Molly had been long overdue for a vacation
and finally gave into the encouragement of others to visit her “family”. It wasn’t that Molly didn’t like her family,
in fact she adored them, but she didn’t feel like she belonged.
Shortly after Molly’s outburst at the rehab center with Sherlock, a decision had been made to move her elsewhere. She knew she couldn’t stay there forever and with the last appearance of her only friend she knew it was time to go. So started to cooperate with the center’s staff and she was moved a group home.
Due to her background she continued to receive counseling weekly. She kept her lies to a minimum so that she could keep track and that her story would remain believable. She was able to blame the “missing” parts of her past on the drugs and most of those working with her assumed that she suffered some memory loss as well as impairments to her growth.
Her main counselor was a jovial man who was a bit on the round side. He had brown hair and blue eyes that twinkled and he tried to get the somber girl to laugh during their sessions together. He wore jumpers and habitually smelled of pipe tobacco. He was sharper than he let on and noticed the inconsistencies between Molly’s seeming memory gaps and the sharpness of her mind. He decided the best thing for her would be a stable home environment with parents and siblings, which his own family conveniently had.
Though it was uncommon it was not unheard for some children to end up in the homes of those who worked with the orphaned and foster kids. Especially if that child was deemed to have special needs or to have special circumstances in their lives that would hinder them from living an otherwise “normal” life. There was a process that took place but Molly was welcomed into the family with open arms. Dr. Hooper’s wife loved her sons but relished the idea of having a daughter and the boys were old enough that the idea of having a girl in the family was a novelty. So after a time Molly joined the Hooper clan officially.
Molly had been an only child in her previous life. That fact, coupled with her natural social awkwardness tied to a psychological diagnosis received as a child, caused her to be overwhelmed at times by the size of her new family. She now had four older brothers who filled different positions in her life but all became protective forces around their little sister. When she joined the clan the eldest boy was off at uni, the second son was in his final year of high school, and the twins were in the same year of junior high that she was placed into.
Molly’s time with Sherlock had prepared her for the most difficult of personalities with his mercurial moods but it did not prepare her for such a carefree family system with warmth and love to spare. So she went about creating Molly Hooper and used her Pygmalion lessons, courtesy of one Sherlock Holmes, to become a chameleon.
It took Molly some time to adjust mostly due to her new surroundings for fear of losing the new family she had acquired. After a time she finally allowed her new family to get as close to her as she could without revealing anything about her past life and was able to move on with their help. She developed relationships with each member on both a family level and a personal level but outside of the family she failed to develop new friendships. It troubled those who came to care for her but she was quite content. She ended up learning to joke (badly), to bake, to play games, and many other activities the family enjoyed together. She was encouraged in her love of learning and was able to have access to her new father’s psychological library. When her new mother learned that Molly had a gift for music an electric piano made an appearance in the household as well. Molly had been through hell and somehow ended up in heaven after her travails.
Despite an ideal situation there is always some blemish to help the dreamer to remember that reality exists. For Molly this came in the form of her father’s sister. The siblings had different worldviews that often clashed and Molly became the new argument that Cecilia could never let go of. Molly unfortunately overheard more than one conversation calling in the Hooper’s decision to fully adopt another child, especially one that she deemed as strange.
Molly often agreed with Aunt Cecilia’s point of view, which is why years later she kept her distance from her loving family in the belief that she did not belong. The death of her second beloved father devastated her. The words of her inherited aunt during the time of Mr. Hooper’s dying days drove Molly from the family. Molly only indulged in the comfort she could find at her teenage home when things got really bad or she could no longer make excuses to her family about being too busy. So with the admittance and later disappearance of Sherlock and the fact that she hadn’t been home in quite a while she decided it was time to give into the many suggestions to see her family.
Her brothers and mum were quite ecstatic about the uncommon visit. Everyone except Molly got together on Sundays for lunch every week after attending church. Molly always thought the family she ended up with belonged in a 1950’s television show. Everyone lived within an easy distance of each other. Stevie, one of the twins, was the only one still residing with their mum but everyone else was at the stage of their lives where they were married with kids. In all, the gathering had sixteen people including Aunt Cecilia.
Molly arrived the night before everyone gathered together so once everyone was settled in for the meal she of course became the center of attention with everyone wanting to catch up with the prodigal sister.
“So Molls, how long are you staying in town? It’s not often you spend your vacation time with us,” Stevie goaded his younger sister.
Molly rolled her eyes, “Actually I just don’t take much holiday time off. I like the work.” Molly cringed inside as she realized she sounded like Sherlock. Then she mentally chided herself for thinking of the idiot. She then realized she had missed another comment directed her way.
“I’m sorry what was that mum?” Molly said while picking up the fork to take a bite of homemade Shepherd’s Pie.
“I said, you will have to be taking time off soon for the wedding. Have you set a date yet?”
Molly blanched and her eyes grew wide while her fork was situated half way in her mouth as she just realized how little she actually communicated with the nice people around her. She slowly took the fork from her mouth, swallowed, and took a sip from her water glass before she answered.
“Can’t you see the ring is missing? That is probably the only reason she deigned to visit you in the first place.” Aunt Cecilia sniffed with disdain.
“Actually I didn’t visit for that reason. We called it off months ago…I just forgot to tell you.” Molly looked down at her plate in shame. She added a “sorry” in a small voice.
The members of the gathering exchanged looks excluding Aunt Cecilia. Finally most members looked at Peter, the second oldest brother knowing that he had always been the one to get Molly to open up best. Peter, however, just shook his head. Seeing that Peter would not speak Henry, the oldest of the Hooper boys, saw it as his responsibility to break the awkward silence.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Henry asked.
