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Fighting Gravity

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Past

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Molly cannot remember a time where she did not loathe her biology. She would have been a little girl; too young to remember and too innocent to know what she really was. She wasn’t just a female, living with a normal amount of despicable misogyny alongside all the other Beta women. Though she was sure being a female Alpha came with its own loathsome politics. She was a female Omega.

At least male Omegas could claim some form of masculinity. They still held testosterone within them and could still be as strong as Beta males, even their Alpha counterparts should they feel a need to be so. Molly supposed that there could be some difficulty, alpha knotheads thinking that just because omega males could deliver pups, something usually akin to the better percentage of women that it made them less masculine and all they were good for, but all an omega male had to do was prove their strength, their grit, their determination. But no, Molly and the marginal percentage of women like her, for they were rare and omega males rarer still, were twice cursed. Not only did they have to bear the burden that all women bore, but when her biology cursed her with ovulation it also drove her into a desperate shame spiral of primal need. At least Omega males could sympathize with women there. They were the percentage of the male population, who couldn’t just sympathize with the plight of women but could empathize, they knew what it was like to be slaves to your biology once – and in omega females’ cases twice – a month and they understood the pains and trials of pregnancy and labor. But they just couldn’t understand what it was like to not just be an omega, coveted of course but also weaker, and made to feel so by their beta and alpha kin, but also a woman, who were made to feel inferior and patronized always. Well, women had moved well beyond that, it was true. Modern men were a marvel in their ability to treat women decently, as equals, but also defend their honor and behave like gentlemen in the scope of gender equality. There were many a cohort in Britain that did it very well. But there were still idiots no matter what part of the world one lived on and that was unavoidable. Not to mention the members of the upper classes and the peerage who thought more traditionally upon the subjects of alphas, omegas and their places in the world. Among many in the upper echelon it was thought that you should breed for omegas to extend the familial line, since alphas could only breed well with omegas and betas could only have a very small number of kin if they were lucky and in the end only breed with the best alphas. So it followed that there were still many people that would assume women were just hysterical creatures and omega women were even worse.

It was hard not to wish to be an alpha when Molly was a child. On benches surrounding her favorite playground, mothers of friends with elder siblings would be congratulated upon hearing that their older children had presented as alphas. Jokes shared with children presenting as betas. The other mothers would receive pinched, sympathetic gazes when the few remaining had presented as omegas. The first time Molly heard it, her curiosity led her to ask a friend what it meant. She knew that her mother was one, and her father was an alpha, and that their mating brought her and her siblings into the world but other than that she saw no cause for the upset faces and worried words the mothers exchanged. Omega mothers doling out advice to the fellow beta mothers with beta husbands who had no idea what to do for their omega children. Her friends explained it to her, about what they heard from their parents, rumors, playground myths, how omegas were weak, inferior, and a burden to their families. She listened to the words about how the parents would constantly worry, argue about who to bond their children with, how it was more difficult for omegas to do important things and go to school, unlike alphas who were bigger, stronger, better. Her friends went on about their experiences at their houses when their siblings presented as omegas, the agony, the heats, the wailing in pain. Her stomach churned with this knowledge. When her friends didn’t see her white face, they continued to explain with the little knowledge they possessed about how mating worked and how the only thing omegas were good for was pairing off with an alpha and getting knotted by their mate, so that they could continue the population by having large litters, like dogs. That even though many omegas did have jobs, the rest of the world hated that and the whole world knew an omega’s place was to stay at home and take care of the family, especially their alpha, like what her own mother did for Molly’s family. She did not know if it was all true as she timidly swung on the swings, after her friends left her alone to play, giving her mother a tense smile when she waved from a park bench, but her mother seemed happy enough. Molly hoped when the time came that she wouldn’t present as an Omega.

If the innocent playground ramblings were bad, the games that followed them were worse. As she grew into her lanky limbs and began to develop, the games Molly played on the school yard with her friends as they shed the last of their innocence developed as well. No longer were they simply play tag, but games like knotting, where one child was the Omega and the rest of the children chased them around with their knots, which were just fallen branches. The longer or bigger your knot the more likely you were to poke or “knot” the one omega. Molly was usually the omega but preferred when she was one of the alphas, one of the group, free to run about. The game would end as soon as the omega would be knotted, and would have to stay secluded from the rest of the group until they grew bored of the game. The group would either choose a new omega from the group or would fight each other with their “knots” to see who would knot the omega next. Since none of the children carrying around branches would want to stop playing, the game would soon be forgotten, but not that the one friend who was chosen as the omega would be separated, sequestered. It was usually Molly, not that it meant anything.

It was those kind of games from her childhood that reinforced Molly’s dislike of the possibility that she too could one day be omega, stay at home for the rest of her life, forever secluded from the rest of the world. She was old enough then at ten years old for it to be a real fear. Many girls started getting their periods, some of them even presented as betas already, it was only a matter of time before she found out. She had read the statistics, the likelihood that she would present as an omega. Since she didn’t have any of the equipment to be an alpha, the probability was high. She hoped she would be lucky.

Molly never really had good luck. She had only ever experienced a true heat once, the first and last time. It was at thirteen, she had already had her first period at eleven and what an equally embarrassing, hateful time that was on its own, but her first heat was a little late in coming. Most of her class had already been sorted into their second genders. It wasn’t unusual for the alpha or omega in humans to present much later into puberty; Molly had remembered reading in a biology book, something about their baser biology needing to mature a few years before a pubescent child could present. You could test for it of course, but the results were not so conclusive at that age like the natural presentation of their second genders. It had of course happened at school because why wouldn’t it? There was nothing stopping her body from making it all truly horrible. Nature didn’t recognize that it would be socially awkward and humiliating for her to present before a giant group of already hormone addled teens. There was an even mix of betas and alphas in her class and a precious few omegas but at the time she hadn’t given it a thought, now she nervously makes sure to note how many alphas are in a room. And oh how they had looked at her, the other omegas that had been in the room looked upon her with empathy but didn’t stop the alphas in their hunger. They all tried that day as well as many after to lay claim to her and the omegas in her class. The same friends that forced their opinions of the world upon her, of the way alphas and omegas were, as children, now looked ready to devour her. More than once throughout her teens and early twenties, it ended in terrible fights before she put her foot down and iterated pointedly that no one had any claim over her and she wouldn’t be mating with any alpha ever. That claim frightened most of the alpha kids away from her, thinking her weird, so she had mostly beta and omega friends in her life, even now. But she didn’t mind, she hated the way alphas in a room would try and claim people like property, really just hated all the posturing in general, alphas were bad, male alphas – who not only postured but turned everything into a pissing contest to prove who had the bigger knob and knot, overflowing with testosterone – were the worst. Even as she hated them, there was always her omega side preening at watching the best ones, strongest or smartest, out-test the others. That she hated most, the omega part of her deep inside, gladly absorbing it all, but dating beta males, while satisfying in their way, just wasn’t ever enough. Either there was always something missing between herself and her partner or they treated her like a commodity, bragging to friends that they had fucked an omega. But the betas had all easily charmed and wooed her while the alphas were bickering. Even with all the knot dildos in the world, it would end in disappointment, so now she just didn’t date unless asked by someone she didn’t have the heart or libido to let down.

That was now, now Molly was an adult and could handle herself, despite the small, outspoken portion of traditional society that claimed otherwise. But at thirteen, when the heat crawled up her spine, turned her brain into a flu-like fuzz and had her dripping in places she hadn’t really acquainted herself with yet, she had been terrified. It had started early in the morning before she went to school, a low-grade fever had her thinking that she was coming down with a bug, but by mid-morning she sat hunched over her desk sweating and feeling like she was going to sick. It wasn’t until the first cramp rolled through her vaginal walls that she understood what was happening, and the subsequent burst of pheromones through the air alerted the alphas sitting close to her. A whiff, a sniff and they all turned towards the source, directly to her. It wasn’t until a low growl came from nearby that the class and the instructor realized that someone had presented. The Alphas in the room – both male and female – quickly scented her, had been ravenous, and snarled at each other, ready to battle for the right to mate with this newly presented omega. The instructor had been swift in sending her to the headmistress’s office before things spiraled out of control. She ran out of the room to the sound of growls and the instructor demanding that one of the betas in the room open a window. The door to the classroom slammed shut before any more daring alphas could go chasing after the alluring scent she knew she was leaving behind.

The headmistress had been compassionate, not needing to ask what sent her to the office with her flushed face and potent smell evident enough. The headmistress patiently got her water and gently patted her tense shoulder every time she asked for more until her mother came to get her, while her stomach cramped and terrified tears welled in her vision. She had been desperate in fear of her future. She was an omega, what was she going to do? She wanted to go to medical school, she wanted to be a doctor, and she didn’t want to be a housemate and breeder of an alpha’s kin. What would her parents think? She didn’t want to burden and worry them just because of her biology. The headmistress refused to explain what was happening and told Molly she just needed to keep calm and wait for her parents to tell her. What didn’t she know? Her mother was an omega, her father an alpha, and her siblings were betas, she was the one that was passed down this curse in her DNA. Every month for a few days their parents disappeared because of her mother’s heat and their mother’s beta sister would come to look after her nieces and nephew. Once a month, this would be her fate one day with an alpha of her own. She didn’t want anything to do with any of it.

Her mother, Deidre Hooper, came shortly after, and collected Molly with her face pinched with the same worry she had worn for the past two years since Molly had her first period, when she finally presented it only became worse. It was the face of those mothers on the playground. Molly fought the urge to run away and never look back. There were plenty of stories about the unspoken omegas, omegas that lived among the homeless and on the streets out of shame for their sterility, or because they simply wanted to hide from being bonded. She never thought she would be as envious of their freedom as she was in that moment. Her mother thanked the headmistress, asked one of her preferably beta friends to deliver her work from the rest of the week, shuffled Molly out of the office, into the family car, and only once they were in the car did she take Molly into her embrace. Molly cried, her mother soothed, and she explained what was happening to Molly and what a special gift she had been given. Molly couldn’t remember a more ironic phrase being used for something so agonizing. She understood what Molly was going through and spent the car ride home trying to explain to Molly how omegas are special, rare, and should be cherished by their alphas and the valuable role they played in society. All the encouraging words her mother spouted fell on deaf ears as she stared out the window, just wanting to be home. She couldn’t see the concerned face of her mother, it wasn’t the first time someone struggled with their second gender identity, and she could only hope it would pass as Molly matured. They came home, her mother had her take a cool bath, and put her in bed. Molly’s agonizing moans only caused her mother to whine worriedly in return. Her mother would pace back and forth between the kitchen, the front door, and the hallway outside Molly’s room, repeatedly, asking her to please bare it as best as she could until her father came home. When her siblings returned from school, Deidre banished them to their rooms to sit quietly with their homework until she called them to dinner. Their sister wasn’t feeling well, and until their father came home they could behave for one night. Cool cloths kept her fever down but nothing would stop the tormenting emptiness. She wondered then in agony, how could her father make this all better?

When Martin Hooper finally returned from work, hers was the first room he went to, usually he went straight to the kitchen for dinner and to talk to the kids about their day. As soon as his wife had called he spent the rest of the whole of his workday pacing his office impatiently waiting for the end of the day. That night as soon as he walked in, his pheromones soothed and Molly couldn’t help reaching for him in relief. Molly tried to leap from the bed, but her father was there to catch her, as comforting rumbles echoed from his chest. They eased her into a soothed state almost immediately, though she whined her father only needed to put out more pheromones and the rumbles would get louder. Though the empty feeling never receded her father’s familial alpha pheromones soothed her ills and eased her symptoms. Her mother hovered, ready to provide her with things that she would need through her heat, but left the care of their now omega pup to her alpha. The alpha and father would know what Molly needed, and it was only an alpha’s pheromones that would help, it was only an alpha’s pheromones that finally allowed the symptoms to abate though having the familiar smells of her mother close by did soothe her. That was another hateful thing, once she felt the heat hit her full force, Molly felt her senses become more acute but most especially her sense of smell. Now she could tell who was what second gender and could pick up on the moods of others just by sniffing. She only grew more attached to her father once she smelled his pheromones and how they brought her relief. Her father was admittedly her favorite person, so that only made her needier for his attention in the haze of her heat. A skinned knee? Her father would plaster it. A broken toy? Her father would mend it. He brought home books from the library about medicine and biology – when her school books couldn’t satiate her curiosity – without question, proud that she was so intelligent. Her father was her hero. He would know what she needed now. She looked up to both of her parents and met their warm gazes once she was no longer blinded by the pain of it all. Their eyes were tinged with worry but they looked happy. Her parents were concerned and open about how they felt. It didn’t matter to them what her biology was and they were proud of her, and Molly had been in agony. Didn’t they see she was nothing but a burden to them now?

She spent the next three days, the rest of the week, home from school, with her head in her father’s lap. Anytime he would leave to eat or take a phone call from his office (he had growled at every phone call “that couldn’t bloody well wait while he took care of his little Molls” [he was always a fiercely protective alpha, as most alphas were, of his kin but most especially of her]), she would cry out for him in agony as the waves of her heat would crest in intensity that only grew each time he left her side. He was an Alpha, and as her parental alpha, the pheromones he gave off – that gave her feelings of protection, love and kin – helped to ease the ache that wouldn’t go away. Technically she had been physically ready to receive the first alpha on offer that wasn’t her relative, but emotionally she was a pre-teen and traumatized. Molly couldn’t stop crying, lamenting that she had been cursed with this. Her temperature spiked, her insides and vaginal walls cramped from being unfulfilled, the dripping slick heat (that was nowhere near what it could have been as an adult omega) dampened her pajamas, her thighs ached from keeping the tension of the fetal position she couldn’t unravel from, and she almost made herself sick from the sobbing that would only stop when she exhausted herself into snatches of fitful rest. Molly had not been able to even look at the school work the headmistress had one of her friends bring home to her. Everything was too muddled and fuzzy, she could barely form a coherent thought about how she was feeling, what she needed. Just to beg for a drink of water seemed a trial. Wordlessly bottles of water, cups of juice, and triangles of toast, crackers, or spoonful after spoonful of broth were supplied before she could voice that she needed them, and her newly developing omega instincts hoped one day she’d have as good a provider to mate with as her father. The thought of mating only brought more tears and harsher cries. In her naiveté she lamented that her life as she saw it, as she dreamed was over. Martin Hooper patiently combed his fingers through Molly’s golden brown hair and whispered loving words to her, told stories about how lucky he was to find his own omega, how he loved her mother beyond words, and how one day she would be lucky enough to fall in love with an alpha of her own and maybe even soulbond with her mate. He repeated the ancient legends to her of the famous Anglo-Saxon soulbonds that helped form their great empire. Soulbonds like that rumored of Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor. Though Molly still wept in pain from her heat and because she was an omega, she listened as her father’s deep voice rippled under her ear as he told wide sweeping stories of ancient aristocrats moving heaven and earth to mate with their souls’ one and only mate. Soulbonding was so rare, it was more myth than reality, a bond so intricate and deep that the omega and alpha could feel each other’s needs beyond just pheromones and scenting but on a level that was astoundingly magical. It was something mystical, beyond telepathy, and spoke of the ancient myths that the Gods that brought the Romans here to England to forge the empire that today stood strong originally created humans in pairs and at once split them so that their souls would forever search for their mate. This mate was so hard to find that the soulbond was a precious almost improbable wish. She could only shake her head in agony, not wanting any of it. It wasn’t worth this pain, this tormenting emptiness that would only get worse as she got older and left her need to mate unfulfilled.

Her beta siblings, their youngest brother Edward and eldest sister June, would come in, confused and frightened, to say good morning and at their mother’s insistence kiss her good night every day of the heat, and by the weekend it was over. They were terrified that Molly’s heat was somehow infectious and Molly later found out told anyone at school that would listen of the agonies Molly had suffered. Once the heat lifted, it was like it never happened in the first place. Molly awoke to find herself as she ever was, and nothing had really changed. She tried to move but felt the leftover soreness of her heat going unfulfilled. It brought the truth into focus like a sharp slap to her face. It eventually eased but there was no denying the truth. She was an omega, but she didn’t have to act like one. Molly stubbornly did her schoolwork despite her mother’s plea that she rest. She wasn’t weak like other omegas, just because she had her first heat didn’t mean that she would stop her education. She continued working until the headache that was the only evidence left behind that her heat had occurred slowly grew into exhaustion. Martin and Deirdre found their omega daughter passed out over her worksheets and school books and put her to bed.

By the beginning of the new week, she came home from school, after a day of torture and ribbing from her classmates, and begged her parents for suppressant contraception. Her mother and the doctors warned her, prolonged exposure wouldn’t hurt her or her fertility but she wouldn’t know what a full adult heat would feel like later if and when she went off them to have children. Without that knowledge, when she mated it would potentially be agonizing for her, potentially dangerous without the right alpha. To Molly, nothing was more agonizing than being a slave to her biology and being taken out of school once a month. Molly refused to go through that experience again. Her gynecologist wrote her a script and she marched out of the office with her mother trailing behind. They stopped by the chemist on the way home, and so she began her daily morning ritual. A daily reminder that she was different, not that she needed much more than her usual awkward self to point that out. This was just a little extra morning hate to add to her daily routine.

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Chapter Text

Present

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Now as an adult, Molly woke up every morning and popped a pill.

The whole messy process that had haunted her since she was thirteen was condensed like cramped font on a page into a dull ache between her legs that would be more or less ignorable and with a bit of extra perfume she wouldn’t have to excuse herself from work. The slight fever, though it made her mind a tad slow, could be fixed with paracetamol. She went about her days and except for the mild change in her own scent – that only an Alpha or Omega could pick up – no one would be the wiser. And most British people were too polite and courteous to mention something as unseemly in conversation as someone’s heat.

Science was a beautiful thing. It had given her an outlet for her curiosity as a child. It gave her direction and focus when she went to college and then onto uni, and then a career that she found highly satisfying. Pathology of course wasn’t the first thing people normally thought of when choosing to go into the medicinal side of science but it called to her. She had loved puzzles, mystery, and was endlessly fascinated by the science of the human body. Diagnostics would have solved the problem of knowing what to study but still Pathology grabbed her attention, it was merely Diagnostics after the fact. And it could help save future lives by correcting the mistakes of shoddy medicine, help in research for medications, diseases, preventable accidents or by stopping a killer before he killed again. The bodies on her slabs didn’t talk, didn’t beg her to participate in everyday conversations, didn’t stare at her in numb silence when she told them their hateful diagnosis, or ask her why they had to suffer the way they did before they met their tragic ends. No, they had already had the bad news or met their terrible ends, all was laid out before her with a few skillful incisions with a scalpel, and some choice tests in a laboratory. And she could give solace to the families left behind, answers to the police that would help spare others and put the guilty behind bars. The bodies talked to her, but in a way that didn’t require her to answer, to make clumsy attempts at awkward conversation, just to listen, and that she did very well.

But science also gave her reason, focus and guided her thought processes. If something could be proven, it was true, and incontrovertible. She knows without question that there is a force keeping her tied to this earth so that she doesn’t float away. Molly calls up the number of the essence of that force into her head by rote. Earth’s gravitational constant is nine point eight meters per second squared. Without oxygen, a brain can only survive up to six minutes without any lasting damage. That is a fact. A fact Molly could prove with examination of a subject’s pupils and with a radial saw to the skull, with a look at the brain itself and find the evidence in the grey matter of oxygen deprivation. Molly would no more ignore this than she would her own biology. She is a woman that is a fact. Molly is an Omega, and that is a fact. Truth as real to her as the physics of gravity.

Molly doesn’t need to recall mathematical constants to remember that she is an Omega. She had the evidence before her in a hateful, medically pink, oval-shaped pill that weighs heavily in the palm of her hand every morning. Some nights she would dream that she wasn’t an omega, but there was the proof, bright and unyielding under the harsh florescence of her bathroom light, giving her reality shape. The mornings after nightmares of her heat memories, it gave her solace. Her biology’s as incontrovertible as gravity. Science at least hasn’t let her down in this. Not the way science has left quite a debt for people like Stephen Hawking – whose body crumbles around a mind with the ability to contemplate the infinities of our universe without hope for a cure – but left her with a way to keep a controlled acceptance over her own life. Not only does her pill suppress her heats so that they’re just something above the normal level of acceptable mundane horniness but this little blush reminder of her abhorrent biology also doubles as a contraceptive pill, like many others that are out on the market for beta women looking to avoid unintended accidents when being promiscuous, it helps her only experience periods once every four months. Only three times a year must she suffer through both agonies in the same month. A reminder that she’s a woman, bred to suffer, born to bleed, but also an Omega, making her twice as supple and ready to accept the knot and extraneous brood of an Alpha willing to mate with her. The suppressant isn’t as strong as it could be. If she’s not careful what company she keeps, Molly still can develop a surprise heat, a phantom heat. A phantom heat can happen if she’s sick, if her body’s rundown from being stressed and if she becomes overcome by alpha pheromones in her weakened state. The current suppressants aren’t at all foolproof. The weak extra bouts of horniness are all that’s left of the heats but stronger suppressants that would negate her heats entirely are illegal and dangerous. The military uses them but only for the omega soldiers’ tours and not for longer. Military grade suppressants have made veterans sterile or ruined their health. But in order to be part of the military, the government forces omegas into taking them. No, she would have to say that in the end medicine came through for her. This little part of her daily routine was enough. Science gave her a clean, sterile, pragmatic solution in a compact little pill. Science gave her so much, the least she could do was go about her day.

Molly swallows her pill, and gets ready for work. She groans as her throat works the pill down into her digestive system. She knows her body’s processes that will break it down, absorb it and make living as a female Omega much more bearable. Molly hates her biology.

The time she spends recounting this little personal injustice that takes up so much room in her life but amounts to very little in the space of the outside world, in the sphere of the lives of the dead bodies in the morgue waiting for her, is about as long as it takes for her to take the pill. Then she systematically gets ready for work, mechanically, as she long ago defined her routine. Routine leaves room for everything else to take space in her head, as she reminds herself she needs to call her father after work. She makes sure that she calls Martin Hooper at least once every other day. Now that he’s a widower.

They lost Deidre Hooper to a tragic accident only a few years ago. Her beta brother and sister were both married and settled down in the English suburbs by then. They each had two children. Molly loves her nieces and nephews, is their favorite aunt, but wouldn’t ever justify her mother’s pleas that she do the same, find someone to mate with, have kids of her own, and settle down. Molly had just been appointed to the position she now held at St. Bart’s hospital. Sure it wasn’t a head position but it was better than most could claim as a doctor her age and it allowed her to live a modest life in a nearby apartment, in London. She was independent, self-sufficient and managed to go throughout each day without making too many social faux pas, she wanted for nothing more than what her little life had to offer. She didn’t want to be some Alpha’s little omega housemate, and most alphas didn’t understand her job and why it would interest such a nice looking omega like herself. No, she told her mother and father firmly at every visit, her life was fine just as it was.

Her mother’s death made her regret not having children of her own for her mother to hold, a little nagging regret that would only plague her if she became drunk enough to think about it.

When her mother had died, it was all so sudden. She recalled that it was just shy of a few months before she would meet Sherlock Holmes for the first time. Her mother had been walking home from the local, arms heavy with groceries and the roads had been slick with the oils and fine mist that coated the pavement. A car slid, hit a pole and fishtailed until it hit her head-on smashing her into a brick wall. Instantaneously, both her mother and the driver were dead. The oranges her mother bought laid scattered on the oil slick pavement. The bags laid ripped open, the groceries scattered in a perfect pattern of the accident on the sidewalk.

For three days, Molly, her eldest sister June and their brother Edward – known to practically everyone as Eddie – tried to get into the family home to take care of their father. Three whole days, Martin Hooper was unreachable to anyone. His mobile was turned off, after they left dozens of calls, text, emails, voicemails and the house phone was disconnected. Not even Molly could get him to come out of the house. When they had tried to go in to see him the night of the accident, the stench of mourning was so powerful that Molly had dropped to her knees as if someone had pushed her down against her will. It gripped her chest in painful agony and forced sobs out of her she had never before uttered even in her first heat, echoed by the angry howls of her father inside their home. She cried and wailed until her sister had smacked her. She remembered how even though she quieted down, she couldn’t stop the tears. Her own grief, their grief, was potent but nothing compared to what rolled off of her father in waves and scented the air of the house like a black dolorous sludge. The walls of the house held a faint stench of it sometimes still, depending on what mood her father was in. The siblings agreed to give their father just a little bit of time, but by the third day, June was sick with worry and stubbornly forced her way in, with her husband Hugh backing her up the whole way. They couldn’t understand what their father had lost, both of Molly’s siblings were betas and were married to betas. And in truth, as an Omega, Molly really never wanted to know. Not if losing her mate, or her mate losing her, could feel like this. It was too much.

They had found their father curled up in a nest he had made on the master bed, on his wife’s side. Surrounded by his wife’s clothes, that was where the scent of grief was its strongest. Within the cocoon of fabric, they watched as their father met their gaze and for the first time they saw the man behind the image of the strong capable alpha he had always been. They saw the vulnerable, delicate emotions he concealed like a true British Alpha that only their mother got to see but not anymore, now it was all bare before his children. He was half starved, angry with a hangover that lasted through a sea of bottles of his favorite scotch and had a beard that was testament to the three days he spent without bathing. Without their mother, a piece of Martin Hooper was missing. It would continue to be missing until the end of his days. June, Molly, Eddie, and Hugh shared a look and with determined nods they set to work. Eddie and Hugh took the difficult task of encroaching upon the alpha’s mourning nest and cleaning up Martin. Molly made him a decent meal, and June began the process of seeing what needed doing around the house, checked what their mother had left unfinished with the household accounts, and began making arrangements for the funeral. The two sisters had been hard at work both with making a meal for the five of them and with making arrangements, neither spoke except to make phone calls to family and funeral homes. They were both too stricken in their grief to speak into the heavy air of the house. The smell of the food had helped but Molly still felt choked for each breath she took. Finally Eddie and Hugh were able to get Martin out of the bedroom, dressed in his pajamas, clean pajamas. It was a small step forward, but in the right direction. Molly was setting down a plate full of a hot English breakfast that would have made her mother proud when June was asked what flowers to be placed on the casket.

“Flowers? Oh for the casket. Eh. I don’t know erm-” June looked around the room but only got a shrug from both of her hapless siblings.

“Violets.” It was barely a whisper, but the whole kitchen became eerily quiet in the wake of her father speaking for the first time since the accident.

“What Dad?” June asked without preamble. If he was going to help with the arrangements, who was June to stop her father?

“Violets, your mother liked violets. Hydrangeas. Peonies. And roses. No lilies. She hated seeing them at funerals, especially calla lilies.” Martin repeated, while slowly spooning food off the plate and into his mouth. Molly doubted he was even paying attention to what he ate, just suffering through the motions of eating to pacify his children. It had been enough for Molly as she put plates in front of everyone else and stood at the counter eating while seeing the scene before her. Her father pointed out things that her mother loved and hated, and it surprised her how much her father knew that she had never known. But like a good Alpha he remembered it all, so that he could provide for his Omega even in death. In that small moment, Molly pretended she couldn’t see the appeal that kind of intimacy offered.

The funeral followed three days later. June and Eddie clung to their spouses, and their children. Molly clung to her father, and her father clung to the casket before it was lowered into the earth. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Molly had to go back home every day after that to make sure her father was okay. He never was, not really. Most of the time he was drunk. She made sure he was fed at least one meal a day, and that he continued to bathe and had clean clothes to wear, even if he didn’t shave. June and Eddie would both call, though the weekends June usually brought over the kids to distract him from his grief. It didn’t work, and Molly knew it wouldn’t but she wouldn’t shrug off any attempt to try. Eddie would always be too trapped with his work to come down more than once a month with his family. They could all pretend that it didn’t look like half of their father was missing, that the strong capable man they knew died the day their mother did but Molly couldn’t. Something from all of them was missing now that their mother was gone. That’s just the way things were in death, and it was pointless to fight it. Martin Hooper went back to work two weeks after his mate was buried, he couldn’t pretend he found staring at the walls of the house looking for his wife to be where she never would be again was okay anymore, and Molly didn’t stop him. As long as he didn’t stop eating, there was very little an omega daughter could say to an alpha father about what he could and couldn’t do. The little smoking habit she knew he indulgently hid from their mother came back full force in the misery of his grief, he smoked almost constantly now and Molly had tried scolding him. Told him in detail what she saw on slabs of strong alphas dying of heart attacks caused by smoking those toxic coffin nails. Betas, alphas, and omegas alike eaten alive by cancer caused by a stubborn habit they refused to quit. The father and daughter fought for the first time, he was being stubborn, she hated that he wanted to be dead rather than live and he just wanted to be in the ground with his wife. Molly left in tears, he called her to apologize the next day, both were sorry that they took their angry grief out on each other. But it was the last time Molly told him to stop doing anything. He was an alpha and her father, she was his daughter and an omega, now she knew her place.

Martin went back to work, and Molly backed off her visits to every other weekday and the weekends. She came in on a Friday and found her mother’s things, mostly clothes, all over the floor of the house starting with her coats in the alcove by the front door, and in a couple places the wall had been punched leaving holes in the plaster. She called out for her father, didn’t get a response. She tried once again, whining. Then regretfully that was when she got an answer. Her father made her resort to using her omega instincts. That’s how bad everything was, and it was hateful.

“In here.” He called defeated from the master bathroom. Molly found her father meekly sitting on the toilet, his left fist poorly bandaged haphazardly and his right hand wrapped in one of the decorative towels that had never been allowed to be touched before. Her mother had always changed them regularly based on season or holiday and it would be murder for anyone that used them, but now her father didn’t hesitate with nothing else in reach to cover his bleeding knuckles.

“Dad!” Molly worried, in a scolding voice. “I deal with dead people you know, not live ones.” Molly’s attempt at joking had fallen flat but when didn’t it? She wordlessly led her father to the kitchen and poured him a scotch while she fetched the first aid kit she had gotten them a year out of medical school. Inside it were more than just plasters and ointment for cuts but hospital grade supplies that would help in an emergency that most people didn’t have at home. She set it down on the kitchen table and began to remove the towel and haphazard bandages over his knuckles and set to work.

A couple refills of scotch later and she was well into bandaging his left hand so that he could drink with his right, when Molly looked up there were tears in her father’s eyes. A raised eyebrow and a sad twist of her lips asked the question she wouldn’t voice. Martin would have to enlighten her as to the reason why he had made a mess of the house and his knuckles.

“I can’t smell her anymore.” He explained in a wavering voice.

“What?” Molly’s hands stilled in her task, meeting her father’s haunted gaze.

“It’s been a month, just a month, since we buried your mother. And her scent is gone.” A tear fell down his cheek. “Is that all it takes? How long it takes? For someone- For someone to be completely gone from their spouse’s life? A month?” He downed his drink and kicked the glass to her with his finger, pleading for more. He pathetically cleared his throat. He couldn’t, wouldn’t cry, but another drink would help ease the pain. He couldn’t feel his hands anymore as Molly wrapped them anyway.

“Dad-” Molly didn’t know what to say, her voice quavered with tears left unshed.

“I’m alright, hon, I just didn’t want her to be gone so fast. I don’t want to forget her.” Martin explained taking the glass once Molly generously filled it. Molly nodded as she put the supplies and trash away.

Molly squeezed his shoulder while walking passed to put the kit back. “She’s not going to be forgotten Dad, we have our memories and we’ll always love her.” Martin hugged his daughter around the middle, just a quick indulgent squeeze. Molly put the kit back in its place and pretended not to see her father’s derisive shake of his head, the one that he sometimes gave her siblings when they said some Beta-like thing that was completely insensitive, the one that in that instant meant “you can’t possibly know what this feels like.” And it was true, she didn’t, she had never had a bond before and if the pain she saw her parents go through was any indication she didn’t want to.

She switched her father’s scotch out for a couple glasses of water, and some paracetamol for the headache he would have, and put him to bed to pass out before leaving the house. That weekend June and she packed up and donated their mother’s clothes, and her father no longer drank as much. Things got better with time, and though things leveled out, nothing in Molly’s life would ever be “normal.”

Especially not after the day she met Sherlock Holmes.

He was an omega, that she was certain. He had an elegant, rich smell that even appealed to her but even with her suppressants she could smell omega. But he just wasn’t an omega, he was an angel among mortals. Sherlock Holmes was tall and graceful, the delicate, angular, aristocratic features of his face told of strong ancient breeding lines, like thoroughbred horses. For all Molly knew, those cheekbones proved he was descendant from ancient royal lines of medieval kings. He seemed to be carved out of marble, and could make the David’s blue veins green with envy. And he was just as cold, his air begged for people to give him deference and allowed him to command authority. Though, he did well to hide his omega side with expensive clothes, washes and cologne, even Molly’s suppressed omega senses could smell the supple omega air surrounding him. Everyone stopped and stared after Sherlock when he walked into a room, alpha, omega, and beta alike. He was unbonded but didn’t want to be bonded like Molly. But for entirely different asexual reasons, of which Molly was completely unaware when they first met. Molly Hooper was crushed immediately by Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock had a razor sharp tongue he used to deduce people into leaving him alone, cocooning himself in isolation, and he had turned that gaze upon Molly once and only once but he refused to deduce her to ashes like he did to others. At the time she had wanted to know why, but she couldn’t deny the fission of pleasure down her spine, that she might be special. He tolerated her presence, even made her into an assistant of sorts to help in his experiments of which he availed himself of the lab without Molly’s consent. The one time she reminded him that this was her lab and her morgue and he needed to respect the space, the corner of his mouth lifted in surprise, he complimented her, and from then on she let him in and Sherlock kept the workspace clean. And she would pretend not to notice when body parts suddenly disappeared from the lab freezers.

Her boss Mike Stamford was a friend of Sherlock’s, and he exploited that fact. They were introduced and Mike instructed her to afford him every courtesy within reason. He was doing important studies and needed to borrow the space. Molly had been kind and obliging like Mike expected. But Sherlock was also performing investigations for the police. More than once Molly was made to ready a body for his perusal. He would come in, shove his magnifying glass and gloved hands around in odd places, looking for what Molly never understood, he wouldn’t say anything at all except a surprised sound or a puzzled one and walk out. Before she would even get a chance to ask him a question, or initiate conversation. That was the summation of her relationship with the consulting detective.

Sometimes during these investigative perusals, he was in the company of Detective Inspector Lestrade. Molly was only recently familiarizing herself with him – a married alpha and friendly copper – as he sometimes came in with Sherlock, and sometimes he came alone for the reports he needed. So far he had been dealing with Stamford as he was the head of the morgue but Mike had eventually passed him off to Molly too, as she was more than competent to answer the questions the DI had about the bodies she autopsied. Stamford introduced them and explained that Molly was the pathologist that did all the work, it was only fair that she answered Lestrade’s questions. Lestrade had raised an eyebrow only once upon being introduced, probably finding it strange upon seeing an omega in this line of work, but Molly’s quiet authority and intelligence had quickly put any doubts he had to rest. The Detective Inspector was all ease and friendliness, of an alpha comfortable with his place in the world but he didn’t toss around his knot for others to bow to, and he treated Molly with respect. He would come in to collect her autopsy reports, listen intently while she explained any questions he had and would be courteous in his thanks, unlike Sherlock who would breeze in and breeze out without looking back. Whereas Lestrade was more likely to angle for conversation or inquire after her and how she was. More than once she had thought she saw him meeting her eyes with a certain look in them, seeing his gaze linger on her form as he would walk out of the morgue, though what he saw in her, all lab coat and puffy jumpers Molly didn’t know. She wouldn’t dare do anything about those looks though, in this she was an omega, and refused to interfere with an alpha that was already attached to someone else. She was monogamous by nature, she couldn’t help that really, and refused to wreck another’s relationship to someone else, whether or not it was a happy one, no matter how keen for each other she or the guy were.

Molly had developed a crush on Sherlock, which was without a doubt. It had taken very little time too, as he was the most fascinating and beautiful creature anyone would meet ever. Most would excuse him out of hand once they knew what his personality was, all arrogance and high-functioning sociopath, but Molly wasn’t fooled. She knew there was more there, and she wanted to bring it out of him. Inside her head, she imagined all kinds of scenarios. Everyone knew about her infatuation. Mike warned her, Sherlock was weird, unusually so and an omega. But Molly kind of enjoyed that fact. He was different, irreverent, went against all social conforms, didn’t want to be mated, and neither did she. She could see them working alongside each other, and happy without needing to pair off with someone simply because of biological instincts. They could have a happy life together as the consulting detective and the little pathologist.

Molly had just been getting around to asking Sherlock out for a coffee when John Watson came into the picture. Another doctor, like Molly, a military man, capable, confident, despite the cane and psychosomatic limp, an alpha, and someone who was able to grab the attention and fascination of Sherlock Holmes. If only the alpha captain knew how rare that was, though Molly knew from his smirk and sarcastic comments that the man didn’t. Molly watched Sherlock announce his name and address to the army doctor, give him a flirtatious wink, something he never did and leave the lab. John Watson looked around the lab in stupefaction at the hurricane Sherlock Holmes blew through the lab and left mystery behind and looked to Mike for confirmation that the man was indeed always like that, ignored Molly and left Bart’s, and Molly knew there was nothing she could do now to get the attention of Sherlock Holmes now that John was in the picture. If Molly had known having a cane was all it would take to get Sherlock Holmes’s attention she would have tried it before. It simply couldn’t be because John was an Alpha, no, Sherlock Holmes wasn’t susceptible to the whims of nature. Molly simply refused to think that was the reason for Sherlock’s fascination with the veteran Alpha. Molly had only been fooling herself, there was so much more about John that Sherlock saw, that Sherlock’s omega-self had identified in John Watson’s alpha side. It was like a perfect storm, powerful and with nothing to stop it. They would be very happy, once they stopped being polite and tip-toeing around each other.

They ended up forming an improbable though fierce partnership. Molly doubted Sherlock had even understood at the time that how much he wanted John on a primal level, without realizing it they balanced each other. They solved crimes, John blogged about it. Molly would spend hours reading the exploits John was allowed to put on his blog, and she would pretend not to feel jealous at the undercurrents she read in their adventures. John’s protective worries, Sherlock’s preening under John’s compliments. It was all so domestic. Molly bitterly wondered when she would get to congratulate them as their bonded smells would probably give them away before they could tell her.

John, Sherlock, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, herself, they all seemed to make a cozy little group of misfit friends. Friends like she never had before, and for the first time Molly was feeling happy again. Despite having to watch Sherlock and John interact with one another. Protective glances and wistful gazes when neither thought the other was looking. Molly tried not to express her ire when John would bring around his girlfriends, clearly Sherlock either couldn’t admit his feelings, or just didn’t want to tell John how he felt. She would watch Sherlock’s hurt glances when John would flirt with the women in front of him and Molly would fight the urge not to locate a skillet to whack over John’s head. The girls would never stay for long but that was hardly the point, was it?

Another bit of agony for Molly to overcome, this infatuation she had with Sherlock Holmes. There were a few embarrassing moments. Jim from IT that turned out to be consulting criminal and charming, psychopathic omega Jim Moriarty, the Christmas party in which she had noticed Lestrade staring but after Sherlock’s hateful words and shocking apology was too embarrassed to give credence, and Lestrade was too full of his Beta wife’s meandering ways to notice, the stumbling over her words when she tried to reassure Sherlock that she was his friend and that if something was wrong he could talk to her. She didn’t count though, she knew that.

Then the fall happened, Sherlock disappeared, and all of a sudden she did count.

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Chapter Text

Limbo

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Molly kept that secret for Sherlock and his beta brother Mycroft Holmes. She would guard it like she never guarded anything before in her life. Nothing would get her to breathe a word as long as it brought the web of Jim Moriarty crumbling down. There was nothing about Moriarty that didn’t make her skin crawl once she learned who she had been dating. Now at night, when she dreamt of having sex with him, it always made her wake up screaming as Jim from IT morphed into Jim Moriarty and the sweet sex turned into vicious torture. Sherlock had been in her flat for one of these night terrors, before he left for Eastern Europe, and spent the night cradling her as she cried, apologizing that he was the cause for Moriarty’s game playing. It wasn’t the detective’s fault, but that didn’t make the nightmares stop.

Then Sherlock left her alone in her little flat, to set fire to Moriarty’s web. However, the consulting detective couldn’t deduce the fallout, the aftermath, of what he left behind. Cinders and ash, everything burned and Molly was the one who was left to repair the damage.

She sat on her hands most nights staring at her phone or her TV, looking for news that sounded like something Sherlock would be involved in, or a text from a strange number with a cryptic message signed with the signature Shezza. Their agreed upon code to prove it was him, a secret identity only they knew about. The two omegas only talked about it once, and then never again. Molly looked for anything that said he would be coming back home. A murmur, a sign, a whisper.

The only grace this period brought was the acknowledgement that something between them had shifted. No longer was she the stuttering stumbling lab mouse Sherlock had known. Now she stood up to him, made him admit his feelings for John that drove him to jump, and she admitted that while yes, she did love Sherlock, it came from a place far and away from what she ought to feel when thinking about romantic love. Sherlock was just Sherlock now, and he admitted, before he left to dismantle the web, after he brazenly attended his own funeral, that she was probably one of the only people who ever truly saw through him. More than once while he was ensconced at her flat did she surprise him with her ability to understand what he meant when he said something that would have angered or annoyed someone else.

Molly disagreed, she didn’t see through Sherlock Holmes, she just saw what lay under that façade. She could see the vulnerable, overflowing of emotions he always strove to hide. Moriarty had left the detective very exposed. He was alone, except Molly and his brother, but without John, Sherlock had nothing. It wasn’t a feeling he relished, though he had existed well enough before that. But once you meet someone who balanced you, provided an outlet, a beacon of light, for his genius, it was difficult to once again go without. More than once she heard the genius mumble to himself, and knew he was talking to John in his mind palace. He strove to always believe he didn’t have any emotions simply because he felt too much. Molly understood how it was easier to try not to feel at all when you did and you felt too much. They respected each other and she was free from that infatuation that long plagued her. But Molly didn’t know what to do with this new found freedom. She didn’t know what to do now that Sherlock was gone away.

Molly was stuck in limbo, she didn’t like it. Certainly there was more to her life than following in the riptide of Sherlock Holmes.

Then she stopped waiting. He would come back when he came back, but Molly would not put her life on pause for Sherlock to be ready to come back to life. As far as everyone that knew the man was concerned, Sherlock Holmes was dead. In order to keep her secret, Molly put herself at a distance. John was a shadow of his former self, living at his alpha sister’s place and her new omega mate Mary. She would smile sadly when Mike Stamford would mention how quiet work was without Sherlock around. She liked the quiet, it was far less burdensome than what Sherlock’s exciting life forced upon her. Like how every time someone mentioned the consulting detective, Molly had to fight the crawling dreadful guilt inside the back of her mind that begged she tell someone, but the rest of her mind, that screamed the promise in reply prevented Molly from speaking at all. Then Greg would come by for autopsies, a pale tan line circled his finger where his ring should have been. They went out for the occasional pub chat but he was usually too full with dealing with the aftermath of Sherlock’s fall at Scotland Yard. When Molly questioned why she hadn’t see him, he explained he was on desk duty and suspended until further notice. He believed in Sherlock but hated the punishment that came with taking his side. Molly immediately demanded from Mycroft that Greg – he always insisted she call him Greg after the Christmas party – would be spared his job at least, since he was taking the heat officially for Sherlock’s now expunged reputation. If evidence suddenly appeared on Greg’s desk proving that Sherlock wasn’t a fraud, no one would be the wiser. If there was a firm word from on high for his superiors that the DI was to be put back to work, where it came from would remain a silent, if watchful, mystery.

“I don’t know how it happened Molls, it’s like it just fell out of the sky.” Greg smiled over his pint. They were celebrating his reinstatement at the Yard. Molly did note nervously that while they could also be celebrating with Donovan and Anderson, they were alone. He obviously was completely unaware of the firm words she shared with Mycroft on what would happen if Lestrade – someone who was perfectly innocent in anything concerning Sherlock’s fake suicide – continued to suffer for being loyal to his younger brother. Molly felt herself look to Greg with an awkward smile that fell out of the side of her mouth.

“And you were always rubbish behind a desk!” Molly twinkled a laugh, which made Lestrade smile. After the Richard Brook incident started spreading, he had been on permanent “temporary” desk duty. But no more. Now Mycroft had informed Molly once he moved the right pieces in place, Sherlock was somewhere in Eastern Europe heading towards India.

“I just wish I could have told him, that I knew he wasn’t, you know, a- a fake.” Greg frowned into the foam of his brew. This was how things would be. They would joke, Greg would smile to Molly all warmth and ease as she would laugh at his jokes. Then Molly would become awkward, and Greg would then frown into his brew and turn a shade too serious, telling Molly things, confessing, what he probably would never tell any other soul. Molly, as she pulled from her pint to avoid speaking, tried to get her head to stop echoing tell him, tell him, he would want to know, it’s Greg, you can tell him, he’d hate you for keeping a secret like this. He has a right to know. Tell him! TELL HIM! She watched Greg take a bitter swig. Opting for a nod of commiseration and silence, instead of opening her mouth not knowing what would spill out of it. Molly tried not to watch with fascination as Greg’s fingers edged around the rim of the glass. He always had such lovely hands and the tan line where his wedding ring used to sit wasn’t quite so tan anymore.

Molly shook her head, and asked after Greg’s two kids. She avoided Greg’s eye but couldn’t resist the temptation to look up, and saw his eyes were sparkling, expressive, and captured her attention even though his face was serious. He quickly looked down again and thumbed his glass while his jaw worked, loss in sudden memories of his children as he stared into the foam of his brew. She remembered the photo he showed her out of his wallet during one of these pint sessions. He carried it always, everywhere, a picture his wife took of the three of them on a wide, white beach in Sydney, their names and ages had been scrawled under Greg’s on the back in green felt tip pen – Greg with Jimmy age 8 & Emma age 3. He called it one of their last happy memories. Jimmy was twelve now, and little Emma was just seven. Greg would always smile that little small, adoring smile all dads did when speaking of their daughters. Whereas with sons, the smile would be broad, proud and downright smug since all dads knew their sons were spitting images of their own brilliance. Greg had been married to his wife Cassandra for twelve years before the divorce was finalized shortly after New Year’s Day almost a year ago. Molly wasn’t prepared for the harsh twist that overcame Greg’s mouth.

“She won’t let me see them. The courts decided last week.” Greg downed his drink bitterly and waved to the bar to bring him another. Lestrade had spent the last year in a bitter custody battle with Cassandra over the kids. The courts apparently sided with the mother.

“No! How could she do that to you?” Molly’s stunned expression made him huff a wry, bitter laugh. He hung his head and ran his broad fingers through his hair.

“She says she doesn’t want our kids exposed to my alpha ways. Says my work as a copper is too dangerous and public. That my drinking…” Lestrade shook his head unable to finish the sentence, the tone of it quite clear. Angry tears welled in his eyes. He pinched the bridge of his nose, feigning the beginnings of a headache. The pints came and the bartender left them alone.

“She’s a right bitch that doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” Molly couldn’t stop herself from spewing angry words. Molly cursing was enough to stun Greg out of his melancholy with a boyish grin. That poor excuse for a woman was lucky she wasn’t in front of Molly so that she could have a real chewing out. Molly felt she was very lucky that she never met Cassandra Lestrade. “You love those kids, properly, like any father would and are the best, the most heroic- well-respected copper in the whole of Scotland Yard. She’s absolutely nutters!” Molly huffed gulping down her own brew to belie her anger. She started in on the new pint now in front of her, anger forcing her to take a bigger gulp than she normally did. Her cheeks puffed out and worked at swallowing instead of the mouth full spewing forth embarrassingly.

“Ta for that.” Greg smiled, with a chuckle, a cozy blush coming to his ears under Molly’s fierce defense of his character. He gave Molly another fond smile.

Molly felt her cheeks heat up. “I just can’t stand betas like that, using - you know - our biology to their advantage.” Molly finished awkwardly and shook her head in derision. More than once she had heard of betas claiming abuse of alphas; that they had tried to sleep with and were rebuffed in favor of an omega. Somehow, Greg not being able to see his kids was so much worse. There was nothing that drove an alpha mad like not being able to see his pups. “I don’t know how you’re doing it though.” Molly winced envisioning a distraught Greg watching his kids being taken away from him.

Greg read her thoughts. “It took three burly guards to keep me away from them when the courts made their decision. Didn’t even get to say goodbye to them or hold them. I’ve been there for everything I could be. I held them both for days after they were born, changed their diapers, fed them, while the wife recuperated. I’ve never been apart from them for longer than a couple days. Emma was crying out for me which only made it worse. It wasn’t pretty.” Molly didn’t want to picture the agony of watching a little girl’s face as she shouted for her daddy, knowing that her pleas wouldn’t get answered.

“I don’t know how you’re keeping it together.” Molly shook her head awed by the strength of the man. Despite it all, Greg still got up every day and went to work, defended the city and kept order. He wasn’t embittered by it all and he still smiled and was good to all those who deserved it. She tried to beat down the curling tendrils in the back of her mind, instincts that ached for the calm, benevolent strength of this alpha that her omega side was longing for.

Greg waved his half full class like a banner. “Numb the pain, go to sleep, face the day, repeat.” He smiled taking a sip for emphasis. “So tell me about your family…” Molly entertained him for the rest of that pub night with stories of her brother and sister, her father. At the question about her mother, she quickly explained why she didn’t talk of her mother. She shrugged off his concerned condolences and though Greg wondered at why she wouldn’t talk about it, he let it lie. And then time slipped away from them wrapped in the cozy warmth of brew and the pub until it was time to head home. Greg drove back to her place, and saw her safely inside. He gave her an affectionate smile as he left the warm impression of his lips on her cheek, and Molly tried to not read too much into it.

Despite the warm haze of the beer in her belly, she couldn’t escape the scraping of guilt at the back of her mind. She kept a secret from this good man and it was slowly become excruciatingly painful to maintain.

Keeping this secret was slowly destroying the life Molly fought so hard to sustain.

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Chapter Text

Anesthetic

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Then Molly felt her world grind to a halt.

Her father asked her to go with him to the doctor, something about news that his GP needed to share with him and asked that he bring along a family member. She went and nervously tapped her foot while they waited. Everything in Molly’s instincts knew this wouldn’t end well but she smiled to her father, her hand wrapped up in his big papa paw (a joke between them that no matter how old she got her hands would always be dwarfed by his) and tried to stop fidgeting. The doctor came in, she heard the words come out but even now vaguely remembers them registering. Words floated in through her brain, cancer, lungs, stage three, two years, aggressive, only a slim chance at five, treatment, and chemo. He had finally smoked himself to death, though Molly hated herself for that bitter thought. Neither her father or she spoke, they took the reading materials, which consisted of high gloss, noxious colored, tri-fold hateful brochures and sheets with falsely welcoming fonts, and the referral for his doctor’s opinion of a good oncologist. Molly knew better ones at Bart’s that her employees comp would help pay for, but she didn’t tell the doctor that. Molly smiled and shook the man’s hand and followed her father out of the room. She told Martin that he was going to go to Bart’s to see the doctors there and that was an end of it. She was too stunned for tears and her father just stared out into the road as he drove them back to the house.

She left that night after a few glasses of scotch with her father. Once again she put him to bed and he agreed to meet her and the oncologist for scheduling his chemo therapy at the end of the week. Once she was assured her father was sleeping, Molly scooped up the “literature” into a neat little pile and angrily stuffed them into the garbage under the kitchen sink. She had her own access to research and peer-reviewed papers on the subject she would look up later, and had plenty of knowledge she herself had read already, research done for autopsies. She left the house determined to go to work the next day and read all she could before lunch. Her father promised that night that he would retire from his job once things started to get too bad, and she wouldn’t need to tell her siblings, he would break the news to June and Eddie, Molly barely remembered how she made it back to her flat.

Molly tried with all of her might not to notice the black sedan waiting when she got there.

“Miss. Hooper.” The familiar, bored, drawling cadence of Mycroft’s voice came from the car.

“Dr. Hooper, Mycroft.” She corrected with barely restrained antagonism. “I’m tired. Just- Look. If you’re going to talk, come in. I- I need a tea.” She walked into her flat, trying to keep her composure while listening to the tap of expensive oxfords and the thump of an umbrella following her. “Tea?” She offered in the direction of the front door from her flat’s small kitchen when she heard the door close in Mycroft’s wake. Toby, her charcoal grey Scottish fold, came up to rub against her legs, weaving in and out. Hungry, then. She set out his wet food and he was excused to his meal with a final trill of satisfaction and a pat on the head. Mycroft’s lip curled with a modicum of dislike, neither Holmes brother was a cat person.

“No. Thank you.” Mycroft passed on the tea but he was still in the middle of her flat. Usually if they met it was in the Strangers’ Room at the Diogenes Club.

“Well? What is it then? I’ve had a wretched day and I’m in no mood really Mycroft. Is Sherlock alright?” Molly worried at what would bring the elder Holmes to her door at this hour. It was almost gone eleven.

“My brother is well, as well as can be when chasing after contract killers and kingpins. He is in his element and he is able to do so with your help, Molly Hooper. I’ve attempted to repay you the debt before but you refuse to accept my offers.” Mycroft grumbled at this, tapping the tip of his umbrella on the linoleum in frustration. For an omega, he found Molly to be implacable and not very obliging. Traits he was unfamiliar with in the softer side of the species. Far from a goldfish was Dr. Hooper.

“I don’t want to be repaid, and besides that’s between Sherlock and I. I did it for him, not for you.” Molly wouldn’t yield, to take any money would cheapen the reasons for doing what she did. She didn’t want to cash in on a friendship. That wasn’t Molly Hooper’s way.

“I know about your father, of his recent diagnosis of lung cancer. Fast spreading and inoperable, apparently. My condolences.” Mycroft softly hummed the ugly truth she had been ignoring since she left her father’ place. She whipped around to face Mycroft with fire in her eyes. Bitterness pooled into a cold, hard stone in her gut. It brought the reality of her father’s illness into crashing reality to have someone else speak of it.

“You meddling bastard! That’s none of your business.” Few people would speak to Mycroft that way, Sherlock rubbed off on Molly and in Mycroft’s opinion not in a good way.

“My apologies, however I was simply going to offer using the means I have within my power to make Martin Hooper comfortable for the remainder of his time with us.” Mycroft looked down to his shoes unable to meet the hateful ire in Molly’s eye. “If you won’t consider taking my offers of returning the favor, consider it a tit for tat. My brother for your father.” A life for what was left of a life. When he met her eyes again, Molly’s eyes had soften in the nature of his request to be allowed to help.

“I don’t want your bloody help!” Molly stopped herself from becoming increasingly angry with the meddling Holmes brother, knowing he for once was putting his meddling ways in the right place. After a beat she continued. “I appreciate the offer Mycroft, but this isn’t a parity board between you and myself. As long as Sherlock comes home safe and alive, I don’t need you to do anything for me or my family.” She breezed past the taller man towards the direction of the door. “That alone will be repayment enough for me. I’m tired, and I need to go to bed. Now if you wouldn’t mind I would like you to please leave.” Molly opened up the door and ushered for Mycroft to go out to his car. It had started raining.

“I am sorry, Molly.” Mycroft’s eyes met her own brimming with sincerity. “News such as this is never easy to bare. If you require any assistance all you need do is ask.” Mycroft’s hand was warm as it squeezed her shoulder, his words almost unbearably soft. Molly scoffed inside, wondering if the place this all came from was truly so noble and what Mycroft was angling for with that offer. Then she immediately hated herself for thinking it. He simply wanted to repay a debt that didn’t exist. They wouldn’t be beholden to her, helping Sherlock survive was just something she had wanted to do.

“Goodnight Mycroft!” She called into the rain pattering against his umbrella that was offering protection.

“Goodnight Miss. Hooper.” Mycroft called with a smile that was more constricted smirk than smile. Molly was ready to call out to correct him but he turned and strode for his car. Molly rolled her eyes and closed the door to her flat instead of wasting her breath. She went back to make her tea, got ready for bed and snuggled up to a satisfied Toby. The warmth of the tea and Toby’s purrs lulled her to a blissfully dreamless sleep in which her father wasn’t dying and she didn’t have to lie to the world about all she knew about Sherlock Holmes. That was six months into his secret renegade mission. Molly wished he would bloody well hurry up. Too much was changing without him.

---

Chapter Text

Revival

---

A year would pass. Eighteen wretched months without Sherlock Holmes, knowing he was alive somewhere alone and always in danger.

Eventually Molly met up with old friends from uni. They hadn’t connected since graduation as they all established themselves professionally and it was great to reconnect with them again. The nights when she wasn’t looking after her father were spent getting to know these people again. It was a way to forget about all that and she didn’t have anything to hide from them, no secrets to keep. None of them knew her connection to Sherlock Holmes, none of them knew the man to begin with. She didn’t have to pretend, didn’t have to fight her way through conversation while her mind screamed at her to tell the truth. This was easier.

If she just smiled and relaxed a bit, drank a bit more than she did now, she could pretend that she was back at uni. Just laugh, join in the conversation but don’t mention anything about dead people, cadavers and murders. Easy. It felt like it did before her life had become dangerous and interesting. Before Sherlock and before her father was dying of cancer and her mother was killed.

She met these old mates for lunches, club nights filled with obnoxious music and drunken dancing. She allowed herself to be dragged along, letting herself forget the days spent on the oncology floors at Bart’s with her father and nights spent on the couch at her dad’s helping him back to bed after he had spent one too many nights on the bathroom floor and almost caught pneumonia because of it. She could just be Molly while out with her girlfriends. They loved knowing that she was single, and treated her like a rare endangered species or an experiment. The raucous women spent hours asking how she could possible still be single being the cute, mousy omega she was, though they wouldn’t say that if they knew her dating history. If they knew about Sherlock, Jim, even Lestrade. The girls introduced her to men from their own social groups. She started dating them and double dating with their mutual friends. She barely saw anyone surrounding Sherlock anymore and there wasn’t much more reason for her to stay. There was Lestrade sure, popping round for a report here, a glance at a body there. But he was much too busy picking up the slack for Sherlock to bother with her. Though the long looks he gave her as he was living told her he wish he could say otherwise. He’d simply mutter, “haven’t been to the pubs in a while, have we?” And she would agree before distracting him with work. It was just too hard to keep up the lie and keep her friends. She had to move on, and keeping quiet about her secret and seeing everyone, especially John, was difficult, torturous. Molly sacrificed her relationships with her own friends as guilt pushed her away. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one, and Molly needed to keep away because her friends needed her to keep her secret.

Sherlock’s return was still nowhere in sight.

Never a fan of any conflict, Molly knew that she took the coward’s way out and just avoided it entirely. So she started hanging out with her old mates from uni she had lost touch with and these new friends her mates introduced her to, smiling despite the pain of feeling lonely in the crowd. That was how she met Tom, a somewhat oddly handsome, charming beta that made her laugh. If he had a bit of a thing for dating omegas, Molly pretended not to notice. That’s wasn’t something that was new to her, and the older she got, Molly realized it was almost unavoidable when dating betas. After the furor of dating an omega wore off, she could get at the real man underneath. Sometimes they were still weird and too much into being with omega women, sometimes they were rather nice. It was a coin toss, but most dating was like that after scratching the surface. People have a tendency to surprise you. So if Tom’s overzealous attraction, pleading to date him really, had anything to do with Molly’s omega parts, she tried to overlook it. It wasn’t the worst thing. He had a dog, she had a cat. Sure he wasn’t a high-functioning sociopath with a penchant for collecting body parts but Molly could use a little bit of normality in her life. It was time to grow up.

Their relationship progressed nicely. If nicely was the only descriptor Molly could think of for the boring Tom, she was glad of it. No more did she crave silver foxes, and marble cut sociopaths. For once she just wanted to know what an average bloke was like. The sex was just as equally …nice. She had a pleasant orgasm every once in a while, no fireworks but there didn’t have to be. He held her hand while she talked about her father’s illness and Tom was attentive. He paid Martin visits during treatments at the hospital when Molly wanted to introduce him, and her father smiled politely despite the pain and nausea of his chemotherapy drip. Her father didn’t say a word of disapproval, though it was obviously written on his face when Tom turned his back, but it wasn’t for the alpha father to comment. As long as Tom provided, and supported Molly, she had very little to complain about. Most of the time.

She pretended not to notice how Tom kept his flat in constant disorder, and Tom would pretend that he didn’t think Molly’s job as a morgue pathologist was the creepiest job in the world. Tom worked in real estate. Tom was boring. But he came to Molly’s flat after every chemo therapy appointment she attended with her father. Tom came over every weekend after Molly had spent every night on her Dad’s couch. Martin Hooper was declining fast, five years survival was a distant hope of the past as he didn’t respond well enough to treatments and Tom patiently dried every one of Molly’s tears the night she and her dad received the news. He was dependable and safe and Molly was grateful. She didn’t know if she would call it love, but the words came easily, though not with the same of passion she would have thought possible. She was perhaps too old to give precedence to the hope of “love” after all and they eventually moved into her flat together. Tom was all about saving money when able. He said it wasn’t necessary that they have a bigger flat since he could always get a friend from work to find them a nicer place or even a house eventually. Molly had tried to ignore what she thought that meant in the hopeful gleam in his eye. Until Tom proposed, and Molly fought against the plummeting dread inside her stomach and said “yes” in an awkward uncertain voice. When everything inside her screamed no. The ring was slid on her finger before she could deny it otherwise.

Molly was just getting used to the idea of saying she was engaged, everyone in the hospital wanted to know. Nurses were standing at the ready to throw wedding showers and hen nights. The excitement came to a crashing halt when Lestrade came in, and for once Molly wasn’t wearing gloves that were covered in questionable biologic substances. She had cradled the autopsy folder in front of her chest, a very natural motion when speaking to the DI. He noted the ring and the boyish half-smile he usually wore fell immediately. The sparkle in his eye faded, but he quickly covered it all up with a professionally tight smile Molly knew well but abhorred when faced with it.

“You're... Engaged?” He asked like he was barely able to think it let alone say it out loud.

Molly cringed, dying inside. She should be happy, but Greg knowing about this felt like a betrayal. Well she had, in a way, no one from her life before the Fall knew anything about it. “Yeah, happened rather suddenly last night.” It came out of her like an apology. Her mind instead of begging for her to tell the Alpha the truth was pleading, forgive me for this, forgive me for moving forward. She just couldn’t keep face when she was still forced to lie.

“Congratulations,” was said with little humor and much more rancor. “Who’s the lucky bloke? Do I need to do any digging?” He teased with tight crinkles at the corners of his eyes.

“Thanks, no Tom- Tom’s- He’s great. Really!” Molly assured voice a little too bright. “Wanna do a pub night and I’ll tell you all about it?” She could at least offer the detective inspector that.

“Sorry, best not. At least not with this case on. Maybe next time?” He grumbled hands going to his pockets, trying to not be so tense.

“Oh right.” She passed over the folder. “Well here it is.” Molly felt her stomach sink as Lestrade no longer sought her hand but kept a respectable distance, with nothing to do she folded her hands in front of her, making sure to cover the ring. But out of sight, would not help the Alpha keep that out of mind.

“Ta!” Greg saluted before making a beeline for the door.

“Let me know if you have any questions!” She called barely able to get the words out.

“Always!” Greg called right before the doors to the morgue slid closed again.

For the rest of the day, before Molly saw her father, she was miserable. Greg seemed so upset by her omission of being with someone, but why should that bother her? Why did it bother her more to tell Greg in the first place? Why would she have been happier to feign being single in front of the equally as single alpha? She was taken now, and she was an omega, she needed to act like it. There was something about all of this that just felt so wrong, and she could place it. How could her life seem so settled and so chaotic at the same time?

Then Sherlock came home.

He didn’t announce himself, didn’t tell anyone. One day he was dead and the next day he was home at 221b. Mrs. Hudson hit him with a pot. John had been out to dinner celebrating Harry’s engagement to Mary. Mary was now a nurse at John’s clinic. Sherlock surprised John. John threw him down to the floor, punched him in the mouth, then head butted him in the nose. There was something more to Mary, that Sherlock knew, but unlike Harry, who despised the smug omega, Mary liked him. Sherlock for once didn’t say one deduction about Mary. John left him standing in front of the third restaurant they were thrown out of and got into a cab that took them back to his sister’s place after the ruined evening.

That hadn’t been how Sherlock had thought that would’ve gone at all.

Sherlock came to the morgue the next day while Molly was changing in her locker before she left for the day, for a date with Tom after a better day with her father and the morgue. Tom was pushing for her to set a wedding date, and Molly could feel her palms sweating. Her instincts were rallying against the call to settle down. She was woman of autonomy, independence. If she was going to settle, couldn’t it be with someone less normal? When she opened her locker door, there he was, the familiar specter in her mirror. She gasped and turned to face him with a relieved smile.

Sherlock Holmes was back home. Safe and sound. He deduced that Molly was glad to see him, but saw her hunched shoulders and exhaustion clearly. Something wasn’t quite right. She looked unwell, or at least someone was, and the omega was worried. He did note the engagement ring. Molly followed his gaze to where the diamond sparkled on her finger but noticed he didn’t comment. This was new, Sherlock not going through his deductions out loud. She was afraid at how much Sherlock had changed while away. How much did Sherlock have to sacrifice before coming home? Molly hoped it wasn’t too awful and that he would tell her one day.

“Welcome back, I have spare fingers if you’re looking for parts for an experiment.” The smile she received from Sherlock was worth it. Happy and fond. Emotions she would have never seen the detective show before the fall. He gave a quick, succinct nod and swept into the direction of the morgue freezers to retrieve the parts. By the time Molly went back to morgue to lock up her office, he was gone. Everything back to normal then.

She wasn’t prepared for the text that came in on her phone shortly after as she sat across from Tom in a dimly lit Italian restaurant, the starting antipasto in front of her. She smiled apologetically and looked at her phone. The text was brief but cut deep.

You knew?! –Greg

Lestrade hadn’t talked to Molly much recently other than a passing ‘hullo’ as he collected his reports. Any attempt he made in asking her out for pub nights evaporated after the damned ring appeared on her finger. The omega was left wondering why that would bother her and why it mattered to her that Greg has halted their friendly hang outs. But it was something that always rubbed her the wrong way about this engagement. She hated the thought of losing that relationship, but she wondered in truth, why Greg felt the need to separate himself from her now that she was attached to someone else? They were only friends. He was an alpha and she an omega, it’s true, but there was nothing between them, at least not on her end of it. Now as she stared at the shocked text from the DI she couldn’t help the dread fill her stomach. She had anticipated this moment, and it cut so much deeper than she thought it would. Molly felt her guilt eat away at her appetite, and right into her core.

Apparently Sherlock had taken the liberty of telling her part in his fake suicide to at least Greg if not John. She sent two texts, one to Greg and one to Sherlock.

I’m sorry, I had to- Sherlock asked me to help. It had to be a secret, please don’t hate me. –Molly

Thanks for the warning Sherlock. –Molly

Of course she had known, her part in the plot all seemed quite small now. Everything had changed with the passing of time and looked so different. Sherlock and Mycroft had done most of the work, all she and the homeless network had to do was follow their instructions. And she had to falsify Sherlock’s records, that hadn’t been entirely easy to do. Putting your dream job on the line, the idea of the hospital finding out still made her hands shake. She sat across from Tom as they ate dinner and tried to find interest in his story about the stupid, vapid clients he had to sell a house to that afternoon. She attempted to appear impressed when he told her he made a week’s salary in one afternoon’s commission. When had she had to do that before? Her phone buzzed again, and Tom was patient as she had to dig it out of her purse again.

I could never hate you Molly, I just can’t believe you kept that from me for so long… –Greg

I completely understand why you did though. Who could ever refuse that bastard anything? lol –Greg

Sorry. I’ve told John too btw. Fair warning. –SH

Well at least the bastard warned her of the maelstrom she would face the next time she ran into John at a Tesco’s, or at the morgue, or at 221b. At least now she was prepared. She couldn’t believe how forgiving Greg was, the warmth that spread through her at that wasn’t something she had expected.

“Molly?” Tom looked at her with a questioning glance. She normally wasn’t so preoccupied during date nights. He was forgiving though, thinking something might have happened with her father.

“Sorry, Tom, just some friends. One’s come back from holiday and is catching us all up on what happened.” Molly put her mobile down, fingering the edges with a fond smile. In a way, it was partially true. Hope bloomed in her chest at the thought of reconnecting with her family once again.

“Oh anyone I would know?” Tom asked genially. It was about time Molly introduced him to her own friends, every time he tried she avoided the subject entirely. He had heard about them very vaguely but never knew why she refused to introduce him.

“No, haven’t introduced you yet, soon though I think. Now that the whole group seems to be getting back to normal.” Molly smiled. She sent off one last text to John before she put her phone away.

I’m sorry I kept the truth from you and I hope you’ll try to understand why I did it. I just wanted to help Sherlock when he asked and he forced me into absolute secrecy. –Molly

She put the phone away and narrowly aimed redirects at Tom’s questioning of when they were going to set a date and what plans Molly was thinking of for the wedding. The sparkling silver band sporting the rather large diamond felt more like a noose rather than a ring now.

And it was choking her like her father fought to breathe.

---

Chapter Text

Conflict

---

The week of Sherlock’s return brought with it a terrorist plot. Of course.

When she asked, Sherlock told her it was the last thread of the web that needed to burn and then the spider was gone for good. Sherlock had killed all of the snipers that had been ready to shoot his friends but one, the one that had targeted John. Now the rat was coming out of his hole and Sherlock was prepared to take him down. His last mission, and it was falling on the familiar November day of all terrorist plots. When Molly asked how things were with John, Sherlock dodged the question entirely by pretending to be preoccupied with the specimen under his microscope. He was spending more time with her in the lab than at 221b, since he apparently couldn’t yet convince John to move back in.

Then, Sherlock saved John from burning alive. Though Sherlock wondered if it was connected at all. John forgave Sherlock and somewhere in the middle of being angry with Sherlock and forgiving Sherlock, John had bonded with Sherlock. Molly could have imagined how it came about, in a fit of anger and pique while Sherlock was trying to bumble his way around an apology that would pacify his best friend.

It was all rather sudden how Molly found out about it too. Just like she thought, she would smell it on the two of them before they would get the chance to tell her. She was sitting next to her father in his hospital bed. He was rather too ill to be living at home now. He had retired from his job as soon as he couldn’t really go through a day without being sick from the chemo therapy. Apparently a body had come in or was about to, and there was a game on. Sherlock breezed through the hospital looking for Molly when she wasn’t in her usual spots and took off at a run when he observed the name Hooper written on the whiteboard at the nurses’ station of the oncology floor.

He ran to the room whose number had been written next to the surname and came bursting in. “What happened, what’s wrong?” Sherlock stuttered to a halt seeing that Molly was okay but that she was comforting an older alpha man smelling faintly of her that laid in the bed. His eyes scanned the man and took in all the details he could, deducing everything he could about the alpha that looked down his nose through his bi-focal glasses at the intruder upon their peaceful scene. He struggled tiredly to keep the frames upon the bridge of his nose properly around the oxygen mask that assisted his breathing. Even though the man was clearly dying, as a protective alpha, he appeared to gather what energy he could to defend his daughter from the perceived, instinctual danger Sherlock provided. Sherlock tried to politely not allow the relief he felt show on his face that it was not Molly lying in the bed instead. He watched Molly observe the expressions on his face with a knowing smile that made his eye twitch.

“Sherlock why are you bothering patients? Oh hey, Molly…” John burst into the room after Sherlock ready to apologize and didn’t expect to see Molly in this man’s sick room. “What’s going on?” Obviously, Sherlock rolled his eyes as his now mate hadn’t taken notice of the name Hooper written everywhere. There were clear signs but the alpha did always need things spelled out with a neon arrow pointing to it.

“I observed Molly’s surname written on the schedule board at the nurse’s station. I came to the room number indicated next to it, and thought Molly forgot to tell us something very important. Clearly she did though not about herself.” Sherlock finished putting his hands behind his back as both men looked to Molly, and she saw the tightness of John’s jaw though his eyes showed sympathy for her situation. His experience acknowledged that the prognosis of lying in a hospital bed in the oncology ward wasn’t good.

“You’re the famous Sherlock Holmes, and his blogger John Watson. Molly’s told me all about you.” Martin coughed, taking greedy wheezing breaths, trying to sit up to angle for a handshake. He laid back down, with no strength left in his thin frame. Both John and Sherlock scrambled to his bedside to shake the man’s hand.

“Dad…” Molly rolled her eyes affectionately at the sick man.

“I’m her father. Martin Hooper.” Martin continued in a rasp shaking Sherlock’s hand as Sherlock felt the tremulous pulse on his wrist, a worrisome sign of the lack of oxygen flowing through his pulmonary system and looked the poor man over with his razor-sharp gaze.

“Hello, Mr. Hooper, I’m John and the daft prick still shaking your hand is Sherlock.” John smirked to his new mate, a protective hand to the small of Sherlock’s back told him to let go of the elder Hooper’s hand. The subtle intake of breath Molly heard from Sherlock proved how new the bond was, Sherlock wasn’t prepared to feel the things he did at the simplest of John’s touches yet. The feelings were new enough to leave the consulting detective wide-eyed in surprise.

“Martin please.” Molly’s father encouraged with a fond wave of his hand. He finally caught his breath as the oxygen hissed from the mask.

“So how are you feeling, Martin?” John asked taking the natural position at the foot of the man’s bed. He easily held the gaze of the man after he gave the machines a thorough once over. Sherlock watched John do this, it was so subtle the patient wouldn’t even know he was looking over their vitals. Molly had to look away from the preening gaze Sherlock sent John’s way, proud of his newly chosen mate. With a crack like lightning, the detective shook his thoughts back on track. The bonding pheromones seemed to be hard for even the consulting genius to control. The effect they had on his genius intellect terrified Molly. How could Sherlock submit so easily to such a thing as bonding when it took away his focus and reason like this? To watch it happen to her friend, something he found as hateful as biology, shook Molly inside. It astounded her what the consulting detective would do for John Watson.

Sherlock got Molly’s attention. As troubling as the news that Molly’s father was dying was, the game was still very much on. “There’s a body coming in. Fresh. We’re going to need your help with it.” Sherlock was positively bouncing with eagerness. A nice murder was just what the army doctor ordered. Molly sighed. She knew that’s what their presence in here meant, but she didn’t want to leave her father just yet.

“Alright. I’ll follow you both down if you’ll give me a moment. John are you supposed to be looking at my father’s charts?” Molly questioned with a raised eyebrow. John looked sheepish as he hung the clipboard back on the footboard of the hospital bed. He had the decency to blush at that.

“Sorry, Martin, habit. Army doctor, you know.” He explained. “We should wait outside Sherlock.” Sherlock exited first. John politely excused himself with a military-grade nod to both Molly then Martin.

“It was a pleasure to finally meet Molly’s friends!” Martin smiled wide behind his oxygen mask taking greedy, gasping breaths as he waved to their retreating forms.

---

Once the now bonded pair were outside, the conversation between them was succinct.

“What is it?” Sherlock looked worriedly as they watched Molly bend over her father to repeatedly kiss him, nose, cheek, forehead. Sherlock could deduce but he needed to hear his mate confirm his deductions. He worried most for Molly. Omegas usually were very attached to their parental alphas, learning from that relationship how to exchange affection before they bonded with their own alpha mates.

“Lung cancer, final stages.” John sighed, grabbing Sherlock’s fingers with one hand and clenching and unclenching his other hand in a fist.

“How long do you think he has?” Sherlock felt his throat tighten around the words, threaded his fingers through John’s and squeezed as he cleared his throat passed the knot that was forming. Molly had to deal with so much while he was gone, and now this.

“A month, maybe six weeks on the outside. If I were to judge by his oxygen levels.” John shook his head, he was completely hateful towards Molly right now, but she was still their friend. No one deserved to watch their parents die like this. This was the worst part about being a doctor and why John never applied himself towards the study of oncology. As a surgeon, especially when helping cancer patients, there was a way to save, to prevent death. In oncology, there was nothing but death. Sure patients went into remission and lived long lives, but it always would feel like those patients would be living on borrowed time.

“We should come visit, later on, tell Martin about all Molly has done.” Sherlock encouraged causing John to look at Sherlock with a stunned expression. Sherlock had most definitely changed. Still he realized as his expression softened into proud fondness, the changes were just what he had needed.

Time away had served to prove to Sherlock that there was value in the relationships he had built here. That there were people here to miss and to be missed.

---

Molly hesitated in leaving her father alone, the weaker he got the more every time she left felt like her last goodbye. It was torture to have to go down to the morgue to work now.

“I like them. They look like good pals.” Martin smiled patting Molly’s hand that never seemed to stop holding his now. She couldn’t stop noticing the longer he struggled to breathe the colder they became. “You should go. You’ve got a murder to solve.” Martin smiled proudly, squeezing the back of Molly’s neck when she leaned in for a kiss. Okay, many kisses, she never missed an opportunity to take in her father’s scent, even if it was tinged with sterile hospital smells. Scenting hasn’t ever just been a ritual for couples, omega and alpha pups alike learned the behavior from their parents first. Molly took full advantage of that fact as she rubbed her nose along her father’s thinned fringe. He was practically bald now that he had received the aggressive chemo therapies and it made him look much too old for her liking. The image of her Pop-Pop Hooper when he had been dying flashed before Molly’s eyes, her vision brimming with unshed tears.

“I don’t solve them you know, Sherlock’s the one that solves them.” Molly nuzzled into her father’s neck as they hugged, so she was able to hide her face and gain composure.

“You do though, in a way. It’s good work, what you do.” Martin smiled with a wheeze as he petted Molly’s hair before backing away to lie down again. Molly cleared her throat, trying not to acknowledge for the hundredth time how her father let her know how he was so proud of her job. She tucked in his blankets unnecessarily.

“Alright, you stay out of trouble and I’ll be back up once I’m done with the autopsy.” Molly gave her father what small smile she could, hesitating.

“Well go on now! There’s work to be done. I’ll be fine, darling.” Her father encouraged as he gave a wheezing chuckle. With a final squeeze of his hand, she left Martin Hooper alone in his sick bed and followed John and Sherlock to the morgue.

It was a tense ride down in the lift. Sherlock and John exchanged glances every now and then, Sherlock sending John waves of affection and comfort, trying to soothe the alpha. Sherlock felt John’s anger now boiling to the surface. It seemed to only get worse the more he tried to calm the army captain. John Watson was not one to be manipulated by pheromones, in fact he thought it worse than when Sherlock would openly manipulate him when they were first roommates until John grew wise to it. With a sharp look to his omega, Sherlock bowed his head in supplication with a blush on his cheeks. There were some advantages to being the omega consulting detective’s alpha. Molly fought not to roll her eyes at the display, it was almost worse than it would be to watch the two men kiss each other in the middle of the hospital.

They came into the morgue to find that the body they were anticipating still hadn’t arrived yet. Sherlock scoffed at the empty slabs, the boring clean-up at crime scenes always took forever. He took off his Belstaff, scarf and suit jacket, getting ready to settle in for the work that would need doing. He turned back to notice that John and Molly still stood near the doors, bracing for the conflict that had been stirring since they left Martin’s room upstairs.

“Well I guess it’s no surprise that you wouldn’t tell us that your father was dying seeing how well you can keep a secret.” John spat out derisively. “And I guess congratulations are in order now that I see you’re wearing an engagement ring.” John squared his shoulders spoiling for a fight, he forgave Sherlock sure, but he was still angry. Sherlock shrunk back, putting a slab table between himself and the alpha, remembering and not for the first time when the alpha had turned the same embittered rage on him when he returned. Molly was the worst offender of the lot of them in John’s mind.

“Don’t, John. Please!” Molly begged trying to fight the urge to become upset. “I didn’t tell you about Dad because I didn’t want to talk about it. We weren’t really speaking at the time I found out about that, or when I was engaged.” Molly explained. It was true, at the time being around John seemed impossible. “It wasn’t easy being around you, and when is the appropriate time to tell someone those things when they’re clearly having the worst time of their life? Because I really have no idea.” Molly looked up and watched as John’s jaw worked in frustration.

“Oh yeah sure now that explains everything. I had always wondered why I never heard from you. Must’ve been bloody awful, having to keep quiet. Lying to my face.” His voice lowered to that dangerous, whispering register of his that either made Sherlock’s skin crawl with attraction or his spine shrivel in fear. In that moment, it was confusing for the man’s omega to know which since bonding with the man. “You watched me mourn and you knew. You knew. I thought out of all the people that I considered a friend, I could trust Molly Hooper. Now imagine my surprise!” John raised his voice. It wasn’t quite shouting, more just loud sternness but it reverberated through Molly’s head regardless.

Jawn!” Sherlock called out his voice in a miserable whine. Sherlock knew that John was still upset but this was too much. He didn’t like to see his now current best friend and his mate fighting. It was painful. John was just taking out his anger on Molly and she didn’t deserve it. John crossed the room with military precision born of his tense anger, to nuzzle into Sherlock’s scent gland as Sherlock bent over scattering his curls over John’s shoulder. They locked eyes, John’s still full of thunder and Sherlock’s pleading for the alpha to allow him to do anything he could to make it go away.

“Congratulations by the way I’m glad to see you two are finally together.” Molly smiled genuinely despite the arguing with John. It really didn’t matter what John thought of her, he was still her friend as was Sherlock and she was delighted that they had finally found each other. Once she knew about how Sherlock felt before he took off to dismantle Moriarty’s web, she had hoped he would come back alive so that they could finally get together. Now that it happened Molly knew everything would be alright.

“Yes we are and it’s thanks to Molly that I was able to come back to do so.” Sherlock growled to John pointedly with a stubborn glare. His alpha should be thanking Molly, not berating her.

