Molly shut her medicine cabinet and stared hard at the reflection in the mirror. She had finally stopped needing to apply extra concealer to hide the shadows under her eyes, her nights having been somewhat easier to sleep through. Not a strand of hair was out of place. If it weren't for the general mopiness about her eyes that she hadn't yet shed, she presented a fairly pleasant picture. She wrinkled her nose.
"Stop it," she scolded herself. "You knew it was probably going to go to shit all along anyway."
She arrived at her office to find a list of postmortems waiting for her for the day and a note that her input was needed on test results from the previous day's work. Shrugging into her lab coat, she gathered the paperwork she needed and made her way down the hall. When she walked the distance from her office to the lab, she knew, because she always knew, that he was there. There had been a careful avoidance for two weeks and there was no doubt in her mind that her schedule had been reviewed and accounted for. If he was here, it meant he was either on a case that could not idle until she was gone, or… She wouldn't put it past him to waltz in with indifference broadcast from every pore on his body.
She steeled herself outside of the lab.
I just need to grab the Henderson charts, she told herself. Just grab them and leave. Grab them and leave!
She swung the door open and bolted for the file waiting for her in the chart queue on the wall. Heart pounding, she made a quick about face and headed for the door.
"Hi, Molly," John greeted her, somewhat cheerful. She risked a glance up at him, Sherlock's form burning the edges of her vision.
"'Lo, John," she replied quickly, making a mad dash for the door. Once outside, she plastered herself to the wall and took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves and her anger.
Feeling like the most pathetic version of herself, she felt her skin begin to itch with irritation as she found herself hiding out in the morgue, completing a postmortem (natural causes) in record time. Lack of interruption or a need to use any tools besides her trained eye allowed for quick work. Her second postmortem called for a toxicology screen at the request of the family. At the very first hint of a thought that she would not be able to avoid the lab anymore, her irritation began to grow. She glared at her sample vials as she filled them. As she put Mrs. Winston back together, her mind came to one completely peeved conclusion: it was her lab and he had no business driving her out of it with his apathetic behavior.
This called for bold Molly, the Molly she'd finally been able to let out around him for more than just a split second of anger at his insistence her date was gay or he embarrassed her in front of all her friends. She rather liked that bold Molly had finally gotten comfortable around Sherlock.
Mind made up, she marched right into the lab, rack of vials in one hand and cup in the other. Settling the vials on the counter, she sat firmly on the stool directly next to Sherlock. She saw his eyes drop from the microscope and land on the steaming mug of black coffee sitting between them. A beat passed before he spoke.
"You didn't have to bring me coffee," he muttered
"I didn't," she said as she lifted the cup to her lips.
The clearing of a throat nearly made her jump and she looked up to see John in the corner of the room, chart held in his hands mid-read. She swallowed guiltily as she realized her little display had been witnessed. John looked between the two of them, eyes narrowing slightly before he returned to the charts.
They worked in silence for nearly an hour before a certain petri dish caused Sherlock to jump up from his stool, ripping his coat from the coat rack as he headed towards the door. Molly was sure he looked at her for just a moment too long as he did so.
"Sherlock?" John asked after him.
"Antibiotics in the fish," he said primly as he pulled on his coat. "The owner of the 'organic' seafood restaurant has been lying."
John hurried to put his own workstation back in order before grabbing his coat to follow Sherlock out the door, casting a sympathetic look at Molly.
"He's just… I don't know exactly," John stammered. "You know he's not particularly forthcoming with anything personal, but I'll - "
"John!" His booming voice carried down the corridor.
John rolled his eyes and put a comforting hand on Molly's.
"I'll talk to him," he promised.
With dinner planned at Mary's parents' for the evening, John was unable to keep his promise until the next day. He'd not frequented Baker Street as much in recent days, opting to join Sherlock at Bart's, NSY, or on the scene of the crime. One ill-timed visit had revealed a bit too much audio evidence of his previous suspicions of Sherlock and Molly's relationship. He'd waited for invitations after that incident.
But desperate times called for desperate measures. And if Sherlock's attitude on cases recently was any indication, this was a desperate time.
