Sometimes, Molly wonders if it wouldn't have been better had Sherlock actually died. Sometimes, Sherlock wonders the same thing.

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the words. Characters belong to the marvellous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the BBC.

I'm not here, this isn't happening.

Once upon a time, Molly Hooper was able to say - with utmost sincerity - that she had never hurt anybody in her life. She had never caused tears, she had never broken a heart. She'd had it done to her, of course - more times than she cared to remember - but somehow she managed to ward off the advances of cynicism, of bitterness, even though she would have been well within her rights to welcome such personality traits with open arms.

It was a mark of such a good heart that she found it in herself to forgive one man in particular who had managed to hurt her more than the rest combined. He told her that she mattered. She promised to help him. She found herself having to keep the most awful of secrets. Molly had never been a liar, and then suddenly, she found herself having to lie to everyone she knew. She had to accept the condolences, the reassuring hands on her shoulder, the concerned looks, the "How are you holding up, Molly?", the constant damned pity of which she was wholly undeserving. And she hated it. She despised it.

Certainly, when she was at the funeral, watching John Watson barely hold it together, watching sweet Mrs. Hudson weep for him as if he was her own son, seeing the pain and guilt etched across Greg Lestrade's face as he no doubt thought back to that moment, that dreadful moment when he lost faith, she was of the firm opinion that Sherlock Holmes had finally asked too much of her.

And yet she kept her mouth shut, and weeks turned into months, and over time, she found it easier to tell herself that it really had been him lying in the pool of blood at the foot of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In her heart of hearts, she knew he must have had a good reason for all of it. She never got the chance to ask him, you see, because he was gone in the blink of an eye. But Sherlock Holmes, despite his protestations to the contrary, was a good man. That was why she'd fallen in love with him, after all. He was always careful to emphasise just how decidedly un-human he was, but he didn't fool her. She knew he thought her plain in every sense of the word, but she wasn't daft, he did care about people. He had a heart. That was what separated him and one James Moriarty.

She didn't know what she had expected, really. She helped him fake his own death. After the event, there was no show of gratitude, not even a word or a look exchanged between them. He melted into the London crowds, the buses and the taxis and the nutty cyclists, the grey buildings and the even greyer weather. She didn't have a clue where he was, and obviously, that was a good thing. Indeed, that was kind of the point of this mess, wasn't it?

She worried about him every single day. Every single hour of every single day. But if anyone could look after themselves, it was Sherlock Holmes. She knew that, of course she did, but that didn't stop her stomach tightening and her heart dropping like a stone at the thought of him coming to harm. She'd seen his older brother twice since the event. At the "funeral", and again about eight months later, when there was a knock at the door and she opened it, clad in her pyjamas, bleary-eyed, to see Mycroft Holmes stood there, customary umbrella in hand. She made him a cup of tea which he didn't touch. He asked her how she was. And she suspected that he knew. Perhaps he even had an idea of where Sherlock was. But, no. It would have been too risky to have asked, and what would she have gained from it anyway?

To know that he was alive?

What difference did it really make to her either way? In all likelihood, she'd never see him again. He may as well have been dead. Really, actually dead. And it probably would have been easier if that was the case.

That thought entered her head on a regular basis. At first she felt sick with guilt, loathed herself, but when she found herself purposely avoiding John - who so desperately needed a friend, and she was a friend, wasn't she? - because she just couldn't do it, not anymore, she decided that no, she really shouldn't feel guilty about thinking that. He'd ruined her life, totally and completely.

But would she, given the chance to go back in time - back to the laboratory in the middle of the night, when he asked her for her help with a look in his eyes that terrified her to her core - have denied him?


With a weary sigh, Molly Hooper steps out of the hospital and into another freezing January night in Manchester. She fishes around in her bag for her cigarettes. A nasty, filthy, despicable habit that she has grown to thoroughly enjoy over the last two years. Molly has learned to take as much enjoyment as is possible from life's small pleasures and indulgences. After all, the pleasures and indulgences that permeate her life these days are, invariably and inevitably, small.

A ghost of a smile flickers across her features as her slim fingers wrap around the slightly squashed cardboard box. She takes out one of the last two remaining cigarettes and puts it to her lips. Her hand slips into her coat pocket on the quest for her lighter. For an unpleasant moment, she thinks it's not there, but ah, yes, there it is. But then, no, it's out of gas. Bugger and fuck. Never mind, though, because there's a corner shop over the road. Her bus - the one she's supposed to be waiting for - pulls up to the bus stop, but she can get the next one.

