At first, Sherlock had been shocked when Molly had told him that she didn’t love him anymore. That he was no longer her light, her color, just as she finally became his.
Then, Molly set her hands over his, cupping her cheeks, and gently pried them away. As she let them go, his world was shrouded in grey once more. Grey loneliness.
He thought he could feel his heart aching.
Molly looked down at her feet. “I need to go… Toby’s waiting for me at home.” She didn’t look back up at him. Her cheeks didn’t flush as he stared at her, almost unseeing, as though he’d short circuited.
She just stepped away from him, and calmly made her way to the curb outside of Bart’s to hail a cab and go home.
… … … … … …
Molly didn’t feel any relief. Just pain, and the loss of something that could have been beautiful. That was beautiful.
Damn Sherlock. Why? Why today? Why ever? What did it matter if he loved her? He’d already taken her heart and torn it in two with his callous words and uncaring mind. He’d already proven that nothing mattered to him but the case. Not her, or John, or even himself. He would do and hurt anyone to complete the puzzle.
And to Molly, that just wasn’t a price she was willing to pay to love him.
She changed and went to bed, more exhausted than she could ever remember being before. Toby deigned to lay next to her tonight. Perhaps he realized how much she suffered. He allowed her to draw him close to her chest and snuggle into his fur. He even purred for her as she drifted off.
… … … … … …
“What do I do John?” Sherlock had locked himself in his flat for three days, trying to answer that question for himself.
Now, he stood in John’s living room in the middle of the night, having picked the lock. John, as was a habit, had gotten out of bed to get a drink.
He’d cursed, and shouted something about Sherlock nearly giving him a heart attack when he spotted him standing in the middle of the living room expectantly.
“Hardly John, you’re too active, and it doesn’t run in your family.”
John glared at the consulting detective for a moment, then sighed, realizing his restful night was over.
“John, is everything all right?” Though he’d left her in bed, Mary was a light sleeper and had heard John’s exclamation. Naturally, once she heard Sherlock’s voice as well, she had to see what was going on.
She didn’t seem nearly as confused as John was with Sherlock’s presence. In fact, she looked a little too happy on the matter.
John sighed again. “All right, one of you let me in on the secret. What do you do about what, Sherlock?”
John’s eyebrows shot up at the same time that Mary clapped her hands together lightly, her grin broadening. “Oh, so that’s who it is!”
“John arched his brow, looking to her at his side. “What?”
“My soulmate John, do keep up.”
John blinked, and turned his gaze back to Sherlock. “Your soul… wait, you love Molly?”
Sherlock was just a bit uncomfortable with the question. Feelings still weren’t really his area. “It would seem so.”
John nodded. “Well, that – that’s marvelous, right? I mean, we all know she loves you, so what are you doing here and not with her?”
“The lab, John. Oh Sherlock, what are you going to do?” Mary asked.
“I don’t bloody know!” he shouted in exasperation. Couldn’t they understand that he didn’t know? He wasn’t good at this. Molly didn’t love him anymore, and he didn’t know how to make her start again.
A baby’s cries filled the flat.
Mary glared. “You could have said it a little quieter, now I’ll never get her to sleep.” With that, the ex-assassin turned from the boys, and went to look after her daughter.
It left them in an awkward silence for several moments, after Mary had gotten the infant quieted down.
“So. Molly Hooper?”
“But I don’t see why you need help. She loves you.”
John just looked at him for several moments. Sherlock scowled. Surely it didn’t take this long to process such basic information.
“What the devil did you do? She’s always loved you, even when she was engaged to that wanker look-alike.”
“You were there, John, must I spell it out.”
Now, John glared. It wasn’t his bloody fault Sherlock couldn’t just spit out the problem and details to go with it. Then it clicked. “You… misused your mind.”
“She’s seen me on drugs before. Helped me get clean. Apparently, seeing me high again was enough.”
John nodded. He stuffed his hands into his pyjama pockets. “Why don’t you… I dunno, apologize?”
“Show her you care?”
“She won’t believe it.”
“Tell her you bloody love her?”
“She already knows.”
John sighed. This was getting nowhere. “Look, Sherlock, you can’t … this isn’t really something I can give advice on.”
“Well, how did you regain your color with Mary? Clearly, you see it once more.”
John shook his head. “I never lost it. Not for a day. That’s the thing, Sherlock. As angry as I was at Mary, I never stopped loving her. Now, I know Molly gave you her love willingly and freely, waiting for you to return it. Maybe it’s your turn to do the same.”
Mary appeared again, having apparently settled their daughter down again despite saying otherwise earlier. She approached, and took John’s hand, their fingers intertwining easily, his hand meant to encompass hers.
“You’ll figure it out Sherlock,” she said softly, leaning her head on John’s shoulder. She gave him an encouraging smile, but it did little to raise his spirits.
He left the flat with no more answers than he’d had when he entered it. Just an idea, only half – formed, but a chance.
… … … … … … … … … …
“Would you like to –“
It was an awkward silence. Molly sighed, tucking a flyaway strand of hair behind her left ear.
“No thank you, Sherlock. If that’s all, I really need to get back to work. If not, you need a guest pass from the administrator to be down here, so please leave.”
Always so polite, even to the person who had crushed her. Molly was beginning to think he really was a curse.
Sherlock grabbed her wrist as she turned away from him.
She held still, her eyes closing. She knew what he was doing. Taking her pulse. He’d hear it slightly elevated.
She also examined him in turn. She heard the soft intake of breath at first contact. He saw something so beautiful. He saw life, and happiness.
It wasn’t fair, when all she saw was grey.
She slapped him again without meaning to. She just reacted.
Instead of taking it as he had before, he grabbed her hand just inches from his cheek, and Molly watched as he brought it to his lips to lay a gentle kiss on her palm.
“All right, Molly. I apologize for wasting your time.”
He let her go then, without another argument, and left the room. The door shut quietly. There were no dramatics, no slamming or banging to announce his departure.
Just silence, leaving Molly confused and unsure what to do. The place where his lips had touched her skin tingled.
She went to the sink to wash her hands, pulled on a pair of white latex gloves, and got to work, refusing to think anymore on the matter, because he was not allowed to do this to her again.
She wouldn’t let him.