Not as long as previous chapters, but it's a decent length methinks. It's the end of a short story, I'm so glad so many have enjoyed it, I hope it's a fitting end, (I think it is at any rate). Thank you for all the reviews and positive feedback, for the PM's regarding where I might have made a mistake or little reminders, thank you very much! They're helpful, and it's always appreciated that you do so via private message rather than scold outright in the review box. You guys are amazing! Stay tuned to my channel for upcoming related one-shots (I've got a couple in mind!). Thanks again for all the follows and favorites! Lyrics posted at the end of the chapter are from Paul McCartney's rendition of "Always". Love this song, and it inspired this fic. So props to that song, go buy it, it's really pretty.
"There, what do you think?" Mary stepped back from the bride so that John could see. His smile reached his eyes, though as he looked her up and down, there was always that one moment (she always caught it) of sorrow when he saw her shaved head. It wasn't that she was not pretty any more without her hair, but it was something else she had to sacrifice while she underwent chemo.
"You look beautiful," John said honestly and Molly smiled. Her head was still shaved, so she wore a wreath of flowers, securing the veil over her head. She'd thought at one point or another of getting a wig, but she finally decided against it. Hats and scarves were cheaper, and Molly found herself happily collecting them by the dozens, the bright colors cheering her far more than a mess of hair that wasn't hers. Besides, she was lucky. Her chemo would only last until September. There were others who would need the wig more than she would. Sherlock didn't mind her being bald, so why should she? Sometimes, on very bad days, she felt sorry for herself and hated that she couldn't braid her hair or even look normal. She hated people staring at her, (even if they understood why she was bald, she still disliked the attention drawn to her).
"Are you ready?" Mary asked and she nodded, feeling a fluttering in her chest.
"You're sure Sherlock has the ring?"
"Yes, he gave it to me for safe-keeping," she pulled the wedding band out of the pocket of her dress. "And John's got the other," There was a knock on the door before it opened.
"Just me," came the clipped voice of Mycroft Holmes. "I trust my sister in-law to be is ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," Molly said. "Are those my flowers?"
"Yes, my brother said to give them to you, I suppose they're nice, if you go in for that sort of thing," he sneezed violently, fishing through his pocket for a kerchief.
"Are you allergic?" Molly asked, taking the bouquet from him, liking the cabbage roses especially. Here and there among the fragrant blooms were ranunculuses and a sprig or two of heliotrope. Molly admired the bouquet, inhaling the fragrant blooms.
"No," Mycroft blew his nose, glaring at the flowers. "You two ought to be out there," he said to John and Mary, who each checked their respective watches.
"Yes, you're right," John kissed Molly's cheek, followed by Mary before they hurried out the door.
"Well, Miss Hooper, are you quite certain you want to be tied up with my baby brother? If I know either of you, I know divorce is not something you would take lightly."
"You're right, it isn't. And yes, I'm sure," Molly said. Mycroft only smiled, she wasn't quite sure if he was sincere or sarcastic.
"Then I am obliged to present you with this as well," he said, and handed her a box. Rather than give him the bouquet and start another allergy attack, she set it on the bench before taking the ribbon from the box, opening the hinged lid.
"It was our grandmother's," He explained. "Mummy always said whoever of us got married first, their bride would have them to wear," he went on as she lifted the string of pearls from the box. In the middle of the necklace was an imperfect pearl. It caught Molly's eye right away, at first it was the shape, different than the rest, but the color was so exceptional she hardly cared that they didn't match the others.
