Sherlock Holmes wondered what sartorial sadist invented the bowtie. He hoped whomever was responsible had died a slow and painful death. He found it remarkably uncomfortable, lashed around his neck and forcing him to have the buttons of his starched white shirt closed all the way.
He much preferred his normal style of dress, which was far more formal than most of those he associated with. Why was it so important for him to dress even more formal for this particular occasion?
As much as he had rebelled against it initially, in the end, he had acquiesced to the requests he wear the tuxedo. Molly and John had begged for him to behave, trying to impress upon him the importance of the day.
Sherlock pulled at the bowtie irritably, his nose crinkling.
"Will you please stop fiddling?" John asked, crossing his arms over his chest. "You know you can take that thing off as soon as the ceremony is over. It's just an hour, Sherlock."
Sherlock let out an irritated groan. "This is terribly uncomfortable. What is the point of it? All it does it restrict my breathing. It has absolutely no functionality..."
John shrugged slightly. "Molly will think you look hot."
Sherlock paused, considering this statement. He nodded. "All right. Fine. But just for the ceremony. After that, I am taking it off. I don't think I've ever been so uncomfortable."
John's forehead crinkled as he straightened Sherlock's bowtie. "Says the man who wears the wool overcoat throughout the summer."
Sherlock frowned. "What's your point?"
John smoothed down the lapels of Sherlock's jacket. "Okay, Sherlock... Do we need to have a talk about what's proper behaviour at a wedding?"
Sherlock sighed. "John, I have been to weddings before."
John glanced up at Sherlock. "Yes, but you've never been in this particular situation at a wedding before. It's really important you don't..."
John trailed off and Sherlock stared at him in question.
"Don't be yourself."
Sherlock narrowed his gaze on John, giving him a withering look. "I rather thought 'being myself' is what put me in this position."
"I just want to make sure you're comfortable with this," John sighed. "It's really important that this go smoothly. Don't do it for me. Do it for her. You know she'll be devastated if things don't go well. Or else kill you."
Sherlock pulled away from John and looked into the mirror, adjusting his bowtie and jacket to his own liking. He was scowling slightly in the mirror. "I am not going to mess things up. Why would I mess up today? I know how important it is."
John eyed Sherlock suspiciously. "Do I need to remind you when you were thrown in jail because of your testimony against Moriarty?"
Sherlock turned to face John. "Do I need to remind you I was completely aware that trial was an utter miscarriage of justice from the off? This is something that everyone is taking a bit more seriously." He smiled tightly. "All right. I'm ready."
"Are you sure?" John asked. "I mean, this is big."
Sherlock waved his hand. "Please John. I have been preparing myself for this eventuality for longer than you realize."
Sherlock rolled his eyes as John stared at him for a long moment. Finally, the doctor nodded. "All right then. As long as you're absolutely certain."
Sherlock looked askance at his friend. "You're trying to talk me out of this."
"I'm not trying to talk you out of this!" John protested. "I just want to make sure if you decide to become a complete tit, you do it here and now, rather in front of an entire congregation of people."
Sherlock huffed out an annoyed breath as he strode out of the room and down the corridor. "You know, Molly's been fretting too. It certainly says a lot about those closest to me that they think I can't handle myself in public for an hour."
John trailed close behind him. "It says that we know you."
Sherlock and John walked to the altar, standing side by side. They looked to the minister who nodded. "We're ready to begin then?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Obviously. Can we please get this over with?"
"Sherlock!" John hissed under his breath.
Turning, the two men looked down the aisle. Music had started and the processional began. Sherlock paid no attention to the people who came down the aisle and stopped at the altar. They were unimportant. And then, he saw her.
Molly was beaming as she walked down the aisle. Her brown eyes were riveted to him. He looked her up and down. While he didn't much care about formal wear, he couldn't deny she looked lovely. He felt the corner of his mouth curve up in a small smile.
Once she reached the end of the aisle, Molly stood on the other side of the altar, beside Harriet.
The music changed to the wedding march and Sherlock felt John reflexively grasp at his sleeve when Mary began to walk down the aisle.
"Breathe, John," Sherlock muttered softly. "Wouldn't do for you pass out on your wedding day."
"Look at her, Sherlock," John whispered in awe.
"I see her," Sherlock replied, his brow furrowing slightly. He didn't see what John was getting so worked up about. Then, he wasn't the one that was marrying Mary.
Once Mary reached the altar and took John's hands, Sherlock turned his attention back to Molly. He smiled once again at her. Maybe he did understand John's reaction.
Sherlock was quite happy standing in the corner, observing all of the wedding attendees with a keen, analytical eye.
He had to admit, as weddings went, the joining of Morstan and Watson was one of the more tolerable. For one, he actually liked the couple that was marrying. Well, if he were honest, he liked John. He liked Mary in so far as she was not an intolerable companion for his friend to have.
From his observations, John and Mary actually cared about each other. Most of the weddings he had been to had been obligation from being a part of the Holmes family. Those weddings always seemed more like business mergers than any sort of celebration of sentiment.
Sentiment. Sherlock couldn't believe he actually care a moment's thought to sentiment. He supposed he could blame that solely on the slight woman in blue, who was currently cooing over the infant Redford Lestrade and talking animatedly with his father.
Sherlock sipped his champagne as he undid his bowtie. He watched as John moved away from Stamford and strode over to him. "So, Sherlock... Are you going to make your toast?"
Sherlock gave John a small smile and raised his glass. "Congratulations, John. Mary is a charming woman. You've also managed to pick a bride whom I believe might actually benefit rather than hinder our work with her keen intellect."
John laughed softly, shaking his head. "Well, thank you, Sherlock." Sherlock didn't miss the wry note in his friend's voice. "Coming from you, that's... Well, that's actually good. But I did mean a proper toast. You're best man."
Sherlock scrunched up his nose. "You want me to make a speech? Oh, John."
"It's tradition." John sighed. "Why is it such a problem for you? You love to hear yourself talk."
Sherlock glared at John. "It's sentimental. It's all for show. You and Mary both know how I feel about your nuptials." He arched a brow. "Beside, I didn't force you to make a speech, did I?"
John stared at Sherlock blankly for a long moment. "You didn't give me the chance! You and Molly ran off to the civil office! No one besides me, Mary and Mrs Hudson even know you're married."
Sherlock crossed his arms over his chest, straightening up. "Our brothers know," he knew he sounded slightly defensive. Just because he and Molly haven't advertised their marriage to the world didn't make it any less valid. "But if you insist, I'll say highly complimentary things about your compatibility and how you two are no doubt going to beat the odds of global divorce rate."
John gave a sharp nod. "Molly Hooper is a lucky, lucky woman."
Sherlock watched the aforementioned lucky woman make her way towards them. "She seems to think so."
Molly eyed the pair. Sherlock waved his hand, urging her to him. "Am I interrupting?"
Sherlock shook his head as he gazed down at Molly. "Not at all. John was just insisting I make a speech."
"I think everyone wants you to," Molly replied, unbuttoning the top two buttons of his shirt, much to his relief. "There's a wager going on that you'll say something horribly inappropriate. Anderson's even bet that you'll reveal you've always been in love with John."
"What?" Both John and Sherlock said together.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Honestly. Does everyone believe me to be completely incapable of behaving in public?" He scowled when he saw John and Molly share a look. "It's John's wedding, I do know to comport myself."
Molly dipped her hand inside of the collar of Sherlock's shirt, taking hold of the wedding band he wore on a chain. "Don't pout. I would've bet on you doing an excellent job toasting John and Mary, but I have an unfair advantage."
Sherlock smiled down at Molly, looping an arm around her waist, pressing her close. "Molly Darling, you should take absolutely every advantage to take money from Anderson. In fact, money does not have to be a factor. Just making him look like an idiot should be enough."
Molly giggled softly. "Now Sherlock, do I really need to try?"
That made Sherlock's smile broaden and he pulled Molly closer. "I do think I'll keep you."
John rolled his eyes. "All right then. I think I'm going to go find my bride." He pointed a finger at Sherlock. "And you- it's my wedding reception. Please try to restrain yourself from working the Jones Case."
Sherlock watched John go off to join Mary. He hugged Molly close to him as John kissed his new wife, laughing with Mrs Hudson and Rebecca Lestrade. He could feel Molly's fingers continue to play with his wedding band.
"Do you wish we had something like this?" Sherlock asked, glancing down at Molly. He smoothed his hand over her back. "I was confident you didn't. But you seem to be having a good time."
Molly let go of Sherlock's wedding ring, sliding her hand up to cup the back of his neck. She shook her head. "This is the first wedding I've enjoyed in ages. It wasn't just reminder I was alone."
Sherlock frowned in thought. "And the last wedding you were at your were kidnapped by a criminal mastermind."
"Don't remind me," Molly sighed. She rubbed the back of Sherlock's neck with the tips of her fingers. "I never really cared about having my own wedding. I mean, this is lovely... For John and Mary. But you wouldn't have liked this. You would have hated this."
Sherlock nodded. It was true. He then looked down at his wife. "I would have done it. If you had wanted it."
"Never been much for being the centre of attention," Molly murmured. She urged Sherlock down towards her. "I didn't want to be your bride, Sherlock. I wanted to be your wife."
He allowed Molly to guide his mouth to hers. He slid his fingers into her hair and sighed softly against her lips.
After a moment, Molly pulled back. She took a hold of Sherlock's hand. "Dance with me."
Sherlock looked warily down at her small hands, clasping his wrist. "I don't dance."
Molly gave his arm a light tug. "Come on. It's not hard."
"I didn't say I can't," Sherlock stated plainly. "I said I don't."
Molly glared up at him, her lower lip jutting out in a pout. Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Molly..."
"Fine then," Molly said, releasing his arm. She turned. "I'll go ask Greg if he wants to..."
Sherlock moved quickly, grabbing Molly by the waist, spinning her around and up against him. He lead her out onto the dance floor. "That," he said firmly. "Is not playing fair."
Molly's brow knit. "Hm. All's fair in war and something else if I remember correctly..."
Sherlock cocked his head slightly. It seemed to be another one of those sayings he didn't always get. "What's that?"
"Love and war, Sherlock," Molly replied, pressing closer as she slipped one arm around Sherlock's neck. "All's fair in love and war."
"And what exactly does that mean?" Sherlock asked, one hand firmly on the small on Molly's back, the other clutching her free hand to his chest.
Molly glanced up at him. "It means I'm your wife and will end up winning far more arguments than you ever thought imaginable."
"I want a divorce," Sherlock said quickly, in jest.
Molly gave Sherlock a poke in the chest. "You're stuck with me, Mister Holmes."
Sherlock looked down at the woman in his arms and the corner of his mouth curved up. "Yes I am, Doctor Holmes." He bent down and kissed her again, a firmer, lingering gesture of his affections than their previous kiss.
When they parted, he noticed John and Mary dancing close to them. He swept Molly over towards them before pulling away from her. "I hope you don't mind if I cut in," Sherlock said.
"But which one of us do you want to dance with?" Mary asked with a smile.
"Highly amusing." Sherlock took a hold of Mary's waist and her hand, sweeping her across the floor to the music. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Molly and John dancing.
"Is this the 'you better not hurt my friend talk'?" Mary asked as she looked up at Sherlock.
Sherlock studied her expression. She was glowing. That was really the only way he could describe it. She was truly happy with John, with everything that had happened that day. "You saved him," Sherlock murmured. He moved his gaze off of the happy bride and onto her husband, laughing and dancing with his own wife. "I broke him apart. He went thousands of kilometres to escape my ghost. And he found you. And you put him back together. I did everything I could to hurt him. You saved him. I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't found you."
Mary went still, looking up at Sherlock in shock.
"You know as well as everyone else my skill at reading human behaviour," Sherlock continued on. "I have never seen John Watson as happy as he is with you, Mary Morstan." He paused for a long moment, keeping his eyes trained on his best friend, unable to look at Mary. "Thank you. For making him happy."
Sherlock abruptly pulled away from Mary. He tugged down the jacket of his tuxedo and took a deep breath. "Right then. So now it's time for me to make a toast to you and John. I hope you don't mind terribly, but I will leave everything out that I just said to you and instead make jest of the number of times he has been mistaken for my date."
Mary smiled and nodded. "I think it's what everyone is expecting." She looked to John and Sherlock could see her beam anew. "Sherlock?"
"Hm?" Sherlock furrowed his brow.
"Thank you," Mary whispered.
Sherlock shook his head. "I don't-"
"For him," Mary explained. "For giving him to me."
"He was never mine to give," Sherlock said with a frown.
Mary stretched up and pressed a kiss to Sherlock's cheek. "Yes he was. Thank you."
Sherlock smiled softly. "Take care of him."
John and Mary both receive significant wedding presents
The reception had begun to thin out the later into the night it got. Not that there were that many people to begin with. Between John and Mary, they only had about a hundred people to invite. Now, only about a dozen remained.
John had his arms around Mary as they danced what was probably going to be the last dance of the night. She looked up at him, sleepy, but happy. It was getting time to take her home, but he wanted to hold on to the last moments of their wedding.
He noticed Sherlock was still there, sitting at a table with Molly resting her head on his shoulder. She looked to be dozing.
"He's waiting to talk to you," Mary said. She smiled softly at him. "You should go do it so he can finally take his poor wife home."
"I'll have to do the same with mine," John replied, giving Mary a firm squeeze around the waist.
"Nothing 'poor' about me." Mary leaned in, pressing her mouth to his. John let his eyes slide shut as he deepened the kiss, his hands sliding up her back. Ideas what they would get up to once they got home immediately came to mind, reaffirming his decision to leave. Finally, Mary pulled away. "You make me so very happy, John."
John was about to reply, about to reaffirm his love for his wife, when he felt her give him a light smack on the backside. "Now go talk to your first wife."
John gave Mary a swift kiss on the cheek before pulling away. "I love you, Mary. The fact that you're willing to put up with him-" He jerked his head towards Sherlock. "Just makes me love you more. There's no one like you."
"You just remember that, Doctor Watson." Mary beamed.
"Of course, Mrs Watson," John replied with a grin.
Finally parting from his bride, John made his way to the table where Sherlock and Molly sat. He pulled up a chair, sitting beside Sherlock.
Sherlock was running his fingers through Molly's hair. "My wife has imbibed too much alcohol. She has made several salacious suggestions as to what she would like to do to my person. However, I believe she might be too impaired to follow through. Or remain awake."
John looked at Sherlock for a long moment. Sherlock looked back at him. The pair then broke out into peals of laughter.
"We can't giggle. We'll wake your wife," John said between chuckles.
Molly let out a small moan and snuggled closer to Sherlock. He rolled his eyes. "She'll have to wake soon enough to go home. I'm not going to carry her to the cab."
