me what you know about Mary.”
Molly looked at Sherlock with the bleary eyes of someone who hadn’t slept for a couple days. She leaned forward in her seat and allowed her mouth to open and close a couple times before shaking her head.
“I can’t,” her voice came out in a half gasp half whisper.
Sherlock could see when the all-encompassing fear crept into her eyes and knew she wasn’t replying in such a way to avoid the topic but because she actually felt she couldn’t. He sat up as her breathing became shallow.
“Molly, look at me. Breathe. Just breathe.”
Molly focused on Sherlock’s eyes but instead of following his instructions she stopped breathing. Sherlock sat up straighter in his bed despite the pain such a move wrought on his body. He gasped in pain, which brought Molly out of her stupor and caused her to breathe again. She closed her eyes and took a few steadying breaths.
Without opening her eyes she spoke to Sherlock, “I’m sorry. I don’t know why it affected me so badly. I mean, I’ve seen Mary on multiple occasions and I’ve never reacted that way before.”
Sherlock waited for a few minutes to see if Molly would continue. When she didn’t he spoke to her in calming tones, “You are tired and the stress of seeing someone you…” he cleared his throat and searched for a safe term, “hmm…are friends with hurt has caused you to be in such a state. It is quite understandable in this given situation. Molly I first and foremost need to insist on knowing if John is safe.”
Having already spent hours pondering and examining as much of the situation as she could on her own Molly was able to shoot off an answer, “Yes. That maybe the only thing I am sure of. Oh and the fact that if she really wanted you to be dead, you would be.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, I threatened her before and I’ve watched and I do believe she really loves John. I don’t think she would have taken my threat too seriously but she doesn’t want me to say anything. I think she’s more afraid of that than anything.”
“What did you mean about me being dead if she wanted me to be?”
“Oh.” Molly’s eyes got wide as saucers, “Haven’t you deduced it?”
“I haven’t deduced everything Molly or I wouldn’t be in this condition!” Sherlock responded in agitation.
Molly pushed her lips together and looked at him with reproach before speaking. “I don’t know how good she is but she was trained to be an assassin. At the very least she should be able to shoot to kill even if it has been years.”
“Who did she work for?”
Molly shook her head and started shaking her foot as her fingers started playing an unknown tune on her crossed arms. The fear had crept back in her eyes. At least this showed Sherlock that the fear was not of Mary herself but from where Molly had come from. He had a vague sense of where Molly had come from but had never fully solved her mystery having decided a long time ago to let it go for her sake. Instead he had helped her bury her secrets.
The day after Molly had visited Sherlock’s room saw them return to their normal routine except for the glances Molly kept throwing Sherlock’s way in the middle of her reading. She was angry, there was no doubt about that. However, Sherlock picked up on different cues that also came from her. It seemed as if she sad and wanted to talk with him again. It also seemed as if she wanted to ask him a question. She stood by her silence though and wouldn’t give in to either of those feelings.
Sherlock regretted his choice of words. It wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last time, his words have gotten him in trouble but, the words he had used had triggered something in the girl he continued to study. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that she had been used for some kind of experiment. His moral compass may be dubious but experimenting on a living child gave him chills. He had a choice to get high. He enjoyed it as it calmed his mind and made him forget everything for a time. He would hate for is choice to be taken away and wondered how he would respond if his freedoms were taken. He hated it when Mykey intruded and tried to dictate his life. Maybe the girl just needed to have some power in her life.
On the third day of their silence Molly found a scripted copy of My Fair Lady in her room. She flipped through the book and a note fell out.
You are not an experiment. Perhaps we can do an experiment together instead.—SH
Molly sought Sherlock out immediately after finding the gift. Sherlock smiled smugly when he saw her come back to the common room. From one look he knew he had been forgiven. It had been so simple and somewhat gratifying if he was honest. She made her way over to him and for the first time sat by him of her own volition.
She spoke so no one else could hear. “How did you get it?”
“I have sources from the outside. I figured if it looks like we are working on a play that deals with speech it won’t matter if you butcher the language completely as we try to recreate your accent. People will just assume you are being an abominable Eliza Doolittle.”
“Thank you. You really are like Henry Higgins. Now all you need is a gentler sidekick to help you talk nice to people. Like an army man like Colonel Pickering.”
“Don’t use like so many times in one sentence Miss Doolittle. A proper lady chooses her words with care.”
Molly gave him one of her biggest smiles and giggled. Sherlock responded with a sincere smile of his own. The staff was mystified on what was happening but did not want either patient to shut down. They would wait and see if they could cajole them to speak during their group session in the psyche ward. For the moment they enjoyed the peace.
Sherlock and Molly spent the next few days working on the script but also had some of their own conversations. These took place at times when there were no others within earshot in case Molly’s speech patterns were off. Sherlock was delighted to discover that Molly actually understood what she read in Gray’s Anatomy and decided that she must not be as stupid as most people in the world. He resolved to get more books for her at Mykey’s expense.
“Yep,” he popped the last letter.
“Umm…how did you know Molly was close to my actual name?”
“Molly is your actual name. As to how I knew your former name…” he signed her name with his hands.
She looked alarmed. “I forgot I did that. I started so I wouldn’t forget who I was,” she admitted.
Sherlock felt uncomfortable as he watched her. He knew he had gotten her trust with that admission but felt…sad for her. He needed to get control over himself. Mycroft always told him sentiment was weakness. He was at war with himself. He finally decided that it would be wisest not to push her or she would spook again. The best thing to do would be to comfort her and build her trust. That wasn’t sentiment so it was a safe measure to take.
“You’re safe now.” He cleared his throat, maybe it would be okay to push a little. “What happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“On top of speech lessons you are going to have to start practicing not speaking with your hands.”
The lessons continued. Molly never mastered not moving her hands about but did become more aware of their movements. It took time and earned exasperation from Sherlock but she finally stopped the unconscious fingerspelling of her name. Sherlock, true to form, acquired books on his favorite subjects for Molly. He learned that while Molly was willing to read those books she did not appreciate it when he took one of her fairy books and replaced it with one of his science books. He even earned a black eye when she literally threw one of his books back in his face. He learned over time what worked with Molly and what didn’t.
One night while she was in bed Molly got the fright of her life. She had never been a heavy sleeper but after her ordeal she became an even lighter sleeper. She woke with a hand over her mouth and she reached for the syringe under her pillow she had nicked when no one was looking. She tried to stab her assailant but stopped when a familiar voice called her name.
“Sherlock! What the bloody hell are you doing?!”
“As impressed I am with your accent that is no language for a lady Miss Doolittle.”
“I could have killed you with an air embolism if I had pushed the plunger!”
“Impressive idea. Fortunately you are not fast or strong enough to carry that out.” He took the needle from her shaking hand. He could sense her fear even in the dark of the room. “I’m sorry,” Sherlock apologized for the first time in their relationship. “I didn’t think you would scare so easy. I forgot that you have experienced a form of trauma that has apparently affected all areas of your life.”
“I could have hurt you.” Molly’s voice warbled with emotion.
Sherlock sat on her bed. He felt uncomfortable, as he was sure Molly would shed some tears. He was surprised when after a few moments Molly took a huge breath inward and let it out.
“Why are you here anyway?”
“I’m bored and Tammy is on the desk. We can sneak out and be back before she knows it.”
He was shocked when he felt a pillow hit him across the face. A second later a small body had knocked over his lanky one and was repeatedly hitting him with a pillow. Molly stopped when she heard footsteps coming towards her room. Sherlock dove off her bed to the side and Molly laid back down breathing heavily. The footsteps kept going past her room. Both kids waited until they no longer heard the footsteps before cracking up.
“I’ll see if the coast is clear and we can go.”
“Sherlock,” Molly whined, “it’s sleeping time.”
“With the adrenaline you have pumping through your veins you won’t be sleeping anytime soon.”
“Fine.” Molly huffed, “But from now on you at least warn me. We are not repeating this wake up call.”
That was the first night Molly experienced sewing up a corpse, or rather re-sewing up a corpse as they only worked on previously dissected bodies to avoid detection. Over time it became a norm and they even broke into a lab to perform experiments. During those times they came up with her backstory. Sherlock talked her into upping her age. He advised against picking a birth date that had sentimental meaning but she won the argument saying she wouldn’t be able to remember it otherwise.
They were finally caught by a doctor in a bowtie who had mercy on them. He was impressed by their handling and knowledge but less impressed with what he saw as their lack of respect for the dead. Molly of course felt deep remorse as she had lost her parents and was able to earn forgiveness more readily than Sherlock. She even bestowed a nickname on the friendly fellow when she learned of his comical name. Mycroft smoothed over any ruffled feathers in the situation to keep both young people in the program. Sherlock was close to his thirty days and was even attending, if not participating, in the group therapy sessions.
Sherlock learned from the ventures to the psyche ward why Molly was moved back. Apparently a young Irish boy had taken an interest in tormenting the young girl. They moved her back out of concern for her safety. When the boy approached her telling Molly that he had missed her so much Sherlock ushered her away. He told her that the lad was not worth their time as he was just a run of the mill psychopath. She in turn told Sherlock that the boy had said he was there because he loved puppies too much, that he loved them to death. The boy of course was nonplussed at being dismissed so thoroughly and found he was not pleased with the course of events and fixated on the event. He had taken revenge on a boy who had once laughed at him and he would not be pushed aside so completely.
