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Doctor meets doctor (3/8)

BBC Sherlock

Rating 18 (whole fic): slash, mental health issues, vomiting.

Summary: AU body-swap fic, set mainly during "A Study in Pink". Inspired by the Martin Freeman/Rachael Stirling comedy drama Boy meets Girl.

Betaed by kalypso_v, queen of the comma.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

Summary: Molly's taken John's body without its owner's consent, but what is Sherlock going to say when she arrives at 221B?


Molly's wrong about how long it will take Sherlock to spot her, or rather Sherlock's wrong about her. Sherlock wants an audience, she realises when she gets to Baker Street, and he's pleased to have John Watson as part of it. And Mrs Hudson is obviously enthusiastic about a wounded war hero as well, even if she does seem to think John is Sherlock's boyfriend. Molly hastily says they'll be needing two bedrooms and wonders if her body language is somehow giving her away. She sits down, and Sherlock promptly attempts to impress a rather unimpressed John Watson. She barely has to say anything to get him going, and then a plain clothes policeman rushes in and begs Sherlock for help with the serial suicides. It's wonderful: she's suddenly inside the news.

Sherlock disappears off, and she starts to make herself comfortable in the flat, wondering when he'll be back, what he'll let slip to her about the case. Then she remembers that she's supposed to be a man of action and swears at her leg when Mrs Hudson gives her an opportunity. Mrs Hudson still offers to make her a cup of tea, though; that's what women do for men, isn't it? She's starting to get the hang of this.

But now Sherlock is back, bounding up the stairs again, standing in the doorway looking gorgeous, as ever, and she knows her time's up, that he's spotted her trick.

"You're a doctor," he says, and she opens her mouth to say, yes, she's Molly Hooper, because he obviously hasn't deduced that bit yet. And then Sherlock adds: "In fact, you're an army doctor," and she realises that she's still fooling him. So she hauls herself up from the chair, and tries to look and sound military, like the tough but weary ex-soldier that John Watson is. Until Sherlock asks her whether she'd like to see some trouble, and, without thinking, she responds enthusiastically.

And suddenly she's hurrying after Sherlock, trying to remember to limp, and then sitting in a taxi with him going off to see a dead body. Well, at least she knows plenty about those, she thinks as she stares out of the cab window. She has no idea what Dr Watson would do in this situation, but it doesn't seem to matter, because Sherlock's soon showing off again, and enthusiastically accepting her admiration at his brilliance. Why does he like compliments from him, when he hated them from me, she wonders, but it doesn't really matter. What matters is that she's with Sherlock and as long as she does what he tells her– with an occasional rather sceptical comment, because John Watson is not a complete pushover – he accepts her as his assistant.

So it's all amazing, until Sherlock abruptly runs out on her. Well, strictly speaking, on John Watson, because presumably even Sherlock would think twice before leaving a woman to walk through Brixton on her own at night. But she looks like she can take care of herself, so she trudges off towards the High Street.  It'd be easier, of course, if she could drop the limp, but she has to stay in character, she decides, even if her leg muscles are starting to protest terribly.

When she realises that the payphones are starting ringing as she goes past, she answers one, because maybe Sherlock's testing her. But instead, it's an unfamiliar posh voice that starts telling her about CCTV cameras and orders her to get into a car. She's tempted to retort that her mother told her never to get into strange men's cars, but then she realises that it must be some kind of special police doing this. How else to explain the control of the cameras and the voice's air of authority? And the Body Swap Investigation Unit, or whoever they are, probably don't like jokes, or people resisting arrest. She'll end up in even more trouble if she tries either.

On the other hand, once she gets in the car, the tall, glamorous brunette in the back of it, who is obviously there as a chaperone for Molly Hooper, suggests that they won't necessarily be too scary. She should try and get her on her side, Molly thinks. So John Watson asks the woman who she is, gets an evasive answer, and then adds automatically: "I'm John". The woman going by the name of Anthea smiles without looking at her, and says:  "Yes, I know", and it abruptly dawns on Molly: they don't know about the body swap, after all. They – whoever they are – think she really is John Watson. She has just let herself be kidnapped.

She's near panic, but would John Watson panic? No. He's been in Afghanistan, for goodness’ sake, under fire. And she remembers his stillness, coolness even, in the canteen when she told him about a possible torture chamber. She has to try and copy that composure, keep her voice calm as she asks a pointless question about where they're going. Think herself back into Dr Watson, not worry about what might be coming.

She's managing OK till the car swings into some kind of deserted factory or warehouse and comes to a stop. She can't see what's out there very clearly, but it's far scarier than being brought to an office or a house. This is a place you get taken to when you're going to be killed, she realises. She is about to die.

Please God, let me live, she thinks, almost prays, as she stumbles out of the car, clutching the cane. She wants to run, but there's nowhere to run to. And her one chance of escaping is catching them by surprise, them not realising that her limp is fake. So she takes one stiff step towards the silhouette of the tall man in the warehouse. He stays standing there, leaning on...it's an umbrella, isn't it? And she suddenly recognises him: it's Sherlock's brother. Who is someone very important in some obscure kind of way, because he's got Sherlock out of trouble at Barts on several occasions.

But he doesn't know that she's Molly, and John Watson doesn't know who Sherlock's brother is. So it's time for Dr Watson to be calm and unimpressed again, and it's strange how natural that quiet stoicism is starting to become. She even manages to tell Mr Holmes that he doesn't seem very frightening, and he promptly calls her brave. No-one ever thinks Molly is brave, but she is now that she's John, coolly answering her phone in the middle of a conversation with Sherlock's "archenemy". It's Sherlock who's texted, wanting her to come back to Baker Street.

