Hey guys ;D
I had a slight crisis of confidence when the new series of Sherlock came out in January (Jesus, that was ages ago - but how good was it?) and now know that to most people, the way I've written these characters are going to seem wildly OOC, but, hey, I've started so I'll finish. It's the plot I was exicted about anyhow, and if I ever write anymore Sherlock in the future, I'll write them a lot more in character... hopefully :')
Plus, A-levels are a bitch. Thought you'd like to know.
Thank you all so much for your lovely, lovely reviews, and I'm sorry that this has taken so long. This chapter is very long anyway, (or, I think it is, by my standards, I've read ones considerably longer, but hey ho), in a feeble attempt to make up for the wait :') So, if anybody's even still reading, I love you very muchly, and I can't thank you enough.
Just a warning, because I know there hasn't been so far (has there? I didn't mean to), there's like one swear word in this chapter. So, if you're the kind of person who needs to know that stuff, now you know. :)
Well then, without further ado;
When Molly had watched films in her old flat – the soppy romantic kind that simultaneously made her feel fuzzy inside and want to curl up and cry – she'd scoff when the heroine of the story lay staring at her love interest whilst they slept. In all honesty, she thought it was creepy – Molly often thought whilst watching these films how she really wouldn't like to be watched whilst she was asleep, whilst not knowing what was happening around her. No, she was far too paranoid for that. Besides, she doubted that people were very interesting when they were asleep… they were unconscious, after all.
But that morning, lying next to Jim Moriarty, Molly began to see the appeal.
His hair was dishevelled, splayed haphazardly across his forehead, like downy feathers on a baby bird. His eyelashes fluttered, showing he was dreaming, lost in a world that Molly would never know or understand. She kept silent, listening to the sound of his steady, sleepy breathing, watching the regular rise and fall of his chest under the sheets, his lips slightly parted. He was unaware of anything around him, completely vulnerable – he looked so much younger this way, so much happier. Molly lay there for what could have been hours, fighting the urge to shuffle under his arm, not wanting to wake him up.
This had been Molly's routine for the past week, during which time – ever since their reunited kiss in the warehouse – she'd slept in Jim's room rather than her own. And, in the morning, she'd wake up and watch him, quietly, trying to let him sleep for as long as possible, leaving him in the blissfully ignorant safety of his own dreams.
Of course, he woke up eventually. But, in true Jim Moriarty style, he still surprised her, speaking before he'd even opened his eyes.
"How long have you been watching me sleep, Molly?"
His voice was deep and slurred, still lost in the world between asleep and awake. Molly blushed into her pillow as his eyes fluttered open. He blinked numerous times, trying to get used to the soft morning light pouring into the bedroom, becoming more aware of his surroundings.
As soon as he was awake properly, he rolled over to face Molly – she was still looking at him, the bottom of her face buried in her pillow, a blush still on her cheeks. He looked at her for what felt like forever, before a soft smile spread across his lips.
Molly couldn't help but smile back. "Hey."
She was at peace, completely and utterly. For the first time in months she was happy and relaxed, thoughts free from any worries, dreams clear of any nightmares. Nothing mattered any more – there was no place she'd rather be, no one she'd rather be with.
Jim leaned across, leaning on stiff limbs to plant a kiss on the top of Molly's head. Molly blushed again, his hand lingering on the side of her face to brush away a stray piece of hair. He seemed to inspect every inch of her face, gently chewing his own lip, the soft brush of his hand still remaining on her cheek, slowly stroking down until it fell between them. Not once did he look away. For one, fleeting, disconcerting moment, Molly was horribly reminded of Sherlock, of the way he'd looked at her that night, cold and calculating but for once actually looking – but her thoughts were broken by a soft sigh and a muffled thump as Jim rolled lazily onto his back.
Then, suddenly and without warning, Jim sat up, swinging his legs across to the side of the bed.
Molly frowned. "Are you getting up already?" She could have lay there all day, just watching. Jim, however, apparently had other ideas.
He laughed softly. "Of course, Molly. Big day." He looked at her over his shoulder, still smiling as he slid onto the floor.
And despite her disappointment, Molly couldn't wipe the smile from her own face as she watched him walk to the bathroom.
"You look happy."
