A/N: Well, this is it, I can't believe how long this story ended up! Thanks to everyone who reviewed, still shocked (in a very good way) about the response Small Steps has gotten. To name but a few:lollipop-chan, Annie, Vi-Violence, MollyHooperRules, Jessie Holmes, Lucy36, hollay123, casper22, MarvelDC superhero fan, DarcyJayne, patemalah21, kitkat84, Empress of Verace, MorbidbyDefault, superlc529, Rocking the Redhead, SteamPunk'93, friend2friend1, coloradoandcolorado1, MisplacedHyperQuill, Cumberbabe and Breann.

Thanks for baring with me, I hope you enjoy the last chapter of Small Steps.

And, as always DFTBA! #believeinsherlock



Chapter 21

Sherlock awoke with both a deadened head and arm, the anaesthetic was still wearing off. Tensing his left arm he felt no pain, just the odd sensation of stitches holding his skin together. It wasn't an altogether new feeling, but Sherlock had never been shot before, stabbed yes, and people seemed to love punching him, but never shot. Sherlock knew it couldn't have been that bad, if he had required orthopaedic surgery he would have been knocked out for longer. He had already worked out it had only been three and a half hours since he had originally lost consciousness.

Satisfied with his brief assessment of his injuries he turned his head, surveying the room. He was in one of the private rooms at St Bartholomew's, his brother's influence involved no doubt. Someone had been sat with him not long before, a chair still pulled up beside his bed, probably John, or maybe Mycroft had sent Anthea to spy on him more completely.

Sherlock carefully removed the IV from his arm, his progress hindered by the sling his left arm was in, Sherlock knew he wouldn't be able to cope with the sling for very long; it impeded his movement, and wasn't really necessary, not if the doctor's had done a good job.

Looking down beside his bed, Sherlock immediately spotted the bag containing his personal belongings. His shirt and top were ruined, but his trousers were still relatively clean, so he pulled them on under his hideous, hospital gown.

Leaving the room, however, was significantly more difficult than finding his clothes, it was now mid-morning, so the corridors were teeming with people. Sherlock tried to walk casually towards the stairs, but it didn't seem to help, when he reached the floor's reception he realised why.

His face was filling the TV screen above the desk, accompanied by the headline 'Reichenbach 'Hero' Returns?'. As he watched, the picture changed to two newsreaders discussing the story. It appeared that someone had filmed the police carrying an unconscious Sherlock out of the shop that morning. This had then quickly caught the media's attention, who had then dragged up the whole kidnapping incident again, until Lestrade had issued a statement explaining the basics of what had happened.

Sherlock nearly sighed with relief, it could have been much worse, at least his name was now clear, he was free to start consulting again, to resume his old life. Well, almost. He knew there were definitely going to be a few changes.

Turning away from the screen, Sherlock continue towards the stairwell, ignoring the staring onlookers, he needed to get out of this gown, it was much too conspicuous. Upon reaching the stairs he continued on the familiar route to Molly's room. There was no way he could easily leave the hospital, he had seen, on the news segment, the masses of journalists swarmed outside the entrance. He really wanted to see Molly, and it was the perfect place to wait it out.

It didn't take long to reach Molly's room, but before he could enter John appeared round a corner, carrying Ben.

"Lestrade rang." John said, still approaching a now stationary Sherlock. "Told us what happened. What did I tell you Sherlock? You have responsibilities now." He gestured to Ben. "You can't run around getting yourself shot."

"I didn't mean to get shot." Sherlock said defensively. "Obviously." He added under his breath.

"That doesn't matter." John's voice was raised now, not bothering to hide his annoyance. "Lestrade told me about the file they have on Moran, you must have known how dangerous he was. You shouldn't have risked it."

"It was too important not to. He attacked Molly once, what was to stop him from doing it again." He quickly took Ben from John's arms. "I stopped him." He said forcefully, and, without pausing, turned back and entered Molly's room, leaving a shocked John alone in the corridor.

John stood there silently for almost a minute before he was able to move, he had never seen Sherlock so passionate about something, let alone someone, before. He needed to speak to Lestrade, he decided, before heading down to the entrance where he knew the inspector was waiting.

