When Lucy awoke, it was with a start. Rubbing her eyes, she blinked blearily, noting that it was almost midday. It was a lot later than normal. But her whole body felt tired and exhausted. She felt weak. On shaking legs, she slowly wandered into the bathroom, got undressed and turned the shower on. As she washed herself, she looked down at her arms. It had been several days since she last cut. The sight of the scars and almost fully healed wounds made her feel sick to her stomach. On one hand, it was not a nice sight at all, but on the other hand, the sight of it all healing made her want to create fresh wounds. But she had been doing so well. So, she tried to ignore it as she finished getting ready for the day.
It was odd. She wasn't cutting herself as much, but it was almost as though she was replacing it with starving herself. Deep down she knew it was because she felt the need to control a part of her life. To distract her from all the bad thoughts and feelings. But nothing she was doing was healthy. And yet, she had no clue how to cope without her self-destructive habits.
Sherlock was on his laptop when she sauntered into the living room. He frowned as he gave her a quick glance.
"You look unwell." He mumbled, typing away on what the teenager presumed was his website.
"Thanks." Her reply was blunt as she turned to make herself a glass of water.
"What do you want for lunch?" He asked. Lucy felt sick just at the mere mention of food. Not wanting to create an argument, she chose to ignore him for the time being. Slowly, she gulped down two glasses of water. It did nothing to quell the nausea or the weakness she felt in her body. For a moment, she leaned against the kitchen counter. She felt dizzy. Feeling Sherlock's calculating gaze on her, she stood up, trying to look well. Walking slowly, she sat down on the sofa, feeling relieved to be resting.
"What do you want for lunch?" Sherlock Holmes asked again. His voice was firm, and yet it was a little unsure. He clearly had no clue what to do.
"I'm not feeling well Sherlock," She muttered, rubbing her eyes. It wasn't a lie, but hopefully it would also get her out of eating.
"It's because you aren't eating properly." Sherlock snapped. His sudden anger caused her to finally look up at him with wide eyes. She wasn't quite sure why he was so frustrated or angry, but she thought it may be to do with him not having any good cases on. When she didn't reply straight away, Sherlock continued: "You do realise I have no idea what I should be doing here? I don't know how to make you eat normally, I don't know what to do for the best and it's so frustrating that you don't bloody help yourself!"
"What's that supposed to mean?" She asked shakily, but her voice was still dangerous.
"I'm sure you don't even really try to eat normally, it's like you want to be ill!" He slammed his laptop shut.
"Fuck you Sherlock." Lucy said before storming off to her room.
Once she was inside, she collapsed on the bed, crying. Her breathing hitched, it was too fast. Her heart was racing uncomfortably. She knew she was going into a panic attack but she couldn't care. Even Sherlock hated her. With her body going into a state of panic, she grabbed her blade. She couldn't control her breathing on her own, not right now. Not after what had happened. Instead, she did the only thing she knew would stop her mind from imploding.
"Mycroft." Sherlock ran a hand through his hair as his brother answered the phone.
"What is it Sherlock? I just finished a meeting."
"I fucked up." The detective's hands were shaking.
"What happened?" Mycroft was instantly worried.
"I shouted at Lucy." He whispered. "I blamed her for making herself this way." His voice was choked. He hadn't meant to shout at her. He hadn't meant anything he had said. It was a poor excuse but he had just been so angry and frustrated that he didn't know how to help her. Truthfully, he didn't blame her at all for being the way she was. Lucy had had a pretty bad start to life. Sherlock knew he had been unforgivably horrible. But he doubted Lucy knew why he was so angry. The detective just felt lost and he had taken his anger out in the completely wrong way.
"Oh, Sherlock," Mycroft's voice was quiet.
"I shouted that she didn't ever help herself. But I didn't mean it." Sherlock fisted his hands in his hair, "I don't know why I said it. I wanted to make her realise what she was doing to herself." He took in a shaky breath. "I really messed up this time."
"Do you want me to come over?" Mycroft asked carefully. He hadn't heard Sherlock sound so upset before, and he had certainly never heard Sherlock sound so defeated. It took Sherlock a lot to admit he had messed up, and when he did admit it, Mycroft knew that this meant it was bad. His younger brother would avoid him at all costs and would certainly never ask for help.
