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Skullduggery (Final Chapter)
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When you're getting married you hope for a pretty day. Even Sherlock Holmes does.

I'm happy to say that my tall drink of water, my darling boy genius, he got what he wished for, and then some.


The quiet wedding of Dr. John H. Watson and Mr. Sherlock Holmes took place in late April, one hundred kilometers mostly-west of London. The setting was a bucolic vineyard, one by some miracle available with very little notice for a very small event.

I expect that was Lizzie's—um, Mrs. Hudson's—doing; she took care of everything. Armed with Mycroft's credit line (she knows both Holmes brothers equally well, which would surprise one of them a great deal) my Ella-Bell not only scouted and booked the location, she directed the installation of the beautiful, understated décor; selected the food and wine; and extended the relevant invitations to the small band of invitees.

What Lizzie could not have done is cause spring skies to be blue and breezes temperate. Then again that gentle woman is such a bad ass mother fucker—today in a frilly burgundy dress—that frankly I would put nothing past her.

The boys were anomalously shy, nervous and quiet most of that spring day, and both were drop-dead gorgeous in nearly-matching charcoal grey cutaways, Sherlock with tails just a touch longer, John opting for a tie over an ascot.

Angelo's sister's wife was their vicar, and the ceremony they chose was in every way traditional (I don't think anyone but Mrs. Hudson and Mycroft saw that coming), with not one word of the wedding vows as found in The Book of Common Prayer changed. The only slight variation came when Sherlock unexpectedly went to his knees as he recited "with my body I thee worship," at the same time slipping the silver ring he'd had made onto John's finger.

Of the fourteen guests in attendance the only one who did not cry was my Lizzie. When you consider she has tangentially been on the front lines of most of John and Sherlock's relationship that is understandable. She was, no doubt, just damn well relieved.

After the ceremony but before the reception that happened almost immediately after, John took hold of Sherlock's now-ringed left hand and whispered, "Come along love, I have a small surprise for you."


They walked down a crushed gravel path, up a gentle slope. They could easily see their friends and family sitting down to the reception dinner on the lawn—the table decorated with sweet peas, tulips, and a daisy-bedecked human skull (hi!)—could hear chatter and champagne and wine corks popping, and yet they were far enough away for privacy.

At the crest of the small rise John stopped walking, gazed skyward, saying nothing. It took just a few seconds before…

…Sherlock looked up.

For a very long time he didn't move. Didn't speak. Didn't seem to breathe. Eventually John glanced at him. That's when he saw Sherlock was crying.

The good doctor sighed. This time Sherlock's tears…they were good. This kind of crying John wanted. He was a little embarrassed and giddy with the wanting of it, but making Sherlock feel this much joy—he'd never stop wanting that.

Wrapping an arm around Sherlock's waist John looked up again.

In the air overhead they swarmed and danced: Thousands upon thousands of honey bees, chubby little officiants buzzing their approval, brilliant in bright finery of yellow and black.

Sherlock could not look away.

He lifted a hand as a phalanx of bees flew low. The little creatures bumbled round and round him, then flew up again to join their buzzing kin.

Sherlock lowered his arm but not his gaze, pressed a fist against the beautiful ache in his chest. "You did this for me?"

John wiped gently at Sherlock's warm tears. "You already know I'd die for you…five thousand bees ordered online? Oh honey, that was a piece of cake."

Sherlock's chin fell to his chest and he giggled in a silly, shaky, bone-melting relief that wobbled his legs until they folded under him.

John followed him down onto the rolling lawn where they both collapsed onto their backs, arms spread, joined in the middle by their hands.

"I never saw this coming," the new Mr. Holmes said.

Sherlock giggled again. Giggled. He felt drunk, he felt like his body was made of something warm and soft and boneless. And he hadn't even touched the champagne, good god no. ("I Sherlock Holmeth, take thee John Watthon, to my lawful wedded huthband…" Definitely not.)

"Which part?" the new Mr. Watson whispered.

John giggled. He had touched the champagne. "All of it I guess. The running down dark alleys at two in the morning. The heads in the fridge and the beetles in the cereal. The success of the blog. The danger and the clues and the fun. But mostly you. Your passion. Your passion for me. The falling in love."

The bees had followed them down, skimming over the grass, dipping into the tiny white daisies scattered over the lawn. Sherlock peered at them as intensely as if they were tiny, beautiful clues.

"You, you gorgeous genius, you probably knew what would happen right from the start."