John sighed, finally reining in his laughter. "We're married, Sherlock."
"Perhaps you wish to phrase things differently," Sherlock teased. "Or have you become more comfortable with the rumours of our homosexuality now that you have married Mary?"
Now it was John's turn to roll his eyes. "I'm serious, Sherlock. Did you ever think this was going to happen?"
Sherlock sighed. "It was an inevitability for you..." He tilted his head to peer down at Molly. "My marriage shocks even me."
John nodded. "This is true." Before Sherlock's fall, the idea of him settling down with anyone seemed an impossibility. John couldn't even call it a lack of interest in romance. He seemed to outright disdain it.
But now, seeing him with Molly, it seemed the most obvious outcome. The pair fit like puzzle pieces. The man who John himself had likened to a Vulcan or a machine now seemed utterly content to have the pathologist nestled against him.
"Well." Sherlock reached into his jacket. "Now that the discussion of our wives is over..." He held out an envelope to John. "Your wedding present. From Molly and me."
John shook his head. "Sherlock, you didn't have to-"
Sherlock glared at John. "Of course I did. Giving a present to a couple whose wedding you have not only attended, but participated in is customary-" He trailed off, his expression softening. "I wanted to."
John smiled softly as he opened the envelope. His eyes widened as he took out the two plane tickets and generous cheque.
"Your flight leaves in two days," Sherlock explained. "It's a charter plane. I've made the arrangements with my brother. It will take you anywhere you and Mary wish to go. The cheque should handle your accommodations and any activities you wish to engage in while on your honeymoon. However, being in the nascent stages of marriage myself, I understand that very little money is in fact needed. The basic necessities are yourself, your wife and as little clothing as possible. I suppose a private room, if you feel that is absolutely necessary. However, I assume you will not be preoccupied with intercourse for the entirety of your honeymoon and will want to engage in some other activities. The financial support is not the real gift..."
John furrowed his brow. "What are you talking about?"
Sherlock sighed deeply. "My gift is that I will, under no circumstances, find out where you have travelled to, meaning I will be unable to disturb you, for the duration of your honeymoon."
John blinked at Sherlock in shock. It was obvious a difficult thing for him to say, grinding it out between clenched teeth. "That is about the nicest thing you could ever give me."
"It was Molly's idea," Sherlock admitted. "She pointed out to me that I can be a tad intrusive."
"Tad?" John repeated, in complete disbelief that Sherlock could minimize the damage he'd caused to John's love life in the past. "Tad?"
"I like to think it's behind us, John," Sherlock replied calmly, smiling tightly. "I have done little to interfere in your relationship with Miss Morstan- I'm sorry, Mrs Morstan-Watson. You have reached what is generally considered to be the goal of romantic pursuits. So are you going to continue holding things against me?"
"I suppose not," John murmured. He continued to stare down at the plane tickets and cheque. "Sherlock, I... I really don't know what to say."
"I understand 'thank you' is appropriate in this case," Sherlock replied.
John smiled. "Thank you, Sherlock. This is... I really don't even know what to say."
'Thank you is sufficient." Sherlock threaded his fingers through Molly's hair. "Probably the less said the better, John. Emotional outpourings are not really my area." Sherlock gently nudged Molly. "Molly, wake up. John is feeling the need to lavish gratitude upon one of us and I'd rather it not be me."
Molly mewled softly and sleepily raised her head. "Oh..." She yawned. "I was just... Resting my eyes..." Her voice was slightly slurred, though John could not figure out if it was from sleep or drink taken.
John smiled at the sleepy woman. "Thank you, Molly. Sherlock just gave me your present."
Molly stretched. "Oh, it's nothing, John... I know you and Mary were planning to stay in London for your honeymoon, but Sherlock will drive you spare if he knows where you two are."
Sherlock scowled deeply. "I'd already mentioned that fact to him. We do not have to keep beleaguering the point."
John rolled his eyes at Sherlock before pulling Molly into his arms, hugging her tightly. "Watch out for him while I'm gone."
Sherlock crossed his arms over his chest. "John, I am more than capable of taking care of my wife while you are on your honeymoon."
John pulled back from Molly, giving Sherlock a grin. "Oh, I don't think she's going to get in danger. I think you're going to be an annoying tit while I'm away. Poor Molly's going to have to deal with you."
Sherlock rolled his eyes, putting his hands on Molly's shoulder. "With that, I believe it's time to leave. Enjoy your honeymoon, John."
As Sherlock walked away, John made an annoyed noise before pulling Sherlock to him. "Get over here, you sod."
Sherlock's body was stiff and unyielding and John pulled him into a quick hug. As soon as John had hugged Sherlock, he regretted the action, unsure what to do. He gave Sherlock a quick slap on the back before pulling away.
Sherlock tugged himself away quickly, nodding sharply. "Right. Good then. Do enjoy having copious amounts of marital relations."
"Speaking of..." Molly grinned, holding out a hand to Sherlock.
While he'd witnessed the pair together for over nine months, John was still amazed by the smile that would light Sherlock's face with the promise of affection from Molly. He looked almost boyish. "Now Molly..." Sherlock draped his arm over Molly's shoulders. "Are you sure you're sober enough to enjoy marital relations? I am not going to take advantage of you."
Getting on her tiptoes, Molly whispered something in Sherlock's ear. He waved a hand to John. "Goodnight John!"
John shook his head as he watched Sherlock and Molly leave. He then made his way back over to Mary. He took a hold of her hands, leaning in and kissing her. "Well, Mrs Watson? Shall we?"
Mary smiled back at him, nodding. "We shall."
John groaned as he sat up and stretched, working the kinks out of his back. He rubbed his eyes, glancing at the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was almost noon. He'd slept far too late.
His body complained, reminding him harshly that thirty-nine years old was too old to be staying up until two in the morning imbibing champagne before going home and making love for hours. Of course, he only planned to get married the once. He needed to enjoy the experience.
He turned, facing Mary's side of the bed and found it empty. "Mary?" He called out, grumbling as he pulled himself out of bed. He was still lethargic. "Mary love? Where are you?"
"I'm in the kitchen, John!" Mary called out.
John grabbed his terrycloth dressing gown, throwing it on over his naked body. He'd been so exhausted, he hadn't bothered to put on pyjamas. Of course, Mary hadn't minded. It was just an odd occurrence for John; too many years of living with other men, he supposed.
John made his way into the kitchen of the modest sized flat Sherlock had secured for them several months earlier. It was taking some getting used to, having a kitchen that actually functioned as a kitchen.
Mary was sitting at the table. She had a small box in front of her. It had previously been covered in white paper, which had been carefully folded up beside the box.
"Good morning, Mrs Watson," John said with a smile. It took him a moment to register the frown on her face, frowning along with her. "Is everything all right?" He sat down across from her, reaching out and taking her had.
"Oh..." Mary shook her head. "It's... Fine. Just... I found this at the door." Mary held up the small box. "Someone had put it through the mail slot."
"Wedding present?" John aked.
Mary shook her head. "I... Well, I honestly don't know. There was no note with it. Nothing. Not a bit of writing."
John picked up the box and took off the lid. His eyes went wide as he looked down at the large pearl inside. "Wow. That's... That's a pearl."
"Working for Sherlock has really sharped observation skills, hasn't it, dear?" Mary sighed. "I don't know what to think about this."
"You're not supposed to think anything," John assured her, setting the box down and taking her hand once again. "It's just an odd wedding present. Whoever sent it probably just forgot to include a note. We'll..."
"Take it to Sherlock," Mary finished. "I thought of that myself. That's why I saved the wrapping. I figured he would want a look at everything that came with the package."
John smiled. Mary was very smart. No doubt Sherlock would want to go over absolutely everything. "We'll worry about it once we get back," He said, standing up. "For now, what we're going to do is we're going to put this in your dresser drawer. Then, we're going to have a late brekkie. Then we're going to call Sherlock's brother and make arrangements for our honeymoon. Once we're done that, I think I'm going to want to shag you in the shower."
Mary frowned, shaking her head and letting out a small laugh. "You don't think this is at all strange?"
"Of course I think it's strange," John assured her. "But not life-threatening strange. Someone's just been odd with their wedding present. We'll worry about it once we fully enjoy our honeymoon. Now come on, Mrs Watson." He smiled broadly at his new wife. "I'll make the bacon."
Molly has to handle her husband, who is pouting over John's absence and Wiggins arrives with a case for Sherlock.
Molly loved her husband deeply. She had risked her career and life in order to protect him. He made her happy in ways she had never thought was possible.
However, if he did not leave her alone, she might be forced to cause him massive bodily harm.
It had only been a few days since John and Mary left on their honeymoon. The absence of the army doctor was already clear on Sherlock's mood. He was irritable and desperate to find things to fill his time. Unfortunately, what he was finding filled his time the best was spending every waking (and non-waking, for that matter) moment with Molly.
Molly had tried to remind him that he'd worked quite effectively before John became his flatmate. Sherlock just grunted and glared in response. She supposed it was true. Sherlock had not come into his own as a detective until he had John working with him. It was taking all of Molly's energy to keep him from calling his brother to discover where John had gone on his honeymoon.
Even worse, while Sherlock was lost without a doctor at his side, he did still have a doctor at his side: Molly. They had more than one argument about her taking time off from Barts in order to act as his assistant.
Molly had refused straight away. She had only just started to build up her position at the hospital again. With Sherlock's 'suicide', her dismissal and then Moran's vendetta, her work record had become fractured. She wanted to prove to her superiors she was just as hard working as ever.
As she stepped into the laboratory, she set eyes on her husband, sitting at the microscope. "...Clearly, it was a suicide, rather than a murder. Wouldn't you agree?"
Molly frowned, cocking her head. "Sherlock, do you realize I was doing a post-mortem?"
Sherlock looked up from the microscope, blinking at Molly. "Were you? I hadn't noticed. Why weren't you here?"
"Because I had to do a post-mortem!" Molly exclaimed. She walked to the counter, leaning over. "I do work here, you know."
"I'm working here," Sherlock pointed out, his voice terse. "I am working on a case for Dimmock. Simplistic one. Dull. Hardly worth my time."
Molly sighed. "Well, why don't you go check your blog? Or you know John's email password. He might have received something interesting."
Sherlock scowled. "You're trying to get rid of me."
Molly's eyes widened. "Um... Well..."
Sherlock's thick brows knit together. "Molly, I am the world's only consulting detective. Are you really going to attempt to lie to me?"
"I'm not trying to get rid of you," Molly stressed. She leaned in and pressed a kiss to Sherlock's temple. "You know I love you. And I know you miss John..."
Sherlock scrunched up his nose. "I do not miss John. I simply find my reasoning impaired without someone else to talk to."
Molly arched a brow. "And now you're trying to lie to me. I may not be a consulting detective, but I'm your wife. Don't even try pretending. I know you miss John. It was different working without him when you were dealing with Moriarty. Now you're doing normal cases and he's not around... And you're having trouble. But you know I won't do a good job filling in for him."
Sherlock turned to Molly. One of his large hands settled on her hip. "You'll do a fine job of it. You're a pathologist, meaning you are even better acquainted with the examination of a dead body than an army doctor with a specialization in surgery would be." He gently rubbed her hip with his thumb. "I also enjoy watching you employ deductive reasoning."
Molly rolled her eyes. "Do you realize how narcissistic it sounds to have something that reminds you of you to be a turn on?"
"I just like when you're clever," Sherlock replied irritably. "Is there a tremendous problem with that?"
"I can be smart at work," Molly sighed. "I frequently am."
"I am trying to see you be smart at work." Sherlock pulled himself to his feet. "That is why I am here, Molly. Yet you seem to have a problem with this."
"Because I actually have to work." Molly pointed out. "At my actual job."
Sherlock slipped his arms around Molly's waist. His hands pressed against the small of her back, urging her closer to him. He bent his head to drop kisses over the side of her neck. Molly's eyes fluttered shut and her hands slipped up to slid into his hair. Sherlock hummed his approval as he nipped lightly at his wife's pale skin. Molly couldn't help herself. A quiet whimper escaped her lips.
"Good," Sherlock murmured, trailing his kisses up to her ear, rasping his teeth over the lobe. "Now can I stay?"
Molly was tempted to tell Sherlock that of course he could stay. That any request he made up to and included taking an entire corpse to keep in their sitting room was a resounding yes. But Molly's hand pressed against his chest, pushing him away. He looked down at her, his brow furrowed. "Sherlock, I need to work. And this is a hospital. You can't just hang around because you don't have anything better to do."
Sherlock scowled down at his wife. "You're kicking me out."
Molly bit her lower lip, shrinking down slightly. She then nodded. "Yeah. I am. I work here, Sherlock. I'm going to get into trouble if the guy I'm shacking up with is just here all of the time."
Sherlock's changeable eyes narrowed on Molly. "I am your husband, Molly."
"No one knows that, now do they?" Molly said with a sigh. "Besides, it's not like that is a terribly valid reason for you being around. No one else brings their spouse into work."
Sherlock's lip curled. "No one else's spouse could do their job even better than they could."
Molly felt the anger bubbling up. She extended her hand, pointing towards the door wordlessly.
Sherlock pursed his lips. "Not good?"
Molly arched a brow. She continued to glare at Sherlock, crossing her arms over her chest. "You are seriously asking me that, aren't you?"
Sherlock crossed his own arms over his chest. "How am I supposed to know if you don't tell me?"
Molly sighed and shook her head. "You have one of the keenest analytical minds in the world. My mood cannot flummox you so much!"
Sherlock's scowl deepened. "John would have told me if it wasn't good."
"I'm not John!" Molly cried. "I'm someone who has three more post-mortems to get through before I come home, take a very long shower and then do an ungainly collapse in our bed." Molly reached up and rubbed her temples, feeling a roaring headache come on. "Go home and find a case, Sherlock. Call Lestrade. There's got to be something for you to set your big, beautiful mind on."
Sherlock glared at Molly for a long moment. Finally, he spoke. "I did not mean to suggest I could do your job better than you could."
Molly sighed. "It's fine, Sherlock. I know you're full of crap."
Sherlock's jaw dropped. "Well, I..."
"Don't even bother, Sherlock. You know it's true. Calm your ego down. This is my job." Molly got onto her tiptoes and gave Sherlock a kiss on the cheek. "Just go home. For the love of everything good in this world, get a case. I'll be home in a few hours."
Sherlock pulled away, still scowling. "If I can't find a case, I will not be held responsible for the state of the flat when you return home."
Molly gave him a small smirk. "Yeah, well... I've hidden your revolver."
Sherlock eyed Molly closely. She could almost see his mind working, deducing where she had hidden the weapon. He made an annoyed noise in the back of his throat. "I never should have taught you to hide your tells."
Molly pointed to the door again. "You think it's sexy when I can hide things from you."
