She freezes on the other end of the flat and squeezes her eyes shut again. If she’s really quiet he’ll think she’s gone out and isn’t home, already in bed, and –
Oh, God. She stuffs her head underneath the pillow, trying to drown out the noise. Maybe then she can finally sleep and not be plagued by another game of hold the random piece of flesh while Sherlock experiments on it.
Not that she minds, not the human bits, really. Well. Okay. Maybe she does. Because she likes to keep work at work and home at –
Not like she needed sleep anyway!
“Yes!” Molly calls back to him and drags herself out of bed, considering tugging the blanket around her shoulders and bringing it with her – but last time she did that her blankets smelled like the human liver for three days. It permeated right into her dreams. “Coming, just-” Oh, bad word choice. “Hold on a moment.”
Okay. She can do this. Go to the sofa area, where he’s been sleeping, hold a dead person bit (it was ears yesterday) and then go to sleep. Get up in the morning and go to work. Avoid Lestrade. Avoid John. Avoid Anderson and Donovan and anyone who knew Sherlock because while she could look them in the eye, she didn’t want to. She doesn’t want to chance it. She tells them she doesn’t want to talk to them. It’s easy enough to do it; John’s been doing the same for the past three weeks. He hasn’t talked to a soul. But with her? It’s just a little bit harder. She works around them.
So she tells them she’s grieving. That she’s upset. It’s believable enough.
After all, she identified the body.
(John couldn’t have done it, not even if it was real. She was told he’d collapsed on the curb, that they’d needed a separate ambulance for him. She doesn’t doubt a word of it.)
She does feel bad for him. He isn’t used to not being able to leave. He’s bored. And that means her belongings are generally in trouble, which was why she’d brought home specimens for the past two weeks and change – because she’d seen enough to know that bullet holes don’t go well with her wallpaper.
Oh. And, as she’d learned very quickly, fungi tastes horrid in milk, and human fingers make cheese smell bad. Generally make the entire fridge smell bad too.
The lights are off in the sofa area, but there’s a glow coming from the kitchen. It’s far too dark, she can’t see –
“Molly. I need your mobile.”
Molly jumps quite a remarkable distance when frightened: another tidbit learned in the past three weeks. For a man who’s supposed to be dead, he does a very good impersonation of a ghost.
“You called me out here for my mobile?” Molly questions while already reaching for it, in her pocket, to give to him. She still can’t see him, but –
“Do you have it?”
“Where would that be?” Molly frowns, eyes darting back and forth. Everything is dark. She needs to install a nightlight but she suspects he’d chuck it in frustration.
“Your table. Naturally.”
Naturally. Absolutely nothing about Sherlock Holmes is natural. Fascinating. Strange. Mildly disturbing. She can go for those. But natural? That might be one thing Sherlock Holmes is not.
“You’re sitting on my table?”
The conclusion comes easily enough once she sees the Sherlock shape, perched on the middle of the table near the glowing item.
“Astute observation, Molly. Your mobile. Give it.”
She hands it over. He can’t have his own mobile phone, not yet. Not until they get him back on his feet and out of her flat and honestly? She doesn’t want him to leave. Not because of any reason like that, but – well. Once he leaves she knows that’ll be it. They won’t see him again. No one will. She definitely won’t. And she won’t know, who he is or where, and she likes knowing right now. Molly doesn’t want to lose that just yet, the knowing. Him.
Molly isn’t stupid. She knows. If she hadn’t known before these past three weeks than she’d have known by now. Sherlock’s different. He doesn’t love her like she’d always wanted him to, doesn’t notice her that way even if she was wrong – he does notice her, he does trust her. But if there was someone, if there was one person, that Sherlock Holmes absolutely cares about more than anyone else in the world, it’s not her.
It’s John Watson.
(It had been three A.M. the second week Sherlock had been living with her. He was frustrated, she knew – coming to terms with things, maybe – but more emotional than she’d ever seen him, and she thought that maybe he was transferring that, just a little, because he was mad. He’d stormed around the flat until he’d woken her up shouting about how there’s nothing to do, John! and Get me some, John! and Please, John! and it was at the seventh time, or maybe the eighth, that she’d done it.
