Molly had been living at 221 B Baker Street since she and Sherlock had returned. She had been quite pleasantly surprised that Sherlock wanted her to live with him. There had been some rough patches, but overall they were very happy living together. It did make some things much easier. There had been quite a bit of excitement when Sherlock publicly announced that he was alive. Sherlock refused to comment about how he had done it and where he had been. The only details he would give were related to how Jim Moriarty had fooled them all.
The press was quick to realize Molly was an important part of that story. There was also a degree of lurid fascination with the fact that Sherlock and Molly had some sort of romantic relationship. Molly was not prepared to be thrust into such notoriety, but Mycroft helped keep the worst of the press at bay. Next week was the one year anniversary of Sherlock's "death" and the press was getting eager for a new angle on the story. Molly had been lying low, avoiding the reporters who were determined to get her side of the story.
Sherlock, of course, ignored the press and all the commotion. He was back where he belonged, working with John and solving cases. He only noticed the pestering reporters when they upset Molly or Mrs. Hudson. He reacted very forcefully at these times and had sent more than one reporter away in tears, all their secrets exposed. Molly had been enjoying a quiet day off by sleeping in and being deliciously lazy. Sherlock had left early in the morning, whispering in her ear that he was with John and Lestrade and would text later. Molly had taken a long relaxing bath and was now hungry. She wrapped herself up in a thick robe and shuffled toward the kitchen. She grabbed an apple and put the kettle on. As she walked toward the living room, she shrieked in surprise. Lounging across Sherlock's armchair was the Marquis de Carabas. He was wearing his same black coat, a large lacy cravat and usual air of superiority. He grinned at Molly, pulling himself into a sitting position.
Molly tried to say something, but the words got stuck, mouth opening and closing soundlessly. So the Marquis jumped in. "And a good morning to you too, Molly, though it's nearly afternoon by now. I hope you filled the kettle all the way, I could use some refreshment" he said.
Molly finally managed to find her voice. "What are you doing here? I thought we weren't going to be able to see you any more, now that we're not part of London Below anymore …" she trailed off. She was getting worried that she would be dragged back to the Underside. Panic was rising in her chest.
"Oh Molly, you should know by now that I do as I please. Rules have never interested me. Besides, given our history, I suspect you will always be able to see me." He grinned once more, his teeth bright against the darkness of his skin. The kettle started to whistle and he looked pointedly toward the kitchen. Molly stumbled back to the kitchen and located some clean mugs. She fixed some tea, and then looked for some biscuits. She found a new box on the shelf labeled "Food Only! Or Else!"
She brought out the tea and biscuits and watched as the Marquis daintily sipped his tea. Her mind was racing and her hand shook slightly as she took a sip of tea. She decided to try again. "So, really, why are you here?" she asked.
The Marquis sniffed, she still had terrible manners. "Can't I come and visit an old friend without all this suspicion? I just wanted to check up on one of my oldest and dearest friends. Now, how have things been? And how is darling Sherlock? Still living together I see, quite modern of you both." He paused to sip some more tea and nibble on a biscuit. Molly stared at him, wondering if he honestly expected her to answer him.
Since Molly kept gawping at him like a fish, the Marquis continued. "Fine. Well, Door and Richard have been asking after you, they've decided to follow your splendid example and begin kissing and all sorts of other nonsense." He waved his hand, dismissing such foolishness with an eye roll. "They're planning on getting married soon, I've been told to offer you both an invite, but suspect your Sherlock will be less than eager to return to the Underside. I've brought you both a little present as well."
He stood then, revealing two small wrapped boxes, one in each hand. He handed the larger one to Molly. She hesitated, not sure that she wanted any sort of gift that the Marquis would bring. He pouted and tried to look like a wounded puppy. He wasn't nearly as good at it as Sherlock. Molly sighed and united the ribbon. She lifted the lid and gasped when she saw what was inside. It was the silver box that the Marquis had used to protect the egg she had made for him. She started to drop the box, but the Marquis deftly caught it.
"Molly! You must be more careful with such nice things," he chided.
"What the hell! I don't want that! Did you think I would make another egg for you?" she shrieked. She felt dirty having just touched it and began to wring her hands.
"Oh Molly, such dramatics are neither needed nor warranted. I give you the box because I no longer am interested in such things. Besides, there's something inside the box" he complained.
Molly cautiously opened the lid of the silver box. She was a little worried that she might find a snake inside or something worse, like a still beating heart. Instead she found a bright blue feather. She lifted the feather and turned it over in her hand. It didn't look dangerous, but then again, neither did the Marquis. She looked at the Marquis with a questioning glance.
"It's just something you might need, should you ever decide to come and visit your old chums in the Underside" said the Marquis loftily.
Molly placed the feather back inside the box and closed the lid. She set it on the mantel, near Sherlock's skull. "Thank you, I guess," she said. The Marquis sighed, wounded at her reaction. Honestly, it was a wonder he bothered to be so generous to such ingrates. Molly sat back down and drank some tea, watching the Marquis as he continued to nibble his way through most of a box of biscuits. They sat in silence for some time. It was now a little after noon. A few moments later, she heard running footsteps on the stairs. Sherlock burst through the door in his own typical dramatic fashion.
