Molly slowly closed the lid of the old tea tin, her hand pressed gently atop it. The tin had once been her grandmother's and had its place of honor on the kitchen counter. It was a fine old tin, pale blue with pretty pink roses dotted over it. A single bee rested atop the lid, painted midflight over a rose in full bloom.
She could remember watching her grandmother spoon the fragrant tea leaves from the tin while she asked about that bee. Every time her grandmother had a different tale to tell. Sometimes she spoke of the bee's hunger, others about that little insect believing the flower to be beautiful. One particular story she remembered had been about how that little bee and fallen in love with the rose. She had longed to feel its petals under her feet, to smell its perfume. But forever would the bee wait, for no matter how much she loved the rose she knew the rose could never love her back.
She wondered what her grandmother would think of her now, having become her own little bee. She sighed and placed the tin in the cabinets and out of sight. She couldn't really bear to look on it at the moment. How had her life turned out this way? When had evil villains and calls from consulting detectives become commonplace? With a huff, she pushed off the counter and turned.
"Sherlock…" Molly stopped in her place, her eyes resting on the man in her living room. She hadn't heard him enter, though she never did. It hadn't been long since she had received that call, and she knew she wasn't up to seeing him yet. She wasn't sure if she would ever be. "Please, just go away."
Sherlock swallowed and took a step forward. He had thought several times about what he would say, but every thing he had practiced flew out of his head now that he was in front of her. His pulse raced and darkness edged around his vision, leaving the figure of Molly Hooper in dead center. He took another step and with a groan collapsed to his knees.
Molly kept herself from shouting, but only just. She had never seen Sherlock look so defeated. It was something that, if she was honest, frightened her. She stepped out of her kitchen, maneuvering around the counters until she stood only an arm's length away from the fallen man.
"Why?" She clenched her hands to kept them at her side. "Just tell me that, why would you be so cruel? Have I not proven myself to you enough, have I not been your friend? Have I not laid myself bare before you enough? So why?"
"I… I…" Sherlock choked on his words. What was he to say, what was there to say?
"No, no, Sherlock, you are going to answer me. Why would you do that to me?" She could see wetness in the corners of his eyes, but she dared not back down. She had put up with a lot from him over the years, and it stopped right then.
"I thought you were going to die." Sherlock felt the anger and fear from before once again well up inside of him. It took everything in him not to rage as he had done.
"I.. I don't understand. Sherlock…" Molly looked down at him, at the tightness of his neck and the clenching of his jaw and she felt her stomach fall. "Sherlock, am I in danger?"
"Not anymore." He closed his eyes and said the words again, this time no louder than a whisper. He said them as though to ensure himself of their truth. Molly was out of danger and alive.
"Sherlock, you need to talk to me." She took a step forward and gasped as Sherlock wound his arms around her waist, pressing his head to her stomach. She looked away from the man and kept her hands at her sides. She wasn't ready to forgive him, he had yet to truly explain.
"My sister…" Sherlock held on a fraction tighter.
"Your what?" Molly's wide eyes went straight to the curly mop of hair resting against her belly.
"Eurus, she…" Swallowing down the last bit of fear and anger, Sherlock pulled away and stood up. He needed to explain himself, and he couldn't, and wouldn't, do that clutching at her like some child. He stepped back a ways, cleared his throat and acted as though he hadn't just fallen at her feet.
"Eurus, she is my sister. Not that I knew I had one until recently."
Molly stood stunned. Not just at the news of another Holmes, but at the complete change in the man. A moment ago he was on his knees before her, on the verge of tears. Now he stood much the same as he always did, the strong and unflappable Sherlock Holmes. Too bad she had long ago learned to see through that.
"Turns out she is probably the most intelligent person on the planet, also the most disturbed. Killed my best friend when we were just children, I forgot her, and Mycroft lied about it all." Sherlock paced about the room, his hands clasped tightly behind his back.
"Right, well she escaped her prison… well really took control of it, but anyway. She pretended to be several different women, fooled all of us until she shot John with a tranquillizer." He kept his eyes on anything but Molly. He ignored every softly spoken 'Sherlock' and sharp gasp, and continued on.
