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.
Joan had expected her life to get less exciting after Sherlock's death. She'd expected her appointment to be routine, with Dr. Harris checking on Adriana's heartbeat and how she was sitting in the uterus.
She hadn't expected a gun-toting maniac to take the clinic hostage and drag her into the exam room.
“So...what's your name again?” Joan asked, figuring it was a good idea to know exactly who the man with the gun was.
The man grinned at her, as though he was privately amused by what she'd said. “I'm Sebastian Moran.”
Joan's eyes widened – she knew that name. That had been the name of Moriarty's right hand man, though no one had seen hide nor hair of him since...since Reichenbach. They'd begun to believe that Moran had been some kind of code name, assumed by whoever was doing Moriarty's dirty work at the time.
“You worked for Moriarty.”
“Very good,” he smirked.
If Joan had thought knowing who he was would in some way explain what he was doing, she had been proved wrong. She could understand if he just wanted to kill her, but why kidnap her and hold her at gunpoint in a doctor's clinic?
Joan hissed as another false contraction gripped her, grateful this room had possessed a chair she'd been able to sit down in.
“Is there any point to this?” she snapped. “Or did you just feel an urge to take a pregnant woman hostage to see what would happen?”
She knew she shouldn't antagonise the man with the gun, but pain and frustration had a firm hold of her voice. And she suspected that if all he wanted was to kill her, it would have been over and done with already.
Moran's explanation, however, was only more bewildering. “I'm waiting for Sherlock to turn up.”
Joan couldn't quite credit what she'd just heard.
“Sherlock's dead,” she said tightly. “He went over a cliff with your boss, remember?”
Moran cocked his head, regarding her with something close to surprise. He observed her with narrowed eyes for long moments, and then he laughed.
“You really believe that,” he mused, sounding as though he were marvelling.
Joan told herself the sinking feeling in her gut was just her breakfast settling. “Of course I believe it – it's true!”
But Moran shook his head, his smile still exuding smugness. “Only partly. Jim went over the cliff, but Sherlock didn't. And I should know – I saw it happen.”
'Impossible,' was the only thought that ran through Joan's head. 'Sherlock wouldn't do that to me, he wouldn't...'
'But they never found the body, remember?' hissed a vicious little voice in the back of her mind that bore more than a passing resemblance to Moriarty.
“I mean, I knew he was getting Big Brother to send him money,” Moran snorted, and another streak of pain went through Joan like the blade of a knife.
She remembered how awkward Mycroft had been at Sherlock's funeral, how the expression on his face had been something close to guilt whenever he looked at her pregnant belly.
She didn't want to believe it. But Moran seemed so confident, so sure...
Was that why Mycroft had been visiting so often? To assuage the guilt of knowing his brother had left her behind like so much dead weight?
And if Mycroft had known...why hadn't she? If Sherlock had taken the trouble to inform his brother he was still alive, why couldn't he have paid her the same courtesy? Didn't he know what she was going through, or had he just not cared?
Joan had loved him, and she'd thought that she'd at least meant something to Sherlock...but apparently she'd been fooling herself all along.
“And here I thought you were in on it,” Moran laughed cruelly. “But you weren't, were you? He fooled you just the same as he fooled the whole world.”
Fortunately, Joan's flinch at that remark was disguised as a reaction to the false contraction that ripped through her in the next instant.
Except this time, the pain wasn't centred in her lower abdomen. The pain came from everywhere – back, abdomen, pelvis – as though an iron band had briefly tightened around her midsection.
That wasn't a false contraction.
“I mean, I was watching you,” Moran continued. “I kept expecting him to contact you...and he finally did. That old man on the bus? That was him. I thought you knew, but apparently it...” he burst into spasms of laughter, “...it slipped right past you.”
Joan was barely paying attention. She'd deal with her heartbreak later – right now, she was in labour!
In the next instant, she told herself to calm down. The average length of active labour was about twelve hours, so she had a while to go. Her cervix needed to dilate to ten centimetres, which meant she had hours yet ahead of her.
