Molly's hands clutched the edge of the metal exam table in front of her. Her head hung down with her chin on her chest and her eyes were squeezed shut. The only sound in the morgue was the sound of her slow intake of breath through her nose and the corresponding whoosh of her blowing out the exhale through her slightly pursed lips.

The terrifying blur of the day danced behind her eyelids and rang in her ears. In that moment of calm she felt like she was standing in the eye of the storm. The first part of Sherlock's plan had hit St. Bart's and thrown everything into chaos, devastating lives, and taking unexpected casualties. She could feel the next part bearing down on her.

The cold motionless body of the consulting detective lay on the table in front of her, stripped to the waist and covered to the shoulders in a sheet. She had already washed the blood out of his hair and off his face the best she could, so she sat down next to him to wait.

Behind her, inside a steel cabinet, the corpse of the consulting criminal was zipped into a black bag. She was thankful that she hadn't needed to look at him for more than a few moments, the slight smile that had still been his expression after the devastating bullet wound was unnerving. He looked so different than the Jim she thought she had known, until their third date, when things had gotten out of hand and she saw Jim for what he was. She resolutely pushed the memory of him out of her mind.

In the next drawer in another black bag, were the remains of Sherlock Holmes. The body that she had arranged to take his place after he woke up was ready for whatever arrangements his family was going to make. She'd had the gruesome task of insuring it was in a state that most people wouldn't look too closely, and a closed casket would be necessary. She shuddered at the memory, and hoped it was a good enough match.

She was ready for Sherlock to wake up from the chemical mixture he had taken to feign death. She had called his time of death 58 minutes ago, and she didn't know how long before that he had administered it. He told her it would be an hour to 90 minutes before he'd be conscious, but he had failed to explain if it would be a quick regaining of strong life signs or a slow awakening. She realized too late, that despite knowing the general plan beforehand, she had not been fully prepared for the reality of what was happening. Sherlock had not even told her what was going to happen once he woke up. Where would he go? What was he going to do now that everyone but her thought him dead?

Her head spun as she counted the number of crimes she had committed in the last few hours. She rationalized, she had saved lives, not only Sherlock's, but she had also helped to save John, Greg, and Mrs. Hudson, even if there was a secret and selfish pang of hurt that she had not been deemed important enough to make the list. She thought about what their lives would be like now, with Sherlock gone. The thought made her eyes prickle with tears and her lip shake. She wondered if Sherlock understood how much he was loved; if he could possibly know the kind of grief they were all feeling.

She made a dry huff of a laugh. He couldn't even understand or admit his own feelings, so he obviously couldn't grasp the feelings of others.

Molly was suddenly yanked from her reverie by the clatter of the morgue door slamming open at the far end of the room by two men who were armed and obviously associates of Jim's. She stood up just as she heard a gasp from the "dead" consulting detective. She quickly covered his face with the sheet and whispered for him to stay still, and then she turned to face the men as they surveyed the room and made their way toward her.

The two men were the epitome of the "hired goon" stereotype; one was huge and bald and had his gun in his hand, and the other was smaller but dangerous-looking with a prominent scar from the corner of his left eye to edge of his upper lip. As they approached, the smaller man began to sneer at Molly.

"Molly Hooper I presume, I've heard so much about you." The man continued to advance on Molly until he was well inside her personal space, causing her to walk backwards until she was pressed against the bank of steel-doored drawers where the bodies were stored.

"I…uh...yes..." Molly whispered, alarm bells sounding in her head, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, centering herself. Forcing them open again she leveled her gaze on the man in front of her.

The smaller man's face pulled into an unnatural lopsided smirk. "Jim told me all about the fun he had with you." His eyes raked up her body as he licked his lips. He raised his hand to grab her face, but Molly reacted instinctively Bringing the heel of her hand up quickly under the thug's chin. The move surprised them both and he stumbled backwards nearly falling down.

"Don't you touch me!" She spat as the large goon leveled his gun directly at her face.

The smaller man laughed dryly, rubbing his chin. "Oooh, looks like we've been taking self-defense classes. How cute. I love it when they're feisty." He then pulled out a knife, and held it under Molly's chin. "Behave yourself and I'll comply with the boss's order not to hurt you." He pressed himself against her, pinning her to the steel doors behind her, then he leaned in and brushed his lips to her ear "Where is he?"

She turned her head away from his hot breath and said "Last row second drawer down."

He slowly backed away, purposely scraping his stubbled cheek along hers, and giving her a wink as he made eye contact again.

Stepping to the drawer, he yanked it open and pulled out the slab. "So sorry about your boyfriend" he said to her in a mocking tone as he unzipped the bag.

"He was never my boyfr..." Molly began to argue but was cut off by a startled swear from the man.

"Oh fuck!" The words left him like he had been punched in the gut. The larger man quickly joined his partner and a surprised expression crossed his face.

"Oh shit, what do we do now Seb?" The larger man asked.

There was a pregnant pause, all three were still and silent for what seemed like long stretched out seconds. Finally, the smaller man appeared to make a decision and zipped the bag containing Jim's smiling corpse back up.

"We take him with us. Go put him in the car." The large man holstered his gun, picked up the bag, and threw it over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He then headed for the exit to the ambulance bay. The smaller man had already pulled out his phone and began texting rapidly.

"Holmes did this didn't he?" The man's voice was crackling with rage.

"No. The angle of the wound, and the powder burns on his hands indicate that this was self-inflicted." Molly said smoothly, surprising herself a bit with the slight feeling of satisfaction both at her lack of nerves, and at the man's distress.

He pocketed his phone, and glared at Molly. Molly glared back; she refused to show fear or weakness, she knew if this man was anything like Jim, it would only invite him to use it against her.

"Where is Holmes?" he enunciated every word, barely containing his anger. He roughly pushed the drawer that had held Jim's body shut. Molly flinched slightly at the noise but maintained her composure.

"Next drawer over" She said flatly.

He pulled the slab out and unzipped the bag that contained the replacement body. She was glad she had thought to put Sherlock's purple shirt on him because when the bag was unzipped, the illusion was more effective than she had expected. A small gasp escaped her before she could stop it, and the man looked at her, gauging her reaction. Molly quickly schooled her features into an expression of pure grief, and kept her eyes on the fake Sherlock as if he were the real thing.

Faking grief wasn't hard for molly at this point; she was exhausted and emotionally frayed. Her performance must have been convincing because the man's face slowly pulled back into his distorted sneer, but this time his eyes were full of cold rage. Then, in a move that was so swift and violent that Molly actually stumbled backwards, the thug took out his knife and plunged it into the chest of the corpse with a primal sounding shout.

Molly crouched on the floor at the end of the exam table where the real Sherlock was laying covered in a sheet. She held her breath and stared with wide eyes as the man removed the blade and wiped it on the purple shirt and put it back wherever he had produced it from under his jacket. Without another glance in Molly's direction he left the morgue leaving Molly trembling, and blinking into the silence that followed.


Crouched on the floor at the end of the exam table, Molly squeezed her eyes shut, and took several long deep breaths. Her rapid-fire pulse was shouting in her ears and her lips and cheeks were tingling. Anxiety attack- she knew the symptoms well, and if she let it, it would reduce her to a sobbing mess. No, this was not the time, and there was still so much to do, so much still depended on her. She put her palms flat on the cool linoleum and forced her breathing to slow and her heart-rate eventually followed. After the worst of her panic had subsided, a quiet low voice brought her back to the present.


