Prompt: Post Reichenbach, Sherlock stays with Molly, and she discovers that he sleeps in the nude…quite by accident, the first time.
Disclaimer: None it's mine. Je suis désolé de le dire (I also am sorry that I don't speak French).
The first time, when she made the actual, startling discovery, she'd walked into it as blindly and innocently as a lamb walks to the chopping block.
After hours of worry, breathless rushing, and furtive sneaking, Molly Hooper had managed to get Sherlock Holmes out of Saint Barts. She spent their whole taxi ride darting her gaze nonstop between the vehicle's six windows and the cabbie himself, worried he might suddenly screech to a halt in recognition. Instead, he chattered on obliviously, complaining about some new council tax for the length of the drive. She'd barely managed to make noises of agreement, but she had the presence of mind to draw attention away from her far more stoic seatmate.
They arrived at their destination, and Molly finally had Sherlock safely ensconced in her small flat. He'd been delirious with several types of pain coursing though his body, so she quickly, highhandedly made him take a strong painkiller, and pushed him in the direction of her bedroom. The fact that he hardly fought told her quite a bit about his current mental state.
Now, a sleepless night later, Molly stumbled down the short hallway to her room with the intent of checking on him.
She tapped quietly on the closed door, wanting to alert him of her presence. When she received no response, she quietly called out.
"Sherlock, I'm coming in to check on you."
She received a grunt as a reply, and taking it as an affirmative, she twisted the doorknob and pushed through.
Her room was surprisingly, cheerfully bright. He hadn't taken the time to draw the blinds before he'd climbed onto her bed. The late morning light filtered in, reflecting quite a lot off of his pale skin.
Which was on full display as he lay naked, spread-eagled, facedown in the middle of her bed. He hadn't bothered to climb under the duvet. It looked like he'd thrown off his clothing and immediately passed out, hardly moving since then.
Molly let out a surprised yelp, and backed up quickly.
"Sorry," she squealed at him.
He'd lifted his head at her initial outburst, his curls a wild mess, sticking up in various direction. He was now wide-awake.
"Sorry," she said just as desperately to the door, which she'd backed into with surprising force.
Molly whirled around, keeping her back to room. She inspected the doorframe finding little chips of paint peeling as she calmed herself enough from her earlier shock to enquire after his health. He was exhausted and devastated, after all. She didn't want him to feel bad about this, too.
"How are you feeling? Do you need more medicine? Can I get you anything?"
His voice was pitched to gravelly depths as he replied.
She nodded and hurried out of the room.
When she returned, he'd crawled under the bed covers and looked like he was fighting going back to sleep. She handed off the glass to him, made sure he'd drunk his fill and then set it with its remaining bit of water on the bedside table.
He flopped back down, somehow managing to have to duvet wrapped around him like cocoon without doing so much as rolling over onto his side.
Molly quickly went to windows and pulled down the blinds, pitching the room in relative darkness. As she made her way back to the door, she heard a mumbled, "Thanks."
Once she was back out in her sitting room, Molly set about admonishing herself for noticing that, trauma aside, he had a very shapely rear end.
This must be what getting hit with a cattle prod felt like.
The second time it happened, she hadn't seen Sherlock in over three months. She had no warning that he'd be arriving. Early one morning in September, she'd stumbled obliviously from her bedroom, intent on starting her coffeemaker.
What drew her up short was the man, lying on her sofa. Naked.
In hindsight, she was rather proud of her restrained reaction. This time, she just sucked in a surprised breath.
Sherlock had looked like he was asleep, but on hearing her clumsy entrance, he cracked one eye open.
"Good morning, Molly. Sorry to be here with no warning. I should be out of your hair in a day or two."
She nodded dazedly and made her way to the kitchen. Once she'd run out of excuses (brew coffee. Wipe down the counter. Finger-comb hair. Inspect her nail beds), she poured him out a mug, doctored it to his liking, and hesitantly made her way back to the sitting room.
He had hardly moved. He lay on his back, his hands steepled under his chin. She had seen his "thinking pose" before. It just was a bit hard to reconcile her previous exposure to it with her current exposure to it and everything else.
Molly edged over to him, trying to be nonchalant. If it didn't bother him, why should it bother her?
She suspected the flush she could feel suffusing her face told a different story. Worldly nonchalance did not come easily to Molly Hooper. Damn it.
When she reached the sofa, she carefully held the mug out to him, trying to find a balanced between ostentatiously averting her eyes and ostentatiously staring.
Apparently she didn't really manage it, because he huffed an impatient sigh, said, "Oh, for God's sake," and grabbed the throw she kept over the back of the couch. He pulled it across his hips, but it really left little to the imagination. Not that she had to imagine now. But still.
He took the coffee with a quick thanks and then got back to his deep thinking.
Molly stumbled away, deciding she needed to go do something somewhere else. Anywhere else.
If she happened to think back on the morning's revelation with a bit of a secret smile, well, that was for Molly to know and Sherlock not to find out.