Molly smiled wider, choosing not to reply to Adam's sceptical remark and suspicious, questioning eyebrow. She danced across the kitchen floor to where the kettle sat, dressed in fluffy slipper-socks and pyjamas, sliding across the tiles, Toby circling around her feet. Happily, she kneeled to give the cat some attention, eliciting a contented purr from him - Molly smiled, feeling exactly the same way. She felt like she was floating, unable to keep the grin from her face, not allowing Adam to spoil her mood as she filled up the kettle and switched it on.
"Well? Care to share?"
Molly jumped up to sit on the kitchen counter, swinging her legs against the cupboard, looking up to the ceiling and sighing. "Oh, you know. Just one of those days, isn't it?" She looked down, smiling at Adam. He didn't look amused; a small line had formed between his eyebrows, peering over the newspaper he was holding in confusion.
"No seriously, what's the matter with you?"
The kettle started to whistle and Molly jumped back down, dropping a teabag into a cup and pouring boiling water on to it. She decided to change the subject. "How come you're here so early?" She hadn't seen him much that week – he'd popped in one afternoon a few days ago, but Molly had been too busy smiling to care.
It took Adam a moment to reply, as apparently he decided whether to go with it and let his earlier question drop or not. Eventually, he folded the paper and put it on the table as Molly flung her used teabag into the bin.
"Mr. Moriarty wanted to plan today's outing," he stressed the word, "that's all."
For the first time that morning – that week, even - Molly's good mood faltered. "What? Today?" Jim hadn't mentioned any more 'outing's, as Adam had put it. Not since… Molly shivered, not wanting to think about it.
Adam hummed noncommittally. "I'm sure it's nothing to worry about." Molly arched one eyebrow as she retook her place on the counter.
'Course not, not like anyone might die or anything.
Feeling a little sick at her own thought, she reached for the remote and flicked on the TV – at which point she began to feel a whole lot more sick.
"…abduction of a prominent member of the Ministry of Defence. Experts say that Mr. Moriarty is not to be approached, but if sighted…"
Over the past few weeks, Molly had become far too accustomed to the burning desire of wanting to slap the smarmy, plastic newsreader that read the local news on BBC 1. This time, however, it was different. Fear attacked her, trapping her in a chokehold, causing her reversion to the whimpering girl she'd been months before. They knew about Jim. They were broadcasting his face, smirking out of the breakfast headlines. Did this mean… Molly's brain immediately jumped to the worst-case scenario – and if Jim wasn't going to be around to protect her, then who was?
Adam, as appropriate as ever, showed no sign of emotion other than the slight flare of his nostrils as he said "Well, that could be problematic". Molly almost threw her mug at his head.
Why wasn't he panicking?
"Problematic?" Molly shrieked, an octave or twelve higher than she'd intended. "Adam – they're launching a hunt for Jim. His face is on the news. Don't you see? Everyone who's anyone will be after him now – we won't be able to leave the house-"
Molly's voice died when she heard a soft tutting from the other end of the kitchen.
"Molly, Molly, Molly." His voice, chastising but still soft as velvet, mirrored the calm smirk on his face as he looked at Molly with something akin to pity in his eyes but fonder, more affectionate, almost imperceptibly shaking his head.
"Everyone who's anyone was already after me, sweetheart. It's just now there's a whole lot of nobodies on the lookout too."
Molly was pretty sure that the expression on her face made her look something like a fish, but she couldn't find it within herself to care. Helpfully, her brain supplied her with no words to express the building tsunami of fear and exasperation and incredulity and fear building up inside of her, leaving her mouth to open and close silently, giving her even more the look of a fish. Finally, she settled on "Jim!"
His smile didn't falter. "Molly!" He echoed her tone, mocking it affectionately. "Don't worry, my love. This is a hiccup – definitely not problematic, as you may have put it." He looked pointedly at Adam, who straightened up in his chair but dropped his eyes to stare at his lap.
"It just means we'll have to do some… rearranging, so to speak."
Molly, mouth still agape, frowned. "Rearranging?" She made an exasperated noise, her eyebrows shooting upwards. "Jim!" Her voice was almost supersonic now.
