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My adoration of Lexie and Pablo should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, because they rock the known universe.


PART FORTY-FIVE

Molly didn't know what was going on. She had gone to the machine to get some crisps. She'd only been gone a few minutes. She found her path to the lab blocked by police. Sherlock was in front of her, his large hands framing her face, fingers running over her skin reverently.

She could see his eyes shining. He leaned in and pressed his lips firmly against her forehead, then against her mouth. It was a bruising and possessive gesture. Molly gave a small shriek, not used to Sherlock being so affectionate in public. She felt his mouth trail over her jawline to her ear. "Don't leave me," he murmured against her ear. "You can't leave me."

"I'm not going anywhere," Molly said, her voice filled with confusion.

She felt the breath go out of her as the situation began to make sense.

There were police swarming all over. Sherlock was gripping her to his chest, as if she would slip away at any moment.

"Where's Veronica?" Molly asked, her voice shaking.

Sherlock crushed her closer. Molly gasped for air, but did not pull away from him. She felt him bury his face in her hair. "Don't look, Molly." His words were not a command, but a please. "Don't look."

Molly knew what she would see if she looked past Sherlock. She couldn't help it. She needed to see it, needed to sear it into her mind.

She moved to look past Sherlock. She took in a sharp intake of breath at the sight of Veronica sprawled on the ground.

Molly felt her stomach writhe. The similarities between herself and Veronica seemed heightened as the woman lay dead on the floor. Molly felt a twinge of guilt at thinking of herself, with Veronica dead not more than a few minutes.

But Veronica was dead because of her, wasn't she? Their resemblance. It did not take the analytical mind of Sherlock Holmes to figure out Sebastian Moran had mistaken the two women.

"Why did you look?" Sherlock asked harshly, cupping her cheek. His face was lined with anguish. It unnerved Molly to see him so emotional. The only time she had seen him like this was when he was begging for her forgiveness after their breakup. This was different. This was supposed to be his area of expertise, dealing with dead bodies.

Molly looked up at Sherlock, but did not speak. She didn't need to. Sherlock knew what she was thinking, what she had figured out. It was the only thing that made sense. Sherlock thought he had lost her.

Sherlock closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against Molly's. "I... Was not thinking with the highest amount of rationale. Moran told me he was going to attack you and then I found Veronica..."

"Molly, we're going to need to get you to Scotland Yard," Lestrade said gently. "We're going to need to take a statement."

Sherlock straightened himself up. "You-You," he stammered and Molly felt her stomach writhe again. This was not how Sherlock was supposed to be. She knew he hated it as much as it frightened her. "You can't let the news of Veronica's death out. Or let anyone know Molly is still alive."

Lestrade shook his head. "Sherlock-"

"This wasn't simply murder," Sherlock said firmly. Now that he was speaking to Lestrade, he was beginning to recover his poise. "This was an assassination. And Molly was the target. Doctor Adair had the misfortune of resembling her too closely. If he believes he was successful, I will have time."

"Why should we listen to you?" Anderson asked irritably. "The Detective Inspector should be dragging you in for attacking him and taking his weapon."

"Anderson," Donovan said firmly, to the surprise of a great number of the gathered people. "Lestrade's not going to arrest him." Donovan looked over to Sherlock and Molly. Sherlock was pulling Molly close to him again, stroking her hair. "For good reason."

"Take a statement from Molly," Sherlock said softly to Lestrade. "But get her into protective custody, witness protection- anything. If Moran finds out she's still alive, we'll have another body on our hands and this time, it'll be her. Mrs Hudson should also be put under protection. I assume, John, you will not go?"

John shook his head. "Not on your life."

Sherlock nodded. "I doubt she is in any direct danger, but Mary Morstan should also be protected, if only so she is not used to lure out John to get to me."

Lestrade nodded. It was a testament to how grave the situation was, that Lestrade was agreeing with Sherlock with absolutely no comment to how bossy Sherlock was being. "We'll take Molly to Scotland Yard and keep her under cover. I'll send officers over to pick up Miss Morstan and Mrs Hudson."

"Good," Sherlock said with a nod. He turned his attention back to Molly, who continued to stare at him. He leaned in and kissed her gently. "Molly, Darling," his voice was barely a whisper. "I'll be right behind you. If I'm seen with you, Moran will know you're still alive. Will you be all right?"

Molly nodded mutely. She didn't trust herself to speak at the moment.

"John and I will be right behind you," Sherlock assured her once more, kissing her on the forehead. His eyes- which still shone with tears- burned with ferocity. "I swear I am going to end this, Molly."


Things were a blur as soon as she left Sherlock's side. Lestrade escorted her out of the building through the back, her head obscured by his jacket. She had given a statement and was now waiting in an interrogation room. It had been an insistence from Sherlock. A room without windows, in case Moran was keeping a closer eye than they thought.

Molly was now waiting for Sherlock, who was giving his own statement. John was with Mary and Mrs Hudson. They'd offered to sit with her in the interrogation room, but she'd declined. She wanted to be alone. Besides, if John were to be seen with Mrs Hudson and Mary but without her, maybe Moran would believe he'd succeeded.

