“Molly, I think I'm going to die.” The flatness of the proclamation had startled her as much as his surprise presence in the coroner’s offices.
She had listened to the rest of what Sherlock said, the plan which he had laid out. She hadn’t entirely agreed, but he wasn’t looking for agreement, and she knew that. He was wondering if the plan was feasible. Would anyone buy it? He was especially concerned that John believe it, and she had wanted to tell him to trust John like he usually did, but she couldn’t find a way to phrase that, and by the time that she could have gotten a word in edgewise, he was onto another part of the plan, and all she could do was listen, unless he asked a direct question.
It would work. It would have to work. From the tone of Sherlock’s voice, there were no other possibilities, and she almost believed him. She’d pointed out that they’d have to keep the plan quiet, and that she’d have to come in extra hours to work on the mold, lest its vinegary scent alert anyone else to the plan.
The mask had set on the mold, and so, with an uncertain sigh, wishing she was more secure in their plan, she dipped her hands into the casting bowl.
The cab ride back to St. Bart’s was enough to make John anxious all over again. The call for Mrs. Hudson had been a fake. She’d been fine, handing out tea to the sturdily built bald man who was doing repairs on the house, the dainty cup nearly disappearing in his massive palm, her demeanor all smiles. Nothing was wrong. The call had either been in error or had been designed to draw him away.
He almost texted Sherlock on the way back to the hospital to let him know that the call had been in error, and that Mrs. Hudson was all right. Something dark and unpleasant stopped him, though. Sherlock didn’t deserve to be informed that Mrs. Hudson was all right. If he cared, then he would ask. If he didn’t care, then he would be fine with not knowing. Still, John couldn’t help but look at the phone and hope that it suddenly alerted him to Sherlock’s sudden concern. The mobile remained dark; no text lit it up.
So who had made the call? And why hadn’t Sherlock seemed to care? He was a machine, like John had said, designed for thought and not sentiment, moving ever forward. Real life for the detective was a trash pile of irrelevancy, and the man’s brain was a constantly chugging bulldozer.
Molly’s heart skipped. A year ago, at the Christmas party, she would have thought it was due to the man who had asked for her help. She’d tried everything to get his interest – but had received none. She swallowed, shook her head, and tightened her fingers on the mold. Time to work. She had promised to do this, and she’d have to see it through, if Sherlock would ever have any measure of respect for her.
She wasn’t too sure she respected him anymore. Certainly, not in the smitten way she had, writing silly entries about him on her blog – entries whose content had put him in peril. In a way, she thought, this could make up for her previous naiveté. She would help him, and she would make sure he survived the jump he had told her about, as much as she could ensure it. There was always a risk. But he’d seemed so sure, and had planned so far ahead, that she almost forgot about the danger, too. The dummy, the rubber ball held tightly in a hand to stop his pulse, in case the jump didn’t go as they’d planned. It was certainly complete.
He might even live.
Her heart fluttered again. But the beat felt weak, hopeless, desperate, like the last futile struggles of a dying butterfly.