Mildly-AU, possibly OOC a bit because these are 18-20 year old versions of the characters (and kinda drunk.)

Trigger warnings: Alcohol use, cigarette smoking, some swearing, unsafe sex, and sex in general.

Adrenaline pumping through her like never before, Molly Hooper ran. His long legs would cover more ground; she couldn't hope to outrun him. The boy was right behind as she fled up the path to the cottages, but her instinct told her to turn and plunge into the shallow woods that she knew and he didn't. She was leading, not fleeing.

She heard his feet crushing fallen leaves and twigs as he pursued her, and then the sounds of him cursing as he crashed into a slim birch tree and stumbled. She paused and laughed, knowing he heard her.

"Give up?" she called. The playfulness in her own breathless voice was alien to Molly. I sound like someone else. Am I someone else?

"You're too much work," he grumbled, and then there was silence.

Molly crept closer to where she had heard him last, worried he might've hit his head in the fall. It was just supposed to be a game, but maybe he was a city boy who broke easy in the outdoors. She listened, and again heard only the sound of wind blowing through the trees and the waves of the nearby lake washing ashore. She cocked her head, and frowned.

A dark shape leapt up from the ground and into a full run at her. To her relief, Molly saw it was him, the boy, her boy, renewing the hunt.

"Ha! Liar, you big faker," she shouted over her shoulder as she darted through the trees.

"You fell for it!" he called, his voice lighter and merrier than she'd heard it yet. Molly pressed further into the woods, recognizing the cluster of trees ahead as being close to the beach, though not near any pathway. Oriented now, she bolted in the opposite direction, not even feeling the scratches of thorns as she wove her way through the trees. Finally, she spotted a light high in the distance, belonging to a streetlamp near where the path began. Molly grinned, and turned to head for it-

And ran headlong into a warm, hard body.

Earlier that night.

"This is pointless. I can go back and check Wilkes' car now." Scorn laced the unfamiliar baritone voice.

"He's right there. You think he won't get suspicious? At least let him get drunk before you go breaking into his Jag. Knowing him, it won't take long." The second voice was mellower, with a broad Lincolnshire accent.

"There has got to be a better way to get evidence than this. It's humiliating." The first young man was almost hissing now, in his annoyance.

"No, Holmes, it's a party. Christ." A deep laugh followed the exasperated comment. "Act like a normal bloke, have a few beers, and relax. I'm going to talk to Jess. Here, drink this and try not to piss anyone off for once."

Molly felt no guilt about eavesdropping on their conversation, as they were having it practically on top of her, as she sat in the sand by the treeline. She sipped the small bottle in her hand, the sweet liqueur warming her body all over. The two young men finally stepped into her view, exiting the path that was tightly framed by trees and bushes.

One strode toward the campfire on the beach, where the other dozen party attendees were clustered. They were mostly Sharon and her boyfriend's classmates, and Molly was unsurprised to find herself ignored every time she attempted to start a conversation. After an awkward half hour, she gave up, opened up the bottle of peach schnapps she'd planned on sharing with her best friend, and found herself a spot in the sand to watch the solstice sun set.

It wasn't so bad, really. She could relax, and let the liquor work its way into her bloodstream as she watched night fall. And she loved the idea of a solstice, a remarkable event that was no more than a heartbeat of time when the sun reached its highest point in the sky. Her grandmum used to say that solstices were powerful days, when the veil between the worlds was thin. Molly didn't logically believe in that sort of thing, but there were times like this when she embraced the strange energy. Logic wasn't everything, after all, even for a budding scientist. A world without mysteries would be a very dull one indeed, she thought. And at the rate her social life was going, it would take a bit of magic for her to meet someone truly interesting.

The campfire on the beach was being fed by a pile of rotting furniture Sharon's boyfriend Eric had dragged from the storage shed. They were smashing up a chair now, Eric and his old friend Sebastian Wilkes. Molly had been introduced to him briefly when he first arrived. He stared at her breasts, gave her an oily smile, and then promptly turned around to introduce himself to Sharon's taller, bustier friend Lina.

The old chair shattered as Wilkes kicked it, driving a splinter into the young man's sandal-clad foot. He swore loudly and dropped to the sand, clutching his bleeding toe.

