Home For Christmas
I wrote this fic for last year's Sherlockmas. The OP wanted Sherlock/John decorating 221B, and Jim/Seb watching Glee together. This is what happened. Since it was written before S2 aired, it doesn't take the pool scene resolution into account. Also, it contains some mild spoilers from previous seasons of Glee, especially last year's Christmas episode.
It was written for fun, and I hope you will have fun reading it.
Not for the first time, Sherlock had gone on a case out of town without John. The case had seemed interesting – most of the cases Sherlock took outside of London were. Unfortunately, John had been scheduled to be at the surgery, and since he needed his job to pay the bills when cases were scarce, he had stayed behind. He wasn't ashamed to admit that the first day without Sherlock in the flat was always blissful. Sherlock was a constant source of noise; everything he did, even thinking, he did noisily. So every time Sherlock left London, John spent the first day doing the same things he did every day, but in glorious silence.
The next day, he usually started feeling strange, although not in an entirely conscious way. It was a light prickling under his skin, the beginning of a buzzing in his head, and a sort of twitching in his fingers, all intermittent and barely noticeable but present nonetheless. On the third day, he always truly missed Sherlock and his absence was distracting. If John was home on that day, he either went on a cleaning frenzy or had a crap telly marathon. It had always been like that, even before their relationship had developed a romantic aspect. However, it was worse now; John not only missed Sherlock's presence in the flat, he also missed his long arms around his waist, his lips on his skin, and even his tendency to hog the covers in their bed.
On that particular occasion, it was Christmas Eve and Sherlock had been gone for four days. John usually found a way to accompany him when he would be gone for so long because he was convinced that three was the highest number of days Sherlock could manage to stay out of trouble on his own. He would be back the next day on the ten o'clock train, and John was a little peeved that they wouldn't be spending their first Christmas Eve as a couple together, but Sherlock had argued that his being out of the country on that night meant they wouldn't have to attend his parents' annual Christmas party. John would have rather spent the evening with Sherlock at his parents' house than alone in Baker Street, but the work came first and most of his disappointment came from the fact that he had been forced to stay behind.
He hadn't planned on decorating the flat, but the idea had struck him earlier that morning and he hadn't been able to get it off his mind. Mrs Hudson had decorated her own flat, as well as the hall, and John had gone down to her place to ask whether she had some decorations left over. She had smiled, patted his arm, babbled on about Christmas spirit, and had finally handed him two large cardboard boxes. He hadn't been able to suppress a laugh upon seeing their contents. The decorations were probably older than he was and they had seen much better days, but they would do nicely. He turned the radio on, filling the flat with Christmas music, and he started working on decorating 221B; it would make the day go by faster, and it would add a bit of cheer to their Christmas Day.
For the tenth time that day, James looked at the blinking dot on the mephone website. Sebastian's train seemed as though it was on time; he would most likely be home in two hours. Two terribly long hours. Exchanging their account passwords had been a brilliant idea; in their line of work, it had often proven crucial to know exactly where the other was. On that day, however, James wasn't thinking about work. Sebastian had been gone for nine days, and there was something he was dying to do, but he had promised Sebastian to wait until his return. He had often been on the brink of yielding, but Sebastian had made him promise to be good, and he was always pleasantly rewarded when he was good. It was worth the wait, no matter how edgy it made him feel.
He eyed the telly, not for the first time that day; what he needed was a distraction, something to keep him away from the living room where the temptation was strongest. He sighed dramatically while looking around their flat, and his eyes settled on something he had been given a few days ago and that was still on the kitchen worktop. He had recently organised the murder of a divorcée's last three husbands, and along with a steep payment, he had got a jar of mincemeat. A few hours in the kitchen would probably distract him.
He brought his laptop into the kitchen with him to keep an eye on the dot that represented his boyfriend. If he zoomed out a little, he could actually see the dot slowly moving towards their home. There was something satisfying about seeing concrete proof that his partner was coming back to their flat or, as Seb enjoyed jokingly calling it, the Secret Lair of Doom and Destruction. Jim snorted at the thought; for someone who often accused him of being dramatic, Sebastian sure enjoyed his fair share of theatrics. As if on cue, James' mobile rang to announce the arrival of a new text message.
ETA SLDD: 8pm. Miss your perky little arse.
James smiled somewhat fondly at his phone, and he fetched the mincemeat jar. Then, he got the ingredients he needed to make the dough, and after putting on his apron, he started working on the pastry. Halfway through measuring the flour, he realised something was missing: music. He hit a few keys on his laptop, and soon, joyful notes filled the kitchen.
