Rocky Road

Chapter 13

Greg was as nervous as he had been on his first day at work many years ago when he walked through the entrance of New Scotland Yard. He had entered this building countless times, casually strolling past the security. He held his ID card ready and was about to go through the turnstiles when he noticed that he wouldn't fit through with his wheelchair. He sighed and made his way over to the security officer asking him to let him through at the side.

It felt strange being here. It all looked somehow different from is current perspective. He had made the trip to talk about returning to work as soon as he was out of inpatient rehab. But now he wasn't quite sure if he really wanted to. The people looked. Some actually stared. They knew about that one DI of theirs who got shot and was now struggling to recover. Things like these spread like wildfire around the Yard. The positive site is that he had gotten loads of get well soon cards, not only from his team but what seemed like the whole Yard. The negative site was that people always began talking. “Will he return?” “ I heard that..” He didn't know what they were talking about him but he had seen it more than once when an officer had been seriously injured.

The elevator finally reached his floor and Greg quickly exited making his way towards his team. He had a little time left until his meeting. He hadn't told anyone that he was coming over, so he hoped that at least some people where in and not somewhere at a crime scene. He had just rounded the corner when he heard an surprised “What the hell are you doing here, Boss?”
“Happy to see you too, Sally, “ Greg replied grinning.
“It's great to see you! I hope you're not here to sneak some files out.” Sally eyed him suspiciously.
Greg started to laugh.“ No. I've got an appointment with personnel and the Chief Superintendent, see if I can return to work when I'm out of rehab.”
“That would be great, we really miss you around here, Greg. But how...I mean it would only be a desk job right?” She eyed his wheelchair uncomfortably. “ Not only of course. Sorry. Having you back is what counts.”
“Yep, desk job...I will be sitting at my desk all day watching you work.” Greg laughed but it was a bitter laugh. How much would he give to be able to go with his teams to the crime scenes and more importantly to make the arrests. “It will most likely take an other year until, if at all, I can walk properly, let alone run. So until then your are alone with Sherlock at the crime scenes.” Sally's shocked face mad him laugh.
“I'm not so sure you coming back would be a good idea at all then,” she said jokingly. “We haven't seen the freak since Dimmock is in charge.”
“Yeah, need to talk about that with Dimmock. Sherlock asked me to put in a good word. He seemed rather bored now that he doesn't get any cases from me.”
“And we don't want a bored psychopath, I think you've got a point there Greg.”
“Sociopath, Sally. Sherlock's an high-functioning Sociopath.” Greg corrected her smiling.
Sally rolled her eyes. “So when's your meeting?”
“ In 15 minutes, “ Greg said checking his watch. “Going to give the rest of the team a quick hello and then I'm off.”

When Greg and Sally made their way back towards the elevators they passed Greg's old office.
“Looks exactly like I left it, “ Greg noticed. “Well minus all the files scattered on the desk. Who's office is it now?“
“No one's, we left your office as it was. The Chief Superintendent tried to put a new DI in but no one really wanted that. Giving your office and position to someone new would've been so final, so definite. Like if you would never come back. That's why Dimmock offered to take over. He's doing your usual replacement only a bit longer this time. Because he still has his own team we do most of his work here.”
Greg couldn't hide a proud smile. He had an amazing team. After Sherlock's fall he hadn't been sure if he could continue to work with Sally but he knew that he made the right choice. She and the rest of the team had been at the hospital as often as they could. Even when he had been too weak to interact and barely recognized them they sat with him for hours telling him what's new at the yard and later, when he had been feeling better, they sneaked in some stuff and food the hospital hadn't allowed him to have.
“You guys are amazing, really. The best team one could wish for. ”

