A/N: I present to you, my failure to write drabbles in the form of this monstrosity of a one-shot. But you know, I really enjoyed this one. The Sherlolly tag on Tumblr has recently seen lots of retrospective posts on the Christmas scene in ASiB. So that's what's inspired this piece. x
He had not expected to see her at the morgue. It made identifying The Woman more tense and awkward than it should have been. Even Sherlock and all his insensitivities knew that he had hurt Molly that evening. The seeming ease with which he had identified the naked body between them was definitely salt to Molly's wound.
When he left, dropping the repulsive low-tar cigarette he was offered, the sadness in Molly's eyes that he had tried to evade burnt slowly and quietly into him. He meticulously thought back on his barrage of cruelly-intended deductions towards Molly and her gift. He recounted the stunning twist that had shocked him so much he could only step back with his mouth slightly apart from a gasp he did not want anybody to notice. And nobody had. Everybody had noticed the apology, but nobody knew why it had been made. This was the twist that nobody had seen, for nobody had seen Molly's card and to whom it was addressed. This was the twist Sherlock himself had not seen coming. In all the shrewdness of his deductions, he had missed the one obvious fact glaring before him.
Three kisses say it's a romantic attachment, he had once told John. Sherlock knew from sheer observation what the little signs and indicators of love were. But the last thing he ever expected was to see them directed at him.
All his deductions had been right, but he had missed the target. He was the target of Molly's 'long-term hopes, however forlorn'. He certainly was someone she was going to see that night. And yes, of course, he had mentioned the lipstick and the smallness of her mouth before, too many times . Hence, the 'compensating for her mouth and breasts'… Wait, had he ever mentioned her breasts? Perhaps he had, one time or another when in the morgue with her. He never retained the deductions that bore no relevance to a case.
But why make such deductions at all, if they were so irrelevant? Why say, in Molly's words, such horrible things? It stopped Sherlock in his tracks. He was never one to retain unnecessary information, which meant he was less inclined to even collect what was deemed unnecessary. Then why all these tiny observations about Molly? From the use of her lipstick to the parting of her hair. Why had he noticed? And if he had, why did he say such horrible things about them? Sherlock was puzzled and could not answer the question of why he had all this information about Molly. A more pressing question that followed then, was what did he intend to do with all this information? Was being horrible, the only thing he could do with them?
In the cab, Sherlock pondered and smiled a little at the sweet irony that was Molly Hooper. Never once had he had anything lovely to say to her. Well, to be fair, he was not one to say lovely things. Yet, she was never short of lovely to him. There were so many post-insult coffees she had made for him, he had almost lost count. And tonight, the very night she had chosen to open her heart up to him, he had directly plunged his knife of insults into her chest, leaving her to bleed in front of everyone.
And yet, she quietly sipped her wine, said not a bad thing back to him and just nervously smiled and looked away. His meagre kiss of of an even more meagre apology did nothing for the slow murder that had taken place.
He thought of the gift she had gotten him. In his deductions of her, he had failed to guess what had been inside the box. He was far too busy insulting her. Again, he frowned at the memory. Why had he insulted her? Why was he alwaysinsulting her? The only words she had said in response echoed quietly in his head. You always say such horrible things. Always, always. She was right. And Sherlock was sorry. With what little flesh and blood he retained of his mechanical heart, he was sorry.
"Sorry, could you take a different exit? I'd like to go somewhere else," he told the cab driver.
"Of course, sir."
"And could you drive slowly, please? I need to keep my eye on the roads."
Sherlock glanced at his watch and calculated. He knew perfectly the pace at which Molly's worked and if he was right, she would be walking, just about a third of her way home already. He was mostly like to catch her somewhere along the pavements. As the cab driver made the requested re-route, he peered out of his frosted window and searched for signs of Molly. As usual, Sherlock was never wrong. He told the driver to stop, shoved a few notes at the driver that were more than enough to cover the fare, and hopped out of the cab.
"Molly!" he called out, running up behind her.
