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Chapter Text

Do you know what it's like when
You're not who you wanna be?
Do you know what it's like to
Be your own worst enemy
Who sees the things in me I can't hide?
Do you know what it's like
To wanna surrender?

So much had happened lately, so much had...changed. She had started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, she meant something a little more to Sherlock. After the fall, after everything, she had seemed to be more important. They were friends in a way they hadn’t been before. He trusted her, used her home as a bolt hole, told her things she probably shouldn’t know, let her keep his secrets.

And she...well, she trusted him. Maybe that was foolish of her, she knew. She had trusted him with the thoughts and feelings she’d had about her relationship with Tom, when all her friends and her family had been convinced that he was “just perfect,” that perhaps he wasn’t. He’d asked her if she really wanted to know, and when she said yes, he had his brother come round with photographs and detailed surveillance. He’d known Tom was scum, but he was holding his tongue at first because she was happy. She didn’t know whether to be angry or happy, and in the end, she decided to be relieved that he had told her, eventually, but worried he could have kept it from her indefinitely. Though, to be quite honest, she was fairly sure she and Tom never would have gotten to marriage stage. One or the other Holmes brother would have ensured that much. Whether she found out the truth why would have been a different matter.

The fact he hadn’t wanted to hurt her had given her hope. Maybe he cared in a...more than friendly way. Maybe? If he didn’t, of course, then she was just deluding herself, and she was quite good at that. She’d been good at that for years, of course. Deluded herself about Sherlock, of course, but Jim, Moriarty, must call him by his true name...and now Tom too. Oh, she did know how to pick them, really. But she couldn’t be all that bad at judging men, could she? After all, there was something different about Sherlock. Sociopath though he might be, he had a bit of a heart on him. He’d shown it, not just to her but to others. She’d seen it. It couldn’t all be an act.

Could it?

She had thought, once and for all, maybe she should buck up the courage and make a move. Be the bold girl and ask him for coffee and not let him brush her off with “black, two sugars” again. Let him know she wanted a coffee date. With him. Involving them going to a shop together and sitting down and chatting in public and all of that. And if it led t something else, then great! Wonderful! She’d love that, she’d love that so much.

And if it didn’t, then she’d finally have her answer and she could let go of her infatuation with William Sherlock Scott Holmes and move on, focus on maybe picking a different sort of man. Not a sociopath, not a psychopath, and not scum. There had to be a decent man in the world left somewhere, she was sure of it. Her mum had found one again. John was decent and Mary had snatched him right up. Even Greg had a steady date these days. There had to be somebody for her if Sherlock wasn’t it.

She remembered the comments he had made about her over the years. She was glad she had chosen her outfit with care today; the shirt she wore was a little more figure-hugging than usual, her cardigan a little more form-fitting. She had a figure, she just rarely showed it off. Clothes were a form of armor, she supposed, and had been for some time. Even when she was with Tom, she felt the need to protect herself from the world. She had felt the need to keep herself safe and had hoped he would love her even when she was a bit frumpy.

Apparently, he hadn’t. No, not when he could have--

Not what she needed to dwell on now.

She unbuttoned an extra button at the top, just to be a little daring. She wasn’t set to do work for a bit, so it was all right if she let her hair down. It was a bit crimped from the hair tie, so in the end, she coiled it into a knot at the base of her neck. Still up, though not as little girly as a ponytail, and still lovely. She hoped. She applied a little lipstick as well, just a smidge darker than her usual shade, enough to make her lips really pop, and then blotted it on a bit of tissue because no, no, it was too dark. She looked like a whore on the high street. What was she thinking?

The shirt was buttoned up, the lipstick was wiped off completely, but the hair stayed knotted at the neck because admittedly, that looked pretty. Oh, why couldn’t she see herself as pretty anymore? Once upon a time, she’d thought she looked lovely. Sometimes even desirable. She’d seen the look on Greg’s face at the Christmas party all that time ago when she walked in in the black dress. She heard some of the whistles on the street when she’d gone out with her mates to go dance or get a drink. When did the confidence go away?

Oh yes. When she was passed over for Miss Perfect. How could she forget?

She’d worked hard to build her confidence from being the timid mouse in the morgue that had started at Barts, the one who had watched Sherlock in fascination and been turned into a gofer for coffee. For Christ’s sake, she’d dated the most dangerous criminal in all of London! And broken up with him! She should feel like a bloody goddess among women!

And yet here she was, in her office, fretting over unbuttoned buttons and a darker shade of lipstick. All because her heart had been broken in the cruelest of ways. It’s one thing to be told someone doesn’t love you anymore; it’s another to be told someone chose someone else who’s a better model. And then to be told it’s all your fault, because you have another man in your heart? She had been over Sherlock, she had. She had moved on and they had been just friends.

But it had stung nonetheless.

She supposed that, perhaps, asking Sherlock to coffee was partly a slap in Tom’s face. But try as she might, she couldn’t stomp on all her feelings for Sherlock, even if these days he came by less, was a little more distant. Maybe this was her attempt to see if she was going to be able to keep him, or if she would lose him, too.

She hoped she didn’t lose him.

She wasn’t sure she could bear it.