Cuts

Calliah Mullen is the sister to Irene Adler and has always been called the ugly sibling. After hearing it for so long, Calliah believes it and cuts her self to relieve the pain. When see meets Sherlock and John, her views on the world, herself, and her sister change. Will it be for the better or worse?

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19. Chapter 19

Thank you Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan on livejournal for the transcripts. They help so much.

Here is the next part of A Scandal in Belgravia.

I own nothing, except Calliah

Mycroft drops me off my sister’s house. I sighed and looked at him. “I don’t wanna go.” I say.

He chuckles and kisses me softly. He pulls back and smiles. “You will be great. If it is just too much, call me. I will be here in a minute flat.” He says. I nod and kiss him again.

“Time to slay the dragon.” I say and get out. I ring the doorbell and wait. Kate opens the door and looks at me shocked. “Hello Kate. Is my sister in? Oh I know she is.” I say and move in. I go to the living room and see my sister on the chair, completely naked except for her heels. I walk in. “D’you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes?” Irene asks Sherlock.

“However hard you try, it’s always a self-portrait.” I answer her question. John and Sherlock jump and look at me. Their mouths drop open. I ignore them and stare at Irene. She smirks.

“Little sister. You are here. I was wondering where you were.” Irene says.

“Just had to get some armor on, Irene.” I say.

She shakes her head and smirks. I sit down between the boys and cross my legs. “Y-You think I’m a vicar with a bleeding face?” Sherlock asks, trying to look away from me.

“No, I think you’re damaged, delusional and believe in a higher power. In your case, it’s yourself.” Sherlock unbuttons the top two buttons. Irene leans forward to try and get Sherlock’s attention. He glances at her. “Oh, and somebody loves you. Why, if I had to punch that face, I’d avoid your nose and teeth too.” She says and glances at John. She frowns and I look over. John was still staring at me. I smirk and he shakes his head.

“Could you put something on, please? Er, anything at all.” He looks down at what he’s holding. “A napkin.”

“Why? Are you feeling exposed?” Irene asks.

Sherlock stands up and helps me up. I smile at him. “I don’t think John knows where to look.” He picks up his coat, shakes it out and holds it out to Irene. She ignores him and stands up. I roll my eyes as she walks closer to John. He rolls his head on his neck uncomfortably and forces himself to maintain eye contact and not to let his eyes wander lower.

“No, I think he knows exactly where.” Irene says and turns to Sherlock. I look at him and see that is still holding out the coat while steadfastly keeping his gaze averted. She takes the coat. “I’m not sure about you.”

“If I wanted to look at naked women I’d borrow John’s laptop.” Sherlock says and I smile. He winks at me.

“You do borrow my laptop.” John says.

“I confiscate it.” Sherlock says and walks over to the fireplace opposite the sofa and I follow.

Irene puts to coat on and wraps it around her. “Well, never mind. We’ve got better things to talk about. Now tell me – I need to know.” She walks over to the sofa and sits down. “How was it done?”

“What?” Sherlock asks.

Irene takes off her shoes. “The hiker with the bashed-in head. How was he killed?”

The boys look confused. “That’s not why I’m here.”

“No, no, no, you’re here for the photographs but that’s never gonna happen, and since we’re here just chatting anyway…” Irene says.

“That story’s not been on the news yet. How do you know about it?” John asks.

“I know one of the policemen. Well, I know what he likes.” Irene says.

“Oh. And do you like policemen?” John asks.

“I like detective stories – and detectives. Brainy’s the new sexy.” Irene says and looks at Sherlock.

“Positionofthecar…” Sherlock says incoherently. We all stare at him while he quickly pulls himself together. I smile softly at him when he looks at me. He smiles back. “The position of the car relative to the hiker at the time of the backfire. That and the fact that the death blow was to the back of the head. That’s all you need to know.”

“Okay, tell me: how was he murdered?” Irene asks.

“He wasn’t.” I say.

Sherlock and Irene look at me in shock. “You don’t think it was murder?” Irene asks.

“Sherlock and I know it wasn’t.” I say.

“How?” Irene asks.

“The same way that I know the victim was an excellent sportsman recently returned from foreign travel and that the photographs I’m looking for are in this room.” Sherlock explains.

