"Oh come on Sherlock, it's not going to kill you!"
"Not literally, no. But I can't think of a more torturous experience than sitting in a pub with all of them right now!"
John rolled his eyes and huffed. "Don't be dramatic, Sherlock! How about flying off to Eastern Europe forever? Where does that rank on the torturous scale?! They're happy that you're staying, and they just want to buy you a drink. It's not that big of a deal, but it would mean a lot to them if you'd get out of that sheet, put some clothes on, and just come with me!"
Sherlock groaned and got up finally. "Fine! I'll be ready in ten minutes." He started down the hallway.
"Oh and, Sherlock...could you maybe not wear dress trousers? It's really not necessary."
"Why? I always dress like that."
"Well, do you own a pear of jeans?"
"Yes of course I own a pair!"
"Ok good! So wear those instead. Then maybe you'll look like you're trying to have fun, even if you're not."
Sherlock only responded by rolling his eyes and stalking off the rest of the way down the hall, then he went in his room and shut the door rather loudly.
John sat in his chair and blew out a heavy exhale. This night could turn into a disaster, he was well aware. But he didn't want to say no to Lestrade's plan. Greg was so happy when he heard that Sherlock had been aloud to stay in London after all. So about a week after the fact, he told John that he wanted to take Sherlock out for a drink and celebrate his return...even if it was only after five minutes. John suspected that there was still a bit of tragedy hanging in the air after Sherlock's supposed death for those two years. So for those who thought they were about to lose him all over again, it was more than a relief to realize he wasn't going anywhere. Sherlock was, of course, less than thrilled at the prospect of an evening out at a pub.
Sherlock finally emerged from his room, shockingly enough, in jeans. He still wore a white dress shirt, but John was satisfied that he didn't look quite as professional and buttoned up as he usually did. Lestrade and his crowd may actually get the impression that he was there to enjoy himself...even if that was a bit inaccurate.
"Let's get this over with," Sherlock said with a sigh and grabbed his coat and scarf.
They arrived at the pub not long after that and Sherlock grabbed John's arm as the entered and he saw the table of people that were present.
"What is this? Nobody here but Lestrade cares three straws whether I'm here in this pub or in Eastern Europe being shot at! What are Donovan and Anderson doing here?! This is some stupid excuse to get everybody drunk, and I'll have no part in it." He began to turn back to the door.
"Oh, no you don't!" John growled at him and held him back from exiting. "I promised them you'd come, and there's no way you're getting me blamed for letting you leave! If they get drunk, you can leave after they won't remember anything. But for now you will be grateful! To Greg, at least!"
Sherlock scrunched his face up.
"To Lestrade!" John immediately clarified and sighed in exasperation. "Come on, let's go."
They made their way over to the table and took a seat. As Sherlock was already expecting, nobody but Lestrade really even acknowledged his arrival. He wasn't really sure that anybody else had even been informed that this evening was meant for him! No matter in his mind though. Less people he'd be forced to pleasantly interact with.
"Hey! Welcome back!" Lestrade said happily and gave Sherlock a firm handshake.
"Not sure how happy you should be. I'm not staying for a particularly pleasant reason."
"Ah that!" Lestrade said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Let's not think about that right now! The important thing is that you're back here now. Just try to enjoy yourself and be happy that you're home."
"So...enjoyable," Sherlock said sarcastically under his breath as he looked around the pub.
The crowd ordered what seemed to be a second round of drinks for all of them, seeing as the rest of them had already been there for a while. John forced Sherlock to have a beer along with everyone else. He drank his slowly, as he was not exactly feeling motivated to consume it as quickly as the rest of them were. The last thing he wanted was to become a drunk and useless form of himself in the presence of these people.
Another round for the rest of them later, John noticed that Sherlock was missing. He saw him over by the bar speaking to random people.
"Um, excuse me just a second," he said over the music to Lestrade.
"Clearly your wife is not being unfaithful. You're jumping to conclusions. She's obviously making plans to renovate your bedroom while you'll be away on your upcoming business trip. But from your behavior now, you will begin to make her suspicious, so I suggest you get yourself a cab and make your way home before she calls off the construction and starts packing her own bags!"
This was the scene John came upon, and the man quickly threw back the rest of his beer before tossing some money on the table and making his way to the exit.
"What in the- Sherlock, you are not here to take on cases!"
"But I don't want to sit at that table and chat with them, John! You cannot make me!"
