?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Passing Thus Alone (Sherlock)

Title: Passing Thus Alone
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: It caught up with Sally Donovan just as late night became early morning.
Historian's Note: This character study takes place after events depicted in the second-series Sherlock episode "The Reichenbach Fall."



It caught up with her just as late night became early morning.

When Anderson wasn't nearby to give a knowing look and encouraging nod. When the nameless others who had emerged from the Yard's woodwork weren't at her elbow, ready to speed her concerns to receptive ears. When her superiors weren't before her to praise her for her vigilance.

She blinked up at a ceiling she couldn't make out through the darkness.

It was no mystery, where the cornerstones were set: weeks, months, no years of frustration due to Sherlock Holmes. He'd celebrated the violent deaths of the victims. He'd mocked their family and friends. He'd insulted her team in general and her in particular, deducing intimate details, announcing private secrets, laughing at all-too-human foibles.

And he'd belittled her boss.

Perhaps that had been the most difficult to stomach: seeing Sherlock abuse Lestrade and then force the man to crawl back for more. Then she'd watched her mentor accept reprimands and lectures rather than the commendations and promotions he deserved as he shouldered responsibility for the misbehaviour of his consulting detective. Over time she'd convinced herself that Lestrade would lose his career, if not his life, if he continued to work with the Freak.

Her resentment had simmered and bubbled over a steady heat, ready at any moment to burn.

She realized now why all of this had been so easy, so quick, a whirlwind effortless to begin and, once in motion, impossible to resist.

With her anger, she'd made herself ripe for the picking.

In her mind, she'd cast herself as the responsible professional, the conscientious officer watching her superior's back, the clever detective connecting the dots and thwarting the sneering villain. In reality, she'd been an all-too-eager pawn in some madman's game of chess.

Manipulated. Used.

Played.

Helpless, when things spiralled out of control.

Before it was all over, she'd set aside proper procedures in favour of vengeful emotions. Before it was all over, she'd voiced her accusations before gathering actionable proof. Before it was all over, she'd gone over the head of the man she most respected and become the one who put his career, his very life's work, in jeopardy.

To the Met, her actions hadn't represented a defence of Lestrade's interests, but rather a vote of no confidence in his judgment.

Of course. It seemed clear to her now that the blood-red fog had passed from her vision.

What had she been thinking? She hadn't been thinking at all.

Lestrade faced suspension, investigation, perhaps even prosecution because of the reckless steps she'd taken. The man she once believed she'd follow into the very flames of Hell she now couldn't look in the eye.

All for someone else's agenda. All for some game. All to push Sherlock off a ledge and onto the pavement.

She twisted the duvet in her fist.

None of this made the Freak any less freakish, or his feats of deduction any less suspicious, or Sally Donovan any sorrier that he was gone.

But it did make her something she'd never before been: a rubbish detective sergeant.

And that was a fall of its own, wasn't it?

God help her.


THE END

Vital Stats: Originally written in January 2012.

Originally written for this prompt at sherlockbbc_fic.

Comments

( 68 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Jan. 22nd, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this. I'm grateful to you.

It means a lot to hear that this feels in-character and believable, and that her reason for resenting Sherlock (seeing only Lestrade being belittled, and not the friendship between Lestrade and Sherlock) makes sense.

I expect it horrifies her that her anger toward Sherlock made her so ripe for manipulation by his enemy - and that this, in turn, led to her unintentional undermining of Lestrade.

I'm so encouraged by your words, and I appreciate them very much! Thank you.
sabrinaphynn
Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:01 am (UTC)
I must scond the comment that you have a great command of Sally's voice and her insight into her own fall, of a sort.
Very well done!
morganstuart
Jan. 22nd, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! This makes my day. I'm so glad this felt believable and in-character. I really appreciate it!
thesmallhobbit
Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:04 am (UTC)
Yes, I like the way you've shown Donovan coming to realise the damage she's done due to her actions being based purely on emotions.
morganstuart
Jan. 22nd, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so glad this worked for you. I find it chilling, how her emotions made her so vulnerable to being manipulated by Moriarty to serve his larger design. I don't envy her as she takes stock of the effects of her actions.

