December 22

Three days before Christmas brought out the last-minute shoppers in droves. It also brought with it dark, angry storm clouds that immediately began dumping snow on New London. A man and a droid, both in anachronistic clothing, muscled their way out of the crowded mall at the precipitation's onset.

"Come now Watson." The man said as he pulled his deerstalker snug over his ears. "I'll hold the gifts while you fetch the HoverCoach."

"Excellent idea Holmes. No use in the two of us getting lost in this infernal snow." The droid agreed as he handed over the packages.

Sherlock Holmes smirked from behind the gaily-wrapped presents. "As I too, thought."

When everything was packed away and both were securely in their seats, Watson slowly steered them through the now blinding snow.

"The Irregulars should be at the flat by now." Commented Holmes as he flipped the radio to a local station.

"If that is the case," Watson said as he nudged the HoverCoach down Baker Street, "then I suppose I'll take them home when this snow lets up."

Holmes listened intently to the radio for a few seconds. "I doubt that will be for a while Watson. They say this might be the largest blizzard New London has had in over 50 years."

When they made it into 221b Baker Street they found the Irregulars' winter-wear drying by the fire. Not far away, Tennyson worked on clearing the snow out of his hoverchair and Deirde played with Tigerlily, who'd become a permanent fixture at 221b since the Mazarin Chip incident. Wiggins headed out of the kitchen with a tray of steaming mugs.

"Evening, Governors." Wiggins said as he held out a mug for Holmes. "Hope you don't mind us staying here till the storm blows over. We raided your hot chocolate supply, too."

Holmes sipped appreciatively at the cocoa. "Not a problem. You're more than welcome to weather out the storm here."

Heavy boots clomping up the seventeen steps outside prompted Holmes to open the door and hand his mug to a startled Inspector Beth Lestrade.

"My dear Lestrade, do come in and dry off."

She shook the melting snow from her hair. "Later. I'm just stopping for a second before heading back out."

"I do hope you're not expecting to go anywhere in this blizzard." Watson stated.

"As if. I have groceries and an extra pair of clothes out in my car." Lestrade answered as she picked at her dampened clothes.

Holmes grabbed his inverness and deerstalker and headed for the door. "Come Lestrade. Better to do it now instead of later."

Lestrade sighed as she pulled a knit cap out of her coat pocket and jammed it on her head. "Lead on, Holmes."


Once everyone was inside and in dry clothes, Watson busied himself in the kitchen while the non-mechanical life forms warmed themselves by the fire.

"I never thought you'd be one to lounge around in designer clothes, Inspector." Deidre thought aloud as she wiggled her toes in front of the flickering flames.

Beth idly swirled what was left of her hot chocolate. "That's because I usually don't. Give me sweatshirts and comfy jeans any day of the week. But, I had to be in court this morning, hence the poly-silk suit."

Tennyson gave a series of beeps and whirs, which was easily understood by Wiggins. "That's right, the Michaelson case. He get sentenced to the Cryptonizer?"

She shook her head. "It took the jury five minutes to convict him and the judge even less to hand out the death penalty."

"Perhaps it's a bit cold of me," Holmes said, stretching his long legs towards the fire. "But I believe he deserved no less for what he did."

The conversation petered off into a comfortable lull until Watson called them for dinner.

Later, after everyone spent a sufficient amount of time complaining about the weather after dinner, Deidre and Lestrade agreed to share the guestroom. Holmes retired to his room, Wiggins and Tennyson bunked by the fire, and Watson took up his usual regeneration post in the kitchen.