Monster

Chapter 8

John Watson thought he was one of the few people who could truly read his best friend's facial cues, but as he looked into Sherlock's glacial blue eyes the doctor had to confess the other man's expression was inscrutable. Was that hurt that flitted behind his gaze? Anger?

Sherlock took a deep breath. "What do you mean Mycroft thinks I would leave Molly because of what happened this week?"

"He said you would want to avoid what caused all the emotions you've gone through," John said. "In other words, Molly."

Sherlock arched an eyebrow. "Do you think I would do that?"

John hesitated. "I think it's more likely you'd leave Molly because of some mistaken idea that you're protecting her."

"I'm disappointed." Sherlock strode back toward the hospital. "I thought you'd have picked up on my methods by now. If you had observed me this week, you'd know that I've displayed all the signs of a man who cares very much for her."

John walked quickly to keep pace. "I know you love her, Sherlock."

"And yet you think I would abandon her."

John chose his words carefully, not wanting to hurt his friend but still wanting to be truthful. "I think you would put yourself and your agenda first."

Sherlock came to an abrupt stop. "In that case, you are correct. I'm an inherently selfish person. I freely admit that. And this week I learned that I don't want to live without Molly Hooper. I am staying true to form and putting my wants and needs first. I want and need Molly. Therefore, I will not leave her. Not now, not ever."

~s~s~s~s~

With heartfelt gratitude and promises to visit, Molly said goodbye to Dr. Schaeffer and Adile. When she saw the plane Mycroft had arranged to take her to London, she fretted about who was paying for it, but Sherlock neither knew nor cared and as they boarded, told Molly not to worry. His brother was, after all, the government. He could afford it.

Unbeknownst to Sherlock, Mycroft also had called Dr. Moira Rickman, a top trauma specialist. After Molly was admitted to St. Bart's, Dr. Rickman examined her and performed a battery of tests. However, the doctor didn't recommend changing the excellent treatment plan that the doctors at Unified Hospital had begun.

One step closer to actually going home, Molly recovered quicker than anyone expected. She especially brightened when her friends from work began visiting. Sherlock carefully scrutinized the well-wishers from other St Bart's departments who paraded through Molly's room. She was a quiet woman, but she had friends practically on every floor.

Sherlock focused his keen skills of observation on Molly's physical needs. If she shifted too much in her bed, he got her an extra pillow. If she licked her lips often, he was on hand to give her water. If she was in pain, he tracked down a nurse and demanded she get medication. While Molly appreciated this new, thoughtful Sherlock, she preferred one that hovered a little less. She suggested more than once that he take a case and go back to work, but he insisted on staying with her as much as he could.

A few days before she was to be discharged, Molly and Sherlock took a turn around the solarium. Because she was still unsteady on her feet, she held on to his arm, but a few feet from her wheelchair, she surprised him by letting go.

"Molly—"

With a determined shake of her head, Molly slowly walked by herself. "I need to get used to doing this. There!" she exclaimed proudly, slowly lowering into the seat. "Dr. Rickman says I can go home soon."

"About that," Sherlock began. "You should plan on convalescing at Baker Street."

"Why?"

Sherlock drew a chair up next to hers. "So I can keep an eye on you. John said you couldn't be there unless the rooms are decontaminated, but Mrs. Hudson said she would give everything a good cleaning."

Thinking of Mrs. Hudson, Molly took a plastic bag of chocolate-chip cookies out of her robe pocket. Sherlock's landlady had baked them the day before for her. After Sherlock declined taking one, Molly nibbled on one thoughtfully.

"I appreciate asking me to stay at yours, but I want to go home. I haven't been home in a long time," she said. "You don't need to worry about watching me."

Sherlock was about to list all the reasons why he thought this was a bad idea when the door opened.

"Here you are!" Greg Lestrade exclaimed.

"Greg! Not another bouquet!" Molly laughed as she accepted the bright blooms.

"Yes, Greg, three is a bit much." Sherlock curled his lip.

"There's nothing wrong with giving a lady flowers, you git," he replied. "Especially when she was nice enough to forgive me."

