Author's Note: Decided to write some Sherlock and Molly friendship fic and this was the result. Lovingly beta'ed by my awesome friend Kirsten because she would do anything to get to read this first. ^_^
Put in washing load. Make dinner. Catch up on missed TV while eating dinner. Hang up washing to dry. Read next chapter of book. Sleep.
It was a simple plan for the evening, but Molly Hooper liked to have it straight in her head. She was sure the last few were up for change. Her shift had finished late, again, and she was very tired. She imagined it was more likely that she was going to fall asleep on the sofa after dinner. As she turned down the dark alley she used as a shortcut to her street, she tried to remind herself that doing that would mean she would have to rinse and spin the clothes again in the morning before she could hang them up to dry. Her mind was so focused on her evening that she didn't hear the footsteps behind her or notice the shadow hiding the light from the street she'd left behind.
In fact, it wasn't till a hand was clamped across her mouth and an arm wrapped around her shoulders that she realised she wasn't alone in the alley. At first, her mind went blank. Then her intensive week of self defence classes kicked in with very little thought. She bent her knees and rammed her elbow back hard into her assailant's stomach. The hands let go instantly, giving her the opportunity to spin around, grab their shoulders and knee them very hard in the groin. The yelp and drop to the knees confirmed her suspicions that it was a man. Looking up the alley, she decided to just run towards her house. At least she could lock herself in there.
That was when she saw another figure looming in the darkness, now between her and home. Adrenaline was still coursing through her body, preparing her for the flight back to the street she had turned off. The other figure suddenly turned on a torch and shined it up at their face.
"Molly, don't worry. It's me, John," said the illuminated face, which she had to admit was that of John Watson's.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, her heart still racing though she had now quite forgotten about her attacker still just a few feet away from her.
"We were following some thugs; they appear to have taken an interest in your house. So we needed to stop you going home."
Molly tilted her head to one side, looking at John feeling very confused now.
"We?" she asked slowly, her mind not quite caught up to speed.
"You alright back there Sherlock?" John asked, looking past her to the man leaning against the wall taking very deep breaths.
"I'm fine," came the slightly higher pitched than normal reply, before the sound of a cough echoed in the alley.
Molly's mind cottoned on then. Her hands flew up to her mouth as her eyes widened in shock. She had just attacked Sherlock Holmes.
"Don't worry," smiled John as he walked towards her. "He deserved it. I told him he shouldn't jump out at you. Never listens though."
John walked past her; it seemed with the intention of going to make sure she hadn't done any permanent damage to Sherlock. She turned slowly, cringing at the sight of Sherlock trying to straighten himself up and batting away John's hand as he reached out to him.
"It wasn't quite the reaction I was expecting I must admit," he said slowly, his head slowly turning to look at her. Even in the dim light of the alley, which her eyes had now adjusted to, she could see his eyes seeming to gleam at her. "But quite an impressive display I must say."
Molly blushed at that.
"Now, I think we should be getting back home. Molly, come with us and we will explain everything once we are back at Baker Street." She wanted to say something to him, even tried idly to gesture in the direction of her house up the alley, but he was already striding off back to the street. Well, he was striding after a few faltering steps at first. Molly really had hit him quite hard in a very sensitive area.
John looked at her almost sadly and sighed at Sherlock's inability to let anything be explained. "You need to come with us Molly, your home isn't safe. Don't worry, we'll protect you."
That was all she needed really. Without really knowing why, she knew she could trust what John was saying and she had the feeling if it came down to it, both of them would protect her.
"We've been following them for a few days; we saw them at the hospital first exhibiting some very strange behaviour." Sherlock was pacing around the living room in 221b now, explaining to a still bemused Molly why it had been necessary to bring her to their flat. "Tonight we followed them to a house, your house to be precise, where they promptly smashed down the front door and walked right in. Don't you have an alarm system? You really should have an alarm system when you live in central London; I had assumed you'd at least know that."
