This chapter is long and it's only part one! This takes place maybe a week or so after the events in the first chapter.
All was quiet in 221B Baker Street. Well, it was mostly quiet. Sherlock was playing his violin, the tune sounding almost cheery. He had woken up his flatmate John Watson a bit earlier than he would've liked, considering what time he usually got up and when he retired to bed last night. It was also John's day off. People tended to get touchy when they were woken up early on their days off. He could hear the shower running now. Five more minutes and his friend would emerge. Mrs. Hudson was bustling about downstairs, putting more effort into her appearance than usual today. She'd be having tea with that man from the bookshop later. Sherlock would have to warn her that he was a compulsive gambler and was deep in debt but that the chef at the Italian restaurant she frequented was interested and there was seemingly nothing wrong with him.
His phone buzzed, alerting him to a text. Normally he wouldn't bother to look at his phone when he was trying to play, but he could see from the corner of his eye that Molly sent the text. She hadn't texted in a long while. Even before he insulted her and had to apologize with flowers. Curious, he set down his bow and picked up his phone.
I've got an interesting body here.
Sherlock smiled and set down his violin, freeing up his other hand to type back his response.
Nope. Sorry. Can't tell you. You can see it later when you come in like always.
Sherlock smirked. Molly had gotten bolder in their working relationship. He heard the water shut off from the shower. John would be in the sitting room soon. He hurriedly typed out a reply to Molly.
You could at least send me a picture. Something to entice me further?
The picture that he received almost a minute later definitely piqued his interest.
I'll be in later. I'll text you.
He put his phone aside and picked up his violin again, plucking at the strings with his fingers. John came into the room in his robe and picked up the newspaper as he did every day. He seemed on edge and nervous about something today, though. Something was on his mind and it was starting to annoy Sherlock.
"What are your plans for today?" John asked, eyes not leaving the newspaper.
Sherlock hesitated to tell him about going to Bart's today to see the body Molly had texted him about. He opted for a vague lie instead. "Oh, I have some things to work on. Something mundane for Mycroft, maybe I'll go see Lestrade and see what needs my help. His work has been suffering lately."
John gave Sherlock a look over the top of the newspaper. "He just got his divorce finalized!"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Yes, four months ago. That's one-third of a year. Isn't it about time that he started focusing on his work and not trying to quell his libido with internet porn?"
"How-never mind. But if you repeat any of that to Lestrade, I won't be surprised if you're shot." John flipped the page of the newspaper and repositioned it so his face was hidden. "Do you know when Molly's shifts are at Bart's?" John asked quietly.
Sherlock slowly turned to look at his friend. "Do I know when her shifts are?" he repeated. "John, I have known Molly for several years longer than I've known you. I know everything about her. I know her favorite films in almost every genre, I know which television shows she owns on DVD, I know her favorite color, I know her favorite flower, I know which perfume she wears on a day to day basis and when she's attempting to cover up the smell of the mortuary at the end of the day, I know when her horrible beast of a mother has called her, I know when she's having a good day or a bad day before she says a single word. So yes, you would think that knowing all of that I would also know when her shifts are."
"How the hell do you know all that?" John said in astonishment. "All of that sounds like the sort of things you would have deleted because it's useless."
Sherlock suddenly became very interested in his violin again. "When you have known someone like Molly for as long as I have, some things can never be deleted," he explained. "Why are you asking about her shifts?"
Even Sherlock did not expect what John said next. "I was kind of thinking of asking her out."
Sherlock's head snapped around toward John again. "What?"
"I was thinking about asking Molly out," John repeated.
Sherlock almost looked baffled. "Asking her out?"
John sighed. "Yes, Sherlock. I wanted to ask Molly out on a date." Sherlock put his violin down and rapidly stood up, quickly crossing to the other side of the room. "Sherlock?" John said uncertainly. His friend whirled around, clasping his hands behind his back.
"Why do you want to ask Doctor Hooper out on a date? Why now?" Sherlock demanded.
John sighed and put the paper down. "I like her, Sherlock. She's a lovely person, I've known her for a reasonable amount of time now and I'd like to take her out."
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "You just wish to have intercourse again. By the way, you might want to turn up the music when you're relieving yourself of the biological reminder that you are male." It took quite a bit of resolve on John's part not to punch Sherlock right then and there.
