Sherlock eyed the door from his perch on the couch. Rushing footsteps faltered, then continued up the stairs. Straight to John's room then, no pausing for the social convention that generally mattered so much to John.
It was elementary to deduce: John's date with Molly must have gone very well indeed.
"He's right downstairs, John, he'll hear, won't he?" Molly would have wrung her hands but they were grasping the back of John's jumper, her arms wrapped tight around to make sure he knew she liked him right where he was - pressed up close against her body from top to toe. When bland John Watson, harmless John Watson, dull John Watson had asked her to dinner, Molly had accepted mostly because there were few enough other prospects.
Sometimes it was just nice to be asked - didn't mean she owed him anything.
But instead of a safe, boring restaurant, he'd taken her for amazing Chinese food, where they'd shared tiny plates of dumplings and a bowl of noodles. After dinner, they'd walked. John had pointed out bits and pieces of the city that Molly had never noticed, had never even considered. He'd asked her questions - why she liked working in the morgue, where she came from, what she wanted from her life.
He'd asked if he could hold her hand; she'd let him, happy enough with the thrill of their banter to let him try to win her over the rest of the way. His callused palm had slid against her own smooth one; his strong fingers - nimble with the chopsticks, she'd noticed - had twined with hers. John had a gentle touch that was still unhesitating.
Molly had wondered, all of a sudden, what it might feel like on the rest of her body. They'd stopped, still holding hands, at the entrance to the tube station where she'd met up with him; she'd leaned up and kissed him before he could ask her for permission, made it her choice.
The rest of it was a whirl, enough of a blur that she didn't think she'd be able to say how they'd got back to Baker Street.
He kissed her again, nipped at her bottom lip in a way that made her jump, jolt against him. He seemed to like that; John gave a breathy little moan against her mouth. "He'll deduce it either way." He gave her one more kiss, urgent but brief like he wanted one more just in case she said no, then pulled back enough to catch his breath. "I won't lie to you about that - he'll know, no matter what we do."
Molly savored the flavor of John in her mouth - he tasted like tea, even after all the noodles he'd eaten. And she considered. John was right; she knew Sherlock, had wanted him for the way he saw things, had wanted to be seen by him. There was no way he wouldn't know it as soon as he saw either of them.
It had to be hard to live with that. If Molly hadn't already realized there was more to John than he showed everyone on a normal day, that would have cemented it for her. He lived with that scrutiny, with that insight. Every day. Didn't squirm under it. Didn't shake.
Maybe, Molly thought, she might be able to make John shake. She smiled, slow and sweet. "I'm not bothered." She wasn't. Let him hear - let Sherlock Holmes hear exactly what they were getting up to. She wasn't ashamed.
Something flared hot and bright in John's blue gaze and Molly was glad she'd held on to him for the way her knees wobbled. "Well, if you're going to be like that about it..." He trailed off with a lopsided grin, then lifted her up for the few steps it took to reach the bed.
She shrieked a bit. And then laughed - no wonder Sherlock liked him; John was full of surprises.