"I don't know what to do. God knows what she's going to be like now." Sherlock growled, angry with himself. Mycroft took that answer as a yes.
"I'll be over in ten minutes."
Sherlock had ended up pacing back and forth. He had regretted ever speaking to Lucy this morning. He had messed up beyond normal belief. His outburst had been so uncharacteristic when it came to his friends. He shouldn't allow his emotions to overwhelm his thinking so much. Just when he and Lucy had started to repair their relationship after all the events previously during his 'death', he had gone and ruined it all. God knows how long it would take for her to trust him again. A young life had been placed in his hands to look after and care for, and he couldn't even do that. He felt really useless.
The consulting detective looked up as the door opened and Mycroft came inside without waiting for an invitation.
"She's in her room then." Mycroft immediately said. His voice was impassive. Sherlock nodded. The government official paused for a moment, leaning on his umbrella. "You can't keep blaming yourself for not being able to help her." His voice was softer than normal.
"Why not?" Sherlock was snappy, but he tried to calm his voice. "I'm the one who went through addiction and recovered, I should know better than anyone how hard it is. I should know how important it is not to blame the person. And yet that's exactly what I did. I should know exactly what to do. But I'm doing the opposite of what is truly best."
"Sherlock, you're just reacting how most people would react."
"I'm not 'most people'"
"No, but you care about Lucy and you know that what she is doing is destroying her. You know logically that it isn't her own fault, but it can still seem that it is." Mycroft sighed. "It often seems that with things like this, it is the person's own fault. But she is trying to get better Sherlock, it's just too hard for her sometimes."
"You're going soft." Sherlock just grumbled, unsure of how to respond. "You're far better at this emotion business than you let on." Mycroft smirked.
"I'm a man of many talents." Was his reply. There was a pause. "What do you think we should do?"
"I was rather hoping you would already know." Sherlock muttered.
"I'll speak to her." Mycroft announced, before making his way to her room. Sherlock sat back down in his chair with a huff. One day he would get things right.
Mycroft knocked on the teenager's door once. He waited, but when no reply came, he merely sighed and open the door. Bracing himself for a difficult day. As soon as he walked into the bedroom he abruptly stopped. Lucy appeared to be unconscious and her arms were very bloody. Seeing that she was indeed still breathing, Mycroft quickly walked out towards Sherlock. Knowing what had happened, Sherlock grimaced, looking upset for a brief moment before fetching the first aid kit and a damp flannel. Knowing that his help wasn't going to be welcomed from the teenager, he let Mycroft go alone.
"Lucy?" Mycroft sat beside her on the bed. No reply. He glanced and caught sight of the blade in her right hand, he gently removed it from her grasp and put it on the bedside table. Grabbing some tissue, he became staunching the flow of blood. Looking her over, he deduced that she had fainted from lack of food rather than blood loss. The sight of her gave him a painful reminder of the time she had stayed at his house. He remembered tending to her cuts the first night and then watching another time as she collapsed in front of his eyes. Looking at all the cuts and scars on her body was difficult to see- even Mycroft wasn't completely immune from upsetting sights. Of course, he didn't let it show to the young girl, how hard it was to see, but that didn't mean he felt nothing. He felt bad for his younger brother, who had probably had to deal with this way more often. It wasn't something that anyone could get used to seeing.
"Lucy?" He tried again, feeling her forehead and tapping her face lightly in an attempt to wake her. This time, he felt her stir slightly. She felt cold to the touch, the cold sheen of sweat from fainting made her forehead damp. Looking disorientated, the teenager slowly opened her eyes. Mycroft watched her carefully as he kept his grip on her arms, ensuring that the blood stopped flowing. Lucy shifted uncomfortably, before focussing her gaze on the older Holmes brother.
"Mycroft?" Her voice was a little jumbled and quiet.
"It's me, try not to move or sit up." He ordered calmly. As he released the tissues, pleased to see the wounds stopped bleeding, he reached to get hold of the damp flannel. Mycroft carefully cleaned her cuts. As Lucy started to become more lucid, she blinked before jerking her arms away from him. Mycroft waited patiently.
"Leave me alone." Her voice was low. He could see the upset in her eyes.
"Give me your arms."
"Why? You and Sherlock don't even care!" And there he could see the damage as her face crumpled and tears began to fall.
