A very Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you enjoy this, and thank you so very much for reading.

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John stands beside Sherlock, panting hard. Their breath rises in swirling white clouds before their eyes, mingling in the night air before it disappears completely. Both men are leant over slightly, trying to catch it, inhaling lungfuls of wonderful oxygen. John straightens first, and rests his head on the dank alley wall behind him, grinning. Beside him and still breathing heavily, Sherlock's smile is just as wide as he mirrors the movement.

A violently struggling Penny has just been bundled into the back of a police car, and despite the bruises John can feel blossoming under his skin, he can't quite pinpoint how he could make these first few hours of Christmas morning any more perfect.

Sherlock's wide smile and breathlessness seem to indicate the sentiment is reciprocated.

Well – maybe not 'sentiment' – but that end-of-case buzz, the shared triumph of one more criminal behind bars, the surge of adrenaline and sudden exhausting crash.

They both live for these moments.

John suddenly becomes very aware of the rain that's soaked through all his clothes, that's causing goosepimples to rise on his skin and eliciting violent shivering. He looks sideways at Sherlock – still smiling and breathing hard – and realises that the detective beside him is just as drenched as he is, his dark hair slicked to his skull with water, his long coat sodden. Streams of water flow over his skin, and John knows he looks just the same. It's wonderful.

It's that thrill, that shared rush of adrenaline, that undeniable high of chasing criminals through the streets of London, of shouting and grabbing blindly, of pinning people to the ground and sniggering as Sherlock makes unhelpful comments while they wait for the police. It's worth the punch in the face and bruised ribs, worth the rainwater and the screaming of lungs.

It's worth it for the reminder of quite why John still lives with this brilliant man, and how Sherlock, horrifically soppy as it sounds and is, saved him. Saves.

Now, don't get him wrong: there are many, many things about his flatmate that are extremely irritating; if not downright bloody inconsiderate and rude.

Nonetheless, in the spirit of Christmas, John would like to make a few amendments to his list:

1. Interrupted dates. Yes. Very, very irritating. Probably one of Sherlock's worst habits. Having said that – and John will never tell Sherlock this – his company is better than any girl's. Even if he is an irritating little sod.

2. John wishes he'd remember the milk sometimes. But, if he's honest, it won't kill him to nip down to Tescos every so often. No one's perfect.

3. Getting arrested…that definitely is one of Sherlock most – unhelpful – talents. John Watson doesn't really want a criminal record, especially when he hasn't actually done anything. However, there's something of a thrill that comes when you're trying to escape from uniformed police officers in the dead of night. He'd just rather they didn't get caught.

4. He doesn't really mind Sherlock sleeping on him.

5. Mycroft is annoying, yes. John suspects it's a family trait. However, he is useful sometimes.

6. John loves Sherlock's ridiculous, far-fetched plans to extract some obscure piece of information. It's exciting.

7. Nothing beats the 'camp voice'.

8. If John had to change something about Sherlock, he'd probably like him to care more, to acknowledge that the people caught up in crime were real human beings; that they mattered. But Sherlock works how he is, and he saves lives and brings people to justice. John wouldn't want to tamper with that ability.

9. Poor Molly. Poor, poor Molly. John envies no one with a crush on Sherlock Holmes.

10. Texting at work is annoying. However, it is also sometimes informative and actually more fun than work.

11. John hates feeling tired. He also hates the stomach ache that comes of improved coffee. What he doesn't hate is staying up all night with Sherlock solving crimes.

12. Much as John wishes that, just once, Sherlock would listen to him when he says things, he is also guilty of ignoring what Sherlock says, although largely because the man is a prat.

13. Sherlock's bad moods border on unbearable. However, John knows that he has quite a temper on him, too.

14. Something else John will never tell Sherlock – he's actually flattered that the detective patronises him as little as he does. Doesn't stop it being – well, patronising.

15. God, the tears. John is impressed by the obvious talent, but it makes him feel bad, manipulating people's emotions like that. Nonetheless, Sherlock only uses it in his crime solving exploits, something John respects.

16. Sherlock is only silent when John doesn't want him to be. He supposes it's encouraging to know he has the ability.

17. Contrary to what he may try and tell himself, John loves Sherlock's odd, morbid and frankly slightly disturbing sense of humour. He likes that they can laugh at the scene of a brutal murder just as they can laugh at Sherlock's brother.

18. Yes, Sherlock is very thoughtless when he speaks. Yes, John hates it. No, he doubts he would change it. Don't ask.

19. Why Sherlock cannot be civil to one of the few men who actually give him the time of day, John cannot fathom. However, there's a tiny (and selfish) part of him that is actually glad all the rudeness and cutting remarks aren't reserved just for him.

20. Also: why can Sherlock not behave like an adult for once? Even if the childlike enthusiasm does rather go with his genius…

21. Resentment was also childish. Very childish. Somehow it also bloody fitted into Sherlock's ridiculous and horrible personality.

22. Why was it that John got the feeling that a modest consulting detective would be more annoying than the arrogant bastard he currently lived with? Probably because he was a masochistic idiot, but somehow the arrogance fit Sherlock. It made him more impressive.

23. Sherlock does not understand blogs. John knows this and will try not to judge him for it.

24. John loves chasing after Sherlock. And if he didn't run off, John would have no one to follow.

The two men's breathing calms and they set off down the street in search of a cab home. Sherlock shakes his head like a wet dog, showering John in even more water and making him laugh.

And, John thinks, as they climb into the cab and start bickering about something that John can't quite recall later – much as Sherlock Holmes is the biggest idiot he's ever met, he quite simply couldn't live without him.

Not in the lovestruck teenager sense – God, no – he just can't put it any other way.

He'd survive quite easily, but he wouldn't be – alive.

He glances sideways at the man sat beside him.

Sherlock's brow is furrowed but his lips are curved into a smile – and he gazes at the back of the cabbie's head as if it is the most fascinating thing in the world, seemingly absorbed. The glow of streetlights and Christmas decorations are reflected in his icy eyes.

John smiles, and looks out of the window.

He's still going to force Sherlock to help him put up that tree.

He's going to hate it.