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A different kind of adventure

Chapter Text

Sherlock knows it’s a mistake even as it happens. Even as John’s mouth kisses his aggressively, biting his lower lip hard enough to draw blood, his back against the fridge with John tearing at his clothes.

John tastes like riled-up alpha and alcohol. And the faint lingering scent of Clair de la Lune on him makes it clear who is to blame for both – and how big a mistake this could turn out to be.

But it is hard to listen to the logical reasons being fired off in his brain, when he has wanted this for so long.

Wanted so long for John’s teeth to bite claiming marks into his skin, John’s hand at his entrance pumping three fingers into him while lubrication runs down his thighs, John’s choked moan in response to his warm wet heat.

For John’s alpha pheromones to finally mingle with his own omega scent, creating a cloud of need and lust that Sherlock hasn’t desired in years, until John.

There is no amount of logic that can stop Sherlock from giving in to thistonight.

They don’t make it to the bed for the first round, Sherlock propped up against the fridge while John thrusts his fingers in him, crooking just so to hit that secret bundle of nerves repeatedly that makes Sherlock scream.

They don’t make it for the second round either, Sherlock kneeling on the floor of his bedroom, John’s fingers clutching Sherlock’s hair while he fucks his mouth.

When they finally, finally get there, John rips off the last of their clothes, pushes Sherlock unceremoniously on all fours on the bed and slides into him in one smooth motion.

After that, Sherlock doesn’t remember much at all.

He gets lost – in the haze of hands gripping his waist firm enough to bruise as John pounds into him, in John’s breathless grunts of ‘So good’ and ‘Mine’ whispered into the nape of his neck, in the slide of skin against skin and the warm weight of John everywhere. In the feeling of John inside him, the feeling of John’s heartbeat thudding against his skin.

And then John sinks his knot into him, biting the side of his neck so hard and deep that a few drops of blood trickle down Sherlock’s throat, crimson circles dotting the cream white of his bed and Sherlock comes, gets carried away by wave after wave of orgasm.

He hears John’s wrecked groan behind him, feels John release deep inside, their fingers entwining as they tremble through the aftershocks. Sherlock’s limbs finally give out and he collapses, taking John’s wonderful weight with him, the two of them held together by John’s knot.

John turns them gently on their sides, groaning into Sherlock’s neck as another orgasm hits him. Sherlock lies there, pliant and content, buzzing brain for once peaceful and still in the warm safe embrace of his alpha. Sleep laps at the edge of consciousness and he has no reason to resist.

He lets himself drift off, gentle fingers carding through his hair, a faint whispered ‘love you’ whispered against his skin while John pulses inside him once more.

The words wrap around his lungs like a warm blanket and weave right into his heart.

In those last few moments before sleep takes him, he creates a new room in John’s wing of his mind palace, to hang up those ethereal words like a prized trophy or a masterpiece work of art. To be treasured forever.

Even if he knows they are nothing more than meaningless, pheromone-fuelled words of affection; Sherlock has never let himself dream of receiving those words from John one day.

He’ll take it.

*

Pale light filtering through his eyelids – dawn. A warm presence next to him taking in shuddering, uneven breaths. John is still here.

Sherlock doesn’t want to do this.

He blinks his eyes open and turns his head, anticipating the emotions he’ll see on John’s expressive face. He isn’t disappointed.

John is looking at him with such a potent mixture of horror and shame that Sherlock actually recoils a bit despite himself.

He takes a nanosecond to mentally steel himself and get a hold on his rebellious body, pulling the bed sheets tight around him. Flimsy armour that it is.

John’s eyes are flickering over Sherlock, lingering on the finger-shaped bruises on Sherlock’s arms, his kiss-bitten red lips, before settling with a look of sick horror on the large, throbbing bite adorning Sherlock’s neck.

His tongue darts out, wetting his lips. He is nervous. Anxious. John’s mouth opens, and then closes. He looks lost for words.

Sherlock helps him out.

“Don’t worry, you didn’t trigger a bond,” Sherlock tells him flatly, pleased at how even and calm his voice sounds, though he is anything but. The beginnings of a headache pounds at the base of his skull and he just wants John to stop looking at him like that – like he is all of John’s worst nightmares come true.

John wets his lips again, blinks at him dazedly, mouth opening again. Sherlock predicts the question and beats him to it once more.

“I haven’t been on suppressants since twenty three,” Sherlock says in a matter-of-fact monotone, like he is stating evidence at a crime scene. Like John Watson isn’t two feet from him wearing nothing but a blanket and still covered in evidence of what they did last night.

“I did a lot of experimentation on finding the most effective omega suppressants in my twenties,” Sherlock continues. “One experiment went rather wrong, bad reaction when combined with cocaine. Irreparable damage to my hormone balance, the doctors said. No need to worry about a pregnancy or a bond. The bite simply won’t take.”

John is still gaping at him, wordless and dazed. He looks torn between the doctor’s need to berate him for how dangerous those youthful experiments had been and the beginnings of an immense, all consuming relief.

Despite the circumstances and how much he expected it, the sheer weight of how relieved John looks to not be bonded with him punches Sherlock right in the gut like a cannon ball.

He quickly turns his back on John, pulling up the sheets to cover himself completely. He uses the last of his tremulous control to say those parting few words that will let John fully off the hook, and maybe at least attempt to save their friendship.

“It was consensual,” Sherlock rumbles, staring fixedly at his bedside lamp, refusing to look back to gauge John’s reaction to his words. “A mistake, of course, but you did not force me in your alpha rage like you fear. Let’s just delete it, John. It doesn’t change anything.”

He feels rather than sees John digest that behind him, the two deep breaths when John opens his mouth to speak, but then changes his mind.

The bedsprings dip and bounce back as John climbs out from under the sheets, collecting his scattered clothing and getting dressed.

John loiters uncertainly for a few minutes after, clearly wanting to say something, but Sherlock firmly keeps his back to John, feigning sleep.

After a few minutes, he hears a quiet, resigned sigh behind him. John finally leaves with a mumbled goodbye, puttering through the flat as he collects the last of his belongings from the front room and Sherlock listens to the kitchen door close, followed by footsteps on the stairs and finally the slam of the front door.

Sherlock lies still for a just little while longer, listening to the waking bustle of early morning London around him, and he carefully catalogues the combined scent of his and John’s pheromones that thickly coats his room, committing every moment of last night to memory in the special new room in his mind palace.

As he adds the last few details to the room (the exact decibel at which John groaned when he finally sank all the way into Sherlock, the feeling of John’s eyelashes where they brushed against Sherlock’s skin), the ‘love you’ mocks him from its prize position on the pedestal.

With one last look, he closes the door and locks it tight in his mind, before rising to wash the night before down the drain and attempt to piece himself together again.

*

Sherlock would later blame his embarrassing failure to notice anything sooner on the way things played out over that next month.

For those first few days after The Night, Sherlock is overly conscious of the tell-tale trail of marks that are scattered throughout his body, which twinge in reminder whenever he moves a particular way, never letting him forget what happened for a moment (even if he was able). It infuriates him, how his superior brain is reduced to picking obsessively at a scattered mass of love bites, all because of sentiment. But he has long since accepted that John Watson is the Achilles heel of his logical mind.

He skips on getting a haircut that month, letting his curls grow a little longer and wilder, obscuring the giant beacon of a bite on the nape of his neck. The bite should fade within two weeks, when the bond doesn’t take. He just needs to hide it for that long. He also takes to wearing his bespoke suits even while lounging at home, finding refuge behind fully-buttoned shirts and upturned coat collars when in the presence of company.

For those first two weeks, Lestrade keeps him reasonably occupied with small cases. Barely 5 through 7 on the crime scale, but Sherlock takes them anyway. He is desperate.

And then a serial killer shows up, killing five people within days of each other and Sherlock gets swept up in The Work, running a merry chase around London trying to track the killer down before he strikes again; the Met barely keeping pace as he leads them through one brilliant deduction after another.

It culminates two weeks later with Sherlock trapped in an abandoned warehouse on the banks of the Thames with a vicious murderer brandishing a meat cleaver in his face. He escapes with just one shallow nick on his forehead due to the timely arrival of Lestrade and his team.

He is later subjected to a blistering tirade from Lestrade about being responsible and not dying for real this time, while a paramedic mops up the wound on his forehead and tapes it shut. But Sherlock just grins back.

He hasn’t felt this alive in longer than he can remember (for 338 days actually, since the day he came back and found that John is no longer his) and it feels good.

It feels great, in fact.

And if he doesn’t text John once to join him in those two weeks and if John doesn’t call him when Sherlock’s victory gets splashed across the papers, Sherlock deletes that little fact. Irrelevant.

All of which is why it is nearly four weeks since The Night before he truly notices that the bite has not faded away.

He is standing under the shower after sleeping a whole fourteen hours (he had been inordinately exhausted after that last case), when he first registers the upraised skin.

As his bewildered fingers brush over it again, cataloguing the texture, he realizes that it has scarred, sitting prominent and unmistakeable at the base of his neck.

For one crystalline nanosecond, his mind blanks out in sheer surprise.

And then all his thoughts rush back at once in overdrive, vying for attention while a hundred scenarios, counter-scenarios and their potential outcomes float simultaneously through his brain.

Quelling his rising panic, Sherlock dries himself swiftly with a towel and stumbles into his room, to get a proper look in his clear wardrobe mirror.

He twists around in front of the mirror and squints over his shoulder, unable to fully comprehend what he sees – because it can’t be.

His blood tests put the possibility of something like this happening at less than 1%. He hasn’t gone into heat once in the past twelve years. None of the paltry sexual activities and bites he allowed during that time had taken, nor gotten him pregnant. He was essentially a beta male – barren, no heats, completely absent bonding mechanism.

So it just can’t be.

But contrary to all the facts, there the scar sits on the nape of his neck.

And it’s not just a mass of scar tissue either, like the ones seen on bonded omegas who haven’t yet produced a child with their alpha. Instead it shimmers with a slight golden-silver hue, like skin coated with oil in the sunlight.

The way bonding scars shimmer once every stage of the bond has been fully consummated – and the omega has conceived a child.

Chapter Text

John lets himself back into the house that still doesn’t feel like home even after nearly three years of living there. He heads straight for the bottle of scotch he keeps in a cabinet, pouring himself a full shot before settling on the sofa.

The house is quiet and still around him and John takes small, measured sips from his glass, feeling strangely weightless and freed by the emptiness surrounding him.

On the table before him, his and Mary’s divorce papers flutter slightly in a passing breeze and John relaxes in his seat, leaning back against the cushions.

He hasn’t spoken to Sherlock, not once in the last five weeks.

Not since that night when – that night.

He fought with Mary that night. Just like they’d been fighting every other night since their reunion at Christmas.

(John had tried, he had, but he didn’t know what to do. Every time he’d looked at his wife, all he saw was the barrel of a gun. The flight of a bullet and Sherlock’s pale form on the hospital bed.)

That night, John stormed away, seeking comfort in the one place that always felt like home, in the one person who always felt like home, no matter what.

And then when he got there, what did he do?

John let his riled up hormones rule his head. Like the embodiment of every single Alpha trait he has always loathed, he just pounced and took, reducing Sherlock –brilliant, magnificent, fiercely independent and beautiful – into something as base as an omega body to possess.

No matter how much John loves him, wants him, what happened that night wasn’t what he desired, not even in his most possessive alpha dreams.

His first time with Sherlock should’ve been slow. Gentle. A mutual build of passion, taking the time to cherish and love. To revel in finally giving physical touch to years of unspoken yearning and affection.

Instead –

Finger-shaped bruises all over that pale skin, kiss-bitten chapped mouth and those beautiful curls standing up in abused clumps. The startling red of dried blood on the neck where John had bitten hard enough to break skin. All the evidence right there, of an alpha let loose to claim a mate.

And his first reaction had been lust and possessiveness.

Just thinking of that makes the guilt and self-loathing well up again. At how euphoric his inner alpha was to have marked a beautiful omega as his own. At how smug that part of him still is while thinking of how owned Sherlock looked that morning.

John hates himself.

And in the end it was Sherlock who reassured him that the bite wouldn’t take and the bond wouldn’t form. Sherlock who assuaged his guilt by assuring him he couldn’t get pregnant. Giving John that one point of relief and redemption –the single saving grace of not having forced Sherlock into something he has repeatedly disdained.

John felt lower than a parasite when he left 221B that morning.

He then returned to the house he shared with Mary, positively stinking of the combined scent of his and Sherlock’s pheromones, another layer of guilt weighing on his shoulders at the fact that, on top of everything else, he cheated on his wife. Despite all the lies, all the deceptions and everything they’d become, Mary didn’t deserve that.

The whole way back, in his London-long walk of shame, he was disgusted with himself a little bit more. For not making a clean break from Mary from the start. For attempting a second chance when he knew deep down, from the moment everything was revealed, that there was no coming back.

He swore to himself he would go home, beg for forgiveness, and then ask Mary for a divorce. It was time he put an end to the charade.

His guilt dissipated quickly enough when he arrived to find Mary’s ex- boyfriend David leaving in a hurry, barely dressed, the house reeking of beta sex hormones and his favourite RAMC mug broken on the floor.

Mary had smirked at him coldly from their living room, sitting on the couch she picked out, surrounded by wallpaper that never felt cozy to John.

She said something about getting back some of her own, so they’re on even ground while they have it out this time. Her face was coldly expectant, as if she was hurting and wanted him to hurt as well, for him to be shocked and humiliated and angry.

But John only felt relief.

Relief that he won’t have to talk and apologize and explain the loss of control that should’ve been his choice all along. Relief that he won’t even have to really see this through anymore, that he could simply wash his hands off this part of his life. Just ask for a divorce and walk out.

And that right there told him all he needed to know about what was left of their marriage.

Five weeks since that day now and the papers sit innocuous in front of him – the few pages of text that will serve as a beginning to set right everything that went wrong in his life.

This is the only time something good has come out of their fucked up and unequal system, John thinks, staring at the marriage dissolution agreement and nearly halfway through his glass of scotch.

Where Alpha-Omega bonds are intensely complicated to break legally and scientifically – and may even cause grievous harm for the parties undergoing the procedure –bondless marriages between have always been looked on as less, by the government and the society.

And on that scale, even Beta-Beta marriages have more respect and gravity given to them than Alphas and Omegas marrying other genders except each other. For most, the latter is just an unbalanced, temporary alliance.

As such, all it took to dissolve the marriage between him and Mary were a few signatures and one official meeting at the marital court. And in just one month, John erased the first and biggest mistake he made in the last two years.

He wishes his other big mistake is as easy to fix.

He drains the last of his scotch and picks up his phone, scrolling through it till he lands on a name.

Sherlock.

The urge to call Sherlock was almost painful over the last five weeks, especially when he saw reports of Sherlock catching a serial killer single-handedly. The fierce burning in John’s gut was almost unbearable, telling him he should’ve been there, protecting his omega.

But that’s just it.

Sherlock isn’t his, never was and never will be. That night didn’t mean anything to him. Sherlock made it very clear after all.

‘A mistake, of course. Let’s just delete this, John’.

John hadn’t wanted to face him again till he at least cleaned up the mess with Mary. Wanted to wait till the divorce was official before going back to Baker Street and trying to make amends in what way he could…

And now the divorce papers sit in front of him.

It is time he plucked up his courage and stopped running.

His thumb hovers over the screen of his phone, wavering. He takes a deep breath and wills himself to touch the call button. But again, planning to be brave is always easier than following through on it.

He is still staring at the screen, vacillating, when the decision is taken clean out of his hands, like it often is where Sherlock Holmes is concerned.

The phone vibrates in his palm and a new text message pops up.

Baker Street. Come at once, if convenient.

SH

John startles and blinks, caught between wanting desperately to go and not sure if he really can do this. If he will be able to look at Sherlock and pretend what happened didn’t happen, like he can just delete it and put it past him like Sherlock asked him to.

The phone vibrates again, another message popping up insistently.

If inconvenient, come anyway.

SH

John lets out a small, defeated giggle despite himself.

There is never really a choice for him when it comes to Sherlock, is there? If Sherlock calls, John will go. He will just bundle off his emotions and pretend everything is fine, if that is what Sherlock needs from him.

Always. Always his way.

John stares at his phone a beat longer, before nodding a quick agreement into the air and getting up. He shrugs into his coat and locks the door behind him, before stepping out into the early April sunshine and heading home. 

