Lily was only 30 years-old when she inherited the Baker Street property. It was a bittersweet day, moving her boxes into the place where her Uncle had lived her whole life. She had always dreamed of moving into the flat one day, but she had always imagined it being much further in the future. She'd wanted to inherit it so far into her future, that there was nothing left to do but retire into the old flat. She had never wanted it this soon.
"Lils?" Jack appeared in the doorway, the last of their boxes in his arms. "You OK?"
She nodded surreally. John set the small suitcase he'd carried up the stairs down next to the coffee table. "You sure you don't want us to stick around and help clear out some of Sherlock's old junk?"
"No, Dad." She insisted again. "And it's not junk. You should know that."
"Right. Sorry." John was still dealing with the situation to the best of his abilities, after all, it takes more than a month to move on.
"Besides. Jack has his stag night in a few hours, and you said you were going with him. I don't want you guys to miss it. Mum and I are going to the florist tomorrow morning to make sure the bouquets are the exact right color, so I'll see both of you for lunch after." Lily stood on her tip-toes and kissed her extremely tall fiancé. "I want to get the place in order before the wedding next week, so we can just come right home to it after the honeymoon."
John went to give her a hug goodbye, and whispered in her ear. "You sure you're OK?"
She nodded into his shoulder. "Thanks for caring."
John kissed her on the cheek and went down the familiar stairs to hail a cab. "See you tomorrow, love." Jake kissed her again and followed John down the stairs, leaving Lily amongst the wreckage of her Uncle's last few months in the flat.
The first thing she did was go into Sherlock's old bedroom and just get that room done and over with. The morphine machine he'd stolen from the hospital and his pain pills were strewn out over the bedside table, and the small suitcase he'd taken to St. Bart's a month ago now lay in the center of the large bed where John had dropped it off after signing all the official papers. Lily sat on the bed and pulled her knees in close to her chest, waiting for the memories to come.
"Dr Lily Watson?" An intern stuck her head shyly into the research lab.
"Yes?" Lily didn't look up from the experiment she was conducting, her own interns scribbling away as they watched the reaction.
"He's asking for you. We think it may be time."
Lily immediately left her work in the hands of her interns, telling them to wrap up and call it a day. Upstairs in the small private room, machines beeped and charts told the worst had come, and Lily couldn't bring herself to go in just yet.
"You'll regret it if you don't say goodbye." A quiet voice said from behind her. Jillian, her future sister-in-law and a nurse at St. Bart's, put her arms around Lily in a quick, supportive hug, then nudged her towards the slightly open door.
Lily pushed open the door slowly, but what she saw made her want to run again. Sherlock smiled the best he could when he saw his goddaughter. His skin was paper-thin and ashen, his hair completely gone, and the grey eyes had dimmed significantly over the last few years. The biological researcher tried not to cry.
She had tried so hard in the last 3 years, but she couldn't cure his cancer.
Lily sat down gingerly in the chair next to his bed and picked his hand up. "How do you feel, Uncle Sherlock?"
"Same as ever. Wish I had my morphine machine." He mumbled.
"You have one right there." She said in disbelief. "You don't need two."
"No, I need mine. I could control that one. Jake's sister won't let me touch this one." He frowned.
Lily laughed a little. "It's because you stole one from here the last time you were in for chemo and now they're making sure you get the correct amount, not just however much you feel like that day."
"Do you remember the time your Dad lectured both of us at the same time, using those same words, because we ate all his chocolate biscuits on his birthday?" Sherlock laughed, his eyes lighting up once more. "I asked him why it was a big deal, and he responded with 'Because you're supposed to eat one or two a day, not just however many you feel like'."
"In his defense, you stole them and we ate the whole plate before dinner. Plus, they were supposed to be for him."
"He didn't need the calories." They giggled a little and Lily reached over and turned the knob up on the morphine, just a bit.
They sat together and talked for an hour, telling stories from their times together in her youth, making jokes and it was almost like old times again. Until Sherlock went into a coughing fit, pulling away his handkerchief bloody.
