You: "Let's have lunch - SH" Molly read off the little rectangular card buried under weeks of junk mail several months later.
Stranger: She smiled faintly to herself. Before she took her phone out and sent him a text; 'What time and where? MH'
You: The phone beeped and neon green letters informed Molly that the number was no longer in use. She frowned concernedly, inspecting the card. Nothing special about the material, though the envelope was made out of a heavier, more fibrous material. Must've been prepared to travel a long distance, though it looked fairly new... or did it? She wasn't sure. Molly scratched her head in confusion, she wasn't as good as analysing material just from an unenhanced glance. What was Sherlock expecting her to deduce from this single piece of information? She supposed, being as literal as he was, Sherlock probably meant a conventional twelve-noon sharp lunchtime. As for the location she hadn't the foggiest idea.
Stranger: Molly sighed and put the card to one side. She then checked the time, before she put her coat on and headed outside. Once outside her flat, she started to wrack her brains, thinking of where they would meet up for lunch. The pathologist then started walking to Angelo's, as that was the first place than came to her.
You: Mud and algae smeared across Sherlock's coat as it dragged across the walls of the alleyway. The detective fell to his knees, soaking wet and gasping for breath. The escape through London's sewers had not been as straightforward as he'd anticipated it to be, though he knew he had just a little time left before the attack was about to commence. "Oh Molly," he crawled along the grimy floor and shakily got to his feet, supporting himself up on a bin overflowing with rotting food waste, "I told you our relationship was best left in private." As he had feared, a certain enemy of his had had his eye on him the day Molly had her outburst in Richmond park. It didn't take much for them to infer their relationship and he'd been trying to track them down ever since. They had incapacitated him in several layers of duct tape leaving it to the flow of London's sewage disposal system to take his life, though they really shouldn't have done that to a person who'd already died once. Sherlock smirked at the thought, and used his new-found energy to continue his weak, but resilient crawl towards the one restaurant he knew Molly would always gravitate to when given the choice.
Stranger: When she got to the restaurant, she sighed and sat down at a table. Molly then leant back in her chair, and crossed her arms over her chest, absent-mindedly tapping her feet together. The woman then hummed and ran her fingers through her long chestnut coloured hair, flicking her eyes around as she waited for Sherlock to appear.
You: Smart black leather shoes clicked the pavement with their heels as a man dressed as sharply as his feet stepped out of an olive-green Rolls Royce. He casually rotated about the spot as the chauffeur followed him out, surveying the bland surroundings of the shopping areas of the city. There was a click as the sixteen-inch bulletproof door was shut, and he straightened his suit, confident that his status was safe. A glimpse of the frequently photographed auburn hair in the window was all he needed to confirm that his false message had gone through, and Sherlock's drug-addled mind had relayed the correct information about the girl. He smiled sinisterly, now the game would finally be complete. He hadn't intended to give up his king piece quite as quickly as he'd hoped by leaving the amateur junkie to drown in the sewers, but he supposed it was worth it to secure his next queen. He stuck his hands in his pockets and advanced quickly to the restaurant, his shark-tooth grin glinting in the afternoon sunlight. "Hello." Molly looked up innocently at the lithe silhouette, her brief moment of hope dashed as she realised it wasn't the person she had been expecting. "Are you Doctor Molly Hooper by any chance?" asked the stranger, his eyes twinkling eerily as he asked the question.
Stranger: Molly frowned a little as she heard the man's voice. He certainly wasn't Sherlock, and he looked rather intimidating. She then glanced around and bit her lip, her brow furrowing when she saw the car outside. Something inside her was telling that this person meant to harm her, and if possible, she should try and get out of the restaurant as quickly as possible. Hopefully that way, she'd be able to meet up with Sherlock somewhere else, or bump into him as he was making his way to the restaurant. "I erm...yes..who wants to know?" she asked as she flicked her eyes over the man in front of her.
