The first time Sarah Sawyer met Molly Hooper was in St. Bart's morgue, waiting for John to arrive with Sherlock. She should have found this strange, meeting her boyfriend and his, well, whatever you'd call Sherlock, in a room filled with cadavers. She heard the echo of her heels on the harsh white tiles.
When she pushed the swinging doors open, Sarah shivered, not only from the icy cold of the confined space. She gripped her coat tightly to her shaking body, trying to contain the body heat she knew she was losing. She squinted at the harsh fluorescence and blew out another breath, watching the slight mist coming from her lips. This is just bloody fantastic, Sarah thought. She could see her own breath for god's sake. She wandered around the room, illuminated by the unnatural light overhead. She ran a shaking hand through her sleek brown hair.
The only reason she was even here was because of John. She was waiting for him to return with that...well, she wasn't even sure she knew how to put a label on a man like Sherlock, let alone how to describe what the two blokes shared. She knew John loved her. She knew it. By the way he looked at her and the way he held her and the way he kissed her, it was obvious that he had strong feelings for her. But there was still that smidgen of doubt.
Whenever she saw the pair of them together...she just wasn't sure. John was so protective of Sherlock and he looked at him like the tall, thin man was the only person who truly mattered and Sherlock would always keep that gaze for far too long. There was such goddamn tension between them that it was nearly suffocating to be in the same room.
Sarah was so conflicted as of late. Whenever they were finishing in bed, John would get this misty look in his eyes that made it seem like he wasn't all there, like he was imagining a whole different scenario. The name he would shout was Sarah's, but there was that hesitation, like he was thinking of someone whose name also began with the letter 'S'...No. John loved Sarah and that was that. And she loved him, which is the only reason why she was spending her day off waiting in a room filled with dead bodies. She weaved slowly through the rows of bodies encased in black bags. She was a doctor, yes, but she didn't much enjoy being surrounded by the deceased. Her skin crawled, making her tighten the belt of her overcoat even tighter.
"Can I help you with anything?" A quiet voice asked behind her. Despite the slightness of the voice, Sarah jumped. She spun around and took note of the woman standing in front of her. She was petite and shrouded in a white lap coat. Her shoes were sensible and she could see her knobby stocking covered knees sticking out from just underneath her coat. She had, what looked like, a v neck sweater on, the fuzzy red visible. Her eyes glided up to her face. She had mousy features: brown eyes, a slightly turned up nose, and thin lips. Her hair was long and brown and stick straight, tied back in a limp ponytail.
"No, I'm just waiting for someone. So, you work in the morgue?" Sarah asked, trying to make conversation.
"Yes, yes I do," the woman responds with a shy smile. "Not that glamorous, I know, but I like being behind the scenes. I still help, but I'm not pressured or under the spotlight. My name's Molly, by the way. Molly Hooper." She said, punctuated with a light smile.
"Nice to meet you Molly, my name's Sarah Sawyer," Sarah answered with a warm smile. They stood in an awkward silence for several seconds, Molly clutching her clipboard while Sarah was looking around, rocking back and forth on her feet.
"So, um, what do you do? For a living, I mean," Molly stuttered.
"Oh, I'm a doctor. I work at the clinic just round the corner."
"Wow, that's great!" Molly said enthusiastically.
"Well, it has its ups and downs, but, all in all, I love it. It's also a perk my boyfriend works there," Sarah said, feeling the blush creeping into her cheeks. She bit down her smile and looked at her feet.
"You seem to really like him, he must be special. What's his name?" Molly asked.
“John Watson and, even though we've only been dating a few weeks, he's different from all the other guys I've dated. He is incredibly special."
"Wait; did you say...John Watson?" Molly said hesitantly.
"Yeah I did, you know him?"
"Yeah, I actually do! He's always hanging around a guy called Sherlock Holmes," Molly said, eyes glazing when she said Sherlock's name.
"Oh, I know him alright," Sarah huffed in a slightly indignant tone. Molly snaps out of it, shaking her head.
"What are the odds of that? Isn't he-"
"A twat?" Sarah offered. Molly looked hurt by this, resembling a kicked puppy, so Sarah quickly backpedaled.
"I'm really sorry Molly that was out of order. It's just that...he's so cold, and yet John sees something worthwhile in him, which I don't. I've tried looking, really, I have, but I just can't find anything there. It seems like he's completely devoid of warmth, just a calculating, analytical robot. But John. Whenever Sherlock says something, I see this look in his eyes, akin to that of admiration and…something else I can’t quite put my finger on.
