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Forgotten Birthdays Are What Friends Are For

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She hunched over the post-mortem report on her desk, going over it to find any discrepancies. Training new pathologists was a pain in the arse, she decided. She would much rather be at home with a good thing of takeaway on her own china and a glass of wine and maybe a pint of ice cream to boot. It had been quite stressful, and then to have Sherlock and her having time apart on top of it…

Not that she hadn’t expected it. It had been a few months since their forced love confessions and there was an awful lot about his life and his family that he needed to sort out. Time and space was needed to do that, of course, and she understood. Still, she did miss his presence. But she had filled up the hole in her romantic life with work and friends and while it wasn’t the same, it was something.

She was looking up at the clock to see how much longer there was until her shift was over when she saw John came in, carrying things.

A gift bag.

A single peach rose in a glass vase.

And...a slice of cake? What in the world?

“Happy birthday,” John said. “Thought you’d like to celebrate even though you’re busy.”

She frowned. “It’s not my birthday.”

John shook his head. “It’s definitely your birthday.”

She started to move things off her desk to get to the calendar underneath the papers and mess. “Give me a calendar. It’s not and I will prove it to--” She paused as she looked up the date when she got to the calendar. It was, indeed, her birthday. How could she have forgotten? “Oh. Never mind. Happy birthday to me.” She pushed her chair back. “I have no idea how I could have forgotten.”

“I’ve done it before, myself. Forgot Sherlock’s birthday for years. But you never did and we—I--wanted to make sure you didn’t forget it this year.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Sherlock told you it was my birthday, didn’t he?”

“Not exactly?” he said, moving closer. “He mentioned he wanted to do something nice for you today and wasn’t sure you wanted to. Then I asked Greg and he told me it was your birthday. I’d say expect a visit from him as well, later.”

She was touched that John had gone to this trouble. It looked as though he, at least, was getting better in showing his friends he cared. That was good. She reached for the gift and the cake and he handed both to her before setting the rose next to her. She moved away the tissue paper in the gift bag and saw a picture in a frame of her and Rosie with Rosie’s handprint engraved on the side. “This was not a short term present,” she said, her smile wide.

“Yeah, well, it was supposed to be a Christmas present, but...” He trailed off. “Mary got the frame before she died. She was always the type to get presents year round. I found it when I was sorting through things and I thought...”

“It’s just perfect, John,” she said, getting up and kissing his cheek. “I’ll take it home with me and put it in my bedroom. I know just where I can see it every day.”

“I’m glad you like it,” he said. She sat back down and saw there were two pieces of cake on the paper plate, and another plate underneath. John produced two forks and she unwrapped the cling wrap from the slices and then moved a slice to the second plate and handed it to John. It was a Black Forest cake, and it looked scrumptious. Once she took a bite, she realized it tasted just as good as it looked.

“Oh, where did you get this?” she asked, nearly moaning as she swallowed her first mouthful of cake.

John was quiet for a moment. “Sherlock made it. He’s been trying to bake to get his mind off things, and this was one that I thought you’d appreciate it so I asked for two slices.”

“Does he have more?” she asked.

“Should have the rest of the cake left,” John said, taking a bite of his own slice. “Why?”

“Because I think I’d like more,” she said. “And...not that I don’t appreciate this visit, but I don’t really want to spend tonight with anyone else.”

John gave her a wide smile. “I think he’d like that. I think he’s ready to talk and move forward.”

“Is he?” she asked. He nodded. “Good. Because I think it is too. I just hope we’re on the same page.”

“Somehow I think you will be,” he said. They both had some more of their cake and Molly decided that as soon as John left, she’d invite Sherlock to join her for takeaway if he brought more cake and then...well, then they’d see where they wanted to go from there. She doubted it would be anything less than the best birthday present of the day, with this beautiful picture a very close second.