AN/ Inspired by a recent reading of Conan Doyle's classics, especially 'The Boscombe Valley Mystery', where the illustrations by the wonder of Sydney Paget has Sherlock in a deerstalker. This merging of old/new was the result. Cookies for those who catch the references to Holmesian canon. I just couldn't help myself :)

Summary: Sherlock gets a gift from Mycroft in the form of an old fashioned deerstalker hat. John is a little distracted by exactly how good it looks on the detective. S/J established.


Dress Conventions

"Sherlock," John asked as he strolled in through the door of 221b Baker Street, immediately catching sight of the item and eyeing it with a disfavouring glance "What is that?"

"My dear John," Sherlock only said those words in that particular manner when he was being notably patronizing, without even disguising it with subtlety, even though he'd never admit to reducing himself to such 'baser' petty emotions. The detective in question angled his head round lazily from where he was lying on the sofa, having not changed from his pyjamas from when John had left for the surgery this morning (and the doctor found himself checking the far wall for bullet marks, just in case), his back propped up against one of the arms and his knees folded so his feet wouldn't poke out over the edge of the other arm. Books decorated the floor here and there, spines bent as evidence to the point where the detective had gotten bored and moved onto the next read; John sighted British Birds and Catallus amongst the abandoned literature.

The detective himself was twirling a hat on his fingers, and it was this item of clothing that John was currently staring at, Sherlock fiddling with the sides and prodding the stitching with slender digits, a thoughtful expression on his face fading away as he focused on the doctor.

"This is a hat, John," Sherlock replied dryly to his room-mate's question "A deerstalker to be precise. I have not yet uncovered a maker's mark, but the material is definitely Harris tweed judging from the professionalism of the twill texture and the wool used. But simply put, this item is a hat, something I believed you would have noticed. I did suspect your observation skills were slightly above the average of the normal dull masses, but it does appear that you have learned little in my company"

John sighed, shrugging off his coat and hooking it over the coat racket next to Sherlock's black coat and scarf, knowing Sherlock didn't mean the comments unkindly. He had gotten used to Sherlock's blunt manner after all these years that they had lived together, and he half imagined that the detective was simply teasing him. He still couldn't help responding however with a certain bite to his words "I am aware of that, Sherlock. I was asking where it came from"

"A milliner's shop, I imagine"

"Sherlock" John put emphasis on the man's name, complaining at the detective's pedantic corrections and specific replies, but he was pleasantly surprised to see a small smirk pull up the corner's of the man's mouth, lighting up his grey eyes, and someone who had never properly seen the detective in his private moments might never have envisaged that Sherlock could ever direct such a look of affection to another human being. He was joking with him, John realised, and he smiled despite himself.

"Mycroft sent it over" Sherlock apparently had decided to put the poor doctor out of his misery, explaining the origins of the hat as he continued to study it with a vague interest "As I do not accept the money he offers for the cases we do for him nor do I follow up on his offers for us to visit his little cult-like club, he sometimes sends over little gifts. One of his quirks that I've had to bear with over many years." Sherlock cast a glance over to John "When I first tried to give up smoking, he sent a pipe. Calabash or churchwarden, the style of which I forget. Whatever it was, it was quite hideous. Worse than that damn Scottish cape he tried to convince me to wear."

John secretly imagined that Sherlock would look rather dashing with a pipe clenched in his teeth, puzzling as he usually did over papers and documents puffing smoke rings distractedly, and his mind conjured up the image of his detective in a Victorian setting; all suits and coat tails, his personality and vices rather clashing with the respectability of the era. John couldn't see the Victorian's being very understanding of him and Sherlock for example, probably more accepting of Sherlock's past cocaine habit than the concept of two men in a relationship. But Sherlock did look very attractive in a suit, that much John could attest to, especially at that black tie charity gala that Mycroft had forced his younger brother to attend, Sherlock dismissive of the appraising glances he himself was getting sent by both male and female attends, but openly possessive when it came to John receiving some attentions as well. The affront on Sherlock's face when a man at the bar had tried to buy John a drink had been priceless.

"Why a hat?" John enquired, wandering over to the detective's side and plucking the item from the man's fingers, his eyes taking in the article's composition; two brims either side, and what looked like ear flaps tied upon the crown with plain black ribbon to keep them out of the way. He vaguely remembered his grandfather owning one of these, although it had been more worn and of a more plain dark woollen material. He questioned internally why Mycroft had picked out this specific type of hat, the style of which looked like it hadn't been in fashion for a good hundred years or so.

Sherlock waved a disregarding hand "Probably concerned with my head getting cold. My brain is the only facet of me he has ever really appreciated."

"Well, put it on then" John had finished his inspection of the hat and passed the article back to the detective. Sherlock glanced at the hat, a crease indicative of a slight frown appearing as though the item offered to him had done him a disfavour.

"I cannot say much for Mycroft's taste." he said "While his fashion sense is usually up to a relatively good standard, he has committed a certain faux pas regarding this. A hat such as this one is worn only in more rural countryside areas, and not for an urban environment..."

