Sherlock tossed and turned in his sleep, he was moaning and thrashing his arms about violently, accidently hitting John hard on the back and jolting him awake.
'Ow!' John complained, 'Sherlock, what is it?'
Sherlock, fast asleep, was oblivious to John's enquiry. Willing to calm him and to enjoy his sleepy warmth John wrapped his arms around Sherlock and tried to still his violent movements.
'Shush, love,' John whispered, gently rocking him until the convulsions subsided and he felt him slipping back into quieter sleep. He risked a glance at the alarm clock on Sherlock's bedside table. It was shortly past five in the morning which meant that in less than twelve hours he was going to be his.
All his! - His husband – His family – His life. And he was going to be Dr John Watson-Holmes. This thought made his skin tingle with anticipation and he grinned from ear to ear.
John gently loosened his grip and turned to rest on his side the better to watch his husband-to-be. Wide awake now he took the opportunity to study Sherlock in the milky light of the dawning day.
Sherlock who was such buzzing, ever-moving creature when he was awake. Never one to idle, always trying to escape slowness, the much-hated little sister of despised boredom.
In this silent moment of the early morning he had him all for himself - The disquiet had left him now and he was turned towards John, his face slack and relaxed.
John let his eyes roam over that remarkable face. Dashing, was a word that came to mind because it had a slightly old-fashioned, aristocratic quality to it. Falling out of time – as extraordinary as the whole man was extraordinary.
Dark, soft curls were framing his face, fanning out on the cushion, falling into his eyes. His hair was a bit longer these days because John loved it that way and he lifted his index finger to smooth some stray curls from his forehead. Sherlock's eyelids fluttered and John snatched away his hand not wanting to wake him.
Sherlock had suffered a severe bout of migraine last evening and he needed all the rest he could get. Painkillers and John's gentle head massage had only helped so much, but in the past a good night's sleep had usually done the trick, had managed to relax his over-active mind and to chase away the excruciating pain.
John softly kissed Sherlock on the cheek, it was a mere ghost of a kiss, but it earned him a slight upturning of the corners of his mouth. John huddled up against him, closed his eyes and tried to catch a bit more sleep as well.
Sherlock couldn't face breakfast, it was impossible for him to even consider eating, he literally couldn't stomach it because he felt so weak and apprehensive. He dragged his feet into the living room and sat down at the breakfast table. John looked up from his newspaper and knitted his brows when he saw his pale face.
'You look a bit peaky, love. Are you sure you're alright?'
'I'm fine, John. Don't mind m –'
He was not able to finish his sentence, but had to dash to the bathroom. The door slammed shut. John threw his paper on the table and quickly followed him. From behind the bathroom door he heard retching noises and then silence. John tilted his head to the side the better to hear and after a moment he rapped softly on the door.
'Are you alright, Sherlock? Do you want me to help?'
John knew very well that Sherlock minded being vulnerable, hated being ill.
'I'm – okay. Give me a minute.'
John assumed it was just nerves and couldn't help smiling – it was so unlike Sherlock – nerves. It was perfectly excusable, though, showing nerves on one's wedding day. He walked back to the breakfast table and began clearing everything away – surely he wouldn't want anything else but sweet tea.
Sherlock came back from the bathroom, looking pale and flustered, 'John, I don't know what's matter with me, but I feel – ' He waved his right hand about, vaguely indicating his state and made straight for the sofa. With a grunt he slumped down on it. John walked over and sat down next to him.
'It's only nerves, love. I have to admit I don't know what that feels like, fortunately I have nerves of steel and a stomach to go with it.'
'Thanks very much, John. You're a great help, as always,' he whispered sarcastically. Only Sherlock could whisper sarcastically, John thought and grinned.
'Well, as long as you haven't lost your power of the cutting retort, I'm sure everything else will turn out fine.'
Sherlock snorted with amusement, 'Sure to trust you to come up with some consoling words, my love.' He groaned, 'Seriously, I don't feel too well. I don't think I can eat anything.'
'I'll get you some herbal tea to calm your stomach –'
'No herbal tea, John. Mrs Hudson will smell it and she'll be up here in a jiffy and buzz around us infinitely. We'll never get her out of the flat again.'
