Sherlock stood outside Molly’s flat. He went through the memories of every time he had been there in the past and added the memory of what would be his last time standing outside that door. He had been happy most of the times he had gone there in the past but now it would be tainted by this final time because, in a way, he had failed.
“Show you Appledore? The secret vaults? Is that what you want?” Magnussen chuckled at the mystery-solving duo in front of him.
Sherlock knew he had to tread carefully and not show Magnussen his full hand. However, he also needed to do everything in his power to protect those he had come to care for.
“I cannot possibly see your secret vaults anymore than you can see my mind palace.” Sherlock replied.
“Oh ho ho,” Magnussen gave voice to his amusement, “someone’s been a naughty girl. If you are not here for the vaults what is it that you want to exchange for exactly. I cannot see why you are here.”
“I want to see how you are updated. Surely you cannot update your files on your own.” Sherlock answered with his arms behind his back.
“That was not part of our original agreement so I am afraid I cannot indulge you.”
“I want everything you’ve got on the woman I know as Mary Watson and that information comes to you in your updates. I see it as fair game.”
“I don’t have any current events here at the moment…I sent them out in an email shortly before you arrived. They cannot be copied so the originals were sent. My email can be traced, however.” Magnussen said with a sinister smile.
Sherlock could sense a trap but could not understand the underlying meaning of the cryptic statement and had no time to waste on the puzzle.
“The email that I sent can be traced just as well as this laptop which has a built in GPS locator.” Magnussen continued to describe Sherlock’s plan to expose him. Magnussen laughed as he finished his drink and got up to head into his house.
“What I fail to understand is why you came anyway when you knew I had no concrete evidence for certain on my person. You just took a chance that perhaps I had something I would share with you on my computer? I am not a careless man and I always have an exit strategy. Sherlock Holmes has made one enormous mistake that will destroy the lives of everyone he loves and everything he holds dear.”
“So you don’t actually have anything in paper on Mary?” an agitated John enquired of the oily man he was following into the lavish mansion.
“I had planned to show you Appledore but it seems such a waste now.”
“I don’t understand.” John stated befuddled at the situation.
“You should have that on a t-shirt,” Magnussen snidely remarked.
“There’s nothing here no documents. You just remember?” John asked.
Magnussen and John continued to go back and forth while Sherlock just stood there listening on in silence. This was always a possible scenario. It was the worst-case scenario but he had needed to come either way. He needed to find out where Magnussen sent that email.
“I’m in news you moron. I don’t have to prove it I just have to print it.” Magnussen started to move to his front door exclaiming how the duo would be on the front page of his newspaper the next day. He also informed them of how Sherlock’s big brother should be there at any moment.
“Sherlock do we have a plan? Sherlock?” John asked in desperation to his unmoving partner.
“They’re taking their time aren’t they?” Magnussen asked in a calm manner both arms behind his back as he looked out across his property.
“I still don’t understand.” John stated.
“Oh, and there’s the back of the shirt.”
Magnussen proceeded to demonstrate how his power worked as he flicked John on the face and attempted to flick him in the eye with his middle finger. He went through the list of ways of how he could hurt Mary as John staunchly took the abuse. Sherlock looked on and tried to come up with another plan. If they could trace that email…perhaps they could hold off on any judgments. Sherlock only worked with the government in a mostly freelance capacity but that should count for something! Perhaps they would listen to him. Lady Smallwood would be one of his supporters as her husband had committed suicide due to the slimy man in front of him. She was the one who had come to him in the first place. Magnussen was guilty of many crimes they just had to find the proof!
The men looked up as they heard a helicopter and watched as it came into view.
“John Watson was really a find but I could have bypassed him and just gone after your pretty little wife. Now there is a real treasure. And she kept out of sight all this time, I really should have visited her before yesterday but I needed to do my research on her first.”
Magnussen looked down at his watch knowing he had a limited amount of time to stop the email that would not only update the files in Molly’s mind but also alert Division to her exact location at the time of opening the email. This would be his revenge should the Holmes brothers try to detain him in any form. There would be no proof left since the email would fry her computer hard drive upon the end of the message.
When Sherlock heard the words about Molly uttered from the filth of humanity beside him words resounded inside his mind palace. He first saw Molly cowering on her couch as she told him nothing would stop Magnussen short of killing him. He also saw Mary asking him how far he would go to protect Molly. He also saw himself making a vow to protect three when really he had just missed the sign of four at that time.
“No chance to be a hero this time Mr. Holmes. Your wife will be so lonely as you sit in prison but don’t worry. I will pay her a visit and keep her company, perhaps even take her on a vacation to the states.” Magnussen gloated. Not only would he have Mycroft Holmes but he would also have the girl who got away.
