Summary: Sgt. Sally Donovan and how she sees the world in 2000 words. Second person POV. Canon. Character study piece. Implied Anderson/Donovan.
Disclaimer: thank you, BBC and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Originally posted at Livejournal: 30 December, 2010
You have seen Sherlock work from the start of your job. Seen him work over people and leave them dazed. You know first-hand how cruel and cutting he can be.
Yet you can't imagine working on the police force without him. You actually wonder how other places get things done without Sherlock. He is worth his weight in gold, even including his utter lack of propriety.
After all, on your first week on the beat, he glances at you and dissects everything.
Your wealth from the cut of your uniform, what you did last night from the state of your hair, your haphazard relationship with your mother from your make-up and a week-old Post-It note on your desk.
It makes people awed, but you just get angry.
No one should know that much about someone from a glance.
When you first see Anderson, it's over a dead body and you're bloody freezing because of the rain seeping into your shoes and it's just not a good day.
It's never a good day when the stench of death hangs heavy in the air.
Anderson helps make it a little worse though. You think he's an obnoxious prick.
Except he shoots you these knowing little grins and your mother's voice rings in your ears—your taste in men is disgusting—but you can't help but grin back.
Your brother is in the army, your father is a butcher and your mother is a nurse. It's a haphazard family to come from, and you know a bit about them all.
What they all had in common is that they all worked with blood and death.
Sometimes, at night, you wonder whether that's why you joined the police force.
Detective Inspector Lestrade is a good man. You are grateful to work under him. Even though you resent how often he goes to Sherlock, you understand he needs to.
There is something petty about resisting help on a murder case for superficial reasons.
Sherlock sweeps by you, all angles and grace and eyes alight with some mix of adrenalin and excitement. Still, he pauses, looks at you critically and says,
"Anderson is engaged."
You don't react but he nods as if you did.
Your heart jumps into your throat when he leaves you behind, two bodies and blood on the walls far too interesting to ignore for long.
The first time you are shot, it's a glancing hit, just touching your arm. There's blood but you've worked long enough to recognise it as lucky and you keep running after the bastards.
You feel alive.
The second time you are shot, you are wearing a bullet-proof vest, so it hurts but it's not fatal.
What stops your heart for a second is the thought that, it might have been.
The first time you shoot someone they have a group of hostages and had already killed one of them. You shouldn't feel guilty but that night you can't sleep and you keep imagining blood on your hands.
Every time you wash them, you see the water turn pink and you want to scream.
—oh God, I killed someone—
Some things the Academy can't prepare you for.
Anderson's kisses are brutal and desperate and you feel yourself responding in kind.
His neck smells like someone else's lipstick and you try to ignore it. Sherlock's words are dancing in your mind but you push them out.
You try to reassure yourself he won't know—it shouldn't matter if he does—but deep down you know something will give it away. Something always gives it away.
Still, you let yourself be pulled into an unfamiliar bed and let unfamiliar hands map out your body.
You snap out, "Freak" at Sherlock and are almost disturbed at how it doesn't even seem to register as an insult.
Instead he says, "Anderson's still on his honeymoon, isn't he?"
You grit your teeth and turn away but for a split second you think you see something other than condescension in his eyes.
Pity is something you could never handle, especially not from Sherlock Holmes of all people.
Once more you snap out, "Freak" and leave the room and the bodies behind.
Everything is just so tiring lately.
You fall into a comfortable pattern.
Every weekday you go to work.
You grab a coffee every morning; bitter, bland, in a cup too hot to hold until it is too cold to drink.
You see Anderson and his wedding band and die a little on the inside.
Work takes your mind off things. Robbery, assault, and murder shouldn't be considered normal. Yet to you, it is.
Then you go home, alone.
Sometimes, Anderson comes too.
Lestrade notices your relationship—if you could call it that—with Anderson, but stays quiet.
He's a nice guy who prefers not to meddle. Part of wants him to though; to give you a reason to break things off with a married man.
Except Gregory doesn't say a word and you keep ignoring how bitter Anderson's stolen kisses are.
Of course, you try dating outside the force. It's hard though. Men don't seem to like a girlfriend who can handle a gun, disassemble one in less than two minutes, someone who stands around dead bodies and tries their hardest to catch the crook that did it.
You wonder why you bother.
Somewhere along the line, your mother dies. Heart attack, natural causes.
She was oppressive and judgemental and a part of you always hated her, but you didn't want her to die. Still, you don't cry.
You take time off to see your dad's crying, to see your brother blank-faced like he still couldn't believe it, and you're left to pick up the pieces.
Then you're back to work, gun heavy in its holster, skies brilliantly blue, blood scarlet against the pavement. You want to feel something like regret, but all you feel is hollowness.