"We both care." His voice was gentle. "Sherlock didn't mean what he said…"
"He fucking did." She interrupted. Quite frankly, Mycroft couldn't blame her for how she felt.
"I know he said some things that were upsetting, but he didn't honestly mean any of them."
"Then why did he say them." Her arms were folded away from Mycroft's reach.
"Because he was frustrated." Mycroft tried to explain. "He's angry at himself because he doesn't know how to help you and unfortunately he lashed out at you. He's going to be internally berating himself for a while." There was a moment of silence. "Sherlock knows better than anyone how addiction can spiral out of control, and he doesn't want that to happen to you and he's angry that it is happening." With that, Lucy sighed heavily, her breathing shaky. But she unfolded her arms and awkwardly held them out a little. Tentatively, Mycroft took hold of them again, when she didn't withdraw, he started to continue gently cleaning the wounds.
"I feel like this is a scenario that keeps on repeating itself." Lucy eventually said rather bitterly.
"Self harm is hard to stop, as you've said before."
"I know but doesn't it become tiring? Constantly having to look after me. I'm tired of having to be me."
"It takes time and patience but it is not in itself tiring." Was his tactical reply. There was a pause in which both seemed to be thinking. "You fainted."
"I had a panic attack." Her voice was sad and quiet.
"So you could have collapsed either from the panic attack or from lack of food." Mycroft mused.
"I don't remember fainting." She sniffed. Mycroft didn't quite know what to say or do. He just finished cleaning her wounds and swiftly bandaged them. "I don't want to see Sherlock." Lucy eventually said. She sounded broken. "I love him and I think I understand why he said what he did but that doesn't make it okay." The teenager looked utterly miserable.
"What would you like to do then?" Mycroft asked.
"I want to get away from everything." Was her broken reply. Mycroft had let go of her arms and she kept them close to her body. Her fingers were twitching, and Mycroft could see the need to hurt herself return. What she had said could have been interpreted in many ways. But truthfully, the government official still didn't know what would be best for her.
"Well," Mycroft sighed, thinking his options through. "Why don't you stay at mine for the rest of the day and night to give you a break if you don't want to be here."
"Is that okay?" She brushed away a tear. Mycroft nodded and rested a hand on her knee.
"Pack some things then while I talk to Sherlock."
Sherlock, of course, already knew exactly what was happening. Instead of letting his emotions and feelings run wild, he had put on his usual mask of almost cold indifference. Pretending like he didn't care at all helped to protect him. Caring was definitely not an advantage.
"Brother dear," Mycroft sat opposite Sherlock as he waited for Lucy, "You need to think about what's best for Lucy." He studied his younger brother's face. "You will end up losing her if you keep pushing her away."
"I used to be just fine at helping her through her problems." Sherlock muttered. "I don't know what happened to me. But everything I do just doesn't seem to go right with her anymore."
"You were gone for a year and a half Sherlock, it was bound to do more damage than you realised. She probably feels less trusting towards you, less like talking to you about her problems."
"Stupid humans and their feelings." Sherlock growled bitterly. Mycroft glared at him.
"Do not let your worry of Doctor Watson getting married ruin your relationship with Lucy."
"I'm not worried." Sherlock snapped. Mycroft just smirked knowingly.
At that moment, Lucy appeared from her room. She had a small bag with her that she gripped to tightly. Her face was paler than normal and she looked unwell. Mycroft stood up, taking hold of his umbrella. Lucy refused to look at Sherlock as she went downstairs.
"Look after her." Sherlock mumbled brokenly. Mycroft hesitated, but gave a single nod before following the teenager.
Lucy was quiet throughout the journey. She wasn't sure if Mycroft had spoken to her at all, but if he had, she hadn't been listening. Now she could see her home fade away as the car drove them to Mycroft's house, she felt awful. She missed Sherlock. She missed how things were before he died. Yes, they may have been in danger all the time, but she missed their friendship, she missed running around on the streets with him. She missed how she could tell him anything. She missed her life before he had 'died'. Tears fell and dried on her cheeks, but she was too tired to bother wiping them away. It was almost like she was in a trance as she numbly followed Mycroft into his house. He had surely been talking to her, but she couldn't recall anything he had said. She watched as he lit the fire in the large living room, he was trying to make the house more warm and cosy. Once he had stepped back, she moved towards the fire and sat down in front of it. The flames cast the room into an orange hue. A vast array of sunset colours danced in front of her eyes. The crackling and popping sounds were strangely comforting. And once again she found herself being reminded of her old family home. She could feel Mycroft watching her carefully. After a few minutes of silence when they just listened to the comforting sounds of the fire, the older Holmes brother left her to her thoughts.
