A/N: My prompt-fill for the following:
Molly has always been there to keep Sherlock right and focus. She sees him in the way that no other sees. A tragic accident left Molly with no memories of their pasts. To her Sherlock is now a stranger..
Sherlock sat alone on one of the three black seats that lined the stark white corridor. It was an unearthly hour and thus deathly quiet. He was not a religious man but he found himself muttering, talking to himself as though uttering prayer. The words, though soft like whispers, escaped his lips fast and furiously. His hands were clasped together, his chin resting against his two index fingers as he continued to remain motionless.
Could he have prevented this? Could he have prevented being here, sitting and waiting, almost breaking into a cold sweat if not for his pride? Moriarty, theother Moriarty had caught everyone by surprise. No one had expected the twin coming out in full force, shutting down the whole of England, forcing it to a standstill. This Moriarty had been the real brains behind Jim, his dead villainous brother. He was bent on taking on the famous detective himself and he came very close.
While the other Moriarty now lay conquered, cold and lying on a slab at the basement of the hospital, Sherlock was more concerned with the rooms upstairs. This room in particular, the one Sherlock sat outside of for what felt like eternity, was the room in which the antithesis of the Moriarty brothers lay. She was the antidote to their venom. Most importantly, she had been his saviour.
The scene played in Sherlock's head over and over again as he calculated other ways in which events could have unfolded. As he relived it, Sherlock shuddered. There was no corner nor crevice in his Mind Palace that could hide him from the horror of that final confrontation.
John, she's in there, he's got her. And he's going to kill her, he had shouted, racing frantically up the stairs of an abandoned warehouse. When Sherlock arrived to the top floor where he found Molly standing before a frightening and familiar character, he understood the full nature of terror.
Yet, Molly had been so brave. With her back to Sherlock, she stood before her captor, her posture straight and her head held high. Each time the villain circled her, pointing a gun in her face, she answered back coolly and calmly. Perhaps in facing death every day at the morgue, her own death barely shook her.
Sherlock had been unsure when to intervene but crept along the thin walls of the room Molly was in, listening and waiting for a chance to ambush the other Moriarty. John followed suit. This was not a villain to be careless with. The two men searched for an opening, for a good opportunity, whilst the pathologist and the madman conversed.
"You faked his death, you kept him hidden, you kept him alive… Now why would you do that, Dr Hooper?" said the man with the same dark eyes and same penchant for sharp suits. The voice had a frightening quiver to it. Molly did not answer, she merely stood where she was, staring ahead.
"Foolish of you not to answer me, dear…" said the man, toying with his gun, "But well, it's plain to see anyway. So now answer me this, why would you do all this for a man who never once gave you a second look? A bit pathetic if you ask me…"
"There is nothing pathetic about me, Mr Moriarty," Molly answered. "What I decide to do with the people around me is my prerogative. Contrary to what you like to believe, you have no say in my life, or anybody's."
He laughed and stepped towards her, gently stroking her cheek but in place of a hand, it was the cold metal of the gun he held.
"Oh, Dr Hooper… Molly, may I call you that?" he said with a wide grin, "It is so much easier to agree with me, you know, Molly? All I want is you to help me get rid of him…This Reichenbach hero…" He stopped to laugh heartily at the mention of Sherlock's tabloid moniker. "He does get in the way so. It's just a small favour, Molly. And I know you're extremely capable. We could be friends, Molly. I'm definitely a much better friend…"
"No." she replied calmly.
"Then you die." he said, pointing the gun at her head.
"Okay." Molly answered, shutting her eyes.
"Now, John!" came the frantic voice of Sherlock as both men leapt at the madman, dragging him far from Molly and pinning him to the ground.
Once Sherlock had ascertained that John had successfully restrained Moriarty, he raced to Molly but before he could get near enough, he heard a stray gunshot. He stopped, turned around and saw that Moriarty had snuck his hand from beneath John's hold and shot at the rafters above them. Specifically, he shot at the rafters nearest to Molly. What happened next was too fast even for Sherlock's quick eyes and mind to process. The old, cracked ceiling collapsed from the bullet to the rafters and crashed down around Molly. As they fell, they crashed through the unstable and creaky floor beneath Molly, sending her falling through to the storey below them.
"Molly…" Sherlock gasped as he watched her disappear from him.
Just then, a band of Mycroft's special armed forces burst in, apprehending Moriarty from John and ending the madman's reign once and for all. Amidst the whirring of helicopters, the buzzing of intercommunications and the gunshots that eventually gunned the madman down, Sherlock could only remember the limp body of Molly that lay across the rubble through the huge gap in the wood beneath his feet.
"Molly…" he whispered. "I'm sorry…"
Sherlock had never hoped for something so much in his life. In his uncomfortable black seat along the hospital corridor, he waited for Molly. He was determined she would live. She had faced death head on. She was sure to survive.