I really appreciate your kind feedback. Thank you, my friend!
belleferret
Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:08 am (UTC)
Poor Sally. Smart enough to recognize her mistakes, but not wise enough to stop them.
linguini17
Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:22 am (UTC)
This.
(no subject) - morganstuart - Jan. 22nd, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
penfold_x
Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
And he'd belittled her boss.

Wow. All the best villains have motivations that we can sympathize with. I hadn't thought too closely about Donovan's, but this is perfect. So well thought out! And her agony over getting the opposite result to her motivation is so sharply painful. Brilliantly done.
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought too closely about Donovan's, but this is perfect.

Oh, you've made my day! I'm so glad that this seemed believable and fitting to you. It's especially heartening to hear that it made sense that she was agonizing over the fact she'd achieved the opposite ends for Lestrade from what she'd originally hoped. I'm most grateful for your wonderful feedback - thank you, my friend!
linguini17
Jan. 22nd, 2012 11:18 am (UTC)
Oh, Sally. I predict lots of sleepless nights in your future.

Of all the relationships that were damaged in the final episode, I think Sally and Lestrade's was the most personally hurt. John never really expected much from Mycroft and will understand Lestrade's duties to the chain of command better than most. But Lestrade would have expected his most trusted Sergeant to have more faith in him, or at least to talk to him before going over his head. I don't see any way that they'll be able to work together again, which is a shame since the beginning of the episode showed how good a team they made.
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
I agree. Sally won't be sleeping well for some time, I think.

Of all the relationships that were damaged in the final episode, I think Sally and Lestrade's was the most personally hurt... But Lestrade would have expected his most trusted Sergeant to have more faith in him, or at least to talk to him before going over his head. I don't see any way that they'll be able to work together again, which is a shame since the beginning of the episode showed how good a team they made.

Oh, I couldn't agree more! What you said. I've been moved by their relationship ever since the press conference in "ASiP," where it was so clear how Sally watched out for Lestrade, and how he trusted her advice when it was needed. This really is a great tragedy, how she set herself up to be manipulated as part of Moriarty's plan, and I do wonder how, if at all, they could ever work together again. Very sad indeed.

Thank you so much for your insightful comments!
irisbleufic
Jan. 22nd, 2012 11:28 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad somebody wrote a study on Donovan's actions! Thank you for that.
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I really appreciate your reading and commenting.
bk7brokemybrain
Jan. 22nd, 2012 11:52 am (UTC)
Oh, if only this would happen. Donovan is a complex person, but she's mediocre and childish. If she'd actually have this kind of epiphany, perhaps she'd be a better person, if not a better employee. Ugh. Can't stand her. But this ficlet is great. :)
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:44 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad you liked this ficlet, even if you don't like her! ;) I've been moved by Sally's and Lestrade's relationship ever since the press conference in "ASiP," where it was so clear how Sally watched out for Lestrade, and how he trusted her advice when it was needed. This really is a great tragedy, how she set herself up to be manipulated as part of Moriarty's plan, and I do wonder how, if at all, the two could ever work together again. Very sad indeed.

I appreciate your comments, my friend! Thank you for reading!
marysutherland
Jan. 22nd, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for putting Sally's side of the story and putting it so well. I think she has been unfairly painted as behaving outrageously, when she's seen Sherlock consistently showing a lack of humanity and an arrogance that makes his alleged crime seem at least vaguely plausible. Her motives may not be pure, but she's got some justification for her actions. And she goes over Lestrade's head only after Sherlock's been given and refused a chance to talk informally and clear his name.
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:54 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I really appreciate this. I agree with you: she does have plausible reasons for feeling as she does towards Sherlock and for doubting him. Her feelings and doubts put her in the perfect position to be manipulated by Moriarty. I see her moment of "no return" as moving ahead with her suspicions before learning why the children cried out when they saw Sherlock; if she'd known, it might've tipped her off how much of a setup this particular situation was. But Moriarty knew she was already primed to move ahead with little provocation - and, as you point out, Sherlock didn't do himself any favors by refusing to go in willingly and clear his name.

