The Writer They Call Tay (awanderingbard) wrote,
The Writer They Call Tay

Sherlock: Paint Fumes

Title: Paint Fumes
Characters: Sarah, John, Sherlock, Abby, Gladstone
Rating: PG
Warnings/Triggers: some discussion of an alcoholic relative
Spoilers: none
Pairings: John/Sarah
Word Count 5,323
Summary: The Watson Household is infiltrated by a distressed Consulting Detective for the night.
Author's notes: Set in the Abby 'verse.

A very lovely person sent me a very lovely PM over at, in regards to my stories here, and mentioned wanting to see a typical evening at the Sawyer-Watsons (possibly with Sherlock involved), and Sarah and Sherlock interacting with one another. It was similar to, but a much better idea than the one I was struggling with at the time, so I crammed the two concepts together and wrote this. I hope it serves.

Needless to say, this is fluff of the higest order.

Sarah reached blindly for the phone as it rang on her desk. “Doctor's office,” she said. She realized she had picked up her mobile and not the office phone. “Or hello, rather.”

“Hello doctor's office, this is home base,” John replied, in a crisp, WWII military voice. “What is your current status?”

“Paperwork is almost complete, getting ready to depart, Captain,” Sarah replied, with a grin. “Anything to report?”

“Yes. Wishing to inform you of the arrival of a distressed consulting detective, ma'am,” John said. “He has successfully infiltrated home base and taken up residence in the den with Privates Watson and Gladstone.”

“We really should give them proper defensive training, it's appalling the riff-raff they let in,” Sarah said. “What's the nature of his distress?”

John dropped the fake voice to answer. “Mrs Hudson's had painters in today, and the fumes were bothering him, and Barts lab is full of students, and there's no case,” he said.

“Oh, dear,” Sarah said. “Poor Sherlock. He's had all his toys taken away.”

“Yeah, I think we should let him stay if he wants,” John said. “He's a bit miserable, and we're the only place he has left to go. I just wanted to warn you, so you know what to expect.”

“Do you want me to bring dinner?” Sarah asked.

“That would be great, actually,” John said. “I keep meaning to go down and start it, but I don't want to leave them alone for that long. Abby isn't old enough to be responsible for Sherlock.”

Sarah snorted a laugh, and then felt bad about it. “Should I order for him?” she said.

“Erm, yeah,” John said. “He's miserable enough, he might actually eat.”

Sarah stopped for fish suppers on her way home, and arrived to find Gladstone looking out the window for her arrival. He jumped down off the love seat when she approached the door, and was there with tail wagging when she opened it.

“Hey, sweetie!” she said, bending around her bags to give him a pat on the head. “Hey! Hello! Hi, hi, hi.” She closed the door behind her, and moved slowly down the hallway as he danced ahead of her, turning in excited circles. “I've only been gone since this morning, you're acting like it's been years. Have you had a bad day? Is Sherlock sad?”

The ground floor was otherwise deserted, so she went upstairs to the den, Gladstone trotting behind her. John was on the computer, working on his writing. Sherlock was on the sofa with his knees pulled up to his chest, watching the telly with a look of baffled interest on his face. Abby was curled up beside him, watching the telly with a look of rapture on her face. Sarah guessed that Sleepless was playing, and a quick glance to the telly proved her right. It was the latest Disney fare, an adaptation of the Princess and the Pea. Abby watched it almost every day.

“Hello, family,” Sarah said.

“Mummy!” Abby said. She jumped down off the sofa and ran over to hug Sarah's legs. “Hello! I love you.”

John turned in his chair. “Hey!” he said. “I love you, too.”

“Hello,” Sherlock said, not moving his eyes from the screen.

“What, you don't love me?” Sarah teased.

“I wouldn't want you to get a big head,” Sherlock replied.

Which, Sarah noted, was not a no, really.

“You enjoying the film?” she asked, nodding toward the screen. “It's Abby's favourite.”

“Yes, I've been told,” Sherlock said. “The score is pleasant, I suppose.”

“Don't listen to him, he's been giggling at the gags,” John said. “He's enjoying himself.”

