“Sherlock?” came a voice from upstairs. Sherlock huffed in annoyance and twisted on the couch, so his back was to the room.
“Sherl…” John sighed in exasperation. His lover was on the couch, not dressed, not packed, and seemingly with no intention to move.
“You’re not packed,” Sherlock grunted in acknowledgment. John took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Sherlock, why are you not packed? Or dressed? The car will be here in less than an hour.”
“Not going.” Sherlock retorted petulantly. John groaned again.
“We’ve had this discussion. You are going, I am going, we are going.”
“Why?” Sherlock sneered. John looked at him in annoyed bewilderment, throwing his hands in the air and mouthing “what the fuck” to the otherwise empty room.
“Because it’s your brother’s wedding, and you are the best man, you git. Not to mention this is the first time I’ll be meeting your parents, for god’s sake Sherlock.”
“I didn’t ask to be his best man! Besides, three days, three! With my entire family. Can you imagine? Mummy smothering me and father prying, oh it’ll be horrific John!” Sherlock dramatically flopped on his back and threw his arm over his eyes. John, however, was not impressed.
“My Da beat the shite out of me when I came home from uni without tits. Go get ready, now, or I’ll carry you to your parents in your sleep clothes.” John’s voice was firm, thoroughly annoyed, and not to be trifled with. Sherlock froze. Sometimes John would throw things like this at him and he was at a loss as to how to respond. Sherlock knew how normal people were meant to respond, pity and obedience, but John cared for neither.
“You broke his nose, didn’t you?” Sherlock asked as he reluctantly rose from the couch. John’s pleased grin told him that, yes, the young Mr. Watson did, in fact, break the nose of his no-good father. The image was a glorious one.
“Go” John laughed good-naturedly, snagging Sherlock by the front of his robe and dragging him in for a kiss before gently nudging him towards the bedroom.
When Sherlock reemerged John was in his old room, probably changing or packing the suit he intended to wear tomorrow. They had moved most of John’s things back into Sherlock’s room weeks ago, but a few of John’s nicer suits and shoes remained tucked away for special uses.
Sherlock puttered about the room impatiently, double checking the weather, making sure he had all the pieces of the suit his brother had picked for him (black and butter yellow, good lord Sherlock was going to look like one of grandfathers honey bees), and that he had packed the edited manuscript from mothers latest thesis which she had mailed to both her sons some months ago. Sherlock was very smug he had finished before Mycroft. (So what if Mycroft had a wedding to plan and a nation to run?)
“How do I look?” John asked as he emerged from the room, nervously pushing his hair to the side.
Sherlock just blinked for a moment, trying to remember why on earth he wasn’t supposed to drag John to the nearest flat surface and ravage him (wedding, right, drat). John was wearing a white shirt and khaki pants, the ones that clung to his arse very nicely. He had his navy-blue blazer unbuttoned and looked a bit like a professor, wasn’t that an appealing idea?
“Sherlock?” John asked, biting his lip and tugging at the blazer.
He was nervous, very nervous, he’d never met a lover’s parents before, and had tried to dress to make a good impression. He figured a full suit was a bit much, but from the way Sherlock and Mycroft dressed, maybe he was wrong? Was this too much for a family dinner? Not enough? Would Sherlock's parents approve? Oh, Christ, this was all hopeless.
“You can’t go out like that.” Sherlock finally choked out. John blushed, embarrassed.
“Why? I thought it was ok…” He nervously began picking at the front of his shirt, was it bunching up? Wasn’t this the expensive one? Did his chest look weird? Did his packer look right? Would the elder Holmes’ notice?
“Christ John, if you go out like that, you’ll cause a damned car crash!”
“What?” John laughed, startled out of his self-doubt as Sherlock snagged him about the waist and began laying kisses on his face, making both men giggle.
“I’ll. Have. To. Beat. People. Off. With. A. Stick” Sherlock said, punctuating each word with a kiss. John was grinning so much his face hurt, trying to keep from a laughing fit.
“Oh please, as if they’ll look at me when I’m next to you!” John teased in kind. Sherlock gave him a comically grave look.
“That, Dr. Watson, is because you don’t see yourself.” The pair were prevented from any more playful kisses that could devolve into something baser by Mrs. Hudson.
Sherlock almost groaned in annoyance, oh he loved the woman, but couldn’t a man get some peace in his own home? She’d been unbearable since she caught them kissing after coming in from a case a few days after their first time. Both men had been breathless and giggling about how the thing to bring down the drug kingpin they had been chasing through a suburban neighborhood had been a child’s birthday party. Or more accurately, the criminal fainting in fear after running straight into the performing clown. (“Who gets a damned clown for their kid’s party anymore?” John had breathlessly gasped out in between giggles, making Sherlock snort loudly, before snagging the doctor about the neck. Laughter made their lips shake and tremble against each other as they giggled gleefully.)
“Yoo-hoo, boys! The car is here!” she called from down the stairs. Sherlock groaned in annoyance and unwillingly released John.
