In a short time, 221B would be the busiest it had been in years. Mrs. Hudson had taken the liberty of organizing a little Christmas party in Sherlock's flat, much to his disapproval. Sherlock scowled in his chair, cuddling his violin. Socialization. The very thought of it made Sherlock repulse. Yet, here he was, stuck waiting for the inevitable.
"Come on, Mycroft, tell the story!" Mrs. Hudson urged Sherlock's brother. Mycroft smiled and would have continued if not for Sherlock's lack of manners.
"Boring!" Sherlock nearly yelled. "You've told this story much too often, and it got old half way through the first time."
Mycroft glared at his little brother. "Only because you stopped listening."
"As I often do when things become boring. What were you saying anyway?"
Mycroft rolled his eyes. Sherlock continued, "When is Molly arriving?"
"I don't know, Sherlock," Mrs. Hudson reminded him. "The party doesn't start for another ten minutes."
"That didn't seem to stop Mycroft from coming…" Sherlock mumbled.
"I can hear you," Mycroft huffed. "I'm not staying anyways."
"Oh, why not?" Mrs. Hudson asked.
"Who cares?" Sherlock snarled under his breath.
"Sherlock-" Mrs. Hudson began to scold him, but Mycroft interrupted, letting Sherlock's rudeness go unpunished.
"I have business to attend to."
"But it's Christmas! Don't you get a day off?"
"If only." Mycroft smiled dryly and glanced at his sour brother curled up in his chair, plucking at his violin's strings. "Don't have too much fun at the party, Sherlock." Mycroft waved at Mrs. Hudson and trotted down the stairs, into the soft snowfall outside.
Mrs. Hudson sighed. "Sherlock, must you always be so crude to Mycroft? He's your brother-"
"Yes, yes I know." Mrs. Hudson rolled her eyes and went back into the kitchen, where she had been before Mycroft had stopped by. "Why didn't you tell Mycroft about your Christmas Phantom?"
"He already knows, couldn't you tell? And if he didn't, what does it matter?"
"I was just wondering." Mrs. Hudson took a steaming roast out of the oven and glanced at the thermometer in it. "What if it was him?"
"But what if it wa-"
"You just said he knows, though!"
"He only knows because he keeps tabs on me. Mycroft has surveillance on any mail I send or receive. He probably reads it all, too…" Sherlock grimaced.
A knock in the doorway interrupted Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson's conversation.
"Oh, someone's early," Mrs. Hudson purred. Sherlock jolted his head up and met Molly Hooper's eyes. He jumped up from his chair and bolted towards Molly Hooper, nearly rammed their heads together.
"It was you. Why are you doing this? What's all this for?" Sherlock sounded the most frustrated he'd been all week.
"Sherlock!" A voice yelled from the kitchen. "Don't antagonize the poor girl."
Molly circled around Sherlock and inched into the flat. "I-What? What was me?"
"You're the Phantom!"
"Phantom? Like Phantom of the Opera…?"
"No, the Phantom! My Christmas Phantom! The gifts that keep on getting bigger every day along with annoying riddles. You seem like the poetry type!" Sherlock moved all around Molly, trying to confirm his loud accusations. Although, he himself didn't seem too sure of his desperate inferences.
"Sherlock, I'm not your… "Christmas Phantom"… Is that what you're calling him?" Molly chuckled.
"You know who it is then?" Sherlock eyeballed the lab assistant. Molly's eyes shined. "Ah…you were the person helping-him, did you say?"
Molly laughed quietly and reached into her coat pocket before drooping the coat over the arm of the couch. She handed Sherlock what she had pulled out. The last note, neatly folded.
"He told me to deliver this one tonight…" Molly checked the time on her phone. "Right now."
Sherlock gave Molly a puzzled look and opened the note. The final note. He cleared his throat and read it out loud.
"Patient, patient you have been,
Though I am sure it's wearing thin.
I hope you have enjoyed your gift
And that your boredom it did lift.
What better way to reunite
From that hot and dreadful fight?
It's day twelve,-"
A new voice emerged from the stairway, finishing the note with Sherlock.
"-as you can see.
Twelve red roses to you…from me."
Everyone's eyes shifted to the voice's origin in the stairwell. The next guest had arrived in the doorway. Molly chuckled again, holding her hand to her mouth. Sherlock stood paralyzed, still holding the trembling note in his hand.
"J-John?" Sherlock stuttered.
In the doorway stood John Watson in military uniform, holding a beautiful bouquet of a dozen crimson roses. John couldn't hold back a wide smile as he gazed into Sherlock's flabbergasted face.
"Hello, Sherlock." John greeted quietly. "Merry Christmas."
"Oh, John! What a lovely surprise," Mrs. Hudson hugged John warmly. "I'll get some tea going for us all." She walked back into the kitchen and put a kettle on the stove.
"But-but how?" Sherlock sputtered.
"You really can do anything with some help from people," John glanced over Molly who smiled back at him. "You should try talking with them once in a while."
Sherlock was still half in shock. "The old cases, how-"
"I know a few people who know a few people. Really, Sherlock, there's more to connections than your homeless network."
There was another knock at the door and Lestrade poked his head into the flat. "Am I late?"
"Shut up, Lestrade!" Sherlock yelled. Lestrade seemed somewhat offended, but slunk into the apartment without another word.
"Ah, yes. I trust they served a greater purpose in your hands? No offense, Molly."
"None taken," Molly replied.
"How did you-"
"Oh, come on, Sherlock." John rolled his eyes and gestured at Molly. "Use that thick head of yours. Molly works at the morgue."
"Bu-but you were gone…" Sherlock's voice cracked. "…for so long…" Sherlock bit his trembling lip. John rushed to his side and held his shoulders.
"Sherlock. I'm here." John looked into Sherlock's glazed blue eyes. "I've come home."
Molly and Lestrade moved slowly towards the kitchen to see what they could do to help Mrs. Hudson.
"Sherlock, are you hearing me?"
"So…" Sherlock managed. "You did all this…as a coming home present? To keep my mind at work?"
"You're always complaining about being bored. I thought the least I could do is keep your mind out of trouble. Why, don't you like it?"
Sherlock laughed nervously. "John I-"
"I-it was perfect, John," Sherlock lowered his voice to a whisper. "Thank you."
John smiled. That was all he had wanted for Christmas. John held up the flowers to Sherlock, who accepted them, after glancing back at the kitchen to see if they were being watched.
He hesitated. "John, I-I missed you," Sherlock's chin trembled with emotion. "So much." A small tear crept from his eye and slid down his cheek.
John wrapped his arms around Sherlock. To his surprise, Sherlock did the same for him. John smiled even more and soon had tears streaming down his own face. "I missed you too, Sherlock."
PLOT TWIST. (or not) I fooled a lot of you. :D
Congrats to everyone who stuck with your John hypothesis. (i almost teared up writing this last chapter hehehe)
I'm so sorry for posting so late, was giving me hell and I couldn't get on to post it. But here it is!
This is my first sort of mystery fic, so let me know what you thought of it! Hope it was as much of a joy reading as it was for me writing it. I'm sort of sad it's over, but hey. If you want more just give me a follow :D
Happy whatever doesn't offend you! (Christmas...Yule...Holidays... Hanukkah...? idk)