December 31:st - New Years Eve
It was New Year's Eve. Sherlock had left the flat very early, running off on a very promising case, and Mrs Hudson had gone away with some friends of hers, so John was alone. He was not very concerned by it, instead enjoying the peace and silence as the day ran on. He was not entirely by himself, either, as the Carpet and Excalibur were somewhere in the flat. He had no doubt that if he wanted, they wold come easily enough. At eight thirty, a now familiar golden circle appeared, and he saw Strange peek through it. "John? Will you come? I've got a surprise".
Smiling, John got up immediately, leaving his book in his chair, right next to the Union Jack pillow. "Am I dressed alright?" "You'll be fine" Strange encouraged, reaching out to take his hand even as he stepped through the circle.
John looked around after stepping through, still holding Stephen's hand, and saw that they stood above a city of some kind. "Where are we, exactly?" Stephen smiled. "Many miles from the city you're looking at. The view is still nice though. As it is, we are in a slight village. But they have the best pizza here, at this old stone-owen place, and I thought that, well, you might enjoy a slightly more peaceful evening - after living with Sherlock". John smiled. "That's thoughtful" he looked around at the beautiful surroundings - truly romantic in a profound way few places really were - and smiled back at Stephen "it's perfect!"
This, technically only their second offical date, was even more perfect than the last one; their first one. (Neither really counted Christmas dinner or breakfast as a date.) They both secretly thought that after Christmas morning they'd rather moved beyond that, anyway.
"So" John decided to put things straight while he had the opportunity, as they sat together at a small table, overlooking the countryside around them, across from them and with the town below. "We are a... thing, now, right? Together?" "Right, that's a talk you're supposed to have" Stephen replied, putting his fork down. "I don't sleep with people unless I'm serious, John".
"Really?" John snickered over his glass of wine, unsually for a second date feeling comfortable enough to tease. "I would have thought the you of the past to be the kind to be a bit more... well". Strange snorted in reply. "Past me couldn't be bothered. And the me of today, well, let's just say I have better things to do than play the field".
"I know the feeling. Besides" John added with a smirk "Mrs Hudson and Sherlock would kill you otherwise". "Possibly even the Doctor!" Strange suggested, making John wince. "I think he has a thing for Sherlock. I'm not sure Sherlock has even noticed. I doubt he'd be interested".
Strange frowned slightly. Something had happened, and they both guessed it, to make Excalibur so hostile towards the Doctor, but they hadn't seen anything. "Give him more credit. Sherlock is very observant, and you've taught him about emotion. He'll figure it out". "Sorry" John rolled his eyes, but it was aimed at himself. "I shouldn't be talking about my flatmate all night!"
"It was hardly all night, and besides I thought it was exes you shouldn't talk about!" Stephen replied, smiling, reaching out to lay a hand over John's hand, squeesing ever so slightly. The army doctor smiled in response, stroking a thumb over Stephen's fingers but not squeesing as he hadn't quite figured out how sore the socrcerer's fingers still were. "I'll leave that list to Sherlock. You'll be fascinated. Mostly by his lack of focus. You'll never guess at some of the things he remembers, and forgets!" They snickered together.
"So, what about your ex? While we're talking of forbidden subjects. You don't miss her?" Stephen shook his head in responce. "Not any more. She is a very nice person, but... I don't want to be one of her charity cases, and we just don't have anything in common anymore. If we ever did, besides the surgery".
"Well, then" John smiled warmly at Stephen "let's hope we have more to build on then". Smiling back, with just a little bit of relief mixed in with the affection, Stephen raised his glass. "To hope". "And to uss" John added, clinking their glasses ever so slightly together. As fireworks went off later that night, sent up from the town below, they indulged in the softest kiss either of them had ever experienced. It was a glorious start.
Epilogue - One year later. Exactly.
The New York Sanctum was filled with lights and music and there was even tinsel this year. Most of the sorcerers of Kamar-Taj celebrated the new year - those who did - at Kamar-Taj itself, but not the newly elected Sorcerer Supreme.
