What Do You Need?
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock.
4:15AM was a time when the lab at St. Bart's was usually empty, unless Doctor Molly Hooper was running samples, so she was startled to see a sickeningly thin man pacing around the length of the lab, hands wildly tousling his curls as he muttered rapidly beneath his breath. His clothes were dirty, old jeans and a gray shirt that could have passed off as white previously.
Molly stared wide eyed for a moment, trying to determine who this man was. She was new to the hospital, having only worked there just a few days, and seeing someone who obviously wasn't in the right state of mind in the lab frightened her a bit. "Erm…hello? Can I help you?"
The man spun around and looked at her, his wild cerulean eyes moving rapidly over her, and Molly suddenly felt naked and vulnerable beneath his gaze.
And that's when she realized this must be Sherlock Holmes, the "Consulting Detective" Mike Stamford warned her about.
It only took her a moment longer to realize he was under the influence of some type of narcotic. Without meaning to, her eyes swept over his pale exposed arms and saw them riddled with needle marks. She swallowed thickly and raised her eyes to his gaze again. He was scowling at her.
"I—umm—what do you need?" she asked, taking a step towards him. If this brilliant man who helped the New Scotland Yard solve crimes was a junkie as well, he couldn't possibly be as dangerous as he looked.
She blinked rapidly when he was suddenly in front of her, his hands gripping her forearms tightly. "It's too loud! All of this is too loud. Can't sleep. Can't think. Can't get it to stop!" He shook her for emphasis and Molly squeaked in alarm, knowing her arms were going to bruise with the force he was gripping her.
He was breathing rapidly, his nostrils flaring. Molly could pick up the low sound of humming machinery in the lab, and she looked around for a moment. "My office. It's umm…it's quiet. Right by the morgue. A bit chilly. But you can think or sleep or what have you in there."
Sherlock stared at her, calculatingly before letting go of her and tilting his head. "Lead the way, Doctor Hooper."
"Oh!" Molly squeaked. "How did you…?"
Sherlock flashed perfectly white teeth at her then leaned forward and flicked her name badge that was clipped to her lab coat. She blushed furiously and spun on her heel, striding out of the lab with as much dignity as she could.
The walk to her office was uneventful, and Molly unlocked the door before stepping in, not turning on the overhead light. She walked towards a lamp, only bumping into one shelf and her desk; she wasn't entirely used to her new space, and turned on the small lamp, casting her office in a much softer light.
"I have a little sofa," she said, pointing to the sad excuse for furniture along one wall. "But you're a bit tall. I have a pillow and blanket…" she quickly got the mentioned items and handed them to Sherlock. "Just umm…if you leave, if you could turn off the light and lock the door behind you?" She took a few steps back and then nearly ran from her office, closing the door behind her.
A few hours later, when Molly was finishing up the last of the stitches of her final postmortem of the day, the doors to the morgue opened. She glanced up, expecting Mike Stamford to be admonishing her for working well past the end of her shift, and she was surprised to see Sherlock standing with his hands clasped behind his back. He looked a little well rested and a lot less high.
Her mouth quirked up in a smile and she raised the protective shield covering her face. "Did you rest well?" she asked politely.
He ignored her question entirely, his eyes flickering toward the man who was currently on her table. "Heart attack," he stated.
Molly nodded her head, looking back at the man. "Yeah, poor man. He was getting ready for his granddaughter's birthday party. I heard he was a nice bloke." She returned her gaze to Sherlock, once again under his shrewd gaze. "But you didn't need to know that." She shook her head, annoyed that she was so flustered around this man. She fidgeted when his gaze didn't waver, and in fact was staring at her arms. Molly glanced down to see the dark purple bruises marring her skin. She was about to comment that she bruises like a peach and he shouldn't be worried.
But then she realized she was alone.
It was a week later that Molly heard Mike Stamford talking to Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade while she was preparing to show him a body.
Evidently, Sherlock Holmes finally checked into rehab.
Two days working as Sherlock Holmes's pseudo assistant on top of her duties as a pathologist at St. Bart's hospital was exhausting, but she knew she was helping dissolve a horrendous child kidnapping ring and her work was beneficial for the families missing children.
She had been running between working in the lab and performing autopsies for most of the second day, trying to ignore the exhaustion that was dragging her down. She had a gut feeling that Sherlock was close to some kind of epiphany or break in the case, and she had to do her best to help him get there.
"You've worked here six months."