“Okay, but how?” Irene asks.

“So they are in this room. Thank you. John, man the door. Let no-one in.” Sherlock says. John and Sherlock exchange a significant look, then John gets up and puts the bowl and napkin on a table before leaving the room and closing the door behind him. Irene sits up straighter, looking suspiciously at the closed door. She glares at me and I smirk back.  Sherlock starts to pace again. “Two men alone in the countryside several yards apart, and one car.”

“Oh, I – I thought you were looking for the photos now.” Irene says.

“No, no. Looking takes ages. I’m just going to find them but you’re moderately clever and we’ve got a moment, so let’s pass the time.” He stops and turns to her. “Two men, a car, and nobody else.” He squats down and suddenly it’s as if he is at the crime scene, squatting down next to the driver’s door of Phil’s car. Inside, frozen in time, Phil’s face is screwed up with rage while his hands are raised, about to slam down angrily onto the steering wheel.

“The driver’s trying to fix his engine. Getting nowhere.” I say.

Straightening up, Sherlock turns and looks into the field. “And the hiker’s taking a moment, looking at the sky.” Now he’s down in the field, walking around the hiker. “Watching the birds?” He looks doubtful. “Any moment now, something’s gonna happen. What?”

Irene is sitting on her sofa. “The hiker’s going to die.”

“No, that’s the result.” I say. “What’s going to happen?”

“I don’t understand.” Irene says and I smirk.

“Oh, well, try to.” Sherlock says.

“Why?” Irene asks.

“Because you cater to the whims of the pathetic and take your clothes off to make an impression. Stop boring me and think.” He says. “It’s the new sexy, which Calliah is sexier than you.”

Irene glares at me angrily. “The car’s going to backfire.”

“There’s going to be a loud noise.” Sherlock fills in.

“So, what?” Irene asks.

“Oh, noises are important. Noises can tell you everything. For instance…” Sherlock says and he pauses dramatically and a moment later a smoke alarm starts to beep insistently from the hall. Irene turns and looks at the large mirror over the fireplace. Sherlock turns his head and follows her gaze. “Thank you. On hearing a smoke alarm, a mother would look towards her child. Amazing how fire exposes our priorities.” I laugh and watch Sherlock walk over to the fireplace and begins running his fingers underneath the mantelpiece. He finds a switch under there, he presses it and the mirror slides upwards, relieving a small wall safe behind it. Sherlock turns and looks at Irene as she stands up. “Really hope you don’t have a baby in here.” He says. I laugh and watch my sister start to panic a little. He calls out. “All right, John, you can turn it off now.” He waits a minute and the alarm is still going off. “I said you can turn it off now.” He calls out loudly.

“Give me a minute.” We hear John says.

Sherlock looks at the number pad on the front of the safe. “Hmm. Should always use gloves with these things, you know. Heaviest oil deposit’s always on the first key used – that’s quite clearly the three – but after that the sequence is almost impossible to read. I’d say from the make that it’s a six digit code. Can’t be your birthday – no disrespect but clearly you were born in the eighties; the eight’s barely used, so ...”

“I’d tell you the code right now but you know what? I already have.” Irene says as Sherlock frowns at her. “Think.”

The door bursts open and the leader of the group comes in and aims his pistol at Sherlock and me. “Hands behind your head.” He looks at Irene. “On the floor. Keep it still.” A second man goes over to Irene and walks her nearer to John who is being bundled in by a third man. A fourth man comes over to me and grabs my arm and pulls me to John.

I look up at him. “If I bruise, Mycroft Holmes will be after all your heads.” He makes me knee and I smile at John. “Having fun?”

Sherlock raises his hands and the main in charge looks to Irene. “Ms. Adler” He looks at me and I smile. “Well older Ms Adler, on the floor.” His colleague shoves her to her knees beside John.

“Don’t you want me on the floor too?” Sherlock asks.

“No, sir, I want you to open the safe.” The man in charge says.

“American. Interesting. Why would you care?” He glances at Irene.

“Sir, the safe, now, please.” Man in charge says.

“I don’t know the code.” Sherlock says.

“We’ve been listening. She said she told you.” Man in charge says.

“Well, if you’d been listening, you’d know she didn’t.” I say and roll my eyes. Man in charge looks at me and glares.

