He broke into her flat that night, around a week after John and Mary's wedding. She was mortified to see a witless Sherlock slumbering in her bed as she came home from work.
"Sherlock!" Molly tapped his snoring form with haste. "Sherlock! Wake up! Sherlock!!" she cried.
The man rolled over. He was dressed in a baggy sweatshirt and jeans that he probably found rummaging among Molly's (Tom's) stuff. The rest of his clothes lay scattered on the floor. Molly tutted. He didn't look much like the great Sherlock Holmes right now. Stubble peppered his chin and eyebags consumed half his face. Molly had an aching feeling that this man was high on something, or she wasn't much of a doctor.
"Are you on weed?" Molly scrunched up her nose.
"Yes, correct, Doctor Hooper!" Sherlock smirked. "Though, I did have my share of nicotine before I went here. Four packs in a day. Ah. I tried to stay good with the patches, but it just was not working for me."
Molly gathered his coat. "I've told you before, you can use my flat for emergencies, but you have to tell me first! My fiance stays over sometimes."
Sherlock's face blanked out for a moment, then his lip tightened with recognition. "Oh! Yes of course. The chap with the meat dagger theory. Trevor-- Thompson--Thom--Oh yes, TOM! Honestly, Molly, what a catch."
Molly's jaw clenched but she didn't say anything. Sherlock's clothing garments littered her pristine floor. She picked them up one by one, his suit, his scarf, his socks, his shoes, piling them up in an irritated armful.
"I should really make him my protege, Molly." Sherlock continued. "Or at least a stand-in. Have you noticed? He's a handsome chap. You have a fine talent for finding people who look like me. Remember the corpse?"
Molly stared at him with irritation and Sherlock stared back. His face barely registered any emotion, except for a small miffed grin oh his lips.
"Stop it, Sherlock." she said.
"What?" he chuckled, feigning innocence. "And is this the bedroom where you are having," Sherlock brought his hands into an air-quotes, "quite a lot of sex?"
Molly threw the ball of clothes into Sherlock's face. The shoes made a particular fwaap sound when it came in contact with the detective's forehead.
"I do not appreciate being taunted by a junkie, Sherlock, especially if said junkie is supposed to be my friend." Molly snapped.
Sherlock burst out laughing, rubbing his injured forehead. He was amused, but Molly didn't see delight in his hard face. Just taunting.
"If you have nothing better to do than make fun of me and Tom, I think you better leave." Molly said. "I'm sure you have more bolt-holes in your arsenal. Take this place as compromised."
Sherlock stopped laughing. He scratched the stubble on his chin, staring at Molly with his intense, blue-green eyes.
"Oh. Excellent deduction." Molly shook her head.
Sherlock shrugged nonchalantly and scratched his bearded face with one slow hand. "Do you have any morphine in the house?" He asked, half-kidding. "I had some yesterday. Just a little bit. I think I should have some now."
Molly's lips pursed in a tight knot. "Are you relapsing?"
Molly brought her hands to her temples. He was relapsing, wasn't he? She knew of his colorful drug history, and though it irked her to the point of despair, she had once decided that Sherlock was too stubborn to listen to any kind of advice. She should just let him be. He wasn't her problem.
But look at his stupid face. Look at what he was wasting. Molly imagined Sherlock, slow in mind, dull eyes and sporting a vacuous stare. Years of foolish, destructive behavior can reduce even the most beautiful minds into rubble. It made her cringe in horror.
"Sherlock, promise me! Promise me this is the last time you're going for a binge. Turn away now while you still can, for heavens' sake!"
"Turn away from what?" Sherlock brushed her off.
"From this! From all this. Please."
Sherlock scoffed. "You're being dramatic."
"No, I'm not." Molly replied firmly.
"This is not a big deal. I can control it."
"That's what other people say."
"I'm not like other people." he said with a sneer.
"Yes, you are! Right now. That is exactly what you are!" Molly cried.
Sherlock grunted in disdain but didn't say anything more. Molly sighed.