She takes a step forwards but stops abruptly. Her path has been obstructed. There is a man stood in front of her, holding out a silver Zippo lighter, and he's tall. He's much taller than her. And when she looks at his face, he seems to be the spitting image of… no, it's half-obscured by shadow, and his hair isn't curly but straight, and he's wearing glasses, and he's dressed like he works in investment banking, all very boring. She smiles politely, accepting the light - trying not to notice those long, slender, fingers – and then inhaling the smoke deeply.

"Thank you," she mumbles, before walking away from him quickly.

"You really should learn to drive, Molly."

She tenses up at the sound of his voice - his voice, there's no mistaking his voice - and she feels her stomach swoop and then drop. Her throat tightens and then numbs with nausea. She could just keep walking and there would be no need whatsoever for any of this. Maybe later when she's curled up in front of the telly, working her way through a bottle of wine rather more swiftly than would be polite had she been in company, as she goes through her usual Monday night routine of Coronation Street, Eastenders and then – lucky, lucky her – a second episode of Coronation Street, she could convince herself that she's been working rather too hard of late (though not altogether harder than she had at any other point in her life), she's tired and stressed, it was all a… figment of her imagination?

If she wasn't currently feeling sick with some kind of indescribable fear, she might have let a wry laugh pass her lips.

Her feet feel as if they've been swallowed up by the pavement, encased in concrete, weighing her down, leaden. She clenches her cold left hand into a tight little fist. Her equally cold right hand holds the cigarette that she isn't touching. It burns away to itself. She exhales shakily. For two years all she's wanted is to see him. To see him and then… she didn't really know what would happen then, she hadn't allowed herself to think that far ahead, but she'd have probably quite liked to shout at him, tell him how he'd ruined everything. But now?

She wants to run away, only her stupid fucking legs won't let her.

How deliciously that fact sums up her entire relationship with Sherlock Holmes. How absolutely, beautifully succinct and perfect that metaphor is.

A hand, tentative and unsure, touches her arm for a brief moment before pulling away. She hadn't noticed him get so close. "Molly," he says lowly.

And now her legs no longer feel like lead. Instead, they feel as if they may buckle underneath her at any moment. But she can at least move them now, that's something. She closes her eyes for a second, maybe two, and then discards the cigarette, snuffing it out with the sole of her shoe. She takes a deep breath – she seems to need to remind herself to breathe – and turns to him. And it's him. It is absolutely, unmistakeably him. And for the first time in what feels like a century, something in her brain clicks back into action.

"Are you safe?" The words leave her lips before she even thinks about saying them. "Here, I mean? And in general?"

A funny, twisted little smirk graces his features.

"In general, perfectly safe, thank you. Here, I should think I'll be alright for three days, possibly a week." He pauses, his expression unreadable. "Although, this is just a flying visit, I assure you."

Molly nods, just the once. "What do you need?"

In the back of her mind she recalls that conversation, the night he asked her to help him disappear. How he'd looked scared, and how much it scared her in return. She studies his features which are now illuminated fully by the streetlight and notes, with some relief, that he isn't wearing a similar expression at present. In fact, he almost looks relaxed… well, as relaxed as Sherlock ever looks, of course. And barely any older, save for a couple more crinkles at the corners of his eyes. The man is wholly ridiculous.

He doesn't reply. Instead, he looks over her shoulder and holds out his hand, signalling to the approaching taxi driver his wish to utilise his services. She wants to say something, protest, but he opens the door of the black cab for her and motions – just a little bit impatiently – for her to get in. Molly does as he asks. When doesn't she?

"70 Bradshaw Street."

Molly's mouth drops open momentarily. "How did you – "

Sherlock flashes her one of those looks. One of his you've barely spoken two words and already you're boring me looks.

"Oh, Christ, never mind," she mutters, more to herself than to him, as he takes the seat next to – but not directly next to – her.

She fiddles with the hem of her blouse as he stares out of the window, resolutely deep in thought. It's only a five minute taxi ride to hers – ten minutes, at the most, if the traffic is particularly bad – but already the tense silence is too much. She doubts very much that he feels the same, in fact he's probably rather grateful that she isn't trying to make any sort of conversation. She knows him well enough to realise that unless he's working on a case, he's actually a man of few words. He doesn't see the point in it, doesn't have time for silly small-talk. She likes that about him, really. Perhaps it's because she's the polar opposite. Always feeling awkward, always feeling the need to fill silences with inane chatter about the weather or what she watched on telly the night before, always cheerful, even when she feels the exact opposite. No wonder he finds her tiresome.

Nevertheless, just when she was finally beginning to accept that she would never see him again, here he is – unannounced, as is always his way, and she's struggling to understand why. What's happened? Is he really alright? He obviously needs her for something. He doesn't acknowledge her existence unless he needs her for something, after all.

She watches him out of the corner of her eye. It's funny how the glasses and the haircut have made him look almost… normal. Like any other man on the street. Almost. Except for those cheekbones and those eyes and those lips which make him look so very exotic and strange but nevertheless thoroughly handsome.

She silently admonishes herself. Will she ever be able to get over this pathetic infatuation?

Infatuation. If it was merely infatuation, her life would be so much simpler.

If only.

She's slightly surprised to sense the taxi slowing down and then finally coming to a halt, and looking out of the window she recognises the street as her own.

"That'll be £6.30, please," the driver pipes up for what she thinks is the first time during the journey, although she'd been rather too wrapped up in her own thoughts to notice either way.

"Oh," she squeaks (always such a bloody mouse, always, always), rummaging in her bag for her purse before she hears Sherlock say something like, "keep the change" and she realises that he's just handed the driver a tenner.

"There's really no need," she says hurriedly, but Sherlock merely rolls his eyes and steps out of the taxi. But Molly Hooper has always hated charity, has always been one to pay her own way, so she isn't going to let this go, even if it is only £10. She shuts the door behind her and quickens her pace to catch up with him as he walks up the path to her front door. "Sherlock, honestly – "

He turns around sharply. "Molly, I would suggest that paying for a taxi is the least I can do, all things considered."


Well, that shut her up.

She sighs with resignation, digging in her bag for her keys. "Fine."

"And if you could, do please try to hurry things along. I'm afraid I'd forgotten how inclement it is in the… north." The derision that drips from that last word causes Molly to smirk involuntarily as she finally finds her keys.

The narrow steps force her body to brush against his as she moves past him to open her door. She cringes as she feels the flush spread up her neck and to the tips of her ears. Absolutely bloody pathetic, Molly. You should be ashamed of yourself. She silently wills herself to just calm down, to keep her head and try her best to help Sherlock with… whatever it is he needs help with. He'd be gone soon and then it'd all be over and she'd be able to get on with her life.

She just had to be strong for a little while longer and, yes, she thought she could do that.

She's only slightly embarrassed by the mess on her coffee table and the slightly cramped nature of her house in general. But, hey, it's a house and not a flat, so it's at least an upgrade in that sense. In a decent area, too, so that's something. She could have afforded better – in fact, with most things in life she can afford better, but she's careful with her money and her emotions and she's perfectly happy to settle for second best. As a result, she finds that she's rarely disappointed. It all makes sense, you see.

And sitting on her small, but not unpleasant, sofa was the embodiment of her outlook on life. The best, most breathtakingly wonderful and brilliant man she knew (and, to be honest, it would take a lot of persuasion to convince her that there might be a better man on this planet), who she loved totally and completely despite there being no good that could ever, ever come of it, who she loved despite his propensity to be cruel to her, albeit often unknowingly, despite his propensity to manipulate her and use her for his own gain. Were those the actions of a breathtakingly wonderful and brilliant man, the best man she knew?

Yes, because this is real life and no one is perfect, least of all her.

She had come to terms with the fact that she would never love anyone the way she loved Sherlock Holmes, but she had also come to terms with the fact that it was a love that would remain forever unrequited, and she'd lain in her bed at 4am, staring at the ceiling with all the different thoughts running through her head, and she'd come to the conclusion that – when it came to it – she'd be able to settle down with a nice bloke, someone that loved her back, and she'd have a family (two kids, one boy, one girl) and a nice house and she'd be happy. It wouldn't be all she'd ever dreamed of but it would be perfectly fine, thank you very much. Second best really isn't all that bad.

