This is a prompt from my lovely Aditi, AKA Ben-Addict Holmes. She's my kindred soul, and I adore the ideas she gives me. She's been patiently waiting for this prompt for months now, and I finally feel like I can give it the proper attention it deserves!
So, here you go. A Sherlolly Story, based off of the French film, Amelie.
I do not own BBC Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes, Molly Hooper, or Amelie. All these things, in the varying forms they are presented, belong to the creators/producers of said things.
Molly from London
Molly is six. Like most little girls, she enjoys playing with her dolls, receiving hugs and kisses from her parents, and sleeping with a nightlight. The dark is scary. However, quite unlike most little girls, she also enjoys picking out the bugs from her mother's potted flowers in the window box, studying them as they move around in the jars she keeps them in, and finally, studying their buggy little guts after they die.
Because of this, Molly doesn't have friends.
She does, however, have plenty of free time, enjoying the silly little thoughts in her head that randomly pop up. She likes the idea that clouds take the forms of animals because they look at the earth, much like people look up at them. She would like to believe that pirates don't keep the buried treasure they find, but give it to the needy, and she always wishes on stars, but never for the same thing, because then it would cancel out the first wish.
Molly has one friend, Jack. He's a constant runaway, always escaping when she leaves for school, and sometimes not returning for days. She leaves him bits of tuna that she stills from the refrigerator, and a small dish of milk is always on the back stoop, hopefully luring the mangy feline back to her.
Until one day, Molly discovers him in the street in front of their home, his lifeless little body having been squashed under the wheel of a cruel and murderous Vauxhall Nova. Her mother insists upon cremating the late kitten's body, wanting her daughter to stay away from the idea of peeling him off the road to look at his insides.
Molly's father, however, decides to indulge in his strange little girl's hobbies. He buys her a microscope, a small white smock to place over her clothes, and a brand new desk to use for her studies. While the death of her beloved Jack is sad, the quick downfall in her mother's health is even more worrisome.
Molly's mum dies on a Sunday, her tired and skinny hands perched up around her stomach as she goes to sleep for one final nap. Mr. Hooper was there, and so was Molly. She watched carefully, looking for a sign of her dear mother's lifeline still remaining intact. When there is none, she lets out a shuddering cry, her wails of sorrow muffled by the wool of her daddy's jumper. The two become something of best friends, having only each other to keep company and rely on. Molly's father allows every one of her fancies, and she helps him to adjust to the strange situation they have found themselves in.
Meanwhile, the flowers in the window box slowly decay away, having been unattended and forgotten.
When Molly is old enough, she tells her father that she's going to attend medical school. Her subject of choice? Pathology. Of course, Mr. Hooper is thrilled, wanting only the best in life for his daughter. Neither of them address the fact that she will have to leave their small home on the outside of the city, moving closer to the center of London so that she can attend classes.
Of course, she promises to check in on him, and he promises not to get into too much trouble while she is away. Just like that, the world she was so comfortable with changes, and she is living in London, quite alone.
In order to support herself, and to alleviate the worry from her father's chest, Molly decides to get a job as a waitress. A tiny little Italian restaurant, called Angelo's. In 48 hours, her life will change forever...
She just doesn't know it yet.
The rest of the staff is something of an odd family themselves. They keep her somehow glued to reality, despite the fact that they only gossip about the regulars and discuss the mundane in humanity's day to day existence. The owner, of course, is Angelo. Molly adores watching him work, the restaurant obviously being his primary joy in life. He's rotund and loud, but sweet as can be. Molly loves that he is the biggest romantic she's ever met, and he tries to bring people to the realization that love is the most important thing, all while enjoying the food he serves.
She never sees much of Angelo's nephew, Carlos, the chef. He's always in the back, always busy cooking and yelling at the other kitchen staff to listen to him. Molly's glad she works out in the restaurant with the people. Her favourite person to work with is Mary. She's feisty, and has no problems being completely blunt with people.
She serves Sally her morning coffee. The young woman is a sergeant at NSY, and she is usually quite cranky until she's had her morning brew. She drinks it without sugar, without milk, and without much of a word or smile in anyone's direction. Molly has decided she's glad she doesn't work for the police. It must be terribly stressful, if someone so pretty is so grouchy this early into the day.
Meanwhile, Mary is folding the napkins and placing out silverware for the lunch round of customers. Angelo has taught them very precisely how things are to be set up, and each setting is different, depending on the time of day. However, he's not one to get angry. Instead, the happy man just fixes it himself, chuckling at them and muttering things in his native tongue.
At the end of her shifts on Fridays, Molly takes the train to the outer edge of London, where she then walks the nearly ten blocks to her childhood home, where her father eagerly awaits with pancakes shaped like animals. Today, it's bears.
"So, how is work going?" He asks, digging into the bowl of strawberries that sits in the center of the table. Molly, who's mouth is full of pancakes and cream, merely nods, trying to convey that work is decent at least. He laughs, before focusing on his own plate.
"And school? You're keeping up with your studies?" Molly nods again, this time swallowing down the smaller bite she had nearly finished chewing.