Jim arched one eyebrow, all humour gone from his face in a single movement, like a guillotine snapping down. "Rearranging, Molly." His voice was cutting, almost metallic.
Molly closed her mouth, a different kind of cold, unnerving fear pooling at the base of her spine. "You're not going to start panicking on me now, are you?" He began stalking towards her, eyes unmoving, reminiscent of a cat.
Molly swallowed and shook her head. Jim reached her, directly in front of her – Adam was no longer in the room, as far as Molly was concerned. Jim took up too much space in her brain to think about anything else – his soft, lilting voice like a poisonous lullaby, tinged with something venomous.
"Because we've yet to reach our goal, as I'm sure you're aware. I've still yet to reach our good friend Mr. Holmes – and you, dear," he tucked a curl of hair behind her ear, voice still cold and calculated. Molly shivered as he continued, "you, have yet to gain what you so desperately seek."
He leaned across her to reach for the mugs behind her, whispering delicately in her ear as his lips reached it.
And then, just like that, he straightened up, face back to normal, glint back in his eyes as if nothing had happened, leaving Molly's mind lost in the mist of Jim's breath on her ear and the cold, unfeeling stare in his eyes when he'd thought she was giving up.
No, she couldn't give up now. She couldn't risk upsetting him like that again.
Adam, too, seemed to not have noticed anything. He was absentmindedly flicking through the paper once more when he came back into view – he didn't look like the frightened soldier he'd been a minute ago, scared of offending his commander-in-chief. "So, what do we do instead, boss?"
Jim smiled to himself, pouring hot water on a teabag which smelled strongly of peppermint and not making eye contact with anyone but his mug. "I'm afraid I won't be able to attend our next rendezvous – certain nobodies can be very persistent, you know."
Adam nodded. "So, who're you sending instead? Tony? Moran?"
If Molly hadn't been watching him so closely, she wouldn't have seen the slight bristle before the smirk appeared on Jim's face. "Of course not." He said nonchalantly, still not looking up. "I'll be sending you and Molly."
Molly's heart leapt into her throat, succeeding in spilling scalding hot tea all over her lap. She slammed down the mug in her hands, causing further spillage, and leapt up in pain. Adam's fingers tightened slightly around the pages of the newspaper, making the paper crinkle under his hands. Jim, finally looking up, bore the expression of a man whom this all amused extensively.
Eventually, Molly stopped focussing on the pain in her legs for long enough to remember why she'd been so outraged in the first place. "What? Jim, we can't go alone! I can't go alone!"
Jim's eyebrows arched again. "On the contrary, Molly, you'll be leading the way – I thought you might like to handle Ms. Adler yourself, after all."
The effect was instantaneous. Molly's blood ran icy, her stomach knotting and twisting. She spoke barely above a whisper, barely audible above the continued ramblings of the newsreader behind her. "Irene?"
Jim's smile spread like water, broadening until it almost filled his whole jaw. "Indeed." His face was full of mischief – like a child plotting a trick on his friend, rather than a master criminal plotting an abduction.
Molly decided not to dwell on that point – not that she could have, as at that moment, Jim leapt up, checking his watch ostentatiously.
"Well, would you look at the time! I tell you, kids, I've got a ton of work to do." He grinned, cradling his mug of peppermint tea. "I'll just be heading upstairs, shall I? Give you some space to plan." He was already walking away when he added, "I don't want to be disturbed" in a slightly lower voice, despite Molly's numerous protests of "Jim!" and the way she actually followed him to the stairway. He didn't even look back, shouting "Ta-ta for now, lovelies!" over his shoulder as he seemed to dance up the stairs.
With the air of a lost child, Molly turned back to Adam. Looking up from his newspaper, he shrugged and sighed heavily.
"Best get to it then, hey?"
And in that moment, Molly was certain that she was the only one in the entire house who hadn't lost their mind – no matter how appealing the sound of getting one over on Irene Adler once and for all did sound, Jim's breathy whisper of 'Revenge' still lingering in her ear.
"But how am I going to get her to come to where I want her? This isn't going to work, Adam."
Adam's jaw was set, his eyes still trying to look steely but only succeeding in looking tired. He was just as underprepared as Molly was, Molly knew that – after all, he wasn't in charge, Jim was, Adam was just a soldier of sorts… not that Molly would ever say so.