She had never heard Sherlock sound so…tender. She opened her eyes and saw the detective crouching, shirtless, next to her. His expression was also a new one in Molly's experience, it was concern.

"Molly, are you injured?"

"No, no Sherlock. I'm all right, I just... that was just very…I'm…I'm okay." Her words sounded brittle and she was still trembling, but she looked him in the eye and nodded, trying to appear more certain than she was. He reached his hand out to put on her arm, and she instinctively flinched.

"Your brain is flooded with Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, and Adrenaline, causing a fight-or-flight response." He said in what she had to assume was his soothing voice.

"I know! I'm a doctor remember? I am fully aware of what is happening to me, I'm just not in complete control of it." She snapped at him, but allowed him to help her up. He was taken aback by her response, but he continued to hold her arms. She closed her eyes and took another deep breath, relaxing a bit in his grip.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bite your head off, this has just been…I'm just really…" tears started welling up in her eyes and her words were cut off when he gently pulled her to his chest, wrapped his long arms around her, and began stroking her back. Molly went stiff at first, surprised at having her cheek pressed against his bare chest, but his soothing touch eventually caused her to relax against him.

"I never took you for the hugging type." She said looking up at him, while still gently circled in his arms. He looked down at her and the corner of his mouth quirked up minutely.

"John did this to one of his dates after she had been kidnapped by Chinese gangsters and nearly killed, it seemed to make her stop crying, I thought it might be helpful in this situation as well." He stated.

Molly looked at him for a long moment and squinted her eyes as if she were deducing him.

"What?" he asked and his tiny grin fell.

"Nothing" she smiled as she shook her head. That was such a Sherlock way of thinking, like John had shown him the 'off button' for crying women. She guessed that was the closest she would ever get to a sweet side of the stoic detective, so she gave him credit for trying.

She stepped back out of his arms and wiped the tears away from her eyes. She squared her shoulders and looked up at him.

"Now, back to business," she turned on her heel, walked over to the counter along the wall and grabbed a bag. "Here are the clothes you wanted; a kid delivered them about half an hour ago. I put your shirt on your replacement" she pointed at the body still protruding out of the wall cabinet "It helped make the illusion believable."

"Indeed." He said with a grim look on his face. His eyes were glued to the body as Molly zipped up the bag and pushed the drawer closed. "Jim's men certainly believed it."

He paused for a long moment, Molly looked at him expectantly.

"So now what" She broke the silence. Sherlock just stared at her with a questioning look. "What is your plan Sherlock, what are we going to do now?"

"We?" he tilted his head a bit and regarded her coolly.

"Well… I mean…" She flushed "I just…You're going to need help Sherlock, and I'm…I'm here, I already know your secret, and I've already committed several crimes worthy of losing my career and going to jail to help you get this far. In for a penny in for a pound, so they say. Now, what do you need?"

The corner of his mouth twitched again, nearly creating a tiny smile, but not quite. Molly took it as success anyway. She held his gaze as he seemed to be assessing her, and she could practically hear the gears turning in his head.

"I suppose you're right."


"I need to talk to Mycroft" His brows furrowed, and then he went on speaking like he was thinking out loud, which, she supposed he probably was. "He can help me arrange a false identity, and a place to stay while I plan my next move."

He began rooting around in the bag of clothes and pulled out and old t-shirt, and put it on. It had the nude torso of a woman with an iron for a head and the words 'Orgasm addict' on it, Molly nearly giggled, but Sherlock didn't seem to notice. "I have to track down Moriarty's men, John and the others could still be in danger if they think I'm responsible for his suicide, and by the looks of the knife-would in that body" he indicated the drawer with a tilt of his head "that is precisely what they think." He then pulled out a pair of jeans, set them on the exam table. "I'll have to find the three snipers," he continued, as he toed off his shoes "it's the only way to be sure they're safe." He started to undo the button then unceremoniously wiggle out of his trousers, Molly turned around quickly; fighting the red-hot blush that crept up her neck and over her face. When John said he had no shame when it came to nudity he wasn't joking.

Sherlock suddenly became quiet. Molly listened, but it sounded like he wasn't moving.

"Molly" He said in a much softer voice.

"Yes, Sherlock" she said over her shoulder.

"He hurt you, didn't he?"

"No," she said softly "He just threatened…"

"Not him…Moriarty. He hurt you, back when you thought he was Jim from I.T."

Molly's heart dropped. She didn't turn to look at him. She didn't know what to say. She stood there, and looked at her feet, feeling tears threatening again.

"I don't want to talk about it." She said finally. "There is too much going on right now, and we have too much to do, and I am already on the brink…" her voice cracked, and two large tears rolled down her cheeks and fell onto her lab coat.

She felt his hand on her arm turning her around and pulling her into another hug, exactly like the one before right down to the rubbing of her back. Maybe I do have an off switch, she thought with a slight smile. Molly took a moment to enjoy it and pull herself together, and then she noticed the jeans still lying on the exam table.



"Are you wearing any trousers?"


The mental image of Sherlock Holmes, in his pants, and a Buzzcocks t-shirt, hugging her, was just too much, and she started giggling uncontrollably. Eventually Sherlock joined in.


Apparently, when Molly agreed to help Sherlock fake his death, she had also volunteered her flat as his safe house. He said he'd have to stay there until Mycroft could create his new identity. She read the subtext in the things he didn't say, as he didn't quite know what he was going to do next. The idea of having Sherlock in her home gave her the same terrified and exposed feeling as would walking around in public in her knickers. Her whole life would be exposed to that laser sharp analysis; she could feel the preemptive humiliation burning her from the inside before they even got in the cab.

Sherlock had the driver drop both of them a few blocks from her flat. He said he wanted to assess the neighborhood, see if there was anyone watching the place, pin-point where any future threats might come from, and identify any and all escape routes should the need arise. Fantastic, she thought to herself, there's a comforting image; a tall skinny man dressed like a homeless teenager scaling the outside of her building looking for all the ways she was vulnerable to murderous criminals, this day just keeps getting better.

He then stuffed money and a list into her hand, and demanded she go to the nearby shops. "Fine, I'll get take-away for dinner while I'm at it, is there anything you'd prefer?" her question was answered by a non-committal grunt from Sherlock. "Ooooookay, well I'll see you back at the flat when you're done." She gave him the address as she rummaged around in her purse for her spare key, but when she looked up he had vanished. "Ta, batman." she mumbled as she rolled her eyes. "I guess if Sherlock is paying, I'll also treat myself to some ice cream and a bottle of wine. I deserve it after today."

An hour later, Molly trudged up the stairs of her building with the shopping and the takeaway. When she got to her flat, she put the bags down to unlock the door, just then Sherlock materialized out of the shadow in the corridor and startled Molly. She whirled around and struck him in the jaw. He let out a loud "oof" as Molly realized what she had done.

"Oh my god! Sherlock! I'm so sorry!" She covered her mouth with her hands and her eyes were wide. "Are you all right?" He grumbled what she took as an affirmative, and waved off her attempts to appraise his injury.