At which point, this would hopefully be resolved, one way or the other.
Joan pressed a hand over her belly – even though she knew Adriana was completely unaware of what was going on, she still felt the need to soothe her daughter.
'I'm not going to let anything happen to you,' she willed. 'I'm going to keep you safe even if it kills me.'
Taking a deep breath, Joan resolved not to let on to Moran that she was in labour. So she attempted to keep him talking.
“How will Sherlock turn up?” she asked, trying to inject as much defiance and irritation into her voice as she could. “Are you expecting him to just mysteriously sense that I'm in trouble and come running? Because I'm pretty sure that was the purview of Spider Man.”
Moran smirked. “Cute. I can see why he thought you were worth a fuck or two.”
Joan stiffened, but she was almost hoping he would try something. Her pregnancy left her completely unable to knock the gun out of his hand with a roundhouse kick, but if he got close enough for her to use her hands...
“If I was him, I know I'd be keeping an eye on you,” Moran went on, leaning casually back in his chair. “Besides, all the people that ran out of here? It's only a matter of time before this is on the news.”
He sighed, producing a pair of handcuffs. “And on that note...”
Moran tossed them towards her, and Joan caught them automatically.
“Cuff yourself to the sink,” he ordered.
Joan didn't move. “And why would I do that?”
Moran raised the gun to point at her head but then, after a moment's consideration, lowered it until the muzzle was aiming squarely at her bulging abdomen.
While the gun aimed at her head had provoked little beyond detached calculation, the sight of it pointing at her belly swamped Joan with the instinctive, maternal terror of a mother whose child was in danger. She was aware the distinction was slightly ludicrous – at this stage, a bullet in her head was just as likely to be fatal to Adriana as a bullet in Joan's uterus – but she couldn't deny that it was there.
Joan handcuffed herself to the small sink in the corner of the room – one cuff around her right wrist, the other around the pipe that ran underneath the basin.
Moran put the gun down on the exam table before he came to check her bonds, more's the pity. When he was satisfied that she'd secured the cuffs tightly and that she couldn't dislodge the sink on her own, he left.
Joan was a little miffed he hadn't felt the need to tell her where he was going or what he was planning to do. But as soon as she couldn't hear his footsteps any more, she began raiding the small cabinet beside her for something she could use as a weapon.
Alas, there were no handy penknives, but Joan did find a small pair of sharp scissors that would work in a pinch, and concealed them up the sleeve of her jumper.
And then she waited. She stood, she sat, she stood again, she breathed slow and steady through each contraction. Her contractions were coming unusually close together for so early in her labour, but she told herself over and over again that there was no need to worry – that everything would be sorted out long before Adriana started actually being born.
When Moran came back, she'd coax him over to her somehow, at which point she'd stab him in the throat with the scissors and take the keys to the handcuffs. She'd call the police and the ambulance, and she'd be in hospital within half an hour.
Joan was still telling herself that when she became aware of a sudden flush of dampness in her underwear, and a trickle of liquid down her thigh. For a moment, she thought the pressure on her bladder had made her wet herself, but the stream was slow and steady, and there was no smell of urine.
Automatically, she kicked off her flip-flops and yanked at the drawstring of her trousers, ripping them and her underwear down in one vicious movement and shaking them from her ankles.
Sure enough, thin lines of clear fluid were flowing down her legs. Her water had broken.
Even though she knew women experienced their water breaking (or rupture of the membranes) at different stages of labour, Joan couldn't quell the small dart of terror that lodged below her sternum.
“Listen, kid,” she muttered, her voice as firm as she could make it. “I know I settled on Adriana, but if you come out now I swear I'll call you the most ridiculous name I can think of. You'll be...you'll be...Sherlockina! Do you hear that? You come out now, and you're Sherlockina, but you stay in until we're out of this, it'll be Adriana. So, do we have a deal?”
Joan's answer was another contraction.
