Characters: Molly, Alec, Josh, Reed, Rupert, Sherlock
Warnings/Triggers: Just fluff, really
Pairings: Molly/Alec, Josh/Rupert
Word Count 3,824
Summary: Molly attends her first school Nativity play as the wife of a teacher.
Author's notes: Set in the Abby 'verse.
A lot of the time I have story ideas for Molly and Alec, but when I write them they just sort of head into a territory of 'happy, but not really having a point'. But I thought that sort of story might be okay around the holidays, so here's a fluffy story about Alec and Molly being cute and happy.
The Drezeler-Jones family have previously appeared in "40 MPH" and the wedding fic, which can be found in the bottom section of the link above if you need a refresher on the massive collection of OCs I have.
“Did you change again?” Alec asked, peeking around the bedroom door frame. “Isn't that the third time?”
“I think this is better,” Molly said, smoothing her skirt and taking a look in the mirror. Her face was all flushed from the exertion of having changed that much.
“They're all better,” Alec said. “I mean, they are all equally...perfect. You look beautiful. Why are you fussing? You always look beautiful.”
Molly glanced over to him in the mirror. “It's my first Nativity play being a teacher's wife,” she explained. “I'm nervous.”
“You don't have to be nervous, there's nothing to the job,” he said.
“I just don't want to embarrass you,” she said.
Alec's face relaxed into an affectionate, soothing smile. “I'm never embarrassed by you. I'm always incredibly proud of you.” Molly felt her face flush and her stomach flutter with pleasure. “Really, as long as you don't show up drunk or hit a child, we'll be fine.”
“Has anyone ever done that?” Molly asked.
“The fourth year teacher's wife at my old school was pissed one year,” he said. “But she didn't hit a child. And to be fair, he was also somewhat pissed. It was sort of a fiasco. He didn't come back after the break.”
“That's awful!” Molly said.
“See? What are the chances you're going to come close to that?” Alec said. “You're well-spoken, kind, smart, and you haven't had anything to drink. You're going to knock 'em dead.”
Molly stepped back from the mirror. She did like this frock. And her hair definitely looked good. She'd followed a Pinterest tutorial and it turned out even better than she'd hoped.
“Although, you can't really knock 'em dead if we don't get there at all...” he added, pointedly.
Molly gave herself one last glance. “I think...I look quite nice,” she said, thoughtfully.
“Molly, you know that I love you and that you are my favourite person in the world, but is there any way we could possibly come to this conclusion with the first outfit you ever put on?”
St Vincent's School, where Alec taught, wasn't too far from Barts. That was the reason he and Molly had met. He'd started going to a different coffee shop because he was starting at a different school. It was on the smallish side, and not really posh per se, but tended to have very high achieving students and parents who were very concerned that their children did well--occasionally to an unhealthy degree. It was a nice little school, though, and Alec was very happy there. Molly hadn't known him when he taught at his old school, but it had been a state school in South London and sounded dangerous.
Alec had to get to the school early to get ready. The classrooms were open for parents to tour half an hour before the performance was set to start. There were two productions being done this year, one by the Key Stage 1 and Lower Key Stage 2 students, and then one by the Upper Key Stage 2 students on another night. Alec's Third Years were in the first performance, which was a little Nativity musical play. He'd been helping to get ready for weeks and Molly was looking forward to seeing the final result.
It was Molly's turn to soothe Alec as he prepared for the parents. He fussed around his already spotless classroom, wiping away non-existent dust and moving things from one place to another and then back to their original places. It was odd to see. Alec was always very cool. He exuded a very zen air that Molly felt countered her mousy nervousness nicely. He felt like a solid person you could lean on. She'd seen him flustered before, but rarely, and she hadn't imagined him to be that concerned about meeting and talking to people. He did that all the time. She supposed if she was going to have people come in to examine her lab in minute detail and question her methods of running tests, she'd be nervous, too.
“I think it looks very nice,” Molly said. “It looks very cosy, and very...erm...learny...?”
