Title: Doing the Shopping (Deleted Scenes 1&2)
Characters: (main) John, Sherlock (second deleted scene) also Lestrade, Donovan
Genre: Gen, humor, disgusting amounts of holiday fluff
Rating: PG for implications in second deleted scene
Word Count: (main) 7707 | (deleted scenes) 691 & 4,031
Warnings: Takes place throughout established canon, so spoilers for basically all of S2 including TRF. Mild rare shipping in first deleted scene; don't ask where it came from, but it fascinates me and I may pursue it at my leisure someday
Summary: Scene One: Lestrade and Donovan see John's new suit at the scene. Scene Two: Sherlock does come up with a Christmas present for John, one far more personal than a hastily-bought gift could be.

A/N2: Here are the two deleted scenes, just for those who might be interested in what didn't make the cut. I tend to over-write things and so usually end up with a lot of cut material that just doesn't go with the oneshot or else interrupts the flow (esp. in a five-and-one, where the parts need to really be the same length if possible to satisfy my OCD tendencies).

DELETED SCENE 1 - After the final part (Sherlock & John buying suits for the casino case)

Lestrade is waiting for them in front of a car containing their bugging equipment and a nondescript sergeant he's never met before. Lestrade is attired in a tuxedo (that style went out two years ago, but it will do in a pinch if he has the attitude to pull off the operation), and appears a bit too enthusiastic about infiltrating a casino in search of femme fatales. Donovan, equally well-attired in what appears to be an actually flattering evening gown in a deep rust colour, looks less excited, but then she is only there to basically track their quarry into the lavatories if need be so he really can't blame her.

Sherlock absently slams the door of the cab before remembering John is inside as well, and hastily opens it again, ignoring the glare he receives. Lestrade coughs to hide his laughter, while John huffs a longsuffering sigh, pays the cab driver, and turns, self-consciously straightening his new jacket (nervous habit, it would give him away in an instant to someone like Sherlock, but will probably be put down to adrenaline inside the casino).

Lestrade chokes on his peppermint, and Donovan's long, enthusiastic whistle could be heard in Hampstead.

John turns the colour of Sherlock's shirt.

Sherlock hides his grin. One of the con artists in question has helped him before on a case involving rigged gambling tables, and he has no wish to see a valuable resource incarcerated for nothing more than guilt by association and some minor infractions. Part of his reasons for insisting they accompany Lestrade on the case (because even Donovan could competently make the arrest) is to get his informant safely out of the danger zone before Lestrade swoops in with all the subtlety of a wrecking ball.

Now, with John as distraction (Donovan has not taken her entirely too wandering eyes off his flatmate), he will have free rein to dance around the official channels and find his quarry before the authorities step in and muddy the waters.

To his surprise, John accepts Donovan's nudge and, glancing reassuringly at Sherlock, takes off with her as soon as they arrive. Sherlock loses sight of them in the crowd, and turns to Lestrade. The DI is still staring unbelieving at the disappearing couple, and only comes back to himself with a start when Sherlock pokes him in the back of the head.

Then he asks, "D'you get the feeling we're about to get shown up?"

"Statistically likely," Sherlock agrees, watching as the duo weave expertly amongst the throng and settle in at a table, nodding in easy greeting to their fellow gamblers.

Sherlock had not really anticipated John's little-indulged gambling vice performing in their favour, but between John's risk-taking and Donovan's sharp intuition, they make a small fortune over the course of the evening. Lestrade gets his con artist, Sherlock gets his informant out the secret back exit of the casino, and Donovan -

Donovan gets John, much to Sherlock's amusement and John's fascinated half-terror. Sherlock mouths "You're welcome" at his flatmate as the man is fairly dragged up to Sally's apartment for 'coffee' (he does not care, and certainly does not care to know, if it is literal or a mere euphemism).

Lestrade stares at the empty stairwell up to Sally's apartment, blinking with ponderous slowness.

