So I had planned for this epilogue to be short and sweet. As you can see it's considerably longer but I could not be happier with where it took me. I hope you all enjoy reading it. These characters belong to Arthur Conan Doyle and their current incarnations to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Bless you, gentlemen, for bring them into my life and filling my brain with delightful images.

Epilogue

Sherlock Holmes, the world's only consulting detective, had never seen himself capable of something as common as domestic bliss. In fact, he'd never seen himself capable of any role other than the one he'd chosen as his life's work. But in the years since he'd come back to John Watson he'd found himself in the position of being a great many things to a great many people.

Friend.

Confidant.

Lover.

And most surprising of all: Father.

It had been nearly a year after he'd come back from the dead, he and John had wasted almost no time resuming their lives at 221B and, once the truth had come out about Jim Moriarty and Sherlock's innocence (and a few months of press-stalking), their lives had returned nearly to normal. They consulted with newly appointed Chief Superintendent Greg Lestrade on a variety of police cases but Sherlock had gone back to private detective work and the pair kept out of the media as much as humanly possible. Their relationship, which they had anticipated to face a great many difficulties, instead blossomed as naturally as their friendship had. And with it came a new understanding of one another. Which is why one night after dinner, walking back to the flat, Sherlock had noticed an expression on John's face that he hadn't seen before.

Following the line of John's gaze to whatever had put that…dare he say "wistful" look on his face, Sherlock saw a young family taking an evening stroll: man and woman, his arm around her shoulders, hers around his waist and the young child, hardly more than four, dozing on his father's shoulder.

For the first time in their relationship, Sherlock felt a moment of sheer panic. Children. John wants children.

He silently assessed himself. He would still often go a full day or more without speaking, he still threw himself completely into his work, all with the absolute confidence that John would be there when he came up for air. Which he always was. But a child? A child made demands on time, on energy, on attention, could he sacrifice any of those things when his work was so important to him? He knew John would never broach the subject himself. John knew what Sherlock's work meant to him, had probably thought about this many times before and come to same conclusion. He could let it go. Wipe it from his 'hard drive', that look on John's face. But it was so sweetly hopeful that he knew it would be burned into his memory forever so Sherlock was tempted for the first time in his life to bend. To adapt to a lifestyle that would be more…conducive to raising a child.

He lay in bed that night considering. He had to admit that children fascinated him. Their wide range of emotions, their fresh outlook on things (a box wasn't a box when it could also be a pirate ship), and, as he glanced at his bed partner, there was something in him that warmed to the idea of a toddler with John's hair and eyes and smile.

He began slowly, working very consciously to not spend 24 hours, 7 days a week on a case, he came out of the world of the case as often as possible and was shocked to find that he had great capacity to multi-task. Except for that one incident with the chicken in the oven that caught on fire when he'd solved the case in the middle of it's cooking time and had rushed off to inform Lestrade. But he'd decided that that was an entirely unique event. He made an effort to discuss more personal matters with John, he'd always been observant but he was trying to be less blunt about the information he'd seen and ask instead if there was something bothering John.

John had noticed the changes in Sherlock's behavior and one night while playing Scrabble after about six months he'd asked.

"Are you alright? You've been acting…odd…the last few months."

"Odd?"

"Yeah, you haven't been…diving into cases like you used to. You've been around a lot more."

"Is that a problem?"

"No! No, of course not. It's just…odd. For you."

Sherlock considered a moment, perhaps it was time to have the conversation. He'd hoped to give this 'adapting' experiment a full year but it had truly gone better than he'd anticipated.

"I've been experimenting."

John looked confused. "On what?"

"Myself."

"What do you mean?"

"I've been trying to see if I could adapt. Be more available to you. Physically and emotionally."

John reached out and took his hand. "Sherlock, if I've given you the impression that I want you to change, I'm sorry. I never meant to, I-"

Sherlock waved him off. "No, no. It's just…something I saw once and I thought I'd try myself, to see if I could."

"Saw what?"

"You. About six months ago when we were walking back to the flat, something caught your eye and it made me think. It's gone very well and I think it's time we discussed it."

"Discussed what? What did I see?"

"Discussed to possibility of children."

He watched shock bloom on lover's face. Shock and, yes, there it was, hope.

"Children?"

"Yes."

"I-I didn't think you'd be at all interested in children."

"I assumed. But you are and I didn't want to just dismiss something you so obviously want. Hence the experiment."

