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Do you want to know a secret?

BBC Sherlock

Rating 12 (implicit slash, angst). Warning: notnice!Anthea

Summary: Anthea gets landed with having to explain a few things to John

Notes: sort of a sequel to Working Practices, but rather sadder. The Tilly Briggs photos were first noted by Warriorbot. Sid Paget appears in Sacrifices and Men on Film.

Anthea

The whole thing would be easier, Anthea thought, if she didn't dislike Dr Watson. Or at least find him irritating. Not very bright, but remarkably persistent. She supposed he'd consider he was just trying to be friendly. Which only showed how little self-awareness he had.

Of course, he'd been chosen partly for those characteristics.  She'd helped choose him, in fact. Mycroft have finally accepted, after the affair of Mr Ricoletti and his appalling wife – who could have expected a disabled parking badge racket to turn quite that nasty? – that Sherlock needed a minder, even if one who could be regarded as simply a friend.

"Arranged marriages often work surprisingly well," he'd commented to her. "I don't know why the same shouldn't be the case for arranged friendships. We need to consider who would be a suitable pal for Sherlock, and also able to keep him more or less safe."

Mycroft might have drawn up the person specification for a job that didn't officially exist, but it was Anthea who'd had to do much of the trawling through the files of ex-service personnel. Educated and an officer, based in London or could relocate. Ready for adventure and physically capable of protecting Sherlock. And unattached.

"I'm not telling someone in two months time that they're now a widow or widower because Sherlock was careless," Mycroft said at that point, and there was an edge to his voice that Anthea had rarely heard.

The pile of suitable applicants was already dwindling rapidly, and it got even smaller once they had to eliminate the unstable – the dishonest, the sociopathic, the mentally ill. There was a whole world of broken and dangerous men out there that Anthea had suddenly caught a glimpse of. Rather too close a glimpse, in the case of Colonel Sebastian Moran. She'd almost discarded Dr Watson from the files – psychological and physical problems – but some instinct had made her keep him in. He'd ended up making it onto their shortlist, and he’d also turned out to be the easiest one to manoeuvre into position to encounter Mycroft’s brother. And it had worked – for some reason this rather ordinary, mostly harmless man had appealed to Sherlock, if not Anthea. But then precious few straight men did.

And now she had ended up being responsible for explaining to John Watson what Sherlock felt for him. She still wasn’t quite sure how Mycroft had come up with that overenthusiastic bit of manipulation. Although, as usual, he made it all sound entirely logical.

“The situation is untenable long term,” he’d said. “Dr Watson is still mysteriously oblivious to my brother’s...attraction to him, but even he can’t remain oblivious forever. And I’d prefer him to find out in a more or less controlled way.”

“You don’t think it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie?” she’d responded, even though she knew he’d already have considered every possible scenario.

“Sherlock is not sleeping. Literally. And he is prone to melodrama. All the indications are that Dr Watson is a tolerant man - no signs of homophobia - but even a tolerant man might find, say, a naked consulting detective suddenly appearing in his bedroom disconcerting, if not positively alarming. And I’d prefer not to have a man with something of a talent for unarmed combat get alarmed by my brother.”

***

It was still ridiculous, to Anthea’s way of thinking. And how on earth had she got involved? It was like being back at school, and ‘Did you know that X fancied you?’ Why two grown men couldn’t sort themselves out...

Because they were grown men, of course. Because they’d spent half their lives ignoring what would be right for them and chasing after delusions. Because Sherlock Holmes didn’t know how to ask for what he wanted – just do without it or snatch. Because John Watson didn’t have the imagination to look beyond pretty women. Because...because it was her job to sort out people even when they didn’t realise they needed to be sorted out.

***

She used the tapes: they were evidence and John Watson might understand the concept by now. CCTV cameras might lie, but not as much as people’s memories. And she had Sid Paget to hand, and he could unerringly find you the right 5 seconds in 8 hours of footage. (She just had to make sure she didn’t inadvertently show Dr Watson the DVD with all the interior close-ups. You could fall irretrievably in love with wallpaper from Sid’s efforts on that).

The end result was...curious. Almost touching, if you cared about the two men involved. She didn’t, but it would undoubtedly be a useful weapon.

