Molly nodded eagerly.
“I'll give you a shout if she's starting up, yeah?”
“Settled on a name, yet?” Lestrade asked.
“Not so much,” Joan admitted. “Right now I'm torn between Amelia or Adriana.”
“Adriana sounds more like something Sherlock's daughter should be called,” Molly offered. “But Amelia's a lovely name, too.”
Joan sighed. “Then you see my dilemma – it's difficult to pick between them.”
“Go with Amelia,” Donovan said bluntly. “It's a nice, nondescript name.”
“Come on, Donovan,” Lestrade cajoled. “There'll probably be half a dozen 'Amelia's at whatever school she goes to – give the girl a little flavour.”
Joan giggled, then caught sight of Dimmock and Anderson, pointedly not commenting and staring into their drinks.
“You two are pretty quiet.”
“I don't want to think about Sherlock having a kid,” Anderson muttered. “It seems somehow unnatural. I mean, I thought he was only aware of sex as an abstract concept!”
Joan couldn't resist. “Oh, sex with Sherlock was far from 'abstract'...”
For good measure, she added a salacious purr at the end.
Almost everyone around the table cringed. Except for Molly, who just looked intrigued.
“I'm envisioning the sort of nightmares the kid is going to give you if she's even half as smart as her father,” Dimmock admitted. “I know I'm probably going to seem like a bastard for saying this, but...you are never to call me for babysitting duties, do you hear me? Never!”
Joan laughed. Someone else might have been offended, but she just found it rather amusing that so many people seemed to assume her daughter would be some sort of universal terror.
Joan was beginning to see why people complained about being pregnant. She was thirty-six weeks along, and had long-ceased working at the clinic. She tired so easily these days, it just wasn't feasible to try to knock out a nine-to-five day, even if it was only three times a week. And the exhaustion was just one dot point on her laundry list of complaints.
She needed to go to the bathroom every ten minutes (or at least, that was what it felt like). She had trouble eating a full meal in one sitting because the baby was taking up so much room in her body. She wasn't feeling so out of breath nowadays as the developing child settled lower in her pelvis, but it came at the price of difficulty walking, and an unsettling feeling of pressure between her legs.
Joan also had to deal with Braxton-Hick's contractions at irregular intervals. She knew the false contractions were her body's ways of preparing for true labour, but they were damn irritating!
Still, at least she'd decided on a name. When her daughter came into the world, she was coming in as Adriana Joanne Watson.
Perhaps there was an over-abundance of 'a's in that name, but a surplus of vowels never hurt anyone.
There was a sharp knock at the door, and Joan made to get up from where she was sprawled on the sofa.
“You stay right where you are!” Mrs. Hudson called up. “I'll get the door – you just rest yourself, dear.”
Joan smiled fondly. Since the first day Mrs. Hudson had known Joan was pregnant, she'd treated it like the arrival of the grandchild she'd never had. Joan was never at risk of going hungry, as Mrs. Hudson had been cooking for her ever since she'd got so enormous it had become a real chore to struggle out of bed.
“I brought lemonade,” Sarah said as she entered the flat. “And I rented Thelma and Louise.”
Joan grinned. Just last week, she'd confessed to never having seen the movie, which Sarah had declared as a crime against classical films everywhere. So they were having a movie night.
“How's things at the clinic?” Joan asked as Sarah made herself at home, grabbing glasses and a large packet of crisps.
“The usual – all sniffles and hypochondriacs,” Sarah joked.
Joan shifted upwards on the sofa to make room for her friend, and started as she felt the distinctive stirring inside her that signalled Adriana's movements.
“She's kicking!” Joan exclaimed.
Then, as Sarah glanced at the enormous protrusion of her belly, “Want to feel?”
Sarah nodded, and Joan guided her palms to press against the place where her skin was actually jumping out from the force of her baby's kicks.
Sarah's face lit with the combination of wonder and fascination that passed across everyone's face when Joan invited them to feel Adriana moving. She sometimes pondered why people were so enchanted by it; maybe because even from a purely medical perspective it was pretty amazing – she was growing a whole other person beneath her skin!
Mrs. Hudson always giggled like a schoolgirl whenever she felt the baby kicking, while Mycroft tended to fuss a little and ask questions like 'is she supposed to be kicking that hard?' and 'are you sure that doesn't hurt?'. Like Sarah, Molly had more of a medical perspective on the whole thing, and liked to press and prod at Joan's abdomen to see if she could determine Adriana's position, and what was a tiny hand and what was a miniature foot. Lestrade and Anderson always went a bit gooey when they were touching her belly, and even Dimmock and Donovan hadn't been immune to it – Dimmock had grinned a little stupidly when one kick had landed solidly against his palm, and even as reserved as she usually was, Donovan had been smiling when she drew away.
