The Consulting Five Year Old is In
On rare occasions (insert scoffing sounds made by several people, headed by one Army Doctor), Sherlock William Noel Siegfried Holmes is actually capable of pulling off a remarkable imitation of being a silly duck.
He’s actually been called “Duckling” by his Mummy when he was a little boy. It had rather caught him off guard when Mrs.Hudson affectionately called him a “silly Duck” and adding other adjectives like “sweet” and “dear.” Sherlock is only thankful she’s never called him that when anyone else (especially John) was in earshot. He’d never live it down for sure.
The only reason why Mycroft hasn’t outed Sherlock’s childhood endearment was that his babyhood nickname was ever so much worse. We will not speak of this here but let us just state, for the record, that there is a fairly good reason why Mycroft has an irrational hatred of pants-less teddy bears with a yen for honey.
If there was one thing that Sherlock rather admired about the current Duckling was that she was showing every sign of growing into her childhood nickname with considerable aplomb. Granted that her whimsical, theatrically-inclined mother did saddle her with a rather unusual real name, this may be all for the best.
But we digress, and this is all Sherlock’s fault, by the way and we need to elaborate on why one Consulting Detective is doing a rather good imitation of being a silly water fowl.
Sherlock will protest this. He has a very good reason why he is less than composed at the moment. Any reasonable man would confess to being more than a little concerned when they’re about to ask the love of their life to marry them.
Oh. Yes. Marriage. That “dream with a dream” - oh God, even in his head he’s gone off the rails. There are perfectly good, practical reasons why marriage to one John H. Watson is the most logical thing to do. Sherlock has a list, in bullet points, using Lucida Sans for the font, that discuss details such as the merging of finances, decision-making in times of medical emergencies, even allowing for the possibility of having children together. He knows perfectly well their current lifestyle would not support having a child to look after constantly - their status as semi-regular Duckling babysitters was enough to show Sherlock that.
But Sherlock has also seen John often make obvious and wistful comparisons between Sherlock and the little girl. There is a resemblance between him and the Duckling. Sherlock’s noted that and chalked it up to coincidence and that facial resemblance between unrelated people is not unheard of. So naturally, despite the potential dangers associated with the Work and just about ten thousand other things as to why taking up parenting would be a Terrible Idea of Epic Proportions, Sherlock is prepared to take the matter under consideration.
Because he knows John would make a wonderful father and if John has most likely dreamed of a child with Sherlock’s curls and changeable eyes, then Sherlock will confess to imagining a little one with John’s sweet smile, button nose and most importantly, his heart.
And while Sherlock himself can list every practical reason for marriage that there is, the one that drives him the most is this:
Sherlock pictures a cottage, perhaps somewhere in Sussex Downs, where it is quiet and peaceful, except for the soft drone of bees and the air is clean, sweetly scented with heather. He sees himself and John, both of them already old and gray and with the associated aches and pains due to aging. Perhaps John will be able to tell when the weather changes due to his old shoulder wound. Sherlock may occasionally wince due to a bad, arthritic knee.
They will have tea sweetened with the honey that Sherlock himself harvests from his bees. If he is fortunate, Sherlock will still be able to play the violin for John - perhaps something classical, perhaps an adaptation from one of those pop songs he loves.
And at the end of each day, Sherlock will lock the memory of it up tight in his Mind Palace, cherished, treasured, never to be deleted. Every morning he will wake up with John in his arms and mentally thank whatever Divine Providence is out there that he still has yet one more day in their long, long life together.
A very long time ago (or so it seemed), Sherlock Holmes had decided that dreams were foolish, childish things and he was well shut of them.
Right now, he finds himself wanting very much to cling to this particular dream and wanting very much to see it become reality. Which was, of course, entirely possible, if he’d only ask his adored and long-suffering beloved The Question.
And naturally, every time Sherlock decides to do that, his brain proceeds to do a major Blue Screen of Death. Literally.
The really ridiculous thing is that Sherlock Holmes is relatively sure, about 99% sure, in fact, that John Watson will most likely say yes. He knows the man loves him, despite the fact that Sherlock knows perfectly well that there isn’t very much about himself that is very loveable. John will beg to differ, of course. This is an old and worn argument between them and it always ends with John winning.
He’s not sure how John manages it. John frequently complains of Sherlock being perfectly able to tie him up in circles with maddening logic, especially when it came to what John calls his “ridiculous, unreasonable requests.” What John doesn’t seem to realize is that he’s perfectly capable of doing the exact same thing to Sherlock, especially when it comes to this subject.
God help him, but he hopes that John will continue to win this particular argument for as long as they both shall live. Possibly even beyond that, if Sherlock has anything to say about it.
However, Sherlock is still worried about that niggling 1%.
Oh, he knows that there is a margin for error in every deduction he makes - witness his mistaking Harry as John’s brother, rather than his sister. In this case, the margin for error is a lot smaller. In fact, there is every possibility that John will be the one to ask Sherlock The Question and there is absolutely no doubt that Sherlock will say yes, because he knows perfectly well he is a selfish, greedy, possessive bastard and he wants very much to keep John.
But Sherlock wants to be the one to ask The Question, because he wants John to have absolutely no doubt that he is loved and adored and cherished and that there is no question, ever, of Sherlock tiring of him. John will always be his greatest mystery, the one he’ll happily spend the rest of his lifetime solving.
And Sherlock knows that John has his own set of insecurities - that according to him, he is, in his own words, “a short, adrenaline junkie with a dodgy leg that isn’t really dodgy but there you have it.” Unhappily, Sherlock is aware that he is not as good at dispelling these fears, not the way that John has done for his own.
