Molly’s hands shook as she took the phone
and unmuted it. “Umm…hello?”
She hadn’t known what to say and cursed herself for being an idiot. Mary grabbed the phone out of Molly’s hand and put the phone on speaker before Sherlock answered. Molly made a face but allowed the move, however, it did increase her nervousness.
“Molly.” The two women heard him sigh. “I probably shouldn’t apologize over the phone. I am not sure why but I think John would say that it was not good.”
Molly half smiled and bit her bottom lip as she looked at Mary.
Mary rolled her eyes. It was like listening to two awkward teenagers.
“You called.” Molly commented to Sherlock.
“Yes…” Sherlock dragged out the word.
“You never call.”
“I do if it is important.” Sherlock was willing to admit that much plus it would probably benefit him. He did not want to admit how desperate he had been to find her and the subsequent calls he had made earlier that day. “Molly can you come home so we can talk?”
“I…” Molly saw Mary giving waving her hands and making no gestures.
“Mary put it on speaker phone and is trying to tell you to say no.” Sherlock easily deduced from Molly’s silence as well as the phone quality.
“I need a little more time. If you can give me some time today I can meet you tonight at my place around nine.”
“Done,” Sherlock agreed as if making a business deal. “Oh, you might want to call Peter to tell him not to worry about you.” Sherlock added right before hanging up.
Molly looked at the phone in surprise then looked up at Mary.
“Are you sure you’re ready to talk to him so soon?”
“I think it would be worse for both of us if we put it off. Probably not good for John either.”
“If you put it that way I think they should both suffer.”
“Has he talked to you at all?”
“Not a word. I’m not even sure what he is most angry about. The shooting or the lying.”
“Who am I kidding? I know you’re right.” Mary looked despondent and shook her head as she sat down beside Molly on the couch. “I honestly don’t know what to do?”
“Did you try to explain-“
“He refuses to speak to me at all.”
Molly was not used to giving comfort but she tried to repeat the actions Mary had done the night before. They made use of the rest of the day watching movies, eating junk food, and having conversation here and there. Mary said that any time Molly needed her that she would be there for her but warned that given the current circumstance they should limit their interactions until something was done about Magnussen. They never went into further detail about the man and left it at that. Molly even gave Mary a hug before heading back to her apartment early. She was hoping to get there before Sherlock did.
As Molly approached her flat she could see Sherlock already waiting outside. If she thought a two-hour buffer would give her time she was wrong. She was impressed that he had waited outside rather than inside, however.
“You’re early,” Molly stated.
Sherlock made to reach for her but she held up a hand. “I need to let my neighbor know I’m home. Go ahead inside.”
After letting Mrs. Carigan know that Molly was safely home and able to care for Toby once more she headed for her own flat. She could smell tea brewing. Sherlock popped his head out of the kitchen and let her know the tea was almost done.
Molly huffed out a half laugh and gave a half smile as she tried to figure out what to do with herself. She was in her own home but unable to feel like it. She wrung her hands together. Sherlock gestured for her to sit down as he put the tea tray down and sat himself. She tried to sit at the end of the couch but jumped back up as soon as she sat. This resulted in Sherlock standing back up as well. Molly couldn’t look Sherlock in the eye but played with her fingers.
Sherlock took in the woman he kept pushing away but wanted to hold on to. He could see that she had cried a lot the night before and could tell she had eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which he knew she only did when she needed to feel safe or when she had to perform an autopsy on a child. She was wearing Mary’s clothes instead of her own. She was nervous. He sighed in relief. She wasn’t kicking him out of her life at the very least.
“When I asked for a relationship outside of Bart’s I didn’t mean as friends.”
Molly looked up at him and gave him her awkward smile, “Kind of figured that out last night.”
Sherlock looked to the side and put his hands behind his back, “Yes, well, I think you have probably always been my friend, but…I think…no I do want more than that.”
He waited for Molly to answer. She finally sat down but didn’t say anything. He moved to sit as well but made sure to leave plenty of room between them on the couch for the moment.
“I am sorry for saying that it was too difficult and that I was giving up. I don’t want to give up.”
“Yes, well it must have been difficult since you were the only one in the relationship,” Molly pointed out.
Sherlock looked affronted, “To be fair you acted as if we were courting too!”
Molly decided to figure out his aversion to the word dating later but to first focus on the main part of his statement. “How so?”
Sherlock jumped up and started to pace as he gave his evidence. “Mary said to feed you, spend time with you, give gifts, small gestures of physical affection, and fetch you coffee. All of which I did and so did you!”