Flustered and still apologizing Molly unlocked her door and took the bags inside. Sherlock lingered by the door, his sharp eyes processing every object in her sitting room. She swallowed her unease, left him to his scan, and took the bags into the kitchen. "I got Chinese, I hope that's ok." There was no answer, so she proceeded to put the ice-cream in the freezer and open the bottle of wine. She got out two plates and some silverware and put them on the small kitchen table. When she went to pull out her favorite wine glass she remembered to ask "do you want a glass of wine?" She shouted it over her shoulder hoping he could hear her. The response came from right behind her.

"Interesting choice," he said holding the bottle.

She startled, and turned to glare at him. "You need to stop sneaking up on me, unless you secretly like it when I punch you in the face."

He looked at her briefly then continued as if he hadn't heard her, but the almost-grin seemed to tease at the corner of his mouth "Not bad for a fairly inexpensive bottle, this is your favorite, you purchased it for yourself. You like it because it goes well with chocolate, which you occasionally treat yourself with when you've had a bad day; a practice you were going to engage in tonight. You only offered to share as an afterthought." Then he looked at her in earnest, pinning her in place with his stare.

"W-well true, but I'd be glad to share, you know, if you wanted. Y-you've had a bit of a bad day too." She stuttered which then made her blush. She cursed herself for her awkwardness around him. All levity seemed to drain from him at the reminder of what had transpired earlier. He put the wine down and picked up a box of the food and some chopsticks and returned to the sitting room without a word.

"Oh god, I'm sorry, I just…" She didn't really know how she was going to finish her sentence, so she gave it up as a bad job. She poured herself a large glass of the wine, then grabbed another container of the Chinese and a set of chopsticks and headed into the sitting room.

Sherlock was sitting cross-legged on the sofa eating directly out of the container of food, and staring off into space. After she made herself comfortable and was about to put the first bite of food in her mouth he said "I don't want any wine, but if you have scotch I'd take a glass." She sighed, took her bite, put the container on the table between them, and got up to get him his drink.

She had half a bottle of Glenlivet her brother liked to bring with him when he visited; saying her taste in booze was far too girly. She poured him nearly half a glass, thinking it had been what her father used to call a "three finger kind of day, with an emphasis on the one in the middle". She chuckled to herself as she brought the glass over to Sherlock, who was watching her with a raised eyebrow. He took the glass and smelled it, made an approving face and took a drink.

"You don't drink scotch; this is someone else's, your brother perhaps, and you were thinking of him just now when you giggled." He said as he set the glass down and began eating again.

"I was actually remembering something my dad used to say, but yes, that's my brother's scotch." She said as she settled back down to eat her food, noticing that Sherlock had switched the containers and was now picking the cashews out of hers.

"It's always something..." he pondered distractedly.

They sat in companionable silence for quite some time, eating their food, interrupted only when Sherlock had finished eating all the cashews out of the box he was holding and demanded they trade back. Molly imagined that this was how meals often went at Baker Street, Sherlock snatching things off John's plate and John just thankful he was eating at all. She smiled at the image, and then she realized that the comfortable domesticity he had found with John was dead, because Sherlock was dead. She looked over at him, and he was still as a statue, staring off into the middle distance, with a sad look in his eyes. She knew he was thinking the same thing. She felt a sharp stab of empathy for the stoic detective.

"I got the things on your list. Nicotine patches and cigarettes, I hope you don't intend to use them together, we can't have you getting nicotine poisoning and needing to go to A&E." she hoped the change of subject would distract him.

All she got for her trouble was a grunt from Sherlock, as he continued to stare off into space.

"Right then." She said as she got up and set about putting the leftovers away. When she was done, she retrieved the pint of ice cream from the freezer, took out a spoon, leaned against the doorway and watched Sherlock lost in his mind palace. While she savored the chocolate treat, she too became lost in thought; what was it going to be like having this moody unpredictable genius underfoot? She couldn't help but compare it to having a wild animal for a pet, he may be acting docile at the moment, but you never knew what he was going to do next.

She yawned deeply, it had been a terrible and exhausting day, and she was utterly knackered. She put the ice cream away and threw the spoon in the sink. Then she retrieved some linens out of the closet and sat them next to the statue on the couch in case he came to and wanted to make up a bed on the couch, she also put his cigarettes and nicotine patches on the coffee table near him.

"I'm going to bed Sherlock, if you need anything let me know. See you in the morning. Goodnight."

"Goodnight John." He mumbled but didn't move.

"Molly." She whispered to herself as she turned and went to her bedroom.

Molly changed into her flannel pajama bottoms and a soft t-shirt, and crawled into bed. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she fell almost immediately into a deep and thankfully dreamless sleep.

She was unceremoniously wrenched from that sleep only a few hours later by the sound of the fire alarm going off in her flat. She jumped blindly out of bead and stumbled into her smoke filled sitting room.

"Sherlock!?" She yelled over the wails of the alarm, rubbing her eyes and pulling the scene before her into focus. Sherlock stood in a cloud of smoke, in front of what had once been her sofa. He was using her fire extinguisher from the kitchen to put out the last smoldering bits of the fire. The room was filled with horrible smelling smoke, so Molly rushed over to the window and threw it open, coughing and blinking back tears.

"What the hell Sherlock?" She yelled, as he disabled the smoke alarm. Before he could answer there was a knock at the door.

"Molly, Is everything all right, I smell smoke!" came the voice of a man from the other side of Molly's front door. Molly waved Sherlock into the kitchen, and went to answer the door.

"Mr. Maxwell, I'm so sorry. I had a bit of a mishap with a scented candle, but everything is under control now." She forced a smile and tried to look calm and in control.

"Are you sure, do you need me to call the fire department?" He tried to peek around her into the flat. Molly's landlord looked unconvinced. She smiled warmly at him and patted his arm, pulling his focus back to her.

"You're such a dear for worrying, Mr. Maxwell but I promise everything is fine just a bit of smoke." Again she gave the concerned man her sincerest smile.

"Well, all right then. You be careful young lady, I don't want you burning my building down." He finally said with a mock-angry tone and a wink, and then he turned and went back downstairs.

Molly shut the door softly, and turned to press her back to it. She closed her eyes to gather her thoughts, and thankfully Sherlock remained silent. She counted to ten…slowly; her anger threatening to overwhelm her in her exhaustion. Finally she opened her eyes, and leveled a stony glare at the detective who was still in the sitting room with the fire extinguisher in hand. He was surprised by the look on Molly's face and his mouth opened as if to say something, but when he realized he didn't quite know what to say he snapped it shut again. Molly, suppressing her desire to yell at him, just crossed her arms and waited with a raised eyebrow indicating it was his job to explain.

"It was an accident. How was I to know this old thing would be so flammable? If it were of newer and better quality I'm sure the cigarette would not have ignited it so easily."

Sherlock then observed Molly's respiration increase, as well as her pulse, and when her arms uncrossed her hands made tiny little fists at her sides and she was now slowly advancing on him. Sherlock instinctively took a step back.