"What are you doing?" he then asks, as Sherlock busies himself with his mobile.

"Sending John a text to remind him that his suit costs more than six months' rent and for the love of all things sensible hang it up."

"Ah...right." An awkward cough, and a mutter which sounds suspiciously like I don't get paid enough for this.

Sherlock finishes the text and presses Send.

"Don't suppose you'd be able to convince your client to let you take me shopping too, eh?"

Sherlock's eyes glint in warning. "Certainly not."

"Well," Lestrade continues, grinning as he bounces on the balls of his feet, "y'could at least tell me what my 'colours' are, Sherlock, it's the least you can do."

"Oh, shut up, Lestrade."

DELETED SCENE 2 - After part 3 (shopping and a late Christmas Eve)

Sherlock is miserably asleep in his bedroom when John descends on Christmas Day, judging from the sign taped to the door indicating that he is not to be disturbed until dinnertime unless John is bringing him prescription-strength painkillers. But there is a small box sitting on his desk, wrapped in white paper and sporting a small gold bow which John is ninety percent certain Sherlock nicked off one of the presents John wrapped and put under the tree during the week. He laughs and opens it over his morning coffee-and-biscuit routine, half-expecting something dead or - worse! - only half-dead inside.

But his gift is just a mobile phone, which is a bit odd, considering it's obviously battered and not in packaging - and then, as he inspects it and its contents, he realises. It must be the mobile Sherlock used when he was in hiding, those five months while he was presumably dead and trying to take out the remainder of the Moriarty syndicate. It looks vaguely familiar, but where he's seen it he can't remember just at the moment.

He has the feeling this is a legitimate gift, not just one of Sherlock's little games; this is the man himself giving a part of himself back, a part of his life that John was not privy to due to circumstances. He smiles, and flips through the photo gallery first. Nothing really of note there (mostly photos of random people, presumably suspects and associates of Moriarty), save a few pictures in an album labeled Personal.

There's one of Lestrade, slightly blurry and distant, as the DI directs traffic at a crime scene, and one of Mrs. Hudson which appears to have been taken from the house opposite as she walks next door to Speedy's. There are two or three of Molly, surprisingly, and one of a scruffy grey cat which he presumes is Molly's beloved Smokes poking his nose curiously into the phone's camera lens. There is one of Mycroft asleep with his feet up on a nondescript desk (his flat? family estate? not a government office, at least) and a nearly-empty cake plate near his left heel, and John snorts crumbs into his sinuses with laughter. There are a few of other people John barely recognises, for they are taken from distances, and then he comes across a quite clear one of him and Lestrade eating breakfast at an outdoor cafe in the Strand one sunny morning. Lestrade is leaned forward, pointing at something in a newspaper, and John is smiling at whatever Greg is saying; he remembers the day as being one of the first few in which he actually began to feel alive and semi-normal again.

His breath hitches slightly when he sees the next picture is that of a mural someone in Sherlock's Irregular band had graffitied on the side of a bridge piling; a black silhouette of him, edged in garish yellow, that says We believe in Sherlock Holmes below it with a painted flourish distinctive of young Raz's handiwork. John has long since forgiven Sherlock, but if he had not he would now, staring at this still, voiceless broadcast of just how lonely and isolated his friend had to have been, to count this photo as worthy of taking and saving.

Then there's another photo, of John strolling out with the new receptionist at the surgery - Laura, her name had been, but he wasn't in the frame of mind to seriously pursue any relationship at that point - and a glass-blurred one of him getting the morning papers from the doorstep of 221B. One of him at a Tesco's, and how John didn't see a six-foot-tall man randomly taking a photo of him selecting breakfast cereal is beyond his understanding (soldiers should have better instincts!). One of him smiling on the doorstep of 221B, holding a small bouquet of spring flowers for Mrs. Hudson, and another of him obliviously talking on his phone outside the clinic where he still works occasionally.

