Disclaimer: I don't own "Sherlock Holmes" or any of its characters. That all belongs to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Guy Ritchie, etc.
Inspired by: "Something" by the Beatles.
November 5th, 1893
The doctor was floored by the duo's announcement to marry, but the sleuth could've sworn he heard John mutter that "it's about bloody time" under his breath. Watson was good enough to suggest a minister to do the job. For the right price, the man was employed, and persuaded to keep in an office in the bowels of the church ("We will still be in the house of God, just in His basement," the sleuth pointed out to the priest) and with the minimum of two witnesses. John and Mrs. Hudson readily agreed to be there, and so that left only a few more details. The date was picked, the dress selected, and suddenly here they were, hand-clasped and listening to the priest's recitations.
Madeline, at the very least, wanted a proper gown. That was the most she insisted on for the wedding; the honeymoon to Scotland was a joint decision between her and her intended. Curiously, she did not care to have hundreds of people coming, or to even wait longer than a few months (a month and a half, really). Simple, quiet, almost secretive was wanted, and when asked about it in the middle of October, she shrugged.
"My last marriage was done in St. Paul's with nearly two hundred people I didn't know coming, with great pomp and ceremony, and then it ended in death. It was all a show. Better by far to be married with only a few witnesses rather than with thousands who I will not care for or remember being there," Madeline explained, settling into the window seat in Holmes' flat. "And then of course there's your reputation for being unmarriageable. Can't go destroying that with a big ceremony, can we?"
Holmes snorted, the smirk he was sporting softening. "I care not. Big or small congregation, it's the vows that matter."
"Too true, sir," she replied, her face glowing with contentment. And the conversation was left there, with her pouring over a new book and him with the strange feelings she always stirred in him churning his stomach. He couldn't stop himself from sitting next to her, he so wanted to be nearer to Madeline
Running his fingers through his tangled tresses, Holmes half turned towards her, the flames flickering in his irises. Th afternoon passed thusly, him trapped in his own thoughts and her cherishing the moment of peace they had.
Holmes was shocked at his behavior, his plans, but knew deep down he would never change his mind. He took his decision when he realized that there was no life without her, or at least it would be empty. Sure, there was the work, and the drugs, and the doctor to rely on, but sooner or later one or all of those things could fail him. The work would end, the cocaine would lose its effect as he built immunity, and John could very well abandon him if was too far gone for help.
Somehow, he knew this woman wouldn't fail him. Disappoint him? Most likely. Infuriate him? Definitely. But leave him? Never. It was a certainty.
"…I will," Holmes answered quietly, gaze locked on the woman beneath the veil. They stood at the forefront of the priest's office, hidden from prying eyes. The priest's questions continued for Madeline and he found it oddly beguiling of her to answer in a calm voice but be nearly on the brink of tears. He shook his head and smirked, not letting himself be affected by her emotion.
'Look at you, old boy. At the altar, and willing! Quite the far cry from the twenty-year-old bachelor who declared that he would never be tied down to any woman. Indeed, the lad who so wanted to devote himself to his profession and experiments seems to have disappeared…or matured, that makes a bit more sense,' he mused privately. 'And to think, marrying the woman who called you a horse's arse, multiple times. Maybe it's not maturity, rather a change in tastes. Oh dear, this ceremony better move on quickly, my logical mind is about to revolt.'
"I will," her voice crashed through the thoughts, jerking him back to the present. Shakily, he watched her withdraw from his grasp and let Sherlock reach towards a waiting Watson. Mrs. Hudson stood in the back of the room, grip tightened around the shoulders of little William, who began straining against her. Smiling, John beckoned the boy forward. Nervously, the boy placed a ring in the detective's hand, and received a hair-tussling for his efforts.
"I give you this ring, as a symbol of my…love, and fidelity," Holmes choked out, still stuck on the word he'd taken years off his life to avoid ever engaging or speaking about. The ring slid on easily, and then it was Madeline's turn.
"I give you this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity," she said, fixing the band on his left ring finger. It was plain silver, no adornments. Perfect for a man who had no care for flashy items. A few more blessings later (Holmes began to tap his foot impatiently, and Madeline pinched him to make him stop), and the priest finally presented Mr. and Mrs. Sherlock Holmes.
Smiling wide, Madeline flung back her own veil and met Holmes halfway when they were given permission to kiss. The Watsons and Mrs. Hudson clapped heartily, all the way through their signing of the marriage certificate.
As Madeline went to finish her signature, she felt Holmes' arms encircling her, and his mouth pressed near her ear.
"Now you're mine…both in blood and bond."
And he, of course was right. Maddeningly, frustratingly, wonderfully right. She had prided herself with being independent, and with being able to manage on her own. Which she still could do…but now, she didn't want to be anymore. She was freed through losing her blood, and with this man's donation she'd found the courage to move on from her less-than-pleasant past.