“I would keep my mouth shut Ms. Adler.” He says. He looks at Sherlock. “I’m assuming I misses something. From your reputation, I’m assuming you didn’t.”

“Well you know what they say about assuming…. You make an ass out of me and you.” I tell him and smirk when man in charge looks over.

He walks over to me and grabs my face. “If you don’t shut up, I will shoot you right now.” I roll my eyes. He walks over to where he was and looks at Sherlock.

“For God’s sake, Calliah shut up. Also, ask Irene what the code is. She’s the one who knows it.” John says.

I pout at him. “Yes, sir. She also knows the code that automatically calls the police and sets off the burglar alarm. I’ve learned not to trust this woman. Or her sister.” Man in charge says.

“Mr. Holmes doesn’t…” Irene starts to say.

“Shut up. One more word out of you – just one – and I will decorate that wall with the insides of your head. That, for me, will not be a hardship.” Sherlock glares at him ferociously. “Mr Archer. At the count of three, shoot Calliah Adler.”

“What?” I ask.

“I don’t have the code.” Sherlock says and looks at me.

I close my eyes as I feel the pistol on the back of my neck and hear him cock the gun. “One.” Man in charge says.

“I don’t know the code.” Sherlock says emphatically.

“Two.” Man in charge says.

“She didn’t tell me.” Sherlock says. He raises his voice. “I don’t know it!”

“I’m prepared to believe you any second now.” Man in charge says and waits a second, then says, “Three.”

“No, stop!” Sherlock yells.

I open my eyes and look at Man in charge. I see that he has held up his hand. Sherlock’s gaze becomes distant while his mind works frantically, then he slowly turns towards the safe and lowers his hands. He lifts his hands and pushes the buttons. The safe beeps and noisily unlocks. Irene smiles in satisfaction as Sherlock sighs and closes his eyes briefly. I smile at Sherlock then look at Irene. “Thank you, Mr. Holmes. Open it, please.” Man in charge says. Twisting the button that will open the door, Sherlock looks across to Irene.

“Vatican cameos.” Sherlock says urgently. John and I duck down, at the same moment Sherlock pulls open the door of the safe while ducking down below the fireplace. Inside the safe, a tripwire attached to the door tugs on the trigger of a pistol with an equally long and over-compensatory silencer which is aimed straight out of the safe. The gun fires and Archer – who happened to be standing directly in front of it – is shot in the chest. Sherlock grabs for Neilson’s pistol and Irene spins around on her knees and savagely elbows her guard in the groin. Pulling the pistol from Neilson’s grip, Sherlock holds the silencer end and smashes the butt across his face and Neilson drops to the floor unconscious. As Irene’s guard crumples under her blow, she grapples for his pistol and is on her feet and aiming it down at him while he’s still falling. Sherlock turns to her. “D’you mind?”

“Not at all.” She says.

As her guard tries to get up again, she slams the gun across his face and knocks him unconscious. While she’s distracted, Sherlock reaches into the safe and takes something out of it. Nearby, John and I have checked Archer over and now stand up. “He’s dead.” John tells them.

“Thank you. You were very observant.” Irene says to Sherlock.

“Observant?” John asks.

“I’m flattered.” Irene says.

“Don’t be.” Sherlock says and moves to me. “Are you okay? I didn’t know if you would get the phrase.” He asks me.

“Yeah, my granddad was in World War two and I would talk to him a lot, so you got lucky.” I say and smirk.

“There’ll be more of them. They’ll be keeping an eye on the building.” Sherlock says and trots out onto the street. John and I follow him.

“We should call the police.” John says.

“Yes.” Sherlock says as he points the pistol into the air, fires it five times. “On their way.” He turns and trots back into the house. I giggle and follow.

“For God’s sake.” I hear John behind us.

“Oh shut up. It’s quick.” Sherlock says. We go back into the sitting room. Irene turns around from the safe to face him. “Check the rest of the house. See how they got in.” He says to John. Sherlock takes the item which he just stole from the safe out of his pocket and flips it nonchalantly into the air before catching it again. “Well, that’s the knighthood in the bag.” I laugh and he looks at me.

“Ah. And that’s mine.” Irene says and holds her hand out.

