Stranger: Molly ignored him as she sat down on the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. "I know that you don't want me hanging around Sherlock, not really. I know what you're like, you like to do your own thing and have your space" she replied, resting her chin on top of her knees. The pathologist then leant her head back against the door, rubbing her eyes as she felt a few tears start to prick them.
You: "If that were true I wouldn't be talking to you right now," Sherlock swiftly inspected the locked door, a simply four- no five, Molly was always one to spare the expense, pin tumbler lock, easy enough to pick with the little toolkit he kept in his coat. Quietly commencing the delicate process, he increased his volume ever so slightly to deaden the sound of scraping metal, "I would've thought you'd had my personality evaluated by now, with your helpful connections to psychiatric hospitals in London and the holding cells in Scotland Yard for mentally unstable prisoners." Sherlock grinned as he heard a soft click emit from the handle, indicating his door cracking was an effective success; "Then again, I suppose you were always the one to let undeniable opportunities go to waste."
Stranger: She shuffled away from the door as he opened it. Molly then got up and turned around to look up at him, her brow furrowing in confusion. "What do you mean?" she asked as she crossed her arms over her chest, feeling a little hurt by what he had just said to her.
You: "There is so much potential in you Molly," Sherlock smiled as she failed to move away from his approach, "and I absolutely abhor waste. With all your resources you submit yourself to being a lab technician, working alongside the most insufferable of forensic scientists and amateur detectives. Perhaps you should consider utilising your skills in a field where they would prove most extraordinary. Far more than I presume you could have expected them to ever have been. I'm asking for your help Molly." He settled for a beseeching look, rather than risk touching Molly again and prompting her to misread his need for assistance as a request for more terrifying intimacy.
Stranger: Molly slowly unfolded her arms, blinking hard. She hadn't really expected that. The pathologist had thought that she probably would've been one of the last people, that Sherlock would come to help for. "I...I erm...I suppose I could try my best to help you" she said quietly, smiling faintly.
You: "Terrific!" Sherlock hopped excitedly into the air habitually, still oblivious as to how comical he looked whenever he did that. "Mary's just been kidnapped by some criminal's henchmen, one of Mycroft's so I'll have to consult him later; though I suspect it's a retired toxicology professor, goes by the name of Dr Matthews. Absolute diva he is, mostly harmless whenever he isn't trying to provoke chemical warfare between Britain and the rest of Europe. I'm just off to activate my eyes and ears in the sea, those sea poachers always need a little assistance with their frequent skirmishes with the coast guard so they owe me some favours." Sherlock pulled on his coat and sped out the door, popping his head around the frame a millisecond later and looking impatiently at the bewildered newly-promoted crime investigator, "Come on Molly! The game is on!"
Stranger: She giggled and shook her head a little. Molly then put her coat and shoes on, before she followed him out of her flat, locking the door behind them. "So, where are we going exactly?" she queried as she tucked her hands into her coat pockets, as they made their way downstairs and outside to get a cab.
You: "The Diogenes Club," Sherlock replied, raising his hand authoritatively to signal a taxi, "my brother's bound to be there. There's a legend in the club that says you don't get properly initiated unless your arse print has been permanently embedded in your assigned seat cushion." He smirked at the thought, "I don't usually bother with reciting the plans in my head as John's gotten used to my methods of operation now, but I'll do it just this once. Mycroft, sea poacher network, locating the vessel Mary's locked up in, predicting the location of the vessel that Mary's locked up in before midnight, that's when the patrol helicopters start their aerial route, which they have to avoid thus making it easier for us to gauge where they'll be, and having a pleasant conversation with Dr Matthews before we extend our coldest and most insincere banishment to his old cell in the mental asylum just inside Germany." Sherlock looked at Molly as he finished his recital at top speed, wondering if she had the capacity to absorb all the information he had just relayed.
Stranger: Molly nodded slowly as she gradually processed all of the information. "Okay..." she said softly. The cab pulled up to them and Sherlock gave the cabbie an address. Once they were both in, and the door was shut, she turned to face the consulting detective, running her fingers through her hair. "Sherlock, are we okay?..."
You: "Hmm?" Sherlock made a muffled noise of acknowledgement as his image refreshing of London was interrupted. "The superstitions about the inevitable pitfalls of an office relationship don't apply to us; firstly because we don't work in an office, and second we don't have the factor of people telling us about the risks of said office relationship because no one, except John and Mrs Hudson now I suppose, know about us. What exactly are you worried about?"
