A/N: Part two! And now I can sleep. Thanks to those of you who reviewed the first half of this. You're all very very lovely. Got something special coming soon for my 100th fic. Get over to tumblr to see what's going down because there's no way I'm going to be able to contain all of my excitement.
Things are different. He's just not sure how. Obviously Sherlock's alive again, but apart from that. Maybe it's just because Susan's gone for good now. Maybe it's because he feels like he has his freedom back.
But everyone else seems happy too. He's not used to that; everyone being happy. It's almost like it's too good to be true. It's a mood that certainly doesn't suit the morgue at any rate.
"Inspector," Sherlock greets him with a nod, then turns back to the hefty corpse on the slab.
Greg grimaces, because Molly is up to her forearms in organs, and Sherlock is watching intently, his hands clasped behind him, like a schoolboy trying to refrain from touching a museum exhibit. He's standing very close to Molly, who looks up at Greg and smiles. He expects to see a blush gracing her cheeks, but actually, she's completely calm. Perhaps it's because she's concentrating on her job, rather than Sherlock, but Greg doesn't think so.
Either she's over him, or she's been under him, he decides. One or the other. No alternatives.
"Can you pass us the kidney dish?" Molly asks.
Sherlock walks over to the trolley, takes the dish, and holds it out for her.
Greg can't believe what he's seeing.
Molly drops one, two, three, small round metal balls into the dish, and Sherlock returns it to the trolley.
"Where's John?" he asks. Maybe this will offer up a few clues.
"Out with..." Sherlock trails off.
"Julia," Molly finishes.
"Julia," Sherlock repeats, like some sort of well dressed parrot.
"So he's not on the case then?"
Lestrade looks down at the body, then up at Sherlock. "This one?"
Sherlock shakes his head. "This isn't a case."
"So...why are you here?"
"Bored," he says simply. He picks up the folder from the lower shelf of the trolley and flips it open. "History of heart disease...heavy smoker...heavy drinker..." he glances towards the body, "heavy everything by the looks of it."
"Heart attack," Molly says. "But he's fairly young for that so just making sure."
"What about the stuff you just pulled out of him?"
Molly's cheeks redden now, and Sherlock is smirking. They're having a private bloody joke. Greg can't help but feel like the rug's been pulled from under him. Everything about this is so different that it feels wrong.
"Molly's bracelet got caught," Sherlock says. "She's spent the last hour fishing all the pieces out." He leans over her shoulder, his body almost flush against hers, and peers down into the considerable depths of the deceased's guts. "You've missed one. Just under the small intestine."
Greg can't help but feel as though he's imposing, and he's long since forgotten what he came down here to ask.
"I'll er...leave you two alone then, shall I?"
He turns around and walks straight back out of the morgue, without so much as a 'see you later' from Sherlock or Molly.
Far too often, a lump forms in her throat when she looks at him. Tears well in her eyes. She's just being silly, she knows that. But she's so very very relieved to have him home. She's not sure whether she's grown more tolerant of his ways since he returned, or whether he's learned to be more tolerable. Either way, their arguments are few and far between these days.
It's nice that Molly's round more often too. John's girlfriends always come and go so often that Mrs Hudson's not sure which one's which these days. But Molly's a constant. It's nice to have a girl around the house, and Molly's so lovely which makes it all the nicer. She helps with the tea, always invites Mrs Hudson to have dinner with them, and, on top of that, Sherlock's better behaved when she's around.
She'd love for the two of them to settle down. Sherlock deserves to be happy, after everything he's been through, and Molly's a very good match for him.
"I've got some banoffee pie," Molly says in a hushed voice. "Would you like some?"
Mrs Hudson is on the verge of saying no; she's put on one and a half pounds in the last week and it's all very slippery slope. But then Molly opens the box and Mrs Hudson coos like a pigeon at the sight of the pie.
"I'll take that as a yes," Molly says. "Don't let Sherlock know. He'll say all sorts of horrible things."
"Like what, dear?"
"Like how many calories are in it," Molly snorts. "As if I care. At least I don't care...until he points it out."
Mrs Hudson takes the piece of pie Molly passes her. "Well even so, you'd not swap him for the world, would you?"
Molly smiles softly as she lifts her piece of pie, precariously balanced on a knife, from the foil tray and onto her plate. "No, probably not," she says.
Mrs Hudson's about to probe for more details, like how long they've been together, and how serious they are, and whether Sherlock's mentioned marriage yet, when Sherlock himself walks in, the sound of his footsteps muffled by his socks. She supposes her questions can wait until later.
"Don't," Molly says, through a mouthful of pie, "just don't."
Sherlock, who is at the sink, filling the kettle, turns around. "What?"
"What d'you mean?"
"You know exactly what I mean."
Sherlock shakes his head, and turns back, placing the kettle on its stand and flicking the switch. Mrs Hudson catches the corner of his mouth lift upwards in a small smirk, and she is intrigued.
"Over an hour of stomach crunches," Sherlock says. "Or a thirty minute jog."
"How many calories will I burn if I murder you?"
Mrs Hudson nearly chokes on her pie. Sherlock turns around, his eyes alight with amusement.
"That depends entirely on the method."