Ignoring her, Sherlock switches on the security lock on the phone he’s holding. I look over at it and see it requires four letters or numbers to activate it and it has “I AM” above the four spaces and “LOCKED” below them. I frown. She wouldn’t. “All the photographs are on here, I presume.”

“I have copies, of course.” Irene says.

“No you don’t. You’ll have permanently disabled any kind of uplink or connection. Unless the contents of this phone are provably unique, you wouldn’t be able to sell them.” Sherlock says.

Irene lowers her hand. “Who said I’m selling?”

Sherlock looks at the dead and unconscious bodies lying on the floor. “Well, why would they be interested? Whatever’s on the phone, it’s clearly not just photographs.”

“That camera phone is my life, Mr. Holmes. I’d die before I let you take it.” She walks closer and holds her hand out again. “It’s my protection.”

“Sherlock!” We hear John well.

Sherlock puts the phone back into his pocket and looks at Irene pointedly. “It was.” We turn and leave the room. She chases after us. We come into the bedroom followed by Irene.

“Must have come in this way.” John says.

“Clearly.” Sherlock says and goes into the bathroom. Irene and I walk to Kate.

“It’s all right. She’s just out cold.” John tells Irene.

“Well, God know she’s used to that. There’s a back door. Better check it, Doctor Watson.” Irene tells John. John and I look up at Sherlock who has come out of the bathroom. Sherlock nods to him.

“Sure.” John says and leaves the room. Sherlock takes out the camera phone and ignores Irene. I go over by him and look at it.

“You’re very calm. Well, your booby trap did just kill a man.” Sherlock says.

“He would have killed me. It was self-defense in advance.” Irene says. Walking across to Sherlock, she strokes her hand down his left arm. As he looks down at her hand she steps around behind him and stabs the syringe into his right arm. He gasps and spins around, trying to grab at his arm. She comes at me and stabs me in my arm with the syringe.

“What? What is that? What…” I hear Sherlock says. Irene goes back to him and she slaps him hard. He stumbles and falls to the floor. She holds out her hand to him,

“Give it to me. Now. Give it to me.” She says.

I fall to my knees and watch her. I try to get over to Sherlock but I feel like I can’t move.

“No.” Sherlock says.

“Give it to me.” Irene says.

Sherlock slumps to his hands and knees, still holding onto the phone. “No.”

“Oh, for goodness’ sake.” Irene says. She picks up her riding crop from the dressing table and wields it at him. “Drop it.”

“No! Don’t hit him!” I yell. Irene glares at me.

Sherlock continues to try to struggle to his feet.

“I..” She thrashes him. “Said….” She thrashes him. “Drop it.” She strikes a third time and he falls to the floor, unintentionally dropping the phone. “Ah. Thank you, dear.” As he lies on his back unable to move, she picks up the phone and types on it, standing over Sherlock and looking down at him smugly. “Now tell that sweet little posh thing the pictures are safe with me. They’re not for blackmail, just for insurance.” She puts the phone into the pocket of Sherlock’s coat which she’s still wearing. “Besides, I might want to see her again.” Grunting, Sherlock tries to get up. Irene presses him back down to the floor with one foot and the end of her crop. “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It’s been a pleasure. Don’t spoil it.” She gently strokes the end of the crop against his face. “This is how I want you to remember me. The woman who beat you. Goodnight, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.” Sherlock closes his eyes.

“Bitch.” I says softly.

She walks over to me and whips me. I scream. She had done this to me growing up. It was one of the worst things she had done. “You little sister, need to learn your place. You belong on the streets, not in a nice house, with a nice job.” She says and whips me again. I fall to the ground and look up at her. “I hate you.” She says and whips me one last time before everything turned black.

I woke up a little later, screaming. Mycroft jumps from his seat and takes my hand. “It’s okay Ardaigh. I got you.” He says softly. I look around.

“Where am I?” I ask.

“At the flat. I came to Irene’s house when the police had shown up. I brought you here. You are alright love.” He says.

I nod and try to move my arm. I groan. “Oh god.”

“Try not to move that much Ardaigh.” He tells me. I nod and lay down.

“Sleep with me?” I ask.

“Of course.” He says and gets into bed. He holds me and soon I was back asleep.

