Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at http://archiveofourown.org/works/2660747. Rating: Archive Warning: Category: Fandom: Relationship: Character: Additional Tags: Stats: Teen And Up Audiences No Archive Warnings Apply F/M Sherlock (TV) Sherlock Holmes & Molly Hooper Sherlock Holmes, Molly Hooper, Mary Morstan, Mycroft Holmes Case Fic, BAMF Molly, Possessive Sherlock, Mycroft is a Bit Not Good, Sherlolly - Freeform, mollock Published: 2014-11-23 Updated: 2014-11-24 Chapters: 7/? Words: 8166 The Adventure of the Boulevard Assassin by vonPeeps Summary Case fic, from a prompt from the original ACD stories. Or how Sherlock was awarded the Legion d'Honneur... and how Molly Hooper helped. Complete with morgue banter, Protective!Sherlock and deductions aplenty. Sherlolly with a side of Warstan if you squint - don't read if that's not your thing. Rated T for potential later chapters. Notes See the end of the work for notes Bored! The woman on the street lifted her eyes to squint up, against the glaring Spring sunshine, at the open window above her. Standing hammering at the glossy black door was getting her nowhere, but she was getting desperate. And this address is where the desperate came, seeking solutions to their problems. Coming to a decision, she pushed open the door, stepping tentatively into the hallway with a call. Thuds and bangs echoing down into the empty passageway where the woman stood. Clouds of dust rolling out of the open door, flung wide at the top of the short staircase. No chinks of light peeking round the doorway of 221A – had Mrs Hudson been driven to an earlier than usual application of her “soothers”, or to fleeing her apartment altogether? Perfect! A slow smile spread over the woman’s face, for the first time in days. Either there was a case in progress, or Sherlock was severely, acutely, ridiculously bored. But at nine months, one week and four days pregnant, and bored beyond belief after four interminable weeks of maternity leave, Mary Watson was in serious need of entertainment. “Sherlock?” Heaving herself up the stairs, one tortuous step at a time, she called out again. With no reply forthcoming (not even a histrionic sigh), she walked straight in, fully expecting to see the consulting detective in full ‘mind palace’ mode, sifting through his mental data to find some crucial missing link. Slipping her hand down into her pocket to thumb at her phone, just in case (Mary was determined to win her on-going competition with John for “most ridiculous mind palace flailing”, Mary was brought up short by the sight of Sherlock, sitting cross legged on the floor, sifting actual evidence into two piles, one considerably larger than the other. “Ooh, what’s the case? Looking for a missing person, based on their belongings? Motive for a murder? Perhaps…” “You’re slipping, Mary.” “Oh don’t you try and Mycroft me, William Sherlock Scott Holmes!” Choosing to ignore the grimace that flitted across his face (either the comparison to his brother, or regret for disclosing his full name a few weeks earlier; more likely both), she continued, “I think they’re all pretty viable options – pile of personal effects, sorting them into two groups based on some category you’ve got in mind. The small pile is obviously the one that is relevant to the problem. And it looks like pretty personal stuff, so you wouldn’t have got it unless it was a serious case. The Met don’t just give you the full contents of their evidence lockers, no matter how much you bully Greg… Lestrade. So?” Narrowing his eyes, Sherlock finally lifted his gaze to scrutinise her, his hands still continuously moving to split the items. “Fascinating…” “Thank you. I think. No hang on, I’m not slipping then. Am I?” “Wrong. You missed the one obvious point that clears up your whole little mystery. And you can’t even see it. Obviously that article on increased spatial awareness and object recognition in gestating mice in unlikely to replicate its findings in a human model. Must remember to tell –“ “You did not just compare me unfavourably to a mouse, now did you Sherlock? I can shoot you again, you know!” “Oh calm down. And your gun wouldn’t fit in that ridiculously small bag without distorting the fabric overtly, so I think I’m safe.” The wry twinkle in his eye had Mary squeezing out a huff of submission, and flopping gracelessly down onto the sofa. “Just tell me.” “Well, Mrs Watson, as you so clearly put it, these objects are clearly personal, and I am sorting them by an internal dyadic criterion system. But what you somehow failed to notice, despite your increasing familiarity with the contents of 221B Baker Street over the past year, is that these effects are, in fact, mine. Eyes wide, mouth agape, Mary found herself suitably lost for words. “You’re … tidying?” she managed eventually, struggling to mentally apply such a mundane concept to the aquiline man in front of her. “Tidying? Of course not, that’s what I keep Mrs Hudson for. I am… sorting.” “Sorting? As in…” “To stay …” and extending his arm to take in the more sizeable pile “…and to go. It has been brought to my attention that my future flatmate will not be as relaxed as John was amongst the detritus of many years of consultancy. And I had nothing better to do, solved all Lestrade’s cases in ten minutes flat this morning. So – sorting.” Skimming over the pile, Mary was curious to see what had not made the cut of items Sherlock deemed worth keeping. And was met only with sheer practicality – roisin for his violin bow, a couple of leaves of sheet music, his spare pocket magnifier… No sentiment here, of course – maybe she was slipping, she mused. More interesting, therefore, were the discards. Particularly that small black velvet covered box, peeking one corner out from the bottom of the pile. “Sherlock, what’s in the box?” Fishing it out, causing a minor landslide of paper cuttings and old case photographs that hadn’t found their way into his self maintained comprehensive archive of global crime, his long fingers flipped the lid and span the box round to face her. Displaying a medal, a white starburst resting on lacquered green laurel leaves, its red ribbon pinning it securely to the black satin background. “What’s that? Its not like any American or English military decoration I’ve ever come across…” “Legion d’honneur. Chevalier of the something or other. I wasn’t really listening – boring talk, the whole thing was in French and I had something quite… pressing… to commit to memory at the time.” “John never told me that one! And he promised he had