Disclaimer: I own nothing.
The first gift arrived at 10:05 pm, the exact moment of Molly Hooper's birth, with no fanfare. It was simply there, on her disheveled desk, when it hadn't been there only moments before. She was so startled by its presence that she jostled her coffee and burnt her finger.
"H-hello?" She turned quickly, scanning the darkened morgue for whoever could have left her the gift. She sucked gently on her finger, wincing at the sharp pain, and glanced about. She had been at her desk just a few minutes ago. The coffee pot was only on the other side of the room. The lamp at her desk provided a warm circle of light and the morgue, even with the lights off, always had a dull blue glow of ambient light running around the ceiling. But there was no one else in the room. No one but corpses though, and Molly knew that they didn't count.
She thought then that maybe Sherlock had left the gift. Sherlock was the only one observant enough to have noticed that she wore a new dress today, a present she had bought herself. There had also been the small, festive cupcake in its fancy box that she had brought in to eat along with her dinner in the cafeteria for celebration. He might have noticed it that morning when they passed each other in the hall in front of the morgue. But no, Molly knew, that while Sherlock would have noticed and realized that today was her birthday he was unlikely to even care let alone buy her a present.
Which left the question as to who had brought her a gift?
Molly eyed the small box. It was wrapped in a deep-green paper that gave off a dim metallic sheen. A single golden ribbon was tied in to a bow and a small tag could be seen sneaking out from beneath. She was certainly no Sherlock Holmes but it was her job to be observant (with the dead, normally, but still) and she had observed nothing out of the ordinary, only this small, green box.
Scooping up the phone from her desk, "Hi," She breathed softly into the phone receiver, "This is Molly Hooper, has-has anyone come down to the morgue recently?" She spiraled her fingers nervously into the cord. "No? Okay, thanks. No, everything is fine down here; I'm just a little jumpy is all. You know, what with all the corpses."
The security guard promised to take a turn down her way in a few minutes to check on her and Molly replaced the phone.
The dratted box continued to sit innocently in front of her and Molly decided that she was being a silly little twit and honestly, what would Sherlock think of her if he could see her so undone by nothing more than a little present on her birthday; delivered by a magician, obviously.
The package fit easily in the palm of one hand and she studied it, turning it from side to side, taking the measure of it before flipping over the tiny card.
"Happy Birthday, Poppet."
The gift slipped from her fingers and tumbled to the floor. Molly sat heavily in her chair and looked at the box. She should call the police or security or Sherlock. She should call someone and tell them that somehow Jim, who was not Jim from IT but Jim Moriarty criminal consultant, had a present delivered to her on her birthday.
He had remembered. How nice. He must keep a very organized planner to keep track of something so insignificant as the day of her birth when he had so many other activities, like blowing up her loved ones and taking over the world, going on. Molly giggled hysterically.
She untied the ribbon carefully. It was of a high quality and felt like the smoothest satin against her fingertips. The paper was thick and rich, not the type of paper that one would just pick up at a corner shop. The box was black velvet, a jeweler's box, and Molly lifted the lid with trembling fingers.
In it was a pair of earrings. But earrings that Molly Hooper would never have dreamed to own. Large, deep-green emeralds dangled from strands of diamonds. They couldn't possibly be real but she knew that they were and that they were chosen intentionally for her. This was not a gift that was haphazardly picked. But one that was chosen intentionally by a man that was insane and remembered that she never wore green.
The kettle was whistling and Molly removed it from the heat with shaking hands. God, what was she doing; after one date? If her mother were still alive she would have been ashamed of her. She hardly knew anything about Jim. But he had paid her attention and compliments and listened as she talked not seeming to mind that she mostly talked about corpses and Sherlock Holmes. It had been nice, for once, to be seen.
Hands slid around her waist causing her to jump. "Hush, poppet, it's just me."
Jim trailed a kiss from her ear down the side of her neck. "I like this jumper," his hands slid up under the edges, tracing her sides above her bare hips. "It's a good color on you."
