Hello! I have to admit, I have been a bad and neglectful fanfic writer of late. On the other hand, I have been a focussed and hard-working original fic writer, and it is with an enormous amount of pride and pleasure that I can announce that Gren Peppard and the Lost Boy, by Pip Mulgrue, will be available for sale via Amazon Kindle store on Monday 30th April, 06:00 British Summer Time (I don't think sales are restricted to the UK), and what's more, it's available from as a paperback at this very moment! The Kindle version is significantly cheaper due to not having to pay the printing costs and postage.

I owe a massive amount of gratitude to my readers here, and particularly my reviewers for helping me to understand what an enormous amount of pleasure I could get from writing.

There's not an awful lot I can give in repayment for that, apart from, of course, a wedding. I hope that you enjoy this, and if you buy Gren Peppard, I really hope you enjoy that too.

Wedding Day

John woke up early and listened to Sherlock gently snoring. He felt a wave of butterflies fluttering around his stomach, and he smiled and rolled onto his back. He rubbed his face a bit and felt another wave of butterflies.

His anxiety about the wedding was unexpected. At the beginning of the engagement he had simply assumed that Sherlock and he would be the sort of couple who would have a long-term engagement. He thought it would probably last for forty years or so, but then, when walking past a registry office, they'd just nip inside and get the job done.

He hadn't formed this opinion through any sort of doubt or reluctance that he was aware of, but simply because he couldn't really get his head around the idea of either of them planning a wedding. He was definitely the organiser of the couple, and he'd have no earthly clue where to start with this sort of thing.

He was surprised, therefore, on Boxing Day, when Sherlock simply circumvented the problem by enlisting Mrs Hudson's help in respect of all the actual work.

After joyful squeals and tears over the matter of John accepting, she had disappeared and left them alone. She had said nothing more about it until New Year's Day, when she sat both of them down at the kitchen table, took out a large ring-binder and surrounded them with menus, brochures for country houses and other venues, and cut-outs from fashion magazines, lists of approved readings, and she told them all of their options. They had stared at her blankly and asked for coffee.

After about four hours, she was finally satisfied that neither one of them had the slightest opinion about what should happen beyond 'it should happen,' and she bustled away to make all of the arrangements.

John had allowed all of this to happen.

Sherlock had made some mild complaints, which Mrs Hudson had either compromised on, or steamrollered over.

She'd taken both of them individually to Mycroft's tailor and helped them select fabrics and cuts for suits, primarily by telling them what they would have. It was down to her that they were both had harmonizing, but different, morning suits, and that when they wore them, each man's colouring and physique was shown to its best advantage, while somehow showing them off to be a couple.

It was down to Sherlock that the suits were both in 221B, side-by-side in matching suit-cases, so that rather than hidden and separate. He had insisted that they could dress together and without any help.

It was down to Mrs Hudson that they had invited the guests in plenty of time, on good-quality, elegantly understated invitations. It was down to Sherlock that the invitees numbered 25 carefully selected people, rather than the 150 names that Mrs Hudson had pretty much plucked from the sky.

It was down to Sherlock that they were waking up together, side by side, rather than in separate bedrooms on separate floors. It was because of Mrs Hudson that they had the fun of going to bed dutifully and separately, nicely early, and then had had the further fun texting each other, until John had finally heard Sherlock's footfalls on the stairs and they'd crept, giggling like school-children, back downstairs to their usual room.

John was surprisingly grateful that he'd had to put almost no work in to this event at all, though he did find he was somewhat thrown by the fact that a wedding was about to happen. Today. He couldn't help but think that if he'd have wanted to put the brakes on, just slightly, just to steady the pace a bit, he should probably have said something on New Year's Day. Now it was May, and it was a long way past too late.

He rubbed his face, wondering if all prospective grooms felt as nervous as he was feeling now.

