Ch 1: Every You, Every Me
You are cordially invited to the wedding of John Watson and Mary Morstan.
The missive had arrived two months ago. The thick, clearly expensive envelope had immediately drawn Molly's attention when she collected her post off the floor, having just finished her twelve hour night shift. Usually all she received were bills or bank statements. There was more to the invitation, but the gist of it was that John Watson was getting married, and he wanted her to be there.
It had come as a surprise to Molly; she had only seen him sporadically in recent years, the last time being four months ago, and the circumstances had not been happy. It had been the third anniversary of the "death" of Sherlock Holmes, and as had become John's tradition, he came down to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, laid flowers, visited inside for a little, and then went home. His eyes were clouded with the grief he suppressed every other day of the year.
They hadn't really talked about their personal lives when he had come down to the morgue. They shared their typical pleasantries but ended up talking about Sherlock. They remembered his quirks and even little snippets of the past. They never spoke about that day.
In John's head Sherlock had been murdered by Moriarty, regardless of their final phone conversation and the fact he had jumped off the building. He must have been forced. But Molly knew the detective was somewhere in Europe, probably still deducting and solving crimes. a picture of health.
The last time Molly had seen Sherlock was the night of his "suicide". They were at her flat, having just smuggled him out of the mortuary after his body had been verified as dead in the eyes of John and Mycroft. She had laid out his unconscious body on the slab, checking that potent chemical mixture Sherlock had concocted had temporarily stopped his heart, and then presented him to John and Mycroft. That had been the worst moment, watching the news sink in their eyes, the heartbreak evident in both. She nearly told them it was all a hoax, that Sherlock would be fine. But she knew she couldn't. Sherlock had asked her not to. So she played her part.
He was pacing around her small flat, his eyes cataloguing everything and nothing. He looked numb, and she knew it wasn't from the effects of his mixture. He seemed sad, but in an odd way. In her opinion, he appeared calmly sad; she couldn't describe it any other way. It was as if he relished the sadness. He probably did. It was infinitely better than the alternative. He hadn't gone into details, but she knew it would have been worse.
She offered to make him a coffee, which he refused with a quick shake of the head. She had hovered awkwardly by him, deciding to wait until he was ready to speak. It was a good ten minutes before he turned slowly to her, reluctantly tearing himself away from his thoughts, finally addressing her to ask if he could use her phone. His sudden voice in the silence had made her embarrassingly splutter a yes, sounding far more compliant than she wanted. But then again, it was Sherlock. He already knew she would do anything he would ask. She had proved it that day.
He only spent twenty minutes on the phone, no small feat considering he hadto convince Mycroft that he was still alive merely hours after his brother had confirmed his death. She tried not to be rude and eavesdrop but she got the gist anyway: Mycroft was to meet Sherlock and help him out of Britain. And he would because family is family.
Hanging up he had turned to her and said the last words she would hear from him.
"Thank you for your co-operation in all this, Molly. I am eternally grateful." He had given her a grim smile, effectively making her stomach swoop like it always did, the severity of the situation be damned.
"I'll be leaving as soon as soon as a car arrives for me, so no need to worry about hiding me –"
"You can stay if you want! I mean, I've a spare bed..."she said impulsively, blushing the second the words left her mouth, allowing them to trail off pathetically.
Of course he wouldn't stay.
He'd finally looked at her then, really looked at her. Not cataloguing any information but just staring, absorbing. Sadness had encroached on his features again.
"I wouldn't want to impose."
"You wouldn't be," she had whispered all too willingly. He looked at her again, almost confused. In retrospect she realised he had been touched. His eyes glazed for a moment, before focusing on her again, his tight smile and distinct demeanour back. His hand slowly reached for her arm, gently if a little stilted, his eyes never leaving hers. He gave her gentle squeeze.
"Goodbye, Molly". A car beeped in the background and his hand and eyes dropped. He strode out the door, never looking back.
She had been too awestruck to reply, and belatedly muttered goodbye to the now closed door, as her faced blushed again, as her heart let out a small ache.
That had been over three years ago. She received only three emails in that time from him, each from different email addresses, all pithy and to the point. He would update her on where he was and what he was doing, and then he would ask after John, Mrs Hudson, Greg, and herself. She always replied honestly, though she didn't know if he ever got her replies - he never responded.
It had been seven months since his last e-mail. Within that short period John had met and became engaged to Mary. Molly was glad for him, glad he was happy. The first year after Sherlock's "death" had been hard on him more than anyone. He had kept a stiff upper lip about it all, but everyone could see through his fake smiles. The limp she had only seen him with once, the first time she met him, had returned and he always seemed to be somewhere else in his mind. It was painful to see. It was only after the first anniversary did he finally seem to accept his only friend's death, much to Molly's chagrin and guilt. The fact he had finished the grieving process made it seem even crueler because Sherlock lived. He had gone through the anguish for nothing.
Now he was getting married tomorrow afternoon. Molly had bought a pale pink strapless dress for the occasion, the material flimsy enough to keep her cool in the hot august weather while still looking appropriate for a wedding. She was rather excited for it even though she was without a date. Luckily, Greg and his wife said they would keep her company, which was more than welcomed, even if it made her feel a little pathetic about it.
Her clothes were already ironed and set out for tomorrow as she sat up in bed reading Jackie Collin's latest book, the invitation acting as her bookmark. She was so absorbed in the book she initially hadn't heard the knock on her door. When it sounded again, louder, it finally intruded her concentration and immediately she was on edge. She glanced at her clock. 11:35 pm, it read. She frowned and got up quietly, just in case it was someone she didn't recognize. Tiptoeing to the door she peeked through the small glass hole at her late night visitor.
It was dark, but she recognised his grainy face. She had, after all fantasized, about this moment for nearly five years.
"Molly? I know you're there. Open the door."
It was Sherlock Holmes.