Molly turned around, stunned. She was shocked at having her name called out suddenly in the middle of a dimly-lit street. She nearly swung her bag in self-defence when she realised it was only Sherlock. She heaved a quiet sigh of relief when she saw this familiar face.
"Oh, it's you." she breathed. "Was there something you needed? We're still near enough the hospital if you wanted something."
"No, no…Nothing like that, Molly." Sherlock replied, again astounded by her innocent generosity. Always willing to help, always so caring.
"Okay…" she said quietly, resuming her walk. His face reminded her of the sting in her heart, so she carried on her way.
"Yes?" she answered, stopping again for him.
"I…" he took a deep breath. Sherlock had not thought of what to say.
Molly stood where she was, not turning to look at him this time. She kept her eyes firmly ahead and tried to steady her breathing. She was filled with so much anger, but it kept softening with affection for him, making her more upset withherself. As Sherlock struggled to find something to say, he realised he had not thought this through. He knew he wanted to see her, but he did not know why. Now that he had seen her, he felt compelled to stay with her. He just simply did not know what to say or do. Finally, he formed something sensible in his head and walked up beside her.
"I would like to see you home. If that's all right with you." he asked in a low whisper.
Molly's eyes widened at his request. But she did not dare speak for fear that she would cry or say something more embarrassing. This had not been a good evening. And seeing that beautiful, naked girlfriend of his did not help either. Molly bit her lip and just nodded. He thanked her quietly and together, they walked back to her flat.
When they arrived, the pair solemnly walked up the flight of stairs that led to her door. Molly was about to unlock her door when she turned to look at Sherlock who gave her a quick, uncertain half-smile. As she looked at the famous consulting detective who stood three steps below her and was finally at her height, she thought hard about why he was here. It was then that she realised she had no clue. But she was not entertaining any of his antics tonight. With her house key still between her fingers, Molly spoke to the detective.
"Thank you, Sherlock, for seeing me home." she said, "It was very kind."
"It was nothing." he replied.
"No, it probably wasn't." Molly said with a smile.
She pushed her key into the lock and swiftly let herself in, shutting the door behind her. She made sure to keep looking forward as her hand pushed the wooden door, waiting to hear it latch. However, it did not. A hand reached to grab the door, making it impossible to shut. The resistance puzzled Molly and she turned, surprised to find that Sherlock remained where he was and was keeping her door open.
"May I…come in?" he asked carefully. "It's been quite an evening, and I should like to rest."
"Rest?" asked Molly, "You never rest. And why would you want to rest in my—"
"Molly," he interrupted gently, "Please may I come in?"
The softness of his voice was the final softening her heart needed as she released her hold on the door, letting him into her flat. She took her coat off, revealing the thick, red Christmas jumper she was wearing.
"Sorry, I'll just..quickly go change out of this…monstrosity." she said with a nervous little laugh.
"No, Molly, it's fine." Sherlock said, "Can you show me where the tea things are? I'll make us some tea."
"Er…the electric kettle is right there by the stove and you'll find the tin of tea in the shelf right above it. Cups and things are in the shelves above the sink."
"Thank you." he replied, stepping into the kitchen.
Despite his words, Molly still rushed into her room. On the pretext of changing, she took a moment to collect herself. Having Sherlock's presence was something Molly would never complain about. However, that very presence hurt tonight and she did not want anymore of it. She took several deep breaths, shutting her eyes to summon bravery. No, Molly, she told herself, you will not let him be horrible to you again. When she was calmer, she changed out of her jumper into a more comfortable top and pants, finally wrapping herself with her house robe. She swept her hair up into a quick twist and splashed some cold water onto her face. It had been a tiring evening.
When she returned outside, she saw that Sherlock had readied the tea and there were two steaming cups of what smelt like her favourite herbal infusion set on the table.
"I picked your favourite." Sherlock said, matter-of-factly.
"How did you know?" she asked, a little surprised.