"Haul out the holly. Put up the tree before my spirit falls again," he sang along.
John heard footsteps on the stairs, and he froze in the middle of hanging tinsel on the mantelpiece. The footsteps were familiar, but weren't expected until the next day. John's face lit up with a hopeful smile. It wasn't long before Sherlock opened the door, looking extremely smug, and John's hopeful smile turned into a genuine, pleased one. He dropped the tinsel. Sherlock let go of the bags he was carrying, and they met in the middle of the living room. John stood on tiptoe to welcome Sherlock home with a kiss, but before their lips could meet Sherlock framed John's face with his hands to study him closely.
He always did that when they were apart for a few days, had always done so, although he had been more subtle about it when they hadn't been a couple. John always indulged him; he rather enjoyed being the focus of Sherlock's attention while he catalogued every single change that had occurred in him during their time away from each other. John used the moment to make a few observations of his own. He didn't like what he saw; Sherlock had bags under his eyes, he was paler than ever, and John was sure he had barely eaten anything in the past days.
"You're rubbish at taking care of yourself," he said, and Sherlock sniffed.
"I didn't miss your nagging."
"Well, I didn't miss you."
Sherlock smirked knowingly, and he slowly caressed John's cheekbones with his thumbs. His smile softened when he leaned down and brushed John's lips with his own.
"I didn't miss you either. Not at all," he said, and John pulled him down into a heated kiss.
They wrapped their arms around each other, their tight embrace contradicting their previous words, and when they pulled apart to breathe, John started giggling.
"I can't believe you're really here," he said.
"I hurried," Sherlock answered.
"When you say you hurried, do you mean you harassed the police, skipped every meal, didn't sleep, and yelled at witnesses?"
"Why do you keep asking questions to which you don't want to know the answers?" Sherlock asked in a surprisingly soft voice, and before John could answer, he was kissed again.
John closed his eyes, relishing the feeling of Sherlock's cold lips on his, but then a thought hit him and he had to pull away.
"Oh god, does this mean we have to attend your family's Christmas party?"
The stern look Sherlock shot him was familiar; John had seen it several times on Mycroft's face. However, sharing that observation would have substantially impaired his chances of having sex that night and he had no desire to see a sulking Sherlock commandeering the sofa, so he kept it to himself.
"Why do you think it took me so long to get here? I had to dodge the CCTV cameras so Mycroft wouldn't find out I'm back."
"You amazing, brilliant genius! Now you can help me decorate the flat," John said, eyes shining and smile bright, and he laughed at Sherlock's horrified expression.
He knew his partner well enough to tell the difference between real and faked annoyance. Sherlock was generally rather clingy and affectionate when he came back from a trip, and all the signs pointed to the fact that this time would be no exception. John wasn't pleased that he had neglected his well-being to be home sooner, but his scheme to avoid Mycroft meant he had planned for them to spend their first Christmas Eve together.
Just as he had hoped.
"Honey, I'm home," Sebastian called when he entered their Secret Lair of Doom and Destruction.
Smiling brightly, James ran out of the kitchen to greet his boyfriend. He had been cooking for the last couple of hours and he was still wearing his apron, which made him look slightly ridiculous when he jumped into Sebastian's arms and wrapped his legs around his waist. Sebastian dropped his bag, grabbed two fistfuls of James' arse through his well-tailored trousers to hold him up, and he kissed him fiercely.
"Did you kill them all?" James asked when they parted to breathe.
He already knew, of course; Sebastian never would have come back if the job hadn't been properly finished, but he enjoyed teasing him.
"Of course I did, who do you think I am?" Sebastian asked, his face twisting into an offended grimace.
"Oh, my big strong man," James cooed teasingly.
"I'll show you how big and strong I am. Where do you want me? Right here against the wall? Kitchen table? Or can you wait long enough for me to take you to bed?"
"What?" Sebastian asked with a crooked smile.
"I've been waiting for so long," James replied, and he pouted so beautifully that Sebastian had to laugh.
"Oh come on, you must have cheated!"
"I didn't even listen to the soundtrack."
"Well, I never expected you to be this good; I think you deserve a reward," Sebastian said, and he pinched James' left buttock before gently letting him go.
James laughed all the way to the kitchen where he checked on his mince pies in the oven; the crust was just beginning to turn an attractive golden colour, and he closed the oven door with a satisfied smile. He could hear Sebastian bustling about in their bedroom, probably already unpacking his suitcase; the man was incredibly neat and tidy. A tremendously useful trait – no one could clean a crime scene like Sebastian – and one James found strangely endearing, especially when Sebastian neatly folded his pants after taking them off.
