Disclaimers:  I do not own Sherlock or any of its characters.  I am merely borrowing them for entertainment purposes.

Notes:  A Valentine's Day story.  Follows "I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus" and "For Auld Lang Syne."  Not exactly
necessary to read them, but it would help.  John/Sherlock pairing.

Further Notes:  Sherlock is five in this one.  It's been a year and nearly two months after the incident with Father Christmas.

Please be aware that I have absolutely no knowledge of how schools work in the UK.  I am only vaguely aware of how they do
in the US.  What I couldn't find out online, I improvised, so please don't be too upset if there are mistakes.



The Heart of the Matter




Amanda Holmes strode down the long hallway with confidence and grace.  She loathed her name, wondering time and again
how her parents with their combined intelligence, had conceived to give her such a commonplace name.  Well, she had done
better.  Her name may be ordinary, but her two sons' were anything but.  Their names would stand out among the rabble.  
They'd be remembered.  They were unique, clever and original just as their personalities were.  There wasn't another person
like either of them in the world.  She very nearly always felt proud of them.

Except perhaps in instances such as this.

She had been called away from an important luncheon by her youngest son's school.  There was a problem and one of his
parents or a caregiver was requested to come in.  As her husband was out-of-town, it fell to Amanda to see to the trouble,
whatever it may be.  At a time like this, her own mother would have sent the nanny to attend to the trouble.  However, Amanda
liked to take an interest in the lives of her children, to help them if she could.  Besides, it was Janet's afternoon off.  She
wouldn't be back until the next morning.

Despite her calm and aloof exterior, she actually was quite worried.  Sherlock had yet to fit in with other children his own age.  
Oh, Mycroft had had his troubles as well, but he'd adjusted within a few months.  Although he didn't seem to have friends, he
did at least socialize, which was more than she could say for her youngest child.  It was February now and Sherlock had yet to
make a single friend.  It concerned her deeply, seeing her clever little boy so baffled by the activities of the other children.

He was five now and this was his first year attending a school.  The private tutors had done their jobs well, but perhaps he
should have been enrolled before this year.  He hadn't seemed ready at the time.

Oh, there was no lacking in his intelligence.  He excelled in every subject, his thirst for knowledge seemingly unquenchable.  
But at times, it seemed as if he were emotionally unsure.  He was a happy boy, but he didn't take well to other people.  She was
reluctant to push him into situations where he would find himself uncomfortable.  But how else would he learn?

He had been so excited to go.  For almost a year he went on and on about how much he would learn.  His excitement waned
within two days of actual attendance and it became a struggle to get him up in the mornings to go.

She recalled his telling her of the one time he had been invited to play hide and seek with some of the other children.  He'd been
declared 'it' at the time and had obligingly turned his head and counted to the appropriate number.  It took him less than half a
minute of examining the play area, without moving anywhere at all, and to loudly disclose where everyone was hiding.  He
hadn't understood why they'd been upset with him, or their reasons for calling him a cheater.  He hadn't been asked to play
again.  Instead, he sat under a tree and read, while the other children played.  It saddened Amanda that he had no friends.

She paused outside of the door to the classroom she had been directed to.  Placing a hand against her stomach, she took several
deep breaths to calm her frayed nerves.  When she was suitably composed, she opened the door and stepped inside.

Mrs. Rachel Cromwell was a young, slim woman, though not terribly pretty.  She dressed plainly in a long, dark blue skirt and
a similarly colored blouse just a few shades lighter.  She was erasing the chalkboard when Amanda walked in, and she smiled
pleasantly when she looked over to see her.

"Mummy!"  Sherlock's excited voice called out.

Amanda's attention was immediately diverted by her little boy.  She gasped at the sight of him.  Ignoring the teacher, she rushed
over to her precious boy and knelt.

His pale face was mottled with bruises, one eye beginning to swell.  Amanda pulled a handkerchief from her purse and dabbed
at a tiny cut on his bottom lip.  She was dismayed to note that his nose had been bleeding earlier though it had stopped.

"Oh, my poor dear!"  she cried, picking up the half-melted icepack that Sherlock had left on the desk.  She held it to his eye,
wincing in sympathy as he cringed away.  "What happened?"  She cast a sharp look over her shoulder.  "Where is the nurse?"

The woman, Mrs. Cromwell, had the good sense to shrink back under Amanda's cold glare.  "The nurse has seen him."

Amanda was not mollified in the least.  "What happened?"

"Well, considering that Valentine's Day is coming up, I instructed the children to each draw a heart and give it to someone else
in the class."  She pulled out a sheet of paper.  "Sherlock drew this."

Amanda felt her lips tug up a little.  On the sheet of paper was a childish rendition of a human heart.  Perhaps she shouldn't
have allowed him to study that book on human anatomy.  The drawing was actually quite detailed, impressive for a five-year
old.  Then again, Sherlock had been the one to draw it.  It wasn't perfect, a bit disproportionate, but it was clearly a heart.  She
wasn't unduly surprised by his skill at sketching body organs, even in crayon.

