Title: Being Human
Characters/Pairings: No pairings. John, Sherlock, various
Warnings: None, unless schmuff (schmoopy fluff) and clueless!Sherlock need to be warned for
Word Count (this bit): 1650
General Summary: Five times John helped make Sherlock more human, and one time Sherlock returned the favor
This Chapter Summary: A slice of life at Baker Street. And WARNING, HERE BE VERY VERY MILD SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA SPOILERS, SCROLL DOWN TO SKIP PLEASE IF YOU DON'T WANT THEM
I came up with the antlers idea long before I watched A Scandal in Belgravia yesterday, thank you very much. While this is holiday-themed just because that's how it worked out, it has nothing to do with the episode and is therefore technically AU.
A/N: Written for sherlockmas on LiveJournal.
Disclaimer: Characters don't belong to me or Season Two would have been out months ago. Title is also the title of another BBC show, which I also don't own.
It wasn't really that Sherlock had anything against Christmas, specifically. He did not, contrary to popular belief, hate holidays, but neither did he embrace them. They were, simply, non-entities, items which were wholly unimportant outside their relationship with crime. All in all, he disliked Christmas more because the season of goodwill decreased the crime rate, than because he thought trees and trappings were horrendously commercial. Growing up on an estate in Sussex, the family had always held massive celebrations for the holiday, and while he detested the mandatory socializing he had nothing against the décor and general spirit of pleasantness which lightened an otherwise dreary winter.
It therefore made him laugh when he poked his head out from his bedroom one morning at an ungodly hour, to see John trying his best to sneak a bedraggled evergreen tree into the sitting room before Sherlock awoke.
He took a perverse pleasure in slamming the door of his bedroom as he exited. John jumped about half his entire height in the air and dropped the scraggly tree in the hall.
"Warn a chap when you're going to creep around like that!"
"I daresay I was not the one 'creeping,'" he pointed out, indicating the tree.
He watched with fascinated amusement as John's shoulders set in that particular stubborn stance which meant he was preparing mentally for an argument of epic proportions and holding out for at least a stalemate.
"Sherlock, look, I know it's just another thing that's not necessary to The Work, but I am having a Christmas tree and if you lay a finger on it for an experiment or otherwise so help me I will not do the shopping for a week," John informed him, arms folded obstinately across his jumper – a hideous green-and-red monstrosity which could only be a gift from…had to be Harry (courtesy of the M&S bargain rack). Sherlock privately thought Sarah was a bit of an air-head, but at least the woman had fashion sense.
"Why would I object to your having a Christmas tree, John?" he asked irritably, pushing past the man into the kitchen. He was aware that there was only one clean mug left in the cupboard, and he must beat John to it.
As he snatched the mug and tucked it safely under one arm while rooting for a tea-bag, he vaguely registered John staring after him, slack-jawed. "What?"
"Ah…nothing. That's…good, Sherlock. Very good. I'm glad you…glad it's all fine."
"You are surprised," he observed aloud, just for John's benefit of course, as he searched in vain for a clean spoon.
"Yes, well, you have to admit, traditional holiday cheer isn't the first thing that comes to mind where you're concerned," was the dry reply, floating to him over the sound of John's laptop blaring some horrendous pop version of O Come, All Ye Faithful.
He smiled into the cup, unseen. "Looking for my heart to grow three sizes this season, John?"
A small crash told him John had gotten the tree into what would be its new position for the next three weeks. A moment later, the man himself stuck his head in the kitchen. "You deleted the Copernican theory, but not Dr. Seuss? Thought you were just a brain, and the rest is transport. Tell me you did not just use the last mug."
"So I am. And I can't. Tell you, that is."
"You used the last clean mug. My mug. The one that I have said is specifically mine. As, in, not yours. Mine."
"You. Are. Impossible." Irritation; he was safe until it progressed to frustration, which would be a shorter journey than usual on a cold morning like this when John's shoulder was aching.
"Very not good." John sighed, and the sound sucked all the light out of the room. He spared a moment to wonder at the phenomenon; it surely defied all laws of physics. "Budge over, then. Why is it you'll spend an hour getting dressed to go out but it doesn't bother you to have things growing in your dishes?"
"Why would it bother me?" Indeed? John always was stellar about the washing up, and he never had to worry about it except for the three days when John was gone at a conference, and during that time Sherlock had just lived off of Costa and Mrs. Hudson.
