Disclaimer: I own nothing. Per usual. Boo-freaking-hoo.
Summary: If he were any other man, he would wonder why she was here. But he's not any other man. He's Sherlock Holmes and she's Molly Hooper and of course he knows why she's here.
Author's note: This is for Adi-who-is-also-mou. For reasons. (I swear to you, an agnsty smutty one will be next for you. I promise you) but please have this as a peace offering. Lol. Hope everyone enjoys it! Thank you all so much for your constant support. It means the world to me! Reviews are always appreciated and any mistakes are mine and mine alone. Title taken from poem below.
Warnings: Cursing. Angst. Feels. Nothing major, except for a few curse words.
For the ends of being and ideal grace
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
How do I love thee – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"How long have you loved her?" A voice behind him asks.
He can tell who it is by their smell. She wears a distinct perfume (lavender with a hint of vanilla), the gentle sway of material can only come from her dress and the sounds the beads makes are stitched intricately, delicately. (She's a beautiful bride and maybe, just maybe, he doesn't tell her that enough, but he thinks she understands.)
They're on the balcony, John and the Commander are inside, John stitching him up and talking to him, reminiscing about days long past ("it's okay to be scared," John says softly, his voice echoing throughout the still room, "I'm scared. We're all scared. It's okay to be scared") and Sherlock looks out, hands placed on the railing for support, his eyes snapping towards the petite figure, walking alone, head swirling back and forth, as if she's looking for someone (his chest aches and a hand absently rubs at it, trying to alleviate the pain). After a few minutes, he sees the way her shoulders deflate and he sees the way she makes her way towards the fountain, her fingers grazing the water (everyone's supposed to be inside, everyone's supposed to be locked in for their own safety and yet, he's not surprised that she somehow found a way out. She always does.)
The sun is starting to set, lighting the area in a hazy orange glow and she sits on the stone of the fountain, the tips of her shoes making shapes in the gravel. (Her yellow dress is like a beacon, calling out to him, he sees her everywhere.)
He idly wonders where Tom is (he doesn't realize he grips the railing tighter until he feels pain in the palms of his hands and then he lets go, only slightly, never completely) and why he isn't following her (looking after her) when there's a murderer on the loose (idly he wonders what excuse she fed him and how he could even remotely accept it.)
He doesn't answer her question and hopes against all hope she goes away. Retreats back into the room with John and the Commander, instead of here, asking him a question they both obviously know the answer to.
"It's not too difficult to figure out." Mary continues, her voice soft as she stands next to him. Her eyes landing on the lone figure sitting on the fountain, yellow bow shining brightly in her hair. "You look at her all the time. Even if it's little glances. If she walks by, your eyes follow her. During the speech, your eyes constantly landed on her. Briefly, I may add, but you always seem to find yourself coming back to her." She places a hand on his forearm and leans into him, "you gripped your telegrams tighter whenever Tom leaned into her. I saw it all. Don't think anyone else did…then again; most of them were staring at John and myself. And you." She adds as an afterthought, the corners of her mouth lifted in an amused grin.
Sometimes, he wishes Mary Morstan wasn't nearly as observant as she obviously is. He takes pleasure in the fact that she's not obnoxiously observant, not like him. She's more restrained, more calculating. She sees the bigger picture.
He feels her weight shift away from him and he can see her eyes boring into him. Watching him watch Molly from afar (how long has he watched her like this? Too long, he thinks and now, it's too late. Sherlock Holmes is always too late.)
"So, Sherlock, tell me. How long have you loved Molly?" The smile still on her face.
Sherlock clears his throat and tells the truth, "I don't believe there was a time when I didn't."
He gives her a quick, too large smile and goes back inside, walking briskly past John and the now patched and safe Commander and practically trots down the stairs. He's not entirely sure where his feet are taking him, all he knows is that he's gone by employees and guests and past Janine who tries and makes a grab for him, anxious to hear his deductions about another man.
He doesn't know where he's going until, suddenly, he's taking in a gulp of fresh air. The smell of roses, daisies and orchids overwhelming his senses. His eyes landing on the now abandoned fountain. He looks around wildly, his eyes widening as he peers at the benches and hedges, around him, beside him, in front of him, to no avail.
She's gone, out of his reach (and maybe she always has been.)
He blinks rapidly and his eyes glance upwards, towards the balcony and he sees Mary, her dress glittering in the twilight of night, staring at him with a mixture of hopefulness and pity.
(He's always hated sentiment.)
He pretends it doesn't hurt when he walks away from the wedding, into the spring night, the scent of roses, daisies and orchids overwhelming his senses, as he buttons up his Belstaff to ward off the cool breeze.
He pretends it doesn't hurt when no one follows him, asking him, pleading with him to stay.
He pretends all the way to Baker Street.
He takes his time going back to the flat. He wanders around London, reacquainting himself with everything he's missed. With everything he's denied missing. He only makes his way back to 221b Baker Street when he realizes that his feet are beginning to ache and his hands begin to tremble from the brisk spring breeze.
He feels old as he walks up the stairs, the familiar smell of chemicals and caffeine (black, two sugars) assault his senses.
He stops in his place, his eyes widening as he spies the figure curled on the sofa.
Her bow is discarded, leaving a yellow stain on the floor, her dress wrinkled, riding high on her thighs, and Sherlock shakes his head, willing images of milky white skin out of his mind. She's peaceful in her sleep, her small nose crinkling as she shifts. Her make-up is smeared from rubbing her eyes, undoubtedly waiting for the man who always seems to show up too late and she's shivering, slightly, but she's shivering enough for him to notice. He grabs the afghan from John's (not John's, he reminds himself, not anymore) chair and makes his way over to her.
