Yet another story idea that came out of nowhere, but I felt compelled to write regardless. The underlying pairing is hopefully Sherlolly, but we all know how blind Sherlock can be. This story is uniquely told from Miss Sally Donovan's POV. I'm not sure how you all see her and depending on what story I write, her role differs. But for once, I didn't want to make her out to be such a villain, even though I think she's a bit shallow and harsh. Then again, that's what we see of her in the show. We don't really know what she's like around people that aren't Sherlock. Like Molly who stutters in his presence, I think Sherlock brings out the worst in Sally. I think she can be decent. Well, I hope she can. I did just write an entire story about her. Please, do enjoy this alternate view of an interesting set of events. This is sort of my homage to how much I love the show and not just the main characters of it. Minor characters have lives too! Enjoy!


Be Mindful of the Roses

"Do you know how ridiculously difficult it is to get over unrequited love?"

Sergeant Donovan chose not to respond to this exasperated statement, redirecting the topic instead to something more realistic.

"I've never gotten sloshed with you, Hooper. Bit of a lightweight, aren't you?"

Molly glanced down at her empty shot glass – sixth of the evening – as if it thoroughly confused her.

"I'm usually so careful about drinking," she murmured. "D'ya think I should stop?"

Rubbing at her forehead, Donovan sighed. Was it really her place to ruin Hooper's happy drinking?

"Go on. But if you barf on me, I'll put you in your own morgue."

The pathologist cracked an unsure grin at this, causing Donovan to roll her eyes.

This was definitely the last time she accepted a request from Lestrade. Who knew Hooper was such an awkward liability when in the grasps of liquor? And poured out the truth without considering who could hear it?

Granted, Donovan didn't hate the woman. Respected her, at best. Meaning, she wouldn't be in the business of gossiping what was said between them.

But, she didn't necessarily like her either. Primarily because of whom the object of her unrequited love was.

So, here she was, stuck in a pub, sitting next to a woman she didn't quite hate nor liked, watching her become gradually more intoxicated.

"God damn it, Greg," she muttered to herself.

"Did he talk you into doing this?"

Donovan looked up sharply, not having realized her frustration had physically showed on her face.

"He said you needed some time away from work. With Holmes returning and all..."

Hooper nodded, her smile empty.

"That's depressing, isn't it? People have to force others to spend time with me."

To her surprise, Donovan felt upset with herself. Hooper was just a working woman like her, attempting to get by in a man's world. What right did she have to judge her, even if her taste in men was deeply unsettling?

"I've been in a mood all day," Donovan apologized, hoping to convey a trusting smile. "And I like my privacy. Greg knows that and probably pushed me to take you out more for my sake than yours."

"Oh, well I'm sorry anyway," the pathologist mumbled seriously.

"It's fine. Just don't barf on me. I was serious about that."

Hooper chuckled, gesturing for another shot.

"Make that two," Donovan inserted, deciding it wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea to join in. "So, what were you going on about with unrequited love?"

Smacking the table unexpectedly, Hooper jumped up in her stool, hand raised, eyes bright.

"There is no possible way to get over someone you love who doesn't love you back. None."

"We're talking about Holmes, right?"

Seemingly confused for a moment, Hooper bit at her lower lip.

"Sherlock," she specified, meeting Donovan's stare. "Not Mycroft. That'd be wrong. So very wrong."

"Who's Mycroft?"

"Sherlock's brother!"

A deep frown gripped Donovan's lips.

"You mean to tell me there's two of them?"

"Yeah," Molly trailed off, studying her fingers to make sure she had the right amount. "I haven't met Mycroft, but Sherlock says he's horrid. Then again, so is Sherlock at times. I've come to assume they share that gene."

"Christ, this planet's just become a bit more unbearable to live on."

Attempting to hide her giggles, Molly spun back and forth on her stool, sloppy grin in place.

"Do you agree, though, with me? That being in love with someone who doesn't fancy you back is impossible to get over?"

Rolling her eyes, Donovan knocked back her own shot, smirking victoriously at the burn.

"Actually, Hooper, it's easy to get over someone you love. Remarkably easy. Problem is you've got to be ready to move on. If you're still harboring feelings for a person or remaining hopeful that yours might one day be returned, then you're right, you'll never get over them. But it's not entirely impossible."

Hooper stopped swiveling in her seat, eyes wide.

"Tell me what I need to do," she begged without an ounce of shame. "I'm pretty sure what I'm doing to my mental health by still being in love with him, isn't normal. Almost ninety percent sure of it, actually. And it's getting to be more painful than ever to just physically see him."

She trailed off at this, eyes falling to the floor.

"Tried shagging him out of your thoughts?"

Surprised, Hooper stuttered, "I don't really-try-not to-."

"Never mind," Donovan brushed off, forgetting Hooper wasn't that type. "Ever tried ignoring him?"

"More times than I can count," she confirmed. "But it's Sherlock. He's like a hurricane. You can't ignore a hurricane. And he can be sweet. Sometimes. If it's necessary. Oh...bugger. He's usually not sweet unless he wants something."

"And you find that romantic?"

Hooper inhaled carefully, smile a bit wobbly.

"He's different on certain circumstances. It's exciting to see him get excited. I know that sounds lame, but he really is a good man."

"And is the good man aware that you're in love with him?"

"I'm almost a hundred percent sure."

"Of course," Donovan scolded. "See, that's a problem right there. He knows you're in love with him but keeps letting you feel that way without ever showing you any warmth. How the hell can you fancy him?"

"It's...complicated?" Hooper defended, appearing very much unsure.

"It's not. You're just making it out to be. Defending his actions more than you defend yourself. I hesitate to wonder what you're like in a relationship."

At Hooper's hurt expression, Donovan reworded her statement. Maybe she wasn't as good with people as she thought.

"Okay, what else have you tried to get over him?"

"Dating," Hooper offered.

There was an awkward pause after this.

"Well," Donovan recalled helpfully, "you snagged the most dangerous criminal in the world. Not quire sure if that's an improvement or not."

This successfully got a chortle out of Hooper, who thankfully, wasn't in the midst of taking a drink.

"Jim didn't even really like me," she explained softly. "But he liked to bite. Really, really liked to bite. And snuggle. You'd think that...why? You know? Why do all that if you're just acting?"

