Two left, one right
based on the BBC "Sherlock" series
This is not a missing moment in the sense that it must have happened – more a fix-it that I wish would have happened, and there's nothing in canon to say that it can't have, so there.
Throughout "His Last Vow", Sherlock gets trampled on by so many people in so many ways that I felt he deserved at least some twenty minutes of relative peace and happiness between disasters. I also wrote this as a kind of therapy for myself after the blood, sweat and tears of "And yet, here I am".
The O Rh(=Rhesus) D negative blood type is one of the rarest in the UK population, and when receiving a blood transfusion, it is incompatible with any other type, making O Rh D negative blood products rare and expensive. An RBC pack is a unit used in blood transfusions.
And no, the title does not refer to a dance routine.
The hospital foyer, at a busy daytime hour. Doctors, nurses and visitors are walking across the scene. We spot Molly Hooper, in a grey jacket and with a bag on her shoulder, ascending the stairs to the first floor. At the top, she turns towards the right. There is a small cubicle at the entrance to a short corridor, with a nurse sitting behind a desk. Molly stops in front of the desk, inquiring. The nurse nods and points into the corridor. Molly walks on in that direction, towards the closed door at the end of it. When she is about three yards away from it, she stops again, suddenly undecided. Before she can make up her mind, the door opens, and out steps Greg Lestrade, looking worried and preoccupied. He notices Molly, and pulls the door closed behind him before he speaks.
LESTRADE: Molly. Good to see you.
MOLLY: You, too. (Gesturing towards the door) How is he?
LESTRADE (with a shrug): Weak as a kitten. Not likely to give us trouble again for a good long while. Though I would have said that last week, too.
Molly nods her understanding.
LESTRADE: But he'll be pleased to see you, for a change. I think I've vexed him a bit.
MOLLY: How's that?
LESTRADE: Well, even when he first came in here, I never bought his story, about how he didn't see or couldn't remember who shot him. And after that last stunt, I'm more certain than ever that he knows it perfectly. (Running a hand over his face in frustration) I've tried every trick in the book, but I can't make him tell me. (With grudging respect) It's quite remarkable how he's holding out, actually, given how drugged up they're keeping him. I'd be blabbing out the innermost secrets of my heart and never know it, on a dose like that. But the doc said he's getting stronger every day, so I'm running out of time if I want to get anywhere with him. (In a low voice) And I know I'm being horrible, anyway, he being a friend and all.
Molly gives him a sympathetic look.
LESTRADE: But at least he's promised me not to run off on some crackpot scheme of his own again.
MOLLY (impressed): How did you manage that?
LESTRADE: I told him that if he didn't, I'd be back with an order for therapeutic restraints.
Molly looks shocked.
LESTRADE (with a wry grin): Just kidding. Well, in you go. He's awake and in a nasty mood. You'll cheer him up.
Molly now looks very much like she'd rather be elsewhere, but Lestrade has already opened to the door to Sherlock's room for her, so she has no choice but to walk through.
Sherlock's hospital room. Sherlock is in his bed, wearing a hospital nightshirt, the bedsheet pulled up to his chest. The top of his bed is raised a little. His eyes are closed, but his brows are knitted, whether in pain or in annoyance or both is unclear. There is a canula in his forearm, attached to a drip, and he looks very pale and worn out. As he hears the door open and Molly's footsteps approaching, he turns his head on the pillow and opens his eyes. It takes him a moment to focus on his new visitor. When he speaks, his voice is very weak and rather hoarse.
SHERLOCK (with a pathetic attempt at sarcasm): Oh look, another one come to tell me off for misbehaving. Are you – (He croaks, his voice failing him. He stubbornly clears his throat.) Are you queueing out there? Who's next, Mrs Hudson? Or my brother again, God forbid?
Molly stands by his bed in silence, kneading the hem of her jacket with her fingers, a pained look on her face.
SHERLOCK (wearily): Well, don't just stand there. Get on with it. You know what to do.(With an effort, he props up his forearm on his elbow and points at his face.) Two left, one right. (He lets his arm fall back down onto the bedsheet.) And then off you go, 'cause I want to sleep.
He closes his eyes in resignation – whether real or feigned is hard to tell. Molly's eyes fill with tears.
MOLLY (very quietly): I came to say sorry.
Sherlock's eyes pop open again. He blinks.
MOLLY (rushing on, as long as he'll let her): And I came to see how you are. And that's all, really. I am sorry, and I really hope you don't feel as bad as you look – I mean –
She breaks off, her face flushed with embarrassment. Sherlock gives her a sidelong look out of narrowed eyes, half touched, half mocking, one corner of his mouth rising up in a lopsided smile. Molly looks mortified.
MOLLY: I – I – (rushing on again, her voice tense with nervousness) I just wanted to tell you, I felt so bad, when I heard what had happened that night. All I could think was, what if he had died, what if he still dies, and the last thing I'd done, the last thing he'd remember me by, was –
SHERLOCK (muttering to himself): Focus.
SHERLOCK: Focus. You told me to focus.