He drapes the afghan over her, more gently than he thought himself capable of (then again, he finds he's capable of anything and everything in the presence of Molly Hooper) and takes the seat on the floor, his back facing her. (He's close enough to feel her body heat, to feel every puff of breath across his neck.) He loosens his bowtie and throws it to the floor, next to Molly's yellow bow and he takes a deep breath.
If he were any other man, he would wonder why she was here. But he's not any other man. He's Sherlock Holmes and she's Molly Hooper and of course he knows why she's here.
After a few moments, he feels her shifting behind him and he feels his pulse beat faster, his blood rushing through his veins, his breath shuddering when delicate fingers wound themselves in his curls, massaging his scalp lightly.
"Sherlock." She says softly, her voice echoing throughout the flat and resounding in his ears. "I broke it off with Tom." She admits to him.
(Never in his life, except when he was finally able to come back home, has his chest swirled and turned, leaving him breathless and incapable to even think.)
He feels movement, feels her fingers leave his hair and he almost voices his discontent, until she takes the seat next to him on the floor, the silk of her dress caressing his trousers. (He can't help but notice how they contrast against each other; her lightness, her spring, to his darkness, his eternal winter.) "You left the wedding early."
"And you followed." He responds, his voice deeper and raspier than he would have liked it to be.
"You were sad." She says plainly. Her voice losing it's tiredness and her fingers tug at the hem of her dress.
(You look sad. When you think no one can see you. You can see me. I don't count. And it doesn't matter how many times he tells her otherwise, it doesn't matter how many years pass, those words, her confession, so honest and raw, still manages to send him reeling.)
"Why did you break it off with Tom?" He asks, even though he knows the answer.
She's silent and he wonders if he should repeat the question when her hand, hesitantly landing on his forearm, stops him. He turns his head, his eyes seeking her soft brown ones and she gives him a small smile full of hope, "because I would rather follow you than go home with him."
"Molly," his voice is low, desperate, almost pleading. He'll hurt her. He's done it before. He'll do it again. It's not something he wants to do. It's not something he takes pleasure in. It's just who he is. He's not normal. He doesn't function like other men. He can't give her what she needs, what he thinks (knows) she deserves and-
"Sherlock." She says, cutting off his train of thought and she leans forward, her lips burning a path where they connect with the corner of his mouth (promises of more to come, promises of what the future holds for her, for him, for them.) "You are everything I have ever wanted." She pulls away, resuming her spot, except this time a little bit closer to him and her hand reaches down for his. Fingers gently tracing his until he grabs her hand and engulfs it with his, intertwining their fingers until he's not sure where he ends and she begins (he doesn't want to find out.) "And it's okay. Whatever happens…it'll be okay. We'll be okay."
(It doesn't surprise him that he believes her wholeheartedly.)
He's behind her, arms circling around her protectively. They're still in their respective wedding clothes, and underneath the warmth of the afghan. He buries his head into the crook of her neck and places soft, hesitant kisses where his mouth can reach. She hums in approval.
The sun is coming up; he can see the rays of light break through the cracks of the curtains. He takes a deep breath, "at the wedding," he says, "Mary asked me how long I've loved you."
He can feel her body go rigid. He can feel her become tense, as if waiting for a comment she doesn't want to hear. "And," she says, her voice deceptively calm and he wants to turn her around. He wants to see her face, he wants to see her expression, but he doesn't and he thinks it's as much for her as it is for him.
"I told her that I didn't think there was ever a time when I didn't."
He can feel her breath catch in her lungs. He can feel her body relax. He hears the exhale of relief and he can almost see her smile as she buries her head into his arms.
It takes some maneuvering but soon she's facing him, arms wrapped around him, legs entangled with his and she lays her head against his chest, ear pressed against his heart, listening to it beat thunderously.
He's drifting off to sleep, his body accepting the need to shut down and rest when he feels her shift and feels the softest press of lips against his cheekbone. "For what it's worth, Sherlock Holmes," she whispers quietly as he slips into oblivion, "I love you too."
What a bunch of fluff. And quite possibly OOC but you know? Sherlock is so different (sometimes) than he was the last two seasons, so it kind of fits…right? And you know, this was needed after that angsty piece I wrote last week. And after Sign of Three which was funny, but I felt like it was…missing something? Does that make sense? I liked it, don't get me wrong, I really liked it, but I just felt like it didn't…flow as well as the other episodes…? Jesus, I don't know what I'm saying. I don't write scripts. Haven't got an ounce of talent in me to write scripts and here I am saying this shit. Don't mind me. I enjoyed the episode, I really did. And it's Sherlock, which of course makes it amazing and wonderful and MARY! MARY, I FUCKING LOVE YOU. No seriously, words cannot describe how much I adore Mary Morstan (now Watson)
Also, Janine, some people spell her name Janine or they spell it, Jenine. I'm going with the previous, because everyone I know named Janine (which like amounts to one person, but still) spells it like that. I sincerely hope I don't offend anyone if it's wrong.
ADI! Darling this one is for you. Not smutty., unfortunately but it's fluffy! No angst…er…well, maybe some, but it's still fluffy! I'll work on that one as soon as His Last Vow premiers and I (fingers crossed) may have some more stuff flittering through my head. But really hope you liked it!
That being said, a million and one thank yous to every single one of you. You are all so fantastic and wonderful and just amazing and I want you all to know that.
Thank you all again!
MAD LOVE AND RESPECT,