"Men are animals," Donovan returned knowingly. "Once they lock on to something they want, they will behave like animals do to get it. You're lucky Moriarty never came back for you."

"Strange thing is...I never worried he would. Because I liked him, but I was still in love with Sherlock and I think a lot of it was just using Jim so I could take my mind off him. And now that I know Jim was using me too, I don't feel so guilty."

This bit of insight intrigued Donovan. And made her feel an inch more respect for the pathologist.

"You used James Moriarty so you could get over Sherlock Holmes? You've got guts, Hooper."

"Didn't work out, though, did it?"

Donovan thought carefully, wondering what she'd do were she in Hooper's position.

Lock Holmes in a decompression chamber and video tape the results?

A nice thought, but certainly nothing Hooper would be willing to do. No, her solution to her very disruptive problem needed to start mentally rather than physically.

An idea prodded at her, but Donovan shrugged it off. There was no way she could get it into Hooper's head.

However, she indulged the idea briefly when nothing else came up and saw some potential, provided Hooper went about the right way, thinking it.

"I think I've got it."

"I'm willing to try," Hooper promised, sporting a good-natured smile. "Well, if I remember it in the morning."

"Okay...repeat this to yourself, alright? Right now."

Hooper nodded confidently.

"Sherlock Holmes is asexual."

"Sorry...what?" Hooper mumbled, taking a moment to think over the request.

"Sherlock Holmes is asexual," Donovan repeated sternly. "It's the perfect thought to get into your head and I don't think I'm too far off from the truth."

"But how can that possibly help?"

"You won't think about wanting to snog him. That'll come first. Your sudden disinterest in wanting to physically be intimate with him. Because if you just remember that he's asexual, then you're guaranteed he'll never reciprocate your affections."

"I still don't see how-."

"You are allowing yourself to believe there's still hope for him to love you. To touch you and hold you and the other romantic bullshit we as women can't help but find sweet. Don't do that. Get it into your head that he's asexual. Which means there's no chance for you. You don't have to waste your time or attentions on him so he could potentially be with you. He can't because he's incapable of returning sexual affection."

"But...that's mean."

"Mean?" Donovan protested, unable to hide the puzzlement from her face. "How's that any meaner than what he does to you? And he's what...practically forty, I assume? If he hasn't had a girlfriend or a fling at this point, then him being asexual isn't too far off from the truth. Listen, Hooper, it's a smart thing to keep in mind. It makes it so that you don't become so attached. Unrequited love is powerful because the one offering the affection will never stop believing that the person they love, could one day love them back. But if-."

"-he's asexual," Hooper finished, realization finally dawning on her, "then I know he never will and this might help me move on."

"It will help you," Donovan concluded, putting more faith in her idea than what was necessary. But Hooper depressed her with her unwavering love for Holmes. She deserved to be free of it, especially if it caused her that much pain.

"I think I'm going to try that out," Hooper announced proudly, fingers locked tightly around her glass. "I never thought of it like that. I mean...Greg's joked about it before, but I don't think even he really believes that."

"Tell me how it goes. I do feel for you, Hooper. Being in love with a freak like Holmes can make anyone want to take up drinking."

"I thought I was drinking to have fun," she corrected in confusion.

"You've talked almost non-stop about him since we've been here. I think your issues are quite clear. But we should make a toast, shouldn't we? Us girls."

"Great idea," she decided, visibly getting excited as her shot glass was refilled.

"What to?" Donovan maintained, unsure if it was the liquor or Hooper herself that was making her feel more at ease.

"To asexual detectives!" she shouted.

Releasing her first laugh of the night, Donovan met her toast.

It would be an interesting morning.

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

The next time Donovan and Hooper managed to speak again was a full two weeks after their drunken escapade (from what she recalled, they were both politely escorted out when refusing to leave by a grumpy pub owner). And though their discussion would be on considerably more sober terms, it still managed to hold Donovan's interest as well as make her realize Hooper may very well be more than just an amusing drinking buddy.

"I think it's working."

Donovan's attention slipped away from her computer screen. There was an hour left to her shift and other than kicking Lestrade's ass in Bubble Shooter for the fourth straight time (he threatened to deduct money from her pay each time he lost, but always let up when she threatened to tell everyone about his ex-wife's little chlamydia problem), she really wasn't doing anything all that important.

"Now this I'd like to hear. Come on in," Donovan gestured, sitting up in her chair.

Hooper, upon finally entering the office, appeared more at ease as she took a seat across from her.

"I don't think about him touching me."

Repulsed at the idea of Holmes touching anyone, Donovan mentioned, "That's progress. Anything more?"

"I've been able to focus on my work in a way I haven't in...a long time," she breathed out, chuckling lightly. "I get tense when he's in a room. Even subconsciously. But lately, it's been easier to forget he's there and just do what I love. Oh, God, that sounds morbid, doesn't it? Loving to cut up dead people."

"You pathologists have your separate brand of humor. I'm not going to argue it."

"Thanks. I've also been...ignoring him. I mean I've always tried to, but it's been more successful lately. To the point where he sort of...," her hands fumbled around, searching for the right words, "...gets really miffed. Because my attention isn't on him. And whenever I think about caving into the guilt he claims I should feel, I remember that he most likely can't willingly maintain an erection. Which makes me feel bad."

Unable to hold it back any longer, Donovan released a loud giggle, hand shooting to her mouth so it wouldn't grow any stronger.

"Is that mean of me to think?" Hooper pestered, suddenly worried.

"No, God no," Donovan quelled, wiping at her eyes happily. "It may seem like it's mean, but Holmes is asexual and you're probably right in your assumption. Tell me, has thinking that made you more independent? Less susceptible to whatever the hell it is you could find possibly charming about him in the first place?"

"Well...it's made me laugh a bit," she explained, smiling thoughtfully. "I still bring him coffee and if he needs my help exclusively, I'll set aside whatever I'm doing and help him. I enjoy doing that. The latter part at least."

"Focus on the not being his lapdog bit. He's a grown man. He can very well get his own coffee."

"But it's courtesy. It's how it's always been. I get him his coffee because I..."

She looked down at her hands, a frown falling across her lips.

"Damn. I do it because I love him."

