The Two Rings

by Jaka Ray

General Disclaimer

Beth Lestrade opened her eyes slowly. She was standing in a church: the old colored glass transforming the pure light into a ray of colors, shining on her upturned face. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful, tranquil and passive. And there, right in the middle of it, he was: Sherlock Holmes, the greatest detective ever, smiling down at her, white teeth peeping out from behind lips smeared red with her lipstick. Lestrade's mind blanked at the sight of it. How-- What is going on.
The priest smiled at the newlywed young couple, shutting his holoscreen and withdrawing back into the depths of the Church of New London. A small crowd of the groom and bride's friends, gathered there from all over the world, stood and clapped and cheered. There were the Irregulars, and Watson, (the best man of course) and even Grayson had responded to the invitation. The amusement at seeing his most pestering Scotland Yard Inspector joining together in holy matrimony with that annoyingly sharp dead detective must've been too good an offer to resist, even if it meant taking a day or two off. But Lestrade was oblivious to all this. All she could see was Holmes. He kept smiling, taking her left hand in his and kissing it gently. That was when she saw the ring on his fourth finger. And there was an identical one on hers, too. Oh, Zed. What had she done?
They were married.
The party and all the congratulations and all the gifts and all the hitting-a-glass-with-a-fork-to-see-them-kiss-again whizzed by her like a placid summer rain. It was there one second; gone the next. Soon, she and Holmes were pulling away from the church in a hovercraft marked the in traditional fashion. Just Married. Lestrade could hardly breathe, and it wasn't her dress that made her hyperventilate. She murmured to her companion in disbelief, "Zed, Holmes. We're married."
But her voice wasn't tinted with joyous incredulity as the detective had expected. She was obviously worried and scared, since her voice quivered so uncontrollably. Something was troubling Lestrade deeply, and it didn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure that out. Taking and kissing her hand once again, he shook it reassuringly. Lestrade's chest relaxed a little, and she smiled, leaning her head on his shoulder in silence. He always did know how to help you, Lestrade, a voice in her head sang. And this time he didn't even have to say anything. Maybe things were going to be all right after all. But the voice took on a nasty tone: who are you kidding? You're married, you daft little girl, and from now on things will be different, and you're smart enough to know that change sucks!
Beth closed her eyes and felt like crying again.
They pulled into Baker Street and Lestrade found herself wondering, but what about Watson? Was he going to live with them as well? She lightened at the thought, but felt a pang as she remembered. The robot had graciously offered to move into her old apartment, letting her live alone with Holmes. The new bride wanted to kick herself hard. How could she have allowed that to happen? It felt so heartbreaking to break up the legendary duo of Holmes and Watson: Watson and Holmes. And it was done just to make another, less meaningful pair. However, they wouldn't stay a pair for long if they decided to have a child. Or children. Ew, ew, ew, Lestrade! She shivered at the thought. To her, someone who loved Holmes so much, the thought of - ew... "That is so sick," Lestrade reprimanded herself in a whisper. It scared the bejeebies out of the hardened Scotland Yard officer to think about. that.
Following Holmes up the stairs in a daze, she realized it was almost dark outside. Had the party lasted that long? They hadn't had too much to drink, had they? Before she could finish her thought, Lestrade stubbed her toe on something and cried out. The room was still a mess since she hadn't had much time to unpack, with all the gifts pouring in at the same time. Holmes called for "Lights on." And then turned to her saying, "Here, let me help you. Oof." And with that he slid both arms under Lestrade and carried her 'gracefully' the rest of the way to his bedroom. (Er, I should've mentioned: it was their bedroom now.)
(Please don't think there is any profanity in this. It's a clean story, I swear.)
After some settling into their position as newlyweds with nostalgic retrospection, Lestrade sank into the soft bed, her limbs limp and tired. I'm still in my wedding dress, she reflected with a sigh before Holmes slipped in beside her. He had at least half of his tuxedo on, too. He was so handsome... Did she really deserve him?