But he wants to try - for John’s sake, Sherlock is willing to do anything.
So, he must be the one to ask The Question.
The problem was, Sherlock needed to figure out how to do it.
This required some research.
A few hours spent on Google turned up everything from the overly cute ( “Put the ring on the ribbon bow of a teddy bear, really?”), boring (“Roses, candlelit dinner, ring on the dessert - hitting all the cliches all at once, wonderful -I think not.”) and the horrifyingly sappy (“Went onstage and popped the question during the concert of your loved one’s favorite band, got the band to help - instant YouTube classic - God, no.”). Everything was either trite, ridiculous or just so utterly insipid.
At this point, Sherlock realized he needed an assistant.
Molly Hooper was definitely out. Putting aside the fact that she once fancied him herself and even Sherlock knew that asking her for help on this matter was definitely on the List of A Bit Not Good, he was dead certain that Molly’s ideas would involve a lot of pink, kittens and the general cutesy insipidness that he’d just been subjected to on the internet. Lestrade would most likely laugh himself into next Thursday and since the man already won the main betting pool on him and John, Sherlock did not intend to make his winning the next one any easier. Also, it was highly likely that this would get back to Mycroft and God help him if Mummy decided to meddle into things. Asking Mrs. Hudson for help would also net Sherlock the same exact result.
There was only one logical choice.
After listening to him ramble, the Duckling thoughtfully steepled her small, pudgy hands in front of her lips in a pose copied from Sherlock himself. Somehow, she managed to pull off the imitation gracefully.
"I think we need to start with Miss Manners," she began, toddling off to Sherlock’s considerable library to look for the specific book.
(Yes, Sherlock had a copy of that weighty tome - a gift from Mummy which he did not dare to throw out. It was stashed on the left-hand corner of the lowest bookshelf, right beside one of John’s medical textbooks and it should have been gathering dust to this day, were it not for one little Duckling whose choice of reading material, at five, was decidedly eclectic. She was already making her way through an adult edition of the Bible, having found children’s editions “Boring!” and refused to finish the last Harry Potter book on the grounds that she hated finding out that “Perfessor Snape died! NO!”
This frequently astonished John and most adults of the Duckling’s acquaintance. Sherlock himself wasn’t surprised - he’d also learned to read at an early age and also had a similar reading list to the little girl’s, having quickly found the so-called “age-appropriate” storybooks utterly insipid.)
So they read the appropriate passage from Miss Manners together and -
"It’s very simple," Sherlock said. "Far too ordinary, perhaps."
The Duckling wrinkled her nose. “Uncle John’s not going to want flowers and ribbons and teddy bears and things anyway.”
Sherlock snorted. “I imagine he would be utterly mortified if I did. Still, I’d like to make the occasion memorable for him.” He flushed. “I’m… afraid I’m not very good at this, to be honest.”
The Duckling shook her head. “Now you’re being silly, Uncle Sherlock.”
"I am not - I am merely stating the truth, that’s all."
"Nuh-uh! You always know when Uncle John wants Chinese, instead of getting curry and you make him sit down when he looks all pinchy-like in the face ‘cos he’s tired and his shoulder’s hurting. And you kiss him all the time, like my Dad does to my Mum when he’s home and you make him laugh lots when you say funny stuff and you tease him just like my Dad does my Mum. I used to think Dad wasn’t very nice when he teases Mummy about her getting pudgy but Mummy says that’s just Dad being silly and telling her he loves her. And it’s just like what you do with Uncle John.
So I think you just need to sit him on the couch, just like what Miss Manners says in the book and tell him that you love him very much and ask him to marry you.” The Duckling wrinkled her nose again. “And I guess you ought to kiss him - Uncle John really likes it when you do.”
Sherlock knew he was probably staring at the little one with an utterly gormless, gobsmacked expression on his face but he really couldn’t help it. He finally managed to compose himself. “Waverly Noelle Morstan, thank you.”
"And maybe, just maybe, instead of a teddy bear, you could get him a hedgehog?" The Duckling giggled.
"For the nth time, I do not resemble a hedgehog," came a familiar and much-loved voice from the doorway.
Only the fact that Sherlock had registered John’s familiar tread up the stairs and that the look of exasperated amusement and suspicion on his face clued Sherlock in to the realization that John had only heard the Duckling’s last sentence and not the bulk of the conversation. Thank God.
"So exactly what are the two of you up to?" John continued.
Sherlock and the Duckling looked at each other, then at John. And as one, intoned, “We solemnly swear we are up to no good.”
John sighed. “Mind Sherlock then - I trust you’ll keep him out of trouble, yeah?”
The Duckling nodded eagerly, giggling.
Sherlock murmured to the little girl. “I will take your suggestion about the hedgehog under due consideration.”
"Oi! I heard that!"
Sherlock wondered if it was entirely possible to have a certain little girl as his “Best Woman” for the wedding instead of a “Best Man.” Surely, she deserved better than to be just a flower girl…
Note the First: AHAHAHAHA - sorry, I like the name Noel and I was completely unable to resist the Wagner reference for Sherlock’s full name.
Note the Second: And yes, The Duckling and Sherlock share a middle name and a nickname!
Note the Third: Virtual Cookies to anyone who can guess where Mary Morstan got the name “Waverly” from. :P
Note the Fourth: He still hasn’t popped the question yet, hasn’t he? Tricksy Sherlock Muse is tricksy….we’ll get to that, eventually.
I was hopping around the internet looking for a cute cartoony kid pic and found this cute wallpaper by Kim Jong Bok. The little kid reminds me of the Duckling, except the Duckling has curlier hair. :)