"They broke in to my house?" asked Molly, completely ignoring Sherlock's barbed comment. It wasn't really that she ignored it, she more didn't hear it. As soon as he'd said they'd broken in, her head went spinning. They'd just walked right into her house, like it didn't matter.
"Yes," replied John instead, sitting down beside her on the sofa and holding out a cup of tea.
"I might need something stronger than that," said Molly, staring at him with wide eyes.
John smiled at her and laid a hand on her now shaking hand. "This will be better, trust me."
Molly decided to take the doctor's advice and took the mug from him. She hadn't even realised her hand was shaking until she felt a slosh of warm liquid on her fingers. Looking down at the mug, she couldn't understand how she hadn't felt those tremors before. It was like she was looking at someone else's hand. John squeezed her other hand reassuringly which caused Molly to take a deep breath to try and calm her nerves. Thank god John was sat next to her; she certainly needed to know there was someone nearby who wanted to keep her feeling calm.
"Are we done? Can I continue or would you like to finish this little domestic scene?" Sherlock's voice dripped with that usual disdain that sprung up when people tried to deal with emotion.
"Sherlock," John growled in a low voice, the look he gave to Sherlock the one he usually reserved when he needed to shut people up with just a look. A look, which of course, did not work on Sherlock Holmes.
"I was in mid flow when you two helpfully interrupted me. I do not appreciate it," he responded, before he began to pace again in order to finish his story in the most dramatic way possible. "They did not remain in the house long. It appears they were not after any items. Instead, they climbed into a large 4x4 they had parked a little further up the street. One of those hideous looking thing's with tinted windows that is meant to show off wealth or instil fear in others. At that point, we ascertained that they must not be looking for an item, but more a person. They were now waiting for your arrival at home, presumably so they could kidnap you. I imagine its information they are after, though I have yet to figure out what information they believe you of all people to be in possession of."
Sherlock raised a hand as both Molly and John opened there mouths to speak. "I am nearly finished, and then there can be questions. With that established, we decided that the best course of action would be to intercept you before you arrived home. As you had not arrived yet, it was very easy to figure out that you had been kept late at work. You follow the same route home every night; you are after all a creature of habit, so I decided that we should wait for you in the alley. That way we could stop you before the men saw you, but also prevent a scene on the street which might alert them to your being nearby. I had hoped to be able to keep you quiet to ensure that they didn't hear your voice at all and suspect you were on your way. Unfortunately, I wasn't quite expecting that reaction."
"I did tell you we should just wait at the entrance of the alley, then stop you as you walked past and quietly explain. Instead, you decided to attack her," John sighed, making sure to jump in while Sherlock's mind seemed to drift back to the fact that quiet Molly had kneed him quite spectacularly in the groin.
"For once," said Sherlock, almost through gritted teeth. "For once, I will concede that you may have had the better plan of action."
"And that, Molly, is why we surprised you in an alley and then brought you back to our flat." John said it all the while staring at Sherlock for actually admitting that he had made a mistake. Sort of. When he had finished speaking, he turned to look at Molly to find her face was white and her eyes were staring off into the distance. "Molly?"
Slowly, Molly turned her head to look at him. "There are men waiting outside my house to kidnap me and probably torture me for information." Her voice cracked as she spoke, the statement hanging heavy in the air between them.
"I imagine that torture would be employed if you did not give up whatever is they think you have. By the looks of the men, mostly physical torture, they didn't look like they have the brains to think up any clever mental tortures." Sherlock's matter of fact tones sounded so bored about it all, so bored by the idea of Molly being harmed by these men.
"I'm going to be sick," said Molly, dropping the half drank mug on the floor. John grabbed her arm and quickly pulled her towards the bathroom. He held her hair back as she retched and vomited into the toilet, tears starting to roll down her cheeks as she did. John even rubbed her back gently, his mind cataloguing the ways he was going to hurt Sherlock for his blatant insensitivity.