He looked at Sherlock who was soundly asleep, and he spent a moment enjoying Sherlock's relaxed face. He suspected that when the detective was conscious, those eyebrows would be knitted into a frown while he stomped and shouted around the house, protesting to all and sundry that he was most definitely not nervous, and who the hell had moved his cufflinks for the stupid, button-less shirt anyway!

John felt his stomach flip again, and he decided that he shouldn't have to suffer all of this anxiety alone.

He flicked Sherlock on the forehead. Sherlock stirred, writhed and fell limp again.

John flicked him again, and Sherlock swiped at his forehead but didn't wake up.

John went to flick him again, and Sherlock's hand shot out and grasped his wrist before he could make contact. He opened his eyes.

"Have you quite finished?" he asked.

John blushed and grinned.

"Good morning," he said.

"Good morning."

Sherlock's arm snaked over John's chest, and he closed his eyes again.

"We should get up," John said.

"Later." Sherlock nestled and sighed.

"You do remember that we're getting married today, don't you?" John asked.

"Mm. We have time."

"Mrs Hudson's coming," John whispered.

Sherlock grinned but didn't otherwise move.

There was a knock on the door.

"Sherlock!" she called. "Time to get up, love!"

"Thank you, Mrs Hudson," he called.

"Jolly good! I'll wake John too."

Sherlock quietly sniggered, and John grinned and shook his head.

There was the slightest of pauses, and then Mrs Hudson knocked again.

"John! Time to get up now!"

Sherlock giggled again.

"Thank you, Mrs Hudson," John called.

"You boys will be the death of me!" she called. "I'll go and make breakfast. You'll need something to sustain you."

John groaned.

"Just toast for me, Mrs Hudson!"

He heard her walk away, muttering, and he turned to look at Sherlock again. He found that he was being frowned at.

"Are you really nervous?" Sherlock asked.

"Well yeah, a bit. I mean, I'm fine, but nervous."

"More or less nervous than when you left for Afghanistan?"

"I'm fine."

"No, you're nervous." Sherlock frowned for a moment and took John's hand. "John, I need to know, are you really, really, sure about this?"

John's stomach turned over, and he had to take a moment to steady himself.

"Yes, I am really, really sure. I promise."

Sherlock's frown didn't disappear.

"It's just…" he started.

"What is it?" John asked, feeling more and more uncomfortable.

Sherlock paused and looked at him for a moment, and then he sighed.

"It's just you haven't been particularly interested. I get the impression that you would prefer it if all of this wasn't happening."

John's eyes widened and he shook his head, firmly.

"No! No, not at all! It's not that I haven't been interested! I've just been incompetent! Really, if it wasn't for Mrs Hudson I'd be utterly lost!" He stared at the ceiling and sighed. "The nervousness today is for in case I fluff my lines, or trip over the carpet and look like a prized prat or something. It's not about marriage, and it's most definitely not about you." He looked at Sherlock. "I'm really happy about both the marriage, and you, OK? It's just the today bit."

Sherlock's face slowly cleared and he nodded.

"OK. I just needed to be sure."

"Well, you can be sure."

Sherlock nodded again, and with a rush of energy he leapt from the bed.

"Good. Let's get breakfast," he said.

John swallowed and nodded.

"Mm. Let's see if my stomach will start behaving if I put some food into it."

Sherlock went into the bathroom, and John waited for a minute and then got up too, and he went out to where Mrs Hudson was cooking in their kitchen.

The smell of frying bacon and sausages invaded his senses and he swallowed hard. He walked quickly into the living room. He opened one of the windows and spent a moment breathing in the fresh, June air.

He felt better for it, so he sat down at the table and looked out of the window at all the people going about their business.

Mrs Hudson bustled over with his tea and toast.

"Aw, bless you, John. Don't you worry; it'll all be lovely!"

She rubbed the top of his back, and he wished that she'd stop.

"I'm not nervous, Mrs Hudson." He gave her a grim smile.

"No, he's not nervous at all!" Sherlock said, coming in to join them. "He'll be fine as long as no carpet tiles suddenly rear up to attack him."

