Warning: Here's the thing about this chapter you should know. It is, in a way, an extra chapter, an alternative ending. In order to get the whole of this story you do not have to read it; you may keep the last chapter as your ending. This chapter, however, has been re-written quite a few times in my head since the beginning of the story, because this is the beginning of another story I had planned, so it is my ending. Still, I am advising you: if you liked the other chapter as an ending, don't read this one. You have been warned.
Sherlock woke up but kept his eyes closed, the sun spread over his eyelids. His body was sour, in pain and he had trouble to focus. His head hurt. He lay down for a while longer, allowing the sleep to subside entirely. He reached out, a hand searching through the sheets but he found nothing. Molly must have stood up already and the smell of fresh coffee came from the kitchen. Sherlock opened one eye and then the other and gazed at the ceiling, just above his head. It was a sunny day outside and the window was half-open, allowing the sound of cars and voices to get in. Everything felt and sounded loud. He felt the pounding inside his head and nausea took over him. He took a deep breath, fighting it. His body was answering to something but he wasn't sure what. He had a strange feeling on the tip of his stomach, as if some piece had been left out of a puzzle he couldn't yet uderstand. He sat on the bed, slowly, trying to make the dizziness go away and held the sheets for balance. Then, when he felt strong enough, he got up, and stood on his feet. He felt the nausea again, this time stronger and he ran to the bathroom, kneeling by the toilet, violently sick. He threw up, his body aching. He felt better. He had a hard time to recognise his face in the mirror, wondering what on earth had induced all that. At least now that his stomach was empty he felt relieved, the bad feeling gone. He brushed his teeth and washed his face and walked toward the kitchen. The kettle had just boiled but there was no one there. The living room was strangely silent. He poured himself some tea and sat on the couch. His mind was still a big blur but he knew everything would be okay. He needed to take a shower and put himself together. Maybe play some violin. He needed to go back to Scotland Yard. There were going to be inquiries again and he wanted to be there. He smiled, the memory of the night before taking hold of him, the satisfaction lodging on his chest.
Quick footsteps came down the stairs and Sherlock turned around, considering if he was feeling good enough to stand up again and kiss her. But, as he moved his head towards Molly, it was John who greeted him.
"Hey," the doctor said, smiling. "How are you feeling today? Better? Did you throw up? I am sure you did, considering all you drank. How's the hangover going?"
That was a whole lot of questions for such an early morning and Sherlock's head hurt too much. John's presence on the apartment was also a new factor of surprise. He visited once in a while but never so early in the morning.
"What are you doing here? " Sherlock asked. "Where's Molly?"
"Where's Molly, indeed." John said. He was busy, preparing a small working bag, where he was now keeping his stethoscope and some papers. "Hopefully still not mad at you. What you did last night wasn't exactly nice, Sherlock. Greg was furious, to be honest."
Sherlock placed his mug on the floor, the dizziness taking hold of him again.
"I'm sorry, what?"
John put his coat on and took a good look at Sherlock for the first time that morning. He could see the question was genuine.
"What, you don't remember?" and he explained. "You got drunk. Like, really drunk. You passed out and fell over some drinks and broke a whole lot of glasses. Luckily, the wedding was over, the last guests leaving aready. Molly insisted in bringing you here, though, making sure you would be alright even when I insisted I could take care of you. She wanted to take you home. You told her that you loved her on the way here, and I am not sure Greg heard or not, but either way he was still mad. They were supposed to leave for their honeymoon yesterday during the night and because of you they lost the flight. Molly called in the morning to inquire about you again, make sure you were okay, and I could hear Greg complaining."
Sherlock stared at John, a blank expression on his face. He didn't understand why he was saying that, why he was making it all up. Wedding? Molly and Lestrade? No. Where was Robyn?
Taking Sherlock's silence as a sign, John smiled and continued.
"I am sure he will forgive you, anyway, so you don't need to worry. And Molly, well, she knows you weren't quite yourself last night, and she always forgives you everything, so no problem there."
"But," Sherlock had managed to speak. "What about Robyn? Where is Robyn?"
"Sleeping upstairs." He answered. "Listen, I really need to go to work. Robin should wake up in a couple of hours, so please take him to the park? He could really use the fresh air."
"He?" Sherlock's head was twirling and he was finding it very hard to breath.
"Yes, Sherlock. He. My son. Are you sure you are okay?"
Sherlock looked away from John and gazed at the apartment. Around, the whole disposition of things was different. There was no piano, and his books were still scattered around the floor. There were pictures. Of John. Of Mary. Of John with a baby boy and others, following the boy's growth. There was a canvas with Mary and John's wedding picture just above the fireplace. Sherlock stared at John and saw the ring hanging from his neck. A small wedding ring, perfect to fit a woman's finger. There were pictures of Mary pregnant, but none of her with a baby. And the gears started to work. There had been a wedding. A birth. And then, bursting into his mind with the strength of a bullet, Sherlock remembered the funeral. The rain falling on John's suit without him noticing it, the way Sherlock had to walk around him, and make sure he took care of himself. How Mrs. Hudson, Molly and himself had taken care of the baby boy for a while, how John didn't want to face him. The nights without sleep, and the denial. The waking up and the acceptance as John understood Robin needed his father. John moving back to Baker Street definitely, and a boy, growing up with both of them. All of that came rushing in, with no warning, and the colour escaped from Sherlock's face. Then, to make it worse, there was Molly walking down the aisle and Lestrade waiting for her, an amazed look on his face. And the hurt, the aching on his chest and the loss that Sherlock felt and tried to dismiss to no avail, as they both said 'I do.'
A cry was heard from upstairs and John placed a hand on Sherlock's shoulder.
"Listen, I really have to go now. I made some cookies yesterday, Robin's favourite. I also put some clothes next to his bed; you only have to dress him up. Call me if you need anything, okay?" John picked up his bag and stopped before leaving the flat. "And don't worry. Molly is fine and I am sure she won't hold a grudge against you. It's not like you ruined her wedding or anything. I actually think she was amused with you. She said she left a few things at the morgue to be delivered to you while she's away. My guess is a new head. Don't put it on our fridge, though."
He smiled and left the flat at last, without looking back. Robin was silent again and Sherlock stared at the wall, unsure of how he felt. It seemed inconceivable that his mind had tricked him like that. That his mind had picked up little pieces of what had happened and had turned them into what seemed like real memories.
Robin cried again and called his name this time, knowing he would be there for him. Sherlock got up and fought the tears, trying to compose himself. He took a deep breath. The image of Molly looking at him on a darkened room was vivid and he knew now it was also real. She had been there the night before. She had put him to sleep. But the rest, he forced himself to accept it, had it all been a wonderful, wonderful dream. Strange, how Molly had still changed him. Strange, how you can love someone for so long without knowing it. Strange, how he missed what he had never had.
Molly Hopper, the one that counted.
It was quite a difficult thing to write this chapter. I never thought it would feel like I was saying goodbye, but it surely felt. It's as if a bit of my heart has died with its end. This story is very dear to me, and now I am quite sad that it's over, even if I am relieved that I got it through until the end.
I hope you have enjoyed reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Once again, to all of you who stood with me until this last chapter, Thank You!