Sherlock held his hand out over a patch of daisies. Not for the first time or the last he wished he were covered in bees. He was aware this was an odd desire, but he didn't care. He knew one day he'd have hives and he'd hold the queen in his hand and wait patiently for her subjects to come to her. And in coming to her they would come to him. It's what bees do. Sherlock smiled. He wondered what John would say.

Sherlock's smile faltered and faded. For the very first time he realized that John would be there. That John would be there as Sherlock grew old.

The world's only consulting detective blinked a few times very fast. Suddenly his body was not soft or warm or boneless anymore, it was cold and sticky with sudden sweat. He felt dizzy and short of breath.

Mouth watering, jaw working Sherlock sat up on that grass, twisted away from his brand new husband, and he threw up. A lot.

Fortunately he missed the bees.


John rubbed Sherlock's back. Mrs. Hudson rubbed John's back. No one else had been allowed into the winery's very pretty men's loo so no one rubbed Mrs. Hudson's back.

"It's all right. It's really all right. It's just nerves."

Sherlock moaned.

"Or maybe it's something you ate? Did you eat? Good god I didn't feed you anything today did I?"

John frowned, angry with himself, then realized a man can't throw up something if he hasn't eaten something and so yes, Sherlock had indeed eaten and by the look of it—yes, John had looked; he's a doctor after all—he'd actually eaten quite a lot.

"Maybe you ate too much. Do you think you ate too much? And then the nerves just got you? That's all it is. It's too much food and, and…nerves?"

By now John's barely aware that he's patting Sherlock's back, he's instead intently focused on Mrs. Hudson patting his because it may be the only thing preventing him from having a sudden and absolute nervous breakdown.

Why is Sherlock nervous? Is he having second thoughts? Oh god no. No, no, no. I can't live through this all over again, I can't.

"Sherlock, are you—"


"—is there—"


"—I mean are—"


Mrs. Hudson had called John by his given name exactly three times in his whole life and all three had just happened in the last two seconds in the men's toilets at a very lovely vineyard in Berkshire.



"—would you step outside a moment please? I think Sherlock needs a little quiet time. I'll be right out."

The only reason John could think, much less stand up and move, was because Mrs. Hudson had stopped patting his back. John very much wanted Mrs. Hudson to start patting his back again and so he felt quite inclined to do whatever she said. Because honestly, if he had to go through the rougher parts of the last two weeks again he might—



John got off the floor of the men's room at a very nice vineyard in Berkshire and opened his mouth to say something to Sherlock—


John didn't know if Mrs. Hudson had any children so he didn't know if that tone was an innate gift or one she'd developed over time, but with one syllable she managed to convey quite enough to be going on with thank you. With just a glance back toward Sherlock—tall body folded over the toilet, head hanging down—John left the men's room of that very nice vineyard and he stepped out into the bee-buzzing sunshine.


Gregory Lestrade watched what was going on from a distance.

Mycroft Holmes watched what was going on from a similar distance.

Behind them everyone else drank and ate and laughed and discussed the merits of white wine compared to red wine compared to champagne and they gently waved away bees and talked about London and traffic and whether John and Sherlock were actually legally married (they were), and about whether the weather was unseasonably warm this year and a dozen other things that no one would remember very well later (because the white wine and the red wine and the champagne were all very good).

And while they watched from a distance, Gregory Lestrade moved slightly toward Mycroft Holmes, who moved slightly toward Gregory Lestrade, and then Greg said something gently witty and the two of them got to stiltedly chatting while they watched the small hill off in the distance as John paced on it, and then by the time Mrs. Hudson came out of the men's loo and walked toward the doctor a few minutes later Mycroft had made Gregory laugh and then Mrs. Hudson put her arm around John's shoulder and both men knew everything was fine then and so they wandered off along a narrow path and eventually completely lost track of time.


"Did you ever need something so badly for so long that by the time you got it you were exhausted from the wanting of it?"

My Lizzie and John started walking back and forth along that little rise—thankfully someone had already cleaned what needed cleaning—the bees dancing attendance around them. John heard Mrs. Hudson's words as she spoke, but didn't process them for several long moments as he felt Lizzie start to pat his back again. After a moment he nodded.

"Do you understand that that's all that's happened John?"

John thought about that. Did he understand? What was he understanding? He wasn't sure.

Lizzie figured that out before he did, and so she clarified. "He has no second thoughts, John. No doubts. The only thing that happened here is that Sherlock—and I'll quote—'just realized for the first time that when I'm old and fat and have more wrinkles than a fresh body found floating in the Thames, John's going to be there. John just said today that he'll be there. I never thought anyone would be there, Mrs. Hudson. I just never thought anyone would be there.'"

