Author's Notes: Here it is, as promised. Short and sweet, just the way I always intended it to be. I've already started writing little ficlets within this Universe, which I will hopefully start posting in the upcoming weeks. But for those who just wanted a little primer as to what happened to John, Sherlock and the Watsons...well, here you go!
Also, I have recently started a new chaptered piece you should all check out called "Untouched." It's my latest head canon of "The Empty House" and it exists outside of my Anthony Universe, although Mary is in it. No Anthony, though. Whenever I post a ficlet within this Universe, I'll be sure to write it in the description.
Finally, I'm interested in writing up a massive Author's Notes chapter, in which I intend to answer any unresolved questions that have either been asked over private messaging or just things I never covered in the story, as well as writing a few Encyclopedia-esque things about the story. So, if you have any further questions or comments about the world of "Anthony", tell me now, and I'll see if I can cover it!
For now, I just want to thank you all so so much for all of your support. Writing this story has been such a blessing, and I'll be sad to say goodbye to all of these characters...but, of course, I'm not! Not really. Thanks again for everything, readers. You've been fantastic.
Anthony did very well in school. So well, in fact, that he graduated with honours, leading him on to various internships and odd jobs that slowly built themselves into fairly successful career in the arts for a young man his age. However proud John was of him, Sherlock's pride rivalled that, and Anthony found himself, as always, with the greatest support system he ever could have hoped for.
John was never without support, either. He and Sherlock didn't stop taking cases – in fact, five years after sending Anthony off to school, John was able to retire. The extra time was ample for cases, and while neither man could run around quite the way they used to, they never left a case unsolved.
The Christmas after Anthony had finished University, John received one of the most thoughtful gifts he'd ever been given.
"This is from both of us," Sherlock told him, placing a light hand on Anthony's shoulder as he handed John a magnificently wrapped box.
The gift was a beautifully bound book of their adventures together, each story completed with a sketch drawn by John's son. John's blog posts were collected as if they were part of a literary classic, and the images enhanced the sentimental language, providing a visual to John's stories. He was overwhelmed, and he tried not to let his eyes water as he flipped to the front of the book, Sherlock's inscription inside the cover, wishing him a 'Merry Christmas' and toasting 'To a second volume!' The gift was utterly sentimental, and John was fairly sure that the idea had probably come from Anthony, but the triumphant look on Sherlock's face made him realize how little that mattered.
Over the years, Anthony dated a number of people, but he always ended up back with Chris. The two moved in together once they were both out of Uni, the two artists sharing a dreadful flat in downtown London. With help from Mycroft, Sherlock bought Anthony a small studio space, and Chris seemed to be doing well also, getting odd roles in semi-professional companies. They were just starting out, but they were always moving forward. They never stopped searching – however infrequently - for whatever treasures lay behind the silver key, and they didn't discover the answer to that until they were in their fifties.
It was no surprise to anyone when they decided to get married. Anthony had just turned twenty-three, and he had come home for Sherlock's fifty-fifth birthday celebration, which Mary had insisted they throw. Everyone in Sherlock's life was present at the Watson home, including Irene Adler, who had flown from her new home in America especially for the occasion.
The Woman was openly flirting with Sherlock, who John assumed had finally decided to accept the fact that they were – unofficially, of course – in some sort of relationship. However, Sherlock's gaze was elsewhere, watching Anthony and Chris across the room. In a moment of silence, he blurted: "You're getting married."
The entire room gasped as Anthony turned beet-red. Mary looked as though she might cry, she was so thrilled. Finally, Anthony replied, "And here I was thinking that we'd get to make the announcement."
The wedding was simple but beautiful. Anthony and Chris' friends had insisted upon making all the arrangements. Nathaniel was Chris' best man, and Christine – who had, of course, gotten over her young affair with one of the grooms – signed on to be Anthony's, insisting that she still be referred to as the "Maid of Honour." Adam, however, got ordained online, making for a particularly entertaining ceremony. When he called for the boys to seal their marriage with a kiss, the funny man – who had just finished Teacher's College, to everyone's amazement – leaned his face in-between them, collecting a kiss on either cheek. After the laughter died down, Anthony and Chris got their kiss.
John thought he could hear Sherlock sniff next to him. He, however, was openly sobbing. Mrs. Hudson leaned over his shoulder to snap a photo. It was the happiest of any wedding he'd ever seen, apart from his own, of course.
One of the great many blessings, in John's mind, was that Mrs. Hudson was able to see the boys get married before passing away. She passed a little over a month later, exiting the living world peacefully in her sleep. On the night of her funeral, the two men who loved her best stayed up until dawn, drinking to her life.
