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New Post-S2 Fic: Called Out in the Dark, Part 1 [Jan. 18th, 2012|10:58 pm]
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Title: Called Out in the Dark (Part 1 / TBA)
Pairing & Characters: John/Sherlock, Molly; Ensemble Cast
Rating: Overall R or NC-17; this part is PG-13 or R-ish at best.
Word Count: 3,400 for this part.
Warning: Spoilers for Sherlock S2
Notes: This will probably be the launching-off point for an interstitial series, but how many parts it will contain, I honestly can't say. It'll start with this story, and then have a series of add-ons as time and whims dictate (which is how most projects of this nature go in my world). I wasn't devastated by The Reichenbach Fall; if anything, I saw it as an outstanding opportunity for speculation. So, here I go again; in the absence of knowing what happens, I always prefer to decide for myself. Anyone who wants to come along for the ride, you're quite welcome. Yes, the title is yanked from Snow Patrol; cue blatant song influence, etc. Lastly, I apologize to St. Bartholomew's/London NHS Trust and the Metropolitan Police for using their actual email extensions (whereas none of the email prefixes in this story are real, or at least I hope they're not, as they're the names of fictional characters; my time in UK healthcare admin, which also entailed police correspondence, has taught me well).
Summary: I was called out in the dark / by a choir of beautiful cheats



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 14:34
Subject: (none)

Thank you.

- your very much estranged and apologetic cousin, etc.


*


From: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 15:03
Subject: Re: (none)

...right. I didn't know you read Penny Rimbaud.

...you're welcome.

Where are you?

~ Molly


*


From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 15:10
Subject: Re: Re: (none)

Nowhere particular. Around.

That said, it's getting difficult.


*


From: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 15:32
Subject: Re: Re: Re: (none)

Difficult how? You need to be specific.

I can't help you otherwise.

~ Molly


*


From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 15:40
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: (none)

I've caught a few people staring.

Is that specific enough?


*


From: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:01
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (none)

Are you keeping warm? Are you eating? Are you staying away?

~ Molly


*


From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:22
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (none)

Staying away? From?


*


From: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:25
Subject: This is ridiculous.

Who's being stupid now?

~ Molly


*


From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:29
Subject: Re: This is ridiculous.

Fine, yes, good. You see through me. Don't expect congratulations.

I need...sanctuary. Can't keep this up. Any ideas?


*


From: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:41
Subject: Re: Re: This is ridiculous.

Come to my flat. I never have company.

It's the last place anyone in the family would look.

(Oh, am I glad it's home-time soon...)

~ Molly


*


From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:43
Subject: Re: Re: Re: This is ridiculous.

No need to send the address.

Tonight. Keep your ears open, have the kettle on.


*


From: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:55
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is ridiculous.

I've been so worried about you. Actually, not just about you.

I'll be waiting. With tea.

~ Molly


*


From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 16:58
Subject: Wait, stay just a moment -

How is he?


*


From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk, molly.hooper@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk
Date: 20 June 2011 17:00
Subject: Re: Wait, stay just a moment -

No worse than when you left him, little brother.

(Have fun with our dear cousin. I'll be in touch.)


* * *



John woke from his dozing with a start.

Mrs. Hudson's grandfather clock, striking five. He rubbed his eyes and stared blearily at the ceiling, comforted somewhat by the rattling sounds and heavenly aromas drifting in from the kitchenette. Slow cooker again, something to do with beef and onions and a hint of soy sauce. Yes, Sherlock had certainly ruined him for surprises—

He closed his eyes and pressed them hard with both fists.

“Oh, John.”

It was a soft murmur from the doorway, scarcely audible. He thought that she'd been busy with cooking, humming along to Someone Like You. Adele sang on in the background, muted by the orange glow that framed Mrs. Hudson.

Her eyes gleamed in the low light.

“I'm sorry,” said John, hastily sitting up. “Really, truly sorry. Just a few more days.”

“Stay as long as you like, dear,” she said gently, crossing the room to sit down beside him on the sofa. Her hip was bothering her again, judging by the hitch in her step. “But I worry about you getting back on your feet. It's not that I don't think you can afford to keep the flat, and—oh, that's dreadful, not what I meant to say at all—”

John didn't try to stay the tears this time, not with Mrs. Hudson crying, too.

“Just, what is it,” he gasped, “and why can't I—”

“Don't do that, love,” she said, leaning on his shoulder. “You'll ruin your supper.”

John hastily wiped his eyes, unable to stifle an exasperated laugh.

“Yeah, I suppose I will. What are we having, then?”

Mrs. Hudson served the dish over brown rice. She said her sister had got it from a pen-pal in America, that it was intended for use with venison, but it didn't seem right, did it, cooking up the King's Deer (well, Her Majesty's Deer) with New World flair.

“Mrs. Hudson,” John said, his mouth half full, “this is just cracking.”

“There's no call for flattery here,” she said. “I could've just brought out the cakes—”

And they were silent, staring at one another, as the shadow of memory fell.

John scraped the last few grains of rice around on his plate, studying the trails his fork left in residual sauce with a sigh. “The bakewells will have gone off, don't you think?”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Hudson, after a lengthy pause. “I suppose they will have done.”

For the rest of the evening, it was tea, telly, and careful avoidance. They'd tried reruns of Bruce Parry's Tribe, but that had ended quickly in disaster. Likewise QI and River Monsters: there was no point to entertaining the notion of exotic locations or encyclopedic knowledge. It all led back to the ghost in the room, one way or another.

“I went up and dusted,” Mrs. Hudson confessed during the adverts. She bit her lip and cradled her two-thirds empty cup in both hands. “I couldn't stand the thought...”

“Of what?” John asked, resolutely staring straight ahead. He hated those bloody meerkats, but needs must. Maybe the GoCompare opera twat would turn up next.

“It's so empty up there; I can't stand it! Not a footstep! I'd give anything to hear his violin at all hours, even your voices raised—God help me, I miss the shouting!”

And she promptly burst into tears.

John got up, strode into the kitchenette, and opened the refrigerator door.

Two tiny bakewells left on the plate, scarcely covered by withering cling film.

He dumped them in the bin and started on the dishes, kept the tap running full blast.


* * *



I made myself very clear: if you tried
to give me the slip, I'd find other means
of tracking you. Now, be a good sport
and keep your appointment, won't you?

M


*


Don't you have some more pretend
grieving to do? Crocodile tears suit you.

S


*


Charming. If you fail to turn up on
Miss Hooper's doorstep, I shall be
forced to take you into custody.

M


*


And risk outing me to your cronies?
Dear me. After the whole jet fiasco,
aren't you in bad enough odour?

S


*


A little respect for the dead, if you would.

M


*


I'll ask the same of you, then.

Leave me alone.

S


*


I see you've reached her doorstep.

Fair is fair.

M


* * *



By the time the buzzer sounded, Molly had steeped six mugs of tea. Never re-heat it if your guest's late, her mum always said. She rushed from the kitchen, tray in hand, sloshing a little as she deposited it hastily on the armchair.

The buzzer gave way to knocking directly on her door.

She wrenched the doorknob, breathless. Who could've let him in?

“Good evening,” Sherlock said, removing his hat.

“You...” Molly blurted, immediately covering her mouth.

“Yes?” He stiffened his jaw, as if bracing for a slap.

“You look terrible,” she said, swaying back against the door. “Come in.”

There was his hair, for one thing, or what was left of it: she watched in horror as he deposited his hat (one of those horrible things with dangly ties and llamas embroidered on), coat (not his own, not even anything recognizable as something John might wear), and rucksack on her desk. He'd cut his own hair from the look of things, and he'd done a dreadful job. Wrinkled jeans a size too big, flannel shirt that hung from his frame in mockery of a scarecrow's rags. Where on earth...

“Out of those clothes,” she said the moment he stepped too close.

Sherlock raised an eyebrow.

“I thought you'd never ask. Where's your laundry room?”

