Title: The Caregiver
Characters: Molly, Sherlock, John, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson
Warnings/Triggers: injuries, someone being attacked
Spoilers: The Reichenbach Fall
Word Count 3, 453
Summary: Four times Molly Hooper looked after someone, and one time they all looked after her.
Author's notes: Someone gets assaulted in this section, and though it's not graphic, serious, or terribly traumatic, it might be triggering to some people.
Three Months After The Return
Molly woke up on an autopsy table in the mortuary. She wasn't entirely sure what she was doing there, but she knew very much that she did not want to be there.
"Don't cut me open!" she cried. Her words sounded mumbled to her. "I'm not dead!"
John's face appeared above her, and a hand touched her arm in reassurance."It's okay, Molly," he told her. She tried to sit up, but the hand moved to her shoulder and held her down. "Whoa, slow down. You've had a blow to the head. Stay still until I've cleared you."
"Stop moving your feet," Sherlock's voice ordered from the end of the table."I'm trying to swab your shoes."
"Sorry," she muttered. She had no idea what was going on.
"Any double vision?" John asked.
"No," she said.
He flashed a penlight torch in and out of her eyes, leaning in close to take a look. "Your pupils are fine," he said. "Nausea?"
"I don't think so," she said.
"Okay, let's try sitting you up," he said. "If you get dizzy let me know."
"Sherlock's trying to swab my feet," she said.
Sherlock's face appeared above her. "I'm done. Move as you will," he told her, then disappeared again.
John put an arm behind her shoulders and helped her sit up. The room spun briefly, but righted itself once she was fully upright. She told John this and he fussed around, probing at her head a little and making her follow his finger with her eyes and tell him her name and where she was. He nodded with satisfaction after she was done and declared her to be fine for the moment, but to let him know immediately if she felt worse.
"I think I have this right," Lestrade said, entering the mortuary. He had an ice pack in his hand. "I broke it and it's cold, so it must be working." He smiled at Molly and handed her the pack. "Glad you're awake. You were very brave."
Molly put the pack to the large goose egg on her head. "I was?" she asked. "I don't quite remember..." She noticed a man unconscious in the corner of the mortuary. He was bloody and bruised. "Oh my goodness."
John and Lestrade followed her gaze. "Yeah," John said. "He was a bit slow after the blow you gave him. He didn't make it out with the others. Sherlock saw you and went a bit...ballistic on him."
Everyone turned to look at Sherlock, who was looking down at the screen of his mobile. He looked up and made a face. "He needed to be apprehended. I apprehended him," he said, matter-of-factly.
"You tried to stuff him in one of the drawers," Lestrade said, pointing to the cold chamber.
"He was being difficult, I was restraining him," Sherlock said. He turned his back to them with a sniff.
Molly tried to put together the pieces of the story. She remembered the men coming in and trying to take the corpse she was preparing for autopsy. She was going to let them – she had no desire to be brave—but they were nervous and one of them attacked her even as she was cooperating.
"Did I hit him with a metal basin?" she asked.
"Yeah. Good blow, too," Lestrade said, approvingly. "Sherlock brought up the security feed, so we saw what happened. They got away with the corpse, but this fellow was too disorientated to keep up and he was on his way out when we were on our way in."
"How did I get up here?" she asked.
"They put you up here," John said. "I don't know why. One them caught you after the other one knocked you out. They looked a bit...disorganized."
"Why would someone steal a corpse?" Molly wondered. 'That's never happened to me before."
"It's something new," Sherlock said, coming back over to join them. He looked thrilled. "We need to get going." His eyes flicked to Molly, as if seeing if she was okay, and then back to John. "Now."
"We can't leave her here, Sherlock," John objected.
"I'm fine," she said, quickly. "You should go. You don't want to let them get too far of a head start."
"You were just knocked unconscious, Molls," John said. "You need to be watched. Maybe one of the nurses or something..."
"I'm fine," she insisted. "The hospital is really full tonight. I don't want to bother anyone. I promise I won't collapse or anything."
"Molly, we are not going to leave you here unattended," Sherlock snapped, surprising everyone with the force of the statement. Lestrade gaped at him."John will fuss and be of no use to me." Lestrade nodded as though it all suddenly made sense. "Can't you spare a constable or someone?"
"We're mental tonight," Lestrade said, with an apologetic smile to Molly. "The whole city's gone mad. The calls are coming in non-stop. This is the third crime I've been called to in the last six hours, not including the one you dragged me into."