“Ok, tell me what I need to know,” John demanded as he tugged nervously at his cuffs. He had made this demand before, but Sherlock had just grunted, feigning being busy with something of import. Trapped in a car for a few hours though, Sherlock would have little reprieve from the boredom and be forced to either talk to John or slowly lose his mind. Especially considering his coat was on John’s side of the car, and the smaller man wasn’t above holding Sherlock’s phone hostage in retribution.
“About?” the younger man drawled as he took in the sprawling countryside.
He thought that, perhaps, he wouldn’t mind living somewhere like this one day, when his hair had gone grey, eyesight fading and knees cracking with every step… John could write, Sherlock could bee keep and do his experiments. Mummy had always harked on him about not getting a doctorate in chemistry, maybe he could do that to appease her…
“Your parents, love. You haven’t even told me their names.”
It occurred to Sherlock that John could be nervous. All the pieces quiet suddenly fell into place, John had been picking at his clothes for hours, fretting over his packer, subtly readjusting it and patting down his chest. Sherlock knew that when John got nervous, he got dysphoric. He suddenly felt a small sting of guilt for allowing his petulance to blind him to John’s discomfort and not putting the soldier's mind at ease sooner.
“Violet and Siger Holmes. Mummy used to be an experimental chemist at King’s College London, that’s where she met Da. Mummy was something of a protégé, she was only 35 and already head of her department. Da was a heart surgeon for years until he got into a fistfight with a tree, don’t ask. He broke his hand and still has a bad tremor occasionally, after that he chose to begin teaching medicine at King’s college. They met and fell in love, got married, had two kids then decided to move out to the countryside to be closer to grandmother and grandfather. The rest, as they say, is history.” Sherlock gestured around them by dismissively flicking his wrist.
“Stop worrying, they’ll love you,” Sherlock said gently, laying a hand over John’s hand, which was tugging at the sleeve of his blazer.
"Jesus Sherlock, my mum didn’t even finish grade school and my Dad was a drunk son of a bitch who was unemployed more often than not. What the hell are you doing bringing me home to them?!” John was, minorly, freaking out.
Sure, being a doctor and a Captain in her majesties armed forces (and fooling most every official and fellow soldier in the process) was nothing to shake a stick at. But compared to Sherlock and the rest of the Holmes family? He may as well have been an illiterate backwater pillock. He suddenly felt he was going to be a bit ill. The idea of trying to convince these people he could do right by their son was an overwhelming task he felt woefully unprepared for.
Sherlock furrowed his brow. Trying to understand John was like trying to understand a puzzle whose pieces constantly changed shape. Sometimes the things he said were fully logical, other times he still labored under the hang-ups of their pitiful society, and often it was hard to tell which of his thoughts were wholly John, and which were what John thought his thoughts ought to be.
Why on earth was he so worried about what Sherlock’s parents thought of him? Sherlock had already said that his parents would adore John, and they would, they’d know the significance of him bringing someone home, especially after Victor. But regardless of what they thought of John, Sherlock was the one living with him. Was this another one of those normal people things? How quaint, a concern to impress those that mattered little in a couple’s day to day life.
“Please don’t worry about it, John. They will adore you; I promise.” Sherlock said as earnestly as he could, hesitantly taking John’s hand. He was bad at consolations, but he tried, if only for John’s sake, upon occasion.
“Do they know you’re gay?” John asked. The doctor was shifting uncomfortably, though he’d stopped subtlety tugging at the legs of his trousers. Sherlock tilted his head, was John worried his parents would be hateful about his sexuality?
“Naturally, Father gave me the talk when I told him Victor and I were a couple, which was, admittedly, useful, there was so little access to information regarding gay sex during those days. It was valuable to hear from someone who had engaged, and mother bought us our first box of condoms.” John blushed and went wide-eyed.
“What the hell? Your dads bi, and he admitted it? Wait wait, condoms? Your mum bought you condoms?! Seriously?!” John laughed.
“Well… of course?” Sherlock was stumped, were these things not acceptable? He had thought these were the few normal pieces of his childhood. From what he understood “the talk” was a common occurrence in families, or was this not the case?
“Oh Christ, what am I walking into?” John groaned but relaxed slightly regardless.
The house was massive, huge, enormous, it was a god damned, honest to god mansion. Good lord, John was so in over his head. So far in over his head, he couldn’t see the light. Oh, this was a bad idea, this was a baaaad idea.
“Sherly!” an older woman with a clean bob and dark eyes was waiting by the door with a man who seemed to be twice her height. Her arms held wide, her face was open and joyful, a beam in place.
Her husband was a gangly man and it was easy to see where Sherlock’s looks came from. The man, despite his age and the wireframes resting on his nose, was devilishly handsome much like his son. Sherlock’s nose and cheekbones, his eyes and, yes, perhaps at one point, his dark locks, though maybe that was more from his mother. It was hard to tell, both of them having gone fully silver some years ago.
Sherlock squeezed John’s hand before making his way up the steps towards his parents, arms open to embrace them both. They hugged him tightly as one, before he turned slightly. Sherlock beckoned him forward and John took a deep breath as he approached, feeling he was headed to the chopping block.
“Mother, father, this is Dr. John Watson-“
“Formerly of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers. Yes, we know, come, come closer boy!” Mrs. Holmes summoned him with an aged hand.