It just didn't make any sense to her; Holmes was supposed to be the one rebellious against marriage. So why was it that she was the one who was having second thoughts about it all? And it was a little too late now for any running out on him. What a revolting wish! It would be horrible of her to confront Holmes with her doubts. They had just gotten married! Lestrade warned to nobody at all. So now she was talking to herself.
With a yawn Holmes slung his arm over her protectively, with his body pressed parallel to hers. Soon, his light breathing slowed, and his chest heaved slower against Lestrade's back. The repetitive wisps of air from his nose tickled her neck and almost lulled her to sleep. Then, her qualms and uncertainties returned, and though she tried to shake them off she just couldn't. The world was against her and she was trapped in a corner. A darkness closed in around her and no matter what she did she couldn't escape. She would suffocate. She writhed and twitched and gasped for air. A choking wheeze caught in her throat and her whole body broke into a cold sweat. She had to get air. She had to think. She had to do something. And it couldn't involve anyone else, not even Holmes.
Making sure not to disturb her new husband, Beth Lestrade slipped out of the bed, and out of Baker St. into a nearby park. It was too dark to see which one she had wandered blindly into. She was shivering cold, since she had pulled on a sweatshirt and pants after delicately stepping out of her dress. With it on, she might attract unwanted attention. Besides, she felt like she'd be abandoning Holmes if she went out unnoticed with it on. She rested herself on a bench under a bright streetlight, like a criminal about to be brainwashed. Even her head buzzed in confusion. Another bench nearby, in a more peaceful position, was her new resting place. The day's events played over and over in her head. What if what she had just done wasn't the right thing? She was too young to be married! She had her whole life in front of her and now she was tied to a man, destined to be his slaving housewife for all eternity. And she loved Holmes too much to break his heart with a separation.
Lestrade sank her face into her hands and cried until she couldn't cry anymore. Her eyes were red and trying to cry was like trying to get water out of a towel wrung dry by a pair of massive hands. There had to be moisture in it; it felt wet. But nothing came out, even if one wrung and twisted as hard as they possibly could. How depressing it is, to be lonely when you're married, which is supposed to cure you of that deplorably blue melancholy. Who else was there for her to talk to if she couldn't even talk to her own husband? Who would be up at this hour, waiting to hear about and help her with her problems? A voice immediately spoke up: there's Holmes, of course. Oh no, wait - that's the man you're married to. The plain gold band on her finger seemed to tighten. She shouldn't have married him. It was a huge mistake; now she didn't have anyone to turn to. Too late! A voice cackled at her from inside her mind. Of course, she could still talk to him, but she couldn't do it now, not just yet. A fear like nothing she had ever felt before seized Lestrade's throat, and new tears fell like rain onto her lap. Not being able to talk to Holmes, even for a moment, was enough to plunge her mood to its lowest.
But then again, being the wife of Sherlock Holmes made her want to dance along the streets and sing to the stars. She did love him, right? Right. It meant that she could depend on him to be there for her. Forever. She loved the sound of that word. It had a nice, delightful ring to it that could raise the most dampened of spirits. Lestrade's depression lifted with her thoughts of Sherlock's loving face beaming down to her just hours before. She loved him so much; just a smile from him could brighten her day like nothing else. So that's what marriage is for. Lestrade pondered, and she stood up, exhaling out all of her troubles.
The boulevards were now beginning to brighten as the lamps surrounding them dimmed and the sun peeked out of its nocturnal coop. Dew covered the grass that Lestrade's bare feet walked on, her mind itself in a daze, but she soon found her feet were dried upon the pavement in front of Baker St. "See how you walk to him so instinctively? You were made for each other, even if you were born centuries apart," Lestrade told herself. Time knows no rules in love. And this time she had found her soulmate by a lucky chance: a dash of some honey and an old family heirloom and presto! Turning the handle gently and prancing up the padded steps, Lestrade was home at last. After being lost for so long, she had walked impulsively to the door of her abode, and to the holder of her heart.
