A/N: Alright, everyone! So, this is the final chapter of Scream! Thank you all so, so much for sticking with me this long! If you would be so kind, please read the author's note at the bottom of the page. It is vital to the life of this story!
The door to 221B Baker Street flew open, banging against the wall and making its current sole inhabitant jump in surprise. John finished pulling his black and white striped sweater over his head and hurried into the living room. Jim met him halfway, all but bouncing on his toes. He grinned wildly upon spotting John.
"Are you ready?"
"Was that you, Jim? You nearly gave me a heart attack!"
"Sorry! I was just really excited! Today's a big day!"
He didn't look remotely sorry and John could only roll his eyes at the man's enthusiasm. They'd arranged to go on an all-day date today and Jim had been on edge for days. The blonde moved across the room to collect his phone, wallet, and keys.
"I'm just glad you told me about the date today, instead of just kidnapping me."
This time, at least, the consulting criminal had the decency to look somewhat abashed about the incident that was now more than a month ago, not that John was ever going to let him live it down. The man had sent a henchman to pick him up for a date because Jim himself was running late from a meeting. Unfortunately, he had both forgotten to tell John and the henchman had somehow not realized this was the boss's boyfriend John.
The whole debacle had ended with John breaking the man's arm and calling Jim, thinking this was an attack at the criminal. By the time the whole thing got sorted out the brunette had made a decree that only he or the Deadly Dozen were allowed contact with John, no more delegation. John just thought the whole thing was funny. (Though he did kind of feel bad for breaking the guy's arm.) Jim shifted a bit.
"It's an important day. I can't afford to have anything go wrong."
John gave him a questioning look but Jim just continued to try and shuffle him out the door.
"Let's go, let's go!"
John smiled at his lover indulgently, as so many things he did that involved Jim were, but proceeded out of the flat.
"You're such a child."
John almost laughed when Jim's car pulled up outside of one of the larger parks in London and they piled out onto the cement. The criminal's near-scandalized look prompted him to reach out and take the other's hand.
"You just seem to have a love for parks, that's all."
Jim shrugged and pulled the blonde forward through the entrance.
"Parks offer open spaces and a perceived change of scenery without being overly inconvenient. They provide fresh air, or as fresh as you're going to find in a city like London, and it's easily defensible. There are a lot of advantages."
John couldn't help the smile on his face.
"Easily defensible? Why am I not surprised?"
He leaned over as they walked to bump shoulders gently with his lover and swooped over to place a quick kiss on his cheek. He couldn't help but love the man. Perhaps that was why his thoughts had so recently turned towards marriage.
The first time the thought had crossed his mind had been in the kitchen at 221B. He'd been making tea and had looked out into the living room to find Sherlock and Jim huddled around the table. They were discussing a problem that had arisen within one of Jim's organizations. More and more, the two were working together on little projects. Jim would hire Sherlock to investigate something and Sherlock would use Jim to locate people in the criminal world. Somehow, they'd managed to avoid stepping on the other's toes, which could only be regarded as a minor miracle.
Watching the two of them together, though, filled John with a warm feeling. They were both so much a part of the doctor's life that he couldn't imagine ever living without them. As Jim gesticulated wildly, as he was wont to do, John imagined a ring decorating his finger. At first, the thought had shocked him, but after some thought he found that he rather liked the idea.
In a normal situation, John would have gone out and bought a ring right then and there. He wasn't the type to dawdle with life decisions. If nothing else, John Watson was a man of action. What held him back now, though, was Jim himself. John couldn't help thinking that a man so used to independent freedom as James Moriarty wouldn't want to be tied down by marriage. (And, really, wouldn't he see it as being tied down?) So, he hadn't asked.
That didn't mean the idea didn't stick around in his mind, though.
As they continued to wander around the park, the talk turned to more mundane things, such as the case John had just finished up with Sherlock. The body of a woman who had been missing for over five years had shown up in a storage unit, frozen solid. Lestrade had thought it was the husband, but the original case file of her disappearance gave him an alibi. He and his team had tried to find the man, only to discover that he'd been shot dead in a parking lot two years after his wife's disappearance.