Despite loathing Holmes to her very being, Donovan did sympathize with Hooper. It was obvious she still had it bad for the freak.

"Well, Rome wasn't built in a day," she pointed out. "What you've done in just two weeks sounds like a great start already. I didn't even think you'd go through with it so you've exceeded my expectations. Just keep working at it. You said you don't think about him touching you anymore. Ever think about having a go at him?"

Hooper's blush responded for her.

"Yeah, that's really disturbing. But work on that physical intimacy you're so focused on having. Remember, even if you did decided to properly seduce him, he wouldn't feel anything. No desire. No lust. No need to ravage you. He's asexual. The most a human body is to him is probably a means of curiosity. Nothing more."

Her eager nods were a relief to see, but Donovan wasn't sure how difficult it'd be to fully convince the pathologist Holmes wouldn't respond.

Which he wouldn't. The man was a living example of work over everything else. If he did manage to get off, it'd probably be to a crime scene.

"He's got really beautiful fingers."

"So do guitar players and pianists," Donovan added. "That's another thing to think over. His traits can be found anywhere. You've just got to open your eyes and look."

"But-."

"No buts. You can do this, Hooper. Take back control of your life."

This seemed like the right thing to say because she stood with a great deal more confidence than before.

"You wouldn't mind if I dropped by every so often, would you?" Hooper asked, briefly falling prey to her nerves. "I just...I want to make sure that it's progress I'm making and not the other way around."

"I'll give you my mobile number. Got any questions or concerns, let me know."

Second later and Hooper was lingering at her door, pocketing the slip of paper.

"Remember, the sexual and physical thoughts have to go first. Everything else will follow," Donovan promised.

"Does that mean I can't think about him anymore when I'm-."

"Yes," the sergeant firmly stated. "Especially that. Think about some other bloke."

"I'll try."

With that, Hooper threw her a wave before exiting the office.

"You and Molly are friends," shouted Lestrade not even a minute later, his grin practically bursting through the statement. "Am I the reason for that?"

"Piss off, Greg," Donovan retorted, slamming the door.

His laughter followed her inside the office.

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

"Who're you texting?"

"None of your business," she shrugged off, ignoring the man's attempts to peek over her shoulder.

"Come on, Sal. You're still not mad about last night, are you?"

Just as he went to plant a kiss on her neck, Donovan retracted her elbow, only to forcefully shove in his gut, smirking at the deep grunt he released.

"Now why would I be mad about last night?" she questioned sweetly.

Her mobile buzzed once more and rather than making sure Anderson was okay, she slipped away from his bent over form, eyes eagerly absorbing the next text.

John just got Sherlock his coffee because I wouldn't. I'd laugh, but I can practically feel Sherlock's glare incinerating me. First time I've said no in four years!

Smiling, Donovan continued wandering down the block, fingers clicking away at the keys. She wasn't big on texting, truthfully. Why type out an important conversation with someone rather than talk it out and not get those annoying pauses?

But she understood this was Hooper's only chance to alert her of what'd just occurred. For a select few, she was willing to make an exception.

Keep repeating the mantra to yourself. If he's pouting over you not getting his coffee, then that's damned pathetic, isn't it? Your work isn't going to suffer just because he's in a mood.

Just as she sent the text, a pair of arms enveloped her from behind. It was the familiar tenderness in which they secured themselves that made Donovan not headbutt the individual until their nostrils were a crooked mess.

"Sal-."

"Get your hands off me. We're in public!" she complained, squirming in his hold.

Rather than comply, he led her toward the back entrance of a restaurant, still keeping a delicate hold on her.

"I am sorry," he tried again. "My ex is a bitch. I had no idea she'd go off on you like that."

"I really don't want to have this conversation right now," Donovan retorted, pushing him off successfully. "If you've still got things to work out with Karen, then don't invite me over to serve as a distraction from that. You know I could have easily kicked your ass in front of her."

"I know, but-."

Her mobile buzzed once more and without listening to the rest of his sentence, Donovan glanced down.

He's trying to compliment me. Not working. God, I see it all now so clearly. He's said things to get what he wants. False things. How could he possibly find my hair attractive down when he's asexual? It's like he believes he isn't. Anyway, do you want to meet up for drinks again on Friday? Shortest shift of my week.

Donovan didn't even hesitate in responding.

I'll take you up on that offer. Same pub, same time?

Yes! Fingers crossed you belt out God Save the Queen again. Scared most of the people away with that :'D

It took a moment to figure out how to respond to the teasing. Sure, she'd been teased before but mostly by colleagues who were male. None of them minded how snippy she was in return.

But this was Hooper. Who was genuinely a nice person. Would her normal response be too mean?

Ever tell anyone about that, I'll murder you.

God, she really needed to work on her people skills.

It took only seconds before Hooper replied. And when she did, Donovan couldn't help but wonder if this was the start of an unexpected friendship.

Make sure St. Bart's doesn't get my body. Sherlock might try to nick one of my parts. I did not live this long just to spend eternity in his freezer!

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

"I think I've told you everything that's happened so far," Hooper admitted, relaxing in her chair. "At least for this week. I don't get his coffee anymore, I'm not constantly admiring his physical features...well, his bum is really fit...but I can go without looking at it, and I'm not stuttering anymore. Which was a bonus I wasn't expecting. It makes me wonder if I stuttered because I admired him so much and wanted his approval based on what I said. Lately, I haven't found myself caring about what he thinks. Or says. It's...a relief."

Donovan didn't outwardly show it, but she was quite proud of the woman beside her. In little less than a month, one simple phrase managed to make her life a whole lot easier. Rather than take credit for the change (she was tempted to), Donovan only offered Hooper a congratulatory smile. No need to get too ahead of themselves.

As her next statement proved.

"You've got to keep at it. What was it you texted me last...about Holmes trying new tactics to woo you?"

"Well, they're not really tactics. He's just a bit...clingy. I didn't realize how much until after I stopped giving him my full attention. He keeps making weird promises."

Hooper paused at this, take a long sip from her bottle.

"Asked me if I wanted to get dinner sometime. Which I refused. Not falling for that again. And I'm thinking about changing the locks on my door. He's barged in three times in the past week, always asking for things that don't really require my help. But I keep repeating it to myself - he's asexual, he's asexual - and suddenly, I'm not interested in wanting his attention or wanting him in general. I don't think I could ever say no if he truly needs my help. I'm his friend. That's never going to change. But, I can say no. And that's...an accomplishment."

