It began with the lipstick.
It went from nude to childish pink to a womanly scarlet shade.
Her smile became difficult not to notice, except gone was the obvious grinning.
It continued with the walking.
Previously she'd bounce, always with a spring in her step, and a sort of carelessness.
Instead there was determination and a pair of heels.
He asked her why she was dressing up for dead people.
She said even the dead needed a last salute.
He didn't get it.
Gone were the flowery patterned frocks, beige trousers and ponytail hair.
Now there were skirts, pantsuits and her naturally curled hair.
He could see her walking down the streets turning heads.
Seeing Lestrade making passes.
Of course she hadn't done it for him.
She hadn't done it for anyone.
He'd even followed her to check.
There was no toothy boyfriend in a suit with an Irish accent, there was no big-eyed bloke, and there was none in her view.
She seemed to be blind to them.
It was odd for he knew flattery was her key, yet she seemed unnerved.
At one point he was convinced the woman had taken possession of her, yet he saw in her eyes the same gleam of innocence, the same ever-lasting optimism.
There was just one look that was different, and that was when she looked at him.
It happened the night he needed her, since then he'd been needing her a lot, helping on collecting clues, keeping people off his track and making sure John knew that she believed him dead and a fraud.
She was playing the part excellently, and he was almost convinced that this was a part of it, but it wasn't.
That look in her eye said something.
Molly Hooper had gone from being boring to something entirely different, but then again she might never have been boring, he just wasn't looking.
It started with the texts.
They didn't need to be answered at first, but then soon enough there came demands.
Then his stupid objects started to occupy her apartment.
Her otherwise completely sterile girly apartment was filled with grimy landscapes of odd objects and her fridge would have the occasional human limb(s) (head, hand, whatever was his fancy).
At first he'd suddenly appear at her home and occupy her living room for some hours, to nights where he stayed on her sofa bed disappearing by dawn, and then it grew to the days he'd stay eating her food.
At first he'd come with comments and remarks on her homestead (as he called it), and her apparel.
Well, that hadn't changed, but he was milder.
His tone had changed.
He had been so harsh and demanding.
He was less harsh, and asked (one in a while).
He'd even say "thank you" (some times), having supposedly learned from his previous experience with her.
To begin with he had no interest in her social-life, or where she went, but soon enough she caught him in the corner of her eye spying.
She enjoyed it.
She liked making him confused, for she knew neither what had come over her, but it was a bout of confidence.
It might have itched towards her when she found herself having to lie.
A skill she never thought she'd be good at, and a skill she never really supposed she needed.
But she was needed.
He needed her, maybe not in that way, but she couldn't help being amused.
He was a bit of a child, having unsettling days, yammering on her sofa, before getting brilliant ideas in his head.
He was going to hammer down on her previous boyfriend's gigantic web.
She didn't call him her boyfriend, and she did indeed dump him, but she had been disappointed.
A man shows interest in her, and then he has only eyes for Sherlock.
She laughed at the irony.
Yet here they were, she his only confidante and friend - the man she had admired for years ends up sulking on her sofa bed, and taking space in her bedroom with his gadgets.
Not in the way she wanted of course, but she loved to imagine it despite herself.
He was still handsome, even in disguise, for he couldn't stride around in his coat and scarf as he fancied.
He had to go as ordinary as possible.
She would have recognised those eyes in a heartbeat, which was why she still was an idiot.