"Remind why we were invited to this again?" he hissed quietly. John again glanced nervously around his seat, half turning around to see how many guests had entered the Abbey yet. I haven't worn this thing for years, he thought, looking down at his (tighter than he remembered) dark khaki uniform. His ears had flushed almost permanently pink at this stage, giving that all the other men were in suits and he stood out more than a little.
"Because he thought I might be needed."
Soft lips pressed to his ear for a moment and a shiver ran down his spine. "Sherlock, stop it, it's not appropriate," he snapped, as Sherlock dodged his elbow.
"Well the only person looking is one of your comrades from the RAF. Surely he already knows?" Sherlock replied smoothly with one of his side smiles. He did, however, shift a little in his seat so they weren't as close as before.
John opened his mouth to retort something, frowned slightly, closed it and sighed. "I'm just saying that we're in a…" It seems weird to call it a church. "A big church. Don't you think it might be…" he trailed off.
"Disapproved of?" Sherlock offered mildly. "John, need I remind you that Mycroft does occasionally run the British government, and as you might expect from such a job, has rather a many contacts. Even the Royal Family."
"So?" John looked at him, bewildered slightly.
Sherlock's expression was put out, and he seemed disappointed that John hadn't got the hint the first time. "So the Royal Family might occasionally owe favours to him."
There was a pause. "Still don't get it," John said bashfully.
This time he just seemed irritated. "So, if he asks them for a light request, they don't mind-"
"He asked if they could ignore us?" John gaped at him. "You didn't pay your brother for that, did you?"
"I merely expressed my opinion on the previous engagement we happened to go along to, and my brother agreed that we could do with a media cover."
"You mean the Oscars?" John asked sarcastically, watching over his shoulder as more guests started to file into their seats. He and Sherlock were sat on the edge of the sea of chairs, their view of the altar partially covered by a tree. Stupid tree.
"Well apart from the fact that you had no idea who anyone was, no one knew who you were, and that Colin Firth tripped over your foot, I think it went pretty well," John replied defiantly.
"You say no one knew who I was, but I beg to differ, John. The Sun voted me the best looking one there," Sherlock pointed out, slightly smugly.
The sight of Sherlock's superior expression and slight smirk melted whatever irritation John had been feeling the previous minute and he sighed. "That's because you were."
"That's not the point," Sherlock continued, seemingly oblivious of John's change of tone. "The point is that people noticed me. That won't do, the media would slaughter my reputation-"
"What reputation?" John rolled his eyes, inching his hand toward Sherlock's knee.
"-my reputation," Sherlock continued irritably, "so he's made sure the cameras won't catch us during the ceremony. Or now."
"So we can do whatever we like and they won't be able to do anything about it?" John said, blinking.
Sherlock looked down sideways at him and couldn't help but show a tiny smile. "Well not anything," he admitted wryly, lifting John's chin with a nimble finger so they locked gazes.
"Sherlock, that's not appropriate," a voice scolded.
Without moving his finger or his eyes, Sherlock pursed his lips. "Mycroft, take your seat, I think it'll start soon."
John, as much as he didn't want to, turned around in his seat and saw Sherlock's brother, in an incredibly smart top hat and tails; the only difference to the other male guests was the bright silver pocket watch and the long umbrella he held in his right hand.
"Sherlock, your seat is three rows behind John's, I told you earlier," he tutted, raising his chin.
"Just tell me," Sherlock said tersely.
John could feel Sherlock's body tense beside him and he glanced curiously at him.
"Mycroft, just tell me," he repeated irritably.
He gave a heavy sigh and narrowed his eyes. "The ring."
John's eyes widened and Sherlock stood up immediately. "What happened?"
"He lost it," Mycroft said shortly, and began to stride away.
"Who lost it?" Sherlock hissed, clambering over John to grab Mycroft's suit.
"Well who do you think, Sherlock?" he snapped.
Sherlock tilted his head. "Not him. How could he be so stupid?"
"Who?" John asked hurriedly. The babble of more guests could be heard coming from the entrance to the Abbey.
Sherlock shook his head, grabbed the sleeve of John's uniform and dragged him as he walked down the aisle towards the entrance, which was swelling with guests.
"Sherlock, I can walk on my own-" John hissed, and Sherlock's hand left his sleeve. John promptly tripped over a chair but managed to save himself from sprawling across some dignitaries already in their seats. After muttering an awkward 'sorry', he hurried after Sherlock, who had already left the Abbey, somehow easily cutting through the throng of people. It took John a far sight longer than Sherlock had to get to the door, and when eventually he did, he was nowhere to be seen.