She sets his coffee – black, as always – down on the table in front of him and debates for a second about taking a seat next to him – but not directly next to him – on the sofa. In the end she decides on the daft beanbag with the cartoon kittens that she'd had since uni.

He's taken his glasses off now and his hair is slightly messier, indicating that he's run his hands through it, sick of how… neat it all was. His fingertips are pressed together and his eyes are closed, adopting the position he usually takes when he's deep in thought. Molly takes a sip of her tea, happy to wait for him to speak, if he wants to speak at all. She knows that there's no point in pushing him.

About five minutes later, his ice blue eyes snap open and fix on hers. Immediately she feels that funny little buzzing sensation she always used to get around him on the few occasions when he would actually look at her, but she pushes it down, annoyed at herself both for being so shallow and for letting him waltz back into her life like this and make her feel those things again.

"How is John?" He says, his voice heavy with some sort of unknown emotion.

Molly's cheeks burn with shame and she looks down at her lap.

"I…" she takes a deep breath and forces herself to look back up and meet his gaze again. He needs to know this. He needs to know what he's done. "I haven't seen him since about two months after your funeral." Her voice is stronger now, and she's glad of that. His eyes widen slightly, and she's a little surprised that he hadn't worked that out already.

"I see."

"In fact, I haven't seen any of them. John, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, everyone that knew and cared about you. I couldn't lie to their faces about something so awful so I just shut myself up in my flat until I was offered the job up here. The last person I saw that was connected with you was your brother." A thought enters her mind. "He knew too, didn't he, Sherlock?"

He pauses for a second and then sighs, running a hand through his hair again. "Yes. He got me out of the country, sorted out an identity and got me a job – a bloody awful job, I hasten to add, but it was simple enough."

Molly pinches the bridge of her nose and exhales heavily. She wants to be angry with him, she really, really does but she just doesn't have the energy for it.

"For two years I've had to keep it all secret, thinking I was alone, but all along there's been someone else that knew." Her voice is no longer strong, but stripped down, small and weary.

His face softens slightly, almost imperceptibly.

"You couldn't have discussed it with Mycroft, it wouldn't have been safe."

"I know," she replies quickly. "Yes… but just knowing would have… helped, you know?"

His eyes burn into her and Molly frowns slightly. "What?"

"You're angry. With me," he adds. Molly winces.

"I – "

"But you're also glad to see me and your desire to ask questions is currently outweighing your desire to call me every name under the sun, am I correct?"

"Sherlock…" Yes, you're right. You're abso-bloody-lutely right, as usual. The end of her sentence doesn't come, and her shoulders drop, admitting defeat. "Yes," she croaks.

Silence descends over the both of them again. Not exactly comfortable, but not entirely awkward, this time, either.

It later transpires that Sherlock needs to stay the night. Molly's first thought is, A-ha! So that's what he's after. Her second thought is, Oh shit, oh fuck, oh God, oh no. Her third thought is that she's too tired to worry about it for too long, though, and she has a spare bedroom so really, it's no trouble at all. So she shrugs and says that it's not a problem and that she'll leave out some spare towels if he wants to have a shower in the morning. She assumes that he'll probably wake up after she's gone to work, so she tells him to help himself to the contents of her fridge. Probably not an entirely wise thing to say, in hindsight, and she wonders if there'll be any human… parts waiting for her in the salad drawer when she gets home tomorrow evening.

No, she reminds herself, because he's only staying for the night. In fact he'll probably be gone before she goes to work. Before her alarm even goes off, perhaps. No time for dodgy experiments and general disgustingness. No time for all the normal Sherlocky things. And that thought both comforts her and saddens her.

When she bids him goodnight, he's staring at the television. Not watching it, just staring. She thinks that there's something wrong, and it worries her, but she doesn't say anything. She hopes it's nothing too serious, but with Sherlock, things tend to always be fairly serious.

As she closes her bedroom door behind her and slips into her pyjamas – a simple tank top and bottoms – her mind is still racing. She sits down heavily on the edge of her bed and pulls her hair down from its ponytail, brushing it out, still thinking all the while. She's never known anyone to be as closed off and wary of emotion as Sherlock, and the doctor part of her brain has always wondered about Asperger's. She doesn't know, though, and it's none of her business. But she'd like to help, if she could.