"That 'old thing' used to belong to my Gran, I learned how to read sitting right there!" She growled out between clinched teeth and pointed at the burned spot. Sherlock had never seen Molly truly angry before, and he was simultaneously unnerved and intrigued by it. "I LOVED that sofa!" She said but her voice began to break, so she turned away from him, not wanting him to see her cry. "It was more than 50 years old, and in less than 12 hours, you destroyed it. What's next Sherlock; do you want to smash my mum's wedding china? Or would you like to melt my dad's old record collection?"

She left Sherlock standing in the sitting room, and went back to her bedroom. After a few deep breaths, she wiped her tears away with her sleeve, and crawled under the covers. Molly Hooper had had enough for one day.


Molly woke the next morning to the sound of her door buzzer. Dragging herself from the warm comfort of her bed, she wrapped herself in her dressing gown and went into the sitting room. Sherlock was standing at the window looking out onto the street.

"It's Mycroft." He said flatly. She buzzed him into the building and opened the door to let him in.

"Ah, Miss Hooper, a pleasure to see you again" he said in a tone that was so obviously false that it bordered on condescending, with a smile to match. He nodded at Sherlock and drawled his customary greeting. "Brother." Sherlock turned and watched his entrance with a carefully schooled expression of disinterest.

"Good morning Mycroft" he replied sardonically. Mycroft's eyes darted around the flat exactly the way Sherlock's had when he entered, lingering on the fire damaged sofa that was now covered in a sheet.

"It looks as though my brother's death hasn't improved his behavior any." He said pointedly, adding "I really should have warned you that he's not fully house trained." The statement has been intended for Molly, but Mycroft and Sherlock were glaring at each other rather overdramatically. Molly rolled her eyes. She knew that she should agree with Mycroft, but she felt the irrational urge to defend Sherlock.

"It was an accident." She said before she could stop herself. Both men were snapped out of their staring contest to look at Molly; Mycroft with a mildly amused expression, Sherlock looking utterly shocked. If she hadn't seen it herself she wouldn't have believed it. She had surprised and confused Sherlock Holmes. She blushed hard, then cleared her throat, suppressed a self-satisfied smile, and quickly decided to change the subject.

"Would either of you like a cup of tea? I'm going to put the kettle on." She turned before she got an answer, and left the Holmes brothers to whatever posturing they intended to partake in.

While the kettle boiled, Molly arranged a tea tray and put some biscuits on a plate. She considered not using her mother's china after the events of last night, but the alternatives were chipped and miss-matched mugs she'd had since uni. Her mother would have been mortified to find out she served a posh git like Mycroft tea from a mug with a cartoon cat on it, so she had little choice. She took the tray in and set it down on the coffee table. Sherlock looked at the china and then up at Molly, again confused. She flashed him a quick smile, and excused herself. "I'll leave you to it then." She then retreated to the safety of her room.

It was Molly's day off, she had her regular routine, but she had a feeling that with Sherlock, and Mycroft sitting in her flat there was little chance that this day would be routine. She decided to take a shower and give the men some time to discuss whatever they needed to discuss.

As she let the hot water rush over her tense muscles, she felt herself begin to relax for the first time in what seemed like ages. She lingered in the steamy refuge of her shower cubical until the water started cooling off, and reluctantly got out and got dressed. She figured she should check on Sherlock anyway; who knew what mood he'd be in after dealing with Mycroft.

She stepped out of the bathroom to the quiet tapping of computer keys. She entered the living room to see Sherlock sitting at her desk using her laptop, (sure, help yourself) and Mycroft was gone. She looked around to properly survey the damage from last night but the mess from the fire and the extinguisher had been cleared away save for the scorched sofa covered with a sheet. She had trouble imagining Sherlock cleaning anything… ever, but her sitting room was clean. There were a few shopping bags sitting near the coat closet, she assumed Mycroft had brought them. Then she noticed the tea tray was missing and her heart sank, but just as she turned to the kitchen to look for it Sherlock spoke up.

"I cleared the dishes away and put them back in the cupboard to reduce the likelihood of damage." He said looking at her out of the corner of his eye momentarily before continuing to type. It wasn't his normal condescending tone, but something softer.

"Um thanks, you didn't have to." She said awkwardly, not knowing what else to say. Then her eyes lingered on the sofa. She couldn't help but think of how it reminded her of the bodies that came into the morgue, covered in a sheet. She frowned and walked over to it to inspect how badly it had been damaged. She sighed when she saw the green brocade fabric had melted away exposing the springs of the seat on one side. She sighed and dropped the sheet and rubbed her face with both her hands.

"I am really very sorry." Said a deep voice that was suddenly standing just behind her, but this time she didn't flinch. She just sighed and leaned back until her shoulder made contact with his. Sherlock, to his credit, took the hint and wrapped that arm around her. "I'll make it right, I promise."

His words surprised her and she turned her head to look at him, just as he leaned to place a small kiss on what was supposed to be her cheek. His lips landed awkwardly on the corner of her mouth, and they both froze for a moment. Then he pulled away slightly, his icy eyes intently focused on the place his lips had just been, then they traveled up and met Molly's. Her lips parted with a small gasp, and again his gaze was pulled to her mouth, where it lingered for a moment before he leaned in slowly, and kissed her again.

Molly's eyes drifted closed and time seemed to slow down as her mind was flooded with thoughts and sensations. She focused on the feeling of Sherlock's top lip insinuating itself between hers, and his bottom lip caressing the small curve below her bottom one. It was a soft but all too swift contact, as he pulled away once more. She opened her eyes and saw his were searching her face, and a hot red flush bloomed across her cheeks. His hand came up and his long fingers threaded around a damp curl near her ear. She held very still, despite every nerve in her body desperately wanting to lean into the touch.

"Dear, sweet, Molly" he murmured almost to himself. He ran the pad of his thumb across her cheek, and a nearly pained expression crossed his face. It made her heart ache to see him look almost…vulnerable. She reached up and put her hand on the side of his neck just below his ear, then she rose up on her toes and kissed him back, firmly, earnestly, showing no trace of fear or fragility.

The tip of Molly's tongue teased Sherlock's upper lip, and was instantly met with his own probing tongue. A soft low growl rumbled somewhere inside the detective, and Molly felt it through her entire body, causing her to press herself against him. His fingers laced themselves deeper into her hair, while his other hand wound around the small of her back, holding her firmly in place against him. Molly mewled and wrapped her arms around his neck as the kiss, turned into kisses; some soft and teasing and some deep and exploratory and consuming.

Sherlock's hand slowly stroked down her neck, over her collarbones, finally cupping her breast, while his mouth explored her jaw and throat. His hot breath and cool hands left Molly softly panting and arching up into his touch.

Without stopping his eager attention on her neck, Sherlock turned and sat on the non-damaged end of the sofa and pulled Molly into straddling his lap. His hands cupped her arse and he ground her against his clothed erection as he groaned ferally into her ear. She immediately felt her body react with goose bumps all over her quickly heating flesh.

All the doubts and self-recrimination that usually battered the inside of Molly's mind seemed to still, she knew what she wanted, and she was sure that right now, Sherlock wanted it too. She reached down and pulled the hem of her t-shirt and in one (surprisingly) fluid movement; she pulled it off over her head.