I wake up the next morning, and go to the living room. I was sore and was pretty sure I had bruises from the whipping. I see Sherlock and John sitting at the table in the living room. John was eating breakfast and Sherlock was reading the newspaper. I go into the living room more and see Mycroft. I grin and walk over to him. I wrap my arms around him and he rubs my back.

“How are you feeling?” He asks me.

“Sore, but fine.” I say. “How are you feeling Sherlock?”

“The photographs are perfectly safe.” Sherlock says, ignoring me.

“In the hands of a fugitive sex worker.” Mycroft says. He leads me to the couch and sits down with me.

“She’s not interested in blackmail. She wants ... protection for some reason. I take it you’ve stood down the police investigation into the shooting at her house?” Sherlock says.

“How can we do anything while she has the photographs? Our hands are tied.” Mycroft says. I grin at the thought of tying him up and shake my head.

“She’d applaud your choice of words. You see how this works: that camera phone is her “Get out of jail free” card. You have to leave her alone. Treat her like royalty, Mycroft.” Shelock explains.

“Though not the way she treats royalty.” John comments. He smiles at Mycroft sarcastically. Mycroft smiles back humourlessly. Just then an orgasmic female sigh fill the room. John and Mycroft frown. I feel the blood drain my face. I knew that moan. “What was that?” John asks.

“Text.” Sherlock says, trying to look nonchalant.

“But what was that noise?” John asks. Sherlock gets up and goes over to pick up his phone from nearby.

“Did you know there were other people after her too, Mycroft, before you sent John, Calliah, and me in there? CIA-trained killers, at an excellent guess.” Sherlock says and goes back to the table and sits down again as John looks round at Mycroft.

“Yeah, thanks for that, Mycroft.” John says. I glare at John.

Mrs. Hudson brings in a plate of breakfast from the kitchen and puts it front of Sherlock. “It’s a disgrace, sending your little brother into danger like that. Family is all we have in the end, Mycroft Holmes. And poor little Calliah too.” She says sternly.

“Oh, shut up, Mrs. Hudson.” Mycroft says. I gasp and reach up and slap the back of his head.

“MYCROFT!” Sherlock yells furiously.

“OI!” John says simultaneously and equally furiously.

Mycroft looks at their angry faces glaring at him, then looks at me as I give him a disappointed look. He frown and cringes. He looks contritely at Mrs. Hudson. “My apologies.” He says sincere.

“Thank you.” Mrs. Hudson says. Mycroft looks at me and pouts. I laugh and move into him. I could never stay mad at him.

“Though do, in fact, shut up.” Sherlock says. His phone sighs orgasmically again. Mrs. Hudson, who was going back into the kitchen, turns back. I frown and move my face into Mycroft. He wraps an arm around me and rubs my back.

“Ooh. It’s a bit rude, that noise, isn’t it?” Mrs. Hudson says.

Sherlock looks at the text. “There’s nothing you can do and nothing she will do as far as I can see.” Sherlock says.

“I can put maximum surveillance on her.” Mycroft says.

“Why bother? You can follow her on Twitter. I believe her user name is “TheWhipHand”.” Sherlock explains.

“Yes. Most amusing.” Mycroft says and frowns. His phone rings and he takes it from his pocket. “’Scuse me.” I move from him and he gets up and walks into the hall. “Hello.” He says into the phone.

Sherlock watches him leave, frowning suspiciously. John looks at him. “Why does your phone make that noise?”

“What noise?” Sherlock asks.

“That noise – the one it just made.” John explains.

“It’s a text alert. It means I’ve got a text.” Sherlock says.

“Hmm. Your text alert don’t usually make that noise.” John says.

“Well, somebody got hold of the phone and apparently, as a joke, personalized their text alert noise.” Sherlock explains.

“Hmm. So every time they text you…” John starts to say. Right on cue, the phone sighs orgasmically again.

“It would seem so.” Sherlock says.

“Could you turn that phone down a bit? At my time of life, it’s…” Mrs. Hudson says.

Sherlock looks at the phone and puts it down. He goes back to reading the paper

“I’m wondering who could have got hold of your phone, because it would have been in your coat, wouldn’t it?” John says.

Sherlock raises his newspaper so that it’s obscuring his face. “I’ll leave you to your deductions.”

John smiles. “I’m not stupid, you know.”