She reaches over to her bedside lamp and flicks the switch, plunging her room into darkness except for the slivers of orange light which seep through the gap in her curtains from the street outside. She wriggles under the covers and turns onto her side, her eyelids suddenly feeling heavy, and lets her breathing slow and her mind fade to black.

At first she doesn't know what's woken her up. She blinks a couple of times and squints at her alarm clock, trying to focus on the red numbers. 1am, so she's been asleep for about two hours. It's when she allows her eyes to close again that she becomes aware of an arm wrapped around her waist and a warm body pressed against her back. Her eyes fly open and immediately her hand slips down to pull down her top where it's ridden up and exposed the taut, smooth skin of her stomach. But instead her hand comes into contact with his hand, and she flinches like she's just had a static shock.

"Sherlock?" she whispers into the dark. Please be asleep, please be asleep, him being in her bed would still be weird but at least it could be explained by him being, what? A cuddly sleeper? Sherlock Holmes?

A brush of lips against the skin of her shoulder. She was about to say something but the words die in her throat. This is wrong, this all completely wrong. What she needs to do right now is get out of bed and ask him what the fuck he thinks he's playing at. And she will do that, in a second's time, but first she's just going to take a moment to savour the way he just brushed the tips of his fingers across her stomach.

His warm breath ghosts across the back of her neck and she squirms slightly against his – oh God, he's shirtless. Well, she supposes with what's left of her rationale, he didn't exactly bring pyjamas with him so that's excusable, maybe, possibly…

"What are you… what are you doing?" Her sentence is interrupted midway through by a hitched breath as he scrapes his teeth against the shell of her ear.

"Stop thinking," he murmurs, slipping the strap of her top down her arm, smoothing his hand over her skin and then brushing her hair to one side so that he can plant an exquisite little kiss to her jaw. "I need to stop thinking," his voice cracks and her chest tightens. Molly turns to face him now and she inhales sharply when she sees him. The streetlight makes him glow and God, he's so fucking beautiful, so completely perfectly lovely, but his eyes are shining with unshed tears and she bites her lip because he looks so lost, and so utterly sad, and it breaks her heart. She brushes his cheek with the pad of her thumb, and for once – just for once – she doesn't have to think twice about what to say to him.

"It's okay," she says softly, pressing her hand to his chest, above his heart, feeling it racing. Alive. He's so alive and how could she have ever wished for anything different? I love you. I adore you. You are everything. And a tear rolls down her cheek and she doesn't know why, not anymore. I'll always be here. And he brushes his lips against her cheek, the spot where the tear fell, and she touches the skin of his neck, and his hand curls around her hip, and then his lips are pressed against hers, gently at first, almost - almost, but not quite - chaste, and then, desperately.

She whimpers as he nibbles on her bottom lip. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. She allows her hands to explore the smooth planes of his back. He allows himself to trail kisses down her neck and then along her collarbone, groaning softly against her skin as she runs her hands through his hair and scratches slightly at his scalp. I'm sorry I can't be who you need me to be, but maybe tonight we can just pretend.

That is, after all, what he does now.


Everything about him is false, everything he knows now is false, except her. Silly, plain Molly Hooper who giggles a bit too much and whose big chocolate brown eyes light up whenever he enters the room.

And when she whispers his name as if it were a prayer as he drags his lips down her stomach, down, down, he catches himself thinking that she's really rather lovely, in her own Molly-like way. And when she's still trembling as he works his way back up her body five minutes later to capture her mouth again, he has to admit that these human beings maybe don't get everything wrong all of the time.

Later still, when they're both a little out of breath and his hair has regained a bit of its natural curliness through sweat, when he presses what Molly thinks is the softest and most perfect kiss she will ever know to her forehead, she can't stop herself.

"I love you."

She isn't overcome with crippling embarrassment the moment the words leave her lips. No, because she wants him to know. She wants him to realise in no uncertain terms that whenever he needs her help, if he's ever in danger, if she can do anything for him at all, she won't think twice, she'll always be there for as long as the both of them breathe air.

He touches the skin above her heart, just for half a second.

"I know."

Maybe if Sherlock Holmes was normal, if he was like everyone else, he'd have felt even a slight shred of guilt as he slipped out of her bed and silently dressed himself. She sighed softly in her sleep, and his skin still felt warm from where she fell asleep against him, and his lips still felt swollen from where she kissed them.

