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What if We Met at Uni? Molly’s Dream

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‘Molly and Sherlock had been having a discussion earlier that evening about their uni days. She and Sherlock had actually attended the same university but he had graduated with his postgraduate degree the year before she started. If not for the fact that he had taken his A-levels while still in secondary school, and also that she had ended up entering college at the regular age, instead of a year early as she was on target to do, before her dad got sick, she would have probably seen him around campus. As it was, she had heard the stories about the alumnus, especially from her friend Meena who was a year older than she was.

Meena had ended up failing her first year and was forced to repeat it. That first year she had seen Sherlock on campus every now and then. She was a bit of a social butterfly, who cared more about going out with friends than studying. When Molly ended up sharing a room with her, they had become friends. They were polar opposites, the older girl being loud and Molly being quiet. However, Molly had found herself helping the other girl in her studying and a bond had formed. It was Meena who had told Molly about the arrogant, but handsome guy who had been on campus the year before Molly started there.

The other girl started working at Bart's before Molly. The pathologist had gone on to many more years of study to earn a doctorate in pathology. She and Meena had kept in touch through the years. Just before Molly started to work at Bart's, Meena had told her how "that superior Sherlock Holmes" from her first year at uni was now a common fixture at Bart's. Apparently he was now a "consulting detective," whatever that meant.

The moment Mike Stamford introduced her to Sherlock, Molly was smitten. They had begun to work together occasionally when he needed to examine the body of a murder victim and she had performed the post-mortem. She was much too intimidated by the handsome sleuth to talk to him about anything unrelated to work, and she tended to stammer when he asked her a question, which was highly embarrassing.

It had taken her six months to gather up enough nerve to ask him out for coffee. An oblivious Sherlock had misunderstood, thinking she was offering to make him coffee, and her hopes had been crushed.

It was all long in the past now. So much had happened through the years, but it was the events at Sherrinford that had led to Sherlock's emotional breakthrough and realization that he loved Molly, even as she loved him.

Molly looked contentedly at the heart shaped diamond on her ring finger. Not for the first time, she wondered if things might have taken a different turn, if Sherlock had still been at the university when she started there.

Molly snuggled closer to her fiancé. His arm was looped around her as usual, gently cupping her breast. Yes, she mused, it would be interesting to know what might have happened if they had met back then. Sherlock's rhythmic breathing soothed her, and she allowed herself to drift into sleep. At around the one hour mark after Molly went to sleep, she entered REM sleep and began to dream.

 

 

 

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She'd seen him around campus before, of course. Nobody could miss that purposeful stride, that dark curly hair and impossibly handsome, yet aloof face.

Sherlock Holmes. He was only 20, and yet he was already rather famous, as well as infamous on campus. He was famous for being the youngest person at the university to have completed the 4 year undergraduate course in Chemistry, before returning to study Forensic Medical Sciences. He was known as being aloof, although whether this was because he was shunned by his classmates who were jealous of his superior knowledge in doing a postgraduate course at a younger age than anyone else, or his superior manner to others, she did not know.

All she knew was that people gossiped about him, about the fact that he never dated, keeping mostly to himself. There were a couple of Molly's friends who had woefully told her that they had tried to strike up a conversation with the hadsome man, and had been rebuffed. He was simply not interested.

So yeah, he was famous in that way. He was also infamous, because he had apparently been conducting some experiment which caused a small explosion one day, and one whole wing of the university had been evacuated as a result. That had happened before Molly's time, but she had it on good authority that there had been discussion of expelling him because of it. However, due to his brilliance, he was given another chance, and was careful to not upset the professors in any way after that.

Every time Molly happened to see Sherlock striding from one class to another, she felt her heart skip a beat. She wanted to touch that beautiful curly hair, run her fingers through it.

One time she had actually bumped into him as she was heading towards a class and dropped her books. "Sorry," she had muttered, her cheeks flaming with embarrassment, expecting him to just nod and head off to wherever he was presumably heading. Instead, he had stooped down to help pick up her books and handed them to her with a, "My fault, I should have been watching where I was going." She had been treated to a brief glimpse of incredible blue-green eyes, a face with impossibly high, aristocratic looking cheekbones, and full, sensual lips that looked as if they were made to be kissed. The man was drop-dead gorgeous. After he had left her, still standing there open-mouthed, her heart beating unaccountably fast, Molly had not been able to stop thinking about him. Molly was a green 17 year old who was the youngest girl on campus, having completed her first year of A-Levels while still in high school, and would never have presumed to speak to him.

Their paths hadn't crossed again, but Molly could still recall that one encounter. She hadn't even told her friend Meena about it. Meena was one of the girls who had been rebuffed by Sherlock, so she had a rather low opinion of him.

She had even made a scathing comment once to Molly. "That Sherlock Holmes. He's just so superior. Do you see the way he struts around campus as if he owns the place? It's no wonder he has no friends."

Because she actually looked for glimpses of the young man, Molly noticed him in various places - outside, eating a sandwich by himself at lunchtime with his nose in a book, in the library, reading there as well. He was always reading. Sometimes he would leave books on the table in the library when he had finished. The future pathologist would venture to the table and glance at what he had been reading. She was a little surprised that it wasn't always science or chemistry books, sometimes it was books about crime-solving, or books on unsolved crimes. Apparently Sherlock had an interest in more than just chemistry and forensics. He had an interest in crime. Either he was planning on using his superior knowledge in the future for good, or perhaps he was planning on becoming a master criminal.

Either way, she couldn't help feeling compelled to learn what she could about him, asking casual questions from various people. There wasn't a whole lot of information to be gleaned though, and people tended to consider him somewhat of a sociopath. Molly didn't think he was really one though. He had certainly not acted that way when he had picked up her books and said it was his fault. He'd seemed rather - nice.

On one occasion, when she had seen Sherlock in the university library, she had almost approached him. He was reading a book about forensic science and she was tempted to try and engage him in conversation, but she had chickened out at the last minute and hurried out of the library instead. Why would someone like him want to talk with a mousy, brown-haired girl like her? She was nothing special. A man like Sherlock Holmes would need to have a stunning model hanging off his arm, who would complement his own gorgeous appearance.

So she kept these things, these silly feelings to herself, harbouring them deep in her heart, knowing she was just a foolish, romantic girl. Fairytales and happy endings weren't real. But she believed them anyway - or at least wanted to.

Molly had watched Meena get in and out of several relationships in their first year at uni. Her friend had taken a year off after doing her A-Levels, before starting uni, so she was already 19. She griped to the younger girl about the guys wanting sex after going out only a few times. Meena didn't really have a problem with that, if it was she who was initiating it, but she didn't like it when the guy made the first move. After watching her friend go through several partners and a pregnancy scare, Molly was extremely glad to not be sexually active. The whole idea of it alarmed her somewhat. The thought of giving herself to a man that way, of exposing the most secret part of herself, frightened her.

Molly had had a few fellow students ask her out, but every time, after two or three dates, she just wasn't "feeling it." There were no sparks, none of the chemistry she longed for. Awkward attempts to kiss her had resulted in bumped noses and just felt weird. If she was to be with someone, she wanted more than physical attraction, she wanted an emotional connection as well. Maybe she was expecting too much, had standards that were too high. It was probably all those ridiculous historical romance novels by Barbara Cartland she had read, that cluttered her head with thoughts of "true love" and "soulmates."

Meena had once laughed at her when she saw Molly with her nose in one of those books. "God, Molly, you need to just get out of here and have a good shag. I guarantee it's better than those silly romantic fictions you persist in reading."

Molly had merely sniffed at her friend and retorted, "At least this way I don't have to worry about getting pregnant." That had shut Meena up, because her pregnancy scare had only happened a month earlier. Two girls had already dropped out of their course due to unexpected pregnancies. One had returned after an apparent miscarriage, but there were rumors that she had had an abortion, and that had hurt Molly's heart. I would never do that to my baby if I got pregnant, even if it was accidental, she had thought to herself. Then her thoughts had unaccountably turned towards Sherlock Holmes. What would it be like to have his baby, I wonder? she had thought to herself, and had immediately been shocked and embarrassed at the wayward thought, even as she felt a curious clenching sensation in the pit of her stomach.

 

 

 


 

Several months passed. The end of the school year approached, final exams were over and Molly had been happy to discover she had passed all of them with flying colours, top of her class in almost every subject. She had heard whispers around campus that Sherlock Holmes would be graduating soon, top of his class, of course. Her heart sank a little at the thought of not seeing him around campus anymore. She had come to look forward to those occasional glimpses, treasuring them in her heart. By now, on several occasions, Molly had been tempted to walk towards him during one of his solitary lunches, but she always got scared at the last minute, feeling very insecure. He might only be three years older than her, but he was more like five years ahead of her intellectually, so she would probably end up stammering to him, unable to hold a decent conversation.

One evening Meena insisted on going out to celebrate getting through the year.

"Come on Molly. You've been legal for a couple of months now and you haven't even gone out for a drink yet."

"Meena, you know I'm really not into social gatherings."

"Aw, come on. There's this cool new nightclub that just opened up close to campus. Everyone's talking about it."

Her friend wouldn't stop bugging her about it, so finally, Molly gave in. Upon Meena's insistence, she had been forced into a rather short black dress that "showed off her curves," as her friend put it, not that Molly's figure was anywhere near the size of her friend's voluptuous chest. She had finally been talked into wearing the dress, but its straps were so skinny she couldn't even wear a bra with it, not that she really needed to wear one anyway. The dress had been an impulse buy that Molly had never been game to wear on any of her few dates, because it was a little more revealing than what she was used to wearing. She much preferred her blouses and the multi-coloured jumpers her mum knitted for her every year. She liked them because her dad always loved seeing her wear them.

So it was that Molly found herself at the same nightclub on the same night as Sherlock Holmes was there as well.

Chapter Text

Molly entered the nightclub with Meena, cringing a little at the noise. It was so loud she really wanted to put her hands over her ears. How did anyone not go deaf with this loud music, she wondered.

Meena had arranged to meet up with some other friends and she tugged Molly to a table. ”Hey Sarah, Abby, this is Molly, my roommate,” she shouted, to make herself heard above the din.

The other girls greeted her politely with a nod. By the empty glasses on the table and the slightly glazed look in their eyes, Molly could tell they had obviously already been there for awhile and were pretty pissed.

“Come on Molly, let’s get a drink,” urged her friend loudly.

Molly followed Meena to the bar. It was not quite as loud there, because it was further from the dance floor, so Meena talked in a normal tone. “Hey, you like coffee, right?” At Molly’s nod, she said, “You need to try a white Russian. It’s kahlua, a coffee liqueur, vodka and milk. Try it, you’ll like it.”

Molly frowned a little. She was sure a liqueur drink wouldn’t come cheap, but she didn’t want to annoy her friend, so she went ahead and ordered the drink. Meena ordered the same. They returned to the table and sat with Meena’s friends. Molly sipped her drink. Actually it did taste rather nice. The music though continued to pound away, the deep bass notes assaulting her senses in an unpleasant manner. “Meena,” she shouted, “I can’t hear myself think. I’m going to go sit at the bar where it’s quieter.”

“Yeah, whatever,” her friend replied. She was busy having a shouted conversation with her other friends about all the hot guys in the night club. Those girls were definitely on the prowl and there was a lot of prey in the night club, Molly noticed, looking around. Taking her drink and sipping it, she walked back to the bar and sat at the stool furthest from the loudspeakers and music. She breathed a sigh of relief. Her head no longer felt as if it was about to explode. She wondered how long she would have to stay, in order to satisfy Meena. An hour? Maybe two? Surely that would be enough effort to make her friend happy.

Molly had been sitting there for about fifteen minutes, just staring at the bottles along the rear wall of the bar and daydreaming about a certain dark, curly haired guy she was unlikely to see on campus again, when she felt someone take the bar stool next to hers. A deep, rich baritone voice said, “Looks like you are having as much fun as I am.”

How dare someone interrupt her reverie? Wondering at the man’s presumption in daring to just speak to her without an invitation she opened her mouth to tell him off, turning to face the unwelcome stranger, and the words stuck in her throat. It was HIM. Sherlock Holmes, the guy she had had a secret crush on the entire year, the one she went to sleep thinking about each night.

She gulped, unsure of what to say. What had he said to her, anyway? Something about having fun? No that wasn’t it. It had been a dry comment. Yes that was it. “Looks like you are having as much fun as I am.”

What was she supposed to say? She had to say something, not waste this opportunity of finally speaking with this gorgeous man who was looking at her with a hooded gaze. “Uh, yeah. I don’t usually go to places - actually I’ve never been to a place like this,” she told him truthfully, then wondered if she sounded totally naïve. Probably, but then again, she was naïve, she told herself.

“I figured as much,” he said with a nod. “You’ve been holding that drink for about fifteen minutes without taking a sip.”

He’d been observing her for fifteen minutes? How embarrassing.

“I could tell you thought the music was too loud, and this is definitely the furthest place from the speakers,” he continued. That meant he’d been watching her for longer than fifteen minutes. Her stomach gave an uncomfortable lurch. She hastily took a sip of her white Russian, as if to show she wasn’t a complete lightweight.

Sherlock lifted a finger, and the bartender came to him immediately. “What can I get for you?”

“I’ll have a beer and she,” he indicated Molly, “she’ll have another of that drink....white Russian I presume?”

“Yes, but..” Molly was about to protest, but the bartender had already walked away.

“Thanks, but I...I didn’t need another drink.”

He waved away her protest and gave her a frankly assessing gaze, and she blushed. Oh Lord, but he was even better looking up close than from a distance.

He seemed to be thinking, then she heard him mutter, “damned mind palace,” before he asked, “Have we met? You look kind of...familiar.”

Molly recollected that time earlier in the year when they had bumped into each other in the corridor. Nope, they had not actually met then. “No,” she said truthfully, “I’ve never met you before,” but oh, I’ve wanted to, she added to herself silently.

The bartender returned with their drinks and Sherlock threw a tenner on the table. “Keep the change,” he said.

"Thanks.” The bartender’s eyes widened with appreciation as he took the money and walked off.

“So, what’s your name?”

Of course, she knew his, but he didn’t know hers. “Uh, Molly,” she said. Was she really talking to him? Wasn’t he known for not talking to anyone?

“I’m Sherlock.” He held out his hand and she took it, feeling a slight tingle run through her at his touch. When he continued to hold her hand a little longer than necessary, she snatched it back, feeling very uncomfortable as she blushed. Is it hot in here? She took another sip of her drink, then decided to ask a question of her own.

“So, uh, What brings you here tonight?”

“A bet.”

“A bet? What type of bet?”

“Two of my classmates bet I couldn’t pick up a girl,” he said easily, making a gesture behind him, where the two guys were probably standing and watching.

“Oh.” She felt deflated. His coming up to her had just been for a bet, and she supposed the guys he’d made the bet with were watching his progress. “Well, gee, thanks for the compliment,” she said a little sarcastically.

“Hey, I’m trying to be honest here, okay? Will you go along with it please? Of all the women in here, you are the only one I think I could stand to even pretend an attraction for. Those women,” he made a gesture toward the dance floor, “are all loud and obnoxious. You seem reasonably sane.”

“Uh, thanks, I think.”

“There’s fifty quid riding on it. I’ll split it with you, “ he offered.

She hesitated. A bit of extra cash could always come in handy.

“Look, Molly, don’t you want to make your friend over there happy? She’s the one who dragged you out presumably. I’m guessing she wants to see you have a good time, am I right?”

He was too bloody clever. “I guess so.” Meena was hanging on the arm of some guy she’d never seen before, presumably the prey she had decided upon.

“So what do you say?” His eyes stared into hers. She could not see that blue-green colour in here but they were still very intense, and oh, his lips. She wanted to just touch them. “Will you do it?”

She’d been daydreaming again. “What?”

“Help me to convince these morons I know how to pick up a girl, and please your friend as well as make some money in the process.” Meena would not think much of her getting with Sherlock Holmes, but what the heck, Meena would probably be too pissed soon to remember anything about tonight. Besides, she was just a little curious as to how Sherlock intended to fool his audience.

Taking a deep breath she said, “Okay.” Then she took another sip of her drink, and yet another, draining it, she had a full one anyway. She looked around quickly, but presumably the morons had ducked out of sight.

Sherlock took another swig of his beer then said, “So, how about it?”

Molly was confused. Did he expect her to read his mind? “How about what?”

“Do you want to go on the dance floor with me, put on a show?”

“Uh, what do you mean by that?”

“You know,” he gestured vaguely once again in the direction of the dance floor. “Do what everyone else is doing.” Molly glanced over at the dance floor. Not too many people were actually dancing, in fact, most of them were just swaying to the music, all the couples anyway. Some of them were kissing. She gulped. Would he want to kiss her? Her heartbeat sped up at the thought. Even if it was fake for him, it would be real for her.

She took a sip from her new drink and stood, her decision made. “Let’s go.”

They wove through the crowd and got onto the dance floor, inserting themselves into a free space. Molly noticed one of Meena’s friends was on the dance floor - Sarah? Abby? - with a guy and they were snogging as if their lives depended on it. Successful prey, she thought.

Being on the dance floor meant she was subjected to the din again. Sherlock was mouthing something to her and she put a hand to her ear, to indicate that she couldn’t hear him. He bent close to her ear and she felt his breath tickle it, even as she smelled the crisp citrus scent of his cologne. It seemed to suit him somehow. “Do what everyone else is doing. Look around you,” he urged, and she felt him slide his arms around her waist. Most of the women had their arms around their partner’s neck, so she did it as well, feeling an urge to tangle her hands in those curls she had longed to touch.

He pulled her closer to him and bent down to whisper in her ear again. “The morons are over there, watching. I’m going to kiss you now, okay? We’ll give them a show they won’t forget.”

She glanced around, wondering who the morons were. Sherlock took a hand from her waist and tilted her face up to his. Then he bent his head and unbelievably, his lips were on hers and it was everything she had imagined it to be and more.

Giving into her impulse at last, she threaded her fingers through those ebony locks, pressing her body against his, opening her mouth to the invasion of his tongue. He didn’t spend too much time there though, returning to full, open-mouthed kissing that left her dizzy and feeling a little faint. Where had he learned to kiss like that if he never went out with anyone? she wondered dazedly.

He continued to kiss her, and even though she knew he was only doing it to impress “the morons,” she pretended it was real. It certainly felt real to her. He started to kiss her more urgently and she didn’t care, even in the middle of the crowded dance fooor, surrounded by other couples. The music receded into a distant hum, and all she could think about was him, and the way he was making her feel. She felt a rush of molten heat spread through her, nothing like she’d ever felt before, and she knew it for what it was - desire. She suddenly realized what Meena had meant, and why she seemed to enjoy being with men so much; if this was what she felt with each guy, who could blame her. It was utterly intoxicating.

