Disclaimer: Not my world or my characters, just my ridiculous schmoop.
Rating/Warnings: Gen, Squint-if-you-wanna, PG. Sticky-sweet.
A/N: I've had this lurking around for weeks with no direct motivation, but pushed it through in a hurry today for reasons that will become obvious, I think. Last-minute minor Brit-pick by the gang at sh_britglish, thank you for your input!
Newer Every Day
John turned his phone on, which immediately chimed with voice-mail from Harry; no doubt the traditional five-after-midnight caterwauling. He'd forgotten the date himself. He might listen to the message later, but not before breakfast. Bracing himself, he opened the fridge door.
There was milk in the fridge.
John stared at it. Milk, and no heads, eyes or other body parts or experiments in progress.
He peered into the sitting room where Sherlock was perched on the sofa in his dressing gown, burning little paper bits in the flame of a tall red candle.
"You bought milk."
"Hm?" Sherlock hummed distractedly, watching a corner of paper curl into ash.
"Yes?" Sherlock said, as if it wasn't anything remarkable.
John raised an eyebrow. "Right then. Thanks." He checked that the container was sealed and gave it a cursory looking over for puncture marks. Perfectly fine, unopened milk.
He was about to offer to make tea when there was a gentle rap at the door. Sherlock seemed unalarmed.
"Expecting anyone?" John asked.
Sherlock stirred some ash in the palm of his hand, rubbing it between his fingers. "It's Mrs. Hudson."
"She doesn't usually knock."
Sherlock's mouth twitched. "I expect she has her hands full."
John opened the door. Of course it was Mrs. Hudson with her hands full.
"Good morning!" she said, sailing in with a loaded tray and a smile. "Not interrupting anything, am I?"
"No, no, not at all!" said John, wide-eyed at her burden.
The tray held Mrs. Hudson's second-best teapot and cups, and oddly, a plate of sticky buns. John looked around the kitchen expecting to have to clear a spot for the tray and found there was a spot exactly the right size already cleared. He glanced at Sherlock who was deeply involved with his conflagrations.
"What's all this?" John asked Mrs. Hudson with a smile.
"Oh, you know!" Mrs Hudson said, gently swatting John's arm once she'd put the tray down. "You should've said something earlier, I'd've done you a proper breakfast! Sticky buns are the best I can do on short notice I'm afraid. I made them yesterday afternoon."
Again John peered into the sitting room as Mrs. Hudson bustled about the kitchen. Sherlock's focus was absorbed by the next bit of paper; the corner of a twenty pound note.
John looked at Sherlock and pointed into the kitchen. "Did you-?"
Sherlock blinked up at John. "Did I what?"
"Now," Mrs. Hudson said, returning from the kitchen, "shall I do you something nice for your afternoon tea then, or will you be going out, special day and all?"
"That's quite all right," John said, "there's no need to fuss-"
"Tut!" interrupted Mrs. Hudson. "Once a year, dear, of course there's a need to fuss! Besides, family tradition. Your special day, you pick what's for tea."
John felt unaccountably touched by being included as family. "Really, I-"
"We may be out later, Mrs. Hudson." Sherlock murmured, rubbing the last batch of ash onto a corner of his robe. "I expect there will be a case."
"Oh, a case is it?" Mrs. Hudson winked. "Well, never mind then."
She turned to John and hugged him. His eyes widened as she pressed her lips to his cheek.
"Many happy returns of the day, love." She released him and left the room, calling behind her, "Just leave the tray on the stairs when you're done. No washing up for you!"
John bemusedly closed the door, glanced over at the laden tray on its conspicuously-cleared patch of counter, crossed his arms and tilted an eyebrow at Sherlock.
"Should I even bother asking how Mrs. Hudson knew it was my birthday today? Or how you knew?"
"Is it?" Sherlock said, peering at the base of the still-burning wick, "I hadn't noticed."
"Come now, John. You know I have neither time nor space in my head to waste on unimportant social minutiae."
"Oh." John frowned, glancing at the door as he went past it into the kitchen. "Well then how-"
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the flicker of a smile from Sherlock.
Shaking his head and suppressing a smile of his own, John poured two cups of tea and put sticky buns onto two clean plates. It seemed Sherlock had decided John's birthday was an important enough piece of information to be remembered along with the eleven trillion bits of crime-solving data he kept in his brain. John wasn't sure how to classify the feeling that gave him. Honour? Bemusement? Yes. Warm bemusement. Plus a mild sense of relief that it hadn't been Mycroft.
He loaded everything on a spare tray and brought it into the sitting room, setting it on the table in front of the sofa next to Sherlock's paper burning experimentation.
In a burst of motion, Sherlock grabbed the red candle and jammed it in the middle of John's sticky bun.
John blinked and chuckled at the giant burning candle as it tilted woozily from the center of his sugary breakfast. "'Unimportant social minutiae,' hm Sherlock?"
"Wax dripping patterns." Sherlock sniffed, but with a small undeniable smirk. "Which requires that you blow the candle out now. For scientific purposes of course."
John grinned and blew out the candle, not bothering to make a wish.
- - -
Post A/N: Pretentious title form a quote by Emily Dickinson about birthdays, and in case it still isn't obvious, a very happy September 8th birthday to Martin Freeman who plays John Watson, even though he will hopefully never ever see this story. XD