A/N: didn't really write this with a plan and suddenly I had 8 chapters almost done. Oddly, I'm still writing this without much of a plan. But, so far I've been enjoying writing it. Hopefully, its liked and I love the feedback (preferably positive!) Also, I'd happily accept anyone interested in being a beta for me? Send me a message if you are interested. My titles more often than not are the song I'm listening to on repeat at the time of starting the story. That being said, I think it will play into the story in a way as it goes along.
Somebody I Used to Know
How do you act at a funeral when you know the person in the casket isn't the person everyone thinks? How do you play the girl that was always unnoticed, when you now know that isn't true? So very very untrue.
How do you face a man's best friend, when you were the person that changed the dead man's DNA records? Is it possible to lie to so many people at once and convince them you are just as devastated as they are?
In the end, I did go. I wore an old black dress, the same one I had worn to my father's funeral, and a black coat. I didn't wear my contacts. My eyes always looked a little red when I wore glasses and I hoped to hide behind them, just a bit. I knew it would be hard for me to cry when I knew the truth.
I had had tea with the man in the casket the day after his death. In the past week, he had been in my flat twice. Letting himself in while I was at work. The first time, he just sat there silently as I made tea. He wasn't on a case so it was good that I had stopped at the store on my way home. The second time I came home to him sitting at my kitchen table, tea made. It was oddly domestic and so unlike him.
We didn't talk much, which I was use to with him, but when he did, it was so different from any conversation we had had in the past.
I sat near the middle of the church. I wasn't John, his best friend, or Mrs. Hudson, his landlady. They sat together in the second row adjacent from Mycroft. I knew he would recognize me; Mycroft always had an eye out for his brother and he knew everyone Sherlock associated with, even if they weren't the most important in the eyes of some.
The service was a blur. Through all of it, John looked ill. Mrs. Hudson sobbed into John's shoulder. Mycroft didn't show a reaction. I assumed the people sitting around him were other relatives of Sherlock's. I couldn't help but wonder if they believed the papers or not. Not that it truly matter.
Lestrade, sat behind me. I wasn't able to see his reaction, but I knew he was watching me.
Kittens being run over. Starving children. Someone kicking a puppy.
I can't cry on demand.
My father's death.
Even that couldn't do the trick.
How do you pretend to mourn someone you know is alive and well.
Most likely driving my cat insane at this moment, or in the near future.
I hoped Lestrade was convinced my lack of tears was more from being faced with death daily rather than something else.
Going to the grave site was the most painful part and real tears found their way out of my eyes. Not because I was standing in front of his grave but because of the anguish on the faces of John, Mrs. Hudson, and even Lestrade.
As they lowered the casket, I had to look away. I was surprised to feel a hand on my back and realized Lestrade had walked over to my side.
"He was a great man." He said. "He was so close to being a good man even."
I nodded my head and let myself be hugged. I knew it gave more comfort to lestrade than me.
As the dirt began to pile on top of the casket that held some unknown man that looked a bit like Sherlock, people began to move around, talking softly to each other.
A still weeping Mrs. Hudson hugged me tightly, clinging to me. I held her and said nothing. There were no words I could say on this day to comfort any of them. Not when the only thing I wanted to tell them, needed to tell them to end all of the grief, was the only thing I couldn't say.
I wanted to shout that he was alive from the tallest tree, but I couldn't and so I remained silent.
"You were always such a dear calling to let me know that he had stayed in the lab late and coming to collect things from the flat when he forgot to take them back." Mrs. Hudson said as she pulled away from me slightly. "I had always hoped that… well I guess there's no point in saying it now."
She hugged me tightly again, offering me comfort. Comfort I didn't deserve.
Next I was face to face with John. The moment I dreaded. How do you lie to someone's best friend? The look of illness was still on John's face and I worried he'd lose the contents of his stomach at any moment. He had seen it all, nearly had a front row seat. He saw everything Sherlock wanted him to, and that memory would possibly haunt John more than all of his memories from Afghanistan.
"Oh John!" I whispered and hugged him tightly, much like Mrs. Hudson had done to me. I couldn't keep looking at his face and not burst. "I'm so sorry." John didn't need to know what I really meant.
"Thank-you," He said stiffly. He returned the hug briefly before pulling away. He nodded to Lestrade, and I wondered if John held any of this against the other man.
"I think I'll wait in the car. Molly would you mind walking Mrs. Hudson over when she is ready?" John retreated from us quickly and didn't stop until he reach the row of rented cars, most likely Mycroft's doing.
I silently followed behind Mrs. Hudson as she greeted a few others she recognized. Once she reached Mycroft, I oddly found myself hoping she would hug him, only to see the reaction. I knew describing the look of shock on the older Holme's face would be fun the next time I saw Sherlock. I suddenly found myself having trouble containing my smirk at the mere idea. I quickly reached for the tissues I knew were balled up in my coat pocket.
After a brief conversation with Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson turned back to me and indicated she was ready to walk over to the cars and meet John.
"Poor boy. I think John was more of a brother to Sherlock sometimes rather than Mycroft. But then Mycroft was always there for him as well. He seems to be taking this well though. Not that I expected a large show of emotions from anyone in the Holmes family. Even his own mother seemed rather stoic, but I suppose that makes sense." Mrs. Hudson rambled.
