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Sherlock BBC- 2nd chance

Chapter Text

Prologue


"Say it anyway!"

"Say it. Go ahead. Say it first!"

"Say what?

"Say it like you mean it.

"l... I love you. I LOVE YOU."

"MOLLY?.... MOLLY, PLEASE!"

 

"I love you"

And then it was suddenly over. He had hung up. 

What was that? Why did he want me to say THAT to him and why did he sound so panicky?' Molly asked herself and stared thoughtfully at the phone in her hand. Tears slowly gathered in her eyes.

 

Just before

Molly was just standing in her kitchen and wanted to make herself some tea. She had not had a particularly good day today. 
The reason for her mood was what had happened to her at work today. Molly was processing some documents from the previous autopsy when suddenly a new body was brought in. 
It was the body of a little girl. She was about the same age as her goddaughter. 
When Molly flipped the sheet back, she froze completely. The girl also had blonde hair. Her body looked emaciated and covered with dozens of haematomas. A glance at the file told her that this was abuse and neglect by her charges. Molly swallowed hard and kept thinking about Rosie. Actually, she was always able to keep a certain distance when doing autopsies of children. But this time, this time it was different. Molly just couldn't get her work started. She stood frozen and could only look at the lifeless body in front of her. Her colleague and friend Meena finally took over her work and Molly devoted herself to the paperwork. 

And now this call from him. That made the day complete!
She was still standing in her kitchen, phone in hand, wondering what had just happened. Suddenly she was gripped with rage. The rage at what he was asking her to do. Anger that he hung up on her after she finally revealed her feelings to him and anger at herself for getting involved in his games again and feeling more vulnerable than ever before.

Before she knew it, her phone was on the opposite wall and her tea utensils on the floor. 
She wasn't normally the type to have such an outburst of emotion but Sherlock and this call had triggered something in her that could not be stopped. Countless objects found their way onto the floor or smashed against the wall.

How could he do this to me? Why is he doing such a terrible thing?' she thought and then slowly sank to the floor. Her arms clasped her legs and pulled her closer to her body. Then she let her tears, which had been accumulating all day, run free.  Her tomcat Toby kept trying to cheer her up with a few nudges but Molly was just too hurt.
She must have been sitting there crying for hours and hours, and the night was drawing in, and a look at her clock in the kitchen showed that it was almost midnight. 
Molly was just about to sit up and slowly walk into her bedroom, when suddenly a knock on her door startled her. 

'Oh God, what if that's him?' she thought, slightly rattled. 
Her eyes were already red and swollen. She didn't want him to see her like that, did she? Maybe he should see what he had done to her with it?

But then something else came to her mind.
'Sherlock does not knock. Sherlock lets himself in.'

Another knock. 
This time it sounded a little more impatient. She finally straightened up and then slowly walked to her flat door with slightly shaky legs. Carefully she opened the door and looked outside.

"Good evening Ms. Hooper. Sorry to disturb you so late but we have reason to believe you are being monitored and there are cameras in your flat," he explained.

It was Mycroft and a couple of other men positioned themselves behind him. There was a brief relief in her mind that it was not Sherlock. She didn't know if she could face it yet. 
Molly finally opened the door completely and looked questioningly at the tall man with the umbrella.

"Mr. Holmes? What are you doing here and what do you mean, cameras in my flat?"

Molly didn't understand. Why were there cameras in her flat and, more importantly, where and by whom? She just couldn't believe it. What had Sherlock got himself into now, and what had she got herself into?

"Maybe we'd better talk about this inside," he said and replied to make some room for her.

Molly glanced briefly back into her flat and saw the chaos her outburst had left behind. She was extremely uncomfortable and didn't want anyone to see her flat like that. After all, she had always been a very tidy and structured person. A little "Little Miss Perfect" as her friends kept calling her. 

Mycroft seemed to notice her hesitation.

"Ms.Hooper. It really would be better if we could discuss this inside. It concerns, amongst other things, the telephone call you received today" he explained again.

The phone call? How did he know about it? 
She gave a deep sigh and then finally stepped aside and let him in.
Mycroft nodded at her and then finally walked past her. The men followed him and immediately got to work.

He froze for a moment as he entered her flat and at the sight that appeared before him. Things were scattered all over the floor, shards adorned the kitchen floor.

What had happened here? Did Eurus do anything else?' he thought for a moment, but when he found the smashed telephone on the floor it became clear to him.

"Please excuse the chaos. I, um... I was sorting out" Molly somehow tried to explain herself. Of course she knew he would never believe it but that was the best she could do at the moment.

"Obviously" he replied slightly surprised.

"Well, Mr. Holmes. Tell me, what are you doing here at this late hour and why am I being watched?" she finally continued. She was still puzzled by what was going on here.

"I think it would be better if my brother explained this to you We are only here to remove the cameras. It will take a little time. Anthea, my assistant will take you to a hotel for this," he explained and carefully pushed her towards the exit.

Molly turned around abruptly and sparkled at him slightly angry. She was fed up with the Holmes brothers constantly bossing her around and taking advantage of her. 

"No! Stop! This is my flat! You just walk in here in the middle of the night, tell me I'm being watched and then you push me out of my own flat without explaining why? I don't need a hotel. I'll just wait outside the door until you're done here," she replied slightly annoyed and then went out the door.

She finally settled down on one of the stairs. Again and again her thoughts wandered to the situation that was going on in her flat, to today and this phone call. How did Mycroft know about the call and the cameras? What happened and most importantly, how is Sherlock? Something was wrong, wasn't there? 
She wanted to call him and ask him what happened but she couldn't because her phone was scattered on her floor in several pieces.
She cursed herself inside for it. 
And what if Sherlock had already tried to contact her? Maybe there really was a reasonable explanation for all this. But why didn't anyone tell her? Was she really such an insignificant person, where it was not important to tell her about it? What if it was all just another stupid game? Molly didn't know why, but she got angry again. Angry at Mycroft, who expelled her from her flat without explaining anything, angry at Sherlock, who finally broke her heart with that phone call and didn't even feel it necessary to explain it to her and she was angry at herself too. That whenever he paid her a little compliment, she fell for him and her life revolved solely around him.

She also wondered what was wrong with her. 
When had this happened to her? When had she allowed her life to be defined by this one man? 
She no longer wanted to follow him and let him control her life. She no longer wanted to hope that Sherlock would one day come to her senses and return her love. 
She knew that if she wanted to be happy, she had to let him go and cut him out of her life. 

"Is everything all right? Are you all right?" Anthea now asked.
Molly didn't notice but apparently she had started smiling and Anthea seemed to have noticed.
"What? Oh yes. I just made a decision," she replied to her then and smiled again.

Yes, she had made her decision. She had to somehow remove Sherlock from her life and therefore from her heart. She had to forget him. 

 

 

Chapter Text

The next morning

Molly walked through her flat completely exhausted and looked around. She could not sleep very well after Mycroft and the men had left her flat. She just lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling and brooding.
The morning didn't take long and Molly had to get ready for work and face Sherlock.
She had to hurry, as her shift at Bart's was due to start in an hour and she wanted to get a new phone before then. She quickly jumped in the shower and put on fresh clothes. She did without breakfast. She would just get something small to eat on the way to the electronics market. After she had finished packing her bag and stowed away the SIM card of her destroyed phone, she set off.
Her thoughts kept turning to yesterday, the phone call, the search of her flat and what Mycroft's assistant had told her...

Review

Molly was still sitting outside her house on the cold steps, waiting for Mycroft and the men to leave. She had decided against Mycroft Holmes' recommendation to go to a nearby hotel, and as the night progressed, she gradually regretted it.
Standing in front of her was Anthea, Mycroft's assistant, typing something into her phone. Molly was still wondering what was going on and why there were cameras in her flat of all places.

"Miss...Anthea, is it? What's going on here?" she then asked.

Anthea looked up briefly from her phone.
"I'm afraid I'm not authorised to tell you anything. I'm sorry," she replied and immediately continued to type on her phone.

Molly gave a deep sigh.
"Why doesn't anyone tell me anything?" she muttered quietly and disappointedly.

Anthea overheard her mumbling and then replied to her:
"You should talk to the younger brother"

Sherlock. Of course, who else? But she was right. After all, he still owed her an explanation. And apparently, he was the only person who could explain this whole situation to her. Molly thought about it for a moment and finally turned to the person in front of her. She might as well go to him as wait here in the cold.

"Miss? Do you think it would be possible if your driver could drive me to a certain place?"

Anthea looked up from her telephone in surprise.

"Er, of course, but where are you going?"

"Well, as no-one else is talking to me, I need to see the person who can tell me about all this! I want to see Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street," said Molly, then straightened up and brushed the dirt off her trousers. But before she could get to the car, Anthea interrupted her.

"Miss Hooper, I'm sorry but he is not there. Haven't you heard?"

"I'm sorry, heard what?" Molly then asked in slight surprise and turned back to her.

"There was an explosion and the flat was completely destroyed!" answered her Anthea.

"An explosion? What? But how? Is Sherlock all right and Mrs Husdon?" Molly then asked in complete horror.

"Don't worry, Miss. Everyone's fine and got out of the flat in time."

It took a load off Molly's mind. But why hadn't she heard about the explosion?
Well, probably because she had completely renounced all media all day yesterday. After she was home, she just wanted to have her peace and quiet and make herself comfortable on the couch with a nice hot tea. Until the phone call, which probably - now it occurred to her - was related to the explosion and all this. Again and again she wondered what Sherlock had got himself into again and whether he was all right. She urgently needed to talk to Sherlock. And as soon as possible.

"Oh, thank God! But where are Mrs Hudson and Sherlock now?" she then asked.

"The elderly lady has gone to see her sister for the time being, and Mr Holmes will probably be with Dr Watson. Shall I have you taken there?"

Molly thought for a moment.
"No, no. It's very late and he has a little daughter. I don't want to disturb her now. I'll just stop by his house tomorrow," she then explained.

Anthea nodded briefly and then turned her attention back to her phone.


Molly had learned of the explosion in Sherlock's flat and her anger and resentment had evaporated for the time being, turning to concern and fear. She was sure that she urgently needed to talk to him about it. She had always been a person who cared and looked after her friends and put their needs in the background. Her decision to cut him out of her life took a back seat for the time being. More important now was to find out what had happened and if Sherlock was all right?
But would he even want to talk to her or would he, like his brother, reject her?

But for some reason she didn't think much about it. She did not care. She was tired of everyone thinking she was insignificant and not telling her anything. Right after work today, she would go to John's house and confront Sherlock about it.




Chapter Text

John had invited Sherlock to his place until his flat was completely renovated and now he was sitting on his couch with the detective and talking about yesterday.

"How are you feeling now after everything that happened?" he asked with a slight concern.

Sherlock replied to him with "fine", but not very much to say.

John took a deep breath and still Sherlock did not allow any emotions.
"I'm sorry but I can't believe that. You must be feeling something after all this?" he replied curiously.

Sherlock gave a deep sigh.
"John. I don't know. Yesterday I learned that I have a sister and about what happened to my best friend Victor at the time. I've got to sort all this out first."

John understood, however, that there was another question on his mind.
"Of course. And... will you talk to her about it?"
Sherlock turned his eyes away from him, slightly unnerved.
"With whom?" Sherlock then asked, although he already knew the answer.

"MOLLY?!" John now replied in a louder voice.

Sherlock then just rolled his eyes. He knew he had to talk to her about this call and that he owed her an explanation but he was unsure how to do it.

"Oh, John. Do I have to? Do I really have to? I mean, this is Molly we're talking about. The Molly who, without further ado, had helped me fake my death. I'm sure she'll understand somehow.

That was too much for John. How could Sherlock have accepted such a thing?
"SHERLOCK! You can't be serious?! You know --"

But before he could continue, he was interrupted by the doorbell.

* * *

Molly was just outside her friend's door, waiting for him to open it.
She was excited and didn't quite know what to expect or how Sherlock would react to her appearance. Would he openly tell her what had happened and what this phone call was all about or would he, as he often did, reject her with his typical "Sherlock behaviour"?
She was a bit scared of this conversation, but she wanted to know. Above all, she wanted to know whether his "confession of love" had any meaning. After all, he had not only said it once. And the second time it almost sounded as if he had become aware of something.
A spark of hope germinated in her from these thoughts. She loved Sherlock and had done so for ages. And he had said those beautiful words to her twice, words she had always wished she could hear from his mouth.

'Maybe there's a chance after all and I don't have to cut him out of my life completely,' she asked herself.

'No, stop! This is nonsense. This is Sherlock we're talking about. He will never feel that way about me. There must be another explanation,' she then rebuked herself in thought.

She was not allowed to be distracted and above all she had to stop dreaming about him and imagine a life together with him. She had a different plan and depending on how the conversation goes, she will put it into action. For her own good.

It didn't take long before the door was opened and a rather surprised looking John stood in front of her. He looked exhausted and dark circles around his eyes adorned his face.

"Molly? What are you doing here?"

"Hello, John. Sorry to disturb you, but..."

There was a short pause. She was slightly horrified at the sight of him and didn't really know what to say.

"Um, is everything OK? You look very exhausted," she then asked in a worried tone.

"I haven't slept very well and yesterday was quite exhausting. But tell me, what are you doing here? Do you want to visit Rosie? Because, unfortunately she's not here. She's with relatives."

"Actually... Actually, I came to see Sherlock. I heard what happened and that he's with you for now." she stammered slightly insecurely.

"You know what's happened?" he then asked, slightly surprised.

"Mycroft Holmes came to my flat last night with a couple of men to remove any cameras that were attached to my place. I was then told by his assistant that there had been an explosion in Sherlock's flat and that he would be staying with you for the time being.
I, um... I wanted to find out if he was all right," she explained. At first she didn't say anything about the phone call. After all, she didn't know that John was present during the call.

"So he is there?" she asked.

John listened to her attentively all the time and finally came to the conclusion that she knew nothing about yesterday and what happened in Sherrinford. But he also knew that she also had a right to know about it and there was only one person who could and should explain everything to her. The person who was now sitting on his couch.

"Wait a minute" he then asked her and slowly closed the door.

"Sherlock. It's Molly. She wants to talk to you," John replied to him after he had returned to his living room.

"Just tell her I'm not here."

John rolled his eyes and stroked his hair in annoyance.

"Sherlock! You're not serious, are you? Molly's our friend, your friend. You two are friends. Just like you said yesterday. Remember? Do you have any idea what you did to her with that phone call? She opened her heart to you. She loves you and you obviously feel something for her. You owe her an explanation!" he almost screamed.

"Yes John! Molly and I are friends. Not any more. And I wanted to save her life with that phone call. I had no idea that it was all just a cheap trick on my sister!" Sherlock replied loudly.

"Damn it, Sherlock! It's because you're friends that you have to talk to her! Now get out there and explain the whole situation to her before it's too late," John yelled on and pointed his arm towards the door.

Sherlock was stunned by his friend's outburst of emotion. But he also knew he was right. Molly was his friend and obviously he really had some feelings for her. However, he could not yet identify them and had to find out about them first.

"But what should I tell her? I don't even know what happened to me. I only confronted my emotions a few hours ago. I'm not ready to do that yet" Sherlock sighed.

"The truth, Sherlock. Tell her the truth. She deserves to know it.

But what was the truth? Did he really only see her as a friend or did he feel something else for her? After he had said these words, and for the second time, he became aware of something. But he did not know what it was yet.

Sherlock took a deep breath and then slowly rose from the couch.

Carefully and with slightly shaky knees he walked towards the door.

Slowly he opened the door and immediately began to speak.

"So Molly, listen --"

But Molly had disappeared.

Chapter Text

Molly walked the streets of London lost in thought. Her cheeks were wet from the tears that were now streaming down her face. This very morning she had decided to confront Sherlock with the call. She did not have the chance, however, because Sherlock did not want to talk to her.

John hadn't noticed that the door was still open and so Molly was able to listen to every word of their conversation. She left when she heard that Sherlock didn't want to talk to her and he called them just friends and nothing more.
It broke her heart. Secretly, she had wished that this call would spark something between them and that his confession of love was meant seriously.

And now she walked through the streets and thought about what she had heard.

'Sister? So he has a sister. Apparently she wanted to cause me harm and it was probably her who put the cameras in my flat. And how did John know about the call? she wondered.

Molly concluded that Sherlock was forced to say these words and none of it was serious.

Again, she felt a piece of her heart breaking. All of a sudden her plan came back to her mind and if she wanted to protect her heart from breaking for good, she had to put it into action. But she needed support.

So she went to her only friend, who knew about her feelings for the Consulting Detective and had endured her infatuation with him for quite some time.
Molly knew exactly where to find her. After all, it was her colleague and she was working the late shift today.

A short time later she arrived at the building she was all too familiar with and immediately went in the direction where she thought she would find her colleague Meena.

She found Meena in the mortuary, bent over a corpse, and when Molly entered the room, the person in question straightened up and looked at her in a slightly confused way.

"Oh, hello Molly. What are you doing here? Didn't you have something important to do today?" she then asked and immediately continued when she saw the face of her friend and colleague. Her cheeks were wet and shiny and her eyes were red.

"What happened?" she then asked in a worried tone and walked towards her. She took off her gloves and then pulled Molly's arms.

Due to the loving gesture of her colleague, Molly could not help but let her tears flow again and cry against her friend's shoulder.
Meena said nothing, allowed it to happen and gently stroked her back and hair.
She knew about Molly's feelings towards the detective and then thought that the conversation had apparently not gone well.

"The conversation didn't go well, did it?" she asked a little later, after Molly had calmed down a bit.

Molly moved away from her shoulder and wiped the tears from her face.

"He wouldn't talk to me. I heard it by chance and also that he was probably forced into the call and the words."

Yes, Meena knew about the call. Molly had told her the next day. Well, more likely Meena had noticed that something was wrong and she kept going until Molly couldn't stand it any more and told her everything.

"Meena, I just can't do this any more! I'm tired of running after a man who thinks I'm so insignificant he doesn't even feel the need to explain it all to me," Molly sobbed again.

Meena knew exactly what Molly meant and could understand it.
"And what are you going to do now?"

"I need to get Sherlock out of my thoughts and my heart. I must forget him," Molly replied.

"And how are you going to do that?" asked her colleague further.

But before Molly could answer, the door to the mortuary opened and a small, fat man with sparse hair came in.

"Meena, I --"
"Oh, hello, Molly, I didn't know you were still here. Didn't you finish your shift today?" asked the older man.

"Hello Mr. Johnson. Yes that's right but I needed to talk to Meena," she replied, trying to wipe the tears from her face as discreetly as possible.

Mr Johnson looked at her sceptically.
"Okay, I'm sorry to interrupt you two but I have a small problem. I won't be long"

"What is it Mr. Johnson?" asked Meena curiously.

"I have just learned that our partner institution, the University Hospital in Waterford, has a staff shortage and they are urgently looking for an experienced pathologist to refer the newcomers. Well, and I thought of you, Meena?" the gentleman told the two women.

"Oh, Mr. Johnson. I'm honored and as much as I'd like to do it, I can't. I'm sorry."

Molly listened to them attentively all the time. She knew that Meena could not and would not leave London. She had lived here all her life and had met a nice young man a few weeks ago who she said was the right man.
The conversation became more heated. The discussion was heated but Molly couldn't help but digress with her thoughts.

Another hospital, in another country. Away from London. Away from Sherlock Holmes. The perfect opportunity to put my plan into action and leave Sherlock behind'.

And before she knew it, the words were already out of her mouth.

"I'll do it. I'll go!"

A little smile formed on Mr. Johnson's face.

"Very good, Molly! Just come to my office tomorrow and we'll discuss everything else," he said and headed for the exit.
Now that he was gone, Meena turned to her in shock and looked at her with eyes wide open.

"Molly? Are you serious?" she asked. Still perplexed by the statement of her colleague.

"Meena. Do you remember? I wanted to forget Sherlock. And how better to do that than to leave London and start all over again in another country? This is perfect. And besides, if I don't do it, then you have to go and you can't go. Your whole life is here and besides, you have Aiden now."

"Yeah, OK, that's true, but are you really sure you want to do this? After all, we're talking about a different country."

"Absolutely. And Meena, yes, it is a different country but not that far away. We can still see each other and phone each other regularly. I think a change of scenery would be just what I need right now," Molly answered her honestly and smiled at her slightly.

Yes, it really seemed to be the ideal solution to her problem. After all, what better way to forget someone than to remove yourself from your life? Molly was suddenly happy and not at all scared about what she would expect. But her initial joy was quickly dampened when she heard Meena's next words.

"Okay but what about your friends and your goddaughter? You would have to leave them all behind."

Her friends. Mrs Hudson, Greg, John and Sherlock. At least that's what he said. And Rosie, of course. Her sweet little goddaughter. It was true. She'd have to leave them all behind.

"Yes, that's true. But this is Ireland we're talking about. You talk like I'm on the other side of the world. Of course I come here for the important days and celebrations.... I just have to think of myself now. If I stay here, this will never end. I will keep on doing it until my heart and I are finally broken. I just have to leave. Do you understand that?" Molly then explained to her colleague in a slightly pleading voice.

"Of course I understand that. I just wanted you to be really sure.
Oh Molly, I'm going to miss you," Meena replied and pulled her tightly into her arms once more.

Chapter Text

Molly sat down exhausted on her couch and looked around. Soon all this would be history. Soon it would be swarming with boxes and she would have to leave her home behind, which had given her security and safety all these years. She knew that moving also meant leaving her friends.
At this thought she suddenly felt a strong knot in her stomach. Again and again the question came to her mind whether she would make a mistake after all? Did she really want to leave her friends? Her goddaughter Rosie? And how was she going to explain it to everyone?

Her first opportunity came about a week later. She had not heard from her friends since that day.

'Apparently they were busy renovating Sherlock's flat,' she thought.

Molly was doing another of the countless autopsies that day. Although she knew there would be a lot of paperwork waiting for her later, she seemed cheerful. During her lunch break she visited her boss' office and had some details about her new job and her new home explained to her. Her new workplace will be at University Hospital in Waterford. There she would mainly act as a pathologist as well as giving advice and support to prospective pathologists. Her flat or her own little house is about half an hour's drive outside the city. Both her current employer and the hospital in Waterford provide her with her own accommodation in Dunmore East. Molly would start to find out about her new place of residence right after work today and would already be busy organising her move - after all, it should start in less than a month.

But her anticipation was quickly dampened when the door to the mortuary suddenly swung open and Sherlock, closely followed by Greg and John, rushed in. Now she felt excitement rising within her. She had not seen or heard her friends or Sherlock since that day.

"Hello Molly. How have you been?" asked Greg as he stepped closer into the room.

Molly straightened up with her typical friendly smile and tried not to look too tortured when she saw Sherlock.

"Hello Greg. Hello John" she continued to smile.
"Hello Sherlock" she added in a shy tone.

Sherlock waved away only slightly. Both he and John seemed to avoid her gaze somehow and an uncomfortable silence suddenly spread. The behaviour of the two was strange. Why couldn't John look her in the face?
But Molly did not hold out for long and then turned back to Greg.

"So what can I do for you?" she then asked. Hoping to break that silence.

Greg briefly explained to her that there had been a murder case and that they needed to see a body that had come in during the day. Molly listened intently the whole time, but kept catching herself looking in Sherlock's direction. He still didn't look her in the face. John stood quietly beside her the whole time, glancing furtively at the floor. Only when Sherlock started to speak and asked him to examine the body while he was already examining some samples in the laboratory did he look up.
Sherlock didn't even wait for his friend's answer but left the room as quickly as he had come.
What remained was a rather puzzled looking John, a rather confused DI and Molly, who looked after him questioningly.

Greg was the first to find his voice again.

"So, Molly, how are you doing? Is there anything new with you? We haven't seen each other for a long time."

Molly was grateful for that. Now was the chance to tell them about her move. So while she was rolling the requested corpse out of the freezer, she told them both about her news.

"Yes that's right. A lot has happened lately" she began to tell them, looking at John. He took her look and with an apologetic look he tried to return hers.

"But thanks for asking. I'm fine and honestly, there's some news...but first tell me, how are you Greg and how are you John?" she asked.
Somehow she tried to delay the time. She did not know why. After all, sooner or later she had to inform her friends.

"Oh, I'm fine so far. But now tell me, what's your news?" Greg asked curiously.

Molly took a deep breath. She did not wait for John's answer.
"Well, the news is that..."

„... I'm leaving London. I'm needed in a hospital in Waterford and I'm moving there too," she said, pushing the dead body into the DI's field of vision.

'Pooh. At last it was out. It was harder than I thought.'

The two men who were about to take a closer look at the body turned to her with a jerk and a startled expression on their faces.

"Wait, Waterford? That's in Ireland, isn't it?" Greg then asked her.

"That's right. We have a partner hospital there and they have quite a staff emergency. So I agreed to help them. I will do my usual work as a pathologist but I will also teach students. And best of all, I'll have my own little cottage in Dunmore East. I just need to find out what this Dunmore is," she explained, looking slightly questioning.

"And when will it be? When do you have to leave?" Now finally John had found his voice again.

"In about a month" she replied.

"Well then. Of course I think it's a pity that you're leaving but I also wish you good luck in your new home and with your new job. I'll miss you very much, Molly," Greg replied to her and gave her a short hug.

"But we still have to celebrate your departure, okay?" he then asked and winked at her slightly. Then he said goodbye to the two of them as he still had some things to do.

John just stood there motionless and looked at the dead body in front of him. He was speechless and couldn't explain how all this had come about. His daughter's godmother would leave London. His girlfriend would leave London. He thought about what the motives could be and then he only came to one decision.

"Is it because of Sherlock? Because of the phone call?" he then asked.

Molly, who in the meantime had pushed the body back into the freezer, abruptly closed the flap and turned to him, startled.

'The phone call. Why did he have to start now of all times?'

Molly quickly realised that John had to be there. How else would he know about it. But she didn't want him to think it was just because of that either. Although, that's what it was.

"John, don't be silly. I'm going because I have to. There was no one else who could do it. This has nothing to do with Sherlock," she then explained with a fake smile, hoping that he would buy it from her.

But John just looked at her with a sceptical look. He knew this would not be true but he also saw that Molly hoped he would not ask any more questions. She was apparently still very hurt and her only way out of this was to leave Sherlock and London. He was saddened by her decision but could understand her.

"And will you tell Sherlock?"

"If it comes up, of course. Though I think he'll be less interested." she replied to him.

Of course, she had to tell him. She couldn't just leave without saying goodbye to him, too.

John sighed and stroked his hair with a slight embarrassment.
"I think he is interested. Listen, Molly, I know what Sherlock did to you with that phone call wasn't OK. But basically, he just did it to save you. He's doing all this just to keep us safe..."

What did he say? Was that him justifying Sherlock's behaviour? Was he apologising for him? No, it was too much. Molly couldn't bear to hear it, she didn't want to.

"NO! I don't want to hear it now! Stop apologising for Sherlock! And you have no idea how I feel after that phone call and all these years! And how do you even know about this? No, stop! Don't say it. I don't care any more!" cried Molly angrily.

Both Molly and John were surprised by her reaction. She was sure that John would not buy it anymore but she didn't really care anymore.

'Oh, man. Sherlock, what have you done? What have you done to her,' he thought.

"OK, I'm sorry. I just wanted..." John didn't quite know what to say, did he? Before this uncomfortable silence would fill the room again, he was going to change the subject to try and soothe Molly a bit.

