A/N: Hello all and welcome to my festive attempt at a Sherlock fic. I've read this through so many times that it's lost all humour to me, but I hope you find it funny, if a little OOC. This is for all of my readers and reviewers over the past year. Thanks for making writing so enjoyable for me. Here's to a wonderful 2011 (and Sherlock Series 2!)
Warnings: Alcohol consumption, silly male behaviour, cheesey bromance towards the end, and just generally a ridiculous plot.
Could a human brain shiver? Sherlock wasn't sure, but that was definitely something he would like to find out...later...when he could feel his limbs. It was Christmas Eve, which apparently meant that no boiler engineer could possibly come out and do their job. If there happened to be a gruesome murder, Sherlock would be out there doing his job on Christmas Eve. That's dedication for you!
He sat on the sofa with his knees drawn to his chest, wedged between the sofa arm and the shivering John Watson. A blanket covered the pair of them, and John sipped his tepid tea in an attempt to keep warm.
"This will be us in fifty years in the nursing home," Sherlock spoke up. John spluttered on his tea, looking mortified.
"Good God, I hope not!"
Sherlock smiled widely.
"That's a depressing thought," John mumbled, stretching to put his empty cup on the coffee table. His movement let the cold air into the blanket and Sherlock exclaimed his annoyance.
"Oh this is just ridiculous," Sherlock grumbled as he heard the soft footsteps approaching up the stairs. "Oi! Do something about this lack of heating or else I'm not paying my rent!"
"Excuse me!" Mrs Hudson exclaimed irritably as she arrived in the doorway, her hands on her hips. John sniggered as Sherlock faltered under her wrath. "For starters, young man, I really don't appreciate you addressing me as 'Oi'. I've said so before. It's just rude. Secondly, you haven't paid any rent for over three months."
John glared at Sherlock who shrugged sulkily and picked at the blanket.
"I've told you," she continued. "The part for the boiler has been ordered, but it's not being installed until the day after Boxing Day. As you've assured me that you're visiting your mother for Christmas, that shouldn't be a problem, should it." Sherlock scowled in response, and her face softened.
"Oh John, I got you this. It's just a little something."
"Ooh!" John squealed as she handed over the gift with a hug. Sherlock rolled his eyes. Mrs Hudson began to walk away.
"Hey! Where's mine? This is clearly favouritism."
"Now, Sherlock, I did say that anyone who ate their entire Advent calendar on the first of December wouldn't be getting a Christmas present."
John smiled smugly as Sherlock scoffed.
"Well, that's not fair! It's just a box of chocolates...technically. That's no reason to give John a present and not me."
"He ate mine too," John piped up and Sherlock glared at him.
"Honestly, Sherlock. Your face," she smiled as she handed over his gift.
"What? No! Mrs Hudson, don't cave. Remember what the therapist said; we mustn't give in to his tantrums."
Sherlock smirked at John and held his present tightly to his chest. John folded his arms over his knees grumpily.
"Boys, behave yourselves. Right, my cab will be here any minute. Please check the gas is off before you both go away. Have a lovely Christmas." She leaned across and pecked them both on the cheek. Sherlock wished her a merry Christmas and John mumbled inaudibly into his knees. They were left alone.
John suddenly turned to Sherlock.
"You're not going to visit your mother, are you?" Sherlock didn't reply. "Sherlock, lying to Mrs Hudson is a sin. You'll be going to Hell for sure."
"I'm lying to my mother too," Sherlock added, rather pleased with himself. John blinked at him in disappointment. "What? John, don't look at me like that. Why should I subject myself to an entire day of hearing how wonderful my brother is? It makes me nauseous. I can't be doing with it. Besides, you still haven't packed for Harriet's yet."
"Yeah...I'm not going," John said sheepishly, stretching out his legs so his feet peeped out from the bottom of the blanket. "I can't be arsed."
"Sherlock, anything you say next will sound highly hypercritical."
Sherlock pouted his irritation.
"Look, I don't even think she's back from her trip to Spain yet. The last I heard, her flight was delayed. Heathrow is still closed. There's my reason."
They sat on the sofa in silence; unable to move but unable to sleep.
"I could phone Lestrade?" Sherlock suggested after a while. John looked as him incredulously.
"Seriously, it's Christmas Eve. He'll kill you. Leave him alone."
