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The Probability of Rain on Christmas Day

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Sherlock looked out of the window and watched the pitter-patter of the rain. It was illogical, he knew, but he almost felt that if he tried hard enough – if he closed his eyes and really listened – he could hear the sound of the water rising from the ocean. Then hear it floating upwards and upwards, joining with millions upon millions of particles until one large white cloud cover was formed. And he could hear as the seemingly oh-so-gentle wind blew that innocent white cloud over to cover the city of London, where the water droplets condensed to form large drops before rapidly falling towards the ground, forming perfect tear drops as gravity tried to pull it faster than it cared for, splashing to the ground and making pleasing pitter-patter sounds that poets wrote sonnets about and musicians songs.

It was illogical, but sometimes he liked to be illogical.

He was brought from his quiet listening by the sound of the door to 221 being pulled open and slammed shut, followed by seventeen loud thumps as his flatmate took the stairs and a loud bang as he swept into the flat, shaking off his umbrella and muttering grumpily about the bloody rain in Winter. Sherlock smiled. It wouldn’t be long now before John would be complaining about the bloody heat in Summer.

John looks up to Sherlock, somewhat discombobulated to find the man perched on the windowsill and smiling contentedly. He doesn’t say anything, instead nodding in a way that isn’t exactly without affection. Sherlock loves the way he manages to do that. When they first met ne nodded like a soldier, after a few weeks he nodded like a friendly flatmate, after months he nodded like a good friend and now he nods like someone who could be something more. Who will be something more: If Sherlock has anything to do with it.

But that’s later, this is now. And now seems pretty alright so he’ll stick with what he’s got.

There’s the gentle rumble of the kettle coming for the kitchen and two mugs are laid out though Sherlock never asked for tea. John will drink from his RAMC mug, strong tea with a little milk. Then he’ll sit down in his arm chair, ask Sherlock if he plans on sitting where he is all night, sigh like a long suffering wife at the response, and settle into a good book. Or, a good book by John’s standards, at least. He hadn’t been impressed when Sherlock had put one of his James Patterson covers on one of his own Hawking books. He hadn’t been impressed at all.

Sherlock’s attention is pulled back to the world outside, the street comfortingly empty with just the right amount of people wandering to and fro. A man and a woman that have been together for a few years huddle under an umbrella, they’re having an argument but it’s only a game. There’s a small black box in the man’s pocket. Sherlock decides he doesn’t want to look any further; he’s content to imagine a young couple in love and about to get engaged. He doesn’t want to know about the women’s secret affair with her boss or the man’s gambling addiction. An old man shuffles by, ex-military and grumpy looking. He clearly forgot to bring an umbrella with him and now all of his effort is going into preserving the neatly wrapped present under his arm. It’s something special. Not just an ordinary Christmas present, but one he’s excited to give. Sherlock traces his finger across the glass, following the man’s path with a curious intensity. His hair is grey now but it must have been blonde once, and though his face is tired and worn with wrinkles it looks somehow round and caring. He looks like John, Sherlock realises. He likes that.

Real-John has returned now, placing his own mug on the table and hesitating before joining Sherlock by the window and handing the steaming tea to his flatmate personally. He glances out of the window but sees nothing fascinating, the retreating figure of an old man and a rainy London street in December.

“Are you planning on sitting there all night?” John asks and Sherlock smiles at how from anyone else he’d find this question boring, but from John it is all sorts of wonderful.

“Probably.” He replies simply, turning to look at John and grinning from ear to ear as John sighs that special little sigh of his. John’s brow crinkles at Sherlock’s unusual behaviour,

“Are you alright? You seem sort of,” The ex-army doctor flounders for a word a moment, “Happy.”

“Just thinking.” Sherlock murmurs, looking back out to the street to find it now fully evacuated.  John mumbles something under his breath – probably a sarcastic ‘Thanks for the tea, John’ – before walking the few steps to the sofa and flopping onto it. It feels like only minutes have passed when Sherlock speaks but the way John jumps he supposes it’s actually been much longer. “Don’t you think it’s ridiculous how people always hope for a white Christmas?” He doesn’t really know why he says it; perhaps it’s the Bing Crosby that was playing on the radio earlier. Perhaps he’s getting a little sentimental, curled up in his warm flat with his best John for company on the eve of Christmas. “We live in England, not Iceland or Norway. Given the statistics and the average temperature it would be a whole lot more realistic to wish for a rainy Christmas. Then people would be less likely to be so disappointed.” He pauses, thinking and watching as the rain outside the window pitches up a notch. John has gone oddly quiet but he can see from the corner of his eye that the man is sat up straight, listening. “If people wished for rain on Christmas, and rain at New Years, and, hell, rain every other day of the year, they’d be a lot happier. Because if it rained they’d get exactly what they wanted and if it was sunny they’d be pleasantly surprised and if it really did snow they’d say it was a miracle. Then maybe mothers would stop killing their sons for becoming a plumber when they spent so much money on medical school, or lovers killing other lovers for sleeping with the secretary. Because they’d be grateful. They’d be grateful it’s raining and they’d be grateful they have each other. Or, to have had each other. Even if it was just a short time, surely that’s better than nothing?”

John swallows, a peculiar expression on his face that Sherlock can’t quite read. “I,” he swallows again, “I think it’s really about dreaming, Sherlock. People don’t see why they should lower their expectations. They’re entitled to wish for the best, even if it’s a complete improbability.”

Sherlock contemplates a moment, looking from the rain to John and shrugging as he swings his legs down and sits with his back against the cool glass, “But, what’s wrong with the rain? Who is it that decided the rain was any worse than the wind or the frost or the damned snow? When the rain clears away, it’s warm. It’s always warm. And when the rain falls you have a house and a roof and heating. The only difference between rain and snow is the number of deaths on the road. There was this story my father once told me about a woman that everyone believed to be the luckiest woman alive. Every day she’d step out and look at the weather and if it was sunny she’s say ‘oh good, I was hoping to improve my tan’, and if it rained she’s say ‘how convenient, now I don’t need to water my camellias’, and if it snowed she’d say ‘well perfect I was looking for an excuse to stay inside all day’. She wasn’t really luckier than anyone else John, was she? She was just happy. Content. She didn’t expect things, and she didn’t question why she got them. She just took them.”

John remains silent, blinking at Sherlock. After a moment the consulting detective sighs a sigh of his own and stands, picking up his now-cold tea and wandering into the kitchen. He thinks, a few minutes later, he hears John whisper an answer. He doesn’t ask for repetition. It doesn’t matter right now. That’s later.