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Jim was a lot stronger than he looked.

She would never have guessed that he would be able to hold up her entire weight, for example, but here she was, legs around his waist, squashed between him and the wall.

His hand wriggled between them, finding her stomach and dipping down. She threw her head back and moaned, her fingers tightening in his hair. Jim took immediate advantage and licked her throat, as if he was trying to take her pulse with his tongue –

And then the door banged open.

Jim froze and Molly ducked behind his chest in a desperate attempt to hide. What if it was the police? Oh god, what if it was Sherlock?

“You're early,” Jim growled, not looking around.

“Flight got rescheduled,” the intruder said.

Molly peeked cautiously over Jim's shoulder. There was a man standing in the door with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. He didn't look surprised, or shocked. If anything, he looked amused.

“You have a phone,” Jim said darkly.

“Yeah, lost it, it’s somewhere on the bottom of the Mediterranean right now. Sorry, I did try to let you know, but... Well. I'll come back in what, half an hour?”

“Make it an hour.”

Oh, my. Her thigh slipped a little and Jim hoisted her up again.

“Sure thing.” The man winked at Molly, dropped the bag next to the door, and disappeared again.

“Who was – ” she started, but then Jim's fingers went back down and she forgot all about strange men and travel plans.

***

Half an hour.

Another thirty minutes and then she was gone. She could take a taxi home and change her clothes and go straight to the hospital. She'd make it if she hurried up. It would probably be better to leave now, but...

She glanced at her watch again. He wouldn't have forgotten she was still here, would he? How long would he still need? And what the heck could he be doing?

Although it might be better not think about that last question for too long.

The sound of keys in the lock made her look up. Finally. She put on her sternest expression and prepared to be laughed at, like he did every time she stood up for herself, but she wasn't just his plaything and he couldn't just -

The stern expression slipped as the door opened and revealed that man again, holding several shopping bags.

“Oh,” he said in surprise. “Sorry, I thought you'd be gone by now.”

“I would if I could,” Molly blurted, angry and frustrated.

He raised an eyebrow. “And what's stopping you exactly?”

He stole my car keys.”

“Ah.” He turned and closed the door again, juggling the bags with surprising ease. “Yeah, he does that sometimes. How long has he been gone?”

She blinked. Who was he, anyway? She hadn’t really thought about it earlier - too busy with other things -  but it was strange, someone else just walking in here like he had permission to. More than that, as if he was used to it. A friend? Did Jim even have friends?

“Er, about an hour?”

“He'll probably be back soon enough then. Nothing to do but wait it out, I'm afraid.” He crossed the room and went to the kitchen. The assorted plastic bags went on the counter and his expensive-looking dark coat got draped over a chair. It was a very domestic image, and something that looked very out of place in Jim's world.

“So you think he'll come back?” Molly asked nervously. “It's just that, um, I have to be at work in a little over an hour and - ”

“Then he'll be here,” he said from the kitchen. She could hear him open and close cupboards. Maybe he was a butler or something? Jim was definitely the type to keep a butler. “He doesn't forget, even if it looks like that sometimes. Drink?”

“Orange juice would be nice, if you – ”

“Sure.” He threw her a small bottle which she almost dropped, fumbling her catch with clumsy fingers.

“Thanks,” she said, still feeling out of her depth.

“My pleasure,” he replied, sounding like he was laughing at her. He took his own bottle to the counter, smacked his palm down on the top and flicked the cap off.

She couldn’t keep in a small sound of surprise. He side-eyed her. “Classic trick, that one. Haven’t seen it before?”

She shook her head. He shrugged and leaned back against the wall, bottle in hand, watching her.

He didn't look like a butler. He reminded her of John, a little, the same calm watchfulness, that sense of constantly sizing up everything and everyone. He also was quite handsome. And he had caught her right in the middle of -

Oh god. Just thinking about that made her cheeks heat up.

He smiled and looked down, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking of.

“So you're Jim's – Jim's flatmate?” she asked, in a desperate attempt to make conversation.

He laughed, a surprised bark of a laugh. “Yeah, I suppose that's one way of putting it.”

“Oh, it's just that... He's never mentioned you?”

“Really? Funny. He has mentioned you,” he said, voice going soft.

“Oh,” Molly squeaked. “Did he – ”

But then the door banged open and Jim waltzed in, tossing and catching her keys.

“Oi, you mad bastard,” the man said, smirking. “Give Miss Hooper her keys back, will you?”

“What?” Jim twirled around and focused on the man. “Oh, that. Here you go.” He threw them over his shoulder and she caught them, a little less clumsily this time.

“Thanks.”

The man looked at the ceiling. “He steals her keys and she says thanks.”

“It's called manners, dear, you should try it sometime,” Jim said tartly.

“Says the man who – “

Pas devant la fille.”

Molly watched the to-and-fro with growing confusion. They reminded her a bit of John and Sherlock, bickering like an old married couple, but –

She shook her head. “I need to go,” she said, standing up and taking her purse.

“Yes, off you pop.” Jim turned and grinned, showing off his canines. “Til next time, Molly my dear.”

She swallowed and fled.

***

She wasn't sure why she did this.

Wasn't sure why she ignored the nice boys who were actually interested in her, why she kept pining after Sherlock even when he had made it very clear he considered her to be nothing but furniture. Wasn't sure why the one nice boy she'd allowed close had turned out to be a dangerous psychopath, why she didn't break off all contact with him once she knew. Wasn't sure why now, every time her phone beeped and showed her a time and two little x's, her stomach would flip and her hands tremble and she’d spend the rest of the day in almost painful anticipation, wasn’t sure why she never really considered not going.

But every time she turned up on his doorstep and he looked at her, such a smirk on his face, something dark in his eyes, she thought yes.

She wasn't supposed to do this; she did anyway.

***

One of the more unexpected advantages of her – her arrangement with Jim were the bathroom facilities. Jim's bathroom was huge, as was the bath, and he had one of those fancy showers with a lot of different knobs and dials that made showering feel more like getting a massage than anything else.

Even the towels were amazing, thick and soft. She tucked one around her and padded to the living room, stretching lazily. Not even fancy hotel rooms had -

She froze in the doorway. Sitting at the kitchen table was the man from last time, fiddling with a bandage around his arm.

“Evening,” he said calmly, not looking up.

Good thing Jim's towels were also huge. Still, she felt vulnerable, again. “Hello,” she said hesitantly.

He didn't react after that, so she went to the kitchen and got a glass of water. When she got back, the man had removed the bandage and was watching the bloody mess of his forearm with a puzzled frown.

“Fuck,” he said drily, examining his bloody fingers.

“That looks nasty,” Molly said, a little uneasy.

He looked up. “I've had worse. But I think the stitches popped.”

“Um. Do you want me to give you a hand?”

“If you wouldn't mind? There's a first aid kit above the sink.”

She went back to kitchen. Her fingers were trembling a little, but she was a doctor, wasn't she? She had taken an oath. She couldn't just refuse someone help because he was a bit scary.

She got back to the living room, carrying the first aid kit, trying to be professional about this. “Does this have needles? Most first-aid kits – ”

“Yeah, this one has.” He shrugged. “Jim likes to be prepared for anything, you know how he is. And for, erm, other uses.”

Jim. Not Moriarty, just Jim, familiar, almost fond. And other uses, but what could you possibly use needles for, apart from stitching?

Probably best not to dwell on that. She cleared her throat, sat down at the table and started spreading out her material.

“You good at stitches?” he asked while she wriggled into her gloves.

“I've done a lot of stitching. Of course, corpses don't mind if they're a bit wonky.” And then she winced, because that was exactly the sort of joke she should stop making if she ever wanted to have friends.

But the man laughed, not a trace of unease in his voice. “Yeah, well, I don't mind either. As long as it's functional I don't care if I look like something from Dawn of the Dead.”

“It won't be that bad. I hope,” she added under her breath. The man chuckled again.

Once she had cleaned off the blood it turned out the wound wasn't as bad as she had thought. Some of the sutures had held, but some had indeed snapped.

And how did that happen, Molly? a treacherous voice asked at the back of her mind. She squashed it down.

“So,” she said as she threaded the needle. “Have you two lived together for long?”

“About three years, I think.”

She looked up in surprise. “How?” she asked, because she couldn't imagine anyone lasting that long with Jim, let alone live with him.

He met her eyes. “By being compulsively observant, knowing when to back off, and having a masochistic streak a bloody mile wide.”

Her eyes went back to the wound on his arm and her stomach turned. “Did he – ”

“No. Actually, he's probably more careful of any injuries I get than I am. He isn't stupid, and I'm no use to him with a fucked-up arm.”

“That... actually makes sense, in a weird way.”

“And that is the definition of Jim Moriarty in a sentence. Now, I don't want to rush you, but – “

“Oh, right, sorry.” She put the needle to his skin and glanced up at him. “This is probably going to sting a bit.”

“I was expecting as much,” he said with a wry smile.

Molly took a deep breath and pushed the needle in. The man hissed but kept his arm perfectly still.

“So are you two... ” Molly trailed off. This probably wasn’t the best time to discuss that kind of thing. “Um. Together?”

“You mean, do we shag?” he asked, eyes glittering. “And the answer is yes. A lot.”

“Ah.” She could feel her ears turn red, and she desperately cast her mind around for another subject. “Did - did you say you’ve had worse?

“Couple of years in the army. Had worse and seen worse, compared to that this is barely a scratch. But you know, it’s still an inconvenience.”

So that was why he reminded her of John. Fellow soldiers. “You're holding up well.” She peeked up at him. “I've never seen this done without anaesthesia.”

“Masochist, remember? This is practically foreplay for me.”

Molly felt her face go red again. What could she possibly say to that?

Joke, Miss Hooper,” he said, sounding amused. “I've got a relatively high pain tolerance and you're actually pretty good at this.”

“Oh. Thanks.” She put in another stitch. Almost there. “And it's Molly, by the way. I'm sticking a needle in your skin, I think that puts us on first name terms.” She tightened the last stitch and the man hissed again. “Sorry.”

“s all right. And it's Sebastian.”

Molly cut the thread and they both examined the stitches.

“Neat job, Molly,” Sebastian said appreciatively.

It was nice, hearing praise. It wasn't like cadavers ever congratulated her on an autopsy well done. She looked up and smiled.

She was still holding his arm, thumb in the crook of his elbow. Sebastian's eyes went from her face to somewhere a bit lower, and – oh god, her towel had started slipping. She let go as if burnt and Sebastian raised his eyebrows in surprise.

But before he could say anything the bedroom door opened and Jim appeared, totally naked. He looked between Molly and Sebastian with a frown.

“Bonding, are we?”

“Jealous, are we?” Sebastian mimicked. He seemed completely unfazed by Jim's nakedness. But if what Sebastian had said was true, if they did – did have sex, he wouldn’t be, would he? He was probably very used to seeing Jim naked.

Sebastian raised his arm, showing off the stitches. “Handy, having someone with medical skills around.”

“I'm good with needles,” Jim said, heading to the kitchen.

Medical skills, Jim. I think your use of needles would get you banned by any decent Medical Board. Seriously”- he leaned towards Molly -“I let him patch me up once, and trust me, never again.”

She giggled, amused despite herself, and hitched her towel up. “I'm going to get dressed.”

Sebastian nodded absently, eyes on Jim's naked backside. When she left the room, she could just hear Jim ask something about milk.

All very odd.

***

There was definitely something wrong with her.

Normal people didn't have semi-regular sex with known master criminals. And even the kind of people who did have said semi-regular sex didn't alternate it with evenings curled up on the sofa watching Downton Abbey. She had a vague idea about the latter kind of people, and this idea included skin-tight clothing and lots of eyeliner and general sexiness, which didn't really fit Molly. Too-tight clothing made her skin itch and any kind of complex makeup tended to end up crooked. No, she definitely wasn't normal.

Although she did cut up dead people for a living, so maybe she should have seen the weirdness coming.

Her doorbell rang. She stretched and went to the door. Her neighbour was a sweet old lady who sometimes got forgetful, or scared, and it wouldn't be the first time Molly had been asked up to reassure her. No, there was no one lurking outside, no, that was just Toby knocking over a jar, or occasionally: no, that was just Sherlock hammering at her door, trying to get her attention, not a dangerous psychopath intent on axe-murdering her. Even though sometimes the difference was a bit hard to tell.

She opened her door, and her helpful smile froze.

“Hi,” Sebastian said brightly. “Can I come in?” The bottom of his jeans was torn, and – was that blood?

And here Molly was, in her pink bunny slippers and her old faded nightshirt.

“Molly," Sebastian said, in a calm, firm voice. "Can I come in? I don't want anyone getting suspicious.”

“What? Oh, right.” She stepped aside and waved him. “Come in, quickly.”

She looked outside – no one around – and closed the door, leaning against it.

Sebastian looked horribly out of place in her cosy little flat. Smelling of cigarettes and leather, bleeding, unshaven, rough, something very masculine in a very feminine place. He was watching her carefully, almost as if he was waiting for her to snap.

She shook her head. “What happened?”

“I got hurt,” he said curtly. “Nothing serious, so I'd like to avoid A&E, but I'm not up for crossing half London like this either. Got a bandage I can borrow?”

“I – ” She blinked. A criminal had turned up wounded at her door, and all she felt was curiosity. Not panic, not fear.

What was wrong with her?

“I'll get the first aid kit. Sit down.”

“Thanks.”

She left him on the couch and trotted off to her bathroom. She had patched him up once already, after all. Still, him coming to her house like this felt a little... invasive.

