Chapter 1: All I Want For Christmas (Is You)
"We are going to be so late, " John groans, fumbling with the ends of his tie as they refuse to cooperate, and scowling at his reflection in the mirror.
Sherlock shoots him a condescending glance, turning John to face him with a sigh and impatient hands. "Relax, John," he chides, taking the tie for himself and straightening it with practiced ease. "It's not as if we're missing anything of terrible importance."
John glowers up at him. "You were invited, Sherlock. It's a nice gesture. You'd do well to answer it."
Scoffing, Sherlock steps back and passes a critical eye over his handiwork. He seems to deem it acceptable and turns his gaze back up to meet John's. "Hmm? Oh, yes. Watching the Yard's finest dissolve into an even more chaotic state of inebriation and general stupidity. Receiving gifts for which I'll never have a use. Eating. Eating fruitcake, nonetheless. Why ever would I want to miss such a thing?"
"Well, you will get to see them makes fools out of themselves. And no one will give you anything anyway, so you don't have to worry about that. And." John stops, furrows his brow. "Do people still actually eat fruitcake?"
The corners of Sherlock's lips quirk upwards. "I don't know," he admits, spinning on his heels and making for the door. John follows, head cocked to one side.
"Did you just say -"
"Oh, John, we really are going to be late," Sherlock interrupts, swinging his coat around so that it settles across his shoulders. He throws his scarf carelessly around his neck, and before John can say anything more, is waltzing down the stairs with an exclamation to "hurry up!" left hanging in the air behind him.
John purses his lips, shakes his head, and heaves a sigh as he tramps down after the madman he's come to call flatmate, and, what's stranger, friend.
"Why are we here?" John whispers half an hour later, as they're standing removed from the loud, frantic mass of bodies milling about the large room. It's festively adorned; the great chandelier in the center is crowned by softly glowing candles, and strings of light hang from it and swoop across the ceiling like a spider's web, while conifers spiral upwards from the ground in all their red-baubled glory. John, however, sees none of it. He tugs nervously at the ends of his sleeves, fiddling with the cuff links and casting his gaze around the room. "I don't think I know more than five people here."
"And those are the ones you wish you didn't know," Sherlock murmurs pointedly. Remarkably cool and collected, he sips from a wine glass, and gestures towards where Anderson and Sally are dancing on the floor, if you could call it that. His nose wrinkles in disgust.
John tsks. "Behave. All I meant was that it's not as if we're - well, not me, at least - important to the force," he says, shifting and stuff his hands in his pockets. "I'm not part of the team. I wasn't even officially invited," he laughs, somewhat self-deprecatingly, and his gaze falls to the ground.
Sherlock's eyes pass over him, swift but calculating in their intensity. "You're indispensable to my work, John," he says, a touch more softly than he'd intended. "Indispensable to me. They realize that."
"Do they?" John's eyes are suddenly fast on his own, and for some reason, it quickens the steady pulse in his throat. His feet edge fractionally closer, and just like that, they might as well be alone in the room.
His form looms over John, and he can see where his breath ruffles the downy hair at his temples, and feel the heat of the edges where their skin is just millimeters - so close, so far away - apart. "Do you want them to?" he rasps.
He can see John's throat working, all the sinews under that tanned, rough skin shifting as he swallows, but he doesn't wait for the words. His nose brushes down the side of John's face, slotting alongside his own, and he feels the velvet flutter of eyelashes against his cheek. John's breath hitches, and Sherlock breaches the final distance, meeting his soft lips with a contented sigh.
He hazily recalls the curl of fingers in his hair, slinking along the nape of his neck and raising goosebumps along the skin. Is much more focused on the warmth of the mouth beneath his own, and how easy it is to sink into each gentle press, and greedily take every exhale for his own. John doesn't mind; takes back his own in the unexpected slide of a tongue alongside Sherlock's, and the last, gentle kisses he leaves at the corner of Sherlock's parted lips, and on his cheeks and eyelids and a final one on the tip of his nose.
Pulling back, he notes the flush on Sherlock's cheeks with a distant sort of pleasure, still too caught up in the taste of Sherlock on his tongue to really register anything beyond their foggy embrace. He wonders if it will ever get old, and though they're still new in this, he thinks it safe to say that it won't. Not ever.
"Well, they know now." They hadn't ever made plans for telling anyone of the significant... progress, of their relationship, but this seems like as good a time as any. Liberated by the kiss, John feels much more at ease when he slides his arm around Sherlock's waist and presses them together, as they survey the party side by side. A few sideways glances sent in their direction let them know that the recent episode didn't go entirely unnoticed, but for the most part, the atmosphere of the room is entirely unchanged.
"Hmm. Expected more of an uproar. That's -" John turns his head up to Sherlock's, but narrows his eyes at the altogether too casual way in which he takes another sip from his glass. He chokes a little under the scrutiny, risks a glance at John before his silver eyes dart in the opposite direction again. " - odd," he finishes slowly. "Sherlock -" he begins, tone warning.
"They may have already insinuated that you were my...date, for the evening."
"They, or you?"
"I simply went along with it," he shrugs, but grins nonetheless at John's crestfallen face. "Oh, come now -"
"I - I think I would have liked a more proper announcement, is all," he offers as a joking explanation, but remains snugly at Sherlock's side, and he doubts it really does matter at all.
Should have known better than to say anything like that in Sherlock's presence, though, because it is not ten seconds later when Sherlock leans into him and whispers, "You want an announcement? I'll give you an announcement." The words, full of determination, should not be that frightening, but they are.
And rightfully so, because before he can protest, John is watching in abject horror as a gleeful Sherlock mounts the stage. The brass band looks mildly bewildered as the strange, hyper man orders them to stop playing whatever inane carol they were on about and takes the microphone for himself.
"Karaoke!" someone shouts from the crowd, and the look Sherlock shoots in that direction has killed before.
"No one wants to hear you yodel in that off-key terror they call your vocal chords," Sherlock sniffs, and John already has his head in his hands. "Rather, I wanted to make an announcement. This party was not as terrible as I originally imagined, and you all are considerably more pleasant to be around when alarmingly green punch is involved. However, I've found that you're all just as stupid at this time of year as in any other, so I'd like to make it very clear that yes, John and I are fucking. It's been a fantastic holiday, and I hope - but doubt - that you all can experience the same joy. Merry Christmas, and various other formalities that are proper to the season." And with a wave of his hand, he is off the stage and sauntering back easily to John.
"I really, actually didn't mean that," John whispers through fingers covering his mortified face.
Sherlock's brow furrows. "Then what did you actually mean?"
"I don't know, I -. Oh, god. I've offended you," he sighs, catching sight of the frown on Sherlock's face through his hands.
Sherlock shifts uncertainly. "I thought that's what you wanted."
Rolling his eyes, John releases his head and instead cinches his arms around the taller man's waist. "All I want is you, you miserable sod; to hell with them or the way they find out." Sherlock's confused eyes abruptly soften at the edges, and then he's kissing him again and the last of John's embarrassment drains out through his toes. But oh, they will definitely have a chat about this tomorrow. Unless he can drink enough of the holiday punch to forget it all completely. And convince everyone in the room to do so as well, including -
He stops. Pulls back, and his tongue tastes along his lips. "Sherlock," he says slowly, "how much of the punch have you had?"
"It is surprisingly good," he admits. "Is it alcoholic? I usually don't drink."
John works to hide his smile. "I sort of guessed. C'mon, let's get you home."
At home, when John is proving just exactly the extent of how much he wants him, Sherlock receives a text.
WEHRE RE YOOU? YOU''RE MISDING THE PARTY ADN THHE FEE BOOOZE!1! - LESTRADE
Sherlock, too preoccupied to read it, let alone answer it, doesn't tell him that he had very much enjoyed the free booze. Enough to prove his point anyway, and get rid of all John's silly little notions about what anyone else thought or expected.
Oh, yes, he's very much enjoying the product of that party. Must send Lestrade a thank you. Not anything resembling alcohol, though. Lestrade's normal texting habits were terrifying enough as it was.
And they hadn't even gotten through the New Years' party yet.
(Though he wasn't lying when he said that the punch was surprisingly good. It's just that some things, like the feel of warm hands in his and a smile pressed against his own upturned lips, were better.)
Chapter 2: We Three Kings
Featuring Hamish Watson-Holmes, the adorable creation of valeria2067 on tumblr (there's a whole blog featuring stories that have blossomed from this one idea, and I highly recommend checking it out - the fic writers on tumblr never cease to amaze me with their talent).
The people in the auditorium were buzzing in anticipation, chatting in high voices to one another and casting anxious looks at the curtains. They remained closed.
Sherlock, however, was looking bored. John, like most of the parents in the hall, was bouncing his knee anxiously, but stopped when he noted the glare sent in his direction. "What?"
"It's a school play, John. Hardly West End material."
John leaned back in his chair, stretching his arms out in front of him and shaking his head. "Yeah, but you should have seen him. He asked if we could visit Mycroft. Mycroft. I think he's more than a little nervous."
Sherlock's eyes wandered toward the red drapes that fell across the stage, before darting back to John. "Then why are you nervous?"
John shifted in his seat. "Well, he's our kid. I want the best for him. Don't you?" He raised a challenging eyebrow in Sherlock's direction, and looking mildly disgruntled, the man in question opened his mouth to speak - just as the lights of the theatre dimmed, and every thread of whispering abruptly ground to a halt. "It's starting," John breathed, as if it weren't obvious, and settled back against the seat. Sherlock followed his lead, and though a child with cardboard wings and a plastic halo was speaking, he couldn't bring himself to pay attention.
It'd been an odd move from the beginning on their part. And he'd never wanted children as it was. But he'd gone along with John to the agency, a sober Harry had agreed to surrogate, and abruptly a child was very much a part of his life. And, more strangely, not an unwanted part, either.
But even years later - six of them - it was so new; this feeling of being so desperately caught up in someone's life. It wasn't the same as it was with John's. It was a ferocity, an all-consuming desire for the prosperity of a life that wasn't even yours. Biology told him a selfish desire to keep his legacy; John told him something different, and what's more, showed him what it was. In the soft kisses he pressed in Hamish's dark curls before bed, in the carefully packed lunches and the gentle press of small, grubby fingers in his own. In his eyes, that deep, warm, Watson blue.
"Yes. Of course. Sometimes it just takes me longer to realize it," he whispered, halfway through a very impressively costumed Menorah's speech. John's look of brief confusion quickly changed, softening around the edges. A hand crept over his thighs worked its way into his own, their fingers slotted warmly together.
"I'm not saying," John added in between scene changes, as kids in black tottered around to create a stable and a night sky with its brilliant star, "that you have to feel nervous, too. I know you care, I'm sorry if you thought I didn't, because I also know we show it in different ways. And that's just fine."
Oddly reassured, he was able to watch with full attention as the children began the Christmas story. Well, more attention than he'd usually pay, until he saw his son move proudly from the wings. He leaned forward on his knees, eyes not leaving the boy's small form in its robes and crown. The two other boys beside him were the first to lay their gifts - more cardboard - at the foot of a hastily constructed manger. Hamish followed, his too large crown tipping forward over his eyes and eliciting a chuckle from the audience. He gave a wide, nervous grin, then shuffled out to meet his compatriots at the front of the stage.
They delivered their lines - some business about the gifts, though according to Judeo-Christian tradition the gifts hadn't even been brought to the stable, thus making this whole scene irrelevant (though he wouldn't say it) - and all the while, Hamish's eyes roved the theater, anxious and tense as he fumbled over his words.
Then he caught sight of Sherlock. Sherlock, wordlessly, raised a single hand.
Hamish gave a shy wave back, before realizing he wasn't supposed to, and quickly finished his lines with great ease, confidence at being on stage thrilling almost visibly from every pore.
The hand Sherlock didn't have in the air was being squeezed tightly, and only released when the curtains were drawn and the audience burst into proud applause.
They went to collect Hamish from the side, other parents and their children making it difficult to get backstage. John apologized as Sherlock forged ahead and left a swarm of disgruntled families in his path, but moved after him with fond shakes of his head nonetheless. And then abruptly, Sherlock's knees were attacked by a small, whirling form with a golden, plastic crown perched amongst his shaggy curls.
"Didn't I do the bestest? Wasn't I great?" he said in his high-pitched voice, practically vibrating with an excitement only exhibited in his father at crime scenes.
"Best," John corrects from behind him. "And yes, yes you were. Wasn't he, Sherlock?"
Sherlock doesn't mention the inaccuracies of the play. He doesn't question the nature of the holiday-themed material. He doesn't point out that Hamish had one line, in one scene, and that he mispronounced, "frankincense."
Because none of it matters. Hamish would have been the best, whether he'd been playing a sheep or a king, simply because he belonged to them. Not even the menorah girl could hold a candle to him. Biased? Yes. Wonderfully so. It was so unexpectedly thrilling to have something to be biased about.
He leaned down, and crushed Hamish's tiny shoulders to himself. "I am so proud of you," he whispered around an alarming build-up in his throat, inhaling all the scents that were part of him and part of John and all their son.
Tiny lips made a loud smack against his forehead. "Mwuah! I love you, too, Father. Can we go get ice cream?"
Sherlock furrows his brow. "Hot chocolate instead?"
Hamish, training as he was in negotiation, nodded after a moment's deliberation, tiny lip stuck out, and straightened, taking one of John and Sherlock's hands in each of his own. "Fine. But marshmallows."
John laughed. "Anything for the star."
"But daddy, I wasn't the star! I'm a wise man!"
"One day, perhaps," Sherlock murmured, and he and John shared a look and a smile over their son's tiny, bobbing head as they threaded their way out into a cold that could not reach the warmth in their bones, or touch the places where all their fingers met.
Chapter 3: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Mrs. Hudson appreciation chapter! Don't write enough for her, so this was fun :D
Also: I have no idea whether or not watching It's a Wonderful Life is the sort of tradition in the UK that it is over here in the USA. I'm banking on suspension of disbelief or some back story that you can completely feel free to make up as to why Mrs. H watches it on Christmas.
Mrs. Hudson liked a quiet Christmas in.
Her husband had always been off on adventures in the big, wide world. Various plans and schemes usually had them on a train somewhere when the clock struck midnight every 25th of December, or sleeping in hotel beds far from home when she'd really have liked nothing more than to sit on the sofa and watch Christmas specials on the telly - then a relatively new device - and bake cookies in the warm stove.
Now was her chance, though, and every Christmas she followed it resolutely. She'd wake up and call on Mrs. Turner with a fresh batch of her Swedish thumbprints (they really were, if she said so herself, her best goodies) and get some lovely gingerbread in return. They'd chat about each of their tenants for a bit before she went to see said tenants with the gingerbread, who usually gave her glazed sugar cookies or something of the sort, if John had been mindful of the calendar - really such a sweetheart, doing all the baking and dashing after Sherlock all the time - and they usually gave her little trinkets as well, the dears.
Then she'd come home and play carols from her casettes and watch the Christmas classics, sitting alone and content in her little flat until it was dark and she went up to bed, maybe to read a little Dickens before falling asleep.
Every year, just the same.
She liked it.
Mostly. For the first few years. Most of the years, really. Just... sometimes it was... no, she was being silly, it was always lovely and fine, being alone on Christmas.
But there came the holiday when a knock at her door roused her from the middle of It's a Wonderful Life. Leaving Jimmy and Donna paused at the telephone, she shuffled to the door and peeked out to see her tenants grinning back at her.
"Oh, hello, boys. Something wrong with the flat? I do hope nothing's getting in the way of your Christmas," she said worriedly, opening the door further.
"Ah, no, nothing the matter," John said, flashing her a smile. "We actually wanted to, um, give you a little something."
"Oh, you dears," she laughed, stepping aside and allowing them to enter. "Your little ornaments were lovely, and the snow globe will fit right in with my decorations. You really do have good taste," she said appreciatively. They really were such nice boys, good partners, and she was never bored with them around.
But John was still shaking his head, and Sherlock was stepping forward with a box. "Here," he said, somewhat awkwardly, but the look in his eyes was fond as he proffered the gift-wrapped package.
She accepted it gingerly and set to the wrappings, still murmuring about their generosity and how they really didn't need to when... oh.
Her two renters were giving her twin smiles as she let the package fall to the floor, the board game Ludo left in her shaking hands.
"Sherlock saw your old one in the rubbish bin; said you always talked about how you played it as a kid..."
"...and John spotted the game in the store and couldn't rid himself of the idea that you needed it."
"But," John continued, stepping forward and gripping the box with her, staring into her face with kind blue eyes, "it is two to four players, says so on the tin; and so we were hoping you'd maybe let us play a bit. With you, I mean."
A sound somewhere between a sob and a high gust of laughter escaped her throat, and she nodded happily with unexpected tears in her eyes, embracing each of them tightly. Handing the box off, she hurried into the kitchen to make a cookie tray, stopping along the way in the living room. Resolutely, she pressed the off button on the telly, and allowed a large, very Christmasy grin to overtake her face before rushing back to join her boys.
Yes, being alone on Christmas was alright. Sometimes, she needed it. Just to be home.
But she was a landlady, which meant her home was meant to be shared.
Chapter 4: Blue Christmas
A little Wholock for you to finish off the drabbles. I'm hoping to write more for this crossover in the future, so stay tuned, I suppose :3 And I don't know, you guys, it's Eleven both times. I just really didn't want to have to work in regeneration. And he can travel through space and time, after all.
Sherlock Holmes, at nine years old, is sitting on the hillside, frost seeping through his trousers as he stares up at the night sky. It blazes above him, blacks and blues all swirling together and studded with stars, cascading over the countryside like a soft blanket thrown across the rough grasses who shiver beneath it.
Mostly, he hates the country - not enough to see or to do, so dreadfully, terribly boring. But out here, at night, he can feel the cold seeping into his limbs and the dark encroaching, ever closer, and he senses the danger just beyond their country house; can see it as clearly as the warm puffs of air that come just slightly faster in front of his face.
He hugs his knees to his chest, and continues to look up at the sky while his mind drifts. He wonders if he might freeze to death out here. Wonders if anyone has before. Wonders if, were he to stand up and spin in a circle, he would get lost and spend his life wandering rather than wondering.
But maybe they're one and the same, sometimes. Both just as cold. As lonely.
His eyes rake over the sky, trailing through the constellations. Orion sits in the east, studded belt blinking brightly through the clear air. Pegasus in the west - though it still didn't look like a horse at all. Ridiculous. And up... he frowns, blinks once. Right by Cassiopeia, just there - a glowing, blue thing, growing steadily larger...
He leaps to his feet, but doesn't run or panic. Watches the crazy descent of the machine. A police box, yes, he can see it now. But a flying police box... now, those weren't in Da's big history book. Not at all.
Small, dark eyebrows squash across his silver eyes as the box careens toward him, and he wonders if he ought to step out of the way. The puffs of breath in front of him are huge and fast, now, but still he doesn't move, even as the blue box moves to engulf his vision.
He feels the air of it ruffle his hair as it swoops down over head, barely missing his small frame. Suddenly, his pulse is loud in his ears, as the box touches down and rocks dizzily before coming to a stiff and silent halt.
It's not even second thought - he is rushing down to it, peering through the smoke and raising a tiny fist to knock on the door.
"Hello? Is the driver of this box still alive, or did he," he considers a moment, "or she, manage to kill himself? Or herself?" Not unlikely. With that kind of driving it was impossible to imagine how it had stayed up as long as it had, going by the wear at its sides.
He's just contemplating walking in to see for himself - he had asked first; bugger off anyone, alien or otherwise, who thought that wasn't polite enough -when the door opens, and a man stumbles out amidst a cloud of smoke, waving his hand absentmindedly in front of his face. He gives a weak cough. "Driver? Nobody drives it; she drives herself. Though wouldn't that be fun?" A big smile is turned in his direction. Sherlock stares suspiciously back.
"Then who are you? You look human, but..."
"...well, you have just flown a police box into my pasture. And since nobody actually uses police boxes anymore, I'd have to say you're from the past. Or you've been there. Maybe the future, too, since that's not a normal police box inside," he adds, peering hastily inside before the strange man can slam the doors. "And your eyes."
The man is staring at him curiously, a lop-sided smile perched awkwardly on his odd face. "What about them?"
"They're very, very... old."
"Well you are clever, aren't you, Mr...?"
"Sherlock Holmes. But just call me Sherlock."
"Alright then, Mr. Sherlock, well you are clever. Children, always so clever, yet no one listens - when really, if you lot listened to children half the time half your problems wouldn't exist all the time." The man squats down to his level, peering very closely into his face with those ancient eyes. He fidgets under such an expansive gaze. "But you are cleverer than most, aren't you?" he breathes. "Clevererer. Er. Almost as clever as me, but then, you are only human."
Sherlock's as clever as a lot of people, and more clever than most, but even he doubts he is as clever as this man. There's just something about him... "So who are you, then?" he chooses to ask instead, phrasing it carefully.
The man, who is traipsing around his box and patting it in various places, looks up from around his arm, twisting back to look at Sherlock. "I'm the Doctor."
His eyes narrow suspiciously. "But Doctor who?"
"Right, well, it seems just a typical engine misfire of the calibrate-y things. Should be right back up. I'm due in the Omegalad court in about eighteen years. Well, eighteen years ago, depending on which way you point it," he says, hands twisting in example. Despite himself, Sherlock cracks a smile. "And they owe me a very nice hat."
He starts walking around the box, then whirls to face Sherlock, and it's a miracle he doesn't trip over his own feet. "I don't think that was a typical engine misfire at all, though," he muses softly, coming over to where the boy is standing small against the overwhelming darkness of the field. "Nothing typical about anything, though that would be the point. No coincidences."
"What's not a coincidence?" Sherlock asks, annoyance tinging his tone as he struggles to keep up with the wild threads this man - the Doctor - follows. This usually isn't a problem. He can't decide whether he hates it or thinks it's... fine.