'Right - Well. Have some sweet Darjeeling then,' John got up and filled Sherlock's mug, added two sugars and placed it on the coffee table next to the sofa.
'Do you want me to stay with you? It's still some time before I have to get the flowers for us and for Angelo's.'
'Yes,' Sherlock croaked, trying to make the most of the situation, 'Come here, please.'
John slipped next to Sherlock onto the sofa, snuggling up close, careful not to lean too heavily on his still tender stomach. They both tried to relax. John sighed contently and closed his eyes - it might actually be a good idea to find some more rest before all hell would break loose.
John put on his new white shirt and gently brushed over the cufflinks given to him by his father on his 30th birthday. He had never worn them before, had saved them for a special occasion. Today this special occasion had come as he was getting ready to marry the love of his life. He threaded the golden cufflinks trough the buttonholes and closed them.
Memories were racing through his mind, images, pictures, tastes, threats, fear, bliss, fulfillment - everything and nothing, connected to this extraordinary man who was downstairs, getting dressed in their bedroom.
He thought of their first kiss in the dark, chaste, tentative - and it had been Sherlock who had kissed him and it had been Sherlock who had seduced him. There was so much confidence in this man, so much fire. Leave it to him to take the lead – Over the last months they had a found an almost perfect equilibrium, knowing what the other wants and likes, not only in bed, but more importantly in life, in their daily, mundane life.
Of course they had known each other extremely well before Sherlock had been open for a relationship, but being able to show feelings, not having to present this image of a perfect, almost robotic person, had changed him, had made him softer, more amiable and, simply put, more normal.
John donned his tie, closed the buttons of his waistcoat and then shrugged into the jacket. He fiddled a bit with the small wreath of baby's breath with its tiny white flowers and it took several attempts before he had pinned it securely to his lapel.
Stepping back he critically gazed at his reflection. He turned this way and that and satisfied with what he saw he offered the man in the mirror an encouraging smile before he made his way down to the living room to wait for Sherlock.
Sherlock was sitting on their unmade bed, half-dressed in suit trousers and shirt. His head was hanging between his knees and he exhaled and inhaled deeply a few times to make the wave of nausea pass. For God's sakes, get a grip – it's only a formality, no need to freak out completely.
He managed to breathe more freely and conjured up the image of John dressing in the upstairs room – And as he had expected this image calmed him, it actually made him smile and feel better.
Hundreds of images and memories of the last months found their way from his mind palace and fairly flooded his mind. Tags of memories and images of their love and their finding together, but also of his egoistical mind game with Moriarty which had finally opened his eyes, had made him see what he wanted in life, what John meant to him. He had realised that he needed John, that he was the only person who could keep him in reign. What he was most thankful for, though, was that John had given him a home.
Marrying John was so right, it was the only possible way, the only possible continuation of their story, after all he wanted to spend the rest of his life with this man and he wanted to show the world that they were a unit – Sherlock and John, joined, an entity.
He got up and finished dressing, shrugging into waistcoat and jacket, donning the tie. He glanced only briefly at his reflection in the mirror, John's face would tell him all he needed to know about his appearance. He grabbed the little wreath and opened the door.
John got up when he heard the bedroom door open. He nervously fiddled with his tie and the little wreath. Despite his bragging earlier today he felt very nervous, his fingers were trembling and his palms felt clammy. He turned away from the door to get a grip, he didn't want to add to Sherlock's nervousness. He heard him enter the living room and turned.
Sherlock looked breathtaking in his suit and tie, but his lovely fragile face expressed so much tension that John closed the gap between them in an instant and wrapped his arms around him, not caring about crumpling the suit or crushing the poor wreath. Tears welled up in John's eyes and he wasn't ashamed of them. He broke away and took a moment to take in Sherlock.
'My God, you are beautiful, love,' he whispered, 'You make me so proud.'
Sherlock felt himself relax and cupping John's face he kissed him, relishing the tenderness of the moment. He placed little kisses on his jaw, 'You are wonderful' and cheeks, 'And you are mine, John,' his lips, 'I will never be happier.'
They stood kissing, tenderly, slowly and lovingly embracing for a long time, knowing that it would probably be their last quiet and intimate moments today.
