He looked swollen and shaken, but strangely beautiful, Molly reflected.
They were headed home, each consumed by their actions. Sherlock had just successfully faked his own death; Molly had made it possible. She tried not to think too much about the ramifications of her actions. She'd mislead her colleagues and falsified her own reports to get through the first round of inquiry. Tomorrow, she and Sherlock would meet with his coroner to finish the work. There would be no post-mortem and the body approved for cremation. The inquest would be perfunctory at best.
Disappearing seemed downright easy when one had the backing of the British government.
Despite his brother's involvement, Sherlock had refused to stay with him. The Work must continue, and he could not do that work if Mycroft had him trapped at the family's country estate. Sherlock needed – had demanded – a smaller, more innocuous base for his operations. Molly offered her flat without question.
Just as she had agreed to this entire enterprise. Without question.
Besides, Sherlock had made it clear that his staying with Molly would be temporary. Moriarty – Jim? – had made some fatal mistake, and Sherlock needed to find a way to end this. He would be gone in days.
Molly led Sherlock up the back stairs to her flat. She could see his eyes flickering, taking in her surroundings, adjusting his deductions. She felt more than a bit naked as she unlocked the front door and let him inside.
She dropped her purse and the shopping onto the front table.
"It's a little – well, little," she mumbled.
"No," he replied hoarsely, "it's adequate."
"Thanks. Loo's through there. I'll go ahead and make up the guest bed."
Wordlessly, he took the shopping bag and locked himself in the loo.
In her office, Molly pulled the throw pillows off the daybed, shooing Toby away. She tried valiantly not to think about the fact that Sherlock fucking Holmes was in her flat. Was using her loo. Was probably naked at this very –
Well, that was enough of that.
Molly wasn't a fool; she knew that Sherlock had no real affection for her. Even now, she couldn't be completely sure that he wasn't just using her to make his escape. For the past five years, he'd given her plenty of emphatic, incontrovertible evidence against a potential relationship. Still, since he'd first turned up, Sherlock had been a near constant in her life.
She remembered, quite clearly, the day that DI Lestrade had marched Sherlock into the mortuary lab. He'd been wan and sullen, eyes enormous and hands trembling. Greg had sighed and explained that the young man - far too boyish to be a grad student - was a new adjunct lecturer at St. Bart's. He was to have full run of the lab and would share Molly's workspace.
It was only through Herculean efforts that Molly had been able to learn anything at all about her labmate. His name was Sherlock, and, despite his appearance, he was twenty-five. He consulted with Scotland Yard; everyone there hated him. He was addicted to heroin and cocaine but had to stay clean in order to work.
Molly had never been confident or clever around men (around any living being, for that matter - hence her field of study). Despite her blundering and his rebuffs, she remained preoccupied by the world's only consulting detective. So much so that she had continued to let him work in the lab, even after his formal dismissal from the hospital.
When Sherlock emerged from the loo two hours later, he was ginger. Molly had to clap a hand over her mouth.
"Why are you so surprised?" he groused. "You picked the color!"
"Yes, but there's a difference between seeing it on the bottle and seeing it on you."
He nodded stiffly, slipping past her and into the guest bedroom.
"Do you want me to see about your head?" she asked softly.
"Yes. That would be helpful."
He sat on the guest bed, brand new plaid dressing gown pulled about his long frame. Molly leaned over him, parting his hair around the gash.
"Didn't it hurt to dye your hair?"
"The pain was irrelevant."
"Yes, but you've irritated the skin. It's getting infected."
She paused to put on a pair of gloves from her first aid kit, then cleaned out the wound once again. She held it shut with one hand and applied a set of butterfly bandages. All the while, Sherlock stared straight ahead, apparently oblivious to her actions.
"Why didn't you stitch it?" he complained.
Not so oblivious, then.
"I - I'm not used to treating live patients," Molly stammered. "Besides, I don't have any anesthetic or sutures."
"John always has sutures around the flat. And I don't need anesthetic!"
"I suppose John is more used to this."
"He is. And he always stitches me very carefully so that I don't scar. Don't you have any skills outside your very limited area of specialty?"
Molly felt her cheeks flush, but she managed to meet Sherlock's sneer.
"You could've asked John to do this, but you didn't. You asked me. So you're just going to have to get used to my 'very limited' skill set."
Sherlock huffed and lay down on the day bed.
"I've had a very taxing day. I'm going to sleep now."
"Suit yourself," Molly replied, gathering up the first aid kit and flipping off the lights.
"Wanker," she would later mutter into her tea.