Final Editing: 06/17/13

Recycled A/N: Lord, where do I start. All my love, as always and forever, to MizJoely, who holds my hands and urges me on even when I threaten to delete everything and start over. She's a miracle worker, y'all. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed, sent me messages, howled at me on tumblr about the things I put our Sherlock and Molly through. I love you guys so much, you don't even know.

Officially I can announce that Links has won Best Romance, Rated M in the SAMFAs. Everyone go to wwwdotsherlollydotcom or tumblr and check out the sherlolly tag to see all the other awesome winners. I can also say this is the last chapter of Links, and I've cried over ending this story like my dog was dying. Kind of pathetic. But the sequel is forthcoming, after I tie up my other ongoing Sherlolly stories.

Addition: Thank you everyone for all the time spent reading, and certainly for every single comment and review left. And mucho thanks to whomever nominated Links, you guys don't even know what it means to me. Thank you all so much, I really do appreciate it.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Molly hovers in the doorway of Sherlock's bedroom, unsure. He's on the bed and under the soft duvet, propped against a stack of pillows and the headboard. Hamish rests on Molly's shoulder, and though he has yet to cry, she can tell from his restless movements and flailing feet he's hungry and gearing up to a tantrum.

"Molly? Sherlock questions, head rolling to peer at her. He's weaker than he would like to admit, and Molly can see it plain as day; dark circles ring his eyes, and as he's lost so much weight Molly's surprised his bones don't cut through thin white skin.

What's terrifying is that he looks a little better each day, and this is Sherlock after gaining five pounds and spending nearly two weeks in the hospital.

"I was just checking on you," she finally answers, giving Sherlock a faint, shy smile. "I um – I have to go feed Hamish."

"Is there some reason you can't do it here?" His eyebrows crowd his hairline before Sherlock begins shifting further over on the mattress, making room for her.

Molly doesn't miss his wince of pain. "Sherlock, no. You're still hurting." And not taking his pain medication as he should. It's non-narcotic, but Molly could see the worry in him whenever the nurses brought his dose in, most especially when John returned from the chemists with his filled prescriptions after his release from hospital. "You didn't take your pills, did you? Please, Sherlock, I know you don't like it, but you're in pain."

"I am fine," he says, in a thin, stubborn strain. He holds out one arm, wiggling his fingers. "Come on, Molly. I'll follow you downstairs if you don't come to bed with me now."

It's strange, sitting in Sherlock's bed, his arm around her as she soothes Hamish before nursing him. Surreal. They're like any other couple, still feeling each other out and in awe of their new child. She never imagined that Sherlock would be demonstrative, even with his own child, but in the two weeks since his return, he's been loath to allow Hamish out of his sight. When Molly brings the newborn to visit his father, Sherlock lights up, eager to hold their son.

"I'm glad you chose to breast feed," Sherlock says after a time, moments before his chin drops onto Molly's shoulder. He stares intently down at Hamish, who nurses greedily. "Not just for Hamish's benefit. It lowers the risk of postpartum depression. I...worried for you."

"I've been surprisingly well," Molly admits, swallowing back a surge of emotion she simply can't handle right at this moment as Sherlock folds his other arm across his stomach, toying with Hamish's feet and toes. "Of course, I was on antidepressants even before I gave birth. Brandon worried, and I agreed it would be a wise choice to make."

"Hmm." His response is noncommittal, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Honestly, Molly wonders if he even really heard her; he's so enthralled in measuring the length of Hamish's feet against his palm that she wonders if he even knows she's quit speaking.

Molly switches breasts – Hamish is beginning to eat more and more – humming idly under her breath while he finishes.

It is Sherlock who burps him, who changes his diaper, face distorted in concentration as he works. It nearly makes Molly's heart explode from all the love she holds for them both.

They lie in bed together for over an hour, Hamish against Sherlock's bare chest, sleeping contentedly. Sherlock remains in pain, yes, Molly can see it in the tightness around his eyes, but the physical pain is secondary to his happiness. And here, right now in this very moment, Molly sees him as happy as she ever has before.

"As you can see, I had John move his bassinet in here."

