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Volunteers

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Molly glanced up from the corpse. "Oh! Didn't expect to see you here on New Year's Eve."

With a shrug, Lestrade said, "Volunteered. Others had somewhere to be…"

"And someone to be with" went unspoken.

She glanced toward his ring finger, but he'd shoved his hand deeply into his pocket, as a wounded animal curls around the source of its pain.

He passed her new paperwork. "Sorry you're stuck here."

"No, it's fine, really. I volunteered, too. Had enough of the holidays."

A kind, sympathetic smile crossed his face, gentling its lines, but failing to reach his eyes.

"She's an idiot," she blurted, then clapped her hand to her mouth.

For a moment he appeared puzzled. Then he slumped, shaking his head.

"Sorry," she offered. "But when Sherlock makes an announcement, it's hard to… unhear."

"I know." Lestrade studied his shoes. "And thanks. But if I'd been there when she needed me, not at work, maybe she wouldn't have looked elsewhere."

"Don’t.”

If you weren't so dedicated, Molly thought, you wouldn't be you.

"She is an idiot.” Unrepentant this time.

He coloured. Cleared his throat. "Well, for the record, so's Sherlock."

She grimaced, then grinned.

Softly, "You deserve a happy new year, Molly."

"So do you."

She crossed her fingers. He returned the gesture, then let himself out with a bow.

 

THE END