Happy Christmas everyone! I know I said I would post this a few days ago, but Christmas is one of those things that really sneaks up on you if you're not looking. Anyway, I hope you enjoy all the cutesy cuteness!
Also, Sarah Sawyer is awesome, and no-one will ever convince me otherwise.
Choose Christmas gifts
There was never a man upon this earth harder to shop for than Sherlock Holmes. Regarding any given object, one never knew if he was going to be childishly enamoured with it or blatantly and unapologetically uninterested. It wasn't even necessarily a matter of what the gift was; his reaction depended just as much on his capricious mood as upon the actual object. Mycroft had figured this out decades ago, but it was new territory for John.
He was determined to get it right, no matter the cost (well, okay, maybe cost was a bit of a factor) and no matter the effort it took, because just this one time, he wanted to prove to Sherlock that he could read him just as well as the detective could read John.
The thing is, in spite of having lived with the man for nearly a year, and in spite of being possibly more familiar with him than any other human being on the planet, John couldn't help but draw a complete blank regarding what to get him for Christmas. He never seemed to want for anything, except abstracts like the neighbours being quieter (the very definition of hypocrisy), the population in general being smarter (a lost cause on all counts), and Anderson being the victim rather than the forensic supervisor of the next murder they were called in for (bonus points for it being especially gory). None of these were things that John could deliver. Not without going to prison for the rest of his life, at least.
Mycroft's suggestions had been as follows: "Oh good lord, don't even bother. Whatever you get him he'll probably inadvertently incinerate anyway. He wouldn't even know it was Christmas in the first place if you hadn't insisted on putting a tree in the sitting room." John had sighed into the phone receiver and asked hopelessly if Sherlock had ever enjoyed one of Mycroft's gifts. "Yes, when he was eight, I gave him a ten-pound block of frozen carbon dioxide and a microscope, both of which he was immensely amused by until the card ice evaporated and he discovered that the microscope's magnification was not sufficient for pollen categorization."
He'd phoned Lestrade next, who had simply laughed dryly and said, "hell if I know. Get him a dead cat. Seems like he'd enjoy a box full of something dead on Christmas morning." John had been more frustrated than amused, so while he'd laughed obligingly, that had been the end of the conversation.
He had honestly been on the verge of phoning Sally Donovan (dear god, what was this coming to?) when Harry had given him a ring out of the blue and the conversation had turned to John's predicament.
"Get him a puppy. He's like a big kid, right? Every kid wants a puppy."
"I'm worried he'll kill it by accident."
"You could get him an already-dead puppy so he can dissect it."
"Fine, so he's basically a 12-year-old, a genius, he likes technology, and he doesn't do anything with his free time except solve murders or sit around waiting for murders to happen so he can solve them."
"Yeah, you're screwed, baby brother."
"So...bringing your new husband home for Christmas? Mum will be disappointed in both of us now, it'll be fun. We can steal the good rum and get plastered in the basement like old times."
"Harry, we're not together! And I never got drunk in the basement on mum and dad's rum!"
"Didn't you? Oh well. I got drunk enough for the both of us."
Unbeknownst to Harry, her crass advice had actually turned out to be very helpful, because every blunt statement she had made about Sherlock had been precisely true (except the husband thing). Sherlock was a child. Sherlock liked technology. Sherlock liked mysteries and hated boredom.
He was taking a wild risk and he knew it, but it just seemed so...appropriate. When the inspiration had finally struck him he had gone out immediately and purchased the thing that had first popped into his head, before he lost his nerve.
It had been childish, and he knew it, but had he cared? Nope.
He really should have thought it through better after the incident with the Marmite and the LSD, but when he had awakened two days before Christmas to find that a sparse, slushy coating of wet snow had covered London the night before, the temptation had simply been too great. John had looked from Sherlock's oblivious, supine form on the sofa – thoroughly absorbed in the news feed on his crackberry - to the thin, greyish blanket outside, then down at his watch. He had to be at work in twenty minutes.
Careful not to look too damningly eager, he had slipped on his shoes and scampered down the stairs to the front door.
The coating of snow was so thin and so damp that it took an extraordinary amount of effort to rally it into ball form. John had to make a sort of plough out of his hands and inch along the concrete in a very silly-looking crouch, made even sillier by the perplexed looks on the faces of passersby as they watched a coatless 40-year-old man go to extraordinary lengths to accumulate a snowball. By the time he had formed a sufficiently large and sufficiently snowball-shaped mass, his fingers and nose were bright pink with the cold and he was shivering slightly.
It had been perfect, absolutely perfect. When he heard John thundering back up the stairs, Sherlock had turned his head and opened his mouth to say something (something snide, no doubt), only to get a face full of cold, wet, grimy, 45-mph, London street-flavoured snowball, which splattered spectacularly to throw slush through his hair, down the front of his dressing gown, and all over the cushion he was leaning on.