Sherlock’s hand moved along her back even as the hand that had tilted her head towards him caressed her cheek with his thumb. She was losing herself in his kiss, in him. The morons were definitely getting a fantastic show. Suddenly, to her shock, she realized that he might be giving those guys a show, but his body was definitely reacting to hers, as hers was to his. She could feel it. He was turned on and it almost made her knees buckle.

Then he removed his mouth from hers and whispered into her ear again. “Let’s go and sit back down for now, I think that should hold the morons off for awhile.” He took her hand and led her back through the crowd. She was aware that she was having a very hard time catching her breath, and he too did not seem unaffected.

They returned to their seats and Molly picked up her drink, taking a long swallow. Now that the ice had melted somewhat, it didn’t really taste so good, but she was thirsty and took another sip. Sherlock took a couple of large swallows of his own beer. She had both of her hands on the bar counter and he idly stroked one of them with his large hand, as tingles of electricity went through her. How was he doing this to her?

Molly looked around for Meena. She finally spied her on the dance floor, gyrating against the same guy she had been with earlier. She saw the other girl from the table also with a guy. Looks like all three had scored their prey for the night, or future. She suddenly wondered, Was she Sherlock’s prey?

 

Probably. Oh well, a little kissing wasn’t bad, and it would certainly be something to remember. He was still stroking her hand and she could feel her heart pounding loudly in her ears. She felt it was a miracle nobody else could hear it.

Needing to get away from him for a minute, she told him, “I uh, need to use the loo.” He gave her a lazy smile, as if he knew she was just making an excuse, and she dashed off to the toilets. Once there, she realized she really did need to use the toilet. Afterwards, she splashed water on her face and inspected herself in the mirror. Did her lips look a little swollen from that passionate kissing? She remained there a couple minutes more, until someone else came in. Then she headed back to her stool.

Sherlock was standing waiting for her. “Finish your drink,” he ordered, “then go and tell your friend you’re leaving.”

She looked at him, shocked. “Leaving? To go where exactly?”

“I have a flat just off campus. Remember the morons? I don’t think they are satisfied yet.”

This was a bad idea, a very bad idea. She opened her mouth to say “No, absolutely not. I’m done,” but what came out was a breathless, “Okay.”

She took a last swallow of her drink, she needed a little Dutch courage, and went in search of Meena. She finally found her, off to the side of the dance floor, drink in hand, still with the same guy. “I’m going now,” she yelled to her friend.

“What?” Meena’s eyes were glazed. She had obviously already had a few drinks. “Oh right, okay. See you later then. Thanks for coming out with me.”

Molly returned to the bar stool where Sherlock was standing. He had finished his beer and was holding her handbag.

“Ready?” he asked and she nodded. “Take my arm, the morons are watching.”

She looked around, still unable to identify which particular morons he was talking about. She couldn’t see anyone watching them. Oh well. She put her hand on his arm, and he led her out of the nightclub and into the cool air and relative quiet, where she breathed a sigh of relief.

Sherlock flagged down a taxi and he gave an address to the driver. Then they were off. Molly was feeling terrified, but excited at the same time. What was going to happen next?

Chapter Text

Molly stood nervously at the door of Sherlock’s flat as he unlocked it, then ushered her inside. She wasn’t really sure what she was doing there. He had obviously made his point to the guys with whom he’d made the bet. It was not as if they would follow him home, or would they, to make sure he could follow through with picking up a girl?

Sherlock turned on the lights in his flat and turned to her. “Can I get you something to drink?”

“A...a water would be good,” she stammered. Perhaps it would clear her head some.

She looked around curiously while he fetched her a glass of water. His flat was none too tidy. There were papers littered all over a table. Presumably he didn’t eat at it often. A couple of empty Chinese take-away containers were there too. There also seemed to be some chips in a cardboard container, probably from his dinner earlier that evening. A couple dirty coffee mugs were also on the table.

“Sorry about the mess,” he apologized, handing her the glass of water. “I wasn’t expecting company. I don’t do the social thing you know...ever.”

Well, the gossip had been right on that count then.

He was looking at her intently and she squirmed, noticing his eyes were unnaturally dilated, considering how bright it was in the room. She could still see the hint of blue-green around the edges of his pupils though. He was so gorgeous, she was finding it hard to breathe.

“So, uh, I guess you won your bet, then,” she managed to say.

“That’s a pretty sexy dress you’re wearing,” he said, rather unexpectedly. “You’re not wearing a bra, are you?”

She blushed furiously. What was he doing to her? Why was he saying these things?

She took a hasty gulp of water, then set the glass down onto the table. “I...I think I should go now.”

“Why?” His voice was silky and it sent a ripple of desire through her. “You just got here.”

“Y...your friends, the morons I mean, well, you must have made your point by now. They wouldn’t have followed you home, would they?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Just in case, perhaps we should give them another show?”

Her breath hitched at the words and he pulled her against his chest. The curtains on his front window were not drawn, so she figured those guys, if they were indeed still watching, would get a pretty good view. His mouth came down on hers again and she gasped a little at the intensity of it, the fire behind it. Oh yes, he was putting on a decidedly masterful show. Again she wondered how the heck he was such a good kisser? She had never felt anything remotely like this before, this passion, the heat spreading through her that demanded to be fed.

He released her momentarily and turned, taking her hand to lead her to what was presumably his bedroom. Surely that would be enough for those morons? If she was going to his bedroom, they’d have to accept the fact that Sherlock had truly picked her up successfully. She figured she would stay in his bedroom and maybe they would talk for...well however long a person normally remained in a bedroom when they were making love. Then she could leave and he would have won his bet. But how would she get her half of the money? To be honest, she didn’t really care.

Sherlock opened the door to his bedroom and turned on the light. She saw, to her surprise, his bed was neatly made, and it was queen-sized. He closed the door behind him which was rather odd, she reflected. It was not as if his classmates were going to just walk in.

She watched a little apprehensively as the man shrugged off his suit jacket. He really was exquisitely tailored, she thought. She had never seen another man on campus walk around in a suit. The shirt he was wearing was a lovely shade of purple, aubergine maybe? Oh, he looked gorgeous in that colour.

He sat on the bed and patted the space next to him.

She sat obediently and looked at him, wondering what he intended to do next.

“So, Molly, now that I have you in my room, I need to make a confession.”

Confession? What on earth was he talking about ?

Suddenly, he looked a little hesitant, shy even. It was most disconcerting. “What kind of confession?”

“Uh, I came into the nightclub to night on a whim. I was just walking around, I saw you enter and followed you in.”

That was a bit weird, but he was obviously looking for a way to win his bet. She was sure the bet didn’t specify a specific nightclub. “So what? I’m guessing your classmates didn’t say you needed to be at a specific nightclub, did they?”

“Well, that’s just it.” He hesitated and she could see he was nervous. “They didn’t specify a particular nightclub.”

“I repeat, Sherlock, so what? You came in, met me, won your bet. We’ll sit here for awhile and then I’ll go home. You don’t need to worry about the money. I was happy to help.”

He swallowed. “You don’t understand, Molly. I lured you here under false pretenses.”

Now she was totally lost. Did that mean the bet had been satisfied without requiring him to take her back to his flat? His next words made everything crystal clear.

“There were no morons...and there was no bet.”

Molly gasped as she suddenly realized everything that had happened had been a lie. He had fabricated the bet, but why?

“Why, Sherlock? Why would you do something so...manipulative?”

He twisted his hands together. “I didn’t know how else to get your attention. I lack the practical experience of meeting a girl. I stood there, watching you with your friends. Then I watched you go to the bar. After a little while, I came over and took the seat next to you.”

“We could have just had a normal conversation,” she said, in a hard tone. How dare he use her like that? Was she some kind of experiment he wanted to practice his moves on? “Am I some sort of experiment to you? Are you trying to determine how a person will act in certain social situations?”

No, Molly.” He was pleading now, looking directly into her eyes, and she could feel her breathing quicken again. He was so...intense. “I...I was attracted to you. I still am. I just didn’t know how to act, so I made up a scenario to deal with it.”

She suddenly remembered the way he had kissed her, and his body’s reaction to her which had showed her he was affected by her.

He continued. “Look, if you want to leave, I’m not going to stop you. But, when we kissed, I felt something, something I’ve never felt before. I’ve never dated anyone, or been interested in dating anyone, but you, there’s something different about you.”

Despite herself, Molly was intrigued. He was basically admitting he was a virgin, just a she was. She still couldn’t figure out how he had learned to kiss that way, so she decided to ask him.

“If you’ve never dated anyone, where did you learn to kiss like that?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Old movies? Instinct? Was it really bad?”

“N...no. It was...really...nice,” she said rather lamely. Oh heck, he was looking at her that way again, with that intense expression that curled her insides.

Suddenly he took her hand, lifting it to his lips and kissing it. “Can I...can we start again?”

“I...I don’t know Sherlock. You hurt my feelings. You lied to me.”

“You were okay with it when you thought I was faking it.”

Molly blushed. “But at least I knew the score. You were doing it to win a bet. Now I’m all mixed up.”

“Molly, please. Will you let me kiss you one more time, this time knowing it isn’t a game? After that you can leave.”

She really shouldn’t. She should open up his bedroom door and leave right now, but again, her heart betrayed her. “O...okay.”

She trembled as his face drew nearer and his hand reached to tilt her chin up slightly once again. Then his lips touched hers and it was infinitely sweet, and tender, and everything her romantic novels talked about. He was real, and this time he was kissing her for real, not for a bet.

Her lips tingled as he deepened the kiss, thrilling her senses, and she reached up to grasp his head, feel that incredible hair once again. Oh the things he was evoking in her, these unfamiliar sensations. He was pulling her with him into a deep well of emotion and desire.

Without really knowing how it happened, she found herself lying on his bed and his body was next to hers, even as he continued to kiss her. She should tell him to stop, that she was not that kind of girl, but she couldn’t, she had been yearning for him for so long, wondering what it would be like to feel his lips on hers.

She gasped as he slid the strap of her dress to the side, tugging down the top of her dress so that it exposed her breast. She really needed to tell him to stop, but then his hand was touching her breast and she was arching into him, wanting more. He moved his mouth from hers to slide it down and he was covering her breast, suckling at her gently until she was clutching at his curls in desperation. It felt so good. She knew it was wrong, but all she could feel was him, and strangely, even though she knew it was wrong, it felt right. She felt as if this was the man she had been born to be with.

He moved his mouth away from her breast and she could have cried at the sudden chill, but then he covered her with his body and began to kiss her again, long, lingering kisses that stole her breath away. They were both panting with need and she could feel again the clear evidence of his desire.

He lifted his head from hers to say huskily in that velvety voice, “Molly, I really want to make love to you right now but....I don’t have protection. I’ve never been with a woman before and wasn’t expecting to feel...this. Do you want me to stop? Because if you don’t say no now, I am not going to be able to.”

She appreciated the fact that he asked her, and she briefly thought of the consequences. They were both virgins, so there was no risk of a disease, but there was a risk of pregnancy. She mentally calculated how long it had been since her last period. She was on day 19 of her cycle, so should be well past any chance of getting pregnant, although, she reflected rather wildly, it might be nice to have a child with him, if it were to happen.

Her decision made she told him, “Make love to me, Sherlock. I want you.” And I’m in love with you too, she said in her mind what she dared not say aloud.

And then he was kissing her again, urgently this time, demandingly, touching her, readying her for him, after he gently removed her clothes, followed by his own. She opened for him and he made her his, for all eternity. He was strong, yet his movements were gentle. She would never have believed he too was a virgin if he hadn’t admitted it to her himself. The whole experience was a revelation. She had feared the intimate touch of a man, but she felt no fear at all with Sherlock. It was as if they were designed to fit together perfectly. His long torso meant that he was able to continue kissing her as they made love. The combination of his lips and body on hers elevated the flames of passion between them until they were both gasping with the wonder of it, and it was beautiful, it was perfect.

Afterwards she fell asleep in his arms, feeling his hand cupping her naked breast., his body pressed closely behind hers and it was a truly wonderful feeling. She felt guilt, but at the same time, there had been something so right about being with him, it was if they had known each other, loved each other for years.

Sherlock was still sleeping when she woke. She climbed carefully out of bed and got dressed, used the loo then headed for the kitchen. She found a piece of blank paper on the table. She really needed to get back to the dorm, before Meena got worried, well, that was if she had returned at all that night. Writing her telephone number on it, using a pen that was also on the table, she looked for a place to put it. She thought briefly, then added the letter M to her phone number. She saw the phone on the kitchen counter and tucked her phone number under it. It was then her eyes alighted on something else, something which both shocked and disturbed her - a syringe. Oh God, she thought, was he - a junkie? Had this whole episode happened because he’d been high?

She tiptoed back to the bedroom. He was still sleeping heavily and she lifted the arm that had been resting over her body to peer at it. And there it was, the unmistakable sign of track marks. Oh God, she thought again, this was her punishment, and she deserved it. She had made love to a junkie.

Molly dashed back to the main room, grabbed her handbag and left the flat, slamming the door. Luckily she recognized where she was, and in the cold, grey light of dawn, was able to make her way back to campus and the safety of her own room. Thank God, Meena was not there.

Molly flung herself onto the bed and sobbed as if her heart would break, because, in fact it was breaking. What had she done? What the hell had she done?

Chapter Text

The first thing Sherlock noticed when he opened his eyes was that he was naked. This wasn’t particularly unusual when he was going through a binge phase of shooting up. He considered himself a recreational user, but occasional bad dreams would cause him to indulge a little more frequently. The resulting memory loss at times could be disturbing, but he always found himself safely in bed the next morning, so apparently some autonomic response carried him home after he would leave his flat to go for a walk afterwards. Sometimes he would wake up in his pyjamas, sometimes he’d be fully clothed. Usually he was at least wearing his boxers, very occasionally naked. But he was always home, in his bed, by the time the high wore off.

The second thing Sherlock noticed was an unfamiliar smell, something sweet - perfume maybe? That had most definitely not happened before. There had never been a woman in his flat. He did not enjoy their company, preferring his solitary existence. In fact, the thought of being intimate with a woman vaguely alarmed him. Women were always wanting to be reassured that they were beautiful.

He’d seen it in his undergraduate days when he’d had roommates. They’d make comments about their girlfriends and how demanding they were, and how they expected this or that. These women turned their men into romantic, babbling fools who would forgo their study time in order to take their women out for nice dinners, or to the cinema. Ugh, sentiment. All it did was cause complications. He didn’t have time for romantic entanglements, and on the odd occasion where a woman tried to approach him, he rebuffed them immediately. It was better that way. He wouldn’t want to give them false hope.

Ever since he had been a young lad, Sherlock had discovered he had an aptitude for observation. His observation skills had led to an interest in chemistry, and he had become interested in forensics and how they were used to solve crimes. In fact, that was why he had decided to do a postgraduate course in Forensic Medical Sciences, after completing his 4 year Chemistry degree. But here now was a puzzle about himself that needed investigation.

He flung off the duvet and his nostrils were immediately assailed by something else. It was a curiously intoxicating smell, one he had never experienced before. Looking for the source of the smell, he pulled off the duvet properly and saw something, a slight stain that had not been there before, bodily fluid but not urine. All of a sudden the realization hit him and he looked down at his naked body to see whether what he suspected was true. Oh, God, he thought, seeing the obvious signs. He had apparently indulged in sexual activity with someone.

His hands started to shake. What the hell had he done? He had never been remotely interested in sex, much to the amusement of his older brother, who seemed to think the idea of a man still being a virgin at 21 somewhat of an anomaly. Well, apparently he wasn’t one anymore. He thought with horror of the potential consequences of the sexual encounter he had just had. He didn’t have any protection. Why would he? Sex had always been the furthest thing from his mind, although it seemed that had not been the case last night. What woman could have evoked such a reaction in him? It was extremely disconcerting. Even more disturbing was his next thought. What if he had gotten the girl pregnant? He wasn’t ready to be a father, had no interest in ever being one, in fact.

These thoughts whirled through Sherlock’s mind, as he got dressed and searched his flat for clues. God, the place was a mess, he thought to himself. He really needed to clean it up sometime, but he was always so busy. Yes, exams had come and gone and he was about to graduate, but he felt like something was missing in his life.

In the kitchen, he found the first clue that he had not been alone last night - a half-filled glass of water. He didn’t drink water very often, much preferring the stimulant of coffee or tea, and it was randomly set on the kitchen table.

Then his eyes spied a small piece of paper tucked beneath his phone. He picked it up. There was a phone number and the initial M. So, the mysterious woman’s name started with M. He wondered whether he should try calling the number, but decided to enter his mind palace first, to see whether he could recall any details from the night before that way.

The young man sat at his kitchen table, closed his eyes and steepled his fingers, resting his elbows on the table. For some reason, this position always helped him enter his mind palace.

He sat there for some time, trying to piece together disconnected images from the night before. There were brief flashes, but nothing concrete - the sound of a soft voice, brown hair and a kiss on a dance floor somewhere. This really disturbed him. He did not frequent nightclubs, so what had possessed him to enter one last night? The only thing he could remember was that kiss, the way it had made him feel. He couldn’t recall her face, but he suddenly recalled the way the kiss had sent a surge of desire through him, something he had never experienced before. Her lips had been - there was no other term for it - exquisite. Suddenly, he became uncomfortably aware that the memory of that kiss was causing an involuntary reaction in his body. That would definitely not do. He did not have time for this.

Sherlock went into the bathroom and took a shower, a cold one, to cleanse himself of the woman’s scent and to force his body back into its natural state of relaxation.

It was funny how he remembered the kiss so well and the way it had made him feel, but he didn’t remember the sexual act itself. He suddenly had a thought. Perhaps it had been such an awkward experience that the girl had been horrified by his inexperience, and that had been why she had left. But then again, she had left him her number.

Sherlock thought for a moment. He should probably at least try to call the girl, apologize. He’d have to tell her he was not interested in romantic entanglements and that it had been a mistake.

His mind made up, he dialed the number. It rang, rang again, and then was picked up.

He heard a musical voice, the one from last night say hesitantly, “Hello?” and he hung up. He couldn’t do it. God help him, he couldn’t do it. He felt guilty about it - after all, what if she did become pregnant? But then he thought, if that were the case, her offspring would be better off not knowing who his/her father was. He had a brief unsettling thought - what if she had an abortion? He didn’t like that idea at all, but he supposed he had no rights in the matter. So what if they had created a baby together, it was her body that would be carrying it. He still felt instinctively something was wrong with that notion though.

Casting his thoughts aside from that, Sherlock took one last glance at the phone number on the piece of paper in his hand, and tossed it in the rubbish bin.

Secretly though, he filed it away in his mind palace where a new room had just been created - M. His mind palace automatically added what he remembered of that intense kiss and the phone number, the brown hair, the musical voice and a rather intoxicating scent, not the perfume - her. Then he shoved the room deep within his mind palace so it would be buried, hopefully forever.


 

Twelve years later, Sherlock was looking at some specimens through a microscope when he heard a slight clearing of the throat, Stamford, he deduced, and was not mistaken.

