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Title: It Happened One Christmas
Recipient: kinkajou
Author: swissmarg
Beta reader: frodosweetstuff
Verse: BBC
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None
Summary: Sherlock's parents think he and John are a couple. They might be onto something.





John followed Mr Holmes inside the house, his duffle bag in one hand. Sherlock had detoured as soon as they arrived, ostensibly to the loo, but John knew he was really going to sneak out back and have a cigarette. He always did when they came up, although usually he didn't feel the need quite so soon. He might have developed a habit again. John couldn't say for sure as he hadn't been around their flat that much recently. He'd picked up a job for six weeks at a private practise, covering for a doctor who'd taken time off for her child's cancer treatments. The practise was closed for the three-day holiday weekend, though, and Sherlock's parents had invited them up.


'Usually' was a bit broad, speaking of their visits; they'd actually only been twice since Christmas: once in the summer for a combined birthday lunch for the two Holmes parents -- their birthdays were coincidentally just two weeks apart -- and then last month, when John had volunteered to help Mr Holmes clean the gutters. Sherlock's father took pride in having always done it himself rather than hiring a service, but Mrs Holmes had dropped hints to Mycroft about it not being sensible anymore for him to be climbing ladders at his age. Most likely she'd been hoping for her eldest to swoop in and arrange something behind Mr Holmes' back, presenting him with a fait accompli, but wind of the thing had found its way John, who had promptly said he'd come help out one weekend. He'd managed to go about it in such a way that he did all the ladder-climbing, without Mr Holmes feeling that he wasn't the one in charge.


John had a feeling Mr Holmes had actually been relieved and grateful over the face-saving arrangement. He was showing his age more and more these days, his movements slower and his face thinner, although his voice was just as full and warm as ever. John liked Mr Holmes -- liked both the Holmes parents -- a great deal, and was more than grateful that they'd accepted him, both with and without Mary, as virtually part of the family.


As they passed the living room, memories surged to the forefront of John's mind. Memories of last Christmas, Mary sitting there with her belly huge, the hug in front of the fireplace. John's stomach twisted uncomfortably, and he had to give himself a bit of a mental shake. He hadn't had a reaction like that on their previous visits. Maybe it was the Christmas decorations and smells of baking that had triggered it. He pushed it aside. All that unpleasantness was over and done with. He was living in the flat on Baker Street with Sherlock again, and things were more or less back to the way they'd been before the whole mess with the Moriarty conspiracy.


More or less.


Sherlock had changed during his time away, and John supposed he had too. They were both less impulsive and more cautious; not only with the cases they took but with each other too. Maybe just older and wiser. John had had to take a good hard look at his life before returning to the flat. He knew they couldn't go back entirely to the way things had been. Too much water under the bridge for that. He couldn't view their living arrangement as something temporary this time, a stop-gap measure on the way to a steady job and family. He'd realised those weren't things he wanted anymore. Or rather: those were things he already had, with Sherlock. They'd never discussed it, so John wasn't entirely sure how Sherlock saw it, but he'd been back for six months now and things were good.


Very good.


They spent more time together outside of cases than they had in the past, although there had still been some heart-pumping adventures sprinkled here and there. But John found just as much satisfaction verbally sparring with Sherlock over some ridiculous story in the newspaper, settling in together to watch a classic movie Sherlock had come across while channel-hopping, or simply sitting in his chair reading a book while Sherlock fiddled with his blog, checked the progress of his tissue cross-typing experiment, scratched out some vaguely musical sounds on his violin, and generally hovered until John had pity and took him out for dinner and a brisk walk along the river.


And then later, when John had gone up to his room for the night, hearing Sherlock return to his violin and turn those scratches into something lovely and wistful and somehow both so sad and so quietly joyful it made John's heart squeeze. It was in those moments -- and only then -- that John allowed himself to unpack the little secret stash of emotions he guarded so closely, to mourn a little, for all the things they had lost. For the things they'd never had. For what might have been, if only. He knew Sherlock loved him, and God help him, he loved Sherlock right back, just as fiercely. But this was what they were. How they were. Maybe all that either of them was capable of. Flatmates. Two men who shared rooms. Who shared a life. But that was all. There were simply certain physical and emotional lines which were neither crossed nor even acknowledged.


Up the stairs, Mr Holmes turned right instead of the left John had expected, and walked through a door halfway down the hall. John made a little sound of surprise as he stopped short in the doorway, adjusting his grip on his bag. He'd thought Mr Holmes was leading him to the guest room he and Mary had been assigned (but never actually ended up staying in) a year ago, but now an entirely new possibility, one he hadn't even remotely considered, occurred to him.


"This is um. This is Sherlock's room," John said nonplussed.


If the anatomical drawings -- some clearly professional, others in an unpractised but not unskilled hand -- and framed botanical specimens on the walls hadn't been a strong enough hint, the half-size violin and bow mounted on the wall were a rather dead giveaway. The room was no shrine: it was tidy and uncluttered with the general air of a guest room, but enough personal effects had been left to give it at least some sense of homeliness. The double bed was overlaid with a crocheted throw that looked more like something Mrs Hudson would have chosen than Sherlock. The space smelled as if it had been recently aired, the crisp tang of winter hovering just out of reach.


Mr Holmes went in ahead of him, looking around fondly at the furnishings and mementos. "Oh yes. The bed's big enough though. Sherlock came into his height so quickly we went ahead and put in a double on his twelfth birthday. Did you not come in here last year? I guess not, with your wife here." He turned to John with a sudden, stricken look. "I am sorry, John. I'm a bit pants at this kind of thing. You just tell me if I put my foot in it, will you?"


"It's fine. Over and done with," he said, only half aware of his own words. He was silently, madly, trying to keep up with what Mr Holmes was saying. Or rather, what he wasn't saying, what the assumptions were underneath his words. Because to John, it sounded a hell of a lot like Mr Holmes thought both Sherlock and John would be sleeping in this room for the next two nights. Together. In the same bed. Which. Was not something John would necessarily have a problem with, except. He almost burst out laughing at how ridiculous this was. There was no way Sherlock would have told his parents anything like this. Had they simply assumed? Should he set things straight? Straight. Ha! Would it make things unbearably awkward if he spoke up, pointed out the error? It would be awkward either way. No, it would be better to let Sherlock do it. He wouldn't have any qualms about correcting his parents' (or only Mr Holmes'?) incredible leap of logic.


"Vi wanted to redo it all," Mr Holmes was saying, oblivious to John's miniature crisis, "turn it into an indoor workroom. She worries, you know, me all the way out in the shed. Especially in winter." Mr Holmes went to the window and looked down into the garden. It was late afternoon, dusk closing in, but the large toolshed-cum-workshop was still well visible at the back of the property. "But the light's all wrong in here, as you can see, and it's too small." He gestured around the room and confided with a twinkle in his eye, "Anyway, a man has to have his cave to retreat to. When all the genius gets to be too much."


