A/N So I loved this idea I had. Then I wrote it and hated how it turned out. But I looked over it, edited a bit, and decided, what the hell, I'll post it. And this is the final product. :P Please do review, and if you could tell me exactly what to improve on, that'd be greatly useful, since something about this just feels... off, but I can't target it.
Rated T for murder, suicide, and kissing
Disclaimer I don't own Sherlock or any associated characters, events, etc.
I won't deny that, in a way, I was expecting it all along. For Jim to come back. He'd left too easily when I said that we had to end things, just strutted away with a smirk and a nod, as though I hadn't just turned him down on his offer to make me rich, to make me the most respected and feared woman on Earth… the very prospect terrified me, after all. I don't want that. Why should I? And he probably didn't even know what he was saying—he was insane, in the end, utterly insane. I had allowed myself to hope, though, allowed myself to believe that he really didn't care about me enough to pursue me after my rejection of him, believe that, perhaps, he'd let me continue my quiet life, leaving him to his endless pursuit of Sherlock's attentions. One that I could only pray he'd never be fully successful in.
The kitchen is silent now, save the soft trickle of tap water flowing into a glass that I hold there, letting my thoughts pour with it, swirl into a transparent container where I can observe and look in on them. I wish that I didn't have to be thinking about him now—about either of them, Jim or Sherlock. I've promised myself that the fact I was single would never have a truly severe impact on my life—I'm Molly Hooper, I'm stronger than that, I won't be part of the basis for the myth that women can't live perfectly well on their own. I won't deny that it would be nice to have a steadier partner at this age, but I suppose I can cope. I always do, after all. Cope with Sherlock never giving me a second glance, cope with the honestly very dreary job that I don't have any choice but to keep, cope with the memories.
I take a contemplative swig of water, considering plans for the night. 20:02, the pale green numbers on the microwave clock read. I could always go to bed early… that would be good, relaxing. The day has been a bit stressful, after all. Good, then, it's a plan. Already, the thought of my bed, warm and secure, is comforting, and I'm just setting down my water glass when his voice sounds, petrifying my insides.
"Don't you look pretty tonight?"
The glass slips and shatters, but I remain perfectly still, not looking away from the cabinet that my gaze has fallen across, squeezing the edge of the counter as tightly as I can and wishing with a pathetic, impossible desperation that I'm imagining things, that I've gone over the edge and turned insane—or delusional from lack of sleep—anything, anything but the inevitable truth that I force myself to slowly lift my head and face.
He slides out of the shadows as I watch, smirking in a colder way than he ever did back when I thought I knew him, hands tucked loosely in his suit pockets, eyes infinitely dark and gleaming with a shallow layer of amusement disguising the yawning depth of emotionlessness below, like a reflective sheen of oil hiding the heart of a black lake. His gait is loping, easy, all too casual, and all I can do is wonder frantically how he possibly got in here, when I know I locked the doors and even windows, like I do every night, like I have ever since leaving him.
There are a thousand things I want to say, cry, scream. You can't be here. How are you here? Please, please just leave me alone. The loudest of them all, a single syllable, reverberates through my skull insistently, pounding, drumming. No. No, no, no. No, no. No no no no no no no…
Not a single sound comes out of my slightly parted lips, though—nothing as he moves in closer, his head tilting slightly, that awful grinning mouth opening again and poison words creeping out of it in the Irish accent that the man I dated never had, mocking words, taunting words, horrible words that hurt me worse than fire because they remind me with every single drawn-out vowel, every rounded consonant, of how I had been living in a lie for some of the happiest days of my life.
"You have no idea how nice it is to see you again, love… it's been too long, hasn't it…? Now, no need to look so scared, you should know that I don't have anything against you."
My flash-frozen brain slowly begins to thaw—enough so, anyways, for a ferocious stab of adrenaline to push itself through my body. Defense, some part of me hisses, and then my hand is groping behind me until I manage to wrap my shaking fingers around a knife conveniently situated among the clean dishes that I'd set out to dry. I whip it in front of me, holding it there with one hand while the other continues to grip the edge of the sink that I'm being slowly backed up against. It's a sharp blade, large, for cutting meat—the mere thought of using it on another person is utterly repellent, but I can't leave myself unarmed.
"Oh, dear, no need to be like that," he whines lowly. I shake my head mutely, feeling my ponytail wave back and forth, trying to keep my breath level even as my legs, finally catching up to the rest of my body, seem to liquefy.
"I'm here for our mutual good, though… if I were you, lovely Miss Hooper, I'd hear myself out… I have a use for you, you see, and I think that it will be all too appealing, if you'll only listen a moment…"
"I won't," I whisper, both amazed and disgusted at how faint and shaky my voice is, especially next to his strong, confident drawl. I draw the tip of the knife up a bit higher as he moves in closer, swallowing heavily and pressing my lips together. I have no idea what he's playing at, but I know that I can't be taken in by anything he—
I don't know how it is that he manages to come up to me so smoothly that I don't even get a chance to lash out—he's like a snake, sliding in coolly through my defenses, behind my knife-bearing arm, so that he's somehow pressed right up to me, his Westwood suit brushing at my thin blouse, his evil eyes—perfectly level with mine—all I can see. I try to lean back, but there's nowhere else to go. My breath is impossibly shallow.
"L-leave me alone," I beg.
"Now, that's hardly the right attitude," he responds, his voice a horribly low, painfully even purr that does all the wrong things to me—sets my heart off at a million miles an hour, pushes my lungs harder and faster, brings a stain of color to my cheeks. I'm not blinking, just staring, trying to keep my mind and pretend that he isn't slipping one of his hands to my waist and the other to my jaw, rubbing his thumb softly on my neck and sending quaking chills down my spine. "Perhaps you need a little convincing…"
It's like he attacks me, everything at once, fingers on my hip clenching tight, slim leg slipping between mine, hot mouth covering my lips in a move that's simply unfair. I stiffen for a moment, a tiny whimper flying out of my throat and immediately losing itself in his, straining against myself as I try to pull away, away from his insistent kissing, biting at my lips and tongue now—I think he might be drawing blood, yes, there's the copper taste, and it hurts, but only an echo of pain. As if from a distance, I feel my fingers slacken, hear the knife clatter to the floor, joining the shattered glass there.
"S-stop it," I choke, my eyes burning as I try to jerk my head away. But he cups my chin in his palm, turns it forcibly back towards himself. This time, it's impossible to resist—what's the point, anyways? Holding back isn't going to get me anywhere… and my head is so fuzzy, I don't know what will happen if I fight back anymore. So I let myself slip down into his toxic current, feel us both let out a low sigh as I finally kiss him back—gentler than him, but still fiercer than my usual. I can feel him laugh, the soft vibration running all the way down to my toes. My now-empty hand reaches up and presses into the front of his suit, right over his heart—to feel it beat is a wonder. Some part of my mind had him designated as an empty person; someone who's done so many horrifying things couldn't possibly have an actual pulse. But here it is, proof that he's human, proof that, to do the things he did, he must be one hundred percent completely mad.
"Are you ready to listen to me yet?"
I shake my head, but the very movement is a lie, and he knows that as well as I do. Everything has been obscured, and now all I can think is… nothing. My mind is a humming, too-hot blank, fueled only by the heat where our bodies are connected, rendering me useless without it. I'm good as drugged, incapable of anything near coherent reason, aware only that I can't ever remember feeling more willing in my life, desperate to do anything that would please him, that would prompt that dark smile that both scares and enraptures me. His presence is so… exotic, adventurous, daring, and now I honestly can't claim to want anything else.
"Think of Sherlock Holmes."
My stomach rears up like a furious snake at the name, and it takes my lagging mind several moments to catch up to it, even though he's pulled away, is steadying me with his hands on my elbows as I blink black spots out of my vision. Sherlock. The two syllables are like twin shots of bitter fluid coasting through me, and I can't resist the grimace that splits my face, because I don't want to think about Sherlock right now. Sherlock, who always turns me down with a smirk on his face, Sherlock, who thinks himself a god among lesser beings, Sherlock, who I hate more than anything in this second.
"Good… there, see, you're getting it… you understand what an absurdly disgusting being he is… then you'll understand me when I tell you what I need done." His fingers dance tauntingly along my collarbone, and my eyelids coast shut, lips fluttering slightly.
"Anything…" I swear breathlessly, knowing only that I need him to kiss me again, need it with everything I am and more than that.
He leans in, presses his mouth to the soft hair just above my ear, hisses the next words so softly that they're barely audible over my own heartbeat.
"Kill him, Molly. Kill Sherlock Holmes."
"Anything," I repeat, reaching up and grasping his suit collar. I feel his tiger's grin more than see it as he finally turns towards me again, and I seal the single-worded vow with the most passionate kiss I can muster, not allowing myself to let a single doubt cross my mind.
"Just in today, you said?"
"Hours ago. Some sort of accident, apparently… wouldn't have thought that they'd call you in for it." The lies flow too easily from my mouth, and I glance up through a few loose strands of hair to see him bent over the body, magnifying lens whipped out, intently examining it. For once, I know much more about the corpse than Sherlock does. It's a forty-two year old man, Raymond Lloyd, and he had two daughters and a single son, none of whom know about the true cause of his death. Nobody does, really, nobody but me and Jim. I can remember his giggle now, his soft whisper to me in bed this morning as I woke up, before he vanished like smoke, as he does every day.
I'll set it up for you today, darling. A man will be hit by a car on his way to work, shall we say? Killed immediately, suspicious circumstances but nothing to lead them to the driver… they won't have any choice but to summon their favorite detective. And you know what to do then.
You know what to do.
You know what to do.
My fingers run slowly along the barrel of the gun that sits inside the file cabinet I stand by. It's hidden just out of sight, waiting on the cool metal bottom of the drawer, gleaming with a dark menace that's just as beautiful as it is frightening. I know what I have to do, but I feel oddly detached from the action. Then again, I haven't felt completely immersed in anything I've done in the past week. Ever since he returned, things have been… hazy. My only truly lucid moments are late at night, when Jim comes back—and he does come back, every day when the sun has set, without fail. Sometimes it's early evening, sometimes past midnight, but not for a single time have I had to sleep alone. And that's what draws me in, really. No matter what he's done, he's an undeniably captivating person, and he's mine, he's given himself to me, whispers in my ear that I'm gorgeous, that I'm smart and I'm admirable, everything that would never even cross Sherlock's mind.
I hate Sherlock.
It's an emotion that simultaneously simmers and rages, sometimes flaring up when I hear his name mentioned or catch sight of someone else in a long black coat that echoes his. I honestly can't say if I've ever fully despised a person as much as I do him. He's revolting, heartless and cold and superior. He's always been too good for me, in his mind. And Dr. Watson, John, that pathetic man who trails after him as if he thinks he has a chance… I wish I could tell him that Sherlock will never see him in the way that he so clearly hopes for, like an eager puppy. Things aren't like that for him, I could explain. Trust me, I've known him for a long time now, and you won't be good enough for him, you never will be. Neither was I. We're only mortals, right?
I do like John, after all—I really do. He's kind, thoughtful, courteous, everything that Sherlock isn't. And it hurts, sometimes, to think about how much he'd detest me if he knew who my true allegiance lies with. I can't expect him to understand, after all—to understand how Jim really cares about me in a way that Sherlock never could, actually listens to my problems, tells me that things will be alright, promises lowly that he'll fix it if they aren't. If someone so much as elbowed past me without apologizing on my way to work, he'd track them down and kill their children. That's what he does—take care of me.
I'm sure he has murdered people for me before, probably more than one… there was that coworker who insulted my jumper, for one. He disappeared three days ago, a case that Scotland Yard is clueless about. And then the particularly obnoxious Marks & Spencer's cashier that I hated, who hasn't been there during his usual shifts. I feel oddly separated from the probable knowledge of their deaths. It doesn't affect me, not really, and it makes me almost… drunk with power. My boyfriend is the most powerful criminal in the world, and if I speak a violent wish that I want made into reality, he'll grant it for me. Chaos, destruction, torment. Those are his specialties, and he does a stunning job of playing them out, orchestrating a symphony of death that the Grim Reaper himself would envy.
This is my life, now. And it's soon to be improved yet further—after I took care of the business at St Bart's, Jim promised, there would be nothing chaining me down to my job there. We could leave the hospital, maybe even leave London, go anywhere, as he'd swear to me between drawn-out, late-night kisses—anywhere on the planet that I wanted.
After I took care of the business at St Bart's.
Sherlock doesn't reply to my comment, just mutters under his breath and adjusts his position slightly, focusing on what looks suspiciously like the corpse's toenails. I clear my throat, pushing the file cabinet's drawer shut for the moment and pacing closer, tipping my chin up to look over his shoulder. "Where's John?" I inquire with what I hope is lighthearted curiosity.
"Otherwise occupied… he has people to talk to, but he should be here in a few minutes… I won't need any more time than that…"
"No," I find myself agreeing, "you won't."
His back stiffens for an instant, and I look away, hoping that there was nothing odd about my tone. After a few seconds, he relaxes and resumes his examination. I hurry back to my previous position, feeling just a bit humiliated for my slip. This is getting tedious. I need to finish it, and as quickly as possible, too. I nudge the drawer open one final time, slip my hand in and cover the chilled handle of the weapon with my warm fingers. I lift it a few centimeters, feel its heaviness, and… I like how its weight in my hand. Jim taught me how to shoot beforehand, of course, but we practiced with a different—though still very dangerous—gun. This one is… better-balanced, somehow. My stomach leaps slightly, with a sudden sort of… excitement for what I'm about to do. It's the first emotion that I've experienced in reaction to the prospect of the murder I'm going to commit, and an unexpected one. I've been living in a faint, shadowed sort of dread that perhaps I'll be too cowardly when the time comes, perhaps Sherlock will meet me in the eyes and all the feelings from before will return… but, no. I can't allow that to happen. I know who he is, now, who he really is, just as I know who Jim really is, and I'll never again allow the boundaries of my devotion to merge.
But this, this absurd sort of high—I feel dark, secret, absolutely wonderful and blazingly enthusiastic. I'm going to do it, and he's going to know that it was me, if only for a split second before life escapes him. This is who I am now, Sherlock. Do you regret it now? Regret never thanking me for a thing I did, regret treating me like nothing…?
The gun is out and cocked in a single movement, aimed at him with two perfectly steady hands, the sharp noise shattering the silence. He whips around immediately, and his eyes widen—
Those damned eyes.
I swallow, giving my head a quick shake, trying to clear it, but it's as if his direct stare—which, I realize, I haven't been at the end of ever since the night Jim came back—has shot straight through to my center. Because it's not his usual freezing gaze that meets me now, but rather a shocked confusion, something out of place and entirely uncharacteristic, that makes my chest physically ache.
"No," I say aloud, not caring if he hears. "I'm going to do this. I'm strong. I'm strong enough to."
"Molly." His voice is wary, and he doesn't move so much as a millimeter. His expression has shifted from alarmed to intent, and his jaw is set—I can see the tension in his neck from here. "Put the gun down."
"Why should I?" I hiss angrily, readjusting my grip. I don't understand why I'm doing this, why I'm talking to him. Do it quickly, Jim had told me. Do it quickly and you won't feel anything. I am feeling, though, God knows I'm feeling… I want it to go away, I need it to go away, I need to return to my comfortable state of sugared numbness, but Sherlock's face and voice have thrown me irrevocably into the cold waters of reality, and now I don't have anywhere to go but denial. And so to denial I race, covering my senses, blocking all reason and logic out and leaving only the command, burned into my mind—kill him.
"It's Moriarty, isn't it?" he asks, slowly turning around to face me fully. The coat is open, and underneath the tightly looped navy scarf I can see that he's wearing that purple shirt that always had such an effect on me—buttoned absurdly tight, like all of his are, the fabric thin and such a ridiculous shade of violet. So much more colorful, so much more lighthearted a garment than one would expect his wardrobe to contain.
Fire starts up in my eyes and throat, and I can see his stony face soften slightly. I know that I must be crying, and I hate myself for it, but that doesn't matter. Nothing matters. You can't let it matter. My jaw aches with the urge to sob, but I hold it back, blink furiously to clear out the double vision that's begun to alter my view of him. Kill him. Kill Sherlock, kill Sherlock, kill Sherlock.
How can I possibly kill Sherlock?