Chapter Text

Sherlock sits in his armchair in front of the fireplace, a pot of hot tea and a tray of biscuits laid out ready on the table to his left, waiting for John to arrive. He estimates John will reach Baker Street in another 2.32 minutes, give or take a margin of seven seconds.

And he still hasn’t figured out how to tell John what he needs to tell him.

His left foot tap tap taps against one leg of the armchair, mind jumping from one thread of thought to another, directionless and agitated.

It had taken a whole hour after realizing the bond bite hadn’t faded away and was shimmering to bring his riotous emotions under control and finalize on a methodical course of action.

His first step was to head to the nearest Tesco and buy four different brands of pregnancy tests, ignoring the smirking cashier (alpha, unbonded, university drop-out cut off by parents and living with beta girlfriend who is cheating on him) who checked his purchase through. Thirty minutes later, he was flipping each tube of plastic for the result, staring with dull terror at the double lines, the positive sign and the word – confirmation on every set.

An appointment with an omega specialist had followed, Sherlock fidgeting on the hard plastic chairs outside, trying not to analyze every pregnant omega that passed by.

Dr. Elisabeth Fray (beta, early sixties, four step children through Omega wife of twenty two, no twenty five years) confirmed the results of his home pregnancy tests, explaining kindly about Perfect Match bonds and Fertility Boosts in response to his bewilderment. Sherlock vaguely recollected reading something on both topics in his teen years before deleting them as irrelevant.

His foot tap tap taps as the information relayed by Dr. Fray’s educational pamphlets and his own internet research since then floats up to the forefront of his mind again.

Perfect Match bonds. Wherein an Alpha and Omega who are fundamentally suited for each other form an emotional bond through close association, their biochemical signatures melding even without the stimulus of a claiming bite, thus allowing the formation of a strong bond even in the absence of heat. Rare, but not so rare that a case didn’t pop up every decade or so.

Fertility Boosts in omegas in their final child-bearing years. Self-explanatory, really. Evolution’s final burst of effort into ensuring species continuation. Stupid, stupid of him not to factor in the hormone changes brought about in those last few fertile years of an omega. Especially a male omega who has been stimulated to the point a Perfect Match bond with an alpha.

It was always something.

He had left Dr. Fray’s clinic, clutching a folder on all the options available to him, depending on whether he chose to keep the foetus or not. Even before the cab reached Baker Street, Sherlock knew there is no way he could ever bring himself to get rid of this baby.

He just… couldn’t. Not when its very existence defied all expectations. Not when he knows, that the growing bundle of cells inside him would one day be the combination of all that is him and John. Not a multiple of either but a sum of both, put together in one perfect, completely unique end result.

By the time he climbed up the stairs to 221B, Sherlock’s mind was already skipping ahead to nutritional charts and lifestyle changes, to appointments and scans and the endless other details that would become his main priority for the next nine months. To the bigger changes that would follow and alter his life irrevocably, never to be the same again.

It was only much later that night, while neck deep in reading an article on potential complications in late male omega gestations, that it finally hit him that he would have to tell John. That was a harrowing crisis that lasted three whole restless days, his brain going round and round on every eventuality that could follow when John found out.

In the end, he just settled on two constants as a given.

1) No matter how John reacts, Sherlock is going to keep this child.

and

2) It is pointless trying to accurately predict how John Watson might react to anything in the first place, because if there is one thing John Watson manages to do consistently, it is surprising Sherlock Holmes.

That decided, he finally worked up the courage to text John this morning, asking him to come to Baker Street. 

And John is now only one minute and eleven seconds away and Sherlock still has no idea what he is going to say.

He has time to briefly wonder if he should’ve prepared note cards and gets as far as plotting a basic outline for the first fourteen, when there is the sound of the front door opening, followed by familiar footsteps thumping up the stairs.

His mental note cards scatter to the winds.

Sherlock takes a deep breath and unfolds from his armchair, just as John enters through the front door looking equal parts happy and apprehensive.

They stare at each other for a long beat, Sherlock unconsciously noting the subtle differences in John after a whole month without seeing him, filing away John’s strange contentedness, the well-rested sparkle in his eyes and the distinct absence of Mary’s artificial perfume on him, for later thought.

“Tea?” Sherlock asks nervously, making an aborted motion towards the tray.

John’s mouth twists slightly in a fond smile and he works off his coat and gloves, moving towards the table and pouring himself a cup of perfect temperature tea.

“Don’t remember you making me tea once when we were living together,” John jokes, sounding so perfectly cheerful and at ease it scrambles Sherlock’s brain. “At least, not unless it was spiked with something for an experiment.”

He pauses with the cup poised near his mouth, looking mildly alarmed and suspicious. “This isn’t spiked with something, is it?”

“No,” Sherlock reassures him with a quick smile, and watches John let out a sigh of contentment, settling comfortably in his armchair with his tea. Like he never left.

A painful lump burns at the base of Sherlock’s throat and he swallows it down, trying to gather his anxious thoughts.

“Read about the serial killer case on the papers,” John says with casual appreciative interest, eyes sparkling as he looks at Sherlock. Sherlock’s tenuous hold on his thoughts wavers. “Sounded like it was quite an adventure.”

“It was a good enough case,” Sherlock moves towards the tea tray, back to John, fiddles with one of the spoons. “Brilliant execution, even if the urges behind it were pedestrian and dull.”

His brain lands on a good segue with which he can launch into what he needs to tell John, and he takes a deep breath and turns back – only to find John’s deep blue eyes still fixed steadily on him, a fond half smile curving up his mouth.

The carefully chosen words in Sherlock’s head scatter once more, breaking into a billion pieces for good measure.

For God’s sake.

With an exasperated huff of breath, Sherlock shrugs out of his neat suit jacket and stalks towards John, unbuttoning the top three buttons of his shirt as he goes. If he can’t find the basic neuro-linguistic power to tell John, he’ll just have to show him then. As he gets closer, he sees John’s eyes widen, the fond expression vanishing while his eyes drop to the pale stretch of skin being revealed under Sherlock’s hands. Sherlock realizes what it must look like – unbuttoning his shirt while walking purposefully to tower over John – and cringes internally at what a complete and utter mess he is making of all this.

John is just gaping up at him now, mouth parted in alarm. Before it can get any worse, Sherlock drops to his knees in front of him, quickly turning his back to John and pulling back the shirt to reveal his neck.

A few seconds (it feels like eons) pass and John does not move, does not so much as breathe behind him. It takes everything in Sherlock to stay still like this, presenting the vulnerable nape of his neck to an alpha (even if it is his alpha). It goes against every instinct he’s had since the moment his secondary gender presented. It is excruciating.

But this is John and he needs to know and if Sherlock can’t find the words, the least he can do is this.

And then he hears it – the sharp stutter of an indrawn breath behind him as John’s eyes see and understand what the scar on Sherlock’s neck means. A jolt of electricity passes through him when he feels a trembling finger reach out and stroke the bonding scar – as though John needs to touch it, feel it, to confirm it is real. 

Sherlock’s entire being quivers with pleasure at the touch of his alpha, his defences unwinding, making him want to collapse in a purring, contented heap on John’s lap from just that brief moment of contact. He pulls himself out of it, jerking away from John’s touch and getting swiftly to his feet, buttoning his shirt back up again. He takes in deep, calming breaths, giving himself five seconds to regain control, before turning to face John again.

John, with the careful precision of a surgeon, slowly places his nearly-full teacup on the floor beside his chair. When he looks up again, he looks like a tidal wave just swept over him. His pupils are dilated, his hands are trembling and his face is bleached of colour, air audibly whistling through his lungs.

He looks on the verge of a panic attack.

Sherlock hears himself start to speak without quite giving the conscious command to do so.

“Perfect Match Bond and Omega Fertility Boost,” he blurts out, not even really sure of what he’s saying till it’s already out. “Didn’t even consider those possibilities, stupid of me, but it’s done, it happened. I consulted a specialist when I noticed the bite hadn’t faded away, took me weeks to even realize it was still there, another grave oversight. I didn’t notice because I was busy with a serial killer, how could I not notice, me?”

He has started and he can’t stop anymore. All the words that have been crowding his head, all the jumbled agonizing thoughts of the past few weeks tumble out with no order or coherence, no dam to stem the flood.

“I’m pregnant, five weeks and it’s yours.”

John has gone entirely pale now, his jaw clenched as though he’s worried he’ll throw up. White isn’t a colour John is ever supposed to go. John is warmth and pale morning sunshine, John is blonde hair and sun-burnt skin.

“And I’m sorry, John. I am sorry. This was never an eventuality that I even considered possible and I should have known better than to accept old facts without taking changed circumstances into account. I didn’t think. I never think when it’s about you.” Sherlock feels the speed of his words pick up in his agitation, coming out in barely understandable streams. He turns his back to John again, going to stand next to the window, clenching his fingers behind his back. 

He has to get this final bit out. This is the most important part.

“But I have one request to make to you, one plea. I ask that you let the bond stand, till at least the full term of pregnancy, and then you can dissolve it as you wish. I know this oversteps all boundaries, could be a danger to your relationship with Mary and wreak havoc on the life you have built. But please.” He turns back to meet those deep blue eyes. “Please.”

John is frozen, staring at him like he has never seen him before. Sherlock feels a spark of desperation clench in his gut.

“I can promise that the truth will never come out. I will make up someone else, provide a fail-proof cover for the bond – no one will know it is you, not even Mycroft will know. And I don’t expect you to be a father to the baby. You needn’t even see the child if you don’t wish to. Nothing has to change, nothing will change, I will make sure of it.”

“But I need you to let the bond remain till the baby is born. Male omega pregnancies in late years are fraught with complications and the chances of miscarriage in broken-bonded pregnancies is ninety three percent, even for young healthy omegas.”

John is still sitting frozen in his seat, not a touch of expression or movement betraying his thoughts.

“Once the baby is born, we can undergo the procedure. I know a man in the bureau, owes me a favour. He will be discreet. No one will know. Nothing will change. Just nine more months and we can set things right again just the way you want. But for now… Just. John, please say something.”

Sherlock bites his tongue, bit too late to draw back those pitiful pleading words now. They are out in the middle of the warm sunlit front room of 221B, sounding every bit as desperate as Sherlock feels.

The lengths to which sentiment could sink a rational brain… it is mortifying.

But if anything, it seems to jolt John out of whatever horrified corner of his mind he’d fled to. He jerks straight, left hand flexing and something niggles in Sherlock’s spinning brain about John’s hand, something important…

John speaking jolts him back.

“You,” John starts, voice hoarse. He clears his throat, wets his lips, still staring at Sherlock with a look he doesn’t understand. “You mean,” he tries again and Sherlock waits. “You mean, you wish to… to keep the baby? You aren’t going to get… get rid of it?”

Sherlock stills; the room suddenly feels colder than a snowstorm.

This was a possible outcome in many of the hundreds Sherlock considered, but he never really believed John would ask that of him. Not John, who studied medicine to care for others, who cares even about random strangers and nameless victims. Not John, who went to a war to save lives.

But John wishes to get rid of this baby. Their baby.

He feels a fierce, all-encompassing protectiveness surge up his spine, spreading through his entire being till he is vibrating with it. He has never felt this before. Not even when he was on that rooftop, coming up with a clever coupe to save them all, desperately hoping it would work. He has never felt this level of conviction – that he would tear apart anyone who wishes to harm this child, even if it is someone he cares about. The absolute promise that he will not allow any harm to this new life for as long as he has breath in his body. And even after that, if he can manage it.

He has witnessed before the viciousness an omega could exhibit when their child is threatened. But he was never quite able to understand it, never quite able to make sense of the depths of it.

He understands now.

“I know it is half yours,” Sherlock hears himself growl, arms wrapped protectively around his stomach as he glares at John. “But it is also half mine. And I am keeping this child. I don’t ask you to take responsibility for this baby, and in return, you don’t get a say.”

John’s eyes widen.

“No Sherlock,” he looks horrified. “I didn’t mean I want you to…I didn’t. No. No. I meant –”

He pauses, takes a deep breath.

“You want to keep this child?” John asks, obviously projecting a false calm, voice controlled and tight.

“Yes, I believe I just said so, multiple times,” Sherlock snaps in reply.

“No I mean. You want this child? You wish to keep it because you want to, and not because it is expected or something?”

“Since when have I ever done something because it is expected, John?” Sherlock scoffs, packing enough disdain in that sentence to shrivel an army.

“No, no you don’t, do you?” John mutters, head ducked down and staring unseeingly at the floor. “You never do anything except exactly what you want to do.” His eyes come up again and they are the clearest blue Sherlock’s ever seen them. “And the bond. You would like for the bond stay?”

“Well, I’ll prefer not to risk my life and my child’s for the sake of removing a scar no one’s even going to see,” Sherlock replies scathingly. John continues to look at him, steady and unreadable. Sherlock lets out a huff of impatience. “Yes, of course given the choice I’d not choose to break it! The only reason I would is because you want to.”

John is taking deep calming breaths. 

“So you mean you want this,” John finally says, enunciating slowly. “This baby. This bond. You’d keep both if given the chance. You want both.”

Sherlock has to wonder if perhaps John suffered some serious head trauma in the month they have been apart. He is being painfully slow.

“Why do you keep repeating everything over and over?” Sherlock snaps, all his fear and anxiety breaking into sheer annoyance. John is usually not this much of a redundant idiot. “I just told you all that!”

“Well, forgive me if I’m a little stunned by the fact that a man who repeatedly shunned his omega status and the whole institution of bonding is suddenly all gooey-eyed over being bonded and pregnant!”

John throws his hands into the air in frustration and that’s when Sherlock finally (slow, he’s being so slow, what is wrong with him, is it the pregnancy hormones?) notices the difference. The important difference.

John’s left ring finger is empty.

“John,” Sherlock says, cutting into John’s continuing rant. “Why aren’t you wearing your wedding ring?”

His eyes meet John’s, who straightens in his seat, back set to military rigidness. And John replies, clear as a bell and with all the impact of a bullet, “Because I divorced Mary.”

Every carefully plotted and thoroughly reviewed future outcome in Sherlock’s brain goes flying out the window.

John Watson never does what Sherlock expects him to.

It’s brilliant.

Chapter Text

John unfurls his fingers and clenches them again, letting a little tension go now that that announcement is out of the way. Sherlock is standing just a couple feet away, looking more or less like John hit him over the head with a shovel.

John isn’t doing much better at the moment, to be honest.

Then again, it’s not every day an Alpha finds out he’s been bonded for a month and that his omega is pregnant with his child. His thoughts stutter to a halt and he has to concentrate on breathing for a few minutes.

It’s just… he’s bonded. Bonded to Sherlock. Bonded to Sherlock and with a baby on the way. And Sherlock wants it all.

Even in his wildest dreams, John could’ve never come up with this.

Sherlock is still frozen in front of him, doing a very good statue impersonation. John figures he should leave him to it – he’ll come around eventually when his mind has slotted the new events into place.

He picks up his now-lukewarm cup of tea and then settles back in the armchair, gulping the soothing brew and staring at his omega. His omega. God. His fingers tremble slightly again and John returns the cup to the floor, for fear of dropping it.

He finds himself raking his eyes over the still frozen Sherlock, drinking in the small changes from their month apart.

Sherlock has a small strip of plaster on his forehead, probably an injury from the serial killer case.  The alpha in him throws up a riot of alarm bells at that. His omega has been chasing serial killers while pregnant.

But to be honest, John doesn’t know what he finds more upsetting – that Sherlock was chasing serial killers at all or the fact that John wasn’t there to protect him. (If he lets himself truly ponder it, he’ll acknowledge it’s the latter. Nothing as pedestrian as a pregnancy will stop Sherlock Holmes from running after serial killers; John might as well accept that early on.)

His eyes trail down, linger on Sherlock’s abdomen. The man is still stick thin and lithe as ever, no trace of his condition to be found on him, at least not to John’s non-Holmesian eyes.

But John knows. That at this very moment, there is a tiny bundle of cells in there dividing, growing… shaping into a whole new person who will become the centre of the rest of their lives.

And now that he knows what to look for, he can smell it. The faintest traces of change in Sherlock’s scent undertones, taking on the subtlest of shifts to reflect his bonded and pregnant status. The base notes will get stronger as their child grows and develops its own distinctive scent. Will grow stronger the more their bond strengthens over time, till Sherlock’s scent is permanently underlined by the scent of John, and John’s always carries the fragrance of Sherlock.

