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"Daddy, daddy!" Rosie came running towards John. She leaped into his arms.

"What's wrong, love?" John asked, placing the girl on his knee.

"Santa is real, right?" the little girl asked. She was barely four, a little early for that conversation.

John raised his eyebrows, "Of course, yeah."

"Than why did Papa say he isn't?"

John glared at Sherlock who was sitting across the room, on his chair, innocently typing on his phone. "Well, your Papa is a compulsive liar..."

"But why would he lie about that? Papa said that everyone lies for a reason! You know, if they killed someone!"

Sherlock was a bad influence. John glared harder at him. But the detective had the audacity to say, "It's called a motive, Rosamund." and return to typing.

"Well, the truth is, your Papa is jealous of Santa." Sherlock turned his head up at that, looking scandalized, but before he could say anything, John glared at him again.

"Why?" the little girl asked.

John tickled her and she giggled, "Because he makes you happier than your Papa does."

"I would appreciate it if you didn't talk about me like I can't hear." John rolled his eyes at that.

Rosie hopped off from John's leg and turned to point at Sherlock, "Papa is jealous!"

Sherlock rolled his eyes too but with a fond smile, "Are you mocking me, Rosamund?" Sherlock stood up and started chasing the girl, "I'll show you!"

The girl squealed and ran the other way, to her room. John was still mad at Sherlock, but he couldn't help but like the way he acted with their daughter. It was times like these where John was grateful for his partner.

It took some time for Sherlock to return. He could hear giggling from downstairs and then Sherlock saying goodnight.

"She's asleep," Sherlock announced.

"Sherlock..."

Sherlock turned to him, "It's not like she wouldn't have figured it out herself, John! I understood that it was impossible to travel the world in one night when I was her age!"

"What a sad childhood you must have had," John muttered.

Sherlock crossed his arms, "Santa isn't what's important about Christmas, it's the presents. Or as you would say, it's about 'family'." Sherlock used air quotes for the word family. John could swear he had no sense of sentiment.

"I just want Rosie to have a normal childhood."

"Dull," Sherlock said.

John huffed, "Can at least just this be normal?" He was raising his voice probably. Definitely. Sherlock was rarely hurt only when John was yelling or when he felt John was angry with him, and he could see hurt in Sherlock's eyes. "Sorry... didn't mean to yell."

"It's alright, John. I realize it must be hard, sometimes," Sherlock put a hand on John's back and pulled him in for a hug.

John nodded into Sherlock's chest, "Rosie asks me if I loved her mother sometimes. I don't know what to say."

"You did love Mary, John," Sherlock reminded him.

"Yeah, but not as much as I loved you. I don't want her to hate Mary or think she was in the way or something..."

Sherlock shrugged and let go of John.

"I'm still mad at you," John said.

Sherlock sighed, "I'm sorry, John. I won't say it again."

John sighed too, “it's too late now. She looks up to you, she thinks you are the smartest person alive. She will need evidence to prove you wrong." When John looked at Sherlock, he could see the happiness on his face.

Suddenly he got an idea. "Well, unless maybe..." John looked up at Sherlock and smirked. Sherlock's eyes lit up with horror.

~~~

The day of Christmas Eve, John told Rosie that this year, they could stay up and wait for Santa.

The girl's questioning eyes became wider when John told her, "Really?"

"Yes, love."

"Yay!" the girl squealed, "You are the best dad! Will Papa be waiting with us?"

"I am afraid Papa is busy, love."

Rosie seemed a little disappointed but again, the girl had a short attention span, "Can we have hot chocolate while we are waiting?"

"Alright, but don't spill it on the couch! The flat is enough of a mess."

~~~

While Rosie and John waited for 'Santa', they watched TV. Rosie was the one to convince him to get Netflix and it was amusing to watch Sherlock binge watch Friends. Right now, they were watching a Netflix original Christmas Rom-Com, and it was, unsurprisingly, horribly enjoyable. Rosie didn't care about the quality, but she did gag whenever the couple would kiss or intensely gaze at each other.

Halfway through the movie, John heard a loud crash. He looked to the source of the noise, seeing a tall figure. 221B didn't have a chimney but Sherlock got in through the window, right beside the tree.

Rosie grabbed a pillow, "What was that?"

John almost chuckled at Rosie's choice of weapon, "I don't know. I'll go look."

