Hey everyone! As you can all tell what this is- it's HOLMES SEQUEL YAY! I'm jumping right into the story, FYI. I want to get things moving. :) And... yeah. Thanks again you guys! I love you all oh so very much, and thanks for the wishes on the musical! It'll be great and then no more drama shows for the rest of the school year which means fanfiction love!

Also, go check out my super awesome banners that TheSaintlikeWeasley made me! It's on my home page, and thanks again, they're amazing! :3

~mistro

Holmes quote of the chapter: Head cocked to the left, partial deafness in ear: first point of attack. Two: throat; paralyze vocal chords, stop scream. Three: got to be a heavy drinker, floating rib to the liver. Four: finally, drag in left leg, fist to patella. Summary prognosis: unconscious in ninety seconds, partial efficacy quarter of an hour at best. Full faculty recovery: unlikely. (RBJ, Sherlock Holmes 2009)

~.~.~.~

1 week later...

I was sitting alone. The room surrounding me brought a fuzzy feeling into my stomach. Somehow I felt comfortable, although it wasn't my own. The scattered books, the empty glass, the melted candles... it made me peaceful. However, something in the room was missing; the entire reason I came.

I glanced outside as the sun was setting. The sky was finally clear from a couple days of rain. I wasn't sure at that moment about how long I had been waiting for Holmes to arrive home, but judging by the purple sky, it had been quite some time. My bottom lip began to droop and I considered leaving when I heard the door click open. I stood up quickly, meeting Watson's gaze. "Renadale?" His voice echoed surprise. "I thought you might be here, but I wasn't quite sure."

"Watson," I walked towards him and took his hands in my own. He looked surprised by the gesture, but I had to admit that by that point I was worried. "I've been sitting here for what feels like hours and he hasn't showed up. Unless of course, he came and left in such a blur that I somehow missed him."

Watson sighed heavily as he peeled off his hat. He still wore a smile, but it wasn't a comfortable one. I could tell by his face that his words were about to upset me. "He's at the rink."

"He's at the rink? Well, that's alright. I'll just go and meet him." I grabbed my coat, heading towards the door. Watson's hand stopped me before I could make it out. "Is everything alright?" I asked slowly. Judging by his twisted face, I assumed it wasn't.

"He tends to follow a path into bad habits when he doesn't have a case on his hands."

A small smirk spread across my face. "What can be so terribly wrong about watching a boxing match?" Playfully, I hit him with my glove. "Even I've gone to a round before."

"Yes, I suppose it's alright to watch it," Watson spat out quickly. "But on that note, he isn't watching it. I suppose he is, but he's as close as any viewer can get." I knew instantly what he was talking about. What an idiot, I thought. My heart began to pick up the pace along with my feet as they flew from the doorway. "Renadale, don't jump into anything!" I heard Watson call after me. His warning was a bit too late.

I was speeding down the road as fast as I could. I wasn't quite sure why I cared so much, but I felt as though I needed to get there right away and see what was happening with my own eyes. He was a male! So, was it so strange that he was engaging in a fight? No. Yet something was pulling at my heart. Imagining him getting hurt... and for fun? That was enough to set me off.

I was about to run through the arena's doors when a large man stopped me from entering. He peered down at me, obviously confused as to why I was there. "Are you sure you know where you're going?" I tried to shove past him, but he stopped me with a raise of his giant hand. "I asked you a question, lady."

Through a crack in the door, I could hear people hollaring and cheering. I could hear grunting and fists hitting chests and heads. "Is there a man named Sherlock Holmes fighting?" My toes lifted me from to floor in order to try and get a better view of things. It wasn't worth it; the guard's body was much too large. "I'm not a coward, I want to see the fight."

"Well, alright." His voice was bitter. "Excuse me for trying to help a young lady out."

In angst, I brushed past him, mumbling a curse beneath my breath. Right when I entered the room a wave of heat and stench flooded over me. Luckily, I blended in with the scenery in my drab colored dress. Men and woman alike surrounded me like sardines, raising fists and cheering for the fighters in the center. As I squirmed and pushed my way through, I finally made it towards the front.