Moran had been gone for an hour, and – in the privacy of her mind – Joan would admit she was terrified.
Her contractions were now deep, all-consuming pangs that stole her breath, and they were coming ten minutes apart. Joan wasn't an expert on childbirth – she hadn't specialised in gynaecology, after all – but she knew this was atypical.
It was happening too quickly. Joan knew that every birth was different – she'd heard of labours that didn't even last an hour – but she couldn't shake the fear. This was supposed to be happening in a hospital, or at least with someone on hand to tell her how dilated she was, to monitor how the baby was going...and some kind of pain relief would have been nice.
Joan concentrated on her breathing and tried not to remember every horrible labour story she'd ever heard of.
She was kneeling the floor now, and though her knees (and her leg) were protesting, no other position was workable. She couldn't lie down – the floor was slick with amniotic fluid – there was no way she could stand with the agonising contractions ripping through her body, and sitting in the chair was far too uncomfortable.
Footsteps sounded in the hallway – two sets this time – and Joan tensed, fingering the small pair of scissors concealed in her sleeve. She hoped she wouldn't be hit by a contraction when she went for Moran. It was all very well and good to talk about pushing through the pain, but in the first moments a contraction hit, it literally knocked the breath out of you.
The door opened, and Joan's heart slammed into her ribs as Sherlock entered the room.
For a moment, they simply stared at each other, and Joan dimly realised that he was wearing the same clothes the old man had been wearing.
The knowledge that Moran had been right burned in her throat like sulphuric acid, and in that moment Joan felt more fury at Sherlock than she'd ever felt for anyone before.
Then another contraction tore through her and Joan choked on a scream, grabbing the edge of the sink to stop from curling in on herself. Dammit, when had her contractions dropped from ten minutes apart to six minutes?
“What's the matter with you?” came Moran's sneering inquiry when Joan could see straight again.
He was behind Sherlock, a gun pointed squarely at the other man's liver. Joan realised that Sherlock's arrival wasn't so much the coming of the cavalry as it was the debut of an additional hostage.
She expected Sherlock to answer with something sarcastic and cutting, but he was silent and pale, his eyes flickering between the puddle of clothes on the floor, the splattering of fluid, and Joan herself, looking vaguely horrified.
In other circumstances Joan might be embarrassed about the fact that she was naked from the waist down in the presence of a psychopathic hitman, but her shirt and jumper were baggy enough to cover her up somewhat, and she had bigger things on her mind.
“I'm in labour,” she announced calmly, trying not to wheeze.
The contractions themselves were now close to a minute long, and judging by her progress so far, Joan estimated she was probably only half an hour away from giving birth.
“Unlock the handcuffs,” she ordered.
Moran snorted. “Nice try, sweetheart – you think I'm falling for that one?”
Joan glared. “My contractions are six minutes apart and counting. Unlock the fucking handcuffs!”
“There's fluid on the floor!” Sherlock snapped, and there was on overtone of desperation to his voice as his gaze flickered between her and Moran's gun. “Use your eyes! Her water's broken, she needs to be able to move freely!”
Moran stared at her (Joan silently willing him to come over to unlock her and put himself in range of her scissors), then abruptly burst into laughter.
“Oh, this is priceless,” he chortled. “This is so much better than what I'd planned.”
He tossed something small and silvery to Sherlock. “You unlock her.”
Sherlock darted across the room so quickly it looked like he'd teleported, and Joan realised his fingers were actually fumbling with the key as he opened the cuff.
The handcuffs had been police-issue – no little fuzzy pads like the ones the sex shops sold – and the skin on Joan's wrist was rubbed raw when the cuff came away. She felt Sherlock's fingers at the edge of her welts, heartbreakingly gentle, before she snatched her hand away and tried to rub some circulation back into it.
“Joan...” Sherlock began, his voice a hoarse whisper.
“Just...get me up onto the exam table,” she hissed.
“The exam table?”
