Of course Christmas happened like this.
The morning started out pleasant enough. Almost too pleasant. It was nice. And quiet.
Which meant that, with Sherlock around, it was sure to fall to pieces before morning was even over.
John woke up at seven, enjoying the quiet that only Christmas morning seemed to bring. He puttered around the kitchen, making breakfast and humming Christmas tunes to himself. Fifteen minutes later, Sherlock made his grand appearance, already dressed and throwing himself languidly on the couch, waiting for John to bring tea to him. For some unknown reason, John did.
“Happy Christmas,” John said as he settled into his chair.
“Same to you.”
“There’s breakfast in the kitchen, if you’d like.”
“Open your presents.”
“Eat your breakfast, first, you child.”
“You offered, it wasn’t a command.”
John shook his head and rose, going to retrieve his parcels from under the tree. (The tree which, while Sherlock insisted they had, never got decorated, as the same man became bored as soon as it entered the flat.) Honestly, John was surprised Sherlock even remembered that it was customary for one to buy gifts for their friends for this particular holiday, or that he might find it pedestrian. It turned out that Sherlock quite enjoyed spending his (Mycroft’s) money on presents for his friends. (Or friend.)
On Christmas Eve, Sherlock had successfully deduced and proceeded to open all of his own presents, leaving him with nothing for the morning. (Test tubes, a pair of gloves, and lounge pants.) (He had stolen a pair of John’s, which looked absurd on him.) For a petulant child of a man, he bore that well. John should have known from the glimmer in his flatmate’s eye that this was going to be when Christmas would fall apart. Sherlock stood up and looked intently down at John as he proceeded to open his gifts.
The first present was innocent enough, a rust-coloured cashmere jumper. The second was a very nice watch, so nice, in fact, that were it given for any occasion other than Christmas, John would have to refuse it. God, it was even monogrammed. The third was a kettle, which was a nice gesture in theory, but really just an excuse for Sherlock to completely commandeer the old one for his experiments.
The fourth present, wrapped in innocent wrapping paper with candy canes and an actual honest to God bow is what demolished the whole day.
All of the color drained from John’s face as he looked down at the book in his hand: The Gay Kama Sutra.
“Problem?” Sherlock replied with a customary head tilt.
It was, of course, at this moment that Mrs Hudson made her appearance. John tried his best to hide the book quickly, shoving it under his chair. She held a sprig of mistletoe over her head, and used it as an excuse to stand on tip toe and give Sherlock a kiss on the cheek and then lean down and do the same to John.
“Merry Christmas, dears,” she said. “Are you both seeing family today?”
“I’m off to Harry’s in an hour,” John replied.
Sherlock muttered something involving the words “Mycroft” and “arse”, so John didn’t bother to listen beyond that.
“Well, then I won’t keep you two long.”
As she left, John sunk into his chair in relief. He closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose, rethinking how to handle the situation at hand. When he opened his eyes, Sherlock was standing by the door with his coat on.
“I have familial duties to perform, though I wish I didn’t. I’ll be back this evening, John.”
“Can you explain about this fucking book before you leave?”
“Oh that,” Sherlock said, already on his way down the stairs. “I’ve annotated it for you and everything.”
Christmases with Harry were always interesting in all the wrong ways. Sober Christmases with Harry were awkward, especially without the presence of Clara to keep conversation civil throughout the whole day. The fact that Harry made a point to maintain eye contact with John each time she downed a beverage, just to show him that it was, in fact, alcohol-free, was unnerving at best. Christmases were usually bad because of drunken family members, not because of family so determined to appear sober that they seemed a little bit crazy.
John felt like a teenage boy as he texted under the table, attempting to hide from the watchful eye of Big Sis. She didn’t say anything, but became more and more noticeably irritated with each received text and each supressed giggle. It was hard to resist, though, especially when they revealed mysteries about the Holmes family Christmases.
Mycroft is flirting with my cousin’s fiancée. SH
My cousin is secretly engaged, of course. SH
As though you can keep a secret in this family. SH
That doesn’t surprise me.