"Just try it on, Sherlock" John insisted with a smile. The detective really did waste no opportunity to insult his brother's intellect, but John was now quite interested to see what the hat looked like his partner.

Sherlock sighed once more, although more for petulant effect than anything else, and forcefully jammed the hat over his mop of hair in the hope that speed would make this whole ordeal as short as possible (and John was sure that Sherlock would have just shoved it back in it's box and forgotten about it if it were not for the doctor's insistence that the man try it on), squashing down unruly whorls of black to fit the hat snugly over his head, the line stopping just above his ears so that only the strands of his fringe and the hair further down his neck escaped being hidden in a tweed cover.

"Well?" he folded his arms, quirking an eyebrow up.

John couldn't respond for a few moments. He just looked. Stared was a better word, honestly, but he couldn't help it. The type of hat that Mycroft in his hitherto unrevealed wisdom had chosen wasn't a hat many people wore, the sort of thing confined to museums displaying items from the last century in glass cabinets or at some of the specialists shops down Carnaby Street filled with a plethora of eccentric retro clothing, but it suited Sherlock. Really well. There was an air of grandeur in the way it held itself on his head, and the somewhat old fashioned tweed material in what appeared to be a checked pattern of beige and light brown didn't detract from the overall affect of old-world style. John could imagine it fitting quite nicely with the current ensemble of Sherlock's coat and scarf.

The hiding of Sherlock's usually abundant hair threw into obvious light the sharp lines of high cheekbones and a proud neck structure, the detective's lips pouting slightly as he awaited John's comment. The overall effect created had the doctor becoming a little distracted, unable to tear his eyes away from the hat but also it's imperious owner.

It was just a hat, he told himself, attempting admonishment that was too tinged with a sudden want to be of much use. The item was odd, unique and in a class of its own, exactly like its owner.

But damn, if it didn't look like it belonged with every fibre of its being on Sherlock's head.

"Is it bad?" Sherlock asked, finally breaking the silence, noticing that John had done little but stare at him since giving in to wear the accursed thing. Without waiting for a reply, he swung his legs round and bounded up off the sofa, taking quick strides towards the bathroom, his dressing gown billowing at the back of his legs giving the rather comical impression of a superhero's cape, heading with determined steps towards the mirror affixed to the wall.

"It's... it's really good Sherlock" John ultimately replied, eyes following the man as the detective critically studied the effect in the reflection before him.

"You think so?" Sherlock appeared to be satisfied, usually never considering his own reflection for much longer than he had to, personal appearance not high on his agenda; one of the reasons why he often appeared at crime scenes at Lestrade's request with his hair unbrushed and wild from him having run his hands through it when he became frustrated, or the general tangling outcome of exposing his hair to the blustery London wind. It was interesting to see the same man now studying the hat in different angles, seeing what looked best. He turned to John for an answer, and the doctor swallowed uncomfortably.

"You know... how you like my stripy jumper?" he enquired of the detective, having to pull his gaze away from the man's head to meet his grey eyes "To the point where I can no longer wear it out of doors without you dragging me back here as soon possible and pulling it forcibly off me?"

"You've never complained before" Sherlock appeared put out, although there was a wicked quicksilver gleam in his eye in his eyes that gave him away.

"I'm not, but... that hat." John emphasised the word " I really really like the hat. As in, really like it."

"Oh" Sherlock replied, before his eyes widened a fraction with a dawning understanding, noticing for the first time how dilated John's pupils had become, how he seemed to be blushing faintly across his cheeks in an endearing shade of pink "Oh" Sherlock smirked, and he moved out of the bathroom to where John was standing at the door with his arms folded, appearing distinctly discomfited "I think I should try and help you John," he grinned "you clearly appear to be in some distress"

"You know exactly what's distressing me, you damn tease" John growled back, and without hesitating closed the gap between them in a comfortable slotting motion that came from practice, lips burning where they touched, Sherlock responding quickly, eagerly for a man who professed to have no emotions. The way his hand was snaking around John's waist, pulling him closer, dismissing any modicum of personal space made him doubt that very much.

The kissing continued as they neared the bedroom, gaining energy, heat. John faintly heard the buzz of Sherlock's mobile indicating a text, but Sherlock only grumbled a 'If that's Mycroft...' at the intrusion before John distracted him by slipping a hand under his shirt, intending that the detective would not have coherent thoughts enough to wonder about the text's contents for an extended period of time. John noted with some satisfaction when they separated to draw breath that the detective was out of breath slightly, his usual control slipping judging from the way his pupils were blown, a half moan, half growl escaping him when John nipped his teeth at the hollow of his exposed throat. The two of them locked eyes, each reading intent there, and Sherlock enthusiastically moved to remove the hat from his head before the rest of his clothing was to follow suit.

John halted his hand with a tight clamp around his wrist "Oh no. Leave it," The light in his eyes was almost predatory. "We're bringing the hat with us"