told me all the really juicy ones that Mycroft banned from the blog. Ooh wait ‘til I get my hands on him –“ “John didn’t tell you about it because he was, in fact, not there. I told him that sex holiday was a mistake.” A normal day at the morgue? Chapter Notes See the end of the chapter for notes Seven months earlier… “Why exactly am I here, Lestrade?” “God’s sake, I’ve got the bloody Chief Superintendent breathing down my neck to solve these murders, and I can’t even work out if they are bloody murders! So who else am I gonna call in, the crime fairy?” “No, the shortcomings of your detective work are painfully clear, as usual. What I meant was why am I here – the morgue – instead of the crime scene?” “Oh.” Taking Sherlock’s quirked eyebrow as a tacit signal to continue, Lestrade rubbed selfconsciously at his neck, mildly embarrassed at his evident frustration. “The victim, erm, deceased person … he was alive when he was brought in. Paramedics picked him up half way down Union Street and brought him in the to A&E. But after the four seizures that we know of, he fell into a coma and, well, an eventual visit to Molly here.” Ignoring the little wave Molly gave at the mention of her name, Sherlock continued to intently regard the detective: wrinkled clothes, patchy shave this morning. Wife gone? Wrong. Wearing his ring again, and smells like her usual fragrance. Pressure from above? Wrong. Yes, yes, he had mentioned it, but increased reports to superiors result in increased personal grooming. Utterly out of his depth? Anticipating a spree? No evidence to the contrary… “Out of your depth, Lestrade? Take me through the little that your division have managed to scrape together so far.” “Three men, mid to late forties according to path’s best estimates, all found dead or dying within a five mile radius of Blackfriars Road. All of them wore dark suits, looked pretty well groomed, but none of them carried any ID or had any identifying features, and no one has reported any of the poor buggers missing so far. Fredrickson over at Guys and St Thomas did the first two autopsies, but he couldn’t find any cause of death other than, well, being dead.” Holding up a hand to stop Sherlock in his tracks, before the interruption ever came, he continued, “So knowing your strong opinions about Fredrickson, I had John Doe the third shipped over here to Bart’s for Molls to take a look.” “And that’s it?” “That’s the gist of it, yeah. Look, just can the attitude; I’m working blind here. I can’t tell if there even is something fishy going on here, but the Brass have decided that three deaths in five days is too rapid to ignore, and as some smart arse keeps telling me that there is rarely such thing as a coincidence –“ “And I am correct. Let’s review the physical evidence we have at hand and give Doctor Hooper here a chance to get to work, rather than her spectator seats to the incompetence of New Scotland Yard’s … ahem… finest.” Twitching his lip slightly at the guilty rattle of the implement tray behind him, where the pace of work had been decreasing steadily for the past 64 seconds, Sherlock fished out a pair of gloves from the cardboard box mounted to the wall, and turned to review the scant pile that comprised the victim’s effects. Trousers: fine layer of dust rising between 15 and 23cm from the bottom seam. Note: take sample for geographical comparison. Dark blue/black – difficult to tell in the artificial morgue light – confirm later. Thin material. Cheap? Wrong. Fine quality stitching on hems, pockets lined in silk not cheaper satin. Made for a warmer climate? Possible… Maker’s label – Smalto. French brand, ready to wear range (as this obviously was, creasing pattern indicative of incorrect leg length) costs €1000-€3000. Obviously money to spend on presentation, if a lack of time. Man of good taste (subjective! Focus!). “You okay, Molly?” “Me? Yeah, I’m fine Claire.” “You didn’t have to come in today, y’know. We could have got your shift covered if you needed a bit of time to yourself.” “Don’t be silly, I’m fine. It’s not like anyone died or anything. Look, could you grab me his patient notes out of filing, I just want to check through everything before I start the dissection.” Turning her back on her autopsy technician, Molly smiled brightly at the two detectives currently sharing her morgue. The last thing she wanted was for one of Sherlock’s cutting deductions, not today. But as he seemed safely channelled into the evidence, with Lestrade watching avidly, Molly allowed her shoulders to slump and her face to fall, a few seconds of honesty and relief before Claire’s light footsteps had her plastering on a smile again. Shirt: cut open down the centre in one smooth cut. Medical intervention - irrelevant. Small crease, half way up the placket, next to the fourth buttonhole. Tie pin? Probable, but none present (no tie either). Why? Trophy? Possible – check other victims. Likelihood of identification decreased? More likely, on balance of probability. Dark blue ink stain from outside to inside of breast pocket, running vertically from top to bottom for 72mm. Must check… Jotting down preliminary notes from her review of the file, Molly began to catalogue her facts in two columns on her pad – those needed for her eventual report, in the order they would be needed, and her special “Sherlock column”, with interest or usefulness being the main factors. So, age – mid forties looked about right, but she could always do that new radiographic examination of laryngeal structures if no ident turned up any time soon. Molly had been itching to get her hands on the radiographic lab, ever since reading a recent article in the Journal of Forensic Science, but Mike had kept prodding her towards bone measurements ever since… Yes, work was much better. You knew where you were at with the ossification of cartilaginous structures. They didn’t accuse you of ridiculous things based on one little incident. Well, two or three, but still ridiculous given how strident Molly’s arguments had been. And they didn’t leave you in the lurch for their share of a very expensive hotel room. Or… Jacket: also Smalto (distinctive lapels). Pockets empty, except for… copious amounts of still wet ink in the left inside pocket. Suggests impact on some kind of pen – removed. Biro? Wrong. Fountain? Potential… note: obtain sample for chromatography and comparison. Vertical drying pattern – victim was still upright immediately after impact. Shoes: also dusty, minimal wear. Would be helpful if I had a murder scene to compare them to! Still, enough to