Alec stopped wiping at the white board and laughed. “Excellent, learny is exactly the atmosphere I was going for,” he said. He pulled on the tie under his waistcoat. “Do I look teachy?”
“Very teachy,” Molly assured him. “Proper teachy, in fact.”
“Good, I'm sure I'll make an excellent impression,” Alec said.
Molly looked over the work the students had left on their desks. Alec had had them choose the ones they were most proud of, so there were essays and art projects and tests. There were snowflakes and suncatchers on the windows and paintings on the walls. Molly hadn't been lying; she thought it was a very nice room.
An older woman stuck her head in through the doorway, saying 'knock-knock' as she did so. Alec smiled in a way that let Molly know he liked whoever it was. He always smiled--he barely stopped--but Molly had learned to recognize when it didn't reach his eyes.
“Everything according to Hoyle in here, Thornton?” she asked.
“Yes, ma'am,” Alec said. He gestured toward Molly. “This is my wife, Molly Hooper-Thornton.
Molly, this is Mrs Callahan, the deputy headteacher.”
“Pleasure,” Mrs Callahan said, with a brisk nod to Molly. “Nice to put a face to the name.
We've heard it a lot around here.”
Alec blushed slightly. “Not that much,” he said.
“A lot,” Mrs Callahan reiterated, matter-of-factly.
“Probably a lot,” he admitted. “Is everything all right on your end?”
“Some business with a rip in the backdrop,” Mrs Callahan said. “They're trying to sew it up.”
“I know how to sew,” Molly said. “Could I help?”
“I imagine so,” Mrs Callahan said. “Come on.”
“Are you okay?” Molly asked Alec. “If I go?”
“Of course,” Alec said. “I'll catch up with you later.”
She gave him a kiss on the cheek. “You're going to be excellent,” she said.
“Thank you,” he said, sounding doubtful.
She smiled, and scurried after Mrs Callahan, who marched with almost military precision down the hall to the auditorium. The house lights were on, and the pianist was warming up, and there were people running about. Mrs Callahan disappeared without introducing Molly or directing her, so Molly had to put herself forward, which seemed a little daunting. She took some steps toward the stage, and then a few more, and finally someone noticed her.
“Hello,” he said. “Are you looking for a classroom?”
“No, I'm...Mrs Callahan said something about a ripped backdrop,” Molly explained. “I thought I might be able to help. My name is Molly, I'm married to Alec Thornton.”
“Are you indeed?” the man said. “Nice to meet you. I'm Sean O'Hanlan, I teach Fifth Year, but I'm in charge of the lighting, so I'm here tonight as well.” He offered her a hand to shake. “I'm sure Priti would love a hand. Just up there.”
Molly took the steps up onto the stage, dodging around props and sets to get to where she could see the rip in the backdrop. She skirted around behind it, and found a young woman crouched there, trying to thread a needle. Molly introduced herself and offered to help.
“Molly Thornton, I love you already,” Priti said. “Welcome to St Vee's, where nothing goes quite as planned but we're very enthusiastic.”
Molly grinned. “I have a lot of experience with that sort of environment,” she said. She knelt down by Priti and looked at the tear. It was pretty significant, but it wasn't too jagged and would sew up easily.
“My mother always told me I needed to learn to sew,” Priti said, as Molly took the needle and put the thread through the eye. “She said my husband would appreciate a woman who could sew. I thought she was being very Old World, but you can sew and you're married to Lord Thornton, and I can't sew and I'm thirty and single. Maybe my lack of stitching is the problem.”
“Lord Thornton?” Molly said.
“Yes, that's what we call him sometimes,” Priti said, with a giggle. “Because it's sort of like he's stepped out of Jane Austen. All tall and intelligent and full of manners. He was born in the wrong era.”
“He was,” Molly said, agreeing very heartily. Alec would have done very well in a time where he could be a scholar and have a good deal of money and maybe become a clergyman and have a nice little parish and a brood of children.