"Two lagers!" he yelled over Sherlock. "Just come back to the table. Poor Lestrade is going to think you don't even care that he organized this for you. It's not that hard Sherlock, you know how to fake things. A woman believed you wanted to marry her not long ago, we all know you can act. So just get over there and put on a happy face!" John shoved a beer at him.
Sherlock grabbed it begrudgingly and marched back over to the table only to hear the uncharacteristic laughter of Lestrade.
"Oh stop! Stop! I can't breath, honestly! Oh good Sherlock's back! Anderson, you've got to tell it from the beginning."
Sherlock could hear that Lestrade was feeling some effects of the now three rounds he had drunk.
"I hardly think Sherlock is interested in hearing this," Anderson said, sounding a bit superior.
"Sherlock, have you never heard Anderson's theory about how you faked your death?"
Sherlock shook his head as he eyes Anderson suspiciously. "Anderson is right, perhaps for the first time, I can't think why I'd be interested in that. I know how I did it. Why would I need to hear other people's silly- Ow!" John kicked him soundly beneath the table. "As I was saying, Anderson, do go on."
"You're gonna love this, Sherlock, it's hysterical! I mean, I may not have laughed when he first told me, but now that I know you're alive and well it's certainly good for a laugh!"
"Doesn't hurt to be drunk either," Sherlock muttered.
"So what, you're just going to make me tell this so you can laugh at me?!" Anderson crossed his arms in annoyance as he looked around the table. "Let's all keep in mind that I was, in the end, right! And you were wrong! I did at least know he was still alive, even if I didn't know exactly how he pulled it off!"
"Oh stop pouting like a child, Anderson, and tell the stupid story! Lestrade won't shut up till you do!" Sherlock said before drinking more of his beer. His intent may not have been to get drunk, but he certainly wanted to dull the irritation of this evening and Anderson's surely idiotic ideas. So the beer was suddenly becoming more appealing.
"Ok fine!" And then Anderson began recounting the details. He went through everything from the bungie attached to the roof, to the hypnotist who made John pass out for a couple minutes, to the mask which disguised Moriarty as Sherlock. Sherlock wore a small smirk the whole time, thinking that his way was so much better.
"...Then you bounced back up and crashed through a window. You made your way out of the hospital from there. So there you have it, that was my theory! Go ahead and laugh all you want, but I think it was rather good!"
"Course you do, Anderson. Whatever helps you sleep at night," Sherlock sneered.
"Whoa whoa whoa! Hold on a second there, Anderson!" Lestrade said grabbing him by the shoulder. "How come you just left out one of the funniest parts?"
"What part was that?"
"The part involving a certain pathologist!" Lestrade said suggestively and elbowed Anderson.
Sherlock narrowed his eyes. The detective inspector was clearly under the influence because he'd never usually throw Molly Hooper under the bus for any reason. What in the world could Anderson have theorized about Molly?
"That part wasn't important!" Anderson said waving his hand.
"Pfff! Not important?! It's funny! That's the point! Come on Anderson, tell Sherlock what happened after he crashed through the window. He'll get a kick out of this! Hurry up though, cuz Molly texted me that she is on her way and I don't think she'd find it as hilarious."
Anderson rolled his eyes. "Right fine, here goes...Sherlock you came crashing through the window and Molly was there waiting, because she'd helped you of course, as I had correctly guessed! Anyway, you untethered the bungie cord and you had to sort of shake the broken glass off your coat and your hair. As you did that, you strode over to Molly Hooper, and then..." Anderson paused to glance at Sherlock in embarrassment for a moment before continuing. "And then you grabbed her and gave her a rather passionate kiss."
John began laughing hysterically right along with Lestrade and Donovan. Sherlock's eyes doubled in size when he heard that last sentence. He was not expecting...that.
"What?" Anderson exclaimed. "I'm sorry but I fail to see how that is so very ridiculous! She helped him fake his death, thereby helping save his life. He was very grateful! Weren't you, Sherlock?!" Anderson demanded.
Sherlock cleared his throat. "I was grateful, yes. Though I must say that is rarely how I show my gratitude." He took another large swig of his beer.
"Rarely?!" Lestrade said through giggles. "How bout never! You could never have done that, Sherlock. I think we all know you too well!"
Suddenly Sherlock set his glass down and frowned at Lestrade who was trying to slow his breathing again.
