Molly awoke to the sounds of a mop slapping the deck noisily just outside their small window. She groaned and rolled over, resisting the daylight.
A crisp masculine voice interrupted her dreamy state.
"I let you sleep late. Are you aware that you take an average of eleven breaths per minute when you're sleeping?"
Molly peeped one eye open to take in the sight of Sherlock's face hovering just over hers, his dark curls almost brushing her forehead.
"Good morning, captain. Are you experimenting on me?" She smiled.
"No. Would you like me to?" His left eyebrow quirked up.
"Not presently." She giggled and cupped his cheek with her palm. "You didn't sleep." The shadows under his eyes were darker.
"Yes I did," he said, hiding his face by dropping a kiss on her neck. "Look! I'm still in bed." He pressed his nude body against hers to emphasize his point.
"Your clothes aren't where you left them last night, Sherlock," she admonished him. "You aren't the only one who notices things."
He forced himself to look ashamed for a few seconds, before shrugging. "I can't turn my brain off so easily. I wasn't tired. There was work to be done, and sleep wastes time. And I did make progress. For instance, I know there were two men in the room with the woman's corpse, and that one of them is the dominant, but he isn't the one slicing-"
Molly cut him off with a finger against his lips. "Please, not yet. I can't…I can't think about that right now, it's too early." She was silent for a moment. "I haven't dreamed about the gruesome ones in years. But last night…Later, please."
She put her cheeriest smile on. "It's a beautiful day, I can see, and we're away from that place, and you're here and I do feel something hard against my hip. What do you suppose we can do about that?"
"Well I wasn't going to mention it," Sherlock said, his hand stroking across her belly and thighs. "But since you did…"
Molly brushed his hands off and rolled on top of him, bringing her to sitting on his supine form. His eyebrows went up. He controlled his face well with a cool expression, but she saw his eyes glitter with anticipation and the black centers dilated as she adjusted on his lap, their centers pressed together.
He tucked his arms behind his head, and waited. Molly had discovered the benefits of being on top of him a couple weeks before and since then, he'd found himself in this position several times. Sherlock was the first to admit he could be extraordinarily lazy. Lying back, stretching out his legs, and letting her ride him until she came screaming suited him splendidly.
Molly's hands explored the geography of his body, her physician's fingers tracing the contours of lean muscle. The sprinkling of gingery brown hair across his chest fascinated her. She was tempted to ask him to grow out his beard once just to see if it would come out the same surprisingly light color.
She giggled with the thought, and he smiled drily in return. He didn't remember the other women he'd had sexual relations laughing and grinning so much during the act, but perhaps he'd deleted that.
Or maybe it was just Molly.
Watching her eyes and hands survey his form was interesting, because she took the same care with his body that he did with experiments and mysteries. It occurred to Sherlock that she did view him as a mystery.
"What is a detective? You never did explain," Molly wondered, as she leaned forward to flick her tongue over his chest. She lightly nibbled on his nipples and wiggled her hips when he groaned and moved in response.
His eyes closed as he gave in to the sensations. She felt him growing harder and she pushed down with more pressure, though she didn't let him slip into her.
"It's…very simple," he said, gritting his teeth with the effort of speaking. "I detect. I see what others do not, and I know what it means. Or I find out, anyway. It's what I do here, only more focused on the scientific aspect. I helped solve crimes for several members of the aristocracy, friends of my brother's. And I realized I could…make a career of it. I invented a name for the job."
His eyes opened, blazing green-blue as Molly reached down to stroke his cock and tease the head of it with her warmth.
"If you don't stop doing that, you'll get no more answers." He gave up the relaxed pose and his hands grabbed onto her waist. He lifted his pelvis up toward her, but she responded in kind, lifting herself up so he was denied the pleasure of sinking into her wetness.
Molly giggled again, her brown eyes glowing warmly for him.
"Thank you for explaining. But I'm still wondering…how did you become a pirate? You're not violent, I don't believe that. You're the most brilliant man I've ever known, and you're good."
"Later," he said, frustration apparent in his voice. "I can't…it's too...I can't bloody talk." One of his hands grasped her breast, toying with the nipple until Molly was writhing on his lap.
Sherlock dragged himself up to sitting, startling Molly for a moment. He wrapped his arms around her body and dragged her tightly down to his groin. She shifted her knees forward to sit more comfortably and spread her thighs apart, allowing him finally to sink into her.