MOLLY (confused): No, I didn't.
SHERLOCK: Yes, you did. It saved my life.
MOLLY: What, slapping you around the face? In front of your friends? When all you really needed was help?
SHERLOCK: It was all the help I needed.
MOLLY (not really listening, too concerned with getting her confession off her chest): I know it was wrong, I knew it the moment I'd done it. I couldn't help myself, I've seen so many times what that sort of stuff does to people's brains, I couldn't bear the thought – but I should have remembered that it's a sickness, more than anything, and no doctor has ever cured a sickness with reproaches.
SHERLOCK (quietly): Molly, I wasn't sick. I knew what I was doing. It was for a case. (He shifts uncomfortably in his bed.) I told you then and I'll tell –
He's croaking again, and clears his throat again repeatedly, his hand pressed to the spot on his chest where the bandaged wound is hidden under the nightshirt, as if to contain the pain it causes him.
MOLLY (nervously): And please don't do that. It's just the intubation messing with your vocal chords. It will go away of itself, if you don't keep insisting on having a new one shoved down your throat every week.
She breaks off, pressing her lips together, clearly worried that she's gone too far.
SHERLOCK (after a moment's pause, a smile in his voice): Now you are telling me off.
MOLLY: I'm sorry.
SHERLOCK: Don't be. You're right, I suppose.
MOLLY (stiffly): I'm sure it was for a case, too.
SHERLOCK (with a sigh): Of course it was.
MOLLY: And did you solve it?
SHERLOCK: I have no idea.
SHERLOCK: It wasn't my case, strictly speaking.
MOLLY (drily): But it was still worth risking your life for?
SHERLOCK: I hope so.
There is a pause. Sherlock shifts in his bed again, grimacing. Molly shakes her head at him.
MOLLY: You were so lucky that John and Mary found you in time, you know.
SHERLOCK (turning his head away, avoiding her eyes): Yes.
MOLLY: At first I didn't even know they had. And then I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the alert on the network that this place was running low on O Rh D negative RBC packs again.
Sherlock turns his head back towards her with a frown. There is a tense silence. Then Sherlock's frown resolves into an expression of respect, even appreciation.
MOLLY: It's rare, that type. (Taking courage, in an uncanny imitation of Sherlock's own most arrogant tone) Don't you think it's a bit selfish to use up so much of it in a single week?
They look at each other for a long moment, both on the verge of a smile, but both holding it back in case the other would mind. Then Sherlock exhales audibly, his exhaustion catching up with him, and grimaces again.
MOLLY (apologetically): I'm tiring you out. I should be going.
SHERLOCK: No... just a moment.
His eyes go out of focus. He blinks a couple of times.
MOLLY: It's alright. I'll go.
She hitches up her bag on her shoulder and turns towards the door.
SHERLOCK (urgently): Molly -
MOLLY (turning back): Yes?
SHERLOCK:Molly... when I die...
MOLLY (quickly): You're not dying.
Sherlock gives her a wry little smile. His eyelids are drooping now.
SHERLOCK (very slowly, with much greater effort than before): No, I'm not. But even you... with your inborn and sometimes quite... enviable optimism...
MOLLY: Please, don't -
SHERLOCK (gritting his teeth): ... will have to admit that it's bound... to happen... one day. (He pauses for breath.) So when I die... (almost whispering) I want you to do my autopsy. No-one else.
He closes his eyes. Molly regards him for a moment with an expression of astonishment and exasperation. Then finally, she does smile.
MOLLY (affectionately): And you tell me I'm rubbish at making compliments.
Sherlock, without opening his eyes, smiles weakly in return.
MOLLY (very gently): Sherlock, you will never die. You'll still be at Baker Street when you're eighty. I can see you sitting there in your armchair, hair gone grey, reading glasses on your nose, still deducing people's entire biographies from the way they tie their shoelaces, listening to their stories and getting annoyed when they're not weird enough...
She glances at Sherlock to check whether she's trespassing on forbidden ground, but he's still smiling. Molly raises her eyes to look out of the window, into a far distance. When she continues, a wistful, bitter-sweet note steals into her voice.
MOLLY: And then John and Mary with their twelve grandchildren will come to visit, and you'll pick up your violin and give them a tune, a little less sprightly then, maybe, arthritic fingers struggling a bit with the semiquavers... And Sir Mycroft will look in, too, white-haired, leaning heavily on his umbrella, snapping at anyone who dares to offer him their arm, because he'll be about ninety-seven then, won't he? And Mrs Hudson, who will be a hundred and twenty-two, will come upstairs with tea for everyone...
Her voice trails off, and her eyes return to Sherlock in his bed. He still has his eyes closed, but the smile is completely gone from his face. Molly catches her breath in alarm, but only for a moment, until she realises that he is breathing very calmly and regularly, in fact deeply and peacefully asleep. Very careful not to make the slightest noise, Molly tip-toes closer to his bed, leans over him and breathes three of the most tender of kisses onto his pale cheeks, two left, one right.