Sorry for the wait! I thought this was going to be an easy write but Sherlock is so difficult when it comes to emotions! I struggled to make the story rewarding but not to OOC. Enjoy!
Molly sat uncomfortably in her overstuffed reading chair. It was a squishy and cozy piece of furniture that she had inherited from her book loving father. Molly's earliest memories of reading were in that chair, sitting on her father's lap. It was a safe haven, where she retreated to forget her problems and lose herself in a book or telly. But tonight she couldn't get comfortable and she couldn't concentrate. Normally her post-work shower was enough to clear the day from her mind, but today had not been a normal day. Sherlock's return and all the complications it created for her and her friendships was itself a monumental event. But on top of that Molly had a strange and infuriating encounter with the man to wrap her mind around. Her real life was much more engrossing than re-reading the argument between Elizabeth Bennett and Lady Catherine. Which is saying a lot since, Pride and Prejudice was one of her favorite novels and never failed to take her mind off her problems. In defeat Molly closed her worn copy and slapped it on her coffee table, causing her skull to jump.
She looked at his grinning face and rolled her eyes.
"Don't look at me like that." she exclaimed "I have a right to be upset! That man is infuriating!" There was a meow from across the room and Molly looked at her cat appreciatively. "See, even Toby agrees with me!" she said petulantly.
Molly was aware that talking to animals and inanimate objects was not all together sane. When she first brought Sherlock's stuff to her apartment she had intended to store everything out of sight but somehow the skull had ended up on her coffee table. Then a few nights later Molly had casually asked it "What do you think about a curry tonight?" before giggling at herself. The fourth time she asked it a question she decided not to be embarrassed and embrace the absurdity of it all. She named the skull Yorrick, as a not so inside joke, and eventually found herself having long conversations with him.
Yorrick was a good sounding board for a woman who was keeping a gigantic secret. He was a good listener and Molly found she enjoyed working through her thoughts by speaking aloud. She sighs and sinks into her chair before launching into a monologue.
"I blame Jane Austen. She taught me that infuriating and emotionally distant men were likely candidates for life long partners. Instead of seeing Sherlock as selfish, rude, or uncaring, he was my own Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy would never abandon Elizabeth, especially if Elizabeth had helped him fake his own death!" Molly was warming to her subject her voice rising. "No Mr. Darcy rescued the Bennett's! He saved Elizabeth, with no hope for a reward, only to make her happy. That, my friend, is love!" Molly jumped out of her chair in frustration. She walked to the kitchen to put the kettle on, hoping some tea would help calm her. She continued to talk, raising her voice so Yorrick could hear from the coffee table.
"Love is not showing up after eighteen months, surprising me in the dark, staring at me, DEDUCING me!" she let out a frustrated growl. "He didn't even offer an explanation. Then out of nowhere he kisses me! Like somehow that would solve everything. And then he just…he just leaves! Because he has more important things to do than say thank you to the girl who saved his life." Molly bangs the kettle on her stove and storms back towards Yorrick. "No he is not Darcy. He is more like, like... Hamlet!" Molly is struck by her thought surprised she never associated the Prince of Denmark with Sherlock. "He is just like Hamlet. A sulky man-child with seeming no empathy! Surprising girls in the middle of the night! Confusing their emotions and ruining their lives!" Molly felt a sudden deep sympathy and sisterhood with Ophelia. She groaned aloud "Does that mean I will go crazy and die alone?" As she looked at Yorrick for an answer, the irony of her statement hit her. She chuckled and muttered, "Guess I am halfway there already!"
A loud rap on her door and the simultaneous buzz of her mobile caused Molly to jump. She rarely had unexpected visitors and never late at night. Her first thought was that John had arrived to yell at her. She gulped in anticipation of the meeting. As she walked slowly to the door she glanced at her mobile. It was a message from John
All is forgiven. We will talk tomorrow. Be gentle with him.
