"Is he treating you well?"
Molly stopped just outside the lab doors, mobile in one hand and a stainless steel bowl containing a liver in the other. Not at all the question she'd been expecting - nor the person, for that matter.
"I'm... I'm sorry, who are you?" Absently she pressed her shoulder to the door and pushed into the lab; walking across to the sink where she rested the bowl on the adjacent counter.
"I'm an old friend. Well, we've never officially met but we have a shared interest."
Turning her back to the counter, Molly frowned as she let her eyes gaze around her space. She didn't like that her first instinct was to seek the closest exit but, given a past that included both Moriarty and Eurus Holmes, she couldn't afford not to take precautions.
"What do you want from me?"
The voice chuckled; though not in an unpleasant way. "My dear, that's a loaded question. Let's just say I understand what he sees in you." There was a sharp sound, somewhere on the other end of the line and Molly rumpled her eyebrows. That had sounded like...
"Was that a whip?" She had begun to relax, now, as everything about her mysterious caller started to come together.
"This? This is just a warm up. I like to start with the riding crop - gets the blood pumping."
Molly chewed her lip and could feel herself blushing - as though she'd been caught watching porn. "Look, I have work to do so if you don't..."
"Don't let him dismiss you." The teasing, flirting tone had dropped, now. Molly fought the impulse to as "who". She knew, exactly, who. "He has a terrible habit of making someone his entire world as long as he has a use for them. Don't let him do that to you. You are worth more."
The sudden rise of a lump in her throat was unexpected. The rush of defensive outrage, however, wasn't. But before she could speak, the voice cut across the line; the smile back in her tone.
"Oh, and Ms. Hooper? Congratulations." The line went dead.
Molly tucked her mobile back in her pocket. Her right hand stayed clutched around the phone while her left hung at her side; her thumb rubbed at the smooth circle of platinum around her finger.
The call had been perfectly timed because, only seconds later, the lab doors opened and a certain tall detective pushed through.
“Lestrade just called; there's another one; same injuries to the neck and face. Ring me as soon as you've examined that liv...” Sherlock halted his charge after finally taking in her face. "What's wrong? Something happened."
Molly smiled, though, and shook her head. "Nothing bad. Just... unexpected."
Sherlock approached close enough to peer down at her face. As usual she wanted to fidget under his evaluation. Whatever he saw, however, seemed enough to ease his concerns. Molly took his hand and rubbed softly at his knuckles.
"We received a phone call."
He lifted an eyebrow. "We? I don't remember being present for said call."
"An old friend of yours. She wanted to congratulate us."
There was no asking 'whom' from Sherlock - able to deduce not only the caller but the full breadth of the conversation, as well. His hand closed around her fingers as he gently tugged her closer.
"No doubt threat was implied."
Molly smirked. "Only for you. And only if you don't behave."
Grinning, Sherlock bent; breathing against her cheek. "Well there's no chance of that." Molly closed her eyes as he lips took her mouth - a firm pressure behind their softness.
She didn't hear the doors open, again, but she did hear the clearing of a throat. Pulling away from Sherlock, who seemed not in the least inclined to do the same, Molly blushed at the form of John Watson looking on with his arms crossed.
"I could just come back later, of course. After all, it isn't as though we have a murderer to catch."
Sherlock leaned in for one more quick kiss before turning towards his friend. "Please. I anticipate no longer than three hours before he's enjoying the hospitality at the Met.”
Molly wrinkled her nose. “So what you're telling me is that you'll be late for dinner.”
Spinning back for one last kiss, Sherlock took an added second to breathe against her throat. “Well that depends more on Graham and his lackeys.” Molly swatted his arm.
He chuckled against her neck and she felt herself going positively liquid at the rumble of baritone against her vocal chords. “Or what... you'll use the riding crop?”
The awkward sound behind them was, yet again, a reminder that they weren't alone. Molly flamed hot when Sherlock finally stepped away – his partner staring at everything but them as he scratched his neck. “Right, so...”
Sweeping past his embarrassed friend, Sherlock made no attempt to disguise his shameless glee. “Come along, John! There's no time for voyeurism! We've a killer to catch!”
John's sputtering rebuttal was swallowed up with the door shutting in their wake.
Caught between mortification and aroused giggling, Molly flattened her hands over her lips until she could control herself – turning towards the waiting liver in a desperate attempt to distract from the feel of her fiance's lips.
Had she still been on the phone, she would have been able to answer the question she'd been asked. Even before her mobile had rung, however, it was a question she hadn't needed to answer. Sherlock had been a different person, back when he and the Woman had known one another. Well, Molly had been different, too. But that had been long, long ago. They had grown. They had become better. Stronger.
Pulling on her goggles, gloves, and apron, Molly lifted the liver from the tray and placed it flat on the table – scalpel at the ready.
No, Irene needn't worry.
Everything was perfect.