Molly, every day you deal with the dead, he said to her in the privacy of his mind, But today, deal with life. Take it, grasp it and live, Molly. Live.
He thought the hour would never come, but it did. When he was finally allowed to see her, Sherlock could feel his heart burst with both relief and a strange kind of joy at having had secret prayers answered. She lay in her bed, smiling sweetly as she always did, her bright eyes taking in the bright lights and all the machines that surrounded her. Sherlock felt his heart sink as he took in the scratches and cuts that lay scattered across her arms, face and neck. She was talking to her supervisor at the hospital, Dr Wright, who had come to see her first. Sherlock waited politely at the foot of her bed, letting them finish.
"You take however long you need, Molly," said Dr Wright. "I want you properly well before you start work with us again."
"I'll do my best, sir, thank you," she said gently, "I don't want to be in bed for too long. And I was in the middle of that skin grafting project we were doing…"
"I'll let the team know to update you with notes about what's happening. But it is paramount you rest. I want every wound off you before you even step into the lab, is that clear?"
"Yes boss," she said with a grin, "Thank you for caring."
"You're a good member of our team, Molly. We wouldn't know what to do without you."
Dr Wright gave her his best wishes and took his leave. He nodded politely to Sherlock, recognising him from all the times he had barged in looking for Molly. Sherlock nodded in response and moved to sit on the chair beside her bed.
"Yes?" she said, turning to face him, a slight frown on her face.
"I…I need to say, thank you…and sorry…and…"
"That's very sweet of you. But…" she said.
"Could you tell me your name first, at least?" she asked, giving him a kind smile.
"My name?" Sherlock was perplexed. It was his turn to frown.
"Yes, your name." she said sweetly, "I don't know who you are."
"She's had massive trauma to the head, Sherlock, the memory loss is not surprising." said John as gently as he could to his friend who was pacing the flat in utter distress.
"But she's only forgotten me, John. She recognised Dr Wright and talked about work as per normal. She's not forgotten her life, John…" Sherlock ranted, "She's just forgotten me."
John was shocked to see his friend collapse into his armchair, burying his head in his hands.
"I don't know why this…upsets me so much." came Sherlock's muffled voice.
"Sherlock, this would have shocked anyone…"
"But…it's Molly." Sherlock began.
"Yes, it's Molly…"
"If there's one thing about her, John, it's that she is constant. And I am never without her and I'd like to think…"
"Woah, mate…easy, easy…"
"I'd like to think," Sherlock said softly as he uncovered his face, "She'd never be without me either."
Sherlock had thought the memory loss was temporary, that as she recovered, it would all start coming back to her. He could not have been more wrong. Molly was eventually discharged with a clean bill of health and returned home, returned to work and resumed her life. He had gone to see her two more times. The first time was at her flat when she had just moved back in, giving her a little bit of a shock.
"Oh! It's you…from the hospital," she said, smiling. She looked deep into his eyes and suddenly looked away. Sherlock noticed a little pink forming in her cheeks and it softened his heart.
"Yes, I just…um, wanted to see if you needed help settling back in…"
"No, I'm all right," she said, "Thank you."
The only other time he had seen her was when he had gone to Bart's, hoping to get some top-ups for his collection of stolen chemicals at home. He had forgotten that she had forgotten and walked right up to her, smiling broadly.
"Molly…" he began.
"Hello….Sher—…Sherlock, was it? Sorry, I'm not very good with names." she said with a sheepish smile.
"Yes, it's…Sherlock." he replied, remembering. "Could I…I need some acid for a few experiments and about 200 mils of Sodium Hydroxide. Do you think you could spare me some?"
Molly looked at him, wide-eyed, at this overt thieving request he had made in broad daylight. She turned away from him, pretending to look down at her notes as she thought about his request. Sherlock thought he was going to turn blue in the face from anxiety. He watched her carefully as she processed his request. Would she reject it head-on? Would she find anything familiar? As he studied her, she looked up suddenly, turning to face him. There was a glint in her eyes that seemed to dance about and he could see the corners of her lips twitch as though suppressing a smile.
"Follow me," she said quietly, giving him a cheeky half smile. Sherlock followed her and as she led him into the supply rooms, unlocking the cupboards for him, he felt his heart lift slightly from the doldrums they had been in. The glint in her eye had given him a glint of hope. As Sherlock returned to Baker Street with a box of his stolen chemicals, he began to form a plan.
When he approached her with his new request, Molly did not seem half as shocked as she had been before. If anything, she seemed intrigued that he should know so much about her work and it was clear from the start he was marvellously intelligent. She thought hard about what he had asked and the case that had been presented to her. When she finally had an answer, she looked at him with her eyes shining brightly and said:
"I've got just the thing. Come back later at two o'clock."
