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BYOM

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Joan doesn’t even bother taking her scarf off when she gets home. It’s freezing outside and it’s not much better in the entry way. “Sherlock! I’m home!” She calls, stomping the snow off of her boots as she shuts the front door.

“Watson! You are welcome to join us if you wish. However, there is a price for admittance and the price of admission is one carafe of already prepared hot chocolate and this event is strictly BYOM, or bring your own mug,” Sherlock replies, raising his voice slightly without looking away from the television.

Joan raises an eyebrow and steps into the tv room, “I may come in where exa—Sherlock! Is that my comforter?” She strides forward and flips up what seems to be the doorway of the newly constructed massive blanket fort. When she sticks her head in, she’s greeted by the sight of Sherlock and Marcus curled up under at least two blankets and surrounded by pillows and couch cushions.  Someone’s dragged the smallest television into the fort and the news is on low. “Hello, Marcus,” she smiles, “Gregson said you had the day off.” Marcus returns the smile and shrugs helplessly.

“Yes, your comforter, my comforter and duvet, two afghan blankets and three quilts. Not to mention every pillow and throw blanket in the house,” Sherlock shifts closer to Marcus, “You still have to go get the carafe and your mug, we’re out of hot chocolate and you haven’t had any.  There’s plenty of room, the fort is designed to fit at the very least three adult humans and one small turtle.”

“Clyde is in here?” Joan asks, craning her neck.  Then she sees Clyde perched on top of a stack of small pillows with—“And someone bought him strawberries?”

“He’s a brat child,” Marcus shrugs.  Sherlock rolls his eyes.

“You’re the one who spoils him the most,” he reminds Marcus. “Joan, please. It’s quite chilly in the rest of the house and not chilly here.  Or it won’t be once you close the flap. In or out!”

Joan rolls her eyes and moves back, shutting the flap as she goes, “Fine. But we’re not watching the news; you know the rules.”  She heads into the kitchen but returns quickly with the carafe and a mug.

“Here,” she passes them inside, shedding her scarf, coat and boots before crawling into the fort.

Marcus hands her back a full mug of hot chocolate when she finally gets situated next to Sherlock.  “It’s still nice and hot,” he says and Joan smiles.

“So,” she sets the mug carefully to one side and burrows a little more under the covers, “Why is there a giant blanket fort in the tv room?”

Sherlock grins, “Oh! It’s quite the story. Marcus and I returned from lunch and it was quite cold with no sign of letting up, and I said as much to him.  Then he offered that he believed the problem was too much open space in the brownstone.  We couldn’t very well make the house smaller, but he said that, sometimes, when his nieces and nephew come over, they entice him to build a blanket fort!”

“So you’re a master blanket fort engineer, Marcus?” Joan asks, raising an eyebrow.

“I guess I must be; it seems like I’ve been building them my entire life almost,” Marcus replies before grumbling and extracting the remote from underneath himself.

Sherlock continues, “Anyway, with an expert in blanket fort construction at my disposal, I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have one of my very own.”

“And it required using my comforter and pillows?” Joan asks, reaching for her mug now that it’s had a chance to cool down.

He nods, “Marcus said it was imperative to use all the blankets and pillows in the house for a truly superior blanket fort.”

“It’s true,” Marcus says, “You can’t half-ass this sort of thing. If you’re not going to go all in, you might as well not go at all.”

Joan laughs and shakes her head, “Well I certainly hope nothing from my bed is crucial to the infrastructure of the fort; I’m going to need something to sleep with tonight.”

“Oh, I can assure you Joan, the fort was made with that limitation in mind,” Sherlock nods and reaches across Marcus for the carafe.

“Okay,” she smiles. Before either of the men can do anything she makes a successful grab for the remote. “Then let’s find something not the news to watch and I’ll call for dinner tonight.”

“Sounds good to me,” Marcus laughs.

Sherlock pouts a bit, “I haven’t quite used up my limit of news watching today, Watson.”

“Blanket forts are for fun, Sherlock, not news,” Joan says, “Marcus back me up here.”

Sherlock turns toward Marcus, a disbelieving look on his face. Marcus just shrugs helplessly, “Dunno what to tell you, the lady has a point. News is decidedly not fun enough for a blanket fort.”

“Neither of you knows the meaning of true entertainment, clearly,” Sherlock slumps a little bit and takes a large drink from his mug.

Marcus chuckles softly and kisses Sherlock’s temple, “Clearly. But, you did instate a ‘majority rules’ rule, right?”

“Yes, I did,” Sherlock says sourly, “But that was when I was under the mistaken impression that I was in the majority.”

“You are in the majority, Sherlock, except in the brownstone. There you’re clearly outnumbered,” Joan nudges him gently, careful not to spill anyone’s drink.

He sighs melodramatically, “The things one must endure in the pursuit of remaining warm.”

“Indeed,” Marcus laughs, “Indeed.”