The noise Sherlock made could only be described as a hungry whine, as his hands moved up to unfasten her simple white cotton and lace bra while eagerly mouthing one pert breast through the cloth, and then the other. He made short work of it and pulled the straps down her shoulders, revealing the delicate and flushed skin beneath.

He took one small pink nipple onto his mouth and circled it with his tongue while sucking in enough air to cause it to stiffen into a small nub that he then gently bit, eliciting a long moan from Molly. She laced the fingers of one hand in his soft shaggy hair and her head dropped back and she breathlessly whispered "Oh god Sherlock" to the ceiling. The other hand glided down his back, grabbed a fistful of the t-shirt Sherlock was wearing and started to pull it off, requiring him to lean back and pull it off. Molly literally gawped at the expanse of smooth white skin over a surprisingly well muscled torso.

She ran her hands over his shoulders and down through the nearly ginger fuzz that sparsely adorned his chest. Then one hand made its way down his abs, while the other ran up to his beautiful throat, joined on the opposite side by Molly's mouth. She then pushed her bare and sensitized chest against his, and rocking her pelvis against his in the process. At this combination of sensations, Sherlock growled in her ear "Mmmmmolly…I need…"

"What Sherlock, tell me." She said against his neck.

"I need…you Molly." His voice was dark, and almost dangerous, as her fingers dipped below the waistline of his jeans, brushing wiry hair and hard male flesh.

"Bedroom?" she asked.

"Oh God Yes" He picked her up off his lap and set her abruptly on her feet directly in front of him, eliciting an adorable squeal from Molly. The absurd sound made him giggle, and she covered her mouth embarrassed but soon joined him. As the laughter subsided, Sherlock's eyes hungrily drank in the sight of Molly, and they both fell silent as their eyes locked.

Sherlock's hands settled on her waist, he then leaned in and gently kissed her just below the navel. Trailing soft nibbling kisses up her body, his hands traveled to the small of her back, and down over the cheeks of her arse. He then stood, and hauled Molly up wrapping her legs around his waist. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on as he stumbled to her bedroom. He pushed her back against the cold door as he kissed her neck while struggling momentarily with the doorknob. When the door gave way, they stumbled into the room and landed on the bed.

Sherlock rose up on his elbows and looked at Molly. He pushed a damp errant strand of hair off of her face. "I don't deserve you Molly Hooper, I never have." He said sadly.

"Oh Sherlock" was the only answer she could give, and she reached up and stroked his cheek, and brought him down for a tender and heartfelt kiss.

Their kissing quickly became more heated and needy. Sherlock trailed open-mouth kisses and gentle bites down her pale neck and over her chest stopping to pay loving homage to each of her breasts. Molly keened sweetly and arched into his mouth and he responded with a ridiculously erotic purr that lit all of her nerve endings on fire. As he began to work his way down her body, Molly closed her eyes and fought desperately to keep her wits about her. When he slowly began opening the front of her jeans, she knew it was a lost cause, and she held onto fistfuls of the duvet.

Sherlock pulled her jeans and pants off in one fluid movement, and then knelt between her knees allowing his gaze rake over her revealed body for a moment before stroking his large hands over the soft pale skin of her thighs parting them slightly. He stroked down her belly, over her closely trimmed pubic hair, and pushed his thumb between her folds to rub the hot kernel of her clitoris. Her back arched again as a wanton moan left her panting. He kissed the inside of her knee and up the inside of her thigh until his mouth met his hand on her sex. His hot tongue and long talented fingers gently probed and caressed her as he quickly learned what made her moan and gasp.

It didn't take long for Sherlock to coax the first exquisite climax from her leaving her flushed and trembling. Sherlock began kissing his way back up her body, and running his hands over her sensitized flesh when he saw something that made him freeze; a small white scar the size of the pad of his thumb, just beside her hip bone, in the shape of the letter M.

Molly was suddenly snapped out of her post-orgasmic euphoria by a very suddenly still and somber Sherlock. His voice, like ice water crashed over her.

"Oh god Molly, he branded you." The words were barely a whisper, and for Sherlock they could almost be called tender, but Molly felt it like a slap across the face. She looked down at him and her face was a red-hot mask of shock and fear. She wanted to crawl away, to cover up, to hide.

She closed her eyes tightly, unable to look at him any longer and see him look back at her with pity on his face. She knew she had nothing to be ashamed of, but there it was, the horrible molten feeling surging through her. Part of her braced herself for some horrible insensitive comment from him, for his rejection, or his disgust, but none came. She felt his warm lips kissing the scarred flesh on her hip slowly, reverently.

"Brave, strong Molly." He mumbled against her skin. She looked down at this utterly unpredictable man, and the fear and shame began to ebb away. His eyes were closed and he continued to kiss and nuzzle her hip. She laced her fingers in his soft curls again, and sighed. Sherlock lifted his head, and looked at her, not with an expression of pity, but one of astonishment. He cupped her cheek and kissed her, tenderly at first, but with slowly growing intensity.

The heat of need rose once more in Molly and her hands began exploring the surprisingly soft skin of his torso. Moving slowly down, her fingertips gently catalogued every muscle, every scar, and every patch of tender flesh that made him twitch or sigh or moan until she got to the waist of the jeans he was still wearing.

As she began to unbutton them a deep and urgent growl that sounded like it might have been her name came from Sherlock. His hands brushed hers away as he worked quickly to divest himself of the rest of his clothing. Molly let her eyes greedily rake over Sherlock in all his (impressive) naked glory, before clearing her throat and said "bedside table, in the blue box."

He nodded and quickly fetched a condom, eagerly tore it open, and put it on, while Molly watched his movements with keen interest. He leaned down and kissed her as he positioned himself at her entrance, before hooking one of her knees over his elbow, and slowly pushing in. Her entire body arched off the mattress and a long breathy mewl escaped her. He was still for a moment after he was fully sheathed within her, pressing his forehead against hers, until she started to move against him. She wrapped her arms around his back and moaned his name; he snapped his hips in response.

Molly felt as though electricity were running through her body. She tenderly moved her hands over his lean body; she wanted to touch every inch of his pale skin, to savor it, to memorize it. Sherlock held her tight wrapping one arm around her back and rocking into her with deep smooth thrusts. The urgency was building quickly in them, the heat of it spreading through their joined bodies like fire. She bucked up to meet his movements, causing him to groan deeply in a way that Molly felt reverberating through her body pushing her ever closer to that abyss. His hot mouth left searing kisses along her jaw and down her neck. Their sweat-slicked skin moved together, as their pleasure grew. Every touch felt exciting yet familiar, intense but tender, as they explored each other. Sherlock kissed his way down to her breasts and he gently bit down on the tight sensitive nipple, causing a white hot flash of sensation in her.

She threw he head back and her eyes rolled, she heard herself cry out his name and a vivid string of swearing that would have put a sailor to shame, and with that igniting spark, rapturous pleasure rolled through her. Simultaneous waves of chills and fire bursting out from her centre and tingling in her cheeks and in her fingers and toes.

When she began to get her senses back she felt Sherlock moaning out the last waves of his own orgasm, and his body stilled on top of her. He opened his eyes and they looked at each other with surprise and awe for a few moments before a wide and uncharacteristic smile spread across his face, and they both dissolved into giggles.

