The air was filled with Christmas cheer and cold and pine and cold and faint hot chocolate and, oh, was the fucking cold mentioned? The fucking cold with a light dusting of hypothermia.
Rosie didn’t seem to mind, holding John’s hand and hopping instead of walking in her adorable winter gear, coat and mittens and a cap with a little pom-pom on top. Molly had to resist laughing because she matched John down to the pom-pom, except her coat was purple instead of beige.
“Can I please tell him?” Sherlock whispered desperately in her ear.
She muffled a chuckle with her mitten. “No.”
“Noooooo,” she grinned, pulling him along with her as Rosie, the leader of the hunt at Whispering Pines tree farm, took a sharp, squealing turn toward a sudden Santa taking pictures with children. Rosie said something quickly and half understandable to John, pointing at Santa and bouncing. He said something they couldn’t quite hear over the ruckus of the other kids, then she said something back, and he turned around and signaled for them to hold before he let himself be led into the line. “You won’t have to, he’ll see the picture.” She gestured to a printer off to the side. She had no idea how it was working out in the snow in the middle of a tree farm, but it was.
“I wanted the satisfaction,” he complained, huffing. “Santa isn’t even re-“
Molly elbowed him quickly, standing stock still as about a dozen children’s heads snapped in their direction, accompanied with a half a dozen or so warning glares from parents. Rosie, of course, wasn’t bothered. She didn’t believe in Santa, Sherlock had made sure of that, but she was still enthralled with him.
He wheezed, “ow.”
“Have some tact, Sherlock.”
He mumbled something but kept quiet. Rosie went through and got her picture, insisting John join, and then they paid five quid for printout out. As they walked back to Molly and Sherlock, John got a look that only said he realized he matched his three-year-old. He looked up when he reached them. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”
“It’s cute,” Molly said, downplaying her stupid grin.
Sherlock shrugged. “I just thought you’d finally given to being fashionable.”
John whacked him with the pamphlet they got at the entrance. “You. Absolute. Bellend.”
Sherlock turned and started walking while chuckling, completely unphased by the pamphlet assault. They walked on for a while between the frosty pines. It was sinfully cold but as her face became number Molly minded it less. Sherlock only seemed to mind the necessity of his knitcap, which he complained made him look like he was about to go cod fishing. Molly just thought he looked cute, but she didn't say it because he was in a mood where he'd try and argue the point. Rosie was rather indecisive about the trees until Sherlock pointed at one and told her it turned into a monster at night and might eat all the vegetables in the house if she was lucky. This tree became The Tree.
John let her “take the first swing” (put his hands over hers and swung with her) and then went ahead and started chopping. Molly got a little video on her phone and a couple of pictures. Sherlock photobombed one right as a call popped up from her mum.
“Oh,” she pulled off a mitten, cold biting at her hand, and answered. “Hi, Mum.”
“Hello, sweetheart! How are you? What are you up to?” Ever cheery was Mrs. Pauline Hooper, probably making a quilt in the living room surrounded by her dogs.
“Oh, I’m good Mum, out getting a tree.”
“Oh! A tree? I thought you had one of those silly fake things.”
Molly chuckled. “I do. I’m with John and Rosie-“
“Oh! That man, I like him. He’s got kind eyes. Did little Rosie like the quilt last year?”
“Loves it, Mum.” Molly smiled thinking of it. Her poor mum, retired with nothing else to do but quilt and watch BBC. Actually, she was probably enjoying herself immensely.
“Good, good. She was such a sweet little thing. I only saw her once, of course, but I know how they turn out, Molly, I always do. And she’ll be a lovely little thing.”
Molly was nodding until she realized her mother couldn’t see her. “Oh yes, Mum. Sure will.”
“Yay, Daddy!” Rosie shouted and clapped as the tree fell. John smiled looking like he’d rather not do that ever again, wiped his forehead, then grabbed the stump and started dragging it through the rows of trees. Molly hadn’t realized they were moving and found herself being quietly dragged by Sherlock. Her mother was chatting about this and that; old friends, her brothers, decorating the house for the holidays and complaining about Mary next door stealing her mail again.
“Really, at this rate I’m going to sell her bread recipe to the bakery down the street-oh, that’s it! I knew I called you for something. I want you down here for Christmas this year, love. You’ve missed half of them this last decade! I simply won’t stand for it, you know.”
Molly refrained from sighing. “Oh, Mum. Look, I’m sorry I just-“
“Just, just, just! You’ve said that every time. Last time was two years ago and you didn’t even bring, oh, what’s his name? Starts with a….K or a…a B-Bob?”