"Will you... will you visit Rosie?"

She knew that he was just trying to change the subject, but she was happy about it. She didn't want to argue with him. Not over Sherlock.

"Of course. Rosie is my favourite goddaughter in the world. I'll be there for birthdays and holidays. Ireland isn't going anywhere." she tried to calm him down.

John was glad and relieved that she was no longer so angry and promised to keep in touch. Both John and Molly felt that the initial tension from their conversation and brief tantrum had gradually evaporated and that they could now deal with each other normally again.

They talked for a few more minutes about her move, the Baker Street renovation and her goddaughter, before John set off in search of Sherlock and said goodbye with a short hug.

Chapter Text

John and Sherlock were, as so often in the last few days, in the process of clearing the last pieces of rubble from the explosion out of the flat.
It had been 3 days since John had found out about Molly's plans and apparently Sherlock still didn't know anything about them.

"Have you spoken to Molly yet?" he asked as he searched the remains.

Sherlock stiffened instantly and turned his eyes slightly.

"Are you going to start that again?" he asked annoyed.

"Yes, Sherlock. I'm going to start again. It's been just over a week since that phone call and three days after you first met again. And even then you haven't exchanged a word with her, let alone looked her in the eye. I can feel that something is wrong. What's wrong, why won't you talk to her?" sighed John.

Sherlock didn't know himself and wondered what was going on with him in the morgue a few days ago. But he did not want to tell his friend.

"Why do you want me to talk to her so badly?"

John couldn't believe it. Was he really serious?

"Well, since this is Molly we're talking about. Our friend. Your friend. And you know only too well that you don't have many of those. The woman who knows you best of all of us and who has put up with your crap for years and years and still stands behind you and stands by you. You should consider yourself lucky to have such a self-sacrificing person at your side. You just owe it to her," he replied, now in a louder tone of voice.

"I know John but I have more important things to do right now. The renovation of the flat and all that..."

Inside, John slapped his hand in front of his head. 
"Sherlock, you can't be serious! Is the flat really more important to you than fixing things with Molly? How can you be so stubborn?"

"I'm not being stubborn! I've just got other priorities right now," he just waved. There was a certain arrogance in his voice.

John realised that Sherlock was just trying to avoid him in some way. Obviously he was not aware of his feelings for her. But John knew that it would soon be too late. After all, Molly was leaving London in a month.

"Well, perhaps you should urgently rearrange your priorities then. Look, I know that was hard for you back then. To discover these new feelings and not know where to put them. But Molly is your friend and she loves you! God knows there aren't many of those on your side. You should really talk to her before it's too late!"

Sherlock wondered a bit about his last statement. What did he mean by late? But he was right about one thing. Molly was his friend and she was also the person who had put up with his crap for years and still was always there for him. He was really grateful for that and maybe he really should talk to her about this phone call.

Chapter Text

It had now been 3 days since Molly, John and Greg had told us about their move. She was just hoping that John had kept his word and Sherlock hadn't said anything about it yet.

Molly was in her flat right now and was organising a few things regarding her move. She hated doing everything at the last second. She had a couple of hours before her shift at Bart's, so she could start packing or sorting out a few things.
In the next few weeks she had planned to fly to Ireland and get a first impression of her new home. She also wanted to explore her new home to see what she could take with her and what she would have to part with. One thing she already knew for sure. Sherlock was a part of it, from which she had to separate her heart and herself.

She was even given a few days off from her work to organise and travel. Yes, Molly was sure that a short trip from London would be just what she needed. She just needed that holiday and the less she was in hospital, the less she would run into Sherlock.

She still didn't know if and how she should tell Sherlock about her plans. But apparently, she thought, he wouldn't care. After all, he now had to deal with the renovation and reconstruction of his flat. Besides, he seemed to be avoiding her for some reason. The first meeting after that phone call was anything but pleasant.
Molly soon realised that he had been visibly uncomfortable being in the same room with her, let alone looking her in the eye. But Molly also felt more tense and inhibited in his presence than ever before. Yes, that call had definitely destroyed something between them, she knew that now.
Still all thoughts circled around that day and it was obviously harder for her to stay focused. Again and again she fought against the tears. During the day she managed to do quite well with the help of her work or organising her move, but in the evening, when she was alone in her bed, she lost all struggle and cried herself to sleep every day.
But one thing is clear. But she did not want to feel like that anymore. She didn't want to cry every night over a man who had used her all these years just for his own benefit. 
She just hoped that her move would help her and that she could forget Sherlock for good.

Until then, she just had to keep being strong.

* * *

It was now late afternoon. Molly had started her shift at Bart's a few hours ago and was on her way to the lab.

But when she opened the door and entered the room, she froze without further ado when she saw who was sitting at one of the tables in front of her looking into a microscope.

Sherlock also froze when he saw her.

'Oh, this is going to be visibly uncomfortable now,' Molly thought to herself and twisted her eyes inside.

She took another deep breath and then carefully entered the room. Slowly she walked past him and unconsciously inhaled his scent. 

'That scent. His breathtaking scent. Oh, man how I'm going to miss him,' she thought to herself and found it difficult to stay on her feet as she felt her knees slowly soften.

No. Stop!  What am I thinking? I have a plan and I need to concentrate,' she rebuked herself and shook her head inconspicuously to make these thoughts disappear.

"Hello Sherlock. Another case? And is the renovation of the flat going well?' she asked instead, carefully and in a low voice.

"Yes," he replied succinctly and looked further through the lens in front of him.

Molly sighed slightly. 
"Sorry, I forgot that you're not in the mood for small talk. I'll just go about my work and be quiet," she stammered.

'Oh, man, why am I always so nervous around him and coming in here like an idiot? she then asked herself in her mind. She felt her cheeks gradually warm up.

Sherlock looked at her with a slightly astonished expression on his face, but then nodded and devoted himself to his investigations again.

At some point, however, something that John had told him came back to his mind.
``Talk to her before it's too late!

Perhaps now was the opportunity. He took another deep breath and then began to speak.
"Molly? About the phone call..."

But Molly interrupted him at the same time. 
"Sherlock. You don't have to say anything. I know what happened."

He looked at her, slightly confused. He also heard that she had gone over to YOU by now. But he was OK with it. After all, they were friends. That's what he had called her back then.

"Did John tell you?" he then asked and finally looked into her eyes.

Her eyes were slightly reddened and glassy. She had cried a lot in the last days.
When Molly noticed that he was trying to analyse her, she quickly turned her face away from him. She was uncomfortable for him to see her like that.

"No but he didn't have to. The other day when I was with John and wanted to talk to you, I happened to overhear your conversation. Obviously you have a sister who threatened to kill me and the only way you could save me was to call me," she explained. Her eyes were fixed on the devices in front of her.

His previous facial expression changed to astonishment. Molly had understood. He was relieved. Especially since he no longer needed to explain himself. After all, he still did not know how to describe his feelings.

"Okay, good. Then you understand."

Molly just nodded and then focused on her work again.

The two of them worked silently side by side for a while. Molly had to suppress the urge to take a look at the man next to her every now and then. An eerie silence spread between the two of them. The air was almost thick enough to be cut.
Eventually, Molly couldn't take it anymore and broke the silence. 

'Now or never', she thought to herself.

"'Sherlock' she whispered softly.

He reacted with a soft "Hmm?" but did not raise his eyes.

"I...I'm going away. I'm leaving London," she stammered. She didn't want to see the look on his face and kept staring at the table in front of her. But she was glad that it was finally out.  Even if somehow it was harder than she thought.

Sherlock paused and turned his head in horror. There was horror in his eyes. Molly did not see him, as she was trying vehemently not to raise her head.

Sherlock did not answer. Disappointment came over Molly. She had actually expected it but still she felt strangely sad. Then after a while, he finally found his words again.

"Well, I wish you all the best and I hope you'll be happy where you're going," he then said. It almost sounded reproachful and as if he was offended somehow.

Inside his head he hit his forehead with his hand.
'What did he say? I wish you all the best?  No, that's not the way it should go'

Then he wordlessly took his coat from the backrest, put it on and left the room.

Molly was perplexed. She looked after him with an expression of horror and confusion. Of course, she had expected that he wouldn't be interested but she had secretly wished for a slightly different reaction from him. 
Disappointed and sad, she continued to sort through her papers and then disappeared from the laboratory as well.

Chapter Text

Sherlock had just heard from Molly that she was leaving London. He could still slap himself inwardly for what he had said to her.

The situation was visibly uncomfortable for him and he just had to get out of it. So he left the laboratory but not the building. A bit away from the room, he leaned against a wall and let his thoughts run free.

That's what John meant by too late. Molly would leave London. But why? And why now? Was it because of that phone call? Was it because of what I said?'
He just couldn't explain it.

Sherlock felt a strange sensation in his stomach. Almost like a prick. 
He tried once more to analyse everything and go through their last encounters in his thought palace again, to find any clue to their departure. At some point and after countless searches he came to the conclusion that he did not know.

Perhaps he should go back in and talk to her about it?
But what could he say? Should he talk about his feelings? But what were his feelings for her? 
Of course, he had said that he loved her but that was only to save her life. Who would have thought that his sister would lead him into such an ambush. He also loved his friend John. At least that's what he said at his wedding. But just like you love your friends. Did he love Molly just that way or did he have other feelings for her? Like romantic feelings?

Then the minutes of that phone call came back to him.
He remembered feeling a slight tingling sensation when Molly said she had always loved him. At that moment he was sure. He wanted to hear those words from her. But he had not expected Molly to ask him to say these words first.

It took him a lot of effort at first, but once the words were out of his mouth he felt relief. And the second time around, it was easier for him to say them and something came to his mind. When Molly finally replied, he felt a strange warmth rising within him and his heart made a slight jump. 

Then suddenly it became clear to him. He had feelings for Molly. Those romantic feelings. 
Yes, Sherlock Holmes was in love with Molly Hooper. No, he loved her in a romantic way. But now that he finally realised that, she was leaving London. She'd leave her friends. She would leave him.

No, he couldn't let that happen. He couldn't just let her go. But what would that change? Apparently, her decision was made and she was definitely leaving. 

At this thought he let his head hang down slightly. Then he slowly straightened up and walked towards the exit. 

A short time later he arrived at his temporary home. He opened the door, stepped inside, stripped off his coat and then let himself fall onto the couch.
Not as usual, this time he supported his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands.

John had just entered the room with his daughter in his arms when he saw his friend on the couch.

"So you talked to Molly?" he asked. But it sounded more like a statement.

Sherlock raised his head slightly, looked at his friend and then brushed back his curls.

"Did you know she was leaving London?" he asked, slightly reproachful.

John suspected that the conversation would not be easy. He decided to get his daughter out of the "danger zone" and then put her in her play corner. Then he went back to his friend and placed himself on one of the chairs opposite him.

"Molly had told me and Greg on our last visit to the morgue."

"Lestrade, I mean Greg knew about that, too? Oh, of course. He's a friend of hers, isn't he?
Again there was a trace of reproach in his voice.

"And did you explain everything to her? The blond man asked a little later.

"I didn't have to. She had already been able to combine everything correctly. I told you that she would understand."

"Yes, but did you also tell her how you felt about her?"

Sherlock looked at him with eyes wide open. John noticed his friend looking at him.

"Sherlock, I'm not stupid. I see the way you behave around her. And you avoid all contact with her, let alone talking to her. Obviously, you became aware of something during that phone call that you're not yet comfortable with. You said these words a second time. And I know what a true confession of love sounds like. You love her!"

For the second time that day, Sherlock was speechless. But he wasn't really surprised that John had noticed it more than he had himself. After all, he was more of an expert in this field. 
He did not really know what to say. Instead, he just rolled his eyes and sighed slightly.

"Did you tell her? You should tell her! So you're gonna do it?"

"Aaargh, John! Can you please be quiet!" cried Sherlock now. He was visibly annoyed by all his questioning.

John then retreated slightly to his seat.
"OK, but I really think you should tell her. Remember what I told you about Irene Adler back then? "And now there's a woman out there who loves you. And she's here. Or are you still seeing The woman? Is it because you won't say anything to Molly?" the blond man continued.

"Jesus Christ, John. No, I'm not seeing The woman. And yes, you're right. I think I love Molly. But how can I tell her that when I've only just realised it myself?! Besides, she'll be out of London soon, and out of my life by then. I think the problem will solve itself," he cried.

Then he got up, got his coat and disappeared into the night.

Chapter Text

Weeks passed and slowly the day of the move came closer. Molly spent the last weeks packing her things, preparing for the move and exploring her new home. From the very first sight of the landscape and her new home she was thrilled. She was looking forward to her new life in Ireland. But she was also sad to leave her friends behind.

In the last weeks she had often met John and Rosie. She told him about Ireland, her new job and the small village where her new home would be. She was excited. John tried to support her decision as much as possible and to be happy with her. However, he was sad to lose his girlfriend and Rosie her godmother. Molly also learned from him that the renovation of the flat was almost complete. The men Mycroft had hired seemed to be doing a great and fast job. He had actually planned to have a small housewarming party but Sherlock refused.

Sherlock had seen them a few more times in the lab or at the morgue since they had last met. At first their encounters were still pretty tense, but as time went by they became more relaxed and almost back to the way they were before. This was mainly because Molly had decided not to quarrel with Sherlock. So she literally put on a good face for the bad game. Despite the fact that she was still hurt and could hardly stand his presence, she always tried to be friendly and put on a smile.

She was just putting the last things she wanted to donate or get rid of into the boxes. It was Friday evening. The moving company had already picked up all her belongings that Molly would no longer need in London a week ago and moved them to her new home in Ireland. Thank God her new home was fully furnished so that Molly could sleep in her own bed until the day of her flight. 
Tomorrow is the day. She would leave London, her home for all these years, behind. She would leave Sherlock behind and hopefully be able to start a new life in Ireland without a thought of the Consulting Detective.

A little later she closed the last box, put it with the others and looked around once more in her now almost empty flat. She remembered the times she used to sit on her couch with Meena, drinking wine and chatting and laughing about men and other things. The times when Sherlock was "a guest" at her place after he had faked his death for the whole world. She hadn't noticed much of him during that time, as he was mostly in her bedroom. 
Then she stood in her kitchen and thought of the day to which she owed all this somehow. The phone call, how Sherlock confessed his love to her on the phone and she revealed her heart. Her gaze wandered to the spot where she smashed her phone against the wall. 
Slowly her eyes filled with tears. With all her strength she tried to wink them away.

Then suddenly, the message signal of her phone brought her back from her thoughts to the present. When she looked at the sender, her heart took a little jump. Her hands trembled slightly as she slowly opened the message.

You know where to find me. SH

She read the message and rolled her eyes. 
'What did he want now?' she asked herself.

Then she remembered that John had told her that the renovations had been completed. Maybe he just wanted to tell her with this message. Perhaps he had also sent the message to several recipients.
However, she was puzzled and wondered briefly whether she should go to Baker Street after all. It was probably the last time she would see him.
She looked down at herself for a moment and decided to change. At the moment she was only wearing lumpy sweatpants and a sloppy jumper. 

If she was to see him for the last time, it would be in an outfit he would never forget,' she thought and searched her boxes for her clothes. 

As London was currently being hit by a cold front, she decided on a dark blue wool dress and slightly warmer tights. Then she picked out her boots and went into the bathroom. She jumped into the shower, put on some make-up and put on the clothes she had taken off before. A quick look in the mirror showed her a completely different Molly but she thought she looked good.

'If you're going to do it, do it' she thought and smiled to herself.

Then she took her phone, money and bag, put on her coat and finally went out the door. On her way to Baker Street. The last time.

Chapter Text

A short time later she arrived at the address she was familiar with. After getting out of the taxi, she looked around briefly. She wanted to capture everything and save it in her memories. The building had not changed much. Nothing of the explosion was visible from the outside. The last time Molly was here, she could hardly recognise it. Yes, Molly had visited Baker Street once shortly after the explosion. After Mycroft's assistant had told her about the explosion she couldn't stand it any more and wanted to see it with her own eyes.
That was nearly a month ago. She had not been back here since. 

Slowly Molly walked towards the door. A note hung on the knob.

Just come up.

She had to smile slightly when she read the note. After all, she knew this sentence all too well. Sherlock had once asked her to come to his place to help her solve crimes. When she arrived at Baker Street, there was also a note on the door with exactly the same lines.

Carefully she turned the knob on the door and opened it.
As she entered the hallway to the staircase, she thought for a moment about paying Mrs Hudson a little visit first. The nice old lady had been very depressed at the time when Molly told her about her move. A last cup of tea together might cheer her up a bit.
So she walked up to the old lady's door and knocked, but nobody opened it. She knocked again, but Mrs Hudson didn't seem to be at home.

Somewhat disappointed, she turned away from the door and walked slowly and with slightly shaky legs up the stairs to the flat where the man she had loved for so many years but now had to let go.

'What will he want?' she asked herself and stood in front of the door behind which the real reason for her departure was waiting.

But something was different. Something was wrong. From inside, Molly could hear lots of voices and laughter. 

What was going on here?

She carefully opened the door and was immediately greeted by a delighted crowd.

"Molly. Glad you're here!' Mrs Hudson greeted her friendly and gave her a short hug. John and Greg also came and greeted her. Sherlock sat a bit away, but greeted her friendly with a nod and a little smile.

"Uh, what's going on here?" she now asked with a slightly confused expression.

"Well, we're going to have a surprise farewell party, darling" Mrs Hudson then explained to her.

"Do you think we're just going to let you go without saying goodbye as a native? But now come in and take your coat off," said John and pushed her into the living room with her hand on her back.

Molly was visibly moved by her friends' surprise. She had actually planned to say goodbye to everyone tomorrow. But maybe it was better that way and she didn't have to fear any touching farewell scenes at the airport or anything. 
She let John accompany her inside and then gave him her coat.

"Wow! Molly! You look stunning. Did you have plans for today?" John asked now as he saw her in her outfit.

Molly looked down at herself. Her cheeks turned slightly red. 
"Uh, uh... Oh no, these are just the last things I have with me." she tried to save herself somehow.

What was she thinking? That if Sherlock saw her in that outfit, he might come to his senses after all? That was complete nonsense. In any case, he didn't really seem to care. He was just sitting in his armchair typing on his phone.

Probably some case again. But no, this is the last time I see my friends. I won't think about it and just enjoy the evening. After all, they've gone to so much trouble to surprise me with this,' she thought and then sat down on one of the empty seats on the couch.
A quick look around the flat showed that nothing had changed. Even the wallpaper was the same. And there was the yellow smiley with the bullet holes. It almost seemed as if there had never been an explosion. 

* * *

Molly obviously had fun with her friends. They drank lots of wine and often talked about the stories of how they had all met for the first time. No one dared to say anything about Molly's departure. They wanted to keep the mood as high as possible. So they just drank more wine and went on telling stories. She enjoyed listening to her friends' stories and even didn't notice that Sherlock left the room at some point. Time flew by and at some point it was time for Molly to say goodbye to everyone. 

No touching farewell scenes,' she thought and wiped tears from her face as she cradled her goddaughter in her arms and said goodbye. John had taken her to his former room and put her to bed. Rosie was still very young and apparently could not yet understand that Molly was going to leave. But she visibly enjoyed her godmother's touch and cuddled closely to her breast.

Molly then turned to her other friends and said goodbye to each with a hug. She promised to call when she arrived and to come over for the holidays and Rosie's birthday. 

After saying goodbye to everyone, Molly looked around the room once more. She seemed to be looking for something or someone. John also noticed that a certain person was missing. He apologised briefly to the other guests and then went in the direction of Sherlock's bedroom. He slowly opened the door but the room was empty.
He then looked in the bathroom but that was empty too.

With his head slightly lowered, he finally approached his guests again. He cast an apologetic glance at Molly. She understood quickly and waved away.

"It's okay. I didn't think he was going to say goodbye either," she just said, then put on her coat and reached for her bag.

Then she left the flat and walked down the stairs slightly disappointed.

"So you're leaving already?" suddenly a deep voice resounded from a dark corner in the hallway.

"Jesus Christ, Sherlock! You frightened me!" she said and drove around in horror.
"And yes, unfortunately I have to go. My flight is at noon tomorrow and I have a few things to do before then," she explained.

Sherlock was still sitting in the dark corner and didn't move.

"And you're leaving because you're starting a new job at another hospital?" he asked, but it almost sounded as if he didn't really believe it.

'Huh? What was that all about?' she thought and looked questioningly in the direction the voice came from.

"Yes of course. That's the only reason I'm going to Ireland after all". 

"No, Molly." The voice came closer. Sherlock was now moving slowly towards it.

"What do you mean, no?
Molly didn't really understand what Sherlock wanted or how he got there. But before she could say anything back, he went on.

"That's not only the reason why you're leaving. You and I, both of us, know very well that there is something else," he continued and walked towards her a little closer.

'Damn. He knows it but what was he trying to do now?' 

"Jesus, Sherlock! What do you want to hear from me now?' she then asked. She seemed slightly nervous, but didn't want to let on.

"The truth, Molly," he then said. He was now standing very close in front of her and looked down on her. She was nervous and nested her fingers on the strap of her bag.

"But this is the truth. I'm going to Ireland because I have a new job there" she then tried to explain herself.

Sherlock did not believe her. Her whole posture, her reaction told him that she was hiding something. With a penetrating and sceptical look he tried to get the woman to tell him the truth in front of him.

'Damn that look. Don't give in now, Molly' Molly tried to calm herself in her thoughts.
But she secretly realised she had nothing to lose and would not be seeing Sherlock again for a very long time anyway. And before she knew it, the words left her mouth.

"Okay. Well, it's true that I'm going to Ireland for a new job, but..." she started to tell and sighed slightly.
She took another deep breath and then continued.
"You're right. There is another reason. I'm, um... I just can't live like this anymore. I just can't go on seeing you every day and knowing..."

She took a short break. Molly paused to think about what to do next.

"Listen, Sherlock, I love you. I've always loved you and I always will. But the thought that you'll never love me the way I do makes my heart break. I just don't want to feel that way any more. I want to be happy again. And I can only do that by forgetting you. I just have to go. I'm sorry..." she said then and slowly turned away from him. Again she had to fight against her tears.

Molly was just about to walk out the door when she suddenly felt a strong hand grab her wrist and turn back.
Sherlock was now standing very close to her. His face was only inches away from hers. She felt her breathing gradually become faster.

And then something happened that Molly had never expected in her life.
Sherlock put both hands on her cheeks and slowly bent down towards her. Then he put his lips on hers and kissed her. Molly couldn't believe it. Sherlock kissed her. Sherlock Holmes kissed Molly Hooper.
Her heart took a little jump. She leaned against his lips and sighed slightly. Her hands found their way to his neck and then buried themselves in his curls. Those wonderful curls. How long had she wished she could just once roam through those curls with her hands. 
The kiss itself was short but intense. Sherlock wanted to put all his feelings for her into this, probably their last kiss together. 

Then he slowly released himself from her and whispered softly:
"Goodbye, Molly Hooper! I hope you will be very happy in Ireland. You deserve it!"

And with these words he let go of her and put some distance between them again.
Molly did not know what she wanted to say. She was still stunned by that kiss. Instead, she just smiled, turned around and then walked out the door.

With the words "Goodbye, Sherlock" she then left Baker Street and thus her old life in London.

Sherlock watched her for a while, and when he heard the door fall shut, he whispered softly "I love you too" and then walked up the stairs to his flat.

Chapter Text

Months went by and Molly gradually settled into her new home.
She had a good start in Ireland. Her new job was great. The colleagues were all very accommodating and appreciated her work very much. The students she was to train were also very nice and eager to learn. She enjoyed her new job very much and got out of bed every morning with a smile and good humour. 
There were also some changes in her appearance. From the very first days she thought that the best way to make a new start is to change her type. However, as Molly was never the type for extreme changes and wanted to stay true to her style of dress, she only decided to make a small change. 
Now Molly had not only parted from London and her old life, but also from her long mane. Well, at least something. But she still found, when she looked in the mirror, that she looked like a different person and the new length obviously flattered her face. 

Her new home also had endless charm. Dunmore East is a picturesque little fishing village. It is situated in the middle of a bay between two hills on the Atlantic Ocean and invites you to a leisurely stroll along the beach.  Her little cottage was also enchanting. It was small but she had enough space for all her things and both in front and in the back there was a small garden. 

During her first visit here she also had the opportunity to meet some of her neighbours. There was an older couple (mid 60s), the O'Reillys, who regularly invited her for tea and told her again and again about the history of their little village. 
On the other hand, there was an older gentleman, Mr. Murphy, who lived next door with his grandson Kilian. Mr. Murphy was for his age, probably around 70 years, still a very fit man and a member of the most famous fishing family in the village. He had run his family's business for many years, but some time ago he retired and now devoted himself to his other hobby, beekeeping. His grandson Kilian has lived with his grandfather in Dunmore since the death of his parents 4 years ago and later wanted to take over and continue the family business.

She also quickly made friends with the other residents. The first opportunity arose at the weekly Sunday mass. A new member in their congregation, obviously attracts a lot of attention and so she quickly got into conversation with all the others.

Molly was sure that she would feel comfortable here and that Sherlock would soon be forgotten. Only her friends missed her a lot.

In the first few weeks she spoke regularly on the phone with John and Mrs Hudson. They were very pleased to hear that she was doing well and told her what news there was.
 
Rosie, her goddaughter, was gradually becoming more and more mobile and John and Sherlock had difficulty keeping up with her. Mrs Hudson said that it would always look very funny and if you saw the two of them with the little child, you'd think they were a couple. It was pathetic. 
She learned from John that he had decided to move back to Baker Street. Sherlock, of course, was delighted and promised to do his experiments somewhere else. In the end he simply rented 221c and turned this small flat into his new laboratory.

Molly was happy to hear the news from her friends and that her life had somehow taken a turn for the better after all these events. 
The conversations were usually always relatively simple, with her fighting against the urge to ask about Sherlock. As time went by, she managed to do better and better and at some point he disappeared from her thoughts.

She had not heard anything from Sherlock himself since that night, since their kiss together. At first she wondered again and again what the kiss meant and often made her doubt her plans. Later that night she lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling and truly considering canceling everything. But Molly was not the type to abandon someone. So the next day she packed the rest of her things and started her new life - without Sherlock.

The first days were hard and she kept thinking about the detective and that kiss. She also found herself searching for his number in the address book or typing a message to him. But just before she could send it, she came to her senses and remembered why she was doing all this.
As time went by, things got better and she slowly managed to erase him from her mind.

There was only one time when he crept back into her head. 

Molly had just been invited to tea with her neighbours, the O'Reillys. She had only lived here for a few weeks. 
It was Sunday and the couple regularly invited their friends for tea after mass and they thought it would be a good opportunity for Molly to meet everyone. Guests included Mrs Ida Kelly, Pastor Brian O'Sullivan and the Claire family, Thomas Fitzgerald with their children Bridget and Patrick. Bridget and Patrick were twins and were both in their late twenties. Patrick was a devout young man who loved his family very much and seemed to be the family's favourite child. Bridget had been involved with Kilian, the grandson of Mr. Murphy, for several months. Claire was a lady of noble nature. She seemed a little distant and almost intimidating in her appearance.  Thomas Fitzgerald had lived in Dunmore since childhood and was a candidate for mayor. Mrs Kelly, was a middle-aged lady and very pretty. She was described by the residents as the blabbermouth of the community. She just knew about everyone.  

