A/N: Hello and Greetings. I am a huge fan of Conan Doyle's work and his greatest creation. This project was actually for a school classic book project ages ago. I got an awesome score on it (god I am pompous). On the whole, it is a Holmes/Adler, but also a Holmes and Watson friendship. It also has something of a weak kind of mystery, that is utterly transparent (Sorry, this is my first forray into mystery writing, which like all writingis dependent upon small details, but perhaps more so that other types of writing). I tried to make it as canon as I could, because I'm totally anal about accuracy. I'm pretty sure there are some typos, so feel free to spot them out, but be gentle, please.

One thing I find totally amusing, is the fact that since there was no copywriting in that era, Holmes is completely public domain, so this is in fact actually legal!! But of course, we all know the brilliance is not mine (duh!). But I sincerely hope you like it.


Chapter One

It was another bleary, gray Saturday, and my famous companion, the celebrated consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, lay presently across from myself. I sat in my usual chair, reading the agony column of the Daily Telegraph.

Holmes lounged like a lion in the sun across from me, his eyes half-closed, and a pipe stuck resolutely between his lips. He stared at nothing in particular, as he lounged listlessly in his bedclothes, which hung off a lean, but thin frame. I would have hazarded a guess that he was bored, irritated perhaps, or even in a daze from cocaine. I hoped sincerely that it was not the latter.

I had arrived yesterday to pay him a visit, while my wife went to stay with family. It had been quite a while since I last saw Holmes, with his irregular habits and somewhat eccentric behavior. However all of those things served a greater purpose. His precise mind, in which emotions were so aberrant, served law and justice.

But I despair deeply in his apparent drug addiction. My friend, whose wide-ranging talents eclipse those of violin playing, boxing, logic, acting, and unrivaled wit, had one deep and perhaps incorrigible flaw, which was that of his drug addiction. In the locked drawer of his desk, he keeps the syringe locked away for the darkest of days when no cases seem worthy of his attention. I fear for his health and well-being where the drug is concerned.

The other seemingly innate fear that blossomed inside me as I discovered the interesting facets of his life, were that of love. I often wondered if my dearest friend was not just as lonely in his mind as the rest of his fellow man, who yearned for some kind of deep affection from a lady.

But no, Sherlock Holmes seemed to abhor love, and found it only useful in the case of discovering a motive of a man for some great crime. To him, to allow such a thing inside his own mind and personality was like a crack in one of his highly focused microscopes, or a distraction in his pin-point judgment.

But next to the box that contains the syringe inside his locked drawer, is the picture of the questionable and beautiful Irene Norton nee Adler. Holmes used to make merriment over the cleverness of women, but it seemed less so since the Scandal in Bohemia, when Irene Norton, who I still call Adler, destroyed the best laid plans of the greatest London detective, Sherlock Holmes. I often wonder if he admired her perhaps, for her cleverness and beauty. To him, she eclipsed the whole of her sex, and I must agree to his views.

And as if my friend had read my mind, which he so often seemed to do, he announced with such contempt, I was startled, "Watson, she is a vixen. A fox."

"Who?" I inquired, pretending not to know.

"The Woman."

Yes, that was the honorable title which he called her by. We sat in silence for a moment, save the drizzling rain outside and the regular noises of Baker Street.

How peculiar that he was mentioning her at this very moment, when I was wondering her fate as well. Her maid had informed us upon arriving at Briony Lodge when we had come to take the compromising photograph of herself and the king, that she and her husband had gone to take a train to the Continent. It was soon revealed in a letter left for Holmes, that she had outmaneuvered him, and that she kept the photo as only safeguard against the opulent, and perhaps obstinate king. Another photograph was left, one of herself only, which was the only payment that Holmes had requested from the king.

"Tell me, Watson, what would such a woman do now? Where would she go?"

This slightly uncharacteristic annoyance seemed to bode well for the hope that he was not in a slump from the use of cocaine and morphine.

"Hmm." I replied noncommittally, readjusting my newspaper.

He snorted and returned to his examination of the ceiling. "Holmes, have you eaten anything at all today?"

"No my Boswell, I have not. Why should I eat when there are other things to think about? Why should I care for myself in such a superfluous manner when I have no answer to these horrid questions of mine?" He pressed his long fingers together and closed his eyes. "God, I think I have sunken to rock bottom this time, Watson. Look at this."

And he threw a sheet of paper at me from where he lay. It was a letter in a vaguely familiar hand. "'Dear Mr. Holmes,'" I read aloud, "'there is a matter upon which I must consult you immediately, regarding a situation at my school. I do not know if you remember me, but my name is Violet Hunter, and you helped to clear up the business at Copper Beeches. I hope so desperately that you can advise me once again, for this is a matter, I feel, is of great importance. I shall call upon you at Baker Street on Saturday around two 'o' clock. This matter concerns the near disappearance of one of the students at my school. The boy has failed to return to school after the Christmas holidays. Please help me once again, Mr. Holmes,

"'your's most faithfully, Violet Hunter'"

"Oh, Watson, the boy has failed to return from the Christmas Holiday, what a tragedy!" he snorted. "It is such a mystery, that Ms. Hunter has decided to consult me once again! The boy has probably just stayed home with the influenza or has changed schools, I don't see what all the fuss is."