And then he flicks to the last photo, and smiles. His own profile greets him, as he is questioningly intent upon something off screen, while Sherlock stands behind him, one hand on his shoulder and the other arm outstretched to point out the object in question. Sherlock's coat flaps in the wind behind him, and his eyes gleam with the fervour of a case; John looks fondly tolerant at his antics and is smiling slightly at the invasion of personal space. It's thoroughly unposed, casual, comfortable, and just a great shot - and he has Lestrade to thank for it. It's the same photo John has framed on his desk. Nothing spectacularly dramatic like putting it on his bedside table. and nothing like blowing it up to a wall mural size; just a simple photo in a simple wooden frame, but it has stood there since the day Lestrade sent it to him a few months before Moriarty resurfaced into their lives. He's no idea when Greg took it, but he's thanked the man several times over.

From anyone else the album would be disturbingly stalkerish - but from Sherlock, it is heartwarming to know that he kept an eye on them, all of them (but especially John, as he notes with a glow of affection), as best he could in his absence; in Sherlock's own bizarrely demonstrative way.

John's feeling of being about eighty percent pleased, five percent flattered, and fifteen percent disturbed by this Sherlock-stalking only increases when he moves from the still media folder to the video folder. The first video appears to be nothing more than a fifteen-second clip of Smokes trying to gnaw his way through a tortilla chip in what must be Molly's kitchen. Should he have gotten Sherlock a cat for Christmas, then?

The second video is a downloaded stream of footage from the news reports the day after Sherlock's purported death; a distorted, libelous version of events with just enough truth mixed in to make it entirely believable. John's seen the footage dozens of times, and has no desire to do so again. He clicks onward to the next video.

This one, he is touched that Sherlock kept; it's the afterthought, barely-twenty-seconds-long clip from the most prominent of the news services covering the scandal, in which John had been exonerated completely from all charges and allegations of involvement with the entire fiasco (Mycroft's doing, though John had not even cared at that point if he was considered a fraud as well, as nothing really mattered by then).

There's a couple of news clips, a ten-second video chat with Mycroft over money issues, a jerky video of what he assumes is filmed evidence for something Sherlock needed, a covert operation of some kind. There's a random clip saved from the website of an up-and-coming amateur classical pianist, and a music/photo montage video one of their 'fans' had put together and uploaded to YouTube a month after Sherlock's death. There's another music video of some lilting Celtic violinist, and John chuckles to himself when he sees the last video is a fifteen-second footage stream of Smokes tearing around the flat as if his tail were afire, leaping furniture and climbing curtains with a truly miraculous speed (he can only hope Sherlock wasn't experimenting on the poor thing with some sort of drug).

Then John turns to the messages, in this odd exploration of Sherlock's gift. Sherlock deletes most of his messages with fair regularity, saving only those he deems worthy of not being deleted (literally or mentally), and so the inbox is empty - but there are several saved messages, and John starts to scroll through them leisurely.

He stares at the very first one, and feels his lips curl in a small smirk.

I hear you're not dead.
Let's have dinner.

John is glad, entirely selflessly glad, to see it. Not because he thinks Sherlock even took Ms. Adler up on the offer - but because someone, at least, had let his friend know that she understood what he did and why. Sherlock would have needed such a confidante, because he's not going to delude himself into thinking Sherlock took a vacation around the world while the rest of London grieved or forgot his loss; no, Sherlock suffered as much, maybe even more so, than the people he had left behind. Sherlock had, one evening a fortnight before Moriarty had resurfaced, told John that he had helped Irene Adler escape in Karachi. John thinks Sherlock probably told him not because he thought John would care, but because he wanted to see John's embarrassed expression when his friend revealed that he knew Mycroft had conscripted John into a lie to hide her execution.

Either way, John's glad to see that Sherlock was right, and more so that he actually kept the short message instead of deleting it during his months in hiding. That of course does not mean John wouldn't like to find out if Sherlock responded and if so, what happened - but he will not ask, because Sherlock has gifted him this without deletion, trusting his loyalty to not turn to the betrayal of inquisitiveness.