"From where you were before, damn straight it is. Thinking about dating yet?"

"I don't quite think I'm at that stage yet. I'm still working on not comparing every man I meet to Sherlock. But it's not out of the realm of possibility. It'll be nice to move on."

"Good for you, Hooper. Glad things are looking up for one of us."

She really hadn't meant to include the last part, but Hooper's presence was calming. She wasn't Lestrade who'd sooner know how to handle a female problem than get his first wife back. And she wasn't the common female intern that gossiped mindlessly about other people's problems.

"God, I've been so bloody selfish, talking about my issues all this time. What's been going on with you? Need any insight?"

It was the right amount to say at the exact right time.

And so, Donovan, to her semi-inebriated astonishment, found herself relaying the uphill battle that was her and Anderson's relationship.

Twenty minutes later and she felt little regret.

"What a tosser! Why does his ex-wife still have access to his house in the first place? Especially if she's mental enough to threaten you not to ever date him?"

"Exactly! He doesn't bloody get it! He constantly prattles on about her, but can't find the courage to say no. Surprised he managed to sign the divorce papers by himself."

They both shared a laugh at this and for oddly enough, Donovan felt a great weight lift from her shoulders.

"But you're still fighting for the relationship," Hooper noted, a bit more sober. "That's got to mean something, doesn't it?"

"Not sure. I've been ignoring all his attempts to talk. I just don't want to hear anymore of his bull, you know?"

Hooper nodded carefully, resting her head on a palm.

"Is it ever going to work out for either of us?" she questioned longingly.

It was meant to be rhetorical, so Donovan didn't bother answering. But hearing it in the first place let her know Hooper was sympathetic to her troubles. And in that moment, it meant more than she could verbally say.

Four bottles later (between the two of them) and Hooper's head was slumped across the table, faint giggles falling from her lips.

"Next time, can we get coffee?" was her weak request.

Donovan's response was a vigorous nod.

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

She had no idea how Hooper could possibly have ever harbored affection for him.

Sherlock Holmes was the biggest prat in the world.

"Out of the way, Anderson. I would like to salvage some of the evidence you've no doubt already contaminated."

It was early...far too early in the morning to deal with Holmes's snark. And had she not been craving her caffeine as bad as she was, Donovan would have very well dumped the entire cup on the freak's head.

Alas, she'd be dead on her feet without it.

"I fucking hate him so much," Anderson growled, slipping to her side as Holmes jumped from one blood splatter to another.

"Join the club," was her cool comment.

According to Hooper, it wasn't wise to get too chummy with Anderson immediately. He had to know he was still in trouble. Which wasn't a problem for her. She could almost say she rather enjoyed his attempts at gaining her attention.

Almost.

"We were going to start one, remember? A week after first meeting. The 'I-fucking-hate-Holmes-club'. FHHC for short. Shame we never expanded on that idea. I think we'd have quite the turnout."

He was staring at her with that odd twist to his lip, making him appear boyishly mischievous.

But she didn't relent. Even if that smile soothed her.

"I do remember. You tried to make a pass at me not even a day later. Wonder if Karen knew you couldn't keep it in your pants."

His shoulders drooped somewhat comically, but Donovan didn't laugh. Quite suddenly, she was recalling all the reasons she was mad at him.

"Firstly, she was sleeping around with a primary school teacher at the time. Far as I knew, our marriage was over. She made the move. Secondly," he reminded, stepping close enough that he could whisper in her ear, "I knew I loved you the moment we met. Hasn't been anyone since that I've worked so bloody hard to be with. That's why Karen refuses to let go. She sees how much you mean to me. She knows I never put in that effort with her. Sal...please, talk to me. I miss you."

It was tempting (and somewhat sweet), but from what it sounded like, he still hadn't made the effort to talk things through with his ex. Fuck it all if she was going to be the new girlfriend trying to ignore that sort of complication.

"You can't be in love with two people at the same time. It doesn't work like that," she snapped quietly, turning to him. "Furthermore, each time I meet her, Karen's under the impression you two will be back together in no time. That's not okay. Be with her if you want to be with her. But don't drag me along as the body to fuck when things get sour between you two."

Her heart beat was elevated with an unpleasant mix of anger and anguish. And God if that didn't make her hate herself even more. For allowing him to enter so deep within her mind that it hurt just to have a damn argument with him. They started out as casual shag buddies. When the hell had it turned into so much more?

"Sal, I-."

"Oh, for God's sake, Lestrade, will you tell them to shut up? This is a crime scene, not an audition for the drama network of Britain."

They glanced up at the same time, embarrassed that their conversation had been overheard.

However, it appeared only Holmes had been listening, obvious by his pointed glare in their direction.

"They were barely speaking to each other," Lestrade defended (for once).

"They've been arguing rather publicly," Holmes argued with a careless wave of the hand in their direction. "I do hope you have better taste in men, Donovan, then as to willingly continue a relationship with Anderson. Who's wife appears to still love him."

Anderson opened his mouth, but Donovan beat him to the punch.

"I almost pity you, Holmes. Ruining other people's relationships because you can't manage one of your own. Turn around and get back to studying the crime scene like a good detective. Leave the adults to carry on with their lives, considering you have little idea of how to be one."

It was one of the snappiest comebacks she'd ever made and even Lestrade looked faintly proud of her.

"Oh, and if you insult Anderson in front of me one more time, I will dump a scalding cup of coffee all over your crotch when you least expect it. Don't think that'd be much of a loss. I doubt you even know what to use that part of your body for anyway!"

She didn't know when the frustration finally boiled over inside her to dangerous temperatures, but she knew it wouldn't be wise to stick around. If she was allowed to continue, there was a very real possibility of losing her job.

So, without another word, Donovan stalked away, hand immediately fiddling for her mobile.

Just insulted your former love interest because he insulted mine. Bigby's at 10?

Hooper answered in less than two minutes.

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

"It's natural to want to defend him. You're still in love."

Donovan had long ago come to the conclusion herself, but it didn't make her any happier hearing it.

"He still hasn't talked to his ex."

Hooper stared at her latte, thumb tapping softly against the cup.