They had progressed from irritation to resignation, which was more dangerous than anger. Sherlock did not like an unhappy John; not only did he have the sole rights to moping in this household, but it made him feel bizarrely sick inside to know he was the cause of his flatmate's distress. He unknowingly caused enough problems as it was, without intentionally doing so.
"Why are you that bothered by my using the last mug?" he asked curiously, moving up suddenly behind John as his flatmate dumped a cup of diluted bleach over three scraped-out, moldy mugs.
John sighed again, and a little more of the holiday warmth melted out of the room. "It's not that, Sherlock. It would just be lovely if once in a great while, that brain of yours would condescend to actually do something useful around this place, rather than making even more work for me and Mrs. Hudson, God bless her patient soul. Do you even make your bed of mornings?"
He was not about to incriminate himself by answering that. Was it his fault that his upbringing had accustomed him to a certain walk of life which most certainly did not involve meniality such as household chores? He could certainly not be held responsible for the household servants conditioning him to disregard such banalities.
"Why should I bother with any of it?" he finally asked, legitimately curious.
"Because that's what regular blokes do, Sherlock!" A mug slammed down into the sink with more force than he believed was warranted. "We are not married and I am not your housewife! It's bad enough that I have to hoover around you twice a week while you just sit there and stare at me – but you won't even rinse blood and heaven only knows what out of the saucepans when you leave them on the stove overnight!"
He was expected to do that?
Blinking thoughtfully, he regarded his fuming flatmate with a calculating gaze. "Is that what 'regular blokes' do, then?" he inquired, pondering. "Clean up?"
"Or at least not make more of a mess for the other person, yes, Sherlock – it is considered basic common courtesy in the Real World." Ah, his cluelessness had softened the irritation into exasperation; a distinct improvement. "Don't you think you can descend to us mortals once in a great while and at least make your rubbish hit the bin?"
Well, if that were considered to be standard behavior, and obviously if he wished to keep his flatmate instead of running him off (Mycroft still had bets placed on Under Two Years, and he had no intention of letting the man collect) he would need to compromise a bit.
He yanked a drawer out and rummaged through it, emerging with a (basically) clean and (mostly) dry towel.
Up to his elbows in soap suds, John eyed him as if he'd just proposed making a kebab out of the microwaved eyeballs. "What exactly are you doing, Sherlock?"
"You just said that is what's done, John. Do try to at least keep up with your own thoughts."
John was still staring at him like he'd grown a third skull. Sherlock flicked him impatiently with the towel, receiving a yelp and a splash to the face in retaliation.
Evidently 'regular blokes' did quite a few things Sherlock had never tried before. Things like water-fights.
After they'd finished and cleaned up the water damage before Mrs. Hudson found out they'd devolved into a splash-battle, John decorated his tree while Sherlock plinked out random accompaniment to the music on the radio. John glued the arms back on a cheap snowman ornament. Sherlock glued his finger to the table and spent thirty minutes experimenting one-handedly with solvents to extricate himself.
John decided to help Mrs. Hudson make sugar-dough ornaments, and spent twenty minutes punching out gingerbread men shapes with a cutter. Sherlock ate one of the ornaments, commented that it was at best a step below cheap shortbread and a step above moulding clay, and spent forty minutes making a crime scene with the others (complete with a decapitated sugar-man and red icing for blood).
John stuck a pair of light-up reindeer antlers on the skull; Sherlock took them and wore them for the rest of the day as an experiment on how many people stopped to stare at him in a ten-block radius. John carefully hid behind large passers-by and street-vendors for most of their walk; Sherlock made a point to bellow for him and chase him like a dog around trees and lamp-posts at every chance he got.
John short-circuited the building plugging in too many strands of fairy-lights that night. Sherlock went down to flip the breaker and was distracted by a half-dessicated mouse. John came to find him with a torch ten minutes later, and tripped over him in the dark. Sherlock got no more than a boot to the face and counted himself lucky that the soldier's instincts were dulled by the consumption of a heavy dinner.
John limped to the couch and turned on Being Human. Loudly. Sherlock pondered the possibilities of subliminal irony. John's head began to bob an hour later. Sherlock cautiously snaked one hand toward the remote, and froze at the instantly-alert look of icy death he received.
Apparently, regular blokes did not touch their flatmates' telly. Ever.
He had much to learn about this regular-bloke lark, and it was going to be a fascinating experience.