When she came back Sebastian had stretched his leg out in front of him, and was looking at her living room with open curiosity. It couldn't be more different than Jim's stylish and sober flat, with her kitten-calendar and her pastel pillows and threadbare sofa and her - oh god, bra hanging from a chair. She hastily stuffed it back into a drawer.

No, definitely not the same class as Jim’s place. But, well, not everyone was a billionaire, right? And it was hers and she liked it, so he could judge all he wanted.

She plonked the kit down on the table and sat down on her knees in front of the sofa. Sebastian considerately rolled up his jeans. Molly started fiddling with her latex gloves, which were, as usual, refusing to cooperate. And Sebastian watching her mess about wasn't really helping.

“Blow.”

Molly turned her head and somehow ended up staring straight at Sebastian’s crotch. Did he mean – but no, no one would ever be that forward, that was just silly. Besides, he was gay, wasn’t he?

Right?

She looked up at his face, cheeks aflame. “Sorry?”

“The gloves.” He gave her a smile. “Blowing in them makes them less sticky, I've found.”

“Oh.” She raised them and, feeling very awkward, blew into them. He had a point, though: the fingers filled out and they went on much more smoothly.

Sebastian had jury-rigged a bandage with a tie and something that looked like a torn sleeve. She cleaned away the blood and gravel – he'd obviously rolled around on the ground after he got the wound – and gave it a careful once over. Knife wound, not that deep, wouldn't even need stitches. “You're right, I don't think it's serious.”

“Thought as much.”

She tore the packaging and got to work. After a while there was a soft thump.

“Oh, hello,” Sebastian said softly from above her.

“Careful,” she said, not looking up from her work. “Toby isn't very people-friendly.”

“Yeah, I know, Jim used to come home with his forearms covered in scratches.”

Oh. She hadn't really considered that, but of course Sebastian must have known about Jim pretending to be – Well. Not himself. She wondered if they had talked about it, if Jim had complained about her. If he had gloated, the first time she let him into her bed.

No, she couldn’t think about that. Just the thought of it was making her cheeks heat up again.

She finished the bandage and looked up. Toby had jumped up on the sofa and was studying Sebastian suspiciously, the way only a cat could. Sebastian offered his hand, which was carefully sniffed at. And accepted, apparently, because when Sebastian trailed a finger over Toby's head the cat didn't swat like he usually did.

Sebastian stroked a little firmer, knuckles caressing the little skull. Toby raised his head into Sebastian’s hand and he stroked down, palm smoothing over Toby's spine, fingers working expertly through its fur. After a minute or so the cat finally flopped over, baring its belly, purring in utter contentment. Sebastian trailed light patterns over the soft fur and the purring intensified. He chuckled.

Molly couldn't breathe. And couldn't stop staring at Sebastian's fingers. “That’s - ”

“I'm a bit of a cat person.” He looked up, and god knew what her face showed because he suddenly looked a little surprised. But that sight, his capable fingers, so sure and competent and -

Oh for god's sake, he had just petted a cat, and she was reacting as if he had started a striptease.

“Still there, Molly?” Sebastian asked. He was smiling again, knowing and amused, a little like Jim did sometimes, only with more kindness.

“Yes, sorry.” She shook herself. “You should be alright now. Keep it clean and -”

“Yeah, I know the drill.” He stood up and tested his leg. “Thanks for this. I wouldn't have, normally, but...”

“Anytime,” she blurted.

He looked at her again. “I'll probably see you around.”

“Yeah.”

He left. Molly leaned against the closed door, letting out a deep sigh. Her heart was beating much too quickly.

A few seconds later her phone beeped.

Tomorrow, 9pm. xx

Period, not question mark. It was never a request. And she couldn't remember the last time she had refused it.

Lord, she was in deep.

***

They hadn’t told her, when they'd found out about Jim.

Well, they had, eventually, but more as an afterthought. Before that they were too busy with snipers and explosions and god knows what else to even slip in a “oh by the way Molly, the man you were dating is a violent homicidal maniac.”

It might have been shock, it might have been denial, but she hadn’t felt afraid, once they did tell her. If anything she’d felt a little annoyed at being ignored, passed over like that.

So maybe when she had answered the phone two weeks after breaking it off and Jim had been on the other end of the line, his voice smooth and confident in a way he’d never been when he was just Jim-from-IT, maybe it was some sort of rebellion that made her say yes.

Either way, she didn’t regret her decision. And if they wanted her to tell, they should ask.

***

Her breasts hurt.

No, she should be honest with herself: her nipples hurt. And she knew exactly why that was, too, she had stared at the vividly-coloured bruising for almost a full minute this morning.

But it was uncomfortable. She squirmed. Maybe she should take off her bra? But she could hardly go around work braless, could she?

“Are you alright, Molly?” Mike asked, making her jump in surprise. “You look a little flushed.”

“Yeah, I'm fine, no need to worry.” She bent down and winced as the change in position made the fabric of her bra chafe against sensitive skin.

“Well, if you're sure....”

“I am,” she said, a little more aggressively than was necessary, and Mike's eyebrows went up in surprise.

“Okay, just checking. You coming to the pub, tonight?”

She should go. Going to the pub with her colleagues after work was a very normal thing to do. Unlike her actual plans for tonight, which were definitely not normal. The pub would be the healthiest choice by far, but...

“Sorry, but I, um, agreed to meet up with someone. Next time?”

Mike smiled. “Sure. See you around, Molly.”

She let out a relieved sigh as he left.

As soon as her shift was done, she disappeared into the loo and took off her bra with a happy sigh. The bruising was still there, though. Lucky she never had to be naked in front of anyone - apart from the obvious, of course. And as long as she put her jacket on when there were people around she didn't have to scandalise anyone.

She locked up behind her – last one out of the building, as usual – and headed for the bus stop, rummaging through her bag in search for her card.

“Molly Hooper.”

She jumped in surprise and whirled around. Sebastian was leaning against the wall next to the exit, watching her.

“Didn't mean to startle you,” he added, smiling.

“It's – it's fine. Is something wrong?”

“Not really. Jim's indisposed tonight, so he sent me to give you his apologies.”

“Oh. That's... nice of him, actually.”

“I know.” He idly patted his pockets, pulled out a packet of cigarettes. “I'm sure he has ulterior motives or something. Anyway, need a lift home?”

“Yeah, why not?” She crossed her arms and his eyes dropped to her chest. She blinked in confusion, and then realisation hit her, a cool breeze, thin fabric, no bra, and she had forgotten about her jacket, oh god.

“I, er,” she babbled in panic. “There was just - ”

“Three weeks ago,” he said calmly, cutting her off, “I couldn't sit down without wincing for over a week unless I had a large pillow under my arse.”

“Oh,” Molly said, stupidly.

“So trust me, I sympathise. Although,” he smirked, “I can't help you in the bra-department. No personal experience there, I'm afraid.”

And that image was so absurd she couldn't stop a giggle. “Sorry, it's just - ”

“Yeah.” He lit a cigarette and took a drag. “I'd tell you to kick him if he tries it again, but that probably only encourages him.”

“It would, wouldn't it?” she said, grinning wide. She had needed a good laugh, really. And besides, out of all the people in the world, Sebastian was probably the only one who could truly understand what this all was like.

“Right,” he said, with a crooked smile. “You'll just have to – ” And then he went quiet, cocking his head like a dog hearing a whistle.

“What's - ”

He held up a hand and she shut up. He looked up and down the street, up at the camera, and then he dropped the cigarette, grabbed her arm and pulled her with him down an alley.

“Do exactly as I tell you,” he said, quietly but urgently. “Keep walking, do not run, head for the parking lot at the back of Sainsbury's. Don't look back if I stay behind, and for fuck's sake, no heroics. If I don't show up in fifteen minutes you go to Jim's flat, wait until he shows up and tell him exactly what happened. Got it?”

“I - ”

Got it, Molly?”

“Yes.” She swallowed. “Yes, I got it.”

“Good. Start walking.”

She kept her eyes on the ground and tried not to hyperventilate. Don't panic, she chanted inwardly. Don't panic, don't panic, don't -

Sebastian disappeared after another corner and she did exactly as he told her, even though it went against every instinct not to run, not to look back. She twitched at every noise, froze whenever someone passed her. When she finally reached the parking lot it was a relief: at least here she could just stand still and look around for any suspicious activity, hand on the pepper spray in her purse.

She had to wait almost ten minutes before Sebastian showed up again.

“Sorry about that,” he said cheerfully. He'd completely lost the worried intense look of before.

“You've got blood on your face,” Molly said weakly.

He wiped his thumb over his cheek and pulled his packet of cigarettes from his coat. “Oh, don't worry, 's not mine.” He lit a cigarette and leaned against the wall next to her, leaving a couple of inches between them. Molly watched him nervously.

“Sometimes people do that,” he said after a while. “They think they can get to Jim through the people close to him.”

“Close?”

He smiled and looked down. It looked a little rueful, that smile. “As close as anyone ever gets. You've been inside his home, that makes you... Well. Pretty unique, for a start.”

“Am I...” She took a deep breath. “Am I in danger?”

“Not anymore, no.” He looked down at her. “You can say what you want about Jim but he does protect what's his. You're probably safer than anyone in London.”

She huffed. “His? I'm not a, a pet.”

He took a deep drag and looked in the distance. “Thing is, Molly, you kind of are.” He noticed her affronted reaction and grinned. “Oh, don't worry, I am too. It isn't anything to be ashamed of.”

“I don't like the idea of being owned,” she said quietly.

“The choice is yours, Molly Hooper.” He chucked his cigarette to the ground. “Don't forget that. The choice is always yours.” He ground the stub beneath his feet and offered her an arm. “Now let's get you home, alright?”

***

The thing about sex with Jim was...

Was...

Well, for one thing, it was always different. Always intense, yes, and strangely focused, but she never really knew what to expect. Oh, right, bruises. She could almost always expect bruises. Only the good kind, though.

But the point was that it was different from any sex she’d had before. He made her feel alive, made her skin sing with it. He was endlessly creative and almost frighteningly attentive and most importantly of all, he wanted her.

She didn’t know why, there was nothing particularly interesting about her. But after all those years of being the invisible girl it was intoxicating. She always looked forward to it, even though the frequency was as unpredictable as the rest of it: sometimes he called her over three nights in a row, sometimes two or three weeks passed without hearing anything of him. And whenever it lasted that long she started to, to need it, like an addict needs a fix.

Like now. Almost a whole month without hearing from him and she was practically boiling over with frustration, with want. It was getting out of hand, people were starting to notice. Only yesterday she had snapped at Sherlock of all people, and the utterly surprised and shocked look he’d given her in return had been enough to make her stammer and apologise, to make her realise that this wasn’t normal.

She put her hands on her desk and bowed her head. What if he didn’t contact her at all? What if he had decided he had enough of her? What if -

Her phone beeped. She opened the new message with trembling fingers.

Six pm. xx

It was half past five.

She almost collapsed with relief.

***

Her back hit the wall hard and he pulled eagerly at her cardigan. “Slow down,” she gasped.

Jim laughed. “No.” He licked beneath her jaw and bit down, and darn, that would leave a mark, but it felt so good -

“Jim,” she squeaked.

“Hm?” His hands had worked their way under her clothes, cold against her waist. “What is it, Molly,” he whispered, close to her ear. “Want me to stop?”

For a second she remembered Sebastian's cool grey eyes. Your choice.

“No,” she said, and pulled him closer.

***

Jim had bruises too. A few on his forearms, those could be from a fight, technically. But the one on his hip was definitely left by someone's mouth. And unless Jim's attackers had really strange tactics...

He caught her looking and grinned. “Someone's been there before you, Molly dear.”

“Sebastian did those?”

Jim hummed. He was often cheerful after sex, almost normal-looking. “Likes it when things go a little rough, Seb. The animal inside of him, I suppose. I think”- and here he rolled over to her side of the bed and leaned in close, tone going confidential- “I think what he really wants is for me to bend him over something with my teeth in his neck. The way lions mate.”

She shivered. “Isn't, um, isn't that private?”

He laughed and sat up. “Why, yes. So? I tell him all about you, too.”

“You – ” She watched him. He must be joking. Right? “I don't believe you.”

“Don't you,” he said softly.

She ducked her head and started gathering her clothes from the bedroom floor.

“You really should talk to him about it sometime,” he drawled, falling back on the bed. “Compare notes. Who knows the two of you can learn something from each other.”

She pulled her skirt on. God, just the thought of talking to someone about this...

Although when she thought about it, she already had. She had bumped into Sebastian a few times and he'd made the occasional joke or veiled reference, and it had felt natural, in a way.

This was another one of those not-normal things, probably. Discussing your mutual lover with someone.

But Molly found she was starting to care less and less about what was normal and not.

“When can I…” She hesitated. She usually didn’t do this, ask about next times. But it had been a month.

He opened one eye. “Day or two, probably. Will you survive till then, sweetheart?”

“I’ll manage,” she said, and even managed to give him something approaching a smirk instead of her usual shy stammering.

He laughed and closed his eye again. “Don’t worry. I promise I won’t neglect you.”

Her stomach flipped. She put her cardigan back on with shaking fingers. “I’ll be seeing you, then?”

“Yes. Goodbye, Molly,” he added with a lazy wave of his hand.

She left his flat with a spring in her step.

***

Molly was weird. That was just a fact.

Like at her first post mortem. While the reaction of her classmates had ranged from stoic acceptance to rushing to the toilets, she had leaned forward and said “ooh, is that a tumour?” and come within an inch of prodding her bare finger into the corpse’s ribcage. She simply didn’t react to things the way people should react.