Lestrade, sensing the headache the case was sure to become, had called in Sherlock. Sherlock had been the one to figure out how the husband had killed his wife, shoved her in a freezer, and taken the entire thing to a storage unit to hide the body. He'd used his best friend as an alibi and it was that friend who'd continued to pay for the storage unit after the husband's death. He'd stopped paying because he just couldn't stand it anymore.
The mystery of the husband's death had then circled back to the wife's father, who now cared for the grandchildren. The man hadn't believed his daughter had just disappeared and had eventually managed to put the pieces together, a fact that rather impressed Sherlock. He'd been the one to kill her husband after hearing him confess to murdering her.
"It's just so awful. Their entire family has been torn apart because of one man's greed. The grandfather has been arrested. Mum and Dad are dead, both murdered. What's going to become of those kids? Sure, they still had a grandmum, but that's just so much loss to go through at such a young age."
"Well, the bright side is that their grandfather probably isn't going to stay behind bars long. From what you've told me, he'd had gotten rid of the gun. He didn't confess, so there's just Sherlock's word to go on as to what he believes happened, though I have no doubts it's the truth. It'd be hard for a prosecutor to get a conviction."
John hummed in agreement, but still wore a frown on his face. They'd paused under a large tree, branches reaching out to dapple the ground with shade. A flower vender stood just a foot away, hawking his product to passers-by. John looked out over the park, lost in thought for the moment. It was a perfect day.
The blonde turned to face the other man. Jim opened his mouth as if to say something else, not that he had Johns attention, but his hand brushed his pocket and he suddenly frowned. A quizzical look crossed his face he slipped the hand into the pocket.
"What's this? It looks like there's something in my pocket."
With a flourish, he pulled a bright red rose from his jacket and extended it to the blonde, sweeping into a dramatic bow. For his part, John couldn't help but laugh. His heart raced from the brief mental image of Jim pulling out a small, velvet box. Now wouldn't that have been a twist?
Then his eyes flickered to the flower vender just behind them and he realized he would have noticed if Jim had taken the time to buy a flower from the man.
"Jim…please tell me you did not just nick that from the vender…"
"I think 'nick' is a bit of a strong word…"
"Oh, my God, Jim! You can't just do stuff like that! That's stealing!"
Jim was waving one hand in the air as if to shoo away John's arguments. The smile that lit up his face told the doctor that he'd fallen completely into the other man's trap.
"It's not stealing if I left money in its place. Besides, I'm sure the man will forgive me when he finds the more than generous tip."
With an exasperated sigh and a heart-felt smile, John took the flower.
"Thank you, then. It's gorgeous."
Jim grinned back before turning to spin around a couple of times, eyes closed and face turned towards the sun. When he turned back to John, his eyes were alight with a childish glee that filled John with warmth.
"I love the outdoors, you know? There's just something about being out here that makes the rest of the world feel like it's on pause. It's like we'll leave here and life will have just been waiting for us, not having moved an inch in our absence."
They fell into step again, Jim now angling them towards the lake that stood in the middle of the park. It wasn't huge, but there were a few people out on row boats and the like.
"I know what you mean. I used to spend almost all my time outside as a kid. My family lived in this wooded area and I would spend hours out there just having adventure after adventure. Sometimes I would lose track of time so bad that my mum and dad would have to come looking for me."
Jim appropriated a small boat from a rental shack by the shore of the lake and they were soon rowing out towards the middle of the lake, John continuing to share stories about his mishaps as a child.
"I don't think there was a single week I didn't come home with scratches and bruises all over me! My school councilor once called me to the office to ask if I was being abused. The thought of it coming off like that to other people had never even occurred to me! I nearly decked him before I took a moment to think about it." A soft smile decorated his lips. "I had plans to be an adventurer when I grew up. I wanted to work for National Geographic or the Discovery Channel, traveling all over the world to see these amazing things. I already had picked out my first trip to be to Bora Bora."
Jim snickered, as he had been during most of the stories.
"Why Bora Bora?"
John wrinkled his nose in that way of his that said he was about to say something embarrassing.
"I thought it sounded exotic."
Jim let out a laugh that started several ducks nearby. The settled down again some distance away and sent hateful glares in the direction of the two men. John's glare joined them.
"It's not that funny."
The unrepentant brunette just grinned at him.
"I've never been to Bora Bora, either, you know, but it's amazing the discoveries you can make right here in London."
"Really? Like what?"
