Her body opened underneath him so easily that it was like slicing through ripe fruit. He had imagined it would be harder, that somehow taking a life would be more difficult but once the blade was in her neck sliding it sideways and severing her carotid artery had taken less than a couple of seconds.
It would be a long time though before he forgot the look on her face. She had gone from disdain to disbelief and then terror in a heart beat and for the first time in his life he felt alive, he felt like he was finally someone...finally a force to be reckoned with. Blood pumped in his veins even as hers spread across the paving slabs. He could feel his heart beat thundering in his chest as hers stilled and stopped. He hadn't finished with her yet though, not by a long chalk. He took a moment to check that they were still undisturbed…that he had time.
After a moment of silence he nodded his head. He had all the time in the world...the game...was on.
Sherlock had just moved back into Baker St but it all still felt wrong.
It had been three weeks since the events at Sherrinford and he had been forced to spend the time with his family as they tried to come to terms with what had happened. It had also been because Baker St was unliveable and needed repairing and redecorating….it had been tedious though. As a family none of them really had the emotional capability to support each other and living with Mycroft had been interminable…for both of them.
His parents had finally started to come to terms with the fact that the daughter they thought they’d lost nearly two decades ago was still alive. Meanwhile Sherlock had worked closely with Mycroft to ensure that the security around Eurus was more effective and appropriate than it had been previously.
She was still in the same location but there were clear rotas and instructions in place to ensure that no one person ever spent any longer with her than one hour every two weeks. At the same time one of the Holmes brothers would fly to the island fortnightly to ensure that all was being carried out as detailed and to see whether any changes needed to be made. Sherlock would also take the opportunity on his visits to try to reach his sister, to try to form a connection. At the moment it only existed through music but he felt confident that it could be developed; he was eager to have some kind of relationship with her now that he knew she existed.
He sat down in his new chair, his elbows on the armrests, and leant his chin on his fingertips as he contemplated what else he needed to do now that he was back.
John had been round that morning to help him sort the place out but he was planning on going away with Rosie, down to visit his sister on the coast. Sherlock understood why. They had come so close to death again and John needed to have some peace and stability, to spend quality time with his daughter. That's what people did wasn't it, when they had touched death, they spent time with their loved ones.
It was that thought that brought Molly Hooper to mind and he narrowed his eyes in frustration. Molly was a problem…one that he didn't yet fully know how to deal with.
He inhaled a lungful of air and exhaled it slowly as he tried, yet again, to work out what he should do.
There was a certain amount of guilt threaded through his emotions. He hadn't seen or spoken to her since that day. Instead he had sent his brother…his brother! round to handle her. Mycroft had ensured that her flat was free of cameras and any other monitoring equipment and he had also explained why Sherlock had made the call that he had. When Sherlock had quizzed him about it on his return all he had said was that she had understood. When he had tried to enquire further Mycroft had just rolled his eyes, sighed and told him that maybe he should go and see her himself if he was so concerned. But he hadn't. Instead he had ignored the problem…buried his head in the sand…hoped it would go away. But it wouldn't go away. Instead he was thinking about her more frequently and his dreams seemed to be haunted by her.
The trouble was that by avoiding the situation he was just making it worse. It was like trying to take a plaster off slowly, it just hurt more. He just needed to see her, to talk to her, to get it over with…but not today, he couldn't face it today…tomorrow maybe, or the day after. He huffed in frustration at himself, he hated being so weak and unsure but he was totally out of his depth here and he had no idea how to proceed.
Maybe what he needed was a case.
He stood up intending to switch on his laptop and trawl through his emails but he was interrupted by his phone ringing. When he saw Lestrade’s name on the display a quick smile flitted across his face…perfect timing.
‘What have you got for me?’
‘A body. Female, aged 31, throat cut, down in Whitechapel.’
‘Doesn't sound that exciting, there must be more to it than that, tell me.’
‘It's not just Whitechapel, it's Durward Street…used to be Bucks Row. And it's not just her throat that's been cut…she's been gutted. Remind you of anything?’
Sherlock's mouth opened a little and he let out a breath as his eyes glazed over in thought. ‘The first Ripper murder.’
‘I'll be there in just over twenty minutes…don't let the body be taken before I see it.’