"This necklace used to bother me," Mycroft said, taking it from her trembling hands and turning her to face the mirror so he could help her with the clasp. "Mummy's explanation that the pearl in the middle wasn't meant to be perfect, it was supposed to be different always seemed foolishly romantic, insipid. I expect she meant the color was much clearer, despite its shape, and all the prettier for it." Molly held her veil out of the way so he could see to hook it. "It took me years to understand her meaning that being unique has its advantages, it makes one stand out. Shining in ways the average person cannot." He stood beside her, looking at her reflection in the mirror. "I knew if ever my brother were to marry, it would hardly be an average woman." He finished quietly. With the tips of her fingers, she touched the necklace. She didn't know Mycroft to be capable of kind words, or at least say them and mean them. She turned then, pressing a kiss to his cheek. He did not know quite how to respond to this, awkwardly patting her shoulder before clearing his throat.
"Yes well…all the best," he murmured opened the door, standing aside for her.
Sherlock's father was waiting in the hallway; Mycroft stepped quickly between them, hurrying to his own seat beside his and Sherlock's mother.
"Thank you for seeing me down the aisle," Molly said quietly. She'd only met him twice before, once, when Sherlock took her to them to announce their engagement, and then again the night of the rehearsal dinner. She liked Mr. Holmes right away; he reminded her of her own father before he got sick. The Holmes' were nothing like she envisioned Sherlock and Mycroft's parents to be like. She had expected…well…not the Violet and Sigurd Holmes. Modest, simple and happy, quite the ordinary couple, compared to their children. Mr. Holmes smiled at her, squeezing her hand.
"You look very pretty," he said quietly as the music started. John held Mrs. Hudson by the arm, guiding her down the aisle, followed by Mary, the matron of honor, absolutely radiant and glowing at seven months pregnant, despite the hot July they were all enduring. Sherlock rocked on his heels at the end of the aisle, seeing at the very end Molly, on his father's arm. The church wasn't even partway filled, Molly had no family to speak of, and Sherlock only cared to invite his parents and brother. There were a few of Molly's workmates, and some from Scotland Yard. It didn't matter really how many were there. The important people were in attendance, and most importantly Sherlock and Molly were happy together. What mattered most was all said in a few moments. Rings exchanged and first kiss as man and wife shared. Mary burst into tears, (she later blamed hormones) and Mrs. Hudson got everyone to pelt fistfuls of confetti at them (much to Mycroft's chagrin).
"Where are you going for a honeymoon?" Mrs. Hudson asked over the wedding supper.
"We decided to go away in October, after Molly's finished with the treatments." Sherlock said.
"He's taking me to Venice," Molly added, a blushing grin spreading across her features.
"How much longer do you have to go before you're finished?" Greg asked.
"September," Molly answered. A piece of cake was handed to her but she shook her head, frowning. Sweets didn't appeal to her since she'd begun chemo.
"You ought to eat something," Sherlock said to her, low, so others wouldn't hear.
"Not really hungry," she shrugged.
"Eat anyway, I made sure of fresh fruit," he said. "The chicken had the sauce on the side as well; shall I get you a plate?" She knew he wouldn't let her be until she agreed so she nodded.
"I hope you'll come stay with us soon," Violet Holmes sat next to her as soon as Sherlock left to find a plate. "I know we're not close to London, but if you need a holiday after everything, we'd be happy to have you, very peaceful, our neck of the woods. Sherlock wouldn't mind, I know, we've just had a few new hives put in, it will give him something to do."
"I'll talk to him," Molly said. "But I would love to."
"The pearls suit you," Violet commented, and Molly touched the necklace, beaming.
"Thank you, by the way, Mycroft gave them to me this afternoon, they're beautiful."
"Sherlock asked me for them, I was a little surprised, he doesn't often go in for sentiment, but I'm pleased in some things he does, especially for you."
Sherlock returned with a plate for Molly, seating himself again. Violet excused herself, kissing her son before she headed back to her table.
"She wants us to visit," he stated.
"Yes, we talked a little of it, why? Don't you want to?"
"It's a burden I must bear each year," he sighed heavily. "I suppose you want to go?"
"I do," she nodded, picking up her knife and fork. "Your mother said your father has built some beehives, they thought it might interest you." He looked at her, eyebrow quirking.