"Terrible what happened to poor Mrs.Daly," Mrs.O'Reilly then realised at one point.

And as if she noticed Molly's questioning look, she explained to her who that person was.

"Mrs. Daly had also lived in Dunmore East for many years. She was Mr Murphy's girlfriend and was found dead in her bathtub a week ago. The rescue workers said that she had suffered a heart attack and then drowned."

Molly just nodded sympathetically.

"And you, Ms. Hooper. Why does she go to Dunmore East?" Claire Fitzgerald asked curiously.
"Molly, please. I moved here for work. I've been working at Waterford Hospital for a few weeks now," she then explained.

"Ah yes, the Waterford Hospital. It's a very good institution. Tell me, exactly what is it that you do?"

"I'm a pathologist, training to be a pathologist. This is the reason why I came to Ireland in the first place.

"Ah, such a pathologist" she said, somewhat grumpy, and then took a quick look at her children.
"And where did they live before, if I may ask?"

"I'm originally from London."

Now Mrs. Kelly, excitedly, interfered. 
"London? Wait a minute. Do you know this famous detective? What was his name again? "shh-- shhe--"

"You mean Sherlock Holmes?" Molly then asked, twisting her eyes inside.

'Of course I can't even rest here,' she thought to herself.

"Yes, that's exactly who I mean. He solves every case in which Scotland Yard can't get any further. There's a blog like that too, isn't there?" she then asked, staring thoughtfully into the air.

Molly took a quick look around and noticed that the other guests were all just rolling their eyes in annoyance. 

"You must know, our dear Ida here loves crime stories," said Claire Fitzgerald and gave Mrs Kelly a disapproving look. 
Molly quickly realised that this Mrs. Fitzgerald must have had a problem with Ida. She did not go into it further and then turned back to the woman next to her.

"Yes, that's right. The blog was written by Dr Watson. He assists Sherlock Holmes with his cases," she explained. However, she did not mention that she was friends with both of them.

"Exactly. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Oh, how I just love this blog and the cases, they are always so exciting," she raved now. 

Oh man, if she didn't change the subject right away, this conversation would go on forever and she didn't want to think about Sherlock anymore.

"That's true. Very exciting," she replied succinctly.
"But tell me, I heard that you work here in the local library. I've thought about signing up. When would be the best time for me to come by," she then asked, hoping that that would be the end of the matter.

And Molly was lucky, Ida went into it and then explained everything else to her. After that, most people only talked about today's mass or other trivial things.

As the evening sun slowly set, most of the guests left the O'Reilly house. Only Molly stayed to clean up. 

"Sorry again about Mrs Kelly. She can be quite a handful sometimes" Mrs. O' Reilly then explained to her and put the dishes together.

"Oh, that's no problem. She seemed to be quite enthusiastic. But say, Mrs. Fitzgerald doesn't like her too much, does she?" Molly then asked curiously.

"Well, I think that's the reason..." the elderly lady began to talk and glanced around the room for a moment, just to make sure they were alone.

"...that Mrs. Kelly is having a secret affair with Kilian" she whispered now.

Molly could not believe what she had heard. Mrs. Kelly and Kilian having an affair with Mrs. Fitzgerald's daughter? Oh man, this is just like one of those romance novels. A small village and lots of secrets. Molly was eager to see what else she would learn here. And who would have thought that she wouldn't have to wait much longer for that either.

Chapter Text

After that afternoon, Molly had thought little of Sherlock. She was much more interested in which stories of the inhabitants would still come to light. Actually, she wasn't the curious type, but her interaction with the residents of the community had changed her.

It was Wednesday afternoon and Molly had just come off her shift at the hospital. She was on her way to Mrs Kelly's library. She was in a hurry to return the books she had borrowed a few days earlier. She also liked to talk to Ida a bit about them. She had quickly taken Ida into her heart. Even though she kept on grilling her about her time in London, and was sometimes a bit tiring in this respect, she was still a very lovable person. 

As she was just entering the building, she recognised Ida at the counter, who was talking excitedly to another customer. 

"I tell you, it was murder. It wasn't an accident, Mr. Murphy was killed," she heard Mrs. Kelly whisper as she approached the counter.

There was a sad incident here in the parish a few days ago. Mr. Murphy had been taking care of his bees, as he often did. When a poison was sprayed, Mr. Murphy choked on it. The local police soon discovered that he had not put the gas mask on properly and was inhaling the poison. They classified it as an accident.

"What was murder?" asked Molly curiously.

Ida and the customer, who could now identify Molly as Ella Nolan - the owner of the Creaden View (B&B) here in town - looked at her with sceptical looks, but then Ida began to speak.

"What happened to Mr. Murphy. I knew Luke. He would never have been so careless. Besides, I saw the mask shortly after. It had tiny little holes in it. The mask had been tampered with. It was murder, Molly. And not just that. I also think someone killed old Mrs. Daly," she then explained, whispering as quietly as she could. 

Again and again she glanced carefully into the library rooms to make sure no one heard her.

"Oh you're crazy, Ida. The police said it was an accident. You read too many detective stories," said the customer now.

"No, Ella. I don't believe that. I tell you, it was. Luke was killed. And who knows who's next." 

She seemed slightly paranoid and Molly had difficulty believing her. But as her time in London and at the side of a certain detective showed her again and again, anything is possible. Or as Sherlock always says: "When you have ruled out the impossible, what is left is the truth, however improbable it may be".

While Molly thought about it, Ella said goodbye with an annoyed eye roll and then walked out the door.

"Well, if you really believe that, then maybe you should go to the police," Molly then told her. 

"Oh, the police. The police. They don't believe me. I've already been to them," she said, slightly disappointed.

"Oh. Well, in that case you'll have to do the detective work now and solve the case yourself," she said with a slight grin and winked at her.

'Hold on. Stop. What am I saying? Apparently my time in London and with Sherlock has left its mark on me in many other ways,' Molly thought as she heard what she had said.

Ida's face lit up visibly. 
"Good idea, Molly! It's got to start paying off that I read so many crime stories," she beamed now.

Molly wished her good luck and then said goodbye to her. If she had known that this was the last time she would see Ida that evening, she would certainly have stopped her.

Chapter Text

It had now been two weeks since Molly had last seen Ida. She had not seen her since. To this day.

Molly was in the small church in the village. It was the funeral of her friend Ida. Her mood was clouded. It was already the second funeral in a very short time. Molly had only been in Ireland for three months and already she had to bury two of her new acquaintances.
Nevertheless, it was also somehow strange. 

She had heard the news of Ida's death a week ago. 

She was on her way to her lunch break when she heard from one of her colleagues that there had been a tragic accident in the city centre. A woman was hit by a car while crossing the street. The body was to be taken to the pathology department in the afternoon. 

Sometimes it really sucked to do this job,' Molly thought as she saw the body for the first time.

After she and her colleague examined the body and reported all the important results to the police, it was also classified as an accident.

On that day Molly could no longer think clearly, let alone concentrate. She told her supervisor about it and asked to spend the rest of the day at home. Thank goodness he was one of the sensitive kind of people and agreed to her request.
She then spent the rest of the day on her couch. She needed some distraction, so she decided to call her friends at home. She tried John first, but he didn't pick up. Next she tried Mrs Hudson but she didn't pick up either.

What is this? Where is everyone?' she asked herself and then let her phone slip out of her hands in disappointment.

But when she was about to give it up, her phone suddenly rang. She did not recognise the number.

"Hello?"

"Hello, Molly. This is Greg. How you doing?"

"Oh, hi, Greg. Well, honestly, not so good. I found out today that a friend of mine died."

"Oh, I'm sorry. What happened?"

And then Molly told him about Ida, the accident and what strange things have been happening here lately, according to Ida. Greg thought it was strange, too, but probably just a coincidence. Probably to calm her down somehow. Afterwards they talked a little bit about work and what news from London there was. Greg also said that he would soon be on holiday and was thinking about visiting them. Molly had to smile a little when he suggested it and was grateful for his call. This way she could at least distract herself a little from what was happening today. 

A little later she decided to take a leisurely walk along the edge of the bay. She wanted to visit once again the place where she had often enjoyed the sunsets with Ida, in memory of her friend.

And now, a week later, she was sitting here on one of the pews and listening to the words of the pastor in memory of Ida. 
The ceremony did not last long but was nevertheless very touching. Molly was always struggling with her tears. Even though she had only known Ida for a few months, she had quickly taken her to her heart.
After the pastor had finished his sermon, he asked the guests outside for a burial at Ida's grave. Some of the guests immediately followed his instructions and went outside to the local cemetery.

They stopped in front of a pale gravestone with her name and her life data. Molly wondered why the gravestone and the grave was kept so plain. She could not find any of her relatives either. In general there were not many mourners at the funeral.

Apart from Molly, there were the O'Reilly family, Ella Nolan, Thomas Fitzgerald and a few strangers. Kilian and Patrick were standing a little away. In both of their faces there was horror and sadness. They were visibly moved by their death, Molly knew that. The female members of the Fitzgeralds did not think it was necessary to be present at the funeral. 

So the funeral was over after a few minutes and the crowd gradually dissolved. Molly promised to help with the rest of the funeral arrangements from the church and to help with the grave. 
So she took two of the flower arrangements at a time and stepped out.

And then suddenly, as if out of the blue, she froze and the flower arrangements in her hands fell to the ground...

 

 

Note: I'm sorry that the last chapters might have been a bit boring but I wanted to introduce Molly's new life and the characters. Believe me, the introduction will have been necessary ;)

Chapter Text

'This is impossible. It can't be! That is not HE!' she shouted to herself inside.

Reverend O' Brien just came in and noticed that something was wrong.

"Ms. Hooper, is everything okay?" he asked, slightly worried.

But Molly did not answer. 
Her eyes turned to a person standing at the end of the cemetery talking to Ella Nolan.

'No, this can't be. What is he doing here?' she thought now. 
In disbelief, she wiped her hands over her eyes. Perhaps her vision was only clouded by the many tears and her mind was playing tricks on her?

But even after she had wiped her eyes several times, the person was still there. She apologised to Father O'Brien and then walked slowly and with shaky legs towards the person. The person herself was standing with her back to the church and so could not see her.
On her way she paused briefly and took in every single inch of this person. 
The tall stature, the incomparably dark and so soft curls and that characteristic long coat. Yes, Molly was sure. It had to be HE.

Her heart stopped for a moment and suddenly all the memories of the past years came back. The day she solved crimes with him or all those little moments when he smiled at her. But also the pain when he humiliated her again and again or only complimented her when he needed something. This pain of unrequited love and which her heart always felt whenever she was near him. 
Molly thought about turning back for a moment but the curiosity was stronger.

"Sherlock?" she then asked cautiously as she stood directly behind the person. Ella Nolan had now said goodbye and Sherlock, still standing with his back to her, was now typing something on his phone.

When he heard her voice, he suddenly stiffened. Then he slowly turned around.
And there in front of him, stood Molly. His Molly. 
He looked at her with a slight uneasiness and then formed her name soundlessly with his lips.

She seemed changed. Her eyes were slightly watery and reddened. She had been crying. Her hair was tied together into a small bun, only a few strands fell out at the side. Her hair was shorter. Her body, her wonderful curves were wrapped in black. Apparently she had just come from the funeral that Mrs. Nolan had told him about.

Molly also stood before him petrified and looked at him with big eyes. She was nervous and didn't quite know what to say. Again and again a voice in her head shouted 'What is he doing here?! and just run away! 

"Sherlock, what are you doing here? Wait, are you here because of me?'' she asked, slightly insecure, and when the words left her mouth she was already beating her hand against her forehead.
Sherlock opened his mouth slightly and closed it again. He thought about what he should say.
"Um... actually I'm here for Mrs. Kelly and I've just heard that she's dead," he replied, hoping that she wouldn't be too disappointed.

'Aaargh, stupid, so stupid, Molly! Of course he's not here for me. Of course there's another reason!' she screamed to herself in her head and continued to beat her hand against her forehead.
'But what did he want from Ida?' she then asked herself. 


Sherlock saw her questioning expression and went on immediately.

"Mrs Kelly had asked me for help a few weeks ago. But the news reached me only a few days ago. And obviously I'm too late," he explained, pointing towards the grave.
"But wait. Do you live here? Here in Dunmore? I thought you lived in Waterford?"

Sherlock knew she lived here, of course. But he needed a little more time to prepare for her reunion. He had expected to see Molly here again, but not immediately in the first few hours of his stay here. Actually he had planned to visit her briefly at the end. Just to avoid the subject of her kiss for as long as possible.

"Uh, of course, that's what I told you the night of the party. I only work in Waterford," she replied. There was a trace of confusion in her voice.

"Ah okay. I probably didn't hear that then. So many people had spoken, so I probably filtered it out.''

"As if you would ever listen when I tell you something," Molly thought during the conversation.

Suddenly his expression changed. In his eyes, which he now squeezed together slightly, lay a trace of annoyance. His jaws were tense. Molly noticed his sudden change and then it suddenly occurred to her.

"Oh no, did I say that out loud?" she then asked in horror.

"Obviously" he replied unemotionally. 

An uncomfortable silence spread between them. No one knew what he should say now. Molly didn't want to embarrass herself like that again and Sherlock was obviously a little hurt by her words. Although he knew it was her right to say so. After all, he had really always behaved like an ass towards her in the past years. Nevertheless, he was also surprised by her. 
Then gradually his face relaxed again and he tried to make it clear with a little smile that he would not hold it against her.

Molly noticed that Sherlock relaxed a little and he smiled. There it was again. That wonderful sweet smile that always made her knees go soft. She sighed softly and took another deep breath. 
Don't go soft again now'. 

"Okay,and what did ida,uh,mrs.Kelly want from you?" she then tried to distract you somehow.
Sherlock suddenly took his eyes off her and looked around.
"Is there somewhere round here we could have a cup of tea?"

Molly was a bit confused. Did he say WE?

"Um, yes, of course. There's The Bay. Oh, no, wait. That's closed for the funeral today. But there's also the lemon tree. Oh, wait, also closed."

Molly kept thinking.

"What if we just went to your home?" Sherlock then asked.

She gave him a startled look.
"You... you mean my house?" she stammered.

Sherlock smiled slightly and then nodded at her. Molly had to swallow lightly. Actually, she only moved to Ireland to keep Sherlock Holmes away from her and now, now he's here with her in Dunmore and wants to have tea at her house. No, that did not go at all as planned.
But what could she say? 'No, Sherlock, you can't. Have you forgotten, I only moved to Ireland to forget you?!'
Instead, Molly smiled slightly hesitantly and then pointed the way to her house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It wasn't long before they arrived at Molly's house. The walk was quite silent. Everyone seemed to be caught up in their own thoughts or didn't know what to say. With slightly shaky fingers, Molly opened the door and then indicated to Sherlock to come in.

She led him down the short corridor to her living room. Her kitchen was in the front part of the house.

"Sit down. Make yourself comfortable. I'll prepare the tea," she then said, pointing to her couch with her hand.
Sherlock nodded thankfully at her and immediately stripped off his coat and took off his jacket. 

'Oh, man, if only this top button would come off now' she languished in her thoughts and had to be careful not to stare at him too long.

"Um Molly?" asked Sherlock. He seemed slightly confused.

Molly looked up in horror and looked at him questioningly.

"The tea?" 

"Oh, yes, right. Sorry" she said and went to her kitchen as quickly as possible. Her cheeks burned like fire.

'Oh man, was that embarrassing,' she thought, rolling her eyes and grabbing her glowing cheeks in shame. She took another deep breath and then set about preparing the tea. Gradually she relaxed again. And after a few minutes she had a normal body temperature again.

Shortly afterwards, with the tea on a tray in her hands, she entered the living room again. Sherlock was still sitting on the couch and typing on his phone again. With cautious steps she approached him and put the tray down. She had to be careful not to tremble too much from nervousness. After all, she had already allowed herself far too much embarrassment towards him today.

"So, Sherlock. What did Ida actually want from you now?" she then asked, sat down in the seat next to him and reached for a cup. Something cursed her for not having another chair or armchair. But just something. 

Sherlock turned to her now, so he could look at her. 
"Did you know Mrs Kelly?" he then asked with a question in return.

"Well, yes. I mean, I didn't know her for very long but she was a friend. She was the local librarian here and she just knew everything about everyone. Why do you ask?"

"Oh, it's because I could see you were at the funeral, crying. You only do that if you are close to someone," he concluded.

'Wow. Sherlock had actually deduced something about feelings.'

Molly was stunned but still wondered what the reason for his visit here was.
"Brilliant deduction, Sherlock," she said, with a slight grin.
" But you haven't answered my question yet" she kept asking him.

Sherlock now had to grin too. How he had missed that smile. How he had missed her. Maybe he should tell her that he wasn't here just because of the case, or that he had only accepted it because he knew that a very special person would live here? He decided against it. Instead, he started to tell her how it happened.

Review
 
John and Sherlock were just sitting in their armchairs in their flat, picking out new cases for Sherlock. Well, John was sitting. Sherlock was trudging through the living room and annoyed John that he was bored and needed a case. He couldn't shoot at his wall because John had hidden the gun. After all, a small child was now living under her roof. 
John had decided to move back to Baker Street shortly after Molly moved. Sherlock had even rented the basement flat to set up his laboratory. 

In recent months they have also started to solve crimes together again. After the cases became more and more frequent and John slowly dropped the blanket on his head, he decided to take Rosie to a childminder. At least this way he could go back to his work as a doctor and accompany Sherlock on his days off to solve crimes. 
Mrs Hudson had also offered her help, but as Rosie became more mobile and alert, John didn't want her to do the same.

And now he was sitting in his old armchair, looking for a suitable case for his friend. But nothing seemed appropriate. Sherlock was able to solve most of the enquiries, as he often did, while reading aloud. Then at some point he got a message and stopped when he read the first line.

"Dear Mr. Holmes, my name is Ida Kelly. I come from Dunmore East and I need your help urgently. For several weeks now, mysterious deaths have been occurring here in our town. The police classify them as accidents. But I believe that something is wrong here. I think this is a murder and I also think I know who the murderer is. I am afraid that the murderer knows and that I will be next! Please help me!"

"Stop!" stopped Sherlock, John.
"Dunmore East?" he whispered softly. "How does this look so familiar?" he asked himself, putting his fingertips to his chin.

John looked up in horror.
"Molly lives in Dunmore. Do you think she's in danger?" he asked slightly worried.

"Hmm? Oh no, I don't think so. But it sounds highly interesting. I'll have a look at it."

Sherlock wasn't sure if Molly would be in danger, but he didn't want to worry his best friend either. 

"Hang on. You want to go to Dunmore? Do you think that's a good idea?"

"Why not? There's a client who needs my help and there's a murderer on the loose. It seems to be the most interesting case we've had in weeks," he said.
"And Molly will certainly be glad of a visit from her old home''

"Yes but it is YOU who will visit them. We both know very well that you are not exactly the sensitive type of person. And anyway, how are you going to face her when she asks you about this evening and the kiss?"

Yes, John knew about her kiss. Immediately after Sherlock had entered his flat again that evening, he asked him why he hadn't said goodbye to her. The other guests said goodbye because they did not want to be witnesses to their "marital row". John talked him into the conscience until it burst out of Sherlock. John was stunned and thought it was the worst thing he could do. Sherlock had then retreated and thought about what his friend had said. Of course he was right. After all, Molly was leaving London the next day and she wanted to forget him, but at that moment, and when she told him she loved him, he couldn't help it. He just wanted to. 

"We'll see and now, John, I have to do some things for my departure," he said forcefully, hoping that he would leave it at that.


Of course, Sherlock didn't tell her about the last parts of the conversation, only about the request from her friend.

"Yes of course. Ida had mentioned something like that once. But I haven't seen her since," Molly noted.

"Wait, you knew that Mrs Kelly thought it was murder?" he now asked, astonished but slightly horrified.

'If Molly knew about it, then perhaps she would be in danger after all? No, I won't let that happen,' he said to himself. 
He wanted to do everything to make sure nothing would happen to her. 

Sherlock then asked what else Molly would know. So she told him, all the stories she knew about the inhabitants or had heard from Ida. Sherlock listened attentively all the time, hoping to find a clue to the killer somewhere in her stories.

"And what are you going to do now?" Molly then asked after she had finished her story.

"First of all, I would like to talk to the residents here. I'll start with the Fitzgeralds. Yes, and then I need to talk to the police as well. I just hope they're open to my suspicions.

Molly nodded.
"Okay, if this really is a murder and Mr. Murphy and Ida were killed, then I want to help. Tell me Sherlock, what can I do?"

Sherlock was amazed, yet he was not surprised. So he knew his Molly. Yes, Sherlock had never stopped loving her since Molly left. On the contrary, it only got stronger because of the distance. That's why he tried to distract himself with as many cases as possible. He also tried to get back to his old self but he just didn't want to succeed anymore. This was probably due in part to his regular visits to his sister in Sherrinford. She was the one who had opened the door to his emotional side and she also made sure that it remained open.

He promised to get in touch with her if he knew what she could do. Then he thanked her for the tea and said goodbye to her a little later.

Even though Molly actually wanted to forget him, she was looking forward to solving a crime together with him again. Finally her new friends were killed and she couldn't and wouldn't let that go. She was eager to see what Sherlock would find out and how he would ask for her help. But secretly she felt a little fear rising up inside her and hoped that this time together would not trigger something in her again.
With these thoughts she finally went to bed and then fell asleep at some point...

 

 

Chapter Text

The next morning Molly woke up very early. A look at her watch showed that it was just a little after half past half past six in the morning. But as expected, Molly couldn't sleep very well after Sherlock left last night. Her thoughts kept circling around her reunion and what he told her.
Today was Sunday and actually Molly was able to sleep a little longer. 
The weekly mass did not start until 10am, as every Sunday. After that a meeting with all the residents of the parish was called for today. Molly had heard about these meetings from her neighbours before, but had never been there herself. She was a bit nervous but also curious. Finally the topic of the meeting was not yet announced.

After several attempts to fall asleep again, Molly failed miserably and finally decided to leave her bed. Slowly and still very exhausted, she slurped into her bathroom to take a long shower, perhaps to get a little more lively.
She asked herself a little later when she got out of the shower and tied a towel around her body.

Molly had offered Sherlock her help in solving the case and he said he would let her know if he needed her help. She wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but she didn't want to think about him all day.

After she had finished showering, she decided to have breakfast first. After all, she had plenty of time before mass was to begin. She quickly changed the towel with fresh underwear and then threw on her fluffy bathrobe. Then she went on to her kitchen to prepare her breakfast.
Since the days were slowly getting warmer, she always took her breakfast in her back garden. She enjoyed the warm first rays of the day's sun on her skin and the silence that morning brought.

This garden was her little oasis. Where she could retreat and switch off completely. She was sipping her coffee when the doorbell interrupted her.
She stood up carefully with her cup in her hands and then went to the door. She was slightly surprised at who could visit her at such an early hour.

Slightly hesitant, she grabbed the doorknob and then opened it carefully. Her heart leapt a little when she saw who was standing at her door.

"Good morning, Molly. I hope I didn't wake you up?" he then asked.

Molly opened the door completely and was about to close it again as soon as she saw his gaze on her body and she realised she was only wearing underwear and her bathrobe. And not only that. Her bathrobe had opened slightly when she got up without her noticing. And now she was standing half-naked in front of Sherlock Holmes. He had never seen her in her underwear, let alone so much skin of her at once, not even when he lived with her for some time. 

Sherlock cleared his throat briefly.
"Um...may I come in?" he then asked slightly embarrassed and ran his hands through his hair.

Molly looked down in shame. With one hand she covered her bathrobe and with the other she indicated to him to come in. Her cheeks gradually heated up and her face colour slowly changed to that of a tomato. After he had entered, she closed the door and disappeared into her bedroom as quickly as possible. She secretly hoped that he had not seen her face. But what was she deluding herself? We are talking about Sherlock Holmes, who notices every oh-so-small change.

Meanwhile, Sherlock walked on towards her living room. He was still slightly embarrassed. Sure, he had lived with her for some time after his faked death, but she was always very careful about how she presented herself to him. He had never seen her like that before. He also noticed that this situation had also been extremely unpleasant for Molly, especially after she had run like lightning into her bedroom. At that thought a little smile formed on his face. He simply loved her shy nature.

Molly wanted to sink into the ground. It was infinitely embarrassing for her and above all that HE had seen her like that. She thought for a moment whether she could stay in her room forever. Surely he would disappear again sometime. But then she remembered that she had offered Sherlock her help and that he would contact her if he needed it. 
It was all to no avail. Molly had to face it. So she quickly picked out her clothes for the day and put them on. She put on a bit of make-up, hoping to cover up her tomato-like complexion. She tucked her hair back with just a few strands and let it hang loosely over her shoulders. 
Then she looked in the mirror once more and spoke to herself:

"You can do this Molly" and then slowly walked out the door.

She had just arrived in the living room and had already put her words into her head when she realised that Sherlock was not there. Slightly confused and with a questioning look, she looked around and then saw that her patio door was still open. Slowly she approached the back exit of her house. And there he stood. In the middle of her little green oasis, looking up at the sky.  

"So Sherlock, what's going on?" she then asked slightly nervously after approaching him.

Sherlock drove around in horror. Apparently he was just lost in thought.

"Um, well..."

What was wrong with him? Sherlock didn't know what to say, what to do. Apparently, he was still embarrassed by the previous situation. He hadn't even felt like that when he saw the woman standing completely naked in front of him. So what was different now?
Then he took a closer look at the person standing in front of him.

"Your hair is shorter" he then noted.

Molly stroked a few strands between her fingers.
"Um, yes, well..." she began to stammer.

"It looks good" he interrupted her and smiled a little.

What was that? Did Sherlock Holmes just compliment her on her appearance?' Molly then asked herself in her mind. 

"So Sherlock, what do you want? You don't just come into my house so early, compliment me on my new hairstyle without wanting anything from me?' she then asked.
After all, she knew all too well that Sherlock always gave compliments when he wanted something.

He thought 'I want you' for a moment, but then shook his head slightly and looked at her in astonishment. He was slightly surprised at her reaction to his compliment. After all he meant it honestly. Then all of a sudden, he remembered. He had only ever complimented Molly when he needed something from her. 
"Oh man, had I been a dick" he thought to himself.

But how could he ask her now what he had come here for? 
He finally decided to tell her the truth. After all, she already assumed that he was telling her the truth anyway.

"Um, so I thought about everything again yesterday and did some research. Obviously your friend was right. They were not accidents. And to prove it, I need your support."

"What do you need?"

And all of a sudden, his memories came back of the night he first asked her for her help. She looked at him then so worried, she didn't ask why. Instead, she immediately offered her help. Sherlock didn't know it then, but it was in that moment that he felt that strange connection between them for the first time. Molly had helped him again and again over the years without asking why. And what did Sherlock do? He kept behaving like a complete idiot towards her and trampled on her feelings.
He had messed up then, he knew that. If he had been more clear about his feelings, Molly wouldn't have gone to Ireland. She would still be with him. But now, now he was here. Here with her and for some reason, even if he didn't believe in it, fate gave him a second chance. And Sherlock was sure he wouldn't mess it up this time. 

"Sherlock?" Molly then asked Molly slightly irritated and looked at him questioningly.

He noticed her look and then shook his head briefly to wipe those thoughts away for now.