The man was standing a few feet away with a pretty brunette next to him. His gaze flicked over her, the ponytail, rather small mouth, small breasts, though still a handful for a man. Where had that thought come from? She had quite a pretty smile too, shy even.

“Sherlock, I’d like to introduce you to our newest pathologist, Dr. Hooper. She will be taking the place of Barnes, who unaccountably quit last week. I don’t suppose you had anything to do with that, did you?.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes and said, “Barnes was in incompetent fool. As were Farnsworth and Dodd before him. Couldn’t find the reason behind a murder if the evidence bit them in the arse.”

The female giggled and extended her hand. “Hi, you can call me Molly.” He shook her hand firmly. She seemed familiar somehow.

He narrowed his eyes, “Have we met before?”

“N..no, I don’t think so, although your reputation precedes you.”

He merely grunted at that, and Mike Stamford left the lab, his job of introducing them done.

“Mike has assigned me with the job of conducting the post-mortems on your cases,” the brunette said.

“I certainly hope you do a better job than the other idiots. I like to examine the bodies for myself afterwards, so if you just stay out of my way, we should deal together quite well.”

“Um, okay.”

Good, thought Sherlock, she sounds like she is intimidated by me. That will make things easier. Her eyes are dilated too, he observed, so perhaps she has a certain attraction for me. Even better, he could manipulate her to his will.

Chapter Text

 

12 years earlier

Meena came home a couple hours after Molly, chattering about her new guy. She had been out all night with him. She did not notice Molly’s tear-stained face, apparently too absorbed with the great night she’d had, which the future pathologist was very glad about. Within fifteen minutes, her friend had fallen asleep.

Molly had just been drifting off again herself when she heard the phone ring. Could it be...him? she wondered with equal measures of dread and anticipation. When she picked up the phone and answered it, saying a careful hello, she heard the unmistakable click and dial tone and that was it.

For the next few days, until the end of the school year, Molly walked around the campus as if she were in a daze. It was just as well that exams were done and things were winding down, because she was so absent-minded even Meena noticed. She had not told Meena what had happened. It was her secret and Sherlock’s and she felt it wouldn’t be right to discuss it. He deserved his privacy, junkie or not. She had still watched for him, but only saw him once, and only from a distance. He had not rung her again, and she was sure it had been him, so she figured he had thought everything between them a horrible mistake.

Despite herself, she still longed for him. That one night of passion had been perfection, everything she dreamed of.

Just before school let out for the summer, her period arrived on schedule. Molly had been relieved of course, but a tiny part of her had wished she could have had a permanent remembrance of that night.


 

Years passed, lonely years where Molly compared every kiss from a potential boyfriend to the ones she had shared with the curly-haired man who had captured her heart. No kiss measured up, and as soon as any relationship got to their first kiss, she ended things, whether it was a guy trying to kiss her on a first date, or waiting till the third. She’d been ruined for life by Sherlock Holmes and his perfect kisses.

As a new graduate doctor of pathology, Molly quickly found a job at St. Bart’s. Her friend Meena, with whom she had remained friendly over the years, had informed her of a job opening there, saying somebody named Barnes had just quit. Molly immediately applied for the position and with only one interview, secured the job. Her stellar record spoke for itself.

It was Meena who casually mentioned that the arrogant guy from uni was now frequenting Bart’s and he was a “consulting detective.”

‘“Such a silly, made up name.” she said. “He hasn’t changed over the years. Still hot and still a complete arse to everyone. He’s the reason Barnes quit, so I guess at least one good thing came out of it, now that you are here.”

When Mike Stamford told her on almost her first day at the hospital, that he was “assigning” her to Sherlock, he explained that the man found it difficult to work with others.

“If anyone can get him to behave better, it will be you,” he assured her confidently. “He won’t be able to fault you like he did the others. Your work ethic speaks for itself.” Molly was gratified at the compliment , but nervous at the prospect of meeting him again after so many years. She was wondering if he would recognize her as the girl he had made love to so many years earlier. Unfortunately she could not decide whether she wanted him to remember or not.

In the end, he didn’t remember, not really, although there was obviously some flicker of recognition when they were introduced, because he asked if they had met before. She wondered what he would think if she said ,”yeah, we lost our virginity together about 12 years ago.” Of course she could never say anything like that, so she just said they hadn’t met.

So, she started working with him as “his” pathologist, whenever he was there for a case. She looked forward to those times he would come in, her heart would start beating faster and her nervousness would manifest itself in that annoying stammer.


 

After six months of working together he finally knew her name and was nicer, in his own way, to her than anybody else, even Mike, whom he had know for years since his uni days.

One day she had finally plucked up enough courage to ask him out for coffee, and he completely missed the point, so she retreated back into herself, resigning herself to the fact that he was never going to remember that they had met years earlier. He still didn’t date, as far as she knew, which was at least some comfort.


 

A few more months went by, and Molly met a guy named Jim. She proudly introduced him to the detective, telling herself she was going to move on, no matter what. She was humiliated however by the dismissive way Sherlock reacted, and by the deductions he made so rudely about Jim. When her new “boyfriend” turned out to be a psychotic killer, the pathologist was mortified. To be quite honest, she hadn’t really liked Jim that way in any case, was just trying to see if she could get any sort of reaction from Sherlock. In a corner of her mind she had been hoping Sherlock would get jealous and realize he wanted her for himself, but it didn’t happen.


 

Christmas was coming, and it was a few days before Christmas Eve. Sherlock was finishing a case for which she had done the post-mortem, and he rather surprisingly asked what she was doing on Christmas Day. She made a flippant comment, saying she had no plans - yet. Sherlock then mentioned he and John were having some friends over for drinks if she wanted to come, then he called over to Lestrade, who happened to be in the lab at the time, “Hey, Geoff, feel free to come to Baker Street for drinks too on Christmas.”

“No can do, Sherlock,” replied the detective inspector who had apparently given up on correcting the sleuth for getting his name wrong. “Off to Dorset that day, need to get away for a few days.”

“So, what time do you want me there?” she asked Sherlock.

He merely shrugged and said, “Whenever.”

Immediately after work that day, she went out shopping to buy gifts for Mrs. Hudson, John and of course, Sherlock.

On Christmas Day she dressed very carefully in a black dress, one that was eerily similar in style to the one she had been wearing that fateful night many years earlier. She styled her hair carefully, thinking to herself, “This is my chance, perhaps now he’ll notice me, now that I’m not wearing a lab coat.” She was such a fool.

Oh, he noticed her of course, and insulted her in the process. His apology afterwards was sweet and sincere though, and that little kiss on the cheek was another thing for her to treasure in her heart.


 

It was several months later when Sherlock waylaid her as she was on her way to a lunch date. She had once again decided to try and move on from these ongoing feelings she continued to have, and had accepted a request to go out to lunch with a fellow doctor. She had just been leaving for the date, when along came Sherlock, as usual, overriding her objections and insisting she help him with a case he was working on. Once again, her heart started to betray her, as she allowed him to assert his will over her, instead of going through with her lunch plan. She had to admit to herself then that she still, despite herself, loved him.

Molly found herself as usual, mesmerized by the way Sherlock was so focused on the task at hand, to the extent where he even called her John. At the same time, she sensed a sadness in him.

Something tugged at her tender heart. Despite Sherlock’s outward show of arrogance and superiority, she could tell he wasn’t truly happy. She tried, in her shy way, to assure him she could see the real man beneath the layers.

She asked him at one point, “Are you okay? And don’t just say you are, because I know what that means, looking sad when you think no-one can see you.” She had remembered her dad putting on a brave face during his pancreatic cancer, but had seen the expression in his eyes at times when he thought nobody was looking at him. There had been a world of sadness there. The pathologist saw that in Sherlock, although she didn’t understand how she knew it was so. She just did.

It actually shocked her somewhat when he said, quite seriously, “You can see me.”

She shook her head and said, “I don’t count.” She had not been trying to get him to say that, she just wanted him to acknowledge his inner sadness, to acknowledge that he wasn’t really happy. Then she offered him her help, knowing she would do anything to erase the sadness from his eyes. She would have given herself to him, if it would have made him happy, because she loved him.

“And what could I need from you?” he finally asked, and she knew that once again she had been making a fool of herself. She was tempted to say, “you might not need it, but you have my heart, Sherlock. You’ll always have that.”

She had to get out of there then, pretending she was going to get some crisps, but in reality going to the toilets to cry her heart out. Who was she kidding anyway, he was never going to want anything more than friendship from her, and she just had to deal with it.

Over the past couple of weeks she had been watching the news, watching Sherlock’s reputation be ripped to shreds, knowing absolutely that what the reporters were saying was not true, seeing the net tighten around him. A web of lies and deceit was being told about him.

She was just turning off the lights in the lab later that night, ready to head home, when a voice from the darkness startled her.

“You’re wrong, you know.” And Molly’s heart began to pound as she looked into the shadows and saw the man she loved.

She gasped and then he said, “You do count. You’ve always counted and I’ve always trusted you.” And then he looked at her.

Chapter Text

Sherlock tried very hard to forget about that night, well, not really that night, because he didn’t remember it, but the morning after. The memory loss and what it had led to was enough to make him re-evaluate things and he cleaned up his act, and took himself off to rehab, much to his brother’s relief.

When Mycroft asked about his turnaround, the young man had merely shrugged. “I just graduated, so I need to think about getting into the work force.”

As the years passed, he found himself thinking less and less about “The Night Of M,” as he had re-labelled it in his mind palace. Once in awhile he’d go into that room and try to pull something new out of it, but it remained the same, hazy and unclear to the point where he would get frustrated with himself.

As he got busier though and started working in tandem with Lestrade at New Scotland Yard, those long ago memories, or non memories faded until they were just a blip on the radar of his life.

The bodies from murders were always sent to St. Bart’s. Sherlock, who had known Mike Stamford from his uni days, often went there to examine the bodies after the post-mortems had been done. It infuriated him that the pathologists were so useless. They would either forget to do something important in determining the cause of death, or miss some evidence entirely. He had gotten into shouting matches with these incompetent fools on several occasions and one-by-one they had quit. Good riddance too, he thought.

And then he met the newest pathologist, Molly Hooper. The first time he was introduced to her, he’d had this odd sense of having seen her before, but had attributed it to the fact that he had probably seen her when walking down the hospital corridor.

Here at last, he found someone competent to work with. Molly Hooper knew what she was doing, and she did not miss things. She behaved...appropriately. A few months after they started to work together, his pathologist, as he had begun to think of her, had even offered to get him coffee. That had been nice of her. He remembered that for some reason she had applied lipstick in the middle of the day, and then, weirdly, took it back off. She was a strange one, but that was okay, she had a silly, morbid sense of humor and made terrible jokes. He even found himself laughing at them once or twice.

After awhile he noticed, because he observed, rather than just saw, that she had some sort of crush on him. He’d been a bit amused at that, and on a couple of occasions had used her, just a bit, to make sure he got what he wanted.

In time, her crush seemed to fade and she appeared in the lab one day while he was investigating an important case. She had introduced some new guy named Jim, and he had wondered what the guy was up to, because he was obviously gay. By this time, the consulting detective was beginning to feel a bit protective of his pathologist. He wondered why she would choose an insipid guy like Jim, when obviously she could do much better. Hell, she’d be better off with him, if it came to that, he thought, and then wondered where on earth that thought had come from.

After “Jim from IT" had been exposed as a criminal, Sherlock had been glad, although he still felt a little protective of the petite pathologist. Hopefully the criminal would leave her alone.

Things after Moriarty had more or less returned to normal when Mycroft asked for his help to find a way to get a cameraphone away from some woman named Irene Adler. Sherlock’s first meeting with her was rather uncomfortable. The woman walked into the room where he was sitting under false pretenses, and she was completely naked.

He had suddenly had a flashback, one he’d never had before, that of another woman with brown hair and smaller breasts. Her face was still shadowy, but unaccountably he had suddenly felt desire, not for the woman who was naked in front of him, but the woman he barely remembered. It had been several years since he’d thought about that kiss too. The feel of her lips had been so innocent. He tried to compose himself and concentrate on "The Woman” as she called herself. He had to give her credit for her brazenness, but he secretly despised her, even though he was intrigued by her intellect.

In the middle of the case involving Irene Adler, the detective found himself inviting his pathologist - at Mrs. Hudson’s suggestion, for drinks at Baker Street on Christmas Eve.

Molly never talked about her family and she seemed to have very little social life. When he asked her to join him on Christmas Eve, she said she didn’t have any other plans - yet, so he assumed maybe she was waiting for a better offer.

She did turn up though and he felt a strange twisting in his gut. She looked very...attractive, he thought. She had made an effort, and then he saw the bag with the pretty red package and deduced she had found a better offer after all, and was just stopping in for a drink before her real activities of the evening. He found himself saying some truly horrible things he did not mean, lashing out at Molly. How dare she find a better offer when she was HIS pathologist. There was a sick feeling in his stomach as he rudely took that little package and stared at it, ready to look at the label and memorize the name of the arse who was her reason for dressing up.

And then he read the label, and with a sense of shock and guilt saw he had it all wrong. How could he have been so wrong? The gift was for him. Oh, he felt ashamed, and poor Molly, burning with her embarrassment, told him off, which he richly deserved.

He, who never apologized, because he was always right, found himself apologizing to her because for once, he had definitely been wrong. He kissed her cheek, and was just thinking how soft it was, when he got a text alert from “The Woman.”

The dominatrix almost got the best of him, but she failed in the end. Out of a sense of honour though, because she was almost his intellectual equal, he saved her from being executed months later.

Oh, she had been quite grateful, offering her body to him in thanks for saving her, but he was not interested. Her proposition had however caused him to have another flashback of slipping down a shoulder strap and cupping the breast of M.

It was a few months later when Moriarty turned up again. Jim Moriarty was a formidable foe indeed. Thank God for Molly Hooper. She kept him sane during a time when he was trying to figure out what the criminal’s angle was. It was a little disconcerting though, to know his pathologist seemed to have some inside information about himself when she told him that day in the lab that he looked sad. When she said that he could have anything he needed from her, he suddenly realized what a good friend she had become. He could trust her implicitly. Even when he pushed her away, she came back.

And then Moriarty’s net began to close around him. The criminal mastermind was weaving an intricate web of lies to discredit him. On the day he revealed himself in the guise of Richard Brook, finally Sherlock understood that he was in danger, the man was unhinged. He needed to make plans, dangerous ones, and the only person he could trust to help him was Molly Hooper.

He took a taxi to the hospital and waited for her in the lab. When Molly turned off the lights, he spoke from the darkness. He had to make her understand that she did count, she was important to him. He had a plan though, one that required her assistance. He had a feeling that Jim Moriarty didn’t just want to discredit him, the man wanted him dead, so, in fact, he was going to have to give Moriarty what he wanted.

When Molly looked at him, asking what was wrong, he suddenly felt a need to be closer to her. Then, when she asked him what he needed, he knew she would give him anything he wanted, because that was the kind of woman she was.

When he found himself only inches from his pathologist, and said “You,” she had gazed at him wide-eyed. He had only meant to feather a kiss to her lips, a thank you of sorts, for being there for him whenever he needed her.

He leaned in to gently touch his lips to hers and felt a warmth spread through him that compelled him to continue it, to explore a little. Her mouth felt familiar somehow, very sweet and then her hands came up to tangle in his curls and he suddenly knew. It was HER. All those years ago - M. M for Molly. A sweet young girl who kissed like an angel, his angel.

He pulled back, needing to say something. “Molly, it was you.”

She was fearful, he could tell. “I...I don’t know what you are talking about, Sherlock,’” she said, backing away from him. But he knew she was lying.

“Yes you do, Molly, you’re M.”

“M?” She questioned nervously. She couldn’t back up any further, she was against the wall and he stalked her, like a predator.

“You left your phone number - M,” he told her, putting an arm on either side of her so she couldn’t escape.

He could see her chest rising and falling quickly, matching his own. “Admit it Molly,” he told her silkily, leaning into her once again so their lips were only inches apart.

“Wh...what do you want me to admit?”

“That it was you at that nightclub, that it was your scent I could smell on the bedsheets the next morning. I can tell, I can smell that same scent right now.” And he could. It was doing things to him, attracting him.

When she still seemed disinclined to speak, he switched tack. ”I am guessing I didn’t get you pregnant, did I?”

“N...no.” God, she's beautiful, he thought, exulting at her final confirmation. How was it he had not realized it earlier? She was the one who haunted his dreams.

He slid his arms around her and closed the last few inches, kissing her again, this time with long, lingering kisses. Her low moan spurred him on to keep going, as he continued to hold her closely to himself.

Then, because he couldn’t help himself, he stopped kissing her to ask, “So, how did my ‘technique’ measure up to the guys who came after me?” He knew it was none of his business, but he just wanted to know, seeing as he didn’t remember what happened, if he had at least not been completely useless in bed.

She stared at him, shocked, and he felt reprimanded for his nosiness. “I’m sorry, Molly. I shouldn’t have asked. That’s totally your business and nobody else’s.”

“Sherlock,” she whispered, “There’s never been anyone else - just you.”

He could not help the surge of gladness that passed through him, she was really his and only his. He pressed his forehead to hers and asked, “Why not, Molly? It has been, what - 14 or 15 years now?”

“Every man I dated, I compared to you, Sherlock,” she told him shyly. “You kissed me and it felt so amazing, so perfect, that no kiss from another man could measure up to it, and I would break up with him immediately afterwards.”

“Interesting,” he murmured, suddenly finding the prospect of kissing her neck rather appealing. He trailed kisses down the column of her throat and she let out another moan. He thought idly that she was wearing far too many clothes - a blouse, a cardigan, a jacket. She still even had her handbag slung over her shoulder. He was going to have to change that very soon.

“Sherlock,” she gasped. “We shouldn’t be doing this. You said you needed my help.”

He stopped kissing her, a little irritated by her interruption. He thought for a moment why he had come, because he had not been planning a seduction, after all. “Like I told you, I think I’m going to have to die. I need your help in pulling it off so that I don’t really die. I have a number of scenarios to plan for in order to outwit Moriarty, but we can talk about that later. There is a chance I will really die, despite my best efforts, and right now, I’d just like to do this.”

He captured her lips once more and felt his need to be with her rising. She was so perfect.

She struggled away from him once more and he almost groaned. “You are saying you might really die?”

“It’s a definite possibility,” he admitted.

“I don’t want you to die, Sherlock,” she said, and he could see tears gathering in her eyes.

“All being well I won’t, but if I succeed, I shall need a place to stay for a few days afterwards.”

“Of course you can stay with me,” she said, as a tear trickled down her cheek.

“Molly, I have a question to ask you.”

“What question?” her voice was almost fearful.

“Are you fertile right now?”

He saw her blush and thought it was totally adorable. “No, I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure that part of my cycle has passed. Why?”