***    

She arranged to meet Dr Watson in Russell Square; she wanted to be able to leave easily if he got too annoying. But he was surprisingly restrained, perhaps because he’d barely had time to make a few banal observations about the weather before she’d brought the laptop out.

“You need to see this,” she said, plonking it on his lap, and starting to play the clips. He’d watched, puzzled. Not very bright, of course, but persistent. He’d work it out, even if it took him 50% longer than anyone with reasonable brain power. And sure enough, after a few minutes, his hand fumbled on the touchpad, stopping the video.

“What’s going on?” he asked. “Why’s someone compiling this stuff about Sherlock and me?”

She said nothing.

“OK,” he said, looking resigned. “I have to work it out for myself, do I?” His brows creased in thought. “If it was put together by a stalker, it’s unlikely there would just be shots of Sherlock and me together, rather than separately. It’s not explicit enough to be an attempt at blackmail: they’d need to try and fake footage of us having sex, not simply all this...looking at one another.” He stopped and then said wearily: “So someone in your department thought it would be funny to make it seem that Sherlock and I fancied one another. It’s an old joke by now, I’m afraid, and not that funny in the first place.”

She still said nothing. He tilted his head and looked at her hard for a moment and then went on: “But you wouldn’t show it to me if it was a joke, so I guess what it really is is a message from Mycroft. Has he ever considered just talking to me?”

“It’s a delicate matter,” she said.

“No it’s not! It’s him poking his nose into Sherlock’s business. But for his information, I am not...involved with Sherlock, and I have no plan to be.”

“Why not?”

“What?” He licked his lips nervously. “This isn’t just a dream, is it?  You are sitting here, and we are discussing...what is we’re discussing again?”

“That Sherlock is in love with you.”

“Nope, can’t be that. Someone trying to kill Sherlock with poison dart frogs, possibly. Sherlock in love with anyone but himself, definitely not.”   

“Well, you’ve seen the tape.”

“He smiles at me. He grabs me, sometimes. Normally when he wants me to do something that I would much rather not do. It doesn’t mean anything to him. To either of us.”

“And the one with him in the wet shirt?”

“The bloody Tilly Briggs case? It’s not what it looks like. I was trying to check if he needed medical attention,” he protested.

“Really?” She tried to sound interested, even as she was calculating how many of her e-mails she could have checked in the time it was taking for this to dawn on him. At least 120.

“I wanted to know whether he was concussed, had any cuts that might get infected. The paramedics were doing the same checks on Lestrade. It was just I was the only one Sherlock trusted to touch him. O God, I didn’t mean it like that!”

190 e-mails and climbing rapidly: how could she get through to him? “He’s hugged you on occasions.”

“You ever tried to catch a man with a broadsword, only to find he’s caught you? Thought you were going to die and then found you were still alive? You’re ready to hug anyone. But I suppose you probably sit around in an office all the time, you wouldn’t understand.”

When she’d finally been able to send a text from the casino where Colonel Moran had taken her, and Mycroft had turned up to aid her escape, she’d practically kissed him. It was a long time since she’d got herself into quite such a sticky situation.

“I’ve had experience of fieldwork,” she said casually.

He grinned at her, in a way he clearly hoped was disarming. “But have you ever seen a police sergeant chase a conman through the City of London? I remember where that clip of Sherlock hugging me comes from now. That bastard Hosmer Angel was trying to con his own stepdaughter via an internet dating service. We weren’t sure we could get him on anything, but it ended up with Sally Donovan chasing him down Leadenhall Street with a baton – God, he was a coward – and Lestrade arresting him at the other end for breach of financial regulations. It was wonderful. I think I was hugging Anderson at some point, and I can’t stand him.”

“So it all means nothing?”

“Thrill of the chase, mostly, plus Sherlock’s complete unawareness of normal behaviour.”

“And what about this one?” Anthea asked, and very carefully leaning across him – she was in a high-necked sweater today – she started the final clip playing. Sid had said this should be an extended shot, and he’d been right, of course. She sat there and watched John Watson watching himself.  Lying in a hospital bed, screaming, clawing at the bed, at himself. And Sherlock, sitting beside him, his constant murmur of soothing words a background chorus to John’s torments.

