A STUDY IN PARNTERS
Sherlock had been relegated to working with Mike Stamford. Not that he didn't get along with Mike. In fact, out of everyone at Barts, Mike was whom he got along with second best. However, he would have much preferred the alternative. However, it had been made very clear to him that if he wanted to solve his 'bloody case' he could do it 'his own damn self'. She had become quite irritable with her promotion.
It was, perhaps, a bad idea to suggest that his job was more important. Then, it had been thrown right back at him. It had been quite the row.
So Mike was by his side, babbling on about his flatmate. Sherlock was only half listening, concentrating on his microscope.
"But then, I suppose you wouldn't know about that, would you?" Mike chuckled, clapping Sherlock on the shoulder. "Living on your own, aren't you?"
"Who would want to live with me?" Sherlock asked wryly. Inwardly, he thought about how he knew exactly who would want to live with him. At least on most days. Perhaps today was not the right day for that particular affirmation.
"Sure you could find someone if you were motivated," Mike offered. "Just depends on if you wanted to or not."
Sherlock pulled back from the microscope and hummed in thought. "Sometimes, I would enjoy the company of another man around. Someone to discuss my cases with."
It seemed he lacked that of late. Hectic schedules made it much too difficult to find time for personal interaction. At the end of the day, the last thing either wanted to speak of was more dead bodies.
"Maybe you should try to find someone," Mike said quietly.
Sherlock turned his attention back to his microscope. "Like I said, who would want to live with me?"
Molly was being sweet and bubbly as she introduced the corpse to him.
Unsurprisingly, it fit his needs perfectly. Other Pathologists lacked the attention to detail Molly had when it came to his needs. If he had his way, Molly would be the only Pathologist he ever worked with. There were just so many advantages.
He turned to her and gave her a small, tight smile. "We'll start with the riding crop."
He was pleased to see her brown eyes widen, making her look like a deer in headlights. After their tiff, it was satisfying to stun her into silence. Sherlock remained perfectly calm, removing the body from the bag it was in before unceremoniously turning it onto its stomach and taking up his riding crop.
As he worked over the corpse, he could feel Molly watching him. He knew what she was doing. Every smack of the crop made her jerk. She smiled, bit her lip and watched him with furious intensity. He pushed it out of his head, focusing on the task at hand. He had to be precise. He could not lose himself in some sort of strangely exhibitionist act.
When he was done, he began to scribble notes into his small book. Molly re-entered the morgue, clutching her hands. "So... Bad day was it?"
Sherlock suppressed his desire to snap at her that Molly knew exactly how his day was going. It seemed all to often lately, they were locked in a vicious tête-à-tête. He patently ignored her question. "I need to know what bruises form in the next 20 minutes. A man's alibi depends on it. Text me."
Molly was staring at him, looking up at him hopefully. "Listen, I was wondering. Maybe later, when you're finished..."
Sherlock finally looked to her. He did a slight double take at the sight of her. It seemed that Molly was extending an olive branch to him. "You're wearing a lipstick. You weren't wearing lipstick before." The shade was good on her. She didn't often bother with makeup at work. She always said she was around corpses all day, why did she had to dress up for them?
Molly looked away, slightly bashful at being caught. "I, er... I refreshed it a bit."
Sherlock narrowed his gaze on her. Was that how she was going to play it? Pretend she hadn't made herself up in order to apologize for their argument? "Sorry, you were saying?" He was going to drag it out of her if it was the last thing he did.
"I was wondering if you'd like to have coffee." Molly was staring at him intensely. Sherlock eyed her carefully, considering the offer. It was not what he had thought she would say. It was not what he'd hoped she would say.
"Black, two sugars, please. I'll be upstairs." If Molly was not going to apologize to him outright, then he was going to drag things out a bit longer. He was not one to waver easily.
It was quite the interesting situation Sherlock now found himself in. Mike had returned from lunch with a friend. Recently returned army doctor from Afghanistan. Looking for affordable accommodations. Obviously missing the excitement of the battlefield. He was a crack shot, without a doubt. Someone with that sort of combat and medical training was someone who could be of use to him.
Interesting. Very interesting.
When Molly came in with his coffee, Sherlock accepted it, looking down at her. "Ah, Molly, coffee, thank you." He scanned her face, noticing the difference. "What happened to the lipstick?" He turned from her, taking a sip of his coffee, his mind racing with the current situation.
"It wasn't working for me." Molly replied, her voice tightened slightly.
Sherlock took another sip of his coffee. "Really? I thought it was a big improvement. Your mouth's too small now." He waved his hand dismissively. As he did, he realized he'd gone to far with his pouting. But he couldn't concentrate on the prolonged argument. Not with John Watson commanding his attention. Oh, this was very intriguing. He needed to see where it was going to go.
"How do you feel about the violin?"
When Sherlock went to the morgue to retrieve his riding crop, he found Molly cleaning up from his experiment. He paused in the doorway, frowning at her.
"I went too far, didn't I?"
Molly looked over her shoulder at him. "What makes you say that? It's fine. It's totally and utterly fine."
Sherlock's brow furrowed. "That hardly sounds convincing." He strode up to her, standing directly behind her. One hand slipped down to rest against her hip. "Your mouth is perfectly in proportion with the rest of your face and you are quite skilled in using it for a great number of things."
"Are you apologizing first?" Molly asked, looking up at him.
"I didn't say that," Sherlock grumbled.
Molly turned herself around to face Sherlock. "We can't do this anymore, Sherlock. We keep on sniping at each other and then trying to make it up to one another. It's not healthy."
Sherlock reached a hand up to trace Molly's lower lip with his thumb. "I need to work with someone who is not you. We row too much when we do."
Molly pressed a kiss to the pad of his thumb. She looked up at him with warm brown eyes. "I can help you with bodies. You know I always will. But yes. And we need to not snipe at each other. And accept the other's apologies."
Sherlock frowned, pulling his hand away. "You didn't offer apologies. You offered coffee. Which I did, in fact, accept."
Molly put her hands on her hips. "I did mean coffee as in us going out for coffee."
"Had work to do," Sherlock murmured. He leaned in towards Molly. "Are we still rowing?"
Molly slipped her arms around Sherlock's neck. "Depends. Are you going to explain what you're doing looking for a flatmate?"
"Experiment," Sherlock explain, sliding his arms around Molly's waist and resting his hands on the small of her back.
Molly sighed as Sherlock nipped at her ear. "And just where do I fit into this experiment?"
"Right where you always do," Sherlock murmured softly in her ear. "Besides, you're working so much now. You always get irritated if I try to drag you out after you're done work. And you're always saying I get bizarre if I'm on my own for too long."
Molly made an uncertain noise in the back of her throat.
"May I please keep him, Molly?"
Molly now sighed. "It sounds like you're talking about a stray puppy."
"I think he might be interesting to keep around," Sherlock insisted. "I promise to not bring home any abandoned dogs if you let me have the army doctor."
Molly pulled back and shook her head. "I can't say no to you."
Sherlock smirked, leaning closely to Molly, their lips only a breath apart. "Oh? Is that why you married me?"
The experiment with John Watson was proving to be even more interesting than Sherlock had initially hoped. He had known that the man would be of use to him, but he did not realize how much.
The doctor seemed to be intrigued by Sherlock. He was also able to keep up with him for the most part. That was a rare quality. It was definitely an improvement on talking to his skull.
He had intended to ease him into working with him. He needed to get him to stop using the cane he didn't need. However, the new 'suicide' needed a keen eye on it. Anderson wouldn't work with him- not that he would be much use if he would. His instinct was to take Molly with him, but she was at work and things were already strained enough without dragging her to a crime scene.
John was a good fit with him, something rare. When Sherlock found someone he worked well with, he didn't give it up easily. He could only think of a handful of people: Victor, Mrs Hudson, Lestrade... Molly.
It seemed Mycroft had realized Sherlock's quick attachment to John Watson. He had actually left the Diogenes Club to apprehend John and offered him money for his service in spying.
Was Mycroft wondering if his marriage was in trouble and that was why Sherlock was seeking a flatmate? It would have been sloppy of him to think so, but then Mycroft was not immune to wishful thinking.
Of course, Mycroft was not incorrect in Sherlock's interest in John Watson. That was why he found himself sitting across from the man at Angelo's. Sherlock kept his eyes on the street, waiting for the appearance by the killer while John rambled on inanely about what normal people did.
"What do real people have, then, in their 'real lives'?" Sherlock asked, his voice laced with sarcasm.
John continued on. "Friends? Or people they know, people they like, people they don't like… Girlfriends, boyfriends."
Sherlock sighed. "Yeah, well, as I was saying, dull." The constant need for 'real people' to connect with others was so very tiresome. Before he met John, he had thought Molly was enough for him. He had a wife who- despite spending an inordinate amount of time cutting up half the corpses in London- was remarkably devoted and supportive.
"You don't have a girlfriend, then?" John suddenly asked.
Sherlock remained focused on the window. "Girlfriend? No, not really my area."
Sherlock had never had a girlfriend. He'd experimented briefly with romantic entanglements during uni, but the idea of dating was wearying. He would never classify the lead up to his marriage as dating. Molly had cared for him after his overdose and had very quickly ended up living with him. The wait for their marriage certificate took longer than their courtship. Molly's interest in him had been obvious from their first meeting. It had taken him longer. But with the care he had shown him when he was recovering, he couldn't help but develop feelings for her. Once he'd realized it, it seemed ludicrous to go through a drawn out dating period. He'd asked her to marry him as they laid in bed together the first time they'd slept together.
"Oh, right. Do you have a boyfriend? Which is fine, by the way."
Sherlock was taken out of his thoughts at the question and he looked to John. "I know it's fine."
"So you've got a boyfriend, then?" John was looking at Sherlock with keen interest.
Sherlock shook his head. "No."
"Right. Okay. You're unattached. Like me. Fine. Good."
Sherlock considered John's words carefully. He found the phrasing strange. Was John showing romantic interest in him? He hadn't picked up on John being homosexual. It didn't seem to fit.
He stared out the window, before letting his gaze slide back to John. How was he supposed to respond? Of course, he had his pre-set response to that sort of situation. It was not the first time he had been in it. Then, it was the first time he was in it with someone he planned to continue interacting with. He considered telling him the truth. He and Molly only hid their relationship to not interfere with their professional relationship. It was also not anyone else's business. But could it really hurt?
In the end, Sherlock erred on the side of caution. "John, um… I think you should know I consider myself married to my work and while I'm flattered by your interest, I'm really not looking for any…"
John shook his head. "No, I'm… not asking. I'm just saying, it's all fine."
"Good. Thank you," Sherlock murmured distractedly. He considered how he would tell John the truth about his relationship status when he spotted the taxi on the street. "Look across the street. Taxi. It's stopped."
It was after two when Sherlock entered his bedroom. He was exhausted, the case closed and he was full of Chinese food. He just wanted to collapse in his bed with his...
...Very unhappy wife, who sat on the bed with her hands clutched in her lap.
"I solved the case," Sherlock said, looking down at Molly, furrowing his brow at her unhappy look. He removed his jacket and folded it on top of the bureau.
Molly's hands tightened into fists. "Oh, I heard. I've done the post-mortem on Jeff Hope already."
Sherlock blinked. "Oh? I suppose Lestrade wanted it rushed to do the ballistics."
Molly looked up at him, her dark brown eyes shining. "I'm sure you've taken forensic countermeasures to cover up for Doctor Watson."
Sherlock straightened up. "You know?"
"Of course I know," Molly sighed. "It wasn't all that hard to figure out. I'm sure Detective Inspector Lestrade knows as well, he just knows well enough to stay quiet about it. That's notthe issue."
"What is?" Sherlock asked, unbuttoning his shirt.
"The Detective Inspector told me I nearly had you on my table!" Molly cried. "I know about the pill!" She brought a hand up to her mouth. "You almost... You were going to..."
Sherlock paused with his shirt half undone. He grabbed the small, shaking woman, pulling her into his arms. "I wasn't going to. I was just buying time."
"Don't!" Molly sobbed. "Don't try that. Not with me. I know you, Sherlock. You wanted to prove you were cleverer than him, even if it meant leaving me alone!"
Sherlock crushed Molly to his chest, he stroked a hand over her hair. "If that had happened, I wouldn't have proven myself cleverer, now would I?"
"Stoppit," Molly pleaded. "Don't say things like that."
"Molly, I am alive," Sherlock assured her. "It is fine. I promise."
"I had to hear about it from the Detective Inspector," Molly murmured into his chest. "You didn't come when you finished the case so you could tell me what happened."
"John Watson shot a man to save my life," Sherlock sighed. "The least I could do was buy him dinner."
Sherlock laid back on the bed, pulling Molly down with him. "I knew you were working late. I thought would be able to talk to you before you found out."
Molly curled up against Sherlock. "That would suggest you're self-aware enough to think like that. You were busy with your new boyfriend."
"Don't make jokes, Molly," Sherlock sighed.
"Who's joking?" Molly muttered. "You're smitten. It's obvious."
"I'm taken," Sherlock replied, his fingers sifting through Molly's soft hair.
"Should we also talk about the drugs bust?" Molly peered up at Sherlock.
He looked away quickly, not wanting to meet her gaze. Of course Lestrade had been chatty about that part of the night too. "I'm clean, Molly. If I weren't, you would be the first person to realize that something was amiss."
"He thought he might be able to find something," Molly insisted, sitting up. She stared hard at Sherlock. "Do you mind telling me why he was so certain?"
"Because he doesn't know I promised you," Sherlock replied. He sat up and framed Molly's face with his hands. "It's never going to happen again. I swear, Molly."
Finally, Molly relaxed. She leaned in and pressed gentle kisses to Sherlock's mouth. He responded eagerly, easing her onto her back and slipping over her.
Molly bit her lower lip as she looked up at Sherlock. "Going to have to be quiet," Molly whispered. "Shouldn't disturb Doctor Watson on his first night here with you shagging your wife."
Sherlock pulled back slightly. "Oh. Right. That reminds me... John doesn't know I'm married yet."
Molly blinked. "And just when were you planning to tell him?"
Sherlock frowned in thought. "I'm not exactly sure. I was thinking it might be an interesting experiment in his observational skill to not inform him. See how long exactly it takes him to catch on. What do you think?"
Molly pursed her lips and eyed him warily.
Sherlock shook his head. "That's the look you get when you think I'm mad."
"You are mad," Molly sighed. But then she buried her fingers in Sherlock's curly locks. "But you're mine."