morganstuart: (Passing Thus)
[personal profile] morganstuart
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 [livejournal.com profile] sherlockbbc_fic.
Page 1 of 2 << [1] [2] >>

Date: 2012-01-22 01:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keep-counting.livejournal.com
Oh. This is, to put it plainly, amazing. It grabs Donovan's voice and puts it to excellent use, it is extremely in-character and realistic. I love how she still resents Sherlock, but realizes that she made a mistake - and I also like the reason you've given her for hating Sherlock so much: it's not just her own wounded pride, it's because she likes and looks up to Lestrade so much, and she doesn't really see that Lestrade like Sherlock, that there's a friendship been forming there, she only sees her boss being belittled.

Fantastic piece.

Date: 2012-01-22 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2012-01-22 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabrinaphynn.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you so much! This makes my day. I'm so glad this felt believable and in-character. I really appreciate it!

Date: 2012-01-22 02:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thesmallhobbit.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2012-01-22 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 02:08 pm (UTC)
ext_28802: (Default)
From: [identity profile] belleferret.livejournal.com
Poor Sally. Smart enough to recognize her mistakes, but not wise enough to stop them.

Date: 2012-01-22 02:22 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com - Date: 2012-01-22 09:20 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-01-22 02:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penfold-x.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2012-01-24 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linguini17.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2012-01-24 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] irisbleufic.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm glad somebody wrote a study on Donovan's actions! Thank you for that.

Date: 2012-01-24 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you! I really appreciate your reading and commenting.

Date: 2012-01-22 03:52 pm (UTC)
ext_58380: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bk7brokemybrain.livejournal.com
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. :)

Date: 2012-01-24 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marysutherland.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2012-01-24 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sc010f.livejournal.com
Oh my. Yes. Poor Sally - its so easy and so human to make that kind of mistake not to think to just give in.

And wow... You've captured this so perfectly.

Bravissima!

Date: 2012-01-24 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you so much, my friend! I'm so glad this seemed fitting to you. I appreciate your kind words so much. :)

Date: 2012-01-22 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rachelindeed.livejournal.com
That was really well done. Thank you!

Date: 2012-01-24 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so happy you think so! Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate them.

Date: 2012-01-22 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zauzat.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2012-01-24 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chamekke.livejournal.com
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 Date: 2012-01-22 05:42 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-24 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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!

Date: 2012-01-22 06:06 pm (UTC)
ext_442363: (sherlock)
From: [identity profile] belphegor1982.livejournal.com
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]

Date: 2012-01-24 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2012-01-22 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smokiquartz.livejournal.com
Love it.
Yeah, can't really put it any better than that.
Thank you for a lovely fic.

Date: 2012-01-24 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you so much! I'm so pleased this worked for you, and I'm grateful for your kind words.

Date: 2012-01-22 06:11 pm (UTC)
syien_island: (Default)
From: [personal profile] syien_island
Great insight into Sally's side.

Date: 2012-01-24 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so happy you think so! Thanks so much for reading and for leaving such kind feedback. I appreciate it very much.

Date: 2012-01-22 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cookiefleck.livejournal.com
Oh, Sally, Sally, Sally.

She's hard to like, even if some of her rationale is understandable. (Short pause here for a hiss and a boo at your icon, LOL.) I think it's those moments on the show... for example, in RF when she says "unbelieveable" - it's the way she says it - maybe her accent? but it comes off as a snotty retort... not a considered judgment with the People's interests at heart. You did a good, difficult job here of bringing out how her emotions got the better of her, and the dire ramifications.

Date: 2012-01-24 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I definitely agree with you that Sally's resentment of Sherlock has been simmering for a long time. I find it tragic that 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, wanting to believe the lie - and Sherlock didn't do himself any favors by refusing to go in willingly and clear his name. (And, to be fair, people with far more reason to be wary - Mycroft and John, for example - were also manipulated by Moriarty, too. That's part of the chilling genius of this episode, I think.)

I've been moved by the Lestrade-Donovan relationship ever since the press conference in "ASiP," where it was so clear how Sally watched out for Lestrade and was protective of him, and how he trusted her advice when it was needed. I find this situation to be 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 after this breach of trust.