astound Gr-… Ga-… Lestrade with here… Straightening, Sherlock wheeled dramatically to face his audience, enjoying the slight coat swirl, which never failed to draw attention from everyone in the room. Everyone except Molly Hooper? (note: atypical reaction – pursue at apposite moment). “Well, I can’t tell you much, of course, without seeing the body and consulting with Dr. Hooper here…” (still no reaction - ???) “… just that our victim was a man of some means, judging by his tailoring, which he obviously wore for his occupation due to the level of formality, and the removal of his identifiable tie and pin. He spent some time in France, most likely Paris, but with little free time during the recent heat wave that occurred seven to nine days ago, if these reports are to be believed. He received a hard blow to his upper left chest some time perimortem, with enough force to break the fountain pen he habitually used, although the pathologist will have to confirm whether any injuries resulted. Now if that’s enough to get your monkeys dancing, Lestrade, I have tests to run.” Leaving Lestrade gaping behind him, but knowing better than to request a (somewhat condescending) explanation after all this time, Sherlock began gathering the equipment he needed to compile his samples. “Hmmm.” With Lestrade muttering furiously into his phone on the other side of the room, Sherlock allowed himself to pause momentarily to consider the petite woman working on the parallel steel topped bench. “But that could mean…” “What have you observed, Molly?” “Well, I’m not sure, of course, but there’s something strange about his blood work. If I’m right, well, I think I may have found your cause of death…” “And?” “Murder.” Chapter End Notes Author’s note: As this is case fic, I figure I’m gonna have to work out how to write out deductions – if only you guys could see the little movie in my head, right? Hope they don’t seem too clunky! Also, as promised, the beginnings of some Sherlolly! Disclaimer: I own nothing, everyone was created by ACD / Moftiss / the fabulous actors. Just playing ☺ (Still porting chapters...) The race is on... Chapter Notes (Very brief self harm reference below - just in case its a trigger...) See the end of the chapter for more notes “Fantastic!” “Sherlock!” “Oh you know what I mean. Blah blah, solemn in the morgue, yes it is all very tragic…” At Molly’s bland stare, Sherlock felt a prickle at the base of his neck; a feeling he was coming to learn meant ‘not good’, without the need for (as many) verbal prompts from John or Molly, and decided to change tack. “You, I meant – fantastic. After two full autopsies, the best that that dolt Lestrade continues to pretend is a pathologist could come up with is ‘they’re dead’. If we’re lucky, that will have been the case before he started his Y incision. But here you are, offering me a murder already. Lets hear your reasoning.” Flustered, and more than a little suspicious at that much unsolicited praise, Molly narrowed her eyes slightly at him, before proceeding. “Well, erm… l- like I said, I was just reviewing the victim’s bloods and I noticed that his insulin levels are sky high…” “Urgh. Diabetic coma? Hypoglycaemia is boring, Molly –“ “Probably not for those involved, Sherlock. But with C-peptide levels as low as this, also impossible as a cause of death in this case. My guess – no not a guess,” she hastily corrected at his scornful expression, “my hypothesis is insulin overdose. As the victim shows none of the clinical markers of diabetes, or of consistent insulin administration, that means deliberate and malicious administration of insulin. So, murder.” “Now that, not boring at all!” Pulling out his pocket magnifier with a click, he shot Molly a wink. “Bet I can find the hypodermic sites first.” In her already vulnerable mood, Molly was easily stung into competition; professional and personal pride warring with decorum. The petite woman bent her head over the corpse on her table, rapidly dividing the body into sections to cover the most likely sites. Neck? No, clear of blemishes on both the left and right sides, although that mole on the lower border of the right sternocleidomastoid muscle was likely to display features of malignancy in the next six to twelve months. Upper arm? Clear on the left, but on the right, just in line with the faint shadow of ink still staining the torso, was that – “Found it!” they both exclaimed simultaneously, gazing blankly at each other for a couple of beats, before Sherlock scrambled to switch places and examine the site Molly had found. Fixing him with a baleful look, almost daring him to disagree with her clinical findings, Molly found herself ignored; after a few minutes of intense scrutiny, Sherlock pushed away from the table to pace back and forward by the far wall of the morgue, tapping at the screen of his phone with an air of intense urgency. Huffing out her frustration, Molly turned to fill in Lestrade, who had just shuffled back into the lab, visibly more relaxed now his team were dispatched on more profitable lines of enquiry at last. “So what we think is, he was given a deliberate overdose of insulin. Pretty old-school murder weapon. Probably… well, I’d say it reads as the shot in the arm came first: knock him, break the pen – yes I can listen and work at the same time, thank you Sherlock – and administer dose one. That’s just enough to cause some dizziness, some disorientation. And when he sits down to recover – BAM! Dose two in the leg, taking him almost completely out.” “At which point, he takes everything that could lead towards an identity, and walks away. Leaving him to die.” “Yeah, Greg, that works, right? But somehow our John Doe here manages to fight off full unconsciousness for a short while, just long enough to get himself somewhere busier. So if you want to look for a crime scene for him to play with, I reckon you need to limit yourself to a slow moving five-minute walk from where he was picked up? No way he could have made it much further in that condition.” “Look, Molls, you’ve been amazing. I really appreciate anything extra you can give us, but there’s no pressure. Especially…" “Oh God, is it that obvious? I may as well get myself a sign!” “No! I mean, erm… I maybe overheard some of the nurses from upstairs while I was out using my phone in the corridor. And I know what its like. I mean, not exactly that. But he’s told the world all the problems that me and Sandra have had…” Rolling his own eyes at frustration, he gave a short, mirthless laugh. “Look, just say ‘Shut up, Greg’ and