The meeting went better than he had expected. They were keeping his position open until he was fit to return. He could work for a couple of days a week after he got discharged from rehab and passed the psychological evaluation and switch to a full time desk job as soon as his doctors cleared him for that. And as soon as he was able to take and pass the fitness test he would be back to active duty. The Chief Superintendent had made it pretty clear that during the first months of him back he was nowhere allowed near a crime scene. “It's a desk job and paperwork only at the beginning, Lestrade. I want you to start it slowly. You will be assisting Dimmock with the cases he took over. No own cases until you are cleared to work full time.”
As much as Greg hated to admit it, he knew the Chief Superintendent was right. It made no sense to let him work own cases when he was only in a couple of days a week. That would only mean more workload for his team and they had already done so much for him. He nodded slowly, “Yeah, got that. And do I get it right that as soon as I'm back on full time and working my own cases I'm allowed back at the crime scenes?”
The Chief Superintendent nodded in agreement . “Yes, why not. If the crime scene is accessible I can't see any reason why you shouldn't be allowed there.“
Greg let out a breath he hadn't noticed he had been holding. That was great. That meant that even if, and that big if was always in his mind, he wouldn't be able to return to full active duty he would at least be doing a job which was nearly the same as before he got injured. Minus a bit of excitement, though but that was fine with him as long as he was able to continue to work as a Detective Inspector. “Thank you, Sir. “ Greg held out his hand. “I'll hand in all the papers as soon as I got my release date.”
The Chief Superintendent got up and shook it. “We are really looking forward to having you back, Lestrade. It was a real shock to all of us hearing that you got shot. But there is one thing and that is of real importance, when you're back with us I want no more consulting by that Holmes. Is that clear? We managed quite good without him in the past months and I want it to stay that way. Do you understand?”
Greg's heart ran cold. Not again. “Sir, with all due respect but I think not allowing Sherl...Mr. Holmes to consult again is a mistake. This man is a genius and his name was cleared after all those false accusations back then. He's doing the Yard a great favour and... ” he got harshly interrupted by the Chief Superintendent.
“Do you want your job back, Lestrade?”
Greg tilted his head. “Wha'? Yes of course but I...”
“Then I don't want to discuss that topic any further with you. I can't him having back consulting with you. He's a civilian and has no clearance what so ever. We can't have him running about, sticking his nose in all sorts of sensible information. He and that Watson guy.”
“But Sir, it was alright before,” he hesitated a second not sure if he should really keep pressing, “ before I got shot.”
The Chief Superintendent began to rub his temples. “Yes, but now it's a different situation, Lestrade.”
Greg could feel his blood starting to boil. He knew what this was all about. The Chief Superintendent just didn't want any press about a disabled Detective Inspector who couldn't solve any cases without the help of a sleuth. He really was tempted to push that topic further but decided to go a different way. A way he loathed and he hated to pull that card but he didn't see any other way to get Sherlock back to consulting without risking to loose his job.
“I understand, Sir.” He wheeled towards the door but before he opened it he turned around, looking straight at the Chief Inspector. “I just want you to know that Sherlock Holmes had saved my life. He had worked that case with me and if he hadn't deduced that something was really wrong I would've been dead. Bled to death or drowned in my own blood, whatever would had come first, on some killer's carpet. He and John Watson saved me. Sally would've never made it in time. Neither the ambulance. So please understand that I owe a lot to these two men and therefore would be very grateful if I can continue to work with them whenever necessary.” He turned around and opened the door, wheeling himself towards Sally and most of his team who were standing at a water cooler suddenly trying to look incredibly busy.

“Did you all came up to console me or is there actually something wrong with all the water coolers on our floor?” He had to hide a big smile when he looked at them.
“So they didn't...?” one began.
Greg shook his head. “No, they wouldn't let me...” he was interrupted by a sudden outburst from an other member of his team. “Hear me out, “ Greg continued calmly. “They wouldn't let me extend my sick leave after I get discharged from rehab. Said I have to get my lazy ass back here asap to get some order back into you lot.” Now he was smiling broadly.
“You Bastard,” someone nudged him hart on his shoulder. “I genuinely thought for a moment that you wouldn't come back.”
Greg let out a hearty laugh. “No I'll definitely be back. Still may take a while but it's all cleared with the bosses.”