"Bees?" he queried, thoughtful. "Well…I suppose a week or so in the country wouldn't do any harm," he said carefully. "Unless of course I have a case-" she nudged him with her elbow.
"You want to go now, and you know it," she said.
"It's good to see you eat," he changed the subject. She hummed in response.
"I suppose I was hungrier than I thought, thank you for setting all this up, it's wonderful," she set her fork down a moment, reaching for his hand. "Really, you've been brilliant this year."
"'This year'?" he echoed.
"Yes," she nodded, knowing what he was getting at. "Extra brilliant, if you like," and the corners of his mouth turned up. Suddenly a familiar song came on and Molly turned toward the dance floor, couples began to sway in time to the music.
"We haven't had a dance yet," he said quietly. Her smile was soft, eyes warm.
"I don't know that I have too much strength to dance," she began.
"I'll help you," he took her hand, leading her out to the floor. It was one of Molly's favorite songs, indeed she often sang it. Sherlock knew what she liked best, and made sure it was on the playlist for the wedding. He held her close, supporting her as she leaned against him, carefully moving them in time to the music.
Afterwards she rested for a bit at the table, eating a little more, knowing it would please Sherlock. When she was up to it she'd dance with him, knowing he loved to dance (a carefully kept secret).
"I wonder if the best man can get a dance from the bride," John said, and Molly smiled, agreeing.
"Come on then, you can dance with me," Mary said, seeing Sherlock's look of 'What about me?'.
"You okay?" John asked. "You're not too tired?"
"I'm always tired," Molly shrugged. "But I think I'm coming round,"
"Think you can manage our boy?" he asked, nodding his head to Sherlock, who had started out dancing with Mary, but Violet had cut in.
"I think so," Molly, smiled a little, a twinkle in her eye. "Can he handle me, that is the question." John laughed outright.
"I don't suppose the brother in-law would want to cut in?" John asked suddenly, seeing Mycroft nearby.
"You suppose correctly, Doctor Watson," Mycroft answered.
"Oh come on, it's easy," John said and moved them closer; he stepped away from Molly so Mycroft had no choice. He looked almost embarrassed. Almost being that Mycroft rarely allowed himself to appear as anything other than disinterested, mostly because he wasn't interested in the goings on around him.
"I- well…far be it from me to decline a wish from my new sister in-law," he said, attempting a smile, he took her arm.
"You don't have to," Molly said.
"Nonsense, I may not have my brother's prowess on the dance floor but I do enjoy confounding him from time to time," Mycroft said. Sure enough, Sherlock was watching them over Violet's head, looking rather confused.
The bride and groom left earlier than the rest of the guests, leaving them to dance the night away, slipping away back to 221b, Sherlock happily swearing off ever rolling out the sofa-bed ever again as Molly would now be sleeping in his room.
"Our room," she corrected, and smiled up at him.
"Why didn't you ever start sleeping there sooner?" he asked, helping her out of the taffeta dress (she couldn't reach the buttons on the back).
"I'm old-fashioned," she shrugged. "And I know you wouldn't let Toby sleep on the bed with me."
"I most certainly would too," he snorted. "Perhaps not during certain activities-" she laughed at him then, he grew indignant, only for a moment before he smirked, deciding to kiss her rather than start an argument.
The months drifted by, September saw the end of Molly's chemotherapy, and 221b was an absolute mad-house with everyone pouring in to celebrate. Molly's doctor said the cancer was in remission now, and if that were not enough to celebrate, there was also the birth of John and Mary's baby girl, and Baker Street was suddenly in need of baby-proofing, which Sherlock attacked with fervor, despite John's doubts that the baby was going to be able to crawl onto the roof via a ladder she clearly would not reach until she was at least ten.
"There are stranger things," Sherlock sniffed, "Who knows? Perhaps you and Mary have given the world another Sherlock Holmes,"
"God forbid," John and Mary both replied, laughing. Now it was Molly's turn to pamper Mary, and she happily did so, helping with meals and straighten the house while Mary got back on her feet.
