Characters: Alec, Reed, Sherlock, Josh, Molly
Pairings: Alec/Molly, Josh/Rupert (background)
Word Count 1,795
Summary: Alec's day out with his godson includes a run-in with Sherlock Holmes. Who turns out to like toffee and knows about dinosaurs.
Author's notes: Set in the Abby 'verse.
Okay, so this is a tiny story that has absolutely no plot. It is here solely to introduce Reed and Josh, because they are big players in the next fic and I felt like we should meet them rather than throwing them out there. I googled random fic prompts because nothing I was doing was working out, and I got the prompt of 'zebra' and 'toffee'. This is the result.
Josh's wedding ring looks like this. This is relevant.
“Alec, how fast do zebras run?” Reed asked.
“I'm not sure; I'll have to look it up,” Alec said. “When we get off the bus, we'll look on my phone, all right? I want to make sure I get off on the right stop.”
Reed nodded and continued to play with his toys. A dinosaur and zebra were in a very heated battle. Alec kept his eye out for Barts and was relieved to find he'd chosen the right bus for the stop he wanted. There were two stops near Barts, and one of them was on the opposite side of the site to the pathology building. It was a long hike, and Alec had done it before and didn't fancy doing it with Reed tagging along.
He took Reed's hand and led him over to the pathology building. Molly was due off in about ten minutes. He'd given himself a twenty-minute window, to allow for his being a bit--well, a lot--late. His lack of direction hadn't been a problem today but travelling with a four-year-old meant a lot of stopping and looking at things.
“Now, let's see about this zebra conundrum,” Alec said, after they'd settled themselves on a bench to wait.
He did a quick search on his phone and found the answer--about 40 mph.
“How fast is that?” Reed asked.
“It means that in the time it takes to watch two episodes of Blue Peter, it could travel 40 miles,” Alec said.
“How far is 40 miles?” Reed asked.
“I'm not sure,” Alec said. Reed looked pointedly at Alec's phone, and Alec hid a smile. “I don't think I'll be able to find that out for you, I'm sorry.”
Reed put his hand on Alec's arm. “It's okay,” he assured him.
He went back to his toys. Alec kept an eye out for Molly, but found Sherlock first, as he came out of the building. Alec offered a friendly wave, and Sherlock stopped, looking around as though he wasn't sure if he was being waved at, gave Alec a very long look, seemed to recognize him and came over.
“Were you flagging me down or saying hello?” he asked.
“Saying hello,” Alec said.
“Hello,” Sherlock said.
“Hey,” Alec replied. “How are you?”
“Molly is off soon,” Sherlock said. “And the next person on shift doesn't allow me access to the lab.”
Alec bit down on his teacherly instinct to ask 'and does that make you upset?' and instead nodded in what he hoped was a sympathetic fashion.
“Are you a superhero?” Reed asked.
Sherlock frowned down at him. “No, I'm a detective."
“You're wearing a superhero coat,” Reed said.
“It's a detective's coat,” Sherlock replied.
“I'm a superhero,” Reed said.
“I hope that works out for you,” Sherlock said. “Who are you?”
“Reed,” Reed said. “Who are you?”
“Sherlock,” Sherlock said.
“Do you know how far 40 miles is?” Reed asked.
“64.4 kilometres, approximately,” Sherlock said.
“Is that far?” Reed asked.
“Far is relative,” Sherlock said. “How are you getting there?”
Reed held up his zebra toy.
“I'm assuming this is a hypothetical scenario, but if you were riding a zebra, I imagine 64.4 kilometres could be accomplished quite easily,” Sherlock said. “However, they tend to stay around watering holes, so convincing one to travel might be difficult.”
Reed considered this. “That makes sense." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small paper bag. “Do you want some toffee? It doesn't have soy in it.”
Sherlock peered into the bag. He pulled out a bit and popped it in his mouth to chew on it. “Thank you.”
Alec had been watching with his mouth wide open. He felt very disgruntled that Reed, at four years old, had managed to have a flowing conversation with Sherlock, when Alec, at thirty-five, was still mostly hopeless at it.
“Why do you have a child with you?” Sherlock asked him. “He's not yours. Molly would have mentioned if she was getting a step-son.”
“Reed is my godson, we've been hanging out today,” Alec explained. “One of his dads is coming to pick him up here, and I'm meeting Molly to go out and do some wedding stuff after she gets off work.”
“We went to the sweet shop,” Reed said. “And the zoo. Alec bought me a zebra. Not a real one. But I saw a real one.”
“That's very interesting,” Sherlock said, in a bored voice.
“What did you do today?” Reed asked, politely.
“I looked at toenails under a microscope and monitored the rate of decay post-mortem,” Sherlock replied.
Reed looked at Alec's phone again. Alec put his phone away because he didn't feel Googling the rate of toenail decay post-mortem would benefit anyone. Reed looked back to Sherlock. “Was it fun?”
“Yes, very,” Sherlock said.
“That's nice,” Reed said.
“Is that a saurolophus?” Sherlock asked.
Reed's face lit up, and he held out his dinosaur toy. “Yes! Alec let me get it at the Natural History Museum when we went. I saw lots of dinosaurs skeletons. I like dinosaurs. I want to be a paleo--palaeontologist.”
