Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were originally the intellectual property of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; this incarnation belongs to Moffat, Gatiss, and the BBC studios.
by Sophia the Scribe
"Take cover, John!"
Sherlock Holmes's warning of the fleeing gunman's change of pace was instantly heeded, and he and Dr. Watson skidded to a stop behind two of the concrete supports evenly spaced throughout the half-empty parking garage. Not an instant later, bullets cracked into the cement.
The two men's eyes met. The detective's pointed glance and the doctor's sharp nod were sufficient to introduce and confirm a plan of action. They waited for the hail of gunfire to stop; then with one accord they moved to the side, shot upward toward the same target, and slid back into safety before their man could so much as aim.
The sprinkler pipe on the ceiling cracked open with the force of the two shots and the criminal, suddenly doused in cold water, shouted in surprise. The pistol slipped from his grasp.
Immediately the hunters sprang into the open. The former soldier trained his weapon on the man's chest and commanded,
"Hands in the air! Now!"
The former spy moved, quick as lightning, to snatch up the fallen pistol and rest it lightly against his shoulder, leaving his own aimed at the man's skull. Sensing his defeat, their quarry raised his hands and dropped to his knees.
Detective Inspector Lestrade burst into the garage with a contingent of police officers, who very efficiently surrounded the criminal and made short work of handcuffing him.
Sherlock and John returned their sidearms to their holsters, and the former absent-mindedly placed the criminal's weapon in Lestrade's waiting, outstretched palm. Suddenly he froze, eyes locked on the handcuffed criminal's; then he was but a blur of motion toward a pair of parked vehicles, they heard a thump and a muffled yell, and Sherlock's voice said, calmly,
"Idiot boy. Your girlfriend left to try to pull you out of the life of crime, not push you back toward it. Once you're out of prison get your act together; you may yet have a chance with her." He dragged the terrified young man to the waiting police. "And with your life," he added under his breath, then called to Lestrade,
"Thank you for removing these morons, Detective Inspector."
The DI grinned, and jogged over to Sherlock and John. He held out his hand, which each of them grasped in turn.
"Thank you two for finding them. See you in the morning for paperwork, yes?"
Sherlock nodded curtly, but John both chuckled and groaned theatrically.
"I thought selling my practice would get rid of that stuff. Now you're making me do more?"
Lestrade crossed his arms. "I get you both liaised with New Scotland Yard for consulting work, with badges in your pockets and checks in your hands, and this is all the thanks I get?"
"Thank you," Sherlock muttered distractedly, peering at his phone intently before rapidly tapping out a text.
Lestrade and John exchanged amused glances.
"Oh!" The detective looked up in sudden remembrance and locked his piercing gaze on the DI. "Are you coming to Molly's thing on Saturday?"
He managed to say "Molly's thing" with such an inflection that anyone listening who was not "in the know" would not—and did not—assume that it was actually the annual celebration of Sherlock's own return from not-death.
"Course I'll be there, mate." Lestrade grinned. "Besides, I couldn't miss a chance to see the goddaughter, now could I?"
John chuckled in agreement.
Sherlock blinked, filing away this affirmative reply, then turned in a swirl of Belstaff coat and silk scarf and strode toward the exit. "Come on, John! We have a consultation in half an hour, and it wouldn't do much for the image to be late!"
John shook hands once more with Lestrade with a quick "See you tomorrow, Greg" then hurried after his colleague, who was again calling, "Come on, John," as the taxi he had flagged pulled up to the curb.
"221B Baker Street!"
Sherlock Holmes sat in his chair, eyes half-closed and fingers steepled in concentration. John handed the nervous client a cup of tea as he attempted to stutter out his story before the famous detective and his equally-famous blogger.
Partway through the stuttering, when it appeared that a lot more incoherent syllables but little more pertinent information was forthcoming, the detective stood up and strode to the window.
"That will be all for now," he said, "I'll call when I have an answer for you."
"But…but…" the client protested, "don't you, I mean, don't you already know what…what happened?"
"Not enough data," John and Sherlock proclaimed at the same time, the former amused, the latter dismissive. The client blinked, disconcerted; his watery eyes darted back and forth between the two men as though afraid of both looking and not-looking at one of them for two long.