"Tell me about your trip," he called out to Sebastian.
In the bedroom, Sebastian started speaking loudly while unpacking the rest of his clothes. He talked about the seven members of an organisation he had travelled to kill, and he described in great detail – much to James' pleasure – how he had assassinated every single one of them. James's smile widened as he put the ingredients back into the cupboards, and by the time he was done, Sebastian was leaning against the doorway and finishing his tale about the seventh murder. Soon, the timer beeped, and James took the pies out, filling the kitchen with an enticing smell.
"Mm, did you make the mincemeat?" Sebastian asked as he got closer to examine the pies.
"The Miranda Norbury murders. I got a jar with the payment."
"So, are you ready?"
James felt Sebastian's arms circling his waist, and he predicted that in three seconds… yes, there it was, the gentle scratching of Sebastian's golden stubble as he nuzzled his neck. He had missed this more than he wanted to admit, and he let out a happy sigh. Then, he distractedly piled a few pies on a plate and let himself be led to the sofa by Sebastian.
Sherlock and John's relationship was still young and they weren't used to keeping their hands off each other for so long. John dragged Sherlock to the bedroom to show him exactly how much he had missed him. While they were both fond of slow, sensual lovemaking, their prolonged separation had left them both wanting and impatient. They hurriedly undressed each other and fell onto the bed in a tangle of eager limbs. Now wasn't the time for unhurried kisses, drawn-out caresses, or gentle teasing. They used their knowledge of the other's body to reach a much needed, liberating orgasm. Afterwards, John suggested a nap, saying Sherlock needed to catch up on sleep, but Sherlock was much too wired to fall asleep, so he curled his long limbs around John and told him all about the case.
Once Sherlock was done explaining all the analytical reasoning that had led him to solving the case, they both got dressed and moved to the living room where the decorations were still scattered around. John could feel the effects of his recent climax, and he smiled to himself as he slumped down onto the sofa with a pile of tangled fairy lights. He watched Sherlock who was walking around the room and examining Mrs Hudson's decorations. Once in a while, he picked something up, looked at it closely, and proceeded to tell John everything about the object's history.
John wasn't truly listening. His nimble fingers were working through the knots in the sets of fairy lights while his thoughts wandered. Mostly, he thought about Sherlock and how, when he had moved in, he had had no idea his arrogant, imperious, and pompous flatmate would one day share his bed. Apparently everyone had seen it coming except him, but what no one had foreseen were the circumstance in which they had taken the step from friends to lovers. Their acquaintances had imagined a heated kiss following a narrowly escaped death, but it had happened quietly, in their flat, on a remarkably ordinary day.
A couple of months before, Sherlock had left the bathroom door ajar while brushing his teeth, and John had walked in, thinking the room empty. Mouth still foaming with toothpaste and hair utterly wild, Sherlock had made an attempt at humour and John had genuinely laughed. Sherlock had looked at him, eyes wide open from the shock of someone laughing at his horrible word play, and the surge of affection he had felt for John had been even more powerful than usual. Kissing him had seemed like the logical thing to do, so he had pressed his closed, intensely minty lips against John's.
"You know, I can always tell when you're thinking about the first time I kissed you," Sherlock announced as he stretched his arms to better examine the tinsel he was holding.
"No you can't," John said.
"Your mouth always does that funny thing."
"Like you want to smile, but you're keeping your lips firmly closed because you remember being scared I would spit toothpaste into your mouth."
John laughed as he got up to test his untangled string of lights. After he plugged them in, he was surprised to see that, despite how old the sets looked, most of the lights still worked.
"Well look at that, we have fairy lights. Where shall we put them?" Sherlock asked.
"Around the fireplace?" John suggested.
Sherlock seemed to give the matter some thought. He looked around with his fingers steepled against his chin. After a while, he solemnly nodded, and John got some sellotape to fasten the fairy lights to the mantelpiece. John had to admit it looked quite festive with the tinsel he had put there earlier. The skull looked particularly merry, a thought he shared with Sherlock who looked at the skull with inquisitive eyes.
"There's something missing," he announced after a while, and he started rummaging through the boxes.
"Well don't stand there on ceremony, John. Go mull the wine!" Sherlock said when he realised John wasn't doing anything productive.
"Why do I have to mull the wine?"
"Because I'm decorating," Sherlock answered in that matter-of-fact tone he always used when John asked a stupid question.
He snickered when he imagined what his readers would say if he ever posted on his blog that Sherlock had declared himself decorator, and he vowed to do so the next time he found something awful in their refrigerator. He was just starting to take the ingredients out of the carrier bag Sherlock had brought with him when Sherlock shouted for him to add more sugar than what the recipe asked for. John smiled fondly, and he chuckled as he opened the wine bottle.
When John walked back into the living room carrying two warm mugs of mulled wine, he was faced with a very grinning, very pleased with himself Sherlock. That facial expression usually meant he was up to no good, so John had a proper look around to see what he had done this time. His eyes widened when he realised that Sherlock had found a place for all the decorations that had previously been scattered across the room.
There were paper bells and trees hanging from the ceiling, as well as shimmering foil chains and stars, tinsel and fairy lights around the windows, and a miniature tree with tiny baubles on their table. Sherlock had also hung old, shabby stockings along the mantelpiece, and he had lit a fire. The room looked like a Christmas card from the 70s. John smiled at his proud decorator and handed him a mug.
"You should be a consulting decorator," he teased.
"You didn't even see my masterpiece!" Sherlock said petulantly.
He took a cautious sip of his hot drink, and judging by his happy moan, he was satisfied with the amount of sugar John had put into the wine. John looked around the room, paying close attention to every detail and searching for what Sherlock could have deemed his masterpiece. When he spotted it, his joyful laughter filled the room.
On the mantelpiece, grinning at him from under a small Santa hat was the skull in all his bony glory, with bright red baubles in his orbits.
"Where did you find such a small hat?" John asked.
"I stole it from a Father Christmas doll that was in one of the boxes," Sherlock answered.
He walked over to the closest box from which he dug out an old, hatless, bald doll with a yellowing white beard and a red suit.
"This is the creepiest, scariest Father Christmas I have ever seen," John said.
"Where do you want it?" Sherlock asked.
"As far away from me as possible. Now come sit with me so I can thank you properly for indulging my decorating whim."
James and Sebastian sat on the sofa, their shoulders touching and the plate of mince pies balanced on James' thigh. They both shifted until they were comfortable, their bodies fitting against each other naturally. They had done this many times before; it had become a sort of ritual after they had got together, which explained why James' finger was perhaps a little too over-enthusiastic when it pressed play. On screen, a Christmas tree decorated in shades of purple and pink appeared, and Mercedes started singing All I Want for Christmas is You.
Sebastian slid an arm around his waist, and James grinned as he bit into a pie. His eyes rolled back in pleasure; the crust was flaky, and the mincemeat was at the perfect temperature. In that moment, he was perfectly content. He had his partner with him, someone he could fully trust and who had just killed a handful of people because he was committed to their job. His organisation was running smoothly, he didn't have to leave the flat for another three days, he had a delightful surprise for Sherlock Holmes planned for later tonight, and he was about to watch the newest episode of Glee.
It was ridiculous, really. When that girl, Molly, had told him about the program, it had taken all his willpower not to break character and run away from her flat. However, he had been enthralled by the glee club's version of Don't Stop Believing, and then there had been a gag reflex joke in the second episode. It had made him howl with laughter and had shattered his prejudice that this was just a show for children. By the time they had reached the last aired episode, he had practically cheered when the club had won the sectionals round of competition.
Then, there had been that whole mess at the pool, when Sherlock Holmes had shot the semtex vest and had almost killed them all. While Sherlock and his little pet had been busy saving each other from the collapsing building, Sebastian had found his unconscious body and had carried him out to safety. James had sustained severe burns on both his arms, as well as a concussion and a couple of cracked ribs. Sebastian had remained by his side throughout his convalescence, taking the reins of the organisation while he had been too weak to move.
To help appease his restless mind, Sebastian had bought him the first half of the first series on DVD and they had watched it together. One thing leading to another, they had sat closer and closer on the sofa until one day their lips had met during Kurt and Rachel's rendition of Defying Gravity. By the time the second half of the first season had started airing, James had felt a lot better but it had been the natural thing to do to continue following the adventures of the glee club. Now, a year and a half later, watching the episodes together was part of their routine, and when one of them was out of London for business, the other waited so they could continue their tradition.
"These are delicious, Jim," Sebastian said after swallowing his first mouthful of mince pie, and James was shaken out of his reverie.
As a response, he snuggled closer to Sebastian, and for a while they watched in silence as the glee club explored Christmas gloom and then Christmas cheer. The episode was a delight; his favourite characters were featured prominently, his least favourite storylines weren't mentioned, the songs were pleasant, Sue Sylvester had a few good scathing lines, and he had to admit he was quite fond of that new Irish kid. Not enough to make him forget about Blaine, though. Blaine was… delicious, and oh, he was singing.
