Copper Beaches

A beautiful Mind

“Remember tonight... for it is the beginning of always”
― Dante Alighieri

Life was no fairy-tale, and no romance either. Maybe it was a coming-of-age-story – you started out young and innocent with a hunger for knowledge and life, you made mistakes, fell in love, got your heart broken, were confronted with death and learned something about the world and yourself, but in the end you did neither get all the answers to your questions nor the solutions to all your problems, as you had so naively believed you would at the beginning of your journey. So you were left behind with the feeling that you had not only gained, but also lost something. And it was up to you to decide which outweighed the other.

For some chapters, Molly Hooper had been an important character in the book of Sherlock Holmes – maybe even a protagonist (she did not dare to think in terms of “love interest”, although it would have been appropriate), but now she was not a vital part of Sherlock’s story anymore. Maybe one day, if he could ever forgive her for what she had done and trust her again, there was a slight chance that she could become the occasional side note she had been at the beginning of their acquaintance.

But Molly Hooper did not know if this would ever happen. She was trapped in that horrible phase called moment of final suspense, and she wished she could skip some pages and get a glimpse of the ending. Just so she would know what was in store for her, and she could prepare herself for it. But of course in real life there was no skipping pages (or even chapters), no spoiler and no scanning the last page to assure oneself that everything would turn out alright in the end. Molly Hooper was bound to live through every line, word and letter in her story, with all the exclamation and question marks it contained, in the hope that it would end with a satisfying full stop and not with dot, dot, dot.

After John had come back from his (not touristy) visit of Big Ben, he had informed them that Sherlock was (relatively) fine, considering the circumstances. Molly had taken Toby and left 221B Baker Street the same night. She had not been able to endure sleeping in his bed.

The next day, John and Lestrade had gone to Baker Street to get most of her stuff and had brought it back to her flat. Then John had gotten a text from his best friend telling him, that he would be “out of town for an unknown amount of time” and that they were not to contact him. One can imagine that no one had been happy about that turn of events, but no one had been really surprised either. They had expected Sherlock to act closed off. They had even been rather surprised that he had bothered to text at all.

Mary had taken care of all the wedding planning, or wedding cancelling as it was now. And Molly was glad about that, because she had been in no shape to do it herself. (Mary’s favourite reaction was that of the confectioner, “Better break it off before the wedding. Divorces are awfully expensive.” Mary had the suspicion the he was talking from experience.)

When it had been clear that Sherlock had disappeared from the scene for the time being, Molly had brought up all her courage and had gone back to 221B one evening. She had left the sapphire earrings Sherlock had given her at Christmas on the coffee table. She had thought about leaving a note, but in the end had refrained from it. She had not known what to write. She was not good with words – neither when spoken nor written.

She had kept the engagement ring though. She had not worn it anymore, of course. Instead she had kept it safely in its velvet box and had carried it with her in her bag ever since. She wanted to give back the ring to him in person. It would have felt cowardly and cheap to just leave it on the coffee table. With the earrings it had been somewhat different, they had been something borrowed after all – blue, old and borrowed. Just like the engagement ring and their time together – everything had just been borrowed.

After leaving Baker Street for good (or so she thought), she had dove into work and tried to busy herself. She had hoped that it would take her mind off the mess her life had become and help her get back on track.

And then one night, when thinking of him even while reading something that was in no way related to Sherlock Holmes (Practical Handbook of Bee Culture), she had known there was no way to forget about him, as long as she stayed in London. She needed to get away.

The next morning she had brought Toby to Meena (he had complained of course, but Meena had brought him round with some tuna), had cleared things with Mike Stamford, texted the Watsons and then had left. He had gone away. Without a word. Without a call. Without texting her. She did the same.

While on the plane – thousands of metres above the ground – she had contemplated that in the English language falling out of love was even crueller than, for instance in German: In German one fell off Cloud Number 7, in English it was Cloud Number 9. And being a doctor she knew that two storeys could make a big difference when hitting the ground.