Molly burst out laughing, and hugged her knees tighter to her chest. She tugged on the hem of her calf-length sundress, wishing she'd thought to bring a long sweater. As the sun dropped further past the trees, the air grew cooler. She wasn't usually so exposed, but she'd thought if she took a chance and borrowed Sharon's gorgeous pink number, she might meet feel more confident about meeting new people. It hadn't worked.

At the campfire, near the water's edge, Wilkes chugged a beer and complained as a young woman wrapped three plasters around his big toe. Molly rolled her eyes, and took another sip from her bottle.

A low, throaty laugh close to her left side startled her. She jumped and leaned to the right on reflex, almost dropping the schnapps as her head swung back to identify the source of the sound.

The first young man. She'd forgotten he hadn't walked past her yet. Maybe the alcohol was affecting her more than she realized…

He stepped out of the shadow of the trees, and strolled onto the sand. His back was to Molly as he scanned the shore and the lake. He was dressed rather strangely, she noticed. Every other boy there wore shorts and some sort of t-shirt or football jersey, but his tall, lean form was clad in smooth black trousers and a forest-green button-up dress shirt.

Molly coughed. "Sorry, that was crass to laugh. Him being hurt and all."

"Don't apologize. He was rude to you." He spoke with ruthless precision, each syllable crisp and posh.

"I know. Wait, how did you know? You saw that before? Anyway, I shouldn't have laughed. If you let jerks turn you into a tosser like them, they…" Molly trailed off as the young man turned around and faced her suddenly.

"Oh." She felt her mouth hanging open, and clapped it shut in a panic. It wasn't simply that he was handsome; classic good looks were common among the public school lads with money. No, there was nothing common about how this boy was put together. It shouldn't work but it did: catlike blue-green eyes, a proud nose, impossibly high cheekbones, and Cupid's bow lips that were oddly full for his thin face. There was still gawkiness in his long limbs, she saw, and his hands seemed quite large compared to his slender wrists. His skin was ghostly pale, and his dark brown hair was in need of cutting, as the wild curls bounced in front of his eyes as he approached Molly.

She scrambled onto her knees, pulling her dress down into place and brushing the sand off her palms. He waved her off as she started to get up. The young man settled himself on the ground, uncaring as his obviously expensive trousers grew sandier. His striking eyes captured Molly's, as he opened the sizable flask he retrieved from his pocket.

"You don't want to be here, clearly. One foot on the path home, dressed up in someone else's clothing and drinking alone. Obligation to your friend down there, then. I don't want to be here either. Unfortunately, I need to know something from that posh git who gashed his toe. If I sit with you, Trevor will be satisfied that I'm blending in, no one will bother with me, and here's the part that concerns you- no one will bother you." He took a sip from the flask, and nodded. "As I suspected. Whiskey."

Surprised by his stream of speech, Molly took a moment to process it. "So…we just sit here."

"Yes, that appears to be what we are doing. Not too difficult, I hope, but some may find even that a challenge." He locked his eyes at the people fifteen meters down from them. The sky was darkening more, but his stare didn't waver.

He must have excellent night vision, Molly thought. What sort of boy is this?

"No, it's okay. It's bizarre, but okay." She smiled, and scooted closer to him, their thighs almost touching. That caught his attention.

He rose one eyebrow at her, faint amusement in his gaze.

"It's more believable this way," she said, a dimple forming in her cheek.

"Fine. Mind if I smoke?"

An hour later, darkness had fallen and the party grew louder. Someone had brought along their guitar and was hammering out painful renditions of Beatles tunes. Beer and bottles of liquor passed between friends. Sharon sat on her boyfriend's lap, occasionally glancing up the beach to make sure Molly was still happily conversing with the strange lanky bloke Trevor had brought along. It would be just like her quirky anatomy lab partner to hook up with the weirdest guy available. Sharon grinned and gave her the thumbs up, and Molly waved back.

"There was a lady in a tower, married to a great lord and warrior of Scotland, but he was not her love. When midsummer came, her husband was off in battle, and so she lit a bonfire to welcome her lover back, to celebrate the summer solstice in each other's arms.

And to her, he came, and they touched each other as they lay by the fire. The sun rose and she returned to her tower, her beautiful prison of loneliness. But by night, she returned to the fields, to the bonfire. And once again, her man found his way back to her, making love to her under the moon. On the third night, they met as well, happy and free with one another. But it was also very sad, because the midsummer celebrations were over now and there would be no more bonfires to light the way and lead him back to her.

