Molly paced the familiar hallway of 221 Baker St. in an attempt to dispel her anxiety. She had been a nervous wreck throughout the annual Christmas get-together at Sherlock’s. She attempted to smooth the nonexistent crimps in her skirt. It should be simple. She just needs to put herself out there. Asking someone out for a cup of coffee is not exactly rocket science.
But asking out someone like Sherlock Holmes may be more complicated than rocket science. She can still remember the sting of her previous attempt and his abrupt dismissal. Then there was that one horrible Christmas that she refused to even remember. To say that she had a complicated relationship with the man is not all truthful. The complication has always been only on her end.
She had to resort to replacing him with someone else. Like Jim from IT who ended up being a criminal mastermind. Let’s not forget the incomparable Meat Dagger Tom who was excruciatingly simple. All of Molly’s attempts to move on proved to be a failure. Therefore, she determined that she needed to ask him out one last time before she completely overhaul her life free of the man she adored for years. If he declines, then she’ll let go. Even if it hurts, she’ll have to be an adult about it. She’ll have to. A new year means a new life, right?
She continued her nervous to and fro. Just a burst of courage. That’s all she needed, really.
A polite cough stopped her in her tracks. She swiveled and almost smacked into the man in question.
“How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough,” he said with a shrug. “Not enjoying the party?”
“I am. I just wanted some fresh air.”
“Fresh air… in the hallway?”
“Yes,” she bit out defensively. “What are you even doing here, Sherlock? Hiding?”
He clasped his hand behind his back in an act of nonchalance. “Perhaps, I am imbibing on fresh air too.”
She grinned. He can be charming if he really wants to (emphasis on the if). “John nagging again, huh?”
“He’s a nutter. Now he has Mary nagging on me too.”
“They just care for you.”
He scoffed but she can read the underlying mirth in his action. His lips, usually drawn in a thin line, quirked with a hint of smile.
A round of raucous laughter rang from the room. Suddenly, she felt nervous again.
“I’ve been sober.”
Her eyes misted and she looked at anywhere but him. She blinked the tears away. “I’m glad.”
He sighed, unease evident from his stiff body. “I’ve… before, it was for a case. But I stopped. For the people I…cherish. It’s my Christmas gift.”
She stepped forward and enveloped him in a tight hug. “It’s the best news I heard in a long time.”
“Yes, well it will hopefully lessen the nagging I will receive from here on out.”
She snorted. “Good luck with that.”
A loud shriek, a couple of guffaws and a shout for Molly’s name came from the other room. She inwardly sighed at the ruined opportunity. She started away from Sherlock when she felt his hand grasping her elbow.
He wore the most curious expression that she could not decipher. “Are you really going to leave without asking me the question you’ve been dying to ask me?”
Of course, he would deduce it. How infuriating and oddly, convenient. She steeled herself.
She gave him a glare of disapproval before asking, “I was going to ask you if you wanted coffee. With me. On a date.”
He broke out a smug grin. “Don’t you think we’re past that?”
“Not many people would keep sobriety after years of drug abuse just to gift it for Christmas.”
“That was for me?”
“Did you think I’d do all that just for Lestrade?”
“But- but you never…”
“I couldn’t. I needed to be better. You needed someone better.”
“Oh Sherlock,” she murmured as tears fell freely. “I would have taken you any way I can have you.”
“That would be a huge disservice to you. You deserve all the good in the world, Molly Hooper. Yet, you throw it all away for a man like me. How can I deserve someone like you?”
“Because I chose you,” she replied with a watery smile.
He gathered her into his arms and gave her a searing kiss, which she returned enthusiastically.
Sherlock would take out Molly for coffee the next day. Early next morning, in fact. And if their friends noticed that Molly was wearing clothes from the other day, they would hide a satisfied smile and gossip with each other.
Years later, he would end up proposing to her over a cup of coffee. But that’s another story for another day.
Prompt list (# 39, 24). I didn’t think this would take this much length.