put us both out of our misery.” At the sympathetic squeeze on her arm, Molly cast a furtive glance over at Sherlock, still frenetically scrolling through some data or other on his phone. “No, its fine. I’d just really appreciate it if you didn’t say anything to him. Not like he’s not going to deduce it sooner or later, obviously, but a callous string of deductions might just have me reaching for the razor blades.” Noticing Lestrade’s horrified expression, Molly stumbled and tripped over her words, making faltering attempts to dig herself back out of this one. “No… I’m not… I wouldn’t… I was just being melodramatic. Sorry, not very appropriate, especially given the setting…” A low drawl from the corner, complete with a piercing pair of blue eyes latching on to her, made the words falter and fail in her throat. “I’ve told you before, Molly. Jokes? Better not.” “You were listening? I didn’t –“ “No, too busy actually solving crimes, doing my job, that sort of thing. But even I can pick up on the horrifying aftermath of another misplaced episode of ‘Gallows humour with Molly Hooper’. Why? What were you –“ “Alright then, Mr Perfect Work Ethic, what have you got?” Lestrade cut ruthlessly across his train of thought, eager to give Molly a fighting chance of making it through the day. “Really, Lestrade, you’d think the head of a whole division of New Scotland Yard could display at least a passing interest in international persons of interest.” Spinning his phone around, Lestrade sagged slightly to see a distressingly familiar web page: Interpol’s most wanted. “May I present to you, your suspect. Anatole Huret, better known as the Boulevard Assassin.” Chapter End Notes Author’s note: Please R+R, and feel free to be as constructive as you like… I freely admit that there are possible, if not probable, errors in the pathology here. Not my area. ;) Disclaimer: These are not my characters. Unfortunately. (Still moving them over, there are new ones coming!) Pathological deductions Chapter Notes See the end of the chapter for notes “The who?” “Really, Lestrade? I assume you can read? Very well… Anatole Huret, dubbed by the French press as ‘l’assassin de boulevard’, has been decimating various teams within continental Europe’s power structures. He seems to blend in seamlessly in crowded areas, working from a centralised location for a few weeks before fading out of the picture again. Uses a variety of methods, all very difficult to detect. But apparently strangely principled, I must admit, a rare novelty in the criminal classes: he always admits culpability at some point, to prevent false prosecutions, and he freely admits that these are political killings. To catch him, apparently, is to try and catch smoke with a net. I’d say this is who we are looking for…” “Oh, its we now, is it?” “Well I assumed you would want to at least try and help me? For starters, someone needs to go and talk to the French, find out which of them is suddenly missing three agents, and John has insisted on taking this ridiculous holiday. Although I told him that he and Mary would be able to carry on having sufficient coitus in England while still assisting m-“ “Right. Right, French people. I’m on that then. You two, carry on with… sciency stuff, and I’ll be in touch.” Looking bemusedly at the door, still slightly swinging in the wake of the fleeing detective, Sherlock gave his head a slight shake to clear his confusion. “What happened there?” “You made him uncomfortable, Sherlock. You can’t just talk about sex in mixed company, some people don’t like that.” “But you did.” “What! When?” “Before the wedding.” At her continued look of blank incomprehension, he pressed on. “You must remember. We were having that afternoon of calculations in the lab, for the stag do, and you told me all about the volume of intercourse that you and mea- … Tom were having.” “Oh. Well, me, jokes, you know how it goes. But how did that make you feel, then? Hmm. Was storing calculation for biochemical data after integration with practical knowledge (potential use for casework), when new data… conscious brain activity ceased for approximately 2.5 seconds, followed by a rapid increase in the rate of deductions (confusion?). Then addition to data stored about the fiancé (negative – potential risk to quality of data from Molly – to monitor). Series of mental images – long fingers entangling in long, brown, unbound hair; the arch of a back (minimal clothing); the slow close and flutter of a pair of brown eyes. Associated rise in body temperature and elevated pulse rate. Perceived danger? Wrong. Illness? Wrong. Attract- “Yes, fine. Point proven. I suggest that we both totally refrain from doing it in future then. Agreed? Good. Now how do we go about gathering the evidence to prove this theory of ours to a court then? A pity there is no test for the different brands of insulin.” “Erm…” At Sherlock’s appraising glance, Molly shifted her feet awkwardly. “Well, that may not strictly be true…” “Read something interesting recently, Molly? Not like you not to share.” “Oh, it’s not something I read. I may have, well, sort of… invented one.” “Invented one? That works?” “Yes, of course it works. Thanks for the vote of confidence there. Well… it doesn’t give a totally definitive answer, but it can eliminate 50% of the current brands either way, and place the balance of probability on one of the four main brands used in Europe.” “Well why on Earth haven’t you published then? Explain.” “Well, I needed it for an internal autopsy, potential medical negligence. One of the student nurses had potentially administered a different brand of insulin, containing a known allergen for the individual. And I was able to prove that she hadn’t. Saved her career.” Molly frowned at Sherlock’s non-reaction to one of the most satisfying moments of her career, before continuing. “But then I had a really full list over the next few days, nearly managed to carve out a working lunch to pull it into some semblance of order to pitch for the study time, but… well, there was a case. I think John called it ‘The Blind… something. With the foot tattoos. And I just never got round to writing it up.” Invented a test to fill a major gap in Forensic pathology – further proof of superior intellect and lateral problem solving skills (added to: Molly). Lack of publishing is concerning though, considering duty to advance field. Modesty? Wrong. Molly published nine articles, all in reputable journals, between 2003 and 2010. Understaffing? Wrong. Bart’s maintains high levels of teaching time at Imperial