Chapter 1: An Invitation.
John and Sherlock were in bed one Saturday morning, having had a fun time the night before with with several cucumbers and a very large carrot, when the post came. John got up and went to get it, as Sherlock pretended to be asleep the moment they heard it arrive.
John got back into bed and examined the post. There was a bill from the Gas company, a bill from the Water company and a large gold colored envelope that looked strikingly familiar. "I think your Aunt Hever's getting married again" he told Sherlock cheerfully.
Sherlock sat up, scowling. John noticed he had squashed carrot in his hair. "I don't think it's a Wedding invite" Sherlock muttered, frowning "I think Hamilton is still alive. I know he survived their Honeymoon, and that was only two months ago. I'm sure Mummy would have told me if he'd suddenly died." He sighed deeply, took the envelope off John and opened it.
"What is it?" asked John, as Sherlock flopped back on the bed making moaning noises.
"It's an invitation to spend Christmas at Hope Manor" Sherlock sighed.
"Oh great" John said enthusiastically "I loved the Wedding."
"Christmas won't be like the Wedding" Sherlock explained "there won't be any fire jumping for a start."
"We're going though, aren't we?" said John "your family are so interesting. I'd love to spend Christmas with them."
"We have to go" Sherlock groaned "Mummy again, you see."
"Do we have to dress up?" John asked "because I could wear my wasp costume. I could sting Mycroft, and you could wear your Pirate outfit."
"We don't dress up at Christmas" Sherlock snapped "that's for Weddings. We do have to have hats though. Christmas hats. I'll wear the one I wore last year but we'll have to get you one."
"Most people wear hats at Christmas" said John "they come out of Christmas crackers."
"We don't wear those sort of hats" Sherlock muttered, looking irritated "we wear proper hats. Mummy has a fur one."
"What's your hat like then?" asked John curiously.
"It's a reindeer" said Sherlock, with a sigh.
"Fantastic" said John, grinning "I'll get a matching one." He started to laugh.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" said Sherlock.
"Yes" John replied "it's great." He fell back on the bed giggling loudly.
Sherlock got out of bed and stamped into the bathroom. He stared at his reflection in the mirror and saw the bits of carrot. "Oh hell" he muttered to himself "hell, hell, hell."
John just continued to laugh, picturing a whole room full of Sherlock's relatives wearing weird hats. Even if the food was rotten it would be worth going, he thought, just to see Sherlock with a reindeer's antlers. "I'm going to have a seriously good time with your relatives" he shouted to Sherlock, above the noise of running water.
"Well" Sherlock shouted back "you'll be the only one then."
Chapter 2: Hope Manor.
John and Sherlock arrive at Hope Manor and try to have fun in the gun room.
John and Sherlock arrived at Hope Manor at 3.15pm on Christmas eve and were greeted at the door by Sherlock's Aunt Hever, who, for some unaccountable reason, had dyed her hair in pink and purple stripes. She also had a green ribbon tied in it. She looked tired and hot.
"Oh Sherlock" she said, as she opened the door "you're here."
"Obviously" said Sherlock, leaning down and kissing his Aunt's cheek with noticeable reluctance.
"I've put you and your friend in the Pink Boudoir" Aunt Hever informed them "you'll like it, it's all greens and reds, very festive." She went to a small table on the left of the front door, picked up the smaller of two bells lying there and rang it vigorously.
After a moment a short fat man dressed in an orange and black waistcoat and black trousers emerged through a door at the far end of the entrance hall and strode slowly over to them.
"Yes?" he said, scowling "what d'you want now then?"
Ignoring this apparent rudeness, Aunt Hever smiled sweetly and said "show my nephew and his friend to the Pink Boudoir will you Hawks, and take up their bags."
Hawks snatched up the bags and went to the staircase. When he reached the bottom he turned and glared at Sherlock at John, curling his lip spectacularly. "Come on then" he shouted at them "I'm not gonna wait for you."
The Pink Boudoir was not pink. This puzzled John a bit. After Hawks had thrown their bags inside and waited for a tip and got his right hand squeezed painfully instead, he asked Sherlock why the room wasn't pink. Sherlock didn't know but he supposed it had been pink once and had been redecorated.
Sherlock flopped on the bed and watched John unpacking their bags. "I wonder when we'll get dinner?" John asked at last, flopping onto the bed next to Sherlock.
"8pm " said Sherlock "Aunt Hever always eats at 8pm."
"I'm already starving" said John "any chance we can get a snack before then, d'you think?"
"No" Sherlock told him "no chance at all."
"Don't they eat something between lunch and dinner?" John asked.
"No" said Sherlock "it would spoil dinner."
At that moment anything else they might have said was drowned out by the sound of numerous people arriving at the Manor. Their room was at the front of the house and the windows were rather ancient and seemed to magnify every sound in a very odd way. John went over and looked out to see what was happening.
"It's a coach" he told Sherlock.
"That'll be the family" said Sherlock groaning "they always get a coach."
John watched as numerous people of all ages and sizes got out of the coach. "There's dozens of them" he told Sherlock.
"True" said Sherlock "there are dozens of them. They're a nightmare".
"Interesting" said John.
"That's not the word I'd use" said Sherlock scowling. He got up off the bed and joined John at the window. "Oh look" he said "there's my Aunt Edinburgh."
"Which one's that?" asked John.
"She's got a limp and green hair" said Sherlock.
"Oh I remember her from the Wedding" John muttered "she pulled your whiskers off. Why is she limping, d'you know?"
"When she was young she was in a Motorcycle Display Team" Sherlock explained "she fell off the top of a pyramid. Oh fuck, there's Arnica and he's got a new girl friend. She looks a wreck."
"There's a Rolls now" commented John.
"Mycroft showing off" snapped Sherlock.
