This time of year is always hard for me. Not only is it my birthday, but the anniversary of my father’s death. A couple of years ago I wrote a story about it, and so for my own selfish reasons, I’m reposting it. It helps, believe it or not.
~February 22, 2010~
Sherlock was just about to knock on Molly’s office door to ask for her assistance in the path lab when he heard a strange sound coming from the room. He really didn’t need her help, but Dr. Stamford had made himself quite clear that while Sherlock was allowed access to the facilities, it wasn’t without restriction and he would have to be supervised. He had only been out of rehab for eight months and had finally gotten the attention of Scotland Yard for his assistance with a murder investigation that would have frankly gone cold, had it not been for him. His new relationship with Barts and the powers that be was all too tenuous to muck up, just yet. He had no choice but to grin and bear it, as it were.
He didn’t know Dr. Molly Hooper very well, she seemed competent enough, certainly more intelligent than most of the half-witted idiots that surrounded him. It also didn’t hurt that she made a damn fine cup of coffee and followed his instructions to the letter, that is when she wasn’t stuttering and blushing like a teenager. But now, she was behind a closed door… crying. How was he to handle this?
He wasn’t fond of crying. He knew very little about the pathologist, but he was certain if he marched into her office while she was in the middle of a crying jag she’d be even more of a blushing, stammering mess than usual. In the end he decided that his experiment could wait until tomorrow. He turned on his heels and left.
~February 22, 2011~
Sherlock sat at his preferred microscope looking at abnormal plant cells when Molly came in looking worse than normal. They hadn’t spoken very much since the Christmas incident, but when they had it seemed that things were back to normal. Surely she didn’t think he was going to melt at the sight of her in that awful dress and overly done hair and make-up? He was slightly confused by his guilt, however. Why did he still have an odd feeling in his stomach every time he looked at her? He couldn’t figure it out, and he hated not being able to figure something out.
She came in carrying a stack of files, paying no attention to him whatsoever, then tossed them on the counter. She then picked up something from the corner of the room, retrieved the files and scurried out of the room, without so much as a glance in his direction. Clearly she was still upset. He didn’t want to have to do it, but if her emotional state was going to affect their working relationship, he’d just have to address the situation once again. He finished what he was working on then went to find her. He deduced that she’d be in her office.
That was where he found her an hour later. He heard her sniffle as he approached the door. He rolled his eyes once before knocking, reminding himself not to do that in her presence – living with John Watson did have its advantages – John was constantly reminding him that the general public didn’t like his patronizing eye rolls.
“Come in,” he heard Molly croak out. She clearly had been crying for some time, as her voice sounded hoarse and strained.
He walked in and immediately felt the guilt once again. This is getting very old, he thought. “Molly, I thought perhaps we should talk,” he said with a sigh.
She wiped her eyes as she stood up, then she removed her lab coat and cleared her throat. “Oh, ah, Sherlock- um did you need me for something? I was just getting ready to leave.”
“Yes, you’re clearly upset and…” He paused and looked at her desk. She had her bag sitting atop a blanket. Perhaps this has nothing to do with me, he thought. “Well, if you’re leaving then I’ll just speak with you some other time.”
“Are you sure? Is it very important?”
Not about me at all, then. “No, no. It can wait.”
“If you’re sure.” She put on her coat and picked up her things.
Sherlock was at a bit of a loss. He was certain that she was still emotionally distraught over the Christmas party. He had no idea what she was actually upset about and for some reason, he wanted to find out.
“Well, I’ll see you… later, then,” he said, then he turned and left her office. He didn’t go far though, just hid out of Molly’s sight and waited for her to leave. There was a mystery a foot and he decided he would solve it. He had no case and his experiment was finished, not to mention his curiosity had been piqued. And there was still that lingering feeling of guilt in the pit of his stomach, even though her current mood had nothing to do with him or his Christmas cruelty- no honesty... he hadn’t been cruel, had he? Uncalled for perhaps, yes, that would do.
He followed her to the Tube, staying a safe distance away, then sat down several seats behind her. She kept her head down, not noticing anything around her whatsoever. It was shockingly easy to follow the pathologist. He was disturbed by the amount of attention she paid to her surroundings, which was next to none. He considered trying to ‘gift’ her self-defense lessons, but decided that perhaps he should just ask Mycroft to assign her a security detail instead.
Soon enough she stood up and he once again followed as she walked through the crowds. He thought he would have to intervene at one point when she very nearly stepped in front of a lorry, but she looked up just in time to jump back to the curb. She finally (carefully) crossed the street and entered a cemetery.
Within five minutes Molly had found what she was looking for. Sherlock tucked himself behind a nearby tree, close enough to see her and hear her, but obscured from her sight (not difficult considering her poor observation skills). She spread the blanket on the ground at the end of the grave and sat down. It was a cold day but not wet, thankfully.
Sherlock waited and listened. She didn’t speak for several minutes, she was crying softly. Then finally…
“Hi Daddy. Sorry it’s been so long, work’s been… well work.” She sniffled. “I should have visited sooner but… oh and sorry about my little breakdown at Christmas. That was uncalled for. This year was, as you know, a tough one. I won’t go through that again, you don’t need to hear about all that rubbish with Sherlock over and over. He’s, of course, acting like nothing happened. Don’t know what I expected.” She fished a tissue out of her pocket.
“Sometimes, like today, I feel so lonely, Daddy. It would be nice to have someone just to…” She didn’t finish the sentence, instead she cleaned her nose and took a deep breath. “I used to love my birthday. But now… No one knows, I don’t want them to know, but…” She paused and blew her nose again. “I told Mike when I started not to mention it and he’s been good about it. He’s a good man Daddy, a good boss.” She started crying harder.
“I called Mum. She’s… well she’s worse. She wasn’t very kind. Didn’t want to see me, so…”
There was a long pause filled with soft whimpers and sniffles. Sherlock knew he was witnessing something completely personal and private, he knew he had no business being there, but his feet were rooted to the spot. The guilty feeling in his stomach had been replaced with something so distractingly foreign, he couldn’t begin to name it. He couldn’t, however, take his eyes off of the petite woman in front of him.
It was her birthday, of course. He didn’t care for his birthday, none whatsoever, but some people, he was aware, did. She was sad and lonely and seeking comfort from her father’s grave. For a split second, he wished he were the kind of person that could go to her and wrap his arms around her. He wished he had words of comfort and kindness to end her sadness. He wished he knew how to make Molly Hooper happy, if for only a moment. But he wasn’t that kind of person and he had no idea how to heal her hurt, so he watched as she finished visiting with her father, then picked herself up. She folded the blanket, put her bag on her shoulder then walked to the grave marker and pressed a kiss to her fingertips then to the stone. As she walked away, Sherlock walked out from behind the tree and closer to the headstone.