"Sherlock Holmes gets off on homicide."
She wasn't sure where or when the rumor started, but she first heard it in the break room and from Anderson's sneering mouth.
Sally blinked at him. "What?"
"Look at him," Anderson said, jerking his head towards Lestrade's office, where they both knew Sherlock is trapped filling out paperwork. "No girlfriend—or boyfriend, whatever. Like he could get someone to fuck him, but he doesn't even try. Spends all his time waiting for someone to call him up with a fun murder."
"So?" She fidgeted uncomfortably. "He focuses on work. You focus on work." Even though she knew that was anything but true.
"It's not even work for him, though. I mean, it's not like he gets paid or anything, is it? It's his hobby. It's his—" Anderson's face twisted in an ugly way, and Sally stared at the wall. "It's his fucking fetish, is what it is."
"It is... it is sort of creepy," she hedged. "The way he likes murders."
"Sort of creepy? He's always around dead bodies, he never hangs out with real people, never goes on the pull. It's not normal, never having sex, especially with his 'job'."
She swallowed, but nodded. "Yeah. Definitely not normal. Some kind of freak."
"Exactly." He grinned at her, and she forced herself not to step away.
Sometimes she wished for her childhood and early teens, when it was normal not to have sex. Especially if you were a girl, and people were always telling you not to spread your legs for anyone until marriage.
She felt guilty when she wished that, because 'what they always said' was goddamn sexist and she was completely aware of it, and if she wanted to have sex she'd say fuck them all because her body meant her choice (one of her roommates taught her that one, back when she was—what, twenty-two?).
But at some point it became normal to have sex, and not-having-sex meant you were a freak.
He was staring at her, watching her with those grey-green-blue eyes. It felt like he could pin her to a wall with a look.
"What do you want?" she snapped.
His eyes swept over her again, as coolly and impersonally as if she was a case file he was reading. Then he tipped his chin in her direction and said, "I do hope you used a condom. Who knows what the men in clubs can pick up."
Her face flamed and she spun on her heel, glaring at him. "Shut the hell up. What do you know?"
"I know you went out last night with the express purpose of a one-night stand. I know you succeeded. I know he was nearly falling-down drunk, and you paid for the cab. I know you didn't stay over, but you left a tube of lipstick at his flat—pity, it was your favorite, but you'll buy some more this weekend. And I know—"
"Shut up!" She nearly screamed it, cutting him off before he could say something horrible, something other people would hear, something about how she hadn't enjoyed it, hadn't even really wanted it, never seemed to want it. About how she wasn't normal. "Just shut the fuck up, Sherlock Holmes, that's my life and my fucking business, and you can just stay out of it instead of reading it out like the fucking freak you are!"
He almost looked startled for a moment before his eyes went cool and detached again. "You might want to buy decent condoms if you're planning on making this a regular thing. The cheap ones from machine in the club's loo break far too often."
It wasn't as though she'd never had sex. She had boyfriends and drunken one-night stands and that one time with a (now ex-)friend's (now ex-)boyfriend. Because that was the normal thing to do. It was expected.
She slept with boyfriends when they'd been together more than three months because that was what you did with boyfriends. She got drunk and then laid because everyone else was and she didn't want to be the only one going home alone.
(Sally had said no to her friend's boyfriend, but he'd whined and cajoled and mocked until she finally said yes to get him to stop.)
It had been a huge relief, though, when she started working harder and getting more to do and being gradually promoted. It was easier to say she didn't have time for a boyfriend or for partying. She was focused on her career. That was the easy excuse, and she was glad of it.
Until she was again reminded of not normal.
Sleeping with Anderson was almost like reaching a goal. He'd been the one to point out how weird Sherlock was, after all; once he had sex with her, the idea that she might be a freak like that would never cross his mind. She was safe. She could pass as normal.
"I can tell that you didn't make it home last night."
She was used to the comments by now. It was practically a routine. Sherlock noticed that she'd had sex; he pointed it out loudly; she glared at him and didn't say a word. She would have felt grateful, but he wasn't doing her a deliberate favour. He was just being himself. A freak.
Sally repeated the word in her head while he deduced Anderson's deodorant.
Watson—the freak brought someone with him, he never does that, why did he do that—eyed her and Anderson disapprovingly. Of course he did. Anderson was married, they were colleagues, all the little taboos-that-weren't-really. Sleeping with a married colleague was fairly normal. In comparison.
"He's not paid or anything. He likes it. He gets off on it." She repeated the words almost exactly as she'd first heard them, warning John Watson away. That was right, wasn't it? Because Watson was, if anything, completely bloody normal.
And normal people never wanted to stay with freaks.