“I am not,” Sherlock said. Then, he added, in a confessional tone, “it's not entirely annoying. I suspect the girl is going to turn out to be a princess, unless there's some sort of loophole in her not being able to sleep on a pea. Her little ermine friend is probably involved.”

Sarah hid her smile. “I suppose you'll have to watch and find out what happens,” she said.

Sherlock looked sad at this. “I don't care that much,” he said.

Sarah didn't bother to hide her smile this time, she exchanged it with John. “I brought fish suppers, why don't you take off your coat and join us?” she suggested.

“Pishy suppers,” Abby said. “Yay!”

“I only stopped in for a moment,” Sherlock said.

“When was that?” Sarah asked.

Sherlock looked down at his watch. “An hour and five minutes ago,” he said.

“Well, you've practically moved in, you might as well stay now,” Sarah said.

Sherlock found the remote and paused—paused, mind, not stopped—the film. “Very well,” he said.

“You go and wash up, Abs, I'm going to change,” Sarah said. “And we'll all meet for supper.”

John took the bags from her and kissed her. “Thank you,” he murmured.

The second best part of Sarah's day was when she could take off her court shoes. The best part was coming home to John and Abby—and Gladstone, if he was there. But the court shoes were definitely second. She sighed and wiggled her toes on the floor of her bedroom, before taking off her stockings (third best part of the day), and putting on a pair of loose lounge trousers and a comfy long cardigan.

John and Abby had set the table, Abby's contribution evident from how close the silverware was to the edge. She was pushing her big girl chair to the dining room when Sarah came down. Sherlock had removed his coat, and taken a seat at the table.

“So, is it a big change?” Sarah asked him. “The paint?” Sherlock wouldn't like adjusting to different coloured walls.

“Mrs Hudson chose colours that matched perfectly to the old ones,” Sherlock said. “At least, in my flat. She wanted a change in her own flat. She said 221B just needed a bit of fixing up. She could have warned me.”

“She didn't tell you she was going to do it?” Sarah asked.

“She says she did, but I don't see how that's possible,” Sherlock replied.“I don't remember her telling me. Apparently I even approved paint colours.”

“Well, they shouldn't be too bad then,” Sarah said. “Once all the fumes clear out, I'm sure you won't even notice the change. Was the smell bad?”

“Yes,” Sherlock said, his nose wrinkling. He rubbed at his forehead. “I've never been particularly good with solvents.”

“John used low-odour paint for Abby's nursery, and I still thought it smelled foul,” Sarah said. “We put out onions halves and everything the Internet said to take the smell away, and I still could smell it.”

“You were pregnant,” Sherlock said. “Your olfactory senses were heightened to identify dangers to your foetus.”

“Hey, that foetus has a name,” John said, patting Abby on the head as she pulled herself onto her chair.

“Where's Mrs H staying?” Sarah asked.

“She's gone to her sister's for a few days,” Sherlock said. “Apparently she told me that, too. I have no idea when these hypothetical conversations are meant to have taken place.”

Sarah nodded in sympathy, and unwrapped the newspaper from the fish suppers, doling them out on the plates. Abby clapped her hands and started spearing chips with her fork. Sherlock pulled the batter off his fish and crunched on it.

“How was your day at school, Abs?” Sarah asked.

“Busy,” Abby said, echoing what Sarah usually said when John asked her about her day. John and Sarah both grinned at that. “It was fun. Siobhan read us a story about Rumply-stiltskin. He had a name, and the girl had to find it out, and she did. We drawed squares, they have four sides.” She drew a square in the air. “And I played in the water table. I like boats.” She giggled. “I splashed the water, and it went 'fwwwoooo'.” She made a wave motion.

“Sounds like a nice day,” Sarah said.

“And then I comed home, and Sherlock comed to visit,” Abby added, happily. “And we watched Princess Lena. It's fun.”

She looked to Sherlock for confirmation of this, and Sherlock gave a fake beaming smile in reply, before stuffing a chip in his mouth. Abby smiled back, and Sherlock's lips twitched in a proper smile for a moment.