“I don’t recognise...did this really happen?” he asked, and for the first time, he sounded unsure of himself.

“Oh yes,” she replied, smiling. “The Sterndale case in July.”

“Right,” he said. “Well, that explains it. Never mess with African plants. I was doped with whatever that devil’s-foot root drink was. Horrible stuff.”

“It’s not what you’re doing that’s interesting,” she replied coolly. “It’s Sherlock's actions. He didn’t have any of the drug, did he? And yet he was affected, all the same.”

The first section had ended at last. “Seven hours later,” Anthea announced, as Sid cut to another scene in the same room. Sherlock was lying on the bed now, in shirt and trousers; John, in his hospital gown, was curled up, half on top of him, with Sherlock’s arm round him. The only movement was Sherlock’s other hand stroking John’s hair, and the movement of his lips as he muttered something unintelligible to the unconscious man he held.

She gave him three minutes of that and then stopped the video.

“There’s another five and a bit hours of that, if you really want to see it. Sid thought it was fascinating, but he doesn’t expect much excitement from his films.”

“Sherlock was holding me for five hours?” Dr Watson – John - demanded.

“He was with you, holding you, for most of the day. Whenever he wasn’t there you started screaming again.”

“I didn’t...I don’t remember,” he said. “I remember drinking the stuff – only a few sips before I felt sick  – but then it’s all very blurry till I woke up in hospital.”

“And this doesn’t jog your memory?”

“No. All I remember is vague shapes, shadows, fear...and then it was all right because Sherlock was there.”

“Sherlock was there,” she said. “Don’t you think that was remarkable, John? He gave Sterndale the chance to escape, so he could be there with you.”

“Why did you show me this?” John asked abruptly, and his hand lifted up, coming towards her face. Was he going to hit her, she wondered. Or even worse, try and kiss her?

“So you knew.”

“And what do you want me to do?” His hand hung in mid-air.

“I don’t care what you do,” she said honestly. “I’m just a messenger.” John nodded and his hand went down.

“Sorry,” he said. “I think...I’d better go. I need to think about things.” He got up and trudged off. He was limping again, she noticed, first time for months. But that wasn’t her problem.

***

“He took it quite well,” Mycroft said, beaming, when she got back to the office. “Of course, deep down he’s known all along, he merely needed a little push. And I feel fairly confident that he’ll fall the right way. You should be proud of your efforts, Anthea. You’re proving to be an excellent matchmaker.”

It ought to feel good, and it didn’t. Maybe because she didn’t care about what happened to John Watson. He was just a tool, in more than one way. But she should be pleased about a job well done.

“There’s also the possibility,” Mycroft went on, “of this ending the rather anomalous situation between Dr Watson and Dr Sawyer.”

“Maybe,” she said, as casually as she could.

“Which would have its own interest for you, I’m sure,” he said with a slightly arch smile.

He knew, she thought. Which was a stupid thing to worry about, because she’d always known he knew. He’d just never said anything about it before, because he hadn’t seen the need to.

“I haven’t seen Sarah for eight years at least,” she said. “She’s never met ‘Anthea’, and she’s not going to.”

“And yet you were...close.”

“For a couple of years, when I was a student. She was my landlady.” She didn’t know why she bothered to lie, except that she’d been telling the lie for so long that it now came easier than the truth.

“I gather she wasn’t only your landlady,” said Mycroft, and it was a statement, not a question.

“It was a long time ago. I hadn’t expected her to turn up again.”

“Coincidences are strange, aren’t they?” said Mycroft, and she wasn’t sure she could decipher the infinite levels of irony in his voice. “One in a million chances happen every week to someone, somewhere. And when you consider the restricted size of academic London, and add in the factors of class, age and ethnicity, it’s hardly surprising that occasionally one meets the same people in two different contexts. It’s surprising, for example, how often I’m required to monitor the activities of people I went to school with.”

Even she could never know if he’d planned this all along, in the intricate precision of his cleverest manoeuvres, or if it had been chance, and he’d simply made the connection as soon as he saw the name. Because he could remember, cross-tabulate, everything, everyone.

