A quick comment - I love the books, and I loved the movie. I do not believe that Mary must vanish in order for the friendship to last - and I can see Holmes being a regular caller to the Watson household. Just a short ficlet, in the movie-verse, this time!

Opera

A night at the opera was not uncommon for either Holmes or Watson, but as for myself, it was my first opera, first outing as a married woman, and first excursion with my new husband's mercurial friend.

I was a governess before I married. I still read, voraciously, and still tried to expand my mind. My husband's writings were fascinating to peruse, the tales he spun showed Mr. Holmes' intellect and oddities clearly; if there was a fault it was that he tended to downplay his own contributions to the case. Still, John had submitted the first two tales and they were published to general acclaim. I was not concerned about an inability to participate in conversation, or to carry myself well - the graces of public behaviour were well instilled in me.

No. It was the realization that though Mr. Holmes - Sherlock - had visited us several times, and was always the soul of courtesy, I still had the feeling he saw me as a victor in a battle I didn't quite understand.

This evening, though, he knocked on the door and was admitted, carried his hat and gloves and a stick into the sitting room and sprawled - as was his wont - on the settee. I felt a twinge of envy that he could be so relaxed, so carefree in even his most formal of clothes. As was polite, I refrained from comment, but he still grinned at me.

"The current fashions will change, Mary," he said, "and you will be rid of that beastly device of style called a corset."

I no longer was surprised at his ability to, as it appeared, read my mind.

"John's rounds went late - he's just finishing dressing."

Affection softened his sharp visage. "His rounds always go late. I wager his tie will be crooked."

I inclined my head. "I believe the expression is 'you're on'."

He smirked, coming to his feet and approaching the stair.

"Mr. Tardy! The curtain rises in less than twenty five minutes!"

"Just a moment!"

Holmes leaned on the newel post, ostentatiously checking his watch, and glanced up as John descended. I smiled to watch. There was a lightness about them both that only came out when they were together - friendship of that sort was something I found I envied rather than was jealous of.

He pushed away from the post and came to stand by me, hands clasped before him. I raised an eyebrow at him and we both watched as John came to a stop at the bottom, jacket in hand. His expression was wary.

His tie was crooked.

I ducked my head, hiding an unladylike snort of laughter. Holmes strode over and straightened it, chuckling.

"And what are you two up to?" John recognized a plot when he saw it.

"Nothing, love," I assured him, moving to his side. "I simply owe Mr. Holmes a drink at the intermission."