John moved a bit closer and went to take her hand, anticipating a handshake, but he was taken by surprise when Mrs. Holmes instead grasped his chin and tilted his face side to side. Sherlock just smiled at this all, mysterious and all-knowing. Mrs. Holmes, despite not having Sherlock's eyes, had his stare. Looking through you, and someone her full focus on you. It was disconcerting but also comforting.
“Oh, my, so handsome Sherlock. So troubled too, oh yes. He’ll take good care of you my darling, yes, you did well.” Mrs. Holmes gave Sherlock a fond smile as she kindly patted John’s cheek before pulling him into a warm hug. John swallowed back something like tears, reveling in the embrace. It was like being held by his own mother again.
“Th- thank you, I think?” John said when he was released, blinking quickly. Mrs. Holmes just smiled at him knowingly.
Mr. Holmes greeting was far more traditional, a clap on the shoulder and a firm handshake. “Dr. Watson, good to meet you son.”
“Just John, please.” John smiled at the man that seemed to loom over him. He had at least a good four or five inches on Sherlock, who already towered in a crowd.
“Come in my boys, come in. Myc and Gregory are already here. Oh, it’s so good to have you home my Sherly-“
“Mummy,” Sherlock whined, blushing.
“Oh hush, Sherly.” Mrs. Holmes tutted at him. She was, John realized, a sassy woman with Sherlock's blunt mouth and the kindness her son was usually too self-conscious to express, all of it wrapped in a mother’s warmth. Sherlock rolled his eyes towards the ceiling and groaned; John couldn’t stop the grin growing on his face. Suddenly, he felt quite at home.
Supper was a bizarre affair. The table was a large square, Mr. and Mrs. (rather, Dr. and Dr.) Holmes sat at the head of the table, Mycroft and Greg to their right-hand side, and John and Sherlock to the left. The Holmes’ had an honest to god butler who cooked and served their dinner. Greg seemed perfectly at ease, and he was the only one aside from Mr. Holmes. They both seemed to watch the proceedings with humor and utter contentment.
“Dear brother, I’m so pleased you’ve graced us with your presence.” Mycroft gave one of his tight, honey covered smiles. Sherlock sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Yes well, considering you forced me to be your “best man”…”
“Hmm, well naturally. You brought us together after all.”
Sherlock scowled, “and what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, Gregory and I got quite close in between… visits to New Scotland Yard, in fact I believe we first met when you called me to come-“
“Yes yes, you’re welcome!” Sherlock snapped, blushing. John tried not to choke on his salad as he realized that Greg and Mycroft must have fallen in love sometime between Sherlock being continually arrested by, and beginning his work with, NSY.
“Boys,” Mrs. Holmes (“call me Violet dear, or Mummy, oh, no?” she said, eyeing him thoughtfully as he tensed, “perhaps not that yet then…”) said sternly. Both brothers seemed to sink a little lower in their seat.
“How’s the surgery, John?” Greg said good-naturedly. John flushed, almost embarrassed about his little part-time position with the local surgery back home, continually comparing himself to the other geniuses in the room.
“Ah, good. It’s good.” He muttered. “Um, ready for tomorrow?” Greg grinned then, a bit dopey and boyish. He shot Mycroft a lovesick look and Mycroft responded in kind, though slightly more subdued.
“Far too many hours between then and now,” Mycroft responded for his fiancée.
“Look at you two” Violet chortled, “so in love. Just like your father and I. Your grandfather adored me you know, gave me his blessing at this very table. Such a good man. He’d be so proud of you boys. A Detective Inspector and an army doctor, he’d have been so pleased with you two.” This seemed to make both Holmes brothers puff with the smallest amount of pride while their respective counterparts flushed, giving small humble smiles.
Throughout the rest of dinner, Violet did a lovely job of diffusing tension. Every time one of the brothers would make a scathing remark about the other, seemingly with less heat and more of a teasing nature than usual, she would bring up another topic, or turn it back around on them. It was quite a show to watch. Until it was turned on John.
“John, my boy, come, walk with an old woman,” Violet demanded. John started from where he was relaxing back after a dessert of the most fantastic lemon cakes he’d ever eaten.
“Oh, um, of course.” John smiled crookedly and stood, offering her his arm. Sherlock gave him a kind, if inquisitive smile when they exited the rather large (second!) dining hall.
“Did Sherlock tell you anything about this home, my boy? No, I imagine he didn’t. This isn’t where he grew up, that’s a bit farther out in the country, we use it as our Christmas cottage these days. The air here is just too damp for my poor Siger’s hands in the winter, you understand?” she shot a look at his left hand, the one with the intermittent tremor, nearly fully cured by her son, only making an appearance on the worst of mental days and the coldest, wettest days London had to offer.
Violet nodded without him answering and continued, “this home, my dear boy, was constructed in 1785 by Siger’s some odd great grandfather, handed down from father to son to father to son. My father-in-law, William, Sherlock’s namesake as I’m sure you can, what does my son call it? Deduce,” Violet chuckled kindly. The sound made John relax a little more. “Anyway, the late William and his wife, Enola, lived here for many happy decades, they passed some years ago now. Good people, both of them were very kind and bright. They died in hospital down the road of old age, having lived a happy, full life. Together. Always together. Did you know Enola was a doctor? It was a different time then, of course, and she was only allowed to work with women, but she was brilliant. I always find it odd how each of the Holmes’ seems to find themselves with doctors. I do believe Myc will be the first to break that cycle in some generations. I do hope Sherlock won’t be the second?” Violet shot him a meaningful look as they stopped outside large oak doors polished to a nearly mirrorlike shine.
