Disclaimer: I own nothing.
It is always surprising to her just how quiet he can be at times, when he's not whipping a corpse, barking out orders, analyzing a person's entire history from the mustard stain on their lapel, pointing out someone's mental simplicity, or being a bother in general.
He sits, peering into his beloved microscope, lost in thought, before saying, "John. Hand me my phone."
John left about two hours ago. Some new woman he's wooing. Sherlock has spent this time in some kind of semiconscious coma, somewhere deep inside his intellect. Molly could almost swear that he stopped breathing and for a few moments, was a statue cut from marble, like Michelangelo's David or the Pythian Apollo. She wonders what she would call this statue. Sherlock and the Microscope. The Irritability of Holmes. Or, just taking a note from Rodin, The Thinker.
She doesn't realize that she's been lost in thought until he speaks again, more than a hint of vexation in his voice. "John? My phone?"
"Erm, he left," she spurts out. "Sorry. He left, a while ago."
He looks up as though seeing her for the first time in ages. "Where did he go?"
"I believe he had a date."
"Mmm" is the only response. Then, "Molly, hand me my phone."
"Where is it?"
"Coat pocket." He inclines his head slightly in the vague direction of where his black coat has been hung over a chair.
Molly crosses the room, digs into his coat pocket, retrieves the device, and carries it over to him. He takes it without looking up from his microscope, and texts something to Mycroft, then locks it.
"Anything interesting?" she asks cheerfully.
She knows she shouldn't, knows it's not good for her, but cannot squash the bit of hope inside of her that whispers, maybe this will be the day he indulges in conversation, a real conversation!
"Nothing of any substantive remarkability," Sherlock responds monotonously.
"Oh." She realizes she has been standing there a little too long, long enough to make her feel even more self-conscious than usual, so she bobs her head awkwardly and turns away.
She goes to concentrate on her paperwork. Blue ink scratches away as she fills in the name and post-mortem information of one of the bodies she performed an autopsy on earlier this afternoon. Molly loses herself in it eventually, and manages to close three files before she looks up to see him standing in front of her, never having heard him move.
"You write too loudly," Sherlock states.
Her brow furrows. "I write too loudly?" She might be in love with him, but there is a cap to exactly how much absurdity she is willing to put up with. "Sherlock, I don't see - "
"It's giving me a headache," he tells her.
And, with that, he leaves.
Molly shakes her head in disbelief. She returns to her paperwork, which she is very near being done with, and the rest of the afternoon goes by uneventfully.
Until the evening hits, and Sherlock comes bursting back through the double doors of the morgue, coat billowing like some overgrown bat. When Molly sees his face, she nearly knocks over her stool getting up. His eye is swollen and beginning to bruise, showing signs of subconjunctival hemorrhaging, and his lip is split.
"Oh, my God! What happened?!" she cries.
"Went to investigate (break into, Molly thinks) a victim's apartment. Her killer, it seems, has been hiding there all this time. Lestrade has him, now," Sherlock answers before plopping down at his microscope.
Molly hurries over to the freezer, fills a Ziploc bag with ice, and wraps it in a clean cloth before bringing it to him.
"I am so sorry," she tells him.
He frowns. "Why? It's not your fault."
"I'm still sorry this happened to you." She offers him the towel-wrapped ice pack.
He accepts it without a thank-you and presses it against his lip. "Your concern is unnecessary," he tells her.
"I – I just - "
"Don't hover, Molly. It is both uninvited and obnoxious."
Her face falls, and, in a moment of exasperation as she turns, she mutters, "Sometimes I don't know why I even bother with you."
And then he says something terrible. Not outright insulting, but just a remark reminding her of where she stands in his eyes.
"I don't, either," he says, matter-of-factly.
She whirls back around, staring at him. Her mind empties, and she can't think of anything to say. She can only feel the raw, hot bile roll in her stomach and the beat of her heart in the tips of her ears. Molly knows he feels nothing for her, but, for crying out loud, could he not just say thank you and leave? Why does he have to consistently remind her of just how little – or not at all – she means to him? Everything she has ever done for him, she has done hoping to please. And he breaks her heart every time. Every damn time.