“You know if she or you had told me you were alive there wouldn’t have needed to be a ‘return’ in the first place!” John growled in anger both in Sherlock’s and Molly’s direction. Now he was shouting. He and Sherlock apologized and forgave but the alpha was still hurt.

“I was doing it to protect him, John! To protect you!” Molly cried in exasperation. “He asked me to, when would anyone not do exactly what Sherlock asked them to in that kind of situation?” Molly’s vision began to muddle as her voice broke. “Without my secret they would have killed you, Mrs. Hudson, G-Greg! I c-couldn’t let that happen.” Molly felt her eyes and throat sting with frustrated tears, covering her mouth with her hand to hold in the sobs wanting to come out. She wasn’t willing to be brave under the man’s continued onslaught as the whole day with her dad and the fight left her feeling quite raw.

“Protect him?! I’m his mate! I’m his alpha! It’s for me to protect him! And a fine job you did at it, too-” John forcibly turned Sherlock around and lifted Sherlock’s shirt to show Molly his scarred back before Sherlock could react. “Look! Look what your protection did for him!” John’s brow clouded over in fury, as he couldn’t get his hands on the men that did this to his mate, he was more than glad to blame Molly’s idea of protecting the omega for it. He had spent hours in the post coital bliss of their mating, knotted to the genius, kissing and memorizing every scar while the omega rested. Sherlock jumped out of his mate’s grasp but it was too late. Molly got a better than decent look at the fresh, still healing welts that marred the white expanse of Sherlock’s back from his fun time being tortured in Serbia. But it wasn’t just the welts, it was the wavering scars, the red knots of skin that showed he had been stabbed, shot, and who knew what else. Molly had been right to worry.

“FOR GODSAKES JAWN!!” Sherlock bellowed prowling away from John in anger as he straightened his clothes. He went to Molly and wrapped his arms around the now openly crying pathologist. Molly had covered her face in horror at the sight of the detective’s torn back. She had seen enough of it to know that he had been at least stabbed and beaten several times by the old scars, and whipped and tortured in observing the new ones, and were those bullet wounds? She knew he wasn’t always safe from harm while out taking down the web, but the evidence of the abuses he suffered put it in such a perspective that made Molly’s stomach drop and her eyes burn with tears. There was little Mycroft told her about Sherlock’s dismantling of the web. It was the guilt that crushed her most of all, that she had allowed him to run headlong into such danger without John by his side. Sherlock knew that John was hurt but he didn’t need to make Molly feel such guilt. John watched as Sherlock rumbled whispers he couldn’t hear from across the room but they seemed to soothe the pathologist enough into calming down. Molly listened to Sherlock assure her that he was fine, and that she did what he asked her to do, which was the right thing. All Molly needed to know was that she hadn’t made a mistake, and she was assured that given the opportunity the mad genius omega would go running headlong into all that danger again. Sherlock wiped away her tears before turning to his mate. “Enough! I will not have you fighting with Molly.” Sherlock scolded. “She did what I asked her, she kept my secret. She was loyal to me when I couldn’t rely on anyone else! She did it all knowing you, maybe everyone, would hate her, that you would react this way.” Sherlock rubbed at Molly’s back awkwardly trying to soothe until he felt her take the breath she needed to regain her control. They met each other’s gazes with half-smiles. “This is my fault, all of it. Everything else about it happened because I made it happen that way. Take your anger out on me! Not Molly!” Sherlock lifted his chin to the alpha stubbornly, staring down his mate. This was utter nonsense, the way John was holding onto his anger about the Sherlock being alive while he had been mourning his death. He should be happy that his mate was alive. It was about time they moved on from this.

“Sherlock-” John growled. This was between himself and Molly, he hadn’t known that Sherlock would take such staunch defense of her.

“No John! If it has be someone, let it be me! Me! Not Molly!” Sherlock warned. The threat was clear, they may not have a typical relationship but there were still ways that John Watson could find himself in the alpha dog house. John’s shoulders slumped in defeat. Molly smiled to Sherlock, grateful for his defense.

“Please, John, I didn’t want to keep his secret. I wanted to tell you, Greg, everyone. It was killing me every day to keep it. I only lied to you because Sherlock needed me to, everyone would do what he asked if he asked them to do it. It’s just the way we help Sherlock. Right?” Molly approached the alpha, her head tilting down in supplication despite her want not to do that. She reached out for the fist that was knuckle white at John’s side. He slowly uncurled his hand, let out a frustrated sigh and wrapped Molly in a hug. She returned the gesture in relief.

“Why didn’t you tell me your Dad was so sick? I could have helped.” John muttered against Molly’s shoulder. That was what really stung the alpha. That Molly wouldn’t ask for help from him when she needed it, and the anger belied his hurt. He met Sherlock’s proud gaze. John had forgiven Molly, all was right with the world.

“It’s alright I managed and you were so upset about Sherlock for so long I couldn’t- didn’t think I could ask you.” Molly explained grabbing onto John’s jacket.

John squeezed her shoulders once before letting go. They put a respectable distant between themselves again and smiled for the first time since coming to the morgue. “Molly I don’t care what’s going on, with something like your dad, you can always come to me. Alright?” John encouraged with his usual jolly smile.

“Alright.” Molly agreed wiping at her eyes to dispel the last of her tears as Greg came in with the body they needed to examine. It was a quick case, all the clues obvious to Sherlock despite not being obvious to anyone else in the room, and Sherlock was off with John and Lestrade in tow to continue his track of deducing to find their murderer. Greg promised to be back later for the autopsy report. Molly set to work to go through the autopsy as quickly as she could so that she would be able to go back upstairs to spend more time with her father.

---

Molly wasn’t prepared for Greg to find out about her father much in the same way that Sherlock and John had later that day. Greg steam rolled into the room, noting the patient name on the door. “Molly I was asking around the hospital looking for you, I need that autopsy report and they said you be up here. Why is your name on the door? …Oh hullo!” Greg scrubbed a hand through the back of his silver hair, the tips of ears turned red once he realized that Molly wasn’t dying.

“Who might you be? Molly certainly has a lot of men in her life.” Martin smiled at the silver haired man that seemed to be nothing but concerned about Molly’s welfare. Unlike Sherlock and John, Greg’s eyes were reserved for Molly only and barely paid Martin any mind.

“Daddy.” Molly smirked, her cheeks filling out in a blush at her father’s amused wheezy chuckle.

“Daddy?” Greg questioned.

“Yeah, Greg, sorry, this is my father Martin Hooper. He’s in here- he’s- well… he’s not feeling well. Dad, this is Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade. He works homicides, sometimes with Sherlock and I do most of the autopsies for his division of Scotland Yard.” Greg walked to Martin’s bedside to shake his hand once he found out that he was face to face with Molly’s dad.

“She doesn’t want you to know that I’m dying, I’ve got the cancer. In me lungs, spent too much time breathing cigarette smoke instead of oxygen.” Martin explained taking the hand Greg offered him. A cough welled out from him as he fought to regain control of his breath. He noted there wasn’t a wedding ring on the man and that he eyed Molly rather a lot.

“I warned you,” was all Molly said to that explanation about why he was dying. Martin watched her share a pointed, scolding look with Lestrade. Lestrade looked away sheepishly.

“Smoker too, eh?” Martin questioned and Lestrade nodded in confirmation. Martin and Lestrade shared a commiserating look. Non-smokers just didn’t understand how hard it was to quit.

“Well it was nice to meet Molly’s dad, Mr. Hooper.” Greg smiled politely.

“Martin please.” Martin didn’t understand why everyone felt the need to call him Mr. Hooper.

“Martin.” Greg confirmed. He looked from father to daughter and felt he was an interloper upon the scene. “Well I’ll leave you to get some rest, I’ll wait outside for you Molly.” He shook the man’s hand one more time before waiting outside the door. Molly could see his elbow from the crack he left.

Molly said her goodbyes, trying not to notice how her father was rather happy to see her leave to go back down to the morgue with Lestrade. He was plotting and fixing her up with people, even from his hospital bed. Molly smiled to the man promising to be right back up once Lestrade left and closed the door to his room.

Once in the hallway, Lestrade followed her for three steps before halting her with a hand at her elbow. He opened his mouth and shut it before he found his words. Like he wanted to say something entirely different but had to bite them back before he couldn’t.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Lestrade questioned the hurt in his voice evident. Who knew the apha men in her life could be so incredibly sensitive about being left out of such things?

“I didn’t want to bother you, you were going through the separation with your kids- And we hadn’t been talking much…” That latter part was at least true as Molly awkwardly explained herself. He had been clearly depressed a year ago when she found out about her father’s illness. It wouldn’t have been right to burden Greg further with her troubles.

Greg pulled back, shoulders squared, apparently that wasn’t good enough. He was determined to make Molly see that. “Molly I don’t care what shite the ex-wife is putting me through. I don’t care if I’m being self-indulgent and morose because I can’t see my pups. If you have something that’s bothering you, you can talk to me. You don’t have to ask me for help, or anything like that if you don’t want to, but you can always talk to me. You know that right? Molls, we’re friends.” He gave her a crooked smile when she nodded in return not trusting her voice. “We are friends, right?” Greg questioned, his eyebrows crinkling together in worry. Greg knew she was engaged, and that he liked her a lot more than he should but he could keep an arm’s length, pretend to be her friend. He could do that just to keep close to Molly. He thought, the worst was going into the morgue one day and the ring wasn’t on her finger and the next day it was there. She had tried to ask him out on a pub night once, but he had shrugged off shamefully in a fit of pique. Greg felt awful afterwards but he just couldn’t face the evidence of Molly moving on with her life. That he had missed his chance at something special with her. Now he would rather not risk the friendship just because he didn’t want her to see him with his alpha tail between his legs.

“Of course we are, Greg, don’t be daft!” Molly laughed bumping his well-muscled arm with her elbow as she continued past him down hallway towards the lift. Once in the lift, Greg pointed to her finger as she wrung her hands, he knew she was anxious to get back to her father.

“How’s the fella?” He asked. Molly looked up and then down to her finger where the engagement ring sat like a bad omen, like she had to remind herself in Greg’s presence that she was still engaged to another bloke. At least the Alpha side of Greg hoped it was that.

“Oh Tom, ugh, I don’t know- I can’t- He’s fine- I just…” The elevator dinged announcing the bottom floor of the hospital. “I wouldn’t know where to start.” Greg watched her face pinch into a pained expression before Molly turned and made a beeline for the morgue and her office, Greg caught up with her at the door once they were inside the pin-quiet room and spun her around firmly again.

“What’s the matter Molls? Come on, talk to me.” Greg encouraged with a squeeze at her elbow not letting go. Molly met Greg’s eyes and noted the pained expression he shared with her, his brows drawn together.

“It’s just- why did I have to say yes? I didn’t want to say yes, b-but I did. I mean I like him- I think- I don’t know, I’m not even sure I want him anymore.” Molly bit her lip avoiding Greg’s gaze. It was harder to admit the truth when she thought he might not like what he had to hear.

“Well he can’t be all that bad if you chose him.” Greg encouraged moving his hand from her elbow to her own hand and it in his. Like her father’s, his warm fingers enclosed over her hand like a paw and the affirming squeezed soothed her worries.

“He’s a beta, he’s in real estate, he’s just so normal! He’s bloody boring Greg!” Molly finally let loose the feelings she had kept bottled up. Letting out what she really felt about this whole arrangement with Tom, that it was just one enormous mistake she couldn’t seem to unravel.

“It’s not hard for normal to be boring when Sherlock’s around.” Greg barked a laugh, letting Molly smile. Greg watched as the smile quickly lost its luster as she turned inward with guilt.

“Oh I’m being such an arse about the whole thing, I’ve just been so worried about Dad that there’s never a good time to call off the engagement. You think I’m awful now.” Molly whined looking away, a friend’s judgement was harder to take than a stranger’s. Greg encouraged her to look back to him with a gentle but firm finger under her chin. He returned his hand to hers and gave it a confident squeeze.

“Believe me, Molls I don’t think anything of the kind!” He confirmed with a boyish smile. Molly shook her head at herself. If Greg wasn’t going to be disappointed in her, Molly would be disappointed in herself. It had been so foolish of her to lead Tom on like this. Now she felt trapped but she knew she couldn’t go through with this engagement any longer. She couldn’t lie to herself or to Tom.

“Oh why did I say yes? I wanted to say no, Greg, but when I opened my mouth the opposite came out. I can’t believe I did that. Now he’s talking about the wedding all the time. Always pressuring, always asking. When will I set a date? Who are we going to invite? Should we wait until my dad dies? Oh! I hate it when he says that! He’s seems so bloody considerate and then he says such rude, boorish things!” Molly felt tears welling up. Greg brought Molly into his embrace and rubbed a soothing hand up and down her back. Between her father and her fight with John, Molly’s usually tight knit control was fraying today.

“It’s alright Molls, we all do things in the heat of the moment we wouldn’t have done otherwise. I’m sure at the time you felt alone, not being able to talk to your friends and wanted to have someone close. And to be honest, Tom sounds like a bit of a tit, but so is any guy in the right situation. You’ve got a lot to deal with, and he’s got to support you like he probably hasn’t had a chance to be there for anyone before so he’s a bit rubbish at it. No reason to just write him off, yeh?” Greg encouraged backing off to meet Molly’s face, the smile he got through stray tears had been worth it. He just needed to pretend he didn’t utterly hate this Tom bastard for taking Molly away from him.

“You know you come out better than he does in this situation for encouraging me to stay with him.” Molly smirked looking up at Greg, comfortable in his arms despite Greg not being her fiancé. Once they both realized that the hug had gone a tad passed appropriate, Molly and he broke apart with blushes and Greg gave a stiff cough.

“Well I’m your friend that’s what I’m here for. Now how about you get me that autopsy report so I can be out of your hair and you can go back up to Martin?” Molly agreed with a smile. Greg left with his report and a salute in thanks and Molly went back up to her Dad’s hospital bed. She dodged her father’s questions and his comparing Tom with Greg but she did feel better than she had in a very long time after talking to Greg once again.

---

That Saturday brought a text from John with an invitation to 221b.

Celebratory drinkies at 221b for my sister getting engaged to her mate Mary, 3’oclock. Bring Tom. Mrs. Hudson insists, so you can’t say no. Sherlock begs that you come so he doesn’t have to talk to Harry. I’ll beg, too. Please say you’ll come. –JW

Molly read the text and showed Tom, who was all too glad to finally meet Molly’s friends.

You bet! See you in a bit! –Molly

Tom may have been a simpleton and boring but he was intelligent enough to recognize John and Sherlock’s address. Molly was forced to come out with who her friends were, how she helped save Sherlock Holmes, the whole story. He had been impressed with his fiancée and was relieved he knew all that before going to meet everyone. When it was time for them to leave, Tom failed at not looking too eager to meet the world’s only consulting detective, that lived, that he now had a personal connection to a celebrity. Molly tried not to groan at his idiocy. She warned him what Sherlock was like in the cab but he waved away her concern that he would make a fool of her and himself in his eagerness to acquaint himself with the internet sensation. Molly watched the London environs pass by with a dreadful feeling in her gut that this would go terribly, terribly wrong.

When they arrived at Baker Street she hopped out and tried to hide her cringe at Tom’s eagerness to meet everyone. The familiar black door and crooked handle loomed in front of her as Tom commented on how nice the area seemed. Somehow she knew this wouldn’t end well.

Tom followed Molly upstairs to the familiar door of Sherlock’s flat, it seemed only yesterday she was blushing at the Christmas party while Sherlock apologized and Lestrade stared in stupefaction. How had everything changed so much? When John answered the door, in one of his comfy woolen jumpers, Molly tried not to cry at the familiarity of it all. Molly was overwhelmed, full of the pique of nostalgia but everything had changed. Sherlock still played his violin, but she no longer mooned over him from the first she saw him. John and he were now mated and there was no girlfriend for her to meet and never talk to again. Now John’s sister and her mate were installed on the couch. Now Molly couldn’t simply walk in and begin talking over a case, not with Tom in tow. When brought into his arms, Molly might have squeezed John a little tighter than she had intended. He returned it, scenting her emotions easily. Everything was the same as it had once been, but everything had changed. John shook hands with Tom and easily introduced himself, (he wasn’t the one Molly was worried about) and Molly noticed his queer look as he took her fiancé in. That’s when she noticed, how similarly he was dressed to Sherlock. She choked down an internal groan, slowly dying inside, and might have smiled with just a little bit of extra enthusiasm so that she hoped no one else would see she noticed it too.

“Everyone, Molly’s here!” John smiled to the group. It was everyone Molly had expected. Mrs. Hudson sat in Sherlock’s chair and Sherlock stood just behind her, violin and bow in hand but being placed down now that Tom was in the room. Greg sat in their desk chair, now moved to the middle of the room to create a party space but rose when he saw who had arrived. Molly looked to the couch where two women, Harry and Mary, alpha and omega sat looking to Molly and Tom.

“Harry, Mary, I don’t think you’ve met Molly yet. She’s the pathologist that helps out Greg and Sherlock. Molly also got engaged recently and this is her fiancé Tom.” John introduced Molly smoothly, both Molly and Tom congratulating the other couple in the room. They were both blonde but it was easy to tell which one was Harry as she shared John’s blue eyes, snub nose, friendly face, and easy demeanor. Mary was more witty and sassy, her eyes friendly but sharp, calculating. Molly liked them both immediately. When she suggested they have a girl’s night out, both quick to agree to it, and all she needed to do was name the night. Molly went around introducing Tom to Greg and Mrs. Hudson.

Mrs. Hudson was wonderful to Tom as she was with everyone, warm and generous. Though she was quick to push the man along to get to Molly and gave the omega a warm hug, smiling to Molly and thanking her for what she did for herself and her boys. Glad that Molly had worked so hard at keeping everyone safe. Molly waved her thanks away, saying - as she always did - that she only did what Sherlock asked. Mrs. Hudson tutted, proudly saying it was more than others had done for him in the past and she should be proud that she did it. Mrs. Hudson looked her once over like a granny would before patting her shoulder. “How’s your father dear?” Mrs. Hudson would know, of course she would know. She’d have it out of Sherlock as easy as his own mother would.

Molly shrugged. “He’s alright. I think. Well- you know- as alright as he can be.” Molly sighed in acceptance of a situation she knew she couldn’t change.

“It’s hard I know dear, but don’t worry it hurts now but everything will be alright. You just keep your chin up!” Molly nodded with a smile and accepted Mrs. Hudson’s congratulations with a promise to visit soon before moving to introduce Tom to Greg. They shared a friendly enough greeting, though their handshake seemed more of a test of brawn than an actual handshake, especially on Greg’s part. She looked to the detective inspector with a raised eyebrow and he shrugged as if he had no idea he had just used a handshake with her fiancé as a way to have a pissing contest. It was subtle, not the way an alpha usually would act when wanting to claim another man’s mate, and Molly wasn’t so sure Greg really did have any idea of what she had just witnessed. But other than the raised eyebrow, she was too nervous to pay Greg’s instinctual alpha ways any mind.

Molly pointedly saved Sherlock for last. Molly tried not to notice how the rest of the room quieted down to observe what Sherlock would do when faced with Molly’s fiancé. The air in 221b, even the eloquent dust, seemed to be hanging upon the scene with bated breath as Sherlock and Tom exchanged a greeting, Sherlock curt, Tom stumbling with excitement. Finally, he would get to meet the great Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else knew what Tom didn’t, that Sherlock would be protective of Molly no matter who she was paired off with.

Greg slipped Molly away from the boiling scene before them smoothly by offering her a flute of champagne. Molly took first a sip, and then pushed aside decorum and took a grateful gulp. Greg, she noted, had passed on the champagne in favor of a whiskey from John’s now regular supply.

“How’s your dad?” Greg asked, concern for her father written openly on his face. His own parents were a great deal older than her father being in their early eighties but were just beginning to show signs of their age.

“He’s, well, he’s as you can expect. Still chipper but it seems the doctors are just waiting for the inevitable now.” Molly shrugged sadly. It was as one could expect with the final dregs of cancer.

“Well best not think on it, you’re engaged so that’s something to look forward to!” Greg smiled pointing towards Molly’s man with a thin, forced smile. Tom looked mortified by something that Sherlock had said, and Sherlock had his level gaze pointing at Tom as he brought his hands before his chin as he usually did and smiled manically before turning his back to Tom. Tom’s face first went white then mottled with red rage once he took in the rest of the room. As with most people that met Sherlock, he started as if he woke from a disbelieving haze. He stalked over to where Molly was and looked between his omega fiancé and the only single alpha in the room. Tom watched what Sherlock had been talking about and noticed how Molly looked to this Greg the way she never had to him. Even if she didn’t realize it, it wasn’t something you could easily miss.

Tom had had it. This little introduction was over. “Hey.” Tom looked to Molly noticing the distance she put between Greg and herself once she bothered to notice her fiancé was standing next to her. “Can we talk a minute? Outside?” Tom asked grabbing Molly’s hand possessively, he pulled Molly into his side forcibly and so quickly that she almost tripped into him.

“Uh yeah sure!” Molly blushed, smiling apologetically to Greg before stepping out of the flat onto the street and with Tom fuming behind her. Once outside Tom turned away from her before stepping into her face.

“So I want to know something right here and now before we go any further with this farce. Did you get engaged to me just because you wanted to or was it because I reminded you of that omega freak you missed so much?” Tom sneered. Molly backed up towards the door, afraid of Tom’s rage.

“What-? Farce? Tom, what are you talking about?” Molly questioned completely bewildered by his sudden question. What had Sherlock done now?

“You know exactly what I’m talking about, Molly! You don’t want to get married! You won’t even set a date!” Tom accused.

“Maybe I would have if you hadn’t made the date contingent on whether or not my father would be dead!” It was true. She hated when he did that.

“Oh come off it! I was trying to be considerate for you! If you wanted your dad to be there we would have to have scheduled it soon, now it’s probably too late he’s probably going to pop off any minute.” Tom muttered sarcastically.

Molly gasp of shock was practically a scream. “How dare you?! If you didn’t want to deal with all of this with my Dad, why did you get engaged in the first place?” Molly pointed her anger back at him. “Was it because you love me or did you just want to marry an omega?” Molly wondered about that often.

“Oh please I could get all the omega cunt I want off a website if that’s what I wanted. It’s not like you’ve been giving it away lately.” Tom growled in frustration. That was a low blow.

“That’s because I’m exhausted! I’m up at the crack of dawn at Dad’s bedside and to be at work and I don’t leave the hospital until he falls asleep at night.” Molly fumed, glad Tom was finally showing his true colors now.

---

Up in 221b, Molly’s family was watching from the windows. Mrs. Hudson worriedly cooed as she watched the couple fight, John comforted Mrs. Hudson as he sneered when Tom yelled at Molly, and Greg felt his anger boiling over as he listened to Tom’s accusations and rantings. More than once Sherlock put a hand to his shoulder to prevent him from turning around and going to defend Molly or throttle Tom, he wasn’t exactly sure which he would do.

“Wait, let her handle this.” Sherlock demanded, watching with unrestrained disgust at the drivel Tom spouted at Molly. He really was a nuisance.

“I can’t just sit here Sherlock.” Lestrade whined as the shouting got louder.

“You want her?” Sherlock asked distracting Lestrade though it pulled his attention away from the window.

“What?” Lestrade asked dumbly while the rest of the room waited for him to state out loud what they already knew about the detective inspector’s feelings for Molly. Mary clung onto Harry as she took in not only the drama unfolding down below the window but also in the flat itself, not believing all she was being made privy. It was all so exciting. She had read John’s blog but being a fly on the wall at 221b was too good.

“Do you want her?” Sherlock asked again to clarify. “Do you want her as your omega? Do you want to mate and bond with her and for her to have more of your pups and all that rot?” Sherlock groaned in exasperation at the idea.

“Yes! Yes, alright? I guess I-” Greg squared his shoulders as he faced the onslaught of rightness, of clarity, of certainty at the realization of his feelings for the omega pathologist. “Yes I do! I want all that.” Lestrade muttered with a blush on his cheeks, and a firm nod. He refused to give any attention to the embers of hope blooming in his chest. It all seemed like too much to hope for, as the fighting below grew louder.

“Then you’ve got to let her sort this out. I planted the seed, letting Tom know the truth. Now all Molly has to do is get rid of him and Tom will be out of our hair.” Sherlock smiled with manic glee.

“But we just met him!” John looked to his omega incredulously with a dumbfounded expression. It wouldn’t be the first time Sherlock had censored and weeded out someone John had just met. In truth, though he wouldn’t inflate Sherlock’s ego by admittance, it did save the man time and effort getting to know some rather boring, stupid people.

“Exactly. He’s entirely wrong for her, and dull to the point of tears. She’ll hate me now but she’ll thank me later.” Sherlock looked to everyone with a sheepish smile as he looked down to watch them again. The argument was reaching its peak, and Sherlock kept on muttering “come on, come on” under his breath in impatience, waiting for Molly to end the relationship. And waiting for Tom to at last say something too stupid for Molly to overlook so that she would finally just end the doomed relationship and be done with the dreadful beta at last.

---

“It would be better to download some omega fetish videos off the internet to wank to than going through all this, with you mooning over your sick dad and staring at that Greg like you’re dripping with your heat in need of his Alpha knot!” Tom hissed to Molly and Molly looked at Tom like she had never seen him before. “And I don’t know what fucked up situation you had at home but at least I don’t go out of my way to deny my second gender.”

“You unbelievable wanker!” She muttered, lost for better words.

“Oh am I? I’m not the one making eyes at other people while they’re engaged, Molly!” Tom accused.

“Greg’s my friend and I work with him that’s all!” Molly defended herself, never once had she made a move for Greg when she was sure that she could have. Molly would never cheat, not under any circumstance. Tom’s paranoia grated against her instincts.

“Oh please! Don’t lie Molly! You’re not very good at it! Sherlock was right, and I know what I saw.” Tom growled pacing back and forth on the street. “Why don’t you go be happy with that alpha moron?! You both can go be creepy staring at dead bodies together.”

“I always knew my job bothered you!” Molly nodded, understanding in that moment exactly how wrong they were for each other. And how much she hated this beta in that instant for not only fighting with her but for going so low as to insult another man in order to do it. It didn’t matter what he said about herself.

“It’s just too weird Molly, I can’t even look at you when you talk about it! I usually just ask you to be polite. I was hoping you’d quit once we got married so we could start having kids.” Tom sneered again knowing clearly she would have never done that no matter what he would have said.

“Well you know, at least that alpha who’s a great deal smarter than you are respects my job! Unlike you, Greg and everyone in that room are proud of what I do. They don’t feel the need to avoid telling people when asked by saying I’m just a doctor.” Molly took a breath and made the decision then and there. There was no point in avoiding this. She should have known better, she let it get too far this time. It never ends well when she tries to have relationships with betas. She took off the ring and held it out to Tom.

“What are you doing?” Tom questioned, face dumbfounded and eyes wide at suddenly realizing what all he was saying had driven her to do.

“It’s over Tom,” Molly announced for the benefit of the both of them. “You clearly only wanted me because I filled some sort of perverted need for you to have an omega in your life and I used you as a way to have a life until Sherlock came home so I could stop lying to my friends. I’m only sorry it got as far as it did but I’m done lying to myself and to you. This was finished before it even began. Sure you were great with being there through my Dad’s illness and I’ll always thank you for that, but you’re boring with your real estate and your irritating dog. And I’m not just a slick hole and a warm body for you to fuck and have babies with. Take it, it’s yours.” Tom pulled the ring forcibly out of her fingers. Molly squared her shoulders waiting for the final blow. “Please move your stuff out before I get home. I’ll sleep over here and give you the rest of today and tomorrow to do it. And don’t trash my stuff out of spite, you know who my friends are.” Molly finished with a chin high in the air.

“You really are a cold bitch. You know that?” And with those parting sentiments, Tom stalked down to the end of Baker Street hailed a cab and was out of Molly’s life. It was for the best really, but she couldn’t help the anger she felt towards Sherlock as she ran her fingers along the empty space on her left ring finger.

She went back into 221b and heard the scattering steps upstairs that meant everyone had been at the window watching the whole saga. That meant that Greg had heard everything Tom had accused of her and himself. Molly groaned trudging up the steps to face the music.

---

Molly came into the flat to see everyone sitting around in silence pretending to be fascinated with their shoes or parts of 221b. Everyone except Sherlock, who looked at her with a smile, his eyes twinkling.

“I just had a huge fight with Tom. I ended it, it’s over.” Molly announced for the room, everyone rushed to console her but she waved it away coming over to sit between Mary and Harry who offered their apologies. Those she waved off too with a strange smile. “I’m just glad it’s over really, I don’t know what I saw in him.” Molly shook her head, disgusted with herself for thinking someone like Tom could have made her happy, when he rubbed against her wrong in all the places that mattered.

“Well I’m glad that’s over too! Good riddance!” Sherlock smiled picking up his violin and bow. John’s head went into his hand. His mate was too much sometimes even for him.

“You’re rather proud of yourself.” She muttered, glaring at the detective. That made him turn sheepish.

“I’m sorry to have done that Molly but he was intolerable.” He put his violin under his chin and settled his fingers to begin playing. “You’re well rid of him.” Sherlock confirmed before turning his back and letting his body relax into quietly playing the familiar chords of one of Schubert’s more airy sonatas. John watched him affectionately from his seat on the arm of the couch next to Mary.

“Don’t be too mad at him, his heart is in the right place.” John smirked, knowing this fact did little to soothe her anger. Mrs. Hudson nodded in agreement, pouring Molly more champagne.

“That doesn’t mean he’s not a ponce, John!” Harry scolded patting Molly’s shoulder.

“He is, but he’s a ponce that’s right, I told you I didn’t like him Molly.” Greg grumbled with an affectionate grin. Molly blushed looking at him with a wince.

“You didn’t hear all of that on the street, did you?” Molly questioned. At Greg’s sheepish nod, Molly groaned and put her head in her hands.

“Don’t worry Molly I didn’t believe a word of it, I’m on your side.” Greg assured her taking a seat Mary gave up so that he could take Molly’s hand in what he hoped would be a reassuring gesture with his own.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know he could be so jealous.” Molly shook her head, her mind still reeling from all that the man had said, and maybe a bit from the champagne Mrs. Hudson kept generously topped off.

“Not his fault, he was engaged to a beautiful, intelligent woman. If I was your fiancé, I would be too. I’d trust you, always, but I’d still be jealous of any guy making eyes at you.” Greg blushed, hoping he didn’t embarrass himself completely. Molly chuckled and finished the last of her champagne glass.

“I should be going, I don’t want to ruin the party with this terrible drama.” Molly said her goodbyes and made her way out. She didn’t notice anyone was following her until she heard her name. Of course, it was Greg. He seemed concerned about her, like he could sense something just wasn’t right.

“Where’re you going to? I’ll take you there!” Greg suggested, hands going into the deep pockets of his wool winter coat.

“You don’t have to,” Molly tried to wave the offer away.

“I know but I want to,” Greg insisted with a crooked smile and a shrug.

“Well I can’t go back to my flat until Tom clears his stuff out and after what he said about my Dad I really want to go see him.” Molly shivered against the cold winter breeze that was blowing up Baker Street. “I think I might just crash inside the hospital until tomorrow night.” Now that she thought about, it was sounding more and more like the best choice. Greg pointed with his head and they headed in the direction of his car.

“Will your stuff be alright?” Greg explained how he remembered how he had dreaded leaving his stuff around with his ex for so long while he had tried to find himself a place. At least she hadn’t been vindictive when it came to that. They came to the car, and Lestrade unlocked it opening the door for Molly on instinct.

“I told him if he messed with any of it that he knew who my friends were.” Molly smiled at Greg’s guffaw as she slid into the car. Greg rounded the bonnet to the kerb and got in on the driver’s side. He was silent for a minute after he started the engine. Deep in thought.

“You can come over my place you know, if you need to. There’s a bathroom with a decent shower, and a warm bed. I’ll take the couch and you could get a good night’s sleep. Spend the day with your father tomorrow.” It was just a suggestion, but the alpha just knew she would probably be better off not going to that sick room after what she just went through. Something about the idea of being around Lestrade’s smells right now appealed to Molly. In ways she didn’t want to examine too closely. The promise of a good shower however, that she didn’t have to hide from. She nodded in agreement. She wouldn’t be good company for her father in that moment either.

“I still have to stop at Bart’s though. I keep a spare overnight bag in my locker just in case so I don’t have to go back to my flat if I don’t need to.” Molly explained as Greg turned into the familiar direction of the hospital.

“I do the same thing.” Greg smiled knowing what it was like to have a job that demand you keep doubles of everything. One for work and one for home. Molly retrieved her overnight bag and avoided the temptation to go up to the hospital room to see her father, but was relieved when she got a text from her sister with pictures of her niece and nephew laying with their grandfather reading a book and napping while their grandpa continued to read to them long after they fell asleep. June could hold down the fort until she could visit her dad tomorrow. Sometimes it was hard to remember that she wasn’t alone in this with her dad.

---

When Lestrade opened up the door to the flat, he immediately made excuses for the mess. The disarray was typical but manageable for a man that was always on the run without the convenience of calling his time his own. Clothes were dropped in places they shouldn’t be, beer bottles lingered on the coffee table but Greg was quick to scoop those up for the trash, muttering about how he had meant to clean it all up before. Molly fondly told him to relax and asked for a towel and flannel so that she could shower. She needed to clear her head, and the time in the shower would give Lestrade all the time he would need to straighten up in her absence. At the suggestion of takeaways, Molly suggested Chinese and Greg asked what she wanted before leaving her to her ablutions.

Flannel in hand Molly jumped into the surprisingly clean shower. She had seen her fair share of bachelor nightmares in her day but Greg’s happenstance disorder seemed to thankfully be just that. Being married once, Lestrade was used to keeping things a certain way and continued that though he was single again but Molly was thankful for that as she relaxed under the warm cascading water. The showerhead was pulsating heaven, as it pounded out the tension in her neck and back she wasn’t even aware had been there. The moan she let out in relief was louder than she had intended. She covered her mouth with a quiet giggle and listened for the knock she thought would come. When it didn’t, she finished her shower and practically had to crawl out. The heat and showerhead had relaxed her limbs into noodles. She threw on her clothes, loose yoga paints and a black t-shirt, and the jumper she wore that day went over it. She combed out her hair as best as she could with her traveling brush and headed to the kitchen.

“Feel better?” Greg questioned knowingly, between telling Lestrade her order and going to into the shower, the flat was cleaned and the food had come. He was waiting until Molly came out of the shower to dole out.

“Miles better, thanks for that. Your shower is amazing!” Molly was practically moaning at the memory. Greg tried not blush or to picture Molly naked. The thought of that pleasured moan he had heard had from his bathroom made Greg instantaneously hard in a way he hadn’t been for a woman in ages. He prayed his arousal wasn’t strong enough to scent in the air. He had spent the entire time she was in the shower thinking of anything and everything to will his erection away. The takeaway had been a welcomed distraction.

“A bit greedy with that, I’m very picky about shower heads. A bad shower can throw off my whole day.” Greg shrugged at himself turning towards the fridge, not that he could walk around Molly again without turning beet red. “Brew?” He offered reaching in for himself.

“Please!” Molly concurred sitting down with her meal at the kitchen table. Unlike 221b, this surface she would gladly eat at with her lo mien. She noted that Greg had beef with broccoli and a side of fried rice while she had white rice. Greg set an open beer in front of her and handed her chopsticks before grabbing everything for himself and sat down. Molly noted the bag with sauces was already on the table as well as the bag of eggrolls. She got them out, passing the alpha his with a smile and knowingly passed Greg several spicy mustard packets and a few soy sauce, he took it all with a smile while she tucked into her own meal. It was quite domestic for just friends. Maybe Tom had a point, in all of his insufferable ramblings. Greg noticed that though Molly had started eating it petered off until she was just looking around at nothing. Her hot meal, barely eaten, steamed in front of them just lying there forgotten.

“Molly?” Greg called her attention and she looked to Greg with confusion. “Are you alright?” Molly’s head hung at the question.

“Tom was right.” Molly muttered.

“About what?” Greg hoped that that bastard hadn’t taken away Molly’s appetite.

“I just broke up with him and here we are at your kitchen table, being all domestic and I swore to him we were just friends.” Molly gestured at the scene, felt the tears gather in the corners of her eyes.

“Hey, Molls, look I invited you here as a friend.” Greg assured her, covering her hand with his. “It’s none of his business who you’re with now, or who you were friends with when you were a couple. It might have been foolish of me but I just brought you here to give you a better place to sleep than a hospital chair. Besides you were in no shape to take care of Martin after breaking up with your fiancé like that.” Molly smiled fondly at the detective inspector for thinking of her father in that moment. “You’re my friend and I care about you. I just didn’t feel you should be alone tonight is all.” Greg’s ears began to blush but he squeezed her hand before letting go to continue eating his meal. Molly gave a half-smile in reply as she began to eat again. “And you’re none of those things he says. He’s a little ponce, and about one tenth the person you are. Don’t you forget that, Molly!” Greg confirmed with a firm nod of his head.

Molly laughed at that and confirmed that she wouldn’t with a shy, “alright.”

Towards the end of the meal, Molly’s head was starting to droop. Too much of all the good things, the beer both there and the generously poured champagne at 221b, the shower, and now the good food was lulling Molly into a sleep she probably hadn’t had in a while. Lestrade was watching her from the sink as he plodded about the kitchen, cleaning up their dinner.

“Alright, off to bed with you, before you fall asleep at my table.” Greg grumbled affectionately pulling Molly towards his bedroom. Compared to the rest of the flat it was an oasis. Everything was decorated just so, while the living room and kitchen were more haphazardly put together with whatever the detective inspector could find. Greg took his pillow and retrieved spare ones from his hall closet. He took a duvet from the foot of the bed and shrugged not knowing what else to do.

“Well that’s it, let me know if you need anything. I’ll be on the couch watching some tele before I get anywhere near sleepy.” Greg barked a laugh rubbing the back of his head.

“I’m sorry to put you out like this.” Molly kicked her overnight bag with the edge of her toe, stifling a yawn behind her hand that almost cracked her jaw in half.

“I told you Molly I’m glad to do it!” Greg reassured and smiled to her. Greg wasn’t prepared to smell the soft smell that was lavender, soap and Molly as her soft lips touched his cheek.

“Thank you.” She whispered giving him a small smile, her smaller hand warm on his shoulder. Her eyes were continuing to droop despite that she was still standing. Greg waved off her thanks, the tips of his ears redder than before and bid her goodnight, closing the door behind him. Molly never made a peep all night, and he checked on her once before going to bed. He watched only for a few, fleeting seconds at the tangle mess of limbs.

Lestrade tossed and turned until passing out somewhere around three. In the morning, he woke up to the smell of coffee being made in his kitchen with a stiff neck but it had been worth it. Molly was brighter than she had been the day before and was filling the kitchen with her own chipper light in the morning sun. She was making a breakfast for the both of them despite Greg’s protests and simply passed him a mug of perfect coffee. Molly announced she was in good spirits despite the fact that she ended her engagement less than twenty four hours before.

“Well I’m glad.” Greg grumbled around a yawn as he sat down at the breakfast table. Molly set a plate of eggs and toast before him, and Greg complimented Molly for her great cooking as they ate.

Molly shrugged off his praise. “It’s just eggs.” She shook her head, and wondered aloud, “they’re not that hard to mess up.”

“Clearly you haven’t had my ex-wife’s rubbery yellow piles of torture.” Greg’s horrified face forced a twinkling laugh Molly couldn’t hide. It burst forth and Molly covered her mouth in surprise. They both stared at each other in silence one second and burst out in laughter the next. Molly conceded that she was glad hers passed Greg’s muster and they ate the rest of their breakfast in companionable silence. Molly watched the faces Greg made when still waking and Greg had to shake himself more than once when he caught himself staring at the way Molly’s hair glistened in the morning light.

He cleaned up after Molly despite her protests once again.

“Those that did the cooking don’t do the washing!” Greg reprimanded shooing Molly to get dressed for the day. She reluctantly obeyed and after a quick detour to the loo to see to her morning routine, she was dressed and ready waiting for Greg to do the same. Greg was ready in a flash and grabbed his keys guiding Molly out and they walked into the bright winter sun to begin the day. He left Molly at St. Bart’s and she promised to text if she got back to her flat and had a weird feeling about it.

Molly stayed with her father all day. She broke the news about Tom as gently as she could and scolded her father at the sigh of relief the alpha gave at Molly’s calling off the engagement. He was so reassured that Molly was rid of Tom - he never liked the little beta twerp, that wasn’t what his Molly needed - and even happier to hear about the nice night she had with DI Lestrade.

“There’s a man I’d be proud to see my Molls with!” Martin announced with a beatific smile at the idea. Molly simply rolled her eyes and laughed. It was a lovely day spent with her father and she left that evening after helping him eat his supper lighter than she had felt in months. No longer was there the threat of a wedding, or anything of the kind, and she wasn’t beholden to anyone. There wouldn’t be anyone or an extra four legs to greet her when she got back to her flat and her time and space would be her own once again.

Molly went home that night and found everything of hers in its place with the empty spaces gladly being all that was left of Tom. She spent the night rearranging her flat to the way it had been before he had moved in, and went to sleep curled up with Toby again. Toby was glad to have his spot back and she was pleased, as she put her head on clean pillowcases, that Tom was now nothing but a distant memory. If only she could now shake these dreams she started having of silver hair, friendly smiles and warm, tan hands.

---

Chapter Text

Hollow

---

The entirety of the next month, just around Christmas with the threat of snow hanging in the air, had Sherlock John and Lestrade spending time regularly with Martin Hooper in his hospital room. They all could tell that this was the person Molly got most of her Molly-ness from. From the gestures and facial expressions he made to the very awkward and ill-timed jokes. The three men liked him tremendously and they all lamented that they hadn’t known him sooner. They spent hours recounting cases and adventures to Martin and telling him of Molly’s part in them. Sometimes it was just getting the three of them continuous cups of coffee and bags of crisps as they worked tediously in the lab while Greg would sleep, other times it was her own work that helped. Especially Lestrade recalled how sometimes, it was Molly’s autopsy reports that saved a life or put a man behind bars. Without Molly, nothing about their group would click. The three men all asserted to Martin that his daughter was indispensable.

On one of the few occasions Sherlock had visited without John, he recounted for Martin in detail Molly’s part in his fake suicide. He made sure Martin knew exactly how she helped him jump and hide away after, how she kept his secret and continued to do so for the eighteen months he was gone. He explained in no uncertain terms that Molly had saved the lives of himself, John, Greg and Mrs. Hudson and without her none of them would be alive. They owed her everything though he pointedly mentioned she asked for nothing in return and barely accepted thanks for it. Martin Hooper had truly raised a daughter that was an extraordinary woman. The pride in Martin’s face spoke volumes to Sherlock. That alone would soothe the loss he felt in not taking the time to know more about Molly so that he might have known the man sooner.

Greg’s visits were entirely centered on the life Martin lived, recounting tales and about raising Molly. When cajoled into it, Greg would tell cop stories he knew would amuse. He wouldn’t brag about his more dangerous, daring work as a detective inspector and Greg’s modesty impressed Martin almost as much as his interest in Molly that was written on his face as plain as day. It was one of these conversations that Martin became serious even though they had been laughing moments before as Greg waited for the man to catch his breath. It was taking much longer now than ever before, in fact if Martin spoke, most of the time spent would be in waiting for the man to catch his breath while listening to the oxygen wheeze from the mask. Martin had just told a story about Molly that had the detective inspector laughing with an affection for his daughter that choked off Martin’s own laughter. He watched the detective inspector with determined eyes.

“You love her, don’t you.” It was phrased as a question but Martin didn’t pose it as one. Greg had been staring off, thinking of the Molly that her father told him about and looked to Martin whose eyes were clear and alert despite all the pain medication he was on. It didn’t do much except keep the pain of cancer at bay now, not make him drowsy.

“What?” Greg questioned with an unsure smile. He wasn’t exactly sure if Martin was seriously asking him this or how he found out about something he kept close to his chest.

“You love her. Molly, my daughter, you love her.” Martin insisted, shifting around to find the control that elevated his bed so that he could look this younger alpha in the eye. His body was failing him, he didn’t have time for things to be left misunderstood, an indulgence of youth and health most people took advantage of too often. All these things he had left unsaid, things he just let go. He wouldn’t do that concerning his favorite daughter, an omega who would be in danger and was quite alone when he would be gone. This alpha that sat before him clearly loved her better than anyone else probably ever could.

Greg nodded, his expressive brown eyes twinkling with fondness though his voice and the downturn of his mouth were serious, almost painfully so to admit the truth out loud not knowing if it would be reciprocated. “I do, actually. I-I was married, you remember. Up until well, almost two years ago, and it was after the first time I had seen Molly all dressed up that I took the idea of divorcing her seriously. Well it was that but also Sherlock, the prat, told me she had been cheating – again – behind my back. It was at a Christmas party and Sherlock, you know said some things he shouldn’t of that upset Molly, but she was so beautiful Martin.” Greg smiled wistfully, eyes far away in memory.

“Yes she is, isn’t she?” Martin shared that smile men do when talking about their daughters.

“But I was married…” Greg looked down and away, riddled with guilt even though his wife had cheated. Molly deserved so much better than the beat up alpha he was, someone who was less damaged than he was.

“That doesn’t matter. You said your ex was a beta, it’s not who you’re supposed to be with, especially if you were looking at other women and she was cheating.” Martin corrected Lestrade, he knew about the divorce but it didn’t do to dwell on mistakes. He also knew about the children she kept from the alpha, and knew he’d hate the woman even though he’d probably never meet her. “When did you know you loved my Molly?” Martin encouraged Greg to continue.

“When I found out about what she did to save us all, really. Sherlock’s suicide- how they faked it together- I thought she was beautiful before but then I saw something in her I’d never noticed before. This strength- how it must’ve hurt to keep that secret and still look me in the eye. But she helped Sherlock and did all of that without a moment's pause.” Greg looked to Martin pride evident in his voice and Martin’s face. They both loved Molly. “How did you know?”

“The look.” Martin explained as if that proved everything.

“What look?” Greg questioned with a crooked smile.

“That look you get when Molly comes in here or you walk in looking for her. It’s the same look I had when I first met her mother.” Martin smiled knowingly.

“Don’t hide it very well do I?” Greg blushed knowing that if Martin could tell he must send out signals like a spotlight that he loved her.

“No, not really, but men in love rarely ever do.” Martin smirked. Then Greg watched his face become weighty with a burden he knew he was passing along to the younger alpha. “You know it’s going to be hard for you in the long run.” He sighed and coughed around the sigh. “Between my dying- no I know well enough that my time is coming up, need to face it like any proper English Alpha would. And… well- She’s always hated being an omega, and her first heat was very hard. I did all I could to comfort her but she was in agony the entire time. She asked for the omega pill practically the day after her heat.” Martin looked to Greg sympathetically, he didn’t envy the detective inspector the job.

“Why is that?” Greg questioned, leaning closer to Martin. If he knew what had caused it, maybe he would help her overcome it. All of the reasons fluttered through his head were even more awful than the last.

“Well I suppose that to be my fault.” Martin sighed. Looking down to the hands in his lap, taking a bit to gather some oxygen into his lungs for the talk he had been anticipating to have with the man. It was the one weakness he had hated himself for, for the rest of his life and his marriage. “I had dropped the ball, as an alpha to my omega wife, once and only once.” He sighed, defeated. “But once was enough.” It wasn’t unusual for alphas to not be monogamous, there were alphas in the world that thought it was their privilege as alphas to sleep with whomever they wanted while their omegas tended to their pups. History told of many ancient forms of modern societies where alphas had kept harems of omegas when it was the fashion. It was only a recent trend that alphas proved their own loyalty to a single omega by going against their natural instincts to claim every omega possible to establish their prowess as a strong alpha. But sometimes to stay monogamous was harder than it appeared. As an alpha, Martin had thought he could would stay loyal to his wife, his one and only woman, or so he thought. “I cheated on Deidre, it was one of the secretaries from work. She was a beta and beautiful and I had one too many whiskies at the celebratory pub crawl we had after we had nailed a rather big client. She took me into the loos and it was over before I knew what I had done.” Greg’s jaw tightened. He could imagine both how the man felt, and how his wife had reacted. Lestrade himself knew well enough how he had reacted every time Cassandra had told him she had cheated. It wasn’t ever a pretty sight and he had been the slighted spouse. “I came home that night and told her everything. I was so ashamed for having done it, there was nowt I could do to fix it. That god awful lipstick the girl had always worn was still on my collar and lips. Deidre had been devastated. I spent all night consoling her and taking whatever abuse she hurled at me. I guess in a way I felt it was my penance for straying.” Martin shared a look with Greg as the oxygen hissed into his mask, showing the guilt he still carried with him despite having long been forgiven for it so many years ago. Greg didn’t know how Cassandra had been able to do it not only once but multiple times and with no remorse. It was one of the reasons why he had filed for divorce. “The kids were still very young, Eddie was just a wee baby then. I think Molly couldn’t have been no more than oh, maybe… three? The argument had gotten progressively louder- loud enough to wake the children. The next thing I knew I saw the door to our bedroom had been left ajar and there were these two little wide brown eyes staring at me- could have only been Molly, with tears in her eyes and her hair still all wild- the way it usually does while she sleeps. The wife was still yelling at me, as she should but I was never cut down so much as when I saw the devastated look in my little girl’s eyes.” Greg shared a commiserating look with the man as a father himself. It wasn’t right for your kids to find out that you’re not the omnipotent hero they thought you were at so young an age. The rest of Molly’s hatred of her omega side looked a little clearer to Greg now.

The dying alpha before him stared off into the sterile walls of the hospital room, eyes glittering with distant memories as he took valuable breaths. “I still remember seeing her clutching her favorite stuffed bunny- called him Bagsy Bunny. I never felt more pathetic than that night. And that were the worst part about it. I could deal with all that Deidre had to say to me, deserved it really. But after all was said and done, I could still show her my love. But I couldn’t bare the look of outright betrayal on Molly’s face, that she saw how much I had hurt her mother, my mate like that.” Martin pinched the bridge of his nose dispelling his tears as best as he could. “Deidre closed the door on Molly thinking that I was only looking for a way to leave the fight, and by the time I was able to go look in on Molly she had already been in bed asleep. I think she had cried herself to sleep that night, her eyes had been puffy.” Martin shook his head at himself, to that day he still carried around the guilt he felt in his favorite child seeing that he was a man, just a man.

Greg tsked in understanding. He could see now where Molly’s hatred of the whole mating thing came from, she didn’t want to be vulnerable. She didn’t want to leave herself open to that kind of hurt. “Deidre had spent the next few weeks being spiteful and just giving off grieving pheromones in waves. The children barely understood what had happened and why their mother refused my touch in front of them. It wasn’t a happy time for us. We only moved passed it after Deidre’s heat. I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t be that kind of alpha, not when I loved her so much. I never strayed again but I suppose you could say that the proverbial damage had been done.” Martin looked to Greg regretfully, even though he had made amends with his wife. They had been okay as a family, it was this alpha before him now that had the uphill climb trying to court Molly. “I don’t even know if she remembers it, she had been so little. It might be the reason, it might’ve only been the start of it, I dunno. I dunno what that girl is thinking most days.” Martin shrugged, taking greedy breaths from his mask.

“Well, thank you for telling me anyway. It helps to know what I’m up against.” Greg smirked ruefully. He never really had things easy. “You know I’m grateful we get to talk like this even though- well… you know what I mean.” Greg smiled fondly to the man, he would regret not knowing the man as a father-in-law and not just a friend.

“I know, pity that. You would have been a right good son-in-law.” The two men shook on that in agreement. “I hope you’re ready for the good fight, because it will be tough that I can promise yeh. But I know my Molly. I can tell she likes you. You just keep at it, she’ll give in.” The two men laughed until there was a knock on the door announcing that Molly had found them. They both broke apart suddenly looking to Molly walking in, and Greg tried to will the blush in his cheeks away.

---

More than once Molly had to go hunting for Sherlock, John and Lestrade but they were just as happy to go find her to spend some time talking to Martin. Now Molly spent more time in Martin’s hospital room than in the morgue. Martin’s breathing was getting weaker every day as he fought to continue to breathe. Molly watched as he became weaker and weaker, losing grip on his body as his functions acted of their own accord and the cancer choked him. She patiently spooned food around the oxygen mask and would smile patiently every time that Martin would cough. But it was such a day that brought her to Martin’s room in the middle of a conversation, a serious one at that, with Lestrade. At her knock, they pulled away from their little quiet conference and Greg looked to her with his ears red, a blush fading from his cheeks.

“I was just coming to look for you, I gave Donovan the autopsy file from the latest case. She’s got it, and she’s waiting for you in the car park. I told her I’d come fetch you.” Molly smiled at the Detective Inspector fondly. She could tell out of all her friends, Greg liked spending time with Martin most. Though she didn’t question why, just happy that the man came around to brighten her father’s days. Lestrade made his excuses complaining about work interrupting his good time, and shook Martin’s hand before he left, leaving a peck on Molly’s cheek (reflex) in his wake.

Molly put her hand to her warmed cheek where Greg had left his farewell kiss, absently touching it before she gave a shake of her head and went about checking the monitors, and the tubes on her father’s IVs. Everything seemed to be alright as she took her seat. She didn’t see the lingering detective inspector. Martin however was no fool. He observed easily that the detective inspector hovered to see if Martin would steer the conversation in the direction of Lestrade and Molly’s potential.

“I like that one! He’s a goodun’ and I like the way he looks at you.” Martin smirked to his daughter, gears already putting two and two together. “He’s much better than that Tom fellow.” Martin never liked Tom overmuch, but he’d rather see Molly settled and happy than alone before he died. But he was none too pleased to see that Molly realized how unhappy the ponce beta had made her.

“Dad!” Molly scolded in exasperation. Cancer made her father embarrassingly honest, to the point of rude bluntness. She took his hand into hers, feeling how cold they were now that they were under-oxygenated.

“Well I don’t. But that Lestrade fellow, there’s a man I’d be proud to call a son-in-law. Alpha or not. And no ring I noticed! I mean it, I think he likes you.” Martin rumbled a laugh that turned into a cough behind his oxygen mask. Molly rolled her eyes was a smile even though she was worried about the cough he had and reached over to pat his back as Martin hacked and choked before laying down to catch his breath. Moments like this were becoming longer and happening with more regularity.

“How can you tell?” Molly questioned with curiosity.

“It’s the way he looks at you. Like how I looked at your mother when I knew I wanted to marry her.” Martin smiled wistfully, as he caught his breath. “It only took seeing her once all dressed up and I knew.” Martin winked affectionately.

“Well I don’t think so, I think he sees me more as a friend really. Even if I did like him…” Molly trailed off not finishing the thought in her head. She shook her head to dispel the thoughts that wondered if maybe her father was right. With her father ill, she had more important things to think on and to think of this now, so soon after Tom, with her father getting worse every day, it felt selfish and self-absorbed.

“And do you?” Martin encouraged Molly to speak her feelings, he and the elbow that could be seen from the door way, wanted to know. At least she would be honest with him in this.

“I don’t know, Dad. Maybe? I’m still getting over Tom...” Molly sighed before hearing a pair of voices just outside the door. One shushing the other. She didn’t see Donovan coming to get her boss and Greg making an anxious face as he feared Molly had caught him eavesdropping. He thanked her father for thinking of allowing him this opportunity to hear how she really felt. But it only made him more confused. He annoyingly grabbed Donovan’s elbow and walked to the elevator before she could cause trouble. Before Molly could see who was at the door they strode off.

“Well you don’t have to know. Just give him a chance is all I ask!” Martin encouraged with a firm nod.

“You’re very demanding all a sudden.” Molly smirked to her father knowingly.

“Consider it a dying request of your old papa.” Molly shushed him, reaching in to scent her father with a hug before she returned once more down to the morgue.

---

John and Sherlock noted that it was just past the six week mark they had expected for Martin Hooper to live. The winter was upon them as the flat was decorated with the leftovers of Christmas and neither knew how long the man would have. Sherlock was worried but John was anxious. Molly was an omega. He was protective over Sherlock normally and obsessive in his protection of the man now that they were mated. It bothered his alpha instincts to protect his omega friend that Molly would be so exposed once her familial alpha died. Sherlock saw no other choice but to make Mycroft get involved.

Molly’s father growing steadily worse. She needs protection. –SH

Understood. Consider it done. –MH

Sherlock showed the text to John though neither mate knew what it meant. Sherlock of course had some idea but there wasn’t a way to know for sure until events unfolded themselves and Sherlock knew that Mycroft was keeping him out of it so Molly wouldn’t find out and try to circumvent his actions. They only hoped it would help Molly in the end and ease her father’s mortal burden in his final days.

---

Martin Hooper laid in his bed, awake thanks to the insomnia the morphine drip in his arm sometimes caused. He slept a lot during the day, and almost always was awake late at night. He tried to get up and move around, but when breathing seemed like a trial, he was regretful that moving about would be insurmountable a mission. Now as he laid awake, hooked up to tubes and monitors a plenty, he fidgeted with the urge to get up and move that would go unheeded. The nurses had long come in for the last visit for the night. So the hospital was almost eerie in the way silence laid blanket thick over the halls.

Martin could have sworn he head footsteps coming towards his room and the tap of a cane of some sort. “Who’s there?” Martin called out in a nervous voice. The monitors on his machines began to beep as his heart rate and breathing escalated. His oxygen mask hissed to account for the change in his breathing pattern making it difficult but not impossible for the dying alpha to hear the steps coming toward his door.

“Calm yourself, Mr. Hooper, I am not here to do you harm.” A bored voice called out in a droll in the hallway before the man showed himself in the door way. The mysterious fellow was dressed in a three piece suit and sported an umbrella, a beautiful assistant at his arm. Martin seeing that the man truthfully wasn’t going to harm him, though he was still in doubt about that, fell back into bed with relief taking coughing, halting breaths.

“Who are you?” Martin questioned in a rasping voice as he fought to breathe in the oxygen pouring from his mask. He looked to the people that now entered his room, the man stood allowing the woman to take the seat as she pulled out a computer pad and began doing work he couldn’t see from the angle she held the pad.

“You do not know me, but I do know your daughter and you know my brother Sherlock. I am his elder brother Mycroft Holmes.” Mycroft smirked in what Martin would hardly call a friendly way. Martin extended his hand to the beta and Mycroft tentatively did the same.

“Why are you here?” Martin questioned, not understanding what this mysterious Mycroft was doing here in his brother’s stead and at such an odd hour.

“I am here to assist you in the preparations for your last moments on this earth. I believe my brother has told you the role your daughter played in saving his life?” Mycroft questioned, though he was glad to explain what the older man didn’t know it was a very long explanation and he would prefer to let the man rest if possible.

“Sherlock told me, I’m glad she could help your family.” Martin smiled proudly and with a warmth that stumbled Mycroft a bit, surely the man wouldn’t be so warm towards Mycroft in this way if Martin knew what he was really like.

“Sir.” Anthea pointed towards the chair beside the bed he allowed her to take and left the room to get another chair from the hallway, and posted herself at the foot of the bed, setting up to follow Mycroft’s orders once again. Mycroft took the seat next to Martin’s bed and observed the man in the sickbed better now that he was closer. Martin Hooper didn’t look very well, Sherlock should have contacted him sooner.

“Then you know I am in her debt. Well the Holmes family is, and we don’t like to see a debt unrepaid. However your daughter quite stubbornly seems to think it unnecessary. While it is good of her to do this all for Sherlock selflessly, I would rather do something for her. Something that would ease many burdens from her life, and in this regard I am looking to do something for you. I will act as your executor. I will carry out your last will and testament, see to the funeral and anything else that you want done. Molly won’t have to do a thing except grieve alongside her family. Anything that will need doing, I will see to it.” Mycroft explained.

“Why did you come tonight?” Martin questioned, using the controls on the bed to sit up properly.

“It’s the only time I can come that I know Molly won’t be underfoot long enough for us to complete our business.” Mycroft gave the man a tight lipped smile at the raspy wheeze of a chuckle in response.

“Alright fair enough, but what about Molly? After I’m gone…” Martin cleared his throat, his eyes gaining tears at the thought of leaving his omega daughter without the protection of her familial alpha and what an impossible position that will be for her.

“I will act as her advocate during the allowable time available for her to mate and the corresponding year after the bond. Would that be acceptable?” Martin nodded and Mycroft nodded to Anthea who set to work adding to the man’s will.

“I think she wouldn’t be pleased, but I think you’re the best choice. Probably, you’ll be the only one who’ll be able to keep their wits about them.” If only the dying man knew how protective Mycroft Holmes had unknowingly become over Molly in the time of Sherlock’s hiatus. “I think I would also like to choose her mate for her.” Martin decided suddenly. He imagined she would be gutted at having to be forced to bond once he passed, she would be livid that he will now have arranged her bondmate for her. But he saw little choice in the matter, if he didn’t force her hand she wouldn’t do anything about it. And he knew the law would leave her vulnerable to any pitiful excuse for an alpha that would cross her path. He was doing this to protect her, Martin’s face grew more determined the longer he thought about it. It was for the best.

“Is that wise? Molly does seem to have her own mind about these things.” Mycroft warned, his own starched shirt collar feeling tight at the thought of telling Molly that her father had taken the old fashion route of arranging her courtship and mating for her. This was one of those many times that he relished being a beta, and being able to not only forsake human sentiment but having the biology that made it easy to do so. Mycroft had deduced long before being told that Molly disliked and quite frankly repressed her biological urges as an omega, and outright denied them on the whole. Though Mycroft understood the reasons, it was a mystery to others. He could imagine the damage Molly could leave in her wake when being, not just forced to bond, but forced to bond with someone she hadn’t chosen for herself. It was a heavy burden to take on himself, but in repayment he could save Molly from herself, the same way she had saved Sherlock.

“I know my daughter, Mycroft.” Martin smiled hard, not budging on this. “It’s time she settled down with an alpha, whether or not she wants to do it. Neither she nor I have control of this now. And I know the perfect alpha for her…” Martin and Mycroft agreed to his choice. Mycroft only hoped it wouldn’t take too long for the couple to realize that they were perfect for each other.

“Is there anything else you would like, Mr. Hooper?” Mycroft asked.

“Please call me Martin. There are a few other things, if you have both have the time?” Martin questioned wondering if this was keeping this seemingly important man from anything else.

“For the father of Molly Hooper I have all the time in the world. She is my favorite goldfish.” Mycroft gave another tight-lipped smile.

“Goldfish?” Martin questioned with a perturbed expression.

“Just a way I see the world. Compared to myself, I see the rest of the world as goldfish. Even yourself,” Martin’s face contorted further in disgust at the idea that he was below average compared to the beta beside him, Mycroft was surprised more and more by people’s outrage at being told the truth about their own inferiority to himself. “Oh, please, don’t take offense, most people are goldfish. You know how intelligent Sherlock is…” Mycroft hinted.

“Yes, he is an unusual one.” Martin wheezed a laugh at that.

“Our family has been known to say that out of the two of us, I am the smart one.” Mycroft smiled as Martin’s face dropped in surprise, thinking of how the world must look like through the lens of Mycroft’s intelligence. “Now we’ll continue with the changes you would like…”

Mycroft and Martin worked until the sun started to edge across the eastern sky over the London town. “I believe that is everything if you would just sign here.” Mycroft pointed to the computer pad Anthea produced at his other elbow waiting with a stylus for him to sign on the dotted line. Martin signed and she brought it to Mycroft to immediately witness with his thumbprint. He would take care of the rest of the usual legalities later, which he told Martin he would do as both Mycroft and Anthea gathered their things to leave.

“I’ll fetch the car sir.” Anthea excused herself with a fond smile to the elder Hooper and walked down the hall.

“It pays to be in the government!” Martin smiled gesturing the assistant that left, and also insinuating how easy it was for Mycroft to take over the legalities of Martin’s last wishes without all the red tape and roadblocks the average person would encounter.

“Yes it does.” Mycroft agreed with a smirk.

“I’m glad that she, Molly, has people like you looking after her.” Martin smiled to the elder Holmes with that warmth that Mycroft found disarming once again. He knew that he would see that this man’s wishes were carried out whether or not Molly liked that he would do it.

“I do what I can.” Mycroft waved away Martin’s compliments.

“Thank you, you’ve put a dying man’s mind at ease.” Martin felt his eyes slipping closed despite the excitement of the night that left his head buzzing full with thoughts of what Molly’s future would hold that he wouldn’t get a chance to witness in this life.

“The pleasure is all mine sir, I’ll leave you to your sleep, good morning.” And with a parting nod, Mycroft Holmes swept out of the room.

---

Molly spent both Christmas and now New Year’s Eve sleeping in a hospital chair next to her father’s bed. June and Eddie both spent their own holidays with their children but promised to visit with their kids on New Year’s Day. His breathing was getting much too hard now, he fought for every breath. He was slowly suffocating.

The morning of New Years’ Day dawned cold, clear and bright. Molly unfolded herself from the chair she occupied next to the bed and smiled to her father who once again failed to sleep the night before, she kissed her father as he closed his eyes for a rest (he was sleeping more and more as even breathing seemed to exhaust him), telling him she would be back during lunch. Molly smiled to the nurses as they began their day and headed down to the morgue to start in on the drunk drivers that didn’t think to get a cab. There were always a few that Sherlock would love investigating and she looked forward to showing him the interesting effects of high speed metal colliding with skin, tissue, and bones. They always spent hours discussing their fascinating findings. The day after New Year’s was truly one of his favorite times of year. She had just put on a pair of gloves to begin when a nurse came running in after her breathless.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Molly asked concerned as the younger man caught his breath. She ripped off the gloves in impatience.

“I’m sorry Dr. Hooper but your father- he’s flat-lined, they’re trying to bring him around now but it’s not looking good.” The nurse trailed behind her, hot on her heels as she made her way back up the stairs that would lead to her father’s floor. “They said the lack of oxygen caused his heart to give out while he was sleeping. The head nurse told me to come get you.” Molly barely heard him as she ran up the stairs as fast as her legs could carry her. Nothing else mattered as her thigh muscles ached and her chest burned with cold dread.

Molly stopped outside the door as she watched them apply shock paddles to her father’s chest, in between nurses applying CPR to his chest, pressing down on his chest rhythmically, he flopped on the bed like the dummies used for demonstration. Completely lifeless. The static noise of the flat-line on the heart monitor echoed in her ears and down the hall as Molly sank to her knees. Her father was dead. The doctors and nurses looked to Molly between compressions as she seemed to be in shock. They called the time after endless attempts to bring Martin Hooper back from the brink that yielded no response.

9:46 AM. Martin Hooper was dead. Molly was an orphan.

A nurse shuffled Molly into the room next to the prone form that used to be her father. He wasn’t there anymore, her strong, capable, alpha father was no more. She took the frail hand that was cold and lifeless that still bore scars from where he punched walls in his grief and rubbed it against her cheek. His wedding band, worn with age, sparkled under the sterile florescent lights. She found herself alone, the nurses and doctors stopped hovering, whispering condolences. They went through the process of detaching him from the monitors that were all evidence of his lifelessness. Molly didn’t know if time passed, she could have sat there for an eternity in vigil over her father’s body. She watched with a practiced eye as the color of life drained from the flesh and his skin began to grey.

News reached Mike Stamford, he came in to give her his heartfelt regrets, more than once her lovely boss complimented Martin Hooper on the wonderful omega daughter he raised. He told her to go home but she refused to leave the side of her father’s body. What would become of her life now that her parental alpha was dead? She just wanted to be alone with her father for a little while longer. She could pretend he wasn’t dead only sleeping peacefully. Wait just until they needed to take him to the morgue and had already accepted that Mike would be the one, she couldn’t do that. She couldn’t perform her duties on her own father’s body.

Eventually a rumbling baritone called her out of the fog that left her staring at her father’s prone form.

She blinked and looked up into Sherlock’s blue green eyes. They were glassy and lined with concern. He gathered Molly into his arms and Molly finally let herself cry into the familiar Belstaff that smelt of dust and smoke. She thought it strange she hadn’t cried yet. A second hand patted her back and the gruff voice of John muttered his condolences as blue eyes, bright with tears, and sandy, silver hair danced in her teary vision. Molly’s voice hitched as she calmed herself. Pulling out of Sherlock’s embrace to wipe her eyes with the sleeve of her lab coat.

“We’re here to take you to Mycroft.” Sherlock explained as both mates met each other’s eyes wearily. Now hardly seemed like the time but they had no other choice. Everything, and Martin, would be taken care of, Molly needed to go to Mycroft and think of her future now.

“Mycroft?” Molly questioned barely understanding that she was in that moment let alone what Mycroft Holmes had to do with anything.

“He has things that he needs to tell you, there are developments with your father’s final wishes.” Sherlock explained applying pressure to her hand that was in his.

“What does Mycroft have to do with it?” Molly growled angrily. What could her father have done with Mycroft?

“He’ll explain everything.” Sherlock said no more. He didn’t trust himself. Mycroft had gathered Sherlock and John to explain Molly’s situation as soon as he had been given word that Martin Hooper was no longer with them. Mycroft dismissed them to get Molly from her father’s bedside once Lestrade came into the room. Sherlock had been a wreck for Molly ever since. John knew he was barely keeping it together, that was what he hated most about having people to care about. To be separated from them, knowing they were hurt, drove the genius mad. It was better to leave this for Mycroft anyway.

“Come with us, Molly.” At John’s gentle but firm insistence they drug Molly away from her father’s bedside, to her locker to change and bundled her up into a black sedan that would take them to Mycroft. Molly slumped into the cradle of the posh leather seats, and barely had any strength left. She couldn’t keep her head up, she felt hollowed out. Vulnerable. She was a deep endless well of grief now, her chest caved in under the weight of grief that pressed on her chest. Both Sherlock and John fidgeted under the grief they smelled rolling off of her in waves. Her scent was muted because of the suppressants Sherlock knew she took from spending time in her flat after the Fall, but even the best suppressants couldn’t mask the smell of grief this heavy. Molly spent the car ride with her head on Sherlock’s shoulder. He patiently held her hand the whole way while John stared out at the passing scenery moving into posher and larger homes as they went by. Mating with John had softened Sherlock’s exterior considerably. Or maybe it was the time away, risking his life, taking down the web that made him value the relationships he built up while he was around. To acknowledge that they existed, that he cared. Molly was grateful for all of the warmth he had to give. Right now she felt cold, empty, inside and out.

They didn’t pull up to Mycroft’s place of business, nor the Diogenes club as she had expected, but a marble columned front of an elegant, stately London townhouse.

“Mycroft’s place.” Sherlock explained to both the amazement and beleaguered amusement of Molly and John. They went in and she was shown to Mycroft’s personal study by Anthea, who looked up from her phone only once to offer her sincere condolences to Molly before closing her into the study alone without Sherlock and John. The bonded pair stood outside the solid, heavy oak door of the study until they couldn't stand it anymore and trudged back to 221b, where they would only be able to take solace in each other. Molly thought she saw a familiar figure pacing in an adjacent room but the door to it was only ajar and Molly felt too empty to really observe. Mycroft stood when Molly walked in and gestured towards the chairs that stood before the desk. Molly didn’t sit so neither did Mycroft.

“What is this Mycroft? I’m done. This is too much today. Please.” Molly begged in a weary voice, not in the mood for the Mycroft Holmes mysterious theatrics. Her soul was ripped out. She needed a stiff drink from the vodka bottle she stashed in her freezer for emergencies until she felt nothing at all for a while.

“I offer my condolences on the loss of your father, but in his final days he made me executor of his will and your advocate.” Mycroft announced without preamble. It wouldn’t do to dwell while Molly was in such open grief. Even Mycroft felt uncomfortable looking into such sorrowful eyes.

“My advocate?” Molly questioned, ire rising. This she could do, anger was easy.

“Yes, as your parental alpha and only living parent he was responsible for you in your unbonded state. Normally the time between your birth and your bonding would be ample time to find your chosen mate - or to marry a beta - while your parental alpha was still living. But alas, that’s not the case here.” Molly pursed her lips at Mycroft’s cavalier explanation of her situation now that her father was dead. Mycroft cleared his throat and looked out of the window to the garden of his townhouse before continuing. “Martin Hooper acted accordingly knowing his time was limited and made some corrections, stipulations, in his will for myself to carry out upon his untimely demise.”

“What does it say?” Molly mouth thinned out as her anger rose. She only wondered why her father would choose to do this, how he came in contact with her father at all. Molly could imagine what backdoor means Mycroft would use to insinuate himself into her father’s life.

“Under the law you have a three month mourning period, where you’re free from its influence but after three months you have only six to find a mate and register yourself as a bonded omega to an alpha or marry a beta as the law allows. Which, as you well know if an omega chooses to bond, includes the visual and documented record of the alpha’s bondbite. Then the corresponding first year I will act as your advocate should it be necessary and if you are unhappy in your bond partner all you need do is talk to me. If you don’t follow through with the bond in the allowable time, the law cannot protect you should you be forcibly bonded by an unwanted pursuer. Your father knew your stubbornness in denying your omega side but I’m afraid you can no longer afford to do so, and he has chosen for you.” Mycroft turned to meet Molly’s eyes pointedly.

“Wha-? He what?” Molly fell into a chair in shock. Mycroft walked to the sideboard next to his large oak desk and proceeded to poor Molly a much needed drink.

“He arranged your bonding. So as you know that legally negates you being able to marry a beta.” Mycroft explained handing Molly a generously poured tumbler of whiskey. Molly downed it in one horrifying gulp.

“Why would he do that?” Molly questioned, coughing against the burn from the whiskey and spoke more to herself than to Mycroft handing the glass back to the beta, which he generously refilled. “He must have been out of his mind…” Molly wondered aloud, gob smacked at the idea that her father had done this to her.

“Unlikely. I believe he was in a clearer state of mind and body than he had ever been before, and he knew the only way to see you happy was to point you in the right direction.” Mycroft handed Molly a fresh drink and she took it, this time only sipping from the glass. He poured his own and came back before her.

“Who?” Molly asked, turning her hurt eyes on Mycroft with a hard glare. He reached over the front of his desk to retrieve the computer pad that was sitting on its surface, and swiped across the screen to bring it to life, unlocking it. He read from the will itself.

“Martin stipulated in his will that you have in the lawful time of grief and the six months of courtship in which to bond yourself to one Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade.” Mycroft announced. Molly immediately sprung to her feet pacing the room.

“Oh my God. Oh my- Oh my god! He didn’t! I don’t believe him!” Molly panicked on the verge of tears, she expected her father to pick the son of one of his friends or someone they knew from the family but not this. This was embarrassing.

“He did. I can show you a copy of the will.” Mycroft offered the use of the pad, knowing that people like Molly needed to sometimes see the evidence before them to believe it. Molly eyed the page in question where Greg’s full name stood out in black and white

“No. I don’t want to see it!” Molly waved at the pad ready to take it from Mycroft to throw it out the window. He brought it before his chest with a firm hand to rescue it. Molly’s ravings were cut short suddenly as she asked a very dangerous question. “Just- what happens if I don’t?” Molly felt the grief, pain, and just nerves from what Mycroft was telling her, welling up in her throat as the alcohol burned in her stomach.

“You either bond with the Detective Inspector or you forfeit any legal rights as Martin Hooper’s omega kin and to your part of his will.” Mycroft continued to explain smoothly, putting the pad back onto his desk.

“Which is?” Molly asked, her voice strained with the effort to suppress her grief.

“Everything. For the most part, he left everything to you, barring the sum total of his accrued wealth which is to be split equally among yourself and two beta siblings.” Mycroft explained at least, originally his will had left everything to their mother and he hadn’t bothered to change it until recently. Molly crashed into one of the chairs before the desk.

“He chose Greg?! He’s forcing me to bond with Greg?! Wh-why?” Molly put her head in her hands. Mycroft sat down smoothly into the chair next to Molly, and laid an awkward hand upon her shoulder. That was something he would never do, not for anyone else. But even as a beta he could feel her distress filling the air, he noticed that the figure in the library next to his study was wrestling with the urge to come into the room.

“I believe that his remaining time on earth provided him with some sort of clarity that proved useful in seeing around the social niceties that often get in the way.” Mycroft explained with a brief albeit warm touch to Molly’s knee. “And Martin saw that you would be happy with Lestrade.” Mycroft at the time hadn’t been certain, but when he saw Greg’s concern for Molly upon hearing that Martin was dead proved that the wise, though unfortunately dead, man had been right.

“What happens if I refuse?” She didn’t have to consent to this. She liked Greg sure but she wasn’t going to tie herself down to an alpha just to get the family house and the money. She didn’t want those things. She wanted her father back. Molly also didn’t want to lose what relationship she did have with Greg because some will forced him into a bond with her without a choice.

“You get nothing. And Molly…” Mycroft’s face screwed up in honest concern as she met his gaze. “…this is so much more than money and a will. If you don’t bond with Greg – and Martin chose for you so legally it has to be Greg – in nine months from the funeral, I cannot protect you, the law cannot protect you. Sherlock, John- even the Detective Inspector cannot protect you. The law of our world is absolute about this. Omegas cannot remain unbonded to an alpha or unmarried to a beta if they do not have living parents or a familial alpha guardian.” In this Mycroft was powerless, he didn’t relish the feeling.

“It’s all so archaic.” Molly moaned, her head still in her hands, knowing that it was useless to fight it. In school, they had made sure to explain those rules very succinctly. Alphas could do what they wanted. Omegas were in danger if left without a bondmate or partner. It was useless in arguing that fact. Many cases occurred daily of omegas, sometimes even bonded ones, being attacked and forced into a bonding with someone they didn’t desire. To try and forcibly break a bond could almost kill an omega. In many cases, where the courts ruled in favor of releasing the omega from the unwanted bond it almost always did. There were many that fought to free omegas of this, they were an advanced society and alphas should be able to control their primal need to breed any unbonded omegas that went into heat or crossed their path. Even though many alphas didn’t. But in the law, it was the alphas that ruled.

“It’s for your own safety. Alphas can’t be trusted to control themselves, to not give in to their baser desires. It used to be about protecting omegas like property. A man that coveted another alpha’s property paid the price. Now it’s about protecting omega welfare.” Mycroft’s upper lip curled in disgust at the idea that any of this had to do with omega welfare at all.

“Except if we don’t play by their alpha rules.” Molly growled in disgust. She hated all of it, always prayed that she could be a beta and envied Mycroft’s position as one completely. Alpha/omega rights laws were absolute in their power over omegas of the society, betas were excused from their power completely.

“Molly I mean it when I say we could not protect you. If you were to be out there in the world and a crazed alpha forced himself upon you and laid his bite; there would be nothing to stop him from legally taking control over you once the next nine months are over.” Mycroft stood, squeezing her shoulder in sympathy before going to the window to look out on the rather pretty gardens Molly could now take notice of, and it looked like a lovely place to think.

“When does it start?” Molly questioned in resignation, wanting to know how long she had until she would have to give up this little life of hers she loved too much and turn into a breeding machine.

“Saturday after the funeral and burial. I’ve arranged everything for you and called everyone in your family except your brother and sister. I had supposed you would like to talk to your siblings instead. The funeral is set to start at nine-thirty, and the burial will follow after. All you have to do is show up, I’ll have a car at your flat at nine o’clock.” Mycroft explained sitting down at his desk, bringing their conversation to an end.

Molly nodded, fighting to contain her emotions. She was morose and trembling with it, as it threatened to win over her thin self-control.

“Does Greg know about this?” She couldn’t help the tremble of mortification down her spine at the thought that Greg would know about what her father had done. That he was now tied to Molly against his will irrevocably and without a choice. It put a wrench in what Molly would have called a very lovely relationship that had been blooming into something she would have liked to have known.

“Yes I told him before you came, he’s waiting in the next room to take you home. I thought it only appropriate that he have a chance to talk to you alone before Saturday.” Mycroft explained inclining his head towards the room in question where Molly now heard the shuffling of repeated pacing she hadn’t noticed before.

“Damn decent of you.” Molly smirked sarcastically, with little charity at the situation Mycroft and her father had placed her in. “Alright, is that all?”

“That’s everything, Miss. Hooper.” Mycroft was surprised the use of “miss” hadn’t even rattled her.

“Thank you, I guess.” Molly nodded getting up to leave.

“The Detective Inspector is in the library, through that door just to your right.” Mycroft gestured politely.

“I know this isn’t saying much right now, because I don’t feel it, but thank you for helping my father Mycroft.” Molly called with a stiff back facing Mycroft before walking through the door and absorbing the agonizing, nervous profile of Greg Lestrade.

---

Chapter Text

Sorrow

---

Molly stood before Greg and gave him a tight-lipped smile when he turned around.

He was dressed in one of his usual suits of a slate grey that was almost black with a navy blue dress shirt without a tie, its buttons undone to expose a swath of skin at his neck. Greg crossed the room to stand before Molly and felt unmoored, not knowing what he should do but his arms ached to hold her. “I’m so sorry Molly. I feel stupid that I don’t know what else I can say other than that.” Greg never felt so stupid as when he struggled to pull words into his mind. “I only knew Martin for a short time but I liked him a lot, and not just cause he was your Dad. I-” Greg cut himself off covering his mouth with his hand, knowing that if he didn’t stop himself he would ramble. Molly smiled, though it was a watery, little thing that was barely anything. He couldn’t resist the urge anymore. “Can I hug you? Please? I just can’t-” Molly didn’t let Greg finish as she flung herself into his arms. Greg wrapped her up into his warm embrace and couldn’t help the rumbling grumbles of comfort that flowed out from his chest. Greg was always more eloquent in his physicality than he ever was with words. He felt Molly shaking against him with the sobbing cries of mourning that she had been repressing. Greg's alpha side whined in pain not knowing what to do but tried to calm her by emitting calming pheromones of comfort and combing his fingers through her soft brown hair.

