It was lying in the bottom of the box, after all the other baubles and detritus of a former life were cleared away. Some binned, some carefully repackaged and placed in places of honor around Baker Street, and some hidden away under carefully indexed socks never to again see the light of day.
It took Sherlock a moment to recognize the non-descript paper. After all there was nothing really outstanding about it: folded three times, slightly yellowed around the edges with time, crumpled like the owner had held it tightly in their fist before giving it up. When he did realize what it was he was seeing, it was with a slight tremor that he reached into the box to retrieve it, lifting it with a care usually reserved for handling dangerous corrosive chemicals. Unfurling the paper he slowly scanned the contents, taking note of the sloppy scrawl, a child’s writing only later maturing into the slightly-less sloppy block printing that would be used to comment on everything from tobacco ash to shopping lists. Backward S’s making him smile, he traced each one carefully as he remembered the events that led him to write this letter.
Another fight. Could one really call it a fight if It were one-sided? But another split lip, skinned knees, ripped hem. Other children it seemed would never understand him. He always vowed to try to be more like those he spied running and playing and jumping, but something always gave him away. Some trace of “wrongness” that either came from his manner, or most often, his mouth.
It was Mycroft who found him that time. Home from School for Winter Holiday, he dusted him off and asked him why he cared so about what they thought.
“I’m lonely,” Sherlock remarked. “I want a friend. Just one friend who will never leave. Even you left.”
Mycroft looked stricken for one moment before gathering Sherlock to him in an awkward hug, “I’m sorry Little Bee.”
“Myc, do you think if I ask Father Christmas for a friend, he’ll bring me one?”
Mycroft hid his watery smile behind his hand, “It’s worth a try, William. I’ll help you write a letter.”
And so Sherlock had sat down at his writing desk and with Mycroft’s help composed a letter to Father Christmas asking for someone to watch over him, a friend to play pirates with, who would listen to his stories and never leave. He folded it three times and grasping it tightly to his chest, asked if Mycroft would please post it the next day.
Sherlock had no doubt Mycroft had held his word, for there on Christmas morning was a beautiful Irish Setter puppy, whom Sherlock promptly named Redbeard. And when Mycroft left again for school, Sherlock had Redbeard to whisper his secrets to, and cuddle during storms. And it didn’t matter that no one else wanted to play pirates with him because Redbeard was his first mate.
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. The day Sherlock lost his only friend, he decided that friends were silly anyway, and no one would ever hold his heart again. Friends were for stupid boys named William, and Sherlock was going to face the world alone.
Sherlock looked down again at the letter in his hands. Mycroft had kept it all these years, tucked away with his important files and papers, the only box that contained any family information. Why this letter? He’d dearly love to ask him. It seemed now he’d give anything for Mycroft to sweep into 221 with his arrogant manner when for so long it was a annoying imposition. But that was as unlikely to happen as Redbeard to come bounding in the flat so best to stop that train of thought immediately.
“Sherlock, you finish that last box - what’s wrong?”
“Just old ghosts, John, something I’d forgotten.”
“Sherlock?” John kneeled down by Sherlock’s side, hands reaching out to rest on Sherlock’s knee. Strong hands, used to defend, to protect, to treat, and to love. Sherlock smiled as he watched the firelight play off the band on John’s hand, the same glint that matched his own.
“Something you want to talk about, love?”
“It’s nothing John,” Sherlock replied as he leant down to brush their lips together tenderly. Once twice, a kiss for his husband, his lover, his friend. “It’s just that I realize Father Christmas really does exist.”
It had been a quiet day at 221b, which was a nice change from the busy and bustling streets of London. The radio in the kitchen was playing Christmas songs, had been all afternoon, as John busied himself in the kitchen. He had taken to making mulled wine for him and Sherlock, something to hopefully get them into the Christmas spirit (if only a little) and to calm Sherlock down and take his thoughts away from not having a case.
The recipe had belonged to his grand mother and John always got a little nostalgic whenever he made it. John smiled and added two cinnamon sticks to their mugs before taking them into the living room.