"Molly, you're safe here. I promise you we are going to keep you safe. Whoever those men are, they aren't going to get near you," John said when had finally stopped throwing up. He pulled a few tissues out of a box he kept in the cupboard under the sink and handed them to her. She accepted them without a word and started to clean up her face. However, Molly found she couldn't stop crying, her face just stayed wet no matter how hard she wiped at her eyes. Eventually she just flung the tissues into the toilet and sat up. John let go her hair, which allowed her to turn around and look at him. John didn't think he'd ever felt so sorry for Molly. She was kneeling on the bathroom floor, her eyes red, her cheeks flushed and tears pouring down her face. She was white as a sheet as well, making those red eyes stand out even more. John didn't even think about it, he quickly slid off the edge of the bath to sit on the floor next to her and pulled her into his arms.
Sherlock came to the bathroom door to see what was happening; it had after all been quite a while since Molly had run off to be sick. The sight confused him a little. John and Molly were both sitting on the bathroom floor; John was holding Molly tight against him, gently stroking her hair. Molly was crying it seemed as her body shook while she curled up against John. The smell was potent, that mixture of vomit and bile making his nostrils flare. John looked up at Sherlock, looking as though he was ready to murder him. Sherlock took the hint and wandered back to the living room to sulk. Why did no one appreciate that he had rescued Molly from what would certainly not have been a pleasant experience?
"Molly, maybe you should lie down and get some sleep," John said it slowly, Molly sniffling loudly and nodding her head in agreement. "Come on, you can have my bed. I would give you Sherlock's just to spite him, but you really don't want to go near his room."
Molly laughed in that snorting way people do when they try to laugh through tears. That made John smile, glad to hear a laugh from her. Carefully, he helped her stand up and then guided her across the hall to his room. John's mind frame of 'once a soldier, always a soldier' meant that thankfully the room was immaculately neat and tidy. Steering Molly, he got her to sit down on the edge of the bed. She looked so drained and worn out he wasn't sure she even knew which way was up right now. Kneeling down, he quickly unlaced her boots and pulled them off.
"I haven't got any pyjamas," she said suddenly, looking thoroughly puzzled by that idea. John smiled up at her.
"That doesn't matter right now, just try and sleep," he said, standing up now and helping her to move round to lie on the bed. She flopped down onto the bed rather ungracefully, her head crashing onto the pillow with a loud thump. John located the blanket he kept for winter on top of his wardrobe and placed it over her. "We'll sort everything out properly in the morning."
"Thanks," Molly slurred before yawning, her mouth opening wider than John had ever imagined he'd see without someone dislocating their jaw. Before he'd even reached the door, he heard her start to breathe a little more deeply as she drifted off to sleep. Turning the light off, he closed the door quietly resolving to let her sleep as long as she needed. The sofa wasn't that uncomfortable anyway.
Molly had strange dreams that night. In one dream, she heard two men arguing loudly about cleaning and tact, which seemed a strange combination of topics. There was a violin in one of her dreams; it seemed to dance across a night sky playing a soft, melodic tune. Then she dreamt of a black 4x4 and men with piercing red eyes. That one made her wake up with a start.
Something didn't feel right when she came to her senses. The bed wasn't right. The room wasn't right. She wasn't right. Pushing herself up slowly with her arms, she stared down at an unfamiliar pillow. "I don't have white pillowcases," she said quietly before flipping herself over so she was sitting up in the bed. A dark blue blanket was lying over her legs, though it was starting to slide off. The room certainly wasn't hers, too neat and far too plain. "Where the hell am I?" she said out loud, her voice sounding very croaky. That was when she realised her mouth did not taste nice at all. It tasted like a hangover, but she didn't think she was drunk.
A knock at the door sent her into a blind panic for a moment, her eyes darting around to find a weapon.
"Molly, are you awake? It's John."
Molly let out a breath she didn't even remember she'd been holding. The sudden remembrance of what was going on hit her like a freight train.