"Molly, listen," he begins again, slowly. "Is he threatening you? Because we can stop that. We can keep you safe, I promise. Keep you away from him. Just put that down, and we'll go straight to Lestrade, he can set you up with protection, we'll track Moriarty down, we'll bring him to justice…"
"No," I try to say, and it comes out as a cracked wail. The tears swelling in my eyes finally grow large enough to begin streaking their way down my cheeks, and I taste salt in the corner of my mouth. My chest is a twisted mess of bittersweet agony. He's so beautiful, and I can tell he's scared, even if he's not showing it—he's scared of me, and I want more than anything to drop the gun, to run up to him and wrap my arms around him and sob that I'd never hurt him, never—
Jim's voice snakes into my ears, my mind, my heart.
He never even noticed you… you don't matter to him, he couldn't care less if you died… not like me, love… I'm different, you see, I care about you…
"No," I repeat, my voice a bit firmer, though the tears haven't ceased. My hands are shaking under the sustained weight of the gun, but I don't allow them to drop. "You'll never find him. He's too smart for you. He always has been. He's better than you…"
"He's a psychopathic mass murderer. See some sense, Molly, look at me. What have I ever done to you? I'm not going to hurt you. None of us are." His hands lift slightly in an imitation of surrender. "Is he paying you, is that what it is? The Yard will be able to match that if you can provide information on him. You have some, don't you? You know where he is, don't you? Let us help you. Let us fix this for you. Please, Molly."
"You don't care," I respond numbly, trying to ignore the nausea that's rising in my chest. Strands of hair are sticking to my cheeks with the streaming tears, their edges getting caught between my lips. "You never have cared… that's why I hate you so much… I have for a while now, but you haven't noticed, have you?" A wild, out of place laugh cuts through my lungs and throat, hangs in the air like a thunderclap. "You've been too wrapped up in yourself, just like you always have… I loved you… I really loved you, but you could never understand something as simple as that, could you? It's too normal for you. You always deserved more, Sherlock Holmes, the genius, the brilliant man who would never pay the smallest bit of attention to someone as insignificant as the hospital coroner… I wasn't worth you, was I? I never have been…" My voice cuts off in an ugly sob, and I turn my head sideways, wipe my nose on my shoulder, looking back to see that he hasn't shifted in the slightest. His pale palms are still levelly facing me, held suspended in the air.
"He's the one who's said these things to you, not me. I never said anything of that. Moriarty's poisoning your mind… you can't believe him, not a word he tells you…"
"None of that was him… not a single word… those things were from you, Sherlock… it was never him… only you…" I don't know what I'm saying at this point. Don't know if I'm talking to the man I hate or the one I love. Everything is a muddled fog in my mind, blurred by the tears that sting my eyes, obscured by the shaking of my lips as I press them together, finally straightening my arms out to finally complete the action, the execution.
I shoot him straight through the heart, know immediately that the hit was dead-on as he jerks backwards, hits the table that he'd been standing next to and slumps down immediately. The tears are gone from my eyes in a split second, and the ones on my cheeks seem to have dried instantaneously as well, leaving only a cold stickiness. I can't look away from his body, splayed on the floor, legs tangled in his coat, dark wisps of hair hanging over his wide open, horribly misted green-blue eyes, one hand extended from his body, fingers curled slightly upwards, crimson-black stain slowly overtaking the deep purple of his shirt.
A great calmness overtakes me, almost peaceful. Perfect. I feel almost as though some greater power has suddenly illuminated my mind for me, shown me exactly what I have to do. I click the next bullet into place, turn my head to look down at the gun as I lazily turn it over, staring down the barrel at the darkness behind as I point it in the general direction of the ceiling. It really is an elegantly made weapon, one that I can admire the sleekness and efficiency of.
John's voice. I turn my face, carved into an expressionless mask, upwards, and see him standing in the doorway, clutching at the frame, deadly pale. His blue-hazel eyes are wide with horrified confusion, and flicker rapidly from Sherlock's corpse to me and back again. "What the hell," he whispers. "You… oh, God…"
I don't answer him, doubt I could even if I wanted to. My hand moves of its own accord, bringing itself up to the side of my head in an almost robotic manner, nuzzling my temple with its cold kiss. My finger itches above the trigger, longing for that final smooth movement that will fix everything. John looks on the verge of fainting as he takes a trembling step nearer to Sherlock, expression clearly communicating his denial, his disbelief that the clearly dead man is just that.
He looks up towards me again one final time, and his mouth opens, as though he's about to cry a protest. I stare back, absolutely serene, and an instant later everything's gone.