"You're drooling again," Sebastian teased.
To shut him up, James kissed him, but he still kept an eye on the telly to watch the kid who shouldn't have been so attractive in a tweed jacket while he strutted across the screen. Sebastian could feel that Jim was distracted, and he laughed against his lips. Jim pulled back with a smirk, grabbed another pie, and shuffled down until he could lay his head on Sebastian's shoulder. Then, he continued to indulge in his little crush.
After spending forty minutes hearing about the spirit of Christmas and the importance of goodwill in this time of year, James felt more than inspired to send Sherlock Holmes his special message. While he fetched his laptop and settled at the desk in the living room, Sebastian got up to make tea. James' fingers tingled with excitement as he opened the document he had previously prepared. He absent-mindedly hummed Do They Know It's Christmas while he pasted the text into the comment box of Sherlock's forum.
Christmas was about family and friends, and he didn't doubt Sherlock would be thrilled to hear from his most special friend. He had something very special indeed planned for the consulting detective in the year to come. This was merely a preview, but it would most likely brighten Sherlock's Christmas Eve. James didn't bother moving from the desk; Sherlock's answer would be imminent.
Their mugs lay forgotten on the floor, the fire was slowly dying, and Sherlock was sprawled on his back on the sofa, John positioned between his thighs while they kissed as though their lives depended on it. John shivered when he felt Sherlock's hand snaking down his trousers to cup his arse and he deepened the kiss to express his approval. Sherlock moaned. John pulled back to smile at him and caress his cheek.
"I'm glad you came back," he said after a while.
"Shut up and kiss me again," Sherlock ordered.
There wasn't much John could deny Sherlock, and a request like that one, no matter how rudely made, was usually granted. He was just about to comply when he was distracted by a sound coming from Sherlock's laptop. He groaned and pulled back, ready to give Sherlock some space so he could check whether a new case had been posted on his forum, but Sherlock's firm hold on his buttocks back held him in place.
"Where do you think you're going?" Sherlock asked.
"Don't you want to see what this is about?" he asked.
"Statistically, it's either a stupid puzzle from someone who thinks they're clever, or Anderson, drunk, calling me something rude that he thinks is clever. Not worth abandoning what we're doing here."
John blinked owlishly at him, blue eyes curiously searching grey ones for any trace of fever. He found hints of amusement, obvious signs of arousal, and some irritation, too. Nothing suggesting that Sherlock was anything less than healthy. It's not something he expected would happen often; work came first. He didn't know whether it was because of Christmas, their recent separation, or that clever thing he had been doing with his tongue, but it didn't actually matter; if Sherlock's intent was to stay on the sofa and snog, John wasn't about to refuse.
Before Sherlock could change his mind, John lowered his head and pressed his lips against Sherlock's again.
James' fingers were tapping the wooden table, his eyes never leaving his computer screen. It had been twenty minutes since he had sent Sherlock a message on that pointless forum of his and he still hadn't got an answer. He sighed in exasperation; Sherlock should have responded by now. Even if he wasn't home, a man like him was never far from his mobile. He felt an unpleasant twinge in his chest at the thought that perhaps Sherlock was ignoring him. He hastily got up in frustration, startling Sebastian.
"Jim, will you calm down already! There's tea and pies left, come sit with me."
"Why isn't he answering?"
"It's Christmas Eve; maybe he's busy. Come here."
James reluctantly slumped down on the sofa, and he laid his head in Sebastian's lap. Immediately, Sebastian's thumb found his neck, and he started rubbing slow circles on the exposed skin. The gesture never failed to calm him down. To have those hands on such a vulnerable spot of his body, hands that had been trained to kill—that had killed, always made him feel calmer, and he could already feel some of his anger seeping out of him.
"He should have answered by now," James said petulantly after a while, and when he looked up, he saw that Sebastian was smiling.
"What?" he asked.
"Nothing, I'm just realising how much I missed my best friend and holiday roommate," Sebastian answered, repeating some of Kurt's words from the episode.
It made James smile, and Sebastian smiled back, his fingers never leaving his neck.
"It was a good episode, wasn't it?" James asked after a while.
"Do you want to watch it again? It might take your mind off things," Sebastian suggested.
James looked up at his boyfriend, the person who understood him better than anyone, probably even better than how he had hoped Sherlock Holmes would understand him. After a while, he nodded, and Sebastian pressed play.
I don't want a lot for Christmas…