“You're a lucky lady,” Priti added.
“I am,” Molly said, agreeing very heartily to that as well.
“And he's a lucky man, look at that,” Priti said, admiringly. “You can't even see the seam, Molly Thornton. You are my new favourite person.”
“It's the same stitch I use on corpses,” Molly said. Oh, that didn't sound good. “I mean, I--I do autopsies. Not for fun. It's my job. I work in a mortuary.”
“Oh,” Priti said. “Well, no offence, but that's quite a good reason not to learn to sew.”
Once the curtain was sewn up, Molly was given other tasks to do and was kept very busy until the tannoy requested that all children performing in the play report to the auditorium to prepare. The curtain was closed to hide the set, and Molly slipped down into the audience again, dodging the influx of wise men, animals, and shepherds that started to trail in. She went out to the corridor and fell into the group of parents and guardians starting to assemble there.
Reed came bounding up, with Rupert racing after him and Josh following at a leisurely stroll some distance away.
“Hi, Molly!” Reed said. “I'm a sheep.” He gestured to his cotton fluff covered costume.
“Wow, you are!” Molly said. “Your costume looks amazing, Reed.”
“Močiutė made it for me,” Reed said, happily. “I have a line.”
“Do you?” Molly said. “Have you practised?”
“Daddy helped me,” Reed said, with a nod. “I didn't know you'd be here, too. Is Mr Thornton here? I want him to see me. You have to call him Mr Thornton at school, not Alec.”
“He's here, too,” Molly assured him. “He's just meeting with the parents of his students right now, but I know he'll see you on stage.”
Reed seemed satisfied with this. “I'm glad you're here, too,” he added, putting a hand on her arm. “I have to go in now, Daddy, I'll see you later!”
He hurried into the auditorium, leaving Rupert looking worriedly after him.
“I didn't get to wish him luck,” he said to Josh, who had arrived now.
“Oh no, now he definitely will fall off the stage and die,” Josh said, 'regretfully'. “You've completely failed at parenting and the social workers will be beating at the door come morning.”
“Shut up,” Rupert said. “It's his first Nativity play! Why aren't you more excited?”
“I'm Jewish, the birth of Christ has never been that thrilling for me,” Josh said. “Even if my son is an anthropomorphic sheep greeting His arrival.” He lifted his phone. “I'll record it. It will be fine. The brat's a natural. Hello, Miss Molly, please ignore our dysfunctional bickering. You look lovely.”
Molly grinned as they kissed cheeks. “Thank you,” she said.
“You really do look smashing,” Rupert said. “That's a lovely frock. You've just got a bit of dust there...” He reached over and swiped at her skirt.
“Oh, thank you!” Molly said. “I was down on my knees earlier.”
“Sounds like fun,” Josh said, with a grin.
Rupert punched him without breaking his swiping. “Not appropriate,” he said.
“I was helping with the stage, thank you,” Molly said. “Did you meet with Reed's teacher?”
“Yes,” Josh said. “Very nice lass. Apparently Reed is clever and cheerful, but a little too overzealous in his cleaning of the classroom.” He eyed where Rupert was still swiping at Molly's skirt. “Wonder where he gets that from?”
“I'm getting better,” Rupert said, stepping back and giving Molly's skirt a critical look.
He gave one last swipe and looked content.
Molly's phone buzzed with a text alert. She apologized and stepped aside to look at it.
You @ lab tonight?
Busy. Ask whoever on duty.
It's the one that replaced you on honeymoon. Doesn't like me.
Why can't you come?
Out w/ Alec
How long til done?
Have to stay until after Jesus is born at least.
There was a slight delay in responding on Sherlock's end.
Never v. interested in RE, but pretty sure that happened over 2000 years ago.
@ Nativity play for Alec's school
You come after birth of saviour?
Maybe. Will ask for you to be let in.
Molly laughed, and texted Pauline to see if she would let Sherlock mess about. Pauline said she'd be more in the mortuary and agreed so long as he didn't touch any of her stuff. Sherlock consented so long as Pauline didn't touch any of his.