"Yes, classes are going well. I'm at the top of my class, and my professors have all discussed my options for internship once I reach that phase. I think I'd like to work at St. Bart's." Her father's smile grew wide, and he opened his mouth to speak, only to be cut off by a coughing spell. Molly quickly grabbed the pitcher of water, and poured the cool liquid into his cup. She offered it to him, not trying to hide her obvious concern. He was getting worse. However, they never mentioned it, it was the one taboo subject between them.
He wasn't dying. At least, not according to him.
"Oh don't mind an old man, you merely caught me off guard with the wonderful news, darling. Go on, tell me more." He nudged her shoulder, offering her a bright smile like he always did. Molly smiled weakly in return, before trying to stomach her worry with her half dissected bear pancakes.
On her return trip from seeing her father, Molly would quietly watch the other passengers. There were the usual suspects, of course: the woman at the end of the carriage, the stale cigarette stench clinging to her massive fur coat. There was the elderly gentleman, who always sat directly across from her, his bulbous nose always stuck in a copy of an almanac. On this day, however, her eyes flitted over to gaze at someone she'd never seen before. He was rather thin and tall, she could tell, even with his posture sitting hunched in the corner of the same bench on which she was seated. His manic hair twisted and kinked into an array of positions, essentially trying to form curls atop his head. She watched him, his movements quick and meticulous. He awkwardly flitted a small brush across the railing of the train, carefully blowing away remnants of dust. Molly found herself curious to his actions, and began to lean in to see just what, exactly, he was doing. However, he must have sensed her presence, as his head quickly shot up to look at the sudden intruder.
Those eyes. Molly was sure as long as she lived, she would never see another pair like his. The colours alone seemed to swirl and crash into each other with a chaotic and beautiful crescendo. Greens collided with blues, causing small explosions of hazel throughout his perfectly round irises. What made them even more extravagant to look at, though, was the way his eyes seemed to hold as many expressions as they did colours. Curiosity, wonder, irritation, expectation, they were all captivated perfectly and harmoniously in his perfect and lovely eyes. However, one look stood out from the rest. The soul-piercing gaze of analysis. He was studying her, and it put every one of her insecurities and flaws on display, as if he were mentally picking her apart without the use of words at all.
It was because of this that Molly quickly found herself standing and exiting the train, needing desperately to get away from those intense eyes. Never mind the fact that she was an entire two stops early for her regular departing stop; she was desperate. The young man's eyes followed her until she left the train, and he shrugged his shoulders, dismissing the interruption before going back to his fascinating discoveries that involved the railing.
She continued with her daily routine. She'd wake up, enjoy a nice cup of tea, before feeding her tabby cat, Toby. She'd dress and pin up her short hair, readying it for another busy day at the restaurant. With hair in place, perfume dabbed onto her skin, and the outfit of the day smoothed over her thin figure, Molly would leave her small flat, and make her way the twenty-some blocks to Angelo's.
However, this particular day was not a pleasant one. By the end of her shift, she had endured four separate crowds, each one more impatient than the one before. Five spilled cups of coffee, on her person no less, and at least seven rude customers who yelled obscenities in her face, all had her stifling tears. The final straw, the one that had given Angelo reason to send her home early, was an urgent call from her father's doctor, informing her that the sickly man was electing to take himself off of all treatments, medicinal and otherwise. As Molly rode the train, she wiped the continual tears that streamed from her sore and tired eyes.
It had taken her entire evening to track down her father, and once she had, she didn't have the heart to confront him. He sat at the bar of his favourite pub, sipping his cognac and staring off into space. Gone was his usual ear to ear smile, and gone were traces of light in his eyes. He looked hollow, empty, sad. Molly bit her lip, and quickly ran back to the train depot, her eyes watering with a renewed flair. Any sense of denial had been washed out of her silly head with the sight of her dad sitting there. He was dying, and there was nothing she, or he, or anyone could do about it.
She had missed the final train for the evening, the gates having been closed only minutes before she arrived. Being much more resourceful than she let on, the young woman chose to take her rest in a nearby photo booth. The seat was hard, and the walls were cold, but the curtain drew back, and allowed for some privacy. Molly barely slept, but as she cozied up in the small box, her troubles from the day seemed to fade away into the black lens that stared at her from the opposite side of the booth.
When she woke the next morning, she boarded the train, and made her way back to London. It was fortunate that she didn't have any classes, considering she would have missed more than half of them. Once she was in the station back home, Molly made her way to the stairs, eager to return to her small little flat for a much needed shower, and an even more needed hot meal. As she trekked across the floor, her eyes quickly moved around her, taking in the potential obstacles to avoid, and the oncoming people that she was passing. That's when she saw him. The young man from the train.
Only this time, he was closely studying the side of a service cart, the kind that picked up people's luggage for them and toted it to the back of the train. His eyes were focused in on a small spot, and his lips were fixed in a thin line, despite their fullness. He looked up, and seemed to make eye contact with her, which sent her heart into a fluttering mess of beats that didn't synchronize themselves as they should. He stood, staring at her for a brief moment, before calling out in a loud voice.
"Wait!" He quickly collected his small kit that he had been carrying, and raced past her, his arm brushing her shoulder. Molly turned and watched as he followed a man, shorter and of a much larger build. He seemed unaware of this tall man chasing after him, as he carried on at a consistent gait. She decided to follow after the young man, overly curious about him.
