Okay, full disclosure, I have procrastinated in writing this chapter more than any other I think. Part of it is I don't relish the idea of this story ending, and part is because I haven't been in the best of spirits lately. I know, I know I've said that before. I'm not trying to complain, really I'm not, just being honest.
Still, I can't be entirely certain this story would have become what it was if things hadn't turned out the way they did. You see things started going bad in real life just as I began posting this chapter. While I'm not exactly thrilled that things are still as they have been (that is to say, less than optimal) for nearly half a year now, I am exceptionally thrilled at how this story turned out, and the support it has received. You guys are fantastic, seriously. I never expected this story to be so popular and I am tremendously thankful for all the support.
When I first started writing this, I hadn't written in a long time, and I'd certainly never written anything this long. But, as it grew and people took an interest it helped re-ignite my passion for writing as well as building my story telling skills. Now, as we come to the end of this story, I'm happy to say I intend to keep writing, no matter what. I will still write fanfiction, but now I've also begun research for a book I will actually try to have published (something I've always wanted to do). It's one of the only projects I've ever started that I can throw myself into without fear because, win lose or draw, I will still have a story I'm proud of at the end of it. ^_^
Special thanks goes to KaKiJo, oatniel, 8of9, ENTWolf, litlover92, YoungCaterpillar, EJ 12212012, BenAddiction, The Lord Writer, Agar Loki, dana-san, Sherlock'sLisbeth, ticklethedragon1, TakingItOutOnTheWall, Drunken Strawberries, theivydaggers, VioletStarz, and all those who have favorited/followed this story. Your encouragement has been heartening and inspiring.
I would also like to thank my beta, Helena Chauby, for her dedicated work in editing this story. Editing is hard work, as my utter inability to do so can attest.
And, of course, I must thank by flat mate, sounding board, and own personal Sherlock, Geoff. You helped this story be everything it could be.
Note: This version of the story will not be the explicit version, that will be posted on my Archive of Our Own account. On this posting there will be censored content. If you want the complete, explicit version, just visit the link to my Archive of Our Own account in my profile. (Even still I'm probably pushing the rating with what I did leave in.
One more note before you get to the actual final installment: Keep a look out for the Authors note at the end of the chapter for my future plans and a sneak peek at my next big project!
And now, after an insanely long authors note, I give you the epilogue:
Epilogue: And They Loved...
"...and you have a meeting with the French Ambassador tomorrow at two o'clock," Anthea said evenly. She'd been reviewing tomorrows schedule as the car approached Mycroft's estate. "With any luck you'll have a few hours for paperwork by the end of the day."
Mycroft let out a s stilted chuckle. "With any luck," he repeated wryly, and they shared a small smile. Mycroft was getting home from work early today. Well, early for him anyway. Over the last year, as his relationship with Gregory had grown, that had become a more common occurrence. It had been a little unsettling at first, caring about someone else like that, but Gregory could be quite convincing.
Mycroft had asked Gregory to meet him at the estate tonight to spend the evening together, and to...resolve something that had been on his mind of late. It had never been difficult for Mycroft Holmes to control his emotions, he was even better at it than his little brother. However, at the moment he was pleased that it was only Anthea and himself in the car; there was no need to fight the upwards curl growing at the edge of his lips.
"I'll see you tomorrow, sir," Anthea said as the car pulled up to the door, a knowing smile on her lips. "Have a good evening."
Mycroft nodded and murmured, "You as well, Anthea."
In short order, Mycroft was striding through the foyer and up the stairs towards his bedroom. Mycroft paused in his sitting room to hang up his coat, and it was there that he caught sight of one detective inspector, Gregory Lestrade, fast asleep on the sofa in front of the fireplace.
Mycroft smiled to himself, and shook his head in amusement. Gregory and he had been intimate for the past five months and, especially over the past two months, Gregory often found himself spending the night. Judging by the small duffle bag resting just beside the foot of the sofa, Gregory was planning to spend tonight at the estate as well.
Mycroft settled himself at the end of the sofa, for there was more than enough room, even with Gregory's sprawled form, and reached forwards to run his fingers through Gregory's thick salt and pepper hair. Gregory sighed and nestled into the caress. The edges of Mycroft's eyes crinkled with amusement and warmth at the familiar gesture. Each time he'd found Gregory asleep in odd places, Mycroft threaded his fingers through his hair until he woke.
In all this time, over a year since the end of the infamous case that had begun their relationship, Mycroft had never once found Gregory asleep in his bed; even when sudden business obligations had kept Mycroft away all night. It was always a sofa, couch, daybed, or leaned against a desk or chair. Mycroft supposed he should feel gratified that, in these last two months, Gregory's odd sleeping arrangements had been restricted to the sofa in the sitting rooms which adjoined Mycroft's bedroom.
Mycroft watched the firelight playing in Gregory's hair, and remembered when their relationship had truly shifted from friends to something more. Once Mycroft and Greg had returned to London from New York they had quickly established a pattern of meeting once a week for dinner or, occasionally, some other excursion. By the time Sherlock and John had returned from their (real) honeymoon, over a month later, once a week had become twice or even three times, if their individual work schedules would allow it.
Mycroft had been quite surprised at how much he enjoyed Gregory's company. The conversation came easily and was markedly intelligent. They stayed until closing at dozens of restaurants, and strolled on the grounds of Mycroft's estate until it was far too dark too see. (Thankfully, Mycroft always had a torch). Once or twice in those early months Gregory had spent the night, but always in a guest room.
