John and Sherlock were in Paris for a case. They had expected to be back well before now, but here they were, case nowhere even close to solved. It was Christmas Eve, and John made the somewhat perilous trek up to the rooftop of the apartment that they’d been renting for the duration of their stay.
Sherlock was up on the roof, smoking. Of course he was. Not that John could blame him. He knew how much the other man was looking forward to Christmas Dinner at his parents house. Even John had been invited this time. It was supposed to be something special. As if Christmas in Paris wasn’t special enough. But John knew that Sherlock didn’t see it that way, and that he’d go into a proper sulk if John let him. Case unsolved, that just wasn’t an option right now. Sherlock knew this, but it was up to John to save the day, or night, as it were.
John had a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, and two steaming cups of Hot chocolate he’d just made back down in the kitchen. He was eager to get Sherlock to try some, hoping it might lift his spirits a little, but was caught up by the scene before him.
Sherlock was leaning his elbows against the railing on the roofs edge, his hands hung loosely together, a cigarette held in one. He was all done up in black, black Belstaf, black pants and shoes and gloves. Even his hair was hard to differentiate from the dark.
The Eiffel tower was a giant shining beacon in the not-so-distant background. It’s rotating beam of light cutting through the night sky.
Sherlock turned, noticing John’s presence, and suddenly there was his madman. Sherlock’s dark figure cut into relief by the pale face that John had grown to know, and hell, even love.
“You’ve brought tea.” Sherlock states, turning back to people-watch on the street down below, though who knew what Sherlock could deduce from five stories up.
“Hot Chocolate, actually.” John makes his way over to Sherlock, holding out a mug.
Sherlock quirks an interested eyebrow and shrugs with his mouth, before taking the drink from John’s hand. He takes one last puff from his cigarette and tosses it off the side of the building, to the disapproving shake of John’s head. And then finally takes a sip of the Hot Chocolate, John biting his lower lip and waiting with bated breath.
“Mmm,” Sherlock hums surprised appreciation, “This is actually quite good.”
John smirked, “Yeah?” he smiled into his mug, “Made it myself.”
Sherlock turned so his hip was leaning against the railing instead, “I didn’t know you could cook.”
“Can’t. Not really. I’ve always loved Chocolate, though.” John had to look absolutely anywhere but at Sherlock, as the taller man was giving him that same deducing eye that he’d been directing at the random passersby in the street, and John was much, much closer.
Sherlock took another drink as his eyes tried to pry up John’s secrets.
“It’s good, but peculiar. I don’t think I’ve tasted Hot Chocolate like this before.”
“Probably cause I put spice into it.”
Sherlock turned his head at that, “Spice? Where’d you come up with that idea?”
“Read it in a book,” John smiled at the memory.
Chocolat was a book that John had read over and over again. Especially during Lent. An awful time where his Mother would demand they all repent and deprive themselves, and his Father would indulge all the more. In drink, of course. And taking a swing at Mum whenever he felt the urge. John and his sister never really participated in Lent unless forced to. And even then they’d give up a specific food dish that they weren’t particularly fond of, or some book or toy that they could do without. John used to read Chocolat and wish everyone could just eat some god damned chocolate and shut up for once. Maybe then he would have had a few actually happy memories from his childhood.
John looks up to see that Sherlock had been watching him. Deducing his thoughts, no doubt. John wants to be miffed at it, but finds he likes when Sherlock sees into his mind. On occasion. When he’s in a strop and deducing John five ways from Sunday, in front of random crime-scene specialists and half the Yard, John gets a little more agitated. But when it’s just the two of them like this, and Sherlock is in a kinder spirit, it can be… special.
“What, can’t you guess?” John smiles up at him.
“Hmm,” Sherlock takes another sip, “I’ll find out.”
“‘Course you will.”
Somewhere in the distance a bell tolls. Signaling midnight to all those within earshot.
“It’s Christmas.” Sherlock says with no little amount of melancholy.
“I know you wanted to be home for the holidays,” John says, stepping closer, “I’m sorry we couldn’t be. Neither of us expected this case to go one as long as it has.”
“Hmm… Well, it’s not all bad.” Sherlock gives him an almost playful side-eye.
John smiles at that.