The next day, her husband returned home from the battle, bloody and weary but proud of his victory. The enemy was driven back. And as the lady of the tower congratulated her husband, he also informed her that on the very first day of the long battle, he had struck down his rival, a boy he knew still held her heart. And as he spoke the young man's name, the lady fainted and had to be carried to bed.

For the lover that had returned to her by the light of the bonfires of midsummer was a shade, a ghostly remnant. Even death couldn't keep him from her when the veil between the worlds was thin, and when the bonfires guided him to her."

Molly finished the story and looked at the boy, hopeful he had enjoyed it.

He drew on his cigarette, cocked his head to the side, and uttered one word: "Rubbish."

"It's not rubbish!" Molly said hotly. "It's beautiful."

"She had sexual intercourse with a ghost?" He lounged back on his elbows in the sand and smirked.

"Well, I don't know, it's a story, a poem my grandmum used to read me. It doesn't matter if it was real or not, only that she had a brief magical time with this man she loved. He loved her enough to come back from death to hold her again. And that's why the solstice is a special night, because anything's possible."

He gave Molly a withering look. "How is an astronomical phenomenon connected to a woman shagging a spirit?"

Molly searched for a retort. "Uh- I- well, you didn't even know what a solstice was fifteen minutes ago! I thought you were reading chemistry at uni. You must've studied basic astronomy at some point in your science courses." Molly giggled. Her cheeks were flushed, and she felt as though her eyes were too wide. She was finding it hard to keep from staring at the boy, who hadn't bothered to introduce himself.

He shrugged. "I probably did learn it at some point, but deleted it. It's not necessary information. Need the space on my hard drive. You can delete anything if you have to. It's only sentiment that keeps us holding onto useless memories." He blinked at Molly, and frowned at the flask at his hand. He had taken several drinks from it, and his speech was considerably less distinct now. Molly could swear she'd heard a trace of a lisp on the words 'necessary' and 'useless.'

"I think, I think I'm a bit drunk. I don't really do this sort of thing." She laughed, and found herself stretching beside him, her left arm leaning against his right arm as she gazed up at the stars. "At uni, it's always books-books-books, I'm the girl with the books and the answers." She felt a wave of melancholy. "No one really likes the one with all the answers, not even the professors."

"No, they don't," he agreed. "I think I've had too much, as well. And goddamned Wilkes is still conscious. The pain may've made him slightly less dim and unaware. It's a bloody miracle. Shouldn't have let Trevor talk me into this…" His voice was morose.

"Who's Wilkes? Your boyfriend or something?" Molly dared to ask.

"No, I don't date." He ran a hand through his hair, pushing the curls back from his face so she could see his eyes again.

"Why not?" She tried to quash the disappointment in her gut. He wouldn't have wanted me anyway.

"Interferes with brain work." He tilted his head toward Molly. "You didn't ask how I knew about your dress not being yours. People usually ask. Then they get angry."

Molly looked down at herself. "Well, it's quite loose on my body, and I don't imagine I looked very comf-comfortable." She unconsciously lifted a hand over her visible cleavage as she spoke. "It didn't seem a strange leap of logic to make."

"It's not," he said, sounding surprised. The boy looked harder at her face, squinting. Molly knew her brown eyes would be wide now for sure, this lovely young man studying her intently, a few inches from her face. He didn't speak for a minute; his eyes roamed over her from head to toe, and she had the odd feeling that he had seen her for the first time.

He spoke slowly after completing his appraisal of her form. "Do you want to hear more? Or are you afraid?" A challenging smile tickled the corner of his mouth.

"No," she ventured, taking another gulp of peach schnapps to steel herself. Though to be honest, she was wary. But she needed to know what he saw- what others saw when they took her in and dismissed her presence, every day.

His eyebrows rose. "I see a young woman who's shy, who normally dresses on the conservative side, and has never had a boyfriend. You're from this area originally, though you've spent substantial time in London as well. You're a scholarship student, and you can't afford the dress you're wearing. You use a medicated cream on your legs, probably for eczema or a similar chronic condition." Molly turned beet red. He lifted a lock of her loose hair from her shoulder, and let the silky brown strands slide off his fingers. "And you've never dyed your hair. Not even once."