Although Gregory was naturally more social and 'friendly' than Mycroft, they were both extremely reserved about their private lives. This slow growth of their relationship seemed satisfying to each of them for their own reasons. Neither felt compelled to rush, despite the quiet frustrations of one, slightly meddling, younger Holmes.
One morning, after Gregory had spent the night in a guest room, Mycroft had made his way into the kitchen to find Gregory already there, cooking breakfast for the both of them. The light of the morning was warm and bright, bathing the kitchen in its glow. Mycroft had paused in the doorway and, quite contently, watched Gregory work. After several minutes Gregory half turned, caught sight of Mycroft, and broke out into a welcoming grin. Mycroft's answering smile was all he needed to recognize the romantic affections he held for the detective inspector, that had grown like the climbing tendrils of a plant seeking the light.
Shortly afterwards Gregory had invited Mycroft, as well as Sherlock and John, to a tree trimming party at his flat. Greg's flat was not large, and neither it, nor the furniture in it, were in particularly good condition. However, with decorations, food laid out, and a tree set to be decorated, it was unexpectedly cozy.
Gregory, of course, was a pleasure to talk to, and John was decent company as well. Sherlock was, as ever, his usual charming self. Although, Mycroft noted a discreet softness in his brother's manners that was beyond the usual. In addition, while he traded barbs with Mycroft, they were more good natured than vicious. Once, when Sherlock believed himself unobserved, Mycroft witnessed a warmth and light in his younger brother's eyes as he observed his blogger...his husband.
Intimacy on that level went against every survival instinct Mycroft had developed over the years...but he was hardly in a position to pass judgment anymore. ...and John did make his brother happy.
After dinner, Mycroft had settled into a threadbare wingback beside the heater with a single glass of wine, and admired the end result of their work. He remembered the lights of the tree starting to swim, an intense sensation of drowsiness, then...it was morning.
Mycroft had blinked irritably at the unfamiliar white ceiling which greeted him, and turned his head to the left. He started a bit when he observed Gregory was also lying, quite closely, in the bed beside him. Gregory was asleep, but close to waking, given his breathing pattern. Mycroft's eyes darted furiously about the room, gathering data.
He was missing only two articles of clothing. His shoes, which were on the floor at the foot of the bed, and his suit jacket, which hung from the back of the bedroom door. A quick scan of Gregory's body, both above and below the sheets, proved him to be dressed of soft pajama trousers and a loose cotton shirt. Mycroft them made a mental scan of his own body and found nothing amiss. What had happened?
"Sherlock drugged you," came a voice slurred with a yawn.
Mycroft turned his head to left and found Gregory's sleepy brown eyes blinking at him.
"I just wanted to tell you, so you didn't freak out." Gregory elaborated, bringing one hand up to rest beneath his chin. "John was livid. You can give Sherlock a dressing down later, if you want to, but I'm pretty sure John has it covered."
"What happened?" Mycroft had asked evenly.
"Well," Greg began, leaning up on his elbow and resting the palm of one hand against his cheek, "You started dozing off and, when I asked you if you were feeling okay... you were acting strange."
Mycroft's eyes narrowed both at Gregory's pause and the blush creeping over his features, "Strange, how?"
Greg looked away and worried his bottom lip for a moment before answering. "You were acting drugged," he elaborated at length. "Your speech was a bit slurred, and your posture was slumped." Greg had hesitated again before meeting Mycroft's eyes, "When you complimented Sherlock on his choice of husband, we were all pretty sure something was wrong. Sherlock's grin did nothing to deny it. It's like he wanted us to know."
Mycroft closed his eyes and pressed a hand against his forehead. "He probably did," Mycroft mumbled. The romantic meddling of his younger brother were not lost on him, he'd only hoped his brother would not resort to such drastic measures. "Anything else?" Mycroft asked, drawing his hand slowly away from his face.
The detective inspector was silent again and refused to meet Mycroft's eyes. "Gregory?" Mycroft asked, a pointed tone to his voice.
Gregory glanced at Mycroft, a blush creeping back onto his cheeks. "...As I was putting you to bed... you kissed me."
Mycroft's eyebrows drew up towards his hairline. "Pardon?"
"You kissed me," Gregory had repeated softly, looking at Mycroft through his lashes. "I stopped you, made you lie down, and you went right to sleep...but I figured you'd want to know that you kissed me..."
Mycroft nodded slowly. He was not blushing. The British government did not blush.
"I'm sorry for taking the rest of the bed," Gregory pressed on, looking away, "It's just...well, my couch isn't fit to sleep on."
"It's fine, Gregory," Mycroft insisted, struggling to his feet. "Where is your bathroom?"
"Out the bedroom door, down the hall on your left, first door on your right," Greg had said softly. Mycroft was nearly in said hall before he heard a quiet, "You could do it again...if you want...now that your sober..." Mycroft paused, turned his head over his shoulder slightly, and nodded once to signal that he'd heard to detective inspector, before pressing onwards towards the bathroom.
While Mycroft resolved his morning absolutions and brushed his teeth, he heard Gregory dressing. Once Gregory had dressed and was in the kitchen making tea, Mycroft had returned to the bedroom to re-dress himself. While Mycroft was straightening his suit jacket Gregory took his turn in the bathroom. The end result was that, by the time Mycroft had emerged from the bedroom, Gregory was curled on the sofa with a cup of tea, staring rigidly out of the window.
Mycroft approached the couch and said, "I am sorry for an inconvenience I may have caused you, Gregory."