“Perhaps, I should add," Mycroft went on, “that in the likely event that Dr Watson is distracted from any further...interest in Dr Sawyer, I have no objection to you renewing your acquaintance with her.”

“No,” she said firmly. Too firmly? “It’s all in the past.”

“So much is,” he said, and the silence spun out between them till she felt forced to say: “It wouldn’t have worked.”

“No?” he said, and she felt the invitation to say even more. Because who else was there to tell her secrets to, when she had so many secrets that no-one must ever know? Who else, but her boss?

But no, she wasn’t giving anything to Mycroft unless it was a trade: her secrets for his. Well, perhaps just a morsel of information for him, to satisfy his insatiable desire for knowledge.

“Sarah doesn’t really go for women,” she said. “I was just an aberration.” She tried to make it sound as if it hurt.

“I’m disappointed that she showed so little taste,” Mycroft replied. “Still it’s perhaps simpler if you don’t reappear in her life. Especially until we can assess the stability of any developments between my brother and Dr Watson. Both sadly unstable characters, of course, but we’ve always known that.”

Anthea smiled, and made the right noises, and gave herself 9 out of 10 afterwards. She’d only betrayed herself a little, she thought, and she thought she’d successfully diverted Mycroft away from the core of the story. Because there were still some things that only Sarah and she knew. Or maybe only her.

***

That evening she tried to recall how she’d met Sarah, in case she needed a few more harmless scraps to feed Mycroft. Some public lecture probably. She'd been hoovering up knowledge once she'd got to SOAS. Hoovering up contacts as well. Sarah hadn't been a GP then, still in training  - oh, that was it, she remembered now. Sarah had been working on a psychiatric ward, and Anthea had wanted to know about that. Because it had already occurred to her that getting to the top in the Foreign Office required knowing a lot about psychology, particularly abnormal psychology. You had to understand people, know how they worked. Or how else could you manipulate them successfully?

The networking, the making contacts, wasn't really manipulating people. She'd instinctively known how to repay people who helped her – how to trade information, favours, flattery. It was always tempting though, to see how unfair a bargain she could make, how much more she could take than give. Because she'd been eighteen and beautiful and brilliant, and why shouldn't she grab everything she could?

So when she'd had problems with her landlord – the way that Rigsby looked at her was creepy beyond belief – she'd dug out a list of her contacts and worked through them. And Sarah had a spare room in her small, but terribly tasteful flat, and was willing to let her stay there for a nominal rent while she sorted herself out. Because she thought Anthea was a sweet young student and she'd felt sorry for her, she'd wanted to help her. The way people always did want to help Anthea, take care of her.

And then she'd seduced Sarah. To see if she could. To see whether straight women were as easy to manipulate as straight men, or lesbians. If you could convert big-sisterly affection – seven years between them, but she felt older than Sarah in many ways - into something more tangible. Why not do it? Why not see if there were any limits to her abilities, her charms? What she wasn’t sure about was why she’d stuck with Sarah for so long, almost to the end of her course. Not simply for the room, it had turned out. She’d...liked Sarah. Perhaps a bit too much.

It had certainly seemed too much at the time. The sharp realisation that she was in danger of being held back, tied down. Fast-track jobs with the Foreign Office didn’t go to the domesticated, let alone domesticated lesbians. She’d had to be decisive, break things off before the selection panel.  A betrayal, of course, but a necessary one.

She’d betrayed Sarah, and Sarah had betrayed her back. Deliberate or accidental? Sarah had said nothing to the FCO vetters, but Anthea was sure now that it had been her who’d outed her to the Service. Thank God it hadn’t mattered to Mycroft, or she might have found herself stuck forever in Amsterdam.

She needed to stop thinking about Sarah, return her to the zone of indifference where she belonged. She was good at being indifferent about people; it helped her to focus on the present, not the past. Anthea Zelig didn’t do regrets. She’d left them all behind her with Anne Zimmerman.

***

Sarah

The whole thing would be easier, Sarah thought, if she didn't like John. It was irritating, sometimes, that he was bright and remarkably persistent. She supposed he'd consider they were still more than just friends. Which only showed how little self-awareness he had.

