From this day forward
"Sherlock! You got… engaged?"
"What? No! I… that wasn't…"
"Don't bother trying to lie about it. Lestrade told me."
"Oh! Agatha, you mean? That was nothing—just a case."
"Just a case? You can't just... Just because you're completely heartless doesn't mean everyone else is!"
"John, you really shouldn't talk if you have nothing new to say. Besides, just because you are ridiculously soft-hearted doesn't mean everyone else is. Some people don't care. Agatha broke it off with her fiancé for me within two days of meeting me."
"You must have really turned on the charm."
"No, I didn't. Not all of us have to try to attract females."
"And I don't need a lecture. You're jealous."
"Sherlock, she might have changed her mind quickly, but that doesn't mean she wasn't hurt."
"She's engaged to her first fiancé again. I know you never really recovered from that 'Dear John' letter, but some people are able to move on."
"How do you…who told you about Susan?"
"No one did. It was obvious."
"You were worried for a minute, when I said something about being engaged. You were actually worried. There's something you don't want me to know about."
"Don't be ridiculous."
"Yes, there is. And I'm going to find out what it is!"
"You won't find it, John."
"Ha! I knew it."
"You said I wouldn't find it—so there must be something to find!"
Sherlock had faith in his own intuition. Mind you, that was not the same thing as believing in a sixth sense. No. He had faith in his hard drive's ability to run programs in the background. He was always making deductions—he couldn't always be consciously aware of them.
Today his intuition was telling him that John had something up his sleeve. He recognized it at some point between solving that absurdly simple case for Lestrade and ordering a new computer on his phone while he walked back to Baker Street.
He was starting to backtrack through his memories of the past twenty-four hours as he walked up the stairs, to learn why his brain had come to this (necessarily correct) conclusion, when John appeared on the landing with a very silly grin on his face.
"Ha! You tried to make me think you always hated Alexandra when we met her last year!"
"That's because I did." Sherlock knew he was a good actor. John would not notice his burgeoning panic.
"That's not what Mycroft says."
"Mycroft will say anything that suits his purpose."
"But can he invent home videos?"
"What?" That surge of panic might not have been hidden as well…
"He sent me this." John was holding a DVD. And Sherlock knew precisely what was on it.
"WHAT? Give that to…"
"Sherlock! I've already seen it, so there's no use taking it from me. And I promised to watch it with Mrs. Hudson later. She's angry with you already for that hole in the ceiling, so I would let her see it, if I were you... Besides, Mycroft will never lose the original."
John was right. Mycroft would never, ever lose the original. And as much as he hated to admit it, Sherlock knew that he would never, ever be able to retrieve it. He stalked over to the couch, lay down with his arms folded over his chest, and closed his eyes.
Half an hour later, Sherlock was pacing up and down the stairs of 221 Baker Street. Mrs. Hudson had invited him into 221A... And he did want some of those biscuits…
He felt the way he had at age eight, when he showed Mummy a composition he'd written about poisonous spiders. He was proud of it…but also afraid that Mummy wouldn't like it…or would find an error. He had stayed in the room, hovering around her while she read it, because he had to see how she was reacting…and every second had been torture.
This felt similar…except that in this case he was as far from proud as he could be. He knew what John and Mrs. Hudson were about to watch, and he wanted nothing more than to be miles away while the images flickered across the telly…but he had no choice but to be there and observe their reactions. He walked into Mrs. Hudson's living room.
"Sherlock, dear. Sit here. You must have been the most adorable little child! I cannot wait to see this film."
Mrs. Hudson was going to love it! Sherlock's stomach roiled.
John turned on the telly and started the DVD. It took him quite a bit longer than it would have taken Sherlock…but then John was always hopeless with technology. The home video started.
~A very little girl in a white party dress holding a bouquet of violets is walking down an aisle of chairs in a large drawing room, escorted by an older boy of about seven. There are six other little children in party dresses and suits sitting on the chairs. A very little boy—probably five or six, but small for his age—is waiting for her at the front of the room in a well-tailored tuxedo. The presiding minister, in full Anglican vestments, is unmistakably a teenage Mycroft.
~When the bride arrives at the front, the groom says in very a loud whisper. "You look beautiful, Lexie." She giggles and says primly, "Why thank you, Sherly"
"Can I call you Sherly?"
~Mycroft clears his throat and begins to intone: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God…"
"I do love the old service!"
"Then you won't enjoy this travesty of it, Mrs. Hudson. Why don't we turn it off?"
