A/N: My contribution to the ever growing "break up Molly and Tom" fics "The Empty Hearse" inspired. He seems like he's a very nice man but we all know Molly isn't really attracted to "nice", don't we? LOL. She just thinks she SHOULD be...anyhoo, I will desperately work to get this finished before tomorrow night. Wish me luck!
He'd promised John. Promised him.
Well. Not promised, exactly, not explicitly promised. But it was certainly implied when he told John, "I'm not saying anything." And John's response had been as clear as the proverbial bell.
Even though the words were just bubbling up inside him, aching to burst out through his lips (lips that he'd caught her admiring more than once, over the years, to his secret satisfaction), to find their way to her ears and make her hear him. Make her listen.
Make her believe – although believe what, he wasn't entirely sure.
But he'd promised.
He wasn't the only who'd seen it. John had seen it, Mrs. Hudson, even Mary (no, not 'even' Mary, she was by far one of the cleverest and most observant women he'd met and certainly the cleverest John had ever become involved with, he approved their upcoming marriage although no one had asked or was ever likely to ask his opinion) – even Lestrade had seen it. No, he hadn't scanned each and every face for their individual reactions, no time for that and no cameras in the flat for him to go back and review (a thought, that, but then, no, tedious, and undoubtedly something John would rule an invasion of privacy even if it was Sherlock's flat). But he'd felt their gazes, on the back of his neck like an itch, the instinct that two years chasing down Moriarty's agents and destroying his network had taught Sherlock to trust.
They'd all seen it, all of them.
Everyone but Molly.
Even Tom had seen it, for godssake! The expression on the other man's face when he'd first laid eyes on Sherlock…oh, yes. He'd seen it. And been just as startled, just as aghast, as everyone else. Except John, of course, who'd appeared to find it ridiculously funny that Molly was marrying a man who looked like Sherlock Holmes.
The question was, what to do about it?
If he asked John, the answer would be a firm, "Nothing." He knew that. He'd promised, after all. "I'm not saying anything."
"Best not." Good advice, sound advice.
Why was it turning out to be so blasted difficult to follow?
Molly said she was happy with this man, Tom, with his parents and his dog and their nights at the pub. No doubt spent drinking subpar beer and watching rugby or football matches on the telly with his boring mates and their equally boring girlfriends and wives.
Ordinary. Molly Hooper really wanted that, to be chained to a man who could only ever give her ordinary? When she could have…
His thoughts stuttered to a stop as he realized with a dawning horror what he'd been about to think. Even though he was the only one who would ever know what that thought would have been, he couldn't – wouldn't – allow himself to finish it.
Because Sherlock Holmes didn't do relationships. He didn't do girlfriends. He'd managed this long without either, why change things up now? Change, that was something he also didn't do, not well, at least. But perhaps that was a fault rather than a strength?
He was pacing as he thought, his body matching the frenetic pace of his mind, both of them whirling. He moved around and around the sitting room, his burgundy dressing gown flowing behind him as he stepped over and onto the furniture when it presented itself in his path. His hands were clasped behind his back and he wasn't seeing the room at all. Instead, a series of very specific faces flashed through his mind's eye, and he paused, one foot on the low coffee table and the other still flat on the floor as he recognized and processed what his subconscious was trying to tell him.
He had changed, before his two year absence from London. He did friends now, and as he'd so obliquely told his brother not so very long ago, being alone no longer suited him. At. All.
Not since Gra—uh, Greg Lestrade had first called him on his drug use, offering an alternative that was better than any high achieved through the use of pharmaceuticals and a needle. Not since Mrs. Hudson had become his surrogate mother since his move to Baker Street. Not since John Watson had proven himself to be a loyal and able friend. Not just someone who tolerated Sherlock or wanted something from him, but a true friend in every sense of the word.
Just like Molly.
Molly Hooper, who deserved so much better than ordinary, boring Tom what's-his-name and his shoddy imitation of – well, of someone who didn't deserve her, frankly.
No, Sherlock Holmes most certainly did not deserve Molly Hooper. Not as anything more than she already was: a valued and trusted friend and confidant. And just because he'd changed enough to do friends, did that really mean he was ready for…anything else, any other changes in his life? To let someone, perhaps, closer than even John had become? Was that truly so impossible?
He considered it as he resumed his interrupted pacing, forcing himself not to flinch away from the emotions he'd always sneered at in the past. Especially sentiment, the antithesis to logic and order, precursor to chaos. Did he really need anything so dangerous in his life?
But then again, when had Sherlock Holmes ever shied away from danger?
It wasn't, however, a decision that would only affect him. She was involved as well; what if all he did was hurt her, the way he'd hurt her so many times in the past? Besides, she'd made her decision, her choice, and who was he to try and change her mind, to make her see the truth that was apparently staring all of them in the face but her?
He'd promised, after all, not to say anything…
A tentative grin spread across his face, growing in confidence as he saw it.
He'd promised not to say anything.
He hadn't promised not to do anything.