it's been like ten minutes and i still haven't posted this

It has to be perfect. It has to be just the right thing, something he wants but doesn’t even know he wants it. Not too expensive, or he’ll balk at it, but not too cheap either, or he’ll think I don’t take it seriously, this whole–this whole thing.

December had snuck up on Sherlock this year, and suddenly he has found himself smack dab in the middle of a Christmas market, watching John close his eyes, smile on his face, breathing deep and slow to catch the scent of cinnamon and gingerbread, the bright sparkle of fairy lights and streetlamps painting him with reds and golds and greens in turn.

He is gorgeous, utterly gorgeous, and Sherlock feels horrendously unprepared.

How do you choose a Christmas gift for the person who deserves everything, who deserves so much more than you can possibly give them?

It had been John’s idea, a fond elbow to the side and a kiss to the temple late that afternoon with a suggestion to go poke around the booths before holiday shopping begins in earnest and the crowds get too crazy, and watching John take it in–the shoddy wooden stalls masquerading as chalets, the street vendors carting around overpriced, watery hot chocolates, the boughs of pine trees stapled to the stalls and draped in lights and red velvet–with a look of sheer boyish delight makes Sherlock’s stomach flip-flop. When John takes him by the hand and tugs him into the flow of it all, Sherlock can’t help but smile back at him and follow.

The evening is cold and a bit windy, but at least the drizzle stopped several hours ago. The wind turns John’s cheeks a ruddy pink and doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He jokes and laughs and flits through the displays of shiny mercury glass trees and overdressed Victorian angels, dragging Sherlock behind him, leaning up occasionally to kiss the corner of his mouth and rubbing his thumb over the back of Sherlock’s hand absently and Sherlock is totally entranced by the simplicity of his happiness.

Together, they pick out a handmade ornament for Harry, suggesting sillier and sillier options (Santas wearing Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps, reindeer with light-up noses, snowmen with branches sticking out of wholly inappropriate places) before finally settling on a set of lovely crystal stars with gilded edges. For Mrs Hudson, they pick out three matching stockings to hang from her fireplace–soft white for her, deep blue for Sherlock, and a dark forest green for John, all hand-crocheted in the same pattern.

As for John himself, he looks at a lot of different things, but he doesn’t really seem to connect to anything. He runs his fingertips over huge thick socks and jumpers knitted with fair isle designs and even spends ten solid minutes shaking up a display of snow globes, one by one, but he doesn’t really stick to anything that Sherlock thinks he might actually want. Of course, Sherlock hardly expected to find the perfect gift for John in a wooden stall on the riverside in Southbank, but still. A hint at least would’ve been nice.

In Christmases past, Sherlock has given him practical things, interesting things. Books, scarves, a new alarm clock for his bedroom when his old one started to get fussy at the snooze button. Last year he’d gotten him a pass to an underground, top secret shooting range, so he could practice with his gun and a couple of other firearms, in exchange for five solid favours for Mycroft. John had taught Sherlock how to stand and shoot, correcting his stance with a hand on his shoulder and on his hip, and the silence in the empty shooting range had been deafening, and three days later John had gone to Sherlock’s parents’ house and pretended to forgive his wife.

That’s over now, Sherlock reminds himself fiercely. Over and done.

This Christmas is different. This Christmas they are different. This will be the first Christmas since John had kissed Sherlock months ago, so gentle and cautious and hopeful, in the rain outside 221B, the day he’d come home for good. I’m sorry we had to wait so long, John had said, God, I’m so sorry, I feel like we’ve waited forever.

So it has to be perfect. He wants John to feel like the wait was worth it. He wants John to know that he’d have waited longer, as long as it took, that he’d have waited forever, for John.

What do you give a person when you want to give them the rest of your life?

And Sherlock stands there, in the middle of a Christmas market as John hums along to Silent Night, John’s hand warm in his with fingertips a little gritty from the cinnamon-sugar doused churros they’d shared, and thinks, oh, that’s–that’s an idea, isn’t it?


Day One: Shopping for presents

Pop by everyday during the 25 Days of Fic-mas at 3:00 p.m. EST for the next installment!

EDIT 5/5/2016: 

I was trying to do some editing on the tumblr versions of a good old fashioned happy ending, and because I am really bad at technology, I accidentally deleted some of the original posts. This means that any post that was reblogged with a Read More cut will now fail to redirect to the original post in its entirety.

It’s okay–I have the reblogs, of course, so I haven’t lost any of your lovely comments or anything like that. But sadly, folks will no longer be able to read the fic in its entirety on tumblr.

Fortunately, the AO3 version is available HERE.

