“How was work this week?” Molly asked snuggling herself against Greg who had laid down on the couch. He was still breathing heavily from the walking exercise he had done before. They had seen each other mostly on the weekends the last two weeks as Greg had often been in a bad mood when he came home from work and Molly had been to stressed out from her own job to put up with this every day.
“Bloody boring as usual. All I'm doing is paperwork and all the bloody boring stuff no one else bothers to do because they are all out on crime scenes, interviews or looking for suspects. Feels like I'm a Constable all over again.” Greg moaned. “The only times I get out of the office is on lunch break. It's even worse, now that I'm on full time again.”
“So how's the case going, then?” Greg had told her, that he was working on a case, where a rich business man had been found dead.
Greg casually played with her hair. “Well the case is going good. We know who killed the man, now it's just a matter of catching her and get her to confess.
“Yep, his wife. Wanted to cash in on his life insurance and run away with her lover. We dubbed her the Black Widow.”
“Well you'd been lucky then, that your ex wife only decided to divorce you.” Molly teased.
Greg let out a loud laugh. “Yeah, I guess you're right.”
After a while Greg broke the silence.
“Molly?” he asked, propping himself up on one arm. “I want to ask you something.”
Molly turned her head and looked at him. “What is it, Greg?”
Greg cleared his throat and licked his lips nervously. “We're together for how long now? A year? And I really enjoy the times you stay at my flat, so I was wondering,” Greg stopped and took a deep breath, “I was wondering if you would want to move in with me? We can look for a new flat or you can move in here.” He ran his tongue over his lips and looked her in the eyes. “You don't have to decide now, of course.”
A smile broke out on Molly's face. “I would love to move in with you.” She gave him a long kiss. “And if it's okay for you do redecorate this bachelor flat a bit I am more that happy to move in here. The location is really nice and it's nearer to my work.”
Greg looked around his flat. It was indeed furnished very practically. The living room consist of a couch with a small table in front of it and a table on the opposite site of the room, on which his flat screen was standing on. There were nearly no decorations to be found and the whole furniture was more or less cobbled together. Everything had been chosen because of it's price and practicability not particular if it fits the rest. He chuckled slightly. Molly and he would have a lot to do to turn this mess in to a nice flat. “Yes of course. Let's make this a nice liveable flat.”
The next weeks they spend on deciding which of Greg's furniture would get kicked out and what was allowed to stay which was mostly nothing.
“Well when you said you were going to replace my furniture I thought you meant some and not all of it.” Greg grunted after he had seen the plan Molly had laid out for the redecoration.
“It's not all of it. You get to keep your wardrobe and the bed. But you must admit that my living room furniture is way more beautiful than yours and it would fit perfectly in here.”
Greg mumbled something obscure and after a brief discussion succumbed to his fate.
It finally was the day that Molly was moving in. Greg as well as Molly had called a few mates to help them. Greg was sitting outside his apartment complex waiting for the vans to arrive.
“Right up here. The door is open. Anything I can help you with?”
“Nah, we've got the furnitures in here. The girls and boxes are in the other van. There should be some light ones in 'em. Good god does she have much stuff.”
Greg felt bad that he wasn't of much help and was stuck to managing where to put what but he put on a smile. “ Yeah, still not sure how she thinks that it'll all fit in my flat,” he joked and watched as the men unloaded Molly's furnitures.
A couple of minutes later the second van arrived. Greg greeted Molly with a kiss and told her that his mates were already carrying up her furnitures.
“Great. Let's get the rest of the stuff in.” Molly said and walked back to the Van were Zinat and Carina were getting out. They walked over to Greg and greeted him with a hug. They had met regularly after the night in the pub especially after Zinat and Peter stared dating. “Still looking forward to Molly moving in?” Zinat joked.
“Well, you think she would let me change my opinion?” Greg answered laughing and got an elbow in the ribs from Molly as a reply. “Ow!” He rubbed his side. “See what I have to endure?”
“I would call that an unprovoked attack on a Police Officer, mate.” Thomas said and clapped his hands. “Right, these boxes won't carry themselves up to your flat.”
Greg helped carrying up some of the lighter boxes which he could put on his lap and after there were only the heavy stuff left he stayed in the flat and tried to coordinate the boxes into the right rooms.
2 hours later they had finally unloaded both of the vans. Greg had joined Peter and Thomas on the balcony where they were having a cigarette. He eyed them enviously.
“You want one too?” Peter asked and held out the pack.
“I would love to but Molly will kill me if she found out that I still smoke. Said I'm not even allowed to think about it until my lungs are fully healed and even then I better don't start again.”
“I think she's right, “ Thomas said. “It's not good that you are smoking again. Even if it's just occasionally. I mean you hadn't smoked for how long? During your stay in hospital and at least most of your stay in rehab, right? Shouldn't have started again, Greg.”
“Yeah I know. Think it was stress and frustration that had made me start again.” Greg shrugged his shoulders and looked over to Molly who was laughing with her friends in the kitchen. “But I guess you're right. I should try and stop.”
“So how's your therapy going then” Thomas asked, nodding over to the walker which was standing in a corner in the living room.