Of course, she'd fallen for him partly for those characteristics. Chosen to stay involved with him even when she realised what was going on in his life. They weren’t officially dating, but then they weren’t quite not dating. He’d turn up intermittently at her flat, and they'd have a takeaway together or he'd cook her something. Stay on the sofa, or the lilo, occasionally end up in her bed. Why was she letting this relationship, non-relationship, drag on all summer?

Because, she supposed, John still hadn’t worked out about Sherlock, and she wasn’t sure what to tell him. He wasn’t homophobic, but it might be different when it got so personal. When he realised that his best friend had fallen for him. She wasn’t sure how John could be so oblivious, but she wasn’t going to be the one to break it to him.

***

She could tell John had something on his mind as soon as he came round that afternoon, with some absurd excuse about needing to discuss their prescribing policy. She didn’t ask him what was wrong; he’d get to it eventually, and trying to short-circuit the process would just make him twitchy. Sure enough, in the middle of a discussion about the effectiveness of statins, he suddenly asked:

“Do you remember the Sterndale case, a couple of months ago?”

“What happened that time?” she asked. She always found it hard to remember the names of his cases.

“Down in Cornwall,” he said. “I ended up in the hospital in Truro.”

“Oh God, that was the time you got poisoned with some awful African hallucinogen, wasn’t it? And I turned up and the Royal Cornwall were pissed off that I was just a GP, because they’d somehow got the idea that some London specialist was coming.”

“You were there, were you?” John said, and then, rubbing his face ruefully, added: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. All my memories are very vague.”

“Harry and I came down on the train together, but we ended up just sitting around drinking endless cups of horrible tea in some waiting room.  Having people around just seemed to make things worse, get you even more terrified.”

“Apart from Sherlock.”

“I don’t know why, but you felt safe with him. We didn’t leave him to it because we didn’t care. It was just...he was what you needed then.”

“And he was prepared to stay with me.”

“Sherlock’s a selfish bastard a lot of the time, but he does care for you,” she replied, and realised they were getting onto dangerous ground.

“He cares for me as a friend, you mean?” John said, and he was looking at her very soberly now.

“I can’t tell you what Sherlock feels, I don’t understand him,” she said truthfully.

“If it wasn’t Sherlock, what would you say about someone who behaved like he does towards me?”

“That they...he loved you, and that half the cruelty is because he can’t cope with his own feelings towards you, they scare him so much.”

“And what would you say about me? Deduce about me?”

“John, I can’t possibly tell you what you feel.”

“No, but you can tell me what you see. An outside observer. I, I can’t get far enough away from Sherlock to know what I feel about him.”

“Of course you can’t,” she said, because it was easy then. “You’re obsessed by him, in love with him. It's no wonder you can’t have any kind of perspective on him. Right now, he’s your world.”

“It’s not like that!” John protested. “We’re friends, of course-“

“You’re in love with one another!” she yelled. “Only Sherlock doesn’t want to be in love, and you don’t want to be in love with a man. And God, men can be stupid sometimes!”

She expected John to start yelling as well, or walk out, or make a joke, but he just sat there, with the stunned look she’d last seen when she’d told a patient he had TB, but it was treatable.  She was almost tempted, in the lingering silence, to tell John that a six month’s course of the right drug could get Sherlock completely out of his system as well. But then he spoke, so softly that she could barely hear him.

“Yeah, you’re right. I feel things for Sherlock that I’ve never felt about a bloke before. Don’t know what that makes me.”

“Confused,” she replied, and then she added, “But it happens sometimes.”

“I suppose so. It just doesn’t seem plausible.”

“It happened to me once,” she said, and then stopped. Where had those words come from?

“What do you mean?” he asked eagerly, and then he stopped, looking hard at her, and said hastily. “It’s fine. You don’t need to tell me.”

“I fell in love with a woman,” she said. “Just the once. Her name was Anne.”

“I, I didn’t know.”

“Why should you? It was years ago. I don’t think about her much now.” It was odd how disconnected it was: emotions that she could remember feeling, but no longer understand.

“I didn’t know you dated women.”

“I don’t. She’s the only woman I’ve ever been involved with. She was beautiful and brilliant and young, and I adored her so much that it just seemed right.”

