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I have always told him that to care is to get hurt. That sentiment is a chemical defect. That to allow someone to get under your skin is the surest way to allow them to strike at your heart. I have always told Sherlock to keep himself distant, to keep himself apart, and to not allow himself to get close.

I should have listened to my own advice, I suppose.

I spend more time with her than I don’t. I interact with her more than anyone else on the face of this earth. I do not think I could function properly, let alone do my job properly, if I did not have her by my side. And I have spent a long time wanting more from our arrangement than I have allowed myself to have. But I suppose that is not to be.

He wanted her. I could see the interest flare up when they were in a room together, the definite spark of interest in his eyes. She intrigued him. She still does, I suppose. She is a puzzle he can’t pick apart, and my brother adores those. They aggravate him, I’m sure, but they’re the things he can go to in the late hour when his mind is whirring and he can’t sleep, as he did when he was a child. And Andrea is certainly a mystery.

His attraction to her was not, however.

I know, because I feel it myself. It’s more than a physical thing. She has an intellect that rival either of ours. She is very near our equal, actually, which is in equal turns exhilarating and frightening. She has a dry sense of humor, a subtle sarcastic tone which she uses sparingly with the finesse of an expert swordsman, cutting her opponent off at the knees. She knows how to wield silence and inferred disdain like a weapon she’s been trained in since she was young. John Watson is ruffled by it time and again, it seems. Poor man. He’s not the only one.

I see more glimpses of the real her, though. The smiles, where the corners of her eyes crinkle just slightly and her face becomes warm as her lips curl up. The warm laugh that manages to send a shiver down my spine as it soothes my soul. The talk of things that interest her that she thinks no one would assume she’d like, such as poetry and cooking, trashy television and writing short stories based in worlds unlike our own. These moments are brief, but I treasure them.

And she knows me, better than most. Better than my family, better than my brother’s friends, better than the sycophants in the government and the people I interact with day in and day out who want pieces of me and my time. She knows what soothes me, what comforts me. She knows how to fix a rotten day or how to celebrate a good one.

But she doesn’t know who I really am.

Mores the pity for that, I suppose.

One day I would like to tell her, to show her. But I can’t, not with the specter of my brother around. He may have tossed his fascination with her aside, but I have no earthly clue if it was mutual, if she ever fancied him the same way. If there was ever anything between them. If there ever could have been.

If they’d ever wanted there to be.

So for now I will sit back, wait for him to accept his fate for the incident on Christmas Day, and wait. I’ve been waiting so long. I can wait a little longer.