“Pretty good. Hope to ditch that thing from hell soon for crutches. Makes me look less grandpa-y when I'm in public. Not that I go out with that thing.”
Thomas and Peter laughed.
“Yeah, grey hair and a walker doesn't make you look like you're in the prime of your life.” Peter said and Thomas added laughing: “ but with Molly at your side people must think your bloody rich.”
Greg laughed. “Never seen it that way.“ He slightly shook his beer bottle, “shall we go back inside? My beer is empty and I'm kinda afraid of what the women are plotting.” He nodded over to Molly and her friends who were looking over to them, laughing suspiciously.
After everybody had left and they were alone Greg pulled Molly close and gave her a kiss. “You know, it actually looks quite nice with your furnitures.” he said smirking.
“See, I told you it does.”
Their friends had helped them to put up the furnitures and now all they had to do in the next couple of days was to unpack the mass of boxes.
“You know you should use that thing more often.” Molly said putting the walker, Greg had used to show his friends his walking, back into the corner. “Not just around your flat.”
Greg shook his head. “I'm not going to use that thing outside.”
“Why not? It'll help your walking.”
“Yeah, maybe. But I will look – and feel actually – like a bloody granddad. Plus I'm really slow as you may have noticed and not really able to walk long distances, so the wheelchair is still the best way to move around I'm afraid.”
“What about crutches, then? I think your walking has improved to a level where you could try them if you don't want to walk with a walker in public. We take the wheelchair with us of course. So that you can sit down any time you want. And what about at work? I mean you could at least use it while you are at the Yard.”
“No!” He pointed his finger at her. “No, no no, no, Molly. I am not using that thing at work.” He spit out the last part of the sentence.
“Molly, no! End of discussion.” Greg abruptly turned around and made his way into the kitchen to get himself something to drink. He then stopped and turned back towards her. “What's that all about anyway? You're suddenly tired of having a partner in a wheelchair? Embarrassed to walk next to me in public? Deal with it Molly. It will be like this for quite some time, if not for ever.”
Molly sighted. The doctor had told them that Greg should practice as often as possible with the walker to help improve his walking. He did use it at home but as soon as Molly proposed to go outside so that he could walk longer distances without having to turn around after a couple of steps, Greg shut down. The walking was still quite wobbly, his right leg mostly dragging along when Greg thought he wasn't watched and Molly always scolded him when she noticed but he was walking on his own and he was able to do it for more than just a couple of steps. She could only guess why Greg didn't want to use the walker or crutches in public or at work but it probably was because he was afraid of what the people would think and that they would stare. More than some already did.
Deep down she wanted to shout at him for being such a stubborn idiot. Make him see that it was nothing to be ashamed of and that she would be with him if they go outside. But Molly knew Greg long enough now, to know that he would just get even more angry and possibly depressed and it would all end in a nasty fight. Nastier than this fight had already gotten. So she kept quiet and walked over to him. She knelt down in front of him and put her hands on his legs. “Listen to me Greg. I'm not ashamed of you. What makes you think of that? I love you. And I'll love you no matter if you will be in this chair forever or not. It's not about that. I just want the best for you and right now I think it is to walk as much as possible to get as much movement back as possible.” She looked Greg in his eyes. “Okay?”
Greg gave a nod. “Yeah, I guess. Sorry for overreacting.”
“It's alright. Hard day and stuff.”
Greg poured himself a glass of water and made his way into the living room. Yes his walking had improved a great deal and during his PT sessions he had been told to walk as much as possible with that dreaded walker and try with crutches from time to time. He still had to concentrate very hard to move his right leg, but at least it had gotten better. But it had been 11 month since he had gotten injured and Greg was now at a point where he wasn't sure if his walking would ever improve to a level where he would be able to walk without any aids. And he was afraid that if he would move to crutches he would fall, loosing his balance too easily. He moved to the couch and closed his eyes, letting his head fall back, sighing deeply. After a while he felt Molly sitting down next to him.
“What's wrong, Greg? You look really sad. Is it about what I said?”
Greg opened his eyes and looked over to Molly. “Nah, it's all fine.”
Molly gave him a long look. It wasn't hard to see that nothing was fine right now but she couldn't push that topic any further. After their last big fight they had agreed that she wouldn't push any topics Greg doesn't want to talk about and Greg had promised to not let his bad mood out on her anymore. The agreement had worked surprisingly well the last month.
“Ok,” she said and got up. “I'm going to do the laundry and try to clear the bedroom of some boxes.” She was nearly out of the room when Greg started. “ Well, to be honest I'm not fine at the moment.” Molly turned around and sat down again.
“You know,” Greg turned his head towards her, “sometimes when I lay awake at night I ask myself what could I possible have done to deserve all of this. I should have noticed that something was off. I mean why didn't I leave when I had the chance? He left for a few minutes for fuck’s sake. I should've run and then called Sally.”
“You don't deserve any of this Greg. And it's not your fault. This madman wanted you dead. There is nothing you could've done. He knocked you down. You were concussed.”
“You know what else troubles me? McNish wanted me killed, I get that. He thinks it's my fault that his father had been killed. But I mean why now? It's been years since his father has died on that raid, he could've gotten his revenge any time he wanted. Shoot me in an alley. Bash my head in, drown me in the Thames. Like Sherlock said I'm incredibly easy to kill. Why going through so much trouble? Why stage a murder and wait for me to interview Greydon? It just doesn't make any sense.”
