Author's Note:

The story you're about to read deals with a delicate subject, and it's based on real life. It's probably one of the most personal fics I've ever written. For these reasons, I was more than a bit hesitant to publish it. I shared the story with Riandra, and she encouraged me to upload it, so here it is.

To my reviewers:

shadowpanda101: Thank you for the "package" review! =D As I like to tell some of my regular reviewers, never ever apologize for the length of a review! The longer it is, the more I love it! ^_^ I'm so glad you liked the characterization, and that the stories have touched you. Thank you very much!

TiggitNeko: Um, no, I've read the entire Canon. I'm curious to know why you thought I'd only read HOUN… Heh, SPEC was the first story I ever read, and it creeped me out! =) Glad you liked the stories, though!

==13. The Breaking Point==

Rating: T
Summary: She was scared to let him know her secret.

Pairing(s): possible H/L
Warnings: A strongly-implied, Internet-based addiction.
Word Count: 417

She'd always been so careful to hide it from him. She'd been hiding it for so long, anyway, that to keep it a secret even from the Great Detective was easy. And she knew how he'd react if he found out. Shock. Disgust. Revulsion. Absolute loathing of what a base creature she truly was.

But when he caught her by surprise that one evening, she froze, because she hadn't minimized the window on her screen in time to hide it. She didn't dare look up, could only imagine what was running through his head as at last he saw her dirty secret.

"Beth." The voice was gentle but firm, surprised, pained. It wasn't the anger, the dark emotions she'd imagined, but it made her heart very literally ache.

"Beth, look at me."

She obeyed, slowly. Those large, grey-blue eyes were filled with enough pain to drown herself in. She forced herself to keep looking at him, because she knew she deserved it.

"How long?"

"Since I was sixteen." The steadiness of her voice surprised herself.

His eyes widened with shock… and sadness. "Ten years?" he whispered.

She couldn't take it anymore. She hung her head, feeling tears well up in her eyes. Zed, she couldn't even take her medicine like the tough D.I. she was supposed to be.

Warm, slender fingers came up under her chin and gently pulled it back up. "Beth"—and there was utterly no condemnation in his voice, only understanding—"you don't need this."

"Then help me stop it!" she exploded, searching his concerned and lov… his concerned face. She gritted her teeth against the storm of emotions roiling in her. She'd been trapped for so long in something she had come upon by accident… "Help me!"

With that familiar, determined look in his eye, Sherlock Holmes pulled up the browser history on her laptop and wiped it clean. "If you've saved any links…"

She blinked, wiping her hand across her eyes. "That simple?"

He turned back to her, openly concerned. "No, it won't be. You know that."

And then she feet so utterly stupid, because only just then did she remember that she was speaking with a man who once had a cocaine dependence which deepened into addiction… Which he eventually managed to quit.

He wrapped an arm around her and rested his chin lightly on her shoulder. "But I'll be here with you, every step of the way."

"Promise?" she breathed, holding tightly to his arm like a lifeline.

"I promise."

Author's Note:

Some addictions are easy to hide, and can leave a person otherwise perfectly normal. That's Beth's case here, and it's why I felt it could fit into the canon of the show.

I loved writing Holmes here. It was… incredibly therapeutic for me.

Please review.