This will the second multi-chapter arc in my domSherlock and subMolly series, following "Send Me The Thorns" and the one-shot Valentine's Day interlude, "Forget Roses."You don't have to read the other stories first, but it might make more sense that way, since the other stories establish the relationship. Hope you enjoy!

~.~.~

Choruses of brava!s still ringing in her ears, Dora MacKenzie entered her hotel suite four hours after completing her run of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House. Her return to Covent Garden after a lengthy illness was a triumph, and the diva hummed Il dolce suono as she kicked her stiletto heels off and shimmied out of the navy-blue sheath of an evening gown she'd donned for the after-party. The gala had gone on too long, but there were countless donors to greet. Opera was hardly trendy these days; she did what she could to keep money flowing into the performing companies she was invited to appear with. She considered it part of her job.

Moving into the darkened bedroom, Dora reached into her elaborate updo of shiny black hair and began pulling out pins, creating a pile on the chest of drawers. A pair of blue diamond earrings joined the pins on the surface. The matching necklace, an obscenely large blue diamond stone dangling on a string of tiny white diamonds, was tossed carelessly onto the shining pile a moment later.

Several feet behind her, a curtain moved.

The soprano continued with her nighttime rituals, black hair loose on her shoulders as she crossed the room holding her tiny clutch to sit on the bed next to her everyday purse. Dora transferred a few pounds and a tube of lipstick from the clutch into the much larger bag, and rummaged around in it for a moment.

The drapes flew away from the window as a hulking dark-clad figure rushed out at the woman, her back still to him.

Dora swiveled around on the bed and pointed a small gun up at the intruder's chest. With momentum built up, he barely had time to widen his eyes before she squeezed the trigger.

He fell back to the floor, heaving and gasping, as blood poured from the hole in his chest. The man (he was, she saw now, in his twenties, white, scruffy, and blue-eyed) tried to speak and failed. He reached out a hand to the singer, who raised an elegant eyebrow.

"Trying to explain yourself before I dial 999? Piss off. " She started to reach for her mobile.

The man moaned in pain and blood bubbled over his lips with the tortured sound.

His eyes bulged with effort, as the young man lifted his head and gasped out, "Jo…Josephine," before passing out.

Dora froze, the enormity of her situation sinking in. The blood pool around him grew and after a minute, his torso stopped rising with breaths.

She cautiously crawled off the bed and held the gun out in front of her. Keeping it pointed at his chest, she reached down and grabbed his wrist.

Dora tried several times but she couldn't find a pulse. If I'd gone to medical school like I'd considered instead of going to conservatory, maybe I'd have been able to save the dumb bastard, she thought ruefully.

She backed away, picked up her mobile and pressed a rarely used speed dial option.

"I…I've killed someone. At the hotel. I need you."

Wrapping herself in a long green silk robe, she went out to the common area of the suite and sat down on the luxurious two-seater. Dora lit a cigarette, and waited for him.

~.~.~

In the past few months, Molly Hooper and Sherlock Holmes had fallen into a comfortable pattern. She couldn't call it a rhythm, because there was nothing regular about it, but their connections did occur in a way she could track.

He would sink himself into a case excitedly, and Molly wouldn't see him for several days. Then he would turn up on her doorstep at 2am, looking gaunt and exhausted but brimming with triumph and leftover intensity. He would drag her back to bed, overwhelming with her kisses, relearning the taste of her mouth while pushing her white cotton nightdress up to her waist. (He'd told her to stop wearing knickers to bed ages ago.) Finding a sweet place to suck and lick on her neck while he ground his groin against hers, fumbling in the dark, reclaiming her.

She'd welcome him happily, if a bit sleepily. He was rough enough to excite her, but too weary to play. The moment after he came inside her, he'd pass out, his now-lighter frame pressing her into the mattress in a tangle of long sweaty limbs.

In those quiet moments, before rolling him onto his side and drifting off to sleep herself, Molly would run her fingertips over his back and head, soothing herself as much as him. Listening to him breathe evenly, finally at rest. She would estimate how much weight he'd lost this time, and plot meals to help him gain some of it back before his next body-punishing mystery.