John was staring at him in awe. He reached up with both hands to cup Sherlock's cheeks before leaning forward and pressing their lips together. Over the last year and a half, they had kissed in a myriad of ways. Rushed and excited, like in the beginning when they still couldn't believe he was alive and they were together, frantic and a little rough, when they had a fight but knew no one was going to walk out, slow and sweet, like this one, when love was just spilling out of them and made them both feel inexplicably tender.

"You," John said between kisses, "are without a doubt, the most amazing man I've ever met."

"I never get tired of hearing that."

John pressed their foreheads together and laughed. "I'm sure you don't."

They remained like that, foreheads together, hands linked in front of the fireplace for a long while. John finally broke the silence.

"So. A child."

"A baby. I determined that if we decide to do this that we should go about it properly. Start from the ground up so to speak."

"A baby," John said with wonder.

"That leaves us with a few options. Adoption, surrogacy."

They looked at one another and simultaneously said "surrogacy."

John smiled. "I want a baby with your eyes."

Sherlock smiled back. "I was thinking of one with yours."

"No one said we had to stop at one."

"Your mind, as always, continues to thrill me."

"Come over here and say that."

As far as important relationship conversations went, they agreed that it couldn't have gone (or ended) better.

It was about two months later that they decided to broach the subject once more, this time with a third party.

They had invited Molly to dinner one evening, something they did fairly regularly, and for the first time, the pair was oddly silent. After Molly caught them exchanging pointed looks for the fifth time that night she decided to move the conversation along.

"Alright, you two. What are you not telling me?"

They looked at her, then one another, then back to her. John opted to speak first.

"Well, Molly, Sherlock and I have been talking and…we've decided we want to start a family."

Molly's eyes widened and filled with tears. "A family? Oh, that's wonderful!"

They linked hands across the table. "We think so too."

"What are you planning? To adopt?"

They exchanged another look. "We were actually thinking of surrogacy."

"Oh, wow, really starting at the beginning, aren't you?"

"That's the plan."

She gave them a puzzled smile. "I don't know what you two have been so nervous about all evening. I'm thrilled for you, a baby is wonderful. You'll be brilliant parents. Did you think I'd be upset or-" She broke off as everything clicked into place. John's nervous tone when he'd invited her. The looks they'd been giving each other before and during dinner. The looks they were giving each other now.

"Oh. OH."

John hurried on. "We just wanted to talk to you about it, Molly. You're our best friend, you helped bring us back together, you saved his life. There's no one we trust more."

Her eyes were rapidly filling and she couldn't find the words. They both took it the wrong way and rushed to reassure her.

"Molly, please don't cry, it was just an idea-"

"You don't need to feel at all obligated to even consider it-"

"I'd love to!"

They both froze. "Really?" John asked.

"Of course, I would! Why wouldn't I!"

Both John and Molly were very surprised when Sherlock stood up from the table and left the room without a word. John looked at her, startled for a moment before rushing after him. Molly sat there for about five minutes, listening to the muffled voices coming from the bedroom before John came back out, eyes slightly red and a small smile on his face. She stood up.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset him or anything, I-"

"No, no, Molly. He's just…moved. I think he wants this more than he realized. You've just given us something wonderful."

John pulled her into a hug and they both had a little cry.

The process went surprisingly smooth. After about a month of debating whose…sample would be used, they decided to leave it to fate. Despite Molly's generous offer, they decided to go with an anonymous egg donor and that took another month of discussion and debate. They had been informed that it would be unlikely to take on the first attempt but clearly the angels had been smiling on them that day and four months later they found themselves toasting with sparkling cider and celebrating the miracle of fertility.

And for nine months, Sherlock Holmes didn't take a single case. With a disturbing single mindedness he had dove into learning everything he could get his hands on about parenting. What John took for excitement and anticipation, Sherlock knew was actually stark terror. But not the kind that he'd experienced during that far away case with Baskerville and H.O.U.N.D.. It was terror belied by hope and anxiety and…joy. A baby was coming. A baby with John.

Those nine months went by in a blur of information, the last two months of which was spent both anxiously and fearfully watching the ever expanding Molly toddle about 221B where they'd insisted she spend the last few months so that they could be available to her at all times.

Sherlock had expected some explosive moment, John, rushing about and panicking, Molly, panting and screaming in pain and himself a pacing wreck. But the night that Molly had gone into labor she very calmly walked into their room and put a hand on his shoulder. He'd met her eyes in the darkness and saw a beautiful smile and teary eyes and was amazed to find himself completely calm.

They had arranged for private birthing classes at home, partly because of their situation and partly because Sherlock felt wildly uncomfortable in a room full of enormous women panting and equal parts terrified and thrilled men offering words of nervous support.