That solved, Molly returned to Josh and Rupert, who were on their way in to the auditorium now that the doors were open for families. The pianist was playing a selection of Christmas carols, and Molly hummed along as she took a seat, leaving a gap between her and Josh for Alec to sit when he came. Rupert worried about Reed while Josh teased him about it, until it became obvious Rupert was genuinely concerned and Josh switched to reassuring. Molly kept an eye out for Alec and waved him over when he came in. He climbed over the back of the seat to sit down, his long legs making it easy for him to get over.
“How did it go?” Molly asked.
“Good,” Alec said. “Only one disgruntled parent, the rest were very pleasant and approving.”
“What were their knickers in a twist about?” Josh demanded, in a voice suggesting he planned to get up and defend Alec's honour if required.
“Maths test result,” Alec said. “The mother wanted me to change her daughter's grade. She insisted that the numbers were smudged and it was a 23, not a 25, which would make it a correct answer. However, I photocopy all tests for my records and produced my copy, which, oddly enough, had no smudged numbers, and clearly showed it was a 25, not a 23, which made it the wrong answer.”
“So, what did Mumsy do?” Josh asked.
“I managed to soothe her down by saying that 29 out of 30 was the highest mark in the class on that test, and that her daughter was an excellent student with a good head for maths, and I was always very impressed with her work,” Alec said.
“Wait, she was upset about her getting 29 out of 30 on a test?” Molly said. “One wrong answer? That's nearly 97%.”
Alec shrugged. “It's not 100%,” he said. “Some parents are like that.”
“That's awful,” Molly said. “The poor girl.” She'd put enough pressure on herself in school, she couldn't imagine what it would have been like if her parents had put equal or more pressure on her.
“She's fine,” Alec said. “The mum was way more upset than her, and the dad talked the mum down and we parted as friends.”
“I once had a mum ring me up to yell at me about marking her son's project down for spelling mistakes because it was Geography and not English and spelling wasn't important,” Josh said. “And I told her that I was usually very lenient with spelling as long as the information was solid but the fact that he hadn't spelled Antarctica correctly a single time on a project about Antarctica was a little bit of an issue. She tried to tell me that he'd learned to spell in America when her husband was working there, and used American spelling. And I said I was pretty sure Americans spelled Antarctica with two C's like us.”
“What did she do?” Molly asked.
“Rang the headteacher,” Josh said. “And he did not have my back. He suggested the kid resubmit with a corrected copy of the project and made me mark it as though I'd never seen it before.”
“That's ridiculous!” Molly said.
“All about the Ofsteds,” Josh said. “96% looks that much better than 95%. And that's why I fear for this generation of kids.”
“They'll be okay,” Alec said, optimistically.
Josh smirked. “Al and me have a bet,” he said. “We're going to decide in a ten years who won.”
“I'm glad everyone I work with is dead,” Molly said.
“Do you know what my favourite thing about your Mrs is?” Josh said to Alec. “That she looks like a little fairy and she says things like that without batting an eye.”
Alec grinned at Molly. “Yeah, the contrast is sort of sexy, isn't it?” he said.
“Are you sure your phone is charged enough?” Rupert said, apparently having missed the whole conversation for worrying. “Maybe you should just record Reed's bit, so you can be sure your phone won't die. Mama and Teti want to see it.”
“100% charged, love,” Josh said, showing him the phone screen patiently. “We can't just record one line, he'll be there for the whole stable part of it, being all adorable and sheep-y. Linus and Rosalija will have this to embarrass him for years yet, don't fuss.”
Alec exchanged an amused look with Molly, and laced his fingers through hers as the house lights went down. His hand was a bit sweaty, maybe left over from meeting the parents. She gave it a squeeze and he smiled.
The audience fell quiet for the overture and Josh raised his phone up to start recording, slapping Rupert's hand away.
“That's Emily G,” Alec whispered to Molly, when the curtains opened and a little girl stepped on stage to welcome them to St Vincent's Nativity play.
