Greg Lestrade placed a cup of tea in front of Sherlock, and sat down on the other side of the table with his own cup. ‘Out with it, then,’ he suggested.
Sherlock stared at the table-top for a moment, then gathered his courage. ‘Will you be my best man? No need to look so shocked!’
‘Ha, I thought Mycroft or John would have got that dubious honour.’
‘Joking, Sherlock, joking. So you said yes?’
‘You didn’t know I knew?’
Sherlock, disgruntled, mumbled something, and Greg hid his laugh behind a mug. ‘He phoned me,’ Lestrade continued once he’d regained control of himself. ‘Asked if I thought it would be a good idea. Should resign and become a matchmaker at this rate.’
‘Don’t. We need one semi-competent person in the police.’
‘Thanks. And congratulations to you both.’
‘Thank you.’ Sherlock smiled. ‘So, will you? You… seemed the right person, really, you’ve always been there for us. John’s only met Victor a few times, and, well, there are things he doesn’t know, and… well, you got us together. Twice, so it seems. It seemed fitting.’
‘I’d organise the whole bloody wedding if it’d make the two of you happy. Of course I’ll be your best man. Thank you. How did you get away with not having Mycroft, though?’
‘Mummy banned it. She said that she wanted to attend a wedding, not a warzone. Anyway, I threatened to ask Cousin Nigel to play the piano if Mycroft didn’t.’
‘Effective.’ He drained his tea. ‘I’d better go, I’ve got a foot waiting for me at the morgue.’
‘Well, thank you, and congratulations. Let me know if you need a hand organising things, yeah?’
‘Thank you. Tell Anderson that he missed the vital leaf which would have made all the difference.’
‘… I shouldn’t still be surprised by that.’
Sherlock smirked and left, looking happy. Engagement suited him, apparently.
You do know you’re going to have to do a speech? SH
Get someone to check the grammar. Don’t want to annoy Mummy. SH
Right. Yes. GL
Does Victor’s best man know this? Might need a support group. GL
I'll get Victor to give him your number. SH
You'll do well. You do most of the time. SH
‘If I were to get married, would you mind if my husband lived here too?’
‘We’re talking about Victor, right? Should be ok, it's been fine when he's stayed here before.’
‘Good. Because I said yes. Texted yes. Whatever. And I like it here.’ Sherlock lay back down on the sofa with a decisive thump.
Sherlock looked up and gave him a mischievous grin. ‘You’re in charge of the flowers.’
John’s well-aimed cushion did nothing to stop Sherlock giggling into the arm of the settee. ‘Since when would you have flowers, anyway?’
‘Mummy. She insists.’ He flipped over onto his back. ‘I’m surprised we’re getting away without her insisting on some huge do, but really it’s better not to argue.’
‘Flowers then… surely Mrs Hudson would be better?’
‘Probably. Will you help, though? I’d… like that.’
Planning began in seriousness with the arrival of Victor and his best man, Richard, the former about to start a new job based at Kew, the latter to see exactly what he’d let himself in for.
‘You’re the one who got them together?’ Richard asked Greg in the car on the way back from the airport. In the back seat Victor was dozing against Sherlock’s shoulder, and Sherlock was pestering his brother about something-or-other via text. John was giggling his way through some of Mrs Hudson’s ideas for the speech.
‘I can't thank you enough, I was this near coming to England and telling Sherlock myself... And thank goodness you reassured Victor about the proposal.’
‘From what I hear you’re as much responsible as I am. I’m not quite sure what we’ve let ourselves in for though… You’ve heard about the Holmes family?’
‘Yes… Sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this. Then I realise I couldn’t really not.’
‘I know. So. Do you know anyone with perfect grammar?’
‘Oh, dears!’ Mrs Hudson greeted them, trying to embrace both Sherlock and Victor. ‘You look wonderful together. Sherlock, your mother phoned, she said that she’d like to meet Victor before the big day. No excuses. You’re both to go to dinner with her tomorrow.’
‘Thank you, Mrs Hudson,’ Sherlock said. ‘This is Richard, Victor’s best man.’
‘Five handsome men in the house, aren’t I the lucky one. Go on, upstairs with you all, I’ll bring tea and some material. We need to get your colours right, Victor.’