He slumped down in the chair opposite her – they were in the kitchen again, but Molly was fully dressed now, sitting at the table with her head in her hands and Toby sleeping on her lap.
"You could always just ask her to come."
Molly looked up. "Nice. Genius. Why didn't I think of that?" Adam didn't seem to appreciate her narrowed eyes and the thinly veiled sarcasm in her tone.
"Fine, well, if you can think of something better, let me know, yeah?"
Molly groaned, letting her head drop back into her hands. She heard the scrape of Adam's chair as he stood up and began to pace again. "I'll follow her this afternoon - as soon as we're done here, I'll wait outside Baker Street, see where she's going – and then you can get dropped off wherever she ends up."
"How do we know she's even going anywhere?" Molly protested. "And why can't you just get her yourself? Why do I even have to be involved? I never asked to be."
"No, but Mr. Moriarty asked you to be, and its practically the same thing." He didn't miss a beat, walking back and forth across the space. "Irene's a certain type of person, Molly – she doesn't like to stay in one place for too long, gets antsy if she does, I've dealt with people like her before. She goes out every night – I'd put money on that. And besides," he came to a stop at the end of the table, meeting Molly's eyes and doing a feeble impression of Jim's mischievous smirk, leaning on his elbows on the back of one of the chairs, "don't you want to see to Ms. Adler yourself? To see her," he pushed the small black suitcase on the table towards her, "go down?"
Molly eyed the case with pure disgust, ignoring the niggling urge to shout 'Yes!' and grin at the back of her mind. "Why do we have to drug her?" Inside the case was a needle, full of an indiscriminate substance, Molly knew that. Adam wouldn't tell her where he'd got it from, only that he'd done it whilst she was in the shower – and Molly didn't really want to know, either.
Adam arched one eyebrow. "Well, unless you want to hit her with a blunt object, this is the next best thing. Just watch you don't prick yourself on it before you get to her – I think there's a cap on the needle itself, but-"
"I can handle syringes, thanks." Molly's tone was clipped, indignant. She was still a scientist, after all.
Adam smiled at Molly's stony expression. "Great!" He said gleefully, clapping his hands and straightening up. "I'll head to Baker Street then, yeah?"
Molly's eyes widened. She brushed the cat off her knee quickly and stood, moving to chase after Adam. "Wait – what – no! I don't know what I'm doing? When am I going – where am I going? Adam, how do I get her to come to me alone? Don't leave me." She was panicking, words tumbling out of her mouth before she could stop them. Adam rushed to her, holding her shoulders.
"Stop panicking, newbie."
Molly flared her nostrils and looked to the floor. "Don't call me that. I'm not a part of … this, whatever this is."
Adam hummed. "Sure, whatever. Now, listen." She looked up, meeting his clear blue eyes. They were wide and hopeful and… young. Molly felt a little sick. "I told you, just ask Irene to come meet you alone – she's a curious woman who thinks she can hold her own, but as long as we've got the element of surprise, we should be good. Tony'll come get you later – remember, the big guy? Don't know where you're going yet, but I'm sure you'll make the best of the surroundings you've got. Just a couple of tips – stick to the shadows, stay as quiet as you can, and only reveal yourself and your weapon at the very last minute, okay? Remember, element of surprise." He let go of her shoulders and grinned, excitement plain on his face. Molly was fairly certain her face was set in a grimace. "Molly, you'll be fine, honestly, I've seen you act under pressure before, and I'll come get you at the end. Just one last tip." his grin, if possible, widened. Molly quirked an eyebrow.
"Have a drink before you go – there's vodka in the top cupboard. Dutch courage – best kind there is." And with a wink, he swung himself away from her and marched towards the door.
Molly had just taken advice about drinking and kidnapping and very possibly assassination from a boy under 20 who sounded very much like he was speaking from experience.
She surprised herself by not collapsing.
The thudding of music from the club she was standing outside made Molly's teeth chatter. She stood down the side alleyway, away from the high street and yet still dangerously close to prying eyes and CCTV, the heavy shadows her only hiding place.
Adam had followed Irene here that night, had tracked her right from Baker Street without her noticing. Then, the burly man – Tony – had dropped Molly off and driven away, assuring her that Adam would pick her – and Irene – up later.