You: “William Morris,” he sat down swiftly at her table before she could so much as twitch, “Detective William Morris, retired Scotland Yard. I take the odd case every now and then if it rouses my interest, and I’m here to investigate an inquiry.” He extracted a thin black notebook, standard issue police memo pad, and whipped a nib across the paper, jotting down the date and time. “We’ve had intelligence tail certain members of the police to track their progress and ensure general propriety as representatives of the government, but the disappearance of a Mr Sherlock Holmes, whom intelligence have highlighted shares one of few close relationships with yourself, has raised some considerable concern, both within and outside the British government.” He paused and nibbled on the end of his fountain pen thoughtfully, “I suppose the formalities of confirming your identity and establishing your relationship with Mr Holmes could be forgone in the current circumstances.” He shut the notebook and turned to face Molly, who had shifting uneasily in her chair as she spotted an ominous-looking car with tinted windows silently pull up to the pavement. “Would you happen to know the whereabouts of Sherlock Holmes?”
Stranger: She gulped and bit her lip, feeling colour rush into her cheeks. Molly then sighed and tucked her small hands into her lap, almost tempted to sit on them, in order to stop herself from fiddling with her fingers. "I-I don't, no"
You: He sighed and carelessly ran a hand through his thinning hair. "Well it was worth a shot," he shrugged and made to leave, "my first proper case in years and I've already failed at the initial inquiries." Molly softened her expression, she too could sympathise with the general lack of cooperation from the people associated with a case. "Why did Scotland Yard decide to bring a retiree out of his leisure time? It seems like a strange thing for the police to do instead of employing the professionals' help first," she asked, the query pausing Morris' movement to leave. "For a person who spends a lot of time around an amateur detective, I would hardly think the question need be asked," he shrugged, picking up his notebook, "the police are always out of their depth with us freelancers, and overly enthusiastic to rescue us if we ever get into trouble." A crisply dressed gentleman approached the table and helped Morris into his coat. "Don't worry," he smiled, "We'll try our best to find the rogue detective."
Stranger: Molly blushed and nodded. "If you say so". Once he had left, she leant out a big sigh. The pathologist then ran her hands over her face. Before she leant back and took her phone out of her coat pocket, unlocking it. She then scrolled through her contacts until she found Sherlock's number and called him.
You: "Hello?" Molly gave a start as the invalid number was answered by a voice that didn't belong to Sherlock on the other line. "Who is this?" she asked in confusion. "My name's Blake," the voice answered, "didn't think anyone would call my new phone actually, bit surprised. Who are you?" "I'm Molly," she replied in a daze, not really aware of what was happening in the moment of surreality, "I don't quite understand... where did you get this phone?" A gravelly sound emitted from the earpiece and the line went dead, a single dial tone resonating repetitively in Molly's ear. Unnerved and shaken, the pathologist went to end the call- that was, until a rather slimy hand swiped it from her. "Hello? Who is this? How did you obtain that mobile?" Sherlock Holmes yelled into the dial tone, attracting several stares from neighbouring tables, some of which were simply continued from his dishevelled wild-man appearance contrasting with the smart-casual atmosphere of the restaurant.
Stranger: She looked up at him and sighed in relief. Molly then reached up and took her phone off of him, ending the call. Before she wiped her phone on her coat, and put it into her pocket, getting up onto her feet. "Sherlock, where the /Hell/ have you been?!" she hissed.
You: "Afghanistan," Sherlock took a large swig from the vase of flowers on the table, "it's horrible this time of year. I wouldn't recommend it for a siesta." Molly heard intensifying chorus of tutting and quickly herded the bedraggled man out of the establishment, cringing as she noticed his severely scuffed shoes leaving indelible mud stains in the carpeted floor.
