A/N: So I said on my twitter that I would provide something a bit festive and here it is. I was going to do something Christmassy, but then I was about a week late with it so changed my mind. I will be working on a follow up to this. This is set in that glorious time post-Fall where we all assume that Sherlock goes to live with Molly and they have a rip roaring time. Anyway, enough rambling. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and that you all have a fab New Year.
She worked last New Year. And the one before that. And the one before that, too. She doesn't mind, she's never been one for parties anyway. And it means that she can twists the arms of the other pathologists to cover her whenever she wants. Which would be really handy if she ever actually went anywhere that required her shift being covered.
Molly is not working this New Year however. The newbie's doing it. Grudgingly. There'll be more than a few bodies reeking of booze for him to keep busy with. It's a popular time for drunken falls, car accidents, and general stupidity. One year she had six on the go, had to work triply fast, and then he turned up and distracted her, and it was all left till the morning shift.
She's not doing anything special with her night. She might go up to the roof to watch the fireworks, but she might be a little too far east to see the ones getting set off down by the Eye. Dinner is sorted, if by sorted, you mean the menu for Canton House is waiting dutifully next to the telephone. She has already told him that he's to have something off the menu, no changes, no arsing about, and no asking about the origin of beansprouts or whether the chicken had a limp (he will not let her order from Man's Garden after that debacle).
"Do you want to share?"
"Dinner. Do you want to share?"
"If you like," Molly says vaguely. She flicks through the guide on the television screen, trying to find something half decent to put on, but all she can find is Keeping Up with the Kardashians and re-runs of Friends.
"Wontons or spring rolls?"
Molly shrugs. "Whatever you want."
Sherlock huffs and Molly turns to look at him.
"If you want to go out and celebrate just go, don't let me keep you here."
Molly laughs, and Sherlock's eyes flash. She has learned the fun way that he doesn't take kindly to being laughed at. His eyebrows are set in a scowl, his cheeks sucked in, as he stares her down, determined not to be beat.
"What's so funny?"
"You've known me for how long now?"
"Six years, eight months, three weeks and two days."
Molly pauses, her mouth slightly ajar. "Well, quite. And in all of that six years, three months -"
"Whatever. In all that time, when have you ever known me to celebrate anything?"
"You came to Baker Street last Christmas," Sherlock reasons, his voice even more clipped than usual. "And you went out for your birthday."
"I went home to sleep after a fourteen hour shift on my birthday. The biggest celebration I had that day was dipping the last digestive in my tea." She returns her attention to the television, scrolling back to the beginning and going forward to nine o'clock, to see if anything good will start later on. If all else fails, she knows she always has the Hootenanny to fall back on.
"Didn't you have a cake?"
Molly smiles. "No. No one to share it with. I'm not so lonely that I buy myself a cake on my birthday and just go at it with a spoon."
"Not yet," Sherlock says quietly, and Molly can hear the humour return to his voice. In the eight months he's been here, she has learned to let his words bounce off her, because she knows, at long last, that they're never, ever, designed to hurt. At least not when it comes to her. He can be spiteful, yes, but so can everyone. She's just learned to tell the difference with him now.
"Well," Molly says, turning off the television and tossing the remote onto the coffee table. "If you're still here on my next birthday I'll be sure to get a cake and we can both have some."
"Excellent," Sherlock says. "But back to the more important issue: wontons or spring rolls?"
Molly looks at him, still trying come up with a reason as to why the most independent man she has ever met cannot make a simple decision about a takeaway order. "Get both. Let's go wild."
Sherlock smirks. "Well if we're going to be living dangerously then may I suggest some prawn toast as well?"
Molly can't help but giggle. "Are you sure you can handle that?"
"I might need some assistance from you."
Sherlock opens his mouth to retort and she braces herself for something scathing, defensive, something that assures her that he is most certainly not sitting on her sofa because he needs, to be, merely because he has nothing better to be doing with his time. No words come however. His blue eyes narrow slightly, his lips close, the corners twitching with the trace of a smile, and he looks back to the menu.
"How much are you going to eat? John always tells me not to order too much then eats everything he can get his grubby little hands on."
"Just get loads. Worse comes to worst we can have it cold tomorrow."
When he looks at her, her breath catches in her throat. For the very first time, she is not his pathologist, she is not his John substitute, she is Molly Hooper, and she is his preferred company for this evening.
"Chinese is the only takeaway that tastes better in the morning. Would you care to know why?"
