A/N: Hello again! This one's a bit rough around the edges. The idea came to me and wouldn't leave until I sat down and got it out. I may come back to it later to polish it, maybe add a bit more. Then again, it's meant to a bit a bit rough. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: If I owned Sherlock, I wouldn't be writing on . I'd be writing for the BBC. But then Sherlock would be cancelled because I'm no where near the genius that is the actual writers. Just playing :)
Sherlock rolled over, grumbling in his sleep. Something was waking him from his pleasant dreams. He couldn't remember what his dream had been about, but in his half conscious state, all he knew is that he desperately wanted to return to wherever his unconsciousness had taken him. But as he clinged to both the edge of his blanket and of dreamland, an unfamiliar scent wafted into his room, fully waking him up.
He sat up in bed, slowly blinking and looking around his room. Why would he be smelling pancakes right now? Logical reasoning would tell him, of course, that someone was simply cooking breakfast in his flat. But that's where logic ended. The only other inhabitant in the flat had about as much cooking prowess as a toddler. While John's fiance, Mary, was a notably good cook, she had point blank refused to step foot in the kitchen in 221B, claiming that Sherlock's experiments would most likely poison whatever meal she made. Sherlock didn't refute that claim.
Occasionally, Mrs. Hudson would cook for them, but she always made everything in her own kitchen downstairs and bring the food up. The delicious smell that wafted through his room was far too strong to be coming from her kitchen; it had to be coming from his own.
He glanced towards his bedroom door, noting with surprise that it was left open. Not fully, but just a few inches. That was suspicious; Sherlock always slept with his door shut tightly, even on the nights John stayed at Mary's. It was habit, and Sherlock did not change his habits easily. The only logical conclusion was that someone opened it while he slept. Most likely the same someone who was cooking in his kitchen.
It wasn't Mrs. Hudson. It couldn't be John. Who was it?
Warily, Sherlock rolled out of bed and reached for his dressing gown. Whoever this intruder was, they clearly didn't mean any harm. They already had had plenty of opportunities to do damage to him while he slept, and they certainly would not be cooking breakfast. He only felt the bare wood of the stool where he normally tossed his robe. Glancing around, he realized his dressing gown was no where to be found.
A slight feeling of dread filled him. The only other person to have removed and worn his gown... The Woman. Could she be the strange inhabitant in his kitchen?
As quickly as the thought came to him, he dismissed it. He was sure Irene Adler had many... skills; however, he could hardly see cooking or anything domestic being one of them.
He silently opened his bedroom fully, trodding quietly out in his soft sleeping shirt and trousers. He rounded the corner and peeked into the kitchen. He immediately recognized the chef and dressing gown thief.
She hadn't yet realized Sherlock stood there. She stood at the counter chopping fruit, quietly humming some tune to herself. She wore his dressing gown, and by his observations, little else. Her hair was braided to the side and was still slightly damp. Recently showered and wearing his clothes... she must have spent the night. Why would she have spent the night?
She caught Sherlock's form out of the corner of her eye and turned towards him. He expected her to jump, having been caught in a place where she didn't... shouldn't... belong. But as she smiled warmly at him, he felt that she did indeed belong there. She should.
"Morning, Sherlock," she said cheerfully, returning her gaze to the fruit in front of her. "Sleep well?"
He stood in his living room, staring into the kitchen, trying to piece together the site in front of him. Before he could accomplish any of that, something in the corner of his eye caught his attention. Resting on top of the mantle, where his skull was usually placed, was a stack of medical journals. Nothing regarding new technologies or practices in modern medicine, but about forensics, pathology, anatomy. A plush arm chair now sat across Sherlock's normal seat. The couch was different. There were new curtains on the windows. Nothing particularly feminine; the neutral colors still matched Sherlock's taste, but they were distinctly Molly.
For the first time, 221B felt... homey.
"I'm glad you're up," Molly continued, not noticing or ignoring the fact that Sherlock was acting oddly. "I was just about to make eggs. How would you like them?" She looked at him expectantly, waiting for his answer.
"Scrambled," he croaked, still not understanding why Molly was standing before him, making the two of them breakfast, wearing nothing but his dressing gown, in a flat that she had redecorated! He sat on his chair, wanting to enter his mind palace to recall how and why Molly was here, when something else on the mantle caught his attention. He stood up and grabbed the framed photo and looked at it closely.
