John Watson proposed to Sherlock Holmes at a crime scene, which really shouldn’t have surprised anyone. The case was one involving the trading of some rather sensitive information, which was why Mycroft was there to witness. If Sherlock had just set aside his pride long enough to dial his brother when the information had come to light, the situation would have been much simpler for all involved. As it was, the police force was engaged in (and losing) a debate with Mycroft’s people over who had jurisdiction. Sherlock was throwing a tantrum over his brother’s presence, and John was sitting on the back of an ambulance. There was blood on his forehead and he looked slightly dazed as his eyes moved to follow Sherlock’s emphatic hand gestures, but he had managed to convince the paramedics that a hospital visit was unnecessary.
“How much longer do we get to listen to you harass your brother, you ridiculous git?” John asked eventually.
Sherlock snorted and threw the other man an icy glance. “I am not ridiculous.”
“You are,” John said. “Completely ridiculous in every possible way. No wonder I want to marry you.”
His voice was a bit too loud, possibly from passion, more likely as a result of firing a gun several times in the past hour without ear protection. The scene ground to a jerky halt, as those who had heard stared at John, and those who hadn’t tried to figure out what everyone was staring at. Mycroft, for his part, made note of the general reaction and then focused on his brother, who stood with his mouth open, but still. Whatever insult he had been about to utter had apparently evaporated.
“Fuck, I didn’t mean to say that,” said John.
Sherlock’s face went from shocked to amused, and perhaps a touch disappointed, though Mycroft was confident no one else would notice that. John might have, normally, but apparently that blow he’d taken had been harder than they’d realized.
“I’ll delete it, if you like, but it appears several of our colleagues are planning on bringing this up at every opportunity,” Sherlock said.
“God, no, delete it, this does not follow the plan.”
“What plan?” Sherlock asked. Mycroft didn’t smile, but he wanted to. Of all the obvious questions.
“The plan on how to propose to you, idiot,” John said. “Now delete this so I can do it properly.”
Sherlock grinned, wide and honest. “You haven’t actually proposed, only expressed a desire to do so. But why don’t you save that for when you’re not suffering from a probable concussion?”
John licked his lips. “I wanted to surprise you.”
“You do,” Sherlock said. “Constantly.”
“Let’s go home,” said John, softly.
The moment was somewhat spoiled by the paramedics, who had changed their minds about the hospital.
Two days later, Mycroft received a text from his brother.
Father’s wedding band was left to me. –SH
This was true. Their mother, apparently having decided that her progeny could not be trusted to divide their inheritance amicably, had drawn up a long, complicated will detailing what each son should receive, and the reasoning behind each decision. Their mother’s wedding ring had gone to Mycroft, while Sherlock had received their father’s. Until now, however, Mycroft had kept both in one of his safe deposit boxes, along with some of the other family jewelry. This was the first time Sherlock had expressed an interest in any of it.
Also several of Grandmother’s paintings and the house in Sussex. Shall we go over the rest of the will as well? –MH
Sherlock’s reply was almost instantaneous.
Don’t be deliberately obtuse. You know why I’ve brought it up. –SH
Also quite true. Mycroft knew what this was about—John. The deceptively normal man who had managed to—well, not tame Sherlock, it would likely break John’s heart to see Sherlock tamed, but influence him, at least, in a way no one else could. So there was really only one response Mycroft could give. Any attempt at refusal or even delay would require an explanation he was not prepared to give—the truth, of course, was right out, and a lie was likely to be interpreted as disapproval of John. Not only would that cause catastrophic damage to his already fragile relationship with Sherlock, but Mycroft was actually rather fond of the doctor, and found himself reluctant to slight him in that way. No, the only thing for it was to give Sherlock the ring and feign satisfaction (and perhaps a touch of nostalgia would be appropriate as well?) when he saw it on John’s finger.
I’ll pick it up tomorrow. -MH
As promised, Mycroft stopped by the bank the next day. It had been years since he had held his father’s wedding band—he’d not touched it since Mummy’s death, when he’d taken it from the chain she’d worn it on after Father’s accident and placed it in the safe deposit box. It really was a fine ring, gold, with an embossed foliate design. An antique, at least one other relative had worn it before their father, though Mycroft didn’t know who or when. It would fit John well enough, lucky since resizing it might be a risky undertaking. A fine ring, and a family one. Sweet, if rather cliché—this was what John H. Watson had reduced his brother to.
That was unnecessarily snide. John loved Sherlock, and was very good for him. And the gesture was a good one as well, the sort it rarely occurred to Sherlock to make. He certainly shouldn’t be discouraged on those miraculous occasions when it did. And the ring held far different connotations for Sherlock than it did for Mycroft.
Sherlock had been quite young still when their father had passed, and so recalled him as he had seemed through a child’s eyes. Insomuch as he was capable of romanticizing anything, Sherlock did so with the memory of Siger Holmes. Their father had been a good man, Mycroft believed that. Strong-willed, but patient, he had adored their mother and, despite a successful career, had never been too busy to help quench his sons’ thirst for knowledge.
But Mycroft also remembered the family friend who had thrown his son out of the house after he brought home his boyfriend. Siger had sat his friend down, poured him a strong drink, and told him he’d done the right thing.
“Your wife must be in pieces,” Siger had said. “Let’s hope it’s just a phase.”
After the friend had left, Mycroft had asked his father for an explanation. The man had shaken his head.
“You’re too young to be exposed to this,” he’d told his son. “But that’s not answer enough for you, is it? Sometimes, Mycroft, people do unnatural things. Leave it at that for now.”
Decades later, Mycroft held his father’s ring and thought of Dr. John Watson. Loyal, mad John, who put up with Sherlock because of who he was, rather than in spite of it. Would their father still call it unnatural, if he could see the way John’s hand on his wrist could steady his wild son?
The speculation was pointless. Their father was gone; John was here. Welcoming his new brother-in-law to the family was far more important than lingering on a dead man’s blindness. So Mycroft took the ring, returned the box, and directed his driver to Baker Street. John should have gone to work. Sherlock would be waiting.
Mycroft climbed the stairs to 221b. Sherlock was sprawled on the sofa with a book.
“Well?” Sherlock said without looking up.
Mycroft set the ring on the coffee table in front of his brother. Sherlock picked it up and examined it.
“It’ll fit,” he said. “He’ll like it.”
Both sentences are statements, but Mycroft detected a touch of uncertainty in the latter.
“He will,” Mycroft said. “John appreciates history.”
“Yes,” Sherlock said. “He and Father would have got on well, I think.”
“I’m sorry they never had the chance to meet,” Mycroft lied. “He would have been so proud of you. Of the life you’ve built.”
Sherlock smiled. Mycroft could not remember the last time he’d seen such a joyful expression on his brother’s face.