This time, she really was alone.
Molly didn't know whether it was stupidity, adrenaline or the alcohol she'd drunk at Adam's insistence, but… well, it was all quite thrilling, really.
She'd sent the message to Irene not five minutes ago, from her new number that Irene wouldn't recognise. It didn't explicitly state who Molly was or what she wanted, as Adam had instructed. Molly still wasn't convinced it would work.
Nonetheless, a simple "Meet me in the alley at the side of the club, five minutes" would have to suffice.
Molly didn't exactly know what Irene was doing in a place like this – was this the kind of place she'd have ended up in if they'd actually made it out of the house that night? Molly scoffed, feeling like she'd dodged a bullet, residual anger bubbling up inside her as she remembered exactly why she was there, the alcohol in her bloodstream giving her the necessary – albeit false – confidence to do what she had to do next. What that was, of course, she still wasn't sure; but her blood was pumping so fast she couldn't find it in herself to care. She was here, and she was going to show Irene. Show her exactly who she was… show her exactly who she could be.
Her thoughts were interrupted as the music momentarily got substantially louder, a slice of fluorescent, flickering light cutting through the darkness before her. Molly stayed hidden in the safety of the darkness as she saw a figure emerge from the doorway – the side entrance of the club – in a kind of trembling silhouette against the flashes of light behind them.
Her, Molly corrected herself, not them. She was in no doubt as to who it was.
The heavy metal door closed with a thud, reducing the music back down to a muffled thumping, with only the deep bass beats managing to penetrate through the iron. The light disappeared, leaving the alley in darkness once more aside from a dim light above the door, and leaving Molly unable to see her target.
She did, however, hear the all-too familiar clicking of undoubtedly ridiculously high exploring the platform where she stood one storey above the ground, looking out into the darkness where Molly was waiting, back pressed against the cold bricks of the building opposite.
Her voice was just as Molly remembered – well, one of the voices Molly remembered. This was Irene's sweet, innocent voice; the voice of an angel, reminiscent of honey and music. But Molly knew better – this wasn't Irene's real voice, not by a long shot. That voice was cunning and threatening and smug, unafraid to inflict pain, could cut through the strongest person like a knife.
"… Is anybody there?"
Molly smiled. Adam had been right, of course. She should have knownIrene wouldn't be able to resist this – a mysterious stranger, calling her out in the middle of the night, their motives unclear. It was a puzzle to her, a test. And, of course, she thought that she could defend herself. She thought that she could fight back.
Closing her hand around the syringe in her pocket, Molly coughed in the darkness.
Immediately Irene bristled, turning to where the source of the cough seemed to be – opposite her, obviously, where Molly stood - but the noise seemed to ricochet off the railings in the blackness, leaving her standing at the top of the metal steps with a furrowed brow.
"Seriously? We're going to go there?" Irene's façade slipped, no longer acting the innocent damsel, but rolling her eyes in impatience. "Alright then. Let's play."
She made her way down the stairs, each step clanging through the alley with the sound of heels on metal flooring. Eventually, the noise changed, and it became clear Irene was now standing on the concrete at the bottom, despite the lack of light down there. Her silhouette was barely backlit in the dusty yellow light by the door.
"So come on," Irene shouted to nobody in particular, "who sent you? God knows, I've made enough enemies to warrant somebody coming after me. After a little fun, are we?"
She wasn't anywhere near the steps now – Molly needed to get under the stairs, behind Irene, if she was going to have any kind of upper ground. As Irene clicked about in her massive heels Molly thanked herself and her sensibility that she didn't wear such ridiculous shoes – her converse made no noise at all as she shuffled along the concrete to the bins at the end of the dead-end street, silently making her way to the other side and back up to the steps, trying to keep her breathing steady.
"No? Nothing?" Irene kept taunting her invisible stalker. "This really isn't going to be any good at all if you won't talk to me."
Her hand was on her hip, one toe pointed up in impatience as she continued to scan the alley. If she turned, now, she'd see Molly – this side of the alley wasn't nearly as completely shadowed as the other side, and Irene could definitely make out Molly's form in the dim light… the impending nature of what she was about to do, what she had to do, sent a jolt of adrenaline through Molly.