“Where do you get that idea?” Sherlock asks.

Mycroft comes back into the room, still talking on the phone. I look up and smile at him. “Bond Air is go, that’s decided. Check with the Coventry lot. Talk later.” He hangs up. Sherlock looks up at him.

“What else does she have?” Sherlock asks. Mycroft sits down by me and rests a hand on my knee. Mycroft looks at Sherlock enquiringly. “Irene Adler. The Americans wouldn’t be interested in her for a couple of compromising photographs. There’s more.” He stands up and faces his brother. “Much more.” Mycroft looks at him stony-faced. Sherlock walks closer to him. “Something big’s coming, isn’t it?” I look down and try to calm myself down.

“Irene Adler is no longer any concern to yours. From now on you will stay out of this.” Mycroft says. I look up and grins.

Sherlock locks eyes with Mycroft. “Oh, will I?”

“Yes, Sherlock, you will.” Mycroft says. Sherlock shrugs and turns away. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a long and arduous apology to make to a very old friend.” He says. He turns to me and smiles. “Call later?” I nod.

Sherlock picks up violin. “Do give her my love.” He begins to play ‘God Save The Queen”. Mycroft and I roll our eyes. He kisses my head and gets up, turns and leaves the room. Sherlock following along behind him while John grins. As Mycroft hurries down the stairs, Sherlock turns back and walks over to the window, still playing.

“Do you have to be so annoying Sherlock?” I ask.

Time passes and now it’s Christmas. Fairy lights are strung up around the window frame of the flat and it’s snowing outside. Inside, the living room is festooned with Christmas decorations and cards, and Sherlock is walking around playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on his violin. Mrs. Hudson is sitting in his chair with a glass in her hand, watching him happily. Greg is standing at the entrance to the kitchen holding a wine glass, and John – wearing a very snazzy Christmassy jumper – walks across the room with a cup and saucer in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other. I was sitting on the couch with Mycroft. As Sherlock finishes the tune with a fancy flourish, Greg whistles in appreciation. I clap and look at Mycroft.

“Lovely!” Mrs. Hudson says. “Sherlock, that was lovely.”

“Some things are best to left to the imagination, Mrs. Hudson.” Sherlock says.

John hands Mrs. Hudson a cup of tea. “Mrs. H.”

Jeanette comes over to Sherlock and offers him a tray of mince pies and slices of cake. “No thank you, Sarah.” He says softly. I laugh softly.

Jeanette’s face falls. John hurries over to her and puts his arm around her as she turns away. “Uh, no, no, no, no, no, no. He’s not good with names.” John tries to explain.

“No-no-no. I can get this.” Sherlock says. Jeanette puts the tray down and straightens up, folding her arms and looking at Sherlock rather grimly. “No, Sarah was the doctor; and then there was the one with the spots; and then the one with the nose; and then ... who was after the boring teacher?” I laugh harder and Mycroft elbows me.

“Nobody.” Jeanette says.

“Jeanette!” Sherlock says and grins falsely at her. “Ah, process of elimination.” John awkwardly shepherds Jeanette away. Sherlock looks across to the door as a new arrival comes in. “Oh, dear Lord.”

I look over and see Molly Hooper. I get up and hug her. She hugs back. She is carrying two bags full of presents. “Hello, everyone. Sorry, hello.” John walks over to us, smiling. “Er, it said on the door just to come up.” Everyone greets her. I go and sit back down and places a hand on Mycroft’s knee. No one was paying attention to us so I got to be a little more freely with my actions.

“Oh, everybody’s saying hullo to each other. How wonderful.” Sherlock says. Molly smiles at him nervously. She takes off her coat and scarf.

“Let me, er… holy Mary!” John says. I look over and see Molly is wearing a very attractive black dress.

“Wow!” Greg says.

“Having a Christmas drinkies, then?” Molly asks.

Sherlock sits at the table. “No stopping them, apparently.”

“It’s the one day of the year where the boys have to be nice to me, so it’s almost worth it!” Mrs. Hudson. “Calliah is always nice to me.” She says and smiles at me. I smile back.

Molly giggles nervously, her eyes still fixed on Sherlock as he starts typing on John’s laptop. John brings a chair over to her. “Have a seat.”