"Anyway. The first victim, Mrs. Daly. I need the autopsy file. Do you think you can get that somehow?"

"Sure. If she was autopsied in Waterford, the file will be there somewhere. I'll look for it first thing tomorrow." Molly promised.

"Very well. In the meantime, I will pay a visit to the local police."

Molly nodded understandingly. But then she had to ask Sherlock to leave. A glance at her watch showed that time was already quite advanced and she soon had to leave for church.

Chapter Text

The sermon passed relatively quickly. Molly also had difficulty concentrating on it. Her thoughts kept flying to Sherlock and his appearance here in Dunmore.

Afterwards everyone left the church and went on to the community hall. In a few minutes Molly would attend her first meeting of the congregation. She was excited and anxious to see what would await her.
Just in time for lunch, the current mayor, Sean Byrne, opened the meeting. Mr Byrne was an elderly gentleman of stately stature. He had a quiet manner and always had an open ear for his citizens, according to her neighbour Mrs. O'Reilly.

In the first half of the meeting some points were discussed about forthcoming events. But then at some point things started to get strange. Mr Byrne suddenly called in the police. Officer Thomas, as he was introduced, was still a very young officer. Perhaps in her late twenties, Molly recognised his face. She had seen him sometimes at Ida's in the library.
The mayor let him speak.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have reason to believe that the previous accidents may have been murders. Therefore I will now interview all citizens one by one."

A murmur went through the crowd. Suddenly the room became quite loud and wild discussions were exchanged.
At some point a person stood up. It was Bridget Fitzgerald, who now had the floor.

"It is quite clear who the culprit is here. It was Ms. Hooper. After all, these murders began after she showed up here." she accused Molly and took a nasty look in her direction.

Molly couldn't believe it. Was she really here now accused of killing old Mrs. Daly, her neighbour Mr. Murphy and her friend Ida? Silently, she sat in her chair and just couldn't find the words.

"Oh, don't be silly Bridget! Molly has only been with us a few months and when Mrs. Daly died, she hadn't even been here yet."

Molly was grateful that Mrs O'Reilly was now trying to defend her.

"But what do we know about her? Maybe she has a secret that affects all of us here," Bridget continued.

She was about to say something when Mr Byrne interrupted.

"Now be quiet! We don't know who it was and we should hold back with our accusations. Officer Thomas is now going to question each one of them and I will not have these accusations made before then!"

The officer looked at Molly with a compassionate look before continuing and calling the first citizen for questioning.

Molly sat in her chair and could not say anything.
In the row in front of her, Mrs Nolan whispered to her neighbour.

"Well, if you ask me, I think this Ms. Hooper is guilty. Bridget is right. Shortly after she appeared here, people started dying one after another. It's really weird," she whispered softly. But not quiet enough, because Molly could hear every word.
"Oh, come on. Stop it. Molly is such a nice person. She couldn't hurt a fly."

Molly kept sinking back into her chair. She was glad that at least her neighbour Mrs. O'Reilly stood by her and she kept trying to defend her from the others.

"Don't listen to what Bridget or the others here say" suddenly a voice sounded next to her.
It was Kilian, the grandson of Mr. Murphy, who was now standing in the seat next to her.

And now finally Molly found her language again.

"But apparently everyone here thinks I'm the murderer" she lamented.

"I don't think you did it. What motive would you have? And anyway, if I did, I'd rather believe Claire Fitzgerald did it."

"What do you think?" she asked.

Kilian was quiet for a moment and looked around. Again and again people were called and led out of the room. Then he slowly leaned closer to Molly and spoke softly.

"I don't know if you've heard it yet. But apparently I was told I had an affair with Ida afterwards. But the truth is that we did not have an affair. We have each other."

"But aren't you with Bridget?" Molly asked slightly irritated.

"I ended it shortly after I met Ida. Claire wasn't really thrilled about it and has been trying to get me back together with Bridget ever since.

So Claire Fitzgerald really had a motive? I should tell Sherlock,' Molly then thought.

But before she could reply, the young officer entered the room again and asked her to follow him. Molly did as she was told and then followed him into the next room.

As it turned out, this was the community function room.

The discussion went quite quickly. The officer actually only wanted to know from her where she had been at the time of the murders. Molly told him that she was at work at Waterford Hospital at both times. Afterwards, he wanted to know what her motivation was for moving to Dunmore East.
She briefly considered what to tell him, but then decided to tell him the whole truth. For some reason, she trusted him.

A short time later she was released and hurried through the citizen hall to the exit. She just wanted to get out of here and go home as quickly as possible. On her way through the hall, Molly noticed that the citizens were following her with their eyes. A few looked at her with concern and compassion, while others looked at her with suspicious and disapproving looks.

Molly ran home as fast as she could. Meanwhile, the sun had crossed her horizon and Dunmore was slowly enveloped in darkness.
Her thoughts kept circling back to the previous meeting.
How can they all think I had anything to do with it?

Shakily, she fumbled her keys out of her pocket and put them in the lock.
She just wanted to take a quick shower and then crawl into her bed.
But she didn't get around to it when she noticed who was now sitting on her couch.

"I hope it's okay that I let myself in," Sherlock then said.
Then he saw the look on her face. She seemed disturbed and sad at the same time.

"Is everything okay, Molly?" he then asked.

But Molly did not answer. She was still thinking about the day and slowly she noticed that tears were coming to her eyes. But she didn't want him to see her like that. After all, enough embarrassment had happened to her in the last few days.

"I'll make some tea first" she said and ran into her kitchen.

Sherlock noticed that something was wrong. He got up carefully and followed her quietly.

Molly was standing at her sink, about to put the water in for tea, when tears finally got the better of her. And suddenly everything that had accumulated over the past days and weeks broke out of her. Her legs slowly grew heavier and she dropped to the floor with her face covered in tears.

Sherlock stood at the door to her kitchen and saw Molly kneeling on the floor crying. He'd never seen Molly like that before and for some reason it broke his heart. He moved slowly towards her, then knelt beside her and without thinking about it, he took her in his arms. Gently and calmly, he stroked her back.

"What happened?" he asked and then stroked gently over her head.

Molly leaned back a little and wiped the tears from her face.

"Everyone thinks I had something to do with the murders! Sherlock, you should have seen the look in their eyes," she sobbed and then leaned back against him.

Molly, his Molly, the lovable, self-sacrificing Molly who couldn't hurt a soul, was supposed to be a murderer? Impossible! He didn't really know what to say now and how to deal with this situation.
Instead, he cradled her further in his arms until she gradually calmed down again.

At some point Molly slowly separated from him and looked him in the face, still with tears in her eyes.

"Thank you" she sniffed and wiped her face briefly when she noticed that some tears were still coming loose and were now slowly running down her cheek.

Sherlock, however, smiled at her with a warmth that Molly had only seen on him once before. They spent the day together solving crimes, and when Sherlock wished her a happy life, he had a smile just like that.
Molly had weak knees both then and now and lost herself in his eyes.

Then at some point Sherlock raised his hand and guided it to Molly's cheek. Gently, he stroked away the individual tears with his thumb. Molly's breath stopped.

"Tell me, what exactly happened today?" he then asked, still with his hand on her cheek.
But Molly couldn't think straight. Sherlock was suddenly so empathetic and concerned. She thought for a moment whether she should put her hand on his, but then decided against it. After all, she didn't want to ruin the moment.
Then she told him about today's meeting and the accusations that some citizens were making against her.

Sherlock listened to her attentively the whole time. Now and then he continued to gently stroke her cheek with his thumb. He noticed that Molly was visibly enjoying it and that she nestled against it lightly. A pleasant and warm feeling spread in him.
How I would like to kiss you now' he thought for a moment.

Then at some point she finished her stories and asked:
"But Sherlock, what are you doing here? Have you found out something new?"

Sherlock slowly pulled his hand away and then told her about his day.

"Just one thing. The local police are completely blind and incompetent. But I think this Kilian's right. Something's wrong with these Fitzgeralds. I think we should start with them first," he explained.

Molly nodded briefly. Then suddenly, partly because of the situation, a question came to her mind that had been burning on her tongue ever since they met again. Actually she wanted to let it go, but her mouth was faster again.

"Sherlock?" she asked carefully.

As he looked at her, she went on.

"Why...why did you kiss me back then?" she stuttered slightly.

Sherlock suddenly stiffened and looked around questioningly.
'Oh, man, so now was the time. It had to happen sooner or later,' he thought to himself, trying to find the right words. But at some point he realised that he was not going to succeed.

"Molly... I... I honestly don't know" he now stammered himself.

Molly looked at him with a slightly irritating look and slowly pulled her head back.
Like him, he did not know. You have to know why you kiss someone,' she asked herself.
But we're talking about Sherlock Holmes, who doesn't have much to do with feelings and calls them a chemical defect that's on the losing side,' she said to herself.
Nevertheless, she wanted to know. Just as she was about to start talking, he continued.

"Somehow I just wanted it at that moment. I apologise if I made a mistake"

Wait, did he say "wanted"? And did he apologize now, too?'
Molly no longer understood the world. She still looked at him surprised.

"It wasn't a mistake. The kiss was beautiful," she whispered so softly that hardly even she could hear it. When she finally understood what she had said, she stood up quickly and somehow tried to change the subject.

"So, you think the Fitzgeralds have something to do with the murders?" she then asked, smoothing her dress.
Sherlock glanced at her slightly sceptical, but then went into it. He was glad that the subject was settled for now. However, a certain kind of relief came over him when she agreed with him that it was no mistake. So John was wrong about that.

Molly continued to make the tea while Sherlock told her about his suspicions. Finally, sometime later, he said goodbye to her.

Molly was in the middle of putting the dishes together when suddenly there was a knock at her door.

So she carefully moved to the door and then slowly opened it.
Her breath stopped and her blood froze in her veins instantly when she saw who was standing there in front of her...

Chapter Text

...Molly was about to end a very strange day and get into bed when there was a knock at her door. She carefully opened the door and froze when she saw who was standing in front of her.

It was none other than Claire Fitzgerald.

"Good evening, Ms. Hooper. Sorry to disturb you so late. May I come in?" she then asked.

Molly stepped aside slightly and replied to her in such a way that she was allowed to enter.

"Mrs. Fitzgerald, may I offer you some tea?" Molly then asked out of courtesy. She hoped, however, that she would decline and her visit would not last too long. Somehow, this woman frightened her.

"No thanks. I won't be staying long," she replied. Then she eyed Molly's furniture with a slightly judgmental look.
"Nice place you have here" she then told her with a fake smile.

What did she want from her? And what was that?' Molly thought and watched her closely.

"Mrs. Fitzgerald? What can I do for you?' Molly then asked slightly nervously. 

"I wanted to apologise to you for my daughter's behaviour. Of course they have nothing to do with what happened. Bridget can be quite eccentric sometimes. I don't know what got into her today either. You know, she's been pretty down since her separation from Kilian. But that will soon change now..." 
The last part, she said more to herself than to Molly.

'So it's true, Kilian and Bridget are no longer together. Perhaps Kilian was right in his assumption that Claire was behind all this?' it went through her mind.
 
When Mrs. Fitzgerald noticed Molly's questioning look, she continued.

"Be that as it may. I hope you accept my apology." But it seemed less than a question.

"And as a sign of our goodwill, I would like to invite you to our party tomorrow."

"Party?" Molly then asked, slightly bemused.

"Right. Our family has been throwing these parties for years to mark the holiday of June 1st. So, the party starts at 7:00 pm. I would be delighted if you could come."  
she replied and put on that smile again.

Molly didn't really know what to answer. Her mind told her to decline the invitation but her physical reflexes were faster again. And so she nodded.

"Very well. Then I'll see you tomorrow night. I wish you a pleasant evening. Goodbye, Ms. Hooper," replied Mrs. Fitzgerald and went right out the door.

Molly was not sure what had just happened. 

What was that? Why did she tell her about the separation? Was she trying to make her daughter feel sorry for her? And why did she invite her to the party?' she asked herself as she locked her door.

Molly had a bad feeling. Should she really go to the party? After all, they all thought she was a murderer. Was that really a good idea? But she couldn't cancel again either.  She just wasn't that kind of person. 

Still quite confused from that day, she finally went to bed. 
But Molly did not sleep. She was tossing and turning and couldn't think straight. Again and again she played the day over and over in her head. First the meeting, then Sherlock, with his strangely sensitive manner. His hand resting gently on her cheek and with a look that made her heart melt. And then this conversation with Claire Fitzgerald. 

Molly sensed that something could be wrong. This was confirmed when she received a message on her phone a short time later. She did not recognise the number and there was no sender. There was only one message, which only strengthened her doubts even more.

But what should she do now? She couldn't sleep any more anyway. Maybe she should just go and see Sherlock and tell him about tonight and the message. After all, she had seen often enough in recent years that Sherlock would not sleep during a case. 
Then she thought about the fact that it was already the middle of the night and there was a murderer outside. Maybe the visit wasn't such a good idea after all. Instead, she just picked up her phone and typed a message.

Something happened. I have to talk to you urgently! Molly

Then she put her phone aside and stared at the ceiling. She just couldn't sleep a wink. A glance at her watch showed that it was now 2 o'clock in the morning. What should she do now?
After countless more attempts to fall asleep, she finally decided to leave her bed and make herself comfortable on the couch with her favourite book. 

Molly was just about to make herself comfortable on the couch with a nice cup of warm milk when suddenly there was another knock at her door.

She looked in the direction of her front door with a fearful look.
Who could that be at this hour?' she thought. She felt a slight hint of fear rising within her.

At that moment she had completely forgotten that she had written a message to Sherlock and now hesitated slightly to open the door.
She just stood there staring at the door. Another knock. Her heart was gradually beating faster and her pulse was racing. 

"Molly, open up! It's me" it now shouted behind the door.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she heard the voice she trusted. It was Sherlock. Quickly Molly ran to the door and opened it.
"What's wrong?" he then asked and looked at her with concern.

Molly replied to him to enter. She led him into the living room and then sat down on her couch. Sherlock did the same to her. There was still concern in his eyes.

"So, you wanted to talk to me. What happened?" he then asked.

Molly took several deep breaths and then began to talk about Mrs Fitzgerald's visit. Sherlock listened attentively and nodded from time to time to let her know he understood. 
"But something else must have happened. It's not for nothing that you write to me in the middle of the night that you need to talk to me," he concluded.

Molly took a deep breath and then took her phone off the table and held it in front of his face. 

Sherlock took her phone in his hands in a slight surprise and read the message that she had now opened.

Don't come to the party. It's a trap!

Sherlock stared at the message, then at the person sitting next to him. Molly sat there completely motionless and stared into space. She was as white as a sheet and for some reason she was shaking all over her body. Without thinking about it, he grabbed the blanket behind her and then put it over her shoulders. Molly turned her head towards him and looked at him in surprise. 

"Sherlock? Why are you like this?" she then asked and snuggled herself further into the blanket.

"What am I like?" he then asked. He was slightly irritated. Had he done something wrong?

"You are different somehow. So kind and somehow sensitive and caring. You have changed," she explained to him.

Sherlock breathed a slightly relieved sigh. 
'Thank God, but I've done nothing wrong,' he thought to himself.

"I think that John's presence and the way he treats me has simply changed me. Well, and I'm sure my sister's experiments will have played a part in this.

'Oh, yes, his sister,' she thought, 'I wonder what she's like, except she's obviously used me for some experiment concerning Sherlock.

But before she could say anything back, Sherlock went on.

"What are you going to do about this party, anyway?"

"I'm going to go. I promised. And maybe I can find out something more," she said then, yawning slightly. The fatigue seemed to be getting the better of her.

"Then I'll come with you," he replied curtly.
Molly looked at him with complete bewilderment. For a short moment her tiredness had completely disappeared.

"And how will you do that? You can't just turn up there and mingle with the guests without attracting attention," she then said, then leaning on the backrest with her elbow to keep her head up. Slowly but surely she felt her limbs gradually getting heavier.

"Not if I accompany you as your boyfriend" 

NO! Never in life! Already forgotten, you left London for HIM!' it cried out in her head now. But Molly was far too tired to say anything about it. Instead, she just nodded slowly.

"Okay, watch this. I'll tell you how we're going to do this..." Sherlock then began to say. He paused suddenly as he heard calm and regular breathing next to him. 
Molly had fallen asleep.

With a gentle smile on his lips he lifted her into his arms a little later and carried her into her bedroom. Careful and always careful not to wake her, he laid her in her bed and then put the blanket over her.

"Okay, tomorrow, then." he whispered softly, brushing a few strands of hair from her face and giving her a gentle kiss on her forehead.

 

Chapter Text

Eventually, Molly managed to get some sleep. And he was strangely enough very restful. 
The next morning, like every working day, she was woken by her alarm clock, which was much too loud. Carefully and with her eyes still closed, she groped for that annoying thing. But instead of her alarm clock she felt something soft. A grumble finally opened her eyes. Startled, she now looked at the sleeping body next to her.

"What the..." she whispered softly.

Molly straightened up a bit and rubbed her eyes incredibly.

'This must be a dream. This is not real' she thought to herself. 
She pinched her arm and with a distorted face in pain she realised it was not a dream.

'What's Sherlock doing here?'

Then suddenly she remembered that she had asked Sherlock to come over. Molly had had a strange encounter with Claire Fitzgerald last night and then received a very scary message from an unknown sender.
Sherlock stopped by shortly afterwards. 
She had been grateful for his visit. She was a bit afraid to be alone because of that evening and the message. But she had not expected him to stay with her. For a moment a little smile appeared on Molly's lips as she thought about it. But then all the painful memories she associated with him suddenly came back to her. She had to be careful not to let him get so close to her and her heart again. After all, she wanted to forget him and be happy here in Ireland.
Carefully she bent over slightly and nudged the sleeping body lightly on the shoulder.
Another grumble.

"Sherlock?" she asked carefully. 
"What are you doing here?"

"I'm trying to sleep," he muttered in his deep voice.

"OK, but I mean, what are you doing HERE? In my bed?" she then asked. Still irritated that he had slept in the same bed with her that night.

And all of a sudden he opened his eyes in shock and straightened up with a jerk. 
"Uh...uh... I apologize for that. I don't know how that happened" he replied quite surprised and gestured wildly with his hands.

Of course Sherlock knew how it happened. After she had fallen asleep on the couch, he had lifted her into his arms and put her to bed. Unconsciously, he had inhaled her sweet scent. Just before he was about to leave her house, he had thought about what it would be like to lie next to her. And before he knew it, he was already lying in bed next to her, watching every single inch of her. How her chest rose and fell gently with every breath. Her nostrils fluttering slightly as she breathed. She smiled in her sleep and Sherlock had to smile too. And then at some point he too fell asleep. It wasn't intentional and now he felt pretty stupid. After all, he couldn't really explain himself.

"Anyway, today I'm thinking about the file on Mrs Daly. I'll pick you up for this party tonight at half past six" he replied to her then, hoping to distract from the situation.

'Oh, yes, the party. Sherlock wanted to accompany me as my friend. But was it really such a good idea?' she mused.
After all, Molly wanted to finish off with Sherlock. She wanted to free herself from him and the thoughts of him. She wanted to forget him completely and once and for all. For far too long she had been under his spell and it didn't do her any good - except a broken heart.

"Sherlock. I don't think this is a good idea"

He turned around abruptly and stared at her questioningly.
"What do you mean exactly?"

"That... that you want to accompany me there as my boyfriend" she stammered slightly nervously and emphasized the word my boyfriend in particular.

"Aha, and what do you think I should be then?" he then asked. In his voice lay annoyance and something else. Was it disappointment?

"Maybe" she began "...maybe you shouldn't come at all. I can do the research on my own. You just instruct me in advance what to look for and I'll tell you everything" she explained to him.

Molly knew this was a stupid idea. Sherlock had a view for everything and saw things that others were blind to. But she was also afraid. Afraid of what would happen to her and her feelings if she got involved and took him to the party as her boyfriend. She wasn't sure but the words were spoken now.

Sherlock stood there motionless. He swallowed when he heard that she did not want him to accompany her. So Molly was actually planning to forget him. He felt a slight sting in the place where his heart should be.
But he also knew that he would not let Molly go there alone. After all, it was supposed to be a trap. And what if the murderer was after her? Then he would lose her once and for all. No, he couldn't let that happen!

"Sherlock?" Molly then asked, slightly surprised, after he hadn't said anything for a few minutes.

"Molly..." he whispered softly. 

He took one short, deep breath before continuing.
"If this is supposed to be a feeling thing, I don't understand it... And by the way, we have a case to solve, so concentrate on it now and not on any feelings," he replied in an arrogant tone.

Molly looked at him with complete bewilderment. 
'And there he was again - the one and only Sherlock Holmes. The one who was completely unfamiliar with feelings and human nature. Of course, he was not himself the last few days. It had been just too good to be true' she thought and turned away from him disappointed.

But Sherlock was right too. There was a case and it had to be solved. Also so that Molly could be excluded as a suspect and finally start her new life in peace and quiet.

Meanwhile Sherlock noticed Molly's distraught and disappointed look. Of course he had heard what he was saying and it definitely didn't fit with his behaviour of the last days. What she didn't know, of course, was that her suggestion had hurt him, but he couldn't tell her that either.
Damn, what am I talking about? I'm certainly not going to be able to calm Molly down like this' he thought to himself and sighed inwardly.

Then he turned around and left her house as fast as he could. Sherlock knew he needed help with these things. After all, Molly was a very emotional person and he, he just wasn't.

He knew that if anyone could help him, it was John. He had to talk to John about it. That included telling him about the last days and what Molly had confessed to him on her last day. But he was also sure that John would know what to do. After all, all this with feelings was his territory. 

Chapter Text

Sherlock ran like mad through his room in the small boarding house where he had rented himself for the days.

"What was that? What happened there?" he said to himself.

Then he sat down at the desk in the room, opened his laptop and began his research. But he just couldn't concentrate. Why had Molly said that?

Then he remembered what he had actually planned to do about it. He knew that today was John's day off and that he would probably be at home. So he clicked on the icon to start the video call. It didn't take long before another window opened and John was visible. He looked at Sherlock with a slightly astonished look.

"Hello Sherlock. Have you cracked the case yet?"

"Not quite yet, but I'm close."

"Very good. And have you met Molly yet?"

-There was a short break and suddenly it became very quiet-

"Sherlock?" John then asked when he saw his friend across the street trying to avoid his gaze.

"Yes, I met her."

"What happened? What have you done?" asked John then, nervously stroking his hair.

"What makes you think I did something?" Sherlock asked in surprise.

''Sherlock, you don't just turn up like that unless there's something important. Besides, I can see you and your reaction speaks volumes. So what exactly have you done?''

'Oh, John. You just know me. I knew you'd see it right away,' he thought, then told him about the last few days and Molly's real reason for leaving London.

"So John, what am I to do now? You're right. I suppose it has something to do with feelings. And we both know that's more your area."

"Oh, Sherlock. You're quite right. It definitely has something to do with feelings," John began to explain.
"So, if I'm understanding you correctly, Molly went to Ireland because she wanted to forget you. And now you're with her in Ireland. And you slept with Molly in her bed, next to her. And are you going with her today to a party that is supposed to be a trap for Molly and pretend to be her boyfriend?!" John repeated once more and sighed heavily.

"I just said that," Sherlock replied, annoyed. But the more he thought about it the more it sounded crazy. No wonder Molly thought it was a stupid idea.

"Oh, boy, buddy. You really screwed up. No wonder Molly didn't think it was a good idea," John now confirmed to his friend.

"I know John but what am I going to do? I can't let Molly go to the party alone. And I thought that was the most obvious solution."

"But you haven't thought about her or her feelings, have you? Whatever, you're Sherlock Holmes." That last bit was John talking to himself.

"Aaargh John, this isn't helping!"

"OK, OK. So I'll tell you what you should do now. You're going to apologise to Molly for all the inconvenience. Then you're gonna take her to that party tonight. You're gonna be a gentleman and treat Molly like she deserves. And then you're gonna solve this fucking case!"

"Okay, and what am I gonna do about Molly?" Sherlock then asked.

"Try not to break her heart any more than you already have."

"Yeah, but..."

"Wait, you still love her, don't you?" John then asked, amazed. He wouldn't have thought that after all this time Sherlock still seemed to have feelings for Molly. After all, he had not said a word about her in all that time.

Sherlock did not answer. Instead, he looked around the room searching.

"Sherlock. Again, this is a video chat. I can see you! So is it true? Do you still love Molly?"

"Oh, man John! Yes, damn it, I still love Molly. I never stopped loving her. Ever since that night, I just can't forget her!"

"And did you tell her that?"

"Would I be here talking to you about it then?" Sherlock asked, slightly annoyed and rolled his eyes.

"You should tell her, I think," sighed John again. The reaction of his friend already astounded him.

"But how? Hasn't Molly come here to forget me? If I told her that now, I would destroy her life here, wouldn't I?" Sherlock concluded questioningly.

"Yes, you're probably right, but Sherlock, you have changed. You just paid attention to the feelings of others, especially Molly. But, to be honest, I don't really believe that I can make that decision for you. As stupid as it sounds, you're going to have to rely on your feelings.

'Great, then I'm abandoned' thought Sherlock and grabbed his forehead in desperation.

But John was right. Sherlock had changed. Shortly after Mary died, he felt these feelings for the first time. He felt guilt. Even though John finally didn't blame him for his wife's death, he felt guilty. He showed compassion when John collapsed crying in front of him and fear when his sister Eurus "experimented" with him. He felt this fear especially during this call. Fear for Molly. He had been downright panicked when Molly did not answer immediately. Yes and then there was this strange warm feeling in his heart and all over his body when he said these words to Molly.
Even though his sister had lured him into a trap at the time and, as he put it, had vivisected with him, she had somehow managed to bring down the wall around him and open the door to his feelings.
"Sherlock? You OK, mate?" it now asked from the other side.

"What? Yeah, right. Sorry, John. I've got to go. See you, bye.''

And then he shut his laptop and thought about what John had said.
Maybe he should just go for it. After all, everyone deserves a second chance in life, don't they? And judging by her reaction, she feels the same way about Sherlock.

But first of all, he had to solve this case by talking to this cop Molly had told me about. So he grabbed his jacket and went on his way.

Chapter Text

Molly spent the whole day thinking about this morning and Sherlock's reaction.
She wondered what was wrong with him and why he had reacted so angrily to her suggestion. At least she thought he would be more relieved that he didn't have to accompany her to the party as her boyfriend. Sherlock would not care about this spectacle anyway. Okay, actually she had only said it because she wanted to protect herself and her heart. 
But then it suddenly occurred to her that this suggestion actually came from him and he seemed a bit disappointed when she turned it down.

'What was wrong with him? He seems changed. All the time when he was here. Not one humiliation or criticism towards me. On the contrary, he was kind, caring and almost worried about me,' she said.

And then she wondered what had really happened to him and his sister. Maybe she would just ask him again before he left. After all, it didn't matter what he would or wouldn't say. He would go back to London and Molly would stay here in Ireland.