She had cried. A lot. She had felt sorry for herself and for him. She was mourning him. A person that had never existed. Someone she didn’t even want to be with. She had fallen for an ADD sociopath, and her fiancé had not been Sherlock Holmes, but some person who had looked and sounded like him and on occasion even had behaved like him. But he had not been the Sherlock Holmes she had fallen in love with. The man who made everyone else seem so ordinary.

She had a hard time getting the image out of her mind when he had left – looking at her as if she had committed some felony. Probably because she felt he was somehow right. All this time she had felt as if she had been betraying him. The man who trusted her. No, she had to correct herself: The man who had trusted her.

She had always known that there would be no more Sherlock and Molly after his memory was restored. Yet still it hurt. In a twisted way she had had what she had always dreamed of, but it had been wrong. And she had known that from the beginning. It had felt wrong. Nevertheless she missed him, their relationship: William and Molly – “normal to the point of being boring.”
Although it had not been boring at all. Not for one second.

She understood why Sherlock had fled, why he had gone away. Change didn’t come easy with Sherlock Holmes, and the changes he had undergone were dramatic. Still so many questions that only he could answer tormented her: Did he regret being nice, being engaged to her? Did he feel embarrassed for showing emotions? Was he angry? Confused? Did he hate them? Would he turn away from her? Would she ever see him again? Could he ever forgive her – could he forgive himself for being human, vulnerable? All those questions (and many more of a similar kind) kept sleep (the elusive bastard!) away at night.

She was glad he had never told her that he loved her. In a film or book “I love you” meant something. It had some sense of finality to it. One knew that two characters would stay together forever (at least for the length of 90 film-minutes, or 350 book-pages), because of those three little words. But in reality people said it all the time and still broke up and got divorced. Maybe it did not matter that he had never told her? If he had, it would have been just another lie. One of his confabulations. She could not help but wonder if anything he had said and done had been real. If he had acted the way he had, because somewhere deep down he felt something for her? He had let himself give over to the forbidden sensation, because he had forgotten all the reasons why he had to hide it. It was wishful thinking on her part, she knew, yet still…

Tears were not getting her anywhere, and neither did wishful thinking nor “what if”- phantasies. This needed to end.

Molly Hooper hated loose ties. In her opinion the term “open end” was contradictory. It was not supposed to be. That was why she refused to believe that her life belonged to the genre of a coming-of-age-story. She would get her full stop in the end. She would fight for it. The problem was just that the other person she needed for an ending had left their story. Sherlock Holmes probably wanted a story of his own. A mystery novel without any romantic subplot. Straightforward – without complication – but there was no such thing – whether in storytelling nor in life. Who wanted to read a story without ups and downs, trials and tribulations?

Maybe it was masochistic, but she needed to do it. She knew it was stupid. She knew it was sentimental, but she needed closure. Only then could she let the hurt go. Eventually.

Art imitated life – or was it the other way round? She sometimes wondered. Henceforth she figured since the person she needed for her own ending had vanished from the page, maybe witnessing someone else’s story would bring her closure.

Words could be rewritten, but not taken back. Actions could be justified, but not made undone. She needed to see that a happy ending was possible, even if it may not have been in store for her.

That’s why she was here, on the other side of the world: Copper Beaches, St. Andrew’s, Victoria. The place where Sherlock had wanted to spend their honeymoon. Because they both had read the file: P.M., CB, St. Andrew’s, Victoria – Peter Munro, Copper Beaches, St. Andrew’s, Victoria. And it hadn’t let her go.

Then Sherlock had told her that it was all linked: Peter Munro hat gone to the Rucastles to meet his biological father. Molly guessed that the young man surely had pictured the reunion rather differently. But despite all the dark aspects of this story (death, loss, pain, uncertainty, abduction, fear) there had been a shimmer of light: Peter Munro had found love in the person of Roger Fowler. And through the kindness and courage of Sarah Marshall they had been able to turn the tragedy into a melodrama.