“Daddy, don’t leave me! H-How could he l-leave me like this? H-he’s gone. My dad. I want my daddy to come back. Please Daddy, I w-want him! I-I can’t believe he’s gone.” Molly sobbed muttering that and more against the now soaked jacket of Greg’s suit.

“Shh, it’ll be okay, Molly, I’m here. I’ll help you through this. It’s alright. Hey.” He eased Molly’s head off of his shoulder to meet her eyes. She pulled in a sobbing breath and allowed the alpha to wipe at the tear tracks on her face with his thumb, relishing the contact. “Why don’t we get you back to your place and get you comfortable, alright?” Lestrade suggested as her sobbing eased. Her shoulders shuddered as she tried to get her breathing under control. Molly nodded, her throat too tight for words, and allowed Greg to take her to his car.

They said nothing as he wove his way through the webbed streets of London until they came to her flat. After her outburst, Greg was wary of the calm that had settled over her. There wasn’t much the alpha could do for the omega other than roll with it as he parked in front of her flat. He took her keys out of the pocket of her coat with an easy smile and helped her out of the car. Molly, exhausted from the harrowing day, allowed herself to be led by the calming alpha into her flat. They walked in and Toby immediately yowled seeing Molly was home. He was more than a little hungry. She put down her things and wordlessly refilled his wet and dry food bowls, his water, even though Lestrade offered to do it. She didn’t even shy away from him asking, simply waved away the offer, and he watched as her nose scrunched up eyeing the task of changing Toby’s litter box. He did change that for Molly despite her protests. Once that was done, and Toby was pacified, Greg stood in the middle of Molly’s kitchen not knowing what they should do next.

“Tea?” Molly offered, turning on the electric kettle.

“You go sit, I’ll make it.” Greg offered nudging her towards the sitting room.

“That doesn’t make me a very good hostess.” Molly argued tiredly as she instead stalked towards her bedroom to put on her pajamas, anything else felt like too much effort.

“No but it makes me a good friend.” Greg called in a rumble towards her bedroom and went through the motion of waiting for the kettle to boil. He poured and waited until the tea brewed and then brought the mugs into the sitting room. Once he heard her shower go on, Greg decided to make himself comfortable. Or as comfortable as he knew was appropriate for the moment.

He took off his coat, then his suit jacket and hung both up. He debated about his shoes until he felt how tired his feet were and toed off the shoes, arranging them to be under his coat and jacket. He sat on the couch while he ordered takeaways for them, stretching his shoeless, though socked, feet into the carpet with a sigh. Toby came over to the living room now that he was finished eating and climbed into one of the chairs, curling up into a charcoal ball, eyeing Lestrade wearily. He stared back until Toby gave him a downright murderous glare, before laying down his head, satisfied this alpha human knew his place. Greg knew it wouldn’t be wise to reach out to pet the offended cat and turned his attention back to the phone when a voice echoed back to him. Greg ordered the takeaways since he really didn’t think it was the time to subject Molly to his cooking skills, and she would probably be grateful for the food. He hung up just as Molly was coming out of her bedroom. Cozy sweats were covered by a grey sweatshirt that looked older than Molly. She swam in it and looked comfortable as her wet hair tumbled over her shoulder out of a makeshift knot tied at the nape of her neck. She smiled weakly to Greg and took the seat next to him curled up in a little ball.

“I hope you’re hungry, I ordered takeaways.” Greg smiled when Molly gave the alpha a small but grateful smile.

“You don’t have to sit here and keep watch over me you know. I’m a big girl- I can manage. I know you probably have places you’d rather be.” Molly looked around her dim flat, knowing she probably wasn’t the best company at the moment. Even she could smell her own pheromones reeked of grief. Subtle though the smell was still potent.

“No place else I’d rather be.” Greg disagreed with an open smile. No matter what mood Molly was in, he was prepared to have a better time with her than being anywhere else and whatever was going on down at the yard would keep. He looked to Molly uncertain. “Do you not want me to be here?” He asked with a worried expression. If she asked him to go, he would. She knew that.

“Of course, I want you here. Greg, you’re my friend. But- Look you don’t have to pretend you want to do this.” Molly kept on trying to give the detective inspector a way out of this he didn’t seem to understand.

“Do what?” Greg questioned.

“Be here, staying by my side even though I’m miserable company right now.” Molly muttered the next part so Greg barely heard her. “You don’t have to try to be my alpha.”

“We should probably talk about that.” Greg suggested. That would be a long discussion itself once they decided that they wanted to be together. He was looking forward to whatever Molly offered him. “But- you know- later on- once you’re feeling more like yourself.” He was just being so bloody considerate. Molly would have been more annoyed if it wasn’t so Greg.

“Greg-” Molly groaned setting her tea aside to put her head in her hands.

“Molly.” Greg said her name firm and sure in response, his hand went to her back giving reassuring sweeps up and down her back.

“Please- really, you can leave if you want, I-I won’t be hurt. If you don’t want to do it, believe me- I’ll be fine- this is- we didn’t choose this. We were just friends.” She reiterated. “I know you didn’t sign up for any of this- this bonding shite. That Dad picked you.” Molly sighed, what the hell had her father been thinking? She wasn’t even sure how she felt about the detective inspector and now her father died – she tried to push that thought aside unsuccessfully – and left her with this mess. Hopefully it wouldn’t ruin what friendship Molly already had with him, it was the first and really only time she had a relationship with an alpha that didn’t end in him trying claiming her like a knothead. It was a good step forward for the wary omega and she didn’t want to mess with it. Now though, her father had left her with little choice. Unless, she ran. Could she do that? Just deny Greg the right to bond with her and live outside the influence of the law. Would she be brave enough? The thought was a curling tendril of doubt in the back of her mind.

“Maybe I do. Want it. ” Greg suggested, when Molly groaned again and buried her face in her hands, Greg pulled her hands away from her face so that he knew she was listening. Startling Molly out of the rambling thoughts of her mind, to look at him. “Look- Molls- I mean it. I want to be here and help you through this. Not because your Dad chose me as your Alpha, or any of that. I’m here as your friend. That’s what I am to you, no more, no less. And yeah- Okay- Cards on the table, right?” At Molly’s uncertain nod, Greg took a bracing breath of air though it was tinged with Molly’s grief he could taste in the air. “Maybe I do want something a little bit more. I care about you, a lot more than I’m guessing you probably know. You should know it’s something I’ve wanted to ask you about for a while now but there was never a time for it. Like it or not there’s something there, I know there is coz I feel it.” Molly’s eyes went so wide at that confession that the alpha was quick to backtrack, he moved his hands that were still holding to her wrists to lay uselessly in his lap. “But you shouldn’t think of any of that now. You’re not ready- we’re not ready for that step yet. And when you’re ready to talk about it, we’ll talk about it. But you’re not ready right now and I wouldn’t force you into anything now no matter what shite some stupid will says I am to you. I’m not going to ask you for more than you’re willing to give.” Greg’s mouth twisted in a sad expression Molly didn’t like as he combed his fingers through her damp hair that laid on her shoulder. His gentle touch while friendly and welcome reeked of much more than ‘we’re just friends.’

“Really? You mean that?” Molly questioned not believing that Greg would let her control the situation between them as the alpha’s hand came down to her shoulder to give a reassuring squeeze, leaving warmth behind.

“Every word.” Greg smiled. “I may be an Alpha but I’m not a complete bastard. I care about your feelings. It’s a bloody terrible position we’re in. But you’re not alone in this. I’m still me, you know. No matter what happens. I’m still your friend at the end of the day, and I’ll always be there for you when you need me Molls.”

Molly wrapped Greg in a long hug, relief heavy in her bones, until the doorbell rang. Greg was grateful for the ability to hide his expression from Molly as it was a nervous one. He didn’t know how long he’d be able to keep things platonic, though the alpha would try. Everything in him wanted Molly in the worst way though the omega was reassured that he wouldn’t try to force her into bonding with him, he still desired it. The delivery offered the alpha a welcome distraction. Greg buzzed the delivery guy in and paid for the takeaways despite Molly’s protest. They ate, talked about nothing and everything Greg could think of to distract Molly from the pain that had turned her chest into a cavernous empty space, held her hand while she called her brother and sister with the news and watched all of Molly’s favorite movies no matter what they were. Greg watched them all and pushed aside Molly’s worries that she was asking a lot of him in tolerating all that. She didn’t know if warmth would ever grow inside her again but even as she thought that, there was a fondness down in the dark somewhere she kept just for Greg as she watched him watching the movies. His laugh, the way his brown eyes twinkled with enjoyment even in the darkness of her sitting room, how they even crinkled in the corners, his smile just a turn of the corners of his mouth when she leaned into him. She relaxed even further into his warmth and sighed when his cheek laid on her head, providing that extra bit of warmth that allowed her to relax. Molly fell asleep curled up in Greg’s embrace and didn’t stir as Greg put her to bed.

Greg left Molly’s flat that night uncertain of the trials she would face in her grief, and getting past her issues with being an omega so that they might be happy together but he knew with a conviction he had never felt before, not even when marrying his ex-wife, that he would see her through it and be the alpha that this omega needed by her side.

He hoped anyway. Time and Molly’s problems would prove whether or not the alpha would be wrong.

---

At eight-thirty Saturday morning, Molly hopped on one foot as she tried to slide her foot into her simple black leather pumps. They were stiff with disuse, working in the morgue didn’t allow her to wear them often. She groaned seeing herself covered with traditional black in the mirror that was hung up by her door, she didn’t necessarily hate black as a color in a general sense, but in every way it reminded her of why she was dressed in it made her hate it today. The buzzer to her flat rang again. She buzzed in the driver that would bring her to the funeral and popped into her bedroom one more time for a quick glance over as she grabbed the simple white pearl earrings (her mother’s) from on top of her dresser. She grumbled, working the posts into her ears one by one, when she heard a knock at her door, Mycroft had said the driver would be there at nine. She still had to sweep up her hair, and make of it what she could before leaving.

She opened the door to let the driver in, and was stunned into silence mid-explanation to see Greg standing at her front door dressed for her father’s funeral in a black suit and tie with a white shirt that had gentle dark grey pinstripes running through it underneath a long wool winter coat. She knew he’d be going of course, but she thought she would have seen him there once she got to the chapel as a face in a crowd of faceless yet familiar ones, as she stood alone in the cold. She gulped down the sigh of relief at seeing him at her door instead of some miscellaneous driver of Mycroft’s, and let the detective inspector in. She had wished that the plan Mycroft had made originally weren’t for her to arrive alone. She had sat through her mother’s funeral alone and had no desire to do so with her father’s. But now thanks to Lestrade she wouldn’t have to.

“Greg! I thought-” Molly started moving aside as the detective inspector crossed over her threshold.

“Yeah, I sort of called off the royal guard so I could come take you myself. I didn’t think you’d want to go it alone.” Greg explained, scratching sheepishly at his hair with a small smile. It seemed just a tad short but looked freshly cut, she wondered if he had gotten it cut specifically for the occasion.

“Thank you!” Molly smiled a genuine but sad smile, glad that he somehow knew what she had wanted and they had never gotten the chance to discuss it. “Have yourself a tea if you want, I’m not quite ready yet.” Molly excused herself popping back into the bedroom.

“Want one?” Greg called from the kitchen as he went through the process of making himself a cuppa.

“No I’ve already had mine.” Molly called as she continued to frustratingly comb out her hair and decide what to do with it. Eventually she decided on a simple bun at the back of her head. It would have to do. Molly was sliding her bracelet onto her wrist, a simple pearl (Gramma Hooper’s) to match the earrings as she came into the kitchen, Greg was drinking his promised cuppa at the sink. Molly didn’t want to think about how familiar it felt to her. Even with Tom, it had been foreign and strange to have him about her space, and occupying parts of it once his things took over half of her flat. With Greg, it felt almost natural, like breathing. Everything in her at that moment, doused with grief and uncertain of her future, turned bitter at the domestic, comfortable feelings the scene gave her.

When she reached for her coat, Lestrade stopped her mid motion with a hand on her own. The heat that crawled up her arm at his touch singed her skin that was cold like ice from her grief.

“I know you probably don’t feel it, but you do look lovely.” Greg smiled to her as he gallantly helped her shrug on her long black winter coat. He noted it was the same one from the Christmas party that had revealed that infamous black dress. Now instead of fitting the festive atmosphere, it fit the somber mood against the plain black dress she wore. Instead of being fluffy and warm, now it seemed so somber and heavy on Molly’s thin frame.

“Thanks,” Molly smiled. “You don’t look half bad yourself.” Molly dimpled in attempt to be friendly despite her sadness, as Greg tipped out his hands and gave a boyish smirk.

“I do try.” His nose crinkled. Molly giggled, despite herself, and then looked to the clock on her oven, mouth twisting down in trepidation when she noted the time.

“We should get going.” It was time to say goodbye to her childhood and the adult life Molly had always known. In nine months, from this day, she would either have to change her life, the life that she had fought for, and tie herself to the sweet, unassuming alpha before her, or she’d have to cut ties with him, maybe even with everyone, and risk her life for the freedom from her omega side she craved. These thoughts and revelations seemed so big to her on this day, otherworldly. She couldn’t think of any of that now.

“Right.” Greg agreed. Molly reached out for the bouquet of white roses that had been on the table. Greg stopped her. Another touch, this time at her elbow, the heat traveled further up her arm. “I’ll get it.” Greg assured as he picked up her keys as well and allowed Molly to head out of the little flat in front of him as he locked up the place.

Lestrade drove through London until they reached the modest chapel the Hooper clan had always gone to in the end and waited long after he shut off the engine, for the air turned cool inside the car that she could watch his breath, until Molly indicated she was ready to face it all. Lestrade had parked across the street from the chapel and it loomed over the car, filling Molly with the trepidation she had been fighting all morning to make herself presentable. She gathered the bouquet of white roses she planned on placing on her father’s coffin, taking one last moment to feel the delicate petals between her fingers, and nodded that she was ready. Molly allowed Greg to help her out of the car but once he did he didn’t let go of her hand, trying to somehow imbue his strength to her so that she could face it all. Being alone in this world without either parent to guide you wasn’t easy. He squeezed the soft fingers that wove through his in what he hoped was a reassuring way, and tried not to draw too much attention to the way he was watching the contrast of his tan skin against Molly’s porcelain. Lestrade sighed in relief when Molly squeezed back. She couldn’t hide from entering the place, even though she would gladly be swallowed up by the earth with every step she took towards the chapel. But she was grateful for every moment Greg held her hand in his.

Molly and Greg stood side by side outside in the cold January air, after placing Molly’s things in the front row where the family would be seated, as the cars of the mourners began to arrive. The vicar had spent some time talking to Molly since she was the daughter, and the omega daughter, of the deceased alpha. He offered pious words of condolences and archaic scripture that he thought would give Molly strength, when really it only gave her a headache. She smiled politely and made her excuses when her family began to walk towards her. She looked to Lestrade and noticed a similar pinched expression on his face.

Greg took a step back from Molly as she was quickly engulfed by her family. Lestrade was first introduce to Molly’s brother and sister, who arrived shortly after they did, and neither asked for an explanation but he did notice they both eyed the inspector suspiciously. Molly’s beta siblings were told about the arrangements their father made by Molly and talked extensively to each other about it afterward in the days leading up to the funeral and wondered what connection he had with their father that would make him choose this silver haired detective over all the other men he could have chosen. Though they wondered why their father had felt the need to make such an old-fashioned choice as arranging Molly’s alpha for her at all. They saw that at least Greg knew Molly well enough to be holding her hand and for her to be equally enthusiastic in holding it back even though he reeked of calming alpha pheromones, clearly for Molly’s benefit. Brother and sister shared a look when Molly and Greg were distracted by enthusiastic greetings from Molly’s nieces and nephews, knowing that the man was already well ahead of the curve as one of the few (if any) alphas Molly let into her company at all if they weren’t already bonded to an omega friend.

Molly’s nieces and nephews all wondered at who this man was that wanted to bond with their aunt, as both June and Eddie couldn’t help themselves and had talked about it to their spouses endlessly in front of their children, and especially when they caught a glimpse of him while driving to the chapel. Their parents had looked up his name over the internet and were fascinated that he was so powerful in the Yard, even worked alongside the great Sherlock Holmes consulting internet sensation, yet Molly never mentioned him once to either sibling. The children had paid attention and conferred before they approached their aunt and this man that they would make sure he was okay. The little misers made their contention known once they had shaken his hand and were passed introductions. They exchanged glances with each other and the eldest at an authoritative eight years of age, June’s son, Liam stepped forward.

“Are you the alpha that Aunt Molly is being forced to mate with? Mum said so in the car.” Liam announced without preamble. He needed to check that his inside source on the matter was correct in her information. It wasn’t the first time his mother had been easily swayed by false rumors.

“Liam!” June and Molly both scolded the young lad but Lestrade waved their concern away with a gesture of his hand and squeezed Molly’s to let her know that it was alright. In truth, he had expected much more from her siblings, but they seemed more curious than doubting.

“I guess I am according to your grandpa but that honestly depends on your Aunt, really.” This seemed to pacify the cousins a little bit as they exchanged relieved glances. They weren’t going to have a new uncle anytime soon before they got to know this strangely warm man with the silver hair.

“Well my granfa wouldn’t think you were a good alpha unless you have a decent living. What’s your occupation?” Liam asked, pointedly. The adults exchanged glances and tried to hide their smiles. To Liam and his cousins, this was very serious business.

“I’m a detective inspector for Scotland Yard.” The detective inspector tried not to laugh when he noticed the surprised awe from the two younger children. They had probably not met anyone as important in the Yard as Lestrade. You usually only saw detectives in movies and on the tele.

“Are you really a detective inspector?” The boy questioned with a very serious face, not so easily trusting or impressed. He didn’t like the idea of his Aunt Molly being forced into being mated with this man without their consent. Anyone who tried to do that wasn’t to be trusted, no matter where they worked.

“I am.” Greg confirmed with an equally serious face as he bent over with his hands on his knees to look the little man eye to eye. It seemed important this little interview.

“You must have ID. Can I check it?” The boy questioned, thinking the man suspect. Lestrade produced the black leather billfold, trying to hide his smile as it was passed around the cousins as they all wanted to see proof. June was quick to retrieve it and hand it back, failing to hide a bemused smirk, before it could be subjected to the mischief of children.

“Do you have your ID too?” Greg questioned, exaggerating his usual interrogation face.

“I’m not a copper.” Liam screwed up his face wondering what this adult was thinking.

“No? You could have fooled me. You ask questions like a real copper.” Greg complimented the young lad for checking his credentials in courting his Aunt.

“Really?!” Liam was shocked into awed fascination with the detective inspector at the compliment and completely forgot he wasn’t supposed to be easily impressed by this new man in his Aunt’s life.

“Sure.” Greg confirmed with a chuckle scrubbing his fingers through the little boy’s hair. The rest of the children looked to him and they put their heads together in conference before turning back towards Greg.

“Well I guess as long as Aunt Molly is okay with it, you can stay, detective inspector.” Liam announced to the answering nods of his little sister and cousins. He stretched out his hand to shake on the deal which Greg did.

“Call me Greg.” He encouraged before June and Eddie decided to bring their families into the church and leave the not-yet-a-couple couple alone.

Greg and Molly shared equally amused smiles, though Molly’s smile didn’t quite meet her eyes. Still Molly was impressed he had tried so hard with her siblings and their kids. That would make this all a lot less difficult to bare if Greg could get along with her family.

Greg hovered nearby Molly as much as he could, sliding his hand into hers before he left or was pulled away by a relative of Molly’s and reaching for it again when he came back. Though Greg tried not to read too much into the relieved look Molly gave him every time he did. Molly introduced him as detective inspector and only elaborating on how they knew each other when asked. She didn’t say more to her family but Lestrade didn’t mind. They weren’t more than friends now, but still Lestrade hovered close by being more attentive than her family thought a mere friend would be. Once Sherlock and John arrived, they hovered nearby too with Mrs. Hudson and the Hooper family was a flutter with talk of how Molly was friends with the infamous Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Sherlock’s want to stay by Molly’s side had created an unknown yet welcome barrier as her family seemed more eager to talk to Sherlock than herself. Though the way they all gushed upon seeing such a fantastic internet celebrity had Molly blushing with embarrassment, though she noted she owed Sherlock a great deal of thanks in tolerating it all. The consulting detective and his blogger fielded questions as best as they could and didn’t complain except when they were forced away from Molly’s side to duck into the church to hide from the press that showed up once they knew Sherlock was attending the funeral. It was one of the frustrating things about being famous that Sherlock despised.

Once the bulk of Molly’s family had arrived Greg directed Molly into the church to the two front seats that were left for Greg and herself. She sat down into the pew and immediately curled up into Greg’s embrace. He patiently held her through the service, through Eddie’s eulogy, offered his handkerchief when she was overcome with tears during the hymns that he dutifully sang. His voice bellowed out in rumbles that he hoped would help Molly. It was regretfully the first time Molly had ever heard him sing.

Molly tried to pay attention to the service but almost couldn’t breathe through her grief.

Following the funeral, the casket was driven to the family plot. Each person was allowed to have their moment saying goodbye to Martin Hooper one last time. Some simply touching the coffin, others kissing the cold, lacquered wooden surface. Molly stifled her sobs as Sherlock laid down one of his cherished cigarettes and especially when John gave the coffin a salute. Greg stepped up alone to say goodbye also putting a lone cigarette on the coffin across Sherlock’s. And then it was time for the children of Martin Hooper and their families to take their turn. The grandchildren each kissed the coffin, led by the spouses of the two beta children, June and Eddie each had their moment propping each other up when this final goodbye came crashing over them, and then Molly came up last. Greg followed Molly, unable to stop himself from hovering that day wherever Molly was, Molly laid the roses she brought on the coffin, and leaned her forehead against it. She quietly begged for her father, whined for him to come back. The omega knew she was going to be so very lost without Martin to guide her through this uncertain time. She sobbed quietly for a moment, unable to contain it all, unable to leave her father’s side again for the last time. Greg squeezed her shoulder, his jaw working as he smelled Molly’s grief even in the open air.

“Molly.” Greg called out to her gently, easing her away from the casket and helping her to stand up. Sherlock and John’s eyes were stormy as they met Greg’s. Unfortunately, there was no evil to combat, no villain to hunt down, this was simply the passage of time and there was no way to make this right for Molly. Greg wrapped his arm around Molly’s shoulders and guided her back to stand before the coffin as it was lowered. June reached out to the pile of dirt next to the coffin and threw a handful in and with one last prayer, they had buried Martin Hooper.

Slowly the groups dispersed, after others had thrown in handfuls of dirt themselves and Molly encouraged those that came up to talk to her, especially Sherlock, John and Mrs. Hudson, to come back to the Hooper residence for a small repast. There was plenty of food at the house and some of the Hoopers’ neighbors were bringing over even more food for after the funeral. June and Eddie lingered until the children became impatient and June told Molly pointedly they would meet back at the house.

Greg stood beside Molly rubbing his hand rhythmically up and down her back as she stood before the lowered coffin. She didn’t look down into the earth where Martin Hooper’s corpse laid but refused to leave her father’s side, refused to let this moment be their goodbye. Molly didn’t know how long they had been standing there, but she shivered. Molly was surprised she felt anything at all, all she felt inside was empty. How could Greg stay by her side when she was like this? Molly met Greg’s eye at that thought and though his eyes were sad, empathetic, he still gave her a half-smile. Molly gave a small smile back that was barely a turn of the corners of her lips and with a nod from Molly, he pulled her by the hand back into the direction of his car. They both shivered as the car warmed up and the heat warmed them. Molly told him the address and he followed her directions just outside of London’s edge to the suburban house.

“You might as well come see it. It’s going to be yours eventually.” Molly smirked derisively.

“Only if you want to bond, Molly, not before.” Greg intoned seriously, looking to Molly his eyebrows knitted together. He hoped she didn’t really think he’d take advantage of her consent just because it was in her father’s will that he was to be her alpha. Greg Lestrade would never take advantage of any woman like that, ever. He wasn’t some knothead just because he had one.

“Sorry…” Molly muttered, knowing she was being uncharitable when all he had been was attentive and good about this whole thing. She was glad they were still in privacy of his car. She couldn’t face her family and friends. All of their bitter tasting sympathies and condolences, they left her feeling cold again. She just wanted to curl up on her bed with Toby and not come out of her room ever again. She jumped when she felt Greg bring her into his embrace for a hug. She sighed against his firm, warm form. The heat seeped into her empty places.

“It’s alright Molly you don’t have to apologize, I know you’re bloody pissed off. Everything is awful right now, but I told you, one day at a time eh?” Greg encouraged as he let go, a shy smile on his lips. Molly nodded swiping at a stray tear that had fallen. Greg once again patiently helped her out of the car and followed her into the house.

Everyone from the funeral had already stopped by, there was enough food to feed a small army. Only the immediate family and those friends closest to Martin’s children and him were there. It was a small gathering and for that Molly was grateful. She accepted the hugs that were offered, when she was wrapped in the familiar arms of Sherlock she grabbed onto him not letting go for a bit. Sherlock didn’t offer words that wouldn’t comfort, didn’t speak platitudes that she would scoff at later, he merely held her and she held him back. He brought her into the living room and many of her relatives, young and old alike scattered for the great consulting detective. Both John and Greg hovered nearby and eventually Molly found Sherlock on one side and Greg on the other, her one hand holding a cup of tea while Greg held her other hand, only letting go when she wanted to take a sip.

Eventually the nieces and nephews couldn’t contain themselves into being polite for company any longer and assaulted both Sherlock and Greg and demanded they be entertained by the consulting detective and detective inspector. Sherlock balked at the attention. They barraged him with questions and asked him to do something amazing. Sherlock did his best, deducing their older relatives to the children’s amazement, showing them how he could pick locks, his detective’s kit and eventually the detective inspector was wrestled into the center of the sitting room where there was room in front of the tele, as the younger children begged for a ride. Molly cringed knowing that Greg’s back wouldn’t thank him for that in the morning.

“Molly could you come into the kitchen for a tic? I need help with something.” June asked that but it was really their mother possessing her sister’s body and classic code mum code at parties for “we need to have a discussion about something that will annoy and frustrate you as I say it as passive aggressively as possible but it must happen now and certainly can’t wait until everyone from the party leaves.” Molly groaned and excused herself, not catching the eye of John and Sherlock as she passed, she missed the gaze of Lestrade following her into the kitchen on his hands and knees until he was distracted by the children again.

Inside the kitchen, Eddie, June, and their spouses were looking to Molly wearing curious expressions that had Molly wanting to slap each of them. They must have been discussing what relationship she would have with the alpha that had stayed by her side all day as they immediately been silenced upon her walking into the kitchen. She could practically see their thoughts written on their foreheads in permanent marker. They were all wondering about Greg, the will, her bonding with him. They could all assume all they liked but they wouldn’t bother to ask her to her face. Betas were always known for their fascination or snide attitudes towards alpha and omega relationships because they couldn’t even concede the idea of the type of monogamy mated couples swore by. They watched Molly with this kind of snide fascination now.

Molly’s back was stiff as the men in the room decided to scatter as Molly let off a tense air as to make the atmosphere of the kitchen stifling.

“Well we should probably save the Detective Inspector and Sherlock from the kids, Hugh.” Eddie excused himself and his brother-in-law from the tense air of the kitchen. “Don’t want them busting anything on Greg that’s valuable.” Molly glared daggers at her brother. June made herself busy taking out food that was being reheated to serve for their guests. Eddie’s wife made her excuse with the hot casserole dish, feigning an excuse not return to the kitchen Molly couldn’t care enough to listen to and then found herself in conference with her sister. Molly sat down at the kitchen table picking at the mince pies that were on the table. She took a bite or two, laying the pie on a napkin. It was then she realized that she hadn’t eaten much all day and the sun was setting outside the kitchen window.

“Well?” Molly asked raising her eyebrow.

“Greg seems nice.” June’s use of her mother’s passive aggressive voice drove Molly bonkers.

“Really, June? That’s Mum code for beginners.” Molly called her sister out. June held up her hands in surrender. Molly thought it was a lie that her beta sister meant no harm. Ever since she presented, they were both jealous of her relationship to her father and didn’t understand why she made such a fuss about her second gender. They weren’t the weaker of the species. They wouldn’t be trapped into a life of servitude and breeding an alpha’s pups. What could they understand?

“I’m just wondering how things stand between you two, alright?” June put another dish in the oven to heat up unnecessarily, there was more than enough food all over the living room, and the kitchen. When June didn’t want to occupy her thoughts with something unwanted she kept house and did crafty things instead. Today it was the food from the funeral, tomorrow it would be something else to take her attention away from how she really felt. Its people like that, which worried Molly. Of course, June was just checking on Molly’s situation, the omega thought bitterly. Her sister had always had designs on the house, and that Molly knew, that she didn’t understand why it wasn’t left to the eldest sibling, or why their father favored the omega with the family house and not her. Molly wasn’t a fool. June was trying to see how things stood, if her and Hugh should start packing up their place, or invest in a newer, bigger place.

“Is that any of your business June? I don’t remember you being named as bondmate as well.” Molly spat out in June’s direction.

“Still I know how you are.” June pointed out.

“And I know what you want, you want to see how things stand between us so that you know whether or not to pack up your place to move here.” Molly seethed.

“Oh for heaven’s sake Molly! Don’t be so dramatic. I’d rather sell the place to buy something bigger.” June shrugged her shoulders at Molly’s shocked expression. She didn’t think she’d ever be able to sell this place. Molly glared at the elder beta. “I also know how you are when it comes to…” June waved her hand in the air in a vacant gesture in Molly’s direction.

“To, what? Settling down? Bonding with an alpha?” Molly questioned. “Having my alpha chosen for me?”

“Yes, and being an omega that has to bond.” June pointed out coming to sit next to Molly taking some food for herself as well. Neither sibling was eating very much. “You don’t have a choice, now. It’s either bond or give up everything.”

“June.” Molly groaned, losing her appetite for the food she had spooned onto a plate to try to save her from giving June the thrashing she was still more than capable of giving her older sister. She pushed her plate away and folded her hands into her lap, physically sick from this conversation.

“Well, I think it’s time you thought seriously about settling down. And this Greg seems like a really good, decent alpha bloke. He doesn’t act like a knothead at all.” June smiled in the direction of the living room where Greg was now laughing with her husband as they both sat on the couch eating. “And he’s on the above-average end of the scale when it comes to looks. Bit a silver fox, innit he?” June encouraged with a waggle of her eyebrows.

“June!!’ Molly scolded her elder sister in disgust at her sister showing interest in the alpha though she was already married. Typical beta behavior, perfectly happy but still wanting more. But Molly did look to Greg to observe just what her sister was talking about. It was one of the first things she herself had noted about the alpha when they were first introduced and she miserably noticed that he had already been married. Now as she felt that same thrill of attraction run down her spine, things were completely different and he was here today just for her. On instinct, he felt her gaze and looked into the kitchen meeting her gaze with twinkling brown eyes. This forced Molly to look away, a blush blooming on her cheeks. June noticed the exchange and saw something that Molly refused or didn’t see. The static felt passed between the couple was palpable, even if Molly refused to see it.

“I’m only saying, you should think about it. He clearly likes you enormously. It’s not worth the legal issues and you could do worse with someone other than Greg. He’s good with kids too. There’s really nothing wrong with him.” June’s eyes sparkled in Greg’s direction in a way that had Molly fuming.

“He’s been divorced you know. A beta wife that treated him like shite. And he’s got kids, she’s keeping them away from him.” Molly spat out, though the back of her head prickled with shame at calling the alpha out on his imperfections. Molly didn’t need perfect, wouldn’t admit that what she needed was painfully close by, but it hurt that June kept on pointing it out; that this was all arranged.

“Well you’ll give him new pups to think about.” June reminded Molly with a shrug, not seeing the point of any of it. Never took the time to understand Molly’s histrionics about something that was natural and out of her control. “And maybe you can talk to that ex-wife for him.” June encouraged thinking the touch she offered on Molly’s hand that had been white knuckled around a paper napkin had been welcome. Molly threw the napkin down and stood up, she didn’t hear through the white noise flooding her ears that the entire house came to a standstill.

“What makes you think I’ll become the obedient little houseomega just because some will and archaic laws say I need to?” Molly fumed. The last thing she wanted to think about was the legal noose her father had left behind for her to hang herself with. Molly lowered her voice into a fierce whisper. “If you like the alpha so much, you fuck him, since you betas are so bleeding promiscuous you can’t keep your hands to yourselves.” Molly fought with her claws out, the sadness from the day poured out in anger. June had been ready for it, though her sister cut deep. It was so typical of Molly as to be vaguely irritating. Molly whipped around at that turning on her heel to leave the room. The activity in the living quickly picked up, so as not to seem suspicious not that either Hooper noticed.

“Hey!” June stopped Molly with a hard grip on her elbow. She turned Molly back around and held fast so that Molly would listen. “This isn’t just about you and your stupid omega issues! Like it or not, Greg is involved with this and has just as much at stake in this arrangement as you do. It’s not just about you anymore. You bonding with him was Dad’s last wish; he barely thought of Eddie and me- of his grandchildren. This was all he bloody well cared about. Of you. He wanted to see you happy, and thought with the obvious best intentions that there was something there for you with Greg. The least you could do is find out why Dad picked him.” June scolded Molly before releasing her, the tears in Molly’s eyes hurt but she allowed Molly to storm out of the kitchen and back into the living room. Molly hadn’t noticed the answering tears in her sister’s eyes.

Molly didn’t stop in the living room, didn’t look to the questioning gazes of Sherlock, John, or Greg. She didn’t see Mrs. Hudson push on Sherlock who nudged Greg, encouraging the alpha into action. She didn’t stop when Greg called out to her except to excuse herself. She ran into the master bath and locked the door. Molly had a brief few moments of solitude, sobs pulling her chest in on itself, before heavy, authoritative knuckles gave a well-practiced rap on the door. She gasped backing into the toilet with her shins, as she sat down on the fluffy cushion of its cover.

“Molls you alright in there?” Greg’s voice rumbled from the other side of the door. He heard her snuffle as she fought to gain control of the tears and sobs that were barely held at bay.

“Yeah uh- just- ah- just give me a bit, yeh?” Molly pleaded, she wondered if he heard the misery in her voice. He did.

“Sure, Molls, whatever you need.” Greg answered. Molly listened for thumping on the carpet that meant he was going back towards the living room and sighed in relief. Molly looked down to the dual sinks and found her father’s toothbrush sitting in the corner where her mother’s would have sat inside a glass. His razor sat perpendicular to it, parallel to the sink. Molly touched her finger along these things and heaved a great sob before she was able to catch herself. Her father was still here, even though she had just put him in the ground. The familiar smells, his things, they left her raw and aching inside. She couldn’t be in this place anymore. There were still people around, she couldn’t indulge in her grief just yet. She turned the cold tap on the sink all the way up and relished the sound of the gushing water that eased her chaotic thoughts with its rushing white noise. She put her hands under the water and splashed her face. It wet the collar of her dress but she didn’t care, patting her face dry with her father’s towel that hung on its coveted position on the towel rack. With a deep sigh, she unlocked the bathroom door and came out to find Lestrade sitting on the bed waiting for her.

“Just wanted to make sure you were okay.” Greg explained weakly. Molly said nothing as she approached him. She watched his face balk in uncertainty. He was right, they weren’t ready for any next steps other than what they were to each other in that moment. He wasn’t any more ready for something serious than she was and didn’t look it either. They were friends and didn’t have to be anything more than they were for anyone else, this brought her a relief so sudden she fell into the alpha’s lap and buried her head in his neck. Greg’s answering grumbles soothed.

“Can we go, do you think?” Molly asked into the skin of his neck. Greg tried hard to fight the ripples of pleasure that flowed out from that one point. He couldn’t resist the temptation to pet her back in soothing circles. Molly’s body relaxed further into his embrace.

“If that’s what you want, Molly.” Greg tilted her head back and at her answering nod, stood them up and pulled her into the living room. He made up some silly excuse about something at his office needed doing, even though the relatives encouraged him to stay repeatedly. Sherlock John and Mrs. Hudson, followed the couple out, attached their excuse for leaving onto Greg’s. Molly explained that Greg was her ride home and said her goodbyes while being pulled into the hallway so Greg could help her with her coat. June plied all of them with food, the fridge still more than half full with casseroles and baked goods, food that would last them more than a month. They received their farewells from her nieces and nephews, more enthusiastic hugs being directed at Greg rather than Molly and with a sigh of relief Molly found herself in Greg’s car on her way home. She watched the sprawling outskirts give way to the thriving city.

The dreaded day was finally over.

---

The drive back to her flat was quiet, Greg’s hands were too occupied with driving to hold hers but Molly didn’t mind as she stared at the passing scenery, her familiar neighborhood quickly giving way to the outskirts of London and then the part of town that grew more familiar as they neared her home and Bart’s. Greg parked his car and Molly smiled to him. He smiled back, turning off the car, which Molly thought was odd but she didn’t say so.

Molly barely noticed anything outside of the grief that wouldn’t stop plaguing her mind. She barely felt Greg pull her into the flat until she looked around and found Toby in her lap meowing for food, her coat hung up on a hook beside his next to the door and Greg handing her a hot cup of tea. She was petting the yowling cat and Greg stood awkwardly before her unsure of what to do.

“He’s hungry.” Molly mumbled scratching Toby’s ears to his satisfaction. He seemed in need of extra attention today and the petting motions soothed Molly. When she moved to get up to put out Toby’s food bowls again, Greg staid her with a warm heavy hand to her shoulder.

“I’ll get it. You enjoy your tea.” He encouraged before leaving her to her tea and the cat. The charcoal ball of fluff seemed to know what Greg was up to, and quickly abandoned comforting Molly to follow the man, rubbing up against him while trilling incessant meows for his food. It really didn’t matter who was to feed him, they would have his thanks for sustenance no matter what. Molly looked around with lackluster unseeing eyes, the cup of tea did little to warm her cold hands, but she drank it as she was expected to do. Soon it was finished and she curled up into a ball, her chin rested on her knees.

Once Greg noticed Toby was fed and off to do his business, he came to sit down next to Molly on her couch with a cup of tea of his own.

“How about some tele?” Greg pulled his brows came together when he got no response. “I’ll order some takeaways. Maybe a shower? It might help, you know. Make you feel better.” When his hand came to rest on her shoulder, thumb rubbing back and forth on her shoulder underneath the sleeve of her dress, he noticed then the gentle shudders of crying she had been keeping a careful control over all day.

Greg rumbled gentle words of comfort as he positioned Molly to be resting in the warmth of his embrace against the couch. His hand made aimless patterns as he petted up and down Molly’s back. He let her have a cry, rumbling grumbles from his chest and admitting comforting pheromones until Molly began to slump into his side further and further. He felt her body go lax, exhausted from the emotions of the day. She let out a squawk of surprise when he pulled her into his arms and off of the couch.

“Come on you need a good lie down.” Greg smiled fondly down to Molly carrying her into the bedroom. Molly continued to cry into the crook of his neck as he carried the grieving pathologist. He laid Molly down and sat next to her on the bed, stroking the loose strands of hair clinging to her wet cheeks away from her face. “Where are your pajamas? Shouldn’t really go to sleep in your dress, you’d wake up mad at yourself if you did.” Greg smirked knowingly, Molly fought the urge to lean into his touch.

“Top drawer, on the left.” Molly numbly explained, curling in on herself when he got up. He came back to the bed to sit once again, handing her the pajamas, more sweats than that really but Molly couldn’t encourage herself to move to pick out her proper pajamas and it was just easy to point someone in the direction of her sweats. Greg reached down to kiss her forehead, all he’d allow himself in their present state and stood.

“I’ll leave you to it then.” Greg grumbled softly standing to leave the room.

“Wait.” Molly called out sitting up suddenly. Her face was screwed up in uncertainty as she clung to his wrist. She just couldn’t stand the thought of Greg leaving. She heard Greg suck in a sharp breath when he turned to go as he wasn’t expect the soft skin of Molly’s fingers to encase his wrist.

“What is it, Molls?” Greg asked concerned as he turned to face her again.

“I don’t- I want- please, stay.” Molly asked awkwardly looking up to Greg, eyes glassy with as yet unshed tears. “It’s okay if you have to go, but- I just- I’d like it if you’d stay. If you can- Just for a little while… I know you probably have some things to do.” Molly cringed at herself for sounding so needy and weak.

“Not really. I was just going to be sitting around my flat. Yer sure? I don’t want to make things awkward by hovering too much.” Greg worried. He knew if she let him in even this much he was liable to want the whole package Molly had to offer. He was her friend, but the promise that was held in staying with Molly, admitting she needed him in what was one of her most vulnerable moments, in grief, stirred his primal need to protect and provide for her, to claim her as his mate. Once it started, he doubt he could make it stop, his alpha instincts weren’t easy to repress.

“Please.” Molly’s grief allowed her to beg. Normally she wouldn’t even let herself openly admit to any feeling on her part that was even remotely omega, let alone beg for an alpha, even Lestrade, to stay by her side. Greg hoped this was a sign that she was opening up. “I just can’t seem to stay warm enough when you’re not close.” A shiver of grief that ran through her proved her statement. She doubt even cuddling with Toby while she slept would warm her now.

“Alright. Just- Let me go out and get my bag. You change and I’ll get my stuff, and I’ll be back here in a tic.” Greg left the suggestion hanging in the air as he went to his car to get his overnight bag. He wouldn’t admit to anyone that he had brought it back to his flat from work and packed it that morning with all he would need just in case she did ask him to stay. He smiled when he was at the boot of his car, digging out his duffle and his briefcase, applauding himself, practically preening, at his forethought.

There was something about this, trying to court an omega. An instinct that he had rebelled against in his youth when he met and fell in love with Cassandra. He had thought her loyal enough, but then just proved all of the stereotypes about betas right. Unlike Molly’s siblings, they were typical but delightful. He had almost looked upon them with envy, but he didn’t know who they were when they weren’t at home or with family. For all Greg knew, they were swinging with other beta couples, enjoying the playful atmosphere that surrounded the amorous but hardly monogamous beta community. They put on a good front, comfortable and happy in their lives with their spouses and settled with children. But he hadn’t with Cassandra, as an alpha married to a beta, and maybe that was the problem. They had wanted different things, and that turned into animosity but he had refused to compromise and that only made her cheating worse. There were ways in which she was to blame, with the lying, excessive cheating and keeping his kids from him, but he also had a temper. His alpha instincts were obsessive and jealous when not appeased and downright domineering. Greg had wanted her to stay at home and want only him, while he went off to do whatever he wanted, and he knew from the beginning that was never Cassandra. She couldn’t be what he needed and he couldn’t give her what she wanted. The signs had been spray painted on the walls for him to see but still he had wanted her, wanted to prove all the naysayers wrong by making their marriage work. He had been the one clinging, trying to keep her tied to him even though he was always at work, never home. He stayed at the office just to avoid the fights, avoid the smell of other men on her. That had only driven Cassandra further away and took his kids from him. He remembered the blind rebellion of his youth, the thrill of chasing after her, the flirting. He had been a young punk rocker even in his relationships. He supposed that was her appeal, the way she went against even the nature of his own natural instincts. The instincts society dictated everyone follow with laws and what they claimed were omega rights laws. He had hated it then and there were days he still hated it. His parents had wanted him to settle down with an omega, someone he would have molded better with, but as a feisty punk in his twenties he supposed he hadn’t been ready for that kind of leap. Then he saw the type of men Cassandra usually threw herself at, even while living in a flat with him, corporate and career type blokes, with suits, cocaine champagne excess and money. He had tried getting money to pay for the lifestyle Cassandra wanted any way he could and eventually fell into the yard academy as a final plea from the law to straighten out. If he couldn’t play by the rules, they’d tame his punk ways and make him enforce them. It worked brilliantly, and he became the career guy for Cassandra to desire to marry. They did, had some kids, and then it wasn’t fun anymore. They were parents, married, with a house and a car. He recalled how he remembered bashing around the streets in London, all dressed in leather, stainless steel piercings and punk rock and the next day he was a Talking Heads song. All mired in cliché and working for the man by enforcing his laws. There were days he hated it, wanted to leave it, but then he saw the happy endings he was sometimes able to make happen, saving a life before a killer got to them, rescuing children from the hands of terrorists or psychopaths and the work with Sherlock was never boring. That kept him going, the job was never boring. It was at his desk those thoughts would fester, even as a punk he was never idle.

But being able to be there for Molly, her omega side calling out for his alpha side in grief, being able to be what she needed, being prepared to provide what she asked of him, that gave Greg a satisfaction he had never felt before. The alpha inside of him was preening with happiness at being the alpha chosen to do this for her, being the alpha this omega was crying out for, to still being able to provide and be worthy of an omega in his seasoned age. If it weren’t for the somber day he had, or the fact that deep down he really missed Martin Hooper and wished he and Molly had been bonded and happy for the man to have seen before he died, Greg might’ve just had a skip in his step as he went back into Molly’s flat. The smell of her grief wafting from inside the darkness of her bedroom recalled Greg to himself as he entered the flat again with a sober face.

Molly had slowly peeled herself from the bed as soon as Greg left and went through the painful process of getting out of her dress clothes. It hurt to move at all in her grief, like every limb was bruised bone deep. If she closed her eyes, she could pretend she had just been in an accident and didn’t miss her father desperately. Then she would think about her father and quench the rising sobs that tried to make their way out desperately. There was no one out in the world who ever understood her like her father did. That gave her a feeling of loneliness that crushed her inside. As she worked her sweats on with the greatest difficulty, she found herself wishing Greg were nearby. She moved into her bathroom to brush her teeth, and heard her front door open again, not holding in the sigh of relief that hearing someone else, especially Greg, moving about her flat as he locked up the place. When she came back into the bedroom, Greg was there, out of his suit jacket and tie, placing a fresh cup of tea on her side of the bed.

“I made you a fresh cup of tea, are you hungry?” Greg questioned with a concerned brow. She looked exha usted but her appetite, he had noted, at the repast was brief at best. Her sister had done well at chasing away her hunger. Now he wanted to see if she would eat. Molly’s answering shake of her head worried Greg.

“I’ll probably eat something in the morning, I just- I’m tired. I need sleep.” Molly sighed. Greg nodded in understanding and turned to the bathroom, grabbing his duffle to change. He came out of the bathroom setting his bag aside, dressed in navy blue and green plaid pajama bottoms and an NSY t-shirt, usually he slept with bottoms only, if anything at all, but tonight Molly wasn’t ready for anything that intimate. Molly was sitting up waiting for him to get into the bed next to her, though she seemed to be putting what was left of her energy in staying upright as she was a little more than completely worn thin with exhaustion.

She lost track of the flow of time as Greg had been standing uncertain across the room one minute and was sitting next to her in the bed the next, covers pulled back ready to lay down. To find him there beside her, and to feel so comfortable with it, that it ached, felt so surreal. Molly laid down into Greg’s embrace as he settled down into the bed. For how awkward they often were towards each other in broad daylight, in her morgue, there was nothing awkward in this as Greg’s arms slotted themselves around her like missing puzzle pieces. Molly gave into her tears. Finally able to cry in the great cries she had been choking back and fighting control over all day. The dam broke, and Molly cried out for her father, curled up into an alpha’s side that just wasn’t him. No one could be her father ever again. Greg patiently soothed, didn’t touch her in any way that was beyond platonic and rumbled purrs and emitted calming pheromones until Molly had cried herself to sleep.

Greg spent the rest of the night curled up next to Molly, she only shifted to turn over and cried in her sleep until he scooped the omega up into his arms, slotted his body against hers – the big spoon – until she settled down again. He combed his fingers through her hair, after she had taken it out of its bun before going to sleep. It was too early for him to sleep, the sun had barely left the sky, and the detective inspector was used to spending hours awake in his flat drinking beer before passing out on his couch, or collapsing into his bed. So that night he spent hours looking down on Molly as she lay curled up in his embrace, memorizing the feelings that stirred inside him at feeling the omega in his arms. Something between them had shifted since the funeral. How their hands had stayed attached, seeking one another even though she could have leaned on Sherlock and John. He processed how she had called out for him to stay with her, even though she had lashed out at her sister when reminded of the will at her father’s house. He liked the sister well enough but couldn’t stand the insensitivity that both her brother and sister exuded as betas toward their omega sister. Her father had been the buffer for most of that, but now Molly was exposed. They couldn’t understand why their omega sister was so sensitive about being an omega when they wore their beta roles perfectly. He had talked to Eddie while they had eaten and was more than a little surprised how cavalier he was as a brother to what was happening to his sister, he met Greg and thought well enough of him, deemed the alpha a decent enough bloke, and that was an end of it. Greg had thought the man merely trusted in his father to make the decisions even in death but now he worried it was something else, like they were tired of her denial. Eddie certainly gave that air when he rolled his eyes as Molly stormed through the living room to lock herself into the master bathroom. The brother had even winked to Greg when he was hugging Molly goodbye, like Greg should take advantage of Molly in her vulnerability. Greg had given him a hard look, a look he gave most criminals he arrested and Eddie had made himself scarce. Greg knew Molly would hate to bond to any alpha, he still didn’t know the full reason why yet. He only knew he would stay by her side until she was ready to let him in. But that night and the next one, and until she no longer grieved, he would stay by her side as her friend. Greg only hoped it would still be as he had been with Molly before, a friend with the promise of more, though whether she acted on the promise or not, only the next few months would tell. But he would stay by her side as the friend she needed, someone who was ready to hold her through her tears and not complain or try for more when she had nothing more than that to give.

Molly turned in her sleep until she was settled against Greg, her head on his shoulder. He combed the hair away from her face as she settled in against him, her eyelids puffy from crying and glassy with sleep. He could laugh to himself at how well they fit together. The irony was not lost to him that her father had realized how he felt about her, and how perfect they apparently were for each other. Greg had been trying to work up the courage before he found out that her father was in the hospital and dying, then he spent the remaining time the man had left getting to know him. And then he had unwittingly earned the elder alpha’s approval. Even now he wondered what her father was thinking in arranging their bonding. Since it was quite obvious that if Molly had the choice she wouldn’t dare bond at all until she met an alpha willing to change her mind about what alphas were like. A role he was more than happy to fill despite the uphill battle he faced. Greg supposed legally the rest of it made sense, for the sake of protecting Molly from the law, and Martin told Molly he did like Greg. That gave Greg a bit of a boost to his pride but knowing her father approved probably was far from enough. He wondered if that changed Molly’s opinion at all, though he doubted it. He had known Molly well before that will, yet she still assumed the worst of him in his role as an alpha suitor. They were friends, but as soon as Greg became an alpha willing to bond with her, she closed herself off completely. He wouldn’t tie her down, not like he did with Cassandra. He could trust Molly never to stray, he knew that. But the months after she was done mourning would be a trial. He would have to get to the root of the problem, why she despised being an omega, seemed to have a permanent distrust of alphas, get them beyond that and into a comfortable enough place to be ready to bond. In six months. He groaned internally just thinking about how difficult that would be. Six months was barely enough time for a couple to be moved in together, forget about working on their issues and then being bonded. He worried about how they would do it, but in the shared warmth of the bed, dark and cozy, Greg relaxed, enjoying this while he had it, and fell asleep beside Molly.

---

At seven-thirty the next morning, Greg groaned when he was miserably woken from a pleasantly warm sleep, only to be found with a woman wrapped in his arms, to an alarm trilling from Molly’s phone. He reached across the middle of the bed to pick it up, the light in his face made him wince until he stared at the alarm. “Pill,” the phone read as the alpha swiped at the screen. This was it. A test, not an intentional one on Molly’s part but a little test life put before people to see how it would pan out.

The issue wasn’t a complicated one, the alpha had two choices before him now. To wake Molly up for her pill. Or. The significance of that word wasn’t lost upon the man as he looked to Molly’s face, peaceful for a change in the glow of her phone. That was a big ‘or’ that slithered temptation across his mind with lustful vengeance. Let her sleep and force the issue of bonding. Contraceptives were all the same, Greg was more than a little familiar with them. If they weren’t taken at the same time each day, you might as well not even bother, and contraceptive suppressants even more so. Greg knew this, but there was an undercurrent inside him that resisted, gnashing his jaw together as his canines bared themselves. He hated this moment, to have to puzzle over this decision. It reminded him of what lengths Molly would deny him their bond, even on a physical level. It made her scent muted to almost be unrecognizable. He hated the metallic smell that always laid on Molly’s skin, synthetic chemicals hindering Greg from smelling her scent. He wanted to, every day, he wanted to, and he could if he let it slip. Feign ignorance. It would be so cunning, and so easy to do. He could place her phone back on the nightstand, roll over, and go back to sleep. He could, and Molly wouldn’t think twice about it, just curse herself for forgetting in her grief. The temptation of doing just that startled the Alpha, he saw just how easy it was for people to behave terribly to their partners.

But now as the phone vibrated in warning to tell Molly to wake up and take it, Greg knew he couldn’t. This was about Molly, Greg couldn’t do that to her. Molly put her trust, her care, into Greg’s hands. Greg wouldn’t let her down. He rose from the bed, miserably, feeling every one of his forty-five years in his bones as he went to the bathroom. He turned on the white light and dug out the hateful little pink pill, though Molly hated the way it reminded her she would be an omega, Greg hated that it wouldn’t allow her to be his omega. He grabbed her glass, trying not to crush it with the anger that roiled in his chest, and filled the glass with the tap.

He trudge back to Molly’s side of the bed, pajama pants slung low on his hips and laid down the pill and glass. He went and turned out the bathroom light before going back to the side of the bed he couldn’t not think of as his own and laid back down. This would be easier to take without facing Molly in the pale, dull light of the bathroom. The light of morning edging through the blinds of her bedroom would be enough. Greg stalled until his eyes adjusted, as an alpha that didn’t take long at all, and gently stroked at Molly’s face to nudge her awake, trying not to feel unbounding affection when her face scrunched up as she burrowed into his warmth refusing to rouse.

“Molls,” he called in a gentle voice. “Gotta wake up and take your pill.” Lestrade called swiping a thumb over her shoulder. At the word, ‘pill’ Molly blinked owlishly in the dull blue light of dawn.

“Oh…” Molly stirred, making to get up and go to the bathroom. Greg halted her with a hand on her hip. His heart clenched as she seemed all snuffled and delicate from sleeping. When the omega met his eyes, and the grief in her eyes was raw but her small smile happy to see him, the feeling magnified. He watched Molly settle back down and scrub at her eyes.

“Don’t get up, I brought it over, it’s on your night table.” Greg explained in a cool voice, trying not to betray how he felt about it and failing miserably.

“Oh, Greg- I-” Molly was still weak from grief, tired and blurry, struggled for words. It wasn’t right for him to have done that. The implications of what Greg did, his loyalty to Molly despite feeling the opposite of his actions, of giving her the pill that separated her from him, filled the air of the room with a tense ferocity. Even in the haze of her drowsiness, Molly was overcome by the enormity of it. Molly struggled to breathe as grateful sobs filled her throat, the grief was still raw but there was this overwhelming feeling of security, of gratefulness. That Greg was there. The only other Alpha male she ever felt that for was her father. To feel it in such vivid Technicolor emotions tore open the healing wound of her grief.

“It’s alright Molly, just take your pill and lie back down.” Greg instructed fondly, his deep, brown eyes heavy with sleep but sparkling with his emotions. Molly’s reaction to his good deed made up for the gaffe it continued to solidify between them. Molly did exactly as the Alpha instructed. While Greg sat back on the bed with a heavy sigh, his years catching up to him as he listened to Molly swallow the pink interloper. Though his alpha heart was soothed as Molly snuggled up even closer to Greg despite her grief still being fresh.

“Thank you,” Molly called significantly as she burrowed into Greg’s neck cheek resting on the warm skin of his chest with only the cotton of his t-shirt between their skins. She needed the alpha to know that the importance of what he did wasn’t going amiss.

“You welcome,” Greg hushed as he combed his fingers through her hair encouraging her to rest. Molly fell asleep, and Greg remained awake tortured by his feelings of wanting to help the omega forget about that stupid pink pill and hating himself for it.

---

Molly woke up that afternoon, and blinked into the light of the winter sun streaming through her curtains, a small wedge of light just to give illumination. She sat up and looked around her bedroom, a cup of tea sat on her bedside table, hot and ready. She ignored it in favor of her ablutions and a shower. She had to peel herself from the bed but it needed to be done.

Each movement felt like a step beyond sheer torture. Greg had long ago abandoned her beg in favor of starting what little part of a day he would have and she could hear his movements in the sitting room. When he left, he took all of his warmth with him and the cold of grief was what had woken Molly up. She had spent an hour cataloging her limps to make sure everything was accounting for, since she couldn’t feel anything but this overwhelming torturous emptiness. Sadness was for the funeral, this feeling was the grey, cavernous void those feelings left behind.

With a sigh of relief at her shower, Molly shrugged off her pajamas, towel and flannel in hand and stepped into the hot shower. The heat was welcome though the shower itself was quick. She didn’t have the strength or energy to remain standing and luxuriating.

Refreshed, she stepped out from the steam of the bathroom wrapped in the towel. Molly found what she expected to be a long cold mug of tea to be a fresh one standing on her bedside table. Greg was still here, she had thought he would have been gone by now, but he had stayed. Molly picked up the tea cup with a fond smile for a grateful fortifying sip, and it was then she heard the grumbles of Greg talking to himself from the living room. Molly padded through the bedroom, clad in a new set of pajamas, and came to the living room to find the tele muted and Greg looking over a case folder. When he heard movement from the bedroom he looked over his glasses at her with a soft fondness neither was ready to investigate. The alpha looked so pleased, relieved even that Molly was awake and looking better.

“I see you’ve made yourself comfortable.” Molly joked coming to sit next to the detective inspector as he straightened from his reclined position on the couch, pulling one leg under his knee and letting the other dangle naturally over the side of the couch. He put the folder aside with his glasses and looked to her.

“Well I had some work to do, I would be doing it at home but I came out here just to do it quick before coming back in. I didn’t mean to wake you.” Greg wondered if his absence had woken her. She had missed his warmth in the times he had to rise for food or other necessities, and maybe that had woken her a little but she hated lounging in bed.

“I was cold but don’t worry, not your fault.” Molly smiled in a way she hoped would look reassuring. It wasn’t but Greg let it lie.

“Are you hungry?” He questioned in favor of changing the subject. “I made breakfast myself, there’s a plate I could heat up for you if you like. I didn’t know what you would be in the mood for, but you should eat.” Greg tried not to give much emphasis to the protective instincts that were probably coming off him in waves. The instincts in the back of his head, the ones he usually followed without thinking chanted, provide, provide, soothe, heal, provide.

“I’ll get it,” Molly mumbled getting up to heat up the plate. When Greg tried to insist differently, she patted his shoulder that he should stay where he was and relax. “I’ll get it and you finish what you were working on, I’m alright.” Greg choked back the whine in confusion, he knew she wasn’t denying him. But this was starting to feel like a brushoff. Molly’s independence grated on the relationship Greg was trying to forge. The alpha inside him knew this was his intended, the mate her father had chosen for her, and the knowledge made his instincts to be just that to the gun shy omega hard to control. He saw Molly pretending to be stronger than she felt so that he would leave tonight so that she could have some time alone. He hoped that wasn’t it.

Molly came back into the living room with a full breakfast plate and fork in hand. She couldn’t believe Greg could cook as well as it appeared. It was a perfect plate and Molly felt her stomach growl in anticipation for the meal. She was almost sick with it, had definitely waited too long to eat, and wordlessly lifted Greg’s legs to sit, that had reappeared on the couch thinking she would take the chair in favor of putting space between herself and him and rested his legs into her lap.

He looked over his glasses at her once, smiling at seeing Molly eating with gusto, and went back to his folder. When Molly finished, empty plate abandoned on the coffee table with her half full cup of now tepid tea, she split her attention between the TV, its electrical hum filling the silence though it sat there with the mute on and watching Greg as he grumbled over his case folder. The chat show was dull and she watched the faces talk as the close captioning filled in the dialogue and then would look to Greg. She watched his face, placid though he was concentrating as he went over the details from a case. He chewed on end of a NSY pen while making notes and arguments on the pad of legal paper in front of him. Molly wondered if it was for an interrogation or for a testimony he would be giving in court. Once in a while, his brow would knit together and he would write furiously, something he had clearly forgotten, or a hole in his case notes he would have to fill for the barrister. Another grumble of frustration. A crinkle of his eyes, his eyebrow coming together in frustration over some detail that needed going over. She watched as he would then grumble, and pinch the bridge of his nose, and hoped that the case wouldn’t cause him too much of a headache. It was a case she hadn’t worked with him on as the number on the binding of the folder was unfamiliar to her. There was plenty he did she didn’t know about and couldn’t since she was a member of the public, though he would tell her all about it once the court case was finished, especially if the person he had arrested got off though Greg had put all his time an energy into proving that they were guilty. Unsolved cases Sherlock could deal with, these were the cases that bothered the Detective Inspector, cases he had already proved yet still the guilty went free. It would dog and goad him until he mended it, or got another case. In this way, the alpha was very much like Sherlock. If his arguments, evidence, case notes weren’t perfect. He knew it and the alpha inspector was ready to obsess. It was why he was so good at his duties, why the omega side of Molly was preening as she watched the alpha. Greg eventually put the folder and notebook to the side in frustration, laying the pen down finally finished and wiped the agitation from his face. Molly shook her head from her trance, not realizing the alpha had hypnotized her. Greg relaxed now that he was done with his paperwork and took off his glasses, laying them next to the folder. He looked to Molly then with a tired smile. She smiled back and stood to guide Greg back into her bedroom after shutting off the silent faces on the tele.

They collapsed into the bed and Greg groaned gratefully, relaxing into Molly’s embrace. She smiled as Molly found her spot under his chin again and Greg rested his eyes with a small smile until Molly spoke up. “Sorry I got cold again,” she explained with a shiver. It was plenty warm in her flat but Molly couldn’t seem to escape the chill that spread throughout her in her grief. Greg could smell it though he didn’t comment on it, just stared up at the ceiling as he combed his fingers through her now damp, drying hair.

“It’s alright, I figured it was probably time you came back to bed anyway.” He explained.

“Why?” Molly questioned, smiling though she still felt empty.

“Well you looked like you were ready for a nap. A full meal will do that to a person.” He chuckled when he felt Molly poke his shoulder in a tease.

“Tell me.” Molly demanded.

“About what?” Greg questioned.

“About the case, you seemed frustrated when you put your stuff down though you were done.” Molly explained astutely. Sometimes Greg wondered if she had spent too much time with Sherlock during the fall, but he knew Molly often saw things others didn’t want her to with her quiet observations. “Distract me.” Molly begged. Anything to pull her mind away from grieving and why she was miserable. Putting her ear to his chest, watching the NSY logo rise and fall on his chest, the wrinkled words Total Policing in bold, white, all caps underneath it.

“No details.” Greg warned.

“Of course- I know- just want you to talk about it.” Molly caught his eye before snuggling down into Greg’s side.

“Well…” Greg took his time explaining the case to her, what he could share and how it had frustrated him. They were well into the prosecution, the part he hated most, and Molly listened to his rumbling voice as he spoke, chest vibrating under her cheek like thunder. Greg had talked until he looked down and saw Molly had fallen asleep again. He closed his eyes and rested beside her, only stirring when he felt hunger call out to him again. He ordered takeaways and brought hers into the bedroom on a tray after he had finished his own. She ate, though not as enthusiastically as she had her breakfast. He cleaned up despite Molly’s protests, she just wasn’t up for housekeeping. She could do whatever she wanted when he left, but for the moment he was taking care of his Molls. Nothing else mattered, he’d do whatever Molly needed. The small grateful smiles he received made his Alpha side preen. And he returned to the bedroom, after brushing his teeth, and talked about nothing in particular until she fell asleep again. Eventually he felt sleep call to him again, hoping she wouldn’t mind if he stayed until morning when he was woken at an indecent hour to his phone trilling loudly in the silence of the bedroom. He got up to grab it from Molly’s dresser, where the only observable plug for his charger had been in the room and picked it up. He groaned hearing Donovan’s voice informing him there was a murder and he needed to come out in the early Monday morning rain to go to a crime scene.

“I’m off duty, Donovan. I put in the calendar, you know why I’m not there.” Greg grumbled, looking over to the sleeping form of Molly that tossed in her sleep, subconsciously noting his absence.

“Sorry sir, its high profile. Chief Inspector wants you on it and the freak is here looking around already. You need to get your arse here before that psychopath goes off and messes with evidence. Again!” Donovan demanded voice echoing into the air of the room even over the phone.

“I swear Donovan if I have to just be there to be a buffer for you and Sherlock and not because I have to actually work, I will turn around and bloody leave. I took off for a fucking reason.” Greg fumed in a stage whisper.

“Well aware sir though you never explained why. But the freak said he needed you to come out and said I quote, ‘there isn’t much more you can do for Molly and its best to leave her alone now.’ Does he mean Dr. Hooper? The pathologist? Boss, what’s going on?” Donovan questioned, chomping at the bit for new gossip. She hadn’t known about the will yet though it was public record or of Greg’s interest in Molly. She had been trying to get her boss to date since he signed the divorce papers.

“I’ll explain later Donovan. Be there in thirty minutes, keep Sherlock off the crime scene until I get there, alright?” Donovan answered in the affirmative. “Yeah, ta for this. Bye.” Greg almost shouted into the phone uncharitable at not only being woken up, but being forced to leave Molly in the darkness of early morning. He growled deep in his chest at his job pulling him away from Molly’s side, it was one of the very first times Greg could recall not liking it very much. He turned back into the room and looked to Molly shocked to see her sitting up, eerily calm with her arm around her knees.

“Got a case?” Molly questioned flatly.

“Yeah, unavoidable. It’s high profile and the boss wants me on it. Sherlock and John are apparently already there and can’t get access to the scene until I turn up.” He met her eye regretful at having to leave.

“You should go, its fine.” Molly said with finality, standing up.

“Molls…” Greg groaning already reaching inside his duffle for his clothes and shower bag.

“It’s fine, really. Sherlock needs you.” She smiled patting his upper arm before moving out of the bedroom.

You need me. Greg thought but chewed his cheek, jaw working, to keep the words from coming out. He kept having to remind himself Molly wasn’t ready for that step yet, no matter how much this little preview showed the Alpha how right this could feel. Greg hurried through getting ready and Molly was placing a mug of tea on the bedside table when he came out dressed in a suit, freshly showered.

“I’m sorry about this,” was the least Greg knew he could get away with saying, drinking down the tea in a gulp through the burn of the tea being just a shade too hot to drink in a hurry. Molly came to stand before him not sure where they were in that moment, but knowing he had to go, wanting space, yet not wanting him to leave. It was all terribly confusing, her omega instincts fighting against what she felt, and what she knew she wanted to fight for. She felt him take her into his arms, and she sighed ready to cry all over again. A fresh wave of grief was met with a comforting wave of pheromones and a rumble from Greg’s chest where her cheek lay.

“I’m alright, you need to go.” Molly smiled, though it didn’t reach her eyes. Greg moved out into the living room, not meeting her eyes, or he’d stay. He knew he would, all he would have to do was see her eyes and see the grief that still hovered in her eyes. “I’ll see you in the morgue, later.” She encouraged. Everything would go back to normal and she would pretend that Greg wasn’t chosen as her alpha and they were still just flirting over coffees.

“Are you going to go in? Mike gave you the time off, didn’t he?” Molly groaned inside as Greg checked over the sitting room to make sure he had everything, packing up what he needed. Though her spine shivered at his voice, which was that much darker for having drank the tea when it was too hot. He couldn’t hear the tone he used, protective, patronizing, alpha, while he packed up his things.

“Yeah he did, but I’m gonna go in and he knows that. I- I just can’t mope about, not when there’s work to be done.” Molly said with a cool tone and stubbornly looking at Greg once he gathered up his things.

“Well I’ll see you down at the morgue then.” He nodded, reached in to smudge a kiss to her brow. Molly held onto his elbow as he used his spare hand to grip her shoulder. In a way, it was both thank you for allowing him the time to help her, and apologies for having to leave before he probably should have. Molly was happy that he left like this, this was better, quiet, unassuming. She wouldn’t have to explain herself. Not yet. He lingered for longer that he was probably able to, absorbing her touch like a plate of armor before he faced the early morning crime scene.

“Sure.” Molly smiled pulling back from Greg. She let him out and Greg felt the cold dread fill him as she shut herself back into her flat, locking the door behind him. Greg’s jaw tightened as he put his bags into his car, slamming his hand on the boot. He had been fooling himself into thinking they had made any sort of progress, but Molly had leaned on him when she needed it. That had to mean something, dammit. The alpha instincts inside him called out to her, wanted to go back inside and show her he could be the alpha she wanted, but he had to turn away. The alpha inside him roared. Now that his job had provided her an exit, Molly had slipped through his fingers like smoke. Greg agonized over how he was going to get her to talk about their problems, the will, and bonding, that bloody stupid pink pill, all of it.

Greg drove miserably to the crime scene and Molly went back to bed.

---

Chapter Text

Anticipation

---

Greg may have left at only three that morning but Molly rose at six. The omega was no longer able to lay in bed and pretend to hate that her bed wasn’t so lonely and cold without Greg in it. Molly imagined the feeling would only become worse once they made love, though they weren’t ready for that just yet. She took a breath to calm herself down as she stepped into the shower. The spray of the shower comforted her and eased her rambling thoughts. Greg was a good man, the best. She knew that, with a strange surety that fluttered in her chest. A feeling she couldn’t (flat out refused to) identify. Molly knew Greg, like Greg seemed to know Molly, with a confidence that went straight through her. Lestrade wouldn’t force his way into her life if she didn’t want it. He had left it all up to her, and it was Molly who would set the pace of this. This bonding was being forced upon her, upon them both, but maybe that’s because her father knew she wouldn’t have taken the plunge otherwise. Muddled underneath the overwhelming grief that still plagued her was a sense of angry betrayal, that her father could do this to her. Old teenage rebellion swirled in her chest at the thought that she was going to give into what her father desired for her. In a way she had to concede, Molly had known that her father was right. She had been biding her time, claiming to wait for an Alpha that would prove her wrong in the long run with his love, but in reality she had been stalling until it was too late, until she would have been too old to conceive, to mate, and that would have been an end of it. But now a fate she avoided was staring her in the face, and for the first time in her life, Molly wasn’t entirely afraid to face it necessarily, if Greg was going to be beside her. Her father may have thought he would have had to force her into bonding with someone, but he definitely hadn’t planned on that alpha being Lestrade. Trepidation, was the word she settled on, and the temperament she was using to approach this. The alpha had yet to prove her right about alphas and that gave her some hope that it would all turn out in the end. Greg was a man of his word and a bond between them wouldn’t happen unless she was ready. Time was just forcing the issue.

Molly turned off the knobs of her shower, and in the deadened silence recalled the alpha’s arms around her in the dark, making her feel safe and warm despite her grief just by holding her. She had found that strange as she reflected while toweling her hair dry, yet in the back of her mind she could hear Sherlock’s voice echoing the world “obvious” with that bored tone of his. She craved Greg’s touch the minute she knew she wouldn’t have it anymore. Normally when a relative died, when she was alone, she didn’t want anyone touching her, she didn’t want to commune with other people and share in their feelings. But Greg’s touch was welcome, and held her down so she wouldn’t drift away in the waves of her grief.

With Tom, she had just wanted space, as he sought to cling to her, to give her affection he knew omegas craved. He had invaded her space and tried to force her affections in return, to the point of annoyance. There was a distinct difference between the beta and alpha and Molly couldn’t help but make comparisons. Lestrade was exactly the opposite from Tom in every respect. He was always waiting for her to seek him out, never pressing, and seeking his own space while she had been sleeping, which had been unnecessary since she sought him out once his warmth had receded and the chill of grief had her seeking the security of his affectionate arms again. Each time she wanted his touch he held her with a sigh of relief, opening his arms to her gladly, without complaint. Not knowing how long she would need it, or want it, but welcomed whatever warmth he could provide her. He had let her know it was there when she wanted it but didn’t press it upon her. This seemed an almost natural rhythm between them. Greg helping her through her grief while using the time she was sleeping to do what he needed instead of lounging, clinging, beside her. He knew just what she wanted, needed, despite their not being together for years. Molly remembered vividly waking up alone in bed several times, stifling the whines that would automatically bubble inside her throat finding herself without the alpha next to her and automatically going to him for the comfort she needed the past two days. When in contrast, she had gladly gone through the rest of the week after her dad’s death, before the funeral, on autopilot and had been happy to do so. In this she worried that if she bonded with the alpha, she would lose herself and become a person she wouldn’t recognize.

Now as she watched her hand automatically wipe the bathroom mirror clean of the fog that blocked her from seeing her reflection, she was desperate to feel like her normal self again, ready to date betas and ignore the side that knew it wouldn’t ever be enough and not be starved for the alpha’s presence. That little torturous truth was what made the least sense to her at all. For her love of independence, yet crave an alpha like that. Molly just didn’t want to live a life that so relied on another person in that way. Alpha or beta, it was probably the reason she hadn’t married a beta either. Why when faced with her marriage to Tom, all she found were knots in her stomach and sweaty palms instead of calm and confidence. She didn’t want to go through the pain of knowing that while you put your life, your love, your happiness into the hands of an alpha, they can so easily betray you. That was a lesson her own parents taught her very early in life. She never wanted to acquaint herself with that kind of hurt. Alphas were expected to do as they pleased, and only in recent society and history, did alphas contain their archaic ways to be entirely monogamous to their omega counter parts. It was their omegas that were the ones that clung, the omegas that needed their mate to provide. She didn’t want to be that desperate for the attentions of, or rely on, an alpha like that. It went against the grain of everything that Molly wanted from her independent lifestyle. She didn’t want to be alone, just self-reliant. To have both her independence and mate with an Alpha, even one so good a one like Greg seemed impossible.

The steam and fragrances from her shower had long dispelled the smell of the alpha through the flat that had lingered upon his leaving. To be honest with herself, that was the thing that had prevented Molly from being able to sleep in the first place. Smelling Lestrade throughout her private space, her home, and knowing he wasn’t going to be there at the end of the day. She didn’t want to regret the lack of presence in her life of another man other than her father in her grief. Molly didn’t want to be so ready to replace her father’s role in her life with the intimate role of suited alpha, of a mate. She didn’t want to depend upon another man like she had her father and lose her independence, or worse let go and be horribly disappointed. The grief in her chest was still too thick, and Greg deserved her attention to be desirous, not merely desperate for touch, for affection through her grief.

In frustration for her still miserable grief, Molly pulled her hairbrush savagely through the tangled wet knots trying to call them into order. She pulled her hair into a complicated braid that fell on her shoulder. Molly smiled to herself in the mirror groaning when it clearly didn’t reach her eyes. She didn’t want people to be too solicitous when she got into work. She just wanted to be left alone to do it. She’d probably feel better at the morgue. The thought of those sterile smells and comforting motions of preparing bodies for their departure soothed Molly and it would only be magnified once she got into work. Molly needed the passing of life, activity to keep her busy. The stench of grief was her constant companion in the flat, a constant reminder of what she felt and was missing. That her father would never be coming back. It was stifling, choking her. The air took her back to when her mother died all over again, accentuating grief of her father with the twinge of grief for her mother. Her mother’s death was a scab picked fresh, while her father’s death was an open wound yet to heal, that had yet to staunch itself. At least the sterile smells of the hospital would mask the smells on her instead of permeating the air, and would allow her to breathe. Hoopers were a useful breed, and in this Molly couldn’t let herself remain at home staring dumbly at walls anymore. Now she understood how her father felt when he had insisted on going back to work. With a determined nod to herself in her mirror, Molly popped her pill and went about her routine, rote as usual. Molly finished dressing, petted Toby, put out his dry food, and finished her morning tea before grabbing her stuff and locking up the flat.

Molly walked to the morgue, opting for the exercise after spending what she deemed to be too much time in bed. The orange tinge of morning guided her to work as it singed away the last remnants of the purple dawn. The winter air was crisp and fresh, despite the heavy traffic ebbing and flowing around her in a panic to get to work on time. The city still stood, her father was gone, but life still moved on. Molly followed the familiar winding roads she knew would lead to the hospital and allowed her feet to take her there while her mind wandered. The sounds of the city and colors of the changing sky distracted her and allowed her some peace. Until she reached Bart’s, its stone edifice making her weary in the rising sun.

The omega faced the front door of St. Bart’s with a bit of trepidation. Molly didn’t want to face everyone while her grief was still so fresh, most alphas and omegas were known to seek solitude in grief. So do the English, so in Molly’s grief, her introversion was double. Yet, here she was, dressed for a day at work, and ready to face the day. But she had only buried her father two days ago. Still, the omega wavered under the thought that there was work to be done. In this, she found her courage. Her father had always said the Hoopers never allowed anything to get in their way of carrying out their responsibilities. A Hooper could be relied on, and you just couldn’t say that about most people. You could always rely on Molly Hooper. Sherlock’s life had depended on that. And Molly would not mourn, her father would want her to continue on, keep living and she would. Even within her father’s will, Martin spoke out to her to continue living, to press on. With this promise for her father, and a raise of her chin, Molly set her shoulders and walked into the hospital. Most were shocked, they hadn’t thought Molly would be in work so soon after her father’s passing. The whole hospital knew of her father’s death, it was common knowledge the day it happened, and Molly received plenty of cards, cakes, candies, and flowers from everyone. A few said hello, but plenty of others simply watched the determined pathologist go about her normal routine. A quick stop in the cafeteria for some coffee and a scone. Then it was to the elevators to her floor. Once in the morgue, the only people there were the stiffs. The only smell were her perfume and sterile hospital. With a sigh of relief, Molly visited her locker, put on her lab coat, and got to work on the body that was so high profile it had called Greg from the warmth of her bed.

She went about her work in perfect calm, the familiar systematic process soothed her as she went through the process of performing the autopsy. She recorded her notes, weighed and measured organs, noted evidence she found, and with a breath of relief felt more like herself than she had in all the months that her father laid in the hospital just floors above the morgue.

Molly had just finished up the autopsy on the body when Sherlock stormed through, Greg and John on his heels. John followed Sherlock to the body itself. Sherlock smudged a quick kiss to Molly’s cheek, as he donned a pair of gloves, opting not to hug her while she still wore bloody gloves to help him should he need it. John shared a quick smile with the pathologist, grateful to work with her instead of one of other pathologists on call that Sherlock couldn’t stand and smudged a kiss on her opposite cheek in thanks for being there for Sherlock. Mike Stamford would have done well enough, but since he ran the pathology department he wouldn’t have been called in unless John begged himself, and that was only in the most desperate situation, meaning if they couldn’t call Molly.

Lestrade stood by the door, unsure of how to proceed. Molly could understand that. It was strange to know how to move forward when just the other night they slept beside together and fit so perfectly. The alpha and omega had parted early that morning with so many things left unsaid. They had yet to speak of the will, and its impact upon their relationship. In the darkness, after the funeral, it hadn’t seem like an issue and Greg’s first and only priority had been Molly’s comfort. The alpha was willing to put the whole topic aside in favor of selfishly absorbing the warmth to be found and given with Molly in his arms, and Molly was more than happy to pretend it didn’t exist while her chest was a cavernous well of sorrow. Now in the stark white light of her morgue, it seemed to create a moat of awkwardness, cutting them off from one another. At least it was on Molly’s mind, and she was certain if the will occurred to her, Greg must have been thinking about it as well. But Molly knew it was too late to turn back now. They would be bonded soon, and she knew how Greg must feel about her. It was up to Molly to make a move, the alpha wouldn’t until she did.

Sherlock bowed over the body in concentration, John observing and taking notes at his elbow as the detective was seeing what evidence Molly must have seen, they didn’t need her help. She tore off her bloody gloves and disposed of them before coming over to stand before Greg.

“Hi.” Molly crossed the awkward air between them with an unsure smile. Her hands awkwardly digging into the pockets of her lab coat.

“Hey…” Greg uttered awkwardly, equally unsure as he put his hands in the pockets of his pants and looked down to the tile floor.

“How are y-” “How was the-” They both tried to talk at once, and immediately broke out into a fit of equally shy giggles. Sherlock looked up at this interruption blinking owlishly. Hadn’t John once said something about the inappropriateness of giggling around corpses? John merely smiled taking this as a good sign for things to come. Once Mycroft told them of the will and her father’s arrangements, John had been livid, wondering what the deceased alpha had been thinking. He and Mrs. Hudson had been waiting for these two to get together for ages, knowing how Molly felt about alphas made it difficult. But he and his ‘unfazeable’ landlady knew the alpha was smitten since the infamous Christmas do. Now that her father was forcing their hands, he worried that it would just push Molly away. Especially now when it was so dangerous for her to be unbonded, and if she denied Greg still once the next six months were over would leave her without protection. John worried constantly, but only because Sherlock did as well. If Sherlock worried, that made his worries worthwhile, and that was always a scary thought. He could try to lie about it but he couldn’t with John as his alpha.

For once, Sherlock couldn’t deduce how this would end.

Molly smiled a genuine smile that even she could feel and tried again. “How was the weather this morning?” Molly had been worried for the detective inspector running headlong into the rain in the chill of the morning. Alpha or not, she worried about the way Lestrade and her boys ran around chasing after baddies no matter the weather.

“Oh not terrible, I’ve been in worse.” Lestrade waved her concern away. Molly knows that even if that weren’t the case the alpha still wouldn’t complain. His hand went to the back of his neck in an awkward gesture. “How are you?” He asked timidly.

“Alright, I think. I’m better here in work than I would have been at home.” Molly smiled with a blush, hoping the detective inspector wouldn’t read too much into it, and that it was simply because she didn’t want to sit alone in her flat with nothing to do but think about her grief. It all seemed rather pathetic and frankly a useless thing to do.

“It wasn’t something that I…” Greg trailed off worried at what was the cause of Molly’s annoyance with her home.

“No!” She corrected, shouting louder than she would have and cringing as it bounced off the morgue walls, looking to the bonded pair that was still investigating the body and to Lestrade who smiled to her with more affection than she was ready to investigate. After a breath, she continued at a better volume. “No, I just… I didn’t feel like being alone doing nothing at home, and wanted something to do- to occupy my mind really.” She smiled at Greg’s relieved expression. That he could understand. It was nothing he did but his absence that had been the problem. It gave the alpha a sort of soft, warmth when thinking about the past two days. Greg would always feel grief for losing Molly’s father before the elder could see them happy, but Greg would always cherish this time they had as the first step towards being together. From the day he saw her at the Christmas party, it had seemed inevitable really.

“Well I’m glad to see you, you know, at work.” Greg confirmed until they were interrupted by a sweeping coat and alpha doctor apologizing for the interruption behind him, head in the palm of his hand.

“You’d better follow those two.” Molly encouraged with a wry smile and a roll of her eyes.

“Yeah, gotta run. I’ll come by for the autopsy reports later, yeh? Alright bye.” Greg scrubbed a quick kiss to Molly’s cheek in farewell and as she gave a quiet “bye” herself, he was gone.

Molly spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with her work, as well as an intimidating pile of paperwork that Stamford left in her inbox and was surprised to find the detective inspector did return, with a coffee and a hot chocolate. Molly fetched him the reports, he asked questions, and then after he was done offered that they go out on a pub night. Molly passed but he was casual in his being rebuffed.

“S’alright, maybe next time!” was all the alpha said with a self-assured smile. He took the reports with a salute and left. All that was left of any sign that the alpha had been there, was the steaming cup of hot chocolate in her hands. She drank it desperately, chocolate seemed to be a balm for her ills.

---

That’s how it would be between them in the weeks that followed. In fact, the three months in which Molly was supposed to be left to herself to mourn, Greg allowed her to do just that. He didn’t press her, didn’t try to take advantage where he clearly could have. After all, according to her fathers will, she was his omega now. If he claimed rights over her, legally there was no way for her to fight it. She was promised to him in every sense of the word. Yet Greg never once made a move, showed any inclination towards asserting them. He treated her just as he normally does, or did before, just bringing her tea or coffee or hot chocolate and asked for the occasional pub night. It was annoying and at the same time a relief. Never had Molly been more confused. She spent all of her life rejecting her omega side, avoiding association with all alphas whenever possible. Now she was annoyed that the one time an alpha was her desire, that he was always in her thoughts, he stayed away. That she even desired an alpha’s attention in the first place had her punching her pillow while she tried to chase sleep that wouldn’t come. Those were nights she hadn’t cried herself to sleep – nights that were slowly waning – but when sleep did find her peaceably, she would dream of his arms around her, his smile, his silver hair, warm tan hands that were so big they dwarfed her own, of kissing the neck that always seemed to be a delicious swath of warm skin exposed by a shirt collar and his scent that she would dully smell around her weakened omega senses. Molly would wake up in the middle of night absolutely bursting with frustration, aching for Greg’s touch and in the daylight he would be completely normal, as if nothing, not even her father’s death, had happened. She would blink in wonder at the alpha, wondering if she found herself in some altered universe, if it had all been a dream. The nights she spent with her grief told of a different story.

And it wasn’t just in her dreams she was haunted by the Alpha. Oh, no. That would be too simple. No, the alpha would hover while she would be working, long after he had a folder, her autopsy report, Sherlock had come and gone, she had answered all of his questions and he would just bloody well linger. Close enough for his scent to permeate her nostrils and get all over her clothes. But not close enough to indicate he was ready to take what was rightfully his. Everything was as it was before. Status quo. They were back to flirting, sideways glances and his twinkling brown eyes hinting at more than what she wanted from him but not pressuring. He just was; as an ever present entity in her life and it was driving her mad.

He would pop over her shoulder while she was busy staring at her microscope investigating blood samples, and murmur a “hullo Molly,” in that rumble of a voice, barely a whisper, that sent shivers down her spine. He would always be trying to be polite but she would jump out of her skin. As the seemingly skittish omega was haunted by the tortuously delicious dreams she would have of the silver alpha while trying to get sleep. And moments like that would always make it worse. She was supposed to be in mourning and while she did have sleepless nights where she ached for her father, under this alpha’s torturous teasing she was beginning to spend her nights bemoaning the distance that seemed to be between them now during the daylight.

It was just towards the end of the three month mourning period, and once again Molly was trying to focus on her work while Greg hovered. Sherlock was speaking quietly to John about the current case and Molly was helping the consulting detective with a piece of evidence. As Sherlock and John worked to solve the murder, and wondered if there wasn’t something else involved.

She felt the Alpha’s presence over her shoulder as he leaned in, her nose opening up to take in Lestrade’s cologne and the base notes of his own smell that was all alpha. One day Molly knew she would be powerless under her attraction to that smell, now it was only mildly distracting under her suppressed senses as she struggled to observe the sample under her microscope, to maintain her concentration.

Just when her attention was going back to the sample in front of her, Greg spoke into her ear. “Hullo Molly…” Molly shuddered under the effects the alpha’s voice had on her and it was getting increasingly worse as time went on. Molly slammed her pen down on the lab table before her with more force than necessary, sending the implement careening off of the surface to clatter on the floor. This caught the attention of the bonded couple across the room, as they stared at the pathologist. Molly turned to face the sheepish alpha at her shoulder.

“Hello, Greg. Do you need anything?” Molly relished the way Greg shrunk back from her, as she felt her eye twitch in frustration.

“No, no, I’m fine… just wanted to say hi.” He continued to back away, reaching down to pick up the pen and set it back at her elbow.

“Hi.” Molly muttered, turning back to the microscope before her, her shoulders hunched against the niggling, nagging, feelings that tumbled through her. Inside the omega raged a confused storm of denial and frustration. While she aimed to deny it all, the omega inside of her called out for the alpha, her mate. Everything in her railed against the way Molly repeatedly refused the alpha. Ignoring her omega instincts while the easiest, well-practiced thing for her to do, especially with suppressants, seemed to bristle the most at this.

“Everything alright, Molls?” Greg questioned in a sweet way that was just so him as to be vaguely annoying. Sherlock and John’s attention were now permanently upon the couple as this interaction had set the room on edge. Sherlock was about to deduce what was bothering the other omega, but was halted from speaking by a touch to the back of his neck from his own alpha, the stocky fingers gently rubbing along his bondbite.

“Everything’s fine, just fine. Why wouldn’t they be?” Molly questioned with an air that was almost flippant and a tight smile.

“You seem a little tense, that’s all. Is there anything I can do to help?” Greg tried to get her to come out with what was bothering her. As clearly it involved himself.

“No, no, I’m fine. Really!” Molly turned back to the microscope before her. “Everything’s fine.” She muttered in a frustrated huff.

“Yer sure?” Greg questioned, though he still backed away from Molly cautiously as if standing before a dangerous safari cat. Molly stood just as abruptly as she turned upon the alpha and sighed.

“I’m going to go get a coffee, does anyone want anything?” Molly didn’t wait for an answer despite John raising his hand. This time, Sherlock pulled John’s hand down by the wrist. They watched Molly storm out of the morgue. Greg looked to the bonded pair with a frustrated growl rumbling out of his chest and followed in Molly’s wake.

“Molly.” Greg called after her. The omega walked down the hall, not stopping despite the alpha’s insistent tone and her omega instincts that beg she go to the alpha. “Molly, please, stop!” This time Molly did listen and turned to the alpha as he caught up to her. Molly paced a bit ready to bolt, and Greg observed her skittish motions. “Molly what is the matter?” Greg questioned, with a frustrated grumble.

“I don’t understand.” Molly whined looking down at the tile floor shoulders still hunched in tension.

“What?” Greg questioned catching his breath.

“Any of it.” Molly looked around as some nurses and students passed by.

“Of what?” Greg questioned with a confused brow. His hand came up and wiped at his mouth.

“I don’t understand how you-” Molly bit back her words, covering her mouth with her hand. She was censoring herself, and how it pulled at Lestrade’s insides. He wished the omega wouldn’t do that.

“How I what?” Greg growled. Just come out with it, Greg begged inside.

“How you can walk around the way you do and just pretend that none of it happened?” Molly agonized. She couldn’t pretend that Greg hadn’t been beside her the whole weekend, holding her, protecting her, making her feel safe. How he had woken her so that she could take her pill, which was the moment that replayed itself in her mind the most, made her feel the most protected in the arms of this alpha. And he didn’t want to pretend that it existed.

“Pretend none of what happened?” Greg continued to be confused, but his tone and face softened as he watched her expression shutter.

“Any of it, the funeral, after…” Molly left the sentence hang as it was enough inference for the alpha to put it together.

“I’m not pretending it didn’t happen-” Greg defended his actions. He replayed the weekend he spent with Molly over in his head so that he could fall asleep at night. It was hard for him to sleep alone since the divorce, even harder now that he knew what it was like to have Molly in his arms.

“And then you just waltz in and out of the morgue like it was before Dad died, pretending everything was as it was before.” Molly argued.

“Should I behave any differently?” Greg wondered with a smile, seeing what was bothering the omega. Something inside of him fluttered at the omega’s frustration. He didn’t quite like it but to see Molly angry at him charmed the alpha.

“Well you don’t act like anything special happened between us. Like we’re not going to be bonded mere months from now. It’s like the will doesn’t even exist.” Molly shook her head in wonder.

“Molly- Please- Will you look at me?” Molly’s miserable eyes met his and saw the sincerity there despite the alpha’s actions. “Molly I don’t act any differently because we weren’t anything more to each other, or less. Do you want more?”

“No? Maybe? I don’t know…” The fact that the omega wasn’t sure, but didn’t give the alpha a firm no give the alpha some vague sense of assurance. Molly wasn’t lost to him even though the will was forcing them together.

“And you don’t have to, Molly I wouldn’t ask you for anything more than you’re willing to give. You know that.” Greg covered her shoulder with his large, warm hand, to give it a firm squeeze.

“But the mourning period is almost over…” Molly met his eyes in misunderstanding, wondering at how the alpha hadn’t just forced his claim on her.

“So what? I told you Molls, this will happen when we’re ready for it. Not before.” How many times did he have to tell her this? And what knothead gave her this atrocious opinions of alphas, he’d like to give that knob a good crack to the head.

“But-” Molly tried to question. A raised eyebrow form the alpha silence her.

“But nothing. I mean it Molly, you have to want to bond with me. You have to want to be with me. And vice versa. Nothing will happen, I promise, until you do. I like this, us, right now. We’re not ready for anything more. I wish we were, that would make this whole will bond thing a lot easier.” At Molly’s surer smile and a nod, Greg smirked casually as he let his hand fall uselessly to his side.

“How can you be so patient about all this?” Molly smiled to the alpha in awe.

“I’m an alpha but I’m not a knothead. I’m not going to rush anything before we’re ready. Alright?” Greg smiled opening up his arms, angling for a hug.

“Alright.” Molly wrapped her arms willingly around the alpha and they returned to the morgue.

Sherlock and John each shared a raised eyebrow as the alpha and omega returned to the morgue with Molly being a good deal more relaxed and there wasn’t a coffee cup in sight. Sherlock met John’s eye with a question on his lips, gesturing to what had taken place but the alpha merely shrugged with an equally confused expression. Molly and Greg merely resumed their positions as they were before but this time talked and laughed as Molly made morbid jokes over her blood sample.

---

By Friday the case had been solved, and by Saturday Molly sat in the pub she and Greg often frequented with her phone sitting in her sweaty palm. Her hands fidgeted with nervous energy between checking her phone and fingering the warm brew in front of her. She was more than halfway through it and Greg’s stood full and foamy across from her.

See you in 15 –Greg

That was the last text the alpha sent her ten minutes ago. Molly looked around to the crowd of people, some friends, some flirting for a night of fun, others just there to people watch before going home for the night. Molly decided to reach out to Greg when she knew he’d be off work. The case was finished and the detective inspector usually had Saturdays off. They hadn’t connected all week, and Molly – for all the good it did her to deny it – had been missing the alpha’s presence in her life. Often she could recall feeling the lonely air in the morgue after her part in Greg’s and Sherlock’s cases would be over and she would wait for word that they had solved them. Now she missed them once again, but Greg most of all. The week was spent getting her own teas or hot chocolates. It was Greg that suggested dinner at the pub. Casual, easy. The familiarity of it allowed Molly to breathe but she was still nervous. Nervous about meeting Greg like this, like how they normally would and the potential for what it meant.

She looked down at her phone to check the time, another ten minutes had already gone by. Greg was late, late enough for the seed of doubt to plant itself in Molly’s mind and not let go. What had she been thinking? She was just about to gather her things to leave, half an arm shrugged into the sleeve of her coat when she saw the flash of silver in the lights of the pub at the door.

The Greg that Molly watched walk through the pub with a smile reserved only for her (as her omega instincts preened for him) is not the Greg she was expecting. It scratched at her curiosity. It made her thirst to know what other sides of the alpha she hadn’t yet seen. This isn’t the detective inspector that Greg normally is when they’re here. This is Relaxed Greg, delicious looking Greg. He was in jeans, a blue flannel shirt with the collar undone (that never changed) and a tan leather jacket that Molly wondered if it’s as buttery soft as it looked on his broad shoulders. Molly shook her head to undo the trance the alpha put her under when Greg looks away to wave to the bartender.

“Hey.” Greg says smoothly reaching down to place a warm on her shoulder as he scrubs a kiss to her cheek. Despite herself, Molly finds herself immediately relaxing in the alpha’s presence as she returned his easy smile. “Sorry I’m late, it was murder trying to find a parking space.” Greg smiled down to Molly, his deep brown eyes twinkling in the light of the pub. Molly felt a blush rise to her cheeks.

“S’alright, I was just wondering where you were. I ordered a brew for you.” Molly gestured to the brew still waiting to be drunk, almost all of the foam was gone. Greg watched as Molly’s mouth twisted down in disappointment, Greg’s favorite part was usually the foam before it could fade away.

“Fantastic! Thank you.” Greg slid easily into the seat across from her. Molly watched his movements enviously as the alpha dripped confidence. Molly continued to fidget and pocketed her phone, no longer needing it with Greg there. A quiet settled over them as Greg put away half of his pint in a couple pulls. Molly couldn’t help but watch the way his Adam’s apple bobbed while he drank it. Once the glass returned to the table, he smiled to Molly. “So shall we get some dinner?” Greg suggested with a smile and lift of his eyebrows.

“Sure.” Molly agreed with a small smile. It wasn’t long before their food was ordered, and under Greg’s relaxed attention Molly relaxed as well. Warm meal and a good brew with the detective inspector’s good company had Molly at ease. Their plates were taken away and fresh brews were placed in front of the alpha and omega. The girl that brought them smiled to the two knowingly, the chemistry between them was palpable. Molly blushed looking down to the foam of her drink, suddenly shy. Greg sent the waitress away with a firm but easy “thanks,” and turned his attention back to Molly. “So Molls, why did you ask me out today?”

“Well, it’s your day off… and well- we hadn’t really talked all week.” Molly blushed and took a sip from her pint to hide it, unsuccessfully.

Greg smiled knowingly to her, brown eyes twinkling with the knowledge that the omega had missed his company despite her asking for distance. “That can’t be all of it, though.”

“Not really…” Molly trailed off biding her time.

“Well?” Greg questioned, his brow kitting together in uncertainty.

“It’s been three months.” Molly looked to Greg for recognition.

Greg nodded following Molly’s thoughts. He had an inkling all along about what Molly had been up to calling him out the Saturday that announced the end of her mourning period. He also hadn’t needed the text Sherlock sent, warning him that’s what Molly had been thinking. “Yeh, and?”

“And I thought we might want to discuss what will happen next. With the bonding and everything…” Molly tried to smile in assurance and it didn’t quite work as she met Greg’s concerned look.

“Is there something that needs to happen yet?” Greg paused for her to answer, fingers gliding up the rim of his glass as Molly watched his fingers. She remembered the last time she had watched his fingers on his pint glass across from her. It felt like eons ago yet the familiarity of it fluttered inside her chest as watching his fingers warmed her. She looked up to see an equally warm expression upon the alpha’s face. She answered with a shrug and a shake of her head. Nothing needed to happen yet, but she was giving him permission to take what he was legally entitled. “Well then nothing will happen.” Greg assured with a half-smile.

“But- the will- legally you’re-” Molly tried to offer herself in a way, to let the alpha know as his omega she wouldn’t fight him on it.

“Yeh I am but maybe I don’t just want to be your legally approved mate, someone you’re just promised to in ink on paper like property. Maybe I want to be an alpha you actually want to be with.” To this Molly had no response, she didn’t want any alpha. She had no interest in bonding. But she wanted him. “Molly I want you to know you can trust me. I want to be with you and I want you to want to be with me too. I was working up to asking you out, ya know. Until Sherlock’s hiatus, until Tom-”

“Really?” Molly looked to Greg in wonder.

“Really. I was wanting to ask and well- everything just got in the way.” Greg explained lamely. Her father had been right, had he been left to his own devices he might never have asked her in the first place, forever biding his time.

Molly tried to hide a small smile. “And now?” She wondered giving the alpha a flirtatious peer over her pint as she took a sip.

“Now I figure we just pick up where we left off. Don’t you agree?” Greg’s look became dark and heated, stirring Molly up inside like her dreams had been doing. It was a pace she was more than ready to continue, especially if Greg's heated gazes could so easily do this to her.

“Yes, yes I do.” Molly agreed as Greg watched her smile warm her face. He hoped to always put smiles like that upon the omega’s face always.

“Well alright then, now that we’ve got that out of the way.” Greg stood up offering Molly a hand off of her chair which she accepted gladly. “What do you say we get out of here? It’s getting a might stuffy.”

Greg drove her home as he always did. He left her at her doorstep that night with a lingering kiss to her cheek and a warm rumbled "goodnight" that left her chest fluttering for hours after they had parted. If this was what she had to look forward to, Molly wondered if it was better to just let go. The alpha begged her to trust him and, for the first time since learning of his role in her father's will, she wanted to try.

---

Chapter Text

Fusion

---

With the tumbling spring breezes of May brought with it the nuptials of Harry Watson and Mary Morstan. Molly was told about the wedding from Sherlock who begged for advice about how to help Mary as both the brides asked Harry’s only brother and his mate to be the brides’ men. It was only right that they help plan the wedding. Mary and Sherlock bonded rather quickly, other than Harry’s outright dislike of Sherlock and Sherlock’s spite because of this, there was very little tension as they planned the occasion. It pleased John that Sherlock take an interest, so Sherlock did, as only Sherlock could. He even went so far as to interview the guests he thought were flight risks, flies in the ointment. He quashed them all with a gleeful smile and John spent hours on the phone with Harry both loving and regretting his decision to beg Sherlock get involved, if for no other reason than to save him from having to be the only man helping Harry and Mary plan things like flower arrangements and table settings.

Molly had nothing to do with the wedding at all other than accept an invitation she wasn’t expecting. All it had taken was one meeting and the Alpha and Omega were set on making Molly a dear friend of theirs. The day the invitation arrived came with it an impassioned plea from the couple that Molly attend the wedding. They wanted to get to know her better and wanted her there. When they mentioned that Greg would be there and had already suggested he escort Molly to the wedding, she squawked into the phone indignantly.

“You didn’t!” Molly protested.

I did!” Mary announced proudly. The smile in her voice could be heard from space.

So see you have to come, we won’t take no for an answer.” Harry agreed, the couple gave a conniving giggle over the phone. Molly begrudgingly agreed and made plans with Greg to go to the wedding together.

The Saturday of the wedding dawned bright and airy, as Molly affixed her yellow bow to match the sunny yellow dress she found in a shop just days before. She had nothing to wear before she found this dress, and stumbled upon it while shopping. This was just the thing she was needing. With the yellow of the dress, she hoped new light would be brought into her future. The buzzer to her flat rang and Molly answered it, going to her mirror to make one last check before leaving.

Grabbing her overnight bag she headed to the cab and was on her way to the ceremony.

---

Greg was waiting outside the church for Molly as the guests for the wedding arrived, pouring into the church. He adjusted his tie for the hundredth time. If there was one thing he hated more than going to these things, it was the reminder that he was divorced and once again trying to court a girl. He was stuck in relationship limbo and divorced. Basically the alpha was in hell. The last thing you wanted to do when you were divorced and trying to get with another girl was go to a wedding.

Before he could ruminate on his displeasure at being at this wedding, he saw a hand wave in his direction from a cab that pulled up to the church. He walked over to the taxi just in time to see Molly letting herself out. He groaned to himself, smooth Lestrade, he thought, not being there to open a lady's door.

Molly opened the door with a bright smile. “Hullo!” Greg stared for a second, unable to form words, as he held the door open for the omega. From the playful bow to the adorable peep toe shoes Molly was the lemon drop of happiness he always believed her to be. She was just lovely. Molly admired the grey-blue suit Greg wore that was the color of the sky. It made his brown eyes sparkle, and brought out the silver of his hair. “Greg?...” Molly questioned unsure of why the alpha was staring and still holding the door to the taxi.

Greg shook himself coming back to reality. “Hey. Sorry I was… That is- I just- Wow.” Greg finally admitted to his being overwhelmed as he closed the door and they began walking into the church. Molly’s smile only added to the bright sunshine of her dress as her eyes sparkled. Once again, the breath was knocked clean out of the detective inspector. “Molly you look- wow- just beautiful.” He said as they ducked into the church to take their seats.

Molly looked to Greg as she slid into her seat, the buzz inside the church began to quiet down. “You don’t look so bad yourself.” She gave Greg a small secret smile that had the alpha pulling at his now too tight collar. Before they could say more the ceremony started.

Instead of watching the ceremony itself, Greg watched Molly. He, of course, watched Mary and Harry walk down opposite aisles across the church until they met in the middle. It was all very sweet. But Greg watched Molly’s reaction to the ceremony itself. Like Greg, as he felt the memories of his own marriage and its falling apart wash over him, Molly’s face told of the emotions she felt tumbling around inside her. He watched as her face broke out in happy smiles for the couple, and watched it cloud over in doubt, sadness, and he leaned in as it shuttered away the deeper emotions he couldn’t catch. She remembered herself before Greg could see anymore and looked to the alpha, with a small smile, Greg matched it but this time with one that he was sure didn’t meet his eyes.

Molly leaned into Greg’s ear to whisper “I know it’s hard for you to be here today.” Molly looked up to the alpha from beneath her lashed, suddenly shy.

Greg had to remember himself as he looked down at Molly. His heart was suddenly full and he didn’t give his lost marriage another thought. He reached out to tilt Molly’s chin upwards until she met his eyes. “Thank you, Molly.” He whispered in her ear before leaving a lingering kiss along her cheek, allowing his lips to graze along her delicate cheekbone as he pulled away.

Molly looked up to the alpha, her eyebrows knitted in confusion. They were so lost in one another that they didn’t notice the ceremony was over until the bells of the church were ringing and the church was full of cheers and applause. They stood up, both equally overwhelmed at being so caught off guard. Molly pulled Greg’s arm down so that she could get his attention. “Thank you for what?” She asked over the din.

Greg leaned down to talk into her ear. “For being you.” Greg pulled away with a smile, letting out bawdy cheers for the couple as they walked by. Molly looked to Greg brow still knit in confusion as she clapped along with the crowd. The church was quick to empty and Molly and Greg were separated as everyone looked to the happy brides as they stood before the photographer for pictures. Sherlock and John stood beside the couple, proud mates in their matching suits, hats supported in opposing elbows.

Greg and Molly didn’t connect again until everyone queued up to greet the couple, and Sherlock and John. Both Molly and Greg fielded questions from the Watson relatives and Mary’s well-meaning friends about who they were, what it was like to work with Sherlock, how they knew the couple and if they were together. In other words, they had to awkwardly explain something they weren’t prepared to announce to anyone, they were dating but not exactly a couple. How does one explain that? Certainly they weren’t going to mention their bonding to anyone, and as far as Greg was concerned, as he explained it to Molly when she wondered why he hadn’t as there were plenty of single men making attempts to vie for her attention, it wasn’t anyone’s business. This surprised Molly and she regarded Greg with a continuing puzzled expression. For everything she believed alphas to be, (and there were a few at the wedding that made attempts to claim her until Greg announced where he worked) he kept on going out of his way to prove her wrong. They were able to finally kiss the brides and chat with Sherlock and John a bit at least.

By the time they got inside the venue Greg absented himself for a much needed whiskey.

Molly stood awkwardly around the venue admiring the decorations until Greg returned with a brew for himself and wine for Molly. She thanked him gratefully pulling from the goblet. Molly and Greg smiled for the cameraman that popped around. Both breathed sighs of relief when they found themselves in very welcome company of Mrs. Hudson and ate dinner with her very enjoyably. Molly noticed as they heard about the marriages of other guests at the table that Greg once again was morose as he drank another in a series of pints. He gave the camera a salute as it flashed by and Molly pushed aside her own discomfort with their situation to take the hand that wasn’t holding a pint in her own. Greg met her eyes, his face serious but his eyes sparkled. She was there, he wasn’t as alone as he felt. As he could have been, had she still had been with Tom. She could have only imagined the kind of embarrassing things Tom would have said if she was still with him.

Speaking of things that could be potentially embarrassing, it was time for the speeches. The brides decided that John and Sherlock would both make their own speeches. John’s was teary as he spoke to his sister. And Molly and Greg smiled at each other, the alpha was as tough as they come, but when it came to those he loved, the army doctor was as squishy as his jumpers.

Sherlock’s speech, after he went through the telegrams, wasn’t as awful as Molly and Greg thought it would be. “What could possibly go wrong?” Greg had said. “I’m sure Helen-Louise probably wondered the same thing.” Molly had warned the alpha. Greg still remembered looking down at the brain lying in the steel bowl. He cataloged that look she gave him as one of his favorites. Even now it made him laugh. It wasn’t long until Sherlock was in the middle of deducing that a boss of Harry’s was in mortal danger. Molly and Greg both palmed their faces. How typical of Sherlock. Was there ever a possibility that once they could all have a nice time and not have to deal with a murderer? Greg was recruited to make the arrest as John and Sherlock left with the brides to see to the man that was almost killed. Molly did her best to keep the guests calm as she knew more about how Sherlock and John worked than anyone else in the room. Mrs. Hudson telling the catering staff to get more champagne and keep the glasses full helped a great deal. Unfazeable as ever that woman.

Mary, Harry, John and Sherlock returned for the brides to have their first dance and the rest of the reception flew by until the venue was bathed in disco lights and stars. Before Molly could stop them, John and Sherlock made their escape. Molly went out to catch them but missed them as they popped into the cab that would take them back to Baker Street.

The cool air was soothing as the music from inside the hall bounced into the air outside. It was then she smelled the cigarette smoke. There was only one man drunk enough to smoke even though he was supposed to quit. Molly walked in the direction of the smell until she reached the gazebo. Sure enough, Greg stood just beyond it blowing smoke into the night sky. Introspection didn’t do well in large parties, and it was easier for the alpha to miserably brood in his drunken state over a cigarette.

Greg turned hearing Molly’s heels on the wood of the gazebo floor. He was quick to put out the cigarette, and Molly was glad to note it was barely smoked.

“I hope you weren’t enjoying that.” Molly teased as Greg waved away the remaining smoke.

“You know tonight I think I was.” Molly’s brow kitted in concern as Greg grabbed the half-full pint sitting on the railing of the gazebo and finished it in two gulps. It was then the music changed from the pouncing rhythm of dance music to something sweeter, slower. The words to “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” started to echo into the garden where they stood. Greg was just drunk enough to notice this and want to dance.

“Would you dance with me Molly?” Greg questioned holding out his arms, barely two feet in front of her. It would be easy, just a step forward and they would be dancing. Easy. It was a dance. Just a dance. That’s all. Molly repeated this to herself as she nodded her assent and stepped into Greg’s arms. At first Molly’s small hand was cradled into Greg’s but that wasn’t good enough as they closed the distance. Molly’s eyes never leaving Greg’s. The twinkle lights added a soft glow to the gazebo that echoed in the sparkle of Greg’s eyes as he looked down to Molly with a small smile on his face.

Maybe it was the brews, maybe it was the champagne, Molly’s wine, the whiskey, but the alpha and omega found themselves coming together. Greg let out a growled “Molly,” as he brought his mouth down on hers. Molly felt his lips tease along her own, his tongue coming out to caress her lips begging for permission to just be let in. He had waited so long just for this, for this moment. It was what the alpha desired all along, to be allowed into the deepest parts of Molly so he could show her how much he could love them, how he could love all of her. Molly whimpered as he added little teasing nips to his begging. She couldn’t refuse as he growled when she eased open her mouth. He didn’t throw himself into it, he teased even more until he could coax her own tongue out of hiding. Molly felt dizzy as their tongues twirled around each other, dancing. She felt Greg’s hands, broad and warm against her cold back, and cradling her neck. His fingers teased along the skin he could feel along the edge of the back of her dress, and teased the skin along the edge of her neck.

The music inside abruptly changed to a thumping rhythm, startling the omega and bringing her out of her trance. She pulled away from the kiss, shuddering. She kissed plenty of guys, slept with most of them. How had a kiss never felt like that before? The effect it had on her still shuddered through down in her deepest parts as she backed away from Greg. She shivered in the cold air of the night as she looked down, embarrassed that she was behaving like a teenage girl but there was something different about kissing an alpha, this alpha. Kissing Greg. And she just wasn’t ready for it yet.

“Molly wait.” Greg reached out trying to stop Molly from leaving the gazebo. He’d do anything to have Molly back in his arms again. The pleasure still thundered through him as he still felt the ghost of her lips on his.

“I’m sorry Greg- Really- I-I’m just not ready for this. Not yet.” Molly elaborated. It wasn’t because they barely even dated yet as much as an admission that she wasn’t ready for what a relationship with Greg meant. This forever that was clearly on offer from the alpha, she wasn’t ready for all of that. Not yet. She felt the warmth of Greg’s hands cover her shoulders as he rubbed from there down to her elbows in assurance.

“It’s alright you don’t have to be. I’m not asking for more. I’ll not push you. I like this just as it is.” Greg intoned bringing Molly into his arms for a much needed hug.

Molly pulled back to look the alpha seriously in the eyes. “I’m glad even though I have no choice in this- the will- that it is you.” Greg watched Molly’s lips twist in a wry, bitter expression. “I know I have issues- that you’re not getting someone you would have chosen- that you- you know- that you wanted- but I think we shouldn’t pretend that the will- this thing- isn’t something that doesn’t exist, we should talk about it.” Molly wasn’t ever willing to talk about it. Tonight, surrounded by the air of commitment. It all meant something. Under the soft glow of the twinkle lights, this was an olive branch. Her olive branch.

“I only want to do what you’re comfortable with, you have nothing to prove to me.” Greg didn’t need her to be something to him that she wasn’t, he just wanted Molly. He couldn’t, wouldn’t, open up his heart to Molly and admit that he felt more than she did. In the fading ghosts of his divorce, he wouldn’t put himself out there like that again. But since they were having this conversation. In for a penny, the alpha figured. “I just want to understand something…” Lestrade began.

“Yes?” Molly looked back at the alpha.

“Why do you hate it?” Greg wondered putting his hands into his pants pockets. Putting them there seemed safer when his arms always itched to hold her. “Being an omega…”

“Y-you wouldn’t understand.” Molly felt her chest tighten under Greg’s scrutiny. He was going to ask this eventually. “You can’t possibly- you’re an alpha- there’s no way for you to understand why I hate it so much.” Molly shook her head in defiance.

“Well right back at yeh.” Greg muttered. As much to himself as it was loud enough for Molly to hear.

“What do you mean?” Molly questioned a bit taken aback.

In for a pound. “You don’t understand- couldn’t possibly know- at all- what’s it like being an alpha and wanting to be bonded to someone who hates you because you are an alpha and she hates you for all the things alphas tend to do but you’ve never once treated her or any omega- any woman- like that before or ever.” It wasn’t a complete omission as to how he felt, but she must have known how his alpha side was screaming to be with her. She was promised to him, that wasn’t something an alpha’s instincts could ignore. But she couldn’t possibly know how much he ached to be with her, how it was so much more than instincts but out of love. It wasn’t just his instincts, not anymore. It was his heart that was sore with longing. He couldn’t kid himself about that either.

Molly shook her head derisively. “That would be easy for an alpha to throw back up at an omega. Thinking that you have a right-”

“Molly. Please.” Greg stopped her before her angry tirade could slash through him with a hand. “I just want to be with you. I want us to be together, believe me when I say I wanted that all along.” Another truth, and he hoped somewhere in her head, Molly would blame it on the amount of brew he consumed tonight.

“I know- I’m just not the omega you deserve.” Molly mumbled morosely. It was one of the reasons, small though the reason was, that she didn’t want to bond with Greg. She was afraid that she wouldn’t be enough for the alpha in front of her. He was so good, so brave, so kind, and much more than she thought she deserved.

Greg sneered at the notion. He wasn’t any less broken. “Don’t say that-”

“I’ve never been comfortable with myself, like this once I presented. Ever since my first heat, I’ve hated all of it.” Molly looked down at her happy yellow shows miserably.

“Why though? That’s what I don’t get.” Greg wondered. There were vague explanations, notions, but none of them pointed in a direction that would help him help her through this.

“It’s hard to explain…” Her parents had understood, but now there was no one out there she could talk to about this. No one else who knew, but could she tell this all to this man, her intended alpha? Could she trust him with this part of her? Trust him. That sure part of her brain spoke up. You could always trust in Lestrade.

“Your father told me- some things…” Greg winced at the omission. Even though her father was dead, Greg didn’t want to betray his confidences. He watched Molly’s lips tilt up in a half-smile. It was a wonder, and then it wasn’t, at how much her father had trusted this good man.

“What- what did he say?” Molly’s eyebrows came together in her unsure air.

“Just things that happened- About why you hated being an omega- events he felt guilty about. Like cheating on your mom when you were little.” Greg’s shoulders hunched, hating to recall bad memories for her.

“He told you about that?” Molly questioned, her head tilting with curiosity.

“He did.” The alpha confirmed.

“I barely remember it.” Molly shook her head, back ram rod straight with tension. It wasn’t a lie, she didn’t really but talking about it made her inevitably uncomfortable.

“He said you mightn’t, but he wanted me to know.” Greg explained. He looked away as the music in the reception hall once again changed to a slow pop ballad, spouting love and promises into the air around them. “Molls you know I could never- with the ex-wife I never- I couldn’t ever do that to you.” It wasn’t even in Greg Lestrade to be a cheating man. Especially not now that he knew what the receiving end of that felt like. And he wanted to with Molly the night of the Christmas party, before he divorced just to get back at the ex-wife. Still he couldn’t, he was too fond of Molly back then to use her in such a way. If he had loved her any less, even then, he just might have.

“I know. I wish that were everything- if that only explained it all. There’s just so much more than that.” Molly agonized. It was so jumbled inside of her now that she was so much older.

“Well tell me!” Greg encouraged with a growl.

“I-I don’t know if I can…” Molly tilted away from the alpha, scraping her heel on the gazebo floor, uncertain.

“Molly I just want to be there for you,” Greg took her hand and gave it a warm squeeze. “But I can’t if you don’t talk me. You can talk to me you know. Always. In the end, I told you, I’m still your friend first. If you want out of this at the end, that’s okay with me as long as it’s what you want.” Greg looked up to her through his brow with feeling.

“It’s against the law.” Molly wondered at the detective inspector. He was for intents and purposes telling her to break the laws he enforced.

“Yeah well those laws are shite anyway.” Greg shrugged with a crooked, boyish smile.

“You’re supposed to be a detective inspector.” Molly tried to hide her amused smirk behind a serious quizzical brow.

“I’m off duty.” The alpha shrugged. They shared a quiet chuckle as the party continued on in their absence.

“Why did he tell you about that?” Molly inquired after a time.

“I guess he thinks-thought-” Greg cursed himself for still not being able to think of her father in the past tense of anything, he was still there by his side rooting for the alpha. “-that was the reason for you hating being an omega.”

“He was right …in a way.” Molly smiled sadly to the alpha. “I hated seeing my mother hurt, crushed really. Dad strayed once, and it took them almost until I started going to school to get passed it.”

“That’s not all of it though.” Greg questioned curiously.

“No but I-I never wanted to be like that.” Molly walked away from Greg to look out of the gazebo to the stars that were now dotting the sky. “Attached to someone that could hurt me like that.”

“That’s the tricky part about wanting to be in a relationship.” Greg looked to her with a wry smirk. He had daily proof of that. Not to mention his divorce papers.

“Yeah I know- you know that better than I…” She shared a commiserating look with the detective inspector. She looked back to the sky to hide her face as she said what was worrying her the most about being hurt, what scared her most about bonding with an alpha. “It- It’d be so much worse if I were bonded to you. Being vulnerable to you like that.”

“You know that might actually make it better.” Greg debated walking until they stood shoulder to shoulder looking out over the sky and the garden park. “Have you thought about that?” He grumbled looking down into Molly’s bright brown eyes.

“Have you? Thought about this? All of it, what being bonded to me will mean? Being in another commitment like this? I’m not the only one with baggage here.” Molly worried over that incessantly. He was divorced, how could this alpha, this man, be so ready to just back into the circus so readily with her?

“Touché.” Greg smiled sadly. Silence between them fell heavily as the black ink of night pooled around them. “Is there anything else?” Greg wondered. He couldn’t think of a retort to her about his own baggage. It would reveal too much. He was bothered by how easily he was ready to be wounded, to be vulnerable to another woman so soon. But this was Molly and there was nothing about Molly he didn’t trust.

“There were the kids at school, on the playground. Kids are brutal, you know.” Molly explained jokingly.

“Yeh, I remember.” Greg rolled his eyes fondly.

“Most of the ones that talked so meanly about omegas and how they were just holes for knots ended up being alphas in the end.” Molly shook her head in angry memory.

“And then later you presented as an omega.” Greg finished her thoughts, knowing in the direction the story was going. He never understood the other alphas when he was in school or at the academy, pushing the omegas about, trying to lay claim to them when they didn’t have a right to, and most omegas avoided him out of sheer survival instincts. And even to him it made sense.

“Yeh, then the rest of school was spent trying to be a pathologist- dodging every attempt for those same friends to try and claim their right over me as an alpha.” Molly looked up to Greg and looked away with a blush on her cheeks.

“That couldn’t have been easy.” Greg encouraged Molly to continue, feeling empathy for her situation. He’d never been one of odd ducks at school. Quite the opposite, he’d always done well but he never used to be mean to the omegas and unpopular kids as some of his friends had been.

“It wasn’t- not as an omega, an omega girl- and trying to fend off alphas who were knotheads trying to stake their claim on me or any of my omega friends within reach.” Molly became frustrated in anger at the memories, spending lunches in the bathroom or hiding in the library because it was easier to be alone than be exposed to alpha’s and their dominate attitudes.

“Bastards.” Greg growled.

“They were, not that they could do anything about it. We were teenagers and their hormones spoke for them- but the betas- the ones at least that flirted while the alphas weren’t looking- they were just as bad. If not worse- Taking advantage and getting what they wanted, some of them even had omega fetishes. You know the type.” Molly smiled with a roll of her eyes. Tom had been the type, though he hid it well.

“Yeah- I get the picture.” Greg grumbled, shoulders rolling in frustration. She giggled despite herself. “What?” Greg looked to her with a puzzled smile.

“It was years ago but you’re still ready to give them all a thrashing.” Molly couldn’t stop laughing at the idea.

“Can’t help that, I’m a bit nuts when it comes to you.” Greg smiled, his deep eyes hooded and twinkling.

Molly met his warm gaze with an easy smile. Forgetting under the gazebo the will, their bonding. And in between her giggled and Greg’s smile she felt as if it were just the two of them under the twinkle lights, frozen in time. “Yes you are.” Molly reached up on her tippy toes and holding the alpha’s rugged jaw left a swift, sweet kiss to Greg’s lips. She hadn’t been expecting to do that. “I don’t think I’ve ever talked about any of that out loud.” To break the tension, she continued the conversation. Greg let it lie despite the delicate blush that fanned its way across Molly’s cheeks and begged for him to kiss her again.

“That’s good I’m glad you told me.” Greg smiled to Molly, his own blush on the tips of his ears.

“They didn’t like me trying to be a pathologist you know. My parents were ecstatic when I reached every milestone. But when I was at uni, the boys- beta- alpha- even the professors- the headmasters- even some of the elders that were alpha females- it didn’t matter, they thought a nice little omega like myself didn’t have to be that well-educated or work such a weird job. But I liked it, you know. I love my job.” Molly looked to Greg with a chin raised, daring the alpha in him to contradict her. The passion she showed for her work only constricted the giddy feeling that squeezed at his heart.

“Of course, you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t.” Greg smiled to Molly fondly. They watched the stars in the comfort of the quiet that prevailed between them despite the thumping of the sub woofers in the reception. The party could be heard chanting along with the DJ.

“But I think the worst part was when my mom died. Seeing Dad just a complete shell without my mum around.” Molly shivered at the memory, her father’s cut knuckles, pouring him drinks to ease the pain.

“It must be hard on anyone,” Greg looked to Molly uncertain of the direction of her introspection, “but it’s better to you know love and lost, and all that- You never talk about your mom.” Greg always wondered about that. After she told him how she died, he had pulled a few strings to call up her mother’s accident report. It hadn’t been a pretty sight. And she had just started at Bart’s. She had been going through all of that while he had been going through his divorce. They had both loss in their life in different ways. He understood her, how she felt, if only the alpha could get her to see it.

“I miss her. And it was hard without her, taking care of dad. Now I don’t have any parents-” Molly felt a sob bubble from her mouth unbidden. She hadn’t meant to do that either. But the tears came without her permission. All these years, she kept it all bottled up, and after her father died refused to cry unless in the dark of her own room alone. What made this alpha, this silver-haired detective inspector so special?

“Oh-Oh Molls… It’s okay.” Greg attempted to bring Molly into his arms, rubbing her shoulders that had gone cold with the air. Her shoulders shook with the tears she tried to fight. After a minutes indulgence alone, she pushed from him against Greg’s strong chest. And she tried her best to ignore Greg’s hurt expression at being denied.

“I’m alright-” Molly caught her breath, her shoulders giving one last shake as she sighed and wiped at her moist eyes. Molly smiled sadly. “Well there you have it, the whole sordid story. I don’t hate it all, not outright. I guess- I’d say- I hate myself more as an omega. It’s more about what I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be needy, weak or useless. I don’t want to be like my mother, roaming about the house with nothing to do and taking care of the kids waiting for father to get home.” Her mother’s example of a housewife was everything that she didn’t want to be.

Greg removed his coat and allowed the warm fabric to cover Molly’s shoulders as her shivering then eased. “I don’t want you to be that either. I want you to be happy. With me-”

“You say that now but once we’re bonded? Once I’m pregnant? Alphas are always obsessive in protecting their omega and kin.” Molly agonized at the idea of Greg becoming a stranger to her once she had children, forbidding from going anywhere, from doing the simplest tasks.

“Look Molly you’re not even pregnant yet alright? We haven’t even had sex yet, much less experienced a heat together. Let’s take it slowly yeh?” The idea of the two of them together left a boyish smirk on the alpha’s face. “I mean what makes you think I want to be treated like just a knot, I’m not just a body to be worshiped! I have feelings, you know.” Greg threw his head up in the air in mock haughtiness.

Molly punched him in the shoulder. She couldn’t help the giggles bubbling from her chest. “You stupid arse!” Molly was still laughing as Greg brought her into his arms, under his chin.

Molly finally let go of her worries and allowed Greg to dance her around, finally just enjoying the moments with him instead of worrying. It wasn’t long until the cold spring air called them back into the party.

The alpha and omega danced all night, to the thumbs up of several friends including Mrs. Hudson who teased them that they had been gone a very long time during the party. Greg wagged his eye brows until Molly elbowed him. Mrs. Hudson merely smiled at the pair knowingly. They had been gone from the party so long it was over before either had expected. Greg walked Molly to the door and turned to leave for his car, though he was a bit liquid for driving. At the door, Molly stopped the alpha asking if he’d like to crash in her room at the inn of the hall instead of just going back to London. She got a hotel room, he didn’t. At the invitation, Greg couldn’t think of anything better than sleeping that night in Molly’s arms.

Neither she nor Greg took off any of their clothes, and in the morning Greg was woken up to a tumbling sea of yellow being radiated by the sun coming into the hotel room. He stared upon Molly’s sleeping face, up do completely ravaged and bow askew but he had never seen anything more beautiful. The alpha waiting as long as he could until he knew they would have to vacate the room.

Still tired but no worse for wear, Greg drove them back into London. Molly had walked to her flat completely oblivious until she turned around and was met by Greg’s lips on her own. The kiss was a tender slow thing that had her whimpering. Molly felt something stirring in her chest as Greg bid her goodbye with a devilish, sneaky smile that made him look twenty years younger. Thinking about all the times that she had dated betas and refused alphas, she realized that this is how it should feel like.

---

Greg promised before he left her with that kiss, to take her out the following weekend on a proper date.

He did. It had been lovely, relaxing, and everything Molly knew it would be with Greg. It was predictable but at the same time, he would tease her, surprise her, and keep her on her toes. There was nothing for Molly to complain about and she agreed to his proposition that they try to see each other as often as possible. It was the only thing to do since they were to be bonded by October. Molly loved the autumn, but the thought of it looming the way it did in front of her made her loathe the upcoming season for one of the first times in her life.

They began dating, and used to the time as a way to get increasingly intimate. Greg still wasn’t pushing, and Molly just wasn’t ready to have sex yet. It was the longest time she ever waited to commit to a guy as they dated. Something always prevented her from wanting to invite Greg up, and Greg never pushed. He had said they would go at her pace, and no matter how his growing appetites rallied against it, he had meant what he said. Though he was spending more and more time at her place. She began to find his things in places she doesn’t expect. It started with his toothbrush in her glass, lying quite snugly next to her own, then it was his pajamas in her drawer, his brush, a couple of suits in her closet. Molly was beginning to wonder if the alpha was keeping threes of everything he owned now instead of the two she knew he already kept between his place and the office. She didn’t comment no matter what additions the alpha made to her flat, merely enjoyed flirting with him over Friday morning tea before he would pick her up that night to laugh over pints at the pub. And waking up in his arms Sunday mornings was slowly beginning to become a treat for her. Molly would have been scared to realize the alpha was choosing to live outside of his work bag and was just using his own place to do the laundry and sleep when it was too late to stop at her place. The people of his division noticed that their boss was actually grumpy if he didn’t sleep next to Molly now.

Despite the inconvenience, Greg couldn’t remember a happier time was spent in his life than occupying the same space as Molly.

---

Chapter Text

Mischief

---

Molly was called one afternoon during the weeks she was dating Lestrade with a very irate John on the phone. She shared a terse yet sympathetic word with the alpha in regards to the behavior of his omega mate and rung off with him. She moved through the process of getting the test ready in the lab she would need to perform. It all felt very familiar, more than once, she was called in to do these tests at the request of Mycroft, and every time was worse than last.

When John texted that they had arrived she met the consulting detective in the hallway with a cup pointing firmly to the men’s room. She watched the omega roll his eyes as he swiped the cup out of her hand, and trudged his feet into the stalls. Cup of urine in hand Molly reentered the lab, a somewhat scuzzy and miserable Sherlock upon her heels. She went through the process of testing the sample for what she was looking for and once Mary and John watched her snap off her gloves.

“Well?” John inquired in impatience as Mary wrapped the sprained elbow of one of the den dwellers Sherlock had been keeping company.

“Clean.” Molly scoffed turning her attention on Sherlock with three sound slaps across his face. Now that he was entirely happy, with John, had everything in the world, he was just throwing it all away.

“How dare you throw away the gifts you were born with and how dare you betray the love of your friends?! Say you’re sorry.” Molly demanded, the anger boiling up inside of her. Mary had turned at the first slap in awed surprise. Normally, Molly seemed so mild mannered. It wasn’t the first time a person had hid who they really were from the outside world. No wonder Lestrade was so smitten with the omega. She had fire, gumption, underneath all of the puffy sweaters and lab coat.

“Sorry you’re not yet engaged to Lestrade, though I am fairly grateful for lack of a ring.” Sherlock quipped, holding his cheek in his hand.

“Stop it.” Molly’s voice broke in anger. “Just stop it.”

John stepped in, relief at finding his mate overwhelming in spite of Sherlock’s addictive behavior. “If you were anywhere near this kind of thing again you could have talked to me, to any of us.”

“Oh please do relax John, this all for a case.” Sherlock assured with a roll of his eyes. A little of cocaine and everyone decided to get their knickers in a twist.

“A case?!” John questioned in outrage. It wasn’t the first time in their acquaintance that Sherlock had acted on his own, but his mate was now hurt he was doing so now that they were mated. Molly watched the interaction as this kind of lying clearly hurt Sherlock’s mate and how Sherlock’s face though it shuttered didn’t show any remorse for the action.

“Yes a case,” the omega looked down at his phone, “and it’s quite possible that my drug use has made the tabloids. Excuse me…” Sherlock went to the door to go into the hall, “for a second.”

And that was the last time she saw either John or Sherlock. Until she had heard from Mycroft that Sherlock had shot a man, and he did it in order to protect Mary Harry and when it all boiled down to it, John as well. She performed the autopsy on the body and was told exactly what to write in her records by Mycroft. The beta even came to her lab the day of the autopsy to check over her work. When asked for an explanation, Mycroft merely pursed his lips and told her that Sherlock was paying for his crime by going back to Serbia. She remembered the abuse he faced and the scars that had littered his back.

Lestrade spent many hours comforting her until the day that Sherlock was to leave. She was working and the alpha had off.

Harry begrudgingly brought Mary to the tarmac to say farewell, no one had really explained what happened, but Mary was relieved that it was over and so was she. The alpha sibling was really there for John who could barely maintain his composure. Once again, Sherlock was leaving and refused to allow John to go with him. It wasn’t possible for Sherlock to maintain his cover with his mate in tow. They would be too easily recognized. Mary, pregnant with her and Harry’s new child, promised to look after John for him and kissed Sherlock farewell. They watched as he assured Harry that Sherlock was a girl’s name and Harry hugged him with a promise that they were not naming their daughter Sherlock. Ever. The couple watched as their brother bid farewell to his mate with a mere shake of the hand. They believed anything more and John wouldn’t let the omega go.

The plane took off flying into the distant sky until teles all around the world were interrupted by a ghost. A terrible, malevolent ghost.

John looked to the returning plane with a sure, "if it is Moriarty, he'd better wrap up warm. There's an East Wind coming."

---

Molly went about her work feeling worn out not just from the worrying she had been doing for Sherlock and knowing that it was the day he would be separated from John, perhaps forever, but also because she had been battling exhaustion from the remnants of a summer cold. She was just coming back from the break room when she saw it, that face. The face of her nightmares.

Moriarty. He was back? How could that be? She dropped the mug of tea she had just made and it shattered unto the linoleum tile.

“Did you miss me?” The face cackled like a marionette, the voice obscenely hysterical and robotic as the phrase was repeated incessantly.

Molly reached for her mobile with numb fingers and called Greg’s phone. He picked up on the first ring.

“Greg did you see it?” Molly wondered in horror. She had no idea if it was only in her lab she saw Moriarty or if it was shown in other places.

Yeh, Molls, I see it. I’m on my way. He’s everywhere, apparently on every screen in Britain. I’m coming to you hang on. Stay on the phone, don’t hang up.” Greg intoned seriously as he ran out of the pub to his car.

“Alright I won’t,” she smiled with relief as Greg wove his way around awed Londoners to his car. She listened as the horrible noise of Moriarty’s warped voice was silenced by the inside of Greg’s car and the shrill of his siren as he cut through London traffic.

Talk to me Molly. Is everything alright?” Greg asked. “Do you hear anything?” He knew as well as Sherlock John and Mycroft knew that out of any of them, if Moriarty returned Molly was the one that was most exposed. If he returned, her role in the plot of Sherlock’s survival would be known to the maniac. More than once after Sherlock’s return Mycroft called Greg to the Stranger’s Room at the Diogenes to discuss this. Mycroft offered his protection, but there was only so much any of them could do if that was Moriarty’s object. Mycroft was never entirely certain that they had killed the spider. Now they had the evidence of Mycroft's worries in hand.

“I’m alright, nothing is wrong here though I’m hiding in my office.” Greg smiled despite himself. Molly always thought ahead. Her office while in the back of the morgue offered a vantage point to see if people came in without needing to show herself first.

Good, stay there until you see me. I’m five minutes out.” Greg encouraged as he wove through the last portion of town that lead to Bart’s. All around the city, people were looking upon screens of computers, mobile phones, and teles alike at the face Moriarty. More than once, Greg had to go down a side street to avoid cars pulled to a halt by distraction.

Finally he arrived at the hospital, running through the halls and down the stairs until he came to the morgue. “Molly!” He called as he ran to the back of the morgue where her office was. Molly came rushing out and was into Greg’s arms before the alpha could blink. He let out a quiet “oof” as he sighed in relief bringing his arms around the omega. Molly trembled against him, stricken with fear at the idea that Moriarty was prepared to come after her.

“Oh Greg, wh-what am I going to do? He’ll find me. I know he will, h-he’ll find me and...” Molly shuddered unable to finish the thought of all that man was capable. “What am I going to do?” Molly felt the tears bubbled out of her as she burrowed into Greg’s chest, under his chin. A place that was quickly becoming her favorite spot. Greg’s scent, that even in her weakened senses she could smell was at its strongest right where his collar sat unbuttoned as it always was.

“It’s alright Molly, I’m here. He can’t get to you. I won’t let him get to you. We’ll be alright.” Greg assured fiercely, letting out grumbled purrs from his chest as comforting pheromones were released from his scent glands. He couldn’t help it. His alpha urge to soothe and comfort her in her distress were too great. He couldn’t quite scent her distress around the suppressants but in that moment it was too obvious not to be felt. His alpha instincts did the rest.

Molly felt a cramp squeeze her abdomen. Oh shite. Shite. This wasn’t good. Her body was too worn down, she hadn’t really been sleeping despite Greg’s company in her bed. She was too upset in the moment. It all came together in a crash of pheromones.

Greg’s pheromones had set off a phantom heat. Fuck. Another wave of arousal tumbled through her as she began to spout pheromones and became wet. It wouldn’t be long before every alpha in the building scented her.

Greg felt Molly tense against him and looked down to her. “Molly what’s wrong?” He questioned as his nose took a sniff on instinct against the air. It was then he smelled her pheromones, though they were faint and tinged with a metallic tang from her suppressants that he immediately found hateful and leaves a bad taste in his mouth. Molly was in heat. A phantom heat. “Oh, fuck.” Her pheromones are only a small fraction of the power they could be and already he was harder in trousers than he had ever found himself for another woman before. Greg growled baring his teeth and sending out more pheromones that were meant to attract Molly to him and gain her supplication. So that she would choose him as her mate. Greg tried to stop himself, but in the face of everything he desired from her, his instincts were becoming too powerful to control. He tried to shake his head to gain control of himself. They weren’t ready for this step yet. Molly wasn’t ready for this step yet. But it was too late, this was going to happen, with Molly’s permission, whether they were ready for this step or not. Once again they were being forced into a situation beyond their control. Like atoms reacting to opposing charges.

Molly whined as Greg’s pheromones set off another wave of her phantom heat. It all felt like it did when she was younger but it’s all not even half the strength of what it would be if she went off her pill entirely. Already she was a quivering mess, and all because instead of being in the arms of her father she was in the company of a potential mate. Nature was unavoidable and impossible to control. Molly keened as she was overwhelmed by it all, horny, dripping, and needs. She didn’t know what, just needs. Molly whimpered as she dug her hands into the arms of the alpha to maintain her balance. Her legs were becoming like rubber and impossible for her to remain standing. “Greg…” Molly whined for the alpha. Like her father, she knew that Greg would know how to make this feeling better. The alpha could make this all go away.

Greg held her head very firmly in his hands and shook her, to get her attention. He had been asking her something important but in the blind need she couldn’t pay attention. Greg had to fight another growl as Molly met his eye, her eyes were clouded over with want and arousal. Her pupils were blown wide with the chemicals rushing through her body. But it wasn’t just the arousal glowing in her eyes but the way they looked to him, pleading with him to fill the void. That he was the balm for her horny ills. He would help her, and he would enjoy doing it. He just wished they had a choice in this. But that wasn’t the way things happened to he and Molly.

“Molly, I’m asking you right now. Do you want me to help you through this?” Molly looked to Greg then as he seemed to be oppressing the urge to take her right there in her lab office, desperate for her to answer his question. Her knees were shaking from the want to do just that, as her hands moved to his sturdy shoulders, bunching the fabric of his suit jacket in desperate want of him. As well to brace herself as her knees became very weak. “I’m not going to force you, I want your permission. MOLLY!” Greg shouted, if she didn’t answer him quickly, he would lose control and she would never trust him for taking advantage of her ever again.

“Please! Greg- I- Please, I want you. I want it to be you- It has to be you.” Molly begged looking to Greg’s eyes for confirmation that he understood. Greg felt a growl come from his chest. Even though she acknowledged that there was no other man in the world to assist her with this, she admitted first that she wanted him. She was begging for him. With a firm, hungry kiss to Molly’s mouth, a tease of lips that left her moaning in agony for more, Greg edged them towards the exit to his car.

They were almost to the doors to the hallway when an intern walked in, an alpha, as the lad probably smelt the pheromones Molly was putting out into the air. Muted or no, once alphas had smelled the pheromones of an omega in heat, the instincts were almost impossible to suppress. Greg only hoped they would make it out of the building before others would literally get wind of Molly’s heat. “Back off!” The young man growled with a puffed out chest, trying to claim the heat-riddled omega for his own. He stood between the doors, at the only exit. “The omega’s mine.”

“I don’t think so, and as a detective inspector I’m ordering you to stand down, lad. Or else I’ll slap the cuffs on you.” Greg warned. Molly watched as Greg asserted his dominance, not by being her alpha, by claiming her but by using his power with Scotland Yard.

The younger alpha tried to lunge at Molly, to rip her away from what he thought, in his blind rage to claim her for his own, was an inferior alpha. Greg quickly abandoned Molly to toss the alpha against a wall and twisted his arm into the middle of his back. The alpha growled, and whined in supplication. He bowed his head at once to concede to the superior alpha. At the commotion an orderly from the hospital appeared, a beta, and apologized removing the foolish intern with a roll of the eyes and told Lestrade he would inform Stamford about what had happened. Once the alpha was courted away by the orderly, Greg returned to Molly’s side and practically had to carry her to his car.

---

With blues-and-twos flashing, Greg made expert work of parting the traffic of London’s streets to get to Molly’s flat. It was only a few minutes but to Molly was a tortured infinity. Molly was completely consumed with the cramps that rolled through her, they were increasing and becoming worse the more she was in Greg’s company. Her skin was hot and prickly, and the clothes she wore were only making it worse as she tore at the layers trying to remove them.

Greg growled deep in his throat and the omega part of Molly stilled in her actions. “Hold on Molly we’re almost there. But this won’t be easy unless you stop doing that.” Greg rumbled as he sped through the city. Molly looked out of the window as the city whipped passed her vision. She moaned as she became dizzier from the heat than she had ever felt before. The pheromones that the alpha put out next to her only stoked the flames. Sweat beaded on her brow and Molly couldn’t stop the whines and whimpers that worked their way out of her throat.

Never before had she experienced this. This was what the doctors and her mother warned her about all those years ago. How much worse would this get once she stopped her suppressants? Right now this was absolute agony, but the promise the heat held for pleasure at the hands of Lestrade had her writhing for his knot, for his bite. Greg would be the only thing to make it better. In the haze of her phantom heat, she looked over to the alpha desperate for the assurance that he would make this right. What Molly saw was an alpha keeping tight rigorous control of the urges welling up inside him. She looked to his knuckles that were white with tension where they held the steering wheel. Greg looked to her and then she noticed that Greg’s car had stopped moving.

“Please.” Molly begged, overwhelmed with need, she couldn’t move. The moment she reached for the alpha he disappeared like smoke. Molly whined in the blinding want of her heat before he was at her door and she was in his arms. His aim was to carry her to her flat, but Molly wasn’t being very helpful as she attacked his scent glans with licks, kisses, and even nips. The pheromones they each were exuding melded and she was tasting his scent on her tongue like the finest wine. Molly only wished that she wasn’t on her suppressants for the weakness of her senses, she could only imagine what she would feel once she went off them. In her attempt to know what Greg tasted like, really tasted like. It wasn’t logic that drove her actions but a primal need that was being superseded by nature calling her to mate with the alpha that was chosen for her. Greg was not ready for that. It was more than once he had to put her on her feet as they made their way to her door so that he could regain his composure. It was more than once he had to shake his head and recall himself or else he would have her in the staircase. The force he used to keep them apart so that he could breathe and maintain his control only drove Molly’s phantom heat to higher levels. For the alpha the omega had chosen to take the action to deny them only drives their heat to higher levels, causes them to put out more pheromones and demands the alpha satisfy the omega, to procreate. Molly scrambled in her attempts to get at Lestrade, she’d do anything in the waves of her heat to gain the alpha’s attention. Greg shook his head to gain control and once he could stop command the urges inside of himself to heal he took Molly in his arms again, calming her with his pheromones as he used her keys to unlock the apartment. He didn’t even think to look around for someone inside Molly’s flat waiting for them, he just wanted to get somewhere private.

Once inside her flat, he could barely lock the doors and get their coats off. The familiar smells of the flat that were her own gave Molly relief. The smells of London and other people’s pheromones annoyed Molly’s instincts, and turned her stomach. But now that she was in her own nest, surrounded by smells that reeked of safety and security, and Greg’s pheromones that reeked of the same she pulled Greg to the bedroom. All her mind was wanting was Greg’s body upon her own, her body wanted it, and somewhere beneath it all somewhere deep inside called for him as well. A part she wouldn’t acknowledge in the fuzzy depths of the heat that poured over her. Molly wanted relief. Relief only Greg could give. Instinct told her it was only this alpha in front of her that could slake this desire that drove her mad and burned deep inside.

Once she was safely ensconced in the apartment, Molly stripped her clothes, comfy, warm things that only grew stifling in the itching heat. Greg watched transfixed as Molly bared herself, without self-consciousness or fear for his eyes. The alpha inside him roared with pride as he selfishly took in the milky expanse of Molly’s skin, this was his mate and she was a beautiful sight to behold. Everything in him desired to mark Molly and claim him for his own. Once they were in the room and threw herself onto the bed writhing with the need the alpha had yet to quench. “Please. Greg, please!” Molly begged, caressing her own skin. She was offering herself up to the alpha before her, anything please her alpha and please his desires. The sensations her actions created were pleasing enough but left her a dripping, aching mess for Lestrade. He just stood at the foot of the bed, watching her fervent, overt display, hands at his side and his eyes hooded yet sparkling in the dim light cast throughout the bedroom. She was ready to do anything to attract Greg to raptures that would invite him to take her the way she knew he could.

“It’s alright Molly, I’m here.” Greg intoned in a low rumble of a voice that was practically a growl, a growl that went straight through her as her insides trembled for the alpha. She heard him slowly, with a commanding patience she didn’t feel as he stripped his clothes. What was there the need to hurry? Greg already had his prize, he had every intension of savoring it. Molly moaned against the rolling tides of her heat as she listened to the fabrics gliding against his skin and thumped onto the floor, echoing into the silence of the room. She looked over to him and scanned her eyes up and down his now naked form luxuriously. From his shining silver hair on his rippling, muscular chest, all the way down to where it laid around his rather splendid looking alpha cock, that was throbbing hard and glistening for her. Oh yes. That was one area of expertise all alphas were masters in. The rumors she had always heard about alphas and their rightfully placed arrogance were now truth in her eyes. None of her beta boyfriends could ever compete with this. Molly licked her lips and dragged herself up to the alpha.

“Greg…” Molly moaned as pulled herself up the alpha’s sturdy welcoming frame. She draped her arms over his shoulders fetchingly, curling her fingers into his silver hair and down his back. She kissed him and whined until Greg allowed her in. His hands moved to touch her body but stopped, hovering over her skin. “Please Greg, my alpha, I need you. Please.” Molly cooed as she pulled Lestrade down onto the bed. This time instead of resisting he went willingly, allowing Molly to move Greg into a position that satisfied her.

Greg shook with restraint as Molly was allowed to take the lead, he refused to take advantage of Molly’s state weakened state to ravage her in the way he wanted. He allowed Molly to climb on top of him. Her body moved of its own accord, writhing against him, luxuriating the contact of her milky white skin again the warmth, rough, tan ruggedness of the alpha’s own. Molly kissed Greg repeatedly and used the distraction to guide Greg’s throbbing cock inside of her. Molly trilled a squeal of delight as her walls rippled around the throbbing alpha shaft that filled her.

Once Greg was inside her, a throbbing hot heat that quenched something primal and necessary deep inside Molly, Molly rode him with abandon. Greg allowed her this and held onto her, enjoyed watching the omega before him take her pleasure from him, pleasure that only his member could provide. Molly was lost to her heat, to the pleasure that echoed inside of her and rippled with each throb of Greg’s tumescence. Never before had Molly acted so wildly, and she couldn’t stop her hips from moving, even after she rode Greg’s cock to orgasm with a shuddering cry of ecstasy.

Once she came, Molly was ready to climb up the hills of pleasure over and over again to have orgasm after orgasm. There were no plateaus to be found, but only orgasm that mounted one after the other, climbing higher and higher as she searched for a completion she did not know how to find. In the haze of her heat, she couldn’t think of stopping, her body simply cried out for more. The vice like grip of Molly’s walls in her unrelenting orgasms coaxed Greg to reach his own creating peak as he came inside her. He blushed unseen at how short of a time it took, however many orgasms Molly had, it didn’t matter as long as she found pleasure, but the alpha had always prided himself on his stamina. It had been a while as he had waited for Molly to finally be ready to have sex with him, but it had also been quite a while since he had an omega that was this wet, that burned this much for his knot. Even as she felt Greg’s seed coat her walls, Molly refused to stop moving, drawing out his pleasure until it became a delicious torture. There was something she needed from him as an alpha, and though his seed pacified her as she moaned in delight at the feel of it coating her insides, she wanted more. As an omega, her instincts knew he had more to give. If he would just give in. Greg had to stop her with his blunt wide hands, marking bruises onto her hips to keep them from moving. The delicious pain caused the omega to coo in lust and Greg cursed into the air, he realized he had come inside her without asking if it was even okay that they had sex without a condom. Her pheromones had blinded him completely, and now that his orgasm came so did it some marginal clarity. He hadn’t given it a second thought and neither had Molly. Greg cursed himself for his dumb brain, made stupid by the pheromones they were both emitting into the bedroom. Greg had always prided himself on being better than that.

Greg grunted as he began to thrust into Molly again, cock already hard and aching, ready to knot her. They moved of their own accord and Greg growled in frustration as he tried to stop, but he was powerless while wrapped in the welcoming warmth of Molly’s heated walls. They were a wet, welcoming promise he didn’t want to break. “Molls I’m sorry, I should’ve- I forgot- I can get the condoms from my pocket if you want-” Greg pulled out, with a mournful whine, ready to climb to the end of the bed where he knew his pants laid, the condoms he always carried regardless were lying in one of the pockets, tucked inside his wallet is a (lately) rarely used section. Molly stopped him, nails biting into his biceps pulling him back to her.

“Shut up and don’t stop. Please. Greg! Please! Don’t stop! Fuck me! Don’t worry about it! You know I’m taking the pill- Just- Greg- Please!” Her begging had Greg back inside her before she could beg again. Molly hadn’t the energy to remain upright, as orgasmic pleasure tumbled through her and left her legs feeling like jelly and utterly useless. Molly fell back onto the bed, pulling Greg with her. Greg moaned into Molly’s chest as the omega ceded control, finally giving into the urge to have her body covered by the expanse of his warm tan skin. It was everything Molly knew she had wanted but refused to give into the omega instincts that she knew drove the action. Greg pulled her leg up in the crook of his arm and entered her with precise energy that had her screaming with pleasure.

In the haze caused by Molly’s pheromones, Greg couldn’t stop the inevitable. Halfway through the first wave of Molly’s heat he went into a rut, and with it he lost the hard, desperate control he had tried to maintain in order to be gentle. Nature would have her way. He thrusted into Molly’s welcoming heat with a pounding force, the sound of their passionate collisions echoed into the air of the room. Greg let go of the fraying threads of his control completely as he growled into her skin, mouthing the milky expanse, nibbling at her breasts. Molly moaned in delight with every thrust, wrapping the alpha up in her long willowy legs. The welcoming warmth Molly’s body provided only incensed the alpha further and drove Molly’s lust higher and higher.

He spent the time inside her, from his place on top of her, licking at her scent glands. During a phantom suppressant induced heat her omega scent comes out at half its intensity, and Greg was able to taste a weakened version of her pheromones. It was a scent that is only Molly and Molly alone. He regretted with every lick that they still had the chemical tinge of the suppressants laced in them. It was a metallic twinge on his tongue Greg found hateful. Just like the metallic edge of her suppressed smell always annoyed his nose. Greg wanted to find out what Molly really tasted like, what she smelt like. There was a hint of something Greg couldn’t name, something that called out to something buried deep inside him, something base and wanting that called for Molly. That called for him to claim her as his own. It was ancient and sad that Greg hadn’t yet conquered this and taken his rightful mate. Every metallic edged lick is a reminder of this gaffe between them, though she welcomed his hard thrusts and met them with energy. She wanted him, and Greg hoped somewhere deep inside that she loved him as well, but Molly didn’t want his bite. Only when she would trust him absolutely, would this taste and smell go away. The metallic tang on his tongue, in the haze of her heat, his rut, is a wretched reminder that they were not there yet. The taste was only ignorable by the pheromones that did lay on his tongue, a divinely musky taste that sticks to his tongue and doesn’t leave after the metallic taste fades. Everything in Greg desired to imprint her taste on his tongue so that he could memorize it forever, so that it wouldn’t ever leave. If they never bonded, if Molly turned away from him, at least he could have this, and take the memory of her taste as his consolation.

Molly trembled with every lick, and had two more orgasms crash over her. She shook her head, pleading for the pleasure to end as it climbed still, she was both loving the waves that crashed over her and sated the want inside of her but feared how much higher her pleasure could climb in this unrelenting haze. She felt her Alpha’s hips stutter as Greg began to moan endlessly, she felt his shaft ripple as his orgasm began. And a blooming pressure began to grow inside her, his knot. This was it, Molly knew, this was what she had been waiting for as her body began to shake everywhere.

When Greg came again with a growling shout, his knot bloomed inside Molly’s dripping heat. Greg couldn’t resist the urge in his blinding lust to suck on her neck, right where he knew his bondbite would lay. His cock spurted as the dump of chemicals finally came with his knot, his rut now satisfied. Greg’s jaw shook with the tension of only leaving love bites where he couldn’t leave his bondbite. His alpha roared inside with the call to bite. Do it. The alpha inside him begged, but he couldn’t. That was the most hateful thing to Greg at all, he could love her all he liked in these moments, but at the end of it she still wouldn’t be his. The alpha inside him moaned in regret and growled at being denied bonding with his rightful mate. It wasn’t a real heat. Soon. He promised himself as he ravaged the skin of Molly’s neck, soon he would have her as his mate. If she wanted him, he would have her bond and be glad of it. It would be worth it.

Molly moaned through Greg’s knotting of her, as she came again. With little tremors quaking down her body as her walls latched on to it, milking Greg’s cock that had the alpha growling into the pheromone-drenched skin in his mouth. The bloomed knot put just the right pressure inside her body. It coaxed a g-spot orgasm as she couldn’t contain the movements as she rolled her hips on it, meeting his hips in their stuttering orgasmic thrusts. The pleasure wouldn’t stop if she could just have a little more. The swell of Greg’s knot seemed to fill her just the way she’s always desired, the way neither knot dildos or beta were never enough. Greg moaned, mouthing at her skin as the waves of his knotted orgasm rolled over him. Greg had to once again still Molly as her hips continued to ride his knot, as the turgid, rippling flesh inside of her pressed just the right pressure upon her G-spot, and the stimulation sent fireworks behind the lids of her eyes and spasms of tingles through her thighs. She didn’t want the euphoria to end, but if she didn’t stop, Greg would knot her again against his will before he had even finished the first time. To knot immediately after a first knot bloomed would be painful, as painful, though pleasurable, as a dry orgasm could be. They weren’t quite ready for such experimentation, not when Molly needed his attention. Molly held onto the strong shoulders of the alpha, peaceful as the first wave of heat subsided. Molly was in bliss as she could now pet her hands up and down Greg’s body languidly, sleep already working itself at the corners of her eyes. As the waves of heat faded, exhausted settled into Molly’s bones. Greg shuddered through another orgasm that left him groaning. Molly smiled serenely, combing her fingers through Greg’s silver hair. Never had another man satisfied her and made her that hungry for more. Molly was drunk on pheromones and ecstatic pleasure and it all felt divine.

Greg laid on top of Molly in the warm, welcoming cradle of her legs and kissed her with a devotion he felt but couldn’t yet say to her, as he waited for his knot to subside. Now that both heat and rut were sated, Greg allowed himself the indulgence as well of holding Molly close, feeling the softness of her welcoming body against his own, and running his hands up and down the expanse of Molly’s creamy, peachy skin, indulgently. For the alpha, this was where bliss lied, in Molly’s arms.

Molly’s phantom heat lasted only two nights, but was rather intense. Each wave that greeted them was equally as intense as the last, but Greg was never one to deny such a rare gift. Molly’s need allowed them the opportunity to love one another and for him to finally have Molly in every way he had ached to for years.

The two days went on like that very first time. Every time Greg had his cock inside Molly she orgasmed repeatedly, at very little effort on Greg’s part. The more ways he touched her, the higher her pleasure would climb and Greg would echo her moans with his own in answer. He longed to know if he could make her moan like this without the haze of heat and rut to blind them. These orgasms were the most incredible ecstatic things she’d ever felt in her life. Betas could never compare to the feelings Greg so readily had to give her. In her haze, she didn’t even think twice about letting Greg have her from behind, rogering her good and proper the way an alpha should. She had seen omegas allow this of alphas on the internet, in health videos during her early school days and had thought it demeaning. In her heat though, there was nothing quite as delicious as having the alpha take exactly what he wanted from her, to be used that way. She couldn’t lie, all of it was rather sumptuous, even the time Greg indulged in after the waves of heat would subside, running his hands reverently over her skin. She was in awe at the actions, it was as if he were trying to memorize her through his fingertips. Every orgasm left her limbs shaking, only soothed by the alpha’s loving touch. Most of all, she loved the way his body laid on top of her, an over warm blanket afterwards, and he wouldn’t move for days until his knot had finally receded. Every time he tried to politely move, she would stay him, just to feel his body on top of hers, for the protected, secure feelings inside her to last. Greg would only encourage her to let go so that he could fetch her things and tend to her needs. So that he could provide for her. Then the alpha would only leave to fetch her water to drink, a little something to eat, also to look after Toby. Molly preened at how well of a provider the alpha was as he would also, without question, get her a pill when her alarm went off. It was all so maddeningly perfect. The alpha only brought her water, tea, and bits of toast, just like her father. He knew just what she wanted, just like her father. Molly couldn’t see the grief this would make her feel in the haze of her heat. But the familiarity of it did please, and soothe her inner omega that ached for this type of protection and loyalty. It was untenable during this time to have a thought other than the pleasure she knew would be waiting for her thanks to Greg’s amazing… talents.

---

When Molly woke the morning after, she checked her phone. It was blessedly Sunday morning, and she didn’t have to be at work. She was a sticky, sweaty mess as she took account of her limbs and body. Everything was sore, especially when she moved her neck. The lustful haze was gone, the phantom heat had thankfully subsided, and all that remained between her legs was a delicious soreness that only comes from raucous bouts of sex-

Its then she looked over and noticed a very satiated Greg lying next to her, smiling even in his sleep. Any man would smile when they had been so thoroughly fucked for two days straight. It’s serene, and Molly found his face adorable, boyish, and frightfully attractive. The light snoring that rose and fell from his mouth, as his head was pillowed by his elbow and pillow that was ruffling his hair, pulled at something inside her that she didn’t know existed. Or at least something she was in denial about, as it was squeezed by the vision of the way Lestrade’s silver hair caught the morning light. He reached out to her in his sleep, despite the distance she put between them when she realized what had happened for the past two days. Molly tried not to wiggle as the Alpha’s questing arm snaked around her middle, lazily, as his blunt fingers applied pressure in the most dazzling ways across the flesh of her hip, and pulled her towards his warm, welcoming, frightfully naked body. A small grumble echoed through his chest as she resisted. If they were bonded, his grumble would demand her supplication but she only felt the tingle from her instincts to give in to him as her promised mate. She looked down between the two of them and was embarrassed further at the realization that she was equally naked next to a naked Lestrade. What had felt like well-muscled, sculptural warm, flesh and skin during her phantom heat, now felt just the same but her skin was now cool, senses alert, and the sensations caught her unawares with pin-point clarity as her skin caressed his, the Alpha cuddling that much closer to the Omega trying to stay away from surfacing from his sleep, burrowing into her warmth, surprisingly soft, supple lips caressing her neck. In the bright light of this new morning everything was unlike her heat, though Molly remembered everything but her mind had been overwhelmed trying to fill the emptiness, to quench the need. Then she really realized in what deep omega shit she found herself in. They had slept together, during a phantom heat, and she had let it happen, even all too gladly had given her permission. Was she bonded? Was there a scar? A wound? She needed to know. Molly ignored everything in her that loathed to leave the comfort of his arms, the warmth of her bed drenched in their mingling - though not shared - scents and wrapped herself up with a scared squeak in her duvet, waking a now cold Lestrade, to run headlong into her bathroom.

“Molls?” Greg called with a rough sleepy voice that always seemed to send admittedly delicious chills down her back. Molly didn’t respond, just slammed the door to the bathroom with another undignified squeak in her embarrassment. She admitted, even though she was cowering in her bathroom, that she found the detective inspector in all of his nakedness to be more than just a bit attractive. Okay, she gave in, and allowed herself to admit he was one of the most handsome men she had ever known. And she was in danger of feeling more for this alpha than she had ever felt for any man ever. And they hadn’t slept together properly, the way they’re supposed to first before they shared her heats and in that realization she ran. There’s no way Molly could fix this now that she had foolishly hid from the detective inspector in such a way. She decided then and there, she was never leaving her bathroom. Nope. She’d be very happy to simply die there. A voice in the back her head always wondered what he saw in her, but she wouldn’t deny the appeal as she got more than just a good look at the body that laid under those casually sexy suits over the past two days. But in the haze of her heat, she had only noticed what she needed from the alpha on an evolutionary level. She wasn’t allowed to dally and admire the alpha.

Now Molly noticed in that stark light of her bathroom how her body pounded all over from the sex they had. It had been too good for her not to want to do again. Heat or not, there was a fiery passion shared between the two. Now this relationship was serious between them, a step Molly’s body forced her into this time. Things would definitely move too fast for her now, much faster than the omega had intended. There was nothing to delay the decision she needed to make now. “Molly? What is it?” Greg asked from behind the locked door, a jiggle of the handle signifying his attempts to reach out to her. Molly bounced off from the door in a gasp, backing up until the tub hit her calves, forcing the Omega to sit down on the edge of the tub. The worried whine coming from his lips had Molly stuffing her hand into her mouth so that she wouldn’t answer back. The ghosts of arousal left behind from her phantom heat had her vulnerable still to Greg’s alpha side calling out to her omega side. Oh this was bad. Molly ran to the sink to take her pill at the fearful thought of sharing a real heat with the alpha at how intense her phantom heat had been. Molly wiped her mouth and stood before her reflection in the mirror taking stock of what marks Greg left behind. To look for evidence of the bondbite she had expected. There were bruises from his lovely, blunt fingertips everywhere, a wave of pleasure tumbled down her spine. She was more pleased than she thought she would be at the idea that Greg had shared this with her.

“We had sex.” She announced loud enough for Greg to barely hear her from the other side of the door. His forehead laid against the cold wood, his brow knit painfully in concern. He hoped she wouldn’t regret it when he fell asleep the night before, as he felt the change in her pheromones signify to him the final end of her heat and here she was in the bathroom, retreated in fear like a spooked deer vaulting into the woods. He really didn’t want the Omega to regret their coupling. Even though they didn’t bond, he didn’t regret any of it in the slightest.

“Yeah…” Greg called out to her tentatively, wondering where her mind had turned in the clarity of morning light after her heat had gone away.

“During a phantom heat.” Molly seemed surprised by it all, but not, he noted, angry or upset. He wished he could scent her emotions, that they were bonded. This not knowing, her alpha- yet not her alpha business was starting to bother him. He wanted nothing more, but his hands were tied until she finally gave in and let herself be happy with him like he knew they would be.

“That is what happened.” He quipped grouchily with a twist of his mouth. Please don’t regret it. The thought was a mantra in his head since he had fallen asleep. His dreams had been much more pleasantly occupied dreaming of Molly and him going off to work leaving a large brood of pups with their uncles Sherlock, John and with Mrs. Hudson while he and Molly went off to their jobs. Until, Molly had unceremoniously woken him up by whipping the duvet off of him. “Molly come out, please, we need to talk about this.” Molly looked nervously to the door, knowing that talk might be a bit more serious than she wanted it to be without the help of a good, strong cup of tea.

Looking at her reflection in the mirror Molly allowed herself to see the evidence of what the alpha did to her neck. Laying there, bruised deep into the layers of her skin, were all the love bites Greg left, a ridiculous almost uncountable number. Her neck was really more of a big bruise than skin. It was no wonder that Molly found her neck sorer than anything else. But he didn’t lay his bite, not once. “You didn’t bite me…” She murmured at her reflection in awe of the alphas restraint. It only occurred to her then, she didn’t have his scent on her other than the fading smells usually left behind from sex, and she couldn’t feel him the way couples say you’re supposed to, a tug in the back of her brain was regretful about that. But it was easy to push aside in the surprise that Greg hadn’t taken advantage, her memory more flimsy than she would give it credit slightly remembered begging for it and Greg pacifying her that it would happen but not then.

“What? Molls I know you probably hate me but please- Come out? I can’t hear you if you’re-” Greg’s worried guilt had Molly going to the door before she could guard her actions.

Molly whipped open the door on Greg mid-argument, surprising him. His face was still adorably confused from sleep, silver fringe hanging over his eyes. She brought her arms around him and kissed his lips sweetly, a sigh falling from them as she did so. His warm hands cradled almost the whole expanse of her back. While she wouldn’t admit to preferring his alpha attentions to the lesser betas she had bedded up until now, she would admit that she had missed this, having a man there to greet her sleepily in the morning light after a good bout of sex. Greg being an alpha just meant there was more manliness to spread around and all about her. She smiled up to him when she pulled away, his earnest brown eyes twinkled with unanswered questions. “You didn’t bite me.” She uttered again still in a soft voice. Her smile small with awe and surprise, though she was pleased. Greg smiled back hands coming down to warm her hips through the duvet that fell down her back as she reached up to kiss him again. She couldn’t help the shiver down her spine as a pleased growl tumbled out of Greg’s chest at feeling her body rest against his through the duvet.

“Of course I wouldn’t. We haven’t discussed it yet, and it wasn’t a real heat.” Greg’s eyes darkened with the truth behind them, that if given the opportunity he would like nothing more than to do so. She kissed him instead of cowering away like everything in her wanted to, it wouldn’t be right. Not in that moment. There was too much at stake: her acceptance of her omega side, their budding relationship, and Greg’s helping her through the phantom heat felt important. Molly couldn’t get away with hiding from the alpha’s affections. Greg not taking advantage of her phantom heat to lay his bite and form their bond before she was ready left a warm feeling to spread through her chest with a fondness she let be for the moment. She just wanted to enjoy it before she spent time poking at it and questioning it. The hands at her hips squeezed the flesh affectionately despite the bruises there, and she breathed in a gasp. The rolling waves of pleasure mingled with the warmth blooming in her chest pleasantly, a lot more pleasantly than Molly would have thought. Greg’s warmth did much to fend off the doubts Molly had lingering inside her about the pain she thought would inevitably follow their bonding, how she didn’t trust this all not to end in hurt feelings, like everything in her life, like everything else around her. “Molls if I’m going to give you a bond bite, I’m doing it when we’re both ready for it. When you want me to and you’re having a real heat. Properly.” Greg’s hands moved to cup her face, his fingers gently cradling her sore neck with a conscious, tender touch. “Please- I need you to hear me on this. It’s only going to happen when you want it- Not before.” Molly tried to say something but she was silenced when Greg gave her a firm look to silence her. “When you’re ready for it, ‘cause I tell you if we do- you know, bond- I’d be bloody serious about it.” Greg’s earnest expression convinced her of that long before they had even slept together. Molly knew every time he told her it would only happen when she was ready should have worked to convince her of that, but like a true scientist she wouldn’t believe the man unless she had the evidence slap her in the face. The phantom heat, the love bites on her neck, and Greg’s adoring, but concerned gaze had her reeling with a certainty about Greg’s intentions she had never felt before, and she wanted to show him that.

“Yeah I’m starting to get that bit.” Molly smirked, walking past Lestrade as his hands fell, wondering what the unpredictable omega would do next. He had had his fair share of timid, uncertain omegas and beta lovers in his youth but none of them were as un-tamable as Molly seemed to be. The challenge to make her want his bite, their bond, did its job to stoke the alpha fire that burned for her for the present, but something inside him was crawling, antsy to stake his claim so no one else in the world would dare to look at his fragile, precious omega. Though he knew Molly was far from fragile, bringing out her omega side, to accept that it was okay to need and want his alpha side that was starved for her, that was the fragile part. The way her omega instincts and her practical feelings shuttered at the feelings that burned between them, her need to separate herself from committing to a relationship with another person, the fear of attachment. That was the fragile part. Greg’s attention was called to Molly as she crawled back onto the war-torn bed. The sheets tumbled about and their scents left in the fabrics to mingle. The duvet had fallen to reveal Molly’s rather luscious arse to his pleased gaze. He couldn’t help the growl that came from inside his chest at the sight, his mouth watering. She looked back at Lestrade coquettishly over her shoulder with a small smile. “Coming back to bed?” Molly inquired, raking her eyes up and down his naked body, lingering on certain parts of delicious anatomy as they were called to attention at the sight of her.

Greg chuckled deep in his chest almost like the growl and jumped into the bed after Molly. Greg made himself useful, to Molly’s delight, and proved to her that there was more than one part of the bedroom arts he was quite excellent at, and ate her out from behind. Molly’s walls shuddered at being so readily devoured after being so thoroughly used for two days. But there was something glorious in the pleasure and soreness of her walls mingling and the pleasure taking over as Greg committed himself to his task. Molly squealed with delight as Greg coaxed her into heady sensations. Her arms turned to jelly as the alpha didn’t let up until she had not just one but several orgasms consecutively before he entered her, with a slow patience Molly agonized over until their hips met. He eased them down onto the bed until her body was plastered onto the bed under his own. With deliberately, achingly slow shifts of his hips that were gentle and barely satisfied, Greg growled endearments into Molly’s ear as he moved inside her.

They made love that morning without the blinding dizziness of heat, bare and exposed. In the lazy morning, their love making was equally as lazy and tender. It might have been their first time that weekend to love one another but it was the first time with her heat to guide them and Greg set about showing Molly how he could love her. Greg was tender, gentle, and passionate. It was everything Molly thought loving Greg would be like and more. They laid about for hours afterward talking about everything and nothing, until they rose from the warmth of her bed to raid her kitchen for food.

It was the afternoon by the time they had finished eating. After tea and a hot English breakfast, Molly stood at the sink wearing nothing but Greg’s button down shirt, Greg in his maddeningly low slung pajamas watched the omega as she cleaned the kitchen, his chin supported by the heel of his hand as he watched the omega with an odd warmth twinkling from his brown eyes. She had just turned off the water for the sink, putting the frying pan onto her drying rack and felt the alpha’s bare arm come around her. Molly moaned with a smile as she felt his warm bare chest through the soft material at her back. She leaned into Lestrade’s touch pointedly grinding her bum against his thickening cock.

“I adore you, Molly.” Greg growled into her ear, nipping at the lobe. A ripple of pleasure shuttered down her spine. Turning around she covered his mouth with a moan and a kiss. She couldn’t yet answer him in kind and admit to the tender echoes that fluttered in her chest but Molly showed him her devotion in other ways as he carried her back to bed. As she felt Greg’s body cover her own, she realized in glow of the evening sun that Sunday that lazy Sunday’s spent in this Alpha’s arms were a tempting habit she wasn’t entirely sure she would be willing to break.

As Greg slept beside her, lying in the warmth of his arms, Molly realized in the dark of night that settled over her room and allowed thoughts to fester as only nighttime could, that the sense of ease and security, the comfort and constancy, she found in the Alpha’s embrace were what scared her most.

---

Chapter Text

Remorse

---

With Moriarty seemingly back from the dead, the weeks that followed had Lestrade chasing after Sherlock and John at the order of Mycroft that they find the source of this madness and if Moriarty was at the end of it. Once again Sherlock was being left messages and hints that Moriarty was back and that he was out for blood.

If it was Moriarty, the only thing that could pacify the psychopath was the murder of all of Sherlock’s friends. Starting with Molly. And this time he wouldn’t miss. All the signs pointed to him seeing to this himself. He always preferred to stay above it all and hated to get his hands dirty. Imagine such a man being driven to see to matters himself and what madness drove the action.

Sherlock, John and Lestrade were running headlong into danger, and it was Molly’s life that was on the line.

It was hard for Lestrade and Molly to find much time to speak about their relationship. Molly found herself often sitting alone, going to bed alone and waking up alone. It wasn’t a feeling she relished, when she found such comfort in the alpha’s arms. That was a feeling she wasn’t used to, and the fact she needed to rely upon another person for comfort, as she never had to before, was frightening. Once again she found herself uncomfortably in limbo.

Moriarty and Sherlock’s games were interfering with her life and relationships again.

Lestrade’s only comfort in that time was being able to chase after the evil they didn’t know they would face. Sometimes the detective inspector didn’t even have the energy to send Molly a single text, and found himself waking up with a groan on his sofa and not remembering how he had gotten home the night before. It was the Fall all over again. The alpha didn’t like following in Sherlock’s footsteps again and not knowing where it would lead. The last time it ended with his suicide, his absenting himself from their lives and Lestrade’s slow separation from Molly. This time if Lestrade didn’t stay on top of the consulting detective it could mean the loss of Molly’s life. Lestrade would do everything in his power to not let that happen.

Molly found herself alone on a Friday night, no word from Lestrade with a glass of wine and a movie. She sighed down at her phone at the texts she sent to the detective inspector that had gone ignored. It wasn’t on purpose, but still, she wondered why the alpha didn’t answer.

Idle hands are sometimes unlucky as a text – not from her intended – came onto her lock screen. It was from Mary.

Got a question for you. –Mary

Molly was intrigued and at the very least tempted. She hoped with Mary it would at least end in a girls’ night out. Molly could use a good night out with the girls.

Yeh? –Molly

Do you know any single ladies? Got a beta friend of mine, - nice bloke - looking to meet someone but I dunno anyone who’s available. Know anyone? –Mary

Molly looked to the darkness of the room, the tele bouncing around light and didn’t find anyone to doubt her. There was no one to speak up and say not to do what she was thinking of doing. Greg wasn’t around, and her fears played tricks, tempting her to do this thing she was ready to do.

I’m available. When? –Molly

Molly sent the text with cold fingers. Greg and she weren’t exclusive. Sure she was promised to him as his omega but one date wouldn’t be so horrible. She wasn’t planning on sleeping with the guy, just talking, and some casual flirting, at the very least he could be a friend. Molly, the introvert that she was, could stand to increase her social circle a bit.

You sure, Molly? What about Lestrade? Tomorrow night. –Mary

Yeh, I’m sure. What about him? Look- Don’t worry about it. Where are we meeting? –Molly

Dunno about this, but alright. I’ll pass your number to Isaac. He’ll text you. Thanks! –Mary

Mary and Harry weren’t entirely sure about letting this date take place, but they weren’t about to stop another woman from doing what she wanted, seeing who she wanted. If this was to happen, they argued, it just might give the alpha and omega the last push they needed to realize they were meant to be together.

Molly set the date for that Saturday.

---

Molly walked into the pub filled with nerves. It was a local pub and nearby her as well as Lestrade’s. She wasn’t exclusive to Greg, so how could she feel like she was cheating? She refused to let her omega instincts get the better of her, as the rallied against the idea of even looking at other men with interest that weren’t Greg. It was just a date, nothing serious. She was just experimenting, exploring. Meeting a friend of Mary and Harry’s as a favor. Even as she tried to assuage her doubts they lingered and darkened her mood as she tried to find her humor to face introducing herself to someone she had never met before.

A bloke walked up to her, not too handsome (when being compared to Lestrade) but not at all a throwback. He was as average as they come and looked to be Chinese or Japanese. Molly, despite hating herself for being so, found herself to be intrigued.

“Are you Molly?” He asked with a charming smile. At Molly’s smiling nod he held out his hand for her to shake. “Nice to meet you. I’m Isaac.” Molly shook it with a small smile.

“Nice to meet you, too.” Molly shook his hand and watched as the beta’s eyes roved over her. Just once, not enough for her to feel uncomfortable but to register that the beta was taking an interest. He seemed like a decent sort so far.

“So wanna get some pints and have a chat? Or…” It was in the middle of Isaac’s speech she saw the flash of silver weaving through the crowd and coming towards them. It was then she noticed the teles around the pub showing a rugby match of Lestrade’s favorite team. The alpha looked up and saw Molly standing there with someone he didn’t know. His shoulders immediately rounded as he took this other bloke’s interest as a challenge, a typical alpha reaction that for once Molly couldn’t blame him for.

“Molly?” Greg questioned with a puzzled but relieved expression. He had been aching to see her since they had parted the Monday morning after her phantom heat to go to work. He hadn’t seen her since. “What are you doing here?” Greg questioned looking to Molly and the bloke that seemed to be chatting her up, wondering if he should tell the beta to back off before he found himself in trouble.

“Nothing, I’m just here to meet... Um-” Molly looked between the two men with a blush and couldn’t finish her explanation. Greg didn’t need her to finish. He snarled and slammed the pint in his hand on a nearby table and strode out of the pub, brow full of thunder. Oh, he understood. He understood everything.

“Greg- Please! Greg, wait!!” Molly called looking apologetically to Isaac as she ran after the alpha. Once outside she saw Greg down the block and ran after him. “Greg please! Wait! Please let me explain!” Molly called, the alpha halted his blind steps and reared on her.

“Oh you don’t have to explain Molly. You made everything very clear to me tonight.” Greg wiped over his face, he was just so bloody tired. And he was so done with being fooled by women he thought he loved.

“Please, I wasn’t going behind your back. Mary said her friend was looking to meet people and I said I would. It’s not like we’re exclusive…” Molly argued though her reasons withered and died on the wind. It was true. She was his on paper only. She could do what she liked and she hadn’t gone tonight with plans on cheating outright. She just wanted to meet someone new.

“Not exclus-?” Greg’s face turned from anger to resignation so fast Molly felt dread pour down her back. “You know what? I’m done. I’ve tried so much to be what you need Molly, so that we could form a bond together that we both wanted. Not just-” Greg shook his head in misery. Turned away before once again turning back to Molly. The wetness of his eyes brought tears into the vision of her own. “If this is how you want it, then fine. You go date whom you like. And when you decide what you want, when you’re ready to bond. You give me a call.” Greg’s mouth twisted into an ugly grimace as he wiped at his eyes and turned away from her.

Molly watched his retreating back and felt a sob bubble out of her. That wasn’t how that was supposed to go at all. She would just be polite to Isaac, see they didn’t have chemistry and she would point him in another direction if she was able. And that would have been an end of it. She had just been trying to see if where her heart laid was the right place. The fear and doubt that still laid inside her after all these years of hating being an omega and trying not to give into those instincts was not an easy habit to break. It wasn’t easy for her to believe that having Lestrade by her side, being his mate, was the right place for her. In the same instance she realized what she really wanted, Lestrade saw her and came to a false conclusion about what he saw. And now, Molly saw her happiness, what she had with Greg, evaporate like mist into fog.

With no way out of it, Molly turned back into the pub and was glad to see Isaac hadn’t yet abandoned her and had taking the initiative to order their pints himself.

“Sorry about that.” Molly apologized taking a grateful gulp from the glass opposite Isaac.

“It’s alright. Though you don’t look it. Is everything okay? Who was that bloke?” Isaac wondered. He seemed more than just a friend of Molly’s.

“It’s complicated. I dunno if you wanna know.” Molly warned with a miserable expression. She was more than ready to get out of the pub and go home. This had been a terrible idea. And now she worried she had lost Greg forever.

“Look you can say no if you want to, but I have an idea.” Isaac smiled confidently. “If you say no, we’ll say goodbye here and now and go our separate ways. But that guy that saw us together seemed to be more than just a friend, and if you’d like, I’d like to be a friend to you and listen to what happened. See if I can help.” Isaac looked to Molly wondering what she would make of his proposition.

“Really? You would do that?” Molly looked to the beta with a questioning gaze.

“You look like you could use a friend. I’d like to be that friend if you’ll let me. Maybe lend an objective ear if you’d like.” Molly nodded and they went to a quieter part of the pub and with a sigh Molly told him the whole sordid story. From her hatred of being an omega, to the will, and now to the relationship she had started with Lestrade and why he had stormed off at seeing them together.

“Well…” Isaac winced. “It doesn’t look good. At least not for you.” He smirked taking a swig of his brew.

“Oh, gee, thanks.” Molly muttered from her side of the booth they occupied.

“No offense, but it really looks like you only have one option.” Isaac looked to Molly with sympathetic eyes. He rather reminded her of a good dog. A loyal sort of thing that would be your best friend no matter how rude or horrible you were, always ready to lend an ear. She was glad to have such a new friend in her corner in that moment.

“And what is that, oh wise man?” Molly questioned with a laugh.

Isaac gave a chuckle before waving to the bar for another round of pints. Once they came, he explained himself. “You have to decide what you want Molly. Clearly you don’t know but you have to figure that out and right soon. You’re going to have to bond with this guy whether that’s what you wanted to do with your life or not. You’re going to have to accept it and then figure out if it’s Greg you want or give up everything. Playtime is over. You have to make a decision and decide whether or not you want to be with Greg and Greg alone.” Isaac looked to Molly with a serious expression. Yup, she was in deep shite and they both knew it.

“I know.” Molly groaned putting her head in her hands. “I think I’m gonna call it a night.” She announced miserably getting up from her place and shrugged on her coat. “Thanks a lot for this Isaac, and I’m sorry about how all this came about tonight. You’re a good bloke.” Molly smiled as he rose for a hug, which Molly accepted gratefully.

“I know, it’s always been my problem. I’m here to help. If you need anything else, you have my number. Maybe send a few my way if you know any girls looking for a nice fella.” Isaac encouraged with a wink. Molly laughed and agreed. With a last farewell, Molly left the bar that night with her mind in a worse muddle than when she started.

That girls’ night out was looking more and more tempting the more she thought about it. She spent the night, hazy from the beer at the pub tossing and turning as sleep evaded her. All she could remember was the hurt look in Greg’s eyes and she agonized over how she would fix it.

And if she tried to fix it, if she reached out to the alpha and apologized, would Greg accept her?

---

Molly had tried everything within her power to contact Lestrade and apologize to him. To try her best to explain why she had acted the way she did. Every call she left on Lestrade’s mobile rolled over to his voicemail. The voicemails she left weren’t replied to, and every text she sent begging to meet with him were ignored, though she didn’t send many for fear of annoying the alpha. Every time the doors to the lab opened or there was a lab report that needed picking up, Donovan was sent in Lestrade’s stead. It was very clear, she had wounded the alpha and he wanted nothing to do with her.

“Is there something going on between you and the boss?” Donovan questioned after the third time she was sent into Molly’s morgue for questions Lestrade had that needed answers. She was well aware that her boss was sweet on the pathologist. And Donovan had endorsed it whole-heartedly, thinking that instead of having someone in his life like his wife, her boss could have a good quiet sort of girl for once instead. (Greg still had yet to announce their relationship with the force and most especially Donovan. If there was gossip she was more than ready to tell anyone in the division who would listen.) Now however, Lestrade was once again barking orders and had no patience to speak of, and growled at the slightest provocation. More than once a member of the division threatened to quit and slammed doors due to Lestrade’s recent foul temper. The only other time he had gotten like this was every time he found out about the ex-wife’s cheating. To have that boss back once again must have meant something, and she noticed more than once recently when he would talk about Molly or mention going to the morgue, it was with a rather toothy, boyish smile, and no one else would wear a smile when they were going to a place where corpses were a regular sight. Something was wrong.

“What? What do you mean? Has he said anything?” Molly wondered nervously. If he had spoken to Donovan at all, Molly had wanted at least to know his state of mind.

Donovan raised an eyebrow at her anxiety concerning the detective inspector. “No he’s said nowt to me, though he doesn’t seem to want to come down here and gets testy if I even hint at coming over here.” Donovan crossed her arms and leaned onto the door jamb of Molly’s office while the pathologist worried at the sleeve of her jumper, unseeing as she looked down at the case file in front of her. “Any time he has questions to your reports, he waits to the last second until he needs answers because it’s detrimental to the case that he doesn’t have them, and drives over here with a scowl and then practically pushes me out of the car to go in his stead.” Molly nodded, it hurt every time it was Donovan walking through those doors and not Lestrade with a smile and a hot chocolate or a tea. “Then he asks after you, and pretends he’s not and that he doesn’t really do it.” Donovan smirked knowingly. “And then you just asked me if he’s said anything about you in the same way. Now are you going to explain yourself or do I have to guess?” Donovan questioned. When Molly’s face paled, Donovan tried another approach. “Look how about you and I have a girls’ night out, eh? Maybe I could help. Next to his wife or girlfriends or a sister, I’m probably one of the people that knows the boss best.” Molly looked up to Donovan with such hope that the sergeant felt the need to give her a hug. “No matter what the problem is I promise we’ll fix it alright?” Donovan encouraged.

“You probably wouldn’t say that if you knew what the problem was…” Molly groaned. She made some notes on the report, explaining what Donovan was asking her about. And handed the folder back to the waiting beta. She slung her arm over Molly’s shoulders in empathy.

“I had an ongoing affair with an idiotic married man for several years, believe me, I’m more understanding than most.” Donovan smiled as Molly tried to hold back her chuckles. She had met Anderson before, and every time anyone called him an idiot she couldn’t help herself. He wasn’t that bad, really. Maybe she was just too nice not to call the man that too.

“Is it alright if I invite Harry and Mary Watson along?” Molly asked with a wince, she felt like she could use as many opinions as she could.

“John’s sister?” Donovan questioned. At Molly’s quick nod she smiled. “Absolutely, I would never turn down the chance to commiserate with someone else who hates the freak as much as I do.” Donovan and Molly agreed to that Friday night and when Molly called Harry and Mary they had practically fallen over themselves in agreement. When asked, Molly wouldn’t give details but the Watsons knew a cry for help when they heard one.

---

Friday night, Donovan was just wrapping up paperwork when the boss came to her desk.

“Fancy a pint?” Greg questioned with a deflated air. Donovan didn’t know who to get out of this one without telling the boss exactly where she was going and with whom.

“Can’t sir, sorry. Loved to but its girls’ night tonight.” Donovan shrugged her shoulders with an apologetic smile.

“Oh maybe next time.” Greg waved dejectedly as he made his exit. Donovan breathed a sigh of relief as the boss let that one slide. Normally he wanted to know details. Something about her keeping away from Anderson, now that she had ended it with him and the poor guy had gone round the twist.

Once at the bar Molly had chosen, she found the omega pathologist was already there with Harry Watson and her wife Mary. Donovan and Harry ribbed Sherlock enough and Mary defended the genius calling him her “wee lamb” which only drove Harry and Donovan into further hysterics. They were all into their second drink and were all laughing until they weren’t. The conversations and catching up had run their course and the other three women were eyeing Molly as she drank and pointedly avoided their gazes.

“Alright, Molly, out with it.” Harry encouraged slamming her drink on the table. It wasn’t enough that she had dragged them out here but more than once she had to hear about Sherlock complaining to Mary about Lestrade. That was after John corrected the genius detective more than once about his behavior after trying to deduce what had happened between the detective inspector and Molly. When he had broken into her flat (“you really need to change those locks,” Donovan had scolded her for that) to ask Molly herself, she had slammed the door to her flat in his face and the omega had spent hours ranting and raving to John and Mary at Baker Street while they had sat on the couch and listened. Then Harry had to hear about his ravings for a week after from her disgruntled omega wife. Harry was done prevaricating around the subject. Once she had heaped all of this onto Molly and watched the pathologists face cloud over, Harry huffed indignantly. “You at least owe us a fucking explanation, since whatever happened between you and Lestrade is now interfering with all of our lives.” Harry finished, pointedly ignoring the hand of her arm from Mary trying to get the alpha to calm down. Harry took another swig from her regrettably non-alcoholic drink. It was time like these that she regretted not being able to drink like someone who wasn’t an alcoholic. It was getting wrapped up in other people’s emotional crap like this that could drive one to drink… heavily.

“So wait, the two of your really are together?” Donovan questioned with a shocked yet pleased expression. Harry and Mary shared an obvious and annoyed look with the sergeant. Wasn’t it obvious enough that was what called them to this women’s pow-wow? Her penchant for gossip really wasn’t helping anyone at the table at the moment. It quickly changed when Molly put her face in her hands. “Well clearly something horrible happened. Why don’t you explain it to us? It’ll help Molly.” Donovan encouraged.

“Really, Molly, you can talk to us. We just want to help.” Mary cooed, patting Molly’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry.” Molly looked up, wiping at her eyes with a paper napkin from the bar. With a halting breath, Molly squared her shoulders and told them everything. The will, the funeral, the rest of that weekend, (all of the women at the table awed and cooed when told about how great Lestrade had been with her), the wedding Harry and Mary knew about and inserted details where Molly hadn’t been able to see from an outsiders perspective (apparently the couple hadn’t been unobserved while under the lights of the gazebo), their many dates, and even her phantom heat. When she explained going on the date with the beta Isaac, both Harry and Donovan were irate, Harry with Mary for letting her do such an idiotic thing and Donovan with Molly for doing to Lestrade exactly what his wife had done to him before and they weren’t even mated yet. “I know. I know. I wasn’t going to cheat. I just- I’m so awful. I’m never fixing this. I might as well go on the lam now and save him the trouble.” Molly lamented. “He’ll never mate with me now.” Molly sighed taking a grateful gulp form the fresh drink the waiter put down in front of her.

“So you actually want to be with him? Mate with the boss and everything?” Donovan questioned with her eyebrows raised. Molly had practically denied wanting that kind of life and wanted to do it with Lestrade in the same breath.

“Yes? No? Maybe… I don’t know…” Molly put her head in her hands. Harry, Mary and Donovan all shared a look before Molly interrupted them, with a start. “I just want him! I’ve never wanted to bond with anyone, but if I have to be forced into doing that, I- I’m relieved that it’s him I get to do that with.” Molly blushed with a giggle. The other women at the table ribbed her about it.

“From what you said about him, it doesn’t sound like it’d be a bad thing.” Mary wondered out loud, as she put her head in her hand, her elbow supported on the table. Harry promptly threw a crumpled napkin at her face.

“Oi! Married!” Harry warned with a huff. That earned the alpha a kiss on the cheek for her bruised ego.

“The will and mating aside…” Donovan interrupted the couple from bickering further. “Molly if you don’t mind my asking, why did you do that? Why would you go out with that beta fellow knowing how you felt about Lestrade?” Donovan questioned. There was something Molly wasn’t telling them, wasn’t admitting to herself.

“Because I didn’t!” Molly yelled angrily. She looked down with a blush and then looked back up. “I didn’t. N-not until I met Isaac, talked with him and found out what I was missing...” Molly felt her eyes sting. “And then when Greg saw us and I- I- He won’t talk to me. I’ve tried reaching out to him. To explain. He’s been ignoring me.” Molly looked to her friends in fear. “How do I fix it? How do I tell him that I- that I love him?” Molly questioned looking to the women before her for answers. It was a humbling moment for her. Harry and Mary were looking to her, eyes wet and their hands linked on the table. Donovan looked to her with a proud smile, laying her hand on Molly’s that were nervously pulling apart another bar napkin. Things never ended well for bar napkins, except for the select few that were used for schematics, formulas, or writing. Even the bar napkins that were kissed with a number and left in bachelors pockets had reason enough to brag.

“You tell him exactly what you just told us. Groveling might be involved.” Donovan squeezed her hand to get her attention. “And you promise never to do this to him again.”

“I didn’t! I didn’t cheat on him, I wasn’t planning to- I just wanted to know. I tried to explain it to him, he just won’t listen to me. Now he hates me and he should. I have no one to blame but myself.” Molly mumbled morosely, finishing the drink in front of her.

“He’s a stubborn arse I grant you, but he’s not an idiot.” Donovan gave a sigh. “Though I will tell you this, you don’t do things the easy way, you two, do you?” Harry and Mary agreed with hearty laughs shared around the table. It was good for Molly to know that they all understood why she had done it. It had been a bit foolish but in order to know how she felt about the alpha it had to be done. Now she had to mend the breach between them and they hoped she would and that the two would come out smiling at the end, for all their sake.

With those parting sentiments the other three ladies bid Molly goodnight, Donovan hugged Molly last with a raucous “go get ‘im girl” and Molly was glad that she was a bit drunk that night as it allowed her to pass out and find sleep where she hadn’t been able to without Greg in her arms.

---

That Saturday night a hard rain fell over London and Greg found himself drinking as a replay of a Chelsea/Liverpool match unfolded dreadfully on the tele in front of him and he was hating himself for watching it. There was nothing worse than watching a replay of a match you know your team lost while nursing a bruised heart, kicking yourself while you were already down. In nothing but an old white shirt that was well past its prime and low slung jeans that were so worn and soft they were practically pajamas on, it completed the sad picture and Greg sighed. Another swig from the brew he’d been drinking and Greg looked to the window. The only thing he was enjoying in that moment was the weather, it matched his mood which was darkening by the second. He admitted to himself he’d rather be in the arms of a certain woman, who would remain nameless, then he cursed himself for thinking of her and got up to get another beer for the sake of carousing with his misery. It was a self-destructive loop he wasn’t quite keen on quitting. Not just yet. He’d wait until he got too blind drunk to notice who was playing for which side, then he’d drink until he forgot to stay awake.

Greg was making his way over to his chair to start doing just that when there was a timid rap on his door. Greg scrubbed at his bleary eyes to check the time. It was almost gone eleven, who would be calling at that hour? He hoped it wasn’t Donovan. With a grumble and a sigh, Lestrade trudged the short distance to the door, “Yeah? What do you w-?” The ‘want’ was lost somewhere between Greg opening the door and seeing a shivering, wet Molly on his front doorstep. She was in her sweats that she would normally sleep in and a set of worn trainers he knew she kept in her closet for runs that she took when work was bothering her and she needed to think. “What are you doing here?” Greg questioned, resting his arm on the open door with a quizzical brow and a stone-faced expression.

Molly gulped as she shivered. Greg wasn’t going to make this easy on her. Her spine trickled with dread. Or was that from the cold rain she had ran in to get over here? She couldn’t tell anymore. She had been too impatient to get a cab, and too frustrated to go back into her house for her tube card. So she ran, just as the rain had started pouring down. She had paced her room in frustration and as the thunder came bringing the rain she had thrown on her trainers without a second thought, as everything in her was starved for the alpha and if she was, she had logically concluded, the best thing would be to go get him back. The run and the rain had done much to help her put her scattered thoughts into order, so that she had felt when she got to his door that she could talk to Greg face to face. Now looking at him and the complete lack of warmth in his face made her realize this might have been a bit of a mistake. She pulled her arms around her body, as it shuddered against the draft in the hallway and braced herself for the rejection that was likely to come from the man as the hurt she caused him was very evident in his eyes.

“You said to t-talk to y-you if I-I decided what I w-wanted. I’ve be-been t-trying to d-do that a-all w-week, but you ignored me. I c-couldn’t wait any longer so I c-came here tonight t-to see you.” Molly shook from the cold and it was only getting worse as the air began to dry the wetness from her skin. At least in the rain she could only get wetter. Greg grumbled deep in his chest, and held open the door for her. It wouldn’t do for her to get sick just because he stubbornly refused to let her into his place. The alpha decided he at least owed this confusing omega the respect of hearing her out, if he didn’t want to accept or like what she said he would just send her away. Simple. The alpha inside him gave a mourning whine at the idea of denying himself Molly’s warmth by his side.

At her questioning glance Greg gestured for her to come in with annoyance. “You might as well come in and get dry before you get a cold. Besides you’re leaving a puddle in my hallway.” He grumbled as he went about the process of finding her a towel and something dry to wear. “Here.” He shoved the dry things into her wet hands forcibly. “If you want to shower, go ahead. Shall I make you a tea?” Greg questioned, miserably.

“If you wouldn’t mind? I don’t want to be too much trouble.” Molly mumbled miserably. Standing in the middle of his apartment, holding onto the dry things that felt warmer than she felt, but afraid to move toward the shower that called to her. This wasn’t how she had planned any of this at all. Greg halted his progress into the kitchen with a groan, Molly watched as his back muscles flexed deliciously under the old t-shirt he wore, as the alpha’s hands went to his face to rub the frustration out of them. He had promised he would be her friend no matter what, and some friend he was turning out to be in that moment. He wasn’t even giving her any amount of courtesy, since he didn’t feel very charitable to the omega in that moment. The Greg that Molly was met with when the alpha turned around was just as closed off but seemed a good deal friendlier than frankly Molly thought she, herself, deserved.

“I’m sorry Molly, I’m just not in the right mood for company. You can go ahead and shower, I’ll make you a cuppa. It’s no trouble.” Greg offered in a miserably resigned way that tore at her, and he gestured to his bathroom. Molly mumbled something about his mood being entirely what she deserved and disappeared into his bathroom before he could correct her. Sure he was miserable because of what she had done to him but he didn’t keep on having to punish her for it.

By the time Molly came out of the bathroom, she was looking a great deal warmer and was no longer shivering. There were two mugs of tea steaming on the coffee table and Greg had moved from his chair to the couch, and gave her an encouraging smile to sit next to him. Molly sat at the far end of the couch, she felt exiled from his warmth and generosity, how was she supposed to sit as close to him as she had before? She took the tea with a grateful smile, shuddering once as the warmth from the tea made its way down inside of her and eased the chill she could still feel.

Greg huffed a breath and decided he could only be patient for so long. “Molly why are you here?” He questioned with a growl. Just thinking about her was a torture, to see her before him so corporeal and real was agony.

“I wanted to talk to you. And you weren’t answering any of my calls or texts and you were actively avoiding me at work so I had to come here.” Molly explained timidly.

“But why tonight? Couldn’t it have just waited until better weather at least?” Greg questioned with a good deal of sarcasm.

“I wanted to, I tried, but I can’t stop thinking about you. I was going stir crazy- I can’t sleep without you.” Molly whined looking to the alpha that had been her comfort since her father died. Now there was so much more she needed from him. But when she realized how much she needed it, she had gotten scared and fell back on her old ways. Old ways that denied her omega side, the omega side that was hungry for this alpha and this alpha alone, and resorted to dating betas that didn’t satisfy. She had hurt Greg and now she was getting her comeuppance. She couldn’t blame the man she wanted for feeling the way he did.

“I still don’t understand though Molly, what do you want from me?” Greg questioned with a pained growl. He stood up to put distance between them, walking into the kitchen to get more water for his now tepid tea. He had drunk too much to have a clear head for this conversation and was trying to sober himself up just a bit. Molly rose from the couch walking towards him, pulled to the alpha like a moth to a flaming death. She’d die ten times over if it would make Greg forgive her. “You say you missed me, yet that night at that pub it didn’t look like you were missing me at all.” Greg looked to her over his shoulder with an angry glance, halting the omegas progression into the kitchen.

“You never let me explain- That night-” Molly tried to explain and Greg quite frankly didn’t want to hear it. He wasn’t a fool, despite Sherlock thought and he didn’t want to be treated like one.

“I don’t think what I saw that night needed an explanation. It was quite clear what you were after.” Greg cut her off, with a cavalier shrug, torturing her by licking at his lips in frustration as he leaned on the archway separating the kitchen from the living space and the hallway.

“You’re wrong. I would never do that to you.” It cut Molly to the quick that Greg distrusted her that much.

“Don’t lie to me Molly I know what I saw.” Molly drew in a sharp breath at knowing how Greg really saw it. He had been hurt one too many times by his wife’s cheating to put his trust in Molly now when it mattered.

“You think you know what you saw, but I wasn’t cheating on you.” Molly defended herself emphatically.

“You seem to forget that I’ve a bit of experience in this area-” Greg grumbled with dripping sarcasm as he gave himself a miserable, self-deprecating laugh.

“Don’t.” Molly cut him off with an angry shout to match his own. The last thing she could stand was being compared to his ex, the horrible woman that kept his own pups away from him. She saw how miserable the ex-wife had made the detective inspector and she despised the implication that she was the same kind of woman as Vanessa Lestrade. “Don’t you dare try to compare me to your ex-wife. I would never do all of what she did to you, to anyone. We weren’t exclusive and I just- I don’t need to defend my actions. I didn’t even want to be there. In fact, I had been thinking of leaving before he came over and trapped me and then you appeared.” Molly looked to the alpha as his jaw worked in frustration.

“I don’t understand Molly, why did you feel the need to do that at all? Was it me?” At the shake of Molly’s head, he looked down resignedly. “You know maybe it is me, maybe I’m just a bloody fool that will always want a certain kind of woman that’s not to be trusted. Maybe that’s my lot in life.” Greg shook his head caught up in his own misery.

“You’re not listening!” Molly groaned at the alpha in frustration.

“To what? What are you trying to say? What could you possibly say that will make this all hurt any less?” Greg questioned with a growl.

“You stubborn arse I’m trying to tell you that I love you! I want to be with you! I want to bond with you!” Molly covered her face as tears sprung to her eyes. He wouldn’t listen to her and it was clear that the damage she had wrought couldn’t be undone. She had no one but herself to blame. She lowered her hands to meet Greg’s face, but through her tears she couldn’t see that shock in Lestrade’s face. He couldn’t believe his ears, she was saying exactly what he had wanted to hear from Molly’s lips all along. “I never cheated on you.”

“But why Molly, why did you feel the need to go out and date someone else?” Greg questioned, mumbling through his hands as he rubbed at his face in frustration. Hands falling useless at his sides.

“I’m a scientist you know, and I needed a comparison. Someone- something to compare this to- I couldn’t trust myself and I needed evidence. In the lab, we have a control and then the test we run to prove or disprove our hypothesis against the control.”

“Yes Molly, despite what everyone else thinks I did actually go to school and I did fairly well despite being a bit of a rebellious misfit.” Greg laughed at his own memory of himself, doing well in school even when he tried his hardest to do nothing of the sort. The science Molly coveted was one of his better subjects too.

“So you understand- I needed to see if I could- If I could feel… the same things I feel with you. But I never could- Not without you- Please. I’m begging you to forgive me.” Greg opened his mouth to do just that but halted when he watched as Molly fought the sobs that bubbled out of her. “It doesn’t matter though does it? I’ve been a bloody fool and ruined it all, I love you and you hate me now.” Molly’s chin quivered as she fought to hold back her cries with pathetic, halting whimpers but the tears spilled from her eyes regardless.

Lestrade could no longer hold back, all of his anger draining away with the relief that Molly finally confessed that she loved him, and rushed to her, bringing the omega into his arms. He shushed her, covering her face with kisses, kissing away her tears. For every apology Molly whispered, he cooed his forgiveness and apologized as well. “I should have listened to you.” Greg muttered before covering her lips with his in a hard kiss that brought a growl from his chest. To know that she finally wanted to be his pulled at the strings inside of his chest that played upon his heart.

Their kissing grew into something entirely different as he lifted the omega into his arms, and Molly wrapped her legs around the alpha, feeling him grow hard as he walked them towards the bedroom at the end of the hall. Greg stopped at the doorway, leaning the omega against the doorway to the room with a rumble coming from his chest. The alpha needed to hear one more thing from Molly before they could move passed this.

“Promise me.” He grumbled against her lips moving down to her chin and her neck to leave nips wear he couldn’t yet leave his bite. “Promise me, never again.” He growled into her skin as her nails dug into his well-muscled shoulders.

“Never. I promise, Greg. Only you. No one but you.” Molly gasped as she pulled at his t-shirt. If she didn’t feel his skin against hers Molly swore that she would burst as she ground her hips into his.

“You’re mine. Molly, say it.” Greg encouraged her to repeat it as he toppled onto the bed with her underneath him. He covered her body with his, reaching under the loose shirt she wore to possessively take command of her chest.

“I’m yours. I swear it. Ah! I love you! Only you, Greg!” Molly promised as she pulled at his shirt and then his jeans. They quickly stripped and Molly sighed as Greg entered Molly with a possessive growl.

“I love you, Molly.” Greg grumbled as he started to move against her. He brought her leg into the crook of his elbow as she began to move her hips with his thrusts. “I will make you mine!” Greg vowed with a groan as they rode the waves of pleasure that they climbed higher and higher together.

“Yes! Please!” Molly cried as she reached her peak, it wasn’t long until Greg followed her.

The couple made love again that night until they fell sleep in each other’s arms as the storms cleared over London, revealing the moon that sent a bright, clear light into the room. Peace reigned throughout the town - and with the alpha and omega - at last.

---

Chapter Text

Premeditation

---

Camilla Pierce was a simple woman, she had simple tastes and was a woman of simple means. She had her mid-level management position at a local London manufacturing company. It provided her with a decent wage, a certain level of influence and decent benefits she could live off of well after she retired.

Camilla had never married, and wasn’t forced into the dreadful business of bonding as she was a beta. As a person, she hated getting involved with peoples’ emotional problems and sharing her own, even more so. The simple act of someone asking “how are you,” was enough for her to take the quickest exit out of a room. Her only human contact was her own relatives. She had a brother that settled down with a horrid woman that was her sister-in-law. The she-devil gave birth to her two nephews and one niece. Raucous little ankle biters that were only getting older and louder as time went on. She pursed her lips whenever the woman would call to check up on her. That was the only sign of the simple woman’s displeasure at associating with the woman. Unfortunately she was the only person in the world that cared about Camilla Pierce’s existence. And Camilla would be forced to answer every invitation to the women’s social events with a tight, forced smile and a bottle of wine, because she supposed that was what people do, isn’t it?

This middle-aged beta woman had a very predictable life. Humans are notoriously creatures of habit, and such a simple person as Camilla even more so. She had the ability to pass into a crowd unseen and not be remembered by anyone at all. She had perfected this ability during her school days as a way of avoiding being bullied at her all girls’ school by the popular alpha girls that were most unkind to those that they made targets.

Every Saturday, Camilla would indulge herself in a meal out (never the same restaurant twice, as when she tried to have a ‘regular’ place the wait staff would eventually ask ‘how are you’ with a forced friendly smile and the inevitable cringing feeling would descend down her back and take away her appetite) with a very good glass of red wine (only at places she knew would carry her favorite vintages) and then every Sunday she would take a walk in her local park and sit on a bench to have the one cigarette she allowed herself per week. This pleasure could only be ruined by someone, anyone really, sitting next to her on her favorite bench. Even worse would be if this person were a mother with a brood of children. Then Camilla would be forced to walk through the park with a lit cigarette and it would never last as long or taste as good as when she would sit upon her favorite bench, right under a tree whose leaves were sparse enough to let the sun through but shady enough to keep the shade cool for the spring and summer.

A good bench, under a good tree in a nice park with a good cigarette was the kind of thing that Camilla Pierce thought was indulgent. Indulgent enough an activity to repeat every week.

In being a creature of habit, it opened Camilla up to being a target for disastrous things. She never gave much thought to this repetitive pattern style of living. Why would she? People often never gave a thought to how their way of life would impact their health or the micro morts they put on your life. If anyone thought of that they wouldn’t live or do much of anything at all. There were those types of people, who hated to step out of their domicile for any reason. There agoraphobics never made for a lively set, though you could probably count on them to throw one whizzbanger of a house party, if you were lucky enough to be invited.

So it was no surprise to anyone, except the people walking past Camilla Pierce on a Sunday afternoon in August when, on that park bench, under her favorite tree, in the park nearest her flat, that the average, ignorable, beta woman decided to spontaneously combust.

At least that was what the witnesses were saying to the constables of Lestrade’s division one the other side of the yellow police tape as he took in the crime scene. Unfortunately for everyone’s constitution but fortunately for evidence, there was plenty left of the body itself take to the morgue. However, the charred remains were sending many of his staff into the alleys and trash bins to… um… the alpha detective inspector decided he would rather not think about it or else he’d see a re-occurrence of his dinner he had at his desk right before they got the call.

Every time the wind blew against his back, Lestrade was grateful as he took in the crime scene and the wind pushed the smell of charred flesh away from him. But he was even more grateful when finally he saw the figures of Sherlock and John striding up to the tape. Donovan turned to Lestrade and allowed them in with a quip aimed at Sherlock the detective inspector couldn’t here as he waved them over.

“What do we have here detective inspector? You know John and I are busy with tracking down Moriarty.” Sherlock questioned immediately looking around the site of the exploded victim.

“Interesting one this, out of nowhere this woman just spontaneously combusted.” Lestrade explained nodding his permission to John to get up close and personal with the body. “You always like the funny ones.”

“Yes, but even one of your dimwitted staff could figure this one out, even a university student with an undergraduate degree in chemistry would be able to figure out what made this happen.” Sherlock sighed approaching the body that still sat charred upon the bench. The features and everything about it were visible but unrecognizable. “Do we have any idea who this victim was? You know I need data.” Sherlock grumbled getting as close as he dared to the body. The smell was overwhelming even for his olfactory prowess. Not even his experiments could produce such odoriferous smells, not even the eyes in their microwave.

“Camilla Pierce.” Lestrade handed the identification to John who showed Sherlock. They were lucky, usually they didn’t have the advantage of having the woman’s purse on hand. It was already in evidence and on the way to the labs with the rest of the woman’s personal effects once they were ready to move the body. Sherlock looked over the body and the identification. He huffed once and turned on Lestrade.

“Really Lestrade, why are you wasting my time with these things?” The omega consulting detective turned on the detective inspector. Really, he couldn’t solve one murder on his own? Didn’t he understand there were more important things to worry about? “While I admit, it would normally I’m sure be a very nice distraction I can’t afford to-”

“Sherlock!” John called his mate over. The tone in John’s voice told the omega all he needed to know as he joined his alpha. Lestrade blinked, looking at the two. It wasn’t normally in John’s power to call the omega to attention like that, but since they mated he was glad of the seemingly patient control the alpha had over the wily omega. John used his gloved hand to turn what was left of the cigarette in his fingers and show his mate what was left of the abbreviate I.O… The ‘U’ was burnt to a crisp and had long disappeared behind Camilla Pierce’s blackened mouth. “And you thought this didn’t have anything to do with Moriarty.” John looked to his mate with a sarcastic lift of his eyebrows.

“Lestrade, wrap up Ms. Pierce here. We’ll take her to go.” Sherlock called to the detective inspector as they made their exit off the crime scene. “We’ll see you at St. Bart’s.” At Lestrade’s nod they went to the end of the block to hail a cab. Leaving the exhausted Detective Inspector Lestrade with the job of wrapping up this extra crispy murder.

---

Molly did her best under the assault on her nose when the latest victim of Moriarty’s was rolled into her lab. She sighed as she took in the charred blackened skin, it wasn’t a sight she was even used to in all of her experience with autopsies. She removed what she could of the clothes, but most people wore clothes that would inevitably melt into the skin upon being burned in such a fashion.

Her progress was slowed as the burns made for difficult work. She had only just opened up the y-incision when Sherlock John and Lestrade strode into the morgue.

Sherlock looked from the detective inspector to the pathologist with a long-suffering sigh. “I hope the two of you have patched things up already. It’s intolerable trying to work while watching you two avoiding conversation with one another.”

“Sherlock.” John scolded.

“Not good?” Sherlock questioned.

“No, no, it’s fine. We’re fine.” Lestrade gave a warm, secretive smile in Molly’s direction. And John and Sherlock fought the snickers as they watched Molly’s cheeks warm with a very pretty blush.

“More than fine, I would think.” John quipped, causing his mate to turn his back so that he could hide his smile. They could only tease so because as Lestrade’s friend and colleague both Sherlock and John were happy to see the couple at equilibrium once again.

“Can we get to work now?” Molly grumbled much in the way Lestrade would, as she blushed harder the more Sherlock and John tried to hide their giggles. “Like schoolboys…” She muttered to herself picking up the samples she had ready to take to the lab. “If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the lab setting these samples up for tests. That way we can know what caused the poor woman to spontaneously combust.” Molly announced to no one in particular, only sparing Lestrade a glance as she walked by him.

Lestrade merely gestured after Molly and followed in her footsteps. He walked into the lab and watched as his lover donned a fresh pair of gloves. He strode over casually as Molly inserted samples into test tubes and plunged in solutions from pipettes. He looked around at nothing in particular until Molly caught his eye with a smile. “Everything alright, Molls?”

“Fine, why wouldn’t they be?” Molly wondered with a bright smile she reserved only for him. Greg smiled in reply, stepping up to her and rubbing a hand soothingly along her shoulder. Molly wrapped her arms around him burrowing into the warmth of his arms. “I just don’t like it that Moriarty might be back and Sherlock sees fit to joke around like that.” Molly sighed. “But maybe it’s only because I feel overwhelmed by it all.” Molly shrugged, curling in further into the alpha’s embrace. “Maybe it’s just because I missed you. I haven’t seen you since the weekend.” Molly looked up into Lestrade’s brown eyes that were very dark as he looked down at her that they sparkled. They were just about to kiss when Sherlock burst into the lab.

“Anything on those samples yet Molly?” He questioned with his usually narrow pin-point focus that he couldn’t be bothered to notice that blush from Molly or the grumble from Lestrade at being disturbed. John was soon to follow his mate with an apologetic gaze as he looked to Lestrade and Molly, obviously his omega had once again disturbed the couple.

“I was just running them. Nothing yet.” Molly turned away from Lestrade regrettably as she turned back to the samples, filling the last few vials with solution before capping them. Lestrade rubbed his face in frustration. It wasn’t enough that they were chasing in Moriarty’s footsteps but once again he wasn’t getting time enough with Molly. It was frustrating.

“Have you looked at the woman’s personal effects yet?” Sherlock questioned as he looked at Ms. Pierce’s personal items.

“No, not yet. Autopsy took a bit longer than expected. Under the circumstances.” Molly winced.

“Yes…” Sherlock trailed off as he took a knife to the evidence back containing the cigarettes the woman smoked. He dumped the pack and the cigarettes spilled onto the lab table.

“Oi! Careful with those, they’re evidence!” Lestrade chided. He watched as Sherlock rolled the cigarettes upon the table until he saw that the cigarette that had caused the woman’s death wasn’t the only one written on.

“Come take a look at this.” Sherlock bade as he rearranged the cigarettes until the message became clear. “Run little mouse, run if you think you can, but all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men, couldn’t make sure Moriarty stayed dead.” Sherlock read. He, John, and Lestrade looked to Molly. She backed away from the lab table until she met the cabinets along the wall.

“Greg…” Molly looked to the alpha with a terrified expression, her face ashen white. Greg came to Molly’s side and wrapped her in his arms. He cooed to the omega comforting her, while Sherlock continued to look through the woman’s purse.

“We have to find out where she bought these cigarettes, I have her address. Come along, John!” Sherlock called already halfway out of the lab before John realized that his mate was on the move.

“Sorry about all this, see you all later!” John called running after Sherlock.

Lestrade waited for as long as he good until Molly stopped shaking and he grumbled. He needed to get back to work and put through the paper work on this case as soon as possible. He needed to inform his division of the grizzly particulars and why it was important that Molly Hooper was safe from harm.

“I’d better be getting back.” Lestrade announced begrudgingly, not letting go of her.

“Yes you should. Will you come over tonight?” Molly questioned giving the alpha wide hopeful eyes. It wasn’t often that the detective inspector worked Saturdays but with Moriarty in the wind he wouldn’t stop until he was able to track down the psychopath.

“I was thinkin’ maybe I’d come pick you up and we’d go back to yours and then maybe order some takeaways later.” Lestrade suggested with a boyish grin.

“Sounds lovely.” Molly breathed in relief as Greg kissed her forehead before leaving her alone in the lab. He was prompt in picking her up from work as soon as she finished.

---

The next morning Molly rose to familiar warmth she now found comforting, lying in Lestrade’s arms. With a sigh she curled up further and smiled as Greg adjusted until they were touching again, bringing her that much closer to himself. When she felt Greg smile against her shoulder, she knew he wasn’t any more asleep than she was. It was only just past seven according to her night stand clock, and she wished she could lounge in bed with the alpha. She slowly opened her eyes and looked around the room.

Before where only her things were on the dresser beside the bed and all along the walls of room, now Lestrade’s things were beginning to occupy her space. She didn’t mind it in the least, they were practically living together now. Somehow, where at one time this would have all made her dreadfully uncomfortable with another man, with Lestrade this all felt right.

Greg must have noticed her change in breathing patterns because he grumbled in annoyed grumpiness as her stirring. If she got up, that would be the end of his sleeping.

“Go back to sleep, love.” He grumbled pulling her somehow closer still. When Molly giggled and fussed, he growled, playfully nipping at Molly’s neck that was his for the taking.

“No, I’m too awake to stay in bed.” Molly mewled as she tried to squirm her way out of his tight hold. With a long-suffering sigh that could rival Sherlock’s Greg grumbled his assent and let the omega go. He watched as the sly omega nymph sprinted away from him, leaving the alpha in nothing but the bed’s duvet. He smiled petting at the place in his chest that was so full with delight he thought it might burst. Greg curled up around Molly’s pillow, breathing in her smell and old cells that the omega left behind. It didn’t comfort him as much as having Molly in his arms but it would do as the alpha yawned and napped until the bed became to lonely without her in it.

In nothing but pajama bottoms, Greg was fixing up the last of their breakfast. It was almost seven-thirty and Molly had yet to come out of the bathroom. It wasn’t like her to linger, even if she was taking a long shower. “Molls? Breakfast!” Greg called, petting Toby as the cat had his way with his dry food.

“Greg.” Molly called from the bedroom. “Greg? Could you come here for a second?” Molly called with an uncertain voice that immediately put the alpha on edge. He walked the length of their flat to the bedroom, and poked his head in. Molly stood, wrapped up in a bathroom towel, pacing the room.

“What is it, Molls?” Greg questioned his eyebrows coming together in uncertainty.

“I-um- Oh, God.” Molly groaned sitting on the edge of the bed in a huff, that looked tumbled and unmade from their lovemaking the night before, with her head in her hand.

“Molls?” Greg questioned, more confused still at Molly’s obvious frustration. She seemed to be holding a prescription box in her hand.

“We have to decide.” Molly announced into the tense air of the bedroom. “I have to call my gynecologist to confirm it, but I did the calculations myself and I’m pretty sure that I have to stop taking these today if we want to bond.” Molly looked up, meeting Greg’s eyes with worried tears filling them.

“Are you sure?” Greg questioned, they had just come to understand one another and now this. He had hoped for more time. He knew the time they had to get comfortable together was short but it always felt too soon with Molly.

“I have to stop taking them today regardless, so that we can bond, it will leave us only the space of two weeks for my heat to come. If you want to bond with me… I would like to…” Molly mumbled so quietly Greg had to shake his head and make sure he had heard her correctly.

Greg cleared his throat and sat down. He wiped at his mouth to hide his smile so he didn’t seem too eager. He took the omega’s hands in his, covering them both with his other, and looked to her with all the feeling he knew he could possess in that moment at the thought of being given such an opportunity to bond with this omega. He looked down at their joined hands and then looked into her eyes through his brow. “Molly, would you be my mate? Would you bond with me?”

Molly laughed through the tears she had felt grow at his tenderness. He was always so gentle no matter how she treated him. There was something in her that thought she wasn’t worthy of this attention. But she was so thankful for it. “Yes, yes I will!” She laughed hugging the alpha to her. She felt the alpha chuckle in relief as he hugged her back. She sprung up from her seat on the edge of their bed before things became too emotional. “Here.” Molly handed the alpha the box and took his hand leading them into the bathroom. She gestured to the toilet. “Flush them.” Molly encouraged with a pained expression, biting her lip. For years, she had taken these suppressants to deny her heats, deny her omega side existed and now she was to stop taking them and embrace being an omega.

“What? Yer sure?” Lestrade questioned as he opened up the pack to look at the pink pills in their foil plastic bubbles. For months they stood as a reminder of what she kept from him, now she was putting it all in his hands.

“Yes, please. You have to- They’re my safety net. It’s like an addict. If you don’t, I might find them and take them.” Molly warned wringing her hands in fear at the future if she was no longer taking her pills. She would definitely need to call her doctor as soon as possible to make sure she was doing the right thing.

Greg tilted her face up to meet his and the security she felt in his gaze gave her the strength she needed. He brought his lips down on her own and left the briefest of kisses there. “Thank you.” He smiled down to her and encouraged her to leave the bathroom. “You go put some clothes on and I’ll take care of this.” Molly smiled as she walked out of the room to leave Greg to his happy chore. He gleefully popped each pill out of their bubbled homes and watched as they floated, bright pink in the bowl of the toilet. He waved them goodbye and pressed down on the lever to flush the toilet. Greg could hardly contain his smile as he made his way back to the kitchen where Molly was buttering their toast. He felt younger and lighter than he had in years. Molly giggled as he covered her face in kisses before taking his seat across from her.

It was all decided, agreed upon. They were going to bond, the couple agreed. This was what they both wanted. Now all they needed to do was wait for Molly’s heat.

---

Chapter Text

Coalescence

---

Monday morning, after a very... long and amorous good morning from Lestrade before he left for work, Molly found herself patiently (despite the nervous fidgeting) waiting in a stiff, uncomfortable padded chair for the nurse at the desk of her gynecologist’s clinic to call her name. She swore that the more anxious you were the more uncomfortable waiting room chairs got. Even if they were squishy chairs and couches, they would smell or be lumpy. She roved her eyes about the office, observing the interior typical though it was, at the medically comforting, yet sterile green walls. The fidgeting omega stared about all of the certifications, placards, awards, and adverts for omega suppressants, female bladder control pills, and the like. All with smiling omegas and their proud alphas holding them as they held their children, or each other.

Sighing, Molly checked her watch. She had begged Stamford to give her the morning off for this.

For a doctor that wasn’t exactly busy, he sure knew how to keep omegas waiting. There was only one other person in the room, a young omega lad that looked on the very wrong side of nervous. Molly gave him a small smile reassuringly. Either he was sneaking suppressants against his parents’ wishes or he was waiting for results of a pregnancy test. She didn’t relish being that age anymore. Admittedly she only saw the doctor once every six months to renew her suppressant prescription.

She tapped her foot, her hands on her knees, smiled to the receptionist again that way she felt like the snooty nurse behind the desk that Molly knew didn’t like her would remember Molly was still waiting. Molly always felt like she had to continually acknowledge her existence to the girl just to make sure she wasn’t accidentally on-purposely forgotten.

Thankfully it was early enough that the doctor would see to calling in the patients himself.

“Dr. Hooper?” Her doctor came behind the door to his exam rooms and office with a cheery, bracingly professional smile. This was just business for him, it wasn’t his life that was either being saved or ruined. Molly sighed following the man down the hall to the first exam room.

“How are you, Molly?” He asked politely as they walked. He was a beta, of average height, quiet and unassuming but Molly liked his gentle nature. He wore trousers that were perpetually wrinkled, had glasses that were nearly always smudged so while she talked he would spend his time listening trying to get them clean, and he had an impressive jumper collection that would rival John’s. Each exam room had a perpetually growing collection of crayon doodles from each one of his three children. He reminded her of a little bit slimmer though equally well–settled Mike Stamford, and they were around the same age. One her doctor’s three children was an omega and Molly asked after the boy often. He was always wonderful, but both doctors shared their concerns about the world they were leaving behind for the omega youth, how in this modern world, there were still youth that wouldn’t be able to get the suppressants that they needed. They talked often of getting information out to young alphas and omegas, about protection, and suppressants, about reaching out to the youth whose parents wouldn’t support their going on suppressants. Breaking stigmas and encouraging omegas to go to college despite the opinions of others telling them otherwise. St. Bart’s had its own omega youth program, and Molly was a regular volunteer. She could usually spot the needier ones, either omegas that weren’t able to afford suppressants or kids that came from good families but families that didn’t think it was good for them, were misinformed, or didn’t think the omega had a right to have a say in what happened to their own bodies. Molly had seen it all. This doctor was a simple man, and she was a mousey pathologist. He understood her, didn’t question her when she made her own decisions regarding her health, and didn’t try to force medicine on her she didn’t need to push drugs for big pharmaceutical companies. He was a decent fellow, and a good doctor. And that’s all Molly required.

“Oh fine, Dr. Bantam, f–fine.” Molly stuttered nervously.

Once inside the exam room, she took a seat as Dr. Bantam took a seat across from her. The exam table stood foreboding in the background, the steel and chrome illuminated by the one window with morning light streaming through.

“You seem nervous. Is everything okay? Do you need help with something?” It wasn’t often, but once in a while, Molly would bring him the name and information of a youth needing more help than Molly could offer them at St. Bart’s. She was always nervous doing that to the man but he took each case with a smile and then would let her know at her next appointment that he was able to help them and how it came about.

“No, no, I– um– well. How do I say this?” Molly wondered looking down at her hands. Strange, she hadn’t noticed but the tan line from her engagement ring was gone.

“It’s alright, Molly, take your time.” Dr. Bantam smiled to the nervous omega, completely relaxed.

Molly took a breath. She didn’t know if she could do this. She then saw the day Greg had flushed her pills, the extra hop and boyish smile on Greg’s face as he followed her into the kitchen that morning. That night when he had rather enthusiastically ate her out for hours in satisfaction over this last barrier coming away from their relationship. Was she even ready to have kids? It didn’t matter really. They were being forced into this but now Molly squared her shoulders, sure of herself as she fluttered inside remembering Greg’s love for her and how happy this made him. She corrected herself, how happy this made them.

“Well you know that my dad was ill.” Molly winced as she watched the doctor’s face fall across from her.

“Yes, he didn’t have long you said. When did he pass?” She breathed a sigh of relief that at least Dr. Bantam didn’t ask how her father was doing.

“Yes he did, shortly after I visited you for my script renewal. New Year’s Day actually.” Molly fidgeted. Still not comfortable with the condolences the good doctor offered. She was quick to gloss over it with more conversation. “And well–”

“You weren’t back for your bi–annual check–up. That was three months ago. But I always give you nine months’ worth on your script just in case.” Dr. Bantam smiled, wondering if she felt guilty for forgetting.

“Yes I know, there was a lot going on.” Molly winced.

“And you need a new script?” Dr. Bantam questioned, taking out his prescription pad and clicking his pen. He was halfway through scribbling one for her when Molly spoke up.

“No!” Molly halted her doctor with a hand. Dr. Bantam lifted a curious brow. Molly flushed, squaring her shoulders. “I don’t need it. I’m uh– well– my father, he– sort of set me up. He was my only familial alpha, and you know how the laws work. But thankfully the bloke that he matched me with was– well…” Molly trailed off with a genuinely delighted smile. Dr. Bantam inferred where the story was going and broke out into his equally pleased smile. This was his favorite part of the job, being able to offer omegas the healthcare they needed throughout all the stages of their reproductive cycles. He was always relieved when omegas found their mates and were able to be with decent alphas that would share their heats.

“So you’ll not be needing this anymore!” Dr. Bantam threw away the script with a smile, standing to give the omega a hug with a chuckle. “So let’s see him.” He smiled as Molly pulled up a picture of the two of them cuddling on the couch that morning he flushed the pills. They had decided on watching a movie until they hadn’t been. She and Greg had talked and flirted until Greg took out his phone and started snapping pictures despite Molly begging him not to, constantly trying to reach for the phone desperately with both hands which had left her exposed to Greg’s questing hand that wasn’t holding the phone so that he could tickle her. At first she didn’t want her picture taken at all, she was in her sweats and her hair had been a mess, no makeup. But the tickles distracted her until she found an equally pleasing way to distract Greg that had nothing to do with tickles at all and took up the rest of their afternoon, on the couch, the coffee table, the kitchen table, the counter, and the floor. But for the first time Molly could ever recall, she had been happy as her face took up most of the screen, her eyes sparkling with tears and her smile could have lit up all of London. Greg’s face was a small private smile as he had looked to her, before he had started laughing with her. That was the only photo out of all the photos Molly had liked, all the others had been a blur but this one photo perfectly captured the moment they shared, how Greg made her feel. Out of all of her relationships, he was someone she was completely happy with and in a picture Greg was with her looking to her, just happy that she was his. The picture softened Dr. Bantam’s face. “He looks like a good alpha bloke, bit silver though.”

“I like that actually, and he’s a copper. That’s how we met, how we know each other. He’s a Detective Inspector for NSY and I help him on his cases. He and my father became close before Dad passed away and I guess that’s why he picked Greg.” Molly smiled fondly at the picture on her phone before locking it.

“So you need to bond with him soon.” Dr. Bantam announced with a serious face, now understanding why she was there and why she was so nervous.

“Exactly.” Molly sighed, though her smile was happy. Her eyes told of how she hadn’t enjoyed being told she either mate or be left twisting in the wind. More than once Dr. Bantam had cases in his office, of omega women wanting abortions for heats they suffered with men they didn’t want because they had no one else, and no one from their extended families or friends would seek help for them. Or they were stuck in bonded relationships that they were forced into by their families and needed a way to protect themselves from needing abortions. There were ways that omega laws help but there were so many more ways in which omega laws didn’t do any good for omegas at all.

“Well I hope you stopped taking them.” Dr. Bantam gestured for Molly to step behind the curtain and get into a gown while he prepared the table for her. Laying down a sterile pad and making sure there were fresh ones in the stirrups.

“I did on Saturday. Greg flushed the rest.” Molly informed him.

“I could have donated those Molly.” The beta doctor scolded. “You know that.”

“I know but I didn’t want them around, I’m a bit dependent on them. Security blanket– you know. And I– well– I just needed Greg to do that.” Molly told Dr. Bantam firmly. She didn’t need to explain herself.

“Well no use beating a dead horse. Come out when you’re ready.” Molly walked out awkwardly from behind the curtain allowing the doctor to help her hop up onto the table. She adjusted herself until her feet were in the stirrups. “Let’s take a look.” Dr. Bantam smiled putting on a glove before wheeling his exam stool closer to Molly’s splayed legs as she fought a blush, now he was all professional despite being a tad more personal than necessary moments before. The doctor hummed and hawed as he poked around her bits, inserted the dilator and took down what information he wanted to on her chart. But for the most part the man was silent.

“Well?” Molly questioned patiently as he put his chart down and deposited his gloves in the garbage.

“You look perfectly healthy. Not a thing wrong,” Molly lifted her feet out of the stirrups to get up off the table, “though I think before you go back to dress we should talk about what you’re going to have to expect.” Dr. Bantam urged seriously as Molly sat up facing the doctor.

“I know what a heat is like Dr. Bantam.” Molly argued, not feeling this little chat necessary as she was already a doctor and an omega.

“I know you know, Molly, I know you’re a very good, very well–read pathologist. But there’s nothing I can tell you, nothing I can give you, no advice I can offer about how this is going to feel. To you– not what the books say. This is about what you’re going to go through. And you don’t know–” Molly opened her mouth but he halted her protests with a firm but gentle hand, “–not really– what an adult heat is going to feel like for you. It could be bad, it could be nothing but some excess raging hormones that will make you feel like a horny teenager again.” Molly blushed at that, looking down at her hands in her lap. Dr. Bantam patted them so that she would look to him again. “The point is I don’t know, and neither can you know. The only heat you ever experienced were half–heats, the heats pre–teens experience that are to progress naturally until they get older and are ready to take a mate. So you will not be prepared for any of this.” Dr. Bantam looked at her worriedly. Out of all his patients, she was one of his most remarkable. Molly stayed on her suppressants longer than any patient he knew and hadn’t ever missed a pill and experienced her adult heats. He couldn’t know what she would experience in the long run if Molly didn’t know.

“How soon can I expect it?” Molly questioned, now worried about going through this heat with Greg for the first time since making him flush the pills. The seriousness of it was really hitting her now as she sat in this office talking to her gynecologist. It wasn’t the rest of it she was worried about, it was simply experiencing the heat itself.

Dr. Bantam shrugged. “I can’t answer that. Only your body can answer that. You may be a certain number of pills away from having one according to the box of pills but if you stop taking them that can bring the heat out as your body regulates. In fact, I would hypothesize that your body will do exactly that until your hormone levels even out. Since, of course, you were on the suppressants for so long, and so consistently. Could be anywhere from a few days to as long as two weeks.”

“That’s… vague.” Molly muttered as Dr. Bantam offered to help her off the table.

He shrugged. “I wish I could tell you a better window, but until you have your heat, and maybe even the next one after, we won’t know what your regular cycles will be like.” He smiled apologetically as Molly made her way behind the screen and changed. She listened to the doctor rummage about the exam room as she gathered her things.

Once on the other side of the screen again, Dr. Bantam was there ready for her and handed Molly a small stack of glossy brochures. “Here. You might not need them, but since this is the first time for you and…” Dr. Bantam didn’t finish his sentence as the first brochure was grotesquely titled Your Alpha and Your Heat: What You Need to Talk About. Molly took the brochures and quickly stuffed them into her purse with a stiff, overtly polite, stony smile.

“Ta.” Molly thanked the well-meaning man though her cheeks were on fire.

“And I’d like for you to come in for an exam with Greg as soon as your heat is over.” Dr. Bantam smiled genially at the idea of meeting the silver alpha, gesturing for Molly to exit the room at her leisure. “We’ll need to discuss your having pups and being pregnant. All those good things!” Bantam smiled wider if that were possible. At the thought of pups, Molly stumbled a little as she walked towards the door.

“Of course. I’ll call you.” Molly muttered quickly with a forced smile making a hasty exit from the room. Pups? How could she and Greg possibly be ready for pups? She knew he was a good father already, but she wasn’t possibly ready for babies yet. There was no way. She quickly shook the idea from her mind. No use in worrying about it until the time arrived.

She gave an equally strained smile while paying her fee to the nurse, who took it with a forced smile. Molly thanked the infuriating nurse with overtly effusive politeness, and threw the woman off completely. She shared a smug smile with the omega teen that was still nervously waiting to be seen, glad to relax the poor kid a little bit and patted his shoulder as she left the clinic.

Now it was time for work.

---

Of course that was until she exited her doctor’s office and walked straight into the vision of Anthea standing before one of Mycroft’s black town cars.

“Now what?” Molly questioned exasperated, her shoulders sagging. She needed to get to work.

“Hello to you too, Dr. Hooper.” Anthea dimpled in understanding. “I know I don’t need to tell you to get into the car, do I?” Anthea questioned with an even sweeter tone. It was almost apologetic. The things Anthea did for her boss. Molly hoped he compensated the girl well.

Molly trudged to the car, inelegantly climbing into the back with a mumbled, “meddlesome bastard.” Of course he knew that she had gone to this appointment and probably understood the reasons why. Now it was time for him to meddle.

Anthea delicately climbed in after Molly and turned to the pathologist as soon as the door was closed. “Don’t worry, Dr. Hooper–”

“Molly.” The omega encouraged the beta to informality with a wave of her hand as she watched the London town go by.

“Molly, I’m sure once we arrive Inspector Lestrade will already be there waiting for you.” The beta dimpled again.

“Why would he–?” Molly questioned, her brow wrinkling in the center with confusion.

“I believe Mycroft wants to speak to you both.” Molly still had more questions but other than that interesting little grain of information the beta assisstant was annoyingly mute as she typed away on her blackberry. Assistants were like the help in upscale hotels. They were seen but not heard.

The town car pulled up to one of the many disused factories around London Mycroft had at his disposal. Factories Molly was sure weren’t that disused at all and were used for precisely this purpose by Mycroft Holmes and any other pompous, self–important cabinet ministers and men that held “minor positions in government” that wanted to scare the wits out of any dimwitted simpleton that dare cross their path.

Molly was walking into the factory, after a fond farewell and promise of drinks from Anthea when she heard her name being called to her right in that voice that sent shivers down her spine. Greg was walking towards her in his blue suit he wore before leaving that morning. The tie he had worn was already well on its way to being completely undone and it wasn’t even noon. He had court today as well. Why was he here?

“Why are you here? I thought you had court today.” Molly questioned with a worried frown. Greg gave her one of his patented smiles, closing the distance for a shared heated kiss that had her rocking towards him, automatically begging for more, when he ended it.

“Well, hello to you too.” He smirked slyly, taking her hand. “I was until I got a message from the Queen himself that I was to report here if I wanted to call myself a responsible alpha for my mate. So here I am.” Lestrade finished with a shrug. Molly growled, though she smiled at Greg’s proud smirk. She even gave him an eye roll as they weaved their way to the back of the factory where, sure enough, two chairs sat a respectable distance apart from one another with Mycroft standing a few feet in front of them, supporting himself on his cane. A car’s bonnet lights illuminated the space and sat purring, ready to take off once the master was done with his business.

“Hello, Dr. Hooper, Detective Inspector, so glad you could finally find the time to join me.” Mycroft called to them as they approached gesturing to the two chairs. “Do take a seat.”

“Bloody bastard.” Molly growled in Mycroft’s direction not bothering with the chair as Greg came up to stand beside her, hand protectively at her back. He hated seeing her angry like this.

“Just acting as your advocate, my dear, as I was instructed.” Mycroft gave them a polite smile.

“We’re fine.” Lestrade growled in warning.

“Are you?” Mycroft challenged with a raised eyebrow, though the rest of his face was completely placid, bored even. “Are you both really fine? From my calculations you have a worryingly short window of six weeks in which to anticipate Molly’s heat, form a bond and document it before the court determined date or else Molly is left twisting in the wind. You almost left her completely over a simple matter of an inconsequential date–”

“But we’re fine now!” Greg argued. He wasn’t going to defend what had occurred between him and Molly. That was private. For their ears only. And in his mind it had been worth the pain as their relationship was more solid than ever and at the end of the day that’s all he cared about.

Mycroft continued, gaze growing cold. “And Molly only just stopped taking her suppressant contraception no more than two days ago and only just today went to her gynecologist,” Mycroft removed a red notebook from his breast pocket opening it up to the corresponding page he needed, “–a Dr. Bantam, it says here–”

“Ah! W–? Ho–?” Molly gasped in anger at Mycroft’s lack of boundaries when it came to something as personal as her omega’s doctor visit.

“Hold on, why didn’t you tell me you were going to see him today?” Greg questioned turning his angry, confused gaze to Molly.

“We’ll talk about this later-” Molly cut off Greg’s tirade with a stern face and a squeeze of his hand.

Mycroft raised his eyebrow to the Molly before continuing. “–a visit you should have attended–” looking pointedly with another stern expression to Lestrade, causing the alpha to growl under his breath, “to discuss her heat, that which should have been your only concern. So forgive me, if, as her advocate, I make the objective observation and announce that, no, the two of you are not fine.” Mycroft finished in a huff.

“So you’re telling me,” Lestrade stepped into Mycroft’s space until they were practically nose to nose. Molly tried to stop him with a hand in his, but he shrugged her off and put his hands on his hips. He looked to Mycroft, eyes full of fury “that you called me out of court, in the critical stage of one of my cases, to discuss something that isn’t any of your business?”

“I have work too Mycroft,” Molly reminded him. “I haven’t even gotten there yet.” Molly mumbled mostly to herself, since neither man was listening to her in the middle of their standoff.

“I’m making it my business, as her advocate it is very much my business.” Mycroft looked down at the detective inspector, stamping his umbrella into the echoing air of the deserted factory.

Greg licked his lips, trying not to curl his lip in a snarl that his alpha was begging him to at the threat that he wasn’t capable of being Molly’s alpha. It was a very near thing as the snarl stirred inside his chest. “I should take you in to Scotland Yard right now just for obstruction of justice.”

“You could try.” Mycroft suggested in a bored tone, with a snide smirk.

“Ya know, I would, but I wouldn’t give you the satisfaction.” Greg snarled under his breath.

Mycroft stamped his umbrella impatiently. “My involvement is not up for discussion, from either of you.”

Molly was going to speak but Greg stilled her with a hand. “I don’t think so, it’s private. This is for us to discuss privately without word from you or anyone that wants to stick their nose in it. So you can bloody well stay out of it.” Greg finished in a growl, using himself as Molly’s human shield.

“My only concern is how Molly is feeling about having you as her mate and if she’s taken proper steps to secure her chosen place to nest during what I am told is going to be an exceptionally dangerous heat since she has been on suppressants for the entirety of her adult life and has yet to feel the full force of a proper one. Forgive me if I’m a tad bit concerned for her welfare. Her father put his omega child in my charge and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. Neither should you take lightly the trust Martin Hooper put in you as the alpha chosen to mate with her.”

“I don’t take that lightly at all.” Lestrade growled fiercely, his body coiled like a wolf’s ready to spring on the infuriating power–crazed beta. How dare this man say that he would be so cavalier in the trust Martin put into Greg’s hands!? There wasn’t a day that went by that Greg wasn’t thankful for Martin seeing in Greg what he saw to match the younger alpha with Molly. Greg was so stupidly happy, he was terrified that in the face of Moriarty’s return, he could lose it all.

“Then at least we are agreed and can proceed with your plans for Molly’s heat as we will discuss.” Mycroft gestured to the seats behind them once again, encouraging the couple to sit. This time they did, and Mycroft rolled his eyes while they weren’t focused on him. They were so obviously a hare’s breadth from being mated and were practically posturing since he tossed around threats to exercise powers over them as Molly’s advocate. It was just a little test they hadn’t realized he made them take to prove how interwoven they already were as a couple. All that remained was for the mating to happen and they would officially become as insufferable as any other couple out in the world that were sickeningly made for each other, only magnified times a thousand. Mycroft really did hate people.

“Alright. Fine. But I’m warning you Holmes, you stay out of the rest of it.” Greg growled as Molly held his hand in her lap between both of her own. “Molly and I are fine as far as you’re concerned.”

“Believe me, I dislike being involved this far as much as you both seem to.” Mycroft gave a snide, tightlipped smile as he brought out his notebook once again, pulling a pen from his jacket pocket.

“Oh don’t lie Mycroft, you know you like worrying about me.” Molly smirked knowingly to the predictable beta, he thrived on worrying and controlling the lives of everyone concerning him.

“Yes, my dear, but this I believe goes above and beyond.” Mycroft muttered straightening his suit, casually crossing his legs in front of him. His umbrella now laying against his knee.

“Still you’ll do it for me.” Molly smirked meeting Lestrade’s eye causing the man to stifle a laugh. Only Molly could get away with teasing his highness like this.

“Of course, Molly. That is why I’ve taken the liberty while we were having this conversation and while you and the detective inspector weren’t at it like rabbits, to retrofit your flat with extra security measures as well as changing the locks on your door to better ones.” Mycroft kept his face placid and calm as Molly and Lestrade turned their shocked, angry faces back to him.

“Oi! I would have done that for her!” Lestrade growled, his voice echoing into the factory.

“Why didn’t you then? Why did I have to step in?” Mycroft questioned curiously.

“W- B-Because she never asked me! That’s more than I can say for you, you bastard! All you know how to do it meddle because you think you know best. Did it ever occur to you–?”

“Greg.” At the squeeze of Molly’s hands on his Lestrade turned to meet Molly’s eyes, the sad, resigned edge around them halted him, and he looked to her with a questioning gaze. “It’s alright, it’s done now. It’s for the best in the long run. Is that all Mycroft?” Molly sighed, ready to escape this all and finally get to work.

“Well not entirely. I suggest that I be the first person you call in the event that your heat comes while you’re not at home, or the detective inspector is out.” Mycroft explained, making notations in his notebook with a flourish.

“Why?” Greg questioned with another growl, tensing though the grip he had on Molly’s hand only tightened in support of her.

“Because, Gregory, if you happen upon her while she’s in the first stages of her heat it won’t matter where you two convalesce and it might be somewhere entirely too public. We don’t just have your reputations to consider, among other things, but also Molly’s security. Moriarty is clearly out for blood and the closer he gets, the more in danger Molly could be.” Mycroft rolled his eyes to the ceiling, bored with stating the obvious.

“Don’t you think I know that?!” Greg questioned gob smacked at the audacity of the elder Holmes. “I’m the one chasing after the bastard.” Lestrade muttered to no one in particular.

“Assisting my brother in chasing after the ‘bastard’ more like. If not for my brother and myself, he most likely would have gotten to Molly already.” Mycroft challenged, in no mood to joke when it concerned Molly’s safety. In light of Moriarty’s recent threats against her, Mycroft didn’t see any room for joking at all.

“Why you–?!” Greg spluttered.

“Alright enough.” Molly interrupted yet another pissing match between the two men, standing to step between the two men. “Both of you. This is my heat and any decisions I make concerning how this goes will be my decisions and mine alone. Typical men thinking they have any say in what happens to me just because I’m an omega female.” Molly scolded them both in frustration.

“Molly-” Greg reached out for her hand with a pained expression. Molly took it, threading their fingers together.

“Don’t Greg. It’s alright.” Only when Greg saw in her eyes that it was did he back off. “Okay, Mycroft, we’ll do it your way.” Mycroft nodded his assent. “Agreed?” Molly looked to Lestrade with a pointed expression. He had better agree in front of Mycroft now and save his complaints for later when they were alone.

“Agreed.” Greg sighed with a smile and roll of his eyes. They weren’t even mated yet and already Molly was able to control him with a look only women have with their men.

“Very well,” Mycroft conceded. “I’ll make sure the proper measures are in place. All you have to do is call my number Molly when it hits and I’ll fetch you and take you back to your flat as fast as humanly possible.” Mycroft announced standing as Lestrade stood with him.

“Alright, I can agree to that.” She looked to Greg for his agreeing to the plan.

