"Are you hungry?"
Though she was starving, John shook her head. She would love to eat something but was afraid of being unable to keep it down. Her stomach didn't feel like it was up to the task of digesting just yet.
Mycroft turned to the man standing in a white lab coat and ordered some tea to be brought to John's room. The unknown man bowed slightly and trotted off, making no comment on John or the situation.
Once they were alone, Mycroft sighed. "You know, we've been looking for you for a very long time. We kept hearing rumours that there were women alive, hiding among us."
"Any of them true?" John asked with very little optimism.
"No. And trust me, we investigated every rumour. We left no stone unturned, no doubts left in our minds. All we found were corpses and broken minds."
"Sorry," John said. She wasn't sorry. She wasn't regretful. If Mycroft wanted to vent his frustration, he could do it somewhere else.
Mycroft's lips thinned angrily. She knew he hated her sarcasm. "If you are pregnant," he began. "The moment you suspected you were, you should have come to me."
"This isn't about women's rights!" Mycroft suddenly exploded at her. "What if the child is infected? The moment the sex turns, it may very will die, taking you with it! There are steps we could take to prevent it, but only if we catch it in time."
"This is not the first time I miscarried a child."
That shut Mycroft up. John took sadistic glee watching his face sag, having hope die in his eyes. It was like witnissing a plane crash in slow-motion: she felt guilty for it happening, but could not tear her eyes away.
The breath she released made her shoulders drop, letting loose the anger she was holding. "I... I've lost two children in the past. What I have doesn't make pregnancy impossible," she said plainly. "Just difficult. But understand this, Mycroft: I'm old. My body has suffered much trauma. I do not know if I am even capable of carrying a baby past the third month. So save your little speech. You placed your hope in the wrong uterus."
She didn't say it, but a small part of her had been glad the chances of her miscarrying were high. With the threat of rape practically around every corner, the only protection she had against an unwanted pregnancy was her broken reproduction system.
Mycroft gripped his umbrella so tightly his knuckles were turning white. John didn't know how horrible it must be for him, to finally find the last woman on earth and know all his efforts was for naught. It must feel like the Gendercide was happening all over again.
The silence was broken as the white-coat man came back with John's tea. He first placed the tea down in front of her, then pulled out a piece of paper from inside his coat, passing it over to Mycroft.
Mycroft read it grimly. He then passed it over to John. "Congratulations," he said. "You're pregnant."
He got up to leave. He paused by the door, and in an almost strangled voice, asked, "I assume Sherlock is the father."
There was no point in lying. "Yes."
Mycroft bowed his head. "Was it consensual?"
He shuddered, just once, and left.
They instructed her she wasn't allowed to go outside anymore. Not even in a contamination suit. They did not wish to risk it.
The secret underground lair, as some of the men liked to say in Dr. Evil's voice, was not the mad science lab she expected it to be. It was in Baskerville, for fuck's sake. There were rumours of genetic engineering going on here long before the Gendercide even happened. Some even blamed them for the extinction of women, though Mycroft assured John that was not true.
The men here were nice, gentle with her. Some were positively giddy to have her around, talking avidly about their wives, sisters and daughters as if they never died. Others treated her like the Virgin Mary, praising her with great hope in their eyes. John tried to avoid those men as often as she could.
They took blood samples, hair samples, swabbed her mouth and vagina. They regulated her medicine carefully, her bowel movements with a strict eye. One time she accidentally tripped and John swore nearly everyone in the room had a mini-heart attack.
They also called her 'Joan' or 'Miss Watson' which wigged her out. She had yet to call herself Joan in her own head and it took some time to react to the name.
When she wasn't being run ragged by tests, she was allowed to do what she pleased. She watched television, read books, exercised, listened to an ipod, the radio, napped excessively and was allowed the use of the internet.
Needless to say, she spent a lot of time debating on emailing Sherlock.
Mycroft had left Sherlock where he laid, unconscious on the hotel floor. Nobody made any effort to help him up, and John just let herself be steered away into Mycroft's awaiting limo.