As they all weaved their way in and out of the foot traffic of the station, Molly could only watch as the shorter man grew farther away from the thin and tall man she was following. Once they had reached the outside, any and all traces of the first were gone, and she watched on as the latter chased after him desperately, dropping the bag he had been carrying with him. Molly's eyes lit up, and she quickly raced to pick it up, before it could be claimed or damaged.
As she opened it, her excitement and wonder grew, discovering that the contents held a small brush set, a jar of black, inky powder, and a book. The book sparked her interest the most; its pages filled with copied and transferred fingerprints. There was an odd sense of beauty in it, the way the small smudge-like marks seemed to map out the city's wide variety of people. Each one had a note under it, either classifying it with a specific gender or race, and most had an approximate age range to match. A few had small signatures by them, followed by a tiny check mark. Molly brushed her thumb up against the guarded prints, as if attempting to reach out to the people they belonged to.
This was an extraordinary album.
Molly had decided to look through the book of fingerprints, hoping that perhaps the mysterious owner had his own in there. As she studied the pages, she discovered that this book could almost act as a textbook for her studies. Different sets of prints from all different walks of life, each one clearly and accurately categorized in this study guide that fate had dropped into her lap.
As she flipped the page, her eyes moved over the peculiar ridges of one such set. They weren't like the others, which had all been the perfect oval shape that most people's finger pads were. No, this one was very unlike the others. While the lower half was rounded off, the top was sharp, both sides of the circular ridges coming to a meeting point atop where one's fingertip would lie. She looked over the several different prints on the page, each one exactly in the same shape as the first. Very odd, considering the ridges met each other perfectly. If it had been a partial print, or if the ridge lines had split, Molly would have guessed that the person they belonged to was either missing part of their finger, or had some sort of injury that led to them not pressing down their entire finger or thumb. But this was not the case.
Her mind whirled back to earlier that day, and she wondered if the man that her mystery printer was chasing had been the owner of these prints. It certainly made sense of things.
Molly's mind then wandered to the young man who she had grown so intrigued by, her thoughts wondering to why he chose this hobby. He had seemed so very outside the world, whilst being in the middle of a crowd. Much like her, if she were to be honest with herself. Yet, he hardly seemed to care, too wrapped up in his recording the lives of others. With each page she flipped, and with each tiny note in that scrawled and nearly manic handwriting, she wondered what sort of life he must live that allowed him such free time to carefully brush and peel away the blotted remnants of a person's day to day activities.
These thoughts were with her until she slept, where they were turned into dreams.
Another week of work, classes, and studying had led to her weekend off. Molly had been dreading it for some time, knowing she would eventually have to face the dilemma that was visiting her father. She boarded the train, nervously gnawing on her lower lip. After the trip, she found herself on the doorstep of her childhood home, hand poised into a small fist, and her heart nervously beating as she debated whether or not to knock.
She never got the chance, as the door swung open, her father's tired but bright smile greeted her.
"Hello, my sweet girl."
They drank their tea, sitting in silence. It had never been awkward before, which made the quiet tension between the two even thicker. Finally, her father spoke, small in his voice and careful with his words.
"How are your studies going?"
"Good," she replied quickly. She looked away again, her eyes gliding over her father's instruments that lined the corner of the room. Guitars, a banjo, and an old upright bass that had collected dust since her mother passed. He never played it anymore. A small ashtray of picks sat on the table next the them, silver picks cluttered in with plastic ones.
"And work? How is the restaurant and Angelo?"
The tension grew with her short and spiteful tone, making it clear that she was not in the mood for him to ask about her life. So, taking a deep breath, Mr. Hooper tried again.
"Look, sweetheart..." He barely managed to get the words out, before his beloved daughter began to cry. She was quiet, as always, her lower lip quivering as she tried to hold back a majority of her painful tears. He held his hand out to her from across the table, offering up a classic smile as she looked up at him through watery lashes, and reached out for his grasp.
"Dad, I'm not ready for you to leave. You're not allowed to, never. I'm graduating in two months, and after that, you'll want to stick around for so many other things." Molly warbled sadly. Her father let out a chuckle, as he squeezed hold of her hand.
"Well, we'll just have to make the most out of however much time we have left, yes?" Molly hesitantly nodded her head in agreement, before she quickly stood and rounded the table to hug her papa. She isn't ready for this, so she holds on as tight as she can, hoping that it will tether him to her life forever.
When she returns to London, there are signs everywhere. Desperately scrawled out notes scattered and plastered to the walls and poles and railings.
PHONE:20 7230 1212
Molly quickly ripped one of the sheets of paper off the wall, and quietly made her way home, keeping a keen eye out for the man she knew was looking for his lost prints.
She decided to dial the number, but did so from a nearby phone booth, not wanting him to be able to find her so easily. She nervously pressed the buttons, and waited. Finally, an answer.
"Hello? Detective Inspector Lestrade speaking." Molly's eyes immediately widened, and she slammed the phone back onto its receiver. He was an inspector? Oh, how the dread set into her bones. It was some sort of setup, and she would, no doubt, be prosecuted for theft, if not tampering with evidence of some sort. Molly bit her lip, worrying away at the light pink skin as she made her way home to pace in her living room.
