As a morgue attendant, Molly had been very good at her job. But this wasn't because she had been breathtakinglyskilled with the handling of the corpses. No, it was because she possessed the talent of picking things up quite quickly. There was something in her brain that once stimulated allowed for an ability to absorb knowledge senselessly. This was the only reason why she had managed to knuckle near-hundred percent in most of her exams in university. Of course, there were exceptions (like her initial training with guns) but she had found that once she performed it well once – things generally became easier.
This was what essentially made her a very good employee.
Working for Jim, there was very little she could say. The jobs were inconsistent and for the most part, they involved deliveries and collections. She would be given coordinates to travel to and all she had to do was pick up a package. They were relatively dull and this was what made her so cautious. After her first "job" in Turin, it seemed that everything she had been given since then had been safe.
It resembled the uneasy calm before a very turbulent storm.
But there was work that required more than Molly's reading skills. She assisted mainly because everything about completing the tasks relied on assistance. The first had been an isolated murder with Adelaide; a murder that had been requested for an unfaithful husband by a very resentful wife. The whole thing had felt dramatic from the get-go. After all, the woman had stated in her plea how she had desired for her husband to be 'bathed in humiliation and in the blood of the whores he sleeps with'. Even to Sebastian (who had found the case brilliantly amusing), the sentence had been unnerving.
It was the first time Molly had been on a case with Adelaide. The whole thing had to be filmed (again to the wishes of the resentful spouse) and took place in a small hotel room in France where the man worked as an engineer. Adelaide had posed as a stripper – meagrely dressed and drunkenly outlandish – while Molly had stayed, tucked in the van to ensure everything was filmed. Within two minutes Adelaide had leapt onto the man's knees, pinned him flat on the bed and there the kill was executed. It was done promptly; right on schedule in fact. It had taken two knives hidden in Adelaide's shoes and a sharp jut through the chest and the jugular.
He had no chance.
Molly watched it all. Adelaide had stayed on top of him, indifferent as the figure below her writhed in agony. When eventually the man stopped struggling; the woman retrieved her knives, flexed her hands and left the room.
It did upset her. And Molly had wanted to say something. But when Adelaide entered the van, chewing gum and grinning about getting pastries – something clicked in Molly's head. It muffled her nausea – it stopped her from saying anything. She drove forwards to the shrieking tune of 'Walk this way' as she reminded herself of Adelaide's casualness; of her flippancy; of her sheer offhandedness to murder. Molly had to be like her. Molly had to be exactly like her.
It was the key to survival.
The next job she had been given was a prison break. A couple of wealthy parents willing for a "supposedly-wrongly-accused" son to be retrieved. It had been the first chance she had of meeting Jim's more freelance employees. Richard Hobbs and Warren Matthers; the latter she had already met as the Manchester-born sniper addressed to Jim when he had been beaten. They were simply referred to as 'Matthers & Hobbs' (like the Ben & Jerry's of the criminal verse) or (to Sebastian) "the ambiguously gay duo."
It didn't take long for Molly to understand why it was that Sebastian found this title so fitting. The men were polar opposites; divided in appearance and personality. She observed that while Matthers retained an aspect of solemnity in his character, Hobbs emitted a ridiculously campy vibe that balanced the equation. They were like chalk and cheese; while one was tall, lanky and dark – the other was stocky, blonde and burly. From what Molly had observed about them, they possessed a healthy working relationship that was founded on instinct, respect and genuine affection for each other.
It was cute really.
"Alright Mole – are you ready?"
Molly wasn't sure if she liked Hobbs' nickname for her but nodded anyway as she kept an eye at the door, holding her taser shakily with one hand. "Yep, ready." Her eyes drifted to the clock that hung on the wall on her right. The plan had specified that they had a ten minute window – they had spent a good six minutes already. "Rich," she told him, "I think we need to get him out now."
"It's getting there and… boom—"
Molly blinked as the first notes of Elvis' 'Jailhouse Rock' blasted out from the speakers above her.
'The warden threw a party in the county jail-"
She turned, mortified as her eyes focused on the security monitors. All of the prison doors were now open –spurring an instant flood of identically-dressed figures through the corridors. Some of the prisoners were dancing – some waved to the cameras, evidently confused – but the majority had clearly sensed the opportunity and were proposing trouble. "C'mon Moley!" Hobbs chirped, dragging her by the hand as they dashed down the pitch black hall in front of them, "—everybody in the whole cell block, was dancing to the jailhouse rock –"
They exited. An instant flush of sunlight. "They're going to kill each other in there," she murmured as her eyes averted towards Matthers who was holding the man they had come to salvage. Hobbs was beside her, probably texting Sebastian to inform him that the job was completed. A few hours later, after they had transported the prisoner to a checkpoint, Molly had asked Hobbs if it had been necessary to include Elvis. In her mind, it had seemed unwarranted. Despite the fact that it had Jim's-showman-signature all over it.
