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Call Him Love

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“This had better be quick,” Sherlock griped, readjusting his hold on Hamish. The boy’s hands were wound around his neck in a vice grip, anchoring his little body as he leaned around and drank in the unfamiliar sights of the New Scotland Yard building. John tried to suppress a smile.

“Lestrade said the paperwork shouldn’t take more than a half-hour. We’ll be in and out of here in time for lunch.”

Hamish’s head whipped around at the mention of food. “Can we get fish chips, Papa?”

Sherlock gave a gentle huff of laughter into Hamish’s hair, and John snorted. “Fish and chips sounds good to me, so long as your daddy doesn’t mind,” he said with a glance at Sherlock. Sherlock gave an exaggerated eye roll.

“So long as you don’t expect me to—“

He was cut off by a very specific glare from John, one so frequently used that it no longer required the accompanying words: You will eat your food and set a good example for our son or I will end you.

Sherlock pursed his lips and strode past John into the open door of Lestrade’s office.

“Let’s make this quick,” Sherlock snapped without preamble. “I don’t like having Hamish here. The average IQ of this building will stunt his development.”

John stepped up next to Sherlock and placed a soothing hand at the small of his back. “Hello, Greg,” he said, as if a bit of smooth civility could erase the bite of Sherlock’s words.

Lestrade played along as he always did, overly-polite in a way they all knew annoyed Sherlock. “Hello, John. Hamish, it’s nice to see you again,” he said with a tiny wave. “Sherlock, you’re a delight as always.”

Hamish flapped his hand at Lestrade in his uncoordinated toddler wave, then hesitated. He turned to his papa, then to his daddy, then back to Lestrade. “Who’s Sherlock?”

Lestrade’s brow furrowed. “Uh…that’s your daddy’s name, isn’t it, Hamish?” he asked, with a quick glance at John as if for confirmation of the obvious.

John opened his mouth to agree, but was cut off by Hamish’s insistent voice. “No it’s not.”

“It’s not?” Lestrade asked.

“Um…” John added.

Hamish gave a tiny exasperated sigh that was 100% Sherlock. “Daddy’s name is 'Love,'” he said. The ‘obviously’ was clearly implied.

Sherlock’s wicked grin lit up the room, accompanied by his signature rumbling chuckle. John turned bright red, his mouth torn between grinning and hanging open.

Lestrade’s loud guffawing brought stares from the entire Yard.

“What?” Hamish snapped, all Sherlock again. “That’s what Papa calls him. That’s his name.”

“Hamish,” John said after a moment, coughing in embarrassment. “That’s a name only I use for daddy. Everyone else calls him Sherlock. Sherlock is the name he was given when he was born, just like Hamish is for you.”

Hamish fell silent, his tiny brow wrinkled as he processed the change in his worldview. Finally, he looked up into John’s eyes.

“Will you still call him 'Love,' Papa?” he asked, quiet and serious.

The wave of tenderness nearly knocked John off his feet. He looked up at Sherlock, who buried his nose in Hamish’s curls and met John’s eyes.

“Of course, Hamish,” John answered, pressing a kiss first to his son’s forehead, then to his husband’s. “I’ll always call him 'Love.'”

Lestrade most certainly did not sniffle.