He gave her what he hoped was a seductive smile. Apparently it worked because he felt her tremble. “Because I was not expecting this to happen and again, I have no protection. And I fully intend to make love to you right here, right now so that this time I can remember it - unless you say no.”

She gave him her answer by standing on tiptoes and pressing her lips against his.

.../.../.../.../.../

Back in 221B Baker Street, Molly Hooper gave a little sigh in her sleep, before nestling herself more firmly into her fiancé’s embrace.

Chapter Text

It was the last thing she had expected.

When Sherlock's lips had met hers, a fire ignited within her immediately, one that had been dormant for many years, since they had made love, in fact.

As he continued to kiss her, her hands crept up to tousle his beautiful locks, to feel them again. And somehow, he remembered her.

She couldn't believe it, had resigned herself to the fact that he would never remember, and she certainly had no intention of reminding him.

Yet here he was, and he needed her assistance to help him pretend to die, only he might really die anyway. Her heart ached at the thought.

All these years she thought she was strong, didn't need a man, until she suddenly realized the only reason she felt that way was because there was only one man she'd ever truly needed, and he was before her now, asking to make love to her.

She felt again the war within herself, her head telling her she shouldn't do it. He was only doing this because he needed her help. But her heart had been aching for him and her body was singing the same tune, and she was unable to resist.

There was no need for her to say the words, actions were enough as she stood on tiptoes to kiss him. Then his hands moved to either side of her face and he was kissing her with more urgency, more need, and she could feel the raw passion building between them.

He released his hand from her face to say, "Get rid of that damned handbag already," and she did so. Then he was sliding off her jacket and unbuttoning the one button of her cardigan.

She went next, tugging at his scarf and pulling it off, then helping him remove his Belstaff.

He kissed her again, hungrily, and with less clothes between them she was suddenly cognizant of how much he wanted her. He might be doing this just because he needed her help, but his body was ruling his brain, just as much as hers was.

Sherlock's hands moved to touch her breasts through the fabric of her blouse, and then he was unbuttoning it just enough that he could pull it over her head as she willingly reached upwards for him. He fumbled at the clasp of her bra, cursing as he had trouble with it, until Molly reached around and unclasped it herself. He did the honours, pulling it away from her body and tossing it aside, then buried his face between her breasts, his hands touching them first, before his mouth captured first one rosy peak, then the other, offering his homage to them, even as she clutched at his hair and whimpered. He lavished them with kisses, then returned to capture her mouth again as this time her hands found his single suit jacket button and opened it, followed by the buttons on his shirt.

They were both struggling to breathe as she helped Sherlock slide jacket and shirt off in one swift motion. Once again, Sherlock pulled her body towards him so they were skin to skin. She loved the feeling of his warmth against her.

"God, Molly," he muttered, "you're so perfect."

As one they removed shoes and socks, trousers and pants and stood naked before each other, he proudly male and unashamed, her blushing shyly at his frankly assessing gaze.

"Don't be shy, Molly," he told her huskily. "You have a beautiful body." Then he muttered to himself, "I wish we had a bed, but we'll just have to make do."

He scooped her into his arms and then settled her on the edge of the lab table. She winced for a moment at the cold contact, but forgot it almost at once as the man she loved told her, "Put your arms around my neck, love."

She knew it had slipped out, knew it was just a casual endearment, but it was still the word she wanted to hear. The blood pounded in her ears as firmly grasping her hips, he took her for his own, making her forget everything in the world existed, apart from him, and that he was here, with her, loving her as she wanted to be loved.

Afterwards, even as his body still shook with the aftermath of his passion, he gently lifted her off the table and set her down. She thought he would leave her then, but he didn't. Instead he continued to press kisses to her lips and face, even as his fingers evoked sensations in her until she shuddered and cried out into his mouth as he covered it with his own, still kissing her. Her legs trembled so much that she would have been unable to support herself, if he had not been holding her tightly to him.

Finally, he said, "That was - unforgettable. Thank you, Molly. I will cherish this memory for as long as I live, however long or short it may be."

At his words her tears came - tears of fear for his safety, tears that he had not told her he loved her, merely thanked her, and tears of guilt and shame because once again, she had given herself to him so utterly, betraying her own long held values.

They got dressed and after that, Sherlock was all business as they discussed the different scenarios. Molly had a few suggestions of her own, one involving him falling onto a huge inflated mattress, which he initially scoffed at, but then added to his list of possible scenarios. Each of the 13 projected scenarios had a different label, from Operation Lazarus, to Operation Jesus, Operation Resurrection and so forth. If and when the time came, the appropriate message would be sent and Molly, as well as Mycroft and Sherlock's homeless network would know which one to implement.

In the end, Operation Lazarus was the one Molly received a text alert for, and the plan was, thank God, successfully implemented.

On that day, the day of "The Fall," as Sherlock referred to it, Molly was on tenterhooks both before and after - before of course out of dread at the thought of losing him forever, and afterwards nervousness, as she hoped he had safely made it to her flat and let himself in unnoticed with her spare key.

When Molly entered her flat, closing the door behind her and calling quietly, "Sherlock?" he came from her bedroom, wrapping his arms around her before twirling her around. "We did it, Molly, we did it!" he exulted.

Then he was kissing her again, making her want him, and oh how she loved him. And he wanted her too, picking her up in his arms and carrying her to her bedroom. They made love again and it was love for her, even if it was just sex for him. She really didn't know. He never whispered words of love, nor did she dare to. He would be gone soon. He had already told her he would be leaving almost immediately after the funeral. He couldn't or wouldn't tell her where he was going, only that it was dangerous, and he might yet die.

She had accepted it, understood it. Sherlock Holmes was exiting her life, probably for good.

On the day of the funeral, she had attended it, seen the grief on the faces of Mrs. Hudson and John. She didn't need to pretend her own grief, it was just as real, for shortly he would be dead to her as well. There had been no protestations of love, no sign that she meant more to him than a friend who he found sexually compatible.

When she arrived home after the funeral, he was gone. There was no note, he had not even said goodbye.

She had called in sick the next day. Mike had heard the distress in her voice and told her to take as long as she needed to grieve. He didn't know she wasn't grieving for a dead man. She was grieving for her lost innocence once again, for her foolishness in loving a man who could never love her back.

He was dead to her, or he might as well be.

A year and a half after Sherlock left, Molly met Tom. When she first noticed him at the other end of the pub, where she had gone at the insistence of friends, she had thought for a moment it was Sherlock in his trademark coat, that he was back, and her heart had skipped a beat. The man had moved closer and she saw she was mistaken. He had seen her looking at him, however, and had taken it as an invitation to begin chatting with her.

As it turned out, Tom was a few years younger than Molly and she was flattered at the attention. His slight resemblance to Sherlock drew Molly in, and they began a relationship.

Tom was a pretty decent bloke, except when he was wasted, which happened sometimes. He was never physically violent with her, just hurled an accusation at her occasionally when she wouldn't sleep with him. He had a nice family, who welcomed Molly and made her feel wanted. With no family of her own, except an estranged mother with whom she had not spoken in years, the prospect of having a family to care for her was what led Molly to accept Tom's proposal.

She convinced herself she was doing it for the right reasons, even if her heart knew it was more out of loneliness. She wanted a family of her own someday and she was a woman in her mid-thirties with no other prospects in sight.

If Tom thought being engaged would mean they would start having sex though, he was sadly mistaken. He knew she went to church, and she had told him she didn't believe in pre-marital sex, and he had accepted it, somewhat grudgingly. She hadn't really thought as far ahead as the wedding night, when he would probably find out she was no virgin. If she had told him the truth though, she knew he would have pressured her, with the reasoning that if she could compromise her values for one man, why not him too? Yes, Sherlock Holmes was her proverbial thorn in the flesh, the one man who could manipulate her to the extent that she would do anything for him, even sleep with him, because she loved him.

She was a fallen woman and she knew it. Sherlock might have taken "the fall" but she was the one who really fell, into his arms every time. Her Achilles heel, God forgive her.

People at work knew that Molly and Tom were engaged, but she didn't wear her engagement ring to work, telling herself it was a nuisance to have to put her gloves over it when she was doing her frequent post-mortems. In her heart though the ring represented entrapment, a course she had set for herself that she didn't really want but felt she needed, for stability's sake. So really, how could she fault Sherlock for not knowing the score when he turned up at the hospital unexpectedly? He didn't know she was engaged to someone else.

Molly had only been engaged for a month when Sherlock walked back into her life after two years. Her engagement was the furthest thing from her mind when she saw him in the reflection of her locker mirror.

Instead, she had done what any woman in love would have done. She had flown into his arms and kissed him. And just like that, she was back on that emotional rroller coaster of emotion, soaring one minute, tumbling the next.

Chapter Text

The two years away from London had left its toll on Sherlock, both physically and mentally. At the very end, betrayed by his own unfortunate use of an English exclamation of pain due to a horrendous migraine he experienced, he had been discovered as a spy in the Serbian terrorist cell. Were it not for Mycroft’s timely arrival, he would most likely have been tortured to death.

As it was, picking up the pieces of his life back home was going to be more complicated than he thought.

Sherlock had been prepared to face John’s wrath at keeping him in the dark about the fact that he was still alive, but his friend had expressed far more vitriol than he had expected, and he had the bloody nose and split lip to show for it. Maybe it was the comment about the moustache that had caused such a violent reaction, but really, it aged John terribly. His new woman, Mary seemed rather nice.

And then it was time to see the woman who had occupied his thoughts far more than he had expected while he had been gone.

He was not expecting such a violent reaction in another kind of way from her, when he turned up in the locker room. In fact he had been a bit worried she might be angry with him for leaving her without a word of goodbye. He had thought of leaving a note, but really, what was there to say? Thanks for the really awesome shags, I’ll always remember them? Gotta go, wish me luck? It was all too complicated and she was too much of a distraction. But on those endless days of tracking down operatives in Moriarty’s seemingly endless network of international accomplices, he would often, despite himself, think back on the two occasions they had made love - well, the two that he remembered. It had been a mistake though, unfair to her.

The first time, in the lab, it had been to reassure himself that he was really a man, capable of pleasing a woman. The second time he had been so jubilant at succeeding in saving his friends as well as himself, he had felt the passion rising within him, and she had tempted him with those lovely lips and sweet body, and he had been unable to show restraint, carrying her off to the bedroom. Being in a bed had definitely been an improvement from the lab table. He had been able to lavish her body with kisses and touches, needing to remember it, storing it in his mind palace, in the room that was Molly Hooper. After that though, there had been no time to indulge in his carnal desires. He had a network to dismantle and plans to make.

The day of the funeral, he had disguised himself and sat in the very back of the church, listening to the eulogy of his best friend and the moving words said by those who cared about him, John first of course, his best friend, then Lestrade - Graham? Geoff? Why could he never remember the man’s name? Better to just leave it at his last name - Lestrade. Then, Mrs. Hudson. Finally had come Molly, who despite knowing he was not really dead, had had such an expression of grief on her face it had almost brought him to tears because he was hurting her, had hurt her. He cursed himself for his weakness where she was concerned.

Following the funeral, as Mycroft made the final arrangements for him to leave, Sherlock had worn a disguise and stayed at a motel. He waited for the false gravestone to be erected, and followed John and Mrs. Hudson to the cemetery. He had taken off his disguise and stood in the shadows, close enough to listen to John.

Those words of “Don’t be dead,” had almost broken him, but he had headed to the car that was waiting for him, and to his unknown future.

And now, Molly Hooper was kissing him, kissing him as if they were lovers who had been separated for too long, and he felt that stirring within him once more, the need to be with her, only her. Despite the split lip and the discomfort of it, he kissed her back, putting his arms around her, pouring out his feelings of missing her into that kiss. If he could have found somewhere private, he probably would have made love to her again, then and there. God knows he wanted to, he wanted to feel her sweet body under his once again, but he had not yet officially returned to the land of the living. There were others to whom he needed to reveal himself first, so he had pulled back from her, and they stood, breathing somewhat unsteadily as he forced himself back into his shell.

“Are you really back?” Molly asked. “For good?” There was no recrimination in her tone. No words of anger at his precipitous departure that he had been expecting.

“I’m back for good,” he affirmed. “But I have people to see before I make it official. The timing of my name being cleared is quite fortuitous.”

“I missed you,” she said, and her eyes were so expressive and open he wanted to crush her to him and kiss her again, but instead he just said, “I have to go. I’ll talk to you later.” He saw the hurt in her eyes, but if he admitted he had missed her too, inevitably they would end up doing exactly what he had no time for at the moment.

The next few days were spent in establishing things back to the way they were before he left. After a rather shocking reveal to Mrs. Hudson, she gladly took him back as a tenant and that was that. He started working on the big case for Mycroft.

When John still refused to associate with him, much less return to being his assistant, he thought of one person who might be able to help - Molly. Beautiful, intelligent Molly. It was a Tuesday and she was not working, because she had worked the past weekend, he had checked with the hospital.

After more than two years since he had texted her, he did so now. “I need to see you. Come now, if convenient. If not, come anyway.”

He waited, somewhat impatiently, for her arrival, feeling his heartbeat unaccountably quicken when he saw her through the window. Forcing himself to control those wayward emotions, he did not turn until she entered the flat, (having been given access into the building by the ever vigilant Mrs. Hudson) and spoke to him.

He shoved his hands in his dressing gown pocket. Keep it casual, he ordered himself. He was merely asking if she would solve crimes with him, be his assistant. Perhaps in some small way it would make up for his neglect since he had seen her at the hospital. She had every right to be upset with him, and he was unsure about whether she would even want to spend time with him. But she looked so sweet, and so eager.

When their words had crossed, and hers had been “have dinner,” Sherlock knew she wasn’t upset with him.

“I’m sorry,” she told him, blushing furiously. God, she looked exquisite when her face was flushed, as it had been when they were in the throes of passion. “I misunderstood.” And she began to babble. “Of course you wouldn’t want to have dinner. You’re a busy man. You have a life to reconstruct. Mrs. Hudson says you haven’t reconciled your friendship with John, so that’s something you need to work on and...”

He had to shut her up in the only way he could think of. He kissed her - and she responded. It was eminently more satisfying without the split lip. He felt that surge of passion rise within him as soon as their lips met. What was it about this woman that tempted him beyond reason? She defied logic, overwhelmed his ordered mind so he could not think clearly. The outside world disappeared until all he could think of was her, how her lips felt under his, how her body pressed against his without conscious thought.

Vaguely he thought he had not asked her here for this, but he couldn’t remember what other possible reason there could be when she felt so good. Then the doorbell rang. His first client. Reluctantly, he released her and she staggered. He gripped her arm to steady her.

“Client,” he informed her in a voice that was deep from the desire he felt. “Are you staying? Will you assist me?"

“Yes, of course. I’ll help you.”

“Thank you. You can take off your scarf and jacket if you like, gloves too.” He had to bring things back to an even keel.

“Okay.” She took off those things as he brought over a chair for her to sit on.

The client entered and work began. Molly was a little shy, saying she was fine “being John.” He almost laughed at her. The idea of this appealing woman who made his heart beat faster being John was laughable indeed. But he merely contented himself with saying “You’re not being John, you’re being yourself.”

He felt a little proud of how quickly he was able to deduce the solutions to the problems he was presented with. Molly was as impressed as John, to see him in action, and it was rather - affirming. He wanted her to admire him, as she had done before he left, show her he hadn’t lost his touch.

When the last client left, Molly said. “Well, this has been fun, Sherlock, but I should really go now, if you’r done with clients.”

He didn’t want her to leave, not yet. Then he remembered the hat. The guy had asked him to come and see him about something when he had time.

“I do have another case to look into, if you want to come? I have to return the guy’s hat anyway. Come with me?” The detective entreated, hoping he didn’t sound too desperate . He didn’t want this day to end.

He held out his hand to help his pathologist stand, and she took it. When she stood though, she was too close to him, their bodies were touching and she drew in a shaky breath. Their gazes locked.

“Molly,” he said huskily and, unable to stop himself, he bent his head to kiss her. Then as their lips met he realized he had to continue, to finish what they had started earlier.

Chapter Text

Since Sherlock's return and that one kiss she had initiated, Molly had been consumed alternately by guilt for kissing him, being an engaged woman, and by longing to see him again.

She had pretended nothing was wrong when Tom asked her why she was so quiet, but when Tom kissed her, his face would be replaced by an image of Sherlock in her mind. But he didn't kiss the way Sherlock did. His lips didn't cause hers to tingle. Slowly, but surely, Molly was withdrawing, although she pretended nothing was amiss, and her fiancé was happily oblivious to her inner thoughts.

When Sherlock's text finally came in, she lost no time in going to see him. She wanted, no - needed to see him. All thoughts of Tom disappeared from her head.

She was embarrassed when she arrived and Sherlock started to move towards her, saying her name in that sexy voice of his, discombobulating her to the extent that she blurted out the "have dinner" thing without meaning to, then trying to back track when she realized he had only been asking for her help. Therefore, it had completely confused her when his words belied his actions and he kissed her again. He was an enigma, cool and efficient one moment, hot and passionate the next. Where the kiss might have led if the doorbell hadn't rung, she didn't know.

She was shy at first, acting as assistant, afraid she would mess up, but Sherlock had explained to her his deductions with each client, and she had been impressed by the swift deductions and simple solutions. In between clients, he would tell her the next case and its circumstances. Once the clients were gone, she decided she should go. She had enjoyed being with him, but she could feel a palpable sexual tension between them. Well, maybe he didn't, but she was very aware of him. Sherlock's request to accompany him to return some hat had convinced her that he too was enjoying her company. Then, when she stood, she realized she wasn't the only one after all who was feeling the electricity between them.

As Sherlock kissed her, and continued to kiss her, urging her mouth open so he could deepen the kiss, she was shocked by how easily she was falling yet again. He was like a drug to her, one she couldn't stay away from, and yet, being with him felt as easy and natural as breathing.

His long fingers moved to her blouse, undoing just enough buttons so he could pull it over her head, and she lifted her arms for him, allowing him to do so, before she in turn fumbled at his coat button and the shirt buttons beneath. Her fingers trembled with the force of her emotions. She couldn't think straight, and Sherlock gently pushed her hands away so he could finish unbuttoning his shirt and throw it haphazardly on the floor. Then he reached for her bra, trying to unclasp it unsuccessfully until she, this time, removed his hands and did it herself, tossing it onto his shirt.

Sherlock crushed her to him, his hands rubbing circles on her back, even as Molly tangled her fingers through his wonderful hair, luxuriating in the feel of him against her, their heated bodies touching. When he bent down and picked her up in his arms carrying her to the bedroom, a tiny voice told her this was so wrong, but she pushed it aside. How could something that felt so right be wrong?

She just knew she loved this man, had always loved him.