Before I could even tell what was happening, a large body was flung at the edge where I was standing. I yelped in surprise, taking a step backwards as the man slumped to the dirt. The puncher was of course none other than Holmes. His eyes met mine for a moment before snapping away. He didn't realize it was me until the second time he looked, and when he did it was obvious that he was puzzled by my presence. "Holmes!" I shouted as the man crawled up from the floor. It was too late. The man's huge fist had already flung itself at the side of Sherlock's head. I gasped loudly while everyone else cheered. They were obviously not rooting for my boss.

My nails took the nerves I had as I bit away at them. My mother would always grumble at my bad habit, while my father would merely laugh, labeling them as quirks. "Come on!" I whispered beneath my breath. Of course I wanted him to win, but I wanted him to hurry up so I didn't have to watch all of this. This was his version of fun? I didn't know much about fun, but I was certain this wasn't it.

When I redirected my attention back to the fight, I noticed Holmes was pathetically slumped over in the opposite corner. My frown tightened. More than anything I wanted to crawl over the edge and carry him away, but the scene was not quite finished. The opponent was raising his fists high above his head as the audience around me drooled and fawned over the monster. What they didn't notice was that Holmes gathering himself, cracking his neck and rushing behind the man's back.

He didn't see what was coming next. I couldn't make out every move perfectly, but of what I could see happening in that blurry moment was Holmes kicking the man in the back and sending him forward. Without a second in between, Holmes brought two of his fists right onto his shoulders. The audience was growing quieter as every other move was made. There was a slap to the ear, a kick to the back of the knee, and before we all knew it, he was down.

Holmes extended his hand, and a hanky was quickly tossed to him. He whiped blood and sweat from his face and made his way towards the exit. I heard someone whisper, "That's what happened last time, but damn it, why didn't I put my money on it again?"

I saw him slurping booze from across the ring. He looked over at me with the bottle still pressed to his mouth. His body was covered in cuts, bruises and sweat- and for some strange reason, I felt motherly towards the situation. I wanted to rush him to water and clean his handsome face as best as I possibly could. I wanted to take care of him.

A shudder shot down my spine. That was too wife-like. I wasn't going to fall for him that badly.

It had been about a week since the case ended. I worked for him every day, more for the pleasure of being around one another, than actually working. He was actually quite timid about getting close. Yet, I was as well. We hadn't been... intimate, to be quite frank.

With my little knowledge of the social world, I couldn't tell if anyone had any real affection for me. In my head, I was always making up reasons why they wouldn't or shouldn't. All of them seemed reasonable and I merely applied them. Sometimes it made me gloomy, but I hoped that some day he would tell me that he was "quite fond of me".

I didn't see that day coming soon.

"Miss Adkins," a grouchy voice rang out. I hadn't even noticed that Holmes had come over. Perhaps it was because I was too busy with my thoughts. When wasn't I, though? He was standing there beside me without a shirt on, smelling of salt and beer. I winced at the mere sight of him. My fingers lifted and pressed themselves against his cheek. Others were beginning to watch, and he quickly made his way out.

After a minute or two- to make it look unsuspicious- I followed him to what I presumed were the rest rooms. If my mother would have seen that, she would have fallen over dead. Gently, I pushed open the door with my eyes closed. "Holmes, are you in here?"

I heard a grunt as I opened my eyes. He was standing by a bucket of water, lifting it up to his face and spitting it away from his cut mouth. "By your sudden appearance, I can presume that this was Watson's doing, correct?"

I nodded. He grunted once again, splashing more water onto his face. "I was waiting for you." He froze for a moment, startled by my words. "Watson knew I was waiting and he told me where you were. So, in all honesty, it was my fault. I'm sorry, I was worried..." My face began to grow hot. I sounded terribly stupid and motherly. He was a grown man! I had no right or reason to be worried about him.

"You were worried?" He mumbled.

Hesitantly, I took a step closer to him, trying to ignore the question. "Here, let me help you with that." I took a rag at the bottom of the red water and dipped into a clean tub. As I scrubbed, the dirt and blood began to disappear. "You've certainly made a pretty picture of yourself," I said softly with a smile on my face. He didn't say anything back, but his eyes were still upon me. "Do you do this often?"

"Only when credit is not being given."

He leaned back in surprise as I pressed the rag to a large gash on his cheek. "Oh, I'm sorry," I gasped. "I didn't mean to hurt you." He blinked a few times before taking my wrist and placing it back to his face. My head began to spin at this tiny gesture. "Alright, well... warn me if I'm putting you in any kind of pain."

