Christmas Shopping

"You're only jealous because I'm better at Christmas than you are!"

"For the last time, Christmas is not a competition!"

Sherlock and John were in a department store, finishing up their Christmas shopping, and Sherlock was taking all this gift buying too seriously. John should have known that Sherlock would take it as a challenge, to prove his genius in yet another field, and honestly, it was driving John a little crazy. He had to stop Sherlock multiple times from buying a gift that was too expensive or too much, because apparently money was no object with him. It's not that John didn't want Sherlock buying nice presents for their friends, but he knew the recipients in question would feel uncomfortable about the amount spent on them, and perhaps be embarrassed that their gift to the detective wasn't half as posh.

He shouldn't be, but he was annoyed that Sherlock was seeing Christmas as a contest-but how do you explain to a self proclaimed sociopath that Christmas was about spending time with people you love and giving gifts, not to see who could give the best gift, but because you care?

No, Sherlock wouldn't understand. Most of the normal, everyday human things were still a mystery to him, so all John could do now was help guide him along and keep him from doing anything rash.

"I suppose I have to get Molly something," Sherlock was saying. "Don't I?"

"Sure," John responded tiredly, but Sherlock was already off to find a present for Molly.

He came back a few minutes later with something small, and to John's shock, he realized it was a ring box. "What do you think?" The detective asked, opening the box. It was a diamond ring, and it was beautiful, to be sure-but it was also expensive, and absolutely and definitely the worst thing that Sherlock could ever have thought to get for the lovesick pathologist, one look at this and Molly would probably just faint dead away.

John whistled. "Uh, wow, Sherlock...are you planning to propose to her?"

Sherlock's eyebrows furrowed. "Am I what?"

"Propose," John clarified. "You know, ask her to marry you?"

"I know what it means," Sherlock said. "Why would I have any plans of proposing to anyone?"

The things John had to explain, sometimes...he shook his head, and pointed to the ring. "You do know what that is, don't you?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Of course. A diamond ring, gold, 5 carats-"

John's eyes were nearly popping out of his head now. "5 carats? 5 carats?"

"That's what I said, didn't I?" Sherlock asked irritably.

"Do you know how much that costs?" John exclaimed.

"Of course," Sherlock replied. "Mycroft may be a little angry about the price, but it won't be a problem to pay-"

"So you think buying an 5 karat engagement ring for Molly is okay? And where did you even find that? They sell rings that expensive here?" This place was more posh than John thought...

"What's wrong with it?" Sherlock demanded to know.

"What's wrong with it? You give that to her, you bloody well might as be proposing, because that will give her more ideas about how you feel about her than you want. Giving a ring like that, Sherlock, you only give a ring like that if you want to be married. Not to mention the price-it's too expensive!"

"So...you're saying I should get her a cheaper ring? Dull, but fine, I'm sure I can find something less expensive but not horrendously ugly-" He was already turning to leave, but John grabbed his coat sleeve and yanked him back.

"What is it now?" Sherlock snapped.

"Did you hear what I said?" John said loudly. "You can't buy Molly an engagement ring!" John trailed off, staring at the ring in his friend's hand. "Oh, hold on...you're not actually planning on proposing to her, are you?"

"No!" Sherlock said immediately, looking disgusted. "You think that I actually want to get married? Why would you even-"

"You're trying to buy a bloody engagement ring!" John said exasperatedly.

"Oh, fine," Sherlock snapped. "It's all ridiculous, anyway-"

"Hello, Sherlock, John! You shop here too?"

Both men turned, seeing none other than Molly Hooper herself standing there behind them, beaming brightly, laden with several large shopping bags.

"I'm almost done myself," Molly continued. "I just have one last-" it was then she spotted the ring in Sherlock's hands, and she faltered. "One last-I, uh..."

"It's not what you think-we-" John knew this could go two, terrible ways-either Molly would know Sherlock had been on the verge of buying her an engagement ring and getting the completely wrong idea, or think that Sherlock and John were actually out to go-the thought made him shudder-ring shopping, also giving her the completely wrong idea.

"The truth is-" John stammered, searching his brain desperately for ideas. Molly was watching both of them expectantly, looking as if she might cry. "Yes?" She asked, her voice trembling.

"The truth is-" John began, but Sherlock interrupted him.

"The truth is," Sherlock said smoothly, "John and I were shopping for your present, and I was under the impression this would be an appropriate Christmas gift. But of course, I should have known right away it wasn't appropriate, as John was just telling me. It would give off the completely wrong impression and it would just end up hurting both of us." Sherlock delivered this entire speech gently and rather politely, and as Molly listened, her expression shifted from upset and tense to relaxed, even relieved.

"Not to worry," Sherlock said, flashing her a charming smile, (the smile that John liked to call the "Molly Manipulation smile"), "it was all just a misunderstanding."

"Oh, I see," Molly said breathlessly. Then she blushed, pink creeping into her cheeks. "You didn't have to get me anything, Sherlock," she said with a flustered smile. "Really, it's fine."

At this, Sherlock's smile seemed to become more genuine. "Of course I did," he said, his voice softer.

"Well," Molly said after a moment, seeming to regain her confidence, "if you need some ideas, there are a few things I have had my eyes on..." She smiled.

"Oh, I-what?" Sherlock looked suddenly uncomfortable, confused by this shift in the conversation. He turned to John, as if looking for guidance.

John shrugged, gesturing towards Molly with a tip of his head.

"You do need to find John's gift, still, don't you?" Molly asked brightly.

"Well, yes," Sherlock said slowly.

"Come on, then," Molly said. "You can't let John see what you get him."

"You're right," Sherlock responded, collecting himself. "Shall we, then?"

Molly's confidence seemed to shake just a bit at the prospect of shopping with Sherlock Holmes, but she took a quick breath and stepped forward, taking Sherlock's arm. "Let's go."

Sherlock looked unsure, having never shopped with anyone else besides John before, but the doctor gave him a reassuring nod. "See you at home," he said, and he watched the two go. He gave a low whistle.

It looked like Molly had a "Sherlock Manipulation smile" of her own.

Sherlock arrived home an hour after John did, which gave the doctor plenty of time to wrap presents while the detective was out.

Sherlock came in with a bang as he always did, carrying a few bags. John thought it was odd seeing Sherlock bring home shopping of any kind, but the detective looked rather pleased with himself, having "won" Christmas.

"We'll see, Sherlock," John said as the detective made a beeline for his room, bags in hand.

"No, you'll see," Sherlock called back. "Just you wait, John Watson."

"Looking forward to it," John replied, but the detective didn't answer.

John shook his head, and moved to turn off the lights, then he reconsidered. Sherlock was likely to be up late, as he always did, so John left the lights on and headed up to his room.

Might as well turn in early-get some sleep before Sherlock woke him up in the middle of the night for help with wrapping Christmas presents.

"Good night," he called down to Sherlock, and when he got a muffled reply of 'good night' in return a few moments later, he turned off the light. He crawled into bed, and closed his eyes, waiting for sleep to come.

"John!"

He opened his eyes slowly, letting out a sigh.

There would be no sleep for John Watson tonight.

He heaved himself up and out of bed, and went down to help his flatmate get ready for Christmas.

Author's Note: Two chapters in two days? It must be winter break! :)
I hope you all enjoyed this-I plan to write another chapter focusing on Sherlock and John's Christmas-I will try to get it up tomorrow so it can be done before Christmas, but it may have to wait until the day after. Review and let me know what you think of this chapter!

Happy Holidays, everyone! :)