Half an hour later Greg sat in front of the little café right next to New Scotland Yard waiting for Molly to arrive. He had taken a leave from the facility over the weekend so he had promised Molly to take her out for dinner later that evening and to spend the weekend together.
He had got himself a coffee to go from the counter and was now reading a newspaper he had found lying on one of the tables.
Greg was about to take an other sip of his coffee when two arms where wrapped around his shoulders and a soft kiss was placed on his cheek. He slightly turned his head to return the kiss. “Hi,” he said with a soft voice.
“Hey, how did it went?” Molly asked rounding Greg to sit down on the opposite chair her hands thereby gently stroking over his shoulders and back.
He folded the newspaper and placed it on the table “It went very well. They said I can return part time as soon as I'm in the outpatient program and full time as soon as I'm cleared for it.” A huge smile crossed his face.
Molly's heart melted seeing Greg so happy. She leaned forward and gave him a kiss on the mouth, holding his head between her hands. “I'm so happy for you. Were definitely celebrating that tonight.”
“Thanks. But I must confess that I was a little bit late with booking a table at the restaurant we talked about and they are now fully booked. I know you really wanted to go there. I'm terrible sorry.“ Greg looked at her with these puppy dog eyes he always used when he tried to avoid getting yelled at. “Is there anywhere else you would like to go?”
Molly's mood dropped significantly. She had really looked forward to go to that particular restaurant. It was a small, romantic pop up restaurant which was praised by every restaurant-critic in London. She had told Greg about it and he offered her to book a table and invite her for dinner after his meeting.
“When did you call to book a table?”
Greg scratched the back of his head and looked down, avoiding her gaze. “Well... I don't know. I'm sorry.”
“When did you call? “ she repeated slowly, emphasizing every word.
Looking up he quietly admitted that he had completely forgotten to book a table and when he had called two days ago they were predictably fully booked.
Molly looked at him disappointed. “I was really looking forward to eat there with you.”
“I know and I'm sorry,“ he fished his mobile out of his pocket and placed it on the table. “Look, just tell me where else you would like to go and I call there, booking us a table, Ok?”
“Well, there is this Japanese Restaurant I walked past a couple of weeks ago. Looked quite good but my friends aren't really into Japanese cuisine. “
Greg wasn't either but he owed that one to Molly after fucking up the reservation. “Do you remember it's name or address? Then I'll quickly google it's phone number?” He found the number after a quick search only to be disappointed by an recorded message, telling him that all their tables were fully booked. He looked over to Molly, biting his lower lip. “I'm sorry honey, I'm afraid they are booked out as well. ” Greg reached over to take her hand but Molly withdrew it quickly. “We could try a different restaurant, you know?”
“Yes, we could. One of the few ones which maybe aren't booked out”
Sighing he leaned back and took a sip from his coffee. Sometimes she was really overreacting, he thought to himself. As if every fucking restaurant in London would be fully booked.
“Maybe we should just go to McDonald’s then. They always have tables.” he snapped back.
“No reason to get all sassy, Greg. It's not my fault that you forgot to book that table.” She let out a deep breath, noticing that the people around them were already looking. “I just had a really stressful day at work today and was really looking forward to have a nice dinner with you without any disturbances. Maybe we both should just calm down a bit, get home and then decide where we're going to eat tonight.”
“Sounds like a good idea. Where should we go? Come to think of it, I've never been to your flat so I would vote for yours.”
“Yeah about that. I would love to show you my flat. Thing is though that it's on the third floor without any elevator. So I'm afraid that must wait a little longer.” She looked at him apologetic.
“Not your fault, just another reason to keep pushing,” he smiled at her, “my place it is then. But we have to walk to Westminster Underground Station, I'm afraid. Can't use St. James's with this one.” Greg patted against the right side of his wheelchair.
“No problem.