"Is it possible that he has but she won't leave him alone?"

She didn't want to admit this thought had crossed her mind at one point. Surely Anderson could man up and tell her to back off.

And yet, Donovan herself had never dealt with a psychotic ex. She imagined the normal way of telling them off didn't quite get through like it would for other people.

"It's all a mess."

"Sorry if Sherlock made it worse."

"He was being himself, as usual. I don't even know if that's who I'm mad at."

"Did you really threaten to dump coffee on his crotch?"

Failing to hold back her grin, Donovan nodded.

"Why didn't I think of that?" Hooper mumbled in awe.

"Because you're too good to ever do it."

"That is true. But I hate it that he's constantly insulting the person you love. It's not right."

"Hopefully, he'll consider my threat."

"Are you going to talk to Anderson about what happened?"

"Do you think I should?"

"I don't know. I'd hate to give you the wrong advice. But it really sounds like he's trying."

"Best keep him at arm's length, then," she decided. "Easier that way."

Hooper nodded, but Donovan got the feeling she didn't agree with her choice.

Not that she cared. Hooper could offer up her thoughts, but ultimately, she made her own decisions.

"Things been going better at Bart's?" she redirected.

"Hit a bit of a snag. Sherlock's been mad at me since he found out I changed the locks to my house. Makes working with him in the lab really tense. Don't see why that matters. If he calls and truthfully needs my help, I'll be there as quick as I can. Thing is, I keep changing them just as he learns to pick them. Bit trying for both he and the locksmith."

"That's a bit weird. The him trying to get in your house bit."

"Not as weird as this. He's been trying to invite me over to his flat. Usually has some excuse of it being Mrs. Hudson's birthday - that's his landlady. Claims she loves me and that if I don't show up, the world will end. First time he asked, I talked to John just to make sure. Her birthday's not for another six months. So, he's lying to me and wants to get me in a more secluded area so he can undoubtedly try to get me under his thumb again."

"Maybe he wants to snog you?" Donovan offered with a laugh.

"He's asexual. I doubt he knows how to even kiss."

When Hooper said this, Donovan realized it lacked the usual hint of teasing both of them carried in their voices when discussing the freak's asexuality.

In fact, Hooped sounded downright convinced.

She wasn't sure how to feel about this. Holmes had to be asexual. Her evidence was indisputable.

And yet, hearing Hooper's absolute conviction sounded wrong somehow. As if she'd allowed a joke to suddenly get carried away and become the truth.

"Well, he does observe things. And knows the human body. I think he'd know how to kiss. God help the poor girl who's been a recipient of it."

"Kissing would indicate that he has sexual feelings," Hooper stated, sounding somewhat confused. "How would he know how to kiss if he's incapable of feeling or engaging in sexual actions?"

"Well..."

Truthfully, Donovan didn't have an answer.

"He's asexual, remember?"

"Yes. Course he is."

Hooper nodded happily, taking a sip from her cup.

"Mmm...why didn't I think of it before? Tell his wife to back off!" she exclaimed suddenly, wiping at the cream staining her upper lip.

"Not following you, Hooper."

"The same way you told off Sherlock this morning. From the sounds of it, everyone was mildly afraid of you. Give the same treatment to Karen. And have Anderson there with you. So she knows you two are serious. If she met her match in you, she might back off."

"That would involve forgiving Anderson for still talking to her in the first place."

"Is that such a price to pay so you can be happy?"

Once more, Donovan failed to produce an answer.

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

Five nights later and Donovan was clutching her glock so tightly her knuckles were white.

"I swear to God I will take off your head if you don't show yourself," she barked, pointing the weapon steadily at the window.

Through the dim light her lamp produced, she could tell half of someone's form was inside her living room, having crawled in via the window. It wasn't unheard of in the area she lived, to have break ins.

How lucky was it, though, that she happened to be armed?

"Christ, don't shoot," yelped a familiar voice, followed by the rest of their body collapsing unceremoniously across her floor.

Despite knowing who it was, Donovan still kept her glock aimed ahead.

"What the hell are you doing in my house at three in the morning?"

Anderson slowly raised himself to his feet, one hand held out before him.

"You're ignoring all of my calls, my texts, and you've changed the lock. Since when did you bother changing the lock?"

"Got inspired by a friend...Jesus...did y-did you cut your hair?"

As he approached her, allowing more of the light to claim him, she indeed saw his usual locks were gone, only to be replaced with-.

"You've got side swept bangs," she giggled, unable to keep up her anger as she lowered the gun.

"It looks better if I actually put effort into it," he tried to explain, fingers running through his short sides. "I'm not exactly sure why I did it."

"You look...cleaner. And healthier."

"Glad to know my long hair was so appreciated," was his sarcastic quip.

"I liked it long too, but it's a nice change."

The corner of his lips twitched up as he ran another hand through his new cut.

"Forgot you sleep with your glock."

"Always be happy to remind you. What the hell are you doing here?"

"I wanted to talk and I got desperate."

Releasing a deep sigh, Donovan made her way to the sofa, setting her gun down on the table nearest to it.

Anderson followed, sitting down next to her only when she was comfortable herself.

"So, talk," she gestured after a silent moment.

"I've screwed up way too many times to count in my life. I let Holmes insult me because a part of me thinks its karma for all the dumb shite I've done. And I'm not always sure what the right thing to do is. I usually choose what's easier," he admitted quietly. "But, you are not easy. Actually, you are the most difficult thing I've ever had to fight for. It's not unwanted. You have good reasons for not trusting me. For not wanting to be seen with me publicly if it doesn't involve work. I'm mostly to blame. Beginning a relationship with you while I was still married and then reassuring you it'd all be okay after the divorce. I wasn't honest with you and the real reason I couldn't say no to Karen for so long was because if I admitted to myself that the divorce was final, then it became another reminder of one more thing I fucked up. Can't even maintain a marriage."

He paused for breath, but Donovan didn't dare interrupt him. He was being as honest as she'd ever heard and for once, she forced her pride aside so she could hear what he'd obviously been wanting to get out for quite some time.

"But after the self blame disappeared, I realized the marriage was a mess to begin with. And I'd go through it again if it meant meeting you. I'm not sure if you remember, but I moved from Liverpool to London after we got married. Had a perfectly good job there, but she didn't think highly of distance. I didn't care either way, then, but did it because that's what you're supposed to do when you get married. Be close to each other."