Sherlock was unwilling to break the spell, but he had one thing to ask of John before they could go, 'Could you help me with this wreath, love? It seems I can't do this alone.'
John had no difficulty fixing it to Sherlock's lapel. He gently patted the wreath and looked up at Sherlock.
'Have you got the rings, love?'
'Yes,' Sherlock patted his suit pocket.
'Ready to go?'
Sherlock nodded solemnly, 'Yes.'
Thankfully they managed to leave 221b without bumping into Mrs Hudson, it would have been quite a feat to talk their way out of the way they were dressed, the little wreaths alone a sure giveaway.
Once outside they joined hands instinctively, it was as much to show the world as it was for support. They had decided to walk to the registrar's office and to enjoy the mild spring sun warming their backs. People passing them stared inquisitively, not hostile, though, but in a friendly, curious and open manner. Sherlock and John were exuding happiness and anticipation and it was apparently bouncing off everybody who walked past.
This is it!
Two random passers-by they had asked in the street acted as their witnesses. A young woman – Oh God, yes! How lovely! - who was beaming and was probably even more excited than Sherlock and John and an elderly gentleman who had hesitated only for a fraction of a second - I would be honoured and delighted to act as your witness, gentlemen.
They had known before that it would be a rather sober occasion – after all it was just a registrar's office and not a church – but honestly? They couldn't care less. The significance of the moment, the life-changing quality of it carried them through the apparent awkwardness on behalf of the registrar.
Their lovely witnesses whom they couldn't have chosen better if they had been close friends and simply the fact that it was for them – Sherlock Holmes and John Watson – made everything so special.
One would have expected John to be the more emotional of the two, but the moment John slipped that plain golden band on Sherlock's finger, Sherlock was overcome by emotions and tears started streaming down his face. There were no sobs, it was silent, made all the more beautiful because he just let it happen, didn't wipe those silver droplets away and didn't make a great deal of it. When it was his turn he gently slipped the ring on John's finger and they kissed to the loud whoops of the young woman.
'I love you, John,' Sherlock whispered in John's ear as they embraced and John whispered back, 'I love you, Sherlock and I always will.'
They joined hands and didn't let go through all the following formalities, all the papers they had to sign, giving John the opportunity to get used to his new name – Dr John Watson-Holmes.
They proudly accepted all congratulations, proudly accepted their family register, proudly left the office as husband and husband.
Outside, on the little square in plain view of everybody Sherlock kissed John again and this time it was a passionate kiss, a dizzying kiss. He couldn't care less what others thought of them, after all they were quite obviously just married, for God's sakes!
Laughter bubbled up in Sherlock and he giggled, a pleasant sensation when kissing and being kissed, and John joined in - My Goodness, they had really done it!
Sherlock took John's hand and turned it so that he could see the ring. He smiled and brought it up to his mouth. Gently brushing his lips over his husband's fingers and the shiny ring he said, 'On with the show, love. Let's walk to Angelo's, see if our guests are already there.' He grinned wickedly, 'Let's surprise them!'
'Molly! So nice to see you again! How are you?' Mrs Hudson was fairly beaming, she'd just arrived and was now making her round among the guests at Angelo's.
'I'm fine. Thank you Mrs Hudson. How's the hip?'
'Atrocious, dear! Mustn't grumble though, there's definitely worse!'
Mrs Hudson giggled and continued to peer curiously around the room. Ah! - Inspector Lestrade was there, she particularly liked him - He was such a dashing, such a polite man, and he was highly regarded by her boys.
Then there was Harriet - or Harry as she was called - John's sister. Mrs Hudson had only met her the once when she had come by to see John. Mrs Hudson remembered a crackling tension between her and Sherlock, she very much hoped that this had been sorted, she didn't want to be witness to any argument tonight.
Next to Harry stood an elderly couple, quite obviously the parents. The elderly gentleman was a spitting image of John, an older version really, a bit stooped forward which made him seem even shorter than his wife who was a stout and simple woman. She was kneading her hands nervously and her husband placed a calming and supportive hand on her shoulder. Mrs Hudson knew that they lived somewhere in the country and John had once confided in her that his parents hated going up to loud, noisy and sinful London.