In October, Sherlock and Molly departed for Italy, which for the first week was as expected, sunny days, lovely beaches and wonderful evenings. That is until there was a murder in the hotel adjacent to them and Sherlock was called upon. As John was busy being a new father, Sherlock turned to Molly, who happily filled in, helping chase a murderer halfway to Greece before he was finally caught. It was the best holiday she'd thus-far been on, and they returned, Sherlock bursting at the seams with news about the case, and the brilliancy of Molly's instrumental assistance throughout.
Slowly, Molly's strength was returning, the effects of the chemo wore off, and by spring, her hair was growing back nicely, and Molly, who had grown so used to wearing scarves, suddenly didn't know what to do with herself.
"Let's go to the salon, we'll get a trim together," Mary suggested.
"I do feel a bit like a shaggy dog," Molly laughed; she ran her fingers through her hair, suddenly finding herself teary-eyed. "Good grief…" she murmured. She looked at Mary, eyes full of tears, and she began to laugh. Mary kissed her cheek, squeezing her shoulder. "It's so strange," Molly sniffed, wiping her eyes. "It feels absolutely…strange, getting my hair cut,"
"Color is the same," Mary commented. "Feels thicker though, doesn't it?"
"It does," Molly agreed. "Help me choose a style."
Molly still had appointments with the doctor, though they were further between now, once every three months. By May she was due to go in for her usual check-up, and as Sherlock was busy with a case, she went by herself, feeling confident enough to go.
"Text me if you hear anything," he said. He got nervous about her check-ups. It had been eight months since the doctor told them the cancer was in remission, and Molly was truly back to her old self. She'd filled out again, her appetite was back, and she was quite pleased to be able to visit her favorite chip shop again whenever she pleased (which was increasing by the week it seemed).
"I will," Molly promised. "I'm sure everything is fine," she kissed him goodbye, hailing a cab. He watched her go, not quite knowing what was different, but something certainly was. He couldn't tell if it was bad or good, but he disliked not knowing. He was irritable for the rest of the day, biting at every insipid question someone threw at him, at one point making the victim's mother cry (John had to pull him out after that).
"If you can't behave, then go home," John said.
"No," he answered stubbornly.
"Then smarten up," Sherlock's phone buzzed and he fumbled through his pockets, digging it out.
"Yes? What? What is it?" his voice a pitch higher than usual. His face seemed to fall. "Yes, are you sure? I can come and get you- where? No I can go now if you like. Shall John come too?"
"What is it? What's wrong?" John was asking.
"Hey, we need you in here," Greg said
"Shh!" Both John and Sherlock hissed.
"It's Molly," John said in answer to Greg's questioning look.
"I'm on my way, meet you at the flat," Sherlock hung up. He looked soberly at John and Greg. "Molly has news; she won't tell me over the phone."
"Geeze…" John choked out. "Geeze, I'll get a cab," Sherlock stood where he was, staring into the middle-distance.
"She'd tell me over the phone," he said quietly, Greg didn't speak, just looking at him. "She would tell me…unless it was very bad."
"It's gonna be okay," Greg said finally, and he squeezed his shoulder. "Whatever happens, we're all gonna be with you and Molly."
"Cab's here," John said, out of breath from sprinting up the stairs.
"Text when you find out," Greg called after them.
In 221b, John and Sherlock bolted up the stairs, causing such a racket that Mrs. Hudson and Mary both appeared.
"What on earth-"
"John what is it? What's the matter?"
"Is Molly here?" Sherlock asked, pounding up the steps.
"She just came in I think-"
"I'm here, good heavens-" Molly answered, the door to 221b was propped open.
"What is it? What's the matter?" Sherlock demanded.
"Should we go?" John asked.
"No, not if you don't want to," Molly was almost laughing at them. Seeing Sherlock's expression, she sobered quickly. "Oh- oh I frightened you, Sherlock I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"It's not…" he began. "You're not…still in remission?" he asked.