“I don't know, Greg. I honestly don't know. Didn't he say
anything during the questionings?”
“No, well at least not as far as I know. Sherlock's brother Mycroft holds him in some government facility, waiting for my call so that he can officially be booked and stand trial.”
“Why haven't you done that already? I mean isn't it months since Sherlock had found him?”
Greg looked down and licked his lips. “ I don't know. I guess I wanted to be able to walk when I face him in the court room. Showing him that he couldn't bring me down but I guess....” he didn't finished the sentence and shrugged his shoulders instead.
“Sometimes your stubbornness is just unbelievable, Greg.” Molly said shaking her head.
“How long where you planning on waiting? Do you think Mycroft will be able to keep McNish in this prison for an infinite amount of time?”
Greg shrugged his shoulders. “Well no, but..”
“We have a legal system here. Human rights and a lot of other stuff which ensures that people can't be imprisoned for an infinite amount of time without being convicted. Even if done by basically the government. Your a Police Officer for Christ's sake, Greg. You of all people should know that.”
Greg looked at her with big eyes. He hadn't expected such a dressing down.
“I understand that it is hard for you thinking about looking the man who had ordered to kill you in the eyes but it needs to be done. Either that or giving a video statement.”
“I'm not giving the bastard that satisfaction.”
“See. So call Mycroft, tell him to get McNish ready for trial. And I'm pretty sure that if you tell him to set the date in about 2 month your walking will have improved enough so that you can easily walk in court with crutches.”
“Yeah, you just need to practice regularly. Start using them and start walking longer distances.”
Greg looked at Molly. When he had first met her he would have never thought that she could be so bossy. He sighed. “Right, I'm going to call him first thing Monday morning.”
Molly smiled. She had killed two birds with one stone. She had finally gotten him to face McNish. He had never told her before of his fear but a couple of weeks ago she had overhead a conversation with his mates about his fear of meeting McNish in court. She had waited for the right moment to push him towards his luck and now it had finally arrived. Plus he will now be working harder on his walking. Greg had been giving up too easy during the last week.
“So any plans for next weekend?”
“Well on Saturday I'm going to watch my mates play and then we're off going to see the Arsenal but on Sunday I'm all yours.”
“If your not suffering from a hangover, that is.” Molly said half jokingly. She knew just too well how it could end when Greg was out with his mates.
“Just a couple of pints after the game and then I'm heading straight back home,” Greg gave Molly a kiss.
“No need to hurry. I think I'm going to go out with some friends. When does the game start?“
“Kick off is 4pm. Good to know, I won't be home early then.”
The next weekend Greg put on his kit after breakfast and made his way towards the football field where the team he used to play at before his injury was playing today. More or less every Unit of the Yard has its own football team and they played against each other on a regular basis.
He spotted Peter and the rest of his team and made his way over. They greeted each other with a hug. “So who are we playing today?” Greg asked.
“The guys from the Gang Unit.”
“Uh shit. They're tough.”
“Yeah, thanks for your support mate.” Peter said in an ironic tone.
“Which doesn't mean that you can't beat them. Even though your best man is out for now.” Greg laughed.
“Yeah, in your dreams.”
“You here to see your team loose, Lestrade?” Johnson, one of the guys from the Gang Unit shouted while walking over to Greg and Peter.
“Funny I was about to ask you the same.” Greg answered, shaking Johnson's hand.
“Won't happen, Lestrade. Won't happen. But it's good to see you're back. Heard about the shooting. What a bastard.”
“Yeah, but couldn't bring me down, could he? Still here, still working for the Yard while McNish will rot in prison.”
“Good to hear. Would've missed working with you on joined cases.” Johnson replied and gave Greg a slap on the shoulder.
Greg smiled and made his way over to his team mates.
It had been an intense game but the Murder Investigation Team beat the Gang Unit 2:1.
The typical banter had been exchanged after the match and now Greg, Peter and a couple of other mates who weren't coppers where sitting in a pub in Holloway, waiting until it's time to walk over to the ground.
“Are you sitting with us or will you be over in one of the, the... well you know..” one of Greg's friends asked.
“Disabled areas? Well I'm afraid yes. Dunno how far that'll be away from where we usually are sitting, though.”
Peter leant forward “Fear not. Remember when I asked you to not get the tickets over your Season Tickets or Membership Cards but instead let me get them ? Well I put in a phone call or two to get us the tickets and managed to get us all pretty close together. Greg and one other person, I forgot who, will be sitting in the disabled area, the rest will be having seats close by so that we all sit together more or less.”
“How the hell did you manage that?”
“You probably won't like this and I'm terribly sorry but I might have played the copper injured in the line of duty card. Would never have thought that it'll work but it did. I just wanted it for you to be like before as much as possible, you know.” Peter said with an apologetic look on his face.
Greg looked at Peter. Yeah, he wasn't really happy as he preferred to keep the circumstances about his injury quiet. But still he was very thankful that Peter has gone through great lengths to make sure that he will be with his mates during the game. Greg had to fight back some tears of emotion. He cleared his throat. “Thanks mate, I really appreciate.”