Almost immediately following her entrance into the sitting room -- which was done as quietly as possible -- Holmes had his arms around her. The man had been seated in his armchair, but his keen hearing had picked up his wife's already familiar step on his stair. (Sorry, I'm not trying to be puny.) Without loosening his hold on her, his voice thick with relieved panic, he puffed in one breath, "My God, Beth - I was so worried!" His chest lifted and he pressed his lips to her soft neck.Is this really the sardonic, cold, inhuman Sherlock Holmes of the Victorian era? You bet it is....
Lestrade was relieved as well. She had promised herself that if Holmes had, upon her return, demanded to know where she had been, or if he had been harsh with her, she would've ended it right then and there. Besides, who wants a cross, selfish, and inconsiderate husband? If it were possible, Lestrade loved him even more than before; Holmes' heart rang true.
"I thought for a moment that you'd run away!"
She clutched his shirt (yes, he was still wearing his tuxedo from the day before) and murmured back, "Almost did, Sherlock. I almost ran away from you."
Tears embedded themselves in his shoulder. Rocking his crying wife back and forth, Sherlock Holmes did nothing else until she was sure she was OK. To help her calm down and feel less guilty, he chuckled, "You know, Lestrade, I contemplated doing the same thing just before the wedding."
With surprise in the jerk of her head, his spouse looked at him with a wary eye. "And why didn't you?"
As his answer, he wiped away her tears and tried to dry his vest. "Watson wouldn't let me, of course. Besides, everybody knew about it, and I'd be caught and brought back in no time at all!" Holmes sobered up a little, "Come on, you - I've made breakfast for the both of us."
As he helped her to the table, Lestrade wondered out loud how he had known she would return in time for the early morning meal. A grin formed on Sherlock's face as he teased, "My dear Lestrade! You always come to me eventually, and you seem to time you visits to be in correspondence to a certain meal. I do believe you entirely depend on Baker Street to keep your stomach satisfied."
Beth grinned back and sat down in the chair he offered her. "It's an old fashioned breakfast - just like Mrs. Hudson used to make! There won't be any nasty food pellets in this family!" the great detective announced proudly, placing a steaming plate of sausage, toast, and eggs before his wife, who smiled impishly at him.
"So we're going to have kids, then?"
At the remark, Holmes almost dropped his plate of chow, his face rubicund to the tips of his sandy hair. But he retorted back to her without missing a beat, "And we'll use the old fashioned way, too." Lestrade could've sworn her husband winked at her, but she couldn't have been sure, because the next second he was tucking a napkin into his collar comically. A laugh escaped from her throat for the first time since they had been married. Another first left Beth Lestrade's lips as Holmes started on his breakfast; she hadn't touched her share yet.
"I love you, Sherlock Holmes."
The man looked up with a start, crumbs and such still lingering on his mouth. Then, removing his napkin slowly, he moved across the table to where she was sitting. He went down on his knees and looked up at her with shining eyes. "I love you, too, Beth." The words seemed strange to his tongue, but he took her hands in his and kissed them to prove it.
She returned his kiss with a kiss of her own. "And will you always love me?"
Holmes' eyes burned with fervor as he responded earnestly, "Darling! Why do you think I married you?" Then, without a word, as if they had subconsciously grown tired of the monotonous hand kissing (which I'm sure the reader has done as well), the two (pairs of) lips found each other. And the two wedding rings glistened in a light of endless adoration.
The two photos at the end of this FIC are these figurines I saw in a shop that inspired me. it really isn't the best craftsmanship but the tall slim figure of the man sparked the connection to Sherlock Holmes. An young one at least. And who better to marry a young Sherlock Holmes than Sh22's Beth Lestrade??
PS: Fans of Jeremy Brett, the best Sherlock Holmes in the world, will remember his performance in "My Fair Lady". Darling!
Oh, and to "THE TWO RINGS" readers (not many, are there?): the "pictures" were in a link but since i guess they don't take links.. here's the webby address:
Click: Creations > Catalogues > By Theme > Weddings-Anniversaries>

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