They didn't talked much during the ride. Molly still angry at Greg while Greg was getting more and more irritated of the crowded tube, the big clash inevitably waiting to happen.
They silently walked from the station to Greg's flat. He pushed the door open and went straight through to his living room. “So, what now?”
Greg had his mobile out, looking for restaurants Molly could like. He offered her a couple only to get a shoulder shrug as an answer.
“What do you want then, Molly?” he asked, trying to remain calm. “I can order us something or get us some take-away.”
“Yeah, could do that.” Molly answered in a tone which made pretty clear that Greg shouldn't even consider doing that. “ You know what. I think I'm not even that hungry anymore.”
“Don't be ridiculous, Molly. Come on, we'll find something nice.” Even through he got more and more frustrated at this whole situation and her attitude he tried his best to bring it to a good end. “There must be some restaurant I can get you happy with?”
“You know I really wanted to try that particular pop up restaurant.”
“We'll try a different time.” Greg offered.
“There won't be. Do you even know what pop up restaurants are?”
If he was honest he hadn't even heard about such things before Molly had told him about that one in Whitechapel but he was not going to admit that.
“No, the old man doesn't know about these hip things” he snapped back.
Molly let out a sigh. “You know what annoys me the most, Greg? I asked you to do that one thing. I actually was busy the last weeks. I told you how much it would mean to me if we could go there together but you completely forgot about it.”
At that point Greg couldn't control himself any further. Frustrated he threw his mobile through the room onto the couch.
“You're right. You were the only one who was,” he made air quotes, “busy the last few weeks while I was sitting on my lazy ass all day, twiddling my thumbs,” he shouted and angrily made his way through the living room. He needed some air, needed to get away before he would say something he would regret later. He reached the balcony door and yanked it open, hitting his legs in that progress. He didn't care. He was too frustrated at the moment. Finally outside he took a deep breath. He loved her but sometimes she was driving him sheer crazy.

The ashtray on that small site table caught his eye. God he could kill for a cigarette right now. He knew he shouldn't pick up smoking again with his lungs but wondered if there maybe was a forgotten pack of cigarettes somewhere in his flat.
He had a pack in the suit he had worn when he had gotten shot. The Cigarettes had been thrown away of course, the suite most likely rotting somewhere in an evidence room waiting to maybe be brought out at the trial. He had really loved that suit. That and the coat he had worn. Greg wondered why he had never thought about the fact that he won't be getting them back before and made a mental note that he had to buy a new coat before he returned to work.
He was absorbed in his thoughts when he suddenly noticed that Molly was standing next to him.
“Greg, I'm sorry. I overreacted.”
He smiled at her. “Apology accepted. I think we both are a bit thin-skinned at the moment. Did you make up your mind?”
“You know, maybe your idea of ordering something isn't so bad after all. I think with that we are on the save side.”

After they finished dinner Greg and Molly cuddled on the sofa and watched a movie. “You know,” Greg started ”I'm really happy that I can return to work and I can't wait to start again, but,” he paused, taking a deep breath, “the thing is that they don't want me to let Sherlock in on any cases. I tried my best to convince them but they threatened that I wouldn't get my job back when I don't comply. Molly, I don't know what to do. I maybe could manage that as long as I'm working part time. No own cases, only assisting. But what should I do when I'm back on full time? I just can't leave Sherlock out. He's bored. He needs the cases from the Yard. I need him. Molly, he saved my life. How can I betray him for that? Maybe I should've walked out.”
Molly gently stroke his cheeks. “You didn't betray him. Getting your job back is the first priority. Otherwise he would've have no one at the Yard. Now you will be there to fight for him to consult again. We'll find a way. Remember who his brother is. Mycroft is basically the British government. I bet he can push some buttons and everything will be like before.”

