Actions

Work Header

Guardian Angel

Work Text:

In the beginning, before anything pulsed with life or tasted the air, the Angels were created.

Winged, ethereal beings made with the purest of forms, they were formed by the hands of the Creator. The Creator had then started to sketch out the beginnings of the Universe and settled the Angels within the immature body. From there, the Universe began to truly take shape: stars, planets, galaxies, and things to fill the spaces in between. Such was the origin of the Human race.

Humans were fashioned in the Angels' image, though when compared to them, the Angels were far more superior in mind, body, and soul. The Humans were settled on Earth to find their own beginnings and endings; to evolve and learn and start to see.

Around the time Humans developed a higher intelligence, the Creator assigned the Angels as the protectors of the Human race. Very few stayed behind to help the Creator, as many Angels wished not to go against Their command.

An Angel was assigned to a Human for as long as the mortal's soul lived. A maximum of nine reincarnations were possible for that individual's soul, then they were automatically sent to Paradise. Humans were allowed to try for Paradise before their nine reincarnations were spent, but if the values of their past lives weren't enough to be sent to Paradise, then they were given a chance to go back to Earth and try to live a better life than one's past. Rarely were Humans sent to burn in the Eternal Fire for punishment, even rarer Angels, but it has happened, as the being's soul was far beyond repair that even the Creator couldn't fix.

Angels weren't allowed as much freedom as one would think.

They weren't to come in contact with their Human until that Human was past their fifth incarnation. Ironically enough, they weren't even allowed to protect them until then. Death was to take its own course.

Angels couldn't reveal themselves to their assigned individual until, once again, after the Human's fifth incarnation.

A Human's soul could reincarnate in various places at various times. Spaces between incarnations could last anywhere from twenty-four hours to one hundred years, as the Creator took Their time in deciding the fate of the soul. In the meantime, the Angel was given that time off to rest and do as they pleased.

However, there was one very stringent rule, exercised to the extreme in the beginning: do not love the Human, and do not allow them to love you back.

Angels rarely rebelled against the rules. Why would they? What was the point? Their own species was well enough for them.

One particular young Angel didn't think so. At least, he didn't after a few hundred years.
~*~
Before the fifth incarnation, don't touch them. Don't speak to them. Don't show yourself.

Don't try and save them from her fate.

That was what he was told the day he was assigned to a Human.

His elder brother had him memorize the rules, taking random moments to press him about them up until the Ceremony.

He glanced around, sneering slightly. Everyone in the room looked to be about the age of a teenage Human, yet the youngest in Angel years had to be at least three hundred years. All the others were whispering excited, their wings ruffling faintly in the background. He caught various snitches of conversations, but the most protruding thought was which Human soul was to be assigned to them. Would they be troublesome? Bubbly? Depressed?

With a roll of his eyes, the young Angel propped his chin onto his hand, sinking further into his chair. What did he care? He had, at the least, a few minutes before he was to be sent to Earth to follow around a Human soul for perhaps tens of millennia. Once it was over, he'd be given the choice to serve the Creator or take another soul underneath his wing, so to speak.

Ruffling his curls, he stood up and stretched, yawning widely. Behind him, his wings spread then lazily folded against his back. Just as he sat back down, a hush grew. The Creator had seemingly appeared from nowhere, as They seem to do.

They allowed a little smile to drift across Their lips. "Today's the day, hm? Nervous?"

A few shaky titters filled the room. The Angel in the far back allowed himself a stifled sigh. Behind the Creator, he could see his infuriating older brother standing stoically behind Them.

"Don't be. Besides, if you follow the rules, you'll be just fine," They cooed. Heads bobbed in agreement.

Older Angels filed into the room and settled in seats rather far away from the large gathering of younger ones. They had already been through the Guardian process, had now been given free range.

Once the whole process of excruciatingly dull speeches was over, the Assignment began.

The Creator went down the list of the young Angels in the room. They were given a Human soul to track, the Creator gave them a blessing in Latin—the tongue of the Angels, yet they usually conversed in English—and they were sent to Earth, not to be seen for a long while.

As the young Angel approached the front of the line, watching all the others disappear with eager looks on their faces, he knew that there was a big possibility of being assigned a rather boring Human soul. Unflattering to think about, but there wasn't any way to change the Creator's mind.

"William." Ah. The idiot was making his appearance.

With a rather forced smile, he turned to face his brother. "Brother, dear. How very nice to see you here for my Assignment," he drawled.

Sniffing indignantly, his brother glared slightly as him. "You know the rules, William, do not break them—"

"It's Sherlock, Mycroft, you old cow. And I don't need another quiz over the rules, thanks," Sherlock spat, his eyes narrowing.

Mycroft tutted. "The Creator won't think it very wise to send you down to Earth, you know," he said condescendingly. "You know how Mummy and Father would be devastated to learn that you've been sent to burn..."

"Shut it, Mycroft, I don't need to hear that," Sherlock hissed. "Why are you here? I thought that you had to look after that one Human woman you seem to like...Anthea, was it?"

There it was: the nerve had been struck. Mycroft straightened, his face contorting in fury, his wings starting to quiver dangerously.

However, before he could do anything rash to Sherlock, the Creator called out his name.

With a last sweet smile towards Mycroft, the seemingly teenage Sherlock strode towards the front where the Creator was patiently waiting.

"William Holmes?" They repeated once Sherlock was stood in front of Them. Sherlock nodded, not even caring that They didn't use Sherlock. He just wanted to get this over with.

The Creator winked at Sherlock. "You're a lucky one. You'll be the Guardian of a Human woman by the name of Molly Hooper."

Sherlock merely nodded. Molly Hooper...he supposed her name could've been worse.

"You know the rules?"

Another obedient nod.

They gave a happy hum. "Good. Ready to go?"

Once again, Sherlock nodded, this time casting a look towards Mycroft. His brother gave him the beginnings of a smile.

"Give me the Promise," challenged the Creator.

Sherlock took in a deep breath. He made eye contact with Mycroft and didn't break it as he recited the one phrase Mycroft had made absolutely sure he knew backwards and forwards.

"Promitto protectand defendere humanitatis fit in terris, usque ad tempus," he breathed.

The Creator beamed at Sherlock. "Wonderful. You're one hundred percent ready, yes?"

Sherlock smirked slightly. "Yes," he replied easily.

The Creator patted Sherlock's shoulder, then They began murmuring words and lines and things that Sherlock couldn't event hope to decipher.

The last thing Sherlock saw before leaving for Earth was his brother gazing at him almost proudly.

Quite unsettling.
~*~
The first thing Sherlock noticed about Molly Hooper was her deep, chocolate eyes, always brimming with the emotions flying about in that head of hers.

Cinnamon tresses spilled down her shoulders, nearly touching the bottom of her spine. Usually she plaited it, but on occasion she put it into a bun or a ponytail.

Her first incarnation was born in the year 1912 in the little state of Oklahoma in the United States.

She was born to a single mother with two siblings: a sister and a brother.

As a child, Molly had a fascination with flying things. Birds, beetles, fireflies, butterflies.

Angels.

Catholic born, she went to church every Sunday. Molly prayed for wings; her mother prayed for stability and protection. Molly's sister didn't believe in a higher power, so she merely stayed silent while the people in the building sang the hymns and recited the prayers. Molly's brother believed in a God, but he didn't know if singing and prayer was the right way to go about praising him. He participated, if rather reluctantly.

Angels, above all things, amazed Molly. Humans with wings? Maybe one day she too could get her wings and fly with them.

Then one night, when Molly had been thirteen for only a week, her sister was taken away from her.

During the middle of the night, men in black silently stole into their home. They entered the eldest's siblings bedroom while Sherlock stood back and watched. He noted with little satisfaction that one of the thieves kept glancing back towards him nervously, though the thief couldn't see Sherlock.

Ever so gently—the cruel part was that the thieves had handled the girl like she was the most precious thing on Earth—they injected the girl with the drug to keep her from moving or speaking or, God forbid, cry out for help and took her limp form into the dead of the night.

When Molly awoke the next morning, her mother was turning the ouse upside down. Molly glanced around. "Where'd Macy go, Mum?"

Her voice was soft and silvery, but a tremor shook it a bit as she saw the insane shimmer in her mother's eyes. "They've taken her, Molly dearest...came in the house in the middle of the night and swept her away...they've gone and taken my baby away from me...go with your brother into town, see if they've seen her..."

As Molly left with her brother, her mother kept babbling under her breath. Sherlock lingered in the background for a while watching the mother. A sudden pang struck him. He could've stopped this from happening. He watched the kidnapping happen before his very eyes. His wings rustled behind him uneasily. Sherlock wanted to stay back and make sure the mother didn't do anything particularly bitter, but he had a dedication to the girl.

So instead he followed the two Hoopers overhead, gliding on his wings. Though he knew no one could see him, least of all Molly, he didn't dare beat his wings too hard.

All day, the two went through the town, asking desperately if they had seen their other sibling.

No one had.

Molly found out later that her sister was sold as a prostitute then killed. Her body was never found.

As Molly grew, her mother fell deeper and deeper into a pit of despair, drinking her pitiful life away, and wasting the little money they could get their hands on. Molly and her brother cooked, cleaned, and worked for their parent, seeing as she could barely function normally anymore.

Molly knew as a child she had a guardian angel to watch over her every move and guide her way, protecting her from harm. The older she got, the more she lost that bit of hope. Where, she wondered hundreds of times, were they when she needed her guardian angel most?

World War II started the year that Molly's mother finally died. The funeral was short; Molly knew none of the attendees.

Her brother drafted himself into the service when the war started. She never did hear from him much afterwards.

Then one day, out of what seemed spitefulness, she signed up to serve as well. She enlisted into the Army Air Forces. However, she knew that men were more sought for in the battlefield than women.

Molly Hooper cut her hair, bound her breasts, changed her first name to "Michael" and worked on deepening her voice.

Molly Hooper? Who was she?

Molly was taught to fly a plane the first month she was in training. The fourth month in, she mastered the aerial art of piloting. The month after that, she was finally put into action.

She finally had her wings and flew them well.

Michael "Mike" Hooper was well-known throughout her division.

They never realized it was a woman who piloted a plane so carefully and precise.

One day, when she was toting supplies to another post in Europe in her plane ("Macy", Molly had dubbed it—Sherlock made the connection instantly), tragedy struck.

Molly didn't see the enemy behind her.

In a flash and a deafening boom, Molly's plane was hit. Her seat didn't eject properly.

Sherlock watched, in dismay, as Molly's plane went crashing thousands of feet down, down, down; down to the ground below. Amazingly enough, Molly was still alive in her plane, but not for long.

Through the smoke and fire and ashes, Molly's weak coughing filled the air. She called, begged, pleaded for help, crying and sobbing. Slowly, though, the voice became weaker, feebler and shakier. The smoke had filled her lungs, clogging her throat and slowly enveloping her form, snaking its ugly arms around her in a choke hold.

Sherlock cautiously landed a few feet away and approached the plane. He bit his bottom lip hard. Don't go yet, not yet, she's hanging on...

With a last attempt at survival, Molly began to bang on the window of her plane, trying to dislodge it so she could crawl out and find help and live.

