Author's Note: I'M ALIVE! This was prompted by a good friend of mine named Porsche. And I owe her one because it got me into writing for the first time this whole summer. I hope you like it (even though it's not even close to Christmas time yet, haha)!
Disclaimer: I don't own BBC Sherlock or any of its characters.
Christmas celebrations at 221B Baker Street were jovial at best and insufferably tense at worst. Unfortunately, the latter occurred more often than the former, and the laughter during the good times were usually at Sherlock's expense.
Detective Inspector Lestrade was in the midst of an elaborate story of Sherlock's first appearance at the Yard, in which he had deduced and coldly insulted every person in his vicinity to the point where the conference room was a stormy fog of wounded prides and spiked displeasure. The silver-haired man was describing the vandalisms done to some of Sherlock's belongings the next day, which drew chuckles from Mike Stanford and giggles from Mrs. Hudson and Molly Hooper.
The disappointingly familiar laughter at his expense caused Sherlock to commence what some people would refer to as 'brooding' by the window.
John watched his partner from the sofa, appreciating his lean silhouette as he carefully lifted his violin from its case on the coffee table and clasped the bow in his right hand. A very loud verse of 'The Christmas Song' interrupted Lestrade at the end of his story and drowned out the laughter from its listeners. The detective inspector rolled his eyes and leaned back in annoyance, but the ladies of the room turned adoring glances to Sherlock at the sound of his violin. Mrs Hudson clapped her hands in delight.
Sherlock continued to play unnecessarily loudly, however, until John rose from his place from the couch and stood next to his partner at the window. The ex-army doctor's presence at his side caused Sherlock to relax, as it always did. He didn't lean towards the shorter man or make any movements of that sort (he never did in public) but the music lowered significantly in volume as Sherlock eased off his punishment on the strings.
Once the song was finished, Sherlock put his violin back in its case and returned to the sofa without a word or a glance to John, but that was just his way. John could tell he was grateful by the set of his lean shoulders, and Sherlock didn't move when his partner sank into the seat beside him.
John was glad when Lestrade didn't return to his subtle humiliation of Sherlock, even though he understood why the silver-haired man was doing it. Lestrade really didn't need the consulting detective ruthlessly pointing out the state of his failed marriage the minute he walked into their flat, the poor man. That comment from Sherlock had instigated a rather heated, whispered conversation in the kitchen between John and his flatmate about the values of Christmas and how deductions like that were A Bit Not Good. That, in its own turn, had resulted in Sherlock sneering at the "so-called values of an utterly pointless holiday transformed to be based on money and uncomfortable obligation" and ignoring everyone completely.
Now that Sherlock was sitting with him on the sofa, John figured he was forgiven.
Episodes like this weren't uncommon in their shared life on Baker Street. Sherlock himself was in a near-constant state of frustration toward nearly everyone around him, and John couldn't help lashing out a bit in return. Yet, they made a strangely well-suited couple. Since limping into Sherlock's life, John had been a mediator; taking what was left of the consulting detective's humanity and bringing it into the light where a few others could see it. John subdued Sherlock's harsher sides, the addict in him and the loneliness alike, and brought out the good.
And Sherlock was good for John as well, even though some who didn't know better would argue. They were mistaken, though. They only saw what was wrong with Sherlock, rather than what used to be wrong with John. But, how could they know? They hadn't seen how utterly broken the army doctor had been before Sherlock. And the tall man, no matter how destructive he could be, had fixed him.
John shifted his leg over so that his knee casually brushed the other man's. Sherlock didn't move away from the contact and John smiled a little as Mrs Hudson continued to fuss over the state of Lestrade's hair.
"Would anyone like some more of that lovely wine that Greg brought over?" Mrs Hudson asked the room after a while. Everyone made general noises of agreement and then moved to help her when she tottered into the kitchen. With Mrs Hudson, Molly, Lestrade and Mike (the friends who had nowhere else to be on Christmas Eve, so they decided to come to Baker Street) chatting out of the room, Sherlock turned to face his partner on the sofa.
John was examining the generic card given to them from Mycroft when he felt the cold touch of Sherlock's hand on his. He turned to face the taller man and took in the sight of his tousled dark curls, the way that purple shirt was rolled up to his elbows, the steel grey of his eyes as he deduced everything about him. John never felt more vulnerable and comfortable than when Sherlock was analyzing him. "Did Harriet give you that jumper?"
John's lips twitched up at the corner. "Why are you asking? You know the answer."
"Of course. But, every now and then, I like the second assurance of being right."
"Good to know I can be of use occasionally."
Sherlock only gave a low hum to that, but he was still looking at John and the stare was starting to cause the shorter man to blush. Just as John was about to open his mouth to break the tension, Sherlock surprised him by turning around and grabbing an object from under the couch. "I got you something," he said calmly, handing it to the sandy-haired man.
John held in his calloused hands a neatly wrapped gift, about the size of a shoebox. The paper was dark blue that shone in the light like the night sky. "Sherlock...you actually got me a Christmas present?" he asked in slight disbelief.
Sherlock shrugged. "Yes. Problem?"
John spluttered a little, his grip on the box tightening. "I didn't get you anything," he said.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Yes, you did. I know you convinced Molly to give me those samples this week. They're rare; so there's no possibility that they were *extras* like she said, and she's terrible at lying."
John looked toward the kitchen to see if Molly had heard that, but their guests were busy chatting in the other room, leaving the two men to their moment.
John raised his eyebrows. "Well, I-"
"Just open it, John."
The paper peeled off easily to reveal a black case that reflected the red and green lights from the window. Inside the case was a handgun, furnished and specially made for John's grip. "I know you lost yours in the river when we were chasing the one-handed man two weeks ago," Sherlock explained.
John smiled, running his fingertips over the smooth barrel of the gun. "Thank you, Sherlock."
"You're welcome." The taller man gave a small half-smile to his partner before turning toward the kitchen area and barking, "Stop pretending the counter is a good place to have a chat around and get back in here. Your pretences of casualty are ridiculous and unnecessary."
John sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He spoke up as their guests walked back into the sitting area. "What Sherlock meant to say was...thank you for your privacy. Please make yourselves comfortable."
"No, he didn't," Lestrade mumbled through a mouthful of Mrs Hudson's fruitcake.
"No, I didn't," Sherlock agreed.
John smacked the pale man's arm before setting the gun case carefully on the ground beside the sofa. Molly's brown-eyed gaze darted between the two men. "So, um," she began, clearly a little flustered, "Are you two...boyfriends, then?"
John opened his mouth to answer her kindly when Sherlock interrupted his thought by scoffing. "Of course not."
John's brow furrowed as he turned to face the other man in slight surprise and hurt. Sherlock only seemed to realize he had said something wrong when he looked away from the window to see the occupants of the room staring at him among the tension. "What?" he asked. Then, he rolled his eyes and proceeded to explain, "No, I'm not saying that-" He cleared his throat. "What I meant was that John and I aren't boyfriends. Please, we are both almost forty years old; that's such a juvenile title. We're partners."
Everyone seemed to relax at that, and the celebratory mood returned as another conversation overcame the awkwardness. John was just allowing himself to enjoy spending time with his friends, nothing to worry about and no baddies to fight. However, the beginning of a moment was shattered by the ringing of Sherlock's mobile. The consulting detective answered it eagerly. "Sherlock Holmes...ah, yes. We'll be there immediately."
He turned to face the shorter man, a gleam if excitement in his silver eyes. "A double homicide, John, a real puzzle," he raved, springing to his feet to find his belstaff coat.
Lestrade narrowed his eyes. "Wait, who else consults you for cases?" he asked in indignation.
Sherlock pointedly ignored the question. Having already donned his own coat, he threw John's onto the couch beside him. The sandy haired man looked up in exasperation. "Sherlock, it's Christmas."
"Oh, yes," the tall man agreed eagerly, "I'm feeling more and more celebratory by the minute."
"No, Sherlock, we have guests!"
Mrs Hudson tutted, "Oh, don't you worry about us, dear. You go on over and solve that murder; we'll stay back and finish this wine." She gave a tiny giggle.
"Yeah, go on, lad," Mike Stanford agreed, "We understand."
Sherlock was twitching in anticipation, toes tapping and fingers playing sonatas into the fabric of his pockets, by the time John joined him by the door. They just reached the top of the stairs when they heard a "yoo-hoo" from Mrs Hudson. Both men returned to see the little old lady pointing above them with a grin. Stuck to the top of the doorframe by a sliver of tape was a piece of mistletoe.
John gave a small sigh and Sherlock glared at the plant like it was a diagram of the solar system. "You can't be serious," he said, angular features exuding exasperation.
"Oh, come on, give us a kiss, Sherlock," the lady pressed. John suspected that their friends were still a bit dubious on the nature of his and Sherlock's relationship. This was some sort of proof.
"Sherlock, the faster you kiss me, the faster we can go examine the dead bodies."
That enticed Sherlock to surge forward until he was standing in front of the shorter man. Putting a swift but gentle hand on the side of John's face, he leaned down and pressed his lips to the other man's in a three-second kiss. It was tender, if a little rushed, but John wasn't complaining. He couldn't keep the small smile off his face as he and the consulting detective rushed down the stairs without bothering to look back at the reactions of their friends.
Leaving the glowing lights and chattering companions of Baker Street behind him, John contemplated the ridiculousness of his current life. He had friends, a job, a (strange but loving) partner. Really, life had dealt him some awful cards in the past...but maybe things were going to be alright. And, even though happiness came with analyzing the case of a double homicide on Christmas Eve, John was perfectly content.
While the snow covered London like a blanket, John took his partner's hand as they rode in the cab to the crime scene. Sherlock didn't pull away. And John didn't stop smiling.
Author's Second Note: Huzzah! That was my first ever Sherlock fanfiction. Please give me feedback, I'd love to know your thoughts! Also, reminder: this is what happens when you send me a prompt! You get a story! So PM me if you have any ideas and I'll write them if they spark my interest!