"I'll ring Mrs Hudson," John said. "Maybe she could keep an eye on her."
"Oh no," Molly objected. "Really. I'm fine."
Sherlock silenced her with a gesture and nodded toward John, who walked away to make the call.
"Should you maybe...help him?" Molly asked, looking over at the man Sherlock had knocked out. He hadn't moved at all since she'd woken up.
"No," Sherlock said, with a cold glare toward the man.
"I guess I should probably let someone know about it," Lestrade agreed, looking about as pleased about it as Sherlock. He pulled his phone out and went to the opposite corner from John.
"When do you learn to duck and move like that?" Sherlock asked her. "On the video, you were doing textbook evasive manoeuvres."
Molly blushed. "I-I did some self-defence classes after...you died," she said. She never knew how to refer to that particular period. "After everything that happened...I-I thought I might need it someday."
Sherlock frowned. "You felt unsafe?" he said, clearly making a guess at her state of mind.
"Yeah, a-a little," she said. "I didn't want to learn how to hurt someone. Just protect myself. I guess I didn't do too badly?"
"You handled yourself well," he said. He looked down at his mobile to mumble the next part in a quick voice, "It's unfortunate that you felt the need to acquire those skills."
Molly poked him in the shoulder in a friendly manner, knowing that responding would make things worse for him. He looked back up with an annoyed expression and she smiled at him. His lips twitched in response, but his face went neutral as John returned to the table.
"Mrs H is 'happy to help, dear'," he said. "I've given her the instructions on what she needs to look out for. You know, too, Molly. Dizziness, nausea, confusion, slurred speech, sluggish pupils, that sort of thing. You're orientated and you don't have post-traumatic amnesia. You weren't out that long, your GCS is 15, so I don't think you need a CT, but I want you ringing for an ambulance the moment anything changes."
"Yes, sir," Molly said, matching his serious, military tone.
John laughed. "Sorry," he said. "Force of habit. I will be checking on you, though." Molly nodded in acceptance. "Yes, I see you looking at your watch, Sherlock. Don't be passive-aggressive. I'm coming."
"Feel better," Sherlock said, toward the door of the mortuary. Molly assumed he was speaking to her, but she didn't know for sure. He was gone before she could ask.
"I'll give her a lift over," Lestrade said, coming back to join John and Molly."You go corral Sherlock. I'll be along after she's settled."
John gave her a pat on the shoulder and followed Sherlock out of the room.
"You good to walk?" Lestrade asked her.
"I think so," she said.
"We'll go slowly. I'm going to help you down," he said. He put his hands on her hips and kept her steady as she jumped from the table. She fell forward into his chest, not because she was dizzy but because she was Molly Hooper and her limbs often didn't do what she wanted them to at the best of times.
"Whoops," she said, with an embarrassed giggle. "Sorry. That's just me being clumsy. I'm fine."
He let her go, hands hovering in case she fell, but she took a few steps in demonstration and he relaxed. A few constables entered the mortuary and Lestrade handed the scene over to them.
"I suppose I'll need a witness statement at some point," he said. "But I'd rather you rest and come in tomorrow, when you're feeling better. Unless you'd rather do it now."
"Erm, whatever is easiest for you?" she said. "I'm still a little fuzzy. Maybe in the morning it'll be clearer."
He smiled and nodded. "Rest it is," he said. He led her out to the car, one hand hovering just behind her back, ready to step in if she stumbled.
He opened the car door for her and and put his hand on the top of her head, before removing it abruptly. "Sorry, too used to putting criminals in here," he said, with a laugh. "Just mind your head."
Molly smiled and slid into the front seat. He went around to the driver's side and started off toward Baker Street.
"I've never been in a police car before," she commented.
Lestrade grinned. "That doesn't surprise me," he said. "I could have put you in the back if you wanted the full experience. Shall I put on the siren?"
"No, no!" she said, laughing. "It's okay. I don't think the sound would help my headache, either."
"I don't even notice it anymore," Lestrade said. "My ex used to say she could always tell when I'd been on a raid, because I'd be shouting to hear myself over the sirens, even though they weren't there anymore."
The radio crackled and the dispatcher reported a robbery in a series of slang and codes that Molly couldn't follow.
"Not my manor," Lestrade said, after he'd listened. "S'apparently mad all over tonight. It's a full moon. That's when all the nutters come out."
"Sherlock keeps insisting there's no correlation between a full moon and odd behaviour," Molly said. "But I swear the mortuary is always jammed when it's a full moon and most of the causes of death are really weird."