John raised his eyebrows. That he could relate to. "Oh yeah. I usually pop round to the pub, me." Which didn't sound like that bad an idea at the moment.


"I've never been much of a pub man myself, but maybe the two of us can sneak out later on."


"I'd like that."


"Good."


Clomping footsteps on the hardwood floor in the hall heralded Sherlock's arrival. "Here you are," he said when he saw John. He'd divested himself of his outerwear, yet still appeared oddly out of place in his suit jacket, standing in the midst of so much homeliness. It looked like he was about to say something else but stopped when he saw his father was there too. A quick darted glance between the two men that John couldn't quite make sense of. Irritated? Nervous? John tried to send Sherlock a questioning look without letting Mr Holmes see, but wasn't sure it succeeded.


"Just getting John settled," Mr Holmes said, unfrazzled. Then to John: "You'll find fresh towels in the bath."


"Great, thanks." John stepped aside to let Mr Holmes pass through to the hall, staring hard at Sherlock, willing him to say something. Did he not understand the situation?


"I imagine I'll go see about getting the turkey up from the freezer before Mummy gets back," Mr Holmes said cheerfully and wandered off.


"Sherlock," John hissed, jerking his head in the direction of Mr Holmes' retreating figure.


Sherlock glanced at John then sighed and called after his father, "Don't try bringing it up yourself, Dad. I'll be down in a minute."


"Not that," John insisted, still keeping his voice low. "Although thanks. But if I've understood correctly, your father thinks we'll be sharing a bed tonight. Here." He pointed at the bed behind him.


Sherlock gave John an inscrutable look then went to stand at the window, much as his father had done a few minutes earlier. The resemblance between the two men struck John particularly at that moment: the profile, the tilt of the head, the long, lean curve of the body, the delicate fingers holding back the curtain to get a clear view of the garden. John tried superimposing the image of Mr Holmes on Sherlock, imagining him thirty or forty years on. Hair gone grey, lines around his eyes, still wearing that suit jacket, although it would hang more loosely on his thinning frame.


Would he be living in London, or would he have moved someplace like this, out in the country? Perhaps even to this very house, presuming he inherited it. Would he turn his father's workshop out in the shed into a laboratory? He could keep all his noxious fumes and body parts out there, and John would finally be able to enjoy a cup of tea without wondering whether the kettle had been used to store pig placentas.


John caught himself right there. The uncrossed line. Bad luck to even think about things like that. Especially in the context of sharing this room, sleeping beside each other, spending Christmas together like a real family.


"If it's going to be a problem for you," Sherlock said, his clipped tone cutting right to the quick of John's daydream, "I suppose one of us could go out to the shed. There's a space heater, it should be bearable."


John forced himself back to the present. He must be missing something, but... "Did something happen to the guest room?" he asked.


"Mummy needs a white noise machine to fall asleep. It keeps my father awake, so he sleeps in the guest room." And then, in answer to John's unasked question, he explained: "Mary was here with you last year, and pregnant. He wanted to. This time we're here for two nights, and I suppose he thought we wouldn't mind sharing."


And Mycroft had been uncertain when he'd be able to get away; he'd said most likely tomorrow, but there was an outside chance he might arrive late tonight, so that put his room out of the running.


"No, it's fine," John said, thrusting his hands into his pockets. "It'll be like a sleepover. Bed's big enough. Your father made a point of that. So he doesn't think we're actually. You know." He tilted his head toward the bed.


Sherlock dropped the curtain. "You'll have to ask him," he said, steadily holding John's gaze. Challenging? No, just neutral.


"Yeah, no," John said. It didn't really matter. Things were what they were. People had always made assumptions, and that hadn't changed things between them.


"Really, John, if this is going to be a problem--" This time more concern than irritation.


"Nope, no problem," John assured him firmly. "Just wasn't expecting it is all. It's fine." He cleared his throat expectantly. "Was there... You were looking for me just now?"


Sherlock shrugged noncommitally. "Just wondering where you'd got to."


"Making sure your dad wasn't showing me your baby pictures, you mean," John teased.


"Do give him a bit of credit, he's not that tactless."


"Oh come on, they can't be that embarrassing."


"It's not that." Sherlock's eyes flicked over John's face, then looked away. "Never mind."


It took John a few seconds to catch up. "Oh, you mean..." Baby pictures. Not embarrassing to Sherlock, but to... "Oh. No, it's okay. I wouldn't have made the connection, I don't think. Course, now I have." John tried for a chuckle in an attempt to keep things lighthearted. Didn't quite succeed.


"Sorry," Sherlock muttered.


"Look, shut up, all right? You've nothing to be sorry about. Let's just... " John cast about desperately for a distraction, and lit upon the violin. "So this was yours?" John went over to it, ostensibly to get a better look but really to avoid having to look at Sherlock. He never knew how to react when Sherlock was uncharacteristically mindful of John's feelings.


"I'm fairly certain they regretted giving in and getting that for the first few years," Sherlock said, wandering closer as well.


John made a soft sound of amusement. "Could you still play it now? A small one like that?"


"Technically, but this is in no condition to be played. It would need to be completely re-stringed. The bow too." Sherlock reached around John to take the instrument off the wall. Close enough that John could smell his aftershave and the breath mint covering the lingering aftertaste of cigarettes. He breathed in deeply before he could stop himself. Sherlock ran his hands over the instrument, blew some dust off, and plucked lightly at a string. It made a dull, plonging sound. John's heart jumped.


"Pity," John said, his voice coming out rawer than he would have liked. "It would have been nice."


"What, hearing me play on a child's instrument?"


"No, just. Hearing you play. I liked it when you played on Christmas. The last one we had in London, I mean. That Christmas party at the flat?" He looked up at Sherlock, who hadn't moved away. Again that perusal of John's face, the feeling that there was something John was missing. John's heart ratcheted up a beat.


"You'd be sorely mistaken if you think I'd play Christmas carols for my parents," Sherlock said, his voice warm and intimate, with a touch of amusement.


John giggled, and this time it was genuine. "No, I guess not. For me though, maybe?" he said, before he'd thought through the way that might sound. "I mean, no, not just for me," he tried to explain, his heart now skittering wildly at the closeness, the gentle waft of Sherlock's mint-and-cigarette-tinged breath, his intense, unnerving expression. "But I hear you play all the time. Not for me. Just, you playing. Doesn't matter what." John decided he'd do better to shut up before he dug himself any deeper into his current hole.


