It couldn’t be.
There was no way that Molly Hooper—the woman who had gone missing without a trace nearly a year ago—was standing in front of that police box, smiling at another woman as if they were old friends.
No way that she could be standing there, looking exactly as she had when she’d stormed out of Baker Street. He’d lied about The Phone Call, said it had only been for her safety, that it meant nothing; and even though it had only taken ten minutes for him to realize what a fool he’d been and run after her, she’d disappeared.
She wasn’t angry now. She was laughing at the oddly dressed blonde woman who kept gesturing toward the blue police box.
Sherlock couldn’t take it anymore.
He quickly approached. “Molly?”
The only woman he’d ever loved turned to face him. “Thank God, Molly. I’m sorry, I was wrong. I do love you. I think I always have. Please don’t leave me again. These past eleven months-“
She turned to glare at the other woman who shrugged. “Eleven hours, eleven months. I was close.”
Molly huffed, then grinned. “Sherlock, I’d like you to meet the Doctor.”
It was bigger on the inside.
The woman—the Doctor, according to Molly, although not the version of the Doctor that Sherlock had last seen in the news—had an annoyingly expectant look, as if she knew exactly what he was thinking and was just waiting for the words to burst forth so she could roll her eyes. Sherlock bit his tongue and followed Molly deeper into the TARDIS.
Somehow, in only eleven hours (months on his end), Molly had become fast friends with the Doctor.
She continued to nervously rattled off a tale of visiting another world. “So pretty and peaceful, it put a lot of things into perspective and I just couldn’t stay angry anymore,” offered Molly as she hesitantly reached for his hand. “I do love you, Sherlock, but-”
He felt his blood run cold. “You’re leaving again.”
The Doctor nodded, watching them both closely.
“I thought it would be for the best.” Molly bit her lip and squeezed his fingers. “Then I saw you again. Do you want me to stay?”
“No.” He swallowed hard and made a split-second decision that was going to change his life forever. “I want you to take me with you.”
Mycroft understood long before Sherlock finished explaining where Molly had disappeared to for those eleven months. He had routinely received reports from UNIT and Torchwood over the years and was well acquainted with the whims of the Doctor. “As per the usual protocols, arrangements will be made to provide assistance for your reintegration once you and Ms Hooper return. Whenever that may be. When do you leave?”
Trust the British government to already have protocols prepared for that sort of thing. “Somehow Molly managed to convince the Doctor to give us a few hours.”
“Not very long at all, then. Not enough time to visit Mummy and Father to tell them in person.”
“Surely you can do that.” The thought of looking his mother in the eye while Sherlock told them he was leaving yet again was utterly unappealing. “Tell them ... Tell them about Molly. Father will understand.”
Mycroft nodded, silently agreeing. Their father was a romantic at heart. “And our sister?”
“Probably best not to mention Molly to her.” Sherlock glanced at his watch. “I’ve got to go. Goodbye, Mycroft.”
Mycroft whispered to himself as he watched Sherlock leave. “Until we meet again, I will miss you, brother mine.”
John took some convincing. At first, he thought Sherlock and Molly were having him on. It took peeking through the door of the TARDIS for the truth of the situation to sink in.
“How? How is—It’s bigger on the inside!”
“And there it is.” The Doctor shared a mutual eye roll with Sherlock.
He’d moved to step inside, Rosie on his hip and a look of awe on his face, when the Doctor slid in front to block him with wide open arms. “No, no, nooo, no more children in here! Who knows what the TARDIS will do if given half a chance, and I will not be held responsible for a bout of premature puberty.”
Molly rushed in to take Rosie for some last minute cuddles, leaving the men alone.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” John asked.
“I want to be with Molly,” Sherlock immediately replied. “I don’t care about the where or when.”
“I’m happy for you, mate. I truly am.”
Molly handed Rosie back and gave John a kiss on the cheek. “It’s not forever, John. We’ll be back.”
Rosie leaned her head against her father’s. “Promise?”
“We promise,” Sherlock solemnly reassured her.
The stars spun past in a blur.
Intellectually, Sherlock knew the stars weren’t actually moving. It was the rotation of the TARDIS as it moved through time and space that caused the bursts of colour and trails of light to speed across the view screen.
Still, it was rather . . .
“Breathtaking,” Molly whispered.
“It is striking,” the Doctor agreed. She nudged Sherlock out of the way to fiddle with numerous controls on the console. “Where to? Any special requests or shall it be pilot’s choice?”
Molly continued to watch the whirling lights, fascinated, and blindly reached for Sherlock’s hand. He squeezed her fingers in response. “I’ve always wanted to go to the Forest Moon of Endor. Do you know of any places like that?” she asked.
Sherlock blinked. “The what?”
The Doctor beamed. “I watched those with Bill.”
Sherlock blinked again. “Who?”
The Doctor immediately began to flip switches and spin dials (some of which had to be purely decorative, Sherlock thought). “Do you want the little bears or no?”
“Ewoks are real?” Molly gasped. Sherlock was utterly confused, but Molly’s enthusiasm made him smile.
“Of course not,” the Doctor scoffed. “But I know where to find the next best thing.”