Joan, technically speaking, has everything everyone’s ever told her she should have. A house with a white picket fence, a four point o grade average graduation from one of the top medical schools in America, a job, a monogamous marriage to a man, and two point five kids.
Never mind that the house with the picket fence was nothing but a ridiculously extravagant wedding present from Sherlock’s rich, distant father who gave gifts in the entirely mistaken yet confident way your cat oh so graciously gives you a dead mouse. Sherlock uses it as an emergency safehouse/storage facility for things that Joan won’t tolerate inside their precious brownstone or experiments that humans can’t live in close proximity to for extended periods of time without getting a bad case of dying.
Never mind that that four point o grade average that she spent so many sleepless nights pulling her hair out for is now completely useless to Joan and her expired medical license.
Never mind that she hunts down killers for a living, inspecting dead bodies and analysing blood splatter.
Never mind that the man she’s married to is Sherlock Holmes, the single most unconventional man she’s ever met, with whom living a conventional life is basically impossible.
And never you mind the fact that the two point five kids is really just Kitty, who’s so intense that she deserves to be counted as two kids instead of just the one.
(The remaining point five childishness points in the family go to Sherlock, who is still a sore loser and working on not throwing temper tantrums worse than his young daughter’s whenever he gets upset.)
Never you mind.
When they had first brought Kitty home, Sherlock had made the very convincing argument that she didn’t even have object permanence yet, so so what if they kept doing the crime wall thing in the living room? It wasn’t as if she’d remember it, or that it would permanently mentally scar her.
And so it had been a gradual thing. Ageing and growing and developing is such a slow process that by the time Kitty reached out to the crime wall and slapped clumsily at a picture of a beaten bloody corpse and giggled around the word “mallet” she was four years old and it was already far too late. And she’d also just correctly identified what weapon had been used to kill Rebecca Bunch.
“Well of course we already knew that the murder weapon was a mallet, almost anyone within the law or medical--”
“You are completely missing the point, Sherlock!” Joan says.
“I am impressed,” he grants, as if that’s the issue. “It is a rather astute observation for a four year old. Now that I think about it, a child raised by two consulting detectives would probably grow up to be a force to be reckoned with. She may even come to rival my own skill! This really will be rather interesting--”
“Still missing!” Joan interrupts yet again. Sherlock makes it necessary. “Sherlock, Kitty is constantly seeing pictures of dead bodies and hearing about morbid theories about which one of their friends, lovers, or family murdered them. Don’t you think this might be damaging for her?”
Sherlock looks incredulously at Kitty, who’s happily marrying Clyde to one of her Barbie dolls. “I think she is fine, Joan.”
A Ken doll wielding a butter knife sneaks up on Clyde and gently stabs him in the shell. Joan raises her eyebrows at Sherlock.
“I standby what I said. I did far more twisted things to my dolls as a child, and I had to work for my murder pictures and theories.”
Joan is temporarily paralyzed by the pressing need to ask several different questions simultaneously, such as your father bought you dolls? and what sort of twisted things? and most pressingly of all how in the hell did you manage to get your hands on murder pictures? This happens pretty much every time Sherlock mentions his childhood.
Joan looks back towards Kitty. Clyde-in-a-deerstalker-hat is now working on solving groom-Clyde’s murder, as evidenced by his oversized magnifying glass and the chalk outline that Ms. Hudson is going to have to wash away later. He seems to be having some trouble until the Barbie bride joins forces with him. Ken murder doll is put away behind bars, in other words thrown into the oven, and the Barbie bride and Clyde-in-a-deerstalker-hat kiss.
Joan walks over and turns off the oven before Ken starts melting, and then takes Clyde away from Kitty.
“He isn’t a doll, sweetie,” she says.
“I know he isn’t!” Kitty protests. “He’s the world’s greatest turtle detective.”
“... Fair enough,” she says.
The crime wall stays for now. But as soon as it starts creating problems it’ll be a thing of the past, she swears. Sherlock happily agrees.
Parent-teacher meetings are… a work in progress.
“You can’t just let Katherine bring a weapon to school. You can’t give your eight year old daughter a weapon, period!”
Don’t tell me how to raise my kid, Joan thinks but doesn’t say, because that would just escalate the situation and not to mention make her sound like a belligerent ass. Even if she is feeling a little bit belligerent at the moment. Instead, she says, “A baton is commonly recognized as an accepted tool for self-defense.”
“She prefers Kitty,” Sherlock chimes in coolly.
“She’s eight,” the teacher stresses, like they’ve somehow missed that.
“We are aware,” Sherlock informs her.
“She’s not some- some college student! Kids aren’t supposed to walk around with tasers--”
“Don’t exaggerate, she doesn’t have a taser. Joan and I had a very mature conversation and conducted some highly responsible experiments and we eventually came to the parental conclusion that Kitty isn’t ready for the responsibility of weaponized electricity quite yet. Hopefully next year.”
“Experiments?” the teacher asks, sounding kind of insultingly concerned. She shakes her head and visibly decides to drop the topic for now. “But you’ve decided that she’s ready for a baton?”
