MHAW Day Six – Day 6 - Love The Way You _ (Fanworks focusing on particular things loved about Molly)

The Molly Hooper Project

Rosie squirmed in her chair, obviously eager to move on from the cake portion of the birthday party to the presents.

"All right, Sprout. I'll help Mrs Hudson clean up later. Show Molly what you've made her." John indulgently smiled at his eight-year-old daughter.

She slid off her chair in Mrs Hudson's dining room and rushed out the door to the stairs to 21b. "Up here, Aunt Molly. Hurry!"

Molly laughed as she climbed the stairs at a much more sedate pace.

By the time the adults followed the little girl into the sitting room and arranged themselves to Rosie's satisfaction, the young girl already had the telly remote in hand. Someone had rearranged the furniture in anticipation of Rosie's gift; pushing the chairs that were normally in front of the fireplace to the side and turning the telly so that everyone in the room would be able to see it. Molly sat in the middle of the sofa next to Rosie, as requested, with Mrs Hudson on her other side. John and Greg each took one of the relocated chairs. For some reason, Sherlock chose to stand, leaning his shoulder against the doorframe to the hall.

"Are we ready?" Rosie didn't wait for an answer before she aimed the remote at the telly.

A carefully hand lettered sign appeared on the screen. It read "The Molly Hooper Project by Rosamund Watson".

The screen went dark for a second. John appeared, stretched out on the sofa in the Watson sitting room. He had his index finger stuck between the pages of a book. "Is that my phone?"

The image tilted wildly for a moment, ending on a view of Rosie's favourite sparkly purple sneakers seconds before her little feet turned to run. Everyone heard her squeal of laughter before the picture cut out entirely.

When it came back on, John was there again. Only this time he was sitting up on the sofa, the book set to the side, and he looked as if he were trying to hold back a smile. "- a movie for Molly's birthday?"

"To show her how much we all love her."

"That sounds like a very nice project, Sprout; but you still need to ask before you take my phone to make videos next time."

"Yes, Daddy. I'm filming now." The phone wiggled as if to emphasise her point.

"She's . . . consistent. Always there when you need a hand. A friend. I have always known I can trust her with the thing I love the most."

"What's that, Daddy?"

John smiled and hopped up off the sofa, heading straight for his daughter. "You, of course!"

There was another squeal of laughter.

The image flicked over to a tilted view of Mrs Hudson sitting at her kitchen table. "What is this for, dear?"

The image straightened as Rosie answered from off camera. "Aunt Molly's birthday."

"Oh, happy birthday, Molly!" Mrs Hudson waved.

"What is your favourite thing about Aunt Molly? What do you love about her?"

"She's the sweetest thing. Considerate. Always willing to pop in for a cuppa and a bit of gossip when she's here." Mrs Hudson's nose crinkled as she smiled.

The scene changed again. This time it was Mike Stamford answering Rosie's question. "She's a hard worker. The kind you can depend on, no matter what. Even when someone else keeps popping up to distract her. And she's kind."

"How-?" Molly started to ask.

Rosie shushed her. "Uncle Sherlock took me."

"You took my daughter to Barts?" John aimed a glare across the room.

Sherlock waved his hand. "She had a list of people she wanted to talk to, and I had an afternoon free."

Now Greg was on the screen. Molly recognized his office from the time she'd tagged along with Sherlock on their crime solving day. "Does John know she's here?" Greg pointed at the camera.

"He left her in my care," Sherlock replied from off screen, as if that were an actual answer.

Greg wiped his hand over his face and leaned back in his chair behind the desk. "His mistake."

"Exactly," was Sherlock's reply.

"Aunt Molly, Mr Greg. You need to tell me what you love about Aunt Molly."

"Right. Right." Greg looked up at the ceiling for a moment, then back at the camera. "She's brilliant. I mean, she really knows her stuff. I've dealt with a lot of people who . . . do what she does." His gaze flicked to the right where Sherlock was presumably sitting.

"Pathology," Sherlock helpfully supplied.

"That means she works at the hospital looking at diseases and dead bodies and helps figure out what killed people." Rosie also tried to be helpful.

"Yeah, I'm aware of what she does." He sent a glare toward Sherlock. "I just didn't realize the eight-year-old was aware of it too."

Sherlock snorted. "Don't blame me. That was Molly."

Greg shook his head. "Does John know about that?"

"Yes, John knows, unfortunately," the man in question grumbled to the room at large as the image shifted yet again.

This time it was Molly's best friend Meena, and they were sitting at a table in a coffee shop. "Aren't you adorable?" Meena asked as she offered the camerawomen a biscuit.

"Thank you, Miss," Rosie politely replied as her hand crept into view to take the offered treat.

"What isn't to love about Molly? She's smart and goofy, generous and forgiving. Perhaps to a fault." Meena's gaze flicked rather pointedly to the left. "Wouldn't you agree, Sherlock?"

From somewhere to the left of the camera, Sherlock huffed. "Eat your biscuit, Watson. We've got to get you back to Baker Street before your father comes looking for you."

"Seriously, Sherlock, we are going to have to have a talk about-Sherlock?" John looked confused as he called out his friend's name. Molly looked around with everyone else, and realized that Sherlock had left the room. He must have slipped out during Meena's interview.

Before anyone could call his name again, the scene on the telly changed once more.

This time it showed very room they were sitting in. Sherlock sat at his laptop, typing away at something as the camera focused on him.

"Okay, Uncle Sherlock."

"Hmm?" He looked up briefly and offered an absentminded smile for his goddaughter before he returned to his typing. "I thought you were down stairs with Mrs Hudson."

"Her story came on the telly and there was messy kissing." Even without seeing Rosie, her disgust was clear. "Your turn. What do you love about Aunt Molly?"

"Everything." His fingers stilled and he remained utterly motionless for a full five seconds.

Molly held her breath.

On screen Sherlock slowly pushed his chair away from the table and turned his full attention to Rosie. "I have been thinking about how best to answer your question since you told me about your project, and that's it." He took a deep breath and stared right into the camera. "I love everything about your Aunt. But I can't tell her that, not to her face."

"Why not, Uncle Sherlock?" The poor girl sounded confused.

"I told her once, years ago. But it wasn't . . . right. And it hurt her. It hurt us both."

"Why would hurt? Did you lie? Because you're not supposed to lie."

Sherlock shook his head. "No, it wasn't a lie. But it wasn't really the truth, either. I had known, before I said it, that I cared for your Aunt. But until the words came out, I hadn't understood how much, and what those feelings really meant. And I wasn't ready for that." He grimaced. "Then there were so many other things to deal with, important things that couldn't be ignored, and by the time I finally worked up the nerve to sit down and speak with Molly about it . . . it was too late."

"I don't understand? You and Aunt Molly are friends. Did you make up for hurting her?"

He nodded. "Eventually. You know that Molly and I are-"

"Kissing. With tongues," Rosie finished for him.

"I was going to say dating, and perhaps you should stop watching Mrs Hudson's stories all together, Watson." He sighed. "I love her and I know she loves me; but we don't, we don't say the words. Those words. I want to. I wish I could just say them without being scared that I'm going to reminder her of how badly I hurt her that first time. I think that might be why she's scared to say it, too."

"Don't be sad," Rosie tried to console Sherlock. "Oh! You can tell her now. It's not face to face in the movie. You can say it and then she'll see it and then she can tell you back and then you don't have to be scared anymore." Her words grew faster and higher pitched as she spun out her idea. "And then you can kiss some more!"

"I was just thinking something similar." He took a deep breath and looked straight at the camera again. "I love you, Molly Hooper."

The screen went black.

Molly stared at the telly, the sound of those words echoing in her ears. She had braced herself when she realized what he was about to do. He had been right, she had been scared to say it again after that first time.

But hearing him say it didn't make her hurt. It didn't overwhelm her with painful reminders. If anything, it made her feel lighter, happier.

Rosie's little hand reached out to touch hers. "Are you okay, Aunt Molly? You're crying. Is it bad? Did I do it wrong?"

She hadn't realized she was crying until she blinked and felt a tear trail down her cheek. Molly scrubbed her free hand across her face and shook her head. "It's perfect, sweetie. Best present ever. Thank you." She leaned over to press a kiss to the top of Rosie's head, then looked around the room at everyone else. Everyone but Sherlock, who was still missing.

"I just need a minute to . . . Excuse me." Molly pushed herself off the sofa and hurried through the kitchen to the bathroom, intent on splashing some water on her face and composing herself.

The door to Sherlock's bedroom was open just a crack, and she could see that the light was on inside. She pushed the door open to see him sitting on the side of the bed, his hands holding on to the edge of the mattress so tight that his fingers had turned white.

"Did you make it to the end?" he asked.

"Yeah." Molly stepped into the room and shut the door behind her. After a moment's hesitation, she joined him on the bed. "Sherlock, I-"

"No!" He hopped up and stood in front of her. "Wait. Let me say it first. The right way."

She watched him duck his head and let him have a few seconds to gather his thoughts. The expression on his face when he looked at her again made her heart pound. She'd seen that expression too many times to count over the last few years, and it still took her breath away. "You know, you have to know, how I feel about you. Molly, I love you."

It felt even better to hear it in person. "I love you, too."

"Oh, thank God." He dropped onto the bed beside her, causing her to bounce and laugh. Sherlock waited for her to stop giggling to reach for her hand. "Are they waiting for us out there?"

Molly nodded. "Probably. But they can wait a bit longer." She leaned her head against his arm and gripped his fingers tighter. "You know I'm not going to be able to stop saying it now, don't you?"

He squeezed her fingers back. "Neither will I."