For thechrysalis! Hi there, I’m your Secret Santa! Hope you like it :)
Sherlock catalogued everything. Even if he deleted it from his Mind Palace later there was still a mark left behind, a type of memory residue, showing that he once knew something and later deemed it unimportant. Sherlock remembers everything (especially when it comes to Molly Hooper).
Her presence in his Mind Palace was not something he noticed initially. Instead, he found a new red door in the east wing. Little factoids about dead bodies, about decomposition and trauma and how long bruises take to form on a corpse, all filed and stacked with bruise-black markings in that room with a scarlet door (scarlet like blood, like anger). He allowed information to accumulate in that room; things he deemed useful that would help him solve cases all piled up behind that red door.
It wasn’t until the Christmas Party (the one that lives in infamy, the one he can’t delete because the green jealousy-shame residue is so strong it always recalls the memory) that he realized the door wasn’t scarlet for blood, but for lipstick. And the bruise-black markings were for her favorite color pen. There were still useful things about dead bodies and death in general in that room, but they were useful because of Molly rather than for their informational value. (She helped the Work, not just the things she did for him. His Mind Palace knew that even before he realized that about himself).
He catalogued bits and bobs about her (scarlet lipstick, bruise-black pens, silvers bows and silver scalpels, dead bodies and formaldehyde) all in that room with the red door. And when he tried to delete it (delete her), he found he couldn’t. The scarlet marking that had been left behind stood out like a blood (lipstick) stain that never came out no matter what.
So when he finally resurrected himself, it came as no surprise that the red door (Molly’s door) came back to the forefront of his mind, ready to be filled again with new facts, new experiments, new observations, new Molly.
When he saw her again and she immediately wrapped him up in a smothering hug (her skin was soft, the kiss on the cheek that Christmas party so long ago not enough to speculate, observation revised and filed with a bruise-black marking in the room with the red door), he found it odd that she did not react violently like John. It did not match the things he had filed away about her. She should have hit him, not hugged him.
He found it even more disconcerting that she continued to touch him even after the shock had worn off. She still didn’t try to hit him. She touched him even more.
A brush of her fingers over his as she passed him things, her hand on his shoulder as she leaned over him to get a better look at what he was doing, hugging him, tucking her face into his neck as she hugged him, breathing in his scent as she hugged him, there was so much hugging.
It wasn’t normal. There had never been this much contact between them before. That was mainly on Sherlock; he was not what one would call tactile and Molly had respected that, not forcing her touch on him.
But even more than her sudden increase in tactile expression, Molly was different somehow. Something had changed while he was away that Sherlock just could not deduce no matter how hard he tried. That didn’t stop him from trying.
It just made him try harder.
Things he has catalogued about Molly Hooper (night-black markings behind a red door with a silver handle):
A heightened affinity for touch, not just for him but also for everyone she deemed friends or close to her. John, Mary, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, the ex-boyfriend all took the touching in stride, feeding into her need for touch by grazing her with their fingers, returning her touches with tactile offerings of their own. It seems to reassure her, to ground her, like their touch has cemented their willingness to be near her and part of her life. Touch is used as a conduit of care.
A heightened sense of protectiveness over those she considers close to her. Evidenced mainly by her extreme aggressive protection of Mary after John discovered that Mary lied to him. Sideways looks were met with glares, ill words met with scathing retorts. The touching grew more prevalent with Mary, cut down with John during this time. Molly had Mary move in with her for the duration of Mary and John’s separation and was present each time Mary and John interacted before getting back together officially. Protectiveness ratcheted up as Mary began to show, but evened out once John and Mary reconciled. Protectiveness grows each time the baby is present now.
Tension that grew better or worse in a time period of one month that did not necessarily sync up to her menstrual cycle. She would become progressively more snappish and easy to anger until suddenly it was as if her body gave out from the pent-up aggression. She would be tired and almost sickly looking for a few days before returning to normal, only to repeat the cycle within a month’s time. This could be attributed to her menstrual cycle, as she displayed similar pattern prior to his fall. However, these patterns are much more drastic than the ones displayed by her previously. The tension also does not coincide perfectly with her menstrual cycle as her aggression will sometimes keep building after her period finishes, or will die out prior to ending her period. May eventually occur when not on her period at all.
Hypersensitivity. Has been evidenced to smells (she smelled Janine’s 5-day old perfume), sounds (mobiles on vibrate can be heard regardless of sound level in the room), emotional atmosphere (barest hint of tension correlates to her own tension skyrocketing for the duration of the interaction), and taste (can taste nicotine as much as 2 days after he smokes). Also on a monthly cycle similar to her tension, but her baseline of sensitivity has gone up from before his resurrection.
Conclusion: Molly has somehow been changed into the mythical creature known as a werewolf. Follow-up Conclusion: The previous conclusion is incorrect and must be reevaluated. Werewolves are not real.
Sherlock is sure that he once learned about werewolves (and vampires, and witches, possibly prior to learning of pirates). There is a faint greyish mark just down the hall from the scarlet door with the silver handle (inscribed in night-black with Molly Hooper on the front) that seems to call up impressions of moonlight and forests and man and beast, but he can glean nothing from the mark and resolves to do more research at a later date. He is busy now.
Now, he will continue watching Molly Hooper with her moon-bright eyes and her protective streak. He will return her touches, her hugs, give her the tactile reassurance she has become accustomed to by others. He will catalogue her laughs, her barks of amusement and her embarrassed tittering. He will file away the feel of her skin beneath his, the taste of her lips, the way her body feels pressed against him, all behind the scarlet door with the silver handle and the night-black etching of her name.
And when Molly tells him, finally, he will realize what his Mind Palace already knew. A door scarlet like blood, like lipstick, a handle silver like moonlight, like present bows and scalpels, an etching of her name black like bruises and the night sky. Molly Hooper became a werewolf when he was gone, and Sherlock knew without knowing because he catalogues everything. Especially about Molly Hooper.