And that was fine, really. A bit painful, sometimes, but it had its advantages. It was one of the reasons why she made such a good pathologist, for one thing.

And it had made her quite good at hiding things. She was, for example, fairly sure that none of her co-workers had noticed that she had been thinking of very other things than work for the last few hours, that she hadn’t heard a word of their little stories during lunch time. She had even made a point of not checking her watch more often than usual, although inside she was counting the seconds until she could clock off and go to Jim.

He’d kept his word: she’d got his message this morning, just before she had to go to work, only two days after the last time. It had left her with butterflies in her stomach, immediately lifting her mood. Although it had made concentrating on her job a bit difficult as well. She kept remembering the way Jim’s mouth had felt on her neck, or fantasising about what he might do this time. Would he  -

The door flew open. Molly whirled and dropped her scalpel in surprise.

Sherlock swanned in. “Molly!' he said, smiling broadly. It must be a particularly interesting case, to get him that cheerful. “Is that Mr Wilson? Excellent.”

He walked straight to the table and took the corpse's wrist, raising it and studying the nails. “Just as I thought,” he muttered with satisfaction. He crossed to the other side of the gurney and tossed Molly a quick look. “New boyfriend?”

It took Molly a few seconds to realise he was talking to her, not himself. Or possibly the corpse, which he had done before. “No!’ she said, feeling her cheeks burn. “I mean, even if I, I did have, it wouldn't be any of your business.”

“I'll take that as a yes, then,” Sherlock said drily. He dropped to his haunches, eyes level with the body. “A tip for the future: concealer can hide a great deal of things but it has the nasty tendency to fade over time.” He straightened up again and turned. “Make sure you check your makeup more often, next time.” He gave her a bright smile and then he was off.

She picked her scalpel up, shaking all over. She felt ashamed, and scared, like her phone, with the guilty text message, was burning a hole in her pocket.

He hadn’t known, hadn’t guessed. It was fine. She put the scalpel down, glanced at the clock.

Still two hours to go.

***

The door to Jim's flat was unlocked, but the man himself was nowhere to be seen. Molly walked straight to the table and put her hands flat on the surface, breathing slow and steady.

That little run-in with Sherlock had shaken her more than she had expected. He hadn't guessed, but what if he had? Just like that, she could suddenly see the way this must look to outsiders. A dirty little secret, stupid and dangerous, and she shouldn't –

“There's no point.”

For a second it seemed as if her own thoughts had spoken, but then she raised her head and saw Sebastian, leaning in the doorway, watching her.

“I don't – ”

“Guilt-tripping,” Sebastian cut her off. “It doesn’t solve anything and you only end up with a headache.”

“Easier said than done,” she said with a weak smile. “It’s only normal, isn’t it? That I - ”

Sebastian laughed. “Sweetheart, you're fucking a genius psychopath. Normal isn’t part of the equation here.”

“I never meant for this to happen! It just… ”

His mouth twisted. “It's in your blood. I know. There's no one in the world like him and – ” He stopped himself, shaking his head.

“Sherlock noticed the bruise,” she said, because she couldn’t keep it in any longer.

Sebastian smirked, back to his usual wryly-amused self. “Tell Jim that, he'll like it.”

“Is that why he's doing this? To, to mess with Sherlock?”

“Possibly.” He pushed off and headed for the door. “Or maybe not. Don't try to get into his motivation, it only ever ends in tears.” He stopped next to her and put his hand on her shoulder, reassuringly warm. “No point in fighting this, Molly Hooper.”

She looked up at him. He looked serious, almost kind. “Maybe I don't I want to fight,” she said softly.

“Yeah.” He gave her shoulder a last pat and left.

A few minutes later a different hand brushed her back, and she couldn't stop herself from leaning into his touch.

***

So yes, it wasn’t entirely rational. But to be honest, it wasn’t that irrational either. If Jim really wanted to hurt her he could have done it before, whether she cooperated or not. She might be a bit daring sometimes but she wasn’t stupid, and she would have never allowed Jim to - to do any of the things he did to her if she didn’t feel safe, in some strange way. Trust, really. She wouldn’t trust Jim with her wallet but she did trust him with her body.

Okay, maybe she was a little messed up.

***

It was starting to get colder outside, and darker at an earlier hour. Molly didn’t mind, she quite liked huddling inside in front of her little fire, possibly with a glass of wine to keep her warm. Although ever since she had met Sherlock, she’d learned not to take these quiet comfy moments for granted. More than once Sherlock had turned up at her door just as she was about to settle in, to drag her to the morgue or some crime scene, to assist him while he did whatever it was he did.

So she wasn’t that surprised when, just as she had put on her fluffiest jumper and kicked off her shoes, the doorbell rang. It wouldn’t be her neighbour, after all, not at this hour. She got up with a sigh of resignation and went to open the door.

It wasn’t her neighbour. It wasn’t Sherlock, either.

“Hi,” Sebastian said. He held up a bottle. “Can I come in?”

She stepped aside and let him in, a bit speechless. Again.

Anytime, she’d said, but she hadn’t really expected him to take her up on her offer.

“Sorry about this. Jim is doing – well, doing something.” He gave her a look of shared exasperation and she smiled, couldn’t help it. “And he needs the house for it. So I need to be out, and it was either this or a pub crawl and a hotel. And frankly, I hate hotels.”

“Please,” she said, waving at the couch, and he sat down. She went to the kitchen and got glasses and a bottle opener, still feeling... Not so much afraid, as completely out of her depth. It didn’t feel real, Sebastian showing up like this, as if they were old friends, as if he did this every day. Yes, they had exchanged a few words, and she did like him. It was just… It didn’t make sense.

“Did I interrupt something? Had plans?” Sebastian asked from the living room.

“Not really.” She stepped back out of the kitchen. Sebastian was watching her carefully. “Unless you call a few episodes of Prime Suspect and an early night plans.” She put the glasses down and pushed her hair behind her ears. “Sorry, I’m not that exciting.”

“Yeah, well, you’re in good company.” He took the bottle opener from her hand and expertly popped the cork. “Used to be that I didn’t spend a single Friday night at home, but now?” He looked over his shoulder at her and smiled. “Proper little house-husband.”

“Do you miss it?” she asked curiously. She never liked clubbing herself, but Sebastian, tall handsome confident Sebastian, would have found it easy, she was sure of that.

“Not really.” He poured the wine and offered her a glass. “Jim’s far more interesting than any man or woman there.”

She hummed and took a sip of her wine. She was starting to panic, just a bit. She’d never been good at the whole social thing and the idea of entertaining someone like Sebastian for the entire night was getting more daunting the more she thought about it.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to interrupt your plans,” Sebastian said, sprawling back into the sofa.

“Sorry?”

He waved at the television.

“You... want to watch telly? With me?”

He smiled. “Why not? If you don’t mind, that is, but...” He leaned forward. “Did you know Jim is physically incapable of shutting up once the telly’s on? Mind you, it’s educational”- he gestured with his wine glass- “but also bloody annoying after a while.”

“Okay.” She blinked at him. It was the perfect way out, no need for awkward conversation. Was he serious? “If you’re sure...”

She sat down on the other end of the sofa and started fiddling with the different remotes, grateful for the opportunity to get her face back under control.

“So why Prime Suspect?” Sebastian asked. “I would’ve thought you see enough crime and dead bodies at work.”

“It’s... different.” She glanced at him and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, trying to put her thoughts into words. “It’s - it all gets resolved in ninety minutes. The bad guys get arrested and the murder gets solved and there are no loose ends. And...” She smiled at him. “You know. Helen Mirren.”

He raised his glass in a toast. “Can’t argue with Helen Mirren. Alright, put it on.”

***

For all that he complained about Jim’s inability to keep quiet, Sebastian turned out to do exactly the same. He provided a running commentary all throughout the episode, right from the start until the credits rolled.

“Do you really do that?” he asked when the pathologist lifted a pair of lungs out of the victim’s body. And he actually seemed interested when she started to talk about the finer points of forensic pathology: his eyes didn’t start to stray the way most people’s did when Molly got her scientist on. He paused the telly to listen to her, and even his that’s disgusting when she told him about sniffing stomach contents sounded more amused than irritated.

But he had his own expertise to share as well. When they showed the crime scene investigation he rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, come on, only amateurs would forget to wear gloves to a burglary.” And when there was a scene with a crime boss ordering his lackeys about, and it was Molly’s turn to ask if it was really like that, he snorted and amused her with a pithy description of the various types of crimelords around.

And he was siding with the criminals, making disappointed noises every time there was important breakthrough for the detectives, and booing when the bad guys got arrested. She was sure he was doing it to mess with her, but it worked, she couldn’t stop giggling.

So despite her initial nervousness, watching telly with Sebastian was kind of fun. Especially after her first glass of wine, when she loosened up enough to try a few jokes. When the final DVD was finished, she almost felt disappointed. She’d had fun, against all exceptions. She didn’t really want him to leave.

But he didn’t seem to be leaving just yet. He just settled back in the couch and upended the bottle, frowning as only a few drops of wine came out.

“Did we drink all that?” Molly asked, incredulously.

“Apparently so. D’you have any other booze in the house?”

She pointed at her drinks cabinet and Sebastian went over and rooted through the bottles. He pulled out a bottle of whisky and held it up. “May I?”

Molly stared at it.

She’d bought it because of Sherlock. Because he’d said something about how, if he was forced to drink alcohol, he’d prefer whisky of that particular brand, and then later that evening she had found herself in Tesco’s staring at the liquor aisle. And, feeling slightly silly and stupid, she’d bought one. Maybe with some kind of vague idea in her head about Sherlock coming by her flat and actually staying for once, and her offering him his favourite drink, and him being surprised and pleased…

But of course he never did stay. And the bottle had been left behind, untouched except for the rare occasions where she felt like she could use something stronger than her usual glass of wine.

“Or not,” Sebastian said dryly. “There’s vodka here as well, so...”

“No. drink the darn - the damn thing. It’ll only go bad otherwise.”

“Fair enough,” he said, looking a bit surprised. He poured them two glasses and handed one to her. “To disgusting pathologists,” he said solemnly.

She clinked her glass against his and smiled. “And incompetent crime lords.”

***

Several glasses later, Molly realised with a start that she was drunk.

But then again, so was Sebastian. Not that it was very noticeable, he was just a bit more… a bit less… Not as focused as he always was.

Or maybe her eyesight was starting to go off.

“Why do we do it, hm?” he asked, consonants slurring.

“Do what?” Molly asked, staring at the reflections in her glass. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been drunk like this.

“Put up with him. Jim. I mean, apart from the sex.”

“The sex’s a pretty good reason, though,” Molly said before she could censor herself. But Sebastian only laughed.

“Yeah, alright, but it’s got it disav- dista- bad points as well.”

She nodded, seriously, and then she sat up and grabbed a notebook and a pen. She drew a shaky line down the middle. Sebastian leaned over and looked over her shoulder with interest.

PROS OF HAVING SEX WITH JIM, she wrote above one column, and CONS OF HAVING SEX WITH JIM above the other.

“Right,” she said, and looked up expectantly at Sebastian.

“Why do have to start?” he said, a tad indignantly.

“Because you are - you’ve got - got more experience than me.”

“Point taken.” He took another sip of whisky and squinted at the paper. “Good sex.”

“Nonono,” Molly said. “‘s got to be more specific than that.”

“Fine.” Sebastian rubbed his forehead. “Er… Damn good kisser.”

She conscientiously put it under pros. “Right. Anything else?”                                 

They gradually filled up the columns. Molly’s hand slowly got shakier and less readable, and every time she moved too quickly the world started spinning. Sebastian, meanwhile, seemed exactly as composed as he usually was, although he was starting to slur his words a bit.

She squinted at the list. The pros were winning out, but only by a little.

“You got one?” Sebastian asked.

“Bite marks.”

“Is that a pro or a con?”

She considered it. “Both?”

Sebastian nodded seriously and Molly wrote them down. It took several tries before she managed that.

“Atrocious manners in bed,” he said once she was done.

She looked over her shoulder. “Really?”

“He once answered the phone while he was still inside of me.”

She giggled. “Oh, and he didn't really stop, y'know, that first time I saw you? Alright. Bad manners in bed.” She scribbled it down. “Ooh, I know another one: multiple orgasms.

Sebastian pulled a face. “Speak for yourself. Oh, I know, add a slash and no gag reflex.”

Molly wrinkled her nose. “I did not need to know that.”

“It's pro’lly the only thing you didn't know yet.”

She fell back onto the sofa and Sebastian turned to her. “Does he does that thing with you too?” he asked. “Where his face just sort of...” He scrunched up his nose and demonstrated a surprisingly accurate imitation of one of Jim's weirder expressions.

She laughed, couldn't stop laughing, and somewhere along the line she lost her balance and tipped into Sebastian's shoulder. It was quite comfy, his shoulder, and she looked up to inform him of this but the words died in her throat when she saw his face.

Over the last few months she had, mostly subconsciously, started thinking of him as her sassy gay friend, even if he was more scathingly sarcastic than sassy, and not strictly speaking a friend. But he was safe, in a way that few men ever were to her. Which was a little ridiculous because she had seen glimpses of exactly how dangerous he really was, but still. He was gay. He would never try to make a pass at her.

But now he was looking at her, and his mouth was just next to hers, and his breath was hot against her lips. She closed her eyes and leaned in. Sebastian brushed her hair from her face.

