A/N: It's been a while I know. Still feel like giving this fic a chance? Or have you all…forgotten me? Anyways, I hope you read on. Small chapter, but I promise a quicker update with a more eventful chapter next time.
The next few days Molly spent in the old mansion were dull and drab. She often wondered if this was a punishment Mycroft Holmes was meting out, for her father defaulting on his debt- to spend her days locked up in a prison of marble and glass, with nothing to do except wander about the wing she had been given as living quarters, and listen to Mrs. Hudson putter about the kitchen and garden.
The library was the only thing that kept her sane. It was a veritable treasure trove of medical and chemistry books, with the odd work of fiction or autobiographies thrown in. Molly devoured them, her hands caressing the old, worn pages and clothed spines with as much care as she would to a lover's hand.
Her duties were minimal, so she took full advantage of the free hours, learning what she could. She knew that she would not get access to such books elsewhere.
There was however, one problem. The library room was old, there were no gas lines set inside it, and the fireplace had not been lit in half a decade. So, as soon as night fell, Molly's hours in the room were cut short, because once the sun went down, the library was plunged into darkness. She could always use a candle, but she did not want to risk a flame in a dry room filled with objects that could catch fire so easily.
She hated the nights.
The nights brought out all the demons inside the old house, the shadows which hid and lurked, and to Molly, it felt as if there was always someone watching her. The east side of the house was in darkness all the time, and that was where the shadows lurked the most. She had to walk past it every night when she went to bed, and there never went a night when the sound of footsteps from that wing did not make her jump out of her skin.
She wished she could at least put a face to the mysterious Master Holmes. As it were, the gunshots and the sounds of growling from his rooms were enough for her to imagine a disfigured, murderous monster locked up behind those doors which were just visible beyond the gloom of the corridor. Mrs. Hudson had told her that Master Holmes was a lovely young man, but Molly (and her somewhat colorful imagination) found that very difficult to believe.
Lovely young men were not locked up from civilization in a house which time had forgotten.
If Molly ever looked back on her time inside the Holmes mansion, she could safely say that it all started when Mrs. Hudson's hip gave out.
It was nothing life-threatening or permanently crippling, but just one look at the old woman told Molly that she would be bedridden for a week. It took a long time for Molly to convince the matron to let her do the housework, despite the woman's protests that "the herbal soothers that Mycroft brought from the East, they ease my pain a lot, really, Molly, love, you don't have to-"
Molly rolled her eyes and made a mental note to look up on the ingredients of said 'herbal soothers'.
The added housework meant that she would be very busy. Well, as busy as one could get in a large house filled with locked rooms that she was not allowed to open. She did not mind; the housework gave her something to do, even if she missed the library.
There was however, one thing she was dreading since the afternoon Mrs. Hudson's hip gave out.
The tray shook precariously as she climbed the stairs, towards the darkness of the East wing. She wished she could at least use a candle, but the packed tray made it very difficult to balance the large candlesticks Mrs. Hudson seemed to prefer. She took her first, tentative steps into the gloom of the second floor East wing, where the only source of light was a thin, glowing strip under the door at the far end of the corridor. The darkness made the journey seem frighteningly long, and Molly felt as if there were small hands slashing at the air next to her feet. The wooden floors creaked with every step, creating an unsettling noise.
She reached the door at long last, but could not muster up the courage to look behind her.
She raised her hand to knock on the polished surface of the wooden door, making up her mind that she would leave the tray on the floor as soon as she knocked, and run off. It was probably not a very mature thing to do, but she was scared and the darkness was clawing at her. Just when her hand touched the door, however, it fell open to a large airy room that was nearly all windows at the opposing wall, providing a magnificent view of the surrounding forests. The sudden light nearly blinded her, but as soon as her eyes adjusted, she could tell that the room was large enough to accommodate her own house.
All fear gone, she stepped into the breathtaking room, taking in the comfortable furniture, the books scattered here and there over the sofas and the armchairs, and a shelf larger than the one in the library, covered the wall on her left. The room had a second floor all on its own, as Molly spied the spiral metal staircase leading up to a mezzanine, where there was yet another shelf of books. She stepped into the room without a second thought.
"Are you quite done?"
Molly never had a larger shock. Her start made the tray rattle, the tea in the pot sloshed noisily. The deep, baritone voice came from behind her, and she could feel an imposing presence, one that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up.
She turned around slowly, knuckles white where her hands clutched at the tray.
She started again; this time actually letting loose a surprised squeak as her eyes fell, not on a disfigured monster, but on an angel.
A/N: Hello, people! Been a while since I updated this. I apologize. I suck.
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