Sad to say, this is the last chapter of this story! Thank you all SO much for following, favoriting, and reviewing! I can't tell you what it means to me, but it means a whole bunch. You guys are awesome and this story probably wouldn't be this long or be as neat-o without any of your encouragement and follows!

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Chapter Twenty-Four



A week passed without much word from Greg Lestrade or Mycroft and the two men had nearly forgotten about both men until the door knocked.

"Mmm… you get it," John insisted as he slung an arm around Sherlock's body tiredly.

Sherlock groaned but did not argue. He pulled on a loose pair of cotton pajama bottoms on and trudged over to the door. His eyebrows furrowed together when he saw Lestrade and Mycroft standing side by side with smiles on their faces.

"This isn't an intervention, is it?"

He moved out of the way so the two men could walk past and into the living room. As they did so, Sherlock shut the door and walked into the kitchen to put the kettle on.

"Should it be, Sherlock?" Mycroft inquired, half-jokingly before he set his umbrella against the wall.

The young man shook his head and then glanced over at Lestrade before he smirked slightly. "How was your holiday? Warm, I take it?"

"What gave it away?" Lestrade asked, curious and unsurprisingly oblivious.

Sherlock rolled his eyes and sighed before he poured three cups of tea and handed two to Lestrade and his brother. "How unusual," he replied sarcastically. "Scotland Yard is unable to deduce anything when the evidence is attached to their bodies. You're both brown as nuts, faint tan lines clearly visible around the eyes. You were both wearing sunglasses somewhere very warm."

"I cannot say with much sincerity that I've missed your deductions, dear brother." He took his tea from Sherlock and sat down in the armchair where John usually sat. "Is John still sleeping? Is it really that early?"

Sherlock sighed and took a sip of his own tea, glancing over at Lestrade who was looking oddly at home in the flat again. "Only you two wake up before the sun rises nowadays."

"Isn't John still working?"

"Of course he is," Sherlock nodded. "He just took off this week. What do I owe this visit from the two of you? Sick of each other already?"

Mycroft and Lestrade exchanged loving smiles at each other and Mycroft just tilted his head to the side slightly as he looked at Sherlock. "If you must know, dear brother, we were worried about you and we decided to stop by and make sure you were all right. Obviously I heard about your more recent… incident."

Sherlock took another sip of tea and sat down in his armchair across from Mycroft. He could tell his brother had wanted to say 'accident' instead but 'accident' implies that he didn't mean to overdose. Even though that part would be true, his brother never would want to say anything that implied something else.

"Indeed. Well, as you can see, I'm alive and well."

"Indeed," Mycroft answered, sipping his tea.

The two brothers stared at each other for a long time before Sherlock couldn't hold back anymore. He let out a deep chuckle and smiled. "I never would have guessed you would go for Lestrade, brother. Not in a million years! He's not even your type…"

"I beg your pardon?"

"What's that supposed to mean, Sherlock? That I'm not his type… you and John are complete opposites!"

Mycroft smirked slightly now and looked at his brother for an answer. "What do you believe is my type, Sherlock? Do answer me that."

The younger man took another drink of his tea and leaned back in his seat before glancing from the DI to his brother. "Important. Wealthy. Established in the Government, particularly in Parliament. Intelligent… need I go on?"

Mycroft just grinned wider now and shook his head. "If it wasn't for John, I would say what a lonely existence you must live but you're not lonely, you're just pessimistic."

"Hardly, Mycroft… I'm a realist," he replied as he threw another log on the fire and poked at the ashes for warmth.

Lestrade moved over to Mycroft in the armchair and sat down on the arm of it before resting his arm near Mycroft's head. "Does this bother you, Sherlock? Your brother and I being together like this?"

He half shrugged and looked from one man to another. "Not at all. Are you two happy?"

"Very," both men agreed in unison.

"Then it doesn't bother me in the least," he answered honestly. "I just never expected you to be my brother's goldfish. That's all."

"Wait, goldfish?" He looked down at Mycroft who placed his hand on the DI's. "What does he mean by that?"

"Don't listen to my brother, Gregory. He just thinks he's being smart and he's not."

"Don't kid yourself, Mycroft. I am smart."

"As much fun as I do have with our back-and-forths, how are you doing, really?"

Sherlock straightened in his armchair and finished his tea. "I'm better. I'm… coping. I've been taking the antidepressants again, every day, and I know it's too soon to know if it's helping or not but I haven't been feeling suicidal since I came home. I've felt low still at times but John's been helping me through it."

"Any bad side effects yet?"

"Been feeling a bit nauseous and having headaches, but I expected that."

Mycroft nodded and Lestrade listened intently. "Yes, I've read about how antidepressants will do that to the person taking them. It should fade in a few weeks, however."

"I know," Sherlock nodded.

"Sherlock? Why didn't you come back and tell me your brother and Lestrade came? I could've gotten dressed…"

The young man glanced over at the doctor who was still in his boxers and a dark green military t-shirt. He smiled to himself and then shrugged. "I didn't see it important enough for you to have to get out of bed. I was going to let you go back to sleep."

John walked over to the two men and shook both their hands in greeting. "Nice holiday?"

"Yeah, it was great. Thanks, John. How was your holiday here?"

