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Birthday surprise (2/2)

BBC Sherlock

Rating 15 (femslash, alcoholism)

Spoilers: some for The Great Game

 Part 1

Special thanks to blooms84 for beta-ing and advice.

Summary: Molly's birthday party had ended with an unconscious historian sharing her double bed...


When Molly woke up, it was just after 6 a.m., far too early to get up. She needed to try and relax herself, get back to sleep. And it had been her birthday, and she hadn't got to do certain things last night, so she might indulge herself. It was surprisingly warm in the bed, it must be the radiant heat coming from Harry, who was still out cold, and probably would be for hours. Molly took off her nightie and rolled onto her stomach. It was her preferred position, because she could persuade herself that it was just chance that she was lying on top of her arm, which had happened to stray down her stomach, then lower, into herself. She had perfected the technique, found the forms of pressure that meant she didn't have to think of...anyone, just gently move her fingers, as she was doing now.

There was a sudden murmur beside her, then a tug at the duvet as Harry sat up. Molly lay still and closed her eyes, and heard the snap of the bedside lamp coming on. It shouldn't be embarrassing being caught touching herself in bed by someone who'd passed out drunk in the same bed, but it still was. She wondered about pretending to be asleep, even as she knew her breathing was betraying her. Then, after several centuries of silence, she felt a hand hesitantly touch her shoulder and heard a soft voice say: "You'd probably be more comfortable if you rolled over."

Molly really didn't know what else to say or do, so she surreptitiously pulled her arm away and turned onto her back, sliding down under the duvet as far as she could. Harry was sitting beside her, in her oversized T-shirt. In the dim light and without her glasses, her eyes were huge, a faint grey ring round her dilated pupils, and there was a glitter in them that Molly wasn't sure was quite normal for someone who should be terribly hung over.  Except I know rather more about dead alcoholics than live ones, she thought.

"I'm sorry," she said, "I didn't mean to disturb you." It sounded ridiculous.

"But I rather like you disturbing me, because you do it in all the right ways," said Harry. "Like last night. I didn't expect any of John's friends to be so interesting, know so much."

"I'm just a pathologist-" Molly began.

"You understand about bodies. You can read them, like I can read a text, and then you can explain it all to me. It's a real talent."

"Th-thanks," said Molly. It was ridiculous that she was the one stammering now, while Harry's stammer had mysteriously gone. But the way Harry was looking at her...and now Harry's hand was sliding under the duvet, her cool fingers slipping onto Molly's skin, brushing one of Molly's nipples.

 "Whereas I never know how people's bodies will react," Harry went on. "And I'm really not sure of the right way to handle them."

Molly had had some experience with predatory men before, learnt eventually how to cope with gropers. She'd never been fondled by someone smaller than herself, someone who looked more like a predatory kitten. Waves of entirely inappropriate sentiment were welling up in her. Along with other sensations. She wasn't sure what to say.

Fortunately, Harry seemed to be able to maintain a conversation, even as her finger continued its gentle progress back and forth over Molly's nipple.

"I'd like to see if I can...get to understand your body a little better, Molly, learn how to read it. And besides, it was your birthday last night, and I didn't give you a present." She paused and then added, "But I am quite prepared to stop if given clear instructions. So if you've worked out what you'd like-"


"No?" Harry's hand dropped from Molly.

"I mean, actually, yes. I would like a...gift. If it's on offer."

"I'm glad to hear that, because I couldn't help noticing last night that you do have really nice thighs, and it would be a shame to waste them." The soft fingers of one of Harry's hands were back on Molly's nipple again, while her other hand started drifting up and down Molly's right thigh. Those were the only points of contact. Molly wondered if Harry's lips were soft as well; the mortuary was always freezing, hers got constantly chapped.

"I should mention," said Harry, "that I am a really good touch typist," and Molly eased open her thighs just a fraction, as Harry's hand found its target.


It was amazing to be with someone who knew where her clitoris was without being given detailed instructions, and Harry's slim fingers and their barely perceptible movements – well, actually very perceptible to one sense – were soon having a drastic effect. Molly could feel her body begin to twitch, she was losing control of her nervous system, pure sensation driving through her again and again, till she seemed to have no bones left. At last Harry's hand stilled, and pulled away, and they lay in silence for a while. Molly looked across at Harry, curled up in her ridiculous T-shirt, like a kitten that had killed a really tasty mouse, but might still have the energy for a small bird or two.