Mrs Hudson shook her head and went back to the kitchen.

"I'm fine!" John said. "Look! I'm even eating!"

He grabbed a slice of his toast and took a somewhat ambitious mouthful. The second it hit his mouth he realised it had been an awful mistake, but Sherlock was watching him, so he chewed manfully and swallowed.

It was like swallowing a stone.

He grabbed his tea and sipped at it, until Mrs Hudson came in with a plate laden with the sausages and bacon, along with mushrooms, tomatoes and a fried egg. John gave it one look and leaned towards the window to breathe again.

"You'll be fine," Sherlock said. "Most of it's just; 'repeat after me…'"

"I know! I'm fine." John didn't move from the window. He took a deep breath.

"I've got the words all printed out somewhere," Mrs Hudson said. "I thought I would in case you wanted to practise."

"Oh that's a good idea," Sherlock said, and Mrs. Hudson bustled away and started leafing through her ring-binder.

John didn't bother telling them how fine he was. He breathed the morning air and listened to the boys from Speedy's as they opened up and moved the tables outside.

"Here you are," Mrs Hudson said, and she gave Sherlock a piece of paper. He popped a piece of sausage in his mouth and chewed while reading.

John's mouth watered in a deeply unpleasant way.

"It's all easy, John," Sherlock said. "It's two sentences. Easy."

"I'm fine." John said. He looked mournfully through the window again.

"Let's have a practice, shall we?" Mrs Hudson said. "I'll be the minister." She glanced at John. "Perhaps Sherlock should go first. Repeat after me, Sherlock, '"I do solemnly declare…"

"I do solemnly declare."

"…that I know not of any lawful impediment…"

"That I know not of any lawful impediment."

"…why I, Sherlock Holmes,

"Why I, Sherlock Holmes."

"…may not be joined in matrimony to John Hamish Watson."

Sherlock pointed at her with his knife.

"What she said. See? Easy!"

John stared. He turned green and swayed slightly.

"Your turn John," Mrs Hudson said. "I do solemnly declare…"

John stared. He swallowed a couple of times and took a deep breath.

"I do solemnly declare...," he mumbled.

"…That I know not of any lawful impediment…"

John grimaced.

"That I know not of any lawful impediment," he muttered.

"…why I, John, Hamish Watson…"

"Er… er… John Watson?"

"…may not be joined in matrimony to Sherlock Holmes."

John opened and closed his mouth without saying anything. His stomach spun like a washing machine.

"Come on," Sherlock said through a mouthful of meat and egg. "May not be joined in matrimony…"

John cursed and pushed passed Mrs Hudson as he darted to the bathroom. He slammed the door behind him, gagged, panicked, and accepted the sweet, sweet relief of vomiting everything he'd consumed in the last three days into the loo. He was surprised by the violence of the attack.

When he was able to pause for breath he became aware of somebody watching him, and he glanced into the mirror above the sink.

"Go away, Sherlock," he said. "I really don't need an audience."

"John, are you…"

Sherlock broke off, as John was sick again. And then again, and again. After a minute, Sherlock slunk back out of the room.

A good ten minutes later, John returned to the living room. He filled a glass full of water and took a moment to be grateful that Mrs Hudson had removed all the signs of breakfast from the flat.

He took his water to his armchair and sat down, and he wished he wasn't shaking quite so obviously.

Sherlock was sitting in his armchair, watching him, with an intense look on his face. His fingers were steepled, and there was a faint line down the middle of his forehead. His eyebrows were down, and his steely eyes looked out from under them.

"Feel better?" he asked.

"No. Not really," John said. He sipped at his water.

"John, are you certain that this isn't nerves? This looks like nerves. And if it is that you're this nervous about the prospect, don't you think that…"

"No!" John cut him off. "Point one, I'm not nervous. It's like I said earlier. I want to be married to you."

"Because you're stubborn?"

John shook his head.