  • HEY I WROTE THIS REALLY LONG DRABBLE BASED ON A HEADCANON FROM http: //untildawnff.tumblr.com/ AND I WAS GIVEN PERMISSION TO POST IT BUT CREDIT TO THEM FOR THE IDEA OKAY THANK YOU.
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  • Sam
  • "So how are you and your boyfriend, Sam?" my mom asked on the other line of the phone. I rolled my eyes and inter ally sighed. I didn't actually have a boyfriend. But my, god was my mother getting annoying asking me when I'd get a boyfriend and bring him over. So I lied and said I did have one. Didn't even give her a name or anything. And somehow, she, and everyone else believed me. And it's been going for about two and a half weeks now.
  • "We're fine, mom." I sighed into the phone. My mom clicked.
  • "You don't sound fine." She inferred. Act in love, Sam.
  • "We are, don't worry, I'm just really tired." I reassured. She stayed silent for a moment.
  • "Okay... How about you two come over for dinner on Friday?" She asked. That caught me off guard. I moved out of my parents house a few months ago, since I was 18 and had enough money saved up. So I lived in an apartment building across town.
  • "Uhhh..." I pulled my phone away from my face to check what day it was. Wednesday. I haven't seen my parents or my brother and sister in almost a month. I couldn't say no.
  • "... sure..." I replied dully. She giggled.
  • "Great! I can't wait to meet this guy. I'm sure you got your paws on one handsome devil! Come around six?" She finished. My mouth ran dry. What the fuck was I gonna do? I couldn't come up with a clever break-up story in three days. Maybe I should tell them he died in some ridiculous way. That'd be kind of funny. But not believable. I guess I just had to go with it. I sighed.
  • "Yeah, I guess." I huffed. My mom giggled.
  • "Yay! Okay, I love you, baby! I'll see you then." She concluded before hanging up. I ended the call and threw my phone on the couch. Fuuuuuuck.
  • I thought for a long while and what the hell I was gonna tell my parents. I did NOT wanna tell them the truth and have them nag, nag, nag me about it. But what could I do? I thought for a while more before it came to me. I could have someone pretend to be my boyfriend for the night. I thought about my options. Right away, Mike and Matt were off the table. They were in the middle of some ridiculous love triangle with Emily. Chris wasn't exactly an option either. He and Ashley had something. I don't know what it is, but it's something. And the way Chris takes things, he'd get the wrong idea. So that only left one other person.. Josh. It's not that I didn't like Josh, because I did, I was closer to him then anyone else. But the thought of asking him to pretend to be my boyfriend for a night was a little weird. But what else could I do. I sighed and pulled out my phone and texted Josh.
  • 'I'm coming over.' I texted.
  • 'Ummm?? Ok but no ones here'
  • 'That's fine. Hahahaha I need a favor.'
  • 'Oh god. Should I be scared?'
  • 'Uh, maybe?'
  • ' jesus Sam'
  • 'Be there in like ten minutes.'
  • 'You suck'
  • I laughed and closed my phone, not responding. I gathered my stuff and headed to Josh's house. This was gonna be an interesting conversation.
  • ()()()()()()()()()()()()
  • I approached Josh's house and groaned. I was already regretting it. But it was too late now. This was a better idea then any of the others I came up with. I walked up to the door and knocked.
  • "Helloooo? Josh?" I yelled. Nothing. I turned the handle of the door out of curiosity and sure enough, it was open. I walked in slowly, closing the door behind me.
  • "Josh?" I called again. Still nothing. I walked into the living room and sat my bag down. I've done this before and usually Josh is just in the bathroom or getting out of the shower or something. I stood and waited. For a lot longer then I wanted to. I pulled out my phone text him. Suddenly, a pair of hands jabbed my sides and a yelled in my ear. I knew damn well who it was but I still screamed and dropped my phone. I whirled around and go figure, there was Josh, giggling like an idiot. I flushed. I didn't like when people grabbed my sides.
  • "Josh!" I growled, slapping his arm as he laughed at my minor shame.
  • "Hey, lame-o, what's up?" He chuckled. I rolled my eyes, remembering this awkward talk I was about to have. I sighed.
  • "Hey, is everything okay?" He asked, his smile slowly dying away.
  • "Uhhh, okay. So remember my parents?" I asked. He nodded.
  • "Remember that thing I told them? That was actually true a few weeks ago?" I continued. He raised an eyebrow.
  • "Yeeaaaahhh..? The one where you told them you have a boyfriend when you very well do not?" He said, a ghost of a smile on his face. I nodded.
  • "Yeah, well, they wanna meet said boyfriend on Friday at their house for dinner, and I can't get out of it." I went on. Josh simply blinked.
