“So let me get this straight,” Mary
prepared to paraphrase the detective who was running her carpet thin by his
pacing back and forth. “You want
relationship advice from me on whether or not to pursue a relationship with
“Marriage. I want to pursue marriage with Molly.” Sherlock spouted off.
“Start off slow Romeo.”
Mary chuckled at the confused look on Sherlock’s face.
She had been surprised to see Sherlock at her door wearing his smarmiest smile. She had originally thought he was there to discuss Magnussen but was stupefied when he had launched in his need for help in making a life decision. He had then launched into a monologue that waxed poetic on Molly and why she would be the perfect and only mate for him. Mary bit her lip at this point to refrain from singing out, “I told you so.” She had attempted to point out Sherlock’s interest during the wedding seat chart fiasco.
When Sherlock and John returned from rescuing the young man in the Bloody Guardsman case Sherlock had already been in a mood because the case had been left unsolved. When he saw that Tom’s seat had been returned beside Molly he reached out to move it away from her once more only to have his hand slapped by Mary.
She stuck her finger in his face, “Don’t you dare.”
“Fine, then why don’t you have Molly be a bridesmaid and you can move her here.” Sherlock indicated the bridal table. “In fact, she can sit right here. By. Me.” He accentuated his last words and indicated the spot reserved for the maid of honor.
John chose that moment to interject, “At your wedding you can have Molly as a bridesmaid.”
“John you know I am married to my work.”
“Besides John, he wouldn’t want her as a bridesmaid at his wedding. Would you, Sherlock?” said Mary, who looked like the cat who caught the canary.
“Why not he goes on and on about her being one at ours.”
Mary shook her head at how clueless her husband-to-be could be while Sherlock allowed different looks pass across his face and felt general discomfort. Mary continued to smile at Sherlock’s obvious distress and waited for him to comment. Sherlock would not meet her eyes and she chuckled at his behavior. John finally took notice of the standoff.
“What’s going on then?”
“John, kindly explain to the future Mrs. Watson that I am previously engaged in a lifelong commitment to the work.”
“Yeah, you already said that. We all know the great Sherlock Holmes has no room for anyone in his life because he’s married to his work.”
“Well maybe Sherlock should consider bigamy.” Mary slipped in.
John gave her look as he finally caught up with Mary’s implications, “Have you seen how he treats her?”
“Like a little boy with a crush who doesn’t know what to do with his feelings. So he pulls on her pigtails and runs off in fear shouting ‘cooties!’”
John looked at his friend with fresh eyes. He had never thought of the situation like that. If what Mary was saying was true Sherlock had lost his chance due to Dr. Hooper’s upcoming nuptials. John’s face took on a look of pity for his friend.
Sherlock responded in his usual abrasive manner by squinting and going, “Really John. You’re not going to believe such rubbish.”
John held up his hands in surrender but Mary continued to study the detective.
“If you get another chance with Molly I would consider taking it. She’s the only one who would allow the work to share a bed with you at the same time as her.”
Sherlock just rolled his eyes and went to his room where he proceeded to slam the door.
“Can I ask why you’re coming to me then? Why not go to John, he is your best mate after all. You are still on speaking terms if I’m not mistaken.” Mary couldn’t resist jabbing at the distraught detective.
“I don’t want to rub it in John’s face that I may be starting out a relationship with the best woman of our acquaintance while he is facing marital problems.” Sherlock felt proud of himself for thinking of someone other than himself.
Mary overlooked the best woman slight but wouldn’t let Sherlock off for the rest of his behavior. “Yet you have no problem coming to his pregnant wife who is facing the same problems.”
Sherlock’s face fell. “Oh…”
In unison Sherlock and Mary said, “not good.” Sherlock’s inflection showed a question while Mary’s showed gentle admonishment. Sherlock raked his hand through his dark curls and headed for the door.
Mary’s voice stopped him, “Sit down you over-grown man-child.”
Sherlock could detect fondness in her voice but eyed her warily. “Are you going to shoot me?”
“No, but I may poison your tea. Or do you prefer coffee?”
“Two sugars. I’m sure everyone knows this by now.”
Sherlock took his place in the middle of the Watson’s couch and placed his hands underneath his chin as he waited for Mary to return. Once she did return she forced him to scoot over to the side of the couch so that she too could sit on the piece of furniture also.
“You aren’t drinking coffee are you? It could damage your developing spawn and with John’s average intelligence it can’t afford to lose any possible brain cells.
Mary took a sip of her herbal tea and raised an eyebrow, “You do know that he’s not here to get a rise out of, right?”
“Just stating a fact Mrs. Watson.”
“I know what to drink and not to drink.”
They sat in silence before speaking at the same time, “So…”
Sherlock swallowed and looked from side to side until saying, “Ladies first.”
Mary coughed on her tea, “Manners Sherlock?”
His mouth fell in a frown. “Mummy did instill manners in us. I just don’t always choose to employ them,” he said looking down his nose in an imperious manner.
“You count me as a lady?” Mary said with a smile playing on her lips.
“Weeeeeeellll…” Sherlock dragged the word out.