and currently has 15 students working in the pathology department. Involvement with my cases? Ridiculous. At the sudden twitch of his fingers to the left, Molly started collecting muscle biopsy samples from the latest addition to her list. Mind palace sessions in the lab could go on for minutes at a time, and there was no point standing around pointlessly waiting for him to re-join the conversation. And despite what some people might think of her, there was a lot more to Molly Jane Hooper than pointless waiting around for Sherlock Holmes… Although… longer lists than all her colleagues, mostly at my insistence in working with the best pathologist available to me. 70% probability of her accepting unpaid overtime during an active case, application of complements no longer needed. ‘Whatever you need’. Possible. Reason? Interesting cases? Well obviously; usually brought in on cases in the 7-10 range. But she has stayed to assist on those in the 3-4 range, and for that (godawful) 2. Outside of the bounds of friendship, unless at a superior level (see: John). “Molly. Am I… your best friend?” “What?” I need to get on with this, before the samples start to degrade…” “As you pointed out earlier, you are certainly capable of multi-tasking without a decrease in the application of your pathology skills. So… am I?” Scrutinising him for any signs of scorn or derision, Molly contemplated her answer. Seeing nothing but open curiosity (and perhaps… was that a air of vulnerability buried in his eyes, to go with the slightly plaintive note he hit on the repetition of his question?), Molly felt the deep blue hazy cloud that had been hovering over her for the past week start to clear, just slightly. “No, Sherlock, you’re not my best friend. My best friends are called Meena and Lucy – we all lived together at uni. Paeds and surgery, if you’re interested. But you, you’re my… well… I mean, we are really good friends, really. You’re just… something else to me. Now, what you want to do with these samples is…” In a matter of minutes, the two of them had their heads bent together over the workbench, long honeyed strands mingling with the tumbled black curls occasionally, as she leaned over the table to correct his technique. When she was satisfied that he could perform what he was insisting on referring to as the ‘Hooper protocol’ to her satisfaction, the two of them worked in parallel. Processing the samples in silence, their minds free to reflect on Molly’s earlier speech. Status: something else. Different from a good friend, or she wouldn’t have bothered to clarify. Are there more subclasses of acquaintance than previously noted? Intolerable – bearable – colleague – client – friend – best friend – something else? Note: ask John. Unable to solve crimes in the field with me, due to the presence of the fiancé (already ascertained post-return)… “How… quaint. It’s almost like couples chemistry.” Lost in their respective thoughts, neither had noticed the sweep of the door or slight tread of footsteps that signalled a third person in the lab, tilting his head to regard the pair like some exotic specimen. “What is it? I’m busy.” “I can see that. Do you need to be standing quite that close to Miss Hooper to perform your reactions satisfactorily, or are you just craving the companionship after only, lets see, four days alone?” “Doctor Hooper has been instructing me in the new protocol she has devised, but anything more than that is purely in your sordid imagination. She is, you will remember, affianced.” “Not any more, Sherlock. Do pay attention.” Turning to regard the small woman at his side, suddenly ashen faced and withdrawn down into herself smaller than he had ever seen her (even that Christmas – no, DELETE IT), he was suddenly filled with a towering rage. “MYCROFT!” Chapter End Notes Author’s note: Another chapter moved across! All reviews are really appreciated. Disclaimer: I did not invent any of these people. I’m just playing with them for a little while. Where are the shock blankets when you need them? Chapter Notes See the end of the chapter for notes Face still pallid after approximately 25 seconds; lack of eye contact (deliberate?); increase in production from lachrymal glands (unacceptable. Note: revenge on Mycroft [URGENT]); shoulders downturned. Previous history indicates cutting speech in 3… 2… 1… Burying herself into one small, hard ball of pain, Molly studiously ignored the two men bristling at each other across her lab. She considered the two ways this scenario usually went: the all too accurate (and painful) deduction she had been anticipating all morning; or a lengthy discussion of all the signals of misery that she had obviously been projecting… deduction practice makes perfect after all. As neither were an attractive proposition, Molly chose secret option number three – shutting down into herself, experiencing only the torrent of sensations roaring their way through her, to drown out the words. The surging of her own breath in her ears. The stinging of her eyes as she fought back the tears. The pressure on her throat, strangling a wail, and her breath… Memory: “the dog? But it was asleep, didn’t even bark!” “Exactly, John. That was the curious thing.” Molly Hooper: keenly intelligent, compassionate, questionable taste in clothes (and cats), solver of all problems requiring practical application of data, tough - a fighter. No longer fighting. Reason? … Irrelevant at present. Action? Step one – defend… Angling himself just in front of the troubled woman, Sherlock raised slightly up on to his toes, increasing his advantage over his brother. Meeting him stare for stare, until – “You must pardon me, Doctor Hooper. That was… discourteous of me.” At the lack of response from the silent apparition in his brother’s shadow, no sign that she had even registered the sound of his words, Mycroft shuffled slightly, discomfited. Looking slightly at his brother, a question passed unspoken between the two men. “Let me tell you what is going to happen. You will tell me whatever needs to be said, in as few words as possible. You will give me whatever is in that dossier, your only possible reason to bestir your self from your lair in Whitehall. And then you will leave. Putting your prodigious mind to ways to make amends to Molly. Bearing in mind that it would be extremely prudent to wait for an express invitation before you enter this morgue again. Are we clear?” Result? Failure. Physiological markers and general deportment have not resolved in past 43 seconds. Additional: slight tremor in right leg; fingernails clenched into palms; breathing shallow and rate increasing. Step two – treatment for shock… “Y- yes… I came to find out what interest you have in Analote Huret. Oh, don’t look so horrified, brother mine. Ever since Baskerville, I am kept more closely… apprised… of your Internet history. Better to be one step ahead of any major diplomatic incidents etcetera. But, well, my question seems rather redundant.” Casting a glance at the cadaver, abandoned on a slab on the other side of the room, Sherlock twirled his fingers (half ‘hurry up’, half ‘maybe an eight?’). Managing as he did so to take a slight step to his right, nudging Molly down gently to the stool that was positioned next to her. “I assume this person is linked to the queries received this morning from her Majesty’s Police force? Along the lines of “what is happening in France today?” “ “Ah. I see Lestrade’s subtlety is improving.” Saying this, Sherlock rounded the table, removing his coat to hang it on an available hook in a row of spare lab coats. Simultaneously knocking the thermostat up a couple of degrees. “Quite. The situation is thus: a certain branch of the French Secret Service has become aware that the major proponents of somewhat controversial documents regarding future military operations in the Middle East are, well, dwindling. Three weeks ago, four decoy teams of agents were deployed, in an attempt to lure out the perpetrators. What you have here is the remains of the final member of team three. Teams one and two all now inactive. Only team four remains intact thus far.” “The presence of that file suggests you need me to take the case. Assist this final group of agents.” “Not at all, brother... I want you to join them. “ Snatching the extended manila folder, tossing it aside with such force that the uppermost documents spilled out onto the bench top, Sherlock crossed the lab to fling open the door (wedge it open, optimal airflow in room). “Not interested. Goodbye, Mycroft.” Not quite daring to challenge his brother, who was still vibrating with barely suppressed rage, Mycroft moved to leave. Pausing momentarily by the open door to cast a (almost regretful) glance back at Molly, before squaring his ever-present umbrella under his arm and moving briskly down the corridor. Result? Failure. Non-verbal signals unchanged. Bring up mind palace model for correct administration of step three – comfort… Still frozen internally, even after being pushed to sitting, raised voices, thrown folders, Molly at last began to register a new sensation – warmth spreading through one of her hands. A… squeeze? Was Sherlock… holding her hand? Bringing her eyes back into focus, Molly was startled to see a pair of blue eyes scant inches from her own. Eyes that radiated not scorn, not scrutiny, not impatience but… concern? Warmth? Replaying a memory, hesitant of causing any further hurt to this suddenly vulnerable woman in his care. Wanting to perfect the delivery. Sherlock took a deep breath before speaking, his voice low and gentle. “What do you need?” And found his arms suddenly full of Doctor Molly Jane Hooper. Chapter End Notes Author’s note: This chapter is hopefully one for everyone who loves a bit of Possessive!Sherlock (I know I do!). It’s all turning out a little more hurt/comfort than I intended, but hopefully not for too much longer. Disclaimer: I did not invent, nor do I own, any of these characters. Despite repeated letters to Santa ;) (Still moving it all...) Chapter 6 Chapter Notes See the end of the chapter for notes Result? Worse. Much worse. Crying commenced simultaneously with start of physical comfort, now very loud (and very wet – note: check shirt). Step four - ??? Tough love? Wrong. Highly inappropriate at this point, given nature of initial stimulus. Call for backup? Wrong. Mary and John – unavailable. Lestrade – not acceptable (to… me?). Best friends – names not stored (note: research and add to ‘Molly’). But… breathing rate is decreasing… volume has decreased by 65%... successful strategy (given sufficient time). Potentially useful in future. Store under ‘appropriate socio-emotional behaviours’ (cross reference friendship / undercover / Molly). Both arms should be placed around woman’s upper torso, providing gentle but consistent pressure. Female’s arms likely to be placed under suit jacket (seeking warmth?). Full body contact between the… couple… is most effective – allowing female of Molly’s height to place head level with chest. Interesting – male instinctively looks downwards, giving additional contact to Molly’s head. But now her hair is irritating my face – unable to maintain position with any comfort… I should brush that bit of hair out of her way, smooth it down behind her ear. Fingers in Molly’s hair – very pleasant sensation (for… me?) Add to query – ‘something else?’ Unquestioning support. Unqualified support. Molly realised that this had been lacking from her life in recent years. When he was alive, Molly’s father could read her moods, and at times seemingly her mind, enveloping her in a massive bear hug whenever her spirits faltered. But since his death, the string of temporary suitors, missed dates, and, well, Jim from IT, hadn’t ever got past the defences she had thrown up, not willing to rely on other men to fill these empty shoes. Choosing instead to sustain, nurture, give – all to others. And Tom? Well, he was another matter altogether. Like an eager puppy, always bouncing around seeking her approval and her attention; a constant wriggle in the corner of her eye shouting ‘look at me’. But just as likely to miss her emotions in the constant quest for her smiles, and her time. And cringing inside, Molly realised that she had just compared the man she had agreed to marry, the relationship that should have been until death us do part, to an overenthusiastic puppy and his owner. Snuggling further into Sherlock, not wanting to forget this moment, Molly became aware of a certain stiffness to his arms, his pose. Trying to pull away, not wanting to cause him any discomfort at this show of sentimentality, Molly found herself fixed in place, held firmly to his chest. Angling her head up to meet his eyes at last, Molly saw none of the expressions she had been anticipating; Sherlock gazed down at her, his expression fixed, a slight flicker to his eyes the only sign of movement. A sigh of frustration bubbled up in her chest at the sight – mind palace. She knew he was behaving in a way she would never have predicted from him, even since the fall, but she had hoped that he would remain at least marginally aware of her presence while he did. “Sherlock?” As his eyes continued to move with the pattern and flow of his thoughts, Molly repeated herself, giving him a gentle shove at the same time. Rewarded by the flare and refocusing of his eyes as he tuned back in to the room, she continued, “Um… thank you. I didn’t mea-“ “Molly, there is no need to thank me. Whatever you need. I am your… something else, after all.” “Yes, well…” Flustered, Molly pushed her hands through the tangled mess of her hair (completely missing the breath that froze in the detective’s throat as she did). “If you could finish up with these samples, I really should get to that autopsy.” Without waiting for an answer, she hastily untangled herself from Sherlock’s grip, rushing to the intercom to summon one of the morgue technicians to assist her. For the next few hours, the pair worked in parallel, focussed completely on their respective tasks. Once the autopsy was completed to her satisfaction, Molly sent away the technician (thankfully, the unemotional and unobservant Dave, perfect after the afternoon’s upheaval), pulling out her laptop to compile her preliminary report. Having completed testing on the biopsies, Sherlock was now methodically working his way through chemical analyses of the samples gathered from the clothing, matching them where possible to geographical locations. Finishing her work with five minutes to spare, Molly began pottering around, restoring the lab to her preferred system. Refusing to consider the possibility that she was stalling, reluctant to return to the now empty flat she had shared with Tom. Seeing the buff coloured folder, its contents left where they fell earlier after Sherlock’s contemptuous toss, Molly moved to straighten away the documents. But her attention was piqued, then held by the uppermost sheet. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Département des Relations Internationales Réunion de Stratégie - Opération Restaurer Compte-rendu 1. Rendu de la réunion précédente - accepté comme correct. 2. Informations préliminaires sur les décès récents – Jacques Hinault (équipe spéciale de la défense) a indiqué que… ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hearing a rattle of equipment, Molly’s eyes flew guiltily towards Sherlock, fairly certain that she should not be reading what was surely a confidential document. Seeing him engrossed in his experiments, she settled in to read further; her brain slipped naturally into translating the French, the familiar pattern of the language re-establishing itself as she continued. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------…at present, four member of the International Defence Committee have been found deceased, and a fifth is presently in Intensive Care. The medical team report that the brain damage sustained is extensive and, should he stabilise, he will be unlikely to provide any coherent details regarding the attack. The perpetrator has been identified as Anatole Huret, but as of yet, no political groups have claimed responsibility for his deployment. Motive, therefore, remains unclear… ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Finishing his final experiment, Sherlock pushed away from the bench, his shoulders stiff after several hours hunched over the equipment. Pacing the room to restore easy movement, he fired off a text to Lestrade, grimacing as his phone began to shrill insistently at him in return. “Detective Inspector. You know I prefer to text…” “I gave you all the pertinent facts for your file. What do you want?” “Well, obviously I need to go to France, if I’m going to catch a French assassin, targeting a French team of agents, the remainder of whom are deployed in –“ “What do you mean, how French can I be?“ At Sherlock’s raised voice, Molly glanced up from the second document in her stack. Just in time to see the frustrated detective smooth his hair into a side parting, adopting a haughty expression. “May ai ‘elp you wiv ennything, Ser? Eef you wud laik mai personal recommendassion –” Stuffing her hand in her mouth to suppress a giggle, Molly followed his movements avidly. His ‘snooty French waiter’ impression was turning out to be every bit as ridiculous as Mary had described, and Molly was keen to see what was next. “Well, yes, I admit he is unlikely to be in a restaurant, but… Well what about…” Adopting a suddenly loose-limbed pose, his hair re-tousled and his face moulded into a more intimate expression, he tried again. “Excusez-moi, ai haf lost mai telephon numberrr. May ai haf yourz?” Unable to control herself this time, Molly let out a squeal of laughter, before hastily casting her eyes down to the paperwork in front of her at the steely glare that was sent her way. “Well I know I’m not there to pick him up… Really, Lestrade... Oh, shut up… No, I don’t speak French, deleted it. Languages take up too much room…” But glancing across to where Molly sat, her eyes trained firmly on the words in front of her, mouthing a translation of the document in front of her, Sherlock gave a little grin. “Lucky for me, though, I appear to know someone who does.” Chapter End Notes Author’s note: I hope Sherlock doesn’t stray too far OOC here – any and all feedback Author’s note: I hope Sherlock doesn’t stray too far OOC here – any and all feedback welcome! And please excuse all errors in the French – I’m extremely rusty. Disclaimer: I have borrowed these characters from Moffat, Gatiss and ACD – sorry not sorry ;) (Next chapter is a new one - promise!) Boarding now open Chapter Notes See the end of the chapter for notes People everywhere, pushing and crowding and squeezing through gaps, weaving in and out in a bustle to get through and past and on. No room to breathe, or to stay comfortable in the crowd. Or even safe, who knew who these people were, what they would do or could do or… Snaking a hand down to clutch at the strap of her bag, trying to check as unobtrusively as possible that it was still fastened securely, Molly fought her way to the edge of the flow of people, searching through the crowd to try and catch a glimpse of dark curls, of a haughty expression across the crowd. Had to be Little Miss Independent, didn’t I? I couldn’t have let Sherlock pick me up on his way, I thought the tube was a good idea, cheaper than paying for the taxi all the way out to Heathrow. Not that it matters to him, but apparently I don’t split taxi fees any more. I’m just that tight. And now I’m going to be squashed to death right here in Terminal Three, just because people won’t give me a little