John. It appears I have forgotten your birthday. -SH

Sherlock. It appears you have. -JW

Actually no. I was kidding. Go look under the bathroom sink. -SH

Sherlock? What...? - JW

Do you like it? -SH

Sure. Erm, Sherlock...What IS it? - JW

You... you can't tell? -SH

Well, I know what it LOOKS like, but it's not actually a...Is it? - JW

Really John? Deduce it. -SH

...A severed hand. In a jar filled with purple liquid. Thank you, Sherlock. I will...erm, treasure it. -JW

Oh. No no no. That's not it. May have displaced it. Where did I put it... -SH

Oh! Check the back of my closet. -SH

Oh. You mean the hand ISN'T the gift? That's...D'you know what? It's alright. Definitely alright. MORE than alright. - JW

No, no. I moved it and forgot. It's in the back of my closet. And it's not like that. -SH

Back of your closet...? Honestly, Sherlock, how many of these purple shirts do you own?! Ah...Is it in the box at the back? - JW

Yes! That should be it. -SH

Also, irrelevant. They tend to get damaged. Obviously. -SH

...Sherlock. I...don't know what to say. - JW

In a good way, or bad way? -SH

No, good. Obviously. Thank you... - JW

You don't seem pleased. Are you sure you opened the right box? -SH

No, I AM pleased! I just don't know how you knew... - JW

Oh god. John... you didn't open the... wooden box, did you? -SH

'Course I did, Sherlock! Thank you so much...I mean...But where did you get it?! - JW

Oh. Right. Does there happen to be another box in the closet? Decidedly... not wooden. -SH

This is a beautiful stethoscope, Sherlock, thank you. It's weird, though...my old unit gave me one of these, but somehow it didn't make it home from Afghanistan with me. I must have lost it somewhere. But it had an engraving. Hold on... - JW

WHERE DID YOU GET THIS? Why am I asking...of course it was Mycroft. You blackmailed your brother. Ran a background check, did you? Picked up some relics from my past? - JW

John. John, open the other box. That one was... not for you. To see. -SH

NOT FOR ME TO-It's MINE, Sherlock! What's in this other box? More of my other personal effects? - JW

No... -SH

John, just look in the other box. Please. -SH

Fine. Opening the other box. And it's... - JW

A jumper. Did...Mrs. Hudson knit this? I quite like it, actually. The kittens on it are sort of...cute, I guess. I'm sorry I lost my temper, Sherlock. I actually appreciate this. - JW

Right. I'm almost home now. -SH

I'm here. Come and open the door for me. -SH

You've reached that level of laziness that you refuse to even open doors, now? - JW

HANDS ARE FULL. -SH

Oh. Fine, then. I'm coming down. - JW

Irrelevant. -SH


Sherlock shifted awkwardly, his hands full with a lumpy bag.

John sighed. "No more body parts, Sherlock. There's no more room in the fridge. I'm sorry, but you'll have to take them back."

"No-" he began, then gave up, sighing. "Right." He offered the bag to John with a pitiful look.

John's brow furrowed as he took the bag. "Sherlock, what is this?" Realization seemed to dawn on him then. "Oh! If this is about the stethoscope, I'm sure you had good reason to..." he trailed off at Sherlock's expression. "What?"

"No, just open it," he said exasperatedly, precariously close to stamping his foot.

John quickly set the bag on the floor and lowered himself onto one of the stairs before gently pulling its contents free.

Sherlock stood over John, practically beaming with excitement as John pulled the jars out, a look of pure bewilderment on his face.

"Sherlock, and I know I've asked this question like a million times today, but...what ARE these?" John asked.

Sherlock's grin faded. "You really don't know?" he gaped at John.

John realized he had hurt his flatmate's feelings, and immediately began to backpedal. "Well, I mean...Obviously..."

"I though you liked it," he said, whining like a small child. "All the research I did showed that-"

"Oh, I do! I do, Sherlock! It's...It's great." He gave a smile he hoped Sherlock wouldn't see through.

Sherlock frowned, studying him. "No..." he said finally. "That's your lying face." He pouted. "But everywhere I looked said you loved jam. I don't know where I went wrong," he wailed, stalking off up the stairs, presumably to throw himself on the couch.

"Sherlock, wait! I like it! Honest, I do! But...Why jam?" John asked looking down at the jars of fruit spread that he held.

Sherlock peered up from the couch to see John in the door, clutching the bag of jam to his chest.

"The research," he scolded.

"You researched me?" John asked, blinking. "How did you..." he trailed off. "Mycroft?" he asked, sighing.

Sherlock scowled. "Of course not. No, I used the internet." He waved a hand in John's direction. "The other... presents were merely a distraction to keep you occupied until I got home. The stethoscope was supposed to be for Christmas." He scowled harder. "Can't do that now I suppose..."

John stared. "The INTERNET? Sherlock, why didn't you just ask m-" he broke off. "Hold on...I'm on the Internet? Besides my blog, I mean?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes at John like he was an idiot. (Only some days.) "Of course you are, don't be daft."

John opened and closed his mouth several times. "What...What kind of stuff do people say?" he asked, finally.

Sherlock flipped through a magazine absentmindedly before replying. "Dull things mostly. Speculating on our love lives, talking about how great looking I am, talking about what we like-" he stopped suddenly at that part. "I do NOT like the deerstalker. I don't know where everyone keeps getting that idea. Do you like it?" he demanded.

"No." John said firmly, but nodded, hoping Sherlock would assume he meant the right answer... whatever it was.

"Talking about the present John," Sherlock muttered, "Not the hat."

John ignored him and continued. "But back up. Our love lives? And how great looking YOU are?! What about...never mind. I've got to see this." John pulled his laptop toward him and booted it up.

Sherlock snatched the laptop from John. "Not a good idea," he snarled. "And they talk about how... adorable your face is, so don't be insulted." He practically looked disgusted with himself for saying it.

"My FACE?" John repeated. "My face is...adorable? I'm a former military doctor who was wounded in action, but my face is adorable?" He sat quietly for a moment, as if stunned. Then, shaking his head as if to clear it, he shrugged. "Yeah. I guess I can see that." he said, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

Sherlock smirked at that. "If you're finished congratulating yourself on how 'cute' you are" (Sherlock said this complete with air quotes) "perhaps you can tell me what you think of my present."

John hesitated before answering, wanting to get it right this time. "Sherlock, it is the most...unique birthday present I have ever received. And practical as well. Thank you."

Sherlock looked at him for a minute, before grinning. "Glad that's over with. D'you know how difficult it is to shop for you?" He shook his head. "So if you're done with the whole cute face thing, I believe Mrs Hudson has made you a birthday pie." He got to his feet and looked at John expectantly.

John pretended to look pained. "Oh. Yes. Of course."

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Don't be so dramatic. Now, come on; it's apple. My favourite!" He bounced down the stairs with excitement, barely looking back for John.

"No, I love Mrs. Hudson's pie. It's just...I was rather hoping to have some toast and my new jam. But," he called, rising from his chair, "I suppose it'll still be here tomorrow morning."

Sherlock peeked up from the bottom of the stairs, looking slightly... off. "Of course it will be," he assured and disappeared.

Sighing, John followed his flatmate down the stairs. He really hoped that it was there in the morning, but knowing Sherlock, anything could have happened to it by then. He grinned to himself, then ran to catch up to Sherlock. For a man who rarely ate, he could inhale most of a pie when your back was turned.

And he sure wanted that pie, just in case the jam fell through.