Stranger: She shrugged. "I was just checking really" Molly admitted, looking down at her hands, which were tucked into her lap. "And this isn't really a...sexual relationship is it?" she said quietly, as she wanted to know exactly where they stood at this moment in time.
You: Sherlock groaned as he saw the cabbie's head twitch, being well within earshot of their conversation. "This isn't really an appropriate place to discuss this Molly," he hissed annoyedly, "but yes, it isn't. I'm not even sure if I'll be capable to maintain one, but at the moment, you would do well to put our personal issues aside for the sake of the imminent occupational hazard."
Stranger: Molly sighed and rolled her eyes. "Fine, whatever. But we're talking about this properly when we get home" she said as she looked out of the window, feeling frustrated with him.
You: "Whose home?" Sherlock pondered aloud, watching the battlefield of London's streets play out before his expressionless eyes. They arrived at the dilapidated building that The Diogenes Club masqueraded under, Sherlock briskly making his way to the entrance as he left Molly to pay the cabbie's fare.
Stranger: "I meant..." Molly started, mentally kicking herself. She then groaned and got out, paying the cabbie before she quickly hurried after Sherlock.
You: Sherlock fiercely mimed for her to stop stomping her heeled shoes on the concrete, knowing that it would take ages to have a silent argument with the padded-soled security men who would most invariably drag her away into a soundproof cell. They eventually found his brother down a series of complicated corridors and spiralling staircases, his ungainly embodiment drooped over an armchair as he obscured his face with a Korean newspaper that had what looked suspiciously like bloodstains obscuring the date of print. "If one wishes to intrude upon their relatives while they're working, I suggest you assist Mother in her incessant baking of this week's Easter dinner," Mycroft smirked up at Sherlock just before he reached the doorway, cocking an eyebrow of surprise as the second set of footsteps he had felt through the exquisite wilton carpet did not belong to his brother's usual companion of John Watson. "Hooper?" He addressed this inquiry to Sherlock rather than Molly, "I would've thought she wouldn't be concerned about your little favour to the doctor's wife? This is hardly a case necessary for a pathologist Sherlock."
Stranger: Molly blushed and bit her lip, slipping her hands into her coat pockets. "Sherlock asked for me to help him. So I came along" she explained on Sherlock's behalf, giving the older Holmes brother a small smile.
Me: Mycroft retaliated with a look of incredulity at her pointless attempt at friendliness towards a person like himself, and turned to Sherlock, "do you really trust her enough to grant her access to government secrets? It is most disconcerting to find that you have allowed yourself to be dictated by sentimental feelings rather than your far superior mind. Though, you've always be unable to repress your personal vendetta with that dead Irish chap, oh what's his name-"
"Moriarty," Sherlock interrupted, his irritation once more dictating his mind, “and I haven't developed feelings for Dr Hooper, she's merely a person whom I believe will be helpful to the case. I trusted her to keep my staged death a secret, and I expect you will about a petty dispute between you and a chemistry hobbyist."
Mycroft gave him a warning look that the detective cooly received with one of boredom. “Joseph Matthews is not a criminal to be taken lightly Sherlock,” he turned to Molly, folding the newspaper and placing it out of view beside his armchair, “Dr Hooper, I trust the information I am about to relay to you will not leave the room. Joseph Thomas Matthews, an obscure toxicologist from an American university is one of the oldest felons I have had the misfortune to meet in my entire life. Being close to the age of natural expiration, he strives to drive the world to chaos before his death with his various chemical poisons he derives from seemingly harmless substances. The problem we have from his brilliance is that he uses everyday chemicals that we can’t possible ban the public from having the privilege of access to. That is why we find it easier to either persuade him to work for us to quell the altercations that are happening in the neighbouring countries with undesirably difficult relationships, though his mental state of instability does usually end up with him being wrapped up in a strait jacket until the asylum gets attacked by one of the many groups of henchmen he has dotted around the world, ready to respond if he doesn’t show activity within a certain time period. He has recently gained regrettable interest in my brother and thus far, captured the wife of his colleague Dr John Watson. What he plans to do with her is unknown to me, because this is quite unexpected behaviour from the likes of him, I can assure you. Therefore I would’ve left my brother and the husband of the kidnapped women to retrieve her, but your presence already shows he has some confidence in a pathologist’s skills to do so.”
Molly raised an eyebrow of indignation, opening her mouth to retort about her recently-affirmed skills in general criminology just as Sherlock’s phone made a text alert noise, causing him to stare at it intently before rushing out of the room. She began to follow suit, only to hear Mycroft’s parting words as she attempted to keep up with the detective’s lengthy stride:
“He doesn’t have any relationship stronger than his with John Watson you know.”
“Aha! Phillips’ has gotten the coordinates and trajectory of the ship, and I know a little steamboat captain at the second nearest harbour who can take us there in less than an hour. Taxi!” He had dragged Molly to the main road at this point and was halfway into the black cab before she could compose herself, impatiently gesticulating for her to get in and speed off to wherever the second nearest harbour may be. She certainly didn’t know, she was but a lab technician recently-made potentially saver of the kidnapped.
“Just so you know,” Sherlock turned to Molly, only to look away awkwardly as he realised she was once more preening herself from the non-consensual jog she made across several metres of muddy tarmac, “I’m not expecting this to be a case. Not one that will challenge me anyway. I’ve asked John to meet me at the harbour but he probably won’t get there fast enough, though I really only need him to be there for his gun. Something tells me only brute force will get Mary out from a ship of Matthews’ henchmen.”
“Good thing I regularly pump iron at the city gyms then,” Molly laughed. Sherlock was glad she was starting to enjoy herself, hoping she might forget about their altercations over his reluctance for the conventional relationship and its activities. ‘Ugh, activities,” thought Sherlock, wondering how it was humanely possible to come up with as many euphemisms as he had for the act of bumping uglies with one another. “Oh dear, there’s another one,” he rolled his eyes at the thought and Molly misinterpreted it for acknowledgement at her attempt at humour, smiling good naturally at him.
They arrived at the harbour minutes later, John waving frantically from a tiny boat with an equally tiny man getting ready to cast off. “You weren’t kidding,” Molly remarked as they briskly made their way towards the vessel, “you really did know a little steamboat captain.” Sherlock barely had time to do one of his newly-discovered spontaneous smiles at her before he found himself dragging the heavy coils of rope onto the ship while the little old man clambered in after Molly and started the motor.
“T’is a pre’y li’el ship ye be lookin’ far Mr ‘Olmes,” the ship captain said, merrily humming away as he stoked the coal fire with the end of an unloaded harpoon gun, “I’d ‘ave tho’ ye would’n be in’o tha’ sort o’ thing.”
So thick was the captain’s accent, Sherlock decided to give up on making small talk and pleasantries with the man, and left John and Molly to fend for themselves against this little man who would never stop talking regardless of whether he had present company or not. John eventually toppled down the steps into the hull, gasping in fake suffrage from what he knew Sherlock had meant for him to endure.
“Did you bring your gun?” Sherlock asked, admiring the watery view out of the grimy porthole that the captain had drilled into the wall over his bed.
“Yes, but I don’t think I’d be riddling a man with bullets just because he told me the enrapturing tale of his ingrown toenail operation,” John fingered his inside coat pocket wistfully, “twice.”
“Poor Molly,” Sherlock grinned, “she’ll be a lot more aware of the pain she puts those corpses through whenever she takes an entire toenail off for a keratin sample.”
John chuckled softly and sat down on the captain’s bed beside Sherlock. “Speaking of Molly,” he began, causing Sherlock to roll his eyes in anticipation of the lecture he should have received from his mother about twenty years ago, “no Sherlock, that’s not what I was going to talk about. You two are in a relationship now are you not?”
“John, your wife is in the hands of several burly men working for a crazy elderly person who has to date been admitted to twenty-seven different mental asylums and psychiatric hospitals around the globe and you want to talk about my relationship with a coworker? You really do pick your moments for trivial discussions don’t you?” Sherlock scoffed, hoping he had discouraged the doctor from pursuing the maternal further. The sharp intake of breath for a lengthy rant disproved his hypothesis.
“Well there are so little moments appropriate for trivial discussion when I’m with you Sherlock,” John pointed out, “We’re all so busy standing around a dead body watching you run your ungloved hands over it to find some seemingly insignificant details that will eventually lead to you finding out how they died that it’s near impossible to get you to talk about the weather fluctuations over breakfast. I wasn’t about to have ‘the talk’ with you, if that was what you were worried about. I think you’ve probably whipped enough unclothed bodies to have more experience with BDSM than most people might imagine. I just wanted you to know… that you should probably start treating her better. Not like the way you treat Mrs Hudson or myself, this is a mutual, consenting adult relationship you’re getting yourself into, and I’d be much less worried for her if I knew that you weren’t going to end up putting her in the hospital because some other criminal mastermind decided to mess with your head again.”
Sherlock looked up at Molly on the deck, her face of utter weariness from listening to yet another gratuitously graphic description of the various gory operations the disease-riddled boat captain had undergone in his life still depicted her loveliness underneath, suicidal though it may have been from the third procedure Witkins had had on his armpits or some other usually undiscussed part of the human anatomy.
“She’s going to be stretching that astounding tolerance whenever she’s around me, I can bet you that,” Sherlock joked, “but I understand what you mean. Nothing I haven’t looked up on the Internet out of curiosity, nothing I haven’t explicitly deleted from my Internet history for the desire to never recall anything along the lines I read ever again. Molly’s quite eager to have this relationship reach the next level of intimacy, and willing as I am to allow her, I’m sure she’ll find a way to cure me of the trepidatious feelings my emotions create whenever I’m anticipating something similar to what I did end up reading on the Internet all those years ago.”
“Mr ‘Olmes! Ye ship’s jus’ over yonder!” called Witkins, releasing a relieved Molly from his unrelenting unwanted story-telling. Sherlock and John ascended up the rotting wooden steps hurriedly, joining Molly in a little dingy the captain let out for them to use as the steamboat was too noisy to creep up on the larger vessel. The trio waved goodbye to Witkins as he puffed away jauntily on the back of his boat, Molly’s head spinning with all the detailed recounts of fungal infection removal and buttock liposuction she couldn’t seem to forget.
As they clambered up the side of the ship, Sherlock couldn’t help but notice: for a ship that was allegedly full of evil henchmen, it was awfully quiet. Molly seemed to think the same and shook her head, wondering if her own memories of loud scrummy-voiced thoughts were affecting her hearing abilities. John drew his pistol as they neared the border of the ship, throwing himself bravely (and stupidly) over the railings and yelling “EVERYBODY FREEZE!”
“For goodness’ sakes John we’re not in an American cop movie,” Sherlock popped his head over the rails and nearly lost his grip in surprise. Standing in the midst of uniformed carnage was Mary Watson, holding a trembling rifle towards her husband.
“You startled me,” she set down the rifle, embracing her bemused husband.
“Mary?… What happened here?” John asked weakly.
“You’d hardly think I’d take abuse from a hundred year old man and his middle-aged lackeys do you?” Mary shrugged, “I was taken by surprise on their ship, but once I got ahold of one of their guns.. well, you know a bit about my past already.”
Sherlock glanced around at the faces of the bodies around him, every one of them had been registered in the criminal database at Scotland Yard. Lestrade would definitely enjoy this goldmine of clearing the missing persons cases these people had posed as an inconvenience for goodness knows how many years. “Oh don’t be so shocked John,” Sherlock patted the doctor on the back, rousing him from a shell-shocked standstill, “it’s not as if it’s the first time she’s shot a man in cold blood.”
“I do wish you’d let that go already,” sighed Mary.
The ship was towed back to shore by several police tugboats, Lestrade gaining credit in the newspapers over a three page article listing the discoveries of more than a hundred runaway delinquents from thirty to forty years ago on board Dr Matthew’s ship. John remained in shock for approximately seven minutes before the tugboats arrived, before settling for expressing his relief at Mary’s safety, whom, given her past, wasn’t in an real danger to begin with. Sherlock returned to his flat at 221B Baker Street after a lengthy press conference he had to endure with the detective inspector who wanted to know how all of the passengers were killed by what seemed like the same gun despite all of them being armed (he decided to withhold that information), only to find Molly resting comfortably in John’s armchair by the unlit fireplace, curled up with her laptop reading his article on the identification of 243 types of tobacco ash.
“I should treat her better,” scoffed Sherlock affectionately in his mind as he went to sit down in his chair beside her, “she treats herself well enough without my help.”