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 ended up having to stay in the hospital overnight. She'd passed the afterbirth without incident and given her statement to the police (fortunately, they weren't about to arrest her for killing the man holding her hostage when he was about to murder her baby), but the paramedics had still checked her out to ensure that she and Adriana weren't suffering any ill-effects from her rather stressful labour. Adriana was perfectly healthy, but Joan hadn't been able to drink anything during her labour, which meant she was rather dehydrated, and the paramedics had insisted on bringing her to the hospital.
So now Joan was sitting in a hospital bed, breastfeeding Adriana beneath a nursing blanket with an IV hooked into her hand and glaring up at Mycroft.
“I'm really working quite hard to suppress the urge to strangle you,” she said, moderating her voice only for the sake of the baby in her arms.
Mycroft's face was unreadable, and Joan really hoped he'd stick around until after Adriana was finished breastfeeding, so she could get up off the bed and break his nose.
She didn't know where Sherlock was – probably trying to convince some overworked doctor he wasn't in shock – and she hated that his absence worried her. He'd put her through almost nine months of believing he was dead; if there was any kind of justice in the world, he'd have lost all right to make her worry over him.
“I did what I thought best at the time,” Mycroft said, his voice level.
Joan took a deep breath to try to control herself. “Do you know what I went through, thinking Sherlock was dead?”
“I have an idea.”
“No, I don't think you do!” She was trembling with the urge to shout at him, to hit him, to make him understand a fraction of the pain she'd endured. “Can you at least tell me why you thought that was necessary, or is that also something I'm not allowed to know?”
“We knew it was very likely Moran was watching you,” Mycroft told her, and while his face was still unreadable it was no longer impassive – now, it was strangely intense. “I'm sure you can imagine what he would have done to you if he'd suspected you were in contact with Sherlock.”
“There didn't have to be 'contact'!” Joan snarled. “He could have, oh, I don't know, not faked his death in the first place? He could have taken me with him, he could have...”
Her voice broke, and she swallowed hard. “He could have at least told me.”
Adriana, perhaps picking up on Joan's misery, began to whimper and fuss, threatening to cry.
“Shush, Addy,” Joan whispered, rocking her daughter lightly in her arms. “It's all right, shhhhh, it's all right...”
Adriana began to mewl, then seemed to change her mind and began suckling again.
“Perhaps he could have,” Mycroft conceded. “But Joan, try to bear this in mind – there are three things my brother loves; the sound of his violin, the puzzle of his cases, and your company. He did without all three to keep you safe.”
Joan wondered idly if Adriana would fuss too much if she just put her down here and went for 'Uncle' Mycroft's throat. How could he stand there looking sanctimonious when he'd visited her god knew how many times and seen her grieving for a man that wasn't dead and never said a thing?
A thought suddenly struck her. “So is that why you visited me? Because of Moran?”
“Of course not,” Mycroft said, and had the gall to look offended. “I visited you because my brother loves you and wants you safe. The fact that you were expecting my niece might also have had something to do with it.”
But Joan barely heard him – she was on a roll. “Is that why he came back now? Because Adriana was coming and he felt some sort of ridiculous, old-fashioned responsibility because he'd knocked me up-”
“No!” Mycroft interrupted sharply. “Sherlock was unaware you were pregnant. I believed such knowledge would only distract him, perhaps prompt him to try to contact you and put you both in danger, so I chose not to tell him.”
Joan opened her mouth.
“I assure you, whatever you have to say on the subject, my brother has already said. At considerable volume and interspersed with derogatory and entirely unnecessary comments.”
Against her will, Joan felt her lips twitch. But as that faint spark of amusement derailed her anger, she was left with only a bone-deep weariness.
“Just go,” she whispered, not looking at him. “Just...get out.”
She was half-expecting Mycroft to ignore her, to continue trying to persuade her that he and Sherlock had done the right thing, but he obeyed her wishes and left the room.
Adriana stopped suckling a few minutes later, and Joan put her over her shoulder to be burped. She seemed amenable to a nap afterwards, and Joan privately wondered how long it would be until she was rocking her daughter in the early hours of the morning and pleading with her to go to sleep.
The door opened and Sherlock stepped in. Slightly hesitantly, though, as if he weren't entirely sure of his welcome.
In Joan's opinion, that was a very legitimate worry.
Sherlock was staring at her like she was a crime scene, like he needed to memorise every single detail to recollect later. Joan hated herself, just a little bit, for finding that comforting.
She still wanted to punch him.
“Your ruse worked, well done!” she hissed, trying not to wake Adriana. “And you can piss off and do me the favour of not gloating in a few minutes, once you've answered my question; what on earth was going through your head?”
Sherlock didn't bother asking what she was referring to. “I was thinking that I didn't want you to die.”
“What are you talking about? The only reason Moran was after me was because he kept expecting you to come back for me.”
Sherlock looked away, but Joan was in no mood for secrets, not now.
“Sherlock, what aren't you telling me?”