Molly edged carefully out of his arms, "What? This old thing?" She tugged the edge of her jumper down. "But it's such an ugly thing. And I look terrible in green."
He playfully, but not, followed her retreat through her tiny kitchen; catching her in a corner along the cabinets. Jim stood over her and for a moment Molly was afraid. Then he nuzzled her hair and rested his jaw on her shoulder.
"Now darling, whoever told you that should be shot for voicing such an outrageous lie." His arms trapped her and pulled her against him. He pressed closer and Molly was surprised to find him hard again. He ran a hand up her thigh and lifted her leg so that he could be more firmly against her.
"You should wear green all the time. You should bedeck yourself in shades of the forest and hang emeralds in your hair."
He pressed into her and Molly gasped, her head falling back against the wall.
The second gift arrived on Christmas day. She had been out of her flat all day so it could have been delivered at any point. Of course, her apartment would have had to have been broken into for the green laptop to be waiting her for at the ready once she arrived home, but a little breaking and entering seemed like small potatoes for a man like Jim Moriarty.
Molly stood in the doorway of her flat and stared at the computer. It was green, of course, and a large gold ribbon draped one corner. She stepped back outside her flat and studied the door frame and lock; there was no sign of forced entry. But then, he wouldn't have needed to use force; Molly had given Jim a key.
She felt so stupid now staring at the gift. How could he have tricked her so quickly, so easily, that she had given that madman a key to her flat? It was an easy lie to tell Sherlock and the police when they questioned her about her relationship with Jim from IT. They had only gone out three times. But she hadn't mentioned all the afternoons that they had eaten lunch together at the hospital or dashed out for a cuppa during a break. There had been strolls together through the hospital and night shifts that were spent sharing sandwiches on the roof watching the stars pass.
She didn't tell them that he never carried an umbrella and they never took a cab. Anytime the rain caught them out unawares, which was often in London, Jim would pull her close and hold his coat over both their heads. They would run together, jumping over puddles, becoming thoroughly soaked and laughing all the while.
Molly didn't tell them that it only took one official date for her to let Jim into her flat, her body, and possibly even her heart.
How do you explain that she had been fooled so completely? How could she have been happy, joyfully happy, for even a moment with a man that was playing mad bomber with Sherlock Holmes? But Molly had been happy. Molly had been able to think that her love life wasn't quite so hopeless after all. Sherlock Holmes didn't see her but Jim did and she saw him too.
The laptop was amazing. She ran a finger along its smooth edge. With all the software that it had it would have cost more than her annual salary. It was an outrageous gift from a man that had no reason to send her gifts.
A program popped up and a message appeared.
"Happy Christmas, Poppet, I hope you like it."
Molly blinked at the screen a few times. Her fingers hovered over the keys.
"Are you lonely?"
She snapped the laptop shut and gathered it in her arms. In her bedroom there was a box under her bed. The earrings were there, along with the old green jumper. Molly shoved the laptop into the box and arranged the jumper over it. Sliding the box back under her bed she rested her forehead against her mattress and tried not to cry. She wasn't even sure why she wanted to cry. Molly was frightened. Frightened that Jim Moriarty, criminal-mastermind, was leaving her gifts, was trying to talk to her.
But mostly she was afraid that he was right. She was lonely.
"Put that away, Poppet, come play with me."
She smiled over her shoulder at him. "I have to finish this, go play with yourself."
Jim began to chuckle.
"Oh, oh god, I didn't – didn't mean it like that." She flushed bright red in embarrassment.
He slunk across the bed and sat behind her, his legs to either side of hers. Molly tried to ignore the fact that he was naked. "I would much rather play with you." His hand cupped her breast through her shirt.
Molly shoved back with her elbow, "Stop it, Jim, I have to finish this."
Jim slipped around her, faster than she would have thought him able, and jerked her back onto the bed. Her laptop tumbled to the floor. His hand was around her jaw; the grip was tight but not yet painful. "What did you say to me?" His voice was low and full of danger.
