Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to BBC's Sherlock or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes or anything like that.
Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade hardly ever did something that might be considered exciting or even dangerous outside of what work required from him. He had never really considered his life boring or mundane though. Between his usual work and Mr. I-am-smarter-than-you Sherlock Holmes there was hardly a quiet moment in his life. Although he would be the first to admit that once the wife became an ex-wife and left him the noise level did go down a few decibels.
Because of this everyone, including Lestrade himself was surprised when he asked none other than Molly Hooper to be his date for the officer's ball. He hadn't really thought about it before he asked her, well he had a bit, but the day of the event was getting closer every day and he needed a date so that he wouldn't look silly in front of the force. He supposed if he really thought about it, he had fancied Molly for quite some time now. If he had to pin point a moment it was probably when he saw her at the Christmas party at 221b, but he could not say for sure.
As surprised as she was Molly was more than happy to agree to the date with Lestrade. She was beginning to realize that her fancy for Sherlock was somewhat misplaced and knew that Lestrade was a good man, so she saw no harm in one date. She had never been to any properly fancy event however, so she had to trust the female officers who started to pour into the morgue once the news had gotten around. Apparently news and gossip spread around the Yard like wildfire.
Even Sally showed up to offer some advice; this surprised Molly most. Out of all of the officers that Molly knew from her work with the Yard Sally was the one that seemed to like her least. However she was perfectly friendly as she talked to Molly about the dress ciudad and what was expected from the dates of the higher up officers like Lestrade.
Sherlock interestingly enough did not figure out that Molly would be going out on a date with Lestrade until the day before the officer's ball; well more exactly he didn't notice she was going on a date with anyone until the day before the ball. "You have a date tomorrow. You have cleaned up a bit more than usual and applied a facial last night. You missed a spot right behind your ear. I thought we had decided that you dating is a bad idea given your history with men in the past." Sherlock was Mr. High and Mighty as usual.
"I wouldn't say that, but I figured since you work with him and all then he must be a stand up guy." Molly stumbled through her answer.
"I work with many people who are not as you say 'stand up guys' so I would hardly consider that an accurate assumption." Sherlock responded with his normal brash tone.
Molly simply nodded and went about her work. Sherlock didn't need to know that she was going on a date with Greg anyway. It didn't affect him so long as it didn't affect his work.
That was the end of their exchange and less than twenty-four hours later Molly stood in front of a full length mirror admiring herself. She had used what little rainy day money she had squirrelled away to buy a new cocktail dress. It was a light pink number that was short enough to expose Molly's lower leg almost to her knees and tight enough to show off the curves she did have. Sexy, but still classy in a way that made Molly feel like she could belong on the cover of Italian Vogue or something like it.
She had chosen to leave her hair down with a light curl in it and large, but not gaudy, cubic zirconium studs and a small matching necklace that was a single, matching stone set in a charm that hung on a slim chain. Normally when Molly wrote jewelry it was larger and more noticeable, but as Molly had been picking out what she wanted to wear, memories of the Christmas party at 221b seemed to pop into her mind unbidden and the last thing she wanted was a repeat of anything about that night.
After she knew she was ready for the date she worked herself up so much that she gave herself a stomach ache, and just before the point at which she thought she might actually get sick there was a knock at her door, that lead her to stand and open the door.
One thing that Molly didn't know though was that her date standing on the other side of the door was just as nervous as she was. In fact Lestrade had almost chickened out while standing at her door. He had never to his memory been so nervous about a date, it was like he was back in secondary school again as he hesitated once, twice, and then a third time before finally knocking on her door.
After he had knocked on her door the twenty seconds it took for her to answer felt to him like an eternity, and then when she did open the door time froze. He forgot how to breathe for a moment then gathered himself just enough to complement her. "You look wonderful Molly."
"Really, you don't think it is too much?" Molly asked as she nervously smoothed the front of her dress.
"I will have the best dressed date at the ball." Lestrade offered his arm to escort her with a large grim on his face that set Molly at ease.
"I might have to disagree with you given that I believe *my* date has got to be the most handsome man that I will see all night." Molly teased him. Truth was though that Greg did clean up quite nicely.
Lestrade was not oblivious to the fact that "mousy Molly" was not so mousy tonight and he rather liked that. Normally she stuttered with every third word that she said and pulled nervously at her hands, but the Molly that he hand walking next to him tonight as they went to the cab was not that same person.
The woman sitting next to him in the cab was elegant and eloquent, composed when she spoke, and had an air on confidence about her. He could take all night to make a list of the things he was only now learning about her, but the one thing that he could not ignore even if he tried was how stunningly beautiful Molly looked tonight.
Once they were inside the ballroom Lestrade still couldn't keep his eyes off of his date which, while not unpleasant, was not ideal when you consider that he was supposed to use the evening for networking. He only fought the impulse to devote his entire attention to Molly for an hour before all he could do was pull her onto the dance floor and hold her in his arm.
"I'm sorry that we haven't had a chance to talk until now." Lestrade apologized as he centrally guided her over that floor.
"It's fine Greg, really it is," Molly interjected at Lestrade's incredulous look. "So far this has been the best way I have spent an evening in a very long time." She didn't want to admit that if she had not been asked on a date tonight that she would be sitting in front of her telly with a quart of ice cream, probably rocky road.
The detective inspector's head bobbed in understanding, or at least feigned understanding. "You look beautiful tonight Molly." Lestrade murmured only just loud enough for Molly to hear him over the orchestra.
"I think you said that already." Molly teased with a bright smile.
"That does not make it any less true." He answered with a nearly identical smile.
Molly accepted the complement with as much grace as possible and passed her own complement to him over the music. Then they danced in relative silence, comfortable with each other, and three songs later they took a break to get a drink.
By the end of the night the couple both had sore feet and high spirits. Both were thinking about how the night might end, and Lestrade in particular couldn't seem to wipe the thought from his head. He wondered if kissing her was outside of her comfort zone or even the realm of acceptable.
Molly wondered if Greg was going to be a proper gentleman, or is she was going to be left on the opposite side of her flat door from him wondering if he could have possibly knocked her stocks off any more than he did. As it turned out reality was somewhere in between the two options.
He was a perfect gentleman and walked her to her door were they stood for a while saying goodnight, and just when Molly thought maybe there had not been as much chemistry between them as she had assumed Greg pulled her just close enough to give her a light kiss. It had happened so fast that Molly barely had time to register what had happened before he was wishing her a goodnight and walking away.
She entered the appeasement in a haze and only just remembered to lock the door behind her before turning her back and learning against the door and then making an announcement to a room that was empty except for Toby mewing and tangling himself around her ankles. "He kissed me."