She was just about to leave for home in the late afternoon when it occurred to her that Sherlock still wanted the file on Mrs. Daly. So with quick steps she followed the long dark corridor to the archives of the building. It was a rather large and spacious room and there were metal cupboards everywhere, filled with files at the edges. She quickly looked for the cupboard with the initials D and leafed through the files. 
And indeed, Mrs Daly was autopsied at Waterford. 
Molly took a quick look at the file and skimmed through the autopsy report. As it turned out, Mrs Daly was diabetic, and not only that, they also found a tiny little puncture mark on her big toe. Strange.
Molly was just about to read on when she suddenly heard a noise from further away in the room. 
She looked around, but couldn't make out anyone. She quickly stowed the file in her pocket, closed the cupboard and left the room again. On her way out, she kept looking for the cause of the noise but couldn't find it.
Just as Molly closed the door to the archive again and turned around, she suddenly bumped into a person and dropped her bag. She looked up and recognised one of her students. 

"Oh I'm sorry, Ms. Hooper" he then said and then helped her pick up her things.

"Mr. O'Kennedy. What are you doing here?" Molly then asked in surprise and put her things back in her bag as quickly as possible.

"I was looking for you. I have another question about the autopsy today. But I see that you were just on your way home. I will simply ask you again on Wednesday. And please excuse me once again. I wish you a happy holiday," he said then and disappeared immediately.

"Likewise" Molly now spoke softly to herself as Mr O'Kennedy had already disappeared.
She stood there, slightly astonished, looking into the now empty dark corridor. Strange. 
Then she remembered that she wanted to go home after all and had to get ready for the party.
Quickly she walked along the same path as her student had taken before and left the building.

It was not long before Molly arrived at her home. She put her bag and file on her kitchen table and walked on to her bedroom. She picked out something appropriate for tonight. As Molly had a rather unusual style of dress, she didn't have many fancy things to wear for tonight's occasion. And she knew that the Fitzgeralds would appreciate a more upmarket style of dress. There were only two dresses to choose from. One was a long flowing evening dress in navy blue with light lace applications and glitter elements and the other was the black dress she had worn at the Christmas party in Baker Street. When Molly thought back to that evening, she had those painful memories of Sherlock's humiliation, so she finally decided to wear the other dress.

'Would Sherlock turn up tonight despite her refusal?' she thought.


After she had prepared her clothes, she disappeared into her bathroom to shower and get ready. She decided to tie her hair back in a braid and tied it into a knot. She kept her make-up rather plain. Molly had never been the type of person who would put on make-up in a conspicuous way. She only accentuated her lips a little more.
After she had put on her dress and the matching shoes, she stowed her most important things in her bag. She was about to check the time on her phone when she noticed a message. 
Curious, she opened it and then stared incredibly at her phone. 
It was that unknown sender again and this time it became more concrete.

Molly wondered what this was all about and especially who was behind these messages. But she didn't get far when suddenly there was a knock on her door.
She now looked at her door with a frightened look. Then she stood up carefully and slowly went there to open it, first a little crack.

"Ah Sherlock, it's you" she said with relief.

"Hello Molly. I know you didn't want me to come with you but I think it's definitely safer under the circumstances," he said and when he saw her chalky pale face, he continued.
"Is everything okay?"

Molly wondered for a moment whether she should tell him about the message. She decided to wait a little longer and tell him later during the party. After all, she wanted to solve the case together with him and find the murderer. 

"What? Yes, I was just surprised to see you" she replied to him and opened the door for him to enter. Secretly, she was now glad that he had decided against her request and was now accompanying her.

Sherlock did what she signalled and entered. Again and again he heard John's voice echoing in his head.
'You will apologise to Molly and treat her as she deserves!'

"So, Molly, listen. About this morning..." he started talking. But Molly was quicker and interrupted him instantly.

"Sherlock, it's all right. I let my emotions take over. You're right. We have to catch a murderer. From now on, I'm going to concentrate on this and I'm not going to burden you with this emotional stuff any more" replied Molly. She was surprised at herself to hear her say such a thing and had difficulty stopping the sarcasm in it.

Sherlock looked at her in surprise. He had not expected that.
"Ah, OK" 
Then he looked at her closely.
"You look very pretty, by the way, Molly," he said almost shyly and stroked through his curls with a slight embarrassment.

Molly looked down at him and smiled.

"Thank you very much. I will gladly return this. But tell me, do you always have a dinner jacket with you?" she then asked slightly confused with a grin on her lips.

Sherlock then explained to her that he had bought it in town today after visiting Officer Thomas. 

"I think we have an ally in the police. This Officer Thomas was very interested to hear my hypotheses. He will be at the party tonight, by the way. Just in case" 

Molly nodded understandingly and then turned to the file.

"I got the file you wanted, by the way. And it might interest you to know that Mrs Daly was diabetic and a tiny little puncture was found in her toe. A weird place if you ask me..." she said and then handed it to him.
Sherlock took it from her and quickly skimmed through the most important details.

"Just as I thought." he then realised. There was a smile on his face. Almost euphoric.
"So shall we?" he then asked, holding his arm out to her in a very gentlemanly manner.

Molly looked at him confused, but then took her bag and his arm and followed him outside. 

Chapter Text

On the way to the Fitzgeralds' estate, Sherlock explained to her what he had meant earlier.

"Mrs Daly did not die of a heart attack. Nor did she drown. It appears that she died from an overdose of insulin injected into her toe. It was murder."

"Hm, just wondering who had the opportunity to do this and what their motive was?" Molly then asked, thinking.

"That's what we have to find out, Molly. We should start with today's hosts. We just have to wait for the right moment. Your job will be to get into conversation with as many people as possible and learn more about the Fitzgeralds. Lies, secrets, intrigue. Anything that might be useful and in the meantime I'll take a closer look around their private rooms," he then explained.

"All right" said Molly.
"But what if the killer strikes again today?" she then asked. There was fear in her voice.

"Oh, he certainly will," he just grinned.

'Oh Sherlock, if you only knew who his next victim will be' she thought. A shiver ran down her back and unconsciously her grip on Sherlock's arm grew stronger and she snuggled a little closer to him.

Sherlock didn't react but just smiled into himself.

A short time later they were standing in front of the Fitzgeralds' large estate.
It was a huge, magnificent building with columns at the entrance and was nestled amidst lush greenery and trees. You would think it was the largest building in Dunmore, except Dunmore Castle of course.

As they slowly approached the front door, Molly felt that she was starting to get quite excited. Sherlock also felt her nervousness building up. Soothingly, he put his hand on Molly's and squeezed it gently.

"Ready?" he then asked.

Molly looked up at him and briefly thought about whether she should tell him about the last message now. She was just about to start talking when suddenly the front door opened and an elderly gentleman in a black suit and bow tie greeted her and told her to come in.

Sherlock smiled slightly at her and then gently pulled her along.
Molly froze in awe at what was behind the front door. They were now standing in a large room from which two spiral staircases led up. In the middle, a huge chandelier hung from the ceiling. The actual party took place in an adjoining room, which, however, could not follow the entrance hall in anything. There was a large area where the guests cavorted and chatted. Behind it, the buffet and the bar were located on meter-long tables. Seating was arranged in the front corner. And on the side, Molly could see a large and wide door that probably led to the terrace. She was simply impressed, but wasn't really surprised by the Fitzgeralds' appearance.

Sherlock watched Molly the whole time and had to smile slightly when he noticed her reaction.

"Ah Ms. Hooper. I'm glad you could come" they suddenly heard a voice come to them. It was Claire Fitzgerald.
"And who is this handsome gentleman at your side?" she then asked, and gave Sherlock a sharp look.

'Oh no. I completely forgot to ask what his identity would be. What am I going to say now?' Molly thought, feeling the excitement rise up again. But before she could say anything, Sherlock replied. Molly breathed a sigh of relief.

"My name is William Fitzpatrick. Pleased to meet you, Madam" replied Sherlock and greeted her with a small kiss on the hand.

Mrs. Fitzgerald was delighted with his greeting. Molly looked at him in surprise. Of course she knew he was a man who brought decency, a certain elegance and charm, but that he could be so charming was a surprise to her too.

Claire giggled a little.
"Delighted Mr. Fitzpatrick. Say, are you by any chance related to the Fitzpatricks from Newcastle?" she then asked.

"No Madam. At least not that I know of" he then replied and put on a fake smile.

Molly watched the play the whole time with a surprised expression on her face. And again, as she had done many times before, she wondered:
'What was wrong with him? He is so different.'

"Now Ms. Hooper. You have a very charming gentleman at your side. May I ask how you know each other?" Mrs. Fitzgerald then asked her curiously.

But again, luckily for her, Sherlock was faster. Molly was clearly no improvisation genius.

"Molly and I met and fell in love at work" he replied, gently putting his arm around her waist at the same time. It almost seemed as if he wanted to show that she would belong to him.

Molly immediately got big eyes and her heart jumped when she felt his touch. She just smiled embarrassed and then carefully and with slightly shaky fingers put her hand on his, resting on her waist.

'If he wants to play my boyfriend, he should do it properly. And who knows when I'll have the chance again,' she thought and snuggled a little closer to him.

Mrs. Fitzgerald put on a condescending expression as she saw the two of them before her.

"Well then. I hope you're both enjoying yourselves tonight,' she said, turning away from them and disappearing.

Molly turned to Sherlock and looked at him questioningly but with a slight grin on her face.
"So, William then? Do you always use your other first names for camouflage?"

Sherlock looked at her in surprise. How could she have known that? And as if Molly could read his mind, she kept talking.

"I forged your death certificate that day, remember?"

Of course, he remembered now. Molly needed his full name to make it look real.

''But you know Fitzpatrick is a typical Irish name," she continued.

"Well, I thought it would best fit my identity. Or why else do you think I said we met at work?" he then explained and smiled at her.

"But while we're on the subject, what's wrong with you, Molly? I noticed how nervous you were, and I'm sure the others will soon realise that it's all fake. Don't be so uptight"

'But of course you know how to behave in a real relationship, don't you?' she thought.

She was a little angry and couldn't believe what she had just heard from him. She, tense? And this is what Sherlock Holmes of all people says, who has never had a real relationship in his life, let alone keeps people at an emotional distance?
If only he knew how hard all this is for her here. How hard it is to be near him, to feel his touch and to know that nothing, really none of it is real.

"O... okay," she stammered. "And what do you suggest I should do?" she then asked him.

"Well, first of all, you shouldn't seem so nervous. We need to show people that we are a happy couple. Why don't you just behave as you did towards your former fiancé? I'm going to get us something to drink first. Maybe you'll thaw out a bit more," he said and immediately disappeared in the direction of the bar.

Sherlock knew he wasn't exactly sensitive when he called her uptight. But under no circumstances could he risk blowing their cover before they caught the killer. And not only that. Sherlock had thought about seeing this kind of little act as a kind of experiment. After all, he was not yet sure whether and how he should confess his feelings to her. And she was now living here in Ireland. He would travel back to London after they had solved the case, and so, probably never see her again. He just had to know what it might feel like to be with her. But in order to do that, he had to make her fully commit to it.

Chapter Text

Molly still stood motionless at the spot where Sherlock had left her, staring at "her boyfriend" until he slowly disappeared into the crowd. 
Sherlock had just told her that because of their nervousness, they were in danger of both being exposed. And then he had also described her as uptight. 
She? The one who has had more relationships in her life than Sherlock might ever have. Okay, one of them was a bloody psychopath who had just used her to get to Sherlock, and another was like Sherlock. Only it wasn't Sherlock himself. 
All of a sudden Molly realised that even in this area of her life there was a common denominator. Everything revolved around Sherlock.
She thought desperately about whether she could ever manage to forget him. But her heart was longing for him and her body was also craving his touch. His hand at her waist. She still felt a slight tingling at that spot and her heart jumped as she thought back. 
Gradually she understood that she would never succeed. She would never be able to forget Sherlock. She simply loved him too much for that. But he would never love her the way she loved him. Her heart ached at those thoughts. 

'Maybe I should just turn around and go? Somewhere else,' Molly thought then and gradually felt tiny little tears gathering in her eyes. Desperately, she tried to blink them away.

'NO! Pull yourself together, Molly!' she then yelled to herself.

Even if Sherlock could be a real idiot sometimes and had zero regard for the feelings of others, he was right. You had a case to solve! 
And if Sherlock wanted a girlfriend, it was the best he could ever imagine. After all, it was her only chance to be as close to Sherlock as she had always wanted in her wildest dreams.

Determined, Molly then slowly made her way towards the guests. She was to mingle and find out as much as possible about her hosts. She didn't get far, however, when suddenly a hand grabbed her by her wrist and turned to face her.

"What are you doing here?" a voice then asked. She sounded slightly annoyed but also worried.

"Oh, hello Patrick," she greeted the Fitzgeralds' son in a friendly yet slightly confused manner.
"Um, I was invited?"

"Yes, I know, but didn't you get my messages?" he then asked.

"Wait. Were those messages from you? What do you know?" she asked, completely amazed and full of curiosity.

Patrick looked around carefully and suddenly recognised a young man coming towards her. "Not here. We'll talk later when they make their speech," he explained, pointing at his parents and then walking quickly out of the room.
Molly looked at him in confusion.

"Who was that?" asked Sherlock as he stood before her again and handed her a glass.

"That was Patrick Fitzgerald. And he's obviously the sender of these messages," she explained. Still looking at the spot where he disappeared.

"Oh, okay... Wait. Messages?" Sherlock then asked slightly surprised and emphasised the ending of the word.
"Yes messages. Listen, just before you came to me today, I received another message. A bit more specific this time," she explained and then took her phone out of her little bag.

Sherlock picked it up wordlessly and then read the message. Then he handed the phone back to her. He still said nothing. Instead, he grabbed her by the arm and then pulled her onto the terrace with him. After he closed the door, he turned back to her. Molly looked at him surprised and irritated at the same time.

"Sherlock, what the hell --"

"Why didn't you tell me this before?!" it came out of him now. He sounded angry.

"Sherlock" whispered Molly. She was surprised by his reaction.

"Molly! You're getting a message that says you're going to die if you go to this party! You should have told me!" he shouted now.

"I was going to tell you when we got here," she said sheepishly. She was terrified and his sudden outburst intimidated her a little.

"When? Just before you're killed!" 

Molly wondered why Sherlock suddenly reacted like that. There was anger in his eyes. But there was something else. Was it concern? Was Sherlock Holmes worried about Molly Hooper?

"Sherlock? Are you worried about me?" she then asked. She was a bit surprised at herself but she had to know.

"YES, damn it!..."

"Molly, I love you!" he yelled and then looked deep into her eyes.

And that was when it happened. The words that had been burning on his heart for so long were finally spoken. Sherlock had been thinking all day whether he should tell her. But he never came to a decision. But this news changed everything. It just burst out of him.

Molly gasped when she heard what Sherlock had just said. A million thoughts flashed through her mind. Had he really said that now? 
'Did Sherlock Holmes just say he loved me?'
 
She was about to say something in euphoria, but suddenly the words she had heard during the conversation came back to her.
"Molly is just a friend."

"...as a friend?" Molly then asked. 

"What? Yes.... No..." His eyes were averted.

Molly plucked up all her courage and moved a little closer to him. Her heart literally jumped out of her chest in excitement. Then she took his face and turned it in her direction.

"Sherlock, do you love me just as a friend, or do you love me as I love you?" 
Sherlock had difficulty withstanding her gaze. Again and again he tried to avert his eyes but her eyes seemed to cast a spell on him somehow. 
And then he was overcome. 
He took her face in his hands, looked deeply into her eyes and then put his lips on hers. Molly was a bit surprised but then brought her hands to his cheeks and returned the kiss. The kiss became more intense and when Sherlock felt Molly sighing back, he narrowed the distance between them. Carefully and almost hesitantly, he ran his tongue over her lips. Molly opened them willingly and only too gladly. Her tongues carefully explored each other's. Her hands found his neck and then buried themselves in his curls, gently pulling on them. His hands moved slowly down to her waist to pull her even closer. Sherlock kissed them with such passion and both lost themselves in the moment. 
They didn't separate until the air began to run out.

"I think that explains quite well my feelings for you" he gasped then. His breath was heavy.

Molly was also breathing heavily. A smile lay on her lips and her cheeks now covered a slightly rosy colour. Then she took his hand in his. Sherlock watched with a slightly confused expression on his face.

"Sherlock, you know I love you too, but..."

'Oh, man, there it was. The 'but' 'he thought, disappointed. 

"...but I live here in Ireland now and you live in London, where you will return to as soon as you solve the case here," she explained, feeling a twinge in her heart.

"Then come back with me!" it now burst out of him. 

Molly could not believe what she had just heard from him. And Sherlock himself could not believe what he had just said. Molly swallowed hard as the next words left her mouth.

"I can't do this. They rely on me at the clinic. 

She felt her heart scream and the voice in her head grew louder.
'What are you saying? He has finally confessed his love to you and wants you to come back with him and you just say NO?!'

"I understand that of course" he then said and let his head hang slightly disappointed.

Molly took another step closer and then put a hand to his cheek.

"But we can be together as long as you're still here," she then said and then smiled at him with a warm smile.

She was right. As soon as Sherlock had solved the case here, he would return. Even though he liked having her around and never really wanted to let go, he would never be the type for a long-distance relationship. But he definitely wanted to enjoy the time he was still here with her, together with her.

He was just about to say something back when he suddenly fell silent and now looked up in excitement. Molly looked at him slightly confused but then did the same to him. Her hand continued to rest on his cheek.

Voices. Two. One female and one male voice talking at the top of their voices.

"...What are you doing here? What if somebody saw you..."

"...I just had to see you. And anyway, you promised me that you would end it"

"...Soon, my darling. But you must go now You're gonna blow the whistle on everything...''

And then it was suddenly quiet.

Sherlock now turned his face towards Molly. He wore an almost euphoric grin.

"Fascinating" he said calmly.
"Obviously we're not the only ones here who are playing," he explained, then took her hand from his cheek and led it to his lips. Then he gave her a tender kiss on them and finally walked with her on his hand back into the hall where the guests had now all gathered.

"Come on, let's go catch a murderer!"

 

 

Chapter Text

Sherlock and Molly entered the hall without further ado, where all the guests now gathered in front of a small podium. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald were standing upstairs and apparently were about to give a little speech.
Then Molly suddenly remembered. Patrick wanted to talk to her while the two of them gave their speech.

She turned to Sherlock.

"Patrick wanted to talk to me during the speech. I've got to find him," she said and was about to turn away when she remembered something else.

"By the way, the two voices you heard just now... One of them was Bridget, the Fitzgeralds' daughter."

"And whose was the other?" Sherlock asked curiously.

"Unfortunately I don't know," she said, shrugging her shoulders.
"But I have heard that voice before, I'm sure of it."

Sherlock just nodded. Then he suddenly thought that if this Bridget was playing a game for everyone, her brother Patrick, might be involved?
And Molly was on her way to see him - alone. Fear was spreading inside him.

"Molly, wait!"

She turned on her heel and looked at him questioningly.

"Something's wrong. I'll go with you."

"No, Sherlock. I can't do that. He won't tell if you're there. Besides, now would be your chance to look around a bit more." she tried to explain to him, and with a reassuring smile, indicated that he had nothing to worry about.

Sherlock came a little closer and put his hands around her face, pulled her towards him and gave her a short kiss on the lips. Feeling her lips on his, he could get used to that, he thought.

"Take care," he finally said and reluctantly released his grip on her.

"Don't worry. Nothing will happen to me," she said, smiling encouragingly and stroking his cheek with one hand. Then she turned around and went in search of Patrick.

Sherlock now touched the cheek Molly had touched before and whispered softly, "I hope so".
Afterwards he sneaked out of the hall inconspicuously to collect more information in the private rooms.

His first way led him to the study of Mr. Fitzgerald. Carefully and always looking towards the door, he searched all the cupboards, shelves and the desk. He found a locked drawer under the desk. Euphorically he pulled out his little pencil case with the most important detective utensils and picked the lock all around. He finally discovered a few important documents that would slowly shed light on the matter. They were promissory notes.

Sherlock quickly stashed them in the inside pocket of his dinner jacket and was just about to look around when suddenly there was a loud bang.

A GUNSHOT.

He straightened up as fast as lightning. A word formed on his lips.
"MOLLY!"

He quickly locked all the drawers and ran back into the room.
When he arrived, the guests were already in a state of excitement. Everywhere guests were running around the room in panic.
Sherlock looked in every direction. He looked to the left, he looked to the right, he looked to the podium, to the front seating area. No Molly. She was nowhere to be seen.

The officer that Sherlock had spoken to this morning, who had advised Sherlock to appear at the party, ran towards him.

"Mr Holmes, what happened?" he asked excitedly.

Mrs. Fitzgerald, who was standing next to them, turned around in confusion.

"Like Mr. Holmes? The young man here is William Fitzpatrick and is Ms. Hooper's companion"

Officer Thomas looked at Sherlock in slight surprise. But Sherlock could not think clearly. Again and again his eyes searched the room for the woman he loved. So he didn't realise that this officer had just blown his cover.

"I'm sorry, madam, but this is Mr Sherlock Holmes. He is a consulting detective and came to see me today about the murders. "He also advised me to come to your party. As it turns out, not the silliest idea.

When the young officer finally revealed Sherlock's true identity, he too awoke from his rigidity. Unbelievably and with a slightly angry look he now stared at him.
Officer Thomas did not understand properly and was just about to say something when suddenly a shrill scream sounded.

Only a few seconds later one of the maids entered the hall, completely dissipated and pale with shock.

"Young Mr. Fitzgerald...." Her voice broke off and she fell silent.
Only with a hand signal she pointed in one direction.

Sherlock and the young officer looked at each other briefly, then both ran in the direction she pointed.
The path led them to the library of the house. As they entered the room, they immediately recognised where the bang came from.
Patrick Fitzgerald lay on the floor. Several books were scattered over him. Blood.
Patrick was shot and had probably dragged a shelf with him as he fell.
Immediately the officer raised the alarm and called for backup.

Sherlock took a close look at the room, the body and the surroundings. But again, Molly was nowhere to be seen.
'Molly wanted to meet him. Now he's dead. But where is Molly?' he thought to himself.
He closed his eyes, folded his hands and put them on his chin.

"Mr Holmes--" the young officer started to speak, but Sherlock stopped him with a show of hands. He heard something. voices.

Carefully he moved around the room trying to find out where the voices were coming from. He quickly realised that there was another room. He indicated to the officer to follow him quietly.
As they came closer, he could hear them speaking clearly.

It was the same voice he had heard before.

Sherlock slowly approached the room and carefully peered around the corner. He recognised that it was an archive room. His gaze went on and suddenly he recognised it.
Molly. His Molly.
Tied to a chair. Two people stood in front of her and argued. The one person was this Bridget. The other person he did not know.

"Well, any last words Ms. Hooper?" Bridget hissed with the gun pointed at her.

That was the moment Sherlock knew he had to do something. But what could he do? If he would just run in, he risked that she would pull the trigger in shock. After all, he didn't know how adept she was at handling a weapon. No, he had to think of something and quickly. A diversionary tactic.
In panic, he looked around the library.

'If there could at least be a window here, I could destroy that but nothing' he thought desperately.
But then he had an idea. He pointed with his hand to the books below. Officer Thomas understood immediately and took one of the books.

"When I say so, they'll throw it across the room. It must be so loud that it distracts them. But it mustn't sound so close," Sherlock explained to him with a whisper and then gave him a few more instructions.

The officer nodded and Sherlock got ready. With his hand he counted down from three.

"Ready?" he asked quietly and turned his head slightly. The officer nodded and Sherlock gave him the signal. Officer Thomas threw the book as loud and far away as he could. It hit a vase on the opposite side, which fell down and broke.

"What the hell!?" yelled Bridget.
"Go see what that noise was" she then ordered.

The young man reluctantly moved in the direction that Sherlock and Officer Thomas were standing. They were both hiding behind shelves.

"It was only a vase that had fallen down" he shouted in relief.
At that moment the officer grabbed another book and pulled it over his head. When he was unconscious, he handcuffed him.

"Cal? Callahan, what is going on?" it shouted now.

"I'm afraid Callahan won't be able to give you an answer right now.
It was Sherlock who now stepped carefully and with slow steps into the room. He knew that she had turned her gun away from Molly, as he had been watching her the whole time.

"What? Who are you?" she asked in a startled voice and now pointed the gun at him.
Sherlock slowly raised his hands. And Molly also moved restlessly in her chair. Quietly she whispered his name and stared with big eyes at the man who was slowly moving towards the person with the gun.

"My name is Sherlock Holmes."
"It's over, Ms. Fitzgerald," he then said in a calm tone.

"Don't take another step or I'll shoot you!" she screamed in panic. Her hand shook.

"Well, that's nothing new," he replied succinctly.

Bridget looked at him with a frown. She did not understand.
"I'll just shoot her little friend here, then!" she yelled and pointed the gun back at Molly.

Sherlock turned his head briefly and then looked the woman he loved soothingly in the eyes. It almost seemed as if he wanted to say that everything would be all right.

Then suddenly -

a new shot...

Chapter Text

Molly's POV

Molly was beaming over both ears. Sherlock had confessed to her a few minutes ago that he loved her. Really loved her and not just as a friend. And then, then he kissed her. It was just so beautiful. To feel his lips on hers. And to feel that passion.
Nonetheless, it hurt her too. She knew that it couldn't be forever. 
In a few days, he would go back to London and she would stay in Ireland.
Even though he had asked her to come back with him, she had refused. 
She had obligations here that she promised to fulfil. Perhaps she would return in a few years' time, after she had completed her student education, but now, now her life was here in Dunmore and Waterford. Roughly speaking, in Ireland.

And right now, the task was to catch the murderer of her friend Ida and her neighbours Mr Murphy and old Mrs Daly. 
Patrick Fitzgerald could be an important step towards a solution. He wanted to talk to her. He was also the one who had sent these messages. 

So while Molly was looking for him, this one question kept popping into her head.
'What if Sherlock was right?'

Sherlock said he had a bad feeling about it, but Molly insisted on seeing him anyway. He wouldn't let her go alone. She thought it was incredibly sweet of him and she was slowly getting used to this new side of her. 

So Molly wandered through the long corridors of the house, thinking of Sherlock, looking for Patrick. She hoped it wasn't a trap and that she could be back with her love as soon as possible.

She found Patrick in the library in the middle part of the house. He was standing in front of a shelf, reading a book, when he suddenly heard her enter and turned around.

"Patrick?" she asked carefully and slowly approached.

"Hello Molly" he greeted her, then walked towards the door and closed it.

Molly slowly felt a little uncomfortable and gradually felt fear rising within her. 

"Pat...rick, what did you want to tell me?" she stammered.

"Molly, I think I know who killed Ida and the others. And not only that. You will be next," he explained, now standing before her.

"O...okay, and who was it and why is that person coming after me now?" she asked and became more and more nervous.

"To explain this to you I'll have to go a little further," he said, taking a deep breath and then continued.
"Well, it's just that my family are not who they seem to be. My father had made a pretty stupid investment and now we are bankrupt. If we don't get some money soon, we'll have to get out of here and live on the streets. My mother then thought, if the election for mayor for our father's office should go wrong, then we needed a plan B. So without further ado, she paired Bridget with Kilian. You have to know that Kilian is filthy rich because of his family's family business, and that she's rolling in money. 
Everything went exactly according to my mother's plan until Ida appeared on the scene. Kilian was immediately on fire for her. They began to meet secretly. You surely know that Kilian had an affair?"

Molly nodded and Patrick continued.

"So it is so. Bridget had got wind of it at some point. But not only that. Bridget herself was having an affair with a certain Callahan O' Kennedy.