He kissed her forehead, and her cheek, and then he took her mouth in a long sweet passionate kiss, before he rolled over to lie next to her, disposing of the condom in the bin next to her bed. They lay quietly, together, but also deep within their own separate and private thoughts.

Doubts and insecurity began to seep into her as the silence stretched out between them, and eventually Molly broke the silence, asking one of the many questions boiling inside her. "I know you don't do sentiment, so does that mean that this…" She didn't know exactly how she wanted to finish. "Never mind, it's fine." She couldn't face him, and whatever his reason for doing this with her was. She sat up, but he put his hand on her arm, and she turned to look at him. He sat up on one elbow and looked back at her.

"Sentiment is the entire reason I'm here Molly, not just here" he motioned to the bed and between the two of them "but here, in your flat pretending to be dead." He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again Molly was shocked at how tired he suddenly looked, and how sad.

"Moriarty used the people I care about to hurt me. He marked you because of my sentiment for you, hoping I'd see it and I'd know what he did to you. He put hit men on John, Lestrade, and Mrs. Hudson in hopes my sentiment for them would cause me to kill myself. You are all still in very real danger because my sentiment for you, and yours for me. So yes Molly, I do sentiment, but what Moriarty never understood until the very end, is that it cuts both ways. It gave me a reason to fight, to do whatever I had to in order to win the game. It's the one advantage I had that he didn't, and that's why I'm alive, and he isn't. I had something to live for, and he did not."

Tears streamed down Molly's cheeks, and Sherlock pulled her down onto his chest, put his arms around her, and patted her back gently. She smiled and nuzzled into his side with her cheek on his chest, and he carded his fingers through her hair. She lay quietly, enjoying the feel of his skin and the movement his breathing as it evened out and became deep and slow.

She peeked up and saw that he had indeed fallen asleep. She was struck by the oddness of it, she never thought about Sherlock sleeping; if she had imagined what he's look like in post coital slumber, it wasn't this. She'd expected a sweet angelic face, like a marble sculpture in unworried repose. Instead, his head was turned slightly to the side; his mouth hung open crookedly, and a bit of drool was collecting at the corner of his mouth. She was sure he'd deny it until hell froze over, but Sherlock Holmes was a snorer, and the goofy normalness of it made her smile fondly up at him. She was tempted to record him on her phone, but since he was supposed to be dead, she figured it was a bad idea.

She was suddenly aware of how utterly starving she was and she carefully slipped out of his embrace and out of the bed. She threw on her dressing gown, and decided a fry-up was in order, a good English breakfast and a cuppa, and then she could face the rest of the day.

Molly spent the afternoon fielding phone calls from concerned and curious family and friends. "Wasn't that detective fellow the one you were always talking about?" her Mother had asked. "Did you know he was a fake?" from her friend. She wasn't entirely sure how she was supposed to answer, so she just played along like Sherlock had died, but she couldn't bring herself to even pretend that she believed him a fake.

"I don't care what the papers say, I knew him, I saw what he could do, he was brilliant, and he was always trying to help people. He may have been a bit different, but he was a good and extraordinary man, and he doesn't deserve having everyone treat his memory this way." And she angrily hung up the phone. She didn't know why she was getting so upset, she knew the truth, and Sherlock was alive and well and asleep in her bed.

Her mind buzzed and ached with a million thoughts and fears whirling around inside it. She paced the room a bit and chewed on her lip. Molly didn't know what to focus on. What was going to happen to Sherlock now that his whole life had been taken from him? She is a terrible liar, how is she going to keep Sherlock's secret? What the hell just happened in her bedroom, what does it mean, and will it be happening again? Soon and often, she hoped, without actually admitting to herself she hoped it.

She was suddenly struck with the need to take a walk, as if getting away from the flat (and away from Sherlock) would snap her out of the mobius of futile worry and doubt and confusion, circling back to worry. She wrote a quick note in case Sherlock woke, she kept it brief. knowing he'd know, in that way he knows everything, where she would go, when she had left and when she'd be back, even if she herself didn't quite know yet.

She grabbed her keys and her purse, and headed out. When she got out onto the street she took a deep breath, and decided to go left.

Sherlock woke up disoriented, and looked around the room to regain his bearings.

Naked, not his bed.

Molly's bed.

Oh right, Molly…where is Moly?

Is that a cat?

Sherlock found himself in a staring match with a large grey cat at the end of Molly's bed. Eventually the cat sat, blinked slowly, and curled up in a patch of sunlight and pretended to go to asleep, apparently choosing to ignore the interloper. Sherlock decided to ignore the creature right back.

He could hear talking coming from the sitting room, so he slid out of the bed and went over to the door and pressed his ear to it to see if Molly was alone before venturing out. He could only hear her voice, one side of a phone conversation apparently, and Molly seemed distressed, so he quietly cracked the door open to hear her better without disturbing her.

"I saw what he could do, he was brilliant, and he was always trying to help people. He may have been a bit different, but he was a good and extraordinary man, and he doesn't deserve having everyone treat his memory this way."

Then he heard a beep indicating the end of the call, and quickly closed the door again. He continued to listen to track her movements around the flat, his interest keenly piqued. He listened as she grabbed her keys and left the flat, locking the door behind her.

Sherlock stood stock still, trying to categorize the conflicting reactions occurring inside him. He felt excitement and pride at Molly's praise, but dread, and a sickly sadness because he knew he was utterly undeserving of it. He knew, deep down he was not a good man, but when she said it, it made him wish he was.

He leaned back against the door and sighed deeply, allowing his head to fall back with a thump against the wood. At that, the cat lifted his head and leveled a look at the detective that he was quite sure conveyed annoyance, and scorn. Sherlock glared back at first, and then realized he was standing there, naked in Molly Hooper's bedroom staring down her cat. The absurdity caused a broad smile to bloom across his face, and a low chuckle rumbled in his chest.

He thought of john, and the first adventure they had shared. His smile fell, and a dull ache spread through him threatening to consume. Quickly he shut away the encroaching sadness, too many inconvenient emotions, too much weakness, he thought bitterly. There was so much to do, so much danger ahead, there was absolutely no room for all this sentiment.

When he said that alone was what he had, John didn't understand. He didn't realize that alone was all Sherlock knew how to manage. All this emotion left him feeling vulnerable, and compromised. Moriarti knew somehow that this would be his Achilles' heel. Jim had seen all his weaknesses-

John, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and even Molly.

Oh God… Molly.

A dark and dreadful realization washed over him, cold and terrible.

"Stupid! Stupid!" he growled through gritted teeth. He dug into the pocket of his jeans and fished out the burner phone Mycroft had given him and quickly dialed Molly's number.

On the third ring Sherlock heard her pick up and immediately began talking.

"Molly good, listen to me carefully, you are in danger, you need to get back to the flat right now. Moriarti left you off the sniper list on purpose, I …"

He was interrupted then by a man's voice, and another cold wave of terror washed over him.

"A little slow on the uptake aren't we Mr. Holmes. My boss would have been so disappointed."


"A little slow on the uptake aren't we Mr. Holmes. My boss would have been so disappointed."

"Your boss is dead, and you'll be joining him soon enough. I will find you, and if Molly is hurt, your death will not be as quick and painless as his." Sherlock growled into the phone.

