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 For the [ profile] rarewomen fic exchange: Fabricated backstory for "Anthea" and how she came to work for Mycroft.

 ::|:: on Ao3 ::|::


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I didn't think I'd ever write a BBC Sherlock piece. I mean, I enjoy the show, but not in the fannish way I've done for other things. (There's this discussion I've had before with[personal profile] rroselavy  about non-fannishness in regard to live-action source material, but that's for another day.) Sure, I've read a few stories here and there, (including the only RPF I've ever read or reviewed) but generally I've no desire to write it.

 However ... Pinch hits are the sad-eyed animal orphans of the fanfiction world to me, and it's hard to pass them by without being tempted to snatch them up to take care of (even when I have a ton of other things to do).

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The Prompt
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The requester wanted Anthea, Anthea and Mycroft, and if possible Harry. (I did try to fit the latter in, but just couldn't do it justice in the time I had for the pinch.) ~ I also wanted to try leave the story open-ended enough that those readers who ship a Mycroft / Anthea dynamic could extrapolate in any direction they pleased.

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The working title for the first draft was "Indirection," but once I discovered that there was actually a song called "The Lady in Black" (by Uriah Heep) and read the lyrics, the line "with no thought of love nor god" jumped out at me as a great title ... although, that "without love" leads me into my next topic.

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Mycroft and Anthea
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Although I can't say why, I assumed that by the time of A Study in Pink Anthea had been working for Mycroft for a number of years. (Her only direct interaction with him is at the end of the episode, though, and it has occurred to me that her "Sorry sir, whose status?" could indicate newness or inattention as well as confirmation/clarification.)

(Of course I also realize, from a meta standpoint, that she needs to provide that leading question so that Mycroft can intone "Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson!")

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The Ladies in Black
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I admit that I'm a bit slow on the uptake at times. I remembered that there had been another beautiful woman in black in the series, and so re-watched it to find her and see how she was credited. It  FINALLY (and it was my 4th or 5th viewing of Scandal) sunk completely in that the woman had in fact been sent by Irene to fool John into thinking that it was a summons from Mycroft -- but more importantly to me, this implied things that I'm sure have been inferred by other Sherlock essayists years ago.

For example, for John to accept a non-Anthea "beautiful woman dressed in black inviting him into a black sedan" suggests to me that Mycroft doesn't just have Anthea as his PA (because if he did, John might be suspicious of a non-Anthea.)

(Of course, then, if Irene does think John's the sort of gay man who pays very little attention to women, then she might assume that for him pretty much all beautiful brunettes dressed in black are interchangeable.)

And then I thought well, what if they are to Mycroft? Deliberately interchangeable, that is. What if "loose-haired brunette in black" is a sort of uniform for a troupe of on-call assistants, a tight-knit sisterhood that keeps in touch with almost constant texting? I was ... well, I was worried that this idea wouldn't go over well, until the amazing samsarapine mentioned after beta-reading that she could see the LiB as the modern equivalent of Mycroft's Diogenes Club. This parallel - which I freely admit was not at all intended, hadn't even occurred to me when writing - actually gave me  a much needed boost of confidence in the story.


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