I do not own Sherlock or any of the characters. They are the property of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven Moffat, and Mark Gatiss. This is entirely for fun, and no profit is being made from it. This is set after the events of the second series finale... after all of that has been resolved. Naturally that means there are a few SPOILERS for series two.

On Monday Sherlock had shown up during Molly's lunch demanding that she cancel her lunch date to help him find a secret, black-light tattoo on a morbidly obese body and prove how it had led to the man's death. On Tuesday he made Molly cancel her rescheduled lunch date to help him run chemical analysis on a jar of pickled Yakuza pinkies. On Wednesday and Thursday she worked the graveyard shift with a back-to-back shift scheduled for Friday. Despite her exhaustion Molly made another attempt at her seemingly doomed date, this time scheduling it for an hour before her customary break.

Sure enough, as Molly struggled into her coat on the way down the hallway, the doors at the other end swung open. There he stood looking perfect in his flowing coat, fitted shirt, and dark trousers. His curly hair was ruffled from the wind and the redness of his flushed cheeks made his pale grey-blue eyes shine like holy fire. The sight of him was enough to leave Molly helplessly rooted to the spot as her heart pounded in her chest and her stomach did nervous flips. She didn't even notice John trailing behind like a comet caught in Sherlock's gravity.

Sherlock noticed the dilation of her pupils and the rising color in her cheeks with private satisfaction. Judging from her breathing her heart was definitely racing. He felt pleased with her reaction to his carefully planned entrance. It still didn't completely compensate for the fact that she was actually wearing lipstick, and Sherlock knew she hadn't applied it for him this time.

"Molly!" he sang out with a cat-like grin, "Just the person I came to see." He ignored Molly's weak attempts to protest, quickly talking over the silent movements of her lips. "John says it's rude of me to monopolize your lunches, so I've come early today. Thought you might be getting tired of crisps, so I've brought you proper takeaway," he informed her producing a paper bag with a Chinese logo stamped in red on the paper.

Plucking up her nerve, Molly raised her face to meet Sherlock's piercing eyes. "Actually, I've rescheduled for an early lunch with G-"

"Nonsense," Sherlock interjected. "I've already given you superlative advice on dating, Molly. Lestrade and his men are up to their necks in this lion tamer's murder, and I need your expert ability to uncover the truth." When Molly still looked ready to protest, Sherlock pulled out his hurt puppy dog face and added, "Please, Molly. I've been informed I've been a boor all week for interrupting you, but you are invaluably clever. After we crack this case I will take you out for a real dinner to express my gratitude." Molly blanched in shock but immediately seemed pleased as his words sank in. This offer was something new from Sherlock. Molly looked like a woman fighting a losing battle as she struggled to resist Sherlock's carefully calculated charming side.

John cringed as he watched Sherlock once again bending the friendly pathologist to the capricious detective's whims. John could only compare watching Sherlock utterly decimate any chance Molly had for a normal relationship to a train wreck. Just when he thought he'd seen everything Sherlock would surprise him with a whole new level of carnage. John cursed himself for his own inability to look away.

Sherlock turned the stammering pathologist by the shoulders and, placing his hand on the small of her back, guided her towards the lab as he continued, "Glad that's settled. Besides, you'll have a far more exciting time being brilliant here with me than yawning your way through some bland canteen food and pretending that the strained small talk is enough to distract you from the fact that you've already been working for..." he paused studying the dark circles under Molly's bloodshot brown eyes, "twelve hours straight I'd say... Yes. You'll be much happier right here." Molly followed his lead with a small squeak, and John hid his face behind his hands with an audible groan.

"What do you need?" Molly asked absently as she barged through the door to the lab with Sherlock right behind. At her words a faint smile played around the edges of his full lips. It always reminded him of the night before his faked suicide... the night when he'd turned to Molly and laid bare his fears. She had been the only person he could turn to in the days before he had cleared his name, and she'd risen to the challenge with unwavering loyalty. It hadn't even registered to her that she used those exact same words whenever Sherlock came to her since, but he'd come to associate those words from her with a different meaning than their surface value. "Now, wasn't that interesting?" Sherlock mused.