While they wait for the delivery, he tells her about the structure of monosodium glutamate and why it is so integral to the post-dinner fridging process. By rights, Molly ought to be bored senseless, but he's pacing, talking quickly, and making wild gestures with his hands as he attempts to hammer the information into her brain. It has been so long since she has seen this, so long since he has found anything worth getting off of the sofa and exerting energy over, that her heart inflates to twice its normal size, and her teeth bite into her lower lip as she tries to keep herself from smiling too much. It always arouses suspicion if she looks 'too happy' and so she has learned to keep it at bay as best she can.
Molly wraps her fleecy blanket around her shoulders and glances up at the clock. It's three minutes to.
"Hurry up or we'll miss it!"
"Is this entirely necessary?"
Sherlock sighs and jumps to his feet. He strides over to the hooks by the front door and throws his coat on. Molly hasn't seen him in that for a long long time. She'd forgotten how good he'd looked in it. He loops his scarf around his neck and tugs once at the ends to ensure it's comfortably tight. She's missed little rituals like that. He has new ones now, like racing the toaster while he gets dressed, or putting on his dressing gown just in time for the ten o'clock news. He's an old man, really.
On the roof it is hideously windy, and when the cold air rushes past Molly's face, it feels as though she has been pressed against a belt sander. She clutches her blanket tightly, and walks with Sherlock towards the edge of the roof. They've got a fairly clear view, and in the distance, she can see the glow of the Eye, the lights changing colour periodically as though it thinks it's a Christmas tree.
In the street below, half a dozen people are hurriedly putting out cigarettes and rushing back inside The Stag to ring in the new year with a pint in hand. Sherlock is standing with his back straightened beyond what must be comfortable, his hands in his pockets as he looks out over the skyline. All Molly can hear is the wind whipping around her, and the distant cheers coming from pubs and houses all around. She doesn't know if she imagines it, but she is sure she hears a resounding bong, carried on the wind, and then another, and another, and more until, in the distance, bright sparks explode in the sky, red and silver and blue. Her face splits into a grin, her lips sore and chapped from the cold already.
The wind does not let up, and she pulls the blanket impossibly tighter around herself, wishing she'd had the foresight to put on an actual coat, and a scarf, or even just bring her duvet up with her. She's only one step away from that after all. They could have watched it on the television, could have sat in the warm and picked at salt and pepper chicken, could have flicked back to Jools Holland as soon as the fireworks finished. But no, they're up on the roof freezing their arses off because Molly wanted to do something silly. And even more than that, Molly wanted Sherlock to do something silly too.
The fireworks seem to go on forever, and towards the end, Molly is bored, shivering, but far too stubborn to go inside. She needs to last it out otherwise he'll laugh at her. She's lasted out worse than this anyway. The last time Sherlock was on a rooftop…well. Providing he doesn't jump, she's sure she can make it to the end of the fireworks.
The last bursts of glitter get bigger and brighter and the final firework goes off with a bang that actually manages to make it the three or so miles to Molly's rooftop. Then, the sky is dark once more, wisps of smoke just visible in the distance.
Without a word, Sherlock opens the fire exit and waits for Molly to walk through first. The door slams loudly behind them and they descend the steps, back down to the fourteenth floor, and they re-enter the flat. Sherlock shrugs his coat off, but Molly goes straight over to the sofa and curls herself up in a ball on it, her teeth chattering, hand trembling as she reaches for the remote so she can put the Hootenanny on.
Sherlock collapses next to her, takes one look at her and sighs, putting his arm around her and pulling her against him. He's warm, and apparently the ludicrous amount of money he spent on that coat was well worth it. There's not a goose pimple on him, and heat radiates through his shirt and onto Molly.
She falls asleep to the sound of Lianne La Havas, and wakes to Paloma Faith. There is a light crunch, and something lands on Molly's head.
"Did you just drop some wonton in my hair?"
Molly reaches up a hand to brush it away, but Sherlock stops her.
"It'll taste better in the morning."
Molly laughs, and she is too sleepy to argue with him, so she settles herself against him once more, her eyelids drooping as Jools bounds onto her television, his words escaping him in short excitable bursts. He introduces Bobby Womack, to much applause, though by the end of the song, Molly is losing the battle against sleep.
She makes a soft sound of acknowledgement, and then, to her surprise, Sherlock utters three little words which ensure she goes to sleep with a smile on her face.
"Happy New Year."