The silence only made it worse, though, magnified by the hold Sherlock's eyes had on his. John licked his lips before he could stop himself; a nervous tic, exasperated by the dry winter air. Sherlock's gaze followed before snapping back to meet John's. A hitch of breath. Sherlock's and John's. Sherlock about to say something. John on the verge of panic.


"Um. I think I'll see if I can help your dad with that turkey," he all but blurted. John had to fairly extricate himself from between the wall and Sherlock, ducking his head and exiting the room quickly before... he didn't know what, before something happened that he couldn't go back on. Behind him, he heard another tinny plong sound from the violin.


******


By the time Mrs Holmes bustled in a little while later, the turkey had been deposited in the refrigerator to thaw, Sherlock had helped himself to some of the goodies already prepared on the sideboard, and John and Mr Holmes were chatting over a cup of tea at the kitchen table.


John and Mr Holmes both stood up when she came in, red-cheeked from the cold and patting down her staticky hair.


"How did the tutoring go?" Mr Holmes asked after exchanging a quick peck with his wife.


"Bunch of morons," Mrs Holmes said briskly. "I don't know how they're going to manage. Hello, John, come give me a proper welcome as it looks like my son is too busy fattening himself up before Christmas dinner." She held out her arms and John obediently came round the table to greet her.


Sherlock gave her a cheeky smile around a mouthful of quince pie from where he sat at the far end of the table. "Hello, Mummy."


"You'll whip them into shape, dear," Mr Holmes answered placidly, his hands in his pockets. "You always do."


John kissed Sherlock's mother on the cheek, receiving a sturdy hug in return. "Sorry, tutoring?" John asked, looking from her to Mr Holmes.


"Mummy does tutoring at the local grammar school," Sherlock reported, licking a jammy smear off his thumb.


"That's great, I'm sure the kids love you," John said dutifully, although he was privately somewhat skeptical about the moron comment and 'whipping them into shape'.


Sherlock and his parents exchanged a look, then all three burst out laughing.


John smiled slowly, not understanding what he'd said. "What was it?"


"Oh my goodness, no, John, can you picture me with children?" Mrs Holmes said, her eyes flashing with mirth.


At John's raised eyebrows and significant look in Sherlock's direction, she sobered a bit. "Well, any children who aren't as clever as my boys. I'd have them in tears within seconds. No patience at all."


"Mummy tutors the maths and physics teachers," Sherlock explained. "Seminars on the latest research and publications, helps them understand the stuff enough to adapt it for their classes."


"I swear I don't know how they managed to pass their certification." She sat down at the table while Mr Holmes set about preparing a cup of tea for her.


"Remember, that was thirty years ago for some of them," he said from over by the cupboards. "They haven't all kept up. That's what you're there for." He gave her a knowing, affectionate look.


"You're right," she preened, before turning her attention to Sherlock and John. "Never mind that now. How are you boys?"


******


Once she'd been caught up on the latest from London, Mrs Holmes shooed everyone out of the kitchen so she could make dinner, refusing all of John's offers to help. Sherlock skulked off for another cigarette, not fooling anyone, and John accompanied Mr Holmes out to his workshop.


The much vaunted light was gone by now, the early winter night having already settled in. The shed had originally been conceived to double as a greenhouse or winter garden, so one wall was almost entirely enclosed in glass. It would really be a fantastic space for an artist's studio, John thought, although Mr Holmes used it for practical carpentry rather than decorative pieces. He showed John some of the finished pieces he hadn't yet found homes for: a sturdy little chess table, a lamp stand, several planter boxes of rough-hewn timbers a neighbour hadn't known what to do with. His current project was a birdhouse, which he unclamped from the vise for John to inspect. "Cliché, but people do love their birds round here and it's the season," he commented.


"These are lovely," John said, his eye catching on some smaller objects, woodcarvings sitting on the back of a shelf higher up. Mostly nature motifs, simple shapes: a turtle, a seashell, a cat sitting with its tail curled around itself.


"Oh that was just me trying things out," Mr Holmes said modestly. "Not sure I'll be doing any more. I haven't the dexterity for it, you see."


John reached up to take one down for a closer look. It was a cow, a little smaller than John's hand. He ran his fingers over the smooth wood. Viewed up close, John could see the lines weren't exactly even, the proportions not quite right in places. The face had been painted on, just dots for eyes and nostrils, and a curved line for a mouth that made it look like the cow was smirking knowingly. It was playful and sturdy, and John was struck by the thought that a child might enjoy playing with it. And closely on the heels of that thought came another, less welcome one: why had Sherlock's father branched out into the carvings? They were covered in a fine layer of dust (eloquent, that), which indicated they'd been left to sit for quite a while. A year was certainly possible. Likely. They were a bit naive to appeal to the sorts of adults who collected knick-knacks. But a child... the obvious connection wasn't easy to dismiss. Had the Holmeses ever wanted grandchildren? There seemed no chance of that now. Not that John's child would have been their grandchild.


Except... except.


John fought the unexpected lump that threatened to lodge in his throat. He put the cow back carefully, sniffed in the earthy aromas of sawdust and metal, had to clear his throat before speaking. "They're lovely," he said again. "You should keep at it."


Mr Holmes stood in front of the workbench that ran the length of the glass-fronted wall, gazing out at the darkened vista that lay beyond. He didn't seem to have heard John. "Sherlock used to have designs on this place as a boy," he said.


John chuckled wryly, glad for a distraction and thinking of his own imagining earlier, back in Sherlock's room. "Wanted to turn it into a secret laboratory, did he?"


"Oh no, a pirate ship." Mr Holmes gestured at the workbench. "This was the bridge, out there the seven seas. He never told us as much, it was all terribly secret, but I would sometimes find his spyglass and compass stuffed under here." He put his hand in his pockets and stared out into the shadowy garden, as if looking somewhere beyond what was really there. "He was always so closed off, especially about things that were important to him. I'm afraid he thought we would find his games and notions silly. There was Vi with her equations all over, me with my briefcase full of paperwork, and of course Mycroft, whom he idolised, who has been a stuffy, dour diplomat since he could talk. And I say that with all of a father's love," Mr Holmes added with a half smile and a sidelong wink at John. He turned back to the window, which now showed little more than his own and John's reflection. "Then along came Sherlock. I dare say none of us quite knew what to make of him. We tried to encourage him, but somewhere along the way we must have gone wrong. He was so unhappy for so long."


