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Proving A Point

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It was early Christmas morning, and she was still sound asleep. Good. He was going to show her, once and for all, that he could cook a proper breakfast without burning down the kitchen and he was going to serve it to her in bed and it was going to be the perfect Christmas morning.

He was not anywhere near as talented with food as his fiancée or his brother. He wasn’t even as good as Lestrade of John. But unbeknownst to most, he had been practicing. Not at home; no, that would have spoiled the surprise. But he had, prior to the birth of Eloise, been taking lessons with various people. Former clients, mostly, but he had also enrolled in a few classes offered by various businesses. He was planning on marrying a foodie and thus he needed to learn to hold his own in a kitchen. It was his husbandly duty, as far as he was concerned.

He was as quiet as he could possibly be as he crept out to the kitchen. The one downside with not learning how to cook at home was not being familiar with the kitchen at Baker Street. He had a vague idea where everything he needed was, but just that. He hoped he could find everything without making too much of a ruckus and waking up Molly or worse, Eloise. He began to rummage around, looking for the equipment first. If he didn’t have all of that, then he would have to adjust the menu in his head. He had a primary menu of the items he was best at, with a back-up menu and then a secondary menu to that.

He was, as per usual, a man who went into battle with a plan. And he was looking at this as the ultimate battle. His fiancée believed he could burn air. He needed to prove her wrong.

He could have easily made a fry up but that was too…common. No. He wanted to impress her. And that meant pulling out all the stops. Menu #1 consisted of the Ham and Sausage Strata he had started the night before and Butterscotch Sticky Buns. If that fell through then he would move on to Menu #2, which consisted of a Tornado Hash Brown, Eggs Benedict with Bacon and Arugula and Baked Currant Doughnuts, which he rather hoped he could succeed in making. And if, by some comedy of errors, he fouled up both of those attempts, then his final fail safe menu was Menu #3: Corned Beef Hash with Fried Eggs and Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones. Not even he could ruin that menu.

He went to the refrigerator and pulled out the bowl containing the strata mixture he’d had to refrigerate overnight and frowned. He’d been adapting an American recipe and he’d consulted people who assured him the equivalent exchanges would be fine but this looked…wrong. Something looked off. It looked as if there were…was there ice in the mixture? He stuck a finger in it and poked around. Yes, definitely ice. Then he stuck his hand in the refrigerator. Wonderful. It looked as if during the night, somehow, their refrigerator had gone to shit.

He wondered if he’d be able to cook anything today.

It took him a moment to figure out what to do. He rummaged around the refrigerator and saw nearly everything inside was frozen. He doubted most of the markets would be open as it was Christmas. If he was lucky perhaps one of the larger ones would be. Tesco, Asda and Waitrose were never open on Christmas, he knew that. Safeway, perhaps? Or, if he was lucky...and she didn’t want to murder him…

A half hour later, and with the promise that they would invite her up to open gifts with them and that he’d make her a dinner all for herself at some point, he had enough to make bits for some of the breakfast, having to mix up his menus. Spuds he had plenty of, and Mrs. Hudson had graciously given him eggs and butter and milk and a few other items that he needed. She’d even given him corned beef, bless her, so he could make the hash. Soon he set to work, working diligently in the kitchen. It was hard, not being familiar with everything, and he was sure he was making an awful racket. He knew he was also probably destroying the cookware since he wasn’t familiar with how to use all of it; he was fairly sure he’d dulled at least two of Molly’s good knives and blackened the bottom of one of her pans, and he dropped a glass baking dish by accident that shattered on the tile floor, almost cutting his bare foot in the process.

It was that incident that caused a sleepy looking Molly to come shuffling out from their bedroom when the Butterscotch Sticky Buns were almost done. “What have you done to my kitchen?” she asked, part surprised and part…almost touched, he supposed?

“I was trying to surprise you with breakfast in bed for Christmas, but it all fell apart,” he said a bit sheepishly. “Be careful in the kitchen, I broke a baking dish. I’ll replace it, I promise.”

She winced as she made her way into the kitchen, taking in the dirty dishes and the potato peelings in and around the rubbish bin and the flour on the counter. She looked around and then stood by the oven, looking at the Tornado Hash Brown on the skillet. “So, what is breakfast?” she asked.

“Corned Beef Hash with Fried Eggs, a Tornado Hash Brown and Butterscotch Sticky Buns,” he said. “That wasn’t the meal I had originally planned, and it’s a bit heavy on the potatoes, but I ran into a complication when our refrigerator decided to freeze everything inside it.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh, our Christmas dinner is in there!” she moaned.

“Well, Mrs. Hudson said we could join her here, and I’m sure when my brother hears of our predicament he’ll invite us to dine with him and his husband.”

“I thought they were going to your parents,” she said with a frown.

“If they can come up with a reason not to go, like needing to feed us, trust me, Mycroft will have dinner ready precisely at six,” Sherlock said with a smirk. “And you know he’ll look for any reason to impress you with a meal. You are his favorite in the family.”

She grinned. “Well, we are close,” he said.

“I think he likes you more than me,” Sherlock said as the timer went off for the sticky buns.

“I would argue that point but it’s probably the truth,” she said with a chuckle. She watched as Sherlock got oven mitts and opened the oven door, pulling out the buns. “Oh, those actually look good.”

“I still have to let them cool slightly, unmold them, then add the glaze and toasted pecans,” he said. “This was part of the original meal I had planned. The hash brown was part of Meal #2, and the hash was part of Meal #3.”

“You had three meals planned?” she asked.

“As contingencies,” he replied. He set the tray on the worktop. He looked over at her. “I’ll clean up the kitchen and replace the things I have utterly destroyed. The mandolin, the knives, the baking dish...anything else.”

She tilted her head. “I could always just not buy you any gifts for your birthday and buy myself nice quality replacements,” she said thoughtfully. “Let your Christmas gifts be all you get.”

He pouted slightly. “That’s unfair.”

She laughed and moved closer to him, reaching up to dust some flour off the shirt he was wearing. “I’m teasing, Sherlock. Though I could always suggest that if he really wanted to, Mycroft forgo buying you gifts and replace the ruined cookware for me. Then he’d get me things that are much better quality than either you and I could afford. And then I could get you things much better suited to a beginner.”

He tilted his head back and forth for a moment before reaching for her and settling his hands on her waist. “I think that sounds like a better proposition,” he said, sliding his hands to the small of her back.

“Good. Then that’s what I’ll do.” She slid her arms around his neck and then leaned in and kissed him softly. “You finish up in here while I sneak back off to bed after checking on Eloise so you can gift me with a proper breakfast in bed. And then I’ll reward you suitably when we’re done eating, provided our daughter cooperates, all right?”

He grinned before kissing her again for good measure. “All right,” he said before letting her go and watching her saunter off back to their bedroom. While this hadn’t been quite the Christmas morning he had envisioned, provided the food was up to snuff, he’d prove he was just as good in the kitchen now as she was, and earn a suitable reward in the process. All in all, he’d say that was a good start to his holiday.