Sherlock ate enough of his meal that he would have warranted pudding if he were Abby. Sarah offered him the yoghurt and fruit parfaits she was making, but he declined, even after Abby offered to share hers, because 'sharing is nice'.

Sarah decided there was no reason not to follow the normal routine of an evening, even if Sherlock had joined them. He was the last person to be offended by a lack of hospitality. She flicked on the radio in the kitchen while she prepared to do the washing up, and John joined her at the sink to dry. Abby tried to persuade Sherlock into various activities, until she gave up, and brought some colouring for herself to do at the dining room table. She put some crayons and paper near Sherlock, perhaps hoping he might join in. They all listened to the last bits of the Archers and then 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue'. Sarah kept hearing an odd sound that she couldn't identify and then realized it was Sherlock's soft chuckling in the dining room in response to the jokes being made.

“He's got a surprisingly low brow sense of humour. Loves a good pun, he does,” John explained. Sherlock let out a proper guffaw. “And I think he might be a bit high on the fumes.”

“Probably best he got out of there, then,” Sarah replied. “He doesn't need another vice.”

“No, he doesn't. And lucky us, we get to take him in,” John said.

She kissed his cheek.

Gladstone came into the kitchen with his lead in his mouth, as aware of the routine as anyone. He sat at the door patiently for John to finish drying, though he did take a wander into the dining room to have a go at Sherlock. He returned looking a bit confused. Sherlock was not part of the routine.

“Do you want to take Gladstone for a walk with me, Abs?” John asked. He dried his hands on Sarah's cardigan, and she swatted him with her towel.

“No, thank you,” Abby said. “I'm drawing a giraffe.”

“Oh, well,” John said. “Fair enough. Important work. Sherlock? You want to come? Fresh air might clear your head out a bit.”

“No,” Sherlock said.

“All right then, just you and me, buddy,” John said to Gladstone.

He clipped Gladstone's lead on and they went out. Sarah took out the laundry from the dryer to fold up. Abby reached out to Sherlock in conversation.

“This is my best favourite colour,” she told him, holding up a crayon. “It's greeny-blue.”

“It's teal,” Sherlock said. “Or blue green. You always state the primary colour first when referring to tertiary colours.”

“You know colours?” Abby asked.

“Yes, I know all the colours,” Sherlock replied.

“All of them?” Abby said, impressed. “Even charchoos?”

“Even chartreuse,” Sherlock said.

“What's your best favourite?” Abby asked.

“Colours are the result of the way the spectrum of light interacts with one's eyes,” Sherlock said. “It's naturally occurring and irrelevant. Having a favourite one is like having a favourite cloud or skin cell.”

“You say funny words,” Abby said, giggling. “You're silly.”

Sherlock smiled. “You're not the first person to say that to me. But the first to word it that way.”

“Do you like drawing?” Abby asked.

“No,” Sherlock said. “My ancestors were all great painters, but I don't see things in the right way to draw.”

“What do you like to do?” Abby said.

Sherlock shrugged. “I like to solve crimes, and do science experiments,” he said. “And I like music.”

Abby lit up. “I like music!” she said. “Do you want to sing a song?”

“If you took me apart bit by bit I very much doubt you would find one molecule of my being that wants to sing a song,” Sherlock replied.

“I will sing you a song,” Abby said.

“Oh, joy,” Sherlock said.

Sarah had to cover her mouth with a pair of trousers as Abby sang him a rendition of 'Lavender's Blue'. Sherlock stared straight ahead with the look of a man who had retreated to a happy place in the face of torture.

“Lavender isn't blue or green, it's purple,” Sherlock said, when she was finished. “In fact, it's lavender. I thought you knew your colours?”

“It's just a song,” Abby said, amiably. “Do you feel better now?”

“Yes,” Sherlock said. “Your off-key singing has done wonders for my headache, and cheered me right up.”

“Yay!” Abby said.

Sarah steered Abby away from Sherlock after the laundry had been put away, and moved her to the living room for their usual mummy/daughter time. She let Abby pick the activity, and soon they were playing pretend with the dolls from her doll house. Sarah tried to follow along with Abby's storyline and see where it led. She found it a good way to know what Abby was thinking about and how she might be feeling about life.