She tugged John in, and he tried to remember not to gape about him like a fish. The room was covered ceiling to the floor in books, books in stacks, books on shelves, books on tables and chairs and desks. He drifted closer to the nearest shelf and was surprised. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the books around him, all genres, all different languages, and ages. Some seemed to be cheap market store paperbacks, some looked to be ancient medical journals in arcane languages.
“This is beautiful…” John said in awe, gently running his hands along the wooden shelves.
“It is, isn’t it? I always thought so. This is the Holmes boys’ favorite room. It was Williams office at one point, and there,” she pointed at a sturdy armchair, it was a deep red color and looked to be nearly as old as the walls that housed it, “is where William would sit with my boys, reading to them from all manner of tombs. Especially about flora and fauna. William loved bees, did Sherlock tell you that?”
“Ah, yes, he said that his grandfather used to keep bees and his grandmother tended the garden?”
“Yes, yes, quite right. I’ll have him show you the old beehives before you leave. We’ve tried to keep the garden up, but I don’t seem to have the same green thumb as the late Mrs. Holmes. Perhaps Gregory will do better one day, or Mycroft. He seems more the sort, doesn’t he?” Violet waved her hand dismissively. “Anyway, as I was saying, this place is a shrine to my dear departed father-in-law, preserved year after year. As eldest, Mycroft is set to inherit the oldest family house and he has his pick of the oldest family heirlooms, but there is, however, something the three of us, Mycroft, Siger and I, decided should go to Sherlock.”
Violet made her way to the armchair and took a seat, motioning to the newer, slightly smaller black one across from it. John sat hesitantly. “You see,” Violet said, leaning forward a bit, “when Sherlock was a boy, we were all quite certain he and Victor would one day marry. We all had complete faith such arrangements would soon be allowed by law, and if not” Violet shrugged “we weren’t opposed to a destination wedding. With that in mind, the three of us agreed that Sherlock should receive his grandfather's wedding ring. When Victor passed, we all thought Sherlocks days of love were long gone. The poor dear, he lost himself there for a while. The silly boys thought I didn’t know,” Violet shot him a heartbroken look, smiling a bit sadly, “but a mother always knows her children. Now, when you trotted onto the scene, I intended to give the ring to Sherlock once he had finally gotten his head out of his own arse.” John couldn’t help the small giggle he gave, “But I see you seem to have beaten him to the punch.”
John looked at her in shock, “How-?”
“I don’t read people like he does, or rather I can’t break down what I’m reading like he can. I just look and know. Sherlock, and Mycroft to an extent, both have the ability to look on and tell you why they know what they know. I don’t. But I do know you intend to marry him, don’t you?”
“I… I haven’t asked yet, officially, I’ve been, I don’t know, waiting I suppose.”
“There’s no way to surprise a Holmes, my boy,” Violet told him solemnly, “the only way is to surprise yourself. So,” She reached to open the small wooden side table to her right. She then pulled out a small cylinder tube, made of mahogany and at least 150 years old. There was a bee carved on the top of it. Violet scooted her chair closer and John kept trying to remember how to breathe.
Violet carefully opened the hinge on the little box, and it fell open, revealing a golden ring. The ring was simple, and clearly well loved. It was worn along the edges, time having smoothed it to a perfect curve, and the delicate swirling engraving beginning to fade away along the edges.
“This,” Violet said, “belonged to both Sherlock's grandfather, and his great grandfather. It belongs on the hand of a Holmes.”
John reverently reached out a hand and accepted the box from her. “Is this your way of saying I have your blessing?” he asked quietly, “After only a few hours of knowing me?” Violet gave him a small smile.
“I told you I see all. I know you, John Watson. I see your history in the way you carry yourself, I see the hardships you’ve gone through, and, most importantly I see what you’ve done to my boy. He’s gained at least a stone of desperately needed weight, the bags under his eyes are smaller than I’ve seen since he was a babe, he’s clean and sober-“
“He did that one his own.” John couldn’t help pointing out. Violet gave him a disbelieving look.
“Like you transitioned on your own?” John flushed and averted his eyes, bracing for a judgment that never came, “no, my boy. Nothing is ever done alone. Especially not those things that are hardest to do. Even when he was clean there was still a bone-deep hunger. He’s got another reason besides the Work to push that away now. One that will last longer. How do you think he’d have fared when age restricted his Work if it wasn’t for you, hmm? He’s freer, healthier, and happier than I’ve seen him since Victor passed away. That,” she pointed at the ring and box John held, “is a blessing from myself, from Siger, from William, rest his soul, from every Holmes living and dead. It’s also a piece of advice. The moment will come, the moment where you’ll take him, and yourself, by surprise. But make sure the moment comes soon. I’d like to see both my boys happily married before I go.”