Sherlock's appearances in Molly's flat were rare ones. He didn't follow any set schedule, and rarely announced his intention to pay her a visit before he showed up.
Molly never knew when she'd find him sprawled across the sofa. And even then, she hardly ever found him asleep.
Which was why she was able to demarcate those times in her mental diary, circling the instances that she'd seen him naked with insistent, red ink. It was certainly not something she just got used to.
On the morning of the third Incident, as she'd started calling them, he'd roused himself from an exhausted slumber. After using her shower, he wandered around the flat wrapped only in that throw blanket from the couch.
She supposed she should be more horrified at the lack of hygiene of it all. But she couldn't dredge up the energy.
"What are you working on?" He asked her as he made his way back into her kitchen. He slurped coffee from his mug as he sidled up to where she sat at the table, typing furiously on her laptop.
"I'm doing a search for that man you mentioned earlier. I think…. I think I've found him, or at least where he lives" Molly explained. She blushed a bit, worrying she was simplifying a complicated thing.
Molly watched her computer screen carefully, not wanting to see his face if he found some hole in her logic.
"You said you thought he was from West Yorkshire. I did a search of pertinent crime reports newspapers up there, and cross-referenced it with similar stories from Newcastle and even Edinburgh. There are some patterns that repeat in other cities, but they seem to return to this area of Leeds," she pointed to one of the city's suburbs.
"I know it's not a name, but I thought it might help to narrow down yo—"
Sherlock cut her off abruptly, grabbing her face in his hands and laying a noisy kiss on her lips.
"Molly Hooper, you are a wonderful," he said gleefully. He kept his hands on her cheekbones, his fingers just weaving into her hair as he squinted in thought.
"If I catch a train in the next hour, I can be in Leeds by three o'clock. That'll give me plenty of time ask some questions around the area."
That decided, he leaned down and kissed her just as noisily on her forehead. Then he ducked his head and gave her another, light peck on the lips.
Molly, for her part, just sat there, too stunned to react.
"Um…" she tried.
"Thank you for this."
Then he whirled around, dropping the blanket on the lino as he darted out of the kitchen.
Molly watched the muscles play in his backside and decided she needed a drink.
An Irish coffee was a breakfast beverage, right?
1. If you can't beat 'em
"What the hell are you doing, Sherlock?"
Molly glared at the man currently lolling around on her bed, tightening her hold on the damp towel wrapped around her body.
He'd made himself quite at home in the brief time she'd been in the shower, washing away a long day of work.
"That sofa is hellacious. I've had enough of that,"he explained, snuggling into the pillow.
Molly's eyes narrowed.
"I'm not sleeping on the couch, Sherlock. Nice try."
"By all means, sleep here. It's not like this is a single occupancy mattress."
"It's so kind of you to grant me permission to sleep in my own bed. I was remarking more on the fact that you're in my bed. And don't think I can't see that you're starkers."
Sherlock opened his eyes to shoot her a look that said, 'Keenly observed, Genius.'
"Clothing is too restrictive for sleep, Molly. You can't expect me to change my habits for your personal comfort."
Molly wanted to tabulate all that was wrong with that statement, but she started with the obvious.
"When you're in my bed, I think it's pretty reasonable for me to think of my personal comfort, actually. But fine, you say clothing is too restrictive? Alright then."
On this pronouncement, she dropped her towel and stomped angrily over to the other side (the wrong side) of the bed.
She yanked out the side of the duvet that he'd managed to pin under his weight, and the climbed under its blanketing warmth.
Her body bumped into his as she flopped down onto the bed, sending little shocks across her skin. She fought to maintain her defiant expression.
Maybe she was imagining it, but Molly could have sworn that Sherlock's eyes had widened when she'd dropped the towel, and they stayed that way throughout her production of joining him in the bed.
If nothing else, she'd certainly shut him up.
They'd immediately shot apart after she initially bumped into him, and now they both lay on their backs staring at the ceiling.
Sherlock, funnily enough, broke first.
It started with him emitting a snort of amusement, and then his deep chuckles followed.
Molly couldn't help but join in. Soon, she had tears of mirth streaming down her face. In part over their stupidity, but also because was such a novel experience, laughing with Sherlock Holmes.
She felt his fingers brush her hip as his hand sought hers under the duvet.
He pulled her hand out so he could brush a kiss over her knuckles, his eyes never ceasing to smile.
And then he rolled onto his side, tugging her to mirror his position.
Leaning forward, he tentatively brushed a kiss to her mouth, then he drew back to gauge her reaction.
So she went ahead and let her eyes be naked for him, too.
His smile returned, full force, at whatever it was he saw in them.
Then his arms wrapped around her and pulled to him, her skin pressing to his.
Note: This one goes out dear Megan, who so nicely gave me this prompt when I was whining about writer's block. Thank you, Lovely!
Thanks for reading, everyone else!