A/N: Here it is, the follow up to Wontons. Thank you to all those who have reviewed. You're lovely. It's not one hundred percent necessary to read Wontons before this, but I'd recommend it. It's not very long anyway. So, enjoy!
Every day, she wakes with a smile on her face. After the first week, where he slept on the sofa and complained constantly of a stiff neck, she awoke one morning to find him lying next to her. She shrieked, naturally, because Molly Hooper does not do cool. But he has slept in her bed every night since, and over the course of the past eleven months, she has gotten used to his presence.
Although, just because she has gotten used to it, does not mean that she has stopped enjoying it. He's not the perfect bed mate, far from it. He steals far more than his fair share of the duvet, but all that means is that Molly has to sleep closer to him in order to keep warm. He sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and sits bolt upright, scaring the life out of her, because he's 'had an idea'. He'll mumble most nights, nothing interesting, and sometimes he will kick, but Molly is tolerant. She is always tolerant of Sherlock. Especially now that he's dead. Sort of.
"If you don't get up now you won't have time to make me a coffee before you leave."
Molly's eyes flick open. Her tolerance has limits. And today, of all days, he should be making her a coffee. But, she supposes, he doesn't know why today is any different from any other day, and there's no reason why he should. She doesn't want to tell him, but she wishes that someone, by some miracle would whisper in his ear. She knows it won't happen though, because she's the only one he talks to. She's not sure which of them she feels sorriest for.
After a quick shower, she kicks Sherlock out of what he often forgets is her room, and gets dressed. A strong black coffee and a slice of toast later, she is on her way to work, with a promise from Sherlock that he will tidy up the flat, just a bit. Her expectations are low.
When she arrives in the morgue, Lestrade is already there, Donovan standing behind him, arms folded, horse-faced, and looking as though she has much better things to be doing.
"Happy Birthday," Lestrade says, gesturing to the black body bag sitting on the slab. Behind him, Donovan smirks.
"Oh, you shouldn't have," Molly says, putting on her lab coat and plucking two rubber gloves from the dispenser on the wall. Lestrade chuckles.
"Sorry, I know you'd much rather be celebrating."
Molly shrugs. "Nah, I always work my birthdays anyway."
"Not doing anything nice tonight or anything?" Donovan asks as Molly unzips the bag. "You'll take her out, won't you sir? Hang on a minute, how did you even know it was her birthday?"
"Facebook," Lestrade says obviously, shrugging his shoulders. "John wrote on her wall this morning."
Molly smiles, and then looks down at the body and immediately recoils.
"Yeah…" Lestrade says slowly, his voice gravelly and tired. "Found under Waterloo Bridge. We think he was dumped there. Not much blood at the scene."
Molly frowns and unzips the body completely. The wound on the back of the head is clean, but the face is a bloody mess, smashed beyond recognition.
"Are you sure the tide didn't rise?" Molly asks. "Washed away the blood around him?"
"He'd have to have been there a while," Lestrade says. "We found him early this morning, just as the tide was rising. We're talking nearly a day."
Molly nods. "Yeah, we are," she says, examining a lock of sandy coloured hair in her fingertips. "And he's covered in salt."
"As in salt water salt?" Donovan asks.
"No, as in he was murdered in a chippy…" Molly sighs. Lestrade catches her eye, his lips twitching, desperate to smile.
"And there I thought we'd be rid of sarcasm in here after he killed himself."
"Donovan that's enough!"
Molly flinches. She has never heard Lestrade shout before. Not properly. And then she remembers that she's supposed to be heartbroken, that the last eleven months haven't been spent watching telly and eating wontons.
"Oh come on, you can't honestly still believe that he was -"
"A hero," Molly says quietly, not because it's the sort of pathetic thing she'd have said about Sherlock a year ago, but because she knows it to be true. When they faked his death, there was a very good chance that it all could have worked too well. When Molly had voiced this concern to him, he had shrugged it off. Lestrade doesn't have a clue that he was seconds from death when Sherlock jumped, doesn't know that he owes his life to the man he arrested. She has the strongest urge to tell Donovan this, but in the end, Molly simply leaves the morgue. As the door slams behind her, she hears Lestrade's voice.
"Now look what you've done."
She prefers having an empty morgue. Having people (living, of course) in her morgue just reminds her of how boring her days are now she doesn't have Sherlock bursting in unexpectedly with his riding crop or a 'home experiment' housed in a whiskey tumbler with some cling film over the top.
Granted, she sees him when she gets home, but the evenings seem to go quick, and the days slow. The weekends whizz by in a blur of pyjamas, food shopping, telly and reading and before she knows it, she's donning the white coat once more and cutting up cadavers.