"I'm sorry." She said quietly. "I'm just worried about you. I meant to say that you--you haven't acted yourself since John's wedding."
The wedding. The dancing. Sherlock leaving. Ever since then, he has been restless and moody during the little time that he was at Bart's.
"This has nothing to do with John or his wedding." Sherlock barked.
"Sherlock," Molly held out her hand. "You know you can always call him, right?" She said.
Sherlock bobbed his head, "This is not about John." he whined in a sing-song manner. "This is for a case, I'm working on a case, believe it or not. I just needed time off somehow. While Baker Street is--occupied."
Molly's left brow shot up. "Occupied?"
Sherlock let his body fall into Molly's bed. He covered his face with a pillow, gesturing a flippant reply. "Yes yes, there is this woman there."
Molly's ears grew hot. "A woman." she said tersely.
"Yes. Janine. You remember her? The bridesmaid from John and Mary's wedding." Sherlock said. "Turns out she is integral for said case. I need her. And she's actually quite fun sometimes. B--ut," he sighed through the pillow, "it's exhausting. Socializing is exhausting. I don't know how you people do it. I did my share of reading on the matter of women, but it is still draining to a negative degree. Women are such demanding creatures. No, sorry. Humans are demanding. Everyone is demanding, given the right proximity. Proximity demands attention, after all." Sherlock paused. "So I'm taking a little time off."
Molly took it all in wordlessly, her lips thinning with Sherlock's every gab. Some feeling called "jealousy" thumped into her, but she ignored it and let disappointment consume her instead.
"So." she started, trying to control her irritation. "You have a woman in your flat at this very moment, and you are here in mine because you are tired of her. Please leave."
Sherlock sat up in the bed bolt upright. A stupid grin was plastered on his face, the first time he was genuinely pleased tonight. "Why, Dr. Hooper. Are you perhaps, jealous?"
Molly's eye twitched. "Jealous?" she repeated.
"Jealousy.. A feeling of resentment due to an individual's advantages." Sherlock smiled. "In this case: Me." He smirked.
Molly grinned bitterly. If there was one thing Molly hated about Sherlock, it was his tendency to second-guess other humans within his reach. Oh yes, he could read them precisely, with succint detail and deductive ability. But he's almost always never right.
"Oh. Am I supposed to be impressed, Mr Holmes?" She spoke slowly, in case Sherlock's drugged-out brain failed to catch every single word. "You openly admit to beguiling a poor woman to believe you are interested in her, so much that she has agreed to stay in your flat. And when you think she is no longer fun, you run to another woman's flat, mine, to brag about it. Is that right?"
Sherlock didn't say a word. His mouth drooped and tensed. After a long drawn out silence, he opted to stand up and make his way out the door in annoyed defeat.
"Alright. I'm leaving." Sherlock said with a sharp sigh. He took a step. And another, much like a stubborn child getting dragged to a cold, unwanted bath.
Molly bit her lip. His armaments lay heaped in the corner of the room, and she picked them up with care. Such a difficult man, this Sherlock Holmes. She followed behind him, clutching the heavy coat and scarf he had discarded on the floor. A difficult, difficult man.
"It's cold out." Molly said in a half-exasperated sigh. She threw the coat over Sherlock's broad shoulders and she smoothed it out so it fit snuggly on his neck. Sherlock turned around, his eyes basked in an expression Molly couldn't read.
"You throw me out, then act concerned for my welfare." He said, the same taunting in his voice. "Am I a game to you, Miss Hooper?
"What?" her eyes widened.
"Oh, don't play so innocent! Aren't you so good at that." Sherlock said arrogantly. "Didn't I say I've read my share of woman's psychology, hm? Women are such manipulative creatures! I've read the books. All the books. All of it." Sherlock said in leaps and bounds. "You're playing me, aren't you, Molly Hooper? Playing with my head. It's all a game. A ploy! And it's working! It's bloody working. I can't stop thinking about you. You appear in the weirdest places in my palace. You remind me of the most mundane things. Things that shouldn't be, absurdly, irrationally associated with you. Like the bloody Ramones. Or industry-strength glue. Paper clips. Shiny dog collars. Phenylethyl acetate! Mrs Hudson's rose perfume! Why are you bloody everywhere?"