"And they always bicker among each other like an old married couple, but when they share that look, a sinking feeling radiates throughout me. I feel like I can't even compete with Sherlock sometimes, and it's no longer only on occasion. I feel this way all the time. But how do I even tell John? There is absolutely no way I'm going to tell him he needs to stop hanging around his best mate, but it's getting so hard, and I know it's not going to get any easier. So I guess I have to ask myself if I'm willing to handle the shared attention.” Sarah paused for several seconds, when she suddenly realized that she was dumping all of her emotional baggage on this poor unassuming woman. “Oh goodness, I am so sorry for unloading all of this on you Molly," Sarah said, biting her lip. Molly crossed over and patted her comfortingly on the shoulder.
"No, no, it's fine. It's good to let everything out. The worst thing is to hold of all of that in. I mean, I get where you're coming from. You see, I have very strong feelings for Sherlock that will remain unrequited. I don't know why I even put myself through the pain and misery, but I can't help it, he's just so...I don't even know how to say it. He's so brilliant and has the looks of an angel and I hate myself for doing those odds and ends jobs he orders me to do. But he notices me when I do as he says and I feel like I'm on top of the world."
"I hope you don't mind me saying, but it doesn't sound like a very healthy relationship, does it?" Sarah asks in a soothing voice.
"No, I suppose it isn't," Molly answers with a slight dip in her voice indicating that she knew this was wrong and was probably told by several other people she should just leave him behind, that he's not worth it.
"I mean, I'm not one to preach. I'm having all these issues with my relationship but...I just don't want this bloke to cause you further heartache. I'm sure there are plenty of guys out there you'd be great with who are willing to get into a happy, healthy relationship," Sarah said softly, gently putting an arm around Molly's shoulders, giving them a reassuring squeeze before letting go.
"I guess you're right," Molly replied with a defeated tone. She looked up and gave Sarah a small half smile.
"C'mon, there has to be a bloke you've had your eye on. Anyone you fancy?" Sarah asked in a chipper, uplifting voice.
"Well, there is this one guy..." Molly whispered timidly.
"Go on! Let's here all about the lucky chap!" Molly perked up, getting excited about telling Sarah about the other man she's been checking out.
"Alright, so his name's Jim and he works in IT. He's so sweet and he and always goes out of his way to smile and rustle up a conversation in the morning. Once, he even bought me coffee! How sweet is that! We share similar interests and he's attractive on top of everything. He has these really dark eyes and jet black hair and that accent! He has the cutest accent I've ever heard. It's all lilting and Irish and perfect. But I'm not sure he'd be interested in me," Molly said, getting quieter with the last line she spoke.
"Oh, Molly, have a little confidence in yourself! You're pretty and nice and easy to talk to. Honestly, you're a straight up catch. Don't let Sherlock discourage you from pursuing any other relationships. And this Jim fellow sounds great! I think you should definitely make a move on him," Sarah responded earnestly. Molly lit up and clutched her clipboard to her chest.
“You really think so Sarah?” Molly said, hope filling her voice.
“Of course Molly,” she replied with a warm grin. Just at that moment, the doors swung open revealing Sherlock striding toward them with those long legs of his and John trailing just behind. Sherlock’s face was the epitome of cool nonchalance, whereas John had his emotions splayed on his face, an open book. His eyebrows were furrowed, the corners of his mouth set into a deep frown. He shot a seething glare at Sherlock, dark blue eyes filled with contempt. Even at this distance, Sarah could see the tautness of his jaw, could feel the anger rolling off him in droves.
“Here come our boys,” Sarah muttered. As soon as John walked up to Sarah, his sourness melted away. His frown was replaced by a heartwarming smile, a twinkle in his navy blue eyes. He went to Sarah and planted a quick, tender kiss on her lips.
“Hey love, sorry it took so long, but someone stirred up quite a bit of trouble at the crime scene,” John said, giving Sherlock a pointed glare.
“Do not look at me like that John. The situation was not solely my fault”, Sherlock said, crossing his arms across his chest like a child. John raised a skeptical eyebrow.
“So you’re telling me that you weren’t the instigator in this sodding fiasco? That you had no hand in insulting Sally along with the whole of Scotland bloody Yard? Is that it, Sherlock?”
“Of course it isn’t. I am aware that I am the one who started the scene but…it’s just so hard when everyone else is so mindless and hopelessly ignorant,” Sherlock groaned. John went over to him and but a peculiarly intimate hand on Sherlock’s forearm.