And it was probably weird that she still called them by their last names, but Joan just couldn't help it. That was how they'd been introduced, and that was how she thought of them.
“How long to go again?” Sarah asked when Adriana had settled down.
“About six weeks,” Joan said.
“Any solid plans?”
“Get through the birth, raise her, hope I don't screw it up,” Joan said succinctly.
Everything was set up and ready – largely courtesy of Uncle Mycroft. There were disposable nappies tucked into a corner of a bathroom, and a cot upstairs in her bedroom. Joan had briefly entertained the idea of clearing Sherlock's room out for the baby, but had swiftly decided that if she was going to be feeling anywhere close to the exhaustion she felt now, she wanted Adriana's cot right next to her own bed.
“Anyway, enough about this,” Joan declared, switching the television on. “Show me why Thelma and Louise is not to be missed.”
Eight days off her due date, and Joan was sick and tired of having to drag herself down to Dr. Harris' offices every week.
“I know it's not the due date for at least a week, but still...could you hurry up?” she muttered to her swollen midsection as she climbed aboard the bus.
She'd always scoffed at mothers who talked to their babies in the uterus as though they could hear and understand them, but it was actually surprisingly soothing. This was probably why so many people talked to their pets.
Joan slumped down into one of the seats reserved for the elderly and expectant mothers, and in the process knocked a stack of books out of the hands of the man next to her.
“I'm so sorry,” she said, twisting awkwardly to the side and down in an effort to pick up the books that had scattered into the aisle.
She held them out to him, smiling apologetically, but the man was staring fixedly at her rounded belly. The baggiest top and stretchiest jumper in her wardrobe covered it neatly, but there was still no doubt she was either pregnant, or had gained a lot of weight in a very unusual manner.
“You're pregnant,” the man said quietly, sounding shell-shocked.
“Yes,” Joan said brightly. “I'm due in about a week – I'm off to my doctor's for a check-up.”
Usually she didn't go around giving out information like that, but she was feeling more and more cheerful as her due date approached. An end to the backaches and constant peeing was something to celebrate.
She knew most mothers were more worried about the actual delivery than the pregnancy, but for Joan, it had been the other way around. So many things could go wrong during gestation that you were far more likely to lose the baby to a miscarriage than problems during the birth. But she was over the hump, and even if she started going into labour tomorrow, odds were that the baby would be fine.
She expected that to be it – that the elderly man would just nod and turn back to the books in his arms. But instead, he continued, sounding almost hesitant.
“I take it the father is...unavailable?”
A dull ache throbbed briefly through her chest, and Joan wondered when this would ever not hurt.
“He's dead,” she said quietly, looking down and away.
It might have been Joan's imagination, but the tone seemed laden with a lot more emotion than just a stranger apologising for his ignorance of her circumstances. She wondered if someone close to him had died recently.
“You didn't know,” she said, looking up again and trying to smile.
Something thumped against the underside of her ribs – not hard, but enough to make her gasp and clutch at her belly.
“Are you all right?” the man asked, sounding much more concerned than she'd expect from someone she'd met just a few moments ago.
“I'm fine,” Joan wheezed. “She just got me a good one in the ribs.”
“She?” her new acquaintance echoed, staring at the bulge beneath her jumper in awe and wonder and something that looked suspiciously like sorrow and regret.
Had he lost a child at some point in his life?
Joan wasn't sure what drove her to make the offer – it seemed ludicrous, but something prompted her to say, “If you want to feel her moving, you can.”
Hesitantly, almost as though he was afraid she'd shatter beneath his fingers, the man stretched his hand out to curve around Joan's belly. Adriana was still kicking and squirming (thankfully avoiding Joan's ribs and other important organs), and he honestly seemed to be marvelling at the sensation, though it was mingled with something that looked very much like bewilderment.
The bus began to slow, and Joan suddenly realised it was approaching the street the clinic was on.
“Oh!” she declared, rising as swiftly as she could and dislodging the man's hand. “This is my stop!”
She thought the man was calling out to her, and actually seemed to be getting up as though he intended to follow her, but with a parting wave, she was off the bus and walking down the street.
Apparently her body was objecting to how quickly she'd moved, because Joan had barely got three steps before she felt a dull, cramping pain in her pelvis. More Braxton-Hick's contractions – she could tell because true contractions were felt in the lower back and tended to wrap around to the abdomen, while false ones tended to be concentrated in the lower pelvic region alone.
She'd have to keep herself aware of them, as false contractions sometimes turned into true labour, but they'd probably just go away, as they'd always done before.
So Joan sighed to herself, grit her teeth, and kept on walking.
AN: themusecalliope has recorded a podfic of this chapter - find it here at mediafire!