AN: Began writing this story June 19th 2011...and now it's finished! It's set post 1X03 when we all thought that Sherlock was going to shoot the jacket and the swimming pool exploded (it didn't which probably makes this story slightly AU - damn you Moffatt - this was perfectly canon until you altered it with your awesomeness). Anyhow, I remember watching the interaction between Donovan and Sherlock and I have this niggling curiosity to what makes them so hostile to each other, thus this fic was born to explain it. Special thanks to Edhla who beta'd it when it was still a bit rough...I took most of what you said into consideration (don't shoot me!) but kept a lot of it the same because it made sense in my head. Also the italic paragraphs are present post 1X03 territory, anything not italic is in the past roughly 3 years before the series started.
BETWEEN THE LINES
"Move it, freak!"
Sherlock winces slightly as Sally Donovan roughly pushes him aside, irritating the stitches in his arm, courtesy of the Moriarty's swimming pool fiasco. He grunts, too tired to fight, and stiffens his shoulders as John brushes his fingers over the wound.
"She didn't jostle the stitches too badly," he reports, trying to keep himself calm. "What the hell is her problem?"
He glares at the policewoman's retreating back and wishes that a gust of wind would blow her stupid hat off her head. He feels like thinking of something more violent, but the rational doctor in him leaves those thoughts for when she really crosses the line. He takes Sherlock's elbow and nudges him gently in the same direction as her. "I reckon her and Anderson had a lovers spat," he says rather loudly smiling in satisfaction as she flinches.
Sherlock looks at her and turns to his friend. "She wasn't always like this."
"Sally Donovan, this is Sherlock Holmes. He's rude, obnoxious, brilliant and the pain in the arse of Scotland Yard."
Sherlock regards the woman, nodding his head slightly before pushing past Lestrade and running up the stairs to where the dead woman remains dangling from the rafters.
"Lestrade! Why you became a detective is completely beyond me - your killer will be arriving shortly."
"Our what?" Lestrade questions glancing through the sheer curtains that opened to a dark like world beyond. "How can you be sure? Evidence- I need evidence, Sherlock."
Sighing, the consulting detective points to the dead woman's fingertips, now turning an unsightly shade of purple. "Look at that!" he cries.
Silence only greets him.
"Look at her fingernails."
"They're freshly done!"
"Hauling a rope to hang yourself negates a thirty-pound manicure," Donovan mutters to herself, watching a blank Lestrade try to make sense of the nails. A whoosh of air leaves her as Sherlock takes her arms and spin her around excitedly.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" he says running back to window and shifting the curtains to look at the street. "Finally, someone who thinks! Nowhere near as well as me, but still she's upping the ranks on you, Lestrade."
It becomes a little bit of a game between the two. Sherlock surveys the bodies and Donovan mutters under her breath when Lestrade is too dense to make the connections. It's shouldn't be mistaken - they aren't friends, but they're just that bit more than colleagues.
When Sherlock has a bad day, Donovan can tell, and respectfully leaves Lestrade to cope with the highly-stung young man who runs through the streets of London at god-awful hours of the morning.
And Sherlock wouldn't be Sherlock if he didn't deduce at what time she wakes up, where her parents took her to school or the fact the she had an orange tabby cat at the age of fourteen. Voicing these deductions has Donovan gawping at him and calling him a 'freak' with a gentle smile on her lips.
Lestrade is actually impressed. It's comes to the point where Sherlock is slightly more social and a little less snarky - and he feels like he has Donovan to thank for the subtle change. He realises it at the Christmas party that his wife insists on having. Sherlock, who once declared that 'he'd never willingly walk into the gates of hell' - Lestrade still bristles at that comment - is currently sitting in his living room next to Donovan and smiling behind the bulb of his wine glass.
John looks at Sherlock carefully. "Sherlock? C'mon. What happened, and whatever it was doesn't excuse the way she treats you." He shuffles along slowly next to Sherlock who places a hand gently on the shorter gentleman's back to steady him as the cane slips on a patch of sleet. John is back on the wooden cane - no psychosomatic limp for him this time. Actual leg injuries as real as the bullet still lodged in his shoulder. Together they quickly move into the double-storey house, ducking under the low hanging vines that cover the door frame.