Wow, how's that for rambling? All that is to say I really appreciate your kind words. I'm so glad this worked for you as a window into how her emotions got the better of her, and what the dire ramifications of her own "fall" might be.

Date: 2012-01-22 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mazaher.livejournal.com
I used to rather like Donovan. I'm not going to forgive her now, but you make me understand her a bit more, and it's a relief.
Thank you

Date: 2012-01-24 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! Better people than Donovan (Mycroft, John) were also manipulated by Moriarty in this episode; I do find it tragic how complicit she was in her own manipulation here, though, as she wanted to believe the lies. But that's part of the genius of this episode, I think, that Moriarty knew exactly what button to push for each person to turn them into his pawns.

I've been fascinated by the Lestrade-Donovan 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. I find this situation to be a great tragedy, and I do wonder how, if at all, they could ever work together again after this breach of trust. Very sad indeed.

I really appreciate your kind words, and I'm grateful that you "bought" this as a plausible look into her perspective. As always, thank you, my friend!

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] mazaher.livejournal.com - Date: 2012-01-24 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-01-22 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddles-and-jam.livejournal.com
I *knew* you would write something about Sally in this episode! Thank you for this. I was absolutely squirming during those scenes and I think her second thoughts here are very believable.

Date: 2012-01-24 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I was squirming, too! Wasn't it painful and tragic? Like watching a train wreck.

Thank you so much for this. I'm so pleased (and relieved!) to hear that her thoughts seem believable here. I really appreciate it.

Date: 2012-01-22 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] machshefa.livejournal.com
Yes. THIS.

Her own self-awareness is going to be punishment enough, methinks. Yes, if she'd had actionable proof, going above Lestrade would have made sense. But she was ripe for manipulation, and Moriarty used her and the others well. Such agony.

Powerfully done.

Date: 2012-01-24 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so delighted that this worked for you, and that it seemed a plausible glimpse into her perspective. Thank you so much for this.

I agree that her own realization of her "fall" here will be a terrible punishment in itself.

Yes, if she'd had actionable proof, going above Lestrade would have made sense. But she was ripe for manipulation, and Moriarty used her and the others well.

Exactly! I find it chilling to think of how he knew exactly what button to push for each person in order to turn him/her into his unwitting pawn.

I really appreciate your lovely feedback. Thanks, my friend!

Date: 2012-01-22 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arnie1967.livejournal.com
Wow. Okay, *this* makes me feel a little sorry for Sally. I really like that she recognises she was played, used, and that she's screwed up and done far more damage to Lestrade than Sherlock did.

And it's totally in character. Well done.

Thanks for sharing.

Date: 2012-01-24 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so pleased that this felt in character to you! It seems like such a tragedy to me, from every possible angle.

I really like that she recognises she was played, used, and that she's screwed up and done far more damage to Lestrade than Sherlock did.

Thank you for this! I've really liked the Lestrade-Donovan dynamic, and it made me ache to imagine how this would undo the trust between them - and how alone Lestrade would be before this was all over. I can't imagine that she thought this through at the time. But after the fact... ouch.

Thank you so much for your lovely comments. They're most appreciated!

Date: 2012-01-22 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-facepalm.livejournal.com
As always, I enjoy reading your interpretation of Lestrade and his team. Poor Sally. This should be the end of Lestrade's career.

Date: 2012-01-24 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I just ache for everyone in this tragedy. Lestrade, most of all.

I really appreciate your reading. It means a lot to me.

Date: 2012-01-22 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cordeliadelayne.livejournal.com
Oh, that's a great look at Sally.

Date: 2012-01-24 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so happy you think so! Thank you so much for this. I appreciate it.

Date: 2012-01-22 11:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ascendant-angel.livejournal.com
I really like the angel you've taken this and how it remains true to character.

Date: 2012-01-24 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you so much! I'm so pleased this worked for you, and that you felt it was true to character. I really appreciate your kind words.

Date: 2012-01-23 01:17 am (UTC)
ext_8892: (Wake screaming (blunaris))
From: [identity profile] beledibabe.livejournal.com
A lesson to all of us, ne? ::shamefaced blush::

Date: 2012-01-24 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Augh, so true! There but for the grace of God go I...

Thank you so much, my friend, for reading and commenting!
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morganstuart
"To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty."
- H.P. Lovecraft, 1921

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