"Like this boat, for instance. At first glance, it seems like a perfectly common row boat, nothing special. There's no telling what secret it holds, though."
John gave him a flat, disbelieving look. It was very similar to the one he'd worn when Jim had told him about the time he'd had a cover as a children's show actor.
"Seriously. C'mon, let's play Sherlock and see what we can find!"
John snorted and rolled his eyes at his boyfriend's ridiculousness, but went along with it anyway. Jim was examining the side of the boat while John checked under the seats. He felt utterly foolish until he found a wicker basket under the bench seat where Jim had been sitting. Of course.
"Well, well, well, look what I found."
He pulled the basket out and Jim looked over, all big eyes and faked innocence. John sent him a look that said the blonde clearly wasn't buying it.
"How do you think that got on here? Let's open it up and see what's inside!"
When Jim opened the basket, he revealed a full picnic spread. There were chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, chocolate covered strawberries, and a bottle of Champaign accompanied by two tall glasses. Jim grinned over at John.
"What a well-timed discovery! You know, I was just starting to get hungry and it would be such a waste to just let all this delicious-looking food go bad."
John just smiled and bumped their shoulders together affectionately, rocking the boat a little.
"I love you."
Jim beamed back.
"I love you, too."
They tucked into the food, talking about mundane things that weren't overly important. Sometimes they both needed that, the lack of complication. They both lived lives that were so full of life-threatening situations and high-stress moments. It was nice to just live in the moment sometimes, with nothing more pressing than what to pick up at the grocery store.
Jim was talking about a renovation he wanted to make in 221C. It was something about a trap door or a hidden staircase to connect it to 221B. It was something he'd talked about before and it amused John to no end. After all, he didn't really believe Jim would do it.
Sprawled across the boat, John listened with one ear to Jim's wild ideas and tipped his head back against the side of the boat. The sun shone down on his face, warm and bright. John loved the sound of Jim's voice, especially in situations like this. It was soft and almost melodic, but full of so much life when he got excited.
Lying out in the sun, relaxed, full of food, and listening to Jim talk, John could feel sleep creeping up on him. He'd always been a sucker for the traditional cat nap. He was just about to drift off when he heard Jim's tone of voice change.
The blonde hummed in response, not yet ready to wake up and open his eyes. Something about Jim's tone tugged at his attention, though.
"Look at your Champaign glass."
An image of a ring in the bottom of the bubbly liquid flashed behind his eyes and John quickly squashed it. Dragging his eyelids open, John pulled himself up and turned to look at his glass. What he saw took his breath away.
A butterfly was perched on the rim of his glass. Its delicate wings ended in sharp arcs and a deep orange, flecked with black and brown, gave it an autumn feeling. As he watched, the butterfly gently lowered its wings before raising them again.
Jim reached out almost casually to pluck the insect off his glass, closing his hand over the bug like a dome. John noted how careful he was not to touch the wings. A quick twist of his wrist, and the orange insect was suddenly sitting on one of Jim's fingers. At the same time, Jim was looking at it in a way that he usually reserved for John on lazy mornings.
"It's a Nymphalidae. You almost never see them anymore." He paused, staring at the little thing. "Did you know that if you touch a butterfly's wings with your fingers, it transfers oil that will destroy them? They won't be able to fly anymore."
"I didn't know you liked butterflies so much."
Jim blinked and a light blush dusted his cheeks. Letting the butterfly take off and flutter off, the criminal looked away. John knew the cover up was coming before Jim even opened his mouth.
"It's just that butterflies will do whatever it takes to survive. They'll even drink the blood of dead animals."
Though the fact was a bit surprising, John didn't let it derail him. He just settled back into the boat and smiled.
"Whatever you want to tell yourself, dear."
Three hours later found Jim and John standing on the sidewalk outside of Westminster Abbey, probably the most famous church in London. It had been recognized all over the world before Prince William had married Kate Middleton there. Now, it was even more well-known, which made John's newfound knowledge about Jim all the more surprising.
"I still can't believe you've never been here."
When Jim had first mentioned the church, by its true name, John hadn't known what he was talking about. After all, no one called it the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster anymore. Once they'd sorted out the confusion, though, John had insisted they go to the church.
"I've never had much of an interest in the tourist traps of London. I'm always so busy that it never really got onto my radar. That being said, I really wouldn't mind going to see the crowned jewels."