Sherlock still wouldn't meet her eyes. “Moriarty, at the cliff, before we...he told me they'd find you. He said if I ever went back to London the last of his organisation would find you and kill you and that they'd do it slowly, and that I'd watch every second of it.”
Degenerating grammar had always been a sure sign Sherlock was distressed. Joan blinked, glancing down at Adriana as she absorbed that information. At first blush, it seemed like a rather pointless threat – Moriarty would still be dead, either way – but the vicious, needless spite in it was perfectly in keeping with the psychopath she had known.
Realising she was losing momentum, Joan surged onwards. “So instead you let me think you were dead? Christ, Sherlock, do you know what it was like to-?”
Adriana began to stir as her voice rose, and Joan broke off, taking a deep breath in an effort to stifle the urge to scream at him.
“Did you even care?” she whispered, not looking up from her daughter's sleeping face.
Because that was something she had to know, right here and now. She had to know if Sherlock had even given her the slightest consideration before he left her behind, in a move that was ostensibly to protect her but really just smacked of a lack of trust and respect.
“Of course I cared,” Sherlock said, a level of frustration in his voice he usually only reached when dealing with Anderson. “How could I not? But I couldn't let...”
He broke off for a moment, and Joan looked up to find him eyeing her IV bag with far more loathing than any pack of fluid deserved.
“I calculated this as a possible outcome of my deception,” he admitted quietly. “The most likely one, true, but I couldn't let that stop me. Even if you hated me, you'd be alive to do it.”
There was another pause before he spoke again, sounding as close to contrite as Sherlock ever did. “Perhaps it could have been done better, but I couldn't see...there was nothing else that had such a high chance of your survival.”
Joan wanted to be angry, and there was some corner of her heart that still was, and she knew it would be a while before she really trusted him again...but she could see that he was being honest. Sherlock hadn't done what he did out of an arrogant desire to break his connections so he could pursue the remnants of Moriarty's organisation to the ends of the earth; he'd faked his own death because he'd thought it would keep her safe. And he hadn't contacted her or informed her of the ruse for the same reason.
And now he was standing in her hospital room, very carefully not looking at her, and for all that his shoulders were thrown back and his posture was rigid, he seemed somehow smaller than she'd ever seen him.
In that moment, Joan realised that Sherlock honestly didn't expect her to take him back.
Sherlock had severed ties with almost everyone he'd ever known, had left behind everything he found familiar in an effort to keep her safe. And he didn't even expect forgiveness for it – he'd honestly thought it would end their relationship...and he'd still done it.
Of course, he'd messed it up fantastically, but he'd been trying to do the right thing. And god help her, but Joan loved him.
“Do you make such a spectacular cock-up of all your relationships?” she asked. “Or am I just special?”
Sherlock's eyes jerked up to meet hers, apparently hearing the semi-acceptance and attempted forgiveness in her tone (she hadn't forgiven him yet, but she was willing to try). He blinked, looking slightly confused, as though this was one outcome he hadn't quite counted on.
“And Sherlock?” In an instant, Joan's tone turned deadly serious. “If you ever do something like that again without consulting me, you'll regret it – if I cared about being safe, I'd never have moved in with you.”
Which might have been a bit brutal, but it was the truth.
Sherlock still resembled a spooked rabbit, which – aside from making her wish for a camera – made Joan want to somehow wipe the vaguely distressed expression of his face.
“Oh, come here,” she muttered.
Sherlock approached slowly, as though he still didn't quite believe this was allowed. Joan seized hold of his hand when he was close enough and Sherlock intertwined their fingers, seeming almost wistful, before glancing curiously down at Adriana.
Joan could admit their daughter was much more appealing now that she'd been washed, and she rather liked that there seemed to be a few wispy curls in the now-dry black hair.
“What's her name?” Sherlock asked quietly.
“Adriana Joanne Watson.” Joan's threat to call her 'Sherlockina' had ultimately been an empty one.
“Adriana...” Sherlock repeated absently, still staring down at their daughter.
“I'm calling her Addy at the moment,” Joan admitted. “Adriana seems like too much of a mouthful for a baby.”
Sherlock nodded, and Joan couldn't help wondering what happened now. She'd decided to have the baby in part because it looked like her days of chasing criminals and shooting at suspects were behind her – she couldn't rush out the door after Sherlock every single time if there was a newborn in the flat.
For that matter, what did Sherlock think of all this? He seemed slightly stunned, but Joan assumed that was a normal reaction to being suddenly made a father (though Sherlock would bridle at the suggestion that he'd ever been normal). Babies had never made any appearance in their future plans, and a child was certainly going to upset the comfortable equilibrium they'd once had.
“Can I hold her?” Sherlock suddenly asked.
A little surprised – she hadn't expected him to express much interest in Adriana – Joan handed the baby over, gently directing Sherlock in supporting her head and bottom.
Some part of her had anticipated seeing detached curiosity on his face, had thought he'd survey the baby as though it was one of his experiments, noting what features Adriana took from him and what features she took from Joan. But instead he was smiling faintly, looking as pleased as if Joan had just praised him for a deduction.