Greg's head had turned slightly, his eyes flicking to Mycroft's, then back to the window. "It's fine," Greg said softly. "You didn't exactly have a choice about it."
"Gregory," Mycroft began seriously, "Please look at me."
Greg had sighed then, put his cup down on the coffee table, stood, and turned to face Mycroft with a carefully neutral, if somewhat hurt expression. "Yes?" he'd asked, lifting his dark brown eyes to Mycroft's lighter gaze.
Mycroft took this opportunity to step forward and place his fingers gently under Gregory's chin, lifting it. Gregory's eyes widened, but only for a moment before Mycroft's soft lips connected with his own. Their lips met with a jolt that sent tingles down his spine. Greg had closed his eyes and leaned up into the kiss, bracing his hands lightly on Mycroft's shoulders.
Mycroft moved his lips gently against Gregory's, enjoying his warmth. Gregory made a little sound in the back of his throat, and clutched at the fabric of Mycroft's suit jacket.
Mycroft pulled back slowly, his breath still mingling with the detective inspector's when he said, "Thank you, Gregory."
Gregory had smiled up at him dreamily and whispered, "You're welcome."
It was nearly Christmas before, during one of the dinners they shared at the estate, Gregory glanced across the table at Mycroft and asked, "So...we're officially dating now, right?"
Mycroft had smiled despite himself, and slid his hand across the table to cover Gregory's. "Yes," he replied quietly, "I do believe so."
Greg had beamed at Mycroft across the table and said, "Good. I figured, but I wanted to be sure." Gregory had then given Mycroft's hand a squeeze and returned to his dinner. Mycroft had likewise returned to his dinner, all the while trying to convince himself that the faint blush staining Gregory's cheeks was not that becoming. By the time they had cleaned up the dishes, Mycroft was still trying.
"Hey," a sleepy voice broke in to Mycroft's recollections. "How long have you been here?"
Mycroft glanced down at Gregory as the detective inspector nuzzled into his hand. "Not long Gregory," he replied, a fond smile playing on his lips.
"S'Good to see you," Greg yawned, pulling himself into a sitting position and promptly leaning his head heavily onto Mycroft's shoulders. "Wasn't sure if you'd make it home tonight."
Mycroft secured an arm around Gregory's waist and replied, "Actually, I am home early today."
A warm smile pulled at the corners of Greg's mouth as he nuzzled into Mycroft's shoulder, completely relaxed. "You've been doing that more often lately, I thought you might have to catch up."
"I have everything well in hand," Mycroft quietly assured his lover, bringing his hand up to stroke the nape of Gregory's neck.
"You always do," Greg agreed, drawing in a deep breath, trying to wake himself up a bit.
Mycroft glanced down at his detective inspector, a wry smile playing on his lips for a moment before a more serious expression returned. "That brings me to an important point, Gregory," Mycroft began, shifting away slightly, turning his body to face the older man.
Greg straightened, stretched his arms up above his head, and turned to face Mycroft as well. "Yes?" he asked tipping his head to one side, watching the light from the fireplace dance over the skin on Mycroft's cheek.
Mycroft pressed his hands together in front of his chest as he often did when making a point. Greg fought a smile when he remembered the first time he'd commented to Mycroft on how this particular gesture resembled Sherlock's 'thinking' pose. Mycroft had completely lost his train of thought after that, and Greg had been absurdly pleased with the slight vacant expression on the elder Holmes's face.
"Gregory!" Mycroft snapped and Greg met his eyes, slightly abashed when he realized he had zoned out.
Mycroft's left eye twitched in annoyance. "As I was saying," he began again, his tone slightly irritated, "At present, you're overnight bag is present in my rooms more often than it is not. It is constantly underfoot, Gregory."
Greg glanced at the floor to his small duffle, pressed up against the couch. He looked back to Mycroft with a shrug and an amused smile, sure that Mycroft was playing with him, somehow. "Sorry about that. I didn't think it would be such an inconvenience."
"It is an inconvenience, Gregory. One I intend to put an end to."
Greg's face fell and paled considerably. Mycroft had never been an easy man to get close to, but Greg had thought he'd done an admiral job of it. Their communication wasn't always as forthcoming as Greg's initial confession that he wanted to be closer to Mycroft, largely because of Mycroft's natural reticence, but they were always honest with each other. He expected an explanation. "Excuse me?" he asked, his voice suddenly tight.
Mycroft stood and began walking smoothly towards his bedroom. "If you would follow me, please. Bring your bag with you."
Greg gaped after Mycroft for a moment, utterly bewildered. If Mycroft was about to turn him out, he wouldn't have walked into the bedroom. But, for the life of him Greg couldn't account for Mycroft's sudden cool demeanor.
"Gregory," Mycroft's voice summoned him, the form of the elder Holmes no longer visible from the doorway.
Greg opened and closed his mouth once, twice, before grabbing his bag from the foot of the couch and storming into Mycroft's bedroom.
"Mycroft what-" Greg stopped short, gaping again, only this time it was at partially empty drawers and shelves instead of the empty air where Mycroft had just been sitting.
Mycroft was standing beside his closet with an almost imperceptible, amused curve to his lips. "There's room to hang things as well," Mycroft said, jerking his head towards his walk in. "I doubt you can see that from the door."
Greg glanced at the closet, then back to Mycroft. He leaned around and saw there was, indeed, more than enough room for him to hang his shirts next to Mycroft's posh suites. Altogether, between the shelves and the drawers, and room to hang things...it was double the room Greg would need to fit all his clothing.