Sherlock’s thirty days came and went to Mycroft’s surprise and delight. Molly watched as Sherlock was reunited with his family members. She had seen Mycroft before but it was the first time for her to see his parents and what could only be another elder brother. She felt a little left out as she saw herself as Sherlock’s friend and wasn’t introduced. She witnessed their tears and jubilation over Sherlock’s reformation. It also reminded her of why he was here in the first place. She could not figure out how he could hurt the people who obviously loved him so much. She took an interest in what they were teaching about addiction at the center from that point on.
Throughout their misadventures Molly revealed things about herself as she came to trust Sherlock more and more. She seemingly forgot why they were there in the first place as the rehab center became her new world and she began to feel safe for the first time in about three years. Sherlock learned that Molly had been kidnapped along with her mother and that both her parents were now dead. Molly’s mother died in captivity and her father died fighting in Desert Storm. Molly’s mother had been a scientist and had been developing a new technology that had garnered some interest by the wrong people. Molly had been with her mother at the time of her capture and became an experiment as soon as her mother had died. He never found out the particulars of what that experiment entailed but assumed that it could only include the drugs that had been in her system. He learned why she spoke ASL and what her favorite color was, for some reason he remembered those things. He figured she must have been rescued, and delivered here despite how smart Molly may be, she could never have rescued herself from such a situation.
He also taught her things. Like how to construct a mind palace so that she could store her bad memories in closets even if she could not delete them. She told him that she based her castle on Howl’s Moving Castle, this was one of her favorite books and Sherlock reminded her of one of those characters as well. Evidently he reminded her of quite a few fictitious characters, this brought Molly delight and Sherlock disgust. He felt the need to borrow her stories to find the similarities between himself and said characters, he was not amused with whom she chose to compare him.
Sherlock stayed a total of three months since the time he was returned. He was given an extra month because he would not complete any work besides staying clean but they finally graduated him as he became more manageable and there was no reason to keep him any longer. Fortunately his student was a quick learner but he was concerned for her as he left. Mykey would scoff if he knew of his brother’s concern so he made no mention of his association with the girl to his brother. Sherlock was able to find his way back to the rehab center with a relapse that would bring him back to Molly’s side.
“Sherlock, I have never spoken about it. It has been over twenty years and I never once said the words out loud.”
“Why didn’t you say anything about Mary though?”
Molly relayed Mary’s visit to the morgue in detail. “I thought she was different. She did rescue me after all and to be fair…”
“Molly what is it?”
“This isn’t my story to tell.”
“Don’t tell me Mary’s story tell me about the organization that held you as a child.”
Molly’s head was spinning from lack of sleep and thinking of things long hidden in her mind by the same man who was now trying to get a grasp on the woman who had married his best friend. Molly closed her eyes to better concentrate. “She didn’t have a choice. None of the recruits did. They took kids who wouldn’t be missed and turned them into…soldiers? Assassins? Tools? It was either that or be…deleted.” She shuddered at the phrase. “If you weren’t good enough, if you rebelled or disagreed, if you,” she covered her mouth with her hand and bit back an involuntary sob, “tried to escape or tried to help someone else escape you were deleted.”
Sherlock’s mind started to fill in the blanks. He reached for Molly’s hands. He had hurt her again and didn’t know if he could fix it. Molly opened her eyes and looked into his. He could see the unshed tears, “I’m so sorry Molly to asked that of you.”
Molly felt beyond exhausted.
Sherlock hoped he hadn’t broken her. He knew she was strong but even the strongest people could still break. Perhaps she was made of diamond, he heard Mycroft scoff in the back of his mind palace at such a thought. “Molly go home and sleep. Take a cab. Take a few days off I know you have days accumulated and visit your family for a few days. You will need the rest because I’m going to need a nurse after this.”
“Sherlock Holmes you are unbelievable! Incorrigible even!” He winked at her. She continued, “You just want me to leave so that you can do something stupid.”
“Molly I solemnly swear—“
Molly interrupts him, “that you are up to no good. That’s not a newsflash!”
Sherlock was grateful for the banter but looked confused as he missed the reference, “I was going to say that I will be in bed when you get back.”
Molly missed the way he worded his promise because she was so tired. “Fine, but I’m going to make sure John checks in on you.”
Sherlock would use that to his advantage. Molly turned to go but heard Sherlock clear his throat. She turned and whined, “What is it now? Sherlock, it’s sleeping time.”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?”
His cheeks turned pink. “Janine kissed my forehead when she left don’t you want to do the same?”
Molly’s eyebrows reached her hairline, either she was hallucinating or Sherlock’s drugs were affecting him. The third option was that it was both. She felt a blush start in her face but rush over her body. “Sherlock, when you want a girl to kiss you it is bad form to mention the other girl who kissed you before.” And with that Molly finally headed home for an overdue rest.