Ok, not trying to spam this page or anything. I posted my first Sherlock fic earlier today, but I thought of this one immediately after, and I like it much better. It took me a while, and went through several permutations, so I hope you'll enjoy it. Christmas is still a ways off, but it's never too early to get in the mood.

This one is true slash (though nothing explicit).

Feedback always appreciated!


John was faced with a dilemma: what does one get the world's greatest (and only) consulting detective for Christmas?

It was a mystery that had been puzzling him for months now, and with Christmas only a few weeks away he was no closer to an answer.

Sherlock was a thoroughly practical man. Something useful would be most appreciated, John was sure. But what could Sherlock use? Some new gadget? More scientific equipment? Some more body parts pilfered from the morgue for his bizarre experiments? But it all felt too cold, too impersonal (or downright distasteful).

John considered something more personal. He tried to think about Sherlock's tastes, his likes and dislikes. But aside from solving crimes the man seemed to have few hobbies. He loved his violin, but apart from composing and playing his own music he never seemed to take any other interest in the arts. He had never shown a preference for any particular movies or tv shows or books. In fact, John wasn't even sure if Sherlock had a favorite food, since he seemed to eat whatever John brought home indiscriminately.

A thought had finally struck him one day as he watched Sherlock prepare to leave the flat. It was practical and personal at the same time. If only he could pull it off, it may just be perfect…

John had made a point of repeatedly reminding Sherlock that Christmas was approaching. Knowing his friend he would volunteer them for some gruesome investigation, and the mood of the holidays would be spoiled entirely. Not that John had any elaborate plans, but as this was their first holiday together he wanted it to at least be calm and enjoyable. They could both use a few days of quiet normality, anyway.

When Christmas finally arrived it was unsurprisingly like most other days. John had hung up a few decorations the night before, mainly a wreath with a few ornaments, since Sherlock was firmly against bringing a tree into the flat. It was unnatural, not to mention abominably messy, he had explained coolly.

They spent the day as usual, reading or watching tv together quietly. John watched a few of the special Christmas programs while Sherlock fiddled with some new experiment. After lunch Mrs. Hudson had brought them up a homemade pie and wished them a happy holiday.

John was hesitant to broach the subject of gifts, since he was not sure Sherlock was even aware of such traditions, and he didn't want to sound as if he were expecting anything. Not to mention he was starting to get cold feet about giving his own gift. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed like an ill conceived idea.

So it surprised him when Sherlock suddenly emerged from his room and sat down beside John on the sofa, looking at him expectantly. He produced a small box from his pocket and offered it to John.

"I believe it is the custom of this holiday to give gifts to one's friends."

There was nothing sentimental in Sherlock's manner, but John was nevertheless touched that his roommate obviously considered him a friend, and had cared enough to get him a gift despite his lack of enthusiasm for the holiday.

John looked at the small package Sherlock placed in his hand. It was in a plain box, with no wrapping. Of course. Why would Sherlock do something as superfluous and illogical as wrapping a gift? It made John smile to himself; Sherlock was still Sherlock, after all.

He opened the box to reveal a small wireless computer mouse. He had never mentioned it to Sherlock, but since he had begun his blog John had been spending much more time on his laptop, and the small finger pad was too sensitive for his large clumsy fingers. He'd been meaning to pick up a mouse for months now but always seemed to forget.

It was so very practical, exactly the type of thing Sherlock would pick out. It was hardly sentimental, but it made John happy to know that Sherlock had considered his needs and put thought into the gift, in his own way.

"Thank you," he said quite honestly, "it's exactly what I needed."

Sherlock remained cool, but John could tell by the hint of a upward curve to his lips that he was pleased with John's reaction. Sherlock loved to get things right.

John pulled out his own gift next, handing it to Sherlock with a look of apprehension. He was uncertain how Sherlock would react, if he would like it or not. He was beginning to feel stupid for even choosing it, and was wishing at that moment that he had gone with anything else, something mundane but practical.

Sherlock took the box, wrapped neatly and precisely in plain silver paper. He examined first the exterior, then shook it slightly, both listening and feeling the weight and movement within. It took him all of 30 seconds to triumphantly declare that he knew what it was.

"It's clothing, isn't it? I can hear the material rubbing against the box. It's lightweight, so something small, some type of accessory. Only one item, so not gloves or socks…"

He trailed off at the look on John's face. Normally John might be annoyed at Sherlock's self-congratulatory tone, but for once he had outsmarted the genius. There was no way Sherlock would possibly guess exactly what was inside that box.

"You git, hasn't anyone ever told that that's rude? It's a present, not a puzzle. Open it up already."

Sherlock looked a little taken aback by John's expression. He'd been sure he'd guessed correctly; it was the only logical answer. But the small grin on John's face meant the blond knew something he did not. The only thing to do was open the package and find out.

Sherlock undid the wrapping meticulously, removing the tape without a single tear and laying it aside. He lifted off the top of the box and peered inside inquisitively.

He lifted the item out gingerly to inspect it. It was…

A scarf. Long and soft, a bluish grey that exactly matched the color of his eyes. Inspecting it closely, Sherlock could tell it was hand-knitted. There were occasional errors, small holes or snags in the yarn. It was obvious it had been made by a beginner.

Sherlock looked up to see John blushing furiously. Sherlock's indifferent inspection and lack of reaction was making him extremely self conscious. John was silently berating himself for giving such a silly gift. Sherlock could see embarrassment and regret plainly on his face. He smiled for the first time that day.

"I didn't know you could knit," he stated softly, trying to establish eye contact with his suddenly-shy friend.

"I can't, really," John muttered, looking down. "Sarah helped me out. I've been working on it over at her place so you wouldn't find out. I know you can't help but snoop through my things."

Sherlock smiled at that; it was true. No wonder John had been spending so much time at Sarah's flat lately. Sherlock had merely assumed that their courting was progressing. He had never suspected a thing.

He tried to imagine the former soldier's rough, war-callused hands holding the delicate needles with such precision, probably cursing under his breath every time he had made a mistake.

"Look," John said, finally working up the courage to glance up, "it's fine if you don't like it. It was a silly idea anyway. I know how meticulous you are about everything, you must hate such a messy thing."

Sherlock considered his friend for a moment. He was never good at conveying his emotions, since he seldom even tried, but it seemed important that he make John understand his feelings at that moment.

"John, have you ever heard of concept of wabi sabi? It is a Japanese aesthetic philosophy that celebrates the beauty in imperfection. Every stitch of this scarf is beautiful, because there is none other like it in the world. It is truly an original."

At this John finally looked Sherlock in the eyes, examining him skeptically to see if he was telling the truth. But Sherlock had meant every word he said. He had never received a more thoughtful gift, every stitch plainly conveying John's feelings.

"You really like it?" John asked hesitantly.

In answer Sherlock wrapped the scarf snugly around his neck. It was luxuriously soft and warm. For a brief irrational moment he considered never taking it off again.

John gave him a quirky grin. "I knew that color would look good on you," he murmured, gazing at Sherlock thoughtfully.

It was almost enough to make the imperturbable Sherlock Holmes blush.

Without warning Sherlock leaned over and placed a soft kiss on John's mouth.

"Merry Christmas, John," he whispered.

John stared back at him, eyes wide with shock, but Sherlock did not immediately move away.

"I believe this is a Christmas tradition as well," he stated evenly, sliding his gaze to the right.

John followed his line of sight to the sprig of mistletoe he had hung by the window, halfway across the room.

"Why yes, I believe you're right," John grinned, before grabbing the ends of Sherlock's scarf and pulling him in for another kiss.

It was a merry Christmas indeed.