He moves on, scrolling swiftly through a series of messages from Mycroft basically reporting facts about the Moriarty organization's chaotic movements, sees the next one is one from Molly Hooper and opens that one.

John's writing abt u
again. It's v. sad, rly.
Can't u give him some
kind of hope?

John closes his eyes briefly, because he can't imagine the helplessness Sherlock must have felt, given his reasons for staying away those five months. He sighs, and backtracks to the message log, scrolling to the next message set, which is from Mycroft.

If you accept my offer,
I can reduce your time
'abroad' by at least half.

And a second, send only moments later:

Remember, the longer
you tarry, the more they
will forget you.

John sees red, fury flashing through him in a wave so strong he could easily go after Mycroft Holmes weaponless, British government or no. The man had no right to say such things, to play upon their unknowing grief in order to force Sherlock to make such a choice -

But, he realises suddenly, if Sherlock had not accepted Mycroft's involvement, it could have been many more months, years even, before he felt it safe enough to return to life and London. Perhaps, just perhaps, that was why Mycroft's ruthless messages had been sent, and saved by his friend - drastic measures, to produce drastic results.

It still does not keep him from wanting to punch the elder Holmes, however.

The next message is from Molly again, just a report on Mrs. Hudson's health. John can't really find it in his heart to hate her; Sherlock had no other recourse for a hospital staff assistant in his scheme, and besides the poor girl gained nothing from it but a guilty conscience and a few brief words of acknowledgement when Sherlock felt he needed to stock up grace with his link back to the living world. She risked her job to help a man who would never return her affection, though he thinks Molly and Sherlock have become actually friends in this interim rather than a man avoiding his one-sided crush.

The next message is from an unknown number, and it chills him to the bone to see it.

If you are who I think
you are, then you
understand any further
action will have grave
consequences for those
you left behind.

Obviously, someone in Moriarty's remaining syndicate had found out Sherlock was still alive after all, or at least suspected as much.

The next message, from Mycroft, is chillingly terse.

Subject eliminated. One
more such mistake and
your 'sacrifice' will have
become pointless.

John shakes his head, pondering anew just how tense that time had to have been for Sherlock, and feeling immensely grateful that it is over, for all their sakes.

The last few messages are just status reports, dated the last few weeks before Sherlock's tornadic return to London, and so he moves on down the list in Messages. Sherlock's Sent folder is empty, which is not surprising, as there would have been no reason for him to even return messages during his absence unless it had been absolutely necessary.

But John is surprised to see that the Drafts folder is nearly full, containing almost a thousand drafted messages.

Obviously, this is no ordinary phone, not with that kind of storage, and now John recognizes it - it's Irene Adler's camera phone, which makes sense for Sherlock to take on the run because of its safety precautions against theft and damage. Sherlock's personal mobile had been left on the roof of St. Bart's - John still has it somewhere - so he had to have been carrying Irene's on his person at the time.

Curious, he opens the folder -

And all nine-hundred-odd messages are drafted to him.

He stares at the list for a minute in confusion mingled with disbelief, because why on earth would Sherlock have drafted messages he had no intention of sending? It is a pointless, futile exercise, and John is mystified as to why Sherlock would have even bothered.

But he begins to read, and as he does his heart goes out to a man who had been hiding from the world and all he knew, trying to make it through the days as best he knew how - a man who had only just learnt he had a heart, and who now had no idea how to deal with that knowledge.

I am so sorry, is the first message, sent only hours after Sherlock was pronounced dead in the morgue at St. Bart's. John had still been with Lestrade in A&E, half-concussed and shell-shocked with grief.

I never meant for you to become a pawn in this business, follows shortly after. God knows you are more than that, to me.

Mycroft said you found the will. Use the money to live, John, and be happy.

