Slight AU for The Reichenbach Fall. Slight Sherlolly. EDIT: contains vague descriptions of violence and specific mentions of death.
so give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
cause oh that gave me such a fright
but I will hold as long as you like
just promise me that we'll be alright
- ghosts that we knew, mumford & sons
He falls from a roof on a cool and clear morning, his jacket fluttering behind him like wings in the wind. She resuscitates him minutes later, like a modern day Frankenstein bringing his creature back to life.
She sends him to her mother's country home in Bath, far away from the prying eyes of London's ever-present cameras. She joins him three days later, after questioning from the Yard and inquiries from the press and a tear-filled request for leave to her obviously uncomfortable supervisor. She brings him food and day-old newspapers and an old violin, which he takes from her without a word.
That night, at the dinner table, she tells him about Moriarty.
He sets his fork down with a piece of potato still attached. "What do you mean 'no body'?"
She looks up to meet his gaze, and then nervously looks away again. "There was no one there, Sherlock," she tells him softly. "Only a phone and a gunshot caused splatter of blood."
She can almost feel the tension in his tone. "I-I don't know," she answers, nearly whispering.
He slams his hands down on the table suddenly, and she winces, her hands clutching white-knuckled onto the table in front of her. When she opens her eyes again, he's gone, the fork still on the table in front of his seat, the potato abandoned on its prongs.
A week into her leave, she wakes up in the last hour before dawn to find him lying beside her, on top of the sheets, his eyes locked on the ceiling above him. If it had been any man other than him, she would have been nervous, to be this close to someone else without knowing their intentions, but this is Sherlock – she knows he doesn't understand the definition of personal space.
"I did not see the shot go through," she hears him say to her, though his eyes are facing the ceiling.
"What?" she croaks, the sleep still heavy in her voice.
He turns onto his side abruptly and faces her. His eyes, so clear and precise, meet hers and she has to fight not to look away. "When he brought the gun up and put it to his mouth, I reacted impulsively and looked away immediately before he pulled the trigger. This would have enabled him to set his trap. I did not confirm an absence of a pulse – I was too shocked to react appropriately. A foolish and naive mistake," he finishes, almost bitterly.
Molly's eyelids still feel so heavy, but she knows this is important, so she wills herself to just stay awake. "You couldn't have known, Sherlock," she tells him softly.
His jaw settles into a hard line. "Yes, I could have. I should have."
She doesn't know what to say to that. They lie there together on the bed, silent but awake, until the sun rises.
She has to go back to work two weeks after the 'Fall', but Sherlock decides it's time to track down Moriarty and end this once and for all. He leaves on the first train out in the morning, blending in amongst all the other morning commuters and workers. She passes him his bag before he goes, along with a lunch she'd packed him, although she's sure he doesn't need or want it. It just seemed like the right sort of thing to do, that's all.
He turns to her as the train comes into sight, further down the track. "Goodbye, Molly," he tells her simply, succinctly.
"Goodbye, Arthur," she replies, secretly congratulating herself mentally for remembering his new name.
And then he surprises her, right as the train pulls up to the platform and as the other passengers queue up for the doors. He grabs her by the arm and turns her towards him, and kisses her lightly on the lips, just once, just the merest of touches, but a kiss all the same. He doesn't say 'thank you', but she feels it anyway, in the way that his hand holds her arm and in the way he presses his lips against hers, so softly.
He pulls away in silence, turning towards the locomotive and stepping onboard, leaving Molly in the dust on an empty platform
He visits her once at her flat in London, just for one night, six and a half months after the 'Fall". He's in the kitchen when she arrives homes from her shift, washing his feet in the sink, cleaning off the blood. She doesn't even bother to ask, too shocked at his sudden appearance.
He looks up at her, standing in the doorway. "The Belgians," he tells her by way of explanation, and she nods numbly, as if that will suddenly clear everything up.
She offers him her bed, intending to take the sofa, but he grimaces at her in a way that makes her rescind her offer. It doesn't matter in the end, because she's barely closed her eyes when he walks into her bedroom, taking off his shoes and slipping into bed beside her.
He must be able to sense her heartbeat accelerating, because he raises an eyebrow at her and comments on her dilating pupils. She blushes, embarrassed, and then feels angry about being embarrassed – this is her bed, after all.