"Oh yes, I forgot that policemen are one of those uncommitted professions like boiler men, shopkeepers, teachers and serial killers who can't possibly work at Christmas. Lazy!"
"Police do work on Christmas Day," John corrected. "As do doctors and nurses," he added quickly.
"Not if they're GPs," Sherlock spoke in a derogatory tone, which prompted John to snatch the blanket away. "No, no, no! I'm sorry John, I'm sorry."
John grinned in satisfaction before handing the blanket back.
"I was in the Army Hospital this time last year," John told Sherlock.
"As a patient?"
"Yes, as a patient." A thoughtful expression crossed John's face as he thought how much had changed in a year, and he shook his head to dismiss the thought. "Even being stuck in this freezing flat with no food and drink, and the least festive person in England, is already a big improvement from last year," John mused.
"I can be festive," Sherlock insisted. John gave a doubtful laugh.
"Go on then."
The pair fell quiet and listened to the sound of traffic making its way up the slushy street.
"Are you asleep?"
"No. My nose is cold." John felt an icy hand against his face and he batted it away. "Get off me! Did you not believe me?"
"My nose is colder that yours."
Sherlock lolled his head onto John's shoulder and looked up at him.
"Want to play a game?" John seemed unsure so Sherlock elaborated. "It involves theft."
"Go on, I'm listening."
"We each have five minutes to go downstairs and find the other a suitable present for tomorrow morning."
"Right...and by 'downstairs' you mean..."
"Mrs Hudson's flat."
"Right," John said again.
Sherlock took this response as an agreement and scrambled up from the sofa, grinning from ear to ear.
"Here's my phone. If you just press – no, not that one – yes there look, it's a stopwatch." Sherlock took a deep breath to prepare himself. "Any requests?"
Sherlock nodded once and dashed off down the stairs. John blinked at him as he watched him go, and turned the phone over in his hands as he waited. A sudden idea popped into his head and he smirked as he began to play with Sherlock's phone.
Sherlock charged back up the stairs with seconds to spare, and John heard him race to his bedroom to hide his 'gifts' before appearing in the doorway of the living room.
"Um...Sherlock...what are you planning on doing with that?"
"It's a bottle of vodka. We should drink it. It will keep us warm." He swung the bottle proudly between his fingers.
"Yes, yes we could. But I meant the other thing."
"Oh, this? This is our new Christmas tree."
John barked a laugh of disbelief.
"Sherlock...it's a spider plant."
Sherlock nodded his agreement.
"Yes. Mrs Hudson doesn't have a tree, or if she has she's hidden it spectacularly well. So this will have to do." He placed the drooping plant on the coffee table and admired it. Suddenly he frowned. "John, what have you done? You look shifty. What are you up to?"
John fought to hide his guilty smile.
"Nothing. Is it my turn?" He rose from the sofa as Sherlock sat down heavily and took his phone back.
"Yes. I've left the door open. I would like a decent present, and I know how incapable you are when it comes to picking locks."
"Thank you," John said through gritted teeth.
"You're welcome. Three, two, one...go!"
John moved with less enthusiasm down the stairs, leaving Sherlock to study the numbers as they ticked away on his phone. As the stopwatch neared the five minute marker, John made his way up the second flight of stairs to his bedroom, and then back down to the living room.
"I brought dinner," he announce, placing a half-eaten tin of Roses chocolates on the coffee table.
"Yum. So, what did you get me?"
"I'm not telling you," John mumbled with a mouthful of chocolate toffee. "You'll have to wait until the morning."
Sherlock pouted but said no more on the subject. Suddenly, a loud verse of Jingle Bells rang from Sherlock's phone. He looked down at it in horror.
"What? What have you done? John, this is outrageous. Change it back at once." John simply shrugged and helped himself to another chocolate. "I've been festively abused," Sherlock muttered as he looked down at his phone.
Sherlock groaned and let Jingle Bells play.
John began to giggle and Sherlock looked up at him.
"Let's play another game," John suggested. He rose and shuffled to the kitchen, bringing back two empty tumblers. "I call it: Drink Along With Mycroft. Every time he calls you between now and Boxing Day you have to drink. If he calls me, I will drink."
"What if he phones the landline?" Sherlock asked curiously.
"Then we both drink," John decided after a pause. He tipped the bottle with a steady hand and pushed the glass towards Sherlock, who laughed.
"John, that is not a shot measure. Are you trying to kill me?"