Molly woke up before Greg the next morning. She opened her eyes and took in the sight that greeted her. Greg was lying on his back, his chest only partially obscured by the blanked. As she watched it rise and fall she noticed that his chest and arm muscles had gotten a little bit more defined since the last time she had seen him like that. He must've been training them, probably to manage that gait training he was doing now. Only his stomach still had that little paunch she loved at him. What she didn't love so much right now was his snoring. She was used to that little soft snoring Greg often did but right now it was loud and annoying. She looked over to the alarm clock on Greg's side and groaned. 6.30, no time to be awake on a work free Saturday morning. She gently pushed Greg to get him to roll onto his side only to get an annoyed groan as an answer. She pushed again, this time a little bit harder until he partially opened his eyes and looked at her. “Wha'?”
“You're snoring.”
“'m not.” Greg replied, moving himself so that he was now lying on his side, his back turned towards her. He muttered something obscure and was fast asleep again a few seconds later.
Molly shook her head an snuggled herself against Greg's back, laying one arm across his chest.

Greg was woken by some soft breathing against his neck. He smiled and gently moved himself to a more upright position. He looked over to the clock. 10.15. he could get up or he could just lie here and watch Molly. He settled for the latter. He was unbelievably happy that he had found her. Happy that she had agreed to go out with him and that she's staying with him even though he is an idiot from time to time. He placed a kiss on her forehead. “Good morning, “ he smiled when Molly opened her eyes and stretched her arms and legs. “Did you sleep well?”
“I did until early this morning. Then you started snoring unbelievably loud.”
“I would never snore,” he shook his head.
“Oh, yes you did. And with such a noise that I was afraid the neighbours would ring and ask to stop sawing wood in the middle of the night. The only thing that helped was gently guiding you to roll onto your side.”
Greg let out a hearty laugh and gave her another kiss. “I didn't hear anything.”
“Yeah, that's because you were fast asleep at that time.” Molly said laughing, jokingly poking him in the ribs. Greg's upper body twitched sideways to escape the poking and he tried to catch her hand to stop her but Molly was quicker. She quickly rolled over so that she was now sitting over Greg, pinning his hands down on the mattress. “I guess you owe me an apology then,” she said leaning over so that her lips where hovering over Greg's. When he raised his head slightly to kiss her she quickly moved back so that his lips where hitting the air. With a quick movement he had freed his hands and wrapped them around Molly's waist, slowly pulling her towards him. “So how can I make up for that completely false accusation then?”
“Well what about a nice back rub before making me breakfast?” A cheeky smile formed on her face.
“Turn around, then.”
Molly turned around and moved her hair over her shoulder so that it was now resting on her chest.
“Don't get used to it. Next time I want to be on the receiving end.” Greg said while he gently began massaging Molly's back.
She couldn't hide a pleasured moan. “God, you are incredibly good at this.”
Greg could distantly feel her hands sliding down his boxer shorts. His penis began to get hard. “I thought it was about pleasuring you?” he breathed, leaning forward to kiss Molly on the neck.
“Yes, but then I saw him waking up and thought about giving him a quick hello,” she whispered turning around, slowly pulling his short down. While she massaged his penis she kissed him on the lips and then made her way down his his chest. His breathing got heavier. Molly had nearly reached the middle of his stomach when his penis got limb again. Molly stopped and moved back up, laying her head on his shoulder, her finger stroking over his chest.
Greg turned his head towards her: “Sorry, told you it won't be for long”
“Don't be. Nothing to be sorry about.”
“God, I love you Molly Hooper. I love you for taking me how I am. The old, scarred man who can't get a proper hard-on.”
“I love you too, Greg. I would never swap you for anyone else.”
Greg lay his arm around her and pulled her closer. They lay like this for a while until Greg's stomach began to rumble. “I think it's time for breakfast” he said and moved himself towards the edge of the bed. After he had transferred himself into his wheelchair he moved over to his wardrobe and pulled out a jeans and a button down shirt. “I'm afraid right now I can only offer some cereals I keep for the boys but I know a restaurant nearby which offers a mean brunch menu.”
“Probably booked out,” Molly taunted.
Greg spun around. “HA! One would think so. But believe it or not I called in advanced and booked us a table.”
Molly would have preferred to stay in. Having a nice relaxed breakfast at Greg's flat, just them but she knew how important it is for his rehabilitation to go out in public as often as possible. It was a good sign that he encourages it on his own. It showed that he, to some degree, had accepted his current situation and was not ashamed of it. She was proud of him for that. “Sounds good to me. So when's the table booked?”
“In about half an hour. Got a bit carried away, I'm afraid,” a cheeky smile formed on his lips. “ So I guess we better get ready and slowly walk over.”