“Don’t look at me, it’s your heat.” He replied sarcastically, with a sharp look from Molly the alpha hunched his shoulders and the tips of his ears turned red, before he relaxed completely in subjugation to his omega. He didn’t acknowledged the look from Mycroft, who watched the interaction between the couple an intrigued lift of his eyebrow. “Yes that’s fine by me, love.”

“Excellent, since we’re all in agreement, I’ll let you both carry on doing... whatever it is you both do together that I would care not to see. Good day.” Mycroft excused himself with a flourish of coat and umbrella. He walked away whistling to where the car waiting for him.

“That bastard.” Greg muttered, he reached out for Molly’s hand and she took it. They exited the disused factory for his car that stood parked in the lot across from the building.

“Let it go, Greg. You know he’s right in a way.” Molly offered. She was always angered by Sherlock and Mycroft’s well intended meddling but they always managed to be right in the end.

“Yes but he just can’t get away with treating everyone around him with kid gloves. Like he’s mother and he knows best.” Greg argued opening up the door for Molly to get in.

“But he does, almost all the time. Until he’s faced with things he can’t control.” Molly shrugged getting into the car.

“Like what?” Greg asked once he was in the car and started the engine.

“His own emotions, trying to protect the people he really loves, usually from himself. Human error.” Molly shrugged with a smile. She wondered how everyone else seemed to be unable to see this of the Holmes brothers. They weren’t really that different from anyone else, not really.

“Really?” Greg questioned with a surprised expression as he weaved them through the London traffic to St. Bart’s. At Molly’s nod, Greg huffed a laugh. “Well that’s more than I would have saw in him. But then again I’m not you.” Molly smiled to him at that.

---

Molly woke up, her mind in a fuzz. She felt dizzy, disoriented. She could hear talking about her, footsteps, big thudded booted steps, then nothing. Until there was a discordant whistle, the varying notes bounced off the walls in echoes. Where was she? It was cold, wet, and sounded hollow. A parking garage? One of Mycroft’s disused factories? She lifted her head, groggily. Was she drunk? She blinked into the one light that poured down above her, she groaned. Too bright. Nothing around her was lit, save for herself and a hospital bed in front of her. She could see a tray with an empty hypodermic needle on the now unsterile steel surface just beside it. She smelled the chemicals from it in the air, but it was cocktail she couldn’t recognize. Not drunk then, drugged. A prickly feeling in the bottom of her spine was a strange sensations, and she felt overwarm, like she was wrapped in multiple jumpers in summer but she was wearing nothing except her pajamas. A man stood with their back towards her in a blue suit she thought looked familiar. But the fog of her mind wouldn’t let her form the thoughts that her mind seemed to be edging towards. A dark thought that eluded her. An instinct that she knew should have been familiar but edged away in the rolling cotton fuzz of her thoughts. She lifted her head to look to the man before her and the room spun. Nausea boiled up inside her as her breathing hitched from the anxiety and fear that sent adrenaline tumbling through her, fighting the toxins that impaired her. Molly tried to move her mouth but nothing seemed to be able to come out. She felt her mouth form the word she had been searching for, everything in her hoped that it was him.

Greg?

A cry for him to turn around and make sense of all of this. The man before obeyed, though she was unable to speak. As the man before her turned around, she tried to stand up to meet him and it only occurred to her in that moment she was tied to the chair. The wood of the chair cried and creaked against her attempt to rise. The rope bit into her wrists as she then thrashed in the chair in realizing that she was trapped and wondering why it was necessary. More creaking as the beat up, sturdy chair cried some more as the ropes ground into it, rubbing the delicate skin at her wrists and ankles.

What is this?

Another question she couldn’t say out loud, yet echoed around the walls like it did in her mind. Despite not speaking out loud, her question was heard as the man came into focus. Molly tried to scream but it only came out as a pathetic squeak. Like a mouse. It’s then that the light came down upon the man in front of her and she was able to see that it wasn’t Greg at all. That’s not his suit. He wasn’t Greg, and Greg was nowhere to be seen, might not even know that she was captured. In a resigned chill that ran down her spine, Molly knew there was no help coming for her.

It was Moriarty.

He smiled that placid smile that now sent chills down it as that overwarm feel crept up her spine. The duality of the feelings turned her stomach as bile rose up her throat. She thrashed against her bindings harder.

“Good. You’re awake.” He crooned, no longer the friendly, fun Jim from IT. This was the psychopath.

“Wh-Why?” Molly was finally able to speak. While she was able to think in more complicated thoughts of her own, her words came out in a trickle.

“Why not? It would be a shameful thing to waste.” Moriarty smirked.

“Wh-what?” Molly’s mind still groggy from what he slipped her, couldn’t process being in the chair one moment and flat on her back on the hospital bed that was before her seconds ago. She looked over to the chair and then up from her place on her back to see Moriarty looked down on her, and only then noticed they were both naked. And he was inside her. Her vivid, revolted memories of it were tinted with memories of what it felt like to have an alphas cock. She moaned but felt screams bubbling up inside of her.

“Why… your heat of course.” Moriarty twittered a giggle as he began to ride her. Molly couldn’t feel him, could only feel the growing urge to be knotted swell somewhere deep inside her. This was what she had been scared of, that it didn’t matter who mated her as long as she had an alpha’s cock. Of her shame of being an omega, and that which all alpha’s told her over and over again that omega’s were. That she was happy just to be a whole ready to be filled and it didn’t matter by whom. But Moriarty couldn’t, he was a beta. They couldn’t form a bond. Yet the cock, that was worming its way inside her like a parasite, felt familiar, like Greg’s (what she knew an alpha’s cock should feel like) but it wasn’t. The feeling was mutilated, twisted. Molly moaned in agony, feeling the tingling heat rise up inside her then, higher and higher. She cried out as she felt his cock pulsating and shifting inside her, not the feeling the pleasure of the satiating of her heat but wanting to get away from this monster as the heat mounted and she couldn’t find satisfaction. Molly couldn’t fight him, as she was now tied down to the hospital bed.

“I told you I’d find you Molly.” Moriarty sang to her in her ear as she twisted away from seeing his face. “I got you, and now I’m going to play with my little mouse until there’s nothing left. Until there’s nothing left for that alpha to love anymore. My, my, he won’t be pleased not when he sees what’s left of you. He won’t want you anymore when I’m done. And there’ll be no one to love you Molly Mouse. There’ll be nothing left but your carcass to burn.” He purred in her ear as he forced the knot inside of her and bit down on her scent glands sealing the bond.

Molly quivered with revulsion and felt the screams well up inside of her and tear their way through her throat. “NO!!! NO!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!

“Molly…. Molly…” Moriarty’s trilling tenor voice shifted to the violent familiar growl of her alpha. “MOLLY!”

With a shudder, the light faded and the smells of her flat filled her nose. She was screaming and pelting the body against her with all the fight she possessed. Until the familiar warm, tan arms encircled her. The screams ended in a shuddering sobs as Molly grabbed for the alpha desperately. No more were the eyes that looked at her the empty, dead eyes of a psychopath but the warm, brown eyes of her alpha filled with fear.

“Greg.” Molly cried, crawling into his warm embrace desperately. Her alpha, there he was whining with his soothing pheromones pouring out from his scent glands. The omega side of her gladly absorbed them, as now more than ever before she was aware of the acuteness of her sense of smell. She was all too grateful for it as she even licked at his neck where the pheromones poured out in her desperate need for his closeness.

Greg’s chest rumbled with comfort as he rocked her. Never before in his life had he seen such night terrors. Molly’s eyes had been open as she screamed but unseeing in the face of her nightmare. He dared not ask what she dreamt as he did his best to calm her.

“Don’t leave me. Please. I love you. Please don’t leave.” Molly sobbed into his skin as he rocked her. Greg felt tears fall from her eyes as he cooed to her. He doubted she was even aware that she talked to him or was crying. “Don’t let him bond with me!” She cried as a shiver of revulsion rolled through her.

“You’re alright now, Molls. I’m here.” Greg grumbled combing his fingers into her hair. “I’ll always love you, Molly. I’ll never let you go, never.” He vowed with a fierce, protective growl as Molly crawled further into his embrace. “I’ll never let anyone else touch you. You’re mine, and mine alone.” Molly cried with relief at the certainty in the alpha’s voice. Greg continued the soothing motions until it was almost four in the morning, and Molly finally lost the will to stay awake, had cried herself back to sleep really. His alpha side, howled at the idea that this wasn’t something he could fix. He had no idea what caused the terrors she suffered as he tucked his omega back into bed. But the alpha wasn’t stupid. He had a fair idea of who caused such fear in a woman that looked Mycroft Holmes straight in the eye without flinching.

But never before had he seen Molly like that, the sheer, blind terror. The blood curdling screams that bounced off the walls of his ears still remained there ringing. He wasn’t getting any sleep any time soon. Greg swiped his phone off of the nightstand that was now his and padded his way into the kitchen, flicking on the dull light over the sink, and flicked on the electric kettle. Toby rubbed up against his legs. Meowing in question at why his mistress’s mate was awake.

“Don’t worry puss, your mom’s alright. Just a bad dream.” He reached down to pet the fuzzy charcoal ears with a tired smile. He refilled the empty water and half empty dry food dish and got a happy trill for his troubles. He watched the cat eat with a happy purr and sighed as the electric kettle went off, pouring the steaming water into his favorite mug onto a fresh bag of tea. The tired man padded back into their living room with his phone and turned it over in his hand.

He had to talk to someone, and there was only one person who was awake at such an hour. With a sigh of resignation, Greg went against his better judgement in relying on this person as a source for empathy and dialed the number.

On the second ring, the bored baritone rumbled through the line. “I’ve got nothing for you on the Pierce murder. Other than the obvious way she was murdered. Accelerant left on her breath that was injected into her inhaler by a very well paid chemist at the pharmacy poor Camilla frequented, that lit when she lit her cigarette. And the note Moriarty left on the cigarettes. Very obvious. Moriarty isn’t playing games, it’s sloppy. Efficient but hardly a challenge. Other than what we already know, I’ve got nothing else.” Sherlock drawled from his end of the phone.

“How come that’s why you think I’m calling you?” Greg grumbled angrily.

There’d be no other reason for you to call, not at this hour. unless… was there another murder?

“No, if Moriarty has no compunction against doing it in broad daylight now, he wouldn’t do it at three in the morning like every other stupid criminal out there.” Greg muttered, sarcastically into the phone. Your average criminal had always seemed to have the insipid notion that if you committed a murder at night no one would find out about it. That accounted for the lovely pair of bags under the alpha detective’s eyes.

Is Molly alright?” Sherlock for once wasn’t deducing the alpha like he normally did and was genuinely worried for the pathologist’s safety.

“Not really, I just was woken up out of a dead sleep to blood curdling screams.” Greg sighed, taking a fortifying sip from his tea. “She had a night terror. I got her back to sleep but I couldn’t sleep. Not now. But you and I both know why she had the night terror. Don’t need to be a consulting detective to figure that one out.” Greg growled angrily. He was ready to kill Moriarty and was more than a little bit prepared to do it with his bare hands if need be. “I couldn’t get much from her, but she kept begging me not to let him bond with her and for me not to leave her. I-” Greg couldn’t finish the thought, the idea that he’d leave her ever, made chills crawl the wrong way up his back as he scrubbed at his face.

Sorry about that,” Sherlock sighed into the phone. Greg heard the shifting of fabric in the background. Was Sherlock in bed? “I forgot to warn you in light of the recent killings and chasing after him, the threats. Molly’s night terrors were quite bad during my fake suicide, when I was squatting in her flat.

“You were what? She never told me that…” Greg rumbled curiously, looking to their bedroom that was thankfully still quiet.

Don’t worry inspector, I obviously never took advantage.” Sherlock’s voice curled humorously into the echo of the phone call. A voice mumbled on Sherlock’s end. Definitely John. He listened as the omega assured his mate that everything was fine. Since when did Sherlock sleep during cases, and during something as big as this that involved Moriarty?

“Right.” Lestrade grumbled at the idea of Molly sharing space with any other man other than himself. He was glad he never saw any parking tickets come up in the system from that Tom fellow. It’s not like he checked every now and then. He didn’t.

Anything else? I was sleeping.” Sherlock drawled.

“You don’t think he’ll try to do that, do you? What Molly dreamt?” There it was, the question that had been in the alpha’s mind since Molly cried to him in their bedroom. The thing that had worried Greg from the start. The nagging question at the back of his mind. How was Moriarty planning on hurting Molly? He would do everything in his power to protect her. He would use every last bit of his energy fighting Moriarty, anything, to keep his omega safe. But what exactly did Moriarty intend to do?

No.” Sherlock intoned with more confidence than Greg felt in the pale blue of early morning as the soft pillowed light of dawn hugged the fraying dark of night. “He’s an omega, likes to keep alpha assassins as his pets. And not just for their skills in killing people. He’ll do it afterward, after you’re bonded with her, when it will hurt more, hurt you, me, more.” And with that surety, so too went the good feelings Greg had been growing. Sherlock grunted on the phone, and Greg could hear John scolding the omega. More snuffling of sheets in the background.

“We have to protect her.” Greg warned with a growl. If Sherlock thought this was going to be another gallivanting adventure with Moriarty for his own entertainment – to fight off boredom – as the omega put it, they’d have a nice little chat about that.

And we will. The safest place she can be right now Lestrade is with you. I shouldn’t have to tell you that.” Sherlock assured in a bored tone. He could hear the ‘obvious’ hanging unsaid in the air of Sherlock’s huffed breath into the phone. More and more, John’s influence was turning the omega into a normal person. Huffing his impatience into the air like a normal person would, as was socially appropriate, like John would. Instead of shoving it into people’s faces so that they could know just how stupid and annoying he thought they were, as he usually would. It made Lestrade smile despite himself.

“Of course. Right.” Lestrade knew he was probably overstaying his welcome with this phone call. And Sherlock was right. As long as Molly was in his arms, he could protect her. There was really nothing for him to worry about, not yet. And he’d do everything in his power to protect her and keep her safe.

I hope this allows you to rest easier, Greg. Goodnight.” Greg almost didn’t know what to say as he heard his name come out of Sherlock’s mouth right the first time, without prompting.

“Ta. Goodnight.” With an easier sigh, the weight Greg was carrying after being woken up faded, and he rang off with the omega. He hadn’t known that Sherlock would be asleep with John. He’d owe the other alpha a pint for that one.

Greg rubbed at his eyes, feeling the scratchy sandpaper feeling of exhaustion pulling at his eyes. He had to be up in three hours, as he saw the clock on the tele just shift to five in the morning. Another sigh was torn from his sleepy chest. A heavy walk to the kitchen, to empty the forgotten cup of tea into the drain. He wondered at how their country’s water didn’t contain more tea than water by now. That thought definitely meant it was time for sleep, as the alpha huffed a laugh at himself. And then it was another long trudge back to their bedroom.

Molly still laid in the position he left her in, curled on her side, not her back. Sleeping on her back lead to nightmares. Greg rubbed a hand over his face with a groan and into the back of his neck that was forever sore. He climbed into bed, with a long grateful sigh as he curled up into Molly’s welcoming softness. At his touch he felt her tense.

“Molls?” He questioned softly into the room that was still dark though the dawning light shown from the windows.

“I had a nightmare.” Molly drew in a breath. A statement, not a question. She turned to face her alpha lover, her face full of apologetic misery and tears. “I woke you up.” Another fact.

“A bit, yeah. S’hard to sleep when your lover is doing an impression of Janet Leigh in Psycho.” Greg attempted to joke with a half-smile, running his hands along her back in what he hoped would be a comforting way. Molly let out a quiet whimper as she held in her tears and turned into his body. “S’alright, love, I wasn’t mad.” He kissed all along her hair and brought Molly even closer until her body was slotted against his.

“Who were you talking to?” Molly whispered the question into the air.

“Sherlock.” Lestrade explained tentatively, tangling their legs together as he began shifting his hands under the duvet and found her still as naked as when he left her. She moved her hips, slow like molasses against his. It held… promise.

“I suppose he had his own little deductions about what I dreamt about.” Molly scoffed, as her hands naturally started petting their way through Greg’s hair as her mouth started moving along his neck.

“Actually he was pretty understanding about it all.” Greg smiled, meeting her eyes.

“Really?” Molly lifted a disbelieving brow to her alpha, as she encouraged his body to respond to hers.

“Yeh, and what you had dreamt made me wonder what Moriarty might try and he was assuring me as to what Moriarty wouldn’t do.” Greg explained their conversation, and Molly blushed but didn’t explain further about the time Sherlock stayed at her place. It wasn’t her secret to share.

“Oh…” Molly breathed in a halting sigh that ended on a sob. “I don’t care what happens to me, but-”

“But?” Greg tilted her chin so that the omega would look into his eyes. He sucked in a sharp breath at the haunted desperate look in her honey brown doe eyes.

“But I don’t want to lose you Greg. I- I can’t live without you.” Molly cried, bringing Greg into her embrace, kissing the silvered alpha with everything she possessed. Greg broke the kiss with a moan, encouraging her legs to encircle his hips. He was going to- yes- perfect. Molly sighed at the feeling of Greg’s cock nestling deep inside of her as Greg covered her body with his own. This was what she needed, warmth, protection, and safety. The weight of him holding her down, halting her rambling thoughts so that she would stop floating in the mire and just stay. It was all she needed and was only to be found in the love Greg offered to her freely. Molly lathed at his scent gland as she clung to Greg, nails digging into the planes of his lean, well-muscled back.

“I won’t let him separate us, Molls. He won’t even get a chance. I won’t let him get you.” Greg vowed with a fierce growl as he began to move inside her. “I promise, even if I have to crawl through hot coals and broken glass. I’ll always protect you, Molly.” He watched gladly as he wrung the pleasure from her in the creeping morning before chasing his own oblivion. They made love just as the orange morning began to peek from its bed under the sleepy London town and getting what little sleep they could before needing to rejoin the rest of the waking world.

---

Two weeks. It had been two weeks.

How much longer would she have to wait for this blasted heat to come? Moriarty was eerily silent, as he was wont to be right before something awful happened, either to themselves or to some innocent bystander. When was her bloody heat going to come so that she would finally be bonded and everyone would leave her alone, and she could stop worrying about every other alpha in the room trying to offer up his knot? More than once she had to turn a friend here in work out of her lab practically by the threat of her scalpel because they wanted to offer her their knot as they smelled she was suppressant free. Molly was distracted with these thoughts as she spilled slide medium for the blood test she was going to run for the poor husband and father of three that made his way onto her slab that morning. Poor William, though only in his late forties, had died unexpectedly in his sleep, and from a heart attack. She just wanted to confirm the cause. She wiped up the mess with a sigh. All morning she had been like this and didn’t quite feel like herself. Molly hoped she wasn’t getting a cold on top of getting her heat as well. The last thing she would want to do is infect Greg with a bug during their first mating.

Greg. Just the thought of her chosen alpha had Molly spilling the medium again. This time it was the rest of the bottle and the spill spread under the tray where her sample sat. She growled at herself in frustration as she lifted the tray to wipe under it. Stupid. Stupid Molly, what was with her today? Molly shook her head to try and clear it. Maybe she was coming down with something. But there wasn’t any cause for her to get sick. Molly was never around any kids and it had been a while since she had worked at the clinic and they had an omega youth drive. Other than that, it was just her and the stiffs.

Molly shook her head at herself. Focus Hooper. She scolded as she unlocked the stock room. The hospital couldn’t afford her making spills like she did as a rookie, full of nerves. Molly went into the storage room and was blasted by a wave of heat.

“That’s strange.” Molly wondered as she fanned herself with her lab jacket. She’d have to speak with George the Janitor about the heating in the storage room. None of the chemicals should be in this room if the heating system was malfunctioning, again. Then she would speak to Stamford about making sure the system itself was getting regular maintenance. Molly grumbled, wondering if she was the only competent person in the room, always.

Molly reached up for the bottle of medium that was just within reach and had grabbed the bottle just as her body was seized by a cramp. Molly moaned, she fell against the stacked supplies, the bottle that was in her hand smacked against the linoleum. Supplies around her tumbled around her. Tears sprung into Molly’s eyes as another cramp rolled on top of the first one. Oh god. The heat, her heat. This was it. Not- Yes, now. She whimpered as she pulled herself out of the storage room. Boxes and bottles fell from the shelves, Molly continued to her office ignoring them as they rolled around her feet.

Another cramp, Molly clung to a nearby lab table as her knees shook. They weren’t even that bad yet more like very bad period cramps but each one was stronger than the last and she knew they would get worse. Much worse. The heat was only that of a high grade fever now, and chills rose up her spine. More like what she felt that day in grade school as she clung to her mother and father. Now the only person she desired to cling to was Greg. Molly finally inched her way to her office and reached for her phone. She wanted to call Greg so badly, her alpha. Another wave of her heat rolled through her, as blazing heat now crawled up her spine at the thought of her alpha. This time it wasn’t just the heat but a crippling want for her alpha. But it would continue to grow as the want went unappeased.

“Greg…” She moaned as she looked down at her phone, going into her contacts with just enough presence of mind to instead dial the number she was supposed to as instructed.

Don’t worry Molly, I’m five minutes out.” The omniscient beta announced on the second ring.

“M-Mycroft.” Molly growled into the phone. “Do you have control of the CCTV everywhere?” Molly quipped into the phone annoyed at the beta for knowing everything. Another wave of her heat rippled through her body and she moaned into the phone. It was beginning to get so painful and they weren’t even that bad yet as her skin had only begun to tingle. But already Molly was a mess as she whimpered into the phone.

Yes my dear, it is helpful… in certain situations.” Mycroft droned awkwardly into the phone.

Molly inched her way to the door leading to the locker rooms and she was sure Mycroft could hear her struggling with the combination lock once she could get to her locker and fighting the scattering of her thoughts as the need continued to inch up her spine. Numbers, common sense, logic, it was all making way for the primal urge inside her that refused to let go as it went unsatisfied. She could feel the hormonal chemicals mounting through the veins in her body as the heat licked up her spine searing inside her blood. Soon the clothes she wore would itch and be unbearable. “M-Mycroft, p-please.” Molly begged into the phone as she was finally able to open up her locker and take out her bag. Molly threw her coveted white lab coat into the locker haphazardly and barely got it closed before she inched her way out of the room and back to the lab. She sat down on the floor in front of the door as it shut behind her and hissed at the cold unforgiving tile against her intimate places. She was beginning to become wet, her panties were already soaked. Soon she would be dripping. The thought of being ready for Greg’s knot sent another cramp rolling through her.

I’m just in the car park Molly, I’ll be right there.” Mycroft hung up the phone and it barely registered with Molly as the heat spread to her already fuzzy brain.

“Greg…” Molly moaned as she pulled at the clothes she wore. Too much. It was all too much. Never had she wanted to be with Greg so badly, not even the phantom heat could compare to how much she- needs. She couldn’t even begin to work her limbs to walk the rest of the way to her office. She pressed her hand on the spot that craved his touch most and wailed at the satisfaction it gave, but it wasn’t enough. The wetness that was about average for her had doubled and was now running down her thighs and up the seat of her pants in the position she was crouched in. She was so wet and so ready, all for her alpha. Where was he? “Greg…” Molly moaned in frustrated agony. He wasn’t there. Would he be able to find her? He would come. He had to come. Maybe her alpha had rejected her. “No please Greg I need you… My alpha.” Molly moaned as she pressed wantonly against her wetness. It squelched obscenely as she rutted against the palm of her hand. Never would Molly Hooper do that in her normal state. This was how Mycroft found her. In anguish and moaning for her alpha that was nowhere in sight on the floor in front of the locker room. Normally it would take the better part of a day before omegas became this desperate in the wake of not being able to find their alphas. And Molly’s heat was only just beginning.

“Molly!” Mycroft called out firmly to her so that she would get control of herself. Molly lifted her eyes unseeing to the beta. She scented the air and bemoaned that it was not her alpha before her. Already the omega was down to pure instinct. Mycroft pinched his nose in frustration and waved to the body guard he wisely instructed to follow him into the building. The man begrudgingly did as he was instructed and lifted the writhing omega into his arms. His only consolation would be that Mycroft Holmes always compensated handsomely in these more personal situations.

Molly wailed for her alpha as she was surrounded by male betas and not her alpha. Where was he? Did he not want her anymore? Had he chosen someone else? Molly had no sense for the world around her and could not know that while she thought these questions she spoke them aloud into the air as she was dumped into back seat of the town car with Mycroft crawling in after her.

“Don’t worry Molly. We’ll be at your flat in five minutes.” Mycroft assured as he was barely inside the car and already they were speeding away from the hospital and through the nearby streets where Molly’s flat was. “We’ll even beat Lestrade back to your flat at this rate.” Mycroft grumbled in frustration as he monitored where the Detective Inspector was, he had yet to leave NSY, and according to Anthea, was having problems speaking with his Chief Inspector. Mycroft sent a few carefully worded texts to the Chief Inspector’s phone and breathed a sigh of relief as Anthea confirmed the alpha’s movements.

“Mate?” Molly moaned writhing on the seat next to Mycroft. The heat crawled up her spine in waves never before had she felt ever in her life. This was worse, so much worse than anything she ever felt before. How did normal omegas do this? She watched unseeing as the scenery moved passed the window and just as soon as they started the town car halted outside her flat. Her nest. Molly scratched at the door to get out. She needed to get out of these clothes and make herself welcome for her alpha.

“Yes Molly we’re here.” Mycroft sniffed the air and noted how her pheromones had been climbing higher at the promise of her nest and mate. “Come, let’s get you inside.” Molly looked and at the smell of fresh air she crawled towards it away from the door she couldn’t open. The annoyingly pushy beta from before had once again taken her into his arms and she pushed against him. Wriggling against his powerful grip on her, it wasn’t her alpha. Only the touch of her alpha would be tolerated. “Stay still or I’ll instruct George to take you over his shoulder.” Mycroft warned. Molly settled although the writhing from her heat she couldn’t help, but she was no longer fighting the assistance George was offering Mycroft. Once inside the flat, Molly was placed down on the floor to stand on her own two feet and George was waved away. The body guard, nodded and left in a grateful rush. A text came on Mycroft’s phone. A message from Anthea, Greg was five minutes out. Despite being on the same side of London, and Greg having the police siren to guide him, the traffic still made it impossible for him to make it here in any modicum of haste. “Greg will be here momentarily.”

Mate!” Molly called in relief, falling to the floor to writhe on the carpet. The heat in her blood boiled and caused her skin to itch with the unsatisfied need. Molly moaned and cried out for her mate to be there. She had begun to divest herself of her clothes in front of Mycroft in the most alarming fashion. Mycroft made the most alarmed face. A cross between Sherlock mentioning the idea of him having friends with goldfish and someone threatening to throw out his favorite chocolate cake. Anthea made sure to send it to Sherlock as penance for all the times Mycroft forced her to capture John with threats and issues to spy on his omega brother.

“Molly. As much as I understand your need to divest yourself of everything you’re wearing, perhaps you would find yourself more comfortable in your bedroom.” Mycroft suggested before Molly could get any closer to being in her bra and panties, or worse, naked, in front of him.

Nest!” Molly agreed with a purr, ignoring the smelly beta that refused to leave. He wasn’t a potential suitor and it was up to her alpha to make their nest safe for her heat, not her. Once inside her room, their room, Molly gladly breathed in the communal smells of her shared space with her chosen alpha. They had yet to form a bond and Molly moaned in agony that he wasn’t there and they were still unbonded. She wanted to bond with her mate now. The need to do so prickled at her skin as she shed the last of her clothes. The air kissed her intimate parts and was achingly cool against the heat that seemed to sizzle as it went unsatisfied and her slick dried onto her skin. That didn’t matter for as it dried, more flowed as her heat climbed, priming her for the alpha cock that would slake the thirst burning her from within. “Mate…” Molly moaned as she fell onto the bed, his side of the bed. She rubbed her face in his pillow, the musky alpha smells to be found there had her rubbing herself into the sheets. She reached between her thighs, hissing at the first contact of her fingers as she touched herself. Her clitoris was as swollen as it had ever been, so much so that it ached as the lips of her pussy swelled and quivered with pleasure as her delicate fingers petted at them. Never before was she this aroused, this desperate, this needy. Molly mouthed at the pillowcase, licking at the leftover smells she tasted woven into the cottony fabric as the pleasure mounted. It climbed and climbed but had nowhere to go. She moaned as she was pleasured but could not find satisfaction, and that was all she craved. Something, anything to quench this thirst with in her.

That was when she heard the door to their nest open. The air from outside flooded her nostrils and there it was, his smell. Greg. Oh, her alpha. She heard the voice of that annoying beta speak to him, something about security and provisions. Everything in her wanted the intruder upon their space gone as she moaned for her alpha, digging her fingers deeper inside herself with a squelch and gush of slick.

She heard him in a growl, a deep rumble she had never heard before. Not the familiar growl that usually sent shivers down her spine, but a growl of challenge, of claiming his space, their space. It made her body absolutely ache and her alpha staked claim in what was his. “Get out.” Greg dismissed Mycroft. The door closed and Molly knew she was alone with her mate, her Greg. Her Alpha. She heard beeps, unfamiliar ones and she whined in question. The answering growl, a growl only an alpha, her alpha could give – half actual growl and half rumble, a tiger through oiled leather, like a motorcycle’s purr – sent Molly reeling with a desperate moan as she heard the footsteps from the living room into the bedroom. She watched her mate come to a stop in the doorway, scenting the air.

Molly cooed reaching out from her place on the bed, beckoning Lestrade to her. “Greg!” She cried arms outstretched.

“That smell.” Greg growled into the air between them. He slowly began to strip himself of his clothing. He had smelled it as soon as he opened the door. It had hit him like a wall. It called to something deep inside him that was blossoming, awakening to Molly’s pheromones. He scented the air, it was the smell of warmth, sun-warmed lavender, and fresh baked buttery muffins like his grandmother used to bake just for his visits, the musty warmth of the books in his grandfather’s library. Smells he hadn’t smelt in years combined with smells that were all Molly, the cozy dustiness of wine, the sweetness of hot chocolate, and the sweetest honey. It called to him. As he drew nearer to Molly it only grew stronger. Lestrade stopped at the foot of their bed and watched as Molly used the remains of her strength to pull herself to meet him, not reaching out as he, the alpha, had not given her acceptance yet. He had not indicated that he accepted her as his omega. There was no assurance that in the blindness of her heat and his rut that she would be the omega he would choose. This was the old dance of alpha and omega.

Molly smelled Greg as well, the smell of him was entirely alpha. He was the burn of whiskey, warm sawdust left in the sun of her father’s garage when he had made furniture during the summers when she was very young, his favorite guitar, oiled leather and warm tea. It reeked of her equal yet opposite, it was the call of her love’s echo and of home. Every inhale shuddered, rippled through her increasing her need as his pheromones welcomingly laid on her tongue like pollen on a bee, and in her breath. The more she breathed the higher her heat climbed. Her body was dripping with the need he had yet to satisfy. She watched as the alpha before her tensed and rippled with the promise of quenching her thirst. “M-mate…” Molly begged as her body tilted towards him even as he stayed from reaching out to her. But at her anguished moan, Greg couldn’t deny it any longer. He pulled her violently into his arms and scented her.

“God the way you smell…” Greg moaned, lathing at Molly’s scent glands. He was drunk on it, the pheromones in her scent were left on his tongue called to his alpha side. This was what he had been waiting for all along. The smell he knew was hiding in Molly, free of the taint of suppressants. It was more, much more than he thought he could ever desire, than the alpha side of him thought possible in a mate. It was now going to be his and his alone. Greg growled into Molly’s skin as his blunt fingers dug into her back and in the curve of her hip.

The rumble of a growl rippled through Molly as she quaked in reply. “P-please, alpha, please!” Molly begged. She wanted to be his, now.

“I will taste you first.” Greg commanded fiercely as he crawled onto the bed, lowering his omega onto the cool sheets. She writhed with want, pleading for him to simply have what he wanted. She was offering it up to him freely. Greg smiled fiercely over her center before bringing his mouth down upon his treat. The first touch of his warm tongue to clit sent Molly howling in pained pleasure, once again the shivering pleasure climbed and climbed but the climax of her pleasure refused to come, even as her body tightened with the threat of release. Greg simply relished in the passion he wrought upon his omega, the taste of her flooded his mouth and left the most delicious burst of tang on his tongue. “Oh, Molly, the- oh- the way you taste. My omega.” Greg grabbed onto her hips as they never ceased to writhe, and were practically suspended in the air. Her slick dripped into his mouth like the sweetness honeyed nectar, not even the gods would have tasted. He groaned into her sopping, slick flesh in a continuous rumbled growl. The vibrations shuddered through his omega as she rode his talented mouth like a bucking wild mare. Greg was only getting started as he let her rest, moving his mouth up to suckle at her welcoming bosom before meeting her lips with his. He left a delicious trail of her slick that he rubbed into her skin.

This was only the beginning of him leaving his mark upon the omega he had chosen as his own.

“Please!” Molly begged as her hips refused to stop, her body was hungry for his alpha knot. Everything in her begged her alpha to quench the need he grew but refused to slake. But then, there it was, his alpha’s cock entering her. Molly moaned in his embrace as he pulled her body to meet his in his lap. He didn’t enter her from behind as their bodies would call for, didn’t climb on top of her and cover her skin with his, they met each other face to face as equals. Molly crooned and moaned her hips stuttering as Greg was finally seated inside of her.

“Easy, easy. Don’t. This will be over before it even has a chance to begin if you don’t stop.” Greg warned gently, stilling Molly’s hips as she sobbed little quaking moans from her chest. Her body shook as she tried to force her body to follow her alpha’s commands despite the desire that boiled under her skin. She wrapped the alpha into her arms, running her fingers through his hair, scenting along his scent glands. Greg cooed to her as if Molly were a wild stallion he was trying to tame. In a way she was to him. He would take this time to tame her, gladly. He would spend the whole of her heat making Molly his and his alone. He found it hard to simply take what was his, what she was offering him as any normal alpha would. No he would prove himself worthy of this omega by giving her a safe and secure place in his arms. He would see her satisfied, he would see to her needs and give Molly what he knew her body was craving. He groaned as he finally gave into what he wanted as he began to thrust into her welcoming heat. So hot, and so wet. It was the sweetest pleasure he had ever known as her walls rippled around his throbbing cock and it would only get better as his knot would grow, when he would lay his bite. “Move Molly,” he begged as Molly whimpered against the mounting pleasure his cock offered. “It’ll be so much better if you just …move.” Greg groaned against her chest as he couldn’t stop the movements of his starving hips as the alpha rut began in earnest.

They were lost to the sea of pleasure that had been awaiting the couple at the start of Molly’s heat. More than once Molly found her peak through Greg’s alpha cock but still he thrust into her through her climaxes and the pleasure climbed higher still. The flames of her heat were only further fanned by the plateaus she reached and Molly didn’t yet know how to put them out. She was numb with the heat as her slick dripped onto his cock, Greg’s lap was soaked with it, making a mess of them both and melding her scent with his. The mutual pleasure between the couple continued to mount with no chance of stopping, waiting for the bond that would form. Greg loved her fiercely, purely and without reserve, and kissed her into oblivion as his thrusts grew in intensity. The fiercer and more violent he was the more Molly moaned and begged for more as her body shuddered with each thrust. Her body was weak and tired but still she begged he not stop until they were one. His fingers bruised, his mouth left love bites. Her warmth and softness accepted all of the hardness and fierceness he had to offer her, his perfect compliment. Then Greg felt his knot begin to swell.

“Please alpha!” Molly begged with delight as the pleasure began to crest, finally giving her what her body craved. “Knot me. Bite me. Breed me!” She chanted and cried with delight as his knot kept growing.

“My mate, my omega. I will make you mine.” Greg growled into her skin as his alpha fangs presented with the last pulsing swell of his knot. The pressure inside Molly pushed against her g-spot and Molly orgasmed, her entire body shuddering as the pleasure raced through her white hot like lava. “Bite me too, mate. Bite me!” He demanded as she obeyed his call and laid a bite of her own to mimic his. Greg let out a howl that shook the walls of their bedroom as his knot finally tied her to him and with a growl bit down on her scent gland, laying his bite. Claiming her, as his cock rippled and coated her inner most places with his seed. When Greg laid his bite Molly squirted, the pleasure shaking through her in a full body orgasm, with pleasure she had never felt before as her hips stuttering out a Morse code of endless euphoria.

Their shared climax seemed to go on and on as between them a light shone. Brighter than anything either alpha or omega had seen before. In the white-out vision of their climax, they saw each other standing before the other, pure and chaste, their other half, their other self. The love they shared with each other wove the bond that was formed into an inseparable connection as old as time. With a shudder and a sigh they were brought back to each other in that moment, to reality as the first wave of Molly’s heat faded and Greg covered their tired bodies with the duvet, readying them for the next round of her heat. The seed that wasn’t absorbed by Molly’s body and was expelled, Greg made sure was rubbed into her skin, as Molly soothed the alpha’s bond bite she gave him with her tongue. “My mate…” Molly sighed into his neck when she could go on no longer and felt sleep take her as her body recharged for the next wave of her heat. Greg spent the time she was asleep, taking care of his basic needs and then diligently loving every inch of her skin with his mouth, kissing her bruises and licking at the bond bite to encourage it to heal into a permanent mark.

“My mate.” Greg sighed in relief as he watched the omega sleep and he used the time she slept to scent all along her neck and hair. His pleasure was found in watching her sleep happily in his arms by his side.

---

For seven days, at least two days beyond the norm for an omega to have a heat, Molly and Greg weathered the waves of heat that came of Molly’s prolonged suppressant use. It was faster in growing, stronger and stranger than anything Greg had encountered or heard of before. Every time they climaxed together they met on this strange white plane and embraced each other, solidified by their bonded love.

Greg had hoped as he fed her finger foods and eased bottled water into her mouth that this was just some secret that bonded couples kept to themselves during their heat. Something they experienced but couldn’t put into words, like trying to tell a child what it’s like to kiss the person you love. He didn’t think he could ever describe to his children what it was like to kiss Molly, let alone what had occurred between him and his mate during this intense heat.

Greg woke up the day after Molly’s heat ended and headed straight for the kitchen to make Molly a hearty breakfast. As her alpha, he could just smell the change in the air. Her pheromones didn’t scent the air as much and he no longer was walking around with constant painfully hard boner. He was proudly providing all he could for his skittish mate, and knew the omega would be hungry after eating so little during her heat. When they weren’t wrapped up in each other, she had slept, and Greg had taken great pains just to get her to nibble and have a drink only when absolutely necessary.

Molly stirred shortly after Greg left their nested bed. The smells of the room were entirely different now, it smelled of their bonded smells but also of the sex they shared during their heat. She looked down to the bed as she shrugged on her robe with a satisfied smile. The sheets themselves were definitely un-salvageable as they were torn in more than one place from Molly pulling at them with her nails …or her teeth. She blushed looking down upon the bed, she could barely remember the act of mating itself in the blind haze of her heat, but she couldn’t ever forget how her alpha made her feel. She pushed those feelings along the bond, and that alone gave her a sure footing she never felt before in any relationship.

Molly…

Molly heard Greg call her name in a whisper. “Greg?” She called back softly into the bathroom. She sensed his calming love and satisfaction over their bond. She went into it, and was perplexed at not finding him there. He sounded close enough to be by her side yet he wasn’t in the bathroom and she didn’t find him in their bedroom when she woke up. She heard puttering in the kitchen and decided maybe she had heard him from the kitchen. It wouldn’t be the first time she thought she had heard or smelt something since going off her suppressants gave her back the acute senses common to omegas.

With a shrug, Molly turned on the shower and gratefully stepped under the shower head to let the hot water cascade down her deliciously sore bruises. The bond bites, there were four in total, two on each side, that Molly had were long since healed, as they formed quicker than any other injuries since the saliva mates produced during heats allowed for such healing potential. Molly rubbed a flannel along the bites as gently as she could but couldn’t help the moan that shuddered through her at the simplest caress. That’s when she remembered, bond bites were erogenous zones, even more so when the bond bites were fresh. She let out another moan as she washed the other side of her neck as quickly as possible.

It was then the shower curtain was pulled open. “What is it?!” Greg asked worried with a dishtowel in one hand.

“Nothing! What’s the matter?!” Molly cried at being so rudely interrupted from her shower.

“I heard you cry my name!” Greg questioned with a lift of an eyebrow. His chest was heaving as he ran the length of the flat and had his guard up ready to fight off an intruder. He freely ran his eyes over her body as his eyes changed from fierce to ravenous in the blink of his eyes.

“I didn’t. Well I was thinking about you.” Molly admitted with a blush to her cheeks, the blush on her cheeks evidence enough of how she had been thinking about the alpha. She turned off the shower and wrapped herself in a towel. She didn’t think she could continue the shower with Greg standing before her in his clinging pajamas pants but nothing else.

“You were wondering if I would drive you to work this morning.” Greg confirmed with a quizzical brow. “And now you’re thinking about something else entirely.” Greg growled as he lifted her out of the tub and guided her backwards back into the bedroom to their bed.

“Yes, I was thinking that, but I didn’t say your name out loud.” Molly explained worriedly as she was then exposed to a thought her tits that ended on moan that didn’t sound like her own at all inside her own head but Greg’s.

“Greg that’s hardly helpful right now.” Molly scolded, she pushed against him to halt his movements, now knowing what the alpha had in mind.

“What do you mean?” Greg asked confusedly, losing the track of her thoughts in the face of more amicable activities he had every object of performing on her before going back into the kitchen.

“You were thinking about my tits.” Molly crossed her arms with a smirk.

“Yeah actually I was, bit hard to avoid with you standing in that bath… towel.” Greg drifted off more confused than ever. “Molly what’s going on?” He questioned.

“Oh fuck!" Greg felt her anxiety shudder across their bond. "I think we… you know…” Molly tried to help the detective inspector along with an encouraging wave of her hand.

“You know?” Greg questioned again, echoing Molly, still not understanding why his thoughts were not his own and why he could hear hers in his head as well.

“I think we’re soulbonded.” Molly explained. She sent feelings to Greg along their bond as a normal bonded couple would only their bond could go a step further. Across Greg’s mind, those feeling were translated into words, her thoughts, visions of them together, whatever Molly was thinking of that would give him the feelings along the bond Molly was trying to send. Greg had never before felt such security in their love. He was cemented to their bond, a solid foundation that was laid with the love they shared. There was a reason this had always felt right to them both. Now he knew the reason. They were meant for each other. Even as her fears and nerves at sharing such a bond shivered across their bond to him, there was the security of his love, his constancy to echo back and soothe her worries. Greg and Molly met each other’s eyes and the feelings between them only grew further as their equal love flowed and anchored them together.

They were each other’s other half, parted from each other at the beginning of time. Like so many other couples before them through history, Molly and Greg formed a soulbond with one another. Greg merely sent Molly his feelings on the matter to her. Standing in the middle of their shared space, Greg in his pajamas, Molly in a nothing but a bath towel, Molly had never felt more secure and more assured of Greg’s boundless feelings. Despite her fear of the new level of intimacy this gave them, she knew they would be alright. The words appearing in her mind.

I love you, always. That’s all that matters.

---

Chapter Text

Anesthesia

---

Greg and Molly were dressing for the start of their weekend after Molly’s heat that included a rather annoying visit to Mycroft’s townhouse so that he could use his ever omnipotent powers to push through their bonding paperwork. And the newly bonded couple knew that if they didn’t go to Molly’s advocate, he would come to her. It wasn’t right that anyone other than themselves should step into their nest, their newly scented bond space. The alpha inside Greg could find nothing but the deepest satisfaction in breathing in the conjoined smells of their nest. It was the first thing he smelled every day with his first breath after their bonding. Knowing Molly’s true scent, smelling it now in her hair, at her neck. It gave him a primal sense of pleasure.

Greg was fastening his belt on his suit as Molly stepped out from the shower in her little bath towel. Seeing her like that before she dressed – with the damp shower air still clinging to her glistening skin, little whorls of curly hair sticking to her neck from underneath the turban she wove until she combed out her hair – always managed to drive the alpha distracted. He approached the omega from behind as she swiped a special brand of omega-scent-enhancing lotion along her skin, currently oblivious to the alpha’s train of thought.

Neither Greg nor Molly knew how the soulbond worked, or if what they experienced was all that very different from the connection your average bonded pair shared. Sometimes they could feel each other’s connection and naturally were both able to reach across the bond purposefully. But then there were times, especially in the very end of Molly’s heat when the rush of fiery pheromones had begun to fade, when they could hear each other’s thoughts unprompted as if they had spoken to each other out loud. They still maintained a connection that didn’t require words as they could speak to each other with mere looks and shared thoughts. Greg could read Molly’s thoughts and feelings before, but there had always been a barrier between them, parts of her she shuttered away from him, but in their bond it seemed all of that melted away. More and more as their guards were relaxed between each other they were able to sense each other when they least expected it, a reflex neither alpha nor omega could control. There were times when Greg was forced out of their nest to go to Tesco’s while Molly had been sleeping at the very end of her heat, Greg found himself running back to their nest, feeling Molly’s fright at finding him not there.

Now the bond between them clued the omega into Greg’s thoughts, as he now also had her bondbites to look at, a possessive grumble rumbled through his chest as his tan hands appeared at her hips.

Molly turned around with a gasp to face the alpha, brandishing the opened lotion bottle. One squeeze and he would be forced to send his suit to the cleaners. “Don’t even think about Greg Lestrade, we have to be at Mycroft’s in half an hour and I don’t feel like taking another shower just because you feel the need to mark me with your scent… among other things.” Molly squinted at him though her scolding had little influence over the alpha as he growled leaning in for a kiss. She accepted the kiss but pushed the alpha away. “Whatever you’re thinking-”

“I wasn’t thinking of doing anything in particular.” Greg waggled his eyebrows kissing along her graceful collarbone. Inching his way to her bondbites. If he got to that point, she would lose all resolve. “Just making it up as I go along.” Greg grumbled a laugh into her silky skin, her scent filling his nose as his senses absorbed it deeply.

“That is a lie, Greg. I can hear your thoughts scheming, they’re not exactly subtle.” Molly scolded as she twirled her way out of his arms and across the room. “It’ll keep until later.” Molly encouraged pointing for the alpha to leave the bedroom so that she could get dressed.

Greg sighed. “Alright, alright.” He stopped before her for another kiss and wrapped his arm around her like an iron bar. Molly squeaked in question before she felt his wide blunt fingers run purposefully around the edges of her bondbites. He didn’t even need to touch them and already Molly was a puddle of gushing pleasure before him. He spent several hours the day her heat broke sending her into waves upon waves of mind-numbing pleasure, as he caressed and kissed each one until he had covered them with his mouth and hummed until she begged him to stop gushing in an orgasm like she would if he fingered her g-spot.

Now as she stood there in nothing but her bath towel, she was ready to tell Mycroft to bloody well wait until they were ready to rejoin the public and be apart. She clung to Greg’s well-muscled shoulders that rippled under her touch. “Greg.” She warned looking up into the alpha’s eyes that were sparkling, though the lines around them told of his serious, possessive train of thought as he eased his fingers away from her bites to her delicate chin. He titled her jaw to the other side to expose the bites on the other side for his perusal and hummed, with a certain, curt nod.

“Those will need refreshing soon.” Greg muttered as he went to leave the bedroom.

Molly halted him before he left as he opened up the bedroom door. “What do you mean they’ll need refreshing?” Molly questioned wondering at what the alpha thought of the bites that littered the skin of her neck. She liked them just as they were.

“You don’t think I’d let you leave this flat without everyone being able to see for miles that you’re mine now, do you?” Greg left the bedroom with a boyish smile and a wink, leaving Molly standing in the middle of the room, echoes of his touch still whispering down her spine to her intimate places.

Greg almost made them late for their meeting with Mycroft.

---

As the heat of summer blew out with the autumn of October, Molly and Greg found themselves called once again to Mycroft’s townhouse. Greg took Molly’s hand as they approached the front door and pushed through the bond to her all the comforting feelings he possessed as he felt her trepidation shudder through from his side of the bond. If either of them reached across the bond, they couldn’t only send their feelings but they could sense each other and know how the other was feeling without needing words. It gave a whole new meaning to the word communication in their relationship. But Greg was glad of it, too often did he feel Molly hid from him, hid her feelings from him, though he offered her the stability she needed. Now, there was nowhere and no way to hide from Greg.

Perhaps all that Lestrade had to give her in assurance was a bit much, when, overcome with the feelings he gave her, Molly stumbled as they walked up to Mycroft’s door. She turned to Greg with a stiff smile. “I’m alright, love.” She felt Greg’s thoughts come through to her mind.

I love you.

“I know.” Molly smiled secretly to Greg just as the door to the townhouse opened. Molly rushed her own feelings to Greg but as the bond between them was new her thoughts and emotions hit Greg like a brick wall causing the alpha to stumble backwards. The wind was knocked from his chest as he became overwhelmed, tears springing to his eyes.

Anthea eyed the couple from across the threshold with a raised eyebrow. “Doctor, Detective Inspector, Mycroft is expecting you. This way.” Anthea took their coats with a knowing smile as the couple barely saw her as they looked to one another. She pretended not to notice as they shared a heated kiss in the foyer before following her down the main hallway of the house towards Mycroft’s office. They walked through the door as Anthea held it open for them. “Congratulations on your bonding by the way. It suits you.” Anthea dimpled as they walked through thanking her before she closed the door.

“Good afternoon, Molly, Gregory. Please, have a seat.” Mycroft encouraged as the couple took the two seats before the desk where Molly sat not one year ago to hear the decision that her father had chosen her mated partner for her. Mycroft was glad to see the now happy result as the couple was practically inseparable. As Molly moved to take Greg’s hand, he seemed to know she wanted it as he automatically reached for her without looking. When their eyes met, Mycroft doubted either of them knew what it looked like to be the observer of the looks passing between them. “Shall we begin?” Mycroft suggested with a long suffering sigh.

“What?” Molly asked blinking as if coming back from another realm. Mycroft knew enough of Molly Hooper to know that she was never this vacuous and neither was Lestrade, gold fish that he was. He lifted an eyebrow to the couple.

“Shall we begin documenting your bond?” Mycroft explained as he brought the paperwork before them. “Anthea.” Mycroft called to the door and Anthea was there at the ready, walking in with a camera.

“Please take off your jumper Molly, I need to take a picture of your bondbites.” Anthea instructed succinctly. As Molly began to take off her sweater, Lestrade stood taking off his suit jacket and undoing the buttons of his shirt.

“What about my bites?” Lestrade questioned as he started to undo his tie.

“You both laid bondbites?” Mycroft raised his eyebrow to the couple. He wasn’t well versed in the mating habits of alpha and omegas but to not only see as many bondbites as he did cover Molly’s neck, they could probably be seen from space and were hardly subtle as the fresh bruises had yet to fade, but to also now see an equal number and equally as deep bites cover Greg’s neck as he pulled at his tie to loosen it. Well, it was rather unusual.

“Yes we did.” Greg lifted his chin to the beta, his metaphorical hackles rising in challenge of what Mycroft thought of him being an alpha with his omega’s bondbites fresh upon his neck.

“Well, we don’t need to document yours. You’re her alpha. She’s the omega. We just need evidence of Molly’s.” Mycroft explained writing down the information he needed to upon the bond registry sheets. Greg tensed as Anthea helped Molly adjust the collar of the shirt she wore to expose the bites to their eyes. While Greg knew it was necessary, he only liked the idea of people looking to her bites as a sign that she was his, but he didn’t like the idea of anyone else looking to them as he did, and touching them laying their own scent upon Molly’s skin that should only be his. Greg growled deep inside his chest to Mycroft’s assistant. Mycroft let out a long suffering sigh. “How many bondbites did you lay and how long did Molly’s heat last?” Mycroft called loudly to the alpha to distract him from what Anthea was doing.

Molly’s gaze followed her mate as he looked to Mycroft, relieved that his heavily possessive gaze was no longer on her as Anthea touched her bites. As soon as her mate began growling possessively, her attention was no longer on getting pictures of her bondbites taken but to what had displeased the alpha.

“Molly if you would turn your neck for me please.” Anthea encouraged with a dimpled smile.

“What?” Molly asked her mind coming back to reality. She seemed pulled to the alpha until Anthea demanded her attention.

“Turn your neck, Molly.” The omega did as Anthea instructed and once the pictures were taken she handed Molly her jumper. “Feel free to join Mycroft and Lestrade. I’ll go print these sir, and bring them back in a moment.” Anthea called to her boss.

“Thank you my dear.” Mycroft called to his assistant as he watched her exit. Once Molly was before Lestrade he kissed along her neck where he could scent the smells Anthea left behind. Mycroft watched this display as Molly eyed him apologetically, unable to stop Lestrade from doing so as he rubbed his scent along where he could. Anthea had returned back to the room and yet the scenting still continued, Molly had tried to get Lestrade to stop but he only growled until she submitted. Mycroft tolerated this for as long as he could until he sighed with exasperation, Anthea had been poised to write in the answers to the paperwork for several minutes. “As much as I would love to watch this overtly possessive knothead display, I do have other things to do today.” Lestrade turned to Mycroft with a grumble his eyes sharp with annoyance. “Alright. Now that we may continue.” Lestrade and Molly answered the questions that were on the forms as Mycroft asked them, Anthea writing down the answers. Mycroft sighed turning to another page in the documents. “How deep would you say your bond is?” Mycroft questioned eyeing the couple, Anthea’s pen poised to mark down their answer.

Alpha and omega shared an intimate look as they wordlessly seemed to come a decision. Mycroft watched their expressions change as if they were talking without needing words. He had heard of bonded couples being close, John and Sherlock were testament enough to that, but he had never seen or heard of a connection such as this. Molly turned to Mycroft as Greg still looked to her, holding her hand, his expression grave with the emotions they shared. Mycroft watched as under Lestrade’s influence Molly squared her shoulders. The normally timid omega finding her strength. “I think we… soulbonded.” Molly explained looking to the beta and back to her alpha. Mycroft’s expression dropped until he watched Molly turn back to the alpha and hung onto him.

“Would you like to explain to me how you think this came about?” Mycroft asked uncertain until he listened to their shared explanation of what occurred during her the conclusion of each wave of her heat. Mycroft nodded curtly going to his desk and pulling out his business card folder. “I think you’re both right but I just want to call a friend of mine to confirm it. She’s a bonding specialist, and has a PhD in mating psychology. I’ll only be a moment.” Mycroft announced though the couple wouldn’t even notice if he left the room. He dialed the familiar number and spoke to his friend. She quite enthusiastically confirmed what the couple suspected. This was indeed a soulbond, a very rare one at that and she was desperate to meet with the couple as they would prove to be an interesting bonded pair to study and that they would need her help to strengthen their capabilities in sharing this rare and exceptional bond. Mycroft promised he would pass along her information and let them know her enthusiasm to help them. He rang off with the woman and turned his attention back to the couple that had eyes for no one else but each other. “The specialist I talked to confirmed your suspicions. She is almost completely certain about it, but would like to see the evidence for herself. But she believes that this is indeed a soulbond.” Mycroft confirmed calling Molly and Greg’s attention back to him.

“What do we do?” Molly questioned as Greg’s arm came around her. He was so grateful for every bit of Molly’s faith and love that she put in him and he knew she was afraid of what this meant not only for their relationship but what this meant for her autonomy, her freedom, her independence. He was grateful for every moment he felt her love and trust reach out for him from across their bond. He knew little of what to make of this himself.

“Nothing. According to the paperwork, you’re done here. But I would suggest you talk to my friend. Her name is Regina Gupta. Her husband Parth Gupta is a native of India and assists her with her work by helping to council the couples and assisting in the bondmates’ communication by reaching through the bond using guided mediation. They’re quite successful, as unusual as their methods are.” Mycroft gave a tightlipped smile as he handed the woman’s card to the couple. “She’s expecting your call. Though I believe she would be encouraged to meet you as soon as possible.” Mycroft excused the couple with a wave of his hand as he went back to his desk. “Anthea will have your bonding certificate and I’m sure you’ll understand I mean this sincerely when I say congratulations. I’m happy that this all worked out for the best.” Mycroft gave the couple another stern, though polite smile as they left.

Anthea was waiting for the couple, handing the certificate to Lestrade. He took it with a curt “ta.” He stuffed the piece of paper into the breast pocket of his suit jacket with a barely contained snarl. He hated that this was necessary. He had Molly, he had their bond, and to have this certificate felt like it was Victorian England and she was a prized mare he just bought. Molly shrugged on her coat with an understanding, resigned smile. He sighed as he shrugged on his own and took her hand as Anthea bid them a good afternoon.

They were bonded, and it was official. And she was no longer in danger of breaking the law, which was what mattered.

–––

Once outside Mycroft’s townhouse, the couple breathed a sigh of relief. It was finally over, the will, becoming bonded, the struggles they went through to get to this point, they were free to just be together. Greg gestured with his head in the direction of his car. He followed Molly with a possessive hand at her back. Molly watched as people that passed them eyed her bondbites. She was sure that they were probably visible from space, but she blushed at the exposed feeling their stares gave her. When Molly turned to Greg at her side, he didn’t dare try to hide the smug, proud look in his eye. Molly blushed further but smiled as Greg opened the door for her.

Once Greg sat inside the car Molly looked to him curiously digging out her phone. “Should we call her, the specialist?” She questioned.

Greg shrugged. “I’m fine with our bond as it is, but it is unusual. We could use advice from an expert that knows more about it. If we don’t like her, or what she has to say, we’ll leave.”

“Alright.” Molly called and as if the woman was psychic knew it was her before Molly barely introduced herself. Dr. Gupta was very warm and encouraged them to come to her home with an open invitation to do so as soon as they could. Greg wordlessly handed her a pen when the woman continued to give her address in the same breath she was encouraging them to stop by that day for a visit. She rang off before Molly could suggest a day they were free to go to her place and Molly looked down from her phone up to Greg with an appalled expression. She could never envision Mycroft and this woman being in the same room with each other let alone being friends. She said as much to Greg.

“Well best just go and get it over with.” Greg announced starting the car. Molly read him the address and they drove the short distance from Mycroft’s town house to the home of Dr. and Mr. Gupta.

–––

Molly and Greg walked up to the door to the traditional townhouse that was similar to Mycroft’s though younger in style and rang the bell. They were disarmed upon walking into the place by the warm atmosphere. The woman before them wore very relaxed clothing. She had curly, brassy blonde hair, blue eyes that were almost purple, the tan skin of a well-traveled woman and smelled of jasmine. Molly had expected her to greet them with “Nameste” and bow but she simply shook their hands and then hugged them both kissing both of their cheeks in turn. The woman had the decency to look sheepish at their wide-eyed stares.

“I’m so pleased to meet you. I knew today would be a wonderful day. And here you are. I’m Dr. Gupta.” Greg and Molly were reserved in their thanks for her seeing them and she waved away their concern about interrupting her weekend. “Oh please, it is no trouble. I’ve been waiting for you both for some time. Soulbonds are so very rare and I have yet to witness one to complete my research. My husband is just inside, in my study. Please take off your outer things and hang them up just there and feel free to go inside and join him. And I’ll bring the tea.” Dr. Gupta pushed them in the direction of the study with a warm smile.

Greg and Molly walked into the office and found themselves in an Indian oasis. Where there had been hints of the couple’s travels and their work throughout the house that Lestrade and Molly could see, inside the office it felt like they had stepped into another world. There were fertility sculptures and statues of women and men embracing in different positions that rivaled the great walls of the temples in Khajuraho. There were several thriving plants around the space, lush ferns and Molly could barely see the furniture in the room around all of the foliage and artwork. The walls were decorated with modern art of couples mating and embracing. Molly walked over to one of the photographs as it showed a gay couple in the throws of heat, right before the alpha knotted the omega, the alpha’s teeth bared and ready to lay his bite upon the offered neck of the omega. She observed the piece before feeling Greg come up behind her. They shared a heated gaze as they both remembered their memories of the heat they shared.

“That photograph was taken in Brazil, they were a very interesting couple. One of the deepest bonds I’ve ever witnessed, but they don’t have anything on the potential I see flowing between you both.” The man held a watering can in his hand and reached out with his other. “I’m Parth Gupta, thank you so much for coming.” Parth Gupta was a happy and relaxed man with two dimples that came out when he smiled to Molly and Greg. His gentle, reserved air relaxed the couple immediately. He didn’t pounce upon them the way his wife had.

“Thank you for having us.” Greg smiled to the man shaking the hand he offered. “This is quite the place you have here.” Lestrade smirked to Gupta gesturing to all the decorations and plants around the study.

“We’ve traveled all over the world and like to pick up art from our travels. It’s interesting to see the perspectives of bonds throughout the world and what is the custom that differs from our own. Both in India and here in England, in the roots of first world culture. My wife will also, when allowed, ask a professional photographer to take pictures of a couple during a heat as we witness it. This was one of those pictures.” Parth smiled to them. Gesturing to the sofa that sat a comfortable distance from the desk, before an exceptionally low coffee table and surrounded by cushions placed strategically on the floor around it. “We’ve observed many couples willing to share their bonds with us and we’re just happy that you could be one of them. You being here today is entirely our pleasure.”

“Indeed it is!” Dr. Gupta appeared from behind them, walking into the room with a tea tray laden with warm biscuits, pastries and generously filled sandwiches. She poured the tea and encouraged the mated couple to take as much as they wanted before sitting on the floor next to her husband. “I hope we aren’t being too presumptuous in asking you to come here. I was just so thrilled with what I heard from Mycroft. It isn’t often I’ve heard of something as deep as the bond the two of you have described.” Dr. Gupta set her tea down as her expression turned serious. She reached for a pad of paper and a nib pen she uncapped and held at the ready. “Would you mind if I ask for you both to describe for me in detail what occurred in the days leading up to the heat, why it was a week long and what happened in the interim of the heat?” She asked earnestly. Her pen sat poised to begin taking notes.

“Dr. Gupta…” Molly began uncertain in the face of having to describe her private life with this woman she hadn’t known before now.

“Regina please.” Regina encouraged, sharing a nervous expression with her husband. She hoped she hadn’t pushed too far too soon. It was often she came across to the couples as over-zealous before she could encourage their trust in her. Often Parth would need to assure the couples for many days before they would agree to meeting with Regina again.

Molly looked to Lestrade and they shared an unspoken moment across their bond that more than confirmed for the other couple what they knew to be true. Greg pushed the security and stability Molly needed to feel. If you want to leave, just say the word. Molly smiled to him taking his hand. With a breath she looked to the couple, looking to them anxious that they might leave. “Okay.” Molly smiled to them and they explained their story from the beginning, their attraction to one another, they shared a smile at the indication that though Greg’s marriage and Molly’s engagement separated them they were drawn together from the start, the will, Molly’s use of suppressants, and when she got her heat, the bonding and what they experienced every time Greg knotted her, including Greg encouraging Molly to bite him in return.

Parth and Regina listened with rapt attention and then recalled themselves sharing a pleased look. “How wonderful!” Regina exalted with a sigh. “Well I’ve heard all I need to hear.” Regina smiled a wide, happy smile to the couple. “I believe I will step aside and allow Parth to guide you through a session of mediation. We just want to get a sense of what this bond is like for you both.” Regina smiled, getting up to go to her desk.

“You won’t be joining us? Molly asked uncertain.

“Oh no, this is Parth’s area of expertise, I just write the dissertations.” Regina smiled settling into the desk going to her computer that sat on the table.

Greg lifted an uncertain eyebrow to the doctor’s husband. Parth chuckled, understanding the man’s doubts about the meditation. “I assure you the process is completely painless, and you both might find it helpful. I’m going to teach you how to reach across your bond and find that plane you spoke of, you’ll find that you’ll even be able to control when you hear each other as well.” Parth explained. “If you would come down here and get comfortable facing each other, we can begin.” Parth grabbed another cushion from across the room, laying it between the others, and allowed Greg and Molly to get comfortable on the floor.

Greg looked to Molly. He grumbled as he tried to fit his creaking joints into a comfortable position on the floor. “Alright there, old man?” Molly teased with a small smile.

“Yeh, I know where you live.” Greg retorted with a grumble. They looked to each other barely able to contain their giggles.

“Shall we begin?” Parth encouraged with a well-meaning sigh. Often couples became teasing in the face of a serious perusal into their bonds. He didn’t know why, but often it proved evidence of the connection between the couples whether the bond was fresh or there for years. Molly and Greg caught each other’s eye and the giggles evaporated for their deeper connection that grew between them like electricity. “Take a deep breath together and close your eyes.” Parth instructed and as the mated couple listened to his instructions he did the same. “Now reach out across the bond for each other.” Parth instructed. The words he spoke quickly faded away as Greg and Molly joined together across their bond.

The tendrils from the omega and alpha intertwined. Molly felt herself physically reaching out to grab onto Greg’s hands as he reached for hers. The connection allowed for their parts of the bond to join as well and they felt their souls embrace like they were embracing every time they came together. The physical world faded in that instant. No longer were they in the study of Dr. Gupta’s home but upon the white plane they witnessed during their mating.

“Welcome.” They looked between them, across the way and saw Parth approaching them. “My apologies for intruding upon your space,” Parth witnessed Greg’s hackles raising as his teeth were bared as he moved to put himself between his omega and the intruder. This was normally not his response in the every day. He recalled himself with a shake of his head. “This is the soul plane, not the afterlife, don’t be alarmed, but this is where the spirit’s energy lies. The average bonded omega and alpha will rarely be able to meet here, but for the deeper bonds it is possible with some hard work and time. However, I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t witness it myself, as you are soul bonded you can meet here with regularity and ease.” Parth smiled with a pleased, excited expression. “I have only witnessed such strength in bonds once or twice, but as your bond is quite fresh it is miraculous.” Parth looked from alpha to omega and put his hands together in a grateful prayer. “Your bond should prove to be a blessed one.” He reached out to them and waited for the alpha and omega to reach out in turn. Molly and Greg felt the grateful, happy, calming energy the man sent the both of them. They all radiated a yellow light, bright like the sun. “I just sent you both energy, my feelings. And you can both do something similar for each other, even pleasure your mate upon this plane without even touching each other.” Parth explained. Greg turned to Molly and watched as that piece of information gave him ideas that he couldn’t hide from his omega and brought a blush to her cheeks. Parth cleared his throat. “I think you will find that nothing is hidden from your mate while you are here, or from anyone you invite into your space.” Parth chuckled at the blush that appeared upon both the alpha and the omega. “But from now on this space is for the both of you and it is yours alone, I will only enter it with your permission, if we continue these sessions. Your alpha and omega sides are at their purist here, free from worldly concerns, and your souls are free to bare to one another. So it is imperative that you only invite those that you trust the most, those that are able to reach this plane with you, as their souls are also exposed here. To not trust those you let in here would be quite dangerous, to your bond and to you both. If you wouldn’t mind, I will observe you both as you share your feelings with one another.” Parth stepped away and allowed the couple to reach out once again.

What he witnessed he almost couldn’t believe, the energy that flowed between Lestrade and Molly was the purest light he had ever seen. It was more than just love, it was all of the passion and affection the couple felt for one another rushing out like a dam that had burst. He could hear Molly moaning both in the physical world and their bond plane as Greg’s alpha side embraced her omega, doing to her what he had been dying to do since that morning before they left. When their bonded halves found the completion of these emotions, Molly and Greg broke from the meditation, Molly with a gasp of ecstasy and Greg with a moaned rumble.

Regina and Parth looked on as the couple came up from the meditation. The light that filled the bond plane also spilled out into the physical world, and filled the crowded office. When Molly and Greg broke from their trance, only then did the light decrease. It was a very brief look into the limitless possibilities of their bond.

Molly felt as if she had been riding Greg’s for hours as she tried to catch her breath. Pleasure shivered through her yet she was only still holding the alpha’s hands.

“Please take a minute to compose yourselves. Regina and I will give you both a moment alone.” Parth knowingly made a hasty exit dragging his wife out by the elbow. While his wife was completely unwitting in the face of this revelation into her research, Parth couldn’t miss the lustful energy passing between the couple.

Once the door to the office closed, Greg brought Molly into his embrace so that she was curled up in his arms. The omega was still shaking from the feelings that had flowed between them. Greg felt overwhelmed by the feelings as well, it wasn’t possible but the deep love Molly had for him was practically tangible as their bonds came together. He kissed all over Molly’s bites, scenting along her hair drawing comfort from her smell as he encouraged Molly to scent and she did gratefully, he kissed all over her face until he reached her lips.

“What was that?” Molly questioned once she could find her voice. It was so much more than just when Greg would send his feelings across the bond, it was everything. It was Greg’s longing for her while she was with Tom, it was his wish that she could see how much he loved her, his agony at not being able to comfort her the way he wanted to when her father died, wanting her to come to him without the ruling of her father’s will and it was his desire for her that fought for dominance of his thoughts every day. Everything he felt for her from the first day they met, to taking notice of her during his divorce, watching her struggle through her failed attempts at finding what they share but with other men, and wanting to erase them all so that he was the first and last man she would ever know. She had felt all of this at once and more. It was the possibility, the unbounding love that laid underneath his constancy. Molly felt it all and it had overwhelmed her and sent her into raptures.

“I have no idea, but it felt pretty good. Whatever it was…” Greg joked though the emotions that still thundered through him and sent his heart pounding were not a joke at all. He for his part had felt everything Molly had tried to hide from him and he didn’t like it all. Her worries and doubts that he was constant in his love for her, since the will forced them together. The pain she had suffered thinking she had lost him when her love for him had been realized. Her uncertainties at letting go, going off her suppressants, allowing herself to love him and trusting that it didn’t mean she would lose her independent self to her omega side. Then finally it all blossomed into the trust she put into her chosen alpha to finally let go and she had right into Greg’s arms. The comfort and stability could only be eclipsed by the echoing feelings she had from him that only magnified and strengthened her own. The couple allowed themselves one more kiss before they sensed that Regina and Parth came back into the room, this time with a fresh pot of tea.

The couples shared a quiet cup of tea before Lestrade’s curiosity couldn’t be held back much longer. “What was that exactly? What happened back there- when Molly and I reached across our bond to one another?” He questioned with a quizzical brow, uncertain as to what he just experienced.

“It was the manifestation of your bond!” Regina announced, her eyes sparkling at the academic opportunity their bond provided for her research. “I don’t believe anyone has ever seen the like. Such bonds are the things of myths and historical legends.” Regina muttered fantastically. “I was able to capture it all on my mobile if you would like to see.” Molly and Greg nodded uncertain as Regina allowed them to watch what she and Parth had witnessed. The empty space that laid between the couple had slowly brightened, growing in intensity until the light enveloped the room and you could barely see anything on the screen. When the light finally decreased, Molly and Greg were clutching onto each other afraid the other might float away. That’s when the recording ended.

Molly was a scientist first and foremost, and Greg was a cop, neither believed what they couldn’t see with their own eyes. For this to be such visible evidence of what they had experienced in their meditation, they couldn’t deny it. “What does it mean?” Molly questioned, unfamiliar with bonds and what to do with the strangeness of their own.

“Nothing you don’t want to, that you’re uncomfortable with.” Regina announced with a broad warm smile. “That is the beauty of what you share, it is a cherished gift bestowed upon you both and for you to do with as you pleased. Though Parth and I agree that you shouldn’t be without guidance. If you would like, we can offer what knowledge we have to help solidify this connection between you.” Molly and Greg looked to each other uncertain.

“We don’t want to change it, just help you to discover the depths of it and what it has to offer the both of you.” Parth encouraged calmly. “With time it will only grow.” Regina and Parth reached to each other, knowing what time had done for their bond as well. They couldn’t imagine the depths such a soul bond could reach if Molly and Greg practiced reaching across it. Molly and Greg eyed each other, they wanted time alone to discuss it.

“We’d like to discuss this a little first. It’s a lot to take in.” Greg let out a breath as he stood with Molly. “We’re sure that we probably will, but for now we have a lot to talk about.” Greg apologized for their retreat but he wanted to be alone with Molly for a bit, and Greg knew Molly felt the same. They thanked the couple before them and went to the hall as Regina and Parth allowed them to leave reluctantly. Molly and Greg left with the promise to call them soon and breathed in the cold air in relief, their eyes met and Greg wordlessly led Molly to the car. They barely spoke as they wound their way back to Molly’s apartment.

It was their nest that both alpha and omega longed for and once inside Molly fell into Greg’s waiting embrace, leaning upon him for support, clinging to the alpha. Greg scooped Molly up with a grumble and walked the short distance to the couch to sit, taking Molly into his arms. She quickly straightened and began to undo Greg’s buttons with shaking fingers.

“Wha-?” Greg questioned as Molly shoved his suit jacket off of his arms he held akimbo in his confusion.

“I need to feel you. It’s been such a strange day.” Molly mumbled as her lips sought her the scent glands at Greg’s neck. “I need- I want- Please- j-just… Please!” Molly pleaded as her fingers fought to undo the buttons of his shirt. Greg stilled her hands and at her whine he shushed her and picked her up into his arms to carry them to the bedroom.

The only thing that would pacify Molly and assure Greg was the contact of skin against skin. Laid bare from the experiences that day, they found comfort in the love they shared as their bodies came together.

–––

The weeks that followed Greg and Molly did go back to see Regina and Parth. Both felt it was necessary to control how they reached across the bond to each other, so that they could continue to live life as normally as possible.

Greg found himself reaching across the bond as he walked into New Scotland Yard early that morning. He had just dropped off Molly at St. Bart’s. I’d rather be at home with you. Greg reached across the bond sending the feelings of longing, until he felt Molly’s omega side acknowledge his sentiments. He chortled as he rode the elevator up to his division. It was easier than sending a text and far more efficient in showing his omega how he felt.

Me too. Greg grumbled in satisfaction at Molly’s returning of his feelings as the doors to the elevator slid open. He had returned to work a week ago yet the calm that settled over the division was cautious. Moriarty was laying low. It was like waiting for a deer in the woods while on the hunt. You couldn’t see the animal through the trees but you knew it was there, it was just a matter of finding it so that you could level your gun at it, barely making a move and shoot it.

Now however, Lestrade made his way with his first coffee of the day to the Chief Inspectors office. He was to have a conversation he had put off for some time. Now that the certification of their bonding sat inside Molly’s side table drawer of their bedroom, it was only right that he let the Chief Inspector know that he had taken on a mate.

Lestrade knocked on the office door, he opened it and poked his head inside. “Chief, mind if I had a word?” He inquired. The Chief Inspector waved him in and Lestrade had to fight the smile that came to his face at seeing the crooked shape of the Chief’s nose from where John had broken it. He always bought John a pint after a hard day at work just because the sight of his crooked nose would be enough to brighten Lestrade’s hard day. He had felt so guilty that night that he had tried to arrest Sherlock, and allowed Donovan and Anderson to force him into going to the Chief Inspector but he would always smile at the memory of John in cuffs with the Chief Inspector walking out with a bloody nose. He had often wanted to do that himself, when the stupid man exercised his power over Lestrade during critical stages in his investigation.

“I was just going to send for you myself Lestrade.” The man grumbled from behind his desk.

“Chief?” Lestrade questioned with a quizzical lift of his eyebrow, not understanding what the Chief Inspector would want of him.

“I just got a letter from the Yard’s Bonding Law division, informing me that I need to update my personnel records regarding your mated status. Now imagine when in my surprise I ring over there to correct them only to be informed that they have a certificate for an omega with your name on the alpha signature line.” The man raved in anger showing Lestrade the letter from the Bond Law division. He dropped his head, knowing that Mycroft would be quicker than he would be at anticipating when his boss would be informed as to his bonded status.

“I do apologize, boss. I was coming today to let you know that I did take a mate very recently. I had an associate of mind push through the paper work, as my mate and I were cutting it close with the space of time we had available to us. I didn’t want her to become an illegal omega.” Lestrade tried to fend off the Chief’s anger.

“And who is this omega?! I looked the omega up and imagine my surprise to find out that it’s none other than the pathologist at Bart’s morgue that you yourself use for practically every autopsy on record. My God man! I forgave that whole Sherlock business,” Lestrade had to bite back his derisive laugh, the Chief Inspector had to let Sherlock have access to the Yard’s cases at the behest of Mycroft and the Prime Minister. The Yard would be no where without the famous consulting detective and the whole of the world knows it. “And now you’re running around like a young alpha buck, getting yourself mated to the first omega girl to flit across your path.” The chief fumed.

“Now wait just a minute Chief,” Lestrade growled threateningly recalling his boss to his senses. “You can talk about me however you like, rumors being what they are I’m surprised that you hadn’t heard about this sooner but I didn’t do anything of the kind. Molly and I were friends, for a while. There was nothing so sordid about it. She helped me through the divorce, and when her father died he left the responsibility of being her alpha to me and I was there for her during her mourning period.” Lestrade grumbled, jaw working as he tried to have patience with the idiot before him. “And Dr. Hooper and I work together it’s true but I’ve been nothing but a professional this entire time and so has she. I came here today to tell you that we are mated. That’s all.” The Detective Inspector defended his actions, his chin held stubbornly high.

“Well. Fine, next time just let me know before I have to find out from someone else.” The Chief Inspector sighed in resignation. A knock on the door, announced Donovan as her head poked through.

“Sorry to disturb sirs, but Lestrade there’s been a new case, a body found along the Thames between Battersea and Waterloo.” Donovan announced looking anxious to get to the scene.

“Are Sherlock and John there?” Lestrade questioned who looked to the Chief that waved him to the door. The matter was cleared up anyway.

“No sir, was waiting for you to get them. The team is already on their way to the scene and there’s officers there already taping off the area.” Donovan told him standing there at the ready with his coat and keys.

“That location sounds familiar.” Lestrade nodded to Donovan as they made their way to the lift. This was how all the Moriarty trouble started before, at the same place. Lestrade immediately pulled out his mobile shooting a text to Sherlock and John. Sherlock responded immediately that they’d meet him there.

“Not sure whether or not it’s Moriarty but there’s no way of knowing.” Donovan agreed as they climbed into Lestrade’s car. With blues and twos flashing, Lestrade and Donovan ploughed their way through London traffic to make their way to the scene.

–––

At the same dump site that started it all, and lead to Sherlock’s fake suicide, Lestrade saw such a similar scene that he had to pinch himself to make sure it wasn’t merely a recurring dream. Only this time, with the water of the Thames in low tide, pulled away from its banks, laid a naked man instead of a clothed one. Swelled with water from the river and smelling like it. He felt for this poor soul as the security guard had at least been spared some sort of dignity and still wore his uniform. A sheet now was the only thing protecting the man in his death from the prying eyes of the world around them.

Donovan and Lestrade were surveying the scene when a cab pulled up with Sherlock and John spilling out of it. Sherlock was upon the body instantly, circling it with his usual keen eyes. Already absorbing details no one else could see. John looked upon the scene, his jaw working in tension as he felt the painful recurrence of emotions that Lestrade had felt. Only his were magnified as he had to live for two years without his mate and now he felt it happening all over again. He went to Sherlock’s side as he prowled around the body.

“Well what have you got?” Lestrade questioned anxiously, worrying that this could be the start of Moriarty and worse that he could be after Molly.

“Nothing yet, at least nothing of importance.” Sherlock muttered getting in close on the body.

“Nothing important?! Freak, a man has been murdered.” Donovan objected, face aghast at the man finding nothing here to interest his morbid fascination with murders.

“Yes but I can’t solve them all for you, can I?” Sherlock questioned with a sneer, rearing upon the sergeant from where she stood behind Sherlock, ferocious at being interrupted. John eyed the woman threateningly, tired of hearing Sherlock referred to as a freak just because they couldn’t do their jobs without his help. “Finding Moriarty is all that matters right now. If it has nothing to with him then I have better things to do somewhere else than solve your crimes for you.” Sherlock growled before turning his attention back upon the body.

Donovan looked to Lestrade affronted by the consulting detective’s behavior and he merely waved her away. Petty squabbles didn’t matter now, the only thing that mattered was knowing whether or not this was about Moriarty and what they were going to do about it if it was. Donovan turned with a low frustrated growl, barking orders to the policemen milling about looking like they had nothing to do. “It’s the same dump site as the security guard, Sherlock. That has to mean something.” Lestrade asserted watching the consulting detective work.

“It could be, or it could just be coincidence. Won’t know for sure until there’s solid evidence to tell us… otherwise.” Sherlock muttered reaching down to the skin were it was already turning a livid purple as the blood settled, suggesting the body had laid there for some time. “John. I need you here.” Sherlock called, John kneeling next to Sherlock, at the ready to be of use.

“That color isn’t right, I’d say this body would have had to have lain here for more than twenty four hours, but my guess is it hasn’t laid here for more than eighteen at most.” Sherlock nodded, confirming the doctor’s opinion. “That would mean there’s an injury here. Let’s turn him over, help me Sherlock.” Together with a heaving breath, Sherlock and John turned the water swollen corpse over, onto his back. There was the evidence of the settling blood. There was writing carved into the man’s back. “What?” John questioned confused, barely able to make out the jagged letters sliced into the skin.

“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me. I’m the gingerbread man.” Sherlock read the jagged letters, voice quavering in surprise. Fairy tales again. Only this time, Moriarty wasn’t going to let someone else be the villain. He looked up to Lestrade and then looked around to the skyline for Moriarty.

“What does it mean?” Lestrade questioned backing away from the gruesome sight. “Sherlock what’s the matter?” Looking at the adrenaline fueled panic that gripped Sherlock as he spun around the space.

“Those are fresh, recent. Within two hours of someone finding the body.” Sherlock announced looking to the gathering crowds around them. Sherlock Holmes was always annoyingly able to draw crowds. “He’s here.” Sherlock muttered to no one spinning around to look up at the circle of factories they were surrounded by.