Molly felt a little afraid but, damn him, excited too. "I told you to stop; I have to finish my report."
His hand slid down onto her throat and tightened ever so slightly. He studied her features for a long time. And then, just like that, it was over. He released her and slid off. He knelt down and handed her the computer. They both pretended that he wasn't erect and that she wasn't breathing hard.
"I don't know how you ever get anything done on that dinosaur."
Molly shrugged, "It's not so bad and I'm saving to get a new one."
Jim had begun to pull on his clothes. "I'm going to run out and get us some takeaway, Thai all right?" He didn't wait for Molly's reply. "You know, maybe I'll get you a new one, as a gift."
She laughed, "On your salary?"
He laughed as well, "Silly idea, right?"
The third gift was given to her by a stranger in the park as she sat, as she often did now, by herself sipping tea and reading the Daily Mail on her break. She always enjoyed nipping away from the hospital, even if it was only for fifteen minutes.
"Excuse me, Miss?"
Molly glanced up at the teenager that was before her. He looked a little rough around the edges. Dried spray paint coated his fingernails and there was a smudge of dirt peeking out from under the collar of his torn t-shirt. It would be awfully brave of him to attempt a mugging in the middle of an afternoon. Molly knew that there was a regular patrolman that came by every few minutes. She could scream if she needed to, get help quickly.
"Are you Molly Hooper?" The youth, not a mugger then, asked.
Molly folded her paper slowly, a feeling of dread forming in belly. "Y-yes, I am Molly Hooper. What do you want?"
He shook his head quickly, "No trouble, Miss, the gentleman just wanted me to give this to you." He held out a box wrapped in green paper and tied with a gold ribbon. "He said I'd find you here, reading your paper and drinking your tea, and here you are, just like he said; smart chap."
She stood and tucked the paper under her arm. "I don't need that, whatever it is." Molly backed away from him.
The boy gave her a lopsided smile, "He said that you'd say that. He said that you'd act all shy. He said that it's a Valentine's Day present and that if you don't take it from me you'll get him it from him later on." He chuckled at the innuendo.
There was no helping it; Molly could see that, she couldn't risk the threat that he would bring it by himself. That he would descend upon the quiet life that she was trying to patch together. Would he kill her, if he came? Would he spirit her away somewhere? She couldn't be certain either way. She wasn't even sure which option she would prefer, if she was honest with herself, she could see her life dragging on like this forever.
The boy took off once she accepted the package. Molly sat back onto the bench. She hadn't always come out to the park. It was a new habit she had started over the last few months. That meant that he was having her followed. A dangerous, serial-killing psychopath was having her followed. It was such a ludicrous thing to be happening to her that Molly started laughing.
She laughed until she cried; only stopping when she began to draw attention from passer-buyers.
The box was larger than the jeweler's box, a box you would put a nice shirt into for your father or lover. But its size was deceiving for it weighed hardly anything. There was something loose, sliding around inside of it.
Molly slid one finger under the green paper, the same paper that had wrapped the earrings, and pulled up the corner. She set the paper aside and opened the non-descript box. The first thing she saw was a small, brass key. Underneath that was a paper written in French with her name on it. Molly closed her eyes and leaned back in the bench, she knew what it was, what it meant.
And she wondered if he was going there now to wait for her.
It was the nicest restaurant that she had been in since her Da had passed. She wore a dress that made her feel pretty. And she was with a man that made her feel desirable. Jim was watching her study the menu and she was pretending not to notice him noticing her.
"If you could go anywhere, Poppet, where would you go?"
Molly glanced up at him with a smile. "I don't know; somewhere beautiful, somewhere quiet. I-I haven't been to that many places. I guess I'm just too much of a London girl."
"Ah, don't say that. You don't belong here, going about unnoticed as you pick apart the remains of the dead." He filled her glass again with wine. "You should travel."