Greg had a blast at the game. He enjoyed cheering with his friends. Peter was right, it almost felt like before the injury. It was a really nerve wrecking game. Arsenal had been in the lead but caught 2 counter goals just before half time and it was now a draw. It felt good exchanging the typical banter with his friends and other supporter's during half time while quickly downing a pint. He had quite a depressive episode lately and days like this, doing things he had always loved with his friends, helped him cope. “You daft? Alexis and Santi overrated? Sanchez was one of the best purchases Wenger had made in the summer. Even though he hasn't scored today I tell you this guy is awesome.” Greg told a mate who was arguing that the Chilean and Spaniard were totally overrated. “And did you even see Cazorla? He's the bomb today.”
“Absolutely,” one of his friends agreed. A couple of heat-full arguments, only disrupted by some chants, later they made their way back to watch the game and just to prove the point Greg had earlier made, Alexis Sanchez shot the victory goal with an assist by Özil.
They celebrated the victory in a supporter's pub and after a couple of pints a very happy and slightly tipsy Detective Inspector made is way home.
When Greg exited the elevator on his floor he was greeted by an incredible noise. It sounded like a flock of geese had landed in his flat. He shook his head and took off his jacket and shoes before making his way into the living room. What he found there were Molly and 5 other women and it seemed to Greg that all of them were talking at once.
“Gosh I heard you halfway through the building,” Greg joked laughing.
“Hey Greg. Didn't expect you home so early.” Molly got up and gave Greg a kiss.
“Yeah, been a long day today actually. And Peter is on duty tomorrow so I decided to leave with him so that we could share a cab to the next accessible tube station. Didn't you want to go out?”
“Yeah, we're just about to leave.” Molly said and introduced Greg to the friends he hasn't met already. “How was your day?”
“Good. We finally beat the Gang Unit and Arsenal later won.”
“Hey why don't you join us?” one of Molly's friends asked. “Molly wanted to show us a pub around the corner.”
For a moment he thought about declining. He was really worn out from the day and his shoulders and back were hurting. But he didn't want to seem rude, or old and boring as a matter of fact, so he accepted.
And even though he would vehemently deny it in any future conversations, he secretly had enjoyed being the only cock in the yard that evening.
On Monday Greg got an mail from Mycroft that the court date will most likely be in 6 weeks. He was finally working full time and own cases again though he still was on boring desk- and paperwork. The most exiting moment was when he had been out to check a couple of hunting stores if a certain gun had been bought there recently. Normally this was a job the new constables were ordered to do as none of the senior officers were pretty keen on spending the whole day running around London from one shop to another. But this already had been at least 3 weeks ago and Greg was about to suffer from cabin fever if he wasn't leaving this office soon. So he called one of the new guys in his office, a scrawny boy not much older than 22 who just recently had been assigned to his team and told him that he had gotten the whereabouts of the lover of the suspect and that they should fetch him in for questioning. Constable Brown tried his best but Greg could see that he wasn't very happy doing something both of them weren't really supposed to do.
“With all due respect, Sir. But don't you think we could get in trouble for this? One of the response cars could do that for us if..”
“Oh shut up Brown,” Greg interrupted him. “I'm this close in actually killing somebody if I'm not getting out of this office soon and do some proper police work. I bet you didn't imagine your job at CID just consisting of putting data into a computer or run across town to find a certain type of hammer, did you?”
Brown shook his head.
“See. And don't worry. I got your back if there should be trouble with the bosses.
“Sir?” Constable Brown asked concerned after they had arrived at the location. “Shouldn't we call some back up and wait?” Upon arriving at the location they were told by a neighbour that he just had witnessed two people fighting in front of the apartment and heard screaming afterwards from the inside.
“Of course we call it in. Do it. But we have to go inside nonetheless. Can't risk her getting away.” Greg slowly pushed the front door open which they had found ajar. He carefully avoided the bloodstains on it and told Brown to check the rooms upstairs, while he took care of the ones on the ground floor.
He announced that he was police and heard Brown doing the same upstairs. He heard a soft bang from the end of the corridor as if someone was trying to close a door as quietly as possible but had failed in this endeavour. Adrenalin started rushing through Greg's veins. He knew that it was utterly stupid to go in without any proper backup but god had he missed this feeling. The rush he always felt when there was a certain element of danger to a situation. A feeling he knew he somehow couldn't live without.
Greg slowly made his way towards the door at the end of the corridor. It was also smeared with blood. There was no blood on the floor or on the walls, so it seemed to Greg that the attacker either banged the victims head against the doors or his or the victims hands were smeared with it and had been left there when the doors had been opened. He carefully pushed the door open and saw a body lying on the floor. Blood was poring from wounds to his torso and a laceration on his head. The door to the balcony was closed but Greg could see that the handle was still turned sideways as if somebody had closed the it from the outside. “Don't need to be a Sherlock Holmes to figure out that somebody is hiding on it.” Greg thought to himself. Most likely under the table which was covered by a cloth.
He made his way towards the body and carefully bend down to feel for a pulse and let out a sigh of relieve when he found one. He moved from his chair to the floor, not letting the balcony door out of sight, and pressed his hands on the wounds to slow down the bleeding.