"Sadly true," Sherlock sighed. He grabbed his coat and pulled it on before looping his scarf around his neck. "I will see you at home."
Molly watched him stride towards the door. "Of course, if you're really bored, you could always try making dinner tonight."
Sherlock paused in the doorway, turning back to his wife with a frown. "How would that interest me?"
Molly rolled her eyes. "Just find a damn case."
By the time Molly was finished with work, her back and feet were aching from leaning over the examination table while she did her post-mortems. She still had piles of paperwork she had to go through, but her eyes were going to cross if she spent any more time at her computer.
When Molly entered the flat, she found Sherlock sitting in his armchair, fingers steepled beneath his chin. His eyes were closed in concentration. He was in his mind palace. It was something she'd gotten used to seeing.
Not even opening his eyes to acknowledge her presence, Sherlock brought his hand down to pat his lap. Molly slipped off her shoes and padded in stocking feet to his chair. Sherlock guided her into his lap, still not speaking or even opening his eyes. He reached up and pulled her hair from its messy ponytail. He stroked her hair softly, tangling his fingers in the locks idly.
"Weren't able to find a case?" Molly crinkled her nose.
The corners of Sherlock's mouth curved down in a frown. "Shh. Thinking."
Molly leaned against Sherlock, allowing him to continue petting her. She could hear the strong thrum of his heartbeat. Sherlock then slid his hand down to her neck, long fingers locating the tense muscles and kneading them. Molly sighed and began to relax under his ministrations.
Molly felt herself lulled into a doze as she was massaged gently. She then felt Sherlock's mouth against her temple. "You smell like Formaldehyde and partially decomposed human flesh."
Molly grimaced. "I'll go take a shower."
"You pull it off surprisingly well." Sherlock ran a hand down Molly's spine.
Molly giggled softly, slipping a hand up into Sherlock's hair. "All of my other boyfriends thought it was gross when I'd end up smelling like bodies."
Sherlock pulled back, leaning against the chair. "That would explain why you married me as opposed to one of them."
Molly wriggled out of Sherlock's embrace. "Well, I suppose that's as good a reason as any. I'm going to take a shower." She got to her feet and stripped out of her jumper. "Why don't you order some takeaway since I see you didn't take my suggestion to make dinner."
Molly strode towards the bathroom. She was just about to unhook her bra when the bathroom door opened and Wiggins stepped out.
Shrieking, Molly threw her hands over her chest. "Sherlock!"
Sherlock had gone back to his previous position, fingers steepled under his chin. "Hm?" One of his eyebrows arched in query.
"Why didn't you warn me Wiggins was here?"
"Oh. Right. Wiggins is here."
Wiggins covered his face with his hands. "Sorry! Didn't see nuffin, Doctor Holmes. Swear."
Molly covered herself up by holding her jumper in front of her chest. "It's not your fault, Wiggins. Wait a minute... Did you say...?"
Wiggins moved his hand away from his face. He pointed to the ring hanging around Molly's neck. "Your ring. Sherlock's got one just like it."
Sherlock opened his eyes and turned to Molly and the homeless boy. "Good show, Wiggins. Are you sure I cannot compel you to become a full time investigator?"
Wiggins sighed deeply. "Flattered, Sherlock... But I like my life the way it is. And speakin' of, got any thoughts about what to do?"
"What to do?" Molly turned to look at Sherlock. "Is there something going on?"
Sherlock gave his wife a smile. "You were wrong, Molly. I do have a case. Wiggins is my case. Go take your shower and then I'll fill you in."
About an hour later, Molly was clean. She's donned a new jumper and jeans. She was sitting on the sofa with Sherlock, her legs draped over his while Sherlock gently massaged her calves.
Wiggins was sitting at Sherlock's desk and typing away at his keyboard. "You've got a few viruses on here. Monitorin' your keystrokes. Fairly sophisticated. Someone is watchin' your computer activity."
"Mycroft," Sherlock sighed, casually bringing a hand down to dig his thumb into the sole of Molly's foot. She mewled softly at the gentle ministrations of her husband.
"Should keep a better eye on this," Wiggins said with a firm nod. He turned to face Sherlock and Molly. "Never know what information 'e's gotten."
"My relationship with my brother is hardly our issue, Wiggins. You are." Sherlock sighed, shaking his head. "What are we going to do with you?"
Wiggins shrugged, leaning back in his chair. "Well, that would be why I came 'ere, innit? Wot do you suggest I do?"
Sherlock tilted his head slightly. "The most intelligent course of action would be to leave the country. No doubt you could have quite a bit of success in America. California, perhaps."
Wiggins shook his head. "'m a Londoner, born and bred. Won't let no one scare me off."
Sherlock smiled tightly. "Good. I'd hate to have to break in a new tech support. I suppose we're just going to have to get them off your trail then."
"Get who off his trail?" Molly asked, looking from Sherlock to Wiggins. "Do you mind tell me what's going on?"
Sherlock blinked at Molly. "Hadn't I told you? I often need to help Wiggins escape the law. He's a wanted fugitive."
Molly's eyes widened and she jumped to her feet. Her muscled tightened as she glanced to Wiggins. "Sherlock, may I speak to you in private for a moment?"
Before Sherlock could respond, Molly had grabbed him by the hand and pulled him off the sofa and into the kitchen.
"I'll just stay here!" Wiggins called after them.
Molly stopped once they were out of earshot from the young criminal. She glared at Sherlock, crossing her arms over her chest. "Tell me that your protégé is not a criminal."
Sherlock sighed, rubbing his forehead. "I was under the impression one was not supposed to lie to their spouse."
"Sherlock!" Molly shrieked.
Sherlock rolled his eyes, shaking his head slightly. He put his hands on Molly's shoulders. "Molly, Darling... It's not as bad as you think."
"Don't 'Darling' me, Sherlock. You are planning to help a criminal escape from the authorities." Molly brought her hands up to Sherlock's, pulling them away from her. "How can it not be as bad as I think?"
Sherlock cocked his head to the side. "He hardly has any real authority. It's Mycroft who is after him."
Molly blinked. "Your brother- who is the government- is trying to apprehend Wiggins and it's not as big a deal as I think it is."
"He's been after Wiggins for years. It's really nothing to worry about. Honestly Molly..." Sherlock sighed. "You should have known there was something out of the ordinary. Wiggins is a very clever young man. The idea that he would be a transient without reason is simply ludicrous."
"Is he dangerous?" Molly asked quietly.
Sherlock snorted derisively.
Molly crinkled her nose and gently massaged her temples.
"Wiggins will be remaining here with us until I am able to get Mycroft off his scent. This is not the first time I have done this for him. I promise you, no harm will come to you."
Molly nodded silently.
"It is in our best interest to keep Wiggins in London. He is of great use to me."
Molly again nodded. She felt Sherlock's hands on her shoulders once again.
"Molly Darling, are you going through your ex-boyfriends in your head?"
Molly nodded a final time before opening her eyes to look up at Sherlock. He smiled gently down at her. "Do I still win?"
Molly couldn't help but smile back. "You don't mind when I smell like corpses and you know how to massage my feet."
Sherlock's smile grew and he leaned in, his lips meeting Molly's.
"Well?" Wiggins called from sitting room. "Are you two going to 'elp me or wot?"
Sherlock goes up against Mycroft and Molly finds out things Sherlock has kept from her.
"And you're certain you have no idea where he might be?"
Sherlock looked blankly up at Mycroft. He shook his head slowly. "I'm sure I have absolutely no clue what you are even talking about."
Mycroft gave Sherlock the tight smile that indicated his pure disdain. His elder brother clutched his umbrella tighter in his hand. "Of course. How silly of me to think differently."
Molly bustled into the sitting room, placing a steaming mug of tea down on the end table beside Sherlock. She attempted to make a hasty exit. Sherlock knew she preferred to stay out of the way when he and Mycroft were having a tête-à-tête. Sherlock grabbed her by the wrist, gently tugging her back to his side. She gave a small sigh and began to idly play with his curls. Sherlock smiled up at her. Molly bit her lip and looked to Mycroft. "Can I get you anything, Mycroft?"
"No, I am fine, Miss Hooper."
Sherlock rolled his eyes and picked up his mug, blowing onto the liquid to cool it. "Mycroft, you are allowed to call your sister-in-law by her first name."
"Of course." Mycroft nodded. "Molly. I am fine. How is my brother as a husband? No doubt unbearable. Managed to scare off John Watson after all."
Sherlock scowled deeply and tilted his head to look up at Molly. She was biting her lip as she looked down at him. He could see the temptation in her face to tease him. He ran his hand over her hip, causing her to squeak softly. "It's..." Molly's voice was slightly strained. "It's lovely."
Sherlock looked back at his elder brother. Mycroft's nose was crinkled in disgust. "Hm. I'm ecstatic for you."
Sherlock smiled tightly back at Mycroft. "So are we done then, Mycroft?"
"Hardly." Mycroft held out a file. Sherlock reached for it, but Mycroft shifted slightly, presenting it to Molly. "Has Sherlock told you the extent of Mister Wiggins's crimes? At only nineteen years old, that boy has committed over a hundred crimes against the crown."
Sherlock chuckled while Molly's eyes grew wide. "Just the ones you know about, Mycroft."
Mycroft continued to glare at Sherlock. "This is not a laughing matter, Sherlock."
Sherlock took the file away from Molly, tossing it back at Mycroft. "It's absolutely hilarious. You're trying to convince Molly that Wiggins is some sort of dangerous criminal so she'll reveal something she does not know."
Mycroft arched a brow slightly. "Sherlock, you seem to be mistaking me with the dull creatures you've chosen to..." His gaze slipped over Molly. "Associate with."
Anger swelled within Sherlock. He did not move from his seat. He simply narrowed his gaze on Mycroft. He knew his expression would convey to Mycroft exactly what he was feeling: Keep a civil tongue in my house with regards to my wife.
He knew Mycroft liked Molly. However, it seemed the Holmes sense of intellectual superiority was difficult to shake. Sherlock kept his gaze trained on Mycroft. "What would I have to gain from keeping the location of Wiggins a secret from you?"
Mycroft chuckled, meeting Sherlock's gaze impudently. "You think I have no idea what that boy has done for you in the past years? What kind of ally he has become to you and your homeless network? Please. Besides, you always did receive a perverse pleasure in hindering my work."
Sherlock steepled his fingers, his hands masking his smirk. "If you have known where Wiggins is all of this time, why are you looking for him now? You've let him go for this long knowing the boy is not a threat. So why now?"
Mycroft's expression darkened and Sherlock could see him grip the handle of his umbrella just a little bit tighter. "You have no idea what he has been up to, do you?"
Sherlock shrugged slightly. "I expected playing his mouth organ outside of the Baker Street Tube Stop... Committing identity theft upon dignitaries... Breaking into government computer networks just to see if he can."
The smile on Mycroft's face was full of foreboding and Sherlock felt a moment of confusion. What had his brother figured out that he had been unable to? "Your protégé has gone far beyond 'seeing if he can'. He is not only breaking into government networks, but using the information he collects." There was a fire in his eyes. "The boy has been selling the information to the highest bidder. In this case- in all the cases- a woman."
Sherlock stilled. He showed none the surprise on his face he felt churning in his stomach. He didn't know why he was surprised. It made complete sense, really. "A woman?" Sherlock asked mildly, feigning naivety.
"The Woman, Sherlock," Mycroft clarified. "And do not affect shock at this discovery. You know quite well what Renee Norton-" he spat Irene's alias as if it were a curse. "-is capable of. You bargained on that when you positioned her into Moriarty's former place. Did you think she would stay out of your business forever?"
In fact, he had. He had believed that after all they had been through, Irene considered him- what? Friend seemed too strong a word. Ally?
Sentiment. He'd warned Irene of its dangerous consequences. Now it seemed like he'd fallen into that trap himself.
Sherlock took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Feel free to look around the flat all you like. You know perfectly well Wiggins is not here."
"But you know where he is," Mycroft insisted. He took a step towards Sherlock, looming over him. "You could fetch him in a matter of minutes. I am sure of it."
Sherlock opened his eyes and looked up at his brother impassively. "Believe that all you wish, Mycroft."
Mycroft glared at his brother. "If you do not help me, I will have to get my league after the boy."
"Oh, your league of computer experts!" Sherlock chuckled. "Going after Wiggins. Honestly, Mycroft- that group would be put to better use writing out the encyclopaedia by hand! Now, if you excuse me." He rose to his feet. "I am still in the nascent period of my marriage and am feeling the intense desire to couple with my wife."
Mycroft's nose crinkled. "Charming." He nodded to Molly. "Miss Hooper- apologies- Molly. Be assured I will be back, Sherlock."
As Mycroft swept out of the flat, Sherlock drew Molly close to him. He pressed his nose to the spot where her elegant neck met her shoulder. He had been lying to get Mycroft out of his hair, but he found the scent of Molly's hair to be relaxing and mind-clearing while he considered his options.
Molly's hand slid up into his hair and stroked over his curls. "Are you going to go to Wiggins?"
"Eventually," Sherlock murmured. "I have to find out what information he has given to Irene."
Molly pulled back. She worried her lower lip and looked up at Sherlock with those dark brown eyes that were inexplicably capable of conveying both affection and disappointment. "You didn't tell me about Irene."
Sherlock furrowed his brow, shaking his head fractionally. "What about her?"
Molly wrung her hands together, still biting her lower lip. "That she'd taken over Moriarty's network. I thought it was gone."
Sherlock shook his head. "No. The network is too big. Too complex. There's no way to bring it down. Not completely." He paused, looking over his wife, at her sad eyes. She looked like she had been betrayed. "It was part of my deal with Irene. In exchange for her help taking down Moriarty and Moran."
Molly didn't speak. She just stared up at Sherlock and he cursed her ability to look so reproachfully at him, to make him feel guilty for his deception.
"I did what was necessary," Sherlock explained, trying to remain cool and unaffected. "Irene Adler does not work for free. She needed certain assurances to do what I asked of her. Her desires intersected nicely with the practicality of taking over Moriarty's network. As I said, it would have been impossible to destroy. At least now, there is someone in charge that will not be attempting to murder me and my family."
Molly nodded. "I get that." She looked up at him. "You still could have told me."
Sherlock shook his head. "Would it have made a difference?"
Molly looked away from Sherlock. He hardly required his skills on intuition to figure out that yes, it would have made a difference.
John occasionally became upset when Sherlock did not inform him of his plans. Usually it was when Sherlock did something like drug John or fake his own suicide. This in no way hurt Molly. It had in fact helped her.
Yet still she was upset.
It seemed Sherlock had a lot of things to learn about being married.
"I need to go see Wiggins," Sherlock murmured.
