She’d spent her entire career having to prove she was better. Better than the people who she trained with. Better than the people who she started her career with, patrolling the streets of London. Better than the people who laughed at her when she said she wanted to be involved in the homicide squad. Better than the people who scoffed at the idea that there would be a woman who could actually close cases. Better than the people who thought the world needed less ambitious female coppers and more women who wanted to stay home and have babies and take care of the menfolk. Sally Donovan had been having to prove herself better for so long it was second nature, but except for a glorious period of two years she’d come up against the same brick wall ever since Greg Lestrade took her under his wing, and that brick wall was named Sherlock Holmes.
She’d admit he was brilliant. Grudgingly, of course; she said it to his face and his ego would get all trumped up and he’d be insufferable. Admittedly it had toned down since the day he’d had to convince the world he’d jumped off the roof of St. Bart’s, but she remembered the old days well and wounds inflicted by his callous words and callous actions ran deep. She tried her best to avoid him, distance herself from the resident genius when he came round. And for the most part Greg was okay with that; there were usually two cases going on at once, since even with Sherlock’s brilliance there was still a shortage of manpower at Scotland Yard, and not all the cases that crossed their desk warranted the consulting detective’s attention. Holmes could have the flashy cases and she’d stick to the threes and below, as he ranked them. So long as the killers were caught, that was what mattered to her.
The case she’d been working on lately involved more than just homicide. There had been a series of thefts, jewels and valuable goods stolen from rich people’s homes, and no one was sure how they were connected. Normally the division that dealt with robberies would handle it but with the tenth robbery there was a homicide victim, a Roger Handel, who was the butler of the estate where the robbery had taken place. He was supposed to have been on holiday but had been there and tried to stop the robbery and gotten shot in the chest in response. Sally had asked to work the case as the liaison from the homicide division when there had been a death in one of the earlier robberies and he’d okayed it, and she felt she was getting closer and closer to a connection. But now that there was another robbery and another murder it wasn’t just her working on it from the homicide division anymore. Lestrade was devoting all his resources to it.
Resources that included, she realized as she walked into the conference room and saw a familiar figure sitting in a chair, idly doing something on his mobile, his pet consultant.
She made her way over to where Greg was talking to DI Lambert. “Greg, what is Holmes doing here?” she asked.
“It seems like it’s the sort of thing he can puzzle out easily enough,” Greg said.
She was quite hurt at that, at the fact that Greg didn’t have the confidence in her that she’d thought he’d had, that he didn’t think she could solve it without help from the great Sherlock Holmes. And that angered her. Oh, it made her blood boil. “This is my case,” she said, trying to keep her temper in check. “I’ve worked hard on it with Lambert and his team. It’s not right and it’s not fair that you’re going to have Holmes come in and tie it all up in a neat little bow and steal all the glory.”
“Sally, we all want to catch the person before he kills again,” Greg said in a placating tone, and Sally just got even more irritated. She knew that. “Sherlock is good at what he does. He’ll help, we’ll catch him, and that’s one less menace on the street.”
“Not if I solve it first,” she said, turning on heel and moving away from Greg. She sat at a part of the conference room where she wouldn’t have to look at either Greg or Holmes as she began to figure out what to do, how to get one up on Holmes. She didn’t have many friends with connections, but she had one. The problem was, said friend had had the largest and most improbably crush on Holmes, and there was the chance she’d feel loyalty to him. After a moment she discreetly pulled out her mobile and pulled up her text message application. Holmes is assisting in my case. Sally typed. I need your help. I need to solve this before he does. She sent to text to Molly and then waited.
Her phone buzzed when she got a response. The robbery/homicide case?
Yes. Greg doesn’t think I can solve it on my own. I need to prove him wrong, and you’re my only hope.
There was a pause before Molly replied. All right. But only because I think it’s not fair that Greg decided you needed help without asking you first. But it feels strange.
Thanks. And I’m sorry to put you in this position. Sally texted back. Then she added I owe you.
Yes, you do. Molly replied. I’ll call you when I have the new autopsy done, and I won’t tell Sherlock anything.
I appreciate it. Sally texted back before stowing her phone. If anyone would be able to help her solve this case before Holmes did what he always did and took all the credit for himself, it was Molly. She just hoped she wouldn’t crack under the pressure.