Greg glanced back at Mycroft, who was pointedly examining his manicured nails. "If your busy work schedule won't allow you to move your things, I could send Anthea for them. She is familiar with the layout and content of your apartment, after all." At this last line Mycroft glanced up at Gregory through his lashes, and held his gaze.
Gregory waited a beat, then dropped his bag and began advancing on Mycroft. He grabbed the lapels of Mycroft's suit and pulled him in close, crushing their lips together. "Mycroft..." he exclaimed between kisses. "you," ... "are," ... "an," ... "idiot!"
Mycroft grinned against Greg's lips. "You're welcome," he murmured.
Greg finally pulled back far enough to look into Mycroft's eyes. "I want to be clear, Mycroft" he began, "Is this just an offer for some of my clothes to be kept here, or is it more than that? Either is surprising and wonderful and unexpected, but I need to know which it is."
Mycroft cringed internally. Greg was always demanding a level of forthrightness Mycroft was uncomfortable with. And Mycroft, beyond all reason, allowed this, enjoyed it even. Some days he had no idea what he'd allowed Gregory to do to him...but then he'd smile softly to himself, well aware of the fact that the damage was already done.
Mycroft lifted his hands to caress the side of Gregory's face and said, "Stay Gregory, please."
Greg's face broke into a wide grin, and he pulled Mycroft closer in a violent hug. He should not find Mycroft's roundabout confessions as endearing as he did. He really shouldn't. More than the space for his clothing or the prospect of a new, extravagant, home, Greg was touched that Mycroft was letting him in. It was a slow process, but Greg didn't mind. He knew how hard it was for Mycroft to trust someone.
In fact, Gregory believed that he may just be falling in love with the enigmatic government official. They hadn't said that yet, either of them, but Greg thought maybe... maybe they were close.
John stood in the corner, just inside Angelo's little restaurant, waiting for his order of takeaway. Angelo still refused to be paid for his services, but John was finally able to get him to start accepting a tip. After all, Sherlock did call on him as an ally during cases. Usually it was for takeout at an ungodly hour. Once he'd had Angelo throw him out of the restaurant like a drunk just so he could be 'inconspicuous.'
John almost laughed at the thought. Sherlock was many things, but inconspicuous was not, normally, one of them. Unless he wanted it to be. And, of course, Sherlock had made himself 'inconspicuous' in the most conspicuous way possible. He had been right too, the insufferable git. He'd made quite the scene, being thrown out and stumbling his way down the street, yet no one paid him any mind at all. 'The things people choose to ignore, John.' Sherlock had ranted afterwards,'It's maddening. They're training themselves not to think!'
John had nonchalantly turned the page of his newspaper, barely glancing up at his fuming husband. "And yet you were able to take full advantage of that fact for your own purposes. Are you sure you want to be complaining about this?"
Sherlock's pacing had come to an abrupt halt, and John had been unable to keep the gleeful smile off his face. That is, until Sherlock had decided to straddle him and kiss it off.
It had been slightly over a year since they began their marriage. Well, since they had been honest with each other about actually wanting to be married. John smiled at the memory.
The morning afterwards he'd been more than a little distressed to find their plane was heading to Costa Rica after all, but Sherlock had just smiled and asked John to trust him. And John did. Always had, really.
Monteverde, it turns out, was very different from Paulo Verde. It was home to a rainforest so high in the mountains you could climb above the clouds and watch them roll in underneath and around you. John spent many mornings marveling at the colorful Macaws that flitted in the trees while Sherlock tried to coax them near and teach them curse words. John had scolded him for that, but his heart wasn't in it. It was too funny. Also, Sherlock had quickly lost interest when John pointed out that countless of others, most likely teenage boys, had probably tried the same thing, and it wouldn't shock the locals.
Sherlock only pouted for a minute before sliding over next to John and employing a different tactic that was more likely shock the locals. John, ever the practical one, had not allowed Sherlock to seduce him on their balcony...at least not in broad daylight.
It had been such a wonderful trip. Despite frequent and enthusiastic coupling, the pair had managed to see a fair number of sights. They spent several afternoons walking the trails of the rainforests together, narrowly avoiding an international incident when Sherlock wanted to collect 'samples' to take back to 221 B.
Sherlock had shown John a brilliant place called the hummingbird garden, which housed delicate birds with dazzling colors John hadn't thought existed in nature. Sherlock had a bit of trouble getting John to leave once they saw the birds with metallic color in their wings.
They'd walked on a sky bridge in the canopy, flew down a zip-line, explored Arenal volcano, and even spent a few days lounging on the beach in Manuel Antonio.
John had been a bit hesitant about spending an entire additional month abroad on holiday, but Sherlock was, as usual, pretty convincing. It didn't hurt that they had, perhaps, years of repressed feelings to make up for. Now that John had permission to be intimate with Sherlock, it had been hard to resist stealing a bit of time for themselves.
Sherlock had even gotten a bit of color, which he lost almost instantly upon their return to London. John managed to hang onto his tan just a bit longer, making the other medical staff at the clinic jealous.
John had greatly reduced his hours at the clinic this past year. Sherlock had insisted that he quit altogether but, as much as John loved Sherlock (and the cases) it went against his hard working moral principles to stop working altogether. Plus he actually did like being a doctor.
