Holidays with the Holmeses
Sleigh Ride - 13 Dec 12
"Can you picture Sherlock on a sleigh ride? Honestly?"
"Oh dear." Mrs. Hudson failed to silence a wry chuckle. "No. I suppose not."
John was lost as to what to get Sherlock for Christmas, and she'd offered to help. So far, all she'd helped do was eliminate possibilities.
"Although," she went on slowly. "It would be romantic, wouldn't it? You two snuggled under a blanket with a thermos of hot cocoa?"
John was beginning to see it. "If it snows."
"You're going to the country, aren't you?"
"Well, the Holmes Estate."
"There must be something."
John smiled. "I'll check online."
Yule Log - 22 Dec 12
They arrived at the Holmes estate after dark. The air smelled of snow, but none had fallen yet. Still, John's hopes were high.
Sherlock took the steps two at a time, meeting the butler half way. "Good evening, Sneller."
"Good evening, sir. She's in the small drawing room."
John followed Sherlock inside, giving Sneller an awkward nod and hello. He never knew how one behaved towards domestic help, and he doubted he should take his cue from Downton Abbey.
"Sherlock, dear! Welcome!"
"Mummy." Mother and son traded pecks on the cheek--a warm greeting for the Holmes clan.
"I see you've brought your darling doctor, as instructed." Mrs. Holmes (John couldn't even think of her by her given name.) smiled at John.
"Thank you very much for the invitation."
"Of course! We can't have Sherlock pouting all Christmas." Astonishingly, she winked at John, who was too flummoxed to respond. "Come warm yourselves by the Yule log. It's been burning nearly two days. I don't know how Sneller manages it."
"By changing it out regularly, no doubt," said Sherlock.
She ignored him, paying all attention to John. "It's an archaic tradition, of course, but a charming one, and it does keep the room jolly."
John thought the eighteen-foot Christmas tree accomplished that feat, but kept silent.
"Do sit down, boys."
Snow - 23 Dec 12
It had snowed. Several inches.
A phone call, a chat with the cook, and John spent the rest of the morning grinning.
"You're up to something," said Sherlock.
"Yes, I am."
Sherlock's pale eyes narrowed. John blinked, innocent and a smidge smug.
"In fact--" The great doorbell chimed. "There it is now."
Outside stood a sleigh with two horses and a driver, all decked out in holiday finery. A kitchen maid delivered the requested hamper with biscuits and hot cocoa. John thanked her while a footman loaded it into the waiting sleigh.
John bundled up, ordering Sherlock to do the same. Sherlock complied, demanding answers that he didn't get.
Finally settled in, John tucked the blankets about them and signalled the driver they were ready.
The afternoon was glorious. Fresh snow sparkled under the winter sun. Adventurous souls had donned cross-country skis. Children made snowmen and angels.
As the sun set, they reached the woods. The driver stopped, jingling harness bells falling silent. John took the hamper and Sherlock's hand and led the way into stillness and quiet.
"Remember when you took me to Leicester Square at three a.m.?"**
"I thought I'd return the favour."
Sherlock looked up through the canopy of bare trees to where the first stars twinkled among the breaking clouds. "Thank you, John. It's beautiful."
White lights flickered. Snow fell outside the windows. Two blokes chatted by the fire.
"Sherlock doesn't believe in ghosts."
"I said he was thick."
John chuckled and licked peppermint icing from chocolate fairy cake. "D'you want some?" He held it out, knowing the answer.
"You're a rotten tosser."
"Language!" he scolded, laughing.
"Sherlock loves those. You'd better leave him some. Besides, you'll get fat eating them all yourself."
"Brat." John bit into cake and icing, letting the minty-sugary-chocolatey goodness coat his tongue--which he then stuck out.
Mad giggling. "Gross!"
John swallowed and smiled. "Happy Christmas, Sherrinford."
"Happy Christmas, John."
Plum Pudding - 25 Dec 2012
The snow kept falling all Christmas Day. The news reader called it an unprecedented storm, but the flakes fell so softly that John couldn't think of it in those terms. That is until the power went out.
They'd finished dinner and retired to the small sitting room for plum pudding and port when it happened. A brief flicker and poof! Darkness. Or it would have been had it not been for the roaring fire in the old stone fireplace.
A footman arrived with candles and torches to light everyone's way to bed when they were ready.
Soon, Mycroft took a torch and absented himself, followed shortly by Mummy. The footman returned to clear away the dishes.
Alone at last, John shifted closer to Sherlock on the antique settee. Sherlock wrapped an arm around him, pulling him in and drawing a blanket from the back of the divan to cover them both. They rested that way in silence but for the quiet ticking of the grandfather clock in the hallway, its soft chimes marking each passing quarter hour.
Outside the snow continued to fall.
"We'll be trapped here if this weather keeps up," murmured Sherlock.
"Mm-hmm," agreed John drowsily. He reached a hand beneath layers of wool and silk. "I'll try to arrange a distraction for you so you don't get bored."
Champagne - 31 Dec 12
John stood by the window, staring into the night. Stars sparkled in an obsidian sky. The moon, just beginning to wane, shone brokenly through shadowy evergreens.
The fire in the hearth crackled and snapped. The old clock on the mantel ticked down the seconds to midnight.
He heard the pop of a champagne cork, turned to see Sherlock pouring into two pewter flutes. The firelight caught in his pale eyes, turning them golden.
Sherlock passed him a glass. John listened to the fizz of a million tiny bubbles, inhaled the crisp scent.
"Happy New Year, John."
"Happy New Year."
**Curious? Read Friday.