July had brought something of a heat wave to London. It was much hotter than normal, and tempers were flaring up all across the city. Sherlock had been very busy at first with a string of crimes provoked by the steamy weather. Of course, these crimes of passion were far too boring and Sherlock quickly grew tired of them. As the heat wave entered its second week, the brief burst of crime subsided as people became too worn out to bother. Now Sherlock was doubly irritated, he couldn't decide what was worse, dull unimaginative crimes or a lack of crime altogether. It was also getting too hot to lay on the couch and sulk. Sherlock was getting antsy. Molly had seen the danger signs as she slipped out the door in the morning. She prayed he found something worthy of his interest.

One of the small perks of working in a morgue was that it stayed pleasantly cool year round. Molly had been working longer than normal, even coming in early, just to avoid the heat. She was also avoiding Sherlock's bad mood. His temper had increased along with the temperature. There were also a lot of bodies coming in, people who had succumbed to the excessive heat. Molly was extremely busy filling out paperwork when she heard the familiar slam of the door. She tried not to sigh as Sherlock rapidly advanced toward her. He wore a suit, and Molly knew it had to be smothering him. For a man who swore not to care what others thought, he was an absolute slave to style. More troubling was the near frantic gleam in his eye. Clearly he had thought of something to amuse himself with.

"Intestines. I need as many as you have available," he announced.

"And a good afternoon to you too," sighed Molly.

Sherlock glared at her. "Molly, I've already explained. I am always pleased to see you, mindless greetings are a waste of time," he complained.

Molly nearly had to bite her tongue to keep from starting to get into an old argument. She took a deep breath and replied, "Sherlock, I don't just keep various organs around. This isn't a butcher shop."

Sherlock sniffed and rifled through a stack of papers on her desk. "You've done two autopsies already today. No one will notice if the dearly departed are missing some of their digestive systems."

"No! We've already discussed this! I am not going to steal body parts for you!" shouted Molly.

Sherlock snorted and flipped over more papers, scattering them across her desk and completely ruining the precise order Molly had just put them in. He glanced at one and stabbed a finger at a certain line. "Here! This toxicology screen! You can fetch me the stomach contents, and that will be an acceptable alternative." He grinned as though he had truly found a brilliant compromise.

It was the last straw. Molly exploded. "NO! First of all, no body parts! And do not ever again order me to fetch anything in my damn morgue!" Her arms flailed as she shouted at Sherlock. The grimace on his face grew as he listened to her words. Without replying, he spun around and left.

Molly slumped into a chair, exhausted by the confrontation. Loving Sherlock was never easy. She stopped to take a break and get something cold to drink.

After a quick snack, Molly was ready to get back to work. She started with reorganizing the paperwork Sherlock had disturbed. Brilliant as the man was, he refused to accept that paperwork was a fact of life, at least for the mere mortals like Molly. Sherlock had been blessed with the ability to not care about authority figures. He had always left such nonsense for others. Molly had a healthy respect for paperwork and completing it promptly. She had tried her best to get Sherlock to understand that the rest of the world didn't share his remarkable memory. Everyone else had to rely on paperwork to remember the mundane details of life. She was unsuccessful at convincing him. Sometimes she wondered if Sherlock didn't just like being difficult.

After sorting out the piles of paper, she checked on some other work and took a lengthy lunch break with Mike Stamford. He was one of the rare few individuals that Sherlock tolerated and who also seemed to like Sherlock. On days when John was working at the hospital, sometimes Molly and Mike would join him for meals. Molly was finishing up when John came striding into the cafeteria. He had a look on his face that plainly indicated to Molly that something Sherlock related had happened, something not good. She sighed as she went to speak to him.

"Hey Molly, it's Mrs. Hudson, she called looking for you," began John.

"Oh, I left my phone in my desk, damn, he wasn't shooting the walls was he?" she asked.

"Not this time, I think. Mrs. Hudson wasn't making a lot of sense on the phone. He locked her out, so she wasn't really sure what he was up to, just that something smelled terrible. I tried calling him, but he's not answering. I did get a text telling me to 'mind my own business' a few minutes ago though." John rubbed the back of his neck. "Anyway, I'm still on shift for another couple of hours and Mrs. Hudson was asking for you, Molly. Good luck." With that, he turned and left.

Molly could feel a headache coming on. Far too often had she been forced to play referee in the battle of Sherlock's experiments versus Mrs. Hudson's property. She waved good bye to Mike, who seemed to be enjoying witnessing another of Sherlock's many charming moments. Molly thought maybe she should send Sherlock to live with Mike for a week, see how amusing he found it then. When she got back to the morgue, she fished her phone out of a desk drawer. She dialed Mrs. Hudson while she tidied up her desk.

"Hello, Mrs. Hudson, I've just spoken with John. What's he up to now?" asked Molly.

"Oh Molly, I'm so sorry, it's just there is the worst smell coming from upstairs, and he's turned the stereo on so loud!" cried a distraught Mrs. Hudson.

Molly sighed and rubbed her forehead. "Okay, anything else? Did he bring anything home?"

"Well, he did come rushing back several hours ago with some large bundles, I tried to say hello, but he just dashed past me" explained Mrs. Hudson.

"My shift is over in two hours, do you think everything will be okay till then?" asked Molly.

"I suppose, I'll call if anything else happens," answered Mrs. Hudson.

Molly said her good-byes and attempted to return to work. It was hard to concentrate when she knew that Sherlock was actively up to no good. He had to be conducting another of his awful experiments. They had been battling over the experiments since Molly moved into 221B. John had told her horror stories like finding a whole head in the fridge once. (Molly neglected to mention to John that she had given him that head, a desperate and failed attempt at flirting, Sherlock style.) Sherlock viewed the kitchen as his own personal laboratory. John had dealt with this by ordering lots of take-out. Molly liked to cook every now and then and did not wish to be reminded of work when she prepared food. Slowly, she had been trying to reclaim the kitchen. She had managed to get off to a good start with a strict "Food Only" shelf. Now she had several shelves free from experiments and most of the cookware also declared off limits to experiments. But obviously, the heat had snapped something in Sherlock, making him forget those promises.

It was late when Molly finally left. She had dragged her feet a bit at the end. She felt bad for Mrs. Hudson, but did not relish the upcoming fight. The air was hot and still as she left the hospital. After a crowded Tube ride, she made it to Baker Street. She paused outside the door, looking up at the windows. Sherlock had drawn the curtains and closed the windows. She could hear extremely loud classical music blaring as well. Mrs. Turner would probably be round again to discuss the noise. Molly took a deep breath as she opened the door.

She nearly fell back out the door as the smell hit her nose. It was truly terrible, which said a lot, given the smells she dealt with in the morgue. Anger surged through her. It was hot; she was tired and sticky and did not want to come home to such a stench. She ran up the stairs, unlocked the door to the flat and threw open the door. Once again, she was nearly bowled over by the smell. But in truth, the sight she was met with was almost worse. The entire flat was covered in guts. Honest to god, actual intestines, strung across every surface like Hannibal Lecter's Christmas lights. Molly screamed.

Sherlock popped his head out of the kitchen as Molly began to wail. He opened his mouth to speak, but Molly kept screaming. When she didn't stop, he started to worry. He tried to approach her, but had forgotten that he was currently holding a set of tongs that held a partially dissolved large intestine. Molly darted past him and ran to the bedroom, slamming the door in his face. Sherlock wisely decided to put the length of intestine back in a container and removed his gore spattered apron before he tried opening the bedroom door. It was locked. He went and turned off the stereo and tried knocking on the door.

"Molly?" he asked.

He was answered by the door flying open and Molly running past. He tried to grab her hand but she twisted away from him. She spun around to face him once she reached the door of the flat.

"Clean. This. Up. NOW!" she shouted. "And don't even think of coming looking for me till you do! This is ridiculous, Sherlock! I am not returning until this entire flat is sparkling and smells like a flower shop! And you had better just beg for Mrs. Hudson's forgiveness as well!" She slammed the flat door in his face and pounded down the stairs, a few hastily gathered belongings stuffed in a bag.

Her first stop was Mrs. Hudson's door. Her landlady was even more flustered after all the shouting. Molly kindly advised her to go and stay with dear Mrs. Turner for the night. Molly fled before Mrs. Hudson had finished shutting the door. Once outside, she paused for a second, weary and unsure where to go next. A low rumble of thunder could be heard. Molly started walking down the street, desperate to get away before she did something rash, like try and kill Sherlock. She considered going to Mycroft, she knew Sherlock would think twice before trying to chase her there. It was tempting, except she was a bit frightened of Mycroft. She went with her second best choice, the only other people who would understand, John Watson and his fiancée, Mary Morstan.