Sherlock's statement was taking longer than expected. Apparently, Moran had forewarned him of his plans, but just barely. Not giving him enough time to intervene. To save her.

No, not her. Veronica. Veronica was the one who died, not her. Veronica died because of her.

She had been holding herself together. It took all of her energy, but she hadn't yet given into the emotions that were flooding her.

She couldn't hold them together any longer. She buried her face in her hands and began to sob.

She didn't know how long she'd cried for. She didn't hear the door open. But she felt herself pulled up and crushed against the strong but lean chest.

"Why are you crying, Molly?" Sherlock's voice was low and comforting. His fingers sifted through her hair.

"Why do you think I'm crying?" Molly blubbered. "Veronica is dead."

"Well, you will be able to get your former position at Barts back," Sherlock responded far more cheerfully than should have been allowed.

Molly pulled herself away from Sherlock fiercely. "You did not just say that, Sherlock!"

Sherlock blinked at her. "What? It is the truth."

Molly wiped the tears from her face furiously. "A woman was killed because Moran thought she was me."

"It wasn't you," Sherlock replied. He brought a hand to Molly's face. "That's all that matters. Does that bother you?"

Molly allowed Sherlock to draw her back to him. She clutched tightly to him, letting out a small sigh. "No one deserves to die for having the wrong face. But, to be honest... You caring this much is a shock."

Sherlock kissed her forehead. "I can't care about Veronica. There's too much..." He pulled her closer. "When I saw her..." He shuddered. "Molly..."

Molly knew she should be disturbed by Sherlock's inability to care about anyone outside of his small circle. But that circle covered more people than it had when she first met him. In fact, she didn't know if there was anyone who really mattered to him back then. It was only after meeting John that he allowed himself to open up.

And now, he cared about her. Sherlock looked at her with such passionate, ferocious protectiveness. Molly knew Sherlock himself didn't truly understand the breadth of his feelings.

"I'm okay, Sherlock," Molly murmured. She clutched at his coat, burying her face in his chest to take in his scent. It kept her grounded, knowing he was there, holding her in his arms. "He didn't get me."

"Not for lack of trying," Sherlock intoned darkly.

"We'll just have to be careful now," Molly replied.

Sherlock looked down at Molly. "I'll just have to kill him before he gets another chance."

"What?" Molly squealed. She looked around. As an interrogation room, someone could very well be listening in. "Sherlock, you can't say that! We're in Scotland bloody Yard!"

"And Sebastian Moran murdered a woman thinking she was you," Sherlock's voice was icy. "After he previously held a gun to John's head. Which was after he strapped Semtex to John's chest. If there is any man who has run out of chances, he is it."

"And if you kill him, you'll be the one who gets arrested," Molly said firmly. "You're not above the law, Sherlock."

Sherlock remained quiet. It was unlike him to resist the urge to respond to... Well, anything. But the look on his face spoke volumes. He wanted to be above the law. For a moment, she was frightened.

She wondered what Sherlock would have done after his 'death' if he hadn't come to her. If he had been alone.

No. She refused to let herself go down that path. She was there. He had her. Now, he had John back. He was grounded.

"Moran thinks you're dead," Sherlock stated plainly.

Molly nodded. "Yeah. I got that bit."

Sherlock pressed his forehead against Molly's. "Until I can get to him, he's going to have to keep thinking that. Everyone will. It's the only way you can stay safe."

Molly nodded again, but she felt her stomach writhing. "Sherlock, I don't want to leave you alone."

"I won't be," Sherlock assured her. "John's not going anywhere. I've also got Irene. Keep Mrs Hudson and Mary safe."

"And did you tell them to keep me safe?"

Sherlock moved back from Molly slightly. "Veronica's death is going to be kept out of the media. 'Yours' won't be reported either, at least for the time being. You will not have to explain to your brothers. I will find Moran," Sherlock promised. "He believes me to be a man lost in grief."

Molly felt Sherlock's hands grip her tightly. Her heart clenched at the notion that he would have been had Moran succeeded. The cold, calculating Sherlock Holmes loved her so much, he let himself give into his emotions. He would have lost himself without her.

"I want to come home," Molly blurted out.

Sherlock tilted his head, looking down at her curiously. "You can't come home, Molly. Moran will be keeping an eye on me. He needs to believe you're dead."

"No," Molly murmured, biting her lower lip. "I mean... When this is done, when Moran is in jail... I want to come home. I want to live at 221B. With you."

Sherlock's brow furrowed as he studied Molly's face. He ran his thumb over her cheek. "You..." He started, before clearing his throat. "You have been staying at 221B since your illness. Even before that, you stayed in the flat often. I have been systematically moving your things in." The corner of his mouth tugged up in the faintest hint of a smile. "I believe you have already come home."

"Well, then... Officially," Molly said firmly. "I want to be with you, Sherlock. For good."

There seemed to be conflict in Sherlock's expression as he looked down at her. Triumph, but there was this indefinable fire in his eyes. Like there was something Sherlock wanted to say, but was holding back. Instead. He just cradled her face and kissed her urgently. "Then I am going to end this as soon as possible, Molly Hooper."