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Summary: A short fic for Sherlolly Appreciation Week 2017 - Day Three (Canon Compliant – Season 2/Non-Canon – First Kiss).

Rating: G

A/N - Unbeta’d. I have shamelessly borrowed heavily from the Christmas Party scene in “A Scandal in Belgravia”.

Merry Christmas, Molly Hooper

The Christmas thing was not his idea.

Sherlock routinely saw everyone in attendance (other than John’s girlfriend, but there was a very high probability that she would be gone before the new year so Sherlock had already dismissed her as unimportant), he simply did not understand why John insisted they needed to loiter around Baker Street for several hours. Yes, John had blathered on about holiday spirit and spending time with loved ones and blah blah (he’d tuned John out at that point); but surely, they could have done all that in a pub somewhere? Someplace that didn’t involve him?

If it had just been John insisting on his participation, he could have easily found a way out of the whole thing; but Mrs Hudson had pulled the “sad old woman who had no family of her own” charade that he absolutely knew was utter garbage, and yet he capitulated anyway.

Which is how he found himself playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for her amusement while John flitted around playing hostess. There was a small smattering of accolades when he finished, which he graciously accepted.

“I wish you could have worn the antlers,” Mrs Hudson giggled.

That would be a cold day in Hell. “Some things are best left to the imagination, Mrs Hudson.

The girlfriend swung by with a plate nibbles, and Sherlock politely (he thought) said no. Although, judging by her and John’s reaction, he must have called her by the wrong name. Considering the revolving door policy John maintained with women, he was lucky Sherlock made an effort to remember any of their names.

“No, no, no, I can get this.” Sherlock thought back, putting together a timeline in his mind. “No, Sarah was the doctor, and then there was the one with the spots, and then the one with the nose, and then . . . Who was after the boring teacher?”

John’s face answered the question even before the girlfriend replied with “Nobody”.

“Jeanette!” This was why he avoided social interactions. He faked a smile. “Ah, process of elimination.”

Thankfully John herded the girlfriend off. Unfortunately, that left Sherlock with a clear view of Molly Hooper joining their little holiday torture session. “Oh, dear lord.”

“Hello, everyone. Sorry, hello.” She kept looking at him with that shy, approval seeking glance he had grown used to at Barts.

Why was she at Baker Street? John must have invited her, obviously. Unless . . . Surely I didn’t . . . No, of course not. There was a tiny memory of mentioning the affair to her at some point, but there was no possibility that Sherlock would have inadvertently asked her to come. None.

Molly Hooper was a helpful asset at Barts, a fixture much like his favourite microscope in the lab, nothing more. To see her outside of the hospital in any capacity other than the very brief moments when she brought a specimen to Baker Street for a particularly urgent experiment made him uneasy, made him remember that she was a person and not just a resource or an intelligent sounding board to bounce ideas and theories off of.

And she was greeting everyone as if they were old friends. When had that happened? Molly was his . . . person. He waved his bow around in agitation. “Everybody’s saying hello to each other, how wonderful!”

Everyone ignored him. He turned his back and sat at his desk to do something that was most definitely not sulking.

He saw her take off her coat—having already deduced from her hair, makeup, and out-of-character red heels that she had overdressed for the occasion, trying to impress someone—and the way Lestrade and John drooled over her. John should be ashamed of himself, his soon-to-be-ex girlfriend was sitting right there.

Molly didn’t seem to be comfortable with either of their reactions, judging from the way she fidgeted and fussed with the way her dress conformed to her small waist and hips, so the extra effort was clearly not for either of them. The thought that it could have been meant for him briefly fluttered through his mind, but she was aware that—a few minor flirtations in the past none withstanding—he didn’t indulge in relationships so that couldn’t have been the case. No, much more likely, she was dressed up for whomever she was going to meet after she left Baker Street. The man who would end up unwrapping the present peeking out of the top of her garish gift bag.

He didn’t know why she bothered to stop in at Baker Street if she was just going to flit off at the first opportunity to spend the rest of the evening with someone else.

“So we’re having a Christmas drinkies, then?” Molly asked, as if it weren’t perfectly obvious.

“No stopping them, apparently.” He ignored Mrs Hudson’s answer and the way Molly nervously giggled and looked at him.

There were more important things to focus on, such as the counter on John’s blog and that ridiculous photo with the hat!

“How’s the hip?”

Why would Molly be asking his landlady about her hip? How did Molly even know about Mrs Hudson’s hip? It occurred to him that he might have mentioned her hip troubles in passing, might have complained about Mrs Hudson’s herbal soothers giving him a headache once or twice.

“Oh, it’s atrocious, but thanks for asking.” Mrs Hudson seemed pleased to have her ask. When was the last time he’d asked Mrs Hudson about her hip? Had he ever asked about it?

“I’ve seen much worse, but then I do post-mortems.” The room went silent and Molly rushed to apologize.

“Don’t make jokes, Molly.” The words slipped out without thought. He told himself he was only trying to keep her from embarrassing herself again.

