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Left Holding the Baby

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In the corner of the crime scene was a tiny cradle, which once held a screaming infant. The baby—only a month old, female, and named Margaret, Sherlock had supplied without prompting—had found her way into the arms of half of the investigative team by turns in an attempt to hush her wailing while they waited for someone to arrive to care for her. They were all vaguely frayed around the edges by the time little Margaret went from Donovan to Lestrade, and now finally out of Yarders, to John. The crying diminished to a slightly less earth-shattering wail.

“Looks like you’re our winner, doctor,” Donovan commented dryly.

“I deal with trauma, not babies,” he protested weakly, shifting the baby in his arms uncomfortably. While it was true that he currently worked in a clinic that dealt with sniffles on average, once upon a time he’d been trained to deal with traumatic injury, and that was how he’d spent most of his life. The last time he actually dealt with pregnancies and babies was back in med school. The closest he came nowadays was in the event when he had to inform the occasional woman or couple that a test had come back positive. Babies were not his area, in the most eloquent way he could put it.

Sherlock appeared at his shoulder, mercurial eyes flicking over him critically. “Is it like the others?” Lestrade asked without preamble. The critical gaze turned toward the silver haired man before the detective gave a nod. They were working on a case of serial kidnappings turned serial murders. Three very different women—one a single university student, one a 40 year old married mother of two, another a 70 year old widow—had disappeared over the course of the past month, and their bodies had been found en mass in the last week. This particular murder appeared to have been interrupted before the perpetrator could finish carrying out his pattern.

As though possessed, by John’s opinion, the baby in his arms belted out a new, loud wailing sob, giving a faltering jerk of a motion, which sent her teetering precariously in his grasp. Both Lestrade and Donovan gave twin shouts of distress, jumping forward. Neither was nearly as quick as Sherlock, who’d reached out with a shocked intake of breath, plucking Margaret from John's grasp with big hands and long fingers that were apparently as adept at cradling a baby as playing a violin. The detective firmly tucked her close to his chest, eyes intent in examination. As if by magic, there was sudden blessed silence, permeated only by soft snuffles and hiccups. Sherlock’s shoulders relaxed after a moment and he turned a scowl in John’s direction.

“Really, John. You can’t just wave a baby around.” He looked toward Lestrade to continue speaking and came face to face with a mystified expression. “What?” he asked defensively, a cutting rise in his voice.

“How in the world did you manage that?” Lestrade asked with a vague wave of his hand taking in the expanse of the man’s sharp angles and sharper mind and the unknown reason as to why he was cradling an infant as if he did so every day of his life.

“Please,” Sherlock sniffed dismissively.