She feels the rage burning inside of her, and prays it doesn't spill over. Unfortunately for Molly, she has trouble crying when she is genuinely sad, but whenever she is angry or frustrated, tears begin building in her eyes and spill over in great, fat tears, not beautiful crying like the women in the movies whose tears trail tragically down their pale faces, only serving to make them look more glamorous. When she is frustrated, Molly's face grows blotchy, paprika-red. Which she is trying to keep from happening now.
"All right, then," she says carefully. "Well, I guess I'm off. Have a nice day." Not the best words to put him in his place, but at this moment, she can hardly see straight.
Besides, even if she could think of the right words, Molly is incapable of possessing that level of cruelty.
I don't, either. I don't, either. I don't, either.
The words linger in the atmosphere and are so tangible she can practically see them swirling around in the air above her head like some kind of Mephistophelean halo made of thick black smoke. Molly concentrates very hard on the floor tiles, her feet knowing how many steps to take to her desk to gather her coat and purse, and she just follows her feet to the door without a look back at Sherlock. She exits St. Bart's purely on muscle memory, hails a cab, gets home, and shuts the door behind her. She leans against it and takes a long, deep breath, and finally, allows the tears to come.
She'd like to take the next day off. She's got plenty of sick days; however, she can't seem to justify it. Besides, he rarely comes in two days in a row. So she rolls out of bed, showers, and goes to work.
It is cold today, colder than usual, and she huddles in her cardigan, elbows on the counter. She's already done two autopsies, nothing out of the ordinary, and finished her paperwork. The door flies open, and Sherlock and John come striding into the morgue purposefully. John gives her a friendly wave hello, while Sherlock comes and flops down into his usual spot. Around his eye is a bruise the colour of some purple-blue exotic flower, although the split in his lip is less noticeable.
She ignores him and instead focuses on making sure the labels on the bottles of the chemical cabinet are facing outward.
"Coffee, Molly?" Sherlock asks expectantly.
She looks up. "Yes, thank you. One sugar, one cream." She turns on her heel and walks out of the room in the direction of her office.
Sherlock's gaze lingers on her back, and it were anyone other than John, they would have missed the look of puzzlement that crossed his brow.
John rolls his tongue and looks pointedly at his friend. "What did you do now?"
Sherlock shakes his head. "I have no idea."
"You were here yesterday. When did she leave?"
"I came in from the scuffle in Hanover and she gave me a cold compress. She was hovering, so I told her that it was irritating. She said she didn't know why she even bothered with me sometimes, and as I don't know why she does, I said as much."
John felt a familiar headache beginning to form between his eyebrows. "You said you didn't know why she bothered with you?"
"You really can be an inconsiderate ass. That was just … " John tries to conjure a better word, but the same one keeps flashing at him. "Mean. It was mean."
"Because, you prat, she loves you. She bothers with you because she loves you."
"Oh? That's all you have to say, is - oh?" John crosses his arms and looks sternly at him.
"I suppose I can see why she was upset."
"Think about it. She gives you a compress because she cares for you, you tell her that she's essentially the equivalent of a gnat flying around your face, and then tell her you don't even understand why she cares. Do you understand that this is insensitive?"
Sherlock analyzes this for a moment, then inhales, finally understanding her reaction. "I do."
"And perhaps you might want to consider apologizing to her?"
Sherlock pushes his chair back, standing, and straightens his jacket.
"Don't do that," John chides. "Don't give her one of your condescending non-apologies … " He trails off when Sherlock shoots him a glare, and he realizes that this is not Sherlock's intention, not at all.
"One sugar, one cream." Sherlock appears in her doorway by some sorcery.
Molly jerks. She couldn't be more surprised than if a leprechaun had pranced into the room to grant her three wishes. Even more astonishing, he has two mugs of steaming coffee in his hands.
Upon seeing the frozen look on her face, Sherlock takes two steps forward and places the coffee in front of her.
"Thank you," she manages to squeak out.
"You're welcome." He backs away, as though he is about to leave, before leaning back into the doorframe. "What I said yesterday … that was cruel. I would feel very … malcontent, were you to decide to quit bothering with me."
She still can't seem to find her words.
"It would be nice, if you were to come and be bothered by me so we can conduct an experiment," he finishes. "I would be grateful."
Finally, she finds her voice. She smiles. "It's no bother."