"I've been a copper for... well, a long time, and I've never had anyone steal a corpse out of mortuary before," Lestrade said. "I've had a couple stolen from crime scenes and a few stolen from graves, but never in the middle of an autopsy."
"I guess that's reassuring," Molly said. "I mean, that it probably won't happen again. But all I can think is that it would be me who was working the night it happened."
Lestrade shot her a sympathetic smile. "I think it's Sherlock, actually," he said. "I think it's him that attracts the weirdness and we get dragged along.
Things weren't nearly as odd when he was... gone." Molly nodded an agreement. Life wasn't as exciting when Sherlock wasn't around. She'd never been able to decide if that was a good thing or not. "How're you managing, by the way? With him being back? I suppose it's not as weird for you, since you knew all along..."
Molly ducked her head. Everyone—eventually—had forgiven her for her deception, but she still felt awful about it, no matter how necessary it had been. "I'm fine," she said. "But I still sort of jump when he comes through the door. I really had to pretend and sometimes I forgot that it wasn't real."
"You fooled us all," Lestrade said. At the look on her face, he quickly added, "not a criticism! I get it. I get it now. Why you had to do it. It was pretty brave, really."
Molly smiled a little. "It was hard," she said. "And I'm glad it's over now."
He nodded an agreement and they moved onto happier subjects. It wasn't a long drive from Barts to 221B and Mrs Hudson was waiting for them when they arrived, already fussing about Molly before she made it through the door.
"You poor thing!" she cooed, wrapping her arm around Molly's shoulder and escorting her into her flat. "What a fright you must have had! We'll get you properly settled in here."
Lestrade waited around until he seemed to be satisfied that Molly was in safe hands. He bid her goodbye and wished her well, reminding her to ice her head. Mrs Hudson continued to fuss until Molly found herself curled up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea and a dose of paracetamol in her.
It wasn't often that Molly was fussed over and she didn't particularly enjoy it now, per se, but it was very comforting to have someone looking after her when she wasn't feeling well.
"Now, I think one of my nighties should fit you," Mrs Hudson declared, giving Molly a once over. "You're a wee thing, like me. I'll get you one. Will you be all right on the couch? Both Sherlock and John have kipped there when they weren't up to the stairs and said it was quite comfortable. Sherlock even slept, bless him! But I can give you my bed if you think you'd be more comfortable..."
"No!" Molly objected. "No! I don't want to take your bed, Mrs H, thank you. I'll be just fine here."
Mrs Hudson didn't look entirely convinced, but went about gathering things for Molly. She found her a nightdress that fit well enough and showed her to the loo to get cleaned up and gave her a hairbrush to get some of the knots out.
Molly settled in on the couch. She received an affectionate kiss on the forehead from Mrs Hudson, and an order to wake her up if she needed anything. Then Molly went to sleep, hoping tomorrow would be a better day.
There was a soft voice calling her name and a hand on her shoulder. She woke up to find John crouched by the sofa. She was confused as to where she was and mildly alarmed to find John Watson next to her when she woke up, but remembered what was going on after a moment or two.
"S'it morning?" she mumbled.
"No, well, yes, it's about three," John said. "Sorry to wake you. I just wanted to see how you were, make sure I could rouse you and that you weren't disorientated. I'll let you get back to sleep in a minute or so. I just want to check you out. Follow my finger?"
Molly did so. "Did you catch the bad guys?" she asked, still a bit stunned.
John smiled. "Almost," he said. "Sherlock's on the trail. He's gone back to Barts to run his tests. I stopped in to get a few things for him from his stash. How's your headache?"
"S'okay," Molly said. "Mrs Hudson gave me some painkillers. It's just a bit throbby now. I don't feel sick to my stomach or anything. Just a bit... yucky."
"Yucky is normal," John said. "I'm not worried about yucky."
"Should I come in?' Molly asked. "Do you need help? I can help."
"No you can't," John said, firmly. "You're going to go back to sleep. We'll be fine."
Molly didn't put up much of a fight. The thought of dragging herself out to Barts at this hour was daunting. John did a couple more tests and then pulled her blanket back up over her and let her get back to sleep.
When she woke up again, it was to the sound of feet pounding down stairs. The sun was streaming through the windows. She sat up carefully and was relieved to find she was no longer light-headed. She still had a headache, but she felt less wobbly than before.
"Hello?" she called, looking around for Mrs Hudson.