“Nothing upstairs, Sir.” Brown said suddenly behind him and made Greg jump. “Jesus, Brown. Don't sneak up on me like that.”
“Shit, sorry Sir. Didn't meant to surprise you. Oh shit. Is that our guy?” He added and nodded towards the body in front of Greg.
“Yep, that's him. He's still alive luckily.” Greg nodded towards the balcony, “ wanna do your first arrest for the Yard?”
Brown looked at him quizzically. “Sir?”
“The Black Widow, I'm quite sure she's hiding on the balcony. Think the poor sod here got cold feet and wanted to go to the police. She wasn't happy about his plan and tried to finish him off. Got interrupted and is now freezing her ass off on the balcony. Nowhere to go from there.”
Sirens could be heard in the distance, but still seemed pretty far away, “So do you want to arrest her or shall I and the backup get all the glory?”
Brown walked over to the door and opened it. “Right, lady. We now that you are here. Come out with your hands over your head. Do not give us any reason to use force on you.”
Greg saw the woman slowly crawling out from beneath the table, holding a long kitchen knife. He tensed. Brown produced his baton. “Drop your weapon!” but she kept walking towards him, knife risen above her head.
“Drop it. Now.” Greg bellowed. She looked over to him then to her lover on the floor and let the knife fall down, tears streaming down her face. Brown quickly pinned her to the wall and arrested her on the suspicion of the murder and grievous body harm. “I'm so sorry,” she mumbled when Brown let her past the body on the floor. “ I didn't meant to. Will he be alright?”
“Bit too late now, innit?” Greg replied, still trying to stop the bleeding. “Get the medics in here asap, this guy's bleeding out,” he shouted to Brown, pressing harder on the wound. The man in front of him moaned in pain. “You'll be fine. Just hang on, okay?” Greg tried to reassure him. Suddenly a thought crossed his mind, that it must have looked similar when he had gotten shot. A picture popped up in his head showing him lying on the floor while John was putting pressure on his wounds. “Shit not now,” Greg cursed. His breathing quickened and he had to use all his willpower to keep the panic attack at bay.
A few minutes later a couple of police officer and 2 paramedics entered. Greg pushed himself back up in his chair, ignoring the surprised stares of the other coppers, and made his way to the kitchen to wash off the blood. He scrubbed viciously with a steel scouring pad to get it off, not even noticing the pain it caused. When Greg had finally washed all the blood off his hands he rested his head on the sink and breathed slowly to calm him down. “Great,” he thought to himself. “If that's going to happen every time I get in touch with blood its good bye active duty and hello rotting away at a boring desk job.” He swore to himself that he would never ever talk to somebody about that being sure that he'll manage that problem, somehow.
On his way home from work he felt incredibly happy, despite the panic attack earlier. Normally he was just annoyed when he left the office and wanted to be home as fast as possible and to be left alone. But even though he had gotten a major bollocking from his superior it couldn't stop his good mood. The lover had survived and had made a statement so that they were able to charge the Black Widow with murder and attempted murder.
“What are you so happy about?” Molly asked after they met after work at the restaurant Greg had invited her to.
“Finally got out of the office and made an arrest today. Well the new guy did the actual arrest for obvious reason but still finally some adrenalin and excitement.” Greg still had a huge smile on his face, his eyes glowing.
Molly forced a smile. She wasn't very happy that Greg had put himself in danger. The arrest could have gone horrible wrong and Greg was in no way fit enough to defend himself properly if he were attacked. “That's good to hear. So you're officially cleared for active duty now?”
Greg shook his head. “Partly, the chief was pretty pissed off with me, actually. But still gave me permission to go out on crime scenes and do all the other stuff that isn't potentially dangerous.”
“He did?” Molly asked doubtfully.
Greg shrugged his shoulders. “Yes, took me by surprise as well, to be honest. But I think he did it because he thought that I would be doing it anyway at one point, so he spared us both some trouble.”
Greg was incredibly happy. Not only was he finally allowed to work his own cases again he was also cleared to go out to crime scenes, interrogate suspects and do all the other stuff that he had missed so badly. And Molly could see that and she hoped that it'll help with his depression even though she still disapproved him being cleared for active duty even if it was restricted. She knew him well enough that he will put himself in harm's way sooner or later again. She had noticed over the years she knew the Detective Inspector that he was prone to injuries as he was always putting his body on the front line to protect his team or anyone else he cared for.
“I'm happy for you. But please be careful, okay?”
“I will,” he promised.
The next weeks Greg was busy working a case where the victims were killed in their beds. They had no leads whatsoever and Greg was considering to let Sherlock in. The press was all over it, putting pressure on him and his team to catch the killer as soon as possible. The Met had scheduled a press conference where Greg was supposed to calm the press down and tell them that they were very close on catching the killer. That was an outright lie but Greg did his best to feed it to the press. He hated press conferences, always had. Hated how the press wrote about him afterwards. Especially the yellow press.
So when Molly came home from work that day she did her best to uplift Greg's mood. Greg had settled on the couch, eyes closed, dozing. She walked over and placed a soft kiss on his forehead.
Greg yawned and opened his eyes. “Hey.”