She mashed her mouth against his roughly, growing clumsy in her want. He responded with enthusiasm, their tongues tangling as her body rose and fell on his, finding a rhythm together.
Molly dug her nails into his shoulders, fascinated by the look of furious arousal and focus in his eyes as she rode him. He burned with energy, the muscles of his arms flexing as he tugged on her hips to push himself deeper into her. She felt entranced by him, but at the same time she was in control, drawing more groans out of him by clenching her inner muscles whenever she pleased.
He quickened the pace, their flesh slapping together as she bounced happily. She never could have imagined what it was would feel like, truly, but now that she had this man between her thighs, she couldn't imagine not having this always.
The speed of her climax surprised both of them, her squeals muffled as she plastered her mouth against his. She loved kissing him whenever she came, best of all.
He obliged her, taking her mouth firmly as he gave her the last thrusts she needed to peak.
Molly collapsed on his lap, shaking and holding onto him for dear life. She buried her face against his neck, inhaling their combined musky scent as her heart hammered and eventually, slowed to normal.
Sherlock flipped them over, and resettled himself between her legs. Slipping back inside her, he watched as she smiled again and lifted her hands to stroke his chest as he pumped into her. Her deft fingers ticked the hair on his body, and she bit her lip. She gazed up at him with such honest wanting and appreciation, he could barely stand the intensity of it.
He abandoned the smooth and controlled thrusting, and rode her hard. The pleased sighs and plaintive moans he drew from her were as melodic as anything heard from his violin. And when she peaked again, he gave in, adding his groans to hers, before kissing her into silence.
They lay together, breath heavily and grinning for minutes before Molly's mind cleared enough to construct a sentence.
"Tell me why you're a pirate, before you forget and run off to your lab closet for days at a time. Please." She nestled under his arm, against the side of his chest.
He squeezed her, and stroked her arm lazily. "Not a very interesting tale. Sometimes I don't say the things people want to hear." He shrugged.
"I've noticed," Molly replied with a gentle smile. He rolled his eyes in response.
"I was engaged on behalf of a royal client, with my brother acting as liaison. That should have told me it was a bad idea. A matter of some papers that had gone missing during a visit from a Spanish ambassador. The compartment they'd been removed from was secure and guarded twenty-four hours a day. They said it was impenetrable. Naturally some thief took that as a challenge. There was no evidence, and their 'best people' made no progress. Mycroft could have solved it himself, I'm sure, but he's gone to great lengths to appear very average to the peerage. His Highness had heard of my adventures and asked the Earl of Warwick to summon his brother, and so there I was."
"Wait- I'm sorry, just to be clear. Your brother is an earl?" Molly's mouth had dropped open as she turned her head to stare at Sherlock.
"Does that mean you- are you some kind of lord?"
"I used to have a string of words they would announce after my name when I entered a room, but it was tedious. Rubbish I'd inherited from my mother's side. Titles, no real income. Mycroft has the moneyed titles. Useless. I'm much happier without them, as George helpfully removed those titles when he declared me pirate."
Molly didn't know what to say about Sherlock being from a high-ranking aristocratic family. She felt much smaller, all of a sudden.
"I solved the mystery- clearly the theft was carried out with help from one of the guards. The papers had no plain monetary value but they had the potential to destroy the royal family's claim on the throne, as they called into question the legitimacy of the current heirs and offered proof."
"Why on earth would someone keep papers like that? Burn them."
"Smart thinking, yes," Sherlock observed. "But he wanted to keep his heirs in line. The prince has been very vocal about his father's failing health and mental faculties. They attempted to turn ruling over to him several years ago, but George recovered in time to stop the Regency from going into effect."
"I had heard about that, yes, but I thought it was just party gossip."
"King George is suffering from a physical condition that has robbed him of his sanity."
"That is terribly sad," Molly said. "He can't be cured?"
"No, terribly tragic. And inconvenient. For me. I solved the case. I brought him the papers back- they'd never actually left the palace, you see, but were secreted in the kitchens- and he was most grateful. He offered me anything I wanted, and I asked for this." Sherlock gestured around the cabin.
"The Hudson was your reward?"
"Yes. I was tired of London, I couldn't learn any more there. I was bored, always. But with a ship, I could go anywhere I wanted, never at the mercy of the captains my brother employed. This ship and everything on it is mine."
Molly shivered at the fierceness in his tone.