"You hated her for a short while because you had to skip work and take the tube for two hours just to catch the Liverpool matches at Anfield," Donovan recalled, voice gentler than it'd been in a long time.

"Should've known it wasn't going to last when I found out she was a Chelsea supporter."

"Fuck the Blues," she praised with a snort.

For a moment, he didn't speak. Just stared at her.

The scrutiny should have made her uncomfortable, but instead, it made her feel warm.

"Keep going," she suggested, not willing to forgive him quite yet.

"Right...I love you, Sally. That's the point of this all. The marriage was horrible, but had it not happened, I'd have never met you. That's a far worse scenario to imagine. And you willingly leaving because I'm too much a coward to let go of something that was over before it began...I can't let that happen. You are what matters, more than anyone ever has to me. I can be at my worst or at my best and you'll still take me. For God's sake, you hate Holmes just as much as I do! Where else am I going to get that sort of compatibility?"

"Not in London," she agreed.

"Doubtful anywhere on this planet."

She met his smile, allowing one of his hands to slip into her own.

"I do love you. And I'm willing to do whatever you need to prove it."

A part of her felt compelled to text Hooper. Yes, the timing might be a bit off, but she certainly hadn't been expecting Anderson to pop in at three am and declare his love for her.

Another part argued that she already knew what to do and that texting Hooper was an excuse to talk herself out of it because she was afraid.

The last marginal part wondered when she'd developed such a pathos state of mind. She never let her emotions rule her.

But God, how many times in her life would she get the chance to be happy with someone that didn't make her want to kill herself? Who actually did make her happy, provided he didn't royally screw up in the process.

"We're visiting your ex wife tomorrow," she announced, knowing this is what Hooper would do as well. "We're telling her to back off or we'll file a restraining order against her. If she refuses, I have full permission to strangle her until she complies. All as a matter of police business, of course."

"Of course," Anderson immediately agreed, pulling her form to him. "You've just reminded me how sexy I find it when you talk tough. Glad you left that day when you insulted Holmes in my honor. I'd have probably snogged you on the spot."

"You seriously cannot keep it in your pants, can you?" she teased, running her fingers through his newly cut hair.

"When it comes to you, absolutely not."

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

"Oh My God...that's so romantic."

"Please, he was in a t-shirt and trousers at three in the morning. Hardly the stuff of fairy tales."

Hooper shifted in her chair, eyeing her enthusiastically from across the desk.

"Who needs a fairy tale these days? Most of them involve helpless females and princes who demand they marry the damsel they've rescued. I much prefer what you've told me than the story books. How'd the meeting with his ex go?"

"Better than I imagined. She's pregnant. With the primary teacher's kid. Attempted to convince us it was Andy's, but ran into a problem because according to the night she claims he was conceived, I was actually with him."

"Sorry...Andy?"

"Yeah...Anderson's first name. Andrew in long form."

Donovan was prepared for it.

"Andrew Anderson? Did his parents do that on purpose?"

"He claims it was the name of a beloved grandfather. Course it sounds silly in the modern day world. Don't you dare tell him I told you his first name. God forbid Holmes has another thing to use against him."

"Has Sherlock been harassing...Anderson lately?"

"Wouldn't know. Lestrade hasn't called on him in a while. The cases have been pretty standard and to the point."

Hooper appeared slightly confused.

"What's wrong?"

"He...is in the lab all the time," she informed. "Said he's working three different cases for the Yard."

Once again, Donovan got that strange feeling that allowing Hooper to believe Holmes was truly asexual somehow had the potential to backfire.

But how could it? The woman was practically glowing. And from what it sounded like, had more confidence in her self and in work than ever. Holmes was never seen around with anyone, never even hinted at being interested in either gender.

What she did was just.

"Guess I'll have to confront him about that," Hooper remarked, eyebrows pulled together in thought. "So, have you forgiven Anderson completely? If so, I politely submit my candidacy to be a bridesmaid at your wedding."

Rolling her eyes, Donovan reclined back in her chair.

Surprisingly, she wasn't all that opposed to the idea. Marrying Andy (if he ever asked, of course - she wouldn't be the type to expect that so soon) and having Hooper in the wedding. Other than old classmates, she didn't have that many female friends. It was never something she aspired to have considering she wasn't always the most feminine herself. She didn't cry over breakups and broken bones. Sometimes, she pitied the girls who did. Sweats and no make up on the weekends weren't a death sentence for her. And she especially enjoyed drinking hard liquor.

Was that truthfully so hard to find in a friend?

It may have taken awhile, but here Hooper was. A bit more feminine than herself, but definitely an outsider in her own way. Odd fashion sense, debatable taste in men, and morally compromising sense of humor.

They'd hit it off almost instantly, though she'd been reluctant to admit it at the time.

Now, she struggled to see Hooper as anything less than a friend.

"I'm keeping him guessing just a little while longer," Donovan confessed. "Can't make it too easy on him. But yes, for the most part, he's forgiven."

"I'm happy for you, Sally. Happy in general to watch it work out. Hopefully, I'm next. I met a guy."

At the excited gleam in her eye, Donovan straightened in her seat.

"Name, occupation, and shag factor."

"Shag factor?"

"On a scale of 1-10, how badly did you want to shag him," Donovan explained rapidly.

The tell tale blush sprouting across Hooper's cheeks only made it that much more amusing.

"His name's Jacob and I think he's an aspiring lawyer. Or architect. I can't recall, mainly because he was a 10, according to the shag factor," she chuckled.

"Okay, let's forget the shag factor part."

"What? Why?"

"You saying 'according to the shag factor' sounds like some sort of weird meteorological sex lingo. But congratulations on snagging a 10."

"Thank you...I think?"

"Have you gone on a date with Jacob yet?"

"Three nights from now will be our first. It's not an overly classy place and I like that. Plus, he shares my belief about splitting the bill."

"A real knight in shining armor," Donovan chimed in with a grin.

"I hope not. I'll fill you in after it's done, if that's okay."

"Hell yes, I want to hear every detail from your 10. Make sure you shag responsibly."

"I think I've found something you're not allowed to say. Shag responsibly? Sounds like a bad liquor commercial."