“Hey, saw you on the telly today. You looked good.”
Greg groaned and sat up. “Please don't remind me. It was absolutely horrible.”
“No you did great. And the reports weren't that bad.”
Greg huffed. “Yeah whatever. You're hungry?” He asked, about to get up to make dinner. Since they were officially living together they had made the deal that whoever came home first was on kitchen duty.
“Stay put, I'm going to make dinner tonight.” Molly said. “I bought us some nice steaks, thought that it might cheer you up.”
A huge smile formed on Greg's face. “You're a gem, Molly. Really.”
After Dinner Greg's mood had gotten significantly better and he and Molly were cuddling on the couch when the phone rang. Molly got up to answer it.
“Greg. It's for you. Your ex-wife. Something about the visit of your sons last weekend.”
Greg groaned and took the phone. “Yes?”
“How are you?” Jane, his ex wife, greeted him.
“Good. What do you want?”
“Oliver just failed his maths test.” his ex-wife in a tone Greg just knew too well.
“And how exactly is that supposed to be my fault?” He clamped the phone between his ear and shoulder and made his way to the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
“I told you that he was supposed to study over the weekend.”
“For Christ's sake, Jane. It has been months since he had been back in London. He wanted to meet with friends, do stuff with me. I haven't seen him in ages and you expect me to tell him to stay at the flat and study?” Greg said loudly.
“It's okay Greg, there is no need to...”
“No it's not okay. You bloody cheated on me and then dragged our children up to Scotland. Nothing about that is okay,” he shouted. “You talked me into believing that it would be the best if the kids were living with you because of my working hours. I thought that this was fine. Thought that you would stay in London with them and that I could see them more often than any couple of months. That they would stay with me every other weekend or during the week.”
“I didn't know that we were going to move to Scotland.”
“That's bullshit Jane and you know that. You knew damn well that you were going to move. But you were just too much of a coward to tell me, afraid that I would want sole custody then. I bloody miss my sons and I'm not letting you dictate how we are supposed to spend the few days we actually get with each other. Oh and by the way. The boys are going to spend the whole Christmas holidays with me and Molly this year. And yes, that also includes Christmas day, Christmas eve and Boxing Day.” With that Greg ended the call and threw the phone onto the bed.
“Aargh,” he screamed, pressing his hands against his forehead. “That bloody...” He wished he could kick something, instead he curled his right hand to a fist and punched the wardrobe.”Fuck!”
A soft knock made him stop before he could punch the furniture a second time.
“Mind if I come in?” Molly asked with a soft voice.
“No, please do.”
Molly sat down on the bed. “You alright?”
Greg rubbed the knuckles on his hand. “Damn that had hurt,” he thought. “Yes, well no. I don't know. This woman just pisses me off.”
“What did she want?”
“Oliver failed in a test and now she thinks it's my fault because he didn't study when he was here for the weekend. And then I might have lost it a bit.”
“I could hear that.” Molly said with a smile.
“Sorry, didn't meant to shout.”
“It's okay. I can understand that.”
“I might have made a mistake, though” Greg said after a pause.
Molly raised her eyebrows. “What did you do?”
“Well, as I said I got a bit carried away and with that I told her that James and Oliver are going to spend the whole Christmas holidays with us.” Greg squinted his eyes and looked at Molly apologetically. “I know that I should have talked to you about that beforehand but it just came out in the heat of the moment. I couldn't stop it. Please don't be mad.”
Molly gave Greg a long look. “Would have been better, yeah. I'm slightly taken by surprise. And 2 teenage boys staying for nearly 2 weeks is a bit different to having them over for a weekend. But I love them and I know that it hurts you that you don't see them so often so I think I'm okay with that. And maybe it gives us a reason to drop out of the awkward Christmas party John is most likely planning again at Baker Street.”
Greg laughed. “You know that without that Christmas Party I would've probably never have hit on you.”
“Oh god, that was so embarrassing, me completely overdressed.”
“Yeah, but you looked absolutely gorgeous.” He wheeled over to where Molly was sitting and moved next to her. He suppressed a slight hiss when the movement send some pain through his back. He had walked a lot with crutches at home over the week and that had aggravated the usual pain he sometimes had.
He leaned over to Molly and softly kissed her neck. “As you do every day, as a matter of fact.” he whispered and slowly pushed her shirt up when suddenly his mobile started ringing. He groaned and looked on the display who the caller was and if he could be ignored. “Sorry, I'm afraid I have to take this.” he said.
Molly pulled her shirt back down and listened to the conversation.
“Are you still at the Yard?”
“Can you pick me up on the way? Will be easier than going by tube.”
“Yeah, I'm pretty much ready. Gimme a call when you're outside.”
“Alright, see you then.” Greg ended the call and turned to Molly. “Sorry, Gotta go. That was Donovan. They found another body.”
“The bedroom killer case?”
“Yes, God I hope he made some mistake this time,” he called over from the hallway were he was putting on his shoes and jacket. His phone rang again. “I'll be downstairs in a second.” Molly heard him say. Greg then returned to the bedroom and gave her a kiss. “Don't wait up. It'll probably be late.”
