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Title: Where Few May Tread
Author: percygranger
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 900
Fandom/Characters/Pairings: Sherlock BBC, Sally Donovan, OFC
Disclaimer: Don't own them; don't wish to. I just like playing with... their minds.
Content/Kinks/Warnings: Passing description of sexual harassment in a workplace and brief mention of murder.
Violet interviews her aunt for school.

The camera clicks on. A young black girl moves away from the camera to sit across from an older woman, who looks to be a young middle-age, with shoulder-length curly hair. They share some facial features, although the girl isn’t yet fully mature. The girl picks up a notebook and sits at the edge of her chair.

“Okay, this is Violet Donovan, grade 8 student, interviewing Sally Donovan, my aunt. Aunt Sally, what do you do?”

“I’m a Detective Sergeant with the New Scotland Yard.”

Violet grins.

“And what do you do as a Detective Sergeant?”


“Paperwork, mostly.” The woman’s grin is teasing.

“Aunt Sally…”

“Well, really, there’s tonnes of paperwork. But other than that I assist my team in investigations. We deal with homicides, murder.”

“And what does that consist of?”

“Taking the call, checking out the scene, cordoning it off for forensics, interviewing witnesses, knocking on doors, chasing down paper trails: phone records, credit cards, occasionally staking out a place we think our suspect might be in. I deal a lot with the families. I think they would give it to me as a woman even if I weren’t good at it.”

Sally’s smile twists, Violet grimaces.

“I help my DI with press conferences, sometimes. He’s shite at it. And then there’s testifying in court, and more paperwork.”

“Have you ever faced any kind of backlash for being black and/or a woman?”

Sally laughs.

“Yeah, all the time. I got turned down for the academy twice, despite my grades. I think they let me in because they realized I wasn’t going to quit. Well, that and my sponsor. I had to be twice as good as the rest. The officers make the occasional crack at women anyway, you know? It’s a boys club. But I get the real crude come-ons. It’s been better since I joined my current team. My DI, Lestrade, doesn’t go for any of that. I’m lucky. It doesn’t really do much for the stupidity of the criminals we catch, but it helps.”

“What’s your favorite part of the job?”

“Probably finding out that all the hard work we do trying to figure out what they’ll do and where they’ll go next is right. That, and telling the families we caught the bastards.” Sally grins.

“Your team works with consultants, right?”
Sally rolls her eyes. “Knew I shouldn't have mentioned that. Just the one, most of the time. DI Lestrade calls him in when a case is particularly complex and we have no leads.”

“And what does he do?”

“Mostly insults everybody, from us to the criminals. Sees us all as inferior intellects, you see. But when he finally gets around to looking at the scene - usually contaminating it in the process, mind you - he makes some pretty amazing leaps. Sometimes I wonder if he’s done it himself, considering how right he is with so little to go on.”

“He was in the paper last week for solving a kidnapping, maybe he’s not so bad if he can do stuff like that?”

“Maybe, but I think there’s a line, you know? You can do good things without being a good person. Sherlock Holmes does not do what he does because he wants to help people. And the way he does it really helping if you leave the victims traumatized in your wake?”

Violet nods thoughtfully.

“So, to get back to my list, this works well with: Why are you working in this field?”

Sally takes a breath.

“There’s the easy reasons: wanting to help people, making a difference, and just plain making a living. But then there’s the hard ones. You know about your uncle Tommy’s death before you were born.”

Violet nods, face serious.

“It was just so senseless, and the police couldn’t help. If anything, they made it all worse, the way they treated him and us. I hated them for a long time, before I realized the only way to fix that was to go in there, and be the person I needed.”

Sally blinks several times, and wipes at her eyes.

“And I hope I’ve done that. That I’ve given other families that would otherwise be overlooked or mistreated the respect and closure they needed. I’ve done the best I could at it so far, at least. That’s what keeps me going, the thought that there’ll be one less child hurt and confused by the system that’s supposed to help.”

Violet holds out a hand, and Sally takes it. They sit together silently for a moment, then resettle back into their chairs.

“So that’s why Mum doesn’t like the police?”

“Yes. Your grandparents didn’t like it very much when I said I was going to join up, either. They didn’t understand at first, but I think they’ve gotten easier about it, once they’ve seen me do alright. I’m no shining star, but I’ve worked hard to get where I am.”

“Do you have ambitions for the future?”

Sally smiles, teeth showing.
“Of course. I want Detective Inspector, at the least. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it all the way to the top!”

They grin at each other.

“But, in all likelihood, I’m just one of the first, paving the way for some other brown girl to get there.”

"Violet nods.

"I think that’s good. Thanks, Aunt Sally.”

“Anything for my best girl.”

Violet approaches the camera, reaching. The screen goes dark.

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