Disclaimer: I own none of the characters except for the children.
A/N: As promised, a new Christmas fic! For some reason, I'm totally in love with Gabriel as a teenager, so this story takes place when Gabe is 16, Scarlett is 9, and the twins are 5. I hope you enjoy this first chapter! Happy Holidays!
"What do you think of this one?" Molly came out of the bathroom wearing a beaded cocktail dress that clung to her frame like a second skin. The effect, however, was completely lost by the pair of stripey socks on her feet. "Think it will properly scandalize the Camber Sands crowd?"
"Ugh… who cares," Sherlock replied, rolling his eyes and throwing his notebook aside. "It's just a bunch of boring people having boring conversations and eating boring food." He was referring, of course, to the annual block party at Camber Sands. Each year the homeowners of all the houses along the shoreline opened their homes in a gigantic cocktail party where people from all over Sussex and Rye would come to mingle and ogle ostentatious Christmas décor. When they started using the house regularly, Molly befriended some of the locals and managed to get them roped into participating.
"I beg your pardon," Molly huffed. "So are you saying this dress is boring and I should take it back?"
Suddenly it dawned on him that perhaps 'ugh' was not an appropriate expression when talking to one's wife. "No," he said, swinging his long legs over the side of the bed and standing to close the distance between them. "Of course not. You look positively scrumptious, love. Scandalous, even. I just hate this annual Christmas thing that we're forced into every year. People tromping through the house, having to decorate more and more every year to keep up, you and Mrs. Hudson spending days cooking food for it." He leaned in and kissed the top of her head affectionately. "I just don't think it's fair."
Molly chuckled. "Who said anything about fair? It's the price we pay for having this hoity toity house by the sea. Besides, it's supposed to be fun."
"Well it isn't." Sherlock was obviously not done having his pout yet. "Two whole weeks gone from London, cases neglected, inbox overflowing, and for what—so we can play host to people we can barely tolerate, much less like."
"To be fair, the only people you really like reside in this house."
"And John and Mary. And sometimes Lestrade."
"You're such a grumpy bastard." Molly smirked and pressed her lips to his. Their kiss immediately deepened to a smoldering embrace that left all thoughts of Christmas parties on the backburner.
The two looked up to see Gabriel standing in their doorway, looking uncomfortable. At sixteen he was often embarrassed by his parents' displays of affection. "Hello, darling," Molly said. "We didn't think you'd be home from practice yet."
"They let us go early since we have an extra-long practice before the concert tomorrow." He crossed the room and flopped down across the bed. Sherlock chuckled that the same boy who, when he'd first come to Baker Street had commented that his bed was 'real big,' was now so tall that he could lay all the way across it and still have his feet touch the floor.
"Well make yourself comfortable, Gabe," Molly said, sitting beside him and smoothing his jumper down over his bellybutton.
"Thanks," Gabriel replied, crossing his arms over his face and sighing.
"Was the ground floor still standing? We left Scarlett down there with your brothers."
"Scarlett was doing maths homework and Will and Finn are in Nena's flat making biscuits." Gabriel paused for a moment and it was obvious that he wanted something from them. He was just trying to figure out how to ask. "When are we leaving for Ambergris?" he asked finally.
"Thursday morning," Sherlock answered. He had already moved on to checking his inbox. His fingertips clicked across the screen, marking the time between every nervous pause in Gabriel's speech.
"Is everyone coming this year?"
"Mary, John, and the girls aren't coming until Boxing Day…"
"What?" Sherlock whipped around to stare at Molly in disbelief.
"Mary and John. They're taking the children to see Harry that first week. John told you."
"I must have deleted it."
Molly shook her head. "Anyway, I think everyone will be there eventually. Irene will come in on Christmas Eve like usual, all of us, your Nena… your Uncle Mycroft will invariably show up, but he never tells us when."
"Good lord…" Sherlock grumbled. "Why do we have all these people?"
"Oh and I think Greg was coming up. He's on the outs with the new girlfriend and doesn't have any place to go, so I invited him."
"Molly! Do you intend to take the entirety of London with us to Ambergris?"
"Well we couldn't just leave him here!" Molly said. "It'll be cozy with everyone there."
"For two weeks?"
"Well everyone won't be there the whole two weeks!"
Gabriel cleared his throat loudly and sat up. "I wanted to ask you guys… well… uhm…" He hesitated and hummed for another few moments until finally Sherlock snapped.
"Spit it out, Gabe!"
"Can Katie come with us to Ambergris?"
Molly and Sherlock looked at one another. They both loved Katie like their own child, but things were already getting a bit crowded and this was sudden. They were leaving in two days!
"Doesn't Katie have her own Christmas family obligations?" Molly asked.
"Well, her dad has to fly out on Christmas Eve, so they did their Christmas stuff with her little brother and sister last weekend. And her mum invited her to go with them to New York, but she doesn't like her mum's fiancé and didn't want to be trapped in her aunt's tiny apartment with all her family and Steve. That's her mum's fiancé. Not to mention that all of her step-relatives act like Katie doesn't exist. She'll be miserable."
"Oh I'm sure you're exaggerating just a little, Gabriel," Molly said.
