Irene looked up from her newest client. She had fully researched her, at the behest of Moriarty. After all, Molly Hooper was one of Holmes’s friends. Specialist registrar at St. Barts, a rather timid creature by all accounts, very vanilla, very mousy and plain.
She hadn’t realized how skittish the poor woman really was.
She set down the riding crop and then looked at her. “I had thought of punishing you, for pleasure, but...I don’t think you’re at that point. Perhaps some tea?”
Molly looked at her sideways, removing her hands from covering up the lacy white bra and knicker set she’d worn underneath her clothes. Not overly sexy, more modest than anything, but still enticing. She slowly nodded. “Tea sounds good,” she replied. She slowly got off the bed and followed Irene to a side room, where the tea she had waiting for the aftercare was. She was a good dominatrix after all; she knew that the sessions could involve all the brutalization and humiliation a person could handle but aftercare was essential.
Once they were settled she began to serve them tea. She had chosen some of the special Silver Tips Imperial Tea that she only brought out for special occasions. “Now then,” she said. “Why did you procure my services?”
Molly was quiet for a moment as she sipped the luscious Darjeeling tea. “My ex-boyfriend is a criminal mastermind,” she said slowly, quietly. “And I was told...you might help.”
She felt a pang of something at her words. Regret, perhaps? Molly sounded so hurt, so lost, and she wasn’t sure she could do what Moriarty had wanted her to do, to gather blackmail on Sherlock. So she smiled at Molly and nodded.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
At some point between their first session and now, she’d fallen in love with the soft-spoken and timid woman who wore the white lace bra and knickers. She didn’t know how it had happened, she didn’t know when, all she knew was that she had looked forward to each visit from Molly, enjoyed their time together, however brief it was, and wished desperately for a way that she could stay.
And Moriarty knew it, somehow.
He had manipulated her into getting further involved with Holmes, and while she was fascinated with him, attracted to him physically, she didn’t love him, and now it was all such a mess. And so Molly had just had to look at a body with a face bashed in and the fingertips cut off and be told it was her and then come home to find the real her in her sitting room. One look at the hurt, shock and anger on Molly’s face and the whole story had come spilling out, all of it, and then she had fallen silent, waiting for her response.
And now came time for the bitter truth.
Irene shook her head. “Not unless my hand was forced,” she said quietly. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“The lies hurt worse,” Molly said, and Irene could tell she was close to tears. In fact, a few slipped from her eyes and Irene simply wanted to wipe them away. “I still care for you, though I'm not entirely sure why.”
Irene was surprised. “Molly?”
“But I can’t look at you,” she continued.
Irene nodded. “I understand.” She stood then. “I’ll contact you when it’s safe.” And with that, she left, her heart battered, but not broken. There was, perhaps, still hope.
Oh, it had all gone to hell. She was going to be on the run for her life now, without the protection her phone had given her. Sherlock had ensured that. She had gone to Molly’s flat to give her a proper goodbye because she deserved one. And here Molly was, ready to run away with her.
What had she ever done to deserve this?
She caressed Molly’s face gently as she leaned in, kissing her softly. There had never been enough kisses, never been enough tenderness. Never been enough time. They had been robbed of so much of that. So much of everything, really. “I can’t let you do that,” she said.
“You have to,” Molly said insistently. “I don’t care what you do to stop me. I’ll go through nine hundred realms of Hell with you, Irene. I’ll face every enemy you’ve made by your side. I won’t let you do this alone.”
“But I thought you were angry with me,” she said, pulling her into an embrace.
“I’ve been so miserable without you,” Molly said, holding her close. “It’s felt like a part of me wasn’t there. Somehow I fell in love with you. I know at the start I was a client or a mark, but it became more, didn’t it? Was I someone special?”
“Yes, Molly,” she said. “You're more important to me than I could have imagined,” Irene said, pulling comfort from her. They stood like that for a few moments before they pulled apart. “Are you sure you’re willing to leave this all behind, though?”
Molly linked her hand with Irene’s and smiled at her. “If I have you, it will be enough.”
“It will be enough for me, too,” Irene said with a nod, smiling.