Maybe you project that feeling because Sherlock doesn't say anything about it the next day.
You know he can see the bags of sleeplessness, the fatigue of grief, possibly some dirt under your nails from the funeral—who knows? But he, thankfully, stays quiet and lets you have her peace.
You figure that's his form of kindness.
In between Sherlock solving the case of the triple homicide and the missing ruby necklace, "Freak" becomes less of an insult and more of a nickname.
You're not sure how that happened.
You still insist that he's a bastard and a monster and a freak—
—and yet someone you trust with your life.
The toilets, you notice vaguely, smell very strongly of lemon. You hope it will cover the smell of your vomit. You can't stop throwing up in the ceramic basin, tides of horrible self-loathing crashing over you, time and time again.
Anderson's wife was visiting the office, all smiles and wide-eyed innocence. He stood beside her, beaming and showing her off and determined not to catch your eye.
You mentally list how much you hate yourself and hold your hair back to choke up some bile.
No one should know that much, you think. Holmes had done it again, solved a case by looking at a man and breaking him down into facts and figures without wasting a breath.
You wonder how Sherlock can stand that, knowing so much about everyone around him. It must be hurtful to live in a world where no one can lie to you.
Perhaps that's why he's so cruel.
One day you realise, Anderson has never said to you, I love you.
A second later, you realise you haven't either.
You can't think about it much with his tongue down your throat and your hands down his pants, but later you ask yourself:
Why am I doing this?
Sherlock brings a colleague one day to a crime scene and you can't believe it.
You warn Watson about Sherlock—the poor guy needs a heads-up about the insanity.
A part of you wonders though, whether you're actually trying to spare Sherlock's feelings.
"Sherlock doesn't have friends."
You realise that you wish he did.
It soon becomes clear that, despite your warning, Dr. John Watson has become Sherlock's best friend.
People speculate that they're fucking; others believe they're only good friends, if not weird ones.
You're just a bit jealous that Sherlock's found someone and Anderson considers you a bit on the side.
Still, you do nothing.
John Watson is possibly one of the bravest, most insane men you've ever met. He dodges bombs and bullets and follows Sherlock with a foolhardy doggedness.
He acts like a translator for Sherlock, turning his scathing comments into something kind and moral and you wonder how Sherlock functioned before John's calming influence.
You think Sherlock can't possibly deserve someone so inherently good.
Your brother comes home for a short period from the warzone and you catch up.
He asks, "So, you have anyone?" in his non-assuming, dry way.
You pause for a long moment before replying, "No. I don't."
The next day, you break things off with Anderson.
He tries to stop you, saying, "Sally, wait—"
But you hold up a hand and smile thinly.
"I deserve a little better." Before you walk away, you add as an afterthought, "So does your wife."
While you feel good at finally doing this—breaking free—a part of your heart shatters because while you didn't love him, you did care.
You're standing next to John at the scene of a car crash that Sherlock's declared was an intentional accident. His energy is manic and barely contained and out of curiosity you ask John,
"How can you stand him?"
When the man sees you're not mocking or asking unkindly, he shrugs and says, "It's one of those things you get used to."
With a jolt of surprise, you realise you're used to Sherlock as well.
Things hurt for a while, an aching gap that Anderson tried to fill.
But you suck it up and move on, because that's what you do.
If you couldn't move on, you would never have become an officer in the first place.
There's only so much grief a human could cope with.
"You finally broke up with Anderson," Sherlock comments one day.
There was no body holding his attention, the gruesome bloodstains telling him only so much. From the corner of your eye, Anderson stiffens and you ask,
"How did you know?"
You wait for a cold, calculating reply. Sherlock's lips quirk up—in a smile?—and John watches on curiously, crossing his arms.
"Your voice is hoarse and you're limping. The bags under your eyes and your crinkled uniform tell me you were up all night and haven't had a chance to go home," Sherlock lists off quickly. "Anderson's never gotten that reaction from you, and you're smiling more, even at a crime scene. It's logical to assume you've gotten a better lover."
Your jaw almost drops open but instead you swallow heavily and chance a glance at Anderson. He's looking away, fists clenched in anger, and something proud bursts in your stomach. You don't need him.
John clears his throat and directs Sherlock to come see another room where a bloodied knife was found, and you could see the moment where his eyes light up with glee; this moment forgotten, deleted.
Under your breath, you mutter, "Freak" and realise it's not just a nickname, but a term of endearment.
And Sherlock has shown you another form of his convoluted kindness.
You see Anderson missing his wedding band one day, and smile when you feel nothing at all.
He grins at you hopefully, and your mother's voice echoes in your head—I only want what's best for you—and you turn your head away.
In the end, you decide, yes, Sherlock deserves John.
A/N: So... what do you think? Comments, for this story especially, would be really appreciated.