Molly knew that there was only one place the lovers would go: home. And there they stood; hand in hand between yellow sand and green grass at Copper Beaches, looking over the sea where the horizon seemed to verge into the water, both being blue with white speckles – either clouds or spray.

The breeze messed with Molly’s hair, but the faint smile remained on her lips as she watched the happy couple walk away together. Yes, it was a cliché, yes, it was cheesy, but it was exactly what she had needed. And although it did not change the fact that she would probably wander through the rest of her storybook alone, it made her heart lighter to see someone else had been able to end on a happy note. She brushed the hair out of her face and sighed. It felt like she had reached the end of a chapter, and now she was determined to make the best of the next.

Just as she started to contemplate what to do now – for she had only planned so far – a deep voice behind her made her jump, “I didn’t know you to be a stalker.”

Her heart skipped a beat (or two). She hated it when he snuck up on her like that. And not for the first time she considered putting a bell around his neck.

Before she could utter a word, he went on, “But I know you are a hopeless romantic. So I guess that’s why you are here.” It wasn’t insulting. He was simply being matter-of-fact.

Slowly she turned to face the consulting detective. He was not looking at her, but stared after Peter Munro and his boyfriend like she had done until a moment ago.

“You are neither a stalker nor a romantic,” she said.

“No.” He did not turn to look at her, and his voice and stance were aloof.

But Molly knew that Sherlock was not as calm as he appeared to be. He was belied by a slight twitching of his jaw.

Suddenly she was not sure if she was glad that he was here. Sure, she longed for closure, but he would take away what they had had. She knew it had not been real, that it had been a lie. Yet still there had been moments when she could have made herself believe it was. When she had imagined how it would be to be with him. He had been hers for a short amount of time. And all of a sudden she realized that she was not ready to let it go; to let him go. She didn’t want him to play down what had happened, to deny it. She didn’t want him to destroy the happy memories she had of their time together. She wanted to treasure those. At Christmas she had wished for his memories to return. Be careful what you wish for...

He did neither move nor say anything. He just kept his eyes on the couple that slowly became smaller as they diverged from them more and more. Soon they would become tiny figures on the horizon.

He let her look at him, or maybe he did not even notice her staring.
He looked slightly out of place in this context: sea, beach, sun and sand. His hair was tousled from the wind and his white dress shirt was a bit more unbuttoned than usual (by one button to be precise). Still he looked a bit overdressed. But what had Molly expected? Sherlock Holmes wearing an Aloha shirt?

His right cheek was slightly swollen, and his eyelid had the light shimmer of purple and yellow. It looked like he had gotten into a fight.

Molly could not stand his silence any longer.

”You are not surprised to see me,” she stated.

”I told you, I would have done the same,” he answered, referring to the conversation they had had about her reading the Top Secret-file.

She thought about his statement for a moment, then she said, “But you’ve already known that they had fled to Copper Beaches.”

He shrugged, his eyes still not taking off the scenery. ”Balance of probability. Still, it was just a theory, but I needed proof. You’re someone who needs proof as well. And you are someone who craves for closure.”

Molly could hardly argue with that.

“So, you’re here in your role as consulting detective,” she tried to lighten the mood a bit, but the sentence sounded a bit awkward, and the nervousness she was feeling was obvious in her voice. She tried to smile but failed miserably.

Only now did he turn to look at her, and Molly could not help but think that his eyes and the sea in the background were of the same colour.

“And I am to assume, you are here in your role as consulting pathologist?”
The corners of his mouth quirked up. Hers did the same and for an instant her heart felt a bit lighter.

But the moment was short lived, because his face became a guarded mask once more and Molly felt her heart getting even heavier under his intense gaze.

He had spent hours – no days – in his mind palace, trying to figure out what had happened. What had possessed him to become William Holmes – this civil, caring, boring man? He had tried to analyse his situation and had come to the realization that it was indeed not his, but their situation, because it was the state of his relationship with his friends and Molly Hooper that was in question.

