A/N: It's not close to PetraTodd's wonder of smut, but I felt the need some Alpha Sherlock. So much praise to MizJoely for beta-ing!

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

It happens slowly and almost entirely unnoticed. Sherlock Holmes, for all that he is one of the single most perceptive creatures in the vast, wide universe, is shockingly not the one to notice it. (If he had, he would have made public and incredibly humiliating deductions about it: the fact that he remained silent on the matter proved it had crawled in under his radar.) It stays in the shadows, lurking and unseen, until John Watson attempts to casually putter around the kitchen in his usual, I want to talk about something but don't know how to bring it up sort of way.

"Um, Sherlock," he says, waiting on the kettle to boil. "I was...I was wondering about Molly."

Stationary at his microscope, Sherlock debates pretending to be in his mind palace. But John would know it for a lie – only moments ago he had agreed to a cup of tea – and his interest had been piqued. Molly Hooper? John is asking after Molly...but why?

The only logical conclusion that Sherlock can come to is John's wish to ask his fellow doctor on date. Which is mad, as there is no reason why he would need to bring the subject up with Sherlock. Oh, unless he thought Sherlock might be...annoyed? Upset? Nonsense. Why would it bother him?

(He aggressively ignores exactly how bothered he is at the thought.)

"Were you?" he asks, voice perhaps just a shade deeper, tone just a hint darker, as he lifts his gaze up to spear his blogger with it.

"Yeah, well...the thing is, Sherlock, I've noticed – well, actually, we've all noticed, that you –"

"All?"

" – have been – what?" Ripped out of the flow of his words, John bobs in the water for a moment. "All of what?"

"All, you said, 'we've all noticed,' which indicates a group of which you are a part. Who is this all?"

"Oh, I did?" The scowl John wears is one he wears often; it says, clearly, I fucking hate it when you do that, you dick. "Well, you know...me, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft –"

"Mycroft? Why have you been talking to Mycroft?"

"Because someone doesn't like to answer his bloody phone, that's why."

The impending argument is cut off by the kettle shrieking in that painful, comforting way it has. John prepares the tray (they are both in the kitchen and thus there is no need for it, but the motions seem to calm him, so Sherlock refrains from pointing out how absurd it is). "The thing is," John picks steam back up while pouring for them both, "I – yeah, we – we've all noticed that you've been spending quite a lot of time with Molly since you came back."

"Of course I have been." Sherlock hopes his expression is every bit as annoyed as he actually is. "Molly and I are friends, we work well together, and she's almost completely stopped stammering." Is it truly so astonishing that he is friendly with someone who happens to be a woman? What do they all think of him?

"Yes, I know, but – the thing is –"

"Oh, spit it out, John. This culture isn't going to study itself," snaps Sherlock, while simultaneously accepting his tea. (It's a wonder John doesn't toss the scalding liquid in his face.)

"You've been smelling her, and its getting weird." Spreading his hands, John takes a stance of confrontation. "You threatened Anderson with physical violence when you caught him in the morgue flirting with her –"

"Someone had to save the poor woman!" Sherlock somehow manages to spit out, even past the lump of astonishment in his throat. "And I don't smell her. Not any more than I smell anyone or anything else."

"You smell her, Sherlock. You get right behind her, and..." Hovering his hand below his chin, an approximation of where the back of Molly's head would be were Sherlock standing behind her, and takes a great sniff of air. He even twitches his eyes, as though he's fighting the impulse to flutter them shut. "You do that, and I'm telling you, Mrs. Hudson thinks it's so indecent she had to have a lay down after she saw it."

"Perhaps I was admiring her perfume?" asks Sherlock, edgily. He does not like where this conversation is headed. "What's so terribly indecent about that?"

"Because sometimes you, well, you growl at her."

Sherlock, for lack of a better and more refined reaction, gapes. Openly. "What?" he asks, as dangerously close to a squeak as he can come. "I don't growl, I am not a dog."