“We probably shouldn't do this,” he muttered.

“No,” Molly agreed, and then she pressed her lips against Sebastian's. He still tasted of whiskey, but his lips were surprisingly soft. Stubble tickling her chin. The tip of his tongue touching her bottom lip. It was quite a nice kiss, a bit sloppy but gentle and slow and nice.

She pulled away and leaned her forehead on his shoulder. “'m sleepy.”

“Should think so, with that amount of booze in you. Go on, up you go.” He threw an arm around her waist and she leaned against him. He was solid, Sebastian. Strong. Firm.

He deposited her in bed and she passed out.

***

She woke up the next morning with a pounding head, a large water bottle and aspirin waiting for her on the bedside table, and a growing sense of mortification.

Alright, maybe Sebastian wasn't gay, but he was still gorgeous. He had the face and physique of a model, made heads turn wherever he went; one time she'd even seen a woman walk into a lamppost while craning her head to keep him in sight.

It wasn't just that he was handsome - 'cause he was, could have been a model with a face like that - but it was more than just looks. He had confidence. He was completely comfortable in his own body and graceful and relaxed and competent, and it all made him stupidly attractive.

And utterly out of her league. So Molly coped in the time-honoured tradition of awkward hungover morning-afters everywhere and did her very best to forget it ever happened.

***

Unfortunately memories couldn’t just be erased by will. Every now and then her attention would start to waver and suddenly she remembered – not that accurately, though, all the alcohol had made the whole evening seem blurry, but still. He had kissed her. She had kissed him. It had been nice. It had been the first kiss she’d had with someone who wasn’t Jim in something like three years.

She licked her lips and looked down at her hands. And now Jim. He wouldn’t know, would he? He wouldn’t have told her to come over if he was upset with her.

She sighed and peeked around the carriage. As usual, everyone was ignoring her. Invisible, that was what she was, and the only reason Sebastian had kissed her was because she’d thrown herself at him. She cringed.

Never mind. It had happened and that was it, and maybe things would be a bit awkward at first but eventually she would go back to being safely ignorable. It had its advantages, after all.

She would much have preferred invisibility to the disdainful looks she got when she got out at Knightsbridge and headed for Jim’s flat, for one thing. The people who lived here were all incredibly rich, the kind of people who wore couture and drove fancy sports cars. She very much didn’t fit in, with her worn trainers and fuzzy old coat.

Doesn’t matter, she told herself sternly. Jim wanted her to be here, she had the right. They could look down their noses all they wanted.

The door was open, as usual. She slipped in, grateful to be away from the street and the judging looks, and took the lift to the top floor. Excitement was starting to grow. She caught her eye in the mirror – she was blushing, mouth slightly parted. Eager.

The lift pinged. She got out and went to the main flat, dropped her bag and her coat, looked around. “Jim?” she asked, her voice shaking a little.

“Here.”

She turned around. He had been leaning against the wall next to the door, watching her. As always, the way he looked at her made her stomach flip. He just… saw her, in a way no one else ever did, in a way she wished Sherlock would.

“Hi,” she said, fidgeting.

He pushed off the wall and pounced on her, arm tight around her waist, mouth on hers, pushing her back. She almost lost her footing, had to hold on to his shoulders to keep from falling.

The back of her legs hit a table, making it a wobble. A vase clattered to the floor. Like all things in Jim’s flat it was probably very expensive, and Molly felt a slight stab of guilt. “Doesn’t that – ” she started, hands on Jim’s shoulders.

“Doesn’t matter,” he replied, fingers digging into her hip. “Turn around.”

She did, and put her hands flat on the surface of the table. Jim stepped close and wrapped one arm around her waist, pressing her against him close enough that she could feel his hard-on against her bum. He hoisted her skirt up and put his other hand down her knickers, following the curve of her arse before shifting position a bit and going deeper.

She mewled, tried to angle her hips closer, because the touch of his fingers was still far too teasing and light.

“Like this, do you?” Jim whispered, lips against her neck.

She squeezed her eyes closed. “Yes.”

Two of his fingers pushed abruptly inside and she yelped. “You’re sure?” he asked. “Not getting bored?”

No. Please, Jim - ”

He pulled his hand back and pushed her pants down. She stepped out of them and looked over her shoulder. Jim got a condom from his trousers, tore the packaging open with his teeth and rolled it on one-handed, his other arm still tight around her waist.

“Good,” he said. She arched her back, bum in the air - like a bitch in heat - but she didn’t mind, couldn’t care about anything but the feeling of him pushing inside of her, one hand still against her waist and the other stroking over her hip to her stomach.

“Because I was starting to think you were getting tired of me,” he added, and the bottom of Molly’s stomach dropped out.

He knew.

Had Sebastian told him? Had he guessed? Had she somehow given something away? “I - ”

“Shush.” He let go of her hip and closed his hand loosely around her throat. “Although you should know better than to try and keep secrets from me, darlin’.” He leaned even closer, lips brushing her ear, thumb stroking over her jugular. “I always know,” he whispered.

“I’m sorry?” she said, voice quivering.

“I don’t care,” he said, which could be interpreted in a hundred different ways but then Jim started moving again and she sort of lost track of her thoughts.

***

She didn’t hear anything from Jim for three weeks after that.

***

The next message came just after lunch, when she was supposed to start her shift. Which was good timing, really; she doubted she could have eaten well with the sudden rush of excitement Jim’s messages always brought. As it was, she felt a little queasy, not looking forward to spending the rest of her day in this constant state of anticipation.

She went straight to him after her shift had ended, not even stopping at home for a change of clothes. Jim never minded, never asked her to pretty herself up, never mentioned the morgue-smell or her smudged makeup or the wrinkled clothes. Which made sense, because she didn’t usually keep her clothes on for very long while she was with him anyway. It was a relief, really, not to have to worry about all those things, the way she had when she used to go on dates.

She took the underground to Jim's place, thrumming with tension all the way there. It was only about thirty minutes, she knew that, she could see the time pass on her watch, and still it felt like an eternity.

Three weeks. She felt like she was starving.

She practically ran up the stairs out of the station, straight to his flat. It was already quite dark, otherwise she would have got twice the disapproving looks – you weren't supposed to run like that, not in these streets, not unless you were wearing a designer track suit and and iPod.

The front door was open. She hurried up the stairs, out of breath. And paused at the top.

The door of the main flat was open as well, and she could look straight into the living room. Sebastian was inside, leaning against the back of the couch, arms crossed, and Jim was standing a few feet away. It looked like she had caught them mid-conversation, although they hadn’t noticed her yet. She was just about to say something when Jim suddenly strode forward and yanked Sebastian to him by the collar.

Sebastian flailed a bit before he refound his balance, but then he took Jim's head and pulled him forcefully closer. Jim's fingers dug into Sebastian's neck – she could see the marks of his nails even from where she was standing – and his other hand started pulling at Sebastian's belt.

Molly stared. Because dear lord.

She knew about them, of course she knew. But it was one thing to be aware of the fact that they, well, had sex, in theory, and a whole other thing to actually see it happen in front of her nose. See Jim shove his hand inside Sebastian's trousers, see Sebastian throw his head back, hear him groan like that...

But wasn't it supposed to be her turn? She fumbled for her phone and checked it, and stared.

9 pm. Not seven, as she had thought, but nine. She'd got the time wrong.

Sebastian and Jim were still far too occupied to pay any attention to her, so she sneaked back downstairs, heart hammering like mad. God, she felt like her face was on fire. She got outside and leaned against the wall, still out of breath.

And then the door slammed shut with a loud bang that even they must have heard.

Shit.

***

She'd gone straight home, out of some sort of basic instinct. She wanted to be somewhere safe, somewhere that was hers. Even when she reached her flat without any problems she still didn't fill entirely at ease. She just curled up on her sofa, underneath her blanket, and put her phone on the cushion next to her. She watched the time pass. Eight PM. Nine PM, and even if Jim hadn't noticed her intruding he would start to get suspicious now, with her not turning up at the agreed hour. But she couldn't really bring herself to go back.

At ten past nine her phone beeped. She peeked out from under the blanket and checked the screen. Jim, of course.

Waiting… it said, nothing else.

Of course he had noticed her.

She dithered. She'd just walked into his home without his permission. Caught him having sex with someone. He wasn’t about to forgive something like that, would he? Going to his place now would mean walking straight into her execution.

Oh, who was she trying to fool, this was Moriarty. If he wanted her dead she'd be dead, no matter where she hid. So she had a choice, either she could pretend this would all go away, or...

Or she could make her own decision.

***

Taking the tube back was possibly the hardest thing she’d ever done. She had to constantly fight the impulse to turn back, to hide. Even going to Sherlock was starting to look appealing, although lord knows how she would explain this whole thing to him.

I’ve been having regular sex with your arch-nemesis – yes, sorry about that – but now  I accidentally caught him having sex with someone else and I think he might want to kill me.

She wanted to throw up.

But she did eventually make it to Jim's front door again, palms sweating, shaking all over. He wouldn’t kill her, would he? Not just like that. Sherlock would – would he take revenge? Maybe not that, but he would investigate it himself. Besides, it wasn’t that bad, what she had done, was it?

She went up the stairs with leaden feet. Maybe he wouldn’t kill her, no, but he wouldn’t just let this pass as if nothing had happened either. He was Jim, he was going to make her suffer for it one way or another. Dread pooled in her stomach as she reached the final flight of stairs and went to the door. Every breath came shallow and quick. She felt close to crying.

She pushed the door open. They were both inside, Jim leaning against the far wall and Sebastian sitting down on a chair next to him, legs stretched out, arms crossed.

“You're late,” Jim said, head swaying.

She stepped inside and closed the door behind her. “Sorry,” she said, voice shaking.

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “Will you stop scaring her?” And then, directed at her, “He wants a threesome.”

She blinked.

Stared at them.

Tried to wait until the words started to make sense.

They didn't. “Sorry, wh- what?” she stammered, wide-eyed.

Jim raised an eyebrow. “Molly, even you know what a threesome is, don't play the ingenue.” 

She ran the sentence back through her head, tried to make sense of it.

It didn’t work. “I thought you were going to k-”

Why would I do that, when you're so much more fun alive?”

She looked nervously between Jim and Sebastian. Jim looked as wickedly amused as he always did when she got nervous, and Sebastian was just unreadable. They couldn't be serious. Could they?

Or maybe Jim was, 'cause this sounded like the kind of game he liked to play, forcing the three of them into bed together just to see how awkward it would get. Because Sebastian didn't want her, she was sure of that.

So this was his revenge. Well, it could have been worse, probably.

“You can say no,” Sebastian said suddenly. “Say no, fuck off, no repercussions.”

And there was her proof. He obviously wanted her to go. “Um, that sounds... good, actually,” she said, starting to back away. “I should probably...”

Because the – the sad, desperate thing was that at the mere mention of the word threesome lust had flared and her mind had started supplying images and she could think of nothing but yes, please

But it didn't matter what she wanted. Someone like Sebastian wouldn't, and she did have some standards. She wouldn’t force someone to have sex with her against his will.

“See?” Sebastian said, tilting his head back to look at Jim. “Told you.”

“And why don't you want to play, Molly dear?” Jim asked, and his voice was doing that darkly-seductive thing again that she never could resist. “Do share. We're ever so interested.”

And he was going to drag it out of her, wasn't he? “Because...” she mumbled, looking anywhere but Jim's knowing smirk, Sebastian’s cool eyes. “Because you don't want to,” she finished as quickly and quietly as possible.

“Wait, what?” Sebastian said, sounding utterly confused.

Jim turned to him. “She thinks you being a gentleman is actually you not wanting to fuck her.”

Molly's entire face seemed to be on fire. She sneaked a look at Sebastian, who was looking stunned, and quickly fixed her eyes back on her shoes. She should just leave now, but Jim wouldn't let her, not until this whole thing had played out in all its embarrassing glory.

“You... What, really?” Sebastian said. “Huh.”

Jim smirked at her. “And what, Molly, if I told you that he really does? Want to fuck you, that is,” he added, drawing out those last words in that utterly filthy way only Jim ever managed.

She peeked at Sebastian again. The earlier surprise had turned to something else, but she couldn't tell what. Did he? Want her? It seemed absurd, but...

Sebastian tilted his head back and studied her. And then he held out his hand, palm up, as if asking her to dance.

Her own choice.

She stepped forward and took his hand. She’d stopped trembling, at last, but her stomach was doing somersaults. Her mouth felt dry. This couldn’t be real.

Sebastian pulled her down and she plopped down in his lap, and then he led her hand to his crotch, and – oh.

Seemed like he did want her, after all.

“Can't fake a hard-on, Molly Hooper,” Sebastian said. He put his hands on her waist, top of his thumbs just brushing the underside of her breasts, while she just sat there, stunned, hand on his erection.

“That's, um. For me?” she stammered.

“Mostly, yeah,” he said, grinning widely.

Oh god. Oh god oh god oh -

Deep breath. “Okay then.” She tentatively put her hands on his shoulders and leaned forward. He met her halfway, carefully catching her bottom lip between his teeth, licking his way inside.

Molly sighed and leaned against him, melting into the kiss. It might be the leftover adrenaline, or just the relief that she was going to get out of this alive, in one piece, but it felt like her skin was extra-sensitive, each gentle stroke of Sebastian’s fingers against her neck, each teasing touch of his tongue registering with an intensity that made her toes curl in delight.

And then there was another pair of hands, brushing aside her hair, and Jim's voice in her ear. “I suggest we move this to the bedroom while we still can.”