Molly sighed, sometimes it was hard being with a copper. A new body in a case like that always meant that he was going to work long hours the following days, following every possible new lead. At least she knew that she'll most likely see Greg tomorrow at work when she's doing the post mortem.
Molly had been right. The pressure by the press grew and during the following week Greg worked himself to the ground. He went to work early and when he came home late he tried his best to spend time with her but it always ended with him falling asleep after a short time only to be woken by Molly, telling him to go to bed.
At the end of the week Greg was utterly exhausted. All he wanted to do was to sleep for 2 days straight but they had been invited by Greg's parents to come over as they finally wanted to meet the new woman in his life.
At least his parent's lived a couple of hours away in Devon so he used the drive to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Molly stopped the car in front of the house of Greg's parents. It was an old Farmhouse surrounded by fields.
Greg stretched his arms before opening his door and with Molly's help got the crutches from the back seats. He positioned his legs and slowly stood up. His parents had already noticed their arrival and where standing on their porch. Greg smiled at the yelp of surprise which escaped his mother's lips upon seeing her son standing up. The last time they had seen each other he had hardly been able to move his legs. So he really wanted to surprise them with this.
“Oh my god Gregory. You're walking.” His mother exclaimed when he made his way towards them. Tears of joy were running down her face.
“Only short distances and really really slow as you can see but it's a start, innit?”
“It's amazing.” His mother had closed the gap between them and gave him a careful hug. Greg looked over to his father and thought that he saw a couple of tears in his eyes as well.
“Good to see you up and about again,” he said and greeted his son with a hug. He then stepped back and held his hand out to Molly. “Nice to finally meet you officially, Miss Hooper.”
Upon Greg's puzzled face Molly explained that they had run into each other a couple of times at the hospital.
“Your mother and I might be old but we're not stupid. We noticed that there must have been something going on between you two.”
Greg laughed uncomfortably. “Right, yeah. Shall we go inside? Gets a bit cold, doesn't it?”
Greg's father helped Molly with their luggage and Greg's wheelchair and showed them were they were going to sleep.
“Normally we would have given you Greg's old room which we turned to a guest room after he had moved out but it's upstairs so yeah... you get to sleep in our bedroom.”
“It's a very nice here. Never thought you grew up so rural.” Molly said while they were sitting around the dinner table.
“I didn't. We moved here from London when I was a teenager. And I hated it to be honest.”
“But it was for your best, wasn't it? You were getting in a lot of troubles back then,” Greg's father leaned over to Molly. “Gregory was quite a rebel in his teenage years.”
Molly let out a hearty laugh. “You were what?”
“Come on, it wasn't that bad that we had to move. You got a job offer here, that was why we moved.”
“Not that bad? Smoking god knows what stuff, sneaking out of the flat on a frequent level to go get drunk and skipping school. Getting into fights? Sometimes he was gone for days until the police brought him back or he returned because he ran out of money.”
Molly looked at Greg and his parents, utterly amazed. “Really?”
Greg rolled his eyes. “It had been a phase. A lot of teenagers were doing stuff like that back then. It's not like I was a criminal.”
“Not?” His mother raised an eyebrow.
“Never convicted you mean,” his father added. “ We had to pick you up from the police a couple of times.” He looked over to his wife. “Remember when we had to pick him up from the police station all the way cross town in Brixton after he got caught breaking into the outdoor swimming pool. Sitting there with only his wet boxers on because he had lost his clothes during the chase, looking rather miserable.“
Molly couldn't stop laughing.
“Or the one time when...” his mother started but was interrupted by Greg.
“Gosh.” His face had turned alarmingly red. “Could you please stop?”
Molly rubbed his arm. “Our lovely Detective Inspector was quite a bad boy? I wonder if Sherlock knows about that stuff.”
“Don't you dare! His scary brother probably does, though.”
To the delight of Greg the conversation then stirred towards a different direction and the four of them sat together, laughing and drinking for quite some time that evening.
When Greg woke up the next morning he found Molly already awake, reading a book.
“What are you reading?” Greg asked nodding at the book Molly was holding.
“ It's 'The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest' . The third book of the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson”
“ Any good?”
“Yeah, love them. They are about a journalist, Blomkvist. In the first book he investigated the disappearance of a girl some 30 years ago, the second was about sex trade and now it's about some shady things going on inside the Swedish Security Service.”
“ Ah, I remember.”
“You remember what?” Molly asked putting the book away.
“You know, back when I was in hospital, in the ICU, I remember you reading to me.”
“You do?” Molly blushed which made Greg chuckle. He leaned over and gave her a kiss.
“I really liked it. I don't remember much of my time there but I do remember waking up to your voice reading to me. Always made me feel good, you know? And later it kept me from thinking too much. Sometimes I just didn't want to open my eyes knowing that if I did I would be back in the reality. See all that hospital stuff that surrounded me, the sorrow and all that. So I just lay there, listening to your voice, hoping that you wouldn't stop and pretended that we were some place else. Lying together in a bed and you were reading to me for some other reason not because I was lying in a hospital bed, slipping in and out of consciousness. And yeah, I think you read one of these books to me.”
Molly laid her head on Greg's shoulder and ran her hand over his chest playing with the hair.
“I did. And I'm glad that it made you happy. That it helped you escape.” She remembered sitting at Greg's bed in the ICU every day while he was heavily sedated. How he had reacted to her voice, moving his head towards her when she begun reading. How the monitors showed that it did calm him down.
“It helped a great deal. And I love you so much for that. I'm incredibly lucky to have you by my side.”
They cuddled for a while until they heard Greg's parents rummaging in the kitchen and decided that it was time to get up.
They enjoyed a hearty breakfast and after Molly had told them that she actually never had been at Exmoor they spend the next couple of hours driving around the countryside finding somewhere where they could go for a walk where Greg wouldn't get stuck with his wheelchair.
“Dad it's fine. Just park somewhere and let's go. If I can't go any further we turn around and walk back, simple as that.”
Molly reached over and squeezed Greg's hand. She knew how much he hated it when people were making things overcomplicated just because he was in a wheelchair. “Sorry,” she mouthed.
“Maybe we can find a visitor centre and ask them if they have maps that point out wheelchair accessible walks,” Greg's father offered.
Greg drew in a sharp breath. “Just park the bloody car somewhere!”
Molly rubbed her thump over his hand in an attempt to calm Greg down. She could see his frustration growing.
“Sorry for caring.” His father snapped back and pulled over onto the next parking area right next to a pub.
“It's not about that. There is simply no need to make a fuss about finding the right track. I'm not suddenly made out of glass just because I'm in a wheelchair.”
They exited the car and Greg's father looked around. “I don't even know if there's something particular interesting to see around here, “ he huffed and began walking towards an information board.
“After all that driving around we probably won't have much daylight left anyway.” Greg muttered while putting his coat and gloves on.
Greg's mother leaned over to Molly and whispered: “If you ever were wondering where Gregory got his stubbornness and temper from, well now you know.”
They both looked over to the two men who were still arguing with each other. Molly smiled. “Yeah, he sometimes can be a bit...” she stopped, trying to find the right word.
“Thick-headed?” Greg's mother offered.
“Just like his father.” And with that the two women made their way towards their men.
“No you're not going inside the bloody pub and ask.” Molly heard Greg saying. Next to her his mother sighed.
“You have my utmost respect for managing two of that kind all the years.”
“You know sometimes I thought about 'forgetting' both of them at a service station or at the shops.” Greg's mother laughed and then turned towards her husband and son. “Can we go now or are you two still busy bickering?”
Molly and Greg's father were walking ahead, Molly getting a lecture about the flora and fauna of Exmoor.
Greg and his mother followed a few feet behind. Never really having used his wheelchair in rough terrain he had underestimated the amount of stamina it took to move. So he was a bit slower than usual.
“You shouldn't be so harsh to your father. You know how he is, he only means well.”
“I know. I'm sorry. It just sometimes gets really annoying getting treated differently. That a lot of people are wrapping you up in cotton wool when you are in a wheelchair. And you do that too. I know you don't do it on purpose but still. I'm not different than before.“
“Do I? Sorry, I'll try to stop.”
“Thanks. I think I'm going to rescue Molly before Dad bores her to death with his Exmoor facts.”
Greg's mother laughed. “Yeah, that might be a good idea.”
They sped up until they had reached Molly and his father. “You're enjoying this trip, Molly?”
“Gosh, yes. Your father knows incredibly much.”
“He does, doesn't he?”
They reached a turning where they could either turn left and head back to the car park or keep walking and take a longer route back which promised some cliffs.
“Well I would op for the short route back to the car, to be honest. I'm pretty much done. It's a lot harder to move around than I had thought.” Greg said.
“Right the short route it is then,” Greg's mother said and started to turn.
“Actually I would really love to see the cliffs. Come on. It's not that far. And your father told me earlier that we have to see them. Apparently they are really steep. I'll push you if you want to. ”
“Off the cliffs?” Greg asked laughing. “What did I do to deserve that?”
“No, I wouldn't do that. Too many witnesses.” Molly laughed
“Now that's reassuring.”
“Come on, I'll buy you a beer when we're back at the pub.” she offered and after Greg finally agreed she grabbed the handles of Greg's wheelchair and they made their way towards the cliffs.
On the way back it started to rain and the four hurried to reach the pub. Greg and his mum were waiting at the table while Molly and his father were getting the drinks.
“I see what you mean now, “ Greg's mother started. “At the turning. When you said that you wanted to go back because you were tired I immediately said that we should return to the car even though I also wanted to see the cliffs. Wouldn't have said that if... you know. But Molly didn't do that. She wanted to see them and persuaded you until you agreed. I'm sorry if we...”
Greg reached over and laid his hand on his mother's arm. “ Don't be. It's something one has to get accustomed to. That's why I talked to you about that earlier. Molly sees me every day so she doesn't really notice the wheelchair anymore. You and Dad see me every couple of month for a couple of days so it's just natural that you have to get used to it. It's fine.” He saw Molly and his father return with the promised beer. “Ah finally.” Greg said and reached for his Pint.
Later that evening , when Greg and Molly made their way back to London, he kept thinking about the words his father had said to him when they had a moment alone. “Molly is a great woman, Gregory. And I know you said that you never wanted to get married again after your divorce but Molly, she's an angel, you know? You should marry her."