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Title: Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Sherlock - 1/4
Rating: PG
Pairing: Sherlock/John friendship
Word Count: 3,038
Disclaimer: Sherlock belongs to Auntie Beeb and Uncle Moff; Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world.
Crossover: Harry Potter
Warnings: none
Thanks: Many million thanks to my brilliant beta/Brit-pickers, [info]bethia, [info]ilovewales, and [info]katead - all lingering mistakes are just me being awkward.
Summary: The day after John recovers from Molly's de-aging potion, Sherlock decides to repeat the experiment on himself. Things do not go quite as planned.

Notes: This story is a continuation of sorts to [info]alice_day's marvellous fic When the Bough Breaks, which I liked so much that my muse decided I had to write a sequel.

"Right then." John shook the baby bottle to mix the three drops of antidote into the the formula. "Time to get you back to normal." He carried Sherlock over to the sofa and gently sat him down.

For just a moment, John hesitated. He suddenly realised he hadn't even gotten a picture today. Not like your flatmate turns into a baby every day of the week. John was secretly disappointed that Mrs. Hudson hadn't taken a snap of Sherlock holding the baby version of himself on his hip...now that would have been one hell of a sight. And against all expectations, Sherlock Holmes was one of the most adorable babies John Watson had ever seen. Not that Sherlock was an unattractive man - and not that John noticed such things, anyway - but the last thing in the world he had ever expected the world's only consulting detective to be was cute.

The big blue eyes that took in every detail of his surroundings - details the rest of the world overlooked - seemed absolutely huge in Sherlock's baby head, giving him a look of constant surprise. The mass of curly hair framing his little face was unexpectedly blond; so blond it was almost white. When he smiled, which was rarely, two dimples appeared in his cheeks like two little raisins in a pudding. And his nose was frankly adorable. Baby Sherlock Holmes had a little snub nose that just begged you to try and capture it, despite the cooly bemused looks such a game was likely to earn you from its infant owner.

And they'd had fun today. Sherlock was a remarkably easy baby. He didn't cry, and he hardly ever fussed. In fact he was so quiet it was almost eerie. The only time he made any noise was when you took the ever-present dummy from his mouth, and then it was like uncorking a police siren. Leave it in, though, and he was placid as a lamb. The only slightly trying thing was that he had to be entertained constantly. Being carried would bore him and he would wriggle to be let down. He'd crawl like a demon all over the flat or the park or the market or wherever they happened to be, then he would tire of crawling and demand to be carried again.

So, only two rules to follow in the Care and Feeding of Sherlock Holmes the Younger: let him have his vices, and never let him get bored.

John chuckled. Plus ca change.

But it really was time to give him the antidote now. It was well past dark, and Sherlock had said to give him the potion in the evening. Because John was the only one he trusted. John had some idea of how rarely that sort of trust came from a man like Sherlock Holmes, and he intended to show himself worthy of it.

With one last pang, he gave Sherlock the bottle.

While his flatmate gulped the formula, John fetched Sherlock's dressing gown and laid it across the sofa, where it would be within easy reach once Sherlock grew back to normal. Then he grabbed a chair from the dining room table and sat down to watch.

Sherlock finished the bottle and held it out to John: his way of saying he had finished. John took it but stayed where he was. He didn't want to miss this. The doctor in him was intrigued to see how this could possibly work. He was also vaguely curious what the re-growing process had looked like when it happened to him. Must have been freaky as hell.

For a moment, nothing happened. Then baby Sherlock hiccuped, flinched...and fell backwards onto the sofa. He sat up again, blinking, looking as though some invisible hand had pushed him down, and that it now owed him an explanation.

He had aged about one year. Eighteen months; no more than that. Where there had been a six-month-old baby on the sofa before, there now sat a perplexed-looking two-year-old toddler.

John frowned. Was that how the potion worked? Sherlock had said it happened all at once, like those little toy foam things that ballooned up to their proper size when you dropped them in water. Maybe it worked differently for each person? Maybe Sherlock was a different blood type, and the process worked in fits and starts for people with his particular body chemistry?

John sat. And waited. Man and baby stared at each other for what seemed like an age.

Nothing else happened.

Finally, seeing no further point to the staring contest, two-year-old Sherlock Holmes picked up the dummy where it had fallen on the sofa cushion and popped it back into his mouth.

John rolled the empty bottle between his hands. "Yeah..." he sighed to his still disappointingly tiny flatmate. "Bit not good."


"What do you mean, 'loses potentcy'??"

"Just what I said!" Molly Hooper had had stranger weeks, probably. And more stressful ones. Offhand she couldn't remember any. "The Mayfly extract in the antidote only lasts about 48 hours. How long ago did he take the original potion?"

"About twelve or  - Sherlock, no! Put that down! - twelve or thirteen hours."

"And how much did he age when he took the antidote?"

"A year; eighteen months. I'd say he looks about two years old now."

"Can you be more specific?"

"Not just by looking. What do you want me to do, count his tree rings?"

"Don't be sarcastic; I need to know his exact age to re-configure the potion!" Molly took a deep breath, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "There's a mathematical difference. The first potion made him six months old, but he's two years old now. So if we give him the original antidote, the one configured for a six-month old baby, the differential will be off, and it might turn him into a pensioner or something!"

John pretended he knew what the hell she was on about. "Right. Okay. Fine. So, once I get his exact age, how long until - Oi! Sherlock! That eyeball is not a sweetie!"

Molly heard a baby-pitched wail through the receiver, supposedly as John removed the dismembered orb from Sherlock's mouth. Molly knew that kind of wail. She had four younger brothers. She ruffled a hand through her hair and answered John's unfinished question. "With any luck? Two days; one at the soonest."

John sputtered. "Two - ! Bloody... Why the hell didn't you tell us the antidote had an expiry date when you gave it to us?!"

"Why the - heck - didn't you ask me before your flatmate went gulping down more potion in the first place? You're a doctor; you know better than to let a patient take someone else's prescription!"

John opened his mouth, then closed it again. "He didn't…I wasn't…okay, fine. You know what; you can talk to him about it. When you get him back to normal."

"Fine." Molly heard a sudden crash over the receiver. John groaned...whatever Sherlock had just destroyed must have been expensive. "Right. Well, I can hear you've got your hands full. Call me back when you've got the data and let me know."

She rang off and rubbed her eyes. If the Ministry didn't have her wand over this, she swore she would never again use recreational magic within a billion kilometres of a Muggle - human, cat, or otherwise - as long as she lived.


John wondered how normal mothers ever coped. If their babies were anything like Sherlock, they must singlehandedly keep the entire amphetamine industry afloat. He'd sometimes been roped into looking after his little cousins at family gatherings when he was a kid, but nothing at all could have prepared him for Sherlock Holmes: The Toddler Years.

Sherlock as a toddler, John quickly learned, was a very different animal to Sherlock the six-month-old. He could now a) walk and climb, which b) presented a million and one new and exciting ways for him to potentially maim or injure himself. Also, his manual dexterity had improved, meaning that c) he could now firmly grasp and hold a wide variety of objects, which, well… see item b).

If Sherlock was an unusual man, he was a spectacularly unusual baby. John wasn't quite sure what he'd been expecting…an infant savant able to hold forth on the relative merits of Puccini vs Wagnerian operas, maybe. But baby Sherlock Holmes didn't have much to say on the subject of opera, it seemed. Or in fact on any subject at all. In the hours since his transformation, John had yet to hear him speak a single word.

Sherlock didn't cry like normal babies, either, and he didn't even babble: he screamed. Repeatedly. Forcefully and often. He screamed when he was angry. He screamed when he was happy. He screamed when he was confused. He screamed at the egg timer for ringing; he screamed at a sunbeam for being too bright; and he screamed at the wallpaper; presumably for being too ugly…though John had to admit, he had a point there.

John was getting exactly two things from all this excellent lung development: a) a headache, and b) disappointment. He'd thought that if he and Sherlock could at least talk to each other during this two-day ordeal, it might make things a little easier. Plus, okay, yes…be honest; he'd really wondered what the hell Sherlock's version of baby talk would have sounded like. It was shaming to admit, but dammit, some part of John had really wanted to hear the high and mighty Sherlock Holmes - deductive genius; insult-ninja with a black belt in ranting; bane of London's criminals and CID alike - struggle with three-word sentences in a piping little baby voice.

"Oh, how sweet!" John looked up. The woman was in her late twenties, slim and honey-blonde. "Is he yours?"

John followed her gaze. Little Sherlock was sat on the play park lawn, busily tugging up great chubby fistfuls of grass. John started to say he was just babysitting…then changed his mind. "Yes. Yes, he is," he said. The woman had very nice breasts.

The bearer of the lovely cleavage leaned down towards Sherlock. "Hello! Who's a clever boy then? Who's a - "

Sherlock looked up at the woman. Stared up, actually…those huge blue eyes seemed incapable of anything less intense. He did not smile.

John watched the cloying grin freeze on the woman's face. He'd seen similar reactions here yesterday: people were drawn in by Sherlock's cherubic little face and soft wispy curls…and then he would look at them. That cool, analyzing gaze was difficult to take from the adult Sherlock; it must have been downright creepy coming from a two-year-old.

"Well, that's…he's…" The woman floundered, looking around for an escape. "...Thomas!" She cried abruptly, spotting her own child with relief. "Thomas, put that down!" And she hurried over to remove absolutely nothing from her startled-looking toddler's mouth.

John ruefully watched her go. She had a lovely arse. He sank back into the park bench, thinking that such cheap weather-beaten wood had never felt so comfortable. He hadn't been this knackered since Afghanistan. He'd spent the better part of last night trying to child-proof their flat, which was a challenge bordering on the futile: sixty percent of the objects in their living quarters would present a health hazard to a trained biological warfare expert; let alone an inquisitive two-year-old super-genius.

Stifling a yawn, John fished his mobile out of his pocket and dialled. "Hi, Molly. John. Bad news. Just came back from the clinic: X-rays can't pinpoint his exact age."

"What? I thought they could narrow it down to the exact week!"

"Yeah, with foetuses. Toddlers, not so much." He did a fair job of sounding like this was something he'd known all along. "So, now what?"

There was a long pause, followed by a sigh. "Give me some time. I'll have to get back to you."

She rang off before John had a chance to ask just when that might be. Grunting in frustration, he re-pocketed his mobile and thought back to the morning's events. Sherlock had looked more at home in the paediatrician's office than he did right now in the company of other children. Most babies freaked out when they went to the doctor: John had been screamed at by enough of them to know. But Sherlock had sat quietly, letting himself be poked and prodded, even grabbing a tongue depressor and having a look at his own tonsils in the mirror. John remembered something the adult Sherlock had snapped when Anderson was trying to insult him: "I'm not insane; my mother had me tested!"

Is that what Sherlock's childhood had been like…one doctor's office after another; endless series of tests and specialists; all trying to find out what was wrong with him?

No wonder John had such a hard time getting him to come in for a physical.

In Mummy Holmes's defence, however, you couldn't help noticing that something wasn't quite right with the little Holmes boy. Next to the other children, Sherlock stuck out like a sore thumb. He must have laughed and played like normal kids at some point in his life, John thought, but although he watched half-hopefully for the little baby dimples to appear on either side of the ever-present dummy, there was no visible sign that Sherlock was enjoying himself at all. He squatted near the edge of the play park, lifting up bits of wood and stone to peer at the insects beneath. Or sat for ages studying a leaf. Or, unsettlingly, stood like a tiny statue bang in the midst of the throng and simply watched the other children play.

John's mobile rang. Mycroft. Shit.

"Hello Doctor Watson. I've been phoning my rather stubborn little brother since yesterday evening, and he hasn't even deigned to send me one of his usual snarky texts. Something the matter, is there?"

Shit shit shit. John was a terrible liar at the best of times, but now he had to lie to a Holmes. "Um. No, he's…everything's fine. He's just been a bit…er...unavailable."

A pause. "Are you at a play park, Doctor?"

"Yes." John cleared his throat. No point lying about that; they could probably hear the high-pitched whoops and shouts all the way down in MI5. "For a case. Husband thinks his missus ran off with their son."

The silence that followed lasted roughly two ice ages. "May I speak to my brother, Doctor Watson?"

"No, afraid not. He's still busy." Which was more or less true: at the moment, the young detective was studiously placing different objects on the seat of a swing - a rock, a stick, and a dead beetle - to see which ones would fall off the quickest when he let the chain go.

The elder Holmes persisted. "Really, I won't be a moment."

"Seriously, he's not available." John had a brief mental image of baby Sherlock screaming down the receiver into Mycroft's ear when he recognised his brother's voice, which was almost tempting enough to grant the request…almost. "Can I take a message?"

Holmes the Elder sighed. "Tell him to ring me back. It's a matter of some importance."

Always is with you, John thought, even when it's just the Russian ambassador to Peru losing his telly remote. "Right. Will do. Oh, and Mycroft? How old was Sherlock when he started talking?" John had the feeling he would regret asking this - Sherlock's older brother always made him slightly uncomfortable, except when he was making him really uncomfortable - but the paediatrician had said that most kids knew at least fifty words by Sherlock's age. Maybe something had gone wrong with the potion; damaged the speech centres in his brain…?

John could almost hear the swish of Mycroft's raised eyebrow over the receiver. "What an extraordinary question. Let me see…about three, I believe. Mummy thought he was mute at first. Never uttered a word; then all at once it was straight into complete sentences. And never a quiet moment since."

John smiled. Admittedly, the absence of screeching violins and ranting detectives had been rather pleasant last night. In spite of himself he asked, "Yeah? What were his first words?"

"'My house is on fire.' Our nurse forgot some pastries in the oven and Sherlock rang the Emergency Services. Still have the recording somewhere, I believe."

John chuckled. "I'd like to hear that, actually. Sounds just like him." And so did the sudden, high-pitched shriek that was quickly becoming familiar to John's ears. He looked up. An older girl wanted the swing that Sherlock was using to conduct his experiments…on the not unreasonable grounds, John thought, that she wanted to use it for its proper purpose, while Sherlock did not. Toddler Sherlock had issued a rebuttal in his usual eloquent manner.

The normally implacable voice on the receiver sounded oddly stricken. "Doctor Watson. Was that...?"

"Um. Have to go." John was on his feet. "I'll give him the message. It, er…might be a while before he gets back to you."

John rang off and reached the furious children before either of them could brain the other with the swing. "Sherlock! Come on. Time to go." The tiny detective's scream of protest made John's skull throb as he lifted him bodily from the field of battle. John never got migraines. Apparently, his neurons were reconsidering this decision. "Sherlock, look! Here. Play with this instead."

Even as he did it, John knew he was almost certainly going to regret giving Sherlock his mobile - the irritating little superbrain would probably find a way to phone the KGB and instigate a global incident by teatime - but it worked for the moment, buying John enough time to bundle Sherlock back into the pushchair Mrs. Hudson had lent them. Distraction tactics, John thought proudly. Strategy. Worked in the army; worked with a two-year-old.

By the time they reached Baker Street, Sherlock had somehow switched his mobile's language default settings to Turkish.

On to part 2...



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 28th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
It's not exactly a sequel, as it does differ from WTBB in a few very small ways. But yeah, I hope it's at least a moderately worthy follow-up; I enjoyed the original so much. :)
Feb. 28th, 2012 05:08 am (UTC)
Oh, I think it's a very worthy follow-up. You can't even tell it's two different authors who wrote it. So, yeah, love it. Can't wait to see what's in store for John and toddler Sherlock.
Oh, and please, could you make Sherlock's first words something John-related and cute? That would be lovely.
Feb. 28th, 2012 06:27 am (UTC)
...Possibly. :)
Feb. 27th, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Feb. 27th, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
god this is a lot of fun to read XD
I love it, can't wait to read the rest!
Thanks for sharing!
Feb. 27th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
I loved this. I have 8 kids and three of them are two year old Triplets. They can scream mightily too, all at the same time.
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)

Holy cats, woman, you must be Supermom! What vitamins do you take? *takes notes*
Feb. 28th, 2012 10:03 am (UTC)
I had that thing, whatever it's called, where you don't sleep and run about all the time, when I was a kid. As a result, I don't sleep much now, which is very useful.
Feb. 27th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
Heeee, ooh Sherlock. You are going to owe Jonh so much!
(no subject) - shehasathree - Feb. 28th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 28th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
Guh! I can't-I can't breathe! XD
For some reason John's comment about counting Sherlock's tree rings really tickled me.
Feb. 28th, 2012 04:04 am (UTC)
Ah, thankee kindly...always good to know your writing's raised a giggle. :)
Feb. 28th, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
still laughing like an idiot over 'insult-ninja'; even if it's a bit different from wtbb, the tone is very good, funny without falling into slapstick comedy, I hope you update soon
Mar. 5th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC)
Cheers! Glad you liked the insult-ninja bit...and Chapter 2 is now up for your reading pleasure. :)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
Heh! I hadn't even thought of that. Nifty. :)

(And thanks for your lovely comments!)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )