A/N : I know it's been more than half a year to get that last chapter ready. I am so sorry about keeping you waiting this long, I certainly didn't plan to.
Hopefully, you like the ending anyway. Please review.

Many thanks to my beta and friend Christine.

Chapter 12

John woke up with Sherlock's hair tickling his nose. One of his curls had the audacity to crawl up his left nostril. Slowly, John breathed out and moved away from Sherlock.

They had been sleeping together for two weeks now and John couldn't remember a happier time in his life.

The affection that Sherlock was showing him so openly now still made John think that he was living a dream most of the time. He would never have imagined Sherlock to be so loving and thoughtful as a partner. He was still a bit rude and unpleasant to other people, but never with John.

He couldn't help but smile when he thought about Sherlock complaining that they had not been allowed much more than kissing during the last two weeks since their relationship had begun. Of course, Sherlock had a point: He had taken so long to find love at all and, as it it seemed, even longer for John to realize his own feelings for Sherlock that two weeks now seemed to be an awful long time.

John found himself also eager to physically deepen his relationship with Sherlock. Kissing and being affectionate were nice enough but the tension and passion between them always heated up in no time.

"What makes you smile this morning, John?"

Sherlock had woken up without him noticing.


"And why is that?"

"Because six weeks ago I have never even thought about sharing a bed with you and now I can't wait to have sex with you," he admitted with a smile.

"I know the feeling, John."

They had a cardiologist's appointment later that day and hopefully he would be releasing Sherlock from his house arrest and lifting the ban on the physical exertion for a bit.

After a long and extensive breakfast, interrupted by lots of kissing, Sherlock finally left the flat together with John for the first time in two weeks.

The doctor found that Sherlock's recovery was slow but steady. John had been able to reduce the painkillers step by step and after two weeks was down to one pill in the morning.

The scar tissue had healed quite nicely and the cardiologist was pleased with Sherlock's cardiogram. However, he was still not able to travel to Rome and that would have to wait at least another two weeks, but short walks and going out were now definitely possible again.

When they left the practice, Sherlock had a gleam in his eyes.

"Be prepared for some physical exertion later tonight, Dr Watson."

"I certainly am, Mr Holmes."

John could already feel the anticipation running through him when Sherlock took his hand as they left the practice.

Once outside in the early spring sun, Sherlock suggested to take a taxi to the London Zoo and walk back through Regent's Park to Baker Street.

John took Sherlock's hand in his while they strolled through the park. Sherlock gave him a surprised look but smiled nonetheless.

"What, Sherlock? Did you think I would want to hide our relationship? For the record: I don't."

And then John kissed him right there in the middle of Regent's Park.

However, by the time they arrived back in the flat later that afternoon, Sherlock was totally exhausted.

John had known that walking all way through Regent's Park would be more than enough exercise for the first day out but Sherlock had seemed to know it better – as always.

The physical exertion Sherlock had promised him in the morning would have to wait.

"Have a lie in, Sherlock. You've overexerted yourself, as expected. Your heart and your body are still not up for this much activity."

"But tonight…,"

"… will have to wait, Sherlock. No worries, I am not going anywhere."

"Tomorrow, we'll go out and have dinner at Angelo's, like a proper date, alright?" Sherlock suggested.

"Great idea. Angelo will only be too happy to see us being together now."

"You know that he actually was the first one to realize that we belong together. We should have listened to him."

"Yes, perhaps. You really are a romantic, Sherlock. And now, go to sleep. I'll join you later."

John opened up a bottle of beer for himself and settled in front of the telly. He started watching a documentary on the BBC but after a while, his mind began to drift away.

He was truly looking forward to their "date" at Angelo's tomorrow and what would most likely follow after that.

In the last two weeks, his thoughts had been mainly occupied by Sherlock. Being in love did that to a person and only now John was able to admit that he had never loved anyone half as much as he loved Sherlock. Of course, he could be a dick and incredibly stubborn, but his heart was in the right place and Sherlock had always been painfully honest with him, especially since his return.

Mary was still a threat to their happiness and now that he had the time to think about it, John wanted to get rid of her as soon as possible.

He decided to make good use of the upcoming weeks for careful planning before Sherlock was finally allowed to travel to Rome with him.

John also couldn't help but think about having sex with Sherlock. Or rather fantasize about it. Having to take cold showers twice a day was really not the nicest thing in the world. Sherlock had reawakened his sex drive that had slowly stolen itself away during his relationship with Mary.

He still wondered why he had never had any true interest in men before. He had found some men attractive, especially during his time with the military, but he had not been giving this a lot of thought as soon as he had left.

Before Sherlock, he had never even kissed a man. But now John couldn't imagine ever kissing somebody else again.

John finished his beer and went to bed with a smile, looking forward to the day ahead of him.

Mary really enjoyed Rome. The sun and the constant warmth really made a nice difference to England.

Even after several weeks in Rome, she still hadn't seen all the tourist attractions. In the morning, she always made plans for the day but on some days she just ended up sitting in one of Rome's beautiful "caffe's", sipping on her espresso and indulging in way too many cannolis.

She had managed to made a friend in her neighbour Claudia. The 25-year old girl was a student from Sicily and had easily believed the story that Mary had told her about her change of location (unfaithful husband). Sometimes, Claudia accompanied her to Rome's tourist attractions, claiming that she had finally found someone for company.

It was really nice to make a fresh start here. However, she could not stop thinking about Sherlock. And John.

Mary found that she was missing John, even after weeks. His calm and always a little sad presence (before Sherlock's return) had been good for her.

She had seriously thought about contacting Irene but she had not been able to track or find her. She had had a lead to Switzerland but her contact there had not been able to find her.

Still no word from Moriarty, too. The situation slowly got to her, especially the uncertainty about everything.

She still scanned the English newspapers online everyday to find information about Sherlock but there had been nothing. Absolutely nothing.

By now, she was almost sure that he was still alive. The newspapers would have gotten wind about it by now, weeks, even a month after the incident.

She had failed again and the realization hit her hard.

She returned to her little flat late in the afternoon, after having managed to finally visit the Colosseum. It had been truly beautiful and she had already decided on her way back that she would continue with the Roman Forum tomorrow.

Like every afternoon, she immediately scanned the English newspapers after she arrived at home.

Her jaw dropped when she scanned the local London News and gossip section.

Sherlock AND John, holding hands in Regent's Park, very obviously in love and oblivious to the photographer.

How the hell had that happened? And when?

After getting over the first shock, Mary was furious. John had never once made the impression on her that he might be going both ways. Never once.

When had she gotten so insensitive to not realizing this?

Or have I practically handed him over to Sherlock when I suggested that blasted holiday in Cornwall?

The picture was a day old and Sherlock looked peaky and pale in the picture. His injury must have been severe.

John would be even more devastated when Sherlock died now. The man he so obviously was in love with now.

Finally, the clock neared seven p.m. and eventually it was time to leave for Angelo's. They had made their reservations for seven thirty and the weather was fine enough to walk there. Sherlock had recovered from yesterday's walk in the park by sleeping the exhaustion off until ten this morning.

Sherlock had been quite angry with himself about sleeping through the whole night and John being already out of bed when he had finally woken up.

He put on his purple shirt together with the black suit, knowing that John liked this combination a lot. John had also gone out of his way to look nice for Sherlock. Freshly showered and shaven he put on a new pair of jeans and a dark blue shirt together with a light grey scarf. April was especially cold this year.

They met in the living room to leave for Angelo's five minutes to seven.

Sherlock looking like his usual self again and in that shirt easily took John's breath away.

"You look beautiful," he blurted out.

Sherlock gave him a genuine smile.

"Thanks, you, too, Dr Watson."
"Let's go before we're getting any ideas," John said, breathing heavily.

"Right." Sherlock agreed without discussing things for once.

Hand in hand, they entered the little Italian restaurant. They hadn't told Angelo before that they were together now and were on a date tonight.

But their friend spotted the new couple immediately, his face spreading into a huge grin.

"Sherlock, John! Welcome!", Angelo greeted them enthusiastically.

Then his sight fell on their joined hands and his grin spread even wider.

"Is this what I think it is?"

"Yes, and I think you were very observant the first time we were here. We should have listened to you in the first place," John confirmed wholeheartedly and felt Sherlock squeezing his hand simultaneously.

"Finally. Took you long enough," was all Angelo said and led them to their table in front of the window.

They both purposely ordered the same food that they had on their first night at Angelo's all those years ago, but this time, Angelo brought them each a glass of the finest Italian Prosecco he could find with a quiet "Congratulation, guys. Don't mess this up."

"We certainly don't intend to," Sherlock replied seriously.

Around nine thirty they finally had emptied their bottle of white wine and finished desert and without needing to say it out loud, they both knew that now was the perfect time to go back to Baker Street. Feeling light from the wine they had and thoroughly happy, Sherlock left the money for the dinner on the table and they left Angelo's hand in hand.

The night was fresh and cold and they stayed very close together on their way home.

John had trouble inserting the key into the lock of the front door of 221B, because Sherlock's hands were suddenly everywhere.

"Sherlock, wait," John said laughing. "Let's get inside first."

"But I can't wait one minute longer," Sherlock said into his ear, his voice deep and very sexy. It went straight to John's groin.

Finally, the door opened and they stumbled up the stairs and into the living room. Sherlock was tugging at John's jacket and finally John turned around and allowed Sherlock to kiss him. Open-mouthed, wet and hot.

"Sherlock," he managed to say between kisses, "bedroom. Now."

Sherlock removed his coat and let it slide on the floor, already pushing John towards the bedroom door.

"I can't believe this is finally happening," Sherlock whispered and opened the bedroom to push John into the room and on the bed.

"Me, too."

John let himself fall on the bed, grinning widely.

"Come here, love."

Sherlock slowly lay on top of John, still fully clothed and slowly kissed him.

After several long, deep kisses he stopped and just looked into John's eyes for a long moment.

"Are you nervous?"

"A bit," John admitted. "Never done this before with a man, you know."

"Never done it at all," Sherlock admitted.

"I love you, Sherlock. That's all that matters."

"I love you, too, John."

They slowly undressed each other and were lying naked on the bed, staring at each other's bodies in the dim light of Sherlock's bedroom, with a smile on their faces.

"Touch me, John."

These were the last words spoken for a long while in Sherlock's bedroom.

The next morning, John woke up by being kissed on his back. Sherlock's hand was slowly stroking his stomach and made its way down to John's crotch.

It seemed that a part of him was certainly already more awake than he was.

"Morning, Sherlock."

"Good morning, John." John could practically hear the smile in Sherlock's voice.

"I am an old man and have in no way recovered yet from last night," he complained half-heartedly.

"Don't you dare lie to me, John," Sherlock said in that deep voice that made John's heart speed up in no time and grabbed his already hard cock in the same moment.

They got up around noon that day and when John finally padded into the kitchen, dressed only in Sherlock's nightgown to make coffee, his phone rang.

It was Mycroft.


"John. Are you decent?"


"Because I'm downstairs in my car, about to come up."

"Just… give us five minutes."

He ended the call.

"Shit. Sherlock!" he called back into the bathroom where Sherlock had a shower.

"What is it?"

"Mycroft's going to be here in…four minutes."

"Congratulations, brother dear. You finally realized it then?" Mycroft greeted Sherlock.

Sherlock realized there was no need to deny anything. It was most likely his brother had seen what they were up to through the camera that had a good view on their front door.

"Thank you, Mycroft," he said honestly, without blushing.

"We're very happy," he added quietly.

"I can see that," Mycroft said, his voice unusually warm.

"Why are you here, Mycroft? Certainly not only to check up on my virginity." Sherlock asked bluntly.

"Mary. I think she will stay in Rome long enough until you're fully recovered. So take your time to heal and we'll use the time to make a plan. She's mostly doing sightseeing and she seems to have found a friend in her neighbour. She's reading English newspapers everyday and will most likely have seen this one here, too."

Mycroft handed them yesterday's edition of the Daily Mail where a picture showed the two of them holding hands in Regent's Park.

"Shit," John said quietly.

"How adequately said," Mycroft replied.

"We don't mind," Sherlock explained. "Perhaps she already knows I survived anyway. And now she's aware what she's up against. She will fear that we'll come and get her. So how can you be sure that she won't leave Rome now that she knows?"

"Because she's sure that we didn't find her."

"How can you be so sure about that?"

"Because her lovely neighbour that she has befriended so easily is one of our agents."

"How did you…?" John started but then decided he didn't want to know.

"Because it's my job, John."

Another two weeks later, Sherlock was finally given a clean bill of health and he felt fit enough to hunt down Mary.

With Mycroft's agent in place it was easy to keep track on her and Mary seemed to trust her new "friend" to a certain extent. She had admitted she had "escaped" from an unhappy relationship in England and was now trying to make a new start in Italy.

John and Sherlock were already on their way to the airport when Mycroft called with the latest information.

"Claudia told me that she and Mary are going to visit the Castel St. Angelo the day after tomorrow. Does that give you enough time to plan something or will you wait for the next opportunity?"

"We'll check it out tomorrow morning. I'll call you," Sherlock replied.

"The Castel St. Angelo is a very public place. I am not sure if it's not better to approach her in her own flat, with Claudia nearby," Sherlock said already deep in thought.

"Though it might be easier for Mycroft's people to close down one part of that castle instead of a whole neighbourhood," John argued.

"True. Let's take a look tomorrow."

They took a taxi to their hotel in midtown Rome. It was an old building with newly renovated suites and Sherlock had selected it, although Mycroft was paying. Generously.

John hadn't expressed any wishes about their hotel so Sherlock had decided he should select a nice one for their first stay as a couple in a hotel. Even if their purpose was to hunt down Mary, he hoped he could still share some romantic moments with John.

He had to roll his eyes about his own thoughts. Did love do such things to the human mind? Search for a hotel room not with criteria of its functionality but the romantic surroundings it could provide? What a sentimental man he had become and in no time at all. But still, the newfound feeling of happiness had yet to fade and he knew it would not any time soon.

He and John held hands during their taxi ride.

Sherlock was aware that John was a bit nervous about their mission.

In a quiet moment a couple of days ago in their flat, John had admitted that he still feared Mary. He was still afraid she would try to shoot Sherlock again and finish her job.

They were both still wondering if she had found out by now that Moriarty was really dead and that his sudden TV presence had been fake.

Sherlock himself only felt anticipation about their upcoming task. He would be happy if it all was finally over soon and could concentrate on his usual job again – and his relationship with John of course.

His mind drifted to the last couple of weeks and he had to smile.

Waking up next to John was the best thing he could think of. Restful sleep, next to no nightmares, entangled limbs and a lot of naked skin. They needed ages to get out of the bed every morning and Mrs Hudson always openly smiled at them when they finally left the flat around noon to get some breakfast or lunch.

John had obviously come to terms with being in love with a man now for the first time in his life and never even looked at women again these days. Sherlock hoped that this development would be a constant thing because he had watched John during his other relationships and he had always eyes on beautiful women, regardless if he was in a relationship or not.

He knew that he would not survive it if John left him again one day.

Finally, Sherlock had found someone that he accepted him the way he was. Full stop.

He would do everything to ensure John's happiness. The first hurdle they'd have to take for that hopefully was their biggest one to come: getting rid of Mary.

John secretly smiled when Sherlock took his hand in the taxi. Sherlock was the most romantic partner he had ever had. Who would have thought?

It seemed that Sherlock was entirely focused on him alone when they were kissing, cuddling in bed, sitting with a whisky in front of their fireplace. He would not be distracted by his phone or potential clients banging at their front door.

He was the most attentive partner he had ever had. For the first time in a relationship, he did not miss anything.

There was still the usual bickering without real fights, good meals at Angelo's or just take away food in front of the TV, absolutely no boredom, a lot of kissing and gorgeous sex.

John decided that their relationship being based on their deep friendship was the best thing that could happen to a couple. Knowing each other's worst secrets and still falling in love with each other. Perhaps it should not always take four years to get to that point for everyone, but for them it had been the perfect way.

When John opened the door to their hotel room, his jaw dropped. It was a large and rather beautiful renovated suite. More luxurious than all hotel rooms he'd ever been in his life. A perfect mixture of modernity and Art-déco style.

"Sherlock, this is…", he started but was lost for words.

"I know. As I said, Mycroft was rather…generous. I like it, too. Come on inside."

They stepped into the spacious hotel room while the page boy brought in their luggage behind them. John took off his jacket and went for the bathroom, which turned out to be a walk-in closet with the bathroom attached.

"This must be something like a presidential suite, Sherlock. Why would Mycroft do this for us?"

Sherlock certainly wouldn't tell John about the pre-wedding honeymoon that Mycroft had mentioned when he realized just how much in love his younger brother really was.

"I don't know, really. Perhaps he wanted us to be as comfortable as possible for the job."

John instantly knew that was not what Mycroft had said but he let it go. It wasn't important.

The next morning, Mary woke up because someone was knocking on her door. On nine a.m. in the morning. She hated being woken up for no reason and hoped it was important, whoever was at her door.

She grabbed her gun and put it in the waistband of her pyjama trousers.

Slowly, she opened the door. It was Claudia.

"Morning, Claudia," she greeted her friend and let her annoyance show about the early disturbance. "What is it?"

"Not a morning person, eh?" Her friend asked with a large smile.

"Not really. What do you want?" Mary asked again.

"Breakfast with you. And then Castel St Angelo today, you do remember we've planned that for today, do you? Come on, it's a beautiful day."

"I'd thought we'd go in the afternoon," she replied, still unhappy and not really awake.

"Does it matter? It's the first real warm day outside and I just couldn't wait to go outside. Don't waste this day in bed."

Claudia is right, Mary thought, and perhaps she had found the first real friend she ever had here. A person who wanted to spend time with her just for her sake. Her bad mood evaporated quickly.

"Give me half an hour. I need to shower first. And thank you." She smiled and suddenly felt bad about the gun in her waistband.

"Okay, just knock when you're ready."

An hour later found them both walking towards the Castel St Angelo, where Sherlock Holmes and John Watson would be waiting for Mary. Claudia had called the two men as soon as she had closed her door behind her after her talk with Mary.

"I'll make sure to take her to the Hall of Perseus on the fourth floor. No worries. I look forward to meeting you two."

John and Sherlock had used the day to make themselves a little familiar with the city and Castel, of course. Despite the tension and anticipation they felt, they were still able to make the most of it. During the two the evenings, the couple had enjoyed meals in Rome's best trattorias and during the nights, the hotel room.

Now they were getting ready for the final confrontation with Mary. It was warm outside although it was only the middle of April. John needed to hide his gun somewhere so he wore a cardigan over his t-shirt, Sherlock wore a blue suit and looked almost like his old self before Mary had shot him. The last days out in the sun and the air had done him good.

"John," he began quietly, "I need you to know that whatever happens today, that I love you. If you want to kill Mary, it will be fine, and if you can't that's fine as well. Just be careful, but you can be sure I've got your back."

"I know, Sherlock. And I love you, too."

Finally, they were entering the Castel around ten thirty. They were already tourists there, but the crowd was still manageable for them and Mycroft's men.

Mary and Claudia were supposed to arrive in the next quarter hour and they lost no time and went up to the Hall of Perseus. Mycroft's men would ensure that the fourth floor would be cleared of tourists as soon as Mary and Claudia entered it.

John wondered silently why he didn't feel nervous any more, now that it was really happening. He knew the confrontation with Mary would not be easy and he had Sherlock with him and somehow this made it all a lot more bearable.

He had asked himself several times during the last couple of weeks how he had managed the last four years without being in a relationship with Sherlock. Life was pretty perfect right now and would be even better after Mary's demise. He took a deep breath. Right. Concentrate. Sentiment later.

They carefully hid behind a large statue in the Hall of Perseus and waited for Mary's arrival.

Almost half an hour later, they finally heard footsteps approaching.

Mary and Claudia entered the room. Mary's hair was now dark and shorter and it didn't suit her, Sherlock decided instantly. Next to him, he heard John inhaling sharply, then they both stepped forward when the two women were standing in the middle of the room.

Mycroft's men had already closed the door from the outside and were securing the area.

"Mary." Just one word from John made Mary freeze completely and pull out her gun simultaneously.

"John, what a surprise."

"Mary?" Claudia asked, still maintaining her role.

"John, what do you want?" Mary asked, disregarding Claudia completely.


Mary scoffed a laugh at that.

"Justice? Come on John. You are allowed to call it revenge. After all, I did shoot your boyfriend."

She turned to Sherlock. "Why are you not dead?"

"Because John saved me," he said in a quiet, threatening tone.

"What a shame, because I still need to kill you. Now, as it seems. That was Moriarty's order."

