The one thing she’d had the hardest time with, once she stopped traveling with the Doctor, was filling up her time. She’d gotten so used to having adventures, to having things to do, that once it was gone she just had all this time on her hands. Coupling that with trying to figure out what to do with her life after having her divorce finalized and settled and then walking away from modeling and he could see that she was having trouble trying to fill it.
So he suggested trying to find a hobby.
And he had no idea how much he’d regret those words so many months later.
He’d been trying to find his own place in the world again when he got back, so he knew how she felt. He’d had to come back from the dead and all; his friends had all moved on, and some had taken him back into their lives more easily than others. He knew the feeling on needing something to do. It had been how he’d found out about her in the first place, when he’d been snooping through files of his brother’s after breaking into that fortress he called a home and seeing a file about UNIT and perusing it and seeing her picture. He’d recognized her face from adverts for a perfume called Petrichor and wondered what an attractive model had to do with a supposed alien, as preposterous as that had seemed, known as the Doctor, and he decided to look into it.
And rather like Alice chasing the White Rabbit, he fell directly into the rabbit hole and his world was never the same.
He still hadn’t gotten to meet the Doctor, but he’d learned enough. Met other companions, like Amelia’s ex-husband and the Smith-Jones’s and Sarah Jane Smith. Talked to Kate Lethbridge more times than he had ever thought he would and was now more or less an official consultant for UNIT, much to his brother’s chagrin. He’d even been introduced to River Song once, and he gathered, should his relationship with Amelia continue on the path it was going and develop into something more serious, would be quite excited to be his stepdaughter.
But first things first, there had been the matter of getting Amelia through her time of mourning her lack of travels with the Doctor.
The Doctor had put himself into seclusion with the dissolution of Amelia and Rory’s marriage. It had been…while not entirely amicable not entirely vicious, either. The time on the Dalek Asylum had not healed all wounds but it had helped. It was at least not bitter. They simply did not talk about the parts that hurt very often, did not dwell on them. She talked about them once with him, so he would understand. She told him about Madam Kovarian, about the Ganger and about losing Melody, about the fights with her husband and the growing apart, about how she wanted more children of her own and how much it hurt knowing she couldn’t bear them. It had been an evening of tears and pain and Sherlock had not been able to much other than hold her as she cried, but it had seemingly been enough. He wondered if the Doctor had done the same, or if he had simply left.
And then, the next morning, she had resolved to move on and work on a life without the Doctor, a fresh start. And Sherlock was determined to help. That was when he suggested the hobbies.
She’d cycled through so many he’d honestly lost track. She was balancing a few at once. He had the feeling there were a few she’d had for long term…painting and drawing, those he thought she’d been doing continuously. He was sure she’d rented out 221C from Mrs. Hudson to turn into a studio since no one else used it and her spare bedroom at her own flat was occupied with other things. She certainly spent enough time there. Not that he complained of course. In fact, he was almost going to suggest she just start moving possessions to his flat and live with him. No sense in paying for a residence she rarely used, was there?
It had been nearing Christmas and he was seeing her bring out wrapped gifts from 221C on a regular basis. Whatever she was doing in that flat, she was productive. He knew she was skilled with art, that she was talented; he’d watched her sketch things time and again in the long time he’d known her now. So he hoped some of the art, if it was art coming out of that part of the flat, would end up under the tree she insisted he get.
Eventually he started seeing presents underneath, and he was pleased to see packages with her neat handwriting on the labels. There were a few long, thin packages that he was sure were art. But there was also a lumpy, soft package that she had pushed far back, almost as though she didn’t want him to see it was there. That package was placed there around the 21st, which was when Amy added her last batch of gifts. He almost didn’t see it with presents from his friends and family and the gifts that were there for her, since it had been decided they would do Christmas morning at Baker Street. It was two days before Christmas when he did finally see it. He reached for it, pulling it forward as she came closer. “Put it back, Sherlock,” she said. He glanced up and saw she looked embarrassed.
“It seems to me as though you’re trying to hide it, Amelia,” he said, finally getting a good grasp on it and lifting it up. It seemed a bit on the larger side. Clothing of some sort, perhaps. It felt heavy enough to be trousers, or maybe a jumper. “Is it something that shouldn’t be opened in the company of others? Something risqué, perhaps?”
“No, nothing like that,” she said, shaking her head. She knelt down and then sighed. “So, you know all the various hobbies I’ve been trying to do the last year or so?” He nodded. “Your friend Mary tried to teach me to knit. Well, I mean, Mary and her friend Yasmeen. Yasmeen actually knows how to knit. Mary and I…not so much.”
Sherlock smiled slightly. “And this is the end result?” he asked.
She nodded. “I knitted you a jumper. You’ll probably hate it, but I figured I finished it, you might as well have it.”
He looked at the package, with its festive Santa wrapping paper and it’s curled ribbon bow, and he curled his finger around the bow a moment. “If you allow me to open the gift now, I’ll give you a gift tonight as well. We can forgo opening gifts tomorrow evening.”
She smiled slightly and shook her head. “If you really want to see this horrible horrible jumper now, be my guest,” she said.
He carefully began to unwrap the gift, placing the bow to the side and not tearing into the paper, instead trying to undo the tape and unfold it. Amelia watched in amusement, sipping from the glass of wine she’d had in her hand. Finally he got the paper off and saw the jumper. He unfolded it and then held it out in front of him. It was truly hideous. It was navy blue with what he thought was supposed to be a snowflake pattern. It looked as though it was going to go down to his knees and there was a good chance one arm was long enough there’d be at least a good twenty centimeters left over once it was all the way on. “It’s…”
“Atrocious?” Amelia said.
“I’ll put it on,” he said, standing up. He stood and then slipped the jumper on over his shirt, finding that, indeed, the faults he had seen were true, plus the neck was too tight and the wool was itchy.
Amelia laughed and shook her head. "God, it's horrible,” she said. “Take it off, save my eyes. Please, go toss it in the fireplace and burn it."
“I think I’ll keep it, though I might put it in a chest somewhere and only bring it out when I want to be reminded of how much you love me,” he said with a grin as he took it off.
“Yeah?” she said, setting her wine glass down when he squatted down in front of her. “Why is that?”
“Because no one has ever taken the time to make me a gift like that before, even if it did turn out horribly,” he said, leaning in to kiss her softly. She kissed him back, reaching forward to hold him close. After a moment he shifted to lower her to the floor. He still owed her a gift, and he had a feeling she’d most appreciate the engagement ring in the bedroom. At least, that was the gift he felt most like giving her tonight. But later. Right now, he had more important things to attend to.