  • "And... I need someone to pretend to be my boyfriend for the night." I finished, smiling a little too innocently. Josh was unresponsive for a moment before he ultimately burst into laughter. I stared at him as he laughed.
  • "Okay, okay, lemme get that straight. You want me to be your boyfriend for the night?" He repeated. I looked at the floor. Hearing it out of someone else, it sounded ridiculous.
  • "Yeeees..." I groaned. I didn't look at him.
  • "Okay." He said casually. I snapped my head up.
  • "What?" I asked, kind of skeptical that he agreed to this. Let alone as casually as he did.
  • "I said okay. I'll pretend to be your boyfriend so you don't have to deal with the wrath of your parents." He said clearly. Thank. God. I huffed.
  • "Thank you!" I groaned.
  • "No problem, babe." Josh said, winking at me. I blushed.
  • "No! Don't call me that." I stammered. He noticed my demeanor and snickered.
  • "Sorry, dear." He smirked.
  • "Stoooop! I'm going home, Josh." I growled.
  • "Whatever you say, baby." He continued. It was really weird coming from him.
  • "Goodbye! Josh!" I screeched, walking out the door.
  • "I LOVE YOU, BABYYYY!" He yelled after me.
  • "Baaaaaaaaaah!" I yelled back as I walked out of his yard.
  • "I will see you Friday at 5!" I yelled as I walked away. This was gonna be a looooong Friday.
  • ()()()()()()()()()()()()()
  • Friday came a lot faster then I wanted it to and I dreaded it a lot. This was gonna be super weird. I mean, even if I was bringing my family an ACTUAL boyfriend, it would be weird. But it was going to be even weirder because I wasn't bringing them a boyfriend. I was bringing them a Josh. Good thing Josh has never met my parents before. A beep outside distracted me from my dreading. It was Josh. I took a deep breath and made my way out into the Fall outdoors. There was Josh outside my Apartment building in his stupid little car with a stupid little smile on his stupid little face. I wordlessly got into the passenger seat.
  • "Hey, you look nice." He complimented. I snorted. I really didn't. I'd usually dress a little better to go see my parents. But I didn't totally bum it. I could tell Josh had literally JUST got out of the shower because his hair was still a little wet and his entire car smelled like Axe.
  • "Are you seriously okay? I can pretend to be sick and you can tell your mom I have malaria." He suggested. I laughed, remembering that I actually considered telling my parents my boyfriend died.
  • "It's okay. I'm okay." I assured, nodding my head.
  • "Promise?" He asked, offering his pinky. I wrapped my pinky around his and squeezed.
  • "Promise." I repeated. He smiled.
  • "Okay." He said quietly before starting his car and setting off to my parents house.
  • "So, how should I act? What should I do?" He asked, sounding almost nervous. I raised an eyebrow. What did he have to be nervous about?
  • "Uhhh.. Just be you. We're gonna have to hold hands and whatnot but just be yourself." I shrugged. He nodded.
  • He opened his mouth to say something but closed it.
  • "What?" I asked. His face slowly got red and he shook his head.
  • "Nothing." He mumbled. I tilted my head. I've never see Josh like this. Josh was almost always goofy. Kind of cocky. Never did I ever see him nervous, this was kind of unlike him.
  • "What are you all nervous about?" I asked out of curiosity. He shook his head.
  • "I don't know...." he said, giving me a weird look. I dropped the subject as we pulled up in front of my parents house. I exhaled deeply.
  • Josh parked and looked at me.
  • "You ready?" He asked, his face suddenly eager. I rolled my eyes. Not really. But there was no turning back. I sighed and nodded my head.
  • "Yeah, let's go." I mumbled, getting out of the car. My stomach was in knots. I didn't really care if they didn't like him or not... Okay, I did, but that wasn't my main concern. My main concern was that now my parents will now forever think of Josh Washington as my boyfriend. And that was really weird to me. Josh waited for me and once I caught up to him he gave me one last look as to say "are you sure you're sure?" I nodded my head and walked up to the door, knocking gracefully.
  • "Don't be nervous." He whispered quickly, just before the door opened and my smiling mother appeared.
  • "Sammy-bear!" She squeaked before hugging me tightly.
  • "Hi, mom." I giggled. I was happy to see her after almost a month. I needed this. She eyed Josh for a moment.
  • "Is the boyfriend I've heard next to nothing about?" My mom asked. I was kind of flustered.
  • "Uh, yes! Mom, this is my b-boyfriend, Josh." I said with an awkward smile. It felt so weird to say. I looked at Josh and he seemed almost confused and a bit lost. I grabbed his hand and gave him a look. He looked surprised for a moment, before snapping back into it.