‘Too much Connie Prince,’ Sherlock muttered with the air of one who had been subjected to this before. ‘Probably best to go with it, she had a fit when she saw what Greg and John had come up with yesterday.’
‘It was a trial!’ Greg protested. ‘Get the easy parts out of the way and all that.’
‘It was when Greg asked Do these two colours go together? And John replied You're asking ME? That I began to worry,’ Sherlock confided to Victor. ‘Apparently we’re not supposed to clash.’
It soon became usual for one half of the wall of 221B to be covered with notes from Sherlock’s latest case and the other to be covered with what John called The Wedding Stuff. Thankfully Greg had Anthea’s phone number, and they spent an afternoon with diaries and a list of Sherlock’s relatives trying to sort a date that didn’t clash with some Norwegian vote, Great-Aunt Mable’s birthday or Eurovision. ‘You really don’t want to know,’ Anthea said about the latter. After that, sorting out a location and invites for the Holmes family was easy, and lists were duly prepared. Anthea, it turned out, did Mycroft’s Christmas cards for him.
‘Richard and Victor can sort a list of Victor’s friends,’ Sherlock said later that evening. ‘Then there’s Mrs Hudson, she’ll want a proper invitation. You and John, of course. Mike Stamford. Anthea in case the world goes to ruin while Mycroft’s stuffing his face. Angelo. Molly, if only to see if we can find someone suitable for her.’
‘Anderson?’ John shouted from the kitchen.
‘NO!’ Sherlock and Greg shouted in unison.
‘Something plain for the invitations,’ Sherlock said fake-dreamily.
‘Watch it, or we’ll get Molly to design them,’ Greg threatened. ‘Talking of, you really should do something with that hand before your mother decides to descend and take over.’
Sherlock shuddered. ‘She’s not, is she?’
‘I’ve been putting her off ever since she found out I was helping plan it. She tried calling at work and got Sally at one point. That was… interesting. Oh, Sally demands an invite, wants to see this with he own eyes.’
‘I hear you’ve got yourself a fiancé,’ Sally said casually when Sherlock walked onto the next crime scene.
‘Yes. I see you’ve been spending your nights at your own flat for once.’
‘Should I be congratulating John or is this some other poor loony?’
‘Sherlock! In here, now!’ Greg shouted before things got too heated. Sherlock obeyed, glaring at Sally as he left.
‘It’s not me,’ John said hurriedly. ‘He’s one of Sherlock’s old university friends.’
‘Surprised you’re still running around after him.’
‘We are still friends, you know. Where is this crime scene, anyway.’
‘I’ll show you. He’s really getting married? This isn’t some joke?’
John rolled his eyes. ‘Yes, he is, no, it isn’t, and before you ask, yes, Victor knows what he’s getting himself into, and they do actually like each other.’
'Never would have thought.'
'John, I need your help.'
'Sherlock, are you ok? Where are you?'
'Roof of 221. Mummy's just arrived and she's got fabric samples...'
'I thought Greg was organising all that? Or Mrs Hudson, anyway.'
'Mrs Hudson called in Mummy. According to Mycroft, who is equally clueless, that shade of cream should on no account go with that shade of blue.'
'...I knew there was something wrong. Just knew it. Hang on a second, I’ll see what I can do.’
‘Do I want to know?’ Victor asked early one Sunday morning, when he found Greg on the living room floor with several lists and a huge diagram.
‘Seating plan. Anthea should be round soon for the full details of the Holmes warfare. How was your dinner with Mummy, by the way? I never asked.’
‘Fine, in the awkward, try-not-to-say-anything-wrong sort of way. Mycroft and Sherlock bickered all the way through about the music, so that took some of the pressure off. No need to worry who sits next to who on my side of the rabble, they’ll go anywhere, and swap randomly as they feel like it.’
‘Have the ones from India managed to all find places to stay yet?’
‘Mostly. Quite a few have friends and family over here, and some of the people at Kew have offered spare rooms, so it should be fine. Richard’s on the sofa again.’
‘Well, that’s something at least.’
Victor sat down opposite him, and looked at the instructions. ‘I thought Sherlock and Mycroft were bad…’
‘Welcome to your future in-laws.’
‘Had to happen sometime. Wouldn’t give up on Sherlock just to avoid them. Wouldn’t give up on Sherlock for anything.’
‘Good. I didn’t think you would. I think Sherlock tries to avoid his family anyway, so you should be fine.’
‘Greg, we. Well, thank you. I doubt just thank you is enough, because you, and John and Mrs Hudson and Richard and everyone else, but you especially, you’re being amazing. Really, you don’t have to do all this…’
‘I want to. So do the others. I remember Sherlock when I first knew him, mourning what he never thought he could have, panicking over even seeing you, and from what I’ve heard from Richard you were much the same, if a bit braver. So it’s brilliant to see you two now actually going to be married. And if I can help you a bit along the way, that’s the least I can do. Now, go and give your fiancé a hug and bring him through to explain his family feud.’
‘You ok, sir?’
‘Hm. Still can’t work out if that’s right or not.’
‘Give it here, I’ll proof read. John’s downstairs for you, by the way. Something about shopping?’
‘Presents and the last minute stuff. At least the females took control of the colours, although I think the ties now match the candles.’
‘At least you don’t have to worry about new dresses.’
‘No, but I’ve heard all about Mrs Hudson’s. What on earth do I get them for a present?’
‘Disinfectant if that finger’s still in the butter. What are other people doing?’
‘From what I’ve heard, most of the Holmes family are going down the kitchen and linens route, and depending on how many are with it, there will possibly be lace. Mycroft’s got some sort of top-secret stuff set up for the pair of them, but only if Sherlock doesn’t encourage my children to be bad influences on his. I’m not even considering what Mrs Hudson’s knitting and Victor’s friends are going for bees.’
‘You’ve not noticed Sherlock’s bee obsession?’
‘No. Well, unless you’re thinking of getting them a puppy and want to help my sister out by homing one of hers…’
‘You, Sally, are a genius.’
John almost got kidnapped on a case. Sherlock didn’t take it well.
‘I’ll talk to him, yeah?’ Greg said to a rather shaken but perfectly ok John, watching Sherlock pace back and forth in the small alleyway, glaring at his phone. ‘It’ll be the first time something like this has happened with Victor in the same country.’
‘He was panicking a bit about Victor after the whole pool thing,’ John remembered.
‘Not surprised. Look, could you phone Mycroft or Anthea and check that Victor is actually ok?’
‘I’ve been working with manure most of today, and I’m currently standing on a compost heap. No one would want to be anywhere near me. And if Mycroft keeps on sending his minions, they could at least lend us a hand,’ Victor said tolerantly, when they finally got in contact with him. ‘Sherlock, I’m fine, promise.’
‘Good,’ Sherlock said. ‘Um…’
‘Give me twenty minutes or so then I’ll get hold of my own phone and have a proper talk to you. I take it you’ve caught the people involved?’
Sherlock smiled, softly. ‘Will have in twenty minutes. Love you.’
‘Love you too. Go on, help bring peace to the streets.’
‘Should you what?’
‘Marry him. He’s going to be in much more danger. I… don’t want him to be, and he’s not like you or John. He’s… good about my work, but how much can I expect?’
Greg sighed, and sat next to Sherlock on the small wall outside the latest crime scene. It wasn’t a case Sherlock was even remotely likely to be interested in; even Anderson could tell who the murderer was. Sherlock had apparently hunted him down here for a quiet panic. ‘Victor wouldn’t want you to give up the cases would he?’
‘No. He realises, I think, how, why, I need them.’
‘And he understands the danger, you know. Oh, come here.’ Greg put a reassuring arm around Sherlock’s shoulders and pulled him to him. ‘I know that most people seemed to assume you were unattached or with John, probably still do, but he’s always been in a dangerous position. Mycroft and I sat him down and made sure he understood exactly what he was going into, right at the beginning, and I checked when he asked for advice about the proposal. What could happen, even with the layers of protection and back-up plans we all set up. Didn’t want him freaking out and leaving you later. He does understand, and he still asked you to marry him. So…’
‘I shouldn’t worry?’
‘I swear that the two of you could worry for the Olympics, if there were such an event. No, there’s no need. You two will get married, and it will be amazing.’ He felt Sherlock relax against him and chuckle slightly.
Greg pulled Sherlock into a proper hug, before releasing him and standing up. ‘You’d better, got the speech all sorted now. Wouldn’t want it to go to waste.’
Sherlock was laughing as they parted.
‘You’re drunk,’ Sherlock mumbled drowsily as Victor came in.
‘Just because your stag do involved decomposing bodies. You going to let me have any duvet?’
‘Might. Don’t throw up.’
‘I’m not that drunk. There were elephants.’
‘Before or after the alcohol?’
‘Before. And after. Probably during. Mostly toys. John’s got one, took quite a liking to it after the third pint. Ask him tomorrow.’
‘He’ll be grumpy. Always is when he’s hung-over.’
‘Greg and John said you’d been worrying about what could go wrong at stag nights.’
‘How was it?’
‘I can reassure you that I’m all in one piece, didn’t end up doing anything illegal or having a one night stand with anyone, or even try to. There were strippers, but they were for the hen do on the other side of the pub, and to be honest, I’ve got everything I want here, even if he won’t give up the duvet.’
‘Fine.’ Sherlock released a side of the duvet so Victor could curl in next to him. ‘Mind the bear.’
‘He can have an elephant for company. Plenty in the front room.’ He rearranged them until Sherlock was in his arms.
‘It seems like a dream sometimes, us being together,’ Sherlock mused sleepily. ‘Well, except Cousin Nigel phoning up to rant because Mycroft’s doing the music.’
‘Do I want to know what you said?’
‘I said I was examining the decomposition rates of a brain, and I didn’t have time to talk. That seemed to get rid of him.’
‘Only you. Trouble with dreams, you wake up. This, you don’t get that. Better that way. Because, if it’s a dream, it’s a very good one, and I’d never want to wake up. Despite almost cousin-in-laws.’
Sherlock softly kissed their joined hands. ‘Lucky it’s not, then.’
‘I’m not here. We’ve eloped!’
‘Have we?’ Victor asked from the stairs as he came in with the papers.
‘Sherlock’s gone on strike since he found out that Mummy has organised some sort of posh car for them,’ John explained.
‘Can’t we sneak there early and leave the car for Mrs Hudson and Greg’s kids?’ Victor suggested.
‘Mummy would kill the best men for allowing that to happen,’ Richard complained. ‘Where is Greg, shouldn’t he be here by now?’
Sherlock wandered through. ‘He’ll be late, his daughter’s hair always takes longer than he thinks it should.’
‘As does getting you two into your suits,’ John muttered. ‘Go on, jeans and pyjamas aren’t going to cut it.’
Sherlock and Victor looked stunning. Greg and Richard swapped proud smiles, and Greg could see Mrs Hudson and Mrs Holmes sniffing into their hankies. John, sitting next to Mrs Hudson, was blinking suspiciously, as was Greg by the time Sherlock and Victor finished saying their vows.
Angelo and Sally led the cheers when Sherlock and Victor kissed, gently but full of love. Confetti flew as the ceremony came to a close.
‘Wasn’t it lovely,’ Sherlock’s Great-Aunt Jane twittered to Greg after the meal and the speeches, watching as Sherlock and Victor completed their first dance and were pestered into dancing with the children. ‘You can tell those two are perfect for each other. Such a wild young man was Sherlock, but he’d always listen to my stories. Especially the ones with wicked happenings, although young boys are like that, aren’t they? Martin who lives down the road is exactly the same. Sherlock’d be the only one who could guess the ill-doer, though.’
‘Started young then,’ Greg replied with a laugh.
‘A bright boy. Inquisitive. I’m not surprised he fidgeted through the photos. He’ll do well.’
‘Ha, had to bribe him with a cold case to get him to do more than the basic photos. And he already has done well.’
‘Of course he has. That speech was perfect, while you’re here. They do blush prettily.’
‘Thank you. One of the most daunting things I’ve done for years. You must meet Mrs Hudson, she added most of the innuendo.’
‘I can’t wait!’
John looked shocked at Anthea’s offer. ‘Um… yeah. I’d be delighted.’
‘Just this once, mind. And I won’t tell you my name.’
‘Sally. If you want a dance, there are several of Victor’s friends who wouldn’t hesitate to say yes. Any, I think, would do, although you might want to choose one who doesn’t live in India.’