"I've noticed the tea bag and seen it a few times when you finish a late night at the morgue." he began, "Also, it was a fresh supply, unlike the others, so clearly you replenish it often."
"Of course, you would know," Molly whispered to herself as she took a sip.
It tasted wonderful. The warm bliss of a hot cup of tea radiated through Molly's tense and tired limbs, soothing her frayed nerves and bleeding heart. Together, Sherlock and Molly took their tea in silence. Molly kept her eyes on the teapot and Sherlock focused on a lamp in the sitting room.
"I never got to thank you, Molly." said Sherlock suddenly.
"What for?" she asked.
"For the gift, your gift to me."
"Oh, that one." she said, taking another sip, "It was nothing."
"No." he said quietly, "Don't say that."
"Then what would you have me say, Sherlock?" Molly asked calmly but boldly, finally looking up and staring him in the face.
Sherlock looked away guiltily and had no response. Molly continued to glare at him, impressed that she had not had the urge to cry.
"When you're done with your tea, please go home, Sherlock." she said, picking her teacup and heading into her room.
When he heard the door of her room shut, Sherlock felt his chest sink, as though stones were weighing it down. He got up from his seat and walked to the coat rack where his coat hung. Reaching into its inside pockets, he found what he was looking for and headed towards Molly's room door.
Molly heard the two gentle knocks and his voice calling her name. She shut her eyes and leaned her head against her pillows. He was being incredibly polite and careful around her. It was obvious he was sorry and was trying to apologise. But Molly wanted none of it. Sherlock never apologised. Maybe he had done it once at his flat because people were around. There was no need for him to continue being sorry. It just was not who he was. Molly was determined not to believe any of this.
"Have you finished your tea, Sherlock?" she said, sitting in bed and refusing to get up.
"Then you should go, Sherlock."
"Molly, please, I need to talk to you."
"No, you don't."
The door pushed open and he walked in brazenly. This was more like the Sherlock she knew. Not quietly walking on eggshells around her.
"I insist," he said, coming to sit at the edge of her bed.
"What. Do. You. Want?" she asked sternly.
In his hands, Sherlock held the present that Molly had never wanted to see again. Its shade of red repulsed her. The way it was wrapped repulsed her. That little card at the top repulsed her. She did not need to see it again. Sherlock held it between his hands and looked up at her.
"I thought that perhaps, I should open it here, with you." he said, smiling gently.
"Why? I thought you hated it. And shouldn't you be somewhere else?" she asked.
"Why shouldn't I be here?"
"Didn't your lover just die or something, Sherlock?" she asked, looking at him, "Shouldn't you be mourning, or smoking somewhere…"
"She isn't my lover, Molly." said Sherlock, "She was naked when I first met her. She wanted to make an impression."
"A lovely impression, I'm sure," Molly whispered to herself.
"Molly, listen to me."
"I've heard enough for one evening, Sherlock, thank you."
"No, Molly, listen…" he said, "I was…shocked tonight."
"What from?" she asked with a bitter laugh, "My ugly dress? The ribbons in my hair? The ribbons on the present?"
"Yes, well, no, I mean to say…"
"Don't say anything, Sherlock, please. You've said enough tonight."
Molly was not going to listen and Sherlock knew this. He was driving a car that was about to hit a brick wall. Slowly but surely, he was going to crash. He left the present on the edge of the bed and moved closer to Molly who sat, unmoving, on her bed. He sat beside her, unusually close for them both. He leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek again, as he had in the flat. He moved to kiss her other cheek, just as softly and gently. Then, with their eyes looking directly at each other, her brown curious ones gazing into his determined blue ones, Sherlock moved to kiss Molly on her lips. He had intended it to be a quick, light kiss, but the tenderness of her lips kept him there. Sherlock internally chastised himself for only noticing their 'smallness', not realising how delicate and beautiful they felt.
When he kissed her, Molly froze. But slowly, the persistence of his mouth on hers warmed her into returning his kiss. Ever so gently, she kissed him back, pressing firmly against his beautiful mouth. Being so near him sent wave after wave of electricity through her bones. Her skin tingled in the most pleasurable way and she could not help but reach for him, holding his face in her hands. He reciprocated, reaching too for her face and felt her racing pulse against his fingers.
This was all new to Sherlock. The sensory overload left him with an ache for more of her. Sherlock, a master of restraint, found that he had none left. When their mouths parted, shocked with rushed breathing, he leaned in again to kiss her. His lips started from the side of her face, travelling along her neck to her collarbone. He felt his hands rush to remove the robe that obstructed the geography of his kissing when he stopped, realising what he was doing.
"I-I'm sorry…" he stuttered, "I didn't mean to…"
"Why did you stop?" Molly breathed, pulling him in for another kiss. This time, she showed no tentativeness, pressing fiercely into him.
When her hands moved to undo the buttons of his shirt, he took her cue and followed suit, reaching for her robe that had obstructed him earlier. In a matter of minutes, they had reached a new proximity neither could have imagined. Sherlock felt blinded by the electricity that shocked his system. At every point that their skin touched, he thought he would burst into flames. His heart could barely keep up with how fast he was breathing. Molly felt so near, and it was a beautiful sensation. When her hands held him to her, he relished the pressure of each fingertip on his skin. When she continued to kiss him on the base of his neck, or the top of his chest, or the underside of his wrist, Sherlock could feel his joints turn molten.
At the point where she fully robbed him of breath and he could see the room go white hot with light, he clung on to her for his life, breathing hard and fast against her chest. He kissed her wherever he could, frantically and desperately. Restraint was the furthest thing from his mind.
Sherlock's breathing was so fast, Molly actually panicked a little. She cradled his head against her chest and shushed him, telling him to count his breaths and try to get his pulse to decelerate.
"You're going to get a heart attack, Sherlock," she said with a soft laugh as she kissed the top of his head.
"I think I am…" he answered between rapid breaths.
"Shhh, just focus. Count, Sherlock, count."
Gradually, his erratic pulse ebbed into a steadier one and his breath flowed in and out of him at a more controlled pace. Every so often he would still reach to kiss her and she gladly allowed him to.
"I will never understand one thing, Molly." Sherlock said, as he pulled himself up to look at her properly.
"I think I know what," Molly said with knowing smile.
"You do?" he said with a frown.
"Yes, Sherlock." she said, reaching for his hand and giving it a kiss. "Love. It evades you."
"No, you're wrong," he said, smiling down at her.
"What evades me, Molly," Sherlock said gently, "is why someone would loveme…"
"Sherlock," she said softly, reaching to push his dark hair behind his ears.
"And of all people…" he continued. "Why would someone like you, love someone like me?"
At this, Molly broke her promise to herself and cried. Of course she loved him. Maybe there was a reason, maybe there wasn't, but she loved him and that was that. Sherlock saw the tears that streamed down her face and his eyes widened in panic.
"Molly? Molly, I'm sorry, I don't know what I said but I'm sorry…"
"Don't be sorry, you silly, clever man…" she said, laughing between her tears.
"But I am sorry I hurt you, Molly. I really am." he whispered.
"That's okay." she said with a lovely smile, "I'm glad you had the heart to apologise."
"I'll never hurt you again, Molly, I promise." he said.
"Don't speak too soon, Sherlock."
"And I won't let anyone else hurt you."
"That's very sweet, Sherlock…"
I'll jump off a roof if I have to, if that's what it takes." he said.
"And I'll save you from it." she replied, her eyes sparkling, "I refuse to do your post-mortem, Sherlock."
"I'll kill anyone who even touches a hair of you, Molly…" Sherlock continued, a strange new determination in his voice. "I'll hunt them, I'll burn them and I'll personally make sure their bodies are never found…"
Molly laughed at his sudden wave of protectiveness.
"Oh, Sherlock," she said in soft amusement as she pulled him towards her, "You always say such horrible things."