Molly takes the hint, and soon enough Hamish is nestled in the bassinet at the foot of the bed, on his stomach with his knees tucked to his chest and his bottom in the air. She pulls a blanket over him, rubs a hand along his back before going back to Sherlock's bed.

He curls around her as completely as he can, until Molly is enveloped by long arms and legs, his face tucked against the back of her neck. One hand splays across her stomach, soft and still oh-so-tender to the touch.

"Molly," he says, and then nothing. Just his breathing, which becomes quick and ragged, and then strained as tears slip through the covering of Molly's thick hair to wet her neck. She doesn't know what to do, what to say; in this, she is utterly and entirely out of her depth. Sherlock has always been so – so strong. So separate from his emotions, at least the ones he considers weak.

But here he is, crying into her hair, against her skin, clinging to her as though he's afraid she may disappear. It breaks her heart, shatters it into too many pieces to find and put back together. So she clings to his hands, presses close and simply allows him the comfort of her presence, of knowing she is with him.


Sherlock takes the painkillers with lukewarm water, gritting his teeth against the soreness in his chest after he swallows. He's been avoiding them, but it's so bad now that he can't even hold Hamish. As much as he detests how they slow his mind, he needs them to recover properly.

How weak he's grown in his time away. There seemed so little point in eating or sleeping or resting at all, not when he had so much to do before he could return home. Not when Molly was waiting, waiting with their son.

"Mrs. Hudson is watching Hamish for me." Molly has her hands folded in front of her, and she's chewing on her lip. She's nervous. Mummy's wedding set sits on her left hand, and she twists it anxiously, around and around. "I think we...we need to talk. Now. Before things go any further."


Nodding tersely, Sherlock watches Molly as she takes a seat on the coffee table. Obviously it is so they can be face-to-face, indicating her desire for honesty. Her body language pulls her towards him, and though she is nervous, she doesn't pull away or seem blocked off.

"We aren't married. I know Mycroft mocked up papers and gave me your mother's rings, but we – we aren't. And you didn't even have a say in it. And I know you never planned on, um, a family. So I – I wanted you to know that we don't have to, um, pretend to be married. We can have a divorce or an annulment, and still be...whatever...whatever we are. Friends. Hamish's parents. More, if you want. Whatever you're able and willing to be."

She's unhappy, Sherlock can read it in her eyes and the way her shoulders hunch. She doesn't want to say these things, he can see it in her lowered chin and dark eyes. Is this love? Sherlock wonders, and thinks it must be. Giving someone a way out, even when it isn't what you want.

Molly is selfless. He isn't. He never has been. Sherlock Holmes, greedy and cruel and vain, that's him. He thinks about life before he faked his death, before Molly and running and Hamish. (A wonder, a miracle, is Hamish to Sherlock. He hopes, fervently, that Hamish will be the best of them both. His father's mind, his mother's heart, all of their strengths and none of their faults.)

"What do you want?" Sherlock finds himself asking, and wishing he had done this for her years ago. Before Moriarty. Even before John. Though if it hadn't been for his faithful Dr. Watson, Sherlock would not be the man he is today – and certainly still too terrified to admit the emotions and lusts stirred by his sweet little pathologist.

"I – I'm sorry? What?"

Sherlock sighs. "What do you want, Molly? A divorce? You will be provided for. You and Hamish, if it's what you choose." He ignores the tightening in his chest and stomach. Not this, he wants to shout, please not this. You can't. He has no idea how to be a husband, a father. But he wants to learn. He wants to discover all of Molly's secrets, and see each moment of his son's life. To watch him grow, to teach him how to use his mind to his fullest abilities.

But if Molly wants the chance to move on, to find someone normal...well, just this once, Sherlock can do something for her.

"No. No, that''s not what I want. You know I love you." Molly pauses, brow furrowing and nose wrinkling as she attempts to find words. "I's so quick, isn't it? Us. This. And you were in a...a very desperate place. Then you were gone, and I had to lie to everyone, and I was pregnant. That isn't a good foundation for a marriage, especially not one we both know is fake."