"Sit up," Molly said, and then she pulled the T-shirt over  Harry's head. Beneath was her thin, flat-chested torso, covered by a plain and slightly grubby bra that almost concealed the state of Harry's nipples, till Molly's hands started to work on them.


Afterwards, quite a long time afterwards, Harry said: "I'm sorry about last night, I mean getting drunk at the party, I just..."


"What was it?" asked Molly, "You were OK at the start."


"I was trying to get a bit of female solidarity with you, against all the male chauvinist pigs there, only I hashed it up. I'm very good with texts about people, but pretty terrible with actual people."


"I'm better with dead people than live ones," said Molly. "I'm sorry, that sounds really strange."


"No, I'm used to that sort of thing. I have colleagues, friends, who are only really comfortable discussing nematode worms, or the meaning of life. Or both together, which is admittedly slightly odd. So problems with people are no big deal."


"Anyhow," said Molly, "I think you may have got the female solidarity thing sorted out a bit later."


"Good." There was a pause and then Harry asked: "Do you happen to have a tumble dryer, or an airing cupboard?"


"Yes, why?"


"It's just, I've only got the one set of underwear at the moment, owing to my flat being out of action, and it would be easier to wash the stuff here. It's a bit tricky doing that at 221B."


"My gosh, yes," said Molly.


"It's not John, it doesn't worry him, nothing does. It's just Sherlock would be...interested."


"He's interested in women's underwear?" asked Molly, trying to remember all the positive suggestions in the 'Overcoming Transphobia'  course.


"Well, actually, mine, because I'm a lesbian, and he's trying to work out whether you can deduce a woman's sexuality from her underwear drawer." Harry's voice sounded caught between horror and the suspicion that it was an entirely logical course of action on Sherlock's part.


"I'll show you where the washing machine is."



Things got out of hand again after that, because it obviously made sense for Harry to wash all of her clothes at the same time. And since it was a cold morning, and nothing of Molly's fitted her properly, it was also sensible for Harry just to stay in bed till the washing was done. And it was obviously the duty of a hostess to stay with her guest, make sure she was comfortable...


It was getting on for 10 a.m., and Molly wasn't quite sure what to do now, because though Harry was warm and her clothes were now dry, she was starting to shake rather, and the stammer was back, and she was really not looking too good. Molly wondered what the correct thing was to offer an alcoholic for breakfast.


"What do you want to do?" she asked Harry at last.


"I think," said Harry, "I should p-probably go back to Baker Street, because when you've fallen off the wagon, John is the p-person to get you back on it." She paused, and licked her lips, and then said: "It's just, do you think you could phone him first and check he's OK? And if he's n-not there, could you phone Lestrade, and p-p-possibly some of the hospitals? Because, while I'm fine with horrible things happening to people in the eighteenth century, I'm really not good with things like that in the p-p-present, especially when it might be my big brother."


"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have told you about Moran," said Molly, "I'm sure they're fine. Do you always worry about what's going to happen to John?"


"Not all the time, but when he goes off like you said he did last n-n-night, I do worry a lot."


"Is that why you drink? Because of him being a soldier?"


"N-no. Or at least not just that. It's m-mostly my job. You spend all your time reading about people getting dead drunk for tuppence, it starts to seem n-n-normal. And I don't have to get up till lunchtime when I'm not lecturing, and n-n-nobody really worries about what you do as long as you still p-p-please the RAE. And it helps with the arguments too."


"The arguments?"


"Seminars, articles, all that. I spend a lot of m-my time arguing with people about history."


"You mean like with Sherlock?"


"P-p-proper arguments, with p-people who really kn-know something about history, not like Sherlock. People who kn-know the sources. But in history you can n-n-never finally prove you're right. The most you can do is convince people, or at least convince yourself. And I find it easier to convince m-myself once I've had a drink or two."


"Are all historians like that?"


"There are m-many sober historians. I hope to be one someday. Just n-not today. Is it OK if you start phoning?"