"I'm sorry I couldn't fix this." Lily admitted quietly. "I spent all that time researching and experimenting and nothing came from it. I still can't stop this." She was starting to cry.
"Lily Anne, you did so well. You made progress and the scientific community looks to you to lead them in cancer research." He reached up and swiped a tear from her cheek. "You couldn't stop this, but you will save so many other people."
"I still wish I could do something now."
"You can promise me something." Sherlock sat up a little farther in bed.
"You won't change anything I planned for your wedding."
Lily laughed through her tears. "I won't! God, you and Mom are terrible Bridezillas."
"Your mother is terrible at planning weddings, what are you talking about?"
"She was the one that helped me pick out my dress."
"And who was the one that paid for the tailor, made suggestions, and made it even better?" Sherlock nodded when Lily giggled out 'you did'. "Damn right I did. And I swear to god, if you change anything, even the flower colors, I'll haunt your wedding. I'll push over a vase or something."
They both were laughing now. "I promise I won't change a single thing. It'll be exactly how we pictured it." She took his hand again. "I just wish you could be there."
"Me too." He kissed the back of her hand. "One good thing came out of this situation, though."
"My hair's gone, so I don't have to worry about you braiding it for the funeral." He laughed weakly and Lily let out a huff of laugh in between her tears.
They sat in companionable quiet for the next hour, until a flatline broke the silence.
Now, Lily moved around 221B Baker Street, pulling boxes across the wooden floors to their proper rooms, and moving boxes of Sherlock's things upstairs into her father's old room. She paused, however, when she came to an old box her mother had dropped off at her previous flat months ago. The cardboard box was dusty, and 'Lily's Childhood Things' written in sloppy sharpie marker across the side.
Lily knelt down and opened the box. Inside were several of her favorite old toys, a scrapbook from her trip to Disney World with her parents and Sherlock, and several other things that were precious to her as a child. A manilla folder at the bottom of the box caught her eye, and she dug it out from under the Perplexes maze that Scotty had given her once he'd given up and started resenting the Christmas gift.
On the front of the folder was 'Happy Birthday Lily Anne' written in Sherlock's scrawling, fading handwriting. She opened the folder, and inside was the song he had composed for her 6th birthday. ""Lily's Song'." She read aloud, skimping the old pages of sheet music. She had forgotten about the song all these years. It had been too complicated for her to play, so she and her Uncle had set it aside, promising to return to it once she was older and her skills had improved. Now it was 24 year later, and she had still never heard the song.
Getting an idea, she quickly slid into her coat and snatched up her violin before going out to hail a cab.
The headstone that read 'Sherlock Holmes' was expensive marble and expertly carved, a combined financial effort of the entire family. Lily tried her hardest not to focus on the dates underneath the name as she set up her music stand and laid the sheets of paper along the edge, being silently thankful for the lack of wind.
She pulled the violin up and tucked it under her chin, finally beginning to play her song. It was complicated, yes, but at it's core, the melody was happy and filled with vibrancy. She listened and played in awe of the amount of himself that her Uncle Sherlock had poured into the piece, and she couldn't help but smile as the piece turned silly and back to serious and then into quick and cheerful; he had made the song exactly like her 6 year-old self.
Lily laughed and smiled, feeling very at peace as she played her Uncle to sleep.
Two years later, Dr Lily Anne Watson won the Noble Prize for Medicine for her advanced and almost guaranteed cancer treatments and medications. Almost curing the disease entirely, she did exactly as her Uncle had predicted and saved so many more lives.
With the prize money, she opened up the Sherlock Holmes University of Music and Science, where she is currently continuing her research and teaching violin lessons. Every year, at her student's final concert, she opens the evening with one of her Uncle Sherlock's original compositions.
Author's Note: Thank you all for being patient on this update. School's been so crazy lately, and I really wanted to do this epilogue justice and the ending it deserved. Thanks for reading and enjoying, and for all the great feedback. This story started as a silly one-shot, but due to requests, I decided to make it longer and it grew and became a large part of myself as well. Also, I feel the song 'Willow' by Jasmine Thompson goes very well with this chapter, as well as the whole fic, so please go listen to it :)