Disclaimer: Yo. I still own nada.
Summary: Some days, Molly wonders about the career path she chose. Most days, she loves her job and everything that comes with it. And then there are days like today.
Authors Note: This one is dedicated to flavialikestodraw and coloradoandcolorado1, for reasons being that a) they're awesome b) it's a very belated birthday present to them both and c) because they are wonderful human beings who deserved to be loved unconditionally and ladies, I fucking love you unconditionally. I hope you two enjoy this! Likewise, I hope you all enjoy it!
Warnings: a couple of curse words, however; the major trigger being that there is a mention of a bus crash with young people and I know that this is a sensitive topic so I'm giving you all a head's up in advance. I don't go into anything graphic but it is there and it is referenced, so just letting you all know, in case this happens to be a trigger.
Reviews as always are ever so much and very very appreciated and any mistakes are mine and mine alone. Hope you all enjoy!
Be still in this unfolding life
If you forget the way to go
And lose where you came from
If no one is standing beside you
Be still and know I am
Be Still – The Fray
There are some days when Molly wonders about the career path she chose. There are some days that she wishes she opted to move to Cardiff with her brother and run the family bookshop. It would have saved her the years of medical school and it would have saved her the stress and thoughtless fear of never meeting the high standards her professors and colleagues placed on her shoulders.
(She thinks she could have been happy, behind a desk and surrounded with hundreds of books, waiting to be plucked off the shelf and carried, reverently out of the shop and read with careful fingertips turning the pages.)
But then she thinks that she wouldn't have been happy. Because despite the money her education cost and despite the stress and despite the late hours and the never-ending smell of decomposing bodies, Molly loves her job. She loves being a Pathologist. She loves putting together the final pieces of the puzzle that are often overlooked by others. She loves being able to cut a person open and find out how they died, approximately when they died and reading their lives from their internal organs and extremities.
(Some days, Molly wonders about the career path she chose. Most days, she loves her job and everything that comes with it. And then there are days like today.)
It's late when Doctor Saunier rushes into her office as she's finishing up paperwork and watching the clock with bated breath until she's finally able to go home and sleep. He's breathing hard and his eyes are wild, frazzled almost. "Molly." He wheezes out, clutching her doorframe. "We've got bodies coming in."
"What's happened?" She asks, as she pushes her chair away from her desk and ties her hair up in a ponytail.
He's hesitant, his old body weary and tired. "A bus," he starts off, "they were coming back from a school trip."
(Then and there Molly knows she's not going home tonight.)
There are at least a dozen bodies that come in. All ranging from thirteen to sixteen and two teachers. Molly scrubs her hands, her eyes glued to the window that looks into the morgue that is littered with body bags of people who've had their lives stolen from them.
Another Pathologist, David, bursts into the room and stares at the bodies with a defeated expression. "Christ." He says.
Doctor Saunier agrees and looks at two of them. "It's going to be a long night."
(Molly doesn't say anything.)
She once had a doctor tell her that it gets easier, showing next of kin the bodies of their loved ones. "As harsh as it sounds, it does get easier. You just start going through the motions, like it's an everyday thing."
Except six months into it and Molly still hadn't gotten used to it. She still hadn't gotten used to the cries and wails and pleas that are ripped from their throats. She still hadn't gotten used to denial and then the bone-crushing realization that the person on the slab is their loved one.
She went to Doctor Saunier, hesitantly knocking on his door and confiding in him that she doesn't think she's cut out to be a Pathologist for that exact reason.
"Was it Colin that told you that? Don't answer, I know it was. Molly…I've been a Pathologist for over forty years, even I'm still not used to it. I've seen you with the families, I've seen your compassion and dedication and I've seen first-hand the care you have for the bodies that come through that morgue. If anyone was meant to be a Pathologist, it's you, Doctor Hooper."
(She keeps telling herself this as family member after family member come in to identify their son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew, the list of possible familial relations is endless but it all ends the same, with tears, grief and shattered lives.)
When the last person leaves, their cries and keens echoing down the hall, and the last body is wheeled into the freezer, the door slamming shut, Molly leans against the counter and watches as Doctor Saunier and David do the same.
"Fuck." David curses, "I need a pint."
"It's ten in the morning." Doctor Saunier tells him.
"Don't care." David replies. "After the night we've had. We all need a pint."
(Molly declines and gingerly makes her way to the locker room to wash away the smell of death from her body.)