Upon arrival Greg noticed a small step in front of the restaurant. “Damn, I forgot they have that curb. If you could hold the door open for me while I manage it? I need a good deal of speed and am a bit afraid to crash into it.”
“Sure!” Molly stepped forward and held the door open. As soon as they were inside a waiter came towards them. “How can I help you?” he asked looking at Molly who was standing behind Greg.
Greg cleared his throat. “Hi, I've booked a table for two. Under the name Lestrade.”
“Ah, yes I see. Please follow me.”

It was a bit of a hassle to get to their table as the restaurant was quite narrow and packet and Greg had to politely ask a lot of people if they could make room for him to past. Molly could see the unease on his face.
When they had finally arrived at their table and the waiter had cleared the extra chair Greg led out a deep breath. “God, I never really noticed how cramped this place actually is. You don't really pay attention to stuff like that when you're able-bodied.” He send her a smile. “Let's order, I'm starving.”

“So, what do you want to do today?” Greg asked after they both had finished their plates.
“Don't know. Weather is quite nice, maybe go to a park, lie down and relax in the sun?”
Greg scratched his head uncomfortably “Um, bit off a hassle getting in and out of the chair I'm afraid. And I would feel rather stupid just sitting next to you.”
“God, I'm so sorry. Sometimes I clearly don't think before I talk. Of course. Um, yeah. What else? Maybe just go home and relax there? Or we could just have a nice stroll.”
Greg felt bad for being the reason that Molly couldn't do what she wanted to do. “You know what we could do? We could go and buy a deckchair. That'll make it easier for me.“
“Sounds like a plan.” Molly smiled.

Greg had spend the Sunday afternoon with his friends, watching the football match of the team he normally also played at. It was great seeing his team mates again. Cheering with them and now enjoying the traditional Pint after the game.

Greg rolled his eyes when his mobile rang. “I bet you a fiver that's it's Molly reminding me about the dinner tonight with her parents. You forget once to make a reservation and are then treated like you suffer from dementia.”
“And to just have one Pint. You know how women are.” Peter, his best mate added laughing.
Greg gestured him to be silent. “Hey Molly,”
“Hi. How was the game?”
“Good. We won” Greg answered.
“Because Greg didn't play this time.” Peter shouted from the background.
“Shut up! I play so much better than you, Peter.” Greg laughed. “Sorry Molly, got distracted by some idiot who thinks he can play better football than me. Ow, now he's resorting to violence.”
“I just wanted to remind you that I'm going to pick you up in 2 hours. You still at the pub?”
“Yeah, nearly finished though. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten. I'll be ready.”
“Good, see you then.”
“See ya.” Greg ended the call. “Right guys. I'm going to finish the beer and then I'm off.”

When Molly and Greg arrived at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Hooper later that evening Greg was fairly nervous and hoped that it wasn't too obvious. A look over to Molly told him that it was. She put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed it slightly. “You'll be fine,” she said with an assuring smile.
Greg nodded but wasn't really sure about that. It has been ages since he had to present himself to parents of a girlfriend and he would've preferred to actually not be in a wheelchair for that. But there he was now and Molly had looked so happy when she had told him that her parents had asked to meet him. So he said yes.