It is impossible. Incredible.

Sherlock unfreezes with a gust of expelled breath, blinking rapidly like he’s still trying to wrap his head around the last few trailing thoughts whizzing around in it.

“You divorced Mary?” he asks, sounding vaguely stunned.

“Yes, I believe I just said that,” John quips back, unable to resist the opportunity despite the gravity of the situation.

“When?” Sherlock asks, completely missing it. He really must be stunned. “Why?

“I applied for it the morning after… well after,” John can’t quite meet Sherlock’s eyes still. “I knew, no matter how things played out between us, that Mary and I couldn’t go on.”

“Because you claimed an omega?” Sherlock’s face is unreadable now.

“Because she shot you, Sherlock,” John says, leaning back in his armchair and closing his eyes. “She’s seen how I was when you died, knows what you mean to me, and she still went ahead and shot you.”

It’s hard to bare his soul when Sherlock’s sharp eyes are raking over him, but John knows it’s time to say all those unsaid things that always lingered around them. Time for John to lay everything on the table.

“Before…before you jumped I mean, I never really thought about it… about you and me,” John says to the ceiling, keeping his voice steady. “Well, I did think about it in an abstract way at first, because you are… well, you are a bloody gorgeous omega. Of course I did.”

“But after you turned me down that first night and after we became friends… I was happy. With how we were. I’d rather have you as a friend than not at all. I knew you weren’t interested. I still occasionally… but it was fine. It was all fine.”

“But then you ‘died’ and I realized –.” John takes a deep breath and looks back at Sherlock. “I realized I was in love with you.”

Sherlock’s eyes widen and his lips part around a soundless gasp. John doesn’t stop, ploughs on determinedly. Now that he’s started, he has to see it through to the end.

“It took me well over a year just to feel human again. And life was still… grey. God, it was so colourless without you.” This is hard, harder than John thought it’d be, speaking about those sunless days. “And just as I resigned myself to a half life, a grey life, I met Mary.”

“I asked her to move in with me three weeks after meeting her,” John tells the fireplace. “And I asked her to marry me after barely four months together. And then you came back, on the very night that was going to mark the new beginning.”

John huffs out a tired giggle. His life is ridiculous.

“You were back and suddenly, it was like everything I did for two years, every step I took to move on, didn’t even matter at all.”

His lips curve up in a humourless smile.  “And that made me bloody furious, that you could have that effect on me still. There I had this perfectly lovely woman who I could be happy with and all I wanted…,” he shakes his head, “all I wanted was to run after you again.”

And hasn’t that been the case, since the first moment he met Sherlock?

“You came back and everyone else just wasn’t enough anymore. I think I proposed to Mary anyway just to spite that feeling.”

He tilts his head a little to see Sherlock in front of the window, hair a riotous dark halo around his head, eyes turned silver blue in the bright morning light. He looks so lovely.

John’s breath catches in his throat. He clears it.

“I tried to make it all work for a while. Having you and the life I managed to build without you.  I couldn’t… I couldn’t trust you again, couldn’t come back to you without a safety blanket, the life I built with Mary to catch me.” Anger suffused his voice. “And then Mary shot you.”

John stands up and paces a little, too worked up to sit anymore. Sherlock is still standing in front of the window, observing, listening, reading everything off John. John lets him.

“I just went through the motions after that. Fell back into the established pattern because Mary wasn’t supposed to be like that and I couldn’t wrap my head around –”

John comes to a stop in front of the bullet-ridden wallpaper. Gruesome pictures of victims from the last serial killer case are still pinned up there. The fact that he finds it to be familiar and comforting would be pretty telling about where he belongs, if he had any doubts. He doesn’t.

“But then, that night. With you. And I knew it was time to do what I should’ve done all along. So I asked Mary for a divorce.”

He turns back to face Sherlock.

“And there you have the whole of it,” he takes a deep breath. Stands on parade’s rest and meets those changeable eyes. Time to wrap it up.

“I love you, Sherlock. And I’m yours, however you wish to have me.”

Sherlock blinks at him. And blinks. And blinks once more. Before crossing the room in three swift strides, taking John’s face in his hands and crushing their mouths together.

Fingers winding through his hair, graceful long-fingered hands grasping desperately at his waist to pull him closer. Sherlock’s palm tilting his jaw; Sherlock’s tongue in his mouth.

John gets the answer loud and clear.

*

They spend hours that afternoon simply snogging, draped over the couch and exploring each others’ mouths like teenagers in their first relationship.

John revels in it. Revels in every stutter of breath, every deep groan and halted whimper, in the warmth of the slender body beneath him, bones poking into odd places, all elbows and limbs and giggles puffed into heated skin.

When he finally pulls back, it is to the sight of those sharp eyes gone hazy with want, pale skin flushed a lovely pink and the normally-poised body all loose and pliant and damn near cuddly beneath him.

Sherlock looks well and thoroughly kissed. The alpha in John feels quite smug at the moment.

He makes himself get up off his mate and pulls Sherlock to his feet too. Sherlock stands, slightly unsteady, skin still flushed a peach rose – and isn’t that a tempting sight.

But not now.

John may have gone about the courting order all wrong, but damn it, he’s going to give Sherlock at least one date of the full ‘Three Continents Watson’ treatment before they go any further.

“Go change,” he says, gently shoving Sherlock in the direction of his room.

Sherlock’s pristine suit is all wrinkled and looks like – well, like Sherlock had spent the day getting snogged on a couch by a frisky alpha. “Have a shower and get dressed. We’re going out to dinner at 7.”

“Dinner?” Sherlock asks vaguely, voice rough and husky. John resists the urge to push him against the wall for another round.

“Yes, dinner. At 7. Get dressed, shoo.”

Sherlock nods and walks off in a daze, limbs still a little unsteady. The alpha in John feels even more smug, if that’s possible.

John grabs his coat, runs down the stairs and heads out into the crisp evening air. He flags down a cab (screw the expense for once), and heads to the house he shared with Mary. As London passes him by, he stares unseeing, feeling so happy he could burst. He could fly.

Was it just this morning he was drinking a lonely glass of scotch, and desperately hoping Sherlock would forgive him?

Sherlock, who wants the bond and the child. Who wants John. And who actually believed John didn’t want him, till John set him straight. John, who didn’t say anything before today because he was sure of rejection and scared of losing the most important person in his life.

For two people who regularly made excellent life or death decisions on the fly, they sure were colossal idiots at tackling matters of the heart.

At his old house he packs a swift bag, cramming an old brown army duffel with enough clothes to last a week, his laptop and other essentials. That done, he takes a quick shower, dresses in a smart dinner suit and combs his hair in precise strokes. His reflection looks back at him, date-ready and happier than he’s seen it in a long time.

When he arrives back at 221B, Sherlock is waiting for him in his armchair, fiddling with his violin.

He looks breathtakingly beautiful, in one of his signature crisp suits, aubergine shirt undone for the first two buttons and parted just enough to show the long column of that pale neck, the tail end of the bonding scar playing hide and seek behind the collar.

John stashes his duffel bag haphazardly on the couch, takes four steps to Sherlock and recaptures that mouth again. It’s like an addiction; the taste of him, the scent of him. How he feels beneath John’s palm and pressed up against John’s body. A sweet drowning that John doesn’t really want to get out of.

“I thought we were going for dinner,” Sherlock finally murmurs against his lips, breathless. “If we are not, I’m perfectly amenable to moving this to the bedroom.”

“Later,” John says, winding down to short, swift pecks before reluctantly pulling back. “Dinner first and when we come back, we’re not leaving the bed for at least a day.”

Sherlock’s pupils dilate and his voice drops an octave. “I’ll hold you to that.”

They go to Angelo’s and sit at the table that has been theirs from that very first night, and down through the years.

Angelo had stopped bringing them a candle since John got married. Tonight John specifically asks for one, taking Sherlock’s hand in his. The grin that lights up Angelo’s face is even brighter than the candle he brings.

Dinner is lovely. John had forgotten how well they just worked together. How well they know each other, navigating different habits and preferences in a flawless, well-practiced rhythm.

John orders extra servings of his pasta and meatballs. Sherlock barely touches his own ravioli and eats half of John’s plate instead while John placidly scoops the ravioli into his mouth. They talk about the serial killer case that John missed, and Sherlock perks up, explaining those clever little details that only he could’ve noticed. John calls him amazing and Sherlock glows.

Angelo brings a bottle of red wine halfway through the meal and before John can reply, Sherlock declines it, fluttering an unconscious hand over his abdomen. John feels liquid warmth rush through his veins even without the wine.

John jokes about possible titles for blog entries on the backlog of cases that has accumulated. Sherlock insults his intellect and his writing, but the fondness in his eyes gives him away. Dessert arrives and they bicker over the last cream-soaked strawberry. Sherlock speaks, John replies and the whole building could’ve gone up in flames and John wouldn’t have noticed.

It’s the best date John’s had in – ever, really.

Later that night, John takes his time. He kisses and teases for hours, exploring the beautiful body beneath him till Sherlock is a moaning, writhing mess.

He runs numb fingers over scars old and new, maps the constellation of moles and freckles with his lips. He discovers the sensitive ear lobe, the ticklish back of the knee, that spot behind his ear that makes Sherlock let out the most delectable moan. The places that make him giggle, the ones that make him scream.

When John finally enters him, neither of them is going to last long. Sherlock’s legs wrap around his waist as he takes John in deeper, eyes glazed over. His lips part on broken moans and John leans forward and muffles them with his tongue.

The pace of John’s thrusts goes erratic and they pant into each other’s mouths, more a sharing of breath and words than a kiss. John reaches down to take Sherlock in his hand, and in barely three strokes, Sherlock is coming, back arching off the bed, eyes slamming shut. Clenching around where John is inside him and groaning out John’s name.

John’s own orgasm hits him like a freight train. He whites out, slamming deep into Sherlock one last time before coming apart.

Sherlock’s legs unwrap from their stranglehold around John’s waist and drop onto the bed. John collapses on Sherlock, no longer able to hold up his own weight. They lie there panting; heartbeats thudding against each other, skin against skin and held together by John’s knot.

Another wave hits John, pulsing inside his omega and Sherlock holds him through it, lips pressing soft kisses to his brow while John trembles through the aftershocks.

John has never known contentment like this.

Chapter Text

The next day, John keeps his word. They spend the day in bed, only venturing out for a drink or a trip to the loo.

Their stomachs protest by midday and they eat leftover pasta standing naked in the kitchen. Sherlock gobbles down some of the truly decadent cake Angelo boxed up for them last night and John licks the sugar dustings off Sherlock’s lips.

John reckons it’s their honeymoon period – and he luxuriates in it. Even Sherlock seems content to just be for the moment, without any homicides or conspiracies or human body parts to experiment on. John makes good use of this respite and spends the day touching and tasting every last inch of his bonded.

The morning after that, reality finally intrudes. John figures he should be thankful they got two days in the first place, considering how their lives usually go.

He wakes that morning to Sherlock’s mobile ringing shrilly in his ear. Sherlock himself is curled up on John’s side, fast asleep even through the racket the phone’s making.

John groans and picks up the phone. The professional female voice on the other side introduces herself as the receptionist from Sherlock’s chosen omega clinic and asks if Mr. Holmes will find it agreeable to bump up their appointment to 1 p.m. today, instead of tomorrow.

John squints at the digital clock on the bedside table – 10:13 a.m. – and agrees to the changed time, giving his name and assuring the receptionist he’ll inform Sherlock.

Sherlock is still asleep but John feels wide awake and well-rested. Brushing a brief kiss to the sleep-warm forehead near his mouth, he extricates himself from Sherlock’s hold and heads to the bathroom.

A warm shower and a shave later, John stands in their messy kitchen, feeling put together and settled in a way he hasn’t felt in a long time. Humming, he fishes out reasonably fresh vegetables and a box of eggs from the fridge, setting about making a quick brunch.

He’s nearly done with his culinary venture when Sherlock wanders out from the bedroom, wrapped in a sheet and sporting a truly spectacular bed head. John grins, reaches up on his toes to kiss the corner of that ridiculous mouth.

It’s all almost tooth-achingly domestic. John feels like he’s been doing this for years – has it only been two days?

“Your clinic called,” John informs, turning back to the fry-up while Sherlock wraps himself around John’s back. The world’s only consulting detective is apparently a shameless cuddler. Who would’ve guessed. “They’ve bumped up your appointment to today afternoon. We need to be out by quarter past twelve, so you better get dressed.”

Sherlock hums in assent, nosing at the back of his neck for a few minutes longer before flitting off to shower.

Half-past twelve finds them in a cab, dressed and brunched and heading towards the clinic.

Sherlock is quiet, ruminative, fidgeting with his clothes or fiddling with his phone. He’s obviously nervous. John’s own stomach flips and tenses, emotions some strange anxiety-elation hybrid.

Sherlock’s first ultrasound is scheduled for today.

They will be seeing their son or daughter for first time, even if there won’t be much to see at this stage of pregnancy. But they will get copies of the ultrasound which will go into the first page of their future baby book. They will be able to hear their child’s heartbeat.

Whatever happens today will make this whole amazing, incomprehensible thing real in an irrefutable way.

The cab drops them off in front of the clinic and John places a hand in the small of Sherlock’s back as they walk in. The inside has the usual hospital smell; clean, chemical and antiseptic, with a heightened layer of alpha and omega scents marking it as a pregnancy clinic.

“Appointment for Sherlock Holmes?” John asks when they reach the reception desk. The woman’s smile is overly bright as she rings them right through.

“A dedicated fan of your blog,” Sherlock murmurs as they walk towards Dr. Fray’s office. “She is already messaging her closest girl friends about seeing us here together.”

“Christ,” John grumbles. “Don’t these people know about patient confidentiality?”

He should be furious, technically. It is a massive breach of privacy after all.

But mostly John is brought to an abrupt mental halt because – he didn’t even think about that.

The last post on his blog is over six months old, from when Sherlock was allowed to return to 221B after his second stay at the hospital. He had made a brief post explaining Sherlock had been shot during a case and won’t be taking any more cases in the near future. No details about the actual circumstances of the shooting, of course. The fan response and concern was enormous; it took John weeks to wade through just the relevant comments.

But the point is, no one knows anything else about the past half-year of his life. There is only one post about his wedding, then one post about Sherlock recovering from a gunshot wound. And that’s it. And now the news will spread that Sherlock is pregnant and John has bonded with him – and how is that going to look?

He will not have the best thing that’s ever happened to him be slandered in public and gossiped about.

His inner turmoil is cut short by the door to Dr. Fray’s office. Sherlock sweeps in and John follows him, taking the offered seat in front of a kindly old beta woman.

“We’re keeping the child,” Sherlock says without so much as a hello. Dr. Fray must be used to it, if the amused smile is any indication. “This is Dr. John Watson, the alpha father.”

“Hello, Dr. Watson,” Dr. Fray says with a crisp smile, before turning back to Sherlock. “The blood tests from your last consultation came through normal, Mr Holmes. Quite elevated HCG levels, but that can happen sometimes in late-stage omega pregnancies, especially in males. The ultrasound should make things more precise and help us affix an approximate due date –”

“January 3rd, by my estimation,” Sherlock interrupts. “I’ve been researching.”

“And of course, we will have to plan out nutrition and diet charts,” Dr. Fray continues, her smile a smidgen more amused now. “And affix a schedule for regular blood work. Temporary hypothyroidism and hypoglycaemia are often side effects in later age pregnancies and the sooner they are detected the better.”

Sherlock opens his mouth to butt in again, and John squeezes his thigh not-so-subtly, signalling him shut up for once. Sherlock’s mouth snaps shut.

Dr. Fray notices and her eyes twinkle.

“Any nausea or headaches?” she asks, opening a file with Sherlock’s name on it. “Lethargy, fluctuating appetites, increased sensitivity to particular scents?”

“No to all,” Sherlock says absently, squinting at the upside down report, no doubt memorizing it for later thought.

“Well, I’ll prescribe you a course of morning sickness medications anyway. It should begin any day now,” Dr. Fray jots down a last note before closing the file. “Now, if you’d head to the ultrasound, Mr Holmes.”

A nurse comes in to lead Sherlock out and John gets to his feet to follow them.

“Dr. Watson, if I may speak with you for a few minutes?” Dr. Fray says and John pauses at the threshold, turning back with a questioning look.

Dr. Fray looks simultaneously hesitant and determined – and something about her expression reminds John startlingly of Mrs Hudson and his own late mum, when they were disapproving of something he did.