It wasn't something he did an awful lot, sex. Barely at all, in fact, and before that night he hadn't touched another human being in that way for six years. And that had been, well, awful. Absolutely horrid. He'd used sex to get something in one of his cases. Not, he would be the first to concede, one of his finest moments, and something that he vowed to never repeat.

Molly Hooper wasn't one of his cases, though. She was… Molly Hooper. Just Molly. And she trusted him so completely – why, he really couldn't understand it – and had done so much for him. She'd saved his life, and the lives of John, and Mrs. Hudson, and Lestrade, and she didn't even know it. Perhaps he should have told her. Perhaps he should have let her know just what a monumental thing she had done. In the end, of course, he never even thanked her. Not with words, anyway. He was curiously bad with words when it came to this sort of thing. He hoped she knew, though. Really, honestly, he did.

She had a freckle on the skin directly above her heart.

That heart belonged to him, but he didn't know what to do with it, and he never would.

"Mine," he murmured beneath his breath.

If Sherlock Holmes was a normal person he might have got back into that bed and wrapped his arms around her. He'd have made her scrambled egg on toast in the morning with a big mug of tea, and she would have smiled brightly at him with glittering eyes. He might have taken her on one of those date things that ordinary people do, held her hand, treated her the way that she deserved to be treated. Because he wasn't so oblivious to this sort of thing as people tended to assume, and he knew that as people went, Molly was one of the better ones, and she deserved to be treated as such. But the silly, silly girl had gone and let herself fall in love with him, with a man that was incapable of reciprocating those feelings, and there was no repairing it.

He'd come to Manchester on a whim. When she'd asked him if it was safe for him to be there and he'd told her that it was, he wasn't entirely certain that he was telling the truth. But she'd given up her life in London - her work, her friends, her poky little flat with the abhorrent pink wallpaper and the bloody cats everywhere - because of what he'd asked her to do, and it didn't sit quite right with him that he'd never shown her an ounce of gratitude. He had, after all, been brought up with manners, even though he was loath to show it most of the time unless he absolutely, definitely had to. He hadn't meant for it to happen. He wished that it hadn't.

A memory seared into his consciousness of the way she gasped his name, digging her nails into his back. Her breath, hot and shallow, against his cheek as he moved against her. The way she felt, dear Christ, it wasn't right for something to feel that good. He fucking missed the cocaine, but he was certain that if he went out there and relapsed right that instant it wouldn't have felt half as good as she'd felt. Something inside him twisted, coiled, right in the pit of his abdomen. Something horribly, disconcertingly natural. Human.

If he hadn't managed it before now he was certain that he would have broken her heart this time. But still, he didn't feel guilty. What on earth did she expect of him? This was what he did. He let people down. He was always letting people down. Before his "death" he was being touted as some sort of superhero but he knew the truth. Always the little brother, he had never and would never rise to the heights that Mycroft had. Always the addict. Always the rude, abrasive freak with the posh coat and the ability to belittle someone in less time than it took to blink an eye.

He'd stood there and watched from afar as his best friend sobbed at his gravestone and he'd thought, just for a second, that maybe it would have been better if he'd never gone to her for help.

He'd lain next to her and trailed his fingers down the ridges of her spine, kissed her right between her shoulder blades, savoured the little sigh that escaped her lips and remembered exactly why he'd gone to her for help.

It had been a long time since he'd felt alive.

It had been a long time since he'd longed to just be ordinary.

I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

And then he was gone and he didn't think he'd ever be back.

When her alarm goes off, he's gone, and something about it feels final.

She gets home from work a few hours later and, on autopilot, heads for her sofa and the promise of an evening of mindless reality TV.

It takes her an hour or so to notice the pair of glasses that still rest on the coffee table, exactly where he left them the night before.

She only cries a little bit. Honestly.

And it's shortly after the discovery of the glasses and the disastrous date that she has with polite, normal, lovely Mark from paediatrics a week later that she realises that the nice bloke and the two kids and the house will never, ever be enough. It will never come close.

The pain of that realisation tears at her like barbed wire, but she knows that it could all be so, so much worse.

And so, Molly Hooper would - as ever - endeavour to look on the bright side.