John Watson had taught her a bit about what Sherlock liked to eat, so she didn't have to play too much of a guessing game. (Guessing is sloppy, she heard Sherlock say in her mind.) He preferred ethnic foods with interesting spices, when he actually bothered to eat.

Angelo had parted with a few recipes for Italian dishes, so long as Molly promised to keep coming by with Sherlock. She did, of course. She didn't always feel like cooking after a long day at Bart's, and Angelo was such a sweetheart. He always brought them a candle for their table, and Angelo had greeted her like a daughter the first time she had gone there and Sherlock introduced her without fanfare as "my Molly." He didn't like to use specific terms or titles; she was simply his, and the acknowledgment of that made her glow pink every time.

As a result of her and John's efforts, Sherlock had gained weight and wasn't losing as much as he had previously during his investigative benders. He looked healthier, less ethereal, and a touch thicker all over. Molly loved the sturdier look of his neck now and the matureness of his heavier jaw. He looked older and more dangerous. She probably shouldn't love that, but she did.

The mornings after he'd finish lengthier cases, Sherlock would laze around Molly's flat, recounting his deductions and allowing her to pick his brain about the case. She was developing a keener eye for observation and was noticing more details than ever during post-mortems.

Another change was that the oversized eyehook rope anchors that decorated Sherlock's bedroom at Baker Street could now be found all over Molly's flat. There wasn't a room in her place where she couldn't be restrained by a spider's web of soft rope constructed around her body. She didn't think she could describe to anyone how completely safe and free she felt when the ropes surrounded, bound her, lifted her up. Not without stuttering like an idiot and turning bright red, anyway. She was still working up the courage to discuss with her closest friends the nature of her relationship with Sherlock Holmes.

The kinky play and orgasmic sex she shared with Sherlock was lovely, but nothing beat lying in bed together, morning sunlight warming them as he explained the mystery. Eventually, she'd slip out of bed to prepare them breakfast before he could use sex to keep her off the subject of eating. If he really wanted her to stop cooking, he could order her. But he rarely did. He liked having her cater to him, he always had.

While she cooked in her tiny kitchen, Sherlock would shower, leaving behind a pile of clothes she couldn't cram into her washing machine fast enough. He desperately needed clean clothes and the enforced nudity kept him in her flat a few more hours. She had been trying to convince Sherlock to leave extra clothing at her place, but he resisted the idea with typical masculine skittishness.

Oh please, Molly thought to herself with a mental eye-rolling. I'm not trying to marry you, you hopeless wanker.

. . . .

He was not working on a case at the moment, however. And in his usual way, Sherlock had become quite irritable, and his bondage on Molly grew more elaborate as he challenged his abilities to stave off the boredom of life without a mystery.

The previous evening, Molly and Sherlock had gone for a walk in Hyde Park and people-watched until it grew dark. She dreamed up colorful personal histories for each passer-by, which Sherlock would then scornfully reject as "romantic tripe," and then he'd deduce the truth of the strangers. When Molly questioned a deduction playfully, Sherlock would call the person over to confirm that he was right, usually horrifying the stranger with the exposure of his secret self and Molly with the awkwardness of having a brilliant but tactless lover. She understood now why Dr. Watson always looked like he was waiting for a bomb to drop when Sherlock opened his mouth.

She loved Sherlock's honesty, and didn't want him to change. It was just a little much to handle when it came to sensitive situations, like when he deduced in the park that a mother with a pram was lying about the paternity of her baby. Unfortunately, the "father" had been standing next to her at the time, and did not react favorably to Sherlock's suggestion that he get a DNA test.

Sherlock had called it a night on the deducing game after that, and walked Molly back to her building. Without asking, he followed her up to her flat.

"I've got to work tomorrow at 9, I don't know if I can stay up late," Molly explained as she searched for her keys. "It's been mad this week in the morgue, bloody accidents left and right these days, must be summer madness setting in- OH!" Molly gasped as Sherlock's teeth locked onto her earlobe, biting down as he pressed her back firmly against her door.