"Molly," John said slowly, opening the door a fraction to peer in. It was a good job he did, as he could see that she was starting to have a panic attack. Her breaths came fast and shallow, her eyes not focusing on anything and her face turning red. Pushing the door fully open, he darted across to sit down on the bed and placed his hands on either side of her face. He pulled her head up so she was looking directly at him, her eyes trying to focus on him. "Molly, you are having a panic attack. We need to get you breathing normally again. Now just look at me and starting focusing on breathing. Deep breath in and deep breath out. Deep breath in and deep breath out."
For a moment it didn't seem like it was getting through to her, but then there started to be a rhythm to her breathing. A rhythm that became steadily more regular as her breathing started to return to normal. At last, Molly seemed to have returned to her normal, if shaken self. John let go of her face now and smiled. Molly smiled sheepishly back at him.
"Don't worry," he responded. "Breakfast?"
Molly nodded at him, suddenly very aware there was nothing in her stomach. Following him out into the kitchen, she noticed that there was a very definite smell of cleaning products.
"I'm sorry I made such a mess last night, I should have cleaned it up," she said quite suddenly, her voice still sounding very rough.
"It's fine," John said, pulling out a chair at the table for her to sit at. "I tried to make Sherlock clean it up, but he didn't see why he was responsible for any of it. Mrs Hudson heard us and came up to see what was happening. As soon as she found out what had happened, she went to work to clean everything up and berated Sherlock the entire time. He's sulking now, complete with violin playing."
Molly suddenly smiled broadly, "I thought that was all dreams. Guess not."
The two of them now found themselves laughing about the idea of Sherlock Holmes sulking. They were both still laughing a little as John started to make some breakfast for Molly. He had just popped some bread in the toaster while the kettle boiled when he heard a loud gasp behind him. Spinning round, he found that Sherlock had decided to join them.
He was wearing only his boxer shorts and an open dressing gown.
Molly was staring so hard at the table John thought she might burn a hole through it, especially given how bright red her cheeks were.
"For goodness sake Sherlock, at least fasten the damn dressing gown," John said with an exasperated tone.
"How I choose to dress in my flat isn't usually a problem," he spat back, glaring at John.
"We have a guest."
"Oh she deals with naked bodies every day, how is this any worse?"
John decided he couldn't even be bothered to dignify that with a response and turned back to the now boiled kettle.
"Besides," sighed Sherlock. "You two were so loud with your giggling I couldn't concentrate anymore."
Swallowing hard, Molly looked back at him, ready to apologise for disturbing him. As hard as she tried to her eyes to flick straight up to his face, it didn't work. How could he just stand there, his naked torso on display and not expect her to look? There was more definition there than she'd expected in a way, his skin looked so pale next to the dark boxer shorts. Her eyes almost wandered lower when she noticed that a bruise was starting to form on his abdomen. She started to wonder where that had come from before she remembered that it had come from her.
Now her eyes snapped up to his, but it was too late. He had seen her looking and was now staring at her with a most curious expression. It was like he had never seen a woman looking at him like that before, like what she was doing was totally new and unexpected.
"Last night," she stuttered. "Your stomach. I'm sorry. I panicked."
"Don't apologise to him Molly," she heard John say behind her, but she didn't look at him. She couldn't look away from Sherlock. It was like his eyes had some kind of power that just held her there. "He deserved it."
Somewhere deep in Sherlock's twisted mind, he found himself looking upon Molly as a new experiment. She was clearly besotted with him, the way her eyes had focused on his body. Her eyes dilated wide, her breathing seemed to quicken up and that bright red blush was now like a warm flush across her cheeks. It was a new experience in a way, to have someone whom he had worked with so blatantly observe his physique. He wondered how far he could push it, how far he could manipulate her feelings. Her reactions would be interesting, she was not a strong character in many ways, easy to mould to his will. It would be an interesting experiment he had to admit.
Then a tiny voice suddenly sparked up in his brain, a rare moment when the conscience of Sherlock Holmes reared its head. It's Molly. You need to help her and protect her, not break her.