"Mum, the last time her aunt came to visit, back when her parents were still together, she brought birthday presents to Katie's little brother and sister, but nothing for her." He looked up at her with wide eyes so pleading that she was helpless to resist them. "Please, Mum?"
Molly sighed. "If it's all right with your father…"
Gabriel was immediately across the room in front of Sherlock. "Please, Dad?"
"Are you sure this isn't some ploy to snog your girlfriend in the middle of the night?"
Gabriel blushed. He and Katie had been caught several times over the last year in what his parents had deemed "inappropriate clenches." "Dad, I swear."
"So I won't have to walk downstairs to find the two of you pawing at each other in the middle of the night?"
"She can sleep with Scarlett." This was how they policed Gabriel and Katie's relationship. Scarlett was nosy as hell and wouldn't allow any shenanigans.
"But what about playing violin for the Christmas Eve service? Aren't you going to do that?" Molly asked.
"Yes he is," Sherlock answered for him. "He's making me play with him, so he's not backing out now."
"Of course," Gabriel sighed. "But what does that have to do with Katie?"
"I just wouldn't want you to be so distracted being someone's boyfriend that you neglected your practice. They're depending on you and that's a lot of music, Gabe."
"We've been practicing for ages, Mum. It'll be fine. Please, can she come?"
Molly looked at Sherlock. Her eyes were pleading for him to make a decision. She loved Katie Adams and the child had practically lived with them for much of her childhood, but lately the couple had taken their relationship to a level of intimacy that she wasn't, as Gabe's mother, comfortable with. While she understood that they were teenagers and by definition hormonal and curious, Molly was terrified that she was going to come home to news of being an extremely young grandmother. Sherlock had told her on many occasions that her fears were ridiculous, citing Gabriel's intelligence and maturity, but Molly had seen too many teen mothers in her time as a medical professional. And all of Gabriel's test scores this year pointed to him being on an Oxbridge track. An irresponsible sex act could bring that crashing down in an instant.
"Do whatever you want," Sherlock said, waving his hand impatiently. He was obviously tired of the conversation.
"Thank you!" Gabriel exclaimed, catching Molly in a tight bear hug that lifted her off the ground.
"You're welcome. If her parents need to talk to us, have them call. And be sure that she knows that she'll need a dress for the cocktail party and one for the Christmas Eve service."
"I will!" he shouted over his shoulder as he bounded down the stairs, already dialing his mobile.
Molly sighed and flopped down on the edge of the bed. "Well thanks a lot, Sherlock."
"I was counting on you to say no!"
"Why would I do that?" he asked, still not looking up from his phone. "Katie Adams practically lives here. She goes with us to Ambergris every summer for a month. Why are you suddenly reluctant?"
"I'm not reluctant…"
"I don't know…"
"Yes you do."
"Don't deduce me, please."
Sherlock chuckled and tossed his mobile aside. "I'm not deducing you. It's plain as the nose on your face."
"Then enlighten me."
"You're afraid that Gabriel and Katie are going to sleep together if we let her come with us to Camber Sands."
Molly started to protest, but closed her mouth when he cocked his eyebrow. "Perhaps a little. I mean, aren't you? They are, after all, sixteen years old. An age when many teens become sexually active. Aren't you the least bit concerned about your child—"
"He isn't a child."
"Your son, then. Aren't you worried that he'll get Katie pregnant? Or worse, end up with some kind of disease?"
"From Katie Adams?" Sherlock laughed.
"We don't know what she's like when she isn't here."
"When is that exactly?" Molly met his taunting with a haughty sneer that indicated she had no intention of letting this one go. "Look, Mouse. If Gabriel and Katie are going to engage in sexual activity—assuming that they haven't already—I don't think keeping her from Ambergris is going to stop them. In fact, it's much more likely that they would be inclined to have sex during all those times they're left alone here at the flat."
"What do you mean? We never leave them alone!"
"We don't? They stayed here the other night just the two of them for several hours while we went out."
"Scarlett and the twins were here!"
"If my own memory of being sixteen is accurate, it wouldn't take them long."
"It's true. In ten minutes they could slip upstairs, do the deed, and be back down before Scarlett, Will, or Finn even noticed that they were gone. She sleeps over in Scarlett's room at least once a week and we take her with us on vacation. Mouse, they've had ample opportunity."
Molly stood up and went to the loo, stripping off the cocktail dress angrily as she went. "I can't believe that you're so calm about this."
"What good would it do for me not to be? I have no definitive proof that they're sleeping together. If they did, it wouldn't be the end of the world…"
"Until Katie turns up pregnant!"
"Do you think Gabriel would be that stupid? Do you honestly think that he hasn't talked to me about it? He tells me everything."
"So are they?"
"Are they what?"
"Are they having sex?"
Sherlock shrugged. "I don't know. I don't think I want to know. But he and I have talked extensively about safe sex."
"And you told him all about using a condom?"
"And that he can say no. I mean, there's no shame in waiting…"
He chuckled and kissed Molly's forehead in a way that drove her absolutely mad. "It will be fine, silly Mouse. Promise."