He quickly covered his unguarded amusement at the revelation as Molly looked up at him expectantly. "I need you to help run a toxicology screen on samples from both the deceased and Tinka the Lion. Either Albert Potter was drugged to make his reflexes slower, or maybe the lion was dosed with something to make it more aggressive. Oooooh! Maybe both... I need access to the body to study the injury pattern. I found a powdered substance in Boko the Clown's dressing room, and it needs to be identified. I have a few other substances that I'd like tested as well," Sherlock rattled off in rapid staccato perfection on a single breath, as he laid out pieces of evidence for them to analyze. It was enough to make Molly and John's heads spin. "Who uses a lion as a murder weapon? Oh. Definitely not boring!" Sherlock's indecent delight was practically enough to light the entire room as he dashed off to begin dissolving a small quantity of unknown white powder in a beaker.

"Right!" Molly replied, taking the small vial of blood marked Tinka that Sherlock had set closest to her. She yawned, setting it on the counter next to the centrifuge. "I think I'd better get some coffee before we start," she announced heading towards the lounge.

"Black-" Sherlock began. "Two sugars," Molly finished causing him to look up at her slightly grinning face.

"Why don't I get the coffee?" John offered helpfully. "You can call your... erm... friend to cancel... " Molly smiled at him and nodded her thanks before shuffling off with her mobile to break the bad news to the unlucky guy. "You can't keep doing this to her," John hissed at Sherlock as he stormed away to make the coffee. He wasn't surprised that Sherlock gave no response whatsoever to his words.

Molly used the wall to support herself as she waited for an answer at the other end of the phone. "It's happened again," she said without preamble when his friendly greeting sounded in her ear. Molly winced at the vivid cursing from the other end of the line though she did mentally file away several impressive monikers for the next time she was angry at Sherlock. "I probably wouldn't have been much company today anyhow. As has been already pointed out to me, I'm visibly overtired though thankfully the full description of how terrible I appear was omitted for once," Molly sighed. She smiled and blushed at the sweet response that followed her words. With a light laugh she thanked him for the compliment and promised that she'd call him back after her shift ended. John arrived back with coffee in hand just in time to see her blush furiously and squeak slightly at the offer to tuck her in that her would-be suitor whispered to her before he said goodbye.

Molly was still fighting down the flaming feeling that had suffused her entire face as she and John reentered the lab. When John had asked about her date, Molly had simply thanked him for the coffee. Sherlock looked up briefly from the binocular microscope to which he so often seemed to be glued, registering her nervous grin and vivid blush as well as John's questioning stares at her. Sherlock's lips thinned slightly, but his expression remained stoic as he returned to studying a slide that Molly had made from a sample of the victim's liver after the autopsy she'd done early this morning. "While you're waiting on the drug panel results, I'd like you to take out the body for me to have a look," he told Molly in a prissy voice.

The trio were at work throughout the afternoon, Molly coming and going between trips to the morgue and bouts of paperwork. It seemed to John that Sherlock was spending far more time leaning over Molly's shoulder than was either usual or necessary. John caught Sherlock pretending to accidentally brush his fingers against Molly's as she reached to turn on a Bunsen burner. Sherlock's pretend look of surprise left Molly flustered, especially when Sherlock offered to let her use the burner first. John was certain he hadn't imagined the momentary look of triumph that flashed on Sherlock's face as Molly shyly turned away.

Around half past six the door to the lab opened startling everyone. Molly was the first to look up and a pleased grin threatened to split her face in half as a tanned man with silver hair and a brown suit sauntered into the room. "Evening, Molly, John... Sherlock," Greg Lestrade greeted them with an easy grin and a nod, his eyes finally resting on Molly in a lingering gaze. "Hard at work, I see," he added as he strode further into the room with his hands in his pockets.

"Greg," Molly greeted him warmly, while Sherlock surreptitiously looked between them with a very serious expression. John's eyes flicked back and forth from person to person studying their reactions until he felt as if he were watching a rather cutthroat game of squash.

"Thought your shift ended half an hour ago," Greg told Molly with a meaningful look.

"Oh... oh God. That's right! I'm so sorry, I lost track of time working on running the tests on all these samples," Molly hurriedly apologized. She held her elbows close to her body as she spoke and wrung her hands awkwardly.

