dwgm: Sherlocked (Sherlocked)
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2130 words for the 'Weeks' prompt...



~ Sherlock's Proposal (Reprise) ~

“Ah! Nothing like the smell of isopropyl in the morning,” John said with facetious cheer, swabbing his chosen target area. “All right, my lad. This might sting a bit.”

Sherlock, ordinarily stoic, even in the most trying of circumstances, gave a slight start and hiss, then blasphemed spectacularly between set teeth as John administered a hefty dose of Penicillin G via intramuscular injection.

When it was finally over, John said with singular inaccuracy, “There, told you: quick as a wink.”

“Sadistic bastard,” Sherlock replied, throwing a murderous glare over his shoulder. He pulled up his briefs and trousers again, carefully restoring his sartorial excellence with what dignity he could muster. At least Molly had seen the necessity of a fresh suit of clothing before she’d practically frog-marched him into this abattoir.

“Taking her out to breakfast now?” John asked, his good humor unabated. Probably even enhanced by his victim’s suffering.

Sherlock, not ready to forgive, merely said, “Yes. Balthazar.”

John gave a low whistle. “Nice! You’re making quite the effort these days.”

Sherlock turned to John, still eyeing him with disapprobation for a moment before his lips quivered against a smile and he sensed color tinging his cheeks. “I’ve asked her to marry me.”

John stared. “Oh. My. God! Mary said you would and I didn’t believe her.”

“Why not? It makes perfect sense. An eminently logical outcome to our long-standing professional and social relationship. We’re shopping for a ring after breakfast.”

John gave a shout of laughter and grabbed Sherlock’s hand. “Congratulations! By God, there’s hope for you yet. Who’d have thought it?”

“Mary, apparently,” Sherlock said, dryly

“So she did!” John grinned. “Look, why don’t you and Molls come to our place for dinner tonight? I’ll pick up some champagne and we’ll have a bit of a celebration!”

Sherlock, his ill humor assuaged by John’s sincere joy, said regretfully, “I’m afraid we can’t tonight. I’ve made a reservation at Angelo’s. I’m going to propose to her there.”

John looked suddenly nonplussed. “But… didn’t you say you’d asked her?”

“I did. In a manner of speaking. I was thinking about it all the time we were away on the case.”

“All the time? You seemed fairly focused to me.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes a bit. “Oh, John! I had the case solved within the first thirty-six hours. The rest was just tedious clean-up, really.”

John looked annoyed. “Is that right? Then why wasn’t I informed so I could go back to my wife and kid?

“You needed the time away. Trust me, you’ve come back a new man. Mary understands these things. And Grace understands almost nothing as yet. I doubt she missed you at all.”

It was John looking daggers, now. Sherlock, sensing he might have said something unfortunate, cleared his throat and moved on quickly. “As I said, I was thinking about it all the time we were gone, rehearsing what I would say, what she would do. The entire conversation, everything worked out. But last night…”

“Yes?” John prompted, beginning to be amused again.

“Well, apparently I wasn’t at my best. I believe I must have been half asleep when I mentioned shopping for her engagement ring. She told me I’d never asked her to marry me, but that seemed absurd at the time. I could have sworn… But of course I realized my mistake when I woke up this morning.” He left John for a moment and made a brief foray into his Mind Palace…

*

The sun was shining thinly through the lace curtains of Molly’s bedroom window and her scent still lingered faintly when Sherlock’s eyes fluttered open that morning. But she was gone, her side of the bed was cold. He frowned, perplexed, but then thought, It’s only her kindness, she knew I hadn’t slept lately.

He thought back to the previous night. The injuries had been unpleasant -- he reached up to probe the sensitive bruised flesh under his eye, and moved his lip experimentally -- not too bad -- and he had always had an aversion to the suturing process. But placing himself in Molly’s hands had been the perfect solution. He’d known her care of him would be exemplary. She had the supplies needed to patch him up. Her home was entirely familiar to him. And more than all these things was the knowledge that she loved him. She had seen him at his best and at his worst, and still… still

Her love had never failed, though it had been severely tested. She had a prejudice against illegal narcotics that bordered on obsession -- probably due to her particular line of work. The last time he’d been high in her presence, when he’d come to fetch her to safety after his four minute exile, it had taken every bit of patience, logic, and skill at persuasion he possessed, as well as the combined efforts of Mycroft and the Watsons, to convince her she should come to Baker Street until the situation could be sorted. The fact that she’d not been informed of his intended fate, and that he’d planned to take “a coward’s way out” as she put it -- and he was still not convinced that departing this world on his own terms, rather than by inches in an East European torture chamber, should be viewed in that light -- combined to bring out her latent stubbornness to a remarkable degree.

In the end, she had acquiesced, but once established in his home she had refused to speak to him for days, and after that had treated him with an icy civility that took weeks to thaw. It had made him furious, and it was only the knowledge -- easily deduced -- that she was equally unhappy with the barrier that lay between them that helped him keep his temper in check. Up to a point.

He couldn’t even remember what had set him off at last, but he had said things to her… terrible things… and with almost no justification. And finally, for the first time in all those weeks, he had made her weep.

He’d followed her to her room and stopped her from packing, from throwing her meager belongings into her suitcase. He pinned her squirming, shuddering body against his and said, over her sobbing demands to be released, “Don’t Molly. Don’t. I’m sorry, sorry, sorry…”

She’d stopped struggling at last, and said, “You are a t-terrible b-bastard!”

“I am. I’m sorry. Please don’t leave. Please.”

She’d turned in his arms to face him. And he’d kissed her, desperately, his own tears combining with hers.

It had been very messy, and was rather horrid to recall. But the next day they had been friends again: shy and tentative, but friends. A week after that it had been deemed safe for her to return to her flat. And a week after that, he’d come to her in the night, seeking a bolthole. Just like old times.

But not really. For somewhere in those weeks of solving the “Faux-riarty” case by day and dealing with his prickly resident ice princess by night, he’d realized how necessary she was to him, how much he valued her regard, how dear to him was her companionship.

They took things very slowly (when had they not?). In six months she’d presented him with a key to her flat, saying, “At least you won’t need to pick the lock any more.” She made it clear she would welcome him at any time. She asked very little of him. But an idea had taken shape in his head (and heart, he supposed), of having her with him always, and for the last six months he had been planning to tell her just that.

That day at his parents’ home, followed by their forced separation during the case, had brought it all to the fore. After years of practice he could compartmentalize this thoughts with great efficiency, and while he was solving a mystery and dealing with a most unsavory criminal element, he was also planning his Molly Proposal, in excruciating detail. In his head.

All in his head.

And suddenly he remembered their conversation of the previous night. “Stupid!” he groaned, and got out of bed.

She was sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of tea before her again. There was a little wariness in her eyes as she looked up at him, but it changed to affectionate amusement.

“You look a sight,” she said, smiling, and there was love in her eyes.

He knew he was not himself. Clad only in briefs, his hair untidy from sleep, all unwashed. He sat down in the chair that lay at a right angle to hers and took up her beautiful little hand from where it lay on the table. “But you don’t mind.”

She was looking at their hands, her cheeks growing pink. “Of course not,” she said, rather huskily.

He had never been more glad of his ability to deduce her. For it was obvious to him that not only didn’t she mind, she was deeply happy that she was here with him, in this particular way, imperfect as he was.

She, however, had washed her face, brushed her (delicious, silken) hair, and was wearing a most attractive pale yellow sleep-tee with kittens on the front. “You look beautiful.”

Her eyes widened. “Thank you!”

Her wariness was returning and he knew he must speak.

He cleared his throat. “Did I mention shopping for a… a ring today?”

She opened her mouth, to tell him it was all right, she knew it had been only been a mistake made when he was on the edge of passing out from weariness after an unconscionably long day. But she closed it again, reconsidered, and merely said, “Yes.”

He tried to carefully choose his words. “I seem to have put the cart before the horse, as it were. But you’ve said Yes to my proposal so many times over the last weeks that, being half asleep, I forgot I hadn’t verbalized it as yet. Nor had you, in reality, replied.”

She stared, and her hand trembled a little in his loose grasp. “So many times? You… you were--”

“Planning it. Yes.”

“Then you… meant it.”

He smiled. “Would you still be amenable to shopping for a ring this morning? I’ll take you to dinner -- at Angelo’s, he’ll cater to our every need and be happy to do so -- and I’ll make my proposal to you. All that planning shouldn’t go to waste.”

“Sherlock!” she breathed, and then was up, rounding the corner of the table.

It was the most natural thing in the world to draw her onto his lap, into his embrace, and kiss her.

It was like coming home.

For Christmas.

*

Sherlock!

John’s sharp tone was jarring at such a time, but such was Sherlock’s happiness that he forgave his friend immediately. For that, at least. He briefly, surreptitiously, rubbed at his sore hip.

But just then the door opened and Molly peeked in. “Is everything alright?”

John grinned. “Everything’s fine, more than fine. Sherlock’s just been faffing about in his Mind Palace--”

Sherlock stiffened. “Faffing about?

“--but before that he told me you were… er… shopping for a ring this morning.”

Molly blushed prettily and said, “After breakfast, yes.” She picked up Sherlock’s Belstaff from where it lay draped over a chair and brought it over to him. As he put it on, she said to John, “He told you, then?”

“He did -- in his round-about way. He’s a lucky man. Or will be?” He shook his head at Sherlock. “Do you never do things like normal people?”

Sherlock heard Mycroft’s voice in his head -- Goldfish! -- but shoved it aside and merely smiled. He said to John, “You’ll be my Best Man -- won’t you?” This last, a little uncertainly.

But he needn’t have worried. John’s smile widened to a delighted grin and Sherlock could almost see the wheels spinning. “This,” John told them, “is going to be Brilliant!” He actually rubbed his hands together.

Sherlock gave a sigh at the vast potential for upheaval and embarrassment that lay before him. “Don’t bother asking Mycroft to the Stag Do, he won’t come.”

“For his baby brother? Of course he’ll come!”

Sherlock, realizing this might actually be true, had now had enough. He turned to Molly. “Please can we go to breakfast? I hear Balthazar serves excellent Bloody Marys. I feel the need.”

Molly asked John, “Would that be alright? With the antibiotic?”

John said, “Oh, yeah. One won’t hurt, at least. But make sure he eats something, too. You know how he is. The Management of Sherlock Holmes is not something to be taken lightly.”

“Very true,” she agreed, to Sherlock’s chagrin, and looked up at him with a thoughtful smile.



~.~

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