So far, there were no updates on Sherlock's website. Nothing on Moriarty or other crimes. Even the local newspapers were very hushed-hushed, though John suspected that was more Mycroft's doing than anything else. How he was able to keep so many men from running their mouths (or declaring war) John didn't want to know.
John refreshed Sherlock's site. Nothing had changed.
Her belly grew.
Little by little, her skin stretched out, her weight changed. The men were keeping constant tabs on her stomach, measuring her every other day, squealing everytime there was a noticeable growth. Though it was unnecessary at this point, they kept giving her ultra-sounds every other day until finally she put her foot down and told them to fuck off.
Every day that passed, they celebrated. Many of the men admitted to her they were counting down the days eagerly, circling the nine month mark on their calendars.
"It was reported you cry at night."
John swore she was going to find whoever snitched to Mycroft and kick his fucking teeth in. It was bad enough the scientists around her monitor her every meal, her every bowel movement, but to watch her while she slept? Creepy mother fuckers. "I don't."
"Are you experiencing pre-partum depression?" Mycroft asked. "Joan, you must tell me this. We don't want to risk... injury."
"You have the worst bed-side manner in the history of bed-side manner. And I'm a fucking doctor, I've seen the worst."
"Shut it. It's not... it's not what you think."
She had sessions with therapists, to help her with her PTSD. Two weeks after the 'auction,' John woke nearly every morning kicking and screaming, fighting off feeling of Moriarty's hands on her body, the sensation of her dress being ripped off her.
Things were better now, though the men around here learned very quickly not to come up behind her too quietly. Three of them were sporting new nose jobs after John's elbow came in contact with them.
Mycroft sat down in front of John, reaching over to grasp her hand. It was only the fifth month and her skin glowed with the pregnancy hormones. "Tell me."
She pulled her hand away. She didn't want his touch. "I am not depressed. I'm pissed off."
"Why? He has done nothing."
She was not going to cry about this, not in front of Mycroft. She could blame it on hormones and Mycroft would probably let it be, but blaming it on her pregnancy was so fucking girly. John's lip nearly curled in disdain.
So she told the truth. "Where is he?"
Mycroft hesitated for a mere second. In that instant John knew whatever came out of his mouth would be a lie. "I don't know what you mean," he said.
"If he wanted to break into this place, he would have already. So where is he?"
"I don't know."
"Lie to me again-"
"Joan, please, for yourself and the baby, settle down."
It was strange, having this obtuse power over Mycroft. How far was he willing to go for this child? John visibly settled down. She gestured to him to continue.
"I'm not lying to you. The true answer is, I don't know. For better or for worse, he is the father and that's something I will not deny him. I only drugged him so I can get you to safety without further incident. Afterwards, once he calmed down, I was more than willing to bring him to you. But the morning after... he was gone."
John sucked in a breath.
"He left under his own power, this I do know. Where he went or why, I do not. He hasn't contacted me and... and well... I thought at some point he would have broken in already to see you. I now know he hasn't."
John felt sick. Unconsciously her hand curled across her stomach as her breathing sped up. She heard Mycroft muttered a worried, "Joan?" and she ignored him. She wasn't going to cry in front of him, she wasn't going to cry...
Mycroft dropped his brolly and quickly pulled her into a hug. John hid her face into his expensive suit, clutching at it, pounding her fist weakly against his chest.
On her fourth month, she miscarried.
She was on the treadmill when it happened. She wasn't walking very fast, just enough to get in her daily exercise. Despite the size of the lab, there really wasn't much room to roam around in. It was terrible that she wasn't allowed outside, not until after the baby was born.
It started out as a small pain, like a stitch in her side. She lowered the speed and kept walking, getting upset when the pain refused to leave.
Something inside of her suddenly snapped, and she gasped, stopping the treadmill immediately. She hobbled off, clutching her stomach.
Something felt broken inside.
She was monitored every hour of every day and it didn't take long for someone to come to her aid. By the time she was wheeled into the emergency area, blood was steadily trickling out from between her legs.