That night, after Sherlock had fallen asleep, John rolled the little cylindrical box between his palms and laid a kiss on the bee carved on the top. With a smile, he slid the little box into toiletries bag, first carefully wrapping it in a handkerchief stolen from Sherlock. The moment would come, yes, but not here. The moment would be at home, in Baker Street, along the streets of London, after a case, hell, during a case. But it wouldn’t be here or today. John was ok with that. As he snuggled back against Sherlock's chest and was wrapped in the warmth of his lover, he remembered the promise Sherlock had made. About how time spent with him was not time spent waiting.
The next day was supposed to start at 9am for the pair, but that didn’t happen. John, being used to far earlier mornings, had rolled out of bed intent on ensuring the fit of his suit once more. About 15 minutes later he was quietly standing in front of the full-length mirror in Sherlock's old room and irritably tugging at his dress shirt. There was a little bunch on the left-hand side, did he not iron it properly?
Finally, he sighed contentedly as it smoothed out and began to fiddle with the two sets of cufflinks he’d brought with him. One belonged to his grandfather, whom he had adored spending time with. A world war I vet with a quick temper but kind wit about him, John Watson the First had passed a few years before John transitioned and took up his name. The old man hadn’t quite been able to grasp why his grandson was so different from all the girls. But when John wore a suit to his school formal and sheared his hair his grandfather had hesitantly clapped him on the back, saying he looked “mighty fine”. It was one of the most meaningful moments of John’s life.
The cufflinks were a simple silver set, engraved with two small initials “JW”. Though John took care to shine them, they didn’t gleam brightly, worn down by the decades, softened around the edges by important life events, marriages and funerals, and baptisms. John thought they looked quite nice with his heather grey suit. The suit was the most expensive piece of clothing he owned, custom tailored for his graduation. It still fit pretty well, only hugging a little tighter at his hips and buttocks. Comfort weight and age, most likely.
It had been a trial to find a suit for his graduation, everything he tried on fit wrong, he knew why, of course. Though he was naturally rather straight and narrow, and his top surgery had long since been expertly carried out, his genetics were more than to blame for the way the suits couldn’t seem to hug his waist properly and just laid like a wet noodle along the line of his legs.
It was his mother who had hesitantly suggested paying for a custom-tailored suit as a graduation gift. John never felt better than he did in this suit. It was more than clothing; it was the turning point to the moment his mother truly accepted him as her son. When she saw him in the finished suit she had bawled, kissing his cheek and saying he was the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on. She died less than a year later, lung cancer was an ugly way to go, but 40 years of fags had their consequences. John was by her side when she went, telling him “I love you baby boy,” in a croaky voice.
John eyed the second set of cufflinks for only a moment before setting them aside. They had been sent to him in an envelope by his sister after their father died of kidney failure in hospital. Squat bronze things that John had only worn once, to the man's burial and memorial service. He wasn’t fond of them, but his father had left a note, almost an apology, asking John to wear them to the funeral. That note had been the first and only time Harrison Watson had referred to his son as “John” instead of “Emma” (or bitch, or freak, or whore or… well about a hundred other horrible things). The bastard hadn’t even had the courage to call John himself and apologize for all the pain he caused, just a hastily scribbled death bed note and worn bits of cheap bronze shoved in an envelope.
John sniffed at the memory and physically turned away from the cufflinks. Though they might have matched well with his suit, this day did not call for such grim memories. This was a happy day. John had not only met but been accepted by the elder Holmes’. He was with his lover and surrounded by an adoring, if odd, family. He felt utterly accepted in a crowd of people for what must be the first time in his life, and his friend and future brother in law where to be married. This was truly a joyous occasion for all involved. Except, perhaps, for Sherlock. Sherlock, as best man to Mycroft, was required to give a speech. The memory of Sherlock having moaned and groaned about sentimentality all through writing the speech had John grinning as he straightened his tie in the mirror.
John was so focused on ensuring, just one more time, that his chest hadn’t suddenly begun to protrude (he had a feeling others like him did the same, constantly checking their bodies hadn’t betrayed them overnight, as they so often did) and that his suit fit properly that he didn’t notice Sherlock sitting up in bed. And, oh, when John caught sight of his lover his hands slipped, accidentally messing up the knot he was trying to tie. The sheets on the bed where a dark navy, and Sherlock with his messy black locks and pale skin, piercing blue-grey eyes… why he looked like the moon hanging in the night sky. Ethereal, eternal, comforting and mysterious.
“Oh please, don’t stop on my account,” Sherlock quirked his lips at John through the mirror, running appreciative eyes up and down his lovers’ body. John huffed and rolled his eyes playfully.
“You better get moving, you can shower while I hang this back up.” John nodded his head in the direction of the restroom. Sherlock grinned at him and rose from the bed, he was like a damned cat, honestly, slipping behind John. His hands took John’s own and gently brought them down, pressing them into Johns upper thighs, a silent order to “stay”.
Sherlock, breath tickling the back of Johns' neck, took his damned sweet time undoing the mess of a knot, then slowly unbuttoning his shirt. One… by… one.
“Sherlock,” John warned quietly.