It was John and Mary's wedding portrait.
But they're not married yet! his mind screamed at him. The picture in his hand told a very different story. John and Mary stood together, he in his tux and she in her gown, in front of a large oak tree. Molly stood beside Mary, holding a small bouquet, while Sherlock stood next to his best friend. Sherlock stared at the four smiling faces, his own included, not remembering when this was taken at all.
Another photo stood behind where the wedding picture was. It was in a smaller and unadorned frame, as if it was trying to hide. Replacing the wedding photo its original place, he gently grabbed the smaller picture and held it close.
It was a close up of Molly and Sherlock's faces, in front of what appeared to be the Eiffel Tower. In the picture, Molly grinned widely, while Sherlock had his lips pressed to her temple. They looked so happy, so content. He looked happy and content. More so than he ever remembered being.
"Can't believe it's been six months since then... seems like yesterday, doesn't it?" Molly approached his side, drying her hands with a towel as she looked at the picture in his hand. "Though I'd say we're due for another vacation soon. At least a long weekend getaway." She leaned up and kissed his cheek, then turned to finish preparing breakfast. "I still can't believe you insisted we follow John and Mary on their honeymoon!"
"I only wanted to make sure they stayed out of trouble," he countered. His brows knitted in confusion. He didn't remember the wedding or the vacation, how had he known that?
Molly only chuckled from across the room as she loaded two plates up with food. "Trouble is your middle name, Sherlock. They would have been fine without us. You're just afraid of being alone."
Alone? He never had to fear of being alone as long as Molly was by his side. He turned towards the kitchen to tell her so, but she wasn't there. She'd disappeared, as had the breakfast she had made. No trace of her presence was left. Instead, his beakers and experiments littered the table and surrounding counters. He looked towards the living room, but her chair, her couch, her curtains had all disappeared. Only his furniture remained... nothing of hers, and nothing of John's. The pictures on the mantle were no longer there. The only thing that remained was his skull.
You're just afraid of being alone.
The words echoed in his bare apartment. The bounced off the walls and through his own skull.
Alone is what I have. Alone protects me.
That used to be true. That used to be his mantra. He had been alone his entire life, really. He really hadn't had friends before John, though he knew Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade... Molly, long before they had met. His relationship with everyone else had changed drastically after his budding friendship with the doctor. And now John was leaving. He was getting married and moving out and leaving him. Everything would be different.
Sentiment is a chemical defect.
And that's what it all boiled down to, wasn't it? Sentiment? He had been a fool to allow John and the others to get as close as they have. His best friend was leaving him, the rest would follow suit shortly after.
You're just afraid of being alone.
Sherlock gasped, sitting up quickly in his bed. His door was shut tight, his dressing gown thrown over the stool like normal, and he could not smell anything unusual in the air. He rubbed his eyes, groaning. It had all been a dream then. He hadn't dreamt that vividly in a long, long time.
So John was still living here then. He hadn't gotten married yet. Molly would be back in her own flat. There would be no romantic pictures waiting for him on the mantle. Nothing had changed. Everything was still normal.
Not for long, though. John would eventually marry, and would move out to begin his life elsewhere. And Sherlock would indeed be left alone. Except...
Was that what his dream was trying to tell him? To replace John with Molly? She certainly seemed to have filled the void in 221B that John had left. But she had done so much more than just that. Sherlock remembered seeing the happy look on his face in the dream-wedding photo. The contented feeling he got when seeing the picture of he and Molly in front of the Eiffel Tower. She had not only filled the gap John left behind, she had filled Sherlock's life with happiness.
Sherlock cursed at himself, kicking the covers away and covering his face with his hands. It was a dream, a simple, realistic dream and nothing more. He should not allow any ridiculous thoughts cloud his mind. Sighing, there was one thing he was sure of, he realized.
He didn't want to be alone, sentiment damn him.
A/N: I was trying to piece together John's reaction, but neither he nor Sherlock were cooperating. I thought of having Sherlock go to the morgue to talk to Molly, but nothing was coming. If I continue this train of thought, it will probably be in a separate sequel. Or I just leave this as a hanging one shot. What do you think? Thoughts and reviews are always appreciated! :)