Molly nodded. He observed the subtle hints to her mood. The way she wouldn't quite look at him, trying to hide her feelings from him. Her finger curling around a lock of her hair, trying to distract herself from what was going through her mind. She was fighting so hard to repress everything.
"Are we having a row?" Sherlock asked.
"Wouldn't you be the first person to realize it, Sherlock?" Molly asked, shaking her head sadly.
Sherlock averted his gaze. "I would like to believe so, however emotions- particularly female emotions- are still a bit of an enigma to me. I thought marriage would have made them clearer, but it seems to have only increased."
Molly shuffled closer to Sherlock, dainty fingers clutching at his shirt. "You're not going to have to sleep in your laboratory, if that's what you're worried about." Molly got onto tip-toes and pressed a brief kiss to Sherlock's mouth. "Just go and find Wiggins. Find out what's going on."
Sherlock pulled Molly's fingers from his shirt, kissing them lightly. "I'll be back soon."
As Sherlock strode out the door, he scowled deeply. He knew Molly. Leaving her alone with the thoughts she had right now meant he was going to end up with a very unhappy wife when he returned home.
Sherlock fished the key out of his pocket to the elevator of the palatial hotel. He gotten it from the front desk, posing as Wiggins's personal assistant. He inserted the key into the controls and when he turned it, the button to the penthouse illuminated. He rolled his eyes as the elevator ascended to the top floor.
The doors opened onto a lavish suite. He furrowed his brow, seeing no sign of the occupant. However, there was a trolley of uneaten food and still steaming tea. "Wiggins, I know you're here."
The ginger haired head popped out from behind the door. "Oh, it's you, Sherlock. Wot are you doin' 'ere?"
Sherlock crossed his arms over his chest. "I could ask you the same question. I did tell you to 'lay low', didn't I?"
Wiggins shrugged slightly as he strode over to the towering detective, smirking. "Kinda well known for m' low. 's the livin' it up that I keep under wraps."
Sherlock sniffed haughtily as he looked over the fancy penthouse. "Only been here a day. Under the name Montgomery Scott- really, Wiggins?" He rolled his eyes. "So did you pay for it with your own ill-gotten money or is this another credit card fraud?"
Wiggins snorted. "Like I ever pay for this kinda place meself." He frowned slightly as he looked at Sherlock. "Are you mad at me?"
"You failed to inform me you'd been working for Irene Adler," Sherlock replied icily, eyeing the teenager. "I might have thought twice about agreeing to your case had I known."
Wiggins shook his head. "No, you wouldn't have."
Sherlock considered what Wiggins's statement. He sighed. It was true. He had been painfully bored and he didn't much care for the idea of finding another tech support. "I still require all of the pertinent information for a case. You failed to tell me the motive of my brother for pursuing you. Are you having sex with her? I know Irene will often use sex as a bargaining chip."
Wiggins turned away from Sherlock. He went to a trolley next to the sofa. "You want a cuppa? Just had this brought up."
Sherlock didn't respond, just staring at the back of the boy's head.
"Miss Adler don't do that. Well, I mean..." He shrugged. "Not wif me at least. Not really 'er type, now am I? She might be a bit more liberated than most, but that'd be goin' too far. I did it 'cause I was bored and you don't exactly tax my skills."
Sherlock could appreciate Wiggins's motivations. They were so close to his own for doing most things. "So have you gotten yourself into trouble because of Irene... And you didn't get anything in return?"
"It's not Miss Adler," Wiggins replied, not looking at Sherlock as he poured himself a cup of tea. He dropped two sugars into the cup. "Yeah, I been givin' her some info... But it's nuffin Mycroft'd worry 'bout. Embarrassin', but nuffin of national security."
Sherlock arched a brow, crossing his arms over his chest. "And how do you know that?"
Wiggins looked back over his shoulder at Sherlock. The boy's eyebrows were knit in worry. "Because I didn't give Miss Adler any o' that. Didn't rightly think she should 'ave it. And 'e knows that. But 'e don't like that I know it."
Sherlock frowned deeply. "And why is that?"
"Because I don't like that I know it," Wiggins replied. He shook his head fiercely as he turned to face Sherlock. "'m a hacker. I like to break into things. I like to get info. But this is stuff no one should 'ave to know."
Sherlock cocked his head. "Wiggins, Mycroft isn't planning to eliminate you for what you know, is he?" He hadn't read any of that in his brother when he'd seen him. Then again, if anyone was able to hide things from Sherlock, it was Mycroft.
Wiggins shook his head. "Naw. Wants me to have more, don't 'e? If I can break into 'is databases, I'm miles ahead of the guys 'e got workin' for 'im. But I ain't gonna work for people who do stuff like that."
Sherlock sighed. "I believe you. So what do you want to do, Wiggins?"
"Just want 'em outta my 'air fer good," Wiggins replied. He shrugged his shoulders. "If I wanted to work for corrupt guys, could be earn billions a year. Not my thing. Sure as 'ell aint going to do it for a government salary."
Sherlock nodded. "All right. I have an idea." He held out his hand. "But I'm going to need you to give me your laptop."
Wiggins hesitated and Sherlock sighed, rolling his eyes. "You can survive for twenty-four hours without it."
Wiggins handed the open laptop over to Sherlock. "You curled up in the foetal position when I had to upgrade your mobile."
"This isn't about me, Wiggins," Sherlock spat back. He saw the lurid photo of Irene gracing Wiggins's desktop. "Oh, honestly, Wiggins..." He snapped the laptop shut. "Do try your best to stay out of trouble."
Wiggins held his hand up to his forehead in a mock salute. "Yes, Sir."
"Don't be smart with me," Sherlock chastised. He turned and strode back to the elevator. "I could always find someone else to run my blog."
Sherlock sat in front of Wiggins's laptop, his fingers press together beneath his chin. He had been going over the information Wiggins had collected from Mycroft's network. He could see why the boy was so disturbed by it. However, none of it really shocked Sherlock. He had suspected Mycroft was up to things of this sort.
His gazed flicked over to Molly. She was dressed in Sherlock's dressing gown, holding a cup of tea and book as she made her way towards the bedroom. She shooed Toby away from her feet. "You're underfoot, Kitten," she whispered.
Sherlock rose and followed after Molly. He stood in the doorway and watched her set her cup and book down on the bedside table. When she turned, she gave a small start at the sight of Sherlock. "I thought you were still working."
"Are you upset at me?" Sherlock asked.
Molly shook her head. "Why would I- I told you we weren't having a fight."
Sherlock frowned. "Molly."
Molly's expression changed. Irritation was clear on it. "Sherlock, just don't... We're fine. We're not having a-"
Sherlock took a deep breath. "Molly."
"I'm your wife!" Molly snapped. She scrubbed her face with her hands. "I'm your bloody wife! And you didn't tell me that the criminal network we worked on dismantling for a year is not only still around, but being run by a friend of ours!"
"Irene isn't our friend," Sherlock insisted. "She is at most a convenient ally."
Molly sank down onto the bed. "That's not how I saw her."
Sherlock walked to the bed and sat down beside Molly. He reached out and took her hand. "I know. But Irene is nowhere near the good person you are, Darling. She's not to be trusted."
Molly bit her lower lip. "Then why allow her to take over?"
Sherlock brushed his thumb over the inside of Molly's wrist. "Because someone had to. And I'd rather have her in charge than another one of Moriarty's flunkies. He kept his gaze downcast. "I've never been married, Molly. I am still learning. I was unaware I was supposed to share all of my secrets with you."
"Just the big ones," Molly murmured. "The ones that could get me in trouble if I didn't know them." She leaned in, pressing her face to Sherlock's shoulder.
Sherlock leaned in and dropped a kiss on the top of Molly's head. "So we're definitely not fighting?"
Molly looked up at him, smiling softly. "Definitely not fighting."
Sherlock tilted his head to kiss Molly's lips. "Good," his voice had dropped an octave.
Molly pressed a hand to Sherlock's chest. "You still have a case to work on."
Sherlock snorted and pushed Molly back onto the bed gently. "Solved it hours ago. Now, I've got other things I would like to pay attention to..."
John returns from his honeymoon and is immediately drawn into the case of Wiggins vs Mycroft.
As soon as John stepped into 221B, he was greeted by the sound of torturous violin playing. He winced and brought his hands up to cover his ears. That was going to take some getting used to once again. "Sherlock! Sherlock! Cut it out!" John shouted as he stepped into the sitting room.
Sherlock turned, bow still poised over the instrument he'd been abusing. "Oh John. You've returned from your honeymoon. I thought it was Mycroft coming in." He raised his chin in appraisal. "How was Bali?"
John frowned slightly. "I thought Martin wasn't going to-" He shook his head. "Of course. He didn't. Just by looking at me..." He waved a hand dismissively. "It was fine."
"Oh, bless you, John Watson!" Molly bounded down the stairs from his old bedroom, which Sherlock had converted into a laboratory. She threw her arms around John. "You got him to be quiet!"
"You were working upstairs," Sherlock pointed out.
Molly pulled away from John and huffed out an annoyed breath. "You're playing so loud, I'm surprised the police aren't here to take you away for disturbing the peace!"
"Mycroft was supposed to be arriving." Sherlock brought his bow down so quickly it created a whooshing noise.
John shook his head. "I knew you did stuff like that as an act for him. Why is Mycroft coming over?"
"Case, John," Sherlock replied. He set his violin and bow back in his case. "My brother is harassing Wiggins. He was supposed to arrive here so I could blackmail him."
"You're going to blackmail your own brother," John asked incredulously.
Sherlock's brow furrowed and his mouth curved down in a frown. "Well yes... But it's Mycroft." He adjusted his jacket. "Why don't you give Molly the souvenir you brought her? Molly, I would appreciate it if you didn't hang it here. It'll make too much noise."
John glared at Sherlock as he reached into the bag and drew out the small package he'd brought for Molly. "You abuse that violin and you think thisis going to make too much noise?"
Molly opened up the box John and brought her and let out a delighted squeak at the handmade wind chimes. "John, this is lovely!" She hugged him once again. "Thank you! And tell Mary thank you as well!"
"We should thank you." John gave Molly a squeeze. "Without you and Sherlock- well, without you- we wouldn't have had our honeymoon."
"That's the second time you've hugged my wife since you got here, John," Sherlock pointed out.
John pulled away from Molly with a scowl. He reached into his bag and pulled out another box. "For that, I shouldn't give you this."
Sherlock blinked at the box John had held out. "You brought me a gift from Bali."
John nodded. He stretched out his arms further in insistence. "Take it before I club you over the head with it. And don't act like you know what's in it."
Sherlock eyed the box closely. "Actually, I have no idea what triviality you would choose to bring me after being on a vacation where you engaged in sexual relations... Twenty- no, twenty-one- times. In fourteen days? Really, John."
John glowered at Sherlock. "I will not be judged by a man who has had sex on an autopsy table."
Molly let out a squeak and covered her face. John's eyes widened at her reaction. "Jesus Christ- I was kidding!"
"I'll go make tea!" Molly twittered nervously. "Thank you so much for the wind chimes, John."
Molly scampered off, her cheeks crimson. John turned his attention back to Sherlock, who had straightened up, his muscles tight.
"That's your wife," John said firmly, pointing his free hand towards the kitchen.
"The table had been well sterilized and my coat served as a barrier." Sherlock tugged at the bottom of his jacket.
John squeezed his eyes shut, waving his hand. "I don't- Just stop. Open your damn present."
Sherlock snatched the box from John and lifted the lid. He took out one of the small bags in curiosity. "John... These are... Plant and soil samples."
"Yeah. Well-" John waved his hand dismissively. "It seemed like something you actually might appreciate. Had to smuggle them into the country, but... You'll put them to good use."
"Yes- I-" Sherlock closed the lid. He nodded firmly. "I have not had a chance to closely examine anything from that area. This will- Good, good." He set the box down onto the coffee table. "Back to work then?"
John nodded. "Back to work. What are we going to do then?"
Sherlock snatched up his coat, slipping it over his shoulders. "Well, I think the best course of action would be to go save Wiggins. If Mycroft is ignoring my summons, he's obviously found the boy. Molly! We'll skip the tea! Have to go out!"
Molly stepped out of the kitchen, still red in the face with embarrassment. "Mycroft isn't coming, is he?"
Sherlock strode up to her and shook his head. He grasped her shoulders, leaning in to kiss her firmly. "We'll try to be back for supper. Why don't you work on your paper while we're out?"
"Just be careful." Molly covered one of his hands with hers.
"It's just Mycroft," Sherlock replied.
"Why do you think I'm worried?" Molly replied wryly.
Sherlock pulled away, striding towards the door. "Come on, John! We have a homeless, mouth-organ playing hacker to rescue!"
Being swept up by Sherlock on a case was as natural to John as breathing by this point. He wasn't at all fazed by already being in a cab, driving towards god-knows-what with almost no information as to what was going on.
Sherlock took the cab ride to explain the story of what Wiggins had gotten into. How he had retrieved information and sold it to Irene. How some of the information was so sensitive, it had pinged Mycroft's radar.
"Why don't you just help Wiggins disappear if he needs to get away from Mycroft?" John asked.
Sherlock was staring out the window as the city whizzed by. "I already suggested to Wiggins that would be the ideal solution to his problem. He turned me down. Likes London too much. Truth is, I am pleased he did so. I would hate to acquire another person to maintain the infrastructure of my blog."
John smiled, shaking his head. "Sherlock, your blog doesn't look all that good. But it's all right... No one reads it anyway."
Sherlock glowered at John before looking away again quickly.
John had never really understood Sherlock's fondness for Wiggins. The boy was charming, without a doubt, but charm didn't really work on Sherlock Holmes. Sometimes, he thought he was more trouble than-
Oh. That was it. Of course. Sherlock liked the trouble.
Or maybe Sherlock just liked the boy. There was no real reason why anyone liked a particular person. If rhyme or reason were applied to such a thing, John never would have moved in with Sherlock in the first place.
The cab continued until it reached a disused factory. John frowned as recognition set in. It was the factory Moriarty had held the ambassador's children. He turned to Sherlock and his eyebrows raised in question.
Sherlock's expression was impassive and he did not turn to look at John. "It seemed unlikely anyone would consider this a viable location for me to revisit."
John considered it for a moment before nodding in agreement. Certainly, that particular case had bad connotations for Sherlock.
One of Mycroft's posh black cars was parked outside of the factory. Sherlock handed the cabbie a handful of bills before climbing out and striding towards the door.
John followed closely behind Sherlock. As soon as Sherlock threw open the door, John set his eyes on Mycroft, who stood calmly, surveying the factory.
"I know he is here," Mycroft said, his voice even.
"Of course you do," Sherlock replied. "Why else would you be here?"
Mycroft tapped his umbrella on the concrete floor. "I do suggest you come out, Bilbo. There is really nowhere to go at this point."