He could hear Lestrade agreeing even as he hung up and grabbed his coat. He was out of the house within seconds and hailing a cab, blood pumping through his veins in exhilaration. It could easily be a coincidence that a woman was killed in the same place as the first murder by Jack the Ripper but was it feasible that she would also have the same cause of death and subsequent injuries? Sherlock had studied the Ripper murders, after all what self respecting London Detective hadn't at some point. It meant he had a good, working knowledge of the different victims including where and how they had died.
He thought of the first victim as he watched the sights of London, both the good and the bad, pass him by. She had been Mary Ann Nichols and she had been found with her throat slashed, along with abdominal injuries, in August 1888 on what used to be known as Bucks Row in Whitechapel. Although there was some dispute as to whether she was the actual first victim she was the first canonical victim and Sherlock agreed with that assessment.
Had someone meant to kill this new victim there? Had they meant her to look like a Ripper victim? If so that could only mean one thing….a serial killer. He couldn't help the smile that spread across his face at the prospect. It was just what he needed to distract him from everything that had been happening recently.
Molly couldn't seem to stop her mind from drifting whilst she was trying to work. It had been happening a lot recently. She'd find herself lost in her memories; remembering that phone call over and over. She could remember how hard she had been holding the phone and how much she had wanted to hear him say those words. His voice had sounded so unsure the first time and so emotional the second and for a moment…for one glorious moment…she had let herself believe that he might mean it.
That had all come crashing down 24 hours later when Mycroft Holmes had called at her house along with two of his men. For a split second Molly had thought he had come to tell her that Sherlock was dead and her stomach had turned over. She swore her heart had stopped beating whilst she waited to hear his words and her emotions had been on a roller coaster as she listened to him.
She had and still did feel sick at the intrusion of the cameras, panicking about how long they had been there and what had been captured…the complete invasion of her home and her privacy was overwhelming. She had felt shock and then horror at what the two brothers and John had had to suffer and then she had felt a hollow, empty, feeling as he had explained why Sherlock had made that call to her. Of course she understood WHY he had done it but that didn't help her deal with HOW it made her feel. It was probably a good thing that it was Mycroft explaining it. He was so clinical and emotionless in his delivery that it helped her keep her response that way…at least in front of him.
The moment the door had closed behind them she had turned around, leant on it and then slid to the floor with tears already falling down her cheeks. She had stayed there for a good ten minutes before she had picked herself up. She needed to get away, to lick her wounds and figure out just how she felt.
A quick call to Mike at work and then her mum and a couple of hours later she’d been on her way back to her childhood home. It was the right decision and a week away helped her to gain clarity over the situation. Her mum fussed over her and looked after her but also gave her time to think and sort through just how she felt about everything.
She made some decisions whilst she was there. One was that she couldn't carry on living in that flat…not now that she felt so violated there. She'd put it on the market and would look for something maybe a little closer to work.
She had even thought about moving away from London, away from Sherlock, starting a new life somewhere else but the way her heart clenched, even at the thought of it, she knew that she couldn't. She was stuck with him and her unrequited love for him whether she liked it or not. She could live with that…she had been living with that. It was just the way her life was meant to be.
Her mum wasn't overly happy with that decision but she grudgingly accepted it and maybe even understood a little. Love was love whether the person returned it or not. Her mum had felt the same about Molly's dad…she had loved him, did love him even though he had been dead for over ten years; that wasn't going to change just because he wasn't there any more.
And so, a week later, she had travelled back to London feeling rejuvenated and ready to face Sherlock. The trouble was he was nowhere to be seen. She had expected him at Barts and when that didn't happen she popped round for coffee with Mrs Hudson just to find out that Sherlock wasn't living there at the moment. Apparently he was staying in Kensington with his brother, Mycroft, whilst the work was being done on his flat.
Her next port of call had been John, ostensibly to talk about Rosie and what babysitting he might need but also to get his take on what had happened on that island. His was a much more emotional rendition of what happened and his description of Sherlock after he had finished the call to herself almost broke her heart. Mycroft had not mentioned him smashing up the coffin at all…it put a whole different slant on things…the trouble was she didn't know what, if anything, that meant for her. She just felt that she wouldn't really get any true answers until she saw him herself. But it was to be another week before that happened and in the worst of circumstances…over the body of a murder victim.