She rejected him by insinuating he is fat. I approve. SH
To further humiliation, I congratulated her on her recent engagement. Apparently they were waiting for the New Year. SH
People typically like to announce their own engagements.
It’s pure sentiment to make a to-do about something so obvious. Mummy agrees. SH
Some people don’t think so.
Idiots, you mean. SH
You know calling people idiots loses its bite after you call everyone one?
Moronic mindless fools then. SH
At this point, Harry was glowering across the table and John looked up and the smile on his face immediately died away.
“You live with him all year, why d’you gotta text him all Christmas, John?” she asked.
“How do you know that it was-”
“Shove it, yeah? You have this weird flirty living together thing going on where he’s basically your boyfriend but without the benefits of a relationship.”
John remembered the book sitting under his chair back at the flat. The book he wanted to burn in the fire. The apparently personally annotated by his very sexually attractive flatmate book. The one he couldn’t gather the nerve to look at. He blushed.
“Oh,” Harry replied, noticing the blush. “You’re not already? Get a boyfriend for Christmas and that.”
“No,” he defended. “We’re not. Relationships aren’t his thing and you know I’m complete shite at them.”
“The Watson curse.”
After a few hours of awkward conversation followed by awkward silence, John at last made his way back to the flat. He returned earlier than expected, which left him time to prepare for the inevitable confrontation that would end the ever so delightful evening. (Because regardless of intention, and he was going to ask about that, buying someone a sex and relationship manual is usually a bit not good.) Before he could collect himself, however, Sherlock burst in the door, looking fairly miserable and surprisingly rosy cheeked.
“Did you walk home?” John asked.
“Needed to think. My entire family is infuriating.”
“Well, tis the season. Tea?”
The question went unanswered, as it often does, but warranted the retrieval of two mugs and two tea bags. Sherlock, surprisingly, joined John in the kitchen after he had removed his outerwear, sinking down, all too gracefully, into one of the kitchen chairs.
“The jumper your sister gave you is rather garish,” Sherlock commented.
“I find it charming. Green becomes me.”
“Not that shade. I’ve had mould experiments with more becoming colour schemes.”
“I’m sure you received some charming family presents.”
“Yes and I left all of them behind with the charming gift-givers to fester in their closets until they attempt to give them to me again in a few years’ time.”
“So much Christmas spirit,” John snorted.
John laid the two mugs on the table and slid into the chair across from Sherlock.
“For you. I needed something to steal.”
Sherlock slid a Christmas cracker across the table.
“You’re quite the rebel at the Christmas family dinners, then? Should we pull together?”
“Don’t be absurd. I took several. The skull is wearing a crown as we speak.”
He produced another from his pocket and unceremoniously pulled it open and John followed suit. John smiled as he placed the green paper crown on his head.
“Put it on,” he said before lifting up his mug to sip his tea.
“I would prefer not to.”
“It’s Christmas night. I promise not to take any pictures.”
“You said that about the incident with the sequined dress and the mud.”
“That was too good to resist. Now put your crown on before I have to use my military training to make you.”
“Go ahead, make me.”
John rose, putting on his determined face as he walked around the table, grabbing the crown along the way. Before he could place it atop his flatmate’s head, his wrist was seized and it seemed prime time for the confrontation to begin.
“We need to talk,” John stated.
“Your choice of Christmas presents.”
“That’s an odd concept for you to be judging me for, John.”
“I know you’re not exactly good with social norms, but you can’t buy your friend a,” he searched for the proper phrasing. “You can’t buy your friend a sex manual. You certainly don’t give your friend a sex manual that you’ve written your own notes in.”
Sherlock dropped John’s wrist.
“Ah, you haven’t read it.”
“No I haven’t-haven’t read it. I wasn’t going to read about sex positions at the dinner table on Christmas of all days.”
“It’s just-what am I supposed to do with this? Why did you think, with your genius-sized intellect, that this was an appropriate gift?”
“Beyond the technical level, the book was not the intended present.”