Now he focused on her again and he could see how painfully small she seemed. Still so shaken by last night's events, her face was pale under that flush of desire and her eyes looked so dark and puffy. It was true, he had to help her. He actually wanted to help her. With little fuss, he pulled the dressing gown closed and tied the belt into a tight knot before taking a seat at the table.
"John is right, what I did was inappropriate," Sherlock said quietly at last, causing John's mouth to drop open.
"Is that an apology?" asked John incredulously.
Sherlock just looked at Molly, resolved that he wasn't actually going to say the word sorry, but hopeful that she would at least understand the sentiment behind it.
"Okay," said Molly at last, turning back to John with a smile. "Is that coffee ready?"
John just looked between the two of them, not quite sure if he could believe what had just happened, but happy to accept that some kind of truce had now formed between them.
Breakfast was eaten in a comfortable silence. Molly was ravished and practically inhaled the toast as soon as John put it down in front of her. Sherlock sipped at his coffee looking contemplative. As it was nearly lunchtime, John had already had breakfast a few hours ago, so just sat trying to decide what they were going to next. It was Molly that broke the silence though once she'd drained her mug of coffee.
"So, what am I going to do about work, along with clothes and essentials? You said they've been to the hospital, so I don't imagine it'll be very safe going there. And I certainly can't go home to get my things."
John looked at with a furrowed brow while Sherlock merely raised one elegant eyebrow. Last night Molly Hooper had been mess and yet now, now she was talking like this was just an inconvenience. John put it down to spending too much time near Sherlock, as if she had planned for something like happening all because she knew Sherlock. John started to wonder if other people had 'in case of an emergency caused because I met Sherlock Holmes' plan.
"You are quite right Molly, we really need you where at least one of us can keep an eye on you," responded Sherlock. "I'm afraid you'll have to go and buy clothes and things. John can prepare a sick note to be dropped off at the hospital. I'm sure he can come up with some creative illness."
John nodded and smiled at Molly. "I guess we'll be off shopping this afternoon then."
"What John more accurately means is that he and his gun will be accompanying you around London while you purchase what you need," said Sherlock, rising from the table. He was almost out of the kitchen when he turned back with a smirk. "Though Molly I must say, you could probably defend yourself better than him given last night's performance."
That comment made Molly's cheeks burn bright red again, while Sherlock winked at John before disappearing towards his room. John had to admit, this was going to be an interesting situation.
Twenty minutes later, Molly and John were outside the front of 221b trying to hail a cab. Molly had managed to pull her hair into a ponytail, thankful she at least kept a comb in her handbag. John had kindly pointed out the mouthwash in his bathroom so she could feel a little fresher. She was still wearing yesterday's clothes and was desperate for a shower. Rooting around in her handbag, she grumbled quietly to herself.
"Are you okay?" asked John, turning his head to look at her while still waving his arm about in case a taxi drove past.
"Just looking for my purse," she replied.
"Oh, don't worry about that. You don't need to pay for anything; Sherlock has graciously lent us a credit card."
Molly nearly dropped her handbag in shock. Sherlock had lent them a credit card? Surely this meant the apocalypse was coming. But there was a curious smirk on John's face as she pulled the card from his pocket, like she was missing a joke. Taking it from his outstretched hands, she examined it closely.
"Do I presume M Holmes is a relative of Sherlock?" she asked at last, suddenly aware they were probably about to do something a bit illegal.
"It's his brother. Sherlock develops surprisingly light fingers when he's near his brother," he replied, turning back to see a taxi was indicating to pull over to them. "I believe the credit limit is somewhere around the £5000 mark, so I'm sure we can get everything you need."
Walking up to the taxi, he opened the door and turned back to Molly with a grin. "Shall we away my lady?" Molly smiled back at him and rushed over to the taxi. John was glad to see her smile; it was certainly a relief after last night. Now he just had to make sure she stayed safe while they were out in London.