Molly's brow furrowed in confusion but before she could process what it meant there was another knock, this one impatient. Molly reached the door and looked through her peep hole at a familiar black coat and the back of a mop of hair. A ball of dread knotted her stomach as she became fairly certain the "him" John meant was Sherlock. The same Sherlock that was outside her door. She sighed. She didn't feel up to another encounter with him and contemplated ignoring the knocks, pretending to be asleep.
Just then Sherlock turned and faced the door. Molly almost gasped. The man standing at her doorway was not the calm, distant, and infuriating man she knew and talked with earlier that night. This man reminded her of the desperate one from eighteen months ago. His body movements were nervous, like he wanted to run away. He ran his hand through his hair, shifted his weight, looked side to side, flipped the collar of his coat. This behavior was disconcerting but what convinced Molly to open the door was the look in his eyes. He looked lost and confused and on Sherlock Holmes it was the most heartbreaking look she had ever seen. John's text floated in her brain "Be gentle with him." Something had happened, Sherlock needed her and Molly's sense of loyalty and duty overcame her desire to ignore him.
She stepped back, smoothed her hair, and took a deep breath. Telling herself "He's Hamlet. He's Hamlet." before reaching for the locks and swinging the door open.
She looked up at Sherlock and was shocked once again. Somehow in the moments it took her to open the door he had transformed back into the composed detective. There was no hint of nervous agitation and the lost look had left his eyes. He was the same old Sherlock and Molly immediately regretted opening the door. She sighed again.
"Sherlock." she said.
"Molly." he replied.
There was a long pause where Molly tried desperately not to look at Sherlock's face and Sherlock's eyes roamed her body taking in information.
"I believe it is customary to invite guests inside." Sherlock remarked softly, his voice an octave below normal. Two years ago those words, in that voice would have turned Molly into a quivering mess. Tonight, however, it just frustrated her. Her hand twitched on the door she thought of slamming it in his face.
"It is also customary for guests to call ahead or be invited over." Molly replied with as much sarcasm as she could muster.
"Oh." Comes the unexpected and quiet response. She can't help herself, she looks into his eyes and sees confusion and something else.
"Come in Sherlock." She says not sure it is the right thing but unable to close the door on him.
He steps forward and Molly draws back, opening the door wider to allow him entry and trying to avoid brushing against him. As she closes and relocks the door Sherlock removes his scarf and coat.
"Do you have company?" he asked
"I heard voices. Clearly your television hasn't been on and you weren't on your mobile."
"Oh no I was just talking to…um…myself." She responds lamely. Molly expects him to press her or make a sarcastic remark but instead he walks further into her flat.
His eyes roam hungrily over everything. She cringes knowing the inevitable flood of unflattering deductions is about to burst from his mouth. Instead he sits down wordlessly, his back straight, his hands hovering over his knees. He looks extremely uncomfortable. Molly can't help but wonder why he is there. As she sits in her chair, he looks at the coffee table and smiles, some of the tension draining from his body.
"I often found talking to my skull to be very helpful" he says with a small knowing smile. Molly is annoyed at his deduction and then at herself for being annoyed.
"What were you two discussing?" he asks with what sounds like genuine interest. Molly sighs, realizing how ridiculous she must seem.
"We were comparing the relative romantic qualities of Mr. Darcy and Hamlet." Molly responds, proud she can at least make the conversation sound sophisticated. She waits for Sherlock's scathing reply.
"Ah. A very literary topic. What conclusions did you draw?" Sherlock responds with annoying politeness. Molly's eyes narrow with suspicion. This polite small talk is disconcerting. She doesn't know what Sherlock is playing at but she knows she doesn't want to play.
"Look Sherlock you don't have to pretend to be normal." his eyes narrowed and she quickly amended. " I mean we don't have to talk… well we can talk just not…I mean… why are you here? What do you need?" Molly responds, flustered, regretting opening the door, and hoping for a quick conclusion to his visit.