"Point two, we know how fear gets me. If I were terrified to the point that normal people throw up, my legs would stop working. They're absolutely fine! I wouldn't throw up until they started working again. Point three, I know how I feel, and I feel pretty damned rough. I'm pretty certain that I've gone and got a stomach bug." He looked at Sherlock. "I'm really sorry!" His eyes watered slightly, and he felt ridiculous.

"OK," Sherlock said. "Fine, so it's a stomach bug. Can you just rise above it?"

John gave him a look.

"All I'm saying is that you might try."

John shot off back to the bathroom for a few minutes.

When he was well enough to return to the living room, he curled up on the armchair and looked Sherlock.

"I think I'm going to die!" he said.

Sherlock nodded at him. He was beginning to look very concerned, but he forced a smile.

"Well, if you do, could you possibly wait for seven hours or so? Then all your stuff is automatically mine."

John snorted.

"You want my clothes and my laptop? Feel free."

"I think we both know that I'm only marrying you for your gun."

John sniggered, and Sherlock started to look a little more relaxed. It was only for a moment though, as John's his face fell and he groaned.

"This is a bit not good, Sherlock," he said. "Although you might be pleased to hear that your diagnosis is now a bit right. I'm now very nervous about standing at the front of the room and hurling over one of the best men."

"Well yours is a doctor and mine is Mycroft, so you should feel free. Aim for Mycroft."

Sherlock grinned optimistically, and John smiled wanly. He closed his eyes.

"Why Mycroft, anyway?" he asked. "Why didn't you ask Greg?"

"Because Mrs Hudson said that it was what brothers do, and because Lestrade would have insisted on a stag party."


John sat up suddenly, and Sherlock scooted back a bit, fearing another tide.

"Mike!" John said.


"Mike! I need to call Mike!"

Sherlock gave him a nervous look.

"Do you want to postpone?"

"Nope, I want Mike to come around and inject me with a really, really strong anti-emetic."

Sherlock frowned.

"You've never let me have them before! You tell me that the quickest way to get better is to let the bug expel itself!"

"Well, if you were unable to stop throwing up on your wedding day, then I'd let you have some. Give me my phone… actually, you phone Mike, I'm going to puke." He darted off.


Two hours later, they were sitting side by side in the back of a limousine, which neither of them could remember hiring. Mike and Mrs Hudson had left just before them in a normal black cab. Just before John got into the car, Mike had stuffed a couple of airline sick bags into his pocket.

"How are you feeling?" Sherlock asked.

"Fine," John answered. He looked at Sherlock. "OK, not exactly fine. My stomach is aching rather unpleasantly, and I generally feel like crap, but I don't think I'm going to be sick, so we're good to go. Oh, and the nerves have gone, so that's something."

"Good then."

"Are you feeling OK?"

Sherlock glanced at him.

"Me? Yes, I'm fine." He smiled a strange smile. John would have said 'a shy smile' if Sherlock did 'shy'.

"I think I'm a bit nervous," Sherlock said. He looked strangely delighted by the concept. "I think now I understand why you were nervous."

"I wasn't nervous."

John gave Sherlock a pale smile and took his hand. He frowned at it and held it up.

"Sherlock? What the hell is this?" he asked.

At some point in the morning, Sherlock had drawn a face and a tuxedo on Franken-finger, complete with a tiny bow-tie.

"I just thought he should be properly dressed for the occasion."

John giggled and grinned. He kissed the appropriately attired finger and rested his head on Sherlock's shoulder.

"Are you sure you're OK?" Sherlock asked.

"Mm. Just wiped out."

They arrived at the registry office and saw Mike and Mycroft waiting in the doorway for them. Mike looked comfortable, cheerful and relaxed, and Mycroft looked as though he'd trodden in something unpleasant some time ago and couldn't quite shake off the smell.

The chauffeur opened the door for them and they piled out, both looking slightly dishevelled and distant. Sherlock immediately took John's hand again.