Now the moment was here and the birthing classes were very nearly unnecessary, they had barely gotten Molly settled before she was hustled off to delivery and it was barely an hour later before the howls of life filled the hospital room. When the doctors had offered the baby to Molly she gave them an exhausted smile and a shake of her head before nudging a startled Sherlock forward.

Before he could so much as blink, a cheerfully round nurse was settling a neatly wrapped bundle in his arms.

His daughter. Katherine Molly Watson Holmes. He looked up to find John and saw him standing a couple of feet away, just lowering a camera, tears spilling out of his eyes. It took a moment for him to realize they were spilling out of his own as well.

The next four years passed in a blur of firsts: first words, first steps, first day of pre-school and the startling realization that their daughter was every inch her father's daughter.

Their first clue had come when she was three and had the chicken pox. It was late and she had been sleeping fitfully and was currently dozing in John's lap while he and Sherlock played Cluedo and John had just made his accusation: Mr. Green in the Observatory with the Revolver. Sherlock shook his head and opened his mouth but was interrupted by a soft, sleepy voice.

"It's the red lady, Papa. In the room with the books with the string."

They'd looked at one another, startled, before Sherlock had snatched up the envelope and spilled the cards out to reveal Miss Scarlet, the Library and the Rope.

After that it had been puzzles, treasure hunts, and riddles, anything they could think of to keep up with her rapidly progressing brain.

And somewhere in between it all they had decided they were having too much fun to not add to their strange little family. A year later, their son was born. This time using the same egg donor and exclusively John's contribution. Sherlock was determined to see John's smile on at least one of their children's faces. Genetically, he hit the mother load. Harry Michael Watson Holmes was the image of John and the process began again: first words, first steps, Kindergarten for Katie, pre-school for Harry and suddenly they both looked up and realized four more years had passed.

Sherlock lay in bed, the early morning light spilling into the room and thought about everything that had changed in the last several years.

He'd almost completely retired from private detective work and was instead working on his fourth year writing very successful scientific articles for a multitude of journals. John wasn't blogging anymore and had instead expanding his writing to a series of novels based on their early adventures. Writing left both of them with the time and accessibility to have new adventures, this time with their children.

His relationship with his brother had even smoothed itself out. Though for that he could thank his daughter. She had wormed her way into his brother's heart on his suddenly visits to Baker Street and quite often a rather extravagant present would arrive the following day from her much loved 'Uncle Mikey.' By the time Harry was born, Mycroft visited the flat at least once a week and was their most frequent babysitter.

It had come to the surprise of everyone (except, he swore, Sherlock) when their favorite friend and pathologist (and twice-served incubator), Molly Hooper, quit her job at St. Barts and hopped a plane chasing after their second favorite friend, dominatrix-turned-legitimate business woman, Irene Adler. Presently, the pair was happily ensconced in a very comfortable and settled life and Molly was once again pregnant, this time with a child for herself and Irene. Postcards and presents came often for the children and holidays always welcomed their presence.

Mrs. Hudson, still landlady (and occasional housekeeper) of Baker Street, quickly became a self-appointed granny and sweets were always finding their way upstairs and into their children's delighted hands.

Sherlock closed his eyes with a sigh, preparing to sleep just a little bit longer when he heard the door creak open. Knowing the game very well, he kept his eyes shut and waited as whispers approached the bed.

"They're still sleeping," came a rather too-loud-to-be-called-a-whisper declaration.

"Daddy said they had to be up at 7:30, it's only 7:00, we should let them sleep," came a considering whisper.

"But it's today, Kitty!"

"I know…"

"Is it 7:30 now?"

"It's only 7:01, Harry. Come on, I'll put the telly on for you."

"Can't we wake them now?"

Sherlock had to fight a smile at his daughter's long-suffering sigh. He imagined Mycroft had made a similar sound in their youth.

"Alright. Climb on up, you can wake Papa."

There was the mad scramble of footsie-pajama'd feet and the movement of the bed as 4-year-old Harry climbed up and situated himself between Sherlock and John, back to back with Sherlock so that he could have John's undivided attention. He waited for a moment and listened as his daughter's light footsteps crept to his side of the bed. There was a dip as she climbed up herself and lay down beside him, inching herself closer until they were nose to nose.

He knew what he'd see when he opened his eyes. It was his face, rounder with youth and decidedly more feminine, but his face nonetheless. Eyes a pale grey-blue and nearly black hair that waved and curled and was tied back with a red ribbon. He never lost any pleasure in looking at his children's faces but there was something remarkable about looking at his daughter and seeing himself stamped so decisively on another human being.