Mrs. Cromwell cleared her throat as Amanda looked at the picture.  "The little girl he gave it to promptly screamed and started
to cry."

Sherlock scowled a little.  "I tried to find out what I did wrong when Dmitri Johnston shoved me and started calling me
names.  He was getting too close, and I was scared so I tried to push him away and he started hitting me."  He crossed his
arms and scrunched himself up on the chair.  "This school is stupid.  I did what I was told and I got into trouble."  He was
pouting and sulky.  He'd be a bit of trouble to deal with for the rest of the day with this attitude.

Amanda looked around, frowning when she saw no other little boy in the room.  "And where is this Dmitri or his parents?  
Surely, he was kept after as well."

The teacher looked appalled.  "But your son ..."

Amanda held up the drawing.  "Did as he was told.  Sherlock is a very intelligent little boy, Mrs. Cromwell.  A fact that I
mentioned on the first day I brought Sherlock here.  If you wanted him to draw a heart shape, like the kind you find on a
playing card, you should have specified as such."

Sherlock blinked.  "You mean she wanted me to draw THAT kind of heart?"  He scoffed.  "But this is a school!  Shouldn't I be
learning stuff?"

"Sherlock," Amanda warned, not wanting him to throw a tantrum now.

"But, Mummy!"

She sighed, a dull headache beginning to form.  Still, she knelt again, and brushed her fingers through his thick, dark hair,
smiling gently at him.  "It's okay, Sherlock.  You did what you were told and I am not angry with you."  She kissed his cheek
when she noticed his eyes were starting to fill with tears.  "Let me talk with Mrs. Cromwell and then we'll leave."

Sherlock nodded and wiped at his teary eyes.  He crossed his arms on top of his desk, then hid his face in them, the bag of ice
left forgotten near his fingers.

Amanda stroked his hair again, letting her fingers sift through the wild curls.  It was getting long, needed a trim.

Reluctant to take her attention away from him when he was upset, she turned her attention back to Mrs. Cromwell.  The
expression on the woman's face conveyed arrogance and impatience.  Amanda did not appreciate the attitude and couldn't allow
it to continue.

"Did you show my son an example of the shape you wanted him to draw before the children started?"

Mrs. Cromwell looked perplexed.  "Of course not.  It's a heart.  All children know what a heart looks like."

"Obviously, that is not true."  Amanda kept up the gentle stroking of her son's hair.  "Sherlock's education up until the day he
attended here included a vast array of geometric shapes.  Ask him to draw a reuleaux polygon or a lemoine hexagon and he
could do so easily.  Cardiods and implicit curves aside, we did not want to skew his intellect with representations commonly
used for mass-consumerism."

The teacher crossed her arms in an almost petulant manner.  "It was for Valentine's Day.  The heart has long been used as a
symbol to-"

"I know what a heart was once meant to symbolize.  Now, it is used for profit.  What is Valentine's Day now but an excuse for
stores to sell frivolous cards, unnecessary stuffed animals and chocolates?  Why designate one day to appreciating a loved one,
when it should be done every day out of the year?  One day, does not make love more special."

Amanda took a calming breath, feeling that they had gotten away from the point.  "The next time you decide to instigate such a
banal activity, you should take into account that not every one of your students has had the same education prior to their
attendance in your classroom."  She nudged Sherlock's shoulder with her fingers and held out her hand to him.  "Come along,
Sherlock."

Little fingers gripped her hand as he slid from his seat and grabbed up his schoolbag.  He was silent for a few minutes until they
were almost out of the school.  Then he tugged lightly on her hand.  "Mummy, why did Mrs. Cromwell want me to draw a
playing card heart?"

Amanda smiled down at Sherlock and kept walking.  "You heard her.  Valentine's Day is coming up and she thought it would be
a good activity."

Sherlock nodded.  "But what's Valentine's Day?  Why draw hearts for it?"

Emerging into the bright light of the early afternoon, Amanda paused.  She thought about her answer carefully.  "Well,
Valentine's Day is an annual commemoration held on February the fourteenth celebrating love and affection between intimate
companions.  It is a very old and long celebrated tradition, that has recently suffered due to consumerism.  Traditionally, lovers
express their feelings by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards.  The wrappings or
decorations, even the cards themselves, generally have a heart-shaped motif on them."

"Oh."  Sherlock frowned a little.  "What did I do wrong?  I mean, if you want to show someone you care in such a way, isn't a
drawing of a real heart better than a symbol?"

Amanda chuckled and fingered the drawing she still carried.  "I think so.  Most children, however, don't have your
knowledge."  She regarded him and an idea came to her.  Releasing his hand and touching his cheek, she smiled down at him.  
"You have French lessons today, don't you?"

He scrunched up his face in a grimace.  "Yes, Mummy.  Monsieur Deveau will not be pleased that I am late."

She glanced at her watch.  Ah, yes.  Lessons had been scheduled to begin ten minutes ago.  "Would you like to go to the park
with me instead?"