"Well, we'll get to those another day. Today, you're going to see the Abbey."
A wrench was thrown into John's carefully laid plan, however, when they came upon a sign proclaiming the landmark closed for maintenance reasons. John felt the uncharacteristic urge to stomp his foot in irritation. He usually left such juvenile displays to either his lover or his best friend. Instead, he exerted some of that extra ordinary self-control he was so well-known for and simply turned to Jim with an apologetic look.
"I'm sorry, Jim. I dragged you all the way across town and they're not even open. We'll come back another time-"
The brunette was already striding up the walkway towards the door of the church, completely disregarding the sign. John glanced around before hurrying after him.
"Jim! Jim, what are you doing?"
His voice came out as a hissed whisper, completely ridiculous given the time of day. Jim just waved behind him before trotting up the steps to the front door.
"Jim, we can't just break and enter a church! That's, like, doubly wrong!"
"It's not breaking and entering if the door's open. I'm just giving it a try. Don't worry, if we're caught we'll just pretend to be foreign and couldn't read the sign!"
"'Pretend to be forei-' Do you even listen to yourself sometimes?! Besides, it's a national landmark that's closed for maintenance. Do you really think they're just going to leave the door unlocked?"
He was silenced as Jim pulled the door open. The brunette turned to him with a cheeky grin.
"Apparently so. Now hurry up, we don't want to be seen, do we?"
Grumbling, John followed his lover inside. What in the world had he done to deserve this? Oh, yeah. Date Jim Moriarty.
Despite his reluctance for the situation, John still felt the same wonder he had the first time he'd been in the Abbey as a young boy. The ceilings were vaulted and the crypts stood around each wall. The entire place gave off a feel of being utterly timeless. He almost didn't notice Jim walking up behind him until the man spoke from his shoulder.
Hands intertwined, the couple began to meander throughout the room.
"It feels so different here without all the different people milling about. Every time I've come, I spend most of my time trying not to run into people."
"That's the trouble with a lot of landmarks these days. They've become so commercialized that it takes away from how the place is supposed to feel. Oh! It's the shrine for Edward the Confessor! That means Henry III is buried nearby!" Jim pulled his doctor towards the gilded alter, chatting excitedly. "It was Henry III who rebuilt Westminster in honor of Saint Edward. He placed several of the royal saint's relics in this shrine, though his body is not actually here."
"Yeah. Up until the death of George II in 1760, most of our kings and queens were buried here. There are, of course, exceptions. Edward IV, Henry VIII and Charles I were all buried in Saint George's Chapel."
"Why do you know so many facts about this place if you've never been here?"
They were now standing before a carving of an angel and Jim looked up at it as he answered John's question. Still, John got the feeling that he wasn't really looking at the angel.
"After we die, the only thing that is left of us is what we did when we were alive. Those who did great things arose to power are remembered, while those who lived normal lives are not. For the longest time, all I ever wanted was to be remembered. It's why I started off to gain power like I have. I wanted the name James Moriarty to be known for generations."
"But being remembered by history isn't everything. It isn't the only thing with a memory. Those closest to you in life, the people who love and care about you, they have a memory too. Plus, I'm willing to bet that their memory is going to be a lot more accurate. After all, what do people really remember about all the greats throughout history? Names and dates. People don't know what they were really like, what their hobbies were, what they liked for breakfast. Those are what make you a person. Besides, there have been plenty of leaders lost to history, not just commoners."
He gave Jim's hand a squeeze and was pleased when Jim squeezed back. The brunette's gaze drifted off of the statue and down to meet his.
"John Watson, you are the most amazing person I have ever met. You make me want to change myself, and the best part is that I know you would never want me to change."
He leant forward to capture John's lips with his own. Pulling back, Jim looked at his deep in his eyes. John could feel his heart pounding in his chest. This moment felt…different somehow. Dear God, what was wrong with him today? Maybe he should buy that ring after all.
"John, will you-"
"Hey! What do you two think you're doing in here?!"
Both men's heads snapped to look at the entrance to the church, where an angry security guard was currently struggling through the gated access point. Hands clasped, they took off running towards a side door. John knew Lestrade would never let him live it down if he got arrested for breaking and entering Westminster Abbey. Behind them, they could hear the guard yelling after them to stop.
