Thankfully there was another knock on the door, and John knew that they were only expecting one more person.
"Ah! My date, someone who hopefully likes me back." John said with a taunting smile towards Irene, leaving Sherlock's side to go open the door. Standing in the doorway was no one other than Mary Morstan, the girl who was going through the same situation as John was, though a little bit less glamorously. That still didn't mean she couldn't dress herself up, because she was looking positively stunning in a white ball gown and a pearl necklace, her hair pulled into a long braid. John could only stare; he almost didn't recognize her when she looked this beautiful.
"Mary! Wow..." he muttered, the only thing his brain could even think to say right now. Mary smiled modestly, giggling a little bit to herself.
"Wow to you as well. I guess we both clean up nice." Mary decided.
"I think we do." John agreed, stepping aside and letting her into the room. Sherlock was looked grumpier than ever, but that was probably because there were yet more people in this room, and the level of hatred was now uneven, two annoying people to one tolerable one.
"Oh my goodness, so much royalty in this room! I almost feel out of place." Mary decided.
"I feel like you should be washing that dress instead of wearing it." Sherlock snapped back, and John gasped, taking Mary's hand and pulling her away from the moody prince.
"Enough bitterness for one night Sherlock!" John exclaimed, feeling Mary interlock their fingers innocently. John saw Sherlock's eyes flick down to their hands and look away, crossing his arms moodily and staring off out the window into the night sky. There was an awkward silence, but finally the clock struck eight and they decided it would be a great time to start heading down. They two pairs interlocked arms (Sherlock and Irene's arms were barely even touching), and the four made their way down. They were quickly joined by none other than Molly Hooper, who was looking very lovely in a yellow ball gown, and Greg, who was wearing his best clothes (which still weren't terribly nice), and a large smile. Nevertheless the two already seemed to be having a great time, giggling together as they made their way down the hall.
"Molly!" Sherlock yelled desperately, as if really wanting a tolerable person in his life right now. Molly turned with a smile, letting Greg lead her down to where the four were making their way down to the ballroom.
"Ah, everyone looks so nice!" Molly exclaimed. Greg was just smiling at John, raising his eyebrows and tilting his head at his date so that John knew just exactly he was going with. Greg seemed really proud of himself, and John couldn't help but be surprised. He had half expected Molly to not show up.
"What are you looking so grumpy about Sherlock?" Molly wondered, noticing Sherlock's scowl. John looked back at Sherlock, who had detached his arm from Irene's and was once again crossing his arms moodily over his chest.
"I'm not in the mood for social events. Everyone down there is going to hate me." Sherlock insisted.
"They don't hate you Sherlock; you know they don't all hate you." Molly defended, but even she didn't sound so sure. It'll all be the nobles and the royals inthere, and at the moment they were all a bit cross with their phony prince.
"And none of us here hate you." John added, as if Sherlock needed a clarification. Well, it was kind of a lie, John and Mary were both sent to kill Sherlock and his family, Irene was the one who hired them in the first place, and John could kind of remember a drunken Greg saying last night that if Sherlock made it out of the arena alive he'd be the one to kill him himself. So ya, maybe only one person here didn't totally hate Sherlock, or at least one person had good intentions. So the six of them all walked down together, walking past people of all kinds, nobles with their wives on their arms, servants with mugs of beer in their hands, and even townspeople looking very hopeful, as if expecting to sneak in among the servants. Obviously it was a big day for people of all social classes, and John couldn't help but feel a little bit excited. He knew that this whole thing was all because of him, he had won the tournament, he had actually won! And here he was going to get honored, awarded his promised gold, get the glory that he was now worthy of receiving. John couldn't help but feel bad for Sherlock, however, who was completely right about the crowd's definite reaction to his presence. Everyone from the youngest servant to the oldest royal was going to know about his betrayal, they were going to feel a sense of treachery from growing up hearing stories of their magnificent prince, all to find out that he was a fake. Of course there were other things about Sherlock that still haven't come to light, like his cruelty to strangers, his inability to hunt, and his unusual hatred for basically everyone. Maybe the general public knew he was a fraud, but they didn't all know that he was a jerk. Finally the six finally made it to the ballroom, a magnificent room with chandeliers lighting the entire room. There was a polished dance floor and walls with fancy golden trim, a live band on an elevated platform in the corner playing the softest of melodies on string instruments. The room itself was beautiful, but the people milling around looked even more stunning, all sorts of fancy rich people in stunning ball gowns, all with glittering jewelry, the men all wearing their family crests and long capes. There were tables overflowing with delicacies, waiters walking around with drinks, people already beginning to dance on the floor. It was a wonderful experience just looking around, and John knew that it could only get better from here.
"This is all for you John." Mary muttered to him, shaking John's arm a little bit in excitement.
