A/N: Well, here we are folks, the end of the road. Thank you as always for the lovely reviews, and for following and favoriting. Thanks to Kathmak for her excellent prompting and off I go to finish (hopefully) another WIP and perhaps get the numbers down to single digits before more plot bunnies attack. :)
"That was a lovely ceremony, wasn't it?"
John smiled and embraced his wife, not resisting the urge to kiss the tip of her nose before answering. "Yes, it was. Quite lovely. And Sherlock and Molly only slightly shocked people when they returned from their 'rest' in need of medical assistance for his neck injury."
They were alone in their room, for their last night at the Holmes manor before returning to London and resuming their interrupted medical practice. He had already changed into his dressing gown and nightshirt; Mary was wearing only her chemise and drawers, having discarded her wedding finery and corset while he changed. She had not yet donned her nightwear, as John had rather enthusiastically interrupted her evening ablutions – the taking down and brushing of her lovely golden hair, the application of a bit of night cream for her alabaster complexion, and so forth – but there was nothing unseemly between a man and his wife conversing in such a state.
Mary giggled before kissing John back, although not on the nose. "Ah, well, it was only a matter of time, my love," she said reflectively as she settled her head against his shoulder. John's arms encircled his wife's petite form with no conscious thought needed. They fit together so well, he and Mary, with none of the drama and potential danger that often faced Alpha/Omega pairings. No one was likely to challenge his for 'ownership' of the woman he loved; their Bond was entirely voluntary, with no physiological compulsion behind it, which, to John's mind, made it so much better than what his friend and his new wife had just endured. Oh, he had no doubts that Miss Hooper – Mrs. Holmes, now – would make Sherlock a fine match, but not having to endure what the pair of them had gone through during the past few weeks was quite fine with John Watson, thank you very much!
However, he still tended to wonder if his Mary, his sweet, loving Mary with her past as a government agent and tendency to tease him about Knotting and all that entailed, was as entirely satisfied with him as he was with her. Yes, they shared an emotional Bond, but even that could be got round if one were determined enough. He was confident of her love, but unsure of his own appeal and always had been. His adventuresome past in the military and the excitement of chasing after criminals with Sherlock didn't seem enough, to his mind, to make up for the fact that, at heart, he was rather dull.
Mary, either sensing his emotions through that mellow bond, or reading his thoughts on his face as she was wont to do, tightened her hold on him. "I do love you," she said. "And I demand that you stop thinking such horrible thoughts about yourself. You're not boring, and I am very content with our life together."
He held her face tenderly, but the kiss he gave her was fierce and passionate, leaving them both gasping for breath. "Entirely satisfied?" he asked, his voice husky with sudden desire.
"Well," Mary replied, pretending to a thoughtfulness he knew full well was far from sincere, "perhaps I am not entirely satisfied at this particular moment in time."
"And what of our life in general?" John asked, smoothing her hair back from her face and pressing another kiss to her nose. "Would you say it is satisfying overall, or would perhaps a few small changes be to your liking?"
Mary wrinkled her nose and pulled out of his embrace; alarmed, John reached for her, sensing her growing ire as she crossed her arms and stamped one unshod foot. "Damn him!" she exclaimed, the depth of her irritation demonstrated by her use of profanity. "I told him I wanted to tell you myself!"
John gazed at his wife in growing bewilderment. "Who? Tell me what?"
"Oh!" she exclaimed, chagrined as it became obvious he had no idea what she was talking about. "He didn't tell you, did he. Oh dear!"
"Who didn't tell me what?" he asked, relieved that her brief burst of temper appeared to have receded, but still unsure why it had arisen at all. "Mary, is something wrong?"
"Oh, no, darling!" she replied, rushing back to him and holding him close. He returned the embrace but with a sense of caution, as if she might once again capriciously pull away. She turned her face up to meet his, beaming as she explained, "It's just…at dinner. Before we were seated, you recall that Sherlock pulled me aside?"
John nodded; his friend, had, indeed, pulled Mary aside and whispered something to her that had made her blush and that she had refused to explain. Since that was very often the case with the two of them – a less secure man might fret over the possibility of an affaire de Coeur – he had paid it no mind.