"Moriarty's dead."

"I'm sure you saw the same thing on TV as I did in January, didn't you, Sherlock."

"Yes, because I was the one who had the idea for the broadcast. Didn't see that one coming, did you?"

Mary's façade finally fell. "He's really dead?"

"Yes, he is," John now re-joined the conversation.

"Give up, Mary. Moriarty's dead and you just confirmed you tried to kill Sherlock. It's over. Mycroft's men are outside and they will take you back to England, where you will stay under arrest for a very long time."

"No, I won't," Mary replied, her tone icy, holding out her gun in Sherlock's direction.

Simultaneously, John pulled his gun and pointed it towards Mary.

"I guess we can call this stalemate, John."

"No, you can't," Claudia spoke up, now holding a gun herself, pointing at Mary.

"You? You are a part of this? How can that be? I've only just met you."

"Yes, but you seemed to like me anyway. I might say I've succeeded in my task to befriend you," Claudia replied smugly.

"Who are you working for?" Mary asked, her expression now full of resentment for her new friend.

"Mycroft Holmes. I'm MI6. And I've been preparing this with these two fine men for a while now. Give up, Mary. It's over."

"You bitch! I trusted you!"

"That was also my intention," Claudia replied with a grin. "It seems I was successful."

"No, you weren't." Mary turned, gun in hand, in Claudia's direction.

Two loud simultaneous shots echoed through the ancient Hall and Mary hit the ground soon after. John and Sherlock had both shot her at the same time. John into the right shoulder to prevent her from shooting, Sherlock into her knee so that she was no longer able to stand or walk. She was screaming in pain and anger.

John walked over to her, gun still pointing at her.

"It is over, Mary, give up. You know, I could shoot you here and now and nobody except Sherlock, Mycroft and Claudia would ever know or blame me for it. But I want you to live with the knowledge that you never managed to kill Sherlock. And that you never really had my heart. I know that now and you need to know that, too. Goodbye, Mary."

"John! Please, you can't do that."

John and Sherlock left the room without another word, Claudia followed them silently.

The room was now filling with Mycroft's special forces and paramedics and they would take care of Mary. She was no longer of interest for Sherlock, John or Claudia.

In the evening, Claudia was invited by John and Sherlock for dinner at their hotel. They had both liked her instantly, despite her being one of Mycroft's colleagues. And if Sherlock was really honest with himself, Mycroft hadn't been all bad in the last couple of weeks. He had helped them a great deal and had confirmed in the afternoon that Mary would be locked away for the rest of her life after her trial. And that they could stay in Rome for another week if they wanted to.

They had agreed instantly.

"Claudia, good evening."

"John, Sherlock. It's good to see you."

They sat down at their assigned table and a small silence fell after the waiter had taken the order for their drinks.

"So, how are you both feeling after today's events? Everything all right?"

"Yeah, I guess we are," John answered. "I think I will need a day or two to realize that she is no longer a threat to us. And you?"

"Not a problem. I only befriended her doing my job and I never liked her. She could be fun doing those touristy things but in the end you knew she was almost never honest when she talked about herself. I do wonder if she still knew who she was in the end. All those identities."

John nodded. "You must be wondering why I fell for her."

"I do, indeed," she acknowledged.

"Do you know our history? What did Mycroft tell you?" Sherlock spoke up.

"Only bits and pieces."

"Sherlock and I were best friends as soon as we met four years ago. We clicked instantly," John started explaining.

"We were solving crimes together and I could not imagine leading another life again. Then Moriarty showed up and ruined everything. In short terms, Sherlock had to fake suicide and went to chase down Moriarty's people for almost two years. I didn't know any of that and grieved him for more than a year. I was depressed, not able to work and as alone as I was before we met. Then I started working again because I had to do something and met Mary at work in my clinic. She was nice and understanding and listened to me, although I must have talked about Sherlock all the time. I guess I fell for her because she was there and she made me feel better. I could see my life get moving again. Then, he came back and he went back to be the most important thing in my life again in no time at all."

He stopped and took Sherlock's hand.

"And then it took me a couple of weeks to realize that I loved him all along."

Claudia smiled at him. "That's quite obvious. You look at him as if he is your whole world. It's cute."

"Yeah, he is," John admitted quietly.

