After a hurried morning routine she has to run to catch her bus to the Tube station and as usual, she just about makes it. She should get up earlier, but staying in bed the extra five minutes just feels good.
The Tube carriage is crammed, but not yet filled up to the hilt. Molly likes this about the early shift -- she gets in just a little bit before the morning rush and doesn’t have to fight for a space on the bus or in the Tube. Today, she even manages to secure a seat and read a bit further in the book she bought a few days back. A silly romance novel without much of a plot, but Molly likes a little light entertainment here and there. And after she grows sick of all the romance, she’ll read a crime novel with lots of blood and intestines splattered throughout the text. And after that, she’ll need a few love stories again.
One of the assistants in the morgue with whom Molly shares an office has brought a batch of delicious looking cupcakes: blueberry with vanilla buttercream and a violet-coloured meringue topping. Molly readily takes the one that is offered to her and thinks she’ll keep it until after her lunch break -- a little treat to get her through the second half of her shift. The pile of folders on her desk says she’ll need the sugar high. They have a lot of new intakes who need post-mortems and they’re severely understaffed at the moment.
After the post-mortem on a very rotten corpse (a woman who has been left in her flat for nearly two months after she died -- found by the police after the neighbours started to complain about the odour coming from the flat), Molly receives a text from the guy she has been out on dates with a few times. He works in a library and sends Molly funny stories from work or interesting quotes from books that always make her smile. She really likes him. It could become a serious relationship.
Lunch comes and goes. Molly hurries a little, because she has three post-mortems lined up after her break and she really needs to get cracking if she wants to keep overtime to a minimum. She hasn’t even managed to eat the cupcake yet. Molly is on her way into the locker room to get her lab coat when she halts just outside the door.
She could have sworn there was a tall man in a familiar black coat whisking around the corner at the end of the hall. Molly sighs and shakes her head, entering the deserted room.
Hopefully, she wasn’t starting to see Sherlock at every turn again. At the beginning of his “death,” Molly mistook every man in a black coat for Sherlock -- probably a manifestation of her guilty conscience. She felt awful (still feels) about having to lie to Sherlock’s friends who were all mourning him. The funeral was a torture; Molly only went because she thought it’d look strange if she didn’t. A surprising number of grieving people (Sherlock was more popular than she would have guessed) and a horde of journalists who were kept at bay by a couple of very threatening looking men in black suits.
Molly hung back, averting her eyes from a pale, stone-faced John and a crying Mrs Hudson in the first row. A little further back, Greg Lestrade stood with his hands buried in his pockets and his chin hidden in the collar of his jacket. She wished she could tell them, but Sherlock had made her swear not to.
Molly was startled by a man stopping besides her under the lime tree. It was Sherlock’s brother. He didn’t say anything and just kept standing next to her, leaning on his umbrella and observing the small crowd at the grave. His hovering presence made Molly uncomfortable. She shifted on her feet and fiddled with an old tissue in her coat pocket.
Did he know?
After the funeral, Mycroft Holmes turned to Molly, inclined his head and murmured “Miss Hooper” in greeting before turning around and leaving the cemetery.
The look he gave her said it all. He knew.
Molly hasn’t seen Mycroft Holmes since that day, come to think of it as she puts on the lab coat. Neither has she heard anything from Sherlock but she didn’t think she would. Obviously, Sherlock went off to do something dangerous. He has more important things to do than send Molly postcards. She does wonder when he’ll come back though. If he plans on coming back, that is.
Molly sighs. Enough with the gloomy thoughts -- dwelling on Sherlock isn’t going to help bring him back. She has a date tonight and there is a delicious cupcake waiting on the bench behind her, that’s enough to look forward to.
She throws the door of her locker shut and nearly falls over the bench in shock. There is a ghost in the small mirror taped on her locker. No, not a ghost, Sherlock Holmes holding her cupcake.
Molly squeaks indignantly and whirls around, her heart racing.
It’s really him.
“Given to you by a friend, maybe coworker. Not professionally made. Meringue topping has become a bit soggy where it connects with the buttercream but is overall firm, so it has been sitting for a while but not since yesterday -- coworker is more likely, given the timeframe. You haven’t eaten it straight away, even with your fondness for sweet breakfast foods. Kept it as a treat then? Lots of work, I suppose?”
Sherlock Holmes is back and the first thing he does is analyse her cupcake. He has to be real; Molly’s imagination couldn’t have come up with that on its own.
“Astute observation. I thought I’d stop by -- any interesting corpses lately?” He asks and takes a bite of the cupcake.
Sherlock is back from the dead, in St Bart’s locker room and munching on a cupcake.
Molly has to sit down.
Chapter 2: Recipe
Blueberry Meringue Cupcakes
For the meringues:
- 2 eggwhites
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- 120g sugar
- purple food colouring (or blue and red to mix)
For the cupcakes:
- 60g softened butter
- 10g sugar
- vanilla extract or 1 pckg vanilla sugar
- 1 egg
- 150g all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 60ml milk
- 60g frozen blueberries
For the buttercream:
- 30g softened butter
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp cream or creme fraiche
- vanilla extract
- Prepare the meringues twenty-four hours in advance. They will need to dry out completely.
- Beat the egg whites with the lemon juice and a pinch of sugar (best use an electric mixer). Once the whites start foaming, gradually add the sugar until you get a firm, shiny mixture that forms peaks. Now add a few drops of food colouring until you achieve the desired intensity. I wanted mine a bit lighter in colour.
- Using a piping bag with a nice tip to pipe six meringues the size of a cupcake case onto an oven tray with a baking sheet. I drew circles the size of a case on the sheet with a pencil because I don’t trust my ability to gauge the diameter correctly.
- At a 100°C, put the meringues in the oven for about a 100 minutes. Afterwards, turn off the oven and let the meringues cool down completely. I can’t stress this enough. Wait. I took mine out too early because I needed the oven, which is why they cracked a bit.
- The next day, preheat the oven to a 180°C. Beat the soft butter, the sugar and the vanilla extract or vanilla sugar until well-mixed. First, add the egg, then alternate adding the mixture of flour and baking powder and the milk; mixing the dough after each addition. Now add the frozen blueberries. Line a muffin tray with six paper cases and fill them about two-thirds with the mixture. Bake in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes and let them cool on a wire rack.
- Now prepare the buttercream: thoroughly beat the soft butter and gradually add icing sugar until the mixture becomes white and firm. Add the cream and vanilla extract and mix well.
- With a spatula, cover each cupcake with a thin layer of buttercream and set a meringue on top.