Lilly is two, dark-haired and blue-eyed, and the darling of her uncles on both continents when Joan walks in on her horrified wife. Half-asleep from a toddler and her cold, Joan stumbles into the kitchen one morning and over to the coffeemaker with eyes for nothing but the brewed ambrosia waiting for her and only that. She fumbles her way through making her first cup and slumps against the kitchen counter, clinging to her coffee like a lifeline. She's about halfway through it, an embarrassingly long time that she'll never admit to no matter what, before she really notices the expression on her wife's face.
Mary's dressed for work, skirt and blouse perfectly crisp for a day in court, and the morning mail is spread out before her on the kitchen table.
"I'd ask if something was wrong," Joan says, walking over to drop a kiss on the top of Mary's head, "but you're chewing your lip."
"Hmm?" Mary reaches up to steal Joan's coffee. "What?"
"You're chewing your lip," Joan says, sitting down with a smile. "For you, that's akin to most people screaming in panic."
Mary manages a little grin. "I live with you, Lilly, and the world's most irrepressible toddler. I have a high threshold for fear." She sips the coffee and nods her head at the paper. "Sherlock's started a trust for Lilly."
"And that's why you--oh my god," Joan snatches the paper up to get a closer look at the amount and then starts laughing. "You have got to be kidding me." She hands the paper back and reclaims her coffee. "Look at the transaction numbers."
Mary does, but her confusion doesn't lessen in the least. Joan can't resist leaning forward to kiss the wrinkle between her brows. She then turns the paper around. "The transfers are from two different British banks," she explains, tapping the numbers. "This is Sherlock."
"Then who's this?"
"Mycroft." Sherlock walks past the with Lilly on his hip. "My dearest brother has taken it upon himself to ensure that his niece has a proper looking after." He sniffs indignantly, settling Lilly in her high chair. "As if a district attorney and two consulting detectives are incapable of the proper rearing of a child."
Mary laughs. "You're forgetting the precinct."
"Ah, yes, the precinct," Sherlock agrees. "Yes, I'm sure he thinks Captain Gregson and Detective Bell are entirely inappropriate godparents, but, then, Mycroft also believes that an additional fund will be required." He whisks about the kitchen, getting Lilly's oatmeal ready. "He isn't entirely incorrect, of course, but I am quite insulted that he should think I have not planned for every eventuality."
Joan's eyebrows creep upward. "Sherlock."
He frowns. "Well, Watson, you can hardly resent my dedication to your daughter's care."
Mary looks from one to the other and frowns. "You two know I hate it when you do this."
"Do not," Sherlock smarts back. "In fact, you find it rather endearing."
She grins. "Maybe, maybe not, but I still want to know what you two are talking about."
Joan grins. "Bail money. Sherlock's started a fund for bail money."
"As has Mycroft," Sherlock sniffs again. "As if I cannot properly care for my own goddaughter." He puts a bowl before Lilly and pulls up a chair with a flourish, making her giggle.
The giggle becomes a cough and he frowns, watching her carefully with spoon in hand.
After a moment, she stops and smiles widely at him again. Mollified, he digs the spoon into the oatmeal and brings it to her lips.
"Mycroft," he informs her, solemn as the grave, "is a very silly man and we are never, ever to listen to him. At any rate, dear Mary, the bail money is hardly for the sort of shenanigans that a devoted mother and skilled prosecutor such as yourself might imagine."
Mary's smile becomes the indulgent grin she gets every time she has to bail out her two favorite errant consulting detectives. "Planning on taking on an apprentice, Sherlock? Lilly's a little young to be solving homicides."
Sherlock snorts. "Well, of course she is," he looks back. "We'd be starting off with art forgeries. Lilly's talent with fingerpaint leads me to believe she will be quite a prodigy in that area."
Mary shakes her head and rises. "I have to get going." She walks over to kiss Lilly on the forehead, then leans down to kiss Joan. "Try and keep them from getting arrested before lunch."
"Oh, we'll wait until after dinner," Sherlock assures, winking at Lilly. "Might as well add missing bedtime to her rapsheet while we're at it."
Mary and Joan share a smile. "At least there's always Gregson and Bell," Joan promises.
"Don't count on it," Sherlock mutters, "Gregson's already writing her Academy recommendation letter and I do suspect Bell is planning her mayoral campaign."
"You know, when I was pregnant I used to worry about her being bullied because of us," Mary says, sliding into her coat. "Silly of me. Her uncles probably already have a hitman all lined up just in case."
"Oh, nothing so base as that," Sherlock assures. "I have far more useful contacts capable of handling such matters." He smiles brightly at Lilly and offers her another spoonful of oatmeal. "Rest assured that Lilly's future is well in hand."
Mary looks over her shoulder at Joan, the look in her eye making Joan fall for her all over again. "Oh, trust me, Sherlock, that I never doubted for a second."
"Proving, once again, dear Mary, that you are my brother's better in every possible way," Sherlock calls after her as she goes. He beams in delight at Lilly. "Your mummy is a very wise and discerning person, Lillybell," he advises. "While her choice to marry is one that I would ordinarily consider ill-advised and rash, she mitigated it greatly by marrying your mother and supporting our professional endeavors."
Joan nearly snorts into her coffee. "Suck up all you want, but you're putting aside bail money for my two-year-old, Sherlock."
Sherlock wipes oatmeal from Lilly's chin. "And when she's your twenty-two-year-old you'll thank me for it."
"Probably," Joan agrees. "Just promise you won't gloat about it."
"I can do nothing of the sort as I would be lying and any deception, Lilly, must always be in the pursuit of a case. Remember that as you have a trained investigator for one mother and a prosecutor for the other. Lying to either one will not go well and result in the sort of punishment that all the bail money in the world cannot save you from." Sherlock grimaces. "As I can well tell you."
Joan goes back to bed.
If she's very, very lucky, no one will be arrested before she gets up.
And, if not, that's what the bail money's for.