Character(s): Molly Hooper, The Eleventh Doctor
Fandom: Sherlock BBC and Doctor Who crossover
Prompt: Inspired by this image prompt.
Spoilers/Warnings: Takes place post The Reichenbach Fall and Angels Take Manhattan. Spoilers for both. Mild warning for a bit of angst.
Summary: Molly Hooper meets a madman with a box.
Notes: Written for consci_fan_mo.
Molly Hooper's reaction upon stepping into the TARDIS was to shriek and put her hands over her eyes, like she used to when she was little and her brothers made her watch horror films. She spread her fingers and peeked through. Nope, it was a still a gigantic room in a tiny box.
“It's been awhile since someone did that,” the Doctor said. “Actually, I haven't had a really good response in a long time. People have been really boring lately. 'Oh, of course it's bigger on the inside'. No respect any more.”
Molly removed her hands from her face and gave a good look around the room, trying to reconcile what was impossible with what was real. The Doctor watched her, a pleased look on his face that reminded her of Sherlock when he thought he was being clever. It was the first sign of joy she'd seen in the Doctor's face since she'd met him on a bench outside of Barts.
Their conversation had begun with 'is it Tuesday? I was really hoping for a Tuesday. I haven't had a proper Tuesday in ages' and somehow wandered into 'I've just had to say goodbye to a friend', 'me too' and then concluded with him solemnly saying 'there's only remedy for this. We're going to have to have an adventure'.
And for some reason, she'd agreed.
“I don't know if I'm really the right person for this sort of thing,” she said, still gaping at her surroundings. “I'm not really very good at—I'm not really very good.”
The Doctor's smile left his face. “Who says you're not good?” he asked. She shrugged. “Let me tell you a secret, Molly Hooper. I have been around forever and been everywhere and if there is one universal truth, besides the fact that bow ties are cool, it is that people are wrong. And I'm right. And I say that you're very good.”
Molly smiled. “Bow ties aren't cool,” she said.
“See?” the Doctor said. “Wrong.”
He took her to a planet—a whole other planet—where people lived in giant trees that had grown up through the old civilizations. It was so beautiful that she was crying. The Doctor tried to hand her a handkerchief. He handed her a recipe for cherry jam instead.
“I've been looking for that, I have to get that back to Nostradamus,” the Doctor said, smiling down at the paper. “He gets really cross when he misplaces things. Starts predicting doom and gloom. C'mon, Hooper. Let's go meet the locals.”
The inhabitants were extremely friendly. It was nice to meet aliens who didn't want to exterminate her or assimilate her or annihilate her.
“They speak English here,” she noted.
“No, you're just hearing English,” the Doctor corrected. “They actually speak Kâ. It's a language based entirely around the syllable Kâ. There are 120 tonal variations of it. It's known as the language for causing the most misunderstandings in the universe. I almost got married once when I was trying to ask for a bagel. I never got that bagel, now that I think about it...”
In their culture, visitors were considered lucky and to be rude to one meant bad luck for years. Molly found herself with food shoved at her and someone offering to do her hair and someone trying to barter for her cardigan. She turned down the offer for two goat-like animals, but accepted a pretty necklace.
“Hey, you're still here,” the Doctor said, returning from paying his respects to the head of the community.
“You told me not to wander off,” she said.
He looked astonished. “I've finally found one who listens!” he said, pulling her into a tight hug. “Good human. Very good human.”
They stayed until after nightfall, sitting with their legs dangling off one of the platforms the locals inhabited among the branches. He told her stories and talked a bit about the people he had to say goodbye to, but not much. She talked a little about Sherlock, but not much. There was too much of a secret there to talk properly about it, even to a time travelling alien. Eventually they stopped talking and just looked at the sky. The stars there were different and beautiful. There were six moons.
“I always think planets with a lot of moons are just showing off,” the Doctor said. “I bet there are planets out there with no moons who would love one and here this one is, hogging them all just because it's bigger.”
She was sad when it was time to go. The Doctor offered her a trip to somewhere else, but Molly wasn’t the kind of girl to run away from home with a madman with a magic box. And when they arrived back, only a few minutes from when they left, her world suddenly seemed so much brighter and more beautiful for having been away. The universe was so much bigger and incredible than psychopathic ex-boyfriends and sociopathic geniuses and corpses on slabs.
She couldn't really explain this to the Doctor, but he seemed to understand. She hugged him tightly and told him to find a proper adventuring companion. He hugged her back and told her to never let anyone tell her she wasn't good enough.
The TARDIS faded away and Molly Hooper—the girl who counted and had always counted—went home to her flat and a life that would be hard for a long time coming, but for which she was entirely up to the challenge.