Prompt: feeling the effects of age
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Sherlock Holmes/Molly Hooper
Genre: Romance, Hurt/Comfort
Rating & Warnings: PG
Word Count: 2080
Summary: An argument with Molly over tea has Sherlock facing the very real prospect of getting older…something he doesn’t take to with much grace.
A/N: Sherlolly established relationship. Can be read as a follow-up to Up All Night
It was Sunday, a lazy day when not filled with a case, in the Holmes and Hooper household at Baker Street. Sherlock was still in his dressing gown reading the tabloids. He had always said it was for a case but Molly had a sneaking suspicion it was for the same reason he watched trash television. He liked to pick apart people’s stories, the more outrageous the better.
Molly herself was curled up opposite him in the chair she fondly thought of as co-owning with John Watson; when he was here to do case work that is. It was rather like being in a pleasant time share. Except you had every right to expect the Russian Mafia to break in and hold you hostage and there was a distinct lack of sandy beaches. The perks were good, spending time with Sherlock, and she rather thought she got the better end of that deal. Molly didn’t think John and Sherlock got up to quite the same activities that she and Sherlock did in private. Mary, for one, might have something to say about that.
Molly and Sherlock had been living together for a few years at that point and had been together for a little while longer. Their relationship had not been an easy one. It was full of misunderstandings and hurt feelings but the foundation for respect and love had been built out of his need for her that day on the roof of Bart’s. Things had not been the same since. Sherlock had not been the same since. It was probably a good thing. Had he been the same man, so disconnected from feeling that she had originally fallen in love with, their relationship might not have lasted.
She turned the page of her Pathology journal and reached down to pet Toby as he passed by her chair.
“Molly, any chance for tea?” It seemed that now that she was a permanent fixture in the flat he had less of a reason to call down to Mrs. Hudson for trivial things like tea or biscuits. Molly didn’t mind really. She was happy to do it. But she made sure to call him out when he was pushing too far. This however was not one of those times.
“Sure,” She untangled herself from the chair and padded over to the stove. Molly moved to put the kettle on.
“It’s Louisa’s birthday next month. We’ll have to get her a gift.” She called absently from the kitchen.
“John and Mary’s spawn?” Sherlock replied.
“Don’t pretend like you don’t care for her. You’re just upset that John caught you tutoring her in blood spatter analysis.”
“I still maintain that it is a useful skill.”
“Maybe for you, but not for primary school.”
“What else are you supposed to do with a five year old?”
“I don’t know. Take her to the park, the cinema, the zoo. Does it look like I have a child?” Molly took the cups and saucers down from the cupboard and placed a tea bag in each of the cups.
“You’ve always seemed like the maternal sort.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment I guess.” When steam started pouring from the spout she took the kettle off the burner and poured the water into the cups. She waited while the tea steeped.
“Do you have any cases lined up?”
“Not at present. But I’m sure something will turn up soon. Lestrade and the whole of Scotland Yard can’t seem to do without my help.” He smiled wide and practically preened.
“You don’t give Greg enough credit. I think he solves enough cases just fine without you.”
“Greg. Since when have you been on a first name basis with him?”
“Since he’s been my friend.”
His eyes narrowed and he replied, “I don’t think he considers you as just a friend.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Only that he’s had designs on you for as long as I’ve known you.”
“I think you’re reading into things. Besides he’s got a wife.”
“That does not preclude a wandering eye. It never has in my experience.”
“Your personal experience?” Molly fought a grin.
“I didn’t say that. Don’t twist my words.” Sherlock replied with a frown.
“Sorry.” She sounded properly contrite.
“Anyways, his relationship, if you could call it that, with his wife has never been a very stable one. Both of them are just looking for an excuse to step out on their marriage vows.”
“That’s a very harsh thing to say. I would never wish ill on anyone’s marriage.”
“It’s not wishing ill if it’s fact.”
“Still, I hope they work things out, one way or the other.” She brought the cups into the sitting room and handed Sherlock a saucer before sitting down with her own.
Taking the proffered cup he brought it to his lips and took a sip. Sherlock puckered his mouth and spit the tea back in the cup.
“What the bloody hell is this?”
“It’s green tea”
“No, no. This isn’t for me. I don’t drink green tea. Make it again.” He replied putting the matter to rest. He stuck out his hand with the tea cup and saucer in it.
“Make. It. Again.” She repeated each word carefully, “I make your tea out of kindness. I don’t have to do anything of the sort.”
She got up from her chair and plucked Sherlock’s cup out of his hand, bringing it to the sink in the kitchen. Filling the kettle and putting it on again, she turned to lean on the counter facing the detective. He had his head back in the newspaper.
“It has flavonoids and antioxidants or something in it. It’s supposed to be good for your heart. Your last set of labs said your cholesterol was high.”
“Molly, if you expect me to drink that swill-“
“Green tea is not swill. It has been drunk for thousands of years…probably.”