Sherlock looks confused, blinking rapidly. He opens his mouth to speak and then closes it. Then opens it again
"Molly…" he begins but is interrupted by the shrill squeal of the tea kettle.
Molly jumps from her chair and hurries to the kitchen. Happy to exit the increasingly awkward situation. She desperately wants to discover what Sherlock is doing in her flat. She also wants him to stop being polite so she can rekindle her righteous indignation at him. She has every right to be murderously angry with the consulting detective but instead she finds herself pitying him.
After taking the kettle off she reaches into her cupboard to grab a cup and calls out "You want a cuppa?"
"Yes. Thank you. " The response comes from inside her tiny kitchen and Molly spins around. Sherlock seems to fill the room. Molly finds herself noticing the way the buttons on his shirt pull against his chest. Her heart thunders traitorously and she pulls her eyes away unconsciously licking her lips. She should hate the way his presence awakens her body but she is too nervous to be angry.
"Ok." she says and grabs a second cup. Placing them both on the counter she crosses the kitchen to grab tea from another shelf. This puts her dangerously close to Sherlock. And to her frustration Molly feels her knees weaken and her cheeks flush. She pauses, her hands on the counter and her back to Sherlock. "He's Hamlet!" She tells herself taking a deep breath and turning around.
When she does Sherlock closes the distance between them with a slow, deliberate, step. As he enters her personal space all of Molly's senses switch into high gear. She feels a strong desire to run away from the sensory overload.
"Sh-Sh-Sherlock." she stutters. In response he reaches down and grabs her wrist, his fingers taking her pulse. There is a pause where Molly looks into his eyes briefly before flushing and looking down.
"It appears my assumption was correct." he says and then gives a small, self-satisfied, smile. Molly is flooded with anger. She doesn't know what Sherlock is talking about but she feels vulnerable and exposed. Her eyes flash and she is about to retaliate when Sherlock places her hand on his wrist.
Molly's training kicks in and her two fingers press down. Instantly she feels Sherlock's heart beating in a wild, rapid, staccato. She looks up at him in surprise. Suddenly she notices his flushed skin, his rapid breathing, and his dilated pupils. She finds her eyes darting down to his mouth and catches him licking his lips. She feels mesmerized by his unfathomably perfect cupids bow and leans in. Sherlock leans closer and she can feel the increased pounding of his heart. Her own heart matches his pace. Molly feels his warm breath tingling her skin as he draws closer and she has an overwhelming need to feel his lips on hers.
But she suddenly remembers when she did feel those lips just a few hours earlier and the memory causes her to draw back. She steps away and continues making the tea. Her brain struggling to sort through her excitement and confusion. Trying to grasp the idea that Sherlock might want to kiss her.
"I think that answers your question." Sherlock said with a smile.
"What? Answers what question? Molly feels her anger returning at the superior tone in Sherlock's voice.
"What do you need?" Sherlock replies with a frown.
"I need you to tell me what the hell is going on!" she responds her voice rising as she considers that his attempts at kissing her might be part of some elaborate experiment.
"No. You asked me what I needed." Sherlock replies, clearly exasperated. "And I demonstrated it for you." His look says Molly should understand. It's the "we both know what's going on here" look that John hated so much.
Molly shakes her head. She doesn't understand and she feels stupid and frustrated. Before she can decide if she wants him to explain or she wants to yell at him he speaks.
"This was a mistake. I will not bother you again Molly Hooper. Goodbye." he says, his face an uncommon shade of red. Then he turns on his heel and walks out of the kitchen. Molly stands there for a second in shock. She follows after him, anger and confusion warring within her.
"Sherlock. Wait." she calls. Sherlock pauses, his coat already on, his scarf in hand. He doesn't say anything, just stares at her. Molly stares back and sees again the lost and confused man that stood at her door. One look at that man and Molly's anger dissipates, leaving only her confusion.
