Thanks to all the lovely reviewers of the last chapter:Rocking the Redhead, Coyote Soupus, whytejigsaw, magicstrikes, Romancereviewer1, Krait, AdaYuki, evon, Celi, Lono, billiejoe4ever ,RegenbogenLila, and Concetta.
I hope you enjoy this update!
A/N: I am my own worst beta. So please forgive any mistakes, and feel free to point them out.
Chapter 4: Excuses
Molly stopped short halfway to the door, her lips pressed into a thin line and her hands clenched into fist at her sides.
No, she thought. No way was she walking out of her without getting an explanation. She couldn't let Sherlock off the hook for doing something so reckless and jeopardising, not only what he had given up his life for, but what Molly had taken a big risk in helping him to do; to rid the world of every last trace of the criminal syndicate that monster Moriarty created. She didn't know why Sherlock would take a chance of ruining his plans, but she was going to find out.
And he better have a bloody good reason.
Molly turned round and strode purposefully back to Sherlock. She placed her palms flat on the surface of the work-top and leaned down, trying to convey as authoritative an air as she could manage.
Sherlock looked up at her blandly, twitching his brow up in question.
"Why?" Molly demanded.
Molly gaped at him. "Why did you go to the funeral?" she exclaimed.
"Oh, that," Sherlock said, sounding bored. "Your still on that, are you?"
Molly blinked at him. He was unbelievable. "Still on that? Of course I'm still on that. It just bloody happened!"
Sherlock clucked his tongue and sighed. "Honestly, I don't see why you are so upset."
"Because somebody could have seen you, Sherlock!" she shouted.
"Yes, they could have, but they didn't. Therefore, as I see it, your point is moot," he said as though thinking he had put an end to the conversation completely Sherlock canted his head back down to he microscope.
Molly, her blood boiling, balled her right hand up into a fist, lifted it up and banged it down onto the work-top, causing the Petri dishes to rattle.
Sherlock's head shot up in surprise and he blinked owlishly at the seething pathologist.
"The point is not bloody moot!" she bellowed. "Because the point isn't that no-one saw, it's that you took the chance of being seen in the first place. I want to understand why you thought it so important to go there and risk everything."
There was a slight, contemplative pause from Sherlock.
He sighed and nodded. "You are right, Molly," he said earnestly. "I do owe you an explanation as to why I went to the funeral, and I will tell you, but I want to know something from you first."
Molly's brow crinkled. "What's that?"
"I'll tell you why I was at the funeral, if you tell me why you weren't there."
Molly's lips parted in surprise. She hadn't expected to have things flipped about on her. She should have though, after all this was Sherlock she was dealing with. "I..." she flailed, her dominate mien faltering. She shook her head and cleared her throat. "I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. I don't think that my absence is any big deal."
"Oh, but I disagree," Sherlock replied. "It's no secret that you held a strong affection for me, it only stands to reason that you would want to be present at my funeral, to pay your respects, and you not being there might be seen as suspect to certain parties. So I'm not the only one being irresponsible here now, am I?" Sherlock sat back, crossing his arms over his chest and grinning smugly.
Molly's lips pinched, her eyes narrowing at Sherlock's arrogant expression. She let out a huff and pulled herself up straight. "That is completely different," she maintained. "I couldn't go. I just couldn't."
Sherlock shook his head. "Not good enough," he said. "No, you demand an explanation from me, it's only fair that I should want one from you as well. And as I doubt you would accept me saying 'I just had to go' I won't accept that you 'just couldn't'. Why couldn't you?"
Molly pulled her bottom lip in between her teeth and twisted her fingers together. "It...it would have been too much for me," she said, miserably, looking down at her hands. "I wouldn't have been able to handle it."
Sherlock looked at her pensively for a moment. "Yes...I suppose that will do," he said finally.
Molly looked up at him confused. "What do you mean it'll do? Do for what?"
"Should anyone question your absence, that reaction will suffice," he elaborated.
"Do you think I was putting on some kind of an act just then? I meant it, Sherlock, I couldn't have survived going to your funeral. It would have wrecked me."
Sherlock stared at her uncomprehending. "Wrecked you?" he repeated as though it were a foreign phrase. "How would it have wrecked you?"