Sherlock remained at the dining room table, watching them play. Sarah had already told him twice to make himself at home and get a beer if he wanted one, or go up and watch telly. She considered it out of her hands if he didn't accept it. Maybe he was enjoying watching Abby's mind at work, too. Maybe he was just stoned.

Sarah and Abby's dolls went on an adventure to visit Susie the unicorn, who was no longer living at the Sawyer-Watson Household, but still sometimes popped up here and there. She had moved out when Abby adjusted to school. Abby still played with her imaginary friends, but no new ones had been formally introduced to them yet. According to Sarah's child development books, imaginary friends tended to fade as children started school and developed real-life friendships.

Sherlock moved to the love seat, and picked up the newspaper to read. Gladstone was quick to jump up with him when he got back from his walk, turning in a few circles and settling down next to him, with his chin over Sherlock's thigh. Sherlock stroked his head in an absent fashion.

“Sherlock knows all the colours,” Abby informed John, when he joined them in the living room.

“Uncle Sherlock is very clever,” John said.

“But he doesn't like favourite colours,” Abby added.

“He's a big liar,” Sarah said. “Because he likes purple. That's the only colour he wears, so it must be his favourite one.”

“My tailor says I look good in aubergine,” Sherlock said, behind his newspaper.

“That is the poshest thing you have ever said,” John said. He took a seat on the sofa behind where Sarah was on the floor, and played with her ponytail. “No, the second poshest. The poshest thing is still 'he obviously wasn't familiar with wingshooting, this is entirely the wrong forward allowance for hunting pheasant'.”

“I'm really not that posh, you're just very common,” Sherlock replied. He was starting to sound more like himself. Sarah wasn't sure if that was good or not. “It's a matter of perspective.”

“Your brother has tea with the Queen on a regular basis, you're pretty bloody posh,” John said.

“He earned that status through blackmail and deceit,” Sherlock said. “It wasn't handed to him.”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot you struggled up through the coal mines and housing estates,” John said. “All those years you spent sweeping chimneys. My bad.”

Sherlock's newspaper shook as he chuckled silently.

Abby and Sarah concluded their adventures by giving her dolls some new hairstyles, Abby practising brushing their hair, and then directing Sarah in how it should be styled. The poor Mummy doll had never quite recovered from the haircut Abby had given her a few weeks back. She still looked as though she'd put her finger in a socket. Sarah did her best.

At 8:00, it was time for a bath. John offered to do it tonight, and he and Abby went upstairs, Abby hurrying ahead, begging for bubbles.

Sarah lifted herself up onto the sofa, and picked up her tablet from the side table. She looked over to Sherlock, who was still working his way through the paper. He was holding it out at almost arm's length, and kept moving it closer and farther from him.

“Sherlock?” she asked. “Can you see?”

“See what?” he said.

“The paper,” Sarah said. “Are you having trouble reading it?”

“No,” Sherlock said. “It's fine. I can see it perfectly.”

Big flashing 'no', there. “You're the right age for presbyopia. Have you been to the optometrist lately?” Sarah said.

“You are not my mother, do not mother me,” Sherlock said, without venom but with a firm end to the discussion. “You can use your extra motherliness on someone else.”

“Sorry,” Sarah said. She flicked on her tablet. “I was actually using my doctor voice there. They sound very similar. I'm just saying, it might be why you have a headache.”

“I have a headache because I sat in a home filled with paint fumes for six hours,” Sherlock said.

“Yes, well, perhaps you should have left earlier,” Sarah suggested.

“That was your mother voice,” Sherlock said.

“It was,” Sarah said. “And I'm done now.”


Sarah played a few games on her tablet, and then sorted through her e-mail. Sherlock finished the newspaper, and put it aside. It was all a mess, and Sarah hadn't read it yet.
She would have to put back together. Or have John do it, he probably knew how to put it back from his years of living with him. Sherlock pulled out his phone to look at it, but there didn't seem to be anything of interest on it, as he put it away again with a sigh.

“Who are you writing to?” he asked her. “Your keystrokes are very hesitant. You're being tactful.”