“What?” Lestrade questioned, his brow coming together angrily. John backed away from the body, to help Sherlock look around for any sign of the consulting criminal, feeling the omega’s panic and anxiety.

“He’s here. Moriarty. He’s somewhere here.” Sherlock looked up and saw a flash of light from upon a nearby room. A knife. “There!” Sherlock shouted, running across the crime scene to the abandoned building. John following after him.

“Sherlock!” Lestrade called before going to follow in his wake.

“Lestrade!” Donovan called standing at the edge of the crime scene tape.

“You know what to do Donovan! Follow the body to the morgue, I’ll meet you there!” Lestrade called, not knowing if he really would meet Donovan at the morgue, but he needed to follow Sherlock to find out where this would all lead. His heart pounded against his ribs, worrying about where this would take them and what it meant for Molly’s safety.

They climbed to the roof of the abandoned factory, breathing in the musty smells of old machinery and textiles until they came to the roof. Sherlock had seen Moriarty here, he had. He looked around stricken to find nothing here except a bloody knife and a few dead mice. He had seen Moriarty here, the consulting detective was sure of it. It couldn’t have been merely ghosts hanging around to taunt him.

“Well?” Lestrade questioned, leaning over onto his knees to regain his breath, head hanging as he felt his lungs expand and contract with gulps of air.

“There’s nothing here!” Sherlock growled frustrated. He saw Moriarty, he was sure of it.

“Sherlock…” John looked to his omega before looking upon the scene. “Why are there are these dead rats around?” The alpha questioned with a concerned expression.

“They’re not rats, John. They’re…” Sherlock trailed off looking to the pile of mice before them, then to Lestrade, his face filled with dread.

“Mice.” Lestrade confirmed Sherlock’s suspicions. The consulting detective reached over to turn the mice over one by one. Until it read the chilling message that Sherlock had been anticipating. “The mouse burns first.” Sherlock announced before running off towards to roof top exit. Molly was in danger. “We need to get to the morgue. Now!” Sherlock called the other two men into action as they ran down the stairs and down to the cab. Moriarty was at least ten minutes ahead of them. Sherlock didn’t want to think that it just might be too late.

“I need back up, maximum force to St. Bart’s morgue, now!” Lestrade called over the radio as he sped out from where he had parked his car. Greg didn’t even look to see if Sherlock and John had followed him or got into the car as he sped away. He only looked once they were speeding through the London streets. He refused to reach across the bond for Molly, afraid she feel his panic, and also afraid he might find nothing there.

Sherlock met Lestrade’s eyes, they only hoped they weren’t too late.

–––

Molly bustled about her lab as the early morning gave way to the bright light of autumn’s afternoon. She had been running tests for one of the Sherlock’s older cases, one of the cases he had let go to search for Moriarty. It wouldn’t do for her to let the detective get behind simply because he was focusing upon other things.

She would dutifully see to all of the tests she knew the consulting detective liked to perform upon these murders, following in his footsteps and his methods so that she might help the man meet the conclusions he would need to draw once he turned his focus back upon these cases.

Her stomach rumbled for lunch. With a satisfied sigh, she made her way from the lab back to her morgue for her lunch that laid inside her bags inside her office.

She walked inside the quiet, artificially lit room barely paying attention until she saw the back of someone standing in the middle of the morgue. They smelled quite bad, but she had supposed they might be here to claim one of the bodies that were waiting for her scalpel. “Oh, hello! May I help you?” She asked softly into the quiet space. It wasn’t the first time someone had arrived here in a state to mourn over their loved one and Molly was too sensitive to that to find offense in someone’s smell. When she got no response she pressed the person in the middle of her morgue to talk again. “Are you here for one of the deceased that came in this morning? I’m afraid I haven’t processed them yet, so by law I can’t release them until I’ve filed my report.” Molly explained gently approaching the person, trepidation crawling up her back.

A faint chuckle slowly turned into a trilling laughter that she knew all too well. The man turned slowly, to bring his manic, black, endless eyes upon Molly. “I came for a body.” The tenor voice sing-songed into the stifling, still air of the morgue. Molly struggled to take a breath so that she might scream as panic chocked her. “I came for yours.” Moriarty cackled into the air as Molly attempted to back away for the crazed homicidal man. She moved too late as Moriarty’s hand came out to grab her hair where it was twisted into a messy bun at the base of her skull. She had no choice but to follow his hand as he brought her until his embrace, his foul breath causing her to whimper and cower away from the man as he whispered threateningly into her ear. “And I will burn it Molly Hooper. Just so that pathetic Detective Inspector and Sherlock will die with you.” He licked the side of Molly’s face as she moaned like he had stabbed her, in obvious pain. “I told Sherlock. I warned him, that I would burn his heart out. And I’m going to start with you.” Moriarty smiled, a smile that would split his face in two as he brandished a scalpel in the edge of her vision.

Molly’s scream echoed down the halls through the hospital. Moriarty had finally made his return.

–––

Lestrade pulled into the front of the hospital and didn’t spare any time as he barreled his way through the halls, not even stopping for the elevator as he ran down the stairs that lead to the morgue. Sherlock and John were only two paces behind him, keen and on his heels.

He wove through the hallways, and was stopped by one of the interns that knew him. He had to pretend not to almost faint at the sight of the lad’s blood hand as he waved the man down.

“Detective Inspector!” He called Lestrade into Stamford’s office. The poor man was holding gauze to his throat, as his face paled from blood loss. The intern was helping the doctor apply pressure to the wound. John and Sherlock looked to Mike Stamford with equally angry faces. Moriarty again. “I found him in this state when I heard the screams.” The intern helped the doctor change the bloody gauzes that were soaked in Stamford’s blood.

“On the roof! Go! I’ll be fine! She’s on the roof!” Stamford whispered hoarsely as he tried to keep himself awake. They watched the poor man pass out before going back to the elevator, saving their energy for the last few flights of stairs that would take them to the rooftop. Greg pretended not to notice John and Sherlock reaching for each other as the scene would prove to be achingly familiar.

Lestrade could only hope that the results would be more positive than someone pretending to leap from the top of the building.

–––

Lestrade John and Sherlock burst through the doors to the rooftop and saw the circling helicopters above them, and heard the swarms of police squads waiting to swarm the hospital below.

John walked onto the roof gun drawn and lifted it, pointing it at the man in front of them as he used Molly as a shield. Her glassy eyes looked to Sherlock John and Lestrade pleading with them to do something, anything to free her from this nightmare.

Lestrade pulled his gun out pointing it at the man as well. There was no clear shot that he could see that wouldn’t hit Molly somewhere critical. The man’s lack of height did not work to their advantage. The mad man still had a scalpel against Molly’s neck, the blade dangerously close to Molly’s artery that thumped with adrenaline that was coursing through her veins.

“Let her go Moriarty.” John growled, Jim Moriarty was not slipping through John’s fingers again. He would kill him with absolutely no second thoughts or remorse. In John’s mind, this was a life that did not deserve to continue.

“Call off your dogs, Detective Inspector. Or I’ll throw her off of this roof without allowing her a final goodbye.” Moriarty threatened pulling Molly bodily to the edge of the roof. At the exact same spot Sherlock had jumped from.

Lestrade begrudgingly took out his radio from where it pressed upon his back and called out to Donovan. “Donovan.” Lestrade grumbled angrily, hating to be powerless in protecting his mate. The only way to form a plan to save her was to play by Moriarty’s rules for now.

“Yeah boss. The special forces squad is ready to move in on your order.” Donovan confirmed as she looked above on the roof to see Moriarty at the ledge holding onto Molly Hooper.

“Call them off, call off the helicopters too.” Lestrade answered.

“Sir?” Donovan questioned looking up to the roof, desperately wishing she was there to make sense of the situation.

“Do it now!” Her boss’s gruff response spurred Donovan into action and Lestrade watched regretfully as the helicopter pulled out from above them to a safer distance and the sirens faded in retreat.

“That’s better.” Moriarty sneered into Molly’s ear, causing her to moan in disgust.

“What do you want, Jim? This isn’t exactly your style. You’re getting your hands dirty.” Sherlock questioned with a snide lift of his lip. He had never hated this man before this very moment. Giving Sherlock such a wonderfully distracting game was what had earned Moriarty the detective’s respect but to hurt his friends in this way was one step too far.

“I want revenge!” Moriarty screamed hysterically, looking to the three men as if they were the mad ones. How could they not understand? “She ruined everything! You were supposed to die that day!” Jim lamented.

“So were you!” John answered with a growl.

“It’s no fun if both of us cheat. So I’m correcting the imbalance.” Moriarty explained backing Molly until they neared the ledge to climb up on it. “It’s her fault you survived so she gets to be the one to die. Then I’ll start in the rest of your friends and family, one at a time, until there’s nothing left!” Moriarty laughed manically at his own plan. “I told you Sherlock.” Moriarty’s tenor echoed off the concrete and the air in his usual sing-song that seemed so much more insane now. “I told you I’d burn the heart out of you. AND THIS IS HOW IT STARTS!” Moriarty screamed.

As he attempted to climb the ledge to throw Molly over, Lestrade ran to them. Moriarty saw the detective inspector before he could pull them back and backed gratefully away from the ledge, but the blade in his hand threatened to dig into the skin of Molly’s neck.

“BACK AWAY!!!” Moriarty threatened putting space between himself and the three men that aimed to stop him.

“Steady Greg.” Sherlock muttered to the alpha, laying a bracing hand on the detective inspector’s shoulder. The alpha had been so close to getting Molly away from Moriarty, he wasn’t going to let the bastard hurt her now. They stood at a standstill, the blade on edge at Molly’s neck and Sherlock standing behind John and Lestrade as the two alphas pointed their pistols in the crazed man’s direction but with no opportunity yet to shoot him and put an end to this man’s sick nightmare.

Greg. Molly’s voice called out to the alpha. He met her eyes and watched her close them immediately relaxing despite the hold Moriarty kept on her. Understanding dawned on the alpha as he too closed his eyes, the steady hold on his gun never wavering.

The white plane they visited often came before the alpha in his mind’s eye as Molly ran before him into his arms. She sent him her trust and love, a calm settling over her that had Greg worried. She looked into her alpha’s eyes, and Greg cupped her face trying to understand how she could be so centered in a moment of such crisis. The omega reached out to embrace the alpha, sending him the deepest love the alpha had ever felt from his omega and she evaporated in his arms.

Greg opened his eyes to look to Molly, as that same serene calm came to her eyes. A resignation that gave Greg a cool pool of trepidation deep in his gut. Shoot me, Greg. The thought appeared in his mind as a sad smile appeared on Molly’s face. John looked to Molly and to Greg knowing that they shared an usual connection not comprehending what was taking place between the alpha and omega.

“Greg?” John called out to the other alpha in question, but he went unheard.

Shoot me, Greg. Please, I trust you. The pleading thoughts cried out to the alpha as Molly’s eyes filled with resigned tears.

But you’ll die. The alpha howled back as the edges of Greg’s vision filled with tears.

It’s the only way. End it now and shoot me. Molly begged as she met the alpha’s eyes with a stubborn lift of her chin. This was the choice she had to make and it was her sacrifice to make. Sherlock looked from alpha to omega, acknowledging what had taken place between the couple. His own eyes turned desperate. Moriarty was making an attempt to back himself and Molly to the other end of the roof.

“John, shoot Molly.” Greg demanded.

“What?! Greg are you crazy?!” John questioned, in shock at the idea. He was hoping they would get out of this without giving into that particular option, though it he were in Molly’s position the thought would cross his mind.

“Yes, John, do it.” Sherlock agreed. He looked to Molly, and they shared a sad smile. She had sacrificed so much to take down Moriarty, and now she was forced to do it again.

“I can’t do it, John. You’re the doctor. It has to be you!” Lestrade demanded, his eyes full of tears.

“I hope you’re ready to say goodbye to your precious little pathologist!” Moriarty called backing them to nearer to the opposite ledge. John took aim with his gun and narrowed his sights to where Moriarty’s heart would lie behind Molly. It came too close to vital organs. Lestrade watched the man hesitate.

“DO IT!” Lestrade demanded, voice gruff with unshed tears. Molly closed her eyes reaching out to her alpha as she heard the shot echo off of the concrete and the air.

I love you. Molly reached out across the bond just as the bullet sliced through her and hit Moriarty behind her.

“Molly!” Lestrade ran to his omega, as he watched her body crumble onto of Moriarty’s on the rooftop. Sherlock and Lestrade moved Molly off of the psychopath and John spared no thought for the murderer as he put several bullets into the man’s skulls, his face burning with hate, pulling gun’s trigger until the gun clicked, the cartridge emptied.

John put his gun into the belt of his pants and turned his attention to Molly, the soldier effortlessly fading for the doctor as he looked to Molly. Blood was rushing out of her body at a dangerous pace. “Sherlock your scarf.” Sherlock took the blue scarf off and gave it to him gladly. “Put pressure on her chest. Molly. Molly. Stay with me!” John looked to her pupils and pulse as it began to fade. “Molly, stay with me Molly!”

“Molly!” The omega heard her alpha call out to her as the world around her faded to black.

---

Chapter Text

Pneuma Intermezzo

---

“Call for the medics!” John instructed to Lestrade to give the alpha something to do. Lestrade ordered Donovan to call in the medics and turned to John and Sherlock from where they stooped over the body. John was applying chest compressions around where Sherlock applied pressure to stop the bleeding.

“Sherlock, John…” Greg called out to his friends in anguish, his face grief stricken. Sherlock looked to Lestrade, his face stricken with panic and fear. “I can’t feel her.” He grumbled, to them though he was talking to himself. “I can’t feel her. I can’t feel her at all.” The further he reached out for his mate, the thinner their bond stretched, as if she were running away from him.

“We’ve got to get her off the roof. Come on, Sherlock. Greg, help me!” John instructed, the calm eye in the middle of the storm as he called the other two men into action. They supporting Molly’s tortuously limp form as they made their way carefully down the stair well where they were met at the top floor with medics and a gurney. They lowered Molly onto the bed and followed alongside the gurney to the elevator. John took to his role as an A&E doctor going through the situation with the medics.

“Took a bullet to the chest, pulse is thin and thready, very shocky. She’s lost consciousness and is unresponsive. I don’t think she’d survive the trip to an A&E hospital where they have proper triage, we can stabilize her here and move her later.” John instructed moving with the medics seamlessly as the doors to the elevator opened to the main floor of the hospital.

“Thank you, Dr. Watson we’ve been informed of the situation already and there’s a staff from another hospital that is scrubbing up for surgery.” The medic explained with a confident air. John lifted his eyebrow to the man curiously. “We’ll take over from here.” The medic informed them at the doors where they continued to push Molly towards the surgery, nurses and sterilized surgeons following in the gurney’s wake.

Lestrade’s ashen form following Molly’s was stopped only by the hands of Sherlock and John. “Woah, Lestrade,” John pushed against his shoulders as he tried to reach out for Molly.

“But Molly! I can’t- I’ve got to be with her, John!” Lestrade argued unseeing, his pleads to follow her coming through his chest sounding more like howling mournful cries, as he tried to muscle his way through his best friends.

“You can’t help her now, Greg.” Sherlock reasoned with the man, helping his alpha muscle the distraught man into a waiting room chair. “All we can do now is make sure Moriarty is dead for good and hope she makes it through.” Sherlock sighed, patting the man’s shoulder when he finally gave into his helplessness and put his head in his hands. He nodded to Donovan who was waiting at the edge of the room. None of them had ever seen Lestrade like that.

“Sir.” Donovan called Lestrade’s attention and saw that he could barely focus.

“Yeah?” He questioned, as John pressed a probably wretched coffee into Lestrade’s hand John moved to give an identical one to Sherlock but the consulting detective waved it away as he folded himself into one of the plastic chairs, hands coming around to hold onto his knees. They were in for a long wait and probably wouldn’t move until they were assured that Molly was stable and in a hospital room hooked up to machines. At least Sherlock had no desire to move and John knew that any attempt to move his ridiculous mate would be fruitless, so a long wait it was.

“We’ve collected the suspect’s body off of the roof, they’re taking him down to morgue now.” Donovan explained, mouth set into a firm line of determination. There was still a job to be done. “We just need you both to confirm it was Moriarty and who shot him.” Donovan explained looking to Sherlock and John.

“I shot him.” John announced firm and unapologetic into the tense air of the room.

“And it was Moriarty.” Sherlock confirmed. “I’ll have my brother send you lot over the necessary data for a DNA comparison if you need that sort of proof, your records won’t be accurate.” Sherlock explained with a roll of his eyes. Just like the Woman all over again. Only as good as the records you keep.

“You know Internal Affairs will have a field day with this, Lestrade. If we’re not careful-” Donovan tried to get Lestrade’s attention as his head was resting in his hands and he looked just one melt down away from losing it completely.

“I don’t actually give a fuck about Internal Affairs right now Donovan, alright?” Lestrade looked to his sergeant, his eyes pleaded for her to leave him alone. Couldn’t she tell that he was in absolute agony right now? Every attempt he tried to reach out to her now he was met by a wall of grey… nothing. He didn’t even know what to call it, but there was no reaching her, just to find out if his omega was alright. Every minute she spent in that operating room had his chest squeezed in a vice as he relived the moment the bullet ripped through her again and again.

“Fine, sod it. When Internal Affairs puts you on desk duty until the next millennium, don’t come crying about it to me. ‘Cause I’m warning you now, that’s exactly what they’ll do and they’ve been just itching at an excuse to do it too.” Donovan huffed in anger walking out of the hospital to go continue on doing their jobs in her boss’s absence.

In her retreat, the clock on the wall of St. Bart’s waiting room ticked into the hushed silence that reigned over the three men as they waited for word on Molly’s life as it hung in the balance.

–––

Searing pain; that was the first thing that she felt. It sliced through her and she looked into her alphas eyes, unseeing the faces of her friends as the world around her faded to black.

“Molly!” She remembered the voice that was more growl than words, all alpha, calling out for her. The fear in it could not be missed but the love, she was the only one to hear it as the mournful cry echoed into her mind.

Molly opened her eyes now. Blinking against the harsh white, a light above her. She was upon her back again but this time there was no pain, no anguish. She felt nothing but calm, peace. She lifted a heavy hand to her chest. Odd. There was no blood, though she felt the ragged edges the bullet left behind, felt the flesh it opened with her finger tips though she didn’t bleed. Where was she now then? Was it the white plane she visited with her mate? She looked around her. A fog had settled around her. She stood, though there was no floor.

“Greg?” Molly called. Her alpha wouldn’t answer her call. She reached out to him, sending all of the positive feelings and the love that drove her to accept the bullet that had sliced through her. She was met by a wall, though she felt a shaking across the wall, distant howling. It was the anguished cry of her mate, she could hear him but couldn’t answer back. Molly felt a tear fall down her cheek.

“Don’t worry you’ll see him soon.” A voice called out to her. She knew that voice. A figure in the distant fog was coming closer. Molly felt herself take a familiar stance of warning, the instincts of the alpha and omega kicking in. A laugh followed by a rattling cough echoed into the space as the indistinct from took shape. “You don’t even recognize me?” The man stepped forward, no longer in a coffin but here in front of her. Molly felt herself gasp. The alpha looked the picture of perfect health, or at least the perfect spirit of health.

“Dad?” Molly questioned, feeling her eyes fill with tears. She could feel another tear run down her cheek.

“Don’t I get a hug?” The man questioned with a knowing smile upon his face, his eyes filled with echoing, grateful tears. Molly ran into her father’s arms gratefully. But he didn’t smell the same, he didn’t have a smell at all.

“Is it really you?” Molly questioned though the arms around her felt the same.

“Who else would it be?” He questioned, the familiar laugh pulled at Molly’s aching chest.

“Why you? Why now?” Molly questioned. Martin looked down to his daughter with a sad resigned smile, leave it to his daughter to ask only questions.

“Because I am who you needed to see right now.” He explained running his fingers through his daughters forever untamed locks.

“Why not Mom? Why don’t I get to see her?” Molly questioned looking concerned.

“You’ll see her again one day, don’t worry. But now is not that time.” Martin smiled down to his daughter cupping her face.

“Why can’t I feel Greg, Dad?” Molly questioned her father, eyes filled with tears.

“You will, but right now you’re not of that world. You are between.” Martin explained his hands coming to her shoulders, she barely felt them yet his hands weighed upon her heavily. Or was someone pushing upon her chest?

“Between?” Molly looked around unbelieving at what she saw before her.

“That’s why I’m here. You’re not ready yet darling. You’re not ready to let go.” Martin instructed.

“But I was shot.” Molly argued.

“Yes and it was a noble thing to do but you still have so much more to do. So much life to live. I’m sorry that I couldn’t still be there to see you do it.” Martin looked down to his daughter regretfully, kissing her forehead. Molly held onto his arms with all the strength she possessed, which in this world wasn’t much at all.

Her body was rocked backwards as she stood there before her father, a shock of lightning and thunder echoing off of the white nothingness.

“What is that?” Molly questioned as pain coursed through her causing her to moan in anguish.

“That’s the doctors trying to revive you sweetie.” Martin sighed regretfully. “Our time is short. Always too short.” Martin shook his head as he reached out to kiss his daughter and hug her one last time.

“No, wait, not yet!” Molly cried reaching out as felt a pull in her gut towards an unknown force that was pulling her out of her father’s grasp.

“I am so proud of you, Mollybean. I always have been and I always will be.” It felt like her father was saying goodbye. Why did it always have to be goodbye?

“No, don’t go! Don’t leave me again! You can’t leave, Dad! I love you!” Molly cried as another shock rocked through her causing her to cry out. “I’ll do anything to let you stay! Please don’t go!”

“You have to go back sweetie. Greg needs you. I promise he’ll be by your side when you wake up.” Martin waved as he backed away from her wracking body.

Another shock. This time Molly heard the doctors calling out to her. The white was fading away for the dull luminescence of the present.

“Go back home sweetie. I love you.” Molly heard her father’s voice call out to her as once again she was plunged into darkness.

“We’ve got her back, I’ve got a pulse.” A voice called out around Molly. The echo of a heart monitor was the last thing she heard before she faded into unconsciousness.

–––

“Molly Hooper?” A young, bright doctor called into the space of the waiting room. Three men burst into action running to surround the young chap as he was barraged with questions. “I only need to speak to her alpha.” The doctor looked to three men, the mated couple backed off leaving a grief stricken, panicked man that looked like he wasn’t going to get any sleep any time soon behind.

“I’m DI Lestrade. I’m Molly’s alpha.” Greg looked to the doctor, his brow knitted with worry. His eyes were riddled with all of the questions that were gummed in the back of his throat, refusing to be voiced on his tongue.

“She’s alright.” The doctor smiled a strained smile as the alpha’s shoulders sagged in relief. He looked to John and Sherlock meeting their pleased, relieved smiles. The room spun on Greg a bit. “Woah, steady.” The doctor pushed the alpha into a chair near the doors to the surgery he had just exited, Lestrade’s knees buckled into the chair under his uncertain weight. The whole room went fuzzy as the relief he felt turned his vision spotty. The thought of having to live without Molly had nearly choked the life from his chest. The relief he felt at her being alright almost did the same thing. “She’s still in critical condition though. We were able to sew up all the holes. But she’s still not out of danger. She’ll sleep for a while now until her body has a chance to recover. She’s strong though, and I have every hope that she’ll make a full recovery.” The doctor smiled confidently, patting the alpha on his shoulder. “Would you like to see her?” The man questioned holding the door open for the grateful inspector as they wove their way through the hallways to where Molly’s room in ICU was.

“Thanks,” Greg shook the man’s hand with all of the gratitude he possessed.

“I was just doing my job, she’s the one that had to fight the hard fight. And we almost lost her on the table twice. But she came back, and I think it was for you.” The doctor patted the alpha on his arm as he opened the door to allow the man admittance to see his mate. He closed it to allow the alpha some privacy.

“Molly.” Greg called out, leaning over Molly’s prone form to brush her hair back. She was breathing with the help of an oxygen mask but didn’t need a breathing machine to assist her. So Lestrade hoped that was something. There were too many tubes and wires going in out and around her for the Detective Inspectors liking. He watched as her breath appeared and receded upon the plastic of the mask that kept her lips from him, everything ached inside of him to kiss her, but need to treat her fragile form with the utmost care held Lestrade at bay. He took her hand that was closest to his, and mercifully free of tubes into his own great one and threaded the limp, cold digits between his own warm, shaking ones. Greg sat so that he was able to caress her hand along his cheek. The alpha in his cried out mournfully, as tears came to his eyes rolling over his cheeks onto her pale skin. “Please come back to me.” Greg begged. He scented what he could, though Molly smelled of nothing but sterile hospital smells. No amount of scenting would chase the smell off of her skin. “I love you.” Greg whispered to her, reaching across the bond to her though knowing nothing would be there.

Several minutes passed, maybe an hour even, before Greg heard the door to the room open and the telltale specter appeared to look down upon the scene. “How is she?” Sherlock’s baritone shattered the stillness of the room. He watched the alpha hold Molly’s hand in both of his own, running his cheek along her limp fingertips. It was the only touch the alpha would allow himself.

“Stable for now.” Greg replied wiping at his red rimmed eyes. The alpha had been crying. And his throat was hoarse with disuse. “She won’t wake up for a while though.” Lestrade explained looking to the omega detective unseeing before turning his attention back to Molly.

“I thought you would like to know. Mycroft had it confirmed. It was Moriarty this time. He’s gone. It’s finished.” Sherlock assured burrowing deeper into his coat, curls spilling over the edges of it.

“Good.”

“I’m sorry.” The younger man looked to alpha with concern pulling at the edges of his usually sharp eyes.

“For what?” Lestrade questioned, annoyed at having to look away from Molly.

“For this. It’s my fault. I always manage to put people in danger. Hurt those that matter to me.” Sherlock explained going to the wall of windows so that he could look out upon the whole of London for something other to blame other than himself for this mess.

“It’s not your fault Sherlock. You didn’t make Moriarty. Didn’t make him do any of that. Molly sacrificed herself to protect the people she loved. She did it to protect you after you faked your suicide and she’d do it again if she had the chance. That’s what she’s like. That’s what people do, that’s why I do my job. To protect others.” Lestrade explained to the younger man with a smirk on his face. Leave it Sherlock to be the one to need the comforting.

“He’s right you know.” John announced walking into the room, with more coffee and food this time. He pulled over a nearby hospital table, moving around the room with practiced ease. He set down a sandwich for the detective inspector alongside the coffee with a stern look that told the man he had better eat. He shoved another into his omega’s hand with a face that brooked no petulance from his mate. He threw out the garbage, having already eaten his own sandwich and went to the monitors to check over the readings. He gave a confident smile to Greg. Her vitals were stable and with any luck they would only get stronger from here on out. “She’s gotta get her strength back Greg. She’ll be unconscious for at least a couple days yet.” John explained. “You should go back home and get some sleep.”

“I know I just want to be with her a little while longer.” Greg begged looking to the two men with pleading eyes. They wouldn’t leave Molly’s side until he did.

“Alright.” John conceded as he joined Sherlock by the windows.

It was well into the night before Greg could stand to part himself from Molly’s side. Sherlock and John pulled him into a cab and helped him into the flat with a promise to pick him up first thing in the morning before catching another cab back to Baker Street.

–––

True to their word at first light Sherlock and John were at Molly’s door. Lestrade had been pacing, his skin crawling with the urge to get back to Molly’s bedside. He was so used to feeling Molly’s presence from his side of the bond that to not feel it had his skin crawling. The bond was still there, it hadn’t been broken but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t reach her. It felt like he was hitting his head upon a brick wall.

Lestrade wanted to get back to the hospital as soon as possible. The alpha inside of him was ferocious to get back to his omega’s side, to care for her. She needed him.

Lestrade was barely out of the cab before he went barreling through the hospital to the hallway he knew led to Molly’s room. When he burst through, the familiar figure that stood there holding an umbrella was the last person he wanted to see in Molly’s room.

“What are you doing here?” The alpha bristled, questioningly the meddlesome bastard unkindly.

“Keeping vigil over Molly when you could not. As her advocate it is part and parcel with my duties.” Mycroft explained smoothly, shrugging on a coat that Lestrade hadn’t noticed had been on the man’s arm. It always surprised the alpha that someone of Mycroft’s stature could move so smoothly.

“How long have you been here?” Lestrade questioned, only noticing as he spoke the vaguely tired look in the beta’s eyes.

“I’ve been here since I saw you leave.” Lestrade raised his eyes in question only then noticing the cameras that were in the corners of the room. CCTV, as always. “Now that you’ve had some sleep I believe I shall leave to do the same.” Mycroft announced, gesturing to the alpha to seat himself in his spot by Molly’s hand. The alpha did gratefully, not noticing a difference in her cold hands than there was the night before.

“The doctors assure me that her making it through the night without incident is a favorable sign that she should make a full recovery. She’ll only get stronger from here on out.” Mycroft smiled to the omega with something Lestrade could very nearly name as affection. He smiled to his omega with a great deal more warmth than anyone else could. Mycroft cleared his throat, seeing he was now an intruder upon the scene.

“I believe I’ll leave you both then.” Mycroft went to the door.

“I can’t feel her.” Lestrade told the beta. “I reach out but I can’t feel her respond. Our bond. It’s like there’s something separating us. A wall.” Lestrade looked to Mycroft with pleading eyes. If he couldn’t reach Molly, and their bond broke, what would that mean for him?

“I’ll ring over to Dr. Gupta’s and see what she and Parth have to say.” Mycroft assured the alpha. It would have to do for now as Lestrade turned his attention back to Molly’s prone form. “I’ll return later.” Mycroft assured exiting the room.

Mycroft did return that day with Parth at his elbow. The man looked upon the scene before him with mournful eyes. He assured Lestrade that their bond was a strong one and it could weather this storm. He was unfamiliar with soulbonds, but also knew no other soulbond had to deal with such things as modern medicine.

“She’s there Greg, but they’ve forced her into a coma. They’ve dulled her senses with all sorts of drugs so that she feels no pain. In trying to do some good - so that we feel no pain - medicine dulls other things as well.” Parth assured with a steadying hand upon the alpha’s shoulders. The man was in such crisis being unable to reach out to his omega. He had never seen an alpha in such condition. He was pulled to his omega’s side but without being able to feel her it was like half of his was missing. The man Parth saw before him was not the confident detective inspector he had met at Molly’s side all those weeks ago. “Allow me into your bond so that I might confirm my suspicions.” Parth asked, and at Greg’s nod, he took both Molly’s and Greg’s hand and meditated with Greg.

When he entered the space once again, it was choked, and mournful with Greg’s sad energy. The alpha side of Greg was even worse than in the conscious state. For what was the alpha when there was no omega to answer his howling cry? Parth reached out for Molly but where the omega should have been, there was only a grey wall of nothing. However Parth could see shuddering along the wall. He smiled to Greg before rousing himself. Greg looked to man once he awoke and saw the light of hope he needed to see.

“It is just as I suspected. The medications, they have dulled Molly’s senses to the point of literally barricading her off from you. Deep bonds will only feel a fraction of this, but in your soulbond, where you and Molly can actually manifest your feelings and your inner alpha and omega, so too can such things as medicine and drugs manifest. She is trying to reach out to you Greg, but the drugs that allow her to sleep, to heal, they are blocking her from reaching out as well.” Parth smiled as the hope that came to the man’s eye. “When she rouses, and they ween her off the medication you will be able to feel her again.” Parth assured. With the assurance, that when she woke he would return again to see Molly well and recovered Parth left the alpha in better spirits than he had been that day.

Sherlock and John were a constant presence, bringing him food and keeping him fed. Now he need no encouragement to eat and keep up his strength. And they waited with the alpha well into the night to make sure he was able to get back to Molly’s flat before they returned, falling over themselves with exhaustion to Baker Street.

That night when he left, and every day after that while Molly slept, Greg carried the hope with him, that Molly would fight her way back to him. She would wake up, but for now the alpha had no choice but to side, be idle, and wait.

---

Chapter Text

Instinct

---

From the mire of blackness, Molly felt herself rise from some deep sea of nothingness. The sounds around her were awash in the fog that slowly lifted from her deep sleep.

The first thing she remembered was her father, telling her to go back.

Dad. The word came to her mind, but there was no one to answer it. It came to her lips, but was gummed up by her lack of voice, her mouth dry. It was like waking up from a fever.

A heart monitor beeped in her ear, just off to the side. A sense of gravity pulling her up from the shadows of her mind. She lived. Realization struck her as she struggled to open her eyes. She was alive. The harsh light over the bed felt like a bright sun above her eyelids, though the florescence was dull compared to the true light she had seen.

Had her father been a dream, a delusion created by the pain she had felt? No. She remembered everything. Than what was it?

Molly attempted to lift her hand, like a broken marionette she could barely bend her hand at the wrist and felt the surgical tape pull at her skin. An intravenous needle in her hand, for the drip that was hooked up along her arm. She felt the burn of the fluid going through her veins, it hadn’t been a dream, she had been shot but she was now in a hospital room. Alive, to Molly it was such a novel idea, that she had to keep repeating it to herself as details came into harsh relief. Just to make sure.

As she surfaced from the sluggish mire, she slowly remembered the dreams. She did dream, but they were fragmented, interspersed with a longing to reach out for her alpha. There were moments where she heard him, begging that she would be alright and come back to him. Telling her little inconsequential nothings, every day things, things he saw that reminded him of her. Telling her that he kept assuring Toby that his mama was going to be alright. Things he wish she’d wake for, so that he could tell her. All the ways he loved her, and wishes he had long kept secret for their life together. No one ever thought that people in a coma are listening. Other times there was just his snoring, light little snuffles mixed with the ever present grumbles that never failed to be so Greg, and a sign he should have been at home at her flat, in their bed not staying up to all hours by her bedside. Before she would plunge back into the confusing visions of dreams where if they lost their connection, he’d turn her away. Seeing him take the bullet, the doctors unable to save the silver alpha. Her being alone in this world, eventually mourning until her very last breath not long after. Visions of Moriarty, not dead, when they were dating and he was Jim, turning into Moriarty and raping her, and then on the roof, killing each of her men in turn, starting with her alpha as she watched helpless, voiceless, bleeding out on the rooftop. She would swim up from these dreams to hear the echoes of voices around her, Lestrade, Sherlock, strange voices of doctors and nurses, but always with Lestrade’s voice to ground her, but she couldn’t rise out of the blackness to assure them she was alright. It all felt like one long terrible dream.

Repeatedly she tried to tell her alpha that she was safe, that she felt him as he reached across their connection, but she was held back. In the time she was trapped in this black mire, she could barely feel as he touched her hand and scented her along her skin. The omega had barely any strength and no way to reach out and assure the man that she was indeed listening and her omega side was aching to return his howling calls. But the grey wall refused to lift.

And then it did but not to the bond. Still she couldn’t reach out to her alpha. She heard a nurse, one of the nice ones. There was a youngness to the voice, telling her that the doctors ordered her awake today. They were pushing meds to assist her waking up. So her body wasn’t cooperating and the doctors were going to help her do it.

Then she felt the soreness, reminding of her of why she was there. It radiated out from her chest, like she was punched. But she remembered now that she had been, clean through by a bullet, like a whole-punch through paper. A shattered groan rose from her lips, her throat was thin, dry with lack of hydration. She attempted to swallow, and it was like mouthing around cotton.

Blinking, she moved to open her eyes, and even that felt like a trial. Blink. Blink. She squeezed her eyelids, forced them to open and immediately regretted it as the lighting above her bed seared into her vision. She turned her head to look to the side where she knew Lestrade would be. He wasn’t there. Had she been dreaming when she heard his voice?

An unfamiliar nurse appeared at her shoulder. She must have been in the room and noticed Molly moved and was now awake. She looked relieved at the sight.

“Ah! Good! You’re awake! I’ll go get the doctor!” The nurse announced a little too brightly. The kind of voice someone would use if there was something they didn’t want her to know. She knew the tone of voice very well, the kind of voice her father’s GP used before telling the man he was going to die. Molly lifted her hand, a small touch upon the woman’s hand stopped her from leaving her bedside.

“W-” Molly coughed around the struggle to speak. The nurse moved to offer Molly a cup to drink from that was on the rolling table by her bedside. The oxygen mask she never felt had been replaced days ago for a cannula. Molly drank from the cup and breathed with relief, attempting to speak again. “Where’s my alpha?” Molly begged, in a weak tremor looking to the nurse for help.

“I really should get the doctor first.” The nurse argued giving the omega a sympathetic smile that set Molly’s back crawling. What weren’t they telling her?

“Please! Where’s my alpha?” Molly demanded, sitting up in agitation. The machines beside Molly’s bed beeped at the nurse in warning, her stress levels climbing. She felt desperation pull at her instincts. In her weakened state, her logic was overridden by them. Sweat came to her brow, as fear and dread pulled at her instincts. She didn’t want to reach over the bond and find that her alpha wasn’t there. Her vision whited out into pinpricks, she felt herself give into her omega side. She was going to become feral is she didn’t smell her alpha right now. All she smelled was the sterility of hospital. “Alpha! Where is my alpha?!” Molly screamed throwing her legs over her bed and running towards the corner of the room, pulling the plugs out of her arm. “WHERE IS MY ALPHA?!?!!” She screamed as her mind turned feral. The nurse ran out of the room. “Alpha.” Molly cried sniffing the air and whining at finding nothing to smell upon the air, just the absence of scent.

The bond with her alpha was there, but she couldn’t feel him. Where was her alpha?

–––

Greg worked his way through the halls of St. Bart’s that morning to the nurses’ desk bringing them all decent coffee in place of the mud that the cafeteria had on offer. He had gotten so used to coming and going from the hospital that he knew most of the staff that was on call for Molly by name. She had yet to wake up but the doctors were pushing medication to assist her today.

It was the first time the nursing staff had seen the alpha smile and they were grateful to see it.

While he normally made a beeline for Molly’s hospital room, today he was in a celebratory mood as he spent some time thanking all of the nurses and doctors for their work. They were all waiting for Molly to wake up. The doctors informed him that they were going to drip in the meds slowly, and that she would wake up soon.

Lestrade was getting the whole staff that was present to laugh at one of his jokes when a familiar voice twitched inside his ear. “WHERE IS MY ALPHA?!” He heard his omega shout into the hallway as a nurse came barreling out of the room running for the assistance of a doctor.

“Doctor! She’s awake. I tried to keep her calm. Told her that I needed to get one of the doctors but she just went crazy. I think she’s gone feral.” The young nurse announced.

“And you just left her there?!” Lestrade questioned running down the hall with Molly’s surgeon upon his heels. He heard the nurse muttering excuses in their wake. He burst through the door and looked around the room, seeing Molly shrunk into the corner, her hand bleeding from where she pulled out the IV and there was blood seeping through her bandages.

The doctor walked in. “Oh dammit to hell, she’s pulled her stitching.”

“Shh.” Lestrade scolded the doctor. Bloody betas. They never knew how to handle feral alphas and omegas. He waved the people crowding into the room to back off. He approached her slowly. “Mate.” Lestrade grumbled, sending his pheromones into the air. He watched Molly smell them on the air and turn her attention to him with a suspicious snarl.

“Alpha?!” Molly questioned reaching out. Greg reached out across their bond and in Molly’s feral state felt the base side of her reach back. Wild and panicked. The assurance of the bond had Molly whining in relief as she reached for the alpha, her alpha. “Mate.” Molly cried in relief, unable to stop the sobbing whines that flowed from her chest freely in relief, as she fell into the silvered alpha’s arms. She scented the man and Greg let out grumbled, grateful, rumbling coos as he felt her dry, paled lips run along his scent gland. The purrs soothed the feral omega into eased suppleness so that her alpha could bring her into his arms.

Greg used Molly’s scenting as distraction to put her back onto the bed. The nurse that had disturbed Molly enough to turn her feral, apologetically lowered the bar to the bed and allowed the alpha to sit himself upon the bed with the still feral omega now seated securely in his lap. He combed his fingers through her hair, which had been combed every day. The doctor walked into the room now, as the nurse retreated and slowly approached to reach for Molly. She snarled in warning, pulling herself further into Greg’s embrace.

“Shh, Molly.” Greg lifted Molly’s chin so that she looked up into his eyes. “My omega.” Greg grumbled, reaching out across the bond. Looking into Molly’s eyes, he felt his alpha side reach across to Molly’s omega side, soothing her, calming her. With a deep breath Greg matched with her and sending out his pheromones even thicker than before, Molly’s omega side was soothed into calming, and the feral state was broken. With a gasp, Molly felt herself wake up from it, another dream, and looked into Greg’s eyes once again as her normal self.

Greg!” Molly sobbed, weakly wrapping herself around the alpha, falling gratefully into her strong mate in relief. “They wouldn’t tell me where you were and I thought Moriarty had gotten you.” Molly sobbed, kissing along his scent gland again.

Greg grumbled happy chuckles at the feeling. “No he didn’t get me, we got him. He’s gone now, it’s all over.” He sent Molly wave after wave of assurance, safe, well, protected. Molly pulled herself further into his embrace, though her body was weakening now that the adrenaline from before was wearing off. Greg supported her sagging form in his arms, kissing along her hairline.

It was then the doctor cleared his throat bringing the couple back to the present. In truth, the beta doctor had never witnessed such a display. But this was the first time he had ever interacted with a couple that was soulbonded to one another. Alpha and omega looked about the room and it was then that Molly realized what chaos she had made in her feral state.

Molly looked first to the doctor and then about the room to the nurses and finally to Greg himself. “I’m sorry-”

“Don’t apologize, please, Dr. Hooper. It was an instinctual response, and in trying to keep you calm Nurse Higgins upset you.” The doctor smiled, seeing that he was finally able to come forward without risking being harmed by a feral omega. “I’m Dr. Caruthers and I performed your surgery.” He introduced himself, taking the omegas hand. Lestrade and Molly looked to each other as he regretfully was forced to put her back into the bed to sit in his chair beside it. “Do you mind if I take a look?” The man inquired reaching out to undo the dressings to see what stitches had been pulled. “Ah, good, nothing too serious. All superficial. You must have bled from all the adrenaline.” The doctor looked to the wound on her hand from her IV. “You won’t be needing the IV much longer. Just want to make sure you’re getting the right amount of fluids and everything’s in working order. You understand.” At Molly’s understanding nod, he patted her hand and went to check her charts. “Everything else seems to be just fine. I’ll just take care of your stitches and IV then,” Dr. Caruthers announced going to the drawers for the equipment he’d need. He smiled, laying out his tools by Molly’ thigh and snapped on a pair of gloves. He went to work on her chest and Greg held Molly’s hands as she gripped it through the pain of having the doctor sterilize the wounds and sew in new stitches to replace the old. The doctor felt the gravity of the attraction flowing between the mated couple, though neither of them seemed to want to say a word. He cleared his throat again, feeling like a third wheel as he wiped at the stitches and checked the rest of his work. “You know you were very lucky. We lost you on the table during your operation twice, but you fought hard. I believe it was Dr. Watson that shot you?” He asked moving to the replace the IV tubes with new sterile ones, and a new needle which he poked into her arm this time. The doctor looked to the alpha’s tense confirming nod. Greg relived that moment every day. “Well you should thank him, he managed to do it in such a way that it only nicked the heart. The soreness you probably will be feeling until you heal completely is all muscular now.” The doctor explained as he applied fresh dressings to the wound. “Well that’s everything I’ll leave you both now. I believe you’ve been wanting some time alone.” The doctor shrugged going to the door. Unfortunately the couple wouldn’t get much time alone in a hospital, not that they couldn’t find it even in a room full of people. He shook his head with a smile at the strangeness of his patient’s life. He opened up the door to leave.

“Wait, Dr. Caruthers?” Molly called as Greg stood to sit onto the hospital bed with her again. The doctor looked to her with a raised eyebrow. “What about the babies?” Molly questioned her hand going to her abdomen. She had long suspected it, had felt something inside her change. She had only needed Dr. Bantam to confirm it. That was before the bullet had ripped through her chest, and she had wanted to wait to tell Greg until she knew for sure. Now she had been afraid she lost them before she got the chance to surprise the alpha. With his hovering, there was no other way for her but to ask the doctor now.

“They’re doing just fine. Congratulations to you both, by the way.” He left the stunned alpha and relieved omega with a happy smile. Happy endings were what the doctor loved most.

“Babies?” Greg questioned, sitting beside her in shock. It was then he smelled it. It was her scent. His omega, the scent he was always so familiar with. The alpha was surprised he hadn’t noticed it, but perhaps when she was shot it was too soon to tell and with all the sterile smells it had been masked. Now that she was putting out pheromones to compliment his own, the scent presented itself for him to smell as well. The two of their scents combined, their mated scent. But there was an edge to it, something different. Something more. He felt the protective, pleased grumbles rumble their way out of his chest before he could stop them.

“I wanted to go to Dr. Bantam and have it confirmed first but- well… Surprise! I’m going to have your pups.” Molly smiled, tears coming to her eyes as she moved his large alpha paw to over her stomach, putting her smaller hands over it. The tan of his skin offset by her porcelain skin as his fingers naturally rubbed along her now growing womb. During their bonding, she remembered him massaging her stomach for hours in the hopes that his alpha seed would take and that they would have children. When he thought her asleep in the calm before her next wave of heat, she had wished it too. More than anything she wanted to give her alpha pups. She looked up to her alpha from their joined hands now, completely happy as her face split into a wide tearful grin.

Greg looked down to his mate with a proud, knowing sort of smile. It would probably always be this way with his omega. Though they shared such a deep bond, he would always be the last one to know. Oh this woman, and how he loved her. “Oh ho, Molly! Our pups! Woo!” Greg shouted for joy as the realization dawned upon him what this meant. He brought her into his arms, and rumbled a pleased laugh, covering her face with kisses. He brought her head into his hands and kissed her with a barely contained smile. “I fucking love you, Molly. Marry me.” The words slipped out before he had the chance to consider it. He wanted to marry her from the moment he thought he’d lost her forever, from the time he saw a ring on her finger that was another man’s. Now she was his omega, and had their pups growing inside her. He wanted Molly Hooper to be his in every sense of the word. The proposal came as naturally to him in that moment as breathing.

“Okay.” Molly smiled serenely looking up to the alpha. A calm settled over her as Molly had never felt before. There was something so right in this. With Tom, she wanted to go running for the hills. With Greg, everything was just so… perfect. He was her calm, her center. The answer was her tether to this port in the storm that was her alpha.

The alpha and omega kissed then, with their hands over their growing pups and sealed the promise that once Molly was freed from her stay at the hospital, they would start their new lives together. In that moment, all of those life changing decisions felt like the most natural things in the whole world. It was all so natural and so obvious.

---

Chapter Text

Hesitation

–––

A week after waking, telling Lestrade of their pups that were growing within her, and after having accepted his happenstance proposal, Molly was discharged from the hospital with the all clear from Dr. Caruthers. The worse of the worry the doctor had for infection and other internal complications had since passed and he declared Molly ready to go home to complete the rest of her mending. Once the stitches came out of her chest, she would be ready to return to work. It was a relief to Molly, who was ready to just move on from the whole episode, and experience the relief of there being no more Moriarty once and for all. But she had orders to rest until her own doctor could remove the stitches, then she was free to do as she pleased. It was only one more week, she could make it until then.

She shrugged on her second change of clothes from her morgue locker room, procured for her by John and Sherlock from Stamford. The man was none the worse for the wear, and the wound that was in his neck looked like nothing more than a mere scratch now.

Molly escaped to the bathroom that was in her room to change into her panties that were in her bag. There unfortunately was no bra, and the one she wore when she was shot had been cut away from her chest. So there was nothing for it as she slid on her tank top she always wore underneath her shirts. It would have to do as Greg hadn’t thought to bring one. In this moment of privacy, when she had virtually none in the time she had been in hospital, she now used to pull at the surgical tape protecting the stitches from the open air in front of the dingy bathroom mirror. She stared at the wound, seeing it for the first time in the harsh white glare of the sterile light. It was a small thing, the hole the bullet made, but the doctor had begrudgingly been forced to open it to see the holes made inside her body to seal them. There was a matching wound on her back where the bullet went through but that didn’t need stitches. Just some butterfly stitches and that wound was already down to just a red gash of a scar. Just to the right of her heart it sat, a harsh red line about four inches long. It was a clean wound, and would heal cleanly, if she was careful, and it would fade with time. Fading scars would be all that was left of the Napoleon of crime’s influence upon them all.

Greg grumbled her name worriedly from just outside the door when she took too long. She stirred from her thoughts at the sound of Greg’s voice from the other side of the door, she quickly fixed an indifferent mask upon her face and stepped out to great him with a tired smile. The alpha hovered endlessly, but Molly indulged him as there was more than just love in his actions, from across her side of the bond she also felt his guilt and remorse. So she tolerated Greg’s hovering, in an effort to allow the alpha some time to heal as well. No matter how stifling she felt the extra care was, she was too exhausted from her body healing itself to care. It was hard to mind it really, the hovering was mutual, for if he was gone for too long, Molly would find herself begin to worry and her nerves would grow. She wondered how long the torment of trauma would last.

Lestrade helped her to dress, first her trousers, then he pulled her into her long sleeve shirt, taking his time to scent along her exposed neck. As Lestrade helped her shrug into a button up jumper, he laid a warm hand upon her heart where the stitching lied, his thumb rubbing across her collar bone. It was such a relief to the alpha that she was alive, and that they were going home together that tears filled his eyes. Molly looked up into the alpha’s wet soppy eyes and smiled, reaching up to a kiss her mate, smiling into it as a pleased grumble rumbled from his chest. He helped his omega into her coat, and wrapped her scarf around her neck, then with a smile he shrugged on his own and Molly was guided out of the hospital, bidding farewell to those that cared for her along the way.

The ride home for Molly was a calm one, she felt the sun on her skin, and the London air in her lungs for the first time since leaving the sterile hospital. She took in the smell of her alpha that permeated his car, burrowing into the car seat and her clothes. The familiar surroundings had the omega feeling like herself again. She was the picture of serenity as she rubbed her stomach where her alpha’s hand had been, where he always liked to touch her with their pups growing underneath his hand. The omega was the picture of serenity. Her alpha however was clearly not. Greg looked to her in question when they came to a light when she let out a sigh.

“Alright?” He questioned, clearly nervous and still watchful over the health of his omega, and now his pups. He felt like a young man again, startled into anxiousness at the idea that the woman he loved was going to have his children. The feeling was not completely foreign though the feelings were magnified, now that he was soulbonded with his mate. Now that it was his mate, his omega, something even deeper stirred inside him. The primal need to protect his omega and their kin, a feeling shared by alphas for their kin throughout the ages grated upon his proprieties. He was driven to do all sorts of things to protect his Omega that he never had wanted to do to protect his other children, though he remembers such feelings as dull pangs during his ex-wife’s pregnancy. Now, the feeling was magnified and he looked to any other alpha he scented, everything around him was a potential threat to his mate and pups.

“Perfect.” Molly smiled to him before looking to the window at the passing London scenes. For the first time in their relationship, it seemed Lestrade was the one filled with trepidation. Molly was just grateful that she was out of the hospital and the world she’d bring her children into would be free of Moriarty. Everything was just as it should be. She brought his alpha paw into her lap and gave it a comforting squeeze. The rumbling chuckle she got in reply brought a wider pleased smile to her lips.

Finally, Greg’s car pulled up to their flat and Molly let out a sigh of relief while she waited for Lestrade to come to other side and open the door. She didn’t quite yet have the energy to walk about by herself yet, in fact she never felt so exhausted. Lestrade helped her out of the car and walked behind her while carrying their bags. He struggled to unlock the door with his hands so full but with a laugh, Molly unlocked the door herself.

Molly walked into her flat and breathed in the comforts of it. Home. She immediately walked towards their bedroom as the ride home from the hospital left her happy but worn out. There was only one thing on her mind as she walked to the back of her flat towards the room, that was to smell their combined smells, the smells of their mating that still permeated the air. It was a foolish omega inclination but as tired as she was she gave into it as she opened the door. She gulped in the smells greedily. Nest. The instinctual response of safety and calm it gave her were instantaneous. With these smells to comfort her, Molly knew she would be alright again. Her shoulders sagged under the relief of it. It was everything she hadn’t realized her inner omega instincts had been missing in the sterile hospital smells. There was once a time when she would have hated it, hated herself for needing it. But there was such a relief to take in the scents of their bonding. These instincts were all at once good and assuring, since they bonded. They reminded her every day since waking up from her coma that she was alive, and wouldn’t be separated from her alpha again. She looked to the bed where they shared her first true heat with a reverent smile. The duvet on the bed was all askew, and looked freshly slept in, as Greg was too preoccupied with being with her to think of cleaning the flat before she came home. Molly looked to the door of the room and smiled to Greg, knowing he would be there hovering. There was a mewing at her feet and saw Toby being a soppy little thing and begging for attention from his mama. She scooped the cat for a quick bout of kissing, allowing the charcoal bit of fluff to nuzzle along her chin and rub into her neck.

She turned to the door of the bedroom and smiled to Greg who was looking at her with a pleased, fond, soft sort of expression as he leaned against the doorjamb with his hands in his trouser pockets. Molly kissed Toby again as he reached out to paw her face and regain her attention. The little mite had missed his mama dreadfully and smelled the icky smells upon her that proved she had been away and that she had been injured as she didn’t smell quite right. Something had changed with his mama and he would find out and get rid of it before something terrible happened, like being replaced in her esteem. The new alpha male that was her mate was bad enough. Molly gave the cat one last kiss and lowered him to the floor. Toby marched away, now hungry that he was forced to absorb his mama’s squeezing affections.

“Tea?” Greg questioned for lack of something better to do with himself. Normality always started with tea, and he was more than ready to continue their lives from where it had left off. He didn’t want to appear as if he were hovering but there was a funny sort of pain in his chest, right along his ribs where his heart sat. The alpha knew it was simply from seeing his omega among the comforts of their home and safe once again. He could look upon his omega all day and never been bored of seeing her happy and whole again. The bond between them seemed stronger than ever now that influence of the drugs upon Molly from her coma had faded and allowed them to reach upon the bond to one another once again. In his efforts to be near her, and to protect his omega and their pups, the alpha in him was hyper aware of where Molly was at any given moment. He could close his eyes and feel where she was. Molly reached across their bond now to get Greg’s attention, sending a laughing sort of love across it. He looked up and found Molly’s eyes twinkling as she looked to the alpha with a smile in her eyes.

“Tea sounds great.” Molly dimpled a smile. “I’m going to take a shower.” Molly looked towards the bathroom door longingly as she began to divest herself of the clothes she wore.

She stripped down, uncaring of whether or not her Alpha was watching (he was), and went into the bathroom. Her first job was to take an extremely long shower. It had been so long and it was all Molly could think of doing when she was told it was time for her to go home. She turned the water on until it reached the absolutely perfect temperature and stepped into it, a sigh of relief falling from her lips as she allowed the hot water to cascade through her hair and down her back.

“Mind if I join you?” Greg looked to her with a pleading sort of expression in his eyes, clinging to jamb with one hand, his other on the doorknob of the bathroom door just in case she declined. The door almost shook under his grip on the handle, because it would take everything in him to leave her, when she looked like that. The one thing he wanted to do was to spend time lavishing all of his attention upon his mate, the mother of their pups. That thought always sent an extra flip to his stomach.

“I won’t say no.” Molly encouraged with a pleased smile as her arms about her to ward off the chill of the bedroom air seeping into the space.

Greg quickly stripped and climbed in after her, closing the door to seal in the steam. “Tea can wait.” Lestrade grumbled as he encouraged Molly to lean her hair into the spray with a rough finger under her chin. This wasn’t a typical sexy shower that held naughty promises in every look and touch they shared, this was a loving embrace wrapped up in the alpha’s attempt to care for his omega. He painstakingly ran his fingers through Molly’s hair and massaged her shampoo through the locks, massaging along her scalp with his blunt fingers. Molly moaned as the tension from being in the hospital, being constantly poked and prodded, ebbed out of her tense muscles. Then the alpha leaned his omega’s head back until the spray had encouraged all of the suds to run down her back and into the drain. He grabbed a waiting flannel and scrubbed her favorite bar of soap into it, and encouraged the suds through the cloth until it dripped down his hands.

The alpha was patient and methodical as he poured every ounce of love into bathing Molly, and treated her body with all the devotion and care he possessed as he worked the sudsy flannel along the peaks and valleys of her body. Never before could he remember wanting to do so for any other woman. But this was Molly, who was always so selfless and gave of herself to help any friend. The alpha wished that his hands could heal, and that his love could be soaked up into every pore of Molly’s skin so that she would never hurt ever again, but that was not his decision as their pups were growing from inside Molly’s changing form. There was the promise of the pain of birth, but also of pleasures in raising a family together. Molly looked down to see him now kneeling before her. He massaged all along her feet and worked his way up each leg as his loving touch brought a blush to her cheeks that had nothing to do with the shower.

Greg!” Molly begged a pleading moan falling from Molly’s lips, bouncing off the subway tiles along the shower. Her moan broke the tense silence that had built between them. But she could take no more. And Dr. Caruthers had warned her off ‘strenuous activity’ until the damn stitches came out. It wasn’t right for Greg to touch her like this, knowing that.

He reached for the apex of her legs with a stern shake of his head, cleansing her bits in a very clinical manner. Despite the heat in her eyes that he knew was echoed in his. This was about her, caring for his omega. Assisting her, because he was her mate and it was his duty, his honor, his privilege, to care for her. He wouldn’t jeopardize her health, even if it meant forgoing the desire that roiled through him, instructing him to rip out every sound of ecstasy from Molly’s throat until she could no longer stand. He felt his stirring cock throb at the thought. “Not now, Molls.” Greg looked up to her regretfully as he perfunctorily worked his hand along her butt and cast the flannel aside to rinse the soap from her body. “It’ll keep.” He encouraged with a grumble. Later he promised himself, later he would get to have her again. He sealed the promise with a single heated kiss. He pulled away and growled deep in his chest when Molly followed his lips, her body begging for more. He really didn’t know if he could make it a whole week. But he’d sure as hell try, dammit.

Molly allowed him under the spray then and he went about the obligatory action of cleaning himself. He needed to follow her quickly so that he could help her change her dressing now that she got the dressing from the hospital wet. If he didn’t follow her, he knew Molly would attempt to do it herself.

“Wait!” Molly reached out, grabbing at his wrists. “Let me wash you.” Molly looked to him, eyes wide and so very brown, warm like the deepest, sweetest honey. He let a growl build out of his chest at seeing that look upon her face.

“No.” Greg grumbled stubbornly wrapping his hands around her head to kiss her again. This time he lingered against her lips, unable to help himself. He pulled away again with a kiss to her forehead. “Next time. This was about you. Go on and dry off, I’ll only be a minute and I’ll help you change your dressing.” Greg encouraged Molly to get out of the shower, holding out a hand to ensure she climbed out of the shower tub safely. Molly could feel the alpha watching her out of the corner of his eye as she dried off.

Greg finished his shower and climbed out, all business as he ran a towel over himself quickly to dry off. He looked to the closed toilet to see Molly waiting for him in nothing but a towel, holding out the role of medical tape and first aid scissors, packs of gauze waiting in the first aid kit that she kept under the bathroom sink.

“You know sitting in nothing but a towel is not helping me keep my hands off you.” Greg growled as he wrapped the towel around his waist with a frustrated rumbling sigh and reached for the tape and scissors as Molly tore into the packs of gauze. Greg was pulled out of his occupation when he felt Molly’s lithe little fingers run along the edge of his towel where the omega knew the guiding line of silver hair on his tan skin edged towards the beginning of the thicker, darker patch that promised Molly a lovely view of his cock.

“I never knew a week could feel like such a long time.” Molly lamented with a regretful sigh before pulled her fingers away to pull the packet open. She felt the heated frustration come off of Lestrade in tumultuous waves. It was nice to know she wasn’t the only one. She held the gauze up to the incision, but was halted by Greg. He had put down the tape and scissors and pulled her hands away. It was the first time he had seen the incision from her surgery up close as well. Normally he watched from afar or left the room when the nurses or Dr. Caruthers changed the dressing. Now, Greg reached out to run a hand along the skin near the stitches. He was gentle but Molly looked up to see his eyes filled with a conflicting storm. Emotions bubbled out from inside him to their bond and Molly reached out to him with all the assurances she could think of.

“I’m fine, Greg. It’s alright.” Molly intimated, taking his questing hand into her own. The other supporting the gauze.

Greg avoided her gaze as he took the tape back into both of his hands. “I know.” Greg cleared his throat of emotion and met Molly’s eyes, worry showing in the lines at the edges of his own. Molly pressed the gauze to her chest and didn’t speak as he applied the tape. This would definitely be something that they would have to talk about, but not now. Molly just wanted a nap, the shower had pulled at the last of her energy. Once he was done he took off the towel to go into their bedroom and throw on his pajamas. “I’ll go and make the tea.” He excused himself, leaving Molly to finish her bathroom rituals in peace.

Molly sighed, knowing that Greg was at war with himself, wondering if he could have done more, if he could have saved her another way. She had felt his other worries as well, if they were ready to be engaged, and how she probably felt about all that had happened and now compounding by the realization that they were expecting children. They would have to speak on that later, for now Molly just didn’t have the energy. She merely brushed her teeth and went in search of something comfy to wear to bed. She shrugged on one of Greg’s tshirts from his side of the drawer (one of the older ones he favored on weekends that was cottony soft and stretched with use so that it went half way down her thighs) and a new pair of panties and climbed into the bed with a grateful sigh. She immediately put her head into Greg’s pillow, rubbing his smell all over, languishing in their combined smell, and let the relief of being home with Greg, both of them in one piece, wash over her.

She heard Greg’s chuckles from the door to their room as he came him with a tray. Tea made just the way she liked it and her favorite biscuits. Perfect. Molly took her cup as soon as Greg lowered the tray onto his side table. She drank from it, barely pausing to breathe as the calming daft warmed her insides. “I missed your smell.” Molly announced and sighed as she lowered herself into the warm comfort of the bed. She allowed the alpha just enough room to get into it before crowding his side again, leaving her nose in his pillow. She sat up once she had her fill and went back to sipping her tea. She reached over him for a biscuit and accepted a kiss before munching on them happily. Greg rumbled in mock annoyance as he allowed the omega to lean on him. He was more than happy to be a pillow for Molly.

Greg finally was able to relax into the mattress alongside Molly with a sigh. “Well I’m glad you like it. It’d be a shame if you didn’t.” He chuckled, taking slower more patient sips of his own tea. A hushed silence fell over the room, and Greg looked over to her side of the bed. He felt himself give a soft chuckle at the sight. Molly had fallen asleep, nearly tucking into his pillow, almost empty cup falling away in her hands. The warm shower, and hot tea, the scent of her alpha, and her own bed had worked their magic and eased Molly into the rest she was so desperately needing.

–––

The first few days back were slow repeats of the first. Molly patiently allowed her alpha the soothing motions of taking care of her. She didn’t much mind it. How could she? When this closeness was what she had truly been desiring since she woke up in the hospital. Regular visits from hospital staff and friends had seen to keeping them at arm’s length, and the omega knew even that distance had been painful for the alpha. Now he coddled her, held her close, and if it wasn’t for her frustration at being smothered, the alpha probably would have carried her around as if she were a glass figurine. The shooting, compounded with the announcing of her current condition had seen to Greg’s hyper-aware hovering. He barely left the omega alone to see to her own bathroom needs. It was a wonder that Molly had any privacy at all.

Molly had been much too tired to put up much of a fuss… for those first few days. Now, it had been almost a week since she came back from the hospital. Molly could barely get Greg to leave her for long enough to go to Tesco’s. He protested until she announced that if he didn’t she would go herself. That had been enough to get Greg out of the house. She had been anticipating when he would finally go back to work. His phone rang off the hook almost continually now that she was home from the hospital. More than once she saw Sherlock’s number. Never once had she heard from Sherlock that she was needed. The fact that Greg refused to go to work and she was the cause made her skin crawl with agitation. She felt like a burden. He wasn’t going to back to work because of her. Greg was miserable now, because of her. When they should be happy, she was alive, home, pregnant, and they were going to be married soon. They should be happy, and she wanted Greg to be happy with her.

Well into the first week since Molly came back from the hospital and all Greg did was sit around the flat, brooding, taking care of her, keeping his distance, brooding. It was an achingly familiar pattern; a routine Molly didn’t want to let continue. The brooding Molly thought she could live with, she knew him well enough to know that prodding the man about it wouldn’t help. He was open about his feelings; he would come to her when he was ready. He needed as much comfort as she needed him to help take care of her. But it was the distance he kept between them that made her chest ache more than the sore muscles did. After that first night, she watched his eyes cloud over with lust in their bathroom, she hadn’t seen looks upon his face since. It was painful.

Was this it? Was this when he would lose interest in her? So soon? Was this when Greg would politely marry her all the while still looking to other women despite this connection they shared? If so, Molly didn’t want him in the flat to watch it slowly happen. She’d much prefer if he went back to work and did it when she couldn’t look at him. The thought was enough to make her sob over the sink in the kitchen as she washed his favorite mug. She couldn’t hold herself up against the pain. Greg was there to comfort her, and it was the only thing she could take comfort in from him as he held her. She never told him why she cried, he assumed it was because of Moriarty or the pregnancy turning her body upside down. Molly wouldn’t correct him. All she could do was let the alpha feel how much she loved him. Everything else was up to him.

But if only the omega knew how much of Greg’s thoughts obsessed over his omega. He couldn’t focus on anything else. Greg brooded and stormed along in her wake not because he was torturing himself with guilt over what happened… exactly. He had played through those feelings enough to know there was nothing more he could have done and nothing could erase the urge of his wanting to do more. Sherlock had enough of those feeling for everyone involved. Greg assured him it wasn’t necessary, if only he could convince himself of that. He had grown used to the guilt in the hospital. Those feelings were pretty much a bass rhythm, so much so that Greg could move past them enough to function. He had to for Molly’s sake. Somehow he managed to suppress them enough so that Molly wouldn’t feel them either. Instead, Greg brooded because he couldn’t control himself. She needed to heal, and despite expressing an interest that first night, showed her body’s need to be left alone by him. She was going through her first trimester too. He was well aware of what beta women went through, and he knew that omega women could go through worse than that.

The last thing Molly needed was him being a brute. But that’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to peel the clothes off of her and make her howl for him. The temptation would strike him at the oddest of times. She had that glow about her, and it had always driven him a bit loopy in his experience. More than once, his ex-wife had almost clawed his eyes out when he tried to get her to have a bit of fun while she was round with one of the kids. He learned his lesson then, and Molly was healing from a gunshot wound. She didn’t need that. So, he worked on disciplining himself. It didn’t help that his alpha side salivated for her, crooned with satisfaction at the change in her smell, indicating that he achieved his goal of making her full with his pups and wanting to taste the fruit of his own labors. She wasn’t even that full with them yet, but one heat was all it took. He may have been a bit grey, but his alpha side preened with the knowledge as any young alpha buck would. So Greg brooded, because he was frustrated to the point of his knot turning blue, and he refused to give into his urges like some selfish prick. So as the week progressed, he had no idea that his lack of restraint was exactly what Molly wanted.

Molly couldn’t help but feel cagey. She wanted to be back at work. She’d only have a limited amount of time at work before the pups would arrive, Molly announced this to Greg, speaking more to the air between them than to her alpha. He was content to sit across from her during meals, or next to Molly while they watched mindless tele, and brood. He was good at that. Molly was also very lucky that this brooding made him look deliciously sexy. Though after several days of it, even Molly was growing tired of Greg’s gloomy visage. She reached across their bond to reassure him, and felt him acknowledge her with all those feelings she knew he possessed but still, she was greeted outwardly with this.

It took the mention of her pups over dinner to stir him out his stupor. They were going to get married, and her womb was going to be full soon with his pups and they had only just bonded. He had given her his mother’s wedding ring and watched it sparkle across from him on her finger. It was a specific point of pride for Molly to be the one to wear it, knowing that they were soulbonded. His mother hadn’t died until well after his marriage to Cassandra, and the viper was never able to get her greedy hands on it. No, Molly would be the first and last woman to have the privilege to wear it. However, Greg couldn’t credit her calmness surrounding the suddenness around all this change. “Are we ready for this?”

The question floated into the space between them, his voice echoing into the air. What she wouldn’t say, and what he couldn’t say laid just behind it. Not, are we ready for this, but was she ready for this.

“I think so, don’t you?” Molly dimpled a smile at her alpha, her eyes sparkling. Molly knew her track record wasn’t the best when it came to their next steps, but somehow now that they were bonded the rest of it seemed so effortless. She simply gave herself up to it.

“Yeah I think so! Are you sure though?” There it was, his doubts shaped around the uncertainty in his voice.

“Yeah! No- I- Yeah.” Molly nodded looking away shyly and then back at him. She was a bit ashamed, knowing why he had his doubts about her. But she couldn’t regret it all since it brought them together now. If only she could get him to stop brooding. “I know we’re ready. Now that we’re bonded. Yeah. We’re ready. I’m ready for this.” She looked at him askance, as she pushed food around on her plate. “You’re ready for this right?”

“Course! Molls- Yeah! Pleased as bloody punch actually.” Greg laughed reaching across to take her hand, rubbing his thumb along the band of her engagement ring. Molly threaded her fingers along his, teasing his with her own. If only she knew just how much that gentle touch affected him. He pulled his had away, tips of his ears aflame, before it could get worse. He didn’t look up to see the hurt look in Molly’s eyes.

–––

It took two more days after that before Molly had had enough, Greg’s phone rang off the hook and he never answered it, though more than once they both watched Donovan’s number flash across the screen over breakfast. When Molly had suggested he answer it, Greg merely grumbled and shut the thing off. The times when Molly did see him answer it, he practically growled into the phone and hung up.

It was on one of these occasions when they had been watched a movie. Molly finally had enough and paused the thing. Greg grumbled a sigh when she faced him.

“Greg. Why aren’t you going back to work?” Molly wondered seriously. “Are you afraid?”

“No!” Greg threw her a glare at the suggestion. He has seen plenty of people get hurt on the job, had taken plenty of injuries himself. But none of those people had been Molly, and none of the criminals had been Moriarty. Molly entertained the thought that maybe all of that had given the usually fierce alpha pause. But no one else had bullied Lestrade into not doing his work, and he wasn’t about to let Moriarty stop him, so it was something else then.

“Well you have to go back to work Greg, this city isn’t going to protect itself and we need the money.” Molly crossed her arms to take her stance. He was going back to work even if he didn’t want to go.

“I know- I just- I can’t- I don’t want to leave you here!” Greg agonized meeting her gaze. His eyes sparkling. Molly’s stern features relaxed for that.

Molly moved closer to him, so that she could cuddle into his side, her head on his shoulder her arms around her alpha. The feel of her served to relax him. “Why- why not?”

Greg sighed. His face clouding over with pain, pain he hadn’t let her see. Pain he hadn’t felt since he held her cold fingers in the hospital bed she had laid upon. “The last time I left you alone…” Greg couldn’t finish that sentence so he rumbled out simply “it didn’t end well.”

“Well that’s a clear understatement.” Molly laughed a bit, glad she could make at least the corners of his mouth turn up, before turning serious once again. “Nothing’s going to happen to me Greg-” He lifted an eyebrow at her statement. “At least nothing will happen to me again.” Molly corrected, a blush coming to her cheeks. Just when she thought she saw a whisper of that old look his Greg’s eye, he brushed his lips across her brow and put his chin on top of her head.

“I know- I know, I just- It’s because- well- you’re pregnant. I feel…”

“Responsible? Well Greg, you technically are to a certain extent.” Molly teased. Greg huffed a laugh.

“No!” Greg growled. “Protective. I can’t describe it. I’m terrified something could happen to you if I’m not here to protect you.”

“But what about the criminals out there you haven’t put away yet?” Molly wondered aloud, “there’s plenty of psychopaths out there that could get me as well. Especially with you sitting here on your duff scowling.” Molly pulled away them to go into their bedroom. It was best to let the alpha come to the proper conclusion on his own. Yes he might not like leaving her alone right now, but him going to work and shaking off those worries by putting maniacs behind bars was a lot better than brooding.

Greg went to work the next morning, kissing her on his way out as he had before. The front door to their flat closed that morning to Molly’s sigh of relief.

–––

Greg had been back for several days, busy days, when he found himself pulling up in front of a strange door front with Molly. To her it was very familiar. Dr. Bantam’s office loomed before them. Molly simply took Greg’s hand and led him into the office, knowing he’d be too nervous to do it. But once inside Greg was all smiles to the nurse, and Molly rolled her eyes as he charmed the normally snooty nurse into pretending a friendly relationship with Molly that was never the norm. Molly simply smiled triumphantly to the nurse as she eyed the alpha behind his back, regretfully. She was used to such looks now, he was a silver fox and all hers. Their bonding couldn’t go unnoticed. Omegas all throughout London would often look to him, wishing they had an alpha like hers.

Greg somehow even managed to get the nurse to show them to an exam room herself. They waited, Molly smiling to her alpha. Greg appeared to just be keeping a control on his nerves as he held fast to Molly’s hand. He hated this part. He could only sit in wonder at what Molly was going through, what changes happened within her body. It amazed him when his two other children came into world, there was no difference to him now. In fact, their soulbond compounded the feeling. Molly did her best to soothe the alpha along their bond, but his worries were still there.

Dr. Bantam walked into the room all smiles to the couple. Molly made introductions from her place upon the exam table. She watched the two man share in some exchanges, Dr. Bantam questioning Lestrade as her alpha. Lestrade impressed the alpha when he deferred to Molly several times in regards to her health. She saw the expression upon the doctor’s face proved as much. He gave her a wink of approval. Molly giggled as she began to remove the layers she put on until the gauze and tape covering her stitches were revealed.

“Let’s see what we have here.” Dr. Bantam mumbled to himself poking and proding around the incision. “Oh those are ready to come out.” The doctor smiled happily to the couple before turning to get his supplies. Molly breathed a sigh of relief, happy to have them out. “I wonder why you came here to get them removed Molly, your GP would do the job just fine.” Dr. Bantam looked to the alpha and omega with a lift of his eyebrow.

“Well the doctors confirmed in the hospital my suspicions when they took blood for the surgery.” Molly eyed the doctor with her cheeks aflame, she hadn’t the chance to go to him before being shot.

“Really? Dr. Bantam turned, surgical scissors still in his hand as he moved to put them on a sterile tray next to the exam table. Both Greg and Molly nodded happily, sharing a look. “Well!” Dr. Bantam nodded happily bringing rubbing his hands together fondly. “I knew that wouldn’t take long. We’ll have to take you first sonogram before you go then. Find out how many you’ll have, how far along you are.” The doctor rattled on and one through the removal of the stitches, much to Molly’s delight as she was grateful for the distraction as she felt the pulls and tugs as he removed the stitches.

It wasn’t long before the doctor moved the table aside and made quick work of moving Molly into the sonogram room. Molly was on her back and had jelly squirted onto her barely there bump before she could say anything. She looked to the monitor and back several times to see Greg’s reaction. He was silent but couldn’t help the sparkle of tears in his deep brown eyes. The only thing he could do was kiss her several times, either her head, her hand, or when they finally heard the heartbeats, the palm of her hand because he was feeling especially soppy about her.

“Heartbeats?” Molly questioned looking to Dr. Bantam.

The man nodded with a proud smile. “Yes! Your alpha is quite the guy. First time you’ve ever experienced an adult heat, and you’re going to have three pups. Though we can’t tell you what you’re going to have just yet. Next visit maybe.” Dr. Bantam winked. Pressing a button to print a picture of the sonogram. Three little jelly beans were all Molly could see, but it was enough to bring tears to her eyes. Greg leant his head against her, kissing what he could reach. They were going to have pups. This brought a new gravity to the situation. The rest of the visit was uneventful and Lestrade didn’t let go of Molly’s hand until he was forced to go back to work. She watched Lestrade drive off and climbed the stairs back to the flat.

She walked into her flat and saw Anthea waiting for her. Molly dropped her things carefully, eyeing the woman. She dimpled, watching Molly eye the room as if Mycroft would pop out from one of the other rooms at any moment.

“Don’t worry Molly, he isn’t here, I came here of my own accord. Mr. Holmes didn’t send me for anything.” Anthea explained gesturing to the tea before her. It was all easy enough to find, and she knew hot tea would do well to soothe Molly’s current suspicions.

“Well, what are you doing in my flat exactly? And how did you get in?” Molly wondered aloud. It wasn’t like she had the terrible locks on her doors anymore.

“Well plying your landlord was easy enough.” Anthea dimpled again. Molly did laugh at that sitting herself on her couch beside Anthea. They shared a few sips of tea in companionable silence before Anthea explained herself. “I’m here, to offer you my services.”

“Services?” Molly lifted her eyebrow.

“Well you have three babies on the way, and a wedding to plan. That’s a lot to take on. You need someone organized that can help plan it for you.” Anthea hinted not meeting Molly’s eye as she took a sip.

“You don’t have time to plan a wedding for me.” Molly looked doubtful. It was then that Anthea produced a binder.

“I have booked three locations that could hold the ceremony and rehearsal in the same room. Since as I probably successfully predicted, you’re unlikely to want a traditional ceremony. I’ve confirmed options for everything else, all you will have to do is confirm your decisions. I’ll make the phone calls and tell you when to show up and where, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.” Anthea finished with a lift of her eyebrow wondering if Molly would take the offer.

“What about-?”

“Money?” Anthea seemed reluctant to discuss it. “Mr. Holmes is ready to sign the checks once you’ve decided. It was his brother’s idea, not Mycroft’s.” Anthea saw her shock at both Holmes brothers meddling with their life now. “If it makes you feel any better, the offering of my help would have occurred without Mycroft’s involvement.” Molly sighed, nodding her assent. She took the path of least resistance, at least she wouldn’t have to lift too many fingers. The first step was dress shopping with her sister, sister-in-law, Donovan, Mary, Harry, Anthea, and Mrs. Hudson. The thought was daunting, but Anthea reassured her all she had to do that day was show up and try on a few dresses. Dresses that would flatter her whether or not her bump was showing.

Molly wished it all felt that easy, but all she wanted to do was be married to Lestrade. She didn’t need all the fuss.

–––

Molly had grown frustrated.

She knew that now that her stitches were out, there was nothing keeping them from continuing as they were before. In fact, Molly was looking forward to it. The omega was downright horny. They had gone through this stalemate for long enough. She didn’t want Moriarty to come between them now any more than when he was alive.

When Greg came home from work, finally, he went through the motions as if nothing had changed, Molly didn’t understand it. She did everything except wear a revealing top, so that she could hide her new scar in case it worked against her ploy. The alpha was so distant the last thing she wanted to do was spook him away with unwanted memories.

Dinner was tragically uneventful. Greg had turned on the tele to football and gladly let her snuggle up next to him. The alpha kiss the side of her head, her cheek, and left a regretfully closed mouth kiss on her lips. Nothing more. She spent the entire night as they watched TV trying to inch his hands towards parts of her she wanted him to touch, eventually he growled at her.

“Molly!” Greg scolded, pulling his hands away to look at her. He wasn’t prepared to see the desparate look in her eye. “No.” Greg shook his head.

“Please Greg!” Molly encouraged Greg to touch her as they sat on the couch by allowing his hand to cup her clothed sex. She pushed his fingers against her center, they could both feel she was practically soaked and he hadn’t even touched her yet. She had been starving in the desert and Greg was her oasis. The omega had gone for nearly three weeks without his touch, she was starving for him. She moaned against his questing fingers, Greg’s control slipped until he pulled away as if burnt.

“No! Molls-” Greg choked against his own lust. When he met Molly’s eyes, she could finally see what storm had been brewing inside him. It was all for her. The fierceness in his eyes made her mouth run dry. She felt her pussy gush at the sight. “You don’t know what you’re asking of me.” Greg rumbled, his words barely audible around the growls echoing from his chest. She saw then the tense muscles, the sweat beading on his brow, the pain in his eyes, and the ragged thin thread of control he kept upon himself, for her sake. The fact that Greg would do this, stop himself from touching her for weeks, simply because it was to her benefit he did so, when most men would have been selfish and pawed at her, to force her into consenting – though she would hardly have been unwilling – threatened to make undo her own self-control. She was ready to just ride his thigh until she came, if he didn’t cooperate.

“Oh but I do know.” Molly protested. Oh, she did know. She knew exactly what she was asking of the Alpha and she wanted him to lose control for her. All she needed was an hour, just one to quench the rising dam of pleasure that threatened to burst.

Greg wasn’t prepared for when Molly stood, stripped her bottoms off – though he couldn’t contain the groan as he watched the juices that glistened on her lips. He knew the way she tasted, and to restrain himself was sheer agony. Somehow she found her way into his lap, Greg’s surprise pulled out of his chest as she pushed his shoulders back against the couch. Molly couldn’t stop the motion of her hips into his throbbing erection, that practically jumped at the taste of her heat. She slowly pulled at the layers of sweaters she wore until at last her breasts kissed the cool air of the flat. Molly let out a moan as she felt the sore, sensitive buds tighten making her core throb. She was practically gushing for the man in front of her. Greg’s thick, blunt, fingers came down upon her hips, gripping bruises into them deliciously. It was enough to still the hungry motion of her hips. “Molly-” Greg bit out, growling in the back of his throat with frustration. The thread of his control was fraying. Molly whined in pleasure, digging her nails into his forearms, her hips grinding in his lap. She let out an airy chuckle at the answering thrust of Greg’s hips, shuddering against the alpha. Greg caught himself with an agonized moan, throwing his head back against the couch, squeezing his eyes shut. As if the darkness of his eyelids could prevent such a delectable sight from appearing before him.