"That's…how did you know about the cream? Um actually, don't answer that." The embarrassment was fading; it was just a skin condition, she reminded herself, nothing that bad. The absurdity of the situation got to her, and Molly couldn't stop smiling. "You're frightfully smart. You know everything about me, and I know almost nothing of you."

"I don't know everything." He reached into his pocket, pulling another cigarette from the packet. Lighting it, and taking a deep drag, he said, "For instance, I don't know your name."

"Guess!" She didn't smoke but the scent of it on him was somehow alluring. His long fingers curled around the white sticks in a way that was hypnotic. She wondered if that was the alcohol talking.

"I don't guess; it's sloppy," he said with scorn, though the sharpness of his voice had been softened by the whiskey in his system. "I can't deduce your name without any information, and since you haven't got a wallet for me to knick your I.D. from…You don't know my name either. It's-"

She threw her hand over his mouth to silence him. Luckily his cigarette was safely in his hand resting on his abdomen.

"I don't want to know," she blurted out, yanking her hand away. His mouth was close enough to hers that she could smell the whiskey on his lips, under the smoke.

He looked offended, and only when he pulled back and his body heat faded did Molly realize how close they'd been laying to one another.

"No, I mean, it's just that…tonight has been so unexpected, and interesting, and so out of the ordinary." She knew she was rambling but she couldn't stop herself. "And we can be anyone we want, and you probably have some perfectly normal name like Larry or John or something awful like Herman or Harvey and…I don't know. I'm sorry, I don't know what I'm saying. You're incredible and so fit and I'm being silly. " She clapped her hands on her warm cheeks, glad of the darkness around them. The noise created by the partiers filled the uncomfortable silence.

He took a drag of his cigarette, and followed it with another drink from the flask. He licked his bottom lip, catching the drop of whiskey on his tongue, and his eyes rose to meet Molly's again.

"Silly, yes. You're no more honest now than you were an hour ago, which is unusual. Most people's barriers fall away when they use alcohol. I'm starting to think you don't have any. How can you live that way? No polish, no façade?" His eyes were fierce now, claiming her attention. "The world will eat you alive. If you offer everything up so generously, people will take it. It's foolish."

She bit her lip and shrugged. She tried to find a way to encapsulate herself eloquently, but she gave up after mentally flailing for a minute.

"Pretending to feel- or not feel- something, I've never been any good at it. There are days when I hate that, but I'd rather be a poor liar than a very good one."

The boy looked confused, his forehead wrinkling in thought as he pulled himself to sitting in the sand and went to push his sleeves up. She noticed before he began to fold back the sleeves that his wrists were showing below the cuffs, meaning the shirt was too small. He must've had a growth spurt recently. She found that endearing for some reason, and she stifled the urge to reach out and caress the tender inside of his wrist with her fingertips.

"Do you think- do you think I could have some of that cigarette?"

His left eyebrow arched. "You don't smoke." A statement, not a question.

"No, but Sharon always smokes when she's drinking. Must be a good combination. Can I try?"

"Be my guest." He inhaled deeply and then offered the cigarette to her, squeezed between his thumb and index finger.

Molly crawled over, reached past his extended arm and pulled his head down, pressing her mouth tight to his. Startled, his mouth opened and the smoke he'd inhaled moved into hers.

She inhaled quickly, turned her head to the side and blew the smoke back out a few seconds later, beaming. He stared in shock, and she saw the beginnings of some other emotion in his icy eyes. Excitement surged in her belly, and she held onto the back of his neck. She brushed her lips over his, and watched with interest as the black centers of his eyes dilated. His free hand rose from the ground and slid into her hair, cradling her head. His Adam's apple bobbed repeatedly as he swallowed and looked into Molly's eyes.

She slid a hand around to the front of his neck, and rested two fingers on his skin, over the speeding rhythm creating by blood flowing through his carotid artery.

"Are you…checking my pulse?" He sounded more interested than put-out.

She flushed and was glad of the dark anew. "Yes…I just wanted to see if your heart was racing like mine."

"What's the verdict?"

His rapid pulse flickered against her fingertips. "Fast, very fast. Maybe you should rest."