Warily, John closes the door and resumes his seat.

“It is not my place to give opinions about patients’ private lives,” Dr. Fray says, somehow professional and sternly grandmotherly at the same time. John feels vaguely like a truant schoolboy. “But my wife is an avid fan of your blog, Dr. Watson and I appreciate the difficult decision all this must be for you.”

John listens with a growing sense of confusion.

“I understand the complexities of your situation but,” a steely note enters her voice, “Mr Holmes and this child are under my care, and it is my responsibility to ensure their safety and health.”

“As such, I must advice you not to break the bond even after the pregnancy,” Dr. Fray finishes severely, as though expecting John to break out protesting. “It doesn’t just affect the bonded pair, it also has considerable psychological effects on the child.”

John blinks, thoroughly bewildered now. Break the bond?

“I have recommendations on some excellent counsellors who can help you and your wife through it,” Dr. Fray says, fishing out some visiting cards and sliding them across the table to John. “A bond-breaking is extremely painful for both parties involved and for someone with Mr Holmes’s medical history, will most certainly cause irreparable damage. A preferable alternative would be to simply let the bond stand while being separated. I can assure you it will in no way be detrimental to your marriage. My omega wife and I have been married for over twenty five years and she remains bonded to her old alpha…”

Oh. Oh.

“No,” John interrupts. “I… no.” He takes a moment to gather his thoughts.

“Breaking the bond was never a thought,” he says, firmly. “My wife and I are divorced and the only reason I wasn’t with Sherlock for the first appointment was because I was waiting for it to be finalized before seeing him again, and I didn’t know. I don’t plan to leave him.”

“Oh,” Dr. Fray looks surprised and relieved for a moment, before the brisk professionalism slides back in. “Well, then. My whole-hearted congratulations to you both, Dr. Watson.”

John nods, wondering what it is about Sherlock that turns kindly old matrons into she-lions.

Feeling a little turned around, he follows Dr. Fray towards the ultrasound room. He’s let himself forget how their lives aren’t just their lives any more. Twice in the same half hour… he can no longer hide under an illusion of anonymity.

Tonight, John vows to himself. When they get home tonight, he will update his blog and at least announce his divorce to Mary and his return to 221B, if nothing else.

He doesn’t yet want to let the world in on the fragile, beautiful thing that is growing between him and Sherlock, or share the reality of the new life they’ve created together. Those, he just wants to keep it all to himself for now, to cherish and marvel at – his own personal miracles.

And hell, if he lets Mrs Hudson and Greg and Molly (or god forbid, his sister) find out from his blog, he’ll never hear the end of it. They deserve to be told in person. But as for the rest of it…

Sherlock is already dressed in scrubs and lying on the examination table when John and Dr. Fray enter.

He lifts a single eyebrow in question at John. John just shakes his head and goes to take one of Sherlock’s hands in his own. They watch as the nurse sets up the machinery and the monitor flickers on.

“This’ll be a little uncomfortable,” Dr. Fray says, squirting some of the gel onto the transducer and pressing it against Sherlock’s abdomen. Sherlock doesn’t react at all, tense and silent, eyes trained on the screen where the image is focusing in and out.

John squeezes Sherlock’s hand, lifting it up for a small kiss. A smile flickers across his omega’s face and he relaxes a little, though his eyes don’t leave the screen.

“Aha,” Dr. Fray says, steadying on a clear image and John’s stomach flips as he lifts his eyes to the ultrasound, to look at their child for the first time.

John stares at it for a moment and blinks. He blinks once more, then stares again, harder.

His medical training is throwing bells and whistles at him. Hell, it’s throwing a whole bloody fire truck at him. But he can’t take it in. He can’t wrap his head around it because

The bottom drops out of his stomach, like he missed a whole bunch of stairs going down.

“John?” Sherlock’s alarmed voice comes far away through the static filling John’s head. “John, what’s wrong?”

He’d barely gotten used to the idea of a child, that a whole new life would be looking to him for protection and love and care, but this

“John!”

He is delighted. He is terrified.

“I suspected from the high HCG levels but this confirms it,” Dr. Fray is saying with a reassuring smile at Sherlock. John tries hard not to let his knees give out, clutching at his omega’s hand for dear life. “Congratulations, gentlemen. You’re having twins.”

Chapter Text

The cab ride back is a different kind of ruminative silence. John reckons the best way to describe it would be ‘ecstatic’ with a dose of ‘scared shitless.’

The rest of the appointment had gone in a haze.

Dr. Fray pointed out the two small lumps of cells that is their children and then turned on the Doppler to check the heartbeats.

The tinny little flutter of a sound, coming in double, was enough to finally break John out of his panicked trance. He let out a noise, somewhere between a gasp and a sob, before swooping down on Sherlock and kissing him soundly, audience be damned.

When he pulled back, Sherlock’s stunned eyes stared at him, before flitting to focus on the monitor screen in an incredulous daze. John had imagined a whole bunch of rooms collapsing in on themselves in Sherlock’s mind palace.

In no time at all, they had their prescriptions and appointment schedules sorted and were leaving the clinic, Sherlock clutching an envelope with a copy of the ultrasound and a disk of the Doppler sound bite.

He’s still holding it now in a white-knuckled grip as he stares out distantly through the cab window, one finger absently stroking the envelope as though it can’t quite contain itself. The envelope containing the sound of their children’s heartbeats.

Their children. They’re having twins.

God help them.

John has an image of identical twin boys, with dark hair, mercurial eyes and his own snub nose, getting into no end of trouble and pushing him near an aneurysm every other day. Or maybe two adorable little girls, all blond curls and devastating cheekbones, twisting everyone around their little fingers within seconds. Or maybe it’ll turn out to be a boy and a girl, scampering around making a mess and running them both ragged while squealing in delight.

A vision of three curly haired heads bent over some experiment on their kitchen table floats in front of his eyes and John wants it so bad he can’t breathe.

He takes another peak at Sherlock, who is still looking distinctly on the ‘completely petrified’ end of the emotional spectrum. John decides to better leave him to it for now.

When they arrive back at Baker Street, Sherlock settles down on the couch in his Thinking Pose, without even bothering to remove his coat and scarf. John sighs and heads to the kitchen, fishing out three biscuits, half a nutri-bar and a glass of water.

He nudges them into Sherlock’s hands and Sherlock eats them without so much as blinking, still lost in his head. This is definitely an improvement on Sherlock just ignoring him and John takes it for the victory it is.

After scarfing down half a sandwich he found in the fridge, John settles in front of his laptop with a sigh. He promised himself he’d make that blog post today. Might as well do it now.

He can let the incredulous joy he feels take over later, with Sherlock.

Evening falls around them as John struggles with words and clacks away on the laptop while Sherlock lies still, thinking. It makes John content, nostalgic. He has missed this quiet domesticity.

A few hours later, John stretches in his chair, satisfied. He reads the post through one last time and posts it.

Sherlock is still on the couch, but his eyes are now closed, breathing gone deep and even. It seems he’s actually fallen asleep. John grins, fond warmth suffusing his belly and heads over to press a kiss to those flyaway curls, before going into the bedroom for a nap of his own.

***

John Watson’s blog

***

Update: Real life stuff  

I know it’s been months since I last updated here and we’re overdue for a post. Apologies in advance that this isn’t going to be about another thrilling case solved by the World’s Only Consulting Detective. Rather, its a few boring real life announcements from yours truly that need to be got out of the way. So here we go.

Well, first things first on the announcements. Mary and I are divorced and I’m back to living in 221B.

I don’t want to go into detail, because an exact retelling of all that happened will be breaking a lot of secrets and will cause trouble for a lot of people. But I can tell enough for you to see the vague picture of the last six months of my life.

It all started with the case where Sherlock got shot.

I know the press has been writing many rumours and speculations about it, and I also know some people higher up have put some restrictions on the case details being divulged. So I’m not going to confirm or deny anything here except tell you the personal bits.

Sherlock got shot. He nearly bled out and died in front of me – again. He actually did die for a little while there on the operation table. The report declared clinical death for five minutes. The doctors were giving up, they were starting to move away. But then the monitor beeped, there was a pulse and he was somehow alive again.

It was a bloody miracle. I don’t know how many more of those we’ll get and I never want to find out.

And then, when he woke up, what did the idiot do? He risked his life for me. Again. And they had to restart his heart. Again.

I can’t explain what that week felt like. I don’t have the words for it. It was like watching him jump off that bloody roof again, feeling helpless and useless on the ground while your life crashed around you.

Mary was at the centre of all that happened that week. Like I said, I can’t tell you how. Let’s just say if it hadn’t been for Mary’s involvement, Sherlock would not have nearly died.

We were already having problems before then, me and Mary. I knew her for a total of five months before I asked her to marry me. I got caught up in her, swept away, I suppose. When those first lovely months were over and we were living in the real world – it showed.

So anyway, we were already on rocky ground and then Sherlock was on a hospital bed with a gunshot wound that was her fault and I was… Well. I was beyond furious.

I moved back to 221B for the duration of Sherlock’s recovery, with no real plans of going back to Mary. Sherlock was the one who convinced me to give it another go, told me I’d regret it if I didn’t at least give it a second chance. Since when did Sherlock Holmes become an expert on emotions, hmm?

Anyway, Mary and I got back together on Christmas. I moved back in with her and tried to work on our marriage, while Sherlock was out gallivanting to find fake Moriarty. I don’t need to go into detail on that case, I think. The papers knew more than I did.

The second try – it was a disaster. We were fighting every other day and barely speaking when we weren’t. There was a lot of resentment on both sides, a lot of bitterness. It was absolutely miserable.

And one day, it broke beyond the point of no return. So… yeah. We’re divorced. It’s done. The marriage didn’t even last to our first wedding anniversary. If you’d told me that a year ago, I’d have probably socked you in the face.

But strangely, I don’t feel like I lost something right now. I feel… free. Relieved. Glad that we didn’t waste any more time trying to fix something that was never whole in the first place.

So I’m sitting here now, with Sherlock ignoring me while he’s busy in his ‘mind palace’, eyeballs floating in a cereal bowl in the kitchen and crime scene photos pinned up to the wall. And I feel content for the first time in longer than I can count. After three long years, it feels like I’m finally home.

I don’t know what that says about me, but for once, I don’t care to question it.

Chapter Text

Sherlock doesn’t get why most omegas whinge so much about the whole pregnancy thing. He feels good. Great. Nigh on wonderful, in fact.

He wakes in the morning and there’s a John in his bed to cuddle him. John looks at him like Sherlock is somehow everything he’s ever wanted all in one place and that is so gloriously inexplicable, so perfect, that it never ceases to amaze him for a second every time he sees it.

John does all the chores around the house. True, he always does all the chores around the house, but now he’s not grumbling at Sherlock about it. Which is rather nice.

John hums while cooking and generally smiles a lot more for no apparent reason. Usually at Sherlock. Which is really nice.

John still bans experiments with toxic chemicals and compounds, but now brings him a nice set of assorted human nails and different textures of hair as appreciation gifts for his compliance. Sherlock doesn’t tell John he was planning to stop the dangerous experiments anyway. He isn’t one to discourage thoughtful gifts from people.

But one of the best outcomes from his current condition is John’s increased tactile rate. John exhibits a ten percent higher frequency of touches and caresses with Sherlock than he exhibited in any of his previous romantic relationships. Even considering the margin that John simply loves him more than he ever did any of them (and the truth of that halts his brain process for a whole three seconds), that’s still a two percent higher instance of touch-affection than John’s normal level. Which is beyond nice. And probably significantly linked to the twins Sherlock is carrying.

Conclusion: pregnancy is great. And having twins is even better.

Twins.

It had taken a whole afternoon of mind palace rearrangement for Sherlock to wrap his head around the idea of two children growing inside of him. And a whole night of breathless talking and lovemaking to finally, truly feel it.

Two new lives, made of him and John. More probability of seeing John’s bright smile beaming at him in replicate through the years, John’s twinkling eyes and sun-touched skin with a toddler’s bright squeal. More of the pale blonde hair that turns burnished gold in the sun. Just more of the essence of John in the world. How spectacularly lovely. This couldn’t have turned out better if he’d planned it.

Sherlock had been mentally prepared and planned for one child, but in hindsight, he never should’ve thought any part of this whole ridiculous, unbelievable thing could be normal.

His and John’s progeny would never be so dull.

So yes, twins. Sherlock now has more research to do and he has to recalibrate his whole nutrition chart.

But overall, this turn of events has left him with a warm something in the core of his chest, a gentle light which seems to make everything around him brighter. Something he thinks might be happiness.

So all said and done, if someone asks Sherlock would say he is quite content to be pregnant, thank you very much.

That is, until the morning sickness finally hits him.

*

Three a.m. on the last day of his fifth week of pregnancy found him stumbling out of bed to rush to the bathroom, John blearily calling after him while Sherlock retched the full contents of his stomach into the toilet.

And that was just the beginning.

It’s now been three days since then and Sherlock honestly can’t remember what it’s like to not sit with his head over a toilet bowl anymore.

“Morning sickness is such a misnomer,” he groans, leaning back after his most recent bout of vomiting. It is the third time that morning alone.

John rubs his back soothingly, handing over the mouthwash. Sherlock rinses his mouth, spits in the toilet and flushes. John helps him up with little noises of encouragement and Sherlock can’t even find the energy to scoff at it.

He feels disgusting. Every part of his transport seems to be waging a war and he’s actually ravenously hungry for once, but can’t seem to keep the food down. He’s tired, irritated and has a headache forming at the base of its skull, and it’s not even 11 a.m.

The anti-nausea medication would offer him a brief respite, but it also makes him feel drowsy and heavy. And as soon as he eats something, the vomiting returns anyway, so moot point in the end.

It’s all so hateful he wants to shoot the walls.

He shuffles back to collapse on the couch and John brings him honey lemon tea and some plain bread, which seem to be about the only things he can ingest right now without throwing up immediately.

Sherlock munches and sips, while John chews on his own slice of bread. They found out rather colourfully last night that even the scent of most foods could bring on a vicious bout of nausea, so John’s stuck with bread for now too. Sherlock would feel sorry for it, if he weren’t sick every hour.

And the whole pregnancy sickness ordeal is just so illogical too. How is the birth parent supposed to provide nutrition and defend the foetus if they are sick and tired all the time? It makes them vulnerable at a time where protection is essential for species continuation. It makes no evolutionary sense! Sherlock feels personally affronted at his transport and with nature as a whole for adding this insult on top of the injury.

“How do you feel about telling people?” John’s voice breaks into his internal grumbling. Sherlock doesn’t look up, but hums to show he’s paying attention.

The tea feels soothing on his sore throat and his nausea has receded just slightly. He doesn’t feel an imminent threat of another bout so he settles in more comfortably with a sigh of relief.

“You know, we need to tell people soon,” John is saying. “About the pregnancy and the bond. How do you want to go about that?”

Sherlock just shrugs and continues sipping his tea. Boring.

John sighs in exasperation at the lack of response, but determinedly soldiers on. (Such typical John behaviour. Sherlock adores him.)

“I thought maybe, just our family and friends for now? Mrs. Hudson, Greg, Molly. My sister, your parents. Mycroft will probably find out before we tell him anyway.”

Yes, he will. But the fact that the fat git hasn’t shown up till now amuses Sherlock greatly. He’s getting even more slow in his dotage. Excellent.

“I don’t mind one way or another,” Sherlock finally deigns to reply, stretching out fully on the couch now that the tea and bread are both done. He finds a comfortable position and sighs tiredly once more.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter to him whether or not he gets to watch people sniffle and attempt to hug him, all for the grand accomplishment of getting himself knocked up. The only set of reactions and emotions he actively seeks out to catalogue are John’s. The rest are just background noise. He doesn’t care about what to say to people or when.

He just wants a nap.

(A nap. At eleven in the morning. For God’s sake. His brain will atrophy by the time he is done with this pregnancy.)

“Do you want to be there when I tell Mrs Hudson?” John keeps talking. Why does John keep talking. Can’t he see Sherlock wants to nap?

Sherlock shoots him the best ‘John-I-really-don’t-care-about-these-silly-little-problems-you-choose-to-worry-about’ look he can muster while halfway into a late morning doze.

John chuckles and shakes his head ruefully. “Alright, fine. I’ll tell her today myself when I see her. And maybe meet up with Greg at the pub sometime soon. But you are going to be there when we tell the family, do you hear me?”