She didn't remember much after that. When she was fully conscious of herself again, Mycroft was holding her hand. He looked like he hadn't slept in days.
"Did..." she asked fearfully. "Did I lose it?"
"Just one of them," he told her.
All the men wanted to be present but Mycroft denied them all. John thought about telling Mycroft himself to fuck off and go into the other room.
She didn't really mean it, deep down. Over the past few months the bitter feeling she felt towards Mycroft slowly died away. At this point she didn't know if she was fighting against him because what she felt was real or because she thought she had to.
John leaned back against the bed, pulling up her shirt to expose her stomach. She bit her lip at the sight of her stretch marks.
Dr. Gale squirted gel on John's bump, then placed the sensor on top. As he moved it around the images came on screen, John saw Mycroft tense.
John saw an arm. The shape of a head. The sensor moved and she saw legs. She gasped.
"It's a boy," Dr. Gale said, his voice trembling. There were tears in his eyes. "It's a little boy."
There was no anger, no disappointment that the child was the wrong sex. There was only pride and love and awe.
"Shall I make the announcement to the others?" Mycroft asked.
"Please do," John told him. "Also tell them I don't want gifts. I'm sick and tired of finding frankincense in my room."
Her due date was in two weeks. John wished it was closer because she so fucking sick and tired of being pregnant.
She sat in a bath of warm water, soaking her skin. She wished it was hotter. Her ankles and her back needed the warmth. But she knew if she dared to make the water hotter, she'll have someone running into the bathroom in a panic.
John lowered herself more into the water, stopping when the level reached just below her nose. The top portion of her pregnant belly stuck out. She kept splashing water over the bulge to keep it warm.
She jerked when the door to the bathroom suddenly swung opened. Stepping through was one of the men in a contamination suit. Most of them started wearing that suit as her due date got closer, though it was unnecessary. Most of them never left the sanctuary in the past nine months.
She expected the man to tell her to get out, it was time for her medication or something like that, but he just stared at her through his tinted plastic mask.
"Goddamn it," she hissed angrily. "It's bad enough you bastards monitor every one of my bowel movements but is it really necessary to watch me bathe?"
The man kept staring.
John grabbed the soap and threw it at him. "Get the fuck out, you wanker-"
The soap bounced off the man's chest. He watched it fall to the floor. He brought his arm up, grabbed his protective mask and slowly pulled it off his head.
"Have you named it yet?" Sherlock asked.
Blood drained from John's face. She felt sick and for a horrifying second, she believed she was miscarrying again. She wasn't, she knew she wasn't, but the nausea kept raising. "Sick," she moaned, pushing herself out of the bath and towards the toilet. "I'm going to be sick."
Sherlock quickly went to her side, grasping her by the elbow. The moment he touched her, the sickness went away and was replaced by blinding anger.
God, her fist hurt when it collided with the side of Sherlock's face. Such a stupid move, she couldn've easily broken her hand, but she wanted to punch Sherlock again. Again and again and again.
But she was nine months pregnant and she was wet and naked. She grabbed her towel and wrapped it around herself, suddenly self-conscious. "You fucking- fuck! You fucking-"
"I see your vocabulary hasn't changed." Sherlock said, gingerly touching his jaw.
"Fuck you!" She literally could not think of anything else to say. She pulled the towel taunt around herself and tried to leave. She skidded on a wet patch, stumbled, forcing Sherlock to reach out and grab her.
"Calm down," he commanded. "You need to calm down before you hurt yourself."
He had the nerve to place hand across her belly, like he had the goddamn right. He snatched his hand back suddenly, curling his fingers inward. "He moved," he gave as explanation.
The door to the bathroom burst opened. Mycroft lead the front while four other men were behind him, carrying guns and tasers. Mycroft stared at Sherlock, his chest expanding as he drew in a large breath. "You-"
He cut himself off. "Get Miss Watson out of here," he commanded to the other men.
As the guards gently took John by the arm and started leading her out of the bathroom, John wanted to protest. She had a right to be here, to know what was going on, but if looks could kill, Sherlock would be on the floor by now. Mycroft's hands were curled into tight fists and they were shaking.