The Hoopers lived in a nice town house and he noticed that they had put a ramp over the steps to the entrance. Greg smiled inwardly, at least one embarrassing moment less. But he also wondered how much Molly had told her parents about his injuries.
Molly rang the bell and a few minutes later Mr. Hooper opened the door.
“Hi,” he greeted Molly with a huge hug and then turned to Greg. he held out a hand, “Hello, nice to finally meet you Mr. Lestrade.“
Greg shook his hand. “Nice to meet you too.”
“Please Come in, “ he waved pass him.
Molly walked in first and Greg followed her slowly. The house had a huge corridor which let to an even bigger dining room.
Molly's mother walked out of the kitchen “Ah, Mr. Lestrade. So nice to meet you. Molly's always talking so much about you.”
Molly rolled her eyes and Greg couldn't suppress a chuckle. Parents always had the tendency to be embarrassing in front of a date, no matter how old you are. He made his way over to Mrs. Hooper and shook her hand. “Nice, to meet you Mrs. Hooper.”
“It's a pleasure to finally have a face to all that stories. Dinner is nearly ready. Please sit.. have a seat.” She gestured towards the dinning table.

“Are you allowed to drink alcohol, Mr. Lestrade?” Molly's father asked
“For god's sake, Dad. Why shouldn't he?” Molly replied annoyed.
“I don't know. Maybe because of some medication he takes. Or maybe it's not save to combine alcohol and..” he nodded towards Greg's wheelchair, “ know?”
“Neil!” Mrs. Hopper scolded her her husband.
“No it's fine. As long as I'm not drink-driving. But I must admit I don't even know if there is a legal limit concerning alcohol and wheelchairs, which is a bit embarrassing considering the fact that I'm a Police Officer and in a wheelchair. ” Greg joked trying to rescue the situation.
Molly's mother let out a hearty laugh. “I like your attitude.”

After they had finished dinner Mr. Hooper and Greg settled over to the living room while Molly helped her mother clearing the table.
Mr. Hooper poured Greg a glass of whisky. “So Molly said you work for the Met?”
“Yes, I'm a Detective Inspector at Scotland Yard. I work at the Homicide and Serious Crime Division and am leading one of the Murder Investigation Teams there.”
“And you're working there right now? I mean do they...”
“No not right now. I'm still on sick leave at the moment. But I'll soon be returning to work.”
“That's good. I mean a man has got to work doesn't he? Nothing worse than sitting around all day doing nothing.”
From the corner of his eyes Greg saw how in the dining room Molly put her head into her hands out of sheer frustration.
“Well, yeah. Sometime you don't have a choice, do you?” he answered politely and took a sip from his whiskey. “Hmm, that's a really good one. I like it when they have that hint of the sea in them.”
“Thank you. It's one of my favourites.”

Molly returned from the kitchen. “Mum asked if you could lend her a hand.”
After her Dad had left the living room Molly put her arms over Greg's shoulders and gave him a kiss on his temple. “You're alright?”
“Yes, all fine. Hadn't been on this site of the typical interrogation for a long time. Normally it's me who asked the questions to the girls my eldest had been bringing home.” he let out a laugh. “God I think the last time I was on this end was when I met the parents of my ex-wife some 20 years ago.“
Molly chuckled. “You're doing great, Greg. My mother loves you. And I'm certain that my dad likes you too. Just ignore the stupid questions he tends to ask.”
“I guess my son tells his girlfriends exactly the same things about me.” Greg laughed.
“You've got a son, Mr. Lestrade?” Molly's father, who had returned with his wife from the kitchen, asked.
Greg turned around “Yes, two in fact.” “From my first marriage.” he added.
“Oh that's lovely. How old are they?” Mrs. Hooper asked, trying to ignore the disapproving face of her husband.
“14 and 17.”
“Oh that's quite a difficult age, then.”
Greg laughed. “It is indeed. On the plus side they're living with their mother in Scotland so when they come to visit they only show their best side. Well mostly that is.”
“James and Oliver are great, they had that great idea of a surprise birthday party for Greg a couple of month ago,” Molly said.
“Yes and I'm still mad at you three for keeping me in the dark for so long,” Greg laughed.