He laid her ever so gently on the bed, then continued to kiss her until her body was pulsing with need. One hand remained under her head, as the other moved gently down her throat, his thumb feeling her frantically beating pulse, before settling on her breast and circling it gently. She gasped as his finger grazed the sensitive peak, and her gasp seemed to serve as fuel for his own fire.

He removed his mouth from hers to grate, "I want you, Molly."

She used the opportunity to try and get her thoughts in order. She wanted him too, but this was oh so wrong. "We..we should not be doing this."

"Why?" he asked, nipping at her earlobe. "We're both consenting adults. Unless you are not consenting? Your body says otherwise, your pulse is racing as fast as mine is."

She struggled to remember why it was wrong and came up with an answer, even as he feathered kisses along her jawline and his hand moved to her other breast. "Sherlock! I...I might get pregnant..."

He stopped then and she felt both relieved and disappointed. She watched as he opened his bedside drawer and fumbled in it. He drew out a square, foil packet and tossed it at her. "Any more objections?"

Apparently there were other women she wasn't aware of that he had been with since her, and her eyes blurred with tears. "Was this your plan all along, Sherlock, to just seduce me? How many other women have you been with?"

His eyes widened, and he ran a hand through his hair, suddenly flustered. "Nobody, Molly, I swear. When would I have had time for that sort of thing? Mycroft gave them to me as a joke the other day. He seemed to think I needed a good shag before I got back to work." He rolled his eyes.

"So you...I am just a shag to you?" Tears spilled down her cheeks. She didn't want to think of him as only wanting her for sexual gratification.

He put a hand on either side of her face. "God, no, Molly. I would never think of you like that. You know I'm a man of science, not ruled by sex. I tossed those things into my drawer. I wasn't planning to use them or even thinking of needing them. But you do things to me, Molly, things I don't understand. There's this thing inside me when I'm with you. It's like a hunger, or maybe you're a drug to me, I don't know." He searched her face, uncertainly. "I thought you wanted this too, but if you don't, you had better just leave now." He was breathing hard and he turned away from her, obviously trying to get himself under control.

And she couldn't push him away, she just couldn't. Whether it was just desire or love, he wanted her, needed her, and she was too weak when it came to Sherlock Holmes. She always would be. So she rose onto her knees and wrapped her arms around him from behind. "Don't shag me, Sherlock. Make love to me."

He was still a moment, then he twisted to embrace her once again, kisssing her urgently this time, his hands moving with more assurance as he grasped her breast firmly, then moved to strip her of the remainder of her clothes, before removing his own. She sat there, naked and shivering, waiting for him to come back to her.

He made the necessary preparations, obviously unpracticed as he ripped the foil packet with hands that trembled. She knew then he had spoken the truth, was unsure of himself. She was no help either. She'd only been with him three times, after all, and they hadn't used any protection.

The task eventually accomplished, he continued to kiss her, touching her, readying her, until at last, he was with her and it was as wonderful as it had been two years earlier. Her body remembered him, enveloped him in her waiting warmth and she could have cried with the pure joy of it, being with him, the only man who ever made her feel this way. It was only afterwards, when she lay encircled in his arms that she suddenly realized why this was so wrong, even more than the shame of compromising her own values yet again. She was engaged to someone else. The guilt hit her full force and she scrambled off the bed, with the intent of getting dressed and leaving, but his voice stopped her in her tracks.

"You aren't going to love me and leave me, are you?" Sherlock asked in a deep voice that she always found irresistible. She had no choice then. She didn't want him to think she was just in it for the shag either, so she forced herself to say, "Of course not. Don't you have a hat to return?"

Sherlock was getting dressed when the text came in from Lestrade, asking for his help with a strange case. "I guess we have a detour to make. Are you up for it?"

It was all business again. She knew it would be foolish to expect declarations of undying love, he wasn't like that. And besides, she wasn't free anyway. She was the worst sort of woman. Engaged to someone and refusing to sleep with him, but falling so willingly into her former lover's arms. Should she break up with Tom? If she did, was there a chance for an actual relationship with Sherlock? These thoughts whirled around her head, even as she said to him. "A detour? Uh, no problem."

Lestrade's case turned out to be an elaborate hoax someone had perpetrated, and a complete waste of time, as Sherlock remarked, once they were on their way to see the hat guy, Shilcott.

Throughout the conversation with Shilcott and his big train carriage - no, car - enigma, Sherloc kept making little asides to Molly, giving her seductive looks that made her feel as if maybe there was a chance for them if she would just end her engagement. Those looks just made her knees tremble, he was so damned hot.

After the conversation on the stairs, she was ready to confess all, especially when he told her she was the one who mattered the most. The look in his eyes told her he wanted her, but his glance shifted and she froze. He had noticed the ring she had forgotten she was still wearing - Tom's ring. Sherlock took it extremely well, although she heard the raw edge of hurt in his voice - "But you can't do this again, can you?" and the "Congratulations, by the way," after which she hesitatingly explained about Tom. The was no recrimination in his tone though, as he told her she deserved to be happy, then said those parting words, "After all, not all the men you fall for can turn out to be sociopaths." Instead, he kissed her cheek to show there were no hard feelings, he understood. He even smiled, and then he left her. She knew then she had burned her bridges with him. He would not allow himself to be with her again, would never have even considered it, had he known the truth earlier.

And her heart broke as he walked away from her again, this time because of her. It was her own fault.

It was only a couple days later when the news broke about Sherlock preventing the explosion at the Palace of Westminster, the same case she had accompanied him on. John, who had reconciled his friendship with Sherlock, called to invite her over to Baker Street for a celebratory drink, saying that Sherlock had mentioned she was engaged, and inviting him to come as well. She had introduced Tom, forcing a bright note into her voice when Greg asked if it was serious. Oh yeah, she had moved on, she told him, lying through her teeth. She noticed the way Sherlock gave her fiancé a once-over, dismissive glance and blushed. He had to know Tom was a substitute for him, but it was too late to change things. She had made her bed and she was damned well going to lie in it, because she was the lowest of the low. She'd try to make Tom happy. But she still couldn't bring herself to sleep with him.

Over the next few months, Sherlock and Molly maintained a purely professional relationship, seeing each other only when work dictated it. They weren't really talking very much. He was respecting her relationship, keeping his distance.

Unexpectedly, when he was trying to enlist her help for alcohol quantity for John's stag night, he asked about Tom, and she made a flippant comment about having quite a lot of sex with Tom, pretending she had really moved on, that she wasn't staying with Tom just because she had to. She suspected though that he knew she was lying. Sherlock knew her too well.

John and Mary's wedding though, was the straw that broke the camel's back. The way Sherlock looked, dressed up even more than usual, with a tie and tailcoat had unnerved the pathologist. She found her eyes drifting to him over and over, during the ceremony, the best man speech, when he played the violin. She was mesmerized by him, hungering for him so badly that she finally realized she was being unfair to Tom. For months Tom had been pressuring her to set a date for the wedding and Molly had put him off, saying she was busy at work and couldn't spare the time for planning a wedding. On that evening though it became crystal clear to her. It was either Sherlock, or it was nobody.

After the reception, an intoxicated Tom had told her he knew she was in love with someone else and she had admitted it, returning his ring. Molly set aside her dreams for a family and children of her own as she did so. It was not her destiny to be happy. She would always love Sherlock, but she could never tell him so. He probably hated her now anyway, was just putting up with her after she had betrayed him. Moly had made a fool out of him, and she couldn't blame him if he secretly hated her.

But she would always, always love him.

Chapter Text

Sherlock’s thoughts were in complete disarray as he walked towards Joe’s Fish Shop, after he had discovered Molly was engaged to another man. However he tried to deny it, he was hurt, and he felt used by, of all people, Molly Hooper.

He supposed it was his own fault. When he kissed her again, wanting to spend more time with her, making up that ridiculous excuse of returning the hat, to prolong their day together, he hadn’t meant for things to end in the bedroom. He was just planning to kiss her as a way of thanking her. Her lips, however, were so inviting and she seemed as willing to be with him as he was to be with her. She had initially resisted sted though, told him they hey shouldn't be doing it, but he had been too consumed by his own need to stop what he was doing, persuading her to give in to him.

He had been glad this time as well, that he actually had a response for the pregnancy issue and had mentally thanked Mycroft for his unintentionally useful gift.

Worst though, he thought now as he made his solitary walk, was his admission to Molly of how she affected him, what she did to him. He had enjoyed their love making, more than enjoyed it, in fact. He had felt a sense of rightness, being with her. Their interaction during Lestrade’ silly hoax case was fun, but it was when they were with Shilcott that Sherlock had felt the electricity between himself and the pathologist. He kept looking over at her, she looked totally adorable in that funny striped sweater of hers. Molly didn’t dress to please anyone but herself, and he appreciated that.

When they were going downstairs and she asked what the day was about, he told her the truth, how much she mattered to him. He was ready to go have some chips with her and continue the day together into the evening, perhaps make love with her again at the end of it. But then he saw the ring, the ring she had not said anything about, the ring that pledged her to another man. Despite himself, he was crushed. But he was Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes did not exhibit undue sentiment, so he tried to keep his cool, wishing her well, although he felt anger and hurt. He wanted to kiss her once again on the lips, a punishing one, one last farewell kiss that he would have to remember her by, but he couldn’t, not knowing she was engaged to another man, so a kiss on the cheek had to suffice. She was lost to him forever.

Hardest to deal with though, was this new revelation about Molly. For so long, he had considered her so far above him. He had put her on a pedestal inside him, worshipped silently at the shrine of Molly Hooper. He had built up an ideal of her in his head while he had been off dismantling Moriarty's network. His cold, logical self said he could never be worthy of someone like her she was sweet, perfect in every way. She could do no wrong. He, on the other hand, was rude, arrogant. He was also a former junkie.

Sherlock tried to process this new information about the pathologist who had been his, but was no longer. She had slept with him even while being engaged to someone else. For the first time, he realized Molly wasn't this saint, this paragon of virtue. She was human, just like he was. That thought made him feel at least a tiny bit better in light of what had happened. It was most illuminating. He added a file to the Molly Hooper room in his mind palace - Molly is a human who makes mistakes.

Sherlock bought his chips and made his way home, determined to move on, to forget about Molly Hooper. He did however ask Mrs. Hudson when he got home, whether she knew Molly was engaged. She didn’t. Thank God the landlady had not been privy to what had gone on a few hours earlier between his - no, not his anymore, pathologist and himself. He could only be glad that he had taken the steps necessary to prevent a pregnancy. What would happen if she were to fall pregnant and didn’t know who the father was? That would most certainly be a dicey situation.

When Mary turned up unexpectedly while he was still eating his chips, Sherlock was glad of the distraction. It turned out to have been a good thing he was not with Molly, or he most certainly would not have been in time to save his friend. That situation also led to the reconciliation of their friendship,which was a great relief. He asked John too, whether he knew Molly Was engaged, unsure as to whether John had kept in touch with her during his absence. The doctor had no idea, but damn the man, for inviting her AND the fiancé to the celebration over preventing the Palace of Westmimster bombing.

The guy, - what was his name? Tom? - bore a superficial resemblance to himself, wearing his hair in a similar fashion and a cheap knock-off of Sherlock’s beloved Belstaff. The guy even knotted his scarf in the same way, the detective thought, somewhat disparagingly. Why would she want an imitation Sherlock, when she could have the real thing? But he had no right to ask for that anyway.

It was a good thing his life got busy with John and Mary’s wedding preparations. They served to distract him from too many thoughts of Molly. When he was forced to see her, he maintained a professional demeanor with her, never indicating that their previous sexual encounters had meant anything more than fulfilling his carnal desires. Heaven forbid she should think he cared about her as more than a friend.

He couldn’t prevent himself on one occasion though, approaching her for help on determining the correct amount of alcohol to consume during John’s stag night, to prevent the effects of inebriation.

He casually asked about her fiancé, wondering why there had been no mention from her of an upcoming wedding date. What surprised him though was her response to him, telling him that she and Tom we having quite a lot of sex. The way she told him that, without provocation made him certain the opposite was true. She was baiting him, trying to gauge his reaction, but he was not going to fall into her trap. He’d fallen once too often into the arms of Molly Hooper, so he had casually dismissed her comment and continued the premise of needing her help.

When Sherlock helped Mary with the guest seat placement for the wedding, seeing eyeing Molly’s name and Tom’s had felt like a dagger to his heart. They were still together, even months after that night. He had secretly been hoping she would break her engagement, but he was careful to stay out of her way. He was not a home-wrecker.

During the wedding, distracted though he was about doing the best man speech, and solving a case in the middle of it, Sherlock noticed that Molly did not seem particularly happy. Oh, she pretended, of course, in front of the camera blelonging to the would-be murderer, but he saw the way she treated her young man - and young was right - Molly was definitely a cougar in that relationship. He heard the way she hissed at her fiancé to sit down, after his woefully embarrassing “meat dagger” theory. Even Lestrade’s inane dwarf idea had more merit.

The signs of three were there for John and Mary, but the signs of two, soon to be one were there for Molly.

A few days after the wedding, while John was still on his sex holiday - sorry - honeymoon, the detective headed over to Molly’s flat for the first time since he had returned to London. He told himself he was just coming over to apologize for acting so tense with her at the lab, and to explain it had been because he was nervous about the best man speech. It was at least partially true.

The first thing he noticed when she opened the door was that her ring finger was bare, and his heart skipped a beat.

“Why are you here, Sherlock?” she asked. Her eyes were slightly rimmed with red. It looked as if she had been crying.

Instead of answering her question, he asked one of his own, entering her flat without invitation. She made no move to stop him, she seemed defeated somehow. “Why have you been crying?”

“What do you care, Sherlock?” was her terse response. “I haven’t spoken to you outside of the hospital since...that day.”

Suddenly, Sherlock felt angry. Why was she putting this on him, when she was the one who had slept with him while she had been engaged to someone else.

“What the hell else did you expect me to do, Molly? Did you think I was going to pretend you weren’t engaged to someone else? You should have told me. I never,” he swallowed, feeling the traitorous burn of tears trying to rise to the surface, “would never have made love to you that day if I had known you weren’t free.”

Molly's own eyes filled with tears. “I know. I’m sorry, Sherlock. You were gone for two years. You left without saying goodbye, and you never contacted me. Next thing I know, you turn up again as if you’d never been away.”

“As I recall, you were the one who initiated that welcome home kiss, not me,” he grated. Then he realized something. “You were not wearing a ring that day,” he accused.

“I didn’t wear it at work. It got in the way when I’d put gloves on.”

“Were you wearing it that day or did you take it off when I was making love to you?”

“I was wearing it, but I forgot about it. I...you were doing things to me that made me forget I was engaged.”

He raised a mocking eyebrow. “So it’s my fault then for not observing what I normally would have? For allowing you to get me into such a state that all I could think of was you, and being with you?”

She did cry then,the tears coming fast down her face and he longed to wipe them away, despite himself. “N..no, of course not. I know it was wrong, very wrong. I allowed myself to be carried away by my emotions.”

"Well, at least you showed me one thing that day. You made me realize you're no better than I am. you're not perfect, Molly. Before that day I thought you were. So at least one good thing came out of it. I learned a valuable lesson - not to place anyone on a pedestal above myself. I might be cold and arrogant at times, but I would never dream of two-timing someone if I was in a relationship. Not that I have a clue about relationships anyway."

He saw the flush in Molly's cheeks as she said in a low voice filled with pain, "You're right, Sherlock. I'm not perfect. When I think of what I did, it tears me up inside. I should never have betrayed Tom that way with you. You both deserved better than what I did."

“So why did you do it then? Were you just trying to compare me to your new lover, to remember what it was like with us before he came along?” he asked in a harsh tone. It still hurt like hell that she had used him that way.

Molly stared at him with a look of horror on her face as the colour left it, and she was suddenly pale, although her tears continued to flow. “Of course it wasn’t like that. What kind of person do you think I am?”

“Apparently the kind who would sleep with one man while engaged to another,” he said cuttingly, wanting to wound her as he himself had been wounded. He couldn’t take it anymore. Why had he come here anyway? He had always been so good at suppressing emotions, but this woman seemed to bring them out in a dangerous manner. He turned to leave.

The touch on his arm stopped him. “Please, Sherlock, don’t go. I...I have to tell you, I called off my engagement right after John’s wedding.”

Despite himself, even though he had seen the absence of a ring in her finger, he was curious, so he turned back to her. “Why?”

She shrugged helplessly. “Because I wasn’t being fair to him. I couldn’t give him what he wanted.”

“What - fidelity?” inquired Sherlock, the mocking note back in his voice.

“No,” whispered Molly brokenly. “I couldn’t sleep with him.”

Sherlock blinked, trying to process this information, feeling himself going into buffering mode as he tried to make sense of it.

She touched his arm again. “Sherlock, did you hear what I said? I couldn’t sleep with him.”

The detective forced himself to focus. “So, after we made love, you couldn't sleep with him anymore out of guilt?” That fit with his premise that she had lied to him about having a lot of sex with Tom when he had asked about the guy.

“No, you don’t understand. I never slept with him, before or after that day with you.”

Had he heard her correctly? She had never slept with Tom? “Molly,” he said slowly, carefully, “Were you with anyone else while I was gone?”

“Of course not!” She burst out. “There’s only ever been...you.”

He was back in buffering mode. Molly wasn't perfect. Molly was a cheater. Molly had slept with him, not Tom, even though she had been engaged to the man. Molly had broken off her engagement.

That same surge of inexplicable gladness swept through his body again, the way it had two years earlier, when she had told him he was the only man she’d been with. It seemed unbelievable that she could have been engaged to another man and not have slept with him, let alone anyone else she might have been seeing.

He suddenly realized she was truly free now, available, and apparently still his. Desire shot through him even as he realized it. Molly was still looking at him beseechingnly, and without really thinking about it, he put his arms around her waist and pulled her towards him, wiping the tears from her cheeks with the pads of his thumbs, then bending his head to touch her lips with his, feeling her mouth open automatically in invitation. He deepened the kiss, wanting her to know things were okay between them. But then she pulled away.

"Sherlock, I don't understand why this is happening. I don't deserve your kisses. you can't possibly consider forgiving me after the way I betrayed you."

"You're not perfect. Neither am I. Am I still hurt about what you did - yes. Am I still angry - no. This puts us on a more even playing field."

"But do you forgive me, Sherlock? Really, truly forgive me?"

"Oh for God's sake, Molly, would I be kissing you like this if I didn't? What's done cannot be undone. I told you how I felt about what you did. You didn't try to justify it in any way. As far as I'm concerned it's a closed chapter. Now come back here and kiss me like you mean it."

She responded by flinging her arms around his neck and raining kisses all over his face, murmuring "Thank you, thank you," in between each one.

Chapter Text

Molly was so done with Sherlock Holmes. He was back on drugs.

“How dare you throw away the beautiful gifts you were born with, and how dare you betray the love of your friends! Say you’re sorry!”

And he had the nerve to say, “Sorry your engagement’s over, although I’m fairly grateful for the lack of a ring.”