"Sherlock, up here!" Lestrade calls from the second floor landing.
Taking a step towards the staircase, Sherlock is stopped by the hand on his arm. He turns, seeing John surveying him. "Come on. I want to knock her down a peg or two, but I'm going to need a reason." And, God help him, he wouldn't mind consulting without following eyes and quiet whispers, and it would amuse him greatly to see her put in her place by John.
Anderson, the cocky little sod transfers into his department whilst he and the wife are away on a retreat (marriage counselling, if one was brave enough to voice it). He thinks nothing of it as the files describe a decent man: Anderson is married, committed to his work and above all, competent.
On meeting the man, Lestrade wonders what personnel were thinking. Anderson knocks on the door and enters without Lestrade so much as managing to voice the words, "come in". He stands behind the desk, arms shoved in his pockets, mouth pinched in a slight frown. "Can I help you?" he sighs, gesturing for the man to take a seat.
"As you hadn't call for me, I thought I'd introduce myself."
The voice is grating. Bloody personnel. "I've been away. As you can see, the world doesn't stop because I'm gone." He looks pointedly at the files on his desk, piled sky-high.
Anderson grins. "Well, I'm looking forward to working with you sir. I'll let you get back to work."
The change in tone almost gives him whiplash. Maybe being away has put him in a sour mood; God knows it didn't help the missus. Looking up from his desk, he offers Anderson a smile and nods his head. "Right."
"I was myself. That's generally reason enough." Sherlock says, ignoring John's prolonged gaze. "Come, John, let us see what incompetence Scotland Yard is about to inflict on us."
He sweeps up the stairs, coat flapping behind him dramatically, and smile twitching at his lips. It's good to be back, no matter what capacity. His routine was mind-numbingly tedious after his discharge, which he can't really begrudge…which pains him to do so given that Mycroft pulled strings to let him out early.
There's a short curse behind him, followed by a thump, but Sherlock doesn't stop to ask John what's wrong. It would be patronising, and John isn't fragile.
"What do you think so far?" John calls from behind him.
"I haven't even seen the body yet," he replies drily. "Forming conclusions already would colour any deduction with bias."
John scoffs at this. "You didn't meet my sister and you deduced almost everything from her phone."
"Freak's here." The easy atmosphere between the two men disappears, on both faces the smiles are replaced with scowls and soft eyes harden at the insult.
Anderson was integrated into the team surprisingly quick, though it could've been thanks to Donovan's easy acceptance of the man. Uneasiness boils in the bottom of Lestrade's stomach as he watches the two from the window in his office. Donovan perched on Anderson's desk laughing at something that had been said across the room. When she turns her attention back to Anderson, she bites her lip, eyes lowering, fingers frantically twirling her hair. Anderson looks completely whipped, eyes never straying from her face. If you didn't catch the glint of the silver band on his finger, you could almost think they were dating.
His observation his interrupted. "Lestrade," he says picking up his vibrating mobile. "Another one?"
He sighs dropping his head. This call describes the tenth murder in two weeks. All the victims were in their mid-to-late thirties, thin, both male and female. The fact that they all worked the streets and were practically filleted had led the press to draw parallels with Jack the Ripper. "Jeez...yeah, I'm on my way. I know, we're all working as quickly as we can. No, I'll call him...he barely tolerates me, do you really think he'd give you the time of day?" Grabbing the files from his desk and his coat, he slams the door behind him, barking his orders not waiting for his team to follow. "We've gotten another one; I want a team to the house and a team to interview witnesses and neighbours. Now go!"
Leaving the mad scramble behind him, he dials a phone number.
"Sherlock, there's been another one; I'm sending a car 'round to your place."
"Sherlock, people are dying...I know you don't care much for that, and that 'people die all the time' but there's been a total of ten...he's going to kill again unless you help us."