As soon as they were out the door, the guard smirked and pulled out a mobile. A quick press of the number 1 and the phone was soon ringing.
"Oh, yah, Jezebel! Ze operation here vas a total success! Quickly! Ve must set ze next stage!"
"On it, Eyes. Excellent work."
Outside on the street, Jim and John were panting and trying to control their laughter. Jim raised his arm to hail a cab, ushering John into it quickly.
"C'mon. There's another church I want to show you."
The church Jim dragged John to was old, like most churches in England. It was stonework and stained glass, but, unlike most churches, it looked as though it hadn't been kept up with well. The stone was worn away in places and the walkway up to the front had weeds sprouting up through the cracks. While all the windows appeared to be intact, vines reached up, threatening to cover them.
It, too, had a 'Keep Out' sign in front of it. This sign, however, gave John the impression that it had been put up as a more permanent notice. The entire thing was surrounded by a chain-link fence, but Jim just dragged John forward again.
"Come on, John! We've already broken into one church today, what's one more?"
Either Jim didn't hear John's grumbled reply or he chose to ignore it. As the blonde watched his lover pick the lock on the fence, he was betting on the latter. Once the fence was open, Jim beckoned for him to enter.
As they started up the steps, John couldn't help but crane his neck to look up at the building. The stained glass really was beautiful.
"I discovered this place when I was a kid, on my first trip to London. I was here to…take care of something and just stumbled upon this place while wandering around." Jim didn't need to say it for John to know that the 'something' was Carl Powers. They'd had that discussion before and it wasn't something he wanted to revisit at the moment. "It spoke to me from the first moment I saw it. I just find something about this place so…calming."
They paused at the top of the stairs, before the impressive wooden doors and Jim lay one hand against them. His eyes softened and he looked at John with a smile.
"I think it was the stained glass. I've always loved that, you know? Each piece looks so fractured. They're just a jumble of colors and shapes, but they come together to make these gorgeous pictures. It's making beauty and order out of chaos. And no matter what the picture is of, it's always the most beautiful when the light is shining through it."
Jim pushed open the door and ushered him through. The sight that greeted him almost made him want to pinch himself, just to make sure he wasn't hallucinating or asleep.
The church was crowded with people, people John knew. His army buddies waved at him from beside several of the other doctors he worked with at the clinic, along with Mike Stamford and Molly. Mrs. Hudson beamed at him from the front pew, Lestrade beside her, and he was pretty sure he saw most of the Deadly Dozen there. Mycroft and the Duchess stood against one wall, suspiciously close. Even Harriet was there. He could see Graves standing at the front of the church, dressed like a minister. Moran stood to Graves's right, while Sherlock was bound and gagged on his left. Jezebel was standing just off to the side of the door in a floor-length dress, flower basket in one hand and a dry-cleaned suit in the other.
Flabbergasted, John turned back to look at Jim…only to find him down on one knee.
"John Watson, you are the light of my life. You make me a better person and, more than that, you make me want to be a better person. I love you more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone and I would do anything for you. There is no one I would rather spend the rest of my life with. Will you do me the honor of being my husband?"
During his speech, Jim had pulled a small, black velvet box out of his jacket pocket and opened it, presenting it to John. The ring that sat nestled within was perhaps the most beautiful piece of jewelry John had ever seen. It was a simple silver band, but the stone set in the top glinted as if there were a fire inside the pearly white stone.
John tried to speak several times, his jaw working but no sound coming out. His mind just couldn't seem to wrap itself around what was happening. Jim, however, was starting to shift uncomfortably.
"I just, I thought it was about the right time in our relationship, and Jezebel has always wanted to be a flower girl. Plus, Graves is already an ordained minister, thanks to that debacle with the cat lady, so the pieces just seemed to all fall into place. I know, I know, I shouldn't have sprung a surprise wedding on you, but you know how I can get carried away. It just seemed like such a good idea at the time. I mean, I went ring shopping with Mrs. Hudson and then everything just started happening so fast. This way we didn't have to go through that strange limbo of being engaged, either. We could just skip straight to being married. The only snag I hit was that Sherlock didn't want to come. Apparently, weddings are 'boring.'"
Jim suddenly seemed to think he'd said something wrong there and immediately backtracked.