"Ho ho ho," the intruder said with disinterest. Which made him sound slightly creepy.

However, Rosie didn't notice the creepiness, her eyes widened, "Santa!"

The world's worst Santa, but yes. "Come out, Santa!" John calls out.

Sherlock comes out and John nearly laughs out loud. The costume was big on him, baggy. He was also wearing a white beard and the iconic Santa hat and he had a bag over his shoulder.

"Hello, Rosamund. John Watson." He gave a weak smile. This was priceless.

Rosie screamed and ran to grab Santa's feet, "Santa! You are real!"

Sherlock frowned, "Of course, I'm real," he said through gritted teeth.

John raised a warning eyebrow, silently telling him to sell it.

"Why wouldn't I be?" Sherlock tried again, more believably.

Rosie let go and looked to the ground, "Well… My Papa said you aren't real."

John was looking forward to this. "Ahem, your Papa is a very..." John raised an eyebrow again. "Stupid man," Sherlock said through gritted teeth. John needed to film this, he couldn't wipe the smirk from his face.

"Actually, he isn't!" Rosie defended and Sherlock smirked back at John. "He is the smartest man I know!"

"What about me?" John feigned hurt and walked towards them.

Rosie chuckled and waved him off with her tiny hand. John couldn’t close his mouth. Sherlock kept smirking in a smug manner. "Is that so?"

Rosie nodded, "He also teaches me. He says when the time comes, I'll be the smartest girl at my school!"

Sherlock grinned, "Maybe he sees potential in you."

"You really think so, Santa?" Rosie asked shyly.

Sherlock nodded. Rosie beamed at Santa and Sherlock beamed back, until John cleared his throat, "What did you bring for Rosie, Santa?"

Sherlock dropped his bag, "Everything she asked for."

~~~

After gifts were given (a bee plushie, a microscope for kids and lots of books) and Rosie was successfully pleased, she insisted that Santa should use the door instead of the window. Sherlock frowned again but did as he was told.

"Say goodbye to Santa, Rosie," John instructed her.

"Goodbye," she waved.

Sherlock smiled and waved back. He turned to leave, when Rosie yelled, "Wait!"

Sherlock turned immediately while John mildly started panicking internally, “Yes?"

"How do you fly around the world in one night and still have time to visit me?" she simply asked.

Sherlock looked shocked for a moment before saying, "Why, time travel of course!”

Before Rosie could respond, Sherlock turned on his heel and ran away.

"Wow, Daddy! Santa time travels!" Rosie said to John.

John chuckled, "Apparently, he does."

~~~

After that, Rosie fell asleep and all that was left was to put her in her bed.

John picked her up and lifted her to bed, watching as she slept soundly.

He felt the hands snake around him before he saw them.

"Thank you, Sherlock, you made her very happy," he noticed that Sherlock was still wearing the Santa suit.

Sherlock replied with a hum. He didn't move his head from John's shoulder.

"Are you going to fall asleep, Holmes?" John teased.

"Yes."

John grabbed Sherlock's wrist and led him out of their daughter's room. He then examined Sherlock from head to toe and grinned. He got his phone out and snapped a photo, "For Scotland Yard."

"Delete that footage, John!" Sherlock was at once awake and tried to grab John's phone. John shushed him.

"Maybe I'll put it in my wallet," John mused.

"John, I swear to God-"

~~~

They ended up making it a yearly tradition. Sherlock deleted all the footage, so the people at Scotland yard had to simply believe the story (which they didn't).

~~~

When they reached Rosie's seventh Christmas, she was sent off to her grandparents for the holiday.

Sherlock threw a fit when the offer was first made, saying his parents would make Rosie dull. John wasn’t too happy to let Rosie go, but Rosie wanted to, and John could use a break.

Apparently, Mommy Holmes was quite terrifying, and finally convinced Sherlock to bring Rosie for Christmas. John may or may not use her in the future to manipulate Sherlock again.

And so, John and Rosie ended up packing. Which meant, John packed and Rosie oversaw his actions.

At least they were packing until Rosie announced, "Santa isn't real."

Not a question, a statement. John stopped packing. "What?"

"I'm not stupid, Dad, and I'm seven," she held up seven fingers to show him, "Time travel isn't real... The TV said so."

John shook his head, "But Santa is magic. He can do anything."

