They were lying in bed, her face hidden in the shadows, his head on her stomach, her hands massaging his scalp, his drawing circles around her belly-button.
"I know this will sound strange…but I feel I need to tell you something."
Jim from IT blew air on her warm skin and chuckled.
"You wish to tell me how fantastic that was? Don't worry, you were quite verbal about it."
Molly rolled her eyes and smiled fondly at his head.
"There's that too, but it's been nearly a month, I'm sure by now you don't need reassurance," she replied.
"I don't mind it, though."
"I know you don't. Look, Jim, I want to tell you what's on my mind because if I don't…well, you're the first guy I've had something…sustainable with in a while and…"
Jim from IT was getting bored. Extremely bored. When there was flirting and sweet-talking, he could make a save. He could probably enjoy himself a little, taste some of the simpler pleasures of life. And, if that failed, he could at least savour knowing how easy it was to mould into the skin of another creature without anyone's least suspicion.
This wasn't the case though. He knew what that voice meant. Play time was over. She was about to get emotional and vulnerable, she was about to open up about past disappointments and her issues with her mother. She was going to get serious. Relationship serious.
She'd probably want to know about his issues too. Find out if he's "hurting".
The urge to throw up had never been greater.
"Moll, you don't need to say anything, I know you. I know…how you feel," he assured her, hoping she'd somehow make it less painful for him.
"If it's too hard, don't speak at all," he added in a soothing voice.
Molly patted his head. "You are so understanding, Jim. I can't believe I've found someone as kind as you. Sometimes I don't think you're real."
Jim grinned into her stomach. She was always showering him with compliments. Compliments he would never receive from anyone else. Although the last part was ironically accurate.
"That's why this is so strange…and painful," she continued, her voice strained.
Jim rolled his eyes.
"What is, Moll?"
He could already recite her answer for her. It would be something about trusting him, how this was the first time she would let herself be loved…
Lord, how he wanted to be back home, chatting with Sebastian about his latest clients over a glass of wine.
"I don't want you to think I don't care. I do. In my own way. And…this time we've spent together has meant the world to me. But it's a different sensation for me, it's not the same. It's…well, I'm contradicting myself…"
He frowned, annoyed at her lack of coherence. Why didn't she just bloody spill it out?
As if she'd read his mind, she raised herself a little and placed her hand over his before she spoke:
"It's just extremely hard for me to care, Jim."
Moriarty frowned, slightly confused by her statement. He remained still and waited for her to go on.
"I know this is not the sort of thing I should be telling you right now, we've just begun getting serious, but you seem like such a nice, decent person that it would be completely unfair of me to keep lying to you. Well, I haven't exactly lied. But I don't want you to get the wrong idea."
By now, Jim was paying full attention, his boredom forgotten. The word "lying" registered immediately as a possible problem.
"What idea, Moll?"
"Remember this morning, when you told me you felt something special for me, something you couldn't define yet?"
He did. He had been in one of his moods again. He'd fed her some ridiculous horseshit he'd watched on the telly and then he'd gone into her bathroom and laughed about it like a lunatic.
"Of course, Molly. I do feel…something special," he said, smirking.
"Well that's just it. I don't. Because I can't."
Jim's smirk froze on his face.
"…sorry?" he asked, forgetting for a moment who he was.
"I can't feel the same for you, Jim. I'd like to. But I can't."
Jim's expression turned into an ugly grimace. No, no, no, she would not reject him. That was his job. She was not breaking up with him before he got to break her at the end.
"It's not you, Jim, I swear," she said quickly, noticing he'd grown completely stiff.
"It's me. I can't feel that way about you, or anyone. It's…it's a problem of mine."
At this Jim quirked an eyebrow in interest.
"You have a problem? An…emotional problem?" he asked carefully.
"You can never reciprocate feelings, is that it?"
Molly squirmed slightly before she sighed and replied an honest "yes".
Jim was positive she'd had too much to drink after dinner. It was quite obvious to any average-minded human being that Molly Hooper was the most emotionally charged and affection-starved little mess that ever existed. For her to spew out such nonsense was absurd and ridiculous.
"Moll, you're the most caring and giving person I know," Jim replied, sugar-coating his strong Irish accent.
"Yes…maybe," she said absently, smiling to herself.
Jim raised himself on one elbow, trying to see her face hidden in the shadows.
"I can't tell for sure. I do try really hard though. So it must be paying off. I am making big efforts to try and…emote. I am really glad it's working. There is hope for me, I know."
"Stop talking silly Moll, you're nothing like that, you're genuinely…caring."
"Well, I like to think wanting to be caring is a little bit like caring in its own way. I mean if you want to do good, it's still doing good by just wanting to."
At this point Jim was wondering whether she was just trying to break up with him but didn't have a good enough excuse. His interest was piqued though. She was barely making sense as it was, but she was presenting him with an interesting theory.
"Anyway I am ranting like an idiot. Sorry. You didn't need to hear all of that. My point is that I hope you can accept me as I am, for now, until I manage to change. I am working on it. I am willing to try."
Jim was getting more and more confused by this spurious exchange.
He wanted to see her face, so he pulled her head towards him to kiss her.
When their eyes met, he saw the same warm and loving orbs as before.
He shook his head. She was being delusional. She was like an open book.
"You don't have to try, Moll. I can see inside you, right to your very heart. You feel very much. You always do."
Molly smiled and touched his cheek in a caress.
"Oh, then I'm really happy. I wouldn't want you to see any different."
Jim was not pleased with her answer. She was still acting strange, holding back, trying to appear as if she knew something he didn't. People like her always thought their sufferance raised them far above others.
Well, he'd deliver the closest proof he had.
"I don't think I will see any different. Take Sherlock, for instance," he began, smiling knowingly.
"You must admire him greatly. And look up to him. You always help him. And you're always trying to get him to notice you. No, no, don't try to deny it, Moll. I'm not mad. I know he's a fascinating man. But you betray your feelings quite easily. I am a little jealous, I confess…"
"Oh, Jim, there's really no need for you to be jealous," she said, looking down in what he assumed was embarrassment.
"Not at all. I do admire Sherlock Holmes and I think he is crazy intelligent, but you shouldn't take anything else into account."
"I simply don't want him to pry," she explained. "That is all."
"What do you mea–"
She placed a finger over his lips and shook her head.
"It's a long story. And there's no need for you to hear it. Let's just say I don't want him to know about me. And acting besotted is a lot easier than…being myself around him. It's just better for everyone. And…it's a bit fun you know, acting like a school girl," she confessed, giggling.
Jim's heart started beating faster. He felt his blood getting warmer.
He pulled her chin, forcing her to look at him.
"Molly…can I…can I see it?"
He knew he was being stupid, but if there was the slightest chance, if she really meant it, if somehow it were true…
"See what?" she asked warily.
"Just a glimpse…a tiny glimpse…I'm so curious…because I don't know…" he trailed off, impatiently.
"Oh, Jim, no, no, I'm working really hard on being the kind of person I want to be –"
"Please," he insisted, his voice full of want and desire.
"I can't believe you if you don't show me," he added quickly. "I can't believe you don't really like me as much as I like you, after everything you've told me, after everything we've done. Maybe you're just trying to break up with me and don't know how yet. Maybe…"
Molly pursed her lips.
"This was a bad idea. I see that now. I shouldn't have told you anything… you've misunderstood me."
She sounded so disappointed and miserable that, for a moment, Jim gave up on the whole ordeal and decided she was just being hormonal and silly and all she needed was a reassurance of his feelings.
Surely this was what it was all about, wasn't it? She wanted to know for sure he loved her more than she loved him, so she wouldn't have to be the vulnerable one when she found out he didn't. She was used to it.
He was about to plant a kiss on her lips to take away the sadness when a firm palm landed on his chest.
"…or, you are just trying to trick me into showing you. Because you're morbidly curious."
The icy abruptness of her voice startled him.
Their eyes met and his breath stopped for a moment as he gazed into beauty.
Empty, completely empty, barren and soulless. That was her. All her.
Her eyes had no compassion, no warmth, no humanity. There was not a trace of Molly Hooper, St. Barts' pathologist left in her. This was a strange new creature in a brave new world. A silent, calm, ferocious beast.
He sat back and watched her mesmerized. He'd never been more taken with her.
She frowned, her nostrils flaring in disapproval.
"I was right," she concluded.
Moriarty's fingers delved into her thighs and pulled her to him hungrily.
Molly stared into his black orbs. She'd known for a while that he was like her. She wouldn't have told him anything tonight otherwise. Only when she'd been sure he was her faithful copy had she dared unravel herself in front of him.
Sweet Jim from IT was trying to form some kind of reply to answer for his strange and uncontrollable attraction to this gentle monster, but Molly settled it for him.
"If you want to have me as I am you'd better quit your charade. Else the following three minutes will be embarrassing for the both of us," she told him coolly.
Jim let out a low chuckle in relief and quietly unfolded into Moriarty.
Molly watched, biting into her finger.