***

Sebastian grabbed her around the waist and didn't lose a second of body contact as he manoeuvred them both to the bedroom. He pushed her down and she landed on Jim's huge, soft bed, Sebastian standing near. He looked very tall, suddenly.

She scrabbled up and leaned back on her hands. He pulled off his shirt, and Molly stared.

She had been expecting the sort of upper body you saw on film stars, or sometimes in the gym, rippling muscles and a six pack and a tan. But Sebastian was... well, muscles were there, obviously, but he was more lean than properly buff, and quite pale as well – stark tanlines at his wrists, and halfway his biceps. His stomach was flat but not that carved-out-of-wood thing you saw on models, and he had scars. Quite interesting scars, especially the one on his side. She cocked her head. “Shrapnel?”

He blinked in surprise. “Erm. IED, about ten years ago, I think.”

“Can I...” she asked, fingers hovering over the scar.

He shrugged. “Sure.”

She touched and goosebumps formed in reaction. She looked up. “Does it hurt?”

“Aches a little when the weather turns.”

She ran her fingers over the scar tissue. It had been neatly done, but the pattern was quite erratic. She'd seen similar wounds on bodies from collapsed buildings, although without the -

A cough pulled her from her thoughts, and reminded her she was in a bedroom. On a bed. About to have sex with two very attractive, very dangerous men.

God, this is why she would never have a normal relationship. Even when she was in something that could have come straight out of a porn flick, she couldn't shut up that small analytical voice at the back of her mind. And what man would appreciate her stopping in the middle of sex and studying him like he was a corpse on a slab?

Although Sebastian didn't seem to mind. Like he'd done before, he only seemed amused when she had been expecting anger, or disgust.

He gently took her wrist and pulled her hand back. She slid her other hand to the small of his back and pulled. He got one knee on the bed, between her legs, and pushed her down carefully, one arm around her waist. Looming over her.

Right. That was quite enough of this maiden-waiting-to-be-ravished business. She had handled Jim; she could handle Sebastian. She pulled him into another kiss and threw her leg around his waist. He made a little noise in surprise.

“Told you she wasn't quite as meek as she pretends to be,” Jim said from somewhere quite close. She turned her head and Sebastian's mouth went to her throat, hands sliding underneath her shirt.

Jim was watching her. Them. Smiling, and while she watched his hands went to his tie and he started pulling it off.

“I, um. Haven't done this before,” Molly said breathlessly, hand in Sebastian’s hair.

Jim winked at her. “Want to know a secret, Molly? Neither have I.”

She gaped at him. “You haven't?”

Sebastian chuckled against her neck. He had managed to unbutton her shirt and his hands were warm and large on her stomach. It was disorienting, watching Jim’s face and feeling Sebastian’s hands at the same time. Dizzying.

“But Sebastian has," Jim continued. "Haven't you, dear?”

Sebastian raised his head. “Couple of times, yeah. Bit more complicated when it's three than two, but, you know, the basics don't change.”

“I’m looking forward to finding out,” Jim said drily.

Sebastian hummed, tightened his grip around her waist and shifted his leg. Molly had a split-second to realise what he was going to do and then she was suddenly flipped around. She eeped in surprise – god, he was strong - and ended up straddling him, his hands on her hips, him flat on his back. It made her feel a little powerful. She shrugged her shirt off and tossed it out of the way, which got a wide grin from Sebastian.

Jim wolf-whistled.

She put her hands back on his chest and rocked her hips, eliciting a loud groan. “Clothing is going to become an issue here,” Sebastian said, a little strained.

Logistics. Molly had a habit of messing those bits up. More than once the mood had been killed by her getting stuck in her dress or slipping over a stray sock or pulling too hard on a zip. That never happened with Jim, though. He always took control of that.

She undid Sebastian's belt, the button of his jeans, the zip. She could see his cock straining against his underwear – god, he was right, you couldn’t fake a thing like that, he did want her – and just like that her earlier nervousness came back.

It wasn’t like this was anything new.  She had seen her fair share of naked men, probably a lot more than the average person. But most of them had been dead. And there was a big difference between the clinical detachment of the morgue and seeing someone hard specifically for you.

She bit her lip. Right. She could do this.

Sebastian lifted his hips encouragingly and she pulled the jeans down. Nothing left now between her and Sebastian’s cock but thin cotton. She hesitantly ran one finger over his length and he groaned again.

A laugh. Not Sebastian’s, he was – oh right, Jim. She had almost forgotten about him. She looked up, still nervous. He was circling the bed like a predator watching its prey, eyes dark, already half undressed. Her breath caught.

Hands fell heavily on her thighs. She yelped, turned back to Sebastian who gave her a quick grin. His palms slid up slowly underneath her skirt. She was trembling. Jim laughed again, from somewhere behind her, and she shivered - no matter what she did, she would never have both of them in sight at the same time.

Sebastian's fingers had gone all the way to the crease of her thigh. He carefully followed the seam of her pants and copied her earlier movement, thumb stroking gently over the by now quite damp cotton, nowhere near hard enough to be satisfying.

“Two can play this game, love,” he said, but his breath was coming a little faster. He was so – so open, honest, compared to Jim. Jim was so controlled all the time she sometimes wasn’t entirely sure he was really enjoying it at all.

Sebastian’s fingers continued teasing, stroking feathery-light patterns, and when Jim’s hand suddenly fell heavily on her shoulders she jumped in surprise, at the sudden contrast.

“I’m…” she gasped.

Jim shushed, leaned close. He brushed her hair out of the way, and then snapped his fingers at Sebastian. He sat up in one smooth movement, making her scoot back a little. She ended up suddenly squashed between their chests, mercifully free of hands for a moment.

It was… You couldn’t compare it to anything else, the feel of two other persons that close, the desynchronised movement of their chests as they breathed, the barely-there touch of Jim's mouth against her neck, the feel of Sebastian’s thighs next to hers…

She put her hands on Sebastian’s shoulders and leaned forward a little, briefly overwhelmed. Sebastian was leaning back on one hand, watching her carefully, while Jim was – well, she couldn’t see, the only thing she felt were his fingers on her throat.

She let her head fall back, against Jim's shoulder, and he went straight for her bared throat. Always the throat for Jim, he was like a feral animal sometimes. He unhooked her bra, lips still on her pulse, then slid it off and threw it casually off the bed.

She blinked, starting to blush. Sebastian was eyeing her breasts with obvious appreciation, hands still neatly on the duvet. Which might have been a mercy before but now she was getting eager for touch again, despite the embarrassment.

Jim nipped at her earlobe and palmed her breasts. His fingers brushed her nipple and she twitched, closed her eyes again.

Which meant she was in no way prepared for Sebastian’s hand suddenly pushing inside her pants, palm pressing hard against her. Her hips rocked forward and she flailed, reaching out for whatever she could grab, any kind of support. She ended up with one hand on Sebastian's shoulder, one in Jim's hair. Trapped between the two of them.

She could barely breathe.

“Enjoying yourself?” Jim asked wetly in her ear. He had both hands on her breasts, moving constantly, a sharp pinch followed by a slow roll, soft and light seguing into almost-violent. She moaned.

“Looks like it,” Sebastian said. He adjusted his hand, pushed two fingers inside. Deep inside, fingers longer than hers or Jim’s, and his palm was pressing against her clit and then he suddenly leaned in closer and bit her neck and she couldn’t -

She came with a little sob, clutching at Sebastian's shoulders, head against Jim’s shoulder. Sebastian obligingly kept moving his fingers, working her all the way through her orgasm. She leaned back heavily, leaning all of her weight against Jim, shaking at each aftershock that hit her. 

"Well," Jim said, stroking her hair away from her face. "That was fun."

Sebastian pulled his fingers back with a faintly smug expression. "I'll say."

“Still haven't lost it, have you, darling?” Jim asked cheerfully from behind her.

“Apparently not, no. Bit like riding a bicycle. No offence,” he added with a smile at Molly.

“None taken,” she said, still a little woozy. God, that had been good. But if she had learned anything from all those times with Jim, it was that he never stopped at one. Besides, neither of them had come yet. The thought sent a lovely little shiver through her.

“How long has it been again, Seb, since you last fucked a woman?” Jim asked conversationally.

“Four years, roughly.”

“Remember no refractory period?”

“It's starting to come back to me,” Seb said, eyes dark. Molly swallowed.

“Good. Then get rid of your damn clothes, both of you, they're getting in the way.”

Before she could say anything Sebastian had lifted her off his lap, again as if she weighed nothing, and that was a little... okay, a lot, hot. Stronger than Jim. Taller too. And, well, she sneaked a look as he pushed down his boxers and sighed in relief as his cock sprang free – bigger in every way.

Jim was naked already, and now it was just her, still in her skirt and pants and – oh. She hadn't even taken off her shoes, for some reason.

Sebastian and Jim exchanged a quick look – she'd seen them do that before, as if they were communicating without saying anything out loud – and they both took a foot, sliding her shoes off. Sebastian was fairly quick about it, throwing her sock off the bed and crawling up to sit by the headboard, but Jim naturally took his time. Drawing his fingers over her sole, laughing as her toes curled and she tried to pull her away. He knew all her weak spots, Jim.

Sebastian settled down behind her and pulled her against his chest, legs on either side. She could feel his hardness against her back.

“Don't you need to...” she asked, wriggling her bum.

Sebastian laughed and unzipped her skirt. “I can wait, trust me.” He pulled off her skirt over her head. “Besides”- he leaned in close and stage-whispered in her ear- “I think he's planning to break records.”

“What do you – oh.” Because Jim had torn her pants off and pushed her knees apart, and now he lowered his head and god. Jim was good with his hands but better with his mouth and she was still sensitive and she tried to pull away but Sebastian was holding her and -

And she came again after an embarrassingly short time. Only Jim didn't stop this time, kept suckling and licking even though she was so overstimulated it was painful, and she whined, tried to pull away instinctively. But they both were stronger than her, especially Sebastian, who kept her pinned against him with ease.

“I can't – ” she begged, trying to close her thighs but Jim kept her spread open. Sebastian caught her flailing hand and gave it a little squeeze.

“Yeah, you can. You have before, remember?”

She had, tied to the bedposts, Jim cheerfully ignoring her whimpers and pleas, but that didn't really help now, did it? And how the hell did Sebastian know about that?

She squirmed again, and after a few excruciating moments the too-sharp feeling changed and toppled over into pleasure and she came, again.

She fell back heavily against Sebastian’s chest, heaving in air with great gulps. Sebastian's hand smoothed reassuringly over her stomach. “Still alive?”

“Dunno,” she gasped. Jim leaned back again and ran a curious finger over her aching clit. She almost kicked him in the face.

“Give her a second, Jim,” Sebastian said. “Jesus, not everyone has my stamina, remember?” He almost sounded stern.

“You have stamina?” Molly asked, turning her head into his shoulder.

“I don't like to brag.”

Jim snorted.

“I don't, fuck off.” Sebastian stroked her hair away from her neck. He was being so gentle, she hadn't expected that at all. “Besides, he takes advantage of it constantly.”

The words pinged something inside of her, take advantage, and then it happened. The thing that had happened before, this strange shift of perspective, as if she suddenly saw herself through the eyes of other people. She was in bed with two known criminals, who had – had killed people, had done all sorts of things, and absolutely nothing guaranteed her safety.

“Hey.”

They could do anything they want with her, no one knew she was here, and that was a bit exciting but right now more frightening than anything else. What if they just used her and killed her afterwards, what if -

Hey.” Sebastian's hand closed around her arm and he pulled her around to face him. “What the hell's going - ”

She saw him look at Jim, and then back at her, and then his frown disappeared. “Alright,” he said firmly. “I can't speak for the little psycho over there, but personally I prefer sex to be mutually enjoyable. If anything happens you don't want just say so. Okay?”

She took a deep breath. “Condoms?”

“Goes without saying. I don't think either of us has a pressing need to procreate.” The corner of his mouth turned up in a half-smile and Molly felt some of her unease dissipate. “And as for the rest... You know how much of a control freak Jim is, you think he'd risk anything? Besides, believe it or not, we're monogamous.”

She blinked and turned to Jim. “You don't, um, have sex with other people?”

Jim shrugged. “Present company excluded. But no, too much effort, too little pay-off. Most people aren't worth the bother.”

“So unless your sex life is a lot more adventurous than any of us suspects,” Sebastian added, “you don't have to worry about STD’s or things like that.”

“And we're not going to kill you and dump the body afterwards, either,” Jim finished.

“Why not?” Molly asked.

Sebastian made an odd sound, somewhere between a choke and a laugh. “Christ, you really are something else, aren't you? Let's put it this way: why would we want to?”

“Because I know where you live?” She looked back at Jim. He smiled, and there was that thing in his eyes again, she could keep nothing hidden from that.

“But you won't tell anyone, will you?” he said, softly.

She shook her head, mute. She could. She could have gone straight to Sherlock right after that first time, tell him all about it - or if not exactly all, then at least the most important bits. But she hadn't.

“Alright.” She took another deep breath and nodded. “Alright.”

“Fabulous,” Sebastian said. “Now can we please get on with the fucking?”

Jim rolled his eyes and said, 'Well, if you insist.” He grabbed Molly's ankle and pulled her away from Sebastian. She let herself be dragged along, smiling at Sebastian’s disappointed face.

Jim crawled over her and his head dipped down, kissing her collarbone. “Shall we give him a show, Molly?” he whispered, and she shivered in response. And let her thighs fall open for him. Jim held out his hand and Sebastian handed him a condom, already unwrapped.

