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Psychologists cottoned on that the best way of dealing with trauma was talking with your mates long after old-fashioned cops like Sally. About when the Met, at the trailing edge of thought, introduced mandatory debriefing with a therapist after 'extreme incidents'.

After the first time, Sally retaliated in the only effective way: with a complaint about 'gender and cultural insensitivity'. But following this last case, she had received another appointment, with someone called Ella Thompson. Why was that name familiar? Not one of the Met's normal bunch of head-shrinkers, but supposedly 'experienced in dealing with the uniformed services'. Then something clicked.

***

"Weren't you John Watson's therapist?" Sally asked, as she sat down.

"I can't discuss other patients," Ella replied blandly, "And how did you know, anyhow?"

"You left messages on his blog. So did I. Do you remember our discussion about men and map-reading?"

Ella abruptly went very quiet.

"If I don't tell anyone," Sally said, smiling, "can we not talk about the Gresham case?"

"We have ninety minutes, we have to fill it somehow."

"We could talk about ourselves."

***

"Can't work late," Sally told Lestrade a few months afterwards, "going to a gig with Ella."

"Your therapist?"

"Ex-therapist."

"Wouldn't have thought you'd have much in common. Well, except John did say-"

"Yes, perhaps it is because we is both black."