"You growl, Sherlock. Kind of like...like..." Making a low, rasping gurgle, deep in his throat, John attempts mimicry before violently slashing the air with his hands. "No! I can't do it, but it's a growl, alright, I've asked everyone who's heard it, and they agree. You growl at Molly Hooper, and I think it's time we had a conversation about Bon –"

"Don't you dare say it," warns Sherlock, thrusting one long finger at his best friend. "No. And who have you been speaking these vile and vicious lies to?"

"Angelo, for one." Nodding, John gestures, as though Angelo is standing right behind him. "Yeah. When we all went to dinner after we solved the case with cannibal chef, you remember?"

"We did not solve a case, John. I solved it, you were both merely there while it happened."

John twitches, but ignores Sherlock's assertion. "Angelo noticed when that bloke with the fluffy hair was trying to chat Molly up, and you got all defensive."

"He was married, John. Was I not supposed to tell her?"

"Lestrade's noticed it, and Anderson –"

"Oh, well, if Anderson believes it, it must be true." Sherlock glowers.

"You bring her food. You never used to bother, did you? But now, when we're going to be working quite a while, you always bring her something. You let her wear your coat." Both sets of eyes in the room turn involuntarily towards the Belstaff, unseen but a palpable presence, hanging mutely with Sherlock's scarf.

"She was cold," Sherlock answers, though maybe he's just a shade less defensive than he should be. He does like how, even now, he can sometimes catch faint whiffs of Molly's scent from his coat. More than that, he quite enjoys it when Molly smells like him. But that's a blow-by of staying with her on-and-off while he was chasing down Moriarty's empire, and setting fire to it all. Isn't it?

Doubt begins to creep in, swiftly followed by panic, which hides behind its older brother, anger.

"So, what? Just because I happen to be an Alpha, and she happens to be an Omega, now I'm obviously fawning over her? Afraid I'm going to – to toss her across a lab table and have my way with her? Hmm? Or maybe you're worried you'll come home and find us in the living room, knotted?"

John hisses in a breath, so shocked he actually takes a step back. Even Sherlock winces after he speaks, biting the inside of his cheek. Seen as both sacred and completely filthy, knotting just isn't talked about, not outside of raunchy movies, historical texts, and biology classes.

The two men stare at each other, intensely uncomfortable with the subject Sherlock has pulled out into the open. In desperation, Sherlock plunges on. "Molly and I grew close during the time I was in hiding, and I won't apologize for it. She has been nothing but a good friend to me; more than that, she quite literally saved my life. Neither will I apologize for the fact that yes, John, that is part of who I am, no matter how I do not fit popular culture's representation of a male Alpha. I am sensitive to scent, and of course Molly's is pleasing to me; she is a dear friend. But to suggest that I am one of her heat cycles away from brutally ravaging her –"

"No, no, you've misunderstood. We – I – I just think that maybe you've grown more attached to Molly than you might have realized. And I thought, perhaps, we needed to discuss Bonding. Or just dating in general." Ears turning red, John tries to smooth over what this topic of conversation has led to. Unfortunately for him, the damage is done.

Wordlessly, Sherlock stands. Still in his pajamas, he marches to the living room, and pulls on his coat.

"No, Sherlock, don't. I'm sorry I even brought it up, okay?"

Now involved in arranging his scarf, Sherlock firmly ignores him. He realizes halfway down the staircase that he's left the flat wearing his slippers, but is far too stubborn to turn back. He hails a cab, ignoring John's head sticking from the window, and his shouting.

He gives the driver Molly's address before flopping back, sulking darkly.

-X-

Upon the completion of cleaning her bathroom, Molly exits the now sparkling, sterilized room to find Sherlock on her couch. She hadn't heard him come in, but that was nothing new; not long after faking his death, he had a copy of the keys to her door and deadbolt made. Since then he seems to make it a point to appear randomly, mostly when Molly least expects him.

By the look of it, he's in one of his moods. Wearing an expression that speaks of a toddler in the midst of a tantrum (I'm never speaking to you again, so there!), Sherlock lies on his back and attempts to glare a hole in the ceiling. Toby lies curled on his stomach, purring contentedly.

