Sherlock smiled pleasantly, and with a calculated swing of his hips sashayed across the room. As he did, he declaimed, “How clever of you, Father; you’ve anticipated our happy announcement. I believe we’ve settled on ‘lovers’ as the preferred term, actually. How kind of you to ask.” He turned his gaze briefly on his brother and instructed with a sniff, “Do keep up, Mycroft.”
Mycroft didn’t even bother trying to hide his sigh.
And so, John thought, he was now playing gay for Sherlock’s entire family for the rest of time. Fantastic. He wondered how long it would take for the hints about grandchildren to start cropping up. “I imagine we’ll set a date just as soon as I’ve convinced Sherlock to register for something other than a Bunsen burner and a centrifuge. I keep telling him we desperately need a new electric kettle,” he threw up his hands in genuine frustration, “but he just goes on about blood and-,”
Hannibal pulled the pin out of the grenade.
And on with the tale...
“Just admit it. This is your favourite part of the entire endeavour.” Sherlock glanced over at John who was making no attempt to hide his glee.
“I freely admit it. Sherlock Holmes balancing on a little stool in a dress is ample reward for all the hassle I’ve been put through this year.”
“Several dresses, in fact,” said the mousey brunette who was peering at Sherlock’s hemline from behind a pair of spectacles with round lenses. “This would be a lot easier if you would decide how tall Beatrice is going to be and then stick to it. At your last fitting you were a good three inches taller.”
“It depends on how indulgent he’s feeling,” John explained. “On good days he lets me be taller. Just before the last fitting I’d nicked the last chocolate hobnob.”
Sherlock sniffed indignantly, but before he could launch any sort of counter attack his third cousin twice removed jabbed his shin with a straight pin and he yelped instead. “Sorry,” she said, not sounding sorry at all. “Do hold still, Sherlock.” She went back to pinning the hem for reference and advised John, “I’m almost done here, go ahead and slip into your regimentals, won’t you? I think that one is fine but I want a last look. We want to make sure you look yummy,” she added.
Sherlock looked down at her, a grin teasing the corners of his mouth. “Yummy?”
“Mmm hmm,” she agreed absently. “I know you probably don’t want any competition, cupcake, but your fiancé is, quite frankly, a stud and it’s my job to make sure that comes across loud and clear.”
John made a snerking sort of noise as he dropped his trousers and began to shimmy into the skin-tight bottom half of this particular costume.
“Where are you honeymooning, by the way?” she asked.
John and Sherlock exchanged an amused glance.
“I wasn’t aware we’d set a date yet,” John chuckled as he attained victory over the arse-hugging trousers.
Their costumer raised a brow archly and threw him an exasperated look. “Very funny, John. Don’t think you can get out of it by pleading ignorance.”
John felt the stirrings of uneasiness in his gut and he dropped the hand which had been reaching for the bright red form-fitting uniform jacket. “Wait. What? What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the fact that I’ve been working all year on your wedding outfits and -Sherlock you can slip out of this and take yours into another room so that John doesn’t see you in it yet - and you’re bloody well wearing them for your bloody wedding in two weeks if you don’t want me to go homicidal on you.”
Both men stared at her, mouths agape.
Sherlock’s stuttering brain caught up with him an instant later and he groaned. “Oh, good lord, Cousin Agatha heard about our engagement.”
“What? Who’s Cousin Agatha?” John’s query was soundly ignored.
“You really should pay more attention, Sherlock, everyone has been buzzing about this; it’s being hailed as some of her best work for years.”
“Who,” John persisted, “is Cousin Agatha?”
“I thought she wasn’t even in attendance last year!”
“She wasn’t, but your mother did the rounds in January, crying prettily and complaining about you.”
“Who is Cousin Agatha?!” bellowed John.
“This explains the blender,” Sherlock mused. He turned to John. “This explains the blender, John. You remember; the one which came in the post yesterday.”
John realised he was probably a bit wild-eyed by now. “The blender,” he said stupidly.
“You should be pleased. It wasn’t a veiled threat like you thought it might be. It was just a wedding present.”
“Just a – just a wedding present.” John felt rather as if his brain had been taken out of his head, stuck in the freezer for a few hours, and then returned to him; sluggish and alien and incapable of actually doing its job for at least a little while. “Well, that’s a relief,” he added weakly.
“Seriously, Sherlock, go try on your wedding dress, I don’t have all day.”
“You are seriously proposing we actually get married?”
“It’s none of my doing, John.” Sherlock stated intently at the screen of his laptop. “I’m simply informing you that there won’t be much use in resisting at this point. Cousin Agatha,” he tacked on as what was clearly supposed to be an explanation in and of itself.
“Yes, well I’ve never met Cousin Agatha, have I? Does the very fact of Cousin Agatha’s existence preclude any argument about our becoming legally bound to each other for life?” he tried not to sound frantic. He didn’t bother pointing out that it had been Sherlock who had first announced their ‘engagement’ because as alarmed as he felt he still supported anything which stood as armour between Sherlock and the malevolence personified that coalesced into the shadowy cabal of his parents.
“She doesn’t preclude argument so much as she channels it for her own purposes.” He paused, musing. “It’s quite extraordinary, really. I think Mycroft has utilized her on more than one occasion.”
John gave up. He dialled his phone as he descended to ground level. “Congratulate us, Greg, we got a wedding blender. Are you free to grab a pint?”