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She was shocked at first, that was putting it mildly. That first night when Sherlock had pounded on the door of her flat till she’d finally thrown a dressing gown on and let him in, she had instantly known something unusual was happening. He was out of breath, mumbling something garbled about having just come back from Karachi (whatever he was doing there), his eyes were on fire, and he was looking at her like she was a fresh body of water in a parched desert. That was strange enough…but it was only the beginning. Before she could even manage to form a full word, he’d shut the door behind him and gently but firmly taken her by the shoulders and pushed her back against it, leaning down to consume her lips with desperate kisses.

The shock though, no matter how intense, all too quickly turned to eager acceptance and participation. Molly was soon the one flinging clothing away and tangling her fingers in his hair in order to hold him as close as humanly possible. Sherlock was far more passionate than she’d ever thought he would be in reality. And oh heaven help her, he knew what he was doing!

She was sure it had been a dream when she first woke up. But sure enough, there was a dark head of messy curls on the pillow next to her the following morning. She lay there, wide eyed and beet red, for a good half hour just replaying the events of the previous night in her head. Molly would have gotten up and tried to clear her mind with some coffee, except for the fact that Sherlock woke up…and then she didn’t end up being able to get away quite so easily.

That was the first incident, but definitely not the last.

She didn’t ask questions at first. She honestly didn’t want to do anything to disturb this strange new delicate balance of work and play that had developed between them. But after the fifth midnight trip to her flat in the span of a few weeks, Molly did indeed speak up.

Molly spoke in between gulps of air as she lay on her living room floor. “We need…to keep this…between us.”

“Fine,” Sherlock gasped out, also laying there catching his breath.

"I um...I don't mind," she said, trying to pull her hair back in some sort of more normal looking ponytail again. “But I’d rather keep this quiet, since it’s um…just so…”

“Casual?”

Molly winced inwardly a little at the word. “Right, I suppose. I just don’t want everyone constantly asking-“

“Neither do I,” Sherlock instantly agreed. He rolled over and kissed her soundly before pulling back and staring into her eyes rather affectionately for a moment. “This is nobody’s business but ours.”

Molly nodded in agreement and then boldly leaned upward to kiss him back. Usually she didn’t kiss him when they weren’t…in the heat of the moment. But he didn’t object. He actually smiled at her when she pulled away.

"In addition to the fact that it's admittedly thrilling to have to find times and places for our little meetings when we’re least likely to be found out,” he added with a waggle of his brow which made Molly giggle.

Something changed over time. Granted, it was slow, but it was certainly noticeable. Sherlock was enthusiastically passionate from the get go, but as things went on, Molly began to see little differences. He held her closer, spoke sweeter words, looked at her more lovingly, and even wanted more of her time in general. He certainly wasn’t just looking for a quick roll in the sheets. He stayed afterward, either holding her in contented silence or perhaps rattling off the details of the case he’d just finished. Sometimes he even insisted they order some takeaway for fear Molly would waste away, and he’d insisted he couldn’t have that.

Their intimate moments continued regularly. The frequency and location varied of course, but the passion never waned. Molly, naturally, was more in love than ever before. One of the missing pieces of the Sherlock puzzle had finally been put into place for her. She had always had him in her life, but now he was truly and completely with her. Mind, body, and soul…maybe even heart.

“I can’t exactly manage without this now,” Sherlock had whispered once as he cradled her against his chest in his disheveled bed. He said it in the same manner that one would say they’ve come to rely on the convenience of their mobile phone, or some other useful item. There was acceptance in the statement, but also the added mild irritation that they were now unable to function without said convenience.

Despite his tone, it made Molly smile. She turned her face and planted a kiss on his chest before smiling up at him. “I can’t manage without you either,” she whispered back sweetly.

It was the grumpy Sherlock way of saying it, but it still meant the same thing. It meant that this was their life now, and Sherlock didn’t want that to change.

There were moments when she realized that he might want her completely. Sometimes he subtly made it clear that he didn’t want to share her. Not that he had any valid concerns in that department. Molly hadn’t even glanced in the direction of another man since the first night that Sherlock had charged into her flat and her arms. It made her smile though, to see this growing attachment. It seemed they were close…close to becoming more. Perhaps something much more official and public. Because for the first time, Sherlock Holmes wanted and needed her as much as she did him.

But unfortunately, the lovely world that Molly Hooper was beginning to settle into so nicely came crashing down around her. And Sherlock very suddenly needed her for much more than the comfort of an intimate embrace. All at once, Sherlock Holmes, the man she loved, was in genuine mortal danger.

She didn’t have to be asked twice, of course. Molly would have moved mountains in a moment if that’s what he’d needed to stay safe. Despite her own fears and insecurity about how things would all work out, she showed him nothing but unwavering confidence and strength. And thankfully, when all was said and done, her strength had not been for nothing.

Sherlock was safe and alive. And to Molly Hooper, that was what mattered most.