Molly got as far as a hesitant "Well, maybe we cou-" before Sherlock's clever hands were inside her coat, yanking up her shirt, pinching and stroking her nipples as he kissed his way down from her ear to her sensitive neck. His passion came on so suddenly, it actually made her breathless sometimes with the onslaught. One moment he was ice and stone; the next he was hot hands and a wet tongue tickling moans from her.

Not even caring she was in the semipublic area of her hallway, Molly dug her nails into Sherlock's shoulders and wrapped a leg around his arse to bring him closer to her center. He lifted his head from her neck, his springy dark curls brushing her mouth.

"Can you stay up late, Molly?" he murmured as his lips grazed hers deliberately.

"Yes, yes," she nodded. God yes she could, there was no way she'd be able to fall sleep now.

He slipped a hand down the front of her beige work trousers and under her knickers. A few pointed strokes and she was lifting her hips up hungrily for more. His face hovered in front of hers, him breathing in Molly's moans and observing her growing arousal with a focused gaze. She felt his changeable mood-ring eyes raking up and down her face and body, taking all of her in.

"In fact, Molly Hooper," his deep voice intoned as he stroked her- "I think if I keep doing this, you'd let me do anything I want to you. I think you'd let me fuck you right here against your door and you wouldn't give a damn who heard you coming."

Molly nodded quickly, her eyes huge and wanting as her hands roamed over his back and chest, pulling on him and begging without words for more touch, harder.

"Ask me then."

She looked at him with slight confusion for a few seconds, before understanding and blushing. She'd forgotten the rules.

"I…would you…would you right here?" she squeaked out, moving her hips and breathing heavily.

He responded only with a raised eyebrow, his eyes blueish-green now in the dim light.

Molly stilled herself and managed, "Please…would you…take…me here…please?"

He pursed his lips, his face cool and dispassionate now as he considered her.

Sherlock nodded, never taking his eyes from hers.

Molly couldn't hold back her happy smile as Sherlock dove in to kiss her hard on the lips, as he withdrew his hands from her knickers. He slipped his index finger between their mouths, forcing her to taste herself as their tongues danced. Molly whimpered and went to wrap her arms around him again, but he stepped back suddenly.

"Open the door now."

. . . . . . . .

Molly smoothed her hand over the small welts on her bottom, savoring the tingling and renewed warmth in her flesh as she stroked the flesh Sherlock had used so well the night before. She was prolonging her last moments in bed, enjoying the feeling of soft sheets sliding over her tender skin and muscles. Sherlock's crop lay on the floor where he'd tossed it last night after finishing with her bum.

Molly still surprised herself with how wildly she'd buck and push back onto his cock when he cropped her. It was like her body knew what she wanted more than her brain did, and the mild pain overrode her constant second-guessing of herself. It was hard to turn off her self-awareness and even harder sometimes to simply enjoy bodies for pleasure after a harrowing day at work. Giving in to her dom made it easier for her to relax and turn off her pathologist side. For that time, she was purely instinctual Molly. She was simply his.

Sherlock sat on her sofa, wide awake already she could tell by the rapid typing on her laptop's keyboard. He would stay there, comfortably nude, until it was time for her to go to work. Sometimes she caught him playing with Toby and throwing the toy mouse for the cat to chase.

He would deny it, of course, and glare at Toby for added effect. Toby returned his offended stares in kind. They were companionable enemies, both convinced that Molly adored them more.

Just as she was resolving to finally get up and shower, she heard a curious tapping on her door. Too soft for a heavy knocking fist, almost like the rapping of a light baton or something similar.

She couldn't think of a single person who would bother her this time of day. Her friends knew that with her unusual working hours at the morgue, it was a bad idea to stop by her flat without proper notice.

The pointed tapping persisted.

Molly shrugged on her old house robe, and went out to the sitting room, looking quizzically at Sherlock who hadn't gotten up from the sofa.