“What happened?”

“It didn’t last. Well, only a year or two. Perhaps it couldn’t have lasted. She was a student – she finished her course, and went off and got a job, and I haven’t heard from her since.”

“She just abandoned you?”

“It was messy, these things always are. We were too different, I suppose. But she’s the only woman I loved like that. I went back to dating men afterwards.”

“Second best?” said John, and his voice still had a weird calm about it, as if he wasn’t sure any of this was happening.

“No,” she said. “It was what suited me. Anne was an aberration. A glorious aberration, though.”

“Hardly an encouragement to get involved with Sherlock,” he said slowly. “A couple of years and then a messy break-up.”

“You’re not me. Sherlock’s not Anne. But no, I don’t know what might happen. It’s risky.”

“Falling for someone’s always a risk,” he said, and he was smiling now.

“Which is why you like it, isn’t it?” she said, smiling back.

“I’m sorry,” he said abruptly. “I’ve been mucking you around, haven’t I? But I didn’t realise.”

“It’s OK,” she said, because she didn’t know what else to say.

“I have to give it a try,” he said, looking at her guilelessly. The way he’d looked in April, when he’d said: “I can’t stop helping Sherlock just because of the bomb jacket.”

She nodded.

“I can’t not know,” John went on, “pretend any more. Though maybe Sherlock can.”

“You’ll think of something,” she said. “You always do, eventually.” He’d saved her life less than a week after she first met him. She’d known they were living on borrowed time ever after that. “And if you get really stuck, there’s always a free sofa.”

“Thanks,” he said, and kissed her in a very brotherly way, and left.

*** 

Another one bites the dust, she thought. She wasn't having much luck with relationships at the moment. Well, she never had. It hadn't even made any difference when it had been a woman, rather than a man. She'd ended up hurting both herself and Anne. She shook her head. She was being melodramatic. She'd long been over Anne, it was just talking about her that had stirred things up. It was rare now that she remembered her.

Partly because it was so embarrassing. She hadn't treated Anne at all well, had she? She'd thought of her as her protégé almost from the first time they'd met at a lecture on criminal psychology. Anne had demolished the entire argument of that pompous twit Dr Latimer with a single devastating question about statistical methods. She wasn't even a medic, Sarah had discovered, when she got talking to her afterwards, but Anne had been fascinated to hear about Sarah's work at the Maudsley.

And somehow it had progressed from there. Taking Anne to lectures, passing on interesting scientific articles – everything seemed to interest Anne -  introducing her to useful people. Looking after her, because it was her first time in London, and she could still be a bit naive. Taking Anne out for meals every now and then, because she might be a student, but she shouldn't just live on baked beans and pasta.  And then offering her a room when she was having problems with that creepy landlord of hers.

And then somehow it had ended up with Anne and her as lovers, and she wasn't quite sure how. How she'd let her sisterly love for Anne get so confused in that way, taken that wrong turn. Of course, Anne had said she was gay, but it wasn't a thing you could necessarily be sure about at eighteen. People changed a lot at that age, as they grew up.

And Anne had grown up, and not wanted her anymore. Sarah had always been too old for her, of course, wrong for her in so many ways. Anne was going to have a brilliant career, and Sarah would have just have held her back. It had hurt, but it had been logical; she'd seen that when Anne had explained it to her.

***

And then she'd let Anne down again. Anne had made her promise she would never tell anyone about their affair, told her that the Civil Service were still twitchy about lesbians, whatever they might say officially.  It had been easy the first time, when a pair of clever young men had come round a few months after the breakup. Sarah had talked about Anne then as a former tenant, not given anything away.

But four years later, it hadn't been clever young men, but a kind middle-aged lady in a patchwork skirt asking questions about Anne. And Sarah hadn't been able to resist asking her what Anne was doing now, how she was.

"You were very fond of her, weren't you?" the woman had said, sympathetically, and it was hard, so hard, to hide what you felt from someone trained to spot your secrets. The details of the sealed-off years had abruptly spilled out of Sarah, and the woman had patted her hand and told her that it wasn't a problem, just as long as they knew.