I paused at the mention of the mother of Mycroft and Sherlock. I hadn't fully realized that she was the older woman who had sat beside Mycroft during the service. It made sense. She has the same pale complexion as her son. When I turned to get a last glimpse of her I also noticed, she has his eyes.
Once I returned Mrs. Hudson safely to John and the waiting car, I declined her offer to go with them for tea and left her with promises of stopping round for tea sometime in the next week. I found a waiting cab near the entrance of the cemetery.
"Please, please don't ask me any questions and just take me to my address." I said as I climbed in giving the address to my one room basement flat, that was close to St. Bart's.
Thankfully, the cabbie remained silent as he navigated the City traffic and delivered me safely in front of my building. I paid him, making sure the tip was a little better than I would normally give. I felt bad for snapping at him as soon as I got in. As I got out of the cab, I looked down and noticed Toby wasn't in his favorite people watching spot.
"I should get an extra key made." I sighed as I walked through the door and dropped my keys on the small table beside the door.
"I don't see why." Came the reply from my small kitchen table.
"It isn't normal to have tea with a person whose funeral you just attended," I replied as I removed my coat and kicked off my shoes. In the past week, I had found my voice again and for the most part, stopped being the meek Molly Hopper. Or at least, the less meek version.
"Normally the person is dead too," He replied pouring tear into my cup.
"The only moment that I didn't want to scream out the truth was when I saw Mrs. Hudson hug your brother," I said sitting down and finally allowing myself a smirk at the image.
"Mother must have loved that." He replied. Behind his cup I could tell he was also smirking.
"John is devastated," I said turning our shared smirks somber.
"I suppose he is. It's not every day you see someone jump from a building."
"It's not every day your best friend tells you that he is a fake and makes you watch him jump." I sighed and took a sip from my tea, a dash of milk, one sugar. If I wasn't so distraught by the thought of John, I may have let it get to me that Sherlock knew how I took my tea.
"When are you going to tell him?" I asked pulling myself from thoughts of my tea.
"When the time is right. If it is ever right." He replied.
"Until then?" I asked.
"Mycroft knows," He said. "We could have fooled him, but then I'd be stuck living on your… well I suppose you don't really have couch."
"I could have gotten one." I replied. The idea of sharing my tiny flat with Sherlock wasn't really something I had thought of. Sure I thought of hundreds of reason why he may stop by and what it could lead to, but now facing our reality, my fantasies were far from the front of my mind, but not completely forgotten.
"No this is better. Your neighbors would find it odd if a man suddenly started living in your flat. One passed me as I was letting myself in. She was already pretty certain you were a cat lady or just weren't interested in men." He paused at this and I couldn't argue. It wasn't like I had much time to be here anyway with work taking up much of my life and because of the size of my flat, I usually met friends elsewhere.
"I'll have access to funds, a new identity or two, and can travel around and keep myself busy."
"So you are leaving the country?" I asked not sure if I wanted the answer. He could easily leave. Staying in London would only lead to the possibility of him being spotted. But whatever this was between us now, I suppose it was friendship even though I found myself hoping over time, maybe, it would be more. He was still Sherlock, faking his death didn't change that, but maybe he wouldn't be able to let his work eat away so much of his life now. It wasn't like he could openly continue his work, and even if he changed his appearance, fooled everyone into thinking he was someone else, would Scotland Yard really be willing to trust someone they thought was just a Sherlock copycat?
"Not yet. I plan to track down Moriarty's entire network. When that leads me out of country, I will."
"Where… where have you been staying?" I asked.
He was silent for a moment. He looked angry at the subject and I wondered if he would even answer me.
"The Holmes family home. Not that any Holmes live there permanently anymore. Mycroft considers it his 'county home' and stays from time to time. Mother prefers to live along the coast now. I think I'd prefer your couch or floor over my childhood room. Mycroft was supposed to procure something else. It will spark more than a few questions if the youngest Holmes is seen so soon after his death. The staff isn't the sort to really tell, but you can't be too safe."
John had mentioned he liked to sulk in between cases. Small things would annoy him. Obviously this was one of them.
"So you leave your hideout to have tea with me and drive my cat mad?" At the moment Toby was most likely under my bed as far from Sherlock as he could get. It interested me that Sherlock thought of me as a distraction and the thoughts in the back of my mind threatened to creep forward.
"You've been offered some time off." It was said as a statement. No matter how whole heartedly I believed in him, sometime he still surprised me with the things he was able to figure out.
"I never take holidays, but after this past week, my boss knows that you were in often. He thinks I'm some delicate flower and even though I'm surrounded by death daily, he doesn't think I'm handling yours the way I should be."
"You took two weeks off when your father died. A day for your fish."
"How'd you… never mind. It's you, of course you know." I sighed looking at the wall.
"Would you…" he hesitated. He never hesitated. Ever. "Take the time off. Tell your boss you've book a holiday."
What started as a questioned turned almost into a command, but I didn't plan on saying no.
"Have I?" I paused wondering why he had decided this was the best course of action for me.
"I'm getting tired of traveling so far for tea." A statement with a hidden invitation.
"When do I leave? I promised… I promised Mrs. Hudson I'd stop round for tea sometime soon," I wanted him to actually ask the question, But I knew he wouldn't.
"I'll have Mycroft send a car to pick you up from Baker Street. Mrs. Hudson, and John if he is there, won't find it odd. Mycroft has been keeping a close eye on everyone for the past week. They will just think that he is doing the same for you. Leave your things here. They will get picked up before you are."