 To the relief of both of them, John and Sherlock were safely home, although Sebastian Moran was now in the mortuary. Molly decided not to ask how he'd got there, she'd find out soon enough.


"Do you think you could possibly bring Harry over here?" John said. "I'll pay your taxi fare back." She heard the worry in his voice of someone who knew too much about pubs open 24 hours a day.


"That's fine," she told him, and went to sort out Harry.  Soon they were sitting silently in a taxi. Harry seemed to have shrunk before Molly's eyes, and Molly thought she needed a label round her neck, saying 'Please look after this historian'. She smiled at her, not sure what to say. And suddenly Harry was smiling back, and fishing in her belt-bag, and handing Molly something.


"M-my card," Harry said. "Sometimes during p-parties, I've accidentally caused some damage. If you find anything broken, let me know and I'll p-p-pay for it."


"Please don't-," Molly began and then stopped. Did that mean, it probably did mean...


"Did you, did you sleep with me last night because you thought I was gay?" she said, trying to sound as if this was the kind of conversation  she had frequently.


"N-n-not particularly, M-M-M-"


"My second name's Susan," Molly broke in, "if you want to call me 'Sue'."


"That would be a big help, Sue," said Harry. "I slept with you because I thought you were sweet, and I have a terrible weakness for sweet women."


"I met Clara once or twice," said Molly. "She's very...nice, but she is rather posh."


"Our family all rather go for the upper classes," Harry said. "Clara was, is adorable, but she thinks there are so many things that you shouldn't talk about, because they're not n-nice. Like bodies, and death and n-n-nineteenth century sanitation, and I was really running out of topics of conversation with her. I like sweet women, Sue, but what I really like is sweet women who can talk about interesting things. So even if you don't want, if you just want to talk, I would very m-much like to talk to you again. About dead bodies, I mean n-not so much dead n-now, as long dead bodies, and you're starting to think I'm a bit strange, aren't you?"


"No," said Molly, "Sherlock is a bit strange, you have unusual scholarly interests."


Harry smiled. "And I particularly like discussing some of my texts with women, because m-male historians and doctors are so clueless about some things. So if you ever do want any further...contact, you kn-know where to find me."


Molly nodded, because if she opened her mouth, Sue would say that she would follow Harry through half the sewers of the London, and that kind of conversation was really not going to end well.



 Once they reached the flat, Molly deposited Harry rapidly with John, who had the quiet sternness that spoke of tough love to come, and Sherlock, who Harry was kicking every time he looked about to announce a deduction about her. She retreated to the cab, still holding Harry's card. After a few minutes, she carefully began to tear it up.


Which was pointless, of course, because harriet.watson@kcl.ac.uk was not an easy e-mail address to forget. And Harry and her publications would be easy to find on the web, if Molly wanted to know more about transvestite highwaypersons, which she definitely didn't. And, and it was a good thing she still had 364 days to go before holding a 'Getting over falling for unsuitable women party'.




Old Bailey Online

Voices from the Old Bailey



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 30th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
This is great - there are so many brilliant lines that made me laugh out loud (although I think my favourite may have been Harry's voice sounded caught between horror and the suspicion that it was an entirely logically course of action on Sherlock's part.)

You've made such an interesting Harry which is refreshing to see in this fandom (and I am completely with her on not understanding what is wrong with discussing dead bodies in polite conversation - my friends and I have discussed far worse over breakfast!)

Lovely lovely fic (and if there was more Harry/Molly to come I would be v happy... )
Dec. 2nd, 2010 10:06 am (UTC)
I don't myself tend to discuss dead bodies much, because I'm neither a medic nor a medical historian. I'm a gender historian, so I get into trouble for talking about that, like the time I blogged about gay monks. Though probably the most embarassing conversation ever was not my fault, but my father's (also a historian), when he tried to discuss with another relative the sociological significance of some graffiti he'd seen in a British gents' toilet. (On second thoughts, maybe worse was the relative who allegedly misheard a discussion of the early modern Great Vowel Shift as the Great Bowel Shift. Or when my grandfather thought my father's first academic paper was not on the rice industry of Thailand, but the vice industry...)