“The floor's cold and sticky and my knees hurt,” Joan snapped. “Get me on the bloody table!”
Her legs weren't feeling very steady at the moment, and Joan hated that she had to wrap her arms around Sherlock's neck and essentially let him pull her off the floor. She hated that his smell and the familiar feel of his angular body made her heart lurch. She hated that he could leave her to think he was dead for almost a year and then just walk in and touch her like he had any sort of right to it.
In short, Joan hated Sherlock for a lot of things right now, but none of them as important as the fact that Adriana would likely be coming into the world in this very room.
The padding on the exam table was a huge relief to Joan's knees, and as soon as she was settled on it, she shoved Sherlock away.
“Wash your hands!”
Surprisingly, he obeyed without question. Humiliatingly, Joan went to all fours without his support – there was no sink to grab onto to keep herself upright here – and the pain of relentless contractions meant that she felt exhausted even though she hadn't even started to push yet.
As before, she concentrated on her breathing, the rush of running water and the slick sound of squirting soap. She could hear Moran huffing with laughter from the corner, and Joan vowed that she'd make him bleed before this was over.
Hurried footsteps signalled Sherlock's return, and Joan had barely blinked before he was standing right in front of her, propping her up against him.
Joan let her forehead rest against his collarbone, deciding she'd save her energy for the birth and not argue or try to push him aside. She hated that his presence, his closeness, could still comfort her.
Sherlock's head ducked until his lips were resting near her ear, and Joan was tempted to shake him off until she realised he was talking to her, his voice so low Moran wouldn't be able to hear him.
“He told me he was planning to kill you in front of me,” Sherlock whispered, and Joan despised the way the sliver of fear in his voice made her want to comfort him. “I don't know what he's planning now, though.”
Joan could make a guess. Moran had planned to kill her in front of Sherlock, with the bonus that Adriana would die with her. But when he'd walked in to find her in labour...she suspected he thought it would be all the more poignant if he killed the newborn Adriana and then killed Joan herself.
She looped her arm around Sherlock's neck, pressing her hand and wrist between his shoulder blades with just enough force for him to feel the outline of the scissors concealed in her sleeve. He went perfectly still for a moment, and she knew he'd understood.
Joan hated that they could do this – that they could fall back into their old patterns so easily.
Her body seized in another contraction. Joan's hand fisted in Sherlock's jacket – no billowing coat any more – and she ground her forehead into his shoulder, smearing sweat and tears on the fabric as hoarse, broken cries issued from her mouth.
One of Sherlock's hands was in her hair, cradling her head, while the other stroked random patterns over her back in long, soothing sweeps.
She hated that, too. Hated him for daring to pretend he cared for her, because if you cared for someone, there was no possible way you could let them go months thinking you were dead.
The pain eased, and her high, pained noises turned to heavy pants.
“Joan...” Sherlock murmured. “Joan, I-”
“Shut up!” she snarled. “Just shut up!”
“Oooh, trouble in paradise,” Moran mocked. “What's the matter, Sherlock – your little fuck-toy not want you back?”
Joan rolled her eyes – Moran wouldn't be the first person to insinuate Sherlock thought of her as a living, breathing sex doll, and he wouldn't be the last. She'd learned to just shrug it off, and Sherlock had always just ignored them.
But to her surprise, Sherlock tensed, and his breath hissed between his teeth like a furious cobra. For a moment, it seemed as though Sherlock was actually about to attack Moran, so Joan did what she did best; stop the smartest man she'd ever known from making stupid decisions.
Her other arm wound around his neck as well and she clutched her to him, hoping that if she held him in place for a few moments he'd think better of it. With her hands resting on his back, she could feel his muscles bunch and tighten as though he were considering throwing her off...but in the next instant, he'd relaxed again, the impulsive fury having passed.
Something brushed the side of her head, a soft whisper of skin on skin, and it was already over before Joan realised Sherlock had hesitantly kissed her temple.