I feel most for Lestrade, who was helping Sherlock every way he could (including warning him before they came for the arrest) but also trying to do his duty, with Sherlock on the one side expecting doubt and Sally on the other giving him a vote of no confidence. What a miserable position to be in! And of course it may all rebound on him and his career before the smoke clears.

Whew! Sorry for the ramble. I do have a lot of sympathy for Sally - and, as you say, her actions weren't all that outrageous, given the context in which she was acting. People with far more reason to be wary (Mycroft, John) were also manipulated by Moriarty; it's a bit much to expect her to have seen through it all. Anyway, I'm most grateful for your kind words. Thanks so much for your thought-provoking insights!
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:55 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much, my friend! I'm so glad this seemed fitting to you. I appreciate your kind words so much. :)
rachelindeed
Jan. 22nd, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
That was really well done. Thank you!
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm so happy you think so! Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate them.
zauzat
Jan. 22nd, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, an amazing tightly packed set of insights into her self-created predicament. Beautifully put. I loved these lines particularly:

To the Met, her actions hadn't represented a defence of Lestrade's interests, but rather a vote of no confidence in his judgment.

it did make her something she'd never before been: a rubbish detective sergeant.
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked this little ficlet, and those lines, especially. (It's wonderfully helpful to know that those in particular worked.) I really appreciate your kind words!
chamekke
Jan. 22nd, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC)
Oh my God, this is perfection. It's so easy to write off Sally Donovan's dislike of Sherlock as pure vindictiveness, but I love how some of it is due to her loyalty and empathy for Lestrade. (Even if she wasn't perceptive enough to see those qualities in Lestrade's relationship with Sherlock.)

This is a totally convincing backstory, and it makes my heart ache all the more for Sally and Lestrade alike.

Edited at 2012-01-22 05:42 pm (UTC)
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, I can't thank you enough for this. You've absolutely made my day! I'm so glad that this seems convincing to you, especially Sally's reasons for her resentment of Sherlock. My heart ached so much for everyone in this episode, but especially for what this would mean for Lestrade and Donovan's working relationship (if it survives this). I find it so chilling how Moriarty knew enough about them all to know just where and how to push in order to manipulate them, from Mycroft and John to Donovan herself.

Your incredibly kind and heartening words mean a lot to me. Thank you!
belphegor1982
Jan. 22nd, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC)
I'll have to re-watch The Reichenbach Fall to get a clearer impression, but something I did get out of this first viewing (among many other things, including heart-break) was the underlying theme of manipulation - more importantly, people turning out almost willing to be manipulated. DS Sally Donovan is not evil, technically she doesn't do anything more than her job; but her view of Sherlock is (as you beautifully point out) is skewed by his own treatment of Lestrade, the belittling, the casual insults, and by the fact that she doesn't understand Lestrade continuously going back for more. All it took was a little push - a tiny incentive - and she, along with Anderson and lots of others, believed what she wanted to believe for a long time - Sherlock is a fraud, he's a freak, he gets off on violent crimes, etc.

Sounds like Moriarty's been listening to Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) :P

I love this kind of character pieces. Mostly because, when it's done right (like here), it doesn't provide the reader with answers, or solve problems; it doesn't diminish or gloss over the character's faults, but it doesn't fall into caricature, either; it just gives us a snapshot of what this particular character is feeling and how (s)he's viewing the world at the moment. And Sally Donovan must indeed be feeling pretty lousy after The Reichenbach Fall.

In short, great snippet :o]
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this. You've put your finger perfectly on the matter at hand, and described it beautifully. I, too, was struck by that theme of manipulation, and how some characters made themselves such easy targets, practically volunteering to be Moriarty's pawns. As you put it so well, "All it took was a little push - a tiny incentive - and she, along with Anderson and lots of others, believed what she wanted to believe..." Yes. That's it exactly. *nods emphatic agreement*

I love these kinds of character pieces, too, I'm so thrilled that this worked for you as a plausible snapshot of Sally's perspective. Your kind words mean a lot, and I'm most grateful for them.
smokiquartz
Jan. 22nd, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
Love it.
Yeah, can't really put it any better than that.
Thank you for a lovely fic.
morganstuart
Jan. 24th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I'm so pleased this worked for you, and I'm grateful for your kind words.
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
( 68 comments — Leave a comment )