Sarah lifted her hands from the screen and looked at them, as though she could see the tact in them. “Harry,” she said. “It's John's birthday soon, I'm trying to invite her, but leave the invitation open so there's no pressure, but not have it seem like I'm only inviting her in hopes of her not showing up. Does that make sense?”

“No,” Sherlock said. He frowned. “You're trying not to scare her off?”

“Yes,” Sarah said. “She's been doing really well and I'm afraid of messing it up. I'm trying to sort of sidle up sideways and envelope her with familial love.”

“Is that the same technique you used with me?” Sherlock asked.

“Yes, did it work?” Sarah said.

Sherlock shrugged. “I don't feel enveloped,” he said.

“Yes, but do you feel smothered?” Sarah said.

“No,” Sherlock said.

“Then it worked,” Sarah said.

Sherlock looked at her with respect. “That was well-played,” he said.

“I know,” Sarah said. “Surprise, you're a member of the family!”

Sherlock smirked. “Is she that skittish? I thought she was doing well,” he said. “I don't recall her having any issues recently, though I don't pay much attention to her antics.”

“She's almost a year sober now,” Sarah said. “I'd like to think the longer she lasts, the less the chance of relapse, but it's not how it works, is it?”

“No,” Sherlock said.

“I'm afraid if we do something wrong, we'll send her for the bottle,” Sarah said. It was odd to be confessing this to Sherlock of all people, but John wasn't very receptive in regards to Harry—there was too much anger there. Sherlock at least knew the history and didn't have any feelings towards the situation to colour his judgement. “If it goes wrong, or she gets upset, or John says something he doesn't mean to. I know she's never going to have the relationship with John that I have with my brothers; I just think it would be nice for John to have a proper family. The one he has is perfect, but it must be pretty grim to only have one relative left and not to get on with her.”

Sherlock looked panicked at being faced with this conversation. He glanced to the stairs as though hoping John might return. Sarah was about to apologize and back off when he spoke.

“Putting onus on yourself not to upset her is stupid,” he said. “And unhelpful. It's her responsibility to control herself. If she's truly been through treatment and absorbed what she's been told, she should have learnt better ways to handle difficulties. Addicts will always blame outside forces for their addiction or relapse, but it's their own fault. John is very forgiving. It's one of his most ridiculous and admirable qualities. If she doesn't see that and take advantage of it, then she doesn't deserve to join 'the family' anyway.”

Sarah's mouth was a bit agape. Sherlock blinked at her.

“Not good?” he said, uncertainly.

“Very good,” she assured him. “Excellent in fact. Thank you.”

Sherlock nodded. She finished off her e-mail to Harry, just being conversational about it, and asking her to let them know if she thought she'd be available to come to dinner or a party. She sent it off.

“Do you want a cuppa?” she asked Sherlock.

“Yes,” Sherlock said. “Milk—”

“Three sugars,” Sarah finished.

“Why on earth should you remember that?” Sherlock asked.

“You're a member of the family,” Sarah said. “Surprise!”

Abby came back downstairs with red cheeks and wet hair, in her pyjamas and carrying Mr Owl. He had recently undergone extensive reconstructive surgery to save his life, having his broken talking mechanisms removed and replaced with proper batting. Mrs Hudson had made him a waistcoat to cover some of the sutures in his chest. Abby declared him a 'comfy owl', so the surgery was a success.

John took the cup of tea Sarah had made for him, and sat down on the sofa with her. Usually Abby came to sit with them—a bit of quiet time before bed. She decided to visit Sherlock tonight, and climbed up on the love seat.

“I could have bought her a new owl,” Sherlock said, eyeing up Mr Owl.

“No, that is so not how it works,” John replied.

Abby put her head on Sherlock's flank.

“Are you sleeping over?” she wondered.

“I don't know,” Sherlock said. “I doubt it.”

“I think you should. At least for tonight,” Sarah said. “You can't go home, you'll just make yourself sick again.”

“I can find accommodations,” Sherlock said.

“We have them here,” John said. He pointed. “Look, guest room. It's for guests.”

“We can have Teddy Grahams and milk!” Abby said, excited. “For our snack.”