“Sherlock, I know people can’t be as brilliant as you are, but that doesn’t give you the right to go around bashing everyone. Well, unless they deserve it.” John saw a quick glimpse of a smirk on his lips and he couldn’t help but smile as well. “But seriously, most people work very hard, and even if it pains you, they don’t deserve to be affronted by your constant degrading of their abilities.” John looked up at Sherlock and it was the look and Sarah could hardly take any more of this. She cleared her throat, not so conspicuously, which seemed to get John to realize how close he was to Sherlock. He amended this by sidestepping to Sarah, sliding an arm around her waist. All the while, Molly stood there trying to hide the fact that she was, not so discretely, sneaking glances at Sherlock. She was trying to fade into the background, hair partially covering her face, shoulders slightly hunched, anxiety written all over her flushed face. She murmured a hello and he hardly acknowledged her, just a terse nod in her general direction. John coughed, catching Molly’s attention.
“Hello Molly,” John greeted with an eye crinkling smile.
“Hello John,” she replied with a toothy smile. She relaxed instantly, rolling back her shoulders, holding her head up, unease wiped clean from her features.
“Got any word on anything interesting we should know about?”
“Nope, I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary. I’ll let you know if something of interest comes along.”
“Good, very good, well, I think we better be off. Nice seeing you again Molly,” John announced with a cordial smile.
“It was nice seeing you too, John. Uh...bye Sherlock,” Molly said, the blush creeping back into her face. He didn’t even look up this time, much too fixated with his phone, just a slight hand wave. Molly shook off the hurt and turned to Sarah. “It was lovely to meet you Sarah,” she said.
“The pleasure was all mine,” Sarah replied sincerely. The trio walked toward the doors, John’s arm still encircled around Sarah’s waist, Sherlock still not looking up. Just as they were about to walk out, Sarah stops. John is pulled backward, eyebrows knit in surprise.
“Is everything alright love?” He asked, worry coloring his voice. She chuckled, giving his cheek a peck, placing her hand there, gently rubbing the rough stubbled skin with her thumb.
“There’s just something I forgot to do, I’ll only be two minutes, tops.”
“Okay…” John says hesitantly. Sarah laughed again.
“Two minutes, I swear. Oh and, look after that one, yeah? He’s going to wind up walking into a post or something.” It was clear she was talking about Sherlock, transfixed with his phone, those long fingers running over the keys with lightning fast precision.
“I’ll try my best, but no promises,” John said, lips curling into a devious smile. She gave John one last kiss before heading back into the morgue. She shuffled around, trying to look for Molly. She found her amid the bodies, writing furiously on her clipboard.
“Oi, Molly!” She jumped, nearly dropping her clipboard.
“Sarah, what a pleasant surprise; did you forget your purse or…” Molly asked, genuinely confused as to why she was back.
“No, no, I’ve got it right here,” she indicated to the bag flung around her shoulder. “Say, how about you come and have coffee with me sometime? Talk about boy troubles and all that. How does that sound?” Sarah asked eagerly.
“Yeah, I’d really like that,” Molly answered giddily.
“Great, do you have your mobile on you?” Molly nodded, handing it over so she could put in her number. Sarah passed over her own, so she could insert her number in.
“Well, now that that’s settled, how about I text you later? Or you could just text me when you have time off.” They both stood there, smiling. Soon, they were holding in their laughs, only just, and when it became too much to bare they were giggled like mad women, each gasping for breath. When they settled down, Sarah slipped her phone back into her bag.
“I think you’re going to grow on me, Molly Hooper,” Sarah said with a definitive nod. By then, Molly was grinning from ear to ear.
“Can’t shake me off that easy,” Molly said cheekily. Sarah’s laugh echoed throughout the whole morgue.
“You’ve got spunk Molly…”
“I hate spunk!” They both said in unison. Sarah looked wide eyed at Molly.
“You’ve seen the Mary Tyler Moore Show?” She gasped.
“Own all the seasons on DVD boxsets,” Molly replied with a smug smile.
“Screw coffee, we’re going to have ourselves a Mary Tyler Moore marathon!”
“Sounds fantastic; how about this Saturday?” Molly asked boldly.
“Unless I have any last minute appointments, I’m all free. How does eight o’ clock sound? I’ll bring all the essentials, wine included.”
“Looks like we have ourselves a plan,” Molly said with a wide smile.
“Well, see you then Molly,” Sarah said, flashing one last smile before she turns around and hurries out the doors, her coat billowing behind her. Molly was still grinning from her encounter. All of it was chance, meeting Sarah there, at the morgue. What she’ll never know is that Sarah saved Molly that day. She had everything planned out, the pill laid out neatly on her bedside table. All she had to do was pour a glass of water, swallow it down, and close her eyes, never to open them again. But that night she threw it in the rubbish heap outside her flat, never once looking back.