Characters: John, Sherlock, Sarah, Abby (OC)
Spoilers: A passing reference to The Reichenbach Fall
Word count: 2,855
Summary: John has Christmas dinner with his family--both the official and the adopted members.
Author's notes: We all probably knew this was coming, right? There appears to be only so long I can be in a fandom before I throw a child in.
Once upon a time this was somewhat justified as it being a trilogy of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, but I only got the Christmas Future done. I wanted it to post it before Epiphany and the end of the season.
I didn't want to use Mary, in case the show brings her in and she's radically different from what I imagined. So I've used Sarah, because I like and know Sarah. Hastily thrown together backstory is that she and John get back together during the Hiatus. I've also imagined that future!Sherlock has slightly better social skills from his years with John. Slightly.
John had not intended to fall asleep. He had been seduced by how peaceful Sarah and Abby looked having their nap, and he thought he could lie down for a few minutes and rest. Sarah had picked up a nasty flu that was going around the surgery and, though it had passed, one of the lingering side effects was pure exhaustion. John had been running around trying to get Christmas together and keep up with Sherlock while Sarah was ill. Thank God they'd decided not to race around like idiots this year to try and do Christmas with both sides of the family. They had politely declined all invitations and were instead just staying home and celebrating together. If they'd tried to get to Norwich to Sarah's mum's and Aldershot to Sarah's dad's and deal with Harry on top of everything, they'd both be dead.
He awoke three hours later, disorientated as to where he was and what he was doing. They used the guest room on the ground floor as a room for Abby to nap in, and John wasn't used to waking up in it. He glanced at his watch and sat up, carefully moving so as not to wake Sarah next to him. He peeked into Abby's cot. She was asleep, curled up like a bunny with her backside in the air and sucking on her thumb.
He sneaked out and headed down the hallway, trying to remember if there was anything he was supposed to have done before Sarah woke up again. He didn't think so. Everything was ready for dinner.
“Gah!” he said, as he walked into the living room and found Sherlock sitting on the sofa. “Jesus, Sherlock! When did you get here?”
Sherlock looked up from the book he was reading—John's book that Sarah had given him as a present that morning. “Fifteen minutes ago,” he said. “I used the key you gave me.”
“I didn't give you the key, Sherlock, you stole mine and had it copied,” John pointed out.
Sherlock shrugged. “I thought it was important for me to be able to get into your house, given the dangerous nature of our work,” he said. “You or your family might be in trouble someday.”
“No, you got stroppy because there was a part of my life you didn't have access to,” John said.
“That's very self-centred thinking, John,” Sherlock said. “It's not like you.”
John rolled his eyes. “Why didn't you tell someone you were here?”
“I assumed someone would find me eventually,” Sherlock said. “You were obviously all asleep. And having spent several years having to wake you up for cases, I didn't think trying to rouse you would be good for my personal safety.”
John smirked. “I only kicked you that one time, and you deserved it,” he said. He flopped down into a nearby chair. “You've lost me five quid, by the way. I bet Sarah you'd find some case to blow us off with.”
Sherlock pulled out his wallet and reached across the gap to hand John a fiver. “I tried,” he said. “But there wasn't anything interesting. And Lestrade's turned his phone off. And the last time I went to his sister's house during a holiday, I was banned from the Yard for a week.” He nodded toward a box on the coffee table. “I brought Abby a present. Mrs Hudson said I needed to after I forgot her birthday.”
John reached back across the gap and returned the fiver. “I bet you'd remember a present if you did come,” he said. “Sarah said you wouldn't.”
“Do you often bet on my social skills?” Sherlock asked, with a bemused smirk.
“Yeah,” John said. “You've netted me a good hundred quid over the years.”
“And how much have you lost?” Sherlock said.
“'Bout the same,” John said. “You're unpredictable. It's about even odds both ways.”
Sherlock grinned, apparently finding this more amusing than insulting. “Who's bet on my eating at dinner?” he asked.
“Me,” John said.
“You always were a terrible gambler,” Sherlock said.
His eyes flicked expectantly toward the door to the living room, and, a moment later, Abby padded carefully in, her arms held out to the side for balance. She smiled happily at Sherlock and set her trajectory toward him.
“You're supposed to be napping with Mummy,” John scolded. “How'd you get all the way out here by yourself, huh?”
Abby ignored him, determined to get to Sherlock, who was sitting as still as a statue like she was a wild creature whose attention he was trying not to attract. “Oh no!” she said, which was her new catchphrase.
“Oh no is right,” John said. “Running around in your nappy isn't ladylike, miss. Where are your pyjama bottoms?”
Abby balanced herself on Sherlock's knee and then raised her arms to be lifted up. Sherlock ignored her. She kept her arms raised. Sherlock ignored her. There was a stalemate for several seconds, and John couldn't decide who he was going to bet on to win. After it was getting ridiculous, he stepped in himself and picked up Abby and Sherlock's present for her, taking them both back to the chair with him.