"Yes?" Sherlock said, from the hallway.
He appeared in the doorway and looked her over. She pulled her blanket up over her chest, not terribly thrilled for him to see her in a nightdress—an old lady nightdress at that.
"Sorry," she said. "I just woke up."
"You don't need to apologize for waking up," Sherlock said.
"Right, I just meant I was sorry to bother you," she clarified.
"If I were bothered, I would have ignored you," he said. "What do you need? You wouldn't have called out if you didn't need something."
"Nothing, I don't need anything," she said.
Sherlock made a gesture he often did when in conversation with her; when they'd reached the point where they were talking at such cross purposes that it wasn't worth trying to continue. It was sort of sweeping motion, as though he were hurrying her along or brushing her away. She attempted to untangle the threads of the conversation.
"I was just wondering if someone was here," she said. "That's all. You don't need to bother with me."
"We've established I'm not bothered, but I am reaching that point," Sherlock said. "John says you seemed fine when he last checked. Are you still fine?"
"Yes, I'm much better," she said.
He nodded. "I have apprehended those responsible, but we haven't recovered the corpse yet," he said. "I came home for a change of clothes. Mrs Hudson is upstairs, I can retrieve her."
"No, don't bother her," Molly said.
Sherlock made a pained noise in his throat. She apologized. He made the same sound.
"What time is it?" she asked.
"9:34," he said.
"Oh, no! I should be at work!" Molly said, standing up abruptly. The world went rather lopsided and she found herself in Sherlock's arms.
"If you apologize again, I will drop you," he warned, setting her on her feet. "I doubt very much they'll expect you in after what happened. I wouldn't worry. You should stay home and rest, or whatever you're supposed to do."
"I suppose so," Molly agreed.
"Ahem," John said.
Molly and Sherlock looked over, Molly belatedly realizing she still had Sherlock's arms around her. "I fell over," she said.
"I see," John said.
Sherlock dropped his arms and stepped back as John came over to examine her.
"I rang in for you," John said, while he worked. Molly followed his finger without being asked. "If you need a doctor's note, I'll write you one."
"Thank you," Molly said. "I guess I'll just go home, then."
"If you hurry, you can share my cab. I'll be passing by your flat," Sherlock said. "You have two minutes."
He left, bellowing up the stairs to see if Mrs Hudson had found his opisometer yet, and she called back down that it would be easier to find if she knew what it was, dear.
Molly got dressed and placed herself at the front door. Sherlock returned, opisometer in hand, and they caught a cab outside. He was engrossed with his mobile, and she didn't even get a goodbye from him. She traipsed up to her flat and was greeted by Toby.
She crouched down to pet him."You will not believe what happened to me last night..."
Molly took the day to rest, aside from fielding phone calls from everyone checking in on her and telling her to rest. Lestrade stopped by to get her statement, and make sure she was all right. She had a hard time reassuring him that she was fine.
She probably could have taken another day, but she was worried that if she didn't go back to work, she wouldn't be able to go back to work. Once she was on her own, with plenty of time to think about what happened, she realized it had actually been quite scary. She was nervous about returning, which made her angry. She loved her job. She didn't want to be nervous about it. So, she went in the next morning before it escalated into something unmanageable.
She was working up the nerve to go in to the mortuary, taking a few deep breaths, when Sherlock approached her. His eyes went over her, quickly assessing her state. He nodded to himself.
"I'm okay," she said, answering the question he hadn't asked.
"Of course you are," Sherlock said, as though any other scenario was impossible. He waited a moment. "Aren't you going in?"
"Yes, right!" Molly said.
She pushed the door open and went in. It wasn't as scary with Sherlock there with her.
"I need you to pull out a body for me," Sherlock said. "I believe it's related to what happened. Greta Schneider."
Molly brought the file up on the computer, and located right cold chamber drawer. Sherlock kept her busy, and she was soon relaxed and comfortable in the environment again.
"Good, as I suspected," Sherlock said, when he was done.
Molly pushed the drawer closed. Sherlock texted something to John, and got ready to leave.
"Thank you," she said, on his way out.
He frowned. "I didn't do anything," he said.
"You stayed with me," Molly said.
"No, I didn't," he said.
She smiled. "Just say 'you're welcome'," she said.
"You're welcome?" he said.
She poked him in the shoulder, and he rolled his eyes and left. And she got back to work, knowing that she would be fine, and that if anything went wrong, she had a lot people who were willing to look after her.