"I didn't realize you wore contact lenses," Sherlock says. Molly places her hands on either side of his head and turns him so he's facing forward again, chin tilted down slightly. He keeps getting distracted by her toiletries and Molly's not good enough at giving haircuts for his constant movements to end well for either of them.
"Please sit still," she tells him for the dozenth time. She ruffles her fingers through the hair at the back of his head, trying to remember where left off before Sherlock decided to move again. She pulls a curl taut between two fingers and after a neat snip of her kitchen shears, drops it into the plastic bag lining the sink in front of where Sherlock is perched backwards on one of her dining chairs.
"When did you start wearing them?" Sherlock asks, this time staying mercifully still but for the rhythmic tapping of his fingers against the chair back.
Molly snips another curl off and answers absently, "Mum finally let me get them when I was twelve. I'd been begging for years before that, though."
"You've needed vision correction since you were a young child," Sherlock says and it's not a question, but Molly hums an affirmative anyway. "You have glasses, but you rarely wear them. They're not on the counter in here, so you probably only wear them on weekends or if your eyes are irritated."
"Yep," Molly says, turning his head slightly to the left so she can get at the hair above his ear with less risk of somehow chopping his ear off. "I'm surprised you didn't know already. I mean, you do realize that I'm wearing glasses in the photo on my hospital ID, right?"
"You do realize," Sherlock says, and Molly is surprised by the lack of condescension in his tone, "that you keep your ID badge clipped to the left breast pocket of your lab coat?"
"Why does that matter?" she starts to ask, but it peters out as Molly gets it. She's known Sherlock for three years now and he's only ever noticed her appearance when mentioning it would get him in her good graces. His eyes have never once strayed to her chest and even that one time when he'd startled her while she was up on a stool to reach something in the top cabinets in the lab, his hands had stayed firmly on her waist when she'd wobbled. "Oh."
"Yes," Sherlock says. "Oh."
She thinks about all the times she's seen Sherlock around other people, thinks about how he'd barely responded to Jim's flirting. She remembers last Christmas and how clinically he'd identified that woman by... not her face.
"I didn't know," she tells him, gently turning his head until he's facing forward again. Their eyes meet in the mirror over the sink. "I'm sorry."
Sherlock is the first to look away, turning so Molly can more easily get to the hair on the right side of his head. "Don't be."
"I just--" Molly starts and then stops herself, not sure how to say what she feels she needs to say without stammering or saying the complete wrong thing. She kneels at Sherlock's side and looking up at him is comfortable, more familiar than meeting his eyes from above. "I'm sorry that I never realized and I'm sorry for my behavior. I never meant for you to feel uncomfortable."
Sherlock's eyes skitter away and Molly wonders if he's ever talked about this or if he's always just let people assume what they would about him. The thought of that makes her sad. "You've never caused me discomfort, Molly," he says after a moment. "Your actions haven't always made sense to me, but you've never made me uncomfortable."
Molly doesn't know what to say to that, so she doesn't say anything at all. She just pushes herself to her feet and goes back to methodically trimming away Sherlock's distinctive curls; the only sounds for the next few minutes are the snipping of her shears and the rhythmic dripping of the leaky showerhead. Sherlock is breathing deeply and regularly and Molly can see in the mirror that his eyes are closed; she'd almost think he's fallen asleep while upright if not for the silent tapping of his fingers against the chair.
"Almost done," Molly says quietly a bit later, running her fingers through Sherlock's hair, checking to see that she hasn't missed anything. She's suddenly grateful for what little curl he has left in his hair, knowing it'll hide any unevenness in length.
"Thank you," Sherlock says so quietly that Molly almost doesn't hear him. She wonders if he did that on purpose, so that she could pretend she didn't hear it and they wouldn't have to acknowledge that he's in her debt. She's almost certain of that, but then she realizes that she's never heard Sherlock properly thank anyone before and she wonders if maybe he's not sure how to go about doing it and that's why he said it so quietly.
"You're welcome," she tells him. She sets the scissors down on the counter and brushes a few stray hairs from Sherlock's shoulders. She doesn't look at his reflection, isn't sure she could meet his eye right now. "You should wash up. There's extra towels under the sink. Wash your hair but don't put any product in it. I'll help you dye it in the morning."
"You've dyed your hair before," Sherlock says, and it's not a question, but Molly shakes her head because he's wrong, but not completely.
"Not my own," she tells him, stepping to the side and reaching over his shoulder to collect the plastic bag full of hair from the sink. "I used to help my sister when we were kids. It's not hard." She ties the handles of the bag into a knot, still not looking at Sherlock. She stands there for another few seconds before turning and practically running from the bathroom. She hears the shower start a minute later.
She bins the bag of Sherlock's hair and leans against the kitchen table and takes a deep breath. By the time Sherlock comes out of the bathroom, Molly will have made tea and started on dinner, but for right now, she needs to be still for just a minute.
And so she breathes.