"Yes, yes everything is fine," John let out a staggering breath, sinking into a kitchen chair. Sherlock bowed his head, finding his breath again.
"Goodness, I didn't mean to frighten you," Molly said, reaching for him.
"What did you need us to come home for then?" John asked.
"I wanted to tell you that I'm going to have to make appointments with the doctor now, at least every month,"
"Every month?" both John and Sherlock frowned. There was a twinkle in Mary's eye, she could hazard a guess.
"Yes, not my usual one mind, I mean my gynecologist."
"Your-" Sherlock did a double-take. John covered his mouth almost grinning. Mrs. Hudson squeaked in delight, clapping her hands. "Molly Hooper-"
"-Holmes," she corrected. Taking her husband's hand, she put it over the swell of her abdomen. "Let's see if you can deduce with that clever brain of yours," she smiled.
"You're going to have a baby."
"We are going to have a baby." She corrected. John was ushering Mary and Mrs. Hudson out, despite their protests.
Sherlock looked somewhere between puzzled and shocked, staring at the middle distance.
"Hey," she squeezed his shoulders. "Is this okay? I mean…I know we never talked about it, we never even considered it-"
"You wanted children before," he cut her off. She sank back down onto her heels, having stood on tip-toe to reach him.
"I cannot promise to be a very good father," he said.
"You've proven thus-far to be a rather good husband," she answered. "Goodness knows you didn't know anything about that."
"What about the cancer?"
"It's in remission," she confirmed again. "The doctors said it's perfectly normal, even after the surgery. Lots of women have babies after mastectomies."
"So…it's not…it won't be dangerous?"
"No more than usual," Molly shrugged. Sherlock let out a breath then, hugging her outright. He didn't care what happened, as long as it wasn't a danger to her. Them. It was alarming that so suddenly his brain was registering the plural now, correcting him. Sherlock Holmes never planned on being a father. It idea hadn't really appealed to him. Indeed his own relationship with his father was…not the best. It wasn't that they hated each other; they just had nothing in common. Sherlock knew his parents loved him, but the cloying sweetness, the over-protectiveness, the insistence of playing football together and the family game nights, the need to share each moment of the day even though how they were spent was easily seen by anyone with eyes…were these things Molly would insist upon? They didn't seem like things she'd do, but then, new mothers were often over-protective, especially if they had sons. Sherlock could recall the earth-shattering loneliness of not being able to really see eye-to-eye with his own father, and that he was truly alone. Especially after Mycroft left for school and there was no one to really talk to. He worried his own relationship with this new child might be the same. It would disappoint Molly if Sherlock thought that their child was simple-minded. But then again, it might not be. After all, his parents didn't know what to expect when it came to him and Mycroft. Sherlock could deduce and act accordingly. Besides, it wouldn't be that he wouldn't love the child. Of course he would. It was something brought forth from his and Molly's affection for each other. Indeed the actual science of procreation did merit some thought, perhaps even further study. He'd deleted a good deal of the information. Perhaps he could look on this as a long-term experiment; it would certainly keep him busy. And Molly could handle all the dull things...cuddling and so forth.
"What is it?" she asked, seeing him deep in thought. "You don't want it…" she trailed off.
"Not entirely." He set his coat aside, turning to face her again. "It should prove interesting at any rate." She blinked, not quite trusting her hearing.
"You- you're not upset?"
"Not at all, why should I be?" he queried. She studied him a moment. "A baby is unexpected, not unwelcome." He said. "I had not, until this moment, considered ever being a father, but now as there is little choice in the matter, and you seem particularly happy about it."
"You're not experimenting on the baby," she pointed a finger at him.
"I would never put the child in any real danger-"
"Fine." She slipped her arms around his waist; rising up on her tiptoes she kissed him.
"Are you truly alright about it?"