John had trembled violently with stifled laughter and braced himself for the worst, because he honestly had no idea what Sherlock would do to him in retaliation.
What Sherlock had done was precisely this: he had slowly, indignantly wiped the snow from his eyes so as to glare more effective daggers in John's direction, then he had immediately resumed fiddling with his phone, before snarling "shouldn't you be at the surgery?"
John had to admit, he had been a little disappointed by that reaction, but he had shrugged, grabbed his jacket, and hurried off to work.
The moment he had stepped through the sliding glass door, he had been greeted by a familiar, snide, giggling, "You're late again, Doctor Watson," the tone of which he had known, as if by instinct, meant trouble.
"Sorry, Sarah, I – "
And there it was, snowball to the face. Not only his face, either, but all down the inside of his jacket.
John spluttered in shock as he tried to wipe the debris from his eyes, Sarah laughed unapologetically, covering her mouth with her hand.
"What the hell?" Was all he could manage.
"Your flatmate texted me," she explained raising an eyebrow, and taking a few steps closer "telling me that you would be here in exactly eleven minutes, and that if I hit you in the face with a snowball, he would give me fifty quid."
"Oh god, he's gotten to you, too?" John sighed. "I thought you were on my side."
"Oh, I am," she smiled, "I told him no. That one," she brushed a few ice ships from his hair, "was from me." He grinned disbelievingly and she planted a quick kiss on his cold, wet cheek. Then, when no-one was looking, gave his bum a squeeze for good measure.
Perhaps inappropriately, John's very next thought had been, so I still won the snowball fight, then?
John had stuck Sherlock's present under their rather unfortunate and rather sparsely adorned little plastic tree on Christmas eve and waited for Sherlock to notice it, which had taken an uncharacteristically long time. Apparently Sherlock avoided looking at the Christmas tree as often as possible, preferring to focus on things that better suited his taste. John had been nodding off in front of the telly when Sherlock had finally done a double-take as he crossed the room and demanded, "What is that?"
John had blinked. "Your Christmas gift."
Sherlock had looked from John to the festive parcel and back again with a level of trepidation that would have been better suited for something that could explode at any second. "You...got me a Christmas gift?"
"As though I wouldn't."
"Do I have to open it?"
"Yes, it's a gift, not Pandora's box."
"What is it?"
"I can't tell you, it's not fun that way."
Sherlock had scoffed at the word "fun."
"Just open it. It's Christmas in about twenty minutes anyway, so I won't make you suffer."
Sherlock's look had suggested that he was already suffering.
John had sighed and crossed the room, plucking the box from the floor and depositing it rather forcefully into Sherlock's mug-free hand. "It isn't brain surgery, just open it."
With equal parts efficiency and dread, Sherlock had stripped the box of its paper in one swift movement and stood staring blankly at its contents.
"What is it?"
"It's a DS, it's a video game thing, and I just got you that so you could play the game that's with it."
"Professor Layton..." Sherlock read off the cover.
"Yeah, it's a game where you solve mysteries, and that advances the plot, so you can solve the big mystery at the end. I figured it'd be sort of easy for you, but then, everything is."
Sherlock had stared at the box in silence, and John's confidence had begun to falter.
"I mean, I know it's...kind of for kids, I guess, but I couldn't legally give you real casework to do in real life without...killing someone...which is bad."
Sherlock's eyes had scanned the packaging as though the fine print contained the secret of human existence. "John, this is - "
Stupid? Childish? A terrible idea? Knew it.
John's chest had nearly burst with pride, but before he could bask in his glorious victory for more than a second, Sherlock had turned on his heel and retreated to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him. John's brows had furrowed, but it wasn't until he heard a strange yelping sound that his mouth had actually fallen open and he had dared to take a few steps forward.
"Sherlock? What...what are you doing?"
The detective had emerged carrying something in a pillowcase, something that was wriggling and...making noise. "This is yours. Sorry, it doesn't lend itself well to wrapping."
Against his better judgment but partly out of sheer alarm, John had snatched the pillowcase from Sherlock's hand and pulled it open to look inside. What looked back at him was the wrinkly, caramel-coloured face of a tiny bulldog puppy, disoriented but apparently unharmed by its unusual method of containment.
"You got me a puppy...in a sack...you, of all people...got me a puppy?"
"Yes, from a man in Lambeth with a bit of an animal hoarding problem. Do you like it?"
"I..." Oh god, the thing was unbearably cute. Its little pink tongue poked amiably out of his scrunched face. "How could I not?" He reached down into the pillowcase to lift it up, meeting with squirms and yelps until he dropped the pillowcase and cradled it in the bend of his elbow.
"Just keep it clear of the experiments," Sherlock had sighed in a hollow show of pique, "and for god's sake, house train it."
John had given him a perplexed look before realising – a second too late – that there was a rather conspicuous damp spot on his jumper. The puppy looked up at him, the picture of sorrowful innocence.
"Happy Christmas, John."