"No, I just want to take her out on a date," John insisted. "Maybe more if the first date goes well. Then I can start thinking about…that. So could you just tell me when I can expect to run into her at Bart's? I don't have her schedule memorized like you do."
Sherlock felt uneasy and unsettled. It was almost as if the thought of his best friend persuing a possibly sexual relationship with his pathologist was making him physically ill. He quickly dashed that thought from his mind. It was impossible that such a reaction would occur, he told himself.
"She's actually working at Bart's right now," Sherlock said. He flipped open his laptop, even though he knew there would be no more new e-mail. "But I wouldn't ask her out, if I were you. Not right now; especially if you are looking to have a long term relationship with her."
John laughed. "Thanks, but I don't take dating advice from you." He left the room and walked up the stairs to his bedroom.
"Three, two, one," Sherlock counted. Right on cue, John came back down the stairs and strode straight over to Sherlock, standing in front of him.
"Okay, why shouldn't I ask Molly out on a date right now?" John asked curiously.
Sherlock smiled. "I'm glad you asked, John. You see, like any other human being, Molly has patterns; especially when it comes to relationships. She just broke up with a boyfriend last month. After each boyfriend she has a transition man that she gets bored with rather quickly and she never sees them again. No matter how much she might like them, it's always the same. Here today, gone tomorrow. They're never heard from again. She never even mentions them because, to her, they're not worth mentioning."
John scoffed. "That is ridiculous. If that's true, why don't we ever hear of her mentioning these blokes in between her boyfriends?"
"Because they're not worth mentioning," Sherlock repeated. "You're the one who is always lecturing me about timing. What are your plans for today, John?" The army doctor sighed and went back to the stairs, dragging his feet.
"Oh, probably watching the telly with Mrs. Hudson…again."
When he heard John's bedroom door close, Sherlock felt a little guilty, but only a little. Yes, he had lied to his friend about why it wouldn't be wise to date Molly, but it had been for a good reason. Even if that reason was still uncertain.
"Lestrade fancies me," Molly finally spoke. She had been working in silence in the lab with Sherlock for some time now, trying to find a tactful way to bring up Lestrade. In the end, she decided that Sherlock would prefer if she was blunt and went straight to the point. Well, she certainly had his attention now. Of course, she didn't know of his conversation just a few hours earlier with John. She couldn't imagine the shock of the consulting detective who didn't even see this coming.
"Interesting statement, Molly," Sherlock said, turning away from the microscope. "What makes you say that?" She could be wrong. She could just be guessing and she could be very, very wrong.
"He asked me if I wanted to have coffee," Molly muttered, blushing.
Sherlock felt relieved for some reason. "You think he fancies you because he offered to get you coffee? You asked me the same question once."
"I was asking you out for coffee and Lestrade was doing the same to me," Molly snapped. Before she said that, there was only one other time Molly could say that she had seen Sherlock embarrassed. For a second, she could swear he was blushing, but that could just be the lighting in the lab.
"Oh," Sherlock finally said. "So, er, you were asked out by Lestrade. Interesting. What did you say?"
"Well I was about to go on my lunch break when he asked and you weren't here yet, so we had a cuppa up the road," Molly admitted. "It was nice and he said that we should do it again sometime and he'd call."
Sherlock frowned. First John, now Lestrade. Why were those two so determined to date Molly now? Didn't they know it could be disastrous for cases were she to date either one of them? He was starting to feel physically ill again.
"So, what do you think? Sherlock?" Molly snapped him from his thoughts and he focused his attentions on her again. "Every time I start to date someone, you always find one big thing that's wrong with them. I'd rather know now before I go out on an actual date whatever is wrong with Lestrade and why I shouldn't date him."
"You already sound like you don't want to date him," Sherlock pointed out.
"I might!" Molly insisted. "I'm just worried there's something wrong with him. Like all the others."
Sherlock nodded. The lies were forming in his head so easily. "Well, you'd be quite right, Molly. There is something wrong with Lestrade. First of all, he's only recently divorced-"
"That was four months ago," Molly interrupted.
