Wanted: Sherlock Holmes' Memories
“We’re constantly changing facts, rewriting history
to make things easier, to make them fit in with our preferred version of
events. We do it automatically. We invent memories. Without thinking. If we
tell ourselves something happened often enough we start to believe it, and then
we can actually remember it.”
― S.J. Watson, Before I Go To Sleep
Needless to say that while Sherlock Holmes slept well while holding his fiancée in his arms, sleep eluded aforementioned woman. It had not been so much the fact of being held in the arms of the man she loved, why she would not enter the land of dreams (which would have been enough of a reason under different circumstances), but what he had said before he gone to sleep.
It had brought to her attention – once again – that the situation was of a more delicate matter than she had initially thought. Yet it had made her more determined than ever to not give up. She had managed to keep the secret of Sherlock’s fall for two years.
Granted, she hoped that this would not take so long, but she had proved to the world – and to herself – that she was capable of way more than most people gave her credit for. So while the man beside her had shifted in his sleep – but never let her go – she had made a plan how to deal with her fiancé and the inevitable planning of a wedding that could not be.
For the following day Sherlock had asked the Watsons (yes, the new Sherlock had “asked” and not “told” them) to meet him and his fiancée in a café to talk about the planning of the wedding.
As you can imagine Molly dreaded the meeting, and that was why she had told Sherlock that she would meet with Mary a bit earlier so they could have a “chat between women.” The consulting detective had made a face and had been glad that it was not expected from him to listen to those conversations. Henceforth it had been agreed that the women would meet beforehand and the men would join them later.
As usual Molly was the first to be at the café,
because Mary was late. When she finally arrived she blamed it on the baby.
Molly waved it off and smiled inwardly, having expected just that.
When they both had some coffee and a scone in front of them on the table, Mary asked bluntly, “So, how is living with amnesia Sherlock?”
Molly sighed deeply and took a sip of her coffee, before she answered, “It’s... I don’t know... weird is probably the best term to describe it. Suddenly he knows all kinds of trivial stuff, like who Prince William is, or that Hamlet is a play and not a Danish dish.”
“Shakespeare would appreciate it,” Mary interjected.
Molly nodded and after a small pause went on, “Normal people are supposed to know things like that, but not Sherlock!”
Molly drew a frustrated hand over her face. “Do you know what I mean?”
Mary reached across the table and took her hand. “Oh Molly, I totally understand. I know it is hard for John, but you actually have to live with him, share his flat and...” Mary stopped in the middle of her sentence, realizing what she had been about to say.
Molly gave her a half smile. “You mean I have to share his bed.”
The blonde nodded. There was silence for a moment when both took a bite of their scones and were lost in their own thoughts to the soundtrack of other people talking and coffee being brewed.
“We didn’t have sex so far,” Molly suddenly blurted out.
Mary could not help but raise an eyebrow and repeated, “So far?”
Again the brunette sighed. “I know he expects me to sleep with him. I mean, we are engaged and it’s not 1900 anymore, and I don’t deny that I ...,” she hesitated not really knowing how she should phrase it.
“Want him?” Mary supplied.
Molly bushed and nodded, “... but it would be wrong. He is not himself. I feel like I’d take advantage of him, given his current state.”
Mary was well aware that this was a delicate matter and a muddled situation, but she could not help but giggle a bit. “Would you have ever thought to be in the situation where you could take advantage of Sherlock Holmes?”
Molly smiled over the rim of her cup. “The irony is not lost on me.”
Both took a sip of coffee.
“But from the way you are talking I figure you already have a plan how to... prevent intimacy with your fake-fiancé?”
“I’m well aware that I will have to act affectionate towards him...”
“Which won’t be a problem,” Mary interjected with a knowing smile and winked.
Molly chose to ignore her, “... and that he will kiss me and hold me, but I think I know how I can prevent that it’ll go any further than that.”
Mary gave her a long evaluating stare and Molly thought that sometimes Sherlock and his best friend’s wife were not so different after all.