Jim fucked hard. That was the word for it, intense and focused and quick and hard, like he had something to prove every time he took her, and this time was no exception. He thrust in deep in one movement, and even though she was slick and wet she still couldn't keep in a moan at the sudden stretch of it.

But she knew this, by now, her body recognised him. She had been sleeping with him for months now, and even though no two times were the same, she had learned a few things about him. She matched his rhythm, rocking her hips in time with his thrusts. He had pinned her wrists against the sheets and maybe she shouldn't like this as much as she did, just lying back on the sheets and being taken, but it felt amazing.

A small sound made her open her eyes and look aside. Sebastian was staring at the two of them, practically drooling. Live-action porn, Molly thought dazedly. Was that how she had looked when she had caught Jim and Sebastian going at it, earlier today? God, it felt like a lifetime ago.

Jim caught her looking and let go of her wrists, leaning down on his elbows for a kiss. His kisses matched the rest, hard and hungry and bordering on violent. Possessive. Taking her.

And even though she had already come three times in a relatively short period, god, she could feel arousal building again, unstoppable, relentless.

Unfortunately Jim didn't last long enough. He shuddered and she held his shoulders as he came. But that was alright, she could wait. There was, after all, another cock in the room. The thought made her clench, which made Jim groan in reply.

“Easy,” he said, pulling a face. “We have time.” He pulled out and rolled off, onto his back, letting his breath come back. For a moment the only sound in the room were two sets of belaboured breathing. No, three sets.

She rolled her head again. Sebastian was apparently engaged in a staring contest with Jim. His cheeks were flushed, mouth open.

“Did you enjoy that, darling?” Jim asked him, idly rolling the condom off again, still keeping eye-contact.

“Well, I did,” Molly said lightly.

Sebastian's eyes shifted to hers. His pupils were enlarged, making the usual light grey of his eyes look a lot darker. “You're almost as bad as he is, you know,” he said. But beneath the sulking tone he sounded amused. And – she glanced down at his crotch– enjoying it as well.

Jim tossed the used condom off the bed and squeezed her knee. “Are you saying I rubbed off on her?” he asked, leering.

Sebastian rolled his eyes, but Molly couldn’t keep in a slight giggle. Must be all the sex, the endorphins. She felt high.

Jim’s hand stroked lazily up her thigh, and then higher as she automatically tilted her hips up. “Again?” he asked, fake-surprised. “Already? Why, Molly, you vixen.”

Back in the early days him saying something like that would have made her blush. But, well, she had done a lot since then. She refused to be ashamed about this. “Well, if – if neither of you can satisfy me...” she said, laughing, drunk on the thrill, on sex, on them.

Sebastian started to move but Jim stopped him with a hand on his knee. “Well, Molly, just say the word. What do you want, hm?” He rolled over and put his hand on her leg. “Want both of us inside of you at the same time? I'm sure you could, with enough patience. Would you like that?” His fingers traced tiny circles on the inside of her thigh. Molly's breath hitched. “Or would you like to watch? Get yourself off while Seb and I are fucking mere inches away? Or...” He leaned up and kissed her leg, just above the knee, going higher. “We could keep you like this. Taking turns, keeping you on the edge but not giving you what you want, what you need, not until you're begging for it.”

“You're – god,” Molly gasped.

Jim opened his mouth with a gleeful look in his eyes but Sebastian pointed a finger before he could say anything. “Turn that into a pun,” Sebastian said threateningly, “and I swear I'm going to throw you out of the bedroom and lock you outside.”

Jim sat up and sent him a filthy look. “I would like to see you try. Anyway.” He looked at Sebastian's face, down at his crotch, and then at Molly. She was starting to squirm a little, hungry for touch. “Right. Since you're being uppity...” he said, looking at Sebastian again, who groaned and flopped down on the bed.

“You're going to make me pay for that, I suppose?” he said, eyes closed. He didn't seem very concerned by the prospect.

“Indeed I am.” Jim leaned out of the bed and got something from a drawer. “Will you do the honours, Molly?” he asked, handing her another condom and a – oh. A cock ring.

She turned it around, studying it curiously. Jim was... fond of his toys, but this was one thing he'd never really needed.

Sebastian was watching her again. They both were, as if they were waiting to see what she would do. Well, if they were expecting her to back out they had another thing coming.

She reached for Sebastian’s cock. Nothing new, she told herself. Done this loads of times before. Still, when she carefully rolled the condom on and Sebastian bit his lip in response to her touch, it made her feel –

Well, he wasn’t Jim. Wasn’t like any of the men she’d had before Jim, either. None of them had enjoyed it so openly, not like Sebastian did, without even a hint of embarrassment or shame. Uncomplicated. It was very... very appealing

She took the cock ring and held it up, uncertainly. “Do you just…” she started.

“Roll it on, yeah,” Sebastian said, eyes closed.

“Doesn’t that hurt?” she asked dubiously, eyeing his cock, which seemed too big to fit the smallish ring.

“That’s kind of the point.” He opened one eye and smirked. “Masochist, remember?”

“Right.” She took a deep breath, closed her fist around the base of Sebastian’s cock – he groaned again, loud and obscene – and started rolling the ring down. The rubber was stretchy enough but it still looked a little painful. Judging by Sebastian's loud moans though, and the way his head had fallen back onto the pillows, he didn't seem to mind that much.

Once it was snug around this base of his cock she leaned back and admired her work. It was odd, really. One small part of her mind was worrying about blood flow and constriction and possible risk of priapism, while the other part was just thinking god, he looks even more gorgeous like that.

And she wanted, again, still.

She looked over her shoulder at Jim, who had been observing them both with a slight smile. “Can I…?”

He waved his hand. “Be my guest.”

Right. She threw her leg over his hips. Sebastian’s hands came up to her thighs. She still wasn’t over how large his hands were, compared to Jim. He could probably encircle her waist with ease.

“Um,” she said, a little uneasy again. How exactly did you ask someone do you mind if I take your cock inside of me now, please?  

Sebastian raised his eyebrows. “Not that I want to rush you, love, but…”

“Oh. Right, sorry.”

She leaned one hand on his chest, used the other to guide him inside. She sank down slowly, thighs trembling.  After Jim she was still a bit sore, and Sebastian was bigger than him, and once he was fully inside her – balls deep, she thought, and had to fight back another giggle – she needed a moment to adjust, to just breathe. Sebastian slid his hands to her hips, thumbs on the bone. It was oddly anchoring.

Jim meanwhile seemed to have grown tired of watching and came to join her. He pulled Sebastian’s hands off her and threw a leg over Sebastian’s chest, facing her with a sweet smile.

“I feel like a blow-up doll,” Sebastian complained from below.

“Suck it up, darling.”

“Is that a suggestion?”

“Shut it.”

Jim's eyes trailed over her, full of – something. Lust, but it went deeper than that. Like he wanted to take her apart and put her back together afterwards. She shivered at the thought, and that coaxed another frustrated groan from Sebastian.

Jim smirked and leaned in. One hand in her hair, pulling her into a kiss – more gentle this time, more patient. And his other hand trailed over her side and stomach and down, and -

She gasped as Jim's fingers carefully stroked her, rocking forwards automatically, and beneath her Sebastian gave a loud “Jesus fuck.”

She clamped her hand around Jim’s wrist, shaking. “Bit too much?” he asked, eyebrows up.

“I can’t wrap my head around it,” she mumbled. She let go of Jim’s wrist and he went back, the most tender of touches against her. She shivered.

“Your head doesn’t really factor in here, Molly,” Jim said calmly. He gently drew his fingertip up, down again, in a slow circle. She took hold of Sebastian's waist, her fingernails digging into his flesh. She’d worry more about that, except he liked that sort of thing, didn’t he?

Sebastian’s hand came up, first on Jim's thigh and then on hers, squeezing slightly. Not stopping her. It was dizzying, she could barely keep track of all the touches and it was almost too much, the mercilessly accurate touch of Jim’s fingers combined with Sebastian’s cock inside.

What she really wanted was movement, but Sebastian, held down by the weight of two other people, was pretty much completely immobilised. She rolled her hips experimentally. Sebastian squeezed her thigh. She could hear him pant, couldn’t see him, wished she could.

“Stay still,” Jim ordered, casually.

“I can’t – ” because at this point it felt like her hips were rocking of their own, without any input from her. She needed, desperately. How could she –

“Molly. Still.” He held her hips. She gritted her teeth, dug her nails deeper into Sebastian’s sides, and somehow managed to stop moving.

He let go of her again. She was quivering like a plucked string, breathing quick and hard. It took all of her self-control not to move. She could feel the muscle of Sebastian’s leg tremble beneath her fingers.

“There.” Jim touched his index finger to her temple and drew it down, a ghost-touch, over her lips, throat, breast. Over the tense muscle of her stomach and even lower –

She gasped and jerked forward. “Jim, please – ”

His free hand came up to her jaw, pulling her in for a kiss, fingers digging into her cheeks. She clutched at his shoulders as his touch became rougher again, his teeth scraping briefly over her bottom lip. Her hips starting rocking again, erratic, desperate, please don’t let him stop not now not this time –

And he didn’t. She sobbed into his mouth and her whole body shook as she came again, hanging onto Jim’s shoulders as if she was drowning. She lost balance, fell against him. He threw his arm around her waist and held her against his chest until she stopped shaking.

They must think I'm easy, she thought. And then, But I don't care.

Them. Sebastian. She leaned back again and tried to catch a glimpse of him. He was breathing deep, steady, eyes fixed on the ceiling. Trying to keep control.

Feeling decidedly wicked, she squeezed down. Sebastian’s eyes shut abruptly and he bit down on his bottom lip. “Can you please not do that?” he asked, voice strangely tight.

“Told you she wasn’t that innocent and naïve,” Jim said. He tilted her chin up and gave her a chaste kiss. It felt like a seal of approval, a gold star. Well done.

She brushed her hair back and smiled at Jim. He grinned back, but then he twitched and his eyes went wide. He reached behind him and Molly leaned sideways, curious.

She blinked. Sebastian had worked one finger inside of Jim and had apparently been in the process of pushing in a second one when Jim had interrupted him, pinning his wrist to his chest.

“Just a suggestion,” Sebastian said. He still sounded breathless.

“Nice try. Off, Molly.”

She lifted her hips, accompanied by Sebastian’s sudden sharp panting. Poor man, he must be desperate by now. She crawled off him and fell down on the bed, sprawling out next to him. On the other side, Jim did the same.

“Well then,” Jim said lazily, trailing his fingers over Sebastian's chest. Sebastian's eyes were again squeezed shut and he was mouthing something that looked a lot like a stream of curses. “Turnabout is fair play, right?”

He opened one eye. “Whaddaya want?” he asked roughly.

Jim looked down meaningfully at his lap. Sebastian rolled his eyes but sat up, changing position and manhandling Jim about until he was leaning back against the pillows and Sebastian was flat on his stomach, leaning on his elbows, head between Jim's thighs. He opened his mouth and took Jim's still-limp cock inside.

Well. She had never thought seeing a man going down on another man would be arousing, but darn, it sort of was. Even though she had come four times already, dear lord in heaven, she had suddenly turned insatiable. And Jim noticed of course, because Jim noticed everything, and he laughed delightedly.

Sebastian pulled back and glared up. “Something funny?”

“Just trying to remember what it was you said about stamina,” Jim said smugly.

Sebastian blinked at Molly. “Really?”

“It's been three weeks,” she said, a little defensively.

“Love, I'm really not complaining.”

Jim cleared his throat. “Back to work, dear boy.”

“Right.” He lowered his head again. But after a while his hand patted blindly on the sheets until he found her hip. He didn't do anything, though, just let it rest there, thumb caressing slow circles. It was nice, kept her from feeling excluded. She turned a little and rested her head against Jim's shoulder, who immediately palmed her breast again. Couldn't stand being still, Jim, always needed something to do.

She felt odd. Less urgent than before, this time her arousal was like a slow, mellow, languorous – something. Creeping up on her slowly.

She rolled her head and watched idly as Sebastian worked. It didn't look like much from the outside, all she could see was the occasional bob of his adam's apple, a flash of tongue or teeth. But, still, hot. Especially because after what seemed like quite a long time – poor Sebastian – Jim started to react, making quiet noises and little movements.

“Alright, that's enough,” Jim said after another few moments.

Sebastian sat up and cracked his neck. "Yeah, I was about to - "

“Now do her,” Jim added.

“What?” Molly squeaked.

Sebastian stared at Jim. “Are you trying to kill me here?”

“No-o, but I want everyone nice and worked up before we get to the next bit.”

Sebastian threw her a look. “She looks pretty worked up already to me.”

“I agree,” Molly said quickly.

“Could be more. Get on with it, Seb. The longer you wait now, the longer it's going to take until you - ”

“On it.” He gave his neck another crack, and then he rolled onto his back next to Molly and held out a hand.

“Um,” she said, feeling out of her depth again.

He rolled his eyes, hooked his hand behind her knee and pulled her leg over him, so she was kneeling over his face.

“Oh,” she said. “You want to – ”

“If you don't mind. I'm going to get a crick in my neck otherwise.”

She gave a quick nod. Jim was watching her again, smirking. Sebastian took her hips and gently pulled her down, until his mouth found her cunt.

The first touch of his tongue made her pitch forward with a gasp, hands landing flat on the sheets. She resisted the urge to close her legs, or push down, just tried to relax in it.

Sebastian was luckily not making that too difficult. If he had been rough or intense, the way Jim often was, she'd probably have pulled straight off again. But he was exceedingly careful. Frustratingly gentle. Her thighs trembled under his hands and he must have noticed how hard it was to her to keep still, but he kept it light and teasing until she wanted to scream with it.

She squeezed her eyes shut, shaking with every jab and lick of Sebastian’s tongue – god he was good at this -  and when she opened them again she accidentally met Jim’s eyes. The heat in his eyes did something to her and her hips jerked forwards without conscious thought, fingers tightening in the sheets.

Jim prodded Sebastian in the ribcage with his foot. “That's enough, now.”

She wanted to sob. Grab Sebastian’s head and pull him hard back between her thighs, throw Jim on his back and fuck him until she damn well came this time. Because it was different, now, as if every nerve in her body was steeped in sex. Everything felt deeper and slower and more intense and god, she would die if this didn’t finish soon.

Sebastian gently lifted her leg off. She could feel the muscle spasming – she’d be sore as hell tomorrow, couldn’t care less now – and she almost collapsed before she found her balance again. Her hand went almost of its own accord, to relieve some of the pressure, to continue what Sebastian had started. But Jim caught her hand, pulled it away. “No, not yet.”

Sebastian chuckled. “Nice to see you’re as domineering with other people as you are with me,” he said easily. His lips were wet, swollen, corners friction-red. She couldn’t help but stare.

“Well, I reserve my best for you, darling.” He turned to her. “Molly dear, on your back.”

She flopped down. She was still shaking, couldn’t stop, and even the most casual touch felt like it sent fire through her veins.

Jim pulled Sebastian in by his shoulder and whispered something in his ear. Sebastian's eyes widened, and then he closed them and said an emphatic “fuck.”

“Yes, that's the gist of it,” Jim said, once again in that cheerful sadistic tone. “Get on with it.”

Sebastian crawled over to her and leaned down, cradling her head with his elbows, mouth at her ear. “You okay with this?” he asked.

Yes.”  She raised her leg and hooked it around his waist, pulling him in as close as she could. But his lips went thin. “S- sorry, did I - ”

“I'd really appreciate it if you could keep the moving to a minimum, love,” he said, brow furrowed in concentration.

She brought her hand up and bit down on her fist. God, this was torture.

Jim grinned at her over Sebastian’s shoulder.“Whenever you want, Seb,” he said casually, as if he didn’t know exactly how bad both of them were having it.

Sebastian took two deep breaths and then he slowly pushed inside. It was incredibly hard to keep her hips from rocking forward or her hands from urging him on, to just lie still. She made a needy little sound and Sebastian caught her hand. She squeezed, feeling the bones shift beneath her grip. He squeezed back just as hard, didn’t let go until he was fully inside.

“Well done,” Jim cooed from behind him.

Sebastian leaned down, cheek next to hers. “You vicious, diabolical, sadistic - ”

“Oh stop it, you're making me blush,” Jim said. He leaned off the bed and went through the drawer again, pulling out another condom – they were really tearing through them tonight, weren't they? – and a smallish bottle. Now why would he -

Oh.

He put his hand on Sebastian's lower back and smoothed his palm down. Sebastian shivered. She stroked his shoulder and mentally cheered him on. Jim popped the cap open with his other hand and drizzled a fair amount on Sebastian's arse. She could feel him shudder, arch his back.

And then, slowly but methodically, he started stretching Sebastian open. Sebastian's hands had gone white-knuckled in an effort to keep control.

“You're going to be the last,” Jim said conversationally. “You're not going to come until we both have, right Molly?” He winked at her.

“And what if I don't, you evil twisted prick?” Sebastian snarled. Molly gasped.

“Well, then you'll have to face the consequences, don't you. You think this is unpleasant? Just you wait.” He gave Sebastian's bum a pat and pulled his fingers back. “Right. Arse up, darling, there’s a good boy.”

Molly obligingly raised her legs higher, even though the shift in position made her gasp again. Sebastian shifted as well, pushing her thighs even further apart. She could feel her muscles protesting, but this was hardly the moment to protest about cramps, was it.

“Comfy?” Jim asked.

“Jim, for fuck’s sake – ”

“Shush.” He put one hand on the back of Sebastian’s neck and then he – well, she couldn’t see it, but she could feel, every shiver and twitch Sebastian gave in response to Jim pushing inside of him.

It was arguably both the strangest and hottest thing she'd ever seen or done.

“Still there, Seb?” Jim asked. Sebastian groaned in reply, obviously beyond words.

Jim pulled out a little and thrust back in, making Sebastian's hips snap forward as well, going deeper inside of her, cock ring brushing her clit. Which made her clench in reply, which did something with Sebastian as well because Jim moaned too.

She wanted to laugh. It was delirious, unreal - like a wave of sex, one person affecting the other two, and poor Sebastian caught in the middle. That could have just as well been her, and that thought was so overwhelming that she pushed back against Sebastian, which set the whole thing back in motion, a chorus of delighted moans. But...

But it wasn’t enough. “I'm going to need more,” Molly said quietly.

Jim laughed. “Well, you heard her,” he ordered, but even Jim wasn’t sounding as controlled as before. He was starting to go breathless, voice shaking a little. 

Sebastian made a little sound that almost sounded like a sob, and heaved himself up unto one elbow, leaving on hand free to stroke down over her breasts and lower. She almost sobbed herself when his fingers found her clit. Again, it felt overwhelming, too much and yet not enough. She threw her hand back and tangled her fingers in the sheets.

“Can you – ” Sebastian choked. “Can you please hurry up?”

“What?” Molly said, confused. Sebastian's face was a work of art, twisted in pleasure and frustration.

“Not you, hi- hnng – him.”

Jim slowed down in response. He took a handful of hair and then pulled, hard. Sebastian’s back arched and his weight left her, bent backwards as he was, throat bared. Although he did keep his hand on her, thank god – stop touching her now and she would scream.

“I'll pretend I didn't hear that, shall I?” Jim said, smooth and dangerous. Sebastian swallowed, she could see his adam's apple jump. And again, seeing Jim being that dominant was surprisingly hot. She dug her nails into Sebastian’s hip and pulled him hard against her. His hand slipped, his knuckles suddenly pushing right against her clit.

“Oh, I'm – ” She tilted her hips again. “Close.”

“Good,” Jim snarled. He pushed Sebastian down again and his pace picked up, hard quick shallow thrusts.

Sebastian somehow managed to keep his attention on her, fingers still moving even though he was shaking. Her heel scrabbled on the bed until she got enough leverage to push back hard, and then –

The world felt like it skidded to a halt. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, could do nothing but arch backwards, fingers clutching at the sheets and Sebastian’s shoulder, as her orgasm ripped through her. She was only vaguely aware of Jim’s grunt when he came, of Sebastian suddenly going tight when he did, too lost in her own body and the sheer intense pleasure of it all.

She fell back, exhausted, shivering.

Consciousness trickled back slowly. The first thing she was aware of was the sound of heavy breathing. She opened her eyes, blinked. Sebastian was still leaning above her, sweat sticking to his brow, eyes closed. His forearms were trembling.

She reached out – her fingers were shaking – and wiped away a drop of sweat just above his eye.

Everything tingled. She felt utterly wrung out.

She’d never felt better in her life.

“Jim,” Sebastian said. He sounded hoarse.

“Yeah.”

And finally there was movement. Jim pulled out and toppled over to the right, and Sebastian followed and rolled to her left side. “Jesus,” he breathed.

“Yeah,” she agreed, quietly. On her other side Jim ran both hands over his face. He was still panting.

Neither of them moved for a few moments. Then Jim reached over Molly’s stomach to Sebastian.

“I’m really, really not capable of – ” Sebastian started, sounding a little panicky.

“Cock ring,” Jim said curtly.

“Ah. Right.”

Jim pulled the cock ring and condom off – leading to first a pained groan and then a deep sigh of relief from Sebastian – and tossed them off the bed.

Molly’s eyes were growing heavy. They wouldn’t kick her out now, would they? She barely felt capable of walking two steps, let alone get home safe. But she couldn’t get out more than a vaguely inquiring moan.

“Shut up and go to sleep,” Sebastian muttered.

So she could stay, then. Good. She closed her eyes.

Five seconds later she was asleep.

***

She woke up with an arm around her waist.

It was a new feeling. Jim never stayed around long enough, and – she opened her eyes – this time was no exception, he'd already left the bed. But Sebastian was still dozing, breathing deep and even and calm, his arm a warm weight on her side.

Molly tried to feel ashamed. She should, probably. Words like slut and whore rose up from some dark place in her mind, and bobbed on unattended when they found no ground. She hadn't hurt anyone, had she? She'd just had fun. Why should she be ashamed of that?

She looked aside. Sebastian had woken up and was watching her.

“Oh, you're awake?” she said. Her voice sounded a little rough. Must be all the moaning.

“Didn't want to disturb. You looked like you were going through important stuff. Either that, or you're one of those lucky people who look deep even when they're contemplating breakfast.”

“I was thinking about what I should feel,” she said, still too sleepy to bother censoring herself.

“Fuck should.”

She hummed. Sebastian was warm and solid and real, and she shouldn't probably feel anything than contentment and sleepiness and maybe a little soreness, but her body apparently had other ideas. She was, after all, naked in bed with a very attractive man, but it felt like asking a snack after a five-course dinner. A bit beyond just plain greedy.

But Sebastian's hand had slid down to her hip. Would he…?

He pushed up onto elbow and gave her a look. “Yes or no?” he asked, as lightly as if he had simply offered her a second helping of potatoes.

“Erm. Yes?”

“Brilliant.” He rolled over and landed on top of her, between her legs, leaning on his elbows. “Wouldn't have pegged you as the insatiable type, but that just shows you can never tell, can you?”

“Yes. Erm, could you be... careful? A bit?”

He frowned down at her. “Careful?”

“I'm a bit...” She waved her hand. “After last night, I mean.”

“Oh, that. Yeah, I'm not as insane as Jim.” He rolled over again so they were lying side by side, facing each other. He traced his fingertips over her ribcage.

“You're not at all what I expected, you know,” she blurted out.

Sebastian's sharp eyes came up to her face. “Why, what did you expect?”

“Don't know. I didn't think you'd be so... gentle?”

He chuckled. “I'm adaptable. I'm not always this careful with Jim, I can tell you.”

“Oh.” She considered this. “I'm not some delicate flower, you know.”

“I know.” He put his hand on her hip and leaned in, kissing her neck. “I think you proved that last night, even if I hadn't believed it before that.”

“About that...” she said.

He gave her hip a little nudge and she rolled onto her back. Sebastian pressed his lips in the hollow between her collarbones. “Yes?” he asked between kisses.

“Does Jim, um, talk about me?”

“He has.” He smoothed his palm over her breast, lowered his mouth to the other. “In excruciating detail, occasionally.”

“Really?” It was getting a bit difficult concentrating on her train of thought.

“Yeah.” He glanced up. “Don't worry, it was all pretty flattering.”

“Oh. That's... good.”

“Mm.”

Her eyes fell closed and she reached for his hair, petting his neck.

“Having fun?” a voice suddenly piped up.

“Voyeur,” Sebastian said, not rising from Molly's breasts. Jim was leaning in the doorway in his shirtsleeves, arms crossed, enjoying the show.

“You're the ones fucking in my bed.”

Our bed.”

“Still, it's hardly polite, is it?”

“Are there – are there etiquette rules for threesomes?” Molly asked, a little breathless because Sebastian was really putting his tongue to work, there. Jim's eyes went to her, and god, that look, not in a million years would she get used to that.

Not starting without one party present seems a good one,” he drawled.

Sebastian detached himself from her nipple. “You shouldn't have left the bed then. Besides, you'd probably just break her.”

She poked him in the shoulder. “Not a fragile flower, thank you very much,” she said primly.

“That's got nothing to do with it,” Sebastian said. “You know how many times I've ended up in a begging heap?”

She looked between Jim, so innocuous-looking in his rolled-up shirtsleeves and messy hair and bare feet, and then at Sebastian, all muscles and scars and precise grace and danger. And yet she had no trouble believing him.

Jim smiled. “Are you suggesting I can't be – what, Seb, gentle? Sweet?”

“I think you can be anything you choose to be.” He leaned up on his elbow. “Question is, do you want to?”

He shrugged, circling the bed. “It can get boring, you've got a point there.” He sat down on a chair and kicked his feet up, looking in every way as if he was lounging in front of the telly. The only thing missing was the popcorn. “Oh, don't mind me, carry on.”

“I wasn't waiting for your permission,” Sebastian snapped.

“Weren't you,” Jim said, and for a second something very dark crossed his face. But then he waved a hand and leaned back.

“Alright,” Sebastian said, giving her a considering look. She looked back at him. What did she want? She felt lazy and boneless, not energetic enough for anything like yesterday. So...

She rolled onto her side and pulled Sebastian along behind her. He chuckled but fitted himself against her side without protesting. “I like a woman with initiative,” he said, stroking her hair back and kissing her just beneath her ear.

“I think you like a lot of things,” Molly mumbled. She reached back and found his hip, scar tissue smooth underneath her fingers, and then the strong muscle of his thigh.

“True enough.” He threw an arm over her waist and drew his hand down. Molly made a happy little noise and pushed back against him.

A loud ripping sound made both of them look up. Jim had scrounged up a condom from somewhere and was now holding it delicately between two fingers.