She barely made out his sardonic smile in the dark. "I don't think so. Do you?" He brushed his lips over hers, the faintest touching that quickly turned into a hard, demanding kiss.

They were awkward at first, both clumsy and unpracticed, but they tasted and tested and it wasn't long before Molly found herself dragged completely onto his lap in the sand, something hard pressing into her bottom as his teeth nipped at her lips and neck. She was literally breathless, so wrapped up in his mouth she kept forgetting to breathe. When he explored the right side of her throat and discovered how licking a certain sensitive hollow that made her shiver, she gasped and clung to him and there was nothing in her mind but the absolute certainty that this was right.

Victor Trevor was kicking his bare feet in the water at the lake's edge, and was enjoying the light beer buzz he had going when he heard someone calling his name. Looking up, he saw Eric's girlfriend Sharon trotting down to join him.

"Did you see them?" she asked, grinning wide.

"What, is Dennis doing his puppetry of the penis stunt again? Seen it, had enough."

"No, that was a half hour ago, and my eyes are still bleeding. Gah." She laughed. "No, I meant THAT." She pointed toward the trees at the top of the small beach, and after a few seconds, he realized she was actually aiming her finger at the two people embracing, the girl straddling the boy's lap as they kissed.

Victor was about to shake his head and ask what he point was when the identity of the young man clicked in. Dark curly hair…a green shirt…long arms…Sherlock?

"Holy shit."

"I know, right? I thought he was gay when I saw him tonight, but I guess not." Sharon did a happy dance in the water slapping at her feet. "He's alright, isn't he? I want Molly to find someone, but a good someone, not just any arsehole."

"God, he's brilliant. Good family, old money. Don't listen to any rumors you hear about him. Socially idiotic, but you can't have it all." As he spoke, Victor saw Sebastian Wilkes stumbling up the beach and heading west, toward the area where they'd parked their cars half a kilometer down the way. The blonde girl he'd chatted up earlier ran after him, and after a brief disagreement, took his car keys from him. Wilkes slobbered on her neck and grabbed her hand, and the blonde led him away.

Victor considered chasing Wilkes down, but one look back at Sherlock and Molly on the beach talked him out of it.

"Fuck it," he said to himself. Sherlock could search Sebastian's Jag another day. No one in the chem department truly believed Holmes would've been reckless enough to blow up half the lab, but Wilkes had pointed the finger at Victor's friend and the administration had believed the popular Wilkes. Sherlock insisted that he didn't have the key for that lab and had not even possessed the ingredients for the accidental explosion source, but he believed Wilkes did. The snotty arse was always trying to one-up Holmes.

Worse comes to worse, Victor told himself, the Holmes family millions can spring for a new lab. But what are the odds Sherlock would ever find another girl he actually liked?

"Hey Shar, are there any more of those Aussie brews? Good stuff." Victor beamed with pleasure, and jogged back to the campfire to join their friends.

She'd never felt such an intense throbbing need in her belly and in her sex. She sucked on his lip, and was rewarded with another moan from the young man in her arms.

"I know a private place. Close by," she gasped as his hand slipped under the hem on her sundress to graze her inner thigh.

"Take me there now," he ordered. Molly was too aroused to take offense.

"New game. You have to catch me," she said, kissing the tip of his nose and daring to reach down and stroke the length of his cock through his trousers. Before he could react, she jumped up and fled into the trees, onto the wooded path in the darkness.


As she crossed the clearing in the woods, she collided with the warm body- with him- and stepped back in shock, clutching her chest where she'd banged into him. The boy wasted no time, slipping his arms around her and murmuring against her ear, "Are you hurt? Do you want to go back?"

Her heart pounding, Molly shook her head and leaned her forehead against his narrow chest. His strong fingers stroked her arms, as he walked her backward until she was pressed against a tree. She threw her arms around his neck, and wrapped one leg around his waist, grinding their cores together as they kissed again. The skin of her back scraped against the bark, but the slight pain was another rough sensation that aroused her further.

Molly pushed him back suddenly, and stepped away from the tree, gazing at this boy who had snaked his way into her blood in the course of a night. She knew almost nothing about him, except that he was brilliant and gorgeous and brutally honest.

Live, she thought. Live.

Molly dropped to her knees on the grass in the clearing, and sat back on her bum, legs stretched out in front of her. She looked up at him with a bright smile and offered her hand. "You won the game. Don't you want your prize?"

