"We don't need two periodic tables of elements in one room. I prefer mine."
"Well you didn't have to leave mine on the floor," Molly muttered as she bent to pick up the colorful, laminated chart.
"That was as good a place as any," Sherlock said nonchalantly from his place on the bed, where he sat naked and rosining his violin bow. "Yours has too much…stuff on it." He waved his bow in the air and then used it to point at the row of historical scientific figures decorating Molly's periodic table.
"Nothing wrong with a bit of history crammed in there, Sherlock," she responded as she slipped her knickers and jeans back on. "What did you do with my bra? It was on me and then poof! gone." She bent down to look under the bed.
"Chemistry doesn't need irrelevant personal details crammed in there. I keep having to delete the useless information from my brain." He frowned. "Why are you getting dressed? Who's coming over? Oh, John. You'd insist on a shower before facing anyone else."
He smirked at the sight of Molly on her hands and knees with her bottom wiggling in the air, her head poked under their bed. He set the bow aside on the blanket and reached down to lightly smack her bum.
"Oooh! Sherlock! I almost hit my head." She sat back up and blew the hair away from her mouth. "Where is that bloody thing? I can't go without a bra, my nipples are still sore from the clamps." She cupped her breasts, the stinging bringing to mind the creative activities they'd been engaged in fifteen minutes before.
"Good," he said, watching her spin around and try to solve the mystery of the missing undergarment. He was rather enjoying her failure to see it resting on top of the armoire. "Go without a bra. Let it hurt."
She retrieved her shirt from the doorknob and donned it braless, shivering as the cotton material skimmed over her still-tender breasts. He was really challenging her these days, pushing her limits often. She was surprised how rarely she needed to use the safeword. She shouldn't be though; he appeared more in tune with her body than she was herself sometimes. He always stopped or pulled back just when she began to think about using a signal to slow or stop. The deduction skills of Sherlock Holmes were a perfect fit for a master, it seemed.
The doorbell rang, and Molly ran out to let John in. The doctor was still at Baker Street every other day for casework with the detective, despite moving out over a month ago. In the end, Dr. Watson was spared the painful task of telling his flatmate about moving in with Mary Morstan.
Immediately after Molly agreed to move in, Sherlock texted John, telling him to come back to the flat and pack his belongings. John was alarmed, expecting some sort of bomb threat or national state of emergency to be waiting for him when the taxi pulled up to 221 Baker Street. Instead he was met at the door by a bright-eyed, smiling Sherlock, clad only in pyjama pants and his blue dressing gown. There was nothing scarier than Sherlock Holmes in an absolutely chipper mood. And there weren't any scorched smells or grotesque containers in the refrigerator to explain it.
And so Dr. Watson was informed that he needed to vacate the flat immediately. He was in turn confused, shocked, happy, relieved, and in the end, utterly amazed. The uncomfortable dynamic that he had noticed between Molly and Sherlock from the beginning had manifested into an actual adult relationship.
Mary was thrilled when John returned to her (and now his, too) place with a large box full of his things and a suitcase wheeled behind him. He neglected to mention that Sherlock was the one who'd made the big announcement in the end.
John still treated Baker Street as his home, helping himself to tea in the cupboards. He considered it payback for the years of Sherlock helping himself to John's food, phone, clothing, wallet, passport, identity…
"Sherlock, get on with it, we've got a case, a good one. Got a text from Lestr-" John's sentence was interrupted by a fully dressed Sherlock running to the door.
"Let's go. Why did he text you and not me? Oh, he's still angry about the file I borrowed. Stupid man." Molly heard his voice fade as he bounded down the stairs with the doctor trailing after him.
How on earth does he get dressed so quickly? He's like the wizard of nudity. Finger snap, it's on. Finger snap, it's off. Alright, now get to it, Molly, she pushed herself. The excuse she and John had whipped up to get Sherlock out of the flat wouldn't work for long. She figured she had two hours tops, before they returned with an irritable and disappointed detective who didn't have a case.
He'd punish her for the lie, for sure, but this was worth it.
Molly giggled happily and ran down to Mrs. Hudson's and knocked on the door. The two women got to work, with a little assistance provided by Mycroft's people.
"You wanted me out of the flat; why? Are you leaving? Did you want," Sherlock's fuming was cut off by John's hand on his arm.
"Sherlock, I told you it wasn't anything bad. Did my best, Molly," the doctor said apologetically. "Bloody Anderson told him there wasn't any case on five minutes after we got to the Yard." He looked at his watch. "Was forty-five minutes enough?"
Molly nodded. "Not enough for a shower for me, ha, sorry, I'm a bit…" She gestured down at her grimy shirt. She sneezed and laughed.