"But Holmes! This could be serious, a child has vanished and Ms. Hunter feels that it is urgent to consult you. Do you not remember the circumstances upon which she first arrived into our company?"

Ms. Hunter had first consulted Holmes upon whether or not she should accept a situation as governess in the Copper Beaches. The case appeared at first to be innocent, but we later discovered that she was unwittingly forced to impersonate the master of the house's daughter, in order to scare off her lover. It was a greedy attempt to keep the family fortune from walking away with her lover. Holmes, however, solved the case very quickly. It had turned out to be one of his more fascinating cases if I may say so myself.

"And what difference does that make?" he said. "All of our cases are peculiar, Watson. Her case only first appeared to be innocent, absurd really, but this is very plausible. I cannot help Ms. Hunter again!" and he stood up suddenly and retired to his quarters.

I wondered why he was so agitated today. Perhaps it had to do with Ms. Hunter. When she had first entered our sitting room, I thought Holmes was impressed with her brisk, independent manner. But he later showed no real interest in her after the case was finished, much to my disappointment. Ms. Violet Hunter was beautiful surely, quick, independent and bright. I hoped she was not married, perhaps for Holmes' sake –but sure enough, her signature was still Violet Hunter. No man had yet been involved with her as far as I could tell.

The letter had no other real points of interest, other than its actual contents, she had used a fountain pen, with black ink, was right handed, and perhaps had written this letter in great haste, for it was unkempt and the ink was smeared and smudged in places. I smelled the letter; only a slight hint of sweet feminine perfume was detectable. I sighed. Holmes surely got more information out of this letter than I did. As always, he would have deducted why this letter was written in great haste, exactly what kind of paper it was, and where Ms. Hunter was and what else she was doing at the time when she wrote this.

It was nearly two, and Holmes had not yet reappeared. Ms. Hunter would be arriving shortly.

I heard the unmistakable noise of someone knocking on the front door of 221B, and sure enough, I could hear Mrs. Hudson and Ms. Hunter upon the steps, talking in a friendly manner, however, the actual contents of their conversation were as follows:

"You need to dry off Ms. Hunter -you'll catch your death of cold!"

"No. Mrs. Hudson, thank you, really –but I must see Mr. Holmes. He is expecting me, I sent a letter that should have arrived today –please Mrs. Hudson, I'm fine really, but a hot drink would be most welcome…"

There was a thump, and Mrs. Hudson cried, "Doctor! Doctor, come quickly!"

I tore out onto the landing and saw Mrs. Hudson crouched over Ms. Hunter who was collapsed upon the stairs. She looked very thin, and very pale. Holmes appeared behind me, still in his bedclothes.

I scrambled down the steps and took her pulse, "She's fine Mrs. Hudson, only fatigued. Come, lets take her into the warmth, we can't keep her on the stairs."

Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and I heaved Ms. Hunter into our sitting room, depositing the young woman upon the sofa. Mrs. Hudson looked quite distressed, wringing her hands glancing at the collapsed figure on the sofa.

"Mrs. Hudson, go and find something warm and dry for her to wear, she'll get sick with her clothes sopping wet like that." I commented, rechecking her pulse. Holmes handed my thermometer to me, and I took her temperature. She was 102 degrees. "She's sick, desperately so." I announced to Holmes, who began to smoke tobacco from the Persian slipper.

He looked her over in a searching manner. "Looks like a ragged kitten. The foolish woman should have stayed at her school, rather than traveling here only to catch her death."

"So you still won't help her?" I spooned some medicine into her mouth.

Mrs. Hudson returned with clothes, and Holmes and I left the room so Ms. Hunter could be changed. When we returned, Ms. Hunter was wrapped warmly in some of Mrs. Hudson's bedclothes, and the blanket which normally hung on the sofa. She sat up, with a steaming mug in her trembling hands.

"How are you feeling?" I asked. Holmes flitted through the room to his chambers to change into his normal attire.

"Doctor," she said, "It's been so long, I'm glad to see you." She smiled weakly.

"Ms. Hunter, I strongly suggest that you sleep for a while, Holmes and I could go out for an hour to let you rest, you are obviously exhausted."

"No, Doctor Watson! I must speak to Mr. Holmes, this is a matter of great urgency! Please, a child is missing, and I must be on my way –"

"You are in no state to do anything except rest. Speaking to Holmes can wait."

Ms. Hunter looked so drawn and tired, I seriously feared for her health.

"Let her speak, Watson." Holmes had reappeared and strode into the room to shake her hand. "Ms. Hunter, this is obviously not the happiest of times. Pray, tell me your urgent business, but I do not think that I can be of much assistance in this case. However, I will do any service that I can to oblige you. But it sounds as if the boy is merely sick, or has changed schools-"

"No, Mr. Holmes, he has not, please let me have just a piece of your valuable time, I insist that you hear me out." She shivered and I administered another dose of medication. "Thank you, Doctor, but I must continue -I feel that I have very little time to regurgitate the events."

"Then tell us, Ms. Hunter, and let us hope that this case is not as sinister as the last that you were involved with."

A/N again: If you don't get Ms. Hunter, I advise you read Copper Beaches. I rather like her charecter more than Adler, but whatever. Adler fits better by Doyle's little words. But I think Adler was supposed to just represent a flaw in Holmes, an exception to his iron-clad sexism, to make him more fascinating. Everyone loves a wounded hero! And I am certainly a sucker for that!