As if he didn’t already know. As if that beautiful, perfect night together had meant nothing, had never happened.

Those stinging slaps had not just been because of the drugs. They were also because he had disappeared after that night, and she had not heard from him in almost a month.

All for a case indeed, she railed at him in her mind. I was just a distraction for you while you were in between cases.

That night, as she had done almost every night since she realized it had all been a lie, she cried. Perhaps he had been punishing her for the way she had betrayed him? Why did she keep doing this to herself? Why did she give herself wholeheartedly to a man who would not, could not ever love her back?

The worst part was that this last time he had come to her, she had allowed herself to believe he really cared about her. After the rocky start to their conversation, it felt like things had finally gone right for them. He didn’t need to leave, she wasn’t engaged - they were free to love and be loved. And he had loved her so well. Their bodies remembered each other, as if they were linked by something unseen. For her, she knew it was love. When he had said sweetheart, she had dared to hope perhaps he was feeling that same love.

Romantic fool, she berated herself, as tears stained her pillow again.

The next day, Molly’s world blew apart. No sooner had she gotten to work than she heard the news. Sherlock had been shot the night before. In fact, he had died on the table, but somehow, despite all the odds, his heart had begun to beat again on its own. He was out of danger, thank God. No major arteries or organs had been hit. It was, in short, a miracle.

At that moment, when she heard how close to death Sherlock had been, all of the pathologist’s anger dissolved. Whatever he had done in the past, was doing to himself now, he didn’t deserve to die. She also knew, irrefutably that she loved him overwhelmingly, unconditionally. She might be angry with him, hurt by him, but her love was undying. There would never be another man for her, just as there had been no man before him. Whether he knew it or not, he was her world and she would have willingly laid her life down for him.

Molly found it extremely hard to concentrate on work that day. She had a post-mortem scheduled, but Mike, noticing her distress, assigned it to someone else. Fortunately people knew she and Sherlock were friends in a way, so they weren’t surprised at how distraught she was. In fact, once it was time for lunch, Mike told her to take the rest of the day off - after going to visit her friend, of course.

Molly entered Sherlock's hospital room hesitantly. He looked so deathly pale she was frightened for a moment that something had happened, and he was dead. She walked over to him, resting a gentle hand on his cheek, and was relieved to feel its warmth. She choked back a sob, thinking again of how close to death he had been.

She leaned over and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “I love you,” she whispered to the unconscious man in the bed. She was about to leave, when she had the urge to just give him one kiss on his lips. He would never know, but it would make her feel better, so she leaned over him once again and pressed her lips to his.

She was startled when his eyes opened as she was about to pull away. “Don't go,” he rasped, in a voice that was almost unrecognizable as his own, it was so weak.

“Don’t try to talk, Sherlock,” she begged.

“Water,” he managed and she poured him a glass, holding it to his lips so he could drink.

He looked so weak and helpless, in a way she had never seen before, and her heart broke for him. “You’re going to be ok, darl...Sherlock,” she quickly amended, hoping he was too out of it to hear her little slip of the tongue. She wanted so badly to take care of him, to nurse him back to health. She ached to do it, but he couldn’t know that, mustn’t know that.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. What was he apologizing for? For leaving her yet again? For getting back into drugs?

“Don't worry about that now,” she told him. “You have to save your strength, to get better.”

He shook his head. “Just remember, Molly, it’s for a case.”

She had no idea what he was talking about so she patted his hand placatingly. “Alright, Sherlock. I had better go, you need your rest.”

“Kiss me first.” She had not been expecting that, but who was she to argue with a man who could have died, who had died, yet lived.

She bent over him once again, and delicately laid her mouth against his, intending for it to be a mere brush of the lips, but he lifted his head from the pillow, so their contact was stronger than she had planned. Their lips met and held for several seconds, until his head dropped back to the pillow in exhaustion.

Without really thinking about it, the pathologist reached up to stroke the curls on his forehead and kiss it, as he closed his eyes, saying sleepily, “Come back tomorrow please, Molly.”

“I will,” she promised and left the room.

She went home, not remembering how she got there, then returned to work the next day, not remembering what she had done the night before. All she could think about was Sherlock.

Molly went to see him again at lunchtime, arriving just as a woman was leaving his room. Was that...the woman, Mary's maid of honour? What was she doing visiting Sherlock?

She had no sooner slipped into his room when she saw the newspapers, tabloids, on the bed. ”Shag-A-Lot Holmes,” "7 Times a Night in Baker Street,” and “He made me wear the hat.” Molly saw it in one swift glance and her face burned. So this was why he had not come back to her. He had been busy exploring his sexuality with someone else, with that woman. She spun around, her eyes blurring with tears, ready to flee, but his voice stopped her. It was a lot better today, no longer raspy from having a tube stuck down his throat when he had been intubated.

“Remember my words, Molly, please.”

She tried to think back to his words. What had he said the previous day? That was it - “It’s for a case.”

She turned back to him and perched on the edge of the bed, trying to not let her voice tremble. “So you shagged her for a case. Whatever, it’s your life, Sherlock. You can do whatever you want. I have no claim on you. I’m a big girl." She turned slightly, blinking rapidly to clear the tears that still threatened to fall. She would not let him see she was affected by this, by the fact that he had been with another woman since her. It made sense really. If he had discovered he enjoyed sex, why wouldn’t he want to experience it with more women? They would flock to him in droves. He was devastatingly handsome after all, a catch for any woman.

Her hand clenched convulsively on the sheet, and suddenly, his larger one was covering hers. “They’re tabloids, Molly. Look at me,” he commanded, and his voice was deep, with a note of authority in it, so she obeyed. “Janine lied. She wanted revenge on me for using her to get to Magnussen. He’s a low-life who preys on people’s ‘pressure points’ to blackmail them. Conveniently, I discovered that Janine was his personal assistant. So I went out with her a few times.” His hand tightened on her. “I didn’t sleep with her, Molly, I swear.”

“It would be none of my business if you did,” she stated.

He squeezed his eyes shut and she could see he was in obvious pain. Her heart softened, until she saw that he was in physical pain, not necessarily emotional pain. His morphine was set at the lowest level.

“Do you need to increase your morphine level?” she asked in some concern. She didn't want him to be in pain.

‘No,” he managed. “Trying to get off...the drugs.”

Molly was proud of him for his fortitude, his pain had to be excruciating. “You had better rest,” she said.

“Come see me tomorrow?”

“Alright,” she whispered.

But the next day he was gone, and nobody knew where he was. He ended up back in the hospital via ambulance. Sherlock would not explain his precipitate departure, but he did behave himself after that. Sherlock Holmes was nothing if not a survivor.

Molly visited him for several minutes each day, observing that his colour was looking better, he was getting stronger. When she wasn’t working, she took the Tube in to see him. They were trying to mend their friendship. They didn’t discuss their past, or Tom, or Janine. They just talked, mainly about work.

The detective told her more about Magnussen and his blackmail schemes. On the one occasion where she asked if Sherlock knew who shot him, he cagily replied, “The sssailant wore a balaclava.”

She sensed he was hiding something, but if he was, it wasn’t her place to demand further information.

Once Sherlock was released from the hospital, he continued taking cases, but Molly knew his long term one was the Magnussen one. As Christmas approached, he hinted to Molly that something big would be going down soon.

Molly could see the strain in his face, and that he was losing weight. She was worried about him, so she started inviting the detective to her flat for a meal every now and then, just to reassure herself he was getting some nourishment . They hadn’t kissed since that day in the hospital after he’d been shot, and their relationship had returned to the way it had been before he remembered their tryst during their university days. The pathologist resigned herself to the fact that this was the way things were going to be from now on. Her one consolation was knowing he was not seeing anybody else. It was as if he had shut himself off again to the idea of anything more then friendship.

It was a surprise therefore, when the detective showed up on her doorstep unannounced the day before Christmas.

Molly opened her door and stood aside to let the man she loved enter. She felt a little self-conscious, having come home from work, taken a shower and put on pyjamas, intending to have a night in, watching crap telly by herself. The last time she had seen Sherlock a few days earlier, he had mentioned he was headed to Sussex with Mycroft to spend Christmas with his parents. John and Mary had been invited too, although it seemed their relationship had been strained for several months as Molly observed when she popped over to their place for occasional visits. She attributed it to pregnancy hormones on Mary’s part, although Mary always seemed to be happy enough to see her. Molly and Mary had developed a friendship over the past few months. The pathologist was fascinated to watch as the other woman’s pregnancy progressed, although she was secretly envious.

At times, she imagined what it would have been like to be pregnant with Sherlock’s baby, and she half-wished it had happened. Having his child would have given her another focus in life besides the man himself, and she longed for a baby she knew she would probably never have. If it wasn’t going to be Sherlock’s baby , she knew in her heart she would remain childless. Her engagement with Tom had at least made that crystal clear. Molly Hooper was a one man woman.

So here she was in her pyjamas and a dressing gown which she had hastily put on before answering the door.

“What’s going on, Sherlock?” she inquired, after shutting the door.

Sherlock seemed tense, agitated even. He paced back and forth restlessly, until she put a hand on his arm to stop him.

“Sherlock, stop pacing and tell me what is going on with you. You look terrible.” And he did look pretty awful, to the point where she wondered if he was back on drugs. “Are you....are you high?”

He looked at her then for the first time since entering. “Of course I’m not high, why would you think that?”

“Maybe because you’re pacing around my flat like a caged animal and ignoring me.”

The sleuth stared at her. “I’ve been trying hard to stay clean since I was shot. I can’t afford to slip up, it’s too important.”

“What’s too important?”

Instead of answering her directly, Sherlock said, “I’ve made a deal with the devil.”

“Sherlock, what the hell are you talking about? Are you sure you’re not high?” He was acting like it.

Instead of answering this time, he pulled off his scarf and took off his Belstaff.

Definitely high. And oh, he has to be wearing my favourite aubergine shirt too. Stupid traitorous body, she thought, even as the detective removed his suit jacket as well. What on earth was he doing?

Then he pulled up his shirt sleeve and thrust his arm at her. “Look at it Molly. I’m not high, see for yourself.”

So she looked. She saw unmistakable signs of previous drug usage, but nothing recent. “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re not high, but I still have no idea what you are going on about. What’s this ‘deal with the devil’ you are talking about?”

 

“The day I disappeared from the hospital, I saw Magnussen. I made a deal with him. That deal goes down tomorrow.”

He continued, "I offered up my brother‘s laptop with private government information in exchange for some files on a person of interest in a case I have going on.”

“Are you insane?” asked the pathologist, horrified. “What could be so important that you’d betray your country?” She couldn’t wrap her head around it.

“You don’t understand, Molly, it’s a very carefully crafted ploy to draw him out and have his place searched for evidence of the blackmail he has been using on numerous people. He will be sending a helicopter to pick me and John up to go back to Appledore.”

She starred at him wide-eyed. “Why would John go along with this ridiculous notion?”

‘Uh, actually, he doesn’t know about it yet. But I’m sure he’ll support me. I can’t say any more about it to you right now.”

"That’s a hell of a risk you’re taking. If this plan of yours doesn’t work, you’ll go to jail for treason. Did you even think about that?”

“Of course I did, but it’s a risk I have to take. People’s lives are on the line.”

She shook her head and her lips began to tremble. “So is yours, Sherlock. Your life, your future. You could be throwing it all away.” She felt dread washing over her, and her body began to shake. Why did he always have to be so noble? Why was he always willing to put his life on the line for others?

He put his hands on her shoulders. “That’s why I had to tell you, just in case...things don’t go according to plan.”

“Okay, Sherlock, you’ve unburdened yourself to me, so you can leave now. Good luck. I hope your plan works. If not, I’ll come visit you in prison.” She twisted away from him, struggling to control the bile that was rising in her throat. Her heart was thumping painfully in her chest.

“Don’t send me away, Molly,” he said and she heard the raw note of pain in his voice, the same one she had heard when he had discovered she was engaged and told her to be happy. His arms wrapped around her tightly from behind. “Please, I need you.”

And, God help her, she needed him too. This time she twisted around to face him, to tell him she needed him as well, but she didn’t get the chance. His lips came down on hers, hard, demanding, and she surrendered to it. He crushed her body against his own, holding her tightly. His kiss changed to one of less force, yet more intensity as his hands moved along her back restlessly. She kissed him back, offering up all the passion she had stored within herself since their last encounter, putting her hands around his neck.

Somewhat wildly she thought this might be her last chance to be with the man she loved. She desperately wanted to tell him she loved him, but she didn’t dare. She didn’t want him to pull away from her, to tell her he didn’t feel the same. As long as the words remained unspoken, she could pretend he felt the same way. She knew he still wanted her at least, that was quite obvious, not only from the way he was kissing her, but from the way his body, pressed so tightly against hers was responding.

She almost cried with disappointment when he removed his mouth from hers. But it was only so he could untie her dressing gown and slide it off her shoulders. Then he swept her into his arms and took her to her bedroom.

Sherlock continued to kiss her after laying her down on the bed and lying beside her. He only stopped to say, “Do I need to use protection? Could you get pregnant?”

She knew it was wrong, very wrong, but she lied anyway. “No, Sherlock. I can’t get pregnant right now.”

Chapter Text

Sherlock felt a powerful surge of emotion as he lay on the bed next to Molly. He hadn’t really thought about the potential outcome when he went to see her, to tell her what would be happening tomorrow. He supposed he should have, though. Intense conversations with Molly always seemed to end up in the bedroom.

His intentions had been good after the last night they’d spent together, when he knew she was free. He felt their relationship was ready to go to the next level, that maybe they could even do things together outside of work. He cringed at the idea of using the word “girlfriend,” to describe her, but he supposed that was what he was considering, as he had left her that night. Wasn’t that what people who liked each other a lot did - called each other boyfriend and girlfriend? He was still grappling with the notion that he might actually love Molly when he arrived home after the most wonderful, glorious night of passion he had ever experienced. Well, let’s face it, every night of passion he had shared with her had been special. Being with her felt so natural.

The following evening Sherlock was about to text Molly to see if she would like to come over and work on an experiment together, maybe grab some dinner while they were at it - baby steps, he told himself. But his attention was diverted by an unexpected visitor.

Lady Smallwood turned up at Baker Street, begging him to take a case, to thwart the machinations of newspaper magnate, Charles Magnussen. The name rang a bell, and Sherlock remembered Mary’s maid of honour mentioning at the wedding that she worked for the man as his personal assistant.

Sherlock took the case. The more he heard about Magnussen, the less he liked him. He hatched a plan which involved getting close to Janine and manufacturing a drug habit to get the newspaper man’s attention.

Everything had gone to plan, except for John taking him to see Molly to get a drug test. He had realized they had not spoken in a month, not since that night. He had been so busy obsessing over Magnussen, and going out with Janine, he had not had much time to think about Molly. He knew she was going to be angry and he didn’t blame her.

Of course, his drug test was positive, and his woman was positively fierce in her harsh words to him. Sherlock accepted her stinging slaps, knowing they were for more than the positive drug test results. Of course, he’d had to make that remark about being grateful for the lack of a ring. After all, he would not have known Molly had broken off her engagement if they had not been together that night so soon after John’s wedding. That was their secret, which had to be kept at all costs.

The game was on however, and he had to continue it. He had purchased an engagement ring, not a real one, of course, but it looked real. He needed to get into Magnussen’s office to find those files Lady Smallwood was requesting, so the proposal would gain him entrance. It had all backfired however.

Sherlock, who prided himself on his observation skills was completely nonplussed to find Mary, of all people, already in the newspaper man’s office, about to kill him. The one good thing that had come out of his almost fatal gunshot wound, was that Molly visited him each day. She would not have done so if she didn’t care. They had rebuilt their tenuous relationship, even as he continued to make plans to get at Magnussen. Now there was Mary’s future to be considered as well. The newspaper magnate had discovered her past, which was why she had been planning to kill him on that night. Sherlock was determined to save everyone from further blackmail, especially Mary, and he made that fateful deal for Christmas Day.

The day before the big event was to occur arrived, and Sherlock suddenly realized he could not leave Molly in the dark about it. His plan was risky and he felt an overwhelming need to see her one more time, just in case things did not go as planned.

And now, here he was, and he was burning for her, aching for her. She was always there for him. Not once in the time he’d known her had she let him down when he needed her.

“No, Sherlock. I can’t get pregnant right now.” He knew he should use protection anyhow, especially in light of the fact that she had it available, but if he was honest, he didn’t want to take the time to deal with it. He just wanted to be with her, feeling her body united with his.

He pulled Molly back into his arms, giving her slow, lingering kisses. Despite his own need, he had to show her how much she meant to him. He felt her fingers on his shirt buttons, unfastening them one by one, and then her hands were on his chest. He loved it when her hands were on him, but he didn’t let her keep them there long. He pulled away, tugging at her pyjama top, lifting it upwards. Molly raised her arms obligingly so he could pull the impeding material off. He wanted to feel her against him again. It had been too long.

He pressed her down on the bed, covering her chest with his. She was so warm, so incredibly soft. His lips found hers again. Oh, God, they were the sweetest lips on this earth, he thought. But her lips weren’t enough. He wanted - no needed - all of her. His mouth moved, as he feathered kisses downwards until he reached his target, those lovely, sweet curves. What was it about her breasts that compelled him to touch them and kiss them? he wondered, even as he lavished those perfect mounds with kisses until Molly whimpered and began to move her body in need.

“Sherlock, please,” she whispered, arching upwards, and he paused in his caresses to remove her pyjama bottoms, dispensing with the remainder of his own clothes so he could feel Molly's body against him fully.

Still, he needed to show her without words how important she was to him. Sherlock savoured every part of her body, exploring her sweetness with his touches and his mouth until Molly was panting with the need she was feeling. He adored her cries of passion, cries that were for him alone, capturing her lips with his own after they were finally joined completely.

And he loved her with his body and with his heart and with his mind. Molly Hooper, the one who mattered the most. He didn’t rush things, moving slowly, sensuously, exulting in the complete warmth and compliance she gave him. It was only when she entreated him with soft pleas, that he allowed himself to be swept away with his own need, his own response fulfilling her needs as well as his own, until he finally collapsed against her, sweetly spent and exhausted.

Sherlock would have moved off of her body, but she held him tightly against her, refusing his separation from her. Instead he supported some of his weight with his elbows and gave her more soft kisses between steadying breaths.

It was several minutes before Molly’s hold on him relaxed, and he was able to shift position to lay beside her. She automatically turned so he could spoon her from behind. Her body fit perfectly into his, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that belonged together. A deep contentment settled over Sherlock. At least he had another special memory to put into the Molly room of his mind palace. Whatever happened with Magnussen, he would always have this perfect night to remember.

Sherlock slept for awhile, and woke to feel Molly’s hands upon him, caressing him, this time she was the one pressing kisses against his face and his chest. This time she used her mouth and hands to express her need.