  • "Uh-um, yeah, hi, I'm Josh Washington. Nice to finally meet you." He greeted politely. I was surprised he was capable.
  • "Hello, Josh, nice to finally meet you, too." My mom said. This might not be too bad.
  • "Well, come on in!" My mom cheered, scurrying into two house. I looked at Josh. He looked back at me.
  • "You okay?" He asked. I nodded. He squeezed my hand a little tighter. I involuntarily smiled. What the hell is happening to me? I brushed it off and yanked Josh in the house. I followed my mom into the dining room.
  • "Hey, Sam's here with her boyfriend!" My mom announced to my father, brother, and sister at the table.
  • "How much did you pay him to show?" My brother asked, causing Josh to chuckle. I, took my hand from his and elbowed him in the ribs.
  • "Shut up, Evan." I growled.
  • "Relax," Josh whispered in my ear. I let out a breath and calmed down. It was awkward for a moment, Josh and I being the only ones standing.
  • "Well, don't to strangers, sit down, you two!" My dad said. I did as my dad said and dragged Josh to a chair next to me and we both sat down.
  • "Uh, Josh, this is my dad. My brother, Evan, and my sister, Brooke." I introduced.
  • "Hi." He said awkwardly. Everyone else kind of mumbled "hellos."
  • "Well, dinners almost done, so for now, we can just talk." My mom shrugged.
  • "Josh." My dad said. Josh tensed up next to me.
  • "Yes?"
  • "Do you wanna come and help me get drinks for everyone?" My dad asked. I instantly got nervous. He was about to have a talk with Josh. And with Josh's attitude it might not be too pleasant. And Josh knew it because his foot started tapping on the floor like crazy. I put my hand on his.
  • "U-um, yeah!" He stammered. My dad nodded and got up up, then walking into the kitchen. Josh got up and walked with him, but not before giving me a peck on my head, which made me blush hard. My mother grinned as he walked away, noticing my almost surprised expression.
  • "How long have you two been dating?" My sister asked. I blinked slowly.
  • "A little more then a month." I said, kind of out of it.
  • "He really likes you, huh? He does! I can tell by the ways he acts!" My sister inquired. That caught me a little off guard and I had to think. I wasn't too sure if Josh was a good actor or not, but tonight it seemed like it. But then again, he was so nervous before we got here... And he was obviously trying to make some sort of good impression on my mom and who knows what's he saying to my dad.
  • "Right?" My sister asked. I thought a little but slowly nodded.
  • "Yeah.. I guess he does." I mumbled. As if on cue, my dad and Josh came out of the kitchen. I was almost surprised when thy came out laughing and talking. Josh slid in the chair next to me and my dad sat down as well.
  • "Some drinks..." Evan muttered. My dad's expression turned a bit sour upon realizing he didn't even get drinks.
  • "Damn. I'll get 'em." He said plainly, going back into the kitchen. I leaned close to Josh.
  • "What'd you say to him?" I whispered for only him to hear, kind of puzzled by how my dad was totally and absolutely cool with it. Josh smiled.
  • "The truth." He whispered confidently. My eyes went wide.
  • "About the you and I situation?" I replied. He shook his head.
  • "Not exactly." He whispered. I gave him a puzzled look and he just smiled at the rest of the table. I raised an eyebrow, kind of afraid of what they talked about. I almost didn't wanna know.
  • ()()()()()()()()()()()
  • The night went okay, Josh and I did fake couple things like hold hands at the table and and hug a little longer then most would. Everyone got along. It wasn't that bad. And the night was almost over.
  • "How about me make toasts?" My dad suggested.
  • "With Pepsi?" I quirked, tilting my head. My mom shrugged.
  • "Why not?" My mom smiled. She stood.
  • "I'll go first... A toast to my lovely family! I wouldn't change a thing." She said before sitting down. I smiled. Evan stood.
  • "A toast to myself. Because I am a bad-ass motherfucker." He said. My mother gasped and I slapped my hand over my mouth. Josh, however, proceeded to laugh his ass off.
  • "Evan! Language!" My father hissed. Evan just smirked. I slapped Josh's arm as he laughed hysterically.
  • "Josh!" I growled, trying myself not to laugh. He tapped my arm.
  • "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm calm." He chuckled, clearing his throat. Emma stood.
  • "A toast to Sam! I'm glad you finally decided to come over." She grinned and sat back down.
  • "Thank you." I mouthed to her before standing up for my turn. I thought before I spoke.
  • "Ahh, a toast to all of you! Mom, dad, Emma, Evan, Josh. You're all so important to me, and I don't know what I'd to without you." I finished before sitting down. Josh didn't even look at me before he stood up. He took a deep breath before starting.