In the back a stout bespectacled man around John's age glanced nervously around and held on to glass of white wine. She became aware that he actually winked at her and motioned her to join him. Mrs Hudson frowned - Who is he? – But then he motioned her again, so she walked over.
'Hello there,' she extended her hand and smiled, 'I'm Mrs Hudson, John and Sherlock's landlady.'
'Stamford, Mike Stamford. Old friend of John's and colleague.'
He smiled nervously, 'I was wondering if you might have any idea as to what's the occasion? I'm very curious what this evening is about! John didn't let on, but with both families gathered…' he didn't finish the sentence but glanced meaningfully around.
Now, that was quite peculiar, wasn't it? Mrs Hudson had been wondering about that herself. Why this gathering? The invitation had come out of the blue, two weeks ago and it was neither John's nor Sherlock's birthday.
'Yes, you're right,' she agreed.
The families were here – There was John's family and Mycroft, who was just coming back from the kitchen from a little chat with Angelo, was accompanied by a woman who must clearly be Mycroft and Sherlock's mother. She had the raven black curly hair of her younger son, worn in a fashionable cut, but the sharp nose and eyes of Mycroft.
She noticed for the first time now that their table was laid with a beautiful white damask cloth, there were small posies of lovely white roses and lots of candles in silver candelabras. She noticed that the rest of the tables in the restaurant were quite plain in comparison. Mrs Hudson raised an eyebrow – What was going on?
She hadn't seen her boys all day, they had been quite elusive, no opportunity to drill them with questions had arisen, but –
Mrs Hudson's head swivelled around when the door was opened with a flourish and Sherlock and John entered the restaurant. She cast one look at them and gasped, her hands flew to her face and a strangled cry escaped her mouth –
'Boys! Oh, my boys!' she whispered.
She fairly ran to them and hugged both of them, and then unwilling to let go, she alternated between gently stroking Sherlock's face and patting John's arm in a motherly fashion.
'I'm so happy for you, boys! My goodness! Let me see your rings.' And she grabbed both men's hands to admire their shiny wedding bands. John and Sherlock exchanged a smile - No need for a great announcement then.
The other guests looked at each other and when realization finally dawned, their reactions couldn't have been more different.
Molly's heart clenched painfully when she saw their radiant faces, the wedding bands, the wreaths, the suits and realised the fact that Sherlock was married. She turned away to get a grip and to arrange her face into something resembling a happy smile.
Of course she knew that these two had been a couple for a while and that they loved each other was plain for everyone to see, but the finality of exchanging the vows was something she had to digest. It also made her realise that now was the time to let go any unrealistic girlish dream she might still harbour somewhere in her romantic heart. She remained where she was and let the others swoosh past her and congratulate the happy couple.
Lestrade went first and in his open and friendly manner he slapped Sherlock on the back, who flinched because he had just realized he would have to endure all kind of unwanted physical contact now, and gathered John in a bone-crushing bear-hug. He was grinning from ear to ear, incessantly muttering, 'I knew it, I just did!'
Mycroft went next. 'I think congratulations are in order, my dear John.' He shook John's hand gracefully and smiled.
'Sherlock!' was all he said to his little brother, but he patted his cheek in a very affectionate gesture. They exchanged a look that spoke of deep, yet unspoken affection.
Their mother was next, making a show of it. Claire Holmes fairly cooed when she embraced her son-in-law, 'John, I am sooo delighted, my dear son! I may call you son? Over the moon I am, I'm definitely over the moon! I can see that you make my darling Sherlock indescribably happy ...' and much more along those lines.
Sherlock took it all in good grace, but Mycroft hissed, 'Mummy, please don't make a scene.' John smiled at her, bemused, but friendly and let her kiss him delicately on both cheeks.
Molly glanced around, it would be her turn soon, only Harry and her parents were standing undecidedly apart. They looked dumbstruck. Molly frowned, surely they wouldn't dare making a scene?
John noticed his family standing undecidedly in the back and taking Sherlock by the hand he walked over to them. John tried to diffuse the tension and bent down to kiss his mother on her right cheek.
'Johnny, why didn't you tell us?' Mrs Watson whined. She looked indignant and close to tears.
'Mum, we didn't tell anybody, we wanted to surprise you and the others. Aren't you pleased?'
John sounded eager, he clearly wanted their approval. Sherlock glanced at him, he deemed it wise not to interfere, but placed his hand supportively at the small of his husband's back. Sherlock had never met John's parents before, but they had of course known about their relationship.
'I don't know Johnny. I never thought it would be like this when you get married. I would have liked to be involved. You could at least have had the courtesy to …'
'We are pleased, Johnny!' his father firmly intercepted with a glance at his wife, 'We are indeed! Come here!'
He hugged his son close to his chest and with an open smile that reminded Sherlock very much of John he extended his right hand to him. Sherlock shook it and smiled at John's parents. He felt the need to explain.
'I'm really sorry if we hurt your feelings, but we decided to have the ceremony entirely for ourselves and to surprise our families and friends later. It was important for us to do it our way.'
'That's a bit selfish, isn't it?' Harry spat, 'But you never think much about other people's feelings, do you, Sherlock? To be honest, I didn't expect anything else from a man like you.'
Sherlock raised an eyebrow and fixed his gaze on Harry.
'Who's being selfish now, Harry? Me?' he huffed, 'I love your brother so much that I decided to marry him and to spend the rest of my life with him. Think again, Harry. Is it not rather you who's selfish here? You chose to cause a racket and to wreak your ill humour on everybody else on such a day-'
John put his hand soothingly on Sherlock's arm and Sherlock relented. He exhaled noisily, trying to let go all irritation he felt for John's sister.
'Listen, Harry. Let's not argue today. It's our wedding day and we want to celebrate with everybody, with our family. Please stay and we will talk about it some other time. Will you do that for us?'
Harry crossed her arms defiantly in front of her chest, she glanced at her parents and when her father nodded at her, she sighed deeply and rolled her eyes.
'Alright, alright!' she said, not entirely convinced, 'Johnny, I'm happy for you, you know that I am. But I'm absolutely not okay with the way you went about it.'
She glared at John, but then she smirked and kissed her older brother soundly on both cheeks, followed by a fierce hug. She turned to Sherlock, 'You're wrong, Sherlock, I don't want to spoil your day, I really don't. But we must surely talk about -,' she waved her hand indicating herself, Sherlock, John, '- all this. So be prepared that I will take you up on that offer!'
She stood on tiptoes and lightly pecked her brother's husband. He took this kiss and her words for what they were, a peace offering, at least a tentative one, and smiled. Turning on his full charm he offered her his arm, 'Shall we dine?'
It was getting late and John glanced around the table at all those familiar faces. What a festive and happy and at times hilarious occasion it had been, everybody seemed to have enjoyed the food and the company. His mother was chatting happily away with Mrs Hudson as they were probably trying to outshine each other with glorious household stories. Harry and his father smiled and quietly giggled and talked, they shared this almost blind understanding, had always been very close to each other.
Molly, Mike and Mycroft - What an unusual combination! - were laughing heartily at some jokes Mike had cracked. Claire Holmes sat quietly musing and watched Sherlock and John. John raised his glass in her direction and raising her own glass she mouthed 'To you' and smiled warmly at him.
John was content, very much so. Everything was fine, everybody approved, everybody knew. Contrary to Sherlock, who often proclaimed he couldn't care less what other people thought of him, John had been worried about Harry and his parents' reaction. But now he just felt a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, a feeling that he had learned to attribute with Sherlock.
He was sitting next to his husband, feeling his presence and watching him proudly – admiring the way he argued with Lestrade about some case that had occupied them for weeks, his animated face, the way his hands were flying, his genuine smile. He smiles so much more these days, John thought.
With every swift movement of Sherlock's left hand the candlelight caught in the shiny gold wedding band and made it glitter, driving home the significance of the day.
John slipped his own wedding band off his finger and turned it in the candlelight to read the engraving Sherlock had chosen for them. He chuckled - How typical! – Really, they couldn't have found a more fitting description of their life, of their significance for each other. To an overly romantic onlooker this engraving might be banal, unusual, strange, out of the ordinary or even loveless – for John is was the epitome of their love.
It read - Sherlock & John – Far From Boring -
A/N This is it! - They are married – and they are happy!
Thank you very much for following this story – If you're interested you can also check out my WIP Beginnings
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See you soon JJ xx