Naturally the thought had crossed his mind that his subconscious had been playing an evil trick on him and that deep down he had some kind of … repressed feelings… for the petite pathologist, and the blow to his head had opened the door to a room that had been labelled “Forbidden: Human Error”. And naturally the moment he had considered that, he had wanted to dismiss it. After all, he was Sherlock Holmes: master of deduction and detachment. Yet how detached had he been when Molly had been abducted? When he had seen her in that blue dress? When the filthy bastard Mr Rucastle had ogled her? He had to admit that he had had … peculiar… thoughts about his pathologist even before he had been hit over the head. But he had not considered acting upon them. Why complicate things? And what had it been good for? He doubted that things could get even more complicated.

He had gone through every moment he had spent with Molly since he had woken up in hospital as William Holmes. She had deceived him, lied to him, betrayed his trust, but she had tried to keep the damage as limited possible. He had to give her some credit for that. She had let him kiss her and hold her but could keep things from escalating. She had not taken advantage of the situation. And he knew for a fact that Molly had always wanted to be intimate with him.

Now all her peculiar behaviour made sense. Why she had been so closed off, distant, never initiating physical contact, reluctant to talk about the wedding, uncomfortable when he acted affectionate towards her. What had happened had been collateral damage.

He had been angry with her, of course, but he also understood why she had done it. Although he hadn’t wanted to believe it at first, but he had to admit – after days of thinking – that John had told him the truth: They had acted only in his best interest.

After he had told John that he understood, his best friend had asked him what he intended to do in case of Molly, and he had replied, “Nothing. Why?”

John’s answer had been “You bloody [insert swearword here]!” and a punch in the face.

Sherlock had realized that his blogger probably had a point (a powerful left and obviously a bad day) and a few more hours (days) in his mind palace were in order.

Sentiment was a disadvantage – especially when trusting the wrong person. He had learnt that the hard way. The one time (since his addictive years) he had felt ... something... he had been betrayed. That’s why he had kept her camera phone – as a reminder of what could happen if he fell into the trap of sentiment. But now her phone was gone, and he could not find it in himself to really care. He may not have been in his right mind when he had said it, but it had been the truth: Why hold onto the past?

But Sherlock had seen the need to revisit the past in order to figure out what he wanted to do. The consulting detective had revised his time being engaged to Molly again. He had never believed in the concept of mind, body (only transport) and soul (still lacked proof of its existence) being in accord. But if he did believe that there was something like a soul, he was tempted to say that Molly Hooper was a good soul. How else could she have been able to show the restraint she had? How else could she keep up with his rather... challenging personality? It was kindness what he had mistaken for weakness when he had first met Molly Hooper.

His mind had set different priorities while being William. That was why the rooms in his mind palace had swapped places (And why was there a room labelled “Greg”?). But how did he ... think ... feel ... about it now that he saw life in the right perspective again? Was there room for a good soul like Molly Hooper?

He had gone through his memories of sharing his thoughts, his flat, his life with her; talking about post mortems, cakes and cases. They had even started an experiment and writing a paper together (Molly had commented that it felt like being Pierre and Marie Curie). It had not been boring. He had almost been tempted to say it had been... interesting. But he had been a different person then, hadn’t he? Was William Holmes really part of his personality, like John believed he was? Was he even able to separate those two anymore? Had he been infected by his alias? Had the thinking pattern of William infiltrated his mind? Was he able to delete all those shameful memories? Did he even want to?

In the end he had come to a conclusion and had set out to the place he knew a hopeless romantic like her would go to.

“You lied to me.” His eyes were burning with reproach, his face and voice devoid of any emotion.

The pathologist swallowed and bowed her head, watching as her bare feet shuffled in the warm sand, although she did not feel its warmth. She felt rather cold inside. Molly couldn’t be bothered to contradict the truth of this assertion.