A fresh one has been left for her when she returns from a trip to the vending machines. Molly washes her hands, ridding herself of every last crumb of Monster Munch, then puts on a fresh pair of rubber gloves. She unzips the body bag, and when the body inside suddenly sits up on the slab, she screams, her hands flying to her mouth as she stumbles backwards, knocking over a couple of stools and sending test tubes flying.
Molly can feel her whole body trembling, her muscles twitching under her skin. Her eyes meet Sherlock's and he smiles at her as though jumping out of a body bag was just what she'd always wanted.
"What are you doing here?" Molly hisses. "Lestrade's been in today! And Donovan!"
"I wanted to surprise you. That's what people do on birthdays isn't it? Surprises?"
"Sherlock. You're supposed to be dead."
"Which is why I thought the body bag was rather apt," he says, swinging his legs off the side of the slab and slipping gracefully onto his feet. "Look, I've even got you a present."
Molly shakes her head in disbelief as he passes her a carrier bag.
"I'd have wrapped it but I got it on the way here."
Molly doesn't pay him any attention. Her heart is still pounding from the fright he gave her, and her fingers shake as she pulls the book out of the bag. She looks at the title and her eyebrows rise. "One hundred autopsies to see before you die…"
"I thought you'd like it."
"Well," Molly says, turning the first few pages. "It's certainly unusual."
"Yes, I thought about flowers but then decided that was better."
Molly is halfway through forming a smile when a picture in the book catches her eye. "What the hell?"
Sherlock peers over her shoulder. "Fluorosulphuric acid. Interesting effect, isn't it?"
"I've never seen it before," Molly says. "Read about it, but never seen pictures, never had a case where…God, look at his oesophagus…"
"Turn to page ninety four."
Molly follows his instructions. She gasps when she sees the picture, for she is both horrified, mesmerised and entirely curious by what she sees.
"Quite ghastly," Sherlock says, and Molly can hear the smile in his tone.
"Quite," Molly replies.
"Not the sort of thing a young lady ought to be reading at all."
"Better than flowers?"
His smile is a full blown smirk now, and Molly closes the book, the tip of her index finger tracing around the sketched image of a body on the front cover.
"Thank you," she says. "It's…well, I won't say lovely, but…I'll enjoy it."
"Excellent. Look, I'll have to go, I'm having lunch with Mycroft."
Sherlock's eyes flash with amusement. "Yes. I'll see you later."
One of his hands briefly touches her shoulder before he whirls around, his coat swooping out behind him, and then strides towards the door. In a moment, Molly is alone with an empty body bag, and once more she longs for the days when she shared her lab with a sociopath.
When she arrives home, Molly pulls off her coat, hangs it up next to the door, then goes to collapse onto the sofa next to Sherlock. She's glad to be home to say the least, what she wants most in the world right now is for Sherlock to phone for a takeaway. She doesn't even have the energy to consider picking up the phone, and she always feels so greedy, ordering so much food, even if she always makes sure to say 'can we have', just in case the person on the other end is in any doubt as to how many people she's ordering for.
"Coffee?" he asks, getting to his feet and grabbing his mug from the coffee table.
Molly shakes her head. If he's offering to make her coffee then she must look awful. This newfound nugget of information does nothing to improve her mood. She's tempted to go to sleep right now, just stretch out on the sofa and pull the throw over herself. Maybe Sherlock will fetch the duvet if she looks particularly awful.
And then, she must be dreaming, because there is cake. There is cake, and candles, and the words 'Happy Birthday Molly' written in icing.
"Make a wish," he says. "That's what people do, isn't it? Make a wish."
Molly laughs, and nods, her wish already formed inside her head. She blows out the candles, though it takes two puffs for her to extinguish them all, and Sherlock sits next to her, balancing the cake between them. He hands her a spoon, and has one for himself, and Molly can see where this is going.
"How exactly does one 'go at it with a spoon?'"
Molly chuckles, digs her spoon into the top of the cake, and scoops out a lump.
"However you want."
Sherlock's eyebrows knit together sceptically, and he mirrors Molly's action, a little unsure of what to do next.
"Eat it then," Molly says, giving him an encouraging nod. He follows orders, and Molly can't help but stare at the small smear of chocolate on his lower lip.
"That," he says, after swallowing the last of his mouthful, "is really rather good."
She doesn't reply, for she is too busy chewing her own piece of cake. It is without any hesitation this time that Sherlock's spoon dives into the chocolate.
As he eats, Molly takes a great deal of comfort in the fact that if nothing else, when Sherlock Holmes comes back from the dead, he will re-enter the world just a little bit more human.