Trying not to feel insulted Molly took a longer drink than she intended. "You say that like you've done much traveling."
He smiled a smile that she didn't like. It was one that she had seen before. It always made her uncomfortable as if there was joke being made at her expense that she didn't understand.
"I've been here and there a time or two." He seemed to sense her distress and caught her hand as she grabbed at her wineglass again. He rubbed his thumb firmly across her knuckles, almost, but not quite painfully. "There is a little town in Provence that has a little hill with a little cottage on it." He pulled her towards him so that he could brush a kiss along the backs of her fingers. "Lavender grows wild in beds under the windows of this little cottage and there are vineyards as far as you can see behind it."
"It sounds lovely, absolutely lovely." He was still kissing the backs of her fingers. Molly turned her hand so that she cupped his chin; she ran her thumb across his lower lip as he stared hungrily at her. "Maybe I'll go see it someday." She told him.
His tongue slid along her thumb for only an instant but she felt it all the way to her toes.
"Maybe someday I'll make you."
Molly pulled back, "What an odd thing to say."
"Do you think so?"
She looked away from him and studied the other diners. He said nothing but she could feel him staring at her. "Did you want to stop by the lab with me tomorrow; I believe Sherlock will be in, I know that you wanted to meet him." She could feel him look away from her and it was Molly's turn to study him.
Jim was playing casually with a fork, tracing the decorative frills at the end. "Y-es," He met her eyes, "Yes, I think it's high time I met our Mr. Holmes."
The fourth gift was left on her desk at 10:05 pm on the night of her birth just like the first one had been left a year ago. It couldn't possibly be there, a medium-sized box wrapped in rich green paper and tied with a golden ribbon; Molly understood how what she was seeing was impossible.
Jim Moriarty was dead. He had shot a bullet through his brain on the roof of this very hospital. She had seen the body herself.
But the gift still rested on her desk, unconcerned in a way that only inanimate objects can manage, whispering that maybe what she had seen had been wrong.
She had never told anyone about the gifts. She had been frightened of them, ashamed of them, and, worst of all, flattered by them. How could she have ever admitted to anyone, something she could barely admit to herself, that the idea of Jim Moriarty setting aside a little of his time to tease and frighten her was oddly thrilling. But now, the man was supposed to be dead, everyone thought he was dead. She could hardly go to the police and explain that a murderer had been sending her gifts over the past year and that she never bothered to report it.
Molly bent over her desk, her palms grasping the edges, and tried not to hyperventilate. "No, no" She murmured. It occurred to her then that Moriarty could still be dead. He could have set this up in advance, before his meeting with Sherlock on the roof. Molly knew that had to be the answer. The man was dead.
There were tears in her eyes when she turned to face him. She couldn't say that some part of her hadn't been expecting this for a year now. Molly knew that she was a loose end. And Jim from IT who was really Jim Moriarty, who was not dead, did not have loose ends.
He was dressed splendidly in charcoal-colored suit. His hands were in his pockets and he slouched casually where he stood. "Did you miss me?" He began walking towards her slowly, stalking her. Molly eyed the door, but really, what was the point? "You never wore the earrings that I gave you." He stopped his prowl so close to her that she could feel the heat of his body. "Never tinkered with that laptop either." Jim ran a hand along the side of her face. "Never visited the lovely little cottage that I bought for you, and that really hurt my feelings, you know?" He reached around her for the present and began to open it. "Do you like the paper? I picked it out myself."
Molly closed her eyes as he pulled out a necklace to match the earrings that he had given her. She could feel the jewels settle heavily around her throat as he fastened them. He tilted her head to one side and kissed her neck.
"Mmm, I always said you were beautiful in green." He smiled at her.
"W-why are you doing this?" She whispered. She wasn't special. She hadn't even been worth an assassin to torment Sherlock with. She was just some girl in a lab with the worst possible taste in men.
"Oh Molly," He nuzzled her while his hands began to pull up her skirt. "We're going to have such grand times, you and I; really grand."