Chapter 35; Epilogue
2 years later.
Just another day for the consulting detective Maria. After his death, she'd taken up his vacant post, much to Donovan's and Anderson's disappointment. They had hoped to be rid of her but Lestrade was insistent that she work with them. At first it was a way for her to keep her mind clear, to banish thoughts of him from her mind and lock them away. Then it was a way for her to keep herself and her family afloat. She'd told Mycroft about Billy and he helped track the boy down so Maria could adopt him, like she'd planned to. He was company and insisted that he help with her work so she wouldn't be lonely.
Then there was her second son. Most people believed, because she was apparently an 'obvious single woman' that he was adopted too. She went along with that, unable to tell anyone the truth. And now here she was bringing them both to the park, like she did every Saturday afternoon. They would play and talk and she would sit and read a book. However today she was surprised. Usually no-one sat on the bench she usually occupied. It was in full view of the park, but at that time of day for some reason it was always empty. Today, strangely, someone was sitting there with an overly large paper covering their face and most of their body.
Despite this, Maria walked over and sat down on the opposite side of the bench to them. She pulled her book out of her bag and leaned back in the seat, taking one last glance over at the playground and her boys before looking down at the book in her lap. 'Our Last Meeting' by Robert Palago, the cover read and she let out a small sigh before flicking the book open to her page. Unknowingly her lips moved along to each word she read.
The voice broke through her concentration and she lost the gorgeous image she'd had in her mind.
"Excuse me?" She asked, turning her head to look at the stranger, that she now realised to be a man, still hiding behind his paper.
"Is it a good book?" The man repeated, not lowering his paper.
'Uh, yeah…" She replied uncertainly, wondering why he wouldn't lower his paper.
"What's about?" He asked and this time she let out a small laugh.
"It's about two childhood friends who are separated by war but they write letters to communicate during times of being away but then they lose contact for a while. Finally, she returns to London, injured from the war and they fall in love. Palago never heard the end of the story though so, it ends with her leaving again."
"How does the story really end?"
"He dies and she is left alone to care for her two sons."
"Yeah, adopted. They ask about him sometimes, my partner I mean, and I read them this story and I show them pictures but it's the best I can do. Why am I even telling you this?"
"Just friendly conversation with a stranger." The man said his body moving like he shrugged.
"Then why don't you lower your paper?"
"You son just fell off the swing."
Maria's eyes shot around to the two year old who was laying on the ground, silently clutching his knee. She was up in an instant, taking her things with her as she ran over to the little boy and picked him up, cooing softly. Once Maria had her back to him, the man lowered his paper at last.
"Adopted my behind…" He muttered to himself before he got up and walked away.
Maria was trying her best to cook dinner in the small kitchen of 221b but she had a two year old hanging off her leg, asking for juice.
"If you have juice now you won't want dinner," She said patting the child's black locks as he looked up at her with stormy blue grey eyes. Due to the fact Hamish looked nothing like her, it was easy to pass him off as her adopted son, there were a few who knew better but she'd sworn them to secrecy just in case any old enemies had plans. She loved her son and would lie and lie and lie if it protected him from any danger.
Billy finally walked into the kitchen; his brown hair even more tussled than usual.
"You're almost late for dinner," She teased the sixteen year old who grinned and sat down.
"Should I go out again and come back in ten minutes?" He teased back. Maria smiled and continued with her cooking. Billy had been her lifeboat and without him, she knew she would have done something horrible to herself. Worse than the scarring that remained on her back from her scrape with Moriarty. She shivered at the thought of that night.
"By the way, I ran into an old friend on the street, I invited him over, that's okay right?"
"What do you mean an "old friend"?"
"Just an old friend, trust me, he's not creepy at all, I didn't invite him for dinner, he'll be around about 7ish just for a while."
"Fine, fine, okay," She said waving him off as the eggtimer went off and she had to shoo away her two year old to retrieve dinner from the oven. They ate in silence, which was usual for them before Billy retired to his room and left Maria to clean up. Hamish was placed in the lounge room with some toys and he played quietly. She couldn't help but notice how different he was from other children his age and she had her suspicions why but she never voiced them.
At almost exactly 7, there was a knock at the door. Maria shouted at Billy to get it, but according to him he was tied up doing something, so she was forced to answer it. She pulled off her rubber gloves and walked around to the front door, dodging all the toys her two year old had spread out around him on the floor. She sighed and pulled open the door.
"Hi I'm…" Maria trailed off from her words seeing who was standing in her doorway. Her mouth was left agape. And then abruptly she slammed the door. Then just as abruptly she pulled it open again, her mouth moving but no words were coming out.
"Hello Maria." Sherlock said as he took a step forwards into the living room. She stumbled back a few steps.
"You can't be real…you can't be…I saw you fall into the Thames from the top of that building!" She cried. "They recovered your body! I saw it! I had to confirm it was you!"