"Well, you know how keen his sense of smell is, particularly now," she continued, then raised her eyebrows and fell silent, clearly waiting for her husband to make some connection or other.
It took a moment of puzzling over it before the light dawned, and John gazed down at his wife in unfeigned delight. "You mean…are you certain? I mean, yes, of course his sense of smell has been temporarily heightened, but the man is hardly infallible…"
Mary silenced his babbling with a kiss and a smothered giggle. "Yes, and it would do that great ego of his a service to hear that now and again, but no, John, in this case he is entirely correct. You and I are going to be parents roughly nine months hence."
John gave a whoop of joy and lifted Mary in his arms, swinging her around and then peppering her face with kisses. He then scooped her into his arms in spite of her laughing protests, carrying her over to the bed before gently settling her into the middle and climbing in next to her. Their lovemaking was gentle and unhurried, a confirmation of the love they shared, and all worries that Mary found her life or her husband unexciting were banished.
When they were settled comfortably next to one another, properly clad for sleeping and all lights extinguished, Mary gave a soft laugh from where her head was resting on her husband's chest. "Now what?" John asked softly, reaching up to stroke her hair. She had braided it but as always had declined to wear a night-cap, as had he. He'd lost the habit during his military duty and she had disdained it from childhood, claiming she felt smothered with the ties under her chin and her ears covered.
"If we have a girl, and Sherlock and Molly have a boy, perhaps one day we'll be guests at their wedding," she answered with another small giggle.
"Oh, I can just see that now," John sighed, shaking his head. "The Holmes-Watson nuptials, with Sherlock's father still glowering at me and Mycroft's brood standing witness…well, with any luck they'll both be Betas and be spared some of the ups and downs of an Alpha-Alpha or Alpha-Omega marriage," he concluded optimistically, if somewhat doubtfully.
"Oh, if Sherlock Holmes fathers a son I believe there's no doubt that he'll be miniature of his father, right down to his Alpha nature," Mary replied happily. As if she looked forward to future confrontations such as all Alpha parents faced with their dominant offspring. Frankly, John found himself in agreement with her, although he spared a moment to pity Molly; being caught between Sherlock and an Alpha son by him would no doubt turn out to be a very trying position indeed. However, from what he'd witnessed of her so far, he also had no doubts that she would have any and all children by Sherlock eating out of her dainty little hand as assuredly as she did her husband.
Twenty years later, as John and Mary stood and watched their eldest daughter, Isabella Jane Watson, pledge her troth to William Henry Holmes, eldest son of Sherlock and Molly, they each remembered quite vividly the conversation they'd shared on their dear friends' wedding night. As predicted, there were many travails that Molly had to endure with so unpredictable a husband; he spent many a night sleeping in the Watson's guest room, truly bewildered as to what he might have done to cause his wife to be so cross with him, but he gradually learned. His son was, indeed, a miniature of him both in looks and in nature, a true Alpha from a preciously young age; however, all three of his younger sisters were sweet-natured Omegas for whom both he and his father were ferociously protective.
Isabella, surprisingly enough, was also an Alpha, although her two younger brothers and three sisters were all Betas. The courtship between her and William had been tumultuous, to say the least, but here they all stood at last, tears in Mary and John's eyes – and Molly's and possibly Sherlock's although he was certainly not going to admit to such! – while their families were joined in holy matrimony.
When the bride and groom withdrew for their hour of 'rest', it was Sherlock who of course had to spoil the mood by gloomily asking, "What do you suppose are the chances they'll come back downstairs without requiring medical attention for neck injuries?"
Molly scolded him, her face a becoming shade of pink; Mary and John both hid their laughter behind patently false throat-clearings, and fortunately no one else was close enough to her the father of the groom being so gauche in mixed company.
And when Isabella and William appeared, each sporting signs of hastily re-donned clothing, mussed hair and, most tellingly, the edges of white bandages peeping from beneath their collars, only Molly's warning glare kept her husband from commenting on any of it.