A/N: There is no explanation for this other than it was a rough week and I was moody and feeling too much stuff. Writingpurge
The biggest mistake Molly Hooper ever made in her life was allowing herself to be tricked over and over again into believing that Sherlock Holmes had real, human emotions.
Every time he opened his mouth and sweet talked her into smuggling body parts, bending the rules for him, working beyond her job description because he just could not stand working with anyone else, she thought to herself that there was no way he could say the things he did, act as possessively as he did with her, and not mean it a little bit. She was his special pathologist, was she not? There had to be a semblance of affection in that. Hadn't there?
He made her heart race and her throat dry up in the worst way with his beautiful eyes and sure smile. It was hard enough finding interesting men in her field and his often flattering demeanor worked quickly to solidify the first telltale pangs of attraction she felt the moment she laid eyes on him. He built her up in a way that left her hearing Verdi every time he said hello.
And then he would drown her.
He would push her off the edge into the deep end and watch passively as she struggled to tread water.
Cuts about her dates, her looks, her lack of articulacy, her general audacity to be who she was and exist at all, because wasn't it just so kind of him to correct her life and point out the flaws so she could fix them and make herself more agreeable in his presence?
John Watson had done a good deal to adjust his manners. Not that the intention wasn't still there; even John couldn't stop the tirades once Sherlock set his mind to it. If they hadn't been surrounded by colleagues and friends, she came to doubt that he would even have apologized for ripping away every shred of hope she had as he held her heart in his hand, so perfectly wrapped up in red paper. He should have simply thrown egg on her face and called it a day. There was nothing she had wanted more than to see his pleasantly surprised face upon receiving her gift, to glimpse the hesitantly enamored look in his eyes as he suddenly realized she had been right under his nose all this time. She envisioned so many things from him, using up the whole of the night sky to send up wishes for requited feelings.
The tears she cried that night in her bed were more for time wasted than her embarrassment, though she stupidly relived the feeling of his lips on her cheek. Another moment that was undoubtedly for show; since when did Sherlock feel the need to kiss anyone? From that moment, she stopped trying to see the emotion she knew did not exist.
The problem was, by that time he had already ruined her. Any man that showed the emotional depth she longed for inevitably turned out to be mentally boring. Without that stimulation, the desire just wasn't there.
She began to work Sherlock Holmes out of her system like the target toxin of a cleanse. It might take her a long while to find a man who thrilled her just as much, but she certainly was not going to let Sherlock flow through her in the meantime. She even very nearly refused to help him, only undermined by the hand on her shoulder leading her right back towards the lab.
Well if he was going to manhandle her, she could certainly afford to unnerve him a touch by reading him just as well as he'd always read her. It had started as an attempt to prove to him that she could stand up to his controlling words, but she found her mind slipping back into old habits and before she knew it she was tossing feelings around. Did she see the sadness, or did she just imagine it was there? He had looked surprised enough to make her think she had latched onto something real and that was enough to draw her concern.
She wasn't supposed to know he was still alive.
He had come to her, unburdening the knowledge that he was about to die because he couldn't tell John. Mostly, he came to her because she was the one that could perform the postmortem, the one that could proclaim him dead.
No great conflict of interest there at all.
"Make sure you are the one, if it comes to it," he'd told her.
He did not divulge his full plan.
Call it women's intuition, call it luck, but she had placed herself in front of that window in Bart's and watched him fall from the sky. Watched him fall right into a rubbish truck and roll out quickly, positioned and dressed in blood by the members of his homeless network. Oh yes, even Molly knew about them.
When his "body" was rolled into her morgue (she knew it wasn't him, how stupid did he think she was?), she was hit with an order from Mycroft Holmes that no autopsy was to be performed until his authorities arrived. Simply identifying the body for paperwork, she stood sentinel at the morgue doors and waited for Anthea to arrive, gliding in with a group of suits in tow to whisk the body away.
She performed her role and Sherlock disappeared from her life for nearly two years.
She had to wait a bit longer than everyone else to find out he was truly alive.
The morning paper greeted her mockingly on that Tuesday before her shift at the hospital. She'd opened her door and had immediately seen Sherlock's face staring up from the front page under the headline: "Reichenbach Hero Resurrected!"
Apparently, she was the last to know.
When he came into the morgue later that week to resume life as usual, he barely even acknowledged her presence. Watching him sweep out of the room after looking at the latest victim of his case, Molly felt her nose wrinkle against the tears that just refused to go away.
She had wanted so badly for those words he had spoken to mean something. She counted. He trusted her. As usual, her Renoir painted heart read too much into the words and too much into the man. She counted because she was useful. He trusted her because she was loyal to a fault, would do anything and everything he asked without questioning. That was all.
Never mind that she worried about him every day for two years.
She knew her label in the categories of his mind: trusted pathologist. It would never extend beyond that.
But there were always going to be those moments when she wanted so horribly to see some flicker of empathy in him and he would keep giving them to her, whether he meant to or not.
Such as she rare day she went in with the SOCO team on a homicide because they were short handed due to a sweep of influenza through the staff. The demand he made for her to be on the replacement team. The wind pulling at her banded hair on the rooftop of the twelve-story building as she crouched over the body.
The shaking of his gloved hand as he reached out with a small trowel to collect, standing less than a meter from the ledge. The careful hand she placed over his to help steady him when no one was looking.
The blank, furrowed look he gave her.
He didn't understand and he probably never would.
She wondered how long she would continue to sacrifice her feelings, pushing for an emotional transfusion than would likely never take.
He squeezed her hand back, almost robotic.
For as long as she could stand it. Until it broke her.