Disclaimer: I don't own "Sherlock Holmes" or any of its characters. That all belongs to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Guy Ritchie, etc.

Inspired by: "Seasons of Love" from the musical RENT.

October 8th, 1899 (Five Years Later)

"Anthony Pascal Holmes, for the last time, the dog is not a horse! Do NOT ride him!"

The little boy with his father's smirk and his grandmother's eyes obeyed immediately, flushing bright red at being caught again. The poor bulldog, Gladstone the Second, ambled off gratefully and nestled onto the last remaining rug on the floor. Anthony studied the animal intently, wondering if perhaps he could get away with riding him again. Soon enough, though, he was distracted by the "tag" he'd received from his sister and he took off after her. Madeline shook her head, half-grinning as she turned her attention to the box in front of her.

"I swear, I do not have enough eyes to keep watching these children and pack," she groused good-naturedly. As she sorted another stack of newspapers into the crate, another box landed heavily next to her.

"I'd say I'd watch the children instead of packing, but then you would have to start paying me again," Victoria murmured, kneeling down beside her good friend and smiling cheerfully. The racket of playing children echoed in the hallways of 221B, drawing closer to the flat on a few occasions.

"Heaven forbid that," Mrs. Holmes snickered. Her bright green eyes flicked over Victoria and then around the rooms. The majority of the chaos was actually under control and in storage now, and in truth it made her feel a little depressed. Six years in this place did not seem like much time, now that they were preparing to leave it all.

In the wake of marriage and the raising of the twins, both Madeline and Sherlock realized that there was just not enough room in the flat for their family and the business. With Tony and Isabel getting older and clambering all over the furniture (not to mention getting into Mrs. Hudson's private room with their father's lockpick set), they decided to find an actual house. Holmes himself was occupied with an ongoing investigation, but that did not stop him from lining up home listings, crunching the numbers, and in the end viewing only two houses with Madeline before deciding on the new domicile. The place was lovely, only a few blocks over from Cavendish Place and Watson, with three stories and a cellar room for Holmes to perform his experiments in.

Though he'd performed his duties beautifully, he would not speak upon the matter unless he had to. Madeline suspected that he was a tad sentimental over the flat, but being Sherlock he would never own up to it or even allow himself to think he was. However, his wife allowed herself to muse on it as the moving day drew closer and closer.

Six years, living under the same roof as Sherlock Holmes…teaching Izzy to walk…Holmes instructing Anthony on the finer points of observation and fact-gathering…nights spent reading children's stories…nights spent going over case files and offering opinions that often made Sherlock laugh, considering how off the mark they were…eating meals with Mrs. Hudson…sitting and holding a sleeping child…

Suddenly three bodies slammed through the doorway of Watson's old rooms, wrestling for control over the rings for a game of quoits. The noise drew Madeline out of her reverie, and caused a giggle to fly out of Victoria's mouth.

"At least they aren't playing knur and spell indoors," she said under her breath. "Again."

Madeline chuckled. "After breaking three vases and Alastair's old baseboard, I think they've learned."

The biggest of the three, William Watson, was crawling away from the twins, keeping the rings stretched out before him as he went along. In just two months the boy would be turning eight years old, and he had grown so much in the past five years. When looking back on old daguerreotypes, Victoria could see that Willy was the spitting image of John, save for the wide gray eyes that belonged to Mary. And the interminable freckles. Tony was clinging to his left leg, acting as a dead weight in the hopes of tiring his older and bigger opponent out. Thinking logically, he quickly motioned for Isabel to give up her hold on the right leg and climb up Willy's back. As she complied, he swiped his shaggy brown hair out of his eyes and held on tighter.

Izzy was a tough girl, determined to match her brother and their "cousin" in every endeavor they encountered. She kept up with them whenever they went out to play ball, or even wrestle, despite their efforts to the contrary. At just five years old, she was completely set on proving all the norms of her gender wrong, and pushing the rules until they bent to her will. Coupled with a detective's dark gaze and fantastic capacity for understanding, there was no denying her paternity.

"Children!" Victoria finally intervened, cutting their struggle short with a sharp tone. "Enough of this. Give me the rings, now."

Sullenly, the twins released Willy, their gazes dropped to the ground in mock shame. William stumbled over a stack of books, but managed to make his way across the room and handed her the toys.

"Sorry," he muttered, turning to go. A gentle grip on his arm stilled him.

"You understand that I do not want you three to get hurt while running around these boxes and such, correct?" Victoria questioned him, kneeling down to look him in the eye. "I just want you all to be safe as we finish up here. The porters will be by soon and then the rooms will be empty, but until then you have to be careful and watch out for Tony and Izzy. Will you do that for me?"

Hesitantly, William looked up, conflicting looks of shame at being scolded and pride at being trusted with the protection of the younger ones battling on his face. Eventually, the pride won out.

"Yes, Mum. You can trust me," he replied brightly, flashing her a quick grin before striding over to the waiting five-year-olds with his chest puffed out. He liked being told he was older and more mature; it made him feel important. Under this woman's care and devotion, the boy had flourished, treating her like she was his true mother. For her part, Victoria felt her lips twist into a sad smirk, her thumb rubbing her wedding ring absentmindedly.

After that night of discussing marriage, John had gone out and bought her a gorgeous ring. Stunned, she agreed to marry him, but only after a long engagement. She needed time to really, really think about becoming not only a wife, but a stepmother. She also had to decide if she wanted to give up her independence and pin all her aspirations on a single man. Two months into the engagement, she realized that she was not just ready, but incredibly willing. She loved William as if he were her own son. And John…John was the only man she ever respected other than her father. He was the only man she'd ever let through her indifferent exterior and into her heart. She truly loved, truly, no matter how bad the rows were, no matter how badly his day with patients had been or her time visiting relatives had gone. She learned that his love would keep her afloat…alive. The engagement went on for seven months, and on May 21st, 1895 they were wed. Four years of ups and downs, trailing after William, learning to run a household as a wife and not a servant, of being in love with life...and that was not all they had shared in four years.

"At least the babies can still keep quiet," Madeline told her, pushing an old pair of billy clubs into the opened trunk to her left. Both women paused and looked over to the far left, to the window seat, and beamed broadly. Two little ones were napping soundly in the sunlight, unaware of the commotion around them. One was the third Holmes child, Marianne Ruth. The other was tiny Nathaniel Hamish Watson, his thumb tucked into his mouth as he slept.

"Babies" wasn't quite the right word for them; in point of fact, they were toddlers. Madeline and Victoria had gotten pregnant around the same time in 1896, sending both Watson and Holmes into what they liked to call "second pregnancy hell". Sherlock was positively unsettled by it all; how could he not be, when the first pregnancy ended with twins? And poor John was beside himself as well. The last time he'd procreated, his wife only lived a year with their son before she succumbed to illness. Both women came out safely, Nathaniel coming first in February of 1897 and Marianne following close behind in March. John had marveled at his second son, was incredibly overjoyed at the fact that Victoria had come out of the excursion with no sign of sickness. William was glad to have a new playmate, although he was as gentle as a six-year-old could be with a baby.

A loud crash bounced off the walls and up the stairwell, and both women looked at each other in panic. Did the children fall down the stairs? Just before they could get up and investigate for themselves, they heard laboring grunts and heavy treads coming up for them. Madeline slipped Victoria a billy club and waited for whatever heavy-footed, would-be attacker that was climbing the steps. They dropped their weapons in an instant and began to shriek in hysterical laughter once the figure made it to the top step.

Sherlock Holmes, detective extraordinaire, was at the moment a tree for climbing. At least, he was for the two boys scaling over his back and legs. Needless to say, he did not look the least bit amused. Watson brought up the rear, roaring with laughter as well.

"Stormed him as we came through the door," the doctor explained, prying his son off his "uncle's" back and setting him on his feet. "I suppose they've missed you around the house lately."

"The work needs to be done, Watson, and the last place I want it to be done is in the same rooms where my children sleep," the sleuth admonished him, pulling his own boy up into a tight hug. He'd been away from the flat for the past few nights, cornering thieves down in the Whitechapel district and uncovering a ring of mass-murdering cultists in the process. He was, visibly, exhausted but otherwise he carried himself in the same state one would find him in: contemplatively observant. He surveyed his rooms, barren now except for two crates, four boxes, and a trunk filled with old weaponry, let alone the heavy mahogany wardrobe. Carefully, he went to the window seat and dropped a kiss on his sleeping daughter, his wife coming up on his right and putting her arms around him. Closing his eyes briefly, he lay his head on top of hers for a moment. It was good to be back in his familiar surroundings, with people he actually cared for. "Where is Isabel?"

Madeline glanced behind him and snorted. "Climbing the wardrobe, trying to get your attention."

Pivoting on his heel, he chuckled under his breath. He witnessed, with amusement, his little girl indeed scaling the immovable furniture with ease. Once she caught her father look at her, she waved demurely with one hand and held on tight with the other.

"Ah, ma belle fille! Comment êtes-vous cet après-midi?" he asked her, setting Tony down and crossing over to her. Jumping into his outstretched arms, his little girl buried her face in his chest for a second before answering.

"Je suis très bien, Papa!" she answered him, grin widening. Tony, not wanting to be left out, tugged on Sherlock's trouser leg.

"Elle pleurait tout le temps que vous avez été absent." He stuck his tongue out cheekily at his twin, daring her to say otherwise.