"Me meeting you." That broad grin takes to his face again, and he offers a hand to the boy, which, after a moment's deliberation, he takes gingerly in his own. It is warm against his palm, almost as warm as those ageless eyes when he looks back up into them. "And I think we'll meet again."
He's just moving to turn away, when Sherlock feels the words push past his throat. "What if I just came with you now?"
The Doctor stops, and looks to be considering it. "How old are you, Sherlock?"
"N- old enough to be going on adventures with you," he asserts brashly, stepping forwards.
"Oh, yes, definitely old enough. Old and young, just like me." The sad smile now lingers on his face. "But there's still some things left for you here on earth, I think, and that could be the biggest adventure of all. I'll be back for you, Sherlock Holmes!" he shouts, and with a gleeful wave he steps into the blue police box.
Uncertain of anything after the encounter, he can only watch as the big blue box exits with none of the bravado of its entrance, just making a curious noise as it slowly, deftly vanishes. The blackness of the sky seems darker somehow in its absence, the quiet more complete. He shivers once.
Instead of maybe getting lost or running away or any of the things that might have been in his head before the Doctor, he squares his shoulders and makes for the cottage.
He doesn't for certain believe it until the next morning - had to gather all the evidence; it was very likely to be just a dream - when he sees the grass stains on his wet and muddied trousers. But from then on, Sherlock waited for his Doctor.
"Is this gonna be the year, then?" John asks, as they lie in the field, side-by-side. John, with his feet by Sherlock's head, peers down at him.
Ever since Sherlock had told him about the Doctor, he'd believed it without question. It'd been a long time with Sherlock Holmes, but after that time you could tell when he really believed something. He'd seen the light behind his eyes when he knew the killer; had watched that brilliant brain spin out through effusive gestures and large grins when he unraveled the puzzles of London's criminal classes. And he'd seen enough to know, if trust hadn't been enough (which, of course, it always was), that this was just one of those times when Sherlock was right and that was that.
And so also ever since, they'd made the trek out to the field and waited on Christmas night. A couple of crazy, alien-hunting men, but John had a thing for madmen as it was.
Sherlock smiles at the thought, and again when John shuffles closer, wincing against the hard ground. "Perhaps," he says slowly, expression carefully schooled into nonchalance.
John huffs. "Better be. I'm getting too old for this."
Abruptly, a noise cuts through the end of John's sentence. They both sit up, and Sherlock can feel his heart in his throat. John reaches out a hand, catches it on Sherlock's chest to feel thewhump whump whump under his fingers. He gives a shaky inhale, and they both turn to see a blue police box slowly coming into view, materializing as if from nothing.
John pulls a dazed Sherlock to stand, not letting go of his hand as the box becomes more and more solid, and finally, as the noise stops and it is before them in all the glory Sherlock had so often described.
A moment later, and the door is creaking open. "No, never too old, always just old enough," someone is saying, and moments later it is revealed to be none other than the Doctor. His old grin is still the same as he fixes it on Sherlock. "Hello, Sherlock."
Sherlock swallows, almost at a loss. "Hello, Doctor."
The alien's gaze darts down to where John and Sherlock's hands are desperately entwined at their sides, gliding easily over John's surprised but surprisingly calm face and returning to Sherlock. "Had that earth adventure?" he asks gently, nodding towards their fingers.
Sherlock can feel their rings slide alongside one another as John gives his clammy hand a tender squeeze. "Yes," he manages, and he cannot figure out why his voice sounds so wet.
"How about a non-earthy one, then? Some nice things, and bits, and whatchamacallitsand thingamabobs up in the big blue... big blue box, big blue sky," he asks, sounding as if he's puzzling out the meaning for himself. A winning, eager smile is tossed in their direction, and it's one they can't help to answer.
Sherlock turns to John and finds his gaze, and discovers in that blue all the adventure he could ever have asked for. But knowing there is more out there; more yet to be seen and touched and understood...
"Yes," John answers for the both of them, eyes eventually turning back to the Doctor. "Yes, we're ready. I'm John, by the way," he says, stepping forward and reaching out his other hand.
The Doctor stares at it before patting it awkwardly with both of his own. "Yes, hello, that's quite - nice, boring name," he decides on, before nearly falling over himself with glee as he beckons them into the box. "Well, come on then, we don't have all night!" He pops his head back around the frame, looks at them both. "Well, actually, we do. We actually have really quite a lot of time."
He disappears again, and, with a last, shared smile and clench of their hands, they follow him together.