“We’ve spent the last two Christmases together, haven’t we?”
“Count this as three.”
“Well we have to make it through the day first.”
Sherlock laughs at this, an unexpected burst that has John quickly joining in.
“Did you spike this?” Sherlocks asks, taking another sip.
“Just with love and affection.” John takes another drink as well. He didn’t know why he hadn’t been making this back at Baker Street all along. It really was rather good, if he did say so himself.
Sherlock huffs another laugh through his nose, “That sounds a bit not good.”
“Oi, shut it!” John laughs, “I’d never do that to the Chocolate.”
They’re silent for a moment, and already John can see sadness creeping in around Sherlock’s edges, like a constant dark fog that they had to perpetually fight off. Not that John wasn’t up for the fight. Just he wished that Sherlock didn’t have to get consumed life this in some unnamable and inexplicable grief. It usually didn’t come on during a case, but then again, there cases didn’t usually last three months.
Sherlock turns to put his elbows back on the railing, mug held out over the edge, clasped firmly between his hands.
“Oi,” John sidles up closer to him and nudges him with his shoulder, “We’ll be home again soon.”
John frowns at the defeated tone in his friend's voice, and sighs, looking out at the Eiffel tower and the river just before it. Lights from the Eiffel and cars passing by reflecting in it’s black surfaces like explosions of paint in random colors.
“At least the view is nice.”
Sherlock turns to look at John, gives a tired smirk, “Yes,” he says, “It is, rather.”
John feels his face heat up but hides it in his mug.
Sherlock looks back out at the River Seine .
“You think you’ll be coming back inside anytime soon?” John wanted Sherlock to get at least a little sleep tonight before their five am briefing with the local version of Lestrade.
“Might do.” he looks down at the street below them again. “Might smoke another cigarette first.”
John screws his lips up in unsaid chastisement, “Right.”
With a sigh, John leaves Sherlock to it. If the Chocolate hadn’t worked he didn’t know what--
The sounds of crescendoing piano cuts into the night air, followed shortly by a trumpet, echoing from somewhere far off, but not so far that John couldn’t make out what song was being played.
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is La Vie En Rose
John stops in his tracks and turns back around.
Sherlock hasn’t moved, and his face had that far off look, like he was already in his mind palace--the last resort if John wasn’t able to lift him up.
So he doesn’t notice John walk back over.
He doesn’t notice when John leans in close, either.
And he especially didn’t notice John leaning in even further.
It was just a small peck on the cheek. Nothing to write home about.
Sherlock still drops his mug off the side of the building.
There was a high-pitched scream, and then the sounds of some woman shouting at them in French. The mug didn’t hit her, but the Hot Chocolate probably spattered her shoes a little.
“Bloody hell, Sherlock!” John shouts.
Sherlock turns to stare at him, eyes wide.
And then they both break down into a fit of laughter.
“Oh, God,” Sherlock breathes, wiping at his eyes, “I hope no one was hurt.”
“Doesn’t look like,” John chuckled, checking over the ledge again. He turns back to Sherlock, whos laughing behind his gloved hand, “Bit not good, that.”
“As if it were my fault .” Sherlock narrows his eyes at him, “You kissed me.”
“I gave you a small peck. On the cheek.”
“It was a kiss.”
“ La Vie En Rose was playing.” John defended.
“And so you kissed me.” Sherlock was walking towards him now.
“You know how I get when I hear Louis Armstrong.” John swallowed thickly. He had the odd feeling that he was now the one about to drop his mug.
Sherlock is standing toe to toe with him, looking down at him with both accusation and humour playing in his eyes. And something else John can’t quite name.
“Do it again.” Sherlock smiles.
John scoffs, “Why do I have to be the one to do every-”
Silenced by lips pressed against his own. Not the worst way in the world to be cut off.
“Merry Christmas, John.” Sherlock murmurs against his lips.
John chuckles, breathing most of it out his nose, and ending in a pleased sound. He pulls back to catch his breath, and to whisper, “Merry Christmas, Sherlock.”
Sherlock smiles at him, and John thinks that maybe they’ve fought off the darkness. For the time being. The Black Moods always returned, but that was alright. John would be here to keep fighting, right at Sherlock’s side. Right were he was always meant to be.