“Let's see what madness Uncle Sherlock has bought for you,” he said, settling Abby on his lap.
She tore into the paper happily, a skill she'd learned that morning and had later applied to his case notes with equal enthusiasm. John would have laid money on it being wrapped in the shop and probably bought a few minutes before the shops closed the day before.
“The saleslady said it was age appropriate,” Sherlock said, defensively. “I wanted to get a book, but there wasn't anything remotely interesting in the right age range. All about woodland creatures in clothing teaching about manners and sharing.”
“You should have bought a couple for yourself,” John said. “You might have learned something.”
“I know about manners and sharing,” Sherlock said. “I just consider them a waste of time. The shop girl said she might still be too young for a science set, so I had to choose something else. Apparently, this is popular. It teaches maths and languages.”
It looked to be some sort of owl cuddly toy with buttons on its stomach to make it talk. John removed it from the box and held it out to Abby. She took the box and ran away with it, leaving him with the owl.
“Don't be offended, she's done the same thing with everything else we've bought her,” John said. He examined the instructions. “Looks like it needs some assembly anyway.”
Sherlock took it from him, always happy to find something to assemble or disassemble.
“Yay!” Abby said. It was her other catchphrase. She put the box on the floor and ran around to collect objects to put into it. Sherlock snatched his scarf away protectively before she could grab it. She took his gloves instead.
“Those don't belong to you,” Sherlock informed her.
Abby ignored him and dropped them in her box with great purpose. Sherlock looked to John in silent appeal.
“You're the one who didn't buy her the book on manners,” John said, with a laugh. He got up and scooped Abby into his arms. “C'mon, brat, we'll show off the Christmas frock Mrs H sent. She wanted pictures. And I'm hoping we can discourage this habit you have of taking off your trousers.”
“Oh no!” Abby said.
By the time John had wrestled Abby into her dress and taken a moment to catch his breath, Sarah had woken up. She was in the living room with Sherlock, looking a bit stunned from her nap. Sherlock seemed to have somehow found a screwdriver and was working on putting Abby's toy together.
“Oh, don't you look pretty!” Sarah said when John set Abby on the floor.
“It's too big for her,” Sherlock said, critically.
“Yeah, kids grow, Sherlock,” John said. “If it fit her now, it'd be good for a month. She can grow into it, and we can keep it for a bit. She wouldn't wear the Alice band.”
He tossed it over to Sarah, who was still too stunned to catch it. Sherlock did one of his ninja moves and plucked it from the air.
“Yay!” Abby said, delighted by the display. She clapped her hands together. “Again!”
“No,” Sherlock said, tersely.
Sarah exchanged an amused smile with John and retrieved the Alice band from Sherlock. “I'll get dinner ready,” she said. “Everything's done, it just needs to be assembled. Abby can help me.”
She took Abby by the hand and encouraged her to walk to the kitchen with her. She gave John a kiss on the cheek as she passed by.
John flopped back into the chair and settled in to pay attention to Sherlock without distractions. Sherlock had a tendency to behave as though John had moved to the other side of the world instead of five minutes away (or less) by any form of transportation. They still saw each other almost every day, and the only difference from John's point of view was that Sherlock rang him up to meet him at crime scenes instead of going together. And during the time since he'd moved out of Baker Street, he'd missed exactly three cases—one on his honeymoon, one when he'd literally contracted the plague during a case, and one when Abby was born. Besides, as John liked to point out, Sherlock had disappeared entirely for two years of John's life. John thought he could have a few hours to his family every day without being neglectful. It's not as though Sherlock ever noticed whether or not John was there anyway.
Sherlock didn't view it this way, though. He saw everything as some sort of betrayal and a sign of John getting too domesticated, as though he were going to get fat and get a normal job and lie around shagging his wife all day and producing offspring left and right. John didn't think he had anything against Sarah and Abby; he seemed to tolerate them as much as he tolerated anyone, with perhaps a bit more consideration because they meant something to John. He was simply not a fan of change and, by the time he'd managed to get his head around John living with Sarah, Abby had come along. They hadn't arrived at the acceptance stage of that yet. Even though Abby was 20 months old now.
“Did you get those e-mails I forwarded to you?” John asked.
“Nothing interesting there,” Sherlock said. “Help my dog, help my boyfriend, help me. Nothing worth my time.”
“Well, we did just solve a case yesterday, Sherlock,” John pointed out. “It's not like you've been idle forever. Did they find the accomplice, do you know?”
“Lestrade isn't answering my requests for information,” Sherlock said.
“It's Christmas, he's probably with his family,” John said.
“So I am,” Sherlock retorted, absently. He looked up quickly from the toy he was working on. “I mean, a family. Your family.”
John hid his smile. “I know what you mean,” he said, to prevent him from getting any more flustered. Heaven forbid Sherlock should be seen to care about anyone. “Most people are busy at Christmas. Opening presents, talking to each other, playing games, being in the same room at the same time. That's what most families do.”
“Sounds excruciating,” Sherlock said.
John laughed. “Yeah, it is, usually.”
