First attempt at a Sherlock fanfiction. This one has been spinning around in my head since Sunday and I knew it needed to come out when I wrote it in a night when I haven't been able to write much of anything in months. This is a post-Reichenbach story and is a potential two-shot but I might just leave it at one. Would really appreciate the feedback but even if you don't review I hope you enjoy it!
What Do You Need?
It had been six months since the funeral. But as Molly Hooper stood under the spray of the shower in her flat, death was the last thing on her mind.
Which was odd for a woman who worked in the morgue.
But it was the living that concerned her now. One very alive man who needed her help. He'd told her more than once that she'd done enough, that he wouldn't blame her for not wanting to risk her life more than she already had by helping him. She'd just calmly met those ice-blue eyes with a very simple "what do you need?"
It was unlikely that she was being watched but they'd kept him practically under lock and key the first few months as a precaution. He had still been written about in the papers and his face had been splashed across every paper in London at one time or another. It was an impossible face to forget.
It wasn't hard for her to be at home so much, she wasn't terribly social anyway, but for him? She'd thought it would be like keeping a wild animal in the flat. But he was not at all what she'd expected. He was incredibly sedate. Though she was sure his mind never stopped working. She would leave in the morning for work and find him in the same place when she got back. Sunk low in a chair, fingers steepled under his chin, staring at nothing or, sometimes, with his eyes closed. He would often lapse into silences that sometimes lasted for days.
She'd stopped trying to get him to engage him in conversation after the first two weeks. He must've caught on eventually that the silence had become deafening and was making her very tense because he'd started asking how her day was when she came home as if he'd been genuinely curious. She'd even started to stutter less around him, it became easier to talk to him as time went on, not that they talked all the time. It was very nearly exactly what she'd always wanted with him. But he still had that look. The one that he had when he thought no one was looking. She was getting better at catching him at it now. Now that she counted. He was so sad.
Leaving the toilet, she made her way to the bedroom to dress. She was picking him up in an hour. He'd been sitting dwelling on something when she'd come home the night before and when she woken up the next morning he'd been in the same place. For the first time in a day and a half he'd spoken.
"I'm going out today."
She'd been startled at the sudden burst of speech. Though not by the content.
"Oh. Um. Are you sure? Is it safe, d'you think?"
This was a familiar dance for them now. He'd made this decision several times in the last 2 months and she always asked if he thought it was safe, if he was sure. He'd first started going out at night, sneaking out of the window in case the door was being watched. He'd determined that no one had been watching her home.
It had been made clear. Three bullets. Three gunmen. Three victims. None of them were her. She'd never been so grateful to be considered not worth the trouble of a sniper.
What did surprise her was the tone of his voice. It was rough, not surprisingly so for someone who likely hadn't spoken in over a day, but it was also unsure. Doubtful. Like he was trying to convince himself he should.
"I'll be fine. I just need to…see something."
She knew better than to ask what.
"Do you want me to drop you off somewhere? Or pick you up? I've got some errands to run today so I'll be in and out quite a bit."
He was silent for a moment. "I would appreciate the lift back. Around 4."
She put on her cheeriest smile. "Sure, where am I meeting you?"
Her smile slid off. There was no need to ask which one.
"Oh. Um. Alright…"
"Alright." Then he'd gotten up and, as he'd said, went out.
And now it was 3 o'clock and she was going to pick him up in an hour. She stepped into her bedroom, securing the towel around herself.
And nearly dropped it in shock a moment later.
Because there he was. Sherlock Holmes. Sitting on her bed. Staring at the wall.
"What…I thought…wasn't I picking you up? At 4?" she stammered out.
"Came back early." It was that same tone again. Rough and unsure.
"Oh. Um. Ok. You ok?"
"I'm-I don't know." He actually sounded upset with himself. Like not knowing how he was was somehow appalling to him.
"I saw John."
That wasn't terribly surprising. He'd seen him there several times. So obviously this time was different.
"Did…did John see you?"
"Of course not." There was that same old arrogance.
"He keeps talking to me. It. The stone. Asks me not to be dead. Why does he keep doing that?" His frustration at this was apparent.
She smiled a little. She remembered a line from John's blog over a couple of years earlier. 'What's incredible is how spectacularly ignorant he is about some things.' "He cares for you."
"It's been six months. But he still goes. Every month."
She couldn't help the half-laugh that escaped. He looked at her, surprised by the sound.
She walked over to her closet and pulled open the door, blocking her from his sight as she exchanged the towel for her robe. She came back out to sit beside him on the bed.
"Did you really expect him to just get over it? To forget you? To move on? As far as he's concerned, his best friend told him he'd been lying to him from the day they'd met and then proceeded to fling himself off the top of a building."