"It's the boss, not us. It's in the plan, see. Jailhouse Rock – or Footloose apparently if we really couldn't get a copy," a smile was on the man's face as he flipped up his collar absently, "—look Mole. This is the type of stuff that gets onto YouTube. You know? The boss likes a show… it's not our thing."
"And you're okay with that?" Molly asked.
"Oh, I don't know," Hobbs shrugged, "if that's what gets the boss going; who are we to complain eh?"
Molly agreed with him. Who were they to complain? But she had seen something in him. A sense of defeat – of being powerless. She knew he didn't question it because he was used to it. There was the aspect of fear as well. The pair had executed the job almost sharply to the schedule; give or take a minute. Everything had been done - ticked off and double-checked. Inside, she had felt the fear too. Jim's watchful eye.
The concept of failure with Jim was barely a concept at all.
"Go hard or go home," Hobbs mumbled as he noted the meditative look in her eyes, "It's what that arsehole, Moran's tattooed in our brains."
She would be lying if she said that her jobs with the arsehole were not enjoyable.
It wasn't because sniping was gratifying; it was an utterly remorseless career. However, Molly identified that shooting was where her skills had blossomed the most. And it was where she felt least hopeless. Even Sebastian had stipulated that she had improved – he even took her hunting the previous week. Of course, Molly had just ended up hypothermic in the hills. But she had a nimble hand when it came to guns now; an unsightly confidence which probably benefited her in more ways than she imagined.
Her most recent sniping job was into the early depths of the night. It was freezing and it was ten minutes until her target was to leave work.
"Oh god, Sebastian… I forgot to give you back your iPod." Darn. She had held onto it for him when they left the car.
There was a deep sigh over the earpiece. 'Fine, –' Sebastian grumbled, 'just keep it safe will you. Only ten minutes. Don't drop it.'
"I won't." Holding the object like it was a piece of gold, Molly couldn't help but feel special. The object was glorified; it was Sebastian's wingman – every time she thought of him, it was associated. They were like a pair. And Molly knew how much trouble she was in considering that Sebastian had previously stated that his iPod had been the only way he had ever endured arduously boring sniper jobs.
Unable to stop herself, she turned it on. Now, Molly had never owned one of these. It would seem that there was a common pact that came with becoming Jim's employee. Parting from subjecting yourself to constant mental persecution, an individual musical taste was also required. From what Molly had observed, Sebastian was the posh-classical – Adelaide was the strapping-rock-empress – Charlie was quite unruffled about the concept of music – Matthers really hated music while Hobbs adored pop (more specifically Rihanna as she had been coerced into listening to him sing 'Umbrella' non-stop during the ferry-ride home). If Molly had owned an iPod, she wondered what music she would have bought for it. In her mind, it would have probably been filled with musical-soundtracks, jazz and the occasional chart-single.
Oh and a lot of Kylie Minogue.
"You have a playlist for shooting?" Molly blurted out out as she found herself on the playlist section of the device.
There came another trite sigh. 'Snoop more,' Sebastian uttered bitterly, 'you'll find I'm extremely specific.'
And he was. Molly found that the playlist for shooting lead to smaller playlists itemized from: 'sniping,' 'hunting', 'foreign-sniping', 'multiple sniping' etc. There were others that were unnamed and some more colourfully titled such as: 'listen-when-fucking-bored' and 'listen-when-probably-fucked'. Molly had chuckled a little as Wagner's infamous 'Flight of the Valkyries' had been on top of that song list.
By this time, the targets were in motion and it was Molly's turn to snipe. Taking a deep breath, she pressed Sebastian's headphones into her ear (she figured she would never have this blessed chance again) and selected a piece.
'Your turn Hooper.' Sebastian huffed over the line, 'hurry up. We've got a train to catch in seven minutes.'
She performed the job quite quickly; serenaded by the sweet, sharp sound of Mozart's Requiem's Dies Irae.
It was work that made Molly belong. She found an unbelievable sense of vigour when she assisted in jobs. It was different to the way she had felt in the morgue where she had ended up working with two of the dullest people alive. Her two colleagues – Martha Hart and Bobby Carr – had been working in Barts for decades and had a relationship that could have only resembled a stale, sexless marriage. She had been the newbie; the girl who they completely ignored for almost six years. This sense of fitting in was new to her. But it was addicting. Everything. From the workload, the travelling - but most importantly, the employees.