“Never took you for the fatherly type,” Joan said in a subtle pull for more information – she'd learned not to let herself wonder with Sherlock.
“I didn't like the idea at first,” he admitted.
Sherlock shrugged. “I'd have to share you.”
Somehow that was so typically Sherlock all Joan could do was roll her eyes and try to stifle her laughter.
“So what changed your mind?” she couldn't help asking.
“She looks like you.”
Joan grinned, feeling a little bubble of warmth settle somewhere behind her ribs. “How can you tell?”
“I've trained myself to see past the superficial,” he said, his voice taking on the lofty tone it always held when he was explaining his deductions. “And beneath the baby fat, it's quite obvious. The cheeks, the chin, the nose, the whole shape of her face...it's you.”
Sherlock had said 'you' in same way someone else would have said 'beautiful', and Joan thought that in this case, they meant the same thing.
For several moments Joan didn't say anything, just drinking in the sight of Sherlock holding Adriana.
It was something she'd never thought she'd see, and she was still a little bitter about that.
“We should probably get married,” Sherlock announced.
“What?” Joan exclaimed. Then, hastily moderating her voice, “Why?”
Unlike Harry, Joan had never felt any particular desire to get married; to be perfectly honest, she'd never cared one way or the other. At first she thought Sherlock was making the offer because of Adriana, then she reminded herself that this was Sherlock, who had never conformed to society's expectations in his life and wasn't about to start now.
“The doctors wouldn’t discuss your case,” Sherlock said eventually. “If we were married, it would be much easier.”
Joan giggled – she couldn't help it. It was the least romantic proposal ever, and yet it suited them down to the ground.
“I'll think about it,” she answered. “But if we do get married, there'll be no fancy ceremony. We go into the registry office, do whatever legal shenanigans are needed, and that's it.”
“I pointed out all the evidence, I described exactly how the murder took place, and practically handed your suspect to you – what went wrong this time?”
Joan did her best to hide a smile. Lestrade had come over due to some problem with the latest case, and she was sure Sherlock was trying to be as grand and commanding as he usually was, but it didn't quite work when he was holding a sleeping four month old baby against his shoulder.
Sherlock had said Adriana had just wanted to be held for a little while, and he'd been right. He'd apparently made some sort of study of the pitch and tone of Adriana's crying and her body language when she did so, which meant he had a relatively good success rate at knowing what their daughter wanted when she started to wail. Joan might have resented his ease with her if it wasn't just so useful.
They were married now – Joan had given in two weeks ago. Largely because Sherlock's methods of persuading her had been something along the lines of a ten year old trying to wheedle some sort of concession in an argument, and it had been bizarrely adorable.
“Joan, do you think I should clean out the fridge?”
“Do you think I should do the washing-up?”
“And after I'm finished with that, do you think I should take you into the bedroom and see if I can get you to orgasm with only my mouth?”
“Do you think we should get married?”
“Nice try, Sherlock, but after living with you for all this time, I've learned to really listen to what you're asking me before I answer.”
Nothing had really changed, of course, which was part of the reason why Joan had never been particularly fussed about getting married in the first place. Nothing had changed with their involvement or commitment or anything else that marriage was supposed to represent, but now they had a joint back account and automatic access to each other's hospital rooms.
And Joan had kept her maiden name, of course – she'd been Dr. Watson for too long to bother changing it now.
While they were at the registry office, she'd wondered if Sherlock would want Adriana's last name changed to Holmes, but he'd dismissed the idea.
“She's better off as a Watson – I tend to like Watson's more than I like Holmes'.”
Joan decided to take that as a version of 'I like that she has your name, darling', because that was essentially what it meant. She was feeling slightly more benevolent towards Mycroft (though still a little pissed off he'd never told Sherlock she was pregnant), and couldn't resist taking a poke at Sherlock.
“You love your brother, really.”
“Doesn't mean I have to like him,” Sherlock muttered.
Joan would have been happy with the legal papers and nothing else, but strangely it was Sherlock who had insisted on a pair of rings. Nothing sparkly or ostentatious, of course, just a pair of plain silver-looking bands that Joan had only later found out were actually white gold.
“We need evidence,” Sherlock insisted.
“Maybe so, but if we wear them long enough, we'll get tan lines. Won't that screw up a disguise if you need to play a single guy or something?”
“I'm perfectly capable of working around that.”
The rings had given Anderson and Donovan a bit of a turn when they first saw them, and after two weeks Joan was getting used to the feel of it on her finger.
Occasionally, though, it still seemed a little surreal. Seemed strange to look around the baby-proofed flat and see soft, plastic nubs over the corners of tables and counters, to have a playpen in the living room.
The cot had been moved into what used to be Sherlock's room, largely so Adriana's cries were less likely to disturb her mother. Joan was sure she got a much better night's sleep than most new mothers, largely due to Sherlock's own bizarre sleeping habits – he only woke her up when Adriana was hungry and needed to be breastfed. If she needed to be changed or was just fussy, he simply dealt with it himself.
If someone had told her a year ago that she and Sherlock would end up married with a baby, she would have laughed them out of the room.