Damn that man!

Molly sat down where she stood, hands trembling, because her legs wouldn't support her anymore. Oh, God, he was back. Jim. James Moriarty.

She took a deep, shaky breath, and let it out. She remembered the first time she'd seen Ji- Moriarty. It had been at the hospital, in the canteen. He'd commented on her blog, asking her to get coffee sometime. She'd tried that with Sherlock in the past, but it had never worked, and no one commented on her blog, ever. She'd been flattered, a little flustered, and fancied herself as having a secret (or not-so-secret) admirer and she'd accepted.

He hadn't been attractive, exactly, but he'd been charming and kind and complimentary – all of the things Sherlock hadn't been at the time – and she enjoyed his company. It wasn't like with Tom – she hadn't expected anything serious with J- Moriarty. She'd never slept with him, thank God. She had, she admitted, really just used him, used him like he used her, exactly like he used her, it turned out, to get to Sherlock.

She still wasn't sure why she thought she could make Sherlock jealous, but at that point, nothing else had worked and she'd shrugged her shoulders and thought, Okay, why not? You're just desperate enough to try this. But then came the "gay" comment and the phone number and Molly feeling like a fool in front of Sherlock, again, and Moriarty and John and the second they'd left the lab he'd dropped his act and rolled his eyes at her and she'd dumped him. And he'd left and she'd thought that was the end of it.

Looking back, she was probably lucky he hadn't shot her then and there.

Still shaking, she got to her feet. So Moriarty was…back? How was that possible? She'd examined the body herself – gunshot wound to the head, point blank range, entrance and exit wounds visible. He'd died instantly. Is this how John had felt, perhaps, when Sherlock waltzed back into his life?

Molly closed her eyes. Waltzed in, waltzed out. Sherlock was gone, again, and this time for good. She hadn't visited him in prison, no one had, it wasn't allowed, but he'd left her a message. She reached into her pocket, smoothed it out, and read it again, needlessly, since she'd memorized it ages ago.

Dear Molly,

I've gotten myself into a mess that even you can't get me out of, I'm afraid. I don't think it's likely that I will see you again so I wanted to take this opportunity and thank you, once more, for all that you've done for me, which is more than you know. You've always counted, I've always trusted you, and I will not forget you. I do hope, though, that you forget me because you deserve the world, Molly Hooper. I hope you get it.



She refolded the note and held it between her palms. Forget Sherlock Holmes? That was never going to happen. That letter had broken her heart, though. He'd been doing that a lot lately.

First when John brought him in for a drugs test. She'd never slapped anyone before that test came out positive (so many drugs, she hadn't the heart to tell John the specifics.) She'd seen girls do it in movies and usually rolled her eyes at how cliché a reaction it was. Wasn't one of the first things you learned as a child, "Use your words?" But, God, at that moment, her heart broke and words failed her, but her arm didn't. Because the drugs (and she'd always known about the drugs - it was one of the first things Lestrade had told her about him, when he saw that she was interested,) the drugs changed him. Everything that made Sherlock Sherlock was gone, replaced by a greasy-haired, unshaven bum with a faraway look in his eyes. With a shot in a syringe, he'd killed the man she loved and replaced him with a stranger. So she'd slapped him.

After the drugs came the shot. And he'd broken her heart again, because the last interaction she'd had with him had been The Slap (she'd started referring to it in her head as a proper noun, a significant, life-changing event. She wasn't quite sure why.) She'd received John's frantic phone call just as she'd gotten out of the shower after work: "Molly, we're at the hospital. It's Sherlock. He's been shot. He's – oh, God, I've got to go." She'd sat, dumbfounded, wrapped in a towel at her kitchen table for a full ten minutes before she could react. Grabbing the nearest pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt she could find, she'd run, hair still dripping, to the hospital, not even bothering to wave over a cab. There she'd found John (red-eyed and pale,) Lestrade (stone-faced, a hand on John's shoulder,) and Mrs. Hudson (openly crying, dressed in her nightgown) all huddled together in a third floor corridor. "He's in surgery," Lestrade had explained. "He flat-lined a few minutes ago, but they've got him back."