“Like I was saying, you are a scientist. Speak to me like a scientist. Anecdotal evidence from the back of a box makes you sound like a rube.”
“Fine you want evidence, I’ll get you evidence.” Molly stalked over to the desk and sat before the laptop. Googling “Health benefits of green tea” brought up several articles and she began to read out the titles.
“A few articles from some half-rate journals are not going to suddenly convince me of the miracle of drinking green tea.”
“Why are you being so difficult? Be honest.”
“I just don’t like the taste.”
She sighed and rolled her eyes. This was the joy of interacting with a petulant Sherlock.
She turned around in her chair to face him. His back was to her but she spoke anyways.
“I worry about you, you know. You’re not as young as you used to be. You’re in a new decade of your life now. You have to start taking better care of your health.”
“I went to the damn doctor on your insistence, did I not?” He was in a real strop now. “I’m in a new decade of my life,” He sneered,” You don’t have to patronize me.”
“Yes, you did go to the doctor,” She patiently ignored his jab, “And I’m proud of you. But now you actually have to do what they tell you.”
“I don’t have to do anything of the sort. And how is drinking that dishwater following doctor’s orders? They usually like to turn to their bag of pharmaceuticals.” He was fidgeting with the newspaper now.
“It isn’t. I just thought it might help. Something homeopathic so you didn’t have to resort to medication so soon.”
“Oh this is ridiculous. I don’t have to listen to this.” He stood up abruptly, tossing the paper to the floor, and fled to his room slamming the door shut behind him.
Molly didn’t exactly know what had gone wrong. A simple disagreement over tea had ended in a proper argument. She felt she had been reasonable so that left Sherlock as the rather unreasonable party.
The whistle of the kettle broke her thoughts and she got up to move it off the burner. Molly made tea in a new cup, the way she knew Sherlock would like.
With the cup in one hand she gently tapped on the door to their room. “Sherlock, can I come in?” She didn’t hear a reply so she eased the door open and stepped inside.
Sherlock was lying on the bed, his hands steepled beneath his chin, his gaze pointed fixedly at the ceiling.
“Are you alright?”
“Why wouldn’t I be alright?” He spoke calmly.
“We had an argument over tea of all things. That’s unusual.” She paused, “I made you a new cup by the way: English breakfast, one sugar.” She placed the cup on the nightstand.
“Can I join you?”
“Do what you like.”
Molly ignored the tone and moved to lie next to him on the bed. “So are you going to tell me what’s really bothering you?”
His eyes crossed to her face then settled on the ceiling again. Sherlock sighed and seemed to resign himself to speak. “I don’t want to admit that my health may be a concern now where it was just taken for granted before. I don’t like the prospect of getting older. I don’t like the thought of my faculties growing dimmer.” He brought his hand up to tap at his temple, “I rely on my senses, my intellect and my mind to organize all that information and present it in a useful manner. That won’t be the case forever.”
“You have a long way to go before you’re senile Sherlock. And something tells me you’ll probably be solving the case of the missing dentures when you’re ninety and living in a nursing home.”
His whole face twisted into a disgusted expression, “That is a most horrid thought. Never repeat that again.”
She grinned and kissed his cheek.
“How can you not be daunted by the prospect of getting older?” Sherlock questioned apprehensively.
“I don’t know. I suppose I always thought about the good things that would come with age. You no longer have to struggle to prove yourself in your profession. Your name has respect and worth. Now you can just focus on doing what you love. Like, I have a good position at Bart’s. It’s well respected. I could publish more and it’s something I would like to work on. But I have time. Haven’t you seen the benefits in your detective work that have come with age? People believe in the work that you do? You no longer have to convince the Yard that your experience can be beneficial.”
“I suppose.” He sounded skeptical.
“Another good thing happens when you have a partner. If you’ve been with them a while you get to the comfortable stage where things may not be as exciting as they once were but you know your partner intimately. Deep trust and love have developed all due to time. And with age hopefully comes the wisdom to know that you are in the right relationship.
Age doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s all in how you view it.”
“You have a decidedly positive outlook on the situation.”
“You should too. You are entirely too young to start having these thoughts.”
“You may be right.”
“Of course I’m right.”
Sherlock reached over to grab her hand. He gave it a squeeze and she squeezed back.
“I love you, you know.” She was at least comfortable saying it.
“As well you should.”
“We’re going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”
“I know I’m going to be fine.”
They lapsed into a comfortable silence and he rubbed his thumb gently over her knuckles.
“What are you thinking about?” Molly queried.
“I’m thinking about asking Lestrade for a case.”
“Not willing to wait for him to come to you?”
“No, I think it will do me some good. Maybe prove I’m not losing my mind completely.”
“Sherlock,” She sighed deeply.
He rolled over to kiss her on the cheek then hopped out of bed to get dressed for the day. Molly lay back on the bed with her arms clasped over her chest. Her relationship was definitely difficult but interesting.
Sometimes with Sherlock it seemed to be one step forward and two steps back. But she would stick with it. God knows he was worth the effort.