He placed one in front of Sherlock on the table and then settled next to him on the couch, enjoying them warmth of his own mug in his hands.
“So,” He then began, “Let´s talk gifts. What do you want for Christmas?”
John messaging Sherlock ‘You looked hot today, Posh Boy’ and Sherlock going through his mind trying to figure out which person that he met could have been him
Sherlock asking why he didn’t tell him he’s his anon and John not answering, leaving Sherlock confused
John casually mentioning that he still got his uniform after Sherlock makes a post about how ‘Every girl loves a man in a uniform’
Sherlock giving another anon tips on how to let people know he’s gay with fashion, John being impressed that he knows so much about gay fashion
John joking about how Sherlock’s first posts were about tobacco ash and telling him that he’s glad he changed his blog theme because otherwise he wouldn’t have found him
Sherlock and John for once actually talking about something fashion related and Sherlock at some point asking ‘So what are you wearing, Doctor?’ and not realizing what he did until he reads the comments
Someone trying to mess with Sherlock by using ‘Army Doctor’ as signature as well but Sherlock just being like 'You’re not him’
People suggesting they should just meet each other but both ignoring the comments because they are not sure if the other one actually would want to meet them (also the reason why John didn’t speak to Sherlock when he saw him)
You monsters, I finally caved in and made a fucking foodsona/OC. And fuck me, it’s a teabag based on Winston Churchill because we have Sauerkraut!Hitler and Vodka!Stalin, so why the fuck not?
So yeah, this is Earl, he’s an chubby earl grey tea bag who’s filled with more tobacco ashes then tea leaves. He looks over the British Aisle under the orders of the Queen of Puddings and protects it from being taken over by the German Aisle. He’s known for being resilient, dry-witted, and hard to shock. When he’s not keeping the German Aisle at bay, he’s usually smoking the shit out of his cigar kazoo as a means of relaxing himself.
John wakes up alone on his 50th birthday. He huffs and rolls over, finding Sherlock’s spot cold and lonely. He would have loved to wake up next to his husband on a day that now he definitely feels old.
John knows Sherlock, knows that he can remember 243 types of tobacco ash or the trajectory of a bullet but that he can’t be fussed to remember John’s birthday. In the first few years together, as boyfriends and then husbands it bothered John. Quite a bit. Sherlock would forget, not say anything, not do anything special, and then finally, late in the day he’d remember only because John had been quiet too long or acted cold and detached. Only then would he remember.
But this year John is not going to act any different. Who cares if Sherlock forgot? John would, quite frankly like to forget. Fifty. How did this happen?
As John thinks back on his fifty years, forty-five of them quite terrible, the door cracks open. Sherlock peeks in, checking if he’s awake. John shifts a bit and Sherlock walks in, shy and reserved. John rolls onto his back meeting Sherlock’s eyes, and they hold a sparkle.
Before John can inquire as to what is going on, Sherlock rushes in, saying “I know you feel old, John. You’re not old. You’re wonderful. Strong and fast and brave and happy. You are happier now than you’ve ever been. Happier than you were at twenty, or thirty or forty. I remembered. Happy birthday, my John. I want to take you to brunch and show you my bolt hole at Kew Gardens. It’s lovely this time of year. So get up! Get dressed! Because there is lots to be done!” And with that Sherlock rushes out again, without a good morning kiss, or a nuzzle or a response. John chuckles, pulling his legs out from under the blankets.
Sherlock has always been unpredictable, but in fifty years young, John would have never predicted this.
Sherlock Proms interlude BUT:
- Mark looks soooooo good in a tailcoat
- Apparently Sherlock can only distinguish between 14 types of tobacco ash.
- WHEN MARK READ HOLMES’ S NOTE TO WATSON FROM REICHENBACH HE READ IT AS A LOVE LETTER I SWEAR TO FUCKING [INSERT DEITY HERE] PLEASE I WANT TO D IEEE - who else is listening to this because OH MYGOOODDDDDDDD