"How you bearing up?" Mike asked John. He quickly straightened John's cravat and collar.

"I'm fine, thank you," John said. "Really thank you! You're a life-saver."

"Good-o! I'll see you in there. And watch it at the reception, won't you. That jab won't last forever."

John nodded, and Mike walked off.

"Top-hat?" Mycroft said to Sherlock. He tried to straighten Sherlock's cravat and Sherlock swiped his hand away.

"Mrs Hudson insisted. Look, if your next statement is any disparaging comment about my suit, the car, the choice of venue, my choice of partner, or, in fact, about anything, just save it, OK?"

Mycroft took a moment and then nodded.

"It's nice to see you looking so happy," he said, and he smiled that particular smile that made him look slightly reptilian.

"Let's go in," John said, feeling quite light headed.

They went up to the main reception room, paused for a moment as Mycroft walked to the front and spoke with the registrar, and then, as the music started, they walked in.

John and Sherlock stood in front of twenty-five carefully selected friends and they both sniggered for a moment.

They calmed down.

They sniggered again.

The registrar smiled happily at them, and they properly calmed down. They were welcomed warmly and instructed to sit, and they did so without letting go of each other. Lestrade stumbled through a reading, getting redder and redder with each fluffed word.

They were asked to stand, and the registrar turned to John.

The following words are the legal contract that will bind you to Mr Sherlock Holmes, and will be witnessed by all the people in this room. Are you happy with all of that?"

John smiled.

"Oh, yes."

The registrar calmly and clearly ran through the words of the official promise, and John repeated them clearly and confidently. After 'I solemnly declare…' he relaxed into it and enjoyed it all.

When he had finished, he slipped the custom made ring onto Sherlock's finger.

Sherlock's finger was cold, and it was shaking.

John frowned and looked up at him. Sherlock was pale and starting to sweat.

"Are you OK?" John whispered.

Sherlock nodded.

"Are you sure you're just nervous?" John whispered.

Sherlock nodded again. He smiled.

"I'm fine," he said, before shutting his mouth firmly again.

They looked back to the registrar, who continued with Sherlock's lawful declaration.

He rushed through it, and John relaxed and smiled again. Sherlock looked extremely relieved and he breathed deeply.

They started on his vow.

"I call upon these persons here present," the registrar said.

Sherlock stared at her.

"I call upon these persons here present," she said again.

Sherlock repeated it in a voice that was just louder than a whisper.

"… to witness that I, Sherlock Holmes, do take thee, John Hamish Watson to be my lawful wedded husband," the registrar said.

Sherlock opened his mouth. He closed it again.

Mrs Hudson wiped away a tear.

John looked at Sherlock. His mouth was clamped shut, his lips were pale, and, all of a sudden, there was a tell tale twitching just behind his left jaw.

Twenty-five carefully selected friends watched as Dr John Watson let go of his very nearly almost husband's hand and yelled; 'Quick! Run!"

Sherlock fled.

John watched him go feeling a world of pity, mostly for Sherlock, and then he turned to the registrar who was watching them with a look of utmost confusion.

"Sorry," John said. "He'll be back."

They waited in an uncomfortable silence for a moment. Slowly and surely, there rose the sound of intrigued whispering.

"Does his best man want to…?" the registrar suggested.

John looked at Mycroft.

"No, definitely not," he said. "Give me a minute. I'll also be back. Promise."

John left the room and crossed the corridor to the Gents toilet. He found Sherlock standing at a basin. His morning coat was on the window-sill, and his top hat was resting on it. He was still wearing his shirt, but he had removed his cravat and waistcoat and was running the former under the tap. He glanced up as John came in. He was blinking furiously and looked mortified.

"Are you OK?" John asked.


"But do you feel better?"

"Not really, no." Sherlock cursed and leapt into the stall again.

John picked up the cravat and started wringing some of the water out of it. He listened to Sherlock's misery.

Eventually the toilet was flushed and Sherlock reappeared.

"John? What are we going to do?" he asked.