Faintly, Sherlock caught her voice, now dampened from the smoke and the tears trailing down her face.

"Please...somebody, anybody...I-I need help! I...don't want to die...oh Christ, save me..." Her words trailed away, left to drip down the windows and puddle on the ground beneath her.

Swallowing thickly, Sherlock approached the plane. He stood before the wreckage of glass and twisted, furled metal. He saw her face pressed against the foggy glass, her hand ringing weakly at the material. Her mouth still moved even as her eyes closed and her breathing slowed. Blood was trickling from her mouth and a cut above her eye. Dizzily, Sherlock realized a dark spot was staining her uniform on her stomach. Her plane radio crackled quietly in the background.

Just before Molly faded away, Sherlock caught her repeating the same words.

"Please, God, let me live..."

Then all was silent, save for the slow groaning of her metal plane and the radio, which slowly faded as well.

Sherlock took in a shaky breath, and he slowly pried the window away. He reached inside and gathered Molly's soul into his arms, cradling it gingerly.

It felt like worn denim on an old pair of jeans. Tough yet soft, Sherlock thought a little bitterly.

With a last glance at the still body of Molly Hooper (she'd be buried with the name of Michael Hooper, unless the coroner finds her secret, which they undoubtedly would), Sherlock spread his wings and flew speedily upwards.

Her soul was light to carry, much to Sherlock's surprise.
~*~
When Sherlock arrived back at the Creator's domain, Molly's soul in his arms, They were speaking to another Angel, who also carried a soul. The shock of witnessing his Human's first death was still rather fresh in Sherlock's mind. It pained him, though he didn't fancy Molly much at all (Why would he?), that all he could do was watch the girl die. This was to happen a maximum of nine times. How he was going to manage, Sherlock had not a clue.

"Sherlock. You're back rather soon," came a familiar voice behind him. Startled from his thoughts, Sherlock turned around to face Mycroft, blinking as if he'd been staring into sunlight for too long.

Mycroft glanced down at Molly's soul. Souls often looked like the Human's incarnation when they had died. Quietly, the soul gave a little murmur and stirred in Sherlock's arms. She looked as if she was merely asleep, having a rather nice dream, as Molly was smiling slightly.

"She died young, hm?" Mycroft said softly. Sherlock huffed out a sigh.

"Honestly, Mycroft, I never took you as the type to state the obvious," Sherlock snapped. Mycroft tutted, much to Sherlock's disgust.

"Still trying to get over her death, I see. It was the same for me, I must say." Mycroft quirked a brow, leaning on his umbrella. When and where did he get an umbrella?

Mycroft smiled faintly. "Would you like to hear a bit of advice from me?" He asked.

Sherlock scowled, adjusting Molly's soul in his arms. "Oh, piss off," he growled, but there was a hint of curiosity.

"Keep yourself distanced. I don't really mean physically, of course, but emotionally and mentally. When you pick up her soul, do not think about it. She doesn't know you exist; therefore, you should act as if she doesn't exist as well. It'll soften the blow of her death."

Enraged, Sherlock snarled at his brother, "Why? What's the point?"

Smiling grimly, Mycroft replied breezily, "Else you'll become attached. I know how you are, Sherlock."

Breathing deeply, Sherlock turned away. He let his eyes flutter shut as his brother walked away.

"By the way," he heard Mycroft call, "you really should think about shaving. You look nearly eighteen in Human years."
~*~
The Creator gazed at Sherlock steadily, Their eyes flickering down to Molly's soul in his arms once in a while.

"So," They started. "How did Molly do?"

Sherlock once again shifted her soul in his arms. It was getting heavy. "She...well, she died in battle. In her plane. She was shot down by an enemy," he replied.

They relaxed back in Their chair. "She could very well be entered into Paradise to stay, Sherlock. She died a war hero," They said softly.

Sherlock gazed down at Molly's soul in his arms. "Shouldn't she be granted another chance at life? She didn't get to live as long as most humans do," he said quietly.

The Creator laughed heartily. "Sherlock, my boy, Molly should have a say in all of this as well," he said.

With a wave of Their hand, Molly sat up in Sherlock's arms, blinking sleepily. When she saw the Creator, she smiled shyly and dipped her head.

"Paradise or another life, my dear?" They asked softly, lifting her head to meet Their gaze by tipping her chin up with Their fingers.

Molly's soul tilted its head in thought. She paused for a moment, hesitating on her words. Finally, she forced her thoughts out from their hiding place. "I'd like another chance at life," she said quietly.

Smiling warmly, the Creator nodded to Sherlock. Gently, he set Molly's soul into the Creator's arms. They murmured a few words into Molly's ear, and she instantly fell asleep. In the blink of an eye, she was gone.

"Her soul will be rebuilding itself and finding a body. It'll take a while. In the meantime, you'll get a little break. You can stay here and roam Paradise, or you can go back to Earth. It doesn't matter to me either way," They said, getting up and stretching a little.

Sherlock furrowed his brows. "I'll...stay here," he muttered.

He got up and strode away, his hands clasped behind his back. A soft sigh escaped Sherlock. With a look around him, he spread his wings and shot into the open space, closing his eyes and trying to pry the image of Molly's broken body in her smoldering plane from his mind palace.

He wished that he couldn't remember things in such great detail.
~*~
It took only two days for Molly's soul to reincarnate itself.

During that timeframe, Sherlock changed into a smarter looking suit and shaved. He set his curls into order, ate a little, and organized his mind palace.

Every Angel was given a mind palace, though not every Angel used it to its full potential. Sherlock and his brother certainly did.

In the two days, an Angel had been sent into the Fire to burn as well as two Humans. Sherlock couldn't quite remember the Angel's name. He had sent a chilly feeling down Sherlock's spine when he first spotted the corrupted Angel.

What was his name? Something like James or Jim...

Angels that were sent to burn in the Eternal Fire were to become Demons, tormenting Humans and Angels alike. They were given three chances to change their ways and go back to Paradise, else they remained as the despising creatures they had changed into. Only once or twice had a Demon changed their way.

No one really knew why Angels corroded like that.

Of course, there was another matter at hand. An Angel had had an affair with their Human, then he had saved the Human's life when he was trapped in a car.

Mycroft was reportedly handling the matter, but there were multiple sides to the disagreement. Some Angels were happy with the Angel's decision, but others called for his punishment, as he had disobeyed the rules while the Angel clearly knew he was doing so.

When Sherlock found out that Molly had reincarnated, he was given a few minutes to compose himself. He stared at his reflection in the mirror.

It was just another few decades.

He could make it.
~*~
Her second reincarnation was born in the year 67 AD in a little Roman town near the province of Naples in Italy.

Born to poor parents, Molly was to become practically a slave girl from the young age of seven to scrape up food and money. An earthquake a few years prior had left the city in shambles. Though most of the buildings had been rebuilt already, there was still much work to be done, and families were still left with nothing, usually to fight on the streets for food like dogs, or become servants for the wealthy, like Molly.

Molly's family lived in a little shack near the house of the elected rulers that watched over the city. Molly was sent there every day to work hard for many hours, then she was sent home with a little basket of food and (if she had worked particularly hard that day) a small bag of money.

"Do as they tell you to," her father once told her as she prepared to leave, "and ask no questions. Don't even dare think about talking or leaving without permission."

"Yes, father," was all Molly had replied with.

The governors ended up liking Molly, not only for her quickness for replying to demands but also for her silence and ultimate submission to them as soon as she walked into the house.

She was paid well for her duties.

This particular day was rather sunny and bright. Molly took delight in hopping across the streets on the stones laid in the middle, humming quietly to herself. Often she waved to horse drivers and bakers and other children. She was in a good mood.

Sherlock noted, as he followed her from behind, that she didn't see the smoke curling from the mountains behind her.

As Molly adjusted her clothing and pulled her hair into a bun with a ribbon, Sherlock glanced around the city. He had heard multiple times from Molly's parents that the city had been prosperous and beautiful before the earthquake. He could believe it too, as lush lawns and towering structures and flowing fountains were found everywhere, except many were in ruin or repair.

Molly took in a deep breath and knocked on the door. "Salve." With a jolt, Sherlock realized that she was speaking in Latin. "Ego habere venisset."

A young woman, around eighteen or nineteen, answered the door. "Intrant," she said softly.

When Molly entered, her entire demeanor changed. She became much more sullen, keeping extremely quiet even when moving about. Inside, there were a few men sat around a table, discussing things quietly. Molly strode to the corner of the room, standing stiffly as she held a jar of wine.

More than once, the men called for her to refill their goblets, giving her a smile here and there. Molly returned the smile warmly.

At twelve years old, Molly was surprisingly sweet to her peers, as her mother often reminded her to be so. This age of adolescence usually left the children snarky and disrespectful, but Molly refrained from doing things as such, despite feeling the need to argue about something unfair in her eyes once in while

"After all, we never know when the gods will decide to wipe our existence from this planet," she said to Molly as she tucked her daughter into bed one night.

She didn't question much. It wasn't her job to. Her job was to serve and be paid.

As the sun had began to sink, the sky darkening, Molly was finally bid a farewell and dismissed. Molly bowed her head respectfully as she received a basket of bread and grapes and a few coins for her services.

What Molly found when she walked outside was that there was smoke clouding the air. She fanned the air in front of her, coughing slightly, while squinting her eyes to gaze at the mountains. Smoke was belching into the atmosphere at a steady pace, rumbles shaking the ground a few times.

The sun, she realized, was only a little past the noon mark. The dark sky was the product of ash and smoke.

Concerned citizens were gradually filtering into the streets. Molly pushed past them and started running home. A sick feeling was growing in the pit of her stomach. Sherlock watched sorrowfully as she doubled over multiple times to catch her breath, dry heaving while tears threatened her eyes.

Her home was in sight. Only a few hundred meters to go.

While running towards it, she started shouting, hoping her parents would hear her.

"Mama! Papa! There's something wrong...Vulcanalia didn't like the sacrifices, he's gotten upset—!"

A thunderous roar shook the ground violently, sending Molly onto the ground with a gasp. She glanced up, tears rolling down her face, into the ashes and dust. Screams pierced the dead silence, wailing coming shortly afterwards. Rubble had crashed and undoubtedly killed many in its decent.

Gagging, Molly got to her feet. She stumbled the last few feet to her home.

Or what was left.

Instantly, Molly noted the blood seeping from the pile of rubbish. Bile rose in her throat, and Molly vomited on the ground, sinking to her knees. From the impact of her parents death, the shock of the quakes, and the shame of throwing up, Molly began to weep.

She didn't move from her spot, instead curling into the fetal position and shuddering. Her eyes fluttered shut as she heard the sound of footsteps thudding on the ground, frantic shouting, and sorrowful shrieking.

Warm tears felt their way down Molly's face, forming a little collection on the stones beneath.

Molly opened her eyes the moment the volcano erupted with a deafening bellow.

She was granted an instant death from the intense heat, her body buried beneath hundred of pounds of ash, the pose in which she had died to be preserved for centuries afterwards.

Only a few seconds after her death did Sherlock enact in his part. He didn't think about it as he lifted her soul in her arms, as per instruction of his brother. A sour thought occurred to him, fleeing as soon as it had appeared:

What's the point of Guardians if they aren't even protecting?