Her touch excited him and, even though he knew time was short, they made love once more.

He held her afterwards, sated and satisfied, allowing himself half an hour to stay with her. He listened as Molly’s breath became a regular rhythm once more and she slept. It was only then that he carefully disengaged from their embrace and got dressed. He pressed a soft kiss to her forehead and she stirred but did not wake. "I think I may just love you, Molly Hooper," he said softly. Then he left, off to meet his fate, whatever it held.

His plan backfired, badly. He had seriously underestimated the newspaper man. He had never dreamed, never anticipated that the magnate would have a mind palace of his own. All the files Sherlock was hoping would incriminate the man were inaccessible, housed in Magnussen’s own head.

He did the only thing he felt he could do to protect John, who was the innocent partner to his botched efforts, to save Mary, whose past Magnussen could so easily expose in order to destroy her life. He couldn’t let that happen. So he shot the blackmailer in the head. Problem solved for others, but a new one for himself.

Even as Sherlock held his hands up in surrender, he thought of Molly. Thanks to his supreme arrogance and belief in himself, she was the one who was going to be hurt by this.

Over the week that followed, Sherlock was kept in solitary confinement, and his demons came back to haunt him. He couldn’t get it out of his mind, the way he had shot a man in cold blood, evil though he was. Guilt overwhelmed him and he was tormented by it, needed an escape.

When Mycroft told him he was being sent on a dangerous mission, the one he had said on Christmas Day would prove fatal in around six months, Sherlock resigned himself to his fate. He knew he deserved his punishment. He wanted to talk to Molly one last time, but really, what was there to say? She had been right, and he had been a fool. She deserved better than him anyway. All he did was hurt her.

Sherlock was given an hour at Baker Street to pack for his one-way trip. In that time, Sherlock took up his secret stash of drugs, made a list for Mycroft of the drugs he was using, and sought the escape from his thoughts with a mindless high.

Then fate intervened in the timely display of Moriarty’s image being projected all over London. A crazy, high-induced dream was enough to convince him to get off the drugs once again.

Sherlock knew Moriarty was dead, but the criminal always thought like a chess player, calculating his moves well in advance. All Sherlock had to do was wait for the next move. At least one good thing came out of it, he was saved from certain death because London needed Sherlock Holmes once again. A manipulated image of the Magnussen shooting footage meant his freedom.

But Sherlock still didn’t feel worthy of Molly. He was too ashamed of what had happened and told John to explain to her what had transpired with Magnussen. He knew she would forgive him, as he had forgiven her about Tom, but he couldn't forgive himself.

The next time Sherlock set eyes on Molly was shortly after Rosamund Watson's birth, when he came to see the baby, and Molly was there too.

Being asked by John and Mary to be godfather to the baby was a bit surprising. How could he be a godfather to a child when he didn’t believe in God? More disturbing though was that Molly was asked to be godmother, along with Mrs. Hudson.

Sherlock wanted to avoid Molly, he felt he couldn’t face her, but the christening forced them together. She looked absurdly beautiful too, he thought, despite himself. That adorable head wrap which matched the flowers and huge red bow on her dress - his heart almost stopped at the sight of her, although he made sure to not show he noticed. The sleuth made certain they were not alone. Molly had also not sought him out. He carefully avoided her gaze during the service and had also avoided conversation with her during the little after party that followed the christening. He couldn’t contemplate a future with her anymore. He was a murderer.

Thoughts of Molly were pushed to the side as he embarked on another case, this one involving the secrets of Mary’s past. Once again, Sherlock felt compelled to help his best friend’s wife.

In the end, a miscalculation on his part as to a woman’s dangerous state of mind, led to Mary taking a bullet for him, dying in his stead.

A guilt worse even than that sustained by Magnussen’s death swept over Sherlock. He might as well have pulled the trigger that killed Mary. This time a friend died as the result of his superior attitude.

The fallout was bigger than when he had returned to London after his two year exile. John refused to speak with him. On the one occasion he had ventured to see his friend, Molly happened to be there, babysitting. Despite himself, he had drunk in the sight of her holding the baby, feeling an unaccountable sickness in his stomach for what might have been with them, wildly thinking what a good mother she would be. She looked so beautiful, holding the infant, and so...motherly. It had almost broken his heart when she gently told him John wanted nothing to do with him. Her eyes were so sad, so haunted, and he longed to take her in his arms, to tell her he was sorry about everything, but it was too late for them. He had lost everything, his best friend, his best friend’s wife, and worst of all, the person who mattered most to him, a petite pathologist named Molly Hooper.

And then came the DVD from Mary, telling him to go into hell so John would save him. With both nothing to lose and nothing to live for, Sherlock returned to the oblivion of taking drugs, waiting for a big case. A visit from a mysterious woman caused him to begin his most dangerous case yet, to expose a serial killer named Culverton Smith.

Chapter Text

Molly paced the floor of her front room, waiting for the kitchen timer to go off. As she waited, she reflected on the events of the past weeks since she and Sherlock had spent that unforgettable night together. This had been the one she knew would haunt her forever. It had been perfect. Even though neither of them had expressed words of love, she had felt he loved her by the way he treated her that night, by his tenderness and devotion. He showed her by his actions rather than words how much she meant to him.

Molly worked on Christmas Day, as she usually did. She had no close family to spend time with, and working was her little contribution to ensure that her colleagues could spend time with their families. She checked her phone every hour, hoping for a text from Sherlock, waiting for news of what had happened with his plan.

Christmas Day came and went with no word from Sherlock, and Molly started to worry. She thought about texting Sherlock to ask him what had happened, but was too afraid of seeming pushy. Instead, she texted Mary who told her the grim news. Sherlock had killed Magnussen, and he was being held in solitary confinement, while Mycroft’s government department was deciding how to proceed.

Molly was devastated. She had been afraid for Sherlock, yet sure things would work out for him because he always came through in the end. He always had a contingency plan for everything, as when he had faked his death. It was Mary who let her know on New Year’s Day that Sherlock was being sent on a government mission the next day to get him out of the country, rather than have him imprisoned.

At the time of his departure, Molly saw a television screen at the hospital display the late criminal Jim Moriarty’s image. Apparently it was all over London, on every television. It was that which halted Sherlock’s departure. Again, it was Mary who told her, havingg heard it from John, who got it from the horse’s mouth himself, that images of Sherlock shooting Magnussen had been doctored. It now appeared he had not shot the fatal bullet, but that a trigger-happy government associate in one of the helicopters coming to Appledore had caused the fatal gunshot wound. So Sherlock was free.

The pathologist did not understand why Sherlock wouldn’t come to her, whether it was guilt or embarrassment. Again, according to Mary’s informative texts, Molly knew that Sherlock had been manically solving cases, waiting for ‘the big one” to arrive post-humously from Moriarty.

Mary’s baby made an unexpected arrival in the middle of January, and Molly was now dressed to visit the infant for the first time at the Watsons’ flat, but before she did so, she needed to take care of what she had been putting off for several days now.

The kitchen timer rang and Molly walked slowly to the bathroom, both fearing, yet anticipating what she would find. She picked up the stick and looked at it, confirmation of what she already knew in her heart - two pink lines. She was pregnant. She stared at it for a few moments, not knowing whether to be glad or sad, then decided it was the best thing she could have wished for. She had dreamed about having Sherlock’s baby for half her life, and now it was coming true.

There was just one small problem. She didn’t dare tell him. She knew he would have to be told eventually, but for now it was her little secret. She had deceived him, made him think she could not get pregnant, yet that night had done everything to make sure she would, holding him to her after they made love, praying fora miracle to occur.

Molly did not know where things stood anymore with Sherlock and herself. The fact that they had not spoken at all, nor texted since that night did not bode well for a future relationship, but Molly was going to lavish their baby with love, whether Sherlock was a part of his or her life, or not. She was so ready to be a mother, had been ready for years.

When Molly arrived at the Watsons’ flat later that day, she was nervous when she found that Sherlock was there, along with Mrs. Hudson. She hoped Sherlock, with his keen powers of observation, would not notice anything strange with her. Fortunately he seemed distracted. He was on his phone the entire time she was there. Just as well he didn’t notice she was only pretending to drink the celebratory glass of wine. In fact, he seemed oblivious to her presence completely.

Molly was flattered to be asked to be godmother to Rosamund, along with Mrs. Hudson. She was a little surprised to hear John ask Sherlock to be godfather though. Sherlock did not even believe in God. How on earth would he guide a child in a Christian walk? Not that she was a saint either. Um hello, she had just contrived to get herself pregnant without even an engagement ring on her finger. She had cheated on Tom with Sherlock. She was far from being a saint, and she knew it. She would probably never get away from the guilt of her actions. She was a hypocrite herself. Right or wrong though, she still couldn’t really regret what had happened the day before Christmas. She still believed Sherlock was her one and only, and she was faithful to him and him alone even without any outward sign of commitment. And she had wanted to be a mother for so long. The baby was innocent and had been conceived in love, at least on her part.

The christening soon afterwards for Rosamund was a rather awkward affair. Molly was quite shocked by the way Sherlock stayed on his phone during the sacrament. He just didm’t take it seriously, but why would she expect him to? Sherlock seemed to have reverted to the way he was back in the bad old days, at least as far as she was concerned.

Even at the little party after the christening, he avoided her like the plague. She was pretty sure now that he had just wanted her for sex, not that he loved her. Plenty of men out there just liked a good shag without the commitment. She would not have thought Sherlock to be one of them, but his actions of late were surely indicating that was the case. Perhaps all along she had been a sex experiment to him. Well, she wasn’t going to let it affect her. She had another life to think about, and that negativity might have an adverse effect on the tiny life she was carrying.

She and Mary started to develop a bond. Molly frequently visited the Watsons to see Rosie, especially knowing that she would be embarking on motherhood herself in a few months. When Mary had inexplicably had to leave London, John asked Molly to take care of Rosie for a few days while he and Sherlock left for an important case. She was happy to take the time off, and stayed over at the Watsons’ flat to take care of the infant. She had plenty of accrued time off, so it wasn’t a problem to take a few days off work. It was all good practice, and Molly enjoyed the opportunity of playing at motherhood.

Mary returned, along with Sherlock and John a few days later. Then came the tragedy of Mary’s death and Molly was devastated. John only told her that Mary had been shot accidentally, asking her to please not press him for details. It hurt too much. However, there was something in Mary's mysterious death for which he blamed Sherlock. John refused to say what it was, however. In an effort to help the grieving widower, Molly volunteered to watch Rosie whenever she was not working.

John gave Molly a letter to give Sherlock, on the off-chance that he should visit, giving her instructions on what to say to him. When Sherlock turned up at John’s flat unexpectedly one day, Molly thought she was ready. She took the note and mentally prepared what she had to say to the detective. What she wasn’t ready for though, was the way her heart lurched when she saw him. He looked so haunted. Telling him what John had said broke her heart. Only the fact that she was holding Rosie at the time prevented her from throwing herself into his arms and sobbing. But later, once John came home from his doctor’s practice and she went home, Molly returned to her flat and cried herself to sleep.

It was a shock therefore, when a cryptic text came through from Sherlock out of the blue weeks later. He gave her a date about two weeks in the future and an address, asking for her to meet him there. She was tempted to just ignore the text, but curiosity got the better of her.

Approximately two weeks later she went to an unfamiliar house, and the door was opened by John Watson. When he told her Sherlock was using again, she felt a cold prickle of dread run through her.

Sherlock came swaggering out of the house and her heart almost stopped. She hadn’t seen him for weeks and he had a few days growth of stubble on his face. She couldn’t help the way her heart leapt. He still looked gorgeous, despite his unshaven state. He was so obviously high though. Even while she was examining him in the ambulance, he was leering at her, muttering totally inappropriate things about her breasts. Apparently his high self remembered what they had meant to each other, even if his normal, ordered mind wanted to forget. He asked if she had put on weight, and her throat had constricted, wondering if he would deduce the weight gain as a sign of pregnancy, which fortunately he didn’t. He had even attempted to kiss her, but she wasn’t going to let him manipulate her that way. Besides, she knew he wouldn’t remember it, if past experience was any indication from their encounter of almost 19 years earlier.

Molly’s examination of Sherlock was very telling. His blood pressure was sky high, his heartbeat irregular. And the numerous new needle marks on his forearm showed her he was killing himself. Suddenly she had to face the possibility that her child might grow up without a father, not because the father didn’t want the child, but because he was dead. Sherlock’s cavalier attitude had been what hurt the most. The way he had told her he was ahead, because her stress could ruin every day of a her life, while his dying could only ruin one had broken her heart anew.

She listened as Sherlock tried to enlist John’s help at catching Culverton Smith. Apparently the two friends were still on the outs. As the men walked away, following Smith, Sherlock had sent one last smouldering look her way. That look served to immediately remind her that, high or not, she still loved him, would always love him.

That night, Molly decided she was not going to tell Sherlock about his baby, not while he was still on drugs. In his condition, she did not think he’d take the news of impending fatherhood well anyway. At the rate he was going, he’d be dead in a few weeks. How had things gone so wrong so fast for him? She felt like she didn’t know him anymore. He was on a downward spiral, retreating into a hell of his own making, and she could do nothing to stop it.

It was a relief therefore, when days later, Culverton Smith was exposed for the serial killer he was. Apparently Sherlock’s descent into drugs had been an attempt to lure Culverton Smith to him, the way he had tried to do with Magnussen, but this time he had gone to more extreme measures. One good thing that came out of it was that John got over whatever grudge he was holding against Sherlock for Mary’s death.

John enlisted her help in watching Sherlock as he dealt with the withdrawal from this latest round of drug usage. John, Molly and Mrs. Hudson took turns in keeping an eye on him. To Sherlock's credit, he was determined to kick it cold turkey, but watching the tremors, and the hot and cold sweats he endured from the withdrawal was hard to bear.

By now, Molly was in her second trimester and beginning to show. People were starting to notice her weight gain. It was rather fortunate that she often wore baggy, shapeless clothes. These were now becoming her daily choice of apparel.

It was one day, as she was leaning over Sherlock in his chair, pressing a wet flannel to his forehead during one of his fevered sweats that the his powers of observation returned to him.

“Molly, are you...pregnant?”

She blushed furiously and tried to avoid answering by saying, “Sherlock, you’re supposed to be concentrating on getting better, not throwing out deductions..”

With a quickness she had not expected, his hand shot out and he pressed it to her belly, feeling the telling tautness there. “I knew it!” he said. There was an intense light in his turquoise eyes as he murmured, “I thought your breasts were getting bigger, and you had put on a few pounds.”

She opened her mouth to explain, to confess, but his next words stopped her. “Well, congratulations. And what does the father think? Is he as happy about it as I’m sure you are?”

Molly looked at the man she loved in astonishment. How could he even think the father could be anyone else? Yes, she had told him she couldn’t get pregnant the last time they had made love, but still...

“He...he doesn’t know,” she stammered.

And the light went out from Sherlock’s eyes. His tone was hard as he said, “You should tell him, Molly. If I were the father, I’d want to know.”

She wanted to shout at him, You ARE the father, you dumb git. But she didn’t. Instead she spun around, as tears blurred her eyes and left him.

She returned home and texted John, telling him she was done looking after Sherlock, if he needed someone to babysit him, it would have to be someone else.

John had been surprisingly understanding, telling her it was fine, Sherlock was past the danger point anyway, and that he’d get Mrs. Hudson to pick up the slack. He also apologized on Sherlock's behalf, for whatever insensitive thing he’d said to her.

After she was done with the texting conversation, Molly buried her head in her arms and wept. The fact that Sherlock could think she would so easily go from him to another man’s bed hurt her more than anything he’d ever said in the past. Hadn’t she shown herself faithful to him over the past 19 years? How could he think such a thing of her? She felt so dirty.

Yes, she had lied, but Sherlock was supposed to be so brilliant. When was she supposed to have met this phantom man and fallen into bed with him?

Over the following days, Molly got several texts from Sherlock that made her feel even worse.

“Sorry for what I said, Molly. Your body is your business.”

And the next one, “I was out of line. You deserve to be happy. I’ve told you that before, and I mean it.”

Finally, “Please don’t shut me out, Molly. You know I care about you and want what’s best for you.”

Yeah, he cared about her, but he didn’t love her. He would never love her now. She’d betrayed him either way, by being with another man, or by lying to him that day when she said she couldn’t get pregnant. There were no more texts from Sherlock, and she couldn’t blame him. How many unanswered texts could you send before giving up? She was in a hell of her own making and she deserved it.

But still, she loved the life growing inside her, nurturing her baby, the only reminder she would ever have of her past with the man she loved with all her heart. She supposed she would tell him one day, once the baby was born, he did have a right to know; but for now, she just could not deal with the stress it would cause, and she wasn’t going to do anything that might cause stress to the baby as well.

When she saw the news about the explosion in Baker Street, Molly was terrified. She took a taxi there, only to be informed by Mrs. Hudson that Sherlock was okay, along with his brother and John, who had been there at the time. The flat was a mess apparently, but the blast had been contained to 221B, and Mrs. Hudson’s flat was relatively unscathed, aside from a couple cracks in the ceiling that had not been there before. Sherlock wasn’t there though, Mrs. Hudson explained. He and John had gone off on a case, presumably to find the person who caused the explosion.

Molly returned home and cried. Once again, she had almost lost Sherlock. That knowledge made her realize she would have to re-evaluate the timing of when she told him about their baby. She cried on and off all day, her hormones were completely shot to hell thanks to the pregnancy. It was later that night when she received the strangest phone call from Sherlock. Not a text, a phone call. She tried to ignore it, not feeling quite ready to deal with it, with him, but when it rang again, she decided to pick it up, just out of curiosity. Sherlock almost never called, he always texted when he wanted something. Granted, she had ignored his last three texts, but still, it just wasn't like him at all.

Wearily she stopped making her honey and lemon tea and answered the call, trying to sound dismissive and not show any sign of the emotions seeing his name on the phone screen evoked in her.

“Hello, Sherlock. Is this urgent, because I’m not having a good day?”

Chapter Text

Sherlock spent several weeks in a drug induced haze. Before it got the better of him, he set a reminder on his phone to be at a certain place at a certain time. He also texted Molly Hooper the same thing. He hadn't texted her in months, but hoped she would be sufficiently intrigued to follow his instructions.

It was all part of the plan to catch Culverton Smith at his own game, and he needed to prove to John he wasn't kidding around.

The day arrived when Sherlock’s phone went off. He was in such a drug induced haze, he barely registered what was happening around him, Fortunately he remembered enough to show Mrs. Hudson his reminder, and she followed through.

Being shut up in the boot and handcuffed in her Aston Martin hadn't been part of the plan of course, but the end result was that he made it to where John was. Molly also turned up to examine him, as he knew John would want a second opinion about whether he was faking things.