There had been three or four bloody spectacular (and not in the good sense) rows between him and Sherlock before they'd settled on a compromise. John had moved to on-call hours. This worked because, if he were called while on a case with Sherlock, he could say 'no' guilt free, and, when there were no cases, he was available to work long stretches, thereby boosting his productive ego.
Sherlock would pout and, occasionally, have a strop if John pulled a lot of clinic shifts during the down time between cases, but he hadn't pressured John to quit entirely since their last true row about John's work, over eight months ago.
There were also times between cases, when the clinic didn't need him, where John reveled in Sherlock's quiet affection. It didn't matter if Sherlock was knee deep in an experiment or if they were fucking each other through the mattress, it was all fine. Sherlock had to know-though John would never admit it for fear of reopening the 'you should quit the clinic' argument-that those times when they had only each other, no cases or clinics, were some of John's favorite times.
"Here you are," Angelo said with a grin, handing John two neatly packed bags of takeaway. Neither John nor Sherlock cooked very often, so they made a habit of getting extra takeaway when they could. Assuming tonight's leftovers weren't apportioned for an experiment, there should be plenty left for tomorrow as well. "Tell your husband I said hello," Angelo added with a wink glancing at the perfectly clean ring on John's left hand.
John smiled, blushing a little, and nodded. As much as he liked the title he hadn't yet gotten used to it. Maybe because it was still new(ish), or because of all the time John wasted denying what they were to each other, or maybe part of him still couldn't quite believe it. Once, back in the beginning, it took him over a year to believe that even being Sherlock's flat mate and going on cases with him had become a normal part of his life.
As he made his way out onto the street and hailed a cab John reflected that he still referred to Sherlock as his flat mate when they're on cases together. John hadn't set out to make that distinction purposely-they were wearing match rings for God's sake, anyone with half a brain could notice- but there was something in that phrase that had come to mean so much more than "this is the person I share a domicile with." For John, and maybe for Sherlock too, (if his sly smiles were anything to go by), 'flat mate' had come to symbolize the absurd and wonderful way they had begun their life together. It had become a word completely interchangeable with husband, partner, and lover.
Hopping out of the cab, John paid the driver and bounded up the steps to 221B. They'd had one hell of an interesting case last week that had left them both more than a little sleep deprived. Even with John's medical degree he was always a bit amazed at how good it felt when he was caught up on his sleep. Of course, having one inscrutable consulting detective to share his bed might have something to do with the good sleep they were both getting when they weren't on cases. Sherlock still ate and slept far too little for John's liking, so he made a point of abusing Sherlock's affection for cuddling when he felt it might also result in Sherlock getting some much needed rest.
John slowly pushed back the door to their flat, edging his way to the kitchen, determined to set the food in the fridge. He was planning on locating Sherlock and immediately beginning dinner, but one never knew what 'just a minute' would turn into at Baker Street.
John set the bags quickly in the fridge, pleased to see it devoid of body parts. He had managed to convince Sherlock to lease 221C for the sole purpose of being a lab area for said consulting detective. Money wasn't the concern it had once been due to Sherlock's increasing fame and natural genius. That didn't stop Sherlock from setting up his microscope on the kitchen table from time to time, but John didn't mind. As long as Sherlock wasn't blowing anything up, he rather liked the silent company.
Backing out of the kitchen John turned and scanned the sitting room. He chuckled softly to himself when he spied one Sherlock Holmes sprawled over their sofa, fast asleep. John leaned against the wall and smiled fondly at his husband. Even in the dim lighting he could see a soft new scarf adorned Sherlock's neck. John had made it for him, with some assistance from Mrs. Hudson, to celebrate their anniversary. Knowing Sherlock as well as he did, John couldn't be cross that Sherlock had found it early. It was almost endearing that he'd waited until today to ferret it out.
Today was the eighth anniversary of the day they had met at St. Barts. For all that Sherlock wasn't overly sentimental and John was, neither of them were big on normal. Once they'd returned to London, after a brief discussion about the future, they decided that the one anniversary they did want to celebrate, was the day they met. That day was the genesis of every other happy milestone, after all.
Neither had planned anything particularly fancy, just a quiet night in at 221B in each other's company. They hadn't even made a firm decision about gifts as neither was fond of picking something out just because occasion required it. They always just gave each other presents whenever they felt like it. Christmas being the only exception, because Sherlock knew how much John loved the holiday and they were both easy to shop for.
John's sock covered feet swept quietly over the floor as he brought himself closer to Sherlock, sitting lightly on the edge of the sofa so that his hip pressed gently against his husband's. Sherlock snuffled a bit in his sleep, but didn't wake yet. John took the opportunity to stare down at his handsome face and smiled.
Since their marriage John had stopped adamantly refusing that he wasn't gay. He toyed around with a few labels-bisexual, Sherlock is the exception, etc.- before giving up the idea of labeling his sexuality altogether. He was in love with Sherlock, they were married, and those were the only important facts anyway.
Unable to resist, John reached forwards and ran his hand down the front of Sherlock's shirt covered chest, smiling when Sherlock arched into the touch. It was tempting to pause and circle his nipples, or continue down and palm Sherlock through his trousers, lord knows he'd done that before on finding Sherlock sleeping. It was amazing, really, how well they got on, sexually. Then again, John supposed it shouldn't be surprising, considering how well they'd gotten on just being 'flat mates'.
That wasn't to say it all went smooth. There had been hiccups, failed attempts, and awkward moments as they'd gotten to know each other. But always, there had been humor and love too. Sherlock was never deterred when things didn't go perfectly; it was simply more data in his needlessly complex, never-ending experiment on what made John Watson excited. Sometimes it was quick, sometimes it was slow, sometimes sweet, sometimes rough, but it was always thrilling.
