Layer at a Time.

Summary: In which John slowly learns who Mycroft's assistant really is. Dialogue-only. One shot. Implied John/Anthea.

Disclaimer: not mine, etc.

Originally posted at LiveJournal: 12 January, 2011


"If your name isn't Anthea, what is it?"





"Can you tell me your name this time?"


"C'mon, it wouldn't be so hard, would it?"

"Fine, it's Allison."

"Is it?"



"Don't tell me it's Rumpelstiltskin."

"Close, it's Rachel."

"Let me guess. It really isn't."

"You're learning then, John."


"Can I get a clue?"



"Does Sherlock know?"



"What's your favourite colour?"

"No—wait, pardon?"

"I'm trying to figure out what I can know, since names are off bounds."

"Oh. It's red."

"... Really?"

"Yes, this time, really."


"What's your favourite song?"

"Classified information."

"You're joking."


"I'm going to guess Amy?"

"No. But I guess you can call me that for today."


"When is your birthday?"

"When's yours?"

"March 31st. And don't deflect the question."

"Sorry, but this one is classified information."

"Ah. Right."


"How long have you been working with Mycroft?"

"A while."



"Can you speak another language?"


"That's not an answer."

"That's what you're getting though."


"You don't look a day over 21."

"No comment; but nice try to find out my age."


"How is Mycroft? Did the bullet miss his heart?"

"Just barely. I—Well, I don't know how he is. I'm not family and I—"

"Anthea—or Jane, or whatever you're calling yourself today—it'll be okay. Relax a little."

"I'm fine; it's just so damned frustrating—"

"Sherlock will tell us as soon as he's allowed access then."

"Right. Well. Thank you."


"While you're on that phone, can you order some pizza?"

"Excuse me?"

"I'm hungry. And surely you can take two minutes to place an order."


"Unless you really are rigging the Korean elections?"

"Is pepperoni all right with you?"


"Happy birthday, John."

"You remembered!"

"Don't sound so surprised. I keyed it into my phone calendar."

"Ah. Right. Well, it's the thought that counts."


"I'm texting you the address of a good dry-cleaner."


"You're covered in blood."

"Wow. You're right. Damn; and this was my favourite jumper."


"Oh, and I'm fine by the way. This isn't my blood."


"Would you like to see a movie this weekend?"

"Seen them."

"Wait, even the one—"

"When you fly as much as I do, sometimes you pass the time with movies."

"Even ones that aren't out yet?"

"I have my ways."


"You're less nosy these days."

"Huh? Oh, I figure what you keep secret is secret for a reason, isn't it? No point pushing."




"What's your favourite colour?"


"Oh. Okay."

"Why'd you ask?"

"Never mind."


"Your phone changed."

"Broke the keypad of the other one."

"Safe to assume that happens often?"



"That was impressive."

"Just because I'm normally on the phone doesn't mean I don't know how to kiss ass."

"I won't assume again; especially not after that rather spectacular roundhouse kick."


"You're a bit like Sherlock."

"Ha. Not sure how I should take that."

"I meant that in a good way."

"I am not quite as brilliant as Mr. Holmes. As either of them, actually."

"Except you're ambiguous, prefer texts to calls, and you smile when you think no one's watching."

"Oh. You do pay attention."

"Sherlock's influence knows no bounds."


"The Beatles."

"Excuse me?"

"I don't have a favourite song, but they're my favourite band."

"Ringo Starr fan?"

"No, actually Paul McCartney."

"Thanks for telling me."

"It was nothing."


"I hope you are recovering well."

"Recov—? Oh. Sarah and I—well, it never would have worked."


"How did you know?"

"Mycroft has ways of keeping track."

"But I was asking how did you know?"

"Here's your stop, John."


"How do you choose your names?"

"I thought you'd given up being nosy."

"Sorry, I'll leave it. What's your name for today?"


"Right then."


"Is working for Mycroft as tiring as running after Sherlock?"

"Possibly. I've never done the latter, so no comparison."

"At least you don't need to deal with severed heads in your fridge."


"You don't, do you?"


"Can you order—?"

"Curry? Already taken care of. Should be here in two minutes."

"Did you get—?"

"Yes, I ordered some naan bread, too."

"I can see why Mycroft keeps you around. Very organised, aren't you?"

"You've only seen the tip of the iceberg."


"Happy birthday—um, what's your name today?"

"It's Kayla. And excuse me? It's not my birthday."

"Well, I've known you for a year. I figure it's passed."

"Ha ha. Your logic holds merit. Thank you, John."



"Mycroft said he'll be fine. We've got the best doctors on it."

"Thank God."

"C'mon. Let's get you a coffee. You look like you could do with one."

"Yeah, facing off with a criminal mastermind will do that to you."

"Welcome to my Mondays."

"... Wait, you schedule these things on a weekly basis?"

"Sort of. Change it to international criminal masterminds."


"Where's your phone?"

"In the Thames."

"... Won't ask about that. But why haven't you replaced it?"

"Mycroft promised me something better, but it's taking longer to arrive than expected."

"I'm sorry. Zoned out a bit. Talking to you and seeing your eyes is a bit distracting."

"Always a charmer, John."

"Oh, sorry, I didn't—"

"No, it's fine."


"Why does Mycroft come around when emailing Sherlock would probably be less volatile?"

"I think he's a bit sadistic like that."

"They'll be fighting for a while. Want a cup of tea?"


"Oh come on. It's just tea."

"Sure, then. Two sugars please."


"Long story."

"Wasn't going to ask."

"Of course you were."

"Well, I've never seen you out of office clothing, so..."

"There's only so much blood my blouses can take before I have to throw them out."

"Well, I did say I wasn't going to ask."


"But I will say you look nice in that dress."


"Thanks for texting me a heads up about Sherlock."

"No use of Mycroft's surveillance if we don't use it."

"The idiot is going to get himself killed one day."

"So will you."


"So will you if you're not careful."

"Don't worry. I'll be careful."



"It's a perfectly generic name. What's wrong with it?"

"Except your name was Mary yesterday and the day before that..."


"Don't you change it every day?"

"For others, yes."

"... But for me?"

"Mary will do just fine. Mary Morstan."


A/N: Hee hee hee. I've wanted to write an Anthea = Mary story for a while now. Hope you enjoyed~!