Where I Cannot Find You

They’re back at 221B after a brief layover at the toy store in which John has just purchased Hamish three new sets of Legos, the large sets.  As soon as they had returned to the flat, first thing, he had unpackaged the pirate ship with the sharks and working cannons and spread the pieces in a pile in the middle of Hamish’s room.  Promptly after, he had rejoinied Sherlock in the kitchen and began attempting to make dinner, per usual.  Everything is going on just fine, per usual, besides the fact that he had bought their son the large sets of Legos this time which in all honesty, he does, never.

“We should have gotten Chinese.  He likes it far better than your futile attempts at cooking anyway,” Sherlock snorts as he clicks through what he claims are pictures of eviscerations on his laptop as he sits at the kitchen table.  However, as John glances over, he can see articles with titles such as ‘Etiology of Neuroblastoma’ and ‘Recovery Rates in Childhood Cancer’ reflected in the glass of the oven behind him.

John ignores both of these facts and turns back to stir the pasta that froths and bubbles on the stove top.

“Do we notify….?”  The doctor purses his lips as he rather dislikes saying her name for obvious reasons.

Sherlock sighs heavily and clicks his mobile phone once before setting it against table again and returning to his research. “Despite the fact you’re currently insinuating that I am wholly irresponsible as a parent, I preemptively did while on our way back. No genetic anomalies, nor history of family diseases.  No allergies, nor anything else we need to be aware of before going into surgery–perfectly healthy.”

“You,” John chews the word as he prods the softening noodles, “are irresponsible, most of the time.  Need I remind you about your little potassium chlorate experiment last week?  I was finding candy bits engrained in the fibers of Mrs. Hudson’s carpet for days, Sherlock—days.”

“Irrelevant; Mrs. Hudson is on holiday, it’s technically not her carpet at present.  It was successful, was it not?”

A tap of the wooden spoon against the metal pot and John stirs once more, looking down into the pasta and searching for an answer there that he’s not entirely certain he wants to find.

“Since you’re obviously not going to ask–yes, in America still,” Sherlock quietly responds to what John is thinking as he continues to click and scroll, “And no, I told her that if she even thought about turning up, I’d have her head cut off on sight.”

Unsatisfied, John nods once, taps the spoon again, and calls Hamish for dinner.   Everything as normal, per usual.

“Ironic, is it not?”  Sherlock asks.  He stretches his legs underneath the table as the two hear their son come thundering down the hallway.

John sets his hands on his hips and exhales. “A bit, yeah.  Doesn’t mean I’ll ever like it, though.”

Hamish sidles up to the kitchen table with a block of grey Lego something in hand.  Sherlock quirks his lips in a shadow of a half smile at the boy before snapping his laptop closed shut rather quickly.

“What are you looking at, Father?”

“Eviscerations,“  Sherlock says as he presses his fingers to the corners of his eyes, but his tone is still consistent, “Perhaps we’ll go through some later if you’re good.”

“No, you will not—Sherlock, no murders at the dinner table, we’ve discussed this a million times,” John warns, a little rougher than intended under the present circumstances, as he pours the pasta out in a colander at the sink, “Hamish, sit.  Set down your toys.”

The chair creaks as Sherlock shifts to push the laptop aside. “What precisely is in your hand at present?”

The small voice is exceedingly proud. “A great white shark—I made it myself, do you want to see it?”

“Hm, it appears so.  Scientific name first.”

“Jesus, Sherlock, he’s six,“  John throws over his shoulder, steeling himself for yet another spat on the subject, “Six years old—“

“—which is precisely the age at which development of the cerebral cortex is at one of the peaks of its maximum productivity, John–”

“—just let him be six.  I didn’t even know that you knew scientific names, I thought those were the types of things that you deleted—“

“—mind palace, John, honestly—Hamish, please demonstrate that you’re not a complete idiot, nor a normal six year old, and recite the scientific name for a great white shark.

Satisfaction permeates Hamish’s answer. “Carcharadon carcharias.   We read about them last night.”

“Excellent.”  The doctor hears Sherlock assess with a smirk as John reaches for the jar of pasta sauce on the counter.  If their son weren’t present, he would consider throwing it in the direction of that smirk, and rather hard.  “I suppose there is a perfunctory educational purpose for seemingly ridiculous playthings such as ‘Legos’ after all.”

However, as John turns around to slide their son’s plate of pasta across the table, Sherlock is gone.  The detective doesn’t eat dinner with them that night.

Then again, he never does.

Everything per usual.

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One thought on “Where I Cannot Find You

  1. It took me a while to understand what’s happening in this section of fan fiction since it is such an extrapolation from the content within the episode we saw on Monday. Because the plot in this post is so different than the actual show, I feel that it is most useful to talk about the narrative.

    First, it seems productive to discuss how gender is performed in “Where I Cannot Find You.” Watson clearly takes on the more feminized role as the homemaker, caretaker, and general worrier. He is the one who takes their son, Hamish, to the toy store, makes dinner, and cleans Mrs. Hudson’s carpet when his partner, Sherlock, makes a mess during an experiment.

    On the other hand we have Sherlock. Sherlock is aloof, assumes the role of the breadwinner (or, at least, the one who focuses on more concrete work, such as the research on the origins and eradication of childhood cancer). Moreover, Sherlock criticizes Watson’s efforts, remarking, “We should have gotten Chinese. He likes it far better than your futile attempts at cooking anyway.”

    Yet perhaps the most interesting gender performance exists in the character of Hamish, who is (I’m guessing) Watson’s and Sherlock’s adopted son, and his fathers’ interactions around him. Although both of his parents are men, Hamish is in no way effeminized. He plays with Legos and builds sharks, activities which are traditionally masculine. He memorizes the scientific names of the animals he constructs. He thus seems like a normal boy who happens to be especially intelligent and who happens to have (I think?) cancer. I appreciate and want to emphasize the author’s choice not to, as far as I can tell within this limited section of his/her work, turn Hamish’s character into an identity crisis. Instead, the dynamic between Sherlock and Holmes, and each father with his son, has a 1950s feel in that the son is taken care of by one of the parents while the other has just enough involvement in the child’s life to be considered a relavant presence.

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