“And what was intended, awkward interactions? An embarrassed Christmas?”
“You would know if you bothered to read,” Sherlock huffed.
“Put the fucking crown on, and I’ll look at the fucking book.”
“No, no this isn’t working, change of plans.”
Sherlock grabbed John’s wrist again and pulled him down, forcing him into his lap. The crown fell out of John’s grasp, falling crushed on the ground.
“Good, this is mature of you,” John said. “I’m going to go to bed early then.”
“That’s closer to the idea.”
“What kind of notes did you put in that book?”
“I suppose they’d be in the category of suggestions.”
“Is this you attempting to- to- seduce me?”
“You haven’t moved from my lap.”
John didn’t respond, which his flatmate took as an open invitation to begin kissing him. It began tentatively, with two closed mouths joining and soon breaking apart. It was John who initiated the second kiss, open mouthed, allowing tongues to dart back and forth, exchanging the tastes and textures of new territory freely. His hands wandered up Sherlock’s neck, fingers playing gingerly with the curls at the nape of his neck. He had to stop, however, when he felt Sherlock’s hands slide into his cardigan and begin pulling his shirt out of his trousers.
“Stop right there,” he mumbled against Sherlock’s mouth.
“Stopping right there’s not going to get anyone off.”
“You need to explain,” he continued, pulling away, but still twisting his fingers in Sherlock’s curls.
“When two people of compatible sexualities have mutual sexual interest in each other-”
“No. I mean about the book and your reasoning.”
Sherlock shrugged at this, and began tracing patterns on John’s lower back.
“Alright, since you’re playing coy, what do you want out of this?” John asked, accompanied by the best gestures he could manage in his current position.
“I’d like to take you to bed tonight, and as many ensuing nights as possible. I would suggest embarking on a romantic relationship, but according to the observations of most around us, we already have most of the exterior qualities of such, and I think I can safely conjecture we feel the necessary emotions for each other for such a venture. It seems the only next possible step to take in this process is embarking on a physical relationship.”
He finished this statement by biting John’s earlobe then proceeding to kiss down his neck.
“Do you think you should have asked me about the uh- relationship part before choosing to embark on it?”
“Not dull: courteous.”
“I gave you that book so that you could see some of the ways you can have me, and some ways I can have you. If you’d have bothered to look, we could have been doing whatever you want right now.”
“So your present wasn’t actually the book, it was you?”
“Finally caught on.”
“That’s awfully romantic.”
Sherlock gave a look that implied he was genuinely offended, which warranted John giggling on his shoulder.
“We most definitely do not have to,” John began, as soon as he stopped. “I mean, tonight, that is, if you don’t want to.”
“My room. Now.”
“Maybe you should get your hands out of my trousers, first.”
Sherlock snorted as John disentangled himself and attempted, in vain, to tidy his clothing.
“Oh God, I was snogging with a paper crown on,” he said, with a smile.
He bent over and picked up the other discarded crown, at last placing it on his flatmate’s now somewhat dishevelled head. In return, he received the proper retaliation as soon as Sherlock stood up, grabbing his arse and pulling him up for another kiss.
“Now we’re both doing it,” John half-laughed as he pulled away.
They stumbled the short distance to the bedroom like that, teasing and kissing along the way. When they crossed the threshold, John’s cardigan, belt, crown, and socks were missing, while Sherlock already had his shirt half-undone.
“You have a stunning neck,” John whispered into the named body part. “And these moles.”
He began to kiss Sherlock’s neck¸ concentrating on the much adored moles.
“You have too many clothes on.”
“Well, that’s your job now.”
John thrust forward and upward, his clothed erection rubbing against Sherlock’s crotch. Nimble fingers made short work of John’s buttons, hastily pulling the shirt off almost as soon as it was fully opened. Trousers were shed with equal efficiency.
“Oh God, are those reindeer on your pants, John?” Sherlock asked as he slid to his knees.