He. Flat. Lined.

Molly hadn't cried, not there. She'd sat and held Mrs. Hudson's hand as she fretted, talking about tea and biscuits and something about a skull, and when Sherlock finally came out of surgery, she hadn't gone into the room with the others, but gone home instead. She saw dead bodies on a regular basis; she didn't know how to handle dying ones, though.

She'd visited a few days later, after he'd run away and been retrieved, his heart having been restarted in an ambulance, and he'd endured several more hours of surgery for internal bleeding. Bloody idiot, she reflected. She still didn't know what was so important that he'd run around London, sneaking out a window and nearly killing himself in the process. But if Sherlock thought it important, she trusted that it was.

He'd been pale and half-asleep when she saw him (and bare-chested, she'd noticed immediately, before noting that it was a highly inappropriate time for her to notice that.) When she entered, he'd pointed to his morphine drip, which was being kept to a bare minimum. She'd thought he was in pain, but when she reached to up it, he'd shook his head and reached out to stop her hand, holding it a little longer than was necessary (or maybe that was her imagination.) He'd slurred through the conversation, but the one thing he kept repeating was, "Thank you." Over and over just, "Thank you." She didn't know why, but she said, "You're welcome," each time, which he seemed to find comforting.

Then the newspaper articles started coming out. John told her they were fake, (she'd blushed through that conversation – was she still so obvious?) that the girl from the wedding (whom Sherlock had tossed a flower to, she hadn't failed to notice) was bitter that Sherlock had dated and proposed to her only to break into her employer's office. Molly couldn't blame her for that. She knew what it was like to be used. And so Sherlock broke her heart again, because if he thought that was okay, that he could make someone fall in love with him and then reject her, she questioned whether he could ever really understand love at all. And she hated herself for questioning that.

And the other shot. Sherlock's shot. The shot that killed newspaper tycoon Charles Augustus Magnussen in cold blood. The press had a field day with it: "Murder Solver Becomes Murderer;" "Genius Detective Snaps – Trial Imminent;" "Back From the Dead to Send Someone Else." She didn't understand why, and no one would tell her, but she would never believe that Sherlock killed without his reasons. And it broke her heart to see his name slandered throughout London. And it broke her heart to think of him alone behind bars. And it broke her heart when she learned he was leaving.

She slowly made her way back to the lab. It would be the last time Sherlock Holmes broke her heart, though, because his plane was gone. She'd watched the clock during her shift, being entirely unproductive, and when she knew he'd left, she'd taken her break with the idea that she would drink some coffee, watch some TV, and wallow. But that hadn't turned out as planned.

Did you miss me? She shuddered. No, it wasn't Moriarty she missed. The wrong person came back. If he was back. Which he wasn't. Because he was dead.

She placed a slide on the telescope in front of her in hopes of distracting herself from her sociopathic (and, unlike Sherlock, Moriarty was a sociopath, she was sure of that) ex-boyfriend and her…nothing, actually, because he wasn't her Sherlock. She tied her hair back and sat down to work.

The door flew open. "Molly, I'm going to need you to run some tests on a body. We have to dig it up first so don't leave." She looked up just in time to see his coat before the door slammed shut. Slowly, a smile spread across her face.

Damn that man.

I intended for this (like my other fics) to be a oneshot, but one reviewer in particular (S/O to Zarius) suggested that I incorporate some of the events from "His Last Vow" into it. I wasn't sure at first if I would be able to, and I didn't want to write something just for the sake of writing something, I wanted some content and character development, but couldn't get the "Damn that man" comment out of my head so this was the result. Thank you for all the positive feedback for chapter 1. And this one really is the last chapter. :)

Oh, and Molly's brief mention to checking out Sherlock in the hospital is a brief tie-in to one of my other fics, "Crisis Averted." Shameless plug, right there...