“Washing machine's in the kit—kitchen.” She grabbed her mug off the tray and walked over to the sofa, keeping her eyes glued to the floor. “Just bin them. The bathroom's upstairs. If you haven't got a change, I suppose I could pop out—”

“Of course I have,” Sherlock said. He took the second mug, tasted it, made a face, vanished into the kitchen for less than five minutes, and then fetched his rucksack off the desk before vanishing up the stairs, tea in hand.

Molly drank her tea in silence, couldn't keep her hands from shaking. She wondered what her mum would have to say about this. Nothing good, she suspected.

Sherlock reappeared twenty minutes later in a ratty (but clean) tee and pyjama bottoms, barefoot, with mug in hand. He removed the tray from the armchair and took a seat. There was strain in every line of him, fatigue in every gesture.

“So you've been keeping warm, but you've not been sleeping,” Molly said.

“Or eating,” said Sherlock, with a shrug. He took a sip of cold tea.

“I can get you another—”

“Don't bother. I won't finish it.”

“That's fine,” Molly said, forcing a smile. “As long as you finish this one.”

Sherlock raised the mug in her direction, and then did as he was told.

“You know by now that my brother is monitoring your electronic correspondence. Scratch that: my brother is monitoring all of your correspondence. In fact, he's monitoring you, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Is that troubling?”

“No,” Molly replied, setting her empty mug on the coffee table. “I'm grateful.”

“Would you be so magnanimous if you knew he'd leaked my life story to Jim Moriarty, regardless of his motives in having done so, regardless of such actions' necessity?”

Molly flinched. “Is this where I'm supposed to ask how deep the rabbit hole goes?”

“If you like,” Sherlock said, leaning back in the chair, legs crossed.

“I think I'd rather not know, thanks,” Molly said. “Not unless I absolutely need to.”

“Wise choice,” Sherlock replied. “But I'd have told you, and I may yet.”

Molly nodded and lowered her eyes again. Was there no end to his mercurial manner, condescending one moment and gracious the next? She'd never get used to it, even after what she'd done. What they'd done. The magnitude of it still shook her.

“Molly,” Sherlock repeated, bringing her thoughts back into focus.

She snapped out of her reverie. “Yes?”

“You're certain,” he pressed, “that you won't be entertaining guests? No unfortunate suitors? No wild soirées at which decent folk ought not to be caught dead?”

It took a full thirty seconds of hurt gawking before she realized he'd attempted a joke.

The two of them burst out laughing, and she wondered if this was what she was missing: the inscrutable reason why John Watson had chosen to stay with him, come hell or high water. Molly mopped at her eyes.

“God,” she said. “I needed that.”

Sherlock smiled thinly. He'd produced a mobile phone—not his mobile, as such, not as Molly knew it, but a mobile nonetheless—from somewhere and was clicking away intently. In spite of Sherlock's obvious exhaustion, his composure was impressive.

She'd expected that sadness...

“Sherlock, listen,” Molly began, folding her hands, “I want to make something clear.”

His head flew up, fingers still working on the keys. “Yes?”

“You need not hide it, you know,” she said. “Not from me.”

Sherlock's fingers went still. He nodded, his mouth contorting, and Molly couldn't tell whether it was a grimace or a frown, grief or anger. She studied his eyes.

“You said it wasn't just me,” said Sherlock.

Molly blinked back sudden tears. “I beg your pardon?”

“You said it wasn't just me,” Sherlock repeated. “That you were worried about.”

Molly wrapped her hands together tightly, twisting till her knuckles went white.

“I shouldn't have said that. I got a bit cross, that's all.”

“You wouldn't lie at a time like this. It was to be a trade, see—the remainder of my information for yours. But you've opted out. This poses a problem, no quid pro quo.”

Molly shook her head. I forbid my tears. Sixth-form English. She was stronger than that frightened young man who'd lost his sister to love of a brilliant prince and to grief for their father. For her father. For the lover she'd never have.

Molly closed her eyes and covered her mouth, and Sherlock's hand lit on her arm.

“Molly,” he said, just a breath away (Kneeling on the floor, she thought; oh, my mad prince, he's come undone for love of another and now—), “I need to know. I need...”