Molly decided to turn it in. She would simply tell the detective the truth, that she had found it on the street after he lost it, and that she was keeping it safe until she could find out who it belonged to. So, as she nervously stepped into the main office of New Scotland Yard, she began looking for the tall and slender man from the train station. She had seen Sally, who gave her a slight head nod of acknowledgment. She then turned, almost running into a silvery-haired man. He caught her by her shoulders before she could fall back, and smiled apologetically at her as he righted them both.
"So sorry about that miss. How can I help you?" He asked. Molly held up the book a bag a bit, close to her chest.
"I...I found this on the street. I didn't know who it belonged to um..." She began, but was cut off by the man.
"Oh! That's Sherlock's! He's been a right git to deal with ever since he lost that stupid kit." Molly looked at him a confused expression dawning her features. So, his name was Sherlock, and he wasn't a Detective Inspector, at least not the one she had spoken to on the phone. In fact, she was pretty sure that the man in front of her was one Detective Inspector Lestrade.
"Oh um...is...is Sherlock here now?"
"Nah, when he isn't here, he's usually paying his homeless network to do his errands. It's a Wednesday, so he'd be down at the London Dungeon, probably the Whitechapel Labyrinth. It's where most of them hide." The inspector smiled. Molly saw the opportunity to learn more about her mystery man, so she pressed for another question.
"How long has he been collecting fingerprints? Seems like an odd sort of collection," Molly asked, wanting to keep the book close to her chest for some reason. The older gentleman chuckled a bit, before scratching at the stubble on his face.
"Ah that. He's been on those for about a year now, after we got him clean and off the streets. Before that, he collected pictures of footprints. Usually found in the wet cement, but he'd snap shots of ones he'd found in the dirt or mud. Before that, it was something like the different sorts of tones in people's laughs. Of course, this was all while he was higher than a kite, so you'd have to ask him about it, since he's the only one who remembers any sort of reason why he did that," Lestrade went onto explain.
"Oh, wow. That must be a bit weird for his girlfriend to handle, I'm sure." This comment produced another laugh from Lestrade, as well as a few from the surrounding officers. Molly looked about in confusion, before looking back to the D.I.
"He's not really the sort for that," he chuckled, and Molly tried hard to hide her slight disappointment at the fact, "thank you for the bag, though. I'll be sure he gets it." He reached out to take it from her, but Molly held it closer to herself.
"Oh, it's no problem at all, really. That's right on my way home, so I'll just drop it by." She smiled, before quickly turning and leaving.
She made her way down to the Dungeons, not particularly pleased that she had to visit this bloody park in the first place. She'd never been one for fear gimmicks, and she could only hope that she would see Sherlock outside before having to go in and search for him. She had found out that he was, in fact, in the Whitechapel Labyrinth somewhere, and the only way to get to him, without having to stand around for hours, of course, was to go and search for him. As it turned out, D.I. Lestrade had failed to inform her that Sherlock quite enjoyed the labyrinth setting, giving him an edge on honing his navigational skills under the worst of circumstances. So, after begrudgingly handing over her money, she made her way into the maze.
It was dark, and the fog machines had built up a delightfully frightful amount of thick grey fog, which she could hardly see past. The manufactured streets were narrow, dark, and actually quite chilly. She had remembered the instructions her father gave her as a child, and placed a hand on one wall so that she could hopefully ease her challenge in the maze. The speakers overhead played slightly eerie music, allowing for a backdrop of fear to already present itself to the people inside. Molly tried to ignore the nervous pounding of her heart, and focused on finding the exit, Sherlock Holmes or not.
A blazing, dark set of eyes watched her from around the corner, the shadows keeping them back and out of sight. As Molly moved along through the attraction, she began feeling an icy sensation along the back of her neck. Her steps slowed, and she nervously looked around, only to find nothing. Another few steps, and the cool feeling breezed by her skin again, this time causing her to visibly shiver. She stopped dead in her tracks, trying desperately to control her own breathing as she felt the slow, even patterns of breath against her flesh. Cool air slowly passed over her neck, the accompanying sound of a soft sigh echoing behind her ears. As she turned into the breaths, she soon felt a hand wrap lightly around her neck. The fingers of the hand slid gently across the crease of the front of her neck, until thumb tip to finger tip was spread over the span of her now nervously bobbing throat.
"Got you." The voice was barely above a whisper in her ear, leaving Molly a shivering mess, for more than just her fear, if she were being honest. She looked up, to see a costumed man looming behind her. His face was covered in a gruesome mask, somehow representing the famous Ripper. However, those eyes gave him away. Even in the fog and shadowed pathways, those eyes glistened like sapphires under a jeweler's lamp. Molly quickly stepped away, moving throughout the rest of the maze quickly.
When she made it outside once more, the only thing she really felt was cunning. He had unwittingly messed with the person who held a precious treasure of his in her brilliant and crafty hands. A smile graced Molly's face, and she flipped open the book, searching for the perfect page.