Although Mary had been joking with Molly about her new living arrangements, she knew very well that it was not easy for the pathologist. She was still in love with Sherlock Holmes and from what her husband had told her, she had been infatuated with him for years.
Mary had always had mixed feeling about that. On the one hand she felt sorry for Molly, because she had seen how dismissive and cruel Sherlock could be towards her, on the other hand she admired Molly a bit for her devotion and her belief in Sherlock Holmes, for her trust in his heart.
Mary only hoped that the current situation would not break Molly Hooper. Mary was not sure if Molly could separate her real feelings for the consulting detective from the ones she was expected to show while playing his fiancée. Mary doubted it and that made her anxious. What would happen when (if?) Sherlock’s memories would return and he would go back to being his old self? Could Molly deal with it? Could Sherlock?
Molly started to feel uneasy under Mary’s scrutinizing gaze and decided to change the subject. She laid the wedding invitation on the table that Sherlock had shown her and said, “I guess you should fill me in, before the others come. I can’t believe you already had a wedding invitation ready. How did you know that we would need one?”
Mary only shrugged and regarded the invitation. It was a classic design – black writing on pearl white paper.
Sherlock Scott Holmes and Miss Molly Elizabeth Hooper
request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage
St. Mary’s Church, Sutton Mallet
Saturday 16th August
at 12 o’clock.
Followed by reception at
Off Abbotsbury Road
In Holland Park
London, W8 6LU
“I knew that Sherlock would ask about it sooner or later,” Mary said.
Molly pointed at the name of the place where the wedding should take place. “I know this is the same church where you married, but I did not know the other venue, so I looked it up and...” Molly shook her head.
Mary cocked her head to the side. “You don’t like it?” She was surprised. The blonde had been sure that Molly would love the place.
“No, it’s gorgeous!” Molly hastened to set it right. “It’s just... I hope you did not actually book that venue, did you? Because I can’t afford it.”
Mary smiled, “Oh Molly, you only marry once.”
“That’s not funny, Mary!” In spite of herself Molly smiled too.
Mary turned serious again, “I did book it, because imagine Sherlock calling them or going there to organize something for the reception and it turns out there’s no reservation for “Holmes”? I only had to pay a small deposit. The rest is to be paid afterwards. But since it won’t come to that and we are able to cancel without additional payment until one month prior to the date, we’ll be fine.”
“I don’t want you to pay the deposit!”
Mary assured her, “It’s already done. Please don’t worry about it. See it as us supporting you. We are all in this together.”
Molly was immensely grateful that she had friends like that. She laid a hand on Mary’s. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” The blonde gave her a warm smile and then fished a piece of paper out of her bag.
“This is the guest list,” Mary explained.
Molly had a look at who was presumably invited. There were of course the obvious ones like Mycroft, Lestrade and Mike Stamford, but also not so obvious ones like Molly’s aunt or Sherlock’s cousins and other distant relatives of whose existence Molly did not even known. She did not dare to ask where Mary had gotten this information.
“Janine and The Woman are on the “Special Guest”-list,” Mary joked.
“I was thinking about asking Janine to be my maid-of-honour,” Molly retorted.
Mary acted as if she actually contemplated it and then said, “Well, he has forgotten about her, hasn’t he? So I don’t see why not.”
They shared a laugh and then Molly became serious again. “I know we’ve never really talked about it, and somehow we all just assumed it, but... Is it okay for you to be my maid-of-honour?”
Mary found it endearing that her friend sounded so uncertain. “Of course, it is okay,” she reassured her. “It is more than okay! Although it is all fake, I feel honoured to be your maid-of-honour. One can say, I feel fake-honoured.”
They laughed again and Molly realized that laughing and joking about the absurdity of the situation made it easier to bare. A lot easier.
Mary went on to fill her in, “I have contacted all the people I know from the guest list and Mycroft took care of the Holmes family. You should talk to your relatives. And the rest... I am sure Sherlock has a plan.”
As if on cue the door to the café opened and in walked John and aforementioned man. The women rose to greet them (Sherlock kissed Molly on the cheek) and then all sat down – the men next to their respective woman.