"You've been cleaning. I smell Mrs. Hudson's god-awful perfume in the air, fainter near the door…" Sherlock's eyes narrowed and he walked further into the flat. "Stronger near the stairs. And she isn't alone," he added, noting the faint dirt bootprints of two men.
Comfortable but expensive brand, from the marks. Wide stance. One of them slightly bowlegged. Smearing of the prints, the feet slid around. They were carrying something heavy. But not Mrs. Hudson, Molly wouldn't be happy if that were the case and there's no sign of struggle. Mrs. Hudson is upstairs still…quiet but not quiet enough. She led the men up to John's old room with something. Something for me? They went up and down the stairs three times.
His eyes scanned the rooms again.
"Where's my microscope?"
Molly smiled hopefully.
"Can you guess? It's okay if you guess now. It's not perfect but um, the idea is in place and, I think it will be good?" She shuffled her feet and crossed her arms over her still-aching breasts.
His brows furrowed and his grey eyes were piercing as he tried to puzzle it out. She didn't see the answer there in his eyes, but she couldn't wait any longer.
"Oh, come and see! It needs more work, but I just wanted to let you decide exactly how you wanted it to be, um," Molly rambled until she breathed deeply and stopped. She held out her hand to Sherlock.
One side of his mouth curled up. "Fine." His eyes slanting up the stairs, he took Molly's hand and led her up to where Mrs. Hudson undoubtedly waited with two strange men and some pieces of unnamed furniture. John hurried up after them, curious to see the transformation of his former bedroom.
Clever Molly, John thought. I think she's actually managed to figure out how to give him something he needs.
Sherlock stood in the doorway of the bedroom. Well, not a bedroom anymore. His eyes moved from the steel table to the waist-high item against the wall to his right. A desk was tucked into the corner. His microscope sat on top of it.
On the wall to the left was his now-relocated periodic table of elements.
"Do you like it, dearie?" Mrs. Hudson piped up from her spot, sitting in the desk's rolling chair. The two men standing beside her were grey-suited agents belonging to Mycroft, wearing incongruously practical workboots with their expensive slacks and jackets. Molly thought one of the men might be the fellow who opened the door to Dora's safe house but she wasn't certain.
Mrs. Hudson's face was a mirror of Molly's expression, hope and concern that perhaps they'd violated Sherlock's need to control everything in his little world.
He stepped into the room and opened two of the drawers of the steel table. Containers of gleaming instruments filled them, along with boxes of clean slides and neatly labeled bottles. A brand new Bunsen burner sat, unplugged, on the surface of the table.
Sherlock looked into Molly's eyes and spoke slowly.
"You…made John's room into a lab for me?"
Molly's brown eyes were wide as she waited for an emotional reaction- joy, anger, anything.
"And bought a refrigerator with a freezer, so I don't fill up the kitchen one with experiments?" He raised his eyebrows as he touched the waist-high appliance against the wall.
"Well, I thought you might want your own space. Not that you can't come to Barts and see me in that lab, I just thought….I just thought, this way you could do a lot of things without leaving home. I could help you here if you wanted. Um, it's not ready, it's not a proper lab, I know, but I think this is a good start. I've got to install fire alarms, and a lot of other detectors actually…it's probably not legal. But I wouldn't have to worry about you scorching my kitchen table up here." Molly smiled nervously.
"Yeah, that gets old really fast," John commented.
"You needed my brother's help?" Sherlock asked.
"He helped me find some things on very short notice, when I had the idea. Offered to have his people carry it, delivery is quite expensive. He didn't pay for any of the things, I did, so don't throw it out the window. If you don't like it, I can change it all back, leave the room empty again." Her heart was in her eyes.
"Do you like it, Sherlock?" She waited.
"Don't be an idiot. Of course I like it. It's a lab." He tapped his fingers on the steel table. She saw a spark now in the blue-green depths of his eyes. He steepled his fingers, the peak touching his lips.
"Everyone get out."
"Sorry?" John's eyes brows shot up.
"Get out. I need to be alone."
Mrs. Hudson popped up from the chair, used to Sherlock's vagaries. "Come along, boys, I'll make you a cuppa before you're on your way. Pay him no mind, I'm sure he's grateful to ya."
"No, I'm not," Sherlock said absently. As the two men headed for the door, one of them passed an unaddressed envelope to the detective. Sherlock tossed it on the table.
"Molly stays. You go too, John." The doctor rolled his eyes while he saluted his best friend, smiled at Molly and left 221 Baker Street. He'd text them later to make sure Sherlock didn't give her hell after he left, but he had a feeling everything was going to be fine.
