He kissed her today.

I saw them; I saw the kiss, although they did not see me. Wasn't that strange – wary Lestrade, and all-observant Holmes, too caught up to note me standing right there and gawping at them.

Too caught up in each other.

I saw Holmes raise his head, looking at the woman in his arms with a most extraordinary expression on his thin sharp face – not so sharp now, with that soft look in his dark blue eyes.

"Beth," he said, whispered really, in a voice as extraordinary as his expression. He brought one hand up – which, I noted with some astonishment, trembled slightly – and laid the fingers of it against her cheek, gently, as if trying to reassure himself of the reality of the moment.

She smiled brilliantly up at him, and leaned her head into his touch, pressing her cheek against his hand. He smiled in reply – not the smug, amused, tight-lipped smirk I was more used to from him, but a carelessly wide grin of delight.

I turned away as their faces began to move closer again, and left them alone. The world they were in had, I was sure, only room enough for two.

She was his now. And he was hers. I'd seen it in their eyes, the silent giving of hearts that had been so total that anything that happened after this – up to and including marriage – would be somewhat anticlimactic. They'd already bound themselves to each other irrevocably.

But then, I thought, they'd been bound to each other for quite a while already. I'd seen it in those long looks, (usually when the other was distracted by something else) in the way they played off each other, drawing fire in a way no one else was able to do. I'd seen it in all those times when one had been in danger and the other would leap to the rescue. All that had been lacking was the acknowledgement, and it seemed that this near-death experience – due to, of all things, one of Fenwick's blunders rather than any deliberate attempt – had solved that problem.

Somewhat evilly, though, I wondered if Holmes's shock at seeing Lestrade in a truly fetching evening gown – perhaps the first time he'd seen her in something other than Yardie uniforms – also had something to do with it.

In any case, I should have expected this little development. I wasn't stupid, not by a long shot – I should have seen where all this was heading. So why did I feel so much like I'd been kicked in the gut?

I was like Holmes, in a way. Like him, I was a figure of the nineteenth century brought back to life (though not in such a literal way as Holmes) in the twenty-second. And, though they would never believe it, I too was in love with Inspector Elizabeth Lestrade.

The thought of Lestrade brought with it the unwanted memory of how she'd smiled at Holmes, how she had tilted her head up to meet his, waiting for his kiss.

With a silent snarl I forced my thoughts away from that. Instead they began to follow a new but similarly distressing direction. Yes, we were alike in some ways, but different for more.

Holmes was a legend. Holmes had been her idol from childhood onwards. Holmes was brilliant and witty and talented. Holmes would be the one beside her when she finally brought down the criminal mastermind who she'd been hunting for years. And Holmes was a handsome young man who had shown that he loved her.

I? To her, I wasn't even human. And if I ever told her how I felt, she wouldn't even believe me. Much less accept me.

I shouldn't resent Holmes for that. He and Lestrade were suited more perfectly for each other than any other couple I'd ever seen. And even if Holmes wasn't in the picture, she wouldn't have taken a second look at me.

But I did anyway. Even resented _her_, to some extent, for being so beautiful and fiery and so utterly unreachable.

To me. Not to Holmes.

***

It's been three years since I watched Sherlock Holmes kiss the great-great-great-times-three granddaughter of his friend Gregory Lestrade. (idly, I wonder what Lestrade, who had been both fiercely protective of his family and well-aware of Holmes's lack of tender feelings towards the fairer sex, would have made of this state of affairs) And again I find myself watching the two. It's become a somewhat painful habit. There are differences, of course.

For one thing, identical golden wedding bands now gleam on their left hands, with another ring – an elegantly understated platinum engagement ring with a single cut diamond sparkling like ice on it – glittering on Lestrade's finger. Should I call her Lestrade-Holmes?

For another thing, Holmes is carrying a small two-year-old version of himself on his shoulders. He smiles as his son shrieks with laughter. Little William Holmes has his father's features, made round with baby-fat, and his mother's eyes – as well as every indication (young as he was) of also having inherited his father's probing mind and his mother's determination/stubbornness.

Lestrade is seated some distance away from the two, watching her husband and son. There is something profound in her eyes when she looks at them, something deep and endless. There are very few things that are infinite in this world – some scientists are even claiming that, vast as the universe is, even that has limits – but I think I've found something that is.

She looks up at me as I near, her mouth curving in a smile. She smiles, yes – but never in that bright way she reserves for Holmes and for William – and never with that deepness in her eye.

And why should she? I'm only a compudroid, after all.

***
AN: Okay, this is the most explicitly H/L-ish story I've ever done. I sort of feel like I went off the deep end with it in some parts. But I've done the best I could.

Mary, 'twas your comment on a W/L that helped inspire this.

And as for the name of the little Holmes scion? Will's always been one of my favorite names – I got especially attached to it after reading The Dark is Rising – and when I found out about Baring-Gould… ^_^ Well, I couldn't help myself.