"I'll go and find you some water."

"That won't help! Does Mike have any more of that stuff? The stuff he injected into you? I can't leave here yet! I feel awful, and we have to be married today! Now! Mrs Hudson said they won't let us run late! She said it seven times so it must be true!"

Sherlock swiped two actual tears away. Just the two, but John ached for him nonetheless.

"It's OK, just calm down a bit," John said. "Just…" he thought for a moment. "Just wait here, and I'll see what we can do."

Sherlock sniffed and nodded.

John left him alone toilets and went back into the room. The sound of intrigued and concerned whimpering was quite a lot louder now. He blushed as he walked to the front of the room.

Mrs Hudson, Mycroft and Mike all closed in as he headed to the registrar.

"We've run into a snag," he said. "Mr Holmes has been taken unwell."

"Is it the same as with you, John?" Mike asked.

"Yes. I don't suppose you brought a second syringe?"

"No. Sorry, I dosed you high this morning, and I'm already concerned that you won't shit for a week." Mike remembered his location and looked horrified. "Oh! God, I'm sorry!"

He blushed, and John recognised that he would be of no further help to them.

"Where is he now?" the registrar asked.

"In the Men's room," John said. "He's quite reluctant to leave."

"What about the bags in your pocket," Mrs Hudson asked.

"It's Sherlock, Mrs H. We can't ask him to vomit into a paper bag in front of 25 people! Not on his wedding day!"

"A thought occurs," Mycroft said. He dialled his phone. "Anthea darling?... Yes it's going very well. Now I need a favour…. Right, the Gentleman's toilet on the ground floor of Westminster Register Office needs to be certified for weddings…. Yes, on the ground floor. It needs to happen in the next three minutes…. Marvellous, thank you so much. Send the confirmation through to the reception desk and instruct them to print it and bring it to the Churchill room."

Mycroft hung up and smiled.

"There we are now," he said. "That's all sorted."

"They can't get married in a toilet." Mrs Hudson said.

"Mrs Hudson, if it's been between a toilet or nothing, I'll take the toilet," John said.

He suddenly realised he wasn't nervous at all anymore, and that he was desperately eager for the event to take place, and a flood of relief wash over him. He knew now, that he really was sure.

The door at the back of the hall opened and an administrator ran in, holding a piece of paper. She blushed and slowed down as she saw everyone looking at her.

"Mrs Phillips, this has come for you. I wouldn't interrupt but…"

"It's fine, we were expecting it." Mrs Phillips took the letter and read it through. "Well, this certainly seems to be in order!" She checked her watch. "We haven't got much time. Mrs Hudson, are you still OK to witness?"

"I wouldn't miss it. They could hold it in a sewer and I wouldn't miss it."

"And Gregory Lestrade?" Mrs Phillips looked up. "Er Gregory Lestrade?" she called.

Lestrade raised his hand. He stood up and came towards them.

"Everything OK?" he asked.

Mycroft rolled his eyes.

"Everything's fine, but we're switching locations," John said.

"Oh God! He hasn't taken a case, has he?"

"No, he hasn't. Come on." John smiled at the rest of the people there. "Er, sorry, ladies and Gentleman. I'm afraid we've had to unexpectedly change venue, and we really can't fit you all in. If you could just wait here for the time being? Oh, I know! Molly can lead you all in song for a few minutes! Molly?"

Molly raised her hand and then stood up and blushed.

"Er…" she said.

John nodded, gave her a wide smile, and he led the wedding party out. He hesitated outside the toilet door.

"Give me a second, would you?" he said to the others.

He nipped inside. Sherlock was sitting on the floor beneath the window. His knees were drawn up, and he was holding his head in his hands.

"Sherlock?" John said.

Sherlock looked up at him. He'd quite clearly been crying.

"Are you OK to stand up?" John asked.

