"I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind." ~ Edgar Allan Poe


"What did he tell you?"

Sherlock wanted to duct tape her mouth. Shouting over the echoing, wet shower partitions made his ears ring.

Aisling evidently didn't care. "I'll stop shouting when you tell me what Moran told you!'

"Can't this wait?!" Sherlock yelled back.


"He didn't tell me anything."

"Don't lie!"

"He told me that you couldn't have children!" Yelled Sherlock, finally fed up of yelling to each other like a couple in a weak marriage.

The shower next to him stopped. She was still inside the cubicle, standing there, dripping, in silence.

Then, very quietly, "He told you that?"

"Yes." Sherlock switched off his own shower, feeling it wrong to carry on in this sombre situation, and talked to her through the wall.

"He wasn't supposed to tell anyone," she said unsteadily.

"He played his trump card, then." All that could be heard was the sounds of breathing and water dripping insolently.

"Trump card," she murmured. "Trump card." She leaned against the shower wall, drumming her fingers on it.

Sherlock knew that she must be in a state of mild shock.

"Why did he tell you, hm? That's the real question. Why?" She let out a brazen little laugh.

Sherlock was now worried. "Aisling?"

"Do you know what the strange thing is, though? No matter how hard I try, this blood won't come off my hands."

Sherlock tapped the plastic partition with some urgency now. "Aisling!"

"It's all red. So red," she cooed. "And the beautiful scarlet letter I carved into his arm...like the book, you know. 'A' didn't stand for 'Aisling', it stood for 'Adultery'. Just like in the book. Because he cheated on his wife!"

Sherlock rapped on the partition, tying the towel around his waist. "Aisling, have you got your towel on?" He flushed at this, but he was equally worried that she would seriously hurt herself.

Oh, the irony. The psychologist going crazy.

And he had set her off.

"Blood is so pretty, isn't it?" The shower came back on.

Sherlock, uttering a string of curses, ran outside of the door, tugged his trousers and T-shirt on in one utterly fluid motion, and began fiddling with the lock on Aisling's shower door.

A half-crazed laugh emanated from within, followed immediately by sobs.

Sherlock gave up on the lock, and began slamming his frame against the door in sheer desperation, realising as he did what a bizarre situation he was in.

"Isn't red such a pretty, pretty colour?"

Sherlock bashed down the door and careered into the small cubicle, finding Aisling sitting in a corner, with her towel wrapped around her and the shower on. Both she and the towel were utterly soaked, her black locks plastered to her face, which was contorted in a haunting refrain of broken sobs.

He stared down at her,totally at a loss as to what to do.

She apparently hadn't noticed him. "It won't...come...off..."

He sat down on the shower floor next to her, clothes and all. He gradually felt the cold water seep through.

Aisling was shivering in the corner.

With a sigh, he turned the valve so that the setting was on almost scalding, and pulled her closer to him. She relaxed a little, but she still turned her hand before her eyes with horrible fascination. "Won't...come...off..."

He took the hand and inspected it, turning it over in his hands. It was raw and red and chapped from being scrubbed repeatedly and viciously to remove the nonexistent blood. "There is no blood." He said softly, the water hitting his shoulders and head, trickling down his face in rivulets.

"There isn't?" She whispered.

Sherlock kissed the red knuckles of the sore hand  softly in the warm, artificial rain of the shower. "No blood."

"But I can see it."

"No," said Sherlock. "No, you can't. Look harder."

She squinted. "It's still there." She had tilted her head so far in her state of intense concentration that it rested on Sherlock's shoulder.

A sudden exhalation, a breath of surprise, escaped Sherlock as he realised this. He shifted away slightly. "Look closer."

She buried her face in his shoulder, with a muted sob. "It won't go away."

He tentatively, gingerly stroked her wet black hair, running his fingers through it. "Well, then, look further away. Because the closer you are, the less you see, remember?" Sherlock said softly, employing the tone of many therapy sessions.

She frowned, holding her hand further away from her face. Then, a sob escaped her scarred lips.

"Where did the blood go?"

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