He pats Sherlock’s leg twice and makes to leave, carrying two empty teacups.

What. No. That will not do.

Sherlock catches on to the back of John’s cardigan and pulls him back. He keeps tugging till John sits back at the edge of the couch, wonderful warm weight leaning against Sherlock’s side.

“What is it?” John asks, carding his fingers through Sherlock’s hair and massaging his scalp. Sherlock almost purrs at how good that feels. He stretches into the sensation, humming his appreciation. Even his headache recedes slightly.

“Stay,” he commands, shifting up a little so there’s enough space for John to slide in on the couch. John places the cups on the floor and obliges immediately with a little grin, bless his loyal heart.

Sherlock drapes himself all over him, slides one hand under John’s soft jumper to stretch cold fingers over warm skin, head moving to rest one ear over the steady thump of John’s heartbeat.

John’s hands resume their petting of his hair and Sherlock hums again. He is warm and comfortable and even his nausea is nearly gone, soothed by the familiar scent of his alpha.

He buries his face in John’s throat, takes a deep breath and lets sleep take him.

Chapter Text

John is a soldier and a doctor. He has seen the human body is more ways than one can count and in all the disgusting details it can be reduced to. He can usually handle any bodily fluid thrown his way with a stoic and unflinching efficiency, getting right down to business, no problem.

Unless, of course, it involves tears from certain motherly landladies.

John pats Mrs. Hudson’s back awkwardly while she actually cries from joy over the news he just imparted.

Earlier, after Sherlock drifted off, John got up and replied to some of the comments on his blog from last night. There was the usual set of responses from his friends and acquaintances, all conveying their regrets over the divorce and offering him their best wishes for the future. Mrs. Hudson had also invited him down for tea and cake for a late morning snack, presumably to talk things over in person. So John gathered a tin of her favourite biscuits and headed down to 221A, ready to tell her about their little news.

John had expected Mrs. Hudson to be happy for them. He just didn’t expect her to be hysterically so.

He holds her now in bewilderment as she cries into his jumper, wondering what on earth he’s got himself into. (Sherlock must have foreseen this. That’s why he passed on it and abandoned John to go about it alone, the giant prat.)

Mrs. Hudson has moved on from exclaiming about how wonderful this all is and how happy she is for her boys, and is now blubbering something about carpenters and plumbing into his chest. And that’s such a bizarre turn for the conversation to take, even for Mrs. Hudson, that John really ought to ask her what she’s on about.

He draws back gently. “What’s that you just said?” he asks politely, patting her two more times for good measure.

She delicately dabs at her eyes with an old handkerchief and says, “Well, twins, dear. That’s twice the joy, but also twice the trouble. You boys will need to make a lot of changes to how you live.”

John blinks.

“I was thinking some remodelling for 221C,” Mrs. Hudson continues, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “It’s just sitting there damp and unused anyway. We can turn it into a lab space for Sherlock to mess around in, and maybe a proper office for you two and your clients? Keep the work away from the family area?”

John opens his mouth, but has no idea what to say.

“And of course the room upstairs will need some changes,” she says matter-of-factly. “They’ll be fine for sharing when they’re babies, but before you know it you’ll have teenagers on your hands, squabbling over closet space and whinging that they need privacy.”

Teenagers?!

“There’s the storage room upstairs too and your old room is quite big, dear. With a bit of rebuilding, it should all sort out nicely to two bedrooms and a bathroom for the kids to share,” she pauses as though some new thought just occurred to her. “Oh, that reminds me! One of Mrs. Turner’s married ones is in a construction company. Maybe he’ll know some good people, to get started on the construction work. We really should start as soon as possible John dear. It’s going to take time to get everything perfect for the little angels.”

She smiles at him indulgently, eyes still teary. John wants to squeak “They’re barely six weeks into existence!” but no sound comes out.

“The last bit of the insurance from my husband came through,” Mrs. Hudson goes on, sniffing into a lacy napkin. “That should be enough for most of the work to be done. Nothing fancy, mind, but definitely more than enough money to –”

John finally finds his voice and interrupts her.

“Your insurance…? No,” his voice brooks no argument. “That all sounds great, Mrs. Hudson. I haven’t really thought about the logistics yet and everything you just said – it’s all great. I’ll run it by Sherlock later and work it out between us.”

“But you are not spending your insurance on it,” he continues firmly. “I resigned at the old clinic, but I’ll get a job at another surgery again. And Sherlock has more than enough put aside from the last few high-profile cases. We’ll manage ourselves. If you don’t mind us making a mess of your house and having two kids thundering about on top of everything, that is all we could possibly ask of you.”

“Nonsense,” she scoffs. “As if I could’ve asked for better than having two lovely little darlings to dote on, in my old age. It’ll be an absolute pleasure, John, don’t you dare think otherwise. And as for the rest,” Mrs. Hudson pats his hand placidly in a way that tells him she’s going to ignore him completely and do as she wants. “We’ll talk about it later, dear.”

John opens his mouth to protest some more but she just squeezes his hand and stands up, picking up the used plates and spoons.

“And John,” she calls as she walks to the sink. “If it was a quiet life that I was after, I’d never have invited Sherlock Holmes to live in my house in the first place.”

*

Predictably, Sherlock goes into a massive sulk when John tells him he’s planning to find work again.

“We need the money, Sherlock,” John tries to reason, scrolling through the job openings website looking for a suitable post. “We will have two babies on our hands soon, if you’d forgotten. You’ll be completely out of commission in just a few months and you’re already too exhausted to go around as it is. And babies are expensive. We can’t go on just making enough for takeaway and cabs anymore.”

“We’re doing fine,” Sherlock grumbles, pouting and frowning fiercely at John. Only his face could manage both at the same time without looking utterly ridiculous. “I solved four of the online cases this week even though they were all utterly, soul-crushingly tedious, just because the clients were willing to pay truly idiotic sums of money for something they could’ve solved themselves if they just used their brain.”

He pauses here as though expecting John to acknowledge and laude this spectacular sacrifice on Sherlock’s part. John just rolls his eyes. He knows for a fact Sherlock only took the online cases because he was too sick to pester Lestrade and too tired to handle more than those easy puzzles. But heaven knows Sherlock will never admit it, the git.

“And Skype, John!” Sherlock exclaims when it’s obvious John is not impressed. “Video calls! I can keep up well enough from home if you do the legwork. So you see. You worry for nothing. You can better serve the family by staying home with me.”

He smiles winsomely, as though surely John must see the flawless logic in this and nod his acceptance immediately. John just shakes his head in  exasperation and goes back to looking at the laptop screen.

Sherlock is draped over the couch as usual, clad in yesterday’s pyjamas and his beloved blue-silk dressing gown. His hair’s a mess, chin sporting the slightest shadow of stubble, and there are dark circles under his eyes. He looks peaky and exhausted.

It’s been a week of near-continuous pregnancy sickness and today is the first morning Sherlock hasn’t thrown up once since waking. John gave him just a bowl of cereal and some orange juice, and they’re both waiting to see if the nausea hits.

“And I also have money coming in from the MOD,” Sherlock continues, when no compliance from John is forthcoming. “For my work to hunt down Moriarty’s network and efforts in uncovering the recent TV conspiracy. It’s a sizable amount.”

“We’ll use up most of that renovating the house,” John replies absently, reading through a potential clinic. “I talked to Timothy yesterday, you know, one of Mrs Turner’s married ones. It’s going to cost a pretty penny to get this house in shape for the kids.”

Sherlock huffs in annoyance.

“And a little extra money is always a good thing, Sherlock,” John says, looking up to placate his omega. “We should set aside money for the future too.”

“That’s what my trust fund is for,” Sherlock scowls, petulance on full blast now. “Mycroft cut off my access to it when I was 24, but surely even he can’t deny my using it for my children.”

John stops typing to stare at Sherlock. “You have a trust fund?”

“Of course,” Sherlock relaxes back a little into the couch toes wriggling, now that he’s distracted John from his job search. “Grand-mère set it up for me when I got into Harrow. I never had to dip into it much for education, seeing as I got through University on scholarships. If we’re careful with the spending, there should enough in there to manage all the way to college tuitions for the twins.”

“Grand-mère?” John asks, his mouth slightly open. “You’re French?” His voice comes out half-strangled. He clears it.

“Half,” Sherlock says, head tilting on the armrest to squint curiously at John. “Mummy is from Marseille, she moved to England to study Maths in University. We used to go there for summer every year till Grand-mère died.”

John feels vaguely hot under the collar and he clears his throat, focusing back on the screen, desperately hoping Sherlock doesn’t notice. This is embarrassing. Mortifying. He didn’t even know this was a kink he had, for God’s sake. Get a hold of yourself, Watson.

But of course Sherlock notices.

“John Watson,” Sherlock says after a slight pause and his voice now is devilishly gleeful. John blushes furiously and resolutely does not look up from the screen. “Me being part French. Does that… turn you on?”

John blushes even redder, if that’s possible.

He looks up to see Sherlock suddenly looming over him, looking somehow childishly delighted and irresistibly seductive at the same time, all while wearing two days old night clothes and with an unshaven face. Life is so unfair.

Sherlock somehow manoeuvres himself into the space between John’s chair and the desk, climbing onto John’s lap, warm weight settling across the alpha’s thighs. John’s hands automatically move to wrap around Sherlock’s waist and the omega leans forward, lips brushing against John’s right ear. He shivers.

Est-ce que cela t'excite, que je parle français?” Sherlock rumbles, warm puffs of breath tickling the hair above his ear. “Aimerais-tu que je parle français au lit?

John almost falls out of the chair, startled by the intense bolt of arousal going straight to his cock. His fingers tighten on Sherlock’s waist and he nearly moans.

Sherlock’s mouth moves slowly down John’s throat, teeth nipping lightly, warm suction and kitten licks leaving a trail of heat, murmuring things in French the whole way. John has no idea what he’s saying, but whatever it is, coming in that sinful voice, sounding downright dirty

Sherlock’s hips rock against John’s. The chair squeaks ominously, and John really should put a stop to this, they’re going to crash to the floor and hurt themselves otherwise.

Instead, he pulls Sherlock down closer, moves till his mouth reaches those plush lips and they’re kissing open-mouthed and wet, John fucking Sherlock’s mouth with his tongue.

It would probably have gone further to messy sex on the floor or a trip to A&E, if not for the urgent banging on the front door.

Sherlock ignores it (typical), continuing his attempts to have sex with John on a rickety old chair. John opens his mouth to protest, but his words get cut off by Sherlock’s tongue.

The banging grows louder and Mrs Hudson’s voice floats up, followed by Greg’s. John forces himself to pull back and manages to push Sherlock off him just as footsteps thump up the stairs.

When Greg bursts in, Sherlock is slumped on the floor glaring thunderously and John is decent, if extremely red in the face. Lestrade doesn’t even register anything odd. Then again, he has walked in on stranger sights at 221B.

“There’s been a murder at the Hilton hotel,” Greg says, breathless and harried. “High profile journalist, all signs point to potential terrorist involvement. Will you come?”

Sherlock visibly perks up on the floor. He flounces to his feet with a little less co-ordination than usual and without a single word heads towards the bathroom, dressing gown billowing dramatically. He appears to already be over his determination from two minutes ago to get John to thoroughly fuck him. But, of course, a dead body beckons! Clearly that’s the more fun option.

John runs a hand over his face and huffs out a breath. When he looks up, he meets Greg’s slightly amused stare.

“Yeah, he’s been feeling a little under the weather the past week,” John explains. “Been in a right strop, as you might imagine.”

“Better you than me, mate,” Greg says with a grin. “I still think you’re a madman for actually living with him.”

John just chuckles in reply, because yes, he is.

A few beats of silence and the amicable air fades away into something more serious. Greg fidgets slightly, looking sort of uncomfortable and strangely sympathetic. John lifts an eyebrow and waits, slightly confused.

“Saw your last blog entry,” Greg finally says, face scrunched up in an earnest frown. “I’m sorry, John.”

It actually takes John a few seconds to realize what Greg is talking about – the blog post about the divorce. It already feels a life time away, his failed married life with Mary.

“Yeah, about that,” John bites his lip. “Are you free to go for a drink after the case? There are some things I’d like to tell you.”

“Of course John. Always. From one divorcee to another, I say better to get it all off your chest early on,” Greg’s understanding expression grows concerned at something on John’s face. “Or is there something else I need to worry about?” His gaze flits to the bathroom, where the shower is running. “He’s not back on drugs again, is he?”

“No no, nothing like that,” John reassures him, takes a deep breath. “Just, a lot has happened. I’d like to catch you up.”

“It’s been a crazy few months, sounds like,” Greg nods. Talk about understatement of the century. “After the case today then. We’ll meet at the usual?”

John nods and silence descends for a moment, till Greg breaks it. “I gotta get back. You’ll get Himself to the crime scene soon?”

“We’ll be there in thirty minutes,” John confirms and the Detective Inspector leaves with a clap to John’s shoulder.

The bathroom door leading into the bedroom opens and shuts, followed by the muffled noises of Sherlock getting dressed.

John moves to his laptop and powers it down, closing on his halted attempts at finding a job, which Sherlock so rudely (wonderfully) distracted him from. He always got exactly what he wanted, didn’t he, the scheming, manipulative prat. Though John will need to ponder deeper on his reactions to combining Sherlock and French at a later time…

“John,” Sherlock calls from his bedroom in a demanding, annoyed voice that everybody else would’ve been fooled by. But John is John and he can hear just the barest traces of upset beneath the annoyance.

“What’s wrong?” John asks, striding across the hall, clamping down on his own reactions to his omega’s distress, faint though it may be. “Sherlock?”

Sherlock is standing in front of the wardrobe mirror, back to John and staring sideways at his own reflection. At John’s questions, he turns to face him, revealing one of his many criminally-tight shirts buttoned to only halfway down the chest.

“It won’t button around the stomach,” Sherlock grumbles, turning to squint at his reflection again. He is projecting only petulance, but John can definitely hear the waver in there. “I’m only at seven weeks, I shouldn’t already be starting to show!”

“Probably because its twins,” John states the obvious, feeling slightly dazed. The fact that Sherlock doesn’t mock him for it makes it clear just how shaken he really must be. He joins Sherlock at the mirror.

It’s nothing blatantly noticeable. The only reason the change was seen at all is because Sherlock chose one of his old, tighter shirts, which was already straining on the healthier body weight John and Mrs. Hudson managed to bring him up to by constant nagging.

But obvious or not, it’s definitely there. Sherlock’s stomach, concave at the best of times, has filled out to the slightest curvature, firm and unyielding under John’s questing hand. Their eyes meet in the mirror, John’s awed and Sherlock’s equal parts joy and panic.

John uses the hand on Sherlock’s belly to pull him backwards into an embrace and the man slumps against him without protest. John presses reassuring kisses over their bond bite, wordlessly offering comfort and support as he stares at their reflections in the mirror again. Sherlock twines his hand with John’s over the tiny bump, eyes closing, face blank.

Knowing your body is going to change in uncomfortable, uncontrollable and visibly obvious ways doesn’t make it any less disconcerting and frightening when it starts to happen. Especially for someone like Sherlock, who hates acknowledging his ‘transport’ in the first place.

A transport which has already been causing havoc all week with pregnancy sickness. And now – this. John understands how difficult this moment must be for his bonded, even with the happiness.

They stand like that for a few minutes, sharing warmth and wordless reassurance, before Sherlock pulls himself together. He snaps back into a brisk matter-of-factness, discarding the offending garment swiftly and pulling on one of his more recently tailored ones.

(His fingers briefly pause when even the comparatively looser shirt buttons rather tight over the abdomen, but neither of them acknowledge it.)

When Sherlock finally strides out the front door and hails a cab with his usual efficiency, his shoulders are set in straight proud lines and he cuts a confident, dashing figure in his coat. Looking at him, even John wouldn’t have believed that brief moment of human insecurity earlier occurred at all, if he hadn’t been right there to see it.

It is one of those strange crystalline moments that you remember for the rest of your life – where the full force of how much you love someone hits you out of nowhere and takes your breath away.

 

Chapter Text

John reckons you can follow Sherlock Holmes’s presence in any building by simply following the trail of offended, annoyed and disgruntled-looking people. It shouldn’t be so amusing to him, but it is.

Sherlock looked rather flushed getting out of the cab earlier, so John motioned him to go ahead to the crime scene and jogged to the supermarket right across to get a canned bottle of lemon juice and some smelling salts. Just in case.