Sherlock arrived as agreed and followed her into a section of the morgue. She wheeled a body out to him that lay concealed in its bag. He unzipped it, took a whiff and then asked her:
"Just in. 59, natural causes, he was a teacher. I heard he was nice."
Sherlock gave her a proud smile which she returned with a shy one of her own.
"We'll start with the riding crop."
As he had hoped, Molly exited the room but spied on him through the glass window of the observation gallery into the morgue. He whipped the fresh corpse just as he had, all those years ago. When he stopped, he saw her walk in, tentatively and, just as he remembered, with a fresh coat of lipstick.
"Listen, I was wondering. Maybe later, when you're finished…" Molly began, a little shyly.
"You're wearing lipstick You weren't wearing lipstick before." he interrupted.
"I, uh… I refreshed it a bit." she said with a nervous but sweet smile.
"It suits you," said Sherlock, smiling back at her.
"Oh…um, thank you…" she said, the pink returning to her cheeks.
"I was wondering," he said, walking up to her, "if you'd like to have coffee?"
"Uh…yes…yes, of course," she replied, biting her lip in surprise.
"Good. Let's go." he said, offering her his arm.
"So is it working? This plan of yours?" asked John.
"Not as fast as I'd hoped but it's getting there."
"So you've just been falsely recreating old cases and getting her to help you?"
"Yes. It was a bit tricky with the Black Lotus one because I had to get to the bodies first to ensure the tattoos were present before she wheeled them out to me." Sherlock said, polishing his violin bow, "But it worked like a charm. She's starting to look at me like I'm someone familiar again."
"Right…" said John with a laugh, "Is there…any reason you're so obsessed with getting Molly to recognise you…"
"She already recognises me, John."
"Fine. Is there any reason, any at all, that you're so adamant about getting her to remember you?"
Sherlock looked up sharply from his polishing and turned to John.
"Should I have a reason?"
"It's a pretty big operation, Sherlock." said John, "And it's taken you a lot of time. I've never seen you commit so much to something that isn't a case."
"She's a big part of my work, John. I need her back."
"No, Sherlock," John said with a knowing smile, "She's a big part of your life. And you need her."
Sherlock was soon driving everyone crazy with his meticulousness. It was a curse that his memory was this good.
"There are supposed to be two rows of Christmas lights here along the bookshelf, Mrs Hudson. And you can't place these glowing Snowmen on the windowsill, they weren't there last time."
"Oh, Sherlock, she's not even going to notice."
"I don't care, Mrs Hudson, it has to be exactly the same." he remarked stubbornly as he unplugged the ghastly snowmen figures from the window.
"I bet she would have liked them…the sweet girl she is…" Mrs Hudson muttered as Sherlock handed the snowmen back.
John and Mary were seated by the fireplace and Greg was by the kitchen table making drinks and handing them out. When Sherlock surveyed the flat and approved that it had been accurately furnished, he picked up his violin and began the re-enactment. He played the Christmas tune which ended just moments before the sound of high heels approached.
"Hello everyone…" came Molly's bell-like voice as she entered the flat. She removed her coat and under it was a fitted black dress, this time with black crystals embellished all long the neckline and the slim straps on her shoulders. Molly's hair was done up beautifully with a few silver pins in place and she wore the same crystal silver hoops she had on those Christmases ago.
She asked about Mrs Hudson's hip, like the sweet and caring girl she was. Greg offered her a drink, for he was in charge of those. Mary and John sat where they were, cuddled and randomly joined in Molly's conversation with Mrs Hudson. Out of the corner of his eyes, Sherlock spied the large bag of presents that Molly had hauled up with her and spotted the specially decorated one right at the top of the bag. He swallowed nervously, reluctantly remembering the events of that fateful Christmas.
"Would you like a drink, Sherlock?" came Molly's voice.
He had been sitting at the desk, pretending to read John's blog when she appeared suddenly by his side. Quickly, he stood up, cleared his throat and looked intently at her.
"No…no thank you, Molly." he said. His mouth twitched with a nervous smile.
"Okay," she said, sipping from her glass in a bid to hide the slow blush that was creeping up her neck.
Here she was, standing before him, the same Molly with all the same intents and emotions as she had those years ago in Baker Street. Her dress, her hair, her shade of lipstick and the elaborate present, they all echoed a sentiment from her past, a sentiment she held for him. Sherlock stood there, somewhat dumbfounded. He had not thought this part through — Why had he recreated this moment, of all moments? This was not a case, nor was it for the purpose of science and research. Why had he invited Molly? As he studied her, his eyes boring intensely into hers, Molly slowly lifted her gaze to meet his.
Molly had spent ages getting ready. This mysterious, intelligent detective who constantly showed up at work, bringing her interesting things to look forward to all the time, was slowly but surely capturing her heart. She had decided that tonight was going to be significant, as she was going to do something about those feelings he gave her. Those feelings that made her blush every time he looked at her, or the feelings that made her want to be there for him, no matter what.