John didn't know much about that period in Sherlock's life, just bits and pieces. He'd dropped out of university, lived on the streets for a while. An overdose that just missed being classified as a suicide attempt. Rehab. There were times when John wished he'd been around then, when he imagined he might have helped Sherlock. But then there were other, more sobering times when he took a good, hard look at his relationship with Harry and knew deep down that he wouldn't have stuck it out with Sherlock either. Not if Sherlock hadn't wanted to change. But he had wanted it, and he'd done it himself, and that couldn't be dismissed. Maybe it was something he'd needed to do himself, before he could save John. They had met when both were at a crossroads, both ready (or forced) to change direction. For better or worse. For gunshots and archenemies, for death and adventure and something he suspected was larger than either of them.


"I'd say you must have done some things right too," John said to Mr Holmes. "He is the most incredible person I've ever met. I'm not saying that lightly. I've been around a bit."


Mr Holmes was silent for a good long while. John let him.


"I am so very grateful, you know," Mr Holmes finally said, his voice soft but firm, "that he has you. We both are." He slowly turned his head to look at John, a warm smile on his face.


John exhaled slowly. He knew what Mr Holmes was saying. What he was implying. Did he really believe that? That Sherlock and John were in a committed relationship, however that might be defined? On the other hand, was it not true? John had felt something along those lines for a while now. Now that he was settled back in the flat on Baker Street, John couldn't imagine ever leaving again. Not without Sherlock.


"Me too, yeah," John agreed finally, because it was true. He was grateful to have Sherlock. To have been allowed back into his life.


Mr Holmes looked apologetic. "I'm sorry, John, you must stop me when I get too personal. It's the age, it makes one sentimental. Thinking about one's mortality. One's legacy."


"Perfectly all right."


Out the window, a light flashed from the direction of the house.


"Looks like Vi has dinner ready," Mr Holmes said.


******


Dinner was a simple affair: parsnip soup and fresh bread which Mrs Holmes had picked up from the local bakery when she was out, with clotted cream to pass around. 'The fast before the feast' is how she termed it, although to judge by the amount of pie Sherlock had already consumed, it was more like the feast before the other feast.


After they were done eating, John shanghaied Sherlock into doing the dishes with him, which resulted in one thoroughly wet shirt front, one case of suds in the eye, and one near-catastrophe when Sherlock executed a point turn while transferring a stack of plates from the table to the sink and nearly fell flat on his back due to a rather large puddle on the floor. The situation was saved only by John's lightning reflexes, as his arm shot out to grab Sherlock around the waist to steady him.


Sherlock's body was warm and solid under his shirt -- he'd removed his jacket for the washing-up -- and John found his hand lingering longer than strictly necessary. Sliding across his back rather than a clean breaking of contact. Sherlock's eyes on his, a moment poised in time, before he said a quick thanks and stepped away to deposit the dishes in the sink. John clenched his hand, berating himself for the slip-up yet unable to regret it entirely.


When John came back downstairs with a dry shirt, he found himself agreeing to a game of Parcheesi despite less than positive experiences in the past with Sherlock and board games. He figured at least this was mostly down to the luck of the dice, so Sherlock wouldn't be able to argue his way to an advantage.


He was wrong.


It turned out the Holmes house rules were Byzantine and unexpected, involving things like semi-permeable blockades, three strikes and you're out, and die rolls not necessarily being worth their face value but rather the basis for a mathematical equation to determine how many spaces you could advance your pieces. Sherlock was out for blood, but Mrs Holmes and John formed an alliance which was able to keep Sherlock in check long enough for Mr Holmes to somehow sneak past all of them into the safe zone and victory.


Sherlock sulked at the unfairness of it all, and fetched his computer from his bag so he could fling himself into the big green armchair in front of the fire and bury himself behind the screen. Mrs Holmes went to get them all some mulled cider while Mr Holmes challenged John to a few rounds of Battleship. Once she'd settled everyone with their drinks, Mrs Holmes busied herself with the jigsaw puzzle spread across the big table by the garden windows, and the four of them chatted across the room while pursuing their various individual activities. There was Christmas music playing in the background -- not the usual light fare of Deck the Halls and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, but more meaty pieces like Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Schoenberg's Weihnachtsmusik, and Britten's Ceremony of Carols. Not that John would have recognised any of them, but between Sherlock's and his parents' commentary, he was kept well informed.


As the clock advanced past ten, Sherlock's parents gracefully excused themselves for the night, with a reminder to Sherlock and John to bank the fire before turning in. The next day was Christmas Eve, and would be largely filled with last-minute preparations. In the evening, Sherlock's parents intended to attend the carol service at church, and John said he would join them. Sherlock was noncommittal, although he suggested that if Mycroft went, he wouldn't and vice versa. John was half tempted to send Mycroft a text asking him to beg off.


It was dangerous, this domesticity. He knew that. Allowing himself to become so wrapped up in this family. Letting them treat him like another son. Or a son-in-law? The bed, the cow, the private discussions. Were those things a father would share with any old friend of their son's? Even his best friend? In the end, it didn't matter what Sherlock's parents thought, of course. Or the press, or the officers at the Yard, or their clients, or Mrs Hudson. It only mattered what John thought. What Sherlock thought.


And there was the problem: who knew what Sherlock thought? John remembered what Mr Holmes had said out in the shed: that Sherlock had always been closed-off and secretive when it came to things that were important to him. That wasn't quite true, in John's experience; Sherlock couldn't get enough of talking about some things he was deeply invested in: his cases, his experiments. His sock index, John thought fondly. But there were other things he never talked about. His music, for instance. Oh, he talked about music, certainly, but not his music. Not what he played late at night, when he knew John was upstairs listening. Not the pages he filled with his own notes and filed carefully away. He never talked about his drug use. Which, John hoped, was all in the past now. Maybe it was a good thing he was smoking, as it meant he didn't need to resort to anything more potent. And most of all, he never talked about himself and John. Not to other people, and not to John. They'd never talked about what had happened with Mary. Never even really talked about John moving back. They had just kind of slid into it. Did that mean John was important to him? More important than the cases? The drugs?


Once the Holmes parents had gone upstairs, John turned off the main light and went over to sit on the floor by the hearth, in front of Sherlock's chair. The fire had almost died, but the last log still glowed red behind the fireplace screen. The last music track had ended a while ago, and the only sounds were Sherlock's typing and the occasional pop or hiss of one last air pocket or drop of moisture being released from the wood. This wasn't really much different than an evening in back in London, looked at objectively. And yet there some something much more intimate about it, something that caused that small, carefully guarded bundle deep inside John to stir and glow. He would never sit like this at home, in fact he wasn't sure now what had made him take up this position at Sherlock's feet when there was another perfectly serviceable armchair just opposite. The empty spot on the carpet had just seemed to be waiting for him, in the semi-circle of red light from the hearth.


"Hey," John said softly, bumping Sherlock's leg with his shoulder, needing something to distract him from thoughts which were sure to lead nowhere fruitful. "What are you looking at? Anything good?"