That should, for lack of a better word, hook the detective into taking the case. If there was one thing Sherlock liked more than cases, was Scotland Yard admitting that they were far past the point of no return.
"Same address as last time," comes the reply. The phone clicks off.
Sherlock steps past Donovan quickly already processing the messy layout of the room. Words fill his brain, images flashing rapidly in front of his eyes. The lamp on the bedside table isn't broken even though the thing was moved and the drawers were half hanging out. Curtains are half open, light spilling into the room catching particles of dust. The mirror on the dressing table is cracked, porcelain and mirror splinters covering the table's surface...odd.
...And now the dead body isn't the worst thing in the room.
"Anderson-" Lestrade begins with tension lacing his voice.
Indignation fills Anderson's voice, "What's he doing here?"
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"I'd say surveying your handiwork." Anderson mumbles into his forensic kit.
"Don't you know they always come back to the scene of the crime?" Donovan adds with a smirk.
"Enough. Anderson go back to work. Donovan, go downstairs and find out if anyone's found any witnesses or suspects."
Sherlock arches an eyebrow. "Anderson, if I were you, I'd take a shower before returning to the wife, wouldn't want her to know you were seeing someone else."
"The lipstick on your face. One matches the shade your wife wears, and unless you have taken to experimenting, there is a darker shade right at the corner of your mouth. Two different shades, two different women. Is anyone else going to mention the smell of sex in the air? No, I'll point it out, quickie before the case. There's mortar on your back...oh, the alley way? Really Anderson, how cliché."
"Sherlock! Stop it. Anderson, leave now!" Lestrade barks, manhandling the man out the room. "Donovan, come on."
"Wife away, Anderson?" he asks, ignoring the swivelling of heads in his direction.
Anderson looks at him, mouth agape. "How did you know that?"
"You smell different." He crinkles his nose in distaste, his mind grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Like another woman."
After a few seconds Anderson almost runs towards him, already spitting out indignant words. "What kind of freak of nature are you? You don't smell other people!" Anderson's outrage is displayed on his face, no longer pale in colour, he sports red blotches high upon his cheeks. "And what are you implying?"
"Sherlock what's going on?" Lestrade demands, with Sally following behind him. Sherlock keeps his mouth shut allowing Anderson to rave like the madman that he is, knowing that Anderson's spiel won't affect him in anyway. The offer of lodging a complaint about him is just Lestrade trying to keep the peace, and since Anderson doesn't know this, his voice continues to get higher and hand gestures more frantic. Sherlock fights his desire to grin.
"So what did you do to him?" Sally says watching Anderson yelling with interest. He opens his mouth to reply, a retort filled with snark and wit, but the incoming breeze from the window strikes him dumb. Her scent is different from usual, where she's normally doused in spice; this one is floral and holds the tiniest bit of sweetness. It's new...and it's on Anderson. "You could try to be nicer, it wouldn't kill you. I'm sure it wouldn't," she continues before making her way outside not giving him a chance to reply.
Lestrade calls for everyone to return to the yard. The body removed, the evidenced logged, the scene tidied and cleaned, they all file out of the house tiredly already lamenting the amount of paperwork.
"And Sally, you should know better."
"Know what, Freak?"
John huffs out a breath from behind him.
"That's being pushed up against a brick wall can damage ones clothing. The back of your skirt is frayed and torn in some places…also you have bites above your collar." Donovan's eyes widen for a moment, surprised at either his astuteness in noticing or the fact that she didn't check herself better before resuming work. There's a glimpse of wonder on her face just like how she use to look at him. Before Moriarty baited him, before John became his best friend, before Anderson became such a nuisance that he's now numb to anything the mousy man says.
That wonder is gone now, loathing taking its place, leaving her eyes burning in hate and her mouth marred with a permanent frown.
He can hear a small bout of muffled sniggering, and the corners of his mouth almost twitch upwards into a smile.