John had long since stopped pacing as Lizzie talked. His ears were hot. He wasn't sure why his ears were hot.

"So Sherlock's in the gents, um, puking from happiness?"

As if she were the doctor and he the patient my BAMF girl nodded. "Yes, John, it looks like he is."

Just as with Sherlock had before him, John found he was so overwhelmed that his bones went to mush and he sank down to the pretty green lawn. Lizzie and that hip, I tell you, the boys are giving it a workout, but she hiked her pretty burgundy dress up to her knees, got down there with John, and patted his back a few more times.

"Sherlock just got so happy he sort of went into shock. That's all John. Everything's good, very good. And about as normal as you two boy ever seem to get."

My BAMF darling smiled, kissed John's temple, and continued to pat his back until Sherlock came out of the loo a few minutes later.


John turned, looked at his lov—at his husband.

At his…husband.

Sherlock No Middle Initial Holmes was now John H. Watson's spouse. His better half. Significant other. Partner. Life mate.

John pressed a hand to his chest. He was, quite possibly, suddenly a little queasy and so wasn't really aware of Mrs. Hudson's gentle hand leaving his back or of her retreating steps, even as he stood and looked at Sherlock.

Is this what miracles feel like, he wondered? Like motion-sickness and bad shrimp and a hangover? Is this how it feels when your life finally, at last, makes perfect sense? When you want absolutely nothing more than what you right this minute have?

John Watson is pretty sure that yes, apparently this is exactly what a miracle feels like. Like you're about to throw up from the absolute perfection of it.

John's husband—in a still-flawless tuxedo, how on earth?—crossed the lawn, stopped in front of him and took both his hands. "Oh no, you too."

Sherlock sees everything, of course he does, but he especially sees John. And right now John's expression mirrored the one Sherlock knew he'd worn just a little earlier.

"Oh we're a pair, Mr. Watson," John murmured.

Sherlock grinned. "Yes we are, Mr. Holmes."

Sherlock looked around them, again felt his heart kick hard in his chest as thousands of tiny I love yous buzzed and darted everywhere. "You said before, 'You probably knew what would happen right from the start.'"

John nodded, "Didn't you?"

Sherlock shook his head. "I'm the blindest fool, John. Because I didn't recognize you, not for the longest time. I didn't know you were my miracle, not until you knew I was yours. And that? That was my miracle. That you picked me, that you…saw me. In every way that's important you always see more, John. You always see so much more."

About then a fat bee, its back legs saddled with pollen, landed on John's chest. It marched confidently across his light grey tie and as it trundled Sherlock had a brief urge to capture that symbolic little insect, hold it, take it home and press it behind glass. Instead he and John watched it shift its bright yellow baggage a little, then fly off.

Sherlock linked their arms. "You're going to be very cross with me in about thirty years, John."

John nodded slowly, "I expect that I will be. What for this time?"

They started walking back toward their friends. "Well, if a person holds a queen bee do you know what happens?"

John sighed for future John. "I'm going to find out in about thirty years am I?"

Sherlock weaved his fingers with John's. "Yes you are. You see, if you hold a queen, her hive will come to her. And so come to you. The thing about bees—"

The End

They don't exist. I know they don't exist. And yet here I am, hoping very much that John and Sherlock grow old and wise and plump together, and that Sherlock's bees make the best honey in England, and that the boys eat it every day with toast and hot tea. And that they're happy. Most of all I hope that they're happy.

Long Time Coming, by the way, tells the story of the week between their engagement and the wedding. Very cracky!

(SabrinaPhynn drew a gorgeous Rory at the wedding and LadyGrinningSouls created a sweet, sweet drawing of our beautiful married boys and their bees. Thank you both!)

In Denmark, as of 15 June 2012, gay couples are able to get married in a church in a ceremony consecrated by a vicar. Thessajensen celebrates this event by translating John and Sherlock wedding stories into Danish, and has kindly included the last chapter of Skullduggery in her translations. Thank you so much Thessajensen, what a beautiful idea!

The last thing I expected was to have a tear in my eye when I finished reading this lovely, lovely fic. I have so totally enjoyed it all the way through, and this chapter is ... okay icing / cake = bad metaphor ... just delightful, and really moving. So well done!

Thank you! I've never been sad finishing a fic before, but I was sad finishing this. I must have leaked that into the words!

Thank you for your lovely comment.

G-d I loved this story. So. Much.