She felt so alone.
Of course, she had people to talk to and confide in. But she just felt lonely. It seemed as though no-one could understand her thoughts. She grabbed fistfuls of her hair, the tiny spark of pain just enough to try and make her mind wander from the self-destructive thoughts. Reluctantly, she relaxed her grip as Mycroft returned. He placed something on the coffee table before joining her on the floor in front of the fire.
"I miss Sherlock." Lucy whispered. She didn't elaborate, but Mycroft knew she meant before he apparently committed suicide. He stayed silent. "I don't think he cares anymore." She continued, gazing into the fire. "He's so caught up, worrying about the wedding. He refuses to admit how he's scared that things will never be the same between him and John." There was a long pause. "I know his friendship with John is… incredible. But I think he forgets that things won't change that much once John and Mary get married."
"Unfortunately, my brother is so focussed on John and his own worry that he forgets that he's supposed to be looking after you. And he blames himself for what you're going through because he wasn't there for a long time."
"I had gone for quite a few days without cutting as well." She looked down miserably at her arms. "But I just didn't know what else to do. I didn't know how else to stop the bad feelings." She breathed in a shaky breath. "Do you honestly think it's all my fault that I'm so fucked up?" The troubled girl had finally looked up at him with tears glistening in her eyes.
"No, I don't." Mycroft thought through his answer. "I've told you before that you've just had so many things happen to you that has contributed towards you doing… this." There was a long silence. "If you can't get better on your own, then you need to see someone."
"I hated counselling." She replied bitterly.
"What about medication?" It wasn't his first choice, but something had to change.
"I don't need medication." Her voice was quiet, refusing to admit just how bad she had gotten. "Give me a month Mycroft. Give me a month and if I haven't gotten better on my own, then I promise I will see a counsellor." Her eyes were pleading. He hated that she was so against help, but she also looked determined.
"One month and not a day more." His voice was firm. "And you need to keep talking to Sherlock, or John or me. You can't do it all on your own Lucy."
"Thank you." Her voice was quiet. Mycroft just nodded, hating how this was going but he had to give her a chance. It wasn't completely up to him to decide what was best. He turned and retrieved his items that he placed on the table earlier. He put down the plate of toast and a glass of juice in front of them. Lucy eyed the toast warily.
"You don't have to eat all four pieces." He said upon seeing her dubious look.
"Good, I'm not feeling great." She mumbled, "And before you say it, yes eating will help." Sensing she wasn't in the mood to talk about her eating problems, he just quietly waited until she picked up a slice and slowly started to eat. Watching her shifting uncomfortably, Mycroft also picked up a slice and ate with her. As she finished her first slice, she gulped down a bit of the juice. "I know that I said it before, but I mean it this time Mycroft, I want to try to get better." She sighed, "I've been saying it for a long time. But I want to make Sherlock proud, and everyone else proud." She took another bite of toast. "Sherlock was right." She admitted. "It is my fault. I'm the one who can't cope without hurting myself somehow. I just need to control something in my life, and pain is the only thing I feel I have control over." There was a pause. "I tried to stop cutting as much, but I just replaced it by not eating much and making myself throw up. I just replace on dangerous thing with another. I never even realised." She made a face as she swallowed the buttery toast, her stomach protesting against her. Mycroft remained silent, feeling as though there was nothing he could say that Lucy didn't already know. But she was grateful that he just listened to her.
Both of them knew it would be tough. Everything was changing. With John and Mary's wedding just around the corner, neither knew how it would affect Sherlock. They could only hope that things would return to normal.
Authors note: So, I just wanted to explore the difficult relationship between Lucy and Sherlock at the moment. I wanted to emphasise how much Lucy's life had changed over the years and how it was all affecting her and Sherlock. But fear not, more Lucy and Sherlock content will be coming soon!