Before the door closed behind them, she heard Mycroft hiss out, "You son of a-"
Twenty minutes later, Mycroft visited John in her room. "Do you want to see him?"
"Where is he?"
"Decontamination showers. It's unnecessary, but I ordered the men to scrub extra hard just in case."
John placed a hand on her large belly. The boy inside had been kicking for quite a while now. Was he happy or irritated, she didn't know. "Has he given an explanation why he disappeared for nearly ten months?"
"No," said Mycroft. He let loose a long-suffering sigh. "He said he'll only talk to you about it."
"I'll see him," she said finally. "Can I have a gun?"
"Should I call you John or Joan now?"
Sherlock's hair was damp from the decontamination shower, his skin bright red. He was wearing a standard disposable gown, an ugly piss-yellow thing. It made him look ridiculous and John was sure Mycroft only did that to Sherlock for her benefit. "You may call me Miss Watson," she told him.
A table seperated them and John was happy for it. She wasn't about to throw herself over a table to claw his eyes out and it nautrally hid the pregnacy from Sherlock's scrutiny.
Sherlock made a face and sat down in front of her. "I'm not one of your servants here."
"No, you're right. Because I've actually allowed the men here to call me Joan but they choose to call me Miss Watson out of respect. You haven't earned that right. You don't get to say my name."
He looked like he wanted to argue that. "You're angry. I understand that-"
"You understand nothing!" John yelled. "Actions have consequences, Sherlock. You do not pick and choose which consequences to face! Running out on this pregnancy was not an option!"
"When were you going to tell me you were pregnant?" Sherlock suddenly snapped at her. "It was over a month when we were together and you never once hinted to me you were pregnant! What were you waiting for? The birth to tell me?"
"Don't you dare place this back on me. I had to be sure. I had no idea if the Gendercide affected my reproduction system."
"Clearly it hadn't."
"It did, you fuck! I lost the girl!"
Grief took the anger away on the last word. It was never confirmed that the fetus was a girl, it was too early, but something told John it was. How can she explain the hole in her heart of losing a child she never saw? She'd lost children before, but she had her mother and her sister to lean against. She had her friends, other women who'd lost children and knew exactly what she was going through.
Losing the child and finding out it was a girl was a personalized hell for John.
Sherlock always had an unnatural thinness to his face, like he'd been starving himself since he was a teenager, but it was a look John came to know and respond to. At the declaration of the miscarriage, blood drained from his face, hollowing out his eyes, making him look like skeleton.
"I ... I didn't know you were carrying twins."
John placed her hands on her stomach, willing the baby to stop kicking. "Why did you leave? What was so important that you had to disappear for nearly a year?"
John snapped her head up, nearly hurting her neck at the speed. "He's dead!"
"Not his minions," Sherlock said, his eyes narrowing dangerously. John has seen this before on Sherlock. He looked like this when he was afraid. To cover that fear, he invoked anger, anger so powerful and great people should scatter when they see it. "The spider is dead but the web remains. I had to dismantle each and every thread and take the whole thing down. Even if one strand remains, it's capable of catching flies."
He blinked at her. "You."
John forced herself not to shudder. The baby kicked again.
"The men at the auction," Sherlock continued. "Most of them were willing to lay down their lives for you, but there were some who were not moved by the sight. Those men would not hesitate in harming a woman, pregnant or otherwise. To keep you safe, I had to leave to find them and rid of them."
There was something unfinished in Sherlock's voice. "Is it over, then?" John asked. "Is Moriarty's web gone?"
Sherlock sighed, his shoulders dropping, as if he didn't believe in the truth himself until he finally said it. "Yes, he's gone. All of it."
John held out her arms. "Come here."
Sherlock came to her, kneeling down at her feet. Other men in the lab have done the same to John, regarding her as some sort of religious symbol. It irked her that so many have done this. Sherlock reached out and pressed his hands against her stomach.
John covered his with her own. They held on to each other in silence until the baby started kicking again.
