Dr. Molly Hooper was not having a good day. Not since she had awoke to find that Mother Nature had visited during the night and left a “gift”. After a rushed hot shower she had stripped the bed and thrown the sheets into the bathtub with some cold water to soak. She was running so late that she didn’t have time to eat breakfast. Then someone bumped into her on the tube and spilled her coffee. Not just spilled but bent the paper of the cup (when it hit the vertical bar she was leaning against) and poured the life-giving liquid all over her most comfortable shoes.
Things did not improve when she got to the morgue. The air conditioning unit was once again malfunctioning and the only place that was bearably cool was the autopsy room, unfortunately, she was all caught up with that part of her work. Today she had to sit at her desk and fill out tedious paperwork. The only good part of that was that no one would notice that she was not wearing her soggy shoes. Bad part? Every time she stood up she felt compelled to swipe her hand across the seat and check for “leaks”. Then mid-day the cramps hit.
She was elbow deep in a corpse that had just arrived when the first one hit. And by hit she means impacted with the force of a missile. And of course when she reached for her bottle of pills it was to discover that she only had one left. How do you end up with one pill left when the dosage is 2? She swallowed the one and went back to work resigned to dealing with the feeling that her spine was being ripped out of her bellybutton for the next few hours. At least until she could get out and pick up more painkillers. Then Sherlock showed up looking for information on an experiment he had finished the week before.
Of course he would show up today. Breezing thru the morgue doors just as Molly had leaned over the edge of the autopsy table in an effort to relieve a particularly sharp cramp. She looked up quickly and did her best to straighten. “Sherlock, what can I do for you today?” If she sounded breathless she could only hope that he took it as her being her old self about him. The last thing she needed was the detective commenting on her bodily functions.
“Just came in for those mold spores from the case last week. I am going to write it up for my website.” Sherlock walked directly to her work desk he shifted a few files before finding the one he was apparently seeking. “Ah good, I was afraid you might have moved it to your office.” He looked over at the body she was standing over and watched as she made a few more precise incisions. “Anything interesting there?” he asked.
“No, just a routine case. Cancer. Came in this morning from upstairs.” She didn’t look up at Sherlock as she answered. He watched her for a few minutes before exiting as quickly as he had entered. Molly barely restrained the need to fold herself onto the floor. This was the worst cramps she could remember ever having. Maybe it was time to see her doctor again.
Molly made it through the rest of the day by reminding herself repeatedly that she had the next two days off. If she could make it past this shift she could curl up at home with chocolate and sappy movies. Crying for a few hours was sure to relax her enough to get some sleep. Maybe she could sleep through most of this. She was so focused on these plans that she was home and climbing the stairs to her flat when she remembered that she was supposed to stop by Tesco and get supplies. A quick mental survey of her cupboards and she figured she could make it through tonight. Tomorrow she would go out and get more chocolate. She knew she had a prescription bottle of pills that she didn’t like taking when she had to work. But she was free for two more days, now was a good time to knock herself out.
Molly was not so distracted as to not notice that something was off when she opened her door. She knew her flat was not this neat when she left this morning. Just as she was getting ready to back out the door and call the police, several thoughts chased throuogh her mind. It was cool almost cold in her flat, there was a soft hum coming from a lump half hidden behind the drapes in her sitting room. The flat smelled like chocolate, bananas, lavender, and chips? There was a familiar coat laying across the back of her favorite armchair.
She knew that coat. She knew only one person insane enough to have a coat in this weather. And she certainly didn’t want to deal with the owner again today. Slamming the door behind her she opened her mouth to yell for him. But before she could make a sound Sherlock came out of the kitchen with a plate and glass.
“Oh, there you are Molly. Here, sit down and have a snack. Dinner should be here any minute.” Setting the plate and glass down on the low table in front of the couch he looked over at her. In a daze Molly watched as he stepped next to her and reached down to take her handbag from her slack grasp. He set it on the table next to the door and took her by the shoulders and guided her to sit on the sofa. Molly looked up at him in confusion. As she opened her mouth to ask him what was going on Sherlock reached over and took something off the plate and slid it into her mouth. The taste of chocolate burst in her mouth. Looking at the plate she saw that it was covered in what looked like thick slices of banana covered in dark chocolate. It was cold and smooth in her mouth. As she chewed the cold chocolate first crunched them melted. The banana was smooth and sweet. The glass he had been carrying appeared to be filled with…chocolate milk? Her eyes narrowed as she looked back at the man standing in front of her.
“Sherlock,” she started to say but was interrupted by the peal of her doorbell.
“Oh, good dinner is here.” He strode to the door and opened it, paid for the bag the young man was holding then walked into the kitchen calling over his shoulder. “I’ll be right back with a plate for you.”
Molly had had enough. She stood and stopped for another bite of banana before walking into her kitchen. “Sherlock, what do you think you are doing?”
“Taking care of you. I noticed your cramps were worse than normal today.” He didn’t look up from the plate he was carefully filling with a piece of fish and some sinfully delicious looking chips. “Mummy always ate bananas when her cramps were bad. And I noticed that you favor chocolate during this part of you cycle so I though combining the two might be good for you.” At this point he looked up at her. “I’ve seen you eat bananas before so I know you like them.” He looked almost worried.
“Sherlock, I like bananas and those are great. But that doesn’t answer why you are here, why you are doing this.”
Standing up straight Sherlock looked at her face. This drew her attention more than anything. Often when he spoke to her, Sherlock’s gaze was focused somewhere over her shoulder. “Molly, you took care of me when I needed help, now it’s my turn to take care of you.” He looked down at the plate then back up at her. “I have never seen you eat fish so I didn’t know what you like with it.” He looked almost lost.
“Sherlock, this is more than food. There is an air conditioner in the window in there.” She pointed at the other room. “And it wasn’t there when I left this morning.”
“You should have had one installed long before this Molly. The southern exposure of your flat makes it too warm even without the heat wave this year. And with the cooling unit at Bart’s not working properly you were over heated most of the day. Mummy says being too hot makes the symptoms worse.” He finished fixing the two plates and lifted them. “Shall we eat?”
“Wait! You talked to your mother about my….my…” Molly couldn’t even say it.
“No!” Sherlock seemed uncomfortable. “She always complained in the summer about the heat. She was very open about things like that. Said that we would one day have a woman in our lives that would appreciate a man understanding.” He was blushing. Sherlock Holmes was actually blushing. Molly was so stunned that she just turned and followed him as he carried the plates into the sitting room.
“Look Sherlock, it’s not that I don’t appreciate this. It’s just that…look I…” rolling her eyes she gave in and sat down. Looking at the plate he handed her she realized it was piled high with crispy, hot chips. The tangy smell of vinegar hit her and she could see the salt that had been liberally sprinkled over the whole plate.
“Molly, I know that you think this is something to be hidden away. That you would prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist.” Sherlock kept his attention on his plate and its smaller portion of chips. “But it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is simply a bodily function. “He set his plate on the low table and leaned back against the couch and crossed his arms. “This is not easy for me.” His eyes closed as he leaned his head back so that he looked like he might be sleeping, except that he was still talking. You were there for me at my lowest points.” His head turned and eyes opened too look at her. “Both of them.”
Molly ate in silence. As she finished she was surprised to see that she had truly eaten all the chips he has given her, as well as the slices of chocolate and banana and the glass of milk. Sure that he had fallen asleep she started to gather his plate onto hers. Sherlock’s hand came out and gripped her wrist. “I’ve got this. You go take a hot shower, it will help you feel better. Would you like a glass of wine?” He took the plates from her and stood waiting for an answer.
With a weary sigh Molly gave up. “No, I am going to take a prescription. Wine would not be a good idea.” Sherlock nodded and moved into the kitchen. As she entered the bathroom, Molly realized where the lavender smell came from. The room was awash in soft candle light. There were large pillar candles in several locations around the small room. Her favorite soft fluffy robe was hanging on the hook on the door. Four different bottles of pills were lined up in front of the sink. He must have seen that she was out of pain killers. Not knowing what one she liked…he bought a bottle of each? How could he know so much but not know what kind of pain killer she used? Shaking her head she prepared for the shower. Next to the bottles was a half frozen bottle of water. She used it to swallow one of the pills from the bottle she had hidden behind the towels in the cupboard.
After her shower she wondered into the blessedly cool sitting room expecting to find Sherlock gone. Surprisingly he was seated on the sofa holding a small bottle. The coffee table had been moved and a small nest of blankets and pillows was laid out on the floor. He held up the bottle in his hand. “I thought you could use a massage.”
Between the prescription pill and the surreal feeling of the rest of the evening Molly just rolled her eyes. She laid down on her stomach and allowed the robe to be removed. The panties she wore and the placement of the pillows meant that she was covered as much as most women at the local public swimming pools or beaches. More than many. As his hands worked the warm lavender scented oil into her back she slowly fell asleep.
When she woke up a few hours later she felt his warm hand sitting directly over the worst cramp in her back. The heat felt good and helped relax her. A soft sheet that she didn’t remember owning was pulled over her covering her from shoulder to toes. Turning her head she realized that Sherlock had fallen asleep. His face relaxed he sat with his back against the front of the couch and his head tipped to the side onto the seat. As she relaxed under his hand she decided that a serious conversation could wait until morning. As sleep claimed her she reflected that her day had not been as bad as she thought.