I continued to do this, only I moved down to his shoulders and then his arms. Every time I dipped the rag back into the water, it would turn slightly more pink. I laughed as I peered inside the tub. "I think there's only blood left." He looked into the red water as well, a smile forming on his clean face.

"It's still mixed with the water. It will certainly make do."

So, I continued to dip it into the water and press it to his wounds. I was now dabbing away at his chest. Afraid he could see my blushing cheeks, I decided to strike up a conversation. "I knew you enjoyed watching the sport, but I had no idea that you liked fighting yourself."

"On the contrary, I don't like fighting." He responded smoothly. "Normally, when one fights there is something they are fighting for... a specific target. And on that note, no man enjoys getting pounded without anything to get pounded for. Even then he hates it."

"So, why did you do it?"

He paused for a moment to think. "At any rate, it keeps me from lolly-gagging around my room, doesn't it? Everything is exactly where it should be. I don't have the heart to move even my own possessions."

His words made sense, but they stung. What about me? He would rather get his head smashed in then talk with me? "I see," I dutifully began dabbing at his stomach.

"I'm not stating that I would choose this over being with company," he said immediately. I tried my hardest not to smile. That was a good thing about a detective: he genuinely knew if something was wrong or not. "Well, I would, but your company would exceed any form of male brutality for sheer enjoyment, I assure you." I nodded, unable to hide my grin now. "However, I wasn't expecting you to come this evening."

My brows rose with curiosity. "Were you expecting someone else, rather?" I knew it was terribly annoying, but I brought up the woman in every conversation since Watson had told us she was coming. Whoever she was, she wasn't here yet. And whoever she was, she was obviously a doll to win over Sherlock. "Were you expecting the woman in the photograph?"

"I was not expecting anyone, for your information." His words were rushed, and I noticed his face become particularily more flushed. Although it hurt me to think or say it, this woman had an obvious effect over Holmes. I couldn't tell if it was admiration, or hatred. Or perhaps both. "That gave me all the more reason to leave."

"Will you tell me more about her?"

"There is really nothing to say." Done with the conversation, he stood up and tossed his shirt on. It was apparent that I had upset him, but I wasn't about to let it go that easily.

"She's very lovely." He snorted and said nothing more. "In the picture, I mean. She looked almost too elegant to be living in London. I assume she's not since Watson said she was coming into town. Is she foreign?" He was tossing his coat on as quick as possible now. "Aha, I bet I know. She's American, isn't she? Americans are always lovely."

"I think it's best that we proceed to our humble abodes." He slammed the door shut as we left the restroom. "You are quite inquisitive, I'll give you that much. I admire your determination." He paused, sincerity arriving in his eyes. "I do not think of Irene in... that way."

Love.

I knew what he was talking about, he would just never utter it. "At any rate, I admire her wit, but she is a first rate criminal with too large of a nose in others affairs." He adjusted his cuff links. "That is all I will say on the subject."

"Do you think I'll like her?" My voice was teasing.

He blinked a couple of times, before he pulled open the door again. I walked outside as he followed me out. "Yes," he said, taking me by surprise. "Although, I desperately hope you two wouldn't get along. However, if you do not like her, I can gaurentee that she will like you."

I scrunched my brows together. "Oh really? Why do you think that will be the case?"

"Because you are exactly what she isn't. And if anyone were like her, she would despise them. There is only one Irene Adler, and she intends to keep it that way." Without furthur explination, he headed off down the road, leaving me with only more questions.

~.~.~.~.~

The next morning, my mother and I decided to spend some time together as I requested time off from work. We were standing in a hat shop when I walked out in something large, blue and featherly. She sat, simply agog. "Renadale, you have no idea how beautiful you look!" Upon seeing myself in the mirror, I only felt more disgusted.

"Mother, I look like a blue-jay."

"Blue-jay? How lovely! All the more reason to buy it." She giddily clapped her hands together. "Here, let me buy it for you. You can wear it to that party Mister Madison is hosting next week."

I ripped the hat from my head and the unexpected news. "Party? You never told me I was attending any party. Even if you did, I wouldn't go. You of all people should know that! Besides, I must go to work."

"It's on a Saturday, dearest."