"Maria…" he said softly, grabbing hold of her arms gently. "I'm real okay? I'm alive."
His head snapped to the side as Maria slapped him hard.
"What the hell was that for?" He asked holding his cheek.
"Just checking to make sure I'm defiantly not dreaming…" She said as he shook his head slightly. He moved in to hug her, only to be slapped by her again. He looked at her, holding his cheek gently.
"That was for making me think you were dead." She said before pulling him into a hug. She heard him sigh softly before he wrapped his arms around her tightly. They stood there for a moment until Maria became conscious of the fact Hamish was still in the room. She pulled away from Sherlock to look round at the young boy, who was watching them. Maria dabbed at her wet cheeks before she went over to the boy, who simply watched her silently as she knelt down next to him.
"Hamish…um…this is…uh…You know that….um…" Maria stuttered through her words.
"He's my son isn't he." It wasn't a question. Maria looked up at Sherlock and nodded.
"Only a few people know that. Because he doesn't look like me, most people believe like Billy that he is adopted." She said before looking at Hamish. "Hamish, do you understand sweetie? That's your father, your daddy, the one you keep asking me about."
The little boy looked up at his mother before over at Sherlock, his brow furrowed as he looked the man over.
"Daddy?" The little boy asked quietly before he pushed himself to his feet. He walked over towards Sherlock, who knelt down on one knee so the little boy was only just shorter than him. Hamish blinked slowly before reaching up to place his hands on either side of his father's face. A wide grin spread out across his face.
"Daddy…" The boy repeated his smile never faltering.
"Hamish. Good name." He muttered, casting his eyes over at Maria, a flicker of a smile appearing on his face before he returned his gaze to the young boy. This was positively domestic, but somehow in the back of his mind it felt right to pick up his son and hold him. He let out a soft laugh as he stood up to his full height again, keeping Hamish tightly wrapped in his embrace.
"I know it's been two years Maria, but, can you accept me back into your life? Will you accept me back into your life? I still have promises that intend to keep, but only if you let me."
A sad smile formed on Maria's face as she stood up and walked over to them.
"I couldn't kick you out if I tried." She said softly. He scooped her into the hug, her head falling onto his shoulder. He planted a soft kiss on her forehead before putting Hamish down who immediately saw it necessary to go tell Billy who was here. Sherlock looked down at Maria, whose eyes followed Hamish out of the room.
"I missed you, like crazy. If it weren't for Billy I probably would have gone mad with grief."
"I know and I'm sorry. I won't do it again."
"Can you promise me that?" Maria asked rounding on him. "Because I've been on my own for two years and all Hamish has had in the way of a father was a story book and some pictures. Hamish needs more than that. He needs his father. But it's not just him, I need you too, and I need you to promise me that you won't leave me like that again, making me believe you were never coming back." She said quietly, a silent tear slipping down her face. Sherlock sighed softly and took her face in his hands.
"Maria Joyce Ann Maron." His voice was like velvet and the only thoughts in her mind was the familiar smell and sense of him near her. "I am pleading with you, I will get down on my knees and beg if I have to, to convince you I won't ever put you through that again."
For him that was something, he never begged, and to declare that he would for her, it felt wrong but at the same time it felt so right to have the words upon his lips. He would do anything for her.
"I love you and I always have loved you from the moment you sat with me under that tree. There's never been anyone else, Maria."
He let his hands drop before pulling her back into a tight embrace. She wrapped her arms around his neck gently.
"Is there anything you want me to do?" He asked softly when she pulled back to look at him. She smirked.
"Well firstly...you can put your son to bed and deal with Billy, then you wash what's left of the dishes, and you could probably unpack your stuff which is in the spare room…and, I think I'm way overdo for a kiss." She teased with an honest smirk. The corner of his lip twitched up into a grin she knew oh-so-well.
"Do I have to do it in that order, or can I pick and choose?"
"You can do whatever you want," She said with a small laugh.
"S'pose I better do the dishes then," He teased before pulling her in to kiss her. He pulled away only when he was satisfied that she was out of breath. Touching noses gently, he intertwined their fingers.
"We'll get through this," He said quietly, stealing another soft kiss.
"Together?" She questioned softly.
Thank you all you lovely people for reading and reviewing this story :) I hope this ending is sufficient for any pain I may have caused in the last chapter, but they end up happy like you guys asked for. I feel a bit proud of this, my first ever fan fiction complete! My first story ever to actually have a proper ending! Yay!
My mind wants to continue writing though and I really have been considering lately writing the companion piece I talked about at the end of the last chapter in the notes. It would basically just be a small look back at their conjoined past, which I didn't explore in as much detail as I may have liked to so if you guys want, I could do that for my next story.
OR I have already started writing a brand new story involving SuperWhoLock. If you don't know what that is it's a combination of the shows, Supernatural, Doctor Who and (obviously) Sherlock.
So please, honestly, tell me what you think I should do next because I honestly can't decide!