Sherlock Holmes was a bloody fool. Or at least, that was what John Watson had told him after Molly left the flat embarrassed.
"Obviously trying to compensate for the size of her mouth and breasts…"
Sherlock cringed inwardly. He couldn't believe that he had uttered those words. What made it worse was the present he was cruelly teasing Molly about was actually meant for him. For him. No one really bothers to give him presents and judging by his behaviour tonight, he could understand why.
Sherlock didn't know what had come over him. He remembered seeing Molly entering 221B in a black dress obviously to impress. He noticed her meticulously wrapped present and was quick to deduce a new boyfriend. He realised that he didn't like the idea of Molly having another man in her life. Granted, he was not her boyfriend (he hated that word) but he always felt like she was his. He didn't like sharing, not at all. He didn't want Molly to think about someone else.
So he had acted meanly.
And hurt her.
Sherlock leaned back on his bed and tried to block out the noise that was drifting from the living room. He could hear Mrs Hudson offering cookies to John and his girlfriend, whose name he had forgotten again. He closed his eyes and entered his mind palace, wanting to detach himself from the festivities. He hated Christmas.
He walked slowly through his mind palace, visiting the information in the different palace rooms. He went into a room about soil specimens and another one about spider breeds. Gradually, he felt himself relaxing. He walked past a few more rooms before halting in front of one.
He never really knew when Molly Hooper had a room to herself. When he first met her three years ago, he only allocated her a mere shelf in his large palace. She was easy to read and wasn't important enough for him to bother with her. But Molly loved telling him about her family and herself when they were working. She would reveal snippets of information, hoping that he would take notice of her. He didn't of course. Not outwardly anyway. But overtime, he had unconsciously latched onto all her words and when her shelf began to overflow, it was only logical to give her a personal room.
And suddenly he knew just what to do to fix the situation with Molly.
Maybe it was the joyful music blasting from Mrs Hudson's radio or the sweet smell of cookies in the air, but Sherlock was feeling more sentimental than usual. Grabbing his coat from the chair, he whisked out of 221B before the rest of them could ask him where he was going.
Molly sat on the park bench, the cold wind slapping her cheeks sharply. Her hands were numb from the cold. Not that she cared. She had never felt so embarrassed in her life. She wondered why she was stupid enough to dress up for him. He would never notice her. He was the great Sherlock Holmes and she was just Molly Hooper. Plain and ordinary Molly Hooper. The pathologist that he seeks out only when he needs help with one of his bloody experiments. He probably didn't even open the present that she had given him since he was interrupted by some text message. She felt a lump in her throat.
She suddenly missed her father dearly.
Her mother died when she was young and since Molly was an only child, it was always just dad and her. He used to pack some hot chocolate and they would roam the park, enjoying the chill winter air and each other's company. She sighed loudly and blinked back tears. It had been three years since her dad died. And she had never felt lonelier.
"Molly?" a soft, baritone voice drifted from her right.
Molly immediately knew that it was Sherlock and was shocked that he was here. She melted a bit at the sound of his soft voice, but she was still angry with him and decided to ignore him. Sherlock ruffled his curly hair in frustration before taking a seat beside her. He handed her a Starbucks cup.
"I thought you'd want some hot chocolate."
Molly started. She was already surprised that he knew where to find her. Granted, she did tell him about her Christmas tradition before, but she never expected him to remember. And that he actually took enough notice to bring her a cup of hot chocolate was starting to mollify her. She shot him a glance and saw that he looked somewhat remorseful. His face didn't habour any of the harshness that it did when he was deducing her just now. Oh what the heck, Molly thought.
"Thanks," she said, taking the cup from him.
Sherlock gave her a soft smile, something very uncharacteristic of him. Must be the festivities, he thought. They sat in silence for a while, Molly quietly sipping her hot chocolate. He could see that she was still angry with him. Her warm, brown eyes were harder than usual and she was staring pointedly ahead, purposefully avoiding his gaze. Sherlock wished that John was with him right now. He was the one who knew how to deal with such situations, not Sherlock. All he knew was that he didn't like the angry look on Molly's face.
"Shall we build a snowman?" he asked her suddenly, breaking the silence.
Molly looked at him in surprise. "How did you know…"
During her Christmas walks with her dad, if there was enough snow, they would always build a small snowman. Childish, but it was a Hooper Christmas tradition that Molly loved very much.