“I see you’ve gone through the guest list,” Sherlock stated and pulled the piece of paper that had been lying on the table – next to the invitation – towards him.
He scanned the page.
He squinted and pointed towards one name. “All people are listed by their full names, why did you write “Lestrade”? Don’t you know that his first name is Greg?”
For a second all three stared at him. John cleared his throat but was saved by the waitress who took the orders of the two men.
Sherlock then asked some questions about his goddaughter (it was still odd for all of them witnessing Sherlock while making small talk) and after the beverages (tea for John and coffee for his best friend) had arrived, Sherlock pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, unfolded it and presented a To-do-list.
The other three leaned forward and read, while Sherlock spoke, “Since I am a bit... confused... at the moment, I would like an update on the wedding plans. I’d like to tick off what has already been organized, what not and who will take care of what.”
All nodded, but somehow had a bad feeling about this. Sherlock started to read the list out loud, “Church (incl. Priest), registrar, venue, invitations, catering, menu, cake, limousine, flowers, music, serviettes, suit, dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, best man speech, table decoration, sticker, wedding rings, appointment at hair dresser, place cards, photographer (Preferably not the one from John’s wedding, and who he might be unavailable due to a prison sentence.), stag night (I am not sure, if I want one...), hen night, bridal shower.”
After Sherlock was finished his friends fell silent. Suddenly all realized that planning a wedding that would never take place was probably even more work than planning a real one.
John cleared his throat and was the first to speak, “I guess we can cross out the first four items. We have a church, a registrar, a venue and invitations.”
Apart from Sherlock everyone was well aware that no one had ever talked to a registrar, and John made a mental note to talk with Mycroft about it.
Sherlock crossed out the first four items and then looked at his friends incredulously. “That’s all? We’ve not taken care of any of the other things so far?”
Mary tried to calm him down, “Sherlock, we still got enough time.”
He gave her a look. “Says the woman who freaked out because in her opinion the birds on the wedding invitation pointed in the wrong direction.”
Mary crossed her arms. Her husband tried to intervene. “Guys, let’s not get all worked up. As Mary has said, we still have enough time. I think it’s just that we have never really talked about who was responsible for what.”
Sherlock shook his head, “I’d say it’s rather obvious. Mary does the maid-of-honour stuff and you do the best man stuff.” Sherlock waved at John who looked flummoxed all of a sudden.
“I am you best man?” He could not help bust ask in disbelief.
The other three found themselves speechless. Only John’s wife reacted by kicking his shin under the table.
That brought him back to reality and he tried to cover up his mistake, “I mean, I know that I am you best man. It’s just that you have never asked me... officially... so I was not sure.” John was well aware that he was rambling and the second kick from his wife made him shut up.
Sherlock cocked his head to the side and regarded his best friend. “I did not know that there was an official way to ask such a thing of you. I was under the impression that it was clear that you being my best friend meant you would be my best man.”
John tried to play it down, “I don’t think there’s an official way. And...,” he hesitated a bit and glanced at Molly before he went on, “... and I feel honoured to be your best man.”
The two man looked at each other and one could see the deep understanding and friendship they shared for each other, even if none of them would voice it out loud.
Mary clapped her hands together. “Well then, Sherlock, tell us what to do.”
In the end Sherlock’s friends had tried to talk him out of involving himself in stuff like flower arrangements (“I don’t care about the flowers, as long as it’s not lily of the valley. That’s so trite.”) and table decoration. They wanted to leave him out of as much as possible. Not arranging it and giving him the impression that everything was arranged would be much easier that way.
With some stuff on the list this plan worked well (flowers, sticker, serviettes), with others not (cake, music). Sherlock made them promise to give him a weekly update on their tasks and to keep him informed of any changes in plan or when a problem was to arise (“Because we all know John is rubbish at organizing weddings.”). The new Sherlock was as systematic as the old one.
When the friends parted and the pairs went back to their respective homes, it was already quite late. As soon as Molly and Sherlock entered 221B he informed her that he would go straight to bed. T
he pathologist found that a bit peculiar, because Sherlock never slept much and never went to bed early. But she had decided some time ago that it was better not to question his behaviour too much. So she kissed him goodnight (well, he kissed her and she let it happen) and then settled onto the couch with Toby to read.