The way that Sebastian would occasionally slip and call her Molly; the way that Adelaide would grab her arm and fawn over the new Henry Cavill poster; the way that she possessed a purpose. She was helping. It gave her objective – something she had never felt in the past despite loving her job as a morgue technician.
In many ways, it made her feel less monstrous.
Despite the sheer amount of work that Sebastian had for employees, Molly found that she still spent plenty of time in Dublin; more expressly, time with Jim.
Molly wasn't sure whether she enjoyed her time with the Irish man. Every time she was with him, he was always gentle. Or perhaps a better description would be – less volatile. He rarely talked like a madman now; in fact the majority of their conversations relied on mathematics or science. There were even times when she would visit and she would say absolutely nothing.
Jim really liked company; even if it was silent. She didn't like to admit it but she had days where she liked being with him. He was gripping in a terrifying way; so changeable that it was fascinating. However, what was most attractive was how intelligent he was. Molly was constantly awed by how much his intellectual strengths stretched. He was so clever; and he had the academic wit to match. In his less-volatile state, Molly knew it was his harmlessness that made him dangerous for her. It was this stark concept of attachment. Luckily, he always changed.
And by doing so, he never allowed her to get close.
Today, he was in his pyjamas. Quiet and solemn. He hadn't spoken in over twenty minutes and all Molly had done was stare curiously at the pile of Harry Potter books on his coffee table. "I'm hungry," was his first words as he turned away from the window and hovered over to her, "—did you bring food?"
I really liked the seventh book. Especially when Mrs Weasley killed that bitch, Bellatrix—"Wait, what?" Snapping out of her reverie, Molly looked up, "Food? Oh… no, I didn't. I swear I just shopped for you a week ago…" The words died. Jim probably ate nothing. He rarely had appetite. Considering that he was a vegetarian and everything she had bought him was fresh fruit and vegetables, she assumed that everything had expired now.
"I'm hungry," he repeated, "and we need to have a word."
A little taken by the sight of Jim's tangled hair, Molly swallowed and shook her head for the umpteenth time. "Uh," she wasn't particularly good at being spontaneous but something she had said to Shakespeare this morning (she had now earned a habit of talking to the dog when no-one else was in the house) rung bells in her mind, "—if I go down to the flat; I could make you sugar cookies."
"Sugar cookies," Jim's face was expressionless, "Sure. That would do."
It didn't. The moment Molly began preparation, she knew instantly that the sugar cookies would not do. The man had a strong sugar tooth but she had the spare inkling that cookies were not his area. This said, Jim watched her intently as she pushed everything into the bowl. Sugar cookies were the only things she had ever learnt to bake. It was the specialty of her Dad who never had very much in his cupboards and learnt to cook with the barest of recipes; she had learnt it at eight years old, just months after her parents' divorce. 'The trick Moll,' her dad would have said, 'is to not rush through it; doing things right takes time.'
Her eyes flickered up into his. He was still watching. She wondered if he was ensuring that she didn't slip poison into the raw batter. It took a few seconds of thought to snub this idea. He was thinking. It must have to do with the word he had wanted with her. "What was it that you wanted to say?" Molly mumbled quietly, conscious of his movements as she continued to stir the cookie batter, "You said you wanted a word."
"Oh," Jim looked up as if he'd just glided out of a long day-dream, "Right, yes a word." There was silence as the blankness in his eyes returned. This gave Molly enough time to wonder next what it was that he wanted to say. Already she knew that it couldn't be about work; now she knew that genuine work was always gained through Sebastian. This only gave her cause for concern. Already her craving for cookies had dissipated. Molly stirred, pulse beginning to rise. She eyed his face closely as he looked up again.
Two days, her mind murmured. Two days since he last closed those eyes. "I have something for you to do for me," Jim told her as he bit his lower lip absently, dark eyes flitting across the room like a swerving fly, "Tomorrow. Or tonight… if we're fortunate."
A string of swear-words chattered through Molly's thoughts. Already she could feel her hand begin to shake as the batter in the bowl gradually ost its texture.
"You mean… like a job?" she innocently posed.
"Noooo," he answered with a casual shrug, "more like a request."
"Oh," Molly stopped folding the mixture. She looked up, eyes barely able to straighten. Whatever it was, she knew it wasn't good. She knew it couldn't possibly be good. "What… what kind of something?" As if seeking comfort, her hands began to whisk the batter again, "Is it optional?"
Jim smiled toothily.
"Just a request for me; details are hazy. But," he paused, smiling with just an inch of irony, "It shouldn't be a problem."
He stopped talking – probably because he realized that she was inches from hyperventilation. Returning to his original position, Jim's initial smile had all but faded. His face was straight; alarming in its lack of emotion. Molly could feel the heat of his words ring in her mind. Unable to continue, she lowered the mixing bowl on the table and stared at him.