Sherlock continued his story. "George was delighted with my idea, and commissioned the ship to be built with the specifications I requested. I visited the shipyards in Plymouth to check on its progress, and as soon as it arrived in London, I began preparing it to leave for an extended journey to the coast of Africa and the northern coast of South America. I hired a crew with what was left of my funds. I was ready."
And the king summoned me to the palace. He wanted to make a proper party of presenting the ship to me. I told Mycroft to piss off, but he insisted. It would make Mummy so proud to see me celebrated by the king. And so she was…for about an hour. It was an intimate gathering of a hundred people."
Sherlock wore a crooked grin. He spoke absently.
"Mycroft presented me to the king. His deterioration was evident. When he began to speak, he rambled on about my journey and the Americas, and then began making statements that were ridiculously inaccurate. He referred to John Adams as the current American president, and then began lecturing me on how Adams carried on affairs with my cousin Aubrey when he was the minister to France."
Sherlock kissed Molly's forehead and hopped out of bed. He scooped his clothes off the floor and dressed.
"I confess I have not retained a great deal of information about John Adams or my cousin, but I am certain that Mister Jefferson holds that auspicious American title, and that he spent many years in France. And that Aubrey, while promiscuous in his relations, has never left England due to his morbid fear of the sea. The king is mad. Or remarkably stupid."
Sherlock paused. "I…may have said as much to Mycroft. Within George's hearing."
"Oh Sherlock," Molly tsked.
"How was I to know the old man was so stealthy? Needless to say, he was displeased. Said that I was unworthy of his gifts and so he tried to take my ship back. I told him to what I thought of that idea, and I left very quickly."
Sherlock sat at the table and began rolling loose tobacco into a paper. "When I got to the Hudson, there were already king's men there, attempting to evacuate the crew I'd hired. We had a bit of a tussle, but the law was no match for brawling sailors. They've no love for the law.
I returned about a month later to assess the damage. I attempted to contact my brother but he was out of town. His ward Anthea- a terrifying young beauty- told me he'd left a note for me in the pub nearest to where we'd docked. I visited my mother, and then went to pick up the message. I'd thought, stupid of me, that maybe Mycroft would've made the situation disappear. His resources are formidable."
"For someone you seem to dislike, you have absolute faith in your brother," Molly observed as she stepped out of bed to don her trousers and shirt.
"Shut up," Sherlock said affectionately.
"The visit wasn't an entire waste of my time, as I picked up a rather inebriated ship's surgeon on the way back to the Hudson." He smiled with the memory. "And so that is the not-very-exciting tale of how I became a pirate. George believes I stole the ship, since he 'took it back,' and he wasn't terribly happy when we raided the stores of the next navy ship that attempted to interfere with the Hudson, off the coast of Scotland."
"What a strange story," Molly mused. "Why did you name it the Hudson anyway? The name of a friend, or an old lover?" she asked lightly.
"Sentiment. I have no use for it." He sat quietly and lit the cigar off the lamp's flame. "We needed a name for the ship when we visited New York, or it would've looked odd, suspicious. The Hudson is the river there so it's what I told the dockmaster it was called when we arrived. It was an efficient choice."
"Oh I see. Well that makes sense." Molly wrinkled her nose. "That makes me sneeze. Would you mind?"
Sherlock looked down at the smoke drifting from his fingers. "Ah." He stubbed it out on a saucer.
"In a way, it may be an unexpected help to have Captain Lestrade on board. He could confirm that we were nowhere near the Azores when the massacre happened."
Molly's face lit up. "Oh good! I'd hate to think people would believe your crew could do such a thing. I know, I know, they're pirates, but some of them are…" She paused thinking of Basil eating candy, Donovan bragging about her lady captain, John prying splinters from Lestrade's fingers after repairing a boom. "I wouldn't want them to be hung."
"Hanged," he corrected."I don't care what people think of me, but if we are ever apprehended, there will be no chance of escaping death if that slaughter is blamed on my crew."
Bells rang in the distance. He stood and took Molly in his arms.
"I have to go. I've read the information you wrote down, but you need to go over it again, look for medical details. Things you may recall from the Spitalfields case. Anything. Find me when you're done." He bent and nuzzled her neck, kissing the sweet spot that made her bite her lip.
"Don't, I smell like sweat," she said with a laugh.
"You smell like mine." He bit her neck gently for emphasis, kissed her on the lips and strode out the door.
Molly turned to the stack of papers on the desk, and began to work.