Behind him, Sherlock shifted in his chair, his low voice melding smoothly with the shadows and warmth of the room. "Misplaced jewelry, stalker, mistaken identity, runaway, car theft ring. I've made us £1200 while you were floundering around trying to find my father's patrol boat. He always puts it on the opposite side of the board from the aircraft carrier, remember for next time. I've sent the details on the car thieves over to the Met. There might be a reward coming for that too, depends if they end up prosecuting or if there's a plea bargain."


"What, really?" John leaned back on his hands and twisted his head to beam at Sherlock. "Good on you. Happy early Christmas." Us, he'd said, even though John hadn't contributed so much as a 'brilliant' to the effort. Us. And next time. Planning for John to be here again. Another Christmas. Possibly many.


Sherlock grunted, but seemed pleased. John wanted to say something else, but didn't know what. Wanted to lean his head against Sherlock's knee. Give his foot a squeeze. Kiss him until they were both breathless and gasping. God. John ran a hand over his face, which was suddenly hot, and not from the screened-off embers. This was getting out of control. Was it this place? Had Sherlock drugged the cider? He should probably put himself out of temptation's way.


John got to his feet, stretching his back. "Think I'll hit the hay too," he said, although his mind and body were buzzing. He wouldn't be falling asleep anytime soon. Especially not if Sherlock joined him in the bed. "Are you coming too or do you want me to leave a light on for you?"


Sherlock glanced at John, his gaze hitting John's midriff where his shirt was stretched taut before rising to his face. "No, you go ahead. I have some more emails to catch up on." His eyes were limpid and hooded in the blue glow from his computer screen. Dark. Beautiful.


John lowered his arms. "I know you're going to have a smoke," he said, pursing his lips.


"Mycroft's coming, I'm entitled," Sherlock muttered.


John knew better than to push it. "I'd like to have you around for a while yet is all," he said lightly. "I still need you to pay your half of the rent."


Sherlock waved his long fingers vaguely in John's direction, his attention firmly on his computer screen. "You'd find another flatmate in no time. Great location."


"Yeah, but the thing is I don't want another flatmate." He put his hand on Sherlock's shoulder and leaned in to say in his ear: "You've pretty much spoiled me for anyone else." Definitely something in the cider. Sherlock looked up at him. Startled. Those damn eyes. What was going on behind them? His hair, his mouth. God, he needed to go to bed. Eyes shut and brain off. He squeezed Sherlock's shoulder and walked away before he could say or do anything else. It was going to be an interesting night.


******


John was drifting at the edge of sleep when he heard the door open and Sherlock came in, lighting his way with his phone.


"Hey," John said softly, rousing himself. "Everything all right?"


"I didn't mean to wake you." Sherlock sat down on the edge of the bed. In the faint light, John could see he'd already changed into his pyjama trousers and a t-shirt. He must have snuck in earlier to get his things out of his roller case. John hadn't even heard him. Had he really been asleep already? What time was it?


"Wasn't sleeping," John said even thought it might not have been entirely true. He scooted back to make room for Sherlock. He'd somehow gravitated toward the middle of the bed. Not used to sleeping with someone anymore.


Sherlock turned off his phone and set it on the bedside table, then got under the covers. There was a bit of an awkward back-and-forth as they both tried to adjust the comforter so they were both covered without actually touching each other. They ended up lying on their backs, John with his arms under the blanket and Sherlock with his on top.


"You're sure this is all right for you?" Sherlock asked.


"Yeah, it's fine." It was fine. John was going to go insane, not get a wink of sleep, but that was absolutely more than fine.


They both lay there silently for a bit. John heard Sherlock inhale a couple of times, abruptly, as if he were about to say something. John's heart thudded wildly, banging against his ribs so hard he'd have been surprised if Sherlock couldn't feel it through the mattress.


Finally, Sherlock blurted: "I've never shared a bed with anyone before."


"Okay," John said carefully, unwilling to jump to any sort of conclusion at that rather provocative opening. No, he was not even going to speculate.


Sherlock took another sharp breath. "I mean I don't know what the protocol is for this. Do we simply say goodnight and ignore each other until morning?"


John relaxed a fraction, amusement tinged with something more complex breaking through his receding anxiety. "Could do."


A beat of silence, and then Sherlock said: "All right. Good night."


"Or we could talk," John offered, the words tumbling out almost before Sherlock had finished speaking.


"Talk?"


"Yeah. Erm. Know any good ghost stories?"


"What?"


"You know, scary stories. When you have a sleepover, it's traditional to try to scare the crap out of each other."


"Why?"


"It's just what you do. Look, I'll start," he said, as an idea came to him. It was a classic he'd heard many times as a kid, but with a bit of a twist. "So," he said, turning onto his side and propping his head up on his hand, "there was this fellow who just moved in with his new flatmate. The flatmate's kind of an oddball but the rent's manageable and the location's perfect. Plus, the guy's just back from overseas and the flat comes furnished so he can move in right away. You with me?"


Sherlock folded his hands over his chest. "Yes, go on."


"All right. So the first night, he goes up to his room to go to bed. He didn't really look at the room closely before, he was just happy to have a place, but now he notices there's this mannequin propped up in the far corner, dressed like one of those old-fashioned clowns, you know with the frilly collar and the big red nose. The guy doesn't think he'll be able to sleep knowing that thing is standing there watching him but he doesn't want to move it without asking his flatmate first so he goes back downstairs."


"This story doesn't make sense. A mannequin can't watch you. Is this like those angels from Doctor Who?"


"Shut up, just listen." John kicked Sherlock gently under the blanket, the ball of his foot against Sherlock's calf. His trousers had hitched up, and John hit skin. Warm and taut. Triceps surae. Compact, powerful. Sherlock didn't move away. Neither did John. His heart hit two beats in quick succession. "Anyway," John said, at least half of his mind now firmly lodged under the covers, "he goes downstairs and his flatmate is sitting in the kitchen frying eyeballs."


"He was probably bored." Sherlock moved his leg, pressing just slightly into John's foot. A signal for John to back off? John flexed his toes. No reaction.


John left his foot where it was and continued. "Yeah, you're probably right. The guy explains to the flatmate about the clown and asks if they can put it somewhere else. The flatmate drops the eyeball into his tea in alarm and tells him to get his gun."


"And it turns out," Sherlock interjected, turning his head toward John, "that the clown wasn't a mannequin at all but a deranged serial killer. The two flatmates run upstairs, capture him, and the flatmate's brother makes sure the story stays out of the papers. The end. That was pathetic, John. Not scary at all."


John chuckled. "Yeah, you're right. I just thought of it because of that clown you've got standing over there in the corner. It's kind of freaking me out the way it's leering at us."