It dawned on her, in that moment in the shadows next to some grotty nightclub, that this was it – this was the all-important moment Molly had been waiting for, ever since Irene had waltzed into her life in the first place. This was her chance to shine, to show the arrogant redhead in front of her just what she was made of, just who she was worthy of and the kind of person she could be.
This was her revenge.
Without another thought, Molly ran forward, uncapping the needle and swinging it above her head. Irene wheeled around, her expression changing from amusement to confusion to full on shock, but she wasn't quick enough – Molly lunged at her neck and dug the needle in, and Irene staggered back, clutching the spot where the needle had been.
Molly's vision swam, hazy, shadowy silhouettes of Irene hitting the wall behind her as she backed away just about visible. Molly couldn't see her face, could barely see her outline, but could hear the shock and awe so crystalline in her voice that Molly couldn't help but grin.
She felt drunk, watching Irene scrape at the wall with her too-perfect nails for support as the drug that Molly had injected began to take hold. Molly made a noise at the back of her throat in agreement, that soon turned into a laugh – she couldn't help it, it was all too much, to see the woman who had overpowered her so just a few short weeks before completely at her mercy, staggering about in her stupid high heels… Molly had a feeling that this was exactly what heaven was like.
She walked towards Irene, practically floating, not really sure what she was doing. Her voice was steady, assured, oozing confidence – and why shouldn't it be? She'd done this alone, with nobody's help… never again would anyone be able to say that Molly Hooper couldn't stand on her own two feet.
Least of all Irene Adler.
"But- how – Molly?"
The incredulity in her voice coaxed another laugh from Molly. She pulled the torch Adam had insisted she take 'for emergencies' from her pocket in her dream-like state, wanting nothing more than to see the disbelief and amazement mirrored on Irene's face, her hazel eyes round with wonder, her reddened lips open in awe.
Molly wasn't disappointed as she clicked the light on and shone it in Irene's face. Her eyes, though half-lidded from the drug, certainly looked as if they couldn't believe what they were seeing.
"Oh my God, what has he done to you?"
Molly's self-assured expression fell into a fierce scowl. She curled her lip as she spoke. "Nothing that you didn't start. Jim fixed me-"
Irene's laugh was a sharp, cutting bark. Molly's knuckles went white as she tightened her grip on the torch, anger curling in her stomach. They were close, now, face to face. The rage burning in Molly's eyes could have lit the street, but Irene's expression didn't change.
"Oh, Molly, you don't get it, do you? Oh, Molly…"
And still, even now, even drugged by Molly's own hands, Irene pitied her. Fury flared inside her and, without even thinking, she brought the butt of the torch down on the crease between Irene's neck and shoulder with a resolute crack. The other woman fell to the floor with a cry, and Molly stuck her foot on her chest. "I understand perfectly. Jim is helping me – a concept which you obviously can't understand."
The drug was really starting to work now, as Irene mumbled and her eyelids drooped further, struggling to stay awake.
"What, not up for talking so much nowadays? It's only been a few weeks… mind you, I guess a lot can change in a few weeks, can't it, Irene?" Molly tried to mirror Irene's sweet, caramel-like tone – and to her surprise, it worked. She wasn't nearly as elegant looking as Irene was, in her figure-hugging dress, elaborate make-up and perfect hair – but she was in control, as proven by the way said long red hair was currently splayed around her head on a concrete pavement.
Molly nudged Irene's face with the toe of her converse. "You'll want to stay awake for a minute, hear what I've got to say."
Irene tried to reply, but could only mumble, as her left hand made an abortive attempt to move. Molly watched in fascination, the words she'd been building up for the past weeks spilling out of her before she could stop them.
"You see, Irene, I'm not that pathetic little girl you judged me to be all that time ago – do you understand that now? I'm so much more than that, and if you couldn't see that then, well, I suppose that's your loss-"
Irene mumbled again. Molly crouched down, her own hair falling across Irene's face as she craned her ears to listen. "What's that? Speak up, dear."
"Moriarty…" Irene managed to breathe. Molly grinned down at her, shining the torch in her face again and humming in agreement.