"Hang on...did you say I never could have done that? Perhaps you didn't word that correctly. Do you somehow believe I am incapable of kissing a woman?"
That was when Sally Donovan spoke up. "Oh please! You can barely speak to a woman without putting her off! It doesn't take a detective to figure out that you couldn't sweep a woman off her feet to save your life!"
Sherlock glared daggers at her. "It would be a mistake to assume that my interactions with you are any indication of my skills in general with the opposite sex. If I did posses the skill to, as you say 'sweep a woman off her feet' you would certainly be the last person in the world to know about it!"
"No woman would know about it!" Donovan retorted. "Nothing with a pulse would know about it, Sherlock Holmes! The only thing your passionate about is your own freakish brain!"
"Aw come on, Sherlock, it's funny!" Lestrade said, clearly trying to diffuse the situation a bit. In his alcohol induced state, he had only thought to get a laugh out of Sherlock. But of course he didn't want to turn this into an insult session. "We know you, so I could imagine you thinking it was just as silly as I did!"
As Sherlock finished that second beer on a stomach that had been empty all day, he could feel his brain being just a tiny bit altered. Normally this sort of teasing at his expense wouldn't make him blink, but he felt his irritation levels rising rapidly. These morons had no idea what he was and wasn't capable of. And they had no clue what sort of skills he possessed in the way of passion. He never did like to be deemed lacking in anything...
"Oh yes, so very silly," he said with a rather straight face. "You know me so well."
John looked a bit concerned as he watched Sherlock. He picked up on the irritation at this point, and hoped Sherlock was going to keep things reasonably pleasant.
"Hi guys!" the sweet voice said, approaching the table.
The whole table uttered their hellos to Molly as she took a seat. She sat next to Lestrade who had pulled another chair up for her.
"Sorry I'm late. Took me a while to get out of there tonight. Hope I didn't miss anything important." She looked around the table.
A couple people giggled a bit at her innocent question. Sherlock offered a small smile though. "Only if you count drunken idiocy as important."
"Surprised you're here, Sherlock. I didn't think John would be able to convince you. Are you wearing jeans?" she asked incredulously.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "How is this meant to be appropriate attire if it only looks strange for people to see me like this?!" he demanded of John.
"I think you look nice, Sherlock. I was just noticing, that's all." Molly took a drink of the beer that Lestrade had requested for her.
Sherlock observed the way she kept feeling the base of her left ring finger, where there was no longer a ring. But he noticed that every time she did it, she smiled very slightly to herself. She wasn't truly upset that it was over. Whatever the circumstances of her broken engagement, he could tell that deep down Molly knew it was for the best. He was in fact glad that she was now here.
"Any particularly fascinating autopsies today, Molly?" Sherlock questioned, leaning forward on the table to hear her over the music that was playing.
"Oh, um, let me think..."
"No talking about work allowed!" Donovan said, leaning over Lestrade and pointing at Molly. "You're supposed to be having fun. Don't let him bully you!"
"I do not bully her!" Sherlock spat back at her. "She happens to posses one of the best minds at this table, so please forgive me if I prefer to speak to her about something intelligent rather than watching your drunken flirtations with Anderson!"
Donovan set her lips tightly together and turned away again in frustration.
Molly couldn't help but giggle. She never personally enjoyed Donovan's company. And of course it always irritated her no end that the woman was so hard on Sherlock.
For the next hour or so Molly did indulge Sherlock in the events of the day. She didn't have anything terribly thrilling to share, but she tried to share as much detail as possible, considering the fact that she realized he'd rather be anywhere but here at the moment. And of course she let him interrupt her in order to make his own deductions after hearing some of her findings in each case. Molly couldn't help thinking that if these people wanted to welcome him back they should have gifted the poor man a double homicide case instead of taking him out for a drink!
Finally, around eleven thirty, John announced he needed to head home to Mary. He already felt bad for leaving her at home, but it wasn't exactly the thing to bring a largely pregnant woman to a pub. Sherlock, of course, didn't complain about leaving. He did stop though, as he was putting his coat on, to thank Lestrade for the night. He also thanked Molly for her company.
"It's been a pleasure, Molly. Thank you for making this last hour bearable," he said quite honestly.
Her cheeks were pleasantly rosy and her eyes sparkled as she smiled up at him and nodded. He wasn't sure at this point if it was from the two beers she'd consumed by then, or if it was the attention he was showing her. Perhaps it was the alcohol he had in his system, but he had the sudden urge to say, You see that Donovan?! Perhaps your deductions about my abilities with a woman were just as stupid as I said they were!