Sherlock starts to pace around now, staring at Molly like she was the cause of every disturbed sleep he has had the past couple of days. "Do you know that it is so very annoying? Your presence in my head is annoying. And yet, deleting you isn't possible. I've tried. But you always come back. And what? When? Ever since--I don't know. I don't remember. It's brilliant! But so bloody irritating at the same time."
Molly eyes widened in confusion. Her heart pounded inside her like a drum. She was getting a semblance of what he is trying to say. The sweet, intense thought of it poked her at the back of her mind. But his every word was wrapped in a pulsing, painful cocoon of bitter spite that she could hardly gain any solace. It dazed her. It hurt. All she could muster was deny all the blame he threw at her direction.
"I do not know what you're talking about, Sherlock Holmes!" she said defensively. "I have never played games with you!"
"See, you called me by my full name! It's a technique, isn't it? I read tha--"
"Just stop!" she cried. "I do not appreciate this. You really think it's my fault? It's your head, Sherlock. Your thoughts. And if I am in your head, then, I don't know? Perhaps you put me there!?" She cried.
Sherlock stared at her, disoriented, confused.
"What?" he asked in a small voice. Molly's throat went dry.
They shifted uncomfortably in the silence, two awkward adults with no clue what to do with their limbs.
"I do not manipulate." Molly said, finally. "I do not play games. I'm not capable of ploys or plots or whatever. You know that. Or perhaps, you've broken into somebody else's flat by mistake?" she said in a tense voice. "So if you don't mind--"
Molly opened the door to her room and stood beside it wordlessly.
Sherlock paused, unsure of what to do. He stormed out of the door, brusquely grabbing the knob to give a wider berth. Molly thought he was going to exit in a rage, but instead, Sherlock turned his heel and looked her square in the eye.
"Do you really want me to leave?" he cried. There was annoyance in his voice, but with an undertone of need. She was taken aback by how intense his eyes were. She lost herself for a second, her mouth blubbering like the silly little mouse she was back then. His eyes. Oh, his eyes. Even in the dim light of the room, they burned. They seared through her, devoured her, ate away at any witty comeback she had on her mouth.
Molly shook her head. Steady. She thought. Steady. She broke the gaze, broke herself out of the spell. After years of this, Sherlock still had this effect on her, damn it. Oh, she wasn't surprised in the least. She had accepted this as part of their tumultuous relationship. But it didn't mean that she had to be consumed by it. No. This is.. This was.. This was all..
Sherlock's breathing labored. She could tell he was still staring at her, asking her without words: Well, do you? Do you want me to leave? Are you really throwing me out in the streets? Molly closed her eyes. His blue scarf was still on her hand. She felt the soft fabric slip through her fingers. It was one of her favorite things. That blue scarf that brought out his eyes. If she could ask for one thing from him, one thing to take, she will take this scarf to remind her of his eyes.
But Molly sighed. Her fists tightened one last time at the scarf and let it go. She's giving it all back to him. She's taking nothing. No keepsakes, no trinkets. Nothing but the joy of being his friend and the privilege to care for him. She saw how a tiny glimpse of intense emotion made him bitter and condemning. It was something Sherlock had to deal with on his own.
"I am." She said firmly, throwing the scarf over his neck. Molly knotted it around his pale neck as carefully as she could, focusing on the loops instead of his eyes boring down on her. One loop. Two loops. Three. "Just.. Please don't do anything stupid." she said with finality, making the last knot.
No, she didn't want him to leave. Not tonight where he was in absolute shit, when he needed someone to take care of his sorry ass state. He might endanger himself like she thinks he will. Molly thought of calling John to have him picked up. That's right. She'll call John right after he leaves.
A pair of cold, broad hands tightened around hers, her fingers still clutching the scarf. Her mind froze as she looked up at him. Proximity demanded attention. He looked at her and she was drunk with him, with his face, a mixture of heartbreak and desire. It stirred something hidden in her depths.