"That's right. You see, you might have won the battle, Irene, but you most certainly didn't win the war. So, you've got Sherlock – well, I say that, but I think we both know that he'll get bored of you sooner or later, just like one of his experiments; because it doesn't matter how many rungs of the ladder you manage to climb, Irene, in the end you're always going to be nothing to him, that… that machine. I can't believe how long I…" she laughed, mostly at herself. "But you see I've got Jim now, Irene. And you can't get to us. Together we're infallible – untouchable – and so, so powerful… there's nothing that you, or Sherlock fucking Holmes, or anyone else can do about that."
Molly, in her light-headed state, didn't notice the fact that Irene's eyelids had closed long ago, her hand gone limp where it had been holding her neck. She only stopped talking at the sound of Adam's voice behind her, giving a low whistle.
"Nicely done, newbie."
Molly straightened herself up and looked over her shoulder at him, still smiling. "I try."
He kept looking at her, scanning her up and down with an expression on his face and a look in his eyes clear without his sunglasses that Molly didn't recognise – one that maybe, Adam wouldn't recognise himself. He stared, unblinking, switching from Molly, to Irene, back to Molly again. He just wouldn't stop looking.
Molly found she liked it.
A sharp smile cut across her features. "Come on then, haven't got all day."
Finally, Adam's expression changed, a slower, wicked smile playing with the corners of his lips. "No. No, we haven't." He dug for something in his pocket and threw it to her – Molly caught it; a hip-flask. "Reward." Adam explained, grinning. "Told you, the Dutch really know what they're on about."
He quickly got a hold on Irene – despite her height, she apparently wasn't all that heavy, as Adam swung her over his shoulder with little difficulty, staggering only slightly. Molly stuck to the shadows behind him, putting the used needle and her hip-flask back in her pocket.
"Where are you going, exactly?" Adam asked, obviously amused, over his shoulder. Molly stopped, a crease forming between her eyebrows.
"I – I'm following you."
Molly could hear the smile in Adam's voice. "You did good, newbie, but I'm not the one taking you back. There'll be another car along in a minute, just wait here."
And with that, he walked out of the alleyway, tossing Irene limply into the back of the car parked on the street. Molly didn't have it in her to hope nobody had seen - she trusted Adam, safe in the knowledge he knew what he was doing, after tonight.
Unlike ever before, when Molly thought of the night's events, she couldn't stop herself smiling.
She stayed like that, in her dreamy state, remembering the exact look on Irene's face when she'd recognised her, comparing it to the Irene who'd knocked Molly to the floor all those weeks ago – and laughed, to herself, numerous times in the darkness as she waited, occasionally swigging from the flask Adam had given her, with nothing better to do. The liquid burned her throat, but Molly found she enjoyed it – she'd found she enjoyed a lot of things that night, and whiskey wasn't the weirdest.
When the car eventually pulled up, backing into the alley, all Molly could think about as she was bundled into the back seat by burly Tony was how proud Jim was going to be of her. She could imagine the smile on his face, waiting for her as she got home…
Molly couldn't wait.
It wasn't long before she was pushing the door open to her house, listening to Tony's car pulling away behind her. In all that time, she hadn't been able to wipe the grin from her face or Irene's face from her mind.
"Honey, I'm home!"
Jim appeared at the top of the stairs, head tilted to one side and a look of suspicious confusion on his face. It was adorable, really. "Molly?" he asked tentatively, heading slowly down the stairs.
Molly stood with her back to the closed front door, her grin becoming a smirk. Her head felt light, her limbs lighter. As Jim reached the foot of the stairs, he straightened up, his confusion starting to mirror Molly's own smile.
"I assume all went well?"
Molly rolled her eyes. "Of course. You talk too much."
Before Jim had a chance to say anything more, Molly got two fistfuls of his shirt and pulled him close, stealing a harsh, fervent kiss from his lips. Soon enough, his hands were in the small of her back, and he was responding with equal enthusiasm.
Because if there was one thing Molly had learnt that night, it was that she was in control. She could take what she wanted, from who she wanted – especially with Jim at her side.
In that moment, tight in Jim's embrace, stealing his air and bruising his lips, Molly couldn't understand why she'd ever even looked at a man as robotic and feeble-minded as Sherlock Holmes.