Their drinks arrived.

Later that night, Sherlock made sure to let John know just how much he loved him. Their evening with Claudia had been nice and they invited her to visit them if she had to come to London for her work.

After John had fallen asleep, Sherlock lay in their bed, wide awake, making plans for the upcoming week.

He was aware that it was still very soon in their relationship but waiting for four years to realize that you were actually in love with your best friend, he found that they had wasted enough time. He just hoped that John would say yes.

They've spent the week mostly as tourists, only two quick debriefings with Mycroft via Skype interrupted their free time.

Starting with the Colloseum at their first free day, they visited all of Rome's attractions one after the other. In the evenings they were exhausted and their feet hurt, but they found they loved the ancient city. They almost never spoke about Mary anymore and Sherlock found that he had never felt any better in his life. It was the right time to do this.

On their last evening, Sherlock booked a table in one of the city's best restaurants. It was overlooking the city and was on top of one of Rome's hills.

He had not had time to buy a ring but he knew that this would not be important for John. Before they left and were dressing up for the evening, John joined Sherlock in front of the mirror.

"You are looking way too good tonight. You will be the attraction of the restaurant."

"John, you are certainly not the best person to judge my appearance. You love me," he answered dryly.

John laughed at that. "Are you okay, Sherlock?" He asked, being serious now.

"You've been kind of quiet all day."

Sherlock had to admit himself that he was nervous. What if he had interpreted it all wrong? He was a newcomer to relationships, after all. Deciding at once it was too late for worrying, he willed the thought away.

"Yes, just a bit sad it's our last evening," he said, not exactly lying. He looked forward to being home again, but this week had been wonderful, despite its beginning.

"Yeah, me too."

Dinner was delicious and John deliberately ignored the prices on the menu. It was time to celebrate and they enjoyed seafood, delicious wine and the best tiramisu they had ever had for desert. Conversation was light over dinner and they were planning what to do next when they were back in London. Lestrade had already called about a case they could help with.

"We should try and take time off more often. I love going on holiday with you far too much, you know," John said with a broad smile

"Yeah, about that, I need to talk to you later," Sherlock said smugly.

"Our next holiday? You're already making plans?" John was surprised. Usually, all Sherlock cared about was work and after already two holidays this year alone he would guess that it would take Sherlock at least another year to be ready for the next one.

"Yes, but let's pay first and get outside."

Soon after, they were standing on the terrace of the restaurant that overlooked the whole of Rom. Vatican City stood out easily in the darkness and the view was breath-taking.

"John." Sherlock began quietly. Hell, he was nervous.

"Yes?" John turned to face Sherlock, laying a hand on his cheek and then kissed him softly.

"You're not making this any easier, you know," Sherlock said very quietly after the kiss had ended.

"Making what easier?"

"Asking you to marry me. Listen, I know we haven't been together for long but I can't think about anything else anymore. I want to spent the rest of my life with you, as my partner. Will you marry me, John Hamish Watson?"

"Oh God, Sherlock, yes! Of course, yes a thousand times." He stepped forward and kissed Sherlock again, deeply and with all the emotions he felt for Sherlock. After a long time, he couldn't say if it had been one or then minutes, he broke the kiss.

"So you were talking about our honeymoon earlier? You know, I almost can't believe this is really happening. I would never have thought that would want to marry at all. I have thought about this, too, but I thought you would see this as too sentimental or stupid."

"No. I realized that I quite like being sentimental when I'm around you. I need the world to know you're mine."

"I am, Sherlock."

They went back to to the hotel arm in arm, stopping every now and then for long kisses.

Later that night, it was John lying awake in their shared bed. He thought back to how it all had started. Sherlock had told him on their way back to the hotel that the Bonfire incident was the day his eyes were opened about his feelings for John. He hadn't been able to identify them as love until their holiday in Cornwall but something had happened that night.

They still hadn't solved the mystery why John had to suffer through that night because even Mycroft hadn't been able to link it back to Mary and they would have to solve this one once they were back in London. Then there was also Lestrade's case and he would have to tell the clinic that he would only be working one day a week there, just to stay in practice.

He found himself looking forward to go back to London tomorrow, to their new life free of Mary and new cases and soon to come married life. John finally fell asleep with a smile on his face.