Surely there was something useful in the comments of John’s blog. A case. A taunt from Moriarty. Anything to save him from the tediousness of the evening.

He registered that Molly had moved on from Mrs Hudson and had now turned her awkward attentions to Lestrade.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you. I thought you were going to be in Dorset for Christmas?”

Sherlock definitely remembered telling Molly that while they were analysing paint samples for the O’Connelly case the week before. He frowned, beginning to feel uncomfortable as he realized how many non-work related conversations he had been having with Molly at Barts.

“That’s first thing in the morning, me and the wife, we’re back together. It’s all sorted.”

Might as well nip that in the bud, for Lestrade’s sake. The sooner he got over his wife’s continued infidelity, the sooner he’d be back in top form and useful again. Lestrade always got so . . . mopey when he was in mid-separation, best to get it over with during Lestrade’s holiday vacation when it was least likely to inconvenience Sherlock. “No, she’s sleeping with a PE teacher.”

Molly continued to spread her own particular brand of holiday cheer. “And John, I hear you’re off to your sister’s, is that right?”

Sherlock tensed, already sensing that he wasn’t going to like where this was going.

“Yeah,” John confirmed.

“Sherlock was complaining.” He didn’t have to say anything, just meeting of her eyes was all it took for Molly to correct herself. “. . . Saying.”

Really woman, how many more things was she planning to blurt out to all and sundry?

How many more things had he told her while they worked in the lab? That thought disturbed him.

“First time ever, she’s cleaned-up her act, she’s off the booze.” John raised his beer bottle in a toast.


John turned on him with a sharp, “Shut up, Sherlock!” as if it were somehow his fault that Harry was still drinking.

Right then, time to deflect attention away from him and perhaps hurry Molly’s departure on its way before she could stir up anything else. He leaned back from John’s laptop and turned his attention to what he did best, observation and deduction. “I see you’ve got a new boyfriend, Molly, and you’re serious about him.” He didn’t think anyone would be able to tell that his smile was completely without humour.

“What? Sorry, what?” She actually tried to act as if she hadn’t a clue what he was talking about.

“In fact, you’re seeing him this very night and giving him a gift.”

He heard John’s “Take a day off,” but he was already on a roll. For some reason, Lestrade’s urging to shut up only made him more determined to continue.

“Oh, come on, surely you’ve all seen the present at the top of the bag. Perfectly wrapped with a bow.” He got up, intent on illustrating his observations by pointing out the evidence under their noses. “All the others are slapdash at best.”

As he buttoned his jacked and reached for the gift, he noted that she was beginning to look panicked. Clearly, he was on the right track. “It’s for someone special, then.”

Sherlock lifted the package and automatically estimated the weight and size of the box. Surprisingly heavy, not a scarf or handkerchief, box is too big to for cufflinks or a tie tack, relationship would be too new for a more intimate piece of jewellery, no shifting inside the box implies the gift is well packaged, possibly fragile.

“The shade of red echoes her lipstick, either an unconscious association or one that she’s deliberately trying to encourage. Either way, Miss Hooper has love on her mind.” The others, especially John, didn’t seem impressed by his deductions, but Sherlock had more to say. “The fact that she’s serious about him is clear from the fact she’s giving him a gift at all. That always suggests long-term hopes, however forlorn, and that she’s seeing him tonight is evident from her make-up and what she’s wearing.”

He had everyone’s rapt attention. Time for the big reveal, he thought, rather smugly. He reached for the tag, preparing to open it up and share the name of Molly’s new beau to the room. “Obviously trying to compensate for the size of her mouth and breasts . . .”

His voice trailed off into nothing as he read the words on the card.

Dearest Sherlock

Love Molly xxx

For a split-second, his mind stilled. All the ambient noise of the flat whited out. His vision focused down to the sentiment on the card, carefully written in Molly’s familiar handwriting. His mouth went dry, forcing him to swallow. He felt a momentary wave of nausea.

Three kisses says it’s a romantic attachment.

He had ripped her feelings apart, emotionally eviscerated her in front of their mutual acquaintances, and for what? Because he was bored? Uncomfortable? Jealous?

Molly looked to be seconds away from crying. And it was his fault. “You always say such horrible things. Every time. Always. Always.”

He wanted to leave, wanted to get away from the devastated look on her face and the tremble in her voice. He actually turned and took a step to do just that, but something screamed out at him to fix it. Repair the damage he had done.

Sherlock could feel the weight of the other’s censoring gaze on him, but he didn’t care. This wasn’t about them, it wasn’t about making himself look better in their eyes.

“I am sorry. Forgive me.” He could see the way her hand holding the wine glass trembled, the hurt and confusion in her eyes, the cautious way she held herself still as he stepped forward. “Merry Christmas, Molly Hooper.”

He leaned down to press a kiss against her cheek. Her skin was soft and warm against his lips, and if he were another man . . . But he wasn’t.

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