"There's nothing to forgive you for."

"I found pictures of you in a murdered man's office, pictures that were obviously taken without your knowledge, and I didn't immediately follow up with you? I think you deserve more than an apology and a few daisies. I should've paid attention." Lestrade shifted uncomfortably.

Sherlock sneered. "Don't you have crimes to solve? You aren't as good at it as I am, but you are adequate."

"Sherlock," Molly chided him.

"I'm on my way in now." Greg tossed Sherlock a dirty look. "I wanted to see how Molly was doing today."

"I'm a little tired," she admitted.

"Your surprise visit isn't helping," Sherlock said pointedly.

"Right. Yeah, OK. I'll see you soon, Molly." Lestrade left without saying anything to Sherlock.

"You were rude to Greg," she said as Sherlock scrolled through his messages.

"Was I?" he murmured.

Reaching over, Molly took his chin in her hand and turned it until brown eyes met blue.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

Unable to escape those lovely doe-shaped eyes that seemed to see right through him, Sherlock flashed a fake smile. "Shouldn't we be getting back to your room?"

"Not until you answer me."

Sherlock sulked. "I don't like Lestrade forcing his unwanted attentions on you."

Molly watched him closely. "I've seen you jealous and this isn't it."

Sherlock knew he couldn't bluster his way out. "Lestrade said he should have paid more attention to you. The truth is, I should have. I was in my mind palace the day you were kidnapped and didn't notice you were gone. There, now you have it."

"I already knew," she said lightly.

Sherlock drew back in surprise. "How?"

"Mr. Tate from security visited yesterday."

Sherlock wheeled Molly back to her room. "What type of Cretan would tell you something like that?" he seethed.

Molly glanced back at him. "He said you weren't sure which day's security footage to look at. It just slipped out."

Helping her into bed, Sherlock's mind raced to what he would do to Tate, but he was brought back to himself by Molly's gentle hand on his arm.

"The kidnapping didn't happen because you weren't paying attention. It wasn't your fault."

"I am the world's best detective. I should have been more observant where you are concerned."

"You pay more attention to others now than you ever have."

Sherlock stared up at the ceiling. "I'm not a good person to be in a relationship with."

"But you're a great kisser." She was pleased to see a half-smile tug at the corner of Sherlock's mouth.

"Am I?"

"Why don't you remind me?"

A while later, Molly ran her fingers through his dark curls. "I'm going to rest now. Promise me you'll go home and find a new case to work on."

"I'd rather stay here," he sighed.

"If you go back to Baker Street now, we can pick up where we left off later."

"You two should get a room. A hotel room, that is." John snickered on the other side of the slightly opened door.

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "I think visiting hours are almost over."

"Then it's a good thing we got here in time!" John pushed the door all the way open. "I have a surprise for you, all the way from Auckland!"

Molly squealed as her good friend and John's girlfriend Sarah rushed into her arms.

"I was so worried about you. The minute John rang to say Sherlock had found you, I knew I couldn't stay away a second longer."

"I can't believe you're here! But what about the fellowship?"

Sarah looked over at John. "We talked about it and agreed there will be other fellowships. Right now I'm supposed to be here. I love you all too much to stay away. Yes, even you, Sherlock."

The detective breezed by the couple on his way out. "Good to see you again, Mary. Molly, I will be back shortly."

Looking from one friend to the other, Molly said, "Why would he call you Mary? When he forgets your name, he usually calls you Samantha or Susan or another 's' name."

John threw his head back and laughed. "He's trying. The chap is finally trying. I told him Sarah's full name is Sarah Louise Mary Morstan. He tried to remember this time. At least he's getting closer!"

Sarah slipped her hand in John's. "Molly, we have a lot of catching up to do, but I can tell you're tired. I'll let you rest."

Unable to fight her sleepiness, Molly yawned. "I'll just take a quick nap."

She was sound asleep before they left the room.

As John and Sarah strolled down the hall, he teased, "I suppose I'll have to start calling you Mary now."

She gave him a kiss. "I wouldn't mind."

~s~s~s~s~

The End

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