"I haven't any other choice have I?" she looked up at him, torn between being thrilled that she carried their child, and the prospect that it also might mean his unhappiness. "I'm not upset," he promised. "I cannot promise to be a very good father, I am not John Watson."
"I didn't marry John," she replied. "Would I be so excited about this baby if I didn't know who its father was?" he didn't answer, so she continued. "Weren't you the one who also said you wouldn't be a good husband? No, you're not perfect, but who is?" she shrugged. "If I wanted the average husband and average household…I wouldn't be here," she pressed her forehead against his. "Don't underestimate me." He smiled then.
"I never have." He kissed her once more, before releasing his grip on her, turning to his chair while she headed to the kitchen to put the kettle on. "What did the doctor say? How far along are you?"
"I'm seven weeks along, so far everything checks out; in a few weeks we'll be able to have the first sonogram."
"We're going to have to go over the flat, safety-proof it."
"Later on, yes," Molly laughed.
"-order a crib too," Sherlock went on. "One of those child-strap things…holds the baby-" he gestured over his chest with his hands. "Thing-…good for the baby to hear the mother's heart-"
"A carrier?" Molly supplied, enjoying seeing him already making plans.
"Mm, yes…two-way radios as well-"
"A baby monitor-"
"Same thing," he shrugged. "Incidentally, how do you feel about being wired for a –"
"I didn't even finish!"
"I heard 'wired', that was enough for me," she answered. She paused suddenly. "Aren't you on a case?"
"Hmm? Oh yes. Suppose I should text Greg."
"You left the case?" she echoed. "Sherlock!"
"Molly." He tapped out a quick text, setting the mobile down on the arm of the chair. "You said to come home, I came home."
"I meant when you were finished!"
"I was…nearly…" he shrugged. He drummed his fingers along the armrest.
"You want to go back," she said.
"You've just told me we are expecting, I'm supposed to stay here and celebrate with you…have tea and so forth."
"You can have tea when you come home, after you solved the case," she said, pulling him to his feet. "Go on. I can spare you for a little while more," she smiled. "I know you want to." She rose up on tip-toe just barely out of reach.
"You…Mrs. Holmes…are not making a very good case in your favor…"
"Aren't I?" he made to kiss her but she rested back on her heels, leaving him ducking at the empty air. She grinned mischievously at him. "Go on, sooner you solve it the sooner you can come home and we can celebrate properly." Catching the full meaning entirely of that, he snatched his coat, pressing her just once with a kiss before bolting for the door.
"John, get down here, the game is on!" he bellowed upstairs.
"We just got in!" the doctor shouted back.
"And now we're going back out, case to solve, come on, Greg is depending on us-"
"Hang on, Molly just got in,"
"She did, and the sooner I solve this, the sooner we can get home."
"It's alright John," Molly said, standing in the doorway of 221b. "Knowing Sherlock, he'll have it taken care of in record time." He passed by the open doorway, pausing to squeeze her arm. He gave her an understanding smile, and she returned it.
Sherlock Holmes stood on the walk, hailing a cab. He looked back up at the flat, in the window stood Molly, waving them off, and he smiled in return. No, there was no woman in the world for Sherlock Holmes but Molly Hooper. Truth be told, some days were not the easiest, things easily went wrong, plans awry, and arguments ensued. But it didn't mean he loved her any less, and it certainly didn't mean he would stop being there when she needed him, or even when she didn't. The hard days made him strive all the more for the days that went right. After all, Sherlock never did tire of being needed, and he was beginning to understand the joys of being wanted as well.
Everything went wrong and the whole
day long I'd feel so blue. For the longest while,
I'd forget to smile, then I met you.
Now that my blue days have passed,
Now that I've found you at last,
I'll be loving you always, with a love so true, always
When the things you plan need a helping hand, I
Will understand, always, always.
Days may not be fair, always
That's when I'll be there, always
Not just for an hour, not just for a day
Not just for a year, but always.