"I know him. He's a student of mine in pathology," Molly interrupted him.

Patrick understood and with a nod he continued talking.

"But of course no one was allowed to know, especially not Kilian. Otherwise the whole plan of our mother would fail. So Bridget did not talk about his affair with Ida and she continued to meet secretly with Callahan. But at some point they became inattentive. Old Mrs. Daly caught them both one day on their regular walk through the woods and told me about it a little later. I confronted Bridget. What I would rather not have done..." 

"Oh my God, are you trying to tell me that your sister is behind all these murders?" Molly then asked, completely startled, holding her hand in front of her mouth in shock.

"Yes Molly, I think so."

"But how do you know all this?" she then asked curiously.

"I happened to overhear a telephone conversation when she said that the autopsy report had to disappear. And then another one, in which a day, a time and a place was mentioned. As it soon turned out, it was the day Ida was run over by the car. The time and place matched perfectly. All I had to do was add it all up.

"And why am I in danger now?" she asked, but the question quickly answered itself.

"The file. Callahan saw that I had taken it from the archives. Did he?"

Patrick just nodded. Then he reached for her shoulders and looked at her forcefully.

"Molly. You need to get out of here right now. I don't know when and I don't know how but Bridget is out to get you.

Molly looked at him in disbelief and with big eyes. Then she had an idea.

"But Patrick, Officer Thomas is here. If we tell him everything now, he can arrest her," she suggested as she saw his confused expression.

"I have no hard evidence. He will not believe us" 

Molly put on an encouraging smile.
"Don't worry. My companion is Sherlock Holmes. He is a great detective and is currently searching for incriminating material. I am sure he will find enough evidence. So come on!" she then said and held out her hand to him.

But at that very moment she heard a shot and a little later Patrick slowly collapsed. He tried to lean on a shelf, but it gave way and fell down on Patrick, who was now lying on the floor bleeding.

Then suddenly everything went black...

* * *

Molly woke up a short time later in a small room. Her head ached and she felt a warm fluid running down the back of her head. Just as she was about to grab the spot, she noticed that she couldn't. Her hands were tied to a chair behind her back.

"What have you done, you idiot! She's supposed to be dead!"

"I'm sorry, but she moved at the exact moment I pulled the trigger." 

"Then why did you bring her here and tie her to the chair?"

"I was so panicked that someone might have heard the shot and was on their way to the library."

She slowly opened her eyes and could now see two people arguing in front of her.
Even though her eyes had to get used to the light a little, she quickly realised that it was Bridget and her student Callahan. Callahan was nervous and flailed wildly with the gun in his hand until Bridget snatched it away from him annoyed.
When she noticed that Molly was waking up, she finally turned to her. 

"Ah Ms. Hooper. You know, you shouldn't have been snooping around here like this. You should have just left Dunnmore," she said in a threatening tone, playing with the gun in her hand.

"What...what do you mean? What...what are you going to do now?" Molly asked nervously. Her head was pounding.

"Arrrgh, what do I mean? Oh, don't act so stupid! I know for a fact that you and your little friend are investigating these "tragic accidents" more closely. And I know Patrick spoke to you. And now you also know that I, well, more likely we, are behind these "accidents"," said Bridget, gesticulating back and forth between her and Callahan with a hand gesture. Then she slowly walked towards Molly.

"You know, I was never held in high regard in my family. I was always the black sheep. It was always, "Oh Patrick is so smart. Patrick is so successful. We just love Patrick so.... blah blah blah blah..."  Her tone was condescending.
"There was nothing I could do to please them. But then, when my mother asked me to get closer to Kilian, to marry him so that our family wouldn't have to move out here and get money again, I saw my chance. I could finally prove that I was worth as much as Patrick.

"But you never loved Kilian, did you? You just wanted his money," Molly concluded. She had to stall somehow. She was sure Sherlock would be looking for her by now, after the shot was fired.

Bridget looked at her in amazement and laughed out loud.

"Of course I never loved him. I also knew about Kilian's little love affair with Ida. Arrgh, that Ida. That hobby snoop who always had to stick her nose into other people's things. Of course she had to get away. 
But first I had to take care of old Mrs. Daly. She had caught me and Cal doing... well, you know what. It was all going to blow up if she couldn't keep her blabbermouth shut. 
Thank God I saw my opportunity coming fast. You know, the old lady used to ask me for help with her insulin shots. With her shaky hands she couldn't do that any more. She knew that I had medical training. One day I just had to increase the dose. Afterwards I ran her a bath and waited a few minutes..." 

"And why did you kill Mr Murphy?" Molly asked a little later and had to swallow hard after hearing how cold Bridget actually was.

"Oh, old Mr. Murphy. Did you know that the old man and Mrs. Daly were a couple. Cute when people find each other at such an old age too, isn't it? 
Well, anyway, I couldn't take the chance that he might have found out about Mrs. Daly and then tell Kilian. I couldn't let that happen. So he had to leave too. 
Ida was quite right. His mask was prepared. I had poked tiny little holes in it shortly before, so that the poison could penetrate.
Well, and why Ida had to die, you know that." 
She finished her stories. Her tone was cold and emotionless.

"And why are you telling me all this?" Molly then asked, although she actually already knew the answer.

"Hmm, I don't really know," she said to herself and looked up into the air asking.  
"But where you're going you won't be able to tell anyone else anyway," she screamed threateningly and finally pointed the gun at her.

"Poor, poor Molly. You simply shouldn't have come here. Now you have signed her death sentence," she said.

"So a few last words Ms Hooper?" she asked afterwards and then released the safety of the gun.

Obviously, Bridget was very familiar with the handling and use of firearms. 
The finger, ready on the trigger. Just a few more seconds... 

Molly couldn't say anything. Frozen, she looked into the barrel of the gun and prayed. 
She wished that it was all just a bad nightmare and that she would wake up right away. 
Her whole life passed her by. She thought of her friends at home. John, Greg and Mrs Husdon. Her little goddaughter Rosie, whose loving smile she would probably never see again. 
Then her thoughts turned to Sherlock. The past years at his side without ever once getting the attention she longed for. Every single smile from him or every accidental touch. The kiss on her last evening in London. And her last moments together here in Dunmore. The way he held her in his strong arms when she was devastated. How caring he was when he showed up at her place in the middle of the night and how he told her he loved her. 
Molly's heart took a short leap and feelings of happiness spread. 
But they were soon saddened again by the sight of Bridget holding a gun pointed at her.
She had finally found her happiness and heard the long-awaited words from Sherlock's mouth. And that should be over by now? 
Tears slowly flowed down her cheeks as she thought about it. 

'I wish I'd never left London,' she thought desperately.

Then Bridget tightened her grip around the gun and was about to pull the trigger when suddenly-
a bang sounded in the next room.

Molly opened her eyes in horror. She hadn't even noticed that she had closed them.

She tried to turn around after the sound but because of her restraints she could not. Meanwhile, Bridget sent her boyfriend outside to check the cause of the noise.

A short time later, it shouted from the library that only one vase had fallen down. 
Molly thought tense about how this could happen. There was nobody in the room except Patrick. But he was dead.
Unless?

And before she could finish her thought, she heard him. His voice, which was now very close and mocking her attacker?
She saw that Bridget was now pointing the gun at Sherlock. Panic and fear spread through her.

'No, please don't' pleaded Molly in her mind. She wanted to scream, to stop him but she couldn't. Only his name formed on her lips. She was paralysed. Only casually she saw that the gun was now pointed at her again.

And then suddenly a shot was fired. And everything around her went dark...

 

Chapter Text

Sherlock paced thoughtfully up and down in his room in the small boarding house, thinking about last night. Hands crossed behind his back.

He remembered how nervous he was standing outside Molly's door and wanted to pick her up for the party. He hadn't been able to decide if and how he wanted to confess his love to Molly.
She was quite scared and surprised when she opened the door. He could not explain why. But as it turned out later, Molly had received another message.

He remembered how beautiful she had looked in her long evening dress. How embarrassed she became when he complimented her on her appearance and tried to distract from it with a funny remark.

He remembered walking through the small streets of Dunmore with Molly on his arm. He felt strangely comfortable and would have loved to walk around with her by his side for hours. He felt that tingling sensation again as he thought of Molly putting her hand on his as it rested on her waist. 
How nervous she was and her whole body trembled under his touch.

And then he remembered her conversation on the terrace. How angry he was at her for not telling him about the last message. He was worried and afraid for her. And then all of a sudden it burst out of him. "I love you, Molly." 
The look of Molly on her face. On her beautiful face. 
The way he kissed her to underline his love for her. 
That kiss was so different from the last one when she left. It had so much more feeling, so much warmth and passion in it. 
How perfectly her lips matched his. He remembered that he had once called her too small. But from that moment he knew it wasn't true. They were perfect. Just like Molly. 
In the moment of the kiss, he felt a strange warm feeling take over his whole body. A lightness that showed him that this was exactly what he had been longing for all these years without knowing it. He wanted this moment to never end. He never wanted to let it go.

Then he thought about the fact that he would rather not have done it either. Soon after his confession of love he had to leave her alone, for better or worse. This Fitzgerald son apparently knew who was behind all the murders and wanted to tell Molly. He was also the one behind those messages.

Sherlock had a bad feeling but he had to let her go. After all, the conversation seemed to have been important in solving the case. If he thought about it like that now, it was the biggest mistake he could ever make.

If he had known that Molly would walk straight into a trap, he would never have let her go. She would still be at his side.

Then the images came to his mind of Molly sitting tied up on a chair and threatened with a gun.  The thought of it made his whole body shudder. He felt a twinge in his heart when he thought of the fact that he had deliberately put Molly in such danger. And all because of one case.
Sherlock began to realise that one case was not everything and suddenly the words of his best friend came back to him.
"Do something whilst there's a chance, because that chance doesn't last forever. It's gone before you know it!"

At that time he couldn't really internalise it, but now, when he could also experience such a feeling of love, he felt it.

All of a sudden his chest felt heavy and tight. As if there was a heavy weight on him. A lonely tear had come loose from his eyes and was now slowly running down his face. 
Suddenly he did not feel well anymore. Nausea spread. He had the feeling that the space around him was beginning to turn. He had to get out of there. He just couldn't stay there anymore.

As quickly as he could, he packed his things, checked out and ran to the nearest bus stop. There were no taxis in this small village. So he had to take the bus, for better or worse. 
As it was the 1st of June, which is a public holiday in Ireland, the buses ran relatively rarely on that day. But he was lucky and only had to wait a few minutes for the next one.

He quickly pulled out his phone to check the flight details. In the late afternoon a flight was scheduled to leave for London and, as chance would have it, even if he didn't believe in coincidence, there was still a seat available.
So he quickly booked it and wrote a short message to his friend afterwards.

Case solved. I am coming home. 
Let Lestrade know. SH

It was not long before his news signal sounded.

Okay. Say hi to Molly for me.
I'll see you later. JW

Sherlock froze briefly as he read the first lines of the message. Molly.
Again he felt this unpleasant pulling and stabbing. Sherlock thought about what and whether he should reply, but then decided against it. 

When he looked up, he finally saw the bus starting in the distance. He quickly stowed his mobile phone in his jacket pocket, picked up his travel bag and prepared to leave Dunmore. 

The bus drove up, opened its doors, and as he slowly walked up the steps, he paused briefly and looked back again with nostalgia. 

'Goodbye Molly!'

He climbed the final steps, leaving Dunmore, Ireland and all his painful memories behind. Ready for London. Ready to be the Sherlock Holmes again.

Chapter Text

Review

 

Thanks to Sherlock's help, Molly could be freed from Bridget's clutches.

As it turned out, Patrick Fitzgerald was the mysterious sender and the party really was a trap. She remembered sitting tied up in a chair. In front of her Bridget pointing a gun at her. 

Molly had already thought it was over now when she suddenly heard a voice familiar to her.
She recognised Sherlock, who was now slowly moving towards Bridget. He seemed to taunt her. Then Molly saw that the gun was pointed at her again. She looked at Sherlock, who looked at her reassuringly.

"Everything's going to be all right" seemed to be the look he gave her. 

Then suddenly a shot rang out and the room felt dark. Molly saw nothing more. At that moment all she heard was a person being thrown to the floor. 
'Please don't let it be Sherlock,' Molly thought to herself. 

She felt her face burn slightly and again a warm liquid was flowing down in some places. She was probably hit by shattered glass from the lamp above her.

A short time later, she felt someone tampering with her restraints and finally releasing her from them. She recognised those delicate, soft hands and long fingers all too well and knew it was Sherlock. 

"It's over, Molly" he tried to calm her down and finally lifted her into his arms.

"Sherlock? What about Bridget?" she asked and cuddled closer to his body.
She shivered.

"She won't hurt you anymore" 

"Oh, my God. You don't have it, do you?"

Sherlock, startled, turned his face to her.
"What? No, of course not. She's just unconscious. When I ran over her and knocked the gun out of her hand, she must have hit the wall. But she's alive."

"Okay" Molly breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, Sherlock should not have any more blood on his hands. The thing with Magnussen back then was enough. 

Then she thought back to the last minutes. How she had thought she would die and never see her love again. Contrary to her reason and her obligations, she had finally made a decision. 

"Sherlock" she whispered. She was weak and felt the pent-up adrenaline slowly draining from her body.
"I will return with you." 

 Then she fainted.

Sherlock looked at her in surprise, but saw that Molly was now unconscious in his arms. He carried her out of the archive room as quickly as possible. Just at that moment, no less than five policemen rushed into the library at gunpoint.
Only now, in the light, did he realise that Molly had some cuts on her face. She was probably hit by some flying fragments when Officer Thomas shot the lamp. He was supposed to aim at the woman with the gun, but was apparently too nervous and hit the lamp instead. However, no matter how Sherlock managed to incapacitate the attacker and free Molly.

"You will find the culprit in the next room. She is unconscious" he signalled to the men and immediately ran further towards the exit. 

Officer Thomas had informed him that an ambulance was waiting outside the building.
Sherlock took her outside and immediately handed her over to the care of the rescue services.

While he waited outside, hoping that Molly would recover quickly, the young officer stepped to his side.

"Now Mr Holmes. We owe you all a great debt of gratitude."

"Not at all," he said casually. His eyes still fixed on the car.

"She seems very important to you, doesn't she?" the officer then asked curiously as he saw his worried look.

"I love her" whispered Sherlock softly.

"Ah. So what are you going to do now? Are you staying here in Dunmore or are you both going back to London together?" 

London.
And then it suddenly came back to him. He had to go back to Baker Street. Back to his friends and his goddaughter Rosie. He wanted Molly to come back with him. He wanted to be with her. Live with her in London. And a few minutes ago, she had told him she would. 
But after all this, he was beginning to wonder if this was really such a good idea?
After all, she had risked her life, and only for a case.  He was afraid for her. And if she would stay with him, he would feel that fear all the time. He knew that the people at his side could never be safe. Dealing with him always brought with it a certain danger.  But did he want and could he expect this from Molly? No...

Even if it hurt him, he had to leave Molly. He had to return to London alone.
But how could he tell her?
He knew that if he told her the truth, she would still go with him.
 
There was only one way. When he thought about it, his stomach turned.
There was nothing else he could do. He had to hurt her again. So much so that she wished she had never met him.

Sherlock was about to reply to the officer's question when suddenly the doors of the ambulance were opened and a rather exhausted Molly stepped out.

She stepped forward with a soft smile.
"The doctor said it was just a few abrasions and a mild concussion from a blow to the head. I should rest, but I can go home safely. Would you perhaps accompany me?" she then asked hopefully.

"If you need rest, that might not be such a good idea," he replied. He wanted to sound cool.

"Oh, that's no problem. I want it. Please," she then said and almost begged.

Sherlock gave a deep sigh. That would be hard now. He knew that. Carefully he grabbed her by the shoulders and brought her away from the crowd.

"Molly... look. I don't know what you're thinking or wishing for, but this is never gonna happen with us."

Molly didn't understand and stared at him with her mouth open and her forehead wrinkled.
"B...But you said..." She could not finish the sentence. 

"It was only a game. Just a game, you understand? I just told you that so you'd loosen up and take it seriously. It was all about the case!"

And then he said something that shattered everything in her. He knew that it would destroy her and she would hate him forever but that was the best and safest way for her.

"I don't love you!" he said. His eyes turned away from her. He could not bear to see the pain in her eyes. To know that her heart was breaking again because of him was painful enough.

Molly looked at him with horror on her face. He was not looking at her. She froze when she heard what he had just said. Tears slowly gathered in her eyes. 

'Was he really serious? A damn game? Just one of his cursed games?!' she thought and slowly felt the anger rising inside her. 

Anger at him! But also anger at herself. She was angry that she had fallen for him again. That she had fallen for his stupid game and let him into her heart again. 

'How could I be so stupid? Of course Sherlock doesn't love me. He loves no one but himself, maybe!' she shouted in her thoughts.

She slowly felt the anger and pain take hold of her completely. And then, before she knew it, her hand landed in his face with full force.
It wasn't the first time she had slapped his face. Only this time she put all the pain and everything he had ever done to her into that slap. She realised that it must have been a violent blow, as there was still a slight mark of her hand to be seen. But she did not care. He should calmly feel how much he had hurt her with it, again and again.

"Sherlock Holmes, you're a bloody bastard! I never want to see you again!" she screamed at the top of her lungs and then ran home as fast as she could. She just wanted to get away. Away from Him.

Chapter Text

It had been barely a month since Sherlock had saved Molly from Bridget Fitzgerald, and then broken her heart again.

Molly then threw herself into work and into training her students. Callahan O'Kennedy was arrested as an accessory to murder, lost his place at the university and is now in custody. Bridget is facing a long prison sentence. She has currently been placed in a psychiatric institution, as she lost her nerve shortly after her arrest and tried to commit suicide. She would stay there until her trial.

The past few weeks have been hard for Molly. She kept thinking about the last words of Sherlock.
"It was all just a game. It was all about the case! I don't love you."

She really couldn't believe she'd fallen for him and his games again. How stupid and naive she'd been. 
But sometimes good things happen from bad things. And it did.
After Bridget and Callahan were arrested, the residents of the community apologised to her for believing she had something to do with the murders.
Since then, she felt more comfortable and accepted. Patrick checked in with her shortly after the incident and wanted to make sure she was all right.
He was very attentive and stood by her at all times. They started to meet up more often and eventually Kilian and Officer Thomas, more likely Brian, joined her company. Even though all three were younger than her, she visibly enjoyed meeting them. Close friendships developed and Molly was able to gradually forget the last weeks and the pain.

Slowly, her heart began to heal and begin to mend.

And now Molly was on her way to her friends in her old home. Slightly nervous, she slid back and forth in her seat on the plane, looking out of her window and then back to her neighbour.
It was the 7th of July. Today was John's birthday and she wanted to surprise him.

The trial took place less than a week ago, and after Bridget and Callahan were sentenced and had to spend a long time behind bars, Molly decided it was time for a little break. 
Her supervisor happily agreed to this. He knew what she had been through and was starting to worry about her due to her heavy workload in the last few weeks. Actually she had only planned a week's holiday but her boss insisted on a longer period. And so Molly now had three weeks' holiday. It was the first time she had so many days off in a row and she had to get used to it. Maybe she would simply use the time to travel around Ireland, or England or Scotland. Depending on.
Her tomcat Toby, who resented her moving to Ireland at first, had gradually settled in and was now spending time with her neighbours, the O' Reillys. Mr. O'Reilly was a real cat lover, his wife said, and was happy to have her little visitor for the next few weeks.

Molly smiled slightly as she thought about how joyfully he received him and what toys he had gotten for him. She didn't have to worry about whether he would be all right. Rather, she had to think about how to get him back into her house.

But for now she was on her way to London. It took her a little effort, after all, Sherlock would certainly cross her path, but she longed for home and her friends and her little goddaughter. She was excited and wondered how tall Rosie was by now. And what Greg and Mrs Husdon would do. And above all, how they would react if she suddenly appeared at their door. She smiled at the thought of finally being able to hold her in her arms again and put aside any thoughts of a certain detective. 

Yes, if she thought about it like that, then Sherlock had actually done her a big favour. She found it easier to push him away all of a sudden. Not to forget, because, she had realised, she would never be able to do that. No matter what happened, she would always love him.
The initial rage and sadness over him faded with time and slowly turned into indifference. It was fine the way it is. So she could finally pursue her plan and finally be happy.

* * *

It was shortly after noon when Molly got out of the taxi and was now standing in front of the building with "221 B" written on the door. She took another deep breath. That typical London air. Then, with several bags in her hand, she slowly walked to the door. She had bought a small gift or souvenir for each of her friends. 
With her hands full, she had a little trouble getting the right bell sign, but she was lucky. She prayed that she would be there to give Molly a little reprieve before she finally had to face Sherlock.

For a few short minutes, which seemed like an eternity to Molly, the door slowly opened and a completely surprised Mrs Hudson looked at her.

"Molly? Is that you, dear?"

Molly smiled happily at her and just nodded. When the old lady realised, she finally pulled her into a tight embrace and then led her into her flat.

"How lovely to see you! But come in first'."

Molly beamed and was happy that the old lady was so happy about her surprise visit.
While Mrs Hudson prepared tea and put out some biscuits, she chattered incessantly. She kept asking Molly questions, but wouldn't let her speak because she was always talking in between. She told her how so much had changed. Since Sherlock would use 221c as his laboratory, it would be much tidier and quieter in the flat above her. And above all no more separated body parts in the fridge. She laughed when she explained this. And Molly also had to smile slightly.

"But tell me, how are you doing? And what are you doing here?" she finally asked and finally gave her room to speak.

Molly then told her about her previous time in Ireland, her new job and her colleagues and friends. She said very little about the murders and Sherlock's visit. 

"Actually I wanted to surprise John. You know, his birthday," she then explained.
"And I wanted to ask you something, I suppose I should ask you something?"
"What is it?" the elderly lady then asked curiously.

"Well, I wanted to ask you if I could possibly use your kitchen? I'd like to surprise John with a cake, but since I came by plane, I haven't prepared any." 
Mrs Hudson's face lit up visibly.

"Of course. I was about to go shopping anyway. We can get something there. Have you got anything particular in mind?" she said. But she didn't mention that she had already brought John a cake this morning.

But before Molly could answer, she went straight on.

"Tell me, where are you going to live while you're here? Or are you leaving again tomorrow?" Her tone was slightly sad.

Molly just smiled at her, then took her hand and squeezed it slightly.

"No. I've had so much holiday and I'm sure I'll stay here a few days longer" 


* * *

Late in the afternoon Molly was putting the finishing touches to the cake. She had decided on a simple chocolate cake with a sugar coating and sugar writing. She knew that chocolate was always good and above all it was good for the nerves. And if you worked alongside Sherlock Holmes, you would need something for the nerves every now and then.

So while she was drawing the last lines of her "Happy Birthday" lettering, Mrs Hudson told her about Rosie. She had been attending a crèche for several months now. She feels very well and is getting more and more alert. Every now and then, she would hear children stomping around and then Sherlock or John running after her frantically, calling out to catch her. Since she had started to run, there was no stopping her. Her two boys, as she liked to call them, were sometimes quite desperate. 

Molly smiled when she heard how bright and what a whirlwind her little goddaughter had become and that she kept both of them quite busy. She was surprised to hear how quickly she had developed, but then she remembered that she was finally coming after John and Mary and that there was no need to be surprised.

Mrs Hudson was just about to reply when she suddenly heard footsteps above her.

"Ah, they're back again."
Molly gazed intently at the ceiling. Slowly some excitement started to build up in her.

And then there was a knock at the older lady's door. She apologised to Molly for a moment and finally went to the door.
Molly couldn't make out who it was and the voices were too far away. A short time later Mrs Hudson came back, told Molly who was at the door and then took the cake with her.

Molly carefully approached the door to the living room, peeked lightly through the open crack and listened.

"You brought me a cake this morning, Mrs Hudson." It was John, now standing in her sitting room with Rosie in his arms.
Molly rejoiced and her heart pounded joyfully in her chest as she saw her little goddaughter radiant before her.
"Well, that's not the surprise I meant" Mrs Hudson then explained.

That was Molly's cue and slowly she opened the door and entered the living room.

"Hello, John. Happy Birthday" she said, slightly shyly, and came closer.

John stood there with his mouth open and could not believe who was standing in front of him now. If he wasn't carrying his daughter on his arm, he would probably have wiped his eyes in disbelief now.
When Rosie saw her godmother, she beamed and grabbed for her with her little arms.

"Hello my sweetheart. How are you?" Molly then asked and carefully lifted her into her arms.

"Molly" said John still incredulous and surprised.

"What are you doing here?"

"That almost sounds like you're not happy to see me?" Molly then asked with a feigned sad face and pout.

John shook his head briefly before turning to her and hugging her joyfully.
"Of course I'm happy to see you! But now tell me, what are you doing here?" he then asked after he had separated from her again.

Molly told him about her holiday and that she wanted to surprise him on his birthday. 

"Well, you certainly managed to surprise him," he beamed. Then all of a sudden his expression changed.

"Unfortunately I don't have time now. I've actually just come down to ask Mrs Hudson to look after Rosie. Sherlock's got a new case. Speaking of which, does Sherlock already know you're here?" he then asked.

Molly denied and asked him not to tell him anything about her visit either. John then looked at her with a puzzled look and a wrinkle on his forehead. She told him it was a long story.

"Oookay. Oh, you know what, Sherlock can manage on his own. If you're not doing anything yet, how about dinner?" John then asked.

Now it was Molly who looked at him in wonder.

"You don't have to do this. Besides, Sherlock will probably be angry if you don't come with him.

"Oh, I'll just tell him I haven't found anyone for Rosie. Then he has to go alone. And anyway, you've got to make the most of the time while you're here," he said and waved away with a light wave of his hand.
"So what do you say? I for one am dying of hunger," he grinned then.

Molly pondered for a moment but then she thought that she didn't want to stand between the two of them and she didn't want to be to blame if Sherlock got angry with John. She was and could not be that selfish. Instead, she thought she wanted to spend time with her goddaughter and be able to look after her. They could then meet tomorrow for lunch or dinner if he wanted.
John understood and accepted her offer with thanks. He promised he would be back soon. Then he turned around and ran back upstairs to the flat at a brisk pace. But he didn't get far when Sherlock stopped him in the hallway.

"What took you so long? Have some more tea? We have a case. Lestrade's waiting for us!" 

When Molly heard his voice, she suddenly felt goose bumps all over her body. Slightly startled, she glanced at the door with her goddaughter on her arm, hoping he hadn't noticed her.

Mrs Hudson quickly closed the door.

"Are you OK dear?" she then asked, slightly worried, when she saw the look on Molly's face.

Molly was in a light trance and shook her head briefly when she heard the elderly lady speak.

"What? Yes of course" she replied and smiled slightly.

The elderly lady looked at her with sceptical looks. Then she took Rosie from her and then took her to the kitchen where she prepared dinner for her. 

After Molly had freed herself from her rigidity, she helped her and then spent some time with Rosie. Eventually it was time to put her to bed. Carefully she carried the little one to her bed on the second floor, switched on the baby monitor and then went down again carefully and quietly. She stopped briefly at the door to a certain flat when she suddenly noticed the familiar, pleasant and unmistakable scent. His scent. Her senses played with her. 
She took a deep breath, remembered the moments when she always smelled it by chance and then ran downstairs, still slightly foggy.