The name of Molly's village had been Pompeii.

And Molly's soul was as smooth and soft as silk in his embrace.
~*~
Half a decade passed before Molly was reincarnated.

Lots of things happened in the time between.

The Angel whom had been the high point of scrutiny after saving their Human and having an affair with them was to be ruled guilty of unlawful actions.

Mycroft had nearly gotten the Angel away as not guilty, but at the last moment, others' minds had begun to change.

As punishment for his actions, the Angel was to be stripped of his wings and cast back to Earth to live out the rest of his days as a Human. The Human that the Angel had guarded wouldn't remember him or his actions.

Sherlock had seen the tears in the Angel's eyes as he practically pleaded with the Creator. He noted that the Creator would barely look at the Angel, a guilty expression passing over Their face.

The Angel was forced onto his knees, his mouth moving with the lost words of fear and anger that he spewed in a blind rampage. Another Angel brought a long blade to the ones that would be given the job of cutting off the limbs. Around the size of a sword, it was silver, rubies the color of blood dripping down the handle, faintly glowing in the growing dusk.

In horror and disgust thousands of other Angels watched as the forsaken being was held down, his wings sawed off by the royal blade. Coldly did the metal gleam as it sliced through feathers, skin, muscles, and bone. Ears rang with the sound of the Angel's screams of agony and cries of repentance.

When the deed was done, the Angel lying in a puddle of blood and tears, panting over his sobs, the Creator stood. They made Their way over to the Angel, looking down at the Angel with a blank expression.

"Rise, Lucifer."

Slowly, the Angel stumbled to his feet, grimacing in pain. Sherlock could already see the wounds healing in his back.

"I...am sorry." They bowed Their head slightly. "But this is the punishment you've been damned to for breaking an ages-long rule."

Silence filled the room. Outside, the two suns were already descending underneath the horizon, casting their last hopeful rays over the eternal fields of Paradise, which had little houses scattered here and there.

In the House of the Creator, the largest room—the commons room—was used for ceremonies only, as it was to fit thousands upon thousands of Angels into its space.

Each head was turned to the scene upon the middle of the floor.

Then something inside of Lucifer seemed to explode.

A twitch of his lips similar to that of a smile showed briefly on his face. Before anyone had any idea as to what was happening, his hands had snaked around the Creator's neck, slowly squeezing.

"You know what? I don't regret what I did. Why should I? I did what I was assigned to do: I protected. I protected and I loved that man. What's the fucking point of Guardians if we aren't meant to protect?!" Lucifer's voice had constantly gotten louder, almost to the point he was screaming.

Angels seized Lucifer around the waist, lifting him away from the Creator. He was still hissing and spitting, fighting in their arms.

"Send me to burn in the Eternal Fire! I'll bloody enjoy it! I'll rule it as my own! I'll set fire to the entire Universe! You're all filth, every single one of you...!"

The large oak doors slammed shut with an almighty boom. The Creator was helped to Their feet, shaking slightly.

A pregnant pause. No one spoke.

And suddenly, as if letting out a breath they had all collectively held, thousands of voices filled the room. Sherlock caught snippets here and there, most of them directed towards the Creator:

"What do we do now? What if Lucifer follows out on his threat?"

"...always knew there was something wrong with that one..."

"Ad ignis nos volo ruina! Oh, I've always known this would be it..."

The Creator had had enough. "Silence!" They roared. Immediate serenity fell upon the gathering.

They were rubbing at Their temples, sighing quietly. "Look...this certainly is a rather awful occasion—"

"Awful doesn't even begin to cover it! Lucifer was one of our best Guardians!" Yelled an Angel next to Sherlock. Scowling, he elbowed her hard in the ribs. She glared at him but did manage to shut up.

Quirking a brow, They cleared Their throat. "Perhaps so, Dahlia, but do refrain from making comments until I'm finished, hm?"

A deep scarlet blush settled on Dahlia's cheeks, and she sunk a little lower into her seat, distracting herself by plucking at her wings.

"Anyways, as I was saying...Lucifer is— well, was one of our best Guardians, certainly. He did guard over thirteen individual Human souls from the beginning up until just now." The Creator cast an uneasy look over to the puddle of rapidly drying blood and still twitching wings on the floor. "However, I'm afraid that I cannot control his own actions. If he does happen to rule the Eternal Fire, well...then so be it," They said quietly.

A murmur rose through the crowd, an unsettled rustle of wings accompanying it. The Creator rose a hand, and quiet blanketed the air again.

"There's not much we can do. You're all dismissed."

Sherlock sat alone for a while, mulling over his thoughts with a wrinkled brow. He watched as a couple of designated Angels took the discarded wings and set them on fire on top of the blood puddle. The wings soon crumbled to ash and swept away into the wind.

With a sigh, Sherlock lazily glided out of the large windows to go and find his brother. He needed something to keep him occupied.

A dark feeling pooled in his stomach. Now that he knew just how violent the punishments could get, he knew that he could never allow himself to be drawn to Molly like a moth to a flame.

Not that he had the interest to, see.

For one of the only time in his life, Sherlock knocked on Mycroft's door. Immediately, his brother answered.

"What do you want, Sherlock?"

Sherlock sniffed. "Nice to see you too, Mycroft."

A roll of his eyes, and Mycroft opened the door wider, allowing his younger brother in.

"Did you see..." Sherlock trailed off, nodding towards the Creator's House in the distance instead. Mycroft's expression softened, and he nodded slightly.

"Awful thing, that," Mycroft sighed. He sat down in one of his chairs and closed his eyes, swiping a hand down his face. "That's going to be hard to clean up and keep the others from wondering," he said slowly.

Sherlock remained by the door in case if he needed a quick escape. "Has anything like this happened before?" He asked with a frown.

Mycroft pursed his lips. "If you're talking about Angels having affairs with Humans, yes. Some Angels have had their wings cut off as punishment, left to live on Earth for the rest of their days, however numbered they may be. If they live a good life, then they're usually allowed back to Paradise, though not as an Angel. There has only been one case in which an Angel was given back his wings. He had saved a lot of lives in the little time he had been on Earth."

With a little roll of his hand, Sherlock beckoned Mycroft to keep going.

"I can't say that I remember his name, unfortunately. But it has happened."

"Has there ever been a soul or being that was brought back to Paradise even after being sent to burn?" Sherlock asked softly.

Mycroft shook his head. "Not that I have ever been told or remembered."

Sherlock was deep in thought for a while. He finally resurfaced with another question:

"Has a Human ever became an Angel?"

A nod of his brother's head. "Loads of times. Seeing as Angels aren't producing as much offspring as often as the Creator had originally thought, They often find the purest Humans in Paradise to offer the job as a Guardian Angel," Mycroft replied.

A small smile flitted across Sherlock's lips.

His brother didn't even notice. "There's been more and more reports of Angels having relationships with their Humans and saving them or touching them before their fifth incarnation. A high demand of changes and twists to the rules have also been requested," Mycroft sighed. He stood and went to the window. "I doubt that it's to happen anytime soon."

"Why do you say that?" Sherlock inquired. "The rules are rather dumb if you ask me. Lucifer did have a point. What's the point in Guardians if they don't even protect?"

Suddenly, his brother was looming over him, a combination of apprehension and rage roiling in his features. Sherlock instinctively shrunk back against the wall, his wings folding tightly against his back and the hair raising on the back of his neck.

"You do not ever say that again, Sherlock," Mycroft said in a low voice.

Sherlock narrowed his eyes. "Why? I mean, there's not a point if we aren't allowed to guard our Humans until the fifth incarnation of their soul," he hissed. "The rules are twisted and aren't logical. The Creator has no idea what They're doing. Frankly, I'm glad that Lucifer did what he did—"

A flash flew out of the corner of his eye and connected with his cheek. Sherlock fell to the ground, cradling the side of his face in shock. Blearily, he could see Mycroft standing over him, breathing heavily from barely contained rage.

"I thought...no. I knew we would have this problem with you, Sherlock...rules aren't your forte...did I not make it clear to you that you weren't to question a thing..." Mycroft's voice was trembling, his usually proud posture slouched.

Sherlock gritted his teeth, tears filling his eyes. "I hate you."

Dizzily, Sherlock got to his feet, flying out of the door and into the open air. He didn't see Mycroft still staring at the hand that he had used to slap Sherlock in disbelief.

Humans depicted Angels as intelligent, thoughtful, and bold decision makers, never making a brash move. They also thought of gods to be merciful, not to be feared if one believed.

Humans, Sherlock decided as he sat perched atop the roof of some building, were primitive, though they thought themselves higher above everything.

Standing, Sherlock went over to the edge of the roof and looked down. Hundreds of feet below him awaited the ground.

He closed his eyes and fell forward, only opening his wings at the last moment to catch the air and dart upwards.
~*~
In a little house on the very outskirts of London in 1676, Molly Hooper's third incarnation was born.

Her mother had died giving birth to her, owing much to the poor sanitation and rather awful living conditions. Molly's father had managed to scrape himself together enough to take care of his only daughter. He had been disappointed, of course, when he found that his child was a baby girl instead of a boy, but he loved Molly all the same.

After Molly's mother's funeral, the father took Molly and a few belongings and moved deeper into London. He found a good paying job as a doctor and bought them a new, bigger house. This house included a library.

From the very beginning of her life, her father read to her what he could. He taught her how to properly dress a wound and how to measure out medicines and read the labels on medicinal bottles. When she was only four, her father took her with him to his daily job. There she helped him by only retrieving the things he needed, then, as she got older, was allowed to accompany him in procedures.

By the time Molly was twelve, her father had decided it was time for a big change. He, once again, packed up and took Molly with him. This time they were going to the Americas for a chance at a higher paying job and for better living conditions.

Her father didn't survive the trip over on the ship.

He died from a disease he had caught while he had been in London, no doubt due to the fact of having come in contact with so many sick individuals. He was buried at sea.

Devastated, Molly fell into a deep depression. She didn't talk or eat for days on end, only accepting the water she was given to her by one of the ship's slaves.

That particular slave had taken a fancy to little Miss Molly, and she had tentatively begun to like him. When they had reached America, they were the best of friends, much to her peers' disgust.

Molly refused to be placed into an orphanage, and she instead bought a house with some of the money her father had left. The slave boy she made her own, as to save him from the cruel hands of the captain's wrath usually aimed at him.

The girl and her friend settled in Salem Village. Her extensive knowledge of anatomy and the warm kindness she exuded to the slave boy turned heads and raised eyebrows, but nothing was said of them.

Not at first, anyways.

Salem Village housed many deeply religious individuals. Going to church to worship was required, and not believing in God was almost certainly a death sentence.

As a child growing up, her father never expressed outward interest in religion, and as Molly thought about it, why would people believe in a God when the Universe formed by itself? She didn't worry about it too much, and she kept her thoughts to herself. However, she did go to church at first in fear of others looking down upon her, but as she aged, she grew more careless.

Meanwhile, a deeper attraction formed between her and the slave boy. More lovers than friends they were now, managing to steal a kiss here and there when others weren't looking.

However, a heightening fear of the supernatural began to peek through. Women and men alike were starting to be accused of witchcraft, as strange fits in children and older persons showed up almost at random. The simplest of cases, such as one person touching another or merely being in the room, doomed some; others were accused of killing another's livestock or infecting them, touching the children in disturbing ways, and even of "too much knowledge".

On a cloudy day, when rain was just beginning to sprinkle and Molly was chattering away happily with her lover, Molly's door sounded with a booming knock.

She casted her lover a warm smile before going to answer the door. "I'll be right back, Jacob, it's probably Mrs. Denise asking for her medicine," she cooed to him.

Was she ever so wrong.

At the door stood a man holding a paper in one hand and rope as well as a grain sack in the other. He was trying to still his nickering horse, who was jerking nervously underneath the reins.

Molly's smile faded slightly. "May I help you?" She asked politely, her eyes drifting to the knife at his belt before snapping back up.

The man cleared his throat, glancing down at the paper. "Miss Molly Hooper, aged sixteen, you're under arrest for accusations of witchcraft and unlawful relations with a slave boy. Do not make any foul moves, else you won't live long enough to breathe another word," he said carefully. At this, Molly gasped, her eyes widening slightly.

She had barely enough time to think of a retort proclaiming her innocence before the grain sack descended over her head, the rope winding around her wrists in a tight knot. Molly struggled as the man placed her onto his horse, and she cried out Jacob's name as something hard hit her over the head. Blackness clouded her vision, and she slumped helplessly against the horse's neck.

Sherlock watched from afar as the horse sped off towards the town jailhouse. The slave boy—no, Jacob—had ran out of the house, shouting for Molly in despair.

The Angel decided it to be best to go to the jailhouse to watch over Molly (not to protect, he thought sardonically). Silently he swept over the heads of the other Humans milling about the village aimlessly. A pang hit his heart when he saw the gallows sitting threateningly in the middle of the town.

When Molly had finally awoken, she found herself locked away in a stone cell, rusty iron bars keeping her from escaping. A small window was cut into the rock, but to Molly's dismay, there were iron bars there to keep from escaping. She picked herself up groggily from the filthy hay that had hurriedly been stuffed in the corner and staggered over to the the iron. Her hands had been left tied, but thankfully her feet were still free.

"Is there anyone out there? Please, I'm not...I'm not evil, I'm not a witch...oh my, oh..." Molly stumbled back until she fell onto her rump. She lifted a hand to the back of her head in a daze with a little difficulty. Her hair was sticky with blood, most likely from the blow over the head. Pain screamed in her mind, and the fear and sickness that mixed in with it didn't help.

Molly had heard of the fates of the accused, of course. They were hanged, burnt at the stake, drawn and quartered...

Paling, Molly crawled over to the corner opposite of the hay and retched. The smell filled the cell, and Molly wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her dress weakly. She made her way back over to the hay and cried herself to sleep.

The next morning, Molly awoke to see that a plate of stale bread and rather muddy water had been pushed hastily into her cell. She was disgusted to find rats gathered around the resources, already chewing into the bread. Molly waved them away, picked off the parts that the rats had touched, and stuffed the bread into her mouth, chewing greedily. Only when she was desperate for a drink did Molly sip from the bowl.

Later that day, just as Molly was nodding off, the door to her cell opened. She jumped up and gave a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness, you've found that I'm not actually a witch, right?" She breathed, her eyes wide as she stared at the crooked old woman standing before her in the flickering light of the candles.

The look in the lady's eyes made Molly waver. "Right?" She repeated carefully.

A nearly toothless grin was given to Molly, at the price of Molly's shudder. "Th' sheriff wanted me ta give ya this," the lady rasped in a heavy accent. It was then that Molly saw one of her arms being held behind her back. "Told me that it was a gift in response ta all the bewitchin' ya've been doin'."

Too late did Molly realize to step back. Something heavy and particularly damp was flung at her, and Molly barely had time to catch it before the lady swept away.

In the dying light, Molly turned the thing over in her hands, her eyes squinted. It was smooth, leathery almost, and there were damp spots here and there, not to mention hair...

Her heart nearly tore itself from her chest when she saw what it was. She dropped it and backed away rapidly towards the wall, chest heaving, mouth moving with inaudible words, eyes filled to the brim with tears and wide as saucers.

Someone—the sheriff, her brain shouted—had beheaded Jacob, her poor, loving, thoughtful Jacob, whom she had taught to read and all she knew, and sent that lady along with his head to give to Molly in her cell as some sort of sick joke to drive her nutters.

Molly finally found out the use of her lungs. She filled them with air...

...and let out the loudest, most blood-curdling scream anyone in the village had ever had the displeasure of hearing.

She screamed until the dogs were howling in the distance. She screamed until every single villager was looking out of their windows nervously, however faintly they heard the shriek. She screamed her vocal cords to bits, and she finally passed out as the lack of air and over-powering adrenaline took her as their own.

Molly stayed in the little rat infested cell with moldy hay in one corner as a bed and the head of her past lover, staring aimlessly as the rodents chewed their way into the skull through the eyes, for three days total. In that timeframe, Molly had vomited five times (most of it was stomach acid and bile, burning her from the inside out and leaving a bitter taste in her mouth), ate and drank once, slept nearly all of the days away, and was visited by the lady two times: once for the head, and again for the information of her execution.

On the fourth day, she was taken from her cell, filthy and starving and dehydrated as she was, stripped of her clothing, and paraded through town. Many of the men leered at her; the women shouted obscenities at her; the children spat and threw mud and animal feces at her.

Hanging would be better than having to live in a town such as this, Molly decided.

She was led up to the gallows and stood on a tall stool. The necklace of rope was draped around her neck, and it caressed her skin gently, almost tenderly.

A shaky breath was taken in by her when the sheriff stopped in front of her. The crowds behind him cheered then went deathly silent as he lifted a hand for them to stop.

Quiet brushed past Molly's ears. Then the arrogant voice of the sheriff broke through the barrier.

"Did you like that little gift I sent you?" He cooed, leaning up to slap her bare thigh.

Molly jerked and grunted softly at the impact, but she stayed silent otherwise.

"Ah, we've got a quiet one here, folks!" He yelled to the crowd, and they began to shout slurs to Molly. She blocked it out, staring blankly at the sheriff.

"He was so easy to get to, too. Found him running all over town looking for you. Cut off his head quicker than the blink of an eye." He patted the knife at his belt which, Molly saw, was still coated in dried blood.

"You're so boring. I guess it's a good thing we're killing you. I hope you know that all of my cattle are dead because of you." The sheriff's face darkened. "Bet you and your little witch friends were fucking all of the little slave boys you could find, hm? You're not defending yourself, so it must be true."

Laughter ran through the collection of people.

"Do you have anything to say before I kick the chair from under you?" He taunted, leaning closer. His hand was moving upwards in comfort, barely brushing the underside of her right breast. "Any last testimonies? Defenses?" He kissed the skin on her knee. "Perhaps I'll spare your life if you do what you did to that slave boy to me."

Molly stared down at the man. Disgust and a burning fury was boiling in her. She smiled sweetly at the sheriff.

Then she spat in his eyes.

"All of you in this village will suffer sterilization for many years after my death!" Molly shouted over the roars of the crowd. The sheriff was stumbling to his feet, wiping the saliva from his eyes in panic. "You'll never get me to leave this place! I will haunt this village until the end has come and wrenched this world into pieces!"

Trepidation had set into the crowd, and cries of agony sounded once and again.

The sheriff returned to stand in front of Molly, his nostrils flaring and eyes watering.

"And you, you wretched pig," Molly snarled, her eyes alight with a fire Sherlock had never seen in any of her previous bodies. "You are to be blind for the rest of your life and your hands cut with the cleaver you entrusted into your wife's care. Your genitals will be bitten off by a hog. You'll always be in suffering."

The man's eyes widened a little. "A final curse," he whispered under his breath. Molly grinned wickedly at him, an insane sort of expression setting fire to her features.

"I'm not a witch if I don't throw curses about, now am I?" She cackled.

Sherlock could already see the man's eyes clouding over, much to his surprise. The Angel made his way to stand beside Molly, ready to catch her soul while her body was dangling.

When the stool was finally kicked from under Molly, the screeches from the gathering were deafening. Her neck snapped almost instantly, and Sherlock immediately collected her soul into his arms.

Her soul felt like rough linen this time.

Sherlock saw, as he flew away speedily, that the sheriff was actually wandering about in a blind fright, his eyes milky. He had lost his sight completely in fifteen minutes.
~*~
Two months passed before Molly was reincarnated into her fourth body.

However, that body died from tuberculosis at the age of two, so Sherlock wasn't busy for long.

A century passed before Sherlock was to become a Guardian again.

Drugs had become his new best friends.

Sherlock had passed too close to the divide between Paradise and the Eternal Fire. He could hear the wailing and sobs of the damned from within. The heat lapped at him constantly.

A voice occurred to him then.

"You're looking a bit upset, buddy."

His head snapped round, and his eyes narrowed to see a Demon casually sitting on the ground. She was twirling a syringe almost gleefully. Beside her, a couple of brown clay bottles laid on their sides.

She smirked and stood, brushing the imaginary dust from her dress. "Too bad I can't come over to Paradise. Though I've heard from Lucifer that it's rather a downer compared to the Eternal Fire," she purred.

Sherlock rolled his eyes and almost continued on his was until her melodic voice floated into his ears once more.

"Wait just a moment there, dear. I know that you're a Guardian. You've seen some rather awful things, hm?"

Hesitating, Sherlock nodded. "How did you know?" He asked slowly, turning around to face her with a furrowed brow.

A faint smile graced the Demon's lips. "I saw it in your eyes, in the way you walked, in the way you've been talking. Deduction skills are useful to have," she crooned. She bent down and swiped the bottles up, offering them to Sherlock on an outstretched hand. He wrinkled his nose up at them in response.

"Oh no, it's not a trick. There's no payment either. You can just take them," she grinned. A flicker of something primal in her eyes made Sherlock draw in a sharp breath.

"And if I don't?" He always knew there was a catch somewhere.

The Demon shrugged, flipping her hair back over her shoulder and biting her lip. "Well, then, I guess you'll just have to suffer and roll around in those slow-cooking brains of yours," she giggled.

Something—he still didn't know what made him do it—forced his hand out, and he soon was shoving the bottles into his pockets. He cast the Demon a suspicious look, and she smiled sweetly at him.

"Come back tomorrow, and I'll teach you how to deduce. That's your payment to me," she said suddenly.

Sherlock scowled. "How do I know you're not trying to trick me?"

She laughed then. Her laugh sent a little shiver down his spine. "Because I know that, now you're intrigued, you'll be coming back to me tomorrow. Trick free. All natural," she promised.

After a brief pause, Sherlock quirked a brow. "Sherlock Holmes."

The Demon smirked. "I know. Irene Adler."

When Sherlock had gotten back to his dwelling, he had stared at the bottles for the longest time. Somehow Irene had managed to slip a needle into the package deal as well.

Finally, Sherlock sighed. It was worth a try.

He filled the syringe and jabbed it into his arm.
~*~
For each "deducing lesson" that Sherlock attended, he was given two more bottles of the stuff Irene somehow concocted. He tried to get her to tell him how she made it, but she usually just waved it away, and they went back to the subject at hand.

Deducing was absolutely made for him.

Little things that others didn't notice but he did made him seem extremely superior to those around him. His arrogance grew as more and more Angels and even Demons got to know his name. A few had even compared him to the Creator in his supremacy.

However, they didn't know that Sherlock had become addicted to drugs.

It was eating him from the inside, and it was starting to show on the outside.

Multiple times he had thought of seeking help from his brother, but that would only make the matters worse. He'd have to tell Mycroft about his meetings with Irene. He wasn't about to give that up.

One day, though, Irene had flat out refused to meet up with him again.

Sherlock didn't see her for a long time.

That was when he broke in and went to Mycroft. He arrived pale, shaky, and in tears.

He hated crying. It made him feel weak.

For what seemed an eternity, Sherlock went to rehab (he was surprised to find that even Angels had rehab—not entirely a bad thing).

While there, he was taught to play the violin. He was told that whenever he felt the need to reach for drugs that wouldn't even be there to practice.

In the first month from the return of rehab, he cut his fingers on the strings more times than he could remember or care to count.

Slowly, his mind balanced itself out, climbing back into its lightning sharp precipice it had once occupied.

Deducing still stuck with him, and he didn't dare to delete it.

Mycroft kept a closer eye on him after that.

While Sherlock had been away at rehab, there had been a massive influx of cases of Angels breaking the rules to be able to love and protect their Humans.

Sherlock had no idea that the Creator was going over the idea of changing the rules around a bit. Mycroft had gotten a faint hint from Them about it, but otherwise, he wasn't too hopeful about the whole situation.
~*~
When a Guardian's Human has reached their fifth body, a Guardian was allowed to roam Earth in whatever form of themselves they desired. They were also allowed to help their Human and protect them from various things.

Angels still weren't allowed to love their Human and let the Human love them back, as far as Sherlock knew.

As to keep Humans from wondering, Angels were "camouflaged", so to speak, as a Human. Their wings were hidden from sight and their aura dampened. Rarely did a Human spot an Angel in full form. The only cases had been in young children and older adults. Other Angels were sometimes able to sense other Angels in their midst, but not often.

Molly Hooper's fifth copy was born in London in 1979.

At two years old, her parents moved Molly and her older brother to a rather secluded house in the country. They managed to fix it up, and Molly's father even built them a treehouse in the backyard.

Her mother was a nurse, and her father was a biologist, so Molly grew up with a head full of information. The house that she lived in had a vast library full of classics, including those about science and especially the human body.

Often Molly and her brother would spend hours upon hours in their treehouse reading and playing pretend. Sometimes, if it was a good day, their parents would take them out on a walk, her father pointing out various plants and animals and her mother explaining the structure of the organs and whatnot found in the bodies.

Once, when Molly was five, they were out on one of their rare nature walks. Along the way, Molly spotted something on the road.

She tugged at her father's coat. "Daddy. Daddy, look, that bird's fallen asleep on those rocks. Shouldn't it be sleeping in a nest?" Molly looked up at her father with wide, brown eyes.

Her father, with a little difficulty, knelt next to the bird. Behind her, Molly saw that her mother and brother were watching with piqued interest.

"It's not asleep, Molly. It's dead," her father said quietly. Her father's voice made her head snap back to him.

"Can't we save it?"

"Darling, I wish I could say that we could save it." He rose with a grimace. "But it's gone away. Sometimes things happen that we can't fix."

Molly followed after the rest of her family reluctantly. Her eyes were still trained on the bird, as if she were afraid that it'd wake up and leave without her.

To fly.

The small girl pressed the heel of her palms into her eyes, wincing as a scene flashed before her eyes. A plane...fire...

It was gone as soon as it had appeared. Shaking her head, Molly ran after her parents and brother.

A grin lit her features. "Cody, I'll race you!" She laughed. Her brother perked up at the challenge. They started at a tree root then ran all the way up to the house. All the while, Molly's mind kept meandering to the bird, wondering how it died.

That would be one of Molly's first thoughts that led her to becoming a pathologist.

Sherlock waited until the family was out of sight to bury the little bird next to the road.
~*~
When Molly was eight, Molly's mother and brother left to go to the store to get some items for the dinner for that night. Molly's father had taken her to the park.

Instead of playing, she had sat on the bench, watching all of the other children with a calculating look on her face. Molly's father was chatting with some of the other children's parents.

Sherlock hesitated for a moment before sitting next to Molly. She wouldn't notice, she was too deep in thought.

For a moment, nothing happened. Sherlock studied the other parents carefully. Heavy drinker. Cheating on his wife. Embezzling money from her workplace.

He was going through his mental list the third time when a silvery voice interrupted.

"Sir, why do you have wings?"

Sherlock's breath hitched. She could see him.

Molly was looking at him with a newfound interest, her eyes bright with curiosity. "I asked you a question, silly. It's not like I asked you for something life-changing like an organ. Or in some people's cases, their middle name." She wrinkled her nose.

Sherlock finally found his wits enough to stammer out, "I'm an Angel."

Molly cooed in awe. "So are you one of God's angels?" She asked eagerly.

"Er, no, not exactly..."

She tilted her head, her brows furrowed. "What do you mean by that?"

Sherlock frowned at her. "You certainly are a prying one," he muttered. Molly blushed.

"So...are there different types of Angels, then?" She asked after a moment.

Sherlock shrugged.

"Ooh...are you my guardian angel?" She gasped, clasping her hands together.

"Prying and intelligent. Not always a good mix," Sherlock said to her. He was starting to enjoy Molly.

Molly smiled warmly at him. "I'm in the top of my class, I'll have you know. It's because my dad helped me learn to read and write early in my life. I don't have many friends though, because everyone thinks it's weird to want to dissect dead things...can I touch your wings? They look really soft..."

Sherlock gave her a look akin to amusement. "Why?"

She pursed her lips into a pout. "Because I want to."

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Oh, go on," he said finally.

Reluctantly, he stretched out a wing, and Molly's fingers were combing through the feathers, setting the rustled ones back into place and massaging here and there.

"Goodness, it really is soft," Molly said quietly. She looked up at Sherlock with a grin. "Will I ever see you again?" She asked.

He noticed that her father was waving for her. With a sigh, Sherlock stood up and helped Molly to her feet. "You may. I'm not entirely sure."

Molly huffed. "Well, I should. You're my guardian angel, after all."

"That I am, Molly."

Molly grinned up at him. "I'll see you around, Sir Angel." Soon she was bouncing off alongside her father.

Faintly, Sherlock caught snippets of their conversation:

"Daddy, I met my guardian angel just now."

"That's lovely, sweetheart. We've got to go home now. Mummy'll be back before us, and we don't want that, huh?"

"No!"

Her father gave a laugh before helping her into the car.

That evening, Molly's mother and brother still weren't back. Molly was tucked into bed by her father that night.

"Do you want to say your prayers?" Her father asked quietly, stroking the hair away from her forehead.

Molly nodded vigorously. "My guardian angel deserves a prayer because he keeps me safe from harm."

Her father smiled faintly. Creases of worry were beginning to form in concern for his wife and son, but he played it off for Molly.

"Angel of God, my guardian dear,

to whom God's love entrusts me here.

Ever this day, be at my side,

To light and guard

To rule and guide. Amen."

As soon as Molly was finished, her father gave her a tired smile and kissed her forehead.

Soon, after staying up for hours on end, awaiting the arrival of his family that would never come, he would find out that a drunk driver had struck their car head on.

No one in either automobile survived.
~*~
Many, many years later, Molly found herself graduating uni.

She didn't see anyone she recognized in the crowd save for her friend Meena cheering loudly when Molly had received her diploma.

Her father had died only two weeks previously.

Molly had managed to chip enough together to plan a funeral. Unfortunately, the church hadn't been available until that day, so as soon as graduation was done, Molly had to go to a funeral. She'd just have to change out of her robes into her dress in the car. It was worth it seeing her dad one last time, though.

Sherlock was standing in the little gathering that Molly had invited for the funeral. She didn't see or notice him the entire time.

Whenever the ceremony had passed, Molly was given a little time to speak to her father before he was to be put to rest permanently.

For a while, Molly did nothing but stare at the peaceful form of her father. Her mouth opened here and there, but nothing came out.

Eventually, Molly stifled a sigh.

"Thank you...for...for taking care of me even after Mum and Cody died. Obviously, my guardian angel didn't do much for me or for them, huh?" Molly let out a shaky laugh. Sherlock's heart skipped a beat, a bitter sorrow filling his chest.

Molly was crying now, but she was trying to hide it. Brave thing, Molly was.

"You...I hope that you and Mum and Cody are happy together...you all three deserve it. Just keep watching after each other for me," Molly sniffled. She gathered up her things, and she paused for a moment. She leant down and kissed the pale, cold skin of her father's forehead and mumbled a last farewell.

Sherlock merely watched as Molly left the cemetery, her eyes focused on the ground.

Without another backwards look, Sherlock made his way towards town. He stretched his wings and took off for London. Maybe he could find something to occupy him there.
~*~
Sherlock had found himself a job working at the Scotland Yard.

He had been walking by a crime scene when it caught his eye. He passed underneath the police tape despite a few protests from the policemen and women there and was drawn towards the body that was laid on it side next to an old flowerpot.

He had belted out deductions before he knew what he was doing.

Silence settled over the scene.

A hand clasped his shoulder. "What's your name, and how in the bloody hell did you do that?"

So went his first meeting with Greg Lestrade.

He managed to find a suitable living place in London for easy access and whatnot to crimes and such. Later he'd take clients in for extra money and brainwork, but that was beside the point. 221B Baker Street wasn't too bad. The old woman who owned the place, Mrs. Hudson, was friendly enough, and he thought highly of her, though he didn't let on too much. Entirely to Sherlock's delight, he managed to find a rather handsome violin in working order in one of the nooks of his flat.

On occasion, he was required to go to Bart's Hospital. There, he realized, Molly worked as a pathologist.

She had been almost immediately accepted when she had applied to the job due to the high marks she had gotten in uni.

He wasn't sure if she recognized him on sight when she had first seen him. Her jaw had dropped a little, her eyes widening, but she immediately turned and fled the room when he had made a rather scathing comment about her clothing choice.

His way of keeping people from getting too close to him was to use his deductions and sharp tongue to his advantage.

Sherlock wasn't going to allow Molly anywhere near his heart.

Much to his dismay, Sherlock eventually found out that Mycroft was on Earth the same time as he was. Whether he had asked the Creator for permission to pursue Sherlock to make sure he stayed out of trouble or just to guard Anthea, Sherlock wasn't sure.

Mycroft wound up virtually being the head of the British government.

Sherlock enjoyed calling him the Queen behind his back and eventually to his face.
~*~
"Afghanistan or Iraq?"

The question seemed to take both men by surprise.

"Sorry?"

Sherlock quirked a brow at the sandy-haired man. "Afghanistan or Iraq?"

Before he knew it, he was dealing out deductions smoothly, leaving John Watson in awe. All of it was true, but usually he missed something.

Thus Sherlock and his unexpected friendship with John began, which would ultimately lead to the downfall of the thick walls he had built to protect himself.

John moved in with Sherlock that week. He would soon learn that his peculiar flatmate was nearly unbearable, but he did manage to keep living with him.

Sherlock began to bribe Molly for access to the morgue for body parts and such. He knew that Molly was developing a helpless crush on him, and he felt sorry for her. This didn't stop him from being cruel to her. He needed to keep her at an arm's length.

Then Moriarty made an appearance.

The awful man had used Molly to get to Sherlock and pulled information about Sherlock from Molly.

When he had said "Jim from IT" was gay, Molly had looked so devastated when she left the room. Sherlock felt a little sick about it afterwards, but he couldn't take it back.

At the pool, when John had the bomb strapped to his chest and several guns were pointed at them both, Sherlock snapped the ends of the puzzle together.

He remembered Moriarty being banished to the Eternal Fire.

Moriarty had smirked at him. It had sent a shudder down his spine.

If Moriarty was back from the Flame...then Lucifer must have conquered it.

That also meant that there were more Demons wandering Earth to corrupt other lives.

From that point onwards, Sherlock's life was turned upside down.

He did meet Irene Adler again, though this time she was a Human and didn't remember being a fallen Angel. She had tried to seduce him but to no avail. In the end, he had ended up saving her life.

Next thing he knew, he was forced to jump from Bart's with John watching.

Moriarty had made death threats against three of the people Jim seemed to think that Sherlock cared most about.

He had missed one person though.

"Molly Hooper."

His voice made her jump as she passed through the doors of the lab. He was already awaiting her in the room.

Words were shared. Explanations were given. With every passing moment, he could feel himself being more and more drawn towards Molly, much to his distress.

"What do you need?" Her words slipped into his mind and squeezed his brain, and then he knew he was damned to her.

Sherlock took in a shuddering breath. "You," he whispered.

One little word was all it took for Molly's back to straighten, her chin tilting up. "What do we need to do?"

They both planned his fake suicide to the teeth. He didn't even suggest the idea of flying.

Even though Sherlock knew that Molly couldn't see his wings (she had stopped believing in angels and gods and the like long ago, the very morning that she found out that her mother and brother were killed), he was still concerned that she'd somehow find it out and cower before him.

Molly was strong. She was getting better at refusing people things when she was busy, even to Sherlock.

Nonetheless, when the day had arrived for him to fall, Molly had looked hollow. She was about to commit a crime so severe that she could very well lose her job, not to mention the horrid amounts of lies she'd have to tell to Sherlock's peers.

Sherlock wasn't sure if Mycroft was in the know about his plan. Of course, Molly had met Mycroft the first day she had met Sherlock at Bart's. He had asked Molly to spy on Sherlock for him for a rather large sum of money. She refused it. John went through the same process, and the outcome was also the same.

On the roof, Moriarty had taunted him.

There was still a question on Sherlock's tongue.

"How did you escape the Eternal Fire?" He asked quietly.

Moriarty looked delighted. "Oh, you know." He waved his hand nonchalantly. "Lucifer has set his little Demons on Earth. He's going to make sure this world simply burns. And I'm more than happy to help. You should expect to see loads more Demons here soon, Sherlock." He grinned wickedly at Sherlock, and Sherlock suppressed the urge to shudder.

Sherlock should've suspected Moriarty would blow his brains to the roof. Blood and bits of bone and brain matter stained the stone. The body fell with a thump, barely a whisper above the howling winds whipping about the roof.

John's voice had nearly destroyed Sherlock, hearing the distress in his friend's tone.

His shout as Sherlock fell rang in his ears.
~*~
"Alright, Sherlock, I know that you're not feeling well, but just...keep standing. I'm unlocking the door right now, there you go..."

Molly's calm voice helped Sherlock stay conscious as she guided him inside to her sofa. She laid him down and hurried off to the kitchen. Soon Sherlock heard her clattering about, fixing tea for the both of them.

Wincing slightly, Sherlock sat up and took in his surroundings. It was rather snug and cheerful in Molly's flat, cat hair sticking to the furniture here and there.

Something wet and warm brushed against his hand, and Sherlock jumped a bit to see that a ginger cat had licked his hand. He stared calmly up at Sherlock, flicking his tail now and again.

"Oh, that's Toby. He won't hurt you." Molly's amused voice drifted lazily into Sherlock. He turned around and eyed Molly suspiciously.

"Knew you were a cat person. If it wasn't the cat hair sticking to your trousers and jumpers, it was the personality that gave it away," Sherlock said cautiously.

A little blush settled on Molly's cheeks, and she sat the tea tray on the little coffee table in front of the sofa. "I found him in a little box beside the road one day. The rest of the litter had ran off. He's been a very good cat. Keeps the mice away, at least," she chattered, sitting in a chair near Sherlock. Silently, she sipped her tea, her eyes directed away from Sherlock.

"Molly...thank you," Sherlock murmured. This made Molly jump, her tea splattering into her lap. She cursed under her breath as she mopped it up with a paper towel.

"For what?"

Sherlock frowned. He gestured around him. "For this. For risking your job and practically your life to help me. For allowing me to stay here. Thank you."

Molly sunk into her chair. "You're welcome."

They lapsed into silence, only broken when Molly got up to clean the mess from the coffee table and the kitchen.

Molly made Sherlock sleep in her bedroom, saying that he needed the space to breathe for a while.

He stayed for a month. During that time, he went out five times, returning with multiple cuts and bruises, telling Molly that it had been for business. Sherlock knew that Molly didn't believe his lies. He was trying to get a head start on Moriarty's men.

The fifth time he had returned, a knife had sliced from Sherlock's shoulder all the way down to the base of his spine. When Molly had seen the blood, she had calmly requested him to sit at the kitchen table and to take off his shirt. Sherlock obeyed, watching warily as Molly got down her first aid kit and returned to stand in front of him. She daubed the minor cuts on his front with antiseptic, pulling a few hisses from Sherlock.

"Sherlock, I'm going to have to do the same for the one down your back. It's not going to feel too good," he heard Molly say as she pulled out gauze. He spotted a needle and sterile thread in the bottom of the container, and he winced a little.

The Angel tensed a little as Molly walked around to Sherlock's back. He could feel a trickle of blood running down between his shoulder blades. His wings rustled nervously, almost to their own accord.

He heard Molly's breath hitch as she saw his wings.

For a moment, nothing happened.

"I'll ask questions after I'm done doctoring you."

A small sigh that left Sherlock quickly turned into a yelp as Molly wiped the wound with the antiseptic.

He groaned through clenched teeth as Molly bound his wounds and cleaned the blood from his body. Sherlock noticed that she left his wings alone.

As Molly cleaned up the work area, Sherlock let his fingers drift to his shoulder, touching the rough patch of fabric on his skin.

"Don't mess with it too much. You'll make it worse," Molly sighed, sitting down in the chair across from Sherlock.

Molly was studying him with a shielded expression. Sherlock could tell that she was rather afraid now.

"You shouldn't be afraid of me, you know," Sherlock finally said.

"I'm not."

"Yes, you are. Don't lie to me, Molly."

A scowl grew on Molly's lips, and she glanced away. "I...I've never seen you before with wings. How did you hide them from me?"

Smiling slightly, Sherlock shrugged. "You've seen me like this. Think, Molly. Use that brain of yours," he drawled, leaning back in his chair.

Molly swallowed hard. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she held a hand up to her forehead. A shaky oh left her lips as memories long passed came flooding back.

"When I was eight...you...talked to me at the park," she mumbled, her eyes widening a little. "I had said to my dad that...I had met my guardian angel..."

Satisfied, Sherlock nodded. "You've always seen me, Molly. You just stopped believing."

A flash of anger across her features made Sherlock's smile waver. "I stopped believing for a good reason. You weren't there when I needed a guardian most," she spat bitterly. The words tugged at Sherlock's heart painfully.

"I couldn't stop it from happening, Molly, it was fate—"

She stood up abruptly and went to the window. "Why should I believe in a god if he doesn't help me? Why should I believe in angels if they don't even guide?"

"Molly..."

Her form crumbled underneath Sherlock's gaze, and he caught her just before she fell. Soft sobs wracked her body.

"You were supposed to save me...I thought that's what guardian angels do."

I'm trying to save you from loving me. That's not going too well.

Instead, Sherlock sighed and picked her up. He carried her to her bedroom and laid her gently on her bed. "I'll tell you all you want to know later when you wake up. You have dozens of questions."

Sherlock pressed his hand to her forehead, lulling her to sleep. Minutes passed as Sherlock stared down at Molly's sleeping form. After a moment, he pressed a kiss to her forehead then left to get a shower.

Thoughts of a bittersweet nature ran rampant through his mind as he showered, gingerly taking care of the bandages. Sherlock knew that Molly loved him, and he hated to admit it, but he loved her too.

It was surely going to destroy him, but he gave in. He wanted to love Molly the way she deserved. Sherlock had seen her in agony far more times than he wished to remember.

He'd be damned if he didn't try.

Well, he was damned anyways.
~*~
Sherlock had settled himself beside Molly after getting done showering, and he heard Molly start to stir just as he had returned from his mind palace.

A murmur escaped Molly, and she buried her head in Sherlock's shoulder and scrunched closer. Molly was quiet, and then she yelped, tugging herself away from Sherlock.

"Sherlock! I-I didn't realize it was you, I'm so sorry...I felt something warm, thought it was Toby..." She trailed off mid-sentence when she saw Sherlock smirking. A hot blush spread across her cheeks. "It's not funny, you dolt."

An influx of words said and missed passed through her mind when she saw Sherlock's wings again. "Oh god...Sherlock, you're an angel."

"I know, I get that a lot."

Sherlock made a noise of discontent as she slapped his arm.

Molly reluctantly reached a hand out as if she were going to touch his wings, but she snapped it back at the last moment.

"When you were eight, you asked to touch my wing. Said they looked soft. Do you want to touch them?" Sherlock asked with a little smile. Molly nodded with wide eyes.

Her fingers stroked along the skin that led to the beginnings of his wings sprouting from his back. She trailed them to the pure white feathers and gently brushed the feathers that were disheveled back into place. Sherlock hummed under her touch, his eyes fluttering shut.

"They're as soft as I remember them to be," she cooed. Sherlock shifted a little so he was lying more on his stomach, allowing her more access to the limbs.

"So...how did you guys come to be? The angels, I mean."

Sherlock sighed, his voice muffled by the pillows and sheets. "Settle in and get comfortable. It's going to take a bit."

"I have all day. It's Sunday."

Hence Sherlock launched into a retelling of the creating of the Universe, how the Angels ("Is it capital-A Angels?" Molly asked, to which Sherlock nodded) came to be, and about the Creator and the Human's perspective of such events.

"So the Creator is God, basically."

"They're the embodiment of all gods and goddesses Humans have created."

"Then what's the Creator's gender?"

Sherlock passed Molly a quizzical look. "Who says that the Creator has to have one particular body?"

Molly was silent for a long time, still toying with the feathers on Sherlock's wings.

"So is Paradise located on a bunch of clouds?"

