If I'm in time, Mollcroft, fake relationship. Also hi, new-ish follower here!
Mycroft did not like social functions, especially uselessly
boring ones. Not that weddings were useless. Just ones where he did not know
anyone, and certainly did not care to. Still, Anthea had texted him and said
that Molly Hooper was in dire straits. Sherlock was still out of the country
pretending to be dead, Inspector Lestrade was involved with Lieutenant Donovan,
and Doctor Watson had just begun a relationship, one that Mycroft did not
relish being ruined by a misunderstanding. Watson was in a delicate enough
state of mind that even Mycroft balked at suggesting the good doctor. As for
workmates, Stamford was married, and the intern was a driveling idiot, far
below Molly’s IQ level.
“Why must she go to this insipid affair at all if she feel
so compelled to bring someone?” Mycroft groused.
“It is a matter of pride, sir,” Anthea said. “Try and put
yourself in her shoes. Her father was the only one of her immediate family that
loved her. Her sister is…for lack of better words, an idiot, and her mother
is…difficult. Very difficult.”
“Hm. Yes, and with Miss Hooper’s rather lackluster history
with men, her mother’s domineering qualities, demand for grand-children coupled
with her distaste for her younger daughter’s career, singlehood and
‘weight-gain’-“ he used the term in quotations with a roll of the eyes. “I
suspect Mrs. Hooper would be less than pleased for her daughter to come sans
escort to her second wedding.”
“Or even at all,” Anthea added. “Even if, in our opinions,
it would be forgivable.” Anthea gave him a sharp look. “Are you backing out?”
“Certainly not!” he bristled at her evening thinking he
could be that callous to Molly. “She’s
done more than enough to earn a favor,” he paused, and Anthea caught a hint of
sentiment behind his words.
“She’s done enough to earn a lifetime of favors, sir,”
Anthea added gently. Mycroft nodded somberly.
“There is not enough money in the world to thank her for her
services, I doubt she would accept it anyway.”
“She could do with a friend, sir.”
He grimaced, unused to the word. “I am not the ‘friend’
“How do you know?” Anthea asked. “Your brother is very keen
“Yes, so it should be him doing this, not me,” Mycroft
“But he’s not here, and she needs someone,” Anthea added. “It
should be you. It shows you’re grateful for what she’s done, and your support for
her and Sherlock.”
“I know,” he sulked. “But I don’t have to like it.”
“You never know,” Anthea smiled. “You might have a good
“I hardly think so.”
Orangery in Kew
Gardens, West London
Mycroft was pleased to note, glancing down at the woman on
his arm, that Molly looked about as bored as he felt. He’d been to his fair
share of dull parties, but this was, undoubtable, the worst.
“Is it crass of me to say your family has a very boring idea
of a party?” he murmured in her ear.
She shifted, smiling up at him, genuinely amused. “Mother
does love a proper soirée.”
“Nothing about this is proper. The ice sculpture is hideous,
I don’t know what the pâté is made of but it’s revolting and resembles tinned
corned beef rather than liver, the champagne tastes like soda water, the
flowers are wilting due to not being properly cut, and the caviar is…” he
tilted his plate over the garbage bin. “Caca.”
Molly snorted into her champagne flute, trying her hardest
not to laugh and failing miserably. “Mother also likes to cut corners.”
“Which in itself is not a bad thing,” Mycroft agreed. “But
in the case of food, where one risks food poisoning everywhere one looks, I’d
“Agreed,” Molly nodded. The hors d’oeuvres were, from a
distance, attractive looking, but upon closer inspection, there was a faint
smell of tinned meat, less-than-fresh lox and caviar that was certainly not the
beluga variety her mother had been bragging to everyone about.
“Molly!” her mother waved her over.
“Oh dear, tin hat on,” Molly muttered, and waved back.
Mycroft gave her hand a comforting squeeze, knowing too-well the dread that was
in the pit of her stomach. He plastered a pleasant smile on his face, allowing
Molly to go ahead of him through the crowd, keeping a hand on her lower back,
gently guiding her from the more obtuse relatives.
“There you are dear!”
“Hello, congratulations mother, the hall looks beautiful.”
“It should for what it cost,” her mother said. “So! You final
caught someone who can put up with your job?”
“Erm, yes,” Molly flushed. “Mycroft, this is my mother,
Diana Collins. Mother, this is Mycroft Holmes, he works for the government.”
“Oh!” Diana brightened immediately. “How good to meet you! What
do you think of this Brexit business? Obviously we need to be separate!”
Mycroft blinked, and Molly saw the unmistakable poker face
of the Holmes men take over. “I never discuss business at parties, Mrs. Collins.”
He smiled at her amused laughter, glancing at Molly, who could only shrug.
“Well that may be so,” Diana allowed. “But you must talk to
Molly about finding a different job.”
“Mother,” Molly began.
“No I mean it. Cutting up bodies as if she enjoyed that sort
of thing. It’s a wonder she’s found someone like you!”
“I happen to believe that whatever makes Molly happy, so
long as it is within the confines of the law, has little to do with my opinion
of it,” Mycroft replied coolly. “As it happens, she is very good at her work,
and it was, in fact, how we met.”
“I still don’t see any use in your work,” Diana shook her
head. “It’s depressing, it’s disgusting, how anyone can have a life-“
“Your daughter is quite brilliant,” Mycroft interrupted, now
genuinely annoyed at this woman. Who on earth berated their daughter at a
wedding, let alone in front of their significant other (the fact that they were
only pretending was moot at the moment). “She’s been published all over the
country, and indeed in several other countries for her findings in the medical
field. She often speaks at Cambridge and Oxford. We’ve a better understanding
of the human body thanks to your daughter. I, for one, am quite proud of her.
Due excuse us.” With that, Mycroft tucked Molly’s hand into the crook of his
elbow and led her away.
“I’m sorry I dragged you to this,” Molly said, once out of
hearing of her mother. “You didn’t have to make such a speech.
“I am sorry if I embarrassed you,” Mycroft replied. “But I
am not sorry I said those things.”
“She has a way of getting under people’s skin,” Molly
shrugged. She glanced around at the party. “Would you like to go? It’s still early
enough we can get something proper to eat.”
“Lawks, yes, please,” Mycroft sighed. “I am famished.” He paused.
“And in need of a stiff drink.”
“Agreed,” Molly laughed and leaned her head against his
shoulder briefly, a kindred moment between them.
They ended up directing the driver to a posh kebab shop in
“Sherlock took me here,” Molly said. “There’s Michelin chefs
and a short wine list too.”
“As long as the meat is not green, I’ll eat anything,”
Mycroft replied. He looked at the kebab shop uneasily, but Molly seemed
confidant, and he knew her enough to know she didn’t muck about in bad
restaurants. It turned out, she was right, and they took their orders to go, at
“I dislike sitting in small restaurants,” he confessed.
“How about the bench over there?” Molly pointed to a small
patch of greenery and a clean-looking place to sit.
“Very well,” he motioned to the chauffer, and the man
nodded, pulling his mobile from his pocket. “Security,” he said, noting Molly’s
questioning look. In a moment two security guards appeared and took up posts
“Is it always like this for you?” Molly asked, unwrapping
“Eating on a bench? No.” Mycroft smirked. “But it is…well it
isn’t a welcome change, but it is different.”
“Thanks for humoring me,” Molly laughed.
“Only for you, my dear,” he acknowledged.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I’ll enjoy it
while it lasts.”
“My dear woman, you’ve done quite a bit over the past year
for a life-time of favors from me.”
Molly looked at her food, then at him. “I don’t want you to
do nice things because you feel indebted to me, Mycroft. I’d like you to do
them, if you feel so inclined, because you want to. Because…because you’re my
He shifted in his seat, looked at the take-away container
and then at her. “Then…then I shall endeavor to be so to you, Miss Hooper.”
“Good,” she nodded. Taking a bite of food, she smiled at
him, her mouth full. “You’re a good man, Mycroft Holmes, I don’t care what your
“Hmm, yes,” he murmured, swallowing a mouthful. “So…Anthea
tells me you two have finally seen common sense and are a couple?”
Molly shook her head. “Not officially, not until he gets
back,” she shrugged. “I don’t hear from him, if that makes you feel any better.
We decided communication would be a bad thing, didn’t want to risk anything.”
“I shall have him contact you when it’s safe for him to do
so,” Mycroft promised. She looked up then, eyes shining at him.
Pulled an all nighter and flew to Kew West at 6am this morning. Landed and headed to Hogfish Bar & Grill for a hogfish sandwich and key lime pie. Then wandered downtown Key West and visited a museum. Sunset kayak tour tonight!
A golden or Chinese pheasant in the bluebells at Kew Gardens, west London. The species was introduced here from China 100 years ago. Rarely seen, there are reported to be up to 100 pairs living in dense, dark woods - often of rhododendron - in scattered parts of Britain. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
KEY WEST, Fla. — Any day now, Diana Nyad will set out to do something no athlete has ever done: swim all day and all night, then all day and all night, then all day again.
She will swim about 60 hours in the churning sea, 103 miles across the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Key West. Every hour and a half, she will stop to tread water for a few minutes as she swallows a liquid mixture of predigested protein and eats an occasional bit of banana or dollop of peanut butter. She will most likely hallucinate and endure the stings of countless jellyfish. Along the way, sea salt will swell her tongue to cartoonish proportions and rub her skin raw.
“She is up against the most outlandish, outrageous, unbelievable physical endurance activity of, certainly, my lifetime,” said Steven Munatones, a champion open-water swimmer who runs the organization Open Water Source and will serve as an independent observer during Ms. Nyad’s swim. “I can’t imagine being in the ocean for 60 hours. I can’t imagine doing anything for 60 hours. It is inconceivable. It simply is.”