It was a week before Christmas Eve when Dr. John Watson decided Sherlock Holmes would learn how to cook.

Too long had the doctor prepared meal after meal, not only for Sherlock but for the few guests 221B ever had over. Sherlock had never made anything, not even a cup of tea or coffee (though later he'd make decent tea for his arch enemy and drugged coffee for an experiment, but John won't count either of those, not ever).

"I promised Mrs. Hudson we'd help her with Christmas dinner," John pleaded. "I don't want you to make things worse."

"Then I simply won't come," Sherlock said, strumming on his violin. He looked out the window and sighed. He hated the snow. It made people sing and dance and talk to random strangers. "Really, John, you shouldn't make promises you can't keep."

The doctor bit his lip and sat across from the detective. "Won't it be nice to help out?" Sherlock raised his eyebrows and John tried again. "Pick a dish, then. Just one to help with."

"I'll bring crackers."

"No you won't."

"No, true, you're the one who likes going to the store. You won't mind? We need milk, too, by the way." Sherlock played a quick tune and then set his instrument aside. Bored.

"I do mind, Sherlock. I have to go to the store because you refuse." He tried handing Sherlock a list, was ignored, and threw it instead.

Sherlock sighed audibly, dramatically, and picked up the list. "I can't cook any of this, John."

"That's why I'm going to teach you."

He laughed and stood. "Now that is a route I'd prefer not to take. Remember when you tried to teach me golf? Said it'd be fun, hmm?"

John pushed the memory away and felt the bruise on his thigh. "It's a practical skill to have."

"Practical is boring." Sherlock moved from the chair to the couch and threw his lanky body over the cushions. "Remember my hard drive, John. This isn't important."

John tried once more. "If you help," he said slowly, "I won't get you a present."

Sherlock looked up. Over the last few holidays, the doctor had tried to get him the perfect gift…and failed every time. No, another deerstalker wasn't entertaining, and no, he didn't need a jumper. The test tubes weren't the brand he liked, nor was the twelve-pack of fire extinguishers amusing. The one thing Sherlock was grateful for was that John still hadn't figured out when his birthday was.

"Deal."

The two men made their way to the kitchen. John sighed and Sherlock grinned at the mess; tubes, liquids, papers, and unidentifiable tools were strewn everywhere. "Before I open it, have you put anything alarming in the fridge?"

Sherlock thought a moment. "Are eels alarming?"

"Out. Along with the rest of your stuff here," John demanded. The detective began to argue but the doctor wouldn't have it. An hour and twelve minutes later, the room was spotless and, for the first time, looked like an actual kitchen.

"Right," John said, grinning. "Now, what can you cook?"

Sherlock said nothing.

"Okay. Well, that won't be a problem. We'll start basic."

Ten minutes later, Sherlock, covered in flour, threw off his coat and headed for the door. "That's it!" he cried. "I'm finished! I don't know what you're trying to prove, but this isn't working."

John emerged equally as dirty. "What am I trying to prove? Sherlock, I'm trying to teach you—"

"No you're not; you're making it difficult on purpose. I can tell. It's not that hard. It can't be. People do it every day. Why are you making it more complicated? To prove that I'm stupid?"
John began yelling back but stopped and calmed himself. "Sherlock," he said, quietly, "I'm not making it complicating. I'm not trying to prove that you're stupid, okay, but you know—you know—that simple things come harder to you. Yes? Cooking isn't easy for everyone. You're not an idiot. If you don't get it right away, it's fine. We'll work on it."

Sherlock shook his head and opened the door. "Don't bother." With a slam, he was gone.

John cleared his throat and finished preparing. They'd only been making chocolate chip cookies; he'd picked the recipe partially because it was simple and, then, because Sherlock could eat cookies like there was no tomorrow—though he wouldn't admit it—and John wanted that because Sherlock hadn't eaten, again, in four days.

He set them on a plate in the living room and waited with a newspaper, knowing that Sherlock hadn't left the building. He was probably right outside the door, actually. He hated snow. Wouldn't leave the building unless it was on fire—and even that was debatable.

A timid knock came from the door, and John smiled as it slowly opened. Sherlock was shivering, only dressed in a purple shirt and gray pants.

"You actually left?"

Sherlock sat himself on the couch and cuddled into an orange blanket. "I locked myself out. Mrs. Hudson had to let me back in, but she didn't hear until she'd turned off the television."

John tried not to smile and offered him a treat. He accepted. "You're an idiot, you know that?" he asked.

Sherlock let a smile escape from his lips and took a bite. "Yeah. I know."