Toby, Molly learned much to her displeasure, loves Sherlock. He doesn't tolerate him, as he does her; instead he follows Sherlock room-to-room, and seems convinced he must be touching the consulting detective anytime Sherlock isn't in motion. He even chases the ties of Sherlock's dressing gown when he paces, which turns the whole thing into an event so hysterical Molly has trouble breathing past her laughter.

"Look at that face," she comments as she passes through the living room, on her way into the kitchen. "One day it's going to stick like that, and then where will you be?"

"Don't be foolish, Molly; permanent facial paralysis would cause my facial muscles to become deadened, not remain in an expression of deep thought."

"Oh, deep thought, is that what they're calling it now?" Putting away her cleaning supplies doesn't take long, and neither does washing her hands. "Looks more like a pout, to me. Do you want a glass of water?"

"Molly Hooper, I do not pout. And no, thank you."

"Sherlock Holmes, you pout more than my nieces and nephew combined. Don't deny it. Who's insulted your massive intellect this time, then? Mycroft? John?" On her return trip into the lounge, Molly catches Sherlock's faint flinch. "It was John, wasn't it."

"I detest how observant you've become," grumbles Sherlock, lifting his head and shoulders. Molly takes a seat on the sofa, one ankle tucked under the opposite thigh before Sherlock collapses against her, head in her lap. By now, it is a familiar pose to them. "We had a row. A row about you."

Doubly shocked (Sherlock is rarely this forthcoming when he's one of his moods), Molly spends a long moment blinking at nothing. Her? John and Sherlock had a fight about her? "Why?" she asks, taking a quick sip of her cold water, before sitting on the end table. "Did I...did I do something to upset John?"

Honestly, she can't imagine what it was. Oh yes, things were tense for the first few weeks after Sherlock returned, but all that is behind them. They had a nice row, they both cried, and John thanked her for saving Sherlock and keeping him safe; Molly thanked him for taking Sherlock back at 221B, as he had spent the past two years driving her completely mad. So what could it be?

"It's stupid," Sherlock snorts. "He's stupid. You didn't do anything."

"John isn't stupid," Molly chastises, dipping her fingers into Sherlock's curls. He relaxes slightly at the touch, eyes moving up to meet Molly's. "What's happened?"

"I...he thinks..." Struggling for words isn't a state Molly is used to seeing Sherlock in. The look on his face isn't just anger, now, and not even resentment; it's outright embarrassment, much like a teenager getting caught snogging by a parent. "He thinks we're...that I have feelings for you. He says I growl at you."

A flush of humiliation makes Sherlock's cheeks rosy as he grumbles, "I don't growl. I am not an animal."

For a moment, Molly wants to go to Baker Street and smack John Watson one. Out of all people, he knows that Sherlock struggles with his biological make-up and urges, more than most Alphas ever have. He rebels violently at the popular image of a male Alpha, a man who is all muscle and lust and instinct, a man who puts his body far before his brain.

"You aren't an animal, not at all," Molly reassures him, lengthening the stroke of her fingers through his hair, the brush of her short nails against his scalp. "Maybe you do rumble occasionally, but that doesn't make you less of a man. It's part of who and what you are, he can't expect you to not show any signs whatsoever of being an Alpha." Pausing, she tries to work out what she wants to say next.

"The thing is, he's not like us. You know? He doesn't understand. I'm an Omega, and just like any other Omega, I am somewhat appealing to you on a biological level. Now that we've become friends, you...you've become comfortable with me. It's instinct. You can't turn it off. That's not bad, though, it's just...part of who we are." Wincing, Molly wishes (not for the first time), that she was better with words. That explaining herself came easily, like it does with Sherlock, who can speak so eloquently even when he's tearing someone apart. "It doesn't mean what John thinks it means, is what I'm trying to say."

"Yes," answers Sherlock quietly, his gaze gone thoughtful. "I do know. Thank you, Molly."

"I don't know what John was thinking," Molly continues, her thoughts tumbling recklessly forward as they so often do. "It's not as though you and I...well...as though that would ever happen between us."

Sherlock goes rigid. All the fluidity coaxed into his limbs by Molly's attempts at soothing him, both with words and playing with his hair, evaporates like water into mist. "Why? Is there something terribly illogical about it? You once wanted me a great deal. I could smell it. Sometimes I still can."

True to form, Molly's tongue ties itself up in knots. She doesn't quite know how to answer; Sherlock's ego is so incredibly fragile, and she's just wounded it. As massive as the thing is, she's surprised at how easily it's punctured.

"Not illogical, no. I – I just mean that you don't – you don't see me like that. As a woman. Which is fine, because I know you don't see anyone like that. Not anyone! I know you had a...that you identified Irene Adler by not her face, so, obviously. So, of course I know th-that you do, um, do. Things. With women. Just not with me. Not with most people. Only with a few. One? Maybe? It's rare, I know that." Groaning, Molly presses the heal of her palm to her forehead. Christ, it's not fair how bungled up she gets around Sherlock. She doesn't want to know how much of an idiot he really thinks she is, though she does imagine.

Sherlock sits up, and Toby hisses at being jostled to the floor; tail in the air, he swishes angrily to a patch of sunlight, collapsing there to clean his genitals while giving Sherlock the stink eye. Molly takes the sight of Sherlock in, panic welling up in her stomach.

"Did you really wear your dressing gown and pajamas over here?" she asks, finally registering his clothing.

"I left in a hurry," answers Sherlock, lifting his nose in the air. "I'm hungry, now."

Grateful for the change of subject, no matter how abrupt. Molly leaps to her feet. Busying herself in the kitchen (keeping away from Sherlock) sounds positively heavenly right now.

-X-

Contained in the backseat of a cab and on their way to Bart's, John attempts to be as casual as possible. He takes from his pocket a twice folded sheaf of papers, passing them companionably to Sherlock. The consulting detective blinks twice at them, caught somewhere between annoyance and suspicion. "Just something I thought you might find interesting," says John, giving Sherlock and a smile and shrug before he turns his attention to his phone.

His apparent disinterest in Sherlock's reaction doesn't fool the detective one bit. The tension in John's shoulders and the faint, nervous jiggling of his left leg tell a story of hyper-awareness and anxiousness, as clear to Sherlock as incoherent shrieking and jumping up and down.

"If this is another attempt to help me find a 'reasonable hobby' to keep the boredom away in between cases, I must assure you that this will be as much a failure as your last attempts." Still, Sherlock unfolds the papers, curious to see what John has thought up for him to try this time.

He does not find a helpful guide to bee-keeping or sports or even war reenactments. Instead he finds, much to his surprise, a treasure trove of information on asexuality. And more than that, assurances that an asexual being may have a relationship with a sexual being, so long the lines of communication and expectations are open and clear.

"I just thought you might find some of that helpful," says John, still not looking at Sherlock. "And so you would know it's okay. You know, if this is what's going on. And I'm sure Molly would be willing to...to work and invest in a relationship, even if it wasn't what society falsely considers 'normal.'" Suddenly appearing proud, John finally looks up, smiling almost boyishly at Sherlock as he bobs his head.

Inexplicably, Sherlock is touched. Irritated, yes; John really has no business forcing his way into such matters, but it is a sign of how deeply he cares for his friend. Sherlock may not be an expert at friendships, but he does know that what John does, he does with only the best of intentions.

"An asexual alpha. That's what you think I am?" he questions, quirking up one eyebrow.

John shrugs. "Why not? I've read about a few. Things may happen when their Omega goes into heat, yeah, but that's biology, it doesn't mean they're not asexual. I'm just saying, you know? If anyone would be willing to give it a go, it'd be Molly."

"Thank you for the concern, but I assure you, it's misplaced." Mouth twitching, Sherlock attempts to find the proper phrasing. "My disinclination to act on sexual urges does not mean they are not there. A thoughtful gesture, but unneeded."

Humming a wordless answer, John shrugs, going back to his phone. "Well, if you change your mind, or have questions. Or something. I'm always here. Okay? We can talk about anything."