She stayed up extra-long and took her time in the bathroom and hoped that her fiancé would have fallen asleep by now. At first she thought she was lucky, but as soon as she had made herself comfortable on her side of the bed, she was pulled against Sherlock’s chest.
“I was afraid you would never show up,” he said, his voice as dark as the darkness
Molly went stiff while he began to kiss her neck. His arm snaked around her and pressed her closer against him. With shock she realized that he was not wearing a shirt.
She heard her blood rush in her ears, and she was positive Sherlock could feel her rapid pulse on her neck where he was kissing her. She had hoped to postpone this situation. She had hoped it would never come to this. Well, she had hoped it was would come to this one day, but definitely not like that. Not with a man who had no recollection of who he really was.
His mind had been stripped clean of his identity, because the old Sherlock would have never acted the way he did now. At least not with her, she thought. She knew what she needed to do, but it was everything but easy.
He made her turn around in his arms and let his hands travel over her arms, leaving goose bumps in their wake, up to her face. He caressed her cheek, and it took everything she had not to lean into his touch. It would have been so easy to give in and live out her fantasy. He brushed her hair out of her face. Her eyes were closed, because she did not dare to look into his.
She wanted to cry, because this felt like someone was playing an evil trick on her – a nightmare in the disguise of a dream come true. Her breathing was shallow, quivering intakes of air combining in the space between them.
“Molly?” With the way he said her name it took every fibre of her being to conjure up enough will power to not forget what she needed to do. She needed to stop this. If she would let this go any further she would hate herself afterwards, and he would come to hate her the moment he would get his memories back.
“Molly, look at me,” he ordered softly, and when she finally obeyed and looked into his eyes in the dimly lit room, she saw something new in them that she didn’t recognize. Something that looked very dangerous. That made her finally snap out of her sensory overload and she blurted out, “We can’t have sex.”
The words fell oddly on the dusty stillness of the room. Sherlock pulled back a bit and let go of her, his face crestfallen.
Molly swallowed hard and moved backwards to put some distance between them. Slowly she sat up against the headboard and pulled the sheet up to her chest. Somehow she felt naked, although she was still fully dressed. He was looking at her, waiting for an explanation while sitting up himself.
“Sherlock, I am sorry, but we can’t have sex.”
He cleared his throat. “You’ve already said that.” He did not need to add, “But I’d like to know why.” The way he said it implied it. So Molly answered his unspoken question, “We agreed not to have sex before the wedding.”
He opened his mouth to reply, but then closed it again. He stared at her, and Molly did her best not to look away. She knew she needed stand her ground and not back up. Otherwise he would know she was lying.
He blinked three times. “Are you sure?”
Molly knew it was foul play and more than a bit not good, but she tried to sound as hurt as possible when she accused him, “You think I’m lying?”
Sherlock held up a hand. “No! I...” he faltered and Molly saw a look of confusion cross his face and ached for him. “I just can’t remember that we agreed on that.”
He drew a hand through his curls and then leaned his head back against the headboard, obviously searching his mind palace for the room where he had stored that piece of information, but not being able to find it.
“But we did,” Molly lied and was shocked how sincere she sounded even to her own ears. “We agreed that we wanted it to be special and so we agreed to wait.”
He turned his head slowly to look at her and gave her a sad smile. “That sounds like something you would want.” He reached for her and pulled her into an embrace. She followed willingly, needing some comfort, even if she felt like she didn’t deserve it, especially not from him.
“So, it’s okay?” she asked in a small voice, staring at his chest.
“Of course. I respect your wish. And if you say we’ve already agreed on it... Who am I to argue?”
She bit her lip in order to keep herself from crying and snuggled a bit closer to him. She was glad he could not see her face. He kissed the top of her head and said, “So just to clarify it once and for all: I know you would not lie to me. I trust you completely.”
Molly pressed her eyes shut at Sherlock’s words. Never before had she loathed herself so much as in this moment. But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.