John sighed. "Let's go and find something to eat" he said "I can't wait until dinner."
"I suppose we could raid the pantry" Sherlock replied after a moments thought.
"Great" said John "when Harry and I were kids we used to spend Christmas with our Grandfather. We used to raid his larder."
They went downstairs to the kitchen. It was, unfortunately, full of staff working. Sherlock marched straight into the room and sat down at the kitchen table which was covered in pastry being rolled out by a very tall, very thin pastry Chef by the name of Hilda Oblong.
"Leave now" shouted Hilda "you're in my way."
"My partner and I require some nourishment and I wont leave until we get some" said Sherlock, folding his arms to avoid them being covered in flour. Some five minutes later Sherlock and John were sitting on their bed eating Chicken legs. John had four and Sherlock nibbled daintily on the fifth.
"What shall we do now?" John asked, leaning back against the bed head sucking his fingers.
"We ought to go and meet Mummy and some of the others" said Sherlock "that would be the polite thing to do."
"I take it we wont be doing that then?" John said starting to laugh.
"I thought we might fuck" said Sherlock, sliding down the bed and pressing his face into John's crotch.
"Good idea" John gasped "but let's take our clothes off first. You're going to ruin my trousers."
Sherlock sat up. He looked positively wicked. "Let's go and do it in the gun room" he said.
"Your Aunt has a gun room?" John said, surprised.
"We all have gun rooms" said Sherlock "we need somewhere to keep our guns."
"Of course" John laughed "stupid me. D'you know where the gun room is in this place?"
"I can easily find it" Sherlock informed him loftily "let's go."
The gun room proved to be in the basement and it was locked. Sherlock picked the lock and he and John went inside. There were racks all along the walls containing numerous guns and rifles of all types. At the far end of the room was a firing range and, somewhat incongruously, a Snooker table.
"I could have fun in here" said Sherlock, as they looked around.
"I thought we were going to have fun" John reminded him "although where we're going to do it is a bit of a mystery to me at the moment and why we have to do it in here when we have a perfectly serviceable bed."
Sherlock grabbed hold of John and pushed him up against one of the walls. "Because it's fun" he said "you're always telling me to have more fun." He pulled at John's jumper, which was red with black stripes and had been a present from Harry. Sherlock hated it.
"I'll take it off myself" said John.
"I want to strip you" Sherlock told him.
"And then?" said John.
"We'll use the Snooker table" said Sherlock grinning "I've always wanted to ruin a Snooker table."
They went over to the table in question. It was a bit dusty but was otherwise in perfect condition. John couldn't help wondering why it was in the gun room at all and inconveniently placed just in front of the firing range, but he soon had other things on his mind as Sherlock started to do a slow strip tease. John watched him for a few moments and then hurriedly removed his own clothing before Sherlock could rip it, he looked to be in a ripping mood. It was cold in the gun room and he shuddered as Sherlock leaned over the edge of the table, pressing his face into it.
John leaned over Sherlock, stroking his back, his already engorged cock knocking against Sherlock's backside. He licked his way down Sherlock's spine and then parted the cheeks of his arse and alternately licked the entrance and gently pushed his tongue inside.
Sherlock began to groan and gasp. He was always so noisy that John was suddenly relieved they were down in the basement far, as he fondly thought, away from everybody. John left him for a moment and, groping in his trouser pockets, found the lube he had put there earlier, just in case. He was turning to return to his waiting partner when a loud voice called from the gun room doorway "Sherlock, are you in here? Mummy is waiting".
Sherlock jumped upright and grabbed at his discarded clothing. "Shit" he exclaimed loudly "that's my wretched brother, he'll never leave, put your clothes on John, hurry up."
They were both half dressed and struggling as Mycroft came strolling slowly over, looking vastly amused. "Mummy wants to see you both" he said "Try to look a little less debauched, why don't you." He then went out of the room, whistling cheerfully. Sherlock started to remove his clothes again.
"What are you doing" John asked, looking surprised.
"I would have thought that was obvious" said Sherlock "I thought he'd hang about longer but since he's gone almost right away we can continue where we left off."
"I don't know that I'm in the mood now" said John.
Sherlock wriggled in what he hoped was an enticing manner and stretched out over the table again. John kissed his back and thought "why aren't we on a nice soft bed?" Ever since they had started having sex Sherlock had insisted they do it, or in most cases, attempt to do it, in weird places. They had tried, at some point or other, a rooftop, next to a chimney, an oak tree and the back of a parked Taxi which Sherlock said belonged to an acquaintance of his. They had also tried a Toilet cubicle in a Pub.
John was just getting excited again when they both heard the door of the gun room being opened once more. A loud voice shouted "I bet you're in here, I bet you are."
Sherlock straightened up, knocking John to the floor as he did so. "Shit" he exclaimed "that's my cousin Bandy."
Bandy wasn't. Bandy that is. He looked, in fact, almost normal except for a pink mohican hair cut. He strode slowly through the gun room humming what sounded like 'the hills are alive with the sound of music.'
"Aunt Dover sent me to find you" he said cheerfully, watching Sherlock and John dress with evident enjoyment "Mycroft said you were down here."
"We're coming" said Sherlock, gritting his teeth.
"I was actually quite a long way from coming" said John as Bandy turned and left the room "I suppose we'll have to continue this elsewhere."
"I've completely lost interest now" said Sherlock.
They went upstairs and found Sherlock's mother in the drawing room with a large number of other people. Most of them were drinking. A very large man, who turned out to be Sherlock's Uncle Bertie, was playing the piano and a small girl was scraping away at a miniature cello. Two spaniel dogs were having a fight on the terrace and a baby was crawling about on a rug.
"Sherlock" called Sherlock's mother when she spotted him "come and sit beside me."
Sherlock squashed beside his mother on the sofa and John manged, with what he thought was amazing dexterity, to balance on the arm of a chair occupied by Sherlock's Aunt Edinburgh. She promptly pinched his cheeks and said "Oh you are so cute and cuddly" which was downright embarrassing and a bit painful too.
"Mycroft said you were frolicking in the gun room" said Sherlock's mother "you do smell as if you've been frolicking. You must bathe before dinner, darling, promise me you'll bathe."
"Yes, Mummy" said Sherlock "I will." He sighed deeply.
"We're all going to relax before dinner" said his mother "so you can go and bathe."
Dinner proved to be a lively affair with two of Sherlock's Uncles having a fight during dessert and a cousin pouring gravy all over another cousin. When it was over they all retired to the drawing room and sang carols. Sherlock was persuaded to play his violin and Mycroft played the piano. Another Aunt played the flute accompanied by her husband blowing a comb and paper. Three cousins, one of whom was male, sang 'Three little maids from School' and then, for no apparent reason, did the can-can, breaking a vase and knocking another seated cousin's front teeth out in the process. They then had charades which resulted in more fighting and a lot of swearing.
"That was fun" said John, as they lay in bed together much later.
"I can think of other ways to describe it" muttered Sherlock.
"I'm looking forward to Christmas day" said John "and the hats."
Sherlock groaned and rolled over with his back to John. "Perhaps I'll die in the night or go into a coma and miss it" he murmured.
"Over my dead body" said John.
Chapter 3: "Your family have such wonderful deaths" said John.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The next morning John, quite unusually, awoke first. He extricated himself from Sherlock's vice like grasp with difficulty. Leaving Sherlock sprawled across the bed snoring and grunting and mumbling nonsense to himself, he washed and dressed and went downstairs to get some breakfast.
A large servant wearing a surprisingly short black dress and a green apron told him where to find breakfast. It was in a room called the breakfast room. On a sideboard was a line of dishes on hot plates. At a long table a number of people were already seated eating, including Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock's mother. She waved to John.
"John, dear" she said "sit next to me and call me Marigold. I insist on you calling me Marigold."
"Her name's Dover" said Mycroft.
John helped himself to scrambled eggs, bacon and mushrooms, plus toast and marmalade. He sat down, somewhat nervously, next to Dover.
"What have you done with my boy?" asked Dover, leaning over and kissing John on one cheek, to his amazement.
"Merry Christmas" said Mycroft, grinning and revealing he had a small piece of bacon caught in his front teeth "we open our presents after Christmas dinner in case you're wondering".
"Sherlock's still in bed" said John "and Merry Christmas to everyone."
At that moment the door crashed open and two very old men entered. They both had walking sticks. One of them was wearing a fur hat in the shape of a brown bear.
"Sharpie" cried Dover, waving at them "Ippie, how wonderful to see you both. Sharpie, take off that hat, it's for dinner, not breakfast."
"I telt him that, I did" said one of the old men "I telt him twice."
"It cost me a fortune" said the other old man "more than a weeks wages when I was young."
"I ate a bear once" said Ippie "it was tough. I wert in Canada. Lots of bears. Big ones."
"He's never been further than Watford" said Sharpie.
"He's further than Watford now" said Dover.
"Really?" gasped Sharpie, sitting down at the table with a plateful of fried tomatoes and nothing else.
Sherlock had followed Sharpie and Ippie into the breakfast room. He stood watching them until they sat down at the table. He looked irritated.
"I woke up with my head hanging out of bed" he said, glaring at John "I've got a terrible neck ache."
"It wasn't hanging out of bed last time I saw it" John snapped "it was right in the bed. Every bit of you was in the bed."
"Good morning, darling" said Dover before any one else could say anything "and a Merry Christmas."
"Same to you" mumbled Sherlock. He went over to the hot plates and a few moments later sat down next to Mycroft, which was the only empty seat. He started to eat, with a distinct lack of enthusiasm, a boiled egg. "I hate boiled eggs" he complained, carefully cutting his buttered toast into strips and dipping them one after the other into his egg.
"I hate tomatoes" said Sharpie "that's why I'm eating them."
"Dinner will be a goose" Dover told them, before Sharpie, whose real name was Anstruther, could say anything else "and a turkey."
"A goose AND a turkey" said John, trying not to sound surprised and failing.
"Some people insist on having turkey" Mycroft explained.
"I hate goose" said Sherlock.
"So do I" said Sharpie "I hate it even more than I hate tomatoes."
"I've never tasted goose" said John.
"It's revolting" Sherlock told him "not quite as revolting as some things I could mention though."
Dover sighed and got up from the table. "Don't forget your hats for dinner" she informed the room as she left.
"I have a new hat this year" said Mycroft, looking smug "I wont tell you what it is though. It'll be a surprise." He got up and went out after his Mother leaving seats for Sherlock's Aunt Edinburgh and Aunt Cardiff who came in a few moments later.
Aunt Cardiff was wearing a pink feather boa which clashed terribly with her orange hair. "Sherlock my darling nephew" she exclaimed, rushing over to him and wrapping her arms around him "why are you wearing black?"
"I like black" said Sherlock, going even paler than usual as his Aunt attempted to strangle him.
"Your wonderful boy friend looks so lovely in his red and blue jumper" said Aunt Cardiff, releasing Sherlock from her grasp with some reluctance.
"I look terrible in red and blue" Sherlock sighed. He got up from the table ready to escape.
John got up as well. "That's right" he said, as he and Sherlock made their way toward the door "he does look terrible."
John and Sherlock returned to the pink boudoir. Sherlock fell on the bed, groaning dramatically. John sat down beside him and started to laugh. "I hate tomatoes" he laughed "that's why I'm eating them."
Sherlock began to laugh as well. "He's never been further than Watford" he said.
"He's further than Watford now" John replied, falling back onto the bed and rolling against Sherlock in the process "your family are so fantastic" he added.
"That's not how I would describe them" Sherlock sighed "I have to admit even Father seems to have been a bit odd in some ways."
John sat up. "What happened to your Father?" he asked suddenly "you hardly ever talk about him."
"He left just after I was born" said Sherlock "Mummy always told us he'd gone fishing."
"Why did she tell you that?" asked John.
"When he left he was wearing his fishing hat" Sherlock muttered "five years after he left she got a letter. It was from Hawaii. It was asking for money but there was no address so she couldn't send any" he sighed "then ten years after that he came home and got run over by a bus."
"Oh dear" said John and started to laugh again.
"He was chasing a dog at the time" Sherlock explained "it ran across the road and evidently he ran after it and got flattened by a bus."
"Why was he chasing the dog?" asked John.
"I was told it bit him on the knee" said Sherlock perfectly seriously.
John laughed harder at that. Sherlock started to look indignant. "It wasn't funny" he said "the bus went right over him and then reversed and got him again."
"Your family have such wonderful deaths" said John, almost crying with laughter.
"Mummy identified him by his hat" said Sherlock morosely.
"Was she very upset?" asked John, pulling himself together with difficulty.
"Not really" said Sherlock "she had Luke by then."
"Who was Luke?" asked John.
"He was one of our gardeners" Sherlock told him "he had a tattoo Mummy liked. It was on his neck."
"What was it?" John asked curiously.
"It was a tattoo" said Sherlock.
"Yes" John insisted "but what was it of?"
"It was a dandelion" Sherlock sighed "Mummy's always loved dandelions. She says they're so useful."
"Oh my" John said, starting to laugh again "is he still alive?"
"No" Sherlock said "he was electrocuted by a fan and as he was dying he got his head caught in the fan and got decapitated. It was a very large fan and he made a terrible mess. Mummy was quite upset. She had to have the drawing room entirely redecorated."
At this John abandoned all control and fell flat on the bed laughing hysterically. Sherlock looked at him in obvious amazement, which just made him laugh even more. "They managed to save the tattoo" Sherlock continued "Mummy keeps it in a glass case along with Grandfather Mary's teeth and Father's fishing hat."
"If your father was only identified by his hat" John asked at last "how could they be sure it was him? He could have lost it or given it to someone else."
"Father would never have given anyone his hat" said Sherlock "and he'd never been to a dentist but his teeth were a help in the identification process I believe."
"Really?" said John "how?"
"He had 40 of them" said Sherlock "some were doubled up you see. Mummy told me he found eating steaks difficult because he had two sets of front teeth and they got in the way."
John had another fit of hysterical laughing at this news. Unperturbed Sherlock muttered "Mummy still has his collection of stuffed lizards if you're interested, and his oil paintings of feet. He was fascinated by feet."
"Talking about feet" said John "yours are extremely lovely." He leaned down and pulled off Sherlock's shoes and then his socks. Sherlock lifted his feet up helpfully, making the task easier. John attacked Sherlock's feet with enthusiasm, tickling them, making Sherlock squirm, and then sucking each toe in turn. "Your Father should have painted your feet" he said, after a while.
"Mycroft painted them once" said Sherlock "but green doesn't suit me."
"I was talking about doing an oil painting of them" John explained, leaning over and removing his own shoes and socks.
"So was I" said Sherlock.
John laughed and got off the bed. He began to remove his clothing. "I think you should strip now" he told Sherlock "or I may be forced to take drastic action."
"I like it when you take drastic action" said Sherlock, making no attempt to move.
John stood naked beside the bed. He was already half erect. "Are you sure about this?" he asked. Sherlock didn't answer. He just stayed motionless on the bed. John climbed onto the bottom of the bed, and, on all fours, advanced slowly up the bed between Sherlock's outstretched legs. "I'm coming to get you" he murmured in a gruff voice "and when I do--------."
Sherlock began to laugh and in response to this John started to nuzzle his groin. Sherlock stopped laughing and tried to pull John away but John was surprisingly strong and determined and, after a moment, he gave up.
"You're going to ruin my trousers" Sherlock gasped, as John stopped nuzzling and began to suck instead.
John looked up. "You've got lots more" he said. He sucked harder at the growing bulge in Sherlock's trousers and then stopped abruptly and to Sherlock's obvious surprise, got right off the bed. He retreated a few steps away and then launched himself at Sherlock shouting "Geronimo". Sherlock wasn't perturbed by this. John was apt to get a bit weird when it came to sex. He said it kept your relationship alive.
For the next few moments there was no sound in the room except the sound of clothing being ripped and people gasping and grunting. Finally Sherlock was clothed in nothing more than a few shreds of torn fabric.
"You've ruined my shirt" said Sherlock "and my trousers and underwear."
"I love ruining your clothing" said John "you look much better without it anyway." He leaned over Sherlock and went back to sucking his feet. However, as soon as Sherlock started to complain about this John moved slowly up his body, sucking and licking. Finally he arrived at Sherlock's cock which was begging for attention. He ignored it and made his way up to Sherlock's chest instead. At that very moment there was a knock on the door.
"Coo-ee" shouted a voice from behind the door "are you in there? I bet you're in there."
"Who the fuck is that?" John swore.
"It sounds like my cousin Mork" said Sherlock "just ignore him."
"You have a cousin called Mork?" John asked, starting to laugh.
"He was named after some character in a TV show" Sherlock explained "so my Aunt Cardiff said anyway."
"Mork and Mindy" said John.
"Yes, I have a cousin Mindy too" said Sherlock "she's the one with the baby. He's called Dorian."
John laughed. "I love your family" he said "their surname isn't Gray by any chance is it?"
"Yes it is" Sherlock muttered.
"Oh that's fantastic" said John, laughing.
At that inopportune moment the door of the pink boudoir, which very inconveniently didn't have a lock, opened and a short, rather fat bald young man came in. "Oh you are in here" he said cheerfully "and having fun I see. Any chance of me joining in?"
Will Sherlock and John ever get together and have some fun without being interrupted? Will they have a threesome with Mork? Stay tuned.
Chapter 4: Dinner.
The Family have Dinner and have some trouble with a Christmas tree.
"No" Sherlock snapped from underneath John "no chance at all, fuck off."
Mork sighed deeply and fucked off. But before he went he glared at Sherlock and John and said "you don't know what you're missing."
"We can guess" said John.
Mork left the room and the very next second a siren went off somewhere in the building. It was so loud the pink boudoir actually shook.
"What the hell is that?" asked John, sitting up and holding his ears.
"THAT'S THE HALF HOUR WARNING FOR LUNCH" Sherlock shouted over the noise of the siren "WE'D BETTER GET DRESSED AND DIG OUT OUR HATS."
"I'm never going to get used to getting constantly interrupted like this" said John as the siren finally stopped wailing "my poor cock." He glanced at it and, ever hopeful, it perked up instantly. "You may as well lie down and relax" he said to it with a sigh.
By the time Sherlock and John had showered and found some suitable clothing to wear, which, to John's dismay, meant a suit and not a jumper, the half hour had passed and, to prove it, another, even louder siren shook the room.
"Well" said Sherlock, scowling and putting on his reindeer hat "here we go then."
"You look fantastic" said John, laughing "I'm really looking forward to this."
Sherlock didn't answer. They made their way to the Ballroom, where a very long table stretched the entire length of the room. At one end was a small brass Band. Each place setting had a name card and various people were wandering up and down searching for their name and swapping their cards with others. Sherlock and John were next to each other. Sherlock had his cousin Mandarin on his left and John had Aunt Edinburgh on his right.
"Mandarin has bad breath" Sherlock complained and quickly swapped the card with another one which read Creepy Holmes Junior.
John swapped Aunt Edinburgh's card with one which read James Perch. "Is he OK?" he asked Sherlock nervously.
"He's a second cousin" said Sherlock "I've only met him once before. He was born with webbed fingers and toes, but his Mother had them fixed."
At that moment Aunt Hever and Hamilton entered the Ballroom and the Band promptly played a Fanfare. This was evidently a sign for everyone to sit down. Aunt Hever and Hamilton sat squashed together at the head of the table and no sooner had they sat down when Aunt Hever, with difficulty, got up again.
"HERE WE ARE ASSEMBLED FOR OUR ANNUAL CHRISTMAS DINNER" she shouted "I CAN SEE SOME WONDERFUL HATS AND IN A MOMENT WE'LL HAVE THE CRACKER CEREMONY WHICH THIS YEAR GOES TO PHILLINTON HOLMES BECAUSE HE'S THE OLDEST PERSON HERE."
John looked up and down the table admiring the hats. One, in particular, was absolutely fantastic. It was a crocodile head and the wearer was having trouble with it and, as John admired it, it knocked down an entire carafe of red wine having already bruised several people seated nearby.
"Where's your Mother?" John asked, giving Sherlock a nudge as he attempted, without success, to pretend he was somewhere else other than Hope Manor.
"She's over there" Sherlock sighed "wearing the Bulldog helmet."
"Which one's Mycroft?' John asked, "I can't see him."
"He's the crocodile" muttered Sherlock "last year his hat broke someone's arm. He's embarrassing. He'll have to take this one off to eat thank goodness."
"PHILLINGTON" shouted Aunt Hever "HERE'S YOUR CRACKER. I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT." At that moment two servants wearing bunny ears came in carrying a tray on which rested a large gold colored Christmas cracker. They placed the tray in front of Phillington who was seated on Aunt Hever's right.
Phillington, who was 102, struggled upright, and wobbling dramatically, shouted "THANK YOU FOR THIS MAGNIFICENT CRACKER. I WILL TREASURE IT ALL MY DAYS."
"It's solid gold you know" said James Perch to John "it's a great honor to get one. D'you like my hat?" The hat in question was a siamese cat.
"Very nice" said John "erm ----stunning in fact."
"Here's the soup" said Sherlock at that moment "we always start with soup."
A veritable crowd of servants, all with bunny ears, came in carrying large steaming containers. They stopped beside each person in turn and gave them all three ladles of the soup, which turned out to be pea and cauliflower. It was green and had hardly any flavor. To John's surprise, Sherlock ate all his soup.
"If we don't eat it they just leave it until we do" Sherlock explained, seeing John looking at his empty bowl with amazement.
After the soup the main course arrived. At least, the servants paraded about the room carrying turkeys and geese and then left again, taking the birds with them.
"Where are they going" John asked, as another bunch of servants came in carrying dishes of vegetables and stuffing which they actually placed on the table.
"They've gone to cut them up" said James "otherwise fights break out. Help yourself to vegetables."
True enough the servants returned with the meat and everyone was asked in turn what they wanted. It took ages, and, while he was waiting for his to arrive, John ate a plate of brussel sprouts, carrots and parsnips and a pile of two different types of stuffing.
After the main course the servants brought in Christmas puddings and proceeded to set light to them. It was a wonderful sight, made even more exciting when some sparks set fire to part of the table cloth and two hats.
After that there were several toasts and everyone drank a lot of red and white wine. John enjoyed the toasts as the rule was that anyone could make one. Sherlock's cousin Arnica stood up and said "Here's to old Carrybun" which meant nothing to anyone, not even Sherlock, but everyone stood up and drank anyhow. Cousin Bandy said "here's to the Red Sea" and they all drank to that. They also toasted the Isle of Wight, The Stock Exchange, Tescos, M&S, The Red Lion, The National Portrait Gallery and several peoples private parts.