He sighed and made his way through another crowd of people just outside the steps leading up to the archway, trying not to catch anyone's eye and also trying to look like he was going somewhere important.
This was the usual situation. Sherlock would run off and figure out some important things while John would be left there in the middle of all the other people and would have to deal with his mess.
But he didn't mind. He liked to figure out some things for himself sometimes.
I wonder who he meant? I'm guessing Mycroft meant the ring. Prince Harry's given it, isn't he, for safe keeping? Surely he wouldn't lose it? Who has it before him?
John suddenly stopped. Surely not Lestrade? Who would trust a ring with him?
Unsure about his half a theory but also unsure of where he was walking, he made a snap decision and turned on his heel, heading towards a section of barrier along the route near Buckingham Palace that he knew Lestrade would be hanging around. He suddenly felt extremely exposed, walking where no other wedding guests were, and there were a few cheers from the throbbing crowds as they tried to work out who the man in military uniform walking along the barriers was.
Sherlock said he didn't want to be noticed. Does that mean I have to keep out of sight too?
Well it's a bit late now.
"What are you doing here?" Donovan was the first to greet him with an annoyed hiss.
"Looking for Lestrade?" he replied a little awkwardly, wishing people by the barriers would stop staring at him. Donovan was on the edge of a small group of policemen and women, most lazily standing about and casually watching the crowds.
"Well it's quite obvious he isn't here. Freak took him somewhere a minute ago," she snapped, turning back to the other police.
Why is everyone so stressed today? It's only a wedding.
"Did you see where they went?" John asked, as politely as he could.
Donovan glanced at him and waved an absent hand somewhere to her right, down the Mall.
"Thank you," he said pleasantly as he strode on past, gritting his teeth. Continuing down the darker tarmac of the Mall, he had a strange impulse to wave to the crowd, as many of them were still looking at him and trying to work out whether they should cheer or not. He wasn't sure whether he should try and walk as if he was still in the army or take a more relaxed stride, so it ended up being somewhere in the middle of the two.
Once again he wasn't looking where he was going and walked straight into Sherlock. He heard a quiet laugh as Sherlock smoothly slid his arms around his waist and lifted his chin up with his finger again. The kiss that followed stunned John so much he could hardly stand. When Sherlock finally pulled away with one of his side smiles, John really couldn't think of anything to say.
"Do you know how distractingly attractive you look in that uniform?" Sherlock murmured close to his ear. Lestrade was nowhere to be seen.
"Er, people are looking…" was all John could say, a little breathlessly.
"I know," was the wry reply.
"Sherlock, people are getting phones out…" John swallowed, half of him wanting to remove the hands from his waist and half wishing with all his life that they would stay there.
But Sherlock sighed and uncoupled his hands from John's back. "It never used to be like this, you know. People could kiss in a public place and not be filmed."
"This is the Royal Wedding."
"Fair point," Sherlock smiled a little. "Anyway, I wanted to ask you if you'd like to come to Aspreys with me."
Isn't that a jewellers?
"Why?" John replied hoarsely, his mouth suddenly dry.
"To pick a ring," Sherlock raised an eyebrow, looking slightly irritated again.
"For…" John couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence.
"For Catherine Middleton, who else?" Sherlock seemed confused by John's reluctance. "Lestrade lost it."
John breathed a sigh of relief. "What was Lestrade doing with it? Didn't the Queen give it to Harry for safekeeping?"
Sherlock started to walk off down the Mall, so he followed hurriedly, ignoring the giggles and small cheers from the crowds past the barriers.
"No, the page who was supposed to deliver it was ill, so Lestrade had to go and pick it up," Sherlock called over his shoulder.
"Bet he loved that."
Sherlock ignored him. "But Prince William is supposed to arrive with Prince Harry and the ring in about half an hour, so we have to hurry."
In a cab about five minutes later, John tried to shift his position to make his army uniform as comfortable as possible. He wasn't very successful so gave up.
"Let me get this straight," he mused, as Sherlock gazed out the window at Regents Street. "Lestrade has lost a priceless Welsh gold wedding ring that was supposed to be delivered to Prince Harry this morning to give to Prince William to give to Kate to marry her."
"Yes," Sherlock nodded.
"How did he loose it?" John asked, shocked.
"He dropped it."
"Down a drain," Sherlock answered irritably.
John gaped at him. "Down a drain?"
Sherlock didn't answer, just stared out the window. Silence.
"Did Mycroft think this would happen? You said earlier that he might have needed you," John pointed out.