“We have time.” Sherlock sounded breathless; his eyes hungry. John, admitting to himself that he didn’t particularly care if they made it downstairs in time for the late breakfast, leaned back against his lover.
“Your mother bought this for you,” Sherlock murmured into his ear as his hands continued their journey down. John nodded and shivered, Sherlock's utter genius sweeping him away on the best of days, and always he had the power to reduce John to a shivering mess with his nearly perfect observations.
“Shh” Sherlock hushed, tugging the suit jacket from his shoulders, “you like it better when I figure it out alone.” He murmured. And, well, yes, he was right, as always. John shivered as Sherlock tugged the shirt from his pants.
“Hm, now… age, color, wear. Special occasion. During the day, right?” John nodded weakly “Not quite old enough to be your sister’s wedding, and it’s custom tailored, your mum wouldn’t buy you that for Harry’s wedding, too much money already spent… graduation then?” Sherlock was whispering directly in his ear now, long pale hands running teasing, tickling circles around his stomach. John let out a shaky breath and nodded.
“You age like a fine wine, my John, I’m sure your even more handsome today than you were then.”
Sherlock kissed his ear as long hands made their way down his arm. Sherlock gently took his wrists and raised them into the light. Every soft touch seemed to emanate along his skin, breaking John out in goosebumps.
“Your grandfathers,” Sherlock muttered.
When John nodded a look of melancholy came over Sherlock's face. With almost religious reverence he removed the little bits of silver and laid them on the dresser top. His shirt was carefully removed and folded, laid out on the dresser. The rest of the suit was removed piece by piece. As Sherlock undressed him with gentle hands, he continued to deduce all that John wore, from his socks to his belt. By the time Sherlock finally got around to his pants John was so wet, he could feel them sticking to his leg.
“Fuck, Sherlock, shut the fuck up already,” John groaned. Sherlock grinned at him triumphantly and fully stripped his lover before going on his knees after pushing John down on the bed. John cursed again and pulled his feet up, exposing himself.
“John, please?” Sherlock breathed, so close that John could feel warm breath against his lower lips. John groaned again and sat up on his elbows looking down at the man between his legs. He grabbed a fistful of Sherlock's messy hair and pulled the man closer.
“Suck me,” John growled, writhing and grinding himself against Sherlock.
The detective almost whimpered in relief and fell on his lover. He had gotten good at this, he knew exactly how to tease John, or how to ensure things were over quickly. Today he was trying to tease. John wanted to bark at him to knock it off, but that wasn’t the game there were playing. Today, the game was Sherlock giving John what he wanted, even before he knew he wanted it. The teasing with the deductions, the prostrating himself at Johns' feet, the mix of conflicting power signals the two always seemed to trade.
John’s mind argued they had a bloody schedule, they didn’t have time to play games, John’s body told his mind to please shut the fuck up. John kept a tight hold on Sherlock's hair, groaning again when he realized Sherlock was stroking himself off as he sucked John’s cock into his mouth, humming happily.
“D-don’t you fucking dare cum like that, Sh-Sherlock Holmes” John gasped, he was getting closer, and all it would take was… Sherlock gently scraped his teeth along John’s cock, his blood jumped and he gasped in shock because that was totally new. Then he was cumming, trying his best to withhold his groans of pleasure, all too aware of their setting and the proximity of Sherlock’s parents (within 20 kilometers was much too close for John’s taste).
He laid there for a moment, blankly staring at the ceiling as the aftershocks racked his body. When he was finally aware again, Sherlock was laving kisses upon his inner thighs, gently humping his leg and stroking the downy hair along his calf.
“Come ‘er” John slurred out happily. Sherlock was up in an instant, crawling into John’s lap as the later sat up.
“John,” Sherlock gasped, tucking his face into his lovers’ neck as John took a tight hold of his prick.
“I love you, such a good boy for me.” John sighed, kissing along Sherlock's collar bone, taking a nipple into his mouth as he jacked Sherlock hard and fast. Sherlock whimpered his body winding tighter and tighter, his grasp on John’s biceps nearly bordering on painful. In answer to the silent plea, John wound his right hand in Sherlock’s dark locks and roughly yanked him down.
“Come for me, darling, now,” John ordered against Sherlock's lips. Sherlock let out a sound between a yelp and a whimper and sagged as his body began to shiver violently, spurts of come coating John’s hand and chest.
John held Sherlock for a moment, both of them enjoying their post orgasmic haze together before John finally started prodding at his lover.
“Up, come on, we’ve got to shower.” John tried coercing. Sherlock grunted and turned into a dead weight on Johns' chest. John huffed in fond annoyance. “Sherl, we’re already late, get up. There’s a lot to be done.”
“Whyyy?” Sherlock moaned dramatically, snuggling into John. John, who still had cum on his hands and chest, both of which were now smearing all over Sherlock. “Mother’s already directing the florists, Father will have already gone to check on the reception set up, and my lout of a brother doesn’t need me standing by while he fiddles with what little hair he has left.”
John sighed a mighty sigh, “We were meant to be down there half an hour ago-“
Sherlock snorted, “Right, you ask Mummy about that.” John opened his mouth to question his lover, but was cut off again, “fine, fine, only if I can shower with you though.” Sherlock purred in his ear.
