Molly startled when the big door to the mortuary swung open. It had only just gone midnight and she wasn't expecting any visitors to the bowels of the hospital. Even the least superstitious of hospital staff tended to avoid the morgue near midnight. Not Molly, though. She was more comfortable with the dead than the living. Interacting with people drained her energy and she just ended up embarrassing herself more often than not. She took comfort in that the dead asked nothing of her but her quiet knowledge and skill.

"I'll just be a few minutes more. You can leave the paperwork with the body if you like," she called over her shoulder as she pulled the curved needle through the waxy skin. Thrice more she performed the action until the y-incision was closed. The dark loops of silk stood out against the sickly pallor of the corpse.

Her shoulders relaxed when the door clicked shut, relieved that she wouldn't have to force her face into a smile she didn't really mean. She pulled the sheet up over Mrs Tompkins' head and peeled the gloves from her hands, tossing them in the nearby bin. Turning on her heel and heading to the sink she gasped when she saw him. "Sherlock," she stammered.

He hesitated just inside the door, hands clasped loosely in front of him. "Molly, I..."

Molly squared her shoulders and fought the tears that threatened to cloud her vision. "It's alright, Sherlock. Greg came round and explained about your sister and the bomb you thought was in my flat. I know that she made you say it even if you didn't mean it..." Her voice hitched and Sherlock started forward, but was held back by the splayed hand she thrust in the space between them. "No, Sherlock, it's really okay. I know you were just trying to save my life." Tears began streaming down her cheeks and she cursed herself for not being able to control her emotions any better. "You were just doing what you had to do and you didn't really mean it. Thank you for saving me, but please leave." Molly bowed her head and hid the sobs behind her hands. "Please, leave me alone."

She felt the warmth radiating from his body and she wished the ground would open up to swallow her whole. Sherlock had pulled her into his arms and was resting his head on top of hers. His voice was thick with his own tears when he whispered in her ear, "But I'd did, Molly. I did mean it. I love you. I have always loved you. I just never let myself realize..." A tremor shook his frame and his words were bitten off with a sob of his own.

Molly dropped her hands down and onto his chest, pushing him back. She had a clear view of his face and her fingers were instantly drawn to the shimmering drops that wet his lashes and rolled down his cheeks. She had seen him sham often enough to know that this wasn't that sort of thing. "Oh, Sherlock," she sniffed. "You've had a trauma. Go home and get some rest. You will be back to your cold logical self tomorrow."

Molly turned, strode to the sink and began washing her hands. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut as she absently worked the lather over and around her fingers. "Go home, Sherlock."

Molly rinsed her hands and dried them thoroughly. When she took the first step towards the exit she heard frantic shuffling and the squeak of fine Italian leather on tile. She tried to turn but found Sherlock on his knees, grasping the hem of her labcoat.

"Please, Molly, you have to believe me!" His face was blotched with red and his perfect Cupid's bow lips trembled with emotion. "I love you! I do! I do love you! Eurus thought she could break me, making me make you say those same words back to me. It did break me, but not in the way she hoped. It hurt me thinking that I might die and you would never know that it was true when I said 'I love you'." Sherlock let go of her coat and sat heavily, too drained to get up and walk away.

"Sherlock, get up!"

"I can't."

"Sherlock, I said get up." Molly voice was more stern this time and she stood before him holding out her hand.

Sherlock shook his head and continued to stare at the tiles. "I can't, Molly. Please, just give me a moment of privacy. Then I will leave and never bother you again."

Molly sighed, "You are not getting a moment of privacy, not after all that you have put me through. I guess if we are going to finish this I am going to have to come down there with you."

Sherlock closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable slap. He waited a breath, or maybe ten, and it still didn't come. Slowly he opened his eyes, to find Molly seated Indian style in front of him. Her jaw was tight with tension and her brow was wrinkled.

"Say you are sorry," she all but growled at him.

Sherlock took a deep breath and met her eyes. "I'm sorry, Molly. So very sorry." It was the truth.

"Say it again, Sherlock," she demanded.

"I am so, so sorry, Molly. You have to believe me. Please believe me." A tear rolled down his cheek as he begged.

Molly gave a sad smile and wiped his tear away with her thumb. Sherlock wondered when she had moved so close. They were almost breathing the same air now.

"Not that, you idiot," she smiled. "Say you love me."

Sherlock drew in a sharp breath . This was unexpected. "I love you, Molly Hooper," he said in a whisper, afraid that to speak louder might shatter the dreamworld he was surely in.

"I love you, Sherlock Holmes. Now know kiss me. I've been waiting too damn long already."