In the darkness, she couldn't read his eyes but she sensed an internal struggle that was fought and lost in less than a minute. He dropped to his knees before her, his eyes locked on her body. He crawled forward, nudging her knees apart and bending down to kiss her softly- and then hard- and then they were entwined again.

Molly wrapped both legs now around his waist, allowing her dress to ride up to her knickers as they writhed against each other. He was heavier than he looked, his lean body pressing her into the cool ground. The smoky taste of whiskey was still on his tongue, mixing with the sweetness of the peach liqueur she'd drunk earlier.

We taste good together. I never knew that mattered, Molly thought with wonder as he trailed kisses down her throat. She had the sense again that he was uncertain, improvising and testing her flesh. Molly threw her head back when he licked at the sensitive skin over her collarbone, the mop of messy curls hiding his face from view.

The sky above her, peeking through the tree tops, was dotted with stars and a shadowed half-moon. Her blood surged with the energy of the night, and the knowledge of what she was doing. The alcohol had loosened her body, made it easy to open her thighs and accept the hardness of the boy against her, but her mind was strangely clear and she knew what she wanted.

Molly lifted her head and tugged on his hair to get his attention. He frowned as he looked up, one dark curl obscuring an eye, and frustrated that she had broken his concentration.

She pulled herself up to sitting and reached for the buttons of his shirt. Understanding, he impatiently pushed away her clumsy hands. His long, dexterous fingers made quick work of the buttons and then he was nude above the waist. She pushed down the straps of her sundress and slipped her arms out of them so the dress pooled around her waist. She was aware that her comfortable white cotton bra didn't match her knickers, but the hungry look in his eyes as they fell upon her breasts told her he didn't give a damn.

Molly was struck by his unearthly looks. The moonlight and shadows bleached any remaining color out of him, leaving him ghostly white, and his chest was smooth marble as she slid her tentative hands over the lean muscles of his torso.

He responded in kind, cupping her breasts, his thumbs hardening her nipples through the fabric. He pressed harder and then lighter again, switching to circling motions and testing her reaction. Molly smiled and bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing.

"What?" The sharpness in his voice had returned.

"Oh nothing. It's just, it's like you're taking notes or something, trying out different styles and then your eyes go to the side like you're memorizing what you did." Molly squeezed his shoulders and pulled him closer to her, missing his body heat. The goosebumps returning to her skin made her nipples even harder beneath his fingers.

"Interesting," he murmured, his fingers tugging down the cotton cup material on both sides to expose her fully, tucking the fabric under the small globes of her breasts. "You're observant. I was taking notes. In my head. I have a system for categorizing what I learn." He paused. "Is that not good for this?"

"Oh it's fine! It's…sort of cute. Never mind." She shook her head, cursing herself for making him feel self-conscious. She always felt so awkward with the opposite sex; she hated doing it to him. Molly sunk her hand into his hair and drew his mouth back to hers. As his tongue touches hers, she squirmed, rocking the center of her against him, his cock hard and straining against the trouser material. With her free hand, Molly reached down between them and tickled the solid length along the line of his zipper.

He gasped and thrust into her hand reflexively, his kisses growing wilder with the stimulation. Encouraged, she fumbled open the button of his trousers, unzipped them, and reached inside.

She had thought about this moment for years, since she'd first begun to feel stirrings between her legs, and connected it to the idea of sex, and then to men's corresponding organs. She'd giggled over penises with Sharon over an issue of a tacky porn magazine, purchased by her friend on a dare. Later on, she'd seen male organs in her anatomical studies and prided herself on not being childish when it came to studying the reproductive systems. She was going to be a doctor someday; she could not be silly over a natural human body.

Now, as she clasped him in her fist, she understood the power in sharing your body with another, the terrifying vulnerability. The tightness and tension in his face from earlier had completely vanished by the time she experimentally moved her hand up and down, brushing her thumb over the wet tip of him. The cynical boy was no more; the young man in her hand was eager and excited. Molly learned him, though the position wasn't ideal with her hand thrust down his trousers.

"I'm…I'm going to…if you don't stop…" He breathed heavily into her hair, his hips pumping into her palm.