John's eyebrows raised once again in question as he stared at Mycroft. "Bilbo?"
"Welcome back, John." Mycroft finally turned his head, looking at John with a toothy smile. "You did not really believe his full name was Wiggins, did you?"
John's forehead wrinkled. "But... Bilbo."
There was the sound of footsteps. "And know y'know why I prefer m'last name, Doctor." Wiggins shoved his hands into his pockets. "Wouldn't you if yer name were Bilbo?"
John nodded sharply. "Fair enough."
Wiggins shrugged and looked up at Mycroft. "Okay. So y'found me. Congratulations. I'm not gonna come wit' you."
Mycroft sighed. "You will be coming with me, Bilbo. It only depends on which way you do. Either I have you arrested for crimes against the crown... Or you come to work with me."
John's eyes widened as he looked at Mycroft. "Wait a minute... That's what you want? You offer him a job?"
"S'what 'e's always wanted," Wiggins called out. He rolled his eyes. "Been after me since I got out of school. But I've told ya... It ain't gonna 'appen. Might be a criminal, but I ain't as bad as the government."
Mycroft sighed. "You do not have a choice, Bilbo. It is government work or it is jail."
"Ah!" Sherlock took a step forward. "I am afraid that isn't quite correct, Mycroft. There is always another option."
John had wondered what had taken Sherlock so long to step forward. It seemed he had wanted to be make a scene. What a drama queen, he thought.
Mycroft turned to face his brother. "And what is this third option, dear brother?"
"The information you have feared Wiggins has taken to Irene Adler. It is safe. He didn't sell it to her. Didn't trust her with it." One corner of his mouth curved up in a small smile. "With very good reason."
Mycroft lifted his chin, raising his nose in the air. "It does not matter what he has done with the information. He still should not have seen it. Not unless he is working for me."
Sherlock nodded. "Unfortunately for you, Mycroft, Wiggins did trust me with the information."
Mycroft arched a brow. "Excuse me?" His grip on his umbrella tightened noticeably.
"What you have done. What the government has done." Sherlock's smile broadened. "Everything Wiggins had, I now know. I have readily available. And if you are going to deprive me of one of my allies for your own purposes, I do think I will be compelled to give it to one of the reporters who seems to follow me so doggedly."
"Your allies," Mycroft chuckled coldly.
Sherlock cocked his head slightly. "I am really quite..." He grimaced. "Attached to those I have. Now really, Mycroft... Which do you prefer? Having yet another computer expert in your stable... Or having your secrets remain secret?"
Mycroft eyed Sherlock appraisingly before laughing heartily. "You're blackmailing me, dear brother."
Sherlock pressed his lips together. "Hm. Blackmailing the British Government to cease blackmailing a boy barely old enough to vote for the British Government. Somehow, I feel I am holding the moral high ground."
Mycroft nodded slowly. "Fine then. I shall leave Bilbo- Mister Wiggins- in your care then, Sherlock." He turned his attention to the boy briefly. "You are free to go. I do hope you will reconsider in the future."
"Unlikely," Wiggins replied. "Prefer playin' for money."
"Try not to get picked up for vagrancy." Mycroft turned and strode towards the door. "Sherlock, I will be by your flat to pick up Mister Wiggins's files."
John watched as the door closed behind Mycroft. He then turned his attention back onto Sherlock and Wiggins. The ginger boy grinned and looked up at Sherlock. "Thanks for that, Sherlock. Really saved my arse."
Sherlock took a deep breath. "Work with Irene again, Wiggins... And next time, I'll let Mycroft take you."
John sat down in the chair that despite moving out of 221B was still designated as 'his'. He looked to Sherlock. "So this is what you've been doing while I've been off on my honeymoon? Keeping your brother from arresting your tech support?"
"Seemed like a worthy cause," Sherlock replied, folding his hands beneath his chin. "I know very few people who are capable of using computers as Wiggins is. While you are my PA-"
"I am not your PA!" John protested.
Sherlock ignored him. "While you are my PA, you are not even capable of typing properly."
John scowled at Sherlock. He then turned when he saw Molly enter the sitting room. She was smiling broadly. "So John, when are you going to tell us about your honeymoon?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Do I really need to be present for this?"
"Aren't you interested?" Molly asked.
Sherlock frowned and shook his head. "Not really. I assume they saw whatever tacky tourist things Bali has to offer and spent copious amounts of time in their hotel room engaging in intercourse. I am hardly interested in hearing about that."
John's lip curled. "Sherlock, you tell me via code word every time you and Molly are going at it!"
"Only if you're about to walk in on us!" Sherlock responded tartly. "Isn't that better than letting you blunder in and catching us in flagrante?"
John held up his hands is surrender. "All right. Don't continue on that thought. Molly, I'll tell you all about it when Sherlock's doing something only he finds interesting." John paused for a moment, his mind drifting to what had happened before he and Mary had left. "There is something I wanted to talk about though. It's nothing big, but it was... Strange."
Sherlock cocked his head. "Hm?" He unfolded his hand and reached out, idly stroking a hand over Molly's hip.
Molly let out a small squeak and her cheeks turned red. "Sherlock!"
"What?" Sherlock asked. "Something has occurred to John which he feels is mysterious and he would like my expertise on the matter. I am clearing my mind to properly mull over the case. You are mind-clearing."
"But John-" Molly's voice continued to sound high-pitched.
John's gaze was firmly on the fireplace, trying his best to avoid Sherlock's fingers calmly drifting over the curve of his wife's hip. "It's fine. It's just-" He sighed. "I don't know if it's anything. The morning after our wedding, something came through the post slot. A small box. It contained a pearl. A big one. Really nice looking. That was all that was in there. No note, no nothing."
John could almost hear Sherlock's frown. "You are telling me about a present you received the day after your wedding."
"I told Mary it was nothing," John replied. "But she seemed to think it was strange. She was unsettled. I just thought... I'd see what you thought."
Sherlock was quiet for a long time. "It is hardly enough data to be working with, John. Most likely it is the irrational worries of a woman."
John's gaze snapped back to Sherlock at the sound of Molly smacking Sherlock hard on the shoulder.
"What was that for?" Sherlock demanded.
"Irrational worries of a woman?" Molly snapped, crossing her arms over her chest.
Sherlock looked up at his wife. "What? Your gender is irrational and highly emotional, especially following milestone events such as a wedding."
Molly stared at Sherlock. She then turned quickly, striding out of the sitting room without saying another word.
John rubbed his forehead. "Sherlock, mate, that was really a bit not good."
Sherlock straightened himself, folding his hands once again. "Yes, thank you, John!" His teeth were grit in irritation. "I was actually able to figure that out."
After a long moment of tense silence, Sherlock looked to John once again. "Keep a close eye on your post. Should anything else come up, inform me immediately. As of now, I do not believe there is anything you can do."
John nodded. "Yeah. That's what I thought."
The pair went silent once again. John's gaze shifted from Sherlock sitting stiffly in his chair to the bedroom Molly had disappeared into.
John broke the uncomfortable hush. "So... You're going to..."
Sherlock nodded. "End up sleeping in my lab if I require sleep, yes."
John nodded. "That's rough."
Sherlock sighed. "Yes, well... The honeymoon cannot last forever, John."
Molly crinkled her nose as she looked down at her husband. His head was in her lap, his eyes closed. He had his sleeve pulled up, three patches on his arm. Molly wiggled her backside, trying to get herself comfortable. She balanced her laptop precariously in one hand.
Sherlock opened one eye a sliver. "Do you mind not shifting around so much? I am trying to think."
"I was here first," Molly replied. She reached over with her free hand and poked Sherlock in his side. "I have work to do."
"So do I!" Sherlock protested. He pressed his fingertips together beneath his chin. "I am figuring out what should be done about the Woman."
Molly rolled her eyes. "And that's not something you're going to figure out any time soon."
"I might!" Sherlock protested. He tilted his head up to look at Molly. "Maybe if you stroked my hair, I'd be able to come to a conclusion faster."
"I told you I have work to do," Molly insisted. Defiantly, she reached over and pulled nicotine patches off Sherlock's arm. "You are only supposed to use nicotine patches for two months after quitting."
Sherlock scowled deeply. "That is the recommendation. However, there have been studies that using the patch for up to six months after quitting is more effective in staying free from nicotine."
"You quit smoking eight months ago!" Molly cried.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Yes, and it is the recommendation that you only use one at a time."
Molly huffed out a breath. "How is that supposed to be better? You blatantly ignore all doctor recommendations..."
Sherlock sneered. "Doctors are idiots."
"I'm a doctor!" Molly cried.
"Doctors except for you," Sherlock replied. He thought about it for a moment. "And John."
Molly poked Sherlock in the side once again before removing another patch from Sherlock's arm. "From now on, one patch is recommended by this doctor."
Sherlock's lip curled in a sneer. "Is this one of those marriage things where I need to listen to you just by virtue of the fact that you are my wife?"
"Yes," Molly replied.
Sherlock sighed. "I want a divorce."
Molly poked him once again. "You know that doesn't get funnier."
Sherlock snorted, snuggling into Molly's thigh. "I am not going to take advice on humour from you."
Molly wiggled out from underneath him and Sherlock grunted as his head hit the cushions from her quick movement.
"Where are you going?" Sherlock demanded, sitting up.
"Just for that I'm going to work at the kitchen table." Molly looked over her shoulder and stuck her tongue out at Sherlock.
"What are you working on that is so important anyway?" Sherlock grumbled, rubbing the back of his head and rising to his feet.
"My paper," Molly replied.
Sherlock strode up behind Molly. "You submitted that for publication already."
Molly tilted her head to look up at him. "Well, I'm working on another one now."
"Another one?" Sherlock's brow furrowed and he gently skimmed his fingers over the back of Molly's neck.
"Mm." Molly leaned in to Sherlock's touch even as she typed. "Well, I'm around a brilliant man who frequently deals with bizarre dead bodies. One who likes when I deal with all of those bizarre dead bodies too. Lots of stuff to write about."
Sherlock leaned in over Molly's shoulder. "Let me read."
"Go away," Molly insisted, pushing Sherlock back. She crinkled her nose once again. "You were enough of a pain in the arse with my last paper."
"You didn't let me read it after your third revision!" Sherlock protested, trying to get back to the computer screen.
"Because you were being such a berk about it," Molly shrieked, trying to cover up her laptop screen with her hands. "If you had your way, you would have co-written it!"
"Would that have been so horrible?" Sherlock questioned, still wrestling with Molly to get to the laptop. "We could have been like Pierre and Marie Currie, but in the field of interesting murders."
Molly squeaked at the feel of Sherlock's long, lanky arms wrapping around her waist. Her back was pulled up against his chest. "Sherlock! You can't read my paper!"
"Ooh, I think I've actually found something better to occupy my time." He pushed Molly's hair off of her neck. She cooed softly at the feel of his lips sucking at the tender skin just below her ear. "Have I ever told you how unbelievably attractive you are in your glasses?"
"I'm working," Molly moaned, still wriggling against her husband's tight hold.
"Fortunately for me-- but rather unfortunately for field of Pathology-- your proficiency in the sciences is quite the aphrodisiac for me." His voice had dropped an octave. "Why don't you read something from your paper to me, Darling? I'll keep myself well occupied while you do."
Molly wanted to freely give in to Sherlock's demands, but she had a lot of work to do. She continued to squirm against him. "Sherlock Holmes, I really have to get to work... If you don't let me go I'll..."
"...Have an absolutely marvellous time on top of the kitchen counter?" Sherlock finished for her. "I assure you I have not been doing any experiments upon the surface that might introduce harmful chemicals to your backside."
Molly managed to get herself free from Sherlock's grasp. "Oh how very kind of you. I still can't--"
She was cut off by her own squeak as Sherlock pounced on her. They tumbled onto the floor, rolling around. Molly soon found herself straddling Sherlock's waist. He had his hands buried in her hair, his head lifted just enough to capture her lips comfortably.
Molly moaned against his mouth. "Sherlock, let go of me."
Sherlock smirked against her mouth. "Oh but Darling, you're on top of me now and you're not moving yourself off."
Molly leaned in to Sherlock's embrace. It seemed any work was going to have to wait until later.
Molly jumped back away from Sherlock at the sound of John clearing his throat. She was too used to the sound now. It took her no time to figure out who had interrupted. "Oh John!" Molly blushed deeply.
"Jones Case, John," Sherlock groaned.
"No!" Molly shook her head, her cheeks heating up. "No Jones Case! What's going on, John?"
"We don't have a case," Sherlock questioned, narrowing his gaze. "Why are you here?"
"I was helping Mrs Hudson with her sink. Was about to head out, but a client came by. Pretty insistent on seeing you, Sherlock." John stepped out of the way to let the client in while Molly jumped off Sherlock and smoothed out her jumper, trying to look presentable.
The man looked to be in his fifties, with greying light brown hair. Despite his expensive suit, which resembled Sherlock's in many ways, he looked slightly more rakish with salt and pepper stubble covering his jaw.
Sherlock immediately straightened up, tugging his shirt down forcefully, straightening it out. "That isn't a client, John."
The man smiled at Sherlock. "Hello Sherly."
"Get out," Sherlock demanded, nodding his head towards the door.
Molly's jaw dropped. She knew Sherlock could be rude, but she's never heard him be so cold before, not even with Anderson. "Sherlock! He's a guest!"
"He's not a guest," Sherlock shot back angrily. "He's not welcome here." With that, Sherlock turned and strode towards the bedroom. "Call me when he's gone."
Molly turned to the man and frowned apologetically. "I'm really sorry about that."
The man shook his head. "I really shouldn't be surprised. Sherly and I didn't part on the best terms." He held out his hand. "Siger Holmes. It's nice to meet you."
"Siger Holmes..." Molly squeaked in shock. Her hand jumped up to her neck.
John pointed to the man, then waggled his finger to point towards the bedroom. "You're Sherlock's father."
"We will have to take Violet's word on that," Siger replied with a large smile. "And you must be Doctor Molly." He reached out and clasped her hand. "Have you taken Holmes or are you still using Hooper?"
Molly's eyes widened. As far as she knew, even Mrs Holmes didn't know they were married yet. She felt a thrill of worry go through her at the thought. Mrs Holmes truly despised her. "Did... Umm... Did Mycroft tell you?"
"Oh no." Siger shook his head. "Myc is about as likely to tell me anything as Sherly is." He looked her over. "I have of course heard about your relationship with my son through the newspaper. Seeing you two rolling around on the floor informs me that it was not sensationalized. I became assured of the depth of your relationship when you clutched the necklace you wear. The necklace with the ring on it."
"Right." Molly nodded. It seemed it ran in the family. "So... I'm guessing Sherlock wasn't expecting you."
