"The trousers are still too long." John shouts down from the top of the stairs.
"There should be one significant break in their line, just above your ankles." Sherlock's voice calls back from very far away, he must still be in his bedroom, finishing dressing as well. "I thought they altered the length after the last fitting."
John looks down at the gray of his trouser legs, sagging hopelessly over the tops of his wedding shoes (broken in now, he's practiced dancing every night). "Not enough."
John adjusts his lapels and glances once more in the mirror by the door. His old room is empty of furniture now, only a few overflow stacks of Sherlock's flotsam and jetsam fill the space he once occupied. The emptiness is reflected in the mirror surrounding the strange vision of himself as he will look tomorrow. Tomorrow, as he gets married. John smiles at the thought.
"John?" Sherlock's voice is closer now, he must be dressed and in the sitting room.
"The rest looks fine, I think," John says as he heads down the stairs, a bit self-conscious to be wandering the flat dressed like a groom, wonders for a moment if it is all right for Sherlock to see him like this before tomorrow.
Final steps down and, Jesus. Sherlock is waiting in the middle of the room in his formal gear, hands clasped behind his back, the sun streaming in the windows, and damn if he doesn't look at ease- as if, John thinks, he gets married every other week. Or is a Best Man, rather, of course. Everything that looks formal and forced about the morning coat and too-long trousers on John looks perfectly at home and settled on Sherlock. It's enormously unfair. John pauses at the bottom of the stairs, staring.
"Yours fits," John says at last.
Sherlock clears his throat and looks down at himself for a moment, then frowns. "Yes, yes. It's fine." He strides forward giving John's entire ensemble his most prying and critical eye, and John steps back to keep his balance.
"Trousers definitely too long, but not as bad as I was imagining," Sherlock says, kneeling down in front of John and tugging at the cuffs of his trousers. "The fit is acceptable on the rest."
Sherlock stands and steps back, cocks his head to the side and looks at John for a long moment. "Yes." Then he returns to his knee and fusses with the cuffs again, hands all over John's ankles. "What time is it?"
John looks behind himself at the clock (well within Sherlock's line of sight, for god's sake). "Almost three."
"It's too late now. They can't be properly tailored by tomorrow."
"Sod properly, Sherlock, I just don’t want to trip over my trouser legs as I dance. Don't you have some sort of emergency tailoring service?"
Sherlock's fussing gets more focused. He stands and regards John's feet, then kneels to complete his work on the other leg. "They can be tacked up tonight."
"Christ, you do have an emergency tailor," John mutters, but he's relieved. He's entirely too occupied with getting married to deal with finding someone to stitch up his wedding trousers, and really, he needs Sherlock to stop touching his ankles now.
"Don't be ridiculous, John." Sherlock stands once more and gives John a final approving look.
John sees it then, how much it means to Sherlock that John look just right tomorrow, and warmth spreads through his chest as he realizes, "You are going to hem my trousers yourself, aren't you?"
Sherlock raises an eyebrow and says nothing, then looks away and strides over to the window.
John shakes his head. "Of course you know how to sew. Let me guess. You mastered it between throwing pots and making macramé plant hangers."
"Macramé?" Sherlock tugs the curtain closed. "No, that's Mycroft." He gives John the mildest of smirks.
John lets out a laugh then, and Sherlock does as well, with that big smile that John gets to see so rarely (last at the stag night, the fire, with rizlas) and it makes the warm feeling spread, right to John's fingertips. "What are you doing?" John asks, as Sherlock throws the second curtain closed, shutting out the afternoon light.
"I don't want you to trip over your trouser legs either." He steps to the middle of the room and holds out a hand. "Final lesson?"
All of the warmth in John flares hot and then freezes.
"Or not," Sherlock says, dropping his hand back to his side.
"No. Yes. Of course. One more practice. Good idea." John moves onto the rug. "I've gone over the steps." Every night, for hours.
"So." John holds up his arms and Sherlock moves in to take his hand. The new wool of their suits and the herbal scent of Sherlock's hair tonic co-mingle in the air around them.
"Bit more stiff when we're dressed like this," John says.
"That's why I thought you should. Get a feel for it."
John tries to get his hand to sit properly on Sherlock's back, flexes his fingers, thinks the word nonchalant. There's nothing to do then but count off one-two-three, ("Slower, John.") one-two-three. and then lead Sherlock around the rug in the pattern of steps now deeply imprinted into John's muscle memory.
It's over quickly, all forty-eight steps, correct and proper, and then John lets go, and Sherlock lets him because honestly. Honestly.
