Sherlock Holmes is a magician. Revealing such amazing and astounding things in a blink of an eye, but once slowed down and explained everything is clear and you wonder how the audience missed it.
Sherlock had just preformed his greatest trick yet, he vanished, disappeared from life supposedly into death. He had everyone fooled and wouldn't be revealing the finale until everything was set and he could come back.
Sherlock has everyone convinced, including John. Including the sniper set on John. Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade; all convinced and saved. Sherlock must pay the price. In the long run; three years of hunting and loneliness, being dead to the world and cut off from everything warm and familiar. Now; the pain because such magic does not come without its cost and sacrifice.
So here is Molly Hooper; the assistant making the act convincing and the only one left knowing the truth. She sits in her flat, mourning a dead man who is very much still alive, asleep in her bed.
It wasn't easy, especially sitting there as he grunts and sweats in pain, the medicine not being strong enough and too soon to give him something more or different. She holds his bruised hand which she tells him to squeeze every time it hurts. Her hand has gone numb and will probably have its own bruises tomorrow. He grits his teeth and bites back most of the pain; Molly can't imagine how he has so much reserve. Eventually the tablets take some effect and he finally falls into an exhausted sleep, she slips her hand out from his loose grip and pulls up the duvet. His breathing comes in shallows rasps around the tightly bandaged broken ribs and she hates the thought of having to wake him up again to reset his dislocated shoulder, now that the medicine is helping to numb the pain.
Molly organises some things and fills up a glass of water to put on the bed side table, he grimaces in his sleep as every breath shakes his ripped shoulder.
Eventually, she can't put it off anymore. 'Sherlock', she says gently while rubbing his exposed arm. He groans in response.
'Come on, I need you to wake up,' Molly continues. 'I know you're tired but I need to set this shoulder.'
Sherlock's eyes blink open and he frowns for a moment, dazed, then nods.
'Sorry,' she says again. 'But this is going to hurt.'
'Can't get any worse,' he manages through a gritted smile. Molly smiles back as they both know it will. She pulls the duvet out of the way and lifts his left arm into place. He winces but nothing more. She takes a deep breath, hating to do this.
'Okay,' she starts, 'On the count of three.' He closes his eyes preparing for the on slaughter.
'One...' he takes a breath, 'two...' and just after two she does it with a sort of clunk as the joint shifts back into place, he cries out this time and she let's go of his hand as he reflexes pull it away.
'Shhh-shhh, it's alright. I'm sorry but I didn't want you to tense I-'
He has tears from unimaginable pain forming in the corners of his eyes.
'Breath in,' she starts and eventually he starts to copy her with shuddering breaths. 'And out. And in again.' They follow the pattern a few times until his forehead un-creases and the visible pain seems to subside a little.
'T'ank you,' He croaks.
She gives him a smile, 'Really I should bandage that now,' Molly begins but changes her mind when seeing his exhausted face as he closes his eyes once more. 'But I'll let you sleep a bit first.' He breathed a sigh of relief and muttered another small "thank you".
'Anytime, Sherlock.' She says in reply, tucking him in once more and leaving her room, grabbing a few things on the way out; preparing for a night on the couch.
Molly woke up the next morning, mindset in preparing for a normal day of work. At quarter to eight she received a call from Bart's, telling her that she had the next three days off "because, you know...what happened. You knew him, we're sorry Molly. See if you're ready to come back in about three days".
She put down the phone slowly. It was such a shock to realise she was meant to be grieving and immediately felt a pain of guilt. Molly instantly thought of how John would have woken up this morning, thinking for a few moments everything was fine and then slowly remembering and coming to the utter shock in realising that his best friend was dead. Actually, John probably hadn't slept at all. Probably didn't even go to bed, 'Oh John'. She felt herself whispering to the silent flat.
Molly felt horrible. She had woken up knowing that Sherlock wasn't dead, he was asleep in her bed. She ran her hands over her face and sighed, wondering what to possibly do with the damaged Sherlock in her bedroom, eventually deciding to be productive and to check on him.
Slowly creeping into the still dark room, Molly could hear the painful, sharp breaths of his sleep. As she moved passed him, she couldn't help but observe his pained expression and furrowed brows. Was he dreaming? Had he spent the night re-living his death over and over?
It was not cold and so she opened the window a crack to let some fresh air in then after grabbing a few items, silently left to have a shower.
She entered a bit later to find Sherlock curled onto his side and blinking in the dimness of the room.
'Oh,' she said startled by his vacant and pain filled gaze and unsure how else to announce her presence. 'Sorry. I didn't think you would wake up for a while yet.'
He gave no reply but watched her as she walked over and handed him the glass of water from the nightstand. He mumbled something before quickly downing the drink, obviously not realising how parched he had been. Sherlock gave a small hiss and shied away as Molly drew open the blinds and the morning sun lit the room with a soft illumination. She took the glass for a refill and returned with two more pills.
Sherlock sighed and shook his head, 'They don't do anything.' He rubbed his eyes in exhausted frustration so she returned with something a bit stronger.
'You can't take too many of these, and you have to tell me if they make you feel nauseous.'
Sherlock nodded and downed the pills before gently leaning back against the headboard of her bed. He sighed and honestly she couldn't blame him, no doubt he was feeling completely overwhelmed by the sudden coarse his life had taken him and the damning fact of it all being necessary because it was worth it, they were all safe now, and soon they would always be. The faster Sherlock gets the job done, the quicker he can come back home, alive. But in the meantime, Sherlock had...her, probably his last choice.
'Do you want a shower? I'm sure still being covered in some blood isn't very pleasant.' Molly asked and Sherlock looked down at his beaten form before giving a small nod. She forced a small smile in return. This wasn't going to be fun, or easy.
'Right,' she started planning ahead. 'I'll get you a towel.' She set the bathroom up ready, also retrieving the first aid kit once more. On return to her room, Sherlock hadn't shifted.
He sat still for a moment before speaking, 'Maybe I should wait a bit longer for those painkillers too kick in before I try to move.' He was again grimacing in pain, obviously already having attempted and failed trying to get up on his own.
'Okay', Molly replied with a patient smile then began bustling about the room, starting to clean away a few of the things after having no time from the rushed night before. She picked up his bloody cloths and their eyes meet. She could see his look of longing; the attire was the last link to his old life.
He waved his hand in a dismissive gesture, 'Get rid of it.'
Molly felt upset but put the clothes in a black rubbish bag nonetheless, but with no intentions of throwing out Sherlock's clothes, the clothes that portrayed and complemented the man who wore them so well.
Sherlock finally swung his legs around and sat on the edge of the bed, taking a deep breath. Stage one, now for stage two. Molly walked over and sat down next to him.
'Don't', she simply said before draping his arm over her shoulder and gingerly, being mindful of the ribs, put her other arm around his slim waist. Together they stood and Sherlock's eyes scrunched up and she grimaced in sympathy. The deep, dark bruising covering his body was enough of a display to show the pain he had, and was going through. Sherlock took another deep breath and together they began the short journey to the bathroom as Molly immaturely tried not to think of the proximity between them, with him only in black boxer briefs. She got him in so he was leaning against a wall as she produced a pair of men's dark pyjamas.
'These should hopefully fit', she said. 'And there's your towel', Molly paused for a moment, not wanting to leave him alone or if knowing if he wanted privacy.
He answered by giving her a blank look and Molly felt her cue to leave. She closed the bathroom door behind her just as the water started running before leaning against the wood, taking a calming breath. Its fine, he's going to be fine. It's all going to be fine.
Other story: Yin-Yang
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