"Moved my periodic table, I see. What if I want yours in here instead of this one?" He stood close and towered over her.
"Then you can have it."
He stepped closer, until her breasts brushed against his torso.
"What if I want both of them in here?"
"Then you can have them both in here." She tentatively smiled up at him.
"What if I want you in here? Assisting me, I mean."
"You can always have me, anywhere." She leaned into him, causing her still-sore nipples to tingle with the pressure.
"I believe you." He leaned in and kissed her softly. "And love you." The lab was a ways from where he'd need it to be, but this was only a beginning, something to build on. "The note."
Molly's eyes were dreamy. "Sorry, what?"
"The note. Presumably from Mycroft. I'd have shredded it but- I thought you'd want to hear any news of Dora since they're still in Blackpool. I'm sure Mycroft can run the British government quite easily from there."
"A letter, how old-fashioned of him. Lovely." She picked the envelope off the table and opened it.
"Dear Molly (as I am sure my brother didn't bother to open this himself),
I trust Sherlock is pleased with his little home lab. I do hope he doesn't
blow himself up. If he does, it's on your head. I used to trust Dr. Watson
to look after him but now you're the one. Take care of each other.
In regards to the di-"
And here the writing changed. The thin angled strokes of Mycroft's writing cut off and a bolder, rounded hand took over.
"My god, he goes on a bit dramatically, doesn't he?
What a pain in the arse. The lab idea is genius. If
he doesn't like it, he's a moron. Oh, Mycroft told me
not to tell you that he's gained a stone since we got
here. He looks fantastic. Went on a boating trip
yesterday and for a laugh, I chucked a massive rock
wrapped in fabric out into the water and I told
Mycroft it was the Blue Despair.
You should've seen the look on his face. I ought to have
photographed it. Anyway, the real rock's in a safe
somewhere far away until I can destroy the damned
thing or donate it to a laboratory. I don't know yet.
I do hope your man appreciates what a gem he has in you.
All love is madness, you know. That doesn't make it any less
real or worthwhile. Hell, even Caroline knew that and she's
apparently locked up in an institution now for a long time.
They tried to ruin me, but I can't be bothered to hate. Not when
I finally have someone marvelous to come home to. I'll see you soon, love.
"All's well that ends well, I guess."
"Guessing? I don't guess, it's sloppy."
She giggled and slipped her arms around his waist. "You know what I mean."
"All is well in Baker Street. For now. Hopefully not for long, though. Nice is boring."
"Then to keep it interesting, I shall do my best to be very, very bad."
"I like the sound of that," Sherlock said with a smile, wrapping himself around her tightly until Molly was locked within his arms. Unable to move away, she could only lift her face up to his and wait for his kisses. Her patience and perseverance paid off, and Molly Hooper was rewarded with everything she'd silently asked for.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read The Sweet Sound. I've never written anything with this much mystery in it before and it was a real challenge. Lots of fun, though! After I take a break, I'm thinking I will do a series of one-shot style stories, with more focus on the romance and kink again. I wanted to explore that more in this story and the plot kept pulling me away from it. So I'd like to get back to kinkier smut. Suggestions and requests for those stories is more than welcome.
I'm grateful for all the people who put the story on alert, favorited it and took the time to write reviews. Reviewers are like gold for their feedback and cheerleading. You rock: Emcee Frodis, Mya Scarlet, Elliesmeow, Hellscrimsonangel, ktmt1120, Murmeltierchen, beautyqueen24, Voldemort's Spawn, Francesca Wayland, Barus, xxL2xx, jazroxu, FallonHolmes, MuteBanana, Sofeline333, Blizzen, somethinginthewayful, JediFish, Nocturnias, Dizzybunny, puckbunny19, myleneSW, formerlyabear.
A few story notes: The Blue Despair, as I mentioned before, is totally fictional, a mixture of several famous 'cursed' diamonds. Though there are a few versions of Napoleon's last words out there, all of them agree, his last word was "Josephine." He did divorce her in 1810 because she couldn't get pregnant. She was in her forties by then, so she was divorced in favor of a much younger woman for childbearing reasons. As far as I know, she didn't get any gifts in the divorce but they remained close for the rest of her life.
The layout of the Royal Opera House as presented here is entirely fictional.
As for the title of the story: "The Sweet Sound" is the translation of the "Il Dolce Suono," the last act aria in Lucia di Lammermoor, the opera Dora is performing at the beginning. Lucia is about a woman who falls in love but is forced to marry someone else. In the end, she murders her husband, and then sings this aria. Caroline's ramblings to Molly in the morgue bear some similarity to Lucia's remarks in the aria.
Okay that's enough of the pretentiousness. THANKS, EVERYONE!