"What?" John needs to be done with this, he has a list of errands, and Auntie Lane is arriving in an hour, and his trousers are still too long.
"I…" That quiet tone in Sherlock's voice, not to be ignored. John turns to listen, hard.
Sherlock is looking at him. "There's something I've made for you." His face is very still.
John tries to laugh it off, that look. "You see, knotted string. I always suspected. Mycroft, my arse."
Sherlock turns his back and fiddles with the iPod. Music starts. Violin, alone.
"What's this? Is this you?"
Sherlock, back still turned. "For you. And Mary. For the dance. Your dance."
John listens, and he can't look at Sherlock, Sherlock, who was dead, who he mourned for years, and who is standing here now in a morning coat and gray trousers and shoes that match John's, and who has written music, for him. A heaviness settles into John's chest, he feels unaccountably sad. "You're going to play at the wedding."
"Yes. You see," pointed look at John, "Mary asked me."
"Damn. Sorry. Yes, I should have thought of that."
"Please, John." Rolls eyes. John's feeling lightens for a moment. "Wedding plans are not your area."
Smile, true. "No, I suppose not." John looks up at the ceiling for a moment, holding on to his smile, and just listens to Sherlock play. "This is really nice." Closes his eyes in the calm familiar of Baker Street, lets the moment seep into his skin.
When John looks back, Sherlock holds out his hand, serious and formal. "It's not easy to dance to."
"Not easy to…great. Thanks. You couldn't make it easy." John just looks at Sherlock's long, clever fingers.
"No, never," Sherlock says, and John breathes deep and then grabs that hand. Don't think. Without further discussion, Sherlock takes the lead, John's own hand firmly settled on the fine wool of Sherlock's shoulder, Sherlock's warm palm solid against the small of John's back.
"Find the tempo," Sherlock says, and his fingers tap against John's back, one-two-three, and John has to look at Sherlock's shoulder, the fascinating gray of the wool, because he can't look anywhere else. With a gentle motion, Sherlock sets them off across the floor.
It's not the dance John has learned, not the prescribed steps for his dance with Mary. This is just dancing, dancing together, led by Sherlock, all around the room. Sherlock's long legs move them in smooth lines and curves, the plaintive notes of Sherlock's violin guiding them slowly along, warm breaths and hands and legs brushing and the strangeness of their formal wear and the patterns of the wallpaper all swirling together until it is all reduced to the simple one-two-three, one-two-three of the music and the feeling of Sherlock's hand in his.
It's a long time, or perhaps John cannot tell how many minutes have really passed while they move together through the room, but it feels long, like a lifetime. Then, abruptly, Sherlock's body changes shape and stiffens, his hands shift, and John finds himself off-balance and looking at the ceiling. It takes all of his self-control to not shove Sherlock away and punch him in the face.
"What the hell?"
"A dip, John." Sherlock says, his face inches away from John's, eyes stormy gray today.
"Dip." Oh Jesus. His face is right there, his eyes, mouth. one-two-three. Swallow hard. "Well, warn me, next time," John says. Next time. John needs to stop, now, digs his fingers in to pull himself upright, because Mary, and Auntie Lane, and fifty-seven guests, and trousers that need a hem.
Sherlock lets him up, and the swirl and the tempo are gone, dissipated out of the room as quickly as they had come. Sherlock mutters, "It's a crowd pleaser," and John tries to find his feet again. The room is so dim and close, John starts to sweat in his wedding clothes, damn, and the warmth of Sherlock's hand is still cooling on his back.
John turns to the window, strides over, and pulls the curtains open, letting the light back in.
"You'll want to practice that last part with Mary." Sherlock is at the iPod, and the music stops. The room is very quiet.
"Yeah, I will." John manages the other curtain as well, so he can breathe again. "Listen, I'm just going to go up and change. Mary will be here soon. Can't have her seeing me looking like this."
Sherlock looks appraisingly at John's clothing once more. "No. Don't forget to leave the trousers."
At the stairs, John takes a moment, turns back. "Sherlock. Thank you."
"Don't thank me yet." Sherlock's smile again, the real one, but small, and quick. "You haven't heard my speech."
John's pulse quickens for a moment, then he nods and heads up the stairs. "Good point." Doesn't look back.
Ten minutes later, in the car, turning the corner and leaving Baker Street, Mary says, "Everything all right?"
John looks at her, smiles brightly, shakes his head, says, "Why wouldn't it be?" Keeps on driving.