"Not that he doesn't support us, because he totally does! He gave me the stones to go in our rings! They're fire opals, very nice. Plus, he helped me come up with the idea of getting our finger prints engraved on the inside of each ring. Yours has my finger print and mine will have yours. I figured it was appropriate because you already have my heart so I might as well give you something else that no one else has. Oh, God, will you just say something? Please? Anything? Cause I'm down here on one knee and it would be really embarrassing for you to reject me now, what with the whole wedding set up and everything."
By this point, the consulting criminal was looking pretty stricken.
"Do you want to reject me? Cause I don't want to pressure you or anything and its totally fine if you do. I can wait. We don't have to get married now, or ever, if you don't want to. Wow, this is awful. I shouldn't have done this. I don't know what I was thinki-"
Jim was cut off by John grabbing him and yanking him into a kiss, pouring every ounce of love he had into it. By the time he pulled away, Jim looked dazed.
"Of course I'll marry you."
The wedding went well, or as well as one could expect with Jim and John. The set up was beautiful and the music was gorgeous. After stepping out to change into the suit Jezebel had ready for him, John quickly found himself on the alter with Jim. Speaking of Jezebel, she had turned out to be a very…enthusiastic flower girl. John almost felt sorry for her when his army buddies started shamelessly flirting with her at the reception, though it was fun to see how red she could get.
Francisco's son, Isaiah, was their ring bearer and seemed to take the job very seriously. His father was right, the kid was utterly adorable. Graves was an excellent minister, despite the fact that he spent the majority of the service looking rather bored. John did catch him smiling when they said 'I do,' though, so there was something to be said about that. Mrs. Hudson and Molly both cried, which wasn't all that surprising. More surprising was the fact that Mike cried, too, along with a woman John didn't recognize. (Jim later introduced her as the saleswoman who had helped him find the rings.)
Sherlock made it all the way through the service before finally managing to break free of his restraints. He made a run for it right after they kissed and ended up getting tackled by Moran in the aisle. Thrown over the mercenary's shoulder, he complained loudly that at least he had waited until the ceremony was over. And so, John started his new life as a married man laughing. Still, he was grateful that Sherlock had waited that long at least.
Those of the Deadly Dozen who hadn't been at the actual wedding did show up at the reception, including two whom he'd never met before. Scales and Techno, Jim's attorney and computer God respectively, were as odd as the rest. It wasn't until Eyes had shown up though, still in the security guard's uniform, that John figured out he was the same blonde man he'd met outside of Jim's apartment during the Note Trail.
John was also pleased to see that D had shown up with Alan, the man from the yogurt shop. The two had shown up for the reception, apparently because D had some sort of assignment or another and couldn't make it to the actual service. They were holding hands and laughing and John was feeling really good for them until he saw Francisco swoop in and steal a kiss from D. Jim just laughed and said, "Finally, Francisco's managed to bring Alan into the fold! They've been mooning after that man for ages!"
Moran wasn't much of a party person, but he remained occupied keeping Sherlock on premises. It seemed that the mercenary's intense fighting background was finally a match for Sherlock's street style of self-defense. Still, John was pretty sure they were both going to be sore come morning. Nothing was ever easy, was it?
Directly after the reception, the two men went by 221 Baker Street to grab their bags and were on an airplane less than six hours later. John couldn't believe their destination: Bora Bora.
…Their honeymoon lasted six days before Sherlock showed up.
A/N: IMPORTANT! SUPER IMPORTANT!
There's a possibility for a sequel. There it is, straight to the point. I have an idea in my head. It'd be short, maybe five chapters, about the issues John has balancing out his new married life with his life with Sherlock. The title would be "Sharing Every After" or "Shared Custody and Married Life." I haven't decided. BUT, it all comes down to YOU! Would you like to read it?
Also, I know I said it up front, but I can never say it enough, thank you all so much. My reviews are what keep me going and I'm really only in this for the readers. You are amazing and wonderful and I would do anything for you. You're all fantastic!
I will miss you guys, but please feel free to check out my upcoming fics! Out next is "Exsanguination," a Johnlock fic with magic and mystery! I'm going to try and make to whole thing as believable as possible, so please read it! First chapter should be out in a week or so.
Goodbye, my loves! Our time, indeed, has been too short.