The sudden voice startled Molly so much that she dropped the file she had been holding. How long have I been standing here? Did I fall asleep? Molly turned sluggishly and looked at Sherlock, hoping she didn't look as tired as she felt. "Y-yes?"
His eyes swept over her, and Molly visibly shrank away from his gaze. She hated getting deduced by him when he was sleep deprived, working on a tough case, or bored. He sometimes unintentionally said not so nice things. He moved his hand, as if dismissing either her or the thought he was thinking.
Molly bent down and quickly gathered the papers that fell from the file and shuffled the papers until they were in order again. Then she looked at Sherlock and saw that he looked just as tired as she felt. She would even bet money that he hadn't slept in almost as long—probably longer—than she had. But she knew she couldn't persuade him to have a kip in her office. That happened once, and she was sure it was a one-off. Instead, she said, "Coffee? I can get you a cuppa. How do you take it?"
Sherlock's exhausted eyes suddenly brightened. Molly thought it was the prospect of coffee that woke him up, but then she saw his eyes get that faraway glazed look, and she knew he was suddenly in his head, sorting data. A Mind Palace is what he calls it, I think.
And then his hands were on her shoulders and he shook her once. "Coffee! Brilliant! That's how they've been taking the children! Of course! How did I not see it before?!" He grabbed his phone from his pocket and rapidly began texting as Molly just stared at him dumbly.
Then he dashed from the lab. Molly stared after him blankly.
Then he popped his head back into the room. "Black, two sugars. I'll be in your office." He winked at her and left, leaving Molly flushed and with a file laying at her feet, paperwork spread around her once again.
With over eight million people in London, the likelihood of running into someone unexpectedly while out doing your weekly shopping was pretty unlikely.
But Molly found herself in the unique situation of trying to hail a cab while her hands were laden with bags and suddenly being in view of two men running at full speed through the crowded street. Her eyes widened when she recognized Sherlock Holmes being the man chasing another man, dressed in all black.
She gasped when Sherlock lunged for the man, tackling him to the ground. Then ensued a scuffle where Molly winced and flinched away as the man who was getting chased by Sherlock fought tooth and nail to escape.
She was relieved when a dark skinned woman with curly hair came upon them with a gun drawn. She must have been a police officer.
Giving up on hailing a cab, Molly shuffled towards Sherlock, who was disentangled from the assailant and was sitting on the steps of someone's flat. The man he was chasing was handcuffed and being led away from the scene.
"Oh…umm…could you use some help, Sherlock?" she asked tentatively.
Sherlock's head swung towards Molly, and she winced at his bloodied lip. It took her only a few seconds to see that he tore his suit trousers and his knee was bleeding and his lip took some damage. He eyed Molly first with wide eyes, surprised that she was there, and then narrowed. "Unless you have a first aid kit with your shopping, I'll just wait for the ambulance that I'm sure Lestrade already called."
"Actually…" Molly said with a giggle, placing her bags at her feet and then kneeling down at Sherlock's side. "I had to replace mine because of water damage from a leaking pipe." She riffled through her bags until she found the kit she just purchased. She tore off the plastic encasing the hard white case and then opened it.
Molly found it easier to not be so shy around Sherlock when she was performing doctoral duties. She easily took a cold pack and cracked it open before carefully unraveling the royal blue scarf around her neck and wrapping the cold pack in it. She then handed it to him. "For your lip," she prompted, watching as he placed the pack against his mouth. Then Molly examined his trousers. She was certain he wasn't going to attempt to repair them; since he was released from rehab, he dressed impeccably in suits and she assumed he had hundreds of tailored trousers. She reached into one of her other bags and removed a new pair of kitchen shears. After struggling with the packaging for just a moment, she was able to take them out and cut off the leg of his trousers.
Sherlock didn't say a word, only hissing slightly as Molly cleaned the bloodied knee and then put a plaster on it. "Anywhere else?" she asked, looking up at him.
"No," Sherlock said stiffly. Molly quickly scrambled to her feet, chewing on her bottom lip.
"Doctor Hooper? What are you doing here?"
Molly turned to see Lestrade striding towards them, his expression confused. She smiled at the kind detective inspector. "Oh, I just ran into Sherlock and decided to help him out a bit."
"You didn't have to," Sherlock growled, standing up, the torn remnants of his trousers clutched in his hand.
"It's what friends do, right?" Molly said brightly, smiling at Sherlock.
"I don't have friends," Sherlock snapped, nodding his head once at Lestrade and stepping away from them, hailing a cab almost immediately.