John had met Mary shortly after Sherlock's "death." The therapist John had been seeing had suggested that perhaps John would benefit from going to a grief support group. John thought it sounded like rubbish, but one particularly difficult day, he found himself standing outside the room where one such group was meeting. The group had already begun; a woman was talking about the loss of her hamster. John was partially hidden behind the door, listening to her sob. He didn't doubt that the pain she felt was real, but something told him that this group was not for him. He wondered if there was a group for deeply damaged veterans who had watched the agonizing downfall of their only friend. He doubted it. As he turned to leave, he nearly bumped into a woman who had been watching him.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize there was any one here," he apologized.

The woman blushed a little. Now that he was able to properly see her; John noticed she was rather attractive. "It's my fault, I was curious about what you were spying on," she said.

John laughed a bit; it felt rusty to do so, but good. "Um, well, it's a grief support group, but I don't think it's for me," he explained.

"Ah, well, I was actually looking for another group, my friends convinced me to try it, but it's silly really," she said.

"And what sort of group were you looking for?" asked John.

She blushed even more, it was charming. "Speed dating," she mumbled with downcast eyes.

John grinned. "I don't think that's really the group for you either, I have a much better idea, let's go get some coffee, I'm John Watson by the way."

"That sounds lovely, I'm Mary."

That coffee date had been the beginning of a wonderful relationship. At first, John considered it to be the one good thing that had come from the pain of his friend's death. When Sherlock turned out to be, in fact, alive, John had briefly considered moving back in with his friend. After suppressing the urge to punch him repeatedly while shouting, of course. But John had decided better to stay put, he was more interested in pursuing his new relationship. He had just moved in with Mary in early June.

Molly had been nervous about meeting Mary, she still felt guilty about getting off to a poor start with John. Fortunately, Mary was the sort of person who could make anyone feel at ease. She and Molly had become good friends. So when Molly called after storming out of Baker Street, Mary immediately insisted that Molly come to her flat.

Molly called John too as she rode over in the cab. He groaned in sympathy as she told him what Sherlock had been up to. Molly was grateful she had friends that were so understanding. That night, Molly had a pleasant meal with John and Mary. John and Molly shared Sherlock horror stories, much to Mary's amusement. She liked Sherlock, he reminded her of some of her more unusual students. Molly was a little surprised that Sherlock hadn't called or chased after her. She hoped that meant he had listened to her. After helping clean up, Molly made herself comfortable on John and Mary's couch. The thunder that had been threatening all evening was getting louder. It started to rain, and Molly was lulled to sleep by the sound of the storm.

Hours later, after the rain had stopped, Molly was awoken by the feel of something warm and lemon scented stroking her hair. Sherlock was sitting on the floor next to the couch, brushing her hair away from her face. She flopped over, facing the back of the couch. She could hear Sherlock get up and kneel, moving closer to her.

"Molly, please look at me," he begged.

"Go away," she muttered into the cushions.

"I've cleaned everything, the whole flat, all by myself I might add, please talk to me."

Molly sighed and rolled back over. "Everything? Are you sure?"

He nodded. He glanced down at his hands for a second. "I even threw away some old experiments. I'm sorry Molly."

She rubbed her eyes and sighed again. "What on earth were you doing anyway?" She wasn't sure if she really wanted to know.

"I wanted to test if various ingested poisons caused accelerated decay of the digestive system. Then I wanted to find out if the same was true of various acids. I suspect they might leave tell-tale patterns that would help in identifying poisons."

She stared at him. "You know, someone has probably done similar experiments, in proper laboratory conditions. I could help you search the medical and forensic journals."

He scoffed. "I don't have time to read someone else's drivel. Besides, I'd rather do the experiment and see the results for myself."

Molly groaned. "Well, in the future, could you please not conduct such experiments in our shared home? After looking at people's insides all day long, I'd like to come home and get away from organs."

For a moment, Sherlock was stricken. Giving up his experiments was an awful notion. But living without Molly was far worse. He slowly nodded in agreement.

Molly smiled and reached out to hug him. His hair was wet from the rain. "Thank you" she whispered as she ran her fingers through his damp curls.

"Will you come home now? Please?" he asked.

Molly yawned and stretched. "It's the middle of the night, but I guess so. How did you get into their flat anyway?"

Sherlock held up a key. "John shouted at me after I picked the lock last time. Mary gave me the key if I promised to knock first."

"You didn't knock tonight, at least I didn't hear anything," said Molly.

"I thought it might be rude to wake everyone up. Besides, I didn't think they would be engaged in the same activity they were the last time I picked the lock."

Molly sat straight up. "Oh god, what happened?" she asked.

Sherlock smirked. "John and Mary were enjoying some rather intimate activities on this very sofa."

