“We don’t work here.” Sherlock objected as Lestrade handed him a small piece of paper and a pen.
“Write your name down.” Lestrade instructed.
“I’m not getting the freak!” Sally objected.
“Chances are only one in 4 you get Anderson.” Sherlock retorted.
Anderson’s eyes swept over the room, “There are five of us unless you aren’t counting your little pet.”
Sherlock glared, “You can’t pick yourself.” Sherlock turned to Lestrade. “You can’t honestly tell me he’s a help solving crimes.”
“He helps.” Sally cut in, defensively.
“Yes, I do!”
“If you are such a big help, Anderson, why do you need us?”
“We don’t need you.” Anderson retorted.
“You call us in all the time.”
“Not all the time.”
“Enough that Lestrade’s put us in for the team secret Santa.” John spoke up from the corner. He scrawled his name on a slip of paper and tossed it in the cup Lestrade had designated the grab bag.
Sally was too busy glaring to notice the cup being passed around. John pulled the slip from her hand and dropped it in with the others.
“All set then?” John smiled sweetly at her as she noticed the paper missing from her hand. He swirled the cup in his hand to shuffle the papers.
“No.” Sherlock muttered.
“What’s your problem?” Lestrade looked pointedly at the consultant.
“I object on general principle.”
“Principle noted, and ignored.” Lestrade took the cup from John and drew the first name.
Sherlock reached for the cup. “No, freak picks last.”
John reached into the cup and paused, “Avert your eyes.”
“I wasn’t looking at anything!” Anderson sounded a little guilty.
Sherlock chuckled. “He was talking to me.”
“Your lap dog has performance anxiety?”
“Secret Santa… the keyword? Secret.” Sherlock drew out the last word, bored.
“If he sees your reaction to the name you pull he’ll know who you picked,” Lestrade sighed. He sounded tired.
John drew a name, passed the cup to Sally and slid the paper in his pocket. “Rules?”
“No more than 20 quid. Nothing that needs feeding.” Lestrade’s gaze seemed to linger on Anderson.
“Everybody likes goldfish!” He pulled a name from the cup.
Sherlock spun around and held his hand out. Anderson dumped the last piece of paper into it. Sherlock half smiled, half grimaced.
John stifled a laugh.
“Who’d you get?” John asked as they left the station a few minutes later.
“You told me to avert my eyes… keeping secret Santa secret or some rubbish.” Sherlock stepped into the street and held his hand up for a taxi.
“Oh please, I didn’t have you blindfolded. You were turned towards a window… you could see everything in the reflection!”
Sherlock’s eyes twinkled as he opened the door to the cab. “Right.”
“So who’d you get?”
“I’m not telling. Who did you get?”
“Like you don’t know.”
Sally stood outside the shop where they agreed to meet and stared at her watch. Anderson was late. She would only give him another five minutes. The night before she’d waited at the restaurant for an hour before he sent her a text saying his wife skipped her book club. She wasn’t giving him any more of her time!
Seventeen minutes after Anderson’s time passed Sally walked into the store alone. She was walking towards menswear when she spotted a familiar figure looking at a display of crap the store bought too much of and was trying to pass off as really good gifts. “What are you doing here?”
“Eating a grilled cheese sandwich,” John answered flippantly.
“Living with him has made you a sarcastic little prick.”
“I was born sarcastic.. and little… “ John smirked.
“You’re still little.”
“Not where it counts.”
Sally shook her head, “Bought your secret santa gift, yet?”
John shook his head, “you?”
“Why I’m here,” she answered. “Picking it out now.”
“I’d like blue.”
“The jumper you’re getting me? I’d like blue.”
“Who says I’m getting you a jumper?”
“I get a surprisingly large number of jumpers.”
“Who says I’m getting anything for you?”
John looked at her through raised eyebrows.
“I’ve been to your flat.”
“I’ve been in the refrigerator.”
“He might be a little unusual.”
“little?” She looked just below John’s belt suggestively.
“I wouldn’t know.”
“Bet you would.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Sally redden.
“Bet you would.”
She sighed, “He’s hung like a stallion.”
“Yeah, really is.”
“Guess that explains it.”
“Why you waste your time there.”
Sally shook her head, “not anymore.”
“So I guess you wouldn’t know what to get him for secret Santa.”
Sally picked up something from the table of useless rubbish, dropped it, and handed it to John with a grin. “Coffee?”
“Sure there’s a place across the street, they’ve got these toffee treats. They aren’t quite as good as…”
“Done” John announced when he arrived home from the shops. “Picked out the perfect gift.”
Sherlock eyed him for a moment, “I couldn’t possibly fathom what the perfect gift would be for Anderson.”
“Well, yeah… I suppose I could… but I don’t like him much. So why would I want him to get the perfect gift?”
“Sally’s gone off him.”
“Yeah?” Sherlock smiled. “Well, that’s one thing she did right.”
Lestrade looked at his phone for a long time. He couldn’t make heads or tails out of the message. Deerstalker cap?
No number displayed with the text. He tried texting back. He got an error message.
“Lestrade?” John asked as Sherlock paced in front of their front room window.
“Secrecy is the whole point of the game, John.”
“You told me who had me!”
“Do you know what to get him?”
“I think I’ll eat today.” John suspected Sherlock was just changing the subject. But John couldn’t remember seeing Sherlock eat anything since Tuesday, so it worked.
Lestrade’s phone rang. No number displayed. Nothing displayed. He ignored it.
Answer the phone. A message appeared on the screen.
Who is this? He typed back.
He got an error message. He nearly chucked the thing in a bin.
The phone rang again. “WHAT!?!” Lestrade demanded.
“Deerstalker cap.” A voice said without any preamble.
“For Sherlock, a deerstalker cap.”
“Who is this?” Lestrade demanded. The line was dead.
Lestrade called the station to get a trace on the phone. They’d never gotten a solid lead on that Moriarity character. If this was it, it would be a Happy Christmas.
The search came up empty.
Can I help you with something, sir?” A shop clerk asked Lestrade as he browsed through a rack of scarves.
“Wrap this up?” He pulled his selection and handed it to the clerk.
“We’re running a promotion with these today.” She explained as she reached the front of the store. “Would you like it wrapped with the free gift or would you like it separate?”
“What’s the free gift?”
She handed him a deerstalker cap. Coincidence? He couldn’t remember the last time he saw one of these, and in London? “Is this some kind of joke?”
“We run promos like this all the time at Christmas, all the time year round, really.” They did, Lestrade knew. But still he was on edge. It was all too convenient.
“I don’t want it.”
“I don’t want it.”
“You don’t want it with the scarf?”
“I don’t want it at all.”
“I still don’t want it.”
“I’ll need to ask my manager.” Lestrade nearly walked out of the store. But it was a really smart scarf.
John, Sherlock, Sally and Lestrade stood around in his office everybody but Sherlock held a brightly colored gift bag.
“Where is Anderson?” Lestrade looked at Sally.
“How would I know?” She looked down at her shoes and back up at Lestrade.
“I don’t know!” She insisted, looking him in the eye.
Sherlock plopped down in a chair across from Lestrade’s chair. John followed suit.
Lestrade dialed Anderson’s cell. A second later he heard it ringing as Anderson rushed into the office. “You’re late.”
“Sorry, sorry, sorry.” He moved to stand near Sally. She moved away.
“Gifts?” John asked breaking the awkward silence that had discended since Anderson’s arrival.
Anderson moved towards Sally. She moved away. He held a gift bag out to her.
She took it reluctantly and looked inside, “Earrings?” She asked pulling out the box.
“They’ll probably turn your ears green.” Sherlock cautioned.
“No, they’re nice, really nice. More than 20 quid nice.”
“I’m sorry, “ he whispered.
She searched his eyes and looked back at the earrings. “Yeah, alright.”
“Oh shut up.” She threw a gift bag at him.
He caught it, gave it a little shake, “A blue jumper?”
“Open it.” She smirked.
He looked inside the bag. It wasn’t a blue jumper, it wasn’t a jumper at all. “You have too many jumpers.”
John pulled out a package of toffee covered pretzels. “How’d you know I liked these?”
“Born sarcastic, huh?”
John smirked. “Yeah.”
John opened the bag, grabbed a pretzel and then passed it around. “These are…” John looked at Sally, astonished. “Jellison’s? But how? It closed down years ago. “
“You went on and on about those things. Thought they might be worth tracking down. Their son owns a shop in Bristol. The address is in the bag.”
“How?” John repeated, still astonished.
“I’m with Scotland yard. You think I can’t do a little detective work?”
“Anderson can’t.” Sherlock quipped.
“Hey!” Anderson objected.
“Thank you.” John squeezed Sally’s arm, “really, thank you.”
She nodded, “Also got you a book on fishing.”
John rolled his eyes.
“Seems like we got each other.” Lestrade said to Sherlock.
Sherlock nodded, “You first.”
Lestrade handed over the bag.
Sherlock pulled out a professionally wrapped box and set it on Lestrade’s desk. He made a big show of pulling off the lid and revealing a deerstalker cap.
Lestrade gasped, “Moriarty. He… I’ve been getting these odd texts insisting you get a deerstalker cap and then at the store… he must’ve… But what does it mean? Is he starting up again.”
“Mycroft.” Sherlock sighed, exasperated.
“Mycroft?” Lestrade questioned.
“There’s two of you?” Sally groaned.
“There are not two of me. There is one of him and one of me.” Sherlock shot her a look.
Sherlock nodded, “Yeah. “
“The texts, his phone call… it was untraceable. “
Sherlock shrugged, “Yeah.”
“Why do you want a deerstalker cap?”
“I don’t want the cap.”
“Your brother was clearly insistent.”
“He gets that way.”
“You’ll have to ask him.”
Sherlock pulled a red envelope from his breast pocket and handed it to Lestrade.
“What’s this then?” Lestrade asked, but he was already tearing it open and pulling out the card.
Sherlock stood, grabbed the scarf, and left the cap. “Happy Christmas.” He motioned for John to follow.
John gathered up his stuff, handed the last remaining gift bag to Anderson, mouthed another thank you to Sally, and followed Sherlock out the door.
“Sherlock?” John asked when they reached the street, “what was on the card?”
“Mycroft’s phone number.”
“You gave Lestrade your brother for Christmas?”
“You think they’ll get on?”
Mycroft has a thing for silver hair.” Sherlock Shrugged, “And Lestrade likes a good mystery.”