Molly smiled, loving how he'd lost his verbal dexterity because of her. She took a deep breath and stilled her arm. She bit her lower lip, and grabbed hold of his hand. Confused for a few seconds, he let her guide his long slim fingers into the front of her knickers.

His blue eyes burned into hers as his fingertips slid into her damp folds. Molly laid back down, and opened her thighs wider. She gazed up at the sky again, noting how the moonlight was dimmer. Nearly midnight, she thought.

The boy dipped two fingers deeper into her wetness and Molly arched. It was tight, and not exactly comfortable, but it felt like the first scratch of a long itch. Satisfying.

"More," she whispered.

He wore a faint smile. "Are you certain? I'm not." The struggle she sensed before was back, a flash of indecisiveness.

Molly frowned. "What do you mean? Do you not-?" Before she finished, she felt his fingers slide in and out of her, once, twice, and then again until she lost count. She adjusted to the stretching inside, and lifted her hips to move with his hand. Through the haze of growing heat, she saw that hunger had won out over his doubts. He pushed her dress up further, and slid her pale pink knickers down to her ankles.

One side of his mouth curled up in amusement, and his eyes were merry as they met hers. He dropped the knickers by his side, kicked off his shoes and socks, and pushed his trousers down past his arse.

Molly grabbed hold of his wrist and dragged him down to her, kissing him thoroughly as she hugged his hips with her knees.

She swallowed. "Yes?" Her nails found their way into his back, squeezing as he settled between her thighs. She felt him feel around between their bodies, his face scrunched in concentration as his hand opened her, and positioned himself at her entrance. As Molly cupped his cheek to soothe the tension in his face, he nudged her thighs open further, and pushed into her with one hard thrust.

There was pain at first, harsh and stinging, and she knew the wetness between her legs wasn't just her own secretions, but blood as well. She hissed with the first rush of pain, but then that sensation was mixed in with the raw pleasure of the act. He gave up trying to hover over her, and dropped his head just above her shoulder as he pumped into her. Her back rubbed against the grass with every thrust, and he moved so quickly within her she couldn't keep her legs locked around his body. She dug the heels of her feet into the grass, splayed her legs wide and drove her hips up to meet his, their flesh slapping together. His body mashed against hers without grace, but she wouldn't have traded him for anyone in the world at that moment. She stroked his head and back and arse, as he rocked into her gratefully.

A particularly ragged groan from him made Molly curious enough to open her eyes after they'd clamped shut in focus. He grimaced as though he was in pain, as if it was his blood feeding the forest ground beneath them. He was at the mercy of the night as much as she was, she realized.

And at least I know the way through home these woods, she thought.

The half-moon was hidden beyond the trees when the dark-haired boy finally peaked. The pace of his hips sped up, and his face was inscrutable. He wasn't the controlled young man on the beach, or the playful one who tasted like whiskey, but another person altogether. He was something wild and dynamic, and his body merged with Molly's to form a new shape.

He groaned in her ear as his hands clenched around fistfuls of grass. His eyes squeezed shut, and he reached his release moaning "Molly" over and over, like a prayer. His eyes popped open wide the second the spasms abated and his lower body relaxed.

Molly felt herself soaked on the inside with him. The other women she knew always spoke of ejaculation with disgust, but all she felt as he rode her to climax was intense satisfaction and hunger for more of him.

This is why, she thought. This is why they try to keep us from doing it.

He lifted himself off her body gingerly, and the awkwardness returned, his prominent Adam's apple moving as he swallowed and searched for words. Molly rolled onto her knees and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck. The soreness was setting in already, she could tell, and the sweat was cooling on her body, giving her the shivers.

Molly offered her lips up to his, and he gave her a quick peck on the mouth. His eyes were distracted, she saw, focused off in the distance.

"What? Is someone coming? Damn." Molly scooped up her discarded underwear and straightened out her sundress. She arranged her bra into place quickly. She grabbed hold of his arm for support and winced as she lifted a leg to don her knickers.

What he moaned as he climaxed echoed back in her mind.

"Did you call me Molly?"

His breathing had returned to normal, and he looked almost casual, pulling on his shirt and hauling up his trousers. "Yes."

"You said you didn't know my name and that you wouldn't guess."

He smoothed out his sleeves, and brushed blades of grass off his thighs. "I didn't." He put on his socks and shoes. Taking Molly in his arms, he kissed her soundly, one hand dropping to wrap around Molly's hand holding her knickers.

"You've got your name on them."

As he spoke, he lifted her hand, tugged the knickers out, and displayed the neatly embroidered words "MOLLY HOOPER" near the waistband.

She stared dumbly. "We label them because our things get mixed up in the dormitory laundry." Her belly began to shake with uncontrollable laughter. "Of all the…"

"Come on, Molly Hooper. They'll have noticed we're gone by now." He clasped her hand and led her out of the forest.

They strolled back onto the beach as if they'd taken a brief walk, but the partygoers by the campfire elbowed each other and cheered them on.

Victor waved him over, and Sherlock let go of her hand to join his friend. Even before he reached him, Sherlock's mind had returned to its usual speed and he realized how badly he'd let himself get distracted.

"Wilkes is gone, dammit."

"Yeah, I'm sort of surprised you didn't notice it right off. He left an hour ago. You were…occupied. Good on you, man."

"No, it's not good, the reason we came was to get evidence from Wilkes, not to…" He glanced back at Molly, who stood talking with Sharon. "This is why I don't do those things. Brainless, useless distractions. This is your fault, Trevor."

"Oh fuck off, Holmes. I didn't make you shag the cute girl, though I would've suggested it if you asked for my opinion. Lighten up, it's not the end of the world."

"This is my world." Cold sobriety and fear overtook him. "I don't need those other things. I need this."

When Sharon was finished teasing and interrogating her friend about her tryst in the woods (Molly steadfastly refusing to share details but her shining face giving it away), she headed back to the campfire for another beer.

Molly turned around to look for her boy, and found he had vanished into thin air.

Eleven years later, six months after she'd joined the staff of St. Barts, Dr. Molly Hooper stood at the stainless steel counter. She was laying out the instruments she'd need for the autopsy, and going over the checklist of areas and toxin levels that had been requested by the patient's personal physician. The deceased was elderly, and a heart attack would be unsurprising, but the man was quite wealthy and there was some suspicion that one of his greedy children might've helped him die in order to acquire their share of the inheritance sooner.

Molly was pulling out the safety goggles and gear she'd need when the outer door flew open, and two men rushed in.

She recognized the first man's face, though she didn't know his name yet. He was a detective, one of the Scotland Yard D.I.s. that she'd seen but never worked with in the morgue. He was a handsome man in his forties, and would normally have inspired quite a crush in her, if the man striding after him hadn't brought her heart to a complete standstill.

It was him, the boy, the young man who was her first. The one who'd made love her in the forest one solstice night and then disappeared. Sharon had offered to get info about him after he left without saying goodbye, but Molly told her not to bother. She was utterly humiliated once again and she saw the way people rolled their eyes at her after he ran off. She wanted to forget him.

But she never did. You couldn't delete people from your mind when you couldn't even work out if you loved them or hated them.

The D.I. requested Molly roll out a murder victim for a quick look, and she obliged, her stomach turning itself inside out as she shakily retrieved the body. She waited for the moment he would recognize her. What would he say? Would he smile? Would he be disgusted? Would he apologize?

When the tall man, whose face had only grown stronger and more arresting over the years, finally looked up at the pathologist, his eyes showed no recognition whatsoever.

Sherlock Holmes treated her as he treated everyone: no better or no worse. He'd grown more arrogant over the years, and more brilliant too, his deduction skills honed to near perfection. She performed her tasks and lived her life and most days, she believed that he had succeeded in doing what he'd said he could do: he deleted her.

But there were days when she wondered if it was possible to divide and eliminate pieces of the memory so easily, if a mind could dominate matter so well even when the mind was as brilliant as his.

He stopped in the Barts café area to nag Molly to fetch a human liver for him, to test his latest theory about a murder.

Molly sat at the table, eating her lunch and nibbling a juicy piece of fruit as he clasped the back of her chair and leaned over to urge her to hurry.

She gazed up at him, annoyed by the distraction, and something in his eyes flickered as Molly licked at the peach juice on her lips and fingers. The scent was sweet and strong in the air. Sherlock's eyes went cold as he straightened up quickly and left the room.

Some days, she wondered.

Note: The story of the lady in the tower and her lover is a summary and embellishment of Sir Walter Scott's poem, "The Eve of St. John."