AN: Thank you for your patience! I will continue to ask for it as this one will likely continue to update slowly, since it's my first time writing this genre. It will not be abandoned, however! Also, I am soyeahso on tumblr if you haven't figured it out yet.

Sherlock walked briskly down Molly's road, breathing deeply and shaking his coat to rid himself of the smell of her. He'd sniffed her neck out of impulse, intrigued at his body's reaction to her. He hadn't expected to like it so much, her sleep sweat and the faintest lingering trace of her shampoo. Verbena. One of his favorite fragrances.

As meticulously as he'd prepared after receiving the post this morning, he hadn't been prepared to like her; he hardly liked anybody. He certainly hadn't been prepared to be attracted to her.

After reading the letter, determining her identity had taken no time. However, there was little information about her online. There were a few news items regarding her school awards and research grants. Her Facebook account had no public photos—par for the course with a government position-and once he got past the security features he found that all of her photos were of other people and places. The album devoted to her cat held eighty-five images. She had less than one hundred friends and updated infrequently. Last status update a week ago: "If you told me at twelve that I'd spend a third of my waking hours thinking about ovarian follicles, I'd have told you to piss off." Seven people had liked it, all of them colleagues. She wasn't active on any other social media.

He'd conjured an image of a shy lab mouse with a slightly off color sense of humor, a loner, but not necessarily lonely. Perhaps not exciting but at least she would be moderately intelligent. He'd gone to see her out of curiosity, and to determine how keen she was to tie the knot and fulfill her duty to Queen and country.

When she'd finally opened the door Sherlock had looked her over, starting with her bright blue toenails, the list of information about her whirring past as his gaze ascended. He'd paused for the briefest of moments when he got to her eyes. He'd seen several photos of her, of course, but they'd all been unflattering ID photos or low resolution newspaper photos where she was part of a group. In all of them she'd been wearing glasses.

She'd met his gaze directly. Without the thick lenses and heavy frames he'd seen clear attraction in her large, dark, warm eyes, and he'd seen how clearly she didn't buy his carefully constructed aura of glamour. She'd seen through much of it before she even opened her door. He'd busied himself with his coat and scarf, taking the time to collect himself.

By the time he'd rushed out of her home, his excitement over their pairing having a broader scope actively fought with the idea that being paired with her might not be that bad.

He smacked himself on the forehead, not caring about the glances from others on the pavement. Sherlock Holmes didn't think about people that way. Of course, he came across people he found physically attractive on a regular basis, but he rejected it, filed away his initial responses, deleted the person if he didn't expect to see them again. He didn't…dwell on the way someone's irises exploded with golden flecks when the sun hit them just right or the thick fan of her eyelashes on her cheeks as she looked down to pour his tea.

"Stop it," he muttered, causing a young mother to pull her three small children close. Cabs were infuriatingly scarce, so he ducked into the nearest Tube station. He tapped his card and jumped onto the first open carriage, not caring that it was going the wrong direction. He rode it until the end of the line, and got off at Stranmore station. After begging a cigarette (his first in weeks) from a railway worker, Sherlock stood outside smoking and staring across London Road.

He'd last been out to Stanmore on a case two years ago. A yoga instructor had been killed by his bistro chef brother. The case had been a six, the coq au vin a ten. He wondered if the bistro had survived its head chef's going to prison.

When a black sedan pulled up and his brother got out, Sherlock only registered surprise that Mycroft still had access to a car.

"I'm paying for it myself," Mycroft said, buttoning his coat and sneering at their surroundings.

"How long will you be able to keep that up," Sherlock replied.

Mycroft stared across the road. "Long enough."


"She's safe. Left this morning for Brazil."

"Will you be following?"


"Even now?"

"Especially now."

Sherlock finished his cigarette and regretted not asking the railway worker for two. His head buzzed mildly and his fingers tingled. "I'm not exactly sure what you expect me to do."

"I don't know what you're referring to, Sherlock," Mycroft sniffed. "You so rarely have any regard for what I'd like you to do."

"Dr. Hooper."

His brother smiled thinly in a way that always made Sherlock wish he had a handful of mushy peas to throw at him. "What makes you think I want you to do anything with her but marry her and settle down?"

"It's a little too neat, don't you think?"

"What? That I would expend the last little bit of my influence to secure you a partner that won't bore you to tears for at least a year?"

"I considered the possibility, but it's more your style to have matched me with a homeopath with a special interest in astrology. This is far too specific."

"So you think it's more likely I believe that you and a mousy scientist can throw a spanner in the works after I failed to stop things from the inside?" Mycroft laughed and stepped toward the idling vehicle. "I do have to say, it might be fun to see you try. Good day, Sherlock. And please take Dr. Hooper round to meet Mummy as soon as possible. She's over the moon." With a wave of a gloved hand, Mycroft ducked back inside the car. Sherlock stood staring after it for a full thirty seconds before it occurred to him to be annoyed his brother hadn't offered him a ride back to town.