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A Curious Proposition

Warnings: H/W slash, cuteness (I hope)

Summary: Holmes makes a proposition. Plot bunny sprang out of a little ring I bought recently.

Beta: The wonderful Lyrastarwatcher

It was a fine spring day in the year of 1885 when I was still in residence at Baker Street. Overcome by the peculiar sensation one experiences at the nape of ones neck when observed, I looked up from my paper to find Sherlock Holmes standing beside my chair and gazing upon me oddly.

'What is it?' I asked, curious.

'Oh, just a trifle I thought you would find interesting.'

'A case?'

'No, nothing of the sort. Merely a curious object I thought you might like to see.' He handed me a silver ring, which I examined closely. It was narrow most of the way around, but part of it was fashioned oddly, worked in the shape of two hands, holding a heart, with a crown atop the heart.

'Where did you get this, Holmes? I have never seen anything like it.'

'I would imagine not. It is called a Claddagh ring, from the village of Claddagh in Ireland, near Galway. I was speaking with an Irishman a few weeks ago, and I observed one of these curious rings on his hand. I asked him about its significance. The hands are for friendship, the crown is for loyalty and the heart is for love. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart turned outward, it means the bearer's heart is free. When worn on the right hand with the heart turned in, it means that the bearer has pledged his or her heart to another. When worn on the left hand with the heart turned in, it means that the bearer is married. Supposedly its purpose was to keep the wives of fishermen at sea faithful to their husbands. '

Just as Holmes finished his narrative, I noticed a glint of silver on his left hand. I took his hand, a bit puzzled, and saw that he wore a ring identical to the one I still held.

'You? Married?' I asked, thinking the idea impossible.

'As good as,' he whispered. Then he kissed me. After a very short time he drew away. I supposed he was afraid I would turn him away, leave him forever.

'It is all right, Holmes,' I murmured. To prove my point, I gently kissed him back.

'The ring, it is for you,' Holmes told me a few minutes later. 'If you will take it.'

'Gladly,' I replied, slipping it onto my left ring finger. 'Even if it does mean I have to be faithful to you.' He laughed at that, and kissed my cheek.

'You never cease to amaze me, Watson.'

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