I am definitely going to work on The Perfect Suitor, but after my brief hiatus, I just needed a little drabble/ficlet to get me back into the swing of things.
Hope you enjoy.
He blinks up at her from her table, the first time in a long time (ever?) that any of her patients have made any sort of movement at all. He tries to rise, pushing his elbows down onto the metal in order to bring himself to a seated position, but her hand meets his chest as she pushes him back down. He looks up at her, surprised.
"Do-don't move," she tells him softly, not quite meeting his eyes. "You need to rest."
He opens his mouth as if to argue with her, but then the drugs she's pumped into his system overcome the momentary pulse of adrenaline in his veins, and he retreats back into his dreamless sleep, dreams blissfully empty of what she now can't get out of her head: a falling figure, plunging from the skies, the ground rushing up to meet him from below.
He looks fragile now, on her table, bruised and bloodied and pale. She doesn't like it. It's haunting, somehow. Like seeing a ghost.
He doesn't speak to her for the first week in her flat, silent and sombre and angry. That's okay – she's used to the silence - it's usually just her, the cat, and the walls.
On the ninth night of his self-imposed exile, she awakens from her sleep at the sensation of movement, movement of the coils compressing inside her mattress, underneath her bed sheets. She can feel him slip under the covers in front of her, his body a mere silhouette in the dark.
"Molly, I-" he starts, before a crack in his voice breaks off his speech abruptly. She can see his chest heave in the faint light, and she reaches out for him, unsure of what to say in return (when has she ever been sure what to say to him?).
She pulls him close and cradles him to her chest, his large body pressed against her small one, her hand running through his hair. She feels so strange, like it isn't really happening –the great Sherlock Holmes reduced to such raw emotion, clutching at her like a drowning man clutches to a life-raft. She can feel his heartbeat thump against her chest, fast and furious at first, until finally it slows down into the rhythmic cadence of sleep, slow and steady and reassuring in its own way.
She wishes she could enjoy this moment more – the feeling of Sherlock Holmes pressed against her, his body next to hers, her hands in his hand and his breath on the nape of her neck – but all she can feel is this vast emptiness, like a hole in the pit of her gut, aching for something selfish, something she knows can never be.
Early in the tenth day he leaves, taking his new wig and new clothes and leaving behind only a carefully folded pair of pajama bottoms and a shirt, nice and tidy on her bed. She fights hard not to try and catch a whiff of his scent on the fabric, knowing it will only serve to magnify her heartbreak even more.
Her resolve, however, crumbles and she goes to bed that night in them, falling asleep still smelling the memory of him on her skin.
A month later, she finds a note between the counter and the bin, dust on the edges from when it had fallen some time ago.
Thank you, Molly it reads in careful print, with SH scribbled down at the end.
She keeps the note pinned to her refrigerator with a magnet, and with it there the walls and the rooms don't feel so silent anymore.