“It’s Molly!” It hadn’t really been a yell, but more than she’d meant it to be. “I’m Molly.”
He’d looked up at her so fast she’d felt her heart clench and she’d wished nothing more than to take those words back because now he looked caught between hurt and upset and confused.
She’d made him tea and biscuits and hadn’t slept that night. She’d turned on the TV and let him tell her whenever she’d got the father wrong.)
Molly sometimes catches him trying to form the name John instead of Molly but he doesn’t say it, not since that night.
She steps closer to the table. The kitchen is still dark, save for the glowing object and now her phone.
“What are you doing?”
“You don’t have to make conversation, Molly,” Sherlock responds almost immediately, not looking up from his project, which happens to be her phone. He’s scrolling through pages faster than she’d thought her phone could go.
“I’m … not.”
He puts down the mobile with a grin and returns to staring intently at the glowing shape on her table.
“You woke me up. Three times. Don’t you ever-”
He holds up a hand and she sighs, shifting from foot to foot as she waits. He’ll let her talk again eventually. Whether or not he’ll listen is something else entirely.
While she’s waiting she watches the glowing thing and Sherlock.
She doesn’t mind any of these things, not really. When she’d decided on telling him to live here, she’d thought she’d been fairly used to Sherlock Holmes. All those years of him coming into the lab for experiments. Riding crops. Stealing her equipment. The first day she’d met him, it had been her first day on the job. He’d been in the morgue when she’d walked in, and he’d been dissecting someone. Needless to say, she’d run. Screaming. To Lestrade, because obviously someone needed to arrest the crazy man in her morgue dissecting someone.
And that turned out to be one of the more embarrassing days in her life.
“Sleep,” She finishes when Sherlock puts his hand down, but it’s like she thought: he’s not listening to her. He’s staring intently at the bowl –
At the bowl.
Molly’s eyes have finally adjusted to the darkness in the room and the glowing object is her cooking bowl.
Molly purses her lips and walks around the other side of the room, coming around from behind to see the bowl from the other side, and yes, she’s not going crazy because it’s glowing. She opens her mouth, closes it again, looks at the ceiling and the wall and then the bowl and then Sherlock.
“That’s a noise.”
“So is breathing.”
“Well, if you could hold your breath, I’d ask you to do that too.” Sherlock finally turns towards her, though, and his eyes are bright and excited, more than she’s seen in the past three weeks. Molly can’t help but smile in surprise. “Can’t you see what’s happening here?”
“You’re ruining my cooking bowl?”
“Cartilage, Molly! Cartilage!” Sherlock claps his hands together and she jumps again. “And I’ve made it glow! Oh, this is perfect. Have you seen the papers! The case of the glowing man! And I know who did it!” His grin is as wide as ever and she thinks, maybe, this might be the key. Give him the papers and give him the cases and have him solve them without having to leave the flat just yet.
Not that he can –
“Oh, yes, I know. Stop giving me that look. He’ll get away. I’m dead. But I know!”
Something catches up with her finally, now that he’s looking at her. “You used my bowl for glowing cartilage?”
“I bake my Gram’s cookies with that bowl. Snickerdoodles.”
“What’s a snickerdoodle?”
“It’s-” She waves her hand. “Nevermind, Sherlock.” It’s obviously a cartilage cookie now. Somehow, she figures her Gram won’t enjoy the extra spice of dead person in her cookies. She’ll have to buy a new bowl. That’s a shame, she liked that bowl. Then again, she also liked her coat rack, and her beakers, and that one kitchen chair.
“Goodnight. Er, again.”
He doesn’t respond for a second, until he suddenly looks up and nods.
But she’s dealing. It’s working. It has to be, because there’s no other option and she wouldn’t have it any other way. He’d said he trusts her and she’s going to keep it that way, until he has to leave. Until the very last day, because then she’ll really just be like the rest of them – it’ll be like he’s dead, when right now it’s not like that at all.
Right now it’s like she’s finally done something, she’s finally mattered – she’s finally been noticed and it’s important this time, because there are so many people who could have been hurt. She’s helped him to do that, she knows. He’s thanked her, he’s apologized, and he’s kept dead parts in her fridge.
Molly is starting to think that she definitely counts.
Just never as much as John.