Nightmare On Baker Street

This is my entry for March Hare's competition based on Sherlock Holmes' dream. This is a special case in which not only do I not own Sherlock Holmes and the rest of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's cast, but I also do not own any of the other characters or the plot. It's almost embarrassing how much I do not own.

Sherlock Holmes sat back in his chair, pinching the bridge of his nose. God, he was tired. It had been at least forty-eight hours since he'd slept last. Leaning his head back he rested his eyes for a moment, his head shooting up when he realized he had nearly nodded off.

"Damn!" he cursed, but there was no real emotion behind it. He had discovered that his epithets had lost all feeling after the 36th hour. It wasn't that he didn't want to sleep, it was just that he didn't want to confront what he knew would be waiting for him in his dreams. Holmes sighed, glancing at his couch which was looking much more comfortable than it had any right to look.

"I have to stay up in case there is a development in the case," he told himself.

"There isn't going to be a new development in the case," another voice whispered. "Not until at least tomorrow afternoon." He looked at the couch again. "I most likely won't even dream; I'm so exhausted that I'll probably just black out."

He sat down on the couch, stretching out fully on the large piece of furniture. The second his eyelids closed he drifted away into the gray area where dreams are born.

"Holmes!" a voice said insistently. "Holmes, are you alright?"

"What?" he asked, opening his eyes.

"I said, are you alright?" Watson repeated.

"Yes of course I am," Holmes replied, blinking away his fatigue and heaving himself off the couch.

"Good, I was afraid you might be having second thoughts," Watson said with a grin.

"Second thoughts?" Holmes raised an eyebrow, fixing him with a piercing look. His eyes roamed over his friend, noticing that he was in his best suit and hat. "What are you so dressed up for?"

Watson chuckled. "Well, you didn't think I'd show up in my work clothes for the ceremony did you?'

"Ceremony?" Holmes asked. Suddenly he glanced down and realized that he was dressed in a black suit that he had never seen before. "Watson, what is going on?"

Watson gave him a disapproving look. "This is no time to joke, Holmes." He smiled then, "But I can understand if you are a bit nervous, I know I was."

"I'm not nervous," Holmes insisted, getting more confused.

"Alright, if you're not nervous, lets skip right to the wedding," he said with another of those delighted smiles. A second later the world gave a sickening lurch and when it stabilized they were inside a church. Holmes gaped at his old friend who seemed to find nothing out of the ordinary. "Ah, good, everyone has arrived."

Holmes turned around to face the rows of empty benches that were no longer empty. They were filled almost to overflowing with people he vaguely recognized. Ribbons were decorating the pews and flowers were everywhere; it looked beautiful, exactly the way Sherlock had imagined the proverbial wedding would look. It scared him to death. He took a deep breath, remaining utterly calm to the indifferent observer.

"Watson, I am leaving this church this instant," he told him sternly. He turned on his heel and headed for the exit. He almost made it too, but just when freedom seemed within his grasp he was accosted by none other than Inspector Lestrade.

"Well, I never thought I'd see the day, Sir," the man gushed inanely. "The confirmed bachelor Sherlock Holmes netted at last;" He grinned, obviously immensely amused by the detective's discomfort. "Enjoying your last hours of freedom?" he asked.

"I was just-" Holmes began, gazing longingly at the doors to the cathedral.

Lestrade checked his watch, cutting off whatever Holmes had been about to say. "I shouldn't say hours, I should say minutes!" he said. "Come on, it's nearly time."

And that is how the famous Baker Street Detective found himself manhandled up the aisle and placed in his position near the best man. Watson gave him an encouraging nod and then turned his attention to the rear of the church. The music changed just as Lestrade slipped into his place beside Watson and the doors opened.

The first woman to emerge was dressed in one of the strangest, most shocking concoctions he had ever seen. He didn't recognize her, but the outfit was all to familiar. At one point Nona had drawn it on a piece of scrap paper for him; something about showing him how women's fashion would progress through the century. He had smiled at the nonsense then, but the gown was more formidable in person. The tall woman in her billowing dress passed by him and turned to stand opposite Lestrade.