I hadn't been planning to do any more Harry/Molly, but then I got an idea...
Dec. 5th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
I am delighted to hear that the plot bunnies have been attacking and look forward to reading the results :)

LOL - I would imagine that blogging about gay monks could gain you quite a bit of trouble from some areas! (Good on you for blogging about it, regardless.)
(no subject) - shehasathree - Apr. 8th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 8th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it. I wrote a sequel to this called Launch Off which reveals exactly why you should never go with a historian to a book launch. And I'm currently writing a sequel/prequel to that, which is mainly about why you should never, ever get into a relationship with a historian.
(no subject) - shehasathree - Apr. 9th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 24th, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
I would read the crap out of that blog.
Dec. 1st, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
oh so lovely!!--Molly is so well-developed here and so funny! I love her sense of humor, the cats, her inner critic, as they say! And I might be a little bit in love with Harry. Just a bit. Okay, a lot. I know, she's bad news on many levels, but . . . come on, let Molly give her a call, go out for coffee, and reform her alcoholic ways, and let them go hand in hand into the sewers (not metaphorically, but just literally) together! Well, you know all the details (yay Old Bailey! yay annoying historians!!) I love about this already. *kisses for Molly and Harry and you*
Dec. 2nd, 2010 10:44 am (UTC)
I think I am going to end up writing a bit more M/H, because a plot bunny has now attacked (actually a vicious plot wild rabbit, not cute at all). But I can't really get them down in the sewers, because a) I don't know anything about sewers, and b) Sherlock would insist on turning up and wrecking the date. So the current plan is the morgue (I think I should have called it the mortuary, so may have to go back and change this) and the Institute of Historical Research in London. But this being the Sherlock universe, there are bound to be digressions into discussions of plague pits and the original meaning of 'pornography'.
Dec. 2nd, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
ooh! thrilling!! can't wait for the plague pits and pornography and all that other romantic date stuff for M and H! ; - )
Dec. 1st, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
liking the complexity of Harry here - some worrying signs (cats and kittens) and some more poignant ones (sober historians). some parallels between her and Sherlock as well?

still pondering the implications of Molly's middle name...
Dec. 2nd, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
I am in danger of maligning my own profession, but I do move in an academic culture where drinking alcohol is pretty much taken for granted, and complete abstinence is hard work. The current plan is for the next fic to be from a (sober) Harry's POV, so I'll have to try and work out what she's like without the boosting effects of alcohol.

For once, Molly's second name had no significance whatsoever (other than being pronounceable by Harry). Whereas John's middle name is now always 'Horatio' in my mind (and in one of my fics), and though it's not yet in a fic, Mycroft's full initials are MGH, in an in-joke so obscure that only I get it. But I'm afraid at some point Harry is going to be compelled to tell Dr Hooper what 'Molly' is slang for in C18 England.
Dec. 2nd, 2010 11:28 am (UTC)
very pleased to hear about the proposed sober Harry fic - will look forward to seeing that.

poor Molly, she won't be happy with that information at all...

kalypso_v has an enjoyable take on John's and Sherlock's middle names, in a fic she posted a couple of days ago.
Dec. 18th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
...I love this so much! And the links to the Old Bailey! As a historian, I approve wholeheartedly! This all rings so true - the alcohol, the getting into rows about it at parties (I find working on gender gets you pitying looks from a certain types...and before my current obsessions, I worked on the Counter-Reformation, which seemed to make people angry for all sorts of other reasons).

Words can't describe how happy this made me and how much I'm hoping for more sequels!

And of course, memming this like fury!

<3 <3 <3
Jan. 13th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC)
I have colleagues, friends, who are only really comfortable discussing nematode worms, or the meaning of life. Or both together, which is admittedly slightly odd

*sighing contentedly* This is academia in nutshell, and with added smart, sweet, heavy-drinking female scholars, it is a recipe for a perfect story, which this fic is. Thank you for writing it!
Jan. 14th, 2012 08:29 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love most aspects of academic life, but I do find the drinking culture a bit alarming sometimes. Maybe it's just my particular field, but there is an expectation that you will drink and you're a party-pooper if you don't. And I think that's quite dangerous for someone, like Harry, who has a depressive streak in her, and is so small that her tolerance for alcohol is naturally fairly low.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )