Hi. So this is just a little two shot I had planned. Well, I say planned – basically it's been nagging me for ages, and I finally got the time to plan it out and write it down. There will be another chapter after this one, so stay tuned!
Oh, and also, for some random reason, I wanted Sherlock and Irene to have a child in this. I have no idea where that temptation came from (maybe writing a fic about Nero makes Sherlock and Irene becoming parents seem normal...), but I just somehow had to include her. Her name is Selena (one of my friends from first grade was called Lena, and I desperately wanted to use that nickname. Another weird temptation, I guess).
Anyway, sorry for the whole bringing in an OC without any sort of introduction thing.
Molly sensed she was being watched.
She supposed it shouldn't surprise her too much given her current situation, but it made her anxious.
It scared her.
She hadn't hesitated once with aiding Sherlock in faking his death. She was, after all, his friend, and she had promised to help him, should he ever ask.
She certainly hadn't expected that he would ask her though, and was once again shocked when he revealed his elaborate plan to her. She had thought he might talk to her about his problems in life, maybe come over for tea and biscuits. It sounded ludicrous now, and Molly wondered if she had honestly though he would do that or if was just a part of some fantasy she had thought up while bored.
She supposed now that she should have given more thought to the repercussions of helping Sherlock with such a huge and dangerous plan. One of them was having to deal with the continuous waves of guilt whenever she saw Mrs Hudson, Lestrade or John. The other was having to deal with the sadness when she saw Sherlock's depressed face.
But somehow she hadn't thought about the fact that someone would watch her.
Sherlock associated himself with dangerous people. What if they were now after her?
She was certain that someone seemed to be keeping an eye on her. She could almost see someone following her or watching her out of the corner of her eye. She could almost feel someone's gaze trained on her back while she walked.
Ad although she was cautious and watchful, she could never spot the same person twice.
After two days she decided to confront Sherlock with her fears. He was staying with her in her apartment for a while, waiting until all the chaos died down. He was busy, arranging things with Mycroft, who had deemed it unsafe for Sherlock to get out of Britain while the press were going crazy about him.
"I think I'm being watched" she admitted one morning while the two of them were having breakfast. Well, she was eating something, and he was simply sitting at the table, hands folded together and staring into the distance thinking. He didn't seem to hear her, and Molly repeated herself. That seemed to catch his attention.
He turned around sharply to look at her, and Molly gulped slightly. She had come to know a different side to Sherlock in the last few days, a depressed, hurt and aching side that many had previously overlooked. He wasn't emotionless anymore, he was hurting.
"Watched by whom?" he asked and Molly shrugged.
"I dunno" she said. "But I can literally feel someone's eyes on me. Do you think his people could be - ?"
Sherlock shook his head, frowning. "Unlikely. All the same" he said, looking at her with a very faint trace of worry in his eyes, "it would be unwise to eliminate the possibility."
Molly nodded. "What should I do?"
"I suggest you go about your normal routine. They shouldn't have reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary. The only thing that could possibly link you to my supposed death is that you work at the morgue, but there are plenty of others who also pronounced me dead." Sherlock sighed very slightly at that.
Sherlock didn't seem overly worried about her, so Molly took it as a sign to not worry too much either. She trusted Sherlock's judgement, and carried on as she usually did.
A day later, a dark skinned and black haired woman stood outside of Bart's. She wasn't in uniform, and Molly walked past her, barely noticing her, until the woman stopped her, by putting a hand on her back.
Molly almost flinched at the contact, feeling suddenly scared.
"Where is he?" the woman asked calmly. She looked to be in her late twenties, and spoke with a slight accent. She stared straight into Molly's eyes. Her own eyes were a dark brown; calm and assured, but with a hint of danger.
Molly raised her eyebrows. "Sorry?" she asked, determined to act completely oblivious. The woman smiled slightly, as if she saw through her attempt.
"Sherlock Holmes" she said clearly but quietly, so as not to attract the attention of people passing by. "Where is he?"
Molly arranged her features into a sympathetic look. "I'm sorry Miss" she said, noting that the woman had no ring on her finger (a trick she had picked up from Sherlock), "but Sherlock Holmes is…well, he's dead. It's in all the newspapers."
"The press can be mistaken" the woman said. Her voice was still calm, and something in it told Molly that this woman would not hurt her. And yet her voice seemed to be getting rather insistent, and Molly realised that this woman was completely convinced she was right. She would prove very difficult to sway.
"DNA records can't" Molly answered shortly, and swore she saw the woman smirk.
"You're saying DNA tests are only as good as the records you keep?" she asked, and Molly nodded uncertainly, wondering at the change of tactic.
"Unless you know the record keeper." The woman added, and Molly blinked.
"I need to go to work" she said, and started to walk away. The woman let her.
"You know something, Miss Hooper" she called after her, and Molly stiffened for a second, before she continued walking.
When she looked back, the woman was gone.
Sherlock wasn't at the flat when she got back, but he had left a note, saying he was arranging things with Mycroft. Molly knew that when the Holmes brothers discussed something they preferred not to be disturbed unless it was an emergency.
Though Molly was still slightly shaken from her encounter in the morning, she decided that a woman asking her about Sherlock hardly qualified as an emergency. The woman might have been watching her, but then again she could just have been a reporter from a newspaper or tabloid, trying to get an inside story. After all, Molly had been mentioned enough times on John's blog for others to know that she was friends with Sherlock, so she supposed members of the press might turn to her.
She decided that if something like this happened again, she would ask Mycroft to sort it out, but until then, she would ignore the encounter.
For two days no one disturbed her, although there were times when Molly still felt the sensation that somebody was watching her. She shrugged it off though. Sherlock wasn't too worried. He had questioned her about the woman outside Bart's when he had gotten back from Mycroft's manor, but after he heard that she was most likely somewhere from Africa, due to her skin colour and accent, he had shrugged, and agreed that it might well have been a newspaper reporter.
Nevertheless, he had told Molly to be careful, as people could disguise themselves well.
Molly went about on her daily routine. She worked from 8 til 5, ate lunch at the hospital canteen, and picked up Chinese takeaway on her way home.
She knew it had been only two days, but slowly she calmed down, to the point where she was assured that an encounter similar to the one at Bart's wouldn't repeat itself.
She was mistaken.
That same day, after leaving work, she found a woman outside her apartment building. The woman was in her early thirties, had light blue eyes, similar to Sherlock's, wore thick black glasses and had shoulder length red hair.
Molly felt slightly nervous as she walked towards the building; she hadn't seen this woman in the area before, and as far as she knew, she had no new neighbours. She took out her phone and pretended to text as she came into the woman's range of view.
She continued to pretend to text busily as she walked towards the door, desperately hoping the woman wouldn't stop her.
"Miss Hooper" the woman said in a clear voice, with an English accent. Molly froze but didn't turn around.
"I know you know something" the woman stated, brushing back a loose strand of hair.
Molly turned around.
"I'm sorry, but who are you?" she asked, attempting to sound completely calm and indifferent. The woman did not answer her question.
"Sherlock Holmes is alive" the woman continued, looking at Molly. Like the black woman, this woman seemed fairly convinced that what she was saying was correct. "You know he is alive. As does his brother, obviously, but I haven't gone to him yet."
Molly raised her eyebrows. She felt slightly dumbstruck. She knew she had to pretend that Sherlock was dead, but this woman was clever. There was a reason she was convinced of Sherlock's survival. She knew he was alive.
"You work at the morgue. You could pretend to examine his body and say that the DNA matches up. His brother would be called in to identify the body as next of kin, and of course he would keep up the façade as well. It was well planned, but I expected nothing less."
"I'm sorry." Molly said. "I have no idea what you are talking about. Sherlock Holmes is dead. Excuse me".
She made to walk towards the door, but the woman stopped her.
