This just crept up on me. I think it's set sometime in series one, but the timing's pretty flexible.
Harry sits at the table in the kitchen. The apple stares back at her.
It is resting delicately on its side, with its stalk facing her. The light from the window catches it in such a way that it seems to have a smile made of light. The apple is a fresh green colour; the kind of colour modern decorators like to paint kitchens to make them look "fresh".
She is fairly sure that her problems can be traced back to the first few days at police training. Everybody – every man – had watched her. Almost constantly. Harry had been brought up in an environment where manners and etiquette were extremely important, and though she had always prided herself on being more laid-back, there were standards she liked to keep to, and all those eyes watching her were just too much; she could not cope with it.
When she got home, to the little flat that her father was paying for until she could afford to pay him back (he kept insisting that she did not have to, but Harry was adamant that she would pay her way), she was too tired to do anything other than Hstrip off her make-up and collapse into bed.
She had never been a breakfast person. A cup of tea was quite sufficient most mornings.
It was the looking, the staring, the undressing-with-the-eyes. That was not who she was; not why she was there. She wanted to be a police officer, and her body was not going to stop her. She wore baggier, less revealing, safer clothes. Many of them took it as a tease.
Not every police officer stared at her body, of course. Some were liberal enough to accept her as she was. A handful were brave enough to befriend her. And she loved them fiercely, this new-found family.
And yet, they could not shield her from the eyes of men. She began to dread the monthly bleeding that seemed to taunt her with what she was. During those times, she felt too sick with disgust and self-loathing to eat a thing.
The hunger did not ache after a while; in fact, she was never hungry at all. She supposed that should worry her, but somehow it felt like a triumph. She watched the other police officers munching their sandwiches and chocolate and crisps, fat and salt and sugar, and continued writing reports.
Eventually, her period stopped coming. She would bleed a little every five months or so, and could not bring herself to go to work at those times. Instead, she would make vast orders from fast food restaurants, stare at it guiltily for hours, then consume the cold food with a frenzy that made her feel ashamed afterwards.
She survived on apples mostly. Fruit and yoghurt and tea. These foods Harry could call "safe", and ate in moderation.
She would stand in front of her mirror and watch curves turning into bones.
Working outside the office became increasingly difficult; though Harry's weak body tried hard to obey her, she tired far more quickly than she ever had done – far more quickly than whoever her male partner at the time was. Her paperwork suffered from her wandering focus and lack of concentration too – what was once a sharp, analytical brain was floundering from the lack of nourishment.
If not for the man who had overseen her recruitment and training becoming her boss, Harry thought she might have died. What she did in her own time was her own business, he said, but her job performance was slipping, and it was not acceptable.
Harry had left Spikings' office with a pounding heart, confused and ashamed. He had not known what she was doing, knew only that her weight was dropping and she was working well below her potential, but it proved to be just the reality check she needed.
The recovery was long and slow; it was hard work and it was lonely. Even now she could not bring herself to eat when she was stressed, and at the sight of fast food her nausea was matched only by her anxiety.
Harry picks up the apple and bites into it slowly. She has come a long way up a steep mountain, and though there is a way to go yet, she thinks she can see the top.