A dry laugh came back through in response. "We shall see. For now however, you may be too busy to pay any attention to the fate of the lovely Miss Hooper," Sherlock could hear the unmistakable whimper of a terrified (and possibly drugged) Molly Hooper and his blood ran cold.

The voice came back "You broke the deal Mr. Holmes, and for that you will pay the price." Then the call was terminated.

The usually unstoppable juggernaut that was Sherlock's brain stuttered and skipped momentarily under the magnitude of everything the caller implied. He slowly shook away the icy tendrils of dread that were creeping in and threatening to paralyze him, and sprang into action. He yanked on the jeans he was holding and threw open the door to Molly's room. He ran out to the sitting room and stuffed his feet into his trainers, pulled on the discarded tee shirt still turned in-side-out, grabbed a leather jacket out of one of the bags from Mycroft and quickly turned to leave the flat while simultaneously dialing his brother's phone number.

Before he was even finished dialing the number, the phone rang in his hand.

"Mycroft, Sebastian Moran has Molly…" Sherlock stared with urgency, but Mycroft interrupted.

"I am aware of Miss Hooper's situation; my people are working on tracking down her location as we speak. We caught her abduction on CCTV. We tracked them on camera for several blocks but lost them in traffic…"

Sherlock froze; he was no longer listening to his brothers imperious droning. Too busy to pay attention… the words rang like a gong in his mind. The meaning clicked into place.

"Sherlock?" The voice over the phone broke the spell, and Sherlock was hurtling down the stairs of the building and out the front door just as the front windows of Molly's flat blew out raining glass and detritus down on him.


Molly started coming around, slowly. A voice floated down to her through miasma of her drugged and slowly waking consciousness. Muffled and distant at first, but eventually clearer until the words coalesced and recognition flashed through Molly's brain like lightning.

"…you may be too busy to pay any attention to the fate of the lovely Miss Hooper."

She wanted to scream, but all that came out was a whimper. She tried to move and found her hands bound behind her. She knew acutely that she was in danger, but her body was still swimming to the surface of her stupor. She forced her eyes to focus. What she saw was exactly what she expected; the crooked sneer of the man from the morgue.

She struggled to sit up on the dirty concrete floor. The zip-tie holding her wrists together bit into the skin and she hissed at the sting.

"You broke the deal Mr. Holmes, and for that you will pay the price." He said smoothly all the while holding Molly's gaze.

He rang off and pocketed the phone.

He knelt beside her and raised a hand to brush the hair from her face, "We are going to have so. Much. Fun." The man enunciated the last three words with a lurid growl, Molly jerked back.

"Don't touch me!" She hissed, and droplets of her spittle landed on his face.

His smile fell, and he slapped her hard across the face. "Mind yourself Miss Hooper, I'm in charge now, and I'm not nearly as fond of you as Jim was."

What Sebastian Moran expected from sweet little Molly Hooper was fear and compliance; he expected the nervous stuttering self-conscious pathologist that Jim had described following Sherlock Holmes around like a lost puppy. What he didn't know was her experience with Jim had left her changed.

The aftermath of her ordeal had left her feeling powerless and terrified, and angry. She had taken self-defense classes, where she was taught things like escaping from the boot of a car, how to best run from gunfire, and escaping the grip of an attacker. She realized, despite her aversion to actual confrontation, she quite enjoyed mock-combat. She found herself grinning at the idea of someday showing off her new talent for escaping handcuffs to a shocked consulting detective. She never imagined actually using these skills, but learning them brought her peace.

Being in actual danger was entirely different than grappling with a guy in a padded suit, she knew this, but the flash of hot pain blooming across her cheekbone stoked something inside her. One minute she was scared little Molly, then instinct and anger and training kicked in and she was Molly Hooper, fighter, survivor. She was going to get out of this, and she was not going to wait to be rescued, or victimized.

Molly looked at him defiantly, and then stared straight forward. Sebastian Laughed, unimpressed with her show of calm and resolve.

"Be a good girl and sit here quietly while I attend to some business upstairs. My men are the only ones who will hear you if you scream, and they certainly won't be coming to your rescue. I'll be back to play with you shortly." With that, he winked at her, stood up, and then left the room.

Molly quickly surveyed her surroundings. She was in a poorly lit basement, with no windows, no furniture, and one exit. She closed her eyes and started thinking, planning, and listening.

She could hear foot falls above her, and voices, almost clear enough to distinguish individual words. There were two men, other than her scar-faced captor, large by the sound of it. She was going to have to be armed to take them on, and not bound. She smiled to herself, her hands were held together behind her back with a zip tie. She knew that her biggest advantage was how massively these men were underestimating her.

"All right Molls, you can do this, you did it in class twice." She curled her legs under her and got up on her knees, then up onto her feet. She took a deep breath and counted to three before raising her fists and bringing them down hard on the small of her back. The first try loosened the loop only slightly and the stinging pain burned her small wrists. She steeled herself and did it again, this time putting as much force as she could into it, pain be damned. Her hands swung free, and Molly had to put them over her mouth to stop a triumphant "whoop" from coming out.

Her glee was short-lived however; she could hear someone coming down the stairs. Molly quickly sat down on the floor, grabbed the remains of her zip-tie binding, and put her hands behind her back pretending she was still bound.

The door swung open and her captor entered the room and closed it behind him, lop-sided smirk plastered on his face.

"Hello love, Miss me?"

Molly just glared.

"No? Hmm. you're going to have to get used to this face because your boyfriend will not be coming to take you home" with this he laughed and started crossing the room towards her. With a maniacal gleam in his eyes, he knelt and put his lips to her ear and whispered "I was just upstairs activating the bomb Jim left behind. Tell me, did you leave lover-boy back at the flat when you decided to go for your little walk?" He pulled back to gauge her reaction. "Pleeeeease tell me you did." He purred.

Molly's mouth fell open and she blinked back hot tears. The potent urge to crumble pulled on her from the inside, but she swallowed it down. The torrent of fear and horror had to wait. Right now she had to survive.

A cold chuckle snapped her out of her reverie, and a calloused hand stroked her cheek. She met the eyes in front of her and was surprised to see a strange sort of desperate madness looking back at her. "Now it's just you and me kitten, and I intend to celebrate." He leered, and Molly saw the same look of evil glee on his face that she had once seen on Jim's. Fierce rage quickly flooded out the other churning emotions inside Molly, and it immediately galvanized her resolve.

"How about no!" She growled as she reared back and brought the heel of her hand up connecting with his throat with a gristly and satisfying crunch. The stunned man curled in gasping pain, and Molly jumped to her feet and brought her elbow down on the back of his skull where it connected with his neck and his limp body fell to the floor in a heap.

Molly stood stock still, panting and listening to see if struggle has alerted the others, but the only noise was he ragged breathing, and her own pulse roaring in her ears. She closed her eyes to take a deep breath and calm herself.

Suddenly, the body at her feet sprang into action and extended a leg, sweeping Molly's feet out from underneath her. She landed hard on her back, the breath knocked out of her with a grunt. He was quickly on top of her, one knee on either side of her, sitting on her thighs, pinning her legs down. He grabbed her throat with both of his meaty hands; his face a distorted red mask of pure rage.

Flashes of light started swimming before her eyes, and she knew she was becoming Hypoxic. Molly weakly pushed at his waist, the only part of him she could reach and her hand came in contact with something clipped to his belt. She immediately knew what it was, having come face to face with his knife when she first encountered him.

She pulled the blade out of the sheath and jammed it into his fleshy side. He roared and reared back releasing her neck and she gasped but held onto the handle of the knife as it slid out of him with his sudden movement. He looked at her, surprised, and then began to lunge again. Molly grasped the handle with both hands and shoved it decisively into his abdomen just below the xiphoid process of the sternum, angling the blade upward into his thoracic cavity; using her knowledge and experience with just such wounds to its full and deadly effect.

The man's face went slack and eyes unfocused as Molly withdrew the blade. Falling forward, the body pinned her to the floor. She pushed at him, and rolled him off her. Trying to breathe in large gasps of air, she tried to clear the sparks creeping in at the edge of her vision.

She got slowly to her feet. Upstairs there was a loud crash, then yelling, then gunfire. Molly pushed herself against the wall near the exit on the hinge side of the door, still clutching the bloody knife.

Boots thundered down the stairs and three men in black unmarked paramilitary looking uniforms entered carrying drawn weapons. One immediately checked the body and called "we have a body in the basement Mr. Holmes!" and Molly heard a shout from upstairs.

"Molly NO!"

She knew that voice, and as its owner came thundering down the steps, Molly came out from behind the door, pale, panting and covered in blood.

"Sher…" She croaked out before falling limply to her knees, where Sherlock caught her. The blackness that had been encroaching on the edges of her vision enveloped her.

Several weeks later, Molly was sitting on her brother's couch sipping her tea and eating some toast for breakfast. The morning news was on and she was waiting for the forecast to see if she should bring her umbrella with her when she goes to the market later. As she wiped the crumbs from her lips with a napkin, the host's artificially bright voice announced the upcoming segment "Boffin Sherlock Holmes' Fake suicide scandal- More details released today as self-described consulting detective is officially cleared of all charges…"

Molly sighed, and picked up the remote to switch it off while pulling a face.

"That arrogant clot gets all the credit." Her brother said disdainfully from the doorway "When really you're the hero Molls. Bloody wanker. "Molly rolled her eyes and hid her grin by taking another sip of her tea. "You know the tabloids are sayin' he'll be getting knighted?! Selfless service to Queen and Country…PSHH! More like selfish service to 'is own ego! Tosspot." He snorted.

"Michael, that's not fair, Sherlock doesn't ask for all this...attention. And as far as my role in all this, THAT is a NATIONAL SECRET, and if you breathe a word of it to anybody, Mycroft and his storm troopers will be the LEAST of your troubles, we clear?" Molly leveled a stony glare at her baby brother, and Michael raised his hands in submission and looked a little stunned.

As soon as her brother's posture changed, her glare lifted. She stood, picked up her dishes, and headed towards the kitchen. When she passed him, she smiled sweetly and kissed his cheek. He blinked and looked with astonishment at his sister.

"Sometimes you are so much like Mum it's a bit frightening." He said with a wry smile.

Molly turned after putting the dishes in the sink. "I'm sure I have no idea what you mean." She said with mock surprise, and a barely suppressed laugh.

"She was all lace doilies and sunshine, but woe to those who crossed her, even when I got to be twice her size, all it took was the arched eyebrow..." He dramatically raised his eyebrow to demonstrate, and glared at her with a comically goggle-eyed stare, and then he grinned widely at her. "You're like an adorable little drill sergeant." Then he bopped the tip of her nose with his finger.

She feigned offence and smacked his shoulder. "Shut It you!"

"See! There you go again barkin' orders." He giggled as he grabbed her around the waist and hauled her up on his shoulder. She let a loud squeal and began halfheartedly kicking her feet and he began to smack her bum and chant "Bossy pants, bossy pants!"

"MICHAEL JOSEPH HOOPER! You put me down!" She demanded through gales of laughter. They continued to giggle and fuss for a moment until the sound of someone clearing their throat caused them both to freeze. They looked over and saw Sherlock standing awkwardly in the doorway to the kitchen.

"I apologize; I thought I heard Molly scream, I assumed she was in trouble." His expression and tone were impassive, but his gaze stayed glued to the floor between them.

"We were just playing around; you know how it is with siblings." Michael said.

"Not really, no." Sherlock answered, forcing Molly's mind to conjure impossible images of young Holmes brothers wrestling and playing about.

Michael broke the silence that hung in the air after Sherlock's sentence. He gave Molly's bum a final swat and put her down. "Right. I'll just leave you two to talk." He said, and then he left the room.

Molly straightened her clothes and attempted to shove the hair that had escaped her ponytail behind her ears.

"What do you want Sherlock?" her tone was carefully neutral. She had not spoken to the detective since leaving the hospital nearly a month ago. With no home to go back to, and more than just physical wounds to heal from, she had gone to stay with Michal in Kent.

When she first left the hospital, she had allowed herself to hope that, after everything, things might have changed between her and Sherlock, but after weeks, there was little left but hurt.

Sherlock studied her for a moment, and then said softly "You are needed at h… at Bart's"

She gaped open-mouthed at him, incredulous. They stared at each other for a moment, Molly vacillating wildly between angry and curious. Curious won out. "You came," she started slowly, watching him intently as he avoided her gaze "all the way to Kent" she continued inching closer to him "to what…Personally order me back to work?" Her tone became more sharp and angry as she finished her sentence. Sherlock looked at her, finally, surprised by her anger.

"I… You…" He stumbled, then huffed as he ran his fingers roughly through his hair.

"Wait a minute!" She said abruptly, narrowing her eyes and leaning in closer to him, forcing him to look at her. "You're not on a case." It was a statement, not a question. "What are you on about Sherlock?"

"No, I just…John said I needed to tell you in person…that you are needed…" At this Molly put her hands on her hips and gave him the 'cut the crap' glare she usually reserved for Michael. Sherlock rolled his eyes indignantly and started over.

"Molly, I miss you. I want you to come home." He mumbled to his feet as a slightly pink flush rose on his cheeks.

The irony of their role-reversal was not lost on Molly, in fact, she found herself enjoying it enormously, but she decided to take pity on the fidgeting detective.

She closed the last bit of space between them and cupped his jaw in her hand, forcing him to look at her. "I miss you too, Sherlock." She softly pressed her lips to his. "But you know I no longer have a home in London."

He looked at her and a pained expression momentarily crossed his face, then he schooled it back into place.

"That is why I've come. There was a reward for the capture of Sebastian Moran, he was wanted in several countries, including ours. I told Mycroft that you were the one who deserved it, and he has agreed." He then pulled an envelope from his jacket pocket, and handed it to her.

She looked at him skeptically for a moment; then she took the envelope and opened it. Inside was a cashier's cheque for one hundred thousand pounds.

She gaped, open-mouthed at the paper in her trembling hand until Sherlock touched her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. Her mouth snapped shut as she met his eyes.

"I know of a great little flat in central London, which is currently being completely remodeled." He allowed the corner of his mouth to curl up just so. "I can get you a good deal on the rent; the landlady owes me a favor" He finished with a wink.