"Well, naturally that's one of the more energetic ways to kill someone, but there are all sorts of variables that would need to be considered."
"Like?" Molly asks mildly, before shovelling another fork load of pie into her mouth.
"Like how heavy the instrument you're bludgeoning me with is. Or whether you intend to hide my body, or just leave me at the scene. Carrying a dead weight burns a lot of calories you know."
Mrs Hudson puts her plate down on the counter. She's not so keen on the pie anymore.
"Well, you'd have to take into account my reaction. If I put up a fight and you somehow manage to overpower me -"
"Could happen," Molly says with a shrug.
"-that would burn an awful lot of calories too. Or...if I ran. Would you be able to catch me with your considerably shorter legs? And a belly full of pie?"
"I think Corrie's about to start, I'll pop back downstairs to watch it, shall I?"
Mrs Hudson leaves the kitchen as fast as she can, because she's sure there are several things in there that Molly could use to bludgeon Sherlock.
And really, Mrs Hudson isn't sure she'd blame her.
John spends far too much of his time looking at Sherlock these days. He has been trying, for so long to deduce the change in his friend, but each and every time, he draws a blank.
They don't have a case. When Sherlock returned, one of the first things to change was the frequency of cases. Perhaps the last year has shaken him a little. Perhaps he is wary of getting tangled up in another web as dark and dangerous as Moriarty's. John knows he has learned a lot from his experiences. He is far more tolerant of his friends' faults than ever before. Perhaps a year cooped up in Molly's flat has forced him to get used to it.
John shakes his head. Sherlock hasn't moved for at least two hours. He's been reading, and not some academic tome full of information about decay rates or genetic make-up, he's reading a novel.
Finally, he turns the last page, his eyes scanning across the lines rapidly, and then he closes the book and sets it down on the arm of his chair. He turns to John, who is still watching him.
John shakes his head. He's not sure what, that's the trouble.
"Good book?" he asks.
"Fine," Sherlock says disinterestedly. "Why?"
"Just wondering. Never seen you read fiction before."
"Stranger things have happened."
"Yeah," John says softly, turning back to his laptop. "Yeah they have." He taps his finger on the mouse pad and his screensaver disappears and leaves him with a blank blog entry page. He takes a deep breath, his fingers poised over his keyboard, but his head is too full of stuff to be able to write anything at all. He turns around again, and Sherlock is on his phone. Texting.
"What?" Sherlock asks, not looking up.
"I have to know," John says at last. "What happened at Molly's?"
Sherlock puts his phone away, his eyebrows drawing together in a frown. "You want me to recount fourteen months to you? You want every moment of every day?"
"No, I want to know -" John breaks off. He can't tell Sherlock what he wants to know, because what you want and what you get are two very different things when it comes to Sherlock. "I want to know," he continues, "what she was like to live with."
Sherlock shrugs. "Fine."
"Didn't irritate you?"
"Of course she did."
"But nothing major?"
"No." His tone is more impatient now, and John knows he has to cut to the chase quickly, before boredom cuts this interrogation completely short.
"She's only got a little flat, I'm surprised you weren't getting in each other's way all the time...come to think of it, where did you sleep? The sofa?"
"No, John," Sherlock says with a sigh. "I slept with Molly. It was the most practical course of action."
John's jaw drops and he stares at Sherlock. "Like, once? Or was it a recurring thing?"
"The whole time," Sherlock replies. His expression is growing more suspicious by the second, but John doesn't give a damn. This is huge news.
"So you've actually..." he trails off, not knowing how to broach the subject with Sherlock. Any other bloke and they could just have a lads chat about it, no big deal, but Sherlock's no lad. He's about as far from a lad as you can possibly get. "...You know?"
"No," Sherlock says blankly. "I don't."
"You've...had sex with Molly?"
Sherlock's confused expression drops at once. "Don't be ridiculous."
"But you said you -"
"Slept with her, yes John, slept. Since when were sleeping and intercourse interchangeable?"
"Hey," John says, his lips stretching into a smile, "If Claudia Schiffer walked in here now, I'm pretty sure I'd swap sleep for...well, anyway. So you and Molly aren't..."
"Of course not," Sherlock says, standing up. He takes his scarf and loops it round his neck, giving the ends a sharp tug to tighten it. He pulls on his coat and heads towards the door.
"Where are you going?" John asks.
"Because I don't have to answer ridiculous questions there."
"No," John says, "Really, why?"
Sherlock shrugs. "No reason."
"Right, I'll...see you later then I guess."
Sherlock disappears down the stairs and after a few seconds, John hears the front door open and close. He chuckles softly to himself. Of course Sherlock didn't spend over a year shagging. It's just not the Sherlock thing to do. John doesn't know whether his entirely innocent 'no reason' is disappointing or wonderful. On the one hand, Sherlock's clearly not going to see Molly for any physical reasons, which is a shame, because that sort of thing would go a long way to making him a bit more relaxed. On the other hand, Sherlock Holmes, the man who never does anything unless there is reason to, is going to see a girl for no reason.
It's a development, that's for sure. Maybe, John thinks, Sherlock is finally making the transition from the missing link to a fully fledged human being.
And Molly Hooper is, without a doubt, the reason.