"How stupid, Molly Hooper?" he whispered, his face dipping into hers. His breath brushed her nose, her lips and his low voice sent echoes through her spine. Sherlock pulled her towards him and a sensation of release exploded as their lips touched. A flurry of wind. A hurricane. Teeth mashed, lips sucked and kneaded. Tongues entwined and danced, feverish and deep. It felt like a first kiss; a pubescent exploration of lust and desire. Experimentation. Their tongues were hungry for each other. A boiling sensation throbbed at Molly's belly. Sherlock seemed to suck all the life out of her, his mouth exploring the recesses of her lips. Hands grabbed the sides of her face and caressed her neck. Cold hands. It made Molly shiver, but then his lips were warm. For a few lovely minutes, his lips were all that mattered in the world. She liked his hands sliding up and down her back. She liked pulling on the hair on his nape. The touch of his skin was velvet.
And then the space between them shrank, his eager hands began to explore her body further. Molly shivered with excitement.
Then she stopped. Something in her snapped out of the heady blur. A smart voice told her where this was leading to. All at once, the rush started to turn dark and poisoned.
"S-stop." she pulled away. "Sherlock."
Stubbornly, Sherlock wrapped his arms around her tightly. He was warm all over, underneath his thick coats, and cold hands and steely demeanor, he was very warm. He smelt like aftershave and weed. Cigarettes. Sweat. The city. He didn't seem to want to let go.
"S-sherlock--" Molly groaned, her heart thumping fast.
"I'm not leaving. I don't want to leave. " He said, buried on her neck. "So, don't make me."
Molly's eyes prickled with sadness under Sherlock's embrace. This is just... him. Sherlock Holmes. Tonight, he was just a man with nowhere to go. His brain distracts him from boredom, and his boredom distracts him from loneliness. She wanted so much to hug him back and kiss him again. To tell him that she will always, always be there for him. He didn't need to feel alone. Not with her.
But he was starting to kiss her shoulders now, and Molly felt a perverse reaction to each planted kiss. It didn't feel right. Sherlock was at his weakest. He was at the loneliest he has ever been. Right now, he is simply an unstable man, hyped up in drugs and no inhibitions, yearning for acceptance in the worst possible way. Molly cringed.
It wasn't hard at all to resist him. All she had to think about was her love for him, bubbling up like a lost brook underneath an expanse of ocean. All she had to do was love him and know that a complication such as "them" will break this current unstable version of himself even further.
With all the force she can muster, Molly pushed Sherlock off her. He staggered for a bit, slow in mind and not his usual dexterous self. He lost his balance and collapsed to the floor with a thud. He stayed there for quite some time, looking down at the floor and lost in himself.
She knelt down beside him, feeling every bit strong and weak, resolute and flimsy. Dumb, but also wise.
"Molly, I think I just got rejected." Sherlock snickered. "..I'm sorry."
Molly shook her head with a small, tired smile.
"My head hurts." he announced after a pause. The cocktail of chemicals working in his blood was taking its toll on him. He closed his eyes and rested his head on the wall. Molly brushed the hair off his face and Sherlock clung to her hand like a drowning man. His lips brushed her palm, given them clumsy kisses with every heavy exhale. Molly's heart broke. He was having a fever. His forehead radiated a prickly heat. She took his arm and helped him up to his feet towards the bed. He was unfit to stay anywhere but here.
"So, I can stay?" Sherlock's eyes were heavy and lidded as he laid on the bed. He was shook up and spaced out. But he was smiling.
"Yes. You can stay here tonight, Sherlock." Molly said, wrapping him with her warm sheets.
"..I think I might.. love you, see. I-I think I might. I read it in a book. I think--" he said, dazed, confused.
"Shh.." Molly gave his forehead a small kiss. "I do too, Sherlock." she whispered.
"Yes. Now, go to sleep."
"Thanks, Mummy. Promise that Redbeard will be fine?" the feverish babblings of Sherlock said as he drifted to sleep.
"Everything will be fine." she answered wisely.