"Oh…" Molly said, her smile quickly falling and a frown gracing her features. She heard Lestrade sigh beside her, and she quickly removed any look of hurt from her face and turned to him. "I've got to get home before my ice cream melts." She gathered the bags in her hands and sent him one last smile before dashing away, going straight to the closest tube station, thankful that she had her Oyster Card on her.
The next time Molly saw Sherlock Holmes, she was working in the lab, carefully examining a computer screen that held the results from the samples she just tested. She was jotting down notes on her clipboard when she heard someone clear their throat.
She and Sherlock had a system. If she was working diligently and writing, she would tilt her head in acknowledgement, finish what she was doing, and then help him with whatever he needed. So she did just that, and he waited patiently for her to finish what she was doing. She placed her clipboard on the table and smiled at him. "What can I do for you?"
"Here," he said, thrusting the royal blue scarf she leant to him all those weeks ago in her direction. "My landlady was able to remove the blood stain from it." She blushed but shook her head.
"Go ahead and keep it. I have hundreds of scarves at home, and I've never seen you with one. It'll help keep your neck warm in that great big coat of yours." As she was leaving the lab, she saw Sherlock frozen in place, which was odd. She paused by the door, looking at the back of his head. "Anyway, you have a landlady now? Does that mean you finally found a flatmate?" She remembered him complaining a few months previous that he was looking for a place to stay because he was tired of living with his brother, whom he had been staying with for over two years since he was released from rehab.
Sherlock turned slowly, his face still looking contemplative. "No flatmate. Mrs. Hudson owes me a favor, so she's allowing me to stay in her flat with a reduced price until I find someone who is willing to share with me. I've been there two weeks."
"That's good! Well, I'll keep my ears open for anyone looking for a flatmate! If you need me, I'll be in my office. I have a bit of paperwork to finish up."
Toby, the mild mannered tabby, never yowled in the middle of the night, which woke Molly with a start. She quickly jumped out of bed, slid on her glasses, and wrapped herself in her dressing gown before padding out of her bedroom to investigate. She froze in her living room when she saw Sherlock Holmes sitting on her couch as if he owned it, files, books, and papers spread out around him.
"Sherlock?" she asked, stepping closer to the couch. "How'd yet get in here? How do you know where I live? Why are you here? Did you hurt my cat?" She frantically scanned the living room to see why her cat was crying so insistently.
She saw Toby beneath a plastic crate; one Sherlock must've brought to carry his things in.
"I broke your flat. By the way, you should have your landlord replace your locks. Anyone could get in here." He briefly glanced up from the papers he was studying at Molly. She flushed beneath his gaze and chewed on her bottom lip. Why didn't I put on trousers?! Sherlock returned his gaze to his papers. "I expected your cat to be afraid of strangers. He wouldn't leave me alone, but don't worry. Your precious pet has not been harmed."
Molly wanted to be angry that Sherlock broke into her flat and trapped her cat beneath a crate, but she just sighed tiredly. He had been invading her life at work for several years now, she was actually expecting him to break into her flat a long time ago.
"Tea?" Molly offered, knowing she wouldn't be getting much sleep for the rest of the night knowing that the man was in her flat unsupervised. She had a feeling he would deduce her to shreds before the end of the evening.
"Coffee if you have it, black—"
"Black, two sugars," Molly interrupted, going into her kitchen. "I've been making your coffee for three years, I know how you take it," she grumbled beneath her breath. She worked quietly in her kitchen to make his coffee, not wanting to disturb whatever he was doing.
When she brought him the steaming mug, he took it, setting aside the papers. "As for why I'm here," he said, as if there was never a break in their conversation, "My flatmate was entertaining his girlfriend of the week quite vocally, under the impression that I was not home."
"Oh…" Molly breathed, sighing. "I know what that's like…" She sat down in an armchair and folded her hands in her lap. "My flat—if you ever need a place, I'm always open." She glared at her hands, wishing she could say what she wanted to say without saying anything embarrassing. "I mean…if he has a guest again, you can come here. No matter the time. Just…if Toby is bothering you, put him in my bedroom, even if I'm sleeping. I'm used to his affectionate ways anyway. It doesn't bother me."
Sherlock stared at her, his brow furrowed, as if he was surprised by her words. She smiled at him even though her cheeks were blazing and she stood up. She couldn't spend another minute alone with him in her sitting room while wearing just a t-shirt and a dressing gown unless she wanted to self-combust in embarrassment. She crossed the room quickly and released her cat, gathering him up in her arms. "Help yourself to anything, Sherlock. Goodnight."
And with that, she dashed to her bedroom, closing her bedroom door behind her.