Now he’s back in the hotel, walking past a grumbling Donovan and a bewildered looking young man (Hopkins, the Anderson replacement on Forensics, John later learns), finally coming to a stop next to Greg, who rolls his eyes wearily in greeting.

“One of these days, somebody’s gonna throttle him and I’m not sure I’ll press charges,” Greg scowls and John is torn between giggling (completely inappropriate) and mild concern. The latter should be dealt with once Greg gets to know about the baby situation. Even Sherlock Holmes can’t push the Met to physical violence once they learn he’s pregnant.

Greg nods him along inside and John is just about to enter the hotel room when six feet of rather green-looking consulting detective crashes into him, nearly sending him toppling.

“Whoa there,” Greg exclaims, throwing an arm out to hold John up just in time. When John regains his feet, all that’s seen of Sherlock is a coat-tail whisking out of sight at a bend down the hallway.

“Bloody hell was that?” Greg swears, staring after Sherlock in confused outrage.

John thinks he knows. “Actually, he probably got sick,” he gestures, setting off down the hallway. “Told you he was a bit unwell. I’d better check on him.”

“Still up for that pint later?” Greg calls after him and John yells his assent back before starting at a sprint.

Donovan’s confused face squinting at the door of an omegas’ toilet one floor down sets John on the right track.

“What’s wrong with him?” she frowns as John jogs up to her.

“Just sick, vomiting and the like, y’know,” he replies distractedly. “Probably didn’t want to throw up on a crime scene again.”

“What do you mean, again?” Donovan asks rather shrilly, but John’s already inside and doesn’t bother replying.

“Sherlock?” he calls and there’s a groan from the fifth cubicle down the row. He finds Sherlock sprawled on his knees, retching rather painfully into the toilet.

“Oh love,” John sighs and crouches next to his mate, running a soothing hand up and down his back. There’s not much else he can do anyway.

Eventually, Sherlock emerges, looking pale and sickly and thoroughly miserable. John chivvies him up to the sink, helps him clean up and then sits him down a closed toilet lid so he can sip some of the lemon juice. Sherlock takes all the mothering without complaint, which is as helpful as it is bizarre.

Silence falls while John bins the used tissues and washes his hands with some of the handwash.

“I got nauseous because of the body, John,” Sherlock breaks the silence, voice as grave as though he’s confessing to murdering the Queen. “Sick. Me. Because of the smell of a dead body.”

John breathes deep, waits for the emotionally upset explosion in 3…2…1…

“How the hell am I supposed to be a detective if I can’t even stand the smell of a corpse!” Sherlock yells, arms wind-milling, drama queen mode fully active.

John hangs his head, sighing, before grabbing a new tissue to dry his hands. “It’s only for a little while, Sherlock,” he tries to reason. “The nausea usually winds down by the end of the first trimester and you are nearly there already. It’s gonna be fine.”

“Five whole weeks left!” Sherlock snaps, obviously not willing to reason. “And that’s assuming the sickness really does wind down by that point, which is not a surety! Up to 38% of omega men and women my age exhibit severe nausea for the entire duration of their pregnancy, the statistic of which increases to 72% for twins.”

John opens his mouth to get a calming word in, but Sherlock steamrollers on.

“And I will probably be incapacitated from doing any sort of meaningful work in another fifteen weeks at most, because of the truly ridiculous speed at which these children are growing! Even if I am capable of still walking, the Work will be completely disrupted!”

“You’ll figure it out,” John starts to say.

“Figure it out?!” Sherlock’s practically yelling now. “I don’t want to figure it out. I want to efficiently do my work without having to worry about throwing up on it! Or taking a break every twenty minutes because I’m too tired to continue. I want my body to do what I want it to do, not this weighed down, inferior mockery of a transport that is a slave to its own stupid backwards biology!”

“Sherlock,” John tries to control his own building frustration.

“I can’t climb up stairs without being winded. I’m hungry all the time. I have a headache that won’t go away and I can’t even button up my shirts anymore and you! You with your jumped-up Alpha advantage in every single part of life. You have no idea how any of this feels and you tell me it’s all okay?

“Well maybe you should’ve thought this through better before deciding then!” John’s patience snaps. Some distant part of him is waving red flags telling him to calm down, but most of him – which is tired, sleep-deprived and running on nothing but bread and tea for days – just wants to yell back and have an all-out row. “Why tell me you want this if it’s all such a big inconvenience to you?”

John knows their little fight has gone too far the moment the words slip out.

He doesn’t even mean it. He knows how much all this means to Sherlock, how much he loves their little family already. John would have to be a blind idiot not to see it.

Sherlock rears back like John just hit him and his face closes off completely, pale and hard where just moments ago it was alive with all kinds of emotion. Predominantly frustration and anger, yes, but still better than this cold, closed-off mask John can’t stand.

There is a chilling few minutes of silence. It hurts something in John’s chest.

“I didn’t mean that,” John licks his lips. His throat suddenly feels dry as a desert. “I’m sorry. Sorry, I didn’t – I didn’t mean that.”

“Perhaps not. But you have thought it before, if the speed at which that came out is anything to go by.” Sherlock’s words are cold, clipped, the consonants precise and sharp as razors.

“I’m sorry.” What can he say?

“It’s true that this isn’t something I ever wanted before,” Sherlock says steadily, eyes like grey storm clouds and boring into John. “When I was informed I’d lost the ability, I didn’t care. For years, all that mattered was The Work. And then I met you, and before I even realized it, you mattered more.”

John moves a little closer, reaches forward to take Sherlock’s hand tentatively in his, just to get rid of how distant and unreachable Sherlock looks right now. Sherlock doesn’t respond but he doesn’t pull away either, which is something at least.

“I’d give up The Work for you. I’d kill and die and come back to life for you. In fact, I already have. Do you think I’d do that for anyone?”

“No,” John moves even closer, cups Sherlock’s cheek now. “No I know that, Sherlock. I know that.”

Sherlock leans into his touch, slightly. It makes the tension in John’s chest go a little bit looser. He leans closer to his mate and Sherlock allows it; his eyes close as John tilts his face to touch their foreheads together.

“And our children,” he rumbles, breath puffing warm against John’s lips. “The things I feel for them frightens me for how intense and illogical they are. They’re barely the size of a pea and I’m already…” Sherlock takes a deep, rattling breath.

“Now I have three people who are more important than life itself and I’m adjusting, John. I’m doing my best. I’m an omega who hasn’t had a heat in thirteen years, I’m not used to losing control of my body and mind. And all these ways it’s out of control now. It’s just so,” he exhales harshly. “It’s just so endlessly frustrating!”

John wraps his arms around his omega’s waist, rubs his nose against the pale cheeks, placing tiny reassuring kisses to the side of his mouth. There isn’t much else he can say. Their little non-fight went places which he didn’t wish for it to go, and neither of them truly meant any of it. And both of them know that. It is easily resolved, all said and done.

But his omega is still distressed. John can feel the subtle sag to Sherlock’s shoulders, the defeated sounding breaths he is exhaling and inhaling against John’s neck.

“I’m sorry it’s so hard for you,” John murmurs into thick curls that smell of vanilla, fresh leaves and city smoke. Such a strange cocktail that somehow sums up his mate perfectly. “And I wish I knew to make it easier. But if you can’t go to cases anymore, I’ll do the legwork. I’ll skype from the crime scenes and bring home all the data I can, and you can yell at me for missing all the important details. Then your amazing brain can solve it from home. I‘ll help you continue with your Work in any way I can, no matter how late into the pregnancy you are. I promise.”

“I’m sorry for the things I said,” Sherlock mumbles into his neck without looking up. John just squeezes him closer in reply.

They stand like that for a few more minutes before John pulls back a little.

“Do you want to go home now?” he asks, hands still locked comfortingly around his mate. “I can ask Greg to send you the case file. Or I can go in and get you pictures myself if you prefer.”

Sherlock snorts.

“No need,” he says, looking annoyed. “I solved it in the thirty seconds I was there before getting nauseous. It was the wife and her secret lover. Pretended to be a bellhop. The terrorism clues were simply a ploy to throw suspicion off them. Barely a three. Dull! Lestrade owes me for this.”

“Pretended to be a…? Nevermind,” John grins, split between incredulity and wry amusement. “Tell me on the cab home. I’ll text Greg the details, he can wrap it up here without us.”


Chapter Text

John slowly nurses his beer, an extra pint waiting on the table for Lestrade to arrive. The beta shows up after another ten minutes, mumbling apologies and looking both tired and elated.

“Found the murder weapon then?” John asks, pushing the beer towards his friend.

“Yeah, exactly where Sherlock said it’d be,” Greg says, settling in and reaching for the beer with a groan. “I’ll never understand how he got all that in the five seconds he was there before running out like the devil was after him.”

“Yes well, our ‘inferior brains’ are obviously not up to understanding how his superior one works,” John grins.

“Arrogant bastard,” Greg snorts, expression both fond and exasperated. “Still takes me by surprise sometimes, what a blooming pain in the arse he can be. Nearly forgot about that in the two years he was off playing dead.”

“Yeah,” John gulps, heart doing a strange lurch at the mention of those horrible two years. How things have changed… he never would’ve even imagined having such happiness again at that time.

“Hey, sorry about that,” Greg is saying, voice apologetic. John comes back to the present, realizing he spaced out in his own awful recollections for a few minutes. “Didn’t mean to make things all sombre bringing that up right now.”

“No, no,” John reassures him. “It all technically started there anyway. I was just… thinking about the difference a year can make, y’know?”

Greg nods along, squinting at him thoughtfully. He takes a swig of his beer and places it back on the table.

“So what did you want to talk about, John?”

John grimaces. Greg’s eyebrows crunch in a slight frown.

“Yeah, we’re gonna need a lot more beer to get through this,” John says, downing the last of his own pint and heading to the bar to fetch a refill for both of them.

Once they are both settled in with their drinks again, John takes a deep breath and begins.

“So everything I’m going to say to you today, everything that happened, I want you to listen as just Greg-my-friend, alright? Leave the DI out of it.” This is a very important disclaimer to make. It won’t do for Greg to go haring after Mary once he finds out exactly who she is. They might’ve ended on bitter terms, but John doesn’t want to do that to her.

Greg frowns even more, beer mug lifted halfway to his mouth. “You and Sherlock aren’t in any legal trouble, are you?”

John snorts a humourless laugh. If only it was that simple.

“Not in trouble with the law, no. MI6 was surprisingly ready to let things slide for Sherlock shooting a man, after the Moriarty scare.”

Greg nearly does a spit-take.

“He did what?!”

John grimaces some more.

“Yeah let me start at the beginning.”

So he does. He narrates the whole thing, from the bonfire kidnapping and the card from ‘CAM’ at his and Mary’s wedding, to Sherlock taking Lady Smallwood’s case and how the whole thing unfolded about Mary’s past.

Mary shot Sherlock?” Greg exclaims halfway through the narrative, looking thoroughly horrified.

“Turns out she was once a CIA-trained assassin and went rogue,” John stares down into his own pint. “She was trying to make a fresh start and Magnussen was blackmailing her, so she went in to finish him off. When Sherlock interrupted her, she shot him instead to buy time and make an escape.”

Greg swears.

And then out comes the rest of the tale, about Sherlock convincing John to go back to Mary, the events at Appledore and the resultant private trial for Sherlock at MI6.

“He was still technically an agent for them,” John explains while Greg gapes at him, drinks temporarily forgotten. “They assisted him in wiping out Moriarty’s network. So he was punished like they would any misbehaving agent. They were planning to send him on a suicide mission in Siberia. But then the whole Moriarty thing happened… and you were there for the rest of that.”

Silence falls briefly. John waits, sipping his drink, while Greg digests all that.

“Holy shit,” Greg finally says, looking rather like a bomb went off in his face. “And I thought I had the worst marriage situation, because my ex-wife took an occasional tumble with a PE teacher.”

“Yeah. ‘My ex-wife is a CIA-trained assassin who nearly killed my best friend’ does have a much worse ring to it,” John agrees mildly.

Another beat of silence and then they’re both laughing, incredulous hacking laughter that is bordering on hysterical.

“Jesus, your life,” Greg wheezes out sometime in the middle. “How’ve you not gone ‘round the bend yet?”

“I’m not sure I haven’t,” John huffs out over another snort of laughter. Sometimes he really does wonder if he’s crazy. “Which brings us to the next bit.”

“There’s more?” Greg sputters comically, staring wide-eyed at John. “What more can possibly follow an assassin ex-wife and an MI6 pardoning?”

“How about ‘Sherlock and I are bonded and he’s now seven weeks pregnant’?” John asks conversationally.

Greg really does do a spit-take this time.

“Sherlock is – you are – What?!”

Greg is coughing and spluttering, a bit of beer appears to be dribbling out of his nose. He’s gone all red in the face and there’s an awful stain spreading up the front of his shirt. Maybe John should’ve waited till Greg finished drinking before mentioning this. He hands some tissues over to Greg, who mops himself up haphazardly, staring slack-jawed at John.

“Yeah,” John says, ducking his head in a sheepish grin. “I only found out myself two weeks ago, after the divorce with Mary. Came over to Baker Street to tell him about the divorce and he goes ‘Yeah, by the way John, I’m five weeks pregnant and it’s yours’.”

“Buggering fuck,” is Greg’s eloquent reply.

John absolutely understands.

Greg stands up, looking like he’s quelling an impulse to run for the hills. “I’m gonna need the hard stuff for this,” he finally says and swears some more, heading towards the bar. He returns with two glasses of scotch and sets one down before John.

“Go on then,” he points. “Tell us how this goes.”

And John narrates the rest, starting with the horrible months after Christmas of trying to make it work with Mary, skimming through The Night and his divorce, before finally coming to that morning at 221B where Sherlock turned his whole life upside down all over again.

As he talks, he thinks maybe Ella did have something going on with the whole ‘talking about your life helps’ thing. He didn’t realize how much being unable to talk about the past year and all its secrets were weighing on him, till now while letting it all out to a person he trusts.

“We had the first ultrasound two weeks ago,” John finishes, toying with the now-empty third glass of scotch, more than a little drunk. “And it’s twins, Greg. We’re having twins.”

Greg lets out an explosive breath, looking distinctly boozed up himself and more than a little dazed.

“Jesus Christ, John,” he finally says. “God mate, congratulations. Bonded to Sherlock and twins, I mean. Jesus.”

A lot of manly hugging, thumping and swearing follows. Greg gets them another refill to celebrate John’s impending fatherhood, moving on to some gin and tonic for variety.

“So when he was running out all green in the face this morning…?” Greg slurs after a while, blinking owlishly at John.

“Morning sickness,” John nods vigorously, ears pleasantly buzzing. “Been sick all week. I haven’t been allowed to make anything but toast at home, the smell, y’know.”

“Sherlock Holmes, bonded and expecting,” Greg says wonderingly. “Who would’ve thought.”

His eyes refocus on John, bleary and alarmed. “Wait, wait. That serial killer case, when he caught the bastard with the meat cleaver. He was pregnant then?”

“Yeah. But - but he didn’t know at the time,” John is only slightly slurring. He’s not drunk, he’s fine. “And let’s be real Greg. It’s not like he’ll stop going after murderers right up till he’s too big to move.”

(And that is something else to muse about later when he has the time and is less drunk – that shiver of want curling in his belly at the thought of Sherlock huge with his children.)

John Watson is learning all sorts of interesting new things about himself today.

“He’ll send me to an early grave,” Greg pronounces with a groan, slumping face first on the table with a dull thwump. “How’s it gonna look when it gets out I’m letting a pregnant omega on my crime scenes?”

John should probably be trying to comfort Greg. But he suddenly has this mental vision of Sherlock strapped in one of those baby carriers, swanning around crime scenes with two sleeping newborns hanging down his front – and for some reason, that image is the most hilarious thing in the world.

He starts giggling.

“Probably not as bad as it’ll look when we start bringing babies around ‘cause we couldn’t get a babysitter,” John informs Greg between hiccups.

Greg’s head snaps up from the table and he stares at John in horror.

“Bollocks, I’m applying for early retirement,” Greg croaks, staggering off to fetch some more alcohol. John should probably stop him, but the reason why keeps evading him.

Greg returns with two more pints of…something, and drops gracelessly into his chair.  He lifts up his glass in a shaky-handed toast. “To the two new Watson-Holmeses.” He takes a deep drink. “God they’re going to be little terrors.”