He didn’t remember much of Molly’s examination of him. He vaguely remembered making a reference to her weight gain and some lewd comment about her breasts. He did, after all, still remember how good they felt in his hands. He thought he might have tried to kiss her too, but if she had done so, he was sure he would have remembered that. He always remembered Molly’s kisses, even that first one in the nightclub. One thing that did stay in his mind though was that she seemed different somehow. Was it the weight gain and that her breasts seemed to have gotten larger? In his befuddled state, he couldn’t really tell, nor did he have time to dwell on it.

The Culverton Smith case finally did come to a head. Even in his drugged state, Sherlock had managed to capture the man’s confession, predicting that John would come and see him, leaving behind, for old time’s sake, the cane he had used when they met. The tiny recording device in the top of the cane worked.

Before that though, he finally realized, once and for all when Culverton Smith was about to kill him, that he didn’t want to die. God help him, murderer though he was, he didn’t want to die. He wanted to live. He wanted to repair the damage to his relationship with both John and his pathologist.

Finally, his friendship with John was repaired. That talk though, on the day when John had realized it was his birthday thanks to a text from Irene Adler, the resulting conversation had been eye-opening. John, bless his heart, had erroneously assumed that Sherlock harbored secret feelings for the dominatrix. Yes, he had occasionally kept in contact with her, only answering when she pestered him too much about having dinner, at which he would always tell her he was not interested. The conversation though, which had prompted his response about romantic entanglement, had later made him re-evaluate things.

Sherlock thought about Molly and his past with her. He wondered what it was about her that kept him coming back to her. She seemed to come back to him as well, even getting him a cake when John told her it was his birthday.

She and John, along with Mrs. Hudson kept vigil as he detoxed from his latest abuse with drugs. He was slowly but surely improving. It was harder though than it had ever been, and his hands trembled constantly, as his body broke out in a sweat multiple times a day from withdrawal. He was starting to regain his powers of observation. It was on one occasion, when Molly was leaning over him, as she did often, trying to cool him with a wet flannel, always there, ministering to his needs, that he remembered his observation about her weight gain and breast size from that day in the ambulance.

Suddenly the pieces fell into place and it hit him. She was pregnant. PREGNANT! For a brief moment he wondered if it might be his baby, but he quickly dismissed that. She had told him quite clearly that last night when they were together that she could not get pregnant at that time. He could not believe that Molly would deliberately deceive him when it came to something so important, so he had to accept the truth he didn’t want to face. She had been with someone else after he left her.

Sherlock didn’t know if it was a rebound thing, or a one-night stand brought on by the way he had completely ignored her after he was saved from exile.

And it hurt, it hurt like hell. He had had no idea how torn up he would be at the thought of her with another man, especially carrying that man’s baby. He felt betrayed, although he knew he had no right to feel that way. They had never spoken words of love, never made a commitment, but he had thought there was something between them. He thought he had made it perfectly obvious how he felt that last night, even if his later actions had belied the ones from that encounter.

He quickly stuck his hand out and pressed it against her abdomen to see if his suspicions were correct. From Mary insisting on him feeling her belly when Rosie kicked, he understood how the area became firm during pregnancy. Molly's belly was undoubtedly taut in the same way. Then he’d asked about the father, and she had said the guy didn’t know. So apparently it HAD been a one-night stand. There was no other reason why she would not have told the father. His Molly had been with someone else. She wasn’t his Molly anymore.

After she ran out on him, Sherlock felt guilty though. What right did he have to judge her? It was his fault for pushing her into someone else’s arms. He was the one who had decided to avoid her.

Three times he tried to make amends with texts and three times he failed. It was time to let his pathologist go, once and for all.

Once again, his life turned upside down when he discovered Mycroft had a big secret he had been hiding from Sherlock for over thirty years. He had a sister. This same sister was a dangerous woman, had tranquilized John after acting as his therapist. She had posed as Culverton's daughter too, and apparently also some random woman John had been attracted to on the bus. Then she tried to blow up his flat. Thanks to some conveniently placed rubbish skips, Sherlock had escaped death once again, as had John and Mycroft.

It was time to visit Sherrinford and see this woman who seemed to get in and out of the island prison at will.

He met her, the sister he didn't recognize, and she seemed to know him, really know him. When she asked if he'd had sex, he'd immediately thought of Molly, but had tried to act casual with his “Why do you ask?”

The discovery that Eurus was in control of the prison was disconcerting, Mycroft’s admission that she had spent five unsupervised minutes with James Moriarty five years earlier even more so. Here at last was Moriarty’s endgame.

Eurus seemed to have a vendetta against him, and was holding some girl hostage somehow in a plane, thereby holding him hostage as well, forced into doing her will.

A series of tests and experiments served to cut into Sherlock’s psyche, his carefully conditioned emotions that he had successfully suppressed for so many years.

Then came the test with the coffin. At first he had not understood its purpose, trying to deduce what it meant. It was Mycroft who found the lid that said “I love you.” Mycroft was the one who suggested it was about someone who loved him, but he knew better, and so, apparently did Eurus. So, her question about him having sex was a clue she was telling him about. She knew.

But Mycroft also had it wrong and Sherlock knew that too. The test wasn’t about someone who loved him, it was about someone whom he loved. He was the one who would put that brass plate on the coffin if something happened to Molly, and when Eurus confirmed it was all about Molly his mouth had run dry and he had felt more fear than he had ever felt in his life. Yes, he had feared death, he had feared his enemies, but this was different. He feared for her, and the consequences if he could not make her say the fateful words Eurus told him he had to make her say.

A few months earlier, Sherlock would have felt confident that he could make Molly say those words that would save her life, but not anymore. So he hatched a plan. If he could act casual, pretend it was a game, perhaps she would respond. She had always fallen in with whatever he wanted in the past. And that's how it began once she answered the phone, thankfully, the second time. He saw Molly’s image on the screen. She was wearing the same jumper she had worn on the day they solved crimes together. A nice baggy one, he thought idly. You couldn’t even tell she was pregnant in that one, unless you were really looking at it closely.

“Molly, I just want you to do something very easy for me and not ask why.” At least he hoped it would be easy.

She had not responded the way he’d hoped, seeming rather terse. “Oh God, Is this another one of your stupid games?”

“No, it’s not a game, I - need you to help me.” Please help me, Molly.

 

“I’m not at the lab.” Oh God, she had misunderstood.

“It’s not about that.”

“Well, quickly then.” She sounded like she was in a hurry to get off the phone. Perhaps she had other plans that night. He paused, thinking of what to say next, and he could hear the irritation in her voice when he took too long.

“Sherlock, what is it? What do you want?”

“Molly, please, without asking why, just say these words.”

“What words?” Finally, he had her attention, she even smiled a little.

“I love you.” He tried to keep his tone matter-of-fact. They were just three little words, two pronouns with a verb in between, no big deal. But Molly didn’t take it that way.

“Leave me alone.”

Terror washed through him as she took the phone from her ear, ready to disconnect the call. He had to make her listen.

“Molly, no, please, no. Don’t hang up - do not hang up!” He was practically shouting. Why couldn’t she see her life was on the line? Why couldn’t she just do what he asked? Thank God she didn’t hang up, she must have caught the desperation in his tone, although her next words cut him to the heart.

“Why are you doing this to me? Why are you making fun of me?” Why would she think he’d do that? Was he truly such an arse to her? He had to make her understand.

“Please, I swear - you just have to listen to me.”

His blasted sister had to interrupt him, distracting him. What had he wanted to say? Oh, yeah, he’d tell her it was for a case. She was always happy to help him with cases.

“Molly, this is for a case. It’s - it’s a sort of experiment.”

She had misunderstood again. “I’m not an experiment, Sherlock.”

Now he was truly getting desperate. "No, I know you're not an experiment - you're my friend - we're friends, but please - just say those words for me." More than friends, Molly.

"Please dom't do this. Just...just...don't do it." He could see he was hurting her, and it was hurting himself.

"It's very important. I can't say why. But I promise you it is." Why was she making this harder than it needed to be?

"I can't say that. I can't...I can't say that to you."

"Of course you can. Why can't you?" It's three damn words, Molly.

"You know why."

"No, I don't know why." Did he truly mean so little to her? Had he gotten everything wrong? Oh God. Had she fallen for the father of her baby?

"Of course you do." He tried to clear his head. That didn't make sense. She'd been with him, helping him detox. She didn't have time to fall for anyone else.

That infernal ticking sound came again, courtesy of Eurus, reminding him that time was short. He closed his eyes briefly and entreated. "Please, just say it."

"I can't...not to you."

"Why?" She was killing him. Then came the words he wanted to hear, more than anything.

"Because...because it's true." She was barely audible, but repeated, "It's true, Sherlock. It's always been...true." The last words were said in a whisper he barely heard, but he did hear them, his heart lightened, and he was suddenly filled with hope.

"Well if it's true, just say it anyway."

"You bastard."

"Say it anyway." He was feeling more confident now. She did love him after all. Thank God. This would be easy now.

But then she said the last thing he expected. "You say it. Go on - you say it first."

"What?" He was confused now. This was supposed to be about her. But she repeated it, and now she was making a demand of him.

"Say it. Say it like you mean it."

30 seconds left to save her life. If only Mycroft and John were not around it wouldn't be so hard to utter the words he knew were true. All that rubbish he had told them about sentiment and romantic entanglements. He was never going to live it down after this. But he had to do it, for her, to save her.

He looked down for a moment, trying to keep himself under control. "I..." and then he looked up. "I love you."

And then he didn't give a damn if the whole world knew it, he just needed her to know he meant it, so he said it again, looking at the screen, as if she could see him. "I love you."

But the clock was still ticking and he was running out of time. "Molly?"

She was looking at the damn phone, obviously still trying to process what he'd said, maybe trying to discern whether he meant it.

"Molly, please!" Please God. I can't lose her, not now.

And finally, finally, with only two seconds left, she said it. The words that meant she was saving her life, and his own. "I love you."

Of course, after that, he didn't even get to talk with her again. The woman he loved probably thought he wasn't telling the truth after all, because he had hung up on her.

And then to find out his sister hadn't even had bombs planted in Molly's flat. He had put her, and himself, through hell for nothing. He was furious with his sister, so he took his anger out on the only inanimate object within reach, the coffin. And smashed it to pieces.

Eurus continued putting him through hell after that, but finally, the long night was ended. Eurus herself turned out to be the imaginary girl on the plane. John was saved and he had a whole bunch of new memories - well, restored ones to contend with. His sister had killed his childhood friend, and he had repressed so many memories to protect himself.

He understood now. His brain had altered his memories in an attempt to protect him. But the end result had meant that he also suppressed his emotions. Everything, the man he had become could be traced back to this one time period, when his best friend disappeared and Eurus knew what had happened, but wouldn't tell him about it.

Despite the ordeal at Sherrinford, though, one good thing had come out of it. He knew now for certain that he loved Molly Hooper, had in fact loved her for a long time, probably since the first day they met. He had to tell her, to reassure her of the truth, but would she listen now? After he had hung up so abruptly after the phone call, well at least in her mind that would be what she thought, would she even give him the opportunity to explain?

But he had to try. He was hers, if she would still have him. If she would let him, he'd be a substitute father to her baby, because she was worth it. He would care for both of them.

His mind made up, as soon as the helicopter returned them to London, Sherlock took the first taxi he could find to Molly's flat. Yes, it was the middle of the night and he looked like hell, but he didn't care. He had to see her right away.

Chapter Text

Molly held the phone for a few moments longer after the call disconnected. Sherlock had ended it and she was heartbroken and confused. Why had he ended it so abruptly? Why had he wanted her to say she loved him anyway? Was it some sort of retribution for his perceived idea that she was having a baby with some other man?

Admitting her love out loud to him had been the hardest thing she had ever done. She felt completely exposed, naked in a way that was far worse than being naked physically. She couldn't wrap her head around the conversation though, or why he had seemed so utterly desperate for her to say the words. There had to be something underlying it. He had said it was for a case, so maybe someone put him up to it?

Her one consolation in the whole affair was that at last, she had made him say the words to her. Hearing the words of love come out of his mouth had brought a smile to her face. Even if they weren't true, she could pretend they were. She could replay it in her mind for the rest of her life. In fact, strangely enough, while the first "I love you" sounded as if he was saying it to pacify her, the second, unprompted one didn't. He had sounded sincere.

Regardless of it all though, she was hurting. All she could do was hope that at some point she received an explanation.

Molly finished making her tea, took a shower and climbed wearily into bed. She had attempted to slip her usual chemise over her head, but it wasn't going down over her belly anymore so she pulled it back off in disgust, deciding just to put on a bra to go along with her knickers.

It was in the middle of the night when Molly woke to soft but insistent knocking at her front door. So, he had come. In the middle of the night though? Undoubtedly he had solved his case and didn't want to wait any longer to speak to her. That was a good thing, she supposed.

Climbing out of bed, Molly pulled on her dressing gown and opened the door.

He was wild-eyed and desperate looking, the way he had sounded over the phone. No sooner had she closed the door than he was on her, kissing her forcefully, moving his lips over hers in a mute plea for forgiveness. She resisted - for about five seconds, and then her arms went about his neck and she was kissing him back, just as desperately.

Their kiss continued for some minutes before he lifted his head to say, "Molly, I'm sorry - for everything. Can you forgive me?" His look was pleading and her heart melted at the sight.

Her eyes filled with tears. "I already have, Sherlock."

He let go of her to take off his Belstaff, then led her over to the sofa and pulled her onto his lap, holding his arms around her, as if he never wanted to let her go.

Molly leaned against his chest, feeling suddenly content. He was here, and he was with her. That was all she needed to know.

But Sherlock began to speak. "I have so much to tell you, Molly, so many explanations to make, but I need you to know - it was the truth when I said the words. I do love you. I've loved you for years, even if I kept backing away from it. You complicate my life, but in a good way. You believe me, don't you? I love you."

He moved one hand to turn her face towards his, so she could see the expression in his eyes, and she could see the love there, transparent.

"Of course I believe you, especially now that I can both see and hear you." Then she noticed something else and wiggled her bum, just a little, adding cheekily, "Apparently I can also feel you."

Sherlcok groaned. "Don't distract me from what I need to say."

His eyes turned serious then, and Molly listened to his next words in astonishment. "Look, I need you to know. I've thought about this, and I don't care that you had a one-night-stand with someone and got pregnant. It would not have happened if I hadn't pushed you away, I know that now. I will stand by you, be with you the whole way, treat the baby as if it's mine. And maybe one day, we can have our own baby, if that's what you want."

Then he stopped, flustered. Molly's eyes were blurring with tears again. He was saying such wonderful things to her. Maybe he wouldn't feel the same way when she told him she had deceived him. She opened her mouth to confess, but he placed a finger against her lips.

"Please, Molly, let me finish. I rehearsed this all in my mind and then got it out of order. I forgot the most important thing." Unexpectedly, he slid her off hhis lap, onto the sofa and then he was kneeling before her, holding both her hands in his.

"Marry me, Molly, say you'll do it. I don't have a ring yet, and I know I don't deserve you, but marry me anyway, because I'm only half a man without you. All these months I've been trying to move on, telling myself I didn't deserve to be happy. I've done such terrible things, but I am being selfish now, because I want everything - the wife, the children, the future, and it will only happen if it's with you. Please say yes, Molly - please." His voice now held the same note of desperation it had held when he had been begging her to return his words of love.

Tears were running down her cheeks now. She was the one who didn't deserve him. She had kept the truth from him for four months. "I want to say yes," she whispered, "but I can't. You might change your mind when yiu know the truth."

She could see he was confused and worried too. "Truth about what?" he inquired hesitantly.

"About the baby, Sherlock."

"What do you mean?" Now there was a note of suspicion in his voice.

She buried her face in her hands and began to cry in earnest, but forced herself to speak. "I...lied to you, Sherlock."

"Lied?" Now he sounded puzzled.

"Yes. On...on our last night together. I told you I couldn't get...pregnant." She looked up at him then beseechingly, but continued, she had to confess everything. "I deceived you. I knew I could, and I did everything to make sure I would." She closed her eyes, waiting fir him to turn from her, to rail at her for her dishonesty. Scheming to get herself pregnant was such a terrible, selfish thing to do.

She heard Sherlock's response, as if it came from a distance. "Are you telling me there was no one-night-stand?"

She shook her head miserably, keeping her eyes closed, not daring to look at him.

"Look at me, Molly," It was an order, so she obeyed.

"Are you telling me this baby is...mine?" She suddenly heard a note of awe in his voice, rather than anger at her deception, and felt a tiny flicker of hope.

"Yes," she said in a small voice.

And suddenly, unexpectedly, she was in his arms again and he was kissing her, then untying the belt of her dressing gown, pressing kisses to her abdomen, before returning to crush her lips with his own. She didn't deserve his forgiveness, and she struggled away.

"Sherlock, you are supposed to yell at me for what I did. I deceived you in the worst way possible. I contrived to get pregnant when I knew you had no desire to have a baby of your own."

Instead of responding to her words, Sherlock said, in a tone of wonder, "So, you're still my Molly - just mine?"

"There's never been anyone else, Sherlock. I've always been yours, from the first day we made love, to now, only yours," she whispered, hardly daring to believe he really wasn't angry about things. His next words confirmed it.

"Molly, how could I possibly be angry about the fact that you've never been with another man? So, yes, okay, maybe we have done things a bit topsy-turvy. Maybe we created a child together a bit early, but I want to marry you. With a baby on the way, you are going to have to admit, sooner is better than later."

He seemed so joyful all of a sudden, and she couldn't help but respond to it, smiling. "You have to give at least 28 days notice to register for marriage."

"Then we had better get on to it as soon as possible." Even as he spoke, his hands were busy sliding the dressing gown off her body.

Molly made a sound of protest and tried to push his hands away. "Sherlock, you haven't told me anything about what happened tonight, why you called me..." Her voice trailed off as he began to place soft kisses along her shoulder.

He raised his head briefly to say, "I'll tell you about it soon, but I'm only a man, Molly. I've been celibate now for almost five months. Right now I'm more interested in doing this." He resumed kissing her shoulders, then returned to kissing her mouth with long, lingering kisses she could never resist, and she clung to him.

Sherlock scooped her up into his arms and carried her to her bedroom.

Then he resumed kissing her, after making short work of her clothes and his own. Granted, she only had a bra and knickers, but taking off all his layers took a few minutes. Then he was with her again, his body pressed close to hers, this time whispering the words of love he had never said before, as she reciprocated.

His hands and his mouth were touching her skin, loving her, and leaving her breathless. There would be time for explanations later, but for now there was only him, and her and their baby, and that was all that mattered.

"Make love to me, Sherlock," she whispered, and her new fiancé was only too happy to comply.

 

.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../

Molly Hooper, decidedly not pregnant, and definitely still a virgin, was squirming in the bed she shared with her fiancé, at the conclusion of the most erotic dream she had ever had. On a breath she sighed, "Make love to me, Sherlock."

And Sherlock's eyes snapped open.