"You're saying you have nothing to hide, Miss Hooper?" she asked, and Molly nodded, wishing the woman would just leave her alone.
"If you have nothing to hide" the woman said carefully, "then surely you wouldn't mind inviting me up would you? I've had to walk a lot today, and I'm exhausted. A cup of tea would be lovely."
Molly stared at the woman's audacity – she had just invited herself up.
Molly closed her eyes briefly. She needed to get rid of this woman, and if she had to invite her up to get her to leave her alone, then so be it.
"Fine" she exhaled, and held the door open. The woman walked through.
Molly pressed the send button on her phone. She had been pretending to type rather rapidly, but it was all a cover for a text she had just sent up to Sherlock.
The two women stepped into the lift. Molly was rather frightened, and did her best not to fidget, as this was her coping mechanism in such situations.
They reached Molly's flat, and the woman stood there, still confident and convinced she was right. Molly could tell however, that after 10 minutes, she was starting to falter.
"Miss Hooper" she said as she leant forward, clutching her cup of tea in her hands. "I know he is alive. I know Sherlock, and I know he wouldn't just jump off a building. He cannot be dead."
Molly was a bit surprised to hear the woman only use Sherlock's first name, but shrugged it off. The woman sounded like if she was trying to comfort herself more than she was trying to convince Molly.
Molly felt relief. If the woman started to sound unsure, then it meant that her resolve was weakening.
All she had to do now was wait it out.
"He can't be dead" the woman said again. She still sounded calm and assured, but Molly heard the slight desperation in her voice that hadn't been present before.
"I'm not" a deep voice said suddenly from behind Molly, and both she and the woman whipped around. Molly's eyes widened.
Sherlock stood there, looking tired, his gaze focused on the woman next to Molly.
The woman stood up, the disbelief in her eyes lasting only a second. She didn't seem very amazed to see Sherlock in front of her, and Sherlock did not look particularly surprised to see her either. Their faces remained unreadable, although Sherlock's expression seemed to have softened slightly.
Although the woman's expression remained neutral, the expression in her eyes suddenly became furious.
"Sherlock" was all she said, her ruby red lips pursed. The two stared at each other for one second, tension in the air mounting and mounting.
Suddenly, the woman erupted.
"You tell me now?" she asked, her voice piercing. Molly flinched, and was thankful that the woman had so far been reasonable with her. She could be genuinely frightening.
"Molly, would you mind getting me and Irene some coffee please?" he asked calmly. Molly's eyes widened slightly at hearing the woman's name for the first time. The name seemed to ring a bell, but Molly shook off the feeling and walked towards the kitchen.
She had to admit she was slightly perplexed and felt left out. Sherlock had never told her that a woman might come to see him.
Although it was clear that the two knew each other, she rather doubted there was any romantic attachment between them. Sherlock just wasn't one for the whole girlfriend/boyfriend thing. Molly would know after all. She had tried for ages.
While Molly was making coffee, Sherlock walked over to the sofa and sat down next to Irene. Irene did her best to remain completely impassive, but Sherlock could see the complete and almost staggering relief in her eyes. He knew that she had been convinced that he was alive, but he had witnessed her resolve waver slightly.
A wave of guilt washed over him. He knew that he should have spoken to Irene before the newspapers started printing the story, to make it easier on her, but he had carefully considered the details, and had decided that he should wait for a week before he told her.
Irene was waiting for an explanation. She knew that not even John knew of Sherlock's survival, but if Sherlock had been so resolved to keep her in the dark then why had he revealed himself?
Sherlock sighed and ran a hand through his hair, which was already messy. Irene raised her eyebrows.
"When did you plan on telling me? One text, Sherlock, just one text, to stop me from having to go through that." she said. She had attempted to keep her voice light at the beginning, but she failed. For those few minutes at Molly's flat she had been so scared that she was wrong.