“Oh for Christ’s sake, Sherlock.” John sighed in exasperation.
An hour and a half later both men emerged fully dressed. As Sherlock had predicted while they showered, both Mummy and Daddy were downstairs, fully dressed and sharing a cup of tea. Mrs. Holmes was wearing a butter yellow dress, simple, refined and tea length, a large circle hat and white gloves sitting next to her. The whole outfit looked like it belonged on the queen, if John said so himself, while her husband wore a matching charcoal grey and butter yellow suit.
“Ah, boys, finally done I see. Did you get any use out of the lubrication darling?” Mrs. Holmes asked as if it was the most normal thing on earth. John’s smile froze on his face, his eyes widening slightly in shock. He was quite used to his sex life being beyond private, and beyond taboo, a subject people uncomfortably avoided. This brazen conversation in the open, as if gay sex between a cis man and a trans man was perfectly acceptable Sunday dinner talk, was beyond alarming.
“No need for it today, Mummy. He was all worried about the time crunch,” Sherlock sighed dramatically before kissing his mother and father on the cheek in greeting. John gave him a disbelieving look, fighting the temptation to scream “NOPE” and just walk from the room (and the house… and the country).
“Oh, Siger, I told you we should have told them noon.” Mrs. Holmes lightly chastised her husband.
“Ah darling, we both know Sherly sleeps too late anyway, besides, John was up hours before you, wasn’t he?” Mr. Holmes asked as his wife poured some tea and an exuberant amount of sugar into a cup for Sherlock.
“Oh, ages Father, all that soldier training, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get him to sleep in,” Sherlock sighed wistfully and gave John a quizzical look. “Well? Come sit?”
John blinked quickly for a moment, his world view suddenly readjusting, before scurrying over to take a seat between Sherlock and Mrs. Holmes. The elder Holmes’ worked as a clean unit, preparing a cup for Sherlock, and then for John, who was silenced from his protests about being able to make his own tea by a sharp look from Mrs. Holmes.
“No sugar, right John?” Mr. Holmes asked genially. John opened his mouth to agree but before he could, Mrs. Holmes cut in.
“Oh of course without dear, look at his… tie? The tie, right?” she turned, asking both her son and husband.
“Tie pin.” Both Holmes men corrected at once. John opened his mouth to ask how on earth his simple silver tie pin dictated his distaste for sweetened tea, but thought better of it.
The next few hours continued as such, observations and finished sentences before John even knew something needed to be said. It was creepy, being in a home of Holmes’s. He wondered what it was like for Sherlock growing up, no secrets, no barriers… no judgment.
About 2 hours before they were to take their places in the garden, the setting for both ceremony and reception, Mrs. Holmes pulled out her latest thesis about an experimental chemical compound meant to exacerbate the production of honey in common honeybees. (“It’s in honor of your grandfather dear, you know he’d have been 102 next month?”) Sherlock and his Mother bent over the paper, talking in serious low voices. As they spoke Mr. Holmes took a seat next to John on the settee.
“She gave it to you, then?” he murmured quietly. John, immediately understanding this was about his father's wedding ring from the way Mr. Holmes blinked quickly, his eyes wet, nodded minutely.
“Good.” He said simply, giving John a smile.
And that was it. No father in law talks, no discomfort about either John’s gender or biological sex, just utter acceptance. John relaxed fully, suddenly finding himself at ease. Though this family was truly bizarre, he felt more at home here than he ever did with his own kin. He smiled as he sipped his tea, wedding workers running in and out of the house, preparing food and the ceremony setting, while he and his future father in law slipped into light conversation about their funniest and strangest patients.
Both grooms looked dashing in their simple black tuxedos if John did say so himself, though they were nothing next to Sherlock in his eyes. Sherlock was simply stunning, though the bright yellow did little for his complexion. He was also clearly uncomfortable, or rather, it was clear to anyone who knew him. Sherlock always did have a difficult time expressing emotions, and when he did it was something matter of fact and mechanical, and above all, private. His emotions were refined and filtered through the lens of self-preservation and false sociopathy at all times. All this fanfare and poetic romance was clearly making him nervous, as was standing in front of a crowd who expected him to echo such blatant and crass bliss. He knew the social etiquette for these kinds of events and was unprepared to show such emotions in front of a crowd.
The whole affair was rather small, perhaps 40 people total. The ceremony only comprising of about 20 minutes. But the reception was something else entirely. John could almost see political chess pieces moving and family drama playing out before him. If John wasn’t mistaken that was the prime minister over there, which explained the men in black suits dotting the area… and over there… wasn’t that the German Chancellor? John sunk low in his seat, suddenly quite grateful to have been sat at the big front table, sandwiched between Sherlock, who was to his brother's left-hand side, and Greg’s son, a little boy named Harvey who got very excited when John introduced himself. Apparently, Greg had taken to reading little Harvey his blog on occasion, telling the lad all about the adventures of army doctor John Watson and the world’s only consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Soon it was time to give speeches. Sherlock, who had a particular look upon his face, had clearly been rehearsing his speech in his mind when Greg’s best friend from primary, Ronald, a slight man with a large mustache and slicked back red hair, rose to his feet. There were a few jokes about Greg’s misadventures as a lad, a bit of ribbing about second time being the charm and a rather flat joke about how he’d start charging if Greg made him do this again. While the man spoke, Sherlock nervously muttered a few deductions under his breath, his way of coping with nerves. Apparently, Ronald was rather bitter about Greg marrying a man, as he had been smitten with his best mate for decades, poor bastard.