His warnings to Anderson fall on deaf ears and sarcastic replies. The git looks so smug, like he's revelling in the fact that he's dealt Sherlock a personal blow, even though Sherlock has no interest in her. And her competence seems to be faltering, so yes, she's distracted and it's annoying him greatly. Anderson is the problem so he resolves to get through to one of them. He has to. God help them all if spots them shagging at a crime scene again, and he's certain that it had been Anderson's idea.
It's been weeks since the tenth victim. They are closing in on the suspect who all but dropped off the scene. It's been tense and the public is starting to lose faith in the police. As far as Sherlock's aware, Lestrade hasn't left his office much, working round the clock, only returning home to change his clothes and grab a few hours of sleep.
"What's this I hear about you pestering Anderson?" Sally asks good naturedly as she shuffles the files in her arms. She's tired, almost like a walking zombie…mentioning this wouldn't be wise and, as such, he deletes the observation.
Sherlock walks beside her, voice pitched low. "He has a wife." The photo on Anderson's desk, a pretty redheaded woman grinning with dark blue eyes, is still prominent in the centre of his desk. Anderson holds her in high-esteem. The mirror frame is littered with finger prints which get wiped down at the end of each week as cleans his desk, only for the frame to be smudged three days later. He loves her, a lot, yet he's got Sally on the side and she's falling for him...
"I'm well aware. And why are you telling me this?" He can sense irritation rising in her.
"Anderson belongs at the bottom of the Thames."
The vehemence visibly shocks her before the shock morphs into anger. "I don't know what you're-"
"Sally, you're deluding yourself. And why on earth is it him? I can't account for personal taste, but really?" he says cutting her off and looking out the window. The hall they're in is deserted. Only the sound of the vending machine accompanies the current silence as she formulates an answer.
"Delude myself? What are you playing at? Your brain doesn't know everything, Sherlock."
"And don't insult my intelligence."
"Insult your intelligence? How about insulting me? Anderson is not cheating on his wife with me!"
He closes his eyes in frustration - he can already see how this will play out in the long run. "His perfume...your perfume says otherwise, as does your constant flirting, and the gifts on your desk. I'm not blind. Neither is the rest of the Yard."
"Yeah, well guess what? The Yard can go to hell, and so can you!"
"Fuck off, Sherlock!" And with the exclamation, she turns on her heel and walks away.
She stalks out of the room and for a fleeting moment something…
...twinges in his chest, as he watches her disappear down the stairs, leaving the whole top floor devoid of another person, except for him and John. He wonders how everyone else can do that, let emotions rule their world. When did logic disappear for all these people?
As he stands contemplating, from behind him, John clears his throat. "Sherlock?"
"Hmm?" he murmurs. "Yes, John?"
"I take back what I said about taking her down a peg or two." John takes a step towards the body, taking in a deep breath to sober his thought, unaware of Sherlock's inner thoughts. His mind is focused back at the task at hand, the dead lady, the crime scene, the murderer still who is at large somewhere in London. "We going to look at the body?" he says, looking pointedly at the woman who lies face down, scarf falling loosely around her neck revealing strangulation marks, head turned to face the door, saliva collected on the carpet from her opened mouth.
Sherlock steps towards her, already scanning through characteristics. "Yes."
"Good...uh, for the flat, we need more milk...and I need to pop by the pharmacy again." John shifts his weight, grimacing and letting out a little hiss. It's most likely from pain, though one might misconstrue it for concern about Sherlock's reaction. It's like John is testing the waters, expecting that the idea of shopping will lead him to fall onto the floor and throw a tantrum. "I'm sure the pharmacy will still-"
"I had Mycroft take care of your prescriptions."
He looks up in time to see John's mouth drop open slightly. "I…you didn't have to-"
AN: So yes, a bit weird yes. I suppose I should explain myself...basically Sherlock stuck his nose where it didn't belong and Sally got pissed...in his own way, he was trying to do the right thing...and he was protecting not only Sally, but the work and himself - I would like to believe that upon meeting it wasn't automatic loathing between the two of them (plus I really dislike Anderson...not sure why...but I do). With John, I just wanted to show that he cared because fluff is fun and Sherlock can be a darling when he wants to be :) Hope you enjoyed. Reviews are love.