“I know,” John’s grinning too widely but he can’t help it. “I can’t wait.”

 

Chapter Text

When they get home from their date on Friday night, Mycroft Holmes is waiting for them in Sherlock’s armchair, a folder balanced on his crossed legs. It wouldn’t be noteworthy or even disturbing, if not for the fact that its one hour past midnight and John’s tongue is down Sherlock’s throat when he realizes they are not alone.

He lets out a truly embarrassing yelp, wrenching back from where he has Sherlock pinned against the wall, feeling his erection wilt so fast it’s almost painful.

“What the hell, Mycroft?” John yells, because the alternative is actually dying of mortification.

“Apologies for the late hour John, but there are urgent matters I wish to discuss with my dear little brother,” Mycroft says, snotty as ever. John would think him the picture of unruffled apathy, if not for the way Mycroft’s shoulders are the slightest bit tense, and the small crinkles around his eyes.

John may not have a Holmesian eye for noticing things, but he sure as hell knows all the tells to deduce a Holmes.

“I’m almost through my twelfth week, Mycroft,” Sherlock mocks, discarding his jacket and splaying out on the couch. “You’re growing dreadfully slow.”

Mycroft doesn’t even reply, eyes fixed on Sherlock’s abdomen. Stretched out as he is on the couch and wearing one of his only few shirts that still fit, the baby bump is blatantly noticeable. And even if the visible evidence weren’t present, Mycroft would be able to scent out Sherlock’s bonded and pregnant status by now with his Alpha nose.

John noticed it for the first time day before yesterday. The scent of John finally entwined, visceral and undeniable, with Sherlock’s own, proclaiming to the world the bond between them. And the faintest undertones of two perfectly unique scents, the scents of their children.

It makes his heart swell and sing every time he breathes it in.

Right now, he takes in the tableau of the two brothers glaring at each other, sighs and goes to put the kettle on. When he turns back, the brothers seem to be engaged in one of their non-verbal battles.

Three minutes of intense glaring, twitching and eyerolling follows.

“Absolutely not!” Sherlock finally explodes. “We are not telling them till after the children are born! Or at least not until my ninth month.”

“They are our parents, Sherlock,” Mycroft chides. “Annoying as they may be, they will be over the moon about this. Mummy had all but given up on grandchildren. They would want to know.”

“Mummy will fuss and cry and be terribly boring,” Sherlock flops around so his back is to the room, the movement not as graceful and sharp as before due to his growing girth. “I am not telling her!”

“You know how much she’s wanted this from at least one of us for all these years,” Mycroft retorts, voice growing the slightest bit more annoyed and sharp. “She will be so happy when she hears.”

“No, Mycroft!”

“I’ll get tickets for us to go down there next weekend, Mycroft,” John says, walking into the room with three mugs of tea. He ignores the betrayed yell of “John!” that Sherlock lets out, handing one mug to Mycroft. “I’d rather tell them in person, about the bond and the babies. It’s the right thing to do.”

He steers for the couch, settling in near Sherlock’s dramatically betrayed head, holding out one mug for him. Sherlock glares up at him upside down from his lap, eyebrows frowning thunderously.

John just gives him a bland smile, places Sherlock’s tea on the table nearby without a word, leaning back to sip his own tea, calm as anything.

A full minute passes.

“John, we are not going to my parents’ home,” Sherlock says, firm.

“Oh yes, we are,” John replies serenely, blowing steam off his tea. “Nice and early next Saturday, so we can make it to lunch.”

I don’t want to go,” Sherlock’s tone could have given any whiny teenager a run for his money. “If you absolutely must tell them, then just give them a call! Why do we have to visit? You’re being dreadful, John.”

“Sure I am, but we’re still going,” John says, one hand dropping to tug and play with Sherlock’s curls, in a way he knows gets Sherlock all compliant and loose. He’s never been above fighting dirty. “They’re going to be grandparents, Sherlock. We’re telling them now and we’re going to do it right.”

Sherlock opens his mouth to fire off another loud complaint and John just leans forward to kiss him, sweet and warm and off-center, bent at an awkward angle and free hand still playing with the soft curls under his fingers. But by the time he pulls back, Sherlock looks dazed and rather distracted, mouth slightly open while sharp eyes flitter between John’s eyes and lips.

John just sits back and finishes his cooling tea, moving his hand from petting at Sherlock’s curls to his growing belly. Sherlock arches into his touch like a purring cat, turning his face slightly to bury in the sweater at John’s stomach, effectively ignoring Mycroft while also cuddling into John.

John shoots him a fond smile, leaning forward to place another quick kiss on his head before settling in to serve as a temporary pillow. When he looks up and meets Mycroft’s eyes, they are equal parts amused and astonished, calculating gaze flitting bewildered between the pliant Sherlock and John’s face. John just shrugs in response.

And in that moment he could’ve sworn that, for just one second, Mycroft actually grinned back at him.

 

Chapter Text

As it usually tends to happen where Sherlock is concerned, all of John’s carefully laid plans for telling the rest of their friends and family, and then the rest of the world, get thrown unceremoniously out the window immediately after they’re made.

He’d been planning on making a week of it, during early into Sherlock’s second trimester. First a visit to Sherlock’s parents’ home, to give them the happy news in person. Then, arrange a meeting with Harry somewhere impersonal and public, maybe that café a couple blocks from St. Bart’s, to let her know about the dramatic changes in his life since he last talked to her. And then maybe a private get-together at their apartment with all their close friends, to have a little celebratory dinner.

John would then make a personal but tasteful blog post, keeping the precise details as vague as possible, just announcing that there might be a drop in the number of cases Sherlock takes in the foreseeable future as they are now bonded and expecting twins. Maybe a nice little closing statement about how they’d appreciate privacy during this important time.

But yeah, that’s not how it goes.

What does happen is that Sherlock’s nausea, which seemed to be on the receding path, comes back with a vengeance halfway through his 13th week. John frets about whether Sherlock would be in good enough shape to travel that weekend, and Sherlock gets all snippy about it. They have a truly spectacular row and John spends about three hours walking aimlessly around London and kicking at any chairs that happen to present themselves to let out his frustrations.

They kiss and make-up the next morning, but it just goes downhill from there for Sherlock.

Over the next three days, John barely even sleeps, between making sure Sherlock is still getting enough nutrition to sustain him despite the constant bouts of vomiting, and then attempting to offer comfort to his bonded. Sherlock is a terror to live with the whole time, flitting about like a thundercloud of drawn sulkiness and John can’t even get up the usual impulses to strangle him, because he just looks so obviously sickly and miserable, the burgeoning baby bump a silent reproach directed John’s way as though to point out exactly whose fault all of Sherlock’s suffering is.

That morning, John wakes to the buzzing thought that it’s the first day of Sherlock’s second trimester.

As a doctor, John knows it’s never that black and white, that there’s still a long way to go and complications could occur at any time.

But technically, today signifies the day they are more or less out of the woods, the end of the first trimester and the beginning of smoother sailing onwards.

Their kids are safe, Sherlock is healthy (if still extremely pouty and morose from regular bouts of nausea) and everything is proceeding as it should.

In their next ultrasound scheduled in two days, they will get to see their children again. And this time, the little blobs of cells will actually begin to look like babies. They will have heads and limbs and tiny little fingers and tiny little toes and John will have new ultrasound pictures to take to Sherlock’s parents’ home, where he and Sherlock will be going in the weekend to announce their big news.

John feels cautiously optimistic about life as a whole and is nearly ready to shout his happiness from the rooftops for the entire world to hear.

He is making breakfast and pondering about the visit that weekend and the chat he needs to have with Harry after that, when he hears Lestrade’s footfalls on the stairs.

Greg, who normally thumps like a herd of elephants up the stairs to 221B, climbs with strangely heavy and hesitant footsteps. John frowns a bit, going into the living room just as the DI stumbles to a halt at their front door, eyes wide.

The man looks almost comically stunned at the sight of Sherlock sprawled on the couch, still in his ratty old pyjamas, baby bump a smoothly conspicuous curve on the usually-concave stomach. Well, it’s the first time he’s really seen Sherlock since John’s talk with him in the bar nearly a month ago.

They’d only been called in once in the past six weeks, and that too had required nothing more strenuous than Sherlock storming to the Met, imperiously wrapped in his coat and looking the same as ever, terrorizing new recruits while he called up file after file to solve the embezzlement-motivated murder.

John has the distinct feeling Greg’s been actively avoiding calling them up as much as possible. The only reason they all escaped Sherlock’s wrath over it was because he’d still been suffering from near constant pregnancy sickness the whole time, and couldn’t really find the energy to complain about lack of cases, let alone boredom.

But now that that’s tapered off, Sherlock’s been increasingly listless and antsy the past few days, deprived even of his experiments as most of them involve harmful chemicals. John hopes Greg has something good for him.

“Are you just going to stand there gawping or come inside and tell me what’s happened?” Sherlock asks testily from the couch as the silence stretches on, raising one imperious hand in Greg’s general direction to wave him forward.

Greg seems to startle out of whatever stupor he’d fallen into and walks in briskly, sending a nod John’s way before pulling up a chair in front of the couch.

“Body washed up on the Thames yesterday morning,” Greg says abruptly, clearly wrestling for professionalism even as his eyes keep flickering down to rove over Sherlock’s undeniably gravid form. “The Minister’s mistress who’s been on the news after the gala scandal last week. It’s her, dead at least five days, still in the clothes from that night, DNA checks out and everything.”

“But?” Sherlock questions, cocking an unimpressed eyebrow but John knows, and Greg surely does as well after this long in their acquaintanceship, that Sherlock’s interest is piqued.

“But only that she’s been posting on her social media from her fancy house in Kensington this entire time,” Greg says, pulling up his phone and scrolling up to a page on Instagram. It displays a very buxom redheaded woman, perfectly touched up and flatteringly framed, showing off her outfit for some socialite brunch event. Posted less than 30 minutes ago.

“A fraud,” Sherlock shrugs, disdainful. “A very convincing body double to throw suspicion off the ambassador after the mess about his many affairs came to light. Boring.”

“Except,” Greg says, and with the victorious air of someone landing the winning touchdown in a game produces a folded sheet from his jacket. “The mistress goes to weekly appointments for drug tests, she is out on parole after multiple DUI charges. And her latest was two days ago, and we filed for the sample.” He unfurls the sheet with a flourish. “An exact match. And matches all previous samples on record.”

Sherlock stills, eyes flickering the way it does when his brain is going at warp-speed.

“Twins?” John offers, mostly joking just to rile Sherlock up.

“It’s never twins!” Sherlock explodes, both figuratively and semi-literally, as he goes into a flurry of motion, jumping off the couch to get dressed.

“It’s sometimes twins,” John says, cheeky, with a playful glance at Sherlock’s growing middle, and he really is completely off his rocker, isn’t he, to be flirting in the middle of discussing a dead body. (But then again, that isn’t exactly atypical in their relationship.)

Sherlock jerks to a halt, right hand unconsciously raising to curve protectively around his abdomen, and uncharacteristically enough, he blushes. “I – uh,” he stutters before reigning himself back to composure. “Yes, very astute observation, John. We may make a detective of you yet.” His remark comes out much less haughty than it is clearly meant, couched as it is within a baffled sort of bashfulness.

It’s cute. So completely adorable.

Lord help him, did he just refer to Sherlock Holmes, the living nightmare of hardened cops and international criminals alike, as cute? John really has lost his marbles.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

He lets the sappy grin take over his face, because potential gruesome murders or no, with breakfast half-prepared and wilting on the kitchen island, and long hours of exhausting work in his foreseeable future – he has never been more delighted with life.

Sherlock stares, blush still riding high on his cheeks, before jerkily getting himself to their bedroom.

“Uh, happy for you both and all,” Greg interrupts the ensuing silence, sounding deeply pained. “But I’d be glad to never see that again, thanks.”

The case, predictably, completely derails and takes them on a wild chase around London for two whole weeks, culminating in a minorly-scary hostage situation that leaves John with a bloodied nose and Sherlock with a scuffed jaw. They make it out without anything worse, and John breathes a deep sigh of relief when their emergency medic checks Sherlock over and tells them there’s nothing to worry about.

So, it’s a satisfied John and Sherlock that go home that night, still riding the adrenaline high of a case wrapped up, falling on each other hungrily the minute they get into their flat.

Much, much later, sated and warm, with Sherlock’s sleepy bare limbs intertwined with his own, John absently thinks again that they really should visit Sherlock’s parents in the next few days. He makes a mental note to call in to the Omega clinic tomorrow and ask about availability for the check-up and ultrasound they rescheduled while busy with the case.

Except the decision is taken clean out of his hands when he wakes up to a full-page spread on Sherlock in the next morning’s tabloids.

Paparazzi pictures from the case they’d just solved yesterday. Sherlock running around London with John and Greg hot on his heels. Sherlock looking imperiously into the distance, eyes narrowed as he makes some grand leaps of deduction. John handing Sherlock a bottle of lemonade, expression downright doting.

In every single picture, Sherlock’s baby bump is on display, jutting conspicuously on his slender frame. Undeniable.

Ah fuck.

*

John waits at the café a few blocks from the surgery he’s taken up part-time work at for the past week, scrolling through the messages blowing up his phone.

They already know anyway, I fail to see why we need to make a long trip to see them.

SH

We even made a phone call, John. I think that is more than sufficient consideration paid to them on the matter.

SH

Besides, you just started work. Weren’t you the one going on about ‘being responsible adults’ and ‘we need more money for the children, Sherlock’ and ‘the trust fund is for savings’? Now you wish to abandon your career for a whole 72 hours to go gallivanting around the English countryside?

SH

I’m pregnant, and tired from carrying your twins. Could be dangerous. Statistics show male omega miscarriages could occur from strenuous travel. That settles it, we’re not visiting Mummy and Daddy this weekend.

SH

John rolls his eyes, typing out a response.

Dr. Fray already cleared you for travel when we went in for the check-up yesterday. And sitting in a train for five hours isn’t more strenuous than running around London taking on a psychopath.

Also, I have your number saved, you pillock. You don’t need to initial every message you send.

His phone buzzes again.

Sod off.

*SH*

He lets out an amused huff of laughter, despite himself.

“Going that well, huh, little brother?” he hears a sarcastic drawl above him.

He looks up into a familiar face of blue eyes and curly dirty-blonde hair pulled back in a messy bun.

Harry takes the seat across from him, pouring herself a cup from the pot of coffee he’d ordered. She looks tired and drawn, but her hands are steady and her eyes clear.

“Yeah, I really have been sober for a whole month this time,” she quips, reading his assessing gaze correctly. “So you can tell your freak of an omega to keep his condescension to himself.”

John bites the inside of his cheek to stop himself from saying anything curt. “I’m happy to hear that.”

“Yeah that’s me right? Haven’t made complete bollocks out of my life is the best I can always say,” she says, still acerbic, each word sharp as darts. She lifts her cup of coffee in a mocking salute. “Not like you though, golden boy. Looks like your life’s coming up roses now, isn’t it? Saw the pictures in the tabloids. A couple months out of divorce and you already have it all sorted, huh? He looked pretty far along, were you fucking him even before the divorce? Who knew Sherlock Holmes would deign to be a mistress, but I guess –”

“Yeah we’re done here,” John snaps, getting up abruptly, chair scraping loudly across the floor in the sleepy little café. A couple of elderly ladies look up from their table, shooting disapproving looks John's way before going back to their conversation.

He should've known it'd go like this. He doesn't know why he expected anything else.

He’s already turned away when there’s a hand on his wrist, stopping him.

“Shit, sit down,” Harry says, face twisted. Guilty. “Sorry, just, sit back down please, Johnny. Sorry.”

John glares at her for a minute and then slowly sits back down, spine stiff.

“Sorry,” Harry says again, not meeting his eyes. She fidgets with her hair, a habit from their childhood. He feels himself softening, just a little. “It’s just been a rough month, doesn’t justify it but…” she trails off, eyes downcast.

“It’s twins,” John says, apropos of nothing.

Harry’s head shoots up. “What?”

“Why he’s so big,” John says, leaning back in his seat. “He’s only fifteen weeks along but, it’s twins. That’s why. So.”

She stares at him in bewilderment for a few minutes. Then her face splits into the widest smile.

“Oh, Johnny,” she breathes, reaching across the table to clasp at his wrist again. The grip is firmer this time, more enthusiastic. “I’m so happy for you.”