“Oh do your research,” Sherlock said with disdain, “I’m not a hero. I’m a high functioning sociopath.”
He used his old standby shield. Those closest to him knew it for the lie it was but it helped him to do what he thought was a necessary evil and shut down his emotions for the moment. Emotions that when he allowed himself the luxury of feeling threatened to overwhelm as he actually felt them more keenly and acutely and as such had trouble processing them in the healthiest of ways. Lately he had been learning but he refused to lose those who had helped him. He refused to see them harmed and could not take a chance with their lives and freedom on a probable email but he was willing to do so with his.
“Merry Christmas,” Sherlock shouted above the whirring of the helicopter as he pulled out John’s gun and shot.
They couldn’t trace the email. He hadn’t had any contact with Molly since that night and just four short days later the tribunal had already passed judgment and declared his punishment. Now he had to tell his wife, even if she was unaware of their marriage status, that he would be leaving her permanently.
Mycroft had managed to get him this one last night with her but Sherlock felt a coward. Part of him did not want to go into that flat knowing he was about to break her heart. He had squandered precious time over the years that he could have spent with her and now he would live to regret it for the last six months of his life. He had an argument with mind-palace John about going to her but in the end John was right. Molly deserved to hear it from him and she deserved this last night if she wanted him.
Goodness knew he needed her. If he had a choice he would enter her flat and never leave. He fingered the items in the pocket of his beloved Belstaff to ensure that they were all there. He had the wedding bands, a note for Molly, the sheet music to his unfinished duet, a CD with a copy of the violin solo he had composed for their own wedding, and a syringe.
He knocked on the door and waited. He heard the well-known pattern of her feet skitter across the floor as she made her way to the door. He mused to himself that she must have been reading a book since no noise had been coming out of the flat before then. He saw the shadow pass over the eyehole and gave the biggest smile he could in the given situation. He could hear Molly gasp as she pulled the chain off the door and unbolted the deadlock.
When he opened the door he deduced her quickly. She was wearing her rattiest sweatpants and a baggy sweatshirt with a cartoon cat. There was another shirt underneath the sweatshirt that poked out at the bottom and at the left arm that he deduced was one of his white dress shirts. Her hair was pulled back in her signature ponytail and her eyes were red from crying. She hadn’t eaten or slept in four days or was it five? She was an eyesore but was also the most cherishable thing he had ever seen.
His deductions took but a moment for as soon as Molly opened the door she was throwing her arms around him. Then in Molly fashion she apologized and ushered him into the flat. She started to babble as she had done in days gone by while they had stopped close to the door that was shut behind them.
“Mary told me what happened. I knew you couldn’t call. Did they let you go? Did they find evidence is everything going to be okay? I need to te…”
The look on Sherlock’s face stopped her flow of words and she brought her hands up to her mouth.
“I’m so sorry Molly.”
Molly turned her back to Sherlock and put her head into her hands. She could see him and knew that whatever it was, it was bad. He looked similar to the way he had before he had jumped from the roof. They had gotten through that hadn’t they?
“How bad is it?” Molly spoke in a small voice.
“I’m being sent on a mission that will last six months.”
“And after that?” Molly still had her back to Sherlock but she had raised her head from her hands.
“There is nothing after that.”
Molly stood stock still as she took in his meaning. Sherlock started to put out his arm to touch her but thought better for it and dropped it to his side.
“What is it that you needed to tell me?” Sherlock asked.
“It’s nothing.” The last thing Molly wanted to do was burden Sherlock with the email she had received. There was nothing he could do about it anyway. After tonight they would go their separate ways and never see each other again. After Sherlock disappeared she would attempt to do the same after warning Mary.
She tried to compose herself quickly so that she could be strong for Sherlock. She wanted to scream her anguish to the universe but she needed to put it aside for this one night, if they had that much time. Then and only then when Sherlock was safely out of earshot would she let herself go.
Sherlock felt a wall go up between them and it felt like a fist had closed around his heart. He started to struggle for air but then it came out in a gasp. He took a few deep breaths. It was his last night with her but she couldn’t handle it. He would leave the affects in his pockets to Wiggins to deliver to her in the morning. He turned to go but felt a hand grab his sleeve.
“How much time do you have?”
“I have tonight.”
“What do you need?”
Sherlock took in the woman before him. She was so giving when it came to him but he needed to know that this wasn’t taking advantage of her. When he ascertained that indeed she wanted him to stay he relented.
“You, Molly Holmes, I need you.”