Molly let out a laugh of disbelief. "To have been surrounded by all those people that believe your dead, people that cared about you and are mourning you? It would have been torture. Especially knowing the truth the way I do. Some of those people I happen to consider friends, like Greg and Mrs. Hudson...and John." She said the last name quietly. The idea of seeing John was the worst. The memory of how he had been just after Sherlock had jumped still kept her awake at night. Remembering how he had screamed and refused to believe the other doctors telling him that his friend was dead, even though John had taken Sherlock's pulse himself, he still couldn't accept it. Not until he had heard it from Molly.
Only when the words had come out of the trustworthy pathologist's mouth, did John allow them merit. He wouldn't believe she could lie to him. He fell apart after she told him Sherlock was in fact dead. He would have fell to the floor had Molly not reached out and grabbed hold of him. He in turn clutched back to her. His weight had eventually became too much, they both sunk to the ground. Molly held John for a few moments. She would have held him for as long as he needed, if not for urgency of having to get down to the morgue to intercept Sherlock's body. She had tried to gently pull away from him, but he wouldn't let go. Finally she had to have one of the doctors sedate him. She hated herself for it and before going down to the mortuary she had to stop in the loo and throw up.
Molly never told Sherlock the details of John's reaction. When he asked how he had been, she'd simply say 'how do you think?'.
Understanding struck Molly. "You went for him, didn't you," she said softly, it wasn't a question.
Sherlock tensed and looked away. "I needed to see for myself."
Molly may not have Sherlock's powers of deduction, but she knew what someone suppressing their emotions looked like. She could only imagine how much it must have hurt Sherlock to see John. Her fingers twitched with the urge to put her hand over his, though, figuring the gesture would not be appreciated, she clasped her hands together to occupy them.
A heavy silence passed between them.
"Oh, can't you just tell him, Sherlock?" Molly asked, it was more like a plea. "I mean I understood why you needed him to believe it at first, but now some time has come by, do you really think Moriarty's men are still keeping watch on him?"
"I can't take the chance," Sherlock tightly replied.
"But you still took the chance to go to the funeral to see him? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but if Moriarty's men were watching John wouldn't they have been there? And if they had been there, in all likelihood, wouldn't they have seen you?"
Sherlock didn't say anything, but his expression became annoyed. Logic was his main weapon, most of the time, as the majority so seldom enlisted it, it served him well. He didn't like someone else using it against him.
Molly sighed. "I'm not trying to start an argument again, Sherlock," she told him. "I just know how much you miss him. How much you love him and he loves you too, you know, just as much."
It was Sherlock's turn to sigh. "As John has averred on many occasions, we did not have that kind of relationship, despite many people's implications to the contrary."
"No, no, I know that. I know that you and John weren't...physically intimate," Molly replied, blushing despite her own delicate phrasing. "But that doesn't mean that you don't care a great deal for each other. The bonds of a true friendship can be just as strong, if not stronger, than a romantic relationship. And I've never seen a friendship like yours and John's. I think you're soul mates. You have no idea how lucky you are to have found each other. I don't think many people ever really find their true soul mates, but you two did. It's special."
Sherlock was far from convinced that he and John were 'soul mates'. He'd have to actually believe in such a thing first. But he was intrigued by the idea that his friendship with John surpassed that of the ordinary.
"Is it, really? Special, that is," he asked Molly. "I suppose, never having had a friend before John, I never thought about how it compared to other friendships."
Molly felt hurt by Sherlock's claim. "That's not true," she murmured. Sherlock gave her a questioning look. She raised her voice to normal and elaborated, "It's not true that you never had friend before John. I was your friend. I was always your friend, even if you weren't mine. And I always will be, no matter what."
Sherlock's lips parted, but he didn't have a ready response, so he closed them again. He glanced away, blinking a few times as he thought of what to say. "I know I took your friendship for granted, Molly. And I am sorry. But, like I told you before, you do–"
"Count, yes, I know," Molly interrupted. "I know that's what you said, but, well you've said lots of things before, nice things."
"I thought I only ever said horrible things," Sherlock interrupted.
Molly ducked her head down and bit her lip at the memory of what had to have been the worst Christmas party in history–for her at least. "Well, usually, yeah, you do," she admitted, sheepishly. "But you are capable of saying kind things...whenever you need something, that is," Molly added. "It's not just you that does that, most people do. They tell sweet little lies to get what they want. And, yes, I was aware of what you were doing all the time. I just didn't care. Even though I knew you I knew you didn't really mean what you said, it still felt good to hear them, especially from you."
Sherlock cleared his throat, awkward. He always felt strange when Molly showed her feelings for him, because, honestly, he didn't know quite how to react to them. He was so used to people thinking him an arrogant arse and hating him. He had found a way with John, because he knew what he had to offer the man. A chance to get excitement back into his life being unable to adjust to the mundane once returning from the war. But with Molly he couldn't understand what it was she wanted from him. He didn't know what he had to offer her.
"I never lied to you, Molly," Sherlock stated finally, carefully. "Every compliment I ever paid you was the truth. I have observed many things about your appearance over the years, some flattering, some not, I just only every voiced the complimentary ones when I needed something."
"Oh." Molly felt her face heating up. All the nice things Sherlock had ever said to her started spinning in her head. He had once told her that she looked nice in blue, that it suited her complexion. Now that she knew he had meant it, she was going to start wearing more of the colour.
A smile came to her face, he mood had improved exponentially from what it had been when she first arrived at the hospital. "Right, then, I suppose I'd better be getting to it. I'm already behind enough as it is. But first, I must have coffee. There's no way I can face the dead without having caffeine in me." She laughed lightly at herself as she started for her office, where she kept a personal coffee machine. It was much easier to make her own rather than slogging upstairs every time she–or Sherlock–needed a cup. And honestly, the stuff she made was much more palatable than what was offered in the canteen.
"Oh, um, I drank all that," Sherlock informed her.
Molly paused and gave Sherlock a curious look. "There was nearly a whole bag left," she said.
Sherlock simply shrugged.
Molly smiled and shook her head. "No matter. I keep extra in–"
"The supply cupboard," Sherlock finished. "Yes, I drank that too, I'm afraid."
Molly's mouth dropped open. How in the world could one human being consume that much coffee in one weekend? Oh, that's right, Sherlock isn't quite human is he? Though he does seem to be making progress.
"Well, that's all right," Molly said, recovering herself. "I suppose I can just pop upstairs for a cup." She changed her direction and headed for the exit.
"Black, two sugars, please," Sherlock requested,
Molly paused. "I'm sorry, Sherlock, I don't think that's a good idea," she told him.
Sherlock's brows rose. "Pardon?"
"Well, just, what if someone sees me with two coffees, they might wonder who the other is for. Someone might get suspicious."
Sherlock narrowed his eyes, not amused. "Molly..."
Molly smiled. "Just kidding." Molly was just at the door, her hand poised to open it, when a sudden thought struck her. She dropped her hand and stepped back. "Sherlock?"
Sherlock let out a weary sigh. "Yes? What is it now?"
Molly slowly approached the work-top. "Why did you come back?"
Sherlock's annoyed expression went blank in surprise. "What do you mean?"
"Well, you've been waiting for days for your chance to get out of here," Molly went on. "You had it today, you were free. Why would you come back? I understand now why you took the risk to go, but you could have just as easily been seen sneaking back in and there was no real reason for you to come back here. So, why did you?"
Sherlock blinked repeatedly: one of very few tells he had that belied the calm indifferent air he liked to present to the world. It was a good question and not one he had been expecting. Why did he come back?
"Er...well," he started, then cleared his throat to stall. "Well, I have no immediate plan in place as of yet," he told her, recovering smoothly. "I'm still working out the details of my plan, considering what should be my first move. And as this is the only place I have to hide for the time being, it was only logical that I return."
"Oh, I see," Molly replied, though the excuse did seem rather flimsy to her. "I thought maybe it was because you were afraid you'd miss me too much," she teased.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Oh, yes, how would I ever live without listening to you sing inane pop songs out of key all day while doing your paper work?"
Molly's mouth dropped open in offence. She snapped it closed and pinched her lips together, lifting her head defiantly. "I do not sing out of key."
"Do to." She didn't actually, but Sherlock wasn't going to admit as much. He'd already shown too much softness for one day. If he wasn't careful he might lose his status as a sociopath.
Molly clucked her tongue. "Right, I'll just go fetch the coffee then, shall I? What was it, Milk, no sugar?"
Sherlock just glared at her.
Molly smiled and pushed through the doors.
Sherlock could hear her giggles echo down the hall.
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