Sherlock had exited the maze nearly two hours later, frightening mask in one hand as he ruffled his curls loose with the other. A heavy sigh escaped his lips, and he began walking toward the main road, where he would surely find a desperate cabbie who was waiting to pick up one last fare for the night. As he passed underneath a light pole, when something caught his eye. A large piece of parchment had been taped to the pole, large enough to be a page from a book. As Sherlock neared the page, his eyes widened, knowing the texture anywhere. Quickly ripping the page down, he saw the familiar remnant of his entire book of prints. He looked it over, ensuring that it was remotely unharmed. Satisfied with the condition of his precious work, aside from it being brutally torn from the book itself, Sherlock flipped the page over, noting writing between the spaces of his notes and catalogued information.
5 pm Tomorrow
The London Eye
Bring Fare Money
He looked up, searching for anyone who was nearby to ask about who posted the page. However, he found that he was alone in the street, with the single clue to guide him. Immediately, his mind began working out the potential outcomes of this meeting. He could quite easily get his book back, or perhaps it was some sort of cruel trick, luring him into a bad situation. No matter the outcome, Sherlock Holmes decided he would go to The Eye, and he would get his collection back. He carefully folded the page and tucked it into his coat pocket, before continuing on his journey home.
Across the span of less than a five minute's walk away, a grand scheme was being planned out, one that would inevitably impress and knock the young detective off his feet.
Five o'clock came faster than he'd expected. Sherlock found himself standing at the foot of the great London attraction. The wheel slowly rotated, giving the rider's a spectacular view of the city he knew in and out. As he took a step closer to the line, he felt a small tapping on his arm. He quickly turned around, expecting to see his book in the hands of some random stranger. However, he was met with the sight of a young girl, holding a phone in her hand.
"This is for you, mister!" She held the phone up higher, urging him to take it. Sherlock plucked it from the small child's hand carefully, and held a finger out for her to wait and take the phone back when he had finished it.
"Get on the wheel, Mr. Holmes. The fifth pod. Further instructions will be waiting for you there." He didn't even get a chance to ask who he was speaking to, before the call ended. He numbly passed the phone back to the girl, who skipped off shortly after.
His book of random prints was in the hands of a woman. A woman who, judged only on the sound of her soft voice, didn't seem to have any idea with whom she was dealing. Sherlock felt his chest swarm with an immediate sense of confidence. He would definitely be getting his book back today. So, feeling a sudden inclination to do as he was told, Sherlock waited for pod number five to roll around, before paying his fare and stepping onto the platform.
Nearby, Molly watched the tall man enter the pod. She sent a text, setting the next part of her scheme into motion.
He stood and watched the city drop below his feet, his view of beautiful London expanding with the new vantage point. It only took a brief moment to note that he was the only one in the pod at all. However, the voice over the intercom that had been explaining some of the nearby landmarks soon switched, and began explaining things within the pod itself.
'...the history of the London Eye stretches far back and is ever expanding, making its fingerprint on London's visitors and locals alike. Several fingerprints can be found within this very pod alone. One can only imagine the numbers of people who have touched the very railing in front of you.'
Sherlock's ears nearly perked up as he heard the voice drone on, continuing to its regular speech. He looked down, spotting a small blue dot on the railing in front of him. After glancing over the rail from side to side, he noticed the small line that formed from other blue dots, ten to be precise. Sherlock smiled a bit, eager to pull out his kit and set to work. He knew he had roughly twenty five minutes to collect all of the prints that waited with the dots, and so he set to work quickly.
He carefully dusted the first two, taking in the small size of the pads of her fingertips. She was petite then, that much he could gather. The thin ovals made themselves known with more prominence after each careful brush of the ink from his duster. After he lightly blew away the excess, he set to collecting them on the adhesive panels that he carried with him. The curve of the railing made peeling them back slightly easier, and the action had him visualizing what the woman's hands must look like. He flipped the cover over the two prints he had removed, keeping them safe from any damage that might have happened otherwise.
As he continued uncovering the other eight prints, London passed by him silently, suddenly holding no interest for him whatsoever. With the set completely extracted from the railing of the viewer's pod, Sherlock soon realized something, he had no clue as to what came next. He hung his head, frustration growing. He only then noticed that the ride had nearly completed its full rotation, leaving him where he started. As he looked out the large windows of the pod, his eyes were drawn to a bright blue balloon. He followed the string down, until it came to a stopping point of a hand. A delicate and lovely hand. Sherlock quickly looked to the person's face, only to be slightly disappointed when her eyes were covered with large sunglasses. Her short, brown hair had been tucked up underneath a hat, and she was covered in a knee-length, red rain jacket. In her other hand was his book. He immediately wanted to reach out to take it from her, a growing list of questions forming in his quick mind.
His insistent need to speak to her only grew more when he saw her tying the balloon's string around the book, and placing it on a bench next to where she stood. Her lips formed a light smile, before she waved and began walking off. Sherlock frantically looked around, trying to find a way off of the ride. To his luck (or her timing), the doors slid open just a moment later. He quickly raced out, trying his hardest to get to both his book and this strange young lady, before either of them vanished. He was successful, at least in reaching his book. The balloon floated gently in the air, trying to tug itself free of the weight of his collection. He flipped through the pages of his prints, secretly happy to see each and every one of them. As the balloon floated away, Sherlock heard a nearby mobile phone ring. He looked up, and saw the same young girl from before, glancing down at the screen. She turned toward him, and he found himself immediately taking the phone from her.
"Why did you leave? Thank you for giving me my book back. But why leave?" He practically choked on the words as they hurled themselves from his voice. A slight giggle could be heard over the phone, before she breathed in to answer him.
"You like mysteries. That much is obvious. I think I've figured out the mystery to the sharp prints in your book. Just an idea, of course, but I'm fairly certain I'm right," she said, her tone confident and nearly as cocky as he was. Sherlock looked around, a glint of excitement in his eyes as he sought her out.
"Who are you?" His voice asked, fascinated at this new mystery.
The call ended, leaving Sherlock to thumb through the pages of his book. He flashed past the several pages of anonymous prints, people who were, no doubt, much less interesting than this girl. Page 51 soon showed itself, covered from border to border in her dainty prints. He took in each ridge and slope, before reading what the duplicated prints spelled out.
Do you want
to meet me?
Sherlock smiled to himself, his fingers tracing lightly over the evidence of hers. This young lady knew him, despite having never met him. It was perhaps for this reason that he found himself asking about her to anyone who had a hint about who she was.
"What was her name? Did she make any mention of where she lives or works? Come on! Surely she must have said something!" Sherlock slammed his fists onto the desktop. Lestrade's eyes widened for a moment, before he chuckled.
"Not really, just asked about you a bit."
"What did she ask? What did you tell her? Lestrade?" Sherlock cast him a wary look, knowing his reputation had definitely preceded him in the past, and suddenly found this fact disturbing.
"She asked about your collection, and where she might find you to return it. I do remember her casually bringing up your girlfriend. Told her you weren't interested. Why are you interested in this, anyway?" Lestrade grinned up at him, a challenging and suggestive grin playing at the corner of his lips. Sherlock scowled at the silver haired inspector, before standing and turning to leave.
"I'm not. It's just a new case. That's all." He marched out of the office, leaving an amused Detective Inspector Lestrade behind.
Days passed by, and Molly continued about her day to day life. She had nearly given up on ever seeing a sign from Sherlock Holmes. However, it was at this precise moment in her thoughts, that she received a sign.
They had been plastered over the poles of the Tube. The note reflected her own, only the words were spelled out in thicker, rougher prints than her own. They were his prints. A variety of coloured paper was scattered across the walls of the station, each one holding a copy of his prints that spelled out,
WHEN AND WHERE
She decides its time to move along in her plan to meet the detective. Prints can only go so far, before one has to leave more evidence. Molly walks quickly to the lab that she calls 'home'. She quickly fetches her lab coat and her reading glasses, before marching back to the station.
At the same time, a man carrying a heavy case leaves his home from just minutes away from St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
Twelve minutes later, Molly arrives at one of the area's larger shopping center's. She seeks out a photo booth, and prepares herself. Glasses in place, lab coat around her shoulders, she smiles into the camera, before it snaps a series of photos. Satisfied with the results of at least one of them, she leaves again, retracing her steps back to the tube stop where Sherlock has posted his prints.
The time is exactly 11:40.
The man with the heavy case arrives at the same moment, the journey as familiar to him as it is to Molly. As she sits on the train home, the man with the case seats himself beside her. He opens the case, quietly picking its contents out. One by one, he prepares the objects of his trade, all the while Molly watching closely. He slides a strap over his shoulder, and turns to look at her. A quiet and polite smile graces his face, and he nods to acknowledge her presence. She smiles back, and her smile grows as he continues about his routine.
However, she's not smiling at the music, but the man. Or rather, his fingers. At this precise moment, only Molly has the key to the mystery of the sharp fingerprints in Sherlock's book.
Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes is racing about London, posting his printed question at every stop within the area where he lost his book initially. As he finishes with the stack of nearly 100 copies of the page, he sits on the train to return to his home on the other side of London. His eyes notice small scraps of paper cluttered on the seat beside him. He spots his name on the back of one of the scraps, and grabs the entire pile. As he flips the pieces over, he can see that they are part of a puzzle, each one added to the others to create a photo.
A photo of her. Or at least, he assumes it's her. The glasses on her face create a different picture than what her face would look like naturally. There is a white coat around her shoulders, which he's sure is some sort of a hint as to who she is. Yet, that seems to drop on the list of information he is gathering. The way her short hair is tousled about makes it increasingly difficult for him to identify any distinguishing features. He can't even see what colour her eyes are.
He can, however, read the sign she is holding in her hands.
He looks at his watch, and sees that it is 3:57 pm. He doesn't even know where Angelo's is.
It's ten minutes past 4:00. Sherlock is late. Molly can think of only two explanations as to why he hasn't shown yet. He either didn't get the photo, having it randomly swept up by a member of the custodial staff; or (much worse) he was involved in a terrible case with Scotland Yard, leaving him in the middle of a risky hostage situation, and unable to show up and meet her to discuss the marvelously planned adventure she gave him.
