What You Want
This began as a quick one-shot on Tumblr, but I have since been inspired to add more to it, hence why I have decided to post it up here. I don't know how long it'll end up being, but I know it isn't going to become an epicly long story (unless the muse decides to take over), as this is my first dip into the world of Sherlolly fanfiction. I hope y'all enjoy :)
"But what are you going to do about him?"
"Molly, it's hard to concentrate when you're flapping."
The detective let out a loud, frustrated sigh, before spinning on his stool, to face the pathologist. "Here I was thinking you cared about the lives of others," he remarked. "But, apparently, you'd rather talk about a dead man, than keep another alive."
Molly glared, before raising one eyebrow expectantly.
"Moriarty is dead. I saw him die. Whoever made that video is nothing more than a cheap imitator and not worth the trouble."
"But what if-"
"Molly," Sherlock warned.
The pathologist went silent, but kept the same expression on her face. She was worried and the fact that Sherlock refused to take it seriously bothered her. Especially because, for him, disinterest was a means of hiding anxiety. He didn't seem anxious though. Why not?
"Molly," Sherlock repeated, although his voice was quieter and the tone softer. "Nobody knows what you did. You're safe."
"It's not me I'm worried about," she replied.
"The only danger I'm in right now is boredom with this conversation." He span back around to face the microscope one more. "Now, we have work to do."
Molly rolled her eyes, but chose not to push any further. He was as stubborn as his cheekbones were sharp, so she settled for walking over to the coat stand, in order to grab her purse.
"Well, I'm getting a coffee," she stated. "Do you want one?"
"Yes," he replied, without looking up from the microscope. "Black-"
"Two sugars," she finished. "I know."
Sherlock didn't say anything, but let out a quiet "hmm". Molly's hand reached into the left pocket of her green parka, fingers fishing blindly for the purse. When they brushed against something with sharp corners instead, her brow furrowed and she clasped the mystery object, before pulling it out for inspection.
Regret washed over her the moment the item's identity was revealed. Sometimes, mysteries were better left unsolved. In her palm rested a small black velvet box and Molly had no need to open it to know what lay inside. It was an engagement ring; the one that had adorned her finger until a few months ago.
"Oh." The word exited her lips before she even knew it had formed in her throat.
Sherlock recognised the tone of her voice immediately. The pathologist may not have been aware, but, over the course of their acquaintance, he had learnt to gauge her moods by her voice, even when she tried to hide it. Something was wrong. Once upon a time, the consulting detective would have simply ignored it and carried on with what he was doing, but things were different now. Sherlock was different now. He blamed John Watson.
"What is it?" He asked.
"Hmm? Oh, um, nothing." She gave a quick, false, smile. Her eyes fell to the ring box as she started tapping it absently with her fingertips and her voice went very quiet. "Just thought I'd thrown this away, that's all."
Sherlock knew what the object in her hands was and, for a moment, he was at a loss. The last time her engagement had been mentioned was after he'd received a rather hefty slap to the face and it resulted in a less than gracious remark regarding the relationship's failure . Since then, he'd assumed she'd moved on, as no mention was made about it again, but the subtle expression on her face displayed the conflicting emotions.
Something stirred in the detective, but, as usual, he quickly quashed it. Of course she didn't miss Tom. Everybody knew he was a mistake, including his then-fiancée.
So, why did she look so sad?
And why did it bother him?
Before he could stop himself, words were leaving Sherlock's mouth, if only to end the awkward silence permeating the room.
"You did the right thing, you know."
Molly, surprised by the unexpected sound of his voice, looked up sharply and took a moment to process what he had said.
"I…I know," she said eventually. "It's just…a shame."
Sherlock froze and his grip tightened around the microscope's eyepiece.
"I mean, I'm glad we're not together anymore," she clarified, unable to stop the rambling that was about to spill out, as she slowly walked back to the table. "It never would've worked. It began for all the wrong reasons. But, it should have; I wanted it to. He was the ideal man and life with him would've been…" She sought for the correct word. "Pleasant. Y'know, the dog walks and dinner with in-laws. It was all so…normal."
Molly paused for a moment and her gaze became distant, like her mind was retracing all the memories she and Tom had made together. It bothered Sherlock and he started feeling uncomfortable, especially with the gentle pangs that accompanied every mention of that other man. It was getting harder to ignore and the detective could begin to feel that it was only a matter of time for him. He couldn't ignore what was happening to him forever.
Molly, apparently snapping out of her reverie, took a deep breath and smiled, but the man beside her could tell the joviality was hollow. Had he done this to her? Was he the source of his friend's unhappiness? That notion didn't sit well with Sherlock and he fidgeted a little in his seat, torn between the emotions he always tried to bury, that had a pesky habit of rising to the surface.
"Well," she said. "Never mind. All for the best, they say."
"Is that what you want?" Sherlock asked suddenly.
Molly , who had been about to turn and walk away, stopped and her eyes returned to the detective. His head was turned to face her, but the eyes were rooted to the ground at her feet. His right hand still gripped the eyepiece of the microscope. She noted that a couple of the fingertips were going white and wondered what was wrong, thoughts of her own troubles disappearing in light of his.
Molly considered his question, but wasn't entirely sure of the meaning behind it. She also had absolutely no idea how to answer. The pathologist didn't know what she wanted. Of course, the man before her had been someone she'd wanted for a very long time, but had recently accepted that it was an impossibility. Sherlock would never be able to give her what she wanted, even if-in the unlikely event-he felt the same.
"I…" She had to consider her answer and it was difficult to put into words. Sherlock was waiting patiently, his posture and direction of gaze unchanged. "I want…" she began. "I want…real."
Sherlock's eyes moved upwards, finally meeting hers and a moment passed between them, one that would ensure things couldn't quite return to the way they were.
Sherlock was interrupted by the deafening squeal of door hinges, as someone entered the lab. Molly almost jumped out of her skin and span to face the intruder.
When her attention returned to Sherlock, he was once again looking through the microscope and she could tell he was now absorbed in the details of his latest case.
The moment was gone and neither knew if it would ever come back.