You would be appalled to know the memorial service is being live streamed to me through one of Mycroft's spies, I'll wager.

Really, John, I am not half the man you seem to believe I was.

Thank you for not putting something atrociously maudlin on my gravestone.

You would also be appalled to know Mycroft insists upon surveillance for my graveside as well. You have my permission to punch him in the face when you see him next.

John freezes, because the knowledge that he had been filmed multiple times baring his soul to a piece of marble in a deserted graveyard is not exactly comforting. Perhaps he will punch Mycroft. What was the man going to do, fire him from his unpaid position of guarding his little brother?

Rough week. You have no idea how much I needed to hear your voice last Sunday, John. Even if you only did ramble endlessly at my stone about nonsensical melodrama in your dating life. Do try to be more interesting next week when you come.

He laughs at that, because the whole absurdity of the thing is so bizarre as to be funny. Sherlock miles away, listening to footage from a hidden camera while John talks to a gravestone, and then calling him out on his mundane conversation...

His life is so strange he should write a television show, not a blog.

Mycroft is sending me to Europe for a week because one of the members of the gang is getting too close to the truth. He wants me out of the way while the threat is dealt with.

He frightens me sometimes, John. But if it will enable me to cast off this deception quicker, I cannot afford to have scruples.

I have not traveled alone for over a year; had forgotten how unpleasant it can be. Even your most boring conversation is still less boring than the alternative.

Remind me to bring you back to Florence, John. I believe you would enjoy it, and if I recall you have never been to France other than Paris?

Someone picked my pocket! Am either losing my touch, or someone suspects who I am. Leaving Montpellier tonight, despite the fact that they acquired nothing more than a false ID and a few odd Euros.

John shivers, because he cannot imagine living in that kind of uncertainty for months at a time; always suspicious, wondering who to trust and who not to, overthinking every odd look and too-friendly passer-by. He scrolls on to the next message.

Back in London. I saw Lestrade the other day, at a Costa near NSY. If you both take care of each other that is one less thing to occupy my concern.

John smiles briefly and shakes his head at the next message; again with the stalking, apparently. I see the new girlfriend has better taste in jumpers than the last. Blue is actually a good colour for you.

Though she seems a bit vacant.

Cutting her fettuccini into bite-sized pieces? Gauche, John. You can certainly do better.

I am pleased to see you smile, however artificial it obviously is.

Are you aware that she is texting someone under the table?

Get rid of her. She annoys me.

He winces, but by now can do nothing but laugh at the running commentary. To think that Sherlock had to have been sitting somewhere in the restaurant, watching him...was both creepy and a bit adorable. For Sherlock.

The next few messages are basically repetitive, brief reports of how the investigation is progressing. John continues to scroll through them, a bit more rapidly due to their sheer numbers, and pauses on ones that catch his eye.

Donovan apologised to you, I assume, since you are actually getting along now. Do not blame her for doing her job, John. There is history there you are unaware of. I was a different man, and I can't blame her.

Really, John? 'A Case of Identity Theft'? Could you be any less original in your titling? And of all the cases you could start to write up again, you choose the one which presents the least possible features of interest to the criminal investigator?

Also, your grammar is atrocious.

See also spelling.

I am tempted to comment anonymously and point out the errors, but I doubt I can fit them into 1500 characters.

John rolls his eyes, unable to be offended, and continues through the randomized message drafts.

I do miss Mrs. Hudson's occasional forays into baking French pastries.

Also my violin. Do not you dare touch it, John, I wish it unsullied upon my return.

Molly's cat is possessed, I am nearly certain. What kind of domesticated animal tries to sleep on one's face?

He stares at that, processing those implications, while scrolling to the next message, sent a moment later.

Mind out of the gutter, please, John. I am on the couch because have been evicted from my flat. Said couch apparently is Smokes's purring ground of choice.

John chuckles. His coffee now long since gone cold, he reaches for the juice pitcher and pours himself a glass before returning to the messages.