“We...,” she began to justify their actions, but stopped. He knew why they had done it. John had probably explained it to him a hundred times. How they had thought it was for the best, how they had followed doctor’s order,... Sherlock didn’t want or need any more justification. It didn’t make it any better, or less hurtful.

She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment to gather her thoughts. She was surprised that he gave her the time, although she felt his eyes watching her every move, interpreting her behaviour, trying to catch her at yet another lie.

Finally she found the courage to lift her head and look him in the eyes.
“I am sorry,” she told him, all solemnity and she hoped he could see the sincerity of her statement in her face.

His gaze was evaluating at first, and then there was something that she couldn’t name, and he only nodded and turned back to look at the scenery. Molly was sure he did not really descry any of the beautiful nature surrounding them, for he wore a faraway look on his face.

Again she waited for him to say something – scream at her, insult her, deduce her, accuse her – but again he remained silent. This untypical behaviour made her even more anxious.

Molly pointed a finger to his swollen cheek and asked shyly, “What happened to your face?“

“John and I had a little disagreement.“

Molly nodded. She remembered how riled up John had been after he had talked to Sherlock behind the clock-face of Big Ben. She figured their first encounter after that had not been less emotional.

“Looks like somebody still cares about you,” she stated.

Sherlock turned to look at her and raised an eyebrow in question.

She indicated to his face once again and explained, “Because he spared your nose.”

Now it was his turn to nod, then he cocked his head to the side and asked, “What about you?”

“What about me?”

“Would you still spare my nose?”

The question ran so much deeper than the trivial issue they were ostensibly talking about.

Molly felt raw under his gaze and quite a bit sick from all the nerves, but she had promised herself not to lie to him anymore, so she replied in a low voice, “You know I would.”

Sherlock shook his head and scoffed, “You are a foolish woman.”

The pathologist crossed her arms in front of her to provide herself with a means of emotional protection, although she knew that it was way too late for that.

“And you are a cold and calculating man,” she retaliated with as much hardness in her voice as she could muster.

“And yet when I was nice and caring you broke up with me,” he said coldly.

Part of her longed to contradict him, but part of her knew he was right, so she bowed her head again defeated and stayed silent.

“It is better not to love me.” He sounded almost wistful.

Molly sighed and told the sand between her toes, “It’s my curse, remember?”

When he didn’t say anything, she raised her head. He looked at her, as if desperately trying to decipher her words, her thoughts – trying to make sense of her. A puzzle he had trouble solving.

“I was so angry with you, with myself for...,” his voice trailed off.

“I know,” she said in a low tone and couldn’t help the spark of hope that was ignited when she realized he had used the past tense – “was so angry”, not “I am so angry.”

She felt like they were only talking in half sentences – leaving out the most important part, not daring to voice out loud what they were thinking or feeling.

She wanted to be angry with him for leaving her behind, for accusing her of being a liar, although he had made her one, but she couldn’t find it in her. Maybe because she was so exhausted, or maybe because she understood him. None of this was his fault, or her fault, for that matter. The situation had just been so screwed up – a lose-lose situation, so to say.

Anyway, she needed to confront him with it. She knew she needed to be the one to start to talk about everything they were not saying – about this ocean of unspoken meaning between them.

“Why did you just run away?”

She saw something akin to rage blaze in his eyes, and he sounded petulant “Do you have any idea how I... felt?! I lost me twice!”

His statement stunned her into silence. It had been a rhetorical question. Of course she had no idea. She did not dare to imagine how daunting it must have been for someone like Sherlock (for whom his mind was the most important thing) to not only find out that he had lost part of his memory, but also to come to terms with the fact that he had been a different person all together and now had to live with it.

The fire in Sherlock’s eyes extinguished, and he looked past her face at an invisible spot behind her.
“I hadn’t planned on telling you any of this,” he admitted.

Molly whole-heartedly believed him. Sherlock had always been a man of reticence. For him, sharing his thoughts (apart from showing off by deducing someone) came close to being a weakness. So naturally she wasn’t sure what to say to his admission. Their silence made the sound of the sea and the occasional mew of seagulls seem even louder.