His wife hit him. “That’s just what she wants to do. You idiot. Sorry Molly, but you know your brother is not the most suave.”
Molly smiled and was grateful for the interference. “Thanks. Just to keep the record straight it was a mutual agreement. We both decided that we were better as friends.”
“You, young lady, don’t know a good thing when you have it,” Aunt Cecilia sneered at Molly.
“Cecilia!” Molly’s mother exclaimed horrified at the treatment her adopted daughter was receiving. She knew that Cecilia had never approved of the adoption but the venom being poured out on Molly was a new low.
Ever since talking with Sherlock in the hospital something had snapped inside of Molly. She had tried to escape to her past home to sort herself out but there was no relief for her. She was so tired and she no longer felt like holding things in.
“Just aiming to be a cat lady just like you Auntie,” Molly snarked before shoving a mouthful of food into her mouth.
“Molly!” Her mother was now shocked with Molly’s out of character remark.
Everyone at the table was at a loss. Stevie had to cover his mouth with a napkin and turn his laughter into a cough. The three wives looked at each other and smiled, they had also suffered at Cecilia’s tongue and were going to support Molly no matter the outcome. The other twin, Rob, dropped his jaw in shock and looked back and forth between the combatants. Henry commented that he would be right back bthat someone should check on the kids, who were eating in front of the telly, but there was also some undignified guffawing heard after he left.
Aunt Cecilia looked mortified that someone would dare talk to her in such a manner. “How dare you! Ungrateful child!”
“You have done nothing for me to be grateful for.” Molly spat out, “This family has.”
“I am a rightful part of this family.”
“As is Molly.” Peter interceded on his sister’s behalf.
Cecilia insisted to continue her onslaught. “Abominable girl, no social graces.”
“I have Asperger’s. What’s your excuse? Well, actually it’s high functioning autism due to the change in the new DSM handbook.” Molly looked at her aunt with her eyebrow cocked.
The last phrase shut everyone’s mouth. Molly’s Asperger’s was not something commonly talked about since she was on the high end of the autism spectrum. Her social cues were sometimes off but for the most part she functioned the same as everyone else. Brilliancy and mental conditions often went hand in hand and Molly followed this mold. She wasn’t Rain Man but she had her gifts and quirks.
Molly gave her best post Henry Higgins Eliza Doolittle impression, “I do apologize for my disgraceful behavior and for spoiling such a lovely party. I do believe I’ll take a turn about the park to get some air.”
She excused herself as she heard her aunt make exclamations and heard several chairs scrape back. She also heard her family coming to her defense and wondered if her mum was going to come to ripping out her aunt’s hair. Molly ran out the door and headed for the park close to the house.
Once she reached the park she sat down on the swings. Her head was reeling but she knew it was only a matter of time until Peter came to check on her. She wasn’t disappointed when fifteen minutes later he sat on the next swing over. She looked up at him. Their eyes met and they made a few faces at each other to convey their feelings.
“So….” Peter nodded his head slowly.
“Yeah,” agreed Molly.
“Sorry, it’s Sunday dinner. We couldn’t revoke her invitation.”
“Of course not. I wouldn’t expect you to. Plus, she is right you know.”
“She’s a rightful part of the family and I’m-“
“Playing the victim.”
“I am not!”
“You are a part of this family whether or not you decide to visit us or not. You shouldn’t listen to that crazy old lady. Sorry if we didn’t protect you from her enough.”
“You don’t need to protect me. I just lost it. Things had been a little rough lately and I’m tired of taking people’s crap.”
“This wouldn’t have to do with a detective that returned from the dead would it?”
Molly glared at her brother for knowing her too well.
“Is he why you broke it off with Tom?”
Molly sighed, “We broke it off mutually. I was only with him because of Sherlock in the first place.” It wasn’t a lie.
They sat in silence for a while. “He got shot this week.” Molly confessed.
“No,” Molly scoffed, “Sherlock.”
“Ah. Thus the visit.”
“Sorry, I’m a horrible human being.”
“No you aren’t Molls. We miss you and we are always here for you no matter what. It would be refreshing to see you more often though. So how is he?“
“His heart stopped. He was declared dead. Then he decided it was a good idea to run away from the hospital shortly after he came out of his coma. He drives me absolutely nuts. I can’t decide if I love him or if I hate him”
“You know we would be willing to visit in London…” Peter let the statement hang in the air.
Molly made a face. She didn’t want her family life to mix with her other life. It sounded too messy to her.
“You know I may just have to come to London invite or no. I need to meet this infamous Mr. Holmes.”
“Leave it be Petey. Maybe after Christmas. Now is not the best time to visit.”
“You do realize that is half a year from now?”
“It’s a busy season.”
Peter wrinkled his nose before shaking his head. “You coming home for Christmas or are you spending it with Sherlock again now that he’s back and Tom is gone.”
Molly could never let Peter meet Sherlock or the whole family would know she lied about holidays. “I should be able to come this year but there will need to be interference run between me and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.”
“She is that bad isn’t she. She should be gone now if you want to head back.”
“I think I need to just stay here for a bit to think.”
Her brother started to walk off before turning around, “You love him, it’s obvious to everyone.” Molly blushed at her brother’s statement.
“Yeah, but you know enough about psychology and enough about me to know it wouldn’t be a healthy relationship.”
“Things don’t have to be perfect you know. Love and life are messy.”
“Doesn’t matter anyway. Sherlock is not interested in a relationship of any sort. So I will be messy by myself.”
“You don’t want to end up alone like Aunt Cecilia. Don’t become her Molls.”
“Then who should I become?”
“Just be yourself and let others in. You are loved Molly Hooper.” Peter walked off and left Molly to think on her own.
“But who am I?” Molly asked the air as a tear ran down her cheek.