A/N: as promised! Thanks to all for reading and reviewing!
Molly sat in her armchair: huddled, more like it. It had been hours since she'd left him. Her mind kept insisting on replaying everything that had happened with painful clarity. She shook her head, forcing herself not to cry but she cried anyway: hot, salt-drenched tears that slid like rivets of summer rain down her face.
How could he have done? And how could some part of her even have thought of accepting even for a second? She wiped her face. Well, maybe she should've taken him up on it, as it was obvious one of the things they had in common was being mad as March hares.
He'd taken every hope, every longing that she'd ever put in the toy box that was her dreams and smashed them to bits like a vindictive bully. How could she ever face him again? She knew he wouldn't leave it alone. Just the thought of being near him made her heart break all over again.
She wasn't surprised when she heard him at her door. She knew he knew she was there. "Go away, Sherlock."
"Molly, you have two choices. Either let me in, or I'll come in anyway."
"And I'll call Greg Lestrade!" she said, but they both knew it was an empty threat.
She could've sworn she heard him sigh. "Please, Molly. Please do this for me."
Was she imagining the break in his voice? Had to be. Since when did Sherlock Holmes get so emotional?
Well, since he'd faked his death and ran away friendless and disgraced, actually.
But not enough to have kept him from offering her a verbal contract cut from stone, not sentiment. Reason, not romance. She snorted. Romance, him? He'd sooner know how to sprout wings.
"Molly. I am counting to three. One…two…"
"All right!" she shouted, not sure why she was agreeing except that she needed to get it over with. She crossed to the door and unlocked it.
He pressed his way in immediately, using his body weight to close it behind him. It was then that she saw he was holding a large bag in his left hand. But he wasn't left-handed. The left hand was for…
He stalked to the center of the room and whirled to face her. "Please give me five minutes. If at that time you want me to leave, I will."
She nodded warily. "All right."
He sat the bag down and turned to face her full on.
"I have never had a girlfriend."
"I have never asked any woman to be my girlfriend, or any man to be my boyfriend. I have never offered anyone, female or male, my virginity. I have certainly never told them I cared for them in such a way."
She wasn't entirely surprised, but she saw what he was getting at. And it was touching, but it wasn't enough. "Sherlock…"
"You were angry because of the calm way I presented myself. You were hurt because I made you feel like you were a factor in an equation." Something changed in his face. "Molly… that is me. That is part of who I am. My mind doesn't work like other people's, and you know that. Yet you say you love me. So tell me: do you love all of me? The light and the dark? Because if you don't, I'll leave you this and go now."
Damn him. Turning it around on her! Did he think this was helping his case? "Sherlock…"
"Please. Please just tell me."
She sighed. "Yes, I do. I always have. But you're so…. hurtful, Sherlock. You say such horrible things."
"And I probably still will," he said softly. "But I can be more than that, Molly."
He reached into the bag. "If I didn't want you, if I didn't care about you, I wouldn't have done this."
He handed her a gift. Perfectly wrapped in shiny red paper with a bow and a card. It looked exactly like the gift she'd given him two Christmases ago.
Molly took it slowly, fingers trembling against the paper. She looked into his eyes, but all she saw was… emotion. The mask that Sherlock Holmes wore against the world wasn't there.
She looked at the card. Dearest Molly, Your Sherlock.
The air was too thin to breathe again.
She unwrapped the box, fingers still shaking, and opened it. When she saw what was inside she gave an involuntary strangled cry and almost dropped it. She looked at him again in amazed wonder. He raised his eyebrows at her.
She managed to keep her hands steady enough to remove the contents. It was a necklace. But not just any necklace.
It was the necklace she'd lost the day she and her mum had buried her dad.
She lifted it out. It was the real thing, not a copy. She recognized the two twists in the gold chain.
The box fell out of her nerveless fingers and her eyes filled with tears. She looked up at him.
"How… how in the world did you find this? My dad died three years ago!"
He tilted his head. "I looked for it."
"You… you…" Molly felt as if she might fall.
"I found out what church you'd used. Walking through the most likely scenario in my mind as to how things would've proceeded, it was logical you'd have lost it in the church beforehand. No one had turned it in, which likely meant it had never been found, which meant it was somewhere that never saw much attention or cleaning. It was inside a vase of artificial flowers, where it had fallen as you'd leaned over to kiss him goodbye."
"I remembered you telling me the story last week in the morgue. I decided to see if I could find it today."
She sniffed. "You might have looked last week," she said, but she wasn't really angry.
"Sorry. I had… other things on my mind." He smiled.
She smiled back, holding the necklace out to him. He understood what she wanted and fastened it around her neck. Then he moved in front of her, looking at her but not as cool, deducing Sherlock.
At that moment he was just a man looking at a woman. A woman he adored.
"Sherlock… that is one of the nicest, most fantastic things anyone has ever done for me," Molly said softly. "Thank you."
"It was my pleasure," he said simply. He looked hesitant, worried. "So. Do you want me to leave?"
Molly laughed, wiping at her eyes. "No. I don't. I don't ever want you to leave, Sherlock."
He considered. "That might be a bit problematic, as I'd like to take you to dinner."
"Well, we can leave for important things."
"Are cases important things?"
"Of course." She moved closer to him and tentatively held out her arms. He moved into them, wrapping his own around her so they stood in an embrace.
Neither spoke for a few minutes. Then Molly looked up at him. "I'm sorry. For how I reacted. I could have realized you were trying."
He shook his head. "Don't be sorry. It was a bad choice on my part. Not a proper way to ask a woman to be your girlfriend."
She grinned. "Well. Perhaps we could just rewind it a bit."
He trailed two fingers over her cheek. "Molly Hooper, will you do me the honor of being my girlfriend?"
Molly's eyes shone with a joy that took his breath. She leaned closer until her lips were brushing his. "Mr. Holmes, I thought you'd never ask."