She's seventeen and her mother is gone.
She likes the word gone better than any others, because with it, she can pretend that maybe it's just for a day, for a week, for a month. Gone leaves the possibility of coming back.
But she won't now, will she?
She's seventeen and her father is trying, but she's not a child any more, wasn't sure if she ever really was, not a normal one anyway.
Her father is trying, but not quite succeeding, and she finds it strange, because she was never really more attached to one parent over another, even after everything that happened.
Mummy was the one who shot Sherlock, killed Sherlock.
She's seventeen and wearing dark eye liner and she started smoking and hated it so she quit, but the nicotine wormed its way into her brain and now she's got a patch on her arm that reminds her of him every time she sees it, or feels it, tugging at the skin. She's pretty sure he knows, but she doesn't want to talk about it, because then that would involve discussions about being disappointing, and neither of them really want to do it, but he's apparently an adult, so he would be obligated to lecture if the topic came up.
So they both make sure it doesn't.
She's seventeen and school is boring and life is boring and school is painful and life is painful.
She's not sure how they can be both, but they are, and it's awful.
So she ignores both of them, and instead does everything she's not supposed to.
She dates boys her father doesn't approve of, she dates girls her father doesn't approve of, she dates no one, which her father is concerned about.
She can't win with him.
(One would think that he'd be understanding, seeing as how he married a spy who shot his best friend, but he may have forgotten that. Uncle Greg always ran background checks and if the slightest thing showed up, which it did, it always did, because she made sure, then her father would rant at her for twenty minutes about choices. She wisely chose not to comment on his, because that would remind him of her mother, and she'd not sure she can handle that on top of everything else.)
She throws herself into that lifestyle, of rebelling. Hell, she's a teenager, that's what they're supposed to do. Normal teenagers anyway. She supposes that's what she wants to be.
Or appear, anyway.
She can't fool Sherlock of course, and so when she ends up at his flat, of no one's accord, it just sort of happened, never mind the walking and the tube and more walking she had to do to get there, her feet just sort of went.
He's there, lying on his couch, clad in his dressing gown (thank god he's at least wearing something), fingers beneath his chin.
She throws herself into a chair and waits for him to return.
"What is it Anna?" he says, not too long after. He wasn't buried very deeply this time.
She's no longer eleven, she no longer switches names every day. (No, it's more of every month, although she seems to come back to Anna more and more, such a normal name. Normal names can give the appearance of normality, even when she's... well, obviously not.)
She sighs and looks at him, sprawled on the couch. She's sitting in her father's chair, because she understands what it means to him when she does that, and because she can't sit in Sherlock's chair, simply because it's his.
He looks too old, far too old for the things he says and does. Still chasing after criminals, still clueless when it comes to social convention. (Sometimes she wonders if he's only pretending, for the sake of times gone by. Times spent with her father.)
But at the same time he's incredibly young. So vibrant and full of life that it exhausts her to look at him, because if she's this tired at seventeen, then how is she supposed to make it to that age? How did he make it to that age?
She bets he thinks the same thing, shocked every day when he looks in the mirror, a face looking back at him aged beyond anything he'd ever hoped for.
Or maybe he didn't. Maybe he never thought he'd live this long. Never wanted to see old age, when his body would fail him and his mind would lose its razor sharp edge.
Certainly not her.
But they don't talk about those things, because some things are better left unspoken, the conversations already completed in their heads, the outcomes not ideal.