Stranger: Molly then quietly apologised, before she quickly followed him, taking him by his arm. "Sherlock, you're coming to my flat. You're going to take a shower and get clean, and I'm going to go to Baker Street and get you some clothes"
You: "What? No, you're in grave danger Molly," Sherlock cast his eyes frantically around the little town centre, "someone's looking to hurt you. Not kill I would think, but I've underestimated him once and ended up duct-taped to the side of a sewer." He clutched his chest and fell to his knees on the pavement, sucking in oxygen and gasping as if every breath felt like a sword stabbing through his ribcage. "Still... bleeding... no time for this," his fingernails scraped against the concrete as he hauled himself to a stooped standing position, revealing a sucking chest wound pouring blood into his shirt.
Stranger: She cringed, biting her lip when she saw it. Molly then helped him up, and took his arm, wrapping it around her shoulders. "Well, we're going to Baker Street then instead. Come on". She then gently pulled him along and got a cab to his flat, where she led him upstairs, and sat him on the side of the bath so that she could tend to his wounds.
You: "They'll find me- you here," Sherlock winced as she dabbed the open gash across his torso with hydrogen peroxide, "it's not safe to loiter around key spots they know you tend to visit. I unwillingly gave them that information during an interrogation, and believe me when I say I was unwilling. They used drugs against me Molly." He gave an unintentional yelp as Molly proceeded with sowing up the wound, digging the needle into his ripped flesh. "Careful!" Sherlock reprimanded her, quickly looking around afterwards to check that his minute outburst had attracted the vibrating red dot of a rifle sight. "It was lucky that I managed to reach you before they did," his grip on the edge of the bath tightened as she gingerly pulled the thread on the first stitch, "I didn't even know your favourite restaurant was Angelo's. The drugs penetrated the repressed useless conversations I overheard during your nattering with co-workers in my presence, and I'm afraid I don't entirely remember every bit of information I spewed to them under influence." He looked beseechingly towards the focused pathologist, "forgive me Molly."
Stranger: Molly shrugged and smiled faintly. She then finished stitching the wound up, and stood up, washing her hands. "Of course I forgive you, Sherlock. I just wish that you wouldn't put yourself in some much danger" she replied as she sat down on the floor again.
You: Sherlock patted his chest, briefly admiring the surgical skills of the uncertified first aider. "I would've thought you'd be used to the danger by now," he remarked, placing the stopper in the drain and releasing the taps in preparation for a quick bath before he left the obvious location of his flat for a more obscure one to begin a surveillance on his unsuccessful murderer. He started to remove his jacket, pausing at the elbow as he realised Molly was still sitting on the floor of the bathroom, looking anticipatively up at him with wide eyes; "Um, Molly, I'm about to take a bath.”
Stranger: She cleared her throat and blushed. "R-right, yes sorry". Molly then quickly got up onto her feet, and gave him a small smile. "I'll just leave you to it. Shout me if you some towels or anything else" she told him, before she quickly walked out of the room and shut the door behind herself.
You: Sherlock washed quicker than usual and exited the bathroom hurriedly wrapped in a towel, disappearing into his bedroom to change. Molly gazed lazily out of the tall window in the sitting room, oblivious to the impending terror that was about to befall the occupants of 221B. A loud ticking started emanating from the bookshelf, startling her from her day dream. Sherlock’s room was within earshot, and his heart leapt into his throat as he realised that a bomb had been planted in his flat. So much for predictable. Morris knew she would come here, though he probably didn’t anticipate him being in the flat as well; what with him supposedly being strapped to a sewer wall as a waterlogged corpse somewhere under London and all.
Stranger: Molly frowned as she heard the noise. She then glanced around and gulped, realising that their wasn't a clock in room. The pathologist then slowly got up and followed the sound of the bookcase, crouching down when she heard the noise once again. Molly then quickly took a few steps back, and craned her neck to look over at Sherlock's bedroom. “Sherlock?..."