"I occasionally enjoy sleeping next to someone else. The emptiness of someone else's mind helps to calm my own. John never minded," he tells her matter-of-factly.
Somehow, she doubts that he's ever tried pulling this stunt with John at all, and that that's not the real reason he's come to her bed tonight, but the part of her that fantasizes about Sherlock Holmes at night pleads with the rational part of her to not say anything, and so she falls asleep with a dead man in her bed, snoring loudly beside her, the tips of his fingers just barely touching the middle of her spine.
Nine months after the fall, she comes into her flat and hears movement in the kitchen. She sighs, and calls out. "Let me guess – the Belgians again?" She takes off her coat and hangs it up in the sitting room before moving into full view of the next room.
And then she freezes as she locks eyes with a ghost.
"Sorry, love," he says, his voice sing-song. "Not the Belgians!"
She tries to run, but before she takes two steps she's knocked down to the ground by a faceless figure behind her, a hard object catching her behind the legs and sending her sprawling. She groans and tries to rise to her feet, but before she can even move Moriarty's above her, grinning maniacally.
"You know where he's gone, don't you?" he asks her softly, tracing the edge of her jaw with a finger. She shivers, and not out of delight.
"I don't know what you're t-talking about," she answers, trying her hardest not to let her voice quiver.
He barks out a laugh and she flinches, which just makes him laugh harder.
"I like this, Molly," he tells her, leaning down to whisper into her ear. "It's more of a game this way."
She blacks out then as the object slams into the back of her head, her last conscious thought, inexplicably, of that uneaten potato in Bath.
She wakes up only to feel pain – pain in her feet and her hands and her head. Moriarty binds her to a table, then to the wall, inflicting mental and physical wounds alike, trying and failing to hide his rage in his inability to pry the information he wants from her.
"Tell me where he is, Molly," he whispers, dangerously quiet, into her ear.
Her tongue is swollen in her mouth and her throat aches with dehydration, but somehow she manages to speak. "I-I don't... I don't know what you're t-talking about..." she finishes, exhausted at the effort.
His eyes twinkle maliciously, and she can see in her failing peripheral vision his hands ball into fists.
She welcomes the blackness that comes, like a cold wave rolling in from the open sea.
She dreams, impossibly and insanely, about a little boy with black curly hair and bright blue eyes. He calls her 'mum' and holds her hand tight in his own.
She can feel, dimly, someone shaking her.
She's too tired to do anything about it, so she just lets them keep shaking her, until a something hits her hard in the face and she gasps, pulled out of semi-consciousness by the slap of a hand.
Two blue eyes meet her own, and she vaguely recalls the fleeting image of a child that never was.
The sound is loud upon her ears, and she wants to tell the noise to stop, but she can't get her mouth to work.
"Molly!" it calls again, and she finally manages to recognize that voice, those eyes.
"Sh-sher...?" she breathes, unable to continue.
"Stay awake, Molly," he tells her, his voice confident, but his eyes look nervous and strained.
All she wants to do is fall asleep again. He makes sure she doesn't, his hand making contact with her cheek.
"You must stay awake," he orders her imperatively.
A name floats into her addled brain, an important name. "Mo-Moriarty?" she croaks, finally able to finish a word.
He nods grimly, his gaze shifting momentarily to something on the floor beyond her limited scope. "He's dead."
She tries to smile, but fails. "Good," she whispers, and then she slumps back down, unable to hold on.
Suddenly she's lifted upwards by hands thrust under her arms and under the crook of her legs, and she feels a little bit warmer, pressed up against him. Something looms up above her, and her eyes focus enough to recognize Sherlock's face, so close to hers. Absurdly, she wonders if he's trying to kiss her.
"Please," he tells her softly. "Stay awake, Molly." Dimly, she can see that there's something new in his gaze, something beyond the mere tolerance he usually holds for her. Something... more.
She smiles weakly, and tries to speak, but she's lost too much blood and the wounds that Moriarty and his men have inflicted run far too deep. She just needs to sleep, that's all, just a little nap, and it will all be fine. She snuggles her face against the crook of Sherlock's warm arm and finally gives in to the rising tide, the world fading to black all around her.
When the paramedics arrive four minutes later, they find the living form of the famous Sherlock Holmes cradling the body of a woman none of them know, lifeless and already cold in his shaking arms.