She took his hand and lifted it from her hips to her chest, covering the scar with the warm paw. Greg opened his eyes with a pained glance at her actions. It was one of the first times she had ever let him touch her there. Once at night, while she had been sleeping, he had tortured himself with pulling the bandages away as she slept to stare at the stitches. He had been the cause of her pain, so many times. So now he schooled himself into staying away from her like this, to no longer because of her pain but his own. He couldn’t keep away from her entirely, the alpha inside of him mourned the thought. She was is, and bore his bite. He planned on her baring his pups, and then that would be it. He had prepared himself for a long life of distance and loneliness to protect his omega, but once again the unpredictable minx upset all his plans to be miserable. Now he couldn’t help as his fingers flexed against the soft, warm skin of his omega. The tough ignited a flame up his arm, willing the rest of his body to move. With a wail of agonized acceptance, he pushed his head against her chest, mouthing kisses into the flesh there. His tan hands crawled up the willowy expanse of Molly’s back. One of these days he would convince the beautiful omega to wear backless dresses. He spent hours staring at the swath of pale, pale, skin as she slept. Greg hugged her close, lifted his face from her chest to gaze into her eyes. The brown pools sparkled with love even as they clouded over with pain and regret. “Molls- please!” Greg begged. He needed the omega to have mercy. He couldn’t keep his vow to protect her, even from himself and his urges, if she didn’t cooperate.

Molly’s fingers carved paths into the silver down of Greg’s hair. “I’m not going to break, Greg.” Molly lowered her mouth onto his fiercely, the omega would take from him what she came for. Greg moaned into her kiss, the dam of his control breaking. His hips thrusted into her moist heat, moving beyond his control. With restless, hurried movements, Greg lowered his trousers and pants until at last his cock was freed. He grasped his throbbing alpha cock in his hand, and spared little thought for her comfort – she clearly was ready for this, practically dripping onto his cock from her delectable center – as he thrust inside her. Greg stilled with a howl of pain in finding his satisfaction at being one with the woman he loved, the mother of his new pups, after such a long time separated by so many painful things. Molly soothed the raging storm inside him with kisses as she began riding him. His hips met hers as they moved to find completion beyond his control. They took and gave of each other until they crashed over the shore to oblivion together.

Before Molly could sigh in satisfaction, Greg lifted her up into his arms carrying her into their nest with a low predatory growl. Molly cried out, reaching out to hit the lights of their flat along the way. The alpha had enough of starving in her presence and now he would gladly slake his thirst upon his omega.

–––

Chapter Text

Nuptiae

–––

Molly cracked open her eyes, the sun outside was bright, brighter than it should have been since there was snow on the ground. A bright sunny morning only a snowy December day could bring, though she never quite understood how the sun could always be so bloody bright the morning after snow storms. Well, she knew why but why did it always have to radiate the sun right into her face? Lucky for her though, as she cuddled further into the cushion of her bed and the body behind her, there was a warm-blooded alpha to keep her warm.

Greg hummed a pleased grumble in his sleep, pulling her body closer to his own with a tanned, well-muscled arm. She tried to stop the giggle that wanted to wriggle out from her chest as she felt his breath against the back of her neck, always sensitive. As she became more aware of her surroundings, she noticed the way they touched; his legs slotted against her own, his arm under her neck, and that same hand brushing against the fingers she usually rested on her pillow. The stark contrast from what she thought being with an alpha could be like brought her out of her dozing peace.

She reached out gently with the hand that was resting on her hip to feel that Lestrade’s hand was near to hers, resting on the growing bump of her womb that was carrying their pups. Some would have said as an omega that it was smothering, but Molly marveled that even in his sleep he desired to either pet at her womb to express affection for their pups or even more likely, to protect them all from the dangers of the outside world. Affection for her alpha at that idea lanced through her, and slowly she turned, his body naturally giving way and readjusting for her shifting form in his sleep. Molly watched his face with a shy, adoring smile as Greg snuffled, letting out a rumble as he stretched. He rubbed his soft silver hair into the cradle of his pillow, his mouth smacking together sluggishly in sleep, and grew comfortable again with a grumbling hum.

Molly had the rotten luck to choose that moment to check the time on the little clock she kept by the bed. Oh, for the love of— of course it was a Saturday, and she couldn’t lounge in bed. She had even less time to get ready for the day than she thought. Somehow Anthea had arranged everything perfectly, almost too perfectly. And Molly really didn’t want to get up and move, or to disturb Greg’s rest.

She was to report to the dress shop Anthea had picked out for them at nine-thirty sharp. Today she was to pick a dress, and have it fitted. It was already almost eight-thirty. With a sigh, Molly slowly moved as carefully as she could from being wrapped up in Lestrade’s arms. He was meeting with Sherlock and John later.

–––

“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Molly whispered to herself as she groaned, feeling the white satiny fabric the floated down around her body when she let it go.

Molly paced inside the dressing room of the local bridal shop in central London. She never thought that in her life she’d get to wear a wedding dress or that she would ever find someone worthwhile to marry. That man certainly hadn’t been Tom, but the realization came to her. That person was Greg and it came crashing down on her in the middle of the shop. Oh fuck, she was going to be getting married in a matter of days. It wouldn’t necessarily change anything, but she would legally be tying herself to her alpha, in more ways than with just the bond they already shared.

It was a bit traditional to want to marry as well when there was already the natural protection of a bond, but both Molly and Greg had agreed they wanted to legally join their property as well as their lives. There were many modern couples that would forsake the legality of a lawful or religiously recognized union, refusing the constraints of laws meant for betas, and instead the mated couples only relied on the legal premise of a bond. This would allow the omega to maintain autonomy of their property, and their own identity. Many omegas preferred the security of knowing they still legally maintained their independence. Some omegas who loved their alphas often desired this level of commitment. Especially in the current times where the joining union would often be a love match. The legal commitment of a marriage as well as a bond tied an omega to their alpha twofold through a physical union as well as a merging of their property, assets, and showed their family and society that their commitment to monogamy was twice blessed or bound through the union of both bond and marriage. This was more of a symbolic promise of the alpha to choose only one omega rather than the omega to choose one alpha.

Throughout recorded history, the differences between marriages and bonds was often blurred. The dawn of man has seen evidence wherein Alphas ruled nomad tribes these variances were often nonexistent. The first ideas of marriage came during the bonding process. The bonding of the Alpha and Omega was the most holy of rituals among ancient societies, as matings took place under the witness of entire tribes so that, in many cultures, they could please their gods. Among these tribes, it was the omegas who held the greatest authority in the choosing of a mate. A bond without love was often seen as a sin against the gods. A bond without love or the abuse of an Omega would often be unlucky or ill-omened. It was the blame for war, bad harvest, famine, or illness. In ancient history, the ritual of bonding often including ceremonial marriage rites as part of the bonding process before the mating of alpha and omega could take place. While betas often were not allowed to mate in societies and female betas were often seen as fair game by Alphas to increase pack size and to profligate the species, eventually they used these ceremonial practices as their own rituals to establish the first ideas of separating bonds and marriage unions.

This idea would change and morph throughout history as great societies were built and empires would fall. It sparked a great debate that could fracture whole societies and difference among cultures and religions often led to wars killing thousands. Until many western cultures sought to celebrate the idea of the holy union through marriage, kings and queens ruled in favor of churches that encouraged Alphas and omegas to purge sinful behaviors and to purify their souls through unions under the bosom of the Christian church. As aristocratic eventually used omegas as chattel, to negotiate trade and property deals through arranged bonds. So too did the law remove omega rights and the idea of chivalrous culture remove power from not only women but omegas as well. However, this idea of legal marriage in monogamous unions and bonds was not the custom everywhere. Many times, not being legally married throughout history allowed the alpha to bond with multiple omegas and the practice was quite popular in Asian, Middle Eastern, African and indigenous American societies.

The stripping of omega power would continue throughout history. Omegas were kept away from the outside, sheltered until the days of their bonding, brought up with little to no education other than how to be a good omega and how to appear before society and royal courts. In certain Asian cultures, a single omega child would be chosen to be the holy representation of a god or goddess on earth, never to touch the ground with their feet or to look upon anyone until the day they were to bond with the Alpha chosen for them. Families were quite blessed to have omegas in them, as it would often increase their wealth and social standing. In fact, not having an omega in a generation of children produced could end a family unless they were able to buy a bond with another family. If the omega couldn’t produce, they were banished from society and many starved in the streets, seen as cursed or unlucky, to be ignored by Alphas, betas, and omegas everywhere.

The older laws would not only take away the personhood of omega women, and women everywhere, upon marriage but, in effect, the bonded male omegas as well. Omega men, historically, fared better than women in that if their families hid their second gender and they kept their anonymity, they would be able to remain a gentleman until after bonding. Homosexual bondings were often discouraged by societies for their lack of success in procreation. Many would try to deem it sinful and punish the practice throughout history. While beta males suffered under the illegality of such partnerships, homosexual bonds were discouraged and eventually only viewed as ‘eccentric’ in modern history. This was very common in the Victorian age, many of these omega gentlemen adopted the similar practice of homosexual men of wearing green carnations in their lapels, and hiding not only their sexuality but their second gender amongst a sympathetic community. After such strict ideas fell out of fashion, the early 22320th century saw many mated couples abandoning lawful unions in favor of the natural law of the bond and settling issues legally through their wills and legal defense. It became a legal struggle to give omegas their autonomy on the international stage. Far and wide, alphas came to the defense of their omegas and showed their respect for people long ignored by governments and society, as frivolous and weak creatures that needed the law to protect them from themselves, and like women denied them the right to an education and to make a living wage. But still there were plenty of societies that cloistered and hid their omegas among the wealthy and privileged, the English being one that decided the rights of the omega were better decided among the families that married them.

However, in recent decades, this hadn’t been enough for omegas. The Great Wars saw the world’s current beliefs upended in favor of modernization. Omegas sought freedoms long denied them as they fought alongside their neighbors and helped to defeat fascism and embraced the ideals of socio-democratic freedoms for all. For those individuals who fell in love, not with their arranged mates but with mates they wanted to choose. This disturbed the establishment, not just in the government, after they were forced to recognize full omega rights in marriage and in roles within society, but also were forced to defend these rights in court. Of course, there were backlashes but omegas were slowly finding their ways into society and staking their claims as equal citizens, male and female omegas alike, long after women fought for their own autonomy and the right to vote. While the turn of the century saw the right to vote gained by women in most of the western world, it took several decades after for omegas to be given the same right and to gain their full independence as citizens not as property. As betas gained more and more political power and “the common man” was celebrated, many wealthy families disliked beta law having power over their property, including their omegas. After the wars, family life was meant to resume, and it was encouraged that everyone do their part to build up what was lost. The GI bills built up the middle class in many societies as well as advancement in technology. The idea of the nuclear family was born and so came with it the Baby Boom. In the 1950’s, marriages were almost twice as likely to come before the bonds, the bonds forming in happenstance after the fact of marriages taking place, as marriages being popular with the emphasis on the nuclear family instead of the mating of alpha and omega. The idea of properly married first, and bonded second allowed omegas to seek out Alpha and beta men alike. A good provider from a good family was better than a bond. Culturally omegas and beta women were there to contribute to society by being homemakers and raising the next generation. The return of Alphas to their roles and jobs within the workforce sent many omegas and women back to the kitchen. With the 1960’s and sexual freedom becoming the norm, many alphas and omegas forsworn the commitment of marriage for the more ancient practice of bonding as a sign of their commitment, this was seen often in countercultures with alphas using communes to mate and bond with several omegas like harems and ruling royal alphas in societies before them. Many began to study the physiological and metaphysical aspects of heats experienced by alphas and omegas, using the experience as a form of spiritual awakening. But with the 1970s came the slow trickle of the enacting of omegas rights laws, after men and women, beta and omega alike fought for female and second gender liberation, omegas slowly, through the latter half of the 20th century, had the freedom of access to contraceptives. Beta pathologists could begin autopsies on omegas, which doubled the number of alpha convictions in cases of omega murders, and eventually omega biology became a part of medical practices, even to the point where omega abortions became safe and slowly became legal most especially in cases of forced bondings. Suppressant contraceptives even gave the omega community the freedom to choose when they had their heats, when they had children, and even who they shared their heats with, making it harder for alphas to control their omegas and their heat cycles. They could decline the bond chosen for them, as was still in practice among the wealthy, choose their own partners. There were many rulings in court in the late 20th century and at the turn of the next one, that determined, in the breaking of a bond, there were enough similarities legally to a lawful divorce, and the omega or alpha wanting to break their commitment wouldn’t have to suffer through divorce at the same time as recovering from a broken bond. The number of divorces and broken bonds soared as it was stressed through law and second gender sexual education that omegas along with beta women had the right to choose. Between the 1980’s to the 21st century, omegas flooded the workforce and climbed the ladder to jobs of power and authority hand in hand with beta women. Modern day now saw couples using this new-found freedom to make bonds, marriages, and unions however they chose. Still, the accepted norm from previous generations now encouraged many bonded couples to seek the legal commitment of marriage as well as their bond. Entitlements of the omega would be decided among their families and the couple upon marriage and were supposed to be honored upon the breaking of the bond. While this worked to their advantage, there were just as many times where it did not, and Molly had always seen the news growing up of half-starved omegas, and their alpha arrested for omega abuse all while claiming that they were in their right because the omegas never stipulated their legal protections. But there were also omegas that went so far as to keep their own properties from before their bond as a way of maintaining their independence. they could live separately from their alpha, though there weren’t many that would come to the omega’s defense, even in the 21st century. It wasn’t the first time Molly had seen an omega living separately from their alpha after differences split them apart, usually through the Alpha’s own actions or abuses. The separation would lessen the strength of their heats and they lived a life of independence while maintaining the bond they despised, but it was better than living with an alpha that abused them. At least that’s what rumors whispered among society would say. Or they could risk going through the mourning of a broken bond, which took the lives of a percentage of omegas that would attempt it, but who would want to take that kind of a risk to find out?

This long history, this battle for omega independence and this idea of tradition now breathed down Molly’s neck as she stood there staring at her own reflection clad in white.

All her women friends and family were waiting for her to come out from the room and be lovely. They were going coo and awe over her like she was a precious animal video on the internet. The idea of it, like she was a cow at auction, made her roll her eyes and she let out a growl in frustration. Even in this dress cut to hide her stomach Molly felt like an ungainly cow, her bump obvious. This had all been Anthea’s idea, the dresses were picked and waiting for her when she walked in. She found Donovan, Mary, Harry, her sister June and sister-in-law Daphne waiting for her arrival and well into the champagne while a tall glass of sparkling water waited for the bride. Another eyeroll was given then and now she paced, struggling to prevent herself from having an anxiety attack. They were anticipating her coming to face them on the couch in the middle of the shop – that Molly knew Anthea had closed down just for her dress shopping – but they all knew she would just as easily have gone to the nearest clothing shop that was her favorite and buy the first white dress she saw that she knew would look good on her. Although now with her changing figure, she doubted she knew what that would be anymore. Dress shopping while in this change of her life was hardly ideal and she didn’t know if she was ready for all of this.

Still Molly paced, but at the idea of her changing shape, Molly paused in front of the mirror and took her growing womb in her hands. It wasn’t that far along but she noticed, and if she noticed others would too, and these women that were her friends and relatives were hardly idiots. However, Anthea and she agreed, there was no way she was going to want to go through this whole ceremony when she was heavy with triplets. Besides, they didn’t know if she would be required to go on bedrest once she got bigger. Not to mention by that time, Greg would probably forbid her from leaving the house and would hardly leave himself. Her pups were just barely showing now, they were so small inside her. She was going to be a mother, and it was the first time she noticed this process happening inside her. She held her womb now and noticed how they were starting to pull at and change her shape. She let go of her womb and looked now at how flattering the dress truly was, and she could see a vision of Greg waiting for her, dressed in the same suit he wore at Mary and Harry’s wedding. The vision was enough to bring tears to her eyes. Was she really going to do this?

The thoughts were swirling in her head, and the dressing room was so small. It was all happening so fast. What were they doing?

“Molly?” There was a soft knock on the door, pulling Molly away from her whirling thoughts before she could pass out, and she could hear Donovan’s voice from behind the door. “We’re waiting to see you.”

“Be there in a minute.” She called wetly around a gasp to try and catch her breath, letting out a sniffle into the quiet of the dressing room.

“Are you alright?” Donovan questioned, and the door to the room opened despite Molly wanting it to remain shut.

“Wait! Don—!” Molly bit her lip, wringing her hands when Donovan came to stand in front of her. Her broad smile stopped Donovan’s concern in its tracks when she saw how lovely Molly looked.

“Oh my god! Look at you!” She rushed forward to bring Molly into her arms. She pulled away to hold Molly’s hands and looked her up and down. “You’re going to knock the bloody socks of the Boss when he sees you!” Donovan held her hands and noticed that Molly was crying, she hugged the omega again. “Why are you crying?”

“I’m just having a moment. It’s all finally hitting me, Greg, the wedding, and everything. I don’t know if I’m ready for all of this.” Molly heaved a breath around a cry and tried to control her outburst in front of Greg’s sergeant.

“‘Course you are, Molly!” Donovan smiled, turning Molly around to look in the mirror. “I’ve never saw a couple more ‘ready’ for this than the both of you. I thought the only reason you were both waiting was because of the divorce.”

“Well,” Molly blushed. “Greg was and then I sort of ruined it by dating other people.”  

“The boss quite frankly had always been a bit mad about you and I’ve never seen him like this.” Donovan met her eyes in the mirror and smiled. “And you could do worse than the Boss, I mean remember that Tom moron?” Even Donovan had heard about Tom, and Molly nodded with a laugh, finally calming down. Donovan turned her away from her reflection and hugged her one last time to make her exit. “The rest of the girls are waiting to see you.” Molly nodded against her shoulder, not trusting her voice. “Here.” Donovan went to the little dressing table inside the room and pulled out a couple of tissues from the decorative box. “Dry your eyes and I’ll go tell the girls you’ll be right out.” At Molly’s laughing nod, Donovan strutted out of the room, practically bouncing with excitement.

Molly did as Donovan instructed, she wiped at her eyes and with a fortifying breath she squared her shoulders and came into the hallway to the claps of the sales assistant. The girl helped lift the small train at the back of the flowing dress and helped Molly come into the room and step up onto the platform.

There was a resounding sigh of awe from the women on the couch as they watched Molly come to stand before them. She felt like a pony at auction or worse a china figurine on display, as she turned around so that all the women could get a better look. Honestly, she was a rather reluctant bride as there was entirely too much estrogen in the entire shop for her taste. She was never one for these things other women loved. What was it about white organza and lace that made women lose all their reason and accountability? Molly had to suppress an eyeroll while surrounded by the sales assistants, shop owners, and the women who were directly in her life, as they all cooed and sighed over anything that was white and reeked of weddings. She’d just as soon go down to the courthouse with Greg and just sign the papers. Now it was like she came up against a firing squad as she waited for their judgement and opinion on the dress she wore. This was the first one in the bunch to catch her eye. It was an empire waist gown with a sweet-heart bodice. It came together in several swooping tiers of fabric, joined by silver broach containing several gems and pearls in the shape of an arrangement of flowers, and the layers fell along the bodice to accentuate her flowering figure gracefully before it fell away to hide her baby bump with a long train at the back, while the lace sleeves hugged her arms gently and stopped at the three-quarter length. She had never pictured herself in a wedding dress, but this was a good start.

“Oh Molly!” Mary gushed, falling against her wife. Her own pregnancy could bring tears to her eyes at the drop of a hat. And she was further along than Molly and already well into her second trimester. “You look absolutely beautiful.” Mary sighed wiping at her own eyes with a tissue given to her by Anthea, who had put away her blackberry for the occasion. Anthea was all smiles herself and sitting very proudly, glad of her excellent choice in gowns.

“Why are you wearing something so flowy?” Her sister questioned with a displeased turn of her lips. “I thought you would be in something a bit more form fitting. At least maybe a corset bodice.” Molly had forgotten there were only a few people privy to her news. It would be June who would find something to say while her friends gushed about how beautiful she was, but that was the difference between friends and family.

“Well that would have been the case, surely before I bonded with Greg. But I didn’t think either of us wanted to wait the 9 months plus however long it would take my figure to go back to normal.” The stunned face her sister wore was just a bit worth it.

“You’re-” June’s face had never been so shocked.

“Pregnant?” Daphne finished for her, her face breaking out in a surprised grin.

Molly nodded smugly. For once, proud that she was marry such a strong, capable alpha. It was a novel feeling for her. But he would be the envy of all other alphas because in her mind, Greg was perfect. “We’re expecting three pups.” All the women except Donovan and Anthea rose from the couch to hug and congratulate her. Even the sales assistant gave her a hug, knowing from the beginning of the appointment that she was pregnant and had gowns in the dressing room, ready for her and her blooming figure.

June hugged her, kissing her cheek. “Mum and Dad would have been so happy. A little bit putting the cart before the horse but still so wonderful.” Molly hugged her difficult sister with a tight smile, rolling her eyes at the awkward glace from Mary, Harry, and Donovan.

“We’re just so happy you’ve finally settled down Sis. We’ve all waited for it for so long, we’re just so happy that you’re going to be happy with Greg.” Daphne squeezed her a little too hard and Molly gave another eye roll, this time June gave one back to her. Daphne always tried to hard to be a Hooper.

“Can we see more dresses?” Anthea eventually interrupted the women and put the appointment back to rights, and eventually Molly was fitted into dress after dress until finally she, and no one else in the room, chose the dress she wanted.

–––

Molly returned to her flat several hours later with a huff, carrying all the items she’d wear for her wedding and the dress was being sewn to fit her, and there would be a fitting in two days’ time. Just before the rehearsal, she’d go to the dress shop and have the final fitting and then the dress would be delivered to the manor where the wedding would take place, the day of the wedding. She didn’t know how Anthea did it, but Mycroft’s money would move mountains.

She looked around the empty place and sighed, thinking that Greg would be home when she got there, but no such luck. She sighed, going about hiding these things in her closet and getting out of the clothes she wore that smelled like the perfumes of one too many women and cigarette smoke of walking by one too many pubs while shopping. Instead of feeling across her bond, Molly simply let Greg know she was locked safe inside their flat and waited for him by text. There was no response, not even when she asked him if he wanted dinner. Well that time came and went, and Molly ate what she could of eggs and toast. It’s all she could keep down. Shortly after eating, she paced her sitting room wondering where Greg was, and finally reached across her bond for him, finding something dulled her connection to him. She growled in frustration and her worry increased two-fold until their front door crashed open and three men barreled through an hour later. It was almost eleven o’clock at night. Molly screamed backed away until she realized that it was John and Sherlock carrying a passed-out Greg on their shoulders, while he mumbled at the jostling, in his drunken stupor and they giggled like two drunken thieves.

“What are the two of you doing?!” Molly demanded rushing to Greg’s side and scooping him up. One sober woman able to carry her drunken mate better than two drunk fools.

“D-Don’t—” Sherlock swayed, only to be caught by his alpha. “Don’t, um, worry Mollry, We— we brought your future husband back in one piece.” Sherlock declared.

John burst out a giggle and sent Sherlock laughing as well. “Just a bit pickled.” John sassed, and that really made Sherlock twitter. Molly fumed and it only made it worse.

“Alright. Out! The both of you. Getting my alpha drunk. I can’t believe you two.” Molly growled in frustration.

“B—but Molly! It was his stag do!” Sherlock whined, his eyes big and sad at the knowledge that the fun of the night was over.

“Come on Sherlock, I think they want to be alone.” John made air quotes with his hands and it sent Sherlock giggling and flapping his hands about. Molly shouting out in anger at them both and pushed both men out with a mother’s strength.

“Out! Out! Get out!” Molly shoved them out to their loud, drunken protests. “Go back to Baker Street and I will want an apology from you both when you’re sober!” With one last shove the drunken boors of Baker Street were booted out of her flat. “Good night!” Was all she spared the pair before she slammed her door shut and locked it.

“I can just pick it open, Jawn, don’t worry!” Sherlock announced on the other side of the door. She heard John’s voice mumble something and then there were the sounds of their footsteps walking away, and she could hear Sherlock in the distance bemoaning John’s “ruining of all his fun for the sake of silly things like manners.” Molly huffed and blew her hair out of her eyes and turned back to her still drunk alpha that was snoring on her couch.

Well there was nothing for it, she undressed Greg as much as possible laid out some paracetamol, a large water, and threw a duvet over him and with a sigh went to bed. She stopped only once in the doorway to watch him sleep and smiled when she heard her name growled out from between the Alpha’s lips in his sleep.

The next morning Molly held little sympathy for a nearly middle-aged man with a hangover like a young knobheaded Alpha. And tried desperately to avoid Greg’s touch knowing that her smell would help him recover. She’d give him medicine, hand him water, but as far as she was concerned, he, John and most especially Sherlock deserved what they got, after she found out that Sherlock had taken Greg out on a case after getting the man thoroughly drunk. Donovan hadn’t been on call, so Molly had no warning. It took several apologies until Molly finally gave in and allowed her scent, shared with his own, to soothe her Alpha’s ills.

–––

Several days later, Molly stood before a floor length mirror within the bridal suite of the manor house that Mycroft had chosen for their venue. The Holmes’s as ever proved to be entirely right about such things. Anthea planned the rest and Molly hadn’t had to do a thing but say yes. Everything was as it should be, and Molly didn’t have to do anything but relax and enjoy.

It was a small party of people, mostly made up of people of Molly’s family though Greg’s parents and his sister and her family were there. There were people from work, their friends, all of Greg’s precinct and the Holmes and Watsons. Everyone that had touched or been apart of their lives were present, for the most part. The only people missing from the occasion were Greg’s children. Molly had asked but Anthea shook her head no and said nothing. She showed Molly the invitation, stamped delivered, and returned to Anthea unopened, after Anthea went specifically to Cassandra Lestrade in person to ask that the woman let them surprise Greg and Molly with his children’s attendance. But to no avail. It was the only thing that Mycroft couldn’t deliver. No matter. Molly was ready to enjoy the day regardless.

The Lestrade family had been so happy with Greg’s happy news, once they finally met Molly and Greg told them over dinner. While her job was a little strange, Flora and Geoffrey Lestrade were delighted to meet this woman that brought their son back from such misery. Molly was so much a part of Greg and his happy demeanor that his mother took her into her embrace and they both cried as she let Molly know how happy she was that Greg found her. Both of his parents were so glad to be grandparents again. They spent most of their meeting asking about the pups. There was only one awkward moment when Molly tried to joke about his ex-wife and the children. Greg had gently put a hand on her hands that were in her lap with a sad smile. Apparently bad blood didn’t just confine itself to Greg and his ex-wife alone. It touched his entire side of the family and her new father-in-law had forcibly changed the subject with a gruff and bitter word. Molly had shared a moment with Greg’s mother in the powder room when she showed Molly well-worn photos in her wallet of her grandchildren that she was banished from seeing. They never visited and Cassandra refused to answer her phone calls. It brought tears to Molly’s eyes, that someone could treat such a lovely older woman like this. Molly had hugged her and promised that she would do everything she can to bring her grandchildren back into the family. Flora Lestrade had hugged Molly desperately and thanked Molly so much for wanting to be apart of their family. Molly could do nothing but hang on, not realizing how desperate she had been for a mother’s love.

A knock came to the door of the bridal suite and Anthea came into the doorway with a smile, and a nod, dressed in a rose suit instead of her usual dark colors. Everything was ready for Molly and she took a breath and scooped up her small bouquet. She was… yes, she was… she was ready to get married and become Mrs. Molly Lestrade.

The ceremony itself was a blur. After seeing the look in Greg’s eyes at the end of the aisle of chairs placed in the greenhouse off the side of the manor house, she forgot everything else. She barely remembered even saying ‘yes’ or ‘I do’ or ‘with this ring I thee wed,’ but it happened. Then she heard the officiant say “and you may now kiss the bride” and time slowed as Greg very tenderly slid his hands up her arms to her shoulders, his fingers brushing along her collarbone and neck, until a blush rose to her cheeks. He gave a boyish, handsome smile as he slid his hands along her jaw until he cupped her head and neck, then brought his mouth down on Molly’s with a growl of satisfaction. The kiss lasted just a little too long and sent Molly reeling as he suffused the kiss with all the most delicate feelings of love that he had for her along their bond. Molly echoed those feelings back to him. She felt a single tear run down her cheek and giggled against her husband’s mouth as their friends and family threw rice and flower petals up into the air, cheering for the newlyweds.

The reception was equally a blur as Molly could only stay long enough to say hello to each and everyone of their guests to thank them. She was forced to beg off as she started to get uncomfortable and dreaded spending one more hour in the shoes and dress that she wore. It was still early in her pregnancy and it was usually when normal women tired easily, omega women tended to need even more rest and it had been such a long day. They had danced, and had some dinner, though Molly’s appetite had turned her nose up at the catered food. Greg was quick to escort Molly out of the room after making their excuses. He carried his bride into their hotel room, even if it was because her feet hurt, the alpha decided it still counted, and he hung up the do not disturb sign with relish. Their wedding night was spent, not in the raptures of passion but with Greg petting out the tension from her feet, back, neck and legs. Greg was very content with that, as he could still kiss Molly’s skin and slowly peel her out her wedding dress. They had food sent up from the hotel and had a picnic in the hotel room while Greg plucked out bobby pin after bobby pin from her hair until she could brush it all into a messy bun with a sigh of relief. They fell asleep early, both exhausted after the rush to get the ceremony completed, Greg wrapped around Molly, who was curled around her womb.

It was the perfect end to an exhausting, lovely day.

–––

The sun broke through the curtains and flashed across Molly’s eyes. She squinted and stirred from the most comfortable sleep she ever remembered having. She looked around and didn’t smell the familiar smells of her flat, or the nest she shared with Greg but she observed the room and looked to the bed next to her. A familiar pair of warm, deep, chocolate brown eyes still heavy with sleep but sparkling with happiness, watched her sleep and now wake up.

Greg chuckled watching Molly come to the realization of where she was and how she got there. “Good morning, wife.” Greg growled to her.

Molly stretched, looking the rest of the room and seeing the dress and suit hanging up in front of the closet. “We got married…” Molly stated the obvious.

“Yes…” Greg looked to Molly with a raised eyebrow.

“Oh! So that’s where I know you from! I thought I went home with some random guy I picked up at this crazy party I went to last night.” Molly giggled when Greg let out a growl and pulled Molly closer to him, letting a rumble out of his chest as their bodies wove together under the duvet and sheets.

“Good morning, hubby.” Molly joked again, before Greg kissed her. “Husband…” She sighed against his lips before kissing him back.

“So, what are we going to do today?” Molly asked stretching against Greg’s side before they found a comfortable position together.

“Well, whatever we want I expect.” Lestrade waggled his eyebrows, making Molly laugh into his neck. They were interrupted from their lounging by the phone inside the room ringing. Lestrade spoke and grumbled his thanks into the phone. “Apparently, our room was only paid for until three this afternoon. So much for a restful day in bed.” Lestrade joked stretching and moving to get up. “But they’re sending up a full breakfast complimentary in congratulations for our wedding.” Greg announced sarcastically.

“Well that’s nice of them.” Molly sat up, wondering where her phone ended up. “I’ll pack, you wash, get dressed, and then we’ll switch and by the time breakfast gets here we’ll be ready to leave after we eat.” Molly decided.

“Sounds like a plan. I thought at least Mycroft would plan a honey moon. He hadn’t told me anything, and I did take a week off to celebrate.” Greg grumbled.

“Well we could always stay at home and not tell anyone.” Molly thought with glee.

“I like the sound of that.” Greg grumble from the bathroom.

“Good, cause all I really want is to be home in our nest.” Molly looked around at the hotel room with dissatisfaction. There were faint smells of their shared smell in the room, but it wasn’t enough to cover the strange cleaners and the sense that they weren’t the only people to have used this room. Greg came out from the bathroom and smiled.

“You said our nest.” Greg came over to the bed and looked down at Molly with a secret, sweet smile.

Molly tried to hide her own smile as she crawled across the bed to where he stood. Greg tried not to gulp as she kneeled in front of him and wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders. “Well, isn’t it?” Molly questioned, her smile widened as she dug her fingers into his hair.

“Yes, it fucking is.” Greg growled, kissing Molly’s breath away. He lowered her into the softness of the bed and they completely lost track of time. Check out times be damned.

–––

Chapter Text

Visitation

–––

January came, a month into their marriage and Molly was surprised that there was little difference to the way Greg, and she had lived before their wedding. Only now there was gifts everywhere and baby items were beginning to take up all the space in her little flat.

The cold of the winter had it’s claws on London and a storm had just finished blasting it’s snowy breath over it’s population, but Molly refused to be deterred from her mission to go out and make her appointment.

The snow covered the trees and Molly looked at the snow that covered the cemetery in a white blanket. No one would come out to a cemetery after a snow storm, and that’s just the way she wanted it. Quiet and still, the clouds still grey and heavy with the promise of more snow, but the afternoon light still brightening up the world around them.

“Ready?” Lestrade asked, and with a nod she watched him get out of the car and go to her side to help her out.

Lestrade directed her steps onto the plowed car paths until they got to the aisle which was their destination. He guided her steps, watching her walk as Molly was assisted along to the spot and then Greg stood back as Molly approached the headstone.

She laid the bouquet lilacs and violets before the stone and sighed. She didn’t think that she would cry, since her father had told her never to be sad, or maudlin, never to think on him in a sad way. Yet here she was in front of his headstone, his name, the dates of his birth and death, and his titles, husband, father, and friend. Her mother rested right next to him, just as it should be. She reached out with a bare hand to swipe at the stone on the ground, removing the wetness and leftover snowflakes. It was dark grey, almost black and was shined to a mirror polish around the letters and reflected Molly’s face up into the cloudy sky and trees. Now her hand was cold and her trousers slowly soaked in the wetness of the snow where her knees rested. The air around her made her shiver and Molly sniffled from the cold, from trying not to cry, but tears swam in her vision until she could barely see the stone in a sea of white.

A year…

Molly couldn’t believe it had been that long. Her life looked so different, so much brighter and fuller since her father’s death. She had thought so little about him in the chaos that followed in his death, but it had ended just the way he wanted it to, with Molly happy, settled, and with an alpha the man could trust to protect her daughter.

“Daddy… I love you…” She sighed, swiping at her running nose. “You really knew what you were doing when you chose Greg.” She laughed around a sob. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around since you were interred. I just— was busy…” Molly pounded a fist against her thigh, almost mad at herself. “That’s no excuse, is it? But this will make you happy, I’m going to have pups! Three of them, and I bet if they’re boys they’re going to look like you or Greg. And I can’t wait really. Isn’t that odd? All this time I spent resisting all this furor and now you tricked me into it and I’m so happy, you meddling old fool.” Molly laughed even as she cried until she took a breath and dried her tears. “I know wherever you are, you’re happy and with Mum. Tell her I said ‘I love you both’ and I just wished we had more time before you left me.” She cried silently for a time until she took a breath, realizing she shivered where she kneeled in the snow. “Bye…” She whispered, wanting to leave and moving to get up. Greg was there right away to help her.

“Alright?” Greg questioned, petting her stomach and then the same hand moved upwards to wipe away her tears. At Molly’s nod, he smiled and kissed her temple.

“Let’s go.” Molly sighed.

“Just— uh— give me a minute alright? I want to just have a second alone… with Dad. If that’s alright.” Molly smiled and nodded, walking to the end of the row to wait on the shoveled path for him.

Greg walked up to the headstone and unlike Molly didn’t kneel in the snow but cleared his throat, looking everywhere but at the headstone at his feet.

“Listen, Martin, I— uh— know I promised to always look after Molly. I tried to do that. I really tried. Your daughter has a mind of her own about some things. I mean— you would know, she’s your daughter. And I know that whatever happens from now on, I’ve gotta be the best man I can be, ‘cause it’s not just Molly now I’m a father of three new pups.” Greg cleared his throat and sniffed, trying to hide the tears even as one rolled out of the corner of his eye. He had carried so much guilt for her injuries. When she’d slept, he often found himself tracing the white ghost of the scar the bullet left behind. It always followed him since and drove him to stamp out all the evil in his city so that he knew that Molly would be protected. Greg’s motivations had changed. He wouldn’t do it for everyone now, he didn’t do his job just because it was interesting. Now he did it all for Molly, and he’d do it for his pups to make the world safe for them to be in. “I promise that from now on, I’ll do better. I promise.” Greg whispered that last, his eyes closing in anguish. He meant every word and hoped wherever he was, that Martin Hooper could hear him.

Within the cemetery, around where he stood, the wind blew hard. The trees shook and what remaining leaves clung to the branches in this place twinkled, almost as if someone were laughing, as if someone or something was giving him a reply. Something seemed to be giving the detective inspector an answer. He’d take it for what he thought it was and leave it at that. Greg nodded once to Martin’s headstone and wiped at his face before turning away and walking back to Molly.

“Let’s go home Greg, I’m cold.” Molly whined, even as she reached out to take his hand.

“Well that’s what you get for kneeling in the snow.” Greg joked kissing Molly’s hair as they walked back to his car, both spouses at peace with their grief.

–––

Chapter Text

Custody

–––

Molly went to pick up the box in front of her marked ‘clothes’ in big messy block letters and was attempting to lift the thing when there was a protesting cry behind her.

“Ah, ah, ah! Don’t you dare, Mrs. Lestrade! There will be no pregnant women lifting boxes of any kind on my watch especially not when she’s carrying my pups.” Molly had been attempting to help Greg move his things to the caravan they borrowed from Molly’s well-to-do middle class, well-settled and helpful sister and brother-in-law. They only had Hugh’s truck for the day but Greg refused to let Molly help him make this process go faster. He seemed to have a natural sense for when Molly was going to be defying his word and try to lift something. However, he always softened the blow of admonishing her with lovely kisses, so honestly Molly was probably trying to help because she wanted more of them. Then that would distract Greg and he had taken off the day just to do this. So, she really wasn’t much help at all but she wasn’t exactly feeling guilty about it. Not at all. Especially when she got to watch her husband’s muscles flex lifting heavy boxes on his own or watch his cute arse wiggle as he walked down the stairs. It really was a bother being pregnant and horny while trying to get things done. But smelling her Alpha’s scent and his sweat wasn’t helping much either.

“It’s almost five thirty, and we have to get Hugh’s truck back to June’s place sometime tonight.” Molly was kissed quite thoroughly into silence.

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Lestrade, I can handle this.” Molly watched Greg march back down the stairs for the fiftieth time with a pleased yet exasperated sigh. Every time he did that his steps seemed to bounce even lighter and Molly laughed to herself, poking around some of the boxes that were held open by Greg’s things. She wondered how it was all going to fit into her tiny flat.

With a sigh, Molly realized she was going to have to give it up soon so that they could move into a house and her lease would expire in the spring. But what house would they move into? A new one, her childhood home? They could never afford a place here in London, even with two salaries. She’d have to bring the subject up with Greg later. Three pups and all their things just wouldn’t fit together, not where they currently lived. Molly was only too glad to see Greg give up the lease on this place, his sad bachelor pad, even if it was the place where they finally came together and Molly gave into the feelings she had been denying. It held fond memories of that night that turned into morning, but it was time to move on.

A female throat was cleared from behind her, and Molly scented a strange beta presence which immediately put Molly’s hairs on end. She curled her hands around her womb that was now quite big, almost as big as a mother carrying only a single child. Molly, carrying three pups, would get bigger still. She turned around to face the woman. This woman was tall, at least half a head taller than Molly and dressed in a designer coat that only made her look taller and thinner for it. She wore a stylish trouser suit and boots and Molly watched her blonde hair cascade around her shoulders just so with a great amount of envy, for Molly could never get her unruly mousey brown locks to tame themselves into any form of order.

The smell of a stranger in her Alpha’s space naturally put Molly on edge but the other woman walked in, uncaring for startling a pregnant omega, with all the confidence a beta usually possessed. “You must be one of the little omegas my ex-husband knocked up.” She all but sneered. “Cassandra Lestrade, I’m the evil, bitch ex-wife, which is probably how the Lestrades describe me.”

“No, they don’t, actually. They don’t mention you at all. I’m Dr. Molly Hooper Lestrade. I’m your ex-husband’s mate and wife. I don’t know of any other omegas my husband would ‘knock up’ and not tell me.” Molly smiled tightly, trying not to let the other woman get the advantage of her even though she felt rather ungainly standing next to this woman who was as tall as a fashion model while she, the little pregnant wife, was looking rather rotund. “We don’t describe you as anything, actually we try not to bring up the subject much.”

“Fair enough,” Cassandra gave in with a smile. “I see he didn’t spare any time replacing me.” The bitterness wasn’t even thinly veiled. And Molly thought that while she didn’t like Cassandra very much, she could pity the woman turned bitter and cynical by life and her own disappointments. Being divorced and single wasn’t easy. Greg got off lucky. Cassandra didn’t look like she had anyone in her life and Molly got to have Greg. They both knew what kind of man Lestrade was even if Cassandra threw it away, so it was Molly’s turn to feel like the victor in this.

“I don’t think he’s the type of man that would replace anyone. You are mother to his eldest children, I’m his wife and well… he’s moved on.” Molly wasn’t sure how this interview was going, but she wanted the woman to at least approve of her. “Thank you for doing this for us, by the way. Greg’s going to be so happy, he really misses Jimmy and Emma.” Molly smiled at the photo of his kids that was sitting in the open box next to her at the bar. There weren’t many things around Greg’s flat that had reeked of home or warmth, but he always had a collection of photos of his kids. Molly couldn’t wait until they had the space to display all of it.

“Believe me, you’re more than welcome to him. Oh, and I’m not doing it for you, and I’m most definitely not doing it for him.” Resentment pinched Cassandra’s face and it was the first time Molly thought her unattractive. “I’m doing it for the kids. They keep bothering me about it, asking to see him all the fucking time, so it’s just as well they get to see their father and stop going on about it. It gave me a bloody headache.”

She must be such a warm mother, Molly thought ironically. “Well, thank you, anyway. If you want to wait, I’m sure Greg will be up soon, and you could have a chat. Maybe make amends?” Molly offered, thinking it would be nice if there weren’t things left unsaid between them, to relieve some of the tension. She knew Greg still thought about it from time to time.

“Oh no, I think definitely not. I just came to meet you and deliver this.” Cassandra left a folded blue legal document on the bar next to Molly, as close as the woman would get to the new wife. “I guess I’ll be going.”

Cassandra turned to walk out, and Molly put her hand on the document. “I promise I’ll do everything I can to protect them while they’re with us. You don’t have to worry.” Cassandra turned around steps from the doorway. She turned around to face Molly with fire in her eyes. Molly could feel herself gulp.

“Look don’t think I’m being a bitch or anything but… I don’t want you to be responsible for them. At all. You’ll never be another mother to them. They’re not toddlers and I don’t need your help with them. I’m just letting them see their father because it’s what they want, not what I want or what I think will be good for them. But I’ve been bullied into this, so I’ll go along with it for now. Soon you’ll have your own kids to worry about, so put all your energy towards them and leave mine to their father.”

“I just wanted you know they’ll be safe.” Molly insisted, forcing her voice to come out of her throat despite the fear she felt facing this woman preventing her from speaking.

“Yes, well don’t feel you need to form any special attachment with them. I’m their mother. And they better be safe, because I’ve got plenty of ways to undo this arrangement in an instant. See that nothing happens to them, keep your distance while they’re with Greg, and we’ll all get along fine.” Cassandra let the thinly veiled threat hang in the air. If this was how a beta mother protected her kids, she dreaded how protective she was going to get when she was nearer to having their own.

“Alright.” Molly conceded, not willing to argue that she just wanted them all to be a family. That could come later after Cassandra found out that her kids liked their step-mother, because that’s what Molly was going to be to them whether Cassandra liked it or not.

“I’m glad to have met you Molly.” Cassandra smiled broadly.

“Same here.” Molly innocently returned her smile reluctantly.

“Oh no, don’t get the impression we’re going to be friends.” The smile on Cassandra’s face sharpened. “It was a pleasure to find out just how low Greg sunk after divorcing me. I suppose for an omega like you,” her nose scrunched as she gave Molly a look of judgement while she scanned Molly’s mousy clothes, and now clumsy figure, “my ex-husband was rather a step up from the beta losers you fucked before you let an Alpha like him mount you.” Molly felt her face heat up, and could think of nothing to say in response, blood pounded in her ears as she looked to the beautiful woman across from her in shock. She didn’t hear the woman’s parting but could hear the victorious cackle the woman gave as it echoed up the stairwell after that terrible woman left.

Perhaps it was childish, but the tears in Molly’s eyes wouldn’t stop and she couldn’t face Greg like this when she wanted to surprise him. So, Molly scooped up the document and her bag and waddled as quickly as she could to the street where she hailed a cab back to her flat. She left Greg a text that she wasn’t feeling good and needed a nap, so she went home. She waited for the inevitable ‘ok’ and Greg would take care of those last couple of boxes himself. He’d be home soon enough and then she’d have to explain everything.

For now, Molly let herself cry. Ignoring everything, especially the driver’s looks of concern until she was finally home, and she gave into the sobs she had been holding back.

–––

Greg let out a sigh as he climbed the steps to their flat. He was finally done moving his stuff and had switched cars with Hugh and it was only around seven-thirty at night. He never understood why unloading boxes from a truck never took nearly as much time as loading them, but he had made quick work of it and now he could finally say he was home. It just became a matter of unboxing things and putting them in places. He wondered how Molly would feel about all this as he looked around their crowded sitting room seeing all the scattered boxes, baby items, and small appliances and china. When he had asked Molly if he could put them in the sitting room, Molly’s voice had come from the bedroom saying “fine, wherever.” He had just shrugged and put them wherever they would fit. Now Greg was lucky he got into the door.

The thought had occurred to him that they should move into a bigger place eventually. Maybe it would be better off for them to move sooner rather than later. They weren’t going to have the time once the pups came, Greg knew enough about babies to know that. He tried to be worried about having three babies at once, but he was bloody excited every time he thought about it.

He heard sniffles coming from the bedroom then. He should probably have checked on Molly after she came home but if his omega was in their nest and he didn’t feel any trouble on her end of the bond, Greg knew she’d rather he focused on getting the truck back to her brother-in-law. But when Greg heard another sniffle, his brow tightened in concern. He never liked to hear her cry, and the alpha side of him was practically whining for him to pay attention to his omega.

“Molly…” Greg knocked on the door and went into their bedroom. She was curled in on herself in their bed around her stomach, her head on his pillow and a mound of tissues led him to think she had been crying for quite some time. “Hey,” he cooed sitting on her side of the bed so that he could rub her back, “what’s the matter, love?” He asked, slowly pulling her to sit up so that he could bring her into his embrace.

“Damn hormones.” Molly spat out angrily. She hated that once she started crying it was impossible to stop. “I wanted to surprise you but now I’ve ruined everything.” Molly sniffled and took in a sobbing breath as she tried to control herself.

“Surprise? What surprise?” Greg asked gently, in the same way he’d talk to his children, smoothing back her hair, that was made no better for her lying down. He kissed her, despite the stuffy nose and kissed all over Molly’s face until she gave him a watery smile. He watched Molly reach into her bedside table drawer and pull out a legal document.

“I was going to make dinner with candles and flowers and surprise you with this.” Molly explained. “Open it. It’s for you anyway.” Molly let out a shaky sigh and pushed back her hair. While Greg read through the document, she scooped up the tissues on the bed and got up to go to the bathroom to throw them out and wash her face. When she came back into the room Greg was flipping through the document over and over, astounded and disbelieving as he read it again.

“Is this what I think it is?” Greg asked.

Molly looked down at her belly, rubbing it in circles. “I couldn’t keep thinking about our babies and what a great father you’d be knowing that you already had kids out there but couldn’t be with them. It bothered me when we weren’t together. It bothered me when we were, and I knew how upset it made you to even talk about it. Then I met your parents and your mum was just so— So, I had Mycroft send a series of not so nice emails and meet with Cassandra to… negotiate with her.” It might have meant abducting the woman and taking her to his usual undisclosed abandoned parking garage but after meeting the woman, Molly couldn’t be sorry for letting the woman know she was related to powerful people. Molly sighed as Greg watched her with an angry glare as he processed that news. “I was going to meet her to do all that, but Mycroft refused to let me.” Molly sat on the bed her legs crossed in front of her and Greg fumed quietly, absorbing this information. “He said it would be too stressful, but he did allow Cassandra to meet me in order to deliver the final document to us and to give her final approval for— well for me.” Molly tried to laugh at that, but when Greg didn’t laugh, she bit her lip and looked down to their pups to help her. “She didn’t want to hand the papers over without meeting the woman who would be around her kids she said. So, I agreed. But she’s— uh— well…” Molly saw Greg’s face get even angrier as she winced. Maybe she overestimated his thrill at all this. “Let’s just say I can see why you divorced.” Molly tried to joke again. She saw Greg’s jaw working as he tried not to get angry with her. She really needed to work on her timing.

“When did you meet her? What did she say Molly?” Greg asked firmly, putting the document aside. He knew his ex-wife well enough to imagine a broad range of things coming from her mouth.

“She came by while you were walking boxes over to the truck. I had told her when we would be moving things and she agreed.” Molly confessed, she could feel the tears coming on and cleared her throat to tamp them down. She wouldn’t lose control again.

“Yeah obviously didn’t want to have to face me and have to apologize for anything.” Greg spat out practically through gritted teeth as his jaw worked in anger. “What did she say that has you so upset?” He questioned, still rightly suspicious.

“She threatened to go back on the custody agreement if anything happened to them while we took care of them, and when I tried to assure her that I’d take care of them, she was sure to warn me off pretending that I was going to be their step-mom or that I should feel responsible for them. Then she let me know we weren’t going to be friends just because I was looking after her kids. She made some crack about how low you had sunk marrying me and let me know just how good I had it that you wanted me of all people... bitch.” Molly cursed at Cassandra under her breath even though the woman wasn’t there to hear. Molly just wasn’t that sort of person. She was never mean.

“Oh, honey, I’m sorry…” Greg sighed inching closer to his wife so that he could take her into his arms and held her close. That just made the tears she had been fighting come to the surface and she buried her face into Greg’s NSY t-shirt. He had been sweaty from moving boxes, but it only smelled more like him and she took it in greedily as she cried. Calming pheromones came to the surface but it did little to soothe her, since pregnant omega hormones were too strong. Greg rocked her and tried to ease her tears as best as he could, but Cassandra had always known just what buttons to push on anyone she met, man or woman.

She lifted her head so that she could hug him properly. “She was really beautiful though, I could see what attracted you to her. She was lovely, Greg.” Molly insisted.

“Yeah, maybe while I was younger and foolish, ready to fall into medusa’s trap. Not now.” Greg insisted with a derisive chuckle.

“Do you know what’s the worst part about this?” Molly asked, her shoulders shaking as she tried to hold back herself from crying out loud.

“What?” Greg asked, smoothing back her hair again and looking into her eyes. Greg was looking at her with such love and Molly realized Cassandra prodded and stirred up all her own doubts and while she had felt incredibly lucky before once again, she had begun to wonder why he did.

“That I think she was right.” Molly’s whole body shook as she gave into the silent cries. And Greg hugged her close, rocking her.

Greg let his wife cry, and he tried to soothe her until they eased. “Hey…” he lifted her from his shoulder and wiped away her tears. “Look at me.” He insisted, lifting her chin with his finger. He sent all the feelings of love he possessed across their bond to push away the sad and negative feelings he could feel. He let her feel how happy she made him, and he finally saw the tears in her eyes abate. “I love you. I love you more than I ever did or could love Cassandra, or any other woman but you. And at one time I did love Cassandra, and it’s not better or the same, it’s different. Just like your different from Cassandra, but I’m happier now than I ever was with her and I could never ask for anyone better in my life than you. I’m a better man now than I ever have been and that’s all because of you. You have no idea, do you?” Greg asked in wonder, pushing back her hair and wiping away her tears.

“No idea about what?” Molly asked still sniffling even though she didn’t cry.

“Just how beautiful I think you are, just how lucky I am because I have you. My lovely, perfect, beautiful wife.” He practically made Molly cry all over again. This time he laughed even as he cooed to try and comfort her. Greg kissed her worries away and took care of his wife for the rest of the night until all the doubts Cassandra sewed were removed from their life.

–––

Molly twisted her hands together in her lap as she checked the clock in Lestrade’s car. It was almost the agreed upon time for Cassandra the evil ex-wife to bring her children. She knew that they would be excited to see their father again but that went beyond question. Who wouldn’t be happy to see a father that was loved as much as Greg was? But Molly doubted whether they’d like her. The kids would start with having their father every weekend and then slowly as they became older Greg would get every other week. But if they didn’t like her, and told their mother that, it would be Molly’s fault that Greg would lose them all over again.

And there were only so many problems that Mycroft would be able to fix for her.

So instead of saying all of these worries out loud, Molly wrung her hands while Greg watched the traffic for his kids. She was so nervous and worried for the future. Molly practically jumped when Greg put his hand on both of her own.

“Don’t worry Mols.” Greg smiled to her. She had never seen him so happy, and so excited. He was like a kid at Christmas. “I’m sure they’re going to love you.” He assured, even as he checked around nervously for their car.

“I’m sure you’re right.” Molly smiled watching him even though she went ignored.

“There they are!” Greg was practically gleeful as he saw his ex-wife finally pull up and the kids get out of the car at the other end of the street. He looked to the car with a frown, “I guess she got rid of the sedan.” In its place was a larger caravan. Greg had parked directly in front of the park by his ex’s house where they agreed to meet. “Come on, lets go!” Greg moved to get out, but Molly stopped him by putting her hand on his own.

“Why don’t you go and say hi? Take some time with them by yourself. I’ll get out myself and meet them after you and Cassandra talk.” Molly suggested, watching as the kids were getting out of the car and looking for their father. Little Emma was practically jumping to get a better view of the cars around them in her puffy pink coat and pink hat with dangling puffy baubles.

“Are you sure?” Greg offered, wanting her to be apart of this.

“Yeah, go on! They’re waiting for you.” Molly encouraged. Needing no other word from her, Greg hopped out and called out to them. Molly watched Greg jog forward until they saw him. Emma broke away from her mother at a run, ignoring her mother’s warning to stay put. Emma ran as hard as she could until Greg was able to scoop her up into his arms, while Jimmy walked over at his mother’s side.

“Daddy!” Emma cried out with her arms wrapped tight around her father’s neck. Her body shook with sobs as she cried into his mac.

“Oh, Emma, sweetie don’t cry!” Greg cooed, smoothing his hand through her soft blonde hair. He tried to shush her but to no avail. He felt her sniffing his coat, his neck, and taking in his smell. He did the same as he tried to stop himself from crying too. “I missed you too.” Greg sighed, finally just kissed her head and letting his daughter hold onto him. Jimmy came up to him, stiff and nervous, wondering what sort of greeting he could get from his father. He smiled and clung to his father when Greg pulled him against his side.

“Hey, Dad.” Jimmy greeted him, trying to sniffle in secret even as he clung to his father’s middle.

“Hey son.” Greg leaned down to kiss his son’s head. “Been looking after your sister?” Greg questioned watching his son’s smiling face where it rested against his coat.

“Yeah, ‘course.” Jimmy mumbled.

Greg ran his other hand through his son’s hair with a laugh. “Good. You both got so big! I wasn’t away that long.” The three of them laughed and hugged even harder. He looked up to see that Cassandra stood there watching their interaction. “Cassandra.” Greg rumbled out, his voice tight with the tension of the moment as he held onto his kids.

“Greg.” Cassandra nodded, watching her children lavish their father with more attention than she ever received. “Just bring them back in one piece alright?” She sighed handing over their bags to him which forced the man to let go of his son. “You kids have fun with your father alright?” Cassandra smiled to Jimmy and Emma who nodded and accepted her kisses. “Anything goes wrong you know my number.” She whispered to Jimmy who nodded. He was seconds away from going through puberty and showed more signs of it all the time as he wiped away the kiss she left on his cheek.

“Don’t worry we’ll be fine!” Greg grumbled, even though he said it with forced positivity.

“Alright. See you both Monday!” Cassandra smiled, practically ignored Greg and didn’t say goodbye to him before turning around to walk back to her car. Greg growled under his breath, watching her go with a sense of ease. The three watched her and didn’t turn away until she sped off with a honk of her horn and a wave.

“Alright! Who wants to go play for a bit?” Greg questioned as they turned towards the park.

“Me!” Emma announced her large smile showing a few teeth still growing in.

“Sure.” Jimmy agreed with a casual shrug.

“Okay, why don’t you both get a head start and I’ll put your stuff in the car?” Greg offered and watched them run into the jungle gym giggling all the way. He saw that Molly still watched them from her seat inside the car, and he let out a pleased rumbling hum. He put the bags in the backseat and opened the passenger side. “Come on, honey, I want you to meet them.” Greg encouraged, lifting Molly out of the car before she could object.

“Well, alright…” Molly agreed, biting her lip filled with uncertainty as Greg guided her to a bench nearby where the kids were playing. They were so lost in their own imaginary play that they hadn’t noticed her yet, or that they father came back. They were too full of energy. Greg watched him, swaying back and forth on his feet clearly wanting to join them. “Well go on, I’ll be here.” Molly encouraged, laughing when Greg ran into the fray, chasing after Emma and wrestling with Jimmy until both kids ‘wrestled’ him to the ground. Molly watched them with a happy giggle. She had never seen him so happy unless Greg was talking to the babies in her stomach. She watched, nervously biting her lip, as Greg called an end to their fun so that he could walk them to the bench where she sat. Molly pushed herself up, wrapping her arms over her stomach as if that could hide the fact that they were having triplets.

“Guys I’d like you to meet Molly. Molly, this is Emma and Jimmy.” Greg introduced them to each other. Molly watched the kids regard her with a great deal of trepidation. Molly gave them a little wave and tried her best to smile through an awkward situation.

“Is that her?” Emma asked, looking to her from behind Greg’s arm and then up at her father.

“Her?” He asked making his confused brow.

“Mum sorta… told us about the omega you married. She said you got her knocked up, so you had to marry.” Jimmy explained, guarded and uncertain of this new woman in his life.

“Hey,” Greg snapped at his son. “We don’t talk about anyone that way. Especially women who are pregnant. I taught you better, even if your mother doesn’t care about treating Molly right. I do.” Greg was practically seething. Cassandra and he discussed this. Never involve the children and he didn’t doubt she did this to him on purpose so that it would cause tension between them and the kids. Jimmy hung his head and they both muttered that it was nice to meet her. “Come on, lets get in the car and go home. We’ve got a lot of talking to do.” Greg insisted, pulling them along with Molly going to the passenger side on her own without a word.

It was hardly an auspicious beginning.

It was a short drive to their flat but Molly noticed that neither child, who were ecstatic to see their father hadn’t uttered a word. Once Greg turned off the engine, Molly nudged him and pointed to the kids with her eyes.

“I’ll go inside and get the tea started!” She announced brightly, accepting Greg’s kiss which ended with him kissed her nose. She let out a pleased him and waddled her way inside.

Greg turned back to them and gestured for brother and sister to climb to the front of the car, with Emma sitting in his lap and Jimmy sitting across from him. Greg cleared his throat, wondering how to begin. “Look guys, I’m sorry that I haven’t been around since the divorce and didn’t fight harder to keep you guys.” He accepted the kiss Emma left on his cheek, and hugged her when she burrowed into his neck. “It was hard on me like I know it was hard on both of you. But while I was sad about not having you guys, Molly was there for me. Do you understand?” At their nods, he continued. “We dated a bit, and well… she and I have liked each other for quite some time. I knew her from work.” He explained.

“Is that why you and mom broke up?” Jimmy wondered, his arms crossing as he got defensive.

“Now don’t go into a snit.” Greg grumbled. “And to answer your question, no. Not that it’s any of your business. You should just know that it didn’t take very long for either of us to fall in love with each other. You know I’m an Alpha, and Molly’s an omega. So it all happened kinda fast. We bonded and then we got married. You should be excited! Molly’s going to give you three new siblings!” Greg said brightly.

“So does that mean you don’t love mommy anymore?” Emma asked, her voice shaking.

“Of course it does, stupid, that’s why we have a step-mom now!” Jimmy puffed up in anger.

“Hey! Watch your mouth! Don't call your sister names.” Greg sassed him right back before his son could further upset his sister. Emma was already trying to hide her cries and self-soothe. “Now you listen to me,” Greg shifted his daughter so she was astride his lap and wiped at the few tears that fell. “And that goes for you too.” He growled in Jimmy’s direction. “I’m sorry your mum put you in the middle of all of this. It’s not right. I know this is a lot to take in, and you’ll have some new people in your life you weren’t expecting, but you’ll never lose me to anyone else. I’m not going to love you any more or less than those pups Molly is carrying. We’re going to be one big, happy family. Your mum will be a part of that, too if she wants to join in. And three pups are a lot so I’m going to need all the help I can get and so will Molly. I can count on you guys to be good older siblings to them right?” Greg waited for their nods before he continued. “Now I want you to know, your mum and I— well, we tried. We tried really hard to make things work. We wanted to stay together, for each other, for the both of you. We didn’t want to ruin things. But sometimes, and this is the hard part about growing up, mommies and daddies just can’t fix things well enough to stay together. It’s better for the both of you and we can be a better mum and dad to the both of you now. I may be with Molly but I will always have special memories of your mum, and I’ll always love her because she gave me you guys. And I’m never going to stop being your Dad so I could never stop loving you, and you love me right?” Greg asked with a suspicious lift of his eyebrow he used when interrogating.

“Yes!” Emma cried, wrapping herself around Greg again.

“Yeah, you’re stuck with us, Dad.” Jimmy agreed, kneeling across the console of the car to hug his father now too.

“Now lets go inside and have some tea, I’m cold!” Greg grouched, getting out so the kids could crawl out after him. As they were walking up the stairs, Jimmy and Emma were going on and on about how they were glad that his ex-wife fixed everything so they could see him again. Greg growled, before explaining things. “I hate to tell you Jimmy, but Molly’s the one you have to thank for that. She fixed it because she saw how unhappy it made me to be away from you both. Here we are!” Greg pointed to the door, not noticing Jimmy's confused expression as he processed this new information. “Molly put a big sun on the front so you both would know it was an okay place to come.” Greg rumbled out a hum of approval.

“I like her.” Emma decided.

“Well I think you’ll really like her when I tell you that she’s got a big grey cat.” Greg chuckled as he unlocked the door to the flat. Sure enough Emma squealed and ran inside in search of a Toby that didn’t want to be found by a loud miniature person.

Jimmy watched his sister crawl through the flat with a roll of his eyes and a smile, Emma wasn’t the sort that couldn't decide to hate a person for longer than it took to get to know them and find things to like about them. Like his mother, Jimmy Lestrade was a little more wary.

He came into the kitchen and say at the table, a cup of tea waiting for him. He blew away the steam before having a sip, and was shocked to see it was made perfectly.

“Oh!” Molly turned around, putting her hand to her chest in surprise and nearly spilling liquid from the mug in her hand. “You’re worse than Toby, I’m going to need to put a bell on you too!” She tried to joke, but Jimmy just looked down into his mug. “I took a guess and made it light and sweet, I also used honey because it was cold out. I hope that’s okay?” Molly asked nervously eyeing the way Jimmy frowned over his mug. Jimmy took another sip, a long one, even though he didn’t want to look like he enjoyed the tea too much.

“It’s okay.” He decided. This still made Molly smile, and Jimmy didn’t know why seeing her happy made the back of his neck prick up. She had a nice smile, and he wondered why thinking anything nice about this woman made him feel like he was betraying his mother. He truly didn't know what to feel, and tea always helped, so he took another sip.

“What do we say to Molly for making us tea?” Greg asked sternly coming into the kitchen with Emma in tow, even though she argued that she wanted to find the cat. He lifted his little girl up so she could wash her hands and then sat her in front of her mug at the table.

“Thank you!” The kids chorused in unison, making Molly laugh.

She handed Greg a coffee, with a heated look and a smile, telling the detective inspector she made it “just as you like it.” Greg put his arm around her belly and pulled her to him. “Thank you.” He grumbled, before kissing her. Molly was quick to pull away before reaching for her decaffeinated tea. Jimmy tried not to find the blush on his step-mom's cheeks perplexing. He had never seen his father like this with his mother. He seemed really... happy.

“So what job do you do?” Jimmy asked, blowing on his mug and taking a sip. He’d seen his father at work long enough to know that sipping your tea after asking a question usually made people answer it.

“Um— I work at the hospital, in um… the morgue.” Molly practically whispered the last part.

“You work there?” Jimmy asked in confusion. His father had taken them to work once, and had a case. He made Jimmy and Emma wait in the car when he got called one a case, and then again outside the doors of the morgue before they went home so he could help Sherlock Holmes solve the case. He just remembers it being sad and dark down there and he never wanted to be stuck in that hallway again. The way his brow crinkled up reminded Molly of Greg almost exactly. It startled her to see it. “But you’re too happy to work down there.” Jimmy wondered aloud, the expression only getting worse.

Molly and Greg both tried to stifle their laughter. “Well I’m doing a lot of research and stuff. I also work with Sherlock on experiments for his mystery cases.” This stopped both brother and sister, their spoons clattering on the kitchen table.

“You know Sherlock Holmes?!” They said in unison again.

“I do too, you know. Molly and I work together I told you that.” Greg argued, mildly offended.

“But that’s so cool!” Emma exclaimed. Completely distracted that she didn’t even notice Toby jingling into the kitchen to eat his dinner.

“What’s he like? Can you tell us about him? Please?” Jimmy pleaded, and the two of them were practically vibrating in their seats.

“Alright I’ll tell you about him.” Molly agreed with a smile and they piled into the living room to listen of stories about Sherlock Holmes, and the great morgue doctor. Their questions and pleasure in their new found step-mother lasted all the way until she and Greg tucked them into bed. They fell asleep still talking about Sherlock Holmes and the fact that their step-mom was the coolest person ever for working with him.

Greg and Molly got into bed too and laid back with a pleased sigh. “Who knew that Sherlock was going to save the day?” Molly asked in wonder allowing Greg to slowly strip her of her clothes. He was busy kissing her neck to try and distract her from her thoughts.

“Yeah but don’t tell him that it’ll go right to his head.” He mumbled into her neck, before kissing his way to her mouth. “Thank you for being so good to my kids.” He grumbled against her mouth.

“Thank you for letting me meet them. They’re wonderful Greg.” Molly allowed him to direct her attentions elsewhere as he pushed her into the mattress, trying to ignore the way her protruding stomach tried to keep them apart.

“I love you.” Greg rumbled, lowering his mouth to hers until Molly could think of nothing at all.

–––

Chapter Text

Passion

–––

“Ah!” Molly moaned from her place leaning against the edge of the bathtub in their new bathroom.

The home itself wasn’t new to her at all. Molly and Greg decided to live in her parents’ home, and used the refinance to make improvements, repaint and most especially to make their new bedroom into the nest they wanted, complete with the very indulgent bathroom with the tub that was current enveloping her body in the hottest water wrapped around her and her now extremely gravid stomach, full with the pups that she and Greg would welcome into the world with open arms.

Greg had announced to her from where she lay in their bed that they had yet to ‘christen’ their new tub. It had taken some cajoling on his part, until he finally lifted her into his arms after preparing the bath himself and promised that she would love what they would do. He had a plan and she didn’t have to do anything but enjoy it. Greg was cradling her hips in his hands and supporting her weight. She gripped the sides of the tub as Greg used his reclining position to his advantage and was currently using his mouth to pleasure her. She pushed back into his touch and was begging for more from her Alpha, with each cry. He had been right, she loved what he was doing to her, but she had no idea that Greg would be doing this.

“Shhh…” Greg soothed, as he brushed his fingers inside her along where she begged for him to touch just once and then put his hand, frustratingly, back where it was holding her up, his blunt fingertips digging into her skin. “I told you, Molls. Slow and easy. We have to be careful.” Greg growled, scolding her like a disobedient child even as she could feel him smirking against her lips. Molly whined, arching backwards, until she was forced to lean into the water, her breasts, aching with the last steps of preparation for motherhood dipped into the hot water, making her moan. But she had little strength as Greg gave a broad lick to her clitoris and watched as Molly’s body rippled with his touch.

“G—greg!” Molly whined, as she began to shake. It all felt like too much, and not enough all at once. He felt her skin quake. They had been at this it felt like for hours. But each time she tried to push Greg to go faster, to make her have the mind-blowing orgasm that seemed just on the edge of awareness, and began to build, he’d stop and slowly bring her back down only to start again. Molly didn’t know what Greg wanted from her, but she certainly had never pictured a marriage to her mate to be like this, for her Alpha to be so ready and able to bring her to the heights of pleasure Greg always pulled out of her. She rocked back again, this time with a cry bordering on pain. “Greg p—please I can’t, I n-need— I need—!” She panted, shifting, her hands failing in the water, unable to know exactly what to do with herself.

“Alright, alright, easy…” Greg hushed her. “If I go slowly, and you go at my pace. I can give you my cock. Would that make you feel better?” He asked, shifting his hips, so that Molly could feel his hardness, broad and throbbing, against the underside of her belly.

Molly nodded, the whine she let out bounced off the tile of the bathroom. “Please…” She begged.

“Alright then,” Greg growled. She felt his hand leave her side and then other guide her down and then… “Mmmn… That’s it.” Greg hummed, lowering her down onto his cock. She could feel the tip of it throbbing as it entered her deeper and deeper. Molly was in complete agitation, and it unnerved her that Greg seemed to be in absolute calm about it. He was in command here, while he had worked Molly up into a writhing mess. She was desperate, vulnerable, and practically out of her mind. The omega tried to move but her Alpha had a firm hold of her hips and she couldn’t move even as she writhed, which shifted her womb. Molly was forced to hold onto it with a yelp of pain. “I told you ‘easy,’ you can’t rush this.” Greg admonished, and slapped her ass just once where it was cradled by his own hips and squelched with each shift of Molly’s hips in the water. He smoothed a hand up her back to pet the back of Molly’s neck, while his other hand pet at her womb until Molly’s whimpers of desperation eased.

“G—greg…!” She begged, looking back to her Alpha so he could see her eyes pleading with him to release her from this slow torture.

“Easy, love.” Greg cooed, splashing warm water up her back and petting her skin, digging in his fingers slightly to loosen up any of the knots he found. Once she seemed calmer and her flesh felt like putty under his hands, he moved his hands towards her front to her womb. “Come here, lie back.” Greg growled, encouraging Molly to allow him to support her weight. She laid back and sighed in relief as this allowed Greg full access to her breasts, her womb, and to massage her clit at his leisure. While he touched her, he used his skillful hands to spread water over her skin so that she wasn’t chilled by the air of the bathroom. “Now is that better?” He questioned, with a smirk against her elegant shoulder.

It marveled him at how he was able to do this with Molly Hooper. He was the man that got to bring her to the heights of pleasure, and it was him that got to bring out her omega side, to hold, love, and protect it. He got to see her body in all its forms, and to see Molly without the cozy layers of adorable jumpers and sweaters. And right now, it was his throbbing cock that was going to spear through her and make her come apart. These thoughts tumbled around in his brain in circles, until Greg wound himself up and the only release was to fuck up into the luscious heat that hugged him. He pulled out as slow as he could and thrust up into her whisper soft.

“Better-er— Oh!” Molly cried out, feeling him finally move inside her. “More! Greg—! Ugh…” Molly groaned, her head lolling against Greg’s strong frame. Molly petted at her own stomach, sighing in relief when their fingers touched and interlaced there.

“Easy…” Greg shushed her and moved again. He used their conjoined hands to cradle her stomach and began to move in a slow, steady rhythm. Greg groaned, reaching out to pull her body flush against him, nibbling on her shoulder inching closer to scent glands, and bit down causing Molly’s body to ripple from the bright point of pain all the way down to her toes.

“Greg—! Don’t…” Molly whined, trying to almost turn away from the torturous pleasure.

“Don’t what? Touch you? Fuck you? I could pull out if you want.” Greg suggested and did just that.

“N—n—no! Don’t! Just— Don’t tease!” Molly cried out, sobbing in relief when Greg pushed back inside her hard enough that she shook with it. He began his annoyingly slow rhythm once again.

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry.” Greg tried not to laugh. He groaned when he felt the muscles of her walls ripple around him. “Fuck!” He bit out, trying not to push inside her too hard. His hips snapped up into her hips hard just once, before recalling himself and went back to his original pace.

Molly gave a throaty chuckle, hissing when Greg cupped her tender breasts in his hands. “See I can tease too.” Molly smiled turning into the kisses Greg left until he twisted her nipples until she cried out.

“Cheeky.” Greg growled, and began to thrust up into her heat in earnest. He was no longer able to extend their love-making. “I’ll make you regret that next time.” He grumbled into her ear, taking that skin of her neck into his mouth. It drove her crazy every time he did that.

“Greeeeeeg!” She whined, gasping for breath as he finally gave her the friction she had been begging for since he started licking her into madness.

“Don’t worry babe, you’re almost there. Just relax.” Greg hissed against her skin and sped up his thrusts. Greg moaned into her skin as her walls sucked him in and the squelch of her juices echoed into the room.

Molly’s body went lax against him, her head lolling to the side and exposing her scent gland for him, a universal sign of omega submission to their chosen Alpha. Greg’s answering grumbles of pleasure were instinctual and the pheromones he put out into the air further relaxed her with a pleased sigh. His thrusts grew deeper and deeper still, though the speed didn’t increase. Molly moaned with each thrust, her skin rippling and her muscles shaking every time he bottomed out inside of her. The tension inside of her grew and with the last of Greg’s self-control he reached down and pressed directly onto her clit, swirling her slick bud once, twice, and then Molly was shaking apart around him, her walls tightening and rippling around his cock.

Greg’s control fractured. He forgot his pledge to be careful with his wife, his mate, and their little of pups still growing inside her. His hips pushed up into her, causing Molly to cry out. The Alpha’s inner voice was triggered and in a moment of lost control, he bit down on Molly’s scent gland and held her body him, just over her pussy where he could feel her juices squirt and squelch out of her, and his cock still press against her. He pushed inside almost too hard, and at her shout of pain, held her there and churned his hips inside her again, again, and again, until he came inside her with a groan, teeth digging into her flesh in a bright point of pain. Molly moaned and shook all over in another orgasm that rolled through her. Molly cried out at last against the rough treatment, begging for Greg to grant her mercy, but the Alpha inside him growled and he was lost to is as he came down from his high. When the fog finally cleared, he sucked on the mark where his teeth had been and felt Molly shake from tears.

“How was that?” Greg asked, his voice a deep rasp from the shout he gave of ecstasy.

“I—I— please… need you.” Molly cried, the pleasure of it all overwhelming in her delicate state. After such an intense pleasure, the fall back down was almost too much.

“Oh honey…” Greg cooed, noticing now that he had left his mark. He had promised to be gentle with her and broke that promised. “I’ve got you.” Greg sighed against her skin, leaving gentle kisses on her love bites.

Molly nodded and allowed the same hands that marked her and tortured her pregnant body into the highest heights of pleasure now lovingly caressed her and soothed all her aches and pains. The water was still warm enough, and with Greg’s warm skin emitting pheromones at her back, to be comfortable and Molly was lulled into a peaceful doze.

“Molly…” Molly could hear Greg’s voice, warm and filled with pleasure, like the sun. “Molly we need to get out of the tub and get you into bed.” Molly whined in denial at the idea and shook her head with another whine.

“Too tired to move.” She mumbled, nuzzling her way under her Alpha’s chin.

“Don’t worry I’ve got ya.” Greg promised, getting up and disturbing her peaceful doze but he was ready with a towel and with some maneuvering was able to lift Molly out of the water and into his arms. It was short work to dry her while she lay in bed, and crawled under the covers with her, so that his omega drifted off in a peaceful sleep.

–––

Chapter Text

Future

–––

“Come on, Molls! You gotta push for me.” Greg demanded of his wife, from where she lay in the hospital bed.

Molly had gone into labour hours ago, very early in the morning, or late at night depending on your point of view. He had been sound asleep when Molly woke him up and then almost crushed his arm in the grip of her hand when a contraction took hold of her. Greg had been forced to bite back his need to lock his omega going into labour into their nest where he could keep her safe with his practical want to have her in a hospital. It was only the fear in Molly’s eyes that kept him focused, that he needed to keep his head for Molly’s sake. The most important thing during a birth was for the omega to remain at ease. But an Alpha’s primal instinct was for him to protect his nest and his omega from other competing Alpha’s and the outside world that threatened to kill his omega and children in their most vulnerable moment. Long had humans shed their more basic instincts, but going feral couldn’t be predicted, from Alphas and omegas alike.

Molly screamed as another contraction rocketed through her body. “I can’t! I can’t! I’m so tired Greg, I can’t do it.” Molly whined, clinging to her Alpha. It had been hours and omega births were often hard at best. And cesarean sections, while easier on beta and alpha females, were still risky for omegas of either gender. The success rate of such an operation was one of the reasons Greg was sweating as he held his wife’s hand, and the mortality rates of babies in these situations were just as bad. But often, the mother was sacrificed to bring the children into the world. However, this was nothing new to women or omega men.

“Look at me, love.” Greg commanded of her. She turned to Greg with tears in her eyes. It killed him that this was what he had to put her through with any heat they had together that resulted in a pregnancy. Her first time being pregnant and trying to birth triplets seemed almost impossible. He had felt the fear in the back of his mind while she was carrying their babies but now his doubts were front and center in his mind. But he was going to get her and his pups through this. “You can do this.” He ground out, his eyes equally wet as he watched his wife’s strength flagging. If he could give away any part of himself to ease the way for Molly, he would. It killed him to see her like this. “I love you so much, you’re my omega, my soulmate.” Greg growled, petting at the sweat soaked skin of her face and neck. Molly pulled him down so she could give him a teary kiss. “Now push!” He commanded with a shout as another contraction echoed through her body. Molly took a deep breath and pushed as hard as she could, until a strong baby cry echoed into the room.

“It’s a boy!” The nurse cried out, immediately putting the baby into the omega’s arms. Those first seconds crucial for bonding between omega and her pups.

“Molly, he’s beautiful!” Greg grumbled, a pleased rumble echoing out of the Alpha’s chest. Molly cooed, kissing the bloody hair on the baby’s head. She laughed looking down at the confused face looking up to her, yet there was a trust in the baby’s face that let her know the boy knew it was her. “What are we going to name him?”

“Martin Hooper Lestrade.” Molly pet at his face lovingly, smiling at her son.

“Perfect.” The nurse announced, writing down his name before offering to take the baby to be washed. It was just moments before another contraction ripped through Molly’s body and her stomach shifted to prepare for the next baby.

“Ah!” Molly cried out.

“It’s alright, Mrs. Lestrade, just another baby. I need you to push again.” The beta doctor instructed. She was quick to reach back in and assist Molly in turning the shoulders of the baby to ease the way. Molly pushed as another contraction hit and the head of the next baby crowned. “One more like that Molly, you can do it.”

“Come on, Molly.” Greg encouraged, holding her hand. With another contraction, Molly pushed, and the baby slid free.

“Another boy!” The doctor announced, a nurse proudly giving the baby to his mother. This boy was smaller than the last one, but Molly kissed him and cried over him just as she had with her first son.

“Hello, Geoffrey Mycroft Lestrade.” Molly laughed, kissing first the baby and then Greg when she saw the look on his face. It was unfortunately right before the last contraction hit her and she barely had to push before the last baby pushed free, coming out almost in a rush.

“It’s a girl!” The doctor announced almost in surprise. Apparently, this obstetrician had never seen a baby come out that fast.

“Flora Jane Lestrade.” Molly smiled down at the baby, watching barely able to keep her eyes open as the nurse scooped up the baby and handed the girl to her mother. Greg was speechless, it reminded him of Emma's and Jimmy's births and the man was moved to quiet tears as he wiped Molly's brow and kissed her rather a lot. The nurses were quick to get the babies cleaned, measured, and recorded before they were returned to Molly’s anxious and waiting arms. It was instinct that caused Molly to almost be frantic at the babies not being in her arms. She was only calm when either Lestrade or herself held them. The babies took to their first suckle with little fuss, to Molly’s relief. Though Molly had no idea how she was going to juggle three babies with only two nipples. She was determined to do it.

Unfortunately, Molly fell asleep during Flora’s feeding and Greg had the pleasure of watching his daughter’s face as she fed until he was able to scoop all three babies into his arm with the help of a nurse. He rocked back and forth in the rocking chair facing the bed in their room. He spent half the time watching the monitors that kept an eye on his wife, and the other half marveling at his three new children. It didn’t matter how many kids he would have, this moment for him would never get old. There were already expressions in their faces that reminded him of their family members, and he couldn’t wait to see what would happen as they grew up. Greg had tried to stay awake, but their warm little bodies and the rocking of the chair soon had the Alpha lulled into a light doze.

Molly watched him and her new babies when he thought she had been sleeping. She sighed in pleasure, as they all slept. It made for the perfect picture, which she made sure to get on her phone and send out to everyone. She could already see features of both her family and his coming to the surface on the faces of her children just like Greg. The expressions as they slept mimicking their father in certain ways. While the hardest bits were left to come, she knew all she needed in order to get through it was Greg by her side.

Seeing how perfect everything was after all her resisting, Molly had no idea why she had been fighting this all for so long. It was kind of like fighting gravity. Once she let go, gravity took over and she was able to fall in love. She let Gregory love her back and Gregory gave her this life, and their children. Once she let go, she was able to be happy.

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THE END