Sherlock kissed John goodbye, followed by Rosie. The doctor sniffed, performed an about turn and left before he could get soppy. Sherlock reluctantly closed the door to the flat as the doctor left for his medical conference. He allowed himself a few moments to feel sorry for himself over the Johnless day and night to come, then he braced himself to brave his greatest adversary… and his second greatest love.
Bravely, the detective looked down at a wide-eyed Rosie Watson. She didn’t seem ruffled by her daddy's absence. She was used to him going to work after all. Her wide-eyed innocence was a ploy, one that Sherlock knew well. He wasn't falling for it. Not this time.
“Listen, Watson. Now that Daddy is gone, I expect more from you,” the detective warned. “He lets you get away with entirely too much. I, however, expect you to live up to your full potential.”
The little girl sucked her thumb and regarded Sherlock seriously. Clearly she was plotting against him. This was proven when he bent to pick her up and she squealed with delight as she tangled her fingers in his curls and pulled. The only saving grace was her hands were sans the customary sticky goo they normally sported as she hadn’t yet had breakfast.
“What have I said about my hair, Watson? It is not a plaything.” The detective extracted Rosie's fingers from his hair, eliciting a small, quivering pout. “I am immune to such manipulations.” He crossed to the kitchen as he placed her in her highchair.
The little girl reached eagerly for her sippy cup and banged it on the table, delighting in the loud sound it made. She squealed in delight and tossed it on the floor, clapping.
In the midst of preparing her food, Sherlock bent and retrieved the cup. He placed it on the table. “Watson, the cup serves no purpose on the floor.”
When the pattern was repeated, the detective found some twine and tied the sippy cup to the high chair, making sure it was short enough that Rosie couldn't hurt herself with it. She tugged on it, tried to toss it down on the floor and complained furiously. “Bad Schlock.”
Sherlock placed a plate with finger foods in front of the little girl. It included her favorite – mandarin orange slices. He left her to eat whilst piddling around the kitchen. What he didn't notice was Rosie tucking every other orange slice under the edge of the high chair padding.
When the little girl had finished eating, she banged her fists on her breakfast tray, fussing to be let ‘Down!’
Sherlock got a damp cloth and cleaned her face and hands. “Honestly, Watson. Your father doesn’t make half the mess when he eats.”
Holding up her arms, Rosie puckered her lips. The detective sighed and made a great show of being put out. He lifted her into his arms and she kissed him sloppily on his cheek. It wasn’t until she uttered a pouty ‘Schlock' that he relented and kissed her on the forehead.
When they entered the living room, the little girl demanded to be put down. She made a beeline for her favourite toys. Engrossed in playing, she didn't notice when Sherlock got out his violin and started playing. The moment the first notes of Mozart's Violin Concerto #5 floated through the air, she turned, faced the detective, and started clapping. “Bavo. Bavo.” She sat, enraptured for the duration of the song. However, when Sherlock transitioned into an arrangement of Saint-Säens' Le Carnaval des Animaux : Aquarium for violin, she stuck her little nose in the air and turned her back on him.
Sherlock would have taken offence had he not noticed that Rosie was arranging her blocks by colour… but she was doing it wrong! They weren’t organized by the colour of the rainbow. Something had to be done.
Putting his violin safely out of the reach of little fingers, the detective sat with Rosie. “I admire your desire to sort your blocks, Watson; however, it would be best if you rearrange them in this manner.” He started stacking them in piles or red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Rosie put up with it for a bit, then she swiped her hands through the blocks, grabbed two fistfuls, and tossed them into the air. “Fun!” She kept tossing blocks until the detective stopped her by grasping her little arms, then shifting to pick her up.
When he did, it was to notice that her nappy was wet. He and John were planning to potty train her soon and he was looking forward to that day. For now, though, he was stuck changing what was sure to be a wiggling Rosie.
Sure enough, the little girl failed to cooperate. She was always golden for John, but seemed delighted to annoy Sherlock at every opportunity. She kicked her feet and rolled side to side, giggling. Any admonishment of, “Be still, Watson,” only made her wiggle all the more. After five minutes of muttering under his breath, the detective finally got the nappy in place. He picked Rosie up and looked her in the eyes. “Was that entirely necessary?”
Her enthusiastic answer was, “Schlock.”
The rest of the day progressed in much the same fashion. The things Rosie did sometimes baffled the detective. Sometimes they amused him. Most of all they kept him on his toes. When it came time to put her down for the night, he was exhausted. No chase through London had ever left him so knackered.
Sherlock carried Rosie to her bed upstairs and placed her in it. She immediately reached for one of the books on the bedside table. She passed over Goodnight Moon, which John read to her, in favour of Treasure Island, Sherlock's preferred reading material.
Taking the book from her, the detective began to read. He read and read and read and read until finally the little girl’s eyes fell shut. He closed the book and placed it on the table. The moment he reached the door, Rosie woke. “More,” she insisted.
With a sigh, Sherlock returned and read her more. This was repeated twice more before he made escape. When he finally did, he went downstairs and laid down on the sofa to think. Later, he fell asleep. Unbeknownst to him, Rosie crept downstairs and climbed atop the detective where she fell asleep.
John found them that way when he got back the next morning. He pulled out his phone and took a photo of the dishevelled detective and the peacefully sleeping girl. They were precious and meant everything to him.
Two days later, the kitchen started to stink. John accused Sherlock of running an experiment which the detective vehemently denied. A search of the area turned up a small cache of mouldy orange slices under the cushion of the high chair. The two men looked at Rosie who just giggled. They definitely had their hands full.