After the toasts the Band played Christmas carols and they were encouraged to gather around them and sing. Most of them didn't know all the words, which was somewhat unfortunate. Some of them didn't know the tunes either, which was even more unfortunate. It was a crush at the end of the room by the Band so Sherlock and John escaped to the other end where they found Aunt Hever, standing with her arms folded.
"Back you go" she said firmly "I know you can sing Sherlock, so go and sing, and then we'll have the Presents and the Tree lighting ceremony."
Sherlock groaned and he and John joined the crowd by the band, where it was revealed to everyone, except Sherlock who already knew, that John couldn't sing. His singing blended marvellously with the others however, a great many of whom couldn't carry a tune either.
Sherlock mumbled a few words of "Silent Night" and wondered if Hell was like this and decided, if it actually existed, it probably was.
After at least an hour of torment the band stopped playing, there was some faint applauding and they all retired to the Drawing room for the presents and the tree lighting ceremony. The room was very full and only those over 70 were allowed to sit down. At one end of the room was the tree, a tall bushy specimen with heaps of presents all around it. It was covered in red candles which several servants started to light with matches.
"Don't worry" said Aunt Hever, as the flames began to lick dangerously upward "we've turned off the sprinklers and smoke alarms. We've only had small fires in the past and no-ones been killed yet."
"Several people have been a bit singed though" said Mycroft, knocking one of his Uncles over with his crocodile hat "but some servants are on standby with fire extinguishers."
"This is even better than I thought" said John, as one of the candles fell off the tree and started a small fire on a nearby rug and was stamped out by a female servant wearing nothing but her bunny ears and a blue smock "I love your Family, Sherlock."
"I'm glad someone does" snarled Sherlock as two more candles fell down and were stamped upon "because I don't."
"We'll just let a few more fall off and then we'll put them out and have the presents" said Aunt Hever, moving out of the way of a falling candle. Hamilton kissed her cheek and was rewarded by a candle setting light to his hat, which was a horse's head. A servant put it out with his hands and rushed away to be treated for minor burns. There was some cheering as more candles fell down. Then the tree caught fire. The servants speedily covered the whole room in foam. There was a lot of clapping and cheering.
"I wish I was dead" Sherlock complained, as John clapped and cheered with everyone else "I really do."
"This is great" John told him "just enjoy the moment. It might never happen again."
"It happens every year" said Sherlock.
"Something to look forward to then" said John.
Sherlock just sighed deeply and brushed foam off himself. 'This is turning out to be a very long day' he thought dismally.
"The servants will take all the presents back into the Ballroom now" said Aunt Hever, as the people in the Drawing room attempted to free themselves of foam "we'll all go and clean up a bit while they move them. Be back in 15 minutes. Then we'll all have some more fun and some mince pies."
"More fun" said Sherlock, clutching his chest dramatically "will my poor heart be able to stand the strain?"
End of Chapter Four.
Stay tuned for more. Will Sherlock have more fun? Will the house burn down? Will Mycroft break someone else's arm? Will John ever have some satisfaction? Only time will tell.
Chapter 5: Presents and Mince Pies.
Christmas day finally comes to an end with presents and a spectacular firework display.
Sherlock and John returned to their room to clean themselves up. Sherlock simply stripped off all his clothes and threw them on the bathroom floor in a heap. John picked them up again before he stripped off himself. They stood in the bathroom staring at one another.
"We didn't really need to remove our underwear" said John slowly "or our socks."
"I thought it would be a good idea to start afresh" said Sherlock.
"Yes" muttered John "I agree with you." He walked out of the bathroom and proceeded to turn down the bed covers. "I think we both need a little lie down" he added.
"To recover from the shock we've both had" said Sherlock, following John to the bed.
"Oh yes" John said, laying down on the bed "I'm seriously in shock. I need some comfort and massaging."
"Massaging seems like a good idea" said Sherlock, joining John on the bed.
They moved into each others arms and kissed. Their mouths blended together. They pressed against each other. John moved down Sherlock's body, licking and sucking and nibbling his skin.
Sherlock groaned. "We really haven't time" he murmured.
John leaned over and opened one of the bedside cupboard drawers and removed a tube from it. "We have to hurry then" he said, pushing Sherlock's legs up and open and drizzling lube on his hole. "Open for Johnny" he whispered, pushing a finger in. He worked another finger inside making Sherlock squirm and grunt. "Here we go" he said, finding Sherlock's sweet spot and making him shout out. He moved away and then slowly entered Sherlock, making him groan and moan loudly.
The bed started to squeak horribly and actually glide over the floor as they moved together. Sherlock grabbed his cock and the bed moved even more. "We're going to ruin the room" he cried out "fuck---- John----- the bed's sliding across the floor-----John ----fuck----- John."
At that inopportune moment there was a loud knock on the door and Hamilton's voice shouted "Sherlock, John, you're wanted downstairs."
"Oh bugger" John shouted, and sped up his movements. The bed moved right across the floor and banged into a wardrobe on the other side of the room. The bedhead fell off backwards and landed on the floor with a loud crash. "I'm coming" shouted Sherlock over the noise of falling furniture.
"Yes, yes, yes" John answered.
Five minutes later they had recovered enough to survey the room. "Well" John said "that was quick."
"Yes" Sherlock agreed, shutting his eyes.
"We have to get up" John pointed out reluctantly "wash, and go downstairs before someone else comes looking for us."
"I just need a little nap" said Sherlock.
"Later" said John, getting up "besides, you always say sleeping is a waste of energy and time."
"Not after that" said Sherlock, rolling over in the bed.
"Well" John muttered "I'll go down and tell them you're coming, shall I?"
"I just came" Sherlock murmured.
John sighed and went into the bathroom to clean himself up. He dressed and put on his hat and left Sherlock fast asleep in the bed, with come drying on his chest and stomach. He was sleeping in the wet spot too. John covered him over with difficulty and went downstairs to the ballroom.
The ballroom was full of people. As John entered, several people near the door stood aside for him and applauded. Two men clapped him on the back. Aunt Hever, Hamilton, Dover and Mycroft were standing at the end of the room by the Christmas Tree, which had been transfered with great difficulty to the ballroom. It looked a bit singed in places but was till upright. They looked irritated.
Mycroft went over to John and gave him a shake. "What on earth did you think you were doing up there?" he hissed menacingly "we could hear you down here!"
John pushed Mycroft away from him. "If you don't know at your age there really is no hope for you" he said, trying not to look smug and failing.
"Where's Sherlock?" Mycroft asked. He had put his crocodile hat back on which completely spoiled all his attempts to look severe. Especially as at some point it had been slightly crushed and splashed with what looked like tomato ketchup.
"He's asleep" said John "he'll be down later."
"Well" said Mycroft "he'd better hurry up. Mummy is getting angry."
At that moment Aunt Hever suddenly shouted "presents will now be distributed. There are chairs for those of you over the age of 50. Everyone else, please sit on the floor and wait."
"We've had a free for all in previous years" said Mycroft, smiling somewhat eerily down at John "one year there was a fight and three people were injured. Mummy had a nose bleed she was so upset and Aunt Cardiff broke two fingers."
"Your family seem prone to fighting" said John.
"Not any more than other people's families" snapped Mycroft "I'm sure your family fight at Christmas."
"They usually just try to ignore each other" said John.
"Stop talking" said Aunt Hever crossly "I can't hear myself think. And please sit down."
John and Mycroft sat down on the ballroom floor, Mycroft lowering himself slowly with great reluctance. Aunt Hever clapped her hands together and a long stream of servants came into the room and began to distribute the presents, which were heaped at the end of the room near the tree. A problem immediately arose because most of the servants didn't know the names of the presents recipients. Before five minutes had elapsed the room was already in a state of chaos, with people unwrapping presents and throwing paper all over the floor and servants alternately picking up paper and shouting out things like "Julian Holmes, where are you?"
John had been in charge of providing presents and had carefully packed them in his case. He didn't know what to buy for Sherlock's family and Sherlock had been no help at all, so he had bought ties for Mycroft and Hamilton and scarves for Dover and Aunt Hever. He had bought Sherlock a new dressing gown in pure silk with a massive green dragon curling over it. It had cost a small fortune. He was thus slightly embarrassed to receive presents from a whole variety of people, some of whom he couldn't remember even meeting before.
At last all the presents were distributed and the ballroom was full of children, and some adults, playing with their new toys, women spraying themselves with perfume and showing each other their clothing and men moaning that they had, once again, got socks. John also had some new socks, several ties, some after shave and soap plus four jumpers. One had bright green and purple stripes, one was pink with orange flowers all over it and the other two were from Sherlock along with a new overcoat. The coat was pure new wool and looked expensive. The jumpers were marked hand knitted. One was pale blue with faint stripes of a darker blue and the other was red with a Christmas scene of trees and snow. John loved them instantly.
Aunt Hever, wearing a new hat resplendent with red poppies all over its enormous brim, clapped her hands again and, getting no response, screamed out "pay attention now, we're going to have mince pies and the Band will come in and play so we can dance."
"Splendid" said Mycroft "I love a good dance and mince pies. Go and get Sherlock, John, you know what a good dancer he is and he adores mince pies."
"Yes" said John "I will I think." He escaped quickly from Mycroft and went upstairs. To his amazement Sherlock was still in the bed and still asleep. Somewhat reluctantly, he leaned over and gave him a gentle shake. This had no effect at all so he shook him a bit harder. Sherlock's response to this was to roll onto his back and mutter "not yet, Alice."
John gave Sherlock a very hard shake and, as Sherlock's eyes finally flickered open, he shouted "who the hell is Alice?"
Sherlock sat up, yawning. "What?" he said.
"Alice?" snapped John.
"I had a nanny called Alice" said Sherlock "Mummy had to dismiss her. She stole a cow."
"Why on earth would anyone steal a cow?" asked John.
"Haven't you ever heard of cattle rustling?" asked Sherlock, turning back the bedcovers and getting out of bed.
"Yes, but a nanny?" John exclaimed.
"Her boyfriend was a Hell's Angel" said Sherlock.
"A cow stealing Hell's Angel" said John "your family are always so interesting."
"She had three nipples" said Sherlock as he strolled slowly into the bathroom "Mycroft used to spy on her through a hole in the ceiling."
"Even your servants are interesting" John continued, watching Sherlock step into the shower, adding "do you need any help?"
"If you help me we'll never get downstairs at all" said Sherlock calmly "I haven't missed the mince pies, have I?"
"I didn't know you had such a passion for mince pies until Mycroft told me" shouted John over the noise of the shower.
"Aunt Hever makes them to a genuine 17th century recipe" said Sherlock "with mutton and veal."
"Ugh" John groaned.
"They're delicious" said Sherlock, emerging from the shower dripping water everywhere "just you wait.".
Half an hour later Sherlock and John, together with a large number of folk of both sexes and all ages, were standing about the ballroom eating mince pies. Sherlock took the opportunity to inform John, somewhat loftily, that the original recipe dated from 1624.
"I know that Cromwell banned them" said John through a mouthful of pie, which despite his misgivings about the ingredients, was actually delicious.
"That's a myth" said Sherlock, taking yet another pie.
"Really?" said John.
"Of course" Sherlock sighed.
"Stop boasting and gobbling up pies and open your presents" said Dover, coming over to them with her hands full of no less than three pies.
Sherlock obediently went over to the tree where a small pile of presents were lying all on their own. He sat down under the tree and started to open them. The first was a large box tastefully described as containing Superior toiletries for men. Sherlock sighed and put it aside and opened two parcels containing socks. "I hate socks" he said, throwing them on top of the box of toiletries. As well as these fantastic articles there were three ties, so useful for a man who hardly ever wore them, a box of chocolates, a very large jumper covered in what appeared to be slightly deformed rabbits with three ears apiece and a whistling kettle. Finally he opened John's present and discovered the dressing gown.
"Oh" he said, holding it up.
"D'you like it?" John asked, somewhat anxiously.
"It's-------it's-------" Sherlock mumbled "lovely. Fantastic." He looked away and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. "I seem to have something in my eye" he mumbled.
Before any more unexpected emotion could be displayed however, the Band started to play a very loud and very lively version of "We wish you a merry Christmas" in waltz time and at least half the people in the ballroom began to dance. Dancing in waltz time to this particular song proved to be largely impossible and it wasn't long before many of the dancers abandoned any attempt to keep in time or stick to a waltz. The resulting sight was somewhat alarming but John joined in anyhow.
Unfortunately, the Holmes families idea of fun involved doing what they called "turns", so it wasn't long before Aunt Hever and Hamilton started proceedings by singing a duet. For some reason they sang whatever it was in Latin.
"Aunt Hever likes to keep up her Latin" explained Sherlock mysteriously.
Next, Sherlock's cousin Bandy played "Silent Night" on a piece of lead pipe. It was just about recognizable and several people began to sing along with it. Sherlock retreated to the back of the room and started to look slightly nauseated.
Several children then produced violins and flutes and played something on them. No-one knew what it was. John asked a number of people but everyone just shook their heads. They were followed by Mork and Mindy doing a tap dance. This was indescribably awful and revealed the fact that neither of them could dance or had any sense of time.
After that ordeal Uncle Bertie sang "It came upon a midnight clear" accompanied by Sharpie and Ippie playing a piano duet. They had some difficulty sitting together on a single piano stool and lack of practice and ability resulted in them getting their left and right hands respectively caught up together by their very elaborate cuff links. Their accompaniment suddenly ceased as they started to push each other and eventually fell off the piano stool onto the floor and had to be rescued by several other family members.
Several Aunts plus Dover then sang "Ding dong merrily on high" followed by the can can. John asked Arnica, who was standing next to him, why they were doing the can can and was told that it was traditional.
After several more "turns" of dubious merit Sherlock was persuaded to play the violin accompanied by Mycroft on the piano. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening as they could actually play their respective instruments.
After that the Band burst into life again and everyone danced. Sherlock was persuaded to dance the tango with his Mother and John found himself dancing with Aunt Edinburgh, a frightening experience as she kept getting near him and squeezing his rear in a very familiar manner and saying how cute he was. He then had to dance with Aunt Cardiff who trod on his feet and then told him he was clumsy and was getting in her way.
After some time the servants came in again and set up tables covered with food, including slices of Turkey, Ham and Goose. There was an immediate rush for the tables and at least two people were knocked over and had to be rescued from being trampled. John managed to get hold of a plate but couldn't actually get near the food until most of it had gone. He had to content himself with some potato salad and half a slice of ham.
After that John searched for Sherlock, who had disappeared after dancing with his Mother, and found him outside the House watching more servants setting up what appeared to be a massive Firework display.
"Fantastic" John enthused.
"Aunt Hever is a size freak" Sherlock explained "and everyone loves fireworks."
"I certainly do" said John, as they watched the servants running about.
It wasn't long before they were joined by the rest of the Family and the servants started to light the fireworks. They were suitably magnificent and there were cheers and shouts of excitement, especially when one firework set light to a shed in the grounds resulting in a spectacular fire. There were more cheers when a firework appeared to chase two of the servants and some groans when they managed to escape and it hit another shed instead.
"My Great Uncle Callum was killed by a firework" said Sherlock, as he and John watched the display.
"How did that happen?" asked John curiously.
"He swallowed a sparkler" said Sherlock.
"Why on earth did he do that?" John gasped.
"He was a fire eater" Sherlock sighed "but it went down the wrong way."
John started to laugh. Sherlock continued seriously "his wife was so distressed she swallowed one too but she was rescued by their dog."
"How could she be rescued by a dog?" John asked, still laughing.
"I was told it bit her on the neck and she coughed it up" Sherlock said.
"Dogs seem to bite your family on a regular basis" said John.
"You're exaggerating as usual" said Sherlock, ignoring John's laughter "it was worse when Creepy Holmes Senior fell in the Thames."
"What did that have to do with a dog?" John asked.
"He jumped in trying to rescue a baby but it turned out to be a large teddy bear and a dog got there first anyway" said Sherlock.
"What did he die of?" John asked, curiously.
"He didn't die then" said Sherlock "he died chasing a tyre. He went to bite it and missed and a passing coach full of Japanese tourists ran over him."
"Why was he chasing a tyre?" John shouted over the noise of fireworks.
"He was demonstrating how easy it was to chase tyres" said Sherlock "only it wasn't."
John almost fell over laughing. "I adore your family" he said to Sherlock "they're the greatest." He put his arm around Sherlock. Sherlock sighed and leaned into his embrace. "We'll soon be back home and this will just be history" John continued.
"That's how I like my family" Sherlock muttered.
They stood in the darkness watching the fireworks and watching the servants running about trying not to get burnt. Stars twinkled in the sky overhead and small children waved sparklers at each other. People kissed. Sharpie and Ippie pushed each other. Arnica and James Perch started a fight. Several people began to sing something, presumably a carol. John looked at Sherlock. The glow from the fireworks illuminated his face, framed by a halo of dark mussed curls.
"Love you" said John.
"Love you too" grunted Sherlock.