"Yes, Mycroft knows how badly Lestrade deals with these kinds of things. Of course," he continued busily, "Weddings are awfully boring, I would never attend without some sort of benefit."
"What was the benefit?" John asked blankly.
Sherlock glanced at him and down his uniform.
"Oh come on-" John protested, although his tone wasn't entirely angry.
"Mycroft promised me he'd stop chasing me up about the Wikileaks case if we went," Sherlock said, sounding amused.
The cab stopped and Sherlock paid, then they both got out.
"Sherlock, it's not going to be open," John sighed as they hurried down Bond Street. It wasn't very busy, considering everyone had already taken seats in Hyde Park or Trafalgar Square.
As they approached the glittered windows of the jewellers John was acutely aware of what this would look like. He braced himself.
"David," Sherlock called through the letterbox of the pristinely polished glass door at the entrance. It was firmly shut, and there were no lights on inside.
"No one's going to be in, Sherlock, they'll be watching the we-"
"Sherlock!" The door suddenly flung open and a tall, thin man with straggly mousy brown hair grinned back at them. "About time! I've been hearing what you two get up to."
"Which is what exactly?" John tightened his jaw defiantly.
The man winked. He and Sherlock shook hands and he gestured for them to come in.
"What about this wedding, eh?" the man laughed. "Bloody awful. Only good bit is that people want to get married more now than ever. Good business."
"Yes," Sherlock answered, with a distinct air of disinterest. "We need a ring."
"Now?" the man grinned. "Take any you like, Sherlock; I've been waiting for this day ever since you told me you moved in with this lucky man."
John stared pointedly at Sherlock but he didn't say anything, simply striding to one of the cases and peering down into the rows of diamonds.
"We're, er, not getting mar-" he said awkwardly, feeling a little guilty at having to spoil the jeweller's excitement.
But he didn't seem to get it. He just winked at John and went over to help Sherlock pick one.
"How about this one?" Sherlock pointed to one and the jeweller removed it from the case. He held it up to the light.
Well she'd better like it. Fancy that, picking out the ring for Catherine Middleton.
"D'you think it's a bit small?" John hesitated.
Sherlock threw him a I think I know better than you what size Catherine's finger is look so John held up his hands. "Fine, fine, get this one. We need to hurry, he'll be there in a minute."
"Don't forget that uniform we talked about, Sherlock!" the jeweller yelled after them as they clambered into a cab. Sherlock waved a hand as he closed the door with a wry smile.
"What's he talking about, Sherlock?" John frowned.
"I told him a while ago I find you exceptionally attractive in military uniforms, and he presumes we'll get married at some point," he shrugged, very matter of fact.
John decided not to reply to that.
As their cab pulled up just past the barriers on the Mall, Sherlock leapt out gracefully and strode towards a very nervous looking Lestrade. John scrambled out after him.
"What took you so long?" Lestrade snapped as they came closer. "William and Harry are waiting to get into the cars."
Sherlock smoothly tossed him the ring box. "They'll never notice, it was the closest match there."
Lestrade opened the box and sighed. "Is it a bit small?"
John glanced at Sherlock.
"No," Sherlock answered firmly.
"Fine, well, Mycroft said you're not needed any more, he mentioned something about Wikileaks," Lestrade waved a hand absently, and started to jog down the tarmac towards Clarence House, his coat flapping in the light breeze.
"Does that mean we can just leave?" John breathed with relief.
Sherlock looked just as relieved. No one seemed to be paying them any attention anymore. "Yes, my brother seems to have decided we have saved the day quite enough for now."
John couldn't hold back the laughter. "You do realise what we've just done, right?"
"Bought a ring for the future Duchess of Cambridge?"
"Wait until we tell Mrs Hudson, she'll be beside herself," John snorted. They began to walk down the Mall the opposite way, John taking a more relaxed stride. Most of the crowd had moved down toward Buckingham Palace or round to Westminster Abbey so they could see the Princes arriving. Even so, John could finally relax a little more as he and Sherlock turned the corner and were out of sight of most of the onlookers. He still felt very out of place in his uniform.
He glanced at Sherlock beside him and saw that he too was looking in his general direction. He smiled.
"You should really wear that uniform around the house more often, John," Sherlock commented approvingly. John slid his fingers into Sherlock's.
"I think Mrs Hudson might notice," he pointed out, trying to hide a smile.
"Oh come on, John, don't be stupid," Sherlock scolded. "You no longer sleep in your own bedroom; I think it's fairly obvious."
They walked down the near empty road in silence for a few minutes.
"Are you sure that ring was big enough?"