“John?” Sherlock asks.

“Hmm?” John asks. He goes over to Sherlock. I look over to Molly and see Greg touch her arm to get her attention.

“Molly?” She turns to him. “Want a drink?” She nods and I smile. I look over at Mycroft and see him smiling at me.

“Are you coming over later?” He asks. “I have your Christmas present.” I nod and snuggle into him.

Molly turns to Mrs. Hudson. “How’s the hip?” She asks.

“Ooh, it’s atrocious, but thanks for asking.” Mrs. Hudson tells her.

“I’ve seen much worse, but then I do post-mortems.” Molly says. I bust out laughing and then slowly stop as I see no one else laughing. Molly looks embarrassed. “Oh, God. Sorry.”

“I thought it was funny. “ I say softly.

“You would love.” Mycroft whispers in my ear.

“Don’t make jokes, Molly.” Sherlock says.

“No. Sorry.” Molly says. Greg hands her a glass of red wine. “Thank you. I wasn’t expecting to see you. I thought you were gonna be in Dorset for Christmas.”

“That’s first thing in the morning, me and the wife. We’re back together. It’s all sorted.” Greg says. I smile at him.

“No, she’s sleeping with a P.E. teacher.” Sherlock says, not looking up from the computer.

Greg’s smile becomes rather fixed. Molly turns to John who is sitting on the arm of his armchair. Jeanette is sitting in the chair itself. “And John. I hear you’re off to your sister’s, is that right?”

“Yeah.” John says.

“Sherlock was complaining.” Molly says. Sherlock raises his eyebrows indignantly. “…saying.” Molly corrected herself.

“No, he was complaining. I was there.” I tell everyone.

“First time ever, she’s cleaned up her act. She’s off the booze.” John says.

“Nope.” Sherlock says.

“Shut up, Sherlock.” I say.

“I see you’ve got a new boyfriend, Molly, and you’re serious about him.” Sherlock says.

I look confused. Molly would have told me if she had a new boyfriend.

“Sorry, what?” Molly asked. So she didn’t have a boyfriend.

“In fact, you’re seeing him this very night and giving him a gift.” Sherlock says.

“Take a day off.” John says softly and exasperated.

Greg takes a glass to the table and puts it down near Sherlock. “Shut up and have a drink.

“Oh, come on. Surely you’ve all seen the present at the top of the bag – perfectly wrapped with a bow. All the others are slapdash at best.” Sherlock says and stands up and walks towards Molly. “It’s for someone special, then.” He picks up the well-wrapped present. “The shade of red echoes her lipstick – either an unconscious association or one that she’s deliberately trying to encourage. Either way, Miss Hooper has lurrrve on her mind. The fact that she’s serious about him is clear from the fact she’s giving him a gift at all.” I look at Molly with a frown as she squirms in front of Sherlock. Oh god. The present is for him. “That would suggest long-term hopes, however forlorn; and that she’s seeing him tonight is evident from her make-up and what she’s wearing.” He smiles smugly at John and Jeanette. He starts to turn over the gift tag attached to the present. “Obviously trying to compensate for the size of her mouth and breasts ...” he trails off as he looks down at the tag. Sherlock gazes at the words in shock when he realises the terrible thing that he has just done. Molly gasps quietly.

“You always say such horrible things. Every time. Always. Always.” Molly says. As she fights back tears, Sherlock turns to walk away ... but then stops and turns back to her.

“I am sorry. Forgive me.” Sherlock says. I blink in surprise at the human reaction. Sherlock steps closer to Molly. “Merry Christmas, Molly Hooper.” He says softly. He leans forward and gently kisses her on the cheek. It’s a sweet and beautiful moment, which is instantly ruined by the sound of an orgasmic sigh. Molly gasps in shock.

“No! That wasn’t… I – I didn’t…” Molly stammers.

“No, it was me.” Sherlock says.

I feel the blood drain from my face and I stand up and leave the flat. I hear Mycroft follow me. “Why today. I thought she was going to leave us alone.” I start pacing. “He keeps getting the texts.” I place a hand on my head. “Why?” I look up at him, trying to calm down. “Why does she want him?”