"No, not intentionally."
"John, you really ought to know that I'm a lightweight when it comes to alcohol."
"Good, I look forward to it."
Sherlock eyed the glass sceptically before drinking the generous measure in one gulp.
"Nasty!" he coughed.
"It'll get better."
"I meant you."
The phone rang again and John sat back smugly as Sherlock eyed the vodka sullenly.
"I don't want to play anymore. Can I change my mind?"
Moments later, the house phone rang loudly into the room, making both men jump. They looked at it and back at each other.
"I'll do the pouring," Sherlock insisted, snatching the bottle from John.
Later that evening, suitably tipsy, Sherlock lay at one end of the sofa, John at the other. The blanket was shared between the pair of them. Sherlock was giggling quietly to himself, though John was unsure of what was funny. He vaguely recognised the tune of Happy Birthday, which Sherlock was humming under his breath.
"Stop fidgeting!" John hissed, and pulled at the blanket. Sherlock blinked at him before hiccoughing.
"I feel sick."
"Well, vodka and chocolate is a risky combination. If you throw up on me I will never speak to you again."
"Did you realise it's nearly our first Frien-iversary?"
"Oh, God. John, you're drunk. Stop making up words."
"No, no listen...ok? We've lived together for nearly one whole year. We're, like, practically married now. And what a year it's been."
"Yes," Sherlock agreed. "Highlights?"
"Um...Getting an ASBO." They both laughed. "The crazy lady with all the cats. That was a strange, strange day. And those hippy ninjas in the cinema."
"Ah, yes. That was rather embarrassing; almost as embarrassing as those silly 3D glasses you made me wear."
"Witnessing Sherlock Holmes on the Underground has to be one of my favourite moments of this year, if not my entire life."
"Yes, yes alright," Sherlock grumbled. "How about when we went to the supermarket, and you had that incident with the wok in the home aisle?"
"Yes, but we promised the therapist we wouldn't speak of that again unless she was present."
"True," Sherlock agreed.
Sherlock began to sing Happy Birthday quietly, though he'd changed the word Birthday to Christmas. When it came to inserting a name, he paused in indecision.
"Baby Jesus?" John suggested, and Sherlock laughed loudly.
"Lyrical genius, John, lyrical genius."
They ended the song together, and then lay there in a sleepy silence.
"John?" Sherlock hissed in a loud whisper for no reason.
"What's your Christmas wish?" The words were slurred and John giggled.
"I wish for three more wishes."
"Oh ok, I don't know. I'd like to get laid sometime soon."
"Festive," Sherlock said dryly.
"Maybe I'd like to be married by next Christmas. Is it stupid to put a deadline on this?"
"Yes, yes it is stupid."
"Christmas just seems better with kids. You don't count," he spoke up as Sherlock tried to interject.
"Well, you'd better hurry up John. A human gestation period is, what, twelve months?"
"Nine. It's nine months, Sherlock." John spoke up wearily, rubbing his drunken eyes. Sherlock pondered this new information.
"Oh, is that all? You've got a bit of time then. No pressure."
John smiled sadly.
"What about you, Sherlock? What's your Christmas wish?"
Sherlock thought on this for a brief moment. He kicked John's leg as he tried to sit up to look at him.
"I wish I wasn't so drunk."
They both laughed.
"Did you like Christmas as a kid?"
Sherlock seemed taken aback by the question. Did it matter? It was a long time ago. He couldn't really remember. He remembered his mother's mince pies, and his father disappearing for hours on end, and Mycroft not speaking him to him for the whole day, too engrossed in his latest book.
"Yes," Sherlock lied. "I could always guess what my presents were without opening them."
"No you couldn't."
"Yes, I could. I bet I can tell what you've got me."
"No you can't."
Sherlock grinned as he closed his eyes.
"I like this Christmas," he muttered quietly. John didn't ignore him, not like his father and Mycroft had done. John got him drunk, and ate all the toffee sweets from the tin, and danced around madly to Jingle Bells. John laughed when things were funny, and when they weren't funny too! That was what Christmas was all about. Well, partly anyway.
Sherlock heaved a sigh and vaguely registered that his eyes were still closed. He could hear John talking to him, but the words were distant. It made him smile anyway.
Sherlock responded with a loud, drunken snore and John chuckled.
"Good night, Sherlock. Merry Christmas."