They continue on and on and on, for several pages, all varying in tone and intensity but each just one more tiny piece of Sherlock that John missed out on during those months he spent in hiding. John laughs and frowns and rolls his eyes and even cries a little as he reads the unsent commentary - what had to have been nothing less than therapy for Sherlock, wandering London and Europe so very alone for so many months.

He reaches the final few messages, feeling like he has learned more about his friend in the last...hour and a half, than he has known since they met.

Mycroft informs me only one man is left whom I must worry about. Stay safe for another week, John.

Apparently brother mine grew weary of waiting for the tiger to take the bait, and eliminated the problem. Evidently I will be returning home tonight on the next train. I was not given the option to wait until morning. Siblings are a nuisance untold.

Last message; I will be arriving on your doorstep in ten minutes, if this idiot cab driver will deign to drive like a Londoner. Do please avoid the teeth when you punch me, John.

Though even that will be very much worth it. Will you be glad to see me, I have to wonder? Or only angry and hurt. You have every right to be; I would be.

I hope you are at least pleased to see me, and maybe will relent and say Welcome Home after you've tossed me out the door as I deserve.

John shakes his head as he puts the mobile down on the table, feeling the burn of sympathetic grief behind his eyes. Sherlock had only done what he would have in the same situation, what any true friend would have for those he loved.

How could John possibly fault him for caring?

"...I had thought you would be more pleased than upset," Sherlock's hesitant voice comes from the doorway, almost shy in its uncertainty.

"I am," he says quickly, eyes downcast to hide the fact that they probably show pity - Sherlock would die (augh, even his brain did bad puns) before accepting that. "It's probably the single most thoughtful gift someone's ever given me, Sherlock."

"But it also distresses you. I had not thought it would." Sherlock's frown draw his eyebrows together as he sits kitty-corner to John at the table, shoving away the plate of sausage with a look of disgust.

"Only because I hate that you feel you were in the wrong, what you did," John says finally, after a long bracing swig of juice, during which he controls his voice again.

"I lied to everyone, John, over an issue which was slightly more far-reaching than your average, everyday fib," Sherlock pointed out.

The warmth of righteous anger kindles in his heart, and he sets the mobile down to give the lovable idiot his full attention. "You saved our lives by risking - and nearly losing! - your own, Sherlock. How ungrateful would I be, for being angry that you ran scared for months all alone, and refused to put me into a crosshairs by telling me you were alive?"

Sherlock stares at him, eerily similar to how he had last night on the steps, with that does-not-compute-brain-now-rebooting look that twists John's heart in his chest.

"You and that brilliant brain of yours, and you read it all wrong, Sherlock," he sighs, smiling. "Hey, it's not every day I get to say that," he adds brightly, celebrating with a juice-glass toast.

Sherlock snorts, but the lines of tension around his eyes relax as he smiles - one of those odd, shy half-smiles, the real ones, that John likes to think he has helped to evoke more frequently when there's no one else around to comment.

He grins when Sherlock glances around, shrugs, and appropriates a half-full test tube to match his toast.

A creak on the stairs (just the house shifting, since their landlady left yesterday, abandoning them to fend for themselves) makes them both look hastily toward the door.

"I do wish Mrs. Hudson were coming up with a hot coffee-ring or something," John says wistfully for lack of anything more sentimental and Christmassy, as he absently stabs the last (cold) sausage.

"Yes, no doubt her presence would be quite charming," Sherlock mutters testily, placing his test tube back in the rack and then retreating toward his room, probably for his slippers. His dressing gown flutters dramatically behind him, enough that John absently wonders if he practices flinging it about in the mirror. "'Oh sorry, love, are you two having a moment?'" His friend says in a high falsetto. "'I'll just be leaving you to it, then.'"

John is rather proud of the fact that he remembers to protect the mobile phone whilst spraying juice all over his place setting.