You're not just a pretty face. You're also not a set of stunning tits and legs that never seem to end.
They're useful tools, though. Both you and Mr Holmes agree on that. He encourages you to dress just on that razor-thin edge of appropriate because the world you inhabit is full of men who never see past your obvious physical attributes and that is an incredible advantage.
An enemy drooling over your tits is an enemy who will make mistakes.
You still think of yourself as a feminist. Now, you're just exploiting your femininity the way an athlete exploits his body. That's what you tell yourself, at any rate. The ends justify the means. You are doing what you have to do with the rescourses available to you.
It doesn't mean that you wish sometimes that you weren't constantly being chatted up.
Especially by men like John Watson.
It also doesn't mean that you wouldn't rather be more comfortable. Your shoes are really murder on your feet.
It's a relief, then, at the end of the day (or night – you do work almost all the hours God made) when you can come home and kick your heels off and peel the skirt off of your thighs, roll down your tights, and pull on the soft, stretchy fabric of your favorite trackie bottoms.
Your hair goes up into a ponytail and you pull your t-shirt over your head with a contented sigh. It smells of bleach and laundry soap and fabric softener – the smells you associate with home. With comfort.
It's heaven. And when the last shoe is put away, and the skirt hung up, and the jacket neatly hung beside it, the stresses of the day, the irritations, the constant glow of your Blackberry goes away, too.
This is the real you.
This is the Anthea that you wish you could show Mr Holmes. Mycroft.
You don't fantasize about your PA.
It's one of the first rules of your world. She is as unto the depleted uranium you two are so carefully trying to contain in on the Kazakh border right now. And while you know everything about her: her parents – her fathers, actually – her schooling, her interest in German poetry, the fact that she broke her wrist playing netball when she was twelve, that her favorite color is orange and that she has a frighteningly high IQ (she falls somewhere between you and Sherlock), you've never asked her, investigated, or even wished to find out what happens when she goes home.
You know she's not selling State Secrets, and you know she's not going on dates with unsuitable men (or women), but beyond that, when Miss Poole leaves the office and steps into either a cab or the car you've provided for her, you know nothing about her save where she goes (her large and – you assume; you've never seen the interior – comfortable flat in Highgate).
So it's more than just a small error one evening when you catch yourself watching her as she delivers a report on the situation in Korea and wondering what she does when she's away from your offices.
It's more than a small error when you catch yourself imagining what it would be like to take her to your townhouse. (The one you've not seen for two weeks now – you have a shower and Lilo here, for you tend not to sleep or eat when you judge the situation to be most critical; it's a distressingly similar habit to your brother's.)
It's more than a small error when you wonder if she'd be willing to stay with you.
It's more than a small error when you find yourself picturing the two of you in bed on a rare lazy Sunday morning with the papers and breakfast (coffee and croissants). You're wearing your favorite pair of pyjama bottoms and a vest, and she's in the matching top, silk caressing her skin (still reddened, perhaps, from your lovemaking earlier that morning). To imagine what is beneath.
"Sir?" she asks. "Is everything all right?"
You jerk yourself out of your reverie.
"Yes, all right. Fine."
She strives to appear unconcerned but you catch the pause before she picks up her report.
"Miss Poole. Anthea. I'm terribly sorry to disturb you at home."
"Sir? Is there something wrong?"
"Would you… that is to say, I was like you to… I was wondering if…"
"Sir? Erm," a pause. "Mycroft?"
"Would you… Anthea, I… Anthea, you're beautiful."