“ I’m too old for you, Miss Hooper. ”
“ Dr. Hooper , actually.”
She leans her weight back, hands on slight hips, and appraises Molly; her eyes flicker over the scuffed trainers, the rose-coloured cardigan patterned with frolicking cats, and the Hello Kitty pins in her messy and mouse-brown hair. The woman’s entire being is forced into the energy of her request, but she’s still assertive enough to remind Sarah Sawyer of her importance. It’s been one too many an abrupt dismissal, Sarah thinks, particularly from men named Holmes. Molly wrings her hands, chafing and chapped from countless times spent washing them before and after touching corpses; there’s so much longing in her that she must be painful to touch. Sarah demurs (a rare event, seeing what she made of John Watson), and murmurs, “ Dr. Hooper, of course. In any case, I’m still too old for you . ”
Molly's eyes look glassy now as she begins to tear up, but she drags a quick hand across her face and wipes the evidence away. She hopes Sarah didn't see--after all, it's enough of an embarrassment even to have come to the surgery like this, let alone to be asking for this beastly desire--but Sarah already has, and her heart softens. Dr. Sarah Sawyer sits at her desk and motions Molly into the comfortable chair next to hers; the cracked patient's chair stays vacant, as it's seen better days and isn't suitable for a proper guest. The desk itself is, as usual, spotless, and Sarah carefully sets her hands upon the nicked, laminate top of it. As soon as she looks to her unexpected guest, Dr. Hooper retreats into the back of the chair, diminishing herself as if she could do so.
At last, Sarah extends a hand and covers Molly's shaking hands with it. "Why today, Molly?" she asks quietly, gently.
Molly looks abashed, then, as though she's breached more than one point of etiquette with her visit. "I'm sorry! I mean--if you've had a long day, I can always come back, or not." She tries to pull her hands back, but it's no use. Her entire body, springy and lithe, is tremulous with need and worry; Sarah's hand is firm and stolid.
She grins sleepily at Molly. Lapsing into a tired sigh, Sarah replies, "It's been nothing but fretting mums and common colds." Then, after a beat and another attempt at an excuse from the pathologist, "It's fine, Molly. Really ."
Dr. Molly Hooper relaxes at the assurance, and yields to Sarah's calming hand. She places her own hands, no longer tense fists, over it and says, "The reason why I came today is, well, Mike let me leave early and I wanted to get away from Bart's. Sherlock was being bossy like always--" Sarah arches an eyebrow, and her ruddy cheeks form a sweet smirk "--and I remembered your lips."
She was tired of being sent on useless errands by an eccentric sociopath. They never ended well, and no one listened to her anyway; they all divulged their terrible secrets because they knew she'd listen until the Second Coming, but they never considered whether she might have stories or cravings of her own. Molly Hooper was always left mute and fidgeting, glancing at her watch while others confessed, cajoled, and demanded.
As Sherlock had. As if a trip to Belgravia was so simple a thing, he'd caught her on her way home and positively begged at the outset. Oh Molly, he'd started like always, and then pretended to give a damn about her sweater; she'd worn it loads of times before, but he chose this day to care because he knew it'd get him what he wanted. A master manipulator, he'd always been one, and Molly hated to be rude to a friend. Thus, she'd found herself riding the tube out past Piccadilly, past Buckingham Palace, and into the heart of diplomacy. Slipping past embassies and consulates, Molly tried not to look shabby and careworn as she hurried along in her best dress (only a high-street frock) and fraying ballet flats. Eaton Square came fast on the corner of Elizabeth Street, and she turned onto another row of townhouses with gleaming white exteriors and iron fences.
And there it was, no. 44 Eaton Square, the former hideout of Prince Metternich and now the London residence of Miss Irene Adler, dominatrix. The black, lacquered door glared down at her between impressive columns. The brass doorknocker formed itself into a shining, mocking nose.
The door opened, and Molly saw a fluttering of curtains to her right. A ginger-haired minx, impossibly leggy and clearly predatory from her smile, announced, "Miss Adler will see you, Dr. Hooper."
Doctor? Molly mused. How could she have known? No one does.
Molly lurked in the foyer in spite of Kate's (as she'd informed Molly her name was) insistence, first polite and then harsher, that she wait comfortably in the parlour. It was darker here, and a bit plainer. It was Daniel's corner in the lion's den, in terms of solace. Heels clicked metrically on a polished floor somewhere, and there was soon a shadowed, curvaceous figure on the threshold.