“Tom. Sweet boy. Wasn’t very bright.”
Molly sighed. Sherlock had noticed the name and now was looking at her oddly. “No, Mum, he wasn’t.”
There was a pause. “Buuuut a little birdie tells me there’s another.”
“Tell me which of the three birdies it is so I can put a finger in their potatoes.”
“What? I’ve got plenty.”
She could see the exasperated eyeroll in her head. “Really, Molly. Who is he?”
Molly was trying to figure out how one of her brothers could have possibly figured it out. Probably Daniel. Snoopy bastard likely saw the spare suits in her closet. They’d come to a stop at the entrance where John was paying, and it was significantly quieter, so Sherlock was quite obviously listening in. She looked at him; they’d sort of agreed to keep quiet to their families for a while, hadn’t been sure how it’d all worked out. Actually, he told her there were six possible endings to the relationship, half of which ended in disaster. But he’d recently mentioned it’d gone down… she muted the call.
“How many of those possibilities end in disaster?”
“Huh? Oh, um…” Instead of answering properly, Sherlock just nodded to the phone. “Go ahead.”
Molly smiled some and nodded, wondering slightly why he avoided it before bringing her back up. “Mum? Yeah, sorry, weak signal out here. You know Sherlock Holmes?”
“What? Yes, you used to never shut up about him. On and on.”
Molly pinked slightly as Sherlock smirked. He leaned in, “oh did she, now?”
A small pause. “Is that him? Molly are you dating Sherlock Holmes?”
Molly whacked him slightly, “yes, yes I’m dating Sherlock Holmes, Mum.”
A squeal. “Oh honey, that’s wonderful! Oh, I know how much you like him, or well – well I hope you like him more now, I mean I’d hope – where was I going? Oh yes-how long?”
Molly watched John and one of the farm workers get the tree up on the car and winced. “Um, about-“
“One year, one month, and one day.” Sherlock said quickly, then looked down at her. “I could go by hours as well, if you like.”
“Oh shush, Sherlock.”
“A year?! You’ve been with someone a year and not mentioned it?!” Her dear Mum was, of course, absolutely pissed. “Am I privy to nothing in your life anymore, Missy? No, no, that’s it. You’re coming to Christmas, and he is too.”
Sherlock’s eyes widened. Molly took advantage of this, a moment to give the smug little arse some consequences and said while looking him in the eye, “oh of course we’ll come, Mum.”
“That’s what I like to hear!”
“No,” he whispered.
“It’s Christmas Eve as always, love. Gift exchange-I’ll tell everyone. They’ll be so glad to see you-and we’re looking forward to meeting oh-so-mysterious!” She said the last with a gleeful warning.
Molly nodded. “Yes Mum, alright we’ll not forget the gift exchange, yes, yes, yes,” Sherlock sulked over to the car, opened the door, and slid in. “Yep, gotcha, understood, mhm, love you too, bye,” she hung up and got into the front passenger.
“I can’t believe you just did that.” He slouched in the back.
“What she do?” Rosie asked.
“She’s been very naughty.” Sherlock pointed. “Naughty, naughty!”
“Naughty!” Rosie copied him. “Naughty auntie!”
“No, it’s Uncle that’s been naughty.” Molly retorted, leaning back to whack Sherlock on the knee. “Hit him Rosie, he’s been very naughty.”
Rosie looked gleeful at the chance to hit something.
“No, no hitting!” John said quickly, giving a Dad Glare nearly simultaneously to everyone in the car before pulling out. Rosie, put out, pouted much like her godfather and looked out the window. John inhaled deeply. “What the hell did I miss?”
“Molly is an awful girlfriend.”
“Ha!” Molly turned back to look at him. “You said I could tell her!”
“I didn’t say you could volunteer me for some bloody Christmas interrogation!”
“It’s not an interrogation.”
“I’m the new boyfriend, of course it’s an interrogation, you just call it a Christmas Party.”
John seemed to glean what was going on. “You like Christmas parties.”
“Marginally. With certain individuals that don't include anyone's fami-”
“If you hadn’t told her precisely how long we’d been together,” Molly interjected, “I could have talked her out of it. Or made an excuse.”
He huffed. “So this is punishment for my actions?”
“Consequence, not punishment.” She turned back around. “Besides, it’d have to happen sooner or later.”
Sherlock breathed deeply and leaned back, looking at the roof. “Molly Hooper, I swear.”
She smiled lopsidedly, reached back, and patted his knee affectionately.