Sherlock started to turn his head to look behind him but caught himself halfway.


"Ah, I got you," John said gleefully.


"You didn't."


John pushed Sherlock's leg under the blanket again. "I got you a little, admit it."


Sherlock huffed and turned onto his side as well, facing John. "Not at all, I was merely adjusting my neck. These pillows are awful." He made a show of fluffing and pounding his pillow, and when he resettled, one leg somehow ended up on top of John's. To stop him from kicking anymore?


"There's a moral to the story too, you know," John pointed out, trying not to read anything more into their position. "Being respectful of your flatmate's belongings might just save your life one day."


Sherlock scoffed. "You'd have been able to handle a serial killer dressed as a clown on your own, I've no doubt."


John smiled to himself. Sherlock's leg was right on top of his ankle bone. It was uncomfortable and was probably going to make his foot fall asleep in a minute or so. What the hell were they doing? Was Sherlock even aware? Were they playing footsie or just asserting territorial claims? Two alpha males or a courting pair? Both? Maybe it was the late hour, the darkness, the otherworldly quality of the entire situation, removed from their everyday life. Mr Holmes' words. The fact that Sherlock was here. He could have slept in the shed. Or downstairs on the couch. It was much more comfortable than the one in their flat, which Sherlock had slept on many times. He could have not even come to bed at all, for that matter. It wasn't only on nights when they had a case that he stayed up all night. An experiment, a composition, an argument on an internet forum that he couldn't let go of, they all had exerted their thrall over him at one time or another such that when John would come down for breakfast, he'd find Sherlock hunched over the table staring into his microscope or his phone, bleary-eyed, unshaven, and completely unaware of his surroundings. But he was here, tucked under the covers beside John on Christmas Eve -- it must be after midnight -- their feet entangled, pillow talking.


John pulled his leg out from underneath and dropped it on top of Sherlock's, drawing it closer. Unambiguous. Reckless. "All right, your turn," he said. Sherlock's move.


"Oh, I forgot to mention Mycroft is bringing a date with him."


John's eyes grew wide in the dark. "Holy shit, are you kidding?" Mycroft and romance? There had to be something else to it. A cover for a secret mission. Some foreign dignitary he needed to keep an eye on.


But Sherlock laughed, making the mattress shake. "Got you."


John started laughing too. He should really have known better. "You arse." He shoved Sherlock in the shoulder, leaning into him. Sherlock grabbed him by the wrist and pushed back, still laughing. A half playful, half earnest grappling match ensued that ended only when John felt his arse hit the edge of the bed and yelped. He grabbed onto Sherlock to catch himself before he fell, even as Sherlock hauled him back into the middle of the mattress. They ended up lying pressed together from shoulder to thigh, Sherlock on his back and John on his front, both gasping and laughing, with Sherlock's arm around John's back and John's arm stretched across Sherlock's chest, still holding fast to his other wrist.


"Shh, sh, we're going to wake your parents," John said, trying to whisper through his giggles. He felt as if he should be about thirty years younger to deliver that line.


"White noise machine," Sherlock reminded him, which for some reason they both found incredibly funny and set off a fresh round of laughter. Or maybe it was the physical exertion which had allowed the release of whatever tension they'd both been feeling through the day. It hadn't been unpleasant or anxious, but definitely palpable. A pressure, from both inside and out. To meet expectations, not to disappoint. Not to be disappointed. Not to cross the invisible line.


Had they crossed it now? John thought they had. They must have done. Sherlock's heart thumped under John's arm. His breath still smelt faintly of toothpaste, puffing against John's face. All John would have to do was tilt his head up a couple of centimetres. The night was darker here than in their flat on Baker Street, but he could see the gleam of Sherlock's eyes, the pale shape of his face, the darker smear of his lips. So close.


Their laughter faded away, leaving a portentous silence. Charged.


Sherlock's voice rolled into it, low and silky, sending a thrill down John's spine. "Do I win?"


It would have been easy. Sherlock wanted to. John could feel it. Wanted him to. John wanted to also. So much. So much he could taste it. He already knew what Sherlock would taste like. Not the toothpaste or the traces of nicotine, but Sherlock himself. He had his breath in his nostrils, in his mouth, already. It was as familiar as water. As necessary. It was so hard not to give in. But he needed to see him. Needed to look into his eyes and know this was real, not a twilight phantom that only existed in the witching hour, something that would dissolve with daylight, ignored or denied.


Had Sherlock won? John hoped they both had. That they both would. And that the prize would glitter and beckon just as brightly in the morning. Brighter. And so he said, "Yeah, I guess you do," and turned onto his side, slowly, trying to let Sherlock know this wasn't a rejection. He held onto Sherlock's wrist, pulled it with him as he settled back onto his pillow. Sherlock slid his other arm out from underneath John and turned onto his side as well, so they were facing each other, John with his hand now resting loosely on top of Sherlock's on the mattress between them. It was too dark for John to make out anything of Sherlock's expression. Whether he was disappointed or happy or confused or relieved. Whether he understood.


"Tell me about the missing jewelry and the car thieves," John said. He squeezed Sherlock's hand. Sherlock started talking, and John let his voice wash over him, let himself just be, let them be how they were, together.


******


"Good morning." Sherlock's voice cut through the remnants of John's sleep haze. He was barely awake, but Sherlock must have been waiting for him to stir beside him and pounced on the first sign of life. John cracked his eyes open. The thin, winter light in the room told him the morning was well advanced.


"Morning," John slurred, his speech sleep-rough. He turned his head to blink blearily at his bedmate. Sherlock lay on his side, just as they'd fallen asleep the night before. Well, as he'd been when John fell asleep, listening to him monologue on blue gems and creepy bicyclists, silver roadsters and an illegitimate son. His chin was stubbly and his hair pressed flat, and his eyes were a little bloodshot, as if he'd slept about as well as John, which was: not very. John thought he was the most fantastic thing he'd ever seen, and that secret stash cracked open, spilled out, stretching its tendrils into his heart, taking root.


"Sleep well?" John asked.


"Not really, no." Sherlock's lips quirked up into a self-conscious smile. Under the covers, John felt Sherlock's foot move against his.


John felt his own face breaking into a grin and turned onto his side to see Sherlock better. "Me either."


"This whole bed-sharing thing," Sherlock said. "Not quite as simple as I imagined."


"No," John agreed. There was something about sleeping with someone -- just sleeping -- that was even more intimate than sex, in a way. It involved trust, knowing the other person could do anything to you, but wouldn't. Waking during the night to hear someone else breathing next to you. Being able to reach over and touch them, knowing they trusted you just as much. Just being close. Sex was usually over so fast, but sleeping in the same bed for several hours was.... more, somehow. At least it could be, in John's experience. When the other person was important. When the relationship was important. When there were feelings involved that it was really much too early in the morning to be thinking about.


