This fic is dedicated to my friend, fatty_fat. Merry Christmas! Sry I dunno wtf happened. Ahhhh. Wish I could've made it more quali-tea for u. Anyway, you know I tried.

"Watsooon! We're out of cereal." Sherlock Holmes stood near the kitchen cabinets in stockinged feet and plaid pajama pants. He frowned at the empty cupboard.

"Sherlock," Joan cocked her head unsympathetically while stretching her right quadriceps before beginning her morning run, "there are eggs in the fridge and a loaf of bread on the counter—go nuts," she said with a dismissive wave of her hand.

"You of all people should know that I begin each day with cereal because it is both equally convenient and nutritious." He grabbed a case file from the stack on the kitchen table and began to peruse it as Joan shut the door behind her, earbuds firmly in place.

"Not very nice today…" Sherlock muttered, opening the file and scratching his head.

One hour later he looked up from his work as Joan crossed the threshold into the foyer, bearing in her arms two bulging brown paper bags.

"I picked up some Kix and Puffin cereal on the way home, she said, peeking into the bag on her left, "Does that work?"

"That is, um, perfectly adequate." Sherlock got up quickly to help her with the bags, somewhat bashfully.

"Thanks," she said, shifting them into his arms. She started walking up the stairs as he brought the groceries into the kitchen. "I'm going Christmas shopping later. Would you like to come?"

Sherlock replied as he placed the pomegranate juice into the fridge, along with the Greek yogurt, "Watson, I do not derive any amount of pleasure in the same rituals that the average person finds comforting…such as shopping," he said with a grimace.

"Oh, come on. We can swing by the black market vendors on the way back."

"Is that a promise?"

"Um, excuse me. May I take a look at those gold earrings right there?" Joan pointed to the pair she had in mind to buy for her mother.

Sherlock leaned his back against the glass case, looking out onto the frenzied milieu. "What puzzle me, Watson, are the lengths you go to procure the appropriate gift for each and every one of your loved ones. They are already socially obligated be pleased with whatever you give them." He checked his watch.

"Thanks, I'll take them," Joan said politely to the salesman, handing the earrings back for him to ring up. She turned to Sherlock, "What, and I suppose that every year you give people cash for Christmas, because it's practical?"

"On the contrary—I am quite the adept gift-giver when the occasion calls for it," he replied, suddenly standing upright and looking up distractedly, "but it is rare that my skills of deduction are required in such a capacity."

Joan sighed and signed the receipt, stowing the earrings into one of the many shopping bags she had accumulated on their outing. Sherlock grabbed his share of them and began to walk out of the store with her. As they were leaving, he stopped near one of the security guards.

"I would advise that you reposition your security cameras at your earliest convenience. They are arranged in such a way that a burglar could, in theory, trace a pattern as such," he assumed walking a haphazard path, bumping into browsing shoppers until arriving at the main kiosk, "thus breaching the precious security of the luxury wares hocked by your employer." He scurried back. "Just a tip," he said, with a nod and a raise of his eyebrows.

"He doesn't get out much," Joan explained to the puzzled guard. She stepped outside to join Sherlock as they continued their afternoon jaunt through downtown.

"I couldn't help but notice, Watson, that not once today have you attempted to separate yourself from me in order to hide the purchasing of a gift. I would assume this would qualify me as exempt from buying you a present as well."

She gave him a look. "Like I could find a gift for you at a department store. Do you want a home soda maker?"

"There are other ways of speeding my eventual death than through the overconsumption of corn syrup. No, I'd much more prefer that donut-maker, the one with the vibrant red casing. The saleswoman had me quite enraptured as she discussed with me the myriad features of such a stunning device."

"We both know you feigned interest in that product ironically." Sherlock rolled his eyes and stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets. "At this next store could you at least try to not be condescending?"

"Oh, please, like you haven't had your fair share of elitist moments." Joan nodded her head to the side in a gesture admitting a touché.

"Anyway, I've already bought your present."

"For me there is no greater present than your present company," Sherlock added drily.

"Whatever. Just don't wander off this time," she admonished him as they entered the doors of a multi-storied Crate & Barrel.

"Wouldn't dream of it."

Joan was in the middle of inspecting an especially large candle placed in an even larger apothecary jar when she heard Sherlock's voice over the intercom.


Watson returned the candle into the jar on a bed of multi-colored sea glass. She dashed over to the other end of the store, alarmed and priming her phone to call 9-1-1. "This would happen to me," she muttered, dodging shoppers and expecting to find an elderly male crumpled and clutching his chest.

Upon arrival at the kitchen knives section she was greeted instead by Sherlock, sprawled on the hardwood floor, belly up. His limbs were askew at awkward angles. He groaned. Onlookers began to gather.

"Help," he said with a childish grin.

"Do you want a candy cane in your hot chocolate? I know—before you make a long-winded objection—they're made with cane sugar." Joan stirred the milk heating on the stove.

"Whipped cream and chocolate shavings like last time, please and thank you. I will do the dishes."

She headed towards the stairs, mugs in hand. "It's a Wonderful Life tonight. You got to pick yesterday."

"MSNBC's Lockup: Raw failed to pull at your heartstrings, I see. You much prefer this sentimental material." He followed her up the stairs to the TV room, lugging a bucket of locks to pick.

"Watching men languish in prison isn't exactly feel-good. Blanket?" She handed one to him, then settled into her armchair, which was adjacent to his. The movie began to play. Sherlock took a sip of hot chocolate, then set to picking a sizeable padlock, about four inches across. His feet were propped up on the rim of the bucket.

Midway through the film, Watson reached over to grab a lock of her own and began fiddling with it, using one of Sherlock's spare tools.

And so they passed the rest of the evening like this, swaddled in plaid blankets with cocoa, padlocks and Jimmy Stewart. It was going to be a Merry Christmas after all.