Mrs Hudson was already waiting for her with a cup of tea in her living room.

"So Molly, dear. Would you like to tell me what happened?" she asked and looked at her again with such concern.

But Molly just waved away, explained that the past few weeks had been quite exhausting for her and then apologised to her as she had to make her way to a place to stay for the days. Mrs Hudson then frowned, but didn't. She didn't want to push her into anything.
Then they said goodbye and Molly set off in search of a hotel for the next few days. In her mind the last hours. The glow on the face of her goddaughter and her friends. And Sherlock.

 

 

Chapter Text

It was early morning when Molly left her hotel. She had found a room in a nearby hotel with direct access to Regents Park. Molly knew that she could not stay there permanently as it was already a rather expensive hotel. She had to find something else. Maybe she could stay with her friend Meena for a few days.

Molly could not sleep very well that night. She was much too excited about yesterday. So she decided to take a long walk through the park and stop at her favourite café.
It was a sunny morning and Molly knew it was going to be a beautiful day. At least as far as the weather was concerned.
After a fresh cup of coffee and a chat with the owner of the café, she moved on to her old job. She wanted to visit her friend Meena and see what had changed.

Shortly before noon she arrived at St. Bart's Hospital and immediately breathed in the familiar air as she entered her old floor. How much she had enjoyed working here and how much fun she had had with her friend Meena, despite the actually so bleak place. A little wistful she slowly walked along the dark and tiled corridor. Then she carefully opened the door and entered the brightly lit room. Following her routine, she stopped briefly at the sink to wash and disinfect her hands and then stepped closer inside.
She took it all in. It was so different from the workplace where she was now. In Waterford she had a bigger room. The tables for the autopsy were in the front part, behind them were a few smaller cupboards and on the side were the cooling chambers. In the back part was her office and a smaller laboratory. Yes, it was anything but Bart's.

"MOLLY HOOPER" she suddenly heard a voice screaming behind her. She sounded kind of angry.

Carefully she turned to the voice and smiled.

"How can you just show up here after I haven't heard from you for so long?!"

"Um, I wanted to surprise you, Meena?" she said and put on an apologetic smile.

Meena now approached her closer, looked at her briefly from top to bottom, made one more angry look before turning it into a smile and finally pulled her into her arms.

"Oh Molly, I've missed you so much!" she now cried out in joy.

Molly also beamed with joy and only pressed her harder.

"You look great but tell me, what are you doing here?" Meena asked afterwards after she had detached herself from her.

Then Molly also explained to her what she had already told Mrs Hudson yesterday.

"So, so Sherlock was with you in Ireland? And?" she then asked curiously, grinning and elbowing her slightly in the side.

Molly sighed slightly.
"So what? He was there, solved the case and left again"
Meena knew her friend and knew when she was hiding something from her. She looked at her with a sceptical and penetrating look.

"Molly?! What happened?"

Molly felt slightly cornered and was sure that her friend would not let go. And maybe, she thought, it was good to talk to a friend about it. Talking to men about their problems with men was sometimes not so helpful after all.

"He had told me he loved me.

Meena now stared at her with big eyes.
"Oh, my God, and then what happened?"

"Then he kissed me, saved me from a lunatic who was going to shoot me, told me it was all just a game and that he didn't love me at all and off he went" Molly explained as quickly as she could.

"That bastard!" cried Meena now.
"I can't believe it! How could he do such a thing to you!"

"Oh Meena, I'm just so tired of constantly questioning his behaviour and his games. I just can't do it anymore. And to be honest, he actually did me a favour with that. Now I can live my life and the main thing is that I'm doing well. And I am!" she said then and smiled at her with a shallow smile.

"But tell me, how are you actually doing? How is Aidan, are you still together? And how are things at Bart's without me?"

"Molly, I'm great. Things are going great. It's just that Sherlock Holmes can be really intense sometimes. He's always here or in the lab, working on samples all the time. Then he asks me for the most impossible things, body parts or something," she explained and rolled her eyes.
"Oh and Aidan, that loser, I deported a long time ago. I've met someone new now and Molly, I think it could work this time," she beamed in love.

'Meena and her men. And she always says it could be the right one' Molly thought and rolled her eyes in her mind.

"Ah and who is it?" Molly asked curiously.

"So...well...you know him..." she pushed slightly and picked imaginary lint from her gown.

'Why is she suddenly so nervous? She's not usually like this. Oh, my God, what if it's Sherlock? And what if they were a couple when he was in Ireland,' she thought.
And now slowly she could feel the nervousness building up in HER.

"Meena?! Who is it?"
She just had to know, even if she was a bit scared of her answer.
"Well, it's..." she stammered slightly nervously.

"MEENA!"

"Okay! It's your friend John!" she finally blurted it out.

Molly stared at her with big eyes. She couldn't believe what she'd just heard. John and her friend Meena? But why hadn't they told her? Even though she was slightly shocked, she felt the tension in her slowly releasing.

"Oh... OK. And since when?"

"By Saturday, it'll be three months. We met here. Sherlock was here again, bossing me around. He was downright rude and he kept shouting. John had apologised to me at some point for his behaviour and invited me for coffee to make amends. We got on well right away and yes, we've been meeting regularly ever since. But we are taking it slowly. You know about Rosie"

"Uh-huh. And have you met Rosie yet?"

"Oh, yeah. She's a lovely girl. At first she just always seemed to think I was you" she grinned slightly.
"Rosie misses you very much, Molly," she said.

"Yeah, I know. I miss her too. All of you," Molly replied slightly sad and turned her eyes to the side. Now that she was here, she already felt quite strongly her homesickness and how much she actually missed her friends.

"Molly? Everything okay?" Meena asked slightly worried when she saw her look.

She freed herself from her rigidity and smiled at her friend, shallowly. Her eyes glistened.

"Of course. I'm happy for you both," she then said, wiping her hand lightly over her eyes.

"Are you sure everything's okay?" Meena asked further and cast a sceptical glance at her friend.

"What? Yes of course. You are my friends and I am really happy for you. I just suddenly realize how much I've missed you," she smiled and blinked slightly to hold back the tears.

Meena noticed her sudden change of mood and finally pulled her into her arms again.
After Molly had separated from her again, she wiped the last tears from her cheek and now looked at her friend Meena with a slightly questioning look.

"How is Sherlock coping with all this?"

"Surprisingly well, I must say. I mean it was difficult at first. He was dismissive and totally arrogant towards me. He kept saying I wouldn't be around for long anyway. He couldn't even remember my name.
But since a few weeks he seems different somehow. He has become calmer and nicer. You could almost say more pleasant. He no longer bosses everyone around. We can also meet at John's place without him getting upset. I think he has accepted it" she then stated.

At that very moment the door to the mortuary swung open. The two women turned around in surprise. When Molly saw who had just entered, she froze. Her smile disappeared instantly.

Sherlock stood at the other end of the room and stared incredulously in the direction of the two women. His mouth was slightly open. His eyes a questioning look. With his lips he formed her name.
"MOLLY?"
He was both surprised and shocked. And suddenly all the memories came back. And with them the pain. His first impulse was to flee. Just turn around and walk away.

"Molly? Is that you?" she heard her voice asking quietly after Sherlock.
Greg stepped forward and moved towards the two women. Just like her friend before him, he patterned her from top to bottom. Then he embraced them.

"Hello Greg. How are you?" she asked with a smile.

Sherlock finally decided against his impulse to flee. After all, there was a case to solve. He shook his head in disbelief and now slowly approached.
He stopped just before she did. His questioning look still on Molly.

"What are you doing here?" he finally asked. His tone was slightly cold with a hint of surprise.

Greg looked at him in horror and wondered why he was suddenly so cold. After all, he had become very sociable in the last few weeks. He even knew his name now.
"So Sherlock, is that any way to greet your friends?" he then asked, slightly indignant.

But Molly waved it away.
"It's OK, Greg" and then turned to Sherlock.

"I'm visiting my friends or is that forbidden now?" she answered him with a slightly biting undertone. Molly was surprised at herself. Actually, she didn't mean to sound so angry, but apparently her anger at him hadn't completely disappeared yet.

Sherlock now looked at her again with his mouth slightly open. He did not know what to say now. So Molly was still angry with him. OK, who could blame her. First he confesses his love to her and then he revises this and breaks her heart.

"Uh...uh, no, but --" he stammered, looking for the right words.

Meena seemed to see that Sherlock was at odds with him and before he said anything else, she interrupted him.

"Sherlock, Greg, what can I do for you?"

Sherlock breathed deeply and was relieved that his best friend's girlfriend was now speaking.

They briefly explained the case to her and that they needed a view of one of the bodies. Eventually, the two men disappeared again, not without Greg inviting Molly for a drink first, leaving a rather perplexed Meena and her friend with a look on her face that screamed with anger, despair and disappointment.

"Well, that was...strange" Meena said to her friend a little later, when the two men had left the mortuary again. She had never seen Sherlock so speechless.

Molly didn't reply, but looked at the detective angrily but sadly and disappointedly.
'Why was he so cold? Am I the one who should be angry with him? And why was he so upset to see me here with my friend?'

All of a sudden she sensed that she wasn't feeling well. Her stomach turned and again she had to fight against her tears. Yes, Molly was very sensitive sometimes, especially about Sherlock. She cursed herself for it. Maybe she should just go back to Ireland and spend her holiday there? But her friends were so delighted to see her and wanted to spend time with her. She could not do that to them. And she too wanted to enjoy the time with them.
'Okay Molly. Just swallow it and pull yourself together! It's only a few days' she tried to motivate herself and said goodbye to her friend a little later. John was expecting her for lunch and she had to hurry now.

Chapter Text

John waited impatiently for her friend at the arranged meeting place near his practice. He was visibly pleased and surprised by her visit but also wondered what had happened in Dunmore. As usual, Sherlock had not mentioned much. Only about the case and how they managed to catch the perpetrator. But something must still have happened. And why wouldn't Sherlock know that Molly was in London?

She had asked him not to tell Sherlock anything about her visit, and she kept something like that under wraps. Sherlock also seemed changed after his stay with Molly.
He was not like the former Sherlock Holmes, who disapproved of his relationships or had to comment on them with any inappropriate remarks.

Yes, he had previously been dismissive of Meena, so they could only meet outside or at her place. John just didn't want to put her through his moods. But shortly after he returned from Ireland, he seemed different. Surprisingly, he thought of himself that it would be okay for him if Meena came to Baker Street now and then. He was also more considerate and kind to her.
John was sure that something had happened in Ireland that had changed his friend considerably.
He just didn't know yet how to address this but perhaps, he thought, he could shed more light on the whole thing through Molly. But first he should tell her about her relationship with her friend.

So he stood in front of the restaurant and stared thoughtfully into the air, when Molly suddenly appeared in front of him.

She seemed slightly rushed and apologised for being late.
John smiled slightly at her and then accompanied her into the interior of the restaurant. When they both found themselves back at their seats and had placed their drinks orders, John turned back to Molly.

"So what happened because you arrived here so rushed?" he then asked.

"Oh, I was just visiting my friend Meena and we easily forgot the time, especially when Greg and Sherlock came along," she replied with an apologetic smile.
"So you were with Meena?" he then asked carefully.

Molly looked at him with a fake angry look.
"Yes and John I know about you two!"

He swallowed slightly as he looked at her expression.

"But it's okay. I'm happy for you both," she said afterwards and then put on her all too familiar warm smile.

John fell a stone from her heart and he breathed a sigh of relief.
As they ate, he talked a little about their meeting and their time together. He also asked Molly about her new life in Ireland. He decided to start slowly before getting down to business.

"So, you've met Sherlock? How did he react when he saw you?" asked John carefully. Somehow he had to slowly steer in the right direction.

"How do you think he reacted? Just like Sherlock," she tried to distract him, but turned her gaze away from him.

"Molly?! Why wouldn't he know you were here? What happened in Ireland?" he then asked and was glad when it was pronounced.

Molly looked away ashamed. She had known that this moment would come eventually, but was she ready to talk to him about it? After all, he's his best friend and he would certainly confront him. And then Sherlock would...
Yeah, then what would Sherlock do anyway? Ignore them, humiliate them, avoid them? Or would he apologise to her, maybe explain his behaviour to her?
When asked this question, Molly shook her head slightly in her mind. That would never happen. Even though he was so different in Ireland, so considerate, kind and concerned, he is still Sherlock Holmes.

Molly took a deep breath and finally told John what had happened. That Sherlock had asked her to help him with the case. How considerate and kind he had been to her during that time and that he had saved her from death. She didn't tell him about the confession of love.

"Okay, but there's more, isn't there?" he followed up after he noticed Molly's evasive look.

Molly became more and more nervous and rigid. How could she think that the information would be enough After all, we're talking about John, who, apart from her, was perhaps the most empathic and sensitive person she knew.

"Something happened that hurt me very much," she sighed and slowly she felt the sadness overpowering her. Then she raised her eyes.

"But it's okay. I'm over it and I'm fine" she said afterwards and put on a little smile, but it didn't reach her eyes.

John looked at her sympathetically and then took her hand in his.
"Molly" was the only thing he could get out of it. He felt infinitely sorry for her and wondered what his friend had done to her again. Slowly he felt the anger of his best friend rising within him. If he was at home, he would have to confront him urgently. But now he first had to be there for his friend.

Chapter Text

It was evening when John arrived in Baker Street. He spent the rest of the day wondering what Sherlock had done to Molly. And how he could hurt her like that. 

John had just entered the living room of the flat with his daughter in his arms and saw the detective sitting brooding in front of the laptop. He didn't look up when he entered the room.

"Do you know that Molly is in London?" he asked casually as he was preparing Rosie's meal in the kitchen.

Sherlock still did not look up. But John could clearly see that he was becoming increasingly stiff in his posture.

"I saw her today at Bart's with your girlfriend," he replied emotionlessly.

John sighed and breathed deeply. 

'Why did you always have to pull everything out of his nose?' he asked himself and twisted his eyes in annoyance. 

Rosie whimpered so slowly and writhed in his arms. So John decided to give her dinner first and if she was going to be in her bed later, talk to Sherlock again.

After about two hours he was ready. Rosie had been fed, freshly bathed and was now sleeping peacefully in her bed with her favourite cuddly toy in her arms. With quiet steps he slowly moved out of the room and down the stairs.

When he arrived in the living room he saw that Sherlock had taken a seat in his armchair. His hands were folded at his chin. His eyes closed.

"So, Molly. She is here. In London" he said, after he had also taken a seat in his armchair and drummed lightly with his fingers on the backrest.

"Obviously" Sherlock replied to him, his eyes still closed.

"I had lunch with her today, by the way."

Sherlock replied nothing.

"Yes, it was nice. Molly seems well, but she also seemed a bit sad when I asked her about her time in Ireland, a very specific time," John then mentioned when he saw that nothing came of the detective.

Sherlock still replied nothing, just nodding his head in a slight absence.
"Unbelievable. It's just unbelievable," John now murmured more to himself. Sherlock blinked slightly when he heard what his friend murmured.

"What?" he now muttered annoyed.

"What's the matter with you? What the hell is wrong with you?" he then asked and gradually grew louder.

"I wouldn't know what you mean. There's nothing wrong with me!" he replied.
"Sherlock, since you've been back, you're different. You're inattentive and you're not the same when it comes to solving cases," he said more calmly. 

"But I still solve every case faster than Scotland Yard."

"Yes, but you make mistakes. You make mistakes that wouldn't have happened to you before. And I think that all this is somehow connected with Molly. So what happened? And don't say it was nothing. I don't believe you, my friend!''

Sherlock took a deep breath and sighed. He knew that at some point the day would come when John would ask him about his whereabouts. 
John was right. He was not the same. He was unfocused and he was actually making some mistakes that would never have happened to him before. He couldn't explain where it suddenly came from. Well, actually he could. Ever since he came back, his thoughts had only been about one particular person. Even in his cases where he thought she was a distraction, he could only think about her and the pain in her eyes. But Sherlock was never the type to peddle his problems, especially emotional problems. But maybe it was time now, by jumping over his shadow.

"Sherlock, I'm going to ask you just once and I want you to give me an honest answer," John said when he hadn't heard from his friend for a few minutes.

"Have you told Molly that you love her?"

In an instant Sherlock stiffened again and averted his gaze. Searching, he now looked around the room. His whole body tensed slowly. The gaze of his friend seemed to penetrate him. Again he felt this impulse. He had to get out of here. He did not want to face his best friend and his reproaches now. He quickly swung out of his armchair and was on his way to his bedroom when John stopped him.

"Don't you dare leave now! You know that I was a soldier and I could stop you very easily," he said in a threatening tone and stood up as well. Then his tone gradually became softer.
"Sherlock, YOU wanted to go to Ireland so badly and not because of this case, as we both know. And it was YOU who asked me for advice about Molly, remember? So what happened?" he finally asked.

Sherlock stood there, next to his friend, unable to move. He was right. Sherlock had only taken the case because he knew that Molly would be there. He wanted to see her again. He wanted to get her back. He missed her.

"That night at the party, I told her," he finally said, exhaling a deep breath.
"And then I took it back. I told her it was all just a game.

"You did what?!" John now asked with a shocked expression on his face.

"I have told her that I do not love her. That it was all just a game. I had to do it!"

John still stroked his hair in shock.
"Why on earth did you do it?"

Again, Sherlock sighed.
"I knew that Molly would always be in danger by my side. Just like all of you. But you and Lestrade can handle this, you can defend yourselves. I didn't want to do this to Molly. I was scared. John, she nearly died that night and I couldn't have stood it. I knew if I wanted to protect her, I had to do something. Something that would make her hate me forever. I had to hurt her and keep her away from me!"

"Sherlock, I understand that you wanted to protect her, but this is Molly. The Molly who dumped what is probably the greatest criminal and psychopath in the world, and then set him up. Molly always knew that being by your side would be dangerous, and yet she stayed and was there for you. Don't you think it shouldn't have been your decision this time?" sighed John.

Again he thought about what his friend had said. It was true. Molly was not weak. She had dumped Jim Moriarty, the greatest criminal mastermind he had ever met, and without subsequent consequences. She was always at his side, no matter how dangerous it might get. And she was always there for him, no matter how shitty his behaviour towards her was. 

"You're probably right. But it doesn't matter now anyway. She hates me and never wants to see me again. It's too late," he said then, moving towards his bedroom as he did so.

John looked at his friend slightly irritated.
"You still love her, don't you? That's why you're so different, isn't it?" John shouted to him. But only heard the door drop into the lock.

Sherlock sat on his bed and now thought about his friend's last question. He did not know. He had never really thought about it before.
Did he still love Molly? And what if he did? Would this be the reason for his inattention to his cases? 
Then he thought back. Back to the moment after his sister had forced him to say those words and what happened next.

Sherlock was sitting on the couch in John's flat at the time and recalled that moment in his mind. 
He sat there with his eyes closed and retreated to his thought palace. He searched for any explanations of the concept of love. Finally he found a definition from the dictionary, which he had probably put down there once because of a case.
"Love: a strong feeling of being attracted, a feeling of affection for a person [close] to him..." 

Then he searched and searched and searched. But he found no answer. 
He thought about how he felt or how his body reacted when he met Molly. He felt warm when she smiled. When she touched him. He enjoyed the time he was with her. He missed her when she was not there. He even had to smile at her bad jokes. His heart, which he now knew he had, pounded in his chest when he thought of her smile and her beautiful and warm hazel eyes. If one were to take only the physical reactions as a starting point, then he definitely felt something for her. But was that love? 

Until this one evening, he could not form an answer to it. Only after she revealed to him that she loved him and therefore had to leave, and after he kissed her, did he know.
Again he felt this warm feeling when he thought back and when he thought of Molly. Again and again she crept into his thoughts and made sure to forget everything else around him. 

He quickly got up from his bed, walked towards the door, opened it and was about to give his friend the answer to his question when he noticed that the light had gone out and John was nowhere to be seen. A glance at the clock showed that he had spent several hours in his thought palace and John had probably gone to bed by now.
But what should he do now? He could not sleep. Too many thoughts in his head kept him from doing so. So he did what he would always do in such a case. He went into the living room, grabbed his violin and then started to play quietly.
Then he remembered that a little child was sleeping above him. So he grabbed the instrument and finally ran down to his laboratory in 221c. A few years ago he would have cared less about disturbing others with his playing.

'John was right. I really have changed,' he thought on the way down, shaking his head in disbelief. 

Chapter Text

John had not seen Sherlock again. After their conversation and after he had disappeared into his room, he had waited for some time. But even after two hours, nothing from him.

And even this morning he had neither seen nor heard him.
He wondered whether Sherlock had thought about his questions or whether he had simply ignored them.
He still couldn't believe that his best friend, Sherlock Holmes, who rejected any romantic entanglements and called feelings a chemical defect, felt and revealed a feeling of love for his girlfriend Molly.
And now he understood why Sherlock was so changed. Why he was also almost friendly towards Meena and Greg. He had finally experienced love and let it into his heart.
It also hurt him a little when he thought about what Sherlock had done afterwards. He had hurt Molly to protect her. But in the end, Sherlock had only hurt himself. Somehow, he thought, he had to be able to help his friend, didn't he?

Tonight he will try again to talk to Sherlock about it, but now he had to go to the surgery and do his job. Luckily it was Friday and he had a whole weekend to somehow build up his friend.
John was just coming out of the facility where he took his daughter every day, when suddenly a black car with darkened windows appeared in front of him.
He twisted his eyes in annoyance when he saw it stop in front of him.

What did Mycroft want now?' he thought and then slowly got in.
As usual his assistant, Anthea, was sitting in the back seat typing on her smartphone. She smiled at him briefly as he greeted her and then turned back to her phone.

The car started to move and a little later he stopped in front of the Greek-style building called the "Diogenes Club", which he was only too familiar with. Slightly annoyed, he got out of the car, ran towards the entrance of the building and was immediately led into a separate room by a few men.

He recognised the room. The last time he was here was when he approached Mycroft about Moriarty. John sat down in one of the chairs and waited.

"Hello, John. Good to see you" a tall man in a smart suit greeted him now.

"Mycroft, hello, what's up?" asked the blond man at the same time.

Mycroft moved slowly towards his desk and finally took a seat in his office chair.

"As usual, straight to the point" smiled Mycroft with a playful grin on his lips.

"I have noticed some unusual behaviour from my brother recently. I asked him a few days ago to help me with an important case. It was easy, but Sherlock showed considerable difficulty. I mean, I know he'd always been the slow one, but this time..." Mycroft stopped briefly and tried to find the right words.
"He is unfocused. He misses things. I have a feeling..."

"Wait, you have a feeling?" John interrupted him and laughed slightly mockingly.

Mycroft then punished him with a slightly judgmental look.
He took a deep breath and then continued.

"Yes, surprising, isn't it?" he asked himself more about himself.
"Anyway. Sherlock seems to lose all reference to rationality. And I'm beginning to wonder if the events at Sherrinford have affected him more than I thought," he said. His gaze turned into the air.

"I see, and why are you interested in this?"

"He is my brother, John. He only recently found out he had a sister --"

"Who has made him, or us, go through hell again!" John interrupted him.

Mycroft looked at him with a slightly surprised look.
"Yes," he whispered softly.
"Anyway, I think his emotions are beginning to get into his mind and he doesn't know how to deal with them. You know, Sherlock isn't as strong as he always pretends to be. He's always been the more emotional of us. And I'm worried that he might break down".

John frowned as he heard about Mycroft's concerns for Sherlock.
"So what do you want from me now?"

John hadn't quite realised what Mycroft was getting at. Yes, he did. Sherlock had only been able to regain access to his feelings through all these experiences with his sister and he too was worried that Sherlock would not be able to deal with them. In the end, he continued to keep a low profile and gave the outward appearance of being a rational and rational person. But John knew that this was not so.

"Tell me, this Ms Hooper. Does she have anything to do with this?" Mycroft interrupted his thought processes.

"Why do you ask me that? Haven't you always known everything that happens in Sherlock's life? And anyway, maybe you'd better speak to Sherlock yourself.''

Again, Mycroft put on a suspicious smile.
"Of course not. Even I can't see inside my little brother's head. And John, we both know that Sherlock and I never talk about these things. I also realised that Sherlock has only changed since his return from Ireland. So?' Mycroft finally asked and looked at him expectantly.

"What things?

"Let's just say Sherlock and I tend to have conversations that are less emotional. So what do you think?"

John took a deep breath.
"OK, let's just say Sherlock and I tend to have conversations "So I think you might be right. "Molly definitely plays a bigger part in Sherlock's life than he'd like to admit. "And now that she's back here --"

"Hold on. Ms.Hooper is London again?"

"Yes, but only for a brief visit. Why do you ask? Does it matter? As far as I know, they don't speak to each other anymore anyway," John replied.

"It does indeed. Tell John, does Ms Hooper know about the events at Sherrinford?" Mycroft then asked.
"I don't think so. In any case, Sherlock or she did not tell me anything about it. But as I said, Molly avoids contact with Sherlock and Sherlock ignores everything as usual," the blond man then replied, looking down.

Then he stood up swinging from the armchair he had been sitting in and smoothed his clothes off.
"Okay, if that's all there is to it. I have to go now" he then said and then pointed to his wristwatch with a sign that he had to go.

Mycroft stared thoughtfully into the air and tried to make the information meaningful and explainable for the current situation. He waved slightly and John finally left his office.
Mycroft then returned to his desk, picked up the receiver of his telephone and pressed a certain number.
A little later a woman's voice, all too familiar to him, sounded at the other end.

"Anthea, I want you to do something for me"

Chapter Text

It was just before noon and Molly was rolling through the streets of London with her small suitcase. She had decided to look for less expensive accommodation for the rest of the days in the city. Finally she needed the money for the return flight to Ireland. 

Molly was on her way to her third hotel. So far she had not had any luck. Everywhere the rooms were fully booked. In a more remote part of the city she hoped to find a place. Of course her friend Meena had also offered to stay with her but Molly had refused. Now that she knew that her friend and John were going out together and kept meeting up at Meena's flat, she didn't want to get in the way.

And so it happened that Molly found herself in a less busy area. Every now and then a car or a taxi drove by but there were no people anywhere. Today the sky was again covered by grey dark clouds. The atmosphere it offered was slightly eerie, almost threatening. She increased the speed of her steps and hoped to arrive at the address as soon as possible, especially when a dark car suddenly appeared next to her and slowed down.

When it stopped a short time later and the back door opened, she considered turning back. Slowly and carefully, she turned on her heel and ran back in the direction she had anticipated when she suddenly heard her name call.

"Ms. Hooper!"

She paused and turned around carefully. She recognised the voice. And when she looked back at the car, she recognised who had called her.
It was Anthea, Mycroft's assistant. 
And now, in retrospect, she remembered that Mycroft always drove up in a black and dark car. Slightly irritated and ashamed of her attempt to escape, she shook her head and finally ran towards the car.

"Ms Hooper. Please get in the car" Anthea greeted her politely and then indicated to her to get in the car.

Molly was a little surprised but decided to comply with her request. Also because she wanted to leave here as soon as possible.
"Where are we going?" she finally asked Anthea when she felt the car start moving again.

But Anthea did not answer. With a look and a little smile she let her know that she already knew. Molly nodded slightly and then let herself fall back into the seat.

'What will Mycroft Holmes want from me?' she asked herself and looked out the window. She knew that talking to the person sitting next to her would not help.