"Molly Hooper," she said decisively, her lips curling. "A pleasure."
"It's not." Molly muttered. "He only sent me to get--"
"The mobile, dear?" Irene approached her, a plain black dress covering her seductive body. "He knows he won't get it from me. It's my life, as I've told him, and I'd die before I let him have it."
Clearly the dress wasn't covering anything of her shrewd mind, Molly thought. She was already feeling uncomfortable and restless, knowing that Sherlock would return to the morgue tomorrow and do worse than ignore her. She was barely memorable to him when she'd done as he wanted, but to fail was to be nothing for him. To fail was to be dismissed, no matter how kind she was.
Molly quietly turned to the door, relishing escape, when Irene spoke again. "You tell that man not to send a sweet thing like you to do his work. If he wants another challenge from me, he'll get it on my terms." Molly paused, transfixed by Irene's simple, voluptuous grace as she walked nearer. Her hand drifted over the pathologist's cheek, and she pressed soft, moist lips against the other woman's. Molly leaned into the kiss, Irene Adler's centripetal force being impossible to avoid, and felt those lips full and warm on hers. "Goodbye, Miss Hooper," Irene whispered as she left.
In that instant, as heat flooded through her body (even there , wet and sensitive), Molly Hooper forgot about London's most notorious woman. She forgot completely about Irene Adler, and remembered the smooth, pink lips of another woman. Sarah Sawyer had never ignored her or played coy, had never played flashy games with her or used her as a courier, but had shown inordinate interest from the moment John Watson brought her to Bart's. In that instant after the kiss, Molly Hooper remembered Sarah Sawyer, and their hidden, obvious need.
They had never kissed before, but Sarah sees no reason for questioning Molly further on that account. If she is honest with herself, as she strives to be, she will admit that there isn't any point in bringing it up; without mentioning it, there is still the tacit reality of her feelings for Molly. There would be no explanation for her presence otherwise, nearly an hour after the surgery was supposed to be closed, unless she'd also been afflicted by the common cold recently.
It seems as though she'd understood, instead, that those little touches were more than the accidental brushes of an associate's clumsy girlfriend. That hand on her hip, the press of Sarah's lips on her neck as she bent to scrutinise a prepared slide, and the brief tap of Sarah's fingers on her wrist had never been inadvertent. Sarah taps her fingers on Molly's wrist now, and it is apparent. Molly looks her piercingly in the eyes, not a quiver or squeak, and murmurs, "This was what you wanted all along, wasn't it?"
Sarah nods slowly and smiles. "I'm glad you were brave enough to come today, Molly. I've missed you." She stands, smoothing her work blouse and reaching for her blazer. As she looks away to shove her arm into the somehow-contorted sleeve, Sarah feels a fleeting, chaste kiss on her cheek; she glances up without surprise. She knew that Molly would blossom into boldness one day, knew it as surely as she'd known John Watson would leave her for his flatmate after she'd ordered him to kip on the sofa. She also knows now that Molly will lean nervously in for a deeper kiss, even before the sweet woman closes her eyes and presses her lips into Sarah's.
She gasps, then, Molly's hunger reaching her body as an urgent burning on her mouth and as a twisting further below. Her hands find their way into Molly's tangled hair, and Molly wraps her surprisingly-strong arms around Sarah's waist. At a hint of tongue, Sarah extracts herself and breathes heavily.
Molly looks crestfallen and thought she's been too sudden yet again, but she brightens at the words which follow. "Let's take this home, shall we, Molly Hooper?"
It is still early on this Saturday evening, months after Molly showed up at the surgery to surprise her. They've already had a peaceful dinner, mobiles shut off and no Sherlocks pounding down their doors to coax them into giving up body parts or cigarettes. They are digesting slowly on the couch, legs entwined and occasionally kissing gently, when Sarah asks her.
"Are you ready, do you think, Molly?"
She pulls her mouth away from Sarah's shoulders, where she's just been kissing, to give a saucer-eyed expression. Sarah cocks her head, and she remembers: months ago, as they were pressed against each other in the taxi, panting and lusting, she had asked to wait until she knew for certain that they loved each other. Molly had insisted that she didn't want Sarah to be "just another Jim, who has sex with me and blows up a building the next day." In spite of laughter and assurances that she wasn't about to hastily become a criminal genius, Sarah agreed and kissed her even more deeply.
Now, remembering that instant, fierce promise, Molly Hooper gives a strong nod. "Yes, I'm ready," she states, and wraps her legs around Sarah's hips.
"I'll always be ready for you."