When Molly remained silent, Sherlock scratched his neck and went on, “I’ve never found myself in this position before. It’s difficult for me to find the right words.” He sounded lost and confused - so much like amnesia-Sherlock that Molly wanted to cry.

“It’s not so much about words, Sherlock,” she tried to assure him, letting him know that she appreciated him trying to bring his point across, to still trust her enough to let her in.

A tear betrayed her command and slipped down her cheek. Sherlock’s gaze snapped towards it and without thinking about it he reached forward and brushed the salty droplet away with his thumb. The intimacy of his act startled them both. For a moment both looked stricken, and Sherlock’s hand hovered uncertain in mid-air in front of her face.

As if on its own accord Molly’s mouth opened and she pleaded, “Please, don’t take away what we had.”

Her directness caught him off-guard, and it made him come out of his stupor. He let his hand fall useless to his side and again he averted his gaze.

Molly could see that his thoughts were racing, that he was trying to process what was happening. It was all a bit much for him, and the pathologist was afraid that her over-sentimental plead had ruined whatever small chance there had been. Maybe that had been too much truth for him to handle? But she was fed up with pretending and hiding, because that was what had brought them here in the first place. And if her being honest was what would drive him away from her, so be it. No more pretence.

So she gathered up all her courage and asked the question that plagued her since she had last seen him, “Do you regret it?”

She didn’t need to specify what she meant.

His face was impassive, and it felt like an eternity until he answered, “No.”

She knew it was far from a declaration of love, yet still she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She could not help but breathe a sigh of relief.

Sherlock regarded her with open interest for a moment, and then he stated, “I’m afraid it is not in my nature to show affection. Even when I feel it.”

His voice was hollow, yet his eyes were anything but. There was frustration, confusion and a bit of sorrow.

Molly knew he allowed her to see it, for he did nothing to hide it, and the pathologist knew that he was capable of doing so if he wanted to.

She regarded him closely and cocked her head to the side when she contradicted him in a gentle voice, “I don’t think that’s true.”

His eyes became small slits as he seemed to contemplate her response.
“You are quite sure about that,” he declared.

Molly could not say anything, but graced him with an assuring smile instead. After all, she was certain about it. She knew what kind of man he was, albeit he desperately tried to hide and deny it.
He nodded with a thoughtful expression on his face as if filing some essential data away.

As a gust of wind blew the smell of ocean, salt and warm sand back to Molly, she suddenly remembered what she had wanted to do the next time she would see him. And who knew: Maybe this was the last time she would see him? From the way this conversation was going she could not tell. So she needed to get it over with; let go the last bit of attachment to a time she would treasure although it had been a fake.

She put her right hand into the pocket of her trousers and retrieved the blue velvet box that contained the engagement ring. She did not know why she had carried it with her all the time. It was not like she had expected to see him. Or maybe she had – subconsciously – and that was why she had come here in the first place.

Sherlock watched her actions and his eyes widened fractionally when she stretched out her hand, palm up, presenting him the all too familiar box.
Her hand was trembling and she hoped he would not notice, but of course it did not escape the detective’s all too observant stare.

Molly cleared her throat. “I wanted to give it back to you. Sorry for keeping it so long, but I wanted to do it in person, not just leave it at Baker Street. That would have felt... wrong. And I... well...”
She didn’t know how to go on, so she decided to shut her mouth, before she would start to ramble.

She expected him to take the box from her, but instead he gave her an unintelligible look.

His voice held a trace of amusement, “I am not sure if I can return it. To be honest, I don’t know about return policies of engagement rings. And if there were such a thing, I am pretty sure it has already expired.”

Molly could not hold back a nervous chuckle and let her hand, which was holding the velvet box, sink to her side since he would not take it. She shrugged, not sure how to proceed.

The next words did not come easily over her lips. “You could give it to someone else… one day.”
The wrinkle on the bridge of his nose formed once again. “It’s not really my area, but I am quite sure that it’s not appropriate to reutilise an engagement ring.”