Christine sat on the armrest of one of the large chairs of the living room, frowning slightly as she ran a finger across her lover's chin. "I suppose the goatee isn't that bad, but..." "I am not getting rid of the goatee" Tony Stark replied, removing her hand somewhat impatiently. He hated one night stands who couldn't take a hint, and he'd started to suspect that that was all she'd ever really be. Maybe he'd go to Malibu for a while, and warn the resident sorcerer to set up wardsaround this place. "You should get going, or you'll be late for your shift" he reminded her, allowing a kiss as she rose and hastened off. The room seemed to draw a collective breath of relief as she left.
"Well, she has a type" Sherlock noted idly over from the couch, where he was lying surrounded by various relics. They all seemed to prefer his company, if their own humans were busy elsewhere. The Carpet was graciously sharing him with its friends, seemingly especially found of joining together with the Cloak of Levitation and bury him in fabric. Sherlock occasionally pretended like he didn't love playing games with the relics, but he fooled absolutely no one.
Stumpy the Gargoyle left the couch as soon as Christine had gone, and appeared on Stark's armrest instead. Ironman looked much more pleased with this company. Maybe it was that he already had such a warm relationship to his bots, but the engineer had taken to the stone statue right away, not even disturbed by it following him home - just as soon as Strange had taken a look and could guarantee that it was benevolent.
"Yes, she does. Intelligent, arrogant men who work too much and doesn't really care if she's there or not" Stephen noted dryly from where he was lying on the carpet with John, challenging two others in their group at Settlers of Catan. "I would argue, but, yes. It takes one to now one" Tony agreed, petting Stumpy absentmindedly.
"Well, no wonder Sherlock can see it then" Molly joked, winking at John, who barely stifled a laugh. The TARDIS blinked peacefully in the background, its Doctor chuckling with his arm protectively draped across Molly's back, where they lay facing the other couple while playing the boardgame.
It had taken quite some time before the Doctor could be in Sherlock's company at all after the Holmes had refused him in February, and it had been mid-july before he stopped looked wistfully at the Consulting Detective. That Sherlock had made him come to the Morgue with him and had tripped him up at a very opportune moment, literally sending him into the arms of Molly, might have something to do with it.
Draped across Molly, just liked the Cloak had draped itself over Stephen and John, was the cloak of invisibility, Mrs Hudson's relic since many years. The Doctor would tell you it was why she was noticed so little. It made Molly look a little quaint, half her legs invisible, but life around Sherlock, Stephen and The Doctor was so peculiar already that no one really noticed.
Mrs Hudson was in the kitchen, relishing the chance to fuss about them all, John and Strange - both surgeons at heart - wore their engagement rings in chains around their necks, and Tony was there to back Stephen up when they mocked him for saying "Merry" instead of "Happy Christmas". It was, at the long and short of it, a truly wonderful New Year's Eve - the first of many (or rightly the second, for some of them).
This is the very final installment of this series, though I just might be persuaded to do another series next year! (This year, already, for some of my readers) (Either a sequel or something completely new) So I hope you have all enjoyed this story - I have loved writing it and also loved all the responce I recieved from all of you, you have truly been fantastic readers! Futher, thank you so much to all my repeat reviewers, I am so happy that you're still interested enough to want to read and comment!
Special thank you's to Honestlydarkprincess, KarToon12, Sudoku, Princess Prettypants and irene for all your encouragement and all the care you've given this saga - it has spurred me on greatly!
For those of you who might be curious, I did manage to write it all day-by-day, with the exception of the AU dimension chapter, which took two days to write. (There were also a few conversations of Christmas eve and day as well as boxing day which I had prepared some to know what I was writing towards.)
Stumpy belongs, like Excalibur, in the Librarians television series, and the idea to bring him in as well came from a reviewer. The Cloak of Invisibility is from Harry Potter.
Now, Happy New Year, and may it be a great year!
I do not own anything you recognise - I don't even know where some of it is from!