"Not so bad though," John said, his voice pitched halfway between a statement and a question.


"No," Sherlock agreed, echoing John's earlier statement. "No, it's... quite good, actually." Sherlock's eyes were bright, searching his. Asking. Confirming. The heat of their combined bodies underneath the shared blanket. Sherlock's foot still resting against his. Waiting.


John turned so he was all the way on his side, facing Sherlock. His heart in his throat, the tendrils squeezing, nudging, prompting. Were they really going to do this? They didn't have to. And yet they did. Inevitable. He didn't know which of them moved first, but it didn't matter because a moment later their noses were brushing, chins bumping, a chuckle, testing the waters, just a touch, lips against lips. A breath. A heartbeat. An eternity. Two bodies aligned, arms encircled. Perfection. Homecoming. Settling in, slow and languid, soft, gentle kisses. Asking. Answering. Agreement. Yes. This is who we are. This is what we do. Undeniable. A moment's respite. Breathe. Their eyes meeting. There was too much emotion there, the sensations overwhelming, too intense. John had to close his eyes again, seek Sherlock blindly, find him unerringly. It was easier to speak with their bodies. With their lips and tongues and hands. Sherlock's hand smoothed down John's back and John's slid over Sherlock's arse, tugging him closer, snugging their hips together. John felt himself stirring, felt Sherlock's echo against his hip just as Sherlock's confession of the night before inserted itself between them: he'd never shared a bed with anyone.


Did that mean he'd never shared any of this? Or that he'd had physical encounters that didn't extend to this kind of intimacy? Loos, alleys, dirty drug dens like the place John had found him when he went looking for Isaac... or just someone's basement with their parents upstairs; the back seat of a first car; sneaking in and out of a bedroom window on a school night? It didn't matter, in the end, John decided, because this had to be the first time he was sharing this with someone who loved him as fiercely, as deeply, as irrevocably as John did. No one who felt this for Sherlock could ever have left him. John hadn't left him either, he reasoned. Sherlock had left him, and even when he'd married someone else, he'd never intended... Never. He hadn't understood, hadn't realised. John pulled Sherlock closer, held him tighter, as if the strength of his embrace could convey the fervor of his sentiment and erase any hurt he might have caused. To both of them.


If nothing else, Sherlock was no novice when it came to kissing, and John gave himself over to the exploration, the discovery, the wonder of this, the thing he'd never let himself dare to imagine. Having Sherlock here with him, warm and soft and hard all at the same time. Pliant and plying, their bodies curved around and into each other, legs interlaced, hands under shirts now, stumbling across skin just becoming tacky with perspiration. The smell of them together, unmistakably male, primal, heady.


John's thighs clenched with the effort not to rut, blood surging and urging him forward. He was almost at the point where he was going to have to either pull away or make sure Sherlock really wanted to take this to its logical conclusion. He rolled onto his back, dragging Sherlock with him. Ceding control, letting him set the pace. Sherlock lifted his head, drew back far enough to take a look, let himself be seen. His mouth a strawberry-coloured smear, lips puffy, cheeks and chin reddened where John's overnight beard had grazed him. Lips parted, eyes rapt as they drank in every detail.


"John..." Desire, apology, plea, and warning in the one word. Things they couldn't say. But that were understood.


"Yeah. Everything, all of it. Me too." John laid his hand against Sherlock's cheek, his thumb stroking the corner of his mouth. All of it. He tilted his chin up to offer his lips in silent invitation, and Sherlock dipped his head to accept. To seal the promise. Never again. And always.


Sherlock shifted over, crowding him, invading his space and asserting his claim. John spread his legs to let Sherlock settle between them, his arousal unabashedly prominent inside the shorts he'd worn to bed. Twin groans as Sherlock's heat met his, unfamiliar yet natural, puzzle pieces cut from different moulds but no less well-met. John let his hands wander, discovering the lines and curves, the muscles and sinews underneath his clothes, his skin. Sherlock in turn explored with his mouth, kissing John's jaw, dragging his lips down John's neck, his collarbone, lifting John's shirt to tongue and suck and nip at his chest, his nipples, until John, quaking, drew him back to taste his mouth again.


Time slowed as they exchanged languid, lingering kisses, the tension building, drawing out, stretching. At the same time, Sherlock's swollen, heavy groin bumped over John's as his hips shifted, a slow, sweet drag and release. John chased the contact, tantalising and maddening, moving his hands down now to Sherlock's backside to hold him in place, guide him, increase the pressure where he needed it most. Sherlock eventually caught on, directing and focusing his movements to coordinate with John, his kisses becoming sloppier until he left off altogether and dropped his head to rest it on John's shoulder. His hips pumped in earnest now, blatant and unambiguous, his hands gripping John's shoulders for leverage.


"That's it, come on," John grunted, two handfuls of Sherlock's arse, both feet planted on the mattress, pelvis lifting to try and meet his thrusts, to work with him and find a rhythm, feeling as if he couldn't get close enough. No matter how hard he squeezed Sherlock's hips between his thighs, how firecely he pressed kisses to Sherlock's temple, they could never be close enough without inhabiting the same body. Sherlock's face pressed into the crook of his neck, breath coming in stuttering gasps, hands clutching alternately now at John's shoulder, at his waist, his arm. A raw, keening sound building in his throat, in his chest, his lips pressed firmly together as if to contain the onslaught.


"Oh fuck, oh my God..." John's whole body tingling, a cyclone gathering strength, swirling in toward the centre, hot and wild. A pulsating pressure, untamed, thrashing. And then unleashed, a torrent of sensation. Waves of pleasure, overlapping, exploding, spiraling outward, beyond the borders of his body. Reverberating with Sherlock's, echoing and crashing back over him. Sherlock's mouth on his, swallowing his hisses and choked-off cry, swallowing his very breath. Sherlock's body jerking in his arms, stiffening, his buttocks clenching, heat between them adding to heat, a strangled gasp.


And then the backwash. Strings cut, the dam breached, the reins released. Sherlock sagged on top of him, and John buried himself in Sherlock's damp curls, tasting salt on Sherlock's neck. Slung his leg over Sherlock's, clutched his shirt with shaky fingers, ensconcing and cradling him until he came back to himself, until he was ready to come back ashore. John's own mind was still afloat, comprehension distant, like a will-o-the-wisp teasing guidance. Alluring but somehow ephemeral. Had that really happened? He had to focus on this: on Sherlock. This was reality. His friend, in his arms. All six foot two of him with all his brilliance and quirks, all his insecurities and awkwardness, all of it John's. His. As he was Sherlock's. In this, as in everything.