Sherlock was pacing around the living room when he heard the front door open and the sound of talking drift to his ears. He had assumed that the two of them would be gone a couple of hours, but it was now well after 4pm. As they walked into the room, he quickly took stock of them. They were carrying two large bags each, nothing from any particularly expensive shops. One bag he could see was filled with personal hygiene products; another just had towels, and the last two he presumed was clothes and shoes. There were smiling and happy, had certainly had some food while they were out and maybe even a few drinks. He scowled furiously at them.
"You could have informed me it was going to take so long to do your shopping," he said, eyes trying to bore into them.
"Sherlock, when someone has to buy their essentials, it can take a while," sighed John, putting his two bags down. Molly just gripped tighter to hers, suddenly nervous of this angry Sherlock.
"I don't imagine the alcohol has much to do with buying clothes and shampoo," he responded, his eyes narrowing. "Besides, it's not like much has been bought anyway. And with all that money on that card, you still went to the cheap shops."
"Sherlock," John's voice had a warning tone to it, but Sherlock hadn't noticed it. Molly swallowed hard, that tightness forming in her throat like she was about to cry. Turning round, head down so John didn't see the tears forming; she grabbed the bags at John's feet and began to scuttle away.
"Just going to put these down," she called back, trying to make her voice not crack as she dashed into John's room. Throwing the bags to the floor, she leaned against the wall by the door and willed herself not to cry. Sherlock was not going to make her cry again, he just wasn't. Through the half closed door she heard John and Sherlock arguing. Sherlock seemed oblivious that he had been hurtful; John tried desperately to make him see that he just kept being inappropriate. After a while, she heard the slam of a door and nothing but silence.
Footsteps were coming up the corridor, making Molly push off the wall and rush to sit on the bed. She pulled one of the bags into the bed and started to examine it very thoroughly when someone knocked on the door. Looking up, she saw John sticking his head around the door with that sheepish smile he always had when Sherlock said something stupid.
"Sorry about him. He's gone out in a huff now. Want to come and watch some telly with me?"
"Okay," Molly said with a bright smile, trying to mask the fact she didn't like the idea of Sherlock and John arguing. She knew they'd probably argued before, but that didn't make her feel any better.
A couple of hours of very bad telly and a few drinks later, Molly was feeling much better. She found John enjoyed mocking television just as much as she did, so they had been laughing so hard she'd managed to forget for a while that men were waiting somewhere to kidnap her.
Eventually, they heard the front door shut and looked at each other awkwardly. It seemed Sherlock had finally returned and neither was sure what to expect when he walked in. When he did, the first thing John noticed was that he was carrying a bag from a mobile phone shop. The first thing Molly noticed was that he looked almost awkward, maybe even embarrassed if that was possible for Sherlock to be.
Suddenly, he thrust out the bag in Molly's direction and cleared his throat. "They might have access to your phone, so I got you a new one to use for now. You should put mine and John's numbers in as soon as possible. You know, just in case." Molly took the bag from his outstretched hand, which shot back to his side like he'd been burnt.
"Mycroft's not going to like it if that's all going on his card," said John slowly, trying to make Sherlock understand that a contract phone on his credit card would be something he'd notice.
"It's not on his card. It's on mine," Sherlock said quickly before almost running out of the room. Molly and John stared after him, not entirely sure what had happened. Then they stared at each other.
"You know, he's never done that before," said John at last. Molly pulled the phone box out of the bag and stared. It was one of the latest smartphones and by the looks of the paperwork, on one of the more expensive contracts. "Bloody hell," she heard John say under his breath.
Molly just stared at it for a while, trying to process what had just happened. Sherlock Holmes, the man who always belittled her and made jokes at her expense, had bought her a phone. Without being asked by John it seemed.
"Did Sherlock Holmes just buy me a present?" she asked at last, looking up at John who still looked completely shocked.
"Well," he said at last, running a hand through his hair. "There's a first time for everything."