Meanwhile, Sherlock stood beside Molly's bed, it felt like days since he had last seen her, when in reality it had only been hours. He had already checked her chart, she had been taken off sedation forty minutes earlier, it shouldn't belong until she woke up.

Sherlock was much more content now he could see Molly, however Ben was not, he had already started fidgeting in Sherlock's arms. Sherlock was pretty certain that the three year old was bored of spending so much time cooped up in this room. Ben was also tired, because of the ongoing teething issues and obviously missing Molly. Sherlock could definitely relate to all three.

To try to stop the toddler from starting to cry, Sherlock quickly moved to the small cabinet beside Molly's bed and retrieved one of the toys they had left there the previous day. After scrutinising the area for anything even remotely dangerous, he carefully set Ben down, toy held in his small hands.

Sherlock suddenly felt knackered, he could barely remember the last time he slept, when it hadn't been induced. Settling into the chair beside her bed, he let his gaze switch between Molly, still sleeping peacefully, and Ben, babbling to himself on the floor. He hadn't felt so relaxed since before the fall; Molly would be waking soon, Moran and dozens more of Moriarty's men were behind bars. Sherlock felt safe.

The second time Sherlock awoke that day he could hear quiet voices. To give him a chance to assess the situation he kept his eyes shut and didn't allow his body to move, except to maintain the slow breathing associated with sleep.

A male was mid sentence when Sherlock began listening.

"...a complete success. They've all been detained." It was Lestrade and he was roughly three meters away, the other side of the bed.

"Sherlock will be pleased. I've never seen him so worked up." A second man, John, said. He was closer, maybe at the foot of the bed..

"Are you sure he's alright?" A third quieter voice asked. A soft, delicate voice that caused Sherlock to burst upwards.

"Molly, you're awake." He said, a huge smile on his face,,

"Well deduced." She said softly, a grin on hers. "I thought you were above stating the obvious?"

All of a sudden Sherlock felt embarrassed by the presence of the others in the room.

"How are you feeling?" He asked, schooling his features slightly. He was still drinking in the image of her conscious, sat up in bed, with Ben on her lap. He didn't think he'd ever enough of seeing them both happy, together and safe.

"I'm fine." Molly replied, her eyes fixed on his face. "Greg and John were just filling me in, on what I've missed."

"They're probably lying." He replied quickly, he dreaded to think what John had said about his lack of responsibility.

"So you didn't try and get justice for me, by single handedly tracking down than attacked me?" Molly asked innocently, a slight smirk on her face.

"Well, yes." Sherlock said reluctantly. "Maybe they're just bending the truth?"

"And you didn't look after my son for the last three, no four, days." Sherlock could hear John and Lestrade chuckling quietly.

"Fine." Sherlock huffed. "There is a possibility they could have told you the truth."

"Thank you Sherlock." Molly said sincerely. "You didn't have to do any of that, but I'm really glad you did. I mean." She blushed slightly. "I'm not glad you got shot or anything. Just thanks."

"That's alright Molly." Sherlock replied, a light blush also colouring his cheeks. "It was nothing."

They continued looking at each other for a couple of minutes until Lestrade broke the silence.

"Well, I don't know if you've seen the news Sherlock, but you've been cleared." At the look Sherlock shot him he quickly backtracked. "Who am I kidding? Of course you have." Lestrade took a deep breath before continuing. "Of all charges in fact, I think the Chief of Police is even going to issue a formal apology later." Lestrade smiled slightly. "I heard something about someone in the government making a fuss..."

John let out a short laugh. "See, I told you Mycroft 'cares' for you."

"Yes, well thank you Inspector, John." Sherlock said, trying to convey his wish to be alone with Molly.

Before he could finish his attempt Molly spoke up, drawing all three's attention back to her.

"That's brilliant news Sherlock." She said, an unconvincing smile fixed on her face. "You can move back to Baker Street, and consult again and..."

Sherlock did the only thing he could think of to stop her talking, he gently pressed his lips to hers, pulling back slightly he whispered. "Molly, please try to refrain from all the unnecessary talking." And then, with barely a second thought to the door thought which John and Lestrade were quietly leaving, he delicately reconnected their lips.