"What do you need?"
Molly couldn't stop replaying the conversation in her head as she keyed herself into her flat, careful to act normal as she slipped inside.
When Toby didn't meet her at the door rubbing against her feet, she knew that Sherlock Holmes was in her flat and the cat was preoccupied with the stranger. Her eyes glanced to her living room and she didn't see him. She stepped into her kitchen, and her eyes widened at the sight of Sherlock slumped in a chair at her table and his brother, Mycroft Holmes, was leaning against the counter. Neither man was speaking, but Molly could see that Sherlock was in a great deal of pain and Mycroft was concerned.
The Holmes men, evidently, couldn't hide their emotions all of the time.
"Mycroft, help me get him into the bathroom. I've got to wash all that blood off of him before I can check his injuries."
Mycroft was able to heave Sherlock to his feet without Molly's help, and she led the way into her small bathroom. She quickly turned on the taps and removed the showerhead from its holder and turned it on. She watched as Mycroft helped Sherlock stand on his own. He stood unsteadily on his feet in the cramped space, and didn't even flinch as Molly began undressing him. When his blood soaked clothes were discarded except for his pants, she carefully helped him into the tub.
Mycroft stepped out of the bathroom and into the hallway to give his little brother as much privacy as possible.
Molly washed Sherlock gently, her focus on making sure she didn't hurt him anymore. He still wasn't speaking, and she had a feeling that he was in a bit of shock, which was expected.
He just faked his death in front of his best friend. If that wasn't trauma, Molly wasn't sure what was.
When he was all clean and it looked like his wounds, which there weren't many and not too serious, were cleaned, she helped him out of the tub and dried him off with a towel. Mycroft poked his head into the bathroom once to hand her a maroon dressing gown. She helped him into it, tied tightly, and then helped him remove his wet pants.
"A lot of bruising on his lower back and buttocks, a few scrapes and cuts that aren't too worrisome, and three bruised ribs," Molly said to Mycroft's unasked questions as they stepped out of the bathroom. She lead the nearly catatonic Consulting Detective towards her sofa, but stopped when he gripped her arm tightly.
Before Molly knew it, her face was pressed against Sherlock's chest, his arms wrapped tightly around her. He was trembling and breathing shallowly, and she felt wetness in her hair, meaning the man who didn't believe in sentiment and that caring was a disadvantage was crying in her flat. Something inside Molly broke, and she wrapped her arms around him, returning his embrace as gently as she could. If she could, she would go back in time to the day she met Jim from IT and put a bullet between his eyes, without regret.
"I will return tomorrow evening," Mycroft said, before Molly heard him vacate her home.
There was silence for several long minutes, Sherlock's grip not loosening around her. As the minutes ticked by, Molly squeezed her eyes shut. Finally, Sherlock cleared his throat, but didn't let her go. "Thank you, Molly Hooper. You have saved my life once again."
"Again?" Molly asked, exhaling shakily.
"If you would not have offered your office to me all those years ago, I would have overdosed that night."
Molly pulled away from him, trying to get a good look at his face. She carefully wiped away his tears, secretly relieved to see the flush against his pale cheeks. "I thought you deleted that night."
He pursed his lips and frowned at her. He swept his hands over her arms, gently stroking the skin where the long faded bruises used to be. "You've always cared for me, from the very moment we met." He lowered his head until his forehead was resting against hers. "Forgive me."
"For what?" Molly asked shakily.
"I always suspected that your feelings towards me were not platonic, but then Christmas…" Molly flinched at the memory, remembering the hurtful words that he said to her. "I never realized how deeply your…affections were. You would do anything for me."
Sherlock refused to open his eyes. "If I survive this case...if you still feel the same, I would like to…"
"Shh…" Molly shushed him quietly. "When you get back, no matter how long you're gone, I'll be waiting."
The lab was cold, colder than usual, and Sherlock noted the temperature difference, unwilling to take off his Belstaff as he settled onto his favorite stool in front of his microscope. Before readjusting the microscope, he glanced at John who settled beside him, flicking through the book-turned-cypher.
The case was hardly a three, someone kidnapped a man's precious pooch (that was the title of John's next blog entry), but not a lot of work was coming their way since his return two weeks prior, so he was taking any case he could. Mycroft was able to clear his name, but it was taking a lot of time for the public to trust the Consulting Detective again; it seemed James Moriarty's plan at ruining his name wasn't that easy to clean up.
"What are we doing here?"
"I'm looking at the substance that was found on the cover of the book. I cannot identify it, but Molly should be able to do it."