He hit the buzzer for Mrs. Hudson.
"Oh thank God you're here," Mrs. Hudson said conspiratorially as she hurried John inside. "He's been impossible."
Just then a loud crash emanated from the flat above, the sound of something shattering following soon after.
"Not your housekeeper!" she hollered up the stairwell, surprising John with her annoyance. "You break it, you clean it up!"
"How long has he been like this?"
"Almost two weeks. Needs a good shag if you ask me," Mrs. Hudson said critically as she looked at the ceiling, causing John's eyebrows to shoot to his hairline. "He's been a terror since that lovely Hooper girl stopped coming around. But I'm not going to be the one to tell him that."
John ascended the stairs in trepidation, walking in on as strange a scene as he'd ever encountered in 221B and that was saying something. Medieval weaponry was scattered throughout the room and it looked as though a table lamp had taken the worst of it from a small mace. Sherlock was standing in front of the fireplace, still in pyjamas and his dressing gown, with a long bow in his hand, arrow poised.
"Where, really, where did you get all of this?"
"Mycroft left his door unlocked," Sherlock said as he let the arrow go. It landed with a satisfying thwack in the chest of a dummy suspended over the couch. John took in the drawn in caricature of a face and the black umbrella tied to one of the hands.
"Oh this is healthy," he grumbled. "What exactly is this experiment?"
"Weapons markings," Sherlock told him as he nocked another arrow. "The chest is made of clay. I'll make castings later."
"When would anyone in this day and age ever use… oh piss it, what happened with Molly?"
"What makes you think anything happened, John?" Sherlock asked with derision, though his hand fumbled for another arrow from the set propped on his chair.
"Oh, I don't know, the fact that you can't get through five minutes without biting someone's head off, which is extreme even for you, except for the three hours we were at Bart's yesterday and you clammed up like… a clam," John finished lamely.
"What oratorical aptitude, John, how does your blog get the attention it does?"
"Don't change the subject," John insisted, stepping a bit closer to his friend. "You were actually in a fairly normal relationship with a woman, probably the best woman you could ever hope for in your life, and something happened. What did you do?"
"I turned it off," Sherlock said coolly, pulling the arrow back.
"You… turned it off."
"Like a spigot."
"You're a moron."
Sherlock let out a long suffering sigh and dropped the bow unceremoniously on the ground.
"It was necessity, John," he explained impatiently. "The best choice for her safety was to cut all ties, excepting any professional situation that might arise."
"Bullshit. Moriarty came after me, that didn't stop you from continuing our friendship… albeit after a year of faking your death, but that's not really the point here - " John suddenly stopped as he considered his friend. "Unless Molly's different."
Sherlock shifted uncomfortably under his knowing gaze.
"She is, isn't she?" John continued. "You really care for her, don't you?"
The silence spoke more than anything Sherlock could have said.
"Fix it, Sherlock," John advised him pointedly. "Don't fuck this one up."
"He shagged you and then left?" Mary asked with an incredulous look.
Molly gave her a tight smile and nodded her head.
"Fuck me," Mary said, not missing a beat as she took the cups of tea from the table, deposited them on Molly's kitchen counter, and whisked a bottle of vodka from her freezer, plunking two shot glasses down to replace the cups. She filled them both and raised her glass to Molly.
"Here's hoping John cleans his clock again," she said.
"If he doesn't, I just might," Molly replied as she lifted her glass to clink against Mary's, letting the liquor sear down her throat in harsh comfort.
A day passed and Molly read her way through a day off, intending to catch up on recent publications in the medical field. Mary had been nothing but supportive as Molly purged every detail of a relationship she had felt obligated to keep tucked close to her heart. Her friend swore secrecy, albeit amongst a few choice words for Sherlock.
As the day wore on, Molly's mind grew tired of abstracts and Latin words. She set her laptop on the coffee table and made her way to the office for the first time in nearly a month. She had never bothered to set the bench correctly and she sat awkwardly on the end, fingers feeling over the keys. She picked out some silly melody that didn't make any sense until she settled on Bach's Suite in G minor. Originally meant for the cello, but it had always been a favorite and she had altered it accordingly.
The press of his chest against her back barely even fazed her (unless the leap of her heart and subsequent shiver through her skin could be considered). She'd felt his presence long before he settled on the bench behind her.
"Forgive me," he murmured against her ear. Her hands stilled on the keys. "I was… beyond idiotic. I've been reliably informed by John that being an idiot is a common behavior when people are in love."
Her breath caught in her throat. His mouth lowered to brush his lips against the curve of her neck.
"I am in love with you, Molly… please, forgive me."
Molly turned on the bench, sliding one leg deftly over the smooth surface to straddle it. With narrowed eyes, she poked a finger into his chest, causing him to frown.
"Now let me get a few things straight with you," she started. "One, we are beyond the point in our relationship where you get to use a bit of flowery language after you've been a prat and suddenly get me to bend to your every will. Two, you have been a massive idiot and it would serve you right if I let you suffer a long while for it." She paused and took a shaky breath. "And three, you are my idiot, and for reasons that no one, including myself, sometimes, can understand, I love you more than anyone. Always have. But if you ever, ever run off like that again and shut me out, I will make sure you never place another toe inside Bart's as long as you live."
Sherlock blinked at her, head raised in full attention.
"I'd be more worried about never placing a toe, or any other part of my anatomy, in your home again," he said.
"Flowery language," she said with an edge of a warning.
"I mean it, Molly," he replied, voice lowered in seriousness. His gaze dropped down, his hand reaching out to brush absently against her arm. "You… became something to me that I have no experience with. An unknown, a variant. Those are puzzling things. The thought of loosing you, or you leaving… frightened me. I reacted badly to an emotion I have very little experience with."
"Love? Or fear?"
She considered him for a moment before her eyes softened. Brushing a stray curl away from his forehead, she leaned forward and kissed him gently.
"Does this mean I am forgiven?" he asked against her lips. "I've no past history of 'making up' with someone, as John put it, I'm afraid the social conduct is lost on me."
"I dunno," she said slowly. "You've been pretty awful. You might need to be punished a bit more… I think I have the proper tools for that upstairs…"
His eyes shot up to hers and she saw the leap of his pulse below the skin in his neck.
Sherlock was fairly certain he'd never had proper appreciation for what a pair of handcuffs and a riding crop were truly capable of until that night.
They had meant to keep things discrete for while.
It was her own fault, really, that it didn't happen that way. Working an evening shift while he was on a case, she wore the perfume she knew he like, plaited her hair to the side in the style he'd enjoyed tugging at, wore the white blouse that hinted at the lace bra beneath. She may as well have sprayed pheromones all over as she passed him in the hall, sparing a coy smile as he followed Lestrade to some other part of the hospital. Ten minutes later, he found her outside the morgue and dragged her in and because he was Sherlock and she would never in her life be able to resist the fact that he wanted her, she didn't protest when he kissed her and walked her back into one of the tables. With his help, she hopped onto the metal surface and instinctually cradled his hips between her legs, hands slipping under the smooth fabric of his blazer. Her lab coat was off her shoulders before she could even register what was happening, her mind otherwise occupied with the feeling of his lips on her neck.
The door flying open nearly gave them both whiplash in their haste to see who it was. Lestrade stared at them with his jaw on the floor.
"Not my circus, not my monkeys," he cried, throwing his hands up in the air as he made an about face and rushed from the room.
Sherlock furrowed his brow.
"Bit not good," he said as he looked at her with mischievous smirk.
"And for once, Sherlock, it would be wise to not correct the behavior…"
Holy TARDIS of Gallifrey, it's finished! I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for the encouragement and reviews and simply finding the story interesting enough to read. Gratitude beyond measure, truly.
I've got a few ideas in mind for the next Sherlolly story, but I am always open to suggestions and prompts if anyone feels inclined - I'm even open to a bit/hint of Johnlock should that be anyone's fancy.
In the meantime, I've got another story posted - "Stutter" - go check it out if you haven't already!