“I don’t know Ardaigh” he says and wraps his arms around me. He lifts my head and kisses me softly. I kiss back and wrap my arms around him. We jump apart when the door opens. I see Sherlock at the door. His looks shocked for a minute.

He clears his throat. “U-Um, I think you’re going to find Irene Adler tonight.” He says softly.

I look at him confused. “We already know where she is. As you were kind enough to point out, it hardly matters.” Mycroft says.

I see John come up behind Sherlock. I look down and bite my lip. “No, I mean you’re going to find her dead.” Sherlock says and looks at me.

Mycroft, Sherlock, and I go to St Barts. We go inside and see Molly in her Christmas jumper and trousers with a lab coat over her clothes.

“The only one that fitted the description. Had her brought here – your home from home.” Mycroft says to us.

“You didn’t need to come in Molly.” I tell her.

“That’s okay. Everyone else was busy with ... Christmas. And she is your sister. You are my best friend. It’s the least I can do.” She gestures to the body. “The face is a bit, sort of, bashed up, so it might be a bit difficult.” She pulls the sheet down to reveal the face. I gasp and curl into Mycroft. He holds me.

“That’s her, isn’t it?” Mycroft asks.

“Show me the rest of her.” Sherlock says to Molly.

Grimacing, Molly walks along the side of the table, pulling the sheet back as she goes. Sherlock looks along the length of the body once, then turns and starts to walk away. “That’s her.”

“Thank you, Miss Hooper.” Mycroft says.

“How did Sherlock recognize her from ... not her face?” Molly asks. Mycroft smiles politely at her, then we turn and follows his brother. We finds him standing in the corridor outside, looking out of the window. Walking up behind him, he holds a cigarette over his shoulder.

“Just the one.” Mycroft says.

“Why?” Sherlock asks.

“Merry Christmas.” Mycroft says. Sherlock takes the cigarette and Mycroft digs into his coat pocket to find a lighter.

“Smoking indoors – isn’t there one of those ... one of those law things?” Sherlock asks.

Mycroft lights the cigarette for him. “We’re in a morgue. There’s only so much damage you can do.” I laugh darkly. Sherlock inhales deeply and then blows the smoke out again. “How did you know she was dead?” I look at Sherlock questionably.

“She had an item in her possession, one she said her life depended on. She chose to give it up.” Sherlock explains. He takes another drag on his cigarette.

“Where is this item now?” Mycroft asks.

Sherlock looks round at the sound of sobbing. A family of three people is standing on the other side of the doors at the end of the corridor, cuddled together and clearly grieving the death of someone close to them. Sherlock and Mycroft turn to look at the family. “Look at them. They all care so much. Do you ever wonder if there’s something wrong with us? Well I guess not you. You have Calliah.”

“All lives end. All hearts are broken.” Mycroft says and looks at me. I frown.

Sherlock blows out another lungful of smoke, then looks down at the cigarette in disgust. “This is low tar.”

“Well, you barely knew her.” Mycroft says.

“Huh!” Sherlock says. He looks at me. “Are you okay?”

I shrug and snuggle into Mycroft more. “I’m going to go to Mycroft’s tonight. We can talk later.”

He nods and starts walking away down the corridor. “Merry Christmas, Mycroft and Calliah.”

“And a happy New Year.” As Sherlock continues down the corridor, flicking the ash from his cigarette onto the floor, Mycroft gets out his phone and hits a speed dial. “He’s on his way. “ He says into the phone. “Have you found anything?” He listens. “Yes… No, but I never am. You have to say with him, John….No….I have to stay with Calliah.” He hangs up. He looks at me. “Come on. I promised you a Christmas present.”

“I left your gift at the flat.” I say softly.

“I don’t care.” Mycroft says.

We go to his house and I sit on the couch. He sits by me. “Are you okay?”

“No, but I need to not think about it.” I say and look at him. He hands me a small box. “So, it’s not a car.” I pout.

He laughs. “No, sorry. Not a car.”

I open the box and see a small ring in there. “It’s not an engagement ring because we aren’t ready. This is a promise ring. I promise to love you till I die.” Mycroft says. He takes it out and slides it on my finger. I grin and hug him and he falls backwards on the couch, and I land on him.

“Thank you!” I says softly. He smiles and kisses me softly.

“Anything for my Ardaigh.” He says and kisses me again. 

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