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What Matters More

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Sally bit back a sigh as she watched the awkward mating dance between Molly and Holmes. That’s what it was, really. Neither of them would admit it, or at least Holmes wouldn’t, but now that Molly had ended her engagement and Holmes had walked away from the troubles he’d gotten himself into and cleaned himself up, straightened himself out, there was interest there. It was plain to see, really. And she was forced to watch it while she hung around in the background and she and Lestrade watched their consultant do what he did best.

“Twenty quid he asks her on a date by month’s end,” Lestrade said, leaning in towards his sergeant.

Sally looked at the situation. Greg was a good man, an observant one, but he was reading the situation all wrong. Oh, she knew Molly was interested, all right, and she’d jump at the chance to finally nab Holmes. But Holmes…there was interest, yeah, but he was just moving too slowly. Molly would wait, of course she would wait. Sally knew she’d ended her engagement partly because she wasn’t over the git, but the question was, how long? She gave her head a slight shake. “You’re on. I don’t think he’ll make a move that fast.” She discretely moved her hand towards Lestrade’s and they shook on it, dropping them as Sherlock turned back towards them.

“It was the landlady,” he said. “She’s been feeding her tenants poison. Slowly, and a different poison each time, and something that could never be traced back to her. But she made a mistake with this one.”

“Surprised Mrs. Hudson hasn’t gotten the same idea at points,” Lestrade said with a grin. Sherlock gave him a blank stare and then Lestrade’s grin faltered. “Can you prove it?”

“Conclusively,” Sherlock said with a nod.

“Then let’s go get her,” Lestrade said. Sherlock moved towards the doors and Lestrade followed. Sally stayed back for a moment, and when Lestrade realized he stopped. “Coming, Sal?”

She shook her head. “You and Holmes get all the glory. I need to talk to Molly for a minute.”

Lestrade gave her a grin. “Still chasing that promotion?”

“Yeah,” Sally said. “Got that pile of cold cases to whittle down. Can’t do that without the best pathologist in all of the UK.” Molly grinned at that and blushed. “I’m almost off the clock anyway.”

Lestrade nodded at that. “How about I pick you up when we’re done?”

“It’s all right, Greg,” Molly said. “I can give Sally a lift back to the Yard to get her car when we’re done. We may talk over dinner or something.”

“If you’re sure?” he asked.

Sally nodded. “I’m sure.” Greg gave the two women a small wave and then headed out the doors at that. Sally turned to Molly then as she began stowing away the body they’d been looking at. “So, how badly did Sanderson muck up the autopsy?”

“Honestly, he must have been deeper in his cups than Mike thought he was,” she said, shaking her head. “How on earth anyone thought that was a thorough autopsy is beyond me.”

Sally sighed. “So I’m shite out of luck, aren’t I?” she said.

“Not entirely,” she said with a grin. “Since your victim was a John Doe, he was used by the medical students for practice afterwards. And it just so happens I supervised. I tracked down my students and thankfully, most of them had kept their notes. I’ve got them in the office.” She gave Sally a grin. “I hadn’t realized it was one of our bodies when I taught the lecture. I just used it as an example of how not to perform an autopsy.”

“Mols, I could kiss you,” Sally said enthusiastically.

“I’d rather have someone else do that, thanks all the same,” she said as she got the body back onto his shelf in the refrigeration unit.

“He’ll get around to it eventually. Maybe.”

“Hopefully,” Molly said. “Before I’m too old to enjoy anything.” Once the body was on the shelf she pushed it back into the unit. “I’m not getting any younger, you know. I mean, I should be married. I would have been, if…”

“If you hadn’t still fancied Sherlock, if it hadn’t taken all that time for him to get clean and sober, if it hadn’t taken him so long to realize you’re more than just his pathologist?” Sally ventured.

Molly sighed. “And yet he still won’t act on it. It’s not like Moriarty’s actually a threat. I mean, there are people who use him as a figurehead, but the man himself isn’t going to pop back up from the dead, you know? He blew his bloody brains out.” She closed the door to the refrigeration unit a bit more forcefully than she needed to. “So he can’t use that as an excuse.”

“Maybe he just doesn’t want to hurt you because he cares,” Sally said with a shrug. “I mean, I’m surprised Holmes has feelings and all, but…you bring them out of him. He cares, you’re important to him, and he thinks if he hurts you he’ll lose you.”

She shook her head. “Doesn’t he see it’s not that…simple?” she said.

“Emotions never are,” Sally said. “That’s why he’s shelved them for so long, I bet. They’re complicated and messy and confusing, and it’s easier to chuck them all aside than to deal with them.”

“You’re telling me,” Molly said with a wry smile. Sally gave her a sympathetic one back. Then she stripped off her cloves and deposited them into the medical waste bin. “So, we might as well go over what I was able to glean from the notes the interns made during the lecture, see if that helps you any. I hope it does.”

“Me too,” Sally said with a nod as they headed towards Molly’s office. “I’d love to get the Inspector position. Dimmock had an unfair advantage when he got the other one out from under my nose. And now that I’ve put certain things behind me, I’ve got a clear record and a fair shot.”

“You do. And you deserve it more than those other clods, so I’ll do what I can to help you get it,” Molly said with a grin. “After all, that’s what friends do, right?”

“Right,” Sally said as she opened the door to the office for Molly. This was going to be a good evening, she told herself. She could feel it in her bones.