"What is the foundation for a marriage, then?" he asks, tone sharp and biting. He flutters a hand towards the front windows, despite the pain it causes in his chest, drawing Molly's attention to the world beyond curtains and glass. "For those people? I know you, Molly Hooper. You wouldn't be happy with any of those – those morons out there. And besides, you know me better than anyone else. You see me, even when no one else can. I think we've got much more going for us than most people. Unless of course you dream of boredom, bad sex, and a divorce later in life. In which case, feel free to find your own path to happiness."

"Sherlock, I'm not – I'm not saying I'm going to leave. Not if you don't want me to. And I certainly won't take Hamish from you. All I...all I'm trying to..." A sound of frustration crawls out of Molly's throat, and her hands ball into fists, which she shakes at him. "Sometimes I just – I just want to hit you, Sherlock! I'm trying to let you off the hook, here! Guilt free!"

The painkillers are beginning to kick in. Sherlock can feel them; the pain lessening, his mind growing dull along the edges, even while his tongue becomes looser. "Have you ever considered, for even a moment, that I don't want 'off the hook'? That perhaps I am quite pleased to be home, to have both you and Hamish here? Very recently I thought the both of you were going to die, and I would live on; or that I would die, and you would go on without me, and I would never see – anything. Of Hamish. Of you. I found the thought of either disturbing and painful. So please tell me, Molly, what in any part of what I've done over the past year, makes you think I want anything other than you and our son?"

Molly gapes. Outright. Mouth hanging open, eyes round, hands loose and trembling.

"Sherlock, until...until you barely even acknowledged the fact I was alive. And now want...?"

"I always wanted," he admits, his tone harsh. He looks up and away, to the bison skull hanging over his desk, headphones in place. "I simply didn't know how much. I certainly didn't want to admit it."

"You – but – all those times you deduced my dates? My boyfriends?"

"They were unacceptable," Sherlock grumbles, sinking further down on the sofa.

"You were jealous." Molly speaks in a tone of voice that suggests she has just had an epiphany. Sherlock groans, and wishes he hadn't so recently been shot and undergone a life-saving surgery. He'd very much like to stomp away and slam a few doors right now. "That whole time, you were jealous, but you didn't want to admit it. Or me to know."

Jealous? Him? Ha. Ha!

"I was not jealous," he sniffs, nose in the air. "I simply knew those men were beneath you, and that your relationships would lead nowhere. I was saving you time."

"You were actively keeping me single. Oh my God, Sherlock, that's so...juvenile." Molly couldn't appear more pleased, despite her words. She's grinning ear-to-ear, as though Christmas has come early. "But still doesn't...Sherlock, we haven't even dated."

"Dating is boring, Molly, and what's the point? We have a child. We've spent more hours in the lab together, working on experiments and solving cases, than most people do on 'dates' over the course of an entire relationship. Besides, Mycroft already made it legal, your whole family and Mrs. Hudson believe it to be true, and it will make life simpler when it comes to raising Hamish. The most logical choice is to remain married."

"Sherlock Holmes, I think you're a closet romantic." Molly has a grin like a shark.

Sherlock has to fight very hard not to find it endearing. (If he fails, well, he certainly isn't admitting to it.) "I am nothing of the sort. I am, however, incredibly practical."

"Practical, is that what they're calling it nowadays? Well alright then, Mr. Practicality, I agree to remain Mrs. Sherlock Holmes – on one condition."

Sherlock schools his expression into one of indifference, despite his urge to shout. "And that would be?"

"I want wedding photos."

Perhaps it's the painkillers. Perhaps it is simply the smug belief that he had managed to marry Molly Hooper without ever actually going through the Godforsaken process. Or maybe it's simply sheer disbelief that he, the great Sherlock Holmes, has been reduced to...this.

"According to our cover story, we've already had a ceremony. So sorry, Molly. I will, however, sit for a family portrait with you and Hamish." A compromise, which is the soul of a good relationship (or so John once said). That should satisfy her, especially as she knows that he avoids being in front of a camera the way others avoid plague victims.

"We'll have several of those, as well. But we'll also have wedding photos. Proper ones."