"Molly! You can't imagine what a waste of time this entire morning has been. If anyone had bothered to properly look at the man's socks, they would have seen that the man killed himself after making an amateurish attempt to disguise it as murder…" He continued talking as he walked through the flat. Molly stared at him, wondering when he was going to notice that she was not alone. Sherlock had removed his coat and walked back to the bedroom, talking all the while about his utter disappointment in Lestrade's latest case.
Sherlock came back through the kitchen, now wearing a worn pair of blue pajama pants and tee-shirt. He was still complaining about the case, wildly gesticulating as he moaned about the idiocy of the world in general. The Marquis was sniggering softly to himself, clearly amused at the situation. Sherlock was now pacing back and forth in the living room, oblivious to the presence of the other man. Molly decided she needed to intervene. She stood up, and grabbed one of Sherlock's hands mid-wave.
"Sherlock, um, did you notice anything different?" she asked. She knew it was a stupid start, but how else was she supposed to tactfully point out the large man sprawled across the other armchair? Sherlock looked at her for a second, worried that this was some sort of womanly test that he could never pass. Nothing about her was different; he would have seen it immediately. He squinted at her in confusion, thinking it better to stay silent. Molly sighed. "We have a guest" she said, pointing at the other armchair. Now that she had pointed it out, the Marquis de Carabas was painfully obvious. Sherlock jumped back slightly, horrified that he had been unable to see his former nemesis.
The Marquis stood and gave Sherlock an exaggerated bow and wicked grin. "Sherlock, how very marvelous to see you again." He winked and then sat back down. "I was just telling our dear Molly that everyone in London Below is doing well, Richard and Door are planning on getting married, blah blah blah." He waved his hands and rolled his eyes in disgust at such mundane matters. His face softened as he moved on to a new topic. "Ingress is also doing well; she has sent you a gift." He presented the gift box to Sherlock and waited. Sherlock took it suspiciously.
Molly watched as he lifted the lid. She hoped that the Marquis wasn't just playing a cruel joke. Sherlock removed a small object from the box. It was carefully wrapped in thin paper. He unwrapped the paper and looked at the little girl's gift. It was a beautifully painted miniature portrait of Ingress, wearing a white dress with blue ribbons and solemnly holding her violin. Sherlock breathed deeply as he looked at the lovely painting. It was done in the style of miniature portraits painted in the 18th century. The painting appeared to be painted on a sheet of ivory, but was in fact done on a cleverly manipulated piece of plastic. A gilded frame surrounded the girl's image.
"Door had portraits commissioned, and Ingress wanted to send one to you. I offered to paint the portraits, but due to my busy schedule, Door selected another artist." The Marquis shrugged at the foolishness of such a choice. Sherlock didn't notice. He was studying the portrait he held in his hands. Molly felt tears well up. It was a beautiful picture and it clearly meant a lot to Sherlock. He carefully placed the portrait next to his skull. He fidgeted a moment, straightening his shirt. He looked up and stretched out his hand to the Marquis. They shook hands.
"Thank you for bringing Ingress's gift to me. Please tell her that I …" Sherlock paused, searching for words. "Tell her that I like it very much and hope she is enjoying the violin" he finished. He was awash in emotions, and struggling to maintain control. Molly could feel his distress, and waited quietly. He would let her know when he was ready.
The Marquis smiled and nodded. "Yes, she's getting quite good at it, she may even be as good as I someday." Sherlock grimaced, but kept silent.
De Carabas stood, brushing imaginary lint from his black coat. "Yes, well, charming as your home may be, I am a very busy man, you know, so, I bid you both adieu." He bowed again and spun about suddenly, disappearing before their eyes.
Molly sat back down, watching Sherlock. He paced back and forth, running his hands through his hair. He spun around, a look of dawning horror on his face. "Do you think he spoke to Mrs. Hudson?" he whispered.
"No, I suspect he finds his own way to get into places where he doesn't belong" sighed Molly. Sherlock came back to her side and she reached out for his hand. He pulled her up close to him, pressing her to his side. She breathed in his warm scent. He rested his chin on the top of her head before pressing a kiss to her forehead. He stiffened as another horrible thought occurred to him.
"Do you think he will return?" he asked. Sherlock was alarmed at the thought of his adversary entering his home and possibly witnessing him and Molly engaged in intimate activities. He could clearly picture such an awful scene. His eyes unfocused as ideas swam in his mind.
"I don't know, I don't think so, he did claim to be very busy." Molly studied Sherlock's face. She could tell he was spinning more and more unpleasant scenarios in his mind. She decided to stop him from his worries. She ran a finger under the waistband of his pajamas. Then she slid a few more fingers in and reached lower. Sherlock looked pleased as he realized Molly's intentions. He grinned and kissed her passionately, then picked her up. Molly squealed in delight and tried to grab his lovely bum as he slung her over his shoulder. Sherlock practically dashed back to the bedroom and tossed Molly on their bed. She laughed and reached out to pull him onto the bed with her. They lay tangled together for a moment, staring into each other's eyes. Sherlock stroked Molly's cheek and smiled. They resumed kissing, both of them thoroughly enjoying every moment.
So this is the end, it was a lot of fun to write and I'm very glad that so many people have enjoyed this silly story of mine. Thank you to everyone who commented, I appreciated all the encouragement and advice. Please feel free to share any final thoughts/constructive criticism. I do have some short related stories that I wrote as I worked on this beast. I'll probably post them next week or so. I have started a sequel of sorts, but haven't gotten very far, so no promises there.