The doctor trudged sleepily into the kitchen and made himself up a cup of tea before he moved into the living room and slung one of Sherlock's robes that was sitting on a chair around himself. "Yeah, well… it was okay, I guess. Spent most of it by Sherlock's bed and getting coffee but… it wasn't a total waste."

Sherlock looked up at him and saw him wink quickly before smiling lovingly at him. The young man smiled softly back and thumbed the band on his finger.

"That's good. It could've been worse. You guys got incredibly lucky," Greg nodded in seriousness as worry laced his eyes.

"Yes, I agree. I'm just willing to put it behind us now. We're just… looking ahead from here on out," John smiled. "Not to be rude or anything, but was there a particular reason why you two decided to pay us a random visit?"

"Oh yes," Mycroft answered, as if he suddenly remembered. He straightened up now and he looked at Sherlock. "I'm here to ask you if you would be my best man, brother mine."

"You have no one else?"

"No one else that I trust more than my own brother."

"And if I say no?" Sherlock challenged now with a slight smirk.

Mycroft sighed and rolled his eyes before he grimaced and folded his hands on his knee. "I highly advise against doing so."

"Then I suppose I'm going to be your best man. Lestrade, did you come to ask if John will be your maid of honor? I would love to see John in a dress…"

John shot his partner a playfully dark look before he exchanged looks with Greg.

"No, of course not. I came to ask him to be my best man."

The doctor was taken back slightly. He didn't know Lestrade very well and had only met him through Sherlock a few months ago. He looked up at the DI now. "Are you… are you sure? I mean, there's not anyone closer to you that you feel comfortable asking?"

"Well," Greg started hesitantly. "There's my brother but he definitely wouldn't approve of this marriage and I don't care to have a drunken fight with him during the reception. I'd much prefer you, John, to be honest. I realize this sort of comes out of the blue since we haven't known each other very long and all but I see how you've changed Sherlock for the better, got him off the drugs, and sober again… I understand if you feel uncomfortable doing this for me but I can't see anyone else in my life being by my side at the wedding to support me."

John blinked for several moments before he found himself nodding. "No, of course. I… I understand, Greg. I would… love to be your best man. Thank you."

Sherlock smiled again to himself, unable to help feeling a little bit proud of John for agreeing to his ex-guardian's best man. He looked over at Mycroft who was smiling contently now as he finished his tea.

"Excellent," his elder sibling replied. "Then we'll see you two at the wedding once we have all the details planned out."

John nodded in agreement. "That sounds great. Yes…"

"Let us leave my brother and his doctor to themselves now," Mycroft took Lestrade's hand before he grabbed his umbrella with his free one and stood up, taking their leave.

John closed the door behind them and looked over at Sherlock. "Why didn't you tell them about us, being engaged as well, I mean?"

The younger man stood up now and walked over to John before wrapping his arms around him from behind. "I didn't want to overshadow our news over theirs. I figured we'd tell them at the reception. That way, they can enjoy their night and celebrate and be happy."

John smirked and turned around in his arms before he looked suspiciously at Sherlock. "You usually don't care if your brother is happy. What's changed?"

"Me. I've changed. You've changed me from the first moment I stepped foot in your room at the hospital. I couldn't stop thinking about you since that day, and even when we're together all I can think about is you. I used to be uncaring, unfeeling, sociopathic, heartless… until I started talking to you. I used to be selfish until I realized that the last thing I ever want to do is hurt you or let you be hurt by someone else. You've changed me for the better, John. I want you to know that when you think you don't matter to me."

John reached up and gently caressed Sherlock's cheek with his hand, feeling touched by his words. "That would've been a fantastic speech to save for our vows."

Sherlock chuckled now and smiled brightly before he leaned down and kissed the doctor's lips lovingly. He let his hand slide into John's hair and embraced him. He closed his eyes, wanting to never forget this moment and stored it in his Mind Palace for the dark nights when he felt numb. He wanted to remember this moment when he actually felt something.

When he felt love, for another human being. Not just any human being, of course, but love for John Watson.

His doctor.

His partner.

His companion.

"I'm sure I can come up with another great speech when the time comes," Sherlock spoke once he parted from John's lips.

The doctor sighed contently and pulled Sherlock down on the couch before breathing him in. "I don't ever want to lose you, Sherlock."

He felt his heart suddenly start to ache when he heard these words. "You won't."

John became quiet and the next words out of his mouth were barely whispered. "You don't know that. You can't promise that."

Sherlock made John look at him and he felt a little hurt by the older man's words but he knew they were said out of love and fear rather than vindictiveness. "Of course I can. I promise you'll never lose me, John. I don't want to lose you either. I don't want to live a life without you in it. I want you to always be around, even when I don't want you to be."

"You're wrong, you know, Sherlock. I might lose you to other people. Other men…"

His heart came another sharp stab of pain before he took John's face in his hands and kissed him passionately before he looked him in the eye. "John, I would rather fight and argue with you than go be with anyone else. No one understands me like you do and I don't have the energy to make others try to understand me like that. I love you, and it's taken me a lot of courage to come out like that to anyone before."

John nodded now and swallowed hard. He chewed on his lower lip in nervousness but breathed a sigh of relief. "I love you too, Sherlock."

"Never leave me, John," the younger man begged quietly, searching John's face.

"Never. Never leave me?"

Sherlock smiled softly before he kissed his lips again and gently rubbed his nose affectionately against John's own nose.