His hand grew more sweaty as the play started and more of his students came on to do their parts. Molly realized he was nervous for them, wanting them to do well. He proudly told her the names of each one as they came on stage, and it was nice to see all of the kids she'd heard so much about. It all seemed to be going very smoothly, and was very clever and funny and sweet, and the more people laughed, the more confident the children grew. Molly quite enjoyed herself.
“There he is,” Rupert murmured when Reed came on stage with the rest of the sheep.
“Yes, I recognize my own son, thank you,” Josh hissed back. “Hush.”
There was an audible exhale from Rupert when Reed said his line, and it got a laugh, which made Reed beam on stage and Rupert and Josh beam back at him. Molly imagined Abby Watson would be up there next year and Sarah and John would be beaming at her. Provided she passed her interview and was accepted, of course. One had come up for her, out of nowhere, according to John. Alec said he didn't have anything to do with it.
The play was only about half an hour long, and it received a standing ovation upon completion, Alec and Josh both whistling with their fingers. The end song had been very sweet and Molly had teared-up. Alec laughed at her, and swiped the tear away with his thumb.
Everyone filed out of the auditorium into the library, where there were drinks and treats set up. Alec brought a cup of tea and mince pie for Molly, who was hugging a wall in hopes of staying out of the way. She spent the next half hour smiling awkwardly while various small children ran up to Alec to see if he liked the play, and parents who hadn't had a chance to talk with him earlier came over to say hello, and his fellow teachers stopped by for a chat, and a few of his students from the year before who had come to see their siblings approached and wanted to catch up, as though they'd left school and gone to uni instead of just moved up a year. Alec's hand rubbed soothing circles on Molly's lower back the whole time.
“This is worse than when we got married,” Molly said. “At least I knew everyone at our wedding.”
“You're doing great,” Alec said. “You're not drunk and you haven't hit anyone.”
“I really feel I should have greater life goals than that,” Molly said.
“We'll try for world peace tomorrow,” Alec said.
After the onslaught died down, Reed ran up to Alec, Josh following.
“Hi, Mr Thornton,” Reed said. “Did you see me?”
“I did, you were great,” Alec said, holding out his hand for a low-five.
“Papa says I was the best sheep,” Reed said.
“You were a very good sheep,” Alec said.
“You were the best sheep,” Josh said. “Alec is being polite because we're in public, but he knows you were the best sheep up there.”
“You have to call him Mr Thornton at school,” Reed scolded.
“Oh, sorry, Mr Thornton, I forgot,” Josh said.
“Forgiven,” Alec said. “See that it doesn't happen again.”
“Yes, sir,” Josh said.
They all stayed until the families and children started to dwindle, and the room cleared out. Josh and Rupert invited Alec and Molly out to take Reed for a post-show treat, and they accepted. Alec took her hand as they headed out to the car park.
“Thank you for coming tonight,” he said. “You've been a great teacher's wife. The best teacher's wife, in fact. Better than all the other sheep.”
“Thank you,” Molly said. “You're always very supportive of what I have to do, so I wanted to support you, if I could.”
“You could, and you did,” Alec said. “It was nice to have you here.”
“I like being a teacher's wife,” Molly said.
“Good, I like having a teacher's wife,” Alec said. “This is my first year having one, it's nice.”
Molly's phone tha-thunked a text alert. She winced slightly. Sherlock wanted to know if Jesus was born yet, because he needed her help at the lab. There were brains involved, smiley face.
“I'll tell him no,” Molly said.
“It's okay,” Alec said. “Really. We're just having dessert, you aren't missing out on anything important. I'll buy you something for later.”
“Are you sure?” Molly asked.
“Yes, go,” Alec said, firmly.
Molly made her apologies to the Drezler-Joneses.
“I would very much like to come,” she explained. “But I should probably go and dissect a brain.”
“Yep,” Josh said, to Alec. “That is definitely my favourite thing about her.”