The fire glowed warmly. Outside, a light snow drifted down, dusting the cobbled Edinburgh street to postcard perfection. Greg stood at the window and watched it fall, dressing the world in its soft white shroud. "Shame it doesn't look like this all the time. It's actually pretty."
Sophie snaked an arm around his waist. "Are you disrespecting my town, London boy?"
Greg huffed a chuckle. "You know what I mean."
"Maybe if more people saw beauty like this, there'd be less horror in the world?"
"Something like that."
She pressed her cheek to his shoulder. "I love how you think."
The fire glowed warmly. Every tree branch wore cheerful decorations. The table was laid with the family china. Jerk turkey and other heady Caribbean aromas perfumed the air. Lights sparkled wherever Molly looked.
Oscar was telling a funny story she already knew, but she laughed just as merrily as the others listening. She was nervous about spending the holidays with his big, boisterous extended family, but they all made her feel so welcome that she quickly settled in.
Molly's cheeks flushed with the combined effects of the fire, crowded room, and rum punch. This year was her new favourite Christmas.
Baker Street 221a
The fire glowed warmly. Martha sat beside it, sipping a mug of tea laced with brandy. For no reason she could name, she expected company that rainy winter's night, but company hadn't yet appeared.
The timer went off in the kitchen and she rose to attend to it. With a nod of satisfaction, she pulled the bubbling apple pie from the oven and set it to cool on a rack on the counter.
When she returned to her sitting room, a familiar red-headed woman and a grinning corgi waited for her.
Martha smiled. "Hello, ladies. Would you like some tea?"
Baker Street 221b
The fire glowed warmly. Its occasional pop and crackle punctuated the melody from Sherlock's violin. John's hands wrapped around a mug of hot toddy that was nearly empty and long gone tepid. He sipped the last of the sweet, boozy concoction and snuggled deeper into his fuzzy bathrobe and cosy slippers.
The last note of his favourite Christmas carol hung in the air before fading to silence.
"Come sit with me." He patted the sofa cushion and soon Sherlock's long form curled up beside him.
Rain beat against the windows. "Hardly a 'midnight clear'."
"Shut up, Sherlock."
"Merry Christmas, John."