They talked about different topics when Greg noticed that it was time to use the toilet. He leaned over to Molly asking for the way and then excused himself.
He was on his way back when heard Molly's father saying: “Yes, but will he be able to support you? What if you want to start a family? He's a lot older than you and can he even have kids let alone raise them with his disability?”
“Neil, these things are of no concern to us,” Molly's mother said, sounding rather embarrassed.
“Yes, Dad. That's none of your business. His injuries are most likely not even permanent and even if - I love him the way he is and I don't care what you or other small-minded people think. Our relationship is not different to any other relationship.“
“I'm not small-minded. I'm just concerned. ”
“Well I really like him, Molly. And I think you two are perfect for each other.” Greg heard Molly's mother say.
“But what if..“ Molly's father started again only to be interrupted by Greg who rounded the corner trying to look as if he had heard nothing of that previous conversation even though he hurt deep inside. Suddenly there was an uncomfortable silence, everybody probably wondering how much he had heard. Greg leaned over, took his glass and send a small smile around before taking a sip.
“That's a lovely house you have, “ Greg said to break the silence. And with a huge grin he added “And some nice pictures of young Molly.”
“They are great aren't they?” Molly's mother agreed.
“No! They are embarrassing.”
Greg placed his glass on the table. “No you look really nice in them. That 80s and 90s look really suited you.” He quickly had to move back to avoid getting hit by Molly. “Oi! What was that for?”
“You do know that one day we will be at your parents. And then...oh no I forgot. When you were young cameras weren't even invented, ” she joked.
Greg grabbed his heart. “Ouch, now that hurt.”
“Deal with it. You're old enough,” Molly teased. “And now come back to the table, I'm not going to hit you, I promise.”
Carefully Greg moved back but positioned himself a bit further away from Molly. “Just to be on the save side,” he laughed
Molly's father leaned over to him and whispered: “She got that from her mother who got it from hers. If I were you I would run as fast as I could. For me it's too late, but you still have the chance to escape the Jefferson temper.”
“I heard that, Peter!”
Greg laughed. “I'm afraid it's to late for me as well. She completely got me under her thumb.” That earned him an evil look from Molly.
“Do you want another whisky?” Molly's father asked.
“Thanks, I would love to but I shouldn't. Even though I'm off the heavy stuff I'm still taking painkillers. Think I've had enough for tonight.” He looked over to Molly who send him a proud smile.
“Fair enough.” Mr. Hooper said pouring himself another drink.

An hour later they sat in a cab back to Greg's flat. They rode in silence for quite a while until Molly leaned forward and put her hands on Greg's left knee. “Listen, I don't know how much you had heard but when you came back from the toilet I could see on your face that something had hurt you. I'm so so sorry. You know my father really likes you. He sometimes just doesn't recognize that some things he says are offensive.”
“It's Ok Molly. He only worries about you. And he does have a point with the age difference. I mean it won't be long until I'm an old pensioner who's sitting at the window all day, complaining over everything and everybody that moves past.”
“Oh god, so you heard what he said about us having no future. I'm...I don't know what to say.” She looked down, not daring to look Greg into the eyes.
“Molly, it's alright. It did hurt, yes. But you know what? Your father won't be the last person to ask such things as long as I'm in that chair. I will most likely have to deal with even worse stuff as soon as I'm out of rehab and move around the real world more frequently. Let alone when I start working again. But do you know what had helped me in that moment? Your answer. That you love me and that you really want to spend the future with me together, no matter what.” He watched Molly who was still not looking at him. He leaned forward as much as he could and gently moved her chin up. “ Don't beat yourself up about that. I enjoyed the evening non the less. I liked your parents. Your mother is great and your father has a lot in common with mine. “ He smiled at her.
“You're right.” She ran her hand through her hair. “Oh and I'm still mad at both of you for bonding against me and my mother.” Molly added laughing.
Greg raised his hands in defence. “I didn't bond against your mother, only against you.” That answer earned him a soft bump against his left chin. “Ow, that was the leg with feeling in it.” he whined playfully.
“I know, the other one would have been pointless, wouldn't it?”
“You're a mean, mean woman, Molly Hooper.”

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