"Sherly rarely expects-- or accepts-- me," He sighed. "However, I could not come to town and not meet my new daughter-in-law."
Molly swallowed hard. Her gaze shifted to John. "Do you think you could get Mister Holmes a drink? I need to..."
John gave a brief nod. Molly turned and ran back to her bedroom.
Molly's eyes widened when she saw Sherlock loaded up his Bulldog Revolver. "Sherlock!" Molly squeaked. "What are you doing?"
"Experiment," Sherlock grunted.
Molly raced to Sherlock's side. "What kind of experiment is this?"
"Fine then," Sherlock replied. He slipped in the last bullet. "I need to keep it in working order."
Molly jumped up onto the bed so she was above Sherlock. She threw her arms around his neck. "Sherlock! Come on! Don't do that!"
Sherlock grunted and glanced up at Molly. "Is he gone yet?"
"He's your father!" Molly protested. "You can't just kick him out of the house." Molly ran her hand over Sherlock's chest soothingly. "Come on, love... Just come talk to him with me."
Sherlock grunted yet again, but he lowered the revolver. "Molly. You have already met my mother. She is the parent I get along with the best. So why would I want to see that man?"
Molly frowned deeply and turned Sherlock to face her. She framed his face with her hands. "Because he is my father-in-law and he seems to want to get to know me."
Sherlock's brow knit together as he glared at Molly. "You are going to regret this, Molly. I assure you."
Molly crinkled her nose as she stroked her fingers over Sherlock's fine cheekbones. "Please Sherlock. Will you just do this for me?"
Sherlock's scowl deepened. "You already used that today in order to get me to remove my nicotine patches."
Molly scowled back at her husband, considering the situation carefully. She leaned in and pressed a kiss to his furrowed brow. "I'll let you put on two more nicotine patches for as long as your father is here."
"Three," Sherlock countered.
Molly whined softly. "You've already got one on your arm, love. And you become a real tit if you're suffering from a nicotine overdose."
Sherlock glowered. "Just so you know I'm going to be-- as you so elegantly put it-- a real tit for as long as my father is here regardless."
Molly stroked Sherlock's curls gently. "Fine. All right. Just for as long as he is here. But then we're going to have a serious talk about you giving them up for good." She nuzzled her nose against Sherlock's cheek. "But how about you put down the revolver?"
Sherlock huffed out a breath in aggravation. "Fine. But you may regret that request later on."
Molly crinkled her nose before pressing her forehead to Sherlock's, still idly curling a lock of his hair around her index finger. "He's figured out that we're married."
"Of course he has," Sherlock replied. "That's what he does." He pulled away to tuck the revolver away in his bedside table before grabbing Molly by the waist, lifting her off the bed and lowering her to stand on the floor. He leaned in and Molly felt his mouth pressed against the top of her head. "I feel the need to remind you that I warned you off meeting my mother and was proven entirely justified. What makes you think this will go any better?"
"I don't," Molly sighed. "But it's a necessity. He's your father, Sherlock. There's no escaping family and this is no exception. Best to just get on with it. Now come on."
Sherlock's grip on Molly's hand was slightly uncomfortable as she pulled him out to the sitting room. He was slapping nicotine patches on his forearm as they walked.
Siger was sitting in Sherlock's chair, a glass of scotch in his hand. He smiled tightly at Molly and Sherlock as they re-entered the room.
"Well then." John slapped a hand against his leg before rising to his feet. "I think I should get home to Mary. I'll just leave you three alone."
"Thank you, John," Molly said with a smile.
She caught glimpse of Sherlock's sour expression. "Yes, thank you John... Thank you for interrupting an intimate moment with my wife in order to bring my father into my home."
Molly elbowed Sherlock while John just shook his head and waved Sherlock off dismissively before heading to the door.
Siger examined his glass carefully. "You've got a better class of Scotch than I thought you would. Wide variety too. You become a connoisseur, Sherly?"
"Rarely drink it," Sherlock replied tersely. "However, I was doing an analysis of liquor for my blog. Alcohol all too often plays a part in murder." He let go of Molly's hand and it snaked around her waist. "Father, this is Doctor Molly Holmes, my wife. Molly, this is Siger Holmes, my father." He glared down at Molly. "Are we done yet?"
Molly sighed and looked to Siger. "I'm really sorry..."
Siger waved off Molly's apology. "Sherly's being more hospitable than Myc was. I suspect it's your doing. Winnie doesn't care one jot what Myc does."
"Winnie?" Molly repeated.
"Mycroft's wife," Sherlock replied airily. "Honestly, I'm surprised she was even around when you visited. Must be their semi-annual conjugal visit."
Sherlock released Molly and sat down across from his father, steepling his fingers beneath his chin. "So. You visited Mycroft before you came to me. Making the rounds to see your offspring? Now, will you visit Martin? And Clemence? What about the one in America? What was her name again? I always have trouble. Then, you had the same difficulty with her mother."
Molly's eyes widened. She had already been aware Sherlock's father had been unfaithful to Mrs Holmes. Clearly, she had no idea the extent. "You have three half-siblings?"
"Oh, those are but the ones Father knows about," Sherlock replied. "He seems to possess a preternatural potency."
"You have always wanted to believe the worst of me, Sherly," Siger sighed, shaking his head. He took a sip of his scotch. "My children are you and Myc."
Molly could see the muscles in Sherlock's shoulders tighten. "Of all of the people to put on airs for, Father... Why even bother?"
"I had business with your brother. I thought it about time I leave my position in the Italian embassy. Need a change of scenery."
Sherlock nodded slowly. "Ah. Whose wife were you caught messing around with?" He cocked his head slightly. "Oh no... Daughter, was it?"
Molly squeaked softly and covered her face with her hands. She didn't know what she was supposed to do. Was she just supposed to allow Sherlock to keep sniping at his father for the rest of the night?
Siger did not seem at all fazed by Sherlock's accusations. "You did always take after your mother, Sherly." His gaze drifted to Molly, eyeing her in a way that made her uncomfortable. "Frankly, I am surprised Doctor Watson and I caught you in such an intimate position. Wasn't sure you knew how those worked."
Molly squeaked again when Sherlock took a hold of her hand, drawing her close to him. "I am quite well informed, Father." He pressed a kiss to Molly's hand. "I am just happy in my wife being the only one to benefit from my knowledge."
Siger drained the rest of his glass and rose to his feet. "Well. I can tell where I'm not wanted. I had only wanted to come by and congratulate you, Sherlock. I am disappointed I did not rate an invitation to your wedding. Then, you seem to have tried your hardest to keep it a secret."
He reached out and clutched Molly's hand. "I wish you the best of luck in controlling my son, Molly. Sherly..." He nodded his head briefly before striding towards the door.
Sherlock hadn't risen from his seat. When the door closed signalling Siger's exit, he pulled Molly into his lap. He buried his face in her neck. "There. Are you happy?"
Molly's jaw dropped. "Pardon?" She pulled away from Sherlock. "You think that would make me happy?"
"I interacted with my father just as you requested."
Molly pulled herself out of Sherlock's lap and shook her head. "You were completely horrible!"
"As it goes with my father," Sherlock ground out. "What did you expect? I warned you."
Molly huffed out a breath and crossed her arms over her chest. "He was being perfectly fine until you decided to be rude."
Molly could feel Sherlock's venomous gaze on her. It felt like it was penetrating her and she shivered at the coldness of the look. He got up, towering over her. "Fine. If that's the way you feel about it." He strode off towards the stairs.
"Where are you going?" Molly asked.
"I'm going to work in my lab," Sherlock snapped back. "Why don't you just go back to work on your paper?" His proclamation was punctuated by the slam of the lab door.
Molly wanted to go after him. But she knew Sherlock needed time to pout and stomp around. If she attempted to go after him, it was just going to lead to a row.
Molly walked back to her laptop and sat down in front of it. Rather than going back to work, she cradled her head in her hands. The night had started off so nice. It was amazing how quickly things could change.
Sherlock knew he had hurt Molly's feelings by not coming to their bed. While he didn't always sleep with her, it had always been a matter of him not being tired and having things he had to do. He usually stayed with her until she fell asleep. He knew she liked it and there was something remarkably satisfying about hearing that last little sigh before she drifted off to sleep nestled against him.
But this time, he had avoided their bed out of anger. Because his feelings about his father overwhelmed the feelings he had for his wife.
Sherlock had moved down to the kitchen not long before Molly was sure to rise. Of course, he was right on time. The kettle had just boiled when Molly exited the bedroom, wrapped in Sherlock's tartan dressing gown.
Molly walked to the kettle as she did every morning to turn it on, noticing that it was warm. Sherlock walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. "I've already made a pot."
Molly had tensed slightly in his embrace. "Talking to me now, are you?"
Sherlock pressed his face into Molly's neck, taking in her scent. "Molly. You know full well I wasn't angry at you."
"He's reaching out to you, Sherlock," Molly said quietly. Her hands covered Sherlock's and he felt the warmth of her skin against his. "Why can't you accept that?"
"Because I know him," Sherlock replied. "He's not here for me. He's here because he needs something. Siger Holmes cares about one thing and one thing alone: Siger Holmes. Why should I bother with him?"
"Because he's family." Molly's slender fingers laced with his.
"Don't care." Sherlock pressed Molly closer still. He didn't want to delve into it further, but he knew Molly wasn't going to let it rest. She could be annoyingly persistent.
"Do you know what I would give to have another day with my dad?" Molly asked. She pulled out of Sherlock's arms and turned to face him. She shook her head slowly, sadly. "To know my mother... At all? Your dad came to see you and you shouldn't let that go."
"It should be plainly obvious to you that the Holmes family lacks the nobility of the Hoopers." Sherlock sighed. He reached a hand up, brushing a stray lock of hair out of Molly's face. "I would just like to not be arguing with you. It is remarkably inconvenient for me."
Molly blinked at him. "Inconvenient?"
Sherlock grimaced. "And by that I mean... I love you?"
With a sigh, Molly cradled Sherlock's face. She got up on her tiptoes, giving him a light kiss on the mouth. "Maybe next time, you say it without the question in your voice. But I love you too."
Sherlock leaned down, pressing his forehead against Molly's. He gently stroked her back. "Tea and then you need to get ready for work."
"Mm." Molly threaded her fingers into Sherlock's curls. He sighed softly at the feel of her lightly combing through the locks. "Just promise me something, Love... No more angry experimenting?"
"No more angry experimenting." Sherlock pulled away from Molly. "Have some tea."
As Molly began to prepare her tea, Sherlock took out his phone and sent off a quick text:
Come to Baker Street in one hour.
Sherlock was sitting in his chair, fingers steepled. He took a deep breath, centering as the door opened and Siger entered. "Bit surprised you asked me over, Sherly."
"No you're not," Sherlock replied tersely. He gestured to the chair that would forever in his mind be 'John's chair'. "Sit."
Siger went along with Sherlock's demand, sitting down across from him. He looked around the flat. "Where is your wife?"
"Work," Sherlock raised his head, looking down on his father imperiously while the tips of his fingers brushed his chin.
"Right." Siger nodded. "Hardly proper, isn't it, Sherly? Having your wife out, elbow deep in corpses."
"She's a pathologist," Sherlock replied. "How else is she supposed to do her job if she doesn't slice up cadavers?"
"I'm saying you should be the one earning a wage in the house. It's embarrassing otherwise."
"My work sustains me adequately. I charge on a sliding scale, depending on how interesting the case and how much the client annoys me. And there's my trust as well." He furrowed his brow. "What do you suggest I do with Molly? Keep her in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant?"
"God no," Siger sneered. "Women are absolutely intolerable when they're pregnant."
Sherlock nodded. "Well, that does explain why all of your known illegitimate children overlap with mother's pregnancies."
Siger rolled his eyes. "Sherly, your mother and I are still happily married."
"A happiness that is directly proportionate to how much you are not in each others presence," Sherlock shot back. His back straightened, muscles tensing. "When was the last time you saw each other? Fifteen, twenty years? Molly still works because she enjoys her job. Because she is good at it. It was her abilities as a pathologist that first made her desirable to me."
"Well, that certainly explains it," Siger commented.
Sherlock lowered his hands slowly, balling them into fists. "Pardon?"
"Never did have much use for a pretty face, did you, Sherlock? The wife proves that."
Sherlock relaxed his hands. He chuckled softly. "Are you trying to bait me, Father? Get me to lash out about how attractive my wife is? Quite frankly, the fact that you find Molly plain is something of a blessing. I do recall you trying desperately to pull Mycroft's girlfriend from uni."
"Why did you call on me?" Siger demanded, rising to his feet. The fury on his face was so familiar to Sherlock. He had seen that look so many times during his childhood.
But he was not a waifish child any longer and rose up. His father was still taller than he was, but he did not shrink in his presence. He was not afraid. "Why did you come, Father? Certainly it wasn't to check up on me nor was it even to investigate into my wife's suitability. Marrying the daughter of a butcher rather pales in comparison to a stint in rehab and faking my own death."
Siger smirked. "You think I don't like you precious Molly, Sherly? I adore her. Your mother cannot stand her."
Sherlock smiled, nodding. "Of course. Of course the only way you could approve of my wife would be because Mother dislikes her. Do you have any opinion other than what is contrary to Mother?"
For a long time, Sherlock and Siger just stared at each other. His hatred for the man was only outstripped by his hatred for Moriarty and Moran. He continued to glare at his father with the utmost contempt. He heard Molly's voice in his head, reminding him that Siger was family. He pushed it aside. Molly didn't understand who this man was. His mouth curled in a small smirk. "You have a case for me. At least Mycroft has the decency to be direct when he wants to exploit me."
Siger pulled away from Sherlock and settled back down in John's chair. He steepled his fingers. Sherlock hissed in a breath, recognizing the habit as one he himself possessed.
"Do you remember the Duke of Holdernesse?"
Sherlock stared at his father, blinking blankly. He sat back down in his chair. He shook his head. "No. Should I?"
"We spent a month at his Chateau in Provence," Siger pointed out, giving Sherlock a pointed look.
Sherlock waved his hand dismissively. "Deleted it."
"Did you delete every dignitary I ever introduced you too?" Siger questioned, arching his brow.
Sherlock chuckled coldly. "No. I deleted every single interaction we had together." His gaze narrowed. "It seemed terribly inefficient to hold onto any of those memories, pretending they have any sort of sentimental meaning."
"Of course." Siger smiled tightly. "Holding onto those memories would have meant a little less hard drive space for your grisly murders and the memories of your romantic encounters with your lovely wife."
Sherlock fought to suppress his anger at the slight against Molly. "So why should I care about this Duke?"
"His son has been kidnapped from school. Lord Saltire was last seen at the Priory School in Derbyshire. He disappeared two nights ago."