"Sherlock I am a clever person but I have no idea what is going on. I need you to explain." She says calmly.
"Oh for God's sakes! It's difficult!" Sherlock practically yells, as his eyes dart away, his hand runs through his hair, and he begins to pace. "It's simple chemistry but the…the rest is difficult." He keeps pacing.
At the words "simple chemistry" Molly remembers a conversation she once had with John. It was in the early days of Sherlock's "death" and John had come over to "catch up". Which was code for "get pissed and talk about Sherlock". It was a long night and somewhere in the middle of it Molly had gotten up the courage to ask John about Irene Adler, the woman Sherlock had known from "not her face". John had related the entire story with relish and then began to wax poetic about the emotions of Sherlock Holmes.
"Don't get me wrong, he could be a right git at times. He had no tolerance for fools or liars or boring people. He used to say that love and emotions were simple chemistry. But I knew the truth! Underneath it all he was a sap! And what's more he was the most loyal friend I ever had." John had declared forcefully, waving his beer and slurring his words.
Suddenly Molly feels her brain spinning. Her past knowledge of Sherlock combine with today's events and fall into a pattern. Molly makes a shocking deduction. She feels like a blind man seeing for the first time. She wonders if this is how Sherlock feels when he solves a case, everything suddenly coming into sharp focus.
She blinks, her entire world has changed in only a few seconds. She applies her new knowledge to her old assumptions. Reexamining everything with her new eyes she finds one thing doesn't fit. Feeling bold she asks; "Sherlock." he stops pacing. "How come I haven't heard from you in eighteen months?"
"It wasn't safe." He responds tersely.
"But you could talk to Mycroft?" She asks.
"My brother is well-protected and well-positioned. He was in no danger. No matter how much I wanted to, contacting you would have been dangerous." he responds. Molly nods his reason fitting perfectly with her deduction. Her doubts drift away and she feels on fire with her new knowledge.
"You love me." Molly says it quietly, tasting the words on her lips, but Sherlock hears her.
"Don't be absurd Molly. Sentiment is a defect-" Molly doesn't let him finish.
"No. Stop. For years you have come to St. Barts to work on experiments and examine bodies with me. You could go to several other hospitals but you always come to mine. Clearly you respect my competence and on some level enjoy working with me. Eighteen months ago you asked me to help you fake your death. A man doesn't do that without great trust in the person. That same night you told me I counted, a sentiment you repeated this evening."
"I hardly think that means I -" Sherlock starts only to be cut off once again.
"Yes I quite agree. Those facts alone do not support my conclusion. However you also attempted to kiss me tonight and displayed jealousy of John and Greg." Sherlock snorts. "Don't deny it! In fact I am beginning to think that all your deducing of my past relationships was just jealousy and not the standard Sherlock rudeness." Sherlock looks frustrated, Molly guessed he wasn't often on the receiving end of unflattering deductions. She, however, was throughly enjoying herself.
"Then of course we have the fact that you showed up at my flat for no reason. You attempted to be normal and refrained from deducing me or my flat. Clearly you were trying to be considerate of me. Finally when standing close to me you had an elevated heart rate, flushed skin, rapid breaths, and dilated eyes a clear indication of norepinephrine flooding your system." Molly smiles and boldly steps closer to him. He still looks confused and frustrated but he doesn't move away.
"You respect my mind, you enjoy my company, you trust me, you worry about my safety, you don't want me to be with any other men, and you are attracted to me." She took another step her hands reaching up to grab the collar of his coat. She pulls him towards her slowly, a grin on her face.
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Sherlock Holmes. You love me." She says, her lips inches from his. He doesn't argue.