Sherlock wants her, and nothing on this earth is going to stop her, certainly not his brother's posturing. She doesn't even flinch when Mr Holmes rather creepily takes her hand, and she smiles inwardly when he remarks about it not shaking.  The tremor was psychosomatic as well, wasn't it, another demon lurking in John Watson's battered mind? But his body loves danger, and she's got that now. Mr Holmes is right about the battlefield: she's ready for it. On her way to Baker Street, she's so confident that she stops off at the flat to pick up John's gun and even tries some (completely unsuccessful) flirting with Anthea.

***

Back at 221B, Sherlock is being his usual mesmerising and infuriating self, and John Watson does his bidding, just like Molly Hooper normally does. Well, not just like Molly Hooper, because John is allowed to protest more and gets told rather more by Sherlock than Molly ever would. And he gets a reward as well, invited by Sherlock to come and meet a murderer. John Watson –  Molly – is Sherlock's colleague now.

She remembers to object that it's not a date when Sherlock takes her into the restaurant for the stake-out, but she slips up after that, starts a silly conversation about whether Sherlock has a girlfriend or boyfriend. It's something she's always wanted to know, but it makes John sound as if he's coming onto Sherlock, the kind of girly behaviour that might betray her. Fortunately, Sherlock gets distracted by the taxi, and runs off. She runs after him, because she's not getting left behind again.

John's body is fitter than hers, but she's still in agony very quickly, heart pounding, legs aching; she's not used to running, let alone jumping across roofs. But Sherlock calls to her to come on, and at the thought that he's remembered about her, noticed her, she realises she will follow him anywhere, do anything. She races on, through a blur of streets, and somehow, ridiculously, they catch the cab, and it's the wrong person, but it's still wonderful.  They head home giggling – should John Watson be giggling, she wonders, but it doesn't seem to matter now – and collapse in near hysterics inside the hall in Baker Street. And then Angelo turns up with John's stick and she realises that Sherlock thinks he's cured a limp she didn't have in the first place.

Or maybe one she did have. She's less and less sure that she and John are completely separate any more; she is becoming him, absorbing him. During the drugs bust, when Sherlock looks at her uncertainly after one of his more tactless remarks, and asks: "Not good?", "Bit not good, yeah," comes immediately to her lips – his lips. And then Sherlock ignores everyone else in the room and demands what she'd say if she was dying. She replies: "Please God, let me live", and it's as if she's fusing together the past soldier and herself, the eager recruit to the battlefield. She's seen death, she's expected to die; she and John Watson both know what they're talking about.

So when Sherlock disappears off on his own yet again – what is it with that man? – she doesn't worry about why he's done that, like Lestrade does. What matters to John is where Sherlock's gone and how he can find him. It's only when she gets to the FE college that she starts to feel alarmed. She may look like John Watson, but she's not him, doesn't know how to fight, how to use the muscles she knows are hiding under his woolly jumper.  Still, she has got a gun; if she can just find Sherlock, she can protect him from the serial killer he's almost certainly gone off to meet. She begins a rapid search through the first of the buildings. Where is Sherlock lurking in this jumble of classrooms?

She can't find him, and she can feel John's worried body surging with adrenaline, as she runs down the corridors. Has she somehow missed him? But he has to be here, he has to be.  Through another set of doors, and then she sees him: framed in the window of another building, talking to another man. A small, insignificant man who must be the serial killer, just about to talk Sherlock into taking a poisoned pill. She yells to Sherlock, but she knows it's too late. This whole thing is going to end almost before it began. Sherlock is going to take the poison and she can't get to him in time to save him.

And then she realises she can save him. Because she's got John Watson's pistol with her and John Watson's strong, steady hand and keen eye. And as she carefully raises the gun she knows that this is why all of this has happened, that it's meant to happen. She has had her body swapped in order to save Sherlock, and there is nothing to fear. It is an impossible shot but nothing is impossible for her now. She feels nothing when the bullet hits the cabbie, as it was bound to do. It is not her doing this...

So it's easy to run away afterwards and play innocent, fool Sergeant Donovan that she'd never been there. She can't fool Sherlock, of course; he looks across at her from the ambulance, and she looks away awkwardly, knowing he knows everything now. When he goes over to her, she's going to confirm that it's her; she's trying to work out what to say, even as she mutters stupid things about it being a dreadful business. And then Sherlock looks at her and asks: "Are you all right?"

"Yes, of course I'm all right," comes out automatically from her mouth, and in that second she sees it all fit together, snap into place. Sherlock still thinks she's John, and he cares about how John is feeling – he's never cared if Molly's all right, not in all the time he's known her. Sherlock cares for John Watson, and she is not prepared to lose that. Not without a fight. She's John Watson and she's staying John Watson.

So the next question is, what would Watson do? Which is obviously what anyone who's used to death – a soldier, a doctor – would do in a situation like this. Make a joke in bad taste.

She smiles and says something ridiculous about the killer being a hopeless cabbie, and it works, the way everything works tonight. Suddenly she and Sherlock are guys together again – laughing, giggling – and it's as easy as that. She follows after Sherlock – even as a man, she's still frustratingly shorter than him – and then it somehow seems inevitable that John Watson calls Sherlock an idiot. Because he is, and even if Molly would never tell him that, John would. John Watson calls Sherlock an idiot and promptly gets offered dinner. She knows even then that it's the start of a beautiful friendship.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
rabidsamfan
Nov. 26th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, Molly, Molly, you are so hooked.
marysutherland
Dec. 3rd, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
I liked the idea of Molly turning out to be a BAMF, given the chance, though there are still one or two surprises in store for her.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )