A look at what might happen to Molly in series 4. Very spur-of-the-moment right up for the idea has been floating in my head since Sunday! Sorry for any mistakes.

Molly Hooper wasn't going to lie; she was terrified.

It had been three days since that broadcast, the one signalling the return of yet another man believed to be dead. Three days of continuous terror, her stomach knotting at the single mention of his name spoken at work, on the streets or on the news. She found herself unable to sleep because of the raging migraine in her head, and even when she would sleep and found herself biting awake, sweat glistening on the entirety of her skin and her mouth dry, releasing a strangled scream. The dreams were consistent, either her running from him, or she was trapped in a room with a bomb counting down the last ten seconds before its detonation, or she would be pushed over that of rooftop and thrown to her death. They were graphic, they were violent, and they were so, so unforgettably vivid.

After the broadcast, panic had ensued. People had been running the streets in order to spread the word, Molly's colleagues rushing from the building with phones in their hands, voices fearful and fast. Molly had remained frozen, staring in horror at the screen, even though the man who haunted her was no longer there. She'd gone over every possibility of how he would come after her; how he would most likely know that she had outwitted him without even meaning to. She'd gone over her time with him, how sweet he had been, how caring he had acted, only to be demolished by the true evil that had flowed through his veins. And he'd used her, used her to get at the one man Molly had ever truly loved. She had been so stupid.

She remembered Greg Lestrade ringing her almost immediately. She couldn't tell anyone what he had said; the ringing in her ears had drowned out his voice. The only thing she had been conscious of what him asking her to stay with him or at least have an officer near her flat, for protection and security. She'd refused him.

"Why the hell not, Molly? He's back! And he'll be angry that he was outdone, and he'll most likely come after you!" He'd bellowed down the phone at her, clearly upset. Molly, standing still and barely breathing, was amazed by the easiness of her reply.

"I'll be alright, Greg. I'm not the same Molly he remembers." Came her reply to the detective, and the astonished laugh on the other end almost made her smile. "I'll be fine; I'll just keep a low profile."

"He knows where you live."

"He enjoys a challenge and he's merciless, so hiding me away or protecting me will only encourage him. Leave it be, Greg, for all we know this is a hoax. Anyway, I've got work to finish off, I'll ring you later." And before he could reply, Molly had hung up the phone and indeed finished what she had been doing that afternoon, though not without her own panic beginning to boil up in her chest.

So here she was, alone in her little living room, a mug of steaming hot chocolate grasped between her trembling hands. A small, selfish part of her wished Tom was still here. She'd never done well on her own, even though it was the only thing she knew. As a child she had to take care of herself most of the time while her mother forever grieved, losing sight of what it meant to be a mother all together. A ten year old Molly would spend hours in her room studying, learning solitarily while her mother drank herself away downstairs. But, unlike many neglected children, she never focussed well on her own; it only revived a past she wanted to stay buried. Partners were a way of keeping that shadow of Molly away, shielding her away from the loneliness that threatened to eat her away with each passing day.

When Molly met Sherlock, it had been a chance meeting. She'd just been starting out at St. Barts; an intern following her mentor like a puppy followed its mother. The older woman at the time had been rambling on about an illness that she had to examine and work through with Molly, but the intern had been side-tracked by a man sitting along one of the long, white corridors, seemingly awaiting an appointment. He'd been wearing a black hoodie and jagged jeans, his face ungodly pale and thin, glass-like eyes lost to the world. Molly had stopped dead in her tracks, her mentor walking away while continuing to talk, oblivious to suddenly being abandoned.

Sherlock Holmes had been young, seven and a half years younger in fact. His hair had been longer, shaggier, almost reaching his shoulders. He lacked the elegance he had today, and instead was slouched, his fingers clawing at the sleeves of his hoodie to the point that it looked painful. His left eye was black, the bruise looking ugly and fresh, and his bottom lip had been cut open. Normally, Molly would have left such a man to his own devices, but she didn't miss the sadness radiating from him. It was the same sadness that her father had, thick and choking like smoke. It was a sadness she herself had gone through, or rather still went through, and in a way it was like it was just the two of them in the room, two lost souls who looked worlds apart and yet were the same.

"What?" Sherlock had grunted, glaring at Molly ferociously. Oddly, felt no fear towards him, only pity.

Knowing what was wrong with him—the stench of him was enough to tell her he'd been doing drugs—Molly had knelt down in front of him and peered up. "Life can get better than this," she'd told him softly. "there's always an alternative." She'd spoken with a wisdom her father had had before her, and for the many years to come they would be the only words of wisdom until the year of 2014. However, it had seemed to be enough, because six months later, Molly found herself seeing a lot more of Mr Holmes, ultimately falling in love with him along the way.

Molly wished for Sherlock to be here with her now, just as a friend helping her through this ungodly fear. She wanted him to reassure her the way she had with him upon their first meeting. For the first time, it was Molly who needed Sherlock, as well as John, Mrs Hudson, Mary and even Greg, yet she couldn't bring herself to ring them. She wanted to be strong, to prove herself that she was okay and that she was capable of living alone. She wasn't, though. Who was she kidding? Whole loneliness and isolation had saved Sherlock for a number of years, it only killed Molly little by little the longer she went alone.

She knew he was coming for her. Moriarty. Molly knew. She waited in the darkness for him, after days of hearing nothing from her friends. She also knew that he wouldn't come as himself, but through that of another. And, horridly, she knew who that pawn would be.

Tom had never been the man she wanted to settle for, not really. He was a rebound. He looked so much like Sherlock in terms of appearance, from his facial features to the way he dressed. He'd seemed perfect, and better yet, he seemed normal. But she would forever be kidding herself at the idea of living a happy life with him. He looked like Sherlock, but he wasn't Sherlock. The bloody 'meat dagger' had been the last straw for her at John's wedding, because she knew she could do so much better. So, two weeks later, she ended it with him. At the time, she'd cried from guilt, yet now that she thought about it, Tom hadn't seemed phased. In fact, he'd looked relieved, and had left her without so much as a demand for why she had ended it.

She should have seen it; the way he watched her like a hawk sometimes, or the way he enjoyed gun fighting shows and films, and even his fascination with Moriarty himself, were signs. Molly had never told him about her involvement with Moriarty, but everything Tom raved about him she would flinch and he never questioned her why. Maybe he even enjoyed her uneasiness. But, most of all, he tried so hard to be simple, a trait Molly never appealed to. He tried so hard to seem normal, so much so that it got suspicious. Yes, she should have known.

When it hit midnight, Molly listened to the pick of her lock at the front door. She waited calmly, her panic having subsided now to acceptance. She'd had three days to accept what was coming, and even knew how it was going to happen. She sat of her small sofa with her legs crossed, her arms wrapped around her middle while her eyes were trained on the door. She took in the shifting of the shadows in her hall as the door whined open, revealing a very familiar shadow that stretched menacingly against the street light pouring in. The burn in the back of her eyes made her eyes sting with tears, yet she bit down hard on her tongue to haunt such a sign of weakness.

Tom walked in slowly, dressed entirely in black, his boots making the wooden floor groan against his weight. He didn't look like the Tom she had intended on spending the rest of her life with. His hair was pushed back, out of his face and making his face look shaper, paler, and nothing like Sherlock. His movements were practiced, a tiger stalking its prey, and his eyes lacked their playful innocence and were instead shadowed by a cold, murderous desire. Molly took a shuddering breath and straightened her back, squaring her shoulders in defiance and finally glared in Tom's direction.

"Took your time." she said lowly. Tom chuckled lowly, and with a gloved hand pulled out a lit mobile phone from his jacket pocket. For a while everything was silent until a distorted voice cackled through the speaker of the phone, making Molly tremble with both fear and anger.

"I must say, Molly, I was impressed. I would never have guessed that a simple thing like you could ruin everything I had worked for in a matter of hours. Kudos to you, honey." Moriarty spoke in that childish voice of his, the one so childish that it was mocking. Molly bit down on her bottom lip until she drew blood, her heart hammering with a rage she hadn't known she possessed until that moment.

"I'd do it all over again." she spat towards the phone. "I'd risk it all over again if it meant outwitting you."

"Oh, you did get feisty while I was away, good girl!" Moriarty said proudly, and a clapping sound erupted from the phone. "The Molly from two years ago was so very dull. I'm sure Tom here will have a lot of fun with you now."

"Too much of a coward to come yourself and have your way with me?" Molly challenged. "Sounds very dull to me."

There was a heavy pause until a bitter sigh sounded, and Moriarty no longer sounded amused. "I'd threaten you for that, but you and I both know what's coming for you. You've upset me, Molly, you ruined my game. You know what the price you have to pay is."

"I do." She nodded, even though he couldn't see her. "Go ahead, I don't matter anyway."

"Oh, but you do matter. You're the one that always mattered the most, the girl that always counted." She wanted to cry at the ghost of Sherlock's words coming out of this monster's mouth, but she managed to keep herself in check. "Your death is going to rip Sherlock's heart out. It will burn the heart out of him. Guilt, you see, is a nasty burden."

"I hope he rips you apart." Molly countered heatedly, and she rose from her position of the sofa, standing on the cushion and poised like a cat, ready to lunge this way or that to avoid a collision. She was ready. She was going to die, but she was ready for the fight that was coming her way. "Sherlock will have no mercy on you. When he finds you, he'll tear you apart."

"I look forward to it." Moriarty said in that drone of a voice, sounding bored. "Goodbye, Miss Hooper, it was a pleasure."

The phone went silent.

Tom, not missing a single beat, tossed the phone aside into the darkness. Molly heard the passing of a beat in her chest, listened to the catching of her own breath, and then threw herself over the back of the sofa and out of Tom's way.

She was going to fight, and she was going to make sure that every minute she was alive would count.

Sherlock never allowed Moriarty to finish his taunting on the phone.

He and John were out of the flat the moment Moriarty mentioned 'the one who mattered the most', abandoning the phone entirely. Mrs Hudson never had the chance to question the two men's haste, only time to jump out of their rampage as they flung themselves down the stairs and out of the door. The men didn't even have time for a cab, so instead sprinted like they never had done before, running blind with panic and desperation to reach their destination.

Sherlock vaguely remembered shouting directions to go this way and that, John never questioning him. They nearly got hit by a car several times, yet neither could find it in them to care for their own safely. Sherlock had only one name in mind, a name he had hoped he'd never have to run towards.


Molly had been an obvious target from the start, and until now Sherlock and his companions had been working up a plan to hide Molly away whether she liked it or not; they even considered to send her to Mycroft's, who was of course begrudging to the idea but certainly not completely against it. They were making final decisions at Baker Streets when the phone rang and Moriarty came cackling through, chanting and singing in riddles, hinting to the imminent death of another. At first Sherlock never believed it to be Molly; it was too soon! But it soon became clear. Moriarty wasn't messing around anymore, he was getting straight down to business, and Molly was the first on his list.

So here they were, Sherlock and John dashing through the streets and thinking of nothing but where they had to go and what they might be up against. They ran and ran until their lungs burned and their muscled howled in agony, and yet still hey ran until Molly's flat came into view in the streetlight.

Sherlock started barking out her name as he fled towards her home, only to stop dead when he realised that her door had already been tampered with, ajar and revealing a horribly dark corridor. "No…"

"Sherlock…?" John demanded breathlessly, halting beside his friend. Then he looked at the door, and his expression fell the way Sherlock's heart sank to his gut.

Fearfully, Sherlock pushed open the door with a gloved hand, exposing an empty hallway. He stepped inside, swallowing, his head beginning to pound with unwanted deductions that he pushed aside. To the right, he came to what he recognised as Molly's living room, small and cosy like his own. Only it wasn't cosy anymore.

Dust stirred the air along with cat hair, fresh and alarming. Inside, the little two-seater sofa was on its back, the cushions thrown all over the room. The little flat screen television was smashed on the floor near the window, glass fragments coating the wooden floor like shimmering diamonds. The curtains had been ripped down, the two coffee tables toppled and torn apart. A mug lay discarded near the door, the smell of weak hot chocolate hitting Sherlock in a wave. He edged into the room, John right behind him, and examined everything he saw.

Molly had fought back. The leg ripped from one of the coffee tables had been used as a weapon; it lay near the window, glistening with blood. She'd thrown a glass against the door; Sherlock found the base of it in the corner among the glass of the TV. One of the cushions had been sliced open, perhaps used as shield by either party during the attack. Blood smeared the wall beside the door that led into the kitchen, smeared and high up on the wall; the attacker's blood after being slammed against the wall by Molly. The kitchen door was open, the handle bloodied, and Sherlock carefully opened it as bile rose in his throat.

Inside, more destruction had taken place; broken plates, glasses, knives here and there… and a gun. But Sherlock never analysed the scene, for the gun was in a hand, a pale, tiny hand, delicate and looking complete wrong as the fingers clenched the handle. He couldn't process it as the scene expanded before him, the hand attaching itself to a slim arm, embedded in a bony, female shoulder with was shielded by that of bloody brown hair.

No, no, NO!

"Molly!" John shot forward, shoving Sherlock out of the way in his need to reach the woman on the floor. Weakly, Sherlock looked to the left, and there lay a man he recognised viciously as Molly's ex-fiancé. He wore nothing but black, lying on his front and away from Molly, angled towards the second door that led back into the main hall and inevitably leading to the front door. Blood, looking black in the dim light, surrounded the middle of his body like leaking ink. Distantly, Sherlock guessed that Molly had shot him in the back.

Molly herself lay crumbled against the floor cupboards closest to the door, one hand held at her abdomen while the other remained holding the gun. John kept calling her name, leaning over her to murmur in her ear while he inspected her wound. Sherlock could only stand there, stunned, unable to escape the knowledge that this was his fault. If not for him, Molly wouldn't be here. If not for him, she would still be living an ordinary life. If not for him, she wouldn't be lying in a pool of her own blood.

"SHERLOCK!" John screamed, drawing his friend's attention. The doctor threw a phone in his direction. "Listen to me! She's alive, and right now she needs an ambulance. RING THE BLOODY AMBULENCE!"

Sherlock didn't remember doing such a thing, but he did. He also hardly registered John ordering him to do this, that and the other; shifting her onto her back and exposing her stomach. Almost fatal wound. Upper left of the abdomen, bullet still in the wound. Molly was gagging; Sherlock moved to cradle her head in his lap. Watching, waiting, as John tried to stop the bleeding, cursing violently beneath his breath.

I will burn the heart out of you.

His heart was burning. It was burning because Molly, sweet, caring, innocent Molly, was dying.

His heart was burning because he had failed her.

His heart was burning because Molly had needed him more than ever, and he hadn't been there.

Molly was dying.

Molly was fading.

Molly was dead.

Molly felt it, the fire in her chest, the shock of her body. She felt death ripple through her while life tried to fend it off. She felt it, the tug between living and dying, the raging of blood and water. Her heart was not beating, yet the blood was flowing, warm and violating. She was floating, screaming, yet no sound came out of her.

She looked down and saw the blood, her blood. She watched it pour out of her stomach like a pipe leak, staining the white floor her feet. She saw her reflection in the puddle, and she saw the terror in her face, the tears and the effort it took to scream only to not make a single sound. Molly clutched at the wound in her stomach, the blood thick and wet through her fingers, and she felt as if she was trying to keep her own insides from falling out of her.

There was another shock in her chest. She was lifted and thrown, crashing into the ground, effectively knocking the breath out of her. She heard the scream of her name somewhere far out, echoing around her. Distantly, she heard the beating of a heart.