Molly nodded tersely. This did not go how she had planned. She had not expected him to not take back the ring. Quite the contrary.

Suddenly a thought crossed her mind. “What about Janine’s ring?”

Sherlock wore a theatrically martyred expression, which made Molly almost laugh.

“I had it in my coat pocket when I was brought into A&E after I had been shot. I guess she took it.” He shrugged carelessly. “Since she tried to make money out of everything related to me, I figure she sold it.”

Again Molly nodded. She hoped the ring had not been too expensive. She knew that “her” ring was not of the cheap kind. And probably Janine’s had not been either. For Sherlock Holmes did not want to be associated with “cheap.”

His voice brought her out of her thoughts, “We could ask Tom what to do with returned engagement rings.”

His suggestion sounded matter-of-fact, but Molly could see the playful twinkle in his eyes.
She gave him a look, although she could not help a little chuckle. It was mean, but a bit funny none the less.

Molly looked down onto the sand again, unsure of what to say next.

Luckily Sherlock had another suggestion, “I thought you might want to keep it. As a souvenir.”

Her head snapped back to meet his gaze which was steady.

“Like the cufflinks and tiepins?” she asked, her voice both smoky and shy. She had meant her question to sound playful, but it had not come out like that.

His stare did not waver, nor did his voice, “Or like Billy. And who knows...”

The way he looked at her made her mouth suddenly feel dry and her heart speed up. She clutched the box in her hand harder. She was tired of playing games, of not knowing, of insinuation.

The pathologist drew a long breath and then asked, letting him see all the desperation she was feeling, “Do you have any idea how hard it was to be so close to you and knowing it was not real?”

At first he stared at her, as if she had slapped him, and she thought he was about to hurt her in turn with an insulting deduction, but then his features softened, and suddenly William Holmes was standing in front of her.

“But don’t you see? It was real.”

Now it was Molly’s turn to look befuddled.

He sighed, obviously reluctant to express himself with words. “Not all of it, apparently, but this ... experience made me realize that having someone around is not conclusively a bad thing.”

When Molly only kept staring at him, he added, “And with ‘someone’ I mean you.”

He made a step towards her and entered her personal space. Molly had to crane her neck to look him in the eyes. His close proximity still made her nervous, and she figured she probably looked a bit mortified.

“You know I won’t treat you like William did all the time.”

Since Molly did not trust her voice at that point, she opted for nodding.
The consulting detective went on, “But you don’t want William, do you?”

Although he said it with conviction, Molly knew he wanted her to answer. He wanted proof; otherwise it was just a theory.

She swallowed before she replied sincerely, “No, I want Sherlock Holmes.”

A smile tucked at the corner of his lips, and he leaned down tentatively. But just before his lips were to descend on hers, he hesitated. He needed her to initiate it. His bruised ego demanded it. He had already gone quite far, now he needed her to meet him halfway. And Molly Hooper gladly did so.
She shut her eyes, closed the gap and kissed him. The moment their lips met, she felt his arms fold her into an embrace and draw her closer.

They had kissed quite a few times while they had been engaged, but this kiss felt totally different. Because this time it was real. For both of them.

When Sherlock finally drew back and regarded her with surprise – as if he could not believe what had just happened – Molly tugged playfully on his shirt (not even Sherlock Holmes wore his beloved coat in Australian summer) and asked, “What do you think of Hamlet?”

Sherlock wrinkled his nose. “I am not hungry.”

Molly chuckled, “But I am. Come on, let’s go.”

So as Sherlock Holmes and Molly Hooper walked side by side along Copper Beaches towards her lodge, finally on the same page and looking forward to the next chapter of their story, the blue velvet box in the pathologist’s hand was not a burden anymore, but rather a reminder that memory may be treacherous, but always precious.

The End.


I am very grateful for Pipsis sharing this journey with me and getting the stones (errors) that were thrown into my path out of the way.

Continue Reading

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.