Sherlock continued to pout. John tried a few different subjects and finally managed to get him ranting enthusiastically about an experiment he and Molly were working on at Barts.
“She's with her family too,” Sherlock complained.
“What a freak,” John deadpanned, managing to earn a smile and a rolling of eyes from Sherlock.
“All right boys, grab a dish and bring it to the dining room,” Sarah called. “Dinner is served.”
John convinced Sherlock to leave the toy and started bringing the food from the kitchen to the dining room. Sherlock went directly to the dining room and did not help with the food. Sarah then put him in charge of getting Abby into her high chair if he wasn't going to be helpful in another way. Mycroft had given them the high chair as a baby gift when Abby was born. It was a space-age looking thing that converted from a high chair to a baby chair to a toddler chair to a child chair and also a chair and small table and possibly a helicopter or race car. John had estimated it cost about 500 quid, and it was definitely the nicest piece of furniture in the house at the moment.
“Abigael, unbend your legs,” John heard Sherlock say, sternly. “Let go of my hair.”
“Oh no!” Abby said.
Eventually, all the food was brought in and the crackers were gently cracked so as to avoid scaring Abby. Sherlock donated his crown to her in lieu of wearing it. She kept rolling her eyes upwards in confusion at having it on her head
“Do you want anything, Sherlock?” Sarah asked as each plate of food was passed around.
“No,” was Sherlock's response each time.
It looked like John was out another five quid.
Despite Sherlock's refusal to eat, dinner didn't go badly. He was willing to join in on the conversation and wasn't in too bad a mood overall. John always found it hilarious watching Sherlock try to interact with Sarah. He seemed to be genuinely trying hard to get along with her but also seemed to be under the impression that his usual topics of conversation would be inappropriate. Probably because they usually were. So he tended to do what John thought of 'mimicking normal humans' and talking about the most mundane things possible.
They covered the weather and Abby's development and Sarah's family, Sherlock looking as though he was in physical pain the entire time. Sarah was barely keeping a straight face, and John's tongue was sore from him biting it so hard.
“Tell me about your work!” Sarah burst out when there was a brief lull. “Please. Talk to me about corpses. I want to hear about them.”
Sherlock gave her a confused look and then looked over to John, as though requesting permission.
“Sherlock's working on an interesting experiment,” John said, helpfully. “With Molly. Tell her about that, Sherlock. Sarah's a doctor. She'll be interested in your findings.”
Sarah nodded in encouragement and Sherlock launched into a complicated explanation about the cadavers Molly was procuring for him and what horrific things he was doing to them. John wasn't entirely sure this was appropriate conversation to be having in front of Abby, but she looked more interested in the little slinky Sherlock had received in his cracker and mimicking Sarah's movement with her fork. He felt like it was something she was going to have to get used to, anyway.
They made it through dinner, John and Sarah keeping the conversation in areas Sherlock was comfortable with. Sarah brought out the plate of dessert and Sherlock handed her a fiver before stealing the majority of the mince tarts. Sarah smirked and passed the fiver on to John.
Lestrade texted Sherlock back, much to his great joy. He flashed his mobile to John, his mouth too full with a tart to read it out to him.
Accomplice found. Sod off. Happy Xmas. -L
After dinner, John helped clear the table and do the washing up. He was halfway through when Sarah crooked her finger at him from the doorway and then made a 'quietly' gesture. John sneaked over and peered out into the living room with her.
Sherlock was sitting cross-legged on the floor, playing with the toy he'd brought for Abby. She sat on her knees next to him, and they were both looking at the toy with expressions of extreme seriousness while Sherlock tried to explain how it worked to her. She wasn't getting the hang of pressing the buttons, so he was pressing them for her, making the owl's eyes light up and his beak move to speak little rhymes and songs. Abby kept shooting Sherlock looks of concern, suspicious of the owl's intent.
“It's worth a good deal of money,” he complained to her. “It's scientifically proven to be entertaining to someone of your age.”
Abby didn't look convinced. He took her hand and used it to press a button. She took this as an invitation to crawl into his lap, and he sighed in a resigned fashion and shifted her into a more comfortable position. She leaned back into his chest happily and watched him continue to press the buttons.
“It's so nice when the children get along,” Sarah said.
John covered his mouth with his hand to muffle his laughter, and she put her face in his shoulder to muffle hers.
Sherlock noticed them anyway and shot a scowl in their direction. Abby, upset the owl had stopped talking, reached out and pressed a button on its stomach.
“Yay!” she said when it sang a little song about vowels.
Sherlock smiled in triumph, though he quickly hid it. John sneaked his mobile out of his pocket and manage to take a photo before Sherlock could object.
“That'll do for Mrs H,” John said, admiring the photo with Sarah. He pocketed his mobile again and leaned against the door jamb, pulling her up to him. He gave her a squeeze and a kiss to her nose. “This is a much better way to do Christmas. Let's do this every year.”
“Agreed,” Sarah said. “Just immediate family. You, me and the kids.”