"Mr. Watson!" called a servant in a dorky looking purple outfit, bearing the Lauriston crest.
"Yes, sorry?" John wondered, stepping aside to let the servant rush into the hallway.
"You need to stay out here, so that we can introduce you and your companion." The servant said breathlessly, looking at John as if it were an honor to meet him.
"I thought the king said the servants wouldn't be working?" John wondered, noticing a surprising amount of servants walking around with platters of food.
"We switch on and off, I'm working the first half, the boring half, and once I get off the party will be in full swing." The servant said with a smile.
"A good plan indeed." John agreed. "So I just stand out here until they call me in?"
"It won't be long sir, I can bring you something to eat, a glass of wine?" the servant offered.
"Oh, no thank you." John said rather timidly, not liking the feeling of being pampered. Now that he was the champion everyone treated hi differently, as if he were royalty himself. He thought he would like the feeling, but honestly he felt as if he were no more than a burden.
"Alright, so I guess we'll go inside then?" Molly decided.
"Ya, you guys go ahead, don't let me keep you." John agreed, waving them on with the hand that wasn't held down by Mary's arm. Sherlock frowned, not looking so eager to leave with Irene.
"We could stay." Sherlock assured, as if he were doing this out of the goodness of his heart instead of selfishness.
"Sherlock we're not going to stand in this hallway, look at all the food that's in there!" Irene insisted. Well, at least she had her priorities straight.
"Sherlock go on, don't wait around for me." John insisted. Sherlock sighed heavily, giving John what he probably thought were puppy dog eyes. However he just looked like an idiot, so John waved them all off, saying goodbye before anyone could protest. So slowly the rest of the group made their way into the ballroom, and as soon as Sherlock entered John heard a hush fall over the crowd. He couldn't see much from where he was standing, but he was sure all of the people were giving the prince rather nasty looks. John felt another stab of guilt, knowing that, once again, that was all his fault.
"What a jerk." Mary decided with a laugh. John nodded in agreement, unhooking their arms rather awkwardly while pretending to scratch his head. They were all alone in this hallway, all of the guests having already entered the ballroom, so it was a good time to talk.
"What are you going to do about our, um, situation?" John wondered, looking around once more to make sure there was no one eavesdropping.
"We've got a lot of situations John." Mary pointed out. John sighed heavily, hoping that he actually didn't have to say it.
"When are you going to, you know, kill them?" John whispered, so low he barely heard himself. Mary nodded, a regretful look on her face.
"Well actually, I was thinking of taking advantage of all the people milling around tonight. I thought that maybe it would be a good time." Mary admitted.
"Here? Tonight?" John muttered, looking around for a third time.
"Well, I guess so. The longer we wait the longer our families rot in the dungeons, imagine what kind of torture they're going through! I need to do everything I can, even if that includes murder." Mary insisted.
"What if we get caught?" John wondered.
"We have more powerful people than the Holmes on our side, we'll be fine." Mary assured. John nodded, looking off to the door through which Sherlock had disappeared not minutes earlier.
"You're doubting yourself aren't you?" Mary wondered.
"Me? No, of course not.I'm not doubting myself...whatever that means." John insisted.
"You better get Sherlock over with quick, before you guys get even closer. He likes you John, that's obvious, and the longer that you two talk and interact the harder it will be for you to get your job done. You need to remember what the real goal is here, not to make friends, not to prove servant worthy, not even to win stupid little tournaments. It's to save our families, kill these royals and get back to living the way we used to." Mary insisted.
"Maybe that's easy for you, but not for me. These people have become my friends, I can't just leave them, I can't just kill them." John muttered guiltily.
"You better kill Sherlock tonight John, do you have your knife?" Mary wondered. John sighed heavily, but nodded. He never went anywhere without that knife, even though he never had any intentions of using it.
"Ya, I have it." John agreed quietly.
"Just get it over with, do it quickly, they'll be quite a distraction tonight if everything goes my way." Mary assured. John nodded once more, the only thing he could bring himself to do right now. He hated to have to kill Sherlock, he hated it, but then again, Mary was right, if Sherlock didn't die then John's whole family would. His own family was much more important than the life of some idiot prince who had taken a liking to John.
"Mr. Watson, you're ready!" the servant called from the door. John smiled, taking Mary's arm once more, however stiffly, and leading her to the ballroom.
"Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, our champion, John Watson!" announced someone from the back, and there was a loud array of clapping and cheering from the crowd. John and Mary walked into the brightly lit ballroom, the band members having stopped to clap themselves. John smiled proudly, waving back and nodding at some people he knew. The party guests had parted, leaving a clear path for John and Mary to walk through. They walked straight through, the clapping and the cheering subsiding a little bit once the two reached their destination, an elevated platform on which stood all four members of the Holmes family. Sherlock was looking down at John with a small smile, obviously he didn't care who noticed his staring, as he seemed nearly transfixed. Mycroft held a little chest in his hands, presumably John's prize, looking at John with a glare that was much less intense than Sherlock's. The king and the queen stood glittering next to their children, their crowns encrusted with so many precious jewels that they almost blinded John. John wondered if they knew how close they were to their designated assassin, and he wondered which one of them wasn't going to last the night.
"Come up here." Mr. Holmes said, extending a hand to help John up onto the platform. John took it thankfully, although he really didn't need it to step up one meager step. Mary was left on the floor kind of awkwardly, not quite sure what to do with herself.
"Mycroft, his prize." Mr. Holmes said, and Mycroft straightened up very importantly, handing his father the chest. The king handed it to John, who took it and nearly dropped it, not expecting a thousand gold coins to weigh nearly this much.
"Congratulations Mr. Watson, you are the first in eight years to win this tournament fair and square." Mr. Holmes said, and John couldn't help but cast a look over to Sherlock, who was looking at his shoes in shame.
"Thank you your majesty." John said with a grateful smile.
"Ladies and gentleman, your champion!" the king announced once more, and there was another round of cheers as John turned with the prize, smiling again to the crowd as if they were doubting his true happiness.
"We'll have a servant bring this up to your room tonight; you needn't be burdened with it through the party. So enjoy yourself Mr. Watson, you deserve it." Mr. Holmes said, taking the coins back and handing them to Mycroft once more. John and the king shook hands before John was let off of the platform, and suddenly everyone else came to life. The band started to play, the people started to dance, the waiters walked around as if nothing had stopped in the first place. Mary took John's arm once more, leading him to the dance floor as soon as possible.
"I don't know how to dance." John whispered nervously, noticing that almost all eyes were still on him.
"Oh don't worry, it's easy." Mary assured, grabbing his John's hand rather forcefully and putting it on her waist, their other hands interlocked in midair. John stared into her eyes, seemingly the only place he could look at the moment, and tried not to look panicked as she started to lead him in a sort of awkward dance to the music. Everyone else in the ballroom seemed to know what they were doing, John felt really bad as he started to trip over his own feet, apologizing profusely.
"Don't apologize John, fix it!" Mary snapped, her own feet gliding easily across the dance floor. Well it was easy for her to say, she came to this dance knowing what to do.
"I'm sorry, god, I'm trying here!" John insisted, accidently kicking one of Mary's feet instead of his own. She growled, letting go of his hands and standing on the dance floor with her arms crossed.
"What do you want me to do? I'm a rubbish dancer, I never learned!" John insisted, seeing that some people were now staring at them.
"Need a little help with dance lessons?" asked a deep voice behind him, making Mary sigh even louder. John turned, but he wasn't surprised to see Sherlock standing above him, Irene nowhere to be found.
"You should be dancing with your date, not me." John insisted, even though he was very happy to get away from Mary for a moment. She may look pretty, but she really wasn't good company.
"Oh no, I don't have a date anymore. I've been stood up, I suppose." Sherlock shrugged, not looking all that upset. John frowned at him, not really in the mood to get bossed around once more by this miserable prince. "I guess her father doesn't want her in the company of a fraud. No matter, that means they'll leave, and then she'll be out of my life forever."
"When they leave Sherlock, I leave." John pointed out, nodding down at the Adler family crest on his shirt as if Sherlock had forgotten. Sherlock frowned, now he looked legitimately upset.
"Well then, in that case maybe I should just marry her." Sherlock decided, casting a hateful eye to where Irene was already talking to another man.
"I'm going to go get a drink." Mary decided, looking eager to get off of this dance floor now that Sherlock was following John around like a lost puppy.
"Here, I'll come as well!" John insisted, but Mary just shook her head.
"No, you spend time with Sherlock, obviously he's lonely." Mary assured, winking at John quickly before turning off and leaving John behind, at the mercy of prince pest. Obviously she wanted John to get some alone time with Sherlock, just enough alone time to slit his throat and make it look like an accident. John sighed heavily, but turned back to where Sherlock was waiting, looking at John with hopeful eyes.
"My offer still stands." Sherlock pointed out, as if he had expected John to have forgotten so quickly.
"Well then, go ahead. If I want to keep my date I should work on keeping her toes intact." John agreed. Sherlock smiled, extending a white gloved hand.
"In that case, may I have this dance?" Sherlock wondered, a smile on his face that John had never seen before.
YOU ARE READING
Sherlock is the youngest son of a powerful family dynasty, with all the pressure of being the perfect prince sitting on his shoulders. However, he builds his good reputation on lies and tricks, and he dreads the day when his failures will come into...