For the next four days, nearly every second of every minute, Sherlock never left her side. John knew on some level she should be annoyed and offended by this, but she practically bathed in the attention. It was nice to be around somebody who didn't treat her like the mother fucking Virgin Mary.
Sherlock talked to John, told her his activites the past nine months. He told her of the men he met, the plans he uncovered, the secret wars being held. John soaked up the stories, imagining them with as much detail as she could muster. Anything was better than her sitting here, watching her stomach slowly grow.
"I will take you to see these places," Sherlock promised her often. "You, me, and our son."
John was sure he meant nice, safe places like Hawaii or France, not the dangerous backwater places in which he hunted down Moriarty's men. Or maybe he did mean those places. John didn't care- she missed going outside.
On the fourth day, her water broke.
The sensation of it woke her in the middle of the night, thinking she had wet herself. (Wouldn't be the first time. She used the toilet nearly every hour since she's got pregnant.) And with Sherlock reading in the next room, it was going to mortifying to ask him to get her another pair of pants.
John scooted up to swing her legs over when the first rounds of labor pain stabbed her in the side. The pains were small, like a stitch on her side. Immediately she knew what this was.
On every wall in John's room, Mycroft had placed a small button in an easy-to-reach area. He had them installed shortly after the miscarriage. The moment John knew she was in labor, she was suppose to press that button.
Instead of pressing it, she padded out of the bedroom. Sherlock lifted his head up from the book he was reading, his eyebrows raising at the sodden wet sight of her.
"It started," she said.
In a moment Sherlock had tossed his book aside (Jack the Ripper: Male or Female?) crossed the room and cupped John's face. He kissed her lips, her eyes, her cheeks, her forehead. He pulled her close. Frankly John was a little surprised by the gentle affectionate touches.
"I think I understand what the other men feel like," he admitted, his chin resting on the top of her head. "This will be the first child to be born in ten years. He'll be the youngest person in the world."
"You better stop that line of thoughts right now before you overwhelm yourself."
His arms tightened around her. "I'm going to be a dad."
His hand shot out and slapped the emergency button. A blue light lit up and now everyone, all three hundred and fifty-two doctors and soldiers, knew John was in labor. She swore she could hear them cheering.
Joan woke around two in the morning. Everything was so sore, her vagina, her ass, her back, her sides, everything. She checked the clock and saw she'd been asleep for nearly eight hours and it felt like it only been ten minutes. She almost drifted off again.
She would have too, if she didn't see Sherlock cradling Elliot in his arms. He looked like a shadow in this dim light, holding the baby close to him. "I still can't believe you let Mycroft name him."
Oh, he was pissed when Joan announced to Sherlock Mycroft had the naming rights. That's what happens when the father disappears for nearly ten months. "Why? What did you want to call him?"
"Oh god," Joan snickered, then groaned when her back ached sharply. "No, thank goodness I let Mycroft choose the name. Lionel? Really, Sherlock?"
He shrugged. The movement caused Elliot to snuffle, and he wailed quietly. Sherlock shushed him gently, maneuvering him to place him back down into the hospital crib. "While you were asleep, Mycroft informed me in Japan, they were finally able to successfully clone a female."
Joan was just drifting off again. The news woke her up fully. "Seriously?"
He nodded. "They have no idea if she'll live long enough to see puberty, though. She's not immune and they have her under quarantine. Mycroft is sending them a vial of your blood, to see if their cloning techniques and your immunity would be the perfect combination."
"Maybe she and Elliot would be friends," Joan said. Tears were prickling at the sides of her eyes. "They're the same age."
For years she wondered why- why did this happen to her, why was she only one immune? A billion questions and no answers.
Joan didn't believe in God, she did not want to invest in the idea that this was her ultimate fate, to become mother of the world. And yet here she sat, with Elliot sleeping quietly and Sherlock looking over them both, she wouldn't want it in any other way.
Sherlock gently brushed her hair back out of her face. "Go to back to sleep," he said. "I'll be here when you wake up."
Joan leaned her head back. She closed her eyes. For the first time in ten years, she looked forward to the future.