"Fine. Seriously, though. Details. This will be your first serious date post-independence from Holmes. It'll be a good way to determine if you've really moved on. Do you still feel like you're experiencing unrequited love?"

"Not at all. And I never got the chance to thank you for that. Helping me out and telling me what you did. I'd still be in love with someone who can't physically or emotionally love me back if not for you."

"You're welcome," Donovan answered, unsure as to why the gratitude felt misplaced.

"Right, well, I've got to get back to work. My boss thinks I'm going to leave him for a job at the Yard with how often I stop by here."

"I'll take you over Holmes any day."

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

"How long does the movie last?"

"Worried you'll cry through it like you did Finding Nemo?" Donovan questioned, brushing strands of Andy's silky hair.

"I didn't cry through it," he defended quickly. "It just got unbearably hard to watch because you thought-oh, fuck this. I'm not explaining my reaction to that movie."

"You cried," she recalled, snuggling into his side. "My sofa pillow was wet after the film. And I'd like to think it's thanks to tears and not something else."

"I think that's the only instance I'd let you break up with me without a fuss. If I masturbated to a children's film."

"Great to know."

Before the beginning credits could roll in, a hard knock against the front door sounded through the living room.

"Who'd else you invite?" Andy murmured into her hair, staring at the entrance.

"No one. Besides, it's a Friday night. Everyone's supposed to be out getting wasted."

The knocks only grew louder and more insistent, followed by what sounded like flesh slapping against the wood.

"Not everyone. Want me to get your glock?"

"I trust the person behind that door with it more than I do you," came her rebuttal as she detangled herself from him, approaching the door cautiously.

Anderson's response died out when the yelling began.

"Sally! It's, Molly! I've got an emergency and I-I didn't know who else to come to-and I-I-."

Donovan threw open the door as soon as she recognized the yells, ushering the woman inside.

Who looked to be not only an emotional, but a physical mess.

Her hair was tangled and appeared to have some leaves stuck in it. Other strands were pasted to her forehead by a sheet of sweat. Both hands shook ever so slightly and if she was seeing things correctly, Hooper was still wearing her lab coat. Which displayed plenty of dirt stains and a particularly nasty tear near the collar area.

"Are you alright?" was what the first thing she demanded, unsure what it was the woman needed.

Hooper allowed herself to breathe before responding. Deep, heaving breaths that had her leaning on a wall for support.

Anderson, able to see everything clearly from his spot on the sofa, looked at Donovan quizzically.

"Give us a moment or two," she told him.

He nodded, taking a final glance between the two before exiting the room.

"Molly, are you alright? Do you need me to call Lestrade? He can have the police force down here in-."

"Sherlock kissed me!" she sputtered.

Donovan froze, certainly not expecting to hear this.

"He's not supposed to kiss me," Hooper babbled, seemingly out of breath no matter how much oxygen she took in. "He's asexual!"

Oh, didn't she know this was going to come back to haunt her in some way?

"Start from the beginning and we'll sort this mess out," she suggested carefully.

Nodding, Hooper worked on regaining even breaths.

"He wanted me to help him with an experiment at his flat. I said I was busy, but he didn't believe me. It got heated really fast. Usually does these days. Conversations become arguments because...I've learned to say no. I-I told him I was going to go out with Jacob tonight after my shift. And he...sort of lost it. Not the way normal people lose it. He was...quiet for a moment. Like a statue. And then, he started talking in this really low, rumbly voice."

This was as much as she could get out for the moment, so Donovan took the time to lead her to the sofa, flipping the telly off so they had no distractions.

"What did he say?"

"Bizarre things," Hooper mumbled as if she couldn't possibly believe them. "Things asexual detectives aren't supposed to say."

"Like what?"

"Like...that I was his. And I wasn't allowed to date anyone who wasn't him. He said he's been trying for weeks to ask me on a date, but I was being needlessly stubborn. Me! Needlessly stubborn! Can you believe him?"

Donovan shook her head, moreso from Holmes's words.

"I told him I could date whoever the hell I wanted and that just because he didn't have my full attention anymore didn't mean we couldn't still be friends. This is probably the part where he started following me around the room. I don't think I ever saw him look so...wild. And it startled me a bit, but I had to maintain my point, you know?"

"Yes, yes you did."

"I told him that it was okay. That I understood it was impossible for him to want another human being physically or sexually. And that this caused him to be emotionally detached as well. I-."

"Oh, Molly, you didn't," Donovan moaned, seeing very well where this was going.

"I told him it was okay that he was asexual."

Donovan drew in a deep breath, knowing that were the consequences not so serious, the entire incident would actually be quite funny.

"What did he do next?"

"Well...he seemed sort of surprised. As if he didn't know. Odd, isn't it?"

"Very. And then?"

"He sort of laughed. I think it was a laugh. Got under my skin because of how deep it was. He's got a deep voice, but God...this laugh had to be an octave lower."

"Why did he laugh?"

"Because he thought it was funny that I missed all the signs he'd thrown out about just how much he desired me. How could there have been signs?"

They actually might have been there had I not commanded you to ignore him was what she wanted to say.

Instead, she kept her cool and made sure the full story could be told.

"Then what?"

"I told him I didn't believe him. Again, tried to assure that I liked being his friend. And then...he sort of lunged at me and I was so shocked that I think I...may have...let him snog me."

Now, she needed to be very delicate with her questioning.

"Did you enjoy it?"

"I have no idea," Hooper answered honestly. "I'm still trying to get it into my head that it happened. But I think I moaned once. Oh God, I moaned. Why did I do that?"

Steering around a minefield of a question, Donovan continued, "What happened after?"

"He stopped and the look he gave me...it didn't look like a man who wanted to abstain from sex forever. I was sort of losing it myself at this point, so I pushed him off and sprinted as fast as I could to the locker room. Locked the door after me. Good thing too because he kept trying to get in and explain himself. I panicked, opened a window and crawled down using the fire escape. Tripped on the last step and fell into the bushes. As soon as I got my footing, I ran here. I didn't know who else to go to that would understand...or try to, at least."

She knew it'd be inappropriate to laugh, so she instead allowed herself to feel touched that Hooper had ran straight to her.

"Breathe, alright? That would be a good place to end it."