"Mother, I work every day of the week, if you haven't noticed my absence."

"You don't work in the evenings!" Her voice was almost like a song. She really expected me to go! She never drug me to parties anymore anyways. Why was this one so special? "There's a young gentleman I am simply dying for you to meet." She grinned wildly.

So that was why this one was different.

"Mother, I do not intended to like this man." I looked away before she could notice a tiny bit of curiosity creeping onto my face.

She came and took me by the hands. "Dearest, I know you have affection for Mister Holmes," I was about to protest, but she placed a gloved finger on my lips. "I'm your mother. I'm not ignorant. Yet, don't you worry that he might not actually wish to marry you?"

"Marriage?" I laughed bitterly as I pulled myself away. "That is not what I am looking for. In any case, of course he's not going to marry me."

"Dearest, that's what you should be looking for at your age! You're getting older... In a few years, you'll be headed towards thirty! You need a husband... and this boy... Well, if I was a few years younger..."

I raised my hand in disgust. "If I go to the party, do you promise not to speak with me on this matter for another ten years?"

She bit her bottom lip, but it didn't take long for an agreement. "Yes, I accept! But only because I know that you will fall head over heels for this boy. He's handsome, intellegant, your age-"

"So, are you going to purchase the hat now?"

She squealed in delight, snatching it from my hands and rushing up to the counter with it. With a heavy sigh, I went to the threshold of the store. Everyone seemed so happy today. The sun was shining and the Thames was more blue today than I had ever seen it. I noticed a young boy on the edge of the street, raising papers above his head. I cringed, remembering Henry for a brief moment. The hapiness suddenly faded from my eyes. "Huge scandal!" The boy shouted. "Huge scandal involving the prime minister, read all about it!"

My ears perked up at the announcement. I looked back at my mother who was still purchasing the hat, and crossed the street. "May I see that paper?" I dropped a coin into his hand.

"I'm sorry Miss, but you're so lovely, I just can't lie to you." He had to be about thirteen at most, but I smiled in regard to his kindess. "There really is no scandal. The real news is about the poisoning. I don't think I should be shoutin' that out Miss. Ya see because then, no one will want to read it. They'll get scared, yea?" He stuck the nickel back out to me. "You can have it back, ya know."

"No," I mumbled, already attracted to the headline. "Keep it. I'll be buying this." He thanked me and I headed back towards the store where my mother waited.

"What on Earth have you got there? Are you educating yourself with scandals again?"

"Mother, look here. There's an article about a woman who was poisioned. They don't know who did it, but the girl sold herself." Sympathy washed through me. "She was so young."

My mother suddered. "That's quite a shame Renadale, but you should not be reading such things. You've already gotten yourself into quite enough excitement these past few weeks. Can't you just be finished already?" Shivers kept going down her spine.

"Mother...I'm terribly sorry, but I remembered that I had to return to work today." Holmes had to see the case. It would give him something to look into and I could stop worrying about him getting beat up.

My mother's eyes were sad. "But you promised me that you took the day off!"

"Yes, but I remembered that he changed his mind last minute." I kissed her on top of the head. "We don't want me getting fire now, do we? And at any rate, we got a lovely hat out of this morning." My voice cracked. It was still hard for me to lie. "I'll be home before dinner, I promise!" I heard her call my name, but I was sprinting off to find Holmes once again.

I didn't even bother knocking on the door when I approached Baker St. The maids in the kitchens waved hello, but I was far too excited to respond. As I reached his door, I didn't prolong the wait. "Holmes!" I flung open the door with my face still buried in the paper. "Holmes, I think I've got the perfect case!" There was no response. After a moment of silence, I lifted my head.

Holmes and Watson were standing on one side of the room. Watson was looking at me, but Holmes was staring at the ground and staying silent.

"Hello."

My heart sunk as a melodic voice rung out behind me. I turned to see a superior woman with her hand outstretched. "You must be Renadale Adkins."

I wanted to be polite and take her hand, but I was too frozen with surprise. "Who are you?" I knew who she was. It was the woman. She was beautiful enough to make Aphrodite jealous and I couldn't believe that Holmes wasn't in love with her. Not for a second.

"How rude of me to not introduce myself." As she laughed, a perfectly white smile slipped across her rosy face. I winced. She was like a porcelain doll.

"I'm Irene Adler."