"Just this morning – he worked here, I knew him."
Sherlock barely acknowledged her.
"We'll start with the riding crop."
Watching from behind the protective glass, Molly couldn't help flinching as her brother beat the cadaver. In a normal family, she'd often thought, she'd be the one who was strange – how many people had always wanted to go into forensic pathology? But no… she had to be outshined by Sherlock.
"Why can't you be more like your elder brother, Molly? Go into politics. Leave the science to Sherlock."
"I'm sure Mycroft can find a nice little job for you. Perhaps a PA? Something that will find you a nice flat and career."
"Cadavers, Molly? Really? What about Art History?"
And those were just from Mummy. Sherlock's were much worse:
"I'm not having you tagging along after me in lectures."
"Fine, but you're doing my homework, too, if you're so clever. Seb and I are going out."
"Ugh, boring; really Mols, why do you even bother? Can't you find a nice boyfriend and stop pestering me?"
But of course who was it that called her at three in the morning when he crashed and started his withdrawals?
Of course she'd called Mycroft at that point – because Sherlock had made her swear not to call Mummy. And she had to call someone.
"You did well, Molly. But I'll take it from here – you can go back to your dormitory."
"I know you want to help, but I have this… under control."
"No, Molly, I'm afraid I can't tell you where Sherlock is. I know you're concerned, we all are, but you're simply not capable of handling him right now. I'm sorry."
Calling Mycroft was like calling their father, or what she imagined calling their father would have been like – he'd died before she could remember him, and nobody ever mentioned him.
Sherlock had, once. At Christmas. The year before he went into rehabilitation. He and Mummy were having an argument over dinner, and finally he lashed out and started saying all sorts of horrible things about their father not being there, and how Mummy was glad he'd died, and on and on.
Molly couldn't bear to watch Mummy's face, choosing instead to press the tines of her fork into the roast harder and harder and harder, while Mycroft shouted at Sherlock to shut up, that he was upsetting Mummy.
Molly had pressed so hard that the plate flipped, flying across the room in a shower of sprouts and roast beef and gravy and Yorkshire pudding, and shattered at the feet of Benson, their butler.
"Molly Elizabeth Alice Holmes," admonished Mummy through tight lips. "We do not throw our Christmas dinners across the dining room. At twenty-three, I really would have expected you to know better. Please apologize to Benson and send for Hill to help you clean up the mess."
"I'll help you," Mycroft said, leaping from his chair and kneeling beside her as they chased the sprouts back onto the shattered plate.
Mycroft paused and put a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"It's all right, little one," he whispered. "You did your best." Sherlock snorted and threw back his chair, upsetting his wineglass, and lurched from the room.
Which was the point that Molly started to cry. Great, wet sobs as she clutched her napkin to her face and knelt in a puddle of gravy with her brother.
Of course, Sherlock got clean, and on the third day out of rehab, he showed up at St Barts, pestering her to give him access to the mortuary.
She knew she should have said no. She knew better than to agree. But Sherlock had smiled at her and …
"Bad day?" she asked him when he finished.
"Hmm? Watch what bruises form…"
"I'm not your lab assistant!" she snapped.
"Coffee? Black, two sugars," he replied. "And text me. A man's alibi is at stake."
Just another typical day at St Bart's Mortuary, she thought, watching Sherlock bound from the room.
"Right," she said. "Coffee."