Sherlock sighed. "I'm sorry. I would have told you as soon as I deemed it safe". Irene noted just how sad and tired his voice sounded, and some of her anger faded. The fake death wasn't just affecting people who knew him, but it was taking its toll on Sherlock too.
"Safe?" Irene asked with raised eyebrows. Sherlock nodded.
"I assume you've read the newspapers?" he asked, and Irene bowed her head.
"They mentioned my suicide. And Moriarty's disappearance."
"He's really gone?" Irene questioned. She had worked for Moriarty, and he knew that as long as he was alive, she was in danger.
But Sherlock shook his head. "He's dead." Irene's eyes widened with shock.
"He killed himself" Sherlock added. He saw Irene's complete shock and understood. He would never have thought Moriarty capable of suicide either – the man loved himself too much.
"He had snipers fixed on John, Mrs Hudson and Lestrade to force me to jump. I knew he would have some sort of recall code to call them off, and I knew that I could force it out of him – so did he. And so he killed himself to give me no choice. He won".
Sherlock's tone was grim; bitter, and Irene had never seen him so hopeless. She bit her lip and looked at Sherlock, forming a silent enquiry.
Sherlock nodded. "He's definitely dead. No pulse. Even Moriarty's not that good an actor."
Irene looked down at her hands. She wasn't sure how she felt about Moriarty being dead. On one side, while she had still been working with him, she had liked him. She had never felt anything for him, like she had for Sherlock, but at the time he had been so different to other men. As Sherlock had put it, she had catered to the whims of the pathetic, and Moriarty had been such a nice change from all that. But after she had supposedly died in Karachi, after she had lost her camera phone to Sherlock even, he had become dangerous and a huge threat.
She was slightly sad that he was dead, but the world was a safer place.
Sherlock's voice interrupted her train of thought. "The people close to me have to believe that I'm dead. Moriarty might be dead, but his network is enormous. I am sure he has people out looking. They think you're dead, but anything out of the ordinary concerning me might catch their attention. I was only trying to protect you. I care for you, and I was terrified that something could happen to you."
Irene nodded, accepting his explanation, and said nothing.
Sherlock eyed her for a moment before smirking to himself. "You look good ginger" he told her, which made Irene realise that she was still wearing her disguise. She chuckled.
"I think I looked better dressed up as an African woman" she answered, while she removed her wig and glasses. Sherlock raised his eyebrows.
"I should have realised." He said with a smile. "You certainly don't do things half way do you?"
Irene smiled slightly. "Certainly not when it concerns you" she answered.
Sherlock smirked and there was a brief silence. He was deep in thought, and Irene was processing everything he had just told her.
"I am sorry" he said after a while, taking her silence to be anger and worry. Irene shook her head.
"You have nothing to apologise for. I did the same thing after all – though I admit that our situation was slightly different then."
Sherlock smiled. "Yes, it was" he admitted, and leant in to kiss her.
Molly chose to make her reappearance at that moment. "Coffee!" she almost cried, willing to disrupt the couple. She had to admit she was in shock – she had been convinced that there hadn't been any romantic attachment between the two and yet the great and detached Sherlock Holmes who did not do relationships with anyone had just leaned in to kiss her.
Molly felt some sort of urgent need to disrupt the moment. She didn't know why. She would be lying to herself if she said that she still had no feelings for Sherlock, but she had been moving on. She would probably always want more, but right now friendship was proving to be enough. He trusted her with his life (literally), or rather with his death, so Molly knew she mattered. She just wasn't prepared to see him kiss someone else, to admit emotion so easily.
She needed time to process it.
She also realised that the woman had changed her appearance. She had removed the thick glasses and the ginger wig. Molly had to admit that the woman was even more beautiful than before. Her eyes remained the same colour, but her hair was dark brown and flowed in curls down her back.
Surprisingly, it seemed to be Sherlock who was more disappointed about the kiss, not Irene. She sighed to herself slightly while she drank her coffee, realising that Molly felt something for Sherlock.
She had to admit she felt slightly sorry for her. Sherlock had a habit of attracting women and then either never realising they had feelings for him or not attempting to requite them. Then again, she thought with a smirk, the same could have been said for her.
Molly gingerly brought the coffee tray over to them, and sat down next to them. Sherlock decided to make introductions.
"Molly, this is Irene." He chose not to elaborate further. "I gather you've been seeing her around in the last few days."
Irene smiled. "I am sorry about that." She told a rather dumbstruck Molly. "I didn't mean to scare you or make you uncomfortable in any way dear, but I just had to know if he was alive."
Molly's eyes widened. "You're the one who's been following me?" she questioned and Irene nodded.
"And outside Bart's, that was you too?"
"I suppose I might have gone slightly overboard with the makeup" Irene said with a slight smile. "But I couldn't risk anyone recognising me."
Molly nodded, not sure what to make of it all.
"How is Selena?" Sherlock asked suddenly, and Irene smiled. Sherlock hadn't seen his daughter for almost 3 months. The bond between them was extremely strong, and Irene was rather surprised that he hadn't asked about her sooner.
"She's fine" Irene said with a smile, taking a sip of her coffee, and making sure to mask her grimace when she found out that Molly had put sugar in it. "I left her with a trusted person at the hotel I'm staying at. You should visit. I'm sure she can't wait to see you. You'd be amazed to see how much she's grown."
Sherlock frowned. "You're very sure about this trusted person?" he enquired, sounding slightly worried and almost mad that Irene hadn't taken her daughter with her. Irene nodded.
"Who is Selena?" Molly asked, both with interest and apprehension. There was a though nagging at the back of her mind, but she dismissed it as impossible.
"Our daughter" Irene and Sherlock said at the same time, and smirked briefly at their speaking in unison. Molly looked completely shocked and dumbfounded.
"You have a daughter?" she all but squeaked, staring at Sherlock. He nodded.
"How old?" Molly managed, her voice not sounding as impassive as she had planned. Irene smiled.
"Just past her second birthday" she answered, and Molly nodded, still staring slightly. The fact that she no longer had a chance with Sherlock didn't bother her too much, now that she really thought about it, but she was simply bewildered at how little Sherlock told others about him. He seemed to expect people to trust him, and certain people, like she and John did, but she realised he had been keeping a huge amount hidden from both of them. Up til now, she hadn't even known that Sherlock had a girlfriend.
The man was certainly a mystery.
Irene stayed for another half an hour, but the finally decided it was time for her to get back to the hotel. She rose from her chair, helping Molly carry the coffee cups into the kitchen, while Sherlock stayed in the living room.
"Are you planning on going to the funeral?" she asked Molly quietly, so that Sherlock wouldn't hear them. She could guess this was probably a touchy subject for him.
Molly nodded. Over the last half hour, she had slowly started to like Irene. She had felt a little apprehensive around her at first, almost threatened, but slowly that feeling had started to fade. Molly had to admit she was still slightly in awe of her, for being able to achieve what no other woman could – capture Sherlock Holmes's heart.
"I have to go" she answered in a slight whisper. "To keep up appearances. I have a part to play, as much as I feel guilty about doing it."
Irene nodded. "I think I might go as well. I want to be there for John. He knows about me, and he just got to know Selena a few months ago, before this whole fiasco…besides" she said with a slight smile. "Any chance to make Mycroft even the slightest bit uncomfortable is too good to refuse." She winked at Molly, and walked back into the living room. Molly could only return the smile half-heartedly. Mycroft Holmes was not a person she would want to cross. If she was honest, then she had to admit that she felt rather intimidated by him.
Irene was gathering up her things and speaking to Sherlock in a low voice. He was planning a time when he could go and visit Selena at the hotel.
Sherlock kissed her goodbye, right before she left. Molly felt the need to look away.
Irene smiled at Molly. "Thank you very much for your help" she told her with a smile. "And thanks for being there for him".
Molly smiled and said goodbye, and then Irene was gone.