room. And I still can’t remember locking the door. Maybe I should ring Meena, see if she would go round tonight to see Toby instead of on her way to work tomorrow. But then I’d have to tell her I think I forgot to lock my own door. And I know I probably will have done. Except… Her chest rising and falling with shaky breaths, a jerky pulse threading its way through her veins, Molly tried to fight back the panic. These panic attacks, much more common in her student days, could leave her fighting for control of her body, as well as her errant, obsessive thoughts. Right, she thought, desperate to pull herself away from the brink, reasons I thought I could, no, I think I can do this. As if sheer repetition would be enough to convince her beleaguered brain that this was just another manageable situation in the soap opera her life had become. Mike told me I should take a trip, some space away from London to get my head clear. And I have 18 days of annual leave left, which really need using. I love Paris, and it’s been years since I was there last. Sherlock needs someone to… No, not like that. Pull yourself together, Molly. I am the best woman for this job. I speak fluent French. I know Paris like the back of my hand; I know how to blend in there. I will be useful… I will be vital on this trip… Still running through the reasons in her head, deliberately choosing a positive narrative to overcome the black voice of panic that picked away at the back of her mind, Molly wandered into the nearest coffee shop, ordering a cold drink before choosing a stool at the wooden bar that faced into the main refreshment area of the terminal. Raising the peach lemonade to take a sip, condensation rolling down the cup to land with an icy drip, Molly worked on slowing her breathing even more, focussing now on the warm sunlight hitting her bare legs, deliberately filtering out the rest of the world. Observation: lost a further five pounds in four days, since we were in lab – not eating. Extra makeup applied, particularly under eyes – likely sleep disturbance in addition to dietary changes. Trying to hide clearly obvious signals – do not mention – not good. Note: fieldwork must incorporate a minimum of 10% recreation time (including meals) and 6 hours sleep per day, for acceptable performance from Molly. Outfit – ridiculous! “What on Earth are you wearing, Molly?” “Oh, er… hi”. Shocked out of her attempted meditative state, Molly shot to her feet, nearly knocking over her drink in her haste. “Do you like it? It’s new.” At his narrowed eyes, she lifted the hem of her sundress slightly in both hands, giving it a little shake as she nervously waited. (Completely inappropriate: no body should be able to see her legs like this. Men will stare, very conspicuous and unsuited to casework. [Question - how could anyone look away?] Note – 10 second delay often frowned upon – need answer…) “You look like a walking cup.” “It’s willow pattern, not bloody roses on porcelain.” Stung, she frowned back at her companion. “I like it. Anyway, never mind me, why are you wearing that?” Looking bewildered, he spread his arms slightly. “Belstaff, suit. What’s wrong with this?” “Well generally, nothing. But we are going to Paris in the middle of August. Don’t you think you’ll be a little, erm… warm?” “Molly, I understand that your opportunities for practical fieldwork have been limited to one day in the field with me. And despite my repeated offers to teach you the rudimental details of my process throughout the years, you continue to focus your efforts in my pathological needs. But what you must understand is that this outfit is an essential tool in my interrogation process, leading to 45% more information obtained when wearing it. Only surpassed by use of a uniform, which I’m sure you will agree is impractical when going undercover or for international air travel. So while I remain unable to identify the underlying root of the effect, despite extensive experimentation…” Trailing off at her raised hand and bewildered expression, he quirked his eyebrow at her, questioningly. “In English, please Sherlock?” “Right, well… people like it? Don’t know why…” Shaking her head in fond amusement, Molly started to reach down to her suitcase, wanting to get the journey underway now they were together. “Shall we…” “What is that face?” “Excuse me?” “That I know something you don’t face. Stop it.” “Oh, is it annoying?” “It is… inappropriate. And I highly doubt that you do. I have considered and disproved 17 different hypotheses about the effectiveness of this attire, so I doubt that there is any fresh angle that I have failed to consider. But please…” “You look hot.” At his blank, and somewhat startled, look, Molly settled her weight back onto the edge of her stool, a smirk creeping across her face at his incomprehension. “As in…” “As in attractive. Sexy. Lots of women love a man in a well-tailored suit. Some men too, to be fair. So you either bowl them over, or they’re flirting. Either way, there’s your interrogation technique – the Saville Row Inquisition.” “Oh… well… right.” As they steered their way through the still crowded terminal, Sherlock’s mind whirred at a frantic pace, struggling to reconcile the newly obtained information with his stored notions about the petite woman at his side. Add to query – “something else” – Molly Hooper thinks I’m… hot. ??? Chapter End Notes Sorry everyone – between life, work, illness and a second attack of writers block, this has been quite a hard chapter to get down on paper. I’m trying to get back into good habits, so am hoping to do more regular posting. Please feel free to comment, critique and question – I’m just getting my groove back here. Oh and I’ve just got a tumblr account – I’m sure I’ll work out how to use it better soon! http://vonpeeps.tumblr.com/ Disclaimer: these are not my characters; I’m just the one making them do things today. End Notes Author’s note: This is my first attempt at fan fiction, so I obviously set myself the challenge of a case fic, based on the original ACD canon, with Sherlolly and Warston. All while trying to recover from the worst writer’s block I have ever experienced! So – all comments gratefully received! I don’t have a beta yet, so all mistakes are my own. Disclaimer: I own nothing, all these characters belong to someone else, I’m just writing laps here ;) (This chapter is being ported over from another website, but still me!) Please drop by the archive and comment to let the author know if you enjoyed their work!
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