"Well goodnight everyone!" John said with a slight lag in his words. He'd had double what Sherlock had.
They began to walk away and were almost to the door when Sherlock heard Donovan say something to Molly.
"Well thank God he's finally gone! Now you can actually enjoy yourself! Maybe now you might have the chance to meet a real man tonight!"
That did it.
Sherlock stopped in his tracks. John halted in the doorway as he saw that Sherlock wasn't moving forward.
"Sherlock? What is it? Are you coming?"
"In a moment, John," he said in a strangely calm and controlled voice. Then he turned around to face the direction of their friends again.
"Oh Molly?" Sherlock called back over to the table, and she looked over at him. "Molly, I almost forgot something. Could you come here a minute?"
Molly immediately got up from her seat and began walking toward the door. The rest of the party was watching as well, since Sherlock had to yell over to get Molly's attention. As she made her way over to where Sherlock stood, he began taking quick strides over to meet her halfway. In the space of that ten second stride Sherlock also reached up and quickly loosened and yanked off the scarf that was, as always, looped in the front of his neck. He then literally tossed the scarf behind him where it happened to land on the head of an unsuspecting man who sat at a neighboring table. Just as Molly was starting to open her mouth to ask what he was doing, she was stopped short.
And everyone else's mouths dropped to the floor.
Sherlock halted only when he'd come toe to toe with her, and the split second before he'd reached forward to grab her head in his hands and cradle her face. He didn't hesitate even a bit as he dove downward and pressed a strong, insistent, and passionate kiss to her lips.
Sherlock felt Molly let out a slight gasp at the first contact of his lips, but then she almost instantly relaxed against him and he felt her hands dart up to hold tight to the collar of his coat. Her mouth then responded more than willingly against his own... nd the kiss was very mutually deepened.
The fire from that kiss was palpable to just about everyone who had functioning eyesight.
"I knew it! I knew it! What did I say?!" Anderson exclaimed as he pounded a fist on the table and glared at the rest of them. But nobody else could even pick their jaws up from the ground, let alone make any sort of answer.
Sherlock kissed Molly till he felt dizzy and began to forget why he had even started this in the first place. He was only jolted back to reality when he felt her fingers leave the fabric of his coat collar and slide up against the bare skin of his neck. He finally pulled his face away, gently separating their now swollen lips. They stared back at each other while trying to still their unsteady and heavy breathing. Molly's pupils consumed almost the entire iris in her eyes and he could only assume, to his slight embarrassment, that his looked about the same.
Sherlock was vaguely aware that a few random tables of people started clapping. But for the moment, he could only focus his gaze on Molly. He cleared his throat and swallowed before attempting to speak.
"Forgive me, Molly...I- I needed to...prove a point." He finally slid his hands away from her face. They suddenly felt empty as they hung by his sides. She let her hands fall away from his neck as well.
"N-nothing to uh...forgive," she tried to say evenly, but her voice cracked of course. She had to then clear her own throat and quickly lick her lips before saying anything else. "I'm not sure what you were trying to er, prove...but I'm sure you proved it."
Sherlock's mouth curled in a small smile as he looked down at the sweet woman smiling back at him. Then he straightened himself and fixed his collar again, turning to face the rest at the table.
"Well, now I think I'm ready to head home everyone. Again, it's been a pleasure...Molly," he said, softening his voice as he looked down at her again and nodded.
Then he walked back the way he'd come, taking his scarf from the man who held it out to him expectantly. "Thank you sir," he uttered as he looped it around his neck once more. And with that, he walked out the door that John was still holding in a state of shock.
Greg Lestrade turned to the rest of the table and they all stared at each other. Finally he spoke.
"Oh. My. God. I don't think I've ever sobered up so fast in all of my life."
Molly stood frozen where she stood with a small smile plastered on her face. It was a whole minute till she was able to move and come sit down again with a thud in her seat. She turned after a moment and faced Donovan with a grin.
"Anything else you'd like to say, Sally?"
Sally Donovan raised an eyebrow and could only avert her gaze, unable to come up with any sort of reply. The rest of the table snickered.
...Except of course for Anderson, who sat there with his arms crossed, nodding his head and looking very pleased with himself.
"I told you so," he said again proudly. "I told you! Now who's lowering the IQ of the entire street?!"