"What the hell is she doing here?" Sergeant Sally Donovan said, gesturing at Molly. It was still snowing, covering the crime scene in a pristine blanket of white.

"She's assisting me this morning," Sherlock answered, holding the police tape up so Molly could slip under it. He walked on ahead to enter the residence, breezing quickly past Donovan.

"Assisting ... is that what you call it, Freak?" she said with a snort. Donovan stopped Molly before she could go any further. "I hope for your sake, you're not."

"Dr. Watson was unavailable," Molly offered as an explanation. "Believe me, the very last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed and come here."

"He shouldn't have bothered you," Donovan said, making a face. "Our people are certainly more qualified than Dr. Watson or you for that matter."

"I know," Molly said, figuring it was best not to argue with her. She'd dealt with Donovan enough to know how she was. After a few decisive moments, Donovan finally gave in.

"Go on," she said, letting her pass. "Just be sure to follow procedure."

Molly walked up the stairs and through the hallway. The house was dark, except for the rooms where the police were gathered. She recognized Inspector Lestrade immediately. She suspected he was the one who made the call. He turned and gave her the once over.

"Is Bart's mortuary making house calls?" he asked, zipping up his blue coveralls before handing her one.

"She's with me," Sherlock called out from somewhere in the next room. Lestrade's expression eased up at that. Molly removed her coat and proceeded to slip it on over her clothes. She put the protectors over her shoes, then snapped on a pair of latex gloves.

"Watch your step," Lestrade warned, moving back to let her through to join Sherlock. He hadn't bothered to suit up. She carefully stepped forward to examine the body.

The victim was lying face down and was naked from the waist up. In the center of her back, a number had been carved into her skin. Sherlock was kneeling beside her, carefully tracing that number with his latex-covered finger.

"One two five," he said, loud enough for her to hear. "This was made before death, correct?"

"Yes," Molly confirmed, standing just behind him. She'd long since detatched herself from feeling anything except the need to restore a victim's humanity. Sherlock, on the other hand, took such pleasure in these sorts of crimes. She could practically feel the energy coming off him as she moved closer to examine the body.

Molly carefully swept the woman's blond hair aside to expose the back of her neck. There was bruising she recognized immediately. She wanted to turn the body over, but knew she couldn't disturb it.

"She appears to be have been asphyxiated," she said, her eyes moving off the woman and to Sherlock. He stood up, drawing himself to his full height before turning to Molly. "One two five means what?"

"Something interesting," he said, obviously excited about it. He removed the latex and handed them to Molly before pulling on his leather gloves.

"Where are you going?" she asked as he moved past her.

"To fetch John. Surely he's done with it now," he said, giving her a knowing smirk. Sherlock wove his slender form between Lestrade and the others before slipping out of sight.

She stood there for a moment, staring at the space where he just was until Lestrade came toward her.

"Sorry," he said, apologizing for Sherlock. "He's always like that."

"I know," Molly said, stepping back into the other room. She removed the suit, protectors and gloves. He watched as she put her coat back on, fastening it up quickly. "Could I possibly get a lift to Bart's?"

"Certainly," Lestrade said, motioning for her to leave. "You'll have to wait outside while we finish up."

Molly nodded, then headed back to the door where Donovan still was. She gave her another disapproving look but let her be. Molly's eyes scanned the street, but Sherlock was gone. She reminded herself John was his chosen partner and not to take any of this personally. He was Sherlock Holmes and she was just Molly Hooper. One night wasn't going to change things.

She wrapped her arms around herself, trying to keep warm as the snow continued to silently fall. She was so distracted by all the commotion she almost didn't hear the beep of her cell in her pocket. Molly took it out and saw she had an incoming text message, which she immediately clicked to open.

Would like to again.

Molly smiled to herself before texting back.

Me too.

At the very least, things were going to be different.

The End