The next woman stepped out as soon as the first had taken her place. He could tell just by the way she carried herself who this was. His landlady, Mrs. Hudson. Strangely enough she was dressed in her usual workday dress, only dyed a loud fuchsia color. She strewed flower petals on her way up the aisle and stood opposite Watson.

The music changed again, picking up the traditional wedding march. All the guests promptly stood, craning their necks as one to stare at the back of the church. Holmes followed their lead, watching with bemusement as the doorway began to glow softly. Without further introduction Nona stepped forward in sight of the people gathered together to watch her become Mrs. Sherlock Holmes.

She was a vision of loveliness, all in white and silver. Her hair was turned up in some complicated twist and she carried a bouquet of red and white roses. She was smiling, beaming actually, at everyone and everything; Holmes couldn't help but smile back. She made her way up the aisle at an achingly slow pace on the arm of Holmes' brother, Mycroft.

As she took her deliberate steps towards him the lights seemed to gradually dim. Her smile seemed more forced the closer she got and her face was tense. The lighting and the distance made it difficult to tell, but it looked as if her lips were moving. He found himself straining his ears, trying to hear her whispers from an impossible distance. The words were soft, he could almost make them out; they hovered on the edge of his hearing. Another step brought her closer.

"…can't….this nonsense….married….respect…from two different worlds…" He concentrated on her words, trying to piece together the broken sentences. "…what I wanted…. don't get it…children…. lover….my husband…" Holmes furrowed his brow, striving again to hear the entirety of what she was saying. She was near now, if he put out his hand he could touch her. She gave him a small, awkward smile in response to his concerned look.

The priest popped in out of thin air, beginning the ceremony the second he arrived. Holmes ignored the impossibility of his entrance. "Marriage is a holy unity between two people…" the priest said loudly, though it fell softly on Sherlock's ears. The words of matrimony faded into the background as Nona's whispers grew in strength.

"What kind of occupation is that for a married man?" she asked with a complete lack of inflection in her tone. "Living from day to day with no knowledge of where our next meal is coming from?" The whispers continued without pause between sentences. "You'll have to become an Inspector so you can support your family. We all have to give up some of our dreams for the sake of the family. We'll move to a little house, somewhere not too expensive and I'll stay at home. You'll make friends on the force, you won't need Watson. We'll live there together, forever, with our children. Together. Forever.

Holmes stood there, frozen in place as she spelled out the rest of his life in a sibilant, toneless voice that brooked no opposition. He stood as the Priest wrapped up his speech and as he spoke the fateful words. "I now pronounce you man and wife, you may kiss the bride." Nona looked up at him, her anxiousness melted away and her whispers were almost forgotten in her sunny smile. Her beauty almost knocked him over as he bent to kiss her. Her lips were a tantalizing millimeter away, her arm curled around his neck, when she suddenly jerked him off balance and sunk her teeth into his throat.

"Nona!" he choked out, blind fear and horror in his voice. He could feel his blood pumping out of him, but an even worse feeling was his will to live being drawn inexorably out of him by the woman he had just married. She pulled back at last; his blood coating her lower face and formerly pristine gown turned her into a gruesome caricature of a bride. She smiled at him then, her fangs glinting dully.

"Forever," she whispered before it all faded to black.

Sherlock awoke with a start, his neck throbbing with pain. He had thrashed about so much during his rest that a spring from the couch had poked through and jabbed him in the throat. He was bleeding slightly, but it was an inconsequential cut. He was more concerned about these incessant dreams he was having. It was putting relentless pressure on his professional life and it was affecting his relationship with Nona. He knew he needed to face these inner fears at some point, but at the moment the task seemed to large to contemplate. He pushed it to the back of his mind, a confrontation for another day.