Bonded in blood, in thought, in word, in deed, and on paper, now she could only wonder what the future would hold. No life with Sherlock Holmes would be easy, and she certainly knew that. Then again, neither would it be understimulating.
And with the certificate signed, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes exited the little church, ready to march towards their future.
November 6th, 1893
Charged with the care of the Holmes residence in their absence, Watson wearily trumped over to Baker Street, his young son gallivanting around him. He'd argued for the longest time with Sherlock on the subject, protesting that Mrs. Hudson was a housekeeper, and therefore could do the job without him. A lot of good it did him, as Holmes manipulated him so swiftly and so subtly that he was still stewing over how he was talked into house-sitting on the trip over.
William, having grown quite a bit in a short amount of time, was a fast and lithe little boy. He had his father's imposing stance when trying to act grown-up, and his mother's smattering of freckles and charming demeanor when he played. Right now, he wasn't being very charming; in point of fact, the boy was acting like a little demon, tearing around and refusing to keep to his father's side. Watson truly began to regret both choosing the walk and not leaving his son with the nanny.
"William, stay by me!" he snapped, causing his boy to glare back at him. The lad had Mary's eyes, and when her eyes went that narrow, he knew a peal was about to be wrung over his head.
"No, Papa!" Will cried, speedily tramping ahead on the busy sidewalk. Fearing for his safety, Watson moved at double time, his war wounds cutting him deeper and deeper as he went. Wickedly, the boy would slow down and wait for his father to get closer before running away again. "No, Papa, no!"
"Come back, William! Papa can't…" he trailed off, his leg suddenly twinging horribly. Half gasping, half screaming, John dropped to one knee, finally halting his son's rash behavior. Hollering in fright, William went to his father's side and tugged his arm, just as another pair of hands grabbed under his arms.
"Let me help you, sir," purred a soft voice, the accent retaining it Devonshire burr. Marvelously, he was hoisted up with little aid from him. Turning to thank whoever was helping him, he was taken aback by the girl standing behind him. The woman had hair black as night, eyes dark as coal, and an oval face that was ruddy red. She did not look down or away; she looked him straight in the eye, as she was nearly as tall as him. As he gaped awhile longer, she had time to giggle, scoop up his walking stick, and press it back into his hands. "Alright there, sir?"
Finally John found his voice. "Yes, indeed. Thank you very much, you did not need to feel obligated to help me."
"You're quite welcome. My brother has a limp as well, so I am used to helping him back onto his feet. No obligation at all."
Kneeling down to William's level, she chuckled again when the boy hid behind his father's legs.
"Why are you hiding from me, little one?"
William gasped, " 'Cause you big!"
Wincing at his son's response, Watson relaxed when the lady laughed outright.
"My dear boy, that may be so, but you don't need to be afraid of me. Now, can you promise me something?" she continued, holding the young one's gaze steadily. Inch by inch, William withdrew from his hiding spot and nodded. "Could you watch and make sure your father does not fall again? Perhaps you could stay with him; running fast after naughty boys doesn't agree with him today."
Chastised, William nodded again. "Yes, lady."
"Thank you, lad," she murmured, brushing off her skirt and standing at her full height again. Extending her hand towards John, she crowed, "Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mister…?"
Scolding himself for his loss of manners, Watson took her hand and shook it.
"Doctor. Doctor John Watson."
She grinned. "Ah, Doctor Watson. I'm Miss Bayard. I think your son will stick by you now."
"Thank you, again."
Flicking her dark hair over her shoulder, she inclined her head in welcome. Dropping him a rapid curtsy, she bid him farewell and melted into the crowds lining the sidewalks. Watching her go, Watson felt himself release a breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
"Pretty girl, Papa," William piped up, gripping his fingers hard and pulling towards the direction of 221B. Guided by his son's enthusiastic tugging, John watched the dark head of the woman bob off into the distance, a grin creeping unbeknownst onto his lips.
"Yes, Willy, very pretty."
Author's note: …Does this mean…? Yes! It means a sequel is on the way. This time, it will be focused a bit more on Watson, but Sherlock and Madeline will definitely still be featured. However, I will be taking a break for a week or two to recover after this very arduous journey that I have taken.
Wow. Twenty-five chapters. This is my longest story, and the one I am happiest with by far. I made Holmes get married…yeah, it happened. Oh well!
In any case, I want to thank all my reviewers for their positive encouragement, their suggestions, and their constructive criticism when I needed it. Thank you to even my silent readers, those who put this on their Story Alert, because having people even silently reading it makes endeavors like this worthwhile. Thank you so much, really. :)
The sequel is entitled His Home and it's right here in the Sherlock Holmes 2009 fanfiction section. PLEASE read it, please!
Story Edited, 7/1/16.