Sally gave in and gave Sherlock a hug. ‘Congratulations. Never would have thought you’d let someone in, but, it’s obvious you’ve found the right one. Not going to stop calling you Freak, though.’
‘I would never expect that, Sally. Wouldn’t be the same.’
Sally smiled and hugged Victor too when he walked up. ‘He’s a madman, Victor, but I expect you know that.’
‘I do. I love him anyway.’’
After saying goodbye to and thanking Richard, Sherlock and Victor slipped out of one of the back doors while no one was watching. They caught Greg along the way, and he found himself being embraced by two extraordinarily happy men.
‘Thank you, really. You were amazing,’ Victor said.
‘You should tell your children, they have a truly good, kind-hearted man as a father,’ Sherlock added. ‘The best at the Yard, too.’
Greg blushed. ‘I will. Thank you.’
Sherlock’s phone rang. ‘Car,’ he said. ‘We’d better go. Don’t mess up any crime scenes while I’m gone.’
Victor rolled his eyes and prodded Sherlock. ‘Behave. See you soon, Greg.’
‘Off you go, you two. It’s good to see you made it.’ He watched with a fond smile as they disappeared into the car-park.
John: We admit we had to get Mrs Hudson and Lestrade’s brood to help with the cleaning, but it was a bit mad this morning. No experiments anywhere, and all the chemicals are in our room. There should be a plentiful supply of beer, milk, tea and other foodstuffs in the fridge and cupboards, and we believe that you have been looking for these DVDs. Thank you for everything. SH and VT.
John smiled as he looked around the gleaming kitchen in 221B. It’d be a mess again as soon as the couple’s puppy arrived, but for now he relished the thought of being able to find a clean cup and not have staring contests with Sherlock’s latest body part.
Mrs Hudson squealed in surprise at the huge bunch of her favourite flowers and box of chocolates on the kitchen table. ‘Oh, boys, you didn’t need to,’ she said to herself, but was smiling anyway.
From: Sherlock Holmes
Attached are several clips of Mycroft in school plays. Nativity age four is especially amusing. Do with them what you will.
Sherlock and Victor
To: Sherlock Holmes
Thank you. Enjoy the honeymoon. Local police have been notified if Sherlock finds an interesting crime.
Richard gasped in surprise when he found a small second hand book full of beautiful illustrations in his pocket. He’d been trying to find a copy for years, whenever he was in England. He knew who it was from without even reading the ‘Great speech. Thank you for everything. VT and SH’ written on the first page.
‘What’s that?’ Greg’s daughter asked, when he finally found her in a corner teaching Mycroft’s son how to make paper aeroplanes.
‘That envelope in your pocket?’
Greg pulled it out and looked at the writing. ‘Sherlock. He normally pickpockets rather than leaves things, though.’
‘He can pickpocket?’
‘Don’t even think about it. Huh. Well.’
‘Looks like we’re going on holiday.’
We can’t thank you enough, for everything you have done for both of us. The care and kindness you’ve shown us. You needn’t have worried about the speech. You did well.
I know that you regret being able to spend so little time with your children, and we were both pleased that they could come to London today. You love them a lot and they deserve to see more of their father.
Mycroft owes me a favour. You’ve got two weeks extra paid leave from Monday and use of the family cottage in Northumberland. The address and the key are enclosed. It’ll be cold, but the children should find lots to do. Everything is sorted, bar your packing. Sally should be more than capable of looking after things at the Yard.
Thank you for everything. For helping us become what we are now. And everything else.
‘What is?’ Victor asked as he leant against Sherlock, waiting for the sun to rise over the hills.
‘How… happy one simple thing can make you. Not that things weren’t happy before…’
‘I know. Confirmation, maybe, of what’s there.’
‘I’m glad I fell in love with you. That I stayed in love with you.’
‘And I’m glad I fell in love with you. I don’t think I could ever stop.’ He turned around so they were face to face, hands held. ‘I love you, Sherlock Holmes, and I could never wish for a better husband.’
‘And I love you, Victor Trevor,’ Sherlock replied. ‘There’s no one I’d prefer to have as a husband, and to be here with now.’
Their hug then was even more special than their previous kiss. They’d remember both.