Warning; this is sad. Or at least i'm trying to make it so. Prepare for angst.
The walls were a dull shade of mint green. A battered desk was the centrepiece of the room, surrounded by various scans, x rays, and medical equipment. And in this room sat two people. On one side sat an overweight man, his face solemn, his forehead covered in a light sheen of perspiration; the kind of sheen that was always naturally there, as opposed to that from exercise. Opposite him sat a meek woman, with brunette hair that had natural tinges of blonde running through it, wearing a cherry patterned cardigan. Her mouth was slightly ajar, and her eyes fixed on her twiddling fingers resting on her lap. Both wore the long white coats of doctors, though only one was acting like a doctor in that moment.
Inoperable was the key word. The only real word she understood in that moment. It made her feel cold.
'Miss Hooper, the aneurysm is inoperable'.
Inoperable. What a horrible word. She rejected it. It was wrong, Dr Stamford was wrong, as was his pity. She was only twenty eight. She had never smoked in her life, okay maybe one time when she was sixteen, but she was certain one peer pressure related smoking experience wouldn't cause that. She ate healthily, and always took the stairs instead of the elevator. This had to be a mistake. She'd only had the CAT scan to check her vision, which had been weaker than usual lately. She didn't have a aneurysm, this was just a clerical error. She just had bad eyesight, like her nan. This was a mistake.
Molly wasn't sure how long she just sat there silently, not that it mattered, Dr Stamford was talking enough for the both of them, though she didn't listen. She didn't need to know this, it was a mistake.
He was explaining how someone else's aneurysm was big, and how surgery would more likely than not, cause a premature rapture, though it was someone else's prerogative if they wanted to go down the surgery route. He explained various statistics and how they could relate to someone else's aneurysm.
It wasn't her aneurysm. That wouldn't make sense.
And so she told him all this, how there must have been a mix up. She begged him to check the results again, check for any mix ups, ignoring him when he said he was one hundred percent sure they were hers. And finally with a pitiful smile he agreed. Dr Stamford's agreement seemed to solidify her belief, though she pointedly ignored him when he said a mistake was highly unlikely. It was a mistake. She refused the entertain the possibility she was dying.
It made no sense logically.
Molly relished being back in the morgue, despite having only been gone for an hour. It was her domain. She knew how everything worked. Flukes rarely happened here; a corpse wasn't likely to come back life. That had only happened, and that had been the day Sherlock Holmes had died. Her breath caught even thinking about that day four years ago. She still remembered his pale naked body waking from inside the body bag, a prop for the charade. She had thought about that naked body many times since. She remembered him getting dressed hastily, while she covered her eyes with her hands... reluctantly. He thanked her profusely for her help, barely letting her get a word in edge ways. His eyes had remained distant, as if in deep, impenetrable thought, though he had asked various questions, like how had John reacted? Was the autopsy complete? Did anyone suspect? He had put on a hoody and jeans as a disguise, and she had to admit he looked completely different. More youthful, yet disturbingly broken, as if shedding his usual attire was the final straw. The final remnant of the consultant detective, Sherlock Holmes, gone. He was still attractive though of course. And then he'd just left, off to some car waiting for him. She still regretted that she hadn't said something more...meaningful. She hadn't really said anything at all to be honest. He'd just given her a smile, and left. For all she had known at the time, it could have been the last time she ever saw him.
Luckily it hadn't been. He'd returned a year ago. He hadn't even told her he was returning. She'd just woken up one morning with his face plastered on every form of media possible; Genius successfully faked death. For weeks she could barely walk into a newsagents without seeing his face on the papers, chronicling his arrest, his pardon, his return to crime deduction. It made her nervous. And in all that time he never came to see her once. That had hurt, though Molly knew she shouldn't have expected anything to be different. Thankfully Sherlock had covered for her, claiming he had fooled her too as opposed to her being her accomplice. Everyone believed that quickly, much to Molly's combined annoyance and relief. A month after that he had finally come into the morgue, John accompanying him (looking marginally happier than he had in recent years). Sherlock had given her a grave nod of reverence, which she'd returned. Their shared lie was to remain a secret. And then everything had returned to exactly how it had been. Unfortunately Molly couldn't help but think.
Molly shook her head, shaking the memories away. She had resolved a while ago to stop thinking of Sherlock so often. It was a waste of time. A new small malevolent voice in her head whispered that she had very little time to waste. She shook her head harder.
She didn't have a aneurysm.
'What the hell are you doing Molly?' asked a curious voice from the door. Molly looked up, blushing.
Speak of the devil and he shall appear, her mum had always said.
Sherlock stared back at her expectantly. His dark hair was it's usual perfectly chaotic mass of curls, contrasting curiously with his pale skin. He was wearing his usual long coat, which made him always appear slightly superior in a way she couldn't explain. Normally she would have gave a nervous giggle, and stammer an inaudible explanation., but her brain was too busy arguing with itself to acknowledge Sherlock with her normal awe.