"You told me before. 2 years ago to be exact. You said that your father and you would build snowmen during your walks. And since it snowed for 2 hours and 12 minutes just now, there must be enough snow to build one." He gestured to the small piles of snow surrounding them in the park.
Molly smiled. Typical of Sherlock to be so precise, even when taking note of the weather. She was already feeling better after drinking the hot chocolate and was in a forgiving mood.
"Ok," she nodded.
He surprised her by taking hold of her hands, pulling her up from the bench. His hands were so warm and they felt good to touch since hers were so cold. It didn't help that her hands slipped perfectly in his. She was just getting lost in the feel of his hands when he turned to give her a disapproving look.
"Molly. Your hands are cold. You can get sick, quite possibly pneumonia." Molly felt her heart skip a beat when he wrapped his fingers tighter around her hands in an effort to warm her.
He brought her over to a pile of snow beside a tree. There was just enough to build a small snowman. He picked up some snow, his slim fingers expertly molding it into a medium-sized head. A small, childish sense of excitement took over him.
He used to make snowmen when he was younger. Mummy would bring Mycroft and him to the park, allowing them to play for hours in the snow. He even used to skate on the frozen lake with Mycroft, brandishing a long twig, pretending to be a pirate. He was better than his brother of course. Mycroft was always too clumsy when it came to physical activities. Sherlock realised that he was enjoying the feel of the snow in his hands. It sort of reminded him of his childhood. Childhood. Good lord, the damn Christmas festivities must be making me sentimental, he thought. He was so engrossed that it took him a while to notice Molly just standing at the corner, staring at him.
"Are you just going to stand there and stare at me Molly? Make yourself useful at least." He threw some snow over to her playfully.
Molly broke out of her reverie and went over to help him. She couldn't stop glancing at him from the corner of her eyes. A child-like expression had settled on his face and his eyes were bright. He looked so boyish. She wanted to reach over and ruffle his curls which were starting to fall over his pale, blue eyes. Only her sanity stopped her from doing it. She went around the tree looking for twigs and stones to stick into the snowman.
It took only a few minutes before they had completed their task. They worked well together, just like they do in the lab. Molly loved the snowman. Memories started flooding back and before she knew it, happy tears were rolling down her cheeks.
"Why are you crying? I thought you'd be happy. You said that you enjoyed building snowmen with your father." Confusion was etched on Sherlock's face. He was unable to comprehend this woman before him.
"I'm happy. I'm just…thinking about my dad that's all."
Molly nodded. She knew that he had trouble understanding emotions some time. And yet this man, who was supposedly detached from emotions, was the one who had just given her one of the best Christmas gifts since her dad passed away. Not before hurting her of course (he wouldn't be Sherlock otherwise). But she felt so elated at this point that she had already pushed that matter out of her mind. She stood by the snowman a bit longer, taking deep breaths to calm herself down.
Sherlock stared at her intensely. She looked a lot like her old self again. Her brown eyes weren't hard anymore and her lips were turned upwards in a small smile. He almost breathed a sigh of relieve. "Let's go someplace warm," he suggested, remembering that Molly was cold. Very cold in fact.
There weren't many places opened now and Sherlock didn't really feel like being around people. He had enough of socialising for one day. The damn Christmas party was more than enough for a while.
"Your place? I don't fancy going back to the Christmas party, do you? And Mrs Hudson will mollycoddle us if she sees you this cold."
Molly laughed. It was exactly what Mrs Hudson would do. She was always the protective mother. Molly nodded her assent and they started walking away from the park. Just then, the bells from a nearby church chimed. It was finally the 25th of December.
Sherlock and Molly stared at each other, acknowledging the arrival of Christmas. He stepped a bit closer, leaving only a small gap between then. Molly was started to feel warm. Suddenly, he bent down and planted a tender kiss on her cheek, very close to her lips. Molly felt herself blush at the touch of his lips.
"Merry Christmas, Molly Hooper," his voice was low and gentle.
Molly was feeling light-headed. Somewhere along the way her hands had ended up in Sherlock's hands again. Feeling a lot bolder than before (she blamed the hot chocolate), she stood on her tiptoes and gave Sherlock a kiss on his cheek.
"Merry Christmas, Sherlock."
She might have imagined it, but Molly swore that she saw his cheeks redden just a bit at her kiss.
Both of them continued the walk back to her flat in comfortable silence.
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