"If it's within a year of being divorced, it is recent. As I was saying, he's recently divorced and even though he tries to deny it he is still, in some ways, attached to his ex-wife. He was the romantic one in the relationship and the romantic ones always have the harder time letting go completely. He does work odd hours and he could be called away to a crime scene at any minute. His sporadic availability is partially why his wife left him in the first place. Yes, you work odd hours, too; you must be made for each other. That's not true. With both of you having strange work schedules, you're less likely to be able to keep up with each other and the relationship will fall to shambles even faster. Being newly single after a divorce, Lestrade can go one of two ways. The first: he wants to try the single life again and date and bed a string of women and you will just be one of them. The second: he's desperate to find a stepmother to his two children and he'll latch on to the first woman he can find. More likely, he'll go on the second path as he has seen the photo of you and your nephew on your desk-you should update that photograph; your nephew was eighteen months in that picture and he just recently turned four. He will become clingy and push you away awfully fast; especially when you meet his beastly children. They have behavioural problems and have sent three child psychiatrists spiraling into nervous breakdowns. He's also become rather addicted to internet porn of the gay variety since his divorce. I also remember telling you some time ago that you should avoid future attempts at a relationship for the sake of law and order and I don't think that dating a member of London's police force would exactly be going with that advice. I could carry on, but I think I've made my point."
Molly felt deflated as usual after Sherlock dashed yet another one of her relationships in to pieces. At least this one hadn't gone past a simple coffee date. She'd have to decline if Lestrade tried to invite her out on a proper date. "How'd you know my nephew turned four?" Molly asked curiously. "And try to keep your answer short."
"Your brother came into town for business just last month, you were watching your nephew, John and I were investigating a case but he insisted that we go and say hello to you when we spotted you in the park with your nephew. Henry, wasn't it? Your nephew told me he just had a birthday party where he turned four. Then he asked me a lot of questions. John thought it was amusing. He is a rather intelligent child for his age, I'll give him that. Short enough for you?" Sherlock looked into the microscope again, adjusting the dials. Then he remembered another problem: John. What if he tried to persue a relationship with Molly again? True, his friend probably wouldn't be trying that any time soon, but he would eventually. He had to stop that now, didn't he?
"Speaking of John, I should warn you: he may try to ask you out on a date as well. He is still rather attached to his previous girlfriend despite his attempts at dating. Last date he went on ended up with him getting completely pissed, calling the girl by his ex girlfriends name, and then loudly singing off-key songs he said were dedicated to said ex girlfriend. So unless you want to be compared to Emma for an evening, I would turn down any invitation to a date that comes your way."
Molly shook her head. "That's a new record for you, Sherlock. Two possible relationships: gone in the blink of an eye."
Sherlock pushed back from the microscope. "I'm a consulting detective, I do this for a living and to steer you away from any relationships that could be detrimental to your emotional well being. You do not perform as well at your job when your emotions are in turmoil."
Molly sighed and rolled her eyes. "There was almost something nice in that last statement. Almost. Headed out?" Sherlock was wrapping his scarf around his neck and had picked up his coat.
"I'm going to see Lestrade," he said. "There's almost always a case that the police are desperate for help with. Thanks for letting me see that body earlier; it had an interesting skin condition. Text me the results?" Without waiting for an answer, he strolled out of the lab.
"You're kidding!" Lestrade said. "I thought Molly liked kids! I'm not looking for a stepmother for my kids or anything, but I thought that if we had a relationship and it went anywhere, she'd be good for them. She talked all about her nephew over coffee!"
Sherlock's web of lies had one more factor: Lestrade. He needed to make sure Lestrade never tried to ask out Molly on a real and proper date. "Many people will also get excited over a puppy, but once that puppy is taken home and they have to feed it and teach it to go out behind the house for every bodily function, the novelty wears off. Molly loves her nephew until he's in the same room, then she can't wait for him to leave. You should have seen her with him when he was in town last month. John and I were investigating a case and saw her in the park with her nephew. She looked as if she was on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Not the kind of woman that might end up being your children's stepmother one day."
Lestrade took a gulp of his coffee, wishing it was alcohol instead. "Guess I'm starting over in the dating game. Again."
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Yes, well, I'm sure that's all good for you, but I'd appreciate it if you would tell me all about any cases you're having trouble with."
And that concludes part one! Sherlock has stopped two possible relationships for Molly not with deductions, but with lies. Surely this won't blow up in his face, will it?