"Jim," she mumbled.
"I love it when you say my name like that," Jim uttered as he drummed fingers on the worktop, "So affectionate." His eyes then centred on a spot on the floor. Correspondingly, Molly's eyes looked away.
She should have said something. Anything to gain information. However, Molly was taken by the expression on Jim's face that clearly didn't want to talk. She knew it was business and it was rare that he would ever talk about that.
Emotionless, she sighed.
"Oh, don't worry." He told her, gaze still diverted, "I've got everything under control."
Weakly, Molly watched his fingers drumming on the worktop. It always had the same rhythm - like an absent, habitual twitch. His other hand was on his face, rubbing his eyes. Up close, he looked exhaustedly grey.
She would have felt sorry for him. But knowing what sympathy may lead to, Molly finished the cookies in silence. It was half seven in the evening now. She should probably get home. It was almost time to feed the pets. Sebastian would probably want his egg-fried rice microwaved too. Through these thoughts, Molly never noticed Jim watching her.
He stared, guardedly noting her every move.
There was a mess he had to fix; she was in his toolbox. The fortunate thing was that he had everything under control.
And all she had to do was play her part.
Trade scheduled for 21:05. Get her ready.
Sebastian's eyes flickered down at the text as he sipped his tea quietly. She had been preparing her dinner for a good fifteen minutes now; the oven-baked pie a good distraction. He chewed the bottom of his lip quietly as he slipped out of the kitchen, one hand tapping away a reply.
Received; but, what if I ask her and she says no?
It was an uncharacteristic response from the sniper who normally followed orders with no question. He had an obedience that could outclass even the best-trained; it was the feature of his character that made him so integral to the boss. Out of everyone, he would be the most likely to leap off a sodding tower for the bloke. This said, there were times where he questioned the Irish man. More often than not, his qualms were overlooked. This was one of those times.
I never instructed for you to ask.
Rolling his tongue inside his cheek, Sebastian pursed his lips together and nodded. It was a decision made and firmed. He was in no position to complain.
Thirty minutes after receiving his order, Sebastian sauntered forwards and gagged an unsuspecting Molly Hooper.
She squirmed and struggled as he secured the strap over her mouth, barely flinching. "Alright Hooper," he barked, pressing her against the wall as he then bound her hands behind her back, "—the more you get difficult; the longer this is going to take us." It was irritating her. Well, she had every right to considering she was being gagged without choice. But he knew that it was irritating he more that he was being so blasé about it. Well, it was blasé to Sebastian who had lost count as to how many people he'd had to gag over the years. It was all quite ordinary to him – a routine chore.
Stepping back, the blonde man waited as she whipped around, shrieking beneath the cloth. Her words were muffled; fortunately. Now, how to explain. "Look," he told her firmly, eyes securing hers, "you've got somewhere to be. Understand?"
She was shaking her head. The initial struggle had turned into a desperate plea. Already, he could feel his patience simmering.
"It's a job, Hooper. It's a job," Taking her harshly by the crook in her arm, he pulled her towards the door. He could sense the anxiety she was emitting. He estimated that she would be howling tearfully in about thirty seconds. "Don't… don't be so pathetic," Sebastian growled as his gaze fell and he lowered his voice, "—he's watching."
This silenced her. The sniper grimaced as they stepped out into the streets. He looked up at the black skies of Dublin. She was watching too, eyes glossy.
He figured it would probably be a good ten days before she'd see Dublin again; whether she'd even want to, was a seperate issue.
A/N: I changed my mind. No "unrelated-one-shots". My muse resented the idea. Instead, it decided to put on its troll-suit and put Molly in another-mentally-compromising situation. Oh, goody. It really hates human!Jim. I'm sorry. This "trade-business" will be explained by Jim in chapter three; it's not very plot-based. I just wanted to give Molly another chance to rethink her life-choices [sigh] as she's become too comfortable [according to my jealous muse.]
Anyway, I graciously thank you all for your lovely support!comments!well-wishes for health. This chapter took a long time [sorry!] because of time constraints.
I'm imploring myself to be nicer to Molly. But each section has to have my trolly muse to work with. AH. Sorry. Anyway, hoping you're having a lovely, super!safe Easter weekend. Thanks as always for reading! You're all too nice! ^_^ Oh, and the HP Books on Jim's coffee table shall be explained later in the section. If I forget to, feel free to remind me!
Oh and the ideas for Molly's jobs came to me in odd packages. For example, the jailbreak was brought on by a dream where I was a prisoner and literally dancing to the Jailhouse Rock. I am such an oddball.