Sherlock chuckled. "Paradise is an infinite field filled with buildings. There's two suns and three moons. The House of the Creator is the biggest building."

"What about the Eternal Fire?"

"Fire and ashes."

Molly looked thoughtful. "Heaven and hell. Interesting."

A hum left Sherlock. "I suppose that I should tell you about reincarnation and whatnot."

Gaping, Molly stared at him as he went into another bout of explanation of the rules that Humans were given, then he told her about the Guardian Angels and the rules that applied to them. He explained the little bouts that the Creator had experienced and Lucifer's wrath. Sherlock told her things few and far between, though he didn't dare to tell her about her past lives.

When Sherlock was done, Molly was staring at him, her mind rolling in the new information.

"From what I've heard...no religion got anything particularly spot on, but a lot realized what was happening..."

"They were wrong and right at the same time, yes."

Molly let her eyes slide shut. A shaky breath escaped her.

"So that's where the thought that cats had nine lives came from," was all Molly managed.

Sherlock shook his head. "Humans have an odd way with dealing with things."

Molly's eyes opened, and he saw a sparkle of mirth in them. "Thank you," she whispered.

The Angel's breath hitched a little. "For what?"

"For protecting me, even when I couldn't see you. Even when I stopped believing."

You don't understand.

Then his lips were on hers before he could stop himself, and Molly's arms wrapped around his neck. Sherlock's mind screamed at him to stop as he flipped Molly onto her back. It yelled at him to pull away as Molly began undressing herself then him, and he helped eagerly.

His mind begged him to quit while he kissed and nibbled and worshiped at her body, pulling sweet little mewls and sighs from Molly, her body trembling underneath his lips.

Her taste was so thick on his tongue, and when Molly tugged him away from her as she trembled from her climax, he kissed her, and she moaned.

Sherlock whispered Molly's name into her ear as he sank into her, silencing the screaming in his head.

All he could think about was Molly's precious little moans and cries filtering through the air.
~*~
Sherlock didn't tell her about the rule against Angels that kept them from loving their Human.

He decided it to be less painful to leave and allow her to collect herself and move on rather than stay and give her hope.

Gathering the little things he had, he made sure that he didn't make enough noise to wake up Molly. Before Sherlock left, he scribbled a note and set it on Molly's beside table. He pressed a final kiss to her lips then swept away, trying to not think of her as he made his way through a back alley.

His note had only two words and an initial on it.

I'M SORRY. SH
~*~
For two years, armed only with cheap mobile phones and a little money from his brother as well as a pistol, Sherlock chased down Moriarty's men.

Some of them were Human. Some of them were Demons. Some of them were even corrupt Angels.

Sherlock was beaten, cut, starved, dehydrated, and abused, yet he still managed to execute nearly every single one of Moriarty's men.

When he returned to London, there were scars all over his back.

Mycroft had given him a fitted suit and his old Belstaff as a welcome-back present.

John had punched Sherlock three times, much to the horror of his new fiancee Mary (she seemed okay, as far as Sherlock could tell).

Mrs. Hudson had screamed then cried and knocked him over the head, chastising him rather throughly before embracing him.

And Molly?

She had moved on.

A ring now decorated her finger. Molly made no mention towards the note Sherlock had left for her so long ago. However, Sherlock had seen the flash of hurt in her eyes when she had first seen him in the locker room before it was quickly replaced by a small smile.

Tom was a lookalike to Sherlock he soon found out. He was as dull as a box of rocks, and Sherlock immediately disapproved of him, but if he kept Molly happy, then so be it.

Things flashed past in the following months. John asked Sherlock to be his best man and make a speech. The wedding came and went. Sherlock broke the news to the couple that Mary was pregnant.

And suddenly it was like Sherlock could barely keep himself afloat.

His drug addiction came back with a violent vengeance to him. Human drugs, he found, were only suitable replacements to what Irene have given him those hundreds of years ago.

John had been surprised then disgusted that he found Sherlock in a drug den as he was looking for another boy. He immediately corralled Sherlock to their car, and Mary drove them all to Bart's.

Three slaps from Molly in exchange for falling into old habits. Too much like Mycroft so long ago, striking him across his face in thoughtless alarm.

Her words stung worse that her hand.

Bitterly, he had retorted that he was glad to see the lack of a ring. He didn't care who broke it with who: he was just glad to see Molly rid of that idiot.

The burning rage and pity in Molly's eyes made Sherlock's stomach turn, but he still returned her glares with a steady blank look.

Everything in Sherlock came crashing down when he was shot by Mary.

He should've known he had missed something about Mary.

Sherlock always missed something critical.

Mary Morstan—Watson, now—was a corrupted Angel.

He could see her feathers beginning to tinge with black at the tips, turning her wings charcoal. Lucifer had somehow wormed into Mary's mind, whispering threats and promises that he would no doubt follow through on.

Mary was scared. That was obvious.

She shot with a deadly precision, but she had missed his heart.

Sherlock could feel his own soul burning up. He was going to well and truly die if he didn't act quickly. The only thing he could think of was to delve into his mind palace for help.

He faced Mycroft as a child. Sherlock could still feel the burn of Mycroft's palm against his own cheek.

Moriarty poisoned his mind next, taunting him. The madness in his eyes was so lifelike it made Sherlock want to vomit and give up, to just lie down and let the burn of his soul consume him in a roaring blaze.

But Molly helped him stay above the water.

She appeared when Sherlock needed her most.

His own Guardian Angel.

She told him to fall back. Like a trust drop that children do for their friends to see how loyal their friends were. This time, though, there were no arms Sherlock was going to fall into.

Dreams flitted around in Sherlock's mind; meddlesome flies that he wished no part in. They were all out of order like a roll of corrupted film.

Were they dreams? He didn't know. He couldn't remember. Mary came and went, pleading him to not tell John. John himself stood silently in the doorway, watching him briefly before leaving. Magnussen...he had studied Sherlock as if he were an interesting specimen underneath a microscope. Janine was angry about the fake engagement, so she had had the papers publish an article about their nightly behavior in Baker Street that Janine herself had written.

He saw Molly only once with tear filled eyes. She left him a little stuffed cat before exiting.

Moriarty made a return only a few weeks after Sherlock was released from the hospital. In that timeframe, John and Mary had made up, though Mary was still rather tentative around John. Magnussen was shot and killed by Sherlock. Sherlock was to be exiled, and he was shocked to find out that Mycroft had organized for Sherlock's leave.

Sherlock was immediately brought back to London when a message from Moriarty had aired on every television in the country.

At first it was thought to be a hoax. After all, Sherlock had seen Moriarty shoot himself on the roof of Bart's.

Lucifer must've revived him somehow.

Undoubtedly, Moriarty was after every single one of Sherlock's loved ones and their families.

Molly was, most likely, on the top of his list.

Sherlock took extensive precautions.

He made Molly move in with him, despite her protests. She only agreed when Sherlock said that Toby could come along. He gave Molly a pistol and taught her how to shoot it. If she were caught without the gun, then Sherlock had given Molly self-defense lessons.

She had seen the video of Moriarty. It had infuriated her at first, thinking that it was some sort of sick joke, but later on she realized, with a wave of fear, he really was back, judging by the way Sherlock had been acting.

Having to live together made Sherlock have to explain what had happened those two—nearing three, now—years ago when he had left the note. Turns out that Molly had kept it unconsciously.

"Sherlock...you don't think that Jim would actually kill me?" Molly had asked one night while laying beside him in bed. Startled, he turned onto his side to face her.

"What do you mean? Now that he knows that you helped me fake my death and we're in a relationship, if he gets his hands on you, he'll torment you for as long as you can take it."

A shudder left Molly, and she shrunk against his bare chest. Tears dripped onto his skin as she sniffled.

A pause, and then Molly said, "He's not going to get his hands on me." Her voice was so firm, it made Sherlock look down at her in surprise. Her stare that met his eyes was steady, perseverance flickering in them. "I'm serious. He touches me, I'm castrating him with my bare hands."

Sherlock laughed despite himself, and Molly silenced him with a kiss.

All that Sherlock had done to ensure Molly's safety still wasn't enough in the end.
~*~
"Sherlock, please! Wake up, oh god...wake up." Molly's sobbing swam through his head, and he groggily opened his eyes with a groan. He could feel blood running down the back of his head.

"Oh, my. You seem to be missing something, Sherlock, dear," a sickeningly familiar voice cooed.

A shriek from Molly cut the air, and immediately Sherlock's head whipped up from the ground. His arms and legs were bound together tightly, almost to the point of losing feeling in them.

Moriarty had Molly's hair balled in one fist, a wicked looking knife in the other hand. He gave Sherlock a sweet smile, tracing Molly's jaw with the knife. Sherlock could see Molly's chest begin to heave as she tried to remain calm.

Where were they? Dazed, Sherlock glanced around. He remembered walking Molly to work...a car pulled alongside them...something hit him over the head as Molly screamed...they were thrown into a car...

Christ, his head hurt.

A shaky groan left Sherlock's mouth as he tried to pull himself into a sitting position.

"He wants to watch, Molly! Sebastian, give our guest a good seat, hm?" Moriarty cackled.

A man whom Sherlock assumed to be Sebastian tugged him up hard by his curls, pulling a cry of pain from Sherlock, and pushed him down into a rickety, wooden chair. He set about tying Sherlock to the chair then simply stood back and watched.

Moriarty made his casual way over to Sherlock, inspecting the knife he had just threatened Molly with. "You know, the Creator cut off my wings after I killed my Human. They cast me down into the Eternal Fire to burn for an infinite number of years. Then Lucifer came along, made a kingdom from nothing. He's going to send the Creator's Universe into flames. You're all going to scorch with it."

"You're insane," Molly spat.

Turning, Moriarty strode back over to Molly and slapped her face hard, eliciting a cry from her. "You have such a smart mouth on you, sweetie. You're going to have to change that...well, I suppose it doesn't really matter to me, you're going to die anyways."

Sherlock growled low in his throat as Jim spun around back to him, his wings bristling. Sobs from Molly echoed around the room, making Sherlock's head spin.

Suddenly, Moriarty's hand shot out and seized one of Sherlock's wings. "They're so pretty. Your wings would look ever so lovely hung up on my wall," he tutted. He set the edge of the blade he held against the base of Sherlock's wing and put enough pressure behind it to draw blood. Sherlock gritted his teeth, screwing his eyes shut.

"No. They look better on you, I'm afraid." One of Jim's hands caught Sherlock's chin, and he pressed a rough kiss to them. Disgusted, Sherlock tugged himself back.

Jim tittered and turned away from Sherlock. He approached Molly and tilted his head at her inquisitively. Without warning, he struck out with the knife and gouged a deep cut into her cheek, barely missing her eye. Molly howled, and Sherlock strained against the chair, his anger rising.

"I'd behave if I were you, Sherlock," he scolded, brushing the hair away from Molly's forehead as she cried. "Who has the higher advantage here? Oh, yes. Me."

Sherlock directed his gaze to the floor in front of him when Molly began to dry heave. There had to be some way out, somehow...

Sharp tongue. Use it.

His eyes fluttered upwards to Moriarty. He was currently going through his array of torture devices. He wouldn't notice.

It was almost as if Sherlock had no control of his words. He looked over at Sebastian then to the other Humans in the room besides Molly. The faintest of smirks showed on Sherlock's lips.

"Somnus et silentium," Sherlock murmured underneath his breath.

The men immediately fell to the floor, unconscious. Jim stiffened, and he glanced about the room in astonishment.

Sherlock's eyes flicked down to the ropes binding him. "Ustulo," he ordered. The rope began to shimmer, and a scent of smoke filled the air. As soon as the last rope had snapped, Sherlock kicked the chair back from him, an uncontrollable outrage filling his eyes.

His wings stretched out and fluttered behind him, shadowing Moriarty. "Let Molly go," he said quietly.

Staring with an open mouth, Jim snapped it shut as soon as he realized that Sherlock was serious. "Angels," he finally spat, nearing Molly with the knife, "are bloody cheaters at life. Can't have a bit of fun with them."

And he buried the knife to the hilt in Molly's stomach.

Time seemed to slow. Molly's eyes widened, her entire body jerking, before she cried out in a hoarse scream. Dark red blood stained the front of her jumper, steadily getting damper and blacker. Nothing else mattered in that moment than Sherlock wrapping his hands around Moriarty's neck and snapping it, shattering the vertebrae into a thousand shards of bone.

With a rather frightening roar, Sherlock launched himself at Moriarty, knocking him to the ground, his hands squeezing his neck. Choking for air, Jim scratched at Sherlock's arms desperately.

"Ignavus! Mendax! Homicida!" Sherlock snarled, his entire weight leaning on his arms. He could feel Moriarty hiccuping underneath his fingers, pulse racing. Good. "Discedo et uro in aeternus ignis! Facio non reditus, crudelis creaturae!"

A disembodied cry sounded, and Sherlock snapped Moriarty's neck. He felt the bones break like glass under his hands.

The body of Jim dissolved into ash, scattering around the room. His men fell into piles of ash as well.

Sherlock stumbled over to Molly and untied her. She was staring up at him in a mixture of awe and adoration. Molly slumped into his embrace, and Sherlock gently brought her down to the floor with him. Her eyes were already glazing over from the lack of blood. A shudder wracked her body, and she coughed weakly, blood trickling from the corner of her mouth.

"Sherlock..."

"Molly, not now. Hush and save your strength." He could barely hold her, he was shaking so hard.

One of her tiny hands came up to brush a stray curl from his forehead. "Don't blame yourself," she said quietly, cupping his cheek.

His chest heaving, Sherlock pulled Molly a bit tighter against him. Her blood was staining his shirt. He didn't care.

"I love you."

The words tumbled from Molly's lips and laid on Sherlock's shoulder.

There were tears misting his vision now. No, no, he wanted to see Molly, not a saline solution meant to cleanse the eyes. Why does one cry when they're in distress? Sherlock wanted to know, he wanted to know, and Molly don't leave me please.

He realized he said these words out loud when Molly had laughed weakly. She brought his head down so his forehead was resting against hers. Her other hand was curling and uncurling against Sherlock's chest in pain.

"It's okay, Sherlock. We'll see each other again, yeah?" She croaked. Tears were tracing down Molly's face, stinging into the slice on her cheek, but she didn't even wince.

"No, no, don't you dare talk like that, Molly...you're going to be okay, see, they're coming to get us right now, you can't go now. Oh god, Molly, I love you. I'd walk through fire thousands of times if it meant seeing you. Oh please don't leave me..."

A warm smile lit Molly's face. Shouts were sounding from outside, banging next, as they tried to force the door down. Sherlock could hear John and Mary and Lestrade calling for them, seeing if they were okay, Mycroft's slightly frantic voice adding to the mix.

"See you soon, love," Molly whispered. Her lips pressed against his one last time, and when they parted, she wasn't breathing. Her body had stilled, growing colder as time passed.

Sherlock's breath hitched, and he hugged Molly's body close, rocking back and forth on the floor. He pressed his face into her hair, tears nestling in the strands as he wept.

The door broke down eventually. Sherlock shuddering on the floor, holding a body close to him, sobbing brokenly, and murmuring Molly's name over and over was not a sight they expected.

Mycroft was the first to approach. At the sound of footsteps, Sherlock's head snapped up suspiciously. Seeing Mycroft, Sherlock slumped, breathing out a shaky sigh.

"Molly's dead."

"Then take her soul and go back to Paradise."

Sherlock hesitated, glancing back at the rest of the people curiously gathered in the warehouse.

Mycroft waved Sherlock's thoughts away. "I'll take care of it. Just go," he muttered.

Swallowing hard, Sherlock glanced down at Molly's still form. She had died with a smile on her face, eyes closed peacefully.

"Okay," he said quietly.

With great care, Sherlock laid her body onto the floor. He tucked her soul gingerly against his chest and pressed a kiss to the forehead of her body.

Nodding to Sherlock, Mycroft smiled faintly.

Sherlock passed by the others through the doorway and sped into the air.

He felt Molly's soul shift and yawn sleepily, and his heart gave a clench.

Her soul felt of soft fur, warm and comforting.

Like home.

Molly was home.
~*~
The Creator peered at Sherlock with a masked expression. "So. You've gone and broken a few rules, have you?"

Sherlock shifted on his feet, glancing away guiltily. That was the only answer the Creator apparently needed, because They sat back in Their chair, rubbing Their temples.

"Your Highness, don't blame Molly. It wasn't her fault. I was the one who enacted upon a relationship with her," he said evenly, though his heart was racing madly in his chest.

The Creator quirked a brow but said nothing for a while. Finally They sighed and stood, gliding over to the window. "Sherlock, you realize that previously Angels were sent to burn for things like this, yes?"

In confusion, Sherlock nodded. "Of course. I am fully prepared for the punishment if you spare Molly."

A rumble of laughter startled Sherlock. "I've revoked those rules. Obviously, no one was going to follow them, so why have them? You'll notice that many of the souls and lost Angels are back in Paradise," They said, motioning outside. Tentatively, Sherlock crept over to the window. There were many more souls and Angels roaming about, chittering happily among themselves. Sherlock did note that Lucifer wasn't back.

As if reading his thoughts, the Creator murmured, "Lucifer didn't want to give up his spot as ruler of the Eternal Fire, you see. When he was offered the chance to come back here, he stubbornly refused."

Molly's soul stirred in Sherlock's arms, and Sherlock glanced up at the Creator. It was now or never.

"If you don't mind...could Molly become an Angel alongside me?" Sherlock asked, nibbling at his bottom lip.

It was the Creator's turn to frown. They turned to face Sherlock and tilted Their head. "Why?"

He took in a deep breath. "She means everything to me. I can't...I can't bear losing her again. Please," he added, his wings twitching nervously behind him. The Creator's eyes darted to Sherlock's wings quickly before meeting his eyes.

Here it was. They were going to refuse him, tell him it wasn't fair, wasn't even logical—

"Alright."

Surely he didn't hear Them right. "S-sorry?"

They shrugged. "You heard me. Mycroft already made his Human an Angel. Anthea, was it? Not to mention that hundreds of others have requested this. Make sure that she doesn't fall over. I need to wake her up."

The Creator mumbled a few words underneath his breath, as They'd done millions of times, and Molly jolted upright in Sherlock's arms, blinking owlishly. When she saw Sherlock, she let out a delighted gasp and threw her arms around his neck. Sherlock embraced her warmly, kissing her temple.

"Oh, Sherlock, I knew I'd see you again...it was so dark, though, waiting for you..." Molly trailed off, tears in her eyes as she smiled up at him brightly. He'd never tire of her smile. In response, Sherlock gave her a teary smile as well.

Eventually Molly noticed the Creator standing in front of Sherlock, and she shrunk against Sherlock's chest shyly. "Hello," she said skittishly.

They merely chuckled. "Hello, Molly. I see that you and Sherlock have bonded well?"

She nodded eagerly, and she glanced around. "Let me guess. You're the Creator..."

They nodded.

"...this is Paradise..."

They nodded again. A smile grew on Their face.

"...and you're about to send me on into a new body and forget all about Sherlock," she murmured sadly, tucking her head against Sherlock's neck.

"No, actually. I woke you up to ask if you'd like to be an Angel, work alongside Sherlock, yada yada..." They rolled Their hand casually.

At this, Molly gasped again, her eyes wide. "You...you're not serious..."

"They are, Molly. I mean, if you want to. You could reincarnate into a new body, live another life, have a family with someone you love..." Sherlock took in a shaky breath, staring down at Molly.

"Or I could be an Angel and stay with you forever," she breathed out. He merely nodded.

"It doesn't matter to me either way. Whatever you choose, I will respect that," he told her, setting her to her feet gently. Molly swayed a little before steadying herself.

Sherlock watched her carefully, his heart fluttering a little. Molly was glancing between him and the Creator, biting her lip.

"I...I want to be an Angel." Her words didn't waver once as they flew through the air. Sherlock couldn't stop the wide grin that spread across his features. She returned it giddily.

The Creator chuckled. "It'll feel strange at first, Molly, but I trust that Sherlock'll be able to teach you the trades of being an Angel, yes?"

Sherlock nodded at once.

"Alright, Molly, just close your eyes...you too, Sherlock, it's going to get a little bright..."

A white light enveloped Molly, and Sherlock glanced away, covering his eyes. Soon thereafter, the Creator told them it was okay to open their eyes.

Molly was sitting on her knees, frowning a little. Behind her rustled a pure white pair of wings. Experimentally, she beat them once, and she smiled sheepishly.

Oh, Molly was beautiful.

He told her so as he helped the new Angel to her feet; she looked like a newborn doe, learning how to use her feet for the first time. She giggled softly.

"What, are you saying that I'm prettier like this?"

"Molly, as an Angel, your Human form was nothing compared to you now."

Molly blushed a fetching shade of scarlet, and Sherlock helped her to walk out of the Creator's House. At the last moment, Sherlock cast a thank-you over his shoulder.

"You're welcome! Don't spend all of your time ogling each other though!"

Molly laughed, and Sherlock kissed her temple, smiling slightly. He wanted to hear that from Molly every day.

"Hold on...will we ever get to see everyone that we met from Earth again?" Molly asked suddenly as Sherlock took her out into the fields. He settled them underneath an old willow tree, their backs against the trunk.

"Of course."

"Are you ever going to go back to Earth?"

"If you're willing to come with me."

Molly hummed, leaning her head against his shoulder. She stretched languidly for a moment, then she smiled at him gently. Lightly Molly clambered into Sherlock's lap, and he held her tightly against his chest.

"Thank you for keeping me safe, Sherlock," she mumbled.

Sherlock smiled faintly, and he kissed her forehead gingerly.

"I was your Guardian Angel, and in turn, you became mine. I thank you for that, my dear."

Molly nuzzled his shoulder, pressing a kiss to it. "I guess that we have an eternity to thank each other. No need to waste it all now," she giggled.

He rested his chin on her head, running his fingers through the plush feathers on her wings comfortingly. Together, they sat and watched the two suns set in the sky, pulling up the moon triplets in turn. They didn't move from that spot for a long time.

No, there really wasn't a need to waste precious words.