You: "Don't move." Molly yelped in surprise, only to find a hand suddenly clamped over her mouth. Sherlock eyed the shelf suspiciously; something must have triggered the countdown. It couldn't have been by remote, not since Mycroft had gotten the flat lined with lead and foil after the 'gas explosion' several years ago. Heat and light detection had to be ruled out as well, since the curtains had not been touched since he last habited his sitting room. The only options left were sound and movement, the latter being more likely as his involuntary screams of pain during Molly's surgery should have set the bomb off then. "Movement activated detonation," Sherlock hissed into Molly's ear, taking care to control his volume lest it vibrate the particles in the air too vigorously, "we need to pin-point its location and defuse it without accidentally setting it off."
Stranger: She sighed shakily in relief, trying to calm herself down. Molly then gently peeled his hand off of her mouth. "I heard it coming from somewhere on the bookcase" she told him, flicking her gaze towards it once again. "I think it was either the second or the third shelf down, but I'm not sure"
You: Sherlock quickly found the timer hidden inside a cavity carved out of his best dictionary. Swearing internally at the irreplaceable book John would lecture him annoyingly for the next century about, he extracted it and placed it cautiously on the table before sitting on the floor and looking expectantly at the pathologist. "Now what?" Sherlock scratched his head, "I still don't know how to defuse one of these things."
Stranger: Molly bit her lip and shrugged. "Neither do I". She then ran her fingers through her hair. "Haven't you ever had to defuse a bomb before? There must be some kind of...switch or some kind of mechanism that stops the timer, right?"
You: "Usually," Sherlock ran his fingers along the nest of wires across the control panel but found nothing helpful, "but not ones with an automatic trigger, like movement or sound." The timer had counted down a minute out of five during the conversation. "I'm texting Glen," he whipped out his phone and tapped out a message. "Greg," correctly Molly faintly, wondering if the inspector could arrive in time before the entire street was obliterated. It turned out she needn't had worried, Lestrade still responded with the utmost urgency to any call for help from the amateur detective (despite the fiasco with the maximum backup he'd summoned to help Sherlock write a best man speech for John). The bomb was gingerly carried onto a helicopter and flown speedily away, only to have a call just under a minute later that it had been successfully defused and was on its way to be disposed of accordingly. Molly, still shaken by the experience sat down in John's chair and stared at her feet while Sherlock whistled merrily in the back as he brewed a pot of tea.
Stranger: As he continued to whistle, Molly shook her head and frowned. She then turned around to look at Sherlock, and sat up a bit straighter. "How can you possibly be that...happy?" she asked, raising an eyebrow at him. "That bomb could've detonated and killed a dozen or so people. And now your happily making tea as if nothing happened!" she exclaimed.
You: Sherlock's mouth twitched amusedly. "People die every day," he took out a pair of cups from the dishwasher and poured a hearty serving of tea into each, "I'm always happy when I can lessen the day's count." He offered the cup and saucer to Molly, who continued averting her gaze as she stared into his carpet. Sherlock shrugged and set the cup by her feet, grinning as he watched her eye blink from the trail of steam he had purposely aimed at her face.
Stranger: Molly then rubbed at her eyes and shook her head. "If that was meant to be a joke, then it was a pretty poor one. Death isn't 'funny', especially if its in such an awful way like someone blown up" she scolded him, feeling a bit pissed off.
You: "Do move that cup Molly, I can tell it must be a sauna on your left cheek," Sherlock continued to grin, taking a sip of tea, "I wasn't joking, though it may have seemed like it. I just try to take serious situations lightheartedly. It's no use if you get too attached to people, it interferes with the process of thinking. I bet you a normal person would have tried to heroically brick up the bomb in the basement, only to be blasted to smithereens by their incompetence as the police wouldn't have responded as quickly for them as they've just done so for me." He glanced at his watch, realising Morris would have probably heard by now that the bomb hadn't exploded in his flat. They had to move.
Stranger: She opened her mouth to argue, before she decided that it was best not to say anything. Molly then shook her head again in disapproval, and hugged her knees tighter to her chest, not daring to look at him. The pathologist then sat up a bit straighter, chewing on her bottom lip. "What are we at the minute, Sherlock?" she asked, although she didn't look over at him.
You: "Five past the hour the bomb should have gone off," Sherlock stood up and straightened his jacket, "come along Molly. We can't stay here any longer. Morris will probably send someone round to check on the flat."
Stranger: Molly scoffed. "Unbelievable" she muttered to herself as she got up, leaving her mug on the floor as she walked over to the door. "You didn't answer my question" she reminded him.
You: Sherlock furrowed his brow, pausing at the door. "Did you want a more specific time?" He twisted his wristwatch towards her face, "in which case it's five minutes and thirty-seven seconds past the interrupted terrorist's schedule." Sherlock opened the door and sped down the steps, looking around for an alternate route to the safe house. He couldn't hail a taxi at the moment, too dangerous to trust strangers when any one of them could be an associate of Morris'. Molly huffily closing the door behind him shook him out from his though process, causing Sherlock to have an momentary realisation about the intent of her ambiguous question. "You weren't asking for the time of day were you?" Sherlock reddened and turned swiftly on his heel as he stalked down the street, eager to leave the obvious target that was his flat.
Stranger: "Jesus" she murmured under her breath, becoming increasingly annoyed with him. Molly then hugged her ribs and walked a bit quicker so that she could try and walk beside him. She wasn't going to go easy on the detective about this. "No Sherlock, I wasn't asking for the time of day! I was asking what we /are/, you and me I mean. What are we at the minute? Like...friends or what?"
You: "Considering I ripped myself from a wall on which I was duct taped to in order to save you from an explosion-loving maniac, I'd say we were most than just friends," Sherlock retorted sharply, cutting himself short as he realised what he had just implied. He gulped, increasing his speed as he hurdled over a barbed wire fence into an alleyway, planning a route along a well-known shortcut to the Underground tunnels among the homeless network of London.
Stranger: Molly frowned deeply in confusion, feeling no clearer about what he had just said. She then groaned and looked up at the fence, inwardly feeling weak. "And how am /I/ supposed to get over /that/?! You're much more taller than me!"
You: Sherlock stopped in his tracks and let out a huff of laughter as he was reminded of the time John had said a similar thing when they were going fugitive. "I'm sorry Molly," he darted over the fence and pulled out a crate of rancid vegetables to uncover a crawlspace under the chainmail, "sometimes I forget about the physical limitations of others."
Stranger: She rolled her eyes. "Or you just forget them I'm around altogether" Molly said, loud enough so he would hear. Before she crouched down and crawled through the gap in the fence, and stood up.
You: "That too sometimes," he remarked idly, pushing the crate back to its original place and hopping over to Molly's side. "I wouldn't think this would be the best time to discuss this though," he slowed his pace to a jog as he allowed her to breathlessly sprint as fast as she could beside him, "what with your life in mortal peril and all." He suddenly ducked into a second alleyway, causing Molly to momentarily lose the detective, only to find him seconds later, puffing with effort as he heaved a manhole cover off the grimy floor of the back alley. Sherlock then looked expectantly towards her face of dread. "Well come on then," he pulled the cover onto its edge and leaned on it, catching his breath, "ladies first."
Stranger: Molly glared at Sherlock, feeling tempted to slap him. But he was right as always, as it wasn't the best time. She then took a deep breath in, and lowered herself down into the manhole, and onto the ladder, carefully making her way down to the ground below.
You: The manhole cover slammed shut above Molly, throwing her into the humid darkness of the train tunnels. "Sherlock?" She called in confusion. "This is for your own good Molly," Sherlock's voice echoed into the abyss, along with the sound of something being dragged over the opening, "you'll find someone in the tunnels, he'll keep you safe for now. Morris and I have some unfinished business to attend to." With a great clanging sound, the weight was dropped onto the steel cover, trapping Molly completely. The pathologist swallowed nervously, shakily continuing her descent.