The remainder of the cab ride is done in silence, though Sherlock makes sure to roll his eyes and huff a few times, just so John doesn't get it in his head that they need to have regular conversations involving 'emotions' and 'feelings' in reference to Molly Hooper. Or anyone, actually.

Once arriving at St. Bart's and making their way to the lab, they find Molly at a microscope. Her greeting is absented minded and vague; clearly she's analyzing interesting samples from her latest 'patient.' Sherlock considers nudging her aside and looking, assured he would find the answer quicker than she would (not an insult, simply a fact), but he recalls hot coffee poured in his lap and all his experiments being thrown away or contaminated. Deciding it's best to leave Molly on her own, he simply nods in greeting before taking the area next to Molly's, a bit put out at being forced to the secondary and older microscope, but unwilling to make Molly move.

"Oh, good," John mutters, perhaps ten minutes later. Or has it been longer? Irrelevant; Sherlock eyes the virus in his slide intensely, attempting to determine what it mutated from. "So glad I was brought along to sit on my arse and twiddle my thumbs."

Sherlock grunts.

"Sorry," says Molly, and Sherlock takes the time look at her from the corner of his eye. She's still frowning, and her eyes are distant. But she tries to smile, and looks directly at John. "You can go in my office, if you'd like. I have some books, you can use my computer..."

"I'll go to the cafeteria. Thanks, though."

John leaves. More silence. Sherlock tries to focus on his work, and finds it hard. He keeps thinking of John's assumptions, of Molly's assurances that there is nothing more than friendship between them. But why does he? There are far too many emotions and unknowns, and he isn't sure about any of it.

"John believes me to be asexual." Gaze firmly on his work, Sherlock listens to Molly's surprised sputtering.

"I – what? Did he tell you that?"

"He gave me information on asexual romantic relationships with sexuals." A pause, in which his mouth goes oddly dry (maybe he's becoming ill?), the silence corrupted by the sound of Molly's shoe squeaking against the run of lab stool. "He wanted to assure me that he believes you willing to work at a relationship with me, even if I am asexual."

Another pause. This time, Sherlock wants to find Molly's gaze, to read her thoughts and unspoken body language. He doesn't give in to the urge, not even when Molly knocks an empty petri dish from the table with her elbow.

"What?" she squeaks, toppling from her stool to pick the dish up. She crouches there, and when Sherlock finally allows himself to look, she's on her knees peering up at him, her eyes huge and somehow unfathomable. "Are...are you? Asexual?"

Annoyance tightens his gut. Is this what she thinks of him? After growing so close, Sherlock can't imagine that she would believe it. Oh yes, he does his best to keep his distance from sex – so messy, far too many attachments – but it should go without saying that he is hot blooded enough for it. That he is human, and certainly Alpha enough for baser desires.

"Of course not," he answers, far more scathing than necessary. "Don't be stupid, Molly, it's beneath you."

She flinches, blushes, and stands. Her fingers begin twisting the dish round and round, nervously. "How was I to know? Or John, even? You...you're not exactly forthcoming, Sherlock."

"And oddly enough, you've also told me I'm too blunt. What an unsuited combination."

"Pointing out the secrets of everyone around you isn't the same as sharing your own." There's heat in Molly's words, a low simmer of frustration. Not anger, not really, but it has the promise of turning into it. This change in emotions kicks up her body heat, releases endorphins and hormones, makes Molly smell like something sweet and tart and badly wanted.

Of course, it only serves to make Sherlock equally as frustrated as she is. (Useless! he rages internally, Pheromones! Scent! What's the bloody point of this nonsense?)

"I'm not trying to be mean, or...or start a fight. But there's no reason for you to be...well, to be an ass, just because I don't know something you've never told me, or even tried to make clear."