John made a noise in agreement before closing the book and pushing it to the side. From the corner of his eye, Sherlock could see John typing away at his phone, organizing his case notes. He smirked to himself and lowered his gaze back to the microscope; he wouldn't admit it to many people, but he truly missed working with John Watson.
Thankfully Mary Morstan was very supportive of the work and only insisted that John be able to contact her at least once a day to let her know how he was doing.
The door to the lab opened and from the shuffling footsteps, Sherlock deduced that Molly was back—and with a quick glance at his watch—twelve minutes earlier than he expected. "Hello Sherlock, John," she said softly, picking up a dirty beaker and moving to the sink to properly wash it.
"Hello Molly!" John said brightly.
"Molly…" Sherlock said softly, looking up from his microscope. His sample could wait. He watched as Molly turned, a tight forced smile on her lips. Sherlock frowned when he caught sight of her expression.
"You haven't been home in one—no, two days, from the state of your hair and fingernails. Someone just ran into you and spilt their scalding tea on your chest, which is why you're wearing your scrubs instead of your usual attire. You should be home by now, but you have a disciplinary meeting in one hour concerning your participation in my death. And Toby got sick all over your favorite shoes." He chose not to mention that she hadn't been sleeping due to nightmares. He couldn't deduce what the dreams were about though.
John shifted in his seat and grimaced but didn't say anything. Molly just nodded her head, her shoulders rising as if she could curl into herself. "You didn't miss anything," she whispered, before turning back to her task at hand. "What is it you need me to identify? You weren't very clear in your text message."
Sherlock didn't respond.
Molly waited a beat before glancing over shoulder and seeing John glaring at Sherlock and Sherlock staring at his microscope, his brow furrowed and his lips turned down in a frown. With a sigh, Molly returned her attention to the beaker before giving up and setting it aside.
She turned around expecting to see Sherlock and John sitting in their same places, but was startled when she got a face full of Belstaff and Sherlock's soap. Without prompting, Sherlock wrapped his arms around her tightly and lowered his head until it was resting on top of hers. Memories of their first and only hug flashed through Molly's mind. "I'm here," he murmured.
"What do you need?" he reiterated, tightening his hold on her.
Molly took a shuddering breath and rested her head on his chest, squeezing her eyes shut. She slipped her arms around Sherlock's slim waist, getting enveloped in his big coat. She tried to regulate her breathing as a lump formed in her throat and tears burned her eyes and nose.
When Molly began to cry softly and Sherlock began rocking back and forth ever so slightly, John slipped out of the lab, giving the two their much needed privacy.
Sherlock waited until Molly was just sniffling and rubbing at her eyes before he began to speak. "I apologize for the unnecessary stress you are enduring. Your anxiety over your disciplinary hearing and your sleep deprivation is my fault. If it is any consolation, your probation and reduction in pay will end and the hospital will reimburse you in the money you've lost. Also, Toby ate his treats and cat food this morning which is why he was sick. You no longer have to worry about him." He carefully pulled away from her. "In addition," he added, resting his forehead against hers. "I need your assistance at Angelo's this evening for dinner. John and I should have the case solved before the end of the day and we always eat out after important cases."
"Won't John want to eat with you alone? It's your first case together since the fall after all."
"He'll understand. And we're eating without him." Molly tried not to giggle as Sherlock narrowed his eyes. "Friends typically don't tag along on dates, correct?"
Molly nodded her head once before closing her eyes, refraining from mentioning all of John's dates Sherlock intruded on prior to the fall. She felt Sherlock pull away and then the barest of brushes of lips against her forehead before he slowly unwrapped his arms from around her. "John has been waiting outside the door."
"Of course, tell him to come in," Molly said, clearing her throat. "I've got to stop in the ladies, and then I'll have a look at that sample."
With one last look at Molly, Sherlock moved back to his microscope and listened as Molly scurried from the lab, squeaking something to John, and then disappearing down the hall. John returned a moment later, and even if Sherlock wanted to hide his grin from his best friend, he couldn't because after years of Molly Hooper helping him, he was finally able to return the favor.
A/N: First of all... I FORGOT TO MENTION I CHANGED MY PEN NAME! I used to be BobBennit, but now I'm jankmusic! So...there's that. Anyway, thank you for reading! This little monster has been brewing for maybe three months, and I finally wrote it out! So yay!
Also...I suddenly developed the headcanon that Molly gave Sherlock that blue scarf. Because that's great and junk.
Thank you for reading! :)