Her hair is wet and is trailing a path of water down her back as it cascades over her shoulders. She's changed into a pair of yoga pants and a jumper that she always keeps in her locker. She's sitting on the bench, legs spread, elbows on her knees and head in her hands, trying her best to breathe and not cry.
(She should be used to this by now. But she's not. God only knows she's not.)
Idly, she wonders how her brother is and how he's doing. She wonders about the bookstore and she wonders if she can get away for a couple of days, take the train into Cardiff and get lost in books, entering into a life she could have had, had she chosen a different path.
She hears the locker room door open and shut but she doesn't look up. She doesn't move, she's just so tired.
She grabs her phone and looks at her missed messages (there's ten of them and her heart clenches at the name that shows up eight of the ten times) and there are four missed calls with four voicemails. She should call back. She should message back, let them know that she's okay, that she's fine, but she'd be lying wouldn't she? Because she's not okay and she's not fine, because sometimes, sometimes, she wonders what the hell she's doing.
She sighs and looks up, her arm outstretched to shut her locker and pack her things to go home, when she catches a sight in the mirror. She jumps and then chokes out a strangled laugh (it's more like a sob.) "You really need to stop doing that." She tells him, her voice catching and breaking and she bows her head and wipes angrily at the tears that leak from the corners.
She can hear him shift closer to her, the sound of his shoes and the swish of his coat echoing in the (now empty) locker room. (She wishes that everything would stop echoing.) She feels the bench dip and she feels him sit next to her, his hands bracing himself on either side of him, his pinky finger pressing up against hers.
"You didn't come home last night." He says, his deep baritone voice resonating through her.
(She wonders when he stopped referring to it as 221B, or the flat and started referring to it as home. Either way, her heart skips a beat when she hears the word leave his mouth.)
"There was an accident." She explains, closing her eyes against the memories of the dead kids (and they were just that, kids. She can imagine them, one moment laughing and reminiscing about their trip, talking about things important to them and then the next moment, nothing. Just blinding pain and death enveloping them like a long lost friend.)
"I know." Silence reigns throughout the locker room.
She leans forward, back to her previous position, legs spread, elbows on knees and head cradled in her hands. "They were just kids." She tells him. "They were just kids."
His hand leaves her side and runs feather light touches down her spine. (She finds that he touches her as if she's made of glass, as if she's a puzzle that he's carefully and slowly putting together, relishing every new part of her that is exposed to him and only him.)
She turns her head and his blue eyes are staring at her intently, trying to figure out what she needs in this moment. (In every moment that they're together and she wants to tell him, wants to ask him, don't you know by now? All I need is you.)
He clears his throat, his hand burning through her damp jumper. He grasps at the tendrils of her hair and rolls it around his fingertips. "What do you need?" (She wants to laugh at the irony, she wants to laugh at the role reversal, but all she can do is take a deep shaky breath.)
"You." She tells him honestly, her voice hoarse with the raw truth. "Just you."
(She finally gives in and weeps when he opens his Belstaff coat and she wraps her arms around his waist, trying to bury her way into him. His hands grip her back just as tightly, grounding them to that bench, in the stingy locker room, in the hospital where everything began.)
Some days, Molly wonders about the career path she chose. Most days, she loves her job and everything that comes with it. And then there are days like today.
(She thinks though, as she climbs into bed, body and mind exhausted, and she curls around Sherlock's form, his hand running through her hair and tracing unknown shapes on her back, that she can get through days like today with nights like these.)
"Sherlock?" She mumbles, as sleep starts to overcome her, she feels his body hum in response, "you sent me eight messages and two voicemails." She lets out a breath and stretches her neck, blindly pressing a kiss to his jaw. "I love you too."
Happy extremely belated birthdays to flavialikestodraw and coloradoandcolorado1, both of whom are extremely awesome and really fantastic people. I hope you darlings enjoyed it!
This being said, a hug huge huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and has shown so much love that I sometimes don't know what to do with myself. You guys mean the world!
I am sorry if this story offends anyone, or if it triggers anything as I know that it may deal with some sensitive nature. Again, happy belated to the two awesome and very very talented people I have the priveldge and honor of knowing, flavialikestodraw and coloradoandcolorado1. I hope your days brought you much happiness and joy (and oodles of cake too!)
MAD LOVE AND RESPECT TO YOU ALL!