“You get me food.”
“So does John.”
“We spend time together.”
“You don’t give me much of a choice.”
“I gave you an iPhone and you gave me body parts.”
“I have always given you body parts.”
“Last week you gave me a heart to experiment on.”
“I thought you would like it.”
“I did but I also thought it was a romantic gesture on your part. It was the first heart you gave me since we had started dating…courting,” he corrected himself at the last moment.
“I didn’t know that part.”
“We have a physical relationship.”
“I kiss you all the time and you play with my hair.”
Molly blushed in response.
“I fetched you coffee that should have given you a clue!” Sherlock gave his last piece of condemning evidence.
“I’m just a pathologist not a detective.”
“But you are brilliant…most of the time.”
“Is that all you have to say?”
“Honestly I don’t know what to say.”
They stared at each other. Finally Molly broke the silence, “Tea?”
“How very British of you Molly.” Sherlock said in huff before throwing himself down on the couch. He slumped down in his seat and crossed his arms like a petulant child in a strop.
She rolled her eyes and started pouring. “You really don’t want to give up?”
Sherlock looked up at her sharply and straightened in his seat. “I don’t like giving up.”
“It may be more difficult dating me now that I know we’re dating.”
“What is it with that word?”
“Dating is juvenile with no intentions attached. I have every intention of marrying you.”
Molly’s jaw dropped and she was glad she was not holding a teacup at the moment. She had heard him mention it the other day but this time it was more serious. “Oh my.”
“Too early to get engaged?”
Molly just nodded with wide eyes.
Sherlock huffed out. “I don’t understand why. We have known each other forever. We know enough about each other.”
“But we don’t know what it will be like together.”
“Are you talking about the sex?”
Molly turned beat red, “No! No, I mean in a different kind of relationship. Some people are great as friends and terrible at dating.”
“Yes, so let’s skip dating and just get married.”
Molly put her head in her hands and leaned on her knees with her elbows. She took calming breaths.
“Okay. Here’s my offer. We can court but we call it dating. This is something I need Sherlock. We need time to talk about things and I need to get used to this. I need to see how our relationship will work once you are running around again. I won’t try to hold you back but you may change your mind once you are not so stationary.”
“You think I’m doing this because I’m bored,” Sherlock stated.
“Can you blame me?”
Sherlock entered his mind palace and consulted the information he had there. Molly waited and patiently and sipped her tea. She was emotionally exhausted and fell asleep on the couch waiting for her…whatever he was…to come out of his mind palace. She woke up an hour later with a start when a head landed on her lap. Sherlock looked up at her.
“Fine. We will date. But we are not going to be referred to as boyfriend and girlfriend.”
Molly smiled sleepily down at him, “Any alternate suggestions?”
He scowled up at her. “Fine. For lack of more suitable terminology we will use those atrocious labels until such a time comes when you are ready to change them.”
“Good, glad that’s settled. Now get up. I’m exhausted and going to bed. Tomorrow you can tell me why you want to date me in the first place.”
Sherlock sat up with a groan. “I don’t want to date you.”
Molly had made it halfway to her room and turned around. “Wait what did we just have a discussion about?”
“You want to date. I want to get married.”
“Fine, explain why you want to get married to me tomorrow.”
“If I do a good enough job can we skip to engagement?”
“You are insufferable,” her voice held no malice, only affection. “Go home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Can I stay here?” Sherlock remembered to follow John’s advice to ask for things instead of demand.
“Sherlock that may not be the best idea.”
“Not much has changed just we are official and this time you know it. I would prefer to be close by since last night was so awful.”
Molly took pity on him and nodded her assent before heading off to her room again. She slipped into the bathroom and got ready for bed. When she came out she saw that Sherlock had made himself comfortable in her bed. She grabbed her pillow and headed out of her room but was stopped by Sherlock’s voice.
“Where are you going?”
“To the couch,” Molly said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Sherlock responded with, “I thought we would share the bed.”
“Sherlock,” Molly said in a placating voice preparing to explain why that wasn’t a good idea.
“Please, I just need to be near you.”
Sherlock looked so vulnerable. Molly closed her eyes and rubbed at them with the hand that wasn’t holding the pillow. Her heart rate elevated as she slid in the bed beside him. She turned her back to him. A moment later she felt his arms go around her as he pulled her close to him. She stiffened for an instant before relaxing into his arms. It took her awhile longer to calm her breathing and heartbeat, which was harder with Sherlock nuzzling into her hair and the side of her neck. Eventually the occupants of the bed fell into a restful sleep.