"S'alright," Lestrade answered, moving to stand beside the petite brunette. He gave her a goofy grin and leaned his face in close to hers causing her cheeks to color. "Since your shift is over and I'm sure John and Sherlock can finish here, I thought I might offer you a ride home... maybe stop off for a little dinner on the way..."

As Molly opened her mouth to answer, a much deeper voice cut across the room. "Molly's already agreed to have dinner with me," Sherlock announced with a tone of great authority. Lestrade's brows furrowed in anger as he met Sherlock's placid gaze.

"I what?" Molly asked with a bemused laugh. "When did..."

"I promised to take you to dinner after the case is solved. The case is solved. It was his wife. Caroline Potter found out that her husband was having an affair with the contortionist. There were marks of dark red lipstick on Albert Potter's neck; his wife was wearing pink lipstick when we met her. The contortionist was the only person wearing that exact shade. Everyone reported that Albert Potter always consumed a homemade energy drink directly before his act, yet his bottle was nowhere to be found backstage. It had to disappear because the residue in the bottle couldn't be analyzed if Mrs. Potter were to succeed. She laced his drink with ma huang, the Chinese herbal source of ephedra. If you noticed, all of her clothing including her costume were slightly too large for her. Why? Because she had been using the ephedra for slimming and hadn't had a chance to purchase new clothing yet. She knew that it would cause a drug interaction with her husband's blood pressure medication. On its own that could have been fatal, but when he was locked in a cage with a two-hundred-twenty-five kilogram lion she was practically assured of his death," Sherlock explained.

He paused to look at the computer screen as it beeped to announce that the full spectrum analysis it had been running was finished. "I found the bottle where she had thrown it into the trash in Boko's trailer. The dead man's fingerprints were all over the plastic. There's your proof of its deadly contents on the computer. She tried to shift the blame to Boko, but he didn't know about her husband's heart condition. You should arrest her now before she has a chance to run, Detective Inspector," the raven-haired detective finished sternly, and Lestrade glowered back with a nearly murderous expression of his own.

Sherlock glided to Molly's side as she stammered at him, "Y-y-you were serious about dinner?" His stiff expression softened indulgently at Molly's complete befuddlement. Her brown eyes were wide and her mouth hung open, as she searched for anything else to say. The ghost of a smile haunted Sherlock's lips as he studied Molly's features and wrapped his blue scarf loosely around his long throat. "Obviously, yes," he replied simply.

"Now listen here-" Lestrade began, whirling to face the taller man. His back was as straight as an iron beam, and he had drawn himself up to his full height to confront Sherlock. His fists were balled up with the barely restrained urge to hit Sherlock right across one of his ridiculously high cheekbones.

Sherlock sighed. "You have a woman to arrest, and I have a reservation at a wonderful Italian restaurant that I know," Sherlock reminded him with a raised eyebrow. "Let's get your coat, Molly," he suggested in a playful, husky voice, drawing a shocked Molly Hooper out of the room with him as though she'd just been swept away by an enormous wave that left no trace of her behind. Before they disappeared John could have sworn Sherlock had glared briefly at him, but John had no clue what reason his flatmate would have to be angry at him.

"That arrogant son of a-" Lestrade cursed. His face was livid and his lips were pursed so hard that John thought it almost looked as though Sherlock had force fed him a lemon. "It's like he's doing this to me on purpose."

John patted the detective on the shoulder in complete sympathy. "Sherlock has destroyed more of my dates and relationships than I can probably count," he commiserated. "If he ever gets bored being a detective he could easily become the world's first consulting cockblocker," John said, shaking his head slowly. Both men looked at each other and chuckled wryly.

"Sometimes. I just want to punch him," Lestrade admitted. "Just to know what it feels like."

"Oh, once you start, you never want to stop," John said wistfully.

Author's Note: Okay, I'm scratching my itch for a Sherlock/Molly/Greg love triangle. I admit it. Got a few ideas about where I'm going with this. Probably won't be too long a fic, but I expect it'll get a bit smutty before the end. Probably a lot smutty, if I'm being totally honest. Next chapter should give more insight into Molly and Sherlock's viewpoints. Hope you enjoy.