Sherlock yawned. "I am rather busy in London. John has just returned from his honeymoon and will no doubt wish to stay with his wife until they are settled into a routine as a married couple. I also have far more pressing concerns." Such as tracking down Irene Adler.
"Oh." Siger nodded slowly. He rose to his feet. "That is disappointing, Sherlock. I hate to explain to Molly why a ten year old boy is allowed to remain missing. Why... Such a thing could even make her wonder about the fitness of her husband as a father." His gaze bore into Sherlock. "Seeing as that is preying on your mind."
Sherlock's lip curled. "You know nothing about me."
Siger frowned at his son. "You're telling me that you do not wish to have children with your wife? That due to what you perceive to be an unhappy childhood you do not ache to 'do it right' with your own bride?"
Sherlock remained quiet for a long time. His father was as good as himself or Mycroft. He did want to have children with Molly. He'd been thinking about it since the false alarm when he'd believed Molly was pregnant. The idea of a creature that was a little bit of him and a little bit of Molly appealed greatly to him. He also did want to give a child a better life than he had with his family.
But he would share none of that with Siger. Any right Siger had to the personal details of his life had been negated years ago.
"One hundred thousand pounds," Sherlock replied coolly.
"Excuse me?" Siger questioned.
"One hundred thousand pounds," Sherlock repeated, rising from his seat and tugging down the bottom of his jacket. "That is the fee for my services."
Siger frowned. "Isn't that a bit excessive?"
"I told you," Sherlock kept his voice even. "I charge on a sliding scale with my clients based on how much they annoy me. How much do you want this boy back, Father?"
Siger stewed for a moment. He then nodded in agreement.
"Fine then." Sherlock gave a sharp nod. "Text the details to me. We are quite done, are we not? If you would please leave. I need to collect John and we will be at the Priory School by nightfall."
Siger glanced at Sherlock. "Is that all?"
Sherlock shrugged. "There's really nothing else to say, is there? You've gotten what you came for."
With that, Sherlock strode into the bedroom to commence packing.
Molly arrived home from work just as Sherlock was carrying his suitcase out into the sitting room. "Ah Molly. I'm glad you didn't linger at work. I was concerned I would end up having to text you."
Molly frowned at the presence of the suitcase. "What's going on?"
"Case," Sherlock replied. He put down his suitcase and took hold of Molly's shoulders. "That was why my father has come. I'm just waiting for the cab. John and I will be in Derbyshire for the next few days." He gave her a gentle kiss on the mouth. "Will you be all right on your own for a few days?"
"Of course," Molly replied. "I'm just... You took a case from your father? You saw your father again?"
Sherlock could see the concern in her wide brown eyes. She was so expressive. Even without his skills, he could read her easily. Molly wore her heart on her sleeve, especially in regard to her feelings for him. How could he have been so blind for so long? Sherlock pressed his forehead to Molly's. "Yes. I needed to. I needed to speak to him, without the veneer he puts on for strangers. He wished to give you a good impression of him."
Molly bit her lower lip. "Well, why are you taking a case for him then?"
"It's work," Sherlock replied with a small shrug. "It seems interesting. Besides, he's agreed to my rather ridiculous fee. I'd like to find out why." He tilted Molly's chin up and kissed her gently once again. "I shouldn't be long. Text me if you need anything."
Molly gave Sherlock a swat on the backside as he picked up his suitcase once again. He jumped up and turned to his wife, giving her a shocked look. She was smiling coyly at him. "Be careful, love. I'll just spend the next few getting actual work done without interruption."
"There's a girl," Sherlock laughed softly.
Molly sighed. "Sherlock... Are you sure you want to know about your father?"
"Honestly..." Sherlock sighed. "I think I already know. I just need to make sure."
Sherlock had a different air about him that john had ever witnessed before when out on a case. The excited energy that usually came off him in waves at the prospect of a case was absent. In its place was a dark, morose brooding.
John wasn't sure if he really wanted to stick around if Sherlock was going to be in such a foul mood. He had left his new wife behind to go to Derbyshire. His new wife who was more than a little concerned about the pearls that kept showing up at in the post.
Sherlock stood in the middle of the missing boy's dormitory. He had his eyes closed, his fingers steepled, index fingers pressed to his mouth.
"Sherlock?" John asked.
"Thinking, John," Sherlock murmured. "The boy was here. He left of his own free will. Yet he had not turned up at his mother's new home in France, the most likely place he would flee to." He made a small growling noise in the back of his throat. "Trivial. A teenaged boy will often flee from school."
Sherlock then began to pace, the manic energy in his step tinged with irritation.
"Sherlock?" John asked again, his brow furrowing in worry.
Ignoring his friend still, Sherlock threw himself down onto the boy's bed, laying back and closing his eyes, his hands remaining pressed together at his chin, almost as if in prayer. "The boy would lay here, night after night. Did he escape through the window? Easy enough to do... Or did someone steal him away? The German teacher, Heidegger, did disappear at the same time."
John turned to the door to see a distinguished looking man of about fifty-five standing in the door. Next to him was a sharply dressed young man with a phone clutched in his hand. Sherlock patently ignored them, remaining prostrate on the bed. John held out his hand. "John Watson. He's... Investigating."
"I'm the Duke of Holdernesse." He shook John's hand. "This is my assistant James Wilder. Sherlock doesn't need to keep investigating." He sighed, shaking his head. "Siger's overreacting to things. I'm sure Arthur's just gone on a walkabout."
Sherlock opened his eyes, turning to look at the Duke. "My father does not become concerned over the wellbeing of a child." He waved his hand dismissively. "Especially when that wellbeing is taking a walkabout from the Priory School. Ask the Headmaster the reaction every time I snuck out that damnable window."
John frowned deeply and pointed towards the window. "You..."
"I what?" Sherlock said up. He looked towards the window. "Yes, I snuck out that window. Or at least one like it. I've actually deleted which dormitory I stayed in while I was here."
John continued to frown. "You attended school here?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Yes, John. I was at one time a child. I did not spring fully formed from back issues of Chemistry World. Both Mycroft and I attended the Priory School. I escaped no less than twenty-five times. Which makes me singularly qualified to take the case." He swung his legs around to touch his feet to the floor, pulling himself back up. "No doubt why my father sought me out in the first place. The only thing that shocks me is that he remembered where I attended school."
The Duke placed a hand on Sherlock's shoulder. John noticed Sherlock's icy blue eyes narrow on the man, uncomfortable with the touch.
"Sherlock, I know you and Siger have the best intentions. But Arthur's just gone off to find some trouble. He'll be back in no time. I really don't don't want word to get around about this."
Sherlock nodded. "Discretion is paramount." He waved the Duke off of him, shooing him towards the door.
Once the Duke and his assistant were out of the room, Sherlock threw himself back down onto the bed.
"Planning on staying the night, are you?" John commented, looking down at his friend.
Sherlock let out a laugh. "Don't be ridiculous. Doctor Huxtable did offer us use of quarters here. But the idea of spending another day at this school after making my final escape... I had him get us rooms at the inn. We'll stay here until I have exhausted this room for clues. Then we shall retire to the inn. I'll ring Molly up." Sherlock's grin grew devious as his eyes seemed to focus on something very distant. "We're still working on perfecting phone sex."
John flinched, throwing his hands over his ears. "I don't need to hear that!"
Sherlock sighed. "I have got us separate rooms. You won't have to be privy to it."
"Not what I meant!" John cried, grimacing. "I don't want to hear about your sex life."
Sherlock reached beneath the mattress of the bed, rooting around while he remained lying down. "I am a happily newly married man, John. You can understand how that is invigorating to ones libido. I am surprised you are unable to come to terms with it or that you yourself are not that way with your own bride."
John groaned. "But that doesn't mean I want to hear about you... Giving yourself a treat while talking to Molly on the phone. I mean, come on, Sherlock!"
"Would you prefer I use magazines like our Lord Saltire?" Sherlock asked, pulling the periodicals out from under the mattress. He flipped through them. "Honestly, Mister October is far from my type, but it seemed to work for the boy."
John blinked in surprise. "What?"
"Pornography featuring some very fit men." Sherlock threw the magazines to John.
John grimaced as he looked over the pictures of the men in a multitude of depraved situations. "Lord Saltire is gay?"
Sherlock shrugged. "Or bisexual. Gay does seem more likely, seeing as how there is nothing involving women, but the possibility remains."
John shut the magazines and tossed them back onto the bed. "Does this have any bearing on the case?"
"When does anything not have bearing on a case, John?" Sherlock chastised him. He gestured to the door. "Look at his father. What kind of man he is. Wanting to avoid any whiff of scandal. Certainly the only heir to his titles and fortune preferring men would be a scandal in his eyes."
He sighed. "Of course, this still doesn't explain the teacher." He paused for a moment. "Unless he was taken advantage of a preparatory school's endless supply of captive adolescent males."
John's eyes grew wide as the implications of Sherlock's theory sank in. "You think Heidegger was a pedophile?"
"Ephebophile," Sherlock corrected him. "Attraction to adolescents as opposed to children. If the pair were involved in an illicit relationship and thought someone was on to them, they might choose to flee."
"So where do we go from here?"
Sherlock looked over the desk table. He noticed an envelope. He picked it up, examining it closely. It was large and looked to have held something big in it. "Hm." He must have stared at the envelope for five minutes before he pocketed it. "Come on then, John."
John frowned. "Where are we going?"
Sherlock didn't respond to him. He simply strode out the corridor. John followed closely after him. He watched as Sherlock strode up to the Duke, who was with the Headmaster. But instead of speaking to the Duke, he turned to his PA.
"Mister Wilder, may I have a word with you?" Sherlock said.
Wilder nodded, following Sherlock away from the other two men. John observed them silently. Sherlock held up the empty envelope. "Did you warn him?"
Wilder frowned, shaking his head. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"This envelope." Sherlock waved it. "It has the Duke's seal on it. As his personal assistant, no doubt you handle all correspondence. Look at the way it's stretched. It held something rather larger than your normal letter. I'm guessing cash. Certainly easier to use in disappearing. Did he beg for your help? His father wouldn't have done so. That leaves you as the only person who could have supplied him with a large amount of money."
"I didn't know what he was going to do with it," Wilder said quietly, looking more than a bit defeated. "I didn't know he was going to run off with one of his teachers."
"How much did you give him?" Sherlock asked.
"Two thousand pounds," Wilder replied. "I thought he was going to be with his mother..."
Sherlock nodded. "I assume you still haven't told you employer?"
Wilder shook his head.
With another quick nod, Sherlock swept off, not waiting for John to join him.
Rather than investigate the case further-- as John expected-- Sherlock went back to the Fighting Cock Inn. He'd only spared a few minutes to speak to the police, to check on the status of the trace on Heidigger's car.
John had cleaned himself up for bed and was about to ring Mary. He was getting terrible reception within the room. With a sigh, he took his phone and headed outside.
He found Sherlock outside, sitting on the steps and talking on his mobile.
"If not for the fact there is a potential child predator involved, I would drop the case entirely," Sherlock said quietly. "It's dull." He paused for a long moment. Despite looking at the back of his head, John could tell Sherlock was smiling. "Don't pretend you're not enjoying having the flat to yourself. Getting rid of my experiments without argument. Probably having a long soak in the tub before settling down with that procedural drama you know I can't stand."
Sherlock chuckled. "No, I actually like when you yell things at the screen about the scientific inaccuracies in the post-mortems."
He laughed again. "I'll talk to you later. John's behind me and probably marvelling at my ability to hold a casual conversation about crap telly..." He took a long pause. "Me too. Sleep well."
He hung up and looked back at John, eyebrow raised. "No reception inside?"
John didn't respond to that. He sat down next to Sherlock. "Since-- as you pointed out-- you're a married man, you can tell your wife you love her in front of me. 's a bit nicer than 'me too'."
Sherlock nodded. "Keen deduction, Doctor Watson." He paused. "I don't say it if I can't see her face."
John looked down at the mobile in his hands. "You know, even when there's danger involved, you have no trouble giving up a case if you think it's boring."
Sherlock shook his head fractionally. "What's your point?"
"Well, your father is the one who brought you this case..." John trailed off, studying Sherlock's expression carefully.
Sherlock's eye grew colder as he narrowed his gaze. "I'm not trying to impress my father." His voice was icy.
"I didn't say you were," John protested, holding up his hands in surrender. "But you know, if you were--"
"But I'm not," Sherlock cut him off. "This is not some sort of Freudian exercise. He's paying me handsomely." He looked away. John could read Sherlock fairly well. When he turned away like that, he was contemplating something much more emotional than he usually allowed himself. "Besides, you and I haven't been on a proper case in a while. Despite the alterations in our domestic situations, I would like to maintain our working relationship."
John smiled at Sherlock. Sherlock no doubt knew he was smiling, even though he refused to look at John. "Things change. But you call... I'll find the time."
Sherlock got to his feet. "I'll leave you to call Mary. Good-night, Jo-- Oh." He straightened up. "Perhaps I spoke too soon."
John looked to what had taken Sherlock's attention. One of the police was coming up towards the inn. "Mister Holmes, Doctor Watson... I'm glad you're still up. We've just found Heidigger."
John rose to stand beside Sherlock. "Where?"
"In his car. He's dead." Sherlock answered for the copper before turning to John, one corner of his mouth curving in a smile. "This case just got a little more interesting."
A strange sort of thrill went through Sherlock whenever he investigated a homicide.
Robberies had a tendency to have witnesses. At the very least, the person who was stolen from was able to give an account.
With murder, there was only the body. Things had to be deduced with greater precision from Sherlock himself. He didn't have to rely on the fallible nature of testimony.
The police had located the body of Heidigger while searching for his car. The car was abandoned at the side of the road and the body was in a ditch not far away.
Sherlock didn't need to ask John for his opinion on the cause of death.
"Being beaten to death is not the most elegant way to die," Sherlock murmured. "Especially being beaten to death with bare hands."
John knelt next to the body, closely examining it. He let out a heavy sigh. "Two broken ribs punctured his lung."
Sherlock nodded. "He asphyxiated on his own blood and his killer watched him the entire time. From..." He pointed to a patch of matted down grass. "He wanted Heidigger to suffer. More than that, he wanted to watch him suffer."
"Could it have been Lord Saltire?" John asked. "In self-defence? Heidigger kidnapped him, but Lord Saltire is able to get the upper hand and..."
Sherlock snorted, rolling his eyes. "John, Lord Saltire is a thirteen year old boy. He weighs no more than 44 kilo. There is no possible way he could beat a thirty-year-old marathon cyclist to death with his bare hands." He dusted some dirt off of his trousers with his gloved hands. "Not to mention the level of rage in this crime does not conform with Lord Saltire leaving willingly."