Sherlock looked up at her with a startled gasp.  He looked utterly delighted at the prospect though.  Amanda didn't remember
the last time she had taken him to the park.  Or Mycroft for that matter.  She regretted that she was so busy with work.  She'd
have to make more time for her sons.

"But won't Grandmère be upset if I can't speak to her properly?  I promised I would learn."

Amanda smiled conspiratorially.  "One missed lesson won't hurt.  I won't tell if you don't."

Sherlock was practically bouncing in his excitement.  "I can show you my reading tree!" he announced loudly.  "Oh!  Will you
push me on the swings?  I've seen other boys and girls doing it.  Miss Janet is always too busy talking with the other nannies
so I just sit and read until she tells me it's time to go.  I don't mind though.  I like reading."

Amanda decided she would have to have a chat with Janet.  She and her husband had hired the woman to take care of Sherlock
and Mycroft, not to ignore them.

"And after, we can pick Mycroft up from his piano lessons and have dinner."

He was beaming.  Amanda knew that the presence of his brother would make him even happier.  Sherlock did seem to idolize
Mycroft.  It was as if his older brother could do no wrong in his little eyes.  "Just the three of us?" he asked.

"Yes.  Anywhere you'd like."  She caressed his cheek, delicately touching the bruises.  "I think you deserve a treat today."

He held up his hands and Amanda acquiesced to his silent demand by picking him up.  She noted that he was getting heavy.  
She wouldn't be able to do this much longer.  She smiled, running her hand up and down his back.  He was growing so fast.

"I'm sorry she treated you like that, Sherlock.  You're a special little boy and sometimes you don't think like everyone else."

"I wouldn't have drawn a stupid heart symbol anyway.  My heart is better.  And I didn't want to give it to Analiegh.  She's
always mean to me."  He buried his face against his mother's neck.

"Why did you choose her then?"  She started walking back to the car that was waiting for them.

Sherlock shrugged.  "She was the closest girl to my seat."

"Ah."  That made perfect sense.  Having no friends, he was likely to choose someone in close proximity, whether he liked them
or not.

"Mummy?"

"Yes, Sherlock?"

He fidgeted in her arms briefly.  "You're a girl.  Can I give my heart to you instead?"

Amanda smiled.  "If you want to.  I'd be delighted to accept it, but I'm afraid I don't have a gift for you in return."

Sherlock pressed his head into her shoulder.  "But you're spending the day with me.  That's better than some stupid card, or
smelly flowers."

She hummed lightly.  "Happy Valentine's Day, Sherlock."  She pressed a lingering kiss on the side of his head.

"Happy Valentine's Day, Mummy," he replied, cuddling closer.



*****



Sherlock didn't spare a glance as he heard John return from whatever errand he had run.  He was checking a few chemical
reactions and didn't want to risk causing another burn on the kitchen table.  John would yell at him if he did that.  Though, that
generally didn't phase him in the least.  However, John would also withhold affection when he was angry with Sherlock.  
Sherlock had grown accustomed to the pleasant sensations he experienced when kissing John.  Even just holding his hand or
receiving a careless brush of fingers along his cheek.  It all had the same effect of making Sherlock feel ... loved, was the only
word he could think of to explain the purely emotional response.

He paused when a small styrofoam box was placed next to him and he furrowed his eyebrows as he regarded it.  "What's this?"
he asked.

John was hanging up his coat, which was far too light for the weather in Sherlock's opinion.  "Hm?  Oh, just ... you know ....
something I picked up for you."

Sherlock narrowed his eyes as his flatmate, friend, and first kiss walked over to his chair and promptly opened the newspaper.  
From the way John's ears were turning pink, Sherlock deduced that John was embarrassed about something, quite possibly
worried that whatever was in the box wouldn't go over well.

A gift.  John had gotten him a gift.  Whatever for?  Sherlock turned his attention to the box.  It wasn't large, about the size of a
shoe box.  With an internal shrug, he opened the box.  A cloud of cold fog billowed from the container.  It quickly dispersed to
reveal a human heart in a dish, resting in a bed of dry ice.  Within seconds, he remembered grumbling about needing a heart to
test a theory.  Had John been in the room then?  Yes, he must have been.

He looked over at John again.  "How did you manage this?  Molly couldn't get one for me."

John looked up and gave Sherlock one of his quick smiles.  "Simple.  I asked Mike and he made a few calls.  Considering the
day, I figured it was fitting.  I didn't see you as the flowers and chocolates type."

Ahhh, that explained it.  "Valentine's day."  He looked from John, to the heart, and back.  "I didn't get you anything."

John snorted and made a vague motion.  "Just don't leave it in the kettle, and I'll be happy."

Sherlock smirked.



*****



When John went up to bed that night, he found something stuck to his bedroom door.  It was a single piece of lined notebook
paper with a simple heart-shape drawn on it in pen and a flower that had clearly been stolen from one of Mrs. Hudson's potted
plants.  They were affixed to the wood by a knife that had been jabbed through both the flower and the heart.

The simplicity of it, as well as the touching sentiment it declared - in a completely Sherlock sort of way - left John smiling.



The End