"Stop lying to me, Dad!" Rosie crossed her arms, "I deduced it!"

John couldn't help the tinge of pride he was feeling. But it was mostly a disappointment that his little girl was growing up. "Love, if Santa isn't real, who has been visiting you?"

"Sherlock, I found the costume in his closet." Shit...

John sighed, "Alright, you caught us. But can you at least pretend to not know?"

Rosie scoffed, "No! I want Papa to be proud of me for solving the case!" She ran off, leaving John to his own thoughts and rumination. He just wanted Rosie to have a normal childhood, but he couldn't even do that.

~~~

Right before Rosie got into the cab, she whispered something to Sherlock, which earned her a grin and a kiss on her forehead, “My smart girl!"

Rosie folded her arms again but she had a tiny smile, "Papa, you are embarrassing me! Stop acting like Dad!"

John chipped in to let Rosie know he could hear them loud and clear, "Hey!"

Sherlock smiled at Rosie, "Apologies, Rosamund." He bowed to her and then closed the cab door. Rosie loved when Sherlock acted all formal. John has a soft spot for it, too.

Sherlock stood beside him and John held his hand. They both waved as the cab drove away but Rosie wasn't looking back, the little brat.

"She takes after you, you know," John pointed an accusing finger at him.

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Do you know she knows?"

John nodded, serious now, "Yeah. I knew I couldn't keep it a secret for long, but..." he trailed off and Sherlock nodded, understandingly.

~~~

Almost an hour after Rosie left and John had sunk into the feelings of bliss and peacefulness, Sherlock started moaning, "John, I'm bored."

John thought about how long it had been since he heard that moan. Maybe ever since Rosie was born. Who knew that parenthood would keep Sherlock that busy.

"I have a deja vu."

Sherlock snorted, "I say that a lot, John. Of course you would have a deja vu."

"Actually, you don't say it all that often anymore," John stated fondly.

Sherlock snapped his eyes to him, "What?"

"You have been too busy with Rosie to be bored."

Sherlock's head sank into the sofa, deep in thought. "Oddly, that's true..."

John smirked, “Who knew the great Sherlock Holmes could be fulfilled with parenting."

Sherlock ignored him, "I never really wanted kids. Or stability. But then you came and that... changed. Rosie and you mean to me more than I ever thought anything would. I thought solving cases was my drug, but a family is just as good as that..."

John's heart felt so full he just wanted to snog Sherlock senseless.

But then Sherlock snorted again, "...Or it's just that Rosamund is a lot of work."

John rolled his eyes. Then a thought came to him and he smiled, "We have the whole holiday for each other."

"Really? Haven't noticed."

"Hush, you. We should do something! Let's go to Angelo's tonight! Do you think they lit up the Christmas tree yet?"

Sherlock caught on, “Or we could stay inside..." Sherlock walked over to him, sat on his lap, started kissing John's neck.

"What? Now?" John asked.

"Why not?"

"We do have the whole holiday," John pointed out.

Sherlock stopped kissing John's neck and pouted. It had been a long time, but with Sherlock looking like that, John could change that very soon… "How long has it been?"

Sherlock made a choking sound, "I don't keep count!"

John frowned. "Not good?" Sherlock asked.

"If you, that remembers everything, don't know how long it's been, yeah, a bit not good."

Now it was Sherlock’s turn to frown, "It's absolutely pathetic to keep count! My life doesn't revolve around sex! I'm not that shallow, John! There are too many important things for me to remember to keep count of the last time we shagged! Who does that?"

John shrugged and Sherlock eyed him suspiciously, "Wait, you keep count?"

John hit him with a newspaper, "Git!"

They acted like such an old married couple, talking about when they last had sex. Well, maybe they were one. Even if they weren't married yet. The thought made John feel warm. "I love you," John said softly and pulled Sherlock for a kiss.

Sherlock looked puzzled, "What was that?"

"Affection?"

"You don't say I love you that spontaneously."

"Would it kill you to just say ‘I love you, too’?"

Maybe this was what Christmas was really about. Not Santa, or childhood memories, but love. Rosie would be okay as long as she had that. And she did.

"John, let's just have sex."

John rolled his eyes, "Alright… but on one condition." John grabbed the Santa hat and threw it at Sherlock, "You wear the damn hat." Sherlock laughed.

Maybe he could have Santa just one more time, though.