"We'll do a full post-mortem on the corpse," Constable Hayes said to Sherlock. "We might be able to get some DNA."
Sherlock snorted again. There was only one pathologist he trusted to bring him any accurate results. John seemed to pick up on Sherlock's discomfort with the thought of working with someone else. "Sherlock," John hissed softly. "You can't always send bodies to Barts just so your wife can examine them."
"Won't make a difference," Sherlock replied. "'Bare hands' is a figure of speech. The man who beat Heidigger was wearing gloves. Leather, judging from the bloodprints on his face. The stitching is clear." Someone who was familiar with boxing. However, Sherlock doubted the Marquess of Queensbury would approve of this use. He started to tromp up the ditch. "Come along, John. Work to do. Learned all we can here."
John followed after him. "Sherlock, we have a body here..."
Sherlock pointed down the road. "And we have several suspects down that way. Tell me, do you not find it curious that Wilder already came to the assumption that Heidigger was a predator? Did not seem at all shocked by the suggestion? Funny that he should know Lord Saltire's reason for leaving was his homosexuality."
John's eyes went wide. "Are you suggesting that the Duke's assistant...?"
Sherlock shook his head. "John, the Duke doesn't have an assistant."
When they arrived back at the inn, Sherlock made a beeline for the room occupied by James Wilder. There was no attempt to hide the bloodied shirt, which lay on the bed. Wilder was by the window, smoking.
"I believe this inn is non-smoking," Sherlock said calmly.
"Don't you think that's the least of my problems right now?" Wilder asked.
Sherlock leaned against the doorway. "How long did it take you to figure out that Heidigger was abusing Lord Saltire? Did you know right away?"
Wilder nodded. "Yes. There was no other reason for them to disappear together."
"I doubt that is true," Sherlock replied. "Lord Saltire confided his sexuality to you, giving it as the reason for his want to disappear. He knew his father would never approve of it. His mother would be accepting of him though. So you stole money from your employer to give it to his son."
Wilder nodded. "Arthur just wanted to be able to be himself. But the Duke... He never... The scandal of it."
Sherlock frowned slightly. "Odd that he should go to an employee of his father's, rather than to his mother. But then, you've been working for the Duke since you left school. School which the Duke himself paid for. He's been a presence your entire life."
Wilder looked away to the window.
"There is no shame in protecting your younger half-brother," Sherlock assured him. He nodded to the shirt on the bed. "What there is shame in is taking the blame for a murder you did not commit. The Duke has done nothing to earn your loyalty. He's denied your parentage your entire life. He killed someone your brother cared about."
"H-h-he," Wilder stammered. "He was just protecting Arthur."
Sherlock shook his head. "No. Heidigger's car was on the road heading back towards the school. He dropped Lord Saltire off to continue his travels to his mother. Heidigger wasn't his lover. He was a confidant. The boy wasn't with Heidigger when he was beaten to death. It wasn't a matter of defence of the boy, it was an attempt to bury the scandal even deeper. The desperate act of a desperate man."
Wilder looked up at Sherlock. "He's my father," he said plaintively. "What else am I supposed to do?"
"Protect the person who deserves it," Sherlock said flatly. He turned back to the door.
Sherlock knew John was looking at him in amazement. He didn't even need to look at the man to know it.
"Please John. It wasn't difficult to figure out," Sherlock demurred. "Hardly the most taxing of my cases." He crossed his arms over his chest, surveying the scene. The police were taking the Duke to a car in handcuffs. "He will be mounting an expensive defence. I only see one way he'll be actually incarcerated for his crimes."
"What's that?" John asked.
Sherlock ignored John, striding over to the young boy who had just arrived by cab at the scene. "You must be Arthur-- Lord Saltire."
The boy nodded. "Yeah. I saw on the news at the train station... I had to come back." He looked up at Sherlock. "Is Mister Heidigger really...?"
Sherlock nodded. "I'm afraid so. He was your confidant?"
Lord Saltire nodded once again. "He said I should go to James about... Everything."
"He was right, for the most part," Sherlock replied. "He had no way of knowing your father would read your correspondence with Wilder. And I suspect in those letters you expressed your crush on Heidigger?"
Lord Saltire visibly swallowed. "Mister Heidigger never--"
Sherlock nodded. "I know. As does Wilder. But your father believed he was influencing you. If you wish your mentor's death to be avenged, you will have to testify against your father."
"Who are you?" Lord Saltire asked, furrowing his brow.
Lord Saltire's brow furrowed deeper. "Like Siger?"
Sherlock shook his head. "Nothing like Siger." He gave the boy an awkward pat on the shoulder. "Your half-brother cares very much for you. Lean on him and your mother for support."
With that, Sherlock strode away from the boy. John was following after him a few moments later. "If we leave now, we'll be able to get back to London by midnight," Sherlock commented. I believe both Mary and Molly will be happy we have returned with such expediency."
A black car opened up its door to them. Siger leaned out. "I can give you a ride to the train station, Sherlock."
Sherlock smiled tightly. "Well. That is very generous." He slipped into the car. "I suppose we do have much to talk about."
John got in after Sherlock, but Sherlock barely registered his friend, keeping his gaze on his father. If looks could kill, Siger would have been a pile of ashes.
It took five minutes of heavy silence before Sherlock spoke. "How much did you figure out?"
Siger blinked. "Pardon?"
"Neither of us are fools-- do not pretend to be one," Sherlock spat. "What happened here... How much had you deduced would occur? Did you know the Duke would murder Heidigger?"
Siger shook his head. "I knew nothing of the sort."
"But you knew he would go to some extreme that would get him arrested," Sherlock spat. "You know the Duke well. Know how he would react to something such as his son's homosexuality. Of course, you don't know the Duke as well as you knew his wife... Say, fourteen years ago."
Siger's gaze was icy cold. "You are jumping to conclusions, Sherly."
"I don't think so," Sherlock responded tartly. "I think the Duke-- as your friend-- confided in you as to his son's homosexuality. What he didn't know is your sympathies instead lay with his wife and son... Or rather, his wife and your son. We'll just push side the absolute hypocrisy of you caring about the emotional abuse Lord Saltire suffered at the hands of the Duke."
"Sherly, I am not--" Siger began.
Sherlock raised a hand. "Your secret remains safe. James Wilder will be a far more suitable half-brother for Lord Saltire than myself or Mycroft. The boy shouldn't have to suffer with the knowledge of his paternity. I certainly wish I had that luxury." He held up his hand, speaking loudly enough for the driver to hear. "You can stop. Doctor Watson and I can walk from here."
Siger reached out to stop Sherlock. "Sherly--"
"My name is Sherlock." Sherlock extracted his sleeve from Siger's grasp. "And this conversation is finished. Good luck finding an ambassadorial posting. If you're offered Liechtenstein, turn it down. You'll find the reception very chilly there. I'll have John send you a bill for my services."
Sherlock gestured for John to get out of the car. John grabbed their bags and followed behind him.
"Sherlock..." John said hesitantly. "I never realized..."
"Don't John," Sherlock snapped. "What you were privy to with my father is something I do not wish to discuss. As difficult as it may be for you to believe, that was not the most dramatic encounter I have ever had with my father." He took a deep breath. "Let's just get home. This is not something we need to dwell on."
Sherlock sighed deeply when he arrived home. He strode right to his bedroom, dropping his bag on the floor and smiling at the lump in his bed that was his wife. He stripped from his suit and climbed into bed with her. He pressed a kiss to her shoulder.
"Mm?" Molly stirred, looking back at him blearily.
"Go back to sleep," Sherlock murmured. "It's fine, Molly." He nuzzled his nose against her hair.
Molly ignored him, turning to face him. "You solved it? Did you talk to your father again?"
"I did," Sherlock replied. He cupped her cheek, gently stroking her cheek.
"And...?" Molly asked expectantly.
"I love you," Sherlock murmured. It was the only thing he could say to her. He loved her. He would never hurt her, as his father had his mother. He would never hurt their children as his father had hurt him. He leaned in and kissed her, trying to convey all of that with the silent gesture.
When they parted, Molly pressed her forehead to his. "If you ever want to talk about it... You know I'm here."
Sherlock nodded. But he knew, he wouldn't need to take her up on it. What happened with his father didn't matter. His father didn't matter. She was now his family.
That was what mattered.
Molly shuffled through the kitchen, clad only in one of Sherlock's grey t-shirts. She tucked a lock of her loose hair over her ear as she leaned in the doorway into the sitting room. She smiled at Sherlock, who was stretched out on the sofa, draped only in the sheet from their bed. He held a periodical in his hands, a bemused smile on his face. Sherlock had been good about lounging around in bed with her in the morning since his return from Derbyshire. She let out a small giggle. "You look pleased with yourself."
"Pleased with my wife, more accurately," Sherlock replied. He waved the journal over his head. "The journal with your paper arrived today. This is the first time I've had the chance to read the finished result."
Molly skipped over to Sherlock and draped her arms over his shoulders. "And what do you think?"
Sherlock looked up at Molly, his smile widening. "I think I'm going to read this slowly... Going over every single word. And then I shall pleasure myself."
Molly scrunched up her nose. "You're going to pleasure yourself? It's an article about the dermatological signs of snake venom poisoning on the human body."
Sherlock tugged Molly onto his lap, kissing her. "It is not about the content, but rather the fact I married an utterly brilliant woman who has taken one of my cases-- which John has completely sensationalized on his blog-- and focused on the facts. Nothing but the forensic pathology of the incident..." He moved his mouth to her ear, nibbling at the lobe. "I find that utterly arousing."
Molly leaned against Sherlock with a sigh. She smiled softly, his arms around her comforting. "I should probably find that troublesome. But it's so very you." She turned her head. "I've got to get dressed for work, Love. Can you let me up?"
Sherlock's grip just tightened around her. "But I was thinking you could read some of the paper out to me. Oh, that would be delightfully decadent."
"You're perverse," Molly muttered. She gave Sherlock a light swat on the hand. "I really have to get ready for work. But you are welcome to join me in the shower. I may be compelled to tell you the abstract for my next article."
She sauntered towards the bathroom. She looked back over her shoulder at Sherlock.
Sherlock shook his head. "I think the waiting will make it better, Darling. I'll simmer in my lust over your brilliant mind. I'll write a full review of your findings for my blog. I'm sure my readers will find it fascinating."
Molly smiled. "You know either way you lose on that front, yeah? Either people think you're beating up on your girlfriend or that you've been whipped."
"Whipping? Sounds intriguing."
Molly rolled her eyes. "Just go back to your reading."
Sherlock opened his journal again. "Your perspicacity is scintillating."
"You're sexy too, Love." Molly laughed. "Have fun this afternoon."
"I will... Oooh... The footnotes..."
When Sherlock came into the morgue, things could be incredibly exciting. But when he wasn't in, the morgue was-- in one word-- dead.
It was nice sometimes. To have a break from things being exciting. To just be able to do paperwork.
Molly had been in her office for nearly seven hours straight, transcribing her notes from her last few post-mortems.
There was a knock on the door. Molly looked up at Mike. She smiled, removing her glasses. "Mike! What can I do for you?"
"Just wanted to say congratulations, Molly." Mike beamed at her. "Never thought I'd see the day."
Molly frowned slightly, looking at the copy of the journal that had arrived at her office. "It's not like I haven't done it before, Mike."
Mike's brow furrowed. "You've done this before?"
Molly nodded slowly, confused by Mike's question. "Yeah. At least a half dozen times since I started here."
Mike's eyes widened. "Are you serious?"
Molly laughed, getting to her feet. "Of course I am. Why are you acting like this is a big deal? I'll end up doing it again by next year I'm sure."
Mike shook his head. "I'm sure Sherlock will have something to say about that, Mol." He smiled. "Check out his blog."
As Mike left, Molly felt her stomach drop. Sherlock seemed to enjoy her article when he'd been reading it that morning. But maybe he'd found something in there he didn't like. Something that made him believe she should never write articles ever again.
She went to the Science of Deduction. She clicked on the newest post he'd made, giving a summary of her article. She scanned through it, trying to find where the criticism started. But she found none. Then she saw the end:
Future works by Doctor Hooper will be published under Molly Holmes, as she will be professionally taking my surname as she has privately.
Molly's hands went to her mouth. Her heart felt like it had stopped. She grabbed up her coat. This was definitely a conversation she needed to have in person.
Molly dropped her bag on the floor of the flat. "You told everyone we're married?"
Sherlock was sitting at his microscope, sighing. "I told you not to read Facebook at work, Molly. Your work is fairly important."
"Facebook?" Molly repeated. She raced to Sherlock's computer and opened up Facebook. It was already logged into her account. There was an update she hadn't made herself.
Married Sherlock Holmes
"Since when do you have a Facebook?" Molly sputtered.
Sherlock glanced up from the microscope. "Created one. I will not be adding any friends. But I thought if I were updating your relationship status, it should really list whom you are married to."
Molly squeaked and covered her face with her hands.
"I can't tell if those are happy sounds or not," Sherlock murmured.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Molly asked, her hands shaking. "I mean, we could have..."
"Did you bring those cultures home?" Sherlock asked, getting up from his seat at the kitchen table and walking to Molly. He held out his hand. "I really could use them for my experiment."
Molly knelt on the floor. She dug into her bag, checking. Honestly, she couldn't remember if she'd gotten them or not. Sherlock held out his hand and she noticed the band on his finger catch the light. "Your ring."
"What?" Sherlock questioned. "If we are public in our relationship, wearing our rings is logical."
Molly sank down so she was sitting on the floor, looking up at Sherlock. "I just don't understand..."
"What's there to understand?" Sherlock asked. He knelt down next to Molly. His hands felt huge on Molly's cheek as he framed her face. "I married a beautiful, intelligent woman. I should tell everyone how lucky I am."
Molly covered Sherlock's hands with her own. She pressed her forehead to his. "You know you can't unring a bell, right?"
Sherlock's brow furrowed. "I don't know what that's supposed to mean. No damage occurs to a bell when it has been rung." He stroked a hand over her hair. "Why would the revelation be something I would wish to take back?" He gathered Molly into his arms. "My greatest feat was not faking my death or defeating Moriarty... It was tricking you into marrying me. I need to brag about that." He kissed her. "My Darling Molly. My only regret isn't shouting it from the rooftops the moment we said our vows."
Molly sighed. "You don't do well with rooftops, Love."
Sherlock cringed. "Really... Don't make jokes, Molly." He reached to the back of Molly's neck, releasing the clasp on her necklace. He slipped the ring off of the chain.
Molly's hand shook as Sherlock took it. He pressed a kiss to her knuckles before sliding the ring onto her finger. "But bad jokes and all... You are mine. For now and always. And now everyone knows it. How do you feel about that?"
With a small squeal, Molly tackled Sherlock to the floor.