Joan wanted to punch him
Joan had done her best not to scream, but as the contractions began to come two minutes apart and she was gripped with an urge to push, she lost that fight.
“Can you try to keep it down?” Moran drawled, sounding bored.
Out of breath and gasping, Joan tried to glare at him.
“Shut up!” Sherlock spat.
“You...need to...” Joan made a vague gesture with her hands and hoped Sherlock understood she needed him to put his hands between her legs and be ready to take the baby.
She was trying to breathe the way she'd been instructed to in those childbirth classes, but didn't think it was going too well.
Another contraction, one that she pushed with as she grit her teeth and buried the high-pitched noise that leaked from her lips in Sherlock's jacket. Then there were a few minutes of relief for Joan to pant and gasp through while steeling herself for the next contraction.
Contraction, push, wait for the next round. Contraction, push, wait for the next round.
Perhaps ten minutes into when she'd actually started pushing (and screaming, because without any sort of analgesic this was bloody painful!), Joan felt that something was definitely happening. It felt weird and strange and she knew her eyes were widening and her breath was stuttering in her chest but something in her just knew that this was it...
Two contractions later, and Adriana slid from Joan's body into Sherlock's hands.
Joan had always thought newborn babies fairly ugly – red and crumpled-looking, covered in blood and fluid and mucus. It was a surprise to know how much of a difference it made when it was her baby.
Her body was aching as though she'd just been run over, and though she should have been feeling utterly miserable she instead felt euphoric and powerful, as though she were on top of the world. She reached for her baby...
Only to notice Moran apparently had the same idea. He must have approached the (now rather soiled) exam table Joan was kneeling on while she and Sherlock were distracted, and now he was close enough to make a grab for Adriana.
Joan didn't even think about it.
“Don't touch my baby!”
Roused maternal instincts combined with her fury at being held hostage, and Joan had the scissors in her hand almost before she'd even realised it. Her arm came up and she dug the blades into the side of Moran's neck, opening his jugular vein and carotid artery with one blow.
Warm blood splattered across her jumper, arterial spray painting the beige fabric a bright red. Moran gurgled, one hand coming up automatically to clutching at his wound, desperately trying to keep it closed, while the other hand raised the gun. Sherlock twisted, as though trying to put his body between Joan and the weapon, but the pistol wasn't even pointing at them before Joan knocked it out of his hands with a shrewd blow to the wrist.
The gun hit the floor several feet away and discharged into the wall, but Joan wasn't paying any attention to it or to the man bleeding to death – all her focus was on her daughter.
Sherlock was still holding her, looking mildly terrified and slightly lost. The gunshot had prompted Adriana to cry, and Sherlock couldn't hold her to him because the umbilical cord was still attached.
Calmly, even though she felt more exhausted than she ever had before in her life, Joan pulled out two long threads from her jumper – it was write-off at this point, anyway. She used them to tie off the cord in preparation for it to be cut, then gathered Adriana into her arms.
As soon as she was holding her daughter, something in Joan eased. She lay back on the exam table, too weary to even care about the mess, or that she still had to go through placental expulsion. Adriana rested on her chest, squirming and waving her small arms as Joan stroked her back in an effort to comfort her.
It belatedly occurred to Joan that the room was probably cold for a newborn baby. “I need-”
The first two words were barely out of her mouth before Sherlock was tucking his scarf gently around Adriana, his face still frozen somewhere between 'utterly shocked' and 'in awe'.
Joan couldn't deny it wasn't gratifying to see that sort of expression on Sherlock's face for once.
Adriana was quieting, as though reassured by the feel of her mother's heartbeat beneath her cheek, though Joan thought it was possible her daughter was just as tired by the birth as she was.
For long moments, Joan just looked at her, taking in Adriana's tiny hands, curled into fists against her jumper, the unfocused eyes that were the pale blue most newborns possessed, the damp strands of inky-black hair that covered her head like a fine cloud...
But eventually, she raised her eyes to the man standing beside her.
“You, Sherlock, have a lot of explaining to do.”