“You'll be needing this, I think,” he said lazily. His eyes were hooded, and his shirt did nothing to hide the slight bulge in his trousers. Voyeur might be the right word for him.

She held out her hand and Jim tossed the condom at her. It landed neatly in the middle of her palm. She handed it over to Sebastian and tried to relax into the pillows.

It was odd, not seeing him. And it felt different from when she was with Jim. More normal, but more than that. Sebastian was bigger than Jim and feeling him against her, around her, made her feel oddly safe and protected.

It shouldn’t. She knew that. And yet…

he does protect what’s his

She shook of her unease and closed her eyes. Sebastian's hand came back, resting just beneath her bellybutton. “Take your time,” she said quietly.

“I will.” He nudged his nose against her neck. She tangled her fingers with his. He gently pushed her leg higher with his other hand, stroked the sensitive inside of her knee and thigh.

She pushed her hips back a little. Next to the bed Jim chuckled. Sebastian ignored him and pulled his other hand from hers. He was moving slowly, as if to give her the chance to stop him if she wanted. But honestly, after last night’s athletics it was nice just to lie back and let him move her like this, without needing to do anything herself.

It took a bit of repositioning, but eventually he had her where he wanted her, her leg drawn up, his hand on her hip. “Yeah?” he asked, the head of his cock nudging her.

She nodded. He carefully pulled her hips back a little, pushing in. She bit down on her bottom lip and tilted her hips back as far as she could, taking him inside, enjoying every second of his slow push inside.

Once he was as deep inside as he was going to get, he didn’t move, just stayed there for a few moments. She could feel his chest move with each deep breath against her back. He lowered his mouth back to her neck and she snuggled back a little. She couldn’t remember sex ever being so... comfortable.

“You okay?” he asked.

She laughed, a little. Jim had never asked things like that – Jim just knew – but neither had any of the other men she’d slept with over the years. Maybe it wasn’t that irrational, feeling safe with Sebastian.

“I really really am.”

“Great.” He started moving again. It wasn’t the easiest of positions, and he had to go slowly. Or maybe he didn’t have to, maybe he just liked it, because god knew she did. There was nothing urgent about it, it felt more like cuddling or a massage than sex. Although she could feel warmth pooling in her stomach, a slow build-up. She would start to need more in a bit, but for now it was just nice to feel it grow.

She made a happy little noise and Sebastian chuckled. “No complaints, I take it?”

She shook her head and stroked the hand that was still resting on her hip.

“Good.” He went back to her throat and picked up pace a little. His hand went up to her breasts, cupping them, squeezing. She pushed back, falling into the rhythm, the first proper feelings of arousal starting to rise.

And then there was a small cough. She blinked rapidly in surprise, turned her head. Jim was still watching them, face cool, closed-off. She suddenly felt a strange urge to cover herself, to hide beneath the blankets. Exposed.

She froze, her fingers going tight around Sebastian’s hand, muscles of her legs and stomach tensing up.

And much to her surprise Sebastian stopped moving immediately. He didn’t say anything, didn’t complain, just paused, and put a carefully neutral hand on her hip.

With a shock Molly realised that the only explanation for this, the only way he could have done this so easily and without hesitation, was that he’d had to do this before. Which meant that Jim -

She shook her head and tried not to think about that.

“Molly?” Sebastian asked, voice as neutral as his touch. “I need a bit of input, love.”

“I’m fine.” She put her hand on his hip and pushed a bit. “I just...”

He pulled out and she rolled over, pulled him along so he was leaning over her. “Like this,” she said, pulling him between her thighs. He was still looking serious, eyes searching her face, but after a while he seemed satisfied and smiled again.

“Missionary?” Jim sneered from the sidelines. They both ignored him.

It was different than last night. There was no tension now, no trembling with effort, no bone-deep frustration. He leaned on his elbows and kissed her again, slow, deep. Surprisingly sweet. His hand stroked over her stomach but she stopped him, gently pulling his hand back. God, she hoped he wouldn’t take that as a rejection, or get annoyed over it.

But Sebastian didn’t miss a beat. His hand went back to her shoulder, waiting there for a second as if he was asking permission, and when she didn’t protest he stroked lower, gently caressing her breasts.

He was, Molly realised, very very good at this. Somehow he had managed to pick up exactly what she wanted – slow, thorough, unhurried – and had absolutely no problems giving it to her. She thought briefly of those few other boys she’d had, of pumping hips and hurried fumbling and her lying back, bored and frustrated. Of how disappointed she had been, thinking is that all?

Although not even in her wildest dreams could she have imagined something like last night.

Maybe it was the reminder of that, or maybe Sebastian’s touches were starting to pay off, but she was slowly feeling her need start to grow. She put her hand on her stomach and slowly slid down, until her fingertip found her clit. The touch made her gasp and tense up. Sebastian chuckled into her neck.

"Don't trust me to do the job?" he asked lightly.

"Not - not that," she gasped, which was about as clear as she could be at the moment. Luckily Sebastian seemed to understand.

"No worries," he said, and kissed her throat again. She tangled the fingers of her free hand in his hair and held him close.

The comfortableness of it was finally starting to fade, changing into heat. She bent her leg, and Sebastian put his hand on her thigh, spreading her open. She gasped at the sudden change of angle, threw her head back and squeezed her eyes shut. Sebastian leaned down again and kissed her. "Still with me?"

She nodded, eyes still shut. For all that she'd asked him to go gentle and slow at first, she couldn't be bothered anymore now. He picked it up, though: he went faster and the hand on her thigh tightened until his grip was almost painful.

She dug her nails into her shoulder, urging him on. The combination of a slightly harder stroke of her fingers with a particularly deep thrust almost sent her over the edge. She bit her lip and stopped moving, pulled her hand back.

Sebastian pulled back a little and gave her a surprised look. “Waiting for something?”

She nodded, hoping he would catch on because she wasn’t quite sure she could still form words at this point. He seemed to catch on to what she was trying to do, though.

Arousal ebbed again and she slid her hand back down. Sebastian adjusted his position a little, giving her access. His movements were starting to speed up even more, arms trembling. But once again she had to pull her hand back when she was starting to get too close. Not yet.

She was trembling as well, feeling like she was teetering on top of a precipice. Dancing on it.

He leaned in and nudged his nose against her cheek. “Almost...”

She nodded, hand going back down again. She hooked her other hand around his neck, pulled him into a kiss. Neither of them had enough clarity of mind left to make it anything beyond a clumsy thrust of tongue, a sharp bite.

Arousal crested again. Her toes curled, back arched – would he? Yes, his eyes were squeezed shut and he groaned, she could feel him go tense, in perfect tandem with her. She pulled him as close as she could, gasping, clawing at his back as she came. She could feel the shocks going through him, pressed this close, the relieved sudden sag in his arms and shoulders when he had finished. His shudder as an aftershock made her clench.

Neither of them spoke for a while. She was more than happy just to be held close for the moment, even though she was sticky with sweat, and more than a little bit sore.

The dry sound of applause pulled her from her daze. She rolled her head and saw Jim still sitting nearby, idly clapping.

“Well done,” he said. “Eight out of ten, at least.”

Sebastian laughed breathlessly. “You smug little fuck.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Language.”

“Fuck you.” Sebastian rolled off her. She fell back onto the pillows. Not sleepy, exactly, but...

Satisfied. Maybe that was the word. At last. 

“Right,” Jim said. “Seb, shower. Now.”

“I don’t think my legs can support me right now, act- ”

“Then you’ll have to crawl. Now, Sebastian.”

He rolled his eyes but got laboriously out of bed, padding after Jim into the next room. Molly gave his arse an appreciative look – well, it was a nice arse – but he closed the door after them, depriving her of her view.

She snuggled back into the pillows. She could hear Jim’s and Sebastian’s voices, subdued and incomprehensible, followed by the shower running and a soft thump. Would they be...?

But no, even her apparent insatiability had finally stopped. She felt nothing beyond a vague theoretical interest.

Shagged-out. She laughed and rolled out of bed, started looking for her clothes. She was almost certain her shoes had been simply tossed off the bed, but she couldn’t spot them.

She put her hands on her hips and looked around the room. Had Jim stolen her clothes, to keep her here longer? It sounded like the thing he might do. Or –

There. Her clothes were lying in a neat pile on a chair, shoes on the floor beneath it, and on top, as the pièce de résistance, her torn knickers.

She stared at them for a bit. And then she had to sit down, shaking with silent laughter, until she felt like she could breathe again.

***

Jim and Sebastian stumbled out of the bathroom – well, Sebastian stumbled, Jim strode – about twenty minutes later, leaving her to freshen up and get dressed. She still had several hours before today’s shift started, more than enough time to go home and change her clothes.

When she got back to the living room Jim was sitting cross-legged on the sofa, laptop perched on his thighs, and Sebastian was sitting next to him, reading the Times. It looked extraordinary domestic. But then again, what had she expected? They were just human too, weren’t they?

“It's rude to stare,” Jim said suddenly, not looking up from his laptop.

“Sorry,” Molly said, feeling caught out.

Sebastian folded his paper and got up. “Come on,” he said. “I’ll give you a lift home.”

She gave Jim a hesitant look – still busy on his computer – and nodded. “Thanks.”

Sebastian helped her into her coat, polite as could be. It felt absurd that less than an hour ago she’d had him inside of her; that less than twelve hours ago they’d all been in bed together, shagging like there was no tomorrow.

She shook her head and followed Sebastian outside, to the car.

***

Sebastian kept quiet during the ride, doing nothing but occasionally humming along to the radio.

Molly sat quietly and fidgeted. It was one thing to be utterly okay with adventurous sex while she was still in their bedroom, giggly with the afterglow, but a whole other thing to look back on it in the cold harsh light of day.

Not that she was embarrassed, not about the sex. It were the other things that bothered her.

She leaned her head against the window, stared outside. It was Jim, and Sebastian, and the fact that she tried to pretend they were just normal people while Jim was probably plotting murders on his computer and Sebastian had put on a shoulder holster with a gun in it before going out. It was that she prided herself on being honest, but that she still managed not to think of all the things they did in their spare time.

It was that she had kept going back to Jim even though she knew he wanted Sherlock dead, and still she did nothing about it.

“Molly? We’re here.”

She blinked, looked up. They’d arrived at her flat without her noticing, she’d been that distracted. “Right, sorry.”

Sebastian got out and held the door open for her. He followed her politely up the stairs to her flat – although it might be less politeness and more basic security.

he does protect what’s his

“Right,” he said as she had opened her door. “I’ll be – ”

“I can’t keep doing this, can I?” Molly blurted.

Sebastian cocked his head and looked down at her for a while. She looked back, doing her best not to blush or flinch or start fidgeting again.

“If we’re going to have this conversation,” he said finally, “I’m going to need a fag.”

***

They went to her little terrace and Sebastian lit up. As always, even something little and mundane like that looked graceful and elegant when Sebastian did it. And today it had an extra edge, because she had seen the other things those fingers could do…

She looked out at the back gardens and fire escapes that made up her view. A stream of smoke blew past her ear.

She waited.

“We're all in the same boat, Molly,” Sebastian said after a while. She glanced aside. He looked tired, in a way that had nothing to do with lack of sleep or physical exertion. “You, me. Hah, even John fucking Watson, if he would be brave enough to admit it. We're all the same.” He rubbed his eyes. “And all this talk about enemies and villains and good and bad... It's just that, it's talk. We all know it. Even Watson. But still they insist on playing this game.

“You have to pick sides, though, haven't you?” she said. “You can't play both.”

“No.” He took a deep drag. “And I know which side you'll be on, even if I don't understand why.”

“You kill people.”

He shrugged. “I'm a soldier. It's a war. And it's not like either Watson or Holmes has clean hands, Molly.”

“Not innocents,” she protested.

“Innocents?” He blew out a stream of smoke. “No such thing.”

Another silence. She looked down the banister. She still refused to feel guilty about this – after all, she hadn’t done anything wrong, had she? It was just sex. It wasn’t as if Jim used her to get to Sherlock, or that she helped him with committing crimes. She wasn’t his accomplice.

Just his whore.

She shook it off, irritated. Stupid thoughts. They both enjoyed it, so why not?

“I don't envy you, you know,” Sebastian said suddenly. “Holmes is a prick.”

“I'm – ” not in love with him, she wanted to say, but that was quite likely a lie. “Jim isn’t a nice person either,” she said instead.

“True, but at least he sees me.” He gave her a look. “Sees you, too.”

“Sherlock doesn’t - he...” She fell silent again. “It's my choice,” she said after a while. “And if he asks, I will.”

“If who asks?”

She looked down. “It’s not like Jim would ever ask, is it?”

Another silence. It wasn’t awkward, though, not really. It had been the same the other times he came to her flat: he just had this way of making her feel at ease.

Even when he had been covered in blood.

She sighed and rubbed her forehead. That was how it was going to end, wasn't it? Jim and Sherlock would never just leave each other alone, and she couldn't stay like this, stuck in the middle. There was something big coming, even she could see that, and if push came to shove... 

She turned to Sebastian. “Would you kill me? If you had to?” she asked.

He met her eyes straight. “Would you?”

She looked away.

“Like I said, Molly. We’re all the same.” He chucked the butt of his cigarette down. “Go on, let's go back inside. Make the most of now.”

“No point in fighting this?” she asked, with a weak smile.

He just smiled back and offered her an arm. She took it.

He was right. There was no point in worrying about what might happen. She was quite happy to go on as she was, and if, when it did come to some kind of confrontation between them, well...

Her own choice. That was what it all came down to.

She opened the door and went back inside.