Sherlock took the toy and examined it. “I used to want to be a palaeontologist around your age,” he said. “But there was a sad lack of fossils in our garden. Saurolophus lived in the...Cretaceous period, I believe.”
“It was a herbivore,” Reed said. “That means it ate grass and plants. Molly knows a lot about dinosaurs.”
Sherlock handed the toy back. “Does she?” he said. “I hadn't realized.”
“Alec is going to marry her,” Reed added. “So, it's good that she knows about important things.”
Alec grinned, and Sherlock's lips quirked upwards.
“Speaking of us getting married,” Alec said. “Did you get your invitation, Sherlock?”
“Yes,” Sherlock said.
“Did you respond to it?” Alec asked. They hadn't received his RSVP yet, and Molly was starting to worry about it but didn't want to 'nag' and inquire. Alec had no such qualms.
“Yes,” Sherlock said, confidently. Then he frowned. “Maybe. I know I filled it in...I think. I was going to mail it. John told me to mail it. I put it in my pocket and...” he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelope. “Oh. Well, here.” He passed it over to Alec.
“Great, thanks,” Alec said, slipping it into his own pocket.
Only Sherlock Holmes could walk around with an envelope in his pocket for three weeks and not do anything about it. Molly would be relieved. Provided it was a positive answer.
“There's my papa,” Reed said to Sherlock, pointing.
Sherlock turned to look. “He must work at a comprehensive to still be teaching this late into July,” he commented.
Alec wasn't sure he'd ever get used to Sherlock's ability to not only see, but make connections so quickly. He had, in the course of one glance, somehow decided that 1) Josh was a teacher, 2) he'd been at work that day, 3)he'd been in a high school, and then combined that with the knowledge that Alec taught at an independent elementary school and was on summer break and concluded that Josh taught in a state school and wasn't yet. Alec felt very sorry for anyone who had taught Sherlock. He must have been a nightmare.
“I think he's off next week,” Alec said. “His school has shorter breaks than mine.”
“I go to Alec's school,” Reed said, proudly. “Hi, Papa! I have a zebra!”
Josh made a jazz hand gesture of sarcastic excitement that flew over Reed's head. “Yay."
“Zebras can run 40 miles per hour,” Reed added. “How far is 40 miles?”
“Oh, about to Southend-on-Sea, or so,” Josh said. “Shoeburyness, roughly. Or Healthfield. Or Reading. It depends on what direction you're travelling in.”
“Ah, Geography,” Sherlock said, with a click of his fingers. “I should have known. I was thinking History, but of course, it's Geography. I thought the wedding band was a romantic gesture, but it's a nod to your interest. It's a compass.”
Josh shot Alec a 'what the hell?' look, and Alec shrugged.
“Hi, I'm Josh,” Josh said, pointedly. “I'm Alec's friend.”
“Sherlock Holmes,” Sherlock said. “I'm...I know Alec.”
“I'd hope so,” Josh said. “If you were just loitering around my kid, we'd have to have some words.”
“Children hold no interest to me,” Sherlock replied. “In that way or any other.”
Josh gave him a thumb's up. “Rock on."
Sherlock looked rather lost and twitched around a little, before saying to Alec: “I'm leaving now.”
“Okay, Sherlock,” Alec said. “Sorry to keep you.”
“It's...fine,” Sherlock said. He nodded to Reed. “I hope your double career as superhero and palaeontologist works out.”
“Thanks,” Reed said, with a big smile. “I hope you like being a detective.”
“Thank you,” Sherlock said. “I do.” He turned to go and then turned back to Alec. “Choose the succulents. Molly likes them best. It's all I've heard about this afternoon.”
He strode away.
Josh let out a low whistle. “I thought you were exaggerating, mate.”
“Nope,” Alec said. “100% true.”
“He's a little ray of sunshine,” Josh said. “I feel brighter just for standing here.”
Alec laughed. “So, how was your day?” he asked.
“Great,” Josh said. “End of the year is the best. We watched Indiana Jones all day.”
“Because of the maps?” Alec said. “There are maps in there, so it's technically Geography.”
“Yes, and I'm sure it provoked thoughtful, location-centric discussion,” Josh said, solemnly.
Alec's eyes went to the doors of the pathology building, where Molly was exiting, trying to balance her bag and the big binder of all her wedding plans. Molly was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Bridezilla. But even small weddings planned by two people who weren't really that bothered about it required a lot of work. Three weeks to go. Alec would be very relieved to be on the other side of it.
“Oh, everyone's here,” Molly said. She ruffled Reed's hair. “How are you?”
“I'm good,” Reed said. “How are you?”
“Tired,” Molly said. “But I'm good, too. Hey, Josh.”
“Hey, pet,” Josh said. He planted a kiss on her cheek. “What's on tap for today?”
“Centrepieces,” Molly said. “It's the last big decision, and then the rest of it is all organizing.”
Alec pulled the envelope from his pocket. “I saw Sherlock,” he said. “I got his RSVP.”
“Oh my God, you're magical!” Molly said. She took it from him and opened it up. Alec could see the trepidation on her face, and then it broke out into a smile. “He's coming. Sherlock's coming to the wedding.”
“Good, I liked him, he's fun,” Reed announced.
“Yeah,” Josh said. “I'm sure he'll be the life of the party.”