"They've decided to have a street party.." John chuckled as he pushed open the door to Sherlock and Molly's flat. He walked past the couple and towards the window, glancing out into the street below. People were setting up tables, pulling chairs into the road and the general feeling out there was one of joy and relief. The horrors of the year and a half were finally over, and finally things could begin to get back to normal. Sherlock moved towards the window and looked out, shaking his head.
"Idiots.." he mumbled, rolling his eyes.
"They're just happy, Sherlock. Mycroft has stopped being a controlling, cruel dick and seen reason."
"But WHY?" he frowned, moving away from the window and sitting down in his chair. "He's up to something. This seems wrong, it's un-Mycroft.." he leaned back, steepled his fingers beneath his chin. His eyes closed as he went into his mind palace. Why had Mycroft changed his mind so quickly? False sense of security, perhaps? Threats from other countries? He wasn't sure, but he was sure that within the next few days, he'd find out.
The envelope landed softly on the doormat at 8am precisely. A sleepy Molly Hooper picked it up and glanced down at the gold, flowery lettering. It wasn't handwriting she recognised. She moved into the kitchen where she placed it gently in front of Sherlock before moving to make them both a cup of tea. Sherlock sat at the table, the baby in his arms, staring down into the big blue eyes that were identical to his own. The baby had drawn him in, and he'd not expected this to happen. No one had ever told him how fatherhood felt, and he was pretty sure his own father hadn't felt this way about Mycroft and himself, or the man would have stuck around a lot longer. As Molly placed the envelope down, Sherlock picked it up and examined it.
"It's from Mycroft"
"Oh. Why has he put both our names on it? I mean, I know he was going to send out compensation for damages and everything but... that's handwritten."
"Yes.. I'm not sure.." the Consulting Detective opened the envelope with one hand, the other arm still occupied by the small being snuggled into him, and casually removed the piece of cardboard within it. "Oh."
"Mycroft is getting married.. To Anthea"
"And we've been invited?"
"Well that explains why he's gone back on his rules.. I never factored love into the situation."
Molly nodded but remained silent, watching Sherlock. He dropped the invite back onto the table and focussed on the baby once more. They did it often, she'd noticed; stared at one another. As though they were both trying to work out who the other one was, learn every intricate thing about the other being purely through looking. She was pretty sure Sherlock never factored love into many situations, including their own. She wanted to ask him about it, whether there was love between them, or whether it was purely him wanting to be her hero. Well she didn't need rescuing any more. She could get her job back, go back to being an independent woman without Sherlock Holmes if he just wanted to play at being a hero. She wouldn't let him play with her like this.
"Sherlock.." she started, but froze as he looked up at her, his eyes fixed on her own. She remained silent, until he frowned, obviously bored with waiting for her to finish.
"I- should we think of a name for him?" she chickened out, internally cursing herself.
John frowned as he read over Mycroft's invite, really rather confused as to why he'd been invited at all. He wasn't exactly one of Mycroft's friends, and he wasn't family. He'd probably go, though, he knew. Sherlock would make him if Sherlock was being made to go. He moved into Mary's bedroom and looked around. She's probably want to leave now that she was free to. Why would she bother with him. He was more than double her age, and she had her whole life ahead of her. She could train to be a teacher now, like she'd wanted. She could return home to her family, live happily. He'd get over her, he told himself as he began to pack her things back into the boxes they'd come in, just like he'd had to get over Sherlock. He ached a little inside at that thought. Sherlock would, no doubt, end up marrying Molly eventually, and he'd still be alone. It hurt. But at least Sherlock would be happy.
"What are you doing?" the soft voice behind him made him turn and he looked at her, her blonde curls falling over her face in the way they so often did. She brushed them from her eyes irritably and he couldn't help but smile.
"Packing up your things.. Make it easier for you to leave.."
"Oh" she looked sad at his words and he frowned.
"What is it? I thought you'd want to return to your family.. go to University.. that sort of thing.."
"I- no.." she sighed "I want to stay with you. I meant what I said, John.. I'm falling- well, no.. I AM in love with you. I love you."
He smiled softly, moving towards her and pulling her into his arms. He brushed the hair from her eyes, pressing his forehead against hers.
"I love you too.. But, if you're going to stay here, I have one condition.."
"You go to university.. Train to be a teacher, like you've always wanted."
She laughed softly, nodding. "Deal"
"Alex.. I like it.." Molly smiled, brushing her fingers through her son's thick dark hair as he fed from her.
"I'm glad you do.." Sherlock nodded, sitting down and handing Molly a glass of water. He wasn't sure where he'd read that breastfeeding women needed to keep hydrated, but it somehow stuck with him, no matter how many times he tried to delete it. "Alex Holmes.."
"Hooper Holmes?" Sherlock frowned "If you'd prefer.. Though, I'd much rather if you both.." he trailed off, not finishing his sentence. Molly was sure that this was the first time she'd ever seen Sherlock Holmes not finish a sentence.
"If we'd both, what?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"If you both took the name.. My name.. Holmes.." he shrugged. The corners of Molly's mouth curved into a smile.
"I might.. If you ask properly." she smirked at him, her eyes twinkling. Ok so this wasn't how she'd imagined being proposed to, if that's what this even was, but it occurred to Molly that if it was the right person, it was always the right way to be proposed to.
"Will you marry me, Molly Hooper?" he asked, tilting his head. She pretended to think about it for a few minutes, until the panic in Sherlock's eyes looked as though it was about to overwhelm him and cause him to have some sort of break down.
"Of course I will.."
The five year old Alex Holmes bounded up the stairs towards flat 221b, followed by his father. He burst into the sitting room, full of energy, and immediately ran to hug his mother as she walked out from the kitchen.
"How was your first day at big school?" she asked softly, her fingers brushing through the thick curls.
"Brilliant.." the small boy beamed up at her, opening his school bag. "Where's Amelia? I drew a picture for her"
"She's napping, sweetheart, you can give it to her when she wakes up.. Now.. Tell me about what you did at school.."
Excitedly, Alex began telling his mother of his entire day, recapping every second in perfect detail. As she listened, Molly couldn't help but smile. Alex was growing up to be more and more like his father, yet he had a gentle, affectionate edge that could only really have come from her.
"Did you remember to call Aunty Mary 'Mrs Watson'?"
"Of course, mummy, I'm not an idiot."
Then again, sometimes, he was exactly like Sherlock.
"Did you ever think we'd end up like this?" Molly asked softly as she lay with her head on Sherlock's lap. He stroked her hair, tangling the long strands around his fingers.
"Honestly? No.." he chuckled softly, and she smiled at the rich, deep sound he made. She'd be the first to admit that life with Sherlock wasn't easy. He still got grumpy, still talked down to lesser minds like Anderson, and half the time, she would swear she had three children, not two. But she loved him, with every piece of her heart, and maybe, she considered, just maybe, Mycroft's New World hadn't been such a bad thing after all.
So that's it, guys. I hope you weren't disappointed. To each and every one of you who has followed this story to the end, I thank you with all my heart. And a personal thank you to Colorful Magic, MKsquared, magicstrikes, BurntSecrets, SuddenlyI' , Zora Arian, LilyRochester, Cordelia123456, MorbidbyDefault, hipkarma, JeMS7, Rocking the Redhead, MrsBadcrumble18, supergirlhero and every one of you lovely guests who have reviewed. Love to you all, and Merry Christmas xxx