He winced. "I was trying to…"
"Protect him. I know. And make him hate you. Make him believe you were a liar so maybe he wouldn't hurt for losing you. Everything you did was to protect him. So of course he's still grieving. He may never stop grieving."
He looked so perplexed. "We didn't even know each other for two years…"
She twisted her fingers together a little, stared at her hands. "Doesn't matter. Time isn't always a factor."
He was staring at her. She could feel it. "I think I can guess pretty well what John is feeling, you know. Devastated. Lost. Alone. It must be horrible for him."
"What must be?" He sounded desperate for an answer.
She looked at him then. Compassionately, because he just didn't understand.
"To love someone so much and to suddenly have them gone and you never got to say it."
He just kept staring. She felt like something on a slide. Still not getting it. Time to be blunt.
"John loves you. And not as a flatmate. Not even just as his best friend."
He looked shocked for a moment, but quickly recovered with a shake of his head. "You're wrong."
"No. No, actually, I'm not. Because it's like how I knew there was something wrong with you. Because you looked sad when you thought he wasn't looking. When he thought you weren't looking, he would look at you. And I could just see it. He may not even know. I think he always preferred girls as a rule but you broke the mold for him."
"How do you know?"
"Because it's the way I've been looking at you for years."
He took a breath. "Molly…I'm-"
She shook her head and patted his hand. "It's alright. I don't mind so much anymore. Somehow…it was enough for you to tell me I counted. Knowing you trusted me, which I don't think is something you do easily. That meant something to me. But more than that it's because…you look at him that way too."
Now he looked downright stunned.
"You told me everything that's happened with Moriarty. With all the cases you've solved since you and John met. But mostly I knew when you told me about that day on the roof. You were worried for John, before anyone else he was your first concern. You called John and you never call anyone. You tried to make him doubt you so that he wouldn't be hurt by what you had to do to protect him. You jumped off a building. You arranged everything. The body, your homeless network, the man on the bicycle. Everything to make him believe you were dead because it was the only thing that was going to save his life. Look at everything you did for him."
"Mrs. Hudson. Lestrade. They-"
"Are important to you but John comes first. Always."
He thought about it for a moment. She wasn't sure he was going to speak again. She should have known better.
"Because…" He trailed off, unsure of how to finish the sentence.
"Because you love him. It won't kill you to say it."
"My brother…he said caring is a disadvantage. He said that all lives end and all hearts are broken."
She nodded. "That's true. And for John, your life ending broke his heart. Both your hearts, I think. Think about it a moment. You know I'm right."
He was staring at the wall again.
"You'll fix it one day, you know. When you've done what you need to. You can go back. You can tell him. Go on. Say it."
He didn't speak but his eyes got brighter, shinier. As if…
Her eyes widened and her hands fluttered uselessly. "Oh, God. Don't cry! I'm sorry! I'm totally wrong! Ignore me, I'm a prize idiot. I'm sorry."
He looked at her and a single tear rolled down his cheek.
"Did I break yours as well?"
"Mine?" she squeaked. Couldn't he just wipe the tear away? It was so…not him. She didn't know how to handle this side of him.
"Um. Not exactly. That was more my own doing, really. I never told you. Just sort of expected you to know."
"But it hurt. My not…reciprocating your feelings."
She could see he was trying to understand something. Only the truth would do. "Yeah. It hurt. Still does sometimes."
"Is it…worth it? The hurt?"
She thought about it. "It doesn't always seem like it's worth it. But it is. Because what you're feeling…most of the time it feels so good. Just fills you up. It's worse, I guess, for the people like me, who aren't loved back. Not that that's your fault! But for people like you and John? Who love each other? Well, that I expect is wonderful all the time. Even when it's not."
She gave him a crooked smile, "I know that sounds confusing. I can't really think of a way to say it. Just…yeah, it's worth it."
He looked away again, was silent again for a long minute. "I…love him."
She nodded. "Good."
A smile crept onto his face. "I love John."
She should be devastated. Hearing the man she loved confess his love for someone else. And a man no less. But she was smiling because it was like watching a light switch on in him. "Yes, you do."
"And John loves me."
"Of course, he does. Who could resist?" His smile became a cocky smirk.
But then his grin faded and hers went with it. "What if…what if I can never go back?" He'd told her in the first few weeks that he might never be able to let everyone know he was still alive. That it might be safer for them all if he disappeared all together, forever. Suddenly, knowing his and John's feelings for one another, that became a terrifying possibility where before it had just been a grudgingly accepted probability.
"You will," she said with absolute confidence, reaching over and squeezing his hand. "We'll make sure of it."
He turned his hand over so they were palm to palm. "You'll help me?"
She smiled. "What do you need?"
Considering reuniting John and Sherlock for the second chapter. Still toying around with it in my head. If I decide to go that route it will be up soon. Promise!