It took a while before the car stopped again. Eventually Molly was picked up in another part of town and the traffic was catastrophic again. It didn't matter if it was rush hour or morning or evening. The streets were always crowded.

Anthea told her to get out of the car a short time later. Molly did as she was told and was now at an airfield. 
'What on earth would I be doing at an airport?' she asked herself and her thoughts circled.

Without further ado she turned back to the car to make sure she was in the right place. But the car had already disappeared. Now she stood there, completely alone and didn't know what to do. In front of her there was an area of concrete and far and wide nothing. Just a single helicopter in the middle of the runway. 
And again her thoughts raced through her head. She wondered what would happen next. A short time later a young man in a dark suit came around the corner. 

"Ms. Hooper. I beg you to follow me" he asked her and against all reason she finally ran after him with slightly shaky legs. He led her to the helicopter and countered her by stopping the door from entering. Molly looked at him questioningly but said nothing. Then she took a deep breath, swallowed her uncertainty and finally got in.
She thought that, strange as he was, Mycroft Holmes would not put her in danger.

Throughout the flight she tried to find out where she was going, but the young man did not speak. Sighing, she dropped back into her seat and looked out the window. 
Water?' she asked herself. She quickly assumed that all around her was the sea.

'Where are we going? And why all this mystery?' she thought to herself and sighed annoyed. 

Once again Molly was left in the dark. Again no one told her what was going to happen. Was she really so insignificant that nobody thought it necessary to tell her about some situations? First with the cameras in her flat, then this phone call and now the 'abduction' by helicopter.
The phone call. All of a sudden the minutes that turned her whole life upside down came back to her mind. The pain she felt, why didn't she let Sherlock explain it then? Molly cursed herself inwardly for this and for her wounded pride, which ultimately kept her from learning the truth. Still this one question burned in her heart. For almost half a year she had been wanting an answer. Even though there had been several opportunities to do so, she was too frightened in the end. But at that very moment she felt no fear. Not even the fear of what explanation Sherlock would give her or how he would treat her afterwards could stop her. She would not care. But what she cared less about was that there was no way she could now. She had deliberately distanced herself from him and he too seemed to be avoiding her.
That would probably be a question to which she would never get an answer, she thought to herself as she looked at the waves roaring beneath her.

A little later the helicopter landed on an island off the coast of England, which she had never seen before. Molly shivered as she descended the few steps and looked around. Even though it was summer now and the temperatures rose slightly above 20 degrees during the day, this place gave her goose bumps. She did not know where she was or what it was. In front of her stretched a kind of fortress, built and surrounded by steep cliffs. Guards were positioned everywhere.

"What is this place here?" she asked afterwards and turned to the young man.

Again he replied nothing and pointed only to another man, also in a dark suit, who was now coming towards her. He was accompanied by two other tall, muscular men.

"Ms. Hooper. Please come. You are already expected" he greeted her and immediately pushed her further towards the entrance. 
Molly stumbled slightly as he pushed her and looked around furtively. The two men followed.

'Would I ever get an answer about this place now?' she asked herself and looked slightly frightened at the man next to her.

But before she could decide to ask, she was immediately led into an office. In the middle was a large long table. Behind it, near the windows, a desk. The office itself was surrounded by a number of large windows, with a door at the back leading to a balcony. On one side was a sideboard. Above it in a larger screen.
The man replied to her to sit down and wait.

"Mr. Holmes will be with you shortly" he said and disappeared again immediately. 

The two men positioned themselves outside the office on either side of the door.
Molly continued to look around the room. She ran to the windows and looked out at the sea. Waves were breaking on the stony walls of the cliffs. The wind raged across the water. This place was anything but pleasant and she slowly began to believe she was in a prison or something. 
She still wondered what Mycroft wanted from her and why he had brought her to this place. There was something frightening about this place and Molly felt more and more uncomfortable with every passing second.

"Ms Hooper. Hello. Please sit down" Mycroft replied to her as he entered the room.

"Mr Holmes... What am I doing here and what is this place?" she asked and sat down on one of the chairs.

"Ah, my dear...Whatever this place is, it doesn't matter. 

'Here we go again? Really? Those secrets again?' she asked herself and rolled her eyes, annoyed. 
And slowly she felt the rage rising inside her.

"I think..." she began to speak softly.
"That does matter! I mean, they don't "kidnap" me just like that, only to bring me here in a helicopter! And don't call me my dear!" Her tone was gradually getting louder.

"I wouldn't talk about kidnapping" Mycroft then replied to her, looking at her with a slightly judgmental look.

Molly was angry. Confidently she now straightened up and sparkled angrily at her counterpart. 

"I think so. Or what would you call getting into a car in broad daylight in a deserted area of London, then being driven to an airport and finally being taken by helicopter to a place like this WITHOUT anyone talking to me or explaining what's going on? It does matter! So what is this place?" 

Mycroft now had an expression on his face that showed astonishment but also surprise.
I'm beginning to understand why my brother likes her,' he thought.
He gave a deep sigh.
"Well, so this is Sherrinford," he began to explain.
"It's a place where we keep the people we call the uncontainables.''

"So a prison?" she then asked curiously.

"Something like that. It is a top secret place. Only a few people know about this place. And it goes without saying that it will stay that way" he explained and looked at her forcefully. His look seemed slightly threatening.

Molly's mouth was slightly open. She nodded.

"And... And why am I here?" 
She couldn't really understand what Molly was doing in a place like this?

"I want to talk to you about Sherlock." 

And now she understood immediately. Mycroft had brought her here to talk to her about his brother. But why this place? And did she even want to?

"I don't know what there is to talk about. And anyway, why here? Why in this place? If you wanted to talk to me about him, you might as well have done it in London," she then said, standing up carefully from her chair. Ready to leave this place. She had nearly reached the door when Mycroft said something that made her stop.

"I want to show you something related to that call" Mycroft then explained, and immediately started a video on a monitor. 

Molly paused. In the corner of her eye she could see the stature of Sherlock, John and Mycroft on the screen and slowly turned back to him. 

"There are recordings of that day. These recordings are here and must not leave Sherrinford. That is why you are here" he continued.

With a wrinkled forehead she finally moved back to her seat and now looked at the screen in horror.
 
A picture of a dark room stretched out in front of her. In the middle stood a coffin. It was not of exquisite appearance. It was a simple coffin, made of ordinary wood with a simple fabric lining. Sherlock moved slowly towards the coffin with a weapon in his hand. She could see millions of questions on their faces. And then suddenly a voice spoke. A female voice telling him that someone was going to die and asking her to find out who it was. At some point Mycroft moved towards the lid of the coffin and pointed up the inscription. Molly couldn't make out what was going to be written on it, but was to learn what the inscription would be in the next few seconds. 
"I LOVE YOU"
Molly's breath stopped. So this coffin should be for HER. Sherlock also quickly recognised for whom it was designed. And then it was time. That phone call. Molly now saw herself on a large screen. Four pieces, all aimed at her kitchen. Sherlock, as he tried to convince her to say these words. How panicked and almost afraid he reacted. Tears gathered in her eyes and she had trouble suppressing them. The words of redemption came two seconds before time ran out and then it was over. 
And then something happened that made Molly's breath stop again. Sherlock destroyed the coffin with his bare hands. He kept hitting it again and again. Until it was no longer recognisable as such.

A short time later, Mycroft stopped the video. Molly's gaze was directed downwards. There was no stopping the tears now.

"Now I see you don't know much about these incidents that have been going on here. Otherwise you would know about this place too," he said.

But Molly did not answer. 
"Why are you showing me this?" she asked instead, having difficulty keeping her voice clear through the tears.

"I wanted you to understand. You see, our sister is a person with an extraordinary mind. More extraordinary than that of me and Sherlock put together. She had these experiments --"

"Yes, but why are you showing me this NOW?" Molly interrupted him. Her voice had gradually become firmer.

Somewhat astonished and puzzled by her question, Mycroft now looked at her.
"Well, to be honest, I only now understood what feelings my brother had for her. And what they do to him. He is in danger of these feelings destroying his mind. And he will never be the same again"

"And what do you think I should do now? Should I stay away from him so he can go back to being the Sherlock Holmes you want, so he can solve your stupid cases? And anyway, why don't you ask his sister She's the one who put him through those hideous experiments. 
Molly had no idea what had suddenly come over her. Did Mycroft really just accuse her of being to blame for Sherlock changing? 

"Ms Hooper. I think Sherlock wants you in his life more than he realises. I can't believe I'm saying this" sighed Mycroft now "but I think my brother has fallen in love with you and is now heartbroken.

Molly then looked at him with a startled look. Sherlock? Heartbroken? And how did Mycroft know what it would feel like?
Suddenly, words failed her. Stealthily she glanced back and forth between the screen where Sherlock was now sitting on the wall, her face tortured and turned to the floor and the table where she was sitting. Had Mycroft really shown her this video so that she could make up with Sherlock again. Was he trying to get her to let him back into her life and into her heart?

"So, what are you going to do now?"

Molly couldn't answer. Her thoughts kept wandering around the video and what Mycroft had now said. And then suddenly something burst out of her that she herself could not believe she had said.

"Can I see her?" she asked quietly.

Mycroft frowned.
"I don't think that's--"

"I WANT TO SEE HER!" Molly yelled now and sparkled at him angrily.
"You want me to understand, so let me talk to her. I want to know why..." 

Mycroft swallowed slightly but then finally nodded. At least his sister was back in safekeeping and could do no harm. 

 

 

Chapter Text

London, 8:42pm, some pub. A table surrounded by three people who were talking and laughing in a relaxed manner. On the table several glasses with drinks.

Greg had invited Molly for a drink this afternoon. After Molly had left this strange and scary place, she couldn't think straight.

'So that was her. The sister of Sherlock and Mycroft- Eurus' was always on her mind.

The invitation came at just the right time and so it was that a little later she found herself in a pub, trying to forget that day by drinking. By an unfortunate coincidence, at least for Greg, they met her friend Meena, who eventually joined them. Molly was happy about the evening. She did not want to be alone after today. And so it came about that Molly, Meena and Greg were now frolicsomely sitting at a table in Greg's favourite pub, as it turned out a short time later, sitting and drinking and chatting and laughing. John was also to join them later.

As exuberant as the mood was, their thoughts kept circling around this conversation.

"I was wondering when you'd show up here, Ms. Hooper"

And it got even worse when suddenly the door swung open. John happily entered the pub and behind him a rather unnerved Sherlock. You could clearly see that he was uncomfortable with the situation and wanted to be somewhere else now. Especially when the eyes of Molly and Sherlock met. He stopped abruptly in his movements and now looked furtively at the woman in front of him and then at the people around her.
He would have liked best to turn around and disappear, but his best friend was quicker and now pulled him to the table with him, where his friends were also sitting and enjoying themselves.
All of a sudden, it was quiet. Everyone seemed quite surprised to see Sherlock here in a pub and cast slightly puzzled glances at the detective. Except Molly. She had lowered her gaze and instead looked at the glass in front of her. 

"Of course I didn't expect them to flee to Ireland.''

Molly kept wondering how Eurus could know all this. Then she remembered the room where Eurus was being held. That dark and cold room. With nothing but one, behind glass, a separate room with a bed and a toilet. There were warnings drawn on the glass that stopped her from coming within a few metres. This room, this place instantly made her blood freeze in her veins. She noticed that Mycroft was watching her and was eagerly awaiting her reaction. 
Molly took a deep breath and came a little closer. And suddenly the room behind the glass shone in a cold and harsh light. In the middle she could see a person. She had long brown hair and was completely covered in white. She stood with her back to her first. But a little later she finally turned her face towards her and Molly froze instantly. In front of her stood a person who seemed to penetrate her with her gaze. Those eyes. This coldness. 

Even though Molly had left this place, she still felt this incredible coldness running through her body.

"Why do people even do what they do?"

Greg suddenly pulled her out of her thoughts and Molly was quite relieved about it.

"And Molly, what have you been doing today?" he asked interested.

Molly thought about it. About her day. Sherrinford. Eurus. 
But what could she say? She could feel the looks of the others on her. 

'Oh glad you asked. You know, I've had quite an exciting day. I flew in a helicopter, was taken to a place that is actually top secret. I found out the truth about that phone call and then had a chat with Sherlock's sister Eurus. It was nice, she was an absolute psychopath who kept my blood frozen in my veins but yes, it was nice'.

No, she could not do that. Mycroft had certainly already told Sherlock about her visit to his sister. With a quick glance at Sherlock, she then replied to Greg:

"Oh, nothing special. I was looking for new accommodation for my days here in London." 

Greg nodded understandingly, then asked her why and a little later turned to his other friends. Sherlock watched her closely the whole time and sensed that Molly was hiding something. Especially when she noticed his gaze and turned away slightly startled.

"Why have you done this to Sherlock, her brother?"

….

"He should feel the suffering that I experienced earlier. I wanted him to feel what it was like to lose everything and have nothing. I never had friends. Never had anyone to love me. I had no one. I was completely alone."

"But why Sherlock and not Mycroft?"

"I've always felt there's a strong connection between us. I loved him. I wanted him to notice me. But he'd failed me, like everyone else. 

….

"And why did you choose me for your sick experiments?"

"Oh it's quite simple. Of course I knew you were in love with Sherlock. And I also knew that he had special feelings for her. Even though he always keeps his emotions locked away, I knew the only way I could break him was to open up that gateway. It all went according to plan. Love in great need. The danger of death and a knight, in shining armour, who tried to save her...."

'Eurus had not spoken in the past' she thought as she remembered.

The thoughts seemed to overwhelm her and at some point she couldn't stand it any more. Her neck tightened, she tried to catch her breath. She needed air urgently. She quickly got up, apologised to the others for a moment and ran outside.

Her friends at the table looked at her with astonished glances and watched her. Sherlock was also surprised and looked after her with concern. Her friend Meena was just about to get up and follow her when John grabbed her by the arm and held her back. With one look he indicated to her that it was not necessary, as Sherlock also rose and stormed outside at that moment. With a meaningful look and a light smile she sat down again and left the two of them alone.

Chapter Text


Molly was now standing in front of the restaurant, gasping for air. She kept breathing in and out violently and had trouble calming down. The tears slowly made their way. Molly was gradually afraid to hyperventilate here and tried to calm down with calmer breaths.

Suddenly two strong arms reached around her from behind and held her. She was startled for a moment and tried to break free, but when she heard who these arms belonged to, she stopped.

"Sssh, it's all right" Sherlock tried to calm her down and was still holding her tightly in his arms.

She took another deep breath in and then breathed out again and gradually calmed down. As she felt Sherlock still holding her, she suddenly snatched away from his grip with a swing and put some distance between them. 
Sherlock looked startled for a moment, but then understood and stood beside her.
Silence spread.
Neither of them knew anything to say. Again and again he gave her a slightly furtive and nervous look. Molly looked ahead the whole time. The look into the void.

"I know about Sherrinford," Molly whispered quietly now, breaking the silence.

Sherlock turned to her in horror. 

"I now know the truth about this call and.... and I have met Eurus" she explained. Still looking ahead.

Sherlock now slowly turned to her.
"Molly" he sighed.

"Sherlock. It's all right. I know the truth now and I understand," she interrupted him, then turned to him too, smiled slightly and stroked his cheek tenderly with one hand. It seemed for a moment as if he was leaning against her hand.

"How did you know he was gonna..."

"She loves? Molly, I think you know what an inscription on the lid of a coffin means and to whom it is addressed?"

"Did you know?" she then asked after pulling her hand away from his face again.

Sherlock immediately understood what she was getting at. 
"I only really realise when I read the words. I knew that the inscription on a coffin lid was of course not addressed to the relatives. Only one name came to my mind. 
It was yours, Molly"

Molly smiled at him again. There was so much warmth in her eyes now. That warmth that always made Sherlock take a pleasant shiver through his body. Then she carefully took his hand in hers.

"It wasn't part of the game, was it? Back in Dunmore, after that party. You said it because you wanted to protect me. Like you did with that phone call. And you thought that if you explained it to me, I'd still go with you. Am I right?" she asked, looking him deep in the eyes.

Sherlock knew no answer. He wasn't really surprised that she knew. After all, Molly wasn't stupid. Instead, he just nodded and put on a smile that would immediately melt Molly's heart.
Molly gradually felt the excitement rise within her. For a moment she lowered her gaze and glanced back and forth between them. Then she narrowed the distance between them, stepped closer to him, put her hand on his cheek again and then slowly and carefully brought her lips to his. 
Sherlock was a little surprised. He felt that warmth again that he felt every time she touched or kissed him. He then gently put his hands on her hip and pulled her closer. 
He had missed this so much. He had missed her and now he also knew that he would never let her go again, no matter what it would cost.

When they parted a short time later, Molly looked at him slightly embarrassed. Her cheeks were covered in a soft red. Sherlock could not help smiling.

"So" he started. "Do you want to go back inside?"

Molly glanced briefly at the front door of the pub, then back at Sherlock.

"Actually, I'd rather go," she admitted honestly. It was just too much that day for her, and she was a little exhausted.

"Oh, okay. Shall I accompany you to the hotel? Where are you staying?"

She was about to give him the address when something suddenly popped into her mind.
'Damn it. My stuff!'

"Molly? What is it?'' Sherlock asked a little later, when he hadn't heard back from her. 

She looked up slightly startled. 
"My clothes. I don't have any clothes. I must have left my suitcase in the car?! Could you possibly call your brother?" she then asked, slightly embarrassed.

"That won't be necessary" he replied with a smile.

Molly frowned.
"But why not?"

"Mycroft's assistant brought a suitcase to Baker Street this afternoon. It'll probably be yours. Well, shall we?' he asked, holding out his arm to her. just as he had done when he picked her up for that party. This party that was to change his whole life.

Molly wondered a little why Mycroft had her suitcase taken to Sherlock's, but decided not to give it another thought. After all, sometimes you couldn't really understand the Holmes brothers' way of thinking.

With a smile she then hooked up with Sherlock. He was about to call a taxi when Molly remembered that she had forgotten her bag. She walked in at a brisk pace, packed her bag, apologised to her friends for leaving and walked out again.
Sherlock was already waiting for her in a taxi and held the door open for her.
He gave the driver the address and they drove off.

None of them said a word during the ride. Again and again, they glanced at each other furtively or smiled at each other. The air gradually heated up and there was a considerable crackling but neither of them dared to take the first step. Even the taxi driver was not unaware of this tense, electrifying, almost erotic tension. Every now and then he looked through the rear-view mirror and had to smile slightly at the sight of the two. They looked almost like two shy teenagers.

After a short drive he finally stopped and let them go their way. He gave Sherlock an encouraging and meaningful look after he had paid and drove away.

Molly stood slightly nervous on the step to the door, waiting for Sherlock to open it.
Once in the hallway, she turned to him and asked for her suitcase.

"Uh, it's upstairs" he stammered. Now just as nervous.

'What's the matter with me? Why am I so nervous all of a sudden?' he asked himself and struck his forehead with his hand.

Molly stood there motionless and looked after him as he climbed the first steps.

"Molly? Are you coming?' asked Sherlock from the upper steps. She shook her head slightly and then slowly walked towards him.
At the top he opened the door, let her in and then followed her.

"Your suitcase is there," he said, pointing to the space next to the couch. Molly took it and then turned back to Sherlock.

"Well, I'll be off then. Thank you very much" Her voice was soft and almost sad.

'If she left now, she would leave forever. Don't let her go!' it yelled in his head. 

Molly turned to the door with her suitcase in her hand and was about to leave when Sherlock called out for her.

"Molly, wait!" he yelled and moved towards her. He was now standing very close in front of her. The wall behind her. He took another step towards her, so Molly couldn't escape now. Then he carefully took the case out of her hands, put it on the floor and interlocked his hands with hers. Slowly he led her crossed hands up, looking deep into her eyes.

"I don't want you to leave. Please stay" he whispered with his deep voice. 

Now it was Molly who was surprised and she was even more surprised by what happened next. 
He did not wait for her answer but immediately put his lips on hers. He kissed her with such intensity and when he felt that Molly was not avoiding him, he became more demanding. He nibbled and sucked her lower lip and with his tongue asked to be let in, which she gladly granted. Molly wanted to let her hands slide through his seductive curls or to pull him closer to his neck, but she couldn't. Sherlock still held her hands above her head with his intertwined curls. They fell into a wild play of tongues until Sherlock let go of her mouth and slowly made his way to her ear. He lightly nibbled at her earlobe, which gave Molly a pleasant sigh. 
He then released the grip around her hands and led his now to her hip. He pulled her closer and Molly could clearly feel his excitement. His mouth moved further towards her neck and kissed and sucked lightly. Molly sucked in a sharp breath under his touch. She buried her hands in his curls and tugged them lightly with excitement. Sherlock sighed comfortably, led his hands further behind her, placed them under her bottom and finally lifted her up so that Molly had to put her legs around his waist. He pulled her back into a fiery kiss driven by passion and then carried her to his bedroom. He then laid her gently on his bed and closed the door...

Chapter Text

Molly woke up the next morning with a big smile on her face. She still couldn't believe what had happened last night. She thought she was in a dream, but she was afraid if she pinched herself now she would wake up. 
She opened her eyes and there he was. 
Sherlock was lying next to her, his back turned to her. Gently she reached out a hand and gently stroked his neck and his bare back. She was still smiling. Not a dream.

"Hmm?" it muttered slightly.

Sherlock slowly turned to her and smiled as well.

"I can... I can't believe you did that," she smiled and felt the blush rise because of her stammering.

"Me neither" he said softly, smiled too and then gently brushed a strand of hair from her face. Then he tilted his head slightly forward to give her a short but gentle kiss.
He moved just inches away from her face, lightly stroking his thumb across her chin and smiling. Then he pulled her towards him, her head on his chest and stroked her hair gently.

"Molly?" he asked carefully.
"When I asked you to stay, I didn't mean just for this night. I meant forever."

At that moment Molly stood up in surprise. 
"Sher --" 

"No, please let me finish" he interrupted her.
"Molly, I want you with me. When I left you, I left a piece of me there too. I realised I'm not the same without you by my side. I'm not myself anymore without you by my side. I love you and I want you to be part of my life"

Now Molly straightened up. With tears in her eyes she looked at the man she loved. Gently, she stroked his cheek with her hand. 

"Sherlock, I love you too, but you know I have a job in Ireland and I have to go back."
Slowly a tear ran down her cheek. 
Sherlock gently stroked it away with his thumb and then lingered briefly on her lips.

"There must be a way you can stay here?" he then asked hopefully.

"Well, the only possibility would be if they could find someone who could carry on my work. But there won't be a replacement so quickly and besides, I don't know if I could get my old job back. And then there's the matter of the flat. Surely my old flat is already rented out again" she explained then.
Sherlock listened to her attentively the whole time until something occurred to him.

"Well, I think I've got an idea about that," Sherlock grinned now, kissed her and then got out of bed. While Sherlock was getting his things together, Molly just watched him with a wrinkle on his forehead.

"Just make yourself at home. I'll take care of it," he replied to her and then disappeared into the bathroom. 

"Ooookay" was all Molly could say. But Sherlock had already disappeared. 

* * *

It was now nearly two months since she had spent that incredible night with Sherlock and he had asked her to stay with him. She was incredibly touched by his request and also by the fact that, because of her, he crossed his emotional boundaries. He had told her, with tears in his eyes, that he loved her and that she should be a part of his life. She was all the more saddened when she had to refuse his request. Sherlock then said that he had an idea and wanted to take care of it.

And so it happened that Molly was standing in the kitchen in Baker Street right now, preparing dinner. Sherlock was in the living room, busy with little Rosie. He kept smiling at her and Molly's heart warmed when she saw this picture of him with little Rosie on his arm. 

For about a month now, she had become more of a regular part of the so-called "Baker Street Boys" - as Mary always called her. 
Sherlock had indeed kept his word back then. 

After their night together, Molly and Sherlock spent most of the time together. Molly did not ask about his plan again. She just wanted to enjoy the time with him. And besides, it would make her less likely to escape disappointment if it didn't work out. But less than a week later, she received a phone call. Molly was in the flat with Sherlock and Rosie when her old boss, Mr Johnson, called. He apologised for the disturbance on their holiday. Then he explained to her that Waterford had contacted him and apparently a new pathologist had been found who could continue her work. Molly's breathing stopped and she was afraid that this call would not be good news now and that she would be out of a job. He then explained to her that her new supervisor had phoned him first because he had asked to have Molly back at Bart's. Mr. Johnson seemed visibly surprised, but said that if Molly still wanted to, she could get her old job back. She immediately said yes, thanked him and hung up.
Slowly she went back to her goddaughter and the man she loved.

"How to ---" she started but Sherlock interrupted her.

"Shh Molly, we have a little child here. Don't swear," he said, pointing at Rosie and grinning.

Then he straightened up and slowly walked towards Molly.
She whispered softly, "How on earth did you do that?"

"What?" Sherlock seemed a bit confused. But somehow he suspected it had something to do with that phone call he just got.

"Mr Johnson just called. He said they didn't need me in Waterford any more and he offered me my old job at the same time" she smiled now.

Sherlock also smiled and waved away with a simple gesture of his hand.
"Let's just say Mycroft still owed me one. Does that mean you're staying now?"


Molly then only had to make one more trip back to Ireland. Once again she packed her things, said goodbye to her newfound friends and colleagues and left Ireland with both a laughing and a crying eye. She had to leave her tomcat Toby behind with a heavy heart. Sherlock had offered her, or rather asked more, to move in with him. At least until she found a new flat. Molly was about to pick Toby up from her neighbours when she noticed how comfortable he was and how devoted he had become to Mr. O'Reilly.  He had never been like that with Molly, she thought. And the elderly gentleman was also sad and did not want to let him go. At some point Molly decided to leave him with you. But she promised to visit him if she ever came back. Mr. O'Reilly was so pleased, he literally fell around her neck. Yes, he was a cat fool through and through.

Then exactly three weeks ago, Sherlock asked her to move in with her completely. And John was also delighted with this proposal. After all, Rosie would have his godmother close by and Sherlock would be happy. John had been quite happy about the news anyway, when he heard about his best friend and friend living together. And Mrs Hudson, Molly's friend Meena and Greg were also delighted, with the latter showing a teensy bit of jealousy.

"I always thought you had other inclinations, Sherlock" was what he meant when he interrupted Sherlock and Molly kissing once.
Sherlock then gave him an angry look, and Greg quickly started to laugh, signaling to him that it was a joke. 

Everything has been peaceful ever since. Molly has now finally moved into Baker Street, got her old job back and is happy. Sherlock spends most of his time together with Molly, continues to successfully solve cases and once again outshines the work of Scotland Yard. Mycroft is still as he is. However, he accepts the bond between the two. Eurus also gets visits from her brother and Molly from time to time and is now a permanent part of Sherlock's life. 

... "We could have been friends"...

Molly's gaze fell further on the spectacle in front of her. Sherlock playing and laughing with Rosie. He obviously enjoyed it and Molly was happy to see it too. At some point he stood up, moved slowly towards her, stood behind her and gently put his arms around her.

"I love you, Molly Hooper" he whispered softly into her ear.

Molly grinned about it while she cut the vegetables. Then she slowly turned to him.

"I love you too, Sherlock Holmes" she smiled and looked deep into his eyes.

Sherlock then pulled her into a deep and passionate kiss.
"And you, I will love just as much" he then said, lowering his gaze and gently stroking her belly with his hands.


END <3