They both smiled and chuckled. Mary had gotten over her initial anger with Sherlock quite quickly and didn’t begrudge his actions. What had been done was done and if she had been in the same position she would have done the same. She had just wanted the past to die and for it to not interfere with her life and family. Once the truth was out a weight had been lifted from her shoulders but it had been replaced with the weight that accompanies the pain of being separated from a loved one due to betrayal.
So when Sherlock made his appearance she didn’t bar his entrance. Despite his wanting John to know the truth he bore no ill-will for the former assassin and also seemed to want the Watson’s to reunite. Having had a previous inkling of the detective’s feelings she was not surprised at his declarations but was taken aback on the timing.
“So,” Mary started again, “you want to pursue a relationship with Molly that ends in marriage.”
“No,” Sherlock dragged out the word. “I want to pursue a relationship with Molly that begins with marriage.”
“Sherlock, you can’t just ask her to marry you out of the blue.” Mary was doing her best not to break out in giggles.
“Why not? We have known each other for years. We know each other’s faults and each other’s assets, so what is the benefit of dating?”
“Why are you in such a rush?”
“Neither of us is getting younger. I want…need a permanent arrangement. If I marry her no one can tell me I’m selfish or possessive with her because in a marriage construct such behavior is perfectly acceptable.”
“So you want to marry Molly as a cover for your bad behavior and it’s convenient.”
Sherlock thought for a moment before admitting, “In part.”
“That’s not why people get married Sherlock. Why are you so against dating her.”
“It’s not my area.”
“Sherlock…” Mary dragged out his name in her ‘I know you’re fibbing voice.’
“If we were to embark on such an endeavor we may never be able to see it to the end conclusion. Molly is a smart woman and would come to realize that such an arrangement would not be beneficial for her well-being.” At this point Sherlock had begun pacing in an agitated manner with his hands clasped behind his back. “I know I can be…difficult. Being in a relationship could also bring danger to her life as it has at least once before.”
“Sherlock, this is why you need to date. You came to me unsure of whether or not you even wanted a relationship with Molly, though if you ask me you have already pretty much made your mind up anyway to be honest.” She witnessed him wince at the word date. “If you have problems with the terminology use courting instead but if you can’t even do dating for Molly you don’t deserve her.”
“I know I don’t deserve her.”
“It’s not really about deserving. She needs to be given the chance to decide. You need to decide together.” Mary took a breath before opening a new avenue in their discourse. “I am concerned about her safety with the Magnussen situation…”
“As am I. Should I postpone-“
“No. There will always be someone or something and it’s best for you to face that particular conversation head on at the beginning. She’s a big girl and one of the strongest people I know. But…” Mary hesitated.
“But what?” Sherlock grew impatient.
“Both of you need to learn to communicate. No secrets, trust me on this.” Mary smiled sadly. “You do want to be careful about drawing Magnussen’s attention to her but cutting her out is not an option, he’ll pick that up.”
“She has told me of her past. She keeps to her story but I can fill in some of the blanks.” He pinched his eyebrows together in concentration. “I suppose I owe you a thanks for her life…and mine by proxy.”
Mary was taken aback by the gratefulness expressed by the man before her. “How far would you go to protect her?”
“As far as you would for John if not farther.”
They sat in heavy silence. Sherlock sat down on the couch once more.
“What do I do now?”
He looked vulnerable and at a loss. It was a look Mary would never had associated with the man in front of her. Even if he wouldn’t say the words she could see how Molly affected him and that he loved her. Sherlock had his work cut out from him, Molly had her own set of foibles they would need to work through before they could have a decent relationship. But the fact that Molly had opened up to Sherlock spoke volumes to her.
“Next you talk to Molly about changing your relationship status.”
“I tried that,” Sherlock pursed his lips together, “Let’s just say it didn’t end well.”
“Well if I am going to help you further I need to know exactly what happened.” Mary said hoping he would take the bait. When things didn’t end well for the consulting detective in the social realm it tended to be entertaining.
Sherlock sighed in defeat and filled Mary in on his ordeal. She listened attentively but had to bite her lip during his story. Eventually that turned into covering the biggest grin she had in over a month with her hand and had to excuse herself to the other room after the telling had finished as she bent over in double to laugh at Sherlock’s quandary.
When she returned it was to a disgruntled detective who had his arms crossed in a pout. This only caused her to burst out in laughter again at his expense. “I expected this of John but you? Honestly Mary.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just so funny.” She calmed as she was struck by hearing her estranged husband’s name. “How is he?”
“That’s not what I’m asking.”
“I know.” A realization dawned on Sherlock. “You aren’t going to tell him about any of this are you?”
“We are not currently on speaking terms if you hadn’t noticed. I won’t be keeping any secrets from him any longer and I suggest the same for you. He deserves that from both of us.”
“So that’s a yes or a no you won’t tell him.”
“You have until we are on speaking terms again. Don’t wait that long though.”
Sherlock checked the time. If he headed home now he would be able to get there before Molly did. He got up and headed to the door without ceremony. Mary followed him to the door and had to stop quickly in order not to crash into the man when he turned suddenly.
“He’ll come around.” He reassured the blond woman in front of him. “He’ll come around.”
With that he popped his collar and headed out the door. Mary shut the door behind him. Less than five seconds later there was a knock on the door.
“Back already?” she asked the anxious looking Sherlock.
“What exactly am I supposed to do with Molly?”