"John," Sherlock's deep voice was barely audible over the rain hammering on the windows, "when were you going to tell me that you're going home for Christmas?"
John sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face.
"Honestly? I wasn't planning on mentioning it at all, I was hoping to avoid it entirely this year."
"John, I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I want to meet your parents. Vile, homophobic father and all."
"And uncle?" John said apprehensively, although he knew uncle Francis would probably steer well clear.
"I think I can knock him down a peg or two."
A week later John and Sherlock were watching the incessant english drizzle pour down the windows of a cab as they rolled slowly intp John's home town.
Sherlock grew more bored by the tedious environment John had grown up in as they drove down the high street. They passed dull shops, grey and closed, showing no signs of life gone by, a small church, and a doctor's surgery.
"My dad worked there," John murmured as they passed it, with no real sense of nostalgia, and as Sherlock turned to look at the shorter man, he turned away sadly.
"John, do you want to leave?"
"Yes," John said, "but I can't. This is a vile place, not a single decent memory in it, but I can't. Not now mum knows we're on our way, she's dying to meet you, love, even if dad isn't."
Sherlock nodded, and took John's hand softly.
"I'll handle your dad, John, don't worry about it."
Sherlock took the bags and paid the cab driver while John summoned up the courage to ring the doorbell.
"It'll be fine." Sherlock had said quietly, just as John's mum reached the door.
The ensuing greetings and introductions were done on auto-pilot, Sherlock because he didn't want to upset John, and John because of the ever-present fear that his father would come clattering down the stairs.
"John, love, do take Sherlock into the kitchen, Harry and I were making lunch." John's mum (Greta, Sherlock reminded himself) said, and he soon found himself being pulled gently along.
Harry was standing at the stove, stabbing viciously at a lump of frozen meat and scowling.
"Hey Johnny-boy," she sang as he dragged Sherlock in, "long time no see."
"Hey Harry," John said stiffly, "Sherlock, this is my sister, Harry, Sherlock."
"Ah so you're him then?"
"I suppose so," Sherlock said, "I am him."
"Well it's great to finally meet you at last old sport." Harry chuckled quietly as she turned back to the meat.
A moment later, a short and stout man, with slight remnants of blond hair and a red face stumbled into the room.
"Greta, Greta where's pork p-- and who the fuck are you?" he slurred upon seeing no sign of his wife, but a tall, dark stranger instead.
"Hello Mr Watson, the name's Sherlock Holmes, we haven't had the pleasure." Sherlock said politely as the man turned on him.
"Yes you little shit I knew that, I meant what the hell are you doing in my home? I don't like poofs, but they're my kids, so I deal with it. But you," the man wagged a finger at Sherlock, "you I can do something about."
"I can assure Mr Watson, that won't be necessary."
"No dad, no it won't," John and Sherlock both turned to look at Harry, who was no longer attacking the meat, and was instead looking fiercely at her father, "because you're sadly outnumbered here father dearest. Four to one and I'm afraid you either suck it up, or leave."
Mr Watson went through varying shades of red and purple before settling on a vibrant magenta, and storming out of the kitchen.
"Johnny, you couldn't help me with this?" Harry said easily, as though the last few minutes were a mere dream.
"I…yeah no sure." John had said.
And that had been that. John's dad hadn't shown up at lunch, nor dinner and though he made a brief appearance on Christmas morning, he made himself very scarce. No one missed him very badly although it must be said that years of medical work had left him very skilled at slicing up bodies, so his turkey carving skills were unavailable, but they made do. John had been able to laugh and joke with his mother and sister and hold Sherlock's hand, without the fear of his father's homophobia, Sherlock found himself getting along very well with Greta, who, like John thought he was incredible, and Harry had stayed off the wine.
"Not so bad, was it John?" Sherlock had asked once they were safely back in a cab on their way to the station.
"We've had worse."
Sherlock smiled and looked out of the window, he still hated the little village, it was monochrome and mundane, with far too many close-minded bigots per square metre, but they were leaving, and if one can't be happy about that, then one can't be happy at all.