It's been in the back of Sherlock's mind for weeks, ever since John's first 'conversation' with him about Molly; or maybe it's been lurking around for far longer, since the long nights after he died, sitting with his back against Molly's bedroom door and smelling her everywhere, everywhere. The hair would raise on the back on his neck and arms, because sometimes he could hear soft noises, sighs and smothered cries and electronic hums, and even after hot water and liberal amounts of soap, in the mornings he could still smell herself on Molly's fingers as she passed him. He thought about it too much when she would make his toast, pass him tea, lean against the counter and nibble her own bit of food.

"Is that so?" he asks, voice tight and clipped. He stands quickly, and Molly watches him with huge, dark eyes. She takes a step back, drops the petri dish after he's come close enough to grip her around her narrow waist.

"What are you doing?" Voice gone high from shock, she doesn't even try to flail out of his grasp. She simply allows him to lift her to the table, to push files and notes and pens to floor. Pushing her knees apart, Sherlock steps between them, anchoring a hand at the back of her neck.

It isn't about sex, he's very sure of that. It's simply about showing Molly that while he may not indulge, he is still capable of it. (Perhaps it irks him more than it should to be thought of as incapable, for any reason.)

"Making it clear," he answers, before lowering his head. He waits just long enough for Molly to see the intention in his eyes, the set of his mouth; he watches as her pupils expand, as her chest lifts moments before she exhales shakily. Her chin lifts, a fraction of an amount, and her hand rises to wrap in the front of his suit coat.

Undeniably pleased at her acceptance, while on the same hand wishing she'd slapped him hard enough to shock sense back into him, Sherlock kisses her. Her lips are slightly parted, damp and soft; he catches her bottom lip between his own, runs his tongue across it and follows it with a soft swipe of his teeth. She gives a noise, more tasted than heard, and finally moves against him, with him.

Sherlock has a moment to realize how incredibly unwise all this is, how stupid he is for giving in to pride and acting to prove himself a 'man', but logical thought is very quickly pushed away. Lust is a jagged razor in his gut as Molly's hand leaves his jacket to curl at his neck. Her touch is gentle, soft, fingertips running up a tendon, tracing the line of his jaw up and back again, following the curve of his ear.

The growl rumbles up from the depths of Sherlock's chest, travels into Molly and invokes a sweet whine. Her head tips even further back, and Sherlock is far too close to savage as he takes advantage of his new angle, of the way she's gone liquid and languid in his grasp.

He wraps his arm around her waist, pushes the hand at her neck up, until his fingers are in Molly's hair, leaving him in control of her. She follows his tugs and pulls and the strength of his fingers, the thrust of his tongue and scrape of his teeth.

"Fuck," she spits out, breathless, when Sherlock drops his attention to her neck, a long, pale expanse. Her scent is stronger here,and the skin is so, so soft. He wants to mark it, to leave a sign on her that Sherlock Was Here and Property Of.

Alarm bells go off, dimly, clanging in the back of his head. This isn't good, isn't good at all – but now she's got her ankles hooked behind his legs, has pulled herself to the edge of the table. Hips rock against Sherlock's, and he can't breathe or think or do anything other than scrabble for more skin. It takes far too long to find it, to yank up the ill-fitted blouse, to thrust his hand under it and run his fingers over the tender expanse of her stomach.

Strength of will and common sense intrude, terrified and furious. Hot blooded, throbbing, and wanting nothing more than to fuck Molly Hooper into a shrieking, trembling mess in the morgue lab of St. Bart's, Sherlock somehow backs away. He bangs into the counter and shelves behind them before he really knows he is moving, breathing heavily and watching Molly; dark red mark on her neck, mouth swollen, clothing and hair ruffled and untidy.

For a moment Sherlock closes his eyes, focuses on her scent; she smells like want and cunt and sweet, willing Omega. His hackles raise, his knees weaken, but somehow he doesn't go back to her. Instead he says, eyes still shut, "I can smell you. I always can. When I stayed with you, and you would fuck yourself. I knew." A moment, a rasp of breath, a memory of the angry shame that came with every unbidden fantasy of sneaking inside Molly's dark room and slipping his tongue in the place her fingers or dildo had been.