Their hands were tangled, in her lap and in her skirt, and, oh, his fingers shook.

“He comes into Bart's a few times a week,” Molly said. “Mike Stamford's behind it. Thinks it'd be good for him, of course. Gave him run of the newsletter.”

“Which newsletter? The patient newsletter or the regional newsletter or—”

Molly laughed bitterly. Right out of a fairytale, he was. Just like the man she'd slit from breastbone to gullet without even checking for a pulse. But Sherlock, at least, was a hero on a quest, even if a flawed one, not some villain with a hateful grudge.

“The staff newsletter,” she said. “No danger of him interacting with the public.”

“I see,” Sherlock murmured, letting go of her hands. “Yes.”

Molly pulled out the sofa-bed and made it up in silence while Sherlock banged inexplicably around the kitchen. It sounded like he was attempting to do the washing up, but she wasn't sure what she might find if she bothered to check the dish rack come morning. Her pulse quickened. Probably chips and cracks.

“Best I can do,” she said, gesturing to the duvet, which she'd just laid out.

Sherlock lingered in the doorway, his hands raw from hot water and too much Fairy.

“It's more than I've had since the fall,” he said simply.

Such a direct, unflinching statement, and so much pain beneath.

“What did he see?” Molly asked, stepping around the foot of the bed to face him. “Sherlock, how much did he—I can't be certain he couldn't have felt it, he touched you, and even though I followed your instructions to the letter, I can't promise—”

“Good night, Molly,” Sherlock said, and turned out the light.

Molly felt her way towards the staircase as she listened to him settling in, cursed the hot, silent tears streaming down her cheeks. Oh, she knew why Ophelia had drowned.

She knew.


* * *



From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 09:48
Subject: Good morning, Inspector.

Do you know where your hound is?


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 09:55
Subject: Re: Good morning, Inspector.

Six feet under, God rest his soul. I suppose you think this is funny?

- Greg


*


From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 09:59
Subject: Re: Re: Good morning, Inspector.

Not in the least. Allow me to rephrase that:

I was referring to the one you've trained with such care.


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 10:10
Subject: Okay, you've got me

Last time I checked, answer was still the same. Can you prove me wrong?

- Greg


*


From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 10:16
Subject: Re: Okay, you've got me

Infinitely, Inspector. Would that shock you?


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 10:21
Subject: Re: Re: Okay, you've got me

After dealing with you lot? Not much, but maybe a little.

Jesus, you've got to tell him. Please tell me you've told him.

- Greg


*


From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 10:28
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Okay, you've got me

At this fragile, early stage, that would be most unwise.


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 10:32
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay, you've got me

Sod off.

Couldn't you have spared a minute to call? In fact, news like this is best delivered in person. Why not just send your latest PA to kidnap me? Or suggest a rendezvous?

- Greg


*


From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 10:40
Subject: How disappointing...

You haven't been paying attention. I already did.


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 10:52
Subject: Re: How disappointing...


Saturday's tomorrow, mate. Rather short notice, don't you think?

(And here I was, over the moon to think you might be a fan of Across the Universe.)

- Greg


*


From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 10:55
Subject: Re: Re: How disappointing...

Your attendance is not up for discussion.

(Hardly high art, but the film has its moments, one grudgingly must admit.)


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 11:00
Subject: Re: Re: Re: How disappointing...

What about a time, then? You seem to have left that out.

- Greg


*


From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 11:02
Subject: Good man.

Noon. Bring coffee.


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 11:08
Subject: Re: Good man.

You're just as bad as someone else I know.

- Greg


*


From: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
To: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
Date: 24 June 2011 11:11
Subject: Re: Re: Good man.

Fortunately, he's as bad as ever.

Saturday.


*


From: greg.lestrade@met.police.uk
To: saturdayatbishopsgate@gmail.com
Date: 24 June 2011 11:14
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Good man.

I'll be there.

- Greg


On to Part 2
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-20 02:08 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I'm aiming to update once a week :) And I've not written Molly in-depth before, so this will be a good exercise in character building.

Thank you!