~"…and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God himself, signifying unto us the mystical union..."
~A voice pipes up: "When are they going to kiss?" Several of the girls titter.
~"EEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW! That's gross, Lottie."
~Lottie looks very superior. "I went to Aunt Milly's wedding, and she kissed Uncle Joe."
~"Sherlock, you can't KISS a GIRL!"
~"That is what we have to do at the end, Harry. Mummies and Daddies kiss."
~"But they're Mummies and Daddies!"
~"We can pretend. And one day we'll be Mummies and Daddies, too."
~Sherlock is becoming agitated. "Everyone be quiet! We're having a wedding! Keep going, Mycroft."
"Sherlock, you poor thing! After all the trouble you went to, to set it up!"
"Ha! If I was one of those kids I'd've given him a wedgie before he could invite me to something like that."
"When you were five?"
"Well…maybe when we were a bit older."
~Mycroft coughs a bit before continuing.
~"…signifying unto us the mystical union that is…"
~"I have to wee!"
~Sherlock looks scandalized, and hisses, "Lexie, not until after we're married."
~"Are we almost married?"
~"We have twenty more minutes. Mycroft hasn't even finished telling us why we're getting married."
~"Because it's fun!"
~"No, it's to make children fear, and also for…natural stinks…and… Mycroft? What was the last one?"
"Did you really read the whole service? When you were five."
"I had Mummy read it and explain it."
"An atomic wedgie!"
~"Yes, see Lexie?"
~"I need to wee."
~"This is booooooooring, let's have the cake."
~Several children agree and follow the tallest child (who made the suggestion) out of the drawing room.
~Sherlock's face turns very red. "COME BACK! WE'RE GETTING MARRIED."
~Lottie, who is still watching, says, "Why don't you kiss?"
"Yes, Sherlock, why didn't you?"
~"Because we have to get married first!"
"Because I had principles, John."
"Hmph! Not enough to keep you from trying to force a nice little girl to marry you, though?"
~"Sherlock! Let go of my hand. I HAVE TO WEE!" Lexie tries to pull her hand away.
~"IF YOU LEAVE I WON'T MARRY YOU, LEXIE!"
~"I DON'T WANT TO MARRY YOU!"
~The camera dips as if the cameraman is about to turn it off, but Mycroft gestures at him, and it is once more trained on the bride as she struggles to pull her arm out of the grasp of the groom. When she does, she trips over her dress and falls. The groom laughs loudly.
~At this point it is clear that the camera is dropped, but since the cameraman did not turn off the camera, sounds of a child crying, an adult comforting, and a loud discussion between the groom and the priest can be heard for a few more minutes.
"Oh, Sherlock! That was adorable! I must show it to Mrs. Turner. Yesterday she was twitting me about her grandchildren—chattering on about them playing wedding as if they were the only children in the world. When she sees this she will have nothing more to say about them!" Sherlock submitted to being kissed as ungraciously as he could without actually hurting Mrs. Hudson's feelings.
"Now I know why you hate women so much. You're still bitter about that rejection."
"Don't be ridiculous, John."
"And! Now we have something to watch next time Sarah comes round for tea!"
"What? You didn't even enjoy that! You don't like 'cute.'"
"I wasn't really watching the telly. I was watching you squirm."
"That was childish, Mycroft."
"Childish? I'm sure Mummy would have wanted your only friend to see it. It is a precious childhood memory."
"John didn't even finish watching it."
"Odd. That is not what my sources told me."
Sherlock continued sipping his tea, and glared at the wall, plotting seventeen separate ways to revenge himself on his brother for making that humiliating DVD public. He had one comfort, though:
"I suppose you had Roberts record that because even at thirteen you knew it would make excellent blackmail material."
"Well, you've played your hand now. It's completely useless."
"Oh no, Sherlock. You do not comprehend the situation at all. I've merely whetted John's appetite. He doesn't know yet that you married Lottie a month later. He doesn't know that you studied ballet when you were eight. And he hasn't seen any of Mummy's adorable pictures of you in the bath, or on the loo, or sucking your thumb. And he hasn't…
Sherlock affected his most unconcerned expression. "Mycroft, none of those things are of any interest to me at all."
Perhaps the most galling thing about his grinning brother at that moment, Sherlock thought, was that he knew full well that Sherlock was lying.
A/N: Alexandra is an OC from Act Three of my story, "Where Dreams Come True."