“What are Teddy Grahams?” Sherlock asked.

“Erm,” Abby said. She seemed to find that a difficult question. “Little bears with cimma- num. They look like this—” she put her arms in the air “—or this—” she added her legs. “They taste good. I like them.”

Sherlock looked unenlightened. “I...suppose I could stay,” he said. “If you're all going to nag about it.”

“Yay!” Abby said. She climbed back down, and held out her hand. “Come on, Sherlock. I will show you.”

Sherlock sighed and followed her to the kitchen. John and Sarah waited in silence, and after a few moments, Sarah could hear Sherlock's annoyed, 'you have to tell me which cupboard. I don't live here.'

“I think he's getting better,” Sarah said. “I think she's making him better. He's growing up with her.”

“It must be because we're such brilliant parents,” John said.

“I'm sure that's it,” Sarah agreed.

She went to make sure that Sherlock could handle getting Abby's snack. He was fine, actually. He had a bowl on the table, and the box of Teddy Grahams out, and Abby was kneeling on a chair to direct him in pouring the Teddy Grahams. Sarah wondered if he realized he was looking after Abby. Maybe the fumes had done more to his brain than they had thought. Although, surely it couldn't be as bad as anything else he'd done to it over the years.

“And then you make it milky,” Abby said.

“Like cereal?” Sherlock asked.

“Yep,” Abby said. “With bears.”

Sarah brought the milk and put it on the Teddy Grahams.

“The bears swim,” Abby said, as Sarah retrieved one of her spoons for her. “Then they don't.”

“The atoms in the Teddy Grahams are less dense than the atoms in the milk, which means they float,” Sherlock explained. “Once the milk atoms combine with the atoms of the Teddy Grahams, they fill up the empty spaces and the Teddy Grahams become heavier than the milk, causing them to sink. It's called diffusion.”

Abby stuck a spoonful in her mouth. “Are we playing science?” she asked.

“Yes,” Sherlock said.

“You like science,” Abby said.

“I do,” Sherlock agreed.

“Why?” Abby said.

Sherlock tested a few dry Teddy Grahams, dropping them into the bowl. “Science is governed by principles, which means we can predict how it's going to turn out,” he said. “And each time we do it, it will conclude in results that are basically the same, until we change a variable. It's logical. But changing the variables, and finding out it's completely different from what we expected is creative. You can break the rules, and come up with something else. Science is a weapon. You can wield it. You can use it to prove what you're saying is real. It's powerful.”

Abby munched thoughtfully. “I like science, too,” she said.

“You should,” Sherlock said. “It's the only school subject worth serious study.”

“It's yummy,” she added.

“Not always,” Sherlock said. He popped a Teddy Graham into his mouth. “But in this case, it's not bad.”

Abby finished off her bears, and then it was time for bed.

“You say goodnight to Daddy,” Sarah said.

“I have to say it for Sherlock, first,” Abby said.

“Goodnight,” Sherlock said. He obviously didn't know what saying goodnight involved, and was not prepared for Abby's climbing up on him and wrapping her arms around his neck. He gave her back a few pats. “Yes. Goodnight.”

“Night, night!” Abby said. “Have good dreams.”

“Yes. Goodnight,” Sherlock said, firmly.

Sarah pulled Abby off of him, and set her down so she could say goodnight to John.

“Ooph!” John said, as Abby leapt into his lap. “You must have eaten a lot of bears, you're heavy.”

“They're just little bears,” Abby said. She hugged him, and rubbed her nose against his, and kissed him.

“Goodnight,” John said, kissing the top of her head. “Have good dreams.”

“I will,” Abby said.

She and Sarah went up to her room, Gladstone trotting behind. Sarah read a story, and tucked Abby in, and checked under the bed for monsters. Gladstone sniffed around to double ensure safety. He jumped up on the side of her bed and gave Abby a 'kiss' goodnight, and Sarah followed his example. She turned out the light and turned on the sheep that cast stars on the ceiling, and wished Abby sweet dreams. Gladstone followed her out of the room.