Once on a warm spring afternoon between cases Sherlock had made a show of being tired and invited John to lay with him on their bed. Being the besotted fool that he was, John almost never turned down the chance to hold Sherlock in his arms. Of course 'hold' had rapidly turned into caress and fondle, just as Sherlock had planned. They had the leisure to take things slowly that day, and they did. Clothing slipped off, mouths, tongues, and hands wandered aimlessly, and passion simmered. Love bites appeared on necks, backs, legs, and luscious backsides whenever the long delayed need swelled and demanded to be satisfied.
John had lain Sherlock down and made a project of exploring the skin between his legs, opening him slowly until his gasps sounded like desperate sobbing. He had protested when Sherlock pushed him away. He'd watched awed and amused as Sherlock clawed himself back from the edge, not wanting to cum yet.
And then it was John softly writhing on Sherlock's fingers, moaning loudly as Sherlock entered him. They had gone back and forth for hours that day taking, and being taken. It was the first and only time John had ever passed out from orgasm, too blissed out to even remember who had been inside whom at the end. Sherlock had retained consciousness, but only just, trembling and shaking on John's chest as his head swam in the aftermath.
When John came around some long minutes later he pulled Sherlock up his torso and kissed him languidly, sweetly, running his hands possessively along Sherlock's sides.
"Just so you know," Sherlock had murmured as he pulled back, a mischievous glint in his eyes, "I have every intention of doing that again."
John had grinned and nipped lightly at Sherlock's lips. If by 'that' Sherlock meant mind bending marathon sex, or sex where they took turns penetrating each other, or seeing John pass out from orgasm, or all of it together, John was in complete agreement.
Long, slender fingers sliding up his wrist pulled John back to the present and he smiled down into gray/blue eyes as he threaded their fingers together. "Hey," John murmured, leaning forward for a warm, chaste kiss. Sherlock 'hmmed' contently into their kiss before John pulled back and declared, "I brought takeaway from Angelos."
"Thank you, John," Sherlock replied, his voice a little breathy from sleep. John could tell from he way the fingers of Sherlock's free hand danced against the edge of his new scarf that he was thanking John for it as much as he was for the meal.
John smiled again, humor crinkling the corners of his eyes. "You are most welcome. Did the lock on the dresser upstairs give you any trouble?" John's old room had largely been relegated to storage, although it still contained a bed and small dresser.
Sherlock shook his head and stretched. "Child's play," he declared.
John shifted, pressing his face down into Sherlock's shoulder as long, thin arms circled his torso, pulling him down. If he wasn't afraid of falling off the sofa, John mused, he could easily fall asleep this way. Sherlock hands trailed lazily over John's back, tracing the curve of his spine. John sighed, and closed his eyes, inhaling the scent of his husband.
Despite his reservations, John may very well have fallen asleep if a small, high-pitched cry hadn't found its way to his ears. John stilled and listened. There it was again. He lifted his head and closed his eyes, tilting his head slightly to try to identify the source of the cry. When it came a third time John opened his eyes and looked up towards the stairs. "Sherlock," he said very evenly, "what was that?"
"You're present," Sherlock murmured and, even though John wasn't looking he could hear the self satisfied smirk in Sherlock's voice.
"My what?" John sputtered turning back to see the smirk he had expected.
"Your present, John," Sherlock said slowly, "For our anniversary."
John frowned and looked up at the stairs again. It had sounded like a cry, but maybe it was something else. John had heard Sherlock's experiments make all kinds of noises.
John waited a beat, before looking back at the all too amused face of his husband. "Is it safe?" he asked, half dreading the answer.
"Mostly," Sherlock replied, pulling himself into a sitting position. "It could shred your hand I suppose, but only if you aren't careful."
John stared at Sherlock, then glanced to the stairs, then back at Sherlock before rolling his eyes and heaving himself to his feet with a sigh. "What is it?"
Sherlock stood and pressed his hands gently against John's back, urging him towards the stairs. "Go and see."
John glanced dubiously at Sherlock and, hesitantly, allowed himself to be ushered up the stairs. Sherlock's excitement was infections, despite the havoc John knew he could wreak.
Slowly John turned the handle on the door to his old bedroom, and pushed it open. A small cry drew his attention immediately to his feet where a pair of fiery green eyes peered cautiously up at him out of a small angular face covered in black fur. John blinked down at the cat and she meowed again, rubbing up against the doorframe with a gentle purr.
John sank carefully to his knees and offered her his hand, which she sniffed then butted up against. John's face melted into a smile as he scratched gently behind her ear. "Hello there," John murmured, stroking his hand down her back.
The cat gave a pleasant chirp before rolling onto her back, paws neatly folded against her chest. John chuckled while Sherlock's pale fingers swept over her belly, making her purr again.
"She's adorable. Where did you find her?" John asked, leaning into Sherlock's side as they crouched at the top of the stairs.
"Animal shelter three blocks from here," Sherlock said quietly, brining his gaze up to meet John's. "You've talked about wanting a pet but not being sure anything would survive our crazy schedule. Cats are flexible and most can do fine on their own if we get a busy case."
"What made you choose her?" John asked, glancing down at the sleepy cat, then back to Sherlock.
Sherlock gave him a wry grin. "It seemed fitting."
John's brows drew together in confusion. "How so?"