As Molly looked into Sherlock's eyes, she recognised that he was busy reading into something. Deducing, he had told her. He seemed to be deducing her. She could feel him study her hair, her dress, her lips and even her bright red nail polish. This scrutiny felt familiar. And when she saw his eyes dart to the present at the top of her bag of gifts, she let out a gasp.
"Oh…my…god…" she whispered.
"Molly?" Sherlock said, worried.
"You…" she said, laughing and shaking her head.
"Molly, what's wrong?" he asked, as he felt a strange sinking feeling in his gut.
"I remember…" she said, looking up at him. There was a wide-eyed, incredulous look about her.
"No, Molly. Wait—…"
"Not a word, Sherlock. Don't. Speak." she said, with a soft, bitter laugh.
Molly reached for her coat and put it on, swiftly wrapping her scarf around herself. She was about to exit the flat when she stopped, turned back and walked towards the bag of presents. She reached for the top one and hid it inside her coat.
"Sorry everyone, got to dash." she said, "Help yourselves to your own presents. They're all labelled. Merry Christmas."
"Molly!" Sherlock called out. But she had fled and was out the door.
Sherlock rushed for his own coat and raced after her. When he stepped out on the street, he saw her, all bundled up, walking briskly on the snow-laden streets. She was struggling to walk fast, what with her heels and the cold of the snow, but was determined and kept moving forward.
Calling out to her, he ran right up to her and grabbed her by the arm, forcing her to stop.
"Let. Go." she whispered fiercely.
Sherlock refused to listen and walked in front of her, keeping both arms on her shoulders so she would look at him.
"It's for someone special, then." Molly began, echoing Sherlock's manner of speech, "Miss Hooper has love on her mind."
"Molly, please…" Sherlock said calmly.
"The fact that she's serious about him, is clear from the fact that she's giving him a gift at all," she continued, "That always suggests long-term hopes, however forlorn…"
"And that she's seeing him tonight is evident from her make up and what she's wearing…" Sherlock interrupted.
Molly paused and looked hard at him. Her eyes were wide, shining and glared at him with a new light of understanding as her memories came flooding back of who this 'man from the hospital', this 'intelligent detective' really was.
"I know what I said, Molly." Sherlock said, his voice dropping to a whisper. He tried desperately to catch her eyes but to no avail. She looked right past him, her jaw tight from all the anger and hurt that she was now remembering.
"I want to be the one you're seeing tonight," Sherlock confessed, dropping his gaze.
When Molly heard this, she registered the difference in his voice and the surprise that was his confession. Slowly, she turned towards him. His downcast eyes lifted up to look into her expression that had now softened a little.
"Why did you set this night up, Sherlock?" she asked.
"I did it for two reasons, Molly."
"I wanted you to remember me." Sherlock said, "And I wanted to undo every horrible thing I had ever done to you. Your memory loss of me, though painful, proved to be a second chance."
"The coffee…" Molly said, suddenly.
"That's why you asked me out for coffee that day at the morgue…" Molly remarked, covering her mouth at the realisation.
"Hmm…yes," Sherlock replied, a little embarrassed.
"And you…ate with me. At the cafeteria when you needed those two bodies…" Molly said, almost gasping, "I can't believe you ate the pork. We did end up slicing up cadavers after, didn't we…"
As she recalled all the modified second encounters Sherlock had recreated, Molly could not help but chuckle softly to herself. She reached for the inside of her coat and took her gift for Sherlock out.
"Here," she said softly, as she handed him the gift. She then got on her tiptoes and kissed Sherlock very gently on the cheek. "Merry Christmas, Sherlock Holmes."
Her lips left a delightfully warm sensation on his skin. Sherlock reached up to touch the spot she had kissed and could not suppress a smile. Molly too, could not help but smile at the man who had always meant more to her than he would ever know.
But it seems tonight, he did know.
Greg, Mrs Hudson and the Watsons remained in the flat, sitting awkwardly around, each debating and wondering if Sherlock had been foolish to have recreated this Christmas party. Before the silence got too unbearable, they heard footsteps coming back up the flat.
"Hello. I'm back." said Molly, entering with a shy wave. "Sorry about just now."
"John, Mary, Mrs Hudson, George…"
"It's Greg…" muttered the irritated Detective Inspector.
Sherlock slid his arm around Molly's waist and pulled her close to him. He then bent to kiss her cheek, continuing to keep his arm securely around her.
"I'd like you to know that Molly has a new boyfriend, and that she's serious about him." Sherlock said, his eyes shining with pride. Molly laughed and leaned her head against the tall detective that held her close.
"And that this new boyfriend," Sherlock continued, kissing the top of Molly's head, "is me."