Molly stood and swiftly dressed. "Well, I definitely didn't need to know that, all right, let me leave a note for them." She scrawled a quick note, thanking them for the loan of the sofa and explaining that she had returned home with Sherlock. The rain had stopped, clearing the air and lowering the temperature considerably.

The next morning, Molly went to Mrs. Turner's to collect Mrs. Hudson. The two ladies were sipping a late cup of coffee and gossiping. Molly assured Mrs. Hudson that Sherlock had in fact, done a remarkable job of cleaning. The whole building smelled clean and lemon fresh. She even told Mrs. Hudson that she had extracted a promise from Sherlock to stop all experiments. Molly felt a little bad about that. She knew how important his experiments could be. She just wished they weren't in the same place she prepared food.

"Mrs. Hudson, have you ever had any interest in the basement flat?" asked Molly.

"No dear, actually Sherlock's brother has been paying me to keep it vacant."

This gave Molly a brilliant idea. She ran back to 221B and found Sherlock tuning his violin.

"Sherlock, I have the best idea!"

He promptly interrupted her. "Yes, I suppose it will be better for everyone if I move my experiments to the basement flat."

She sighed, putting her hands on her hips. "You know, it ruins other people's fun when you already know what they want to tell you."

Sherlock frowned. "Yes, well, imagine how unfair it was knowing what all your birthday presents were before your fifth birthday party began."

"Oh you poor child, how you've suffered," muttered Molly.

They spent the afternoon moving various items of lab equipment to the basement flat. Molly looked over the kitchen and decided what was worth salvaging. Then they went out to find more furniture for the basement flat. Molly learned that shopping with Sherlock was never boring after they got thrown out of two furniture stores. Mycroft called shortly afterwards and ordered his brother to go home and stop harassing the shop owners of London. He offered to order furniture if Sherlock would return to Baker Street, and for once, Sherlock agreed. Molly promised to get some laboratory equipment catalogs at work for Sherlock to peruse.

That evening, worn out from a long day of work, Sherlock and Molly snuggled on the sofa. Molly was eating ice cream while Sherlock shouted at the people on talk shows. Molly studied the side of Sherlock's face. He was so intent on the television that she wondered if he had forgotten she was there. She decided to remind him by smearing ice cream on his nose. She leaned over and spread a spoonful of chocolate ice cream across his nose. He froze, turned the TV off and gave her a look.

"Molly Hooper, what on earth has gotten into you?" he asked as a drop of chocolate ran off the tip of his nose.

Molly giggled and leaned over to lick the ice cream off his face. Sherlock responded grabbing the mostly empty ice cream bowl and dipping his finger in the melted ice cream. He offered it to Molly who enthusiastically and a bit lewdly, sucked his finger clean.

Sherlock cleared his throat. "You know Molly, I am aware that some people employ whipped cream for other purposes than topping desserts." He said it completely seriously, but with a naughty twinkle in his eye.

"Well, now that the fridge is clean and experiment free, I may have just bought some chocolate sauce and whipped cream to put on my ice cream," smiled Molly.

"I would like to propose an experiment involving the application of the previously mentioned items to our own body parts. For science, of course," said Sherlock.

"Oh well, if it's for science, then who am I to say no?" replied Molly lightly.

After conducting some very thorough experiments, showering, and changing the permanently chocolate stained sheets, Molly laid down to sleep. She was completely worn out and looking forward to sleeping. Sherlock was invigorated and was plotting his first experiment in his new laboratory.

Before he left the bedroom, he asked, "Can we still engage in delightful sexual experiments in the flat? Or will we need another location for those?"

Molly yawned, "Sexy experiments okay, stinky body part experiments bad."


Sherlock and Molly's Rules

1. Tell each other how you feel, if you need space, ask for it.

2. Don't use the phrases "boyfriend" or "girlfriend," too juvenile.

3. Avoid public displays of affection and silly pet names.

4. No shooting weapons in the flat unless lives are in danger.

5. The skull stays on the mantel.

6. Avoid clothing/other belongings with silly cat images.

7. When out on a case, call or text at least once a day. If Sherlock fails to call/text, Molly can call and remind him.

8. No sex in public places, especially the morgue.

9. No experiments involving dead body parts/fluids in the flat.

10. Sexy experiments are okay.

There may be more to this story sometime in the hazy future, should inspiration strike. Back to my own relationship rules, my husband and I have also agreed on a "no thongs" rule. The actual wording is closer to "If you want me to wear a thong, then you have to wear one too." Theoretically this could apply to either thongs - the skimpy undergarment or thongs - the woefully flimsy sandal (flip-flops.)