"But Molly, that means we'll have have a ceremony. With people. And a vicar. In a church. With vows." He explains all of this slowly and carefully, not quite sure she fully realizes what she's asking for. (Molly is such a sensible woman, really, she can't possibly want all that nonsense.)

"Oh yes, Sherlock. We will." Molly leans forward, hands on his knees, and kisses him.

Now really, how is Sherlock supposed to argue with that?


A week after Sherlock's release from the hospital, Molly comes home to find him and John shouting abuse at each other. Mrs. Hudson hovers nervously at the bottom of the staircase, one hand against her mouth as she looks between the open door at the top of the staircase and Molly's wide eyes.

In his car seat, Hamish begins to wail, upset by the shouting.

"They've been at it for ages," Mrs. Hudson leans close to whisper. "I thought if they didn't quit soon, I might call Greg, thought he might pop over and break them apart. I know they need to get it all out after...after all that business, but this is just a bit much, don't you think?"

Molly thinks about the last argument she broke up inside 221B. She's going to enroll John in anger management classes if he keeps this up.

Sighing, she hands Hamish to Mrs. Hudson. "Watch him while I sort this out?"

"Oh, of course, of course. Come on, my love, lets you and I go have a nice chat, hmm? Oh no, your Daddy and Uncle John have you all upset, don't they? My poor precious boy, oh hush now, Nana Hudson is here..." Mrs. Hudson carries Hamish away, shutting the door to her flat behind her.

Molly enters Sherlock and John's (and hers? It's a bit confusing, and she hasn't really worked that bit out yet) flat to find the two men on opposite sides of the living room, shouting abuse.

" – and you left Molly to lie for you, Sherlock! Bloody Molly! But that's not enough, is it, oh no, you've got to bloody well knock her up while you're at it, don't you!"

"Don't you bring Molly into this, John, you've no idea –"

"No idea? No idea? Listen here, mate, I've got lots more of an idea than you do, given that I was there when you weren't! I held that woman's hair back while she puked thanks to morning sickness, I had panic attacks wondering how I was going to raise your son, and thank you very much, I had to check how dilated she was in a fucking cab because I thought she was going to give birth in the back seat!"

"Check how – you did – that's my wife!" Sherlock's voice has gone up a full octave in outrage.

"You ignorant ass, you never really married her! And it was a goddamn medical procedure!"

Both men are red faced, on the verge of purple, arms and hands flailing and gesturing madly as they shout. Molly simply has to stand back and take it all in for a moment, astounded at what she is hearing. Finally she puts two fingers in her mouth, giving a whistle so shrill and piercing that they both wince, swinging their heads around to look at her.

"Done fighting over me?" she asks, just a bit ticked off herself. "And I might have a say in some of this, you know."

"Go downstairs, Molly," Sherlock orders imperiously, even pointing to the door. "I'll be down when I've finished setting the good doctor straight."

"Setting the good doc – oh, oh you just listen here, you –" Before John can work himself back up, Molly marches in between them, hands spread out.

"I'm going to pretend you didn't just order me to leave like I'm your dog, Sherlock. The both of you need to calm down. Now."

"How can you be calm about this, Molly? He made everyone think he was dead, he made you lie for him, he left you pregnant and alone and –"

"I helped him fake his death. I lied for him because I wanted him safe. I am responsible for my own actions. Sherlock does not dictate everything I do, John." Pausing to a take a deep breath and fighting to keep control, Molly waits a few beats before continuing. "As for what Sherlock did, he did it to keep us all safe. You know Moriarty would have killed you, Greg, and Mrs. Hudson."

"But there could have been another –"

"Could have been, John. Might have been. But we'll never know, because Sherlock and I both did what we had to do. We lied. We faked his death. And in the end it was worth it, because we're all alive, and we have Hamish, now. So maybe instead of shouting like angry children, the two of you could actually discuss your emotions like actual adults."

Both men stare at Molly as though she is speaking Latin and they are clueless. She sighs, tossing her hands in the air. "Fine. You know what, I give up. Shout abuse. Hit each other. I don't care. I'm getting Hamish from Mrs. Hudson, going downstairs, and starting lunch."

She storms out, not bothering to shut the door behind her, and stomps down the stairs, leaving them to it.

Sherlock and John show up in her flat twenty minutes later, both of them rather sheepish and cowed. Sherlock goes so far as to give her a peck on the cheek – in front of John, no less – before shuffling off to play with Hamish. John mutters an apology, then trails after his friend.

Molly counts it as a victory.


Two weeks after Sherlock and John shout their way through the mine field of their emotions, they begin taking on cases once more. At first Molly sticks to the corners and keeps Hamish downstairs and out of sight, but Sherlock starts migrating crime scene photos and books into her flat, so she returns to spending time upstairs. He paces and holds Hamish, or studies clues and holds Hamish, and explains every jump of logic to the six week old.

John begins dating a now ex-client of theirs, Mary Morstan. She's a pretty, spunky blonde that Molly quite likes. To make matters better she's a cardiologist, and has a stomach of steel, which certainly helps when one spends any amount of time around the world's only consulting detective, his pathologist 'wife', and his ex-army physician blogger.

Through all this, Sherlock and Molly continue to feel each other out.

It isn't particularly easy, not always. But it isn't as terrifying or hard as Molly thought it would be when she imagined his homecoming. Whatever he went through in the months he was gone (he still refuses to talk about it with her, though Molly knows he and John have stayed up late discussing this very subject), it has changed him. He's still Sherlock, clever and brilliant and mad. But he's more content to slow down, to give Hamish baths and follow Molly around.

They talk a lot. Certainly more than before. Sherlock is funny – Molly always knew this, really, but he's more free with his humor. He's slightly more patient, which Molly appreciates; she's an intelligent woman, Molly knows this, but sometimes Sherlock makes leaps that leaves her baffled and flailing in the wind.

"Are you happy?" John asks her. They're in the kitchen, John making a tea tray while Molly prepares lunch. They're working around Sherlock's lab equipment, brought out of storage and cluttering up the kitchen table and counters once again.

In the living room, Hamish is receiving a lecture on tobacco ash. Molly turns to watch as Sherlock begins to detail the subtle art of telling one ash from another, her mouth curling into a fond smile.

"You know what?" she says, her heart warming and swelling in her chest. "I am, John. I really, really am."

"Good," he answers, listing to the side to kiss her cheek. "You deserve it. Listen, though, I was and Sherlock, you need your own space, so...I was thinking about finding a place of my own."

"Oh, John, don't be silly. We're a family, all of us. Of course, if you want to leave, or think it's time, then by all means. But don't leave because of me. Sherlock's so happy to be home, and to have his best friend back..."

"Well, I wasn't planning on leaving tomorrow. Before the wedding, I think."

It's strange, to think of Baker Street without John Watson. It's even stranger to think of it including her, to know it is her son's first home, where she and Sherlock are making the first steps at a life together. But it's good, too. A sweet, wonderful ache that tastes of new beginnings.

"You could always bunk with Mary," Molly teases.

John's ears turn red. "What? Mary? No. No. Maybe, though. I mean. Maybe. But probably not. I...I'm going to take the tea in."

Chortling, Molly follows with their lunch plates on a tray.


"John is thinking of moving out," says Sherlock as they (Molly; no doubt Sherlock will be up before long, pacing or reading or doing whatever it is he does at three a.m.) prepare for bed.

Somehow, and Molly still isn't sure how, they end up in her bedroom tonight. Hamish's head rests over Sherlock's heart, and he rocks the infant side-to-side, a gentle, almost mindless motion. Molly pauses in the act of brushing out her hair, still wet from her shower, looking up at him with something quite like worry.

"He told you already?" she asks, quietly shocked. She hadn't thought John would bring it up to Sherlock so soon. Not at least for a few more months.

"Molly," Sherlock sighs, lifting an eyebrow at her.

"Oh. Of course, you deduced it. I should have known." Shrugging, Molly returns to her hair, attempting to appear as casual as possible. " do you feel about it? John potentially moving out, I mean."

Lip curling, Sherlock appears briefly in danger of causing himself harm with the force of his sneer. "First John, now you. Soon all we'll do is talk about our feelings and cry on each other."

Molly isn't the least bit impressed. Besides, he wouldn't have brought it up if he didn't want to talk about it. "Are you going to cry? Should I get a box of tissues?" she asks, biting back laughter at the look she's given in response.

Sherlock rises, marching out of the room, still holding their sleeping son. Molly blinks at his back before he disappears, baffled. Hadn't he realized she was teasing? Before she can work herself into a proper fit of nervous worrying, Sherlock returns, minus Hamish but carrying the baby monitor. He sets it on Molly's bedside table, making sure the volume is turned up before snagging the brush out of her hand and tossing it over his shoulder.

"Did you –" Molly starts to ask, and doesn't get a chance to finish before Sherlock begins speaking.

"Hamish has a nursery for a reason. We must start using it at some point. And no, Molly, I am not now, nor do I ever intend on crying when John moves away. I suppose this is what happens with normal people, isn't it?" Sherlock presses Molly back until she has no choice but to fall on her back, head on the edge of a pillow as he cages her in with long limbs and a thoughtful expression. "Marriage, children, flat mates finding a new place to live. It's like an experiment."

"We're an experiment?" Molly asks, both breathless and suddenly annoyed.

"No, no, Molly, do try and keep up. I'm the experiment. I'm actually quite convinced you'll take Hamish and leave before long. Find someone more suited for this sort of life. I'm not exactly...ideal, am I?" There is no anger or even fear in Sherlock's voice, only a...bland sort of acknowledgment towards an undeniable fact.

Molly catches his face between her palms, giving him a dark frown. "You are ideal, Sherlock. For me. Not perfect, but I know I'm not either. But I...I really think we can be happy. Together." She knows it will take time and irrevocable data, as Sherlock would call it, to prove her to be right in this matter. It is why she doesn't press harder, doesn't attempt to force this understanding on him when she knows he will come to it in his own time and own way, as he does everything else.

She does lean up and kiss him, an action she has rarely allowed herself to take since he came home. Somehow it seemed too...too forward. Silly isn't it, taking into consideration their child in the next room and how obvious it is that Sherlock does care for her. But things are new, still. And in many ways, Molly is still unsure about what Sherlock actually wants. She knows it involves her and Hamish, and most certainly a closer relationship than they had before, but sex? He never seemed interested in it before, and he was certainly very raw after faking his death and forcing John to watch.

It's obvious that he isn't the least bit unsure, not in this. Sherlock sinks down onto Molly, kneeing her thighs apart before settling between them. He kisses her like a starving man brought to water, an oasis in a vast, dry desert. Fingers curl and knot in her hair, holding her in place, as though Sherlock fears she may disappear.

"Is this alright?" he asks, moments before his mouth finds her neck. Molly whimpers, squeezing her eyes shut as she tries to keep herself quiet, fearful of waking Hamish. "I read that some women have an aversion to sexual acts after giving birth, and it can continue for –"

"Not me." Molly wraps an arm around his neck, turning her head to give him better access to the line of her neck. "But you – you've just had surgery –"

"I'm fine," Sherlock insists, pulling irritably at her oversized nightshirt. He works the loose neckline down over one shoulder, humming appreciatively as he finds a collarbone to mark.

"But you could pull your stitches," Molly protests, but weakly.

"Won't. It's fine. Don't care – take this bloody thing off, Molly."

It takes a lot of wiggling to get her nightshirt over her head and off her arms, considering Sherlock won't move to allow her to sit up, but it is eventually draped across the opposite side of the bed. Molly almost sobs, biting hard on the inside of her lower lip, as Sherlock gently explores her breasts. They're always swollen and tender now, and she thinks she's going to come out of her skin when he runs his tongue along the soft underside of one.

"Your six week check-up," Sherlock mutters into her skin, the fingers of one hand sliding down her stomach, only to worm their way inside her knickers. His touch is soft, not quite sure, but he finds her clit and strokes it in slow, light circles that have Molly's heels digging into the mattress. "Is intercourse advisable? Do we need to wait?"