Letting his eyes open slowly, grey-blue met grey-blue and the dimples on his daughter's cheeks peeked out as she smiled.

"Morning, Daddy."

"Morning, Katie."

"I'm sorry we woke you so early."

"It's alright, love, I was awake."

She nestled closer. "Are you excited, too?"

"Very."

"Do you think Papa's excited?"

"Why don't you ask him?" came a rough with sleep voice from over Sherlock's shoulder.

Sherlock rolled over and Katie propped herself on his chest as she looked into her brother's madly grinning face and John's sleepy smile.

"Morning, Papa."

"Morning, Kitty. And yes, so you know, I'm very excited."

"What time do we have to be there again?" Harry asked.

"Ten. But Uncle Mikey and Uncle Greg will be here at 9."

"What about Aunt Irene and Aunt Molly?" Katie asked.

Sherlock ran a hand over her dark hair. "They're flying up from Paris this morning, they'll meet us there."

Katie nodded before hopping off the bed and holding out a hand for her brother. "Come on, Harry. Time for breakfast."

"Can I have waffles?" came Harry's ecstatic reply.

"We'll all have waffles," John said. "We'll be out in a minute, you two go ahead."

Harry darted out of the room and a moment later the sound of cartoons reached the bedroom. Katie gave her father's an eye roll and an indulgent smile before she left as well to keep an eye on her brother.

Sherlock rolled over and found John's eyes on him and a much bigger smile on his face.

"You ready?" John asked.

"Incredibly."

"Not nervous are you?"

Sherlock slid his bare feet over to press against John's. "Not even the slightest bit chilled."

"Good." John leaned forward and they indulged in a long, slow kiss. Several, in fact, before Sherlock pulled back.

"Unfortunately, we may be up early but there's not nearly enough time for that."

John sighed. "We'll make up for it this weekend at least."

"Of course."

John smiled again. "Hey."

"Yes, John?"

"We're getting married today."

Sherlock returned the smile. "Yes, we are."

An hour and a half later, waffles enjoyed and bathing complete, their little family was finishing dressing for the big day. John had his tie loose around his neck while he tied Harry's who was perched on the table in the kitchen. Sherlock had finished retying the ribbon in Katie's hair and she was currently tying his tie. Her little hands, already very adept at the piano, moved gracefully forming the knot. With a final review, she nodded. "All done."

Glancing at her handy-work in the mirror, Sherlock nodded back. "Excellent job, Katie."

She smiled. "I've been practicing." And she walked into the kitchen to tie John's.

There was a knock on the door.

"I'll get it!" Harry cried as he hopped off the table and ran for the door. He flung it open to reveal Mycroft and Lestrade, both looking very sharp in their suits.

"Uncle Mikey! Uncle Greg!" Abandoning John's half-tied tie, Katie rushed to the door to throw herself into Mycroft's waiting arms as Harry had already been scooped into Lestrade's.

Lestrade grinned. "Well, look at the two of you. Gettin' married in an hour and barely ready. Hurry it along, then. Harry and me are just gonna go wait in the car." And he turned, already whispering conspiratorially with Harry.

Mycroft gave his brother and John a nod and a smile before holding out a hand to Katie. "Shall we go down as well while your fathers finish, Kitty?"

She started to nod before turning with wide eyes to John. "I didn't finish your tie!"

John smiled at her. "It's alright, sweetheart. I can finish it myself. You go along with your uncle."

She nibbled on her bottom lip, hesitating. Mycroft leaned down to her. "I have an advance copy of your father's new book in the car, you can have it now if you like."

Her eyes lit up and she dashed past him and down the stairs, calling for Mrs. Hudson.

"Bribery, Mycroft?"

A smug smile on his face, Mycroft turned to leave. "I just thought you two might like some privacy. Do hurry along though, we can't have you late for your own wedding, little brother." And he was gone as well.

Sherlock turned to John. "I hate it when he's right."

"Right about what?" John asked as Sherlock walked over to him.

"I did want a moment alone with you," he said as he began finishing where Katie had left off on John's tie. John smiled at him.

"What do you need?" he asked softly.

Sherlock smiled and kissed him gently.

"Absolutely nothing. You've given me everything I could ever need or want. I love you, John."

"I love you, too. Now let's go get married."

The End

I hope you all enjoyed this. It's been incredible fun for me to write and, in my opinion, a successful return to writing fanfiction and writing in general. I hope to write some more stories for this show but in the meantime, I wish us all luck with making it until Series 3.

#IBelieveInSherlockHolmes