After another painful few minutes of rambling and basic drivel John hoped to never hear at his own wedding, Sherlock rose. There was silence for a moment, Sherlock's brain seemed to reroute itself and the detective took a deep breath, stopped, and blinked quickly. John could almost see him mentally crumpling up his old speech and throwing it out. Finally, he cleared his throat and began to speak.
“As any good younger sibling would tell you, my elder brother is the biggest annoyance on earth. He nags and intrudes where he’s least wanted, he’s got a nasty habit of knowing far too much, yet never enough, and can quite easily ruin a perfectly beautiful day, just by showing his face.” A chuckle ran through the crowd, “and like any good elder sibling, Mycroft could tell you I’m the biggest thorn in his side. Younger brother, always in need of close observation and coddling. How bothersome.” More giggles, “However, like any thorn, he has the ability to remove me. He could cut me off and delete my number any day. But he doesn’t. Because like any good eldest child, Mycroft has a nasty habit of taking care of things that are difficult to care for. Bothersome brothers included.” Sherlock swallowed, and licked his lips, “More than that though, my brother has the distinct ability to forget to care for himself during the best of times, far too worried about everyone else. Which, I suppose, is where Greg comes in.”
John could see Greg’s eyebrows raise in surprise at Sherlock using his proper given name, before he grinned, laying his hand over Mycroft’s on the table. Sherlock began to speak again after giving a courteous nod in Greg’s direction, “so for that, my newest brother, I must thank you. Thank you for taking care of the man who takes care of everyone and everything else, like any good older sibling is wont to do. You both have my gratitude for all you do, for me, for others and for each other, and my most sincere wish that you may have a marriage at least half as happy as our parents.” A few scattered “aw”’s from the women in the crowd, then Sherlock, still looking highly uncomfortable, raised his glass. “To the newest Holmes couple, a long and joyous life to you.”
“To the Holmes’!” the crowd echoed, raising their glass, Sherlock took his obligatory sip and sat down, seeking John’s hand out below the table. John could feel his lovers hand shaking minutely, the adrenaline drop of such a terrifying activity setting in, before Mycroft muttered to his brother.
“Rather well written, where on earth did you pull such sentimental drivel from?” He whispered as Greg’s father, a man who looked highly uncomfortable, began to stand.
“Nowhere,” Sherlock said, shifting slightly, a light blush on his cheeks. His brother looked at him for a moment, almost gobsmacked. Then his face cleared, and he looked at the younger man as though he was something new and mysterious, before smiling, a genuine half quirk of his lips that softened his face. He laid a hand on Sherlock's forearm and squeezed gently.
“Thank you,” Mycroft said quietly, before releasing his brother and turning back to his new, albeit, reluctant, father in law. Sherlock gave a small, proud, smile, still blushing, and John squeezed his lover's hand.
The newlyweds left for a honeymoon in Bali, John and Sherlock stayed one more night at the Holmes estate. Sherlock excitedly showed John the remnants of the beekeeping garden, and the flower garden, bother carefully upkept but untended. A monument to the late Mr. and Mrs. Holmes. Sherlock was more carefree out here than John had ever seen him, generous with his emotions and honest without shame.
And what a concept, a free Sherlock Holmes, but more than that, a loved one. His parents knew John before John realized they did, and they didn’t judge. They didn’t whisper to each other in concern about the half man their son brought home, rather they looked to John with barely concealed love and respect. Just a little less than a full day he’d spent with these people, and already he was one of them. He wondered, perhaps, if this is why Sherlock had become so closed off after Victor's death. To see such extreme ends of the spectrum of love. To realize suddenly that the utter contentment and bliss brought on by unconditional love could be ripped away with but a moment’s notice must have been a nasty shock. Naturally, Sherlock would close himself off, afraid of losing the love he’d been given in spades. Then to find himself not only unloved but loathed by the outside world, to find his inheritance of love and his only guide to the “normal” world ripped away by circumstance. It would have broken many men, without a doubt.
This was another piece of Sherlock; one carefree and joyous, comfortable in the knowledge that the only thing that could take this love from him was death, if that even. This Sherlock knew that the people in this home would never judge him, never reject him or forsake him. It gifted the younger man with a comfort John had never seen him possess, except in the rarest moments of them being totally alone and at ease, locked away from the prying hateful world in their flat. John found himself instantly in love with this version of Sherlock, just as he was with every other, smarmy arse of a detective included.
As Sherlock climbed a tree, yelling down to John about how he’d broken his arm here when he was a child and laughing joyously, John fingered the little cylinder box in his pocket and contemplated the future and the day he would put the ring on Sherlock’s hand.
“Soon” he promised himself silently as Sherlock smiled down to him gleefully, “But not yet.”