Is this what miracles feel like, he wondered? Like motion-sickness and bad shrimp and a hangover?

Just like that, John. Just like that.

I've enjoyed this so much, W.(and Rory). Thanks for all your hard work (and, you know, all that first hand research you were FORCED to do in England). It' been a great ride!

Thank you! And I will tell Rory. Or Ms. Aurora as she is insisting on being called today (don't know why).

Yes, about that research I was forced to do in England. I believe I am going to be forced to do more research toward the end of the year.

It's a hardship...I tell ya....

Thank you for the comment!

Oh, sweetie, this is an absolutely hilariously-gorgeous and beautiful ending to this story! *huggaluvs you breathless*

I have soggy eyes and a huge smile and I love the craptarts out of this and you. Awesomesauce applied aplenty, bebe.

Awesomesauce *and* craptarts! What a compliment. I feel fabulous!

Thank you my very dear.

One day a better comment will come along... :)

Yeah, maybe they aren't real. But the way we feel, being happy for them, being happy for anybody like this, that's real.
And of course Sherlock would make the very best honey.

I need a tissue now.

*Hands you a tissue*

Yeah, I really, honestly wish them happiness. It's the oddest feeling...

Don't you wish you could buy some of Sherlock's honey? I do.

Thank you for the comment!

Lovely, seriously, just... How do you make vomit coming from anyone over the age of about six weeks CUTE? You nutter. Genius.

I'm a nutter! That's the nicest thing I've been called in weeks. Thank you!

And I'm glad the vomit was cute. I kind of thought so too. I think it works because emotionally speaking Sherlock really *is* about six.

Thank you for commentin'!

With a story like this, Atlin, how could they be anything BUT happy?

Its so bitterswet to see the end, but how very beautiful this story is, complete. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Ohhh, thank you so much for reading and most most most especially for commenting. The comments so very much feed the soul!

I am so glad you enjoyed this.

P.S. You'll see the skull again, promise! And there may just be a honeymoon fic, eventually. Whee!

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Awww, what a sweet comment. Here darlin' take a tissue for those tea—um, yeah, you've got something in your eye there, don't you. *Cough*

You're a sweetie.

(Deleted comment)
I think we all do. I guess that's why it's called fiction. Sigh.

This story gave me so many moments of laughter along the way -- what a gift! Thank you.

I'm glad I made you laugh, very glad! Oh how wonderful of you to take the time to tell me so—what a gift you've given to me.

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*LOL* "Even with the nausea and vomiting"—not every day one gets to offer a compliment in that way, is it?

Ah, what's not to love about Sherlock fan fiction?

Thank you for the comment!


"He has no second thoughts, John. No doubts. The only thing that happened here is that Sherlock—and I'll quote—'just realized for the first time that when I'm old and fat and have more wrinkles than a fresh body found floating in the Thames, John's going to be there. John just said today that he'll be there. I never thought anyone would be there, Mrs. Hudson. I just never thought anyone would be there.'"

That's the most romantic notion ever.

That was just so, so lovely. Mrs. Hudson for the win, the bees! poor sick Sherlock, and the awesomeness of Rory.

You need to bring that skull back. I'm starting a petition for Skullduggery Two: The Married Years.

Oh myyyyyyyy... There are simply not the proper expressions (even if I DID master the English language) to say how absolutely brilliant

a) this story has been
b) and this happy ending in particular

I love the voice of the skull and only wish I could have a little therapy session with her, and BAMF!Mrs. Hudson is just great, and our boys... oooh, the boys....!! Nice little innuendo re. Mystrade, too.

The "puking from happiness" is beyond priceless.

I wish I was an influential publisher or at least agent and could give you a contract.

Umm... just for the record, I am also nunewesen on lj, as well as holmesblog, so if that's okay with you I would like to give a little recommendation of your story there???


Now I know I need to go back to chapter one and read it all over again! :)

A therapy session with Rory—oh wouldn't that be a hoot! Even if everything she said was wrong it'd *sound* right!

P.S. Yes, please feel free to recommend this wherever you like. Oh and P.P.S. I wish you were a publisher or agent too (and how sweet of you to say that). If you ever meet any, introduce me, because I'm looking!

Thank you very much for such an awesome-in-every-direction comment.

Beautiful.Even the puking.And the bees,Atlin.*tears in my eyes for the bees*
And they will be together and happy in Sussex with the hives and the best honey of England.

"they will be together and happy in Sussex with the hives and the best honey of England"

Yes, they will, won't they?

Thank you for not only the comment, but for believing in these characters just as much as I do.


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