The rest of the night passed as it normally did, only with Sherlock looking up gruesome things on his laptop as an added bonus. John had reassembled the paper, and she and John read it together on the sofa, then Sarah went up to the den to watch a bit of telly and John came up to work on his writing. Abby was up once to use the loo.

“I'm going potty!” she called to them as she passed by.


“I went potty!” as she returned to her room.

Sarah always received updates on the state of Abby's bladder. Sometimes she even woke Sarah up to report. Never John. Just Sarah. At least she was putting herself back to bed tonight. Some nights it was a battle for hours to get her to settle down.

Sarah went down to make sure Sherlock had everything he needed in the guest room before she turned in for the night.

“I'm fine,” he assured her.

“Do you need me to read you a story and tuck you in?” Sarah asked, innocently.

“I think I'll manage on my own,” he said.

“All right, good night then,” Sarah said.

Sherlock gave her a distracted smile, and returned to his stab wounds.

Abby was up twice during the night, once to use the loo (and to wake Sarah up to report that she had), and then at the usual time around three o'clock to ask to get in bed with them, for which Sarah did a Rapid Return. Sometimes, if John wasn't home, Abby put herself into their bed without asking and Sarah woke up with her there in the morning.

“Daddy's not playing with it!” she would say, when scolded. “Sharing is nice!”

So long as she could sleep in her own bed if required, Sarah didn't think it was too much of an issue if she had a few hours in their bed a couple of times in a week.

Sarah woke in the morning to her alarm, which was so rare that she'd forgotten how to turn it off. Usually Abby had her up somewhere between 5:45 and 6:15. She never made it to 6:45, which was what she optimistically set her alarm for each night.

She wrestled herself out of John's death grip, and padded out to make sure Abby was okay. She wasn't in her room, but Sarah could hear muted noise in the den. She popped her head in. Sleepless was on the telly, and Abby was curled up in her jimjams with Mr Owl, Sherlock at the other end of the sofa, and Gladstone between them. All three were watching the screen.

“Good morning,” she said.

“Morning!” Abby said, cheerily.

“She was up quite early,” Sherlock explained. “And I was in here. She asked to watch the film, I didn't see any harm in it...” he gave Sarah a questioning look.

“No, it's fine,” Sarah said. “Thank you.”

“Sherlock gave me biscuits!” Abby said.

“Did he?” Sarah said. “Wasn't that nice?”

Sherlock tried to look unapologetic, but didn't quite succeed. He knew he shouldn't have. “She asked for food,” he said. “I gave her the first thing I found that I knew she ate. You should have been up to deal with her. I put Gladstone out.”

Apparently that good deed cancelled out the pudding for breakfast. Oh well. Pudding for breakfast once wouldn't kill her. At least he was trying. Sarah couldn't ask for or expect much more than that.

“Are you sticking around today?” she asked.

“I'm sure the fumes will be manageable by tonight, and the students' projects are due this afternoon, so the lab will be clear,” Sherlock replied. “I won't intrude any more.”

“You aren't intruding,” Sarah said, half-lying. Sherlock was like sweets—fine in small doses, but prone to giving you a stomach ache if you indulged too much. She didn't know how John had lived with him; her maximum dose was about five hours of straight interaction, she didn't want to test how long she could share a residence with him. “Guests don't intrude.”

“Family intrudes,” Sherlock said. “I can't be both a guest and family.”

“You can if you're my mum!” Sarah said, cheerfully. “You're loads better than her. Shut up, and let us love you.”

Sherlock scowled. “Fine,” he said. “In any case, I'll be leaving shortly. Erm, thank you for letting me stay.”

“You're welcome,” Sarah said.

Sherlock was about to reply, but his gaze snapped to the telly. He made a triumphant gesture. “I told you she was really a princess!” He looked horrified. “I need to leave here. I'm assimilating.”

“Surprise!” Sarah said. “You're a member of the family.”
Tags: elements: kid!fic, fandom: sherlock (bbc), length: oneshot, rating: pg

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  • Huzzah: The Final Chapter

    We are all fully vaccinated now! Including my brother and his wife! I mean, we have to wait for it to be in full effect, but we are on our way to…

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