'Nothing' she replied, suddenly tired. 'Was there anything you wanted?' she asked politely, turning from him.
She didn't notice the curious look on his face deepen.
'Just use of the lab' he answered slowly. She just waved a hand, indicating for him to go ahead.
His eyes remained fixed on her as she sat, mentally trying to stop herself from making a will. It was a mistake she repeated. It was dangerously close to becoming her new mantra. In an attempt to distract herself, she attempted a conversation with Sherlock, her distracted mind taking the edge off her usual nerves around him.
'No John today?' she asked with a smile, that faltered only slightly when she looked up to see him already staring at her. He didn't even blanch at being caught Molly noted.
'No, he's on a date' he said, clearly bored by the topic 'Molly why have you got that look on your face?'.
'W..what look?' she asked, her belated nerves finally kicking in.
'That look' he repeated, his eyes solemn, though no longer directed at her, but into a microscope.
How pathetic that the only things she shared with him was an ability to recognise the face of a dying person and lies. It was also probably pathetic that the fact they had a shared anything, no matter how morbid, made her do an inward dance.
But she wasn't dying, it was a mistake. Maybe she'd sue whoever was to blame for this mix up, she thought idly, not really meaning it.
'I..I think you're seeing things Sherlock' she replied with an almost too bright smile. He just raised an eyebrow, blinking purposely slowly, before continuing with his work.
Molly was trying to be patient, she really was, but she just couldn't seem to stop biting her nails. It was a childhood habit she had thought she'd grown out of. Evidently not. Her body was betraying her thoughts. How long did it take to verify some results for goodness sakes? A full twenty four hours had passed, surely they had some kind of information for her?
Molly was sat at her desk, filling in some long neglected paperwork, while her ipod played some soothing music, a luxury she rarely used at work. She always felt self conscious about her taste in music, which varied from Bob Dylan to the Spice Girls. Today she couldn't find the energy to care. Besides she had so few visitors, and the ones she did have were usually dead. Hours passed, and she was considering just going straight to Dr Stamford, demanding some kind of confirmation, when Sherlock arrived, again without John. And he was looking at her expectantly. She felt immediately on edge. And a tiny bit excited.
'Sherlock?' she asked warily.
'Molly, why do you have that look?' he asked slowly, as if deliberating to himself even as he asked, instinctively stepping closer to her, crouching down a little to examine her eyes. But she knew it wasn't a rhetorical question. Molly forgot to breathe for a moment. Sherlock always looked so attractive when deducting.
'Molly, you're avoiding eye contact, whilst looking left, indicating you're lying obviously, so I know you know exactly what I mean' he said as if talking to a rebellious child. It irked her a little, though she couldn't help but be impressed. Like she always was.
'S...Sherlock, I still don't-'
'You've got blood shot eyes, newly bitten nails, and you're paler than usual. Don't lie to me. Why are you scared?' his eyes were almost angry, his voice impatient. She said nothing, she couldn't think of anything to say, she just gulped. His face softened so imperceptibly it took her a moment to notice. Molly gave a loud sigh, blushing immediately after. She finally met his eyes. They were stoic as ever.
'Why didn't you tell me you were coming back?' she asked thoughtlessly, before bringing her hand to her mouth in chagrin. Why had she said that? She internally berated herself. Sherlock looked faintly surprised, and confused. Oh God thought Molly. She attempted to rectify the situation.
'Oh, gosh, i'm so sorry, that was rude, I..i was just... ignore me, I shouldn't-' Molly stammered ridiculously, blushing furiously.
'Molly, stop talking' he said, a small hint of amusement on his face. Molly shut up immediately.
'I thought I had implicated you enough in my death, to turn up on your doorstep would have surely have gained you unwanted police attention' he said, as though that were obvious, his eyes narrowed,
questioning how she could have missed that. She blushed, avoiding his gaze. Out of all the answers she had expected (which varied between the nasty and the embarrassing) she had never expected an answer so considerate. The shock must have registered on her face, because his own suddenly turned neutral, and he leaned away from her slightly.
'You count' he said with a shrug, as if it were all the explanation, and apology, needed, though he appeared clearly uncomfortable at the admission. Molly smiled brightly for a moment, the weight of the past day lifting. And then it returned as Sherlock got up. His eyes scanned her mechanically again; she shuddered a little under his gaze.
'I'll return the favour when you're ready' Sherlock said deliberately. Molly frowned. What? But before she could ask he was already gone.
Stamford had caught up with her as she was leaving for the day, her nerves severely frazzled, her eyes unfocused and her gait slow.
She'd known the second she saw his face.
The overt sympathy.
Was that how she had looked at Sherlock? It was incredibly condescending. It made her inexplicably angry at him. She didn't need his pity, she needed his words to counter his face.
She was dying.
Molly Hooper was going to die soon.