They hadn’t spoken a word on the drive back to London. There had been nothing left to say.
In the beige and grey of their hotel room, she’d told Tom the whole -- or most of it. The basic facts, at least. Though it had turned out that these merely confirmed suspicions he’d done his best to ignore, right up to the moment when she’d stabbed him in the hand with her fork.
“So,” he’d said, his voice as dull as the room’s appointments. “You are in love with him.”
She’d sighed, weary with emotion, champagne, and the long day, but had not voiced confirmation of the statement. After all, what was the point?
They’d packed their bags in silence, checked out of the DoubleTree with a minimum of fuss, and returned to London, arriving at her flat in the small hours of a starless night.
“I’m sorry, Tom,” she’d said, bleak and dry-eyed as she’d watched him set her suitcase on the pavement beside her.
“I’m sorry, too,” he had replied, a bitter note in his voice. A brief pause, then, “Goodbye, Molly.”
And that was that.
It was the inevitable conclusion of a process that had begun months before, on the day she’d opened the door of her locker to find Sherlock reflected in the inadequate mirror, a quizzical, almost tender smile on his lips and in his eyes. She’d whirled to face him with a small gasp, and there he was, towering over her, warm and alive. The happiness, the blessed relief…
And then she’d remembered.
“You’re back,” she’d managed to say, and then frowned. “Have you been in a fight?”
“John was less pleased at my return than you appear to be.”
She hadn’t seen John for a long time. It had been too awkward, and now, she’d thought, it would be more awkward still. Mycroft Holmes had told her she’d nothing to worry about, legally speaking; he would see to that. But nothing would alter the fact that she’d deceived Sherlock’s closest friends for over two years.
So many lies.
In the end they’d understood, and forgiven, even John, knowing it had all been part of the game -- a very serious game.
But she hadn’t told Tom much of it at all, until that night at the hotel, after John and Mary’s wedding and that nerve-wracking reception. And by then it was too late.
Though maybe it always had been too late.
A month later, Sherlock was standing in her lab looking both dissipated and coldly indifferent as she ran the drugs panel and she could not help wondering what insanity had prompted her to throw over Tom for this. Like the Watsons, she hadn’t seen Sherlock in weeks, but the shock she’d felt when they’d first dragged him in had rapidly turned to fury as she worked, a fury that was well able to vie with John’s, and, when she had the final results, surpassed it. There was no way she could have kept from stripping off her gloves, marching over to her bloody, wasted Nemesis, and giving him just a taste of what he so richly deserved.
She felt a moment’s satisfaction at having hit hard enough to penetrate that seeming detachment, and followed up her assault with a demand that he apologize. But of course, even out of his skull on opiates, Sherlock was more than capable of a cutting riposte.
“Sorry your engagement’s over -- though I’m fairly grateful for the lack of a ring.”
After which all she had been able to come up with was, “Stop it! Just stop it!”
How she managed to work the rest of that day she had no idea, but she was a professional and she did it.
A couple of her co-workers had somehow heard about what happened and begged her to come out for a drink when her shift ended. There was nothing she wanted less.
She made her way home, angry at Sherlock, livid with herself. Idiot was the word of the day, and when she got home even Toby sensed that she’d snapped, retreating under the bed in the guest room after she’d slammed her front door upon the world.
She fetched the bottle of good white wine she’d been saving for a special occasion (oh, the irony!), poured herself the first of several enormous glasses, put Toby’s dish of wet food out where he would eventually dare to find it, and flopped down on her couch to watch crap telly. God knew she needed the distraction.
It was several hours later when she woke to a dull sense of depression, lingering inebriation, and the sound of her mobile phone noisily vibrating and blaring its current ringtone (‘Happy’ of all things. Irony upon irony). She grabbed the phone to shut it off, but saw that it was John and accepted the call.
“Hi, John,” she said, her voice rough.
“Molly? Are you okay?”
“Yes. Of course. What is it? Sherlock again?”
“Molly… yeah, it’s Sherlock. We were on a case and… Molly, he’s been shot.”
“What?” she blurted, sitting bolt upright, her head swimming.
Bad… chest… surgery… not sure…
She could barely take it in.
But John’s last words were, “... will you come? I mean, there’s not much we can do until he’s out of surgery -- if he makes it. But I thought…”
“I’ll come. I’ll be there,” Molly said, firmly.
“Good. Yes, that’s good. See you soon.”
John ended the call.
And Molly, hopeless idiot that she was, collapsed against the sofa cushions and began to sob.