***

Sarah had worried for weeks about what her revelations might have meant for Anne, if it had blocked the rise to the top she was destined for. She'd looked at the Civil Service Year Book once or twice, and googled Anne, but she'd never found anything. Even tried Friends Reunited, which had been silly. There were lots of other reasons why she might not be able to trace Anne. Maybe the lesbianism had been a phase after all, and she was now happily married to someone in Kent or Kazakhstan. Maybe she'd gone off to live in the Amazonian jungle, or just given up being online. There were lots of possible reasons why Sarah could now find no trace of Anne Zimmerman.



*** Note: this has now been continued. The next part is What's love got to do with it?

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
kalypso_v
Jun. 26th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
Well, I'm with Mycroft on this one. More!
marysutherland
Jun. 30th, 2011 05:16 am (UTC)
I don't at the moment have any inspiration for how I could take this further: it's quite hard to see how someone like this Anthea could get closer to someone. But I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on what you imagine Anthea's really like behind that facade.
kalypso_v
Jun. 30th, 2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
I think it's analogous, though not the same, to Mycroft's position; they're both convinced it's not safe to relax and let anyone through. And she probably thinks her inner self is impossible to love. Given the way she's written in Pink, you've pretty much got carte blanche about that inner self, but this piece suggests Anne had a natural curiosity which, outside work, Anthea has largely suppressed behind a wall of indifference. Perhaps she needs to become curious about whether she could have made things work with Sarah.
(no subject) - shehasathree - Jun. 26th, 2011 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
marysutherland
Jun. 30th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
I always imagine Sarah as naturally unimpressed by Sherlock. Not in the angry way that Sally (justifiably) is, but coolly seeing him as brilliant but also flawed. I think that anyone who's her age and been through medical school etc would know a lot of male doctors who were insufferable geniuses and would have figured out a way of responding to them politely but firmly. But I bet she's glad she doesn't have to work with him.
shouldboverthis
Jun. 26th, 2011 04:23 am (UTC)
Oh, yes. Really nice story forming here!
fengirl88
Jun. 26th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
I like the shaping here very much - but as satisfying as that is, I'd also like to see more of this!
marysutherland
Jun. 30th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
I can't see more of a story at the moment, and I also have other plans for Sarah. I find Anthea a very hard character to write: I tend to end up making her rather unsympathetic, but maybe that's just because she doesn't go for John. And I also don't think on a technical level I've got her speech rhythms right yet - I can't hear her voice in my head, the way I can hear most of the other characters (even Ella, who also only has a few lines). Maybe she's so hard to write because we don't get shown anything of what's behind Anthea's facade in the BBC!canon, whereas we do catch glimpses of what Mycroft's like. I enjoyed your 'Sleeping Beauty', but that, I realise, has a similar enigmatic quality about Anthea. How much sense do you have of what she's like as a person?
trista_zevkia
Apr. 10th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC)
Running down here to ask for more of this charming story, and I read the comments...
So if you don't mind, here be my two cents worth=)

Anthea should be an unsympathetic character, until she finds herself in a situation that makes her sympathetic. What if she see Harry (who you've established as knowing Sarah) put the moves on a responding Sarah? If Anthea were to respond in a sympathetic way, and Sarah see this...
Maybe Anthea gets annoyed at Mycroft's continual sticking his nose into her business and sets him up (in a scheming way, since that's what they do) with Greg, and Mycroft's never had a gay relationship before (since the home service is not quite open minded) and Anthea sees how well it's working and risks texting Sarah.
If you're worried about Anthea's voice, have her do most of her communicating through texts, until you get how you're going to write her.

Sorry, but my plot bunnies bred like bunnies on speed. Feel free to ignore or breed until you can't recognize them anymore =)
marysutherland
Apr. 26th, 2012 06:39 am (UTC)
Sorry for my delay in writing back - but I was in the midst of getting a long sequel to this betaed, and didn't feel able to discuss it at that point. There's a short next part to this story in What's love got to do with it? and I'm now putting up a much longer Anthea/Sarah story that follows on from these: Don't you want me?
trista_zevkia
Apr. 26th, 2012 07:01 am (UTC)
All is awesome, as long as there is more fic for me to read;)
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