At that moment, Sherlock Holmes walks through the door. He walks right past her, and takes a seat at a table that faces the door. She turns around, trying to avoid being seen by him just yet. She listens as Mary walks over to greet him, taking his order of a coffee.
"Black, two sugars."
As Mary walks away to fetch his coffee, Molly takes the opportunity to sneak to the menu board behind him. She watches the back of his head, taking a brief moment to counting the tightly wound curls that are stacked atop it. It's after Mary has brought his coffee to him and left again that he starts to look around for the person he's supposed to meet. Her. He soon turns, looking up at her. His cool and intense eyes pierce hers. She panics, and begins to write the specials for the day on the menu board. He watches her for a minute, before turning around and fishing through his pockets. When he turns back around, he is holding the photo that she left for him. He clears his throat, drawing her attention away from the chalkboard.
"Excuse me, this photo, it's of you, correct?" Sherlock asks, holding it up for her to see. Molly completely panics now, her words clogging in the curve of her throat. So, she shakes her head, before going back to writing out the words on the board, trying desperately to remember how to spell 'spaghetti'. He continues to stare at her, and after a minute or so, she decides to look back. His grin is wide and amazed, as if he's just discovered a new species.
"It is you." Again she shakes her head, giving him a nervous chuckle, before she quickly walks away. With every step, she silently stabs herself with berating criticism, angry that she chickened out when push came to shove. Mary is walking by, and Molly quickly thinks of something she can do. She grabs her, whispering for her to deliver a note. Mary obliges, giving her friend an encouraging wink as she walks toward Sherlock. Molly hurries back to the back of the restaurant, wanting to hide herself from those clever eyes.
She peeks through the kitchen window, and watches as Sherlock lets out a sigh, before finally standing up and leaving.
It isn't until two days later that Sherlock even sees the note. He's desperately seeking out a piece of paper to write a new theory down on, one he wants to calculate further based on his exact idea. When he reaches into his pocket, he's surprised that there is anything in it at all. So, after scrawling out half of the information he has thought of, he flips the paper over, only to discover that it has already been written on. Lovely, curled lettering lines the page, writing that he recognizes all too well now. He quickly reads over it, and races to follow the instructions she has left for him.
Piccadilly Circus Stop
Tuesday 12:00 pm
When he arrives, he begins seeking her out in the crowd immediately. He's certain it's the girl from Angelo's, despite her better attempts to deny being the mastermind behind his past weeks adventures and mysteries. When he boards the train, he looks around for her, hoping that she will make some grand entrance, or even a quiet one, surprising him yet again. What he does not expect is the answer to another mystery that has puzzled him for months.
A man sits on a bench seat near him, his hands gently strumming away at the strings of a banjo. Hardly the instrument of choice in the big city, but this man seems quit content with himself. His fingers are lined with silver picks, each one wrapping around the curve of his fingertips. Sherlock looks at them closely, taking in the pattern that the picks follow up and around the back of the man's thumbs and fingers. The cool metal starts in a ring at the base of the first joint, and curve over the front of his nails. Only a small amount of the pick lingers and curls around to the back of his finger pads, creating a pointed arrow with the uncovered portion of the man's skin. In an instant, Sherlock knows. The mysterious prints are not the result of a brutal attack or scarring, but are merely the covering of a musician's tools.
He is ecstatic.
During his skilled and reserved jubilee, he fails to notice a lingering pair of eyes on him from a few rows away. They watch as he looks at the musician's every move, including when he packs up his banjo and proceeds to clutch onto the hand railing for support to depart the train, finger picks still in their place. She watches and smiles to herself as breathes out a heavy sigh, one of relief and near disbelief. It is at this moment that she stands, deciding it's now or never. However, an ill-timed group of elderly ladies promptly stops her from following him off the train at its next stop, forcing her to ride it out even longer, and further away from the man she's so hopelessly falling for.
He returns to Angelo's, hoping that she'll be there. If he's being quite honest with himself, this stopped being about the puzzles a long time ago. He now only wondered about her, finding her far more intriguing and puzzling than any mysterious clues and goose chases she could have led him on. Let alone that when he finally saw her, well, the detective was only more impressed with the brilliant mind that had played to his own slightly manic one. Those soft and unassuming eyes had thrown him off kilter, and he hadn't been able to find his center ever since she walked away.
Instead of finding her, what he did find was the young blond waitress that had served him coffee just days ago. He quickly stopped her, unfolding the note and displaying it for her to read.
"Did you slip this into my pocket the other day?" He asked quickly, catching the recognition in her eyes. She looked up at him and smirked knowingly.
"Yes, but I didn't write it."
"I know that. Tell me about her. Where can I find her?" Mary's face drops immediately, and she glances around before continuing.
"She's at the hospital, with her father. I'm really concerned, would you mind if I confided in you about something?" She practically whispered it, hope filling her eyes as she looked up at him. Sherlock nodded his head, eager to learn something, anything, about this girl.
She sits down and begins to quietly divulge Molly's current dilemma.
Meanwhile, in a quiet room of a quiet hall, in the quietest wing of the busiest hospital, the sound of quiet tears falling onto the floor can barely be heard. The soft sound of machines being turned off, and nurses softly giving their condolences falls on only one pair of ears, and they are hardly listening at the moment anyway.