"Set John, Mycroft, and myself up as pieces in a game. That is where you come in, you were one of the tests." He briefly glanced in her direction and winced at the look that passed over her face. "There was a coffin, your coffin all set out before me. She gave me three minutes on the phone with you…"
"So you what…? Sherlock, why was it so important for me to tell you….. that?" She couldn't bring herself to say it again, not unless he returned them.
"Because if you didn't she was going to kill you." He looked at her straight in the eyes, the anger threatening him once again.
"I… alright, so it was just to save me, not because you…" Molly swallowed back her tears. She had known he hadn't meant them, but there was a little part of her that couldn't help but hold out hope. When he said that he thought she was going to die that part leapt up and screamed, 'he wanted to hear it from you before he lost you.' Now she knew the truth and she could destroy that part of her.
"Did you not hear me? She was going to kill you, she had cameras planted in your flat and she would have made me watch as you died. How could I not do as she said?" He left out the bit where the bombs never existed. That information was not relevant as he had not known it at the time they spoke.
"I… I get it, and I thank you. I think you should go now, I'll talk to you later." Molly turned and headed in the direction of her bedroom. She really did get it, confronted with the same thing she would have done anything to ensure Sherlock's survival. It didn't make it hurt any less though.
"Molly, what is wrong? Why are you acting like this?" He had hoped she would understand, that he could explain what had happened and she would just forgive him as she always did. Though deep down he guessed he knew she wouldn't.
Molly whirled back around, tears already falling from her eyes.
"You don't get it do you?! I love you! When I said it I actually meant it. I'm not like you, I can't just hear or say those words and feel nothing connected to them. I understand, and I'm happy that I'm still alive. But Damn it, Sherlock!" Molly wiped at the tears on her cheeks and continued in a softer voice. "I don't think I can be around you for awhile. Every time I look at you I'm going to remember what those words sounded like coming from your mouth, and I'm going to know they were false. I won't let you break me."
"I'm not like that." Sherlock clenched his hands tightly together when he realized how badly they were shaking. John had told him that he would have to confront this.
"Not like what?" Why did he have to look so sorrowful, so much on the verge of crying himself? Molly leaned against the counter of her kitchen, too worn out to stand unaided.
"They had feeling connected with them… those words." Emotional context. He shook Eurus' voice from his head. He would think on his sister later, at that moment he had to deal with the one woman he was coming to learn meant the most to him.
"What words, Sherlock? You have to say it." She refused to allow that part of her to rise up again and hope. She knew love came in many forms, and she was his friend.
"I love you." Sherlock took a few steps forward. Since he had left his sister in the hands of the authorities he had dedicated his mind to this moment. Over and over he thought of those words, wondering why they had been so painful to him. Why they had hurt as they had when he spoke them. He had gone through many deductions. That he cared for Molly, but didn't love her. That he loved her, but as friend or a brother. Each and every conclusion was examined and thrown out. He had entered her home with no clear idea what he had felt for her, what those words had meant, or what he would say. Looking at her tear stained face he finally knew.
"I take it back, I don't want to hear it again." Molly pressed herself further into the counter as Sherlock moved to stand in front of her.
Sherlock fell to his knees in front of her. This time not out of fear or sorrow, but because he finally understood and it was a heavy thing.
"I love you." He raised his hands until he could firmly take hers in them. He linked their fingers together and brought their hands to his mouth. "Forgive me."
Molly gave a sob, and as her legs went numb she fell to the ground before Sherlock. Tears once again slipped down her cheeks, but Sherlock was quick to wipe them away and bury his hands in her hair. He pulled her face close to his, his breath washing over her.
"I love you." He said them like he meant them. He said them like a benediction. "I love you." He said them like he knew they would save him. With one last whispered set of words he pressed his mouth to hers.
She had gotten it wrong all these years. She wasn't the bee, she was the rose.
Author's Note: Yes, I had to do a follow-up conversation fic. I don't know, I just had this image of Sherlock falling to his knees as soon as he entered Molly's home. The whole bee/rose thing just kind of happened.
I don't think everything was all hunky-dory after this, but I think they both were well on their way to getting things sorted out.
Also now I can read all the new fics out there, I didn't want to get influenced by others ideas of the aftermath.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.