"Come on," John said, with a bit of a smile, "The best thing for you to do now is go home. We'll get back with you soon." He steered the client out the door and removed the dirty tea cup to the single corner of the once-kitchen-now-lab that was sectioned off for only food, drink, and the corresponding dishes. Mrs. Hudson the long-suffering had conceded much when she allowed her prized London flats to be re-done into an office-laboratory with a library and file-storage in the upstairs bedroom and a waiting room, briefing room, and case-layout room down in old 221C, but though the Baker Street boys both had other residences now she was pleased they could still have this connection to her, even if she had to guard that single safe-for-tea corner from encroaching experiments almost draconically.
Besides, Sherlock Holmes couldn't change address. "221B Baker Street" was almost as iconic as the deerstalker.
"You ready to go, Sherlock?"
"Not quite yet." The man turned from his contemplation of the window with a gleam in his eye and laid his arm around his best friend's shoulders to propel him toward what used to be the downstairs bedroom. "I've one experiment to check before we leave."
John allowed himself to be dragged along, dutifully noted and helped analyze the results of the experiment, then side-by-side helped clean and sterilize the glassware. When they were done, John turned off the lights and left the flat, and Sherlock flipped the small sign hanging from the knocker to "Not Available" and closed the door with a flourish.
"Home!" he announced with a smile.
"Daddy!" Rosie Watson cried as the two men entered the house. She ran and latched onto John's knees with youthful enthusiasm. A smiling Molly followed her into the room, greeted Sherlock with a kiss, and handed him a quietly fussing baby.
"Here, take your daughter, dear. She's been fussy all afternoon waiting for you to get home."
Sherlock lifted the child to eye-level, raised an eyebrow, and said, mock-sternly, "Young lady, behave for your mother. She's had quite enough childish behavior to deal with from me." Said young lady, on hearing his deep baritone, immediately quit crying, let out a delighted giggle, and reached for his enticing curls. Sherlock smiled at his daughter, detached her determined hand from his hair, and pressed a feather-light kiss to her nose. She giggled again.
"Papa," a small but serious voice said from below him, accompanied by an insistent tug on his trousers.
"Ah, yes, young man, what is it?" Sherlock shifted the baby girl to his left hip and laid his right hand on the boy's brown, curly head.
"Mama said you'd listen to me play my piece when you came home, so it can be perfect for Uncle Mycroft and Grandma and Grandpa on Saturday."
"Well, we can't have anything less than that, can we?" Sherlock said, sardonically.
"No sarcasm around the children, Sherlock," Molly reprimanded, though she allayed any suspicion of true exasperation by simultaneously removing the now-content baby from his arms and nuzzling for a moment into his neck. Sherlock pressed a kiss to her hair.
"Coming to hear the masterpiece, John?" he asked as he turned toward the music room.
"No, I think I'll wait for Saturday, if that's all right with my godson?" He looked inquiringly at the boy, whose brow creased in thought for a moment before he nodded silently but earnestly. His father squeezed his shoulder in praise.
"Yes, Rosie and I really ought to be getting home ourselves," John continued. "Ah, ah, ah," he said to the girl's pout, "you know it's getting near dinnertime. Thank your Aunt Molly for looking after you today, and we'll go."
"Thank you, Aunt Molly," Rosie immediately obeyed, and, with an impish grin, followed her father out of the door.
That night, as a once self-proclaimed high-functioning sociopath lay in the gentle darkness of a shared bedroom, listening to the calm breathing of a loving wife and remembering the sweet kisses of children's lips on his stubbled cheeks after long cases, he recognized all that had been given to him and knew it for the grace it was.
On Saturday, everyone he called friend or family would gather to celebrate his extension of life unlooked-for. He could bask in the fact that, unlike during those two awful years, he was not alone. His younger self would have scoffed at the sentimentality of this thought, but now he was older—and wiser.
Though he might still gloss over his humanity to more efficiently work a case, might still enjoy the thrills of the solving even as Molly loved her job most found distasteful and John still craved the adrenaline frowned on in a responsible adult, he now knew and acknowledged one thing: if love for his family ever caused him to lose, it was worth the loss.
So perhaps his and John's previous adventures had been "the best of times." But now? No matter what the future would bring, he saw his blessings, and smiled.
These were the halcyon days.
A/N: Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed my small glimpse of possible life for the Baker Street boys a few years after the Final Problem. I'd love to hear your thoughts about it, if you have a minute to leave a review!
Also, although I now think "halcyon" is a lovely word, I can only grant my knowledge of its existence to elecktrum here on FF.n, as the title of one of her lovely stories. In case any of you are as ignorant as I was before reading that, "halcyon" means "golden" or "idyllic," with connotations of the "good old days gone by."