Even with all the happiness of a new marriage and the promise of more exciting cases, there was more tragedy, too. In a sudden twist of events, Mycroft died. It was a few years later when John was drawn down his stairs in the earliest hours of the morning to open the door for Sherlock, who hadn't seemed to consider the possibility of him being asleep after midnight. At first John thought there must be some new mystery to solve – one that could probably wait until sunlight – but when he saw the defeated look on his friend's face and the quivering of his lip as he apologized, he knew there was more to it than that. Mycroft never had a funeral, just as he had always requested, but when John accompanied Sherlock to the Government man's old office to collect his things, they were met by dozens of Mycroft's staff. The encounter became a sort of silent vigil, all of Mycroft's company wordlessly displaying their respect for him. It was one of the few times John ever saw Sherlock openly start to cry, and he was amazed when it was Anthea, of all people, to take him into her arms and sob quietly with him. John made a point of having Mary invite Anthea to one of her girls' nights.
Oh yes, those still happened. Irene Adler moved back to America not long after Anthony had left for school, but she came back occasionally to visit. The group of women that gathered included Mary, Irene, and Molly, but eventually it grew to accept Anthea and even Sally Donovan, who seemed thrilled to be spending time without men around.
When Anthony was twenty-seven, Sherlock attended his birthday party, despite the fact that Mycroft's death was still rather fresh. It had affected Anthony, as well, and the young man seemed reluctant to announce that he and Chris were going on a month-long trip to Singapore for their wedding Anniversary. John couldn't help noticing the questioning look on Sherlock's face as they said their goodbyes, and the slight suspicion in his eyes.
When the boys returned, Anthony took one look at Sherlock and groaned. "Perhaps you could allow us the honour, this time?"
For the first time in a while, John saw Sherlock fully grin, and he knew that whatever news Anthony and Chris had brought home had healed his friend in some way.
The news was a baby girl that the boys had gone to Singapore to collect. Chris carried her into the house, and John immediately felt like snatching her away into his own arms to observe her. She had black curls covering her forehead, and her little eyes were the darkest brown John thought they could possibly be.
"What's her name?" Mary asked as she looked down at her son's new baby.
John's eyes widened. "Really?" he marvelled. Sherlock was already chuckling.
"No," Anthony replied, deadpan. "Her name is Sally." Anthony's expression was threatening, not allowing his family to react.
"It's alright," Chris told them, shrugging. "It wasn't exactly my idea, either."
"Sally..." Mary cooed down at her. "Sally who?"
"Well, since her first name is from Chris' family, we thought we'd give her one from mine." Anthony had a sad smile. "We were thinking of calling her Sally Rose, if that's okay."
"Sally Rose..." John heard Sherlock whisper next to him.
"I think it's perfect," Mary told her son, and John nodded his own agreement. "Welcome to the family, little Sally."
The new baby seemed to ignite a light inside of Sherlock that had previously been extinguished by his brother's death, and the consulting detective was back in action like never before, saving London one criminal mastermind at a time. John joined him on many of these cases, and they often invited Lestrade along with them, since the man was getting so bored in his retirement. Mary used to joke that while she had her girls' nights, they had boys' mystery nights. Occasionally, Sherlock would even allow Anthony or Chris to join them, but the boys were far too busy after the arrival of Sally.
And, honestly, Sherlock was far more interested in the baby than in his cases. Watching Sherlock with Sally was reminiscent of how he had been with Anthony, and it was no surprise when his son came to Sherlock to ask whether or not it was appropriate for him to be the little girl's Godfather.
"Is there such a thing as a Grand-Godfather?" he asked. Sherlock just smirked, and accepted the position immediately.
John and Mary were pouring all of their love into the little girl, but Sherlock was seldom far away from their visits, as much a part of her life as they were. John never minded, and nor did Mary. They had always been a bit of a trio, after all. And besides, they'd raised one together, why not try another? In his mind, John could see the life Sherlock was going to give Sally Rose, and he knew that her life would never be void of excitement and adventure.
It worried him as much as it thrilled him, and one night after the baby's first birthday, John awoke to use the toilet. On his way there, though, he passed by his old work study, in which they had rebuilt Anthony's crib for the nights upon which she would stay over. The door was open just a crack, and there was just a bit of light coming from it, as though his desk lamp had been turned on. Leaning his head in, he noticed the open window, and he caught Sherlock Holmes cradling the baby girl in his arms, humming one of his old violin favourites to her. After a moment, John could hear his friend whisper:
"Sally Rose, I have so much to teach you."
"Oh, dear God," John mumbled to himself as he watched the scene through the doorway. Sherlock, caught off-guard, looked up from the tiny face. John couldn't contain his smirk. "Not this again."