"Not acting on that knowledge doesn't mean it didn't provoke desires. But I'm...married to my work, and I have no place in my life for this." He finally opens his eyes, finally looks at her. Molly is still ruffled and breathing heavily, though her hands are now clenching the edge of the table she sits on. He sees how white knuckled she is, thinks he can read her emotional state by her eyes and mouth and the tremble of her lips.

It takes several jerking nods before Molly can find the strength to speak. "Y-yes. Alright..I see."

Neither of them move, and the air crackles with tension. What Sherlock wants to do is to lock the lab door and take Molly until neither of them can stand. Even more than this, he desires to take her home, to silence and privacy, to make her scream and beg and cry for his knot. He wonders how good she feels, what it would be to know her taste, to hear his name from her as she cums.

Molly slides from the table, though she hangs on to it, as if she's afraid she'll fall without support.

Quite without his permission, Sherlock's lips peel back, baring his teeth. "I didn't tell you to move," he snaps, and every muscle in his body has gone tight. He actually quivers with the force it takes to stop himself from lunging at her like an animal.

"I didn't think I needed your permission for anything." Up goes Molly's chin, shoulders rigid. She takes a step forward, than another, and the whole time she's looking him right in the eye, daring. She knows, she has to know, that this rankles every instinct inside Sherlock's already tormented body. Defiance from an Omega, an assertion that he is not in ownership of her –

Hand flying out, he takes Molly by the throat. He feels her swallow, hard, but she doesn't smell like fear. She doesn't even flinch backwards. She just looks at him. "You're married to your work." Half mocking, half serious, Molly repeats his words back. "You've got no place in your life for this. Let me go, Sherlock, and prove it."

He flinches backwards, the counter biting into the back of this thighs. In contrast, his hand tightens; not close to choking, but firm. Thumb rubbing across the ridge of one collarbone, Sherlock tries to sort himself out. Molly watches, calm as still water, smelling like sin and redemption alike, waiting. She doesn't push away or lean towards him, does nothing to influence his choice, and for that Sherlock finds he respects her even more than the already substantial amount he did before.

Listing forward, Sherlock sighs as he bends, dropping his forehead gently against Molly's. "What am I going to do with you?" he asks, before kissing the side of her mouth, her jaw, and finally the clever point of her nose.

"I have a few suggestions." It seems that Molly tries to smile, and fails; instead she's drifting further into Sherlock, following the pressure of his hand as he lightly pulls.

"There wasn't much today, but I got you some lunch, Molly. I know Sherlock grumbles when you go off to lunch while he's here. It's supposed to be a salad and lasagna, but I dunno, looks a bit like rubber to me..." Carrying two Styrofoam boxes, with two bottles of water tucked under one arm, John halts only three steps into the lab.

His eyes are so wide they appear in danger of falling out.

Sherlock doesn't let Molly pull away from him, even though she jumped at John's voice and struggled lightly. Instead he runs his mouth along her jaw one more time before pulling back, focusing on her eyes and the frantic throb of the pulse at her throat.

"Oh," says John, and then, "Oh. Did I interrupt something?"

"Eat," Sherlock orders quietly. "You'll need your strength."

"Strength?" echoes John, his leer out of place with the chipper tone he uses. "Oh my God, were you two snogging?"

"Lasagna, hmm?" asks Molly, pulling at her lab coat and blouse before turning to face John. She's visibly flustered, and nearly trips on her way to take the food from him. "Thanks a lot, I appreciate lunch, John. That's very thoughtful."

"Yeah, no problem. Were you snogging Sherlock?"

Molly practically bolts for her office. John watches her, before turning back to Sherlock, who has once again settled himself at his microscope. He hopes he appears as emotionless and unruffled as he usually does.

"You dog," chortles John, slinking over to Sherlock. Dropping his food to the lab table, he gives Sherlock a chuck on the shoulder before pulling up a stool. "I knew something was going on in that funny old head of yours."

"Something always is," Sherlock agrees, though with a rather acidic tone. "And don't be childish, John."

"Fuck you mate, I earned the right," answers John mildly, eyes twinkling with unrestrained glee.