"But...I don't understand."

This part, Donovan knew, would be more of admitting to her own faults.

"I...from what it sounds like, Holmes might actually carry real feelings for you. I never thought it was possible."

"It's not. He was lying. Just wanted to be stubborn himself that I finally called him out on his sexuality."

An awkwardly tense atmosphere passed between them and when Donovan met Hooper's eyes, she could see the tears she fought to hold back.

"You really don't believe he's asexual do you?" she determined, allowing the pathologist one of her hands.

"N-no. It began more of as something to say so I could move on. Like it was initially." She trembled a bit, but kept her voice remarkably firm. "After I started noticing the differences in myself, I think I unfairly labeled him asexual so I could never go back to the idea of having my feelings returned again. Because when I was like that, it wasn't pleasant. I suffered because of what I felt."

"You never wanted to return to that place again," Donovan surmised.

"Never. And looking back on it, I think I did ignore some of the signs because putting too much hope in them would have killed me."

She never realized Hooper had gone through this struggle even when things appeared to be going in her direction. And being blind to this fact made her feel like she hadn't been doing her duties as a friend as well as Hooper had.

"What do you need from me? Stern phone call to Holmes? Bottle of whiskey? Shoulder to cry on?"

"Could you dig a hole and bury me in it, please?"

"We don't want Holmes getting your body, remember?"

This lessened the tension between them and Hooper finally appeared on the verge of relaxing.

"How long should I wait before going back?" she asked.

"Depends on if you know what to say to him. Considering how big of a risk Holmes took, he's not going to be ignoring you anymore."

"I can't automatically switch on that desire for him. I've worked for two months making sure it was wiped away."

"Then begin with telling him that. If he really wants you, he'll work on getting you to return his feelings again."

"Is that what you'd do?"

At this point, Donovan was fully aware she had the potential to ruin Sherlock Holmes's life. Indirectly, of course, but ruin it all the same. Hooper was grasping for a direction to go after his declaration and if she was careful enough about it, she could make sure Hooper ignored Holmes for as long as he lived. There was certainly enough consequences of pursuing a relationship to detail.

However, it was clear to her that Hooper wasn't entirely done loving Holmes. In fact, his declaration may very well have sparked something hopeful inside her. Or reignited it, at least. And honestly, from that moment in the bar when she first groaned about unrequited love, Donovan had been silently convinced Hooper could never love anyone the same way she did the detective.

Which was disappointing. She truthfully never wished Holmes as a boyfriend on anyone (provided he'd even consider himself as one). And all the man had ever said not only against her, but the man she herself cared for...it was the perfect chance to get a bit of revenge.

But, did she have the right to break apart the freak who was supposed to be asexual (but wasn't) from her friend who was far too good for him (but loved him all the same)?

"Molly," she began, making sure the bleary eyed woman was facing her, "I think if I were you, I would-."

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

"Disgusting."

"Get over it," she sternly responded, giving him a warning shove on the sidewalk.

"But, the idea of Holmes wanting to be intimate with anyone is-."

"I know. Trust me, I did my best to explain the consequences."

"Should have explained them further."

"I didn't want to make her scared of pursuing something with him. Only aware."

Andy still grumbled a bit, but grasped her hand all the same when she offered it.

"So...is she actually going to let him-?"

"Last she told me, he was aware of the situation. Of everything she'd done to ignore him, of my part in the deal, and why she did it in the first place. The why is important because his sociopathic nature wouldn't understand it on his own."

"And you're okay with this?"

"Not even remotely. She can do so much better. And he's a rotten arse." Donovan paused to let a few children pass before crossing the intersection. "But they're in love with each other."

"How do you know he is with her?"

"She explained some things at length regarding what happened before he falsely committed suicide. And some of the things he tried to do to catch her attention after she stopped giving hers to him. NONE of which I'll be discussing with you."

"Come on, Sal. That's the juiciest part. No one fully knows how he was able to pull it off."

"And if it was revealed, every idiot from here to Australia would be faking their deaths. There'd be no order. Trust me when I say it's best left a secret between a select few."

"We're not going on dates with them!" he suddenly expressed, glancing at her worriedly.

"They're not even officially dating yet. I made sure to get it into her head that he has to earn back the years he's spent treating her so poorly. And not to worry, I did think ahead. Outright, I told her there'd be no double dating. Which is something I don't think any of us want. From what it sounds like, Holmes wants to keep her all to himself."

"Going to take some getting used to, the idea of him actually...desiring someone. Sure she isn't a bit funny in the head?"

"Watch it," she lightly scolded, turning a glare on him. "She's my friend. That means you have to like her."

"I liked it better when you only had me."

"And that turned out grand, didn't it?"

"I thought so," he murmured quietly.

His reward was another punch (thankfully, softer).

"Aren't you at all worried that he'll return to being a prick and blow her off?"

"I sent a text to the freak himself, indicating what should happen if he ever broke her heart again."

"Can I see it?"

She slipped her mobile out, flipping open the most recently sent message.

If you break her heart again, there won't be a police force in the world strong enough to stop me from killing you. For real, this time. -SD

"Poetic," he approved.

"Had to get my point across somehow. He sent a response back within five minutes."

Understood. -SH

"I don't get how you can be so supportive of the relationship if you hate him so much."

"If she hadn't convinced me to forgive you, I'd have shot you the moment you broke into my house," she informed.

"Seriously? Well, the best of luck to her, then."

The reply had her grinning madly.

"What are we seeing again at the cinema?" he asked after a few quiet minutes.

"Oh, you'll love this. They've recently re-released a 3D version of your favorite fish tale."

"Sometimes, I swear it's like you want to see me suffer."

"So long as I'm with you, you'll be okay," she assured, bringing him down for a kiss.


So, that's the end. If you actually liked it, I've been considering doing part of the story from Molly or Sherlock's POV - primarily the scene where he finally snaps and realizes he wants something more with her via the most chaotic way possible. It's also fine as a standalone. I apologize how big of a chunk it was for a one-shot, but separating it into chapters I felt was a waste because it's meant to be read all at once. Cheers to friendship! And to Anderson not being as horrid as we think, well...you might still hate him because Sherlock does. But I'm willing to suspend my doubts as to who he really is. Let me know your thoughts in a review!