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What Happened after the Question Mark?

By DragonShifter


Chapter 1

Sherlock Holmes was waiting for John Watson to get up and ask Mary about the parcel he had sent to this address a week ago. He had sent the parcel from Brighton. He knew that Watson would figure out the meaning of the object in the parcel. Although it had been four months since he fell off the waterfall with Moriarty, Four long months since his supposed death, Holmes had missed Watson in his own way. Watson had also missed Holmes, but he hid it well. Only a few people could pick up on the longing for a man everyone thought men had grown extremely close over the many years that they had worked together, which lead to both men being devastated by the thought of Holmes dying at the bottom of the waterfall. They had grown so close; they were practically brothers in all but blood.

Luckily a local doctor had found Holmes barely alive on the river bank some four miles from the falls. Holmes was grateful someone had found him before he did really die. He had nursed the injured man back to health in his home. The doctor had remarked in an amazed tone to Holmes when he had heard Holmes story of the waterfall, that the only serious injuries sustained were a broken arm, a mild concussion, and a few broken ribs. The rest was just a bunch of cuts and bruises. It took the majority of the four months for Holmes to heal from his broken bones. The rest of the time was spent getting to the residence of John Watson. It only took him the past six to get his urban camouflage perfected for Watson's office.

When Watson finally opened the parcel, a look of shocked surprise crossed his features. He stared at the oxygen apparatus for a full minute, and then was out of his chair and in the hallway asking Mary about the mailman. As soon as Watson had left the room Holmes was up out of the chair with his head covering off. He crossed the room in six steps and around the desk in less than three steps. He quickly read what Watson had typed and put a question mark after 'The End'. He then went back to the chair he had been sitting in and put his head cover on. He then sat down and arranged his body so it would blend in with the chair. As he waited for Watson to come back to his office, He thought about the last words Watson had written. "He was the wisest man I ever knew." Holmes was touched that Watson had said that, let alone typed it so all could read it. He knew that Watson had cared for him like a brother; he also knew that some of his stunts were childish, and as a result, Watson was the one to clean them up. Very much like a big brother would.

But Holmes knew that Mycroft wouldn't try to clean up his messes on the account that he was of the mind that Sherlock was old enough to do the deed of cleaning up after himself. As soon as the thought of brothers and messes entered Holmes's mind, Watson came into the room looking perplexed. He sat down in his chair and looked at the oxygen apparatus. He thought it couldn't be possible for Holmes to have survived. But how could he explain the apparatus logically. He had spent a good month and a half searching up and down the river that flowed from the waterfall. As he leaned back and looked at his desk, he noticed the question mark that had suddenly appeared after 'The End' on the paper in his typewriter. He sat up in his chair and examined the paper and his keyboard. Nothing was out of place, but he had learned from Holmes that there was more to the mystery than what was in front of his eyes and nose. So he got up and walked around his room and looked at everything closely.

He even sniffed the air a few times. "I know you are here Holmes." He said as he gave everything in his room a close examination. "Where are you?" He said quietly. Holmes watched him and nearly forgot to breathe when his friend looked straight at him. "There you are." Was all he had to say before he walked over to Holmes and pulled off his head cover. "When I saw that oxygen apparatus, I knew it could not be a coincidence that this shows up missing from Mycroft's home, and it finding its way to my home after you fell." He said to the man in the chair. Although Watson had said the words to chastise his friend, he had a smile in the tone he used. He then laughed. "You know, I should have expected something was up when Mycroft showed up on my doorstep demanding an explanation of why his oxygen apparatus was missing. I swear, I am more of a brother to you than he is. He even made it clear that he thought I was more of a brother to you than he was. He told me so in very plain words. He wanted to know if I knew anything about you taking his apparatus. I told him that I knew nothing of it and that was that. He even told me that he was glad you had me and that he gave his blessing over our brotherhood. He said that IF you ever showed up to tell you that he is glad that you finally found a worthy person to be a true brother to you."

Watson went to his chair and collapsed in it. He looked over at Holmes and laughed. Holmes was looking at him with surprise written all over his face. "Oh come on Holmes. You didn't expect me to forget everything you taught me over night." The small glare that appeared on Holmes face answered his question. "Holmes, have I given you any indication so far that I forgot your methods. I know that you must have been watching me for a least a day or two if not longer."

Holmes frowned then scooted his chair closer to the desk. "Watson, I was not watching you the whole time I was in London. I was also working on my camouflage." He said as he looked sullen. Watson laughed and asked "Do you know what I have been doing while we were separated?" He knew that his friend would be intrigued by the question and would answer. "No, but I can tell you that I am curious. I assume that you can figure out what I have been doing."

"I can, and I will tell you what I surmise of what you doing while you stew on what I was doing." Holmes frowned then leaned back to listen to Watson explain what he figured out about his doings while they were separated. "By the looks of you, you have spent a great deal of resting and going through some therapeutic exercises. I can tell that you were eating a good diet and that you haven't forgotten to keep your body fit. But I can tell by your clothes that you have been spending the last month and a half traveling. Honestly Holmes, did you even think to wash your clothes? They stink. Even if I had allergies I could still smell your clothes." When Watson brought up his clothes, Holmes looked at his clothes then at Watson. "You never seemed to care if I didn't do my laundry for a few weeks."

"Well I do now. If you are going to be in my house, I expect you to wear clothes that have been washed within a week before your visit. Mary doesn't like the smell of dirty clothes and dirty humans." Holmes thought for a moment then said "You have been doing a lot of walking about in the city these last three and half months. For the first few days of your return you were arranging what you thought was my funeral. In the following weeks and months I say that you have done a great deal of shopping, to make up for our mishap on the train. I am deeply sorry for that. But you must have been home with your wife often enough to go closer to her. But you were apart long enough for you to get to know the city beyond shopping." Holmes watched Watson closely and knew that his guesses were spot on.

"However, I cannot say more of what you have been doing until I have more data to tell you. But of course you know that and I know that you are going to tell me what you have been doing because that is what you were going to do anyway." Watson grinned and nodded. "You have not changed a bit old cock. Not a single bit. Alright, you called me on it. I am going to tell you what I have been doing. I have begun to start solving cases by myself when I am not being a doctor. Mary worries, but she knows that after our long relationship." Holmes and Watson's faces split into sly grins when Watson said this. "She knows that being around a person for a certain amount of time, those people rub off on one another. So, when I got back and after your funeral, I felt restless. When people started to show up on my door step for help in solving cases, I felt happy and relieved. I helped, and now I am a detective as well as an doctor." Holmes smiled and launched himself over Watson's desk. He gave Watson a bone crushing hug.

"Awweee, my protégé finally came out of his shell." He stepped back and grinned at Watson. "You look wonderful mother hen." He went back to his chair and sat. He stared at Watson and spoke. "So, you have been doing detective work. How interesting, given that you were considering calling quits on the whole detective business when you proposed to Mary." Watson looked down at his shoes then up at Holmes. "Holmes, I know that we've decided not to mention our bond, but I can't take it anymore. Holmes, I happen to agree with Mycroft on the subject of our brotherhood. I am going to tell you now that I am tired of beating around the bush about our brotherly bond. I care for you deeply and I was pretty torn up after your fall. I know that you care for me too. Your fall made me realize that I loved detective work as much as you, and I wasn't ready to give it up. I wanted to carry on our good name." Holmes could tell that Watson wanted to say more but couldn't due to the strong emotion on his features. Once the words Watson spoke got through to Holmes, He smiled a huge grin. Tears filled his liquid brown eyes and he was up out of his chair and pulling Watson out of his chair.

He hugged Watson with all the exuberance of a younger child greeting a sibling after a long separation. This is how Mary found the two men. She had come into John's office to tell him to start packing, only to stop midstride in shock. Standing just behind the desk and to the right of the chair was Sherlock Holmes hugging her husband. Once she had registered who was hugging her husband, she smiled. Although she was not very good at playing detective as her husband and his friend, She could tell that there was a bond between them and that this hug was a hug that screamed "We finally acknowledged our bond". She quietly sat in the chair that Holmes had vacated. She knew that her husband had a calming effect on Holmes. She knew this because she remembered what he was like before they had met. Although she had never met Holmes, she remembered seeing him taking down a few criminals in a party that had been held by her parents when she was young.

She remembered seeing it because she had been out of bed when she wasn't supposed to be, and she remembered seeing Holmes go into the party room. She remembered that he had been particularly wild. Every that she had seen him since she had been introduced to him, she could see how much more tame he had become. She knew that being with John had brought about this tameness. She cleared her throat to get the men's attention. When they looked at her and broke the hug. "Well, if it isn't Mrs. Watson. How are you" Holmes said as he strode over to her. He offered her his hand, and she took it. He shook her hand then helped her up. "I am well thank you. I just came to remind John he needs to get packing for our honeymoon. You are more than welcome to help him pack Holmes." She said. She left the room and Holmes turned to Watson. "Shall we get started?" was all he said. Watson nodded and they went to his rooms to pack.

Dragonshifter: Okay, Tell me if this is a story worth continuing. Sorry if you don't like it, for it is my first Holmes Fanfic.

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