"I know who it is. Don't bother answering," he responded, in bored tones, without looking up from the laptop.

Unable to ignore the sound any longer, she unlocked the door and opened it slightly, peeking out.

On her doorstep was a dark-haired middle-aged man she'd never seen before, dressed in an expensive three-piece suit and well-shined shoes that probably cost more than she made in a month.

The source of the annoying rapping appeared to be the sleek black umbrella in his hand.

. . . . . . .

Molly bustled around her kitchen making a pot of tea for the three of them. She was thrilled to be meeting a member of Sherlock's family, even though they were clearly not on good terms. She'd never gotten details about the situation. She wouldn't have known he had a brother at all if she hadn't encountered Sherlock buying this brother an Atkins diet paperback at the bookstore on a remarkable day several months ago.

When she brought the tea set into her sitting area and sat down next to Sherlock, she saw he'd donned the robe she'd tossed at him just after Mycroft Holmes introduced himself and talked his way into her flat. The two men sat across from each other, as distant as strangers.

"This is not a social call, as you probably realize, Sherlock. I require your assistance with a matter that requires some discretion."

"No. Can't. I'm quite busy. Why are you here?"

"Because I don't have the time to do the legwork and you could use the money."

"No, I mean, why are you here? Why are you at Molly's flat? I knew you'd find out about her, of course, with your eyes everywhere. But it's hardly necessary to bring her into your little power plays."

"Actually in this case, it would be. She's your pathologist, is she not?" Mycroft flipped through a folder in his lap. "If you take the case…and you will…she would become aware of the details within hours. Might as well fill her in myself, and meet the lovely young woman who's swept my dear brother off his feet." Mycroft smiled sweetly but with teeth. "I worried you'd never settle down, and here Dr. Hooper was, all along. Mummy couldn't be more pleased."

Molly couldn't help but feel as she watched the two men speak that the real discussion was happening beneath the words. They constantly assessed one another and reacted; their body language, eye movements, and vocal inflection the real content of the meeting.

"Sorry…" Molly broke in. "What is it you think I could help with?" And is Sherlock's Mummy really pleased he's seeing me?, she wanted to ask.

"A man broke into a hotel suite last night and was killed by the occupant. There was money and jewelry in the room, but the intruder chose to wait for the guest to return. They were unaware that the individual was prepared to defend themselves with a weapon. There was no identification on the body, no fingerprints on file. We'll check DNA, but that takes time, even for my people, and we need information now. I'd like you to take a look at the body with Dr. Hooper's assistance, interview the guest, and review the crime scene to see if you could offer some insight."

"Boring. Waste of time. Thief goes to a hotel, thinking it's easy money." Sherlock shrugged. "Waits for them to return to steal even more money. A dozen possibilities, all of them tedious. Why are you here, Mycroft? Why aren't you having one of your countless minions look into it?"

Mycroft tilted his head and waited.

"You don't want them to look into it…not British government business then, is it? Personal then. This guest matters enough to you that you want me to take a look into what should be a trivial matter. You think there's more to it than a simple robbery. You won't look into it yourself though, even though there's not a lot of legwork from what I can tell. If it was something to do with one of your favorite aides, you'd handle it and if it was Mummy or other family, you'd just tell me and count on dear-old-sentiment to carry the day. So this is someone who matters to you on a personal level but that you don't want to see. Someone who matters so much you haven't even allowed your aide to accompany you up to this flat that has no wire taps or cameras inside it, unlike Baker Street."

Sherlock's eyes lit up with understanding and he chuckled, a long drawn out sound that caused Mycroft's nose to wrinkle in disgust for a few seconds before he resumed his pleasant neutral expression.

"So this important guest is…someone you can't deduce? No. Merely someone you can't control. Ah, I remember those days. Before you were the British government." Sherlock laughed outright now. Molly was more confused than ever.

"Who is it, Sherlock?"

"The. One. It's her."

~.~.~

Ch 2 will be up within a couple days. Stay tuned!