John braces himself for the thing he knows needs to be said.

“I want you to be a part of their life,” he says, keeping his voice neutral and steady. “But I will not if you go back to your old ways.”

Harry lets go of his arm and leans back in her own chair, face going through a kaleidoscope of emotions. John sees anger, defiance, offense, and bleak sadness all flit through her face before she settles on a sort of bitter acceptance.

“I can only promise you that I’m trying,” she says finally, sounding defeated. “I’m doing it for myself, but maybe… maybe I can add the little munchkins to the list on why I should keep trying.”

“And I guess that’s all I can ask of you,” John thaws and deflates, picking up his cup again to take a long sip.

The coffee is lukewarm by now.

Silence descends on their table as they both empty their cups, not exactly comfortable, but amicable at least. It's better than many they've shared.

“You gonna marry him or what?” Harry asks suddenly, breaking the stillness that’s descended on their table.

John splutters. “I… am I… what?”

“You’ve already bonded and bred him, ain’t ya?” Harry says crassly, and John tries not to choke. “What’s a ring on top of it.”

Harry.”

“And I promise to actually show up for this one, too,” she says, a glimmer of that older sister impishness on her face.

John doesn’t even deign to respond to that, pouring himself more coffee and sipping it in stony silence.

A few minutes pass with nothing but the ambient noises of the café and traffic between them.

“She was your Clara, you know,” Harry says, and John turns to look at her despite himself.

“What do you mean?”

“Mary. I’m not gonna make some grand statement that I knew she wasn’t meant to be or something, but… when I got your wedding invitation, my first thought was, ‘Johnny, why the fuck are you marrying this girl when you’re in love with Sherlock.’

John blinks.

“It’s one of the reasons why I didn’t show up for your wedding,” she says awkwardly, playing with the corner of a tissue before her. “I am… have never been, the best sister to you. But… I wouldn’t have missed your wedding, John. Not when… not one that I thought mattered. Just wanted to let you know that.”

John feels something settle between them, a decades-old hurt. Not healed, but starting to mend rather than rot.

“I’ll hold you to that,” he says and they lapse into silence once more.

When he returns home later that afternoon, Sherlock is perched at their kitchen table, peering through his microscope at what appears to be an assortment of fingernails. Molly must have dropped by for a visit.

“John, could you pass me my phone,” Sherlock says without looking up. His flyaway curls have a golden-brown cast to them in the light of the fading sun.

“And how long has it been since you’ve wanted it?” John asks, picking up the object in question, which is lying a scant five feet away from Sherlock.

“About three hours.” Sherlock replies, like that’s an entirely logical thing, extending his right hand casually for John to drop the phone into.

John has long since resigned himself to the fact that he must be mad as a hatter because, instead of feeling irritation, as any normal human being should, all he feels is a rush of fondness.

He drops the phone onto the kitchen table with a clatter, taking Sherlock's extended hand in his own to turn the omega towards himself. Sherlock lets out a noise of protest, mouth opening to no doubt go into a tirade, but John silences him with his lips.

They kiss like that, Sherlock’s half-turned in the kitchen chair, head tilted back to allow for John’s mouth to plunder his own. John sinks a hand into those soft curls, tilting Sherlock's head to just the way he wants him, opening his mouth languidly to taste him.

When he pulls back minutes or hours later, there’s a light flush dusting Sherlock’s cheekbones, and his left hand is clenching and unclenching where it rests on the kitchen table.

John looks at those long and elegant fingers and thinks they really would look lovely with his ring on them.

 

Chapter Text

John doesn’t mean for it to slip out the way it does.

But the thought has permeated his every thought for an entire week and it just burst out.

Curse Harry for bringing it up.

When Sherlock tunes his violin and launches into one of his frenzied performances the next day out of boredom, John sips his tea and thinks of the lovely tune Sherlock composed for his wedding to Mary. Thinks of how much lovelier it was to dance to it with Sherlock in the living room of 221B, Sherlock’s hands clasped in his, moving slowly to the beat as the omega tried to teach him to waltz.

And then he thinks – oh, wouldn’t it be even better if it was them dancing together at their wedding?

When Sherlock gets some new shirts and suits tailored to fit his growing body, John admires the cut of them and thinks of how beautiful Sherlock would look if they were to get married now, with John’s bond mark on his neck and John’s children growing in him.

When Sherlock verbally eviscerates the state of a client’s marriage, John finds himself daydreaming about being able to call Sherlock his husband, of announcing to the world in that one last way that this man is John’s to hold onto and cherish.

When they visit Sherlock’s parents that weekend and he watches the way the old couple are with each other, the comfortable familiarity grown from decades of love and life shared, the way they finish each other’s sentences, the look on Mr. Holmes’ face when he watches his wife, even after all this time…

Curse Harry. He’s bloody turned into a mooning fool.

But now that it’s there, it surprises John how badly he wants it. To tie himself to Sherlock legally, to make one more vow to spend the rest of their lives together.

It’s been in his head so much and so long this week that it just slips out at the most inopportune of times possible.

“Marry me,” John blurts, staring right at Sherlock.

And then freezes, feeling his jaw click shut in horror.

A room of equally horrified faces stares back at him.

Faces, plural yes, because John just popped the question in the middle of the morgue at St. Bart’s.

Sherlock abruptly cuts off mid-sentence in one of his deductive spiels, slowly straightening from where he was poking into the dead body of the middle-aged man on the examination table. His baffled cerulean eyes focus entirely on John, razor-focus pinning him like a specimen under the microscope.

“Is this what has been pre-occupying you this past week?” Sherlock asks, head tilting like a curious cat. John meets his gaze, mildly hoping for lightning to smite him. “Judging by your hesitance, I thought it was a sex thing.”

Yup, he’s definitely hoping for death now.

He hears Greg choke beside him, and Donovan’s disgusted snort. Molly is, unfortunately, standing beside Sherlock and therefore is in John’s field of vision. He can see the furious blush of embarrassment colour her face.

He bites his cheek and steadfastly ignores everyone, for fear of actually dying of mortification.

“I didn’t mean to blurt it out like this,” John says, voice only slightly wavering. He’s proud of this fact. In desperation, he continues, “Sorry, if we can get back to the case.”

“No need, this is hopelessly dull,” Sherlock pronounces, closing his magnifying glass with a snap and slipping it into his coat. He turns to Lestrade. “It’s the gardener’s wife, an affair gone wrong. You’ll find the necessary evidence in the basement of the gardener’s house. Boring.”

And then those searching eyes are turned like a spotlight back on John.

“Now you on the other hand,” Sherlock says, voice like silk as he stalks across the room towards John. John feels his heart lodge in his throat and flutter in a concerning way. He gulps. Sherlock comes to a stop right in front of him, towering over him. “You are currently being fascinating.”

One of the new hires to the forensic division let’s out a faint gurgle in the background, and John sympathizes.

Twenty minutes later finds them on the side of a busy road, cab idling by the curb as they have a towering row.

“I fail to see why we can’t go to the Marriage Registrar’s office right now and get it done,” Sherlock exclaims, wind-milling his arms like the dramatic twit he is. “They’re open for another four hours yet.”

“Because I would like to have an actual wedding with my family and friends when I marry the love of my life!” John explodes, throwing up his hands in the air. (Sherlock’s drama was bound to infect him at some point.)

They carry on like this for another fifteen minutes before Sherlock deigns to agree to marry John on a later date.

The entire episode leads to some very funny pictures in the tabloids the next day, much to Mrs. Hudson’s amusement.

In the end, it takes them a month to get married.

The ceremony is nothing compared to John’s wedding to Mary.

Mycroft graciously (read: overbearingly and insistently) volunteers his home for the wedding to take place, pointing out how it would be impossible to rent a suitable location at such short notice. He also officiates, as he’s apparently an ordained minister. John figures the less he asks about that, the better.

Only a handful of people are in attendance. Apart from the Holmes family and Harry, there’s Greg, Molly, Mrs. Hudson, Billy, Angelo, Mike Stamford, and for some unfathomable reason, Janine.

(“We kept in touch,” Sherlock explains, when John asks. “We’re friendly now.”

John puts that matter also into the ‘the less asked, the better’ pile.)

Sherlock is just in one of his regular suits. John is wearing one of the few suits he owns, one that he pulls out whenever he’s going for an interview or some posh event with Sherlock. Their rings are just simple gold bands they picked out for cheap at Selfridges yesterday.

It’s absolutely perfect.

Afterwards, they all sit in Mycroft’s tasteful back garden, eating a large meal and cake put together by Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Holmes, Angelo, and Molly. Mycroft provides some high-end wine from his cellar. Billy commandeers a music system and Janine tries to get them all dancing.

John watches Mrs. Hudson being led around on a waltz by a stiff Mycroft and chuckles, feeling relaxed from good food, good wine, and good company.

“Perhaps waiting was not an entirely moronic idea,” Sherlock rumbles quietly, taking the seat beside John after abandoning the dance floor following three consecutive dances. He pops a piece of chocolate truffle into his mouth and lounges comfortably in his seat with a little sigh.

“Not entirely, huh?” John smirks, turning towards Sherlock, and feels his breath catch.

The sun brings out the golden hues in his dark curls, and Sherlock’s eyes are a clear, crystalline green as they roam over their friends and family on the makeshift dance floor. His dark grey suit is a stark contrast to the unblemished perfection of his pale skin, except for the corners of the silvery bondmark peeking out through the undone collar of his shirt. He looks slightly flushed from the exertion of dancing, all angles and edges with inviting splashes of soft, rosy colour. There’s the glint of gold on his finger where John put a ring on him mere hours ago and the large baby bump rounds out the vision he makes, making the alpha in John thrum with possessiveness.

He looks irresistible. John gladly surrenders to it.

Sherlock makes a little start of surprise when John reaches across the table to kiss him, before melting into the warm press of lips. He tastes like chocolate.

He tastes like home.

*

Epilogue

“And that, of course, is Sherlock at age 7,” Mrs. Holmes says cheerfully, turning a page in the massive album that John hasn’t seen yet, and pointing at a scowling little boy dressed in an emerald sweater-vest.

“He was so chubby,” John exclaims in delight, taking in the stocky frame and chubby cheeks of the boy in the photo, and glancing up to compare them to his bony husband, who is currently stretched indolently across his parents’ plush living room sofa.

“Shut up, John,” Sherlock says lazily, stretching cat-like, bones audibly popping. “I was experimenting with food to find the optimal balance that would sustain me. Plus, it made Mycroft sour when I lost all that weight very quickly.”

He grins at that thought for a moment before grimacing and shifting to lie on his side. John sees him reach an arm to massage his lower back; it must have started to hurt him to be on his back with the weight of the baby resting on his spine.

At 37 weeks, his belly is giant, stretched almost comically at this point in the pregnancy, especially compared to his slender frame. As John watches, Sherlock grimaces again, rubbing at his lower abdomen this time.

They hadn’t really planned or expected to have another pregnancy, considering how disordered Sherlock’s omega hormones were, how even the first pregnancy was nothing short of a miracle. Yet, here they were 5 years later, a few short weeks away from bringing their third child into the world.

Life has given John blessings he hadn’t even imagined possible as a PTSD-riddled ex-vet sitting alone at a bedsit.

“Braxton Hicks?” John asks concernedly, fingers pausing in their rifling through the Holmes family photo albums.

“No, just your son using my kidney to play football,” Sherlock grouses, wincing once more. Now that he’s watching for it, John can see the movement against the fabric of Sherlock’s flimsy night shirt.

My son, is it?” John says with a raised eyebrow, lips twitching with a fond grin he’s trying to contain.

“Of course. If he were taking after me, he’d clearly be a lot more reasonable than this,” Sherlock pronounces, tilting his nose up.

“Actually dear, you pretty much kicked my kidneys to a pulp when I was pregnant with you,” Mrs. Holmes informs them with a serene smile, continuing to flick through the photos in the album. “It’s a marvel I wasn’t peeing blood the whole time, you were a right nightmare.”

Mummy.”

“Speaking of nightmares,” John says, neatly evading the strop he can see Sherlock brewing up to. Several years of marriage have taught him some tricks, after all. “Where are the twins?”

“Out building snowmen with the old goat and Mikey,” Mrs. Holmes says brightly, pulling one of the other large tomes towards her. “The little dears,” she adds fondly, in the way of a grandma who only deals with her grandchildren every other month.

“Little monsters, more like,” Sherlock grumbles, clearly thinking along the same lines, and John snorts, because, well. He has to agree.

But then again, did they expect any children he and Sherlock created to be anything else?

 As though summoned by the thought, they hear voices and footfalls in the front hall and then two blurs of dark curls and bony limbs throttle full speed into the room, heading straight for the couch Sherlock is currently splayed on.

Don’t jump on him,” John warns in a strict voice and the two kids stumble to a stop like startled colts, turning to aim identical glares at John.

“You don’t have to keep telling us that, Papa,” the girl says reproachfully, with a toss of dark curls that tumble messily to her waist.

“We are aware jumping on Dad could hurt Eston,” the boy says, punctuating the pronouncement with an eyeroll that is the spitting image of Sherlock.

Sherlock smirks at John from between the little dark heads clustered around him, and not for the first time (and definitely not the last) John thinks, a little hysterically, “Oh God, there are three of them!”

The twins are all Sherlock, from their riotous dark curls and dramatic cheekbones, to their pale skin and piercing cat-like eyes. Little glimmers of John shines through, adding balancing notes to the perfect symphony that is their children – in Edmund’s snub nose and stockier frame, in the cut of Elanor’s jaw and the arch of her brows.

Mr. Holmes and Mycroft enter the living room then, looking distinctly worse for the wear, with multiple patches of melting snow evident on their clothes.

“Snowball fight,” Mycroft says sourly when John raises a questioning eyebrow at him. Sherlock’s smirk grows wider, and he gives the twins a proud smile to appreciate the good job they’ve done at antagonizing their uncle. They soak it up, the little devils clearly plotting further mischief, if their expressions are anything to go by.

John doesn’t even bother doing damage control – it’s Christmas eve, damn it. He deserves a break.

“Dad, can we go to the carousel down the street?” Ella says in a wheedling tone, twisting a finger charmingly into Sherlock’s dressing gown and batting her lashes at him.

“Yeah, Papa, Grandpa and Uncle Myc said they’d take us, can we?” Eddy turns his focus on John, flopping on his knees before his alpha father and giving him a glowing enthusiastic smile that is impossible to deny.

Damn these kids, the manipulative little shits.

“Ahh fine,” John groans and they both let out a whoop, jumping up and already dashing towards the room they stay at while visiting the old Holmes estate. “Change out of your wet clothes and wrap up warm,” he yells after them, and hears a distant “Okay!” over the thundering footsteps on the stairs.

Sherlock is sitting up, frowning across at Mycroft.

“I’ll keep them safe,” Mycroft assures in a quiet voice, rightly reading Sherlock’s agitation.

“They’ll be fine, Sherlock,” John says, but he understands. It has only been four months since the kids were kidnapped during one of their cases, after all. John has a hard time letting them out of his sight sometimes too.

They’re resilient, incredibly intelligent kids, though. A lesson the kidnappers learned that day, as much as the Holmes-Watson parents. They’ll be just fine.

The quiet calm is broken when the kids run back down, dressed in haphazardly co-ordinated layers and ready to head out.

Mycroft gets to his feet with a groan, looking put upon, but there’s a deep fondness in the glance he trains on the kids. “Alright, Eddy, Ella. Put on your shoes and we’ll get going.”

“Edmund and Elanor,” Sherlock snaps irritably, like he always does, and is promptly ignored as the twins, Mr. Holmes and Mycroft bustle out again, as noisily as they arrived.

The twins have been Eddy and Ella since the minute they’ve been born. Sherlock will eventually just have to accept it.

John smiles at the Sherlock’s pregnant belly, at their son they’ll meet in a few short weeks.

Eston Holmes-Watson is a fine name. But he thinks Estie has a nice ring to it…

“No,” Sherlock says, frowning at John across the room as though he read his mind. (Considering this is Sherlock, he probably did.)

John just smiles placidly in reply, and goes back to flicking through the photo album in his lap.

This is not the life he imagined when he responded to a text from an intriguing stranger he’d met mere hours ago, whose very presence promised endless adventure.

But sitting here, watching the firelight dance across Sherlock’s cheekbones, listening to Mrs. Holmes take a trip down memory lane, he thinks, this is just adventure of a different kind.

He is content.