Sherlock sighed eventually and disentangled himself, grimacing at the dual damp spots in their pants. "Well, that was cliché," he said, easing himself onto his hip next to John.


John's stomach dropped. It had been amazing for him, and he'd thought Sherlock was enjoying himself too. More than enjoying himself. But maybe John had been too wrapped up in himself. Or maybe Sherlock really was asexual, simply didn't get anything out of sex even if he was physically capable of arousal and orgasm.


"Oh," John said, shifting slightly away. "Yeah, I mean it was just the first time," he tried to argue. He didn't want to give up right away. There must be something Sherlock enjoyed. "We could try again sometime, maybe--"


Sherlock shot John a look of annoyance. "Not that, the sex was spectacular, obviously. I mean losing my virginity in my childhood bed, trying not to let my parents hear." He flipped onto his back and snapped his pyjama trousers down and off, then used them to wipe up the remnants of his release that was smeared on his belly.


"Oh." His virginity. No back alleys or bedroom windows. John laughed, relief flooding through him, mixed with a wave of deep affection. Sherlock turned his head to meet John's gaze, something shy and vulnerable there, but John knew better than to address it. Sherlock hadn't had to tell him. John would never have known. That was Sherlock's gift to him. John understood.


"I'm fairly certain they wouldn't be shocked, even if they did hear," John said. "And they wouldn't have thought that was the first time. I mean come on, Sherlock. What did they think we were going to get up to all night in the same bed?"


"Telling ghost stories, apparently." Sherlock looked like he was struggling to hold back a smile.


John laughed again, still running high on pleasure hormones. "I'll tell you a bloody ghost story," he said, leaning over to kiss Sherlock. He could do this now. And he meant to, as often as possible.


"It had better be better than the one you told last night," Sherlock said archly, but his lips were warm and welcoming.


"It will be much better," John said. "The best. I'll tell you one every night." He hoped Sherlock understood what he meant. Every night for the rest of their lives.


Sherlock's breath caught and he smiled against John's cheek. "Promise?"


"Yeah." He smiled back. That was a promise.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it and found it plausible.
opaljade
Dec. 15th, 2016 04:20 am (UTC)
Oh,my. This story was utterly beautiful. What a treat to read. I loved the cozy Christmas mood in Sherlock's parent's home; the games, the music, the fireplace, the mulled cider--just so vivid and warm. I also loved the bed sharing and the ghost stories. John's insights were touching, pulling on my heartstrings and making me smile fondly at the same time. Their first time was so nicely written as well. A great combination of intimate, sexy, and real.

What a wonderful, wonderful gift! <3 (I officially have a crush on this story, now).
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you, your comment is just as much of a treat for me. <3 I'm so happy you liked this little fluffy Christmas scenario. We will probably need it with what's coming up in series 4!
keladry_lupin
Dec. 15th, 2016 05:34 am (UTC)
This is going to be a favorite every Christmas. What a gorgeous story!
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind comment.
xfdryad
Dec. 15th, 2016 03:41 pm (UTC)
Aw, this is so sweet and lovely!
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you, so happy you liked it!
kinkajou
Dec. 15th, 2016 07:28 pm (UTC)
OMG, thank you for this amazing gift! So nice and sweet and beautiful! I love Sherlock's parents, both his dad and mom are great, and of course, patient, loving, amazing John, and Sherlock getting to lose his virginity in the most amazing way ever, and omtg they love each other so much, and Sherlock doesn't know the protocol for bed sharing *snort* *hugs him and ruffles his hair* and, and... Idek, i love everything! Such beautiful words! If anyone needs me, I will be here, making happy cooing noises at my laptop :) Thank you soo, sooo much!
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:35 pm (UTC)
*glomps* Thank you for your wonderful comment!
But now, full disclosure: This is not the story I intended to write for you. I got pressed for time and ended up putting in this rather fluffy scene to end it but actually I had a much more hurt/comforty story in mind about twice this length, which I will be posting over on AO3. So stay tuned. ;)
kinkajou
Dec. 21st, 2016 06:18 pm (UTC)
*high pitched dolphin noises* I am already AO3-stalking you, so I will now just have to check my inbox 4...5... or 17 times a day :D I love this version already *hugs amazing Jawn* and I love h/c, so I can't wait! Thank you for the awesome gift!
swissmarg
Dec. 31st, 2016 07:35 pm (UTC)
Hi, just wanted to let you know I've posted the full version over on AO3. Thank you for your patience!
http://archiveofourown.org/works/9135502
(Deleted comment)
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:36 pm (UTC)
Haha yes I am always up for a spot of bed-sharing myself. ;);)
Thank you so much, I'm very pleased it worked for you. ^_^
rachelindeed
Dec. 18th, 2016 09:18 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness, I really loved this. As others have said, there was a maturity and realism in the characters' interactions, both romantic and simply domestic. You handled Sherlock's parents so well, with Mrs. Holmes's not-for-children tutoring (she would be a TERROR in any classroom) and Mr. Holmes's quiet admission that they hadn't known how to make Sherlock happy. John's narrative voice rang very true throughout, such deep emotion combined with a genuine difficulty in looking at himself or his life reflectively. I loved the ghost story bed-sharing (!), and their choice to wait those last few hours before coming together so that they could look each other in the face and know how committed and certain they both were. I especially appreciated that you maintained much of their characteristic lack of direct communication throughout the fic, but gave them a real unspoken understanding. This was fantastic and immensely satisfying. Add me to the roster of readers who will be returning to this as a Christmas favorite! Thanks so much for sharing it.
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, it's great to hear what you liked about this. I love it when they don't talk to each other but get together anyway. Also bed-sharing. And when they are already in a romantic relationship but don't realize it. Ha ha basically I just wrote all of my favs into this. ;) As I mentioned above, this was not actually the fic I set out to write, and I will be posting the "director's cut" expanded version over on AO3. Soon!
(Deleted comment)
swissmarg
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:42 pm (UTC)
Aaahh, thank you! I'm happy this hit so many sweet spots for you. :)
blackdog_lz
Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:05 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely adorable and heartwarming.

Thank you so much for sharing this.
swissmarg
Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
I don't know if you saw but I have a longer version up here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/9135502
More angst, more hurt/comfort, more pirates, same smut. ;)
mistyzeo
Feb. 18th, 2017 05:16 am (UTC)
What a beautiful, lovely story! The tension is so delicious, and the release of it really tender and hot. I love that their love for each other wasn't in question, but accepting the risk of physicality was the barrier. Delightful.
swissmarg
Feb. 18th, 2017 06:25 am (UTC)
Thank you. Sometimes they just need a little nudge in the right direction. ;) Glad you enjoyed it!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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