have an annoying habit of remembering things they shouldn't.”
― Christopher Paolini, Eragon
Falling asleep and waking up next to Sherlock Holmes had become routine to Molly Hooper, as had listening to him composing (he only worked on the waltz for their wedding when she was not at home, because he wanted it to be a surprise) and lecturing him about the separation of food and experiments in the fridge.
While still thinking about the Rucastle case, Sherlock solved minor cases in between. Since his change he was more willing to take up cases below a 5, because he wanted to help people. For most of the easy cases (lost cat, fraud, stolen necklace) he didn’t even need to leave the flat. Suddenly most of the problems people approached him with were not beneath his contempt anymore; apart from the lost daddy case from Mycroft probably. Molly had the suspicion that it was some kind of brotherly rivalry that she did not understand.
One morning Sherlock had told her that she needn’t go into the bathroom to change on his account. She had to keep herself from relying something along the lines of, “But on my account!” or “Believe me, I do!”
In short, on some days playing house with Sherlock Holmes was not bad at all and Molly’s mind almost made her believe that it had always been like this, or that it would always be like that. But then her fiancé would say or do something nice and thoughtful and the pathologist was reminded that it was an impossible world she was living in that was just wrong.
Henceforth the friends of the consulting detective were determined to continue with their memory play The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The next re-enactment was supposed to be the scene in which the main antagonist had been introduced in person. Well, at the time no one had known that he was the bad guy, but every fairy tale needed a good old-fashioned villain, and so did every good drama. And this villain had turned out to be the mastermind of bad guys.
There had been doubts and discrepancies between the friends if and when to bring Moriarty up.
They were still not sure what exactly Sherlock remembered from his encounters with his nemesis, which meant that there was a certain possibility that re-enacting the first meeting with Moriarty would confuse the consulting detective only further and not help his condition. Especially Molly was very reluctant about the idea. Not only because she still got chills when she thought about the fact that her former... date... had been a consulting criminal (she could see a pattern concerning the word “consulting” in her choice in men), but also because she thought they did not have enough data yet. She wanted to wait and find out more about Sherlock’s version before they would bring Jim from I.T. onto the stage.
Nevertheless his friends agreed that Moriarty had played an important part in Sherlock’s life and also in the relationship of the consulting detective and his pathologist. It had altered the dynamics of their relationship.
John had been spurred on by the outcome of their last re-enactment and told them that Sherlock had behaved more and more normal while working on the Rucastle case. Additionally he pointed out that Sherlock was about to do some lab work, finding out what he had collected from the footprint at the Rucastle mansion. The initial situation was almost like it had been back then. So finally the former army doctor had convinced Molly to give it a try.
The tricky thing about this scene was that not only John and Molly were involved, but also a third party. They needed a supporting actor who would later become the main antagonist. For obvious reasons they could not ask Moriarty for help – even if he still had been alive it was very doubtful that he would have helped, although this was all a great game and if there had been one person (apart from Sherlock Holmes) that loved to play, it had been James Moriarty.
It was out of the question that Mary played the part of Jim from I.T. (although at some point in the past she had had the potential to become a villain) or any other acquaintance of Sherlock.
Subsequently they were in need of help. And they found it in the person of George Wessells, a befriended actor of Mary’s. He would play the role of Jim from I.T. – although they had decided to change the character’s name to Tim in this play. They explained the situation, gave him some lines and direction, let him know about the motivations of his character (as far as they knew about them) and then the curtain rose for the last scene of act one:
Sherlock Holmes (still in his mid-thirties and still suffering from retrograde amnesia) sat at the microscope in the lab at St Bartholomew’s. Some trainers (props provided by the courtesy of the evidence room of New Scotland Yard) were placed on the far side of the table where Sherlock was working. John Watson (mid-thirties, former army doctor, producer) was leaning against a counter, doing some research. The computer beeped and showed a result. Sherlock looked at the screen. The door opened and in walked Molly Hooper (still pathologist and producer) and asked the man at the microscope, “Any luck?”
“Oh yes!” Sherlock answered, but did not seem to be as enthusiastic as John had hoped.
Molly went over to look at what Sherlock had found out when the door opened again and in walked a man (enter Jim –Tim- from I.T., alias James Moriarty) in his thirties with dark hair, wearing slacks and a t-shirt, his underwear visible above the waistline (a very particular brand), tinted eyelashes and taurine cream around the frown lines. He stopped at the door and delivered his first line apologetically, just like he was supposed to, “Oh sorry, I didn’t...”
Molly hastened to keep him from leaving again, “Tim! Hi! Come in! Come in!”
Sherlock did not acknowledge the presence of the other man in the room, but looked back into the microscope, clearly frustrated with the result that was showing on the screen.
Slowly John made his way over to them and gave Molly a silent nod to move on according to their script.
The woman cleared her throat and then introduced the man at the table, “Tim, this is Sherlock Holmes.”
“Ah,” Tim said delighted.
Molly then turned towards John, but he introduced himself, “John Watson. Hi.”
Tim responded in kind.
An awkward silence followed.
Sherlock still looked from the microscope to the
computer screen and back and muttered something under his breath, not paying
attention to the scene that was playing out before him – for him.
So Tim went on, “So you’re Sherlock Holmes. Molly’s told me all about you. You on one of your cases?” He slowly made his way to where the consulting detective was sitting.
“Tim works in I.T. upstairs,” Molly explained, “That’s how we met.” Of course she left out the bit about the “office romance.” That would not have made sense given the circumstance, and would have definitely lead to complications.
But as it turned out, it did not even need that sentence to evoke complications. They had already done enough, for suddenly Sherlock went totally rigid in his chair. The other three did not realize it, but they all held their breath.
Slowly Sherlock turned his head, and when his eyes met theirs, all they could see in them was anger and hurt.
“Are you trying to make fun of me?!” He asked his voice as hard as glass and his jaw set in a tense line.
Molly swallowed hard, but John tried to act confused, “Why?”
This had not been the right way to react, because Sherlock shot up from his seat and exclaimed, “Tim from I.T.!?” The coldness in his eyes matched the one in his tone.
He gestured wildly towards the man, who had no idea what was going on and wanted nothing more than to become invisible at the moment.
Molly was so startled by Sherlock’s sudden outburst that she did not know what to do. She felt panic rising within her and looked at John for help. The former army doctor was about as clueless as she, now that they had detoured from the script. But he tried to save the situation, “Sherlock, calm down. We were just... Why won’t you tell us what you have found?” He indicated towards the computer screen, desperately hoping that bringing his mind back onto the case would help. Of course it did not.
Sherlock stared at first at his former flatmate, as if he could not believe what had just come out of his mouth and then at his fiancée. The look he gave her was more of hurt and disappointment than of fury, and she felt something inside her break. He wordlessly turned around, took his coat and scarf from the seat, strode past them and left without so much as a second glance (exit Sherlock Holmes).
No “bravos” or “encores” were heard at the end of the first act – just awkward silence while the curtain fell.