“If anyone needs assistance when it comes to self-defense it’s children, wouldn’t you agree, Miss Baxter?”
“Look,” Joan interrupts before the conversation (or to be perfectly honest about it, argument) can devolve any further. “Has Kitty actually attacked anyone--”
Sherlock coughs loudly and shoots her a significant look.
“--with her baton?” Joan clarifies hurriedly. “Or damaged any property?”
She hopes to god she hasn’t. They’d had a long series of serious discussions about it with her (not to mention the tests and experiments), and she’d seemed to get how important it was that she only use it on bad men who were trying to grab her and get her to go somewhere she didn’t want to go. There is a small part of Joan that is still worried about Miss Baxter’s answer, though, a part that knows her daughter very well. It’s a possibility.
“No,” Miss Baxter admits reluctantly, and Joan relaxes as subtly as she can. Sherlock probably still noticed it. “But she did do some ‘drills’ right there in the courtyard, in front of everyone!”
“It’s important to stay properly practiced,” Sherlock defends.
“And I’m sure that the kids had a very fine time watching her.” If one of her classmates had pulled out a baton and started beating the air with it during recess when she was eight years old, god knows she’d think it was the coolest thing ever.
Sherlock turns the discussion around over to Kitty’s social life, but Miss Baxter still manages to humph some more about it during the rest of the meeting.
At the next PTA meeting, Sherlock manages to steal the stage for long enough to draw forth some rather alarming diagrams showing child kidnapping and murder statistics from god knows where, and then he passes around a basket full of batons after shouting that he’s emailed everyone the baton training and assessment program they used on their daughter. They’re excused early as per usual, but Joan notices that the basket is a few batons lesser than it was when Sherlock first threw it at a crowd of tightly packed soccer moms earlier that evening.
It’s probably not a good idea, but she still feels fond.
Kitty has been invited to her very first play date. Sherlock reluctantly and bitterly admits to being nervous.
“If you’re feeling up to forcing about an hours worth of pleasant small talk then you could be sitting and drinking coffee only a few rooms away with his parents.”
Sherlock looks horrified. “Can’t you just wear a wire?”
“Sherlock--” she starts.
“No, no, you’re right, we’d be unable to add a wire to your current outfit in a way that wouldn’t muffle all auditory input, and we don’t have enough time for you to go and meticulously choose another ensemble that will give off the correct ‘vibe’ or ‘aura’ or whatever it’s called that you’re looking for.”
“It’s summery!” Joan says. It is. Whatever, Sherlock has zero fashion sense to speak of.
Sherlock looks like he’s come up with an absolutely genius idea, which usually means that he hasn’t. “What if we put a wire on Kitty?”
“Absolutely not,” she says flatly. Sherlock looks at her as if she’s vetoing a perfectly good plan just because of prudish sensibilities or something.
“Your prudish sensibilities obstruct me once again, Watson.” They’d both agreed that Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson just sounded better.
“Look,” she says. “I can look after Kitty alone for one afternoon just fine! I won’t even be alone, there’s going to be two other adults and a second kid glued to her side.”
“It is not that I fear that she will somehow impale herself while I am not there to look after her, but it is rather the social kind of danger that makes me wary.”
Joan softens just a touch, but stands firm. Kitty’s been looking forward to this play date for a while now. “We can’t micromanage her every little interaction forever, or even for any extended period of time. You do know that she talks to her classmates when she’s at school, right?”
“She’s nine,” Sherlock argues weakly.
“She’s a remarkable nine year old.” She kisses him tenderly, comfortingly, she hopes. She refrains just barely from saying just like her father, recalling off hand remarks about bullying over said remarkableness. “A nine year old who knows how to kick just enough ass so any bully will think twice before messing with her and other kids thinks she’s basically a ninja slash cowboy, but not enough that she’ll accidentally murder someone.”
“It is a fine line to walk,” he says, thawing, relaxing in her arms.
“You’re an excellent teacher.”
“I seem to recall an equal amount of effort between the two of us when it came to her education. And the word you’re looking for is ‘parent’.”
He still insists on coming along for the first few play dates, but thankfully the Chiltons’ turn out to be the kind of family that doesn’t mind someone surfing on their phone instead of contributing to the conversation, so he doesn’t completely lose his mind with boredom.
Sherlock is a sentimental person, despite how much he protests to the contrary.
Case in point:
Kitty’s first picked lock, still sitting on the mantelpiece years later.
A box which contains the files of the case they’d first solved together, the one they’d had to solve at their own wedding (her mother had not been happy about that one), and the one which they’d only been able to solve because little Kitty had blurted out some nonsense that just so happened to bring it all together for them. (They had been her first words.) Solved, taking up the space unsolved case files could be filling, and yet there they still were.
A picture of Kitty posing victoriously over a dummy she’d somehow managed to split clean in two at the ripe old age of six hanging on the wall.
A tattoo of Joan’s name in Chinese characters that goes down the bumps of his spine.
Sometimes, in small, hidden ways, Sherlock can be so very sentimental. So there.