Sherlock looked down at the cat again and John followed his gaze, watching her tip her head back so Sherlock could scratch under her chin. "Did you know that a cat's nose print is just as unique as a human fingerprint?" Sherlock drawled.
John blinked and looked over at his husband once more. "Okay, that's interesting, but I still don't see how it factors in to the topic at hand."
Sherlock looked up at John, holding his gaze with a warm smile. "Her name's Maggie, apparently. They never changed the name registered to her ID chip when Anderson dropped her off at the shelter." Merriment flickered in Sherlock's eyes and John realized he was waiting for something to dawn on him.
John pursed his lips and thought for a moment. His gaze fell back to the cat, who's eyes were closed in a contented purr as Sherlock's hands continued to work. Sherlock must have met this cat before if he'd been able to identify her from her nose print. Probably on a case if Anderson had dropped her off at a shelter. And if it was 'fitting' that this particular cat was an anniversary present, then John must have met her also at one point. A creeping tingle broke out across the back of John's neck as he finally recognized her. John turned to stare at Sherlock wide-eyed and whispered, "She's the cat...from that first double murder? Thomas and Sean?"
Sherlock smiled and nodded his eyes shining. "The very same," he agreed, leaning towards his husband, intent on closing the gap between them with a kiss.
An indignant trill rose up from the floor shortly before Sherlock grimaced and brought his hand to his mouth, glaring bitterly at the cat that had scratched him.
John rolled his eyes affectionately and reached forward to draw Sherlock's hand close to examine it. "It's just a scratch," John proclaimed softly, smiling up at Sherlock's sour expression.
"Apparently, she doesn't like to be ignored," Sherlock observed dryly as Maggie rubbed up against John's hip, all sweetness again.
John chuckled and pulled her up to his chest for a hug. "Then she'll fit in rather well. You two can drive each other nuts." Sherlock continued to glower at the purring cat until John reached forward and took hold of his wrist, bringing the injured hand to his lips. "Thank you, Sherlock," John murmured against the back of his husbands hand, "This was very sweet." And it was. He had no idea why she hadn't been snatched up, but John was glad to welcome her into their home.
The hint of a smile tugged at Sherlock's lips and his eyes softened. "You're welcome, John."
Maggie jumped out of John's arms and back into John's old bedroom to lap at the water dish Sherlock had set up for her earlier that day. Sherlock took advantage of this fact to reach out and pull John into his arms. John came willingly, and they met in a soft, hot kiss.
Sherlock's long, agile fingers worked their way underneath John's jumper, running up his sides until he could sweep his thumbs over the edge of John's nipples. John's hips rocked forwards reflexively, and Sherlock smiled into their kiss.
"Not here," John murmured, meeting Sherlock's heated gaze with his own.
Sherlock let out a small sputter of disbelief and pulled back slightly. "You're not protesting because of the cat, surely?"
John bit his lips his lips, glanced down, then back up again. "John, she is a cat, a neutered one at that. She's hardly going to be prudish, she doesn't even know what she's looking at."
"It still feels strange being stared at," John insisted, standing and pulling Sherlock to his feet beside him. John closed the door to his old bedroom and moved to walk back down the stairs, only to find his progress barred by Sherlock's arm across his chest. John turned his head to look at Sherlock when he found himself unceremoniously pressed back against the wall of the stairwell, his husband's piercing gaze boring into him.
"Being seen might not actually excite you," Sherlock murmured, leaning forward until John could feel his breath on his ear, "but the risk of getting caught certainly does."
John sucked in a sharp breath, willing his pulse not to quicken, trying to force the flush away from his cheeks; it was a losing battle. Sherlock was right. Sherlock was usually right.
Sherlock nipped playfully at John's earlobe and dragged his teeth slowly along the curve of John's neck before whispering, "You think I didn't notice how excited you were this morning when we heard Mrs. Hudson was wandered around, straightening up, with no idea we were still in bed, or what we were doing there?"
John groaned softly at the memory. With no case or clinic or experiments to worry about, they had lain in late into the morning. When they had begun to stir it had quickly turned sexual. Sherlock had worked three fingers into John before they heard the mutterings and shuffled steps of the landlady. There was no risk of her coming into Sherlock's bedroom, they'd made a habit of locking the door from the inside. All the same, John had held himself still, trying to remain silent under Sherlock's assault. Unwilling to make a sound or voice that they should probably stop, John had writhed and bucked on Sherlock's fingers, then cock, tumbling over into powerful orgasmic bliss. Mrs. Hudson probably hadn't been in their flat for more than a few minutes, but the added thrill had certainly made an impact. And Sherlock had noticed.
"You might still be open from this morning," Sherlock purred as if reading his thoughts. Sherlock's hands were tugging up at the fabric of John's jumper, pulling it off of his head. John wrapped his arms around Sherlock's neck, pulling him in for another heady kiss while Sherlock's hands slipped inside John's trousers and pants. "I might have to remember this next time we have a crime scene near a convenient alleyway."
John's cock twitched in Sherlock's hand even as he gasped ,"Don't."
"Not unless you ask me?" Sherlock breathed, leaning down to slide John's pants and trousers from his legs. "I can play that game."
"Sherlock!" John wanted to sound reproachful, but his voice was strained with need instead. He could already imagine the situations Sherlock could contrive to make a quick shag at a crime scene seem appealing. Oh hell, who was John kidding? A sizable part of him already thought it was appealing...they were probably going to get arrested for public indecency. "Fuck!" John's head lolled on his shoulder's as Sherlock's cool fingers caressed his testicles, tugging lightly.