Rising to her knees, she looked at her hand. Blood; it was like gloves on her hands that dripped down her arms to her elbows. She worked up another screaming but yet another shot exploding inside her, throwing her to the right, making her slide helplessly across the floor and leaving a trail of blood in her wake.

"Dammit, Molly!" hollered that voice, and Molly knew that voice. John Watson. "You're not dying on us, not yet!"

"It hurts!" she cried, not sure if he could even hear her. "It hurts, John!"

She was thrown to the left this time as yet another burst of life erupting in her chest, and she thought her heart was exploding. Pain was everywhere, scorching her from the inside out, burning and melting her until she almost begged for death. "It hurts, it hurts, IT HURTS!" she shrieked. "Make it stop!"

"Be strong, Molly," came a new voice. "Be strong in the way I know you are. Come back to us, Molly, you have to come back. Don't let him win!"

"Sherlock?" Molly whispered hopefully, struggling to her feet. White, white, white, so much white, nothing else. White floors, white walls, white ceiling. The pathway between life and death.

Molly spun, hunched over but searching desperately for something to go on. The pain was exploding behind her eyes like red fireworks, tempting her to sleep and forget, trying to blind her and make her give up. She wasn't giving up, not now!

"Over here, Molly." cooed a sweet voice behind her, and when she spun, she saw them. Mary Watson, holding John's hand, and with them was Sherlock. Then there was Greg, hands in pockets, his head cocked to the side, and beside him stood Mrs Hudson, waving sweetly. All of them were smiling at her, beckoning her to them, waving her over. Grasping her wound, she made her way towards them slowly, reaching for them. Sherlock reached out a hand, calling her name, urging Molly to reach for him and his outstretched fingers. She had to get there.

Control the pain.

Forget the shock.

Get home.

"Come on, Molly! A little closer!" screamed a voice in her head, her own voice. Her fingers were inches from Sherlock's, John's hand almost at her shoulder, Mary grabbing for her arm. Molly pulled and pulled, desperate, a mess of tears and blood and pain, yet they seemed miles away from her.

Closer. Closer!

And suddenly she heard it, the slamming of her own heart in the second she reached them, her family. They pulled her in and she fell into their protective circle, falling into the pain while they enveloped her in an embrace. She closed her eyes, listening to the music that was her heart pumping blood around her body.

Finally, Molly screamed away, inhaling painfully while her back arched with the sudden bite of consciousness. Something was over her face, forcing oxygen into her, and the pain was somehow numbing throughout her body. Lights were bright above her, unfamiliar faces hovering over her. She felt movement, she saw a bag of clear liquid above her, and then she knew.

Molly wasn't dead.

Molly was very much alive.

She remembered glimpsing Sherlock and John as the gurney she lay on rounded a corner, the men covered in blood and looking helpless as a doctor halted them from going any further. She never got the chance to call out to them; darkness that was morphine was taking her away from the pain again. But she saw them, she knew they were there, waiting for her, and she was sure she felt her heart beat just a little bit stronger in her chest at the knowledge of such things.

"Sleep, Miss Hooper." soothed a voice of one of the nurses tending to her in that moment. "Let it go. Don't fight it."

She didn't fight it. She gave way to the drugs in her system and allowed it to take away the pain, because she knew that her fight was over. She was strong enough now. She was safe, and she had endured her own battle to the point she had almost looked death in the face. She no longer had to fight for consciousness, because she had already assured that she was alive and breathing.

Molly Hooper drifted, floating, and then fell into a pit of bright light that cushioned her. No longer was she covered in blood, but rather clean and in her usual clothes, sleeping in her own bed. She allowed the sound of her own heart to send her drifting to sleep, because that was the only thing she needed to hear.

The stress of recovery and danger could come later.

Falling into a white bed of feathery softness, Molly rolled and slept, distantly hearing the sound of her heart, as well as the pleasant symphony of a violin in the most cherished parts of her memories. She needed nothing else to keep her going.

Molly was the girl who mattered the most, and dammit if Moriarty thought he could kill her off that easily.

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