Within the same hour, the tears stop, and silence is the only thing left in the now vacant room.
When Molly returns to work to inform Angelo of her need for some time off, she can't help but overhear him discussing something with his nephew.
"It's about time she finds someone, you know. I wouldn't think that the tall and gangly detective bloke would be her type, but I suppose their wits are on the same scale." Angelo belts out a laugh, which Carlos quickly joins. Neither of them notice Molly's face break into an anguished expression, before she quickly turns and leaves.
"I'm worried for Molly, especially considering you are who you are." Mary explains as they walk down the road, each one holding a cup of coffee in hand. Sherlock glances down to the blond, his face etched in confusion.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well, you're severely clever, which isn't a problem by itself. However, just based on this short time talking to you, I'd say you're a bit of a maniac. While I don't mind associating with such types, I can't say I want the same for Molly. So... convince me that it's safe to tell you more about her." Mary finished, looking up at the tall man, her determined stare challenging him to lie to her.
Sherlock took in a deep breath, conjuring up all the information on himself that he deemed valuable and the least likely to cause this small woman to keep him from meeting Molly.
As Molly stepped into her flat, she softly let the door close behind her, before she slid down the smooth wood, her tears breaking free once more. She once believed in miracles. Not today.
She had been there for several minutes, sobbing quietly into her sweater sleeves, when suddenly a harsh knock came at the door. Molly jumped, and tried to quiet herself again as a voice called for her from the other side of the door.
Oh, how sweet and lovely her name sounded from that voice. It was deep, resonating beautifully throughout the hollow stairwell at the end of her hall. Molly listened quietly as he called out for her again and again, his hand knocking gently on the door.
"Molly." His voice stopped, as did his hand. Soon, she could hear the gentle scraping of pen to paper, and she quietly saw scrap slide underneath her door. In big and bold letters, she read the three words to herself.
I'll be back.
She quietly stepped away from the door, before racing across the living room to her window. There was no sign that he had left, and Molly almost wondered if he had taken the front exit. In her concentration, she didn't hear the light clicking against her door, or the sound of the latch giving way to skilled maneuvers. She let out a sigh, and turned around, only to find Sherlock standing directly behind her.
His eyes were intense, staring down at her with a look she'd never seen in someone's gaze before. He took a step closer to her, which caused Molly's breath to catch in her throat. She looked up at him, the tear tracks glistening in the reflection of her table lamp nearby.
"Hello," he said faintly. The corners of his lips curled upward, a slight grin making its way to his features. Molly's own lips mirrored the action, before she murmured a greeting in return. She sniffled a bit, trying to hide the sadness that had overwhelmed her day. This, of course, didn't go unnoticed by the very observant man.
"You've been crying. It's your father, isn't it?" Molly's eyes widened as she looked from his chest back up to his face. How had he known? It only took a second for her to realize that Mary was behind his knowledge. However, it hardly mattered anymore, and Molly couldn't stop the onslaught of tears that filled her eyes once more. She gave him a warbling nod, before her head collapsed against his chest. Sherlock caught her in his arms, and slowly tightened his hold around her thin figure. In the past, it would have been too foreign a concept for him to even attempt comforting a woman, let alone someone as kind and sweet as she was. However, something about her, perhaps the intrigue she had presented him with, perhaps her unassuming nature, and maybe even the fact that he found her to be rather beautiful, made him want to continue to hold her.
Sherlock brushed his lips against her temple, placing a delicate kiss alongside her furrowed brow.
"Got you. I've got you," he whispered to her, resulting in a shaky chuckle from somewhere amidst the fabric of his shirt. He chuckled lowly too, finding himself rather happy to be the cause of someone else's happiness.
It is June the 20th, at precisely 3:00 pm. The temperature is 24 degrees Celsius, and for once, there is not a cloud in the sky. Sherlock Holmes is currently racing through the streets of London, chasing not after criminals, but any potential cab that will get him to St. Bartholomew's Hospital on time to see one Doctor Molly Hooper begin her first day of work.
He is going to be at least ten minutes late, something he hopes she will not hold against him.
Meanwhile, arriving at Heathrow Airport, Captain John Watson, formerly of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers, steps off a plane, and onto the ground of a city he once called home. There is a large bag strapped to his back, full of soiled clothing and dusty journals that hold memories of his time in Afghanistan. He takes another step forward, the click of a cane echoing against the flooring of the airport. He lets out a heavy sigh, before continuing on his way.
Well, there's that. Hopefully this is well received, and hopefully I have followed the movie closely enough, yet still captured all of the request from my darling Aditi! This has been a fun and challenging piece to work on for the past few months, and I am so very excited to present a long oneshot, something that isn't in my usual repertoire. Leave a review, let me know what you think!
Special thanks again, to Aditi, for giving me the prompt and having faith in me to be able to do it. Thanks to the creators/cast/crew of both BBC Sherlock and Amelie, for giving me such wonderful references to work from. And Most of all, thank you to my readers, of whom without I would not even have anyone to write for!
You made it all happen. ;)
Love you all so much, and thank you always for reading!