“They’re festive. if I’d have known that-”
His sentence was stopped by the sensation of surprisingly soft lips mouthing his still clothed prick. There were hands grabbing the sides of his briefs and moving them downward, ever so slowly. As soon as they were slid fully to the floor however, Sherlock had risen.
“I’ll be right back,” he purred. “Stay right where you are.”
Before John could respond, he was out of the room, leaving an exposed and aroused flatmate standing in the middle of his room. John finally took the chance to take the room in. The fairy lights, which he had bought to decorate the tree with, were hanging in the room.
“You stole our Christmas decorations in a premeditated effort to set the mood?”
“It’s a Christmas present, John,” Sherlock stated as he re-emerged, suddenly completely bare. “Aren’t you supposed to give them proper dressing? I guess undressing is the proper label for this situation, though.”
Sherlock laid himself gracefully on the bed, holding the sprig of mistletoe he had apparently gone in search of above his head.
“You stole Mrs Hudson’s mistletoe and are using it in foreplay?”
John shook his head as he crawled on top of Sherlock, causing the first sensation of the friction of bare skin on bare skin, relishing especially in the feel of prick sliding against prick. This produced a moan from Sherlock, which John cut off with a deep kiss. Sherlock cast aside the mistletoe and pulled John down to him completely, rolling them over, and successfully crushing the paper crown for the last time. They spent a few minutes exchanging messy kisses and thrusting into each other, hands exploring new places. John’s hands settled on Sherlock’s arse, pulling him even closer before turning them over once again. He sat up, breaking the full contact for the first time in minutes, which Sherlock retaliated by following and sucking his right nipple, which made John arch his back and groan. John playfully pushed him back at his first opportunity, and began a slide down Sherlock’s body, until he settled with his head in the other man’s crotch.
He planted a series of kisses on Sherlock’s upper thighs, nibbling before moving on. Without any warning, he slid his mouth on Sherlock’s cock, making Sherlock keen and grab at the sheets. When John reached down to cup his balls, he bucked slightly forward. John adjusted his pace, creating a rhythm that fell into time with Sherlock’s body, and he persisted, even as the movement below him became more and more erratic, signalling the coming of his release.
“John,” was the only warning he gave before his orgasm overtook him, and John kept on, swallowing and continuing his ministrations until the moment was fully over. When he released the softening cock, he made his way back up, kissing his way up from pelvis to stomach to chest to neck until he reached Sherlock’s kiss swollen lips, kissing him without restraint.
“You’re, you’re very good,” Sherlock panted. “What do you want?”
“Is that a trick question? I’m very happy with what I have right now.”
He continued kissing, concentrating this time on Sherlock’s jawline and moving occasionally to his neck.
“You can have me any way you want.”
“I plan on it, if you’re willing, but I really don’t have any preference right now. I’m rather happy just doing this at the moment.”
“This is your present and you’re concentrating on my pleasure.”
“That’s how physical relationships work, yeah. What I wanted was to share mutual sexual pleasure. I’m rather fond of giving as well as receiving.”
Sherlock smiled one of his genuine “for John only” smiles, and pulled him forward, kissing him on the forehead. He moved his hand down, wrapping it around John’s cock and began pumping at a slow pace. John recommenced his kisses, this time focusing on Sherlock’s shoulder. When he was close to coming, he bit down, quite against his will, until his release arrived bringing with it a single loud cry. Soon enough, John fell gently on top of him, boneless and still kissing, though the kisses were less fevered and more reverent.
“We need to clean up,” Sherlock said at length.
He unwillingly crawled out from under John and made his way to the bathroom. John turned over in the bed¸ humming a few joyful but tired bars of the Hallelujah Chorus. Sherlock returned with a flannel in his hand and quietly cleaned them both up before crawling back into bed and pressing himself against John. They stared up at the fairy lights in the dark room for a few momentsbefore turning to each other.
“Christmas is over,” John said with a smile, as he took Sherlock’s hand and placed it on his stomach. “Sorry about the bite.”
“It’s a present. Now, time for you to sleep,” Sherlock replied. “I have an even better present for Boxing Day.”