Their lips meet softly, a hesitant, gentle, pressure. Sherlock pulls back slightly and Molly wonders just how much experience he has with kissing. His lips return to hers, with more force. Their lips meet and part over and over their pace increasing slowly. Molly's hands travel up his neck and get lost in his black curls. She pulls slightly and is rewarded with a slight growl from Sherlock. His next kiss is more insistent, his tongue brushing her bottom lip in a silent question. Without hesitation Molly deepens the kiss, her body spinning with the sensations. Sherlock's hand ghosts down her side. His long fingers settle on her hip and he pulls her flush against him. She lets out a low moan. Sherlock kisses her jaw and then rests his forehead on hers.
They look into each others eyes as they struggle to regain their breath. Sherlock smiles and Molly grins in return.
"You make a very persuasive argument but I am still not entirely convinced." He says huskily.
Molly's grin falters. Unsure if this was playful banter or Sherlock expressing a genuine doubt. Momentarily she thinks of all the ways a relationship with Sherlock Holmes could go horribly wrong and realizes Sherlock can't even admit he likes her. She feels a doomed, sinking sensation in her gut and she steps away from him. His eyebrows raise in surprise.
Molly feels poised on a ledge. If she jumps, if she trusts Sherlock with her heart, there is a chance it will end up smashed on the pavement. Molly doesn't want to experience that pain but she wonders if the pain of not jumping will be even worse. Eighteen months ago she risked her career and jail time for Sherlock. Could she now risk her heart? She looks up at him questioningly but receives no answers. The uncertainty is overwhelming.
"I think you should go." Molly says quietly.
Sherlock takes a deep breath and runs his hands through his hair. He takes a few steps towards the door before stopping and turning. A look of grim determination on his face.
"Molly. I can't say I love you because that's not really my area. I can tell you that all of your other deductions are correct. In the last eighteen months not a day has passed that I did not think of you. When I was gone I decided that I wanted to spend more time with you, time outside of the lab and morgue. I want to learn more about you and I want you to learn about me. I want to touch you. I want to kiss you and be close to you. You asked me what I need." He takes a deep breath and fixes his eyes on hers. "I need you. I cannot foresee a day when I will not need you." His voice is soft and deep and Molly can hardly believe her ears.
"I know I am not an easy man to be friends with. I also know that I have hurt you in many ways and you may prefer to stay away from me. I want you to be happy. Even if that means I won't see you again." His speech complete Sherlock quickly turns back toward the door.
Molly blinks back tears, unable to contain the raw emotions boiling underneath. For the second time that night she stops him from leaving.
"Wait." He pauses but does not turn around.
"Sherlock. I know that coming here and saying that wasn't easy. Thank you." He doesn't move. Molly walks towards him.
"I won't lie. You have hurt me, a lot. And if we spend more time together and grow closer there is a chance you could hurt me even more." She pauses and stops just behind him.
"I understand." he replies dejectedly.
"No Sherlock. You don't. Because despite all that I want to be with you and I would rather risk being hurt by you than live pain free without you."
At her words Sherlock turns around and Molly sees a faint sheen in his eyes. His arms pull her to him, while his lips seek hers. The kiss is long, sweet, and tastes of their tears. They break away and Sherlock wraps his arms around her, pulling her into a tight embrace. She snuggles into his chest and he kisses the top of her head.
Molly knows that she hasn't made the safe or easy choice. Sherlock Holmes is a stranger to his own heart and a pain in the arse even at the best of times. Their relationship will not be as fairytale as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth nor as tragic as Hamlet and Ophelia. It will be their own unique story. Molly knows there are many challenges ahead but they have already faced death together and she feels they can handle anything.
Tonight she holds the resurrected Sherlock in her arms. Tomorrow the world will know he is alive, everything will return to normal, but nothing will ever be the same.
So that is the end! Please let me know if you enjoyed it! Like I said I struggled a lot to strike the right balance between fluff, angst, realism, and all that. Thanks to all those who reviewed and kept me motivated (SammyKatz!). I just love the Sherlock fandom! You guys are awesome! I hope this story delivered and made your day a little more warm and fuzzy!