"That's exactly what I had planned," Sherlock grinned up at him, standing and producing a small tube of lube from his trouser pocket. Sherlock was now walking around with lube on his person. Yes, they would definitely be arrested for public indecency at some point...Good thing Sherlock's older brother was the British government.
"Fuck," John whispered, as they slid into a heap on the steps. "Mrs. Hudson must have heard that."
Sherlock chuckled languidly, his fingers sweeping over the trembling skin of John's thighs. "Mrs. Hudson," he declared, "has heard worse."
The fit of inappropriate giggles that followed left them both lightheaded.
"We should shower and eat dinner," John observed, pressing an open mouthed kiss into Sherlock's neck.
"If you insist," Sherlock muttered, heaving them both to their feet once more.
"I do," John confirmed, looking serious. "You said you'd eat, Sherlock."
Sherlock smiled affectionately at John's fussing. "I will," he assured his husband, feeling tingly and generous in the afterglow.
"You'd better," John replied, pressing another warm, chaste kiss to his husband's lips. "God, your shirt," John murmured as they broke apart, looking down at the evidence of their lovemaking.
Sherlock glanced down and chuckled. "It's nothing the cleaning service can't handle."
John flushed and gave Sherlock a gentle nudge in the direction of the shower. "You just want the whole world to know what we're up to, don't you?"
Sherlock shot him a wolfish grin as his fingers traced the outline of the love bite on John's neck. "I am possessive," Sherlock affirmed. "Are you going to let the cat out of your old bedroom?" he added, glancing behind them as they made their way down the stairs.
John blushed again. "After we're dressed, yeah? Besides, this is a new environment for her. I think we're supposed to let her get used to one room at a time before springing the entirety of the flat on her.
Sherlock rolled his eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. "Rules!" he explained, and John watched him pad into the bathroom with a smile. Lord knows Sherlock Holmes lived to break the rules. And John, for the most part, lived to indulge him and keep him safe.
Sherlock's head poked back around the bathroom door, the edge of his shoulder looking suspiciously bare. Sherlock arched his eyebrow. "Are you coming?"
John grinned. "My refractory period isn't that short."
Sherlock returned his husbands grin and sent him a salacious wink before disappearing back into the bathroom.
John could hear the water running as he approached the bathroom door, and had to laugh at the wonderful chaos that had become his life since the day he'd stepped into 221B. It might be wild, it was certainly crazy, and it was exactly where he wanted to be.
OMG I can't believe it's over. Well, not really over, but I'll get to that in a minute. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the story and that this extra bit of fluff helps smooth frayed nerves that may have resulted from the numerous cliff hangers. (FYI Geoff was encouraging me to put in more cliffhangers. And he was the seed of inspiration for some of the more shocking ones.)
So, yes, I'll spare you the gushing sentiment, I think I covered that in the beginning authors note. I'll leave it at one more thank you. Thank you for reading and for your support. It means a lot to me.
Now, onto future plans!
I will be taking a brief hiatus. Don't get too concerned because, as I wrote the entirety of "The Moment That I Knew" while I was supposed to be on vacation, it is readily apparent that I am unable to tear myself away from my computer for long. All this hiatus really means is that I will not make an ironclad commitment to update every single week.
There are two projects I will be working on during this hiatus and, depending on my inspiration/temperament you may end up with updates more than once a week. But, like I said, I make no promises. I might need a breather of a week or two before I post anything new.
Project One: I have left my reunion story "Always" languishing for months now. My apologies. Between the definitive deadlines I had for this story and my fluctuating good/bad days in terms of temperament (I could turn panicking over bad news into an Olympic event, I swear to God) I have not been able to complete it as of yet. That will change. Indeed that is my first commitment now that this story is completed: finish 'Always.'
Project Two: This has been such a lovely story to write that I'm not ready to let go of it quite yet. I will be doing a series of one shots to follow up on areas of the story I'd like to see more of. This will largely be Mystrade, with only one other Johnlock addition planned. However, I am open to suggestions. What do you want to see? Mycroft and Greg's first time together? Their first fight? Discussions of long term commitment? Any and all suggestions are welcomed. I do have some of these one shots planed out, so I can't make specific promises that all suggestions will appear, but they are most welcome nonetheless. Who knows, if you make a suggestion I like, but not for this universe, you might inspire a new story.
Side note: I'm sorry my authors notes are so lengthy. I'm a stickler for detail (if only that translated to grammatical and editing detail *sigh*) and I wanted to make sure I covered everything and expressed my thanks appropriately.
It is my, tentative, plan for this hiatus to last into February (although it may take a bit longer depending on how fast I write). Once the two projects above are complete, at a semi leisurely pace, I will begin work on my next pig project. It is another Johnlock, which I will title: "Something More." It's inspired by one of my all time favorite stories which, I believe, most people are at least somewhat familiar with. Still, familiar, or not, I hope you enjoy my Johnlock rendition of it. I will end this authors note with the summery that will appear beneath the title once I begin publishing 'Something More.' (Feel free to take a guess at which story you think Something More might be inspired by, if you choose to review).
John Watson knows the world to be a good place to live in, with decent people in it. Sherlock Holmes is a brooding, temperamental beast of a man, who sees the world for the cold, cruel place that it is. Desperate to help his alcoholic sister, John is willing to do anything, even begin a tumultuous partnership with Sherlock. Both find what neither expected while investigating the final problem of the human heart.