"No. No, no waiting, it's fine – it's great – just be gentle – oh God, please, yes, there –"

Her knickers get flung over Sherlock's shoulder, but Sherlock's foot gets tangled in the leg of his pajama pants, and he nearly tips over trying to free himself. Molly can't help but laugh, arms around his shoulders and face in his chest as she giggles, so genuinely happy that she wonders if she'll begin floating, bump into the ceiling and have to think of sad things to get back down.

"God, damn it," Sherlock nearly snarls, naked and frustrated. "Prophylactics. They're upstairs." He starts to bolt up to his knees, and Molly has no doubt he's about to race up the staircase and into his flat for a package of condoms.

"You bought some?" she asks, hooking her legs behind his knees, pulling him back down. Sherlock topples, just barely catching himself on his hands before crushing her wholly against the mattress.

"It was a logical assumption to make, Molly. And we certainly do not need a second pregnancy now, not with Hamish being so young. If you'd – stop doing that and let me –" Sherlock flushes, eyelids growing heavy and drooping as Molly wraps a hand around his thick length.

"I have an IUD now. I thought –" Molly doesn't get to finish her sentence, because Sherlock is lifting her thigh, pushing her hand away from his cock to position himself. It hurts when he begins to push inside, but it isn't overwhelming, certainly not enough to make her ask him to stop. Instead she takes a tight grip on his arms, watching his face as he sinks inside her.

The groan that escapes Sherlock is deep, rough; his head drops, mouth wet and hot against her skin as he fights for control. His hips buck against Molly's, pressing harder into her, before he can still them. The ache it brings is sweet and deep and makes her cry out, digging her blunt, clipped nails into the skin at the small of his back.

"I'm sorry," he whispers, quick and low. "Do you need to me to stop? I can, Molly, I will."

"No, no, no." Twining her legs around the backs of his thighs, Molly fights to hold him in place when Sherlock tries to lift away. "Please don't leave me, Sherlock, please. I – I missed –" Tears come unbidden to Molly's eyes. Hasn't she cried enough? Isn't she done yet?

She can't even begin to hold them back when Sherlock begins to make love to her. The handful of times they had before he disappeared to fight Moriarty's empire were desperate, hard, crushing; this is gentle, slow, and so intense Molly thinks the back of her head is going to fly off when she finally finds release. Dimly she is thankful for Sherlock's mouth covering her own, swallowing the wail that comes with her completion.

Sherlock follows her not long after, an arm under her, holding her hips off the bed as he presses as deep as he possibly can into her. "Molly, Molly, Molly," he chants, damp curls sticking to his forehead and side of his face, sweat dripping from his nose, down the long line of his neck.

Afterward, while they both try to catch their breath and Sherlock's seed begins to make its way down Molly's thighs, he curls one large hand over the side of her face. He nuzzles behind her ear, her jaw, the corner of her mouth before asking, "Tell me again, Molly. Please."

Even as dull as she is after sex, her mind a bundle of feathers floating through the air without direction, Molly knows what he is asking for. ("I love you, I love you, I love you," she had chanted at his command, lost as her deceleration spurred Sherlock into an orgasm. The desperation in his eyes and harsh line of his mouth as he broke around and inside of her, it haunted Molly, and still does, leaves her aching and hurting and hot.) Now she lifts a hand, trails fingertips over the thin skin under his eye, down until she's tracing the outline of his full mouth.

"I love you," she says, and it feels as though sunlight is radiating from her smile.

"Again," he quietly demands, begs, curling to press his face into her neck.

"I love you, Sherlock."

"No one else, Molly. Never again. I couldn't stand it if you – if you left. You or Hamish."

"Never, Sherlock, never. I swear it. I love you. We love you. And we're always going to be your family."

Molly thinks of the strange, twisted road it has taken to get here, and knows there is more yet to come. But together, she and Sherlock, they have made a family. One that is not just Hamish and themselves, but John, Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson, Molly's Mum, Mrs. Hudson, Aunt Caro, even Sherlock's father and step-mother. They're all connected, each of them links in a chain, heavy and thick and unbreakable.

Yes, Molly thinks, fingers sifting through Sherlock's dark curls, together we're unbreakable.