Sherlock shook his head. "I can't leave, John, I feel awful! I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

"Nope, I'm not having any of it. If you're still interested, you are going to get married today." John frowned. "To me, ideally. Now can you stand up? Just stand, you don't have to go anywhere."

Sherlock slowly stood up.

"Good," John said. "Now wash your face a bit, and I'll let the others in."

Sherlock frowned, but obeyed. John opened the door and gestured to the others. He turned around, removed his hat, jacket, waistcoat, and cravat, and he placed them on the windowsill with Sherlock's.

"There! We match again now!"

The others shuffled in and found spaces to stand where they could. Mike and Mycroft had joined them, despite being superfluous to current requirements.

The registrar smiled.

"Right, now I'm afraid we have to start again because of the change of rooms, but I'll go fast, OK?"

"OK," John said.

Sherlock nodded.

"OK, then Doctor Watson, please repeat these words…"

She ran through John's declaration and vow. John rattled through both of them them, feeling an old hand at this by now.

Sherlock took off his ring so that John could put it back on him.

The registrar smiled at Sherlock.

"Are you ready?"

"I'm as ready as I've ever been to make a marriage vow in a toilet."

"Good, that'll do."

She rushed through Sherlock's declaration and vow.

He repeated them masterfully.

"Now, do you have a ring for John?"

Sherlock's face fell and his eyes widened,

"Don't worry," Mycroft said. "I've got it!"

"That's not the problem," John said. "Of you go, husband."

Sherlock dashed into the stall again and the sound of painful retching and vomiting filled the room.

Mycroft rolled his eyes, Lestrade frowned, Mike nodded sympathetically, and Mrs Hudson wiped her eyes. The registrar blushed and looked away, and John Watson Holmes smiled. He felt very married, ring or no ring. He even followed Sherlock into the stall to rub his back for a bit, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

After a moment, they emerged once more, with Sherlock wiping his mouth on his hand, shaking slightly. He looked at John with a deep light in his eyes, and held his hand out for the ring. Mycroft dropped it onto his palm, trying desperately not to get too close to him.

Sherlock pushed the ring onto John's finger and smiled.

"Marvellous," Mrs Phillips said. "Now's the time for the kiss."

John looked at Sherlock, half dressed, pale, shaking, and with a thin film of sweat across his face. Sherlock sniffed.

"I'd really rather not," John said.

"Well, it's pretty much optional these days," Mrs Phillips said. "I'm sure you'll get round to it at some point! We do have to sign the register though. Shall I go and get it? We can probably prop it on the sinks if we're careful."

"I think I'm OK to leave now," Sherlock said.

John frowned at him.

"Are you sure? Don't push yourself, will you."

"I'm feeling much better," Sherlock said. "Perhaps I just needed to be married to you?"

John smiled.

"Well if I'd have known that a marriage with me would protect and cure you, perhaps I would have gone through it ago." He risked the kiss. It was quite high on Sherlock's cheekbone, but the thought was there. He turned to the registrar. "Give us a minute to clean up, and we'll come back in."

Five minutes later they stood hand in hand outside the Churchill room again, just out of view of the room.

"Are you sure you can handle this?" John asked.

"Mm. I think that's my lot though. Would you mind desperately if we were to miss the reception? I need a hot bath and a bed."

John slumped. "No, not in the slightest. To be entirely honest with you, I'm desperate for bed and a safety bucket myself." He rubbed his forehead with a shaking hand. "Let's just get this done and go home."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I always thought that nipping in and just getting the job done was the way that we should do it. I'm glad that Mrs Hudson is having her party, but let's go home now. She can bring us a piece of cake…" he wavered and took a deep breath. "Maybe in six months time."

Sherlock smiled at him and led him into the room.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," the registrar said. "Let's all welcome Mr John and Mr Sherlock Watson Holmes!"

Twenty-five carefully selected friends stood up to cheer and applaud.

Now this one really is done! Thanks very much to all of you, and now the book is published (well, pretty much, it's out of my hands now at any rate), there should be time for more regular updates here again.

Pip xxx