"I did not!" she cried, swinging in Holmes' arms and trying to swat her brother.

"Enough, you two, that's quite enough," Sherlock reprimanded them both as he put Isabel back on the ground. "I trust you both behaved for your mother while I was off?"

Like a pair of angels, they both smiled sweetly and nodded in time. Glimpsing their mother's raised eyebrow and grin of bemusement, he clicked his tongue.

"I certainly hope that's true. Otherwise…" He let the sentence end there, allowing his children to fill in the gaps as they chose. Soon enough they would get to be the age to understand that empty threats would be just that, so he made do with what he had. Madeline frowned in disapproval, but let the matter go…for now.

"When do the porters come?" Victoria cut in, pushing the lid shut on one of the boxes.

"They're waiting outside until you're finished in here," John answered her, straightening his son's suspenders. In a whisper he asked, "And you behaved as well, correct?"

He'd gone with Sherlock on the escapade, but had nearly been taken back to the hospital instead. The wound in his leg was beginning to twist more as he got older, and had almost gotten him caught by the cultists. There was no denying it; John Watson was becoming too weary for the detective business. Filled with great relief at Willy's enthusiastic nod "yes", he turned his attention to his own wife and pecked her on the cheek. They were ignored, blending into the background as Madeline went with Sherlock to fetch up the men and the possessions were taken out.

"Missed you."

"And you as well," she told him, holding tightly onto him so his leg wouldn't give way to the stress. "Hard to believe we won't ever come back here."

"They'll only be down the road, and if anything Mrs. Hudson has to be relieved that she'll never see Holmes again. More than once I thought she'd commit homicide on the man," he tried to throw it off, shifting unsteadily.

"Still," she pressed on, "you've been coming and going out of these rooms for nearly twenty years. Many of your major life events happened right in this very space…I have to imagine it would be hard for you to let it all go."

A clearing throat caught their attention. Holmes had returned, alone, to the now-empty room. All that remained as an indication of his existence there was the "VR" riddled into the paneling and the opened wall safe. He nodded to them, striding over to the window seat and gently picking little Marianne up. The toddler was undisturbed and went on napping, adjusting to Sherlock's arms as she did so.

"I imagine it's hard for both of you," Victoria finished, following the detective's example and gathering up Nathaniel. John pressed a kiss on her lips and on his son's head before she went out. "I'll give you two a moment."

Neither man registered her swift clomping down the stairs, or the chubby bulldog trailing behind her. Rather, they looked around their long-time home, reliving each memory.

Irene. Lestrade and Clarke calling at all hours. Stolen diamonds. Kidnappings. Spectral dogs. The Napoleon of Crime. Building a friendship. Becoming brothers. Guns firing in the darkness. Mary, and the first engagement. Returning from bloody boxing bouts. Holmes ingesting every deadly compound known to man. The first marriage. Madeline's accident. Supposed death, real death, and the second marriage. Victoria's arrival. Children, giving life, taking life. Alastair's final moments in August by the fireplace. The third marriage. Mycroft's laughter. New Christmases, birthdays, special occasions that were special to no one but themselves.

"It's the end of an era," Holmes pronounced carefully, staring out the glass to Baker Street below. On the sidewalk waited Madeline, the twins, Victoria, and William. Mrs. Hudson was perched on the step, the rusted keys to the rooms in her quivering hands. Each face held the promise of the future, and reflected pieces of the past. Glancing down at his youngest in his arms, he found his words to be absolutely true at that moment.

John concurred. "It is…and it's the beginning of a new one."


With that said the magnificent pair of Watson and Holmes straightened their backs, turned on their heels, and exited the rooms of 221B Baker Street for the final time. It was time to go home, to their true homes.

French Translation: 1. Ah, my beautiful girl! How are you this afternoon?
2. I'm very well, Papa!
3. She cried the whole time you were gone.
I used an online translator for that tidbit…I don't really speak or write French so…yeah.

Author's note: So, when I said soon…I meant REALLY SOON. Yes, it's official: "His Home" has come to a close. I want to thank everyone who has stuck with this story, whether you were verbal with your support or silent. You guys truly helped me keep going even when I was ready to give up on this altogether. You all deserve my thanks and cookies. If I had cookies, you would soooo be getting them right now.

Special thanks to xXxSandwich-chanxXx for being an excellent proofreader. Seriously, you've saved my butt so many times from my terrible errors you should get a medal for it.

I may or may not do little one-shots here and there featuring the kids. It's a fun idea, but I'll see if I have the time to do so in between the other projects I'm working on.

I hope you've all enjoyed this story, and I hope you'll enjoy coming back and re-reading it all again in the future…one can only dream, right? ;) Thanks again, everyone, review if you so wish, and I'll catch you all on the flipside!

Story Edited, 7/1/16. Second Edit, 3/16/2021.