  • "Okay, um, a toast to... My girlfriend. My beautiful, amazing, best friend. Sam.. I don't know where I'd be if I'd never met you. And I can never, ever, repay you for what you've done for me. Thank you." Josh finished before finally sitting back down. My jaw dropped open. I couldn't believe what he said. I looked at him for a long time. He didn't look back at me. A smile slowly stretched across my face and I leaned over and pecked Josh on the cheek. He smiled and blushed.
  • "That was nice..." my mother said quietly. My dad stood up.
  • "Well, my toast is also to my wonderful family. And Josh, who I hope will stay around a long while. Tonight was perfect in the most imperfect way. And that's just the way I want it." My father finished to close the night. We all smiled. My mother wiped the forming tears out of her eyes. Josh wrapped an arm around my shoulder and pulled me into him. I leaned into his chest and smiled. Tonight was amazing.
  • "Um, I really think we should get going.." I announced, intertwining my fingers with Josh's
  • "Are you sure?" My mom asked. I nodded.
  • "Yeah, it's getting late I'm tired." I said. My brother snorted.
  • "Use condoms." He said. My face flushed and Josh laughed.
  • "Evan, stop!" I hissed. Josh squeezed my shoulder and I relaxed. I don't know why that of all things calmed me down. My head was all confused, I needed sleep.
  • "Oh yeah, I almost forgot." Josh mumbled. I was about to ask what he was talking about until he pulled me into him and brushed his lips against mine. I didn't respond out of surprise. And then he stepped back. I couldn't speak, just babbled incoherent things. Did... he just... do that? Maybe it was just for my parents to see it now something, I don't know. Now we really needed to go.
  • "Bye everyone, I love you!" I said loudly before dragging Josh out the door. We got in the car and drove away.
  • "Well that was ah... Interesting." Josh quirked. I nodded slowly. And it was. It went a lot better then expected to
  • "Yeah...." I mumbled, still kind of shocked by the random kiss. I didn't know if he was planning it or what but I was still kind of surprised. I mean, I was still have a hard time processing Josh as my "boyfriend."
  • "Maybe we should go out as a couple again sometime. Pretend to be a couple around town." Josh shrugged. I snorted.
  • "Or we could not pretend.." he said quietly. What was he implying? I mean, I knew he was joking but still. I laughed.
  • "Good one." I replied. He stayed silent for a second.
  • "Yeah, I was uh... just.... just joking." He said quietly. The rest of the care ride was silent until he pulled up to my apartment building.
  • "Thank you so, so, so much for this Josh! I have no idea how to repay you!" I thanked as I exited the car. He put a hand up.
  • "Don't. Tonight was nice." He said. I nodded and turned to walk inside. Then I remembered something I wanted to ask him and turned back around.
  • "Josh?" I asked. He looked at me.
  • "Yeah?"
  • "When you said you told my dad the truth... What did you mean?" I asked curiously. Josh bit his lip and raised his eyebrows.
  • "Well.. He asked me how I really felt about you. So I told him the truth." Josh said simply. I thought for a minute. But when my dad came out of the kitchen, he was still obviously under the impression that Josh and I were dating. Wait a minute... I finally put two and two together. He literally asked me out in the car and I thought he was kidding! He was not kidding!
  • "Oh, wait, Josh..." I said, feeling like an asshole. He shook his head.
  • "Don't worry about it, Sam. I'll see you later." He said, driving off without another word.  I called for him but he kept driving, driving, driving and then he was gone. My head was running wild. I'm so dumb. I didn't realize Josh liked me.. I'm not even sure how I feel about him. I mean... I don't know if I like him... Of course not, its Josh. Obviously I do, he's the only one that can do what he does to me. Ugh, this was so confusing. Suddenly, my phone started to buzz and I pulled it out of my pocket and it was a text. From Josh.
  • "I had to do it just once." It said. I ran my fingers over my lips and felt my cheeks get red.
  • Ugh... Josh... What did I do?

Because how could I not.

He swears his phone nearly exploded. The number of notifications that had come through to his twitter, he’s surprised it was still fully functional. As it was, he had been signing his fingers to the bone at the time and under the stern gaze of both Gina and Paula (they’re worse enough on their own, but together… they’re an intimidating pair and not one he wants to get on the wrong side of) he dare not check what on earth has gone on.

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