"Well done?! Sherlock! I..."
"Calm down. What's your problem? You are just helping me putting an end to the threat of that woman, plus, you are familiar with murders and used to seeing murder victims, so what's upsetting you?"
"But I'm not used to hiring murderers and I don't want to see you on my slab!" she sobbed with a shrill voice. "Not your murderer..." she added more quietly.
"Look, Molly," Sherlock tried to get through to her, his hands resting comfortingly on her shoulder, "look at me, Molly." The weight on her left shoulder was taken away and she felt his hand under her chin, lifting it so that she had to look him in the face. She locked eyes with him, her vision slightly blurred by the tears. Very sincerely, Sherlock spoke to her, his pupils dilated, the rim of the iris around them golden like the corona at a total solar eclipse, and the pathologist wondered distantly if it was pain, sentiment or even drugs that made them look like that.
"What you are doing here for me is essential. You are actually saving my life, not wasting or selling it. As long as nobody puts an end to this woman, she will continue hunting down our family and me, and more people will suffer. She will be my murderer if we don't manage to stop her. Do you hear that, Molly? You are saving my life! I need you."
I need you. In her current state of shock, Molly hadn't understood everything Sherlock had said, but those three words had found their way into her mind - and heart.
She snivelled and lowered her gaze. "I need... a tissue," she croaked.
Sherlock snickered. "That's good." Handing her the wanted object, he again looked at her attentively. "Will you manage, Molly? It will be dangerous if you break down like that in the presence of Mrs Campbell."
Blowing her nose in an un-lady-like manner, Molly nodded. "I'm ok. Just nerves," she replied nasally from under the tissue.
"Yes, nerves. But you need to keep control over yourself. Will you manage?" Sherlock probed.
"Yes. Yes, I will. Don't worry."
Sherlock's eyebrows shot up. "Admittedly, you've just given me a strong incentive to actually worry. - Anyway, I trust you and rely on you. You'd better take a little nap so that you're fit for your appointment."
Frowning, Molly objected that Sherlock didn't know anything about the where and when, but with a secretive smile he informed her that he knew everything he needed and the pathologist didn't even wonder how. He must have been watching her, but Molly hadn't noticed him in the breakfast room. As he wouldn't tell her anyway, she had to be content with the fact that at least she wasn't all alone while pretending to be the rich Molly Hooper.
"Sherlock? - What am I going to tell Mycroft? You know, he has put some pressure on me and I have to report to him occasionally about you."
"Oh, don't worry. All this will be over in less than a day and then you may tell him whatever pleases you - or him, that is."
"Why, by the way, do you drug him to get the information instead of working with him? I really don't understand that bit. Why do you put yourself in danger if he could just go and arrest her?"
"It's not as easy as you think, Molly. First, there is no proof so far that said Mrs Campbell is in fact pulling the strings. She's clever - not as clever as I had thought, though, since she is very quick at offering you her special service. Second, she's not working alone. If Mycroft had firm proof, he would have taken her into custody already."
"But... that doesn't explain why you don't involve him. Why, Sherlock?"
The dark-haired man didn't respond.
"And will you be able to sleep again then?" Molly asked quietly.
Sherlock had taken a seat in one of the armchairs by the desk, scrolling through something on his phone while they were talking. Now he put his mobile down and turned around to face Molly.
"What do you mean?"
"Um,... I mean... the nightmares and all that. Your mind palace..."
The detective slightly bent his head, furrowing his brow. Molly was already preparing for a sharp rejection, but Sherlock lowered his eyes, watching his hands with sudden interest. After endless seconds he replied in his quiet dark baritone.
"Yes, Molly, I think I will be able to sleep again. I have been restoring my mind palace for weeks now. All the times I might have appeared a little absent, I have actually worked on that. This, however,..."
He paused, seemingly thinking over what he wanted to say - or if at all he wanted to say something. Molly was still standing, not daring to move even an inch.
Sherlock looked again at her and there was something in his eyes that she had rarely seen. The sleuth inhaled deeply and continued his sentence.
"This, however, has become a matter of the heart for me. This is revenge for the peace of mind. My mind, Molly. That's why I don't involve my brother in the first place. Satisfied?"
The pathologist's jaw dropped and her eyes became wide when the words of the World's only Consulting Detective struck like bullets. She was unable to say anything. Sherlock being driven by vengeance, by base motives was so odd that she could hardly believe it. However, by what she had become aware of about his abduction and torture as a child, she could understand him.
"It's...ok," was all she could utter.
Sherlock had still set his gaze on her and she felt as if she could see
straight into his heart, feeling the agony and the hatred. So this was
Sherlock, the human. Molly realized that she had to be one of very few
people who knew anything about this side of his and she wouldn't let him