She smiled smugly. "More of a place to stay…"
Molly had chosen the as the perfect moment to clatter her keys against the door, a very elaborate display for an always failing method to open it, especially whilst pulled down with bags for life. John swiftly moved to open the door, thunder in his step and only the thoughts of a cheery yet struggling Molly, clearing his mind momentarily of Harry's selfish assumptions.
He yanked open the door to be faced by bag laden arms (at least three on each), and Molly with a goofy smile surrounding the plastic handle that was gripped between her teeth, her shoulders sagged with the weight and the wrong key was clutched harshly in her left hand. John couldn't help to forget his anger, the foul language that had been floating around his head amongst thoughts of his sister, at the sight of Molly Hooper. A weight fleetingly lifted from his tense shoulders and his smile matched hers.
Then again, Molly was an observant creature, managing to catch the red mist that had been in his vision seconds before.
"Arb yub okai, luv?" She spoke around the plastic.
"Need a hand with that?" He chuckled. John grabbed over half the bags hauling them onto the dining room table. Molly followed close behind, focused upon his back; his stance was almost imperceptibly different, stiffer, sad? and even though something else in the flat felt off, wrong, she kept her whole attention on him.
"John, be honest with me, what's wrong love?" Worry filled her voice.
And the two thoughts ran through her mind, either John was an excellent ventriloquist or there was another rough feminine voiced person in her home.
"Love, is it?"
Molly spun around, to be confronted with a remarkably taller, longer haired, and very female John, who stunk of booze and looking not much better than one of her 'patients'. Harry.
"Oh, um, yes it is quite. You must be Harry? John's told me all about you." She smiled sheepishly, it was not all good, far from it, and she'd never been much of a fan of a looming drunk.
"Shame, he hasn't once mentioned you." Harry smiled, the perfect companion to her mock, biting sweetness.
"I guessed. It's been some years since you two have talked properly, anyway, I never come up much in conversation." Molly concealed her bolstered jump of confidence with a somewhat self-deprecating comment, always a wise plan of attack.
John, by now was standing beside Molly, his hand placed protectively and comfortingly on the small of her back, "You're wrong there, you're very much all I talk about," he whispered in her ear. That helped.
Harry decided to ignore the affectionate display and continue with her previous line of thought.
"So, Johnny, big brother," saying those words had been like a well delivered kick in the ribs to the man in question, but his previous conviction returned, over and above the sympathy and hellish self-deprecation he would have otherwise endured. Thank goodness Molly's here.
"I'll assume you're 'sleeping' with this one, and seeing as the phoney detective kicked the bucket, they'll be a spare room?" She continued nonchalantly.
Molly shivered at the brutal and inconsiderate mention of Sherlock, and the insinuation that this woman was anywhere near welcome in her home, she managed to just about squash the feeling down.
"Don't..." John's tone was sure, yet he wasn't quite sure who he warning.
"C'mon John, so what? We're a broken family. I'm sure Little Miss Perfect here will understand, eh? Sweetheart." Harry patted Molly's arm as his bubbling anger began to spill over.
"Don't. You. Dare. Harriet Watson." He seethed.
"Oh don't 'Harriet Watson' me, you're not our bloody father, and you're a poor excuse for a brother, you don't put your tart ahead of family! High and mighty doesn't quite work when you're just another worthless bastard." Confrontation, Harry at her best. John was confident he could deal with the sharp words, console Molly over the cutting assumptions, and take her out of the firing line. Minimal casualties.
Then again, Molly was a one to choose her moments.
"Get out of my house." She was fuming, but strong, standing her ground.
"Excuse me?" Harry found the woman laughable.
"Oh, don't play dumb, you're drunk, not stupid! I said get out. You can say whatever the hell you like about me, that doesn't matter. I don't know or respect you well enough to care. I was even near letting the Sherlock one pass; I mean the rest of the world was corrupted why shouldn't you be. But John is your brother, family, as you have been more than happy to remind him when it's at your gain. And I will not hear a bad word spoken about this godsend of a man in my home, just because you're far too ignorant and self-indulgent to see what he really is, and what this, what you, do to him; does not mean he is not the most decent human being I have ever met. He's worth a million of you. So if you would kindly get the f**k out of our flat and take your petty judgement and scorn with you." Molly exhaled fiercely, restoring her breathing, calming herself.
"John, are you hearing this?" Harry stood in disbelief, trying to play yet another round with the sympathy card, one too many.
"Yeah." He said, unable to keep the proud grin from his face.
"Fine! I'm gone. Thanks for nothing. Brother." She hissed.
And with that Harry was gone, out the door with a wobbly dramatic flourish, and as the slam of the door reverberated through his being John let out a sigh of relief, one he'd been holding onto for fifteen years.
Molly, on the other hand, panicked.
"Oh, no. God John, I'm so sorry, what have I done?" A tear slid down her cheek.
"What I've wanted to do for fifteen years, but never had the guts. Hey, don't cry. What you just did was amazing. Thank you." He placed a soft kiss on her cheek.
"Good…" Molly's voice was soft, a smile tugged at the corner of her lips.
"Did you mean all that 'godsend' nonsense, you